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I'm Part of All the Things You Are

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I'm there at your side,
I'm part of all the things you are
But you've got a part of someone else
You've got to find your shining star

-Destiny's Child, "Emotion"

Nyota Uhura prided herself on knowing how people tick. It was a gift she had had all of her life. It was one of the reasons she was so adept at communications in general. She was interested in seeing the motivations and hidden messages that others had. She knew when her roommate was being less-than-truthful about bringing boys back to their dorm room. She knew how to conduct and assert herself just enough for her instructors to respect and make her a prize pupil. She was most proud of the fact that out of all the people in the galaxy, she understood Spock the most. She didn't know quite how she had managed it, but she knew that she had influence over him. She made him happy, made that pleased look fill his eyes, made him able to display the emotions he constantly hid away. She loved Spock, and she knew that Spock loved her. When Vulcan was destroyed, she had comforted him and had understood that he needed her to be strong and that everyone needed to behave logically so that he would not break. Unfortunately, there was also one person she knew absolutely nothing about.

From the moment James T. Kirk sat two seats away from her at a bar, Uhura had thought she had him pegged. A town local who would troll bars for outsiders and would sweet-talk his way into their pants. But he had surprised her by not only knowing what xenolinguistics was, but also by the way he relayed the information, like he hadn't just learned the information to pick up Starfleet chicks; he recited it like he could have read her the textbook. Of course two seconds after that, he had gotten himself into a bar fight, so she figured that she'd never see him again and that he just happened to know a lot about her focus of study.

Imagine her surprise when Jim Kirk showed up on the shuttle to go to Starfleet, still trying to wrangle a name out of her. Despite the small evidence of his intelligence, she estimated that she will have graduated before he ever got far enough in his studies to interact with her.

Three years later, she met him again hiding under her roommate's bed, which was not surprising in the least.

Going to the Kobayashi Maru simulation and discovering that he was taking the captain's test was surprising.

She could barely contain her anger and professional demeanor  What had Starfleet come to if idiots like this were allowed to take the Kobayashi Maru? She held her anger in because it was a testing situation and she knew Spock was there supervising his own test. If she let a little smugness enter her tone when she told him that the situation was hopeless, it was entirely because she knew there was no way to beat the test. 

He beat it.

She was at his disciplinary hearing when he demanded to face his accuser. She had held her breath when Spock stood up, flawless and perfect, and she almost wanted to shout that Spock was all hers, but knew she couldn't. But the quiet disdain and thinly-veiled hatred between them soothed her because even if no one could yet know that her and Spock were tentatively seeing one another, it was more than obvious that they both held the same opinion for Jim Kirk. 

After Vulcan was destroyed, Kirk, who had snuck aboard the Enterprise instead of having earned it like she had to, faced Spock down and threatened the ship with mutiny. She was the only one who truly knew the depth of what Kirk was doing to her Spock, who had only a tenuous control over his emotions. When he returned and insulted Spock to his very core, she could only watch in inevitable horror as Spock fought and choked Kirk against a control panel. She knew that she could have stopped him, but a tiny part of her was so shocked and secretly angry as well that she could only watch it all happen. Spock had silently looked at her as he left the bridge, communicating that he wanted to be alone, so of course she left him alone. She was angry and now Kirk was the captain, so she couldn't help the venom that escaped her lips as she said, "I hope you know what you're doing, Captain." 

She had expected him to either ignore her or behave as did during the simulation, cocky, arrogant, sure of himself and his place in the universe. Instead, he looked at her sideways, expression unsure, and said, "So do I."

Spock later reappeared and she had to physically force herself not to go to him and comfort him. When he went on the suicide mission to the Narada, she decided to hell with protocol and secrecy. They kissed, and she knew that Kirk was watching and knew he was surprised about their relationship. As she left to go monitor Spock's frequency, she felt herself smile in spite of her worry, because she had managed to shock the great Jim Kirk.

He saved the ship, but what surprised her the most was that he had protected Spock. Then Kirk was made captain and he had requested and fought to have Spock as his first officer. So Jim Kirk had earned a tiny bit of her respect, but she still didn't like him except when they were on the bridge of the ship and he was Captain James T. Kirk, not Jim from Iowa. She decided to stay with the Enterprise, which was a logical career move and she was glad that Spock was welcome under Kirk's command. She was hurt deeply when Spock said that he was going to make the logical decision and go to the colony, and she had no right to argue against the decision. They kissed before they parted ways, and she told him that if he were to change his mind, she would be there. When he walked aboard the Enterprise, moments before it took off, she was sure that this was a gesture. She was the reason Spock came back, to serve under a captain that he only tolerated, just to be with her.

Everything had gone perfectly those first few months. Their relationship was still as steady and perfect as it was before, and it was so much better than anything else she'd ever had. Even though they rarely kissed, it just made those times when their lips touched more memorable and dear. Jim Kirk was still a pain in her ass, using her first name when they were off duty, teasing her about her relationship with Spock. 

It was the happiest time in her life.

The denouement began when she was eating in the mess hall with the other officers. Spock was busy finalizing some experimental work on dilithium crystals in the science labs, so she was eating with everyone else that day.

"We should throw Spock a surprise party," Kirk announced in hushed tones at the table, eagerly brandishing his fork at the ceiling.

"Vulcans don't celebrate birthdays," Uhura immediately said. Spock, despite other emotional attachments he may hold, did not hold one for his birthday, so Uhura always just marked the day down and celebrated by being extra thoughtful and caring that day. 

"Yeah I know that, but come on, what would it hurt?" Kirk said, twirling the fork in wide gestures around himself. 

"We could have it in the rec room, just the officers and those that work with him," Sulu put in.

"Well if he doesn't celebrate, how do we know he won't do that 'silently pissed at the world' thing he does and kill the party?" McCoy asked. Uhura had always liked McCoy, even if he did claim Kirk as a close friend. At least he detected his bullshit from a mile off.

"Come on, go with me on this. We'll hang some streamers, replicate him a carrot cake, get down to some Vulcan tunes."

Scotty snorted. "If you're talking about that harp music he's always playing, we'll need extra Scotch to make sure we don't fall asleep."

"He is an accomplished player and it is stimulating to more than just Vulcans," Uhura put in, as evenly as she could manage. Jim smirked at her while Scotty looked aghast.

"No insult intended, lassie. It is very beautiful, just not exactly party music. A bit like playing Mozart at a pub after a football match," he reasoned. 

"It'll be an awesome party. When else can we show how appreciated our first officer is, especially how he's usually the one who gets our ass out of so much trouble?" Jim said, outright whining. 

"You mean your ass out of trouble?" McCoy scoffed, earning himself another point in his favor.

"Oh come on, how many times has his brains saved the ship or his Vulcan anatomy allowed him to save us when we passed out? The least we can do is boogie down in celebration of the day he was born."

"All right, I'm in," McCoy said, holding up a finger. "But if he decides to choke you again, everyone lets him this time."

Uhura was fine with that. 

*

She refused to lead Spock to the party. Instead, she waited in the dark conference room as the 'small gathering' of sixty guests hid until he appeared, expecting an impromptu meeting. She tried to melt into the wall as the lights flickered on and everyone yelled "SURPRISE!", cascades of confetti shooting out all over Spock, getting caught in his perfectly arranged hair which framed a perfectly expressionless face. Kirk walked forward, bringing an arm around Spock's shoulder casually. She winced, knowing how he hated that kind of contact, but because he must have been utterly shocked, he let it stay, merely turning his head to look at Kirk's beaming face.

"Happy birthday Spock," he said, waving his arm around at the room he had the most hand in at decorating. Spock's cake was decorated like Vulcan with candles sticking out of red mountain peaks. She almost facepalmed in front of the entire group. Way to celebrate a birthday by reminding him of what he had lost. Spock looked at the cake and a trace of emotion passed over his eyes. She glared at Kirk, the idiot.

"This was highly unnecessary, as Vulcans do not celebrate birthdays. Furthermore, the candles are a fire hazard."

People laughed, and Uhura tensed. Spock was not being funny.

"It's completely necessary, because we wanted to logically express how appreciative we are of what you have done thus far for this ship and to remind you of how crazy you are for choosing to spend five years of your life aboard a ship full of humans. As for the candles, if we can survive fucking tribbles, we can survive a few candles. All right everyone, let's sing!"

There are few things more awkward than singing the happy birthday song to someone who by all appearances was a statue. Everyone valiantly pitched in, however, encouraged by Jim's booming voice and his conducting arms. Kirk steered Spock over to the cake.

"Make a wish," Kirk said.

Spock raised an eyebrow. "Vulcans do not wish, it is highly illogical. Furthermore, why would I believe that anything I wish for over wax candles will come true?"

"Spock, this is one of those silly human things we talked about. If you want, just concentrate on not setting anything on fire  But come on, what would it hurt to have a little wish?"

Spock waited a moment before blowing out the candles. Everyone cheered and immediately Jim motioned for the music to start. An orchestral beat washed over her, and she recognized a few Vulcan instruments. 

"Like the music?" Kirk shouted as people began to dance around them. "It's an Earth orchestra that uses Vulcan instruments. Kind of like the Trans-Siberian orchestra of the late twentieth and early twenty first century."

Another way to mock Spock's heritage. It was a wonder Spock wasn't throwing Kirk into the cake of political incorrectness. 

"While I am unaccustomed to it, it is vaguely stimulating." 

Uhura walked closer, arms crossed. Kirk noticed her first.

"Nyota! Come give your man a birthday kiss, get this party on the right foot."

"Public displays of affection are not everyone's modus operandi," she retorted, touching Spock's arm. He looked over to her, and she was pleased to see his eyes warm over. 

"So my public sex fantasies featuring you two have no basis in fact?" Kirk drawled. Spock actually whipped around to stare at him, and Uhura frowned because god, does this guy not understand that Vulcans simply do not joke? He held up his hands at Spock's look. "Just kidding."

A slower song came on and Spock turned back to Uhura. "If it pleases you, we can take the opportunity to dance," he said. Uhura beamed because Spock never initiated this type of behavior, and she could almost forgive the ridiculousness of this entire party if it loosened up Spock enough for that to happen. They danced for a few minutes, her graceful and him perfectly timed, until once again Jim Kirk ruined a good moment.

"Can I steal your boyfriend for a sec?" he asked from over her left shoulder. She then nodded at Spock to let him know it was okay. They retreated to a corner of the room. She didn't want to eavesdrop or anything, but her friend Nancy from engineering was in that direction, and Spock and Jim seemed to be discussing something serious. She got close enough, hidden behind a group of people, to hear the last part of their conversation.

"...and if you don't like it, you don't have to keep it or anything..."

She looked between two girls and saw that Kirk had given Spock a picture frame. Spock was silently staring at the picture, and Uhura couldn't even guess as to what he may be feeling, if he felt anything at all. Kirk was still babbling.

"I got a hold of my mom and she made a few calls and your mom's family had this picture. They told me that you're the same age as she is in the picture."

"Jim," Spock said in a hushed voice. Kirk stopped, and looked as anxious as he did the first time he manned the captain's chair and wondered if he knew what he was doing. "It is quite sufficient. Thank you."

Later, Uhura found the picture next to Spock's bed. In it there was an ice rink and Amanda was wearing a winter coat and hat, winking and waving at the camera. It was only as she stared at it that it occurred to her that maybe Spock didn't celebrate birthdays because he had never been allowed to celebrate one. 

*

Two weeks later, disaster fell on the ship. They were being attacked by renegade Klingons and their shields were down to 20%. The bombardment of the ship stopped and they were hailed from the main bird of prey. 

"We will cease our attack if you surrender," the captain of the Klingon ship said, his face filling the viewscreen. 

Uhura hoped that Kirk wouldn't do something rash and impulsive, as everyone knew that he detested Klingons. Instead he looked at Spock, then turned back and asked, "What are your terms for surrender?" She breathed a sigh of relief, because at least he knew that pride was not a thing to have when so many lives were in his hands. 

She was relieved, of course, until the Klingon named his terms.

"All we want is your first officer, in exchange for the ship."

"No fucking way," Kirk said, his professional demeanor completely collapsing in on itself. The Klingon smiled cruelly. 

"One life in exchange for over four hundred."

"What do you want him for?"

"Let's just say there are those who would love to have this particular Vulcan, who was of interest to Nero and is coincidentally knowledgeable of Starfleet intelligence."

"You're telling me the Romulans are paying you for Spock? When did the Klingons suddenly become some other empire's hired thug?"

The Klingon captain bristled, shouting at Kirk in his native language. She was surprised when Kirk sniped back, and whatever it was he said only infuriated the Klingon more.

"Captain, it is logical for me to go with them," Spock said.

"Can you give us a minute to talk?" Kirk asked the screen, not even looking at Spock.

"You have five minutes, and then we attack," he said. The transmission ended and the screen was blank again.

"Follow me," Kirk ordered Spock. They both entered the turbolift. Given the small amount of time they had, Uhura figured that they would speak in the turbolift itself. She covertly opened the channel to the inside of the turbolift and set it to where only she could hear what was being said inside. 

"It's not happening, Spock. I order you to stay," she heard Kirk shout. 

"Then you have also ordered the complete destruction of this vessel."

"Spock, they'll torture you, do anything they can to get the information out of your head."

"I am aware of the dangers, Captain. I must also remind you that I have been trained for the possibility of this happening, as are you."

"I can't lose you, Spock," Kirk said, and Uhura was shocked to hear the amount of emotion in his voice. She was even more shocked when she heard Spock quietly respond.

"Jim, I will be saving all of you."

"You can't trust a Klingon, Spock. They'll probably just kill us all anyway."

"It is like our games of chess, except this time we do not control the pieces and we are merely the players within the game," Spock said, and they both fell silent. Uhura was not aware that they regularly played chess and somewhere underneath her despair that all was lost, she was irrationally upset that Spock had neglected to mention it. 

"Yeah, like chess...unless this isn't chess at all," Kirk said with an air of revelation. The turbolift was started again and a moment later Kirk was at her side. "Uhura, I need you to send a message to Starfleet, and make sure it can be heard on all frequencies."

"Yes sir," she said, patching the necessary channels with a hesitant air. 

"This is James T. Kirk aboard the USS Enterprise. Klingon vessels have surrounded our ship and are threatening to attack unless we hand over first officer Spock to them. It is my command decision that we refuse this tactic, because we wish the Klingons to attack and activate the corbomite device, which while destroying the Enterprise, will also destroy all matter within 200,000 kilometers, leaving behind a dead zone that should be avoided for no less than 400 years."

They waited a few seconds, and then Chekov excitedly bounced in his chair. "The Klingon ships are leaving at warp speed, keptain!"

Everyone stared in open awe at Kirk. He crossed his arms and smugly over at Spock. "I changed the game to poker. Let's get out of here before they call our bluff."

*

After that incident and with each subsequent near-death experience, she witnessed Spock and Kirk grow closer. It wasn't obvious, but gradually it became a normal sight to see them walking side by side through the halls of the ship, movements matched, deep in conversation about everything or nothing. She wouldn't have cared so much, except that Spock began to distance himself from her. 

She had never thought she'd be jealous of Jim Kirk, but there it was.

The opportunity to get Spock alone presented itself on the ship's second shore leave. It was a testament to Kirk's early rebellious nature that one of the few duties he regularly kept on schedule and in order was shore leave. They were on Andoria, and Spock was taking her to a famed Andorian amphitheater. She dressed in her most eye-catching civilian clothing and was pleased when he extended his gloved hand to her outside the theater. She pressed the tips of her two fingers to his and then dropped her hand in favor of a soft kiss. His lips were less pliant than usual, but she attributed that to the public atmosphere. She stopped and smiled, pulling her coat tighter across her shoulder as they walked in and were seated. 

When the lights dimmed and the opening aria began, she heard someone fumbling around in the dark, someone who had arrived late and was trying to get past other spectators that mostly consisting of Andorians whose antennae quivered in annoyance, to find their seat. The stranger all but fell into her lap.  She hissed, "Do you mind?"

"Don't mind if I do," Kirk drawled, and she kicked his calf with her shoe. 

"OW!" he yelped, earning him a cacophony of annoyed shushes. 

"What are you doing here?" she asked.

"Who do you think scored the tickets? It just so happens that we're both fans of Andorian opera."

"Yeah right," she said, letting acid drip into her voice. Kirk dropped into the seat next to Spock. He leaned over Spock to speak to her. 

"Okay, so it's his turn to pick the culture."

"'Pick the culture?'" she asked Spock, confused.

"With the captain insistent on my visiting social establishments such as bars, night clubs, and on one memorable occasion, a tellarite wedding, I thought it was only logical that he go to cultural settings that I select as well."

"This thing isn't half bad, Spock. What'd I miss thus far?"

"The woman singing is married to a prominent military commander and is refusing to fight by his side. If you recall that Andorian society is militaristic, then you will understand that for her not to fight as well is significant..."

Almost all of the play had to be explained to Kirk. It annoyed Uhura to no end, but Spock seemed almost happy to explain everything to Kirk, most likely in testament to his innate teaching ability and his love of imparting knowledge. She began to feel like a third wheel halfway through the performance. But what really disquieted her was the fact that Spock had not bothered to inform her that Kirk would accompany them. 

She brought it up later that night as they stood outside of her quarters. 

"I must apologize for I was unaware that our outing was exclusive," Spock said, genuinely contrite. She forgave him, and vowed that next time she would make sure that their dates were exclusive to them. 

*

They visited the Vulcan colony for the first time a year into their mission. They didn't stay long, but the whole time Spock stuck by her side, which pleased her greatly. He even introduced her to his father, not as his girlfriend, but then Vulcans did not casually date and unless they had bonded or were planning on bonding, there was little logic in introducing her as such. Kirk was blissfully engaged elsewhere, likely with that elder Vulcan that he and Spock knew by mutual acquaintance but never discussed much. 

On the last day, Kirk visited Sarek's home where Spock was staying. Uhura had told Spock that she was going to be gone the entire afternoon with friends, but when mid afternoon arrived and with it the dry heat that even the tri-ox compound shots McCoy had sent them off with could not assuage, she decided to return early. Spock had an affinity for fountains, so she went in the direction of the shaded area of the garden. When she got close enough to see the tall rock fountain, she saw the pair of them sitting on the edge of it. They were talking but she was too far away to make out what they were saying. Then to her utter shock, she saw Kirk pick up Spock's hand and run two fingers over his palm. She was relieved a moment later when Spock jerked his hand away and left Kirk sitting at the fountain, agitated and almost like he was wracked with guilt. Only when she heard the house's doors shut did she feel anger, because she was too busy wondering why her initial reaction had been relief instead of justified anger. She knew it was a horrible idea, but she was blinded by rage, so she walked to the fountain. Kirk immediately stood up, face clearing of any emotion. 

"What the hell was that?" she asked, wasting no time in getting to the point.

"Why hello Uhura, glad to see you're back early and spying on people."

"I just got back; I wasn't spying. Do you not realize that what you did right then was a Vulcan form of kissing?"

She fully expected him to start denying that he knew what it was, whether it was true or not. She did not expect him to narrow his eyes, chin lifted in defiance, and say, "Yeah, I realized."

She slapped him. Amused and ever the infuriating asshole, he put a hand to his face and smirked at her, goading her.

"I can't believe you," she hissed, moving closer to him. "I don't care if you are the captain. If you don't explain to me right now what your game is, I will personally see to it that you never have use or your balls again."

"Like you'll believe anything I tell you. Besides, I didn't realize it was a kiss before he practically fled, I just saw some other Vulcans doing it."

She stared at him, not knowing whether to believe him or call him on this apparent bullshit. "Even for humans, that's a pretty strange gesture to use when you just consider him a friend."

This time the guilty look came back to his face, though at a lesser degree. Her eyes widened. 

"You don't consider him as just a friend, do you?"

He looked at her, steel in his eyes, and said, "I consider him, that's all you need to know."

"I'm his girlfriend, I have a right to know more than that."

"First of all, you have a right to know things about Spock, but you have no fucking right to know a damn thing about me. Second, you could have fooled me with the relationship thing. The two of you barely hang out, and don't blame that all on him because I've noticed that you treat him like a Vulcan."

"He is a Vulcan. You can't just throw birthday parties for him, blindfold and kidnap him to go to a bar, and you certainly can't take liberties with his person and expect it not to mean anything because it means nothing to you."

"He's not a Vulcan!" he bellowed. "He's both, and he liked his birthday party as a human and he hated the bar like a Vulcan and as for 'taking liberties', I've already told you that that was a fuck up on my part, which I will apologize to him for, not that that's any of your business. What's bothering you so much about this, Uhura? If you're so confident that you know Spock and what he is, why should it matter what I do?"

Uhura looked at him coldly and simply started to walk away. "It doesn't," she said over her shoulder.


*

Except it did, because now that she knew that Kirk had ulterior motives for her boyfriend, she watched the both of them more closely than before. When they returned to duty, it was like nothing had transpired between the two. Kirk was still his usual self, arrogant and irreverent, and Spock was neutral and cordial to him in return. It should have soothed her, but instead it made her even more suspicious. What made it even worse was that it was tearing her up inside and she could not confide in any of her friends because this was the captain and the first officer, and even the possibility of it becoming gossip was enough to convince her to keep it to herself. Then one tense day on the bridge, McCoy was yelling at both Spock and Kirk for a mutual command decision that he disagreed with and trounced off the bridge, grumbling darkly under his breath. 

She sought McCoy out the next day in the rec room. He was just finishing up a game of cards when she approached and they walked around together while she told him about Spock's behavior and how Kirk was treating Spock. She left out the confrontation in the garden, not knowing how he would react to his best friend in that situation. She was surprised with how easy it was to talk to McCoy when by all appearances he seemed more emotionally unstable and hard shelled than anyone else on the ship.

Finally he stopped her, and leaned back against a wall. "It sounds to me like they get along just fine. Me and Spock don't get along at all because he's too damn unemotional and I call him on his bullshit. Jim can just...read Spock, so it works out."

"Then why do they fight all the time?"

"I'm betting because he can read him a little too well. It's one thing knowing what Spock is feeling at the moment in relation to how high his eyebrow is on his forehead, but it's a whole other thing being able to guess what that crazy Vulcan doesn't even acknowledge himself. But you probably know a lot about that too."

She knew that she nodded her head in agreement, but what she thought was completely different. No, I don't really know how he feels

*

Spock was behaving oddly. He had actually snapped at her a day ago and he kept making nervous and irritated gestures. When she tried talking to him about it, he refused to tell her a damn thing. He requested shore leave on the Vulcan colony, which was granted easily by Kirk, who was also anxious and jittery. Finally, she confronted Spock herself, entering his quarters unannounced and demanding that they talk about it. What he told her shocked her with its unprecedented nature.

"I believe that we need to discontinue our relationship."

"But...Spock why?"

"My reasons are my own. Do not make this more difficult."

"No, your reasons are mine because this involves me. I deserve full disclosure."

He didn't meet her gaze, which just made her more adamant.

"Indeed, you are most deserving. It is a biological imperative."

As he explained pon farr, she began to feel more at ease and understanding. Of course he was reacting like this. He was experiencing emotions and feelings he had pent up for years, and he was unsure as to her devotion to what seemed like a potentially 'till death do you part' process. 

"Spock, I am willing to bond with you. I've never told you that, but it is still true."

"I cannot bond with you," he said, sadly.

"Why? Is it because I'm not a Vulcan? Your mother was not Vulcan."

"I am quite aware of my mother's species, Lt. Uhura," he said, and she recoiled at the ice that laced his voice. He immediately frowned. "I am sorry, Nyota. I wish with all my being to be bonded to you. But I can only be bound with a Vulcan if I wish to overcome what my body is betraying me with."

"Betraying you? If it's not my humanity that bothers you, then why are you calling it a betrayal?"

Spock turned pained eyes to hers. "You are not the betrayal."

The words sunk in but had no immediate meaning for her. He turned away from her to face a wall as if he couldn't bring himself to look at her anymore. And then it all came crashing down as understanding washed over her.

"There is someone else you want more."

"Nyota, I want to be bonded to you, that I can say with utmost truth," he told her, still with his back to her.

"But you can't because you want someone else."

"I cannot bond with you when I feel like this. I am not being rational. I cannot make a decision when I am torn three ways, between what is logical to me, what is my duty to my species, and what I feel. I burn, Nyota. My eyes...are flame. My heart...is flame. You must understand. I need to bond the way my ancestors taught, for only a full Vulcan can purge that half of me that I cannot control."

"But I'm not the emotional decision. You want to bond with me because of your mother and because it is safe for you, even if it is not the completely Vulcan thing to do. But you want Kirk but you won't let yourself want him." He flinched when she said his name, because apparently he thought she couldn't put two and two together. "So go. Marry a Vulcan and do what you do best. Lie to yourself and to everyone else, just like you lied to me."

He finally turned around. "I did not lie when I said I cared about you. I did not lie about you being important to me."

"Because you lied to yourself first. I may be important, but not the most important. So just go to him. I won't hate you forever, just for a long damn time."

Love was a funny thing. It made you want to claw out your intended's eyes while at the same time encouraging them to go to someone else and let you go. 

"I cannot do that. My mind is addled and to make a decision of this magnitude is unimaginable. A bond can be dissolved; marrying another Vulcan does not have to be a permanent solution."

"Just because you've been made aware of your feelings doesn't mean they will disappear. And if you think that later I will forgive and take you back, I won't. I need all of you, not just what you're willing or able to give. Love is giving all of yourself, even if it blows up in your face." 

She left the room. She passed Kirk on the way. She avoided confrontation with him for the first time. 

*

They made it to new Vulcan, but by then it was clear that the fever had passed. She stayed on the ship, knowing that she was never really comfortable on the colony in the first place. This time McCoy found her, in Spock's quarters, uninvited. He had probably found out about Kirk and Spock. She was looking at the picture Kirk had given Spock, tears drying on her face. McCoy put a hand on her shoulder. 

"All you can say, in the end, is that you fought. My divorce wasn't my idea. I tried everything to get her to stay, and she literally took the whole damn planet."

She could barely talk, not having used her voice in hours, but she tried. "How did you survive it?"

He smirked. "I did the exact opposite of what anyone expected. I enlisted in Starfleet, consigned myself to years in space. I still don't trust this vacuum of death, but I have a duty, friends, and now it's starting to be a really bad memory."

He walked away. She thought about what he said for the next few days. News of their break up and of the first officer and the captain's rumored relationship spread everywhere, and when all three of them were back on the same bridge, the tension made everyone quiet and watchful. She looked at everyone, including Spock's blank expression used to conceal so much and Kirk's defiant stare to all, and did the exact opposite of what anyone expected.

"I hope you had a good trip, Captain."