After Uhura’s next shift rotation on the bridge and some more hours spent in the communications lab, she realized that Kirk wasn’t the only one whose attention she commanded. He was very subtle about it. But he also made no pretense. She noticed that Commander Spock noticed her.
His Vulcan sensibilities would not allow him to be obvious. But after having worked closely with him on the bridge as an officer, she had a good sense of what he chose to react to and what he didn’t. He was responding to her. Not like a normal man; he was, after all, half-Vulcan. He was always the first to greet her when she showed up on the bridge. Whenever he spoke directly to her, he held eye contact for a second longer than was necessary. He had human eyes, and while she instinctively understood that his nature would not allow him to reveal even the faintest bit of emotion, there were some things that he could not repress. And she, being a skilled communicator, picked up on those little ocular betrayals.
Her experiences with the commander went back to her Academy days. He had humiliated her for eating candy in class—an innocent thing, but he made her feel like she had when she was a child; slapped on the hand for getting caught with it in the cookie jar. She hated him then.
When she was a junior cadet, he destroyed her phonology midterm after she spent two weeks in the media quadrant, barely eating and sleeping, writing the damned paper. He butchered it just because she confused two little things. But she was mad enough to rewrite the entire thing and resubmit it, even though he did not change her grade. He always made her feel like she had to step up to the plate and try again.
He had said, “May I congratulate you on a superior effort, Cadet Uhura. Had you turned in this analysis instead, your class average would be significantly higher.”
“Thank you, sir.”
He stared at her for a moment before dismissing her. Uhura decided that she didn’t really hate him, but she didn’t like him. That changed over the next few months when he selected her to be in the Kobayashi Maru seminar and simulation. She was the only one he chose from his class. Uhura discovered that she was able to hold her own with him, and as long as her logic and argument were sound, he was pleasant to be around. He challenged her and she always rose up to meet it. In spite of the fact that he was her superior, she found it stimulating that she could keep up with him. Most people couldn’t. Spock could think around corners and that appealed to her on so many levels.
When he lost his mother and his home world, she could not help but hurt for him. No one in the galaxy could take such a blow and not feel it, not even a Vulcan. He abruptly left the bridge and she abandoned her post. She wanted to reach out to him; she had to. Uhura wanted to cry for him and hug him, and in the turbolift, it was all she could do not to. She wanted him to know that she was there for him, that she was ready to do anything he needed. Uhura recognized that she was the only one to make such an overture to him, and she didn’t know if he knew that, but it didn’t matter. She ached for his loss.
He was the epitome of professional on the bridge. He was there to assist her if she required it. He actually spoke with her about things unrelated to the mission at hand. He was a fascinating man, layered like an onion, but with a steely outer shell. She learned the minutiae of his movement and became familiar with his few facial expressions. In other words, she could tell when he was amused, annoyed, or curious. No one else could.
So when she realized that he noticed her beyond her duties as a Starfleet officer, she was surprised. Was Commander Spock affected by their prior relationship? Had she actually been able to put a dent in the man’s stoic façade? She hadn’t even tried to do so, unlike the other female cadets who openly flirted with him and were soundly dissed.
Uhura caught him staring at her in the mess hall. She was having lunch with McCoy’s new head nurse and one of the medical assistants, enjoying the camaraderie when she felt it. She looked up. He was standing across the room, holding a cup of tea, and he was looking directly at her, his striking dark eyes holding hers. Uhura found herself breathing deeply. If he intended for her to respond to such a heated gaze, she complied. That he was openly staring spoke volumes. The look was clear: ‘I’m staring at you and I want you to know it.’
Uhura fanned herself. “Is it hot in here?” she asked. Her companions shook their heads.
“No. Are you okay? You look flushed.” McCoy’s nurse, Brenda, flashed a look of concern. “Should I do a reading?”
Uhura broke eye contact with Spock to glare at Brenda. “If you whip that tricorder out…”
“I’m just acknowledging that you look warm, Nyota. There’s a color in your cheeks that wasn’t there a moment ago. You’re not getting sick, I hope.”
“No, it isn’t that,” she murmured. When she looked back in his direction, he was gone and she was hot.
Spock was responding in ways he would consider illogical. The lieutenant was fascinating on every level. He couldn’t help but acknowledge his fondness for her. He enjoyed their time on the bridge. He enjoyed the conversations they had. He really enjoyed her nighttime dances; they unleashed in him a desire, a need, a want…something he had never felt before. It was unfamiliar yet welcome. He supposed it was his humanity trying to emerge.
He realized that she still had a predilection for sweets. That amused him. More than once, he watched her pop some sort of confection into her mouth while she was on the bridge. The expression that crossed her face when she ate the candy was one of ecstasy. He did not make any remarks to her about it whatsoever. The lieutenant had earned her place on the bridge, and her penchant for candy was insignificant compared to the ongoing chitchat between Mr. Chekov and Mr. Sulu, Dr. McCoy’s abrasive comments to anyone who would listen, Scotty’s notoriety for being slightly inebriated sometimes while on duty, and the captain’s lack of discretion with his intimate dalliances aboard the ship. Scuttlebutt was very much alive, and while Spock did not deign to participate, his position as XO required him to be aware of the temperature of the ship’s crew. He knew everything.
Spock noticed that Uhura walked slower and that she touched her person more often. She didn’t appear to be in a hurry and she seemed very relaxed now. Sometimes he would see her running her hands over her thighs or hips, or her fingers grazing her neck or arm, and he wondered again what she felt like. Her movements were very sensual and very enticing, but she did not seem to do it purposefully. It was as if she was appreciating her femininity. Certainly the other officers did and Spock was no different. He wanted to touch her. He wanted to know if she was as soft and smooth as she looked. It was inappropriate, but it was there all the same. He could no longer control the need to inform her of his attraction. It was a grassfire spreading throughout his blood.
After meeting her eyes in the cafeteria one day, he followed her to her quarters. She walked with confidence and style, one hand on her neck, oblivious to her surroundings. Some of the crew members did a double-take when she passed by, male and female. He was amused but not surprised that she elicited such a response. The woman was stunning.
Uhura was returning to her quarters in an absolute daze. Even though it had been no more than twenty minutes since leaving the mess hall, Uhura could not remember what she ate for lunch, with whom she ate her lunch, or what they talked about. All she could think about was the way the commander looked at her. Irish and Gaila practically swooned over him, but she had never noticed him that way. His reputation was what got her attention, but she needed to acknowledge that her girlfriends were right. When it came to Commander Spock, she had obviously missed something.
Uhura stroked her neck, sighing. She wasn’t about to miss anything else. It was time to examine what, when and how things had changed between him and her. That look indicated that they had. She was considering the possible ramifications when suddenly Spock was in step beside her. He had a long stride and he adjusted to accommodate her shorter one. That she had not noticed him until he was beside her said volumes about her distraction. Uhura had not been able to get those eyes out of her mind. She was still hot.
“Commander,” she acknowledged.
“Lieutenant,” he returned.
She stopped at her door and turned to face him. “Sir, what can I do for you?”
He met her eyes and she saw one of those revealing little optical betrayals. Something was definitely there, or he wouldn’t be here. In spite of herself, her gaze traveled over the planes of his face to his lips. How had she failed to notice that the commander had lovely facial features? How had she not noticed that the commander was just plain lovely? His lips were perfectly shaped. Uhura stared at his mouth for a good ten seconds. Other than the eyebrow going up, Spock was motionless and did not call her on it.
“Sir,” she asked again. Why had she openly stared at his mouth? Uhura took a deep breath. When he raised his eyebrow, liquid warmth radiated from her insides out and her breathing became ragged. She’d seen him do it before, but he had never directed it towards her. She tried to slow her breathing. That eyebrow thing was fierce! How had she missed that? And then she was just openly staring at him, really really seeing how attractive he was.
‘I need to get my radar fixed. I need to get my girl parts checked. I cannot believe I have seen this man regularly for almost four years and not noticed how sexy he is. What is wrong with me?’
He merely stared at her and still did not say anything about the brazen way she was checking him out.
She sighed. Uhura would have to let Irish and Gaila know that they were right about Vulcan sexiness. Who knew? Apparently Irish did. Commander Spock was fine. Then Uhura had to check herself. She did to Commander Spock what Captain Kirk did to her. She knew how Kirk’s look made her feel; did Spock feel the same way?
‘What am I doing? I just checked out my commanding officer! What am I doing? What is wrong with me? I’m about to get in trouble.’
“Commander,” she said, wiping her palms on her uniform. She may as well cool off, because she knew she was about to get chastised. She was ready for her reprimand.
“Lieutenant, may I ask a personal query?” he said, his voice lower than normal.
“Yes, sir?” she said before she thought.
“I have observed that you do some exotic form of calisthenics at night.”
She closed her eyes. Oh no! He’d seen her dancing. That was why he was looking at her. She was about to get in serious trouble. Spock was notorious for sticking to regulation and she had violated quite a few rules.
Uhura inhaled. “Yes sir. I apologize for breaking the rules, but…”
“I infer that you refer to your improper attire outside of your quarters?”
“I know that it’s not Starfleet-issued, but it feels…”
He raised an eyebrow. “You did not allow me to finish my query.”
“Oh,” she said, her voice a whimper. There was that eyebrow again. She took another breath.
“Why do you do that?”
Uhura looked at him, unable for a moment to find a suitable response. “Sir?” she squeaked. This had quickly gotten out of hand and she did not know how to recover. And he had reduced her to a babbling idiot in less than ten seconds. She was supposed to be an expert communicator.
‘I used to be so much smoother than this.’
“Did you hear me, Lieutenant? I can repeat myself if you so desire.”
“Sir, it’s…I do it because it helps me to relax. It helps me to sleep. It reduces my stress.”
He gave her the briefest of nods. “That is logical. I have noticed.”
‘What else has he noticed?’
“I know it doesn’t justify the inappropriateness of my clothing. It’s just that it all feels better when I have as much skin contact as I can. I apologize for my blatant disregard of regulation. You have my word that it won’t happen again.”
She discerned another one of those little ocular slips. He blinked slowly. He had magnificent mocha irises, made all the more beguiling whenever he raised one of his elegantly shaped brows. Uhura sighed again, noticing the way his long eyelashes curled onto his cheeks. It was ridiculous that he had such lovely natural ones when she had to supplement hers with fakes. Uhura sighed. The commander had devastating eyes. Irish called him Commander Hotness, and Uhura had to agree that the Vulcan was steaming hot. How had she spent three and a half years as his student and not noticed what a gorgeous man he was? How, how, how??? She needed her head examined. His next words nearly made her moist.
“Lieutenant, I sincerely hope that will not be the case. I did not ask you to apologize. Nor is this query in any way a reprimand for your actions or your attire.”
“Then sir, may I ask what it is?”
“It is a compliment. I find your movement fascinating.”
“Oh,” she said again. Then she realized she had to know how he knew. “Sir, how did you know that I…”
“I have been watching you for three months, two weeks, four days, six hours, twenty minutes and forty-two seconds.”
She could not hide her gasp. That meant he had been watching her from the beginning; two weeks after the Enterprise left space dock. Down to the second. It made her shiver to know that she’d had his attention that long. “But I have never seen you. How were you able to see me when I never saw you?”
“I am there before you arrive. I do not leave until you leave. I remain hidden in the dark. However, Lieutenant, I do not believe you would have noticed anything beyond your movement. You appear to be…what is the expression? Lost in your own world? I found it best not to alert you to my presence.”
He did not tell her that he enjoyed watching her. That watching her heated him from the inside out. That she produced in him a response he would classify as human, therefore illogical, yet he responded to her just the same. And he couldn’t help himself.
Uhura lowered her eyes. “I am, sir. I am free when I dance. I hope that I have not offended you.”
Spock used the tip of his finger to raise her chin so that she could look at him. The touch of his finger on her skin was like a lightning bolt. It was a hot flash. Then she really was flushed and breathing hard. The message he transmitted was clear as glass. He liked her and he wanted her.
“On the contrary, Lt. Uhura. If I may, I would like to have your permission to continue to observe you.”
What? She did not hear him correctly. He did not just tell her he wanted to watch her dance.
“I find your movement fascinating. I thought it best that I inform you of my attendance.”
“Sir, you have been watching me all along and I never knew it. You could have said nothing and…and kept doing it. I would not have noticed.”
“It is best that you know that I am there. I trust that you will not alter your behavior or your calisthenics knowing that I am watching.”
He touched her chin again. She closed her eyes. Her stomach did a somersault. And she realized that he evoked a very female, very primal response in her. She clenched her thighs together for two reasons. One of them was to stop her legs from trembling.
Spock sniffed and then allowed his finger to drift across her cheek. Uhura opened her eyes. His expression had not changed, but she saw that he made no attempt to hide the intensity in his gaze. He wanted her to see it. He removed his finger and resumed his normal stance.
“Sir?” Either she had lost her mind or was currently losing it.
‘Oh my g…! Oh my…oh…oh…ohhhh!’
Uhura’s mind was blown. “Sir, I don’t know how to react to this—to your request.”
“If my sense of smell serves me correctly, you already have.” Her pheromones were exotic and pleasing. She was responding to him as well. Good. The attraction was not one-sided. This had not been an exercise in futility.
The breath went right out of her.
He raised his eyebrow again. “Please do not modify your schedule or your instinctual ability to move in a way that I find stimulating. It would be illogical.”
“All right.” Her voice was a squeak.
He nodded. “Good day, Lt. Uhura.”
“Good day, sir.”
He stepped back. She turned and entered her quarters. When her door closed, she was able to make it to her bedroom before collapsing. Uhura was officially undone.
So much for the Vulcan conniption fit.