Nyota snags Jim’s sleeve and tugs until he turns. “We’re going to head out.”
“Yeah.” His arm falls heavy around her shoulders in a rough squeeze. She eyes the liquid in his glass, the slosh of it rising nearly to the rim. “We’ll find you two later.”
The grin he shoots at Spock isn’t abnormal, but the look Spock gives him in return is, a sharpness to it that he hasn’t had around Jim in so long now. Ages, really. But it’s gone before Nyota can really catch it and in the end she forgets to ask about it, her drink still bubbling through her and Spock’s hand warm in hers as they wind their way through the crowd of the party.
“Sorry,” she says and slips into the chair beside Scotty as quickly as she can, as if sitting down fast will make up for the fact that everyone else was seated at dinner long before she and Spock managed to arrive.
“No worries,” Scotty says and lifts his glass towards her. “We know how to locate you if you two hadn’t shown up.”
It’s enough to make her cheeks heat. Of course the Yorktown’s computers would pinpoint them in their quarters. She just doesn’t need Scotty announcing it to the table.
Spock levels a look at Scotty that tells her he’s thinking the same thing as her, that nobody really needs to draw their attention to their tardiness, but instead of being cowed by the sternness written across Spock’s face, Scotty just grins at him and tips his glass towards Spock as well.
“Thank you for submitting this,” Commodore Paris says. “A very thorough synopsis of the mission, Mr. Spock. Down to the last detail.”
Spock’s nod is as crisp as ever. “Of course.”
“And you must be Lieutenant Uhura.” Nyota shakes the Commodore’s outstretched hand. “Glad to have found you at last.”
“I’ve been here,” Nyota says to Spock when the Commodore has left. “I think I might have even met her at Jim’s party. Didn’t I?”
“Human memory is often faulty.”
“Be nice,” she says. “And I do remember her now, she was-“
“-It is rather curious,” Spock says, his hand on her shoulder steering her away from where she’s watching the Commodore’s retreating back.
“Up for a run?” she asks Chekov, pushing away her work when she’s sure she’s not really reading it anymore. “There’s a route I haven’t tried, out past the central square.”
“If you can’t remember your way back, we’ll find you,” Sulu says.
She frowns at him. “Why wouldn’t I be able to find my way back?”
“You two get to chatting, the run goes a bit long.” Sulu shrugs. He’s smiling right at Spock, who isn’t looking at him. “We’ll get you, don’t worry.”
Now she’s watching Spock too, his focus slightly too intense for the padd in front of him. “I’m not worried.”
Chekov is laughing as they head out, though even two miles in, he won’t say why.
“I have located you. Commander Spock said you would be here.” Jaylah gives a sharp, short nod. “He would know.”
“Well, we spend a lot of time together,” Nyota says. Though now that she thinks of it, she’s not sure that she told Spock she was going to stop by Yorktown’s communications bay this afternoon. “He sent you here to find me?”
“The Academy requires I pass a Standard proficiency exam.” Jaylah sits. “Montgomery Scotty said that you would assist me.”
“Oh.” Nyota blinks. “Of course. But did Commander Spock-“
“I am already proficient.”
“It’s only a formality. But yes, I’d love to help you.”
“Tomorrow, then. I will locate you.”
“You can just call my comm,” Nyota says but Jaylah has already walked away, leaving Nyota staring after her.
“That.” McCoy taps at his own throat. “Has to go. No Vulcan wizardry around my biobeds, I just got these configured how I want them.”
“How’d you know it was Vulcan?” she asks as she takes the necklace off, leaving it in a pool of silver and turquoise on a tray near the door.
“Dehydrated. And your blood pressure’s slightly elevated. Of course, mine would be too, all that time around Spock.” A tendon appears in McCoy’s neck, accompanying his grimace. “I’ll see you back here in two weeks for another physical. Can’t have you and the rest of the crew out of commission when we’re finally ready to leave this plastic ball. And don’t think about skipping it just because you’re feeling ok.” McCoy waves his tricorder towards her. “Otherwise I’ll have that Commander of yours track you down again.”
“Again?” she asks, not yet pushing herself down from the exam bed. “When did he track me down the first time?”
But McCoy doesn’t answer, his head shaking and that tendon still tight, so she grabs her necklace and gets out of there before he can launch into the diatribe she’s sure is coming.
“There she is.” The smile Jim gives her nearly takes her aback. It’s one she hasn’t seen in too long now and it occurs to her how much she’s missed it.
Beside him, Spock isn’t exactly smiling, but he’s not exactly not smiling either.
“You happy to be heading out again soon?” she asks.
“Just happy to have found you,” Jim says, though when he wags his eyebrows at Spock, Spock looks away.
Nyota crosses her arms. “What’s going on?”
“I’m happy to see you,” Jim says, though it sounds far more like a question. He turns towards Spock again. “We are happy. Right?”
“What do you mean you found me?”
“You know.” He waves to the corridor and then to her. “You’re here.”
“I know I’m here.”
Jim grins again. “And Spock knows that too.”
“What is this?” she asks, though when she tries to catch his eye, Spock won’t quite look at her.
Jim’s brows knit and his lower lip sticks out. If he didn’t look so innocent, she’d take his confusion for something entirely more playful. “You really don’t know?”
“Your-“ Jim points at her throat and she touches it, but all that’s there is the collar of her uniform and the familiar weight of her necklace beneath it. “How do you think we found you? And Sulu and the crew?”
“A scan?” She resists patting at her collarbone as if there might be something else there. “Triangulating our transmission?”
“Uhura,” Jim says. “Spock put a homing beacon on you.”
She blinks. Jim raises both eyebrows. Spock studies a spot just past her left shoulder. “You found us with-“ She taps at her neck. “This?”
“It’s radioactive too,” Jim says.
“Insignificantly so,” Spock says.
“Still.” Jim holds up both hands, palms out. “It’s kind of cool.”
“My necklace is a homing beacon?”
“More like a tracking device.” Jim claps Spock on the shoulder. “I’ll let you handle the rest of this.”
“I don’t know if that’s sweet or slightly creepy.” Spock isn’t blinking, even with Jim gone. “The entire crew knows?”
Spock shifts his weight. “Admittedly, it was rather convenient.”
“Convenient,” she repeats. She traces over the shape of the pendant and then she sighs. “I’ll go with sweet. But I might have to come up with something of my own, you know.”
“Is that so?” he asks and can’t quite mask the measure of relief that colors his words.
When she curves her hand into his, he squeezes back. “Don’t worry. It’ll be something nice.” She runs her thumb over those long fingers of his. “I have some ideas already.”