Good-Night Rituals


Notes: Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own on January 7, 2013 at /works/628015. Thank you to aduviri for cheerleading, and to merisunshine36 for a fantastic beta job. Any mistakes that remain are my own. Spock and Uhura mix some Swahili and Vulcan in with their English when they speak to each other. On AO3, you'll get a translation if you hover your cursor over any non-English text; on FFN, we must settle for a complete glossary in the end notes.


Spock settled himself on his back in bed as he always did, his fingers laced together on his bare stomach. Nyota, having completed her ablutions in his bathroom, slid next to him and laughed. "Wewe kuangalia kama Wednesday Addams," she told him, propped up on one elbow.

Spock turned his head to look at her. She looked different but no less appealing with her cosmetics scrubbed away and her hair in a neat plait. She was smiling, just a hint of white teeth glinting between curved lips. Spock found the wrinkles that converged at the corners of her eyes when she was happy to be irrationally pleasing. "I am unacquainted with this 'Wednesday Addams' to whom you refer," Spock said.

"Oh." Nyota smiled again. Spock watched the dip of her long eyelashes as she looked down for a moment, then the graceful movements of her hands as she unfastened the elaborately carved wooden hoops that dangled from each of her earlobes. "The Addams Family was a Terran cartoon from the first half of the twentieth century. It was eventually adapted into a television show, and after that a series of movies. One of the characters was named Wednesday, and she slept like that, only with her arms crossed on her chest, not her stomach; it's the way many Terrans arrange their dead for burial. We can look some references up sometime, if you like, though I don't know if the macabre humor will translate all that well."

Spock considered this. "So long as you do not find the resemblance between the sleeping habits of myself and Wednesday Addams to be a troubling one, it is of no consequence," he said.

"Only momentarily amusing, and not at all troubling," Nyota assured him. She shifted quite close to him, then, and reached across the plane of Spock's chest to deposit her earrings on his nightstand. Instead of withdrawing afterward, Nyota leaned in further. Spock felt the soft curves of her breasts under the borrowed black undershirt she wore press against his arm. Her brassiere was nowhere in evidence. It was a construction of elastic and wire and white lace that, when on her body, somehow made her brown skin seem even browner and more inviting, and which afforded Spock extremely tantalizing hints of her nipples. Spock wondered if Nyota had bothered to retrieve it along with the rest of her clothing, or if it was still draped over the back of his couch.

Nyota's breath was cool and fresh against the corner of Spock's mouth. Spock lifted his chin fractionally and their lips met. Nyota kissed him as though she was thirsty and he was cool water: the gentle presses of their mouths were like little sips that alternated with long, slow, open-mouthed drags. Spock put his hand on her hip and then, when she pulled his lower lip between her teeth in approval, slid his fingers under the hem of the shirt she wore to touch her bare skin. He had been receiving faint impressions of her mood due to her arm flung over his chest, her hand which was now caressing his shoulder and making advances southward in the direction of his nipple, but their mental connection strengthened exponentially when Spock touched her with the tips of his own fingers.

Now Nyota's foremost emotions illuminated Spock's mind. He wondered what it was like for her on the other side of this nascent connection. He wondered if she knew that the warmth of her presence within him was analogous to the inexcusably sentimental feeling of wonder Spock had occasionally experienced while watching a sunrise. Spock spread his fingers wide on Nyota's hip, dug the tips into her flesh just slightly in the manner he'd recently learned she very much enjoyed, and swept his hand thus up the compelling length of her torso. Nyota exhaled an achy whine into Spock's mouth, an involuntary expression of pleasure, and executed what could only be termed a wriggle of her body against his.

Spock had never experienced such vivid or peculiarly organic sensations from transference with another being as he did with Nyota - not with a meld, or through his bonds with his mother and father, or through his long-dissolved bond with T'Pring. Nyota's pleasure and contentment blossomed in Spock's mind like a fountain, and below it the heat of affection rippled outward, ebbing back with what Spock eventually recognized as possessiveness. She was aroused despite her satiation from their marathon exertions earlier in the evening, but her arousal this time was hushed and diffuse, a mist above the waves, and Spock could not sense a particular desire for its resolution.

They kissed and touched and held each other until Spock could feel Nyota's present emotions begin to evaporate into the placid dry heat of her sleepiness. "Nyota," Spock said.

Nyota hummed acknowledgment.

"Ashalnyota, you are fatigued," Spock said. "Let us sleep."

"Pen-nil-bek, Spock," Nyota said. "I'm not done yet." She kissed his mouth once more, then just his upper lip; when she drew away, Spock felt his own lips purse involuntarily and craned his neck to kiss her again.

"Nyota-"

"Ssh." She leaned her forehead against his. "I'm not done. Don't rush me." Spock tried to meet her gaze, but in such close proximity the effort made his eyes cross. Nyota chuckled and withdrew just enough to kiss the tip of Spock's nose, then his cheekbone. Her eyelashes brushed his temple. She bent her head to kiss just under his jaw, ghosted a trail of kisses along it, and then chanced a teasing nip to his earlobe that made his toes curl.

This was part of what Spock had come privately to think of as his and Nyota's good-night ritual, though before tonight it had always been conducted with them both upright in the foyer of Spock's apartment prior to Nyota's departure to her shared quarters in the Academy's graduate housing. Spock would arrange Nyota's scarf around her neck for maximum coverage and conservation of warmth, and would fasten the buttons on her coat. Nyota, in turn, would cup Spock's face in her chilly hands and grace him with kisses, just so, before she would pull on her gloves and set forth on her brief walk back to campus. Spock had been gratified that this routine had not become dull upon repetition, but had instead evolved into something unexpectedly precious to him, and which served to assuage the dissatisfaction he experienced whenever he and Nyota parted ways. It was most agreeable now to lie in his own bed with Nyota and hold her close, to rearrange the undershirt of his that she wore from where he had rucked it up under her armpits and to tug his bedsheet up to their waists, while Nyota kissed him until she had determined, through some perplexing criteria of her own, that Spock had had enough.

Nyota placed a delicate kiss directly between Spock's eyebrows. "Close your eyes, Spock dan-tal-kam," she murmured. "Bolau etek shom."

"You say this," Spock said, closing his eyes obediently, "as though it were your idea, but if you recall it was in fact I who observed that you were tired-"

"Ssh," Nyota said again, but her laughter tangled it and made it "sh-sh-sh" instead. "It's bedtime." She ran her fingers down his cheek, and bent once more to place a single kiss on each of Spock's eyelids. "Time for all little Vuhlkansu-lar to go to sleep."

"I am trying to imagine under what circumstances, given any possible interpretation of the word, you might find it accurate or appropriate to call me 'little'," Spock said. He kept his eyes closed, but was unable to prevent his own small smile, as Nyota dissolved into giggles.

"Hush," she said. She moved away then, settling beside Spock. The shifting of the bed and the little sounds she made indicated that she was arranging a pillow to her own satisfaction and settling comfortably under the bedsheets. She left one hand on Spock's chest: a good compromise between intimacy and practicality, as sleeping 'spooned', with all of the skin-to-skin contact that would ensue, would increase the volume of their exchanged thoughts and feelings. Though not harmful, this would make it difficult for either of them to sleep soundly.

Spock once more settled into his usual retiring attitude, his fingers laced together on his stomach. "Lights, five percent," he said, and then added, "Usiku mwema, Nyota wangu."

"Lala salama, mchumba," she replied.

Spock slept.


FIN


GLOSSARY

Vulcan
(thanks to the Vulcan Language Dictionary)
Ashalnyota - darling Nyota
pen-nil-bek - just a moment
Spock dan-tal-kam - dearest Spock
bolau etek shom - we need to rest
Vuhlkansu-lar - Vulcans

Swahili
(thanks to Google Translate [sorry], and my mother, who is semi-fluent)
Wewe kuangalia kama Wednesday Addams - You look like Wednesday Addams
Usiku mwema - good night
Nyota wangu - my Nyota
Lala salama - sleep well
mchumba - sweetheart, beloved


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