Tokens K/U, U/? [PG]
Image created by Idic
Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek. I only own my fantasies.
Summary: Uhura reminiscences on her relationship with Kirk. This story references my earlier work "My Faith in You," and the piece I'm currently writing called "Healing Touch," as well as a conclusion piece only outlined in my head.
Uhura moved purposefully into her bedroom, stopping to retrieve a jewelry box from the dresser. Cradling the unadorned, but highly polished box gently in her arms, she sat down on her bed. The plainness of the box belied the wealth it contained, a wealth of memories Uhura felt a sudden need to revisit this day, her birthday.
Slowly, she opened the box and picked up a silk bag, removing one of the carefully stored pieces, a pendant embedded with a Cygni fire diamond. She turned the stone to catch the light from her bedside lamp and was taken back over twenty-five years ago, to the day she noticed what was soon to be a most exquisite gift. It was during the fourth year of Enterprise's first five year mission, a lifetime ago, or only yesterday. They were fortunate enough to be granted a short layover at Cygnus Two in order to resupply. Not actually enough time for a real shore leave, but enough time for everyone to get a few hours planet-side if they switched to two shifts instead of the usual three.
It was planet night on the major continent when it became Alpha shift's turn for shore leave. Uhura found herself escorted by practically the entire bridge crew in her beam down party. Even Captain Kirk and Mister Spock stayed with them, soaking up the local atmosphere and enjoying the sights as they walked the brightly-lit boulevard.
Passing one shop, Uhura's eye was caught by a beautiful piece of jewelry prominently displayed in the window of a very exclusive establishment, a pendant of gold, shaped in an intricate floral vine design. However, what teased her with its beauty, acting as the focal point of an alien flower, was a flawless Cygni diamond poised in the pendant's center. The stone danced with all the colors of the rainbow and flashed with the brilliance of a supernova.
Someone cleared his voice and Uhura pulled herself back to reality. She glanced around and saw that everyone, save Captain Kirk and Mister Spock, had continued down the promenade for several meters before realizing she was no longer with them. Uhura blushed with embarrassment, but the Captain merely smiled and stepped up to see what had enchanted her so. A low whistle passed his lips as he regarded the pendant.
"Come on, you don't want to spend two months' pay on one trinket, do you, Lieutenant?" He asked teasingly as he gently led her away from the window.
"Well, no sir, but it is beautiful." She sighed in resignation and threw a longing look over her shoulder as they caught up with Spock and the others.
So she was quite dumbfounded when, several weeks later, she found that pendant in a black satin box sitting on her bedroom pillow. It was accompanied by a hand-written note, which said simply "Happy Birthday". The writing was unmistakably Captain Kirk's.
Uhura just stared at the pendant; its encased fire dancing for her now just as it had those many years ago. Back then, she thought perhaps he wanted to rekindle what they had shared on Potakai, but he never gave her an opportunity to test that theory. She remembered trying to thank him for the pendant, telling him it was much too extravagant a gift, but he had just smiled and said it was meant to be hers.
And it had gone on like that every year since, the man who said he couldn't remember birthdays had always remembered hers, no matter where they happened to be. If they were separated, his present found her. If they were together, it would be sitting on her pillow when she got off shift. Each gift was unique and beautiful. Sometimes he got her earrings, sometimes a necklace, but only once did he get her a ring--the first year he was planet-bound during Enterprise's refit.
Uhura slipped the pendant back in its silk bag and picked up a worn piece of folded parchment. She carefully unfolded the paper and removed a gold and emerald ring that had been enshrined within. She slipped the ring on her finger, it still fit perfectly, and read the timeless message written on the makeshift wrapping.
"Happy Birthday to the woman who helped me realize my life didn't end when Enterprise came home. I would not have made it without your love and encouragement during those first weeks. Thank you for sharing yourself and your family with me. Love, Jim."
Uhura quickly blinked back the tears that threatened to spill on the message from still the most important man in her life. She would not allow herself to cry, that time had past many months ago, but she felt his loss more deeply now than she had for some time. This was the first birthday in nearly thirty years that she would celebrate without him being a part of it in some way. The sting of his absence was like the ache from an old wound that never completely healed.
She carefully folded the parchment along its creases and placed it back with her other treasures. Over twenty-five years of remembrances stared at her from the jewelry box, remembrances from someone that she still loved as no other, secret mementos he had bequeathed to her as tokens of his enduring affection. Uhura knew she had been his respite when everyone else abandoned him, and oddly, that had been enough. Only when he was badly hurt and needed tenderness would he seek her out. Those times had been few and far between, but she had given herself gladly. It seemed they both knew when the other was past caring and came to the emotional rescue.
What had the Dowager said... 'You aren't meant to be, but you *are* meant to be forever'...? Those words had described their relationship for nearly thirty years. He had been her savior after the trauma of Bengali and she had been his when Spock and McCoy had abandoned him after he accepted his promotion. There had been other times, times of crisis for each of them, and they had sought each other out in order to cope.
Uhura never forgot how moved she was when Jim had finally let her 'see' his true self, not the Captain of the Enterprise, but the lonely soul from Iowa. It was those moments she treasured above all and it was sad to know they had to come from great pain. Yet, it was the rekindling of joy within him that made their times special to her. While his passion was too much for her when his life was on track, the feeling she got from bringing his spirit back from the edge was indescribable. No other relationship, and he had never asked her to abstain from other attachments, had ever compared to the intimacy she always felt with him.
And now it was just a memory, one she wasn't ready to let fade into nothingness, but realized must be stored away, like her other gifts from him. Uhura smiled at the ring on her finger and gently closed the lid of her treasure chest. Placing it back on the dresser, she called out as she grabbed her wrap off the wall hook.
"All right, Pavel, I'm ready now. So where is this place you're taking me?"