Character/Pairing: Uhura/Spock, Kirk, McCoy, M'Benga, Sarek

Rating: K+

Summary: Nyota has an accident and Spock must learn to cope.

Warning: Hurt/comfort. Emo!Spock.

A/N: Story takes place after 'Girls Wanna Have Fun'. Just a quiet interlude before Nyota and Spock get home to Kenya. 'Say Goodbye' follows this story.

It was day two of the quarantine and Nyota was already feeling the pressure. She had woken up later than usual with Spock nowhere to be found in their quarters. Still recovering from her bachelorette party the night before, she had gone through her morning routine on auto-pilot and with a throbbing headache.

She was so focused on rushing to her morning meeting that she almost missed Spock's note on the table along with a replicated script from McCoy. Thanking the gods for a thoughtful husband, she gulped down the painkillers with some water and hurried out the door.

The meeting wasn't much better. To her chagrin, most of her staff were wearing the same groggy faces and moving rather stiffly. They all suffered through the good-natured ribbing from the two male techs; but, as consummate professionals, and aided with lots of coffee, they muddled through the final stretches of organizing the next data download. That is, until she opened her messages from Starfleet Headquarters and read that last night's batch had somehow gotten corrupted.

Shaking her head in disgust to herself, she delegated the remaining cataloguing and encryption tasks to her eight staff people. She'd get down to Data Storage herself and start figuring out what the hell went wrong with the download.

Data Storage was a pleasant little hell tucked away near Engineering. Her people called it 'the shed' for some reason, but it was basically a big closet packed floor to ceiling with the data banks for ship communications. Though they really should've called it 'the ninth ring of hell' because it was HOT in there. Sure, there was ventilation, high up in the ceiling, but with such close quarters inside, it lent itself to claustrophobia.

Nyota fanned her face with both hands as sweat started to prickle on the back of her neck. She looked up at the imposing wall of data banks. The problem with this design was that it was already practically outdated. By the time the ship had been built and outfitted, it had missed out on the latest ideas on better data storage solutions. She sighed and pulled out the folded telescopic ladder from the corner of the room, opened it, then leaned it against one of the data banks opposite the door. Sometimes it felt like being in a shoebox, the room was so long and narrow.

She had a feeling that fixing this little issue wouldn't be a big deal. And it wasn't. Just some crappy part that decided to die and needed to be swapped out for a new one. She'd gotten up and down the ladder and back again to fix it. No problem. Ten minutes, tops, though she was sweating profusely.

And so maybe it was her fault. Maybe she'd gotten too confident about being up on the ladder and paid no mind to ladder placement let alone ladder safety. Hell, maybe she was just too damned hungover and tired to even bother.

But in any case, there was a moment when Nyota was paying attention. And it was right when the ladder slipped out from underneath her and she fell.

It was dead quiet on the bridge, except for the occasional beeps from Spock's station. Not that Kirk was paying much attention to him anyway.

No, he was focused on the veritable heap of work that Yeoman Rand had put in front of him. After five years, the administrative side of the captaincy had caught up to him. It was amazing how well she'd kept track of everything he'd ignored in the hopes she'd just forget about them. But in the end, he knew he'd have to pay the piper. Kirk was grateful for her tenacity since ultimately, he would be judged for how well Rand, and the entire crew for that matter, had performed over the mission.

So he sat in his captain's chair, where he was most comfortable, and paged through the documents (page 16 of 400!) on his padd, making notations, initialing some things, while sipping his coffee. Being on the bridge was a great motivator. Nothing like Earth filling up the viewscreen to remind you of your priorities.

The ship was already crawling with people from Command. Scotty was no doubt tearing his hair out over inspections in Engineering. Bones was already knee deep supervising the final physicals and clearing the crew for release to Earth. As Science officer, Spock had his hands full organizing the huge collection of specimens (vegetable, animal and mineral) that the Enterprise had acquired and getting them safely to Headquarters. Sulu was helping him, though at the moment he was down in Botany wrangling Cetian phlox into boxes for transport.

Kirk's eyes roved restlessly around the bridge, pausing on Chekov and wondering what exactly was his assignment. He was about to ask him when, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Spock suddenly lean over in his chair. Puzzled, he gave Spock his full attention and saw that Spock hadn't moved from that position for several moments.

He got up and went over to the railing near Spock and lowly asked, 'Spock? Is everything all right?'

Spock was panting. Kirk could hear the rapid, shallow breathing. Almost hyperventilating. Alarmed, he moved up the stairs to stand next to Spock. Just as he was about to put his hand on Spock's shoulder, Kirk froze and the hair on the back of his neck stood up.

Spock's hands. They were slowly morphing into black-furred claws. Then, they tightened and scratched the surface of the library station's console, leaving deep gouges.

Kirk winced at the grating sound and the damage, knowing that he'd have to get a tech to come up quick to fix that, but in the meantime, he had bigger problems. His eyes widened as Spock's pointed ears started getting fuzzy. He moved behind Spock to shield him and shot a glance over his shoulder at an oblivious Chekov. Good.

'Spock....' He hesitated again, then reached his hand over and grabbed Spock's wrist tightly. 'Mr. Spock.'

That got Spock's attention, for he straightened in his chair and croaked, 'Nyota.'

Kirk let go of Spock's wrist and punched the intercom, 'Captain to Lieutenant Uhura. Please report to the bridge.'

'No.' Spock shook his head and stood up shakily, 'Hurt. She's hurt.' He brushed by Kirk and headed into the turbolift. Kirk noticed how he had tucked his hands into his armpits, hiding them.

'Chekov!' Kirk snapped, startling the young navigator, 'You have the con!' And strode into the lift behind Spock.

'Computer! Locate Lieutenant Uhura!' Kirk eyed Spock warily.

'Lieutenant Uhura is in Data Storage.'

'Engineering! Spock, please try and focus. You've got to keep it together. Can you do that? I can stop the lift if you need time...' Kirk hazarded another light touch on his friend's shoulder.

Spock's lips were pressed tightly together, his face a mask of concentration. 'No! No.' He breathed deeply and exhaled, 'She is hurt. She needs me.'

The lift doors opened and Spock sprinted out like a jackrabbit down the long corridor towards Engineering. Cursing, Kirk slammed his hand down on the intercom button, 'Kirk to Sickbay! Get a doctor down to Data Storage now! On the double!' He didn't wait for an acknowledgement and ran after Spock.

He got there just in time as Spock bent over to touch Uhura, 'No! Don't move her, Spock! Someone's coming to help.' He rushed over to Spock's side.

Nyota was lying on the ground, her arms spread out to the side and one of her legs sprawled on top of the fallen ladder. She was breathing, but unresponsive as Spock stroked her face and whispered her name urgently.

It was M'Benga who showed up to help, gently pushing Spock and Kirk out of the way. The tricorder chirped as he ran it over her. 'She's got a slight concussion. You can move her to Sickbay, Spock and I'll run some more tests on her.'

Cradling her head gently with one hand so she rested upon his shoulder, Spock pulled Nyota into his arms and lifted her up. He stepped over the ladder and quickly set out for Sickbay followed by M'Benga and Kirk.

Sickbay was abuzz with crew and doctors pushing to get the final medical clearances completed. Kirk could hear the gasps around the room as Spock strode inside with a limp Nyota dangling in his arms.

Kirk pointed to an empty bed on the far side, 'Put her over there, Spock. In the corner.' His face was tight as Spock carefully laid her down on the bio-bed. He winced as he heard a sudden, low growl emanate from Spock when M'Benga leaned over to pick up Nyota's wrist.

M'Benga was startled as Kirk pulled him gently away by his elbow, 'Sir?'

'Hey, M'Benga, can I talk to you for a minute?' He put his arm around M'Benga's shoulders and drew him away from the bed. Kirk looked around the Sickbay, throwing a frown towards those who were openly staring at the unfolding drama. Intrusive eyes averted themselves quickly from the captain's hard look.

'Yes, Captain?' M'Benga looked over his shoulder once more at Spock, who was now bent over the bed, head hanging over Nyota's unconscious form, arms braced stiffly and leaning heavily against the side of the bed.

'Let's give these two a moment, ok? Can you find a privacy screen for me?' Kirk dropped his arm from M'Benga's shoulders and locked eyes with the doctor.

M'Benga nodded and went to the storage closet, pulling one out; they erected it around the couple, finally shielding them from the rest of Sickbay. At this point, McCoy emerged from the adjoining exam room, alerted by the noisy buzz from the other patients that Nyota was injured.

'Jim! What the hell is going on? What happened to Nyota?' McCoy's blue eyes were concerned as he stared at the screen as if to pierce its' opaqueness.

'Uhura's had an accident. Looks like she fell off that ladder in Data Storage. M'Benga says she's got a concussion, right?' Kirk looked to M'Benga who nodded slowly in confirmation. Kirk dropped his voice to a whisper, 'Look, gentlemen, I think Spock's a little shook up by this. Seeing as she's not in immediate danger, I think we should just keep our distance. Maybe one of you can check on them in a few minutes?' Kirk looked back and forth between the two doctors, noting McCoy's raised eyebrows and careful, assessing expression.

McCoy nodded, 'Alright, Jim. M'Benga can continue with Ny in a while. Now that you're here though, why don't you jump up on that bed over there so we can get your last physical done with?'

M'Benga smirked and went back to his duties, leaving a surprised Kirk in his wake.

'What?' Kirk's eyes darted nervously to the door, thinking of his languishing data padd on the bridge and the volumes of reading he still had to get through before Rand would inevitably hunt him down, demanding why he still hadn't finished his work.

McCoy folded his arms, 'You heard me. Get up on the bed, Jim.'

On second thought, it'd be wise to get this out of the way and still be close enough to keep an eye on Spock. 'Fine, Bones.' He grumped and stripped off his shirt, though not failing to notice the appreciative looks that slyly came his way.

McCoy shook his head. It didn't matter that Kirk hadn't needed his shirt off, he'd find an excuse to do so regardless.

Spock held Nyota's hand against his forehead, letting her coolness soothe him. His breathing was back under control and the tightness in his stomach was slowly unfurling. He had kept the transformation at bay. But right now, he couldn't explain his emotionalism, his fear and panic. He was almost grateful that she was unconscious and couldn't see or feel him behaving in this shameful way. In such an un-Vulcan manner.

He stroked back her hair and noted again the illogic of his action. For an action that she didn't feel, that only benefits himself. He was experiencing this emotion, this panic. Indeed, an overreaction, though it was fading. Was she not safe now, here with him?

Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and struggled to find calm, to find a reason why his emotions would be so close to the surface. Perhaps it was because they had never really discussed what would happen or how they would feel if the other were harmed or died. When they had first begun their relationship, they had talked of situations, of specifics, in fact had been in situations where the other was in danger or injured. They had accepted and worked through it then, had understood completely that it was part of the job.

But maybe now it was different. They had made it through the mission after five years of service together, had managed to find each other and love one another despite personal and professional obstacles. It was unfair, to have come so far and through so much, that he had found his beloved, only to have her taken away from him. To have survived against the odds, only to be felled by a workplace accident and so close to home and family...

'Spock?' Sarek's voice was deep and gentle, just outside the privacy screen.

Spock straightened up immediately, schooling his face and thoughts into a placid mask. It would not do for Sarek to see him in such a state. After a moment, 'Please enter, Father.'

He could hear Sarek move close to the foot of the biobed, but he didn't dare turn to look at his father. Instead, he kept his eyes safely focused on Nyota's face, his hands clasped behind his back.

But Sarek knew. Despite their years of estrangement, he knew his son and that he was deeply troubled. 'Tell me, Spock.'

It was a simple command, one Spock had heard frequently from Sarek when he was growing up. They had spent countless evenings together discussing all the things that confused Spock as a child. He had greatly relied on Sarek's insights in dealing with the other Vulcan children, and even his faintly disapproving school instructors.

'I have found it difficult to acclimate to the marriage bond, Father. This...disturbs me greatly for Nyota is truly my compatible partner. The failing is mine.' He finally turned his head to look his father squarely in the eye. 'If we are to serve one more mission together, I must be able to face my fears.' He paused, then, 'She has a concussion. I felt her fear as she fell. Her surprise and her fear and her pain. She is nearly psi-null, unfamiliar with the ways of the bond. How can I possibly expect to give her the strength or the instruction she needs when I myself am struggling with....' Spock broke off and braced his hands against the side of the bed again, composing himself.

The reconciliation was still new enough that Spock's discomfort showed when confiding his vulnerability to his father. A father who had not hesitated to criticize his son on his decisions or shortcomings.

'Spock, you are still young and the bond is new. There is a period of adjustment that all bonded couples experience. Your must be patient and find balance again through meditation. I will help you in this matter. It is a father's responsibility, and one that I have neglected.'

Spock looked up in surprise as he felt his father's hand lightly upon his own. The old, familial bond strengthened with Sarek's touch. He had not felt his father's touch in many, many years. Indeed, he had last felt it as a small child when he had thrown his arms around Sarek's neck, welcoming him home after a diplomatic mission. It had been that very night when Sarek had first taught him the Vulcan way, about the importance of emotional control. How odd it was, ironic even, to experience his father's support at a moment when his control had lapsed.

There was no censure in Sarek's eyes this time though, only understanding. 'She will be fine, Spock. And so you shall be too.'

It was Spock she first saw when Nyota finally woke up. He was sitting in a chair next to her bed, long legs crossed, his attention fixed intently on a data pad before he felt her eyes on him and looked up.

He stood and came to her side, taking up her hand in his, 'You are awake. Do you remember what happened, Nyota?' His dark eyes searched hers, wanting to hear her answer out loud, though he knew it already.

She smiled, feeling his concern and worry, 'Yes, Spock. I'm fine...I just fell. I don't think I was paying attention and the ladder slipped out from under me.' She looked around, noticing the privacy screen and the darkened Sickbay, 'Where is everybody? What time is it?'

'McCoy is in his office, I suspect he will charge out at any minute, now that you have awoken.' He gave her a tentative, small smile, then, 'You are in pain.'

'A little, just incredibly sore, all over. My head, my back... my thigh is killing me.'

'You sustained a concussion. Dr. M'Benga gave you pain medication earlier, it must have worn off.' He turned and looked over the top of the privacy screen, 'Ah, here is McCoy now.'

A moment later, McCoy came from behind the screen, 'Well, Ny, you gave us all quite a scare.' He looked up at the readings above the biobed and nodded. 'You're doing fine, let me just take a look myself.' He examined her thoroughly under Spock's quiet gaze before he declared her fit for duty. 'Just take the rest of the pain relievers as needed.' Then, he shot them both a look of warning, 'Do not engage in any vigorous physical activity. And finally, stay off the damn ladders!'

She wasn't in any pain when Spock walked her back to his quarters, but she was feeling out of sorts. Disoriented, maybe from having been asleep for almost ten hours. The ship was on its night cycle and the corridors were dark and quiet. She surmised that this was the only reason why Spock's hand was under her arm, gently guiding her along.

He ushered her inside and she heaved a sigh that was met with a raised eyebrow from Spock.

'I'm just glad to be home and out of Sickbay.' She smiled reassuringly at him and they stood there looking at each other for a few moments before Spock ended the silence.

'Would you care to eat? It may help you feel better. Samara dropped off some soup that she made with Scotty's help.' He gestured toward the small table where there was a container.

She chuckled tiredly, 'I certainly won't say no to that, I'm famished!' Nyota watched him ladle out a bowlful of rich, red tomato soup. The aroma was heavenly, and it certainly improved her mood. 'Will you have some with me?' He only nodded and retrieved a second bowl for himself.

They ate in relative silence, the clink of the spoons and Nyota's slurps the only sounds in the room. 'Are you alright, Spock?' Spock was a quiet man, but even this was too quiet for him. He seemed withdrawn, pensive even.

'I am fine, Nyota. However, your accident today revealed my deficiency in handling the emotional realities that come from bonding with a human partner.' He stopped short, 'No, that was an incorrect implication. My lapse had nothing to do with your humanness, but rather with my lack of experience. My father has promised to assist in reinforcing my meditation techniques.'

She lowered her spoon, concerned, 'What happened, Spock? I don't understand. What did you feel?'

He sighed and gave up the pretense of eating, 'I was overwhelmed. It was sudden and paralyzing and I had no strategy to deal with it. I could feel your surprise and intense fear in a burst over our link and then your pain before you went silent. I panicked when I could no longer feel you. Or I thought I could not. Until I came to you and saw that you were unconscious.'

Nyota waited for him to continue, watching him as he idly stirred his spoon in the soup.

'If Kirk had not been there with me on the bridge, I fear I would have had an accident myself. I will speak with Sorel and Daniel before they leave the ship tomorrow. I speculate that my new condition has made me more emotional.'

She raised her eyebrows in surprise, 'What does your dad say about that?' She ladled more soup into her bowl.

Spock shrugged and got up from the table, 'He does not speak on it. He only offered to help me improve my meditation, so that I could manage our bond better. I did not tell him of the struggle to prevent myself from turning on the bridge.' He returned with a glass of water and set it next to her bowl.

'Thank you, love.' She smiled up at him. He had anticipated her request and filled it before she had even asked him out loud. 'That would've been hard to cover up. Who else was there?'

'Only Chekov, but Kirk told me he did not notice my troubles.' Spock sat down again, crossing his arms across his chest, 'While you slept, there was an interesting development.'

Her spoon froze midway from the bowl to her mouth, 'Oh? And what was that?'

'McCoy somehow managed to give me medical clearance. I am free to leave the ship and return to Earth with you.'

'Ok, well that's good right?' She smiled tremulously.

'Indeed it is. It is very good news because Starfleet recognizes that although I am not cured, I am also not contagious and therefore not a threat to the general populace.'

She laughed, 'Why do I get the feeling that Len wasn't telling the whole story to Command?'

'He says he was prepared for full disclosure that the antidote had failed, but that the reviewing doctor would not bother reading the entire file.' Spock shifted uncomfortably, 'I believe McCoy used his pre-existing relationship with this doctor to....bamboozle her. However, it was enough that Daniel and Sorel were my personal physicians and that I would be under their care during this layover.'

'So...what does that mean? Does it mean they're ready for a Vulcan werewolf to openly serve on the Enterprise? In Starfleet? That you can freely sign up for the next mission without a problem?'

'Unknown. It is merely only the first step in establishing what would be a precedent. And more importantly, establishing it before Starfleet realizes fully what has happened.' He quirked his eyebrow at her.

'Well, it definitely buys us some more time. Time for Sorel and Daniel to come up with some ideas....'

'Or, as you so often say, time for the other shoe to drop.'

She frowned at him, 'I thought you were going to start thinking more positively.'

'I shall endeavor to do so, ashayam.'

A/N: Please be sure to check out my wordpress site, linked on my profile page. I post some great pics w/ all my stories. :D Thank you for reading!