A/N: This is the last of the Trek fic I've written at the moment, and my own personal favorite of my prompt pieces. Thank you all so much for your reviews and support; it's been wonderful to hear your thoughts. I don't have any further Trek fic in the offing at the moment, but it's rare that I don't return to a fandom, so hopefully I'll write more eventually. In the meantime, thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy this piece.
Spock followed Nyota's gaze upwards, towards Beylix's night sky.
Work on the nearby Vulcan colony had ceased with the setting of the sun. The air had grown cool, but the yellow, rocky ground still held a surprising amount of warmth. The night was clear, and the sky was dominated by the planet's twin moons, vast and pale green, and glowing so brightly that they almost washed out the stars.
"You are referring to Beylix I and II," he said, examining the moons.
Spock shook his head. "Most of the colonists dislike them."
Nyota looked at him, head cocked in a very Vulcan expression of confusion.
"Vulcan had no moon," he explained, smiling at her unintentional mimicry. "To have such large satellites in the night sky is… unfamiliar to us."
Nyota was silent as she looked upwards again.
Spock observed that the moons cast a faintly greenish light on the surrounding terrain, almost as if the new irrigation networks had already taken hold. Behind them, in the growing city, he could hear the soft hiss of mechanic decompression from various drills and diggers and cranes.
"Have you heard the Chinese legend of Chang-O?" Nyota asked him at last.
"I do not believe so."
Nyota leaned back on her hands and tilted her face upwards. Her hair, unbound since the cessation of work, hung behind her like a curtain, although some locks still clung to her shoulders. Her skin was bright with green moonlight.
"Once upon a time," she began, and Spock recognized with surprise the distant echo of tales his mother had told him when he was very young, before he had informed her that he no longer required bedtime stories.
"There was a woman named Chang-O. She was very beautiful and clever, but she was also very inquisitive. Her husband, Hou Yi, was a gifted marksman. With his arrows, he could bring down any foe."
Spock wondered if Nyota realized that her speech patterns had changed. Her almost singsong inflection was another echo from another time, another planet, another woman. The recognition was painful, but he found, upon inspection, that he did not wish for her to cease.
"One day, the Emperor called on Hou Yi to use his abilities to protect mankind. Hou Yi succeeded, and the Emperor rewarded him with the Elixir of Everlasting Life. He warned Hou Yi that he must prepare himself for immortality with one year of fasting and prayer.
"Hou Yi hid the Elixir in his home. When he went away again, Chang-O found it, and its light and beauty made her so curious that she decided to swallow it."
Nyota smiled at him and lay back on the blanket they had brought with them, tugging gently on his arm. He lay down beside her, tilting his face towards hers as she continued to watch the moons.
"Her husband returned home and began to scold her for being too curious, but Chang-O flew out the window and into the sky. Hou Yi chased her halfway across the heavens before the wind forced him to return home to Earth. But Chang-O landed on the Moon, and couldn't get back down.
"So Hou Yi built himself a palace on the sun, and once a year, he can visit his wife on the Moon. On that day, the Moon is bright and full."
She looked at him from the corners of her eyes before turning her face towards his.
Spock had many observations about the nature of the legend, but as Nyota twined her fingers through his, he found that there was only one that he wished to make.
"It is a lovely story."
Nyota smiled and shifted closer to him, her body curled towards his. "My Grandmother told it to me when I was a little girl. She heard it while she was gathering folktales for the Human Legacy Project. I used to sit out on the balcony of our apartment and look at the moon, and pretend to tell Chang-O about…" she shrugged one shoulder and turned her eyes towards the moons "…about all the things I thought she'd understand. Curiosity. The unknown." She looked back at him with a teasing grin. "Men."
Spock smiled softly before he turned his face away from her, back towards the sky.
Perhaps Beylix's moons seemed ominous only because they had no symbolic associations. It was illogical to assign emotional value to such impersonal objects, yet Vulcans had legends and they had religion. Vulcan itself had had several creation myths. None of them were perceived as fact, of course; like all planets, Vulcan's origins were purely scientific. However, such myths could be beneficial in other ways.
"We Vulcans must adapt to our new planet," he said aloud. "Perhaps we should develop our own legends about our moons."
They were both silent for a moment.
Nyota raised their joined hands to her mouth and slowly, gently, kissed each of his fingers. He watched her lips graze his knuckles, her eyes lowered, her skin soft and cool. She drew herself against his side, her body shifting to accommodate his, her face tilted into the hollow of his neck.
"Once upon a time," she whispered, and her breath sent shivers over his skin, "there were two brothers. Although they had an entire planet to themselves, they always fought. They fought because…?"
She trailed off, and he waited for her to continue. When she did not, he tilted his head carefully to look down at her, and found her watching him, her eyebrows raised in an expression of expectation.
Spock was about to protest that he did not know how such stories were meant to proceed. However, as he turned his face back to the moons, he found himself answering her beginning.
"One brother was unfailingly logical," he intoned, attempting to recreate her inflection. "The other was ruled by passion and need."
He could hear the smile in her voice as she took up the story again. "The logical brother said…"
The words came more easily this time.
"'It is logical for us to divide this planet equally. Then we will have no cause to fight between ourselves.'"
"But the passionate brother said…"
Spock shifted onto his side, his body curved towards hers. He caressed her hand, still joined with his, and touched his forehead to hers.
"'I must have the entire planet to myself. I cannot share it.'"
Nyota moved her other hand to the side of his face, tracing his jaw and cheekbone with her thumb before curling her palm against the side of his neck, burying her fingertips in his hair. He closed his eyes and let his body relax under her touch.
"They fought until their weapons were destroyed," she murmured. "And then they fought with their hands. Finally, the passionate brother threw his logical twin into the sky."
She shifted closer and kissed the corner of his mouth.
"But the passionate brother realized that he could not live without his other half. Distraught, he followed his brother into the heavens. Now they hang in the sky forever, looking down on the planet they share."
Spock opened his eyes to gaze at her, fascinated by the beauty of her face, the curve of her eyelids, the swell of her lips; amazed that she could fit into him so well, and yet still be beside him, outside of himself, complete and completing, touching and touched.
"It is a good legend for Vulcans," he murmured at last.
She smiled, carving new shadows into the green light on her face.
"Yes," she said. "I think it is."