Spock regained consciousness and was met with an explosion of pain in various parts of his body. One leg was certainly broken; there was some damage to his rib cage, and his skull throbbed with stabbing pain. He applied himself to controlling it. One of his eyes felt swollen, so he kept them both shut and listened to what was happening around him.
"Damn! Commander! Are you all right?"
"Are you nuts? Look at him. No, don't move him!"
Male voices, cadets most likely. He registered the smell of a vehicle engine and scorched tires.
"I didn't know his blood was green..."
"Sit down and shut up, Dave. Throwing up isn't going to help." That voice was vaguely familiar. Sanders, that was it. Fourth-year, specializing in transporter technology. He seemed to have his wits about him.
"Call Medical," Sanders was barking, then his voice got closer and Spock heard him say, "Commander Spock? Can you hear me?"
Drawing breath was difficult; Spock managed to emit a small grunt and Sanders told him, "We're getting an ambulance for you, sir. Don't try to move."
"What the hell!" A female voice, easily recognized. Cadet Uhura, from his Advanced Vulcan course. "What happened here?" He heard her drop her belongings – she always had an armload – and kneel beside him, opposite Sanders.
"Simpson took a corner too fast and wiped out, right on top of Mr. Spock. Idiot. His helmet saved his worthless head and it looks like he was thrown clear." Sanders sounded anxious. "The Commander responded a minute ago but I don't know how conscious he is."
Spock felt light hands on his torso, running over his uniform as if taking inventory. They touched his side and he grunted again, not complaining of the pain but indicating its location. She said, "It hurts there?"
He managed to hiss, "Yes," and her fingers moved to the other side.
"Good. Can you open your eyes, sir?"
He tried, but the sunlight heightened the pain and he closed them again. Cool fingers came up to pull his eyelid open, her body shielding the light as she looked briefly at his eye and allowed it to close again.
"What's the deal?" asked Sanders.
"His pupils are okay. He might have rib damage on this side. The other side seems uninjured, that's where his heart is, where our liver would be." Uhura spoke rapidly but in a calm tone.
"You know more about Vulcan anatomy than I do. I didn't think it was that different from ours. Although I knew about the green blood."
"That's another story. I hope the infirmary has his blood type ready to synthesize."
Spock shared her hope; as Vulcan blood types went, his was rare. Fortunately his father was in residence and could be called upon for donation. He was unable to communicate that information to the cadets, whose assistance had been so invaluable.
He felt his body trying to shut down and enter a healing trance, and spoke to keep himself conscious. "Cadets. Thank you."
"We haven't done anything, sir. Try not to talk." That was Sanders. Where was Uhura?
"Here comes the ambulance."
"Uhura," he croaked.
"Right here, sir."
"Your briefcase?" A pause. "I see them, right over there." Where they landed when he was struck, he thought. She went on, "You want me to collect them?"
He heard medics approaching, felt a flurry of movement around him, hands touching him, a scanner humming. He let his mind sink into healing darkness, unable to remain conscious a moment longer. His father...they would get Sarek. He would explain.
He was awakened far more abruptly than he had succumbed, to the sensation of a hard hand striking his face repeatedly and a stentorian voice demanding that he wake up. His eyes flew open and his hands went up to block the assault as he beheld, as expected, Sarek of Vulcan.
“Father,” said Spock. His voice felt…rusty. “Thank you.”
“You are most welcome,” said Sarek sedately. There was no indication that he had been slapping his son vigorously only moments before, except for the stunned expressions on the faces of the medics nearby. Sarek turned to them and said, “As I mentioned, emerging from the healing trance sometimes requires extreme physical stimulation. I regret any disturbance I may have caused by my actions, but as you see, Spock is conscious and lucid.”
Thus spoke a man who was accustomed to explaining Vulcan behavior to humans - and vice versa. Spock wondered if he’d ever get used to it. He moved his limbs experimentally; everything except his leg seemed to be in working order, or at least free of pain.
“How long have I been here?” he inquired and the woman closest to the bed told him, “Eight days, Commander.” The insignia on her sleeve identified her rank as Lt. Commander and he deduced that she was in charge at the moment.
“If you have no further need of me, Spock, I will return to my duties,” said Sarek and his son inclined his head, carefully, in thanks. The elder Vulcan left the room and Spock turned back to his doctor.
“Thank you, Doctor - ?”
“Paris. Virginia Paris. You’re very welcome, Mr. Spock, although frankly, you’re the easiest patient I’ve had for a long time. Nothing seems to disturb the Vulcan healing process – until it’s ready to conclude, apparently.”
“I presume you refer to your ability to effect repairs without the interference of a patient’s conscious reactions,” replied Spock wryly and she smiled.
“I do. To sum up, Commander, you had two cracked ribs, a concussion, a black eye, and a broken left tibia and fibula. We were able to mend the ribs, and the head injuries seem to have healed sufficiently during your trance.”
“Your vision should be unimpaired, and scans indicate that bruising from the concussion has nearly subsided. You’ll need to remain under observation for a day or two.”
“And my leg?”
“That’s going to take a little longer, mainly because both bones were broken. As a load-bearing appendage, so to speak, it needs time and rest to mend properly. We’ll put a brace on it, but you must stay off it for another week at least.”
Spock recognized her tone as similar to his mother’s “no-nonsense” mode and bowed to the inevitable.
“Is it necessary for me to convalesce here?” he asked meekly.
She studied him for a moment, then said, “Frankly, Commander, I don’t trust you to take care of yourself on your own. Do you have someone you can stay with? Your father?”
“That would not be feasible. He is preparing for an important conference, and once he leaves his staff will not be in residence.”
Dr. Paris frowned. “Is there anyone who could look in on you in your quarters regularly?”
Spock was hard put to think of anyone he’d want, or even allow, to frequent his personal space, even for assistive reasons. The people he considered friends were professionals, officers, upon whom he did not feel he could impose.
“I will consider the idea,” he said.
Later in the day, after he had managed to bathe and eat, he was settled back in bed, more weary than he’d expected, when he heard a familiar voice in the hall.
“I just want to drop these off. I know he’ll want them once he’s up and around.” Cadet Uhura, on the spot once again.
“He’s not going to be up and around just yet,” came the voice of the nurse. “You can leave them with me.”
Uhura hesitated and Spock took advantage of the pause to call out, “Please, come in, Cadet.”
She appeared in the doorway with his briefcase in her hand. “Commander. I have a friend in Trauma who told me you had regained consciousness. Are you feeling better, sir?” She seemed uneasy and Spock hastened to reassure her.
“I am recovering well,” he told her. “My injuries, though visually alarming, were not life threatening. Thank you for your kind assistance at the scene of the accident.”
“You’re welcome,” she said and smiled, coming further into the room, right up next to the bed. He looked up at her and once again remarked to himself the mobility of human emotions and expressions. “Shall I just leave this here?” she inquired, gesturing at the table beside his bed.
“Yes, please. I appreciate your taking charge of my belongings. I must remain here for some time yet, and I can use it to finish the grade reports.”
“How long do you have to be here? If you don’t mind my asking,” she said, glancing around.
“A week, most likely. You seem ill at ease, Miss Uhura. Won’t you sit down?”
She sat and gave a small laugh. “I don’t like hospitals, Commander. They’re full of people who are sick or in pain, and I hope I never have to stay in one.”
“There are also those like myself, who are being healed,” Spock said. “And I believe there is cause for celebration on the third floor maternity ward. It is only a structure, after all, and the world outside encompasses more pain and grief than within these walls.” He stopped, wondering where this philosophical mood had come from and feeling as though he were rambling.
But she was looking thoughtfully at him. “You’re right, of course,” she said. “It isn’t logical for me to feel this way. Maybe it’ll help for me to think of it as you describe.”
“I do not mean to lecture you on the advantages or disadvantages of emotion,” he said. “Forgive me.”
Now she looked shocked. “You’re not lecturing, sir. And I appreciate your insight. Living with humans must give you some interesting experiences.”
“Undeniably. Have classes proceeded normally in my absence?”
“Dr. Tsoi has taken the Advanced and Intermediate Vulcan courses, and your programming seminar is covered by… Commander Sorensen, I think.”
“Very good.” He closed his eyes for a moment, suddenly fatigued.
“I should go,” she said and rose from her seat, but he shook his head.
“I am simply tired. I have left my bed for the first time in eight days, and I fear I have pushed the current limits of my recovery.” He looked at her gratefully. “Thank you again for your assistance, Cadet.”
“Any time, sir. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do.”
As she went briskly out, he hoped he’d think of something.
The next day he felt worse than the day before, most likely an effect of his renewed physical activity, he surmised. He managed to intermittently check his correspondence and send brief messages in reply, usually to say that he would address whatever was at issue once he had completed his convalescence. Around midday he put his padd away and requested privacy for an hour, lowered the lights, and attempted to enter a light meditative trance.
He awoke four hours later, having instead entered a state of light sleep. He shrugged mentally. His body would take what it needed, and if sleep were a priority, he would not deny it.
He had finished a light meal and prepared to take a short walk down the hall and back, when he heard light footsteps in the hall and looked up to see Miss Uhura's face peeking around the doorway.
"Oh, you're up!" she exclaimed. "Is this a bad time, sir?"
"That depends on what it is 'time' for, Cadet." He had swung his legs out of bed and was sitting on the edge, wearing a medical gown that covered him from neck to knees. He had been fitted with a leg brace the previous day and it drew her gaze. For some reason the color in her cheeks deepened.
"Pardon my state of undress, Miss Uhura," he went on. "It does not concern me, but if you find it inappropriate perhaps you will wait in the hall until I cover myself more completely."
"No, you're fine," she said and inexplicably blushed even more deeply. "I mean, you're sufficiently covered. Aren't you chilly, though, Commander?"
"Indeed I am. I cannot adjust the room temperature to my liking, and at any rate that would render it uncomfortable for the medical personnel. I will be grateful to return to my own quarters as soon as possible." He had wrapped himself in a thick hospital robe as he spoke and he turned to his visitor and asked, "Would you like to take a walk, Cadet?"
"I would, sir."
Dr. Paris was at the nurses’ station signing something when she saw Spock and his companion exiting his room. She came over and introduced herself to Uhura, then turned to Spock.
“This is the kind of thing I don’t want you doing on your own, Commander,” she said. “You need at least a cane, if not a crutch.”
“I am not on my own, doctor. I am surrounded by medical personnel and accompanied by an able young woman.”
“I know, but if I release you I know you’ll be hopping around your quarters trying to get by without help. Have you thought of anyone yet?”
A little self-consciously, Spock replied, “I am at a loss. My colleagues are nearly all busy this time of the academic year, and those who are not would not be appropriate.”
“What kind of help do you need, Commander?” asked Uhura.
Spock thought for a moment.
“Am I to assume that the goal is minimal use of this leg?” he asked the doctor. She nodded. “Then I believe the only care required would be someone with whom to confer regularly regarding my classes and other obligations, and to assess the injury. I would consent to remain in my quarters for the duration of my convalescence. And as inactive as can reasonably be expected,” he added hastily, seeing the medic frown, “considering my age and condition.”
“That last disclaimer just about cancels out the rest of the terms,” grumbled Paris. “Why don’t you just get somebody from health services? They can do the checking in, make your meals, tidy up, whatever.”
Spock said instantly, “I must emphasize my objection to the repeated intrusion of strangers into my home, however temporarily. I believe that would cause undue stress, both for me and for the visitors.”
“I could do it,” said Lt. Uhura. “If you don’t mind me, that is.”
Spock and Paris both looked at her speculatively.
“You do have a passing familiarity with my courses and schedule,” said the Vulcan. “I believe I can trust you with the transfer of confidential materials to and from my office.”
“Of course, sir. And I live two buildings over from you, so I wouldn’t have to go far.”
She knew where he lived? For some reason that gave him pause.
Paris was saying, “Can I trust you to call me if he gets out of line?”
Uhura smiled. “Mr. Spock, out of line?”
“It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for,” muttered the doctor, but she was halfway to agreeing to the arrangement. Spock found their conversation, which seemed to be deciding his fate, slightly irritating.
“Thank you for your very kind offer, Cadet,” he said to Uhura. “I will consider it and let you know.”
She smiled, at him this time.
The cadet was waiting for him two days later when he signed out of the infirmary and proceeded to the front entry.
"Reporting for duty, sir," she said brightly. "Do you need a hand?"
"Unnecessary, Miss Uhura. As you can see, I have a cane."
"Yes, you do. May I carry your briefcase? Until you get used to walking with the cane, I mean?"
"That will not take long. But you may carry the briefcase, thank you."
They made their way at a sedate pace across the Academy grounds. Paris had wanted to call transport for him, but Spock insisted that he needed exercise after his confinement. A few people saw them and greeted either Spock or the cadet, but the odd pair did not stop to chat. They reached his building and entered the lift.
"Level four," said Spock. He turned to Uhura and said, "Are you certain I am not keeping you from some more interesting or useful activity?"
"I can't think of anything more useful than this," she said. "Or interesting."
"I fail to see how it could be termed 'interesting'." They exited the lift on his floor and went past three doors until he stopped and keyed in his entrance code.
As they entered his rooms, Cadet Uhura said, "I've always wondered how the instructors live. Some of them have their own homes and families, but so many are single or transitory or both. This looks like a classier version of a dorm room," she added, looking around.
Spock sat heavily in an armchair; he had underestimated how tiring that walk would be. "In that case, I regret to say that my quarters are hardly a representative sample of the typical Academy instructor's lifestyle. The furniture came with the apartment, and as you can see, I prefer an environment with little or no adornment."
"Easy to maintain," she noted. "Where would you like me to put your briefcase?"
Spock made as if to rise, but she fixed him with a stern eye and he sank back into the chair and indicated the table beside him.
"Fascinating. Perhaps that facial expression is linked to the XX chromosome arrangement in humans."
"What expression?" asked Uhura as she set the case down.
"Disapproval. mingled with warning. Dr. Paris wields it as well. My mother has employed it successfully on many occasions."
The cadet laughed. "I hope you didn't give her too many occasions."
"It has not always been directed at me."
"Still." She turned toward the kitchen, then stopped. "I know that Vulcans are particular about who touches their food," she said. "How particular are you?"
She went home after sharing a meal with Spock and exchanging comm codes, so she could check in without having to intrude. Spock managed to meditate, easing the pain in his leg somewhat, and went to sleep satisfied with the arrangement thus far.
The next morning he was awakened by the sound of the comm, rolled over in bed before he was sharply reminded of his injury, and answered the call through clenched teeth. "Spock here."
"Commander," said the voice of Cadet Uhura. "Are you all right? Relatively speaking?"
"I am well, Cadet. I have just recovered from a painful change in position. Are you well?"
"I am, thanks. I have attendance and work turned in for your first morning class. Do you want me to transmit, or bring it over?"
Spock looked at the chron; it was past 1000.
"If you will give me thirty minutes to prepare, you may bring the material here, if it isn't inconvenient."
"Not at all," she said. "I'm due for lunch; I'll bring you something." There was a pause, then she asked, "I didn't wake you, did I?"
"I seem to have overslept considerably," muttered the Vulcan. "I will see you in thirty minutes, Cadet."
He got out of bed, got himself to the lavatory, but was unable to balance well enough to take a shower. He settled for a wipe down with a washcloth, combed his hair, and hobbled out into the living area after pulling on something comfortable and loose. He was ready ten minutes before Cadet Uhura presented herself at his door bearing food.
"Thank you for your assistance, Miss Uhura," he said, feeling more at ease once his stomach was full. "I hope I will not have to impose on you for too long."
"It's a pleasure, being of use," she said. "I can't believe you don't have anyone else who can do this."
"I have friends," he said, almost defensively. "But even my closest friends do not have access to my rooms. I do not entertain here, nor do I bring others here for work purposes. It is - my sanctuary."
"I get that," she said, nodding. "I wish I didn't have a roommate, although I do love Gaila. I'd enjoy having a corner to call my own."
"In my case, some kind of separation is necessary for my sanity," said Spock. "I suppose your need is similar."
She laughed. "Not literally. My emotional health, maybe."
They finished the meal and Uhura asked whether there was anything else she could do. Spock shook his head.
"I must make another attempt to bathe later today," he said, almost to himself, and her eyes widened slightly.
"I'm afraid I draw the line at personal hygiene," she said. He was fairly sure she was teasing him.
"I was not attempting to elicit assistance," he said. "However, if you have any advice on how to wash with a cast on one's leg, I would like to hear it."
"Hmm." She looked around thoughtfully, got up and wandered around the living area, then looked at him and asked, "May I go in your bedroom?"
Spock nodded. She disappeared, only to pop back out and say, "Didn't your furniture include a hideous plastic stool for sitting at the student desk?"
"It did. I do not use it; I prefer this chair to work in, so I stored the stool in the bedroom closet."
"Be right back."
She disappeared again and came back a few minutes later.
"Come take a look at the set-up, and see if it'll work," she said, offering her hand. Spock took it and let her support him as they made their way into the bedroom, then the bathroom. The stool was in the shower stall and several towels lay on the floor.
"I see," he said immediately. "I can sit on the stool with my foot protruding out of the stall, and still reach the controls."
"The towels are there to sop up the water that'll spray out while you have the door open," she said.
"Ingenious. I don't understand why I didn't think of it."
"Even a Vulcan mind can be thwarted by illness or injury," she said gravely. Now he wasn't sure whether she was teasing him. "I'll call you later, if that's okay."
"Yes, thank you, Cadet."
That evening she called to check in, found he had enough sustenance and work to keep him alive, and offered to call him earlier the next day to make sure he didn't "oversleep" again.
"Although I think that if your internal clock is telling you to sleep, you should listen to it," she told him sternly. There was no video on the comm, but he could imagine her expression.
"Thank you, mother," he deadpanned. "And good night."
The next morning, he managed to take a shower with the aid of his cane and the procedure set up the day before; he was up and dressed when Uhura called. She sounded distracted.
"Is there something wrong, Cadet?" asked Spock.
"Nothing, really. I'm worried about an exam I have coming up. I wish I had more time to study and no Gaila to interrupt."
He didn't hesitate. "If you need a quiet space to study, you are welcome to bring your work here," he offered. "You may be assured that I will not disrupt your train of thought unless absolutely necessary."
"I believe you," she laughed.
That evening, after bringing him some Asian take-out food, Uhura settled in on his couch with her padd and notes. Spock was in an armchair with his leg propped on a footstool, grading student work. He glanced up from time to time to be sure his guest was comfortable; she seemed at ease in his quarters.
The comm unit chimed and Spock looked over to see his parents' code on the screen. Their code at home, on Vulcan, not at the embassy here. That meant his mother. He heaved himself up and got over to the seat at his desk, and as he prepared to answer the call he heard Uhura say, "Do you want me to move out of visual range?"
"Of course not," he replied, just as his mother's face appeared on the screen.
"Spock," she said anxiously. "Your father just told me about your accident."
That one sentence spoke volumes, thought her son, and he hastened to say, "I am well, Mother. The only injury that still requires attention is my leg; I am wearing a brace for the next several days."
"Tell me what happened."
"I understand that I was struck when a student exceeded safe speed on his motorcycle," he told her. "I believe the term is 'wiped out'. I recall very little of the incident itself."
"I hope the student is okay."
"He escaped with minor injuries and has been disciplined for reckless driving. Fortunately, the accident took place in a well-populated area in the middle of the day, so help arrived quickly." He turned to look at Uhura, whom his mother could surely see from this angle. "This is Cadet Uhura, who was one of the first on the scene. She collected my belongings and brought them to me during my convalescence."
Uhura got up to come closer to the screen and Spock's mother said, "I'm very glad to meet you, Cadet. Thank you for your help."
"It was the least I could do," said Uhura, blushing. "Ma'am."
"Please call me Amanda," said that lady. Spock was watching the exchange; his expression was inscrutable. Amanda went on, "I know how difficult it is to get Spock to admit he needs help."
Her son opened his mouth to protest, but Uhura spoke first. "Well, I could say that of almost any male I know," she replied with a grin. Amanda grinned back.
"As you see, Mother, I am in good hands," interjected Spock. "Miss Uhura has been bringing me food and updates from my classes. I expect to be more ambulatory within a week."
The cadet faded back to sit on the couch. Spock went on, "I am sorry you were not informed of my situation earlier, but there was nothing you could have done."
"No, but mothers like to know these things," said his mother firmly. "Something your father still hasn't learned."
Spock wisely disregarded that comment. The conversation became more general; after a few minutes Amanda signed off and Spock turned to look at his guest.
"Mothers are much the same the galaxy over, aren't they?" she smiled.
"Indeed," Spock replied.
At ten o'clock, Uhura put away her materials and prepared to depart. "Do you need anything else, before I go?" she asked.
Spock was still at the desk, working at his console. He looked up and said, "I do not believe so, Cadet. Thank you for your help, as always."
"Thank you for the peace and quiet," she replied, adding somewhat diffidently, "And - you can call me Nyota, if you prefer."
"I would prefer not to adopt a casual demeanor which might be difficult to abandon should we become instructor and student again," Spock said without thinking. "I appreciate the offer."
"Okay then," she said. "Good night, sir." And she was gone.
Spock sat for a few minutes, "wool-gathering" as his mother would say, before he could put his finger on why the last bit of conversation had been somehow unsatisfactory. Talking with his mother had reminded him of the intricacies of human communication. It was the cadet's use of his title that had jarred; she hadn't called him "sir" in a few days. It was always "Professor" or "Commander". He wasn't sure what nuance he should observe from this; he merely observed it. Then he thought back to the comments before that and realized what had probably motivated her use of the word.
He put Cadet Uhura's comm code into his console, which had a vid pickup, unlike his bedroom comm, so when she appeared on the screen he could see she had rushed to answer it.
"Is something wrong, sir? Anything I can do?" She sounded concerned rather than obsequious.
"Nothing is wrong, Cadet," he said quickly. "I wish to apologize if I said anything earlier that you found offensive."
She stared at him. Finally she asked, "I can't think of anything."
"You suggested I use your first name, and my response may have sounded somewhat - dismissive. I did not mean to be cavalier about the matter."
Her smile broke out and for some reason he felt a minuscule twinge of relief.
"Not at all," she said. "You were right; preserving some kind of formality makes sense. I'm sure our paths will cross again academically."
Spock certainly hoped so, but did not say so. Instead, he told her, "The subtleties of verbal communication go beyond mere choice of words, particularly with humans. You are very perceptive."
"And I perceive that you and I should both be sleeping," she yawned.
"Yes, mother," he said once more and she smiled.
In four more days the brace was due to come off. Spock duly visited the infirmary, was tested, warned, and given an appointment for a followup and physical therapy. Uhura had accompanied him to his visit despite his firm belief that her time would be better spent elsewhere.
"Besides, what if they tell you the brace can't come off yet and I'm still on duty?" she argued. He had to admit it was a possibility.
When Spock emerged from the doctor's office, sans brace but still with a cane, the cadet jumped up out of her chair.
"Great! They sprung you!" she laughed, and for a moment Spock thought she might embrace him. Instead, she grabbed her bag and said, "Where to, boss?"
"I had not made any plans," he temporized. "And you are relieved of this duty, with my gratitude, Miss Uhura." He had settled on that form of address as less impersonal than "Cadet".
"I am relieved," she said, mock-formally. "May I take you our for a meal, Commander?"
"I don't believe that would be - "
" - appropriate, I know. How about you go back to your quarters and I'll bring us something, and we'll have our final banquet before going back to business."
He knew her by now; if he didn't acquiesce she'd just keep coming up with more suggestions. "Very well, Miss Uhura. If you insist."
He got back to his quarters and took a quick shower, dressed, and felt clean and presentable for the first time in weeks. Just as he pulled on the black t-shirt and picked up his black tunic the comm sounded.
"Come," he called and went out into the living area. It wasn't Cadet Uhura who entered - it was Christopher Pike.
"Captain," said Spock, hastily donning his tunic.
Pike grinned and said, "At ease, Commander. I just heard you were released from the dl, so I thought I'd come by and see if you wanted to go to the Taipei for dinner."
"Actually, sir, I have other plans. May I defer until another time?"
"Sure," said the human. "What kind of plans?"
Just then the comm sounded again and Spock said, "Come," hoping he wasn't due for an inundation of well-wishers. This time it was Uhura, bearing a large bag with the logo of a local Thai take-out restaurant on it. She stopped short when she saw Pike and snapped to attention.
"Cadet. At ease. I take it this is your plan for the evening, Spock?"
"Cadet Uhura has been running errands and bringing me food during my recovery," Spock said. "Now that I am back on my feet, as you would say, she has made her last charitable contribution to my well-being." He turned to look at the cadet, who had relaxed only slightly and who now wore an anxious expression. Puzzled, Spock took the bag from her and looked back at his superior officer.
"I'll leave you to celebrate, then," said Pike, whose expression was mildly amused. "Cadet, Commander."
"Good night, sir," said the two as Pike left and the door closed. Spock went into the kitchenette and started taking containers out of the bag; when he didn't hear Uhura coming to help, he turned to see her looking at him with the same look f anxiety she had worn when Pike was there.
"Is something wrong, Cadet?" he asked.
"No, I guess not," she said slowly. "I hope Captain Pike didn't think this was inappropriate."
"I would not look for any hidden meaning, if I were you," said Spock as he dished out food. "Captain Pike is not one to withhold his opinion when it is important."
She seemed to shake herself, then smiled as they sat down to eat. When they had finished, Spock got up to clear, declining her offer to help, and when he was done in the kitchen he came back out to find her right where he had left her, chin on hand, gazing at him.
"Would you like to adjourn to the couch?" he asked and she stirred and stood.
"No, I'd better get going," she said reluctantly. "It's been a pleasure working with you, Commander."
She picked up her bag. "I'll be in your Beginning Klingon class in the spring," she said. "I just got my schedule."
"I look forward to seeing you then, Miss Uhura." Spock held out his hand. Uhura blinked, then took it and smiled.
"I don't think I've ever seen you shake hands with anyone," she said in explanation.
"It is not my usual manner," he said. "You are an exception."
Her smile widened.
"Live long and prosper, Cadet."
"See you in March, Professor."
The door closed. Spock sat down at his desk and, instead of grading the remaining reports, began to draft his syllabus for Beginning Klingon. It would be an interesting semester.