It had been a Tuesday when he first found himself noticing her.
He noticed all his students, of course, for he was an exceptional instructor. He could list them all alphabetically, by first name or last, and in order of grade averages. Nyota Uhura was 145th by first and 208th by last and had reigned supreme academically as long as he'd known her. She approached learning with a fire, always pushing herself and pushing him. He wasn't exactly sure if she strived for perfection or if it was just the natural state at which she belonged; either way it suited her. The majority of the other students were intimidated by her and, sometimes, he found he fell into that category himself. Her confidence and intellect didn't quite match his own but her willingness to take a chance – throwing logic out the window – had always both impressed and mystified him. She would always be noticeable as a student, to anyone. But on this Tuesday he was noticing her in a completely different way.
She sat in the front row, as she commonly did. Picture perfect posture with her legs crossed, facing forward and ready to learn. He scanned the room, glancing over her quickly before opening his book on Romulan text. Technically he didn't need the book, found it more of a useless prop, but he was told that it made him more accessible to the students so he made do with it.
"Today our lesson will be on the Romulan language…" Spock noticed a hand shoot up, interrupting him already. He looked over and stared at the student in question, waiting silently for him to speak.
"Sir. When are we going to learn about something that is actually relevant? Am I ever really going to need to know how to differentiate the three Romulus dialects? I don't plan to be on an episode of Jeopardy anytime soon."
"Mr. Kirk, firstly, I don't completely understand your need to make Earth-related jokes in my classroom. Secondly, I happen to find the Romulan language fascinating and I am sure you will too once you begin to pay attention." Spock spoke directly, the tiniest sliver of sarcasm present in his voice. He noticed Kirk leaning to whisper something to one of the young women surrounding him and decided to add one more thing.
"And thirdly, Mr. Kirk. I'm not sure about where you are from, but here, women prefer intelligence to smart assery." Kirk slumped down in his chair, tongue in cheek, as his arms crossed on his chest. Spock only gave the class a moment of laughter before continuing on. "Now, as I was saying…"
The remainder of the lesson went by without another distraction and it had seemed to finish almost as soon as it began. Spock dismissed the class and sat down at his desk, organizing the things he would need for tomorrow. As his students began to filter out in a loud jumble, he noticed that Uhura had not made an effort to move. She still sat in the front row, back straight and text still on the table. He watched her through the crowd filing out in front of him and as she uncrossed her right leg and crossed back over with her left, he found his gaze wandering down her body. He had always found her to be beautiful, but as his eyes washed over her smooth, long legs that were barely covered by the regulation Starfleet skirt, he felt an uncomfortable twinge in his lower stomach and closed his eyes; shaking off the feeling before it barely had time to start.
Another five minutes passed before the room had cleared of everyone except her. She finally gathered her book and stood up, but instead of heading toward the door she strode towards him, stopping at the corner of his desk. He looked up at her from his seat and a silence passed between them. As he studied her body language he could've sworn that she was nervous but he had no idea why.
"Cadet Uhura. Did you enjoy the class today?" It was the first thing that popped in his head to say and he automatically felt slightly embarrassed even though he knew she couldn't tell.
"Oh yes. Very much so. I always enjoy your classes the most, Professor Spock." His perceived nervousness of her had evaporated as quickly as it came on and was replaced now with her usual bravado. Professor Spock, he repeated again in his head. Hearing her say that brought back the feeling that hadn't quite been his stomach as he rolled his chair closer into his desk. Sometimes he hated his human side.
Noting his silence, she continued. "I especially enjoy it when you put Kirk in his place." She smiled at him and it seemed almost playful. Though he couldn't be positive. He was better as deciphering language than he was at women.
"Ah, yes. Well, I know it may not be in my professional interest but sometimes I cannot help myself."
"You shouldn't worry about it. He deserves it." He smiled back at her with this, glad that he wasn't the only one who doubted Kirk's excellence. Silence hung between them again and he took the opportunity to look over her, discretely as he possibly could. He started at the top, her hair like silk and in a perfect ponytail. This was the only way he had ever seen her and he wondered what she looked like with it down. The dark locks falling across her collarbone, slightly unruly even. He predicted that it would probably have a slight wave if she left it alone, beautifully framing her soft face. He wanted to know how that would look. How it would feel to touch it, to smell it. Running a hand through it as his other traced down her toned stomach. Clenching his fist together he shook the thoughts out of his head and justifying them by telling himself that human women take care of themselves this way for the attention of human men. Human nature, they called it. And the efforts were not lost on him.
"Is there anything else, Cadet Uhura? I have quite the busy schedule for the rest of the day and I would like to get to that as soon as possible." He lied. Blatantly. But he had to get out of there and back to his quarters to try and train himself how to deal with these new emotions.
"Yes, actually. There is something else," she responded. He stared at her the same way he had Kirk, waiting for her to continue. "I was wondering, there is this paper I am writing for my Phonology class and I really would like your opinion on it."
"I would be glad to read it over for you. Drop it off to me tomorrow in class and I will be sure to get it back to you in a proficient fashion." He placed both hands on his desk as he went to rise, standing up and pushing in his char.
"That isn't quite what I meant. I was hoping we could go over it together?"
"Like I said, I would be honored to give my opinion on it but in accordance to the rules of the Starfleet Academy, I am sure your Phonology instructor would be more than willing to work with you on a personal level during class allotted time."
"But I want you," she blurted out assertively, Spock's heading snapping up and their eyes locking. "I mean, I want your opinion. You are the best, Professor Spock, and I value any chance I have to work with you." His lips were still slightly parted as he ran his tongue across the bottom one before answering.
"I suppose we can arrange something. What would be an appropriate time for you?"
"I was thinking maybe tomorrow night? I could come by your quarters, sometime after dinner."
"Miss Uhura, are you not aware of the fraternization rules in the Code of Conduct that prohibits any Starfleet Academy student from…"
"Yes, sir. Sorry for interrupting but I am very much aware of this rule."
"Then I do not have to recite it to you and tell you how I cannot meet you at that time. You will have to decide on something else." Spock moved to leave, the thought of her in his room taking over his entire mind.
"Will all due respect, Professor. Screw the rules."
He turned around to see her lips curved upwards into that playful smile again and he eyes gleaming bright. She was unlike anyone he had ever interacted with before. He could make up a thousand simulations of how his conversations with her would go but he would never succeed at making correct predictions. And that excited him.
"Alright. Since you are such an exceptional student I will disregard that last statement and agree to meet with you tomorrow night."
"Thank you, Professor. Tomorrow night then," Still smiling she gave him one last glance and then proceeded out the door as easy as she had come in an hour earlier.
It had been a Tuesday when he first noticed her.
But it was the Wednesday that he would never forget.