Genre: General, Romance
Word Count: 1,746
Timeline: Takes place before Kirk's pinning ceremony in Star Trek XI
Summary: Starfleet holds a memorial service for the fallen cadets and officers, and Spock has something to tell Uhura.
Author's Note: This is my first Star Trek fan fic, and Spock is a bitch to write, so please let me know what you think! Constructive criticism is appreciated.
Lieutenant Uhura sat a little straighter when Captain Christopher Pike took to the podium at the front of the auditorium. Having served under him, albeit briefly, she had come to respect him very much. As he maneuvered his wheelchair to the center of the dais, two cadets attempted to help him. Uhura caught herself smirking when he muttered to them, waving them off with his hand. Stubbornness must be a quality of every Starfleet captain, she thought fleetingly.
However, her smirk disappeared as Pike began to speak, a solemn silence descending on the auditorium.
“As you all know, Starfleet has suffered great losses over the past week. The very foundation of Starfleet’s existence was tested. And, through great sacrifice, that foundation remains in tact. Today is our chance to honor those who have fallen in the execution of their duties.”
Pike nodded to a cadet to activate the large screen that encompassed the entire wall behind him. One by one, the names and pictures of every fallen member of Starfleet appeared on screen. The audience sat in silence, paying homage to their fallen comrades.
Sounds of crying and sniffling were the only sounds that broke the silence. Uhura found herself extremely annoyed by this. Why was everyone being so weak? If anyone should be crying it should be the crew of the Enterprise, the crew that had experienced so much fear and loss in such a short period of time.
Uhura felt her indignation rise when a young cadet in the next row got up and excused herself, her sobbing barely under control. Why were these cadets, many who had never seen action, being so weak? If they wanted to wear a Starfleet uniform, they needed to toughen up, Uhura thought bitterly.
Preoccupied with her thoughts, Uhura didn’t notice when someone slipped into the empty seat beside her.
Deciding she was being disrespectful, Uhura turned her attention fully back to the screen. She was not prepared for the familiar image that stared back at her, or the bold name beside it, “Cadet Gaila, Orion.”
Suddenly the room seemed to get smaller, the air thinner, as she tried to suck in a breath. Gaila. The girl who had made Uhura’s life chaos with the endless stream of guys into their dorm room; the girl who teased her constantly about her rigorous dedication to her studies; the girl who made the academy feel like home, even though she was miles away from hers. Uhura let the memories of her friend wash over her, accompanied by wave after wave of grief.
She was not aware that she was crying until a hand came to rest gently over her own. Startled, she looked to her right and met a pair of deep, brown, human eyes, shining with concern. The only tell on an otherwise impassive face.
He was the only person in the building that deserved to cry, yet he was the last person that would be caught doing so. She’d lost a friend, Starfleet lost some cadets and great officers, but Spock, he’d lost his mother and his whole home planet.
Sitting there, watching the list scroll on and on, being consoled by a Vulcan, Uhura realized why she had been so angry moments before. Her fellow classmates, and officers, were being human. They were letting their weaknesses show. And after her experience on the Enterprise, she resented that. In battle, there was no time for weakness. It cost lives. She had learned this firsthand. But then, they were no longer in battle. Her life was no longer in danger, nor the lives of her crewmates. The impact of that realization left Uhura reeling. Hot tears spilled down her cheeks and she let her rigid posture slump for the first time since being named Lieutenant. She could relax now. It was over. It was all over.
Shifting her weight, Uhura leaned her head lightly against Spock’s shoulder. His perfect posture did not change, nor did his expression, though she had expected neither. But she smiled through her tears when his thumb began to glide softly along the back of her hand. The gesture was so small, any other human might not even take notice. To Uhura, however, she would always remember it as the moment that she fell completely in love with the half-Vulcan, half-human beside her.
As the list finally ended, and the lights were brought back up to their full brightness, Pike began to speak of the Vulcan genocide that had occurred at the hands of Nero. He spoke of the mission of Starfleet, and why it was so important. Glancing up to look at Spock’s face, Uhura noticed that his impassive expression had not changed. Yet, when he felt her stare on his face and turned his head to make eye contact with her, she saw the emotions in his eyes. So much pain. So much anger. She’d only seen a glimpse of his rage on the bridge, when he attacked Kirk, but a glimpse was enough to know the depth of his emotions.
Sitting there, watching Spock maintain his façade, Uhura realized that the inner turmoil she had experienced earlier, the holding back of her emotions, was only a small percentage of what Spock dealt with by the day, the hour, even by the minute. Her heart ached for him and she found herself wishing they were somewhere quiet, alone.
Soon, Pike began calling out names of crewmembers from the Enterprise to come down to the front of the auditorium. Uhura hastily straightened her posture and wiped her eyes as her name was called, then followed Spock down the stairs. When they reached the bottom, they were instructed to form a line across the stage. Finally, Pike announced to the audience that they were receiving awards, medals of honor, for their heroic action in stopping Nero from destroying Earth. Uhura had to stop herself from laughing out loud. Hero? She certainly didn’t feel like a hero. Spock was a hero. Kirk was a hero. Not her.
After she was pinned, Uhura glanced down the line. Spock was beside her, and his posture was as rigid as ever. She smirked when Kirk slapped him on the shoulder and smiled. Spock simply raised an eyebrow and glanced at Kirk out of the corner of his eye.
After the pinning, Pike said a few more words to conclude the ceremony. As people starting filing out of the building, Spock leaned down and spoke quietly into Uhura’s ear, “Nyota, will you walk with me?” She met his eyes and nodded in response.
The crowd was thick as it spilled into the lobby and onto the lawn, so Spock placed his hand on the small of her back to guide her to a quiet place beside a tree. Once there he turned and faced her, hands clasped firmly behind his back.
“Nyota, I would like to inform you that I have decided to stay in Starfleet. Though my initial intentions were to resign in order to help rebuild my race, a conversation with my future self has caused me to alter my intended course of action.”
Uhura felt a little piece of herself heal upon hearing those words. Though much had been going on since their return to Earth, Uhura found herself wondering what Spock would choose to do, hoping that he would stay in Starfleet. Finally having her answer gave her peace.
“I am informing you of this because, if Captain Kirk accepts my candidacy for the position of first officer, I would like to expand on the boundaries of our relationship. If you are willing, of course.”
Uhura smiled up at Spock and stepped closer, putting her hands against his chest. She couldn’t help but notice, not for the first time, how striking he looked in his solid black uniform.
“Of course I’m willing, Spock. And as far as Kirk goes, he’ll accept your candidacy if he knows what’s good for him.” Her smile widened with mischief.
“Am I to infer from your tone that you will inform him of your displeasure with his decision if he declines?” Spock questioned.
Uhura watched as the side of Spock’s mouth turned up into a small smirk, and laughed.
“Oh yes, he will definitely hear about my displeasure.”
The pair stood still, Uhura’s laughter fading away into a comfortable silence.
Then Spock relaxed his stance, only a little, and placed his arms around Uhura, pulling her closer against him.
She closed her eyes, enjoying the closeness.
“I just don’t feel like I deserve this medal.” She whispered.
“Nyota, you showed exceptional bravery and skill during the entire mission. You fulfilled your duties admirably.” Hearing these words from Spock made her feel a little less guilty about the pin on her uniform.
“I had a great teacher.” Nyota leaned into Spock and lifted her hand to trace the tip of his ear. Spock’s eyes closed slightly, indicating that he was enjoying her touch. After a few moments, he covered her hand with his to still her movements, and gazed directly into her eyes with an intensity that made her shiver.
“Thank you,” he responded, and looking into his eyes, Uhura knew he was thanking her for more than the compliment.
Uhura nodded, lowering her hand and placing it back on his chest.
“And I am sorry for your loss. Gaila was a… vivacious woman.” Spock spoke quietly.
Uhura laughed softly at his careful choice of words. “Vivacious. Yes, I think that’s very appropriate.”
“In fact,” she continued, “I think that if Gaila could see us now, she would be telling me to kiss you.”
Spock gazed down at her for a moment, his eyes showing the emotions he could not speak.
“Then, in her honor…” and with that, Spock softly captured Uhura’s lips with his.
The kiss was gentle, and lacking the urgency of their earlier kisses on the Enterprise. This kiss was one of solace. So much had been lost.
Yet, when their kiss ended and she rested her head against Spock’s shoulder, and he in the crook of her neck, as they had in the turbolift seemingly a lifetime ago, she felt thankful - thankful to be alive, thankful for her new family (because that’s exactly what they had become) on the Enterprise, and especially thankful for the almost inaudible sigh from Spock as her hand came to rest on the back of his neck.
Much had been lost, but much had been gained as well.