Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Something about the way he abruptly stilled, his already straight posture gaining rigidity, alerted her to his discomfort. The noise of the mess faded from her conscious awareness as she studied him. He looked up from the PADD in his hands, his face open, questioning. Almost… puzzled.
She wasn’t sure what could have elicited such an expression from him, but instead of asking, she continued returning his scrutiny, her own face a question.
“You are scheduled to be on duty double shifts for each of the next two days.”
Uhura waited for him to go on. She found the reply to her unvoiced query was as confusing as his confusion. It was unlike Spock to state the obvious. He adamantly insisted that it was more efficient to ask questions when seeking elucidation.
“Would you like me to bring this to the captain’s attention, or do you prefer to handle it yourself?”
Her eyes widened. What was he thinking?
“I make the Communications schedules,” she reminded him, although, of course, he didn’t actually need reminding. When his brows twitched, she added, “I already spoke with Jim about this. It’s only for two days, Spock. And it will give my staff extra to time to prepare themselves.”
His lashes lowered and she recognized from the hooded eyes that he was hiding something from her. But what?
“I see,” he said, cocking his head after a moment’s silence. “And would you not appreciate time to prepare yourself, as well?”
“To celebrate a quasi-holiday whose only purpose seems to be lining the pockets of commercialists?” She snorted then leaned forward to peck his creased forehead, oblivious to their furtive audience. “Hardly! I don’t need chocolates in heart-shaped boxes once a year to know you love me. You don’t have to murder roses to prove your affection.”
She stood and stretched, smiling softly at him. She didn’t see the pitying glances, or hear the fervently whispered declarations of “What a shame!” and “Poor Uhura!” as she left the mess.
Spock, however, heard every word. As well as several that were far worse.
It seemed to have started with a misapprehension. Or, perhaps was the culmination of several false impressions.
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
When Geoffrey Chaucer penned The Parlement of Foules, Spock imagined, it was unlikely that the 14th Century English author was attempting to start a new tradition. And yet it was widely believed to be the first reference of the Christian saint’s day
Nor, he believed, were the literary references to “Courts of Love” probably ever intended to be taken as fact. Evidence that such courts actually existed had yet to be uncovered. And yet a Parisian “High Court of Love” was established on 14 February, 1400 AD. Chaucer, the man who was probably responsible for popularizing the association between the date and lovers, died nine months, eleven days later. (Spock did not assume the first date was of any significance to the other.)
It must be considered, however, that erroneous conclusions over the nature of a much earlier tradition might have added to the confusion. Lupercalia, after all, was thought to promote fertility by cleansing the city of evil spirits. That ancient Roman celebration — the “Wolf Festival,” celebrating the wolf who had suckled the city’s ill-fated founders — was also said to involve the practice of anonymously making temporary matches that were designated to last the duration of the festival, 13 February to 15 February. Such unions could conceivably have led to the founding of “true love” among some of its participants.
Spock continued swiping through page after page of historical fact and conjecture on the origins of the modern permutation of Saint Valentine’s Day, searching in vain for a logical reason to observe a holiday Nyota was wont to ignore. After three hours of finding absolutely nothing relevant to his argument, he switched off his computer and rose to his feet. He would not find the answers he sought in this assortment of spurious information interspersed with the occasional verifiable fact.
He knew, of course, that continued research might yield more factual results. But not even such a success would satisfy the goal he had in mind. No. In this, Spock needed to attempt a different approach. Discerning what that approach might be required meditation.
Uhura gratefully trudged towards her cabin, the exhaustion of working a double shift weighing heavily on her shoulders. She didn’t begrudge her colleagues’ desire to celebrate what was essentially a made-up holiday (but then, so where all holidays) of vaguely European origin which survived almost solely to promote overindulgence in confections, greeting cards sales and flower assassination. Honestly, she was happy that they could enjoy the day devoted to lovers and loving in spite of the commercialism that, back on Earth, so often obscured those sentiments. It was just that she didn’t need any such trappings to remind her of the love and devotion she shared with Spock.
What she did need, she decided, was a long real-water shower, followed by an even longer nap.
She closed her eyes in anticipation of the coming pleasure, keeping them closed as the door hissed open.
And she stepped over the threshold into a wall of muscled heat.
Spock steadied her in his arms before she could stumble back and fall.
“I am very pleased to see you, as well, beloved,” he said.
Uhura smiled against his chest. “I didn’t see you there,” she murmured into his tunic.
She allowed herself a small smile before she pushed far enough away to tilt her head and meet his eyes.
“What are you doing here? I thought this was a rest cycle for you.”
Spock canted his head to the side and stared at her not quite dispassionately. It was what she thought of as his “up to something” expression.
“I fully intend to rest, Nyota,” he declared, “but only with you at my side.”
Her sleepiness dialed down a bit. Shower and nap could wait. She grinned up at him.
But when she reached for his hand to pull him towards her sleeping alcove, he resisted.
“It is better that we take our rest in my cabin, Nyota.”
Uhura couldn’t think of a single reason why it might be better to take a lift up four decks to his cabin when her bed was less than three meters away. But she was too tired to argue. And too tired to even want to.
So, she allowed herself to be led.
It had not been logical to illuminate his quarters with hand-made aromatic candles rather than make use of the quite efficient computer-controlled lighting units.
It had not been logical to dress his bed in the close-woven Egyptian cotton sheets — dyed a soft pink and printed with tiny outlines of red hearts — that had been a gift from her mother to mark the end of their first Earth year in a romantic relationship.
It had not been logical to set up a portable, but spacious bath in his hygienic cubicle and fill it with steaming, jasmine-scented water. Or even to endure there were towel, much thicker and softer than Starfleet issue linens, ready for her eventual emergence.
But watching Nyota’s face go from slightly annoyed confusion to pleased comprehension was an agreeable conclusion.
“Why?” she asked, her eyes widening as she turned from the tub to him.
“Because you believe Saint Valentine’s Day to be an illogical ‘waste of time, more geared towards lining the pockets of commercialists, than to exalting the affection between lovers,’” he told her. “I wished to show you a logical reason to observe the day.”
“And that reason is... ?” She looped her arms loosely about his neck.
He raised a brow at her, playfully feigning virtuousness.
“Because only at this time of year could I procure the items required without causing undue curiosity among our colleagues.”
“Yeah, right,” she retorted, rising up on her toes. “That is a logical reason.”
“I cherish you, Nyota,” he said, growing serious. “And in years past, I have watched your friends enquire about how we have celebrated this day. Although you consistently tell them that you had no desire to observe a holiday that had no meaning to you before you entered Starfleet, it is easy to note that they have not always believed you.
“I do not want your friends to pity you, beloved, because your partner is a ‘pointy-eared bastard with green ice-water in his veins’ who cannot bend enough to acknowledge a tradition that is not his own.”
“But it’s not my tradition, either!” she protested, dropping her arms and dropping back down on her heels. “You just pointed that out.”
“As you have pointed out to your friends — to no avail, year after year.”
“Right,” she said, nodding thoughtfully. “So, all of this is just because you don’t want my friends pitying me behind my back?”
The corner of Spock’s mouth ticked up a bit. “There is also my abhorrence of sleeping without you by my side.”
“Is that right?” She smiled slyly and reached for his hand. He let her grab it. “How do you feel about bathing alone?”
“It is something to be avoided when at all possible.”
She allowed him to strip boots and tights and skirt and tunic from her weary limbs, then let the warm water envelop her as she watched him remove his own clothing. When he climbed into the tub beside her, the temper seemed to increase by several degrees.
“Did one of my friends really call you a ‘pointy-eared bastard with ice-water in his veins’?”
Spock did not answer. Instead, he slipped behind her and began kneading her shoulders with hot, slippery hands.
Disclaimer: I do not own any Star Trek character or concepts. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of this or any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.