Author's note: Yeah, I know it's been done and done and done. I couldn't help myself. I have my reasons. In my defense, all this nonsense began as a simple exercise in writing in the voice of a character. It just got... out of hand.
Disclaimer: if I owned any of this, it wouldn't be fanfiction, would it? It's not like I'm making money off it or anything.
There are some facts of life that medical science has not yet been able to counter, even in the 23rd century. All beings inevitably age and die. They still suffer from occasional inexplicable headaches and the indignity of the common cold. Injuries, if severe enough, can still result in the death of the injured party. Despite substantial advances, a blade through the heart is still as fatal as ever it was, and any disease, if untreated, has potential to result in substantial harm, even death.
Consequently it is illogical to deny oneself medical treatment for a condition, particularly if one is uncertain what the exact nature of the affliction is.
The train of thoughts and occurrences which lead Spock to this conclusion began approximately forty-four hours previously, in the Hoshi Sato Xenolinguistics Building.
At that time, Spock was standing in a corner of the lab, staring down in the direction of one of the work stations. The flat panel of the work station was flashing quietly. There were three different Romulan texts arrayed across the screen, and beneath them a text in Standard: an essay comparing the three texts, he deduced. The final sentence was incomplete, a small bar blinking expectantly, waiting for the writer to continue.
Cadet Uhura was reclining in her seat, her head lolling to one side and her long, delicate hands dangling off the arms of her chair. Her mouth was slightly open, her breathing low and even. The long ponytail she customarily wore was draped over her shoulder and fell across her chest. A pair of wireless headphones were sealed over her ears. Their blinking green light told Spock that the headphones were still playing.
He cocked his head slightly and considered the arrangement for another moment. There could be no logical reason for the Cadet to have chosen this particular spot for a moment of rest. The position she was reclining in would doubtless result in a sore neck and back. He was perfectly aware that humans frequently did illogical things on purpose, but had sleeping in the linguistics lab truly been her intention, she would certainly have set her screen to sleep mode in order to conserve power.
All the evidence suggested that falling asleep at her station was not the cadet's intention. The only logical step from here was to attempt to awaken her. There was no other person in the lab, so Spock, standing beside the Cadet with his arms behind his back, spoke her name in a tone that should have awoken any sleeping person.
However, Cadet Uhura did not stir. Spock instantly deduced that the music on her headphones had prevented him from being heard, so he took the next logical step.
Bending down slightly, Spock gently squeezed the cadet's shoulder and spoke her name again. "Cadet Uhura."
Uhura's eyes flew open and Spock immediately stood up straight again. She sat up straight, blinking and fumbling with her headphones. As soon as he was certain she could hear him again, Spock spoke.
"Cadet Uhura," she looked up at him, obviously confused. "I perceived that you had unintentionally fallen asleep at your station. Are you well?"
"Yes," the cadet murmured. "Sorry. Thank you."
"An apology is hardly necessary, I assure you, I was passing this way in any event."
The Cadet shook her head. "That's the second time I've dozed off tonight. I'm sorry Commander, I don't know what's wrong with me."
Spock decided not to repeat his assurance that apologies were entirely unnecessary. The cadet was obviously disoriented. "I would suggest that you return to your dorm and try to get some sleep, cadet. You are obviously exhausted."
Uhura nodded. She sat up slowly and saved her work. Spock noted to himself that she was moving at least 20% slower than was usual for a human of her age and abilities. She coughed slightly as she turned off her screen with one hand, rubbing her throat with the other and frowning.
"Are you entirely well, cadet?"
She smiled, though he could perceive no reason to do so. "I'm fine, Commander, thank you."
Spock cocked his head, trying to determine why thanks would be required from her, but she was already standing up, unplugging her PADD from her work station and reaching for her bag. The PADD slipped from her fingers and clattered to the floor. She reached for it, But Spock was already handing it to her in the time it took her to even figure out where the PADD had gone.
"Thank you." She took the PADD from him.
"Pardon any intrusion, cadet Uhura, but may I inquire which dormitory you are quartered in?"
Uhura frowned. "I'm in Sloane Hall. 314. Why?"
He straightened, his hands clasping at the small of his back. "I see." He paused for a moment before speaking again. "If I may suggest, Cadet, your reaction time seems to have been substantially affected by your exhaustion. If you have no objection, I would be willing to accompany you as far as your dormitory. Considering the substantial distance between the two buildings, it seems to me that it would be unwise to allow you to attempt to reach that building alone at this time."
"Thank you, Commander, but I'm sure it's unnecessary. The campus is perfectly safe."
"For anyone who is in perfect health. You are clearly not. If you are uncomfortable with the thought of being accompanied by one of your professors, then I can certainly ask security if they would be willing to provide an escort."
"Really, I don't think--"
"I estimate that you have approximately a 70% chance of reaching the Sloane building without requiring assistance, but since assistance has been offered, it seems prudent to accept my offer."
Spock was not yet adept at identifying every emotion that passed across a human face, but he was already well acquainted with exasperation. He did not acknowledge her frustration or even break eye contact with the cadet. Finally, with a sigh, she said. "Oh alright."
Spock nodded curtly and walked to the door of the lab, holding it open for her.
"Thank you," she said, moments later as she passed him out into the hallway. He walked just a step behind her and to her left. As they walked together through the nearly empty Sato building, Spock adjusted his step to her slightly slower pace. He noticed that the cadet was holding her PADD tight against her chest, and though her face was impassive, he detected that her shoulders were tenser than was usual.
She was nervous, he realized, with some surprise. Why should she feel nervous? She was no longer in any danger of failing to make it back to her room. As they were teacher and student there could be no uncertainty in her mind of how she should act around him. Although, he considered, it was certainly possible that she felt some apprehension at being in the company of one who had such influence over her future. Students were frequently nervous around professors, irrationally concerned that their actions outside of class could have an effect on their grades. And humans, he knew, were frequently nervous around him in particular.
Satisfied that he had found an acceptable explanation of the Cadet's nervousness, he immediately decided to remedy the situation. "Cadet Uhura," he said briskly, walking beside her now. "I believe that this situation has made you uncomfortable, and I wish to tell you that this was not my intention."
Uhura blinked at him, apparently unable to think of an appropriate response.
"Hm," said Spock, looking away from her face to stare ahead of them, "It seems my observations were correct, and yet my actions have done nothing to alleviate the situation." When he looked back at the Cadet, she was smiling slightly. "And yet you are amused. Forgive me, but I do not understand. I am always endeavoring to improve my comprehension of human interaction, with, I fear, only moderate success."
"Well," the Cadet said slowly, "forgive me for saying, but I believe you'll find that when humans are placed in a situation they did not anticipate, they become nervous, no matter the intentions of the other party."
"I see. That is illogical."
"Yes, I suppose it is."
"I presume that humans have developed a procedure for alleviating the awkwardness of such situations."
Uhura was smiling again, sleepily. "If I'm not mistaken, it's called making small talk."
Spock held the door open for the cadet, his face impassive. He was considering what the logical merit could be for creating conversation of lesser size. He followed the Cadet out into the cool night air. "I do not understand how conversing less could assist in the passing of what you would consider an awkward silence."
"Not less talk, small talk," Uhura said, turning back to look at him. "As in polite conversation about a subject both parties have interest in."
"I see." Spock followed Uhura to the transport platform outside the Hoshi Sato Xenolinguistics Building. She punched a few buttons on the keypad and waited for the nearest hoverbus to arrive. She sat on the bench with a sigh, laying her bag and PADD down beside her.
Spock stood beside her in silence for a moment, and then spoke suddenly. "I believe that you recently took the Kobayashi Maru test?" he inquired.
She looked up at him, and he noted that she still seemed surprised by his actions.
"I am endeavoring to create small talk. As you have recently completed the test and I was the primary programmer, I believe that this fulfills the requirement of being of mutual interest."
"Oh. Yes. Um." She swallowed again, clearing her throat. "If I'm honest, Commander Spock, I found the test to be intensely realistic and extremely upsetting."
"Upsetting in what way?" he asked.
She looked up at him again. "It was..." She ran a hand over her face, which seemed pale despite her natural coloring. "I'm sorry, but you're making me nervous again."
"That was not my intention."
"You could try sitting down," she suggested. At his inquiring look, she elaborated. "It's customary, when two people are having a conversation, that they are either both sitting or both standing."
"Of course." Even though it was illogical to sit when the hoverbus was surely nearby, Spock sat on the very edge of the bench, far enough from her that even when he was turned sideways to observe her, they were still approximately nine inches apart. "You were saying?"
"Yes." She cleared her throat. "I know everyone thought that the test was difficult. I mean, we know that we won't pass every simulation, but I don't think any of us were really prepared for that level of intensity."
"You found the simulation intense?"
Uhura nodded. "Frankly it was terrifying. Every simulation feels real, of course, but that one was... disturbingly so."
"Even Kirk was upset."
Spock stood up with Uhura as the hoverbus emblazoned with the Starfleet logo approached and came to a stop in front of them. She walked up to the bus. "Sloane residential," she told the automated driver as she entered, Spock immediately behind her. They took two seats near the middle of the bus.
"Yeah," Uhura continued. "He told me later that the end of the sim, you know, when everything starts going wrong at once, he said it reminded of a time when he had almost driven his stepdad's corvette off a cliff." She shrugged one shoulder. "Of course, he was pretty drunk at that point, but I'm pretty sure he was telling the truth."
"The test was administered on a Wednesday, was it not?"
"I suppose so."
"Then are you suggesting that Cadet Kirk consumed alcohol that night even though he most likely had classes to attend the next day?"
Uhura was smiling sleepily again. "Commander, we all went out drinking that night. It was a stressful test. We all needed a drink afterwards."
Spock's expression had not changed. "A most illogical course of action."
Uhura nodded, yawning hugely.
"If you would like, Cadet, you may sleep while the transport returns us to your dormitory. I assure you that I shall awaken you when we arrive."
Uhura nodded, too tired to even be embarrassed.
Spock sat quietly beside the cadet as she leaned her head against the transparent aluminum and fell asleep almost instantly.
The next afternoon, Commander Spock decided that he would take a slightly different route than usual Commander Spock did not frequently walk this way, but he had determined that the detour was in no way detrimental to his goal of arriving at the Cochrane building within the next twenty minutes in order to prepare for his next class. His detour would bring him past both the Sloane building and the mess hall where students frequently took their lunch at this time. He estimated that this detour would increase his likelihood of encountering Cadet Uhura. If he did not, he would still arrive at the Cochrane Building in time to log into his teacher account and see if she had made it to her morning classes alright.
As he walked past the mess, he did indeed observe cadet Uhura. Her hair was pulled into a low bun, looser and less orderly than her usual ponytail. She looked tired still, if the dark shadows under her eyes were indeed indicative of that. And, if he was interpreting her emotions correctly, she was extremely agitated, perhaps furious.
She was standing to one side of the Mess Hall doors, arms crossed and talking quietly and quickly with another cadet. The other red-garbed cadet was standing, arms crossed, one shoulder leaning against the wall of the mess hall. He was tan, blue-eyed and smiling broadly, despite Uhura's obvious distress.
Since it was clearly a private conversation, Spock determined that going over to inquire about the cadet's health would most likely be considered an intrusion. However, as his path brought him quite close to the pair, he couldn't help but overhear part of the discussion, since Uhura's voice was raised in anger.
"I can't believe you could be so goddamn careless!" she said. She seemed slightly hoarse, and Spock wondered how long this argument had been going on.
"I said I'm sorry. It's not like it was my fault, after all, I didn't know."
"You're a jackass."
"Please tell me your first name?"
"Fat chance, asshole."
At this point, Cadet Uhura turned on her heel and walked away from the mess. Spock considered this a very illogical choice of action, since he suspected she had not eaten yet, as she was loitering by the entrance of the mess rather than the exit.
Spock wondered what the other cadet could have done to earn such animosity from the usually mild mannered Cadet Uhura. Surely the argument was of a personal nature and the vehemence of it suggested a close relationship between the two cadets. He determined that it would be inappropriate to ask the cadet about such as subject, and the thought perturbed him for some reason. He decided that it was merely that his human curiosity had not been satisfied and continued on his way to the Cochrane building. During the whole of his observation of Cadet Uhura, his expression had not changed once.
Spock decided that it would not be inappropriate to make inquiry as to her general health and wellbeing. After her morning class with him seemed a particularly advantageous time to do so.
However, Cadet Uhura did not appear in class the next morning. Spock found that the class discussion lacked some of its usual liveliness. The absence did not, of course, affect his personal performance, but it appeared as though much of the enjoyment he derived from that class had in fact been derived from Cadet Uhura's enthusiasm and insights.
He regretted her absence, as was natural enough, but as soon as the class was over, he was sufficiently occupied with his duties that the thought of her absence did not trouble him. If the cadet was ill, it was only logical that she should take a few days off from her classes in order to recover. She was foresighted enough to arrange for someone to take notes for her. Spock was satisfied that her academic performance would not be affected by this illness.
That evening, however, his customary period for grading papers was interrupted by a chime at his office door. He glanced at his screen and saw that it was 2100 hours. A little late for an unscheduled student teacher conference. "Enter," he said coolly.
A skinny, extremely young cadet with curly blond hair entered awkwardly. "Excuse me, Commandeer Spock," he said in heavily accented standard. "Do you know vhere Cadet Uhura ees? She vas supposed to meet me here for a tyootoring session in introductory xenolingvuistics."
Spock blinked. In a half a second his Vulcan brain assessed the situation. Cadet Uhura had missed a tutoring appointment, no doubt due to her illness. Regulations stated that such an instance must be reported to the dean if the tutoring session was not appropriately canceled or covered. This was the logical choice, but Spock decided that it was equally illogical to allow such an exemplary student to receive a black mark on her record for behavior that was clearly not her fault. Even the most cursory academic investigation would show that it was not her fault, but it seemed particularly unwise for a cadet who was already unwell to be put through the process at all.
"Cadet Uhura is unwell," he said, quickly enough that the cadet could never suspect that Spock had needed to consider his response. "I will cover her tutoring session for tonight." It was not a lie, but Spock had learned at an early age that the complete truth was not always necessary.
The cadet looked terrified. "Oh."
The tutoring session ended at 2200 hours, and as soon as the cadet (a transfer student hurriedly completing some general education requirements he had missed) had gone, Spock returned to his office. "Computer," he said coolly as he sat at his desk. "Please contact Cadet Uhura in Room 314 of Sloane Residential Hall."
"Cadet Uhura is not currently in Room 314 of Sloane Residential Hall," the computer replied, its voice smooth and emotionless.
Spock tilted his head slightly. "Computer, locate Cadet Uhura."
"Cadet Uhura is currently in Phoenix Hall."
Spock's voice was as cool and even as the computers. "Campus map."
Instantly a map appeared on his screen. Phoenix Hall was immediately behind the Hoshi Sato Xenolinguistics Building. "Please contact her."
"Negative. Phoenix Hall is a library and quiet study lounge. No communicators are permitted within the confines of the lounge."
Spock stared at the map only a moment longer before he stood. He picked up his jacket and left the room, the lights dimming to black automatically as he left.
Phoenix Hall was one of the smaller, older buildings on campus, architecturally pleasing, if archaic in its construction. The interior of the building was well lit, but, unusually, it was carpeted rather than tiled. The ceilings were rather low compared to the more modern structures on campus, but this reduced echoing. At this point, the building was mostly deserted, and completely silent.
Spock walked briskly over to the nearest computer terminal. It was not voice-compatible, so he initiated a search with the touch screen and located Cadet Uhura in a study area one floor up. He strode to the stairs, deciding that the turbolift was unnecessary for such a short journey. Briefly, in the stairwell, he contemplated whether this search was a breach of privacy in some way, but decided that under the circumstances, it was not illogical. Since he would not see her in class over the weekend, and there was no guarantee whether she would even be in class on Monday, it was, in fact, illogical to delay the message he wished to relay.
As he entered the study area, he was not at all surprised to see that the cadet was asleep. She was curled on a couch, head resting on one curled arm. Study materials were laid out on the coffee table in front of her, and her boots were lying nearby. She was wearing her informal cadet uniform, which allowed females to forgo the customary skirt in favor of long red pants. She had a black hooded sweatshirt on over it, the hood pulled up over her head. Despite this, Spock could see that she was shivering slightly. He also detected the green glow of her wireless headphones and deduced that because of this she would be unable to hear him.
He hesitated for a moment. The cadet was smiling in her sleep, and it seemed ungenerous to wake her. Deciding that it was illogical to simply wait for her to awaken by herself, he reached out and touched her lightly on the shoulder. She stirred and opened her eyes blearily.
"Cadet Uhura," he said as she saw him and sat bolt upright again. "Are you unwell?"
"Commander Spock, what are you doing here?" She said, pulling her headphones out of her ears and rubbing a hand over her face. Her expression indicated that she was trying to remember what she had done to merit such a visit. "I'm so sorry I missed class this morning," she said, wincing in embarrassment.
"I assumed at the time that you were not well enough to come to class and had therefore made previous arrangements to acquire the necessary notes. I came because I felt it necessary to inform you that I have covered the tutoring session you just missed and therefore you will not need to apologize to Cadet Chekhov or report your mistake to the Dean."
There was long moment of silence. Spock observed that the cadet, who had been so pale a moment ago, was now blushing a dark scarlet under her natural pigmentation, though she had fixed her face into as dignified an expression as she could manage. "Thank you sir," she said quietly, almost too quiet to hear, "I'm so sorry, I promise it won't happen again, I can't think what happened to me, I--"
"Obviously you are unwell, cadet. Have you visited the medical staff to confirm a diagnosis?" Spock was almost alarmed to see the cadet turn an even darker shade of red. It was unusual for Cadet Uhura, usually so dignified and composed, to be at all embarrassed. He wondered if the blush could possibly be a symptom of a worsening illness.
"Not yet, sir," she said. "It isn't that bad."
"On the contrary, for a student with your impeccable academic record and flawless attendance to miss a class and a tutoring session in one day is certainly cause for alarm."
She was still blushing. Spock allowed himself a frown so tiny that no human could have detected it. Perhaps he was making her nervous. That would explain the expression on her face, which Spock could now only describe as "mortified."
Remembering their conversation of two nights ago, he sat down at the chair opposite her couch, in the hopes that it would make her less uncomfortable. "Cadet Uhura, I generally have nothing but respect for your intelligence, but it seems most unwise not to seek medical attention in this situation. I would deeply regret your extended absence from my class."
Uhura blinked. The blush faded slightly, and her expression softened. "I'm flattered Commander Spock."
"Given that you are unwell, I suggest that I again accompany you back to your room. I must inquire, do you have a roommate who could ensure that you visit the medical complex tomorrow?"
Uhura gathered her things. She seemed relatively unperturbed by the proposal that Spock accompany her back to her room. Perhaps she was growing accustomed to his company. "I have a roommate, sir," she said, with a touch of exasperation in her voice as she pulled on her boots. He deduced that the frustration was with the roommate and not himself, "but she won't be in the room tonight or likely all day tomorrow. She and some of my other friends are going camping this weekend. I decided not to go."
"Most prudent. If you do not have a suitable candidate to take you to the medical complex, I shall be on campus tomorrow in order to begin compiling grades for the end of semester."
She stood quickly. "You don't have to..." She was blushing again, holding her PADD to her chest and clearly uncomfortable.
Realizing that he was again breaching the norms of conversation that she had informed him of earlier in the week, he stood. "There will be no inconvenience on my part. It is logical, since I have some understanding of the nature of your illness and may be able to offer further insight to whatever medical professionals you wish to consult. My observations are generally accurate."
Uhura looked down and mumbled that she didn't really think it was necessary. "I think I know what I have anyway, not that there's a damn thing anybody can do about it."
Spock nodded, gesturing courteously for Uhura to walk ahead of him as they left the building. It took him only seconds to formulate what he considered to be a correct and logical counter to her point. "There are indeed some facts of life that medical science has not yet been able to counter, even in the 23rd century. All beings inevitably age and die," he spoke quietly, and with all the assurance of logic. "They still suffer from occasional inexplicable headaches and the indignity of the common cold, for which science can offer no reliable remedy." He opened the door to the stairwell for her, and walked beside her as they walked down towards the ground level. "Injuries, if severe enough, can still result in the death of the injured party. Despite substantial advances, a blade through the heart is still as fatal as ever it was, and any disease," he concluded "if untreated, has potential to result in substantial harm, even death."
He paused at the bottom of the stairs and faced his student. "Consequently it is illogical to deny oneself medical treatment for a condition, particularly if one is uncertain what the exact nature of the affliction is." He prompted the door to open and stood aside to permit her to pass.
"Your logic is flawless, Sir."
She sighed as she walked through the door. "I promise I'll go see the doctors tomorrow. But you do not need to accompany me, Commander, I assure you I am perfectly capable of getting there."
"That is illogical. You cannot know that your condition will not become worse."
"It seems unlikely."
"Nevertheless, it would be prudent to have a friend who can ensure that you get to the medical center."
Spock inclined his head slightly, "Or a teacher."
An odd expression crossed the student's face, one that Spock had difficulty identifying at first since it seemed so out of context. It most resembled disappointment, he decided as he followed her towards the entryway of Phoenix Hall. Disappointment indicated that she was dissatisfied with his answer to her most recent question. As they left the building he concluded that she must have wanted him to reply differently. Did she desire to consider him a friend? Did that require his permission in some way?
He allowed himself another minuscule frown. What could be the purpose for their being friends? Humans required friendship and conversation from those they considered to be equals, but it was surely improbable that she, a human, considered him, a half-Vulcan, to be an appropriate choice for a friend. It was highly unlikely that they would have enough shared experiences and opinions to coexist with a bond as close as friendship.
It did not occur to him to consider whether being friends with her would please him or not. That was not a Vulcan way of thinking.
He had not looked at Uhura since they had stepped out of the building. He suspected that he would find her expression distressed if he did. He also found that humans did not always appreciate the intensity of a Vulcan's stare. Since he had no desire to increase her distress, he chose to stare instead at the stars above them.
"I think I'd like to walk," she said suddenly, and Spock glanced at her, noticing that she too was staring upwards at the stars.
"Are you certain?" he asked. "It seems unwise, given your current condition."
"I have an escort," she noted, raising her eyebrows at him.
"True," he said, lapsing into silence as he acknowledged the logic of her observation. No harm would come to her as long as she was not alone.
"I believe," she said after a moment, "That it is my turn to make small talk."
"I was unaware that it was necessary for this behavior to be taken in turns," Spock said.
"It isn't," she said, folding her arms across her chest and shivering, "But it can be polite."
"Are you cold, cadet?"
"It isn't so bad," she said. "And the stars are beautiful tonight."
Without another word, Spock took off his jacket and handed it to her. "I am not sick," he said, anticipating her demurral.
She could not argue, and so she pulled his too-large jacket on over her hoodie. The sleeves hung down to her fingertips. "Thank you."
"I think you will find it more than satisfactory. It is of Vulcan design, and incorporates a micro heating system. We Vulcans frequently find the climates of other planets... inhospitably cold."
"Vulcan is a desert planet, isn't it?"
"Yes," he said. Sensing that she desired further explanation as part of the ritual of small talk, he continued. "There are many mountain ranges and several small seas as well. It has a higher gravity and thinner atmosphere than earth." He glanced up at the sky again, noticing the rising crescent of silver there, he added, "There are no moons."
They continued to walk in silence for a few moments. "I believe you are from a desert region, are you not?"
"A savanna, really. In the African Confederacy. It's beautiful. Flat savanna grasses like golden waves as far as the eye can see, just a few trees and herds of antelope roaming through."
"You miss it," he says, detecting that emotion in her voice.
"Don't you miss your home?"
He cocked his head slightly. "That is a human emotion. But there are a host of personal memories associated with Vulcan, and a familiarity with the landscape that I do not have when I am off-world. I am more accustomed to Vulcan's atmosphere and temperature."
"I would say that counted as a kind of homesickness," she said.
"Homesickness is a human affliction. Vulcans are not prone to such emotions." He paused. "Suffice it to say that I comprehend the source of your emotional response, but I do not necessarily feel the same way, myself." He glanced over. He knew that his observations on the subject of emotion frequently caused consternation and distress in humans, but Uhura was, inexplicably, smiling.
"Well I don't know about you, but I think that San Fransisco is a little too cold and wet for my tastes, generally.
"I would agree. But there are valuable experiences to be had here, and I would not consider the weather to be of greater importance."
"Me neither." She paused. "And I love the bay."
They continued to walk in silence.
"I had intended to ask whether you had managed to acquire notes for the classes you missed?"
"I got one of my friends to record the lectures for me. I was listening to yours when you found me."
"You were asleep," Spock pointed out quickly.
"You must forgive me," she said, wincing. "Trust me, it wasn't that your lecture was in any way less interesting--"
"Not at all. Your absence certainly had a detrimental effect on the class."
The silence returned again, and this time Spock wondered to himself whether it was what she would call an awkward pause. He glanced at her face, but her customary dignity had returned. He had always found her expressions difficult to read prior to her illness, he recalled. He remembered noticing that on the very first day of class. While the other students had been obviously nervous, excited, terrified or simply curious, she had worn an expression of quiet, composed dignity that was... well, it was almost Vulcan.
He recalled suddenly that she had been smiling when he had roused her in the Phoenix Hall study lounge.
Looking up as he felt a chilly breeze on his skin, he noticed that some of the stars above them were obscured. "Perhaps it would be wise to seek a hoverbus," he noted.
She looked at him, and then glanced up at the gathering clouds. "We're almost there now. Besides, the air is making me feel better."
"That is illogical," Spock noted. "Earth's atmosphere has no known medicinal properties."
"It could be psychosomatic," she pointed out.
"A human theory, with little basis in scientific fact."
"I'm sure you're right. But at this point, we'd spend more time waiting for a bus than it would take to get to the building."
Ominous rumbling filled the air, and Uhura started walking faster. Spock lengthened his pace to keep up. "Do they have surprise thunderstorms on Vulcan?" she asked, a look of apprehension on her face as she eyed the clouds.
"No," he said simply. "We have sandstorms and lighting storms. Earthquakes. Volcanoes. No thunderstorms."
"Have you ever even been outside in the rain?" she asked, her apprehension overtaken by surprise.
"It seems a most illogical pursuit, when there are perfectly accessible hoverbuses from almost every point on campus."
The sky rumbled ominously again. Unconsciously, Spock glanced up at it, eyebrows slightly furrowed.
"There's no need to be worried," she assured him. "The whole campus is protected from lighting strikes."
"I am not worried," he said flatly.
As if on cue, Rain swept across the campus from the east and started to fall in buckets over the pair of them. Spock hunched his shoulders against it, and looked over at Uhura, who had pulled her hood over her head again. "Can you run?"
She nodded. "I think so."
"Then I suggest we do so," he said, and she nodded again. They began jogging towards the bulk of Sloane Residential Hall.
Halfway there, Uhura's slowing step slipped on the slick grass. Instinctively, Spock's hand shot out to steady her. He kept a grip on her upper arm the rest of the way to the building's overhang before he paused to look at the cadet, his brows furrowed slightly. The hood of her sweatshirt was dripping. She was peeling off his jacket, which, while warm, was not waterproof. Her clothes, which had been covered by the coat, were damp despite their relatively protected state. She was shivering again.
"I advise you to return to your dormitory immediately. You must be certain to ensure that you are dried and warmed before you go to bed."
She nodded, coughing again. "Of course, sir."
Spock frowned very slightly. "I could be mistaken, Cadet, but I have been told that there are some experiences which humans believe cannot be shared without becoming friends. Is being caught outside in a rainstorm such an experience?"
"I believe so, sir."
Spock nodded, apparently satisfied. "Then if you feel that you are unable to make your way to the medical complex without assistance, you shall have a friend on campus upon whom you may feel free to call. Sleep well, Cadet Uhura."
He turned and stepped out from under the protection of the overhang into the pouring rain.
"Commander," she said suddenly, making him turn back to face her. I believe it is customary for friends to call each other by their first names," she said, shouting to be heard over the rain. "My first name is Nyota."
"I am afraid you would find mine unpronounceable," he replied. "But thank you, Nyota."
"You're welcome, Mr. Spock," she said, before she hurried indoors.
Spock decided that since he was already soaking wet, it would not be entirely illogical to walk back in the rain.