When Uhura woke up at a more reasonable hour, it was to Spock’s tender, sensual kisses and his hands roaming over her body. He was hard.
“Mmn,” she moaned. “Spock, please…it’s early and I have to report to duty.”
“I can arrange for you to arrive later, Nyota. It is common practice here.”
“So I’ve noticed,” she said. Captain Kirk never made it to the bridge at an appropriate hour. Spock was the only one she’d seen who was always on time.
Apparently not today. He was quite amorous, very expressive, not the Spock the world saw. He moved over her and looked into her eyes. Uhura covered her mouth. “Spock, please…I haven’t washed my face; I’ve got morning breath, I need to take a shower, and you need to take off this sash…”
“In time, my dear,” he said, moving her fingers from her lips. “I am aroused by your natural waking state.”
He burrowed his face in her neck and held her. Uhura couldn’t help but be amused and wonder why he was so affectionate. A month ago, he ignored her. It was as if he was making up for lost time. Uhura sensed that he was allowing his passion for her to flow freely in their private time. It was actually kind of nice.
“Spock, what is with all this…emotion?”
He didn’t respond. Uhura shook his shoulder. “Spock, please…”
Spock looked at her. “I am incapable of being effusive in other areas of my life,” he said. “With you, I am liberated to vent my Vulcan desires. It is an unconscious thing, a way of maintaining equilibrium.”
“Are all Vulcans like this?” The Spock she knew was as demonstrative as a bulkhead.
“It is a way of adapting in this universe. One must have an outlet to survive. You are mine.”
Uhura looked at him for a very long moment. Was he aware of how much he was revealing? “Still and all,” she said, moving away from him, “I have to get ready for my shift. You’re supposed to be off today; captain’s orders.”
“I am capable of performing up to standard.”
“But I’m not. Come on, untie me.”
He relented and then untied her. Uhura took a moment to stare at him as he untied himself. “What was that all about?”
“Fusion,” he said. “Go and take your shower. I will have your breakfast ready when you come out.”
Uhura sat at her console, tapping her stylus against her teeth. She was satisfyingly sated. Spock ended up in the shower with her and the morning had been quite lovely, just as the night before. She was pleasantly sore and broke into occasional smiles when she recalled a particular memory. There was no question that Spock had skills. No question at all. Of course, her experience was limited solely to him, so she was understandably biased in her estimation. She thought she might ask him about how he came to be so knowledgeable.
Was her universe’s Spock also adept in the art of pleasuring a woman? Somehow, she couldn’t see it. But then, it was rare for her to see Spock in anything other than full Starfleet mode. He was a complex, stalwart man, a man not prone to emotions of any kind. He denied them, as he rejected his humanity. Uhura didn’t see that Spock willing to engage in whatever practices designed to produce an experienced paramour.
But then she was familiar with the side he showed to the world. Perhaps, he, too, had another side; one he kept to himself. She could understand that now.
“You’re in a cheerful mood today, Uhura.” It was Sulu.
Uhura eyed him evenly. “Mr. Sulu.”
“I see you’re no longer wearing your collar.” His voice was laced with sarcasm and controlled emotion.
Uhura relaxed. She wasn’t about to let Sulu annoy her. She was learning to deal with everything. “I don’t have to.”
“Perhaps that’s the reason for your cheer. Your owner has let you out to play. It won’t last, you know. We all know that he’s unable to control you.”
She stiffened. “Is there any particular reason why you are away from your post?”
“I’ll give you one more chance, Uhura.”
“To do what?”
“To be my girl.” He leaned forward so no one else could hear him. “The captain’s days are numbered. So are Spock’s. The order falls upon me after they’re gone and you’d do well to align yourself with a man who wants to command, as Spock is too much of a sap to be an effective leader.”
“That’s what you think,” Uhura said. And if she knew Marlena at all, she would become Sulu’s woman before any other woman got the chance. Marlena wasn’t about to give up the privilege of being the captain’s woman, no matter who the captain was.
“It’s what I know,” Sulu said. “I’ll give you a day or two to think it over. Once we’re done here, it’s only a matter of time. I’ll treat you right, Uhura. I see you, see what you like. You want to be treated like a lady. I can play along.” In private, that was another matter, for she was no more ladylike than he was.
Uhura glared at him, but played it cool. “I have an answer for you now: No. Leave me alone, Mr. Sulu. I am content where I am.”
“You’ll regret it,” he said. Then he went back to the helm.
Lunch with Trisha, Sheila and Marlena was as interesting as it always was. Uhura recognized that through them, she was getting comfortable with her existence in the Mirrorverse. She wasn’t entirely prepared to call it a life, as she still clung to her old one. But it was something she kept to herself.
“So I see he took the collar off,” Trisha said.
“I asked him to.”
“Why?” Sheila said. “I’m curious. I mean, I know ‘why’, but I want to know…well, have you given any thought to what we discussed before? About the dom/sub thing?” It had been a running conversation over lunch, and Uhura was amazed to find how much Sheila and Trisha knew about the subject.
Uhura looked at her fingernails. They were growing right along with her hair. Then she looked at Sheila. “I have. Seriously, I’ve given it a lot of thought. But if that collar should ever appear again in public, it will be because I want it on. Not because he put it on me.”
Sheila cackled. “My girl.”
Marlena nodded. “Very smart move. These men are so clueless at times.”
Trisha agreed. “I’ve got Scotty wrapped around my finger, but don’t tell him that. It’s a push-pull sort of thing. I direct what he does and he does it, not knowing he’s being played.”
“I know,” Sheila said. “It’s that way with Lenny and me.”
Uhura nodded, eating a forkful of baked potato. Spock said something similar to her about pushing, about playing games. Apparently, the games varied, but they were obviously being played all over the ship. It was all about control. She was learning the ways of the Mirrorverse.
“You’re hungry today,” Sheila said, reaching over and forking a piece of Uhura’s steak.
“I was up late last night,” she said, demurely lowering her eyes. It felt absolutely right to share it with the girls.
“I knew it,” Trisha said. “I knew it! Guess that’s why you didn’t make it to dinner last night. I mean, I heard that the captain ordered Spock to take two days’ off, but from the looks of you, it doesn’t appear that he did.”
“You’re getting used to each other,” Marlena said. “It takes time.”
“Enough with the bullshit,” Sheila said, eating another bite of Uhura’s food. “Can he fuck?”
Uhura bit her lip to keep from smiling. Trisha cocked her head to the side. “That look’s enough for me.”
“I want details,” Marlena said. “Just for comparison’s sake. Jim thinks he’s so good.”
Sheila said. “I mean, we all speculated on his prowess, but it’s really hard to tell. Spock’s so guarded, you know.”
Uhura closed her eyes and put her hand to her forehead. “You’re so funny.” But the flush in her cheeks was enough.
“Hot damn,” Trisha said. “I knew it! He can give Scotty lessons.”
“I bet it was good,” Sheila said. “I have to live vicariously, you know. Lenny can’t stay hard long enough to learn some lessons.”
“Jim said once that Spock was soft,” Marlena said. “He’s one to talk.”
“Spock’s not soft,” Uhura said. “He’s intense, just like you said.”
Trisha giggled. “Enjoy it, Nyota. Enjoy it! I take it that you two have come or are coming to an understanding?”
Uhura nodded. “Yes.”
Sheila leaned forward. “Nyota, not to get too much into your business, but how long did he last? And did you do it more than once? I must know.”
“Compared to what I hear you ladies complain about, he has a lot of stamina. And yes, more than once.”
Sheila sat back and fanned herself. “Have mercy. I’m going to do my best not to stare him down the next time I see him, Nyota. I mean, I’m not the kind of girl that’ll take your man, but you’ve got to understand how desirable Spock is. Be mindful, just because I’m not doesn’t mean that there aren’t those on this ship who are.”
Uhura smiled again as she buttered a roll. If she told it all, it would blow their minds. But there were some things she would not betray. “I do understand,” she said. “You have no idea.” Thinking of how affectionate Spock was this morning, Uhura wasn’t the least bit worried about another woman.
“So, are you having dinner with us tonight? I think the men will be down on the planet for another couple of days.” Marlena said.
“No.” Spock informed her over breakfast that he wanted to show her something. “I’ve got something to do.”
“You mean, someone to do,” Trisha said. “Embrace your inner slut, Nyota. Go fuck your man. It’s perfectly okay. Happens all the time.”
Uhura widened her eyes. “Slut’s a bit much, don’t you think?”
“Please,” Sheila said. “Tell the truth and shame the devil.”
“Call it what it is,” Trisha said.
“Anyway,” Uhura continued, “Spock’s given me back my knife. He wants to see if I really know how to use it. So we’re going to the gym.”
“Oh, that’s HOT!” Sheila said.
“Sexy,” Trisha agreed.
“What’s sexy about it?”
“Number one,” Marlena said, “he wants to be sure you can defend yourself.”
“Two,” Trisha continued, “if he’s a dom, he probably gets turned on if you get all feisty. It’s probably one of his methods of foreplay. He likes it when you misbehave.”
Remembering that time in the turbo lift, Uhura could do nothing but blush. There was some truth to that.
Sheila added her two cents. “I bet it is. If you actually try to cut him, Spock will almost certainly take the knife from you and fuck the hell out of you. I’m down with that. I wonder if Lenny…”
“Why is he so worried about me defending myself now after being gone for a month?”
“Did you ask him?” Marlena said.
“You should. I mean, yes you have sentinels. But it’s clear he wants to make sure that you are completely protected regardless. Guards or no, some nasty shit happens on these Imperial ships. I’ve heard about officers getting killed, and this was after their guards were murdered.” Trisha said.
“Better to be safe than sorry,” Marlena replied. “Whatever he wants to teach you, it’s for a good reason.”
Uhura wanted to wear her sweats, but Spock insisted that she wear her full uniform. He stood in front of her, having removed his jacket and sash. She thought he was sexy in all black.
“I don’t see why I have to do this in this tight uniform,” she said. “I’m scared it’s going to rip.”
“It is best that you are comfortable maneuvering in your uniform. The chances of anything happening to you while you are in our quarters are zero percent. It is logical for you to learn how to defend yourself in your regular attire.”
She nodded. He was always right, it seemed. It was a reasonable decision. “You are aware that I have had hand-to-hand combat training in my universe, Spock.”
“I am, yes. Your training there is not suitable here, my dear. With your adjustment comes frequent contact with other crew members. I feel it is best that you know how to handle yourself. Not that I doubt Turock’s or Shavik’s ability, but incidents do occur.”
“So I’ve heard,” Uhura said. “Must I keep these boots on?”
He stared at her, his eyes moving slowly over her body down to her shoes. Then back up. She was a visual delight. “Unless you plan to complete your duties barefoot.”
Uhura nodded. She’d been busy all day at her console and hadn’t had an opportunity to return to her quarters for a respite. But Spock insisted that she do it. After her lunch with the girls, Uhura knew he was right. He couldn’t be with her all the time, not with everything taking place down on Dantouine II. He wanted to be sure that she could defend herself because she was no longer confining herself to quarters.
“Your counterpart was quite proficient with using a weapon, especially knives.”
“I’ve heard that too.”
“It was she who injured Mr. Sulu.”
“While I hope that you do not become as vicious, I would approve if you developed her expertise. Now please, show me how you would defend yourself against an attack from a facing opponent.”
Uhura flicked her hair over her shoulder and pulled out her knife. Instinctively, she flipped it into an icepick grip and held up her left hand, palm out. Spock came toward her, swinging an arm. She blocked his arm and moved the knife upward. But Spock grabbed her wrist with his other hand and shook the knife out.
“Gah!” she said. That took all of two seconds. It irritated her that he disarmed her so quickly.
Spock picked the knife up and handed it to her. “Try again.”
Uhura took a deep breath and grabbed the blade in a regular reverse grip. She balled her left fist and resumed her fight stance.
‘Block, slash, swing,’ she told herself.
Spock came at her again. Uhura blocked his arm and moved the knife upwards, actually slicing open his T-shirt. Elated that she nicked him, she forgot to swing. He grabbed both wrists and shook the knife loose again.
“You cannot do that,” he cautioned. “You must see it through.” He picked up the knife and handed it to her.
“I won’t make the mistake again.” Uhura was even more irritated. “But I’m not fighting for my life, so I’m not moving on instinct.”
“Should we change it so that you are? Unless you are willing to be easily disarmed and at the mercy of a less than savory crewman. Is that what you prefer?”
Uhura thought about what she’d seen and heard, as well as the guy who hit on her the second day on board the ship. “No. Come on.” She rotated the knife into a forward edge-up grip.
Spock came at her again. She fared a little better, managing to block two blows and thrust the knife towards his chest. He caught the blade between flattened palms and pushed back, making her hit the mat.
“Your universe’s combat training is woefully inefficient,” he said.
Uhura got up quickly and moved into a different fight stance. She was getting mad. She held the knife in a saber grip this time. “You think so? I’m going to get you,” she said. Her training was excellent.
“You may try,” he said. He came at her once more and this time, she reacted on pure instinct, blocking three blows before jabbing the knife and nicking his chest. Spock stepped back, pleased.
“Want to try again?” she said, adrenalin rushing through her. “I can do better.”
“I doubt it,” he said, not even bothered by the nick on his chest. “Your counterpart would have cut open her attacker by now. I dare say that we will be at this for weeks before you are up to standard.” He turned to walk back to his spot.
Uhura glared at him. She could do this as well as anyone, even her opposite. If Spock was deliberately trying to anger her, it was working. She didn’t wait for him to resume his position and came at him, the knife in a standard hammer grip. Two steps, grab the head and have the blade at his throat in less than five seconds. She was mad enough to do it.
The next thing she knew, she was flat on her back. Spock stood above her, holding her knife. “You cannot be driven by emotion, Nyota. For the position you are currently in is the position any man on this ship prefers you to be in. I would rather not have another take what is mine, unless you want to give it away. I would not be pleased.”
“You’re a bastard,” she said. She couldn’t help it. She was mad. Uhura excelled at hand-to-hand combat back at the Academy. Although she did not usually engage in fights as part of her duty, she had always prided herself on being able to fight when she needed to. The only reason that guy got the drop on her was because it was totally unexpected. She did not intend to be caught like that again.
Uhura got up and snatched the knife from Spock. “One more time.”
“No,” he said. “Perhaps you are too tired to duel. Your reflexes leave a lot to be desired and your movement is wholly predictable. As I said, your training is inadequate—”
She tossed the knife to her left hand and sucker punched Spock in the jaw before slicing open his T-shirt on a diagonal. She drew blood this time. Taken aback by the punch, Spock rubbed his jaw. Then she surprised him again by kicking him in the chest, knocking him to the floor. Elated, Uhura stood over him and cackled. Her right hand hurt like hell but she could not deny the heat that coursed through her body.
“Now who’s—” she started to say, but Spock clipped her up and she fell. The knife slid out of her hand.
Spock straddled her, ripped off her sash and tied her wrists together. Uhura inhaled sharply as she felt herself be bound. Should she fight back or should she let him have his way with her?
Uhura decided it would be much more fun to fight back. She balled her fists and brought them down on his neck while simultaneously bringing up her knee. Spock couldn’t help but be thrilled and aroused at her spirit. She was so desirable when her blood was up. The knee to the groin was an unexpected move and he rolled off of her. Uhura worked her way out of the sash and got to her feet. She stood over him as he lay, giving himself time to recoup. She wanted to crow in delight, but was quite mindful of his deceptive appearance.
“A sneak attack,” Spock said. “I am pleased.”
“In my universe, we can fight dirty too,” she said. “Is that how you want to play it?” Uhura stepped away from him and grabbed her knife. This was so much fun!
‘And very good foreplay.’
“You must bear that in mind while you are in my universe,” he said. Like lightning, he was back on his feet. His chest was bleeding from the cuts but he didn’t appear to be bothered by it. “Would you like to try once more?”
“You’re the one bleeding,” she said. “Maybe you want to stop.”
“Were I serious in trying to harm you, Nyota, I would have done so. But this is a tactical exercise; one that I implore you to master.”
“So bring it,” she said, holding the knife in a saber grip. Her blood was up, the adrenalin flowing and it felt good. She was also getting horny. Spock’s black T-shirt and pants clung to him like a second skin. She wanted to fuck him right now. Or vice versa. Either way, she wanted to ride him again.
“Do you want me to take your request seriously, Nyota? I do not want to hurt you.”
“Are you scared?” she taunted. She could not deny how good it felt to be sassy towards him. She knew he was aroused by impertinence.
“Is this a game you wish to play?” he replied. “You have not yet chosen a word.”
She eyed him, thinking about last night. Her eyes sparkled. “Fusion.”
Spock looked at her. “I do not think that you have given this enough consideration. I am in no hurry, my dear. I want you to take your time and arrive at your decision in a logical, clear-minded manner. You are anything but that at the moment. I do not wish you to regret—”
Uhura came at him once more and caught him completely off guard. She knocked him to the mat and stood over him, smiling. “FU-SION.”
Staring up at her, Spock found himself harder than he had ever been in his entire life. Heat burst within him. She was ready. “All right, Nyota. All right.”
They faced off. Uhura had one hand in a fist, the other around the knife. She did not know what would happen, but it didn’t matter because she had never felt more alive than she did at that moment. Every nerve was awake, every sense heightened, every nuance on alert. She did not know what Spock would do, but she was ready to take it, no matter what. Her heart pumped and her breathing deepened.
“Come on,” she said. “Come on.”
He stood calmly, hands behind his back, examining his opponent. She was in an L-stance, holding the knife in an icepick grip. She was breathing hard and her eyes twinkled with desire and wariness. Spock wondered how best to proceed; as his ordered mind presented a list of methods designed to disarm her. He wondered about her possible countermoves, and in another moment, his computer-like brain compiled another list. The most efficient way to handle her was to come at her head-on. It was also the most appropriate, considering. He would get more deviant as their relationship progressed. Baby steps, baby steps. Spock took a walking stance.
“A little slow there,” she teased, backing away.
Spock surveyed the room. They were alone, as he chose one of the smaller martial-arts gyms for their training. The walls and floor were covered with mats, which was a good thing. The room was reasonably sound-proofed. It would do.
Uhura balanced herself and raised her arms to shield any possible attack. This stance was very natural to her, one that always produced the best results back at the Academy. She would not entertain the idea that Spock would disarm her as quickly as he had before. She was on alert.
He looked at her. He would have smiled if he could. Then he came at her, moving like quicksilver. Uhura blocked his first blow, landed a punch and then tried to slash him. He wrenched the knife out of her hand, grabbed her forearms and spun her away from him. Disoriented, Uhura didn’t have time to regroup before he shoved her against the wall, face-first and clamped her hands behind her back. He had the sash again—when he’d gotten it was beyond her—and was wrapping it around her wrists. She struggled.
Spock tied her and then pushed her securely against the wall once more. He grabbed Uhura by the hair and yanked her head back. She gasped as she looked into his eyes and then shook herself hard to break his grip. She kicked backwards, feeling herself connect with some part of his body. Spock fell away and she turned, trying to free her hands, but he had her tied tight. Her heart rate increased. If he knocked her to the floor, she wouldn’t be able to get up, and any sudden move might throw her off balance.
He came at her again and pushed her against the wall once more. Spock wedged a knee between her thighs and grabbed her by the throat. Uhura glared at him, perfectly pinned, unable even to wiggle. He squeezed just a little. Her breath caught.
“Your fighting skills are remarkably not up to par, Nyota. But I do applaud your effort and your spirit. It is an aphrodisiac.”
She closed her eyes as her throat constricted. His grip was firm and it was all she could do to move her head back and forth. She was furious with herself. He was right. She needed to improve her skills.
Spock squeezed a little more. Uhura stared at him, trying to swallow, trying to match his intensity, trying to live up to the brazen way she’d challenged him. But the constriction made tiny black dots appear before her eyes. She didn’t want to admit it, but she was getting nervous. Even though she knew that he wouldn’t deliberately hurt her, she couldn’t help her natural response. She took shallow breaths and her heart started to pound. She closed her eyes as he increased the pressure. She couldn’t breathe. She had to make him stop.
“Fusion,” she whispered.
Spock removed his hand from her throat and freed her wrists. Uhura instinctively put her hands around her neck and began to rub. Air rushed into her lungs and she coughed so hard that she had to bend over.
He let her have her moment. When she righted herself, he took her arm. “Are you all right?”
Uhura looked at him, her eyes wet with tears from coughing so hard. She wiped them away. “I’m fine now.”
“Are you sure?”
“Tell me what happened.”
She rubbed her throat. “I couldn’t breathe. I got scared.”
He nodded. “Let us return to our quarters. I believe you have had enough training for tonight.”
“I’m sorry, Spock,” she said.
“Do not apologize, as you did exactly what you were supposed to do. After you have had your bath and a light repast, we will discuss it.”
“I want to do this, I really do.”
“I have no doubt, Nyota,” he said. “But your choice to engage here in a place where you are unfamiliar in the middle of an activity designed to increase your fighting skills was not the best decision. I think you realize that now. You must be in a place where you feel safe. I would have preferred you take a little more time after you have done some more research and spoke with me some more. There are items that I would like for you to see and instructional manuals for you to read.”
“I’ve read all your books.”
“Not all,” he said. “Come.”
He picked up her knife and handed it to her, and then put on his jacket. Spock took her hand and put it in the crook of his arm. As they headed back to their quarters, he stroked her fingers.
“I will be down on the planet for the next few days, Nyota. The Empire’s representatives will be here soon to set up a ruling council in Dantaiie and the other cities. We will turn control over to the governing body so that we may resume our mission. I suspect that I will be able to return to the ship in the evenings, but I am not entirely certain that may occur.”
Uhura didn’t reply. She found it best to keep her opinions about the Empire to herself, as Spock’s ambivalence infuriated her still. She supposed that she would have to tell him at some point.
“It is our way, Nyota,” he said. “It is the way things are done. I know that you do not approve.”
“Doesn’t matter what I think,” she said. “I don’t want to talk about this.”
“I will be unable to continue in your training for now,” Spock said. “I will be quite busy with the captain and Commander Scott and Dr. McCoy. I shall have Turock and Shavik continue your instruction on a nightly basis until I return.”
She nodded. “All right.”
“I wish for you to be protected, Nyota. All other may come once you are secure within your defense ability.”
“Okay, Spock. I understand.
As they walked down the corridor, they passed Sulu and his two guards. He glared at them. Spock calmly met his gaze and Uhura looked away. She did not like the look in his eyes.
“Mr. Sulu,” he said.
“Commander Spock,” Sulu replied. “Lt. Uhura.”
Uhura fed the code into the door. Sulu still stared. Spock looked at him. “It would be wise for you to continue to your destination, Mr. Sulu.”
Sulu rolled his eyes and kept walking. Spock was aware that he cast several backward glances, but chose not to take on Sulu with Uhura present. But he recognized that he would have to engage the security chief and perhaps sooner than he planned.
He was absolutely certain that Sulu was getting ready to make a countermove.