Without You
Michelle Perry


Spock allowed himself a small smile at the touch of Nyota’s hands on his arms. She leaned forward, her head directly beside his own, and smiled coyly at the audience. His fingers danced lightly over the strings, sotto voce, so that her soft, teasing words to “Dan’Itar” could be heard. After she dared him to resist her, she released him, twirled, and began a fast, invigorating dance, partly for him, and partly for the rest of the recreation room. He watched her with pleasure so strong that he was almost indifferent to the fact that others could no doubt see how she affected him. He played the complicated piece that went along with her dance perfectly, and she danced it in perfect time, with flair that he had never seen in any other performance of Cel’Elah and Dan’Itar.

He released the strings at the last chord with a self indulgent flourish. Before the final chord had died away, the room erupted into thunderous applause. The noise would normally have bothered him, but he was aglow with pleasure at the success of their performance, and the discomfort was not unwelcome. Captain Kirk actually rose to his feet, which prompted the rest of the audience to do the same. Nyota gave a graceful curtsey, then stepped backward, and placed a hand on Spock’s shoulder. He stood and bowed, then the two bowed together.

“Man, that was great!” Kirk cried, slapping Spock on the shoulder. He tensed, and Jim winced. “Sorry, sorry, I got carried away,” he said immediately.

“Do not mention it,” Spock said.

“And you!” He gave Nyota a tight, brief hug. “Jeez, where the hell did you learn to dance like that?!”

Spock was distracted from the small twinge of jealousy by Dr. McCoy, Lieutenant Sulu, and Ensign Chekov’s warm praise. He made what he hoped were graceful comments, while keeping part of his attention on what Nyota said to Jim. Intellectually, he knew that some Humans had a tendency to touch one another more than usual when their emotions were particularly positive, and he worked to quell his own possessive reaction. Still, he was pleased to hear that Nyota’s response was completely devoid of flirtatious undertones.

The performers spent the next few minutes receiving the praise of their fellow crewmembers. The captain invited them to share beverages at his table with the doctor, helmsman and navigator, and they agreed. The company and conversation was pleasant, but Spock was somewhat distracted by the slight sheen of sweat he could still see on Nyota’s brow. He was hyper-aware of her, and the sight of her sipping cool water, laughing with her comrades, and her occasional glances at him all seemed to fill him with feelings of deep desire. He grew concerned that his mental state might be growing obvious. At the first opportunity that did not seem rude, he made a suggestion that Nyota might like to refresh herself, and it would be prudent to put his lute away.

Jim immediately agreed. “Yeah, why don’t you guys go do ‘refresh’?” he said with an obvious wink. “We’ll survive without you, won’t we gentlemen?”

“Even if we won’t,” Dr. McCoy replied. “I’m not sure how much longer I can take seeing this poor Vulcan sit here with his… lute sitting all lonely and cold.” Inexplicably, Sulu and Chekov snickered, and Jim laughed aloud.

Spock was going to explain that inanimate objects were not known to become lonely when Nyota stood up suddenly and rolled her eyes. “You guys are awful!” she said, though she was smiling brightly. “Come on, Spock.”

He frowned slightly, now certain that he must have missed some unique meaning in the exchange that was clear only to Humans. He would have to ask Nyota to translate the situation for him later. In the meantime, he picked up his lute, nodded his goodnight to his shipmates, and followed Nyota out of the room.

Once in their shared quarters, Nyota took the lute from him and carefully put it away. She smiled up at him, and he felt the heat of his desire rising again. “I assume you have a song for this moment?” he asked, already knowing what she would say.

“Of course I do,” she replied. “There’s a song for every situation.”

“I believe I know what you shall choose this time.”

She smiled. “Now, skilled player, ready your hands,” she whispered. “The king’s finest consort shall give you a dance.” He felt the corners of his mouth quirk up, and he gladly allowed her to pull off his black tunic. She placed her hands on his chest and looked into his eyes. “Play for me now, and you will see – nor law, nor king, nor fear of death can force you to resist me.”

Spock pulled her to him, easily removing the shift “Cel’Elah” wore for her tempting dance. He smiled appreciatively at the curve of her body in the dark, tight-fitting body suit. “Appropriate of course. But unlike Dan’Itar,” he said, hearing the husky tone in his own voice, “I have absolutely no desire to try.”


“...was so amazing, Bones!” She paused, not wanting to interrupt, but not sure where else to go. She had expected her favorite spot to be empty at this time of night.

“Oh? Sounds terrifying to me.”

“No, no. Well, it was a little bit, but… it was… it was beautiful!” She felt even more awkard, and started to edge away. “And it was Spock.” She stopped short. “Spock, but… not like… you know not the same. His mind was so…beautiful, Bones. He was showing me specific things, but I could feel more. Much more. It was like… we… we were meant to be.”

What?

“I know, it’s nuts, and believe me, it doesn’t change anything about us. It never could. But it was there. It was like this need, and… it… I can’t describe it. But it was the deepest love I’ve ever felt, Bones. I wish… I wish I could make you feel-”

“Well, I don’t,” the doctor snapped. “You can keep your mind to yourself and just tell me how you feel the way humans do.”

“But you don’t under-”

She couldn’t hear anything else. Her ears were filled with the sound of her own heart beating. Hands clenched and unclenched. Breathing… was she still breathing? Hands were shaking. Legs weak. Get out. She had to get out before she collapsed. Before they heard how loud her heart was beating. Before they heard her tortured breathing. She had to get out.

Turn. Walk. Walk. Don’t fall. Door. RUN.


Jim placed a hand on his shoulder. “Good work, Spock. Send those coordinates to the transporter room.”

Spock nodded, already transmitting the information. He glanced at Nyota, but instead of looking at him with quiet pride, she was glaring. She immediately returned to a neutral expression, but he had seen the look, and it puzzled him. “Coordinates have been received, Captain,” he said, still looking at Nyota.

“Scotty! Get those people up NOW. Uhura, advise Starfleet of our situation, request permission to use necessary measures to rescue the remaining crew members.”

“Yes, Captain,” she said, looking away from Spock. She did not remove her eyes from the control panel for the remainder of their duty shift.

The rest of the landing party was rescued after several tense hours of searching. Fortunately, although there were some minor injuries, and one broken leg, no casualties were reported. Nyota seemed relieved when she made the report to Captain Kirk. Spock moved to her station, and reached out to touch her hand. She withdrew quickly, and he suppressed a gasp. His eyes widened against his will, however, and he looked at her with an unspoken question. Her eyes were sad, but she did not explain. She turned and requested to be excused from the bridge.

“Of course,” Kirk replied. “If anyone else needs a moment, please go ahead,” he said, looking directly at Spock.

Spock looked toward Nyota, but she caught his eye and narrowed her eyes by the slightest margin. He returned to his station without further comment. He worked the rest of his shift focusing hard on the tasks at hand. Jim wandered near him several times, and Spock knew he wanted to ask what could be wrong. He was extremely perceptive, but even had he not been so, it would have been difficult to miss the fact that something was not right. Spock refrained from inviting any questions. He was not certain what was wrong himself, and he did not care to speculate. Speculation was useless in such situations, and he would not indulge.

When Officer Klennan relieved him from duty, he went immediately to his quarters. Nyota was not there. He frowned slightly and requested computer assistance in locating her. Surprisingly, she was in her old quarters. He left the room, and went immediately to her former residence. The door was locked. He pressed the “request entry” key.

“Not now,” came her sharp voice.

“Nyota, it is Spock. I would very much like to speak with you.”

“No! I said not now!”

Spock frowned again, but he did not press the issue. Humans experienced stress in a myriad of ways. In a few hours, he hoped she would feel better, and return to his quarters to allow him to comfort her. He returned to his rooms, but after a few moments of attempting to find distraction, he left and repaired to the recreation room. A game of chess with Captain Kirk would serve to keep his mind from Nyota’s perplexing, and somewhat alarming behavior.

Jim refrained from asking him any personal questions, and proceeded to set up the chess board while Dr. McCoy watched. Three hours later, after Spock’s fourth loss, Jim shook his head. “Spock, your game’s totally off. That was textbook!”

“I don’t know what the hell textbook taught you that, Jim,” McCoy said. “Looked complex to me.”

“It was a play series from T’Shara’s Advanced Terran Chess Compendium, Doctor,” Spock said, frowning at the board. “But I appreciate the attempt to lessen the ‘sting’ of my poor playing this evening.”

“What’s on your mind, Spock,” Jim asked. Spock re-set the pieces and did not answer. “Spock, I-”

“Jim, if he wants to talk about it, he will,” McCoy said.

Spock resisted the urge to thank him aloud, but allowed his gratitude to show in a brief glance. Suddenly, Jim looked up over Spock’s shoulder. “There she is.”

He turned sharply, and saw Nyota looking toward their table. He stood, but she stiffened and turned away. “What the devil?”

Spock began to slowly sink back in his seat. “Spock, aren’t you going to go after her?” Jim asked.

“Apparently…” He cleared his throat, and attempted to quell the breathlessness he felt. “Apparently, she does not wish to speak to me.”

“She wants you to chase her!” Jim exclaimed. “Go on!”

“How can you say this with such certainty?” Spock asked.

“Spock, get up and go after her,” McCoy said firmly.

Spock frowned, suddenly frustrated with the unwanted advice. “Is that your professional opinion, Doctor? Is it… the Human thing to do?”

McCoy narrowed his eyes, but didn’t snap at Spock as he’d expected. “Listen, I’m not saying I know everything about every human,” he said. “But if she’s avoiding you and you guys haven’t actually had a fight, I think you need to go out there and ask what’s bugging her. Isn’t it logical to investigate a problem when it arises?”

Spock nodded once, allowing his acquiescence to serve as his apology for becoming terse. “Thank you Doctor. Captain. If you will excuse me?”

“GO, Spock,” Jim urged. “She’s getting away!”

Spock moved hurriedly out of the recreation room, in the direction Nyota had gone. He did not see her in the hall, and again had to rely on the computer to locate her. He walked as swiftly as he could in her direction. After a moment, he caught sight of her walking quickly down the corridor. “Lieutenant,” he called.

She stopped, but did not turn. He ran to catch up with her. The hall was fairly deserted, and he reached for her arm. She drew away immediately, and turned to face him. He was shocked to see that there were tears in her eyes, and an angry frown clouded her face. “What is it?” she asked.

“I… I would like to speak with you privately,” he said. “Have I done something to displease you?”

She laughed, but without actual joy. “That’s rich, Spock. Have you… I can’t believe you can stand in front of me and ask me that!”

His confusion deepened. “Nyota, I do not understand your apparent anger. Why-”

“How could you do this to me?!” she cried. “I… I thought we… I thought we had something special. If you didn’t want that, why didn’t you tell me?”

Spock’s eyes widened, and he felt something very much like fear take hold of him. “Nyota, to my knowledge, I have never given any indication that I want anything other than you.”

“Not to me!” she yelled. “Of course, not to me! But to him you can… you… can share everything!” Tears flowed down her face, and her hands tightened into fists. “How can you share your thoughts with him, and not me?”

Spock frowned, feeling as if he were floundering. “I have shared my thoughts with you, Nyota. I have told you-”

“No! I’m not talking about telling me, Spock, and don’t pretend you don’t know that!”

“I-”

“You never melded with me!”

“We have discussed this before,” he said, unable to comprehend why something she had accepted before should now be so upsetting to her. “I thought we agreed to wait until-”

“Until we’re ready?” she snapped, mocking his former words to her. “WE have to wait, but you were somehow ready to meld with Jim Kirk?!”

Spock’s jaw dropped, and he stared at her – speechless and completely shocked. Her chest heaved, and glared at him with pure fury. Spock tried to force his voice to remain calm, but he could feel his hands beginning to tremble slightly. “Nyota. I can assure you, I have never performed the mind-meld with Captain Ki-”

“Please don’t lie to me, Spock!” she snapped. “I think you owe me that much!”

He recoiled, physically pained by the accusation. “I would never-”

Stop! I don’t understand it, but how can you expect me not to see! He’s always touching you! He brushes hands with you at meals, and he’s got his hands on your shoulder on the bridge, and it never bothers you, and now I know why!”

“Nyota, he is my friend. I accept his touch because our relationship has developed into something like brotherhood, and-”

No! ” She scowled at him. “Brothers don’t talk about undying love and being made for one another!”

“I have never said such things about Captain Kirk! Nyota-”

“No, don’t, just… ” She was choked by a sob, and she lowered her head momentarily. Spock edged closer, reaching for her again. She drew back and looked up at him. Her eyes held his, and they were filled with a deep, wrenching hurt that caused his own insides to twist painfully. “Just leave me alone. Okay? It’s over.”

She turned and sped away before he could force her to stop. He was almost afraid to go to his quarters, but he could not face Jim and Leonard, either. No doubt, they would want to know how the conversation had gone, but he was unwilling to discuss the situation. The observation deck would be crowded – it was still early evening, and the view attracted many crewmembers at all but the latest hours.

Spock went to his office in the science laboratories and attempted to review progress on some of the department work. Concentration was impossible, and after an hour of staring at the same data pad, he forced himself to walk back to his quarters. He opened the door with some trepidation, and the sight that met his eyes fulfilled his fears. Several items were missing – the decorative items that Nyota had brought to his quarters when they’d decided to share. He could feel the beginnings of panic welling in his stomach.

He explored the rest of his quarters, and was stunned to find that her clothes were gone as well. In fact, everything that she had brought with her had been removed. The only thing that remained was the small lute he had given to her for her birthday, and a record tape labeled “every situation”. He gripped the tape tightly, but took care not to break it. He swallowed, and placed the tape in the player. An old Terran song began playing. At first, the words seemed to be more suited to his own situation. “Let’s talk this over…. Was it something I did? Was it something you said?” As the song continued, though, he understood. “You were everything I thought I knew… We were meant to be, supposed to be, but we lost it.” He felt his chest fall when he heard the final lines of the refrain. “All this time, you were pretending. So much for my happy ending.”

Spock forced himself to listen to the entire song. When it was over, he became aware that he was no longer sitting up in his chair. His head was face down, resting on his folded arms, and there were suspicious pools of water on surface of his desk. He pulled out the record tape and set it exactly where she had placed it. Then, he keyed in a request to the computer, not certain that it would recognize his voice if he tried to speak. He set the song to repeat, lay down on his distinctly cold, empty bed, and listened to the old Terran group. Nyota had introduced him to them some time ago, along with several other musicians from the period.

He closed his eyes and listened in silence to the rich voice describe the withdrawal of his lover. He felt a near-physical pain at the lyric, “there’s no tenderness, like before, in your fingertips”. Nyota certainly was not trying hard not to show her feelings had changed, but she had taught him that, though there was a song for every situation, songs would not necessarily match each situation with exact precision in one hundred percent of their lyrics. He could clearly see her, laughing as he tried to explain why some song she had chosen wasn’t an exact fit. Broad smile, musical laugh, dark eyes crinkled at the corners, head tilted just so. He could smell her scent – almost touch… He turned his face to the side, as if he could turn away from the image. It’s over. He felt his eyes water at the deep truth, and finality of the impassioned singer’s declaration - “something beautiful’s dying”.


Her time on the bridge was the most difficult. She’d requested a shift transfer, but there had been no response yet. Such requests were usually signed off by the captain and processed within three days – five at the most. For three weeks, she’d received neither approval or denial. And in the meantime, she had to see Spock every single day.

The first day had been the absolute worst. He’d looked at her with open pain in his eyes, and every few minutes, she could feel his eyes on her. She wanted to relent. Wanted to fall into his arms and cry and forgive him for everything. But every time she caught sight of Kirk, the hurt and the anger came rushing back.

For weeks, she watched Kirk interact with him. He seemed to be feeling extra solicitous, which grated on her nerves. She couldn’t deny, though, that Spock looked like he needed it. He looked paler, and even thinner than usual. He was slightly colder to the captain, and tended to withdraw when Jim got into his personal space. She didn’t understand why he was making the attempt now, when it didn’t matter. He was closer to Jim than he would ever be to her – especially now – and he hadn’t even been willing to admit it to her. What was the point of this new charade?

Bizarrely enough, Jim also seemed to be trying to get closer to her as well. He took an extra interest in her activities during shift, and he tried to chat with her whenever he saw her off duty. She was even somehow scheduled for a physical exam four months early, and was told in no uncertain terms by Dr. McCoy that she needed to get some food into her system, and get more rest, or he was going to have to put her on medical leave. The doctor had tried to get her to tell him if there was something causing her undue stress, but she evaded the question, promised to take better care of herself, and left.

Nearly a month after the break-up, Dr. McCoy gave her a final warning, providing her with medical records showing that she’d lost nearly fifteen pounds, her body showed signs of sleep deprivation, and if things didn’t improve, she would be relieved of duty whether her work performance suffered or not. At the end of her shift, the first day of her seven day “probation” period, she heard Captain Kirk request a meeting with Spock in his office.

“Captain, I would prefer-”

“It’s not a suggestion, Spock. It’s an order. One hour.”

She couldn’t help but glance back at them. Spock looked upset, and it took him longer than usual to get his features under control. Jim looked determined – almost angry. She hurried onto the turbolift before he could turn toward her. She didn’t doubt he wanted to talk to Spock about whatever medical reports Dr. McCoy had been showing him, and she didn’t want to give him a chance to call a meeting with her, too.

That evening, Spock tried to talk to her again, for the first time since their argument. He’d given her some longing looks since then, but this was the first time he actually approached her and opened his mouth. “May I speak with you?”

“We don’t have anything to talk about, Spock,” she’d said, trying to sound as cold as possible.

Please,” he said fervently. “There is something we must discuss. It is-”

“No! No, Spock, I don’t want to talk! Just drop it, okay? What’s the point?!”

“But I have been made aware of-”

Her anger flared. “I don’t care what you’ve been made aware of, Spock!” This had to end. He couldn’t come around her, pulling at her heart strings again, trying to make her forget what he’d done. “There is nothing you could tell me that could make this okay! I don’t want to be with you anymore, understand?! We are OVER.”

Spock stood straighter, and his hurt expression slowly transformed into one of cold fury. “I believed we were compatible individuals sharing common goals and complementary personality traits. However, I now see that you are illogically determined to despise me for an imagined set of transgressions. Your insistence on blatantly refusing to accept new information is obtuse at best, and spiteful at worst. These qualities are unbecoming in a romantic partner, and are personally distasteful to me. I find that I am no longer inclined to attempt to correct your erroneous perceptions.” Without further ado, he turned on his heel and stalked out of the room.

Uhura stared after him, unable to believe how royally she had been chewed out, but not quite able to be angry with him for it. Imagined transgressions. She wished very much that she’d let him tell her what he’d been “made aware of”. She’d been the one to break up with him, but his assertion that he no longer wanted to try felt much more final than her own insistence that they were over.

She had no more than a few minutes to think about what had happened. Soon after Spock left, Kirk’s voice came over the comm. “Lieutenant Uhura, in my office, five minutes, Kirk out.” She didn’t even have time to make an excuse. Shit.

Four point six minutes later (she couldn’t help but note the exact time it took), she stood at attention in his office, and he regarded her with a stern expression. “I’m not going to tell you how much it hurts me to see you wasting away like this. Dr. McCoy has made me aware of your probation, and you have exactly that much time to get it together.” She stiffened at his tone. “Sit down, Uhura.”

“I’d rather stand, sir,” she said.

“I’m sure, but I told you to sit down, so do it.” She pursed her lips and did as she was told. He leaned forward and looked at her – his expression suddenly far less “Captain”, much more “hurt friend”. “Uhura, I don’t want to be your enemy.” She held in a snort. “I know our relationship didn’t start out in the best way possible. The first impression you got from me was probably the worst I’ve ever been. I thought we’d grown to be friends since then, but something happened, and I’m pretty sure I know what it was.” She waited, keeping her expression as neutral as possible. He sighed. “You’re as bad as he is,” he muttered. “Fortunately, I don’t have to pull anything out of you. I already know what happened. You overheard a conversation that I should have had in the privacy of my own quarters, and you drew a logical conclusion based on the part of the conversation you heard.”

Her eyes widened, and she found herself feeling embarrassed for having been “caught” eavesdropping. “Captain, I…”

“Nyota. It happens. And I’m sorry about all the crap that’s gone on between you and Spock because of it.”

“It’s… it’s not really your fault,” she said. Spock was the one committed to her. But some of the wording he used puzzled her. Based on the part of the conversation she heard? What more did she need to hear?

“I didn’t call you here to discuss who’s at fault. I need you and Spock working at your regular levels of efficiency. If this goes on much longer, I’m going to lose you both, because Bones is going to have you in Medical for two weeks.” He softened. “And besides that, I’m your friend. I want you guys to be happy. So, just like I did for Spock, I’m letting you see the whole conversation.”

Uhura frowned. She didn’t want to hear it. Didn’t want to know more of what was going on between them. “You don’t have to do that,” she said.

“Some of this information is classified,” he said, ignoring her discomfort. “It doesn’t leave this office, unless you discuss it with me, Bones or Spock, understood?” She nodded. “Computer, replay camera four from previously specified date and duration.”

“Working.”

In a moment, his table-viewscreen lit up, and showed the captain and Dr. McCoy sitting beside each other in the observation deck. “…telling me you actually met some time traveler Vulcan who told you he was… are you kidding me?? You actually believed him?”

“Of course! Bones, you saw that ship. You heard what Spock said. They had to be time travelers. But even without all that, I would have known he was telling the truth.”

“Oh yeah? How? He had to be close to two hundred years old! You’re not telling me he looked like him.”

“Not at first. But that’s not it, either. I don’t want you to feel weird about this, but… he… Well, he knew me right away. He wanted to tell me what was going on quickly, so he melded with me."

“What, that Vulcan mumbo-jumbo where your thoughts get scrambled together?”

“Not scrambled! It’s like… he shows you what he saw, and feelings can get exchanged, but… there’s a closeness. It’s more intimate than anything in the world. It… it was so amazing, Bones!” Uhura saw herself at the lower part of the screen. She frowned, and glanced at Jim, but he pointed back to the viewscreen.

“Oh? Sounds terrifying to me.”

“No, no. Well, it was a little bit, but… it was… it was beautiful! And it was Spock. Spock, but… not like… you know not the same. His mind was so… beautiful, Bones. He was showing me specific things, but I could feel more. Much more. It was like… we… we were meant to be.”

What?

“I know, it’s nuts, and believe me, it doesn’t change anything about us. It never could. But it was there. It was like this need, and… it… I can’t describe it. But it was the deepest love I’ve ever felt, Bones. I wish… I wish I could make you feel-”

“Well, I don’t,” the doctor snapped. “You can keep your mind to yourself and just tell me how you feel the way humans do.”

“But you don’t understand, Bones. He was one with his Jim Kirk. They were always together – even when they were miles away from each other. Parted from me and never parted.” He said the words in a low, melodic tone of voice. “Never and always touching and touched. I wish we could have that.”

“I understand well enough, and I still say there’s only room enough in my head for one person, and that’s me. I’m flattered that you’d want to do that with me if you could, and all, but remember, Jim. We’ve got the human equivalent. Don’t you think I know when you’re in danger, or when you’re upset? Or when you’re happy?”

“Yeah, you’re right. And I know the same things about you, deep in my gut.” He sighed wistfully. “I do envy her, though. Not for having Spock, so you can get that look off your face. We’ve become good friends, and he trusts me now, and that’s all I’m looking for. But she can be what Jim was to him in the other timeline. She can be inside him, and feel him in her. Or she will whenever they tie the knot or whatever they-”

“Computer, stop playback.” Jim said it sharply, and Uhura knew it was because she could no longer contain the tears. “I’m sorry,” he said. She shook her head, brushing furiously at her tears. “Spock said he was going to talk to you, but he hasn’t told me anything. I’m sorry I pried, but I was curious, and I found out he’d gone to the science labs. I didn’t figure that was the most romantic place in the ship, so… I thought I should call you in and show you.”

“Thank you for showing me,” she said, frustrated that new tears were already falling. “I apologize for-”

“Nyota. Forget it, okay? Just… go get your man back before McCoy ties you both down to a bio bed.”

She tried to return his smile, but it was half-hearted at best. “I’m pretty sure he won’t want me back after today.” He frowned, but she stood up before he could ask her anything else. “May I go, Jim?” He nodded, and she left the office and went directly to her quarters.


“Are you certain I will not disrupt anything, Jim?”

“Of course it’s going to disrupt things! But I’m GIVING you permission. It’s just stellar cartography – the most boring thing in the entire galaxy. Nobody’s going to mind an interruption like this.”

“And you believe that she clearly understood what happened in the re-play?”

“Yes, Spock, she left the office looking like somebody killed her puppy because she thinks you hate her how.”

Spock frowned. “My parting words to her were not pleasant. But this… loneliness is…”

“I get it, Spock. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. I’m telling you, this is the most romantic, awesome, HUMAN idea you’ve ever had! She will be FLOORED.”

Spock nodded, opting to ignore the “human” comment, and handed Jim the record tape. “You will be ready for my signal?”

“With baited breath, Spock.”

Spock left Jim’s quarters and made his way to the bridge. He had spent another sleepless evening, listening to classical Terran music from the mid-1960’s. Nyota had not visited his quarters, even though Jim insisted that he had shown her the conversation that explained his innocence. Her continued absence worried him, and he deeply regretted his final statement to her, when he had allowed his frustration and anger to rule him.

He was uncharacteristically nervous about beginning his shift. A public rejection would be extremely unpleasant, but he could not be assured that she would agree to speak privately with him. She had not agreed to do so in more than a month.

Jim smiled at him when he arrived on the bridge. A moment after he had taken his station, Dr. McCoy inexplicably appeared on the bridge as well, and stood beside Jim’s chair, even though he had no clear purpose there. He had done this many times before, but his presence increased Spock’s apprehension. He certainly did not want to meet rejection where the doctor could see.

He considered calling off the plan, but when Nyota entered and took her place at Communications, he felt that he had to try. Her eyes showed distress, and signs of recent tears which she had apparently not bothered to correct before appearing at her duty station. She looked at him upon entering, as she had not done for several weeks, and her expression grew sad before she turned away.

He let twenty minutes pass, ignoring the constant glances from Jim and McCoy. When he had done his preliminary scans, and his instrument checks, he stood up and moved toward the Lieutenant’s station. McCoy tapped Jim’s shoulder, and Spock saw him slowly angle his chair so that he could see both the viewscreen, and Nyota’s station. “Lieutenant?”

She looked up, startled. “Yes, Commander?”

“I would like to ask you what may be considered a personal question.”

She glanced at Kirk, who was suddenly keenly interested in his chair’s control panel. “Um… we just started. I don’t know if we should leave the bridge right at the beginning of-”

“Leaving will not be necessary. This is an urgent matter, and I would appreciate an immediate response.” He looked at Jim and nodded. A moment later, the sound of the Righteous Brothers filled the bridge.

Girl, I can’t let you do this. Let you walk away.

Nyota gasped and looked around the bridge in complete shock. He glanced around briefly, and saw every member of the bridge crew staring at them. Sulu and Chekov had drawn closer to one another, and were smiling nearly as warmly as Kirk and McCoy.

Girl, how can I live through this, when you’re all I wake up for each day, baby?

When Nyota looked back at Spock, he was surprised to see that her eyes had filled with tears again, but she was smiling. Human emotions were indeed difficult to “read”. No matter. He would enjoy learning from her, if her answer was positive. He reached for her, and was more than pleased when she allowed him to touch her face. “Nyota Uhura. Will you bond with me?”

You’re my soul, and my heart’s inspiration. Without you, baby, what good am I?

Her smile widened, and with a sudden vigor that staggered him, she leapt into his arms, nearly shoving him off balance. “YES!” Heedless off the gaping crew, and the grinning captain and CMO, she kissed him deeply to the sound of the music. When she finally broke free, she smiled up at him. “You’re my reason,” she said simply.

He felt a warmth building within him, and he pressed her close to him – relief and joy washing over him in waves. “And you mine.”

Fin

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