character: gaila, fic: star trek, genre: gen
Gaila does not get her new roommate at all. They've been at school 3 whole weeks now, and she hasn't had sex with anyone. Not even once. She wonders if she should do something. Sex is as important as food, after all. If her roommate were anorexic, she should definitely try to help. Sex anorexia (sexorexia?) is probably just as bad and life-threatening. Plus, it seems to put her roommate in a really bad mood. The situation definitely calls for action. But what should she do?
Coming up with the perfect solution only takes 10 minutes. Face alight with glee, she rolls over to face Nyota, who has 6 PADDs scattered across her bed and 3 more on the floor.
"Do you want me to go down on you?" she calls out, letting her voice fill up the empty silence in their room.
"WHAT?" Nyota shrieks, dropping a cup of coffee on her PADD, which malfunctions and begins to smoke. Gaila fixes it pretty fast -- she's always been good at engineering -- but chapters 4, 5, and 6 are irretrievably gone. When Gaila looks up, she sees tears leaking slowly down her roommate's cheeks.
"That was...that was my warp dynamics text," she's sobbing. "And there's a test tomorrow, and Admiral Perkins thinks I'm an idiot, and I have to get an A. I just have to."
Gaila settles next to her on the bed, stroking her back tentatively. She always thought Nyota was some kind of ice princess; it's actually a relief to see her crack. A little scenario unfolds in her imagination: first, she'll calm Nyota down and then she'll offer to tutor her in warp dynamics (which is she totally awesome at, by the way). When they need a study break, she'll go down on Nyota and make sure she has a really great orgasm, which will probably make her feel a lot better about the world. Then they'll both get A's on their tests and become best friends, which will mean that Gaila will actually have a girlfriend to help her face all the other bitches who call her a "green slut." Plus, if they were friends, she could maybe borrow that hot black bra at the bottom of Nyota's drawer. They're different cup sizes, but she thinks she could make it work.
"You'll do fine on your test," she says softly, still rubbing Nyota's back. "All anyone can talk about is how smart you are, and I'm really good at physics, so I can help you study."
"Really?" Nyota asks, her eyes looking a little brighter. Gaila hands her a tissue, and she looks genuinely grateful.
"Do you want me to go down on you now, or after we're finished studying?" she asks.
"What the fuck is wrong with you? Why does everything have to be about sex all the time?"
Nyota's shout hits Gaila like a slap across the face. Tears spring to her eyes, and before she can think of a response, Nyota strides out the door and slams it shut behind her. "What the fuck is wrong with you?" she says in a small voice to the still-vibrating door. Why does she always think of comebacks 10 seconds too late? And what did she do wrong? She hadn't even wanted Nyota to go down on her in return; she really just wanted her roommate to feel better. She used to go down on the other slave girls at the pleasure colony all the time. There was no better way to spend a day off, and it was a beautiful bonding experience. She's never doubted her decision to leave, or really even missed anything about her old life, but tonight, she wishes she could be back in her bedchamber, surrounded by women she understands.
It takes almost two weeks for the tension in the room to ease. Gaila does everything she can to make amends. Every night, she picks up all her dirty clothes (even though she really doesn't see the point), and every morning, she makes the bed (even though that doesn't make much sense either). She is very careful not to eat food that doesn't belong to her, and she never has sex while Nyota is at home. Not even when she's asleep.
She's still really worried about Nyota though. She hasn't forgotten her tears over the test, and now that she's paying attention, she hears faint sobs in the bathroom now and again. So much stress, and no sex to help relieve it. She has to help.
Friday night seems like a perfect opportunity. Nyota is listening to music and swinging her head back and forth like she wants to dance. Maybe they can go out with some guys and she can help her get laid.
"So, do you know any hot guys?" she asks.
Nyota frowns. "All my guy friends are gay."
"Why would you want that?"
"Because they don't want in my pants."
"But why would you want that?"
Nyota huffs and looks annoyed, so Gaila decides to switch to a script she found in her cross cultural interactions manual. "You and I seem to think very differently about sex. Would you mind explaining your views?"
It sounds too formal and rehearsed for her taste, but Nyota's not shouting, so maybe it worked.
"Look, I just don't have the time or energy to figure out which of the mouthbreathers around here just want a piece of ass. Good guys are in short supply, okay?"
Gaila opens her mouth to ask more questions -- 'what's a mouthbreather?' chief among them -- but Nyota silences her with a wave of a hand. "Just drop the sex thing, please?" she asks, and Gaila nods her head. Then she stays awake for 3 whole hours, trying to decipher her roommate's response. None of the guys at the academy seem to breathe through their mouths very often, except maybe that one with all the purple tentacles, and Gaila doesn't really want to have sex with him either, so that's fair. But what about the rest? What was so bad about being a piece of ass, and why couldn't a guy want a piece of ass and be decent? She understands about the time management issue though. Lately, even though she studies about half as much as the other cadets, she's actually been making appointments for sex, which is making people call her a whore even more often. She could really use a couple good girlfriends to back her up, and she's sure that Nyota could become one of them if she could just remember how wonderful sex is. Time for a new plan.
First, she raids Nyota's secret stash of hot guy pictures to figure out what she's into. Most of the guys are kind of nerdy-looking, and definitely a few years older than her. One of their instructors would be the best fit, but humans have a lot of weird rules about who you can't have sex with, so that probably isn't a good idea. Instead, she begins scanning the 4th year cadet class, all of whom are at least 4 years older than she and Nyota. Cadet Hutchison looks perfect for the job: his lanky arms and legs look just like the guys in Nyota's pictures, and his old fashioned glasses give him a pleasantly intellectual look. Gaila has it on good authority that he knows his way around a woman's body, but she goes the extra mile and test drives him just in case.
When the day finally arrives, she is positively gleeful. Hutchison rings her door chime at 12:30 precisely, gets naked, and lies down on Nyota's bed. Gaila helps him get erect, and then she slips out the door, stations herself around the corner, and watches Nyota go inside.
The next thing she hears is an ear-splitting scream, followed by the sound of blunt objects striking something soft and vulnerable, like a human body. Then Hutchison is running down the corridor, holding a hand in front of his manhood. Nyota and 3 other girls chase after him, shrieking and pelting him with high-heeled shoes until security tackles him and leads him to the detention facility. Both she and Hutchison have to attend an embarrassing 6-hour seminar called Sexual Harassment in the School and Workplace, and then she has to go to something called Roommate Mediation, where she signs a contract about not putting more naked people in Nyota's bed. Their relationship becomes remarkably frosty.
After the sexual harassment seminar, Gaila feels even more out of place. People here just don't get her. Harassment means offering yourself more than once to people who don't want you, and she never does that. She has some pride, thank you very much, and anyway, enough people want her that she doesn't need to beg people who said no. It's not like she kept offering to go down on Nyota after that one time she screamed and ran away.
What stung the most was the presumption that what had happened was her fault -- a misunderstanding maybe, but one that by this stage of her education, she should have been smart enough not to make. The trouble was, "smart" means different things to different people; her common sense said that you should help someone who's struggling or injured or unhappy, and according to her culture, someone who's not having sex is all of those things. If she ever -- god forbid -- got so depressed that she totally stopped having sex, she would hope someone would think to put a naked man in her bed. Here though, offering up naked cadets was not only a mistake, but "grounds for disciplinary action and dismissal." And grounds for never speaking to your roommate and talking about her behind her back every chance you got.
Suddenly, she longed to return to her dingy quarters in the Refugee Relocation Center on Deep Space 6. When she left, she had never thought she would miss it, but getting along with people had been so much simpler there. Sure, she'd learned some hard lessons there too, like that one time a man with very sharp claws had chased her down the corridor, shouting something about her profaning the marriage bond by fornicating with his wife. It was a legitimate misunderstanding though; monogamy didn't exist on her world. The Relocation Center staff had understood that, and they helped her patch things up with the clawed guy and his wife. After that, and learning that not all hominids are bisexual, she'd gotten along there pretty well. Most people were grateful for some sex to cheer them up, and anyway, the station was a pretty diverse place. The Denebians there excreted slime and slurped up writhing insects with their long purple tongues, so a green girl who fucked a lot hadn't seemed that weird.
The way people at the Academy judge her doesn't seem fair, especially since the Federation is supposedly so committed to diversity. But then, she's probably the only Orion anyone here has ever met, so maybe it's not their fault they don't know how to get along with her. What she needs is one last gesture to show Nyota that she understands where she's coming from, that she won't judge her for not having sex as long as she receives the same tolerance in return. And this time, she'll ask some other humans about her plan first so that she won't end up in another pseudo-disciplinary "seminar."
But researching her latest plan is more complicated than she expects. Every time she asks a man if she should get Nyota a vibrator, he says something like "let's try one out on you and see how it works." Of course, she's always happy to oblige -- a girl really can't have too many electronic toys, or test them too often -- but then she gets distracted and never gets an answer to her question.
Clearly, she needs to find someone who doesn't want to have sex with her. That, however, is a pretty small group. There was that one medical cadet who'd run away from her, muttering about not wanting to catch Aldeberan penis rot or the Xilosian testicle drop. She'd wanted to run after him to shout that she protects herself because hello, she doesn't want vagina rot either, but instead her eyes had filled with tears, and she'd stood dumbly on the steps of the Medical Training Center instead. Then this guy Jim had come along and whispered, "I know you won't give me this penis rot or the testicle drop" and consoled her very creatively with his tongue.
Wait. She's getting distracted again. Other people who didn't want to have sex with her...Admiral Archer, maybe? She'd taken off her top in his office once, but he'd barely even noticed because he was staring misty-eyed at the picture of his lost beagle. If her boobs hadn't gotten his attention, no mere question about vibrators would.
There was one other person who'd turned her down, and his office hours were happening right now. Best of all, they'd be totally empty because all of his other students were terrified of him. Suddenly full of energy, she bounded across campus and into the linguistics department.
"Will buying my roommate a vibrator further cross-species understanding?" she asks as soon as she steps into his office.
"I am not an appropriate source of advice on this matter," Commander Spock responds, raising one eyebrow. She must have looked crestfallen because he adds, "Analysis of empirical data can be useful in making decisions regarding cross-species interaction."
That's actually the most useful answer anyone has given her, and she beams to thank him. Spock is so awesome. He never makes her feel bad for not knowing things and he always answers her questions calmly, even when he's telling her not to ask them again. Like now, all he says is, "In order to maintain the professionalism of our relationship, I would prefer that you refrain from sexual inquiries in the future." She can respect that. It's so much better than all the red-faced sputtering Captain Blalock did when she asked if they could make a group sex room in the first year dorm.
And Spock is right about the empirical data. She skips out the door, already reviewing what she knows about Nyota. First, she needs to figure out if Nyota likes sex at all. Gaila's pretty sure the answer is yes. Nyota has 3 pairs of fuck-me boots under the bed, and she wears them all. People who don't want to fuck definitely don't own footwear that screams "fuck me!" Also, sometimes Nyota takes like, thirty minutes to fill up the tub. She thinks the sound of running water covers up her little moans, but Gaila's got good ears for this kind of thing. Actually, now that she thinks about it, this happens at least twice a week. What a breakthrough! She understands it now: Nyota likes to have sex, but only with herself. That doesn't make a lot of sense to her, because how could you ever surprise yourself, but she feels a lot better knowing that her roommate has an outlet of some kind. Best of all, thanks to all her recent vibrator experiments, she can help Nyota have a totally fabulous sex life with herself!
The next night, she goes straight to the sex shop after her first contact protocol class and blows half her monthly refugee resettlement stipend on 3 vibrators in different shapes, sizes, and colors. She wants to rush home and present them to Nyota right away, but then she remembers some of the stuff Spock said when he refused to have sex with her. Stuff like "carefully observing individuals' cultural and personal habits" in order to "determine the advisability of unexpected proposals" and "evaluate the appropriateness of offers for personal services." Hm. Maybe she should have thought about that before she put the naked guy in Nyota's bed. Oh well, live and learn. This time, she's not offering personal services, so that's okay, and her analysis of empirical data has already revealed that her gift is advisable. Now she just needs to take into account that business about the personal habits.
Nyota always seems the happiest early in the morning, when she flits around the room singing under her breath, so Gaila gets up early even though it really pains her. Then she waits 10 minutes for Nyota to go to the bathroom and get dressed because she doesn't seem to like talking when she's naked or on the toilet. Gaila even goes the extra mile and gets dressed to because Nyota is always craning her neck in weird directions to avoid looking at what she calls "indecently exposed girly bits."
Then, when the time seems right, she carefully extends the brown-wrapped package to her roommate.
"Look, I know we've had a lot of misunderstandings this year," she says, hating her voice for the way it quivers a little. "And I'm sorry if this gift turns out to be another mistake, but I could really use a girlfriend around here, so I wanted to give you these to say I'm sorry for what happened with Hutchison."
Nyota's mouth sets into a straight, flat line when she unwraps the first package. Gaila steels herself for the worst, swearing she is not going to cry, but when Nyota sighs and glares, her eyes start to fill up.
Silence hangs between them for a second, probably so Nyota can formulate appropriate insults in a variety of language, but then her eyes go a little softer.
"Thank you, Gaila," she says carefully, and tucks the vibrators into her desk drawer.
It's not quite the energetic squealing she was hoping for, but their relationship thaws a little bit after that. Nyota stops getting upset about every single piece of clothing on the floor, and sometimes she gives Gaila the comm numbers of attractive cadets she turns down. They're still not best friends, and Nyota still won't share the sexy black bra, but when Gaila hears a vibrator humming in the night, she knows she's on the right track.