Author's Note: After a lengthy hiatus from fanfiction for both real life issues and to work on an original novel, the lure of Star Trek 2009 proved to great for this life-long Trekkie to resist. This is the first in a four-part story depicting one of the possible scenarios for how the Spock/Uhura relationship came to be. Much thanks and credit goes to my beta-reader, MrsTater.
Part I: Teacher
Gaila walked through the dorm-room door, clumping loudly in her tall wooden-heeled boots. On her bed, Nyota, glanced up from her PADD, shook her head at the sight of Gaila's skimpy outfit, and looked back down at her reading.
"I'm home," announced Gaila, plopping down beside Nyota on the matress.
"I noticed," replied Nyota, ignoring the scent of cigar-smoke wafting from her roommate's hair.
Gaila leaned over to get a look at the PADD, and let out a short laugh. "Vulcan history. I should have guessed."
Nyota looked up. "Why would you guess I'd be reading Vulcan history?" The corners of her mouth turned down.
Gaila rolled her eyes and stood up, walking over to her side of the room. "Actually, I would've guessed Vulcan culture and society. But history is close enough."
Nyota turned off her PADD and set it down on her nightstand. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Don't play innocent with me," replied Gaila, pulling off her shirt and tossing it carelessly on the ground. "I know a thing or two about lust, and let me warn you--lusting after a teacher will never lead to anything good."
"It's not lust!" Nyota swung her legs off of her bed, planting them firmly on the ground. "He's an excellent officer and an extraordinary intellect, and I find him fascinating. That's all."
Gaila tugged off her skirt and shook her head with another laugh. "So suddenly you know exactly what I'm talking about?"
Nyota folded her arms across her chest and glared at her roommate. "Fine. You're right. I've been a little…preoccupied with Commander Spock lately. I don't see that there's anything wrong with that. You're preoccupied with a new man every week, and you don't see me complaining about it."
"Unless I bring them back here when you're trying to study."
Gaila sank down onto her own bed with a sigh. "Honey, I know you think this is no big deal. And it might not be. But if you keep spending all your free time reading up on his culture, and keep visiting him twice a week during his office hours, you're either going to make him think that you're crazy and obsessed, or he's going to sleep with you. Neither of those are happy outcomes. Trust me; I've done both."
Nyota looked sheepishly down at her feet, wriggling her toes against the not-so-clean dormitory carpet. She'd actually visited Commander Spock's office three times this week. When she enrolled in Advanced Subspace Communications Mechanics and Theory she expected to learn skills that would make her a better officer. What she never expected was to learn first-hand just how quickly a harmless crush on her teacher could grow into a fascination that utterly dominated her thoughts.
"I am being a little obsessive, aren't I?"
Gaila nodded broadly. "Just a little."
Nyota straightened her back, looking more pointedly at her roommate. "But I'm serious that it's not just lust. He's a very interesting man. I could talk to him for hours."
"You do talk to him for hours." Gaila sauntered across the room to get a beverage out of their small refrigerator. "Do any of your classmates ever get a chance to see him, or do you monopolize all of his office hours for yourself?"
"No." Nyota reclined back on her bed again. "If there's someone else waiting I always keep it short." Except for the three times she'd left his office right at the end of his office hours only to find one of her classmates glaring angrily at her in the hall. But Commander Spock hadn't seemed to notice them either; Nyota couldn't help but wonder why? Was it possible that he found their conversations as engrossing as she did?
Gaila popped open the top of her drink and sat down on her bed again. "Look, I don't mean to harass you about this. I've had more than my fair share of man trouble, too. I just worry about you. This sort of thing is completely against regulations. I don't want you to screw up your career over a man. It's not worth it."
Coming from Gaila, this was very serious advice. Closing her eyes, Nyota reached up to run her fingers through her long hair. She thought through the last few months, and all the small steps that led to this growing obsession.
"You're right," she admitted. "I know you're right. This needs to stop. I'm wasting way too much mental energy on an impossibility." She opened her eyes and turned her head to look over at her friend.
"Did you know I got a B on an exam this week?"
"Oh no!" Gaila mockingly clutched at her heart. "Not a B! Whatever will we do?"
Nyota rolled her eyes. "Come on. You know what I mean. I never get Bs. Never. It has to be because I can't concentrate anymore."
"No. You concentrate just fine. The problem is what you're concentrating on. Like those soulful brown eyes, and that long lean body, and those oh-so-kissable ears…"
Nyota grabbed her pillow and threw it at Gaila, while both of them laughed.
"All right, all right," said Nyota. "I'm over it. I won't go to his office at all this week. Not once."
Gaila raised an eyebrow, and tossed the pillow back. "Do you promise?"
Nyota hugged the pillow to her chest. "Yes. I promise."
Nyota, about to exit the lecture hall, froze in her tracks at the sound of his voice calling her name. She took a deep breath. It was Friday, and she'd been as good as her word--she hadn't been to Commander Spock's office all week. She'd been sorely tempted, but she'd held firm to her promise. It was for the best.
She took a deep breath, and turned around to find Spock standing only a few feet away. "Yes, Commander?"
"I was wondering if you have been unwell this week?"
"I--" Nyota was at a loss for words. After a moment, she finally replied, "Why do you ask?"
She could already feel her breath coming more rapidly in anticipation of his reply. He was concerned about her. Genuinely concerned.
"I have noticed your absence during my office hours this week," he said, standing as stiff as ever with his hands clasped behind his back, "and your participation in class discussion has dropped by nearly twenty percent. I know that many Cadets choose not to make the time to visit a physician when they are feeling ill, but I would advise against that course of action. If you are not well, I suggest that you make an appointment with your physician this afternoon. It would be unfortunate if poor health impaired your academic performance."
Nyota took another deep breath to compose herself before replying. "Thank you for your concern, Commander. But there's no need to worry. I'm in perfect health."
He raised one of his eyebrows quizzically. "Indeed? Then I am most puzzled by your behavior this week. I had expected to continue our discussion on the syntactic divergence of the four proto-Vulcanoid language groups. Your insights on the topic are fascinating."
It was impossible for Nyota to stop the smile from spreading across her face. "Thank you. I was enjoying our discussion, too." Just as Nyota was about to tell him that she would come to his office later that afternoon, her promise to Gaila jumped up in her mind and she bit back her words. Nyota prided herself on never breaking a promise.
"Unfortunately," she said, "I've been busy all week assisting my roommate with a project." She closed her mouth in a tight-lipped grin. That ought to do; it was certainly close enough to the truth.
"Ah. I see. Your roommate is privileged to have a friend as talented and intelligent as yourself. It is generous of you to spend your time assisting her."
Nyota felt like her heart was doing jumping jacks in her chest. "I'm not doing anything more than any good friend would do."
His eyes flicked over her face, as if studying her expression. What did he see there? What did he really think of her? It was impossible to tell. Maybe that was one of the things that attracted her so much--with most of the men she knew she could always tell exactly what was on their minds. But not with Spock.
"Perhaps you are correct," he replied. "It is admirable nonetheless."
"Thank you, Sir."
He nodded shortly. "Are you assisting your friend again this afternoon?"
"Then perhaps we can continue our discussion on Monday?"
Nyota wasn't certain if she imagined the note of eagerness in his voice or not. Either way, there was only one possible answer to his question. "Absolutely. I plan on it." Nyota worked hard to keep her smile restrained to something small and friendly rather than the exultant grin that wanted to dominate her face.
"Excellent. I will expect you then." He nodded again. "Goodbye, Cadet."
She turned and headed out into the corridor, finally allowing her full grin to blossom.
Nyota had indulged her little obsession for long enough. The term was coming to an end. She would have no more excuses to visit Spock's office. It was time to let go.
She stepped to the open door of his office, and waited silently, as always, for his nod of acknowledgement before entering.
"Good afternoon, Cadet."
"Good afternoon, Commander." As always, two chairs sat in front of his desk, and, as always, she chose the chair on the left. She had become quite a creature of habit these past four months.
"I trust your exams are proceeding well?" he asked.
"Yes." She nodded. "I feel confident that my scores will be high."
"I have no doubt of it. I am aware of your current course-work, and I am certain you can excel at all of your chosen subjects."
He'd been checking up on her. She felt a rush of warmth in her face. This meeting was not going to be easy.
She avoided meeting his eyes and gave her head a tiny nod before quietly saying, "Thank you, Sir." She still felt uncomfortable every time he complimented her. His words might be logical--they were probably even factual--but she couldn't prevent them from provoking an entirely emotional response in her. That was why she needed to end things. She was growing far too dependant on his support and encouragement.
She'd always been good at standing on her own. And she'd always sworn that she would never turn into the kind of woman who built her self-definition based on the men in her life. She couldn't let this infatuation change her.
"I trust you are adequately prepared for your Advanced Subspace Communications exam tomorrow?" He rested his hands lightly on the desk in front of him, and Nyota stared at them in lieu of meeting his eyes. She just couldn't look into those eyes and say goodbye.
"I am. I plan on reviewing some of the material one more time before bed, but I feel confident that I have a firm grasp of the principles and theories."
"I am equally confident. Your performance this term has left no room for doubt."
She couldn't stand to sit there and listen to one more compliment. It was too much to take. She stiffened her spine and raised her eyes. Still wishing to avoid eye-contact, she let her gaze rest on his lips.
"Before the term ends," she began, "I just wanted to tell you what a privilege it's been having you as my teacher. I feel like I've learned much more than subspace communications from you. I very much appreciate the fact that your door was always open for me. I know I've learned far more from our talks together than I ever could in a classroom."
"I concur that the greatest learning and teaching was done right here in this office. Our conversations together were engaging, and you are not the only one who learned a great deal. Your insights were most illuminating." Nyota was beginning to think that staring at his lips had been as much of a mistake as meeting his eyes. She hadn't thought about how much she loved the sound of his voice.
He continued, "I believe that it is every teacher's ambition to have a student who commits herself entirely to the pursuit and use of knowledge with vigor, determination, and enthusiasm. I have had the distinct privilege of finding just such a student in you. It has been an honor and a pleasure working with you this term, Cadet Uhura." He rose, and extended his hand.
Handshakes were a distinctly human tradition--one which Vulcans generally found distasteful. They preferred to avoid casual touching. Nyota felt a surge of pride that he would offer her such a gesture.
She stood, and extended her own hand in return.
His grip was firm and warm. Though the contact was brief it sent embarrassing surges of tingling desire all through her body.
She had to get out of there as fast as she could.
"I'm sorry, Commander, but I can't stay any longer today. I have to prepare for the rest of my exams."
"I understand." He nodded. "I hope we have the pleasure of working together again in the future."
"Me, too," she said, breathlessly. "Goodbye, Commander."
She stood so hastily to leave that she nearly tripped over her own feet. With one final sheepish nod in his direction, she fled the room as quickly as she could without appearing rude.
In the middle of the first week of the new term Nyota stopped by the office of Captain Nagano, her new Communications Systems Maintenance and Repairs teacher.
"Hello, Sir," she said. "I was wondering if I could ask you some questions to help clarify the project we're working on in the lab right now?"
"Certainly, certainly." He waived her in. "Have a seat. Forgive me, but could you remind me of your name, Cadet?"
Nyota took a seat. "Uhura, Sir."
"Ahhh, Cadet Uhura." The captain let out a low chuckle. "I should have guessed you'd be the first student this term to drop by my office."
"Sir?" Nyota raised her eyebrows in surprise.
"Yes, Commander Spock told me all about you. I never used to think that Vulcans could have favorites, but they way he raves about you has proved me wrong."
Nyota's mouth hung open for a moment before she could reply. "Raves about me, Sir?"
He chuckled again. "Well, the Vulcan equivalent of raving, in any case. I must warn you, Cadet, I have very high expectations for any student who can make that much of an impression on Commander Spock."
Nyota laughed back, feeling more than a little dumbfounded. "I'll do my best to live up to them, Sir."
He chuckled again. "Now, what can I help you with, today, Cadet?"
She managed to stumble her way through all of her questions and get the answers she was looking for, but her mind was in something of a haze for the rest of the afternoon.
That evening she took a walk by herself. Standing alone by a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, she muttered softly to herself. "It doesn't mean anything, Nyota. He doesn't have the same kind of feelings you do. He can't have the same kind of feelings you do. Let it go. Just let it go."
There was only one solution to this problem. She would throw herself into her studies so completely that she would have no time or energy left to carry on with her little obsession. It would work. It would have to work.