"Spock?" Uhurah called, walking to his quarters without knocking. They were far enough into their relationship that she felt comfortable not signaling her presence as she entered. The lights were already on in the main room, but she couldn't see Spock anywhere.
"That's unusual," she muttered to herself. Spock never left the lights on in a room that he wasn't in. "Computer, locate Commander Spock."
"Commander Spock is in his quarters," the cool female voice of the computer informed her.
"Huh, weird," Uhura said, slipping off her shoes and sitting them neatly next to Spock's polished boots.
"Spock?" she called again, moving further into his quarters. They were as spartan as her own; there hadn't really been time to bring aboard personal affects. Only a few objects around the room betrayed that the quarters were occupied. On the low coffee table in the living room three thick white candles sat in a triangle, and behind the table was a red cushion – Spock's meditation area. His jacket was hastily tossed on a chair. A data pad stood on the kitchen counter, and two plates sat neatly in the draining board. Other than that, the rooms could have been empty.
Although at the moment, it seemed like they were. Furrowing her brows in confusion, Uhura scanned the living room, then the kitchen, which was separated from the main living space by a counter. Seeing nothing of Spock, she poked her nose into the bathroom, but he wasn't there either.
"Sp…" she started to call, but stopped abruptly as she caught sight of the half-opened door of the bedroom. Sprawled across the blue Federation-issue blankets, still fully clothed, was Spock.
In sleep, he looked so much younger and more vulnerable. Gone were the harsh lines of his Vulcan features, softened into a more human set. Normally, Uhura knew, he slept on his back, with his hands folded over his breast. Today, it seemed he had fallen on his bed in exhaustion, and fallen asleep immediately. He had been pushing himself too hard, trying to drown out the pain of his loss with the distraction of work. Vulcans needed less sleep than humans, but they still needed some. Spock had been getting hardly any. It was almost like he feared sleep now.
Uhura couldn't help herself. Without thinking about it, she silently pushed the door open, and made her way into his bedroom. A smile tugged at her lips at the sight of Spock so at peace. To the casual observer, Spock seemed calm all the time, but to Uhura, who knew him so well, it was obvious the toll his grief was taking on him.
Quietly, so as not to wake him, Uhura made her way across the room to his bed, and sat gingerly on it. With light fingers, she traced his relaxed features. The slope of his nose; the bottom of his heavy fringe where it met his high forehead; the soft roundness of his pale cheek. Gently, she brushed her fingers over his temples, meaning to move on to the points of his ears.
Uhura's breath caught in her throat as she was suddenly bombarded with thoughts and images that were not her own. Although she had never been to Vulcan, she could feel the heat coming off the desert, the harsh itching of the sand in her clothes. She could taste the spiciness of ts'aka and the cool refreshment of iced Vulcan tea. She felt a great well of affection for the willowy woman wearing a traditional Vulcan robes that stood before her.
"You'll remember to call, won't you?" the woman said.
"I will not forget my obligations to you, Mother," Uhura heard herself reply.
The woman smiled warmly, her eyes filled with love and humour.
"I'm glad to hear it. And remember to wear your sweaters. San Francisco is colder than you're used it."
"I am capable of taking care of myself," Uhura reminded her, in a voice much too deep and even to be her own.
The woman just shook her head.
"I know you are, Spock. But I'm your mother. It's my duty to worry about you."
"That is illogical."
"I know," the woman said. "But that's something important you'll have to learn about humans – we're not always logical."
"I have already observed that."
The woman reached up, and turned down Uhura's collar, smoothing it.
"I'm going to miss you," she said, and there were tears in her gentle eyes.
"I will miss you too," Uhura replied.
And then, just as suddenly as she had been thrown into the memory, Uhura was pulled out of it. She gave a little gasp, and jerked back.
Spock's dark eyes were open.
"What did you see?" he demanded, almost harshly.
"I… I'm sorry. I never meant to…"
Spock seemed to take stock of the situation. He blinked rapidly several times, and sat up.
"Nyota," he said, more calmly than before. "Forgive me. I… I was startled."
"That was a mind meld, wasn't it?" Uhura asked. She had read about them before, of course. Vulcans, as telepaths, were capable of blending their mind with another individual's to share thoughts and feelings. It was one thing to read about such an experience; it was another to actually experience it, especially when she had been totally unprepared.
"Yes," said Spock. "I apologize. They some times happen accidentally with humans. Humans are more receptive to psychic connections than other species."
"It wasn't your fault. You were asleep," Uhura said. She took another shaky breath.
"What did you see?" Spock asked again, this time much more gently.
"Vulcan. Your mother. She was saying goodbye to you before you left for Starfleet."
Spock's eyes were sad, even if the rest of him was completely tranquil.
"She was concerned for my health," he said softly. "I remember that day."
"Spock, I… I'm sorry," Uhura said, laying her hand on his arm. She wasn't sure quite what she was sorry for – the unintentional meld, or bringing forward painful memories of his mother.
"It is illogical for you to apologize. It is not your fault," Spock replied. His answer could have applied to either of those things.
"I didn't mean to intrude on your memory," Uhura said, looking down at her hands.
Spock laid one of his hands on hers.
"It was not an intrusion," he said gently.
Uhura felt a swell of affection for him.
"I wish you could have known my mother," Spock continued quietly, almost wistfully. "It is my belief that you would have gotten along well together."
Uhura felt this was one of the highest compliments that Spock had ever given her. She leaned over, and kissed his forehead.
"I think we would have too. From what I saw of her in your memory, she was an amazing person and a good mother."
"My memories are subjective, and much coloured by my own perceptions," Spock objected. "You would have had to have met her to form an objective opinion of her."
"The fact that you loved her makes her an amazing person in my eyes," Uhura replied.
The edges of Spock's mouth turned up in his version of a smile. He reached up, and gently stroked Uhura's cheek.
"I miss her, Nyota," he admitted.
"I know you do, baby. I know," Uhura said. The endearment slipped out, but Spock didn't comment on it.
"I am… finding it increasingly difficult to keep my emotions in check. I cannot stop thinking about her."
"It's only natural," Uhura reminded him.
Spock rubbed a hand over his face.
"Not for me."
Uhura thought carefully about what she was going to say next. It might help, and yet it might not. He might see it as an intrusion. But she had to ask.
"Would it help if you showed me?" she asked.
The confusion showed in Spock's dark eyes.
"We have a saying on Earth. 'A burden shared is a burden halved.' Would it help you to share your burden with me?"
"I do not wish to… trouble you."
"It's no trouble," Uhura said, bringing her hand up to his face.
Spock let his eyes flutter closed, and then opened them.
"Nothing would give me greater pleasure and relief than to share my thoughts with you," he said.
"Just a second," she said. Standing up, she wriggled out of her black stockings, throwing them unceremoniously on the floor. Then, she pulled the hair tie out of her long black hair, so that it cascaded like a black silk curtain around her shoulders and down her back. She ran her fingers through it, loosening knots, before taking her place on the bed again.
"Much more comfortable," she said in explanation.
Spock only nodded. He sat cross-legged on his bed, and Uhura mimicked him, sitting so that they faced each other.
"Mind melds are very intimate things," Spock began. "You will be looking to my mind. But I will also be looking into yours. If there is anything you do not wish me to see, you have only to imagine a door closing on it."
"I don't have any secrets from you," Uhura murmured.
The corners of Spock's mouth turned up in an almost-smile.
"Are you ready?"
"Yes," Uhura said, although she wasn't quite sure if she really was.
Spock placed his fingers on her temples.
"My mind to your mind. My thoughts to your thoughts."
Like before, it was a dizzying feeling. So many thoughts and feelings were assaulting her. So many memories that were not her own, of things she had never seen, and yet now felt intimately acquainted with.
"Nyota, can you hear me?" Spock seemed to be calling her name from a long way off.
Oh my, Uhura thought. This is the weirdest feeling.
"I am here," he called.
They were in a blank place. Everything was white. There were no ceilings or walls or anything to indicate how large the space was.
"Where are we?" Uhura asked.
"We are at the beginning," Spock replied.
"The beginning of what?"
"This is the place my mind goes when I meditate."
Uhura looked around.
"It's so… white. And empty."
"I find it soothing," Spock said. "A place to rest from the noise and busyness of life."
"Well it certainly is quiet," Uhura commented.
She could feel Spock's amusement ripple through her. How strange, that she had once thought him emotionless.
"Let me show you my mother," Spock suggested. He held out his hand, and Uhura took it.
Strange images flashed before her proverbial eyes. A thousand memories of a beautiful, graceful, emotional woman. Uhura saw her laugh, saw her smile as she watered her plants, saw her eyes flash with anger at a comment Sarek had made.
"Hush little baby, don't say a word…"
"Eat all your t'gress soup. It's good for you.."
"Because I love beauty for its own sake. Flowers don't have to be logical."
"Promise me you'll be careful."
"He's just a boy, Sarek!"
"I love you, my son."
"Whatever you do, you will have a proud mother."
The images, the memories, flashed before Uhura's eyes at a dizzying rate. And yet it seemed as if she saw each one of them with crystal clarity. The picture of Amanda Grayson she was forming was of a caring, compassionate, deeply courageous woman. With each memory, Uhura's opinion of the woman grew. How lonely she must have been, the only human amid so many Vulcans. And yet it was obvious that she was happy, that she loved her husband and her son.
Another memory floated to the surface.
"I'm sorry, Mother, I cannot speak long. I have an appointment with a cadet."
"Is this the same cadet you had an appointment with last time?" Amanda asked, smiling out at Spock from the monitor.
"Yes, it is Cadet Uhura," Spock replied. Uhura could feel his discomfort.
"You're spending an awful lot of time with that cadet," Amanda said, a twinkle in her eye.
"Nyota is… a dedicated and intelligent individual," Spock replied.
"Oh, so it's Nyota now, is it?" Amanda teased.
"Mother, you know I would never…"
"It's not a crime to fall in love, Spock," Amanda reminded him. Her eyes sparkled with amusement. "I want to meet this girl."
"I believe you would enjoy her company," Spock admitted. "She is… a unique individual. Perhaps I may bring her visit after my assignment on the Enterprise?"
Amanda's eyes widened.
"Of course. I look forward to it."
She glanced behind her at a sound.
"That's your father coming home. I had better go. I love you, Spock."
"Farewell, Mother," Spock said.
They were released from the meld with a sudden jerk. Uhura took a deep breath and let it out slowly. That was the most intense thing she had ever experienced. Spock too seemed a little shaken by the experience.
Uhur put a hand to her cheek and was surprised to find that there were tears running it
Spock leaned forward and places his forehead against hers.
"Thank you," he breathed.
"I never knew," Uhura whispered. "I never knew you felt all those things. How do you cope?"
"Not very well," Spock admitted. "It is a constant battle. But you have helped."
He gently wiped a tear away with his thumb.
"I'm glad," Uhura murmured.
Spock sighed, his eyes drooping of their own accord. Uhura smiled softly, and gently pushed him back down onto the bed until he was lying flat.
"You must still be exhausted. I know you pulled a 72 hour shift. Go to sleep, Spock. I'll see you in the morning."
She got up from the bed and started to walk towards the door. Spock caught her hand.
"Stay?" he asked, his voice showing the strain of everything that had happened to him in the past few days.
Author's Note: I've been wanting to write a mind meld story for ages, and it never seemed to format right. I'm glad I finally hit on something that I think works. Also, I totally love the idea of Uhura meeting Amanda. I keep letting my mind wander into AUs where she's alive. Mainly because I find her a fascinating character, and I think she and Uhura would have a lot in common. She could have shared a lot of insights with Uhura on how to live with a Vulcan.