|How the Heart Approaches
Author: Linstock PM
A story of life at Starfleet Academy, beginnings, adventure and, of course, snacks. How do Vulcans choose their snacks? I'm sure you have wondered. Written for Spock Uhura Christmas Exchange.Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Angst - N. Uhura & Spock - Chapters: 3 - Words: 8,867 - Reviews: 48 - Favs: 58 - Follows: 5 - Published: 12-20-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6571402
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: How The Heart Approaches.
Spock was just rising to leave the briefing room. Only Captain Pike remained. The debriefing had gone much as Spock had anticipated. Every detail of the mission had been reviewed and would remain classified. As far as the rest of the Federation was concerned, an accident during a science mission had tragically cost ten lives.
Captain Pike said, "Commander."
Spock sank back into his chair and waited.
"I wanted a private word with you, son," Pike began, causing Spock to tilt his head slightly in confusion. He wasn't Pike's son nor in any way related to him. Then he realised that this opening was an effort to move the discussion from the formal debriefing to a situation of an elder talking to a junior he held in regard. Spock was pleased he'd been able to understand the intent behind the erroneous statement.
"Spock, I've had enough brushes with death to know that it can bring a surprising clarity to one's thinking. You had no reasonable expectation of rescue and fully expected to wake up dead."
Spock struggled with the utter lack of logic of the last statement.
"I don't know what you thought in those last moments," Pike raised his hand as if to forestall a comment, "but, whatever it was, don't let it slip away now that you've returned to the living. Act on it and follow through. In fact I order you to act on it. That is a direct order from your commanding officer, Spock, got it?"
"Fine. Now we'll be stopping at Vulcan on the way back to Earth - I know that you have leave owing to you - so if you'd like to disembark at Vulcan I'd find that completely logical. Request leave through the usual channels and it'll be approved."
With that Captain Pike rose and walked to the door. Before he exited he half turned and said, "You're a fine officer, Commander. I look forward to serving with you in the future."
Spock considered his situation. A Starfleet Captain had just ordered him to break the social conventions of his people and seven Star fleet regulations. Spock was a diligent officer, and as such, would follow his orders to the letter. As he sat at the table he savoured the irony.
It was now a week since the Atlanta had returned. Spock hadn't been on board. By asking around Uhura had learned that he'd left the ship at Vulcan and no one knew when he would return. She supposed it was logical for him to visit his family when his ship was so close.
She pulled a self-deprecating face and forced herself to be honest. The reason her food tasted like ashes was the thought of Spock visiting his Vulcan "babe," with her symmetrical face and child-bearing proportions. She smiled sadly, rose, dropped her uneaten dinner into the galley's garbage bin and slowly returned to her quarters to try to sleep.
One night Nyota simply didn't have the energy to resist that "pull" toward the vending machine any more. Avoiding a vending machine made no sense - and a Peppermint Cuptop might lift her spirits. She dragged herself down the stairs and was almost at the vending machine when she raised her eyes.
Spock was standing in front of the machine. She closed her eyes, and then opened them again. He was really there, looking straight at her.
"Hi," she said.
"Hello, Nyota," he replied, never taking his eyes off her.
Nyota closed her eyes briefly at the sound of his voice - longing coiled in her chest and made her shoulders ache. She felt as if she was in a dream. Gazing at him, she noticed he was thinner and his face seemed a little drawn, but he was Spock, and he was beautiful and she wondered how she could ever have not known how much she loved this man.
Silently they sat side by side on the stairs. Uhura struggled with her conflicting emotions. Part of her wanted to lean against him and sob, part wanted to just kiss him and part wanted to run away so she could lick her wounds in peace and not humiliate herself. Nothing in her wanted to sit beside him on the stairs and make polite conversation about his visit home. She didn't think she could bear to hear him discuss his future bondmate.
Spock's opening words were, "I have just returned from visiting Vulcan. "
"Oh, that's nice," she said. Her voice sounded high and squeaky.
Spock tilted his head. Eventually he said, "The visit was productive."
It seemed an ominous choice of words to Nyota: "productive" implied actions taken and tasks completed. She didn't like the sound of that at all.
"That's … nice," she muttered, staring hard at her hands. She glanced over at Spock, who appeared to be looking at her strangely.
"Nyota, I cannot discuss any of the events of the recent mission with you."
She nodded. "I understand."
"It is a matter of record, however, that there was an incident with a Perkins class vessel, during which several crewmembers died."
She studied him, frowning slightly.
"I was on that vessel."
Nyota felt confused; she shook her head. "But that vessel was in the Gamma asteroid belt, nowhere near the Atlanta's position."
It was Spock's turn to look perplexed. "Indeed, our team went to investigate a scientific anomaly and during our investigation, the Magpie sustained massive damage." He considered further. "How do you learn of the position of the shuttle?"
"I was on duty monitoring signals from the Gamma sector. I detected what I thought was a signal. It was distorted but I was sure it was a repeated pattern - the letter "S" in the old Morse code. At least once I detected a full "SOS" pattern. I believed it was a distress signal, but my supervisor was not convinced. I argued," she paused and shrugged, pulling an expressive face, "I argued a lot. I'm afraid that I was placed on disciplinary level 1 for disrespect to a superior officer."
Spock tilted his head in enquiry.
"Well, amongst other things I said that he had the aural acuity of a turnip," muttered Nyota.
Spock raised an eyebrow at this simile.
"But I was right," Nyota exclaimed vehemently. "I went to the facility controller and I made him listen and eventually he agreed that it was worth investigating." She turned now so she was looking at Spock's profile. "I learned later that a Perkins Class vessel had been damaged and was drifting and the crew was still alive. That's all they told me. " Nyota was staring at Spock and desperately wanted to touch him. "That was you?"
Their gazes locked.
She could feel hysteria building. "I had no idea. I didn't know, I …" She clamped her mouth shut and turned, staring steadfastly at the floor in front of her. He had been in that shuttle asphyxiating. The man she loved so much. Rumour had it that they had found the shuttle occupants with only minutes to spare. He had been slowly dying, unable to take a breath and in agony. Her eyes filled with tears.
Spock said simply, "It seems I owe you my life, Nyota. Thank you."
She nodded stiffly, still struggling with her feelings. She was so close to crying and that would just begin a complete unravelling.
Spock's voice was soft. "Captain Pike said that almost dying focuses the mind. I find this to be true. During the few minutes I believed to be my last, several things became clear to me. I reached out through the bond to my parents and that has done much to restore our relationship. I also realised I needed to see T'Pring as a matter of some urgency."
"Great," said Nyota, and almost jumped to her feet. He was alive, she was truly grateful; but sitting here hearing him talk about his symmetrical Vulcan babe was more than she could bear. She had to get away - now.
He stood too and stepped closer. He was looking at her intently.
"I needed to discuss our future," Spock continued.
Nyota stepped back. If he came any closer she just knew she would either fling her arms around him and kiss him until his Vulcan toes curled or she would burst into tears. She held out her arm, placing her hand on his chest to hold him at arm's length.
Nyota did not look at him. "I'm happy for you Spock, really I am, and I hope that your life with her will be wonderful, but I must go."
"Nyota, I severed the bond with T'Pring."
She heard it, she did, but it didn't make sense. Maybe the old bond had to be severed before they could marry. Oh god, maybe he was already married. She had to go.
But Spock was still talking.
"I had to sever the bond before courting anyone else. To do otherwise would be dishonourable."
"Court?" What did he mean "courting anyone else"? Who was he courting? She looked up at him, her confusion clear on her face.
"Courting anyone else?"
"Yes, I believe 'courting' is the correct word to use to describe the process of initiating an exclusive relationship, to assess compatibility with a view to bonding in the future."
She was struggling to catch up. Her mind seemed full of cotton wool. She tried to reason this through. Spock was here. Spock was speaking to her. So logically what he was saying was in some way related to … her.
"You want to court … me?" her voice was an embarrassing squeak.
"Yes, I do. I came to understand in the last minutes I had to live that this was, in fact, essential."
"But … but we've never touched. You haven't even kissed me."
"Are these impediments to courting you?"
"Well, yes, for me they are … impediments."
"Then I will endeavour to rectify this."
He placed his right hand over the one she had placed on his chest, raised her hand to his lips, and kissed it. Heat radiated up her arm, catching in her chest.
Spock reached his other arm over her shoulder and stepped in close, so her head was cradled in the crook of his arm. His right arm wrapped around her and he kissed her, slowly, softly and deeply. It was everything she had imagined; heat, spice and homecoming. Nyota wrapped her arms around him, her hands splayed wide on his back. Oh, the indescribable relief of being able to actually hold him.
Eventually he lifted his head, gently nuzzled the side of her face and pulled back to look at her.
"I trust these matters have been addressed to your satisfaction."
"Well, it's a good start," she said, smiling. Just to make sure she had understood she restated, "You want to court me with a view to bonding."
"I do, but that decision is yours."
"Do you love me?"
"I am uncertain of the specific nature of the human experience of 'love', but my research on the subject leads me to believe there are certain well-accepted indicators."
"'Indicators'?" Nyota parroted, wondering if a simple 'yes' had been too much to ask.
"Indeed. For example, thinking of the object of your affection with your dying breath appears to be accepted as …" But Spock never finished the sentence because his mouth was suddenly otherwise engaged.
Later, when they stood, foreheads touching, breathing hard, she asked: "So that was a yes?"
"Yes." He replied with deep sincerity.
"Good. Okay. That's all right then, as long as we are even," she replied and stroked the side of his face.
Suddenly a door banged loudly, followed by a clatter of feet on the stairs. By the time the cadet came into view, Nyota was gazing out the door into the night and Spock was standing near the base of the stairs, the picture of calm, his hands clasped behind his back.
The cadet saluted Spock and nodded at Uhura as he passed out the door and into the night.
Spock turned to Nyota and said, "I believe it would be advisable to continue this conversation in a more private setting."
Nyota adopted a similar formal air, "I agree. Unfortunately my quarters are not private."
"Then I suggest we proceed to mine." He replied.
Nyota nodded. Joy was just starting to rise in her: Spock loved her. Spock had kissed her. Spock wanted to court her. Spock had thought of her with what he thought would be his dying breath. Spock had kissed her; had she already thought that? It was incredible - it was unbelievable - but Vulcans do not lie.
When Nyota finally asked Spock if he was concerned about breaking Starfleet regulations, he replied that he was not and added, "I am following orders."
This reply made no sense to Nyota, but before she could pursue the matter further, Spock distracted her. He had quickly learned a range of ways to effectively distract her and his perplexing reply remained a mystery for many years.
Au: Dear readers, your comments are my Christmas present. If you liked it (or disliked it) please let me know. I'd love to know what worked so I can do better in future. Remember comments are how SpockLikesCats and I are paid. Have a merry and safe Christmas and go boldly where ever you please…