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Story [Star Trek: AOS] “with a hundred different stars in my skin” Spock/Uhura, AU, Complete on 3/04!

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Mira_Jade , Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    with a hundred different stars in my skin”

    Genre: Drama, Romance
    Rating: PG
    Time Frame: Post ST-XI, AU
    Characters: Spock/Uhura, Kirk, OCs

    Summary: Even fifteen years apart – separate lives and careers and duty between them – was not enough to kill the spark of what they shared.

    Author's Note: Soooo . . . One of the many topics of conversation brought up after the first reboot film (at least, by Spock/Uhura shippers) was the theory that Spock would leave his Starfleet commission – and his relationship with Uhura - behind in order to help rebuild his race in the wake of Vulcan's destruction. In some ways, it was a logical choice, if not an appealing one, and we were all greatly relieved when that plot line was not pursued. But . . . that got me to thinking . . . What if Nero's actions did cause history to change that much? What if Spock did the logical and the Vulcan thing in leaving to aid his race – a race that had suffered from the most unthinkable of blows? If that did happen, what if years later, they were to meet again? How would things be different? How would things say the same? Would there still be a spark?

    And thus, this fic was born.

    That said, this is not the typical Spock/Uhura I write. Here the characters are older, and they have been through much – Nyota especially - and the years of camaraderie and shared careers aboard the Enterprise never happened. But this story, at the core, is a slow, soft tale about falling back into love again, even when such a thing seems impossible. I hope you give this tale a chance, and enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

    Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words.

    "with a hundred different stars in my skin”
    by Mira_Jade

    Part I

    When she dreamed, the dream she dreamed was an old one.

    It was the same as it was most nights. Around her, all she could see were wild mists, so thick that they seemed to be entities of their own - white and billowing in ghost-shapes, killing her ability to see the path before her. She could feel as her lungs grew wet and heavy from breathing in the soupy air. The ground underneath her feet was wet, the jungle mire tugging at her boots until it became difficult to form a step, difficult to run.

    And she had to run.

    When the mists did part, they revealed half-formed shapes of silver forests and dark grey mountains. Vines draped from the branches of the great-trees - towering things that hovered far above the forest floor. They were far larger than any species that could be found on Earth, tall enough to give the impression of touching the heavens above with their fingering branches.

    But they were pitiless when they stared down at her. They were unmovable, granting neither succor nor shelter, merely watching.

    And -

    Little one, but why do you run?

    Her next breath was too quick as it filled her lungs. It hurt to breathe in. Her step faltered, and she tripped over the patchwork of roots and forest debris on the path before her. She fell, catching herself on one of the winding roots with her hands. Her skin scraped, but there was no time to stop as she got to her feet again. She bit off a curse as she sloshed through a shallow stream, the cold water surprising when concealed by the mist.

    He will hear you, her heart seized. He is here.

    Little one, the voice in her head mourned. It was a rich, beautiful voice, false in its beauty . . . and it hungered.

    She followed the stream, hating the mist that clouded her vision as she tried to see through to the forest around her. She could hear the sound of rushing water – waterfalls, she knew. But she couldn't see them. She couldn't find . . .

    She just wanted to see again. She just wanted to breathe.

    . . . when was the last time she had seen the sky? the part of her mind that was not focused on away and escape wondered. When was the last time she had seen white clouds; traced childhood constellations in the nighttime sky?

    She could not remember. The weight on her mind was too great. She could not . . .

    Certain images grounded her. Kept her mind her own when the other tried to smother it. His spirit was just so huge, filling in the nooks and crannies of her mind until there was nothing that was not shared. Nothing that could be lost and found. She used those thoughts, those memories to ground her. Memories of her father's hand on her shoulder, his wide mouth smiling as he touched the insigna on her chest when she had worn her uniform before her family for the first time. She remembered her mother, braiding her hair for her, singing ancient lullabys as her fingers danced, even when she herself was much too old for such things. She remembered her sister's confiding smile . . . the feel of her nieces and nephews in her arms . . .

    She remembered . . . she remembered her Captain's smile, slanted and challenging, bright enough to match even the stars around them. She remembered the Doctor's scowl – covering amusement more often then not. She remembered the twinkle in his eye when he would call her darlin' – all southern drawl and easy charm.

    She remembered friendship. She remembered family.

    And now . . .

    You have so much that holds fast upon you, the voice whispered as she ran. One of the low hanging vines snagged at her hair, but she ignored it. She let the physical sensation ground her. Let me have it. Let me have your pain, your sorrow, and you can live here in this dream. You never have to leave . . .

    Large round stones lined the riverbed, she could feel them with her hands. Ceremonial patterns had been cut into the rockface, she could feel the patterns with her fingertips. In her ears, the water roared. She was getting closer, then.

    But it is a lie . . . she whispered in reply, wondering why she could not make him understand. Wondering why she could not make him see. Her hands slipped against the rockface. It is not real.

    And the life you live now? The voice scoffed. Is that real? In her temples, the voice reverberated. It pounded, tearing claws through organic matter and intangible thought until it was all she could not do to press her fingertips to her forehead with the weight of his thoughts.

    It is mine, at the very least, she hissed, heaving against the mental onslaught. And you cannot have it any more.

    She could hear feet in the underbrush. Heard the chatter of clicks and whistles. They were not far behind her then.

    She felt where the wood ended. Felt where there was nothing but wind and open air against her face. She licked her lips, and tasted the mist of sweet water from the cascade. In her ears, water roared as it rushed for the river below.

    This could . . .

    What do you think to do, little one? The voice mocked like a chiding parent. You think to run? Flee to the stars in your steel beast? Your mind has nurtured my own – even were you to escape, you would never completely be free of me. I shall always have a part of you. And you will carry a part of me.

    I will not, still she fought. You don't have any power over me. Not any more. She would rip him out, piece by piece from every thought if she had to. She would no longer -

    - she felt where she reached the edge of the precipice. The mists cleared, just enough to see a breathtaking view of the cliffside below. The silver wood and the impossible view of the mountains just beyond. The majestic fall of the water into the river below, the cascade singing . . .

    Little one, the voice whispered. I am here.

    She did not even look back as the sound of stampeding feet grew nearer. She simply closed her eyes . . .

    . . . and jumped.

    And Nyota Uhura opened her eyes to the sight of familiar shadows.

    Immediately, she sat upright in bed, her heart still pounding with restless adrenaline. Her stomach clenched, as if expecting to fall, as if expecting the roar of the wind in her ears, the weight of the water as it battered her body - even when surrounded as she was by the comfort of her room, by the familiar shape of her belongings.

    Hers. Her own.

    She pressed her fingertips to her temples, hating the migraine that was settling there, even though the day had yet to begin. There was only one way to deal with such a morning.

    “Computer,” she ordered, her voice still dry from the night. “Half light.”

    Lazy, buttery light flooded down from the ceiling, forcing the shadows to flee to the corners of the room. She breathed in deeply before letting her breath out slow. Even still, she let her eyes search out every corner and hidden place before she would leave the comfort of her bed. Her heart refused to be still in her chest.

    It is just a memory, her mind whispered. It can hurt you no more.

    “No more,” she whispered out loud. “No more.”

    When the pounding in her temples retreated to the background enough to let her move, she carefully got out of bed, pushing the sweat soaked sheets away with a mental note to change them for fresh ones later. Her hair hung wild and tangled before her eyes. Her night clothes were wrinkled, the back of her neck was wet. Her body had not accepted her dreams with grace, then.

    Sighing, she made her way to the bathroom of her suite. She splashed cold water at her face, trying to wash the flush from her skin, but was met with marginal success. In the mirror, there were bags underneath her eyes, heavy and violet like bruises. She pressed a fingertip into the tired flesh, annoyed that she would be forced into taking a sleeping hypo again – she had just been weaned off of those, and she had thought that progress was made.

    She heard laughter in the back of her mind, echoing from her dream. Stubbornly, she pushed the sound away.

    As she dried her face, she critically ran her gaze over her reflection in the mirror.The last year since L'iost had left the points of bones sharp, the sides of her cheeks hollow. She had had little weight to lose beforehand, but now everything - from the pinched shape of her wrists to the telling lines of her ribs - seemed starker than before. Sleep and a hearty diet had helped since her return, but it was still a long road to recovery, and it wound slower than she would have liked at times. While she was no longer the wide eyed youth that had entered Starfleet eighteen years ago, she had still been called beautiful before her time spent -

    . . . her time spent before, she locked her thoughts down stubbornly.

    Just . . . before.

    Her hair was shorter than it had been, she continued to chronicled the differences with an almost detached apathy. Still black and sleek, the severe line brushed her chin before angling up at the back of her head in a more stylized throwback to the 'dutch boy' cut from Earth's roaring twenties. When she leaned forward, the curtain of her hair fell forward to cover the long white scar that split the right side of her face in a neat line – running from her hairline, through her eye, down the curve of her cheek to stop at the conner of her mouth. The blow that had birthed the mark had bought her her freedom, but it had been a long battle to save her vision from the wound. Even with all of the efforts to the contrary, she still bore a tangible reminder of her captivity, a mark that would never completely fade away.

    She leaned forward towards the mirror, pressing the pad of her first finger against the start of the line before following it down. The skin there was lifted, raised and puckered, but time had turned the wound from a hard texture to one smooth and leathery. Morbidly fascinated, she touched it now, watching the skin at the side of the scar flush darker with the blood that rushed to the surface of her skin before returning to normal as her finger retreated. Someday, she may even think the scar to be beautiful in its own way – it certainly was dramatic enough. But, for now . . .

    She let her hand fall away with a sigh, closing her eyes to the memories threatening to engulf her. Her motions routine, she turned away from her reflection in order to turn on the faucets for the shower. She needed to wash away the stink of jungle air, and the memory of water filling her nose and lungs as, in her mind, his voice laughed . . .

    He had said that she would always carry a part of him, she remembered . . . she held a hand to her head, and admitted that he was more right than he would ever know.

    ~MJ @};-
    Random Comments and RX_Sith like this.
  2. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    A very good start as Nyota experiences the terrors of nightmares from her captivity. Hopefully, Spock will be able to help her through them.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Miranda, it is up, the Persuasion thingy. Buya!, buya! [:D] [:D] Apologies for not noticing earlier :eek:

    Here am I, your agent [face_laugh] Hazel and earlybird-obi-wan and serendipityaey -- [face_batting] [face_dancing] [face_dancing]

    ^:)^ I am loving this older, more mature Nyota, though my tummy hurts at the thought of the years apart. *dons brave hat* LOL But, seriously, how she survived that mental incursion, very much like having Palps in your head. Ick! :p I am, very glad, naturally, that she did, even without the soul-restoring life-and-love bond with our "pookie bear."

    I am chuffed!!!! you're writing this, as if. you couldn't tell.

  4. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    A great beginning. Love Uhura and what will Spock bring?
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  5. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 7, 2002
    Ooh, this looks really interesting! Who is this guy that hurt her? Can't wait to find out what's happened!
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    I think I found the perfect cover song for this fic. [face_love] !!!! It's by Ciline Dion, natch. Gooified me right up; it's called Loved me Back to Life.

  7. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    RX_SIth: We have quite the road to walk before that, but yes! They will most definitely be meeting again. [face_mischief][face_love]

    Nyota's_Heart: Ahh! You are here!! :D At first I thought that I scared you off with the premise of this fic - the brave hat, indeed! I can just promise you a very happy ending for our two. They deserve it - especially after revisiting Serillious again . . . Is it bad that I am creating an AU of my own fanfiction? :oops: Because, I could not resist. :p

    And that song! Perfect! I already had "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" on my playlist for this fic. Because, obviously. ;) [face_love] [:D]

    earlybird-obi-wan: Thank-you! I am loving this older version of Nyota, and cannot wait to write this particular reunion. [face_love]

    Dantana_Skywalker: Thanks for stopping in! I can't wait to share the rest of the story. :D

    Alrighty, I am giving the next chapter one final proof-read, and then it will be up. :)
  8. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Part II

    Dawn broke on San Francisco like gold poured over silver.

    The morning was bright and gleaming, the rising sunlight shining down from over the large, fluffy clouds that rolled in from over the ocean. Nyota rode to Starfleet headquarters in the middle of rush hour, but she did not mind the hustle and bustle of the crowd around her in the slightest. Instead, she wore the brim of her cap low over her eyes, keeping the glaring sun, reflected from the towering spires of the city from her vision. The hover-rail was awash with the chatter of passengers, and Nyota closed her eyes in order to the sound. She appreciated the chatter of the spoken word so very dearly after the events of L'iost and Serillious, and she now took every opportunity she could to surround herself with people and noise. Even when she was alone in her apartment she would have on music or keep an open comm line to her sister's bustling family in Nairobi. Even when not actually talking, Kashore would keep the line open for her, just to share the sound of family and laughter and belonging.

    Now she tapped her fingers against her thigh, picking out on an imaginary rhythm from the chatter around her. Without consciously doing so, she translated a conversation in Hirdu from a pair of cadets in the seats behind hers. Their words were quick and bright, so full of vigor and aspirations that Nyota couldn't help but smile in memory of her own time spent at the Academy – riding the same lines with Gaila, she talking about her studies as Gaila would playfully try to set her up with one fellow student after another.

    At the memory, Nyota opened her eyes and blinked against the sunlight. The familiar ache she felt at her friend's passing was a dull pain after so many years, a faint tightening she felt in her chest before she inhaled against it. And then the emotion was gone.

    The chime overhead sounded. Nyota stood, ready to disembark at her stop.

    Over the years, Headquarters had changed but little. A few of the towers were higher, she reflected, but other than that, it was the same graceful mass of sleek steel and gleaming glass that it always had been. The two Hirduin cadets got off with her, but their scarlet uniforms were soon lost in the sea of red and gray around her. Nyota tipped her head to those she recognized, and smiled politely to those she didn't, all the while making her way to the offices of the planetside commanders – the Admirals and the senior Captains who were not out with their commands at the moment.

    Although she technically held her rank of Lieutenant-commander, she was still off on a medical leave from the events of Serillious. She had yet to be judged fit for active command, but she couldn't bring herself to dispute that decision yet. She didn't trust herself back in the field, yet. She even . . .

    It just takes time, she told herself firmly. Just . . . time. Time to recover. Time to . . .

    Time to get his voice out of your head, she admitted to herself with a painful sort of honesty. With just the thought, an all too familiar ache started to pound behind her eyes, and she gritted her teeth at the sensation. Her mind was hers. Hers alone, and, in time, she would reclaim it as such.

    But, for now . ..

    She hesitated at the door to the Admiral's office before waving her hand at the control pad. A tone chimed, and then the doors swooshed open to admit her.

    Seated at her desk, Admiral Myna Kryukov posed a harsh, commanding figure. The Admiral was a human woman in her middle years, with naturally dark, steel grey hair, shot through with two locks of white hair at the temples from her age. She kept it all drawn back from her face in a severe French bun, showcasing her sharp features and piercing, sea-gray eyes. She raised one thin brow when Nyota came to stand at attention before her, her salute parade accurate at her temple.

    “At ease,” when she spoke, Myna's dark mouth curved upwards. The look was crooked. “And please, have a seat. We have known each other long enough to disperse with such formalities.”

    “Yes Sir,” Nyota inclined her head in response, but hesitated a moment before siting. When Myna's raised brow went higher, she finally relented, and sat down.

    When she took her seat, she sat up straight and severe. In a marked counterpoint, Myna leaned backwards in her own chair, observing her with a frank honesty that Nyota normally appreciated in the other woman – a woman who had quite the shoes to fill stepping in place of Christopher Pike after his retirement. But now . . .

    Now, Nyota tilted her chin up, and waited for whatever the Admiral wished to say.

    Instead of talking about her progress with the Fleet doctors – as Nyota had been expecting, Myna reached forward on her desk to touch a date chip. At her command, a hologram of a gleaming green and blue world leapt into the space above her desk. Data readings filed neatly into the air next to the floating world, and almost immediately, she knew why she had been called to the Admiral's office.

    “Ennor I,” Myna said lightly, as if taking her order for lunch. “Have you heard of it?”

    “I have,” Nyota answered neutrally.

    “Class M planet, located at the edge of the Neutral Zone,” Myna nodded her head as she spoke. “Rich in mineral deposits, and of a strategical importance for its border location – negotiations have been in place for the last few years to grant the planet Federation membership, but there have been complications.”

    “With Ennor II,” Nyota nodded.

    Myna waved her hand, and the display zoomed out to show a view of the solar system. In the middle of the display, there was a giant blue sun, and a massive red-violet gas planet twice the size of Jupiter in the position of first orbit around the star. In secondary orbit was Ennor I. Ennor II had the unique path of sharing Ennor I's orbit – each planet set at opposite sides of the sun on the solar year to avoid collision.

    “Their close proximity to Ennor Prime makes the Ennorians capable of advanced hive linking and telepathic communication,” Myna continued. “Ennor I has recently developed a speaking language in the last two hundred years, along with the rudimentary ability of space travel. They wish to continue to advance their world in return for mining rights. But Ennor II -”

    “ - has resisted advancement of any kind,” Nyota finished. “Yes, I have heard.”

    “They are known as the Silent – refusing to use the spoken tongue and relying solely on their hive communications,” Myna leaned back, a single finger touching her chin thoughtfully. “There are those on Ennor I too who are resisting Federation involvement in their way of life, and along with the Silent there have been . . . acts of violence accompanying the talks thus far. It started simply – vandalism, petty theft, and so on, but yesterday the violence took a higher turn. This is known only to a select few, but one of Ennor I's senior clan leaders was murdered at the conclusions of the preliminary talks – in a way we don't precisely understand. In the best way I can describe it, he was 'drained' of the force the connects him to the hive mind, by a being who quite literally feeds on the telepathic energy that such thought processes maintain.”

    Nyota was silent for a moment, processing the new information. Her posture had lost its edge as she leaned forward, scrolling through the reports in the air in front of her.

    “Ennor's place in the Federation is of a strategical tactical importance,” Myna sighed. “But I do not need to explain that to you. And that . . . that is why I am asking you for help with the upcoming talks. We have investigators aiding the Ennorians with their search for the killer. But the Ennorian tongue is remedial and their grasp on Standard is simple, at best. Our linguists have described their hive tongue as basic – something you should be able to pick up on easily enough, if you choose to go. You, who have a more advanced understanding on such languages than anyone else in the fleet. Your published findings from Serillious have made quite the splash in the linguistic community, as you know – and I am asking for your assistance on behalf of the Federation.”

    For a moment, Nyota was very still in reply. She had guessed that this request was going to come as soon as Myna brought up Ennor, and yet, she still had to force down the fist that was threatened to tighten about her throat upon hearing the words actually spoken. Finally, she swallowed. She took in a breath.

    When she looked up again, the Admiral's face softened. “And that is why I am looking for you to volunteer, instead of phrasing this as an order. I understand that being near a hive minded race again may be . . . well, less than comfortable, given your history. But . . . my request is more than that.” The hard lines on Myna's face smoothed, becoming almost maternal in feature - and that, more than anything else, had Nyota sitting up straighter. It was becoming a look she was starting to loathe – the soft looks, the pity . . .

    My mind is not my own, she thought fiercely. But I am still me.

    Something about her face must have betrayed her thoughts, for Myna carefully composed her features after seeing her as such. When she spoke, her words were clipped – the words of a commander to one under her command. “Also on Ennor for the talks, there will be a Vulcan ambassador in attendance to mediate on the Federation's behalf. An ambassador with knowledge of the human psyche – who has expressed willingness to help with your . . . guest, leftover from Serillious.”




    Years at keeping a professional face kept her from betraying the surprise she felt at Myna's words. But inside she felt a lance of feeling, severing through memory and once was to make its mark deep.

    Nyota inhaled.

    She hesitated, trying to find the right words to explain her unease with Myna's proposal. For once, her tongue felt thick in her mouth. Her throat flexed, as if trying to breathe around a stone.

    “Sir,” she said carefully. “While I appreciate the very generous offer, surely the Ambassador has better things to do than to see to me? I would not want to be an imposition.”

    Myna waved a hand. “Nonsense. The Ambassador in question has ties to Starfleet, and it would be simple enough to at least see you and discern if his assistance would be of some help.”

    Another lance of feeling bit through her. Ambassador . . . ties to Starfleet . . .

    The odds were slim, but they were still high enough. There were too few Vulcans left, and the ones who were not tied to the colony were few and far between. Years ago, she would have thought it to be Sarek offering his assistance, but Sarek had retired from the political scene in order to help with local government on New Vulcan. And Spock . . .


    Earlier, thoughts of Gaila had been a bittersweet remembrance – a flicker of warmth and fondness in memory of a friend long gone. Thoughts of Spock were still sores on the surface of her memories, and so, she did not think about him often. Once was, she had thought him the very best of men, and she had fallen for him fast and hard. They had bonded at an academic level from the very beginning, and their relationship had been quick to flourish from there, from friends to more, and she had very nearly thought . . .

    But then Nero struck his fatal blow, and Vulcan had been hit with a loss like none other. The wrinkle in time took its pound from flesh from her as well as the race he had wounded so very bitterly. She knew before Spock did what his choice would be . . . she knew that he would not leave his people when he could aid in their rebuilding, and so, when the call had been sounded, he had resigned his Starfleet commission, and followed his people to their new home.

    Nyota did not know what had become of him since then, she reflected with a pang. She had no idea what path his life had taken. During those first few months after his departure, it was all she could do to keep herself from following his course from afar. She watched as he accepted responsibilities in the new colony. She stepped aside, allowing him to accept a bride from the gene pool - each match formed to ensure the strongest children possible, a necessity for a race now on the edge of extinction, a race that was now so much less where once it had been massive in its reach and touch across the stars.

    She hadn't been able to follow after that. She was no masochist, rubbing salt in a wound without allowing it to heal. She told herself that she was simply being selfish. The needs of one; the needs of many, she tried to remind herself. She was one . . . and his people were many. He had so much to offer, and she would not be the anchor keeping him from them. She had let him go.

    Back then, she told herself that it wasn't love. She told herself that their relationship was young, its links just brittle enough to be severed without lasting injury. But now, fifteen years had passed, and she had not been able to hold another man up against the memory she held of him in her mind. Her hands on the arms of her chair made fists at the thought.

    Kirk had kept up with Spock over the years. He still did, as far as she knew – but their friendship was many things in many lives, and cutting one from the other was like cutting air from lungs. She now wished that she had listened whenever he tried to breach the subject with her. She wished that she knew. It would make her decision so much easier . . .

    Stubbornly, she exhaled, forcing her lungs to work around the feeling that filled them. Firmly, she told herself that the wound she felt was old. She told herself that this was a hurt that was healed . . . She told herself that she wanted nothing better than complete happiness for Spock and his place in the world – and if that place was as an Ambassador aiding the Federation, then she was happy for him.

    She was . . . truly.

    . . . truly.

    Her thoughts only took the space of a second, but they weighed on her as if they had taken an hour to pass. Myna was still waiting for her reaction. Her narrowed eyes were searching.

    Apparently, she saw enough in her face to know without her voice. The Admiral leaned forward. “While your aid with Ennor is a request, Lieutenant-commander, you meeting with the Ambassador is not. Whether it be now on Ennor, or here on Earth after, I must insist that you carry through with these arrangements.”

    Ire instinctively flared in her, even as she tried to bite it down. “Sir,” she said as levelly as she could. “I don't think that this is -”

    “ - necessary?” Myna interrupted, her eyes harpoon sharp. “Tell me, have the nightmares stopped?”

    She made her mouth a line. For a moment, she considered a lie. And yet . . . “No,” she replied tersely.

    “Do you still hear his voice?” another attack.

    “Yes,” the word was sharp from her teeth.

    “Then tell me, Lieutenant-commander, why this isn't a course you would want to pursue?” Myna's voice softened. She sighed and leaned back in her seat, looking older than Nyota had seen her yet. “You are one of the best translators Starfleet has ever known,” Myna said gently. “If you wanted to, you could publish your research, make a tidy sum – retire if you want. Hell, the Academy would take you on in the linguistic department if you never wanted to step foot on a starship again. But . . . if you think you have more to offer in the field, I recommend that you take this offer. You are too strong a woman to let this plague you. If nothing else, see the Ambassador for your sake, Uhura.”

    For a moment, she let herself contemplate a life without L'iost in her head. She let herself think of her mind the way it was before; with her sleep for dreams, and her mind for memory and thought and expansion.

    She so dearly wanted . . .

    “I will think about it,” she finally answered.

    Myna nodded her head, pleased. “But don't think too long. The shuttle to Ennor I leaves at 0600 tomorrow. You have until then to decide.”

    Nyota blinked. She thought she had longer to -

    “Yes,” Myna's smile was telling as she interrupted her thoughts. “Use that quick wit I have heard so many stories about, Uhura. I trust that it will steer you well again.”

    “Certainly, Sir,” Nyota said, her mouth a thin line. But she could not summon a true annoyance at being played – in fact, a part of her was grateful for not having any time to talk herself in and out of going.

    Myna spent a long moment just looking at her, and whatever she saw must have pleased her. “You are dismissed then,” the Admiral waved her away. “I look forward to hearing your report when you get back.”

    Nyota got to her feet, saluted, and took her leave.


    Once she made it to the hall beyond the Admiral's office, she turned to lean her back against the wall. Her temples were pounding in the wake of her meeting with Myna. Her skin felt too tight over her bones.

    You always were so amusing, little one, a voice like honey drizzled over her inner ear. Nyota stiffened, automatically trying to cage down her thoughts and feelings and push.

    You think that this other can claw me from your mind; peel me from your senses? L'iost's voice slithered. You think that it will truly be that easy?Why should he succeed where you have so utterly failed?

    Shut-up, she snarled at her own thoughts, and she heaved.

    In the end, L'iost turned from her mind with a rumbling laugh that echoed as it departed. But she did not delude herself into thinking that it was from any doing of her own. Her fingers were pale from where they pressed into the skin of her temples. She let her right hand fall and find the raised path of scar tissue. The smooth press of the ruined skin against her fingers grounded her as she breathed, in and out.

    In . . . and out.

    “You look like hell, Lieutenant-commander.”

    Nyota looked up at the voice, startled. When she opened her eyes, it was to the sight of a familiar pair of sky blue eyes and a an even more familiar lopsided grin. She straightened, forgetting her weariness as she smiled.

    “Jim!” she exclaimed. She could not keep herself from laughing in joy at the face before her, true happiness touching her psyche as he held his arms open to her.

    She stepped into his embrace for a brief, breathless hug that drew her feet off the ground before he let her go. Kirk held her hands and stepped back an arm's length so that he could look her up and down. His too-quick eyes paused at the thin points of her cheeks, the short line of her hair, before glossing over the scar on the right side of her face and focusing again on her eyes.

    “Kirk, what are you doing planetside?” Nyota questioned, still breathless at seeing her former captain.“They haven't roped you into resigning your captaincy for a desk job yet, have they?” she asked, looking at the insignia on his chest to confirm what she thought she knew.

    “They keep trying,” Kirk gave, his eyes twinkling. “But they can't take the sky from me just yet.”

    Admiral Kirk,” she breathed the title out along with an exhale. “If someone were to tell me years ago that you would end up as one of Starfleets most revered heroes, staring down the upper echelons of senior command, I do believe that I would have laughed in their face.”

    “Well,” Kirk's smile was crooked. “Life does have a way of not working out as expected. I have learned not to question fate after all of these years – in one way or another.”

    “Facing an Admiral's commission, and sprouting words of wisdom?” Nyota raised a brow. “Is this really Jim Kirk before me?” she pushed playfully at his chest as she peered into his eyes with a mock seriousness, looking for something other than her friend to stare back at her.

    “Well, if you want to look closer,” Kirk's smile turned sharp at the edges as he trapped her hands against his chest. “I would love to take you out for drinks, Lieutenant-commander.”

    She rolled her eyes, knowing that the invitation was as much out of habit as it was a true attempt to flirt. “You never give up, do you?” she drew her hands away, raising a playful brow in return.

    “I've been known to take stubborn tenacity to the point of bull headedness before,” Kirk shrugged his shoulders. “It's true.”

    That did bring a true smile to her face. “I remember,” she said softly. For a moment, memories of years gone by – happier years, spent with nothing but the universe wide open between their fingertips and no star out of reach – flashed through her mind faster than she could stop them.

    After their baptism by fire with Nero, she had stayed on as Chief Communications Officer through the Enterprise's first five year mission. Those years had been a whirlwind of edge-of-your seat heroics and past-the-horizon adventures, and they would forever hold a tender place in her heart. After those five years, she had taken a promotion, and worked in the field with follow-ups on First Contact for Starfleet, using her skills with languages to help the official representatives from Starfleet, all the while working on her own studies and research. Serillious had been her last mission to date . . . and her worst, if she was honest with herself.

    While she had taken her own turn in life, Kirk had taken the Enterprise out for another five years before the ship had been retired to more localized missions, using the name of both the ship and its Captain to Starfleet's benefit. Now, Kirk was older – the same eyes and smile, but with a bit of added weight to his stomach, a new breadth to his shoulders and strength to his stride that came with age and experience. His hair was just starting to thin on top, and there were new lines at the corners of his eyes. But, you were only as old as you felt, and Kirk still exuded the confidence and energy of a small sun. Already she could feel herself turning to the pull of him, drawn like gravity. It was part of what made him such an excellent commander; part of what helped him out of one tricky situation after another, and always for the best.

    He had been two sectors over from Serillious when the worst had happened, and it was thanks to him and his crew that she had been recovered alive. It had been Kirk who hadn't given up on her, even after months had past without contact. It had been Kirk who knew her tenacity and determination, and answered it with a fierce stubbornness of his own. She owed him more than words could ever say, and she valued his friendship now more than she ever could have thought possible years ago.

    If Kirk noticed the turn of her thoughts, he did not comment. Instead, his expression softened, and he tilted his head. “So . . . Ennor,” he started gently. “It looks to be a tricky business.”

    “So I've heard,” she felt the corner of her mouth quirk up. “I take it you will be lending your name to the talks?”

    Kirk bowed, low and sweeping. “You have a genuine hero before you. I've been asked to throw myself on parade.” There was a slight note of derision in his voice - the natural performer in him at odds with his need for movement and more.

    “And you will enjoy every minute of it, I am sure,” she teased dryly.

    His eyes merely twinkled in reply. “I will enjoy it even more with a few familiar faces on my side. Was the Admiral able to talk you into coming?”

    “The shuttle leaves at 0600 tomorrow,” she replied. It had been decided for her. "I will be there."

    Kirk smiled, the look wide and beaming. "It will be just like old times, then."

    "Just like old times," she agreed, while in the back of her mind, an alien voice laughed.

    Stubbornly, she pushed the voice away - focusing instead on the curious tilt of Kirk's eyes, the thread of excitement and nervousness she felt at the prospect of a new world. A new mission. She focused on anything other than the voice that accompanied each of her waking thoughts.

    In reply, L'iost was blessedly, mercifully silent. Nyota could only hope for the day when she was able to silence him completely, and at the thought, she tilted her head up, defiant. She would take whatever awaited her on Ennor I. She thought only, let it come.

    She was ready.

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  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    First the ride to StarFleet HQ. Very vivid details. Then, Myna. I like her, her maternal touch blended with a no-nonsense air. =D= =D= Then Ny's flash of memories -- Sheer, stunning excellence in poignancy and plausibility. =D= Then her chat with Jim [face_laugh] the superb balancing touch of fondness and teasing to lighten the overall mood.

    Yes, I have heard that sentiment expressed in RL by women who have had a blessed life-and-soul deep journey with another. If no one else can measure up, why bother? @};- How could you? But:eek: I had a fingernails-on-blackboard experience at the thought of himself with anyone else but the Goddess of Beauty and Love, [face_love] [face_love] !!!!!!

    The word eager doesn't even begin to touch how I feel about the next update. [face_dancing]

    As always, your writing skill is amazing and marvelous, and I am tickled to bask in it. [:D]
  10. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 7, 2002
    So, this is fifteen years after the first movie? Kirk's about 40, then. Can't see Chris Pine losing his hair. :p

    I want more details on this L'iost guy!
  11. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Why thank-you! I liked bringing a new character in. And while it is hard to replace Pike, I am glad she was able to give off that same vibe. :) Just as fun, was writing Nyota and Jim in this future world. It's interesting, dealing with characters that are the same, but not. [face_thinking]

    I know! Tell me about it! Hopefully I will pull it off in a way that will result in the least bit possible of queasy feelings. [face_laugh]

    As always, thank-you so much for reading. Your encouragement and enthusiasm always means the world to me. [:D]

    Yes, this is fifteen years after. :D

    I think that Chris Pine may age a little better than Shatner, but I totally had him in mind when writing that part. It will be interesting to watch as the years go by, though. :p

    And details are coming! Just, not quite yet. [face_mischief]

    And now, for more . . .

    Part III

    The journey into the Ennor system was one of the more breathtaking sights she had seen on her travels so far.

    In the center of the solar system, there was a massive blue star. The brightness of the sun was blinding, a pale shade of cerulean that reminded her more of arctic ice than the fierce heat of the cosmos. The sun touched all around it with a delicate hue, tinting the atmosphere of Ennor I a beautiful combination of indigo and violet over the planet's more natural shades of gold and red. As they dipped into the atmosphere, she looked to the west to see the horizon shimmer as if set aflame. The play of gases in the high skies created the illusion of a continual sunset, an ever changing landscape of color and flame.

    As a Class M planet, the typography of the world was similar to that of Earth – there were jewel blue oceans across the majority of the surface, and snow capped mountains rose from the land in jagged, staggering patterns. As they flew lower, she could see blankets of dark violet forests and deserts of jade-green sands. The capitol city of Onord was built into the side of the Jorda mountains, just to the north of the planet's equator. From the river that divided the mountains into northern and southern ranges, massive waterfalls poured from the tall peaks down to the rivers below. The waters cradled the city in an embrace of impossibly blue water and foaming white rapids, before giving to the purple expanse of forest below, far past where the eye could see. The city itself was built from a porous, burnt-orange stone, rising in round, bubbling patterns that reminded Nyota of the giant ant-hills from back home in Nairobi. The city was clearly built with a winged race in mind, and great thin bridges connected building to building, the city building up rather than over. Slowly but surely, their journey from the landing pad took them up the mountainside into the primary buildings of the Ennorian government.

    She looked down over the rail-less paths as they walked, and felt a wave of vertigo creep up on her at the height. They were very, very far up . . . And the sound of the waterfalls echoed in her ears like thunder. She closed her eye against an unwelcome rise of memory, and wished for the vertigo back – more ready was she to face the failings of her body over the crippling of her mind.

    They were greeting by the Ennorian council, and Nyota focused on the clicking, popping sounds that the Ennorians used as their spoken language. The Ennorians were surprisingly humanoid in appearance – especially when compared to the more insect-like beings Nyota had accustomed herself to dealing with the hive minded. Their limbs were longer than that of an average human, and their joints were large, round shapes that let them move in graceful, circular motions. Their eyes were devoid of pupils, instead they were faceted, reflecting their surroundings a hundred times over. In a stark counterpoint to their jeweled toned home, the Ennorian's themselves had soft, golden skin, with long white hair done into hundred of delicate braids and elaborate coils around their heads. They had buzzing, insect like wings in a sheer, silvery shade of white that reminded Nyota of mist and snow.

    Their language was clicking, but there was a beauty to it – and the mechanics of their throats meant that Nyota would be able to replicate the language the more she was exposed to it. Already she could key in on root sounds and patterns, and she felt her inner ear sing at the sounds around her. There was a simple elegance to their way of speaking, but it was beautiful for its scarcity, and she looked forward to studying it further.

    For now, they spoke in a heavily accented Standard, their words popping off of their tongues as they gave their greeting to Starfleet's representatives and their wishes for a pleasant stay. Nyota nodded her head politely at the words of hospitality, but was more focused on the undercurrent she could feel from those gathered . . . a whisper at the edge of her thoughts that said that more was going on than just the spoken word.

    The hive mind, she recognized the sensation as it crawled up and down her spine with curious fingers. She inhaled, forcing her body to calm, forcing it to listen and learn – to be of use to her comrades and to the Federation rather than remembering Serillious and L'iost. The hive mind there had been like rain in a storm; like locusts upon a field. The hive mind had been invasive. Twisting, and hunting, and -

    - she felt the tangible sensation of a hand touching her arm, breaking her from her thoughts. Blinking, she looked over to see that Kirk had subtly stepped closer, offering her an anchor in her storm. He wore his concern openly in his eyes.

    She inhaled, and willed the ghost of L'iost to fade.

    Even still, laughter echoed though her thoughts as L'iost listened curiously to the new tongue being spoken around him. As insects when compared to a hunting bird, he dismissed their significance. They are nothing.

    They are sentient creatures. Creatures who ask for our aid, Nyota hissed angrily in reply. And you will keep your opinions to yourself.

    Or you shall do what, little one? L'iost gave in amusement. You shall think angry thoughts at me? Oh, but how delicious your ire is . . . It is unnatural - these beings who lower themselves before those who use the spoken word . . . They are weak. They deserve not of your time.

    And yet, it is with them I wish to speak, Nyota returned. Not you.

    She felt L'iost's mental version of a shrug. It matters not to me. I am full. I am sated. I shall not need to interfere until I hunger again.

    She felt him retreat into the back of her thoughts – dismissing her as if she was nothing. As if she were infinitesimal in her own mind.

    She fisted her hands. She felt her blood heat, and for a moment she hated, like she had never hated before . . .

    When she looked up, she realized that she had attracted the attention of her hosts. She blinked, and knew that the Ennorians had heard her mental battle. They had heard, but they had not understood.

    “They asked if you are okay,” Kirk said gently, filling her in on what she missed. There was sympathy in his gaze, but she did not feel small in the wake of his concern. Instead, she wished to turn her head towards it.

    “I am well,” she lied, plastering a smile to her face. “Just weary from the journey.”

    There was a twittering from beyond her, and from what she could start to translate, the words of their host were shaped with relief. She felt a ripple through the hive mind, and the desire to provide hospitality from the Ennorians – a desire to please their guests. She looked over at Kirk, and noticed with some amusement that he could feel it too. The Ennorians did not converse on the telepathic level like the hive mind of Serillious. Instead they literally wore their thoughts and feelings on tiny electrical waves on the air – a gift from the twin pairing of their blue sun and the gases of the giant they so closely orbited . . . Kirk could hear them just as well as she could.

    At her words, the Ennorians were quick to offer up rooms so that they could rest from their journey. They were led to guest quarters in the main complex – broad, spacious chambers with long rolls of painted canvas hanging over the stone walls to give the rooms character. Bright, exoticly coloured blooms gave earthy scents from their vases, and the polished stone floor was covered with thick woven rugs. Nyota decided that she liked the look of the planet over most that she had visited. It was . . . soothing, almost, with the pieces of the décor and the heat in the air reminding her of childhood home.

    At the thought, she looked around carefully. She would be asked to give a report of her mission to her nieces and nephews in the form of bedtime stories the next time she talked to them, so she carefully cataloged as many details as she could, ready to paint a picture of another world far beyond their own.

    After she unpacked her few things, she looked down at the PADDs before her. During the journey from Earth to Ennor, she had spent as much time as she could reading up on the little published research on the Ennorian tongue. She had much studying to do before the talks began at the end of the week, but she felt restless in her own skin. She would have to calm her mind before she sought to fill it with anything more, and to that end, she got up to put on a pot of tea before deciding on a different route entirely.

    She put her boots back on, and picked up her bag. They had passed a truly massive garden area when entering the guest quarters, and she wished to explore a little on her own before she was shown around officially. Perhaps the exercise would cure her of her ship-stiff legs, and she could find a shaded alcove where she could read in peace.

    The gardens were even more lovelier upon closer inspection than they had been from afar.

    There were small tributaries from the rivers that surrounded the city, fed through a system of fountains and tiny, weaving streams that flowed between the flagstones that made up the pathway. In manicured beds, great wild masses of flowers grew in every possible shade of blue, purple, and pink. The flowers ranged from tiny specks of colour to large fluffy blooms as big as her hand. Exotic birds called from within the ornamental trees, their songs seemingly sounding in time with the beat of the water below.

    She leaned down to look at the bloom nearest to her. Perched within the flower was what she could only describe as a butterfly, even though that was not at all accurate. The delicate insect had six fluttering, transparent wings, ranging from the brightest of blues to the deepest of purples. Tiny veins bisected the wings in silver patterns, catching the blue tinted sunlight and reflecting it back in prismed shades of light.

    She reached out a finger to touch the delicate wings of the insect before her when she heard a rustling around the bend in the path. It was the sound of running feet. Small, running feet, at that, she decided – and the deduction was scarcely made in her mind before a small body turned the corner at an all out run and barreled into her own.

    The breath was knocked out of her as she fell backwards, a sound that was more surprise than pain escaping her throat when she hit the ground hard. She blinked, stunned as her PADDs went flying from her bag to land in a disarray of clear sheets and data chips on the stone path around her. She held a hand up to her head, but after deciding that nothing hurt past the shock of being knocked down, she looked up.

    A willowy child, perhaps thirteen – or fourteen, she amended her guess – years of age, was sitting on the path before her, clearly as surprised as she was from the collision. At first guess, she thought him to be human, but then she saw the tell-tale scrape of dark copper-green blood across the bridge of his nose. He let his hand down from where he had been holding his head, allowing her to see a dark pair of slanted brows, and the delicate fey curve of a Vulcan ear. A son of one of the Ambassador's then, Nyota decided as she got carefully to her feet.

    “My apologies,” the boy shook his head before standing as well. “I misjudged my speed and the angle of my approach – and have been suitably repaid for my lapse.” He touched a pale finger to the blood at his nose, and Nyota winced for him.

    Her first instinct was to brush his words away – no harm, no foul, but instead, she inclined her head in reply. “Apology accepted,” she returned his words, having been long used to Vulcans and their ways.

    Her response drew a double take as the boy looked curiously up at her – as if truly seeing her that second time. She watched as his eyes turned curiously over her uniform and her insignia before flickering up to her face. His eyes lingered for a fraction of a second longer on her scar than anything else, and she waited for the inevitable question to follow. But he was not a human child, with a human's insatiable need to ask why and how, and he looked away without comment.

    “Is your nose okay?” she asked when he dabbed at the blood there again, concern cutting through her curiosity for the somber child before her.

    “It is intact,” the child inclined his head as he answered. “It is a scrape, and shall heal quickly.”

    “You're bleeding, though,” she said. “Here,” she looked through her bag, but when she didn't find anything suitable, she tore the cuff of her uniform off at the seam. She dipped the thick material in the glittering fountain at her side, and then handed it to the child.

    “Such measures are not needed,” he shook his head at her actions – a fraction of annimation which he would grow out of as he aged, Nyota knew. “It already clots. There is no new blood, and I shall disinfect it upon returning inside.”

    “But still,” she handed him the scrap of cloth, a wry smile tugging at her mouth. “It can't be comfortable for you now.”

    He blinked at her, and then took the scrap of her uniform. “My thanks,” he said before wiping the blood away. He cleaned the blood from his fingers next with a thorough accurateness, and then looked down on the mess of their fallen belongings. His eyes flickered from her PADDs to the clear boxes he had dropped. The corners of his eyes tightened, and his mouth became a thin line. Displeasure, she translated easily enough.

    “It is unfortunate,” he commented, picking up the box to see where the side had broken open from his fall. “I shall have to start again.”

    “Start on what?” she asked as she gathered up her PADDs. The child watched her for a moment before assisting her, delicately gathering the clear tablets in a neat pile before handing them to her.

    “I was collecting samples,” he said. His voice picked up in pace as he answered, just enough to be noticeable to someone who was listening for such shifts. “Upon arriving, my father and I were received in the southern hemisphere of Ennor I. The anio insects there,” the butterflies she had had been observing earlier, “were colors of orange and red and gold. The flowers were, as well. Here, the anio are cool colours – of blue and purple and pink. The colour of flowers coincide, as does the primary color of sunlight. I wish to test my hypothesis that the color of the anoi is related to the color of flower they pollinate. I had gathered samples to test my theory, but now, they have flown away.” He frowned down at his broken container.

    By the end of his speech, his words were all but rambling – at least, by a Vulcan's standards – and Nyota smiled at his enthusiasm, feeling it catch at her own. “It is an interesting hypothesis,” she said gravely, not wanting him to think that she was speaking down to him. “Do you need help re-catching the anio?”

    He moved his chin to the right in a sharp motion – a head shake. “It will not matter,” he said. “My container is broken. I cannot hold them.”

    “Here,” Nyota looked down the path to where her water canister had fallen. She dumped out the liquid inside, and handed him the clear container. “We can poke a hole or two in the lid, and it should last you long enough until you get inside. What do you say?”

    The child looked down at the pro-offered container curiously, tilting his head. “Fascinating,” he said, and the syllables hit her like a blow. She blinked down at him, and he turned dark brown eyes up to meet her gaze, a familiar light brightening them from within. There was something about his eyes that tugged at her, but no matter how much she tried to grasp at the thought, she could not get it to take shape.

    “I do believe that that will be acceptable,” the child said after a moment's consideration. “I thank you for your suggestion, and for the use of your container.”

    “It's my pleasure,” Nyota gave a genuine smile in return. An eager tone had warmed the boy's words, lingering just underneath the even timbre of his voice, and it was refreshing to hear. Even L'iost was silent in her head as to the ease that settled there – but, often was it so in the presence of children, she had found.

    “If your offer of assistance still stands,” he continued thoughtfully, “I would accept your aid. Your help would expedite my timetable, and I could begin my observations on schedule.”

    “Well then, you are in luck,” she leaned down to whisper conspiratorially. “Because, standing before you is the Nairobi butterfly catching champion three times running – and I am at your service.”

    The child tilted his head. “Nairobi,” he said thoughtfully. “The capitol city of Kenya, of the United States of Africa. I did not know that butterfly catching was a sport there.”

    “It's more of a localized thing,” Nyota said vaguely, delighted by the way his brows knit in thought as he processed her words. “And by localized, I mean a game my sister and I would play in our backyard.”

    “Ah, exaggeration,” he nodded his head smartly. “A human tendency, as I am led to believe.”

    She kept herself from laughing outright. “A very human tendency,” she agreed, and she could not keep the amusement from her voice. “Here,” she raised her hand in the ta'al rather than offering him her hand to shake, aware that skin to skin contact was frowned upon due to the psi sensitivity Vulcans carried therein. “My name is Nyota Uhura,” she introduced herself. “It is a pleasure to meet you.”

    “Most fascinating indeed,” he tilted his head, the motion tickling at her mind with just how familiar it was . . . But he returned her salute with one of his own. “My name is Saerk,” he introduced himself. “Fifth son of the S'chn T'gai clan. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

    S'chn T'gai.

    S'chn T'gai.

    The name took the breath from her. For a moment, she could only blink at him in surprise as the syllables ricocheted through her thoughts, their familiar shape and arch of sound pooling on her tongue, which was suddenly too dry to speak . . .

    S'chn T'gai?” she repeated, making sure she had heard him correctly. “Of Solkar's line?” Although grossly rude of her to ask, she could not keep the words from tumbling out of her mouth.

    “Yes,” he inclined his head. “S'chn T'gai. The clan of my father's father, and his father before him. But come,” he turned on the path, and had he been any more human, she knew he would have taken her hand to quicken her pace. His child's mind went past the oddness of her inquiry without blinking, eager as he was to start upon his quest. “The best way of catching the anoi, I have found, is this . . .”

    Dumbstruck, all she could do was follow. She looked behind her on the path, as if expecting . . . But no. They were alone. It was only her, the child, and her memories.

    So, she quieted her questions, and followed.

    ~MJ @};-
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Your writing is so rich and vivid. I felt as if I could see and taste and hear everything! =D= =D= You paint beautiful word-canvases with your words, dear maestra of the English language @};- @};- That Lliest dude gives me the creeps - get the kriff out of my mind for good!!! :rolleyes: The Ennorians seem a hospitable, up-front group :relief: Not at all sneaky and underhanded and malicious and predatory like the Serillians. Saerk -- hee! How like any youngling! Reminds me of a young Anakin or Luke :)


    When I realized whose sprite he had to be, my tummy got all knotty LOL :D But I'm not budging from this spot.

    AzureAngel2 -- this is as beautifully written as your stuff. I know you'll agree. [face_love] !!!!!!!
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  13. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 7, 2002
    Spock's son! Oooh!
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  14. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart Aww, thanks! The Ennorians are a fun group to write - and Nyota deserves a good 'telepathic' interaction after Serillious. And the world was just too much fun to set up. [face_love] And Saerk!! The little one is becoming one of my favourites to write - and don't you worry, I fully intend to have a tight little family unit by the time this is done. I wouldn't have been able to handle writing this otherwise. [face_love]

    Now, for more! Finally, I know. [face_blush][:D]

    Dantana Skywalker The plot thickens, I know! Thank-you for reading. :D

    Part IV

    Some things, Kirk reflected, never truly changed.

    Among those things was Spock's unfaltering ability to be one of the few people alive who could solidly kick his ass in three dimensional chess.

    At least, he let his ego recover from its sting, the same was true for Spock as well. There was truly nothing that Kirk liked more than throwing the normally unflappable Vulcan off of his game – in any way he could.

    “Check,” he said, moving his king's rook to the right, delighting at the knit brow he receivedin turn. Perhaps it was infantile of him, but a part of him delighted in that look more than he should have, and he had no excuse for the joy he felt as Spock's look narrowed even further in response to his grin.

    “Someday,” Spock said levelly, “you will have to explain to me why you would waste a turn just for the satisfaction of saying 'check'.”

    “On that day,” Kirk let his grin hang free on his face, “I hope that you understand the answer without me giving it.”

    Spock blinked – a look that Kirk had come to associate with his friend questioning the exact parameters of his inelegance and sanity. In a word, Kirk lived for that look.

    “Check,” Kirk chirped cheerfullyafter his next move. Spock's right brow climbed higher on his face.

    Instead of moving right away, Spock leaned forward and studied the board, knowing how any pause in the game set Kirk to fidgeting. But this time, every bone in him was liquid and easy. He sat back, and smiled, watching his friend as he looked for his next move.

    Though fifteen years had passed, Kirk could tell very little difference from the man he had first met so long ago. Spock's hair was still the same black color of a raven's wing, and he hadn't put on the weight that Kirk had – both good and bad about his shoulders and stomach. He had a few more lines crinkling the corners of his eyes, which Kirk called laugh-lines every chance he got, just to see the not-look he would receive in return. Besides that, he looked to be the same Commander who had calmly stood accusing him of cheating and conduct unbecoming of a Starfleet officer. True, all, but over the years Spock himself had taken a page or two from Kirk's book – and Kirk from his. It was a mutually beneficial relationship on both sides, one that defined him more than any other, he wasn't ashamed to admit, and now . . .

    Now Kirk looked down at the board before him, and very carefully thought over his next move. In more ways than one.

    The moment of silence between them was broken by a chime at the entrance to the main room. Kirk looked up to see a blur – pale and dark by turns, rushing in. Saerk's hands were full and his eyes were already working ahead on whatever thought he had going on in his mind.

    “Saerk,” Spock called before the child could pass them by. “A moment.”

    Kirk fought the urge he had to smile as Saerk stopped, as if surprised he was being spoken to. The kid was already swallowed by his project – and like his father, few things could reach through to him when his mind was consumed by a problem he was trying to solve.

    Throughout the years, Kirk may have felt a pang over passing over the opportunities of husband and father, but in Saerk – even watching over him as a sort of doting uncle, he felt that inner need filled quite nicely. Saerk filled his life with smiles and light, and Kirk could not imagine a world where he did not exist.

    Looking at Saerk now, Kirk had trouble seeing just where T'Rin had been involved in the biological process besides the obvious. The kid was all Spock – from the sweep of his eyebrows to the shape of his nose and the high points of his cheekbones. The expression on his face was one straight from Spock's arsenal, as well – a familiar look of surprise that another sentient being was speaking to him when his own mind was already far on the path of whatever problem he was trying to work through.

    “We have company,” Spock said when Saerk blinked at him. The child looked to the right, and upon seeing Kirk, he broke out into a wide smile – well, what passed as a wide smile for him, that was.

    “Hey kid,” Kirk said fondly as he reached over to muse the child's hair. He received a minute twitching in return – a full blown scowl on the all too Vulcan face, and he smiled in delight at drawing the look to the fore.

    “Captain,” Saerk reached up his free hand to pat his hair back down into place . “I did not know that you were expected on Ennor.”

    “I wasn't,” Kirk rolled his shoulders. “But you know, public relations and all of that good stuff – I am earning my brownie points right now and happy to be doing so.”

    “Brownie points?” Saerk inclined his head to the right – a motion that had always reminded Kirk of a curious puppy, even when Spock did so. “Sweets?” he puzzled through the human phrase, and Kirk chuckled.

    “It's a figure of speech,” he explained. “It means doing good things so that you can ask for something for yourself in the future.”

    “And what would you ask of Starfleet?” Saerk asked, ever perceptive, and Kirk just grinned a shark's grin in reply.

    “The Captain shall be used where he will do the most good for all,” Spock said, and while his voice was the level tone it always was, there was something there that Kirk listened for. He looked, but Spock's face was closed off – closed off and Vulcan, and he knew he would get no more from his friend than that.

    Spock turned from him after a moment to look in all seriousness at his son. “Are those the anoi we discussed earlier?” he asked, gesturing to the container in Saerk's hands.

    “Affirmative,” the child answered.

    Spock inclined his head. “Remember about what we discussed when recording observations. The smallest of things may have the greatest of bearings later, and misrecorded data is all but useless when publishing your final results.”

    “I know, father,” Saerk said gravely, his voice lined with a solemnity that was at odds with his age. Kirk fought the urge he had to smile, knowing that neither would appreciate it.

    “Then you may begin,” Spock said, but as Saerk made to pass, Spock reached out a hand, staying him.

    “A moment,” he said. He touched the dried blood on Saerk's nose, a question in the shape of his gaze. “What is this?”

    “I was careless on the path,” Saerk said, the tips of his ears flushing green at the admittance. “I ran into another when I took a turn too quickly. She was uninjured, but she would not let me leave until ascertaining that I myself was well enough to leave. Afterward, she helped me catch the anoi.”

    “She was not one of the Ennorians?” Spock asked, looking at the container in Saerk's hands. The Starfleet logo was on the side, metallic and telling in shape, and at seeing it, Kirk had to fight even harder to keep his look impassive. He knew the answer to the riddle already, and now he watched as Spock puzzled it out for himself.

    “No, she was not Ennorian. She was of Starfleet,” Saerk revealed. “She was tall, nearly as tall as you, father, with dark skin and short black hair. She was nearly forty standard years of age, born of the United States of Africa. She had a prominent scar on the right side of her face, and said that she was the Nairobi butterfly catching champion three years running.”

    Spock raised a brow. Saerk flushed and amended, “It is a localized sport, or so I am told. But she let me use her water canister when my own container was ruined in the fall. I was thankful for her aid.”

    Spock sat very, very still as he processed what he had heard. Kirk looked, but it seemed as if his friend was carved from stone in that moment. He was as marble, alive only in the fluttering of his eyelashes - the single exhale of breath from his mouth that spoke more of how the words effected him than any turn of face.

    “And . . .” Saerk continued when his father was silent. “Her mind was large to my senses. Her spirit felt so, as well . . . She was . . . red to my senses. Red and burning. I have never felt anything like it.”

    At that, Kirk turned curiously. The odd combination of Saerk's Terran and Vulcan blood made for an acute empathetic awareness within the child – a skill at telepathy that went beyond the sharing of thoughts, into the sharing of moods and emotions. He could feel the full expanse of another's psyche without the benefits of a mind meld – his gleanings often coming in the shapes of impressions and feelings over actual thoughts. He was everything that the teachings of Surak tried to will and breed away from the Vulcan race – emotion and raw feeling, fueled by his Vulcan core and his human emotions. Amongst Spock's people, he would have been trained by the Elders of old to control such a gift, but those who knew that ancient art had long since fallen in Vulcan's destruction. While Saerk's birth would keep one of the old traditions alive, Kirk knew that raising such a child had caused difficulties – for both Spock and Saerk. As with most gifts, there was time when the child's power bit, even as it gave.

    A moment passed, a long moment. Finally, Spock blinked. “Go see to your specimens,” Spock said gently. “I am glad that you are well.”

    Saerk nodded, his mind already passing over from the new friend he had made to the process of sitting down with his experiment. For a moment, his face was unguarded, nearly smiling as he looked at his father in a way that universal to all species before taking off down the hallway.

    “Without running,” Spock called down after him. “As you have learned once already today.”

    There was a muffled affirmative, and then the sound of running water – no doubt Saerk seeing to the dried blood on his nose, and Kirk waited. When Spock turned to him, his face was blank – emotionless. Kirk let out a breath he had not realized he had been holding.

    “You did not tell me that it was her,” Spock said, not even bothering with pretenses.

    Kirk shrugged, trying to give off an air of nonchalance and knowing that he failed miserably. “You did not ask,” he said. He waited a heartbeat before asking, “And would it have changed anything if I did?”

    Spock was silent. The corner of his mouth worked as if he were trying not to frown. His eyes were narrowed at the corners. “Still,” Spock evaded answering. “A warning would have been . . .”

    “Telling?” Kirk offered cheekily. “Come on, Spock, are you seriously telling me that this is a bad thing?”

    Spock ignored his question. “Saerk mentioned a scar?” he asked instead, his words quick and to the point. His syllables were clipped, as if the question was what he had wished to ask first, but restrained himself from doing so. But Kirk was Kirk – and he knew his friend better than he knew himself.

    “Yeah,” Kirk inclined his head. “A souvenir from Serillious and a piece of work there named L'iost - the same I told you about when you agreed to help the officer in question. It was . . . it was no joke what she went through, Spock. It was a bad deal . . . even by our standards.”

    Spock's jaw hooked. His fingers tapped at the table before them, each one in turn before stilling. Kirk looked, and saw anger, deep and seething, no matter how his friend tried to hide it. Seeing his opportunity, he reached over, and moved his queen. “Check,” he said. At the word, Spock blinked, coming back to himself.

    Spock did not even look at the board before moving his king out of danger, thus opening the path of his queen's bishop's to threaten Kirk's own king. “Check,” Spock said absently.

    “Are we now saying 'check' for the sake of just saying 'check'?” Kirk teased, and the look he received in reply was withering.

    But he moved his king out of harm's way, nonetheless.

    “I said 'check' for the sake of saying 'mate',” Spock returned as he moved his queen into his bishop's path, a space away from Kirk's king, and Kirk sighed audibly through his mouth. He scowled in defeat.

    “I thought that your emotional compromisation meant that I had an edge,” Kirk complained as he tipped his king over.

    “Who said that I am so compromised?” Spock returned, but his voice was absent, far away.

    Kirk shrugged as he set the game back in its starting position. He waited for Spock to make the first move, but was greeted with silence for a long, long moment. He tapped his fingers against the table, suddenly restless in his own skin. He opened his mouth once, and then twice, trying to figure out how to say what he wished to say.

    “Spock, she never . . .”

    “It is irrelevant,” Spock waved a hand, cutting him off, and Kirk bit his lip, forcing his words away.

    “Whatever you say,” Kirk gave, his tone taking on an edge as he sat back in his seat. He steepled his hands beneath his chin. “But I think a part of you wants to know, no matter what you may say. Look, I never liked T'Rin for you. I understood the situation, but I never liked it. And now she is gone, and you and Nyota are here. You are both here. You can't tell me that doesn't stink of fate?”

    “Fate: a notion that all of our actions are preconceived no matter our thought or bearing on our own lives?” Spock returned dubiously. “I would sooner suspect your own hand in manipulating events.”

    “Hey,” Kirk shrugged, “I have no reason to hide what I have done or why I have done it. You are less than you could have been, even though you did the noble thing for your people. Your son is your world, I know that, but there is more to life than the small piece of it you have scraped out for yourself.”

    “Jim,” Spock said, and there was a hint of a warning in his voice. “I am . . . grateful for your concern, but my affairs are my own, and I have handled them well enough up to this point.”

    Kirk raised a brow, calling him on his words. Spock stared back, unmoving.

    Finally, Kirk gave. He sighed, running a hand through his hair in frustration. “I just want more for you . . . more for Saerk. A kid should have two parents – and that I know from experience, Spock.”

    “Jim,” Spock all but sighed, and at that Kirk raised up his hands.

    “I will stop now,” he said. “But Spock . . . please, think about what I have said.”

    Spock just looked at him, long and low, and the moment was cut by Saerk's return. He held a clear orb in his hand, the sphere a sustainable habitat for the anoi fluttering about within.

    “Father, Captain,” he interrupted with a child's excitement. “May I show you what I have observed so far?”

    “Of course,” Kirk couldn't help but smile as he pulled out the chair next to him. “Come here, Number One, and show me what you've got.”

    Spock was silent as Saerk launched into his speech, his eyes careful on his son so as to not let him know how far away his mind truly was. But Kirk saw, and he knew. Privately, he smiled to himself, and knew that for the better or the worse, events had been set into motion, and at least if things did not work this time, they would not have been able to say that they had not tried.

  15. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 7, 2002
    Kirk knows you better than you think, Spock!
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh!!!!!!!!!!! The setting of a chess match - it doesn't get more classic!!!!!! And Jim's reflections and thoughts, he is such a Skywalker [face_laugh] [face_love] [face_love] !!!! And as outspoken as a Solo Bless him!!!! :* And as for the mattter of being irelevant, that's a load of horse puckey and we all know it. :rolleyes: Whew, loved this post duh and looking forward to the next! [face_dancing] [face_dancing] Since what will eventually come is: Silicon chip melting quality mush! [face_laugh]
  17. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Dantana Skywalker: Kirk is the best for him, it is true! That is the same in every version of their lives, it seems. [face_love]

    Nyota's Heart: As always, you are just the best, my friend! [:D] I could not pass up the chess match for these two - Kirk has grown in so many ways, and for him to be the 'Yoda-voice' in this story was a nice change in writing his character. :p As for Spock - horse puckey is a simple way to put it, that's for sure! The emotions are off the charts, for both of them - and I am excited to write more. [face_love]

    Silicon chip melting quality mush? Coming right up! Just . . . eventually. I promise.

    Author's Note: And we are on our way with things! Now, there is no actual meeting in this chapter, but! In the next, I promise. [face_batting] This whole chapter was just an introduction to a chapter in my outline and then Kirk got . . . wordy, and my muse decided to go with it. So! Here we are. :)

    Also, T'Rin's occupation of an xenoecologist, rebuilding dying worlds and ecosystems, was all the genius of Nyota's Heart, and I am just running with it - because it was perfect. So! Credit where credit is due. [face_love][:D]

    That said, enjoy. [:D]

    Part V

    Her computer screen was mocking her.

    All throughout the evening, Nyota sat away from the monitor, refusing to even look at it as she instead turned her attention to the PADDs she had on the Ennorian dialect – both spoken and unspoken. But even as she slurred her way through the looping words, she looked over time and time again.

    That night she tossed and turned, unable to sleep. She told herself that it was just the gitters that came with a new world – sleeping in a bed far away from her own. She told herself that until the sun dawned red and breathtaking on the horizon, peeking in through the drawn drapes of her suite.

    Thankfully, L'iost stayed far from her mind – instead distracted by whatever he was facing on Serillious, and for that she was grateful. She did not think she could have handled both L'iost and her own turbulent mind.

    That morning she rose slowly. Her bones hurt in odd places from tossing and turning, and her mind was still a mess of static, buzzing behind her eyes when she blinked.

    She got up and put on water for coffee, willing herself to wake up faster. She bit her lip, wondering if she should join Kirk and the others for breakfast. Kirk and the others . . .

    She wouldn't be able to eat if she went, she knew. She was already on edge thinking about the possibility of seeing him again. To have to force herself to take a meal at the same time . . . She was simply being practicle with eating on her own.

    She was not . . . avoiding him. She was not.


    Her computer screen glared at her as she stirred in her cream and sugar . . . mocking her . . . taunting her.

    Scowling at her own ridiculous, she placed her spoon down with a thud. She was Nyota Uhura, she whispered to herself. She was Nyota Uhura and she was stronger than this.


    Annoyed, she sat down with her coffee, and turned the screen towards her. She met the welcome screen that greeted her with a challenging gaze, her head tilted and her eyes narrowed. She was strong enough for this, she told herself. She could handle this.

    . . . she had for fifteen years after all.

    Fifteen years . . .

    Holding her breath, she brought up the data-base and typed in Spock's name. The file came up after a blinking of the screen, the clear blue letters crisply outlining a distinguished Ambassador's career and the good he had done for New Vulcan and the reestablishing of the Vulcan way of life. She glanced through the political names, recognizing some and not others before clicking on the tab for his personal information. The information was sketchy, at best - Vulcan's being typically fond of their privacy and the shielding of their personal lives - but it was detailed enough for her to find a name. A name, and a link.

    She bit her lip. When she exhaled, her breath shook.

    And she touched T'Rin's name, watching as the page loaded before her.

    The first thing that she noticed was a picture – a picture of a woman with pale skin and dark, dark hair. Her eyes were equally dark, shaded beneath long lashes, and Nyota took a moment before acknowledging that she was beautiful – in a sharp, aristocratic sort of way, at least. But more than the porcelain beauty before her was the list of academic credentials that accompanied that beauty. Spock's wife was an acclaimed Xenoecologist, who specialized in rehabilitating ecosystems and biometric hemispheres on dying and injured planets. It was how she had been off-world when Vulcan was destroyed, and it was how she had met Spock after – she having had worked with Spock Prime to find the location of the new Vulcan colony. Spock's elder self was observant - he would have recommended the match knowing of his own mind and preferences, and Spock . . .

    Nyota swallowed, and felt as if she swallowed around a stone.

    Curiously, she swiped her hand over T'Rin's current location, and noticed that she was doing work on a planet far on the edge of Neutral space, whole leagues away from New Vulcan and her family. Curious, Nyota touched at the project, seeing the details of a four year mission when she looked before her. Curious, and odd . . . Nyota bit at the inside of her mouth, trying to puzzle out the information before her.

    She fisted her hand, before slowly uncurling her fingers. She tapped against the edge of her desk, her mouth pressed into a thin line as she formed her thoughts.

    At the side of the screen, a link to a video flashed, and she pressed it without thinking.

    It was a project proposal, Nyota deciphered – a proposal that asked for Federation permission and funding for the work on the planet she was now on. Curiously, Nyota watched the video, taking in T'Rin's polished, elegant speech as she explained the pros of her proposal. She took in the cultured pattern of her speech; the careful way she picked her words . . . and the feeling which she put behind them.

    She spoke of lost worlds and civilizations on the edge of extinction with a practiced, no-nonsense voice, and to anyone else her words would have sounded forced – emotionless. But to Nyota, who had spent a lifetime reading the unspoken, hearing the unheard . . .

    T'Rin cared, she realized after a heartbeat. The Vulcan woman all but wore her heart in her eyes – her large, dark eyes, which held the loss of her own world near and dear to the center of her being. Nyota watched, and felt something inside of her tighten.

    T'Rin was trained with the Vulcan lyre, she noticed next on the file, and the stray bit of information brought a short, forced laugh to her lips. The sound was a bit mad - a bit of a sob as she touched her fingers to her eyes, finding them wet when she drew them away. Her heart was an open, raw thing in her chest as she thought of things that she had not allowed herself to consider for years.

    She had not . . . she could not . . .

    “I am glad it was her,” Nyota said at long last, needing to voice her thoughts out loud. Though the old wound inside of her chest burned . . . it was a healing, thankful voice she turned to the air around her. She remembered Spock's fiancee from before Vulcan's fall - remembered T'Pring's icy air and flat-out refusal to try to understand the man she was betrothed to . . . If Spock had a bride like that waiting for him, Nyota would not have been able to . . .

    She hoped he was happy, she realized after a moment. The words were a truth in her mind, they really, truly were, and she -

    A chime sounded at the door.

    The sound startled her from her thoughts, and almost guiltily, Nyota backed away from the computer. She shut the screen down and wiped at her eyes. Her heart was pounding madly – from surprise now, at least. She took a deep breath, centering herself as she walked to the door, tightening the knot to her robe and fixing her hair the best she could as she went.

    Really, she should have been dressed and on her way already, she reproached herself, more at ease now after seeing what she had seen, and -

    “Jim,” she said in surprise when she opened the door to see Kirk leaning against the frame, leaning in as if he commanded the very air around him.

    “I didn't see you at breakfast,” Kirk said, smiling easily. His gaze stopped at the red in her eyes, and his smile flickered. Nyota stood up straighter at the look.

    “I took it in here,” she lied.

    “Ah,” Kirk said. He waved a hand, gesturing at her head, and she shook her head in reply.

    “No,” she assured him. “It's just me up there right now. I . . . I had a lot of reading to catch up on, and I didn't sleep much last night because of it. I am getting a slow start today.”

    “I see,” Kirk said, letting himself in. “I forgot how you could get with a new language to sink yourself into.”

    “Yes,” and that at least was a half-truth. “You know me.”

    She had the almost irrational urge to stand between Kirk and her blank computer screen, as if he would know just by looking. “Would you like some coffee?” she offered as she went to straighten up her piles of PADDs. “I am sorry about the mess – there is just so little known about the Ennorian tongue, and I have had my hands full with piecing together what has been published so far.”

    “No, I've already had enough caffeine to jump-start my day. Any more, and I'll be hearing it from Bones during my next physical,” Kirk grinned. “And, actually, that's why I am here.”

    “Oh?” Nyota raised a brow, looking over at him.

    “Today is the Ennorian's market day,” he explained. “The talks don't start to the end of the week, and the investigators for the murders don't meet with us until later this evening. If you wanted a first hand experience with the language, today would be your day.”

    She opened her mouth, and then closed it. Out there, she thought with some trepidation. Where he could . . . “That sounds . . . perfect,” she forced the words out. “Thank-you for telling me.”

    “Oh, it's my pleasure,” Kirk said, and there was something too easy about his voice . . . something that was almost innocent in shape. She narrowed her eyes at the tone, unable to put her finger on just what was off. “Unless,” he waved a vague hand again. “You are . . . you know,” he gestured to her head again.

    “I'm fine,” her words came out clipped as she narrowed her eyes.

    “Speaking of,” Kirk said nonchalantly, looking down at the PADDs on the table. “When do you meet with -”

    Understanding clicked, sudden and sharp. Like a jolt to her bones.

    “ - you,” she interrupted, advancing on him.

    “Me?” he repeated, eyes wide as she finally placed just where she had heard that tone of voice from him. She had heard it all too many times throughout too many missions over the years – the voice one he used to play everyone from Command to their villain of the day.

    You,” she confirmed, jabbing a finger at his chest. “You knew.”

    Kirk held up his hands, but there was no denial in his eyes. No attempt at a lie. “I may have pulled a few strings,” he admitted. “Yes.”

    “But . . . but why?” her voice came out strained to her own ears. It was not her who had such a voice. It was not her who spoke so. She pressed her finger with more force against his chest, frustrated.

    “Because he is the best,” Kirk answered simply. “You are my friend, and you have been fighting with this . . . thing in your mind for too long. You are hurting, and he can help you.”

    Spock already knew his way around her mind, she thought, another wave of trepidation rising within her. Spock already knew, and now he would see . . .

    Her hand fell from Kirk's chest. Her limbs felt weak all of a sudden. Weak and useless, and she could not . . . She closed her eyes, even as Kirk held her hand in both of his own. He worked soothing circles over the back of her hand, and yet she did not jerk away from his touch. She could not . . .

    Her lungs felt tight. Her eyes burned again, but she would not . . . she could not . . .

    “Nyota,” Kirk whispered – her first name such a rare sound from his mouth that she blinked upon hearing it. “Nyota . . . you know that it hurts me to see you this way. It has for years . . . and I . . . I am sorry if I crossed a line. If you want, I can talk to Myna for you . . . I can unschedule the whole thing, pretend it never happened.”

    “He's here,” she said on a numb voice, as if by speaking the words aloud she could make them that much less true. He was there, and she was . . . suddenly not as unaffected as she had always thought herself to be. She was alone with this thing in her mind, while Spock had his wife and his son . . . the child with Spock's face and human, human eyes . . . “He's here, and I'm . . .”

    She had to sit down. Her legs did not want to hold her up, and she gave into her body's weakness. Kirk helped her over to the sofa, and then she was sitting, holding her head in her hands and trying to breathe.

    Distantly she felt Kirk's hand at her back, still awkwardly trying to provide her what comfort he could. “I'm fine,” she tried to assure him, but her voice came out weak. “I'm just . . . surprised. I'm still processing.”

    “Ah,” Kirk breathed. “I heard from Saerk . . . you met him already?”

    “I quite literally ran into him,” Nyota snorted ruefully, but there was fondness in the sound. “He was running on the path, and I . . . Gods, but he looked so much like Spock - all a mile a minute and fascinated by even the smallest of things . . . he's smart, isn't he? Beyond his years kind of smart, and - ”

    “- too clever for his own good?” Kirk finished for her. “He's too much like his dad, at times, but I am working on that.”

    Kirk involved with a genius like Spock during his formative years? “Heaven forbid,” she said aloud, and knew a first fluttering of humor in her heart with the words. “I don't think that the galaxy is ready for that yet.”

    “Well . . . ready or not,” Kirk flashed a grin, and she smiled in turn.

    “He's . . .” Nyota faltered, trying to find the word in her vast repertoire of languages. She could not, she realized. She did not have the words for it.

    “He's the best,” Kirk said softly. “You will enjoy getting to know him, if you want to. He already finds you fascinating, he said. For a Terran, that is – his words, not mine.”

    “That too sounds familiar,” she said wryly. “And yet . . . Kirk, I don't think . . .”

    He could have been her child, she finally let herself say the words in her mind. Saerk could have been her son, and Spock her husband as she stood by his side as they went from planet to planet – wherever the Federation sent him. But she . . . she hadn't been she he had needed. She hadn't been what his people had needed . . .

    And now she didn't know if she was strong enough to stand so close to all she had could have had and still hold her head up high. She already walked with such a burden on her shoulders, and she . . . She didn't want to let him see her like that. She didn't want Spock to see how much L'iost had taken, how much she had fought and how not enough it had been. It was never enough, and now . . .

    “I am a mess,” she finally admitted, taking in a deep breath. “I think I need more coffee than I have already had to deal with today.” She tried to speak lightly, but the words came out forced.

    “You've been through hell,” Kirk said frankly. “You've been through hell, and yet you are still standing here and fighting to get yourself back together. You are fighting to help a race better themselves even when they hit so close to everything that weighs on you. If that's not strong, then I don't know what is. You don't give yourself enough credit.”

    “I'd rather face L'iost than . . .” she swallowed. She forced her tongue to form the words, “ . . . rather than see him again. And I hate that . . . I . . . I had my ambitions, you know - my dreams and my goals. I was to see the universe . . . I was not supposed to fall for my instructor during my first year at the Academy . . .”

    Kirk's eyes widened, and she leveled a look at him. “Nothing was acted on until I was no longer his student, so put that face away, Captain.” He sighed in mock regret, and she rolled her eyes. “I wasn't supposed to live my life defined by a man,” she finished on a small voice. “That was never supposed to be me.”

    “And yet . . . you haven't,” Kirk pointed out gently. “You've both made a damned hard choice – I'm not the one to say if it was right or if it was wrong, but it was hard, and you still picked yourself up afterward. What you see as a flaw - as a weakness . . . Nyota, it's really the farthest thing from.”

    “Then why does it hurt like one?” she whispered.

    At that, Kirk was silent. The hand on her back stilled - but it was still a weight, a warmth. She turned, and let herself find comfort in the friend she had known for so long.

    “Hey,” Kirk whispered. “I am not one to talk about healing . . . about closure. But I know that you can find it here if you want to. Even if it's nothing more than just getting L'iost out of your mind. Whatever is between you two – resolved or unresolved, he would want that as well. Let him try to help.”

    Nyota snorted. “I don't much think that his wife would approve of him swimming around in my mind.” Though she tried, she could not keep the bitterness out of her voice. She thought of T'Rin speaking about lost races. She remembered Saerk speaking a mile a minute in her memories from just the other day, and something inside of her twisted. She did not want to come between that.

    “T'Rin's not for you to worry about,” Kirk said gently, and Nyota looked up at him, puzzled.

    He shook his head in reply to her look. “But that's not for me to discuss,” he said softly. “It's not my story – it's his, and I'll not tell it.”

    She sat up, curious at his words. She bit at her lip, feeling the strength return to her limbs as he stood. After a moment, she felt strong enough to stand as well.

    “Either way,” Kirk said amiably, “getting out of this room is a good place to start. Get out, meet the locals, have your fun playing with their language, or whatever it is you linguists do, and just think about what I said . . . If you are up for it, Spock's willing to meet with you as soon as you are ready.”

    “As soon as I am ready,” she repeated. She drew in a breath, and held it there. “When I am ready.”

    “Just as long as it's soon,” Kirk gave a crooked grin. “This mess with the Ennorian's . . . I've heard preliminary reports from the investigators, and I have seen some of the evidence first hand myself. The Silent . . . these guys are not pretty. They are like L'iost in many ways, and I'm going to need your help.”

    “I will be there for you,” she said without thinking, but found that she meant her words even so.

    “I know you will be,” Kirk smiled at her. “Now, about that market day . . .”

    “Point taken, Captain,” Nyota rolled her eyes, swatting at him as he turned towards the door. “Let me throw myself together, and then we'll see.”

    “We'll see?” Kirk repeated, teasing.

    “I'll be there,” she promised, playfully pushing him out the door. She heard his laughter as he turned down the hall, and she leaned her head against the closed door to better hear the sound. She forced the smile to hold on her face. She forced the trembling in her hands away as she made a fist.

    She was stronger than this, she told herself. And if that meant she had to suck it up and seek him out . . .

    Well, she finally decided, she was strong enough for that too.

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  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Mira: This was one tummy-twisty of an update. I love Nyota so much. She's every brave and beautiful woman I've known and cared about in my own life, besides being herself and your AU has just added a whole new dimension to that -- i.e., with such poignant circumstances. [:D] [:D] Bless Jim for being such a loving and loyal and true friend. :* :* But one thing was a surprise. I thought T'Rin was his bondmate, not still. :eek: Makes tumbling into ... something spontaneous and amorous rather tricky. Nyota would always wonder and has too much honor to "take" who isn't pledged to her. [face_thinking]


    Oh, the what-could-haves in this postie. Ouch! Dare I beg for the next post before the week's out? [face_laugh] ^:)^
  19. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh dear goodness no! I have a major squick with adultery, and there will be nothing like that going on here. :) Nyota may not yet know the whole of the circumstances - Spocks comings and goings are not common knowledge, and Kirk is leaving that story to Spock besides the whole 'you don't have to worry about her' - but T'Rin and Spock dissolved their bond. I think Jim kinda mentioned it when he was speaking to Spock in the last chapter - but it will become very clear to Nyota in the next post. ;)

    I did not want you to have to worry about that - at all. :) [:D]

    And an update soon? We will see how this week goes! I have most of the next chapter written, and I was aiming for Sat/Sun. I will try my best to stick to that. :D

    As always, thank-you for reading! [:D]
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Jinkies!!! [face_dancing] [face_dancing] Ah, yes. I looked back at the prior post. When I read "gone" I didn't piece it automatically as still breathing, but left LOL in lieu of deceased. Woot! Looking forward to the relief my sweet angel girl will feel when she gets the rest of the story :D
  21. Dantana Skywalker

    Dantana Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 7, 2002
    The Silent? My brain can't help connect that to the Silence on Doctor Who...
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  22. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: It will be a whirlwind of a ride, but so worth it in the end. As always, thank-you for reading, my friend! [:D]

    Dantana Skywalker: Ha haa! I thought the same thing when posting this - but I could not think of a more fitting name for the group, and thus, it stayed! :p 8-}

    And we are on our way again now . . . :D

    Part VI

    The Ennorian open-air market was everything one could expect from an alien marketplace.

    The air was alive with sights and sounds; bright colors and new and exotic smells. The markets of Onord were set up on a giant maze of curved tiers, each one built onto the side of the mountain. Tributary streams from the great waterfalls surrounding the city cut through he buildings, each trained and diverted to fall in small trickles into the wide blue pools were bright water-flowers bloomed. Permanent stalls in the same burnt-orange stone as the rest of the city lined the inside circles of the tiers, while temporary booths wrapped around the outer edges – some even open to drop off the cliffside towards the violet forests below, the open ways letting the winged Ennorians come and go as they wished.

    Their language was . . . bouncy, in the simplest way Nyota could describe it. It popped and clicked on the back of the tongue, and she felt like a child at play while giving it voice. She listened, learning as she heard the Ennorians interact with each other – picking out local accents and the more subtle variations that denoted regional variations in the dialect. All the while, the hive mind of the Ennorian's pushed in against her like a warm cloud. They were a people who quite literally wore their hearts on their sleeves, and the market was abuzz with positive emotion from both those buying and selling. Once in a while, a negative ripple would cut through the cloud like a ripple on the water, before being swallowed by the current, all but forgotten as others soothed the wayward emotion away. It was a fascinating structure, Nyota had to admit, her nervousness at being so close to another hive-species dissipating with each step she took.

    Nyota walked though the crowded streets, letting herself become lost in the sights and the sounds. Kirk was right, she admitted grudgingly in the back of her mind. This was good for her.

    She was picking out small carved wooden animals to send back to her sister's children in Kenya when her stomach rumbled, reminding her that she had not eaten anything that morning, and now it was past noon. She bit her lip as she looked over the stalls that sold finger-food to those shopping, looking to see if there was anything appetizing. Alien cuisine was a trial and error game of hit and miss, and not all of it was human-friendly, at that. She took out a PADD from her bag, looking to see what was palatable with her system from the list before her, while trying to match up what was appealing to the eye before deciding on a vendor who sold combinations of grilled fruit and a fish of some sort on a stick. The smells were positively divine, and she was confident enough with her rudimentary grasp on the language to try and order herself a meal.

    She was one from placing her order in line when she was joined by a small figure on her left, slipping through the crowd with a quiet step to appear quite suddenly at her side.

    “You should try the joyel,” came Saerk's easy, level voice. “It is like your Terran papaya, and I find it to be more palatable than some of the other options here. If you wish for a protein, the Captain likes to order the ejor – it is a fish like salmon, he says, so I shall have to believe his word. I do not like meat, myself, but the Captain has an appreciation for food that rivals most I have seen, and I would trust his opinions.”

    Nyota fought to keep a smile from her face at Saerk's frank observations – a bright child's grasp on the world given with a clinical detachment that didn't quite fit his age.

    “Why thank-you,” she said. “I will keep that in mind.” Though it was easy to keep the smile on her face, she couldn't help but look over Saerk's shoulder, her eyes picking through the crowd for a familiar face in the sea of Ennorians around her.

    She could not see, but that did not mean . . .

    She was pulled away from her search when the vendor asked her for her order, and she carefully ordered a skewer with both the joyel and the ejor on it. Saerk nodded his head, pleased, while the vendor nodded curiously at her accent before making her order for her.

    “Are you hungry?” she asked when she noticed Saerk peer curiously over the counter at the brightly arranged skewers. She had nieces and nephews aplenty, and she knew that look – universal as it was with all children.

    “I have eaten already,” Saerk said after a moment. “But I can eat again.”

    Growing boys, Nyota thought fondly before catching the vendor's eye. “And one with just the joyel,” she said in the Ennorian tongue, and the vendor inclined his head. He whistled as he put the food together, his ease with his task creating a soothing humming on the hive mind around her.

    You do well, the vendor 'thought' at her, and she smiled in reply, pleased. “I thank-you,” she said after she paid for the food and was handed her skewer. She felt a fluttering of positive emotion against her psyche as they turned away.

    “I thank you for the meal,” Saerk said as they moved to a line of benches that overlooked one of the dropoffs. At the side of the benches, there was a stream that tumbled over the cliffside as a spray of bright mist. The cool sprinkle of water was refreshing – as refreshing as the bright and sweet taste of the fruit she picked at it.

    “It is my pleasure,” Nyota said after she swallowed. She wiped at her mouth, watching Saerk for a moment as she did so. He was not looking at her, instead he was looking intently at his skewer as he ate the fruit in a way to ensure he would have as little of the juice sticking to his fingers and his mouth as possible when he was done. He was careful with the way he moved as a whole, she picked out with her eyes. Someday, grace would come easily to him, but for now he was a child with a child's coltishness, and it was endearing to watch him.

    She looked, and saw the furrow to his brow, the faint tilt of the right side of his mouth that said that he enjoyed what he ate – a familiar look to her searching eyes after she having gone through every take-out menu in a twenty mile radius around San Francisco to introduce Spock to the diversities of Terran cuisine. (Yes to the Indian and a big no to the fish and chips. Well, chips for him, that was. Yes to the Thai and not so much to the Chinese. He could put away Lebanese food like no one's business – having a secret fondness for Tabbouleh that she had never shared with anyone else. The knowledge was hers, and she liked to keep it that way.)

    He was so much like his father, she thought with a pang. The thought brought both fondness and a lingering, bittersweet ache, and she focused on the fondness, amused as she was by the careful way the boy cleaned his fingers when he was done. He finished twice as fast as her, and she looked at him thoughtfully as she ate her own skewer.

    “Are you here alone?” she asked after a moment when she saw no one else in the crowd who could have been with Saerk. While the thought brought a relief of its own, it also brought concern. The talks of joining the Federation had brought a whole league of dangerous naysayers against the official government, and she would hate for the boy to be caught in the crossfire. The concern came easy to her – instinctive and base as she turned her body to the side, unconsciously shielding him from anything untoward that may have been in the crowd.

    “Yes, I am alone,” he inclined his head as he sucked his fingers into his mouth. “I came for nectar for the annoi,” he explained. “They need daily doses.”

    “Ah,” she said, looking levelly at the boy as she finished her skewer. It did not sound like Spock to let his son go off alone, she thought, and -

    - sure enough, the tips of Saerk's ears flushed green as he inclined his head. He had read her thoughts without her having to say so. “I was not told I could not go,” he said simply, and she nearly laughed aloud at the defense from him, as human as it was.

    She simply raised a brow, and watched as his blush deepened. “Does your father know where you are?” she asked gently.

    Saerk blinked. “He knows that I needed to go the market for the annoi today,” he responded – not answering her yes or no, and that too was so very Spock that she could not help but smile.

    “Did you find what you need?” she asked.

    He patted a pouch at his side. “Yes, I have.”

    “Then let me walk you back,” Nyota offered. “There are some people who are less than happy that the Federation is here, and it would make me feel better if I knew you got home safely.”

    Saerk's head turned to the side as he considered her offer before his dark eyes brightened. “And if you were to do so, I could show you my work with the annoi?” he asked. Though his voice was as blank as ever, she was used to sorting out the nuances in such voices, and a very real excitement clung to his words. He got up from the bench, as it ready to leave that very moment.

    She licked the last of the juice from her fingers, stalling as long as she could. While she was happy to walk Saerk back, she had intended to leave him at the door. She did not think . . .

    Her chest tightened with trepidation as she reached over to put her skewer in the trash receptacle. Her stomach was turning, telling her that eating had not been such a good idea, at all.

    Poor, scared little girl, she felt L'iost whisper at her mind, his interest once again turning towards her. You are afraid, are you not? All but terrified to see that which you were not strong enough to hold on to . . .

    Shut-up, Nyota nearly snarled into the corners of her thoughts. Her telepathic shove was violent – sending a shooting pain to her temples as she tried to force L'iost back from where he had came. Anything else, anything else L'iost could glean from her mind and claim as his own. But this . . .

    L'iost laughed, as if amused by her efforts. She bared her teeth at him, erecting what shields she could between what he saw and did not see in her mind, but it was not enough, it never was.Sweet fool, L'iost chortled in her mind, his voice a gross pantomime of affection. How naïve you are. Do you not know that your despair has called me? That your pain feeds me? And so senselessly so. Everything else I have scrapped from your mind, and yet it is this that harms you the most, it is this that brings you to your knees?

    I am not kneeling to anyone, she retorted, but her mental voice was as a whisper where L'iost was a storm.

    And yet, you think that this . . . other can help you? You think that he would want to help you when -

    L'iost's voice broke off, and she looked down to see a small hand on her sleeve. Saerk's eyes were wide and dark – nearly black as his hand tightened about her wrist. “I called your name. Twice,” the child said in explanation, dropping his hand away as soon as her eyes focused on his own. She must have truly worried him, she thought, for him to reach out and touch her – Vulcan's being notoriously careful about touching those outside of their familial units. Even to get her attention, he had not touched her skin, careful of the psi receptors on his own hand.

    “I am sorry,” she whispered, holding a hand to her temples. “I was . . . distracted.”

    “I see,” Saerk said, and she watched as . . . something departed from his eyes. He blinked, and they were as they were before. She drew in a shuddering breath, and forced herself to calm.

    “Do you still wish to see my project?” Saerk asked hesitantly, and Nyota nodded – the motion sharper than she would have liked.

    “Yes,” she assured him. “I still do.”

    Saerk looked at her carefully, but he must have seen something that convinced him in her face, for a moment later they were both walking through the crowd, back to the government buildings and the guest quarters. She was without incident the whole way back, L'iost thankfully silent in her mind as Saerk led her to a hall a few over from her own room, in the westermost part of the complex.

    They stood before the door as Saerk entered the code, and Nyota had to keep herself from fidgeting. She fought the more childish impulse she had to squeeze her eyes closed – but she refused to give in to her own insecurities in such a way. She tugged at her uniform self-consciously, suddenly ill at ease with the short black hem of her skirt and the grey of her tights beneath. She straightened the badge at her chest; the cap over her head. She tugged on the short strands of her hair that curve upwards beneath the line of her jaw, suddenly wondering what Spock would think of the new cut. Her fingertips pressed once, fleetingly over the scar that ran down the right side of her face - but there was nothing she could do about that, and her vanity was a passing thing. There was no lessening it, and Spock never would have judged her as less for it anyway.

    Saerk opened the door, and Nyota held her breath.

    But the rooms were empty when they walked in. No one stirred within. Nyota was not sure if the knowledge filled her with release, or a jumpy sort of trepidation – suddenly feeling as a doe before a hunter in the wood, unable to see the arrow notched, but knowing that it was there . . .

    Saerk was speaking as she looked around, going on about the parameters of his experiment and his observations thus far, but she was only listening with half an ear, though she tried to focus more. She noticed small things – a lyre on its stand in the sitting room, the chessboard sitting at the ready, the scent of tea, still permeating the air around them. All of it was so familiar, and yet not, and she . . .

    “Here,” Saerk drew her down the hall, calling her back to herself as they entered what she assumed was his room. There was a glass habitat on the bedside stand, the two different colors of annoi fluttering between the different colored flowers within.

    Saerk stood proudly before the habitat, a PADD with his observations held out before him – neatly recorded, and already separated into clean graphs and charts. She felt a soft smile touch at her mouth, both amused and impressed at once.

    “There are plans to reopen the Vulcan Science Academy – this time to all species, to share the knowledge we have preserved, and to pass it on to others as well,” Saerk said, almost proudly. “The building should be complete and accepting application within three year's time, and I wish for my applications to be one of the first. My grandfather and my father's elder counterpart have been coaching me – even though the Captain says that this gives me an unfair advantage.”

    She smiled softly. “What does your father say?”

    “He says that I am too young to make an informed decision about my future,” Saerk said. “He advises me instead to discover my strengths, and decipher where my interests lie before committing to a course.”

    “Your father is wise,” Nyota said, pride lighting within her, though she could not say why. Much needless pain had caused a rift between Sarek and Spock in times bygone, and she was glad that both had learned from the experience and moved on from it. She was glad that Saerk benefited from that lesson learned.

    “Wise?” Saerk repeated. “His words are logical, yes.”

    She raised a brow at the distinction, but inclined her head to his words. “Very logical,” she gave.

    Saerk looked down, trailing an absent finger over the glass wall of the habitat. His brow was furrowed, something heavy forming at the forefront of his gaze. She waited, wanting to ask him what troubled him, but unsure whether or not he would even want to confide in her. She fascinated him, Kirk had said, but anything more . . .

    “I wish to send my findings about the annoi to my mother,” Saerk said after a moment, and the unexpectedness of his words was like a jolt to her. She blinked, caught off guard. “She works with damaged ecosystems, and while the one I observe is healthy, there is still much to learn from such a thing.”

    “Ah,” Nyota replied carefully. The sentiment was understandable, she thought. Her father was a linguist. It was what had prompted her fascination with the spoken word all of those years ago, and now, here she was.

    “She is one a world called Carax II right now, which has been over-mined to the point of crippling the planet,” he said next. “I don't think they have anything resembling an annoi there, but if they do . . .”

    She felt her heart twist at the low, hopeful note that had invaded his voice, feeling sympathy rise in her chest. “Is she not here?” she asked gently.

    “No,” Saerk shook his head sharply. “She and my father had the Elders dissolve their bond nearly a year ago.”

    The news hit Nyota like a blow to the head. She blinked at him, aware that she was gaping, even as she did so. “They did?” she repeated stupidly, aware that it was terribly rude of her, and none of her business beside, and yet . . .

    “Yes,” Saerk answered, not seeming to pick up on the fervid force of her surprise. “In the wake of Vulcan's destruction, many pairs were made who would not have been made otherwise. My parents were one such pair. As my father is half-human, my birth was very hard on my mother, and she would not have been able to have another child. Thus, the parameters of their relationship were fulfilled, and now that I am old enough for her absence to not effect my development, she is now free to seek out her pursuits off-planet – where my father would not be able to follow.”

    It was . . . terribly logical, Nyota thought. She felt her heart twist inside of her chest for the frank, simple way Saerk spoke about his parent's separation, as it was another mark to make about his experiment. But the child trailed an absent finger over the glass, and she knew that he was not as unaffected as he professed. He was still part human, she thought. There was something inside of him that mourned, that missed . . .

    “My father did not speak of the complete hows and whys of why they separated,” Saerk said like he was puzzling through a riddle in his head. Nyota wondered if he even would have mentioned something so personal about his family if he had anyone else to talk to about it. She already felt . . . connected to the child, she knew, and she wanted to know, she realized. She wanted to know anything he had to say, she thought, surprised, no small amount of unease filling her with how easily she was bonding with him, knowing that soon . . .

    But now was not the time for that thought.

    “My mother was always green to my senses,” Saerk said. “My father is a warm color - orange and gold combined. They did not match.”

    Curious, she looked down at Saerk as he spoke. Green? Gold? She had never heard of such a sense for Vulcans, she reflected – though they were a secretive race as a whole, and nothing truly would surprise her, she thought. The level of insight from a child, though . . . she felt her heart go out to him, and if he were a human child, she knew that she would have placed a hand at his shoulder. She would have tried to smile and offer a comfort of her own.

    But he was not a human child, and so she stood with her hands folded before her, and waited as Saerk puzzled through the thoughts that so obviously riddled his mind.

    “You are red,” he said unexpectedly. “You should not be . . . but you are. So very red, as if something is tearing through the inside of your mind and leaving wounds in its wake. The color is so huge.”

    She swallowed, looking down as Saerk fixed suddenly dark eyes on her own. It was the same look she had seen before, she recognized, when he had interrupted L'iost's connected to her mind. She felt an uncomfortable sensation settle low in her gut, the hairs on the back of her neck rising as if in warning, when -

    A chime sounded a the door. It opened to admit another.

    “Saerk?” a familiar voice cut through the air, and Nyota straightened, her heart suddenly pounding in her chest as she heard -


    Him, him, him, a sing song voice chanted in her mind, even as she stood paralyzed with the urge to fight or flee. She swallowed, but found that her mouth was suddenly dry. She was fixed to that spot with her mouth open and her eyes wide, and she could not -

    “In here, father,” Saerk called down the hall, and she wanted furiously to gesture at him to be silent. She did not want to -

    “Saerk,” Spock's voice was closer now, just beyond the door and coming down the hall. “I may take you to the market now, if you are ready to – Nyota.”

    Her name was a startled sound from Spock's mouth as he turned the corner to see her standing awkwardly in his son's room. The easy, calm tone of his voice fell as if over an edge as it dropped her name onto the air. But it was still her name. Her name. Her inner ear sung at the sound, everything familiar and once adored about it touching something deep inside of her. No, she clamped down on the old familiar feeling, and upon doing so she could only feel her surprise and her panic and -

    “Nyota,” Spock said again, obviously schooling himself. A part of her felt a dark surge of pleasure at the sight, at knowing that he was as ill at ease as she was - that she had rattled his composure and turned it to something less where normally it was everything.

    And so, she took in a deep breath. She made it a brave thing, fortifying her chest.

    She stepped forward. One step, and then another.

    And she made the plunge.


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  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    The description of the marketplace was simply gorgeous!


    Saerk is everything endearing I just wanna scoop him up and squeeze him to bits. His compassion is as big as Texas :* :* Woot! So my girl knows the secret about the bond, huh? ;) Oh, the mental musings and the meeting at the end there ... My tummy is one big buncha butterflies. More! Soon! Please! LOL

    [:D] ^:)^
  24. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Nyota's Heart: Thank-you! I am glad that everything is coming across so well. This fic has been a blast to write, and I am thrilled that you are enjoying it. [face_love][:D]

    Now, for more! :)

    Part VII

    “Nyota,” Spock said again, obviously schooling himself – and a part of her felt a dark surge of pleasure at the sight, at knowing that he was as ill at ease as she was - that she had rattled his composure and turned it to something less where normally it was everything.

    And so, she took in a deep breath. She made it a brave thing, fortifying her chest.

    She stepped forward. One step, and then another.

    And she made the plunge.


    Between them, Saerk's dark eyes flickered as he looked first at his father and then at her.

    “You are acquainted already?” he asked.

    Spock tilted his head. There was a moment of hesitation before he gave his answer, and Nyota watched – noticing the way he forcibly relaxed the strong line of his jaw, the way he forced his body to looseness. She looked, thinking that she saw his eyes linger on herfor just a moment too long. She held her breath, watching as his eyes flickered from the new cut of her hair, the line of her scar, before turning to Saerk.

    “Yes,” he answered his son. “She is an old colleague. From my days teaching at the Academy.”

    “Ah,” Saerk said. “She was your student?”

    “For a time,” Spock answered. “Yes.”

    “I see,” Saerk said, tilting his head to the side in a mirrored look of Spock's own mannerism. “I would assume that you would wish for privacy to talk then,” he clasped his hands behind his back. “I have to feed the annoi, if you wish for me to leave.”

    Spock raised a brow. She watched the gesture, unable to look away at the old, familiar look. “Feed the annoi?” Spock repeated, a question in his tone.

    Right on cue, Saerk's cheeks flushed. “Yes,” he said, before quickly adding. “I was escorted back from the market, though. Miss Nyota was kind enough to offer to do so.”

    “Kind indeed,” Spock said. He still stared at Saerk, the look on his face one universal to all parents – though Nyota knew that he would wait for her to leave before delivering a further rebuke.

    Saerk fidgeted, moving his weight from one foot to the next before looking up again. “The annoi are in here,” he said patiently when no one moved to leave.

    A moment passed. Spock blinked as he realized that they would have to be the ones to leave. “Do not think that we will not speak about this later,” Spock said easily before turning away from his son, and Nyota watched, amused as Saerk ducked his head again.

    But her attention was soon diverted when she turned to follow Spock out of the room. They walked down the hall to the small kitchenette that the suite held. As they walked, she found her eyes following the line of his shoulders, the sure shape of his stride. Time and age had added an extra strength to his form, and she looked on, appreciative before reminding herself that he was not hers to look upon. She looked down, and concentrated on her own step instead – as liquid as her own legs seemed to be in that moment.

    She counted it a victory when she made it to the kitchen on her own strength. She sat down at one of the tall chairs when Spock gestured, while he turned to put on a kettle for tea – the motion so habitual that she did not even blink at it. It had always been a given any time they had met, and now . . .

    He put out two mugs, his back still to her, as if he were using the simple tasks to distract himself from the inevitability of their speaking. She watched as he spooned out honey and milk into her mug, before simply placing his own aside – he preferring his tea black, she remembered.

    He remembered how she liked her tea, she thought with a pang. Something, hesitant and warm threatened to bloom in her chest, even as she fought to force it aside.

    “I thank you,” Spock said, not yet turning to her – as if he found it easier speaking to her as such. He took an extra moment as he stirred her milk and honey together, his hand still about the spoon even as he paused in his motions. “For returning Saerk home, that is. I trust he was not too inconvenient?”

    “No, not at all,” she answered. “I was glad towalk him back. He is a sweet boy, and I have enjoyed his company.”

    Spock turned towards her, taking a step towards the long counter that served as a sitting area in the kitchenette. He placed his hands on the back of his own chair, but did not sit down. A faint look of puzzlement clung to his brow – he was disconcerted, she would say if she had to put a name to it. Reflexively, she found herself reaching out with her senses – stretching out to touch at a burgeoning bond that was no longer there. Once, a lifetime ago, his psyche had started to bond with her own, even though it had never been a full union of minds as a marital bond would have wrought. Though she hesitated to call their broken bond a scar on her mind, the healed part of her psyche was what had drawn L'iost to her in the first place, and it was as a scab beneath her thoughts.

    Now, she could touch Spock not in that way, and she fisted her hands together over the table, frustrated that even mere moments in his presence again had her reaching out in such away.

    She bit her lip as she felt L'iost stir curiously at the reflexive move from her mind. He did not speak, but he did look at the torn area curiously, as if wondering what new force had flickered there. He touched the spot, and it was like touching a bruise. She flinched, and L'iost backed away just as quickly, oddly careful with how he handled her mind with his clawed hands.

    When she opened her eyes, the pain having passed, and she looked to see that Spock had leaned forward at her discomfort. He had felt L'iost's mental touch too, she realized.

    “Is that . . .” Spock started before cutting himself off. “No, my apologies. I presume too much.”

    “No,” she said, taking in a deep breath. “You have every right to know – it's what you agreed to help me with, after all.”

    A moment passed, long and poignant. Her throat worked awkwardly around her breath. She pressed the tips of her fingers together, suddenly uneasy in her own skin. Things had always been comfortable with him – even when there was just an academic bond between them, and now . . .

    She did not know what to say. Her many words in many tongues, and she did not know what to say . . . what to think, what to feel.

    “If you wish,” Spock said. “I can arrange for you to meet with another. My elder counterpart, or my father even – both are experienced with the human psyche, and they could help you if you would rather not open your mind to me.”

    Something inside of her twisted at the easy concern she could hear in his voice, no matter how hard he tried to hide it. She forced a tight smile to her face as she said. “No. No . . . I would be grateful, for any help you could provide. Really.” She spoke her words, and found them to be a truth, at least.

    Spock inclined his head. He tapped his fingers against the back of his chair, each one in order before stilling. “If you would wish for my help,” he said slowly. “Perhaps you could start with telling me what happened. Any mental contact between us at this time may be . . . unwise.” His voice turned as if in distaste at the last word.

    She nearly flinched. Was it unwise to touch minds with her because it was her mind? Was his anger at L'iost for touching her so? Or was it unwise for his own turbulent feelings? He was hard to read before her, and for the first time, Nyota found herself wishing that he was more of his mother's people. She wanted to read his thoughts on his face. She wanted to know what he was thinking.

    Yet, she held her tongue, and instead started to tell her story. She told him how a routine scouting on the planet of Serillious had turned south when the fraction of natives led by L'iost had taken her from the landing party after he had been drawn to her psyche with their first meeting. The Serillions fed on psychic energy. Their whole planet used a hive based system to communicate, and as a result, they had a base, war-like society, where those stronger fed on the energy of those lesser. Something about her mind had attracted L'iost. In her, he had a permanent link to feed on – blotting out her own innate psychic receptor, which were held by every sentient species, but only assessable to a few, before replacing them with those of her own.

    After time passed – so much time that she despaired of ever returning home – she was allowed more and more freedom. The stronger her body was, the stronger her mind was, and L'iost had afforded her every luxury he could to make her comfortable and healthy. Eventually, her connection to L'iost had been his downfall – in his mind she had been able to see that officers were still searching for her, and she had recognized Kirk himself heading the search-and-rescue party.

    In a fit of desperation, she had broken a stone plate, and used the broken pieces as a weapon, surprising her guard and taking his own knife to use. In the scuffle, she had earned the scar she still carried, but it was a worthy price to pay when she came out the winner. She had used L'iost's own knowledge of the tunnels to escape, while L'iost used his own connection to her mind to pursue her. But, Kirk had found her first, and she had never looked back as they put the planet far behind them.

    But, even whole systems away from Serillious, and L'iost still followed her. She had not been able to shake him from her mind ever since, even though she was far apart in body.

    “It felt like a dream,” she whispered blankly. “The atmosphere had not been wholly compatible with human lungs, and it was like I was drugged the whole time. I could not tell day from night, I was always drowsy, and every limb felt heavy. A part of me was so suppressed that I did not want to escape. I did not even realize I was being held against my will. It was . . .” Humiliating, she thought, but did not say. It was humiliating to know that she could give up so . . . that she was not strong enough to fight and fight from the first. She swallowed, unable to look up at Spock as she spoke. From where she could see, his hands were white-knuckled where they grasped the back of his chair.

    She started again. “Now, L'iost comes and goes. When he needs to feed, he turns to me, and when he is sated, he lets me be. I can hear his thoughts like he is speaking – and he can hear mine.”

    She swallowed. As hard as it was, she felt as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders when she said so – as if sharing the burden of her memories made them lesser. She took in a breath, and felt it reach deep.

    She looked up, and saw that Spock's eyes were dark, very dark. She had not seem them as such since he had felt Vulcan die, she thought, but then . . . she had spent many years apart from him, and it could have been her own overwhelmed eyes seeing so. She thought . . .

    But no.

    “And now?” when Spock asked, his voice was very, very soft.

    “L'iost is amused,” Nyota said after a moment of feeling at her mind. “He does not think that you are a threat to his place. But he welcomes your efforts to try.”

    “Does he,” Spock said, but there was no question in the words. There was a low, dark quality to his voice that Nyota blinked to here. She looked at him, trying to decipher what he was feeling. Her fingers itched to reach across the counter-top and take his own. She wanted to press her fingers into the inside of his palm – a motion that had always calmed him before. The urges were instinctive, as old to breathing to her, and she . . .

    She missed him, she realized with a pang. Her feelings for him were wrapped up in what felt like a bruise, they were something that ached . . . but she still missed him, even after all of this time. There was something there, deep inside, and she . . .

    She was about to lean forward and take his hand anyway, when the tea kettle went off, startling them both from . . . whatever had been building between them. As if there was a cord looping them together, it snapped, leaving her breath stiff in her mouth as her lungs remembered to breathe again.

    Nyota blinked, and straightened in her seat, even as Spock too stood upright. He turned towards the kettle and moved the pot off of the heat. He poured the boiling water into the cups with a practiced, easy manner, even while his eyes were far from what he is doing.

    “So, what's your diagnosis, doc?” she tried to smile when he sat down across from her. Her smile was a bit too wide on her face, a bit too pinched, but it was still a smile.

    “I think that I may be able to help,” Spock said after a moment. “I would have to see inside your mind to ascertain the full extent of the damage, but yes. I will help you with this.” There was an edge to his voice with his last words, and that too was familiar to her ears.

    She picked up her tea, and blew steam from the rim as she let the tea leaves steep. Silence stretched between them, awkward and long.

    “Does anything else from your time on Serillious still trouble you?” Spock asked carefully after a moment. She watched his eyes as they glanced down the length of her scar – starting at her hairline and lingering at the corner of her mouth before snapping back to her eyes.

    She understood, and gave a crooked look in return. “I still have nightmares,” she said, her words easier than she felt. “Your typical post trauma symptoms, and things like that . . . but that's it. It doesn't hurt,” she said after a moment, gesturing to her face. “If that's what you're asking.”

    A moment passed. “I am glad,” Spock said, and while his words were still, she could see an all too familiar softening about the corners of his eyes. He truly was, she knew.

    “It's just hell to look at,” she gave, grinning ruefully. “But, there's little to be done for that. At least I was able to keep my eye – that's all I let myself care about in the end.”

    “You should not think of it as such. It adds an . . . unexpected appeal,” Spock said in reply. The words started quick, but the last syllables were halting from his mouth, as if he wished to take them back once he realized how they sounded. She raised a brow, but he had yet to look up from his tea to catch her look.

    She decided to let him down, something inside of her turning warm at the unexpected compliment. She had not realized how much they meant to her vanity before she heard them. When she smiled, the smile was real. “You are not looking too bad yourself,” she said softly. “The years have treated you well.”

    “Well enough,” Spock said after a moment. “Rebuilding is slow, but our people are of a strong constitution. While it may be centuries before we return to how we were before, it is a good foundation we now lay.”

    “I am glad to hear that,” she said, and once again she spoke the truth. Anything else . . . It helped to know that he truly had done good away from her side. The years apart hurt – they really, truly did, but Saerk was a gem of a kid, and he would continue to do well for his people even after Spock was gone. That had to be worth it, right? As much as she would have wanted for things to be different, they were not, and she . . .

    She sipped at her tea, and for the first time, her thoughts were edged with something soft. They felt like closure at her mind.

    “So, Saerk . . .” she started.

    “The Captain calls him precocious,” Spock completed her thought, recognizing her words as the invitation they were. There was a small upturning at the corner of his mouth – a not-smile. Talking about his son was easy, and so she let the words have their way. “I would simply call him unusually bright.”

    “To which I would agree,” Nyota said. “To both,” she gave with a bit of teasing. “But, in the best of ways.”

    Spock raised a brow, and once again the reflex to reach out and touch his mind with her own was there and strong. He did not smile with his mouth, but she knew what his smile felt like against her thoughts. He did not laugh with his voice, but she knew what his laughter sounded like in her mind. She knew his grief and his frustrationand his rage, and now, to feel along blindly . . .
    It was not the same, she gave, but it was something. Something after fifteen years apart, and she would take it.

    “And your family?” Spock said next. “I trust that they are well and in good health?”

    And that was something she could talk about as well as he could talk about Saerk. She told him about her parents retiring, and her sister and her ever growing family. She told him anecdotes about her nieces and nephews, all of which Spock matched with stories of his own. The subjects were safe, they were not about anything more – L'iost and T'Rin and the gap of years between them – and they passed the time in easy companionship, as if they had never been apart.

    They had talked long enough for the door to chime again much later, this time to admit a grim looking Kirk, whose look only softened upon looking between the two of them, something secret touching his mouth before he hid the look away.

    “Ah,” he said with a not-smile that matched Spock's in every way. “You're here too.” He came to where she was sitting and squeezed her hand. “I'm glad to see that.”

    Spock looked down at the ease of contact between them, before looking up at Kirk. “It is time?” he asked.

    “The Ennorian investigators are ready to meet with us,” Kirk answered. “I thought we'd all head down together.”

    Spock inclined his head. “We are ready to leave then.”

    We, how easily the word sounded between them, and at the unconscious slip, Kirk looked between them, a brow raised in question. Nyota looked neutrally back in reply.

    When Spock went down the hall to tell Saerk that he was leaving – and that the boy was under no uncertain terms not allowed to leave their rooms without an adult accompanying him, Nyota took a moment to compose herself. She fixed her hair and straightened her skirt. Her fingers still felt stiff, but no longer did they shake. She felt as if a balm had been applied, rather than a bandage having been removed, and she was . . .

    She was at ease, she decided.

    L'iost? The ever growing cloud over the talks with the Ennorians? All were things that could be moved on from, and conquered. She thought as such, and for the first time in too long, she found that she meant it.

    ~MJ @};-
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004


    Spock's reaction to her story and her instinctive longing to reach for a bond -- :_| Yet, with all that, they're easy with one another in so many ways [face_love] !!!!!!!!
    "An unexpected appeal" :D :D Kissing it will not make it go away, but it will certainly make her tingle all over. ;)

    The "we" at the end there made me grin like a fool!

    Jim noticed it too LOL and is stoked like I am. :D

    L'iest has come up against something as immutable as Beren and Luthien - against whom even Morgoth had to cower [face_dancing] So dude better watch his backside. :cool: Spock is spoiling to take him down a peg or a dozen. =P~ Be still my fangirl heart!

    I am looking forward to his healing-meld. Something tells me it'll result in something-something.