Disclaimer: Star Trek is not my world, just a place I go to play.
Author's Notes: If 'Twilight' was 'Pride and Prejudice', and 'The Lion King' was 'Hamlet', then this is 'The Great Gatsby'. From green light to green blood.
Beta'd by Miranda River, read her epic Spock/Uhura tale, 'Nar'.
Chapter 1 - Incendiary
Nibiru. My dream begins with Nibiru. And Spock is already burning; Prime Directives, Cold Fusion and a swirling mass of heat and lava and rock, a burning garden, roiling on top of itself. I have to watch. I am communications officer. It is my job to listen and wait, to hear what, if anything, will happen. Perhaps they will decide to save the man I claim to love, the man who claims to love me. Perhaps.
What would Spock do if he were here? Would he let them die? Would he let me die if our roles were reversed? He had not let Sarek die. He had not let Kirk die. Still, I say nothing and they do nothing but watch as the fusion process renders him inert: a stone man in an ice volcano with a cracked heart, casting shadow on billowing rocks, the way wind does on sea.
I wake, my body jerking, with sweat that sticks my sheets in an awkward tangle. I am lying in the same bed with the man I love and I wake to find him alive, lyre by his side, green blood flowing in his veins, knowing he could have died, but he is mine. I am in love with him. I am. He occupies my mind as I do his but my heart is a mess.
They say 'the final frontier' is out there, in deep space. I think it's in here, in the minds and eyes of lonely voyagers like me, trying to make a place for ourselves in a Universe which keeps expanding.
I get up and walk through my dim quarters, fresh lilac and rose, fragile and bound into the ship. I want windows, open and gloaming, and hot fresh air. I tap on the console and a breeze blows through, rustling the beads hanging from my ceiling at one end and out the other, twisting them up towards my starry ceiling, pouring over the grass-coloured rug like pale ghosts.
Four months into a five-year mission to seek out new worlds, new life, new civilisations. We're going but I'm not at all sure if we're going boldly. We're going tentatively, carefully. The ship is full of cautious people. We have been crushed too many times. So many crew wanted reassignment back in San Francisco, and I don't blame them. A deathtrap they called it, a death magnet. First Nero, then Khan. I don't blame them, I have to call things as they are. This is no longer my 'ship of dreams'. I have lost too many friends and comrades upon it, felt and watched life ebb away from those I love. There is despair in the conduits. It is as though the ship itself is scared, even our captain has died and lives in a thrift shop life, bought for him by Bones.
The only completely stationary object in my room is my boyfriend. He is seated in bed now, solid, nigh immoveable, simply watching me. The way he stares, I have a startling notion he hears my thoughts.
How long has he been awake and how long has he been watching?
"My judgment contravenes yours. I am doubtful that is the case." He moves ever so slightly, deliberately towards me, calculating my response, listening to my body, not really listening to me.
"And doubt is the beginning of all knowledge?" I can hear the antagonism creeping into my voice. In the sight of a Vulcan, I have lost this argument before it has even begun.
"From your facial expression, I surmise that you are angry with me. I do not understand the reason why. Perhaps if you relay the subject of your nightmare..." He moves out of the bed, fluid and agile, and stands. Whenever we disagree he moves to stand. Does he realise he does this? That he faces me as though we are warriors, about to duel.
"I don't want to talk about it." I fold my arms.
"Nyota, I heard you say the word 'Nibiru'."
He pauses. His gaze pierces me as it always does. He knows the answer but he is not replying. It's infuriating. Is this what other people feel? This splicing awkwardness.
"Your skin, you are too hot." I rub my temples, prickly irritation is overwhelming me. I am the tired that cannot sleep.
"Please, elaborate." He takes another step forward.
"I can't sleep."
"You fell asleep reading... I have explained to you that this unsettles the mind and does not provide restive sleep." Another step.
"How would you know, you barely sleep?" I move back. I know what he wants to do. He wants to touch me. I don't, at this precise moment, want to be touched. There's an irony in there somewhere.
"I can survive numerous days without it." He moves again. The space that was between us, the lilac ocean of fluorescent light is gone.
"So why are you here? Why do you still come and stay with me, to watch me toss and turn?" I look up at him defiantly. He wants close, I get close, in his face, my expression full of bile.
"I simply prefer to spend my off-duty hours in your presence. We have had an unspoken agreement and I have believed prior to this conversation that my presence has been a source of comfort to you." His body language doesn't change but his words get faster, this means agitation, this is the closest he can get to shouting.
I don't say anything. I can't see around him. I take a step back, and another. My back is against a wall. It is cold against me, this ship, suffocating me a little more every day, suffocating us. The same walls, the same corridors, ladders, bridge, engine room and the same damn Captain and crew having the same conversations in a mess hall which serves the same food.
I go to my room and reset to live the life I lived the day before. I don't even dare to say it, to think that perhaps, this dream has become a nightmare. And I don't even think he can tell. There's a desperateness in me, a frantic desire to connect the way we did before, on Earth. These light-days and light-nights have put so much distance between us.
"Would you prefer it if I went to my quarters, Lieutenant?" Slower now. As slowly as if he were speaking to me on the bridge about something completely lacking in urgency. I want to throttle him. Lieutenant? Lieutenant? He cannot hide behind that mode of address, the very British way politeness can be swapped for a slap in the face.
He masks his annoyance with me poorly now. And I am reminded at moments like this. Ever since Khan and the near-death of Kirk and the grief. I forget we were happy for a time, for the moment which was a year in our lives back in San Francisco, working at the Academy, working to help with the rebuilding effort in the city, with recruitment, with the xeno-linguistics department. Dining in public. Feeling like a couple.
I had not expected deep space to be like this. While his friendship with Kirk flourishes, our relationship dwindles. We are a dying light. Or it feels to me as if it's disappearing. Everything is. Earth recedes. The candle dies.
"If you want to go, then go." I watch the words form an ocean between us, filling the room with water that neither can cross. I turn away, and step into the bathroom. I let myself sigh. I am a helium balloon, floating up into an atmosphere made up of tears. I am a distant planet. I am surrounded by Klingon warriors, with only my words for comfort. I am alone in the dark.
His arms are strong around me. They anchor me to the ground, they pull me down from the sky. No one should float so high, or so wild. No one should be an island. No planet should be without allies.
We do not speak.
I am afraid. I am afraid of losing him again. And of losing myself. And that is what the dreams are telling me. I dread a time we will not be together. I dread the thought that we will be separated by events so much bigger than us, or worse, by events within us, the anomalies of the heart.
I want to be together.
I want to be you and me.
I don't want you to burn alone.
He grips me tight and I let the tears fall. Finally, allowed to cry, to be weak, to be frail and illogical. To be. This is me. This is what I am on the inside. Under the toughened shell. When the nightmare is so close, too close, and the threat of expulsion is too great, this is who I am.
He knows that already. He has known it for years. Since the moment we first melded, and I revealed to him my darkest secret, the death of my Uncle and the way I saved my parents' lives. When he kissed me then, I had felt whole.
I turn to him in the dark bathroom. He holds me but I cannot feel his arms. I am numb. He presses my body close, chest bare, skin hot to the touch. He is already burning. He always has been.
There is nothing irrational about my fear that Spock will die. He launches himself into the threat of death without a moment's thought. He doesn't think of me first. He doesn't think of how I will survive, of the person I will change into after the grief of losing him has finished with me.
I let him touch my forehead with his own. I let him touch my mind with his fingers. I know what he wants.
"Your mind to my mind. Your thoughts to my thoughts."
A fake calm comes over me. A calm that does not belong to me. I am a rushing, screaming, battling creature. This is how I have always been, dynamic. I am not a soft, near-silent sway on a ripple-less lake surface. I am not harmonious piano keys, flowing one after the other. I am discordance. Or at least I feel like discordance. And slowly, I melt, following his calm. It is a lake and I want to dive in, to sleep in it.
There are pale colours here, shimmering. I float on them, buoyed up away and away from the troubled thoughts which have plagued me. This is what his meditations look like. What a wonderful spectroscopic mirage, this meld has become. I feel myself beginning to let go of hurt, of rage, of frustration...
"Commander Spock, this is Kirk. Come in, Spock." A brittle voice fills the air: James. He cracks and splinters the calm, drying all the wet places. Spock reaches for the wall console, pulling me out of deep deep water, onto parched land.
I am afraid instantly. Nothing hits a person as fast as fear, not even phaser-fire. I am terrified of what Kirk's communication has stopped and I am so angry at him I could punch the wall. He stands between us, his voice, his resurrected form, his Captaincy. I am not ready to be in the dry place alone. I have not taken my fill of the calmness in Spock's mind.
"Commander, the bridge needs you."
"May I inquire as to the reason of this 'need', Sir?" To question a direct command is so unlike Spock. It tells me he does not want to go. It tells me he is afraid too.
"All I can say is there's something up here you're going to want to see!"
"Captain, I doubt that you can determine the degree to which I will 'want' anything. However, I will be with you, shortly."
Spock kisses my forehead, barely looking at me. His lips, still orgastic, hold a promise that now eludes me. We hold each other tight for one more moment. And like a doused flame, he is gone.
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