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Story [Star Trek: AOS] "No Closer Orbit", Ensemble Cast, Fic-gift for WarmNyota_SweetAyesha up 1/10!

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Mira_Jade , Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Mira_Jade

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

    Jun 29, 2004
    "No Closer Orbit”

    : Star Trek: AOS
    Rating: PG
    Genre: General
    Characters: Kirk, Spock/Uhura, McCoy

    Summary: It started, innocuously enough, with the crew of the Enterprise collecting mementos from their adventures.

    (Or: that one time Kirk was able to say that everything was Spock's fault.)

    Notes: This is my fic-gift for @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha. Originally, this opening was supposed to be a blurb at the beginning of the story, but then it turned long enough to be a story all on its own. The actual elements you requested, Deb, are going to be in the short story following this. Which I will start posting as soon as I clear a few projects off my plate. Yep – my muse did it again. ;)

    In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy this viggie! It's been wonderful writing for these crazy kids again. [face_love][:D]

    Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words.


    I. Arkus
    The planet Arkus was a bright, chaotic mosaic of sights and smells and sounds.

    Standing as a natural intersection for five major deep-space lanes, the planet was a conglomeration of people and languages, all meeting to barter their wares and information in a swirling, diverse nexus of markets and trade centers. Arkus was a stopping point on their own route to unexplored space, and a great overnight for the crew – a chance to stretch their legs and step away from their duties before the rigors of their mission called on them again.

    After sitting the helm of the Enterprise for the past three months, Jim Kirk was personally glad for the respite – and he felt a glow of pride, deep down inside, for being able to provide a similar such rest for his crew. He was doing this; he was managing his commission to the best of his abilities, and he sat a little straighter in the captain's chair to hear the bridge buzz to chat about their plans on the planet down below. It felt good, knowing that the people serving with him – the people he served – were content and taken care of. The positive crew morale meant only good things for the years to come - if he could keep this up, that was.


    “The rules of crew rest dictate that you have to come with me, Bones! We're taking the third shift down - that's an order.”

    “Hacked Rynriin jewelry and bootlegged Romulan ale are not the only things being traded down there, Jim! If I had a credit for every case of Lugarrian flu, or
    worse that I'm going to have to treat by the time your mass field-trip is done -”

    “ - oh, relax! A good case of Lugarrian flu is an acceptable occupational hazard in our line of work. It's bound to happen sooner or later – so why not build up an immunity now?”

    “Yeah. You tell me that when you're breaking out in oozing blue hives and itching in your unmentionables. Don't come crying to me then.”

    “Thanks, Bones – it's good to know that I can always trust my CMO to patch me right up.”

    “It's a hypo with a big needle,”
    had been McCoy's last, moody rejoinder. “The biggest.”

    “Hey – no pain, no gain, right? Now come on – you're not getting out of this.”

    Which is what saw him on the ground during the planet's twilight cycle in civilian clothes with a grudging McCoy sulking by his side. The main line of stalls in the planet's Market Zone I were bustling with species of every shape and size, and their wares were a cacophony of color and scent and sound. The fading light from the blue binary suns above cast a cool glow as the bazaar sparked up lights of its own to counter the fading day. The garish colors of the advertisements fought with the golden tones of the throughways and the dimming azure-violet sunlight, drawing his eyes almost as intently as the stall of spices from the Haxian Arm, each spilling over from rough sized bags and setting the night air alight with exotic, foreign scents. Then there were intricately woven textiles from Aamazzarra, and crystallized fistrium gems from Betazed, and -

    - spun glass from Haakona.

    Long, winding loops of delicate glass hung from the stall in mesmerising patterns – too much for the eye to focus on at once, and seemingly magical for the way they tricked the senses into appearing to float and dance on the air to some distant, nameless melody. He knew the science behind the trick now; he knew the whys and hows of their flight, and yet . . .

    . . . even Kirk had been a kid once, and magic had seemed real the first time visiting Arkus. Before.

    He was just lifting a hand to one of the glittering confections – mindful of the shopkeeper's eye on him all the while – when he heard a familiar voice speak behind him.

    “Spun glass?” Nyota Uhura's voice was wry, but soft. “This is not where I would have first thought to find James T. Kirk on a place like Arkus.”

    He glanced over at his communications officer, and gave her a wolfish grin. “Well, maybe you don't know everything about me.” He couldn't help the invitation in his voice - but it was harmless as he looked her up and down before turning his attention back to the glass. Her hair was freed from its regulation updo for the night, and her make-up was dark about her eyes. She was out of uniform as well, with a dark violet tunic hanging comfortably over a dark pair of leggings and high heeled black leather boots. Her jacket looked suspiciously like Spock's; it dwarfed her from where it was draped over her thin shoulders.

    “No, apparently not,” Nyota admitted, her eyes sparkling. “You're here alone, too - did Leo give up on you already?”

    “Naw – it's more like I couldn't keep up with him,” Kirk snorted to say. “He found the Betazedi fistrium crystals the next booth over – he's picking out something for Joanna. I came down here looking for Romulan ale – but I should have known that Bones would want to go shopping instead.” But he did a double take, and noticed that she too was holding bags containing neatly wrapped packages within. He huffed out a breath. “Though . . . apparently I am venting to the wrong person about that. You're being a tourist too.”

    “Guilty,” her cheeks dimpled to say. “These are all gifts to send to my family back home. We haven't really stopped anywhere scenic yet, so I wanted to take advantage of our time here while I could. Who knows where we'll be next?”

    That, he well understood. After their rather explosive inception, the start of their official mission had been . . . well, he never wanted to say dull and invite the fates to rain down fire and fury on them, but it had definitely been slow in comparison. He suspected it would continue to be so until they passed the boundary of the Beta quadrant into wild space.

    Though, he was also canny enough to admit that, with how new their team was – no matter how their bonds had been initially forged by fire, perhaps that was for the best. Outings like Arkus, and the quiet, slow days running drills aboard the ship, each took them one step closer to being able to do their best against the next Nero that would inevitably show up. He knew how to count his blessings.

    And, speaking of crew bonding -

    “ - by the way, where's your date?” Kirk asked, raising a brow. “Spock should know better than to leave such a beautiful woman unattended.”

    Nyota gave him a look, but that too was all familiarity between them. “He's with the same crystal vendor as McCoy,” her grin stretched to say. “He had suspicions of the gems' authenticity, and felt obligated to stay and state his concerns.”

    “Oh no - don't burst Bones' bubble,” Kirk loosed a deep exhale. “He'd finally started to enjoy himself down here - that's just mean.”

    Even so, that said, this was something he had to see this. Kirk took a step outside of the stall and looked a few booths down to see where - sure enough - the bewildered crystal vendor was standing between Spock and a clearly irked McCoy, whose voice was getting noticeably louder, even across the din of the throughway. He had a single finger out and coming dangerously close to jabbing the Vulcan's chest to punctuate every word he said.

    “Oh, poor Spock,” Nyota breathed, a rueful amusement heavy in her voice. “I know he thought he was helping.”

    “Poor McCoy, I think you mean,” Kirk countered. “He just wanted to buy something sparkly for his daughter.”

    Nyota shook her head before looking up to meet his eyes again. Her mouth pursed, as if she was considering a thought, before she said, “So, rather than wait with the crystals of questionable origins, this stall caught your eye?”

    A good deal of her job rested on reading the unspoken; Kirk should have known that she would ask her initial question again. Her dark eyes were bright, and curious, as they met his own; they caught the lights of the bazaar the way space held stars.

    “Yeah . . . I suppose it did.” He could have left it there – just a few months ago, he would have left it there. But those few months had happen. Nero . . . Vulcan . . . his captaincy - they'd all happened. And, now . . .

    “This isn't my first time on Arkus,” he found his words spilling instead. “My mother brought me here before – years ago. I remember this booth.”

    Nyota went very, very still to hear him speak. Whatever she had expected him to say, it wasn't that – and she understood his words for the weight they were. The wide, bustling marketplace seemed to hush around them, and Kirk fought the urge he had too look down and shuffle his feet as if he was still that same wide-eyed child as before.

    “Mom worked in IA,” he continued, sharing what Nyota no doubt already knew. Winona Kirk had made quite a name for herself, far outside of the legend of his birth. “She hopped around the fleet a lot when I was younger, and she always used to bring us back souvenirs from her trips - especially the worse and worse Uncle Frank's temper got at having to mind Sam and I. One time, she didn't have anyone on Earth to watch us, and we came along with her. She was investigating a crew leave that had gone wrong down here, and my brother and I explored to stay out of the way. But, when she was done . . . she walked with us too. She brought us glass from this booth to hang in our windows back home.”

    It was one of the few times he could remember her smiling, but that, Kirk did not say. She had always seemed more at ease anywhere other than home. When he was younger, a part of him resented her for that, even without wholly understanding why. At the time, home had been Sam and him, and he couldn't understand why she'd want to be away from them. But now, with the stars literally hanging at his own fingertips . . . he thought to understand her better. In a way.

    Like this,” Winona had leaned over him to show – coaxing him to unwrap his fingers from around the loops of glass to let it fly. The idea had been so contrary to anything on Earth that Jim hadn't quite trusted her. “Don't worry – it won't break. The gas it's filled with is lighter than helium, even – it'll always float. And it's drawn to the light – see how it dances to find it?”

    The glass
    had flown . . . it had danced, even, and his eyes had gone so, so wide to watch it soar. The trick of the trapped gas had seemed miraculous to him at the time; wondrous, almost.

    More so, he remembered the way his mom's arm had felt around his shoulders as she hugged him close. He still remembered the kiss she'd dropped into his hair; the way his nose was filled with the scent of her perfume as she stayed close to him to tease, “See? I told you it would dance. Trust your mother, kiddo. She's always right.”

    At the time, he'd so dearly wanted to believe her. Perhaps . . . a part of him still did.

    But, he shuffled on his feet, and looked up at the maze of glass and light above them, unsure what to think now.

    And Nyota followed his gaze to simply say, “They are beautiful. I can imagine how magical they'd seem to a kid.”

    “I guess,” Kirk shrugged to agree, but said no more than that.

    He supposed he still had one in his boxed up things at the farm. Somewhere. Someone really should let it out; let it fly as it was meant to. But, for now . . .

    Nyota reached over to pick up one of the floating trinkets, cupping its glow in her palms before letting it go again – allowing it to soar up to the lights strategically placed above them. The wonder on her face was catching, and Kirk couldn't help a smile of his own.

    “The gas inside,” he revealed, “it's lighter than helium. That's why it floats.”

    “Thanks for the fun fact, Spock,” she couldn't help but gently tease. But there was fondness in her voice, even so. “Where does the light inside come from?”

    “You know what?” Kirk shrugged to say, “I honestly don't know.”

    “I'll just have to tell my nieces it's magic like the vial of Eärendil's light – they're going through a Tolkien phase right now,” Nyota tucked away a smile to say. “It's okay to believe in that, while you're still young.”

    “Yeah,” Kirk huffed, watching the way the floating lights caught in her hair and spilled over her skin – admiring the way the universe could still be so bright and open to her, even after that they'd seen and lived through together. “Yeah . . . while you're young,” he agreed and left it at that.



    It was the color of the gems that first caught his eye: a clear white crystal, touched with rusty shades of fire in its facets. It was a unique combination to him; it reminded him of the more strawberry than blonde color of his daughter's hair.

    Joanna could use a gift, he thought next. Something tangible to remind her that her father was thinking of her – always.

    The next thought, that it would bother his ex-wife, cinched the decision in his mind, and Leonard McCoy stepped into the booth – purposefully ignoring Jim's whining for the detour. He had insisted that he come along on shore-leave in the first place, and this is how McCoy was choosing to spend his leave.

    “You are an old softie, you know that?” had been Jim's less than impressive final rejoinder. He threw his hands up in defeat and loudly sighed – but McCoy was unmoved.

    “Maybe I just don't want her solely listening to whatever her mother has to say while I'm gone,” he grumbled. A trinket from space wasn't the same as having her father around, this he well knew, but he was trying, in the best way that he could, to make up for his absence however he could. Hopefully, something she could reach out and touch, rather than just a holo-call every other day, would help take a step in that direction.

    “Yep,” Jim obnoxiously popped the word on his tongue. “You are a softie, my friend,” he repeated.

    McCoy rolled his eyes, and made a shooing motion. “If you can't handle my attempts to be a decent human being, then go occupy yourself elsewhere. Some of us are trying to be adults here.”

    “I would like to be a very grown up, and find some Romulan ale,” Jim snorted to say. “And you are stalling.”

    McCoy lifted a brow, unimpressed. “Bye, Jim.”

    “Five minutes, tops,” Kirk warned, “and then I am dragging you out of here whether you like it or not. It's for your own good.”

    But McCoy had stopped listening to him at that point – nor did he much care how Jim amused himself while he picked out the perfect stone. He glanced at the vendor, and asked, “How much do these go for?”

    The vendor – a willowy alien with leathery grey skin and four arms, applauded his choice. “You have excellent taste, good friend,” he enthused with a deep, jovial voice. “These are fistrium crystals from Betazed. They are mined by the Third family from deep beneath the serene depths of Lake Cabarba – very difficult to procure, very exclusive – yes, yes?”

    Which, together, promised to be very expensive. McCoy knew a used hovercar salesman when he saw one - and he wouldn't pay for a Thoroughbred when buying a little ol' pony, either. He put on his best unimpressed face, ready to haggle. “I notice that you still haven't told me a price, good friend.”

    “It is difficult to put a price on such a prize - yes, yes?” the vendor continued. “But since you are clearly a man who does not waste words, I do not need to tell you about the healing properties found in Lake Cabarba. Why, I even could leave out saying - ”

    “ - Lake Bacarba, I believe you mean to say. Cabarba does not exist on Betazed, nor does such an appellation make phonetic sense in their language – so, I must assume an error in pronunciation.”

    A very familiar, very dry voice cut in to the conversation to say. McCoy spun around to hear it speak, and - sure enough - found Spock standing just inside the booth. He was dressed up for the night in dark civilian clothes, as they all were, with Miss Uhura standing by his side and hiding a rueful expression by holding a hand up to cover her mouth. Even so, her eyes glittered – she was resigned to her boyfriend's course, apparently, and content to let him continue. Wonderful.

    But, if it helped him . . .

    McCoy raised a brow of his own, and turned on the vendor. “A mispronunciation . . . or misinformation, could it be?” They'd found themselves a huckster, apparently.

    “No, no! No misinformation here!” the vendor waved all four hands to say. “Veez'heed speaks nothing but the truth: Betazedi fistrium crystals, these are. The finest in the quadrant!”

    “An interesting claim,” Spock raised a brow to say, “as fistrium is not found beneath Lake Bacarba at all, no matter the name you would give to it. Rather, it is a common mineral in the planet's crust, and particularly abundant in the Loneel mountain range; only conventional methods of mining are required to extract it.”

    For that, Nyota briefly touched Spock's shoulder, and walked off to investigate something else that had caught her attention. Spock glanced to watch her departure before returning his attention to the vendor, apparently curious for how he would next defend his wares. If McCoy didn't know any better, he'd suspect that their first officer was enjoying himself.

    “My excellent colleague the walking encyclopedia is suggesting that you are trying to pull a fast one on me,” McCoy crossed his arms to translate. “What do you have to say to that, Veez'heed?”

    “I say it matters not! From the lakes, from the mountains – these are still fistrium crystals from Betazed, and quite the catch for your sweetheart! You still wish to purchase – yes, yes? Veez'heed can be quite reasonable; quite generous for a fellow man of most excellent taste!”

    Definitely a huckster, McCoy decided. But it didn't matter – the crystals were beautiful, no matter where they'd come from, and he could already imagine the smile on Joanna's face to receive the gift. He didn't mind paying for that – within reason.

    “I still find your claims to be incorrect,” Spock tilted his head to say. He was not ready to let the vendor off the hook. “This is common calcite; a mineral found in vast quantities throughout several planets in the quadrant, and no doubt worth a fraction of what you are trying to sell it for.”

    The vendor squawked; McCoy blinked, taken aback. Calcite? They even had that back on Earth – in abundance.

    Still . . . it was a pretty piece. Joanna would love the necklace as much as if it were a Betazedi pink diamond; the composition of the mineral wouldn't matter to her. McCoy shook his head, but did not change his mind.

    “Alright then, with that taken into consideration: how much are you asking for? Think very carefully about your answer, Veez'heed.”

    “Doctor,” Spock sounded surprised to turn next to him. “Surely you do not mean to go forward with your purchase?”

    For that, McCoy glanced over his shoulder, and gave a scowl equal to the vendor's to challenge, “So what if I am?”

    “This is a . . . substance of lesser value. It has little inherit in its chemical make-up to set it apart from anything else.”

    “I'm not buying it for what's inside it, Spock. I'm buying it for how it looks.”

    “Ah,” Spock said after a moment. The single syllable touched on McCoy's nerves as much as any more eloquently explained objection might have. He felt his teeth grit.

    “Say it, Spock,” he managed to bite out. “Don't hold back on my account.”

    “ . . . it is only that Humans can be a fascinating species at times, that is all.”

    That wasn't all, and McCoy had had it up to here with Spock acting as if his green Vulcan blood was the only thing flowing through his veins that mattered. He scowled, feeling every irked stroke of his mood stand up on edge then like a porcupine rubbed the wrong way.

    “You know what? It doesn't matter if its fistrium or calcite or crystallized rock salt as long as I like the look of it, and my daughter appreciates the thought behind it.” He was aware that his finger was wagging to punctuate his words, but he couldn't seem to help himself. All the while, Veez'heed glanced between them in clear bewilderment as his voice rose to say, “Good God, man – your mother was Human, surely even a cold blooded hobgoblin like you must understand that it's not what the gem is made of so much as the thought -”

    - Leonard Huxley McCoy – a voice that sounded suspiciously like Pam railed in his head, you surly ol' son of a gun, you've sank your boots in it deep this time.

    Well . . . the viper wasn't always wrong. He broke off his tirade mid-sentence, and grimaced, knowing full well that he'd gone too far by bringing Lady Amanda into it. “Look, Spock,” he tried to amend. “I'm sorry – I shouldn't have - ”

    “ - there is no need to apologize, Doctor,” Spock tilted his head quizzically. “You stated a fact.”

    “Yeah, but . . .” McCoy huffed out a breath, and carded his fingers through his hair, frustrated. “It was in poor taste, even so.”

    His father would have smacked him on the back of the head for that one, McCoy felt shamed to know. “All I was trying to say was that it's beautiful . . . I just wanted to buy something I thought Joanna would think is beautiful too. It doesn't matter what it's made of to me – or her.”

    For a moment, Spock paused. McCoy was well aware that the vendor was glancing between them with a hopeful expression.

    “Your logic is sound,” Spock finally conceded. “And you are correct: my mother did enjoy jewelry. She appreciated the pieces my father selected even more so. Equivalently, it stands to reason that your daughter will also favorably receive the gesture.”

    “Well I'll be,” McCoy fought the urge he had to give a low whistle. “Did we just agree on something?”

    A heartbeat passed - McCoy would call it for comedic effect if he did not know any better. “A rare occurrence, one could say,” Spock agreed dryly.

    “Once in a blue moon,” McCoy rolled his eyes to huff. “But it had to happen sooner or later.” A moment passed. “Just don't tell Kirk.”

    “Of course,” Spock said blandly. “There is nothing to tell.”

    McCoy snorted, and looked back at the display of necklaces to pick out the crystal he liked best. Ah – right there. There was fire in that stone – just like Joanna. “This one,” he shook his head to say to the vendor. “I'll take this one.”

    As Veez'heed rang up his purchase – for a very reasonable price, he did have Spock to thank for that – McCoy looked back to see that the first officer was looking through a display of earrings, a thoughtful expression on his face as he observed the way the light fractured through the warm tones in the facets as he turned the stone this way and that. At the sight, he felt something inside of him soften.

    “I am sorry, Spock,” he tried again on a low voice. “For what I said early.”

    Spock did not look up at him to comment, “Avoiding any mention of those gone is illogical. More personally, I do not feel that such avoidance honors their memory, at that.”

    “Yeah – but it was still low of me to bring a man's mother into an argument.”

    Spock glanced up at him then, and furrowed his brow to meet his eyes - as if he was trying to puzzle through something in his mind. “If you insist on doing so, Doctor,” he finally said. “Then I accept your apology.”

    “Good,” McCoy acknowledged gruffly. “Thanks.”

    Spock looked at him for a moment longer, and then turned back to the display of gems again. There was one pair, near the back, that had more orange than red in the tones, and he thought to know what the other man was thinking.

    “I'm not one to know what a woman wants at the best of times, but those . . . they're a good choice, Spock. I think she'll like them.”

    Spock glanced at him, and though nothing about his expression changed, he did nod, and his eyes were soft as he made his selection and turned towards the vendor.



    They caught up with their companions in a stall of floating glass. There, Nyota was speaking quietly with the captain while she was debating between one trinket and another.

    “More gifts?” Spock asked as ducked in the booth to join her.

    “I can't seem to help myself,” she greeted him warmly, holding up the two pieces for him to see.“For Kashore's kids - don't you think they're perfect?”

    They were pleasing to the eye, and exemplary of the world they visited; they were acceptable. But Spock instead just inclined his head, and waited as she presented her choices to the stall keeper. She ended up purchasing more than two, he noticed, but did not comment aloud to say. They paid for the items, and then departed – splitting off from the doctor and Kirk, the latter of whom gave a cheerful wave before looping an arm over his friend's shoulders and declaring their search for Romulan ale to be on.

    . . . what fascinating behavior their captain displayed – as always.

    But Spock did not dwell on the oddities of his commanding officer for much longer than that - not when Nyota was at his side, and happily looking at the way the lights from the stalls reflected in the canal their path meandered to follow. They turned from the main throughway in order to take the walkway by the water, passing by the parked barges as the lights strung up in the trees above flared into life to prepare for the coming night. There was a very slight chill in the air, and Nyota walked very close to him to combat it, no matter that he'd already given her his jacket to combat the cold. He shifted, inwardly reasoning between wanting to wrap an arm around her shoulder and mindful of the milling crowds around them.

    “You bought three of the Haakonaen pieces,” he finally commented. He not think that to be an oversight, and he was curious.

    “Ah, Haakonaen!” Nyota smiled happily to know. “That's what they're called. Thank-you, Spock – Kashore's kids will want to know that.”

    He tilted his head to ask, “Did you have a third recipient in mind?”

    “Yeah, actually,” he glanced down at the soft timbre in her voice, and watched as she tucked the long fall of her hair back behind her ear. “It's for Kirk, believe it or not – I was trying to be sneaky about it. He had one when he was younger, he just told me the story . . . and I think he should have another one now.”

    It made sense, Spock processed. Winona Kirk was a famed investigator for the fleet, and it stood to reason that their captain had known more than Earth's skies as a child. What still puzzled him, however -

    “ - none of us have really made the ship home, yet. Not really,” he did not have to ask her to elaborate. It was easy for her to say what was on her mind. “It's . . . still something of a dream, these last few months - but a dream isn't comforting . . . not the way home is. I just thought that this would be a nice gift; it helps to have things to make a space your own.”

    He felt a flare of . . . something, deep inside of him. Only since Vulcan . . . and his mother, could he rationally identify the emotion as grief. It came and went in odd moments, without warning or conforming to the fixed laws of any pattern he could identify. It was . . . frustrating, to say the least. “I understand,” he acknowledged the sentiment behind her purchase. It was . . . a good gift.

    He felt an echo of emotion rise in her – she walked so delicately in speech around him as of late, though he knew that she was endeavoring not to. She worried that she had hurt him: speaking of home and its missing. But she did not; he did not want her holding back her feelings for fear of his own. He opened his thoughts to her to let her know that he was well; he was not troubled by her words in any way.

    “Oh, I know how much you do understand,” Nyota said aloud anyway. Vulcans may have processed much unspoken, but she was Human, and she did not. And he . . . he was Human too. She closed the small space between them to rest her head against his shoulder as they walked. Her warmth . . . her presence, was not disagreeable to him in any way.

    “My parents used to buy my sister and I souvenirs every time they went away for Baba's work,” she continued. “Apparently, Kirk's mother used to do the same.”

    Interesting, Spock listened in silence, knowing that she was building to a conclusion in her words.

    “Maybe we can start a similar tradition between us – all of us,” there was a smile growing in her words to say. “It'll start making the ship feel more like home – wouldn't you agree?”

    The warmth filling her for the idea flared through his own veins; her joy was intrinsic, at times, and impossible to resist – like the warming rays of a sun. “That sounds agreeable,” he knew that his own voice was soft to match. “And, if I may contribute to that endeavor . . .”

    He would have no greater opening than that to present his gift to her, so he did. Illogically, he missed her warmth when she lifted her head from his shoulder and paused on the path to look at the small package he passed to her. Her eyes were bright when she thumbed the box open, to see inside . . .

    “It is not crystallized fistrium, as the vendor would have his buyers believe,” he could not help but explain. “It is only common calcite – the reddish tones are due to the presence of iron impurities in the ore . . . but it is aesthetically pleasing, and the color reminded me of you.”

    “Oh, Spock,” she was all too happy to approve – running a single finger over the stones to better appreciate the earrings' texture. “They're beautiful.”

    The light from the stones; the lights from the trees and the azure glow reflected in the water . . . he thought he could see them all play in her eyes. They reflected over her skin like constellations; an irrational comparison, but one he knew no better words to describe.

    “Yes,” his words were simple to echo, still looking at her. “Beautiful.” The one word was more between their thoughts than whispered aloud, but he knew she heard him.

    “Charmer,” Nyota teased as she closed the box – but she continued to hold the gift close, even as she stood on the tips of her toes to brush a kiss across his mouth. The affection was light, but pleasing. He was not immediately inclined to let her go, even as she drew back to stand on the flats of her feet again.

    Instead, he looped an arm around her shoulders as she nestled against him again, and was content to leave it there as their path continued on.

    ~MJ @};-
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    @Mira_Jade -- [:D] ^:)^ =D=
    SQUGGLES! for the fantastic interpersonal stuff against such a fascinating setting of Arkus with all the huckster vendors. [face_laugh]
    This is a very wonderful timeframe you've selected -- it is pivotal and still a work in progress, the cohesiveness of a team/crew becoming family, but you can feel it happening tangibly.

    Jim's memory of home and his mom's gift and her affection -- sweet and poignant and more than bittersweet! Those floating spun glass things sound gorgeous!

    Nyota's empathy and thoughtfulness are so her! [face_love]

    You have the Bones/Spock dynamic so spot on [face_laugh] .... reminds me of a couple of scrapping brother-siblings [face_laugh]
    "One of us needs to be the grown up." [face_mischief] ;)
    I love the grudging but genuine affection and rapprochement surrounding McCoy's true remorse and apology. Yes sometimes his Correllian penchant for telling it gets him to indulge in foot-in-mouthness. [face_laugh]

    The final scene, the S/U, was so chocolate! Chocolate, as in Ghidarelli, as in Ferrero Rocher goodness!

    [face_dancing] [face_dancing]
    Yumsy! I will adore every continuing installment!
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Perfect gift with the characters spot on.
    Love the banter between Spock and McCoy