Disclaimer: I don't own. I don't profit.
Special thanks to beta Notes from the Classroom - she's posting new chapters to her terrific fic "Crossing the Equator". Check it out in my faves!
Noyoto put down the soldering iron and flipped a few switches in the cramped access tunnel.
"Computer," said Noyoto, "I seem to have my ears plugged with wax. Please translate into Ferrengi."
"Negative, that phrase would be offensive in the Ferrengi tongue," said the Enterprise's computer. "Translation denied."
Noyoto smiled. Wiping sweat off of his brow, he packed up his tools. The Universal Translator had blown a fuse in Deck 8. He'd spent most of his shift locating the burnout and then repairing it.
Crawling out of the access conduit he was hit with a blast of cold air. The emergency warp coils that helped the ship limp back to Earth were being replaced by more permanent coils. Until then the climate control was still set to cold, and the lights were still dim.
Checking his comm he saw he had a message...and that he had 3 minutes left before the shuttle for the repair crew returned to Earth. He broke into a jog. He'd had enough camping for a long time - and this time he wouldn't have anyone to help him keep his bed warm.
He made it into the shuttle with 30 seconds to spare.
He checked the message. Not surprisingly it wasn't from T'Spock; it was from Kirk. He scanned the note quickly. "Just to let you know, your girlfriend testified in my defense. I'm cleared of charges of mutiny. Garrovick has asked me to serve on the USS Republic...I'm a Lieut now, Lieut. Given the circumstances, being demoted from 1st isn't so bad."
Grinning, Noyoto typed back fast with his thumbs as the shuttle cleared for liftoff. "I'll make Lieut Com before you. Capt Pike made me com officer of the Enterprise." And then he hit send.
His mood was surprisingly light. Which it shouldn't be. His...girlfriend...lover...friend was leaving him...but he couldn't bring himself to be depressed about it. It had weighed on him for a few hours this morning, and then that weight had suddenly lifted. He was convinced there might be a gas leak of some sort in the conduit that was making him happy.
His girlfriend...lover...friend was leaving him. He should be depressed.
But nope. He wasn't. For some reason, he couldn't quite believe it.
As the shuttle settled to Earth in Starfleet's hangar he wondered if maybe the human brain was only equipped to handle so much trauma and then proceeded to block any bad news out. But that didn't seem right.
"You look happy," said a pretty Eurasian tech he had never seen before.
He blinked. He was actually smiling from ear to ear. "I think there was a gas leak in the power conduit in Deck 8."
Laughing, she said, "Wish I'd been there with you," and winked.
...an open invitation if he ever heard one, one that he should really take, given the circumstances.
Instead his face went hot and his smile vanished. She was cute, but she wasn't T'Spock. Who wasn't his anymore, if she ever was...
But no...she was...no had been.
His brow furrowed as the shuttle door opened. He unbuckled his seat belt and looked over once more at the pretty tech. "Maybe I'll see you around," he said.
She looked confused, or disappointed...he didn't have time to think about it.
He had to get out that door because...T'Spock was waiting for him. He knew it like he knew the next breath he took would fill his lungs.
He was up out of his seat and out the door a few seconds later. From the top of the stairs by the shuttle he scanned the hangar. The lighting was dim and the floor was almost empty. Steam from coil exhaust filled the air. No T'Spock. He blinked. Was he losing his mind?
"Hey, you looking for someone?" said the pretty tech at his side. How had she gotten there?
"Uh, no, no," said Noyoto, and then he practically ran down the steps. He left the main walkway suddenly wanting to be alone.
He was so sure T'Spock would be here. Shaking his head, he passed between two shuttles and drew to a stop.
An old man with, very tall despite slightly stooped shoulders, was walking ahead of him, arms clasped behind his back. Even from behind, his pointed ears gave away his heritage. Noyoto knew that the hangar had been utilized by some of the refugees; perhaps the old gentleman had gotten lost?
"Excuse me, Sir," said Noyoto. "Can I help you?"
The old man turned, and Noyoto blinked; it was Spock, the Spock.
Spock stood a little straighter and came forward. "I do not believe we have been introduced."
"Lieutenant Uhura, Sir," said Noyoto. "Communications."
Spock blinked. "Nyota Uhura?"
Noyoto tilted his head, suddenly understanding the Romulan Doctor Anil's obscure comment, there was no he. "Almost, Sir. That would have been my name if I'd been born a girl - but my father thought it was too feminine for a boy. It's Noyoto, Sir."
"Ahhh..." said the old Vulcan dropping his head. "From the New Swahilli, meaning nova."
"Yes, Sir," said Noyoto. He looked on the old man with compassion. All Vulcans had lost a world; this man had lost an entire universe.
"Things are a bit different here, aren't they, sir?" Noyoto said.
"Indeed," said Spock, lifting his head. Was that a bit of a twinkle in his eye?
Noyoto smiled, "And I'm guessing I was quite a bit different in your universe."
"Quite," said the old Vulcan - or half Vulcan, his lips pulling at the corners. "As different as I seem to be from your T'Spock."
Noyoto looked up at the ceiling. "I don't know if I want to know too much about what I am like as a woman."
"Would it insult your masculinity if I said you were quite lovely?" said Spock.
Noyoto met the old man's eyes; they glinted with mischievousness. Shaking his head, Noyoto said, "No, no, not at all."
Spock raised an eyebrow, the slight smile on his face widening just a bit more.
"Well, maybe just a little," Noyoto admitted sheepishly.
Nodding, the Vulcan added, "And she was a very dear friend."
That was when Noyoto caught the past tense. "I'm sorry, Sir."
Spock just shook his head.
T'Spock's voice sounded from behind. "Lieutenant Uhura?"
Noyoto turned. T'Spock stood a few meters behind him, arms at her side, her face flushed slightly green. She seemed a bit out of breath. Noyoto's mind went to other times he'd seen her flushed between the sheets and felt himself go warm.
T'Spock came forward. "I tried to meet your shuttle when it landed, but I was detained by Captain Pike."
"Oh," said Noyoto. She had tried to meet him - although they hadn't planned anything. Just like he'd been imagining on the shuttle.
She took a step closer. "Number One has been commissioned as Captain of the Excelsior."
"I see," said Noyoto, not sure he did.
"Captain Pike has asked me to be First Officer aboard the Enterprise," said T'Spock.
Noyoto tilted his head, almost annoyed. He wanted to scream, just tell me if you're leaving or not, woman? And then it hit him, if she wasn't, did it matter? Didn't Vulcan couples spend years apart, joined only by a mental bond?
"I accepted," said T'Spock.
Noyoto found his jaw getting tight with impatience.
"Congratulations," said Spock. "I served under Pike for many years. It would be fascinating to compare notes," said Spock, stepping closer to them.
Looking to him, T'Spock said, "Indeed, it would be at some later time." She looked back at Noyoto.
"I quite enjoyed speaking to our mother," said Spock. "It has been a long time since I have enjoyed her company. And I hear you carry our father's katra."
T'Spock looked at Spock. "I do. I am sure we have much to discuss."
"It is a pity that we could not speak at the Embassy, but I was detained by Starfleet Intelligence after I registered," said Spock drawing slightly closer.
"Indeed," said T'Spock nodding her head towards him.
Noyoto ground his teeth. To hell with Vulcan propriety. "And? Are you going through with it? Are you going to bond with …" He lifted his hand and gestured hopelessly towards the ceiling.
"Perhaps I should take this up with you at another time?" said Spock.
"Yes," Noyoto and T'Spock said in unison, both turning their heads to him.
Raising an eyebrow, and, if Noyoto wasn't mistaken, smirking ever so slightly, Spock turned and ambled away. "Fascinating," Noyoto heard the old man say.
Noyoto looked back at T'Spock.
"When I was asked for my bonded status I indicated that I was uncertain," T'Spock said.
"Uncertain?" said Noyoto.
"I believe that is a fair analysis of our situation," said T'Spock looking at the ground. "We have not discussed the matter, and I could not speak for you."
She met his eyes again, a stray strand of hair askew on her brow. "I will not be pressed to bond with anyone until the situation is resolved."
"Until the situation is resolved..." Noyoto said.
"Until we have clarity as to what the situation is between us." T'Spock put her hands behind her back. "There is no rush. If it takes months... or..." She swallowed and seemed to go a little paler. "I understand in some human relationships it take years."
Noyoto stepped closer to her. He reached to smooth the errant hair and caught himself. They were in a public place, even if it was mostly deserted.
T'Spock leaned her forehead into his touch. And suddenly Noyoto felt like his heart was tightly wound in rubber bands and any moment he might burst. No, T'Spock might burst.
"I don't think it will take years..." he said softly. He realized he'd already pretty much made up his mind. He felt a weight lift from his shoulders. No, both their shoulders.
He'd already made up his mind. T'Spock looked up at him and he smiled.
I think that this definitely needs a bridge scene! So I actually have one more chapter to write.