"I am now a member of an endangered species."

Spock could feel the weight of all that had happened threatening to collapse on him. He stood and headed to the lift, trying to maintain composure, failing to keep his hands from shaking. He pressed the button for the level which contained his room. He knew he should have just gone to the captain's ready room, but it hadn't felt right. It would mean that Pike wasn't coming back.

Just before the doors closed, Lieutenant Uhura stepped into the lift. The doors lid shut as Spock tried to steady himself. Being around Nyota was always a test of his Vulcan logic; she brought out the human in him. But now, close as he was to falling apart, her very presence felt dangerous.

Nyota leaned forward, uncomfortably close, and pressed the halt button on the controls. The lift stopped, somewhere between levels. Spock felt his pulse race as she stepped closer. She took his face in her hands, and he felt for a moment that her soft touch was the only thing keeping him together.

She was kissing him now, and speaking, though he could barely register the words. Then, he heard, "What do you need?"

What did he need? Everything. He needed his planet to not be destroyed. He needed his mother to be alive. He needed to be able to control himself. He needed to not be so jealous of such an irrational creature as James Kirk. Most of all, he needed an anchor, something to keep him from drifting away on the storm of emotion that threatened to consume him.

He needed someone to share them with.

Without speaking, he raised his hand to Nyota's face, searching her eyes for any hint of rejection, of fear.

There was nothing there but tears and acceptance.

His fingers touched her face, and his mind joined hers.

Nyota had no idea what her intentions were when she followed him into the lift. No idea what she would do. How do you comfort someone who has lost an entire planet? In the end, she decided to simply ask.

When his long, thin fingers touched her face, she knew what it meant. But nothing could have prepared her for what she saw.

Images and emotions flooded her mind with bright light. She saw a young Spock, pushed into rage by older Vulcan boys. She saw his mother, a beautiful Human woman, holding him as he sobbed because the flower in the vase on his bedroom window had died. She saw Spock saying to his father, "I love you," and getting only, "Vulcans do not love," in response. She saw herself through his eyes, saw how beautiful she was to him, and how much it hurt for him to be around her. She saw how much he hated Kirk, because he wanted to be like him, wished he could be free to feel as Kirk felt. She saw how much it hurt him to hear things like "green-blooded" and "cold-hearted", because he was NOT cold, he was on fire, on fire always, and always struggling to keep that fire from controlling him.

Then, she heard something that made everything click into place, words his mother had spoken to him long ago.

"Spock, I love you, but I sometimes feel as if I've cursed you to a very difficult life. You have a Vulcan's deeply rooted, violent emotions, and a Human's inability to control them. I can only hope that you never resent the blood I gave you."

And Nyota knew that Spock never, once, regretted being what he was, even when he was tormented for it, shunned for it, even when it caused him pain, because he loved his mother so much that he could never, NEVER resent her blood in his veins.

And as the connection broke, one more thought slipped past, one he didn't intend: Spock felt that the best parts of him were Human.

Nyota fell against the wall of the lift, gasping, tears coursing down her face. She was left with painful emotions that were not her own: rage, despair, love, jealousy, sadness, loneliness, rejection, and a deep, primal lust threading through it all. If this was what Spock lived with, all the time, it was a wonder he ever made it out of bed in the morning. It was a wonder he was still alive.

Nyota placed a hand on her chest, feeling her heart pound. She looked over at him. Spock stood, still as ever, gazing at her through inscrutable black eyes. That heavy, thick lust that was left over from the mind-meld became almost unbearable, and Nyota wondered if it was there because she was with him, or if he felt it always. She hoped it was the former.

"My God," she breathed, then grabbed him on either side of his head and kissed him, urgently, violently.

Spock had not intended to show Nyota so much, but once their minds had joined, he could stop, couldn't hold back, because her mind felt like home.

And when she kissed him again, with a lust that was not her own, he welcomed it.

He backed her into the wall of the lift, pressing her against the metal. Her hands strayed to the buttons of his pants, her teeth biting his lower lip.

Spock gripped her by the backs of her sugary brown thighs and lifted her up, wrapping her legs around his waist. Her nimble fingers undid his pants, releasing the arousal that was so painful, so urgent. He wrapped an arm around her waist, his other hand ripping through her thin cotton underwear. Without a moment's pause he slid inside her, not worrying that he was hurting her, not caring that it was wrong, because he was Acting Captain, and she was his subordinate.

His hand slid up her back to her shoulder, pulling her down onto him as he pounded into her, her back scraping against the metal wall. Her legs were wrapped around his waist, her hands tangled in his hair. She did nothing to aid him, simply held on as if he were a life preserver, and she was drowning.

He reached his peak quickly, painfully, and it drained the life from him. When his thrusts had stilled, he laid his head on her shoulder.

Soon, sobs racked his thin frame, and still Nyota held him, arms and legs around him.

After several minutes, Spock came to his senses. He realize that he was still holding Nyota against the wall and, worse, that he was still inside her.

Slowly, he lifted her off him, and lowered her to her feet. He turned away to button his pants, too ashamed to look at her. The Vulcan in him was telling him that he should have been able to control himself, that he was a disgrace and a barbarian, that to mate outside of the pon farr was not only illogical, but wrong. Dirty. Shameful.

To Spock's surprise, small, elegant brown hands covered his white, shaking ones.

"What do you need?" Nyota's voice asked. "Tell me what you need."

That she still cared after everything was almost too much to bear. He felt his lower lip tremble, but managed to maintain his frail composure as he replied, "I need... everyone... to continue performing admirably."

Nyota nodded, tears in her eyes. "Okay." Her voice was nearly silent. Her lips met his and Spock kissed her back, allowing himself to hold her. After a moment, he pressed the button to resume the lift's movements. When it reached his destination, he stepped out and away from her, not looking back. He didn't need to.

Everything he needed was in that lift.