Title: A Way With Words

Author: nostalgia

Rated: PG-13

Summary: Hoshi loses her languages.

Disclaim: Braga, Berman & the Dark Lord Satan all have more right to these
characters than I do.

A date?: December 2002

Archive: Go on.

Author's Random Shit: Hey, this one almost has a plot! Go me!

For Pheny, who was de facto beta.


He slips his arms around her waist, looks over her shoulder to meet her gaze in the mirror.

"We'll be at the rendezvous point in four hours." She says it blandly, unemotional.

"You were speaking Klingon in your sleep."

Blue eyes and brown stare at each other in silvered glass, unblinking.

His grip tightens and she looks down, memorising the sink.

"You'll be back. When you get better."

"I'm not sick."

"You know what I mean."

Hoshi breaks away from the embrace and walks from the bathroom to the bed. Her bag is lying - packed - in the middle of the room. She lifts it onto carefully smoothed sheets.

"Are you sure that's everything?" Clipped and English, so precise. It irritates her.

She nods.

Warm fingers on her skin. "There's still enough time..."

"Is that all you ever think about?"

He has the grace to blush. "Sorry. I just...We might not see each other for months."

"You think I'll be coming back?"

"Of course." She realises the alternative hasn't even occured to him. Things work out in the end. They always do.

"I've got some people I need to see before..."

"You're coming back."

Hoshi says nothing.

* * * * *

Enterprise shrinks to a pale speck of light. It is gone from view far sooner than she expected.

"Ensign Sato?"

She turns at the heavily-accented words. English is foreign to the speaker.

Three weeks ago Hoshi could speak Vulcan.

"Are your quarters adequate?"

"Yes. Thank you." She is almost grateful, the lie is not important.

Her visitor stands uncertain in the doorway.

"Is there something wrong?" The language is wrong as it falls from her lips. The way the stars crawl past the windows is wrong. Everything is wrong.

"Forgive me. I've...I've never seen a human before."

Hoshi smiles - wrong gesture, wrong culture - "I'm Hoshi."

The Vulcan nods. "I am Sirak."

Three weeks ago she could have spoken to him in his own language.

How things change.

* * * * *

"Was it sudden?"

Another window, another host. Hoshi stares out at apple trees and blue skies.

The woman in the chair behind her speaks with a slight West African accent. Her secretary was Russian.

Everyone speaks English these days. Hoshi's California childhood raised her in the lingua franca of the modern world. Hoshi is reduced to relying on such coincidences.

"It was instantaneous." She clicks her fingers. "You know?"

She hears a pen scribbling on paper.

"And nothing like this has happened to you before? You've never had any memory loss?"

"I'm a prodigy. Was a prodigy. I don't forget things. Ever."

"Memory and language are closely connected, Hoshi."

"It's not just the vocabulary. I've lost grammer, recognition... everything."

"There was no trigger?"

Hoshi lies: "No."

* * * * *

He is polite enough not to tell her that he loves her. His eyes might be saying it, his touch might be screaming the truth, but his lips never form the words. What is not said can never hurt you.

He looks young in the starlight, rendered vulnerable by the galaxy over which he tries to assert himself. He doesn't try to understand it though. He leaves that task to others. Hoshi wonders how anyone could stare at the stars and not want to understand them. Her life has been about seeking meaning, interpreting the new and the unknown. But Jon Archer just wants to prove himself to the darkness and the vaccuum. It is the distance, not the physics, that excites him. Hoshi wonders if she will ever fall for a man for whom she has no disdain.

She has two lovers, and can't quite remember which one she cared for first.

* * * * *

"Your medical records say that there appears to be no physical cause for your memory loss."

"I know. I was there at the time." She is already sick of the attention. All she wants is to curl up in her bed and close her eyes. She hates everyone and everything.

"And it's only your languages that have been affected?"

Hoshi says nothing, and her psychiatrist sighs. "You have to help me, Hoshi. I need to know everything that you know."

"It's only the languages. Except English. I'm sure you've got some theory for why that is."

"I think your mind is holding back. I think those languages are still in there, but a part of you doesn't want to find them again."

"And why is that?"

"You tell me."

* * * * *

"You have to choose, Hoshi."

"What? Why? You said you didn't care about..."

"I'm a lot more insecure than you seem to think I am, Hoshi."

"You want me to leave you?"

He sighs. "I just want to understand. I want you to make a decision."

"But why? Things were fine. You can't tell people about us without getting into all kinds of trouble, and if we're going to keep it a secret there's no reason Malcolm has to get hurt..."

"You don't care about him, Hoshi. You don't care about either of us. You just want..."


"You don't know what you want. You spend your life trying to avoid making decisions. You'd do anything not to have to change things."

"You think I'm weak?"

He meets her gaze. "Do you?"

She needs to get as far away from him as possible.

* * * * *

Hoshi sits in an expensive room in an expensive apartment complex. All her needs are catered for. She is Hoshi Sato, former prodigy lost to a mystery of the mind.

She reads a book of Vulcan philosophy, brought from Enterprise in a zipped-up kit-bag. Another relic.

Hoshi knows that she will never go back. She will never sail among the stars again, she will remain on the Earth until the day she dies.

Hoshi knows that she has lied. To her lovers, to her mother, to her Captain, to her doctor.

Hoshi knows that she should care.

Hoshi sits in an expensive room in an expensive apartment complex. She reads a book of philosophy in the original Vulcan.

* * * * *