Title: The Morning After.

Author: Linstock

Pairing: Uhura/Spock

Rating: G

Type: Romance.

Warning: Mention of nudity.

AN: Written as Valentine's Day fluff. Sorry it is late but life the universe and everything intervened ... better late than never. Beta-ed by the highly skilled and generous SpockLikesCats.

At first, when she woke, Cadet Nyota Uhura didn't know where she was, just that she felt very, very mellow and the bedroom was unusually warm. She lay in the dry heat, deeply relaxed. As the memories of the night before flooded her mind, her body was equally flooded with feelings of heat and a tight clenching of pleasure deep in her core. Last night had been amazing ... beyond amazing. There were no superlatives to accurately describe the experience; it was beyond her wildest imaginings and her imaginings had been pretty wild.

Still languidly sleepy, Nyota reached out one slender arm and stroked the side of the bed where Spock had lain. She pictured his whipcord-strong, slender body and sighed. Rolling over, she snuggled her face into the pillow where his head had rested. She breathed deeply. His scent was alien, enticing. She had not been consciously aware of this until last night. Maybe he'd perspired a little or maybe she couldn't smell him properly until she had tasted his skin ... as if she'd absorbed his essence through her tongue. She spoke a dozen languages but lacked the vocabulary to describe the scent that was uniquely Spock. He smelled like the feel of a hot sun on skin or a fresh dry breeze after a hot day. She breathed him in ... no words were adequate. She knew beyond a doubt that from now on she would be aware of this scent whenever he was near.

She was fully awake now - and relieved to be in the bed alone.

Nyota slipped naked from the bed. She paused. Her skin and muscles seemed to hold the shadow of Spock's touch and her nipples tightened in response. Tiptoeing over to the bedroom door, she peered into the living area. Spock wasn't there. She craned her neck. He wasn't in the kitchenette. That meant he was in his meditation room. Come to think of it he'd told her he meditated deeply every morning.

With anything like luck she could wash, dress and slip away unnoticed.

Nyota, you are a coward, she told herself, running scared.

No - more a strategic withdrawal, she replied. She was no passive pawn, she had chosen with him, eyes open and knowing what all that it meant. Now she wanted time to think.

Her goal was simple ... postponing the inevitable "What now?" conversation. Yes, she was a communications expert, but sometimes even her abilities were stymied in awkward social situations . "The morning after the night before" was one of the worst, even when she and her lover knew the score - and played by the same rules. This time was worse because she had no idea if this was a beginning or an ending and this time it mattered. She thought it quite probable Spock would say a polite goodbye this morning and send her on her way ... only now she'd know exactly what she was missing. She wasn't ready. She wanted the possibility for a few more hours.

She grabbed her underwear off the floor, slipped into the bathroom and had the quickest shower of her life. Emerging from the bathroom clad in briefs and bra, only half dry, her hair in a messy, lopsided topknot with little wet tendrils clinging to her neck, she found her skirt tangled in the sheets and pulled it on, or tried to. It clung obstinately to her damp skin. Tugging it into place she began frantically struggling with its fastening with one hand while she sorted through the wreckage of the bed for her turtleneck with the other - all the while cursing under her breath. A pair of strong hands gently moved her hand and fastened the skirt's closure. Nyota snapped rigidly upright, her back to him, bowing her head slightly ... busted, no escaping now.

Spock didn't say anything. He was standing close enough that she could feel his body heat. Uhura just wanted to lean back a little and rest against him. Instead she straightened, took a firm hold of her dignity, and turned around.

Spock stood regarding her, his face impassive. The silence felt warm and heavy. He seemed completely comfortable. God, he was gorgeous. He wore a loose-flowing meditation robe of soft silk. At first Nyota thought it was plain dark grey, but she saw a subtly woven, intricate design that showed only when he moved and the light caught the patterned fabric.

Finally, stupidly, she said, "I don't know what to say."

In a very soft voice he said, "Then perhaps it is best if we don't say anything."

Spock lowered his head until their foreheads touched. He'd told her this gesture was particularly intimate to a Vulcan, more so than the human kiss. He wasn't acting like someone having second thoughts. Uhura released a long slow sigh of relief, and placed her hands lightly on his hips, just above the jut of his hipbones. Spock ran his hands up her forearms until he cupped and supported her elbows as if gauging the weight of her confusion.

Slowly he moved his head, following the line of her cheek and neck. He didn't touch her until they stood with their heads resting in the crook of each other's shoulders. He placed his arms gently around her, the soft silk of his meditation robes delicate against her skin. His fingers worked slowly up her spine, pressing firmly but gently; she was aware suddenly of how stiffly she was holding herself and relaxed against his touch. Finally his hands rested on her shoulders. Spock stilled, straightened and looked at her in quiet contemplation.

Nyota decided there was no right way to have this conversation, so just start it, right or wrong. "I thought you'd deem last night illogical. I expected rejection. "

"For two years, seven months and six hours, I was conflicted, struggling with what action to take; seeking a logical path. Having decided, I took actions that cannot be revoked. It is logical and necessary for us to explore that which is between us - the only illogic would be not to do so. To that end I initiated the events of last night. I consider it a most satisfactory beginning."

"I am glad you found it satisfactory," said Nyota with some asperity.

"Now I have unintentionally offended you. I simply want you to understand that, for me, there is no conflict; the time for struggle is finished. There is a clear path which I will follow to its logical conclusion."

"And what is its logical conclusion?"

"That remains to be seen. However, I find the prospect of what may yet occur ... fascinating."

Nyota shifted, feeling somewhat awkward under his intense gaze. She was suddenly very aware of him, fully clothed while she wore only her bra and skirt; it felt uneven, provocative … but not unpleasant.

Spock turned, felt amongst the sheets briefly and picked up her jumper. He held it out to her as a mother would to a child, turned half inside out, ready to slip on. She slid her hands into the sleeves and he pulled the garment over her head, tugging it down once so it fitted neatly to her waist. He undid the messy knot atop her head and combed his fingers through the long strands, gently loosening the tangles.

Uhura pulled back from him, her face clearly showing her perplexity. "I don't know how to say goodbye to you."

Gazing at her, Spock tipped his head slightly to one side in that birdlike way he had when he was trying out an idea.

"It is not my intention to say 'goodbye'." He continued, softly, "Standard is such an imprecise language. A single word such as 'goodbye' covers such a vast array of meanings yet fails to delineate the subtle differences in various forms of parting. Instead a listener must rely on context to correctly interpret the meaning. Communication in Standard is thus problematic when nuances are important and open to misinterpretation. Conversely, Vulcan is a very precise language. Vulcans do not say 'goodbye'. "

"Rom-halan?" offered Nyota.

"It is true; rom-halan is the closest to a general leave-taking salutation. It is said between colleagues and carries no overtones of regret at parting or anticipation of reunion. However, there are more than thirty parting salutations; each defines the relationship, the nature of the leave taking and degree of expectation of further meeting."

Nyota was smiling slightly to herself. Spock had slipped into lecture mode; perhaps he wasn't as relaxed as he seemed.

" 'Ko-halan'akitli ' is the word of leave taking said by a male to a female when parting by necessity from one greatly desired with the expectation of being together soon. If the sentiment is reciprocated the response is, 'sa-halan'akitli '."

Nyota looked up at him. "Three years of learning Vulcan and I haven't learned this yet?"

"It is a private salutation."

"And we all know how Vulcans guard their privacy."

"Yes. Also it is in the ancient intimate form, therefore in some disrepute and not widely used. It would most likely have been said between bondmates and yet this is illogical; when bonded, there is no parting."

"Parted from me and never parted," Nyota whispered.

"Yes." Spock lowered his head and kissed her … a soft, lingering promise of a kiss.

Then he picked up her jacket, holding it ready for her to put on. Nyota turned around and slipped her arms into the proffered sleeves and Spock smoothed the jacket over her shoulders as she closed it up. Pulling her toward him gently until her back pressed against his chest, he softly nuzzled the side of her head and spoke, his breath warm against her ear. "Ko-halan'akitli, Nyota."

She straightened and turned towards him, leaning in for a final kiss. Then she walked briskly out of the bedroom across the living room, pausing at the door to pick up her satchel. She turned.

"Sa-halan'akitli, Spock." The words hung in the air. Uhura pressed the touch pad, stepped through, and the door slid shut behind her.


Rom-halan: a parting salutation; good bye (VLD)

Ko-halan'akitli: I made this up from rom-halan and the words below

Sa-halan'akitli: ditto

ko: member of the sex that produces ova or bears young; a woman or girl (noun) (VLD)

aitlu: want, to desire greatly; wish for; to have need(VLD)

sa: male, a person or animal that produces gametes (spermatozoa) that can fertilize female gametes. (VLD)

akali: urgent, compelling action or attention; conveying a sense of pressing importance. (VLD)

AU: This is a blatant grovel for comment. They are the only payment SpockLikesCats and I receive. If this entertained please take a minute and let us know.