Gaila gripes about all the time Nyota suddenly spends in their room with Spock gone, gripes about how she suddenly works at her desk again, gripes her textbooks piled in the space between their beds, and gripes about Nyota griping.
"Are up writing him a message right now?" Gaila asks as she makes her bed, a proclaimed self-defensive measure from a neurotic, inconsolable roommate.
"No." She hurriedly turns her padd away before Gaila can look.
"Padds are translucent."
"Obviously." She drops it on her lap, her hands spread over the screen.
"You two are playing chess."
"You've been doing that all evening."
"Technically, you and I had dinner earlier."
"Which was immeasurably relaxing, since you didn't talk about him at all."
"Give me the padd."
"Admit you miss him."
"Admit you're counting down the minutes until he gets back."
"I don't know when he'll be back," she says glumly, looking down at her padd.
"Your life is so tragic. Calamitous. Piteous. Dire. Catastrophic. Cataclysmic. Disconsolate."
"Are you using big words to make me feel better?"
"Can I get my thesaurus back any time soon?"
He calls her every night when his shift ends and when she's done with classes.
"The video system is working now?" She crosses her legs under her on her desk chair, taking a sip of tea.
"You probably need a better communications officer," she says with a grin, watching him try to not frown. She has heard enough about Lieutenant Hawkins' qualifications from Spock to know he is unimpressed with Captain Pike's choice for the assignment. "How's the rock room?"
"It is challenging to install satisfactorily."
"Are you sure you're not just bummed they don't have any of that horrible Vulcan tea on board yet? That must be testing your patience."
"That is not the absence that wears on my forbearance."
"Oh," she says, starting to smile. "You don't say."
"I believe I just said that."
She laughs, wrapping her hand around her mug of tea, its warmth a poor substitute for his hand.
She misses him when she eats dinner alone when Gaila is busy, and when she eats dinner and Gaila is there, her gentle teasing a small concession to his absence, which she feels so acutely.
She does her homework in her dorm, but it's not the same, and does more homework in the library, but that's even worse, and sometimes works in his office late at night, sitting at her desk and remembering all the hours they've spent there together.
She starts a new game with him while walking home from the gym one evening, her face buried in her padd as she contemplates her opening move. By the time she reaches her room, he's beaten her. She smiles through two Advanced Protologism assignments.
Gaila flops on Nyota's bed next to her that night, wrapping her in a tight, green-limbed hug. "I'm happy for you. And him. And me, when you start spending the night."
"If I ever come back here and Jim Kirk is in my room-"
"I'll make sure to hide him. You'll never even know." Nyota gets a big, smacking kiss on the cheek and a squeeze before Gaila releases her. "Let's talk about if it's green."
"You're green," she frowns.
"No I meant-"
"Oh, please, please don't-"
He calls her during the workday, his voice clipped and brief as he asks her to forward notes for one of his classes a visiting Andorian professor is covering.
He calls her that evening as she walks to chorus practice, and she tells him about the piece they're perfecting, a 16th century Terran composition she thinks he would like and he tells her about his design for the botany labs that he's clearly excited about.
He calls her that night when Gaila is out, and they talk until she falls asleep, his voice the last thing she hears as she drifts off. Her comm's battery has run out by morning, and Gaila declares her unbearably sappy, but lends her a charger since Nyota's is at Spock's apartment, along with her favorite sweatshirt and a pair of her earrings she thinks about going over to get if the notion wasn't so demoralizing, his apartment so hollow and empty without him.
"How're your quarters?" she asks, balancing her comm on the pillow next to her and her padd on her knees. "Are they finished?"
"Yes, construction is complete on the officers quarters, if not on the decks for ensigns and yeomen."
She watches him move a pawn, relaxing deeper into her bed at the sound of his voice, even if it's tinny and seems far away.
"Bet you have your own bathroom," she says, hearing Gaila turn on their sonic shower.
"I heard a rumor that Captain Pike's shower has water." She moves a knight, grimacing when he captures it with his bishop.
"I can substantiate that claim," he replies, as she moves her pawn. "That was an ill advised move."
"I'll forgive you for that comment if you tell me whether you have running water as well."
He pauses and she can imagine his small smile.
She watches him capture her pawn.
"That sounds… useful," she says, moving her rook.
"Entertaining. Enjoyable. Pleasurable."
"Ah," he says, moving his rook two spaces from her own.
"Is that really your move?"
"I find myself unable to conceive of a more strategic tactic at this juncture."
She bursts out laughing as she takes his rook.
"Want me to tell you more about my plans for your shower?"
"I would not be opposed."
"I might just win again."
"While that would be quite manipulative, I find myself willing to overlook such blatant immorality."
"Are you sure you didn't mean blatant debauchery? Depravity? Licentiousness?"
"I can hear you!" Gaila shouts from the bathroom. "Keep going! But use words I know!"
It's easy to forget every interminable moment he's been away when she sees the light on in his office one evening as she walks to dinner after a test, when she opens the door and sees his eyes snap up from his padd the moment he realizes she's there.
"Hi." She lets her gaze trace over him, still in his science blues, his hand poised above his padd where it froze when she spoke.
"I thought you were in an exam," he says, rising from his desk. "I did not wish to disturb you."
"I just finished. I was on my way to dinner." She smiles as he steps closer. "Are you busy?"
He shakes his head and touches the back of her hand, briefly. The heat that jumps between them makes her shiver.
He takes her hand as they walk towards his apartment, and she can feel the brimming anticipation arching between them, simmering underneath their conversation. She missed the way his head tilts towards her as she speaks, the slight changes in his expression as he listens, how redolent and evocative his presence is next to her.
"How was your trip back?" she asks as they step into his building.
"I thought that word had variable definitions," she teases as he unlocks his door.
"I am sure it does."
She dimly hears the door slide shut behind them, but his hand is warm on her cheek, the other at the small of her back, pulling her close to him as he leans down to her. She can feel the bright burst of his happiness through his hand on her skin and his mouth is soft and slow until it's not, a heat dragging at both of them, their anticipation morphing into want as she cards her fingers through his hair, opens her mouth under his, her heart racing in her ears.
When they break apart, his forehead against hers and his hands moving over her arms, her back, down to her hips as he pulls her a little closer, she can see his chess set on the table from the last time she was here. She thinks it may be the first thing she's ever seen him leave out. She likes that his king is missing because it's on her nightstand in her dorm, and she likes that beyond his table is the door to his bedroom, and she likes that his eyes are dark with a heat she hasn't seen before, one that makes her rise on her toes and kiss him again, and again, until his hands are sliding even lower and hers arms are wrapped around his neck.
"Did you want to eat?" she asks against his mouth. She really, really doesn't.
His hands are firm and insistent and she maybe expected him to be shy or hesitant, but he's not and she's not. When he pushes her towards his bedroom, walking her backwards, she slides her hands under his shirts, dimly hearing something loud crash to the floor next to her as they pass his table, as she focuses on the way his stomach jumps under her fingers. She would be embarrassed by the sound she makes when his tongue slides against hers, but she's distracted by scraping her nails up his ribs, pulling his shirts off, and dropping them in a puddle of blue and black on the floor somewhere near his bed, her sweater joining them a moment later. She can feel the dim pull of his consciousness, a twist of yearning and hunger, at the edge of her mind as his fingers brush over her skin, the light connection growing stronger and clearer as his breath speeds up and his touch becomes more purposeful. His hands leave trails of heat everywhere he touches, so that the feeling of his fingers dragging down her back, smoothing across her shoulders and sliding up her thigh blend together in a wash of warmth as he eases her onto the bed.
It's exhilarating having him so close, kissing him, skating her hands up his spine, sweeping her nails along the soft skin above his waistband until he presses his hips into hers. She can feel him, hard, even through layers of fabric, and when she presses back, his breath catches and he pulls his mouth from hers, panting.
His eyes rake over her body when he sits back to remove the rest of her clothes, his eyes dark and huge and she feels herself flush. She reaches for him and his gaze drops to her hands as she unbuckles his belt, unbuttons his pants. She likes the way his hips shift slightly as she pulls the zipper down, likes how he can't seem to help himself from sucking in a deep breath when she pulls the fabric away and wraps her fingers around him, hot and hard and big in her hand. She also likes when he pushes her back down, his hands fisted on either side of her head, then grabs her wrist, pulling her hand off him, shaking his head. She can feel his desperation, the thrill of her touch on him through his fingers twining with hers.
He kisses her again, their mouths hungry and eager, and she feels him push his pants off, hears his boots hit the floor with a thud. She wraps her leg around the back of his thighs, arching against him so that their skin meets, all heat and immediacy, her hands in his hair, scrabbling at his shoulders, sweeping up his back and down to his slim hips.
She tips her face to the side as he kisses her jaw, her ear, down her neck, her breath coming faster as his mouth finds her breasts, and faster still as he kneels, his warm hand drawing her leg over his shoulder, curving around her thigh, sliding under her hips.
She is already trembling, already taut and expectant, already losing any grasp on sense or sanity when his mouth finds her. His hand spreads low over her stomach, holding her shifting hips still, his other pulling her fingers from where she's digging her nails into his shoulder, pressing their palms together, their fingers aligned.
"Oh," she breathes, a potent, intoxicating thrum building inside her, a tightening coil of heat, her already body shivering, and dimly, somewhere, she feels him squeeze her hand, feels him slide two fingers inside her, and then she's gasping, shuddering, arching against him, into his hands, his mouth.
She blinks, feeling slightly boneless, slightly limp, feels him kiss her breast, her collarbone, his hand light as he strokes her flushed chest, her stomach.
"Could you feel that?" she asks, releasing her white knuckled grip on his hand. He nods, pushing his face into her neck, his lips on her jaw, her neck, her ear, as her pulse slows.
She wants to touch him, wants to hear his breathing falter, wants that flush on his cheeks to deepen. She can feel him tense and straining, hard against her thigh, can feel his control wound tight, all rigid, coiled muscles.
"Come here," she says against his ear, drawing her knees up his sides, scraping her fingers through his hair as he presses their hips together, his mouth dropping open as he begins to move.
He is quiet, nearly silent, his forehead against her temple, only the smallest, sharp, inhalation when she draws her legs higher around his waist, rolls her hips into his. A heavy exhale when his hand strokes up her thigh, adjusting her so he can thrust deeper, and she moans at the new angle. It seems to trip something in him, a stutter in his breath as he raises himself on his forearms, his hips working in earnest now, pressing her into the mattress. She watches him close his eyes, feels him press his hand to her own, a rich, grinding, throbbing heat echoing between them. She gasps as he pushes hard into her, his rhythm faltering, the heady burst of pleasure from his body bleeding into hers in deep pulses, her mind hot and blank and then full of a rush of Vulcan, an unraveling of words she never has heard before and knows the meaning of nonetheless.
She traces her fingers over his back as he catches his breath, drawing patterns on his hot skin as he leans into her, heavy and solid. He doesn't move for a long moment, letting her kiss his cheeks, his forehead, her hands easing across his shoulders, smoothing the short, soft hair at the base of his neck. Their lips meet, slow and soft and sweet, his fingers gently tracing over hers even as he shifts his hips, pulling out of her.
"You are thirsty," he says after a long moment, moving out of her loose embrace.
"I am?" She swallows, her mouth dry. "Oh."
He kisses her forehead and rises. She immediately misses his warmth, pulling his sheet over her in a meager attempt to remedy that. She hears his footsteps falter for a moment before he comes back in his bedroom with a small smile and a glass of water.
"Did we knock something over?" she asks between sips, a dim memory surfacing through the haze of her thoughts as his hand traces over her hair, her shoulder, her arm as if he cannot help himself.
"Yes." His mouth is soft and warm on her neck as he draws her hair back so he can kiss more of her skin.
"What was it?"
"It is of no consequence," he replies, pulling the sheet down so he can run his hand over her stomach, down her leg and trail his fingers back up until she squirms a little. She thinks about pressing him about it, but his hand moves higher on her thigh and she puts her glass down and she kisses him, or he kisses her, tumbling each other onto his tangled, rumpled sheets.
Thank you for all reading this through to the end! When I started it I didn't think it would be as long, or that I would have as much fun with it, but I'm immeasurably pleased with how it all turned out. I also, back in June when I started writing in earnest, didn't really think that reviews were that important since I like to write simply as a hobby, but I've found myself, when I don't want to work on these stories, going back and reading everything you've all written, and really enjoying the parts of the chapters you pick out as having liked the most, or wanted to highlight and talk about. So it really does make a difference, in a really wonderful, tangible way. Thank you all who have written already, and everyone who has enjoyed it. More to come, though on other stories, and perhaps after a bit of a breather.