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Summary: Uhura finds an unlikely match in Leonard McCoy.
Author's Note: A huge thank you to Colours_Unseen over at LiveJournal, who was my beta reader for this fic.
Yet to Come
There were many who thought that Jim T. Kirk had unresolved "daddy issues."
Uhura agreed to an extent, but also felt that a large part of Jim T. Kirk's restless and occasionally promiscuous nature was simply the result of him being too smart for his own good. In short, once he was finished with his work (and contrary to popular belief, she knew for a fact that he was not a procrastinator) he didn't have anything better to do other than cause mischief and of course, turn his charms onto unsuspecting (and suspecting) women.
While Uhura found Jim nice, his arrogance was off-putting. She found him attractive, but not when he was bleeding from a broken nose or a split lip. He could take things seriously, but not as often as she would have liked. She had the feeling that if he had not hit on her while he was drunk, helped start a fight, and groped her in the middle of said fight; they might have gotten on very well. (Oh, and his inability to understand that she didn't want him to know her first name wasn't a point in his favor either.)
Uhura knew that Jim was a good friend in a pinch, even if he exasperated her to no end with his over-the-top compliments and childish antics. He'd been a huge help in securing a good location for the Xenolinguistic Club to hold their meetings, as well as with recruiting new members who were originally too shy to join. He worked with her in hand-to-hand combat, since he was an assistant instructor and she was more focused on her other classes. Kirk possessed a noble side as well, which he'd shown when they had been walking to their Federation History class together and he'd noticed a group of older cadets hazing a young teenager who couldn't have been more than fourteen.
"That was very good of you, Jim. It was a typical reaction for you, but good." She'd said, after Jim had thrashed the older cadets and walked along with her as she escorted the grateful cadet to his next class.
They had heard the clocks on campus chime and realizing they were going to be late, had rushed to class. She was sure they had made a sight, sprinting across the campus only to interrupt Commander Belleview in the middle of his lecture. They'd taken their seats and tried their best to pay attention as the Andorian spoke.
Jim had explained what had happened afterwards when the Commander ordered them to remain after class.
They had not been disciplined, but were told that next time procedure should be followed and campus security was to be notified in the event of another incident like earlier that day – apparently, the young cadet had been the focus of much hazing from older cadets.
A few days later, when Jim and Uhura had been walking back to their dorms after their classes were done for the day, they saw the gangly cadet. He'd been dressed in regulation track clothes and was running around one of the outside tracks.
"How old is that kid? Is he actually a cadet?" Jim had asked.
"His name is Pavel Chekov and he told me that he's fourteen," Uhura answered. "He's the youngest recruit Starfleet has ever had. He told me that the Academy pulled him out of a private school in Russia; he's a genius."
Jim had looked mildly impressed and turned to her with a teasing grin.
"Thinking of robbing the cradle, Uhura?"
She'd rolled her eyes.
"He helped me study and practice for my standard navigation simulations. In return, I promised I'd speak to him in Russian whenever I could. It's always nice to hear the mother-tongue."
Kirk had looked at her dubiously.
She'd rolled her eyes again.
"No, when you grow up speaking your native language, and you go to a place where it's not spoken, you feel lonely. Few people here speak Kiswahili, which is my native language. I love talking to those that do. Finding someone who can relate to what you're going through can make life a little less lonely." She'd looked over to where Chekov was still running steadily.
"He's a sweet kid; he just needs a little guidance and support. He told me he's training for the Starfleet Academy Marathon next year."
"If he wins he'll be the youngest in Starfleet history to do so." She paused as the cadet finished his running and made his way towards them.
"Cadet Uhura! And you!" He'd exclaimed, looking at Jim. He had wide blue eyes and the palest skin Jim had ever seen. His hair, usually curly, was a sweaty mess.
"Cadet Chekov, this is Jim Kirk."
Chekov had beamed at Jim and extended a sweaty hand, which Jim had taken without hesitation.
"Thank you for helping me yesterday. Those cadets have been picking on me all semester." Jim hadn't been shocked to hear how broken his English was.
"It wasn't a problem, Chekov. Hell, to be honest, that fight had pretty much made my day, actually. From what I've heard, those cadets have been hassling you for a while. If you'd like, I could give you some self defense lessons."
"Yes! That vould be quite excellent." Chekov said before turning to Uhura and speaking to her in rapid Russian.
What he said had caused Uhura to laugh and then turn to smirk at Jim. She'd replied in Russian and Chekov laughed as well.
"I must go. I am wery sveaty and need cleaning." He had shaken Jim's hand again and took off running.
They'd stared after him for a moment before Uhura spoke.
"It was a good thing you did, standing up for him."
"I can't stand people like those thugs. They think that harassing a kid will make them look manly and superior and all it does is make 'em look like jackasses." He'd been quiet for a moment. "I used to be him, you know? Until I was about twelve, I used to be the kid guys like those morons picked on."
"What changed?" Uhura had asked.
"I hit back." Jim had a faraway look in his eyes and Uhura had briefly let herself wonder just what all drove Jim to be the way he was.
Noble side…well, aside, Jim T. Kirk knew his way around women. He had an almost inhuman gift for charming a large percentage of the female population. She wouldn't call him a slut or anything (she detested that word), but he didn't mind one-night stands.
His partners knew what they were getting into. It was common knowledge that Jim Kirk didn't really do relationships. A night (sometimes two) was enjoyed together, and then both parties moved on.
It wouldn't have been too bad to be with Jim Kirk. From what she'd overheard from the gossip of the other female cadets, the multiple orgasms would have been nice and much appreciated. She also knew that he always made an effort to call out the right name.
In the end, however, Uhura simply wasn't interested in being one more person on a string of partners that Jim had charmed his way through. She could put up with him in small doses, but otherwise, it was a lost cause.
Uhura was looking for a stable, mutually beneficial relationship. She wasn't looking for a friend-with-benefits. While she had the feeling that Jim Kirk could do a relationship if he really wanted, she highly doubted that he would.
She introduced Jim to her roommate Gaila.
Jim and Gaila were extremely happy in their non-exclusivity.
She'd found a near-perfect relationship with Spock during her third year at the academy. In fact, she'd thought Spock to be the love of her life. Spock was an intellectual. He was dedicated and caring and serious. He was mature.
She'd always been fascinated by him, always respected him. As her instructor, he was a harsh taskmaster, always requiring the very best of her, even if it positively drained her to give it. He could point out the smallest flaw in her work until her work was as close to perfect as possible. Perfection, he'd told her, eluded even the oldest and wisest of any species.
As her lover, Spock was considerate and caring. He was…himself with her, and she gave him her honest self in return.
It would have shocked others to know that Spock had pursued her, not the other way around. Truthfully, it didn't take much for her to give in, but Spock had made the first move. It had, however, taken her a few weeks to realize what he was doing; Spock was proficient in the art of subtlety.
She'd been selected by the department as his aide for Advanced Phonology, which had been a great achievement. She'd known that being an aide in the department was not only something that would reflect well on her come ship assignment, but was also something that would give her practical experience in her chosen field.
A few weeks after she started her position, she noticed something sitting on a shelf in his otherwise sparse office. It had always been there, she just hadn't noticed it. He had explained that it was a Vulcan lute and that he kept it there to discipline and remind himself that work was more important than frivolous pursuits.
She'd stared at him for a long moment.
"You're teasing me."
His lips had quirked up just the slightest bit – his version of a smile.
"I find it that playing it helps me to center myself when trying to deal with particularly difficult periods of grading." He'd admitted. "I will play for you sometime, if you would like."
She'd felt herself flush.
"That would be nice."
Work had continued as normal. True to his word, a week later, he'd played for her.
Then it had happened.
After one particularly grueling argument over the grading of a cadet's paper, the remainder of that evening had been awkward and tense. He'd approached her just as she was leaving his office.
"I apologize for my harsh demeanor earlier. I should put forth a better effort to understand the complexities of the human mind. However, I must submit that your argument was most illogical in nature."
He had been standing so very close to her.
"I'm an illogical woman, Mr. Spock." Uhura had said reasonably.
"Indeed you are." He'd moved fractionally closer to her. "You are the only woman I have met who fills me with the desire to be…illogical at times."
He hadn't kissed her. He'd taken a hold of her hand and joined two of his fingers to hers, causing her to moan. She'd felt desire and lust and care and compassion…the intensity of the emotions was overwhelming. She hadn't been able to help leaning into him for support.
Then he'd kissed her.
They'd been careful after that to keep their professional and personal lives separate of each other, even if Starfleet regulations did not forbid their relationship. Spock was a private person and dedicated to his work, just as she was. They'd often meet away from the Academy in small, private places. They'd talked of her childhood and of his life on Vulcan. While she'd always been more open than he was, he'd always listened and when he did share fragments of his life with her, she'd treasured them.
Sex with Spock had been fulfilling and enjoyable; he'd sought her pleasure before indulging his own. He'd been attentive and considerate to her, taking care not to hurt her. While she would have liked for him to forget his restraint every once in a while, she'd understood why he hadn't, and she didn't begrudge him that one limit he'd set for himself.
The only time he did let go was after the destruction of Vulcan. During the trip back to Earth when all the Enterprise could manage was a very weak impression of a limp, he'd appeared in her quarters one night and he hadn't held back. Uhura had never felt anything like it; she'd relished the soreness she felt the next morning and she savored the brief moments when their minds had been one and together.
It hadn't happened again. Sex had happened again, but not as it had that night. Uhura had known that Spock was trying desperately to keep a hold on his emotional control, trying to rein back the feelings he had displayed in his moment of need. In the wake of his people's genocide, he'd continued to forge himself into the truest Vulcan that he was capable of being.
It had hurt, even if she did understand why he'd done so.
She'd understood even more when T'Pring was found alive and came aboard the Enterprise.
The dissolution of their relationship had been mutual and they remained close friends. He was still her mentor and friend and she was still someone he would always care deeply for.
She wondered if she was the only one who wasn't surprised when Spock and T'Pring had agreed to bond. T'Pring was an interesting Vulcan – somewhat haughty, but not necessarily unkind. She acknowledged that Uhura was a friend of Spock's and spoke Vulcan with her when Uhura was off duty. She'd once admitted to Uhura that she found Spock to be "...aesthetically pleasing, logical, and conducive to rebuilding the Vulcan population" which Uhura suspected was Vulcan for "he's a hottie, he's smart, and I want to do him."
It was strange to have another Vulcan onboard. T'Pring was not a crew member, nor did she desire to be. She found a friend of sorts in Sulu upon discovering his interest in botany, and helped him with his research in the botanic gardens on the Enterprise.
When she saw the vaguest look of complete satisfaction on T'Pring's face after Spock had excused himself from his post for a week (for undisclosed reasons) and had sequestered himself in his quarters with T'Pring…well, Uhura couldn't stop herself from feeling regret that she and Spock were no longer together. She was only human, after all.
T'Pring and Spock's impending offspring would undoubtedly become the joy of the Enterprise, regardless of how illogical the baby Vulcan's parents would think it.
He was a man that Uhura didn't know very well. (Of course, she'd known who he was. He was a friend of Jim Kirk's. My best friend, Jim had said. Yet they had never shared more than a few words at a time; both were busy with classes and any time together was usually spent eyeing the other suspiciously because the other seemed to be able to tolerate the presence of Jim Kirk.) She didn't start to get to know him until he suspended her from duty pending her annual physical, which she had been putting off for as long as possible. Jim had warned her that he might show up at her quarters and forcibly drag her down to sickbay.
It was a rare man (who wasn't her father or older brothers) who had the nerve to actually berate her, yet Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy did just that, and over her health, no less. He put her through the physical, making occasional comments here and there, as was his habit, she supposed.
She was just ready to give a smug retort when he declared her a picture of health, before he added a 'but' which shut her up.
"I'm reading here on your record that your birth control shot should have been re-administered last month."
"Do you really need it now that you're not playing house with the Vulcan?"
She was livid. Even more so when Leonard simply rolled his eyes and stuck her in the neck with a hypospray.
"Go. Be less frigid."
She was dismissed and she was more than thoroughly pissed off.
A week later she was helping a drugged and limping Kirk into sickbay where Leonard was waiting impatiently. He rolled his eyes at her (Oh, how she hated when he did that!) and remarked that she should have just let the security team bring Jim in.
She mouthed wordlessly before turning and leaving, muttering darkly under her breath and plotting his demise.
A few minutes later, she realized what Leonard was really annoyed about. Jim, in a drugged stupor, had managed to unhook her bra while she was helping him into sickbay.
She didn't know what made her angrier: that Jim had managed to unhook her bra, or that Leonard had noticed.
She later compromised by reprogramming Kirk's quarters to only recognize Andorian commands and by glaring at McCoy whenever he passed by.
Nearly a month later she was carrying her purchases back to the area that Scotty had designated for transport. Everything about Risa was amazing…especially Risa's markets. As professional and collected as Uhura was, she loved a good sale. She also grinned at the knowledge that she'd have souvenirs for her parents and siblings, who had never been off Earth.
The approving (and not so approving, but really more lecherous) glances she got from men didn't bug her. She was from Starfleet and she was a senior bridge officer on the Federation's flagship. She knew every pressure point on the human body and had passed advanced hand-to-hand combat with decent, if not flying colors (thanks to Jim Kirk, she'd admit). Also, she was rather handy with a phaser. Uhura was anything but a damsel in distress.
Yet, she couldn't really bring herself to feel any righteous anger at Leonard when he joined her on her walk back, taking several bags off of her hands and placing a gentle, guiding, and deliciously warm hand at the small of her back as they walked.
After asking Scotty to beam them back onboard, he walked her to her quarters and set her bags down on the small table that she'd brought aboard with her.
"I could have carried them myself," She said, out of habit.
"I know that," He answered. She detected the traces of a southern drawl that sounded rather pleasant. They parted ways, him to sickbay and her to the communications lab.
It was strange to walk away from Leonard not wanting to hit him. Nice, but strange.
Starfleet formal events were beyond boring. The dress uniforms were stiff and the champagne was weak, and best behavior was a must.
Welcoming the Kurrisites into the Federation somehow required the flagship and its crew to be present.
Uhura glanced longingly over at the bar where alcohol waited. This Ambassador she was listening to was a horrible conversationalist. He just kept talking in a droning voice, expecting her to nod and say the appropriate 'oh' or 'really?' or 'that's absolutely fascinating.' He also spent more time staring below her neckline than was necessary.
Her rescue (and non-damsel-in-distress status be damned, that's what it was) came in the form of Leonard McCoy who looked so good that…well, she had the oddest urge to take him to the nearest unoccupied room and rip his uniform off so she could lick every inch of him.
She vaguely heard the beginning of an old song from the twenty-first century and Leonard briefly interrupted the Ambassador.
"I promised the Lieutenant here a dance and it wouldn't be very gentlemanly of me to go back on my word." He spoke with that perfect blend of southern drawl and doctor's confidence and Uhura felt her insides melt slightly; she loved his voice.
The Ambassador graciously nodded, bowed over her hand, and let Leonard sweep her away.
If you want a lover…I'll do anything you ask me to…
"You're a filthy liar, Leonard."
He pulled her close into arms and began to expertly lead her around the dance floor.
"Among filthy other things." Leonard whispered gruffly into her ear, twirling her around.
And if you want a doctor…I'll examine every inch of you…
She shivered at the look in his eyes as the crooner's voice sung at just the right volume.
They were pressed close together, intimately so, and the smallest bit of space between them seemed like an affront to her senses. That deliciously warm, guiding hand was at the small of her back again and she enjoyed the solid feel of his firm shoulder beneath her hand. But it was the clasp of their free hands, bare and together, that she knew to be her undoing.
She'd always assumed that Leonard had rough and calloused hands, on account of his rough and cranky demeanor, but they were smooth and well-tended. Doctor's hands, she mused, hands that saved lives…hands that she wanted all over her.
I'd crawl at you baby and I'd fall at your feet. I'd howl at your beauty like a dog in heat. I'd claw at your heart, and I'd tear at your sheet…I'd say please, please…I'm your man…
And from the way he was holding her and staring so deeply into her eyes that she felt completely exposed, Uhura had every belief that Leonard would.
The hand on the small of her back caressed her ever so slightly and she couldn't suppress the shiver that ran through her. It was almost too much, given the seduction that Leonard was doing with nothing more than his eyes. And then his thumb stroked over her hand clasped with his and she gave a nearly inaudible moan.
And if you want a father for your child…
He moved impossibly closer and she swore the temperature in the great hall increased. Nothing else seemed to matter right them. All that mattered was that she and Leonard were still looking into one another's eyes and that their clasped hands stayed clasped and his hand at the small of her back stayed just where it was.
She'd be content to dance like that, with him, for a very, very long time.
I'm your man.
It didn't make sense. He infuriated her. He annoyed her. He was grouchy and irate and far too sarcastic to be in her life.
And yet there he was, dancing with her, seducing her, being with her.
When they finally parted, his hand gave her a last caress at the small of her back and he leaned forward to whisper quietly in her ear.
"Thank you for the dance, Lieutenant."
He walked away and rejoined Jim and Spock, who, unknown to both Leonard and Uhura, had been giving the couple suspicious and bordering-on-disapproving looks the entire time.
She realized then that no one else had been dancing, only them. The men gave her a wide berth the rest of the evening, and she could feel the envious glances from the women in the hall.
She downed a glass of champagne and left.
It was several hours later that he found her in the observation lounge on the Enterprise.
"I'd wondered where you'd run off to," He said conversationally.
She looked at him. Like her, he was still wearing his dress uniform. He sat next to her and stared intently at her.
"Are you okay?" He asked.
"I…I don't know. It's confusing?" She said, hesitantly, as if she wasn't sure it was an acceptable answer.
She looked him in the eyes.
"Us, I guess…if there even is an "us."
He looked down at his hands.
"Do you want there to be an "us?"
"I don't know if I can do it again," she said. "It was an amicable parting, between Spock and me, but it still hurt." She paused for a moment, deciding to confide in Leonard something she hadn't told anyone. "It hurt so much sometimes that I wasn't sure if I could stay on ship. I don't know if I can go through that again."
"I'm not either," he said quietly. "She took just about everything I had. I didn't know if I'd ever feel this way again. I know I certainly didn't want to. Whatever this is, how I feel about you, it just happened. And truthfully, I'm not so sure it's a bad thing."
He was still looking at his hands, fiddling with the finger that she knew used to wear his wedding band.
"I love this ship, Leonard, and I love what I do and I'm the best at it. I worked so hard to get here, to get this chance, and then I wasn't sure if I could stay. And it was because I had a relationship that didn't work out. I can't leave my job or my life here, I can't do that. Not for a man. Not for a relationship."
"Is that what this would be?" He was looking at her again, with a look in his eyes that she couldn't quite place.
"Do you want it to be?" Uhura asked.
Leonard heaved a sigh.
"You're brilliant, you know that? You speak nearly every known language in the Federation and you're a senior officer on the bridge of the flagship. You're intelligent and you're strong and you're the most capable woman I've ever met. And as if you weren't wonderful enough, you can even put Jim in his place, which is something he needs with regularity. And you're kind of gorgeous as well." He looked up at her. "And sometime, while I was learning all of this about you, I started falling for you."
"I didn't even think you liked me, with the way you talk to me sometimes," Uhura said honestly.
"Do I talk differently to anyone else?"
Uhura considered this and nodded her head.
"You're a lot grumpier with everyone else."
"I'm a doctor, not a poet. I'm a grouchy old man."
"You're only five years older than I am, Leonard; you're hardly an old man. And you didn't answer my question."
"You never answered mine, either," He countered.
"Just answer my question."
"I asked you first, sweetheart," Leonard said.
"Great, now we're playing games that five year-olds play."
Leonard simply stared at her.
"Yes, I want there to be an "us." She hated the feeling of vulnerability that swept over her with her words. "I'm probably crazy for it, but I do."
He shifted closer to her and took her hand as he leaned in to whisper in her ear.
"And I want this to be a relationship, too. So, if you're crazy for wanting it, then I suppose I am too."
They just sat there for a while, absorbed in thought, each not wanting to break the silence that had fallen over them.
Uhura, always a bold one, spoke first.
"So how do we do this, I mean, how do we make this work?"
"I guess we take it slow, for now. I don't think there's a need to rush this, do you?"
Uhura shook her head.
"I'm okay with slow." She said with a smile. She thought back on all of the times she'd spoken with Leonard and had been in his company. She thought of his demeanor and personality and finally she giggled.
Uhura glanced at him with a smile as she got up and walked over to one of the great observatory windows. He followed and stood behind her, wrapping her in his arms and resting his head against hers.
"I was just thinking about something."
"Are you going to share?"
She craned her head to look at him and gave him a mischievous smile.
"Jim wasn't serious enough, you know? Spock was too serious, in the end. And you, well, I suppose that you're just right.
"Fantastic, I'm baby bear. Great."
"I promise that it'll be our little secret," Uhura said.
They stood there, watching the stars and various ships docking and leaving, content in the knowledge that whatever it was between them, the best was yet to come.
I hope you enjoy! Questions, comments, and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated!