Many sessions of Nyota's independent study had come and gone. She was now looking at the tail-end of the semester and was relieved to say she was ready for the summer break. At the Academy they offered plenty of summer courses, but a handful of cadets usually disappeared for quite some time to keep their heads on straight. Luckily, her roommate Gaila was one of those students that disappeared for two months.

"…and Ricky. We'll all be traveling through Europe. God, I want to see the Ruins of Pisa, Budapest, Amsterdam, what's left of the Mona Lisa, and the Great Wall of Italy where they split the North and the South. Oh and Hans can meet us up in Sweden…" Nyota officially zoned her out. It was like a pleasant white noise now.

After she finished packing the last of her things, Gaila was off to her last final—ready to leave promptly after turning it in.

Nyota had two more finals a couple of days away and intended on studying for them as non-stop as her body would allow. The month of May was beautiful in San Francisco, so she dressed in a tank-top dress uniform.

Making her way over to the library, she caught eyes with the one man that made her semester the hardest to focus. Spock walked cleanly across the quad, nodding his acknowledgement to the fast-approaching cadet.

Since their encounter in the pool a few months ago, Nyota dropped any attempt to make the Vulcan feel. She stopped promptly in front of him, making him stop in his tracks, he obviously has somewhere to go, Nyota. "May I be of assistance Cadet Uhura?"

"No, I don't need any assistance…" she answered dumbly, "But I would like to ask if you could join me for a cup of coffee after finals?"

"I'm sorry, but I do not need any liquid stimulants of the such…"

"Ice cream!" She interrupted quickly.

He raised an eyebrow, "Ice cream?"

"Yes, ice cream. I doubt you've had it before. It could be a testament to your culinary adventures on Earth," Nyota knew she was pulling at loose strings now.

Being silent for a moment, Spock made her nervous, "Ok then. This Saturday, after the graduation ceremony, meet me in front of the cafeteria."

She smiled brightly, "Great, I'll see you then."

Graduation was a monotonous event that she had to wait two more years for. The ceremony itself took over five hours and the graduating cadets usually fell asleep during the multitudes of awards. It was darkly entertaining to watch because everyone was trained to sit upright in their seats, but dozing off meant sliding to your left or your right. Poor bastard that got the aisle seat.

It was the after parties that everyone looked forward to. Everyone dispersed to the bars and nightclubs of downtown San Francisco, mostly hitting up North Beach and around Harrison. While everyone was away getting drunk and into trouble, Nyota was going to keep it simple and clean with the professor.

Looking incredibly handsome in his full dress uniform from the graduation ceremony, Spock stood in front of the cafeteria, honorably awaiting Nyota's arrival, arms behind his back.

He was facing away from her as she approached, and she sociably touched his elbow to get his attention. Noticeable flinching, Nyota could tell he was on edge, but why?

Turning to greet her, he welcomed her into his atmosphere, "Good evening Nyota." It took him a moment to take in her attire: tight dark blue jeans, black heeled boots, and a flattering black tee. Her hair was down and beautifully curled—Spock had not noticed until now that he had never seen her without a tie in her hair, away from her face. "I believe it is a human custom to compliment a female when she has noticeably taken the time to acquire such a condition," he swallowed almost inconspicuously, almost, "You look beautiful."

She chuckled at his typical Vulcan explanation at anything that might be remotely uncouth, "Thank you Spock."

They walked slowly and talked fiercely as they made their way through the Presidio to a quaint little ice cream shop. Conversations of aspiring semesters and goals for the next fall came up; ideas for the summer and complaints about her roommate situation, "She has good intentions, I think," Nyota had offered kindly in Gaila's favor.

Spock was explaining that he may leave for the summer, to go see his bride-to-be on Vulcan, "There may be more on this visit that we may want to discuss."

Nyota had to know, "Like what?"

He held the door open for her to walk into the ice cream shop. She would not take her eyes off of him, least he give away any clues as to what he was truly feeling.

"She may want to discuss ending our arrangement."

The proper way for Nyota, she knew, to be feeling at this moment would be concerned for her superior officer's happiness, but instead Nyota couldn't help but feel a little closer to the man she couldn't stop thinking about. Instead of basking in a possible glow, she asked nonchalantly, "Waffle cone or sugar?"

"Excuse me?" Spock could look relative to a terrier sometimes.

Nyota giggled slightly and bit her lip as she smiled, ordering for him, "One chocolate caramel crackle and fresh cantaloupe, both in waffle cones."

"I thought you were getting ice cream?"

"Those are the flavors," she resisted the urge to roll her eyes at the seemingly smartest man on the planet, "Here you go." She handed over the awkwardly-shaped treat to the confused Vulcan.

"How am I supposed to start eating this…thing?" He asked innocently, eyeing it suspiciously.

"Like this," Nyota wrapped her lips around a side of the scoop of her orange-colored ice cream and pulled the creamy goodness into her mouth, effectively licking her lips to gather any remains of the flavor.

"Fascinating," was all he responded with as he locked eyes with Nyota and attempted to taste the scoop before him.

Nyota felt flutters in her belly as she watched his lips smooth over the chocolate surface of his flavor. His eyebrows knit together briefly at the unique taste. Just after one bite he was irrationally thinking that one scoop of this delicious confection.

They walked outside, taking in the deep oranges that the buildings were flowing into from the advancing sunset. Walking in silence, the only sound made between them were the occasional laps of their tongues and Nyota's heels clicking slowly on the sidewalk. Spock couldn't understand why the sounds of her heels sounded so distant and so close at the same moment.

Walking back through the Presidio, they sat themselves on a park bench, beginning on the crunch of their cones. It took some great concentration for Spock to actually take his seat and was beginning to think that his state of wellbeing may have been prompted by this drug, this "ice cream." Vulcans preferred not to eat with their hands, therefore Spock attempted to keep his cone as covered as possible by his receding napkin.

Between crunches, Nyota figured there was no other time to ask, "So what's her name, your betrothed?" To Spock, she did not seem to be having any trouble concentrating on the task at hand: eating her cone, sitting up straight, let alone speaking without seeing the words float lazily above her face.

"Her name is T'Pring," Spock answered was he twisted his cone curiously, figuring out the most reasonable way to finish it off, "She's the Senior Assistant to the Department Head of the Botany Sector in the Vulcan Science Academy." That was difficult to even render into words. Was Nyota noticing he current condition?

"Wow, that's a mouthful."

"Indeed. May I?" Spock was referring to the lingering napkin in Nyota's hand. She thanked him as he deposed of them in a nearby receptacle. Returning to the bench, he held out his hand to gently pull Nyota up. His hand was so incredibly hot in Nyota's hand. To him, she was the perfect temperature. He was quite the gentleman tonight as his eyes lingered on hers, making Nyota remember to breath.

Gods, I love his eye contact. They continued their walk back; the sun nearly gone passed the horizon beyond the Golden Gate. Historic Krissy Field was the ideal spot for the Academy, especially with the open quads and the old trees marking the flat vicinity. It was almost imperceptible, but as they drew closer to the dormitories in silence, both of their paces dwindled, as if walking together was a glorious luxury they could not afford to get rid of at the moment. After their walk and finishing off the cones, Spock's body felt heavy and found it hard swallow.

Spock turned slightly as they walked leisurely together, speaking softly, "From earlier in the semester, it was not in my objective to have ever rejected you, Nyota. It simply was not my place to either assume anything or act upon any of your intentions, whether they were meaningful or fleeting. My ambition for this coming fall is to dedicate a considerable amount of time to updating the range of locating sentient frequencies for the Enterprise, continue teaching my course load, all the while maintaining the fulfilling and fascinating friendship I have with you."

Nyota decided to give a curt smile at this, and stopped in her tracks, facing Spock, "Yes. Friends."

Before he knew it, there were two slim arms around his neck, a tight belly against his, and Nyota getting her chin around his shoulder in a Terran manner of a hug. After a moment, his hands went to her waist and fit nicely on the curve there realizing that he was, most definitely not, hallucinating this contact. Spock mimicked her movement and placed his chin down on her shoulder only to be interrupted by the scent of her hair.

It was soft against his cheek and smelled of fresh shampoo. It was, for the lack of a better declaration, intoxicating. Tilting his head infinitely down, his nose was against the smooth skin of her warm neck. He couldn't control himself to take one deep breath in with his eyes languidly shut.

Something shot straight through him.

His eyes flew open and he held Nyota at arm's length. She looked questioningly up into now black eyes. Spock was attempting to control his breath and his grip on her hips got purposefully tighter. The things his body wanted to do to her in that moment…

Swallowing hard, he stated with a thick voice, "My apologies Nyota, but I must be going. I bid you a good evening." And with nothing more, he turned and walked away in the direction of his hall.

Nyota did nothing to stop him.