Authors: anodyna & soixante_quinze
Characters/Pairings: Spock/Nyota, Spock Prime/Gaila, Jim, Len & ensemble
Warnings: Profanity, sexing, implied threesome, shirtless Vulcans
Summary: AU. The hottest DJ at The Forge is a young Vulcan, formerly of Starfleet. He and his friends have found a new life. Then a visitor from the future appears among them, trying to pull them back to the stars.
Authors' notes: SQ would like to thank Steve Rubell for inspiration on how to throw a party, and Daft Punk who she has no doubt would approve of the application of logic in creating beats. Anodyna thanks illariy, diane_kepler, and lymanalpha, who each provided unique inspiration. They thank each other for being fabulous Vulcan-perving enablers!
ETA: Two wonderful people have made fanart to go with this story! Many thanks to witblogi for Shirtless DJ Spock and philotic_net for Spock Prime and Gaila Gorgeousness.
In a room hot and sticky with the sweat of numerous species dancing and thrumming with youthful exuberance, it is strange that a tall, greying Vulcan should attract no notice.
And yet it is true, thinks Ambassador Spock, as he stands surveying the cavernous club, with its heaving dance floor. For the most part he is ignored by the patrons wrapped up in the music, in the tangible energy of this place. It is Friday night, The Forge is packed to overflowing, and one Vulcan elder can easily disappear in such a crowd.
The Ambassador does not mind. It suits him to observe.
The room is enormous, overhung by catwalks, lit with an impressive array of lights. These change with the music, swirling and pulsing, throwing color and pattern over the dancers. The floor vibrates under the Ambassador's feet from the thick, relentless bass issuing forth from huge amplifiers. The crowd surges, their many-hued bodies moving as one mass, their faces a blur of joyful abandon.
Above them, holding court over these hedonistic proceedings from the control platform, stands his younger self.
Spock's pale skin fairly glows under the lights as he manipulates the large console. He looks as if it is no different to him to be there than at the controls of a simulator, or a shuttlecraft—although when one would do either of these things shirtless, the Ambassador cannot say.
The Ambassador watches his younger self adjust the controls before him, long and lean, with an air of intense concentration that doesn’t reach his placid face, but is evident in the precision of his movement. Spock removes his headphones, leaving them hugging his neck. A graceful flick of the wrist, a careful brush of fingers and the tempo of the music shifts dramatically. His eyes flick quickly to the crowd, then just as quickly back to the panel.
The tempo is increased incrementally, to the answering roar of the crowd. There is something familiar in the way he does this. A repeat of the tempo shift reveals to the Ambassador a pattern; or more specifically, an algorithm—one he remembers having written himself when he was but thirteen years old. Beautiful and logical, here it has found unexpected application and an appreciative audience. As if satisfied with his effect upon the crowd, Spock replaces the headphones and again attends to the music.
The Ambassador turns his eyes to his immediate surroundings, looking for a path around the dancers. A narrow aisle extends to his right, turning to follow the perimeter of the room. It too is crowded, bustling with patrons, and with staff who slip with practiced ease between them. A young woman in black carries a tray of drinks above her head, delicately braced by an extra tentacle; behind her a burly Andorian pushes some stray dancers back onto the dance floor.
With slow, deliberate purpose, the Ambassador moves through the crowd, avoiding the mass of grinding, sweaty bodies. Outside the dance floor, the walls of the club are lined with alcoves. Most are for sitting, furnished with padded benches and tables where humans, Vulcans, Orions and other species sit with drinks, sound dampeners engaged for ease of conversation.
In other alcoves, the tables are replaced by wide lounging beds. Privacy screens of various levels of opacity are provided, but the Ambassador cannot help noticing that few are availing themselves of complete privacy. As he passes one alcove he observes two young Vulcan women, barely clad. One is kneeling before the other, her fingers hooked into her mate’s underwear. She presses an open-mouthed kiss to each inch of skin as it is slowly uncovered. The standing woman wears a gleaming silver collar; strands of the kneeling woman’s unbound hair are wound through her fingers.
In another alcove a couple kiss as if attempting to devour one another. Their blindfolds would make it impossible to tell their species, but for the telltale knots that bind the wrists of the male, marking him as Vulcan. He strains against the cords, every muscle bulging, but the restraints do not give. The knots are there as much for strength as they are for beauty; this the Ambassador knows well.
He is shocked at the openness of these displays, but outwardly he shows nothing. His eyes linger no longer than he expects is polite in such circumstances. He is interested, curious, but this is not the reason he is here tonight.
A figure brushes past him in the crowd, a pretty young woman with the green skin and bright red curls of an Orion. Something about her is familiar, but the Ambassador cannot think what it is—in his own timeline he has known few Orions well. Intrigued by the small mystery, he watches her as she threads through the crowd, until she disappears through a door marked "Private - Staff Only."
He glances back up at the control platform, to where Spock still works his console, seemingly unaware of his older self's presence. There the Ambassador's eye is caught by another flash of red. It is almost nothing—just a glimpse of someone leaving, a figure already in the process of disappearing into the crowd. Only an arm, a shoulder, a long dark ponytail whisking out of sight.
It is enough. The Ambassador stands motionless, slightly stunned. He tells himself that he cannot be sure, that he is leaping to conclusions where evidence is insufficient. But even as he thinks this, he knows he is not wrong. He is certain he has just seen Nyota Uhura.
This reality's Nyota Uhura, he remembers to add. It is an important distinction, one he has taken great pains not to forget.
He has not sought her, since coming here. Only now does it occur to him that this does not mean he will not find her.
It is all the time for reflection he has, for now his younger self looks up and meets his eyes. Spock nods to the Ambassador in acknowledgement, and holds up a hand as he turns to speak to the technician behind him. Then he removes his headphones and disappears from view, emerging a moment later through a small door beneath the platform, hastily fastening two buttons of a dark shirt over his pale chest.
The two Vulcans exchange a polite bow. Spock gestures to a nearby alcove, whose occupants—an Andorian male and a human female—catch his eye and quickly vacate. A young woman in black appears as they seat themselves, and places a carafe of water and two glasses on the table between them. With a small gesture Spock engages the sound dampener, reducing the music to a distant throbbing and the tumult of voices to a murmur.
They are silent for a moment, as Spock performs the host's duty of serving the water. "Thank you for agreeing to meet me here," he says finally, replacing the carafe on the tray and placing a glass before the Ambassador. "I realize the atmosphere may not be to your liking."
The Ambassador lifts his glass and takes a sip. "On the contrary, I have found it most interesting. And I am pleased you agreed to meet so soon."
"It would have been illogical to refuse."
"Perhaps. But you might have doubted my story, and wished to delay while you made inquiries."
His younger self nods. "True. However, I did not doubt. Rumors of a time-traveling Vulcan calling himself Selek have been circulating for some time. When I learned you had come here asking for me, I confess I did not feel surprise. However illogical, I have long suspected there was some connection between us."
"You recognized the name."
"I did. And it occurred to me that, were I to find myself temporally displaced, Selek is a name I might assume. It has the advantage of meaning nothing to most Vulcans, yet its significance would be understood by any member of my father's family."
"Your logic is sound. That is the reason I chose it."
Spock accepts the compliment with a slight incline of his head. He sips his water thoughtfully, his eyes straying out over the dance floor and the moving crowd.
His youth is astonishing. It should not be, the Ambassador thinks; he remembers well what it was like to be this age. And yet—this is not his youth. At this age he was a Starfleet Commander, about to receive his first posting to a starship. He does not know this path—how it led here, nor where it may lead.
He is not the only one struck by his younger self's appearance. Females of all species, and many males as well, give Spock openly appraising looks as they pass. A few appear ready to approach, but do not—put off perhaps by the Ambassador's presence, or perhaps by Spock's obvious indifference. He is aware of every look, of that the Ambassador is certain; yet he gives no sign, nor shows any curiosity. Despite the hedonism of the setting, despite the calculated exposure of his body to the gaze of others, his younger self remains every inch a Vulcan: reserved, remote, untouchable.
"You have spoken to my father." It is not a challenge, but the Ambassador detects a trace of familiar emotion beneath Spock's neutral tone.
"I have. I thought perhaps I would have difficulty locating you, although that did not prove to be the case."
Spock nods; for the first time the corner of his mouth curves slightly upward. "I am not surprised. As the son of Ambassador Sarek, my activities are the object of much unwanted attention."
"Still, it was useful to me. I would not have known where to look for you otherwise."
"You expected to find me in Starfleet." There is no defiance in his tone, only a matter-of-fact analysis of probabilities.
"I thought you might be found there. I am aware your path and mine must have diverged on many points. But I thought perhaps, as Starfleet was so important to my own journey, you may have found it to be so as well."
The dark eyes that meet his show the barest trace of anger—undetectable by non-Vulcan standards, but clear enough to the Ambassador. "By now you have heard that I did. I was on the faculty of the Academy at the time Nero's conspiracy was discovered. The ensuring purge of those deemed suspicious resulted in my resignation."
"You were not involved in the conspiracy." It is not a question; on this point the Ambassador has no doubt.
"Correct. I resigned in protest of the means being used to identify those under suspicion. I believed certain factions within Starfleet command used Nero's conspiracy as a pretext to purge those who disagreed with them."
The Ambassador nods. "I have come to a similar conclusion."
"So you understand why some of us chose as we did."
"I do." He pauses to allow Spock to continue, but his younger self remains silent. It seems he wishes the Ambassador to speak his mind, and perhaps he is right—perhaps the time has come for more directness. "You are aware that those who led the response to the conspiracy have since been removed—that Admiral Pike is now in charge of the Terran Command."
"Yet you have not returned to Starfleet."
Spock raises an eyebrow. "Do you consider Starfleet the only suitable option?"
"I do not," the Ambassador says. "I simply ask because I am curious if you have an interest in returning. My observation is that Starfleet is in need of skilled officers. It appears to me that in foiling Nero's plans they cost themselves nearly as much as if Nero had succeeded."
"I agree. Yet I have not been persuaded that it is necessary for me to remedy their error."
"Indeed," the Ambassador says. "You have no such obligation."
A commotion has caught his younger self's eye—some movement in the crowd—and he disengages the sound dampener abruptly. The noise of the club returns, and over it the sound of a familiar voice, raised in annoyance. A dark-haired man bursts into view, pushing his way through the crowd of patrons, biting the cap off a hypospray as he hurries past.
"Dammit, Jim!" he shouts over his shoulder at the blonde man trailing after him, "Half the species in the galaxy are allergic to peanut butter! I told you not to bring it to the club!"
"Bones, she asked me for it! It would have been rude to refuse!"
Their voices are lost again as the two men are absorbed back into the crowd. Spock raises his eyes to the ceiling for a moment—a slightly un-Vulcan gesture, but one the Ambassador knows well—before re-engaging the sound dampener and turning back to his companion. "I apologize. I thought I might be needed."
The Ambassador's eyes linger on the place where the men were last visible. "That was Leonard McCoy and James Kirk."
Spock appears surprised. "Yes. You are acquainted with them, then, in your own time?"
"Indeed. We knew each other quite well. We were close friends."
Spock nods. "It is interesting, is it not, to consider how widely realities may differ, while yet remaining in some ways the same."
"Agreed. I have noticed that particularly this evening." The Ambassador pauses, considering whether to continue. But he has not come so far to keep secrets from himself. "Earlier—I believe I saw Nyota Uhura."
His younger self's expression does not change, but a different tone enters his voice. "You are acquainted with her as well."
"I was. She is no longer living."
"Of course. I am sorry. Her human lifespan—"
"Yes." It is a fact, plain and logical. Still the Ambassador feels a faint, fresh pang of regret.
"Was she your bondmate?"
The question catches the Ambassador off-guard; he is momentarily unable to form an answer. "No," he says finally. The next sentence is strangely difficult: "Is she—yours?"
"Yes," Spock says. The ensuing silence lasts only a few seconds. It is long enough. "And you were—acquainted with her."
"We were crewmates. Close friends for many years. She was—" Again, words elude him. "The Nyota of my time was an extraordinary woman."
"Then she is the same." Spock finishes his water and place his glass on the tray. "Forgive me, I must return to my work. Will you do me the honor of visiting my home tomorrow afternoon? Nyota has expressed a wish to meet you. Also we are hosting a party in the evening, and I hope you will stay as our honored guest."
The Ambassador drains his glass as well. "I thank you. The honor is mine."
Spock stands, signaling to the young woman in black to take the tray. He bows to the Ambassador. "Until tomorrow, then. Peace and long life."
"Peace and long life," the Ambassador replies. Then his younger self turns, and is gone.
Spock’s home is a penthouse, perched high above the city, encircled by a terrace with views of the hills above and the bay below. It is decorated sparsely and tastefully, its rooms vast, its floors and walls of pristine white.
The Ambassador stands in the foyer, having arrived at the same moment as a large delivery of liquor for the evening's party. While he waits for his host to appear, he examines a tall, heavily textured painting of a nebula, its vibrant palette in contrast to the soft tones of the rooms beyond.
At the sound of steps he looks up—but it is not his younger self who has come. It is Nyota Uhura, in a violet dress, looking at him from the doorway.
Something vast shifts inside him, as if unfurling after a long confinement.
"Ambassador," she says, stepping forward. Observing proper protocol, she does not put out her hand, only bows. He returns the gesture. The moment of silence that follows is broken by a metallic crash from another room, and a young voice cursing in Russian. Nyota does not flinch at the sound, only smiles at him, a little smile of exasperation and tolerance, and indicates he should follow her.
They settle on adjacent white couches in the living room, where tea has been set out on the table between. Nyota pours him a cup, gently crumbling a leaf of sweet herbs over the steaming surface—then seems to catch herself. "I'm sorry," she says, her hands poised above the cup, "do you like it this way? I didn't mean to assume."
"I do, thank you."
She hands him the cup. It is Vulcan-made, a blue half-sphere of translucent porcelain, matching the tones of the bay and sky that fill the floor-to-ceiling windows. She takes tea for herself, tucks her feet up beneath her on the white couch, and smiles at him. "So, you're from the future," she says. "And you can't go back."
He nods. "It is unlikely. The nature of a temporal rift is such that one cannot be assured of bidirectional travel. I must assume, for the time being, that I will remain in this reality."
"That must be difficult."
"What cannot be helped must be accepted," he says. "I hope to make myself useful, as much as I can."
Nyota sips her tea and looks thoughtful. "You're involved with Starfleet," she says. "And you've been working with the Vulcan High Council. Those seem useful."
"Indeed. I hope they are just the beginning."
He cannot understand how he has forgotten this—the tones of her voice, her beauty, her intelligence. The Nyota he knew has been gone many years, yet until this moment he believed he remembered her well. He finds, suddenly, how little his memories are equal to the living woman. The regret he had earlier forced away returns, only now the pang he allows himself to feel is sharp and painful.
Nyota is watching him closely; it occurs to him to wonder if her bond with his younger self somehow gives her access to his thoughts as well. But he does not feel her presence in his mind. And if she suspects his feelings, she is exercising great discretion in not revealing it.
"He told me," she says, abruptly. "Spock told me that where you were, we weren't—that you and your Nyota never—" She stops, looks down at the cup cradled in her hands.
The Ambassador looks at her hands as well, at her fine delicate fingers laced over the ocean-blue porcelain. He intends to be guarded, to only say what is strictly necessary about a future that now will never be. But as always, there is something about her that demands honesty from him. "That is not exactly true," he begins, shifting his eyes to her knees, drawn up and draped in the violet fabric of her skirt. "There was—something between us, at one time. But it was not sanctioned by my family, or by my people. I gave it up, in order to fulfill my larger obligations. However, we remained close—we were friends until the end of my Nyota's life."
Nyota blinks. "I'm sorry."
The Ambassador shakes his head. "Each life must take its own path. I do not compare mine with any alternative." If it is not true in this moment, it is at least his goal. Vulcan self-discipline, and an acceptance of what is, must provide the means to make it so.
They drink their tea in silence for a moment. Through the tall windows the Ambassador sees Leonard and Jim on the terrace, directing some preparations for the party, gesturing in opposite directions. They turn to each other and argue for a moment; but when they turn back to the others, the Ambassador sees Jim run his fingers gently down the back of Leonard's arm. He is growing used to seeing them; so much that when Hikaru Sulu appears, checking the contents of the newly set-up bar, the Ambassador barely feels surprise. From another room sporadic bursts of music can be heard; someone is testing the amplifiers.
Nyota is also watching the preparations for the party. Suddenly she turns back to him, her expression serious. "You came because of Starfleet. Because they want us back."
Her bluntness takes him by surprise. "I was not asked to come, if that is what you mean. I am here of my own volition. But yes, I do believe Starfleet wants you back. All of you," he adds, his eyes flickering to Jim and Leonard, who have just disrobed and are sinking into the hot tub at the far end of the terrace. "Leonard and Jim, Hikaru Sulu, Pavel Chekov, if that is him I hear testing the sound system—"
"Pavel was in Starfleet?" Nyota smiles. "I've been telling Spock that Pavel is a genius! Nobody ever seems like a genius to a Vulcan. But he is, isn't he?"
"He is," the Ambassador agrees, nearly smiling himself at her burst of enthusiasm.
She becomes thoughtful again, turning her eyes once more to her teacup. She leans close to him—so close that he can smell her jasmine perfume, can feel the faint warmth radiating from her cheek. She lifts her eyes to his, serious and dark. "Tell me more about what's happening in Starfleet," she says, resting her hand on his arm.
For a dizzying second he imagines taking her hand, stroking her fingers with his. He recalls kissing another Nyota in the human manner—how often she requested it, how rarely he complied. His scruples seem foolish now, in the face of a century without her.
But this is not his Nyota. He is thinking of another, one who does not exist in this or any other reality. It is a loss he mourned long ago; and it is illogical to reopen what time and destiny have closed.
He reaches for the teapot and refills her cup, then his own. "I have been speaking with Admiral Pike," he begins. And tells her about Starfleet, until she is called away.
From the terrace, Spock watches them.
They are talking, sitting together in the living area; two figures against the pure whiteness of the walls, of the sofas on which they sit. Nyota has her legs tucked underneath her, as is her habit. The Ambassador sits upright, formal as any Vulcan elder; but there is that in his face which suggests humor and warmth, an acceptance of his place in the universe.
Someday, I will be him, Spock thinks. He stands at the balcony railing, observing them through the open doors. He cannot hear their conversation; cannot, in truth, imagine what they are saying.
What would he say to Nyota, if he were meeting her now? To imagine such a scenario requires imagining a life in which she is not present in his mind at every moment, in which the gentle thread that connects her consciousness to his was broken. No, not even that; in which it had never been. It is inconceivable.
He wonders if they are talking about Starfleet.
"Spock, why do you have to keep this tub so goddamn hot? I can barely think.”
Spock turns to Leonard, who reclines in the hot tub with an expression of determined discontent. This despite being flanked by two attractive young Orions and Jim Kirk—any of whom, Spock knows from experience, would be happy to perform whatever acts Leonard would find most relaxing.
”The temperature and mineral content are appropriate for simulation of a Vulcan hot spring, Leonard. It is quite therapeutic. I would, however, advise you to remain hydrated‚” Spock turns back to the windows, pointedly ignoring the splashing and giggling now coming from the direction of the hot tub.
After a minute, Jim appears at his side, still dripping. He holds out a tall glass filled with ice and a pale liquid—probably some experiment of Hikaru's.
"What's the matter, Spock, are you worried?"
Spock takes the glass—and Jim, hands now free, begins toweling himself off. Spock notes, without surprise, that Jim has once again borrowed his pants without asking.
"Explain," Spock says, taking a sip of the drink. He detects several compounds intoxicating to humans—and at least two intoxicating to Vulcans. Hikaru knows his work, and does it well.
Jim gestures with his head toward the open doors. "Your future self. He's pretty suave. Are you worried he's here to steal Nyota?"
"It would be most un-Vulcan behavior, if so."
Jim laughs. "Like that's ever stopped you from doing what you wanted."
Spock turns his back to the doors, leaning against the railing. Far below, the city descends toward the bay, water and sky dissolving together at the horizon. "He came to inquire if I wished to return to Starfleet."
"Really. Do you?"
"It is not outside the realm of possibility."
Jim turns and leans beside him. He squints into the distance, as if measuring it.
"I miss the stars," he says.
Spock nods, and sips his drink.
The preparations for the party have taken on a life of their own. Equipment appears, bars and cases of liquor, dozens of people moving in and out.
Temporarily without a host after Nyota is called away, the Ambassador wanders among the workers, observing them with interest. It appears there is a great deal involved in setting up for such an event, far more than he would have predicted.
In the foyer, he comes upon a familiar face; it is the young Orion who passed him at the club. She is arranging a massive bouquet of flowers—enormous blooms, nearly transparent, ghostly-looking. He has never seen such flowers; yet again there is this odd sensation of familiarity.
"You like them," the Orion says, smiling at him. "You have excellent taste. They're Tellarite. Very rare."
The Ambassador nods, leaning in close to study a bloom. The fragrance surprises him. "They smell like the desert flowers of Vulcan."
Again she smiles, still adjusting the flowers, leaning back to check the effect. "That's your favorite smell."
It is an observation, not a question. "It is," he says. "May I ask what led you to say so?"
She stops arranging and turns to him. "It's not the flowers you smell. It's me." She holds up her wrist, and he sniffs politely. It is true.
"Orions always smell like your favorite thing," she says, straightening a bent flower. "At least, you believe we do. No one's actually sure how it works. Scientists have tried to study it, but they keep getting distracted and trying to have sex with the test subjects."
"Indeed. That does not seem conducive to maintaining sterile laboratory conditions."
She glances up at him, eyebrows raised, as if uncertain whether that was a joke. Apparently she decides in the affirmative, because she laughs. She has a pleasing laugh.
There is a small commotion at the door, the sound of voices raised in greeting and laughter. The first guests are arriving. She turns toward the sound, then back to him. "I'd love to keep talking, but I have to help get the party started. Find me later?" She is nearly out of the room when she adds, over her shoulder, "I'm Gaila."
He bows politely, though she is already gone, leaving the scent of flowers in her wake.
Inside, Spock can hear the party is nearing full swing.
For the moment he is unneeded; Pavel is taking care of the music, while Hikaru is no doubt administering drinks to the guests with his usual stylish elan. Spock can hear murmurs of conversation, the clink of glasses. Ringing laughter reaches him, punctuating the throbbing bass that underlies all the chaotic sounds of celebration.
This afternoon, Jim took delivery of a ton of glitter, which now thickly covers the entire floor of the penthouse. Looking down, Spock wiggles his toes. His bare feet are covered in glitter; tiny pinpricks of light dot his skin. He stays on the terrace and watches as the sky gives up its first stars.
A warm breeze follows him as he goes back inside. He finds Jim, clad only in Spock’s trousers and sprawled elegantly across a white couch, a tall glass of something pink and frothy in his hand. Whatever is in the drink has begun to work its way through Jim‚’s bloodstream, if the heavily lidded eyes, dilated pupils and relaxed posture are anything to go by. There is a streak of glitter on Jim’s cheek, and smears of it across his chest. Sitting beside him is Leonard, arms and hands also covered in glitter.
”Spock!” calls Jim from his seat, waving him over. ”How do you like my decoration job?”
”You‚” says Spock with contained amusement, ”are cleaning this up,” emphasizing his point by raising his foot, causing a shower of glitter to fall to the floor.
”That wasn’t the deal. You asked me to decorate, so I did. Next time don’t ask if you don’t like the way I do it‚” says Jim defensively. Spock says nothing of his ruined carpet, nor of the implication in Jim’s eyes as they meet his that these nights may soon be coming to a close.
Somewhere amid the shimmering chaos of party is Nyota. Spock seeks her now, but his mind is slightly blurred—the effect of his own intoxication, or perhaps hers. For a few seconds he experiences the slight vertiginous sensation of her absence, not gone as when a bond is severed, but hidden, temporarily displaced.
From some dark place inside him a thought flashes through his mind: an image of Nyota with his older self, the two of them embracing; Nyota pressed against the balcony railing, returning the Ambassador's kiss, her hands tugging frantically at his Vulcan robes. It is startling, illogical—but he seeks her again, this time urgently. And finds her at last, peaceful, soothing.
She is alone. She is waiting for him. Leaving a sparkling trail of glitter behind him, he goes to claim her.
Spock finds Nyota where he already knows she will be.
She does not turn around when the bedroom door closes behind him. She makes no outward sign that she knows he is there; but he feels her attention, like a tiny pull on a thread that connects them.
On the other side of the door the party continues, but in this room there is a hush, a gentle darkness. Nyota stands at the window, looking out across the terrace toward the city, its purple glow rising to meet the dark night sky. High above the horizon, like a celestial body, are the distant lights that mark the position of Spacedock.
He embraces her from behind, savoring the warm resilience of her body against his. She turns her head to offer him her lips, and he kisses her, inhaling her scent, the sweet jasmine fragrance of her skin. He kisses her cheek, her ear, her neck, buries his face in her shoulder.
She turns around in his arms, making him lift his head and meet her eyes. She is beautiful—he has always thought so, since the first time he saw her, a cadet in red, regarding him from the front row of a lecture hall.
She looks up at him now with a serious expression, her eyes dark, her features barely touched by the moonlight washing through the windows. Through their bond he feels questioning, concern. But she says nothing, only pulls him to her and kisses him, first soft, then demanding. Her fingers skim his sides, making him shiver. "Nyota—" he says, his voice rough, "I am considering returning to Starfleet."
"Okay," she murmurs, her lips against his neck. "But only if you take me with you."
"I could not do otherwise," he says—and would say more, but she kisses him again, and now her fingers have found his belt and are unfastening his clothing with practiced rapidity. She kisses his throat, and down his chest; she circles one nipple with her tongue, teasing him, then bites, just hard enough.
It nearly undoes him. He presses her to the wall with a growl, his teeth grazing her shoulder, and she pushes back against him with an eager sound, a whimper of desire that he feels at the core of his body. He hooks her knee and lifts it, pushing her skirt up her thighs, exposing her beautiful form and the lack of underclothing that always strikes him as miraculous.
His heart thunders in his ears as she pulls him to her with both hands, kissing him with beautiful insistence. She has succeeded in undoing his pants, and she pushes them roughly down his hips. He is so close to her, her body so near and so welcoming, it is almost overwhelming how much he wants her. How much he knows he will always want her.
The door of the bedroom opens and closes with a barely audible sound. Familiar footsteps cross the room, a familiar scent, familiar breathing. A familiar chuckling laugh as Jim's chest brushes Spock's back, as Jim's glittering fingers slip around his waist and meet Nyota's coming the other way. "Is this a private party?" Jim says, his mouth against Spock's ear, and in answer Spock puts his hand to the back of Jim's neck to draw him closer. Nyota lifts her head and kisses him, their faces so near that Spock feels their breath on his cheek as they pull apart.
"You two are so fucking beautiful," Jim murmurs, lacing his fingers through Spock's, lifting Nyota's knee higher. "I want to watch you fuck, just like this. Then I'm going to fuck you both. Then if you're still conscious, we'll talk about Starfleet."
Nyota moans helplessly against Spock's mouth, her fingers digging into his hips in a wordless plea that he can no longer resist. He lifts her with both hands; she wraps her beautiful long legs around his waist and he pushes into her, burying himself in the tight heat of her body. They rest their foreheads together for a moment, overcome—even Jim, for a precious instant, goes still.
Then Jim's hands are skimming Spock's waist, are stroking Nyota's thighs, are gripping her hips as she rocks against Spock. She puts her arms around them both, kissing Spock, then Jim, then Spock again. "God, Spock, yes—" she breathes. She is his—his alone, no matter how many others may seek her; no matter that Jim's hands are on both of them now, leaving trails of glitter everywhere he touches. "You are mine," he growls, so soft she might not hear him, except she does, she always does—and her mind busts into his in an explosion of color, like a nebula, like a world being reborn.
The Ambassador stands on the terrace, a lone figure in the moonlight.
Elsewhere the party continues, revelers spilling out to enjoy the view of the bay below, the stars above. The Ambassador was drawn to this spot by the quiet, by the chance for a few minutes' reflection, away from the chaos and noise of the crowd. Instead he stands, transfixed, as he watches his younger self, Nyota, and Jim.
He knows he should look away. He should leave them to their private affairs—which do not, after all, concern him. Yet he has not moved. He remains, and cannot take his eyes from them, no matter his intentions.
"They're gorgeous, aren't they?"
The voice from beside him breaks the spell at last. It is Gaila, smiling at him, holding out a glass, which he takes. "I could watch them all night," she says, leaning against the railing beside him. "Sometimes I do. At least I try, until Jim drags me back in."
He thinks she might continue, but she doesn't. "Were you planning to join them?" he asks, finally.
"Mmm, not tonight," Gaila says, stirring her drink thoughtfully. "They're better as a threesome. With four you start to run out of ways to keep everyone involved. Unless the fourth is Len. He's really good with anatomy."
"I see," he says.
Gaila raises an eyebrow. "Don't you mean, 'I know'? Or are Vulcans less polyamorous where you come from?"
"We are not. But perhaps it is a matter of individual difference."
She smiles. The fragrance of desert flowers is heavy in the air, surrounding him. It is slightly intoxicating. "Maybe," she says, slowly. "Or maybe you're just not that curious."
"My curiosity has been sufficient to my needs thus far."
"Hmm." Gaila says. She turns away from the windows, resting her glass on the railing. She looks up at the sky. "Maybe just the two of us, then."
He turns also. The whole of the city, the dark ocean, the deep purple night sky lay before him. "I agree, that is a better plan."
Beside him Gaila smiles, her eyes still on the stars. "Good," she says.