|An ending is just a beginning in disguise
Author: Grim Lupine PM
Uhura sees it before even Spock does. Body language is still a language, and she hasn’t yet met a language she couldn’t conquer. //oneshot// //KirkSpock//Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - J. Kirk & Spock - Words: 2,634 - Reviews: 42 - Favs: 191 - Follows: 7 - Published: 12-04-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5557330
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me.
Notes: XD I swear to god, I don't know where this came from. THIS ISN'T EVEN MY PAIRING, GUYS. But I wanted to write a story about how awesome Uhura is, and this might be a Kirk/Spock story, but it really is about how awesome Uhura is. So. Feedback would be greatly appreciated, especially on Uhura's characterization—that's what I'm worried about most.
Uhura has never really thought of forever in terms of her and Spock—they're young, both of them, and forever seems so far away. Forever means even less when death seems likely, if not imminent, and maybe it should tell her something that she looks at Spock and sees here, now, this beautiful moment, and can't think forward to when they will be old and gray and comfortably wrinkled together.
She doesn't know when things start to change. She doesn't know why their forever seems so out of reach. What she does know is that Spock purports to abhor emotion, but she can read arousal in the slow blink of his eyes, irritation in his minute shifting, affection in the slightly upturned corner of his mouth. She is a linguist, and the language of Spock's body speaks to her. What she does know is that they are good together, warm and comforting. What she knows is that sometimes 'good together' is not enough, and maybe love shouldn't simply be comforting.
She knows she loved him, and she loves him still, and strangely enough that is why this doesn't hurt so much.
Uhura sees it before even Spock does. Body language is still a language, and she hasn't yet met a language she couldn't conquer.
It's almost unnoticeable: Kirk flicks his eyes sideways, then back, like he's used to hiding his glances. He bites down on his lip and lowers his head, then turns away. He determinedly does not look in Spock's direction after that, and his silence speaks louder than anything he might have said.
Oh, Uhura thinks, a little bit amused, a little bit pitying (this is before she realizes that maybe if she hadn't pitied him, maybe if she had fought, she could have kept her life the way it was. After realizing that, she wonders if she would have even considered fighting an option). Someone has a crush.
She notes it in the back of her mind and then forgets about it, until two months later when she's sitting in the sickbay by Spock's side, hand resting heavily on his arm. Spock is unconscious, and looks smaller than she's used to seeing him.
A noise alerts her to Kirk's presence.
"Is he all right?" Kirk asks quietly, motioning helplessly, before his hand falls to his side to curl into a loose fist.
"Doctor McCoy said he would be fine," she responds, and watches tension bleed out of his stiff shoulders. "He just needs to rest."
"That's good," Kirk says inanely, watching Spock with a look she can't read (but that's a lie, she can read it, she just doesn't want to). "That's good." He looks at her and tries to smile, but misses by about a mile. Apparently deciding a hasty retreat is his best option, he lifts his hand in a half-wave and hurries out.
Uhura drops her head onto her hand. Shit, she thinks to herself, shit. That's not a crush. That's love.
Love. What is she supposed to do about that?
If it were only Kirk, maybe she could ignore it. Maybe she could ignore the pathetic looks Kirk sends Spock's way, before he remembers himself and jerks his head back to whatever he was doing before. Maybe she could feel sorry for him, and tell Spock to be kind to him, and wait until he found someone else to fall in love with, someone who wouldn't turn her life upside down and rend it in two.
But the thing is, it's not just Kirk. Spock would never betray her, he couldn't even comprehend the possibility. But he can't help what he feels, and Uhura can't help being smart enough to see what is happening, and aware enough to keep from lying to herself.
Uhura loves Spock, and accepts him as who he is—quiet, dry, logical. She has become used to drawing meaning from the quirk of an eyebrow and slight furrowing of his brow. She loves him and has never tried to change him.
Kirk loves Spock, and drives him out of his mind. He pushes—that's what he does. He's always pushing, pushing for more, more feeling, more emotion. When Spock hides behind his desert-dry tone and sardonic eyebrow, Kirk's mouth quirks to the side. He shakes his head, as if to say not good enough. He pushes Spock past what he sees as his own limits, and forces him to acknowledge the raw emotion running deep beneath his shield of logic. It's dangerous, some would say, this dance Kirk leads Spock into—taunting, baiting, refusing to let Spock be. But no one has ever been able to say that Kirk shies from danger.
Uhura remembers the sight of the two of them on the bridge—Spock with his hand around Kirk's throat, tightening inexorably, merciless. Kirk's eyes were blue and unshakable, fixed on Spock. Spock looked—consumed. He looked almost the same as he does when he lifts Uhura against the wall and slides inside her, nipping her bared neck, hands strong and bruising on her thighs.
Kirk pushes Spock, and maybe—maybe Spock needs pushing. Every time he looks at Kirk, the faint lines in his brow say I do not understand you. Not that anyone fully understands Captain James T. Kirk. Kirk is an enigma wrapped in more enigmas, tied up with a shiny bow of playboy captain easy blue-eyes pretty, pretty boy. That's all he lets most people see, but Uhura knows better. Under all that affable charm there's a gaping mess of insecurities, and a man who is unfailingly kind, frighteningly intelligent, and loyal to his very bones. Even knowing all that, Uhura knows she hasn't begun to touch the surface of who James Kirk is. So Spock doesn't understand Kirk, and it's likely he never fully will, and that is enough to make Spock watch Kirk in turn, studying him with narrowed eyes that say so clearly (so clearly because Uhura has spent so long watching him) I wish to understand you. You infuriate me and confound me and never fail to surprise me.
Spock doesn't know it himself, but Uhura can complete his chain of thoughts for him.
You make me feel.
Uhura's a smart woman, aware enough to know where this is going. There's a small, petty part of her that's glad she got to end it before Spock did. She hurts, but all the same, mostly she wishes them well.
Of course it's awkward for a while. Spock speaks to her stiffly, retreating behind formality so his uncertainty in how to act does not show. Uhura pretends she does not notice how stilted their conversations are; always act with dignity, she learned when she was young. It's one of the rules by which she tries to lead her life.
Kirk never quite meets her eyes when he sees her, now; he doesn't know why she and Spock have separated (Spock has never rushed anything in his life, and she suspects Kirk will have to wait some more before Spock works through his feelings and comes to him), and he doesn't know if it was amicable or not. He doesn't know whether to try and repair their relationship (because he does love them both in different ways, and genuinely wants them to be happy), or to let that seed of hope that he's been crushing take root inside him.
Uhura lets him stew. She doesn't blame him for this, and she knows he would never try to hurt her, but she's been hurt nonetheless, and she's only human.
She'll put him at ease soon enough, but for now she says nothing and watches it all unfold in front of her eyes.
Watching: that's what it all comes down to. Kirk watches Spock with a hunger she doesn't think she's ever felt; it's the resigned hunger of someone who's used to being denied what he wants, a hunger that burns steadily and painfully. Spock watches Kirk with an expression that suggests his unpredictability both infuriates and fascinates him; like he knows he might never fully understand him, but the prospect of forever trying does not displease him.
Uhura watches because she can't look away; it's like seeing an explosion take place, where the explosion is the life she used to have, and in the scattered remnants lies her future.
Things change slowly, oh-so-slowly, until that split-second shift when everything takes off.
Kirk comes back from a disastrous mission slung over Spock's shoulder, laughing wildly, a sound with nothing of amusement in it. His eyes are feverish, and his hands scrabble at Spock's clothes like he's fighting invisible insects; blood drips slowly from a long scrape down the side of his face.
Spock's mouth is tight, his eyes murderous. When Uhura follows him to sickbay, she sees him set Kirk down on a bed with a tenderness that makes something in her chest catch.
"What the hell happened?" McCoy demands, rushing over to Kirk's side, eyebrows snapping together.
"The captain has been affected by some drug with which I am unfamiliar," Spock says flatly, hands clasping behind his back. Kirk bares his teeth at some invisible predator, and starts tearing at his own neck with his ragged nails.
"Grab his hands," McCoy orders, and mutters when Spock complies, "he's high as a goddamn kite."
McCoy examines Kirk gently, and only when he says, "The idiot will be fine, he'll just need to stay here overnight," does the tense line of Spock's shoulders relax slightly; for him, that's tantamount to a sigh of thankful relief.
They stay until Kirk's eyes flutter shut and McCoy shoos them out; Uhura and Spock leave together, saying nothing, until Uhura clears her throat and says calmly, "I think you should tell him."
Spock looks at her, startled. "I—am not sure to what you are referring," he says, and his tone is carefully devoid of emotion, but Uhura can tell he'd rather cut an arm off than have this conversation.
Uhura smiles wryly. She's not exactly eager to talk about this, either. But she loves Spock and she cares about Kirk too—they're both her family, the entire crew is—and so she says, "For someone so logical you really can't lie very well."
"I don't believe that there is any significant correlation between logic and the ability to dissemble," Spock begins, and Uhura has to laugh at what is, for him, an incredibly blatant attempt to change the subject.
"All I'm saying is that maybe if he thought he had someone to come back to here, he'd be a little more careful out there," she tells him, and watches him press his lips together in a tight line.
He's scared. With Kirk there are no rules, and logic has little foothold against Kirk's passion and daredevilry and fierce emotion.
He's scared, but that isn't for Uhura to fix anymore, and after all, who better to turn to when defying fear than Captain James Tiberius Kirk?
Every time Uhura catches sight of Kirk after that, he has the same look on his face: disbelieving pleasure, half-wary, like it might be yanked away from him at any moment. He forgets himself frequently and stares a little dazedly at Spock's turned back, while the rest of the crew hide their smirks and pretend they don't notice. Spock twitches under the weight of his gaze and determinedly does not turn around.
It's taken the two of them long enough that it doesn't really hurt anymore— stings a little, maybe, when she thinks about the shy discovery of a new relationship, making the unfamiliar familiar. It's something she hasn't had in a while. But she's able to smirk with the rest of them at Kirk's dopey smiles, and surprisingly enough she finds it kind of sweet.
Kirk still can't talk to Uhura properly, especially now that he knows why she and Spock broke up, and she figures it's time to put him out of his misery.
"You can stop looking like I'm going to kick you in the balls anytime now, you know," she says casually one day, while they're walking together in uncomfortable silence. She feels Kirk freeze next to her.
"Um," he says, and apparently decides that's the safest place to stop.
Uhura rolls her eyes. "It's been months. I've really gotten over it. I'm fine."
Kirk looks at her sidelong, then bites his lip. "Yeah, you are," he says, leering at her exaggeratedly and surprising a laugh out of her. He's a tactical genius and some of the time he can be the intimidating authority figure that's needed, but most of the time he's just a big dumb puppy—goofy, guileless, and impossible to dislike.
"And here I thought one of the benefits of you sleeping with my ex-boyfriend would be that you'd stop hitting on me," she says dryly, and strangely enough the words come out without any hesitation, completely natural. There's relief written into the crinkles at the corners of Kirk's eyes, and he looks suddenly bright, like some last barrier of shadow has been lifted.
"Whatever made you think that?" he asks innocently, looks up at her through his eyelashes the way she's sure he's been doing since he was old enough to realize it almost always got him what he was asking for.
She shakes her head. "You're still not allowed to call me Nyota," she informs him, and his answering grin is blinding.
"I have eternal hope," he says, and when they arrive on the bridge she finds she likes the feel of the fond smile on her face too much to hide it.
Spock looks between the two of them, and quirks his mouth slightly. Kirk—whose middle name might as well be 'what is this foreign concept called subtlety?'—dimples a grin at him and announces, "No worries, we're all BFFs again. No need for a fight to the death. Even though I could totally take her, you know," and Uhura chokes on a laugh at Spock's precisely arched eyebrow that carefully refrains from any comment on the matter.
So, all right, maybe her life hasn't gone exactly the way she thought it would; but she's intelligent enough to know that life rarely does. Maybe she'll forget about plans for now, and just live; these people are her family, every one of them, and it's enough for her to laugh with them, and fight alongside them, and live for the little things like the day when she'll surprise Kirk by letting him call her 'Nyota.'