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Beyond Antares

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-

Spock devoured Uhura's lips. His body was on fire and she was water to his flame. He had waited a very long time for this moment. He had planned and plotted how to maneuver her into his sphere of influence. Uhura had proven a worthy choice, never suspecting his true intent when he invited her into his confidence, but the outcome had been predestined from the moment they met. Spock had known she would be his woman from the very first touch. Uhura belonged to him now, and at last, she knew it too.

He was going to make Miss Uhura understand the depth of his regard for her. "You will attend me in my sleeping chamber," he said releasing her. He turned and walked towards his bedroom certain she would follow. She had accepted his claim and had agreed to obey him, she couldn't back out now. He felt her follow him as a good wife should.

Nyota stood beside Spock's bed and wondered what he would do to her now. Never in her wildest dreams did Uhura think to be the Commander's woman, in his bedroom, about to bed him.

"You will disrobe," he said quietly, pulling her from her thoughts, his eyes never leaving hers.

She had promised to obey him. He could destroy her if she betrayed him now. He had said he would not take no for an answer but she had not said no... yet. She had agreed to become his bonded mate and help him through this crisis, why was she stalling?

Her hesitation seemed to pique his ire. He spoke not a word, betrayed nothing in his movements, he stood straight with his hands customarily behind his back but she knew. She had erred already.

Hastily she began to remove her uniform top. Luckily he had released the clasp in the other room. She let the top drop to the floor revealing her bare breasts. Spocks eyes casually glanced down to inspect them. Again he spoke not a word but she knew he was not displeased by what he saw. His eyes dropped further and he was looking at her skirt. She reached behind herself and released the clasp allowing the skirt to fall to her ankles. She started to bend to retrieve the garments when he commanded, "Do not move."

She stood at attention while Spock's eyes roamed her body. He slowly circled around her seeming very pleased by what he saw. Behind her, he said "you are very beautiful" in Vulcan. Uhura didn't know how to feel about that. Did Vulcans normally notice such things as physical beauty? She had never suspected he would, not that she would have set out to entice him if she had known.

She felt his hands grab her hair and remove the pins holding it in place piled high in a neat fashion.

"I don't care for these," he said tossing the pins onto a vanity in the corner. "In private you will wear your hair loosely, naturally. Only in public shall you wear it pinned thusly."

His fingers ran through her tresses massaging her scalp. "Lovely," he said as he inhaled. Next, he traced his fingertips down her neck, across her shoulders, and down her arms causing Nyota to shiver at his gentle touch. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her back against him. She felt his erection pressing into her back through his trousers. The thought of that solid muscle penetrating her, stretching her, caused her belly to quiver. Perhaps he sensed her distress because he ran his hands across her belly soothing her and then he moved his hands over her gold sash and up to cup her breasts.

Nyota didn't know what to do or what to feel. She trembled in his arms but she dared not resist his attention. She didn't want to resist. His body heat was mesmerizing, it leached through the fabric of his tunic and scorched her skin. Nyota wanted to press herself into him deeper and let the heat consume her but she dared not disobey, she could not move so she stood there in his arms, helpless as he had his way with her body.

He kissed her nape and her shoulders and nibbled at her ears. Everywhere he touched he set her aflame. Uhura's breathing became ragged while Spock massaged and teased her nipples.

"Spock, please..." she struggled to keep her knees from buckling.

"Please, what?"

Please just fuck me, she thought but she didn't have the nerve to say it to him and settled for, "Please, don't tease me."

She felt his laugh rumble through his solid chest. Did he guess what she really wanted?

"No, I will not tease you. Stand in front of the mirror," he said releasing her and leaving her body chilled and aching.

She hurried to obey him and stood before the mirror looking at her reflection. Her hair was disheveled, her lips plump, and her makeup smeared. Her breasts were heaving the nipples painfully taut. Only her white lace panties, the gold sash, and thigh-high black boots remained of her uniform. Behind her, she could see Spock unbuttoning his tunic and then his trousers discarding them.

As he stalked towards her she felt a moment of panic but there was no escape. Her dagger had been confiscated by the guard who had delivered her to Spock. She was defenseless. Vulnerable. Spock's.

Naked, Spock approached her and grabbed the gold sash around her waist pulling her body close to his again. "Look at me" he demanded. She looked up into the mirror at the eyes of a predator stalking prey. Hot passionate eyes stared back at her in the mirror and challenged her to disobey. He released the sash and then hooked his fingers on the edge of her panties slowly pulling them down over her hips and thighs kneeling behind her as he pulled. He gripped her ankle, lifting first one foot and then the other out of the leg holes and placed the panties on the vanity in front of her. He had planted her feet firmly apart and exposed her to his gaze. Then he shocked her by biting into the flesh of her bottom. She yelped and then quickly stifled her reaction. Again he laughed as he soothed the bite with a kiss. And still crouching behind her he massaged her buttocks and finally spread her open to expose her sex to him.

Nyota wanted to be good but she couldn't stifle the gasp that escaped when she felt Spock's mouth on her most intimate area, kissing, licking, probing with his tongue. Her knees did buckle at the feel of his hot wet tongue slithering inside of her tickling her clit.

"Do not move," he reiterated as he steadied her with a hand to her hip.

And she didn't move again except to rest her hands on the vanity top, but she couldn't stop the sounds that were coming out of her mouth, she gasped and then squealed releasing a throaty "Aah" as Spock hungrily ate from, her causing her body to shiver. Not even in her fantasies could she have conjured up the things that Spock was doing to her, the sounds he was making as he slurped greedily from her weeping slit.

The muscles in her stomach tightened as the tension built up inside of her. She panted, trying to relieve the strain but it was no good, he was going to make her come and she cried out his name "Spock!"

"Yes, who do you belong to?" he asked and went back to his task.

Nyota didn't speak and his grip faded from her hip and then he smacked her pert bottom making her cry out in shock.

"Who?" he demanded.

"Yo... yo... you, I belong to you," she stuttered as the tension broke and she came apart, his lips and tongue still working her.

Spock watched the range of emotions cross Nyota's face in the mirror. She belonged to him and finally, she knew it. He was going to ride her until she couldn't walk straight, but first, he had to train her to submit and make her understand just what it meant to be a Vulcan's woman.

/*-/*-/

Uhura awoke with a splitting headache. She sat up and looked around. This wasn't her quarters. What the hell... Her entire body ached and she was covered with a fine sheen of sweat. She shifted in her seat and felt soreness and sticky moisture between her thighs. Memory returned in a rush. Oh shit! Spock!

Just then Spock emerged from a slim opening built into the wall of their cave. Of course a facility she thought. He had a towel wrapped around his hips. Quite convenient for him while she was sitting on this pallet naked and covered in... well she didn't even want to think about it.

He didn't say anything to her, he just went over to the shelf of supplies and rummaged around clearly ignoring her.

"What happened? I just had the craziest dream. I don't know what was in that hooch Amanda gave me but it hit me right between the eyes," she said shaking her head and then thinking it was a mistake when the pounding increased.

Finally, Spock turned to approach her. "It was no dream, Miss Uhura, it was a meld."

"Oh, so you can speak?"

"Yes."

"And what have you to say for your self Mister?"

"I...am sorry."

Sorry? Sorry! He better do better than that.

He gave her a pouch of water. Not looking her in the eye.

She took it gratefully, her mouth was dry and she had the hangover of all hangovers.

"Thank you," she said as she finished the pouch squeezing it dry.

"You are welcome."

"Oh, I am? No 'thanks are illogical or unnecessary'?"

He looked up at her quickly then.

"No, you have my thanks, Nyota. I cannot begin to express my gratitude..."

"Then don't. Forget about it. Are you ok now, is this pon farr thing over?" God, please let it be over, she prayed.

Spock remained silent so Uhura looked at him closely, he was still flushed and a bit greener than usual. And his breathing was still very rapid. She could feel the heat rising from his skin and a fine sheen of sweat beaded his brow.

"I do not believe it is over yet," he answered finally.

Great. "And just how long does this thing last?"

"I don't exactly know, this is my first experience," he said looking down again.

"Oh, Spock," she could not be mad at him when he was looking like a lost kid. She had never seen him look anything other than confident and she had to admit she didn't like it.

"Could you at least hand me one of those towels?" she said pointing to his lap.

"Of course, it is my duty to serve you."

"Just a towel will suffice," she said rolling her eyes.

He hopped up and went back to the little crevice. As soon as she had a covering she was using that restroom and maybe barricading herself inside, she mused.

Uhura felt awful. Now that he had his mind back this whole thing felt surreal. This couldn't be real. She was bonded to Spock and they'd had sex? A lot of sex!

Did Spock remember anything that happened before? And he said they shared a mind meld, was any of it real? She didn't know what to think, it was like no meld she'd experienced with him before. How would she ever face him on the Enterprise after what they'd just done?

Spock returned with a towel as promised but he seemed even more agitated.

Uhura eyed the distance to the little hidden restroom. She would have to jump up, make a sprint and hope Spock was taken by surprise. And this was a cave, there was no door to close or lock. It was pointless to hope for an escape. Besides she'd promised to obey him. Wait, that was the other Nyota, wasn't it? "I am losing my mind," she said out loud. "Who am I?"

Spock made a growling sound and she looked up at him. His eyes seemed to brighten as he stared at her. "Wife!" He said as he pounced on her.

"Damn," she thought as he ripped the towel from her, "I should have run when I had the chance." But there was no place to run to, no place to hide. She was Spock's to do with as he pleased for as long as they were in that cave, and she was starting to think, she would be his for the rest of her life.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-

Spock was as good as his word to Uhura. When they returned to the Enterprise it was all business as usual between the two of them. She was the communications officer and he was her Commander. Aside from the one slip by the Captain, there was no reason for anyone to suspect they were married.

Some of Uhura's friends asked about her shore leave and remarked that they missed her company down on Vulcan. She replied that she had unfortunately been ill and Spock and his family had graciously allowed her to convalesce at their home. She felt good about that answer since it was not precisely a lie, it just skirted around the actual truth. See, she was acting like a real Vulcan already.

Luckily no one asked too many questions. They just wished her well. Those friends who Uhura knew would ask too many questions, like Sulu or Charlene, she avoided. She knew it was wrong to avoid her good friends but she needed some space from everybody. That included Spock, McCoy, and the Captain. They could all take a flying leap off a short pier.

Christine was a different matter altogether. She was a busybody and she had been trying to get a hold of Uhura since she had beamed back aboard. And unlike her other friends, Christine knew more of the story of Spock's illness than anyone else. Christine knew about Spock's fever since she had treated him in the sickbay, and she also knew about her abduction. So if she ever got a hold of Uhura she would have to either tell her what happened or lie. Neither choice appealed to Uhura so she was avoiding Christine like she was evading the law.

This whole situation was annoying. She had to hide out from her friends while Spock walked around as if nothing happened. Of course, she asked him to do that but still, he did it too easily for her liking. He called her 'Miss Uhura' when he had to address her and acted like nothing ever happened between them. Like they hadn't spent two or three days in a cave together banging like bunnies. Like she hadn't given her all to him and let him use her body and take what he needed. That's what really hurt. She had opened herself up to him and given everything but he was forever hiding from her.

Uhura sighed at her console. She wasn't gonna waste any more time thinking about Spock. She had to get back into the swing of things and that meant getting through this shift. After that, she would have time to think about her life and how it had taken such a turn. She had managed to evade everyone that first few days except for Sulu who she bumped into after her shift on her way back to her quarters.

"Nyota, Nyota!" Sulu ran to catch her before she got on the turbolift and shut the door in his face.

"Where have you been hiding?" He slid in next to her.

"Me? Hiding?" she feigned innocence.

"Yeah, you haven't been by to visit me since shore leave on Vulcan. I got you a gift. I know you were ill recently and missed all the excitement and I know how much you love to shop so I did some on your behalf."

"I've had enough excitement to last a lifetime. But thank you Hik, you didn't have to do anything special for me. I'm okay."

"Are you really okay, you seemed distracted lately."

"Yeah, I've just got a lot on my mind."

"Mmm-hmm. Anything you care to talk about? You know my shoulder is always available to lean on. Or cry on. Or sleep on," he wagged his eyebrows up and down.

"Oh, Hik. I wish there was something you could do but this is personal stuff."

"Personal huh? Not girl stuff this time?"

"What?" she asked, confused.

"Last time you were looking this down in the dumps, Mr. Spock had just announced he was married," Sulu said watching her closely for a reaction. He got it when Uhura nearly tripped on the way out of the lift upon hearing the word married.

"Girl what is wrong with you," Sulu said as he grabbed her arm to balance her.

"Nothing."

"I wish women would fall all over themselves when my name was mentioned."

"Hikaru, you don't know what you're talking about. I didn't trip because you said some man's name."

"Look at you," he said as he followed her out of the turbolift. "You can't even say his name."

"SULU!" she said in warning.

"NYOTA!, he said right back. "C'mon don't hold out on your old friend Hikaru, what gives? You and Mr. Spock are on the outs again?"

"What are you talking about? How could we be on the outs? When were we on the ins? And what do you mean 'again'?"

Sulu gave a long-suffering sigh. He hooked his arm with hers and started pulling her along.

"Where are you dragging me to Mister?"

"My quarters. We're gonna have a little chat."

"No, Sulu stop. I don't want to talk about it."

"Then you'll listen."

"Listen to what?" She tried to pull away.

"Listen to me lecture you about shipboard romances."

"What? Are you out of your mind?"

"No, are you? If you think I don't see what's going on between you and Spock you are out of your mind."

"What!" She stopped dead in her tracks. "What do you know?"

"Ah-ha! Come with me and find out."

Sulu dragged her to his quarters and settled her on his sofa. He took his time in his kitchenette and made two large steaming cups of tea. He brought them to the sitting area and plopped down beside Uhura.

"Now Spill," he said handing her a cup.

"Spill what? You're the one who says he knows something. You spill."

"Okay, be that way. I'll tell you what I see. I see a girl walking around like she just lost her best friend. And I see a girl whose face used to light up when a certain Vulcan Commander walked into a room now frowning when she sees him. And I see a girl who might need a shoulder to cry on," he said gently.

Uhura held on for a moment and then broke down crying.

Sulu grabbed her to his chest and hugged her.

"Is okay, let it out. I've got you."

"Sulu you don't know what's happened."

"No I don't, but if you tell me I will know."

"I can't tell you. It's a secret."

"I can keep a secret. I promise I will never betray your trust."

Uhura wiped her eyes and sniffled. "You promise?"

"I swear, whatever you say will not leave this room or my lips."

Uhura desperately needed to get this off her chest. And she could trust Sulu. He was like a big brother to her.

"Okay. What have you got to drink?"

"Drink? Tea," he slid her cup over to her.

"No, I mean booze."

"Oh, it's like that? It's too early for you to be drinking and I thought you hated alcohol since the Gorn ball?"

"It's not for me, it's for you."

"Ny, you're starting to scare me, what could be so bad that I need a drink? Are you sick or something?" he asked and then he gasped. Was she pregnant? Was that why the drink was only for him?

"It's worse than that," she took a deep breath. "I'm married. To Spock."

Sulu sat in stunned silence for a while. “I think I’m gonna need whiskey.”

-=-=-=-=-

Captain Kirk entered his bridge glad to be back aboard the Enterprise and well away from Vulcan. But there was still some unfinished business to attend to.

"Mr. Spock, Lieutenant Uhura may I see you two in my ready room, please?"

Spock looked at Uhura and she looked over at him in question and then she looked at the captain with a frown.

"Aye Captain," Uhura said stiffly as they accompanied the captain to his office. As she walked by Sulu gave her arm a pat in support.

"Captain, I must protest this meeting," Uhura said as soon as the door slid closed behind her.

"Spock and I agreed to keep our relationship and everything that happened down on Vulcan private."

"And you are free to do so," Kirk said taking a seat at his table.

"Then why did you call us into your office together so conspicuously?" Uhura asked.

"Lieutenant, I called you here for an official briefing. I have received word from the Federation. Vulcan has formally released the two of you into Starfleet custody. No charges are being brought against Spock at this time. However Starfleet demands an official report on the incident and you two are ordered to comply, this comes directly from the top brass."

"In addition, Spock, as of right now you are officially on report and technically you should be confined to quarters until this is settled. But I don't think that will be necessary. You don't pose any further threat to anyone aboard, do you?" he asked looking between Spock and Uhura.

"No, sir," Spock answered.

"Good. Starfleet will need a formal written account of the incident from both of you. Now, I cannot tell you what to include in the reports but I strongly suggest that you refrain from including any incriminating statements against each other, especially Spock."

"I understand Captain," Spock said.

"Very well Captain, is that all?" Uhura asked still annoyed.

"Yes, Lieutenant. You are dismissed."

Nyota left the room but Spock remained behind.

"Spock, what was that all about?" Kirk said pointing to the door that Uhura just exited.

"The Lieutenant is...angry with me I believe," Spock answered.

"I can see that, but why is she angry with me?" Kirk asked indignantly.

"She appears to be miffed with you for calling us into your office together. She is not ready to announce our marriage to the crew."

"I see. Spock what happened between you and Uhura on Vulcan is no one's business but your own. However, I will not have it disrupting this ship or her crew, do I make myself clear?"

"Aye Captain."

"Good. Now I suggest you try and patch things up with your wife."

"I intend to do so. But I must give her time."

"Time may not be on your side."

"It never is," he said with resignation.

"Spock..." Kirk didn't know what to say to his friend. Spock had brought all of this on himself by keeping secrets. He should have learned by now that secrets have a way of getting out and hurting those you loved.

"Captain, I know you were also displeased with me for withholding information about myself and my illness."

"Spock, I forgave you for that."

"I know, and I thank you. However, how would you feel if I had not only withheld the truth about Vulcan mating habits from you, but I also took you by force from the Enterprise and forced you to mate with me?"

"Honestly Spock?"

"Of course Captain."

"I probably would have punched you in the jaw," Jim said.

"I see. You would have challenged." It was a statement, not a question.

"Now, I didn't say that. I mean, we're friends. I wouldn't want you dead, but I would be... as you say, very angry with you. A punch in the jaw is the least you deserve. But if I cared enough not to want you dead then, of course, I'd have to... to... you know..." Jim finished at a loss for the right words.

Spock tried hard to suppress his grin at the Captain's discomfort.

"What Captain?" he asked innocently.

"Spock, you know what. Don't push your luck."

"Forgive me, Captain. I don't know what came over me."

"Think nothing else of it."

"Captain?

"Yes Spock"

"What would it take for you to forgive me? For ... you know?"

"That's a good question. I have no idea. But probably a lot of time and space to work out my anger."

"I see," Spock said. Jim's words did not inspire much hope for his future.

"But if I valued our friendship more than I did my bruised ego, eventually, I would have to forgive you," Kirk said.

"I suppose I will just have to wait."

"Spock, it's just going to take time. But look on the bright side, at least she didn't punch you in the jaw."

"There is that Captain, there is that."

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-

"It's worse than that. I'm married to Spock." Uhura announced.

Hikaru Sulu had heard many astonishing things during the course of his Starfleet career. He'd done many astonishing things too. He had been places, had seen things, and had things done to him that land lovers on Earth would never understand. But when Nyota told him she was married to Spock, Commander Spock, Vulcan Mr. Spock he didn't believe his ears.

"Like married, married?" the words just spilled out of his mouth

"Yes like married, married. What other kinds of marriage is there?"

Sulu got up and went to his cabinet to find that drink. He poured himself a healthy dose of reality aka whiskey and downed it in one swallow.

"So," he said returning to his seat, " I know you didn't think you were gonna drop a bomb like that in my lap and be cool about it? Tell it all now!"

"I can't tell it all, I am still trying to piece it all together. I may need to write a book about my adventures on Vulcan."

"Well, start at the part where you and Spock decided to get hitched, how did you manage that?"

"I didn't manage anything Sulu. Spock did it... he...came to my quarters on that day he was agitated; remember the Captain ordered him to sickbay when he had an outburst on the bridge?"

"Yea, he's always doing something, so?" Sulu said eager for the juicy details.

"Well, he escaped from sickbay and came to my room."

"Yeah?"

"And he did something..." She said hesitantly.

Sulu gasped. Omg no he didn't!

"He gave me a neck pinch or a mind meld and knocked me out cold,"

Should have known he didn't, Sulu thought.

"Next thing I know I'm on Vulcan surrounded by his parents and the Captain and McCoy."

"And?"

"And his mother says you have to marry Spock or he'll-" She shut her mouth.

"Or he'll what?"

"I can't tell you. I can't tell a soul," she shook her head.

"You better tell me, woman! You can't leave a man hanging like this?"

"But I promised. It's an ancient Vulcan secret."

"What? What could be so terrible that you can't tell your old pal Hikaru?" He said sweetly. "If you tell me, it is in a vault. Sealed for all eternity."

Uhura was torn. She knew she shouldn't. Spock was such a private man. Too private, his secrets are what got all this going in the first place. He could have told her about his Pon Farr and she could have prepared for it, decided if she wanted to do it. But no, he had to keep it a secret and snatch her up like she as his stray sehlat. To hell with him.

"Ok so please never tell this to a living soul, swear."

"I swear on all that is sacred and holy."

"Ok, I don't even know how to describe Vulcan culture or the shenanigans that went on there. But suffice it to say, it was alien."

"That's it, alien?" he sounded disappointed.

"Let's just say it as a shotgun wedding but the groom was the one in trouble."

"What? You're not going to be vague like that, you make it sound like Spock was pregnant or something. He wasn't was he?" Sulu asked eagerly hoping to hear something truly alien.

"No he wasn't pregnant," She swatted at him playfully.

"I can't Hik. No matter how much I want to, I just can't betray Spock's privacy. He trusts me."

"Ok let's be logical. You know, and apparently, the captain and Mccoy know right?"

"Yeah..."

"And if three humans already know what's one more? Plus Spock's mother and whoever she's told. That's practically all of the earth right there."

"Sulu your math is fuzzy. This is serious. Vulcans take this stuff as if it is life and death."

"Beleive me I do not want Mr. Spock mad at me. I'll protect his privacy."

"I know you will. That's why I trust you with knowing so much. You like Spock don't you?"

"Sure he's a great commander. But I knew something like this would happen," he said shaking his head ruefully.

"What? why would you say that?"

"You've been making eyes at him for the better part of four years now."

"I have never nor will I ever 'make eyes' at Spock."

"Ok, you can't lie to me, I'm your pal. You've been pinning after Spock for a while now. And you've got him. I'd like to know how you managed it."

"I didn't manage anything. He grabbed me and next thing you know I'm saying I do. Or I will, or whatever it is you say in that damn Vulcan ceremony. I can hardly remember it, it was like a whirlwind. I felt like Dorothy in oz after the tornado snatched up her house. And his parents were there, and his grandma, did you know his grandmother is T'Pau head of the Vulcan council?"

"NO!

"Yes! And she married us, bonded us together in some special mind meld."

"No!"

"Yes!"

"And then we had a big reception and his ex-wife tried to block us."

"No! That girl from the viewscreen?"

Yes! A real bitch. She tried to play me. But I put her in her place I'll tell you."

"You haven't told me anything yet! What else?"

"I had to sign a prenup called a bride price."

"What, how dare he after snatching you?!" Sulu said angrily.

"No, it wasn't Spock it was his father Sarek. He gave me this contract that he whipped out of the folds of his robes like a wizard and gave me an ultimatum."

"What?" Sulu was not liking the turn this story took.

"Yes. I pretty much had to sign it, otherwise, I would have shamed myself and my new clan and all of Vulcan," She said dramatically.

"What kind of nonsense is that, why would you sign a prenup after the fact?"

"I had to. Its ancient Vulcan tradition. And you won't believe what it said."

"If you tell me I'll try," Sulu said getting annoyed at the half story she was telling him.

"It says I get half of Spock inheritance. And Spock is filthy rich. Vulcans have major credits."

"Mr. Spock is rich?"

"Like a prince. I mean he's like freaking royalty. The dignitaries that showed up for that reception..." she shook her head. "The who's who of Vulcan society. And they were all his relatives too."

"Unbelievable. Our Mr. Spock a Vulcan prince?"

"Pretty much."

"He hides it well."

"You're telling me? But you can't tell a soul, you promised." She warned him.

"I swear."

"And don't look at him or act any differently around him, he's still just Spock, our commander," She defended Spock even in her anger.

"I'll try not to bow in his presence." Sulu grinned.

"He's not a real prince, Vulcan doesn't have royalty. He's just an uppity-up on Vulcan.

"He sure sounds uppity."

"Sulu what am I going to do. I don't want to be a Vulcan princess or uppity-up. I'm just little Lieutenant Uhura of the starship Enterprise."

"There's nothing little about you, you're a phenomenal woman and that's why he chose you."

"Lucky me. Anyway, he didn't choose me, he needed a wife and I was available."

"He's the lucky one. If he just needed a wife I'm sure Christine would have been chomping at the bit- Oh shit! Christine!"

"Oh shit, Christine is right. I've been avoiding her but she's gonna catch on to something sooner or later."

"She's not going to be pleased." Sulu agreed.

"No kidding. What am I going to do? Christine is going to be heartbroken, and then she's probably going to go bananas. And then I'll be toast."

"We'll deal with her if and when the time comes."

"We?"

"Yeah, you don't think I'm gonna let anybody mess with my best girl? Christine better behave herself or she'll have me to deal with."

"Thank you Sulu," She leaned over and kissed his cheek and hugged him. Sulu wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. She was so soft and warm. She smelled like cinnamon and spice. She was the perfect woman. Spock was a lucky man.

"He better be good to you," Sulu said in her ear.

"Or else what?" she teased.

"Or else I'll have to take you back from him," Sulu said seriously.

"Take me back?" she asked pulling away from him and laughing. "When did you ever have me?"

"I never did," he answered sadly. I never did.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-

"Nurse Chapel, Doctor McCoy asked me to file these medical records but I have a hot date and I'm running late. Do you mind finishing up?" a cute little young nurse asked Christine just as she was preparing to leave sickbay for the day.

"Sure," Christine said to the young nurse. Why not? It was not like she had a hot date herself. She had nowhere to go and nothing to do. Her best friend was avoiding her and there as no one else she wanted to talk to. Spock was out of the question. She'd learned long ago to give him his space. If she asked him about Vulcan and his illness he would only answer her questions with more questions or icy silence and then leave her feeling like a fool. So sure, she'd stay late and do this filing.

As she worked, her mind wandered. How had she ended up as a glorified file clerk? Christine had studied to be a bio-researcher but her career choice had gotten sidetracked when her fiancee Roger Kirby disappeared out in deep space. She had abandoned her promising career and signed on as a medic in Starfleet. It had taken a while, but she finally got a plum position as a nurse assigned to the Enterprise so that she could personally search for her lost lover.

But during that journey, she had made some shocking discoveries. First, she learned that space travel was dangerous and more demanding than anything she could have ever prepared for. She also learned that space travel was lonely and that on a ship of over 400 people she could be awfully isolated. She thought she would be occupied with finding Roger but most of her time was spent in the sickbay treating space sickness, bumps and bruises from overzealous crewmen spending too much time in the gym, or patching up redshirts who got the rough end of a mission.

But the most startling thing she learned was that her memories of Roger were fading. She was starting to forget what his voice sounded like, what his lips tasted like, and what it felt like to be in his arms.

Then there were the new feelings she was developing for a fellow crewman. Mr. Spock was like no man she'd ever met before. He was young, handsome, intelligent, and utterly socially inept. But he was so polite and apologetic. Christine had bumped into him one day while exiting the turbo lift and even though she was at fault he had apologized to her. That was the first time she had touched him, and there had been a spark when her hand grazed his as he steadied her. Christine believed a bolt of heat had leaped between them. It had been a magical moment for her and before she knew what was happening she was falling in love.

She tried to fight it at first, tried to remind herself that she already had a man, that she would be reunited with Roger and they would marry and live happily ever after. But late at night when she was alone in her cold bunk she didn't think of Roger anymore, she thought of the strange Mr. Spock and his warm hands and the way he made her feel young and innocent again.

She began to read everything she could get her hands on pertaining to Vulcan. She learned that Mr. Spock was also half-human but he carried himself as a Vulcan without any human traits. Christine didn't care, she liked the man, not his race. She even told him so when she lost her inhibitions when the ship got contaminated with heavy water sickness.

Everyone had collectively agreed to forget the shameful things people had done and said during that strange episode. But Christine remembered how disgracefully she had thrown herself at Spock and even though infected himself, he still rebuffed her advances. But even that humiliation couldn't stop the way she felt about him.

When she finally found Roger and learned of his terrible fate, she was heartbroken but not devastated by the outcome. She already loved another man who filled that empty space in her heart Roger's absence had created.

Over the years she had loved Spock from afar and even agreed to stay on the Enterprise so she could be near him. She knew he did not return her feelings but that was okay. He didn't have those kinds of feelings for anyone. She was content to just be able to work with him and call him her friend.

During her time on the Enterprise, she slowly made other friends, you couldn't help it with the ship being an enclosed community. She'd become good friends with Lieutenant Uhura almost from the first day, she was just such a friendly and outgoing person. And she became friends with Dr. McCoy and Dr. M'Benga and the other medical and scientific staff. They were a close-knit group in the sciences. But Nyota had been one of her best friends and she often shared her feelings about Spock with her.

And Nyota seemed to have a close friendship with Spock. They shared a common interest in music, and Nyota had finagled her way into getting Spock to teach her his lute. She had also finagled her way into getting him to teach her the Vulcan language. Christine didn't know how she did it. Spock would not even drink her soup but, like the other men on the ship, he jumped at the chance to do Nyota's bidding.

People tended to respond to Nyota and they usually tried their best to accommodate her. She was friends with everyone, you couldn't walk down a corridor without everyone she passed saying hi and stopping to share a little gossip. She had friends in engineering, in communications, on the bridge, below decks in the service sections, she had friends everywhere.

But Chris had never been jealous of Nyota because Nyota didn't have the one thing that mattered. Spock.

She should have known that Nyota Uhura was too good to be true. That she was really just rubbing it in Chris's face that she was able to get so close to Spock. The truth was out there now, Nyota was not nor had she ever been Christine's friend.

While Chris was telling her so-called best friend how she was in love with Spock her 'friend' was making moves on him. It was all too clear now, the way Ny would fawn on his every word, the way she would make a beeline for him whenever they were in the same room, the way she took up his time with her music lessons and her language lessons, the way she flirted and teased with him every chance she got. It all made sense now. And Chris had stood by and let her good and dear friend steal her man right from under her nose.

Well, she wasn't gonna get away with it, no sir. She may have every other man on this ship brainwashed with her overstuffed uniform but she couldn't fool Chris anymore. The more Christine thought about it the angrier she became.

She had even felt concern for Ny when she had been taken to Vulcan by an out of control Spock. What a fool she had been. She had begged Dr. McCoy to tell her about her friend's safety and he would not give her any information. Well, now she knew.

Spock and Nyota's medical records had been sealed but Chris had access even to sealed records and what she just read there was shocking. Spock and Nyota Uhura's medical records were changed and their marital status had changed. They were both listed as bonded! Married under Vulcan law and listed as each other's next of kin!

It was incredible. At first, she didn't believe it, didn't want to believe it. She couldn't keep it to herself so she stormed into Dr. McCoy's office with the offending records.

"Doctor, what is this?" she tossed the record tapes on his desk.

"Nurse why do you have those records, they are sealed, eyes only."

"And I have top-secret medical clearance. I was doing routine filing when I saw that the records had been changed. Please tell me that this is a mistake, that it is some kind of sick joke. Tell me Commander Spock and Lieutenant Uhura are not married!" she said her voice rising sharply as she became more hysterical.

"Shh, keep your voice down, do you want everyone to hear you?"

"Doctor, I don't give a flying fig who hears me, now please just tell me is this true?"

McCoy sighed, "Yes it's true but you didn't hear it from me."

"I didn't hear it from you, nor from my best friend. I had to read it by accident in medical records!"

"And you will keep that information to yourself. Those are orders that come straight from Starfleet command. This is a private matter between Spock and Uhura and you are to stay out of it, do you understand Nurse?" McCoy ordered.

"Yes, Doctor," Christine answered with a clenched jaw.

This was too much. She felt sick and hurt and lost and she had nobody to turn to. Her best friend had betrayed her and even Doctor McCoy who'd been there for her when she learned of Rogers's passing seemed to be taking Uhura's side. Who could she turn to? Who was going to be on her side?

She stormed out of McCoy's office in a panic. She didn't know where to turn or what to do. She stumbled back to her own office and bumped into M'benga.

"Christine?" He said as he steadied her from falling. "What's the matter?"

Christine didn't know it but she was hyperventilating.

"Sp... Spo... Spock is married!" she stuttered and burst into tears.

M'Benga guided her into his office and held her as she cried.

"Shh. It's going to be alright. Its nothing to get so upset about." He soothed her.

He knew she was obsessed with Mr. Spock. Knew she couldn't see anything but Spock and her together. The silly fool. She could have any man on this ship and she had to pick the most unobtainable one.

Vulcan men didn't just marry women they met at work. They were bonded in childhood to other Vulcans. On rare occasions, like with Ambassador Sarek, they were divorced or widowed and left free to marry whoever they wanted, but still, it was usually a mutually beneficial pairing based on logic, not romance.

The fact that someone like Ambassador Sarek had married a common human woman was unheard of, for good reasons. The odds that lightning would strike twice, in the same manner, was astronomical. But according to Nurse Chapel, it had happened. Another high profile Vulcan male had married a human woman. And the bitch of it all was that it was Spock and Uhura. M'Benga bet that caused quite a few ripples back on Vulcan.

He couldn't begin to imagine what Christine was feeling right now. She was hurting for sure, but surely she had to realize she never had a chance with Spock? If he had not responded to her advances in all this time he never would. Not because he was a Vulcan and she a human, but because he was a man. And like any man, he knew what he wanted and what he didn't want. If he had wanted Christine he would have found a way to get her. Like he had apparently done with Lt. Uhura.

M'Benga could have told Christine that he could see this coming from miles away. He knew Vulcans. He had studied with them at the Vulcan science academy. And he knew Vulcan males were nothing if not determined to get what they wanted. Spock had pretty much scared off other men from approaching Lieutenant Uhura a long time ago. And M'Benga had never seen a Vulcan male pay so much attention to a single female that he as not bonded to. All the signs were there. Christine just refused to acknowledge them. Until it was too late.

"Christine, listen to me. I know you cared for Mr. Spock. But you have to understand he was not-"

"I didn't just care for him. I love him!" She yelled.

"Vulcan's are betrothed in childhood. He was probably betrothed all the time he served on this ship. He was never going to betray his bondmate for you." M'Benga tried to explain.

"But he's married to Uhura! I just saw it on their record tapes. They were just bonded while on Vulcan. She took him from me."

"NO, Christine, Uhura didn't take Spock, he was never yours."

"How do you know? Why are you taking her side?"

"Because I know Vulcans. I practically grew up on Vulcan. And I am telling you Vulcan males are... they are just different. If Mr. Spock has married Lt. Uhura he must have had a good reason. Vulcans don't marry just anyone. They have clans and families they have to get approval from. If they are married she was vetted by his clan and matriarch you can believe that."

"So?"

"So, this marriage was probably in the works for a long time."

"No! They were not bethrothed in childhood. They only met when she was assigned to the Enterprise, the same as me. It has to be something else. You know he kidnapped her from the ship right?"

"Did he?"

"Yes! He was sick, he had a fever and he broke his restraints and next thing you know he's carrying her to the shuttle bay and off to Vulcan."

"Oh. No, I didn't know it went down like that. Regardless, if his family didn't approve her then she'd be out. Or they would pretty much be shunned by the clan."

"Do you think so?"

"That's how it is on Vulcan. Marriage is a family affair."

Christine wiped her eyes. Spock and Nyota were not married. They couldn't be. They had returned from Vulcan as if nothing had happened. They were barely speaking to one another. Maybe his family had rejected Nyota? Maybe this was one big misunderstanding? Spock had been sick, he wasn't in his right mind. And Nyota tricked him.

"Do you think his family could have rejected her?" She asked M'Benga with hope rising in her voice.

"Christine, please, even if they did, Spock is not for you. You don't know what Vulcan men are like. You have to give this up."

"Never!" she vowed. "Don't lecture me about Vulcan men Doctor. You may have grown up on Vulcan but you'll never be one. You don't know Spock. He's not like other Vulcan men. He's different," she insisted.

"Christine you don't know Spock either. He's not what you think he is."

"I don't care. I love him. Love can overcome anything. Nyota hasn't won yet." She announced as she stomped out of his office.

M'Benga shook his head. Christine was in for a rude awakening. No, Spock was not like other Vulcan men. He was worse. He was a Vulcan man in love.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-

Sulu decided to take Nyota away from her troubles after their shift ended. He knew all the best nooks and crannies on the ship to explore when you needed to get away from it all, well as away as you could get on a starship. He was sure Christine wouldn't think to look for them together and at this time of the day, the observation deck was usually deserted.

"I never get tired of looking at the stars," Uhura said as she sat beside her friend and looked out of the floor to ceiling window at the starfield surrounding them. "I still wonder what's out there, or rather, now that I've been out there, what else is out there?"

"I prefer nature. Plants, animals, growing things. I think I missed my calling as a botanist," Sulu said.

"Naw, you're an excellent helmsman.

"Why, thank you, madam. And you're an excellent communications officer."

"Thank you, sir," Uhura said. "You know, I could have done a dozen different things with my life. I was trained to be a musician but I fell in love with dancing and then running. I had been off Earth a few times with my dad when he took us kids with him for his gigs. I even sang backup for him. But I always thought I'd be a professional dancer."

"So how'd you end up out here?" Sulu had never really asked her such personal questions, they always kept their friendship light and casual.

"Life is strange. I think I just rebelled. Some cadets from Starfleet came to recruit at my school and I saw the uniforms and the tales of adventure and they said were looking for the best of the best. I thought, 'I'm the best, you need me'. And poof here I am."

"I always loved studying languages and cultures so it wasn't that much of a stretch. I guess I was always pushing myself to be better and training for Starfleet pushed me to my limits. Once I got into the academy, the next goal was to get an assignment on the best ship and then to be a captain. But everybody has that goal."

"Not everybody. Spock doesn't seem to be angling for a Captaincy."

"Why are we discussing Spock?"

"He seems like the elephant in the room."

"I suppose Vulcans don't have a need to be in charge or that thirst for power that we humans have. Leadership is a duty and they'll take on the duty if they must, but they don't chase it down. At least not modern Vulcans. Ancient Vulcans probably would have wiped us out when they made the first contact with Earth."

"Well, luckily we don't have to deal with ancient Vulcans."

"No, you don't," Uhura said thinking of how she would have to face a primitive Vulcan male of her own in a few years if things worked out between her and Spock.

"You know what Sulu? I think I ran away from Earth to avoid real-life interpersonal drama, and somehow I ended up smack dab in the middle of interpersonal drama anyway. Only its the Vulcan kind."

"You know that the old Earth song says, there's no hiding place."

"I went to the rock to hide my face and the rock cried out no hiding place," Uhura sang.

"That's the one. I think we all joined up for different reasons but one thing we all have in common is that we wanted off Earth. For some of us, Earth was a prison we couldn't wait to escape."

"You're right, Sulu. I wanted to escape. But there's no hiding place. You can't escape yourself. No matter where you go there you are," she mused.

"You just said a mouthful, Sister."

Uhura stood up. "C'mon, let's go."

"Go where?"

"Back to reality. I can't hide from Spock or Christine or myself. I've got to face life head-on or not at all."

"That's my girl! Let's go get 'em," Sulu said all gung ho.

"Well, let's just go back to the rec room," Uhura said calmly.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Christine was unsuccessful in her mission to hunt down Sulu. He was off duty but he was not in his quarters. He was not in his usual haunts either. She looked in the ship's garden and the gym. He was nowhere to be found. She took a chance and checked on Uhura as well. She was also off duty but she was not in her quarters, at least she was not answering her com or her door. So where were they? She knew they often met in the rec room so she checked each one and they were not there either.

She did, however, learn some interesting ship's gossip. Nyota and Spock were not speaking to one another. Chekov happened to mention that things were chilly on the bridge since the Vulcan shore leave.

"What do you mean things are chilly Chekov? What's happening?" Christine asked as she sidled up to Scotty and Chekov who were seated at the ship's bar.

"Oh Nurse, I was just telling Mr. Scott that things are a bit strange lately. Mr. Spock and Lt. Uhura do not seem to be speaking to one another."

"Really?" She took a seat beside Chekov.

"Well laddie, you can't expect those two to chat during working hours, the bridge is serious business," Scotty said.

"But we are not that way on the bridge. There is always something to discuss. Usually, there is a light friendly atmosphere. But lately..." Chekov shivered as if he were freezing. "Commander Spock and Lieutenant Uhura are always talking about something, they keep things from being boring on those long shifts when nothing happens," he said.

"Do you think they had a fight?" Christine asked eagerly.

"A fight? Mr. Spock and Uhura?" Chekov asked incredulously.

"Now lassie you know those two. Why would they ever fight? Spock is a gentleman and he sets great store by the Lieutenant."

"Yes but if they're not speaking--"

Scotty shut that down. "I saw them both when they beamed up from Vulcan and I can tell you they were..." Mr. Scott stopped to think.

"What were they, Mr. Scott?" Christine asked.

"Well, they looked..."

What! Christine wanted to yell. What was he hinting at?

"Mr. Scott vhat are you trying to say?" Chekov asked before Christine could.

"Well I know those two, they looked downright cozy if you ask me."

"Cozy vhat does that mean?"

"Well, the Lieutenant had the Vulcan flu, didn't she? I'm sure Mr. Spock and his family took right good care of her. The poor dear. I hear she was on her back the entire time," Scott shook his head sadly.

I just bet she was, Christine mumbled.

"What's that?" Scott asked.

"Oh, nothing I was just thinking, I've never heard of this Vulcan flu. It must be something new."

"Well, you know how secretive the Vulcans are. I hear Spock got sick on the bridge first. He must have infected the Lieutenant somehow."

"Funny how nobody else on the bridge got it," Chapel said.

"Well nobody else seems to get as close to Mr. Spock as Uhura, that's for sure."

"Da!" Checkov agreed as he downed his drink. "She has a way about her, even the Vulcans cannot resist her charm," he seemed proud of his friend.

"Yes, I'm sure she does. Well if you gentlemen will excuse me?" Christine stood prepared to leave when Sulu and Uhura walked into the room arm in arm.

"Well, speak of the devil," she said. She was about to make a beeline towards them when the Captain, Dr. Mccoy, and Spock walked in and took a table in a corner.

Damn! She couldn't approach Uhura with McCoy watching. He knew that she knew and he'd be watching to see if she caused a scene. But she wasn't going to give him the satisfaction. No, she was going to bide her time.

Sulu and Uhura took a table of their own and had a little tête-à-tête. When they spotted her at the bar they whispered to one another and Sulu seemed to be comforting Nyota.

It was disgusting. "Look at them," Christine didn't realize she spoke out loud but Chekov and Scotty turned to the room.

"Oh there's Sulu and Uhura, C'mon let's join them," Scotty said taking his bottle and hopping from his stool. He turned to Christine, "Nurse, care to join us?"

"No, you go right ahead. I have a headache. I think I'll turn in."

Scotty and Chekov pulled up chairs and joined the pair while the Captain, Spock, and the Doctor chatted and McCoy watched everything from his corner.

Uhura had all her men surrounding her right now, Chris thought, but she would slip up. This was a small ship. She couldn't hide from Christine forever.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-

"Nurse Chapel, what can I do for you?" Spock asked Christine as she waited for him outside of his cabin door.

"Mr. Spock! I finally caught you." She said. "I mean caught up with you. I haven't seen much of you since your return from Vulcan."

"No? Well, now that you have seen me... if you will excuse me I have my mediation to attend to." He waited for her to step aside.

"What's your hurry? We have not seen each other for a while, wouldn't you like to chat? How was your visit with your family? I trust you and your father were able to get along?"

Spock had never 'chatted' with Christine before. He had always kept their interactions professional when possible. So what was she up to now? Did she know something she should not? Or was she just being her usual intrusive self?

"My visit was agreeable, thank you for your concern but it is unwarranted."

"Well, I know you and your father—"

"Nurse Chapel, I would appreciate it if you do not concern yourself with my personal affairs. Now if you will excuse me?" He looked at her expressionlessly hoping she would take the dismissal for what it was and leave him alone. No such luck.

"Mr. Spock just one more thing. I know Lieutenant Uhura was ill during our prolonged shore leave on Vulcan. I hear that you and your family graciously allowed her to convalesce with you?" She asked innocently but Spock knew better. She knew.

"Is that a question Nurse Chapel?"

"Well, I was just wondering how Uhura was fairing? I hope she didn't inconvenience you all too much?"

"The Lieutenant is never an inconvenience. But perhaps you would be better served if you asked her these questions?"

I would if I could find her, Christine mumbled under her breath.

To Spock, she said, "Oh, well you know how popular she is? Since she's been back I can't find hide nor hair of her. She's probably off on a date with one of her gentlemen friends. I heard she's been hanging out with Sulu a lot lately. They did seem to get pretty close since she had that incident in that mirror galaxy." Christine not so subtly hinted that Nyota and Sulu were more than friends.

Little did she know, Spock thought. "Indeed?" Spock said calmly. "Then perhaps Nurse Chapel, if you find Mr. Sulu you'll find Lt. Uhura." With that, he swiftly sidestepped her and entered his quarters closing the door in her face.

Damn! She should have known he wouldn't give anything away. He was too clever, too Vulcan. But he did give her something to work with. Sulu. She hadn't lied about Uhura and Sulu, they were thick as thieves since that mirror incident. And if anybody knew something it would be him. They were probably together right now, laughing at her.

Oh, how clever Nyota thought she was seducing Spock when he was weak, tricking him into marrying her. Spock was vulnerable during his fever, Christine knew that. She had seen it firsthand. He had even come on to her that one time when she told him they were diverting to Vulcan for his sake, she just knew he had. He told her he dreamed about her. And the way he had looked at her... It had frightened her at the time but now she wished she had let him do whatever he wanted to do to her. She could be the one calling her self Spock's wife right now, not Nyota.

If Spock needed someone, why didn't he just come to her? She would not have turned him away. She could have helped him. She's a nurse, she's been taking care of him for all these years. He could trust her with anything, didn't he know that? Why did he continue to turn her away while he fell into the trap set by Uhura? Couldn't he see Nyota was a tease? She flirted with every man on this ship but she wasn't interested in them. She was just playing men. Using them. And they all fell for it, including Spock who should know better and who should be immune to her ploys. What did Uhura have that she didn't have, she wondered not for the first time?

"Spock," the little voice in her head whispered to her. She has Spock and you don't.

"But not for long," Christine said and she marched off to find Sulu.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Uhura was having another sleepless night after Sulu had dropped her off at her cabin door. Now that she was married to Spock and back home on the Enterprise she couldn't stop thinking about him and that bothered her. Questions about their relationship were swirling around and around in her mind, the most important one was "What did she want from Spock?"

She could admit she had been infatuated with him in the past but she had never dared hope she could ever actually have him. He was Spock! He was a cold-hearted Vulcan alien who didn’t notice women no matter how cute they might be. He treated Nurse Chapel like she was a nuisance. He was friends with the Captain and the Doctor but even with them, he was still standoffish. He kept his secrets close to his vest.

So Uhura never dreamed Spock would be attracted to someone like her. She was loud, brash, emotional, playful, and sassy. She liked to flirt with him and tease him because he was immune to her charms. He wouldn't make a play for her. He was safe. Or so she thought. She thought he would not be tempted by her and she thought she would not be tempted by him.

Boy was she wrong. When she realized she was falling in love with him after the Gorn Ball, she shut that down. She did not want her heart broken by Mr. Spock, not when he wouldn’t even know he had broken it. She didn’t want to be a nuisance like Christine. She and Spock had developed a fairly strong relationship as friends and she hadn’t wanted to do anything that would jeopardize that friendship. She still didn’t. Spock was the best man she had ever known, one of the best people she knew and she did not want to lose him in her life.

Nyota tossed and turned in her bed. Sleep just wouldn't come to her. For the first time since she arrived on the Enterprise as a bright-eyed newly minted lieutenant, she didn't feel at home. Something was missing and she suspected that something or more likely that somebody was Spock. For whatever reason, she missed him and she hated that. This ship was her home, this was more than a job, Starfleet is her life. She had never had any intention of getting married any time soon.

She wasn't going to get any sleep anytime soon so she got dressed quickly left her quarters headed for the music room.

At this time of day, there were likely only a few people there if any at all. Surprisingly not a lot of crewmembers played instruments or felt the need to practice while aboard so she usually had the room to herself. Every since the day she heard Spock playing his harp she had been driven to learn it herself. But after that run-in the Enterprise had with the alien Trelane of Gathos, Uhura had felt even more drawn to musical instruments. That alien had somehow imbued her with the ability to play an ancient harpsichord and long after that incident she still retained the skill. After that, she took lessons on the piano and she had worked hard to get herself up to an intermediate level.

She found the room as empty as she thought it would be and she took a seat at a piano in the farthest corner of the room from the door. The lights were already set for the evening cycle so she didn't bother to bring them up. She started with a run-through of the major scales and arpeggios. And then she played some of the easy songs she had learned and hummed along just letting her mind wander.

Immediately her thoughts returned to Spock. Romances were a risky endeavor, and if their marriage didn’t work out and they broke up, how would they continue working with one another? Would they be able to remain friends after all they’ve been through in the past few weeks? Could she remain on the Enterprise if her commander was also her ex?

Uhura didn’t think so. Not now when her heart was becoming engaged even though she fought it tooth and nail. And what about this katra business? She was bound to Spock until she died or so T’Pau said. They were for all intents and purposes, soul mates. Whoever invented that term probably had no idea that the concept could really happen. How did two beings share a soul? She had a part of Spock, but did he have part of her too? He must if he could feed her back her own memories right? It was all so confusing. She said she would try to make things work with Spock but what did that mean for them? Love? Babies?

She could easily let herself fall in love with Spock but then what? Could they live happily ever after? Would they live on the ship as husband and wife? Did she follow his lead while they shared their lives like Sarek and Amanda? Where did that place her in the grand schemes of things? Could she be his wife, mother of his children, the matriarch of his clan and be happy on Vulcan while Spock explored the galaxy? What about her career? What about her plans for her future? She was supposed to be a captain and have her own ship and conquer the galaxy herself. What about that?

Uhura could barely relax with all the questions flying around in her racing mind. She was scared. Life just got so real so fast. This was big girl type problems, and she had to work them out all alone. She hadn’t even told her family about this marriage yet. And who could she tell? Her parents? Her brothers? They would have a million questions and she didn't have any answers.

She had Amanda, and Amanda had been through this all herself, but Amanda was living with rose-colored glasses on. She worshiped Sarek and the Vulcans. Amanda was more like Christine in that regard, madly and blindly in love. Amanda’s life focused solely on Sarek and Spock. But Uhura had her own life, and friends, and family, and a career. She still had that thirst for adventure and knowledge that drove people like her to the stars. She couldn’t be content to live on Vulcan and put up with that petty nonsense of clan politics.

Uhura slammed the keys in frustration. "Everything was easier when my worries were about 'I' and 'me', now that it's 'us' and 'we' and I’m an absolute mess," She said.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Nyota had requested that Spock give her some time and space to deal with their new circumstances and Spock was trying his best to comply with those wishes. It was just a coincidence that he found himself walking past the music room at this time of night. He stopped in his tracks when his sensitive ears heard the sad piano music coming from the far corner of the room. Luckily the lights were dimmed or else he was certain Nyota would have noticed him. He was able to remain still just inside the door and listen.

Nyota didn’t want anything to change between them and Spock understood that to some extent. Once their relationship was announced she could not go back to being simply Lieutenant Uhura. He knew this from personal experience. Once people had learned he was Sarek's son he was treated differently. It was subtle but he recognized it, even from his closest friends like Jim and McCoy.

Nyota didn’t seem to care about his wealth or social status on Vulcan and that pleased him greatly, but others would care. He wanted to protect her from the danger that being associated with him would bring. As his wife, she would be a target of those who disapproved of Vulcans and their political views.

And he was certain there we those on the ship who would give her trouble just for marrying him, mainly Nurse chapel. Spock had never had any feelings for the nurse but she had persisted in her pursuit of him since the moment they had met. He had watched her in the rec room the other night as she stared at Uhura. She was going to be trouble, he just knew it. But he didn't dare approach her. Any engagement with her would be misconstrued as interest at best and at worst, she would become suspicious of his relationship with Uhura. So he had to sit back and watch and wait. He would protect his wife whether she knew she needed protection or not.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Nyota Uhura was not the kind of person to run and hide from her problems. But after an uneventful shift, she did not feel like being around people. So she only went back to her quarters to rest not to hide. She was not hiding! At least that's what she told herself. So she had begged off from the little party of her friends who had gathered in the rec room, complaining of fatigue.

And she hadn't lied, she really wasn't feeling all that great. It had been days since she returned from Vulcan so she couldn't imagine why she felt so out of sorts. She blamed Spock for that too. Him and his damned katra! Of course, she had his katra before she went to Vulcan but maybe this new marital bond thing as causing this new feeling of unease?

Regardless, she felt like crap and all she wanted to do was sleep. But lately even sleep escaped her, all she had was bad dreams. Well, they weren't all bad they were just disturbing. She dreamed of Spock all night long. She dreamed of Spock in the cave, Spock on the mirror ship, Spock on the Enterprise in her quarters, and every time he was fucking her. She was starting to feel like a walking wet dream. She needed sleep damn it!

She had just settled down on her bunk and was finally drifting off when the door chimed. Who the hell could that be? It as well past the time when anyone she knew would visit. The ship ran 24 hours of course but they still ran day and night rotations. And her door should clearly show she as on her night rotation and not to be disturbed.

Maybe it as Spock? Did she want to see him? He knew her door code, he could let himself in, and now that they were married he didn't even need an excuse. But she knew he would never violate her privacy like that.

"This better be good," she mumbled as she stumbled out of bed not even bothering to grab her robe.

She opened the door to find Christine standing there.

Just great!

"Chris, what brings you around so late? I was just sleeping," she said hoping Chris would take a hint.

"Oh sorry, Ny. I've been by several times looking for you but you were never in. I figured I'd catch you sooner or later though. I wanted to see how you are fairing after your ordeal on Vulcan?"

"My ordeal?" Uhura said panicking, did Christine know what happened?

"Yes, your illness. Vulcan flu I believe?"

"Oh, yes," Nyota said relieved. "Well, here I am hale and hearty, all better. Thanks for your concern, now if you don't mind I have to go on duty in a few hours."

"Just a moment. Can I come in just for a little chat? I need to talk to you about something. I promise it won't take long."

"Sure you can, what are friends for?" Uhura smiled. She had always liked Chris. Spock and this whole mess was just making her paranoid. She stepped aside and let Christine enter her suite. Chris made herself at home at Nyota's dining table.

"Would you care for some tea?"

"Do you have Plomeek tea?" Christine asked sweetly.

"No, just Earl Grey or green, your choice."

"Earl Grey is fine."

Uhura prepared the tea and sat opposite Christine.

"So what's up?" Uhura asked while she took a sip of her green tea.

"Why don't you tell me... Mrs. Spock?" Christine sneered.

Oh shit!

"What?" Uhura laughed nervously. "What are you talking about?"

"Don't play dumb with me, it doesn't suit you. I know all about you and Mr. Spock. I know you tricked him into marrying you on Vulcan." Christine accused. "Vulcan flu my ass. We both know there is no such thing."

"Christine, I don't know who put such silly thoughts in your head. I was sick. Spock infected me with his er...um... with what he had. He came to my quarters and I guess I passed out and he...um, took me to Vulcan with him where we were both treated by his healers." There, that is sorta kinda the truth, Uhura thought.

"So why is there no medical record of this illness?"

"Well, you know how secretive and private Vulcans are. They don't do things the way we do. They have family healers and such. There are no central records most likely."

"You sure know a lot about Vulcan medical practices."

"Well, I was sick there." Uhura offered.

"Yeah right. You were there for over a week. It took that long for the 'healers' to treat you?"

"No, well you see they had to make sure I was no longer contagious." Yeah, that sounds plausible. The more she talked the more Uhura felt like a liar and a fool. She knew it and Christine knew it. But she wasn't ready to give up the charade just yet. She wasn't ready for the world to know she was married to Spock.

"Look, Chris, I'm tired, as you say I was ill for a while on Vulcan and if truth be told I'm still not 100 percent. I would like to go to sleep. Could we maybe discuss this tomorrow?" Or never?

"Oh, there is nothing to discuss. I know what you did on Vulcan. You tricked Spock into marrying you when he was sick and vulnerable. You tried to steal Spock from me but it didn't work did it? Did his family reject you? Is that why you're pretending? Well, you're not going to get away with it!" Christine was hysterical now.

"Stole Spock from you?" Uhura couldn't believe her ears.

"You heard me, missy."

"Look, Chris, you're wrong. Point blank period. I didn't steal anyone. If anything Spock stole me!" Uhura said getting angry.

"Stole you? That's a laugh! Everyone knows you've been throwing yourself at Spock these past few years. I was a blind fool for too long but no longer. You are a liar and a thief and I intend to let everyone know the kind of woman you are."

"Now look Chris, I'm not going to sit here and let you talk to me like this. I told you what happened. But no matter what you think happened on Vulcan, it's none of your business. It's between Spock and me. If you can't accept what I'm saying go ask Spock, or the Captain, or Dr. Mccoy!"

"Oh, I know what happened. I saw it with my own eyes, I saw your medical records sweetie. It was all there in black and white."

Nyota Uhura- Marital status: Married. Spouse: Spock son of Sarek of Vulcan!"

"What! How did you get my medical records? They're supposed to be sealed!"

"I'm a nurse, I have access."

"Not like that you don't! Are you spying on me?" Uhura was outraged now.

"I didn't have to spy. I saw it by accident. My dear friend sure didn't bother to tell me. My dear friend sat here and bald-faced lied to me."

"Christine I can explain," Uhura offered, trying to placate Christine. How had this spiraled out of control?

"Don't bother, I already know what happened. You're a snake. I just wanted to know if you'd lie or tell the truth when given the chance, and we see what you chose. You're not my friend, you are my enemy. And I am going to do everything I can to take Spock away from you. You tricked him while he was sick with a fever. I know how desperate he was. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, but women like you have no shame, do you?"

"Now hold on-"

"I'm not going to listen to any more of your lies. You have been warned, stay away from me and stay away from Spock!"

Christine stormed out.

Uhura sat at her little table in shock. What the hell? How dare she! She didn't know what happened on Vulcan. She didn't know what Spock put her through! What she had sacrificed! Damn her!

Uhura swiped the teacups off her table in anger. She had never been so mad in all her days. She had been a good friend to Christine. She didn't steal Spock from her! Spock didn't belong to Christine, "he belongs to me!" Uhura pounded her fist on the table.

Wait, what just happened? Where had that thought come from? Spock belonged to her? What. The. Hell.

She looked around her little kitchen area. Look at this mess! How had that happened?

Uhura hated people who struck out in anger, she hated being angry herself. This isn't me, she thought as she shook her head. She began to tremble and then cry. "And who's gonna clean up this tea?"

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Uhura lay naked beneath an equally naked Spock.

He stared into her eyes but she wondered if he even saw her. His skin was very hot which was still odd to Nyota. Normally when she happened to brush hands with Spock for some reason, his hands were always cool to the touch but now he burned with fever as he covered her with his body. She trembled, not from cold but from nervousness. This is not how she ever envisioned her wedding night and she never envisioned Spock as the groom in her wedding fantasies.

Spock raised his hand to her head and for a moment she feared he would initiate another meld but instead he gently brushed her bangs aside. then his fingers trailed down her cheek to her neck and still lower to her chest to finally where his hand rested on her breast. He palmed her breast and squeezed as if curious and then his hand began the same slow journey further down her body over her stomach to her pubic area which was very neatly trimmed, thank goodness.

She didn't know why she thought that; just that she was grateful she had taken care of grooming as his fingers began to tease her tight neat coils. His fingers slowly parted her already slick flesh to tease her still deeper. Uhura closed her eyes, she couldn't stand to look into those dark penetrating eyes while Spock explored her body.

She felt him brush a kiss across her lips, then her chin and soon his kisses were following the same path as his hands had a few moments ago. He kissed her breast, peppering it with little nips and then finally he took her nipple into his mouth.

Uhura shuddered not realizing she was even holding her breath until she exhaled. His tongue was slightly rough which surprised her while he teased her with tongue and teeth. "Ooh," she felt her nipples harden as he released one and then moved over to taste the other one.

This was nothing like the fevered ravishing she imagined before they bonded. This was far more devastating, this slow thorough seduction of foreplay. She could gird her body and her heart against a brutal savage Spock, but a gentle loving Spock was harder to resist and deny. Spock was playing her body with the same skill he had used on his harp, teasing her, tempting her, luring her into his trap. The allure of the magic only Spock could create like the Vulcan music she had fallen in love with.

He hooked his hand under her knees and pushed them upwards. He was positioned between her thighs now poised at her opening to take her yet he still did not move. Nyota felt herself breathing heavily, her whole body tense with anticipation. She had her eyes closed tightly and she bit her bottom lip waiting, waiting. Still, Spock did not move above her though she could feel the arm that was holding him up begin to tremble with the strain of his weight. What was he waiting for?!

Nyota opened her eyes. She looked up as Spock hovered above her staring at her intensely. What did he want from her? Wasn't her body enough? But he just stared and she willed herself to stare back. She knew Spock, knew he did nothing halfway, left nothing to chance. Even with his mind clouded with fever, he was giving her an out.

Uhura awoke to the sound of her alarm. She was disoriented. Was she back on Vulcan in the caves? No. This was home, her crew quarters on the Enterprise. She sat up in her bunk and sighed. It was only a dream. Or was it a memory? She shook her head and wished she hadn't. She had a headache. Great! What a way to start the day.

She got up and went about her regular morning ritual. But before she left she rummaged through her closet. Dr. Mccoy had given her some pain tablets when she first arrived aboard the Enterprise. She should still have them somewhere. There was no way she was going to the sickbay where Christine might be lurking, waiting to attack her again.

Uhura still could not believe what happened last night. She knew Christine would be upset when she found out, but Uhura had hoped she would have time to formulate a response. She had hoped she could explain to Christine what had happened and convince her it was just an accident, she had not intentionally married Spock without telling her. But it was not to be. And to be honest, she never believed it would work. Christine was going to be hurt. It was unavoidable. That's the way love goes.

Still, she felt awful that she had lied. Perhaps she was no better than Spock. She blamed him for keeping secrets and now she was doing the same thing. But was it the same? After all, people were entitled to some privacy in their personal lives, but Spock's secrets involved her. He had needed her body and her mind in order to survive. Surely he could've mentioned that before he went all caveman?

There was no sense in rehashing the same debate in her mind over and over. She was married to Spock and now she had to figure out what that meant for her future. Because like it or not, the secret was out and it was only a matter of time before everybody knew and there was no going back.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"Okay, so what does it look like?" Sulu asked as he and Uhura sat at his dining table in his quarters sharing another meal.

"What does what look like?" Uhura asked suspiciously.

After their shift, Sulu had invited her to dinner but now she was regretting accepting the invitation. He was going to make her pay for this excellent meal. Since she told him her story about Vulcan he had pried more details out of her and she'd broken down and told him about her 'honeymoon' Vulcan style.

"You know what. 'It'," Sulu said with air quotes.

"Vulcan?" she asked innocently "You ought to know, you saw more of it than I did during shore leave."

"Not Vulcan, Mr. Spock, what does he look like 'au naturel'. Spill girl."

"Hikaru! That's... that's disgusting."

"Really, I always thought he'd have a very beautiful body with a thin wiry physique and a lean musculature..."

"Sulu!" she warned.

"You know what I mean."

"I can't tell you what it looks like, I don't even know what it looks like."

"How could you not know? Didn't you get up close and personal on your honeymoon?"

"I was kinda busy at the time, I mean we were in a dark cave, and it was all a blur. Besides, it wasn't like I was there for personal enjoyment. It was just..." she didn't even know what she had experienced. "I don't know what it was, sex, duty, a fantasy? It was all rather unreal."

Uhura had worked herself up just thinking about it and began to tremble. Why was she so anxious lately? Every time she thought of Spock she got so anxious. She dropped her fork and stood up to pace.

"Star fleet prepares us for missions of all kinds, we have to prepare to take a life or to die in the line of duty. They try to warn us that we may be compromised and violated physically but you can never prepare for something like this."

"You mean like...rape?" he asked softly.

"It wasn't like rape! I don't know what it was but it was not a rape. Not as we think of it. For one thing, I volunteered to bond with Spock, didn't I?"

"Did you really?" Since hearing more of the story Sulu saw things in a different light.

"Yes of course I did. I volunteered to marry Spock. Yes, I felt I had to do it, but it was my choice. Out of all the other choices that were taken away from me, it was the only choice that was my own."

Sulu stood up and hugged her. "I am sorry I pried. Sorry I joked about it. I guess I just don't understand..."

Sulu was at a loss, he had always seen Nyota as being so strong mentally. She'd suffered trauma on missions before but she always bounced back. And she was so flirtatious and friendly one could easily assume she was sexually adventurous, but he had known her for years and he knew her to be a loyal monogamous person. Of course, Spock was attracted to her, who wasn't? But to kidnap her?

"Ny, maybe you should talk to somebody about this."

"Oh my goddess, 'Et tu Brute'?"

"What do you mean?"

"McCoy says I should "talk to somebody". I thought I was talking to somebody. You!"

"Yes but I am not trained to deal with stuff like sexual assault-"

"I was not assaulted! At least not like that. Spock would never do something like that, not even evil mirror Spock."

"So you keep saying, but you didn't exactly go Vulcan willingly."

"For the last time, Spock may be guilty of a hundred different crimes but he has never and would never force himself on me or any other woman!"

"You never know what a man will do when push comes to shove. I mean we've all done some crazy things while serving on this very ship. I ran through the ship with a rapier, and let's not forget how we all sabotaged the ship on Omicron Ceti III including you!"

"That was different, we were all out of our minds, hopped up on the spores."

"And? Supposedly Spock was sick and out of his mind this time too, and I've seen what damage he can do when he's out of his mind. Are you sure he didn't hurt you?" Sulu just wasn't buying this story. It didn't add up.

"He didn't hurt me," she defended. "He didn't do anything wrong. We got married, we had sex, and I consented. It was my choice, I just have to live with that choice."

Uhura realized she was very angry about the whole affair. She didn't have to defend herself! She didn't choose this, she chose to help a friend and in doing so she sacrificed a part of herself. She had no doubt Spock deserved to be saved and she would do it again if circumstances were the same, but she resented that she had to do it in the first place. She wished Spock had just come clean and asked her before she had to bond with him out of desperation.

She just didn't feel good about the whole affair now. In the light of day, she realized that she had been used and laid bare while Spock remained as closed off as he ever was. If only she knew where she stood with him. Did he care for her? Could he love her? Or was he just like the other men on the ship who saw her as little more than big tits and ass? She felt no better than an Orion slave woman. Not for the first time, Uhura wondered why Spock didn't simply hire a woman and be done with it!

"Have you ever been with an escort?" Uhura suddenly asked.

"What?"

"You heard me, have you?"

"Why do you ask suddenly?"

"I only wonder if this is how they feel after doing their jobs, angry and used."

"Oh, honey. Don't do this to yourself. I really feel you need to talk to somebody about all this, work out your feelings. It can't be healthy to bottle everything up."

"I always felt sorry for Orion women, if I ever gave them any thought at all. Now I feel their lives must be hell. We are so advanced as a society, we've come so far, and yet we still tolerate and even encourage things like Wrigley's Pleasure Planet and Argelius. It's still a man's world," she crossed her arms defensively.

"Nyota, those planets are self-determining. The federation cannot interfere in their cultural development. But it's not like that for everyone and there are male escorts too you know? It might not be ideal work but I'm sure some people truly enjoy their jobs. And let's not forget, not every species shares the human beliefs about sex, love, and marriage."

"But how do you know Sulu? How do you know they are okay with what they do?"

"I don't know how to answer you. I have known an escort or two and they didn't seem harmed."

"And you think they enjoyed it or they were just doing their duty whether they like it or not?"

"Well I hope they enjoyed it, I would not want to impose myself on anyone unwilling. The escorts I know invited me."

"But they were just doing their job, hustling up work making the customer feel good," she argued.

"In my case, I think it was more than that." Sulu defended.

"What makes you think so?"

"We stay in touch, still chat on subspace."

"Really?" Uhura could not believe her ears.

"You act surprised. I am a wonderful lover I'll have you know, I always leave my partners wanting more and more," he grinned.

"I bet you do, and yet there is nobody chasing you around on this ship or warming your bed," she joked.

"That you know of, but I don't play where I work."

"That's the best policy." She agreed.

"Especially since you won't have me," Sulu feigning sad voice.

"I would not touch you with a ten-foot pole." She shoved at Sulu playfully.

"Well, my pole is not quite ten feet but..."

"Sulu! How did this conversation end up on the size of your pole?"

"I'm a man, any conversation with a beautiful woman will end on my pole. If I'm lucky," he wagged his brows.

"Well, no such luck today Mister."

"Ya can't fault a fella for trying."

"Yes I can, I've had enough of that for the time being."

"Hmm if you say so."

"I do say so and let's drop the subject of sex. I am sick of it."

"Bite your tongue."

"Sulu, I'm serious I do not want to talk about sex or Spock."

"Okay, okay, I see you're in no mood for teasing. You know what, we'll switch from poles to foils."

"What?"

"Foils, fencing, you need a distraction. Fencing strengthens the body and sharpens the mind, relaxes you, and more importantly, it is an outlet for anger and pent up aggression when the need arises. It's a great way to relieve stress. I think you need to take your anger and aggression out on somebody in a safe way and fencing is my thing, so I can teach you."

"I don't want to learn to fence. Besides, you and me and sharp objects are a bad match," she joked remembering the scar on the mirror Sulu's face that she assumed her counterpart gave him.

"Well then lets spar, you can pretend I'm Commander Spock and you can pound my ass into the mats."

"Hikaru!"

"That didn't come out right, I just meant I'll let you win this time."

"What do you mean let me win? You don't think I can whoop your behind? I handled you well enough on that mirror Enterprise. From the looks of things you tried showing that Uhura your pole too."

"That Sulu was an asshole."

"Only that one?"

"Har hardy har, have I ever been anything but a perfect gentleman to you?"

"No," she conceded. "You've always been a perfect gentleman since the moment I stepped aboard the ship. And you're nothing like that other Sulu, I'm sorry I brought it up."

"Okay then it's settled, let's go pound some ass!"

"Sulu!"

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Sulu and Uhura sparred for about an hour before she began to feel more relaxed. Sulu was pulling his punches as promised but she most certainly was not. It felt good to punch something if truth be told. She figured she'd beaten on Sulu enough when Mr. Spock walk over to their sparring mat and looked directly at her.

"Lieutenant, I didn't know you were a pugilist." He said in greeting.

"Oh, something about me you don't know?" she said testily, "We were just playing around, blowing off a little steam. And we're just finishing up right Mr. Sulu?"

"Oh yes, I'm beat," Sulu said noticing the tension between Spock and Uhura.

"Miss Uhura, you look like you could go another round, do you mind if I take Mr. Sulu's place?"

Uhura looked at Spock as if he had grown another head. He wanted to spar with her? Here? In front of everybody? They had barely spoken to one another since returning unless it was work-related? Now suddenly he wanted to fight with her in the gym? Was he insane? The nerve of this man!

"I would be no match for you Commander. I am tired, Sulu and I have been here for a while."

"I assure you I have no intentions of fatiguing you, I will not use undue force. No harm will come to you," Spock promised.

For some reason that just raised her ire. She wanted to punch that smug Vulcan face of his just once.

"I can't say the same for you," she sang under her breath and punching her gloved fists together.

Sulu read Uhura's foul mood and cut in, "Perhaps you two should do this another time?" he suggested.

"Sulu, sweetie," she said with a deathly calm, "let me handle this." She pointed her chin at Spock and Sulu held up his hands in surrender and backed away giving Spock a sympathetic look.

Spock was not a boxer, he preferred to fight in the ancient Vulcan fighting arts, however, he understood the fundamentals of human pugilism. In fact, he had used the skills himself quite often as an undisciplined youth against unsuspecting bullies. Therefore, when he entered the makeshift 'ring' he was ready. He and Uhura danced around the sparring mat for a few moments getting a feel for the other's style.

Finally, Uhura had had enough dancing around and began her attack. Spock easily dodged and block her attempts to strike him at first and as promised he did not attack her nor try to strike her himself. But if he thought that allowing her to attack him unanswered would elicit some sort of respect or appreciation he was sadly mistaken. His graceful evasion angered Uhura even more and she didn't bother to pull her punches after a while. Uhura was quick and light on her feet and before Spock fully understood what had happened her attack became ferocious.

Spock instinctively blocked some of her blows before he could control his reflexes and that just pissed her off even more. She became frustrated and attacked more wildly and soon the attack was an all-out melee. It was on! Of course, she could not fell him but Spock found himself backing away in order to avoid the blows that were coming fast and furiously. He was forced to deflect them back at her lest she be harmed. Uhura eventually landed a hard blow to his face and he felt pain burst through his nose.

"Lieutenant, that is enough," he barked out the command, but she didn't stop. "Kroyka!" he said when she kept swinging. Sulu finally seized her from behind and stilled her arms.

She seemed to come out of a trance and stopped struggling. She looked up at Spock and saw the damage she had done to his nose which was now bleeding a rich green color.

"Oh my god, Spock!" she cried and tried to get out of Sulu's grasp but he was holding her back with all his might.

Oh shit!

"Sulu let me go and get these things off of me she said trying to remove her gloves."

"Ny, calm down!" Sulu said trying to restrain her.

Calm down? She'd just mashed in the face of her superior officer! She'd lost control and she hurt somebody! That wasn't her, that wasn't what she'd come here to do. "Let me go!" she cried.

"Lieutenant it was an accident. I shall have doctor McCoy attend to it, and I suggest you let Mr. Sulu attend to you. Unless you are also injured and need medical assistance?"

"No Spock. I hurt you. I am so so sorry, I don't know what came over me just then..."

"I understand Lieutenant, you had just cause." With that, he walked out of the gym.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

No sooner had Spock stepped into the corridor headed for the infirmary did the rumors start racing him to sickbay like a game of telephone. Someone in the gym told someone in engineering who told someone in communications, who told a friend in sickbay and so on.

News of the 'lovers spat' as it was later dubbed, spread around the ship like wildfire and by the time Spock actually reached the sickbay Dr. McCoy had clearly heard all about it over the com. Luckily nurse Chapel was nowhere to be seen else his humiliation would be complete. Spock thought having two women on the ship angry with him was two too many. One had just tried to bash his head in, he didn't need the other one wielding sharp instruments around him at the moment.

"What were you thinking letting that girl fight you like that?" Bones started in on Spock as soon as the door shut behind them in the exam room.

"You've got bruises forming all over your torso and face," McCoy said as he examined Spock.

"Just treat my nose Doctor I will attend to the rest later."

"With a healing trance or whatever? I'll want you to say here for me to monitor that. I don't trust your state of mind at the moment." McCoy informed him.

"Damn fool! Did you think to let her break your face would sort everything out and all's forgiven?"

"Certainly not, not exactly..." Spock said.

"Not exactly? Then what?" Bones demanded as he ran the bone-knitter over Spock's nose.

"I don't know," Spock said. "Nyota is..." Spock lost steam and was silent.

"Spock I never thought I'd see you at a loss for words." Bones laughed. "Boy oh boy, do you have it bad! She's got you by the er...nose." He joked as he finished patching Spock's nose.

Spock did not find anything amusing with his situation. His wayward wife had just attacked him. Not for the first time, Spock felt a new kinship with his father. How did Sarek keep his sanity whilst being married to a human female for over forty years?

"Spock, what the devil has gotten into you lately? I've never known you to box or practice forms of violence."

"I have observed that humans often need a physical release of pent up frustrations. I attempted to be a target of that frustration for the Lieutenant. It was an error."

"You think so? Why don't you leave psychology to us medical professionals hmm? Now I'll have to file a report about why the first officer is on the disabled list."

"That will not be necessary Doctor. If you will mend my nose I will be ready for duty in a few hours."

"You're not fit for duty until I say you are. No, you are going to stay here and do your healing thing and I am going to give you a thorough examination. Could be some internal damage."

"Doctor she did not hit me that hard, I was merely unprepared for the blow and did not have time to brace for impact."

"Most people duck. And I see she didn't beat any sense into you. Maybe I should sign you up for another round or two. And another thing, what made you do such a thing in public? There are already enough rumors going around about you two. You've got the gossiping tongues going full throttle. The story goes that you were jealous of Sulu, pushed him out of the ring and then Uhura cleaned your clock."

"That is absurd."

"Is it really? You weren't a tad jealous of Sulu spending time with your wife?" McCoy asked with a smirk on his face.

"Of course not." Spock was as indignant as a man could be with a busted nose.

"Mmm-hmm, if you say so." Mccoy didn't believe it for a second.

"I do say so, Doctor."

"Spock, if you want Uhura to ever speak to you again you need to stay out of her hair until this all blows over."

"And how long will that be Doctor?"

"I don't know, I once had a woman mad at me for over 10 years."

"How did you end the embargo?"

"We got divorced, far as I know she's still mad. That's women for you."

"I wouldn't know Doctor, I seem to drive them away."

"You'll find out soon enough. When a woman is mad just let her be. You know what they say, 'happy wife, happy life'."

"I did not know that 'they' said that doctor. I find it curious that you humans reduce every complex relationship into simple colloquialisms that offer no genuine advice."

"Colloquialism or not, it's a true sentiment, you'll see."

Spock wished McCoy would stop alluding to a time when he would see, or understand the workings of the female mind, presumably Uhura's mind. It was beginning to irritate him.

"Spock, are you sure you didn't let Uhura beat your face in, in order to assuage a little of your own guilt?"

"Guilt is illogical Doctor."

"You don't mean to tell me you don't feel even a little guilt or regret over what happened on Vulcan?"

"Doctor, it would not change the situation for me to do so. The actions I took were an unfortunate result of the illness from which I suffered. I lost control of my emotions and therefore behaved irrationally. I would have preferred not to have experienced the incident in question, but I don't see how belaboring the issue with guilt or remorse will undo the harm suffered by all parties involved."

"You don't see? You don't see! Well, I'm glad for you that you've recovered completely and are back to your usual stubborn pigheaded self. But maybe the rest of us aren't so lucky to have selective memory or to be able to ignore our emotions. Spock what you did to that girl-"

"Doctor!" Spock interrupted. "I don't wish to discuss this any further."

"Look, Spock. I more than anyone knows you didn't mean Uhura any harm. In fact, I know you would have harmed her least of any of us and it's tearing you up inside about what happened, but you can't fix it like this. No matter what you say about being Vulcan I know for a fact that even Vulcans feel emotions whether you acknowledge them or not. I've seen you emotional with my own eyes. And you are half-human too you know?"

"Doctor I see no need to sit here and listen to your continued insults..."

"Now you listen to me you pointy-eared goblin, this is not one of the times for our petty squabbles. There is a woman in pain here, you're in pain too..."

"Doctor, I do not wish to discuss this. My 'pain' will diminish if you repair my nose and allow me some peace. Now if you are finished, I will retire to my quarters to meditate."

Spock walked away calmly but Mccoy wasn't fooled by his composed exterior. He knew more than anyone that beneath the surface of cold Vulcan beat the heart of a good man, a feeling man, and a vulnerable man. Uhura wasn't the only one in pain. And like a good doctor and a friend, it was his duty to alleviate that pain where he could. But getting these two stubborn fools to work out their differences outside of a sparring mat was going to take more effort than herding a ship-full of tribbles. Dammit, he was a doctor, not a matchmaker!

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Spock left his meeting with Mccoy in an agitated state, though anyone who saw him calmly yet purposefully walking down the corridors of the Enterprise would never guess as to the emotions roiling beneath his placid facade. He made his way to his quarters without encountering anyone who might stop to engage him and began the soothing ritual of preparing for his evening meditations.

Whenever something was bothering him or weighing heavily on his mind meditation was always his solace. Other Vulcans might meditate to center their minds or purge excess emotion by working through them, but Spock used it as a time to simply forget, to get lost in the nothingness of the Vulcan mind at rest. It was therefore quite frustrating as he took his seat on his ceremonial meditation mats that his mind continued to churn up unwelcome thoughts and emotions without end. Try as he might, he couldn't find his center, what his mother called the "happy place" when he was a child. And there was another reason it was so important for him to find his center.

He was taxing his mental shields to their very limits. He was always under a constant barrage from the normal jetson and flotsam of human emotion aboard the ship, but since his ordeal, on Vulcan, he was now also subjected to the emotional projections of his bondmate. A bondmate who had not yet mastered the art of fully blocking the link. A bondmate who was constantly feeling things he'd never been subjected to before; things he didn't quite know how to deal with.

He needed his "happy place" and it was denied him. His bonding with T'pring had not been nearly as taxing. T'pring rarely made her presence in his mind known and when she did it was benign and emotionless. Just stray thoughts that she let slip. Nyota was not T'pring. He could feel Nyota in his mind constantly like the buzzing of a bee that he could not shoo away. He could feel when she was near, when she was angry, frustrated, when she as very sad, when she was very afraid and even when she was aroused. But though he could feel these things he could do little to comfort her or ease her troubles because Nyota had managed to block or was unaware of his mental messages even as she still leaked all her emotional baggage to him.

So Spock was caught up in his own personal hell. He thought he truly understood the meaning of the ceremonial words of the mating ritual for the first time in his life. "Parted from me and never parted, never and always touching and touched." Nyota was his bondmate but they had never been more distant, he could feel her in his soul yet she was as if a stranger to him. The fires of the pon farr were cooled but the desire to possess and claim his mate rode him constantly, and it didn't help that they worked side by side every day on the bridge. So close and yet so far. Parted from him but never truly parted. Spock had a wife but not a mate, somehow in life, he always managed to get only half of what he desired.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Uhura felt like crap. She never meant to hurt Spock, she'd only meant to teach him a little lesson about messing with her feelings. He was supposed to duck! Instead, he knocked his nose right into her fist. And though a large part of her felt awful about it, a tiny part felt some slight victory. Take that, you man you.

"Don't beat yourself up about this Ny," Sulu said as he worked on a painting in his cabin. "You might hurt yourself."

"Oh, do shut up! This is all your fault anyway." Uhura said. She was lounging on Sulu's sofa and once again she was keeping herself on the down-low.

"My fault? How is any of this my fault?"

"It was your idea to spar. I would have been happy with some chocolate ice cream and watching sad movies."

"Pssh. It was fun and you know it. Nobody forced you to spar. Nobody forced you to lose it and punch Spock's face in."

"It was an accident! He should have ducked!"

"Ok girl, ok. I'm sure if you apologize and offer to kiss his boo-boo he'll forgive you."

"I'll apologize, but I'm not kissing anything of his. He's lucky his nose is all that I broke."

"Since when did you become so bloodthirsty?" Sulu asked alarmed.

"Since I married a Vulcan!" Uhura threw her hands up in frustration.

"Nyota are you sure you're okay? This isn't like you."

"I wish people would stop asking me that. I'm fine, damn it!"

"Well, when you state it like that..." Sulu continued painting but kept an eye on her.

"Oh, hush. No, I'm not fine, ok? I'm tired, I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't think straight. This whole experience has been surreal and it's all because of Spock."

"Okay, I get it."

"No, you don't. I'm sorry I lashed out. Something is bothering me but I just need time to work it out on my own. But being with good friends like you helps, Hik." She walked over to Sulu and kissed the top of his head.

"Aww. You know all your friends have your back. We just want you to be happy."

"I want to be happy too," she said sadly.

"And I think you need to talk to Spock and clear the air between the two of you."

"I'm not ready to make nice with Spock. He's deceived me. He's lied by omission and he seems just fine with it. You can't have a relationship built on secrets and lies."

"I agree. But Mr. Spock doesn't lie. If anything he's honest to a fault."

"Maybe he doesn't mean to lie but think of all the secrets he's been keeping. He had a wife we knew nothing about, he staged a mutiny, kidnapped Pike, and stole the ship, his father is the Vulcan ambassador to the Federation, and his grandmother is the head of state on Vulcan. And don't get me started on all the secrets of Vulcan society..."

"All he had to do was tell me the truth. I would have understood. I can't stand being lied to. It hurts, Hik."

"Maybe he was afraid."

"Afraid of what? Little ol' me? Besides, he's a Vulcan. He doesn't get afraid of anything."

"Everybody has fear. Its how we react to that fear that defines us." Sulu said. "What are you afraid of Ny?"

"Hik, I can't deal with Spock right now. I said I would try, but it's too much too fast."

"Alright. But you're going to have to face him sooner or later. Word is spreading about your fight, and how long before Christine lets something slip?"

"If Christine knows what's good for her she'll keep her mouth shut. She violated my privacy. And I'll deal with Spock later. He'll be fine anyway. He always lands on his feet."

"Now you sound like Dr. Mccoy. Spock isn't superman you know. He has feelings too."

"Well, he does his best to keep them to himself. I just wish I knew how he felt. What does he want from me?"

"Only Spock knows."

"What if he doesn't want me? What if..." Uhura stopped herself.

"What if what?"

"Nothing." She said shutting down.

Sulu shook his head. "You know he used to smile all the time," Sulu said.

"Spock?" Uhura didn't believe it.

"Mmm-hmm all the time," Sulu said.

"When? I've never seen anything but his arrogant smirk when he's one-upped McCoy or some other lackwit on the bridge."

"Back when Pike was captain, when he first took Spock under his wing. Spock was much younger then, he had a baby face if you could believe it."

"I don't believe it, he seems the type that is born with a frown and a bad attitude. 'Miss Uhura'" she mocked, "Vulcan has no moon."

"Maybe I have a halo-pic, let me see-" Sulu looked through his archives on his console. "See here..." he activated the halopic.

Uhura looked into the eyes of a much younger and more gangly built Spock and caught her breath. He did indeed have a babyface and he looked fresh from the Vulcan forge she mused.

And he was smiling. It was a strange sensation to see him like that. It felt wrong. Spock was not an unemotional being, she knew, but seeing him actively emoting was unnerving. It made her heart ache for the young man he was trying to be.

It reminded her once again how alien he was and how much of a fish out of water he must have been back then. Seeing Spock's smile was like seeing a cat wearing clothing. Another example of humans imposing their will on others to make themselves feel better.

"He tried so hard to fit in back then," Sulu said, "he smiled, he even joked a little. But after a while under Capt. Pike he gave it up. Gradually he grew out of it and I guess and became more like the man he is today. I don't know, we were all young and green then trying to be like Pike."

"You looked very handsome, very dashing," Nyota said noting Hikaru in his blue uniform. She had forgotten he had started in the sciences. "I wish I had known him back then."

"Why? Would it make any difference in how you treat him or how you feel about him now?"

"I don't know... I guess... I don't know. THAT Spock," she pointed to the pic, "seems so much more approachable than present Spock, like the difference between here and that mirror world Spock."

"He is not really that different now, he is more like his true self I would say. He was awkward back then, he didn't know where he fit into our human world. Now he has found where he feels he belongs, where he can relate to us on his own terms."

"But I can't relate to him," Nyota said frustrated.

"Have you really tried? I mean I know you've slept with him-"

Uhura gave him a dirty look but he continued"- But... have you tried just talking to the man without getting angry or defensive? You two have so much in common already, and before the surprise marriage, you were almost inseparable. Surely you must understand him a little by now?"

"I didn't realize you cared so much about Spock," she said getting defensive.

"I don't really, not beyond mutual respect as a colleague. You, Capt. Kirk, and Dr. McCoy were always his closest acquaintances on board."

"Really? I mean we're just colleagues, he's been a teacher to me, and even a healer. I thought at one time there may be something more to it, but then he ghosted me. I feel like I never really knew him at all. And then you tell me apparently, we've been in a "relationship" all this time?"

"Well maybe if you'd spent less time flirting and teasing and more time paying attention to his intentions-"

"Like you weren't doing the same, trying to impress him, that is. Showing off your knowledge of history and strategy. Everybody tries to impress Spock, he inspires that in people. I always wanted to be a better human because of him."

"Mr. Spock does have that effect on people, makes you want to think more logically and be better at your job."

"What would you have done if he had snatched you off the ship instead of me?"

"My dear that doesn't bear repeating to such tender young ears he teased."

"Oh, you!" she tossed a pillow at him.

"And what about Scotty? Would he just go along with marring his commander?"

"Mr. Scott is a hopeless romantic in love with the ladies, but if YOU had been doing the snatching he'd go right along with it. Spock would need to bribe Scotty with some of that secret Vulcan engineering technology people are always whispering about in order to persuade the Scotsman."

"There's no secret Vulcan technology Uhura pshawed."

"Are you sure? they reached earth a long time before we knew about them and what about Romulans, how did they branch off from Vulcan if not through space travel long before we were capable of leaving our own solar system? You cant tell me a race of people with super memory and processing speed don't have superior technology hidden away from us little brain barbarians."

"But Vulcans don't chase technology for tech sake as we do, even now the Federation is leading in warp drive research, we've surpassed their warp drive technology many times over."

"Have we? Or is that just what they want us to think? Vulcans keep their cards close to their vest as you well know. Besides, there's more to technology than warp drives."

"Sulu always the strategist. Vulcan is an ally, a founding member of the Federation, they don't have any reason to hide their technology from us."

"They don't? You don't think there are people who still mistrust Vulcans even after all this time? Our own proves there is a faction out there, doesn't he? And what about that incident at Murasaki 312 when the Galileo crew turned on Spock?"

Uhura didn't like to think about that incident, she could tell that Spock had been disturbed by it though he would never show it. "Stiles was proven wrong," she said. "And there will always be people who go unhinged under pressure on a mission. Those are just incidents, not the norm."

"So? there are millions more Stiles' out there waiting to get their voices heard. Don't kid yourself Nyota, there is still prejudice in the federation. And not just against Vulcans, against the Klingon, the Romulans, the Orions, any race not human."

"But those other races are our enemies."

"So? Should we hate them whole-cloth? And they may be our COMPETITION but are they our enemies? Don't we have room for mutual respect?"

"Why does it seem the world is suddenly a big ol' scary place with landmines everywhere I step?" Uhura said sitting back on Sulu's little sofa. "I've been in tighter situations than this but why does a relationship with Spock scare the heck out of me? And now I'm in an inter-species relationship where one or both of our peoples hate or distrust the other? Why me?"

"Why not you? Because you're you." He said continuing to paint.

"Seriously would you marry Spock or someone of a different culture knowing what you know about the galaxy?"

"Me? Uh no, Spock and I would not suit. He's not my type."

"No, I guess not, you're both too much alike," Uhura said thoughtfully.

"Why, thank you... I think."

"Don't worry it was a compliment. You're right you wouldn't suit though. Spock needs somebody to loosen him up not encourage him to be more Vulcan."

"You mean somebody like you?"

"No, not me per-se but somebody, you know, happy, warm, fun."

"Hmmm you don't say, but not you?"

"No. He should have grabbed Christine, she is the one madly in love with him. I still can't figure out why he chose me, why me? Why not Christine for god's sake!?"

"Christine? You would seriously do that to Spock. Besides they wouldn't suit at all, he barely acknowledges her except on a professional level. Any other time she hovers around like a hawk waiting for him to slip up. And as you say if he wanted her he could have had her or any other of the admirers he has on the ship any time he wants. But he didn't want anybody else."

"See that's what I mean. If it had to be a colleague why not one who at least has shown interest?"

Sulu snorted, "Don't act as if you've never shown any interest!"

"That was just innocent flirting it wasn't serious!"

"To you, it may not have been serious but obviously, it was different for Spock."

"But don't you see, how could I have not known that? Never mind he's Mr. Spock he wrote the book on being inscrutable."

"You, Nyota, have a blind spot when it comes to Mr. Spock. Anyone who had any notion of his personality could see that he had a thing for you."

"What? "A thing"? Mr. Spock has 'a thing' for me? Now you're talking crazy Sulu, stop trying to see romance where there isn't any."

"Crazy? Really? Just who besides you and maybe the captain spends so much time with Spock? Who besides you does he go out of the way to assist on projects unrelated to his field? Who besides you does he tutor in the Vulcan language, and the Vulcan harp, and Vulcan philosophy, and Vulcan cuisine?" Sulu ticked off on his fingers. "Who besides you does he rush to whenever the ship is tossing us around like ping pong balls? He gets to you first, even before he checks the captain-"

"We sit next to each other!" Uhura cut in.

"And" Sulu continued, "who spent hours of his free time probing your mind for memories to help re-educate you after Nomad attacked you? Why did you think he was doing all that if he didn't have 'a thing' for you? Teaching you his language, his culture, sharing his hobbies? A lot of people would see that as courting."

"But he was just being nice!"

"He's a man Nyota, we're not that nice! A man, any man, even a Vulcan one would have certain expectations given the circumstances. It's only logical if you think about it."

"Ok, then why didn't he say anything to me? Me, the one who's apparently been courted by Commander Spock for the better part of a 5-year mission! So much heartache could have been avoided."

"Maybe he thought you knew; I mean in hindsight it's pretty obvious he was grooming you for something. Or maybe he was leading up to making a formal declaration, or maybe you should be asking him these questions instead of me?"

"I can't."

"Why not?"

"I'm not talking to him right now."

"Why not?"

"I don't want to. He's got my head all mixed up, I can't be around him without feeling..." she couldn't articulate how she felt about Spock. She didn't dare tell Sulu about the dreams she was having or the fantasies of her and Spock...

"You've got it bad girl, that is why."

"No!"

"Yup, you're in love with Mr. Spock." Sulu laughed.

"I am not, we're just friends!" Nyota said as if he had just accused her of having cooties.

"Married friends?"

She didn't like this one bit. How did she end up married to Spock! She cried tears of frustration.

"Oh Nyota," Sulu stopped his painting and sat beside her to hug and pat her back.

"I don't want to be in love Mr. Spock. I can't. I'm done with that nonsense. I don't want to be another Christine acting all dopey, stalking him, fawning all over him, throwing myself at him."

"Then don't act that way, you never have before."

"That's right, cause every time I let myself be vulnerable I get my heart kicked in. I'm not in love and I'm not going to be."

"If you say so." Sulu placated her.

"I'm not," she denied. "I refuse to be like Miss Amanda chasing after his royal aloofness. I don't want to be announced as Mrs. Spock or she who is his wife everywhere we go. I'm not walking three steps behind him wherever we go. I want to be Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, an officer in my own right."

"Can't you be both?"

"I don't know." Uhura whispered, "I honestly don't know."

Published

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"Jim, we need to do something about Spock and Uhura before any more damage is done." Bones said as he tried to catch up to the captain as he rushed through the halls of the ship.

"Bones I wish you would have more faith in romance. They'll be fine, you'll see the cuddling, the settling, it will happen. They just need time." Captain Kirk kept walking to his destination.

"Time you say? Well, I just released Spock from sickbay because Uhura cleaned his clock. Is that that the kind of time you're talking about?

"What?" Kirk stopped in his tracks.

"Uhura punched Spock in the face," Bones informed him.

"Why, how, when? What!?" Jim couldn't believe his ears.

"Apparently, they were sparring in the gym and she decked him."

"Uh-oh." Jim said.

"Uh-oh, what?" Bones asked.

"Well, Spock asked me what I would do if he had treated me like he did the Lieutenant," Jim said sheepishly.

"And?" McCoy asked with suspicion.

"And I told him I would probably punch him in the jaw."

"You didn't?" Bones said with an exasperated shake of his head.

"Of course I did. It was the truth, I would have decked him. I guess he took it as advice," Jim said rubbing the back of his neck in apprehension.

"Jim, did you tell him to let Uhura punch him in the face?"

"No Bones I did not! He came up with that scheme all on his own. Fool."

"Damn fool if you ask me," McCoy grumbled.

"How is he?"

"He's fine, she didn't do any permanent damage, except maybe to his ego."

"Good, and Uhura?"

"Haven't seen hide nor hair of her. She's keeping a low profile, which is good considering the stories that are making the gossip rounds."

"Good good. Hopefully, this will all blow over soon and we can get back to normal."

"Normal? Don't count on it. We have another problem," McCoy said.

"What problem Doctor?" Kirk was beginning to become annoyed with the whole thing.

"Christine."

"What about her?"

"Somehow she got a hold of Spock's and Uhura's medical records."

"And?"

"And, I updated the records to show their marital status had changed."

"Bones! Why?" Jim was really starting to lose his patience.

"Starfleet regs. I had to, but I sealed those records as top secret eyes only. I even assigned the filing to an ensign so Chris would have no reason to touch them. But apparently, the ensign had a date and passed it off to Christine."

"Ok, so she filed the records and they were sealed. Do you think she knows about Spock and Uhura?"

"I know she knows about Spock and Uhura, she unsealed the records and confronted me about it."

"Why would she do that?!"

"Jim, I don't understand the workings of the female mind. She did it. I ordered her to keep it to herself but you know women. She ran straight to M'Benga and told him. I ordered him to keep it hush-hush but it's only a matter of time before it's all over the ship."

Kirk sighed. "Ok, so she knows now. What are we going to do about it?"

"We Jim? What happened to your non-meddling stance?"

"I'm not meddling, just doing my job. You are the one meddling, you worry too much Bones."

"I worry too much? You don't worry enough. Jim, I told you this wouldn't be all rose petals and lollipops; did you see Uhura giving him the coldest of cold shoulders in the rec the other night?"

"Yes, I did Bones," the Captain admitted, "I've never see Uhura act that way before. She's been distant on the bridge as well."

"You're darn right you haven't. Not even when she's annoyed at you, and she's annoyed at you a lot, she still has the patience of a saint compared to the rest of us."

"Annoyed at me? Why would Uhura ever be annoyed at me?" Kirk asked in surprise.

"You know, like that whole Riley situation."

"Riley? Riley? Kevin Riley? What about him?"

"Yeah, she was not even this upset after he transferred and dropped her."

"What Riley situation?" Kirk seemed to be stuck on that.

"When Uhura and Riley were dating!"

"Uhura and Riley were dating!? What? What!"

"Jim, I thought you said you keep abreast of the crew happenings? How could you have missed that?"

"I do try to stay informed. I must have missed this one somehow. I know they were buddies, but Uhura's friendly with everyone. And yeah she sang to him over the intercom, and he flirted with her but... That loser? Oh my god, I'm so blind."

"Now he realizes," McCoy mumbled.

"How could I have not known...?"

"Well, you were busy with your own drama during the Kodos affair if you recall. She was quite upset with you for putting Riley in harm's way, I can tell you. You should have seen her in the sickbay every chance she got nursing him back to health after the poisoning."

"What? She did? I can't believe I missed all that," he said thoughtfully.

"Why does it matter? It's all ancient history now."

"Well just that I... you know, missed it. And you say they broke up and I had something to do with it?"

"Broke up is a nice way of putting it, when he transferred out he just upped and left without a word. Uhura was heartbroken for a while."

"Damn, I had no idea..."

"You got one thing right, she is tender-hearted and she cared for Riley like a sick pup only to have him do that to her. Maybe she does need somebody to care for, but Spock is a rather cold comfort if you ask me."

"I always knew that Riley was a bum," Jim said still stuck on the topic.

"What are you getting mad for now Jim? It was years ago, she's well over it now and has greener fish to fry."

"Still, she didn't deserve that," Jim said quite adamantly.

"No, she didn't," McCoy said starting to get suspicious. Jim seemed to care a little too much.

"Jim, you uh... wouldn't happen to have had some feelings for Uhura yourself, would you?"

"Me?!" Jim scoffed, "No of course not Bones. How could you even ask?"

"Well, you just seem a little too interested if you ask me."

"Well nobody asked you," Jim said and stormed off towards his quarters.

Bones followed needing to get to the bottom of this. Jim was acting jealous and Bones had never known him to show any romantic feelings towards a crewman. He made it a point to look elsewhere for his romantic entanglements.

"Jim, what is going on? YOu practically push Spock and Uhura together and now you are showing jealousy towards Riley?"

"I am not jealous of Riley, I told you I thought he was a jerk that's all."

"Yeah, I could see Uhura's close friends saying that and we all did say it at the time, but that happened years ago, you were entangled with that Kodos mess and his daughter."

"Yes, I remember, but that was different."

"How? You get involved and leave women behind all the time," Bones countered.

"No, I don't Bones! Not like that. Those are not serious relationships with people I-- its not the same thing."

"I don't see why not, Jim."

"It's not! Look, people fall in and out of love. And even I know that I have a pattern. But it is different with friends like Uhura or it should be. The bridge crew is so tight-knit, you know on a different deeper level than just colleagues, we're like family Bones. You're not supposed to screw over your family..."

McCoy had rarely seen this side of the Captain. He knew that Jim had had a rough childhood, living off-world with his mother and brother on Kronos when Kodos the executioner killed thousands of innocents right before his eyes. He knew Jim had lost his only brother a few years ago too. He could see how the crew would become his family, hell even McCoy himself had come to think of Jim and Spock as his closest friends in the world. But he had never thought the captain was likewise attached. He routinely sent bridge crew on missions that could lead to their deaths. McCoy assumed Jim stayed aloof from other members of the crew for that reason.

"Jim, I thought you didn't believe in getting involved with the crew?"

"I don't, Bones. A captain does not have the time nor the luxury for relationships."

"Maybe, but why are you pushing so hard for Spock and Uhura?"

"Bones, somebody's got to make it work. I'm married to this ship but the rest of you, you deserve good lives, real lives with real families and homes and real love. I don't want to see you all grow old and alone still trawling around in the galaxy with only your careers and memories of what was."

"Do you want that for yourself? Don't you deserve a home and family and love too?"

"No Bones, that's not for me, I am going to die in space, that much I know. But for the rest of you, you can have it, you can have love, homes, happiness, and die surrounded by family and friends like a human being, not a space jockey. You too bones, you deserve that happy ending."

"Jim-"

"Don't say anything more Bones, I've made my decisions long ago, even before I became a captain. I am what I am, and I'm at peace with that. I might flirt and fall in love with the women I meet, but never with a crewman and we both know sooner or later this ship will whisper in my ear and call me off to duty and any wife and children I had would be left behind to fend for themselves."

Like Jim and his brother were left behind, McCoy thought. Space had a way of pulling at a man, ripping him away from everything he held dear like the song of a Siren. He felt it himself. He'd left behind his own wife and daughter...

"We've all got Starfleet in our blood Jim, you don't think Spock feels the same pull for all that he denies having feelings. And Uhura, she's an officer through and through. She'd follow you off a cliff and you know it. We all would."

"No. No Spock isn't a captain and he does not want to be one. Space is not in his blood. He still has other choices, a chance at something else. More than likely he'll get disillusioned with Starfleet and become a diplomat like his father or a scientist or a teacher like his mother. And Uhura, she's a wonderful communications officer but that isn't going to last, they're already building ships with more integrated communications that don't require an officer constantly monitoring it. She'll be reassigned to another role or perhaps leave the fleet for the private sector. Settle down into something more steady, have a home and family and be the nurturer she was born to be," he said wistfully.

Bones could see Jim had really thought about all of this and was fully committed to it. He'd never suspected that Jim felt that way about any of them, especially Uhura. Boy his friends were something else, two knuckleheads both of them toiling away day in day out on the bridge, both pining away for a woman who had no clue and both denying themselves the love and comfort of a gentle soul. Well, maybe Spock wasn't so dumb after all. He did get the girl in his own way, even beating out Jim.

"You know what Jim? I am plumb tuckered out between your matchmaking and those two dunderheads determined to resist each other I just about give up. I'm a doctor not a therapist, and you all need therapy, many many sessions of it. And I need a drink. They need to put a permanent counselor on these ships. I am going to make a suggestion to Starfleet command first thing in the morning."

"I thought we had one, uh... what's her name, Helen uh...

"Noel, Dr. Helen Noel?"

"Yeah, that's the one."

"She's a good psychiatrist. She'll make an excellent counselor if we ever get an official assignment for her."

"Well, Bones set it up, I'll back you one hundred percent whatever you need to push it through."

"I'll get right on it. Maybe then I can get some peace around here."

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Jim made it to his cabin and settled down on his bunk to think. Of course, he had feelings for Uhura but it wasn't how Bones thought. She was his family. She looked up to him like he could do no wrong. He was her hero. And he did annoy her he knew it. He could be brusque when he was frustrated, and he was often thoughtless of her feelings, he even remembered joking about Riley after he was transferred out. He had never known they were an item. Maybe he just didn't want to know. And he was busy with his own affair with Kodos and his daughter at the time.

He had only been trying to keep Riley safe when he assigned him to the graveyard shift in engineering. He knew they used the comm system to chat up one another but thought it was just usual crew hijinks. And when they were all infected with the heavy water sickness and Riley took over the ship, Jim had been rough on him then too. He was actually glad to see the back of him when Spock recommended him for a promotion. But he never knew he was the cause of Uhura's heartbreak, that his approving Riley for transfer off the ship was splitting up a couple. He wondered if he had known would he have followed through with it or denied it for Uhura's sake?

And then Jim thought of Spock. He bet Spock knew all about Uhura and Riley. How did he tolerate seeing the two of them together and not get jealous? Ship romance was not forbidden but he could see why Starfleet didn't encourage them either, it only led to the kind of mess they were in right now. His two best officers barely speaking and him spending too much time 'meddling' instead of running his ship.

Tomorrow he was going to order the two of them into therapy or counseling or something like Bones suggested, they could use it. And then perhaps he could finally get some peace on his own ship.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Uhura didn't know how she was able to make it through her shift. Her head was pounding again and she was bone-tired, again. She had hardly got any sleep last night except for a few hours of intense dreams. Meanwhile, Spock sat at his station looking fresh and bright as a spring daisy. As the day wore on she became more and more irritated. Spock didn't even look her way. He was making a concerted effort to ignore her and of course, that pissed her off even more. She had yet to apologize for the 'Incident' as it came to be known shipwide. If one more crewmate called her 'Champ' she was gonna punch somebody else.

So, she was looking for a little r&r and some much-needed relief from constant thoughts of Spock when she found herself below decks in the ship's spa after her last shift. She loved to pamper herself once in a while, and she'd been neglecting herself lately.

"Lieutenant Uhura, I haven't seen you here in a while how have you been?"

Uhura smiled up into the open friendly face of spa technician Hernandez.

"Hernandez! It's good to see you again. I could use some of your TLC I'm a little tense." Uhura rolled her shoulders.

"I hate to say it Lieutenant but you look it. So just sit back relax and let me take care of you." Technician Hernandez said as he ushered her from the waiting room to his station. He proceeded to arrange her into a massage chair and began with the friendly chatter Uhura usually enjoyed while in the spa.

"So what's been happening with you lately? I haven't seen you here in a while. And honestly, your muscles are very tense, anything bothering you... Champ?"

Uhura cringed.

"No," She said just trying to enjoy her massage. "The usual bridge drama. What's happening with you?" she asked trying to change the subject.

"Well, nothing exciting ever happens down here in the spas, all the glory goes to the big boys and girls on the bridge. I mean we did have that awesome shore leave on Vulcan a few weeks ago, of course, you know all about that," he said offhandedly while massaging her shoulders. Uhura's whole body tensed up.

"What do you mean I know all about that?"

"Well everyone got a chance to beam down, didn't you? I thought for sure everyone went."

"Oh yeah, yes I was down there."

"I thought so, I know how you love to shop wherever we stop. I tried to find some interesting souvenirs but the shopping district was pretty busy with all of us roaming around at once and the shop keepers that were Vulcan seemed extra stuffy and snobbish. I thought I would be prepared, I mean I've met Vulcans before but these Vulcans were just extra you know what I mean?"

"Yeah, I know," she said trying to relax again.

"Anyway, they have some interesting spa facilities there. The Vulcans are so technologically advanced but they still use low tech relaxation techniques; a lot of meditation, some movement therapy that looks like yoga or Tai-chi combined, and they use water therapy a lot. I guess for a mostly desert planet it makes sense to revere water for health practices."

"Hmm," Uhura agreed. She really didn't want a lecture on how great Vulcan was.

"No wonder Mr. Spock always looks so cool. Imagine coming from a culture that is just so chill and relaxed without all the emotional hangups."

Uhura didn't care to imagine but she kept her mouth shut. Her relaxing massage was turning out to be another exercise in futility.

"I heard that Mr. Spock is the reason we all got shore leave in the first place," Hernandez continued. "He was injured or sick or something and only the healers and medicine on Vulcan could save him so the Enterprise diverted to save his life. I can't even imagine being so important that a whole star-ship diverts for me. But Mr. Spock seems to get the royal treatment nowadays. His father is the ambassador to the federation you know? Can you believe he kept that a secret? I guess he didn't want anyone knowing how he got his position."

"What do you mean how he got his position?" Uhura's mind was telling her not to engage, not to get involved, but a part of her could not let anyone disparage Spock, not on her watch.

"You know, his father got him in Starfleet. And to think he almost let his dad die," Hernandez said shaking his head and tsk-tsking his tongue.

"Commander Spock got his rank and position the same as the rest of us on this ship, by vigorous study and hard work."

"Well, that's not what I heard. It makes sense when you think about it. He's one of the few Vulcans who even bothered to join Starfleet and he just happens to be the son of a high ranking diplomat? And he just happens to be the ship's first officer and science officer? How does that work? I don't even think Captain Kirk could hold down two top positions, not that something like that would ever be offered to anyone else."

"Mr. Spock can hold down two positions on this ship because he is capable of it; because he works harder than any two men aboard put together, not because of any nepotism."

"Well, I'm only repeating what I've heard," Hernandez defended.

"Well, don't," she said with clenched teeth.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to upset you," Hernandez said easing her back down into the massage chair which she almost bolted from. "Honestly, I didn't think before I spoke. I know you and Mr. Spock are on the outs so I just assumed-"

"What?! Assumed what?"

"Well...um people, not me, but people who come in for a massage were saying that you two broke up," Hernandez said nervously.

"Broke up? Broke up what?" Now Uhura was pissed. Was everyone gabbing about her and Spock's relationship behind their backs all this time? People thought they were together?

"Well just that you weren't friends anymore that you... um punched him?" Hernandez said sheepishly.

"That was an accident!"

"Of course it was, that's what I thought too, but you know how ship's gossip is. People just blow everything out of proportion. It's not any of my business."

"No, it isn't," Uhura said getting up. She used to love these visits to the spa and the bit of ship's gossip she enjoyed with Hernandez and the others, never thinking they were gossiping about her too.

"For the record, Mr. Spock is my friend, he is a good man, and he deserves any rank and position he has because he earned them by doing his duties even when faced with colleagues that judge him as different every chance they get. And if this ship has to turn around and take him to Vulcan to save his life once in a while then that is the least Starfleet can do for a man who has not only saved this ship and every life on it but the entire galaxy at least a dozen times. Now, why don't you spread that rumor?" She said as she huffed her way out of the spa.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"Jim, we've got trouble."

"What trouble Bones?" The captain asked already suspecting he knew what or rather who was causing trouble for Bones.

"Trouble, with Spock and Uhura."

"Bones didn't we have this conversation? I told you not to meddle, that it would all work itself out?"

"And I told you that's not how this thing works."

"Well, what is it now?"

"They are still not speaking to one another, Uhura hasn't been herself since she came back aboard, she's been grumpy, unfriendly, tense, and violent."

"Violent?!"

"Yes, she actually struck Spock remember?"

"Bones that was an accident and I already cleared her on that charge."

"Accident or not, the fact remains she hit him in front of witnesses. And today there was a scene in the ship's spa."

"What scene? I haven't heard about any scene."

"Why would you if you weren't there?"

"I told you I keep up with ships business."

"Well, this just happened a while ago. Uhura got angry and stormed out, after reprimanding Hernandez the spa attendant."

"Hernandez?!"

"Yeah"

"She reprimanded Hernandez?"

"Yes, Jim!"

"What did he do to her?"

"Nothing, its what he said. He pissed her off."

"Hernandez?"

"That's what I just said. Why, what does it matter who it was?"

"It's just that I know him, I mean he usually attends to me when I visit the spa. He's a good guy."

"You mean he's a good gossip. I hope he isn't the source of your gossip-mill intel?"

"Don't worry about my sources. What did Uhura do?"

"Apparently, she got upset when he made some unflattering remarks about Spock."

"Really? That doesn't sound so bad, in fact, it sounds promising that she defended Spock."

"Jim, do you hear yourself? Forget about Uhura and Spock's relationship for a moment and focus on Lieutenant Uhura. She is not adjusting as you thought she would, as I was worried she wouldn't."

"Bones-"

"Don't 'Bones' me anymore about this. Now I've requested she see Dr. Noel and once I have her report I am going to make a recommendation."

"Why does it sound like you have already made your recommendation about this?"

"Because I have. That girl needs a break from all of this. She needs to get away from Spock and this ship and all the wagging tongues for a while."

"Bones I can't run this ship without my best communications officer--"

"You can and you will, besides she's gone on leave before and the ship was just fine. M'Ress and Palmer can handle it. You'll survive without her for a few weeks-"

"A few weeks! I was thinking a few days at most-"

"Now you listen to me, Jim. This is something that can't be fixed in a few days. She needs some rest, have you looked at her, I mean really looked. She's due a break, she deserves a break, she's earned a break and I am saying that as my official medical opinion. Have I ever been wrong about these things?"

Captain Kirk sighed in resignation. "No Bones you haven't. I have, but you haven't. Still, I can only spare her for a week. Just give me the papers and I'll sign them."

"Thanks, Jim, believe me, its for the best."

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Uhura reported to the counselor's office as 'requested' by Dr. McCoy. She still didn't want to do this but he had threatened to report her to the captain and so she had no choice, again. To her surprise, she was greeted by a familiar face, Dr. Helen Noel.

"Helen! Dr. Noel? I didn't know you were the new ship's counselor?"

"Yes, I'm surprised about it myself. I thought I'd be drummed right off the Enterprise after that incident on the Tantalus Colony."

"Why would you think that?" Uhura asked as she was ushered into the doctor's office.

"Well, if it wasn't for me Captain Kirk wouldn't have been in that device and nearly killed," Helen said shaking her head in embarrassment.

"Are you sure about that? The Captain would have gotten himself into some kind of trouble regardless of who accompanied him. You know they say the T. in James T. Kirk stands for trouble. And you should know the Captain is not the kind of person to hold a grudge. We've all done something stupid on this mission. Even me, I was a part of the group that sabotaged the ship when everyone was infected by those spores on Omicron Ceti III."

"I suppose I can thank his forgiving nature and Dr. McCoy for championing the cause of a ship's counselor."

"Well regardless of how it all happened, congratulations on your new position. You deserve it."

"Thank you, Lieutenant. That means a lot coming from you. I've always admired you and all the bridge officers who get to hobnob with the big boys up there, going on the big missions, saving the day."

"It's not as glamorous as people make it out to be. Your own away mission should tell you something of how it goes. Seems we're always on the front line for more danger rather than adventure."

"I can imagine. My one brush with danger was enough for me. I thought I'd never live it down. For weeks afterward, I thought people were discussing it behind my back, how I almost got the Captain killed, how I trusted that mad doctor over my own captain, etc."

"They probably were. You know there are no secrets on a ship like this. Sooner or later everyone knows everything about you whether you like it or not," Uhura said bitterly.

"And how does that make you feel?" Helen asked her gently.

"Oh, are we starting already?"

"Starting what? This is just a friendly informal chat."

"In a psychiatrists office at Dr. McCoy's request?"

"Dr.McCoy only asked if I could speak to you. He didn't tell me anything else, not the nature of the talk or why. If you don't feel comfortable talking to me, there are other counselors here at your disposal. I suppose he thought since we know each other that you might prefer speaking to me."

"Helen, I have no issue talking to you, I just don't know what good talking about it will do."

"Well, why don't you just talk about 'it' and I'll listen. Sometimes that's all you need to get your own ideas flowing and sort out your own feelings."

"That's just it. I don't want to think and I don't want to feel, at least not right now. I am just exhausted, too much has happened in too short a time for me to deal with it logically."

"Logically you say? Is this about Mr. Spock?" Helen asked.

Uhura sighed. "OF course, you know something about it from the gossip mill no doubt."

"Well 'logically' is his favorite word and the two of you are known to be very good friends. And you did just punch him in the face... But I'd like to hear it from you if you'd like to tell me about it."

"I don't want to talk about Mr. Spock. I am sick of talking about and thinking about Mr. Spock."

"Well then let's talk about something you do like. I know you love music, yet I haven't seen you at any of the talent nights nor have you been in the rec room playing your lute."

"The ka'athyra," Uhura corrected her automatically.

"Yes, that beautiful stringed instrument," Helen said. "So what's been going on?"

"I can't think about music right now, it reminds me of..."

"Of?" Helen asked

"The ka'athyra reminds me of Spock, he gave me one," Uhura said with frustration. "I can't visit my friends in engineering because Spock may be there too. He's on the bridge more hours of the day than humanly possible. I can't relay a message without hearing gossip about me and Spock, I can't breathe the air on this ship because it is recycled Spock air. I can't sleep without Spock in my dreams. He's everywhere I go, he's constantly in my mind!"

"Hm, that's interesting. So Mr. Spock is always on your mind?"

"He's not always ON my mind he's IN my mind!"

"What do you mean he's in your mind? Do you mean like telepathy? I know the Commander has some telepathic ability as all Vulcans do, he extracted the information from Dr. Van Gelder that saved the Captian but--"

"Spock doesn't just have 'some' ability, from what I can tell he is a very strong telepath."

"Okay, but as a Vulcan, he should not be able to make mental contact with you without physical contact and especially not without your consent. Vulcans are touch telepathic and they have strict rules about privacy."

"Spock is not your average Vulcan. Besides this is not your average mind-meld. We're bonded," Uhura confessed.

"Bonded?"

"Yes, and I couldn't explain it to you even if I understood it myself." Uhura huffed a defeated sigh. "A few weeks ago Spock and I were sort of married," she said resting her head in her hands.

"Sort of married?" Helen asked astonished. "How do you get sort of married?"

"Yes, married but also more than a marriage. It goes deeper than that. On Vulcan marriage involves a psychic bond connecting two minds. But in our case, our minds are not just joined in marriage, they are kind of mixed up and intertwined together. I would say it is unbelievable but on the Enterprise you get to see some pretty unbelievable things every day. This ranks on the spectrum at 'now that I know it, I guess it's feasible'. Spock's had his whole brain removed so I guess having a small piece of his Katra in me shouldn't be a big deal, but you know what? It is a big deal to me."

Helen was flabbergasted. Uhura and Spock married and bonded telepathically? What!?

"Well, I suppose congratulations are in order?" Helen said with a bit of uncertainty.

"Well, you suppose incorrectly." Uhura shot right back.

"Oh, okay I'm sorry."

"No, Helen don't be sorry. I'm just being salty. I suppose marriages
are happy announcements when everyone involves has agreed upon it in advance."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I guess I can't say I didn't agree, I sorta volunteered. It doesn't matter. I'm married. Yay me!"

"You don't sound happy about it."

"No?"

"No, in fact, you sound bitter."

"I guess I don't know how to feel about it. I didn't plan on getting married anytime soon."

"Then why did you do it?"

"I didn't really have a choice."

"Oh, I thought you said you volunteered."

"I did. In fact, I insisted," she laughed bitterly. "I guess I had a choice, I just didn't like it. I'm not angry at Spock, he didn't have a choice either. I'm angry at the situation. I'm angry at the disruption in my life and my plans. I just wanted some time to think things over and figure out my next move but the ship's gossip mill has my business on blast everywhere! I feel like I'm standing in quicksand and the more I try to work my way out the deeper I get sucked in."

"Let us help you. Let us pull you out of that hole you're in. Dr. McCoy and I had a discussion and we want to prescribe a vacation. Everybody needs a little time all for themselves away from this ship and you deserve it. A medical leave from the ship and all the drama, danger, and unbelievable things that you see on a day to day basis. You need that so you can be just Nyota Uhura. Take some time to not think and just be you."

"Can you prescribe all that?" Uhura teased.

"I can prescribe the leave, what you do with the time is up to you. Just relax, come back with a clearer head without all of us breathing down on you. I'll forward the recommendation to Dr. McCoy and he'll make sure it happens."

"Thank you, Helen."

"No thanks are needed, this is what I'm here for."

"In that case, since this is strictly business, please don't tell anyone about me and Spock. I'm not ready to have everyone know we're married. The captain and Doctor McCoy know and also Christine Chapel and whoever she's gabbed to, but I'm not ready for that fallout just yet. Everyone is already linking Spock and me together."

"I understand and don't worry this is all under doctor-patient confidentiality. Nothing said here leaves this room."

"Thanks"
Uhura left Helen's office and Helen sat for a moment to complete her notes. Then she went to her 'medicine' cabinet and took out a small bottle of bourbon. It was a gift from Doctor McCoy. He said she'd need it in her new role and boy he didn't lie.

Commander Spock and Lieutenant Uhura were Married! And bonded psychically somehow? Holy cow! Helen had been friendly with Uhura in the past and she'd never known the woman to be anything but sweet and supportive. But lately, rumor had it that Uhura was being mean and grumpy and everyone was betting that Mr. Spock was the reason. Of course, everyone thought he'd broken her heart. Little did they know...

"I suppose marriage to a Vulcan will have that effect on you." Helen thought.

"Welp, better her than me," she said as she took a sip of bourbon and wished Uhura all the best.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Spock was seated on his meditation mat but he was not meditating. He had not been able to meditate successfully since returning to the Enterprise several weeks ago, and tonight was no different. His mind was frequently disturbed by thoughts of Nyota Uhura, his wife.

He could not find his center and he was beginning to suspect that she was the key. Dr. McCoy had said 'happy wife, happy life'. Perhaps it was a true idiom because Spock's wife was not happy and neither was he.

He was quite surprised to hear the door to his suite open and close. No one would dare such a blatant breach of etiquette and disturbed his privacy. Not even the Captain would just barge in unannounced. Only one person had ever dared to do so.

"Mr. Spock?"

"Lieutenant Uhura, you honor me with your visit," Spock said rising from the floor. He was dressed in all black, only wearing his Starfleet issued undershirt and pants, what many crewmen often wore during their off duty time.

"I'm sorry to disturb you, but we need to talk. I need answers, Mr. Spock."

"I will do my best to oblige."

He directed Uhura to the chair at his desk while he took a seat on his bed, the only other place to sit.

"What are we doing here?" Uhura started right in.

"Please elaborate?"

"What are the two of us doing, what are we to one another?"

Spock's face took on a far off look and he seemed to be in deep contemplation. "Lieutenant, I believe we agreed that you would decide what 'we' are when you are ready?"

"Ok, but why have you been ignoring me?"

"You asked me to give you time and space. You didn't want to announce our relationship to the crew."

"What relationship?"

Spock was silent. What did she want him to say? They were bonded and married.

When he didn't answer she said, "There, you see Mr. Spock I've discovered something about you I don't like."

"And what is that Lieutenant?"

"You're a coward."

"Indeed?"

"Indeed," she said with emphasis "we are bonded or married or mated or something and yet I spend most of my time either hiding out with Sulu or alone. Sulu is not my husband, you are. I feel like I'm not free and I'm not attached. What am I? What are we?"

"You are my wife by Vulcan custom and Federation law and I am your husband," and Sulu is not! Spock thought.

"Oh," she said is that all said clearly disappointed.

"Clearly my answer disappoints you."

"Mr. Spock before we were bonded we used to be friends, at least I thought we were friends... I even thought we might even be a bit more than friends actually," she confessed.

"Indeed?" Was she admitting she had feelings for him?

"Yes indeed, or why else did you... you...I mean, We've been through so much together. Illness and injury, to hear Sulu tell it we were practically dating, and now... now nothing. Just wham bam thank you, mam?"

Spock raised that eyebrow of his, letting her know he did not appreciate her phrasing.

"I don't believe I agree with your conclusion."

"No? And why not? Where is the fault in my logic, Mr. Spock?"

"I am trying to give you what you want, trying to respect..."

"You don't know what I want, you never have. You never ask Mr. Spock did you know that? You assume, you conclude, you deduce, you reckon, but you never ask. You always think you know what's best for everyone else but you never ask. Do you know what that makes you? Arrogant Mr. Spock, you are arrogant."

"Is that so? I do apologize Miss Uhura for my lack of hubris. I was unaware of the defect."

"Well, I'm aware and I'm sick of it. And I'm also aware that you've been avoiding me so that makes you arrogant and a coward Mr. Spock."

"And how do you propose I rectify the situation, Miss Uhura, as my friend and my wife you must have a solution in mind?"

Uhura forgot how much she enjoyed just talking to Spock, just sparring with him verbally. There was a time when she would relish challenging his stodgy demeanor, would bask in the glow of his attention. What happened to the confident woman who openly flirted with her commanding officer on the bridge no less? That woman had been cowed for too long but no longer.

"I've been a coward too," she admitted, "but I don't want to be. I don't like it," She said softly. "I'm sorry I hit you. I didn't mean it, I hope you know that I was just-"

"angry. You were angry at me," he finished her thought.

"No, I was not angry at you. Well, maybe just a wee bit. But I was mostly angry at myself, at the situation. I'm still angry and I don't know why. But I'm not angry at you per-se. You just annoyed me."

"I apologize for my failure."

"Spock, why have you been ignoring me?"

"I was doing what I thought you wanted. I was giving you the space you needed and I was honoring your desire to keep our marital status private."

"You were supposed to act normally though. By ignoring me and avoiding me you just set all the gossiping tongues wagging. They think something is going on between us because nothing is going on between us."

"That is illogical."

"That is human logic."

"It is human but it is hardly logical," he quipped.

Uhura smiled. "See, this is us."

"What is what?" he asked confused.

"This," she waved a hand between the two of them. "This. Us. Talking like friends. This is what I miss."

"I see."

"Do you? I may not be ready for a husband right now, but I could sure use a friend. Do you think you can do that? Just be my friend until I'm ready for something more?"

How could he say no to that? She was not asking for a divorce or to end their relationship completely. She just wanted to maintain the status quo. His wife just wanted to be friends. Like she was friends with Sulu. Or Scotty. Or Checkov. No problem right?

"I will always be your friend," Spock reassured her but inside he felt...something else.

"Thank you, Spock." She rushed over to him and kissed his cheek and before he knew what was happening she was gone leaving only the scent of her perfume behind.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"What can I do to assist you, Mr. Spock?" McCoy said jovially, he rarely had occasion to see Spock in the sickbay unless he was gravely ill.

"Doctor, I believe I may be emotionally compromised."

Bones' eyebrows rose to the ceiling in shock.

"You Mr. Spock? Emotionally compromised?"

"That is what I just said."

"But how? Why? I don't understand what I can do for you."

"You are the ship's doctor, I wish to ascertain if there is a physiological cause for my condition."

"Oh, do you think it could be...um... I mean do you feel..."it" coming back?"

"'It' doctor?" Spock asked crossing his arms over his chest with ill-disguised annoyance.

"You know, that fever you Vulcans get but refuse to officially name."

"No, Doctor I do not feel 'it' coming on again but I do not know what else could be causing my current condition."

"Well, Spock why don't you sit down and explain to me exactly what you are... ah, feeling." McCoy had to admit to feeling a bit flustered with Spock coming to him for medical assistance voluntarily.

Spock sat on the biobed, "I cannot sleep the full cycle that I usually complete. I find I have no appetite, I'm finding it difficult to concentrate during even the most menial tasks, and most importantly I am not able to reach my center during personal meditation."

"And that is unusual for a Vulcan?"

"It is indeed Doctor. For a Vulcan, there is no more important practice than meditation in aiding one in controlling emotion. Without proper meditation, I am compromised and grow more so every day."

"I always wondered how you always acted so unemotional even under the direst of circumstances. Meditation huh? Ok, well lie back and let me examine you."

Bones noted that Spock was in top physical condition, not a hint of hormonal imbalance, no fever, no inflammation, no infection, no nothing, and he informed Spock as such.

"If it is not an illness what is causing these symptoms?"

"I'd say it is plain old stress," McCoy said.

"Vulcans do not feel stress, that is what meditation is for."

"And your meditation is failing. Spock, you've said you tried the Vulcan way of coping with emotional stress but has it ever occurred to you that you are only half Vulcan?"

"It occurs to me every moment Doctor, I see no reason to reiterate it."

"What I mean is, did it ever occur to you to employ human means of coping with your emotions?"

"No."

"Well?" Bones asked.

"Well, what Doctor?"

"Well, are you open to trying the human way?"

"And just what does the human way entail."

McCoy was surprised to hear Spock going along with this scheme, he must really be upset to take advice from him.

"Usually we lowly humans cope with excess emotion by venting; some use physical exertion, but most often it is simply talking."

"Talking?"

"Yes, we talk about our feelings and share our troubles and that helps us cope."

"Doctor, Vulcans do not talk about our feelings, we control and master them."

"But humans do, and you concede Vulcan techniques aren't working, so I prescribe a session with the ship's new counselor."

"Negative Doctor."

"Damn it, Spock, why come to me for help if you won't take my advice."

"I presumed, incorrectly it seems, that you could find a cure that did not involve beads and rattles and unscientific 'sharing'."

"Spock, now that you've reported your condition to me I have no choice but to file my findings and report them to the captain. Now, I am ordering you to-"

"Fine Doctor," Spock cut him off, "I will try your suggestion of physical exertion."

"Ok then," McCoy grinned finally winning against Spock. "Exertion consisting of what exactly?"

"I will practice a form of Vulcan martial arts which may aid in centering my mind."

"Good, good, you know I recall that you and Jim used to spar all the time, you might want to grab him."

"I would prefer to practice alone if I am to regain my center."

"Of course, Spock. See it's not so hard taking doctor's orders, is it? I'll tell you what, I will even help you out. I will request reassignment of your next shift with the captain and schedule you right away for a private gym. I'll send you the details."

"That will not be necessary Doctor. I can practice on my off hours."

"Nonsense, if you thought it necessary to visit me then this must be serious. No backtalk either Commander, that is a medical order. Let me make the arrangements and I will send the details of your prescription to your console."

"Alright, Doctor, I will follow your order."

Spock left sickbay and left McCoy speechless. He'd noticed that Spock was a little more uptight than usual but he had no idea that it was this serious if Spock was seeking medical intervention.

"Stubborn elf," Mccoy said as he went to the computer to make Spocks r&r arrangements.

The real reason Spock was out of sorts was so obvious. He was displaying all the symptoms of a man in love. It would be funny if it were not so sad. Spock was experiencing something that most humans went through in their teens. McCoy wouldn't wish this on his worst enemy... well maybe he would. "Serves Spock right," he laughed.

As he went to schedule a rec-room for Spock he noticed they were all booked but as the ship's chief medical officer, he had the authority to bump somebody if he chose and as he scanned the list of reservations he noticed Lt. Uhura's name.

"Well, well, well 'Cherchez la femme '," he thought. There was the root of Spock's problems right there.

Before he could think better of it he scheduled Spock for the rec room that Uhura had reserved.

He was meddling, there was no way around it, but those two were as stubborn as Aldebaran mules.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Thanks to Sulu, Uhura no longer felt comfortable exercising in the ship's public gyms. She was still being called by her new nickname 'Champ'. You would think people would find something more interesting to do than to tease her. These people were supposed to be professional adults, yet they behaved like a bunch of high schoolers. Uhura was over it. She swore she would never gossip ever again. Spock and the Vulcans were right about one thing, gossip was highly illogical.

But she was still tense and stressed. Her attempt at relaxation in the spa had failed as well, so now she would have to relax and workout by herself in a private gym.

She got right to work, stretching out her sore tense muscles. She hadn't had a chance to really move her body since the failed sparring match with Sulu. Every time she replayed that punch in her mind she cringed. She had not meant to hurt Spock. She was just in some sort of zone, she had just needed to punch something, and Spock's face just happened to be there. But that was no excuse. Violence solved nothing, it only exasperated things which was the case now. She had apologized to Spock and hopefully now that she had a chance to cool down things could go back to some semblance of normalcy.

These thoughts were going through her mind as she started her workout. She was doing her crunches and then she would do her lunges and then maybe she'd do some jump rope. She liked to work out with music and she had some soft instrumental music playing in the background as she put her body through its paces.

She felt a little lighter since her talk with Spock. No, they were not at a perfect place, but for now, she would live with things the way they were. After her talk with the counselor, she realized she was not being fair to Spock. She was a communications officer, she needed to communicate with him, air her grievances and move forward.

Someone came barging into the gym just as she was about to do her rope routine.

"Mr. Spock! What are you doing here?" Uhura asked. She supposed turn about was fair play as she barged into his space all the time.

He was dressed in workout attire as well and he and carrying a gym bag and Lirpa!

Spock looked totally nonplussed to see Uhura dressed in workout attire and sweating in the private gym. He was certain Dr. McCoy had booked this room for him.

Uhura approached him. She seemed to be fascinated by his weapon.

"What are you going to do with that thing?" She pointed to the lirpa.

"I was assigned this gymnasium by Dr. McCoy. But I see it is occupied. I will return at another time."

"Don't be silly, we can share. I'll just be in this corner jumping. I hope that won't disturb you?"

"No, you will not disturb me. I hope I will not disturb you, I planned to practice Suus Mahna." he said. See, he could be friendly.

"Oh really? I haven't seen you do that before, I'd actually like to see what it's all about. Can I hold that lirpa? I saw them all over the place on Vulcan but never got to handle one."

Spock was wary of allowing Uhura to handle his lirpa. He didn't believe she would eviscerate him but then again, he didn't believe she would break his nose...

"Please be very careful, the blade is extremely sharp."

"I know how to handle a blade." She hefted the lirpa in her hands and nearly doubled over from the weight of it.

"Damn this is heavy! And you just walk around with it as if you're carrying a hollow pole or something."

"The weight is carefully balanced to the owner. I could procure one calibrated to your...dimensions."

"Like my harp?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Amanda said you had a ka'athyra custom made just for me?"

"I did. You were an excellent student and you deserved your own instrument. One better suited to your talent."

"I had an excellent teacher. Your ka'athyra is beautiful but the one you gave me was absolutely perfect for me. I'll always cherish it. Now, this," she tried to swing the lirpa, "I don't think I'll be doing any damage with this. It's quite awkward."

"Like everything, it requires skill and practice."

"I can't believe Vulcans still fight with such ancient weapons," She said shaking her head.

"Vulcans do not fight with these weapons anymore. They are mostly ceremonial. However..." he stopped speaking.

"What?" she nudged.

"They are used for traditional combat during a Kalifee," he admitted.

"Oh. Okay, then I'll let you get to it. I'll just be over here in my little corner."

Spock had not liked to stir memories of their own Pon Farr and the Kun et Kalifee. It was a subject they both seemed determined to skirt. So he went to his own corner of the room and prepared to do his exercises. He turned his back to Uhura and began with simple stretching drills and then he moved on to perform the katas of the Suus Mahna, the martial arts of Vulcan.

Spock was deep into his moves when he became aware that the sound of the rope striking the floor had stopped. Spock looked up in the mirror to see that Uhura was seated on the floor in her corner sipping from a water bottle and watching him.

Knowing that she was watching him so intently made him feel...uncomfortable. For the first time in many years, Spock lost his concentration. He couldn't continue.

"I think that will be all for today." He announced and he went to collect his gear.

"Wait, Spock before you go, do you mind showing me some of those moves. It was really beautiful."

"Perhaps another time Lieutenant I am, um..."

"Chicken?" She challenged him, grinning.

"No, I was going to say-"

"Scared? I promise I won't hurt you. See" She waved her hands in front of him, "no boxing gloves in sight," she teased. She was already back to her normal playful self, he observed. Meanwhile, she had him going in circles.

"Okay, but it will require that I touch you to put your body into the proper positions," he warned. Please let her say no, he hoped.

"Oooh Okay, you can position me any way you like." She said with enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, Spock felt like a man going to his doom. He showed her the basic moves and as promised he had to position her into the proper form. He was forced to touch her forearms, and then her calves. He positioned her hips into the correct position and then her shoulders. He was glad when she learned the proper stances and he could stop touching her.

Uhura was, of course, graceful and strong and a fast learner. She was able to follow a simple beginner's Kata. Next, he showed her some simple self-defense moves. Ways to evade capture, ways to break an assailant's chokehold, ways to disarm a man. She was an apt pupil.

In the last move, he grabbed her from behind and she was supposed to flip him over her shoulder but she hesitated.

"Lieutenant?" Spock questioned. He was still behind her with his arms around her throat and her waist.

"Nyota?" Spock said again. She was breathing heavily and her chest was heaving. He looked at her in the mirror and her eyes stared back at him with a strange intensity. Suddenly she hooked her leg around and swept his feet out from under him toppling him backward. Before he knew what was happening she had straddled him and had pinned him to the mat.

Now Spock could easily defend himself against her attack and throw her off but he couldn't move. He was paralyzed with indecision. Uhura lowered her head and rubbed her forehead on his, she then very slowly rubbed her head against the side of his face and neck. And finally, she kissed him.

Uhura brought their lips gently together and kissed Spock, coaxing him to yield to her demand and Spock was stunned. He didn't even have sense enough to kiss her back and before he knew it, the kiss ended and she sat up staring at him.

"Oh my god, what am I doing?" she looked confused as if she hadn't just done what she just did.

Spock had the good sense not to offer his opinion.

"I am so sorry," She climbed off of him and ran to her corner collecting her gear. Spock stayed where he was. He tried to catch his breath and figure out his next move.

He heard Uhura leave but he still lay on his back on the gym mat willing his body to be calm, willing himself not to do what instinct demanded. It seemed his wife had just scent marked him, something he had only ready about in ancient Vulcan texts.

Fascinating indeed.

Chapter Text

"Well, how did the relaxation session go? Did you find your... uh... center?" McCoy asked Spock when he finally tracked him down in his science lab.

"I would prefer not to talk about it if you do not mind Doctor."

"Why? What happened?" McCoy was shocked to see that Spock looked more stressed than ever.

Spock noted that Mccoy seemed very interested in his exercise; too interested. "Doctor, did you orchestrate a confrontation between Nyota and myself?"

"What?" McCoy feigned surprise. "What are you talking about? What happened?"

"I see that you did," Spock repressed a sigh. 'What happened' is that Nyota and I had come to an arrangement before our forced encounter. Now I do not know where we stand. I cannot reach her," Spock said turning back to his scanner.

"Spock, what did you do now? I thought if you two could just be in the same space together you'd work things out."

"We did work out together, for a while at least."

"Okay, see that's a start."

"And then she ran from me and I have not seen her since."

"Boy, you sure can pick 'em, can't you?" McCoy shook his head.

"How do you mean Doctor?"

"You married the one human female who can resist your Vulcan mystique--"

"Doctor, if you are going to insult me--"

"It's not an insult Spock, but it is ironic isn't it? All these females, and males too if truth be told, running around tripping over themselves trying to impress you and you fall for the one woman who isn't impressed."

Spock did not want to hear Dr. McCoy make light of his life. He tolerated the almost friendly ribbing the two engaged in but this was not a subject he could even joke about, it would test all his discipline.

"Doctor I prefer not to discuss my personal life with you."

"Oh, I am sure you don't, but its times like this that a man needs his friends around him. And I am your friend, Spock, despite my teasing. I can see that this is eating away at you."

"Doctor-"

"Spock hear me out, as your friend. Lieutenant Uhura is a good woman worth fighting for. And I know Vulcans don't fight in the Terran sense, don't struggle emotionally, but marriage is something you just don't throw away or ignore, believe me. Now you can't make a woman love you, but you can't go giving her any reasons not to either. And besides, if life were as easy as snatching a pretty girl from a ship and claiming her as your bride we'd all have wives. Catching is the easy part, keeping 'em is the hard part."

"Doctor, that is logical. But how do you "keep em" as you suggest?"

"Well now, don't ask me. I can't catch 'em or keep 'em," McKoy said.

"Then what exactly is your advice?"

"Well just don't give up. Fight for your wife. As Jim once said to your counterpart on that other Enterprise, 'find a logical reason and make it stick'. You can do that can't you?"

Of course, Spock could find logical reasons why he and Nyota should be bonded but would Nyota accept those reasons?

"How do you reason with an unreasonable Terran woman?" Spock asked.

"Damned if I know. When you figure it out, write a book, will you? You'll be a wealthy man."

Spock was already wealthy but he would gladly give up every credit to have his wife where she belonged, with him.

/*-/*-/

For the first time in a while, Uhura was excited! She was going on medical leave! Normally you didn't get excited about medical leave but she needed it and she just happened to be granted leave on Argelius. The ship was making a stop nearby and they were going to drop her off in a shuttle and continue on their way. She couldn't wait. After the incident with Spock in the gymnasium, she needed to getaway. She didn't know what came over her. She just attacked him. Now she just couldn't face him, she was so ashamed. She had insisted they be just friends and then she jumps on him? What the hell Nyota?

She concentrated on packing for her trip to Argelius. The last time she was there it was a somber affair. Scotty had been accused of murder and the whole crew was anxious about his fate. And the people of Argelius were hostile towards Starfleet officers and Earthers, believing that some madman was on the loose killing their women.

Turns out the madman was some alien the Argelians had hired themselves, not a Starfleet officer. And since a Starfleet captain had exposed and rid them of a threat to their tourist industry they were grateful and welcoming of Earthers again.

Uhura had no official plans set for her leave, she was just going to hang out with the natives, maybe study their languages, and relax. It was going to be heaven, she thought.

She had just put the last few items in her suitcase when the door chimed.

She wasn't hiding from Christine anymore so she cheerfully announced, "come on in, it's open!"

The door slid open to reveal Charlene Masters.

"Well, well, look who it is, my ex-best friend."

"What! Charlene, what are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about you. I haven't seen you since before we had shore leave on Vulcan. You avoiding me or something? I've called, I've stopped by, and now I hear you're leaving again?"

"Oh, Char. I'm so sorry. I have just been so busy," she said moving around grabbing last-minute items.

"So I hear. You and Sulu are dating, you knocked Commander Spock on his ass, and you threatened Spa Technician Hernandez. You're a busy little bee." Charlene said.

"Oh My God! Is that what the rumors are saying about me? Me and Sulu? And Hernandez?!" Uhura covered her eyes. Yeah, she needed to get off this ship.

"Well, you and Sulu are thick as thieves these days. Wherever you go he goes nipping right at your heels. And you and Spock used to be the dynamic duo and now you two are on the outs again. Everyone thinks-"

"I don't care what everyone thinks. People need to mind their own business," Uhura said and finished her packing.

"Does that include me?" Charlene asked.

"No. Not you Charlene. I'm sorry I've been MIA. I have just been busy since Vulcan and I have been a bit under the weather. In fact, I've been ordered on sick leave. I'm just finishing my packing now."

"Sick leave? Is it serious?" Charlene was now concerned rather than annoyed.

Only if you think being bonded to a Vulcan is serious, Uhura thought.

"No, nothing too serious. Just um, some complications to that Vulcan flu I had," she said easily lying to her best friend. It's official, I'm a rotten person, Uhura thought.

"Vulcan flu? I've never even heard of that. How did you get it?"

"It's a long story, one that will have to wait for another time. I'm due to be at my shuttle in just a few moments. But I'll tell you what, when I get back I'll tell you everything I promise."

"You better. Now take care of yourself or I'll knock you on your ass. Champ!"

"Oh, not you too. I did not...oh nevermind." She kissed Charlene goodbye and made a dash for her shuttle.

 

/*-/*-/

Spock considered himself a fully grown man even though according to Vulcan biology and tradition he had only just reached full sexual maturity. He had lived away from his homeworld for the majority of his adult life. He knew who he was and what he wanted. He had a wife. Finally. He should be content and settled. However, he was far from being either and he was at his witts end. He knew his relationship with Nyota would take some time to sort out and mend, however, he never suspected his wife would run away from him. That being the case he didn't know what to do or who to turn to. Jim and Bones just did not understand his particular dilemma. So, though it pained him, he needed Vulcan advice.

"Spock! Sweetheart, I'm so glad you FINALLY called. I've been worried about you and Nyota. How is she?" Amanda asked as soon as she appeared on Spock's viewscreen.

"Greetings Mother. Do you not wish to inquire about my health?"

Amanda looked at him through the viewscreen for a moment and then declared, "You look fine. But you've already evaded my question. How are things with you and Nyota?"

"You look agreeable as well, Mother."

"Spock let's not do this greetings nonsense. We both know it is illogical and any other time you barely tolerate it. So how is she?"

"Mother." Spock sighed.

"It's that bad?"

"She left me."

"What!" Amanda jumped up from her seat.

"She went on shore leave."

"Oh." she resumed her seat.

"Alone. Without me." Spock could not keep the misery from his tone.

"Oh." Amanda sounded disappointed.

"Mother."

"Yes, Spock?"

"I do not know what to do. She left without informing me. Dr. McCoy told me she is on medical leave."

"Medical leave? What's wrong? Is she ill? Was she injured?"

"I do not know but I do not believe she has been injured. McCoy would only tell me that he prescribed rest and relaxation."

"Ooh," Amanda said she seemed to be thinking.

"Mother, do you know any other word in your vocabulary besides 'oh'?"

"Spock, what have you done now?" Amanda finally asked.

"Why do you assume I have done something."

"Why would a woman be prescribed rest and medical leave? Why did she leave without telling you? When you two left you looked so cozy. I thought you were going to try and work out your differences?"

"I fully intend to work out our differences, it is my wife who has left me, not the other way around." Spock was becoming irritated. Mothers were supposed to be on their son's side, weren't they?

"But why did she leave? Women just don't leave their husbands unless he's done something wrong. When I left Sarek it was for a good reason."

"You left Father!?" Spock was shocked out of his misery for a moment.

"Yes. But that's not important. What's important is that I had a good reason."

"Mother, when did you leave Father?"

"Spock, it is of no concern. It is ancient history."

"It is new history to me."

"Spock focus. I can already tell you are not yourself. You cannot be away from your bond-mate at this time. The bond is too new and fragile. You know that."

"I know of no such thing. Why can't we be apart?"

"Spock! How can you not know this? Every Vulcan knows that a new bond is fragile and needs constant reinforcement to solidify. I know it and I'm human."

"You have also lived on Vulcan for forty years. I have never heard of this."

"Your father said he explained the birds and the bees to you," Amanda said in frustration.

"Mother, I wish you would stop calling it that."

"Why, what difference does it make what I call it. Sex! Sex! Spock, your father said he explained sex to you!"

"Mother, please!"

Amanda sighed. "Do you see these gray hairs on my head. You put every one of them there, do you hear me? You and your father. You are a fully grown adult male. I know I spoiled you and I probably always will, but you have a wife now Spock. And if there is one thing women hate it's a mama's boy."

"I am not a 'mama's boy'" Spock said indignantly.

"Said the man who called his Mama for help," Amanda teased.

"I did not call you for help."

"Oh really. Then why did you call?"

"I just wanted to...to...visit."

Amanda barked out a laugh. "Okay, son. So how's work?"

Spock wanted to yell at his Mother. She knew darn well he didn't want to talk about work but she was going to make him ask for help after he had just informed her that he did not need her help.

"Work is agreeable. We are in a quiet spell. No major catastrophes to avert."

"Oh, that's wonderful. And your Captain and Dr. McCoy? How are they?"

"They are well, Mother. I will tell them you inquired."

"Thank you, my son."

"Mother?"

"Yes?"

"Is there anything else you would like to tell me?"

"Well, your father is planning a mission to Earth and of course I will be accompanying him. As you know, I always accompany your father on long missions. It's not healthy for Vulcan mates to be parted for too long. It's quite taxing. It's like a new mother who cannot sleep unless her child is nearby. The Vulcan mind goes on high alert worrying about his absent spouse and their safety. And newlyweds are the worst." Amanda shook her head. "I'd hate to think of what Sarek would have done if I had been separated from him when we first bonded. He barely tolerates me leaving his sight now, and that's after 40 years." Amanda said brightly as if this were just a casual chat.

"Since I am human it is even more important that he knows where I am at all times. I cannot communicate with him as he can with me. If I were to get into trouble and needed him..." Amanda shivered dramatically and shook her head gravely.

"Mother."

"Yes, Spock-kan?" She said using his childhood nickname.

"I must go. I have to find my wife."

"Okay, sweetheart I understand. Safe journey, and rom-halan."

"Peace and long life Mother. Spock out."

/*-/*-/

"Jim, I must request a leave."

"Not you too, Spock. I just granted Uhura leave, I can't lose my first officer as well."

"I am afraid that you must. I cannot allow my...wife to be parted from me."

"What? You can't allow it?" Kirk was starting to get sick of Spock and his 'wife'.

"No."

"Care to tell me why?"

"It is not something I can explain. It is part of the Vulcan marriage bonding."

"Spock, I understand you and Uhura are bonded somehow so that she will know when your, uh, Time comes. But I didn't think it would interfere with your everyday lives? Now you're telling me you can't be separated from her?"

"Nyota and I do not share an ordinary bond."

Captain Kirk was getting a bit tired of Spock and all this Vulcan marriage mumbo-jumbo. First, they get this fever that drives them insane, then they lock themselves up in caves and have marathon sex, and now it seems they are joined at the hip and can't be parted from their wives? It must suck to be Vulcan.

"Look, Spock, I don't know what is going on with you and Uhura, explain it to me."

"Jim, you already know most of it. Vulcan males rely on their wives for their lives."

"But how does it tie in with you not being able to be away from Uhura for a few days?"

"Because we're bonded! Mentally..." Spock said in frustration.

"Okay, I understand that, to a degree, you said she would hear you when you put out your mating call right?"

"It is more than that. Nyota and I... our souls are bound together."

Kirk was developing a headache. Leave it to Spock to speak in riddles and expect Jim to make heads or tales of it.

"Spock, I don't understand a word you've said. But if you insist you need to be with Uhura who am I to argue? It does no good anyway. Knowing you, you'd just go off half-cocked and steal a shuttle and take off after her. Or commit another mutiny."

"I would not commit another mutiny Captain."

"I notice you didn't say you wouldn't steal another shuttle." Kirk sighed. "I thought this marriage would be good for you and Uhura, now I'm not so sure."

"Captain, I am sorry that my marriage has caused you so much distress. It is another unfortunate consequence of my biology."

"Don't sweat it, Spock. Just go find your wife and try to patch things up with her and bring her home. Do not return until the two of you make up, do I make myself clear Mister? That's an order."

"Aye Captain," Spock said and he bounded out of Kirks office like a man on a mission.

/*-/*-/

"Where the devil is Spock hightailing it out to?" McCoy asked Jim. Spock had nearly run into him in his haste to depart Kirk's office.

"He's on his way to Argeliius I imagine."

"What? Why?"

"He's going to collect his wife."

"Jim, I ordered Uhura on this leave so she could get away from that goblin and all the gossip. How could you sic him on her?"

"I didn't do anything Bones. Spock told me he can't be away from Uhura. Something about their marriage bond. I didn't understand it and I'm not going to try. Let them work it out somewhere off this ship so I can get some peace and quiet."

"Jim! I thought you were not going to interfere in this, yet you've done nothing but meddle since the very beginning."

"I have not Bones. I'm just trying to help my friends. They just need a little push in the right direction."

"I hope this doesn't backfire. I tried a little pushing of my own and failed spectacularly."

"Bones leave the matchmaking to an expert."

"Ok fine, do you know any?"

"Funny. Somebody in this room has two ex-wives and can't talk."

"And somebody in this room has a string of ex's a mile long and can't talk either."

"Well Bones, with the two of us helping Spock, I'd say he's fucked."

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-

Uhura arrived on Argelius without a hitch. The shuttle settled her down on one of the smaller continents where it was the height of the tourist season.

"Lt. Uhura, if you go to the tourist commission's office they will guide you to safe lodgings and even arrange a tour guide if you need one," her shuttle pilot explained.

"No need. I think I'll have a look around and see what I find. It will be an adventure."

"Ok then, just be careful, the men here are frisky," the pilot said before heading off. The pilot and a few other crewmen were also taking leave on Argelius but Uhura's pilot was here to meet her husband, not to run away from him.

Uhura had packed lightly so that she didn't have too much baggage to lug around and she was grateful. Argelius was famous for its foggy nights but today it was hot and humid. She strapped her backpack on and pulled a small bag on wheels behind her as she headed off in search of a place to stay. After walking around the shopping district and resisting the urge to buy everything in sight, she stopped in a little cafe for lunch. She was starving. She hadn't been eating well lately and today was the first time in a long time that she felt like pigging out.

Uhura was not a vegetarian but she just found herself eating that way since spending so much time with Spock. He would not be offended by her eating meat around him, that would be illogical, however, she just chose not to do it. Most times she just ate whatever he ate. It dawned on her she had been silently following his lead for years. No wonder Amanda had admonished her to not lose her humanity.

So she ordered a fat juicy burger. She didn't know what kind of meat it was, and she didn't care. She was on vacation and when in Rome you did as the Romans did. She was just licking her fingers, something else she would never do around Spock when a shadow covered her table.

"Madam, I could not help but notice that you are alone as you eat. That is unacceptable for one of such beauty as you. You require a dining partner, no?"

It was one of those frisky Argelian men. "No," Uhura answered and went back to her meal, hoping he would take the hint.

"But Madam-"

"I believe the lady answered you already." A familiar voice said.

Uhura nearly choked on her fries. "Spock! what are you doing here?"

"I came to fetch you," he said and he sounded annoyed even though he looked his usual calm self.

She scrunched up her nose. "Fetch me? For what?"

Spock turned to the Argelian, "if you will excuse us, we have a private matter to discuss."

The Argelian didn't seem interested in getting in the middle of this and he scurried off. Spock took the seat opposite her.

"Do not let me disturb you, Lieutenant, continue your meal."

You already have, she thought. Uhura suddenly didn't feel like eating anymore. "Spock, what are you doing here?"

"I came to fetch-"

"I heard you say that already," she cut him off. "But why? And you don't fetch me, I'm not something to be fetched."

"Forgive me, it was a poor choice of words."

"Forget your choice of words, how about the meaning behind them? Again, why are you here?"

"I am here because... I..." Spock hadn't planned what he would say when he found her. But now that they were face to face he found himself at a loss. How did he explain this bond that they shared?

"I cannot explain it."

"Well, then you can go. I'm here on leave, medical leave so that I can get away from my problems."

"I didn't know I was a problem."

"Spock that's not what I meant. You are not a problem but you are a part of my problems. I feel all out of sorts. I don't feel like myself. What happened in the gym... I don't know what came over me. Are you sure this Katra thing is not doing something to me?"

"I do not believe so. You have shared my katra for several years without incident."

"But now we have this marital bond too. I'm not used to having a psychic bond with anyone, its unsettling."

"I am sorry."

"Don't be sorry, just be understanding that this is all new to me. Can you respect that?"

"I do. I want to respect your wishes, but on this matter, I cannot. A Vulcan male cannot be separated from his bondmate so soon after...bonding."

"Is that so?"

"Yes, I spoke to my mother who informed me of the facts."

"How is Amanda? I haven't had a chance to talk to her since we've been home. I promised I would call but I've just been so..."

"Out of sorts?" he asked.

"Yes." They sat in silence for a moment.

"You should finish your meal," he suggested.

"I'm not hungry anymore. I guess my eyes were bigger than my stomach."

"Perhaps I will order, I spent the morning looking for you and have not had a meal."

"This is real meat she warned."

Spock made a face and Uhura laughed. "Spock, I've never seen you make that face."

"I did not know that you ate real meat."

"I don't normally, at least not since I... I mean not since we became friends. But I'm on vacation and decided why not, live a little."

"Unfortunately, the animal that you are consuming cannot share the same sentiment."

"Don't judge. This is Argelius, they eat meat. A lot of people do. I'm honestly surprised by your attitude. I thought for sure you wouldn't be put off by a little hamburger."

"What you choose to eat is your choice."

"Thank you."

"I was just surprised that you would choose to consume animal flesh."

"Oh boy. See this is what I don't need today. Can I just eat my burger in peace?" She picked up her burger and took a bite and then felt a little nauseous. Well, it was worth it to show Spock he didn't control her yet.

She called for her check and when the server brought it to her Spock snatched it up.

"What are you doing?"

"I will pay your check."

"I will pay my own check, thank you."

Spock looked displeased by this as well.

"Is this another Vulcan thing?"

"I can provide for my wife."

"Your wife can provide for herself."

"But-"

"Spock if it will make you feel manly then, by all means, pay it."

"This is not about my ego, it is Vulcan tradition. I will provide for you."

"Ok then next time I will get the check, agreed?" She held out her hand as if to shake on it. Spock only stared at the offending appendage.

"Now, what's the matter?" she said letting her hand fall.

"First, we should not touch hands in public and second-"

"Okay, I'm done here." She gathered her bags preparing to leave.

"Nyota, please wait."

"No. This is not right. I thought we agreed to take things slowly and be friends first. Why are you suddenly acting like my husband?"

Why was he acting this way? She was the one who rubbed herself all over him and then kissed him like she was his wife. Why was he behaving like her husband!?

"Because I am your husband," he said to her retreating back.

/*-/*-/
Uhura stormed off from the cafe and faded into the crowded streets that were teeming with tourists. She didn't spot Spock again so she figured he caught the hint and returned to the Enterprise. She couldn't believe he had the nerve to follow her on her leave.

She found herself just walking around for hours until her feet were sore. Then she found a residence in a part of the city where few tourists traveled and checked in. Now she was just settling down for her dinner when she had a feeling of Deja vu.

"How did you find me?" Uhura asked as Spock sat down beside her in the little restaurant she was dining in. She had made sure this place was well off the beaten path and far away from the touristy spots. She was also staying at an inn not far from here that had the same quality. It was in a residential neighborhood and it was a boarding house. It catered to offworlders who couldn't afford the prices of the mainstream tourist hotels and travelers who were on an extended stay and wanted someplace more homey and less flashy and expensive. It suited her needs just fine. And an added bonus was that Spock was less likely to find her there. Or so she thought.

"As all offworlders are required to register at the tourist office, I simply inquired as to your whereabouts. Your landlord told me she suggested this establishment to you, thus here I am."

"That is a complete and utter lack of privacy. How dare they give you my address?"

"That is Argelius. As you know they do not subscribe to our sense of privacy or decorum. It is a completely hedonistic society."

"Spock I think you should go. I'm just here for dinner then I am going back to my room and getting some much-needed shuteye. I'm tired. Of everything."

"Including me?" He asked.

Before she could answer a server came over with two drinks.

"I didn't order these," Uhura said.

"On the house, everybody drinks here."

She took a sip and scrunched up her nose. She didn't like strong liquor since she got drunk on the Gorn homeworld. She pushed her drink aside. Sock sipped at his drink and apparently, he liked the flavor as he downed it in one swallow.

"Atta boy," the server patted him on the back. "I'll bring you another. Full price."

"No need he can have this one." Uhura slid her drink over to Spock and he promptly downed that one as well.

"See your fella likes them," the server said, "I'll be right back with our drink."

"Spock, I thought you didn't drink alcohol."

"I do not usually imbibe as it does not have the effect on me that it has on humans. That had a very fascinating taste."

"Yeah, it tasted like something Amanda gave me before we got married."

"I likewise thought you did not imbibe."

"Usually I don't, it was for courage."

"Did it work?" he asked quietly.

"Let's just say it had a kick like a mule. I had a hell of a hangover," she laughed in remembrance.

"Well kiss my ass and call me crazy, a Vulcan in a bordello!"

Spock looked up at the gentleman now standing above the table where he and Uhura were seated in the dark little restaurant. He looked like a younger and thinner Harry Mudd. Spock thought it was a most unfortunate appearance for the gentleman.

He was about to ask why he should kiss the aforementioned ass when Uhura nudged him with her elbow and said 'idiom' as an aside.

"No thank you," Spock said to the man hoping that would end the exchange.

"I've seen a lot of crazy things on Argelius, but I never thought I'd see a Vulcan in an Argelian pleasure palace. And with a little hottie too. This your woman? You two together?" the man asked as he leered at Uhura.

"Yes," Spock answered at the same time that Uhura said, "No."

Uhura elbowed him again.

The stranger eyed them both. "This guy bothering you sweetie?"

"No, he was just leaving." She said glowering at Spock.

"Alright, alright, then," the man said in a cheezy way. "So, do you mind if I join you? We can get better acquainted." He said now totally ignoring Spock and speaking only to Uhura.

"Yes," Uhura and Spock answered in unison.

"Well if you're not together, and she's not your woman what's your problem man?"

"I do not have a problem but you might," Spock said starting to feel the effect of the drinks that he had consumed. In general, Vulcans did not imbibe, as alcohol tended to metabolize too quickly for inebriation. But he was only half Vulcan and he had downed several alien drinks in very quick succession. His mental controls were compromised.

"Look," the man said. "If she's not with you then she's with me. My credits are good here."

"Beat it, Mister, before you get more than you bargained for, I'm not here for you," Uhura said noticing Spock's strange mood shift. She didn't want a scene, she was only looking for a little escape. How had she stumbled into a bordello!

"Now look bitch-" the man had grabbed her arm but never finished his sentence as Spock's foot connected with the man's groin. The man Oomphed in a comedic fashion and doubled over.

After that everything became a blur. As the man howled in pain Uhura jumped up into action. She smashed him on the head with their table's centerpiece and then she grabbed Spock's hand guiding him towards the club's exit. They didn't get anywhere near the exit though before there was an all-out brawl going on all around them.

Someone threw a bottle that just missed their heads but hit another patron. That patron seeing them running towards him jumped up to intercept them. They managed to dodge one set of grasping hands only to be arrested by another pair. Uhura and Spock didn't have time to think they just worked in tandem throwing kicks and ducking jabs somehow making it to the exit despite everyone in the club now being engaged in the fight.

Someone had called the guard and they came charging into the dimly lit space just as Uhura and Spock made it out into the foggy night. They began to run as soon as they reached fresh air as others spilled out of the club after them. They didn't dare risk being captured by the guard or the angry mob so they kept running.

After running several blocks, they slowed down. Uhura noted they appeared to be back in the tourist district. There were hotels, saloons, clubs, and restaurants all along this main thoroughfare unlike the little hole in the wall spot they had just escaped from.

Uhura was exhausted. Her feet hurt, her hands hurt from punching bare-knuckled, and truth be told she caught a couple of hits herself. Spock looked as if he'd gone a few rounds with an angry Gorn, there were bruises forming on his pale face, his shirt was torn, and his knuckles were in rough shape as well. They had just been in a bar brawl, she thought. In a Bordello! She and Mr. Spock! Suddenly she began to laugh.

"What do you find so amusing?" Spock asked massaging his jaw.

"You. And me. Brawling in a bordello. What would the captain think? What would your parents think!?"

"I do not plan on telling the captain." Then he looked thoughtful. "Mother would want to know if I won and Father would be disappointed, as usual."

"Aw, I'm sorry I mentioned it." She grabbed his arm. "Let's go."

She limped a few paces before he stopped her.

"You are injured?"

"No, I broke my shoe. These were my favorite pair too." She reached down and took them off. She was ready to continue walking when Spock kneeled down to inspect her feet and ankles. "You cannot walk barefoot in the street. I will carry you."

He turned his back to her while still down in front of her.

Uhura looked at his broad back. "You expect me to be carried like a child?"

He didn't answer for a while and she just knew he was arguing in his mind trying to find a logical reason for her to concede. Finally, he simply said "Yes."

It was Uhura's turn to do some mental arguing. If she refused he would insist and find some logical reason why he should carry her or he would just command her as her superior officer or her husband! She was bone tired and hurt and in no mood for this foolishness. It was simpler to go along with it this time.

"Oh alright. I haven't ridden piggyback since I was a kid with my brothers."

She wrapped her arms around his neck and her long legs around his waist and Spock effortlessly lifted her up onto his back.

"Where are we going?" she asked as he headed further into the tourist district.

"My hotel."

Uhura thought about arguing against that idea but then thought better of it. All the fight was knocked out of her for the moment. She had to admit it felt good riding on Spocks back. His back was strong, she could feel his muscles rippling beneath his tunic. She leaned her forehead against his neck. His hair was silky smooth and slightly damp with sweat. And he smelled so good, a heady mixture of his hair shampoo and the musky scent of perspiration which wasn't exactly human. She had an urge to lick the back of his neck or the pointy curve of his ear and taste him but she managed to restrain herself.

When they got to his hotel, Uhura assumed it would be some unassuming inn like the one she was booked in. However, it was the largest and most ostentation place on the planet. She felt very self-conscious as Spock carried her through the lobby. It was brightly lit and even at this late hour, there was still a lot of activity, with people going about their business. She and Spock must look a spectacle with their bruises, ruffled and torn clothing, and her bare feet.

"Spock put me down now." She whispered in his ear.

"No."

"I can walk, these floors are carpeted. I'll be okay."

"No."

"Spock please this is silly now."

"Nyota..." he snapped in a voice she didn't even recognize. It sounded a lot like Sarek's when he was admonishing Amanda! Oh no he didn't. Who did he think he was talking to like that?

She felt his hand on her bare leg and then she heard the thought in her mind. "Wife."

Nyota froze. "Did you just say something?"

"Did you hear me say something?" he asked as they reached the lift bank.

"I thought I heard you say 'wife' in my head."

"Did you indeed?" he asked now they were in the lift and he pressed the button.

"Yes, I did and what did you mean by that? Where are you taking me? I can get my own room you know?"

"I do not think you could book a room in this establishment."

"Why can't I?"

"It is quite expensive for a serviceman's ration."

"Really? Then how can you afford it? Ah yes, I almost forgot you're practically a Vulcan prince. Of course, you can afford it. But how do you know I cannot afford it?" She challenged him.

"I can afford it because I save my rations and do not live beyond frugal means."

"This is frugal?" She looked around the fancy mirrored elevator in a hotel that was more expensive than a month of rations she supposed. And their lift kept going up and up.

"Are you on the top floor or something?"

"Yes."

"The penthouse?!"

"Yes. It was the only room available. You will note that this is the tourist season for this region of Argelius."

"So you booked the most expensive room? I found a nice little inn off the beaten path."

"I suppose it is like the nice little 'restaurant' you found off the beaten path?"

"Hey, it was recommended to me by the innkeeper. She said the locals favor it so if the locals like it the food must be good, right?"

"I suppose that holds a certain logic."

As they reached the top floor the lift emptied into a small hallway. Spock exited the lift and headed right towards the door at the end of the hall. He used his palm to open the door and when they entered Uhura was taken aback. It was a magnificent suite. Decorated in Argelius fashion with pillows festooned on the floor in different areas and bright colors. She was blown away by its beauty.

"Wow! This is the kind of place you bring a girl when you want to impress her," she whispered in awe.

"And are you sufficiently impressed Luitenant?"

Uhura ignored that and said instead "You can put me down now."

Spock likewise ignored her request and started walking with her still on his back to the adjacent room where there was a very large round bed also festooned with pillows. Finally, he turned, bent, and gently sat her down on the bed.

You couldn't get angry with gentle treatment like this, but somehow Uhura was still annoyed. He was treating her like...like...she didn't know, like a delicate woman! But she was Lt. Uhura of the starship Enterprise, not some chick you just picked up and bossed around when you felt like it. And that was a new side of Spock too, he was bossy!

This man acting all chivalrous and starting barroom brawls was not the Spock she knew. This Spock was trouble. This Spock was dangerous. This Spock was acting emotionally!

"Spock, are you okay?"

"Okay?"

"Yes, I mean are you... I don't know, are you healthy?"

"I am completely healthy at the moment aside from a slight intoxication."

"Okay, but I mean, you're not experiencing any chemical imbalance or fever..."

"You are asking if I am suffering from The Fever?"

"Yes," she said hesitantly.

"No, I am not."

"Well, you don't seem yourself."

"Whom do I seem like?" he asked as his eyes pierced her.

He had her there. She didn't know. His eyes were so dark and intense. He was looking at her like she was the only thing in the world with a laser-like focus.

Uhura thought she knew Spock. He was her friend, her mentor, her commander. She thought she knew his personality, what he would and would not do or say in a given situation. But she finally realized something Sulu and Charlene had tried to tell her. Spock was a man and she had never really looked at him as one. She always kept him at a distance. This man sitting next to her was a mystery, and it was as frightening as it was exciting.

She was in a hotel room alone with this man she didn't really know at all. All the times they had spent in each other's quarters, she had thought nothing of it. They were just colleagues hanging out, talking, learning, playing. But now it was not so innocent. Now it felt like something more intimate.

She looked around the room. There were high windows with sheer drapes, silken pillows, and shiny objects d'art. Everything sparkled and glittered. Spock had asked her if she was impressed. Yes, she was impressed. She was seeing Spock with new eyes. The eyes of a woman, not a colleague. And what she saw was a very handsome man. And she realized this handsome man was treating her like a woman, not his communications officer or his friend. Right now in this penthouse suite they were not just hanging out or playing around, they were not commander and lieutenant, they were just a woman and a man and this was unchartered territory.

Uhura looked around her surroundings and thought, "I don't think I'm in Kansas anymore."

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

It didn't take the wagging tounges on the Enterprise long to realize that both Lieutenant Uhura and Commander Spock were not aboard. And of course, that could only mean one thing. They ran off together. Again.

Since accurate accounts of the pair's affair were few and far between, dedicated gossips had to piece together a narrative. The Vulcan flu story that was the official account of their first absence was declared bullshit. Instead, the rumors were that Spock and Uhura had run off to Vulcan together. They had a falling out and when they returned from shore leave, Uhura turned to the arms of Lieutenant Sulu.

Spock became jealous, and he attacked Sulu, whereupon Uhura punched his lights out. Now it was rumored that the pair had a rendezvous planned on the planet Argelius. Everybody knew Argelius was for lovers and people looking for love.

The gossips couldn't wait for the pair to return. They were going to be on high alert to any small clue, any telltale sign that the two had been on a romantic trip together.

The women of the ship believed it was romantic that Mr. Spock had fallen in love with Uhura while the men didn't believe it. They said that Uhura was clearly in love with Spock just like Nurse chapel, but just as with Chapel, he had no feelings for Uhura other than friendship and therefore Uhura punched his lights out. Sulu was just a rebound. On and on the rumors raced through the ship.

Sulu was enjoying his breakfast in the rec room this morning, a stark change from being holed up in his quarters with Uhura, when he was joined by Charlene Masters.

"So, Romeo, I see you've lost your better half?" Charlene teased him.

"I haven't found my better half yet. Are you interested in the job? Apparently, there's an opening," Sulu said.

"No. I'm a single lady for the duration. But I hear somebody we know is not."

"Oh, who?" sulu feigned ignorance. Uhura had sworn him to secrecy and he was nothing if not a man of his word.

"Our mutual friend, Lieutenant Uhura. I hear she's been stolen from you by a tall dark handsome Vulcan."

"If I were you I wouldn't believe the rumors flying around. You know me and you know Nyota. We have always been and always will be just friends."

"If you say so," Charlene said not believing it for a minute.

"I do say so."

"So you've really never ever wanted more than that with Ny?"

"If I did, it doesn't matter, she didn't."

"How do you know?"

"A man knows."

"I guess you're right, besides she is clueless when it comes to men anyway. She fell for that loser Riley and anyone with half a brain and at least one good eye could see he was bad news."

"He wasn't so bad."

"How can you say you're Nyota's friend and defend that jerk?"

"I didn't defend him, just saying he was not that bad a guy."

"That's defending him. He treated her like crap. Not just the leaving her without a bye or leave, but the way he tried to control her. You just don't know. Some men like to mold a woman into what he wants her to be. Do you know he criticized her hair! And her makeup! And back then Ny was young and on her own for the first time. She fell into the wrong hands. Luckily he got transferred off before he did any more damage."

"It wasn't luck," Sulu said as he sipped his tea.

"What do you mean?"

"I happen to know that Mr. Spock recommended Riley for promotion."

"Why would Spock do that? Riley was a barely passable navigator, his communication skills left something to be desired as well."

"Well," Sulu looked around dramatically and then leaned in closer to Charlene, "you didn't hear it from me, but I suspect Spock conveniently got rid of Riley." He whispered conspiratorily.

"No! Not Mr. Spock. Why would he do such a thing?"

"Why do you think?" Sulu smirked.

"You can't mean he did it for Ny?"

Sulu nodded his head.

"Why would he do that for her?"

"Why does a man do anything for a woman?" Sulu asked.

"Sex," Charlene said, "but I doubt that was his motive."

"Charlene you have sex on the brain," Sulu laughed.

"And you don't?" she challenged him.

"Touché," Sulu conceded.

Charlene shook her head. "I don't understand those two, they run so hot and cold. One minute they are inseparable. Then the next thing you know they can't get far enough apart. Then they are tight like glue again, and then again they are not speaking to one another. Then they spend a week together on Vulcan then they come back as if nothing happened. Now they're off together somewhere again. Just get together and stay that way damn it!"

"Why are you so upset, it's their relationship, not yours."

"Because I love Ny like a sister. Whenever Spock breaks her heart she... She's not as tough as she pretends to be. She's not like Christine, she's not going to chase Spock. If he doesn't step up he's going to hurt her again and again and again."

"Maybe he's got his act together now. You see he went after her."

"Did he? What do you know?" Charlene said leaning in.

"I know nothing about why Spock went to Argelius. I only speculate like the rest of the gossips."

"Aha, so he did go to Argelius? Sulu you have the inside scoop, you should bet in the pool."

"The what?"

"A betting pool. The choices are will Spock and Uhura return the same as they left, will they be on speaking terms but just good friends or will they be all cozy and cuddly with the afterglow of Argelius in their eyes?"

"And what is the prize for such a silly pool?"

"Well, you just put your credits in and if you're the closest to the truth I think you win the entire pool. I guess you split it with anyone else who made the same prediction."

"It sounds invasive and foolish to speculate on other people's romance."

"So you admit there is a romance?" Charlene nodded knowingly.

"My lips are sealed. Ask Nyota yourself."

"I would if she ever stayed in one place. I just caught her on her way to Argelius and she barely had time to say goodbye."

"She's been through a rough patch. When she comes home just be understanding and be there for her," Sulu pleaded.

"Of course, I will. She's my best friend. I may have to pull a Spock and get rid of you though," Charlene teased.

Sulu held up his hands in surrender. "I'm her best male friend, you can be her best girlfriend."

"Deal. Especially since somebody we know doesn't seem to want the role." Charlene and Sulu looked across the room at Christine who sat alone and looked to be chewing on a bowl of nuts and bolts, if judged by the stiffness of her jaw.

/*-/*-/

"Morning Jim, what's the good word?" Dr. McCoy asked as he joined the Captain for breakfast in the canteen.

"Hello, Bones. Do you hear that?" Jim asked looking around dramatically.

"No. What is it?"

"Its the sound of peace. Peace and quiet."

"Is that what it is? You're sure it's not the sound of the ships gossip mill grinding away?"

"No bones, there is no one here to gossip about. Our quarrelsome couple is on a planet far far away and I intend to enjoy my breakfast for a change," Kirk said tucking himself into a hefty helping of food.

"If you say so." Bones said as he took a bite of his eggs. "Say, Jim, heard any good jokes lately?"

"No Bones I have not heard any new jokes, I suppose you have?"

"As a matter of fact," Bones said wiping his mouth with his napkin, "this one just came over the subspace channels. A Vulcan and a human walk into an Argelius brothel..."

"No! No Bones tell me they didn't?" Jim said with growing apprehension.

"They did. Unless there is another Vulcan/Human couple running around. And it's all over the subspace channels. A Vulcan male and a human female started a barroom brawl in a brothel," McCoy said leaning back in his chair and grinning.

"What the hell were they doing in a brothel?" Kirk nearly shouted and then got himself under control. "Bones why were my commanding officer and my chief communications officer in a brothel on Argelius?"

"I have no idea Jim, but I bet its a good story," Mccoy said and started his breakfast again.

"And you say they started a brawl?" Kirk could not believe it.

"That's what the news wire says, the couple fled on foot into the foggy night."

"Please tell me they were not in uniform?"

"No mention of it being Starfleet officers but Argelian security is looking for them."

"Well, they shouldn't be too hard to find, how many Vulcan male/human female couples do you suppose there are in the galaxy?"

"I only know of one other and I'm almost certain it was not Sarek and Amanda."

"Only almost?"

"Well, I doubt Sarek would do something like that but I wouldn't put anything past that Lady Amanda."

"You know I used to think Spock was his father's son, but the more I think about it, he is definitely a mama's boy."

"At least we know one thing for sure," McCoy quipped.

"And what is that, Bones?"

"They're together."

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Nurse Chapel heard them all and the more she heard the angrier she became. It was all lies. Spock and Uhura were not a 'pair'. They may be married legally but it was a marriage in name only, she was sure of it. There was no way Spock would treat his true wife the way he treated Uhura. He treated her no better than his first 'wife'. And there was no way that Uhura and Spock had run off together... again. She knew for a fact that Uhura was on medical leave. "And good riddance! I hope she never comes back," Christine thought.

But that did leave one mystery. Where was Mr. Spock? He had disappeared shortly after Nyota had, and he was not on any medical leave. Christine was certain of that. However, he was not aboard the Enterprise either. Could he be on Vulcan again? Could he really be on Argelius? And if so what did that mean?

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-

Spock had developed the habit of carrying Uhura off. Granted this time it was to a fancy hotel suite in the sky, but still... And though she wasn't being held against her will, Uhura felt she was staying in Spock's hotel suite against her better judgment. She was supposed to be on medical leave far, far away from Spock, not shacking up with him. But Spock was like a bloodhound, he had tracked her down twice in one day and Uhura had no doubt he would keep popping up like a bad habit as long as she was on Argelius. So she decided to just give in. This time.

Of course, there was only one large bed in the room. The rest of the suite consisted of floor pillows strewn about and low tables for dining in a separate sitting area. Uhura didn't feel comfortable sharing a room with Spock when they were not 'officially together', married or not, but he refused to allow her to go back to her little boarding house tonight after she had been directed to a brothel for her dinner.

Uhura read on her data PADD that there was even a news alert regarding the fight she and Spock had caused and the Argelian guard was looking for a couple matching their description. Nyota thought they should split up to avoid detection but Spock nixed that idea too. So much for a relaxing shore leave, Uhura thought as she scanned the communications channels. She and Spock were the new Bonnie and Clyde.

"What are you doing?" Uhura asked as she watched Spock prepare a blanket on the floor.

"I am preparing a place to sleep," he said now gathering some floor pillows from the adjoining room as well.

"Why?" She asked putting aside the PADD she had been scanning.

"It is late, I am slightly inebriated, and though I do not require a great deal of sleep, I do require it tonight," he answered.

"Okay but why are you preparing a bed on the floor, there is a bed right here?" She patted the bed she was sitting on.

"You may sleep on the bed and I will sleep on the floor."

Uhura rolled her eyes. "Spock, this is a huge bed, we can share. We're Starfleet officers, we've been in tighter spots than this."

"I do not think that would be wise."

"Why not?"

Spock sighed. "Nyota I am trying not to violate your need for space."

"You could've fooled me," she said looking around the suite dramatically.

"What I mean is, although it is necessary for us to be near one another, we do not need to be that close. My mother described it in terms of a new mother who needs to know her child is near in order to sleep peacefully."

"Oh. That may explain things," Uhura said.

"What does it explain?" Spock questioned.

"I've had a hard time sleeping lately. I keep thinking about...things. And when I do sleep I have disturbing dreams. That's part of the reason I'm here on leave, I needed the rest. What about you? Were you having trouble sleeping?"

"I do not require as much sleep as the average human, however, I too have experienced difficulty," he confessed without going into detail.

"Ok then, climb on up here and get some rest, don't be stubborn. I promise I won't bite," she teased.

That is regrettable, Spock thought, as biting was a very erotic Vulcan practice.

"Nyota," Spock said with what she was beginning to recognize as his exasperated voice.

"Yes?"

"Just as I am trying to respect your boundaries, I would ask that you respect mine."

"Okay, what are they?"

"Do not invite me into your bed unless you intend for us to be intimate." He said looking at her seriously. "Is that your intention tonight?" he asked.

"No, I mean...I was just...No," she said flustered. Did Spock just proposition her?

Spock nodded his head curtly. "Then I will prepare a bed here."

Uhura was astounded. "Spock, are you saying you are incapable of sharing this bed with me platonically?"

"No. I am asking you not to invite me into your bed until you intend it to be our marriage bed."

Uhura's jaw dropped. "You're serious about this?"

Spock lay down on the floor on his nest of pillows and blankets.

"Yes" He said closing his eyes and shutting her out.

Nyota stared at his sleeping form for a moment torn by indecision. She didn't want him sleeping on the floor of his very expensive hotel suite. But she didn't want to invite him into her bed for anything other than sleep either. She had an urge to bop him on the head with her data PADD for making her feel this way while he slept like a baby below.

And she was supposed to sleep at peace like a new mother with her baby nearby? "Ha!" she laughed in derision and Spock didn't even flinch. Frustrated, she dimmed the lights in the suite with the remote on her PADD and tossed it aside on the bed. She lay her head down on her fluffy pillow on her big soft bed under the silky sheet and felt like crap. She was never taking medical leave again, she huffed as she drifted off to sleep.

Spock listened to Uhura wrestle with the bed coverings and then finally settle down. He listened as her breathing became slow and steady and he felt at ease. It wasn't a perfect scenario, but he finally had his wife in his bed. That he slept on the floor next to the bed was only a minor inconvenience.

/*-/*-/

Uhura moaned and struggled to untangle herself from her silky sheets. It was dark and hot and she couldn't sleep.

Where was Spock? He should be right here with her.

"Spock!" she cried. "Spock, please..."

"Nyota, are you asking me to share your bed?" Spock's voice seemed to surround her.

"Where are you?"

"Here," he said and now he was above her, his warm body was pressing her into the soft mattress.

"Is this what you want?" He asked as he hovered above her.

She looked up into his dark eyes, his hair was ruffled and not in its usual neat style. She reached up and ran her fingers through the dark wiry tangles, smoothing back the locks. She loved touching him this way. As if she had every right to do so. As if he belonged to her.

"Why are you here?" she asked looking up into dark smoldering eyes.

"You called to me," he replied. His voice was low and deep and it felt warm like a caress.

"I called you?"

"Yes. I will always come to you when you call me."

"Spock, what's happening to me? Why do I feel this way?"

"You need me, Nyota."

"Why do I need you?"

"You need me, just as I need you. Because I am your husband."

"Lucky you," she joked nervously.

"Yes, I am very lucky."

"What does that make me then?"

"You are my wife and a very fortunate Earth woman," he teased her.

"I don't understand this," she shook her head.

"Do you want me Nyota? Do you want us to be joined in marriage?"

She looked at Spock's earnest face and wondered, not for the first time, what did she want? Why was she afraid?

"Nyota? Nyota!"

Uhura awoke with a start. Spock was standing beside the bed and he took a step back when she bolted upright.

"Forgive me, I didn't mean to startle you," Spock said.

She stared at him for a long moment. He was dressed in the casual clothing that Vulcans wore. His hair was neatly combed into place and he looked as fresh as a daisy. It had been a dream. She looked around the room. It was unchanged from last night, except Spock's makeshift bed was nowhere in sight.

"Nyota?"

"Yes?"

"I am sorry to disturb you but you seemed distressed?"

"No...I mean I guess I was having a bad dream."

"Are you well now?"

"Yes, I'm okay now that you're here. It's silly but I thought you were...nevermind." She shook her head. She could not tell him she thought he had climbed into bed with her.

"What did you think?"

"Nothing, forget it. You look like you've been up and at 'em early." She said changing the subject.

"Indeed. It is now late afternoon."

"It is?" she gasped. "Why didn't you wake me earlier?"

"You needed the rest."

"And you didn't?"

"I do not require as much rest as you do."

"That makes me feel weak and lazy for needing to sleep so late."

"It is no weakness. You are human and require more sleep. It is a matter of human nature."

"Or biology?" She grinned.

"Yes, that too," he agreed.

"Okay then." She swung her feet over the side of the bed and stretched her arms over her head. "I guess this little slumber party is over. I need to go back to my room and change."

"I have collected your belongings and settled your account at the inn."

"You did what and why?" She said staring at him in horror.

"I have-"

"I know what you said, it was a rhetorical question. Spock, why did you do that?"

"Because you will be staying here," he stated.

"Really? How did you come to that conclusion?"

"You are obviously a target on this planet as an unattached female. You were living in questionable accommodations and you were accosted in another questionable establishment. That will not happen again," Spock assured her.

"Spock, I can assure you that I can take care of myself."

"Under normal circumstances, I have no doubt that you can."

"Are we not under normal circumstances now?"

"Now you are my wife."

"You keep saying that."

"It bears repeating lest you forget it."

"How can I forget if you keep repeating it?"

"Precisely," he stated crossing his arms as if that ended the argument.

She tossed up her hands. Who was this man and what has he done with her friend Spock?

"Okay, so where are my bags?"

She looked around their room.

"The Argelians are not very efficient. Though I arranged delivery several hours ago they have not arrived yet. In the meantime, I have taken the liberty of ordering supplies for you including a change of clothing. In fact, there is someone in the sitting room waiting to measure you."

"Measure me for what?"

"An Argelian wardrobe."

"I don't need an entire wardrobe for a few days. I can just recycle this outfit until my bags are delivered."

"I have already made the arrangements. Would you like to freshen up before your fittings?" Again he said it as if the matter were settled.

"Spock! She stood up toe to toe with him and looked up into his inscrutable eyes.

"Why are you being so bossy all of a sudden?"

"I am not being 'bossy'. I am being practical. You need clothing and I took the initiative to procure it for you. Why are you being so obstinate all of a sudden?" he countered.

"Obstinate! I am not obstinate. I am just not used to being told what to do and where to sleep and what to wear without being asked first. You of all people should know how I feel about that."

"You are a Starfleet officer, I should think you would be used to being told these things."

"Yes, when I'm on duty or in my Starfleet uniform you have the right to tell me what to do. But we're not in Starfleet right now. We're both on leave so that means you are not my commander and therefore you are not the boss of me!"

"I am your husband."

"Stop saying that! That doesn't give you the right to boss me around. See, I knew this would happen. People said Vulcan men treat their women strangely. But I am not a Vulcan woman and I am not Miss Amanda. And you are not Sarek, Mister. Sarek may have your mother chasing after him like a lost Sehlat but I'm not doing it. No sir." She said shook her head angrily.

Spock actually smirked. "No, you are not my mother nor a well-trained sehlat," he said recalling the conversation they had on his homeworld.

"You are a woman in need of rest and relaxation. You also require shelter, clothing, and sustenance. As your husband, I am able and obligated to provide these things for you. Would you deny me the privilege of providing for my wife?"

"And what is the role of a Vulcan wife? What do I provide besides sex when the 'Time' comes?" Uhura asked.

"A wife is to be protected and well cared for at all times and in return, she will protect and care for her husband... when the Time comes," Spock answered. "However, I believe 'we' have agreed to define our marriage together, when you are ready?"

"Yeah but you're acting like a real Vulcan husband but I didn't agree to act like a Vulcan wife. Or a human wife. Or any wife for that matter. I don't know how to be a wife." She admitted. "My parents are divorced and your parents are not the role models I aspire to."

"Nyota I am not asking you to behave like a proper Vulcan wife, whatever that means. I am only asking you to accept my gift in the spirit in which it was offered. I want to provide for you. You have accepted gifts from me before without issue."

"Your gifts never had strings attached before."

"And they do not now. What is the logic in refusing to accept my offer?"

Uhura crossed her arms across her chest. "I don't want to," she said stubbornly.

"Nyota?" he said sounding defeated.

"What?"

"Why are we arguing?"

"We are not arguing, we're having a discussion."

"It sounds like arguing to me!" someone from the outer sitting room chimed in.

Uhura snapped her head in the direction of the voice.

"Who is that?" She whispered to Spock.

"Your clothier," Spock said.

"And they've been in there the entire time, listening to us argue?"

"I believe you called it a discussion?"

"Hush," she chided, "what do we do now?"

"'We' will not do anything. I will ask the lady to leave if that is truly your wish?"

Though Spock said it with his usual even tone, Uhura detected a note of disappointment. He was acting like she was being unreasonable or something!

Spock turned towards the outer room when she held him back, snagging his arm.

"Wait, Spock. This is ridiculous. Let us agree that you are being bossy and I am being obstinate."

"I am willing to agree if you will accept my offer as a token of my esteem," Spock asked nicely.

"See, why didn't you just ask me nicely in the first place?" She said smiling at him, her anger vanishing with his sincere request.

Before Spock could respond she leaned around him, "Well be right out!" she called to her 'clothier', and she dashed into the bathroom to freshen up, leaving Spock standing beside his bed baffled.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-

"My Lady, T'Pau is calling for you."

Amanda dropped her stylus and rolled her eyes. T'Pau always felt the need to interrupt her during her working hours as if she didn't have a care in the world. She was supposed to just drop everything and respond. Granted T'Pau was her mother in law and granted she was the leader of the world, but still, couldn't she ever call Amanda after working hours, or better yet never? T'Pau calling never boded well.

"Thank you T'Rel, I will take it here at my desk," Amanda said to her assistant.

T'Rel left and Amanda took a deep calming breath before she activated the viewer on her desk.

"Mother, it is agreeable to see you. How may I serve?"

"It is agreeable to see you Daughter. You honor me with your service. I call about a family matter."

"Family?" Amanda had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. Family business could wait until after work hours, unless...

"It concerns thy son," T'Pau said

"Is Spock alright, has he been injured or..."

"He is alive if that is what you ask. Whether he is 'right' is a matter of some contention."

"What do you mean?"

"Thy son has been in an altercation on Argelius"

"An altercation? What sort of altercation? He is supposed to be on leave with Nyota."

"Yes, he was with his wife. They were involved in a 'skirmish' at an establishment of ill repute." T'Pau said.

"I beg your pardon Mother? Did you say a skirmish?"

"Yes."

"Do you mean a fight?"

"Yes."

"And at an establishment of ill repute? Argelius is known for their rather uh, licentious behavior but it is their culture, Mother."

"Argelian culture is not my concern. Thy son's behavior is. I have been informed by the Argelian government that a Vulcan citizen has broken the law and they wish to know how to handle it."

"But Mother, why would they contact you? Surely a Vulcan citizen committing a crime is no reason to contact the head of the Vulcan council? Argelians are lackadaisical but surely they have their own judicial system?"

"It becomes a concern when the citizens are my grandson and his new wife, heirs to clan S'chn T'gai."

"Nyota and Spock committed a crime?" Amanda could not believe it. She thought Nyota was a nice girl.

"They incited a riot."

"No!" Amanda exclaimed.

T'Pau ignored Amanda's outburst and continued. "They were wanted for questioning but my staff has arranged for them to pay a very large fine and the matter will be resolved quietly. You will speak to the child. He must be more circumspect. He is the heir." T'Pau needlessly reminded Amanda.

"Of course Mother. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you and your staff."

"Your apology is unnecessary. Spock will make appropriate amends."

"Yes, Mother, I'll see to it right away."

T'Pau cut the line without further comment and Amanda sat dumbfounded for a moment longer and then she opened the day's correspondence on her terminal. T'Pau's office had sent her several missives. She opened the first to see the news report of the 'riot'. An off-world couple had created a disturbance in an Argelian brothel!

A Vulcan male and a humanoid female were wanted for questioning. There was a grainy surveillance video showing the couple as they fled into the foggy night, whereabouts unknown.

"Thank goodness for that fog or else there would be a clear picture of Spock and Nyota," Amanda said. She would know her son's silhouette anywhere and together with Nyota's curvy figure the couple was unmistakable.

The fog obscured them just enough to leave doubt as to their identity, but the Argelians employed offworlders to do their security and administrative work. No doubt there were Vulcan employees who recognized Spock on sight and reported him.

"But what in the world were they doing in a brothel?" Amanda wondered. "And inciting a riot?" Amanda shook her head. What the hell? Spock was only supposed to stay near his wife to solidify their bond. Just what were those two getting up to or into on Argelius?

"My son is a fugitive," Amanda laughed. Sarek would not be pleased but Amanda was tickled. Now that he had a human wife Spock was changing. She remembered their visit on the Enterprise during the Coridan affair. He had been so hell-bent on being ultra Vulcan and doing his duty that he almost let his father die. And now he was brawling in brothels!

That's my boy! Amanda thought gleefully. She couldn't wait until Spock and Nyota came home to visit on Vulcan. Amanda had a feeling they were going to turn their stuffy little society on its ear and she couldn't wait. Nyota had seemed like a sweet young lady during her stay but Amanda had a feeling she was a real firecracker and she was going to give Spock a run for all he was worth.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

This was the craziest Shoreleave Uhura had ever been on and that was saying something since her last shore leave consisted of her being kidnapped, bonded, married, and challenged on Vulcan!

The Argelians were a hedonistic sex-obsessed culture. Everything was sex-themed everywhere Uhura looked. The Suite that she was sharing with Spock was basically a setup for sex. The large round bed, the pillows that were strewn everywhere, the curtains that separated the rooms instead of walls or doors, and the mirrors that covered nearly every wall and surface, it was all just a room made for love. As she explored the room in the light of day she discovered belatedly, there were may phallic-shaped objects of art all over the room and other questionable objects like handcuffs and whips... Did Spock not notice that or had he simply ignored it?

Spock was still there in the suite observing the entire process. He didn't seem bothered by the decor as he sat crossed-legged on the floor of their sitting room and watched as she shopped. The clothier wasted no time in measuring Uhura and fitting her with several ready-made outfits already available for Uhura to choose from. The lady insisted Uhura try them on and model them properly for fit and comfort.

"You must gain your man's approval. He will like it, I guarantee. He will purchase whatever you desire." The clothier said to Uhura with a knowing smile.

"If I like it I will buy it for myself," Uhura said. She pointed to a light summer dress. "How many credits is this one?" Uhura asked.

"If you must ask you cannot afford," the clothier said. "This gentleman, he does not ask. He buys."

Uhura glared at Spock. He already had the clothier in his pocket. Of course, Spock probably paid in advance. The whole thing made her feel as if she were being bought. She could buy her own damn clothes! This was just like that brideprice nonsense on Vulcan. She didn't marry Spock for his money and she didn't need any enticements to stay with him.

Uhura didn't fancy modeling expensive clothing for Spock at first, however now that they were engaged in her favorite pastime, shopping, she couldn't resist trying out just a few pieces. Whoever chose these items knew her style well, there were casual caftans for her to wear when she was just lounging about and there were sexy tight dresses and jumpers for her to wear when she was going out on the town.

She tried on so many different outfits she almost felt like a princess in a fairytale and Spock was her prince. But then she had to remind herself, Spock was no Prince Charming, he was more like the Frog Prince. But that was fine, she liked him better that way. In fact, it gave her an idea for a gift for Spock. It was time for her to hit the shopping district and some other tourist spots.

"Madam, I'll take this suit and that black dress and the red caftan," Uhura said to the clothier.

"We'll take them all," Spock said rising from his seat. "Madam, you have my marker?"

"Of course sir, I'll have these finished for you by this evening. Vulcan time, not Argelian," the lady said with a wink and a nod to the notorious Argelian punctuality or lack thereof. Ignoring Uhura's protests, the clothier left in a hurry in order to prepare the order.

"Spock, I don't need all these clothes."

"Nyota, I have noted that human females constantly complain that they "never have anything to wear". My gift will remedy this affliction for the duration of our leave. In addition, I have inconvenienced you by compelling you to share accommodations. Consider it reparations for my transgressions."

Well, who could argue with that? Nyota could of course, however she decided not to. She liked clothes.

"I'll accept your generous gift under one condition."

"And what is that?"

"That you spend the day with me?"

Spock was taken aback. Nyota actually wanted to be with him?

"Of course, how could I resist such an enticing offer?" he agreed.

Uhura broke into a mischievous grin. "Wait until you see what I have planned before you think it's so enticing."

And that is how Spock ended up spending the day at an Argelian health spa.

He had agreed to follow Nyota's lead and allow her to treat him. So first things first they enjoyed a healthy lunch of native salad greens and exotic fruits. Then they were off to the sauna for a steam bath. Since they arrived together the staff gave them a couple's package. They shared a private steam room where they were supposed to be naked. However, Spock and Uhura opted for bathing suits. Still, Uhura's suit left nothing to Spock's imagination. Argelians's idea of a bathing suit consisted of little more than a few pieces of string holding small scraps of fabric together to cover supposedly private areas. Spock's own suit was what Nyota jokingly called a "banana hammock." Spock as not shy or self-conscious about his body but he was very grateful that their sauna was private.

"This steam is going to wreck my hair," Uhura said as she lounged on a bench. But my skin will be glowing. And this is what we're on leave for, relaxation."

"I am pleased that you are relaxing."

"You don't sound pleased. Don't you like steam?"

"It is more pleasant for you than it is for me. I am more used to a drier environment."

"Me too, I'm from Nairobi. We don't get much by way of humidity either even during the cool season."

"You rarely speak of your home."

"Maybe because you never asked. Mr. Spock, did it ever occur to you that we humans are as proud of Earth as you are of Vulcan?"

"It occurs to me every hour of every day. Starfleet and the Federation are quite Earth-centric."

"Well, perhaps that's because the Vulcans and other Federation member planets refuse to join up in Starfleet in any significant numbers."

"Or perhaps it is because the other member planets have their own exploration fleets? Earth is young and relatively new to space travel. Vulcan and the other founding members have been traveling and trading with their neighboring systems for many generations." Spock said.

"That might be the case, however, how are we ever going to become a more integrated society if everyone keeps to their own world and their own fleet? Starfleet is supposed to be a joint venture of ALL member planets to explore new worlds together. I doubt there is more than a handful of Vulcans in all of Starfleet. And the Tellerites? They flat out refuse to join."

"It is the Tellarite nature to be disagreeable for the sake of disagreement."

"True. Now the Andorians are much more pleasant."

"You think Andorians are pleasant?" Spock said in surprise. Of course, there was no mutual admiration between Andorians and Vulcans.

"Sure, and handsome too," She teased.

"I have observed that you have questionable taste in men."

"Sure I do, I like you don't I?" She joked.

Spock was silent.

"Let's not get all serious," Uhura said When Spock didn't reply to her comment. "Today is Spa day. After this, we'll have a message and then a mani/pedi and then I'm off to the hair salon. You should get a trim yourself."

"My hair is fine."

"I know its fine, but just for today try something new, let me treat you," Uhura said.

"If you wish," Spock said.

"I do. You know Sarek is quite handsome." Uhura said suddenly.

"Why do you mention my Father?" Spock asked suspiciously.

"I'm just thinking his hair has a bit of wave to it. You'd look handsome with a little body wave in your hair."

"No," Spock said with finality.

"Or how about a little goatee? Did I ever tell you-"

"If you are going to tell me about my counterpart in the mirror universe again, need I remind you he was a vicious fiend?"

"He was not! He was very handsome and just a little rakish, I guess you could say."

"You reported that he tortured Mr. Kyle." Spock reminded her. "And the captain said he put Checkov in an agonizer booth. I find that more than 'a little rakish'."

"Checkov had that coming to him," Uhura said. "He tried to assassinate the Captain. Besides, that's the way their world was. We can't judge them by our standards. And the captain said that the other Mr. Spock was as logical and as honorable as you are."

"I question the logic of their Empire and anyone who goes along with it."

"I'm surprised at your attitude towards our counterparts. Especially since I heard you got a little up close and personal with the other me," Uhura said.

"I am not certain what you mean by that."

"I heard from Sulu who heard it from Mr. Kyle that you kissed me or rather that other me, while we were switched."

"Ah," Spock said nodding.

"That's all you have to say for yourself, Mister?"

"You, that is, the other Uhura did indeed kiss me," Spock confirmed.

"And?"

"And it was just an innocent kiss."

"There is no such thing as an innocent kiss."

"Is that so?"

"Of course, when you kiss someone it means something." Uhura protested.

"You've kissed me several times," Spock reminded her. "What did it mean?"

Uhura sighed, "...What do you get when you kiss a guy?

You get enough germs to catch pneumonia..." She sang the lyrics from an old Earth song.

"That was a rather inelegant deflection. Are you suggesting your intent in kissing me was to 'catch pneumonia'?"

"Spock, it's just a song. I kissed you because it felt like the right thing to do at the time. I was being an illogical human woman."

"I agree with your assessment."

Uhura laughed. "Did I just win that argument or did you just insult me?"

"Neither."

Uhura just laughed louder.

The 'couple massage' was another awkward affair. Uhura had massages frequently on the Enterprise, not quite so as invasive as the one on Argelius, but she was still prepared for it. Apparently, Spock had never taken advantage of the Enterprise's spa facilities. Even with his shields up, Uhura could sense Spock was uncomfortable. That and his masseuse kept tsking and digging her elbows into his shoulders in an attempt to loosen him up.

"Mr. Spock, try to relax and enjoy. How often do you get to have a beautiful woman rubbing your body?"

"Not often. However, that duty is reserved for another," he said from his adjoining table.

"Who, I wonder?"

"My wife, of course," Spock answered.

"So you'd like to have your wife rub you down?" Uhura teased.

"If that was her desire."

"Oh, so she'd have to want to rub you. You wouldn't ask her for it?"

"I would not be so presumptuous."

"My grandma always said if you don't ask you don't get. So I guess you are never gonna get it."

"A pity. And what about you?"

"What about me? I'm not shy, I don't mind having a handsome man rub me down from time to time. It feels good." Uhura nearly burst into laughter when Spock actually frowned in disapproval.

"I fail to see the value or purpose of letting another male touch you intimately."

"This is not intimate, it's therapeutic."

"I see no therapeutic value in watching someone massage you."

"Don't be such a spoilsport. Humans actually need touch, we thrive on it. There is such a thing as being starved of human affection."

"Vulcans do not suffer that affliction. In fact, any skin to skin contact is considered intimate."

"Oh," Uhura said with disappointment and sat up from the table. "I'm sorry Spock. I hadn't thought of it that way. I guess I just touch you so casually I hadn't thought of it as being intimate. I've overstepped your boundaries again. If this is violating you your sense of propriety we can go."

"No. If you enjoy having this handsome man massage you, then by all means, do not let me stop you," Spock said sitting up on the side of the table as well.

"I was just teasing you. It doesn't matter who rubs me... scratch that, it didn't come out right. What I mean is, I enjoy a massage but it doesn't have to be this guy," She pointed over her shoulder to a very handsome Argelian man. "Do you want to switch? I'll take the girl and you can have my masseuse," Uhura said.

"Oh Yes! I'm game," Uhura's masseuse said while he licked his lips.

Uhura noted the way he was eyeing Spock and suddenly she decided they had had enough relaxation for one day.

"On second thought," she said, "let's go get dinner." She grabbed her robe and made sure to keep her eye on her masseuse. He looked utterly disappointed when Spock donned his own robe. She did sympathize with the masseuse though, Spock was rocking that speedo.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Uhura was having fun just being with Spock as they wandered around Argelius. They were doing one of her favorite activities, shopping and it was something neutral they could both enjoy, well she was enjoying it and Spock was content to follow her lead.

Nyota insisted that they pick up souvenirs for all her friends on the ship. And she had a considerable amount of friends Spock noted as the bags and packages he had offered to carry became numerous. But he understood that Nyota had a kind and generous heart. She would not enjoy this shore leave if she could not bring back a little of her enjoyment for her friends to share. She had gifted everyone on the Enterprise a bit of joy when she brought the tribble aboard. That was just a bit too much joy but still, she had meant well.

And so he was standing in the sunshine of the crowded shopping district as Uhura went from stall to stall haggling with shop owners for Argelian treasure. Spock watched her with a swelling of pride he didn't know he was capable of feeling. He couldn't take his eyes off of his wife. They had spent an entire day together at the Spa, and yesterday they spent their time idly browsing traditional tourist spots such as the local museum while that night they attended an Argelian opera. Spock had never felt more content with his life. So, he should have known his peace was merely a calm before a storm.

"Mr. Spock!"

Someone called his name and he reluctantly looked around. There across the crowded alley stood a part of his past he had not expected to see here on Argelius or ever again. Leila Kalomi.

She walked towards him as graceful as ever with her big blue eyes shining and bouncing curls of golden hair. She was a vision of loveliness.

"Miss Kalomi," Spock said formally when she finally stood face to face with him.

"Miss? Why are you being so formal?" Leila asked.

Spock didn't answer.

"I couldn't believe it when I saw you at first. A Vulcan here on Argelius? But I couldn't mistake you for anyone else." She smiled at him. "Are you shopping?" She glanced at the packages he was holding.

Spock didn't know how to answer her. He was rarely at a loss for words but Leila had thrown him for a loop. What was she doing here?

"Yes," he finally said when he could think of nothing else.

"So, how have you been?" Leila said like they were old friends well met.

"I have been well. And yourself?"

"I have been well also," Leila mimicked his formal speech pattern. "So, what are you doing here on Argelius? Is the Enterprise in orbit?"

"No. I am here on leave." Spock looked over to Uhura still haggling with a stall owner.

She saw him looking and waved at him playfully.

Leila followed his gaze, "She's beautiful, Mr. Spock," Leila said as she saw the exchange. "Who is she?"

"She is my wife," Spock said.

"Your...wife?" Leila stuttered on the word and the smile died on her face.

"Yes."

"You're married? To..." Leila watched Uhura as she bartered with the shop owner, "she looks so human," she whispered to herself.

"She is very human," Spock said having heard her over the din of the crowd.

"But I thought... I thought you couldn't-" Leila was confused. Spock married? To a human!

Uhura approached them with another package for Spock to carry.

"I hate to burden you with another one, if it is too much we can just go back to our room and regroup," Uhura joked.

"It is no hardship, however, I believe we should return and unburden ourselves," Spock said cryptically.

"Oh, okay." Uhura noticed Leila staring at her. Not wanting to be rude, or outdone, she stared back. "Do I know you...Miss?" Uhura asked.

"This is Leila Kalomi. An old friend," Spock said.

Uhura looked up at Spock. His strange tone of voice did not escape her notice and there was something in the air that didn't sit right with her either.

"Lieutenant Uhura of the starship Enterprise," Uhura said as she held out her hand introducing herself. Leila looked at her proffered hand as if it were a snake about to strike but didn't move to accept it.

"Okay then," Uhura dropped her hand. Something was definitely off. "You look familiar Miss Kalomi, have we met before?"

"I was on the Enterprise once. You rescued our agricultural colony and I was a passenger aboard."

"Oh, well that explains it. Unfortunately, I don't have the perfect recall like this one," she nudged Spock. "Spock, you don't have to accompany me back to our suite. You stay and visit with your um... with Miss um... silly me I've forgotten already, Miss..." She gave Spock a questioning look but he just looked at her blankly.

"Kalomi," Leila said when Spock remained silent.

"Stay with your Miss Kalomi then, I'll be fine without you," She was smiling but the smile never reached her eyes. For his part, Spock knew this was a disaster. His wife was very upset. With him. As usual.

"No, on the contrary, there is no need for us to linger." He turned to Leila. "It was agreeable to see you again Miss Kalomi. I hope you are well and I bid you peace and long life."

He turned back to Uhura, "Shall we then, my WIFE," he said with emphasis. Before they could take a step Leila called out.

"Mr. Spock, please wait." Leila reached out to snag his arm. "Surely your wife can spare you for a few moments while we catch up?"

Uhura looked down at where Leila was holding Spock's arm and any pretense of a smile faded from her face.

"Perhaps another time," Spock said as he tried to disentangle himself from Leila.

"When? Who knows when we will meet again, if ever?" Leila begged.

"She's right Spock, stay and chat. I told you I will be fine without you." Uhura said and she turned and walked away.

Spock did not want to stay and chat with Leila Kalomi. Once again the universe was conspiring against him! He watched his wife storm off while he was left holding her parcels.

He turned back to Leila, "I suppose we shall have that chat now."

They found a dark and quiet cafe that offered soft music and candlelit tables, it seemed to be the only kind of restaurant available on Argelius. They took their seats near a back corner. If there was going to be a scene Spock did not want another disturbance where he would have to make amends. He had already paid a hefty sum of credits to settle things with the brothel owner in order to keep the incident quiet.

Fighting alongside his wife and running away into the night with her had produced a very pleasant feeling in Spock, especially when she agreed to allow him to carry her to his hotel suite. It had made him feel needed by his wife. It had been a perfect evening despite the chaos.

But those pleasant feelings were fading as he sat opposite Leila Kalomi in this intimate setting. He did not want to have the conversation that was to follow. There would be no easy way to say the things that needed to be said.

For her part, Leila could not believe her eyes. Spock, her Spock, was married. And to a human woman? How did this happen? How could he do this to her? He said he couldn't love her, that he couldn't give her what she wanted and yet he was married to this Lieutenant Uhura?

Spock had simply walked away from her. He had walked away from her on Earth when they first met, and he had walked away from her after the disaster on Omicron Ceti III when they met a 2nd time. And now today he would have just walked away from her yet again to follow his 'wife'. Had their love meant nothing to him at all that he could just walk away from her and leave her standing in a crowded street, alone with nothing?

"You bastard!" Leila spat at him angrily. How dare he!

"Leila," Spock said not expecting such an attack.

"Oh, it's Leila now? I noticed you called me Miss Kalomi in front of your wife. Does she know about me, about us?"

"There is no US," Spock informed her as gently as he could.

"How can you say that Spock? We loved each other." She still loved him.

"I know that you loved me-"

"You loved me too on Omicron Ceti III! I know you did! How can you sit there and pretend that we never loved at all?"

"Leila," Spock sighed. "The man that cared for you on Omicron Ceti III was not the man I am today."

"Then who was he, Mr. Spock. Who was the man who loved me?"

"He was a product of the spores and their influence. That version of myself was not behaving rationally."

"It was not the spores," Leila protested. "The spores only made you whole and happy. They didn't make you-"

"Love you?" Spock finished.

"No, they didn't! You were happy Spock, we were happy together."

Leila reached out her hand desperate to touch his but Spock drew back as if she burned him.

"No. I thought I knew happiness for a brief moment. But it was just that, a brief moment. Something artificial, induced by the Spores. it wasn't real. Real contentment is being at peace with one's self and one's choices."

"And are you happy now, with her?" Leila couldn't believe he was saying these cruel things to her.

"She is my wife. I am... satisfied." Spock didn't have the words to explain how Nyota made him feel and those words and feelings were not meant for Leila, they were for Nyota alone.

"That's all, just satisfied? After all these years you still can't love?"

Spock was silent.

"Then I feel sorry for her. If you can't love her then why did you even marry her? Why did you marry that woman when you couldn't marry me?" Leila demanded.

Spock didn't know how to placate Leila. No matter what he told her it would hurt her. The only thing he could offer her now was the truth. "Leila, when I met you on Earth, and again on Omicron Ceti III I could not accept your love or you. I was already committed to another," Spock confessed.

"What are you saying?"

"I was, what humans would call, engaged to be married when we met on Earth."

Leila shook her head in denial. She could not believe what he was saying. Spock had cheated on a fiancee to be with her? Impossible.

"What are you talking about? How? With who, that woman you call your wife?" Leila accused.

"No. Most Vulcans are pair-bonded at the age of seven in anticipation of marriage. My bondmate T'pring remained on Vulcan while I joined Starfleet. I regret that I did not tell you this before."

No! It couldn't be true. All the time she knew him Spock belonged to another? He had never belonged to her? All this time she had pined away for the love of her life, her first and only love and meanwhile, he had a fiancee and a wife? Were there others? How many other women could claim Spock while she had been denied?

"You regret not telling me? That's it? You regret it? Do you really Mr. Spock? Was there no time while we were on Earth or on the Enterprise together that you could have told me you were spoken for?" Leila said through angry tears.

"It was a private matter. I did not discuss my... betrothed with anyone."

"Not even the woman you professed to love?"

"I have told you I was not myself when I... behaved the way I did."

Leila shook her head, "You can't even admit that you loved me, even now. And yet you are married to a human woman? How did that happen?"

"It is a long and complicated story of how I became bound to Nyota. I cannot explain the details but I am indeed pleased by the turn of events."

Spock's words broke Leila's heart even more, hearing him say these things when he could never even hold her hand or allow her to touch him. "How wonderful for you. I guess I didn't please you? My love wasn't enough for you to marry me?"

Spock didn't want to hurt her any more than he already had but he could not lie either.

"No. It was not enough. Contrary to popular human belief, love is not all there is to life. Some emotions transcend love."

"So what? Do you have feelings for that woman that transcend love? Feelings that you didn't have for me?"

"Nyota is my Th'yla," Spock confessed to Leila though he knew the words meant nothing to her.

"What is that?"

"A T'hy'la is more than a friend, it is even more than a lover. I suppose humans would call it a soulmate though even that is an inadequate definition. To Vulcans, it is not necessarily a romantic sentiment. Nyota has become the other half of my soul. She...completes me."

"But does she love you?" And do you love her? Leila wondered.

Spock could not answer her question so he remained silent.

Leila laughed through her bitter tears. "Do you know Mr. Spock, since we parted, I've often imagined meeting you again? I imagined I would be with my own husband and perhaps our child and I would see you quite by accident. I would and introduce you to my family and I would watch your face to see your reaction when you realized that you'd lost me forever. Imagine my shock to have my fantasy thrown back in my face." Leila said. "How did I look?"

"I beg your pardon?" Spock asked.

"How did my face look, Mr. Spock? How did I look when you said you were married and I realized that I had lost the only man I'd ever loved?" she cried.

"Leila, I am sorry-"

"You're damned right you are. I thought you were different from other men but I guess I was wrong about a lot of things. I guess in some ways men are all alike no matter the race. But you're a complicated man, Mr. Spock. I hope your wife understands you better than I ever did."

"Yes, I believe she does."

"Well, I suppose that's something positive. And I suppose there is nothing left for me to say." She stood from her seat.

"Mr. Spock, I wish you and your wife peace and long life. And I wish you love, for all the good it will do you."

"Leila," Spock said to her retreating back. "Live long, and prosper."

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Uhura didn't feel like going back to their hotel suite alone after seeing Spock with Leila Kalomi. She wandered around the streets of the city aimlessly, her mind replaying what she'd seen. That woman Leila Kalomi was in love with Spock. Uhura could plainly see it in her face and hear it in her voice. And Spock obviously had feelings for her too, otherwise, why did he stay and 'catch up' when he was supposed to be spending time with Uhura 'solidifying their bond'? And Spock wasn't the type to reminisce, he didn't like chit chat and meaningless small talk. He was serious, and Uhura had no doubt that he and Leila were having a serious conversation right now.

But she had bags she needed to deposit and she was getting hot and sweaty walking around carrying all this baggage. If Spock was having fun with Leila then Uhura was going to have fun too. She took advantage of Spock's meeting what Leila to drop off her packages, and then she showered and changed quickly. It was to be their last full night on Argelius and though she had had fun shopping and doing the touristy things with Spock she wanted to cut loose and have fun on her own one last time. She got dressed in the only thing she had available, one of the dresses Spock bought for her the other day. It seemed like a million light-years ago that she pranced around the sitting area of their suite modeling clothing for him.

At the time, Spock had made her feel as if she were the most beautiful woman in the world. But Spock had known many beautiful women, like that Leila Kalomi. What were they to one another? Had Spock taken Leila to expensive hotels and bought her expensive clothing? Was that what he did with all his women? There was so much about him she still didn't know. Were there other women or was this Leila the only one? Uhura had thought herself so special that Spock was 'attracted' to her but apparently that was not the case.

It didn't matter. Spock was not the only man she had dated so it as only logical that she as not the only woman he had been with. After all, he was divorced from T'Pring. Still, it rankled Uhura to meet one of Spock's ex's face to face. He hadn't cared for T'Pring at all but Uhura could tell that he cared for this Leila. And that bothered her more than she cared to admit.

As she got dressed, she couldn't help but wonder about Leila. Had she and Spock been lovers? Did he still have feelings for her? If she had been available would he have married Leila instead? These thoughts would only lead to heartache and Uhura didn't come to Argelius for that. She came to relax and to have fun. And she was determined to do that on her last night, Spock or no Spock.

The dress she chose was skin-tight, low cut, and it had a slit up the side that stopped just below her hip showing off all her shapely leg. It was decadent and very Argelian and it suited her mood tonight. She put on her favorite repaired heels, also courtesy of Spock. She made up her face, pulled her hair back into a high ponytail and added some jeweled pins to decorate the style. One last glance in the mirror and she was ready to go. She looked damn good if she did say so herself. Spock still had not come 'home' but no matter. He was not needed, so he could have fun with his little girlfriend for all Uhura cared. She had on her 'freakum' dress and she was going to show these Argelians how Earth girls did it.

She told herself she was not jealous as she rode the lift down to the lobby hoping she didn't run into Spock on her way out. But as she left the lobby undisturbed she felt disappointed that she hadn't run into him. So he was still with Leila. Whatever.

The sun was just setting when she found transport and set off to the biggest tourist trap on Argelius for nightlife, the dancehall. The music was insanely loud and when she stepped out of the transport she had an urge to turn back around and tell the driver to take her home. But she couldn't do that. Spock was not there, and if he was there she didn't want to see him. So she mustered her strength and entered the crowded venue.

When she got inside it was overly warm, crowded, and the music was pumping a beat so loud that it vibrated in her chest that made her feel it would explode. She didn't feel like dancing so she pushed her way to the bar and ordered an Argelian ale. She hoped it was tame in comparison to some of the other drinks she had been offered during her week here. She sipped her drink slowly and gradually she began to relax and get into the rhythm of things. She sat at the bar and watched as a sea of bodies swayed and gyrated to the music.

Men and women approached her asking her to dance but she declined. Instead, she was content to just sit and watch the spectacle and nurse her ale. The Argelians did enjoy their pleasure and tonight was no exception. The dance floor was filled with every alien race in the Federation mixed in with Argelian men and women swinging and swaying and grinding to the beat of exotic drums. The dancers seemed lost to the music in a world of their own and Uhura felt sadly left out. She usually wasn't the wallflower type but tonight she felt off her game.

But it wasn't long before the DJ started playing songs that she recognized, perhaps in honor of all the Terrans that seemed to be in attendance. Not much of a drinker she set aside her glass and just watched the action on the dance floor with more enthusiasm.

She had never been the type to sit and mope for too long. What the hell was she doing letting a man bring her down and spoil her fun? When a handsome Argelian asked her to dance she gave in and soon she was on the dancefloor in the center of a sea of writhing bodies. Maybe she was drunk, she thought as she moved her body to the music. She didn't care, it felt good to just let loose, and move her body and enjoy human...well physical contact.

Uhura felt him before she saw him. Somehow Spock found her, again. She just knew he was nearby, she could feel an invisible thread pulling her towards the entrance of the club. Something deep inside called to her, commanding her to attend and she couldn't resist it.

She made her way through the dancers to the entrance of the club and there he was, standing patiently, waiting for her. As Uhura approached Spock, he didn't speak and he didn't move towards her, he just raked his eyes down her body from head to toe. Uhura stopped several feet away from him with her hands on her hips in a challenging pose, as if to say 'look what you made me do'. They both stood their ground for several moments when Spock finally gave in and stepped to Uhura first.

"It is not wise to stand here like this," he said, "perhaps we should move aside." His hand was wrapped around her bare arm and she heard every word he said, in her mind!

Spock tried pulling her towards the entrance but Uhura stood firm.

"I came here to dance," she shouted, "why are you here?"

"I came here for you," he said with his exasperated voice though his lips did not move.

"Well, you found me, mission accomplished." She tried to pull away again but his grip was like steel. He wasn't letting her go and she was not budging either.

What do you want from me? Uhura wondered as Spock stared at her with his intense eyes, making her feel exposed; as if he could see all her secret thoughts and emotions. Where was Leila? Why had he followed her here when he had another woman out there somewhere in love with him?

Spock pulled Uhura into his arms and rested his mouth just at her ear.

"I only have one woman. Why did you not wait for me today, my wife?"

Uhura tried to pull away but Spock's hands held her in place and she couldn't budge.

"Where's your friend?" She yelled above the din of the music.

"I do not know where she is and I do not care to know. I came in search of my wife."

"How do you keep finding me?"

"I'm bound to you. I can never lose you."

"More of your Vulcan mind tricks? Like speaking in my head?"

"It is no trick. If I lower my mental shields and open my mind I can feel you, I can sense when you are near me and when you need me. If you were Vulcan you could sense me too. It is how you would know when our Time approaches." Though they were in the middle of a crowded dancefloor Spock and Uhura stood still speaking in their private conversation.

"Our Time?" She asked.

"Yes, Our Time. I cannot survive it alone. I cannot live without my wife. Everything I have and everything I am I owe to you," Spock said to Uhura in her ear and in her mind as he touched her bare skin.

Nyota didn't know why but hearing Spock say that he could not live without her made her stomach flutter as if it were filled with butterflies. It wasn't a declaration of love or anything like it, but it was something.

"Shall we dance?" Spock asked, suddenly realizing they were impeding movement around them.

"Really? You want to dance? With me?" she couldn't believe her ears but then again she hadn't heard the question with her ears, it was in her mind.

"You came here to dance. I will accommodate you."

"Oh really? Think you can keep up with me?" She challenged him.

"I am here."

Uhura suddenly felt unsure again. Spock wanted to dance with her? Normally you'd have to pry him off the wall and threaten him with bodily harm to get him to dance. Was he just doing this for her? Did it matter?

"Alright, Mister lets dance." She pulled him deeper into the dancehall and when she felt she had a good spot she began to dance as she had before.

Uhura slowly got back into the swing of things and soon she as shimmying all around Spock. She rubbed her body all over him like she was a cat and he was her toy. She wrapped her body around him like a second skin and did her best to make sure he didn't see or hear or smell or know any other woman but her.

The DJ was human and he was playing throwback Terran music nonstop now that the club was full. It was mostly electronic dance music but then they queued up 'I'm every woman', from waaay back in Earth's past, some say the golden age of popular music. Uhura couldn't believe it. That was her song! She wasn't the only one feeling it as the crowd that was filled with humans went wild.

Spock didn't quite know what had come over his wife but he watched the spectacle with fascination. Uhura knew all the words and she sang right along with Whitney Houston. Spock watched her perform for him, spellbound. There was utter joy on Nyota's face as she sang and danced to 'her song'. This was the Nyota that drew him to her. This was the woman who attracted him like no woman ever had. When he as with Nyota no one and nothing else mattered. She was breathtaking.

Spock didn't realize it, but he was staring at Uhura with a bemused expression. Uhura looked up to see his stare and she suddenly felt like being naughty with her devil eared husband. Spock was so straightlaced, yet he had chased her into a disco where he stood out like a Vulcan in a comedy club. He had chased her to Argelius and found her time after time. She had once vowed never to chase Spock but here he was chasing her!

She stood on her toes, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. She thought to shock him. She thought he might tolerate her kiss stoically and then reprimand her for such a public display. But he didn't. He kissed her back. He kissed her hard and slow and long, and he lifted her off her feet as he did so. Well damn, his kiss took her breath away!

Uhura forgot about all the dancers moving around them. Spock's kiss made her forget everything except the feel of his lips pressed to hers, the rapid beating of her heart, and the warmth of their bodies grinding together in the crowded club. With Spock's mental shields lowered Uhura didn't know who was thinking and feeling what, but she felt overwhelmed with powerful emotions. All she knew was what she felt and what she felt was want and longing and desire. She wanted to be with Spock just like this forever and for the moment that was all that mattered.

When they finally separated, Uhura felt light-headed. She wiped her lipstick from Spock's lips and smiled. "I think I just broke your boundary rule."

Spock nodded. "It is of no consequence. As long as you meant it."

"Meant what?"

"The Kiss. Recall that you said there is no such thing as 'just a kiss'?"

"I say a lot of things," she confessed.

"Then say something now. Say anything. Just tell me what you want and I will do my best to give it to you."

"I don't think you can," Uhura said sadly.

"I have already given you a part of my soul. Does that not demonstrate that there is nothing I would not do for you and nothing I would not give?"

She didn't dare say it, but Uhura wanted everything. Maybe she was greedy and selfish but Uhura wanted all of Spock, not just a piece of his Katra. She didn't need his Katra, she needed his love. But she was afraid to ask for that. Grandma said if you don't ask you don't get, but she couldn't ask for something Spock didn't have to give. And that made her feel very sad. It made her heart ache with the weight of the feelings she had developed for Spock.

She didn't know it but she was crying. There in the crowded dancehall, with people jostling all around them Spock saw her tears and he gently wiped them away with the backs of his fingers and he kissed her again. He kissed her slowly and gently like she was the only woman in the world. He tried to say with his kiss what he could not say with words even in her mind. And then he scooped her up in his arms and carried her through the crowd and out of the club as if she weighed nothing at all.

"What are you doing?" Uhura shouted as she wound her arms tight around Spock's neck.

"I am taking my wife home."

"Your wife can walk!"

"Yes, but she keeps walking away from me. This will eliminate that possibility," he assured her.

"This is very caveman of you," She protested.

"I believe you enjoy it just the same. It is very 'rakish' is it not?" Spock used her own words against her.

"I do not enjoy it. Put me down, you're drawing attention!" she demanded with no enthusiasm.

Spock didn't put her down. He carried her out of the club and into the night. The air uncharacteristically clear and fogless and bright stars dotted the Argelian night sky. Somewhere above the Enterprise was in parking orbit waiting for everyone on shore leave to return. Spock had received the message when he arrived back at their hotel which had delayed him in catching Nyota. But the delay hadn't hindered his efforts to find her. The Argelians were always more than eager to tell him where his wayward wife had gotten off to. The lack of security and privacy on the planet was appalling but it had served him well on this leave. His wife could not escape him.

"What are you smirking about?" Uhura asks Spock as he carried her home through the streets of the city again. She really was exhausted so she let him have his way. Her feet were killing her, her head was pounding and she was quite likely tipsy from that one drink she had. Not only did these Argelians serve up strong alcoholic drinks but Uhura suspected they also slipped a little something into the air of their establishments to keep the party going, probably some aphrodisiac. It was either that or Spock had knocked her off her feet.

"I do not smirk therefore I am not smirking. Besides which, you cannot see my face or my smirk," Spock said.

"I can feel it. Through this marital bond or whatever it is, I can sense you are feeling self-satisfied."

"Indeed?" Spock was quite skeptical.

"Yes, you're feeling very smug, I think."

"Am I? You can feel that?" Spock asked. Then why couldn't she feel how much he cared for her?

"Yes. I can feel it. I wish I could put my thoughts in your mind the way you do to me. You have me at a disadvantage."

"I do not. You will simply have to learn how to mind speak."

"If it were possible for humans to learn telepathy I would think Amanda would have it mastered by now."

"Mother is psi-null and she does not possess Sarek's katra. You have a unique advantage over her and other humans."

"True, I am unique," Uhura yawned and rested her head on his shoulder.

"You are indeed," Spock agreed. His wife felt so light in his arms. She was also warm and soft and she smelled like heaven. He never wanted to let her go.

"So you think I can learn to speak to your mind?" Uhura asked. Spock felt her excitement. She was was always eager to learn something new and telepathy would prove a worthy challenge.

"I see no reason for you not to try. I recall that you insisted you could learn the ka'athyra when no other human had accomplished it."

"Yes, I did. Someone had to be the first, why not me?"

"Indeed, why not you?" Spock said.

"Mmm, I'm so tired though. I don't think I can learn anything tonight. You've worn me out with your smooth moves," Uhura yawned again.

"Agreed, not tonight," Spock said feeling warmth radiating from Uhura.

He would be pleased to teach her how to control her thoughts and emotions and how to communicate with him with her mind. Psi ability was not unheard of in humans, his predecessor on the Enterprise, Gary Mitchell had a high ESPer rating. Unfortunately, Mitchell had succumbed to outside alien forces and perished because of his enhanced telepathic and telekinetic powers. Spock would not allow that to happen to Nyota. He would train her himself. Of course, his own lack of training had led to them sharing a katra in the first place. He would need to seek additional training for himself as well. He must never put his wife in harm's way, he must always protect her, even from himself.

With that thought in mind, Spock was careful as he brought Nyota back to their hotel room. She had exhausted herself on the dancefloor tonight and he sensed she was also mentally drained. He understood some of her excitement and anxiety. Tonight was their last night on Argelius. Tomorrow the Enterprise would be in orbit and take them back to their reality aboard ship.

As Spock lay Uhura on the bed, he desperately wanted to join her there but she still had not invited him as her husband. Tonight was not the night. She was inebriated and she was in an odd mood brought on by his meeting with Leila. So Spock carefully undressed her, removing her tight dress, and held his desires in check.

Spock had felt Nyota's desire for him as they kissed, but he could also feel her insecurity. She had been trying to usurp Leila's place in his mind. But she needn't have tried as Spock had gotten Leila out of his system ages ago. Why couldn't Nyota feel his desire for her, his admiration and esteem? Hadn't he done everything he could to demonstrate how much he wanted this marriage? How could he ever make her understand how he felt for her? He was no closer to solving his problem than he had been before this shore leave began.

Spock made up his own bed on the floor beside his wife, but he didn't sleep and he couldn't meditate. Instead, he wondered what tomorrow and the end of their leave would bring.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The next day Uhura awoke to an empty bed. She didn't know why but she felt disappointed. Last night had been incredible. Spock had found her and danced with her and he had kissed her as if the world was made for only the two of them. And he brought her home and put her to bed as if she was his greatest treasure. A girl could get used to treatment like that, she thought as she stretched.

But as usual, Spock was nowhere to be found this morning. His makeshift bed had been neatly put away and all evidence of him having slept beside her bed was gone. Today was their last day on Argelius, in fact, she should be up and packing for their rendezvous with the Enterprise. The Enterprise should have been in orbit for several hours now if everything worked out as scheduled and she and Spock could beam back aboard rather than taking a shuttle.

Uhura was just putting the finishing touches on her hair and makeup when someone knocked on the door to her suite. It couldn't be Spock, he would just let himself in, after all, it was his suite. He had taken up the habit of disappearing early every morning. Uhura suspected he needed some alone time to meditate. She understood that, so she let him do his thing. She was sure she worked his nerves overtime, she smiled to herself as she skipped to the door.

She palmed the door lock and it slid open to reveal Leila Kalomi standing on the threshold.

"Ms. Kalomi?" Uhura said in shock, her smile disappearing. Why the hell was she here? "I'm sorry, but Spock isn't in at the moment. You know he does more in one day than most men do in two. And I'm rather busy, I just got up myself. We had a rather late night," She said smiling again. Uhura didn't know why she implied she and Spock's late-night was due to conjugal activities but this Miss Kalomi got under her skin.

"I came to speak to you actually," Leila said.

"Me? Whatever for?" Uhura asked.

"I guess I was curious about the woman that Spock married."

Uhura could understand that. She had been curious about T'Pring once upon a time. Now she wished she had never met the bitch, but still...

"You know curiosity killed the cat," Uhura said playfully.

"I'm willing to risk it," Leila said still standing on the threshold waiting for Uhura to invite her in.

Uhura stepped aside and Leila stepped into the suite slowly. She took a good look around and was in just as much awe as Uhura had been in when she first saw the suite.

"Wow, you two spared no expense," Leila remarked as her eyes took in the scene.

"Oh well you know this is sort of our honeymoon," Uhura giggled. "And you know how Spock is, he's just spoiling me," she said. Why was she saying these things? Why was she being so petty and trying to make Leila jealous? Just something about Miss Kalomi rubbed her the wrong way.

Uhura ushered Leila over to a sitting area. "Argelians don't use chairs, so we'll have to sit on the floor."

Uhura led Leila to a group of pillows near one of the huge windows that boasted a spectacular view of the city. Once seated, Uhura came right to the point.

"So you wanted to speak to me?"

"Yes, as I said I was curious about you."

"Really? To be honest Miss Kalomi, I was curious about you too." Uhura said

"Oh. Curious about what?"

"Who are you exactly?"

"You mean Spock didn't tell you about me?"

"No, not at all." Uhura stared at Leila waiting for an answer.

"You didn't discuss me last night perhaps?" Leila asked.

"No. As I said we were otherwise engaged." Uhura smiled.

"Oh," Leila said with disappointment. "Well, Spock and I are old friends."

"Yes, you said as much yesterday."

"Yes, well we met back on Earth. I was a botanist for the Federation preparing for my first off-world expedition when I was liaisoned with a young Starfleet officer."

"Spock?"

"Yes. I liked him right away. He was a bit stuffy but he was so well briefed on our mission I was blown away by his knowledge of botany and everything else. He added many contributions to the arrangements for our colony. During that time, I fell in love with him. I suppose I'm not the first woman to do so, and certainly not the last. But I had hoped...Well, I thought he felt the same way about me."

Uhura remained silent leaving Leila to fill in the void.

"Well, I guess he didn't or couldn't love me in return back then. He told me yesterday that he was engaged to a Vulcan woman since childhood."

Leila waited and looked at Uhura expectantly. She was perhaps hoping to see some surprise at this news but she was again disappointed.

"Go on," Uhura said.

"We went our separate ways after we left Earth, but then we met again on Omicron Ceti III"

"Mmm-hmm." Uhura nodded her head still not hearing anything that mattered.

"And... I infected Spock with the Spores." Leila confessed.

"Oh, so you did that?"

"Yes, I'm afraid it was me. But you must understand, we were all under the influence of the spores."

"Yes, I was too. I'm not proud of the things I did back then." Uhura shook her head in remembrance of sabotaging the communications panel.

"So you understand?" Leila asked?

"Not really, but no matter, continue."

Leila fidgeted in her seat. This Uhura was giving her no quarter. She just stared at her blankly, drawing her out. It actually reminded Leila of Spock.

"So, under the influence of the spores, I thought Spock and I could finally be together. I thought he could finally love me back."

"And did he?" Uhura asked while masking the tumultuous emotions that were building up inside her.

"Did he love me, you mean?"

"Yes."

"I thought he did, he seemed happy. He laughed, he smiled, he could finally kiss me, he could hold me... On earth, he could not even touch me and on Omicron... I thought he finally wanted me as much as I wanted him."

Uhura was seething. She didn't want to hear about how this Leila and Spock had made love on Omicron Ceti III. She wanted to punch that smug little face of Leila's and scratch her eyes out of their sockets. How dare she come up in here bragging about how she drugged Spock and made him happy! I just bet you did, Uhura thought. Is this what Spock wanted? Was he still in love with this Leila character? Then why had he married her?

"Miss, Kalomi, what do you want with me? Did you come here just to tell me that you and Spock were lovers?"

"I guess I was wondering if Spock was really happy now. Are you and Spock happy together? Spock and I, we... well I thought I would ask his wife since Spock can't tell me himself," Leila confessed.

"You've got a lot of nerve Missy," Uhura said letting her anger go. "You have no right to ask me anything about Spock! So you loved him? Big deal. And you asked Spock if he was happy yesterday? So you didn't get the answer you wanted and you come to ask me? Why does it even matter to you anymore?"

"Because Spock and I loved one another once-"

"And?" Uhura asked.

"And I just thought... I wondered..." Leila stammered.

"You wondered why he married me and not you? Does he love me like he supposedly loved you? You wondered if maybe you still had a chance?" Uhura said getting even angrier.

"I didn't mean to come here and insult you or your marriage-"

"Well, your intentions don't reflect your actions Miss Kalomi. It doesn't matter why Spock married me. The fact is, we are married. And Spock is a Vulcan. If you loved him so much you should know him and know better than to ask if he's 'happy'."

Before Leila could respond Uhura continued, "And let me tell you something else, Miss Kalomi. Don't you ever ask me or anybody else private questions about my husband ever again! If Spock wanted you to know about me and him, he would have told you. You'd do better to worry about your own husband if you have one instead of worrying about mine. Now, I think you should leave before I lose my cool."

Uhura stood up and went to the door and she was fuming with anger. "Amanda warned me!" She said to herself. "I didn't believe it but she did warn me. Right in front of my face, they try to take your man," Uhura said.

"Who is Amanda?" Leila said getting to her feet.

"Not that its any of your business, but Amanda is Spock's mother. She warned me about women just like you."

"Oh, you've met Spock's mother?" Leila asked in surprise. She knew nothing about Spock's parentage or his life on Vulcan.

"Listen, little girly, I'm not gonna tell you again-"

Just then the door slid open and Spock appeared.

His shields were not in place and Uhura thought she saw a look of panic cross his face before he quickly schooled it. But deep in her mind, she felt it. Spock couldn't block the reaction that bombarded her with his unshielded thoughts.

If she didn't know any better she'd think Spock had said "oh Shit!" before he shielded his mind.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"Oh, here he is now!" Uhura said while Spock stood in the doorway dumbfounded.

"Miss Kolumi was just leaving, and as a matter of fact," Uhura turned on Spock with angry wounded eyes, "you can go with her."

What in the world was Leila doing here? Spock wondered as he walked in on the explosive situation. And what had she said to his wife to cause this outburst?

"Leila? Why are you here?" He asked seeking answers from the offending party. That seemed to be the wrong thing to do as Uhura turned and stormed off towards the bedroom.

"Nyota, what is going on here?" He called to her.

She turned on him angrily and shouted out, "Ask your girlfriend!"

For her part, Leila looked repentant and sad. "I'm sorry Spock, I don't know why I came here. I just thought there was still something... I'm sorry!" She stormed out of the suit.

Spock watched her leave feeling very confused and conflicted. What had just gone on here?

"Nyota, why was Leila here?" he asked.

"Why don't you go and ask her? Ask her why she felt the need to walk up in here and ask me if I loved you and If I made you happy? Ask her why our marriage is any of her business at all!" Uhura yelled.

"Nyota-"

"Don't call me that! Only my friends call me that." She stormed into the bedroom and started pulling out her clothes to pack.

Spock followed her into the bedroom but he didn't say anything as he watched her pack. She was angry and behaving irrationally. He had learned the hard way to leave an angry woman alone for a while.

This was another fine mess. Why had Leila come here? To cause trouble in his marriage? What had she intended when she provoked Nyota? He would have never thought her capable of such machinations.

And now because Leila made Nyota angry Spock was in the so-called doghouse again. He was beginning to think women were nothing but pure trouble. How did the captain manage all the women he had loved before? No wonder Jim had a strict rule about relationships with crewmembers. It was a disaster waiting to happen if the women Spock knew were any indication.

Spock had never subscribed to illogical prejudices. Men and women were equal in value if differently-abled. However, when it came to matters of the heart women apparently were in a league of their own.

T'pring, Christine, and Leila were evidence that women played the game of love at a different level. They threw all logic, reason, and accountability out of the window in pursuit of their goals. Even his own wife and mother seemed hell-bent on driving him mad in the name of love.

Nyota was displeased with him? Again? And what had he done? He had not invited Leila into their suite, Nyota had done that all on her own. He had not encouraged Leila to chat with him in the city yesterday, Nyota had done that as well. He had not told Leila anything about their relationship except that Nyota was his wife and he was pleased. Yet somehow he was again at fault?

"Nyota," Spock said calmly.

"What?" She said as she gathered the last of her belongings.

"Please listen to what I must say."

"Okay, talk." Uhura crossed her arms over her chest and sat down on the side of her bed.

"Nyota, I believe I have been quite tolerant of your behavior for long enough."

She opened her mouth to protest but he silenced her with a command "Kroykah!" he said sternly.

She stared at him with her mouth agape.

"You will listen," Spock said. "I have tolerated your emotional outbursts up until this point. I have respected your request for 'space' to deal with our sudden marriage. I have respected your desire to continue on as friends until you decide what you are going to do about 'us'. But you have not afforded me the same courtesy."

"I have been trying!" She cut in.

"Have you? Have you respected the boundaries that I have set forth for our relationship? Have you respected my personal beliefs and cultural traditions regarding male and female contact?"

Uhura stubbornly held her tongue. She knew she hadn't but she refused to admit it.

Spock continued, "In fact, you have constantly touched me intimately in public and initiated physical contact of a sexual nature. You invited me into your bed when your intentions were unclear."

"I was trying to be nice! You make it seem as if I was trying to seduce you or lead you on or something," she said.

"Weren't you? I believe you were 'trying to have your cake and eat it too'," he said.

"That's ridiculous," she said.

"Nyota, I have acquiesced to all of your wishes and overlooked your transgressions because I acknowledge the great offense I have committed against you. I acknowledge that this is not what you asked for. I understand that this is new to you. But can you recognize and acknowledge that this is all new to me as well?"

"T'pring notwithstanding, I have not been married before. I have not been in a relationship with a woman that did not involve psychedelic spores, or hallucinogenic fevers, or my mind reverting to the primitive state." Spock said passionately.

"Why do you imagine I have this all figured out? You say you don't know how to be a Vulcan wife? Well, I don't know how to be a Vulcan husband! If Sarek is not an ideal role model then who do you expect me to emulate? Where is your ideal husband I am to pattern myself after to please you?" Spock asked.

Uhura sat dumbfounded. She had never heard Spock speak so openly and passionately. Had he been thinking and feeling this way the entire time they were married? Why had he waited until now to tell her how he felt?

"Spock-"

"No Nyota, you will listen. This is long overdue," Spock interrupted her.

"The say Vulcans do not express their feelings openly, but you have reminded me quite often that I do have feelings. And did you know my wife, my feelings can be injured as easily as anyone else's? Perhaps you should consider that before you accuse me of whatever offense you think I have committed with Leila."

"I did not invite Leila here to our suite. I did not encourage her. I, in fact, tried to release her painlessly. I told her in no uncertain terms that you were my wife and that I had feelings only for you."

"And I should also like to point out, when I was with Leila, it was under the influence of the spores. I broke off our association as soon as the spores wore off. Any feelings I may have had for Leila ended when the spores lost their power."

Uhura sat in silence. She had behaved foolishly and she knew it.

"Before I finish, I have one question for you."

"What is it?" Uhura asked as she struggled to hold back tears.

"Why are you angry with me? Is it because I took you from the Enterprise and you were forced to bond with me? Is it because I did not tell you about my impending Pon far?"

"That's three questions. But no. I'm not angry about that anymore."

Spock nodded his head in understanding. "Good. Then I assume you are angry with me because Leila has challenged your position as my wife?"

"No!" Uhura denied but even as she said it she knew it to be a lie. "She had no right coming here asking me about our relationship. I'm angry because every time I think we're making progress something or someone comes along and throws a wrench into it. I'm angry and I'm frustrated and I am tired of being angry and frustrated. I came here to Argelius to regroup and now I'm more confused than ever," She said sadly. "I never meant to hurt you. I hope you know that? I never imagined things could go this far out of control. I'm not myself and I don't like it."

"What do you want?" Spock asked Uhura. He wanted to comfort her but he couldn't. Everything she was feeling he was feeling too. He too was frustrated. He too was out of his element. Uhura may tease him about his 'ex-wife' but he had never been in a relationship before. Leila was an aberration. Besides their friendship on Earth, their relationship on Omicron Ceti had lasted little more than a day.

He had been with Uhura in one way or another for years. They had been through illness and injury and survived missions and adventures and hardships together. They had already shared a lifetime of experiences. They were more than just friends and had always been so. Couldn't Nyota see how much she was a permanent part of his life?

"Why do you not understand what you are to me?" Spock said sitting next to her. "Have I not tried in every way to show you how much I care for you?"

"What are you talking about?" Nyota asked confused.

"I am asking why you cannot see your own worth? Why can you not see your value to me? I have tried to show you how much I...feel. I have tried to demonstrate the caring I feel for you. My desire to bond with you did not occur out of biological necessity. I desired to bond with you because you were my dearest companion, because you have become necessary for me to live in contentment. Because since becoming acquainted with you, you have given me an abundance of friendship, comfort, and understanding. I wanted to bond with you because I thought you felt for me the way I feel for you."

"Nyota," Spock took her hand, "on my darkest days you have been my sunshine. But I will not force you to be with me if that is not your desire. I did not plan our bonding properly. I never told you about the consequences of bonding with me or of Pon Farr. I never asked you to bond with me in matrimony and I believe it time I remedy that."

Spock slid to the floor and took a knee.

"Nyota, I would like for you to be my wife and live with me as husband and wife for the duration of our lives. Would you do me the honor of being my bonded mate?"

Nyota was gobsmacked. Spock was asking her to marry him? Now?

"You do not have to answer now," he said when she did not answer right away. "I will give you time to think it over. If you decide you do not want to be with me I will respect your wishes and I will release you, forever. Until then I think it best that we separate. We have to work together but I think it best that we keep our relationship strictly professional until you decide what you want from me."

"What are you saying? You want to separate now?" Uhura was crying now. She could not believe this was happening.

"I did not say that. I have given you my proposal and now it is up to you to determine the status of our relationship. I took away your choice before and now I give it back to you."

He stood. "The Enterprise is in orbit and the crew is taking shore leave for the remainder of the day. Whenever you are ready you can return to the ship. This suite is reserved until the end of the day so you may take your time checking out. I will leave you now."

"Spock wait! This isn't what I wanted."

"I believe this is for the best. Decide what you truly want, and when you are ready I will accept your decision."

Spock took out his communicator and messaged this ship.

"Spock to Enterprise, one to beam aboard."

"Standby. Whenever you're ready Mr. Spock," Uhura heard Kyle say.

Spock turned to her.

"I'll see you on the bridge."

"Mr. Kyle, energize. Spock out!"

And just like that, he was gone.

Uhura could not believe what had just happened. She didn't understand it. Spock had proposed to her? But he also broke up with her?

Uhura didn't know whether she should laugh or scream or cry? That's how he was going to do it? That wasn't a proposal that was an ultimatum.

She threw herself on the big bed and sobbed. That bastard!

Uhura hugged her pillow and cried. She didn't want to decide. They were already married. She had the bride price to prove it! Why was Spock constantly giving her an out? She could take it and his money and be free, forever. But she would lose Spock, not only as her husband but also as her friend and her colleague. She would never be able to work with him if they were to divorce. She would have to transfer, and start her life all over again, without him. Was that what she wanted?

On the other hand, if she chose to accept his proposal this time, there would be no turning back. She would have to live with him for the rest of her life as his wife. She would have to go through Pon Farr with him again and again. She would have to have his children and probably live on Vulcan to raise them. She would be his clan matriarch one day. Why did that suddenly sound so appealing now when a few weeks ago it was the last thing she wanted?

This bed and this room felt so lonely without Spock. What if she had really lost him? What if he decided he didn't want to wait for her anymore? Could she stand to live like this forever? Spock said he could not live without her, but could she live without him?

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"You won't believe what I saw on Argelius," Christine heard someone whisper. She had been busy sorting through supplies in an alcove near the ship's science labs when she heard footsteps approach and like any good sneak, she ducked further inside.

"What?" another voice answered.

"Commander Spock and Lieutenant Uhura," the first voice said.

"So what? Everyone was down there on shore leave last night."

"So what? Was everyone down there all week hanging out in dingy cafes, huddled up in tête-à-têtes? Was everyone down there brawling with the natives?"

Christine recognized the voice of a nurse she worked with and her ears perked up.

"What?! Brawling? Who?" someone asked.

Yeah, who? Christine thought as she eavesdropped.

"Commander Spock and Lieutenant Uhura! It happened in one of those officers only kind of places, the ones marked off-limits to us plebs."

"So what were you doing in there?"

"RHIP, rank has its privileges," the nurse replied in a sing-song manner.

"What rank? You're an enlisted crewman just like me."

"Not my rank, my husband's. I escorted him to this place that was supposed to be wild and full of er...um... well never mind about that. We saw Mr. Spock and Miss Uhura there."

"No!"

"Yes! It was on the news blogs and everything, though the Argelians claim they couldn't find the culprits. But I heard that the Vulcans paid them off to keep it hush-hush."

"No! Why would the Vulcans do that?"

"Well, I heard that Mr. Spock has some kind of diplomatic immunity so he can't be touched. He's a diplomat brat like those weirdos who highjacked the ship with that Dr. Sevrin," the nurse said.

"Really? How do you know so much? Rank really does have its privileges hmm?"

"You bet your sweet ass it does. That's why I married up."

"You don't have to brag. Someday my captain will come along and I'll be getting into those exclusive clubs too. So that's all you did on shore leave, spy on Spock and Uhura?"

"Spy? Who had to spy when they were flaunting it?"

"What are you talking about? Flaunting what?"

"Girl, I was on the shuttle to Argelius with Uhura. She made it seem like she was going for a little R&R alone but guess who showed up that very same day looking for her?"

"Mr. Spock?"

"Yep. He was at the tourist office asking questions, and apparently, he found her." The nurse giggled. "My husband and I saw them a few times together while on Argelius. Mr. Spock was not hard to spot, he sticks out like a green sore thumb."

"That's not nice. Mr. Spock is the best officer I've ever seen."

"Well don't go pining away after him, he's spoken for."

"What do you mean?"

"Are you thick or something, he was on Argelius with Lieutenant Uhura the entire shore leave. And you know what Argelius is for, sex. Every time I saw them they were together. And if that doesn't seal the deal, I saw with my own two eyeballs, the Lieutenant and Spock were practically getting it on on the dancefloor of a nightclub."

"Oh my god! I can't even imagine it!"

"You know those Argeliands are sex-crazed and free-loving and anything goes there? Well, Mr. Spock and Lieutenant Uhura fit right in, I tell you! They were dressed like the natives and if it weren't for Spock's ears you would have thought they belonged there. Lieutenant Uhura did this dance... They were all hugged up and kissing and EVERYTHING on that dancefloor!"

"Oh my god really?"

"Yes, why would I lie? I could not believe my eyes. It was hot!"

"I cannot believe my ears."

"I know right? This is big news. Mr. Spock and Lieutenant Uhura are a couple," the nurse said.

"Wow! I cannot believe it. I don't believe it. Pics or it didn't happen," the other voice teased.

"You don't have to take my word for it." Christine heard the ruffling of clothing.

"I got some pics right here."

"I thought we weren't allowed cameras on Argelius?"

"I have my ways."

"You have too many ways!" her friend chided, "but let me see!" They both giggled.

"Ahem!" Christine said stepping out from the alcove and interrupting the little tete-a-tete. "I couldn't help but overhear your little conversation. Am I to understand that you broke regs and smuggled a camera down to shore leave and that you took photos of fellow crewmembers without permission?" Christine asked.

"Well nurse Chapel, it was all innocent fun," the young nurse protested.

"Fun? Do you suppose the captain will think it all innocent fun if the government of Argelius files a protest and we can't visit the planet again?"

"That wouldn't happen, they don't even know about it."

"I know about it, and I am duty-bound to report it."

"Aw C'mon Nurse, You don't have to do that, I'll destroy the photos I promise."

"No, I will destroy the photos and you will remember that as a member of the Enterprise crew, you represent all of us in Starfleet and the Federation. That planet has strict identity privacy rules to protect its citizens. As allies of the Federation, they have every right to impose any rules they like, and we are to respect them. That goes for any member planet in the Federation, is that clear?" Christine barked out.

"Yes, sir!" the nurses replied.

"Good, now hand it over." They placed the contraband into Christine's outstretched hand and then made themselves scarce.

Christine held the tiny camera in her hand and fumed. She was at once angry that a member of the Enterprise would violate so many rules and regs and she was also angry about what was supposedly on the camera. Pictures of Uhura and Spock whooping it up on Argelius?

She thought they couldn't stand to be in each other's company? Was it all an act? Were they just sneaking around behind everyone's backs and laughing about it? Well, she would soon find out.

That tiny camera burned her skin like a brand as she gripped it tightly. She was going to see with her own two eyes just what was going on. She couldn't wait for her shift to end before she headed to her quarters intent on viewing the offending photos. But on the way, she spotted Uhura. Well, well, well, wasn't this just a great coincidence?

Christine was struck with a moment of indecision. She had been avoiding Uhura for the past few weeks, ever since she learned about Spock and Uhura's supposed bonding. But now she burned with curiosity to know exactly what was going on. She had comforted herself with the knowledge that it appeared to be a marriage in name only, but now that she had supposed evidence that they were dancing together she didn't know how to feel or what to think. She could easily get those answers from the horse's mouth but she didn't know if she wanted to hear those words.

Fearing she would never have the courage again she walked up to Uhura who was waiting at the lift doors.

"Nyota I would like to talk to you about something."

"Oh, hi Christine. How are you?"

"Just fine, thanks for caring. But I need to ask you something." Christine said urgently.

Nyota looked pained and Christine's stomach tightened with worry. What was that look all about?

"Ok then. What is it?" Uhura asked cautiously.

"It is about you and Mr. Spock."

Uhura scrunched up her face and shook her hear. "Nope," she said and she turned and walked down the corridor in the opposite direction.

"What do you mean 'nope', just last week you were begging to talk about it," Christine said following her.

"Nope, not gonna happen. I did ask you to listen, I pleaded with you but you didn't want to hear it so now I don't care to talk about it."

"Ny, please, I know I was angry but-"

Uhura turned on her, "But what? Have you changed your mind? Am I not all those horrible things that you said to me?"

Christine stood silent. She was still angry or more to the point, heartbroken. She didn't know why she said those hurtful things but she couldn't bring herself to take them back either.

"Exactly," Uhura said and turned to go about her business.

"Wait, Ny, please just listen-"

"No, you listen, Chris. I wanted to be friends with you. I valued our friendship. I never wanted any of this and I sure as hell never meant to hurt you. I get it, you were hurt and heartbroken. I've been hurt and heartbroken a time or two myself and I know how it feels, but I am not responsible for your pain. So go talk to Spock about it but leave me out of it, okay? I've got my own problems to deal with!" With that Uhura marched off.

Talk to Mr. Spock? Never! Christine thought. She had humiliated herself for that man too many times and he was as cold to her as he was on their first meeting. He would never answer any personal questions especially about his marriage to Nyota. No, she had to deal with this another way.

She gripped the tiny camera in her fist and started thinking on how best to handle this little tidbit. She should just destroy it as she said she would, but she had to know what was going on with Spock and Uhura. She'd just take a look and verify there was nothing to the rumors going on and then she'd destroy the camera.

It seemed like a good plan to Christine. Once she got to her quarters she immediately put the camera on her main viewer and her heart stopped. Spock and Uhura were there on the screen dressed in native Argelian clothing and they were dancing. Slow dancing... They were bumping and grinding into one another... It was disgusting! But it was also beautiful and she was mesmerized by how good they looked together.

Damn, Spock had a nice lean body and the form-fitting trousers accentuated all his muscles. Uhura was in her usual tight dress with a long flowing skirt. But the skirt had a slit on the side that went all the way up her shapely leg and it was backless. Spock touched her all over her bare skin and it made Christine want to pound her viewscreen. That bitch! She didn't deserve Spock.

That wasn't her Spock! He wouldn't put on a public display like that. It was Uhura's doing. She was an exhibitionist. She lived for the spotlight. She was outgoing and outrageous but not Spock. Uhura was corrupting him.

That Spock on the video was a stranger to Christine. That wasn't the Spock she loved. He wouldn't touch a woman like that, rubbing and grabbing her all over. He wouldn't...

Christine cried. She would have given anything and everything in this galaxy for Spock to look at her that way and to touch her that way. If he would just give her a chance, she would worship and adore him, she wouldn't ignore him and punch him in the face and shame him the way Nyota did.

She had to save him from this. Christine realized she had treated Spock like he was special with Kidd gloves, but he was still a man and men had needs. Uhura appealed to men that way, that's how she caught Spock. So Christine would have to do the same thing. She'd appeal to that primal part of Spock that wanted a woman like Nyota and she would get him back before Nyota destroyed him.

Now all she had to do was figure out what it was that was driving Spock out of his mind and do that. How hard could it be to act like a tramp anyway? Nyota had it down pat.

Christine went to her closet and inspected her clothing. Everything she owned was mature and classy. She didn't wear the skintight barely-there clothing that Nyota preferred, and even if she did own something skimpy like that, she would never look as good filling it out as Nyota did.

She closed her closet door and sat down at her desk in defeat. Sexy dresses weren't going to win over Spock's affections. Spock had seen many beautiful women, a lot of them aboard this very ship. He even had a beautiful Vulcan wife before he came aboard the ship. No, Spock didn't care about how a woman looked, that would be illogical. But there had to be something, some reason he looked at Nyota like she was the only woman in the world. Christine had never seen him look at anyone else like that before. But there was something, some secret quality that Nyota had that attracted Spock to her and Christine intended to find out what it was if it was the last thing she did.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Since getting back from her shore leave, Uhura was having an awful time. She was constantly surrounded by reminders of Spock when she was alone and she was constantly with him at work. He didn't ignore her as he had done the first time they returned from shore leave together. He treated her as a courteous colleague and if possible that was even worse.

She had spent a week in close quarters with Spock and now she was used to him. She hated going back to her quarters because he wasn't there. She hated going to bed without his familiar presence sleeping beside her on his pallet on the floor. Eating alone sucked too. She never even realized that Spock had wormed his way into the marrow of her life and now that he was gone it left a hollow shell.

She missed him. Did Spock miss her too? Of course, she would never know because he didn't wear his emotions on his sleeve as she did. She felt like she'd lost her best friend in the whole world. But all she had to do was accept Spock's proposal and she could have him back. With strings attached, but those strings were starting to not seem so bad. She had tried to convince herself that she and Spock could go back to being just friends but there was no going back after all they'd been through together. There was only one way to go, forward. But with or without Spock? That was the question.

"All right Nyota what's wrong now?" Sulu asked as they loaded into the turbo lift together after their shift on the bridge. She had that old sad expression he was beginning to recognize as the "Spock" look.

"Nothing. Just personal stuff."

"Girl stuff again? Or better yet, Spock stuff?" he asked amused. He knew she meant Spock stuff so she might as well just come clean.

"Yes, Spock stuff but I don't want to talk about it."

"Ok. I understand. Your relationship is none of my business."

"There is no relationship!" She said suddenly and she broke into tears. "We're separated!"

"What?!" Sulu said. He turned the handbrake on the lift and it jolted to a halt mid-deck.

"Separated? How? Why? What happened?" Sulu asked as Uhura cried on his shoulder.

"It's all my fault. First I wouldn't sleep with him as his wife so he slept on the floor and then—"

"Wait, what!" Sulu said in outrage. No, that Bastard didn't!

"He broke up with you because you wouldn't sleep with him?" Sulu asked disgusted.

"No. No, I wanted to share a bed and he said he wouldn't share my bed unless it was our marriage bed! And then his girlfriend showed up-"

"What?! Spock has a girlfriend?! You mean that Vulcan woman?"

"No, a human woman. You probably met her. Leila Kalomi, she was from Omicron Ceti III."

"So what does she have to do with anything? How is she Spocks girlfriend?"

"She showed up on Argelius. I guess she works there or something. So she shows up on the street and says she and Spock are 'old friends' and demands Spock talk to her and next thing you know she shows up to our hotel trying to tell me about my husband! I almost lost my cool, Hik, but I said to myself 'no Yota, don't do it.' But then Spock showed up and he took her side!" Uhura cried hysterically.

"What!" Sulu felt he was out of his element. This story sounded crazy even for Spock and Nyota. Just what the hell happened on Argelius?

"So Spock broke up with you because of this girlfriend?" Sulu asked as he tried to figure out what the hell was happening.

"No," she sniffled. "He said he had been patient with me! Can you believe his nerve? He said I didn't respect his boundaries. Why, because I offered to share a bed with him? So I should let him sleep on the floor!? Or because I kissed him in public? He kissed me back! And so what, we got into a fight in a brothel? He's the one who started it. His ex showed up demanding I tell her about our relationship, not mine. I didn't ask her to show up. But somehow because I let her into our hotel room I'm at fault?! I'm done with Spock!"

"So you broke up with him?" Sulu asked.

"No, aren't you listening? He said we should separate. I'm done with him!"

"You don't mean that. You're crazy about him," emphasis on crazy Sulu thought.

"No, I'm not, I'm done! I can't be whatever it is he wants me to be."

"What did he say he wanted you to be?"

Uhura just sniffled and didn't answer.

"Ny?" Sulu nudged.

"What?"

"What did he say he wanted?"

"He didn't say anything exactly..."

"What did he say precisely as Mr. Spock would phrase it?"

"I don't know precisely I couldn't believe he was saying it. He said that he had never been a husband before and he didn't know what to do either. And he kinda proposed to me..."

"He proposed to you?" Sulu asked dumbfounded.

Nyota nodded her head sadly.

"Then why the hell are you two separated?!"

"Because he wants to be my husband!"

"He is your husband!" Sulu practically yelled losing his cool finally.

"Yes but-"

"But what?" Sulu wanted to strangle her. He truly felt Spock's pain and he realized that no matter how cute Nyota was, she was too much for him. He had dodged a bullet when he realized she wasn't attracted to him.

"Oh Hik, I just don't know what to do. I'm a mess. I'm the one being 'obstinate'. I'm just so afraid that I will fuck up this marriage that it's making me fuck up this marriage! I don't want to hurt Spock but all I can think to do is push him away. What the hell is wrong with me?"

"I don't know Ny, only you know why you're doing what you're doing. Maybe you should have another talk with the ship's new counselor?"

"Maybe I'm just like my mother. She can't keep a man either, she pushed my father away too."

"You don't know that. And you can have any man you want and you can keep him too if you'd just get out of your own way. But did you ever think this isn't all up to you? You don't have to make everything work, it takes two. That's what Spock was trying to tell you."

"You think so?"

"I know so. I think all of your fears could be addressed by just sitting down and talking with Spock. Have an honest and open conversation and tell him what you are afraid of. Don't hide behind your pride."

"That's the scariest thing you've ever said. I'd rather fight a Gorn."

"I know honesty is not easy, it's especially hard to be honest with yourself. But if the two of you want to be together and be happy then you'll have to be honest with one another."

"How do you know so much about marriage all of a sudden?"

"I don't know. I'm just going to watch you and Spock and do the opposite," he said.

"Hikaru! That's not funny." Then she laughed at the absurdity of it all. "Thank you Hik." Uhura hugged Sulu tight and wept on his shoulder some more.

"Just talk to Spock the way you're talking to me and you'll be fine. You should be crying on his shoulder, not mine."

"Okay, I'll try."

"Do not try, just do it. And Spock better not break up with you after all he's put me through. If he even tries I'll kick his ass myself."

"You'd have to take him to Vulcan and challenge him to a Lirpa fight." Uhura joked. "Vulcans used to fight duels to the death for their women in the past," Still do, she thought to herself.

"Is that so? It sounds barbaric."

"Hmm. It is barbaric. Winner takes all. What would you do if you won me?"

"If I won you I'd never let you go," He said hugging her tight.

Just then the lift started up and the doors opened to a corridor filled with people waiting.

"Uh-oh," Uhura said as she looked out at the sea of shocked faces, Christine Chapel among them. And Christine looked as if she could spit dragon fire.

Just great!

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Uhura was mortified. Forget the gasps and the shocked faces of everyone who was waiting for the lift. Forget the whispers that were going around about her and Sulu being caught in the lift together. But she couldn't get over the fact that she had been caught out in public crying! She would never live it down. She didn't want people to see her vulnerable like that. She wanted people to see her as Lieutenant Uhura head of communications, not some weeping lily.

Spock was ruining her reputation! Okay, she was being dramatic but still, this relationship was putting a ding in her social standing. And poor Hikaru! He didn't deserve any of the gossip being flung his way either. All he was doing was being a good friend. And now the gossips were labeling him as a player. Well, maybe he didn't mind that but she did. She hated to do it but she was going to have to steer clear of Sulu for a while until the gossip died down.

And then there was Spock. He was on an away mission with the Captain and Dr. McCoy but what would she do when he returned? Would she have that long conversation they had been dancing around for the past few weeks? Every time she thought about it her stomach twisted in knots.

And what about Christine? She looked as if she had swallowed a turd and Uhura had fed it to her. Why should Christine care who Nyota hugged? She was just being her usual busybody self. The last thing Uhura needed or wanted was Christine meddling in her affairs. She had just gotten rid of one of Spock's women. Christine would be light work but Nyota didn't want to go there with her. So she was back to hiding out in her quarters and avoiding people. It was probably for the best. She still needed time to think and regroup. She had only been married a few weeks and she was already separated and they hadn't even been officially together! It must be a record or something.

Sulu was right, she needed to talk to Spock. But until then she had to consider his proposal. Spock had given her everything she had asked for including asking her to marry him properly. But he couldn't give her the one thing she was afraid to ask for. And that was the crux of her dilemma. Could Spock love her? And if he could not, could she live with him without his love or would she be brave enough to let him go?

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

This was the last straw! Nyota was supposed to be Spock's wife yet she was flaunting herself around with Sulu behind his back! When Christine believed their marriage was one in name only she ignored Uhura's fling with Sulu but now that she had evidence that Ny and Spock were lovers, at least they looked that way all cozy and kissing in a disco, she was not going to tolerate it. Spock needed to know the truth about his 'wife'. Nyota was a two-timing hussy and it was time she got what she had coming to her.

How dare Nyota embarrass Spock like this? Maybe nobody knew they were married but the whole ship was gossiping about the "love triangle" between Spock, Sulu, and Uhura, and Christine knew the gossip would only ramp up once the contents of that camera got out. Spock would be humiliated, cuckolded by Nyota. Christine was not about to let that happen.

She went to the recycler ready to toss the camera in and destroy it when she had a change of heart. Perhaps there was a way to use this against Nyota without hurting Spock? Nyota was the guilty party here so why should Spock suffer just because Nyota couldn't keep her hands to herself? She was always hurting Spock but he just couldn't see it and apparently neither could anyone else. He needed intervention, he needed Christine.

She suddenly had an idea. This was an abusive relationship if ever there was one and Spock was the victim. Nyota even punched him! And hadn't the captain and Doctor McCoy swept that under the rug too? Well no more. If the men on this ship were too dumb to see what was happening to Spock then Christine would have to save him herself.

She went to her console and pulled up the medical records and reports regarding Spock and Uhura. She found the case file she needed and forwarded it to Starfleet Command using their whistleblower code for secrecy. She was going over Kirk and McCoys heads but if they wouldn't act then it was up to her. One way or another the truth had to come out and it would set Spock free.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Spock headed for the ship's rec room after the Captain returned from his mission and relieved him of the con. He didn't see his wife anywhere but he did spot Lieutenant Sulu sitting in a corner alone. Spock knew that since the recent incident in the turbolift with Nyota, Sulu had been persona non grata in certain circles. Spock didn't understand it since Sulu had done nothing wrong. As far as the crew was aware Sulu was single and so was Nyota. But somehow Sulu had been labeled a 'homewrecker' and a 'side piece' whereas Spock was just generally pitied.

Before he thought of any consequences, Spock went over to Sulu's table. "Mr. Sulu, do you mind if I join you?"

Sulu looked up from his glass. It appeared he was drinking alcohol. Alone.

"Not at all, Mr. Spock. Please join me." Sulu straightened up in his seat.

Spock sat opposite the Lieutenant and looked at him for a moment. Spock knew a lot about his crewmates. He knew they discussed his relationship with Nyota and they discussed Sulu and Nyota's relationship as well. He knew Sulu was on the outs with a lot of the crew after being caught in the lift hugging Nyota, but he also knew Sulu was one of the more popular crewmen so he was likely to get over social isolation rather quickly. Spock also knew that Sulu had romantic feelings for Nyota when the two first met. Unfortunately for Mr. Sulu, Nyota had been young and naive back then. She had not recognized Sulu's advances for what they were and ignored them, though Spock had noticed it all.

"Mr. Spock," Sulu said quietly. "Your wife is driving me crazy and I can only imagine what she is doing to your well-ordered mind."

"Indeed, Mr. Sulu?"

"Yes. She's got me in the doghouse and I am not even married to her." Sulu laughed.

"Why would she put you in a dog's house?" Spock asked.

"Mr. Spock you know what I mean. Proverbially."

"Yes, I know."

"Do you really? Because as far as I can tell you've been in Nyota's doghouse since the moment you whisked her off this vessel." Sulu waved it off when Spock raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"Yes, she told me all about that. Well, maybe not all about it, I'm sure there are some things I don't even want to know. But she told me you're married and she told me you finally proposed to her properly on Argelius. That's what the hugging was about by the way. No reason to attack me with a lirpa," Sulu joked.

"It had not occurred to me to do so," Spock said seriously.

"Ny seems to think she is worth fighting for and I tend to agree."

"Do you indeed?" Spock said pulling himself up.

"Yeah, and I think you should be fighting for her. She's not as tough as she thinks she is. She might be pushing you away but it's not because she doesn't want to be with you. She's just running scared. You're gonna have to pin her down. And that did not come out right, but I hope you know what I mean?"

"I think I do. What do you suggest?"

"Don't let this separation go on too long. She will only worry herself to death and she is liable to take me with her." Sulu teased. "You should have given her a time limit. If I were you, I wouldn't let some woman run me ragged."

"But you are not me," Lieutenant.

"No, I'm not. You've got more patience than I do, I'll give you that. Nyota is my best friend but I'll tell you, she's a little bit too much woman for me." Sulu tossed his head back finishing the last of his drink.

Spock didn't know if he liked the direction this conversation was taking. Who was Sulu to tell him about his own wife? Spock thought bitterly and then he stopped short. He suddenly understood what Nyota must have been feeling when Leila showed up at their suite telling tales about him. "I believe I understand," he said thoughtfully.

"Good, because I'd hate to have to fight you, Mr. Spock. I may be no match for you but if you keep letting Nyota get hurt you'll have to answer to me and a long list of her friends."

"Is that so?"

"Indeed," Sulu said mimicking Spock.

Spock acknowledged that Sulu still had feelings for Nyota but they seemed to be feelings of friendship. He could live with that. He even went so far as pouring himself a drink to share with Sulu. He could afford to be magnanimous.

Captain Kirk, McCoy, and Mr. Scott came into the rec room and when Kirk spotted Sulu and Spock deep in conversation he decided to intervene.

"What's going on here?" The captain asked as he approached their table.

"Mr. Sulu and I were just discussing a personal matter," Spock said.

"We were talking about women," Sulu said.

"Ah, were you now?" Scott said. "A subject near and dear to me own heart. But Mr. Spock what would you be knowin' about that?" Scotty chimed in.

"Apparently not enough," Spock answered a jovial Scotty.

"Well laddy," Scott sat down at their table and poured himself a drink from Sulu's bottle. "Let me enlighten you."

"Perhaps another time," Spock said ready to bolt but McCoy sat down at the table as well.

"Nonsense Mr. Spock," Bones slapped Spock on the back, "I think this is just what you need." And McCoy also poured himself a drink from Sulu's bottle. Sulu eyed his bottle with dismay and then looked at his fellow crewmen. What the hell? He ordered another round.

Captain Kirk felt left out so he pulled a chair from a nearby table and joined in. He gave Spock a sympathetic look. He had not meant for this to turn out this way. He thought he was breaking up a tense situation.

"I am sorry Mr. Spcok, it looks like you are in for some miseducation from a table full of bachelors giving relationship advice."

"That does seem to be the case. Though I would wager the table will not notice my absence after 3 rounds."

"Logical as always Mr. Spock," Kirk said.

"Thank you, Captain."

"Now, let me tell you my three simple rules for handling women..."

Spock held in a groan. It was going to be a long night.

 

Once back in his quarters, Spock settled down to meditate to clear his mind and think about the events of the past few weeks. His mind immediately wandered to thoughts of Uhura. He imagined finally being able to make love to his wife and what their life would be like together when they shared a home permanently.

Like Sulu, Spock had been immediately attracted to Uhura's many charms. Aesthetically, she was very beautiful, however, it was her sense of innocence and wonder, and her guilelessness that Spock found utterly charming. She offered herself to him freely and she as not playing games or scheming for more than her share in life.

In fact, it was just the opposite, Nyota was constantly shying away from all the rewards she deserved. She deserved so much more and so much better than he could give her. But now that he had her he intended to keep her and protect her. The incidents with Riley and Sulu proved to Spock that Nyota needed him as much as he needed her. She was just too stubborn to see it but she would soon.

But words were meaningless, so he had tried to prove his worth to her with his actions, however, she was still holding herself back. If only she would let down her guard, let him in, and open her heart to him.

Spock thoughts wandered back to their last night on Argelius. He had found Nyota in the club, he was getting good at finding her no matter where she might hide. She had looked like a goddess. She was dressed in the Argelian garb and she was dancing with abandon. Unfortunately, she as dancing with someone who was not her husband and that was unacceptable.

Some primal instinct urged him to call to her with his mind, to pull her to him where she belonged and she answered the call. She appeared before him ready to challenge his position as her husband. But in the end, she had acquiesced. His wife wanted to dance with someone so she would dance with him.

When he held Nyota in his arms all seemed right with the universe and nothing and no one could separate them. Until he did. He had offered her his hand in marriage and given her the time and space she needed to make a final decision. Spock normally did not second guess his decisions but tonight he wondered if he had done the right thing. He was not satisfied and Nyota did not look satisfied with the impasse. Sulu had intimated that she was miserable and therefore making Sulu miserable. But Nyota had to choose him of her own free will, he could not force her hand gain. She had to come to him this time.

Spock remembered the way it felt to kiss Nyota. She was always eager to kiss him and that night during their dance she had wrapped her body around his and kissed him as if he were the most important thing in the world, as if nobody was watching them, as if the world consisted of just the two of them. And he had allowed it because he had wanted it too. But he wanted so much more than just a kiss. He wanted Nyota mind, body, and soul and this proposal was his last-ditch effort to capture her before she slipped from his grasp forever.

With that in mind, Spock wondered where she was right now, and what she was doing? Was she getting the much-needed sleep she deserved? Was she thinking of him and their relationship? Was she with someone? He could let down his shields and reach out to her mind but he didn't want to violate their separation or her privacy. So he waited. He was a patient man, he would wait for what he wanted and when he got it the victory would be all the sweeter.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"Lieutenant, there is an error in your last report."

"Hmm?"

"Lieutenant?"

"Yes?"

"I said there as an error on your last report," Spock

"Oh. I am sorry Mr. Spock. I'll redo it right away," Uhura said looking over to Spock from her station

"There is no need. Just be more cognizant of the details on your next submission."

"Aye Sir," She said still just staring at him. Spock looked at her a moment longer and then pivoted back around in the Captain's chair.

He was holding down the con while the Captain was away on a mission with Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott.

As far as missions went things were going smoothly and roughly on schedule. They should be back within the day. In the meantime, Spock had the ship's crew running routine reports for their departments. It as 'busy work' as the captain would call it but it would keep everyone on their P's and Q's and out of his personal business. It had not escaped Spock's notice that the entire ship seemed to be speculating on the nature of the relationship between Spock, Uhura, and Sulu.

The gossip didn't bother Spock, he was used to being the subject speculation, however, he worried about Nyota who seemed to be out of sorts. Spock knew she was still upset with him after his sudden proposal. She looked tired. She had mentioned the need for R&R back on Argelius but while they had shared a suite she had slept relatively peacefully. Now it looked like she hadn't slept in a while. He wanted to intervene but he had suggested they separate and he had to stick to that boundary. She needed to decide what she wanted. He had done everything he could and now it was up to her. Besides she had Mr. Sulu, Spock thought.

Spock was well aware of the rumors regarding Nyota and Sulu. Of course, he knew it was just so much nonsense, however, it still annoyed him on a primal level that another male was spending so much time with his wife while he had self-exiled himself from her.

Spock's mind wandered back to Uhura. He would have to keep his eye on her, separated on not. She was still his wife, at least for the time being.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Once again Nyota managed to make it through another shift without falling asleep at her station. That seemed to be the theme of her life, just getting by. She had never been so happy to see Lieutenant Palmer relieve her as she had been tonight. All she wanted to do was curl up on her bed and sleep for a week. She waited a good ten minutes after Sulu left before she could leave lest they get trapped in the lift together again. It was no use in telling people it was all an innocent hug. People had dirty minds, the busybody bastards.

When she returned to her cabin she had a message waiting for her. It was from Earth. Uhura immediately felt conflicted. She hadn't spoken to anyone from her family since she was kidnapped from the Enterprise by Spock and taken to Vulcan. They were probably worried about her and just calling to check-in. But if she spoke to anyone she would have to lie about why she hadn't called. Or she would have to tell the truth and explain that she was married and didn't tell anyone until now. Either way, she was screwed.

She listened to the message and tears sprang to her eyes. It was from Bibi, her grandmother.

"Hello my precious child," her grandmother said into the camera. "when are you going to call your Bibi? I know you're busy saving the universe but this is a bit much don't you think? Give me a call as soon as you get my message. I love you." The transmission ended and Bibi's calm serene face was frozen on the screen of Uhura's viewer.

Uhura couldn't take it anymore. She needed her Bibi.

She didn't care what time it was on Earth, she opened a channel and waited for her grandmother to appear on the screen.

She didn't have to wait long before Bibi was there smiling and happy.

Before Uhura knew what was happening she was spilling her guts and telling her grandmother everything that happened.

"Nyota Uhura, what did you just say to me?" Bibi asked in astonishment.

"I'm married, Bibi!" Uhura confessed through her tears.

"Okay, and why are you crying child? Has he hurt you?" Bibi asked getting ready to tear through the viewscreen if necessary.

"No. He hasn't hurt me, Bibi. I'm probably hurting him. I'm not a good wife."

"I don't believe it. Any man would kill to have you as a wife." Bibi said.

You don't know how true that is on Vulcan, Uhura thought.

For her part, Bibi was thrilled to see her baby girl's face but it broke her heart to see her child upset and crying. She was her precious pride and joy, the only girl in the family and she was so so far away from home where the family couldn't protect her.

Nyota had a habit of dropping surprises on them. She joined Starfleet after training in the performing arts all her life. She took off on a 5-year mission in deep space and hadn't been home since. And now she calls to say she's married. To an alien! This girl never did anything the easy way. What could she possibly know about Vulcans? And Bibi bet she knew who the Vulcan in question was too.

"You married that Vulcan Commander didn't you?" Bibi asked.

"How do you know that?"

"Mmm-hmm," Bibi nodded her head. "I knew it! He kept sniffing around asking questions about you. It was back when you got hurt and couldn't talk."

Uhura had never told her family the full extent of her illness back when Nomad wiped her mind. Firstly she didn't remember them and secondly, she didn't want to worry them. She figured if she had amnesia for the rest of her life there would be time to explain it while she was relearning her life. Luckily that was never necessary thanks to Spock.

Nyota's heart squeezed. "He did tell me he asked my family about me. He's the reason I got better Bibi. He did something that Vulcans do with their minds and he healed me," Nyota admitted.

Bibi nodded, "You love him very much I see."

"What? No!" Uhura denied it.

Bibi rolled her eyes. "Don't lie to me, child. It's written all over your face, you don't have to say the words to make them true. And he's crazy about you too. I could tell when he put up with all my storytelling." Bibi laughed. "He was enamored by the photos I showed him too, I could tell."

"What? You showed Spock those old school halo pics? Bibi no!" Uhura sighed and hid her face behind her hands. She had been a skinny gangly brat back then with braces on her teeth and a flat chest to boot. Those photos must be destroyed! She would see to it as soon as she got home.

"Grandma, how could you show those pics to a strange man?"

"He was not a strange man, he was your man."

"He wasn't my man back then."

"Wasn't he though? He acted like he was."

"NO! What makes you say something like that Bibi?"

"Well, then why did he call me and bombard me with questions about you? Why did he hunt down all your friends and family? Why did he heal you as you claim? Why did he marry you?"

"It's complicated," Uhura sighed.

"Life is not as complicated as you youngsters make it out to be. Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy marries girl. What's so complicated about that?"

"That's not how the Vulcans do it."

"Ooh, how do the Vulcans do it?" Bibi teased her.

"Grandma behave, please? Vulcans get engaged or bethrothed when they are like 7 years old and then they marry when they reach... a certain level of maturity I guess you could say."

"Is that so? So what happened with your husband and his Vulcan child bride? Did you steal somebody's husband?" Bibi asked concerned now.

"No, he got dumped," Uhura said.

"Lucky man." Bibi sighing in relief.

"You call getting dumped lucky?"

"He ended up with you didn't he? What would you call it?"

"Yeah, he ended up with me, some prize," Uhura said sadly.

"Now wait a minute young lady. Where is this coming from? You most certainly are a prize. You're a lieutenant on the most famous starship in the fleet. You're head of your communications department. You're a talented singer and musician and dancer and athlete. You're smart as a whip and you're not afraid of any challenge. And to top it all off you're my grandchild. If that is not a prize then I don't know what is. And I haven't even mentioned how cute you are. He's damn lucky. And he better act like he knows he's lucky because the Uhura's are not to be trifled with," Bibi said passionately.

"Okay," Uhura said without much enthusiasm.

"What is wrong with you girl? If I were a newlywed I wouldn't be moping around looking like Cinderella before the ball. I'd be honeymooning with my man. You're married. Where's your husband?"

"I don't know Bibi, probably somewhere poking needles into a Nyota shaped doll."

"Don't be so dramatic. You're still just a kid," Bibi said shaking her head. "You've hidden out on that ship of yours for so long you don't realize its well past time to grow up. When I was your age I had two kids and one on the way. But I know times are different, you're an astronaut, a space woman. Everybody wants to leave Earth in search of adventure out there in the vastness of space and marry aliens. But I'll tell you child, there are still adventures to be had right here at home on Earth."

Uhura rolled her eyes, she had heard this speech about space a thousand times before. "Bibi the Earth isn't big enough for all of us anymore. We have to go to space."

"Nonsense. I'm here in my house and there is not another neighbor in sight. You just couldn't wait to get out there and grab yourself a Vulcan. I always knew you'd wind up bring home some little green babies someday," her grandmother accused.

"Bibi no you didn't! I never liked any aliens before."

"You liked those Andorians an awful lot. I figured the babies would be blue but green is ok with me too. Bring your husband home on your next leave so I can get a good look at him in person. Don't make me come out there and find you two."

"Bibi you know you're never leaving Earth." Uhura's grandmother was adamant that the Earth was the cradle of human life and she was going to stay in that cradle until the grave.

"For you, I'll travel to the end of the universe, I won't like it, but I'll do it. I don't know how I'll get there but I'll get there, you just holler. You're my baby and don't you forget it."

"I know I am, I love you Bibi," Uhura said crying again.

"Okay, stop all that crying now. Just be good to your husband and he'll be good to you. He better, or else he'll have me to deal with."

Uhura shivered in mock horror. "I'll put the fear of Bibi into him for sure."

"You better. I love you."

"Love you too."

"Bibi out."

Uhura felt a lot better after unburdening herself to her grandma. She still didn't know what she was going to say to Spock but she was not so stressed about it either. Her Bibi knew about them now and she was somebody who had always had Uhura's back and always would.

"Damn it! I forgot to tell Bibi to keep her mouth shut!" Uhura thought as she got ready for bed. Hopefully, Bibi knew better than to tell Mama. She probably wouldn't. Bibi didn't like Mama and Mama didn't like Bibi. It was probably nothing to worry about. Nyota had a feeling everything would be alright now, so she drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Uhura and Spock were dancing like the Argelians, Uhura had her arms wrapped tight around Spock's neck and he had his hands press firmly against the bare skin of her back. They swayed slowly to the music that was blasting from the loudspeakers in the club and ignored everything and everyone else around them.

Uhura felt Spock's hands slide down lower and lower until he had cupped her ass and lifted her off her feet. She kissed him, marking him as her man for all the world to see. Fuck Leila! She thought as she ground her body into Spocks.

"I would prefer not to," Spock said to her in her mind.

"Oh, you can read my mind?" She asked after breaking the kiss.

"I cannot read your mind precisely, but I can sense some thoughts and emotions."

Uhura sported a devilish grin, "what am I thinking right now?"

"I cannot say for certain, perhaps a demonstration is in order?" Spock said.

"Let's go!" Uhura said breathlessly and Spock scooped her up into his arms and carried her through the club.

"Spock, hurry!" Uhura said as they fought their way through the crowded club. It seems that it was impossible for Spock to make progress getting her to the door.

"Spock!"

Uhura sat up in her bed, panicked. She looked around and realized she was safe and sound in her quarters. Alone. Her heart was pounding and she was drenched in perspiration. This had to end. She couldn't continue losing sleep like this.

Uhura had never been the kind of person who had a difficult time getting to sleep at night. She valued her beauty rest so much that she felt guilty when she had to work double duty on the bridge and had to miss her precious shut-eye. She used to be the kind of person who fell asleep as soon as her head hit her bunk. But lately, she found herself having a prolonged case of insomnia. Well, she could fall asleep but it was always interrupted by disturbing dreams that kept her awake half the night.

Since returning from her shore leave on Argelius, she found herself waking up in a cold sweat and aching for something she could not put a name to, or perhaps more precisely someone she didn't want to put a name to. She was beginning to realize just how difficult it was going to be avoiding a certain Vulcan officer and how unsettling it was to be separated from him.

He seemed so unavoidable. Uhura was beginning to question where her mind ended and where Spock's began since she learned that he could mind-speak to her. She even imagined she could hear him sometimes. Was he lurking somewhere in the back of her thoughts just watching, observing, and waiting? And then she felt foolish and chucked it all up to her overactive imagination.

Amanda had assured her that Spock could not violate her private thoughts in any way, katra or no katra, but still, she wondered. After all, Amanda and Sarek didn't share each other's katra, they didn't have the same Pon Farr experience she and Spock had shared. When Nyota had told Amanda about it she seemed to believe her but Sarek was skeptical that she and Spock could share dreams or delusions such as they had. But whatever the truth was, she was this bond they shared was still affecting her.

If she couldn't sleep she might as well get a jump on the day. She got up, made her bed, showered and dressed in her casual clothing. It was actually not that late so she headed for the rec room near the engineering section. That was usually deserted this time of the day and she had a better chance of avoiding Christine, Sulu, and especially Spock.

She was nursing her second large cup of black coffee in the mess and propping her head up on her hand when she was joined by Lt. Masters who was sipping on her own steaming cup.

"Where have you been hiding stranger?" Charlene asked sitting across from her.

"What? Oh, hi Charlene, how have you been?"

"I'm in ship shape, but you don't seem too hot. A lot of us in engineering have been worried about you girl. We haven't seen you below decks pestering Scotty, haven't seen you in the gym working out with Sulu, and haven't seen you at talent night singing with Mr. Spock. You just ghosted us. What are you doing after your shifts, hiding in your quarters, or should I say hiding in a certain commander's quarters?" Charlene raised both eyebrows theatrically.

"Charlene you know better than to believe in the rumor mill. There is nothing going on between me and Mr. Spock right now."

"See that 'right now' just proves there is definitely something going on between the two of you, just not 'right now'. You two used to be as thick as thieves a few weeks ago and now suddenly you ignore each other in public, you stopped playing and singing together in the rec, you don't tuck yourselves away in a corner and talk for hours like you used to, and you both pretend there is nothing 'going on' when everybody knows better. That all leads to the conclusion that there is indeed something going on. You might as well spill the beans and get it all out in the open as opposed to the ship's gossips who have already blown it all out of proportions."

"Charlene I wish you would drop it. I am in no mood to discuss Mr. Spock or anything else to do with him at the moment. In fact, all I want to do is curl up in my bed and sleep for a week."

"Well I hate to say it but you do look a hot mess, that's how I know something's going on with you. Look, you don't have to tell me all the sordid details, but you know you can talk to me if you need a shoulder to cry on. I know you can't talk to Chris about it since it has something to do with Commander Spock and you seem to be giving Sulu the cold shoulder lately too. But you still have me, and sometimes just talking helps, you know? Especially after Riley." Charlene said with a disgusted tone at the mention of Noyto's ex. "Girl, don't let these men get you down. We female astronauts have to stick together. For all the progress we've made it is still a male-dominated service."

"Thanks, Charlene. I know you mean well and I wish I could tell you what's going on but I don't understand it all myself. I'm just out of sorts. Lately, I can't tell dream from reality, I can't eat, and I can't even sleep through the night."

"I'm sorry to hear that. Hey, if you're really having trouble eating and sleeping why don't you talk to Dr. McCoy? I'm sure he could give you something to help."

"I would but I don't think it would do any good. I can get to sleep I just can't stay that way, I have strange dreams."

"Then maybe you need to talk to the new ship's counselor."

"Oh, not you too!" Uhura grumbled.

"What?" Charlene asked confused.

"Doctor McCoy already had me on the couch, fat lot of good that did. The thing is Charlene, I don't even know who I can trust anymore. This is about as personal as it can get and everyone who tries to help ends up getting burned."

"And you don't think you can trust the professionals?"

"Not with this, they'd have to take notes and write official diagnosis. This is beyond medicine and science. This is some mystical alien hoodoo... just too much!"

"Girl, you've got it bad."

"Yeah, but what is 'it'?"

"If I didn't know any better I'd say you were lovesick," Charlene said with a knowing grin.

"Bite your tongue, if anything I'm sick of love."

"Come on Ny, you can't eat, can't sleep, can't think straight if you added that you were nauseous I'd even suspect you were pregnant."

"Oh my God!" Uhura gasped and nearly choked on her coffee. She set down her cup with a thud and stared blankly ahead. "No, it can't be that."

"Ny, what is it? Ny?" Charlene shook her friend's shoulder but got no response. "Ny, you're beginning to worry me," she pleaded. When Uhura still didn't reply Charlene stood up and grabbed her by the arm.

"Come on let's go."

Finally, Uhura snapped out of her stupor, "go where?"

"To sickbay," Charlene said pulling her out of the mess and towards the turbo lift.

Uhura stopped them in their tracks. "No! I can't go there, Christine might be on duty. I don't want to deal with her right now."

"Screw Christine, you have a right to the sickbay just like everybody else."

"NO!" Uhura dug in her heels.

"Nyota please, talk to me, do you think you could be pregnant?" Charlene whispered.

"No, I can't be...I mean I don't think so... I don't know," she hung her head.

"Oh my god! Is it Spock's?"

"Who else would it be?" Nyota snapped pulling her arm away.

"Nothing going on huh?" Charlene teased.

"Charlene I am not in the mood for jokes."

"Okay, I'm not joking. Let's go." Charlene snagged her again.

Uhura dragged her feet. "I am not going to sickbay."

"We're not going to sickbay."

"Then where are we going?"

"To talk."

"Charlene I can't..."

"Shut up Ny. This has gone far enough. I'm your friend. I'm not gonna let you go through this alone. I already told you we girls have got to stick together. Whatever it is, we will work it out."

They ended up in Uhura's quarters and Charlene made them both a fresh cup of hot tea and then they tucked together side by side on Uhura's small sofa.

"Now spill", Charlene demanded, "and don't you leave out a single drop."

Uhura sighed, she really did want to relieve herself of this burden and she knew she could trust Charlene. Maybe Charlene was the one person she needed at this time, she was more than a friend, she was the sister Uhura had never had.

"I don't know where to start."

"As always, start at the beginning."

"I don't even know where that is. I guess it began on Vulcan... no, it began before that, when Spock got sick on the bridge."

"Yeah, we all heard "officially" that he was sick with some rare Vulcan flu and had to be taken to Vulcan for treatment and that you accompanied him?"

"Yeah, that's not exactly what happened."

"I figured it was so much bullshit. People in the know say that Spock was out of his mind in sickbay after losing control on the bridge, and then he escaped, stole a shuttlecraft and you too?" Charlene ended with a question.

"Well I guess that's what happened technically, I didn't accompany him freely. The whole thing just defies belief. What I'm about to tell you can never leave this room, do you promise? I mean do you swear on all that is holy and sacred to you?" Uhura asked seriously.

"Ny, I swear I won't repeat a word of what you tell me. I've got your back. Now what really happened?"

"Ok, well, first, I guess you could say it all has to do with Vulcan biology."

"Biology?"

"Yes, you see about every seven years or so..."

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"So," Charlene said finally, "you're either pregnant with Spock's child or you're possessed by Spock's Katra or Vulcan only knows what else is going on?"

"Yep, or I'm just plain crazy, but that sums it up nicely."

"You're right, it defies belief. But I believe you, and you're not crazy, you're stressed. Why don't you talk to Spock about all of this? Clear the air between the two of you."

"I can't, I just don't want to see him right now until I decide what to do. I need to work this all out in my head."

"And what if you really are pregnant?"

Uhura put her head in her hands. "I don't know Charlene, I just don't know. I can barely take care of me," and she began to cry.

"Oh sweetie, I told you no matter what, I will be here for you. Come here and cry, honey it's okay." Charlene held Uhura in her arms and let her cry on her shoulder while she rubbed her back and let Uhura's tears soak through her blue uniform.

What a mess, Charlene thought. She had no problem fixing a deplet dilithium crystal or a ship's wonky engine, but broken hearts were out of her element. Before you could fix something you had to run a diagnostic report to know where it was malfunctioning. Anyone with eyes could see that Ny was crazy for Spock and Spock obviously liked Nyota above all else. So why were they dancing around each other like a pair of hapless kids?

"Ny, what do you want for yourself?"

"Hmm?"

"Do you want to have a baby someday?"

Uhura sniffled. "I don't know, I never really thought about it. I didn't think it was possible."

Charlene looked surprised. Not possible?

"I mean I know biologically it was always a possibility... one day, but I'm an officer on a starship. 'The Starship Enterprise' I don't have room in my life for babies."

"What about Mr. Spock, do you have room in your life for him?"

"I just don't know Charlene. I am so confused. One minute I feel like I want to be with him and the next I can't stand him. Spock and I have always been hot and cold, you know that. First, we were friends, then he ignored me and now we're married but separated. This bonding thing just happened so suddenly."

"Ok, ok I understand that. It seems to me, you've reached a conditional construct. Down one path you have a husband and perhaps a family of your own. Down the other a successful career in Starfleet, perhaps a captaincy but you're alone. You have to look at the end of each path and decide which outcome you prefer. But it won't be easy because each path has rewards and each one has additional conditionals, and each one has sacrifices and rewards."

"That doesn't make it any easier to decide. I'm not a robot, I'm a woman. Why do I even have to decide? Why can't I have it all?" Uhura huffed.

"You mean the career, the husband, the kids, the whole nine yards? In the history of humanity has there ever been a woman who hasn't tried to have it all? No matter what we have, we always manage to find something we don't have and want that too." Charlene said smiling.

"I love being on a starship. I've wanted it all my life and I worked my ass off to get on the Enterprise. But now that I have it, I find myself looking for more too, longing for the things down the path I didn't choose. I envy you for having this choice." Charlene said.

"It's still so much easier for men, they can marry, have children, their families can stay on Earth or on a colony and wait for their tour to end. They don't have to lose years off duty having the child or raising it. They just keep on working. But we have to sacrifice precious career time raising a child when we could be working or vice versa," Uhura said.

"I know Starfleet command is thinking of refitting all galaxy class starships with family crew quarters so families can live on starships together, but who would want to raise a family on a starship? I mean it would solve one problem, that of working mothers, but it would just open a new can of worms, concern for your family's safety. Either way, we women sacrifice."

"There will be more women captains in the ranks soon so I guess we'll just have to wait and see how they manage their career and family life and follow their lead," Charlene said.

"Did I ever tell you about that Halkan mission when we were on that mirror Enterprise?" Uhura asked.

"Yeah, you said it really freaked you out."

"Yes, it did. Did I tell you that Captain Kirk had a woman living in his quarters on that Enterprise?" Uhura asked.

"NO!" Charlene said scandalized.

"Yes, an officer. She called herself the "Captains Woman". In fact, I think everyone was shacked up on that Enterprise."

"I can't believe Jim let himself have a woman, even in another dimension," Charlene said thoughtfully.

"JIM? Since when are you and the Captain are on a first-name basis?"

"Yeah, didn't I ever tell you that we dated back in the day?"

"What?! No! You mean you and 'The Captain Kirk' dated?" Uhura could not believe her ears.

"Mmm-hmm, well he wasn't a captain back then."

"No! Now you spill and don't miss a drop."

"Well..." Charlene hesitated. "There isn't much to tell. It was nothing serious, we were in the academy together. He was a very different guy then. He was serious and bookish really. All he cared about was becoming a ship's captain. But even then he had that reckless side, that part of him that is determined to win no matter what or maybe just more determined never to lose again."

"Really?"

"Yes, you know he had such a hard childhood. Raised by a single mother on that Earth outpost Tarsus. Remember that Kodos incident? That really affected him, seeing innocent people executed before his eyes while he could do nothing but witness it. That's why he takes it so hard when any crewman dies under his command. I mean, of course, he always cares, but that's why he gets so obsessed sometimes."

"I had no idea you two even knew each other besides professionally. You never even said a word."

"It was a long time ago, seems like another lifetime. I only mention it because you said his counterpart has a woman he keeps on the ship. I mean can you imagine Captain James T. Kirk of our Enterprise with a wife? He's married to this ship and that's that, no room for any woman."

"Is that what broke you two up?"

"No, we were both young and dumb. It just sort of fell apart." Charlene said sadly. "Plus as I said, he was already becoming the man he is today, he quickly moved on and found a replacement for me."

"Mmm-hmm, does it still hurt? Especially serving on the same ship?"

"No, not anymore, he's just a guy I used to date."

"Is he the one that got away?"

"Girl, they all got away. Remember Lazarus?"

"Lazarus? That insane traveler from another dimension?"

"Hey, he wasn't that bad, he was only half insane!"

"Don't tell me you had a thing with that guy?" Uhura could not believe the things Charlene was telling her

"Well, he had a certain jen'ais se quoi. But no we didn't, thank goodness. I mean it turned out he was two different people like your mirror universe Spock. There was one charming Lazarus and one insane Lazarus. I would never have known which one I'd slept with."

"Yes, you dodged a bullet. Anybody else I should know about?"

"Hmm, let me see, nobody significant. I mean there is DeSalle but-"

"DeSalle? Get out!"

"No, really it's just a 'friends with benefits' thing though."

"Oh my god, he's like only one of the sexiest men on the ship."

"You don't say?" Charlene said grinning.

"You know he is. So why just friends?"

"With benefits, don't forget the benefits. And why do you think, he knows he's sexy, knows he has options, he's not settling down anytime soon."

"So why would you hook up with a player like that?"

"He's not a player. He's actually a good guy, they all are, they just don't want to put a ring on it. At least you've got one that wants to put a ring on it, or whatever it is Vulcans put on you."

"Charlene! I didn't choose any of this. Sometimes it feels like Spock put a curse on me."

"Stop being so dramatic. I'm not trying to guilt you into being with Spock, but at least you are the one with the options. I mean he actually asked you to be his wife, that's more than a lot of us will ever get. The choice is yours."

"That's just too much pressure right now. I'm tired deep down in my soul." Uhura said. "And I still can't believe you had Capt. Kirk and Lieutenant DeSalle. No wonder DeSalle wouldn't give me the time of day, I flirted with that man like crazy when he first came aboard, but you already had him in the bag."

"I'm surprised he didn't fall for you, you are just his type."

"And what type is that?"

"Female and breathing," Charlene giggled.

"Stop it. I told you he never even flirted back. He must really like you," Uhura teased.

"Nah, I don't think so, there are just too many beautiful women on this ship for him to settle down with one. Like most career officers, he's trying to make captain one day, he's got no time for romance; besides if it was gonna happen it would have happened by now. You always hear those stories about somebody's life going in one direction until that special someone comes along and turns everything upside down. Kinda like you and Spock." Charlene said slyly. "But a pretty face will turn DeSalle's head just like any other man."

"Men are all alike, even Spock", Uhura said ignoring the "special Someone" comment. "You know he had a Vulcan fiancee and a human girlfriend. Bitches both of them! This little heifer Leila Kalomi even had the nerve to come to me making a play for Spock. Oh, and there was another one too, some tall skinny thing he was dreaming about during our bonding."

"You're calling somebody a bitch? That's not like you Ny. You're jealous." Charlene chided.

"I am not! Jealous of who? I had to get rid of his wife for him and his ex-girlfriend. And that little girl from Stratos was just a fantasy. It's just the way he dreamed about her that is weird. I wish you could see it. In his fantasy, she's barely dressed, just big green doe eyes and a smile and hardly anything else. She was fawning all over him too, even worse than Christine does. He told her about his 'affliction' too. This super-secret "Vulcans do not speak of it" private biological function and he's telling it to a girl he barely knows! Meanwhile, I've known him for years and he never said a word to me about it!"

"Oh yeah, you're jealous." Char grinned.

"I am not jealous, that's illogical!" Uhura said as she stomped her foot.

Charlene burst into peels of laughter. "You even starting to sound like him", she giggled. "It's so cute Ny. Oh god, I can just see your little brown Vulcan babies screaming illogical! illogical! during the terrible twos."

"Charlene stop it, I am not having a discussion about Vulcan babies, I can't right now."

"Aw, I know honey, I'm sorry, you've been through the wringer these past few weeks. Go and get dressed for bed and I'll sit with you until you fall asleep hows that sound? I have a late start tomorrow anyway."

"Would you? I feel a lot better after our talk but I wouldn't mind the company."

"Of course, I told you I've got your back. Then I'll sneak down to the sickbay and snag you a pregnancy test."

"Would you do that? Can you do that?" Nyota asked.

"Of course. What? Do you think this is the dark ages where they kill a rabbit? It's just a quick prick with a hypo."

"How do you know?"

"How do you think? Being a miss goody two shoes, I guess you've never had to take that long scary trip to the doctor. But I've been there done that a few times and no dead rabbits."

"I hate to ask such a personal question but..." Nyota let the question hang in the air.

Charlene shook her head. "It was negative and I was scared shitless. After that, I vowed to never get caught slipping up ever again. I'm surprised Dr. McCoy didn't give the two of you suppressants before you bonded."

"He did, that's why I just can't be pregnant. It's just that when you said it in the mess hall I was shocked and not thinking straight and the symptoms..."

"Well, we'll know for sure tomorrow. You just sleep tight tonight and lean on me for moral support. And if it turns out you are, there will be a shotgun wedding and I'll be holding the gun."

"I already had a lirpa wedding, and this whole thing is completely backward."

"You mean flipped and turned upside down like a good old-fashioned romance?"

"Charlene please!"

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

It was raining, she didn't know where they were but she could hear the rain as it hit the roof and the windows. It pelted their shelter with force but she and Spock were safe from the storm. And they had a fire, there was a fireplace warming the room and taking the dampness out of the air. Spock didn't like damp, or cold. He was shivering now but Nyota was determined to keep him warm. That was her job, keep him warm, keep him safe, keep him alive. She was his wife and she was good at her job.

To that end, she wrapped her arms and legs around him. He was so hot. He was always so hot when she touched him. When would this fever, this burning ever end? All Nyota wanted to do was to make Spock better. She would do anything for him to be well. He belonged to her. She kissed his lips, his chin, his neck. She kissed him where ever she could. And Spock kissed her in return. And he touched her as well. He explored her with his lips, and his fingers, and his mind...

Nyota bolted up in her bed, her body covered in sweat, her heart racing, her body aching. Her arms felt so empty... What the hell, not again!

She looked around her quarters. In the other room, she could see the little coffee table had two teacups still sitting there. Charlene was nowhere in sight. Looking at her console she saw that she still had some time before her shift began. She rose from her bed and went to take a shower but before she could reach the bathroom door her main door chimed.

She went to the door and there stood Charlene with a cup of coffee and a small box.

"I come bearing gifts which do you want first?" Nyota eyed the small box guessing the contents and then grabbed the coffee.

"Procrastinate much?" Charlene teased as she pushed her way in and set the box on the coffee table and then cleared away the teacups from last night.

"I can't deal with major life changes before I've had my coffee," Nyota said taking a grateful sip of the hot brew.

"Ny is everything ok, you look a little shaky."

"I had another dream."

"Another? I know you said you couldn't sleep but you seemed fine when I left. You slept like a rock."

"Well, just now I had the dream."

"What dream?"

"Ugh, it's kinda embarrassing."

"What is it?"

"I keep dreaming that Spock and I are..." she couldn't finish saying the rest.

"You and Spock are...?" Charlene asked expectantly.

"We're... um... you know... sleeping together."

"Oh, that's all?" Charlene said taking a sip of her own coffee.

"That's all? That's all? I haven't had a good night's sleep since I got back from Argelius. All I do is have these crazy erotic dreams and wake up... feeling horrible."

"Why do you feel horrible?"

"I don't know, the dreams are so real, so intense, we're kissing and touching one another and then bam! I wake up right before anything happens."

"Oh, I see," Charlene smirked at her.

"You see what? What do you see that I don't?"

"You're sexually frustrated."

"What? No! Nope, that is not it. I am sleepy and exhausted and tired. I just want some rest and these damn dreams are driving me crazy."

"Because you don't finish."

"Don't finish the dream?"

"Well, the dream and the sex, you said you get all aroused in the dream and then nothing, you wake up. That would tick me off too."

"I am not ticked off because my sex dreams finish prematurely."

Charlene laughed. "Ny did you just hear yourself? 'my sex dream finished prematurely' you know who says stuff like that?"

"Don't even say it!"

"Spock!" Charlene finished anyway. "You've got it bad. What you need is to finish that dream. You need sex. I prescribe sex with your husband. Let him clean your pipes, get your juices flowing again."

"Yuck! Would you behave? That's the last thing I need. That's what got me in this mess in the first place."

"What? You act like sex is a four-letter word. We all have needs, we all get lonely. It gets cold out here in the vacuum of space, we all need someone to warm us up every now and then."

Charlene's words reminded Uhura of her dream, of her trying to keep Spock warm and she shivered.

"See," Charlene said, "you know its true. Look from what you told me last night, sleeping with Spock was not so terrible right? I mean he didn't hurt you or force you, you just didn't like how it all went down? No pun intended."

"No, he didn't hurt me," Uhura quietly confessed.

"But did you enjoy it, even a little?"

Uhura blushed. She didn't know what to say. "I don't really want to talk about it Charleen, it was weird I told you."

"I'm sorry for pushing. Look, I just want you to be okay with all of this. If you like Spock I think you should go for it. No matter what the rest of the world thinks or how weird it may seem. You have a right to your happiness too."

"At first I was angry about what happened. Now, I'm still angry but not for the same reason. Too many things have happened since then. I think I hate men a little."

Charlene choked out a laugh. "You don't hate men. Almost every friend you have on this ship is a guy. I'm lucky I can even talk to you. I think men are your favorite toys. You're just mad at one guy, the one that's got you all turned up."

"I am not all turned up. Whatever that means."

"Yes, you are. Ny, I like you, I don't want to see you make a big mistake. So I'm gonna do something I would normally not do, I am going to give relationship advice. Talk to your man. Have the long difficult embarrassing conversations that two grown-ups are capable of having and straighten all of this out before it gets out of hand. Don't tiptoe around this ship like a pair of school kids at your first dance. You both deserve better."

"Is that what you think I'm doing playing a game?"

"No, I think you're procrastinating and that's not like you at all. Now take this box, take this test, and then handle it no matter what it says."

"Gee thanks mom," Uhura said taking the box reluctantly.

"Don't you sass me, missy. Remember no matter what it says no matter what you decide I'll be by your side and so will all your friends. We love you, we're family. Trust that everything will be all right."

Uhura examined the hypo box, stalling. What did she want? Did she want a baby? Did she want to marry Spock? Was she angry at Spock or was she angry at herself? If she was honest with herself she would say that what happened on Vulcan was not the worst experience of her life, far from it. It was weird and frightening, but it was also exciting. She had had Spock all to herself and his life had depended on her. And just as in her dreams, she could have him again, he could be hers to take care of, to protect, to keep warm forever. Hell, they were bonded and they shared a katra, she couldn't escape him even if she wanted to and she didn't want to. That's what frightened her, that's what angered her. She wanted Spock so much it hurt.

Uhura opened the box and took out the hypo. Briefly, she read the instructions, loaded the test tube into the chamber and held it to her arm. No matter what happened next, this was going to hurt.