Continuing Tales

For the Rest of Us

A Star Trek Story
by Psicygni

Part 9 of 10

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Untitled Document

There is something peculiar about campus during the break between semesters. Even with so many non-Terrans at the Academy, and even with the fact that human students are drawn from all over Earth and therefore it's hardly that every student celebrates Christmas or Hannukah or even any of the other popular winter solstice holidays, there's something about the dark and quiet of the deepest part of winter that seems to make everyone want to turn on lights, eat rich food, and be together.

And together, for her, means lounging on Spock's couch while he grades papers.

"No, it's distracting, I'm being distracting, I don't want to bother you," she says when he glances over at her padd for a second time, the flickering images on it obviously catching his eye.

"It is hardly distracting," he assures her. "I have been trained to have sufficient mental discipline that you can watch a movie while I work."

"Maybe it's just mortifying to know that you've seen the type of holovids I like."

"I am not particularly disposed to registering such an emotional response."

"Somehow I don't think that's going to keep you from teasing me," she grumbles, but sinks deeper into his couch and doesn't turn it off. Gaila would never approve of her selection, but Gaila's not there on the couch next to her, Spock is, and she's rather content with that fact.

True to his word, he keeps up his usual brisk efficiency and doesn't look over at her padd again. And having him studying padd after padd from the neat stack he has on the coffee table gives her plenty of time to just study him, which she finds way more interesting than the movie.

And he's so close and how often does she really have him all to herself – or all to herself along with a few dozen padds – that she can't help but shift so that her back is against the arm of the couch and her feet are close enough to tuck under his thigh.

"My feet are cold," she explains when he glances down at them.

"Are your socks not sufficient?"

"This is better." She tilts her head to the side in an approximation of him. "But are you not a feet-on-the-couch kind of guy?"

"It is of no consequence."

"Good," she says, because the space between his leg and the couch cushion is warm and cozy, and it's better still when he wraps one large hand around her ankle, idly stroking his thumb over her skin.

She really can't focus on her movie, which she would like to think is because of having worked so hard over finals and her concentration being shot, but in reality she knows has much, much more to do with her ability to study his profile as he reads through the padd he's holding.

And she can't even keep her gaze and thoughts on anything appropriate about him, but instead is hungrily examining how his mouth looks, how his shirt fits him, and is imagining what it would be like to taste his neck, to tip his head back and nip at the underside of his jaw.

"That is distracting."

"Hmm?" she asks, then startles in understanding and raises her padd to cover her face. "Oh God. You can… hear that?"

"You are thinking rather loudly," he says and when she drops the padd, she doesn't think she's imagining the green flush that's spreading up his neck.

"Sorry," she says, bites her lip, then can't help but grin at him.

She gets one of those soft smiles in return, the kind that makes her heart flutter in her chest, and he tugs down the hem of her jeans before replacing his hand on her, this time with the barrier of denim between their skin.

"I have nearly completed these."

"Good, cause otherwise I think I might need a cold shower."

That flush deepens and she watches his throat work as he swallows, even though he admirably doesn't look up from his work again.

She's helping herself to a glass of water – or she otherwise probably would just try to crawl across the couch and come up with a logical reason for him abandoning his duties – when he pads into the kitchen and comes to stand behind her.

She can feel her skin prick, her entire back tingle with awareness, he's so close to her, and she has to concentrate on putting her glass back on his counter carefully, so that she doesn't just drop it.

When she turns, her shoulder grazes against his chest and there's not really room for her between him and the cabinets behind her, which she finds she's really quite ok with.

"You're done?" she asks, her mouth too dry for having just had a sip of water.

"I am."

"With everything?"


"That's… that's good."


She wets her lower lip with her tongue, then scrapes her teeth over it, staring up at him, watching the way he's watching her, intense and heated, so that his gaze goes right through her, starts a jump in her stomach that makes her breath short.

"It's Saturday night, we could go out," she says. "Get some dinner."

"That is a distinct possibility."

"Like, actually go on a date, if we're going to date each other."

"That option is open to us."

"Or," she says, slowly drawing the word out.

She flexes her toes against the tile of his kitchen. The air feels charged between them, tension and nerves and anticipation crackling back and forth and she seems to be able to only focus on the details about him, the way his collar lays against his neck, the very tip of his ear, the way his hand flexes, once, and she wonders if he's even known he's done that, like his fingers might give away something he's not even conscious of.

She raises her hand and dips her fingers under his collar, her knuckles against the soft, warm skin of his neck. She tugs at the fabric, then turns her hand over to press the pads of her finger to the muscle that slopes down to his shoulder, his sweater soft on the back of her hand.

He's quite nearly too tall to kiss when she's not wearing shoes, and she has to tip her head back too far, has to wrap her arm over the back of his neck to hold him there while she presses her mouth against his. Her other hand continues to explore the hot skin of his upper back, palming over the hard line of his spine, the way his muscles shift as his arms come around her.

She takes a step back when his palm spreads on the front of her hip and he pushes, and then the counter is behind her, as solid and firm as the press of his body into hers. His hand grasps her hip, big enough that she can feel his thumb dig lightly into the hollow of her hipbone and the tips of his fingers grip into her ass and she pulls back from his mouth with a wet smack, draws in a shivering breath and changes angles to kiss him again, her hand rising from under his shirt to scrabble over the short hairs on the back of his head.

When he pulls away, she's slightly shocked that the world still exists outside of the pull of his lips, the way his nose bumps against her cheek, and the soft sounds their mouths make against each other.

"We, ah, should perhaps-" he says and she follows him into his bedroom, a room she's never been in before and she wants to look around, take it in, but he's sitting on the edge of his bed to take off his socks and it's so endearingly awkward and charming that she doesn't think she could look away, even if she tried.

She lets him draw her down next to him, pulls him over her and then it's his weight on her, warm and hot and heavy, and their legs tangling together and she finds it's hard to focus on anything except the slide of his tongue against hers, the long line of his back under her searching hands.

But when his hand finds hers, his fingers stroke the length of her palm and curl over her own, she pulls away from his mouth and blinks up at him.

"What if I think about something weird?" she asks, pressing her head back into the pillow to get enough room to look at him.

"Define 'weird'."

"You know, like folding socks."

"Then you will have thought about folding socks," he says, that furrow deepening between his eyebrows. It's very nearly her favorite part of him, that way he always thinks so carefully about anything that she's said. "I cannot ascertain the issue you have with such an occurrence."

"It's just that-" she starts, then shakes her head, her hair whispering against the fabric of his pillowcase.

She feels the weight of his body on hers lessen, feels him shift onto his knees and start to move away from her, inches between them now that weren't there before.

He lies down next to her, his fingers running over her hair until she releases her grip on his shirt and reaches up to pull out her hair tie, twisting to set it on his bedside table. His hand is in her hair again, immediately, running his fingers through it and loosening it from being tied up so tightly.

"Nyota," he says gently and she realizes she's closed her eyes at the feeling of his hand on her.

"I don't mean it in a bad way, that I don't want that part of you," she says, shifting closer to him and crossing her ankle over his calf. "But it's new."

"New?" he asks as his hand slips down to her shoulder, and then down to her waist, settling there and doing a really good job distracting her.

"But not unwelcome." She shifts closer still, so that her knee bumps against his and so that there's not really room for her arm between their bodies, so she rests it on his shoulder, her hand shifting through the short hair on the back of his head. It's really soft and silky and she thinks she could just do that for a long time, lay there and touch him like that with his hand warm and firm on her. "I… What if you don't like what you find?"

"That is your concern?" he asks, one eyebrow climbing up his forehead. His hair is falling away from his face, lying on his side like he is and despite that upswept brow, it makes him look so very nearly human. She can't help but run her fingers over his forehead, draw her thumb up that eyebrow, and push her fingers through his bangs, thick and smooth between her fingers. "Nyota, I have for so long attempted to not perceive the thoughts of another due to finding a confirmation of a lack of regard for myself, that I believe you could be reciting interstellar navigation equations to yourself and if you continue to feel about me as you do, I would not be particularly bothered." He pauses, then amends, "Perhaps very slightly bothered. But not overly so."

"You're sure?"

"I would not say so if I were not."

His words make some nameless spot in her chest ache. "I don't like the idea of people not liking you."

He slides closer to her, his hand slipping from her waist down to the small of her back and drawing her towards him. "Do not trouble yourself."

"And Interstellar Nav is kind of a turn off," she says, scrunching up her nose and grimacing at him.

"Which perhaps we can ameliorate." He kisses her again, his fingers rising from her waist to thread through her hair. He pauses, releases her mouth, and his breath is a warm wash against her skin as he asks, "Do you have further concerns which should be addressed?"

"Um." She drags her foot against his ankle, picks at the collar of his sweater. "Anything else I need to know? I've only… with humans."

"I do not believe so."

It feels good to be close to him like they are, to have him solid and firm and real next to her and she has to remind herself that this is really happening, that it's not some half imagined daydream, some possibility that has been a 'maybe' and then a 'probably' and is now solidifying into how his hands feel on her, the dimness of his bedroom, the soft look in his eye that has a hunger behind it she hasn't ever seen from him before.

"Ok," she nods, leans forward and kisses him.

In response, he hooks his hand under her knee, draws it up over his hips and she's lost again in the pull of his mouth, in running her hand through his hair, over his shoulders, and down the length of his arm to where his hand is still gripping her leg, smoothing up over her thigh as he kisses her until she's half breathless.

She plucks at the front of his sweater, pulls it up slightly, and then it's off, dropped off the side of his bed along with the undershirt he had on under it and she's maybe not entirely prepared to have him on top of her, half naked and bending to kiss her again, his mouth wet and warm and insistent, parting her lips and drawing a hitching, soft noise out of her.

His skin is hot everywhere she touches, limber and loose muscles working under her hands and when she draws her nails down his spine, down that dip between the hard lines of muscles on his back, she feels him pull in a breath against her cheek.

When he pushes her sweater halfway up her stomach, then gives it another tug to rest around her ribs, under the band of her bra, she pulls back from their kiss, their mouths separating with a wet sound and she struggles to sit up, to pull it up and off over her head.

When he rolls her over on top of him, his hands spanning her back in a wash of warmth, she finds herself wishing that she had listened to Gaila for once and had worn a less plain bra.

"Look," she says, her hands braced on either side of his head and her fingers twisting into his pillowcase and her hair falling forward around them like a curtain. "I really hope you're wearing spaceship boxers or something."

"Pardon?" he asks and she gets a little thrill from how his voice is just a little too breathy, a little less even than it normally is.

"Like with little cartoons of the Potemkin or the Atahmin or even the Farragut."

"Do they make such garments?" he asks, twining strands of her hair around his fingers, twisting it this way and that.

"Probably," she shrugs, the gesture far more relaxed than how she's feeling with her blood pounding through her and the unimaginable reality of his narrow hips between her knees and the way he's palming her bare back, gripping her thigh, continuing to thread his fingers through her loose hair like he can't decide what to touch first.

She finds his mouth again and he holds her there, one hand kneading into her back, the other curving around her ass and she takes the opportunity to explore his mouth with her own, to nip at his lips and then pass her tongue over them.

Her bra joins his shirt on the floor and she feels another noise escape her, feels her breath hitch and catch when his thumb passes over her nipple.

"Just-" she says, some half formed idea of what she wants expressed in a single cut off word and the way she grinds her hips into his, feeling his hand tighten around her thigh and press her down against him.

There's no room between their bodies to get his pants undone, no way to squirm her hand between them so she just wordlessly jerks at the fabric of his waistband, just kisses him harder, hungrier, letting all her weight fall onto the hand next to his head and her mouth collide with his like that can possibly get the message across.

"There are more effective ways to determine the exact pattern," he tells her, the words muffled and indistinct against her mouth.

"They're probably boring and regulation, right?"

"Your powers of deduction are, as ever, unmatched."

"You sure know what to say to a girl," she grins against his jaw, sucking lightly and pressing an open mouthed kiss to the underside of his chin.

"Up," he says, his hands braced on her hips and pushing, gently, but pushing her nonetheless away from him, which is not the direction she particularly wants to move. It does, though, give her enough room to open his pants and work his zipper down.

"Knew it," she whispers, her fingers scrabbling over the black fabric and trying to both press her hips into his while simultaneously worm his clothes down his legs.

"I apologize if that is disappointing."

"Not… not disappointing at all," she says, tugging harder, her eyes glued to the long ridge straining against the fabric.

"That is an inefficient method," he says and when she looks up at him from where she's been admiring the deep hollows of his hipbones, the way his taut stomach is rising and falling with his breath, she can make out a green flush spreading over his neck and chest, the color beginning to stain his cheeks.

She swallows, her mouth suddenly dry and her fingers suddenly clumsy at the sight of him like that, how his pupils are wide and dark, the way his lips are slightly parted and wet. There's a pang down deep in her chest, a tenderness and fullness like her heart is being squeezed.

She leans down and kisses him softly, just gently, her hands abandoning their futile attempts to get his pants off of him and instead spreading over the hard plane of his stomach, pressing down into his skin as she draws her thumbs over his hipbones. She thinks she could just do this, just suck on his lower lip, just tug at it with her own, breathe in how good he smells and the sounds their mouths make for an eternity, never moving from this moment.

It seems like a long time later that he scoots up towards the headboard, his shoulders braced against it as he lifts his hips and hooks his fingers into his waistband, pushing everything down and off and maybe she shouldn't be staring, but she is.

And then she's suddenly on her back and she can't help but grin up at him, at that eyebrow that's raised like he's teasing her, and then she can't help but suck in a quick breath, a cut off gasp when his fingers skate down her stomach, down the front of her jeans.

He kneels above her, his knees framing her hips and she feels his fingers pull at the button of her pants, feels him ease the zipper down. Getting them halfway down her hips seems sufficient for now and she's not exactly complaining, not with the way his hand is inside her panties and her entire body twitches at the first press of his fingers against her.

She reaches back behind her head to grab at his pillow and she wants to close her eyes, wants to turn her face into her arm and press into her skin like she could crawl out of her own body with what his fingers are doing, but she can't stop watching the way he's watching her, not if he's staring at her like that.

She tries to spread her legs wider but her thighs are caught by her pants and his knees and she scrabbles her fingers into the pillow, catches his forearm with her other hand and feels caught like that, immobile between his bed and his body and his hand, increasingly needy and desperate sounds rising out of her.


"Yes?" he asks and damn him, he sounds exactly like himself even when she feels sweaty and shivery and already can feel a hot, racing heat start to shake in her legs.

She licks her lips, finds her mouth is dry, and tries to swallow.

"I want to-" she says, shoving at the rest of her clothes and he stops long enough to help her, until her pants and panties are yanked down her legs and kicked somewhere towards the foot of his bed and he's on top of her, against her again.

She can feel how much he likes it, when they're skin to skin like this. It's the best part of this, maybe, the warm prickle and tingle everywhere on her skin, a hushed and faint echo of him in her mind like a sound she can barely hear or the faintest sliver of light under a mostly closed door.

"Acceptable?" he asks against her ear and she laughs, clapping a hand to her mouth to stifle it and nodding, wrapping her leg around his waist and shifting to bring him against her.

"Yeah, just – Oh, God, Spock-"

He pushes into her slow and firm and she tips her chin up towards the ceiling, squeezes her eyes shut and lets out a long breath. He's trembling so hard that she can feel it and she cups his sides, her fingers splaying over the soft skin that covers his ribs. He's so slim that the bones feel close to the surface and there, under her hand, she can feel the rapid patter of his heart.

He's moving then, with her, against her, and pleasure concentrates low in her belly, hot and coiled tight like a hook right behind her navel, a heated tremble that she gasps against, her open mouth pressed against his shoulder.

He mumbles something in Vulcan, something that she can't quite catch over the harsh sounds of breathing and the pounding, pulsing blood rushing through her. She would ask, but her breath catches in her throat, is held there, and she her fingers scramble against his back, and she can only squeeze her eyes shut and cling to him.

It's over too soon, pleasure coursing through her and drawing a low moan from her throat as his movements jerk to a stop, or maybe it went on forever and she didn't even notice because when he slides her leg from his waist, her muscles are aching and her fingers feel cramped from where they dug into his back.

She catches his face in her hands, pulls him down and presses a kiss to that spot between his eyebrows, swallowing and pushing her face into his.

"You did not."

"Hmm?" she asks, running her nose along his cheekbone. "I didn't what?"

"You did not think of folding your socks."

She can't help but let a small laugh escape her in a puff of air, falling back into the bed and grinning up at him.

"I can't think about anything, all my brain cells are fried."

"That is unfortunate considering the esteem with which I hold those very synapses." He's braced on his hip and arm next to her, his fingers tickling up and down her stomach, light between her breasts and over her collarbone.

"Your own fault," she points out. "You brought this on yourself."

"I find that it is truly remarkable that you are able to speak under such circumstances."

She kicks him, lightly and when she does, her foot connects with what she only belatedly realizes are her pants. He sits up and she takes in those long lines of his back, the green flush and one or two marks that she thinks maybe she must have made with her nails, though she can't remember doing so. He reaches for her clothes and manages to both fold them and drop them on the floor in one economical movement, then he's pulling the covers back, holding them up for her and laying down beside her, cocooned together and resting skin to skin in the middle of his bed.

Later, standing in his kitchen wearing one of his shirts with the sleeves rolled up and sharing a bowl of plomeek soup with him, she thinks of this time last year, and the year before, and reaches out and skates her fingers down his bare back, hooks her index finger into the waistband of his loose pajama pants and gives it a tug.

"I think there's something about all this that I could say, like you being a very, very good Christmas present."

"That is fortunate, as I did not get you a gift."

"Oh, well we're totally in that awkward stage of not having been together long enough for that to be a thing."

"A thing?"

She stands on her toes and kisses him, smiling against his mouth.

"Next year I'll get you something awesome."

"Truly inspiring of awe? I will anticipate this greatly."

"And for now we'll work with what we have."

"How so?"

"Come back to bed," she instructs, tugging at his waistband again. "Let's see what we can do."

There's something disconcerting about waking up for the first time, naked, in someone else's bed and when Nyota first opens her eyes she's half expecting to find somewhere she doesn't want to be, her clothes scattered telltale across the floor and a resounding feeling of displacement.

But that someone else's bed is, in the case, Spock's, so her clothes are neatly folded on his dresser, and looking around makes her ridiculously happy, and she pretty much never, ever wants to leave.

By the time she's managed to find her hair tie and messily gather her hair into a hasty bun, he's standing in the doorway with a cup of coffee.

"Yes, please," she says, tucking the sheet under her arms and sitting up to brace her chest against her bent knees to hold it there, even as she reaches for the mug – and him, but also really the mug – with two hands. "Thank you."

He sits next to her hip and just watches her blearily drag her thumb under each eye in turn.

"Good morning," he finally says, his hand finding her foot through the blankets.

"Did I sleep until noon? Because I feel like maybe I did."

"It is 0834," he answers, then leans forward and kisses her cheek so sweetly that she just grins stupidly at her coffee. "Did you sleep well?"

"I did, thank you. Have you been up for ages?"

"Not ages, precisely, but yes." He circles the top of her foot with his fingers as she takes a sip of her coffee. "I spoke to Thaalan."

"At the crack of dawn?" she asks, yawning into her shoulder.

"Again, not precisely. He called to inquire if he, Thex and Schori might come over this afternoon to celebrate Christmas with you."

She scrunches up her nose and looks at him out the corner of her eye. "Really?"


"It's your apartment."

"It is your holiday," he replies.

"It's only Christmas Eve."

"Your observation skills prove to be as exemplary this early in the morning as at other junctures throughout the day."

She bumps her knee against his side. "If this whole Starfleet thing doesn't work out for you, you could be a comic."

"I will take such career advise under serious consideration."

"As is its due," she says lightly, sipping at her coffee again. She shrugs, the sheet slipping down slightly as she does so. "Um, if you want to have them over, like I said, it's your place."

"Do you?"

She cups her mug between her palms and stares down at the steaming, black liquid.


"Is that a question?"


"I will tell them that you are not amenable to the idea."

"No, it's… It'd be fine, I guess." His hand comes up to spread over her shoulder blade, warm and steady against her bare skin. "Fun, probably."

"There is only one was in which to ascertain such a conjecture."

"We would have to make Christmas cookies. It's a serious undertaking. And we'll have to invite Gaila."

"I understand."

"And I very much doubt that you have any candy canes."

"You are correct."

"So…" she says, taking a long sip before looking up at him again. "It's up to you, but those would be the parameters."

"I will replicate candy canes if you are willing to teach me how to appropriately decorate a cookie in accordance with Terran custom," he says, very seriously.

"And I need a toothbrush?" she says, letting it be a question. "Um, and maybe a shower."

"The sonics in my shower are less than ideal and the maintenance department has yet to schedule it," he says and she shrugs, because it's fine and she probably has time to run back to her dorm, anyway. "All that remains are the water settings."

She pauses, mid sip, and lowers her mug from her mouth. "You have a water setting in your shower?"

"As I said-"

"Hold this," she instructs, placing her cup in the hand he automatically holds out, and tossing the sheets off of herself.

She feels his eyes on her as she crosses his bedroom and she's barely even opened the door to his shower stall before he's right behind her, one hand playing over her hip, his fingers light and warm, as she leans forward to turn on the water nearly as hot as it will go.

"Too bad Vulcans don't like to get wet," she says, testing the temperature before she steps under the spray. She tugs her hair tie out and runs her fingers through her hair as the water begins to wet it, closing her eyes at the feeling.

"That is unfortunate," she hears and grins because it sounds like he hasn't taken even a single step away. He's left the shower door open, too, and she can feel the play of steam from the water and the slightly cooler air of the apartment course over her skin.

"You are, though, half human."


"So you might as well consider trying it out."

She opens her eyes to find him looking back and forth between her body and the shower spray rapidly, like he just can't come up with a correct estimation of costs to benefits.

He finally pulls his sleeve halfway up his forearm and sticks his palm under the water.

"It is not too cold."

"C'mon, I won't even give you a shampoo mohawk like I want to."

"What is that?"

"Definitely not something that I am considering, even a little bit," she promises, then steps back so that her shoulders brush against the cool tile of the shower wall. "C'mere."

It takes him another moment, but he finally skims his shirt off and slips his pants down his legs, stepping out of them.

When he steps towards her, he keeps shrinking away from the water, like he can somehow accomplish this without actually letting it touch his skin.

She reaches out with both hands to cup his shoulders and turn him so that her body's blocking most of the spray.

"Acceptable," he finally says. She moves closer, then, twining her arms around his neck and pulling him down to kiss. It takes a moment, but his hands finally rise to grip her waist, and another moment still before he deepens their kiss and pulls her into his hard, warm body. "Ah," he says, pulling back and changing the angle of their kiss. "That is quite satisfactory."

It's strange to see everyone at Spock's apartment instead of at Thex and Schori's, and even maybe more so since it's the middle of the afternoon instead of the evening.

But they don't seem at all perturbed and she guesses they've all probably been there before, with their obvious comfort with the space.

"Hi," she gets out as Thaalan pulls her into a firm hug.

"Merry Christmas!" he says, squeezing her. "How much fun! What do we do first?"

"Presents!" Gaila says, dropping a bag on the floor, then grabbing at Nyota as soon as Thaalan has let her go.

"Hi to you, too," Nyota says, then groans when Gaila starts whispering questions in her ear. "No, nope, none of your business."

"C'mon, for me?"

"Absolutely not, I'm not answering a single thing."

"I'm going to get her liquored up," Gaila says to Spock, who just blinks, looking vaguely concerned, then blinks again when Gaila wraps her arms around him and hugs him, too. "Merry Christmas!"

"I do not celebrate Christmas."

"Too bad!" Gaila steps back from him and claps her hands together. "This is my holiday, I'm telling you, green skin, red hair, I was born for this."

Thex looks between her and Spock. "However you are not the one who looks like an-"

"-If you want to see Spock get mad you'll finish that sentence," Thaalan says with a loud laugh. "Now where do you want these? What do we even do with them? What happens first?"

"What?" Nyota asks, then follows Thaalan's nod towards the wrapped presents they all brought. "Oh, I…"

"We have brought you gifts," Thex says, opening another bag and pulling out bottles of Andorian Ale, red wine, and some sort of viscous, fluorescent yellow liquid that Gaila immediately claims.

"Let's do them now, can we do them now?" Gaila asks. "I got you something good, Ny. I mean, it's for you, too, Spock, and I really can't wait, I just can't."

"I didn't get anyone anything," Nyota admits, embarrassed by all of their thoughtfulness.

"That is irrelevant. This is your holiday." Thaalan's hand falls heavily on her shoulder, but the pressure is somehow comforting. "Some celebrations are for you to share with us, and some are for us to share with you, Nyota Uhura."

"Oh." She feels the heat of Spock's body behind her, and his fingers light on the small of her back. "Thank you."

"We have never given presents for a holiday before," Schori says. "It is uniquely Terran."

"It is a curious tradition," Thex says. "But we are excited about it."

"But it's supposed to be an exchange," Nyota says, slightly helpless in the face of the fact that they all went to so much trouble

Schori and Thex murmur quietly to each other in Bajoran, too soft and rapidly for Nyota to understand.

"You will spend an evening watching our child when it is born," Thex finally informs Nyota, who laughs and nods.

"Ok, deal."

"I require assistance translating our yearly newsletter in various languages, so that former members are able to continue to stay abreast of the happenings of our group," Thaalan says.

"And I want to borrow that red dress of yours. Have, not borrow, really. You basically never wear it and I frankly don't even think you know that it's in my closet, not yours," Gaila adds.

"Ok, ok," Nyota grins. "Perfect, yes."

Schori and Thex produce a beautifully wrapped box. It's small enough to fit in her open palm and she has to resist the urge to shake it like she used to as a child.

"It's too pretty to open," she says, but gently tugs the bow off and peels away the wrapping paper regardless. "Oh. Wow. That's…"

She pulls a small, golden orb from the box, similar to the one that Thex brought to the Cha'Tara celebration, the first night Nyota met everyone.

"Lights," Spock says and Nyota flicks on the power, the sphere lighting up from within and casting specks of color around the room.

"It is the Terran night sky at the winter solstice," Schori explains. "So that you can bring it on your travels after your graduation."

"I-" she starts, then can't finish. She slips the sphere into Spock's palm and steps forward to hug Thex and Schori in turn. "Thank you. Thank you both so much."

Thaalan gives her a beautifully carved knife with a shining, finely honed blade and a intricate hilt that she turns this way and that, trying to read what's etched into it.

"Those are… runes?"

"They are. It is not a widely known dialect of Andorian, however…" He produces a data chip and hands it to her. "If you have difficulty deciphering them after reading through this, please tell me, but I doubt you will need the help."

"You… I-" She hugs him too. "Thank you, Thaalan."

"You are very welcome, Nyota."

Gaila produces a bag that Nyota staunchly refuses to open.

"You don't even know what's in there!"

"I know what store it's from. And thank you. I love you. This is very sweet."

Later, she lets Spock peek into it as she stashes it in his bedroom.

"Ah," he says. "I see why you did not want to open that in the company of others."

His cheeks are flushed green and he hasn't really stopped looking at the closed bag.

"Gaila has good taste," Nyota says, stepping closer to him and slipping her hands under his sweater to spread her palms on his flat, hard stomach. His skin is so warm and she can't help but press into him, rising on her toes to place a lingering kiss to his chin.

"She appears to be proficient at selecting…" He can't seem to finish that sentence and she smiles as she leaves a light trail of kisses down his neck.


"Selecting, ah-"

"Want me to try it on and see if it fits?" she asks, breathing the words against his ear and his hands find and tighten over her hips. He pulls her into his body and tips his head to the side as she drags her lips over his earlobe.

"That would be perhaps detrimental to the – the effort of entertaining guests," he murmurs. His hands squeeze her again, one drifting down to explore the curve of her ass before he takes a deep breath and pushes her a step away to hold her at arms length.

He has to adjust the front of his pants before they rejoin the others and she makes a mental note to thank Gaila properly. But after she – and Spock - have sufficiently enjoyed her gift.

"You Starfleet people," Thaalan sighs, his antennae pointing at Nyota, Gaila and Spock in turn.

"We can do Andor next," Gaila offers, tossing a gumdrop into her mouth.

"You can make a planet out of ginger bread?" Schori asks.

"We made a ship out of it, didn't we?" Gaila says, pointing at where Spock is carefully attaching the Enterprise's starboard nacelle with what is probably a perfectly calculated amount of frosting. He's somehow kept himself completely clean during the construction process, something which Gaila certainly can't boast, as she pops another sugar encrusted finger in her mouth to lick clean.

"Spock made the ship," Thex corrects, putting an entire Santa cookie in his mouth.

"Yeah, but Nyota and I were instrumental."

"Were you?" Thaalan asks.

"Probably. Somehow. We'll figure out the exact contribution later," Gaila says, then drains the rest of her eggnog. "This is delicious, by the way. And what does a nog even look like?"

"What?" Nyota asks, her reactions maybe slightly delayed by the amount of sugar she's had.

"The nog, when it hatches from the egg. Is it painful?"

"No… not it's not… That doesn't even happen."

"Cause I thought that's maybe why my stomach hurts, because it's going to happen any second."

"You have nothing to worry about," Nyota assures her.

"Also, on related importance of figuring out all your weird things you all do this time of year-"

"-Cultural relativity, Gaila-"

"-Why is the Grinch so vilified? The dude's green, he's awesome."

"Ask a Who," Nyota says, taking another sip of her wine.

"A what?"

"A Who."

"Are you drunk?"


"Are you sure?"

"What are you going to do with it?" Schori asks, interrupting them and nodding to the ginger-ship.

Spock just looks at her, and Nyota shrugs. "Look at it?"

"It is not yet finished," Spock says, reaching for the bag of icing and piping a perfect, NCC-1701 on the hull.

"And stars," Gaila adds. "It needs stars, maybe on the base. No," she says when Spock adds a couple, and she reaches out to take the icing from him. "Give me that. They need to be bolder, so that we can boldy go, other wise we'll lamely go towards lame stars and that'll be lame."

"What is the purpose?" Thex asks, sitting forward on the couch and resting his elbows on his knees as he studies their creation.

"Just to make it and eat candy," Nyota says, grabbing for an orange gumdrop, since they'd used all the blue ones for the warp drive.

"What is its use now that it is complete?"

"Umm… doesn't have one? When we were kids we would eat all the candy off of it, eventually, but it'd be pretty stale and hard at that point and in retrospect, not really worth it."

"May we borrow it in order to show everyone tonight?" Schori asks. "As a representation of Terran traditions?"

"Oh it's not… I can probably come up with something much, much better. This is-"

"Perfect," Thaalan says. "And we will bring the eggnog as well. It is the celebration of Morath once again and Grouth and Trav will be delighted to share the evening with other rituals."

"Is it time to go?" Gaila asks, looking up from where she already has most of the Alpha Quadrant sketched out.

"We must, in order to be home before the others arrive," Thex says.

"I'll come too," Thaalan offers, standing and stretching, before turning to Spock and Nyota. "You two going to come over now as well, or in a little bit?"

"They are not coming tonight," Schori says and comes over to kiss Nyota on the cheek, folding her into a hug over her huge stomach. "We will see you next week."

As soon as Schori says it, Nyota realizes that she never really had any intention of leaving Spock's apartment that night, and with the way he's not exactly arguing about it, he apparently didn't, either.

"Next week," Nyota echoes.

When they're gone, the Enterprise carried carefully by Thex and a last hard hug by Gaila, Nyota leans against Spock's chest and lets out a long breath, wrapping her arms around him tight.

"Are you well?" he asks, his hands stroking down her back.

"Happy. Very, very happy."

"Excellent," he murmurs, his lips soft on her forehead. "Merry Christmas, Nyota."

She smiles and nestles closer. "Merry Christmas, Spock."

For the Rest of Us

A Star Trek Story
by Psicygni

Part 9 of 10

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