She remembered the first time she had woken to the sight of his face. She had gone to Spock's apartment to review the text regarding a certain section of translations that she was working on. It was late in the evening and everything had begun to run together, the characters on her PADD blurring until her brain simply refused to recognize their meaning, or even that they had meaning. She had lain down on the couch just for a minute, just to rest her tired and strained eyes… The next thing she knew, he was gently calling her name.
"Cadet Uhura," he said softly. She whimpered and tried to turn away from the sound, only to realize that it was not the first time that he had spoken to her. And that she was burying her face in the rough fabric of a throw pillow.
With a grumble, she rolled back over and turned to face him as she opened her eyes. He was standing about half a meter away, a cup of some beverage gently steaming in his hands. Weak early morning sunlight streamed in through the blinds at an angle, casting part of his face in shadow. His expression was carefully composed and neutral, exactly what she expected. What took her slightly aback was how gentle he looked as well, and how his eyes almost seemed to sparkle. Damn. Must be a trick of the light… She shook her head and looked at him again, a tall slender figure dressed entirely in black, ready for another busy day at the Academy. This early in the morning and he already looked immaculate. Damn him.
She sat up and groaned, stiff and uncomfortable from having spent the night on his couch. A blanket fell away from her shoulders as she sat up, and she glanced at it as she pushed it aside and into the opposite corner. It was soft and light, shot through with bold threads of russet and carnelian, very decidedly Vulcan. Funny, she didn't remember seeing that before…
"Shit," she muttered as she rubbed at her eyes. "I didn't mean to fall asleep." She looked back up at him, noting that he hadn't moved from where he stood. Her gaze fell to the cup in his hands. Maybe that was coffee- she certainly thought she could smell it- and maybe he had more…
"What's that?" she asked as she pointed at his cup.
"Coffee," he replied as he walked forward and handed the mug to her.
"Oh, you're an angel. Thank you," she said as she took it from him. She smiled at him as he turned and walked towards the small kitchenette. She looked back down and noticed that the coffee had a touch of cream, just the way she took it. 'How did he know that?' she wondered, but then decided she didn't care. It was perfect and it was hers, that was all that mattered. She sipped at the cup and set it down on the table next to her homework as she tried again to rub all the graininess from her eyes.
"Why did you let me sleep?" she asked as she let her hands drop between her knees.
"You were tired," he replied from the other room. She closed her eyes and listened, trying to tell what he was doing by sound alone. It was a task made harder by the fact that he continued talking while he worked.
"You were asleep 3.9 minutes after you told me that you could not see anymore." She could hear the creak of a wooden cabinet door being opened, followed by the scraping noise of what she figured was a ceramic plate sliding over its mates and then being set down on the counter.
"Logically, I determined that you needed to rest more than you needed to study. Attempting to study while in a sleep-deprived state affects one's ability to absorb and process information properly and efficiently." She thought she could also pick out the sound of paper rustling as well, but she wasn't entirely certain. There was too much interference from the sound of his soft voice, and she still wasn't completely awake. She heard the sound of his footfalls change as he walked from the hard flooring in the kitchenette to the carpeted surface of the living area. She opened her eyes to see him walking towards her with a plate in his right hand. She permitted herself a small smile, privately pleased with her superior auditory skills.
He leaned over and set the plate down in front of her on the table. She thanked him and glanced down to see a selection of several miniature pastries laid out in a simple yet attractive arrangement. Immediately she grabbed the croissant with her nimble fingers and bit into it as he disappeared back into the kitchenette.
She sat on the couch and chewed slowly, savoring the flavor of the croissant. She could hear him rummaging around in the cabinet again, probably for a cup of his own. Maybe he would sit down next to her and they could go over the text that she was supposed to have reviewed last night. Perhaps it wasn't a total loss after all.
"What time is it?" she asked as she took another sip from her cup.
"0630 hours," he said as he walked in, cradling a cup between his long fingers.
"Damn, I need to get moving," she muttered, gathering her PADDS and placing them in her bag. She stood, grabbed the cup form the table and drained the remnants. "My first class is at 0800 hours and I still need to go home and shower." She slung her bag over her shoulder and set the cup back down on the table. He placed his next to hers and placed his hands behind his back.
"Thanks for the coffee and croissant, Mr. Spock. See you in class."
She glanced back at him one last time before she stepped out of the door. He was standing in the middle of the room, his hands behind his back, his posture stiff as always. She had seen this pose a million times. Why did it suddenly strike her as lonely? Why did he seem… wistful?
"You are most welcome, Cadet Uhura."
She had walked out into the typical chill of a San Francisco morning and hurried back to her dorm room, intent on making it there before she froze and doing her best to put the whole thing out of her mind.
* * *
It wasn't until several months later that he confessed to her that he didn't like coffee, had never kept it at his apartment, and that he had gone out before he had woken her to get it for her. She picked her head up from its resting place in the hollow of his shoulder and looked at him.
"Are you serious?" she asked, a note of wonder in her voice. "It was damn cold that morning. You hate the cold. What would make you go out in that?"
"You," he said simply, as though that were reason enough.
She smiled and sighed as she lay back down and snuggled against him.
"Well, the next time I'm over, I'm going to bring some coffee with me. It simply would not do for you to have to go out in the cold every time I want a cup."
"I have already procured some," he replied, his fingers idly stroking her hair. "I wish to spend as much time in your presence as possible. Given your fondness for the beverage, if I were to go out and obtain coffee for you every time you wanted it, I would be absent from my apartment, and subsequently your side, 22.6 minutes out of every two hours. I find such a loss of time unacceptable."
She sat back up and looked down at him for a moment, taking in what he had said. Then she made a decision.
"I love you, too," she said softly. When he did not correct her, only moved to pull her down next to him, she knew there would be many more mornings that she would wake to the sight of his beautiful face.