TEN


"If the full moon loves you,
why worry about the stars?"
- Tunisian Proverb


#Petals

DAHLIA

She ran.

She ran as quickly as she could through the crowds of pedestrians walking in the opposite direction. There were loud protests but she paid no heed to them, her mind concentrating on arriving on time. When the station came into view, she slowed to a fast walk. She straightened her shirt and smoothed her hair, tucking a loose strand behind her ear and smiled at a person passing by.

The station was crowded. She craned her neck, her eyes searching solely for one person. She unconsciously clapped her hands when she spotted him, taking a deep breath to call out to him. But she stopped when her eyes perceived the scene before her with clarity.

Spock was on the platform at the transport station, in uniform, holding his suitcase. His back to her. Nyota stood by him, her head tilted backwards, her dark hair trailing behind her. Spock nodded and Nyota smiled. The brilliance of her smile and the sincerity behind it had Dahlia swallowed the turmoil that began to expand within her.

Even from this distance, Dahlia could identify the apparent way they were both completely comfortable with the other's presence. But it was understandable. Nyota had been a part of Spock's life for years. They had been together through hardships and a disastrous life that had made them go through fateful tragedies together. They had history together. They always will.

Dahlia stayed frozen, her eyes resting on the couple. A silent tear slid down her cheek and she made no move to wipe it away. It would fall or dry out. That's just the way it is. When the robotic voice boomed around them, signaling it was time to board, Nyota stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Spock's neck.

She saw the way he stiffened and hesitated before he returned the gesture. They held each other close. Nyota opened her eyes and found hers. They held each other's gazes.

Dahlia glared at Nyota. She felt, for some indefinable reason, that the woman had taken something from her, something that she had wanted all along…

Something.

Something.

Him…

And she knew it, because she smiled.

xx

NYOTA

She was too tired to sleep.

Rain pattered against the window, its gentle rhythm keeping sleep at bay. Nyota could see raindrops trickle down through the gap in the curtain where she hadn't quite closed it properly, light fracturing as it shone through from the street light outside.

She was warm; the comforter swaddled around her, wrapped around her shoulders. She moved her head, resting more profoundly on her pillow and willing herself to close her eyes.

The rain began to hit the window pane harder, and she let a sigh loose into the room. She slipped out from between the sheets and picked up her robe from the floor, pulling it on. She'd left the heat on overnight, just on low, but it was still cool.

Her steps were quiet as she made her way to her window. She felt a cool breeze move around her from the opening and she reached forward, ready to close it and crawl back into bed. But she froze when her eyes caught the incredulous person lying unmoving on the muddy ground outside. The relentless rain poured over the person's unsheltered form and when lightning fractured again, the immense glow revealed the person's features.

Dahlia.

Nyota, petrified, quickly went out the door, down the stairs and opened the main building's door as she ran outside. The cold, frigid rain poured over her uncaring in her unprotected state. She was breathing hard as her eyes searched for Dahlia. When lightning lit the sky again, her eyes found her on the ground.

Her feet padded noisily against the earth. Her feet numb, not feeling the sharp, freezing ground beneath her as she ran toward Dahlia. When Nyota reached her she poised her two fingers on the side of her neck to feel for a pulse. It was slow, faint and she was dangerously cold. Nyota smoothed her hands over Dahlia's chest, ready to begin compressions when a startled scream stopped her.

Surprised, Nyota stumbled back. Her hands resting on the ground as she tried to balance herself. Dahlia's eyes were open wide, staring at her. "Dammit, Uhura! You can't just do that! I was this close in pissing myself!"

Nyota took a moment to process Dahlia's words before she rolled her eyes and gave out a relieved, frustrated laugh. "Dahlia! What on earth are you doing out here lying on the floor during a storm? I thought you were dead!"

"What are you talking about? I'm fine! I just like being out during a storm. By the way, you were getting pretty handsy there with my boobs," Dahlia said, running her hand through her tangled, wet hair. Thunder rumbled in the distance, lightening flashed, and illuminated her features.

"I was trying to save your life!"

"By touching my boobs."

Nyota closed her eyes for a moment, took a deep breath and stood up from her position. At times, she wondered what Spock ever saw in Dahlia. He was calm, controlled and radiated authority while Dahlia was the embodiment opposition of him. It completely rendered her appalled. It speculated her how different Spock was to Dahlia, but yet he saw something within her, something that had faltered his restraint.

"Fine, stay out here for all I care," Nyota huffed, holding a levelled gaze with her before turning around and walking away. After a few seconds, she heard shuffling, footsteps padding noisily against the ground before she saw a flash of blonde hair in the corner of her eye.

Both woman stayed silent as Nyota led the way back to her quarters. To say the situation was awkward was a complete understatement. She wasn't sure what she was doing, allowing the young woman who had taken the only essential thing in her life away from her to accompany her back to her apartment. Things just didn't make sense anymore. Not after he left her.

Once permitting her entrance, both of them stayed silent for a moment. Nyota leaned against the wall, her eyes trained on the young cadet. It would be inane to deny the fact that she was stunning. Even in her disheveled state, with her hair tangled and wet, her skin blotchy and her lips turning a slight purpled color, she still managed to look beautiful. But Nyota knew that it was far more than her appealing features that captured her Spock's attention. She had to discover what was so differential about the young cadet. What did she have that she didn't?

"Have you spoken to Spock?" Dahlia asked, her eyes darting to the ground. Nyota's eyes slightly widen in contemplation, wondering where the playful, mischievous young woman she had witnessed earlier had gone. "Is he ...is he in good health?"

"Yes, I believe so," Nyota answered, her voice soft, distant. "I have not spoken to him since his departure."

"Oh, I thought ..." Dahlia trailed off. She absently smoothed her hands over her arms, trying to warm herself. Wordlessly, Nyota handed her a towel. "I saw you with him before he boarded the craft. I thought you two reconciled."

Pause. "No. No, we did not." Nyota crossed her arms over her chest, her eyes swept over her living area. They lingered on the plant that rested by the window. Dahlia followed the direction of her gaze and stepped forward.

Nyota silently watched the young cadet's fingers graze delicately over the purple petals, the plant fluttering downwards. It had drooped, as if mourning the lost of the sun's rays and the alien planet that inhabitant it.

"The rikka flower. It's very beautiful. It's native to Taresia and has a soothing fragrance. The Taresians apply essence of rikka flowers to the forehead before resting. Was it a gift?" Dahlia asked, her voice unusually morbid, soundless. A light flashed through her window, lighting her quarters in brilliance, before it faded back to the dreary darkness.

"Yes, it was from ..." it was her turn to trailed off, not knowing how to proceed. But the way Dahlia tilted her head to the side, her hair trailing over her shoulder, she didn't need to continue.

"They are primarily used the Taresian traditional way but they are a variety ways to use the plant. You can mix the petals in your herbal tea to use it as a sleeping device. I had done a project using the plant in differential scenarios in how one can determine - " Nyota slowly tuned her out, her eyes gazing toward the window.

Lightening flashed again, then again, and again, illuminating Dahlia's silhouette. It finally ceased before rain began to pour with urgency, pounding against her window pane. Nyota shifted her weight, her eyes trailing over the young cadet as she continued to talk animatedly of her discovery of the complexity of the plant. In rare moments, such as this one, she saw something in Dahlia. She knew the young woman was exemplary in the science department, being a beneficial aide to Spock. Even though at times, many people questioned her profession in Starfleet and her new assigned position on the USS Enterprise at such a young age, Nyota knew that she was an admirable student.

When her eyes focused on the plant again, Nyota was granted the bittersweet memory of Spock returning from one of his off planet missions and gifting her with a silent offering of his affections. It had been before they he had met Dahlia, before the destruction of her heart, the downfall of her future with Spock. The memory always surfaced when she glimpsed at the flower. Why was she still in possession of it?

Suddenly, Nyota caught Dahlia's eyes for a moment. Her gaze was familiar and Nyota recognized the emotion hidden in her eyes, the same way she recalled the young cadet had seen her with Spock at the station before his departure.

"When you saw us at the station, I wanted to reconciled, despite the pain he had caused me," Nyota stated carelessly. Her interruption rendered Dahlia speechless. A tense silence befell.

Even though the grief he had bestowed upon her, with his heedless confession, she would have reunited with him in a heartbeat. But it wasn't that simple. It just wasn't for her. He wasn't for her.

"He refused."

"Why?" Dahlia asked. If it had not been for the slight tilt of her head, the small lighting provided by her newsvid monitor, Nyota would not have witnessed the tear that fell silently down her cheek.

"Because I'm not you."

Dahlia's eyes widened. Shocked and surprised were evident in her features before they morphed into one of empathy and confusion. "I was certain that you and him ...I mean he wanted something serious and I ..I'm not sure if I'm ready for something like that. I've been used to being on my own for so long, I just don't know how to be with someone. When I saw both of you, the way you were both so comfortable and content with the other I..." Her eyes drifted to the flower again.

"You were sad." It wasn't a question. Dahlia nodded mutely. Nyota tilted her head, her eyes slightly narrowing. She remembered the times she had glimpsed the young cadet in the corridors, the mess hall and at the bar. Dahlia's laughter and mischievous eyes mocked Nyota as they echoed in her mind. "You didn't look sad."

"Makeup helps."

There was a slight tug at the tip of her lips but Nyota hardened her mouth in a firm line before shaking her head, rolling her eyes. She stepped forward, her hands clasped loosely on her shoulders in a self embrace.

"I love Spock. I will always love him and ... I want him to be happy. We respected each other. Admired each other's talents. We became friends and for me, respect and admiration grew more sincere but ...it just wasn't meant to be. Even after everything, I cannot regret him. I love him and I need to know ...I need to know that your love for him is true. I have seen the way he looks at you, when he thinks your not looking," Nyota swallowed the tears that threaten to overcome her. She took a deep breath. "When you are around Dahlia, he looks at little else."

Dahlia stepped forward, her arms outstretched in a silent offer of comfort but Nyota instantly stumbled back. Dahlia, understanding, kept her distance. "I never meant to hurt you Uhura. It had never been my intention to ruin ..." she lifted her shoulders before releasing them in resignation. "I love him. I do. And it took me some time to figure that out. I accept him for who he is. He will never be neither fully Vulcan or Human. He will always be someone of two worlds and that's what makes him special, unique. It makes him Spock. I can't and will never ask him to change. He needs his emotions as much as he needs his logic. He needs both."

Nyota is stricken by her words, by the deep significance behind them. Even though her statement was truthful, she realized the harsh reality of her situation. She had persisted Spock to be someone he couldn't completely be. She had asked for too much. In her ignorant state, she had blindly tried to alter him to act more human instead of relishing his distinctiveness.

"He accepts me for who I am, too. I'm just not a pretty face to him. It's like he sees me, the real me. He sees so much more. I know we are different, believe me I know. I don't know how to explain it but...it's not our purpose to become each other. It is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other for what we are, each other's opposite and complement."

Nyota's gaze is solely on the flower. There is another pause.

"I know I have no right to ask or assume, but do you know when he'll return?"

She doesn't answer immediately. She can feel Dahlia's impatience, but the young woman remained silent despite the rapid shift of her body. "I don't know the specific day, but I believe he'll return some time this week." She took a deep breath. Dropping her hand from her arm, she touched the edge of the pot, letting her bare fingers dance along the rough edge. "When an opportunity arises, do not waste it Dahlia. You let him go once, don't make the same mistake again."

Hesitantly, Dahlia nodded before turning around and walking away. Nyota dazed out for a moment, wandering aimlessly in thought before her gaze rested on Dahlia again.

"Before you go, I just need you to do something for me." Dahlia paused, looking over her shoulder toward Nyota. This time she let her tears fall freely down her face.

"Make him happy."

There is nothing else to be said. Dahlia exited without another word, leaving Nyota to contemplate with her thoughts alone. Her fingers trailed over the petals silently, plucking each one slowly. She gazed at them as they wavered downward on the table. She would put good use to them as Dahlia had told her. Use them to soothe her to sleep. She needed to let go and move on.

As the last petal floated downward ever so slowly, she curled her fingers, feeling cold against her skin.


"Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go, but rather learning to start over."
-Nicole Sobon