A/N: So it's 2AM where I'm at right now, but I was struck with inspiration, so I couldn't stop writing. I managed to get the chapter done, and it ended up being longer than I wanted; I had to cut some stuff out and push some material over to chapter 14. This chapter follows the events of the movie from Nyota and Spock's POVs and behind the scenes events. I hope you enjoy it!

Disclaimer: None of the quoted material from the movie is of my own creation and all rights to said material are not mine.

Chapter 13 – In My Heart

"I know it's over,

But it never really began.

Because in my heart,

It's all so real."

Nyota had always loved Spock's hands. It was one of the things she missed the most about him. His hand in hers, or the way he held the stylus for his PADD when he was absentmindedly reviewing papers. She could still feel the way his hands would grasp tightly at her waist when they made love or the way his fingers would trace her jaw line, her lips. She missed the way he would, with the lightest touch, tilt her chin up to kiss him. She missed the rise and flow, the gentle touches. She missed how they would lay awake at night, not saying anything, simply lacing their fingers together in the dark.

His fingers were laced tightly behind his back now in rigid defiance. Nyota could always tell what he was feeling by his hands. Sweeping gestures to would reveal a strong emphasis for a point, despite the most reserved of appearances. Gentle touches would reveal his tenderness, and even his vulnerability. There was none of that here. His straightened back stood at attention and his eyes sparked in tightly controlled anger. At the receiving end of this frustration was none other than the baby-faced James Kirk, who in all his audacity, stood in the middle of the bridge, in what Nyota could only guess was a vaccine-induced feverish lapse in judgment.

"This Cadet is trying to save the Bridge!"

Spock wanted nothing more than to remove Kirk. Nyota recognized the look in his eyes. It was the same look when he was forced to do a particularly unpleasant task that he wanted nothing more than to wash his hands of. He wanted to wash his hands of Kirk. Possibly of Nyota too. He had been so quick to send her off to duty on the Farragut, sealing her fate as completely separate from his. And now here she was, in front of him, confronting to full power of his station. He was the First Officer. She was a peon among peons. A worker ant in the innards of the ship. And he was staring at her, waiting for her answer. His eyes sparking with fury bore into her. She found it daunting being confronted with that anger, even if she knew it was tightly bottled. She swallowed and exhaled breathily.

"I intercepted and translated the message myself. Kirk's report is accurate."

Nyota met Spock's eyes and she saw his frustration falter for a moment and his lips tightened in grudging acceptance.

"The Cadet's logic is sound. And Lt. Uhura is unmatched in Xenolinguistics; we would be wise to accept her conclusions," he said finally.

To be perfectly honest, Nyota was surprised that Spock relented to her so readily. It was just like before when she demanded to be placed on the Enterprise. When push came to shove, it seemed he folded to her without protest or complaint. She wasn't completely certain if it was because he knew she was right or if he felt guilty for how poorly he was handling the delicate situation between the two of them. Or perhaps he still didn't know how to say no to her. It seemed that when it came to his rules, his logic, Spock had always been willing to bend them for her. Their eyes met for a brief moment and Nyota felt a moment of awkwardness as he watched her closely for her reaction. Her eyebrows twitched and he regarded her impassively. She could not help but still be angry with him. She wandered to his side as Captain Pike interrogated his Communications officer.

"You're not going to threaten to remove me from the bridge too?" she muttered to him quietly.

"That would be illogical," Spock said lightly.

She grit her teeth. "Oh?"

"Indeed," he responded quietly. "Your presence on the bridge has only served to illuminate the current situation."

"And Kirk's?"

Spock went silent and Nyota huffed quietly as Captain Pike paced momentarily.

"You, Cadet, you speak Romulan?"

Taken a back, she hesitated for a moment before responding, "All three dialects, Sir."

"Relieve the Lieutenant," he said shortly.

He turned his back on her and returned to his chair while she stood there in shock. She stared over at Spock whose hands hung limply at his sides.

"Like I said, Lieutenant," he murmured faintly. "It would be illogical to remove you from the bridge."

Numbly, Nyota took her new post. She had just been elevated to the highest position she could hope to achieve. In a single heartbeat, her entire life's work had unfurled itself before her. She placed the earpiece in her ear and heard it buzz as she flipped through frequencies. She bit her lip as she stared at Spock, at the post next to hers, and he met her eyes warily. They both knew what this meant. They were now equals. All the struggles they had been through, the difficulties of their differences in rank had just been wiped clean. The only thing standing between them now was themselves. Their own problems. Their own fears.

Nyota frowned. She could not locate any Romulan transmissions. More disturbing, she could not locate any Starfleet transmissions.

"Sir, I'm not picking up transmission of any kind in the area," she said breathlessly.

Spock and Captain Pike shared a look as Kirk muttered something that Nyota didn't register. She continued to flip, almost frantically, between stations. There was nothing. Complete radio silence. She felt panic bubble inside her as she thought of Gaila. She had been assigned to one of the fleet ships that had been sent ahead after the Vulcan distress call. If Kirk was right, then the lack of transmission meant only one thing: they had come under attack and had been seriously compromised. If this was the case, how many escape pods had they managed to send out? If any? If there was not even time for a distress signal, what hope was there for actually evacuating the ship?

"Arriving at Vulcan in 4…3…2…1…"

Nyota held her breath and felt her heart race. She stared over at Spock and his eyes met hers. For a brief moment, time slowed to a standstill. And then with a heavy lurch, reality set back in and the bridge room flashed an angry red. They had warped into a field of debris. Nyota's stomach lurched as she realized what it was. She was currently staring at the hull of the USS-Mayflower. Gaila. Nyota shut her eyes tightly as Sulu awkwardly maneuvered them through the battlefield. Nyota sat back at her station and replaced her earpiece as she tried to remember the engineering layout of the Mayflower. It consisted of a single primary hull, shaped like a saucer. The docking port was located on the forward section of the ship with escape pods located around the edge. It was primarily a patrol ship, meaning while its defenses weren't as sturdy, it allowed for easy docking and evacuation. Desperately, Nyota sent out a transmission to any possible escape pods. The bridge lurched as they sustained attacks by the Romulan ship. She didn't understand how half the fleet, half their graduating class, could be wiped away so easily.

"Shields at 32%. We can't take another hit like that."

Nyota held her breath. For the first time, she was scared. She could die. Her classmates had been killed. The fleet had been destroyed. And now the weapons of the enemy ship were pointed on them. She bit her lip as she attempted to send an outgoing message to the rest of the fleet based in the Laurentian system but paused with a frown.

"Spock," she cried, frantically reaching out to the first person that came to mind. "I need you to confirm something for me. We seem to have lost communications."

"They've lowered a high-energy pulse device into the Vulcan atmosphere. Its signal appears to be blocking our communications and transporter abilities," he said evenly.

She stared at him in fear. They had no communications to contact reinforcements and no transportation capabilities of any kind. They were going to die. She looked at Spock. His brown eyes watched her softly as he sighed lightly. This wasn't how it was supposed to end. It couldn't be over. Them. Their lives. Together.

Her eyes snapped back to her screen.

"Captain, we're being hailed," she shouted loudly.

She didn't wait for Pike's response as she patched him through. The one responsible for the attack on Vulcan. Responsible for destroying Starship's fleet.

Nyota watched Spock warily, who stood in stiff defiance as he stared at the sneeringly smug Captain Nero. Spock was clearly displeased when Pike agreed to come aboard the Narada to negotiate a cease-fire. Even if Spock was a reluctant participant in his friendship with Christopher, he could not help but be disturbed by the miniscule survival rate that the situation promised. If Christopher were to board the Narada, it was highly unlikely that he would ever leave. Yet Spock could not deny that the current strategy would enable the disabling of the drill that was threatening his home planet. The situation, as undesirable as it was, dictated that the needs of the many outweighed that of the few. So he grudgingly followed Christopher through the ship as he rattled off a list of instructions and orders, most likely his last.

"Spock, I'm leaving you in command of the Enterprise. Once we have transport capabilities, communications back up, you'll contact Starfleet, report what the hell's going on here. And if all else fails, fall back, rendezvous with the fleet in the Laurentian system. Kirk, I'm promoting you to first officer."

Spock's ears rung as he numbly protested, failing to conceal his confusion and frustration. Christopher was well aware of Spock's opinion of James Kirk. He was also probably very aware of Spock's guilty hope that Kirk would not return from this mission either. And yet, Christopher brushed off Spock's protests and left with a cheeky grin and a nod, before disappearing from view. Their years of friendship had come down to this one singular moment and Spock wondered exactly what one was supposed to say to a man who was going to his death. He was unaware of human protocol regarding such a circumstance, or if one even existed. Spock simply raised his eyebrow as he saw his friend for what he realized was most likely the last time as he wondered how much more would be lost today.

Spock could not help but wonder if Kirk would be one of the conflict's losses. After all, had Kirk not been revealed as academically dishonest, he would have been one of the many ships destroyed by the conflict with Nero. Naturally, Kirk had not been given placement on the Enterprise, despite Captain Pike's insistence. Kirk should have still been on Earth. Far away from the Enterprise, Spock, and Nyota. The Cadet was not cleared to be on board the ship and had exhibited nothing but the highest level of unprofessionalism. And now he was the First Officer. An equal. Spock's skin prickled uncomfortably.

Nyota, too, was now an equal. Spock could not help but wonder if Christopher had intentionally promoted her so readily. He was aware that Spock and Nyota had terminated their relationship, and was mostly likely aware as to the causes for that falling out. It was as if, with that one simple action, Christopher had wiped that slate clean and offered Spock the second chance that a part of him had been craving. Spock was all too aware that there was very little standing between them. Only the complications of Spock's own creation. The responsibility of the situation was his, and the weight was oppressive.

And yet, he could not help but reason that there was hope for the relationship. After all, Nyota had made it all too clear that she was uninterested in Kirk. In fact, she had seemed mildly disgusted by the idea, and by the idea that Spock would be jealous. Spock was disgusted with his own sentiments of resentment. Yet despite his best efforts, it was an emotion he was having great difficulty controlling. It seemed that the situation would be far simpler if Kirk were not to return from his mission.

However, the mission was ultimately successful, even if it had been conducted sloppily and with casualties. Yet Spock did not have time to ruminate over Kirk's inexplicable survival. He instead focused on Ensign Chekov's report.

"…that will consume the planet," he finished awkwardly.

"They're creating a black hole at the center of Vulcan?" Spock echoed numbly.

He frowned and attempted to get the ringing in his ears to cease. Without a single word, he numbly pushed himself out of the captain's chair and headed to the bridge's exit. Nyota stood, concern clear in her eyes. Her lips parted softly and Spock cut her off.

"Alert Vulcan Command Center to commence a planet wide evacuation. All channels, all frequencies."

She ignored his order and demanded where he was going. He pursed his lips as she stared up at him with wide brown eyes that showed fear, concern, and what Spock anticipated was love.

"To evacuate the Vulcan High Council," he murmured.

Spock did not quite believe that his planet would be destroyed. His history, his life, his people. It would all be wiped away. Erased from existence. The only thing he could do now was try to save the essence of his homeworld's culture. The responsibility pressed down on him and he could only hope Nyota would understand, that she would not demand that he stay, because he found that he still did not know how to say no to her.

"I must get them myself," he breathed.

She simply nodded with a quiet understanding that spoke volumes. She knew that this was something he needed to do, and she knew how it was tearing him apart inside. And yet, Nyota could not help but feel her stomach tying itself into knots. How many times could one brush with death before the inevitable? Nyota knew Spock was struggling within himself. That was why their relationship had crumbled. That was why he had tried to send her away. Had he succeeded, she would be dead right now. The hair on the nape of her neck stood on end as she returned to her post. She followed his orders and alerted Vulcan Command Center and proceeded to send out transmissions on every possible frequency. But in the corner of her screen, she kept his frequency open, monitoring his signal with fear and anticipation.

Her station beeped twice. It was Kirk's frequency. Frowning, she patched him through and almost had to yank her earpiece out as he hollered about falling without a shoot. Without hesitation, Chekov gave over control to the new Chief Science Officer who had taken Spock's station now that he had been elevated to captain. He frantically scrambled from the room as the wide-eyed girl stared worriedly at her screen.

"The black hole is expanding," she whispered with palpable fear in her voice. "We won't reach minimum safety distance if we don't leave immediately."

Nyota bit her lip. It wasn't the most encouraging news, and it was even more concerning watching this girl's nerves. She was fidgeting and playing with the hem of her skirt anxiously and Nyota wasn't sure if she wanted to see how this girl would react in the middle of a crisis. The Narada was leaving the area, but she continued to chew on her lip and nervously twirl a lock of hair around her finger.

Ignoring the girl's nervous tics, Nyota focused back on sending out radio messages to any possible surviving escape pods from the Federation Vessels and Vulcan. Now that communications were back up and the Narada had left, if there were any survivors, they would now be able to attempt to make contact with the Enterprise. Nyota held her breath as she waited.

And waited.

Her monitor beeped once. Then twice. Then again and again.

They were morse code messages. After discovering that communications had failed, they had attempted to send out morse code signals. There were a total of 21 escape pods waiting for word from the Enterprise, 12 of which were survivors from the Federation ships. 8 Federation vessels had been destroyed and only 12 escape pods remained. Of all the lives lost, a scant hundred remained. If they did not dock with the Enterprise immediately, they would be lost.

Nyota frantically sent out word to docking bay and instructed all escape pods in the area to dock immediately. There was no time left. Not for the Enterprise, and not for Vulcan either. She anxiously watched as the docking bay slowly counted off the escape pods that limped to the Enterprise. Nervously, she overlooked the reports that docking bay sent back, scanning through the crewman identification numbers and their status. She paused and her breath caught in her throat.

2530012 – critical condition

Gaila. She closed her eyes and breathed in raggedly. She was alive. Barely. But alive. She didn't know if she wanted to laugh or cry.

Her earpiece buzzed.

"Spock to Enterprise. Get us out now!"

She sighed. He was alive. He was safe.

"No! No!"

She frowned and opened a new window. Wide-eyed, she stared at the screen. Chekov had failed to transport everyone. With everyone on board, the Enterprise began leaving the area as Vulcan crumbled, imploded, and disappeared as if it had never existed. In her ear piece, she heard Chekov's weak voice.

"I've lost her. I lost her."

Nyota's ears were ringing. It could mean only one thing. Spock's mother. His human mother. The woman he loved more than any in the entire world. She was gone.

The Enterprise floated lazily in space as they crew began making repairs to the ship in order to rendez-vous with the rest of the fleet in the Laurentian System. The work was moving slowly given the number of casualties. Three-fourths of the graduating class had been completely wiped out. The planet of Vulcan and its inhabitants. And yet she could only think of Spock.

Naturally, she wanted to see him immediately. She knew he would be in sickbay, being looked over, and talking with the Vulcan elders. So despite the amount of work she had to do, Nyota left her post to head there. When she was arrived, she was surprised at the state of it. Crowded, noisy, with staff that was clearly stretched thin. She stopped a blond nurse, whose delicate features were pulled into a frown. Even in the middle of a crisis, covered in sweat and flecks of blood, she was remarkably beautiful, with light golden hair pulled into a feminine braid. But despite ethereal appearances, the pale beauty wrinkled her freckled nose disapprovingly at Nyota while asking what she wanted with clear annoyance.

"I'm looking for Captain Spock," Nyota said mildly.

"And I'm looking for a syringe, gauze, and alcohol swabs, so you'll have to find him yourself," she huffed.

The young girl's pretty face grimaced as she turned to go.

"Wait," Nyota pressed. "A cadet should have come in here from one of the escape pods. An Orion. The report said she was in critical condition."

Bright blue eyes softened slightly and pursed pink lips parted to sigh.

"Yes, she's here. Still critical. The medical bay has been damaged in the confrontation with the Narada, so we're not able to give her all the attention she needs. If we had all of our equipment, we'd be able to stabilize her, but it's very touch and go at the moment."

Nyota ears rang.

"What are her injuries?"

"I can't disclose that information," she sighed. "You'll be able to see her once her condition is stable."

The girl's peach pink cheeks pulled into a weak smile as she bustled off, leaving Nyota standing in the middle of a crowded medical bay, but feeling more alone than ever. She numbly stared at the medical beds as the smell of disinfectant burned in her nostrils. She wandered aimlessly, searching for Spock, but instead found someone she did not expect. The young Ensign Chekov lay on a bed, partially hidden by a curtain. She gently pushed it aside. He didn't move and kept his face buried under his arm. Pausing for a moment, she tentatively sat down on the chair next to his bed.

"Pavel?" she asked gently, dropping the formalities.

Wordlessly he lifted his arm and slowly turned his head towards her, his empty hazel eyes staring blankly back.

"Ms. Uhura," he murmured softly.

"Are you unwell?" she asked slowly.

"No," he muttered thickly. After a long pause, he finally whispered, "Yes."

"What happened?"

"I lost her," he said in a low, accented lilt. "Captain Spock's mother. I lost her."

Nyota sat quietly for a moment and didn't say anything.

"I'm so getting fired for this," he sighed.

She smiled weakly. "You did what you could."

"It wasn't enough," he said shakily. "With Kirk, I had enough time."

"What do you mean?" she asked, puzzled.

He propped himself up on his pillow.

"I was able to beam Kirk out because I calculated the coordinates for beaming faster than the computer."

Nyota stared at him. "But, the computer couldn't even lock on them. How were you even able to personally beam them?"

"The computer's abilities were compromised by the singularity. I did the math in my head," he said with a shrug. "They were falling for long enough where I could do the calculation. With Captain Spock's mother-"

"You didn't have the time to," Nyota finished weakly.

He nodded and shut his eyes tightly.

"I don't think I've ever felt this old," he said with a bitter laugh.

"I don't understand what you mean," Nyota replied.

"I'm 17," he said reluctantly. "I've been a student at Starfleet Academy since I was 14."

She stared at him blankly.

"But I can't help feeling…"

Nyota covered his hand with hers, cutting him off.

"It's not your fault," she said emphatically. "It isn't. You've been performing admirably."

He stared at her hand and smiled sheepishly. Returning the smile, she stood and released his hand.

"You should come back to the bridge. There's a lot of work to be done. We could use your help."

His green eyes watched her for a long moment and then with a sigh he nodded and pulled himself from the bed.

"I'll see you on the bridge, Ms. Uhura."

Straightening his uniform and steeling himself, he returned to his post. As he left, he pushed the curtain aside and Nyota's breath caught as she spotted Spock on a medical bed a few meters away. He sat numbly on the bed, staring blankly at the white curtain that almost completely shielded him from view. The blonde nurse Nyota had spoken with was tending to him. Frowning, she approached the bed and raised her hand to move the curtain aside.

"I'm so sorry, Spock," the nurse murmured softly. "And you know, you can simply call me Christine. I'd like you to call me by my name."

His face remained blank, even as she placed her hand over his.

"That would be inappropriate, Nurse Chapel," he said evenly.

"Would it be so inappropriate?" she murmured, moving close to him, tucking a loose strand of golden hair behind her ear. "I'd like to be your friend, Spock."

Nyota bit her lip in frustration, but said nothing.

"I appreciate the sentiment, Nurse Chapel," he replied despondently. "However, I have duties that must be attended to. If you require nothing further, I will return to the bridge."

He stood and she sighed.

"Of course," she said gently. "I understand. Please don't hesitate to ask if there's anything you need. Anything at all."

He nodded and pulled the curtain aside. Raising an eyebrow, he stared down at Nyota.

"Lieutenant Uhura," he said calmly. "I was not aware you had suffered any injuries during the confrontation with the Narada."

"I haven't," she answered awkwardly. "I was looking for you."

He nodded. "I understand. I will return to the bridge now. There is no need for concern."

Nyota hesitated, unsure of whether or not Spock should be returning to duty so shortly after experiencing such a profound loss.

"If you need…I mean, if you'd like to stay," Nyota said slowly. "I understand."

Spock's eyebrows twitched and for a moment, Nyota swore she saw a flash of anger and frustration, but it disappeared quickly.

"I have no need nor desire to remain in medical bay," he said mildly. "I will be returning to the bridge. You should do the same."

He left the room before she even had the chance to respond, leaving her in an awkward silence with Chapel. Nyota stared at the pretty nurse in a long sideways glance. The girl wrinkled her delicate nose as her electric blue eyes narrowed in annoyance.

"What?" she asked in annoyance. "You think I am being unprofessional?"

"I don't believe I said anything of the sort," Nyota responded awkwardly.

She pursed her lips and frowned. "I took a course with Spock last year," she said off-handedly.

Nyota offered no response.

"He was always…what I mean to say is…he's special," she said finally.

"He's the Captain," Nyota said bluntly. "If you'll excuse me."

Nyota left the Medical Bay as quickly as she could. Her heart was racing. She inhaled deeply and attempted to calm herself as she settled into her post. Gaila would be okay. Spock would be okay. Everything would be okay. She bit her lip. Nyota had not expected to feel such a gnawing feeling of jealousy in her stomach. The pretty, young, Nurse Chapel. Former student of Spock. Nyota felt such a hot anger towards the girl. Yet, if she was what he needed…that was why she had said he could stay in Medical Bay if he needed to. Yet he seemed to react with such frustration. She did not know if it was because of the insinuation of her acceptance of the situation, or because she doubted his current emotional stability. She had come to be able to have a good sense of Spock's feelings, even if he never showed them. And now he seemed like he was being held together by the weakest of seams. He was clearly stretched thin. She had never seen his breaking point, and this might be it. She had never seen him seem so fragile. It made her heart hurt. As she watched him input his report into the Captain's log, her heart ached for him.

"I am now a member of an endangered species."

He pushed himself from his chair and headed towards the exit. The day was long over and the bridge was clearing. Spock left without a word. Concerned, Nyota stood to follow him, quickening her stride before he closed the lift door. They stood in silence and Nyota saw him watching her in the corner of his eyes. She recognized that look. She had seen it countless times before. It was that look of uncontrollable hunger when his emotions bubbled close to the surface. It was rage, passion, and sadness all at once that were so close to being loosed. He had pushed her away because he couldn't keep it bottled around her. Nyota felt the ever-widening gap between them, but leaned over to press a button. The lifted slowed with a gentle whirr before lurching to a stop. Spock looked down at her, raw emotion swimming in his pupils and Nyota reacted how she always had whenever she saw that look in his eyes. Without hesitation, she wrapped her arms around him tightly and pressed her lips to his.

He did not seem surprised by the kiss and didn't protest or refuse the advance. She only felt him sigh against her lips as if the tension of the moment had finally been broken and he was overcome with relief.

"What do you need?" Nyota begged. "Tell me. Tell me."

His arms were still wrapped around her and she could hear the breath catch in his throat. He knew what it was he needed and so did Nyota. He only needed to say it, and everything would be perfectly mended. Not a seam would remain.

But instead, he hollowly whispered, "I need everyone to continue performing admirably."

The words left his mouth weakly and Nyota's heart sank as she felt tears come to her eyes. He was so lost and she could feel him falling apart and slipping away. He pressed the lift button and it continued its descent. He left the lift without a single look back, looking as pale as the moon and about as reachable.


That was the only word he needed to say. The only words she needed to hear.

I need you.

Nyota stood in the hallway and watched him go, and tried to shake the image of his lost, vacant stare. Her heart thundered loudly in her ears as she blinked away the tears that clouded her vision.

"Ah hem," a delicate voice piped.

Nyota turned to stare at one of the last people she wished to see at the moment. Dainty blond eyebrows were raised challengingly as powder blue eyes stared knowingly at her.

"And here I thought you were all about professionalism," her voice challenged.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Nyota said flatly.

Her pale pink lips pursed tightly as she stared disapprovingly. Nyota realized that staring longingly at Spock in the middle of a crowded hallway with tears in her eyes was probably not the most discreet action. Yet, she was not anticipating plucky blonds with all-too-obvious crushes on the ship's captain to be standing there watching her.

"Is there something I can help you with, Nurse?" Nyota asked, emphasizing the last word more than was necessary.

"It's about your friend. The Orion? She's stable. She's not conscious or anything though. She has serious injuries and we're keeping her in a medically induced coma until we can have access to the equipment required to care for her properly."

Nyota immediately took off for the medical bay at a sprint, ignoring the huff of indignation at her sudden departure.

The medical bay was now empty, save for those with serious and life-threatening injuries. Dr. McCoy sat at his desk, behind two very high piles of medical files.

"Doctor," she said breathily.

"That's me," he said not looking up from his PADD. "What do you want?"

"I'd like to see a patient here. Gaila. She's Orion."

He paused and shook his head. "No, you wouldn't. Trust me. Her injuries are bad. You don't need to see her like that."

Nyota hesitated. Despite his gruff tone, it was clear he was telling the truth.

"What is her status?" she breathed.

"I can only release that information to her Commanding Officer or family."

"She doesn't have any family," Nyota said flatly. "She has me. Just me."

He put down his PADD and his eyes flickered over the medical bay and up to Nyota's eyes. He rubbed his forehead and sighed.

"Well, it depends what problems you want to hear about first. There's the deep tissue burn problem, the broken bones problem, and the substantial loss of blood problem. Not to mention she's now probably partially blind in her left eye. Whatever she went through to get onto that escape pod, it wasn't easy."

Nyota felt her eyes water, so she didn't dare say anything, knowing she would cry if she tried.

"We're keeping her on pain meds and in a coma so she's not in any pain," he offered. "We're working on getting all of our equipment up to speed and then we'll be able to take care of her properly. I can keep you posted on any changes in her condition."

Nyota was grateful she couldn't see the look on McCoy's face through her blurry, watery vision. Whether the look on his face was judgment or pity, Nyota didn't want it. She didn't want any of it. There was only one thing she wanted right now. One person. Spock.

Stumbling from the medical bay, with her hazy vision, she wandered to halls of the ship. It was dinner time now and everyone was undoubtedly in the mess hall or in their living quarters, preparing for their attempt at a rendez-vous in the Laurentian System once the necessary ship repairs were made. After about an hour of meandering, Nyota found herself in the hallway for the living quarters of the ship's commanding officers. Where she now lived. At the end of the narrow corridor was Spock's room and Nyota was surprised to see Nurse Chapel there, whispering lowly to Spock.

"I care for you Spock," she said emphatically. "The human you, the Vulcan you. I know you feel, even if you hide it. You do have feelings. I know you must be hurting now. It must be torture…I'd like to help."

Nyota held her breath as Spock responded too lowly for her to hear. His door slid shut and locked with a resounding click, leaving Christine Chapel standing alone. She whirled and stared at Nyota angrily.

"What?" she hissed angrily, blue eyes watery with tears.

Nyota didn't bother responding. She felt numb and the only person she cared to talk to at the moment was Spock. Nyota stared down at Chapel's red face until she moved aside. Without a second of hesitation, Nyota typed in the key code for the door, which she knew would be the same as his living quarters at Starfleet Academy. She did not even look back to see the expression of angry indignation that she received as the door slid shut behind her.

Spock was sitting on the edge of his neatly made bed. He said nothing and did not meet Nyota's eyes as she silently walked towards him.

"Have a nice chat with the Whore of Babylon?" she said bitterly.

"I assume you are referring to Nurse Chapel," he responded evenly, staring at the floor.

"Indeed," Nyota said with an edge of resentment.

"I informed her that her advances towards me were inappropriate given the circumstances."

"And yet it's never stopped you before."

"I assume you are alluding to yourself," he said flatly.

"Indeed," she repeated.

"Nyota," he murmured. "You are surely aware that you were – are – a special case, though I will not deny that I find your jealousy intriguing."

Nyota chewed on her lip in annoyance.

"Why have you come here?" he whispered weakly, as his façade of detached vigor crumbled.

She sat down next to him with a sigh.

"Because I love you," she responded honestly.

"Please, don't –" he said haggardly.

She stared at him questioningly.

"You are aware of how difficult it is for me to be in your presence, Nyota," he muttered. "Given the circumstances, it is taking substantial effort for me to maintain my self-control-"

"Then don't try to," Nyota interrupted.

His deep brown eyes finally looked up at hers and she could see he was in despair. She gently reached up and put her hand on his face and lightly ran her thumb across his cheek. His eyes fluttered close for a moment and he sighed appreciatively. Nyota could see the vulnerability through every breath, every moment. He was being held together by only the weakest of seams. She softly tilted his head towards hers and he leaned down to kiss her. Gently and weakly, he enveloped her tightly in his arms as he lay down on the bed.

"I do not know how to say no to you," he murmured, more to himself than to her.

"You had been doing a fairly good job of it until recently," she responded. "Why, Spock? The Farragut? I would be-"

He squeezed her tightly, cutting her off.

"I am aware, Nyota," he whispered. "Please do not speak of it. It is not something I wish to think of at the moment. Had I lost you –"

He cut himself off and breathed in raggedly and he finally spoke the words Nyota had been waiting to hear.

"I need you, Nyota."

She buried her face in his chest.

"I know, Spock," she said softly. "I know."

A/N: Chapter 13, fin. I have Chapter 14 outlined already, so it shouldn't take too long to write everything out. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and that the overlap with the movie wasn't excessive. I tried to find a good balance between movie events and my own. I also hope that there aren't a ton of mistakes, it is past 2AM right now, so this may not be my best material, or at least not as good as I think it is in my sleep-deprived state. Let me know what you think!