Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek or any of its characters. Kirk/Spock slash. This is part two of Destiny, so if you haven't read it yet, go read it before you read this one. ^^

Ch 1: Return to the Enterprise

The remaining days of shore leave were spent blissfully by the Enterprise's Captain and First Officer. They decided to spend their time learning more about each other. Kirk told stories of his childhood in Iowa; he told the story of how he drove his step-father's classic car off of a cliff, and expressed his severe dislike for the man whom his mother had somehow managed to fall in love with. Spock felt the pain of Kirk's fatherless childhood in the stories he told, and his love for his mother as he talked fondly of the blueberry cobbler he claimed she was famous for and insisted that Spock try when their five year mission ended. A twinge of jealousy pulled at Spock's heart, wishing his mother was alive to meet Kirk.

His mother, as he told Kirk, had been the sole reason he appreciated his human heritage. Despite her emotionality, she was an incredibly kind and caring woman, and it hurt him deeply that she blamed herself for the constant teasing and ridicule he faced growing up on Vulcan. Not only had his peers and teachers made a point of pointing out his weakness as a half-breed whenever they could, but even the elders felt it necessary to throw it in his face. He spent most of his life living up to the expectations of those who could care less about his success, when all that mattered was his mother's feelings. She always told him she was proud to be his mother, but he desperately wanted her to see him become something great and to hear him tell her just how much she meant to him. He'd never get that chance now.

Though the two spent a great deal of time conversing and discovering new things that gave insight to the other's personality, they did other things as well. Spock forced Kirk to partake of his favorite board game: chess. The possibility of defeating Spock intellectually proved to be more alluring than he had thought, and Kirk found himself interrupting Spock during his tasks to challenge him. It was as cute as it was annoying to see Kirk run up to him, much like a child would his playmate, and anxiously request to play another game of chess when he had so much to do. Nevertheless, the Vulcan couldn't resist the sparkle of excitement in Kirk's eyes, and would always give in to his wishes.

Chess was not their only pastime during the remainder of shore leave; Kirk deemed it his God-given task to educate Spock in the ways of human intimacy. At first, Spock was gentle and sweet, much like a virgin girl. But soon, he became more aggressive; most times Kirk took the initiative, but Spock soon began initiating sessions himself. Sometimes he'd even take the initiative outside their quarters. Kirk was incredibly turned on whenever Spock took the lead, but he began worrying about the level of aggression he saw in Spock. There were moments where he wasn't sure if he was really seeing Spock, but rather seeing a completely different person.

The last days of shore leave were a bit of paradise for the two young men. During this time, they were free to be themselves. Neither had to pretend to be something they weren't or hide their thoughts; they spoke and acted as openly as a married couple in the privacy of their own home. But all good things must come to an end, and soon, so did the shore leave, far sooner than either wanted.

The day shore leave officially ended, it was as though the flood gates had opened. Shuttle after shuttle docked on to the Enterprise, and from them wave after wave of fresh faced crew members emerged. The shore leave proved to be a much needed retreat for the Enterprise's crew. The horrors of the Nero encounter and the exhaustion from the assignment of mission after mission shortly thereafter were long since forgotten, replaced with the excitement of the five-year long voyage into the unknown. They would be making their way into the history books, a thought that erased any trace of sadness or fear.

Among the crew arrivals was Nyota Uhura. She chatted amicably with a fellow crew member she sat with on her shuttle. From a different shuttle emerged Doctor Leonard McCoy, who seemed as though he would have been better off not having any shore leave at all. A scowl clung to his lips; he had spent his shore leave finalizing the divorce with his ex-wife. Had he been given a choice, he would have only stayed on Earth long enough to tie up whatever loose ends remained from before his enrollment in the academy.

Both scanned the docking room, Uhura in search of Spock, and McCoy in search of Kirk. The two shared a look of sadness at not finding their intended, though neither was aware of the other. Uhura shook her sadness off and resumed chatting with her friend, while McCoy, a look of disappointment deepening his scowl, stomped off to his quarters.

The hustle and bustle of arriving crew members perked Spock's ears as he meditated in his room. It seems his guestimation at the arrival time of the crew was correct. He was wise to cut his chess game with Kirk short and retire to his room. His eyes remained closed, so as to maintain his concentration, but the occasional and unpredictable loud thump, laugh, and chatter outside his door made it difficult. He had made a habit out of meditating daily, feeling the control of his emotions grow stronger and stronger. Before the arrival of the crew, Spock suggested that he and Kirk keep their private interactions down to a minimum to avoid suspicions. He was still unsure of how he would handle the situation with Uhura, but he knew that sneaking off to be with Kirk would be the poorest approach.

Just as he was about to open his eyes and find something else to do, a knock was heard at his door. Involuntarily, Spock smiled. He was certain it was Captain Kirk, come to spend one last intimate moment with him during the chaos. He sprung to his feet, barely able to contain his excitement. Regardless of how he felt about putting up appearances for the rest of the crew, the thrill of seeing Kirk now was more than he could stand. He reached the door and straightened himself out. With all the people in the hall, the last thing he needed was anyone to see him smiling uncharacteristically. Finally ready, he opened his door. Behind the door wasn't Captain Kirk…

…it was Uhura.

"Nyota…" he said breathlessly, surprise showing on his face.

Uhura gave Spock little time to say anything else as she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him fully on the lips. In an instant, Spock remembered everything that attracted him to Uhura. Strangely enough, some of the same things that attracted him to her were what attracted him to Kirk. Her spontaneity, her tenderness, her intellect…and how unbelievably attractive she was. Her scent filled his nose and drew him in, causing him to return the kiss with a well matched intensity. But something felt different in this kiss. It didn't hold the same fire it had before the shore leave. Somehow, something was missing from it…what was it? Was something different with her?

Uhura broke the kiss and grinned at Spock. "Sorry to cut it short, I just wanted to see you before I settled in." She gave him another quick peck on the lips and stepped back. "Come by later on when you get a chance, okay?" Giving him one last smile, she bounded down the hall to catch up with her friend. Spock stepped out of his room and watched her walk away. She felt his eyes on him and turned back around. Walking backwards, she waved at the Vulcan, who raised his hand in kind.

As she and her friend caught up and began chatting again, it hit him. Nothing had changed with Uhura; on the contrary, she was the exact way she was before she left. What Spock felt change was from within, and the realization shook him to the core.

He no longer loved Uhura.