"You are fond of him," Spock accuses her one day out of nowhere, as they sit in the officer's mess taking a meal together.
Uhura throws another glance at the receding gold clad back of their captain, considers denying it, then shrugs and favors Spock with an indulgent smile. "A little bit. Maybe."
"And yet you consistently treat him in a most dismissive manner," he continues, bafflement written in the small muscles barely tensing between his angular brows.
She chuckles ruefully, then smoothes out her expression; she knows he and Jim are starting to learn how to relate to one other as both co-workers and friends, and the last thing she wants is to become the Interfering Girlfriend in their equation. "You've heard how we met, right?"
"You have told the story before," he answers, inclining his head. "He approached you in a bar near the Riverside shipyards, then incited a brawl with four other cadets."
A few weeks ago, the twitch at the corner of his mouth would have indicated disapproval; today, it signals something approximating reluctant amusement. It still baffles her, that they could go from strangling one another to bickering good naturedly over tri-d chess so quickly, but she's not going to argue with the positive effects it's having on efficiency and crew morale. Still, it's even more reason for her not to give in.
"The fight was more or less because of me," Uhura admits. "And it set the tone for all our other interactions, after. I would never give him my first name, or even the time of day if he was being obnoxious; and he more or less made it his goal to get a smile out of me every time we met. He even joined the Xenolinguistics club to make it harder to avoid him. But the thing is-- Spock, you know how skilled he is with computers; he hacked your simulation without you being aware of it. He could have found my first name in Starfleet records any time he wanted to. He never did."
Spock purses his lips. "I have observed that he seems to prefer the chase to its conclusion," he allows, after a moment.
"Coming from him, it's practically a declaration of respect," she says. "But he doesn't need another admirer; he needs someone to throw his bullshit back in his face, to poke holes in his ego. If I let myself be charmed like everyone else-- yes, even you, sometimes--" she teases as he shifts his jaw in objection, "--he'd really be insufferable, and we can't have that."
Something in the line of Spock's shoulders relaxes a little at her explanation. "Fascinating," he says, raising an exclamatory eyebrow, then nudges her foot-- very slightly-- with one of his under the table.
Whoever had coined the phrase "seeing green" must have known a Vulcan, Uhura thinks, smiling affectionately at him.
"You're not to tell him I said so, though," she insists, scraping her boot gently against his in return.