A Very Millie Christmas K/U, S/U [G]

Image courtesy of the Interweb and moi
Disclaimer: The characters are Paramount's, their actions are mine.

Summary: Another Christmas Story Challenge. A sequel of a sorts to Bikini Atoll and Creme Fraiche


Uhura sat at her boards, listening hard for messages in a cacophony of stellar dissonance. The Enterprise was busily monitoring a star nursery--a tight cluster of proto-suns awaiting their birth into an indifferent galaxy. Hard radiation swaddled the ship as it sat vigil, scanning and measuring how a new luminary came into being.

Just as with any other nursery, the inhabitants were seldom quiet. The spectrum of noise in their immediate vicinity made it nearly impossible to send or receive normal subspace messages. So Uhura mostly pretended to be busy, not so patiently waiting for Mister Spock to authorize the daily high speed data burst she had been transmitting to Starfleet since the beginning of this mission. But now it seemed she waited in vain, as once again the science officer notified her to send a location 'ping' only, an efficient, but boring, method of advising Starfleet the ship was safe and on duty.

Nyota was sorely tempted to break orders, finding something worthy of beaming to Earth just so she could piggyback a personal comm onto an official communique. Hours before the ship stationed itself in the middle of this starry incubator Uhura received a call advising that her father was taken to hospital after falling at their family home. Her younger sister had made the contact but did not have any details other than their mother had found him unconscious at the bottom of the living room stairs.

That was two weeks ago and Nyota had heard nothing since. She was seriously considering asking Mister Spock or the Captain for special dispensation in order to comm for an update. Crew was normally allowed to piggyback personal communications onto official data packets transmitted as a part of ship's business. However, since the radiation and star noise made routine messaging nearly impossible, both the ship and her crew were in relative blackout. Only mission-pertinent or emergency orders warranted the efforts needed to get past the dispatch barriers.

Uhura rationalized to herself that Starfleet would push through an emergency notification of a family member's death. She recognized it as a form of denial or cowardice to think that no news from Earth meant her father was still alive. For now, that fallacy and the activities of the crew as they prepared for their own version of Christmas were the only thing allowing her to stay sane aboard ship.

Not everyone aboard was from Earth, and even of those, not all celebrated traditional Christmas, but nearly every culture in the Federation had some holiday that espoused peace and goodwill. Planning and preparing for the ship's party gave the non-mission dedicated crew something to do while the Enterprise sat dead in space. Captain Kirk had long ago turned over control to his science officer, preferring to spend his time below decks. It was his opportunity to spend time with the crew, putting names with faces and performance jackets. Uhura envied him; he could roam the ship, only making a token appearance on the bridge that she was tied to for at least half her regular watch. Per regulations she was allowed to assign a junior member of her team for up to half her shift, ostensibly to gain experience and exposure to alpha shift. The fact that they were parked in a communications void with hardly any senior bridge crew present was just the luck of the draw.

Spock himself was conducting most of the research teams from his office in the main Astro lab. Captain Kirk allowed Chekov to sit watch from the Conn because Sulu, originally a ship's physicist, had asked to be involved in the research. Mister Scott was far too busy turning the shuttle bay into a Winter Wonderland to sit idle watch. Uhura thought the chief engineer might have outdone himself this year. His plans called for a toboggan run spiraling down from the upper bay platform to be flanked by two small ice rinks--one for pleasure skating and the other for ice hockey. Opposing snow forts with an abundant supply of snowball ammunition were also being discussed. A beautiful bluish conifer, conscripted from the arboretum was scheduled for center-stage, both it and the encircling party tables decked out in traditional garland. Tonight she hoped to see it in all its splendor.

Walking into the big bay, Uhura marveled at the high ceiling and walls covered in thousands and thousands of twinkling lights. Hover lamps strategically placed in unobtrusive locations allowed for an intimate and cozy atmosphere in the seating areas. Their golden light evolved into something more like moon glow on a frosty winter night around the ice rinks and snow forts. The party was in full swing and well attended, Nyota herself slightly late, making one final check with the Bridge for any new communiques from Earth.

"Darling, don't look so sad. Here, have a bit of good ol' Georgia eggnog." The CMO, and self-appointed door greeter, gave her a sympathetic hug as he guided a cup of pale yellow liquid into her hand.

"Thank you, Doctor McCoy," she murmured against his comforting shoulder. Only McCoy knew about her father's accident--someone she had turned to for help in dealing with the stress and possible outcomes from such a fall.

"It's gonna' be okay, Sugar," he whispered back, patting her cheek in commiseration.

Uhura managed a genuine smile at the doctor's continuing use of affectionate names. She often found the more inebriated he became the more frequently his use of pet names. If the flush of his cheeks was any indication, Nyota was sure "Sweetie" or "Honey" was soon to follow.

Taking her grin as success in improving her mood, McCoy placed his hand against the small of Uhura's back, gently urging her toward the tree. "Now go on in there and have fun; I think some folks are looking for you over there by the tree."

Nyota raised her cup of eggnog in salute as she followed the doctor's directive. A quick sniff of the contents warned her against actually drinking any of its contents. McCoy might find it enticing but Uhura decided it just made her eyes sting. Once safely enshrouded in the crowd of merry-makers, she abandoned her cup on a fake mantel over a fake fire.

"Don't let the good doctor see you waste his family recipe." Uhura startled as if caught by the CMO himself instead of the Captain.

"Oh, no sir, I would never allow that to happen." Nyota grinned conspiratorially as she watched him place his own still full cup next to hers.

"Good, then I feel safe leaving mine here as well." His impish smile implying he liked the idea of the drink more than the beverage itself.

"Perhaps something without nutmeg would be more to your liking--how about a glass of mulled wine?" He motioned her toward a nearby table holding a faintly steaming punch bowl of deep garnet liquid.

"How do you know the wine doesn't have nutmeg in it? It *is* a traditional mulling spice." Uhura asked curiously, realizing Kirk's decline of the eggnog was related to the spice and not the amount of alcohol Uhura found appalling.

"Because it's made from my Aunt Elsa's Scandinavian recipe. What can I say; it pays to know the chef." A smug smile tugged at the corners of Kirk's mouth as he clinked his glass to hers before sipping the warm beverage.

"It certainly does." Nyota grinned back, content to relax within his smile. She didn't often find herself the recipient of his attentions at social gatherings, his preference usually being someone outside of his command.

"Oh? What is that?" Kirk asked in dramatic surprise, looking deeply within the branches of the tree.

"What is what, sir?" Uhura asked hesitantly, confounded by the Captain's sudden interest in the tree.

"There! Under the tree. What do you think it might be?" Kirk dropped to one knee, practically climbing inside the boughs before extracting himself and one very ratty gold lame gift bag.

"Oh no," Uhura mouthed softly as she attempted to back away, the incriminating mantel suddenly in her way, trapping her between the cups of eggnog and the bedraggled bag.

"Oh yes! I'm sure Aunt Millie would want you to have it!" Kirk crooned tauntingly as he reached inside and withdrew the most hideous scarf any intelligent being would *ever* see. The multi-colored accessory contained hues that even a tricorder could not register.

"Oh no, sir! Don't make me wear it!" She beseeched him, but it fell on deaf ears as he draped the offending garment casually around her shoulders.

"Ah, now doesn't it look pretty?" Kirk asked in evil innocence.

Uhura just stood there, wanting to melt into the floor as she became the center of much more than the Captain's attention--the new recipient of the 'Sweet Aunt Millie' scarf.


Kirk remembered it like it was yesterday. It began as a true gift once bestowed with much love, if not color coordination, to midshipman Gary Mitchell by his sweet, doting, Great Aunt Millie.

One Christmas, early in his academy days, Gary had brought Kirk home to spend the holidays with his family. Scion of rich, but indifferent parents, Kirk quickly understood Gary's outlandish behavior as a plea for attention. It did not seem to matter to him that the attention gained often took the form of angry reprimands and threats of disownment. However, regardless of his perfidy to the family, Gary remained the favorite of another family outcast--Aunt Millie. Practically abandoned by her own children who had moved off-planet, she had taken refuge with Gary's mother, becoming another inconvenience to her niece's social obligations. Gary was never mean or hateful to Aunt Millie; instead his sarcastic tongue was limited to gentle teasing of the kind old lady who always showed him unconditional love.

Kirk could still vision standing next to Gary in Aunt Millie's suite of rooms, called away from the huge party downstairs in order to receive a gift from his great aunt. The gold bag had been pristine then; the overhead lights making it shine like the Star of Bethlehem. Kirk had stayed back near the door, feeling awkward and conspicuous as Gary's elder made over how much her great nephew had grown since his last visit home.

Gary never flinched as he removed the hand-knitted scarf from the bag, immediately draping it around his neck and modeling it for Aunt Millie. Kirk remembered feeling slightly nauseous at the chaos of colors, but he kept a hard-wired smile in place as he nodded agreement to a rhetorical, "doesn't he look handsome?" A quickly offered, "no please, don't worry about me," came on the heels of Aunt Millie's declaration of sadness that she had just made the one scarf.

Gary thanked his great aunt profusely before excusing himself. Kirk had been sure Gary was being facetious and would remove the spasm of speciousness as soon as he left Aunt Millie's room, but Gary proved him wrong. Instead he promptly marched himself downstairs, taking perverse pleasure in calling attention to his Christmas gift, often extracting weak comments of, "yes, it's beautiful," before moving on to torture another guest. Even later, in the privacy of his room, Gary never said anything but good things about his scarf. Kirk, out of respect for Gary's devotion to his doting aunt, kept any wayward opinions to himself.

It was not until their first shipboard assignment together that the scarf made a new appearance. Gary had been talking to Jim quietly by the tree during the ship's Christmas party when he suddenly spied something in the boughs. Speaking loudly, to draw as much attention as he could, Gary pulled a slightly less shiny gold lame bag from the lower branches and exclaimed for the gathering crowd: "Merry Christmas, Jim! I know Aunt Millie would want you to have this!"

Jim had felt himself bust out in a cold sweat as Gary deftly wrapped the nasty nightmare around his neck. Kirk had glared at his best friend, wishing him a fast run down a steep slope, but refused to let Gary get the best of him. Following the precedent set before him, Kirk grabbed the lower end of the dangling scarf, tossing it across his shoulder before beginning his march around the room, intent upon gathering compliments for his fiasco in fashion.

And so it began, each Christmas blessed by the ritual bequeathment of the scarf in its blemished bag. It had continued every year until last Christmas, when Kirk could not set aside the pain of Gary's death to find a new victim to share the tradition.


"But Lieutenant," Kirk began sweetly, "since you have so ably accepted the mantle of many of Mister Mitchell's causes, I can think of no one who deserves it more."

Uhura felt the heat of embarrassment scored by Kirk's cold revenge. She had not meant to share that seductive picture of him walking out of the flames--but then an anonymous call requesting entries for "Mister Starfleet" had reminded her of Gary's efforts the year before. Was it *her* fault if she worked with such a handsome man--the reigning title holder? Someone who she happened to have candidly captured during a shore leave luau in inviting if indelicate imagery? Wouldn't it have been the greater transgression to let her crew mates down? Wasn't there honor and ship's pride at stake? Had Gary ever tried to rationalize his actions this way?

Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell had spent three months on the ice planet, Geb Four, as a Federation observer to a Verdactian mining colony. After seeing Kirk's face following Admiral Nogura's blasting--at great length--for again winning a contest considered beneath his station--while again not trying--Uhura decided the 'gauntlet-get-along of the scarf' was a small penalty to pay.

Drawing herself into a pose of quick attention, she answered smartly, "Yes sir, thank you for the honor," in response to the good-natured chastisement. Then, steeling herself for the hoots and belly laughs sure to mark her way, Nyota tossed the scarf dramatically across her shoulder, and began her slightly penitent procession through the crowd.

Four catcalls, six marriage proposals, two toboggan rides and one snowball fight later found Uhura eyeing the ice rink with only a modicum of trepidation. It wasn't as if she had never been skating before, it was only that it had been several years previously. She had permanent bruises to prove it.

"Do you know how to skate, Lieutenant?" Kirk asked, stepping next to her, wistfully watching the couples glide across the ice.

"I used to know how, sir." Nyota answered as she subconsciously touched the monstrous mantle around her neck.

"It's like riding a bike, Lieutenant--" Kirk began as Spock seemed to appear out of nowhere.

"Excuse me, Captain, but I am in need of the Lieutenant's assistance. Please follow me," he stated matter-of-factly before walking away.

Uhura cut her eyes to the Captain, subtly seeking permission to assist Mister Spock.

Kirk sighed as the idea of skating was replaced by something that did not sound nearly as fun. He tilted his head toward the retreating Vulcan, making a gallant 'after you' gesture with his hand. Uhura was only slightly surprised to discover Kirk followed, seemingly just as intent as she was to know what required her immediate assistance.

Spock stopped at the far wall next to the door of the lower bay office. Uhura was still at a loss because the office was temporarily shut down, a stop-gap storage facility for the crates and boxes used to house the reusable holiday decorations.

As she neared the entryway Spock turned and palmed the door. It opened to bright lights and several partitioned kiosks lining the main console and perimeter walls. Uhura had never seen the office configured as it was now.

"Lieutenant, I need to begin transmission of our backlog of data. The computer system is bordering instability and the quickest solution is to reduce its data load. If you could set up a tight-beam frequency from this station I can begin."

"Uh--yes sir--Mister Spock," Nyota answered in confusion. Spock was quite capable of configuring a tight-beam transmission and could easily have done so from the Bridge or his astrophysics lab.

At his nonplussed stare and Kirk's continued quiet she sat down at the first station to do as requested. Once online Spock tapped in his own commands and the Enterprise began dumping her weeks of collected research to Earth.

"It'll take hours for all the data to transmit, Mister Spock," Uhura offered in bewilderment. Why had he waited until now to send the information?

"Fourteen point three-three-four hours, Lieutenant," Spock corrected automatically.

"Or about long enough for all the crew to take turns and talk to their families for twenty minutes or so, don't you think, Lieutenant?" Kirk suggested--not too subtly. "Why don't you try it out first? Perhaps call home to see how your father is doing?"

"Oh, yes sir, I'd love that," she beamed, knowing she would forgive McCoy for sharing her secret since he had found her a way to call home.

Looking up into the Captain's playful eyes, Nyota spied a remnant of mistletoe clinging to an overhead lighting fixture. Kirk looked up, following her gaze as her own sense of mischief took control of her smile. Spock's eyes followed suit, targeting the greenery with sudden interest as Nyota launched herself out of the chair and kissed the Captain soundly. She was quite convinced he was the instigator of Spock's plan. If his return kiss was any indication, it was a safe bet Kirk was extremely thankful for the sloppy removal of the stored decorations.

Turning from Kirk to eye the Vulcan also standing in proximity of the mistletoe, Uhura moved in more slowly. "Mister Spock, you understand the Earth custom regarding mistletoe, do you not?"

"I have read about it, Lieutenant. A myth of Scandinavian origin proclaiming it a plant of love after a spear fashioned from the plant killed Baldur, son of the Goddess Frigga. The premise and ensuing custom is most illogical."

"Yes, Mister Spock and all of Vulcan's customs and rituals are solely based in fact, right?"

"Vulcans have great respect for tradition and ritual, Miss Uhura."

"Of all cultures....." she stepped closer.

"Of all cultures," he answered softly but continued to stand his ground, Uhura mere inches from his lips.

"Dammit, kiss her Spock!" Kirk goaded, incredulous that Spock could resist the woman before him.

"I intend to, Captain," Spock remarked with utter frankness to a dumfounded Kirk.

The kiss was sweet but neither short nor one-sided.

"Uhhh--that was a fine demonstration of respect for ritual, Mister Spock." Uhura's light-headedness had nothing to do with the forgotten eggnog.

"Thank you, Lieutenant. I confess I have considered experimenting with this ritual before. However, a likely test subject has never presented herself until now." Spock was composed as ever, but his eyes did seem a bit merrier.

"I will consider that a compliment, Mister Spock." Uhura grinned back, no doubt about her own enjoyment.

Her only answer was a raised brow.

"Call home, Lieutenant; check on Dad." Kirk motioned fatherly toward the comm board, trying to forget his own kiss and get back on task. "Then I'd appreciate it if you'd pass the word to the crew and get these stations online so everyone can call home. It's not the best arrangement, but between the radiation bombardment and the data transmission itself, Spock thought locally-linked lines would get the strongest, clearest signal."

"I concur, sir." Nyota nodded. "And don't worry; I'll make sure everyone gets a chance to call home."

"Thank you, Lieutenant. Oh, and I bet Aunt Millie wouldn't mind if you took off her gift before you talk to your folks." Kirk relented, unable to punish innocent parents.

"Oh no, sir, I intend to wear it! My mom will be *so* jealous." Nyota grinned over her shoulder as she set to work configuring a personal comm line to Earth.


Hours later Uhura walked into her quarters, exhausted but happy. Her father was recovering at home, a large goose-egg on his forehead the only visible sign of injury. A promise of "tell you later, Mama" came on the heels of her mother's pointed question: "Binti! What is that around your neck?!" She did not think twenty minutes could begin to explain why the Captain would give her such an offensive offering.

After wishing her parents love and a much longer comm after the Enterprise finished this mission, a few ingenious crew members helped her coordinate the comm queue. Her own partying over, Liz Palmer came over as relief, allowing Uhura to call it a night.

Staring at herself in the mirror, Uhura slowly unwound the scarf from around her neck, finally looking past the caustic rainbow of color to the finely knitted weave along its length. The even stitching showed great skill, eloquently demonstrating a deep love for the intended recipient. Someone special who would benefit from the hours and hours of tedious handwork needed to complete it.

She carefully folded the scarf against itself until it was small enough to tuck inside its annual resting place of gold lame. Supporting the bag from underneath, Nyota gently placed it on the top shelf of her closet, protected for another year and a new Christmas victim....


Merry Christmas K/U [PG]

Image courtesy of the Interweb
Disclaimer: The characters are Paramount's, their actions are mine.

Summary: A Little holiday frivolity to warm your soul.


The party winds down and I watch as you inch your way toward the door. This year you're holding yourself in check, watching how much you drink and at whom you smile. This Christmas will not find you sharing an innocent kiss with some recent transferee. No, you've made sure to keep well away from that bough of mistletoe hanging near the eggnog… .

So, you're oblivious as I approach--too much cheer emboldening my actions. I stop before you, holding up my own sprig of mischief and beaming my best flirt. It takes you a half second to react, the tension leaving your body as you realize just how reserved you've been. Your face lights up with the impish smile that's gotten you into and out of more trouble than I really care to know.

The kiss brushes my lips, sending shivers down my spine and elsewhere. You continue to lean in, breathing softly against my neck, my ear….

"Merry Christmas, Nyota." You whisper softly, a hint of seduction in your tone and the ghost of that smile still in your eyes.

"Merry Christmas, Captain." I manage to reply, in shock at how quickly my plan back-fired on me.

Your smile grows paternal and I feel the spell broken, allowing me to hear an amused voice clearing itself next to me.

"Ahhh hmm, you're not going to stop with just one kiss are you, Lieutenant? Seems like a waste of good mistletoe to me."

"Uhh, what Doctor?" I stutter as I try to focus on the smiling man in blue while watching the man in gold turn and walk out the door.

"Let me show you how it's done. See, you hold the mistletoe like this and then you lean in under it. Like this…. Yes, just like that…."



I'll Be Home for Christmas K/U [G]

Image courtesy of Paramount, Trekcore and Moi
Disclaimer: The characters are Paramount's, their actions are mine.

Summary: Okay, a couple of things: I'm bastardizing a nearly completed story in order to have something for the Christmas Challenge. Secondly, since TMP was released December 7th 1979, I figure the events of V'Ger happened between December 7-10th. Add a short shakedown cruise and we're bumping serious Christmas time...

It had to be the excitement of Christmas warring with her anticipation of a new mission, but somehow visions of snowy nights curled around a toasty fire battled with Uhura's sense of urgency regarding the comm she had just received. She told herself that the chill in the air was all in her imagination because the ship's public area temperature was supposed to be constant. Never mind that she grew up in a land devoid of snow, four years at the Academy with holiday leaves in the mountains had contaminated her thoroughly to such Rockwellian imagery.

It was late but the computer informed her that Kirk was still in the Officer’s Lounge. She made her way through the quiet halls, a journey like countless others made to deliver coded orders. Normally she would have notified him via the comm, shunting the communiqué to his quarters for private viewing so she could set her sights on the more personal pleasures of a good vid and a mug of mulled cider. It was not strictly mandatory that such orders be hand delivered, but this packet was encoded with Admiral Nogura’s own cipher. That could mean only one thing—a decision had been made regarding Kirk retaining permanent command of the Enterprise.

Their shakedown cruise was rife with speculation. Would HQ allow Kirk to stay aboard? In times of war an admiral might take command of a whole task force, but not just a single ship. A ship of the line was commanded by a rank no higher than commodore, and even those were rare. Now, as they made their way back home to Earth for a final check and resupply, the crew was anxious to know who would be commanding the newly refurbished Enterprise’s maiden five year mission.

Nyota stepped through the door of the officer’s lounge; a fast image of schematics against the large viewport was quickly replaced by the inky black of space as the comp sensed her presence. Standing with his back to her, Kirk now seemingly watched the stars move in slow motion across the dark void. The ship's speed had been reduced in anticipation of an opening berth within Spacedock and again, to Nyota's holiday-addled mind, the stars glided past like gently falling snow. The lights remained low, allowing Kirk to catch her reflection in the transparency of the bulkhead, the peacefulness of the scene in conflict with the piles of data wafers strewn across the low table. His eyes followed her as she brought the padd to him.

"So, Commander, do you bring glad tidings?" They both knew who the orders were from-- Uhura by the transmission coordinates, Kirk by intuition.

"I don’t know, sir, however, they *are* signed by Admiral Nogura." Nyota answered Kirk as he took the padd. A small sigh escaped him but his hand remained steady as he entered his command codes to release the encryption. She watched his face for any sign of the verdict, catching only the minuteness of a flinch as his eyes scanned the screen.

"Sir? Is it good news? Are you keeping the Enterprise?" She knew she was out of line by questioning him on the subject but his silence was too much to endure.

"Well, that is actually several points below what the admiral recommends--far behind keelhauling or court-martialing—his first two choices. However, since it is not politically expedient to do either, he is forced to reduce my rank back to captain in order to turn command of the Enterprise over to me for the duration of her mission. Oh, and he says for me to consider it my Christmas present... ."

"Duration of the mission?—Do you mean you're going to be the captain of the entire five-year mission?" Uhura tried to keep the incredulity out of her voice. She would not allow herself to think of it during the shakedown—to have him on the bridge again for another full mission was outside the pale of anyone's expectations.

"It would seem so, Commander." Uhura watched him reread the orders several times, as if he expected to find something different on the second or third pass.

"At least the Admiral is trying to have a sense of humor about it," she offered gingerly.

"No, not really," Kirk answered drolly with a resigned shrug and shake of his head before dismissing the topic. "How do you think the crew will react to the news?" He kept any excitement out of his voice, attempting to focus on the immediate ramifications of his assignment. It was common knowledge that there were serious grumblings when he originally took command away from Decker.

"I think they will be ecstatic, Captain." The old title came to Uhura's tongue effortlessly but Kirk sensed there was more she wasn't saying.

"How many transfers have been requested?" He always unnerved her with his insight.

"Four, Captain, and two contingents." .

"I've seen the four, but who are the two shipping out if I stay?" Kirk's eyes glazed, internally trying to speculate on who else might be dissatisfied with his permanent assignment.

"Doctor Chapel and Chief Rand, sir," She thought perhaps the sting of old crew leaving would prick hard, but he just nodded his head, as if their leaving was entirely expected.

Kirk's eyes came back into focus, suddenly centering on Uhura as he asked, "What about you? You've told me about everyone else, but not what you've decided. Are you staying?"

Uhura felt her heart rise into her throat, caught off guard by his question and the sudden intensity of his gaze. She bought time by asking her own question. "Where else would I go?"

Realizing she had not said yes, Kirk answered sincerely, "You have many options--a promotion if you accept that teaching position at the Academy, several offers from other ships, an opportunity within the General Staff--I've done my homework." He tried to end it with a teasing grin but it fell short of his usual indulgent smirk.

"But none of those places are home. I told you once that the Enterprise is my home and all I ever had to give up to live here was you." She watched his body tense and his eyes grow dark as she spoke of their night together those months ago in Monaco; a few shared hours of tenderness stolen away from the responsibilities of work and duty. That night Kirk had dropped his guard, allowing himself to be vulnerable. Tonight he resisted, his only acknowledgement of their time together a defeated smile. No mention of their last meeting had passed between them since Kirk had taken command of the ship. At the onset of the V'Ger crisis Uhura had pushed that evening out of her mind, staying focused on her job to do her part toward survival. But after Earth was saved she could not deny the hurt she felt at his continued distancing.

"We did it before," he offered softly, now stepping so close to Uhura she had to look up at him.

"That was a lifetime ago. A lot has passed between us since then." She did not flinch from his gaze; five years in this man's shadow was hanging in the balance.

"I still need my best people beside me." She felt his hands on her shoulders but his eyes alone could have held her in stasis.

"Five years is a long time." She still remembered all the visiting princesses that failed to beam down until the next morning. It was hard to remain faceless in the crowd, pretending not to notice when his charm succeeded in more than diplomacy.

"The ship demands a heavy price." Uhura knew he spoke of his own feelings too, as captain he would have to remain aloof and disengaged when she decided to take her own lovers. Neither of them could expect the other to remain chaste.

"And so do I," she spoke with a defiant rise of her chin. Kirk tilted his head but said nothing, unsure of what was coming next.

"Meet me for breakfast in the morning--and I still get dibs on movie night--I got used to sitting on the front row last voyage and think I want to keep that perk. Also, you'll still be in charge of getting the popcorn. Don't forget I like extra butter." She stepped out of Kirk's shocked grasp, continuing her extortions as she made for the door. "--Oh! And don't forget the parties! Attendance is mandatory at all ship-wide events--no more hiding out with Spock just to avoid a sprig or two of mistletoe or the stray Deltan greeting." She stopped in the doorway, her body keeping the doors from shutting as she turned to gauge his response.

Kirk was biting his bottom lip, trying to keep his composure as he raised his hands in mock supplication while offering a slight bow. "Yes, ma'am, the terms *are* steep but I think they are within acceptable limits." She never ceased to surprise him, but he recognized her deflection into humor as a way to ease their reconciliation from lovers back again to captain and crew.

She beamed her best smile at him. Even with all the reservations in her heart, where else did she really want to be? "Merry Christmas and welcome home, Captain! We're all home now."



In the Spirit of Detente K/U [PG]

Image courtesy of Paramount and Trekcore
Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek. I only own my fantasies

Summary: A thought regarding Kirk's two year retirement before
the events in TWOK. Uhura's POV.


This man is a stranger to you--
Two years removed, a familiar face lost by the lack of a goodbye
A Cold War of neither's choosing
Just wounded quarry seeking ground
You wonder if the lack of intent should make the blood less red

His world--his ship--claimed by the Admiralty
His duty--his life--forfeited to the ambitions of another
But with their passing, perhaps a Phoenix is reborn

He stands before you now
The epitome of strength and confidence
Yet, you see the cracks in his foundation
The idea of age scars his brow
Loves both old and recent, muting the amber of his eyes

Still, you look past the imperfections
Once again seeing the ideals beneath
His gaze calls you forward
No words needed to seek your oath

Of its own accord, your body takes its station
Feeling at home with him
A family borne of inspiration--
Of trust in such a man.



Burlap M, S/U, K/U (implied) [ PG]

Image courtesy of Paramount, Nichelle Nichols and the Interweb
Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek. I only own my fantasies.

Summary: A sequel of a sort, to "Tokens" and something to honor our dear, sweet De on his 86th birthday.

A stately woman made her way through the throng of little legs, gently guiding them out of her path as she made her way to the old man sitting in the biggest chair in the living room. She leaned down and spoke into his ear, as much for the sake of him hearing her over the din of the party as discretion. A grayed brow rose in quiet curiosity and he put out a hand for the woman to help him from the deep cushions.

At a loud harrumph from him, the pile of youngsters stopped as one and moved out of his way. A forgiving grin replaced his fake scowl as he carefully made his way into the quietness of the study. He sat down gently--this chair was far harder than the pleasant one in the parlor--and switched on the comm panel.

"McCoy here," he said grumpily, unsure who was on the other end of the communication; Joanna would only tell him he had a call. He thought it had better be something good to interrupt his birthday party-

"Hello, Leonard. Happy Birthday!" A beaming face gushed at him from the panel.

"Well, I guess it's better than the alternative. Hi Nyota, how are you, my dear?" McCoy asked the image staring back at him, assessing the beauty that only seemed to deepen as she aged. It wasn't fair that she remained so youthful and he looked like a piece of burlap...

"I'm wonderful, Doctor, and I see your humor still keeps you company." She teased back, always one to play the game with him.

"Something has to keep me entertained. Right now I've got a gaggle of great-grandkids in the other room trying to one-up each other. I'm too old for all that energy." He groused more than necessary because he had a reputation to uphold.

"Ahhh, I see, no fountain of youth for your birthday again this year?" Nyota laughed sympathetically, easily seeing through the charade of McCoy being irritated by his family. She knew he loved spending time with Joanna and her kids and their children, though he would be loathe to admit it.

"Nope, got a boatload of socks and cologne, though. At least my feet will be warm and I'll smell better." He smirked in that impish way of his that melted Ny's heart.

She smiled and looked off camera, her eyes warming to something out of range. "That's better. You know, my greatest present was given to me on my birthday..."

"So, how is the overgrown elf?" McCoy asked baitingly.

"I am present and remarkably well, Leonard," the tall Vulcan answered for himself as he stepped behind Nyota, resting his hands on her shoulders in a subtly possessive manner.

"Well Hell, I don't doubt it. You're a damn Vulcan ain't ya and you have the company of the most gorgeous woman I've ever known," McCoy tossed back in envy, only too aware of how these two had gotten together those many years ago, although far more recently that it could have been.

"Affirmative, on both points, Doctor." Spock spoke solemnly but McCoy saw the twinkle in his eyes--a twinkle he would never have shared in the past. No, back then, those tiny sparks of emotion were only shared with Jim.

Jim, the man they had all loved--still loved. Ny's allusion to her 'best present' caused McCoy's memory to race down that path from long ago--to the memory of Jim's last birthday present to Ny, a parting love letter of a sort. Jim had asked Spock to deliver it upon his death, a last duty to his best friend. A gift that had brought Spock and Ny together after so many years of silent friendship. McCoy didn't begin to know what all Jim told her in the letter, he'd never asked and neither of them had ever said. He only knew that Jim had opened their eyes to a possibility between them.

And the reality was staring back at him from the viewscreen, the beautiful woman looking up lovingly at the Vulcan who tenderly brushed his knuckles against her neck. McCoy hid a grin at the open affection between them, somehow embarrassed by their display although he had preached to Spock about expressing his emotions for years. It made him happy and sad at the same time. Happy that they were happy, but sad that Jim had never allowed himself to openly accept that same love from Nyota, the woman who had quietly devoted most of her life to him.

McCoy pushed those ghosts away and gave his two friends a broad smile, it was his birthday and he was determined to be happy--crabby, but happy. "Don't rub it in, you walking database. Give it another twenty years and you'll be feeling aches and pains too."

"No doubt, Doctor, but I have the utmost confidence your beads and rattles will produce a sufficient remedy," Spock remarked with his own patented raised brow of disdain.

Before McCoy could fire off a retort, Uhura interceded, knowing the battle that was to come. "Okay, you two, play nice. Len, we're on our way to the opera but we just had to call and wish you a happy birthday. You know we *both* love you very, very much." The last was said with a quick upwards glance, a warning to keep quiet if McCoy had ever seen one.

"Thank you, Nyota, it has been a happy one and I love you *both* too. Now, go listen to that hog-killin' and have a great time. McCoy out."

The shocked look on Spock's face at McCoy's admission of love was the best birthday present he would ever get. Who knew those brows could actually disappear under his bangs?



Longings, Not My Reality S/Ch [PG]

Image courtesy of Paramount and Trekcore
Disclaimer: The characters are Paramount's, their actions are mine.

Summary: Recognition of obssession.

Pressures dropping and a small sigh escapes my lips. How long have you lain there, unconscious and unresponsive after McCoy patched you up as best he could?

I cradle your hand, knowing you are aware of my touch but unable to retreat from me as you lie in your healing trance.

It shames me to know I can't resist being here at your side--knowing that you desire nothing from me--but still I hold vigil.

I know you will rouse soon, needing someone to slap you back to consciousness. I'll leave before then, because your reality can't be mine.


Longings, Defenseless S/U [G]

Image courtesy of Paramount
Disclaimer: The characters are Paramount's, their actions are mine.

Summary: Why does Uhura succeed where others fail?

You smile and I find myself defenseless; your casual flirts and touches somehow bypass my protections from such familiarities.

How do you slip past my guard? Is it that I sense no demands from you? That you treat me as any of the others and somehow I succumb to that simple acceptance?

The others…they want so much…expect so much in return…but you don't. You flit into my world like a butterfly seeking nectar. You visit me with promise, but seem just as happy to carry my pollen to another if you should find me lacking in sweetness.


Longings, Waiting for Recognition Su/R, K [G]

Image courtesy of the Interweb....
Disclaimer: The characters are Paramount's, their actions are mine.

Summary: When patience overcomes and happy endings happen.

You smile so sweetly as you stand at the altar waiting for her. Gone is the tight smile that always possessed you when she was aboard--with him.

Now, at her request, he escorts her down the aisle, giving the bride away. The symbolism lost to no one who knew the way things had been.

Today your smile is warm and all for her. She beams at you, finally seeing no one but the same man who's always waited.

And the Admiral smiles at you both, softly kissing the bride to be and stepping aside in more ways than one.


Longings, Throwaway Child Sa, S [G]

Image courtesy of Paramount and Trekcore
Disclaimer: The characters are Paramount's, their actions are mine.

Summary: Spock's thoughts on his birth and family obligations.

I am your son, a throwaway child--an appeasement for a Human wife, perhaps also an accommodation to your work.

What need of a second when all titles pass to the first? I did not matter until Sybok refused his duty. Then you tried to remake me, create the perfect son from clay deemed too impure.

One already razed from the Family tomes allowed no quarter in the expectations cast upon me. My choice of destiny, a chasm too wide for you, and my bride.

I never denied my obligation to the clan, only the path you bade me walk.



Trilogies S/U, K/U, K/U/S [R]

Image courtesy of Paramount and Trekcore
Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek. I only own my fantasies.

Summary: A sequel to "The Future is Worth Living" and "What Could Have Been". NOT a part of my Realizations series.

Vulcan dictionary:
kaiidth: philosophical expression, what is, is
kazhuksu: colleague
ne ki'ne: shield partner, the person a warrior could trust most in the heat of battle; a trusted friend and skilled warrior
t'hy'la: friend-lover- lifelong companion, blood brother/sister; soulmate; soul-brother/ sister

innamorati: Italian for young lovers.


Vulcans do not argue. Instead they bludgeon one to death with logic and deductive reasoning. In either case, Nyota knew her only recourse was to flee to her quarters--to gain some distance--to hide from Spock's too perceptive questioning regarding her feelings for the Captain. Inches from her doorway, a strong hand planted firmly against the over-heated chest made her point more strongly than words could.

The near black eyes raked over her before hooding themselves like a poised cobra. "We will continue this discussion later, Nyota."

Uhura kept her gaze steady, throwing more than bluff into her silent rebuttal of 'but not now'. She stared him down, glaring hard until Spock walked away, a curt nod his final acknowledgement they would revisit this conversation.

'What conversation? ' She thought wildly to herself as she slipped into the safety of her quarters. Spock challenged her feelings for the Captain hardly before the lab doors closed on Kirk's retreating form. Her mind reeling from their discovery, weeks of quiet liaisons blown away by one painfully innocent visit to Spock's personal lab--how could she answer? In seconds, Kirk's guileless face, for once unarmored by his command persona, showed emotions that tore into her chest like a jagged blade. Shock at who he saw entwined against the workbench, embarrassment at intruding on something obviously not meant to be shared, hurt that it was not him she turned to, anger that is was not him she wanted. The humor and camaraderie died in his eyes, replaced by such coldness Nyota still shivered from his stare.

How, in those few seconds, did Spock sense her guilt and regret when she hardly recognized it herself? After their one instance of intimacy in the arboretum, when a shared kiss seemed more of a lifeline than a romantic interlude, Nyota thought perhaps something deeper would develop between her and the Captain. But although she still occasionally felt his gaze caress her during the quietness of a shift, he never approached her, never allowed her to see the vulnerability and tenderness of that kiss again.

And then Spock came forth, subtly changing the tone of their music lessons to an appreciation of a new sort. Her mind and body were overwhelmed by the intensity of his interest. The feel of his lips, the whisper of his mind as it encircled and enslaved hers, the passion his body ripped from her core; it was now all at risk because she could not explain the feelings Kirk's look evoked.

Her feelings: panic, embarrassment layered with longing and regret, how did Nyota explain those last two to herself--much less Spock? But Spock was touching her at that instant, seeing and sensing her primal thoughts--without filter--without reason to govern them. He felt her flare of desire for the Captain and her embarrassment at being caught in Spock's embrace. Reading her thoughts from less than true psi points, did he understand the nuances wrapped within such base instinct? That the embarrassment was for being caught breaking regs, not in whose company she was found? Yet harder to explain to Spock or herself, the deep-seated attraction she felt for Kirk when his gaze had locked with hers--before the anger--before the shutdown--a nanosecond of longing only the human heart could capture.

"Our discovery has unsettled you," was Spock's initial remark--a tentative foray into the depths of Uhura's bedlam of emotions. At her continued silence he pushed harder. "Nyota, you cannot hide your attraction to Jim from me. I felt it as you did--it is real."

She saw the question in his eyes: 'do you want him instead of me?' It went unasked but she was afraid continued silence would be construed as an answer. "Spock, what you felt was shock and surprise at being caught--by the Captain no less. Of course I'm upset--we could both be reprimanded for breaking regulations. "

Recognizing Nyota's response as one of delay, Spock decided to allow it for the moment. "I have never known the Captain to particularly enforce the fraternization regulations- -except with himself. However, I will inquire if we are to be brought up on charges."

Not liking the idea of where that conversation would take Spock with Kirk, Uhura back-peddled, "I'd just leave it alone Spock, as you said, the Captain will probably let it drop."

Internally, Spock sighed; he was not proficient in non-linear problem solving and decided to abandon the attempt. "As much as Humans claim to embrace their emotions, they frequently choose to ignore those that make them uncomfortable. Nyota, your attraction disquiets you but it must be examined and addressed if we are to continue our current relationship. "

"Spock, it doesn't matter, you just said so yourself, the Captain does not fraternize-- " Nyota felt as if she was standing on the surface of Sol; her lungs scorched as she tried to breathe.

"--Which explains why he has not pursued his own attraction toward you." Spock realized Nyota's agitation did not allow her to make a cohesive argument. He would be patient.

"What? His attraction toward me?" Desperate for an escape route, Uhura used the change in point of view to move toward the door.

"Nyota, I am Vulcan, and although we choose to govern our emotions, we do possess them. As a male, I recognize another male's interest in one I consider mine. Jealousy is an emotion Vulcan's eschew--but I feel it tonight." The confession was bitter in Spock's mouth. He doubted the chasteness between his lover and his best friend.

"It's unbecoming." She skewered him while beating a tactical retreat out of his lab.

They reached an impasse outside her quarters, Uhura would not invite him in and Spock would not continue such a private discussion in the openness of the corridor. She watched him stalk off, regretting her verbal censure when he had only sought reassurance from her. Why had she withheld it?


The hour was late but Spock knew Kirk would not be asleep. He had spent the time since walking away from Nyota in deep meditation, seeking an answer to their dilemma. An idea had come to him, one far from optimal, but still a potential solution to the fracture between them. Now, all that remained was convincing the others.


The chime to Kirk's quarters claimed an interest he was determined to ignore. He knew who was on the other side of the door and was not ready to have the inevitable conversation. The door opened anyway.

"Using your override code is not meant for personal use, Mister Spock." His voice was flat, no energy left to expend in anger, all of that fleeing when he saw Uhura in Spock's arms. His mind was still in shock from finding them together. The bitter pill of regret still sat heavily in his gut.

"If it were personal, Captain, I would have used the connector between our lavatories." Spock corrected him as a matter of course. "No, my consideration for the well being of the command staff is of official and prime importance."

Eying Spock skeptically, Kirk dismissed his comment. "I hardly think the bridge crew will crash and burn because I caught you and Uhura in a clinch." He would keep this about them, superficial.

"It is not the behavior of the others that concerns me, Jim. It is yours and Nyota's I wish to discuss--"

"And I don't wish to discuss it, so unless you're submitting yourself to me for reprimand, I'm not talking." It was not his intent to bring up the regs, Kirk could care less who slept with who so long as his ship ran smoothly, but he did not want to go down this path.

Spock stiffened his posture, broadcasting his resolve to be heard. "If that is necessary in order to continue our discussion then so be it, however, it has not been your practice to involve yourself in shipboard liaisons. I am curious as to why you would do so now."

"I'm *not* involving myself, Spock. In fact, I'm trying hard to avoid any conversation about it at all. I'll be happy to look the other way if you walk away--now." His eyes flicked to the door, silently inviting Spock to leave. This was not superficial; Kirk's whole body tensed at Spock's stubbornness to talk about a tryst he'd rather not have seen.

"Jim, because of the authority over their lives, only the captain and XO are formally restricted from crew involvement. Why has the situation never arisen with you? As a Human, you are subject to loneliness even more than myself." The change in tactics put Kirk on guard--the topic shifting to his behavior rather than Spock's setting off all kinds of alarms.

"My personal life is my own business, Mister Spock; we were discussing your break with the regs, not mine." The rebuff was meant to shut down Spock's inquest but the Vulcan waited patiently for Kirk to answer the question.

Recognizing the ploy and hating himself for responding, Kirk continued. "I govern what goes on aboard the Enterprise. Relationships and their tolerance are at my discretion. But, as captain, I have a different set of eyes on me--ones far less tolerant of liaisons--ones far more likely to transfer perceived distractions off the ship. I won't risk my command, or the careers of others, on something I can't have."

"Yet only a lapse in my timing made you aware of Nyota and me. How much more difficult for the Admiralty to notice what happens light years away?" He left the question hanging, quietly noting the visibility of the pulse point at Kirk's right temple.

The argument had been made before but Kirk knew the risk was all too real. "But accidents do happen, Spock. Lapses in timing and judgment occur. The crew have eyes and a duty to report what they see, if not now, then later, when they leave ship. A bad review can easily result in some sort of retribution. "

"Such claims can be made regardless of facts--and unless the accuser has incontrovertible evidence--they are largely ignored." This discussion was as circuitous as his earlier one with Nyota; but Spock was counting on Jim's impatience to give him his opening.

"Unless the eyes watching you belong to Admiral Heihachiro Nogura--my patron saint and personal inquisitor all rolled into one. Why does any of this matter, Spock? The issue at hand is not my involvement with anyone, but yours and Uhura's." True to his nature, Kirk pushed up from his chair to stalk across the room, pacing like a caged animal.

"Yes, Jim, indeed, unless we invite you to join us."


"Excuse me?" He could not have heard that right.

"Yes, Jim, you did hear me correctly. I am asking if you would consider an involvement with Nyota, knowing I will not step aside." It was taking a large amount of will to present the concept so calmly but it was the only logical option. He wanted Nyota; Nyota also wanted Jim; Jim wanted Nyota. He would add Jim to the parameters of their relationship. With Nyota as the fulcrum of their unique scale, all sides would remain in balance.

"Spock, I know you don't mean it this way, but you're dangerously close to 'pimping out' your companion. I don't think Uhura would appreciate it very much either." Kirk had to process the idea as a Vulcan's very bad attempt at humor, any other consideration was ludicrous. His temples now beat in stereo.

Arching an elegant brow, Spock recalculated his response. "Ah, Jim, I do perceive the concept. However, this is where emotion clouds the logic of the situation."

"What situation is that?" His mouth was asking questions but Jim knew his brain had given up. His vision became pinpoint, seeing Spock only in a field of black.

"I desire Nyota and, although she desires me as well, she also desires you--" Spock was concerned, Jim was usually more adept at deductive reasoning.

"And you know this--how?" There went the mouth again.

"I was touching her when you entered the lab. My shields were down; her thoughts became known to me." It was a simple, but painful confession. Vulcans had many rules regarding melds between unbonded partners and Spock was breaking several.

Oh, it just kept getting better and better--not only was Spock suddenly into sharing mates, he was into sharing secrets. Taking a quick breath, Kirk thought to share a bit of wisdom he had learned over the years. "Another thing human females don't like, Spock: you knowing their mind and sharing it with others; no good ever comes of it."

"Jim, for my proposal to work, we must have honesty between us. Nyota is more logical than most Terran females. I do not foresee this to be a problem." Spock's concern grew; he did not expect Jim's protective instincts to flare in this discussion. Nyota was not the disadvantaged member in their relationship to Spock's way of thinking.

"But you've not discussed this with her yet...?" Kirk thought warp core breaches would look like Fourth of July sparklers in comparison to her blowout.

"No, she is having difficulty assimilating her feelings for you in the context of her involvement with me. I have anticipated, by factoring in her cultural mores, that the idea of a concurrent relationship will not present itself to her." Spock realized he was bordering on speculation, something he worked diligently to avoid, but dealing with humans often required it.

"Or me, Spock. What do your cultural mores have to say about a ménage a trois?" Yep, that pretty much sounded like what Spock was offering to him. Oh, wouldn't Nogura have his head, both of them, on a platter if he heard about this?!

"No Jim, a strict definition of ménage a trois is an open living and sexual relationship. We cannot afford to be open about our relationship nor do I see living together as a viable situation while aboard ship. However, regardless of term, Vulcan history is replete with such deep sharing between t'hy'la. Life in the desert was always a struggle. To lose a bond brother for the lack of a mate was unconscionable. "

Spock thought Jim understood his explanation of the concept of t'hy'la after the debacle of his betrothal to T'Pring. He was the brother Vulcan society would allow, a ne ki'ne of the first order that Spock never doubted. His mercurial nature inspired Spock, gave him hope that one day he would find a similar balance within his own nature. Jim unabashedly exhibited emotion yet succeeded in spite of, or more heretical to Vulcan thinking, because of it. To Spock he was a paradox; rationally governing his emotions or giving them free rein, whatever was required to achieve his goal. He was a kazhuksu worthy of great sacrifice.

"Spock, Humans tend to mate more than once every seven years--" Why did this sound like Sex Ed 101? Kirk's vision was now both pinpoint and surreal, a dream excruciatingly detailed.

"As I have observed from your behavior, Jim." Kirk's desire for sex appeared more on the matter of days rather than years. For his own part, Spock felt the same way. The seven year mating cycle was just that, a time to procreate rather than a time for pleasurable sexual intimacy. Humans were prone to miss the distinction and Vulcans were not inclined to correct their assumption.

"--the chances of friction between us would rise dramatically. " Kirk finished with an exasperated frown. He was in no mood for pot shots about his sexual behavior from Spock.

"That would certainly be the case if we vied for her attentions separately; conversely, if we choose to concurrently share her affection the odds diminish considerably. " He had explained this point already; Jim was being uncharacteristicall y dense.

"The odds diminish considerably? --Spock, I can't believe I'm having this conversation with you." Kirk had thought it to himself a thousand times during this conversation, might as well confess it out loud now. His mind was in anarchy, even talking was a struggle. All thought of Nyota as a flesh and blood woman was pushed far, far away, chaos forbidding the processing of Spock's idea as anything other than abstract theory.

"What is the issue, Jim? Have I misjudged your attraction to Nyota? Does the idea of a polyamorous relationship overwhelm your moral code of conduct? Your actions during past shore leaves had led me to a different conclusion. Only because I consider you t'hy'la can I contemplate the idea myself. For us all to 'win' I am willing to share. I am not willing to terminate my relationship with Nyota in your favor." His last remark was accompanied by a ram-like dip of his head--truce or challenge implicit in the posturing.

"There was a reason Grandpa wanted me to be a farmer...." Kirk muttered to himself. The muscle in his right cheek was now ticcing in time to the pulse throbbing at his temple. A hazy veil of gray replaced his pinpoint vision.

"Jim, I do not understand how the wish of your ancestor has any bearing on our discussion." Kirk's logic was seriously compromised. His complexion was alternately flush or pale; perhaps he had taxed Jim's emotional reserves past a safe tolerance.

"And *that* is the problem, Spock, you *don't* understand. I can't continue this conversation tonight; if you want to carry on then Uhura will have to explain it to you." He felt bad for throwing this walking nightmare to Uhura but he had little doubt Spock would go there anyway. Maybe she could get it through to him. All *he* wanted to do right now was crawl under the covers and disappear, but he doubted his body's symphony of tics and throbs would allow an escape into sleep.


"You what?!" Spock's hand deftly intercepted the upraised palm aimed for his face.

"There is no need for violence, Nyota; I am quite capable of understanding a verbal reprimand." Spock's cheeks flushed green at the open anger Nyota displayed toward him.

"You think? Because it sure doesn't sound like you understand anything to my way of thinking." Nyota had not been this angry in a long time. The sense of betrayal wounded her deeply.

"Jim told me you might have such a reaction. I told him I thought you would see the logic of my solution." The indignation in Nyota's voice made it plain he had miscalculated.

"The solution--the solution, Spock?!" It was all she could do to keep her hands to herself. "I'm not chattel to be shared at your discretion. Who *I* choose to be involved with and how is *my* choice--you got *that* Mister!?" She had never felt so humiliated in all her life. The idea of going to the bridge next shift was mortifying. How could he have thought a threesome was a good idea? How could he have discussed it with Kirk?

"Understood, Nyota, but your desire for Jim was clearly evident, as was his desire for you. You are allowing your emotions of shame and guilt to color your judgment. There is no reason for either emotion. Kaiidth --what is, is. While I would prefer you to feel differently, I accept them for what they are. In light of the emotions at play, I considered my solution a win-win for each of us." Emotions were capricious and volatile, better kept under the control of reason. Spock was discovering that a relationship with a Human female required much more than logic. Did Sarek find it thus?

"Spock, if you live long enough," the patience in Uhura's voice was manifest, "you will find that Humans often desire what they can't have--often for that very reason. The idea of being involved with the Captain is romantic because it's a fantasy of power and taboo. His desire for me is much the same--I'm crew--I'm forbidden. I'm sometimes under his nose for twelve to fourteen hours a day; he's bound to have daydreams."

"You are telling me the attraction between you is not based in reality but fantasy?" The concept argued with what he had felt in Nyota's mind. That was real, but was its source a fallacy?

"Yes, Spock, it's the idea of the man rather than the man himself." Nyota made sure Spock was not touching her at the moment. Too tired to contemplate the truth of her words, it was for the best in either case.


Spock recounted Nyota's explanation of their attraction during breakfast, studying Kirk's face for any sign of denial but the Captain kept his face heavily guarded even as he agreed to Nyota's assessment of their relationship. Spock strongly suspected he missed something during their interaction but was at a loss as to what it might be.

The day watch was uneventful if one did not consider giving and taking orders without eye contact to be unusual. Sulu and Chekov were oblivious to the awkwardness between Uhura and Kirk but for once Spock was not. Uhura gave report from just behind the Conn instead of her usual place in front and slightly to the Captain's left. If Kirk took issue with her change in reporting station, Spock could not detect it.


One shift became twenty and Spock observed the awkwardness between Jim and Nyota evolve into a sort of reticence, as if neither knew how to get past the incident in the lab or Spock's subsequent offer. It was subtle, still apparently only visible to Spock amongst the Bridge crew, but McCoy's aside to him after a routine briefing only validated his concern. The doctor was trained and extremely astute in Human interactions.

"Has anything happened between Jim and Uhura, Spock?" At Spock's raised brow and continued silence, McCoy elaborated, assuming Spock required more detail. "They're awfully skittish around each other--like the leftovers of a lover's quarrel--when neither knows how to say 'I'm sorry'."

"As the Lieutenant and Captain are not lovers, Doctor, your analogy is lacking. I have detected no loss in efficiency from either party and I would recommend that you not pursue this topic with the Captain." He remained as bland as ever but Spock noted a 2.64 percent increase in his own heart rate.

"Yes, Spock, if that is your way of warning me off, I get it. I understand he'd hardly take kindly to me asking if he'd had a lover's spat with a crewmember. Just keep an eye out for me and let me know if it doesn't resolve itself in a day or two. Something is definitely going on between them but I don't want to make a mountain out of a mole hill." Uhura was the one female crewmember Kirk would loosen up with occasionally- -maybe not while on duty--but sometimes on the rec deck or in the mess hall he would let the real Jim Kirk surface in her company. They walked a fine line between professionalism and caring and McCoy worried such a line crossed would be extremely costly.

"Rest assured, Doctor, I will 'keep an eye out' as you say. However, I am confident that any emotional aberration in their social interactions will resolve itself soon." Choosing to mock the doctor usually had the desired effect of distracting him from the point.

"Be careful, Spock. It almost sounded like you said they would kiss and make up--" For once not willing to take the bait, McCoy merely arched his own brow and walked away.

"One can only hope, Doctor." The Vulcan confessed to the now-empty room.


Uhura found herself standing outside the Captain's quarters, her patience in shreds at the continued stalemate between them, much like her relationship with Spock. She could no longer stand the expectant looks Spock gave her, as if he waited for her to *do* something; the question of want and desire still lingering on their periphery, like a cut that refused to heal. She was shy of his touch, uneasy at the thought of his mind entering hers, probing and analyzing her jumble of conflicting emotions. What used to be erotic and sensual now made her feel violated.

Her hand hesitated over the door chime, her resolve wilting at what could be the outcome of this conversation. Nyota was under no confusion that any sort of re-approachment would be coming from Kirk. Willfulness was not one of his best attributes but one he possessed in abundance. She remembered the hurt and anger in his eyes. No apologies would make the anger go away, leaving only the hurt to work with. It was unintentionally inflicted but Nyota knew she must be the one to bandage the injury, to attend to it so they all could heal.

A firm "come" acknowledged her request for audience and Nyota stepped smartly into Kirk's quarters. She could not afford to appear weak or timid but cocky would get her sat down on her ass too.

"Yes, Lieutenant, how may I help you?" Kirk remained sitting at his desk, his tone cool and professional, just like he spoke to her on the Bridge.

"I need to discuss something with you, sir; permission to speak freely?" She kept her shoulders squared and her eyes fixed straight ahead, not daring to assume he would tolerate anything but midshipman spit and polish. She felt his eyes on her, studying and assessing for agonizing seconds before responding.

"Granted, Lieutenant, what is on your mind?" Nyota thought he had forgotten her name, only using her title since that night.

"I want to discuss what happened the other night in Mister Spock's lab, sir, and the resultant conversation he had with you. It has caused an estrangement between us--one I want to rectify." Even though she was granted permission to speak freely, Uhura kept her tone and manner within decorum.

"I'm sure everything will resolve itself in due time, Lieutenant." Kirk kept his own decorum intact, his brief remarks giving Nyota little to work with.

"How long is 'due time,' sir?" Changing tactics by softening her voice and her posture, Uhura gave in but not up.

"I don't know, Lieutenant. I've never been in this situation before." His eyes remained wary, recognizing her change in behavior as strategic.

"Walking in on something, sir--or just one involving me?" Strategy be damned, Nyota pushed hard. She could either wind up looking like the vainest fool ever or finally get to the real issue between them.

Kirk's eyes tightened in a minute flinch, his chin rising in recognition of her 'all in' attitude. "You and Spock surprised me. I like to think I know what's going on around here. It's unnerving to discover that I don't." He still hedged his bet, but at least he did not embarrass her.

"Is that all, sir?" She was not willing to leave it like this between them, a chaste dance between innamorati.

A soft, sheepish smile flashed briefly across his face. "If I admit to being envious, can we call it a draw?" Still the captain, he stood, attempting to bring their conversation to a close on a more conciliatory note.

Nyota stepped toward him instead of the door, ramping up the energy between them. The smile left Kirk's face, replaced by an intense, hungry look. This was the man she sought; the man who waited to be invited before pillaging the maiden. "No one wins with that hand, sir." She stood inches away from him, her face turned upward in her own challenge.

"Then I guess we need to deal a new hand...." His lips only brushed hers, teasing yet waiting to see if she would respond in kind. A million reasons to stop screamed in his brain--for once he lost himself in the solitude of deafness.

Nyota raised herself on tiptoe, looping her arms around his neck, pulling him down into a deeper kiss. "Don't you hate logic?" She laughed throatily against his mouth. His arms encircled her, holding her tightly against his body.

"I don't know; it seems like it could be a great time saver." He grinned in between kisses, moving down to nuzzle the base of her throat.

"You know, Spock will be insufferably smug about this." Running her hands under Kirk's shirt and across his bare chest did not seem at odds with their conversation about her other lover. 'Her *other* lover--how strange that sounded to her; she had never been involved with two men at the same time.

"Spock is frequently insufferably smug, but when he's right it's worth tolerating." Kirk's hands were sliding up the back of Nyota's thighs, stopping to cup the firm mounds at their top.

"He's not willing to give me up, or I him. Are you okay with that?" She pulled her head back from the possession of his lips, needing to make herself understood before all thought left them.

"Are you?" Nyota found herself wedged between the bulkhead and Jim's substantial erection, his eyes locked with hers, feral and shining like polished amber.

"I don't know; I think so." Her fingers were struggling with the opening of his pants. Coherent thought was past her now.

"You don't think he'll be mad we went ahead without him?" Nyota's uniform shorts and panties were being pushed down her legs. His thumb stroked her sex possessively.

"I'll tell him I was shy." She whispered in his ear as she freed herself from the clothes pooled around her ankles and wrapped her legs around Jim's waist.

"Oh, he'll totally believe that." Replacing his hand with something more in need, Jim pushed into Nyota's moist heat, nearly losing it as she clamped down on his seeking shaft.

"Shut up and fu--mmmm." Her words were swallowed by an ardent kiss.


"Don't you ever knock?" Kirk's flippancy was an effort to conceal the uncomfortable moment between waking to find Spock standing over them and what the Vulcan might do at finding them together in bed.

"I trust you and Nyota enjoyed yourselves." If the arched brow was any indication, Kirk thought he might live to see another day.

"Sorry we didn't wait for you Spock, but we didn't think you'd mind our first time just being between us." He hoped his grin looked more apologetic than the one Nyota sported.

"No, Jim, but the second and third time were beginning to test my tolerance." Damn! Regardless of his many denials, Jim always suspected Spock could hear everything that happened in his quarters.

"Oh, Spock, come here and let me make it up to you." Nyota stretched out her arms, encouraging him to join them in bed.

"My God, woman, you are insatiable." It was only half in jest, Kirk knew he was still exhausted.

"Jim, you have no idea how true your words are." The tilt of his head suggested he was joking, but the long suffering look made Jim pause.

"Sssshhhh, it's two against one, I would think my appetite would work in you gentlemen's favor." She gave them both an affronted look.

"Well, she's right about that, Spock." He grinned up at Spock, now seeing the plus side.

"And I'm right that we need a bigger bed." She noticed Spock had moved to her side of the bed but stopped before making himself a crowded third.

"Then, in the mean time, the floor must suffice." Both she and Jim yelped as the mattress was unceremoniously pulled off the bed and dropped onto the floor. A jumble of arms, legs and pillows seemed inviting. "Move over, Jim, I believe Nyota wished to offer me an apology."

Jim grinned; they were definitely going to need to beef up the soundproofing.