Disclaimer: Characters aren't mine. Oh dear.

Author's Notes: For my husband, on the occasion of seven years together. And for women everywhere who have an adoration of skinny men and their soft spots.

And I Love You

Uhura stretched her arms high above her head, wriggling her shoulders to work out the kinks. It was taking her a while to get used to the new bed. The novelty, however, of waking up with Spock directly to hand was well worth it.

Her arms flopping back to the mattress, she released a sigh and looked to her right. Where Spock's head had been, there was only empty pillow. This was something else to which she was slowly growing accustomed. Unlike previous boyfriends and lovers, he was never there when she awoke. He never had to suffer the indignity of her watching him snore gently, or wipe at the drool that ran from the corner of his mouth. In that respect, she supposed, romance would never die. It was a small reality from which she was excused.

Lifting her head slightly she could see the Spock was where he always was when she awoke: sitting in front of the window. Not just sitting. Meditating. The dim lights from various LEDs and computer consoles which were constantly left running, as well as low-lights for in the event of an emergency softly illuminated his skin, when he should have been just a silhouette against the star-speckled black of space. Instead, the soft lighting smoothed over his bare skin, the curve of his spine dropping into shadow. His head was an inky black, but sleek. He looked perfectly pale, though she knew his skin to have a faintly olive hue when closely studied. Just below the surface, deceptively strong muscle corded very slightly, keeping his posture rigidly straight.

Spock seemed to be barely breathing. He was so still in these moments of contemplation. Not that he wasn't still most of the time, but during meditation she could feel the calm radiate from him. And then, as she watched, he took a deep breath. Uhura had never watched his face as he came out of his trance, but she could imagine his eyelids fluttering as though he was dreaming; could imagine the blank expression become serene for barely a moment, before returning to impassive. The three phases might look the same on a human face, but on Spock there were subtle changes that, perhaps, only she ever noticed.

She waited a moment for him to regain full consciousness. His muscles tensed very slightly, making shadows beneath his shoulder blades, before his arms moved from his knees to the floor.

"You are awake?" he asked.

Uhura smiled and reached out an arm to him. "Not really. Just watching." She watched him stand, his body unfurling from itself. "Come back to bed," she said, keeping her intonation even so it would seem neither a request nor a command, but something in the middle.

He glanced over his shoulder at her. His face was serene, there were no two ways about it. When he relaxed his mouth entirely, it curved minutely at the corners, and his eyelids dipped very slightly. One step brought him to the bed, and he moved to take her hand and sit beside her. "No, lie down. On your stomach."

He raised an eyebrow, his pupils dilating very slightly – or was it just the shadows fluctuating over his face as he moved? Either way, Spock did as she requested. He lay beside her, one arm raised and crooked at the elbow, his head pillowed on it facing away from her. Uhura's raised hand dropped lightly to his bare back. Skin warm to the touch, but not over-heated as it was at night; gently sun-kissed rather than scorching. Her hand skated along his spine, following the route her eyes had taken as she watched him. It rested at the small of his back just above the waistline of his pants which rode low on his hips. Distantly, she thought Spock had lost weight since they'd been aboard the Enterprise.

So much muscle and so little softness, she'd thought when they first made love. She had made it her job to catalogue all his soft spots. Fingers dipped inside his pants, pressing gently against the flesh within. Soft when he was relaxed like this, but that was really the only time. Then she slid her hand to the side, palm cupping his hip. A very slight, very natural layer of stored fat. Even Starfleet officers who can take out ten humans single-handedly need a little reserve. She pinched very gently, then ran her hand upwards again. Her palm and fingertips mapped the plains of his back, recording every muscle, every ridge of his vertebrae, the sweep to his shoulders and the downy soft hair at the nape of his neck. Running down his spine once more, her hand curled in slightly to graze his skin with her nails. She felt, rather than heard, his sigh of pleasure. "Is that nice?" she asked, smiling slowly.

He turned his head to face her, dark eyes flicking over her face for some time before he answered. "Rhetorical questions are illogical. You know perfectly well I enjoy your attentions."

Uhura pressed more firmly, her thumb kneading into the muscles to the side of his spine. She felt her own thrill of pleasure when Spock's eyes closed. No wonder they said Vulcans were like cats – she had never known an entirely impassive face to look so self-satisfied.

But it was not her intention, not this morning at least, to turn Spock into a limp noodle. As fun as she had discovered that to be, it was a very platonic pleasure. And there was nothing platonic about Uhura's intentions at just this moment.

Hand sliding low again, she once more dipped her fingers beneath his waist band. "May I?" she asked.

Rather than reply, Spock slid his arms close to his sides, intending to push upright. A firm hand beneath his shoulder blades stopped him. And she loved that – that even though he was far stronger than her, he would submit readily to her will. "I'll do it," she said, shifting upright herself. She moved between his legs, her hands sliding under his stomach.

More softness. Those two inches between his navel and pelvis. She threaded her fingers through the sparse hair there, before her hands joined, arms looped around him. She deftly unbuttoned and zipped his fly, leaning further forwards to press a dry kiss to his shoulder. His eyes flicked up towards her, and she smiled. In his own way, he smiled back.

Scooting back to the end of the bed, she ran her hands over his ankles and down the soles of his bare feet, before tugging on his pants. With a little helpful movement from Spock, and a fair amount of elbow grease from Uhura, they were off together with his underwear. Standing at the end of the bed, Uhura admired him once again. Chiselled and still and perfect.

"And it's all mine," she murmured under her breath.

"I wasn't aware ownership had any place in this union," Spock said, the words slightly muffled against the pillow.

Fingers wrapped around his ankles, hands moulding to his shape as they ran up his legs. Uhura knelt on the end of the bed, crawling up but keeping as much of her weight off Spock as possible. Her hands moved outwards as they passed the smooth backs of his knees, sliding up the outside of Spock's thighs and over his hips. She bent her head to place a sucking kiss at the very top of his thigh. "Are you complaining?" she asked, her voice taking on a teasing note. Her tongue flicked out, tasting the salt on his skin.

"Not at present," he murmured.

Her lips covered him, covered every inch of the vast plain of exposed skin. Legs and ass and feet and back; shoulders and neck, then down his arms to nibble at the inside of his wrists until Spock was almost breathless.

"Why?" he asked. Spock's favourite question. Uhura smiled against his palm, knowing that he meant, "why this morning?" and "why me?" and "why can't we get it on already?" Well, maybe he wouldn't phrase the last one quite like that.

"Because I love you," Uhura replied, covering his body with hers. "Every inch of you."

He did not return her words, because he never did and she had stopped expecting it. But he told her in the way he lay her down; in the curling of his fingers around hers as he entered her; in the way his lips brushed her neck, her ears, her temple as he tried to maintain his control in a losing battle. When he finally stiffened, pressing hard into her that final time, then shuddered before his collapse, he breathed her name. He was still the only person who ever used it.

Spock lay on top of her. He was heavy, but Uhura wouldn't let him roll off. She clung to him, arms wrapped tight about his waist and legs tangled with his. Once again, he respected her wishes and did not force himself away. She rubbed her cheek against his, stubble lightly scratching at her skin. "I do love you," she said again, lips brushing over his ear in a manner that made him shiver again.

Absently, his fingers ran over her temple and, for the briefest most beautiful moment, she felt his mind. It said, "And I love you."