Written for st_xi_kink request: A story where one of the characters is asexual, and they're trying to cope, because asexual/sexual relationships are hella complicated. Um, I tried, so there you go dear keevacaereni?
Oh and S/U OTP fans probably don't want to read this. Fair warning is fair warning. :P
Title: To Love and Not to Hold
Fandom: Star Trek XI
Disclaimer: Not mine don't sue.
Word Count: 1004
To Love and Not to Hold
by Renata Lord (snowlight)
It took some time before Spock stopped being weird about getting touched in what he called "a non-professional manner", but eventually he did. He no longer automatically switched to "that look" on his face when she accidentally brushed against his feet under the table, or reached out for him in an unconscious gesture for reassurance.
But it was still too soon, as Uhura realized belatedly, for a real kiss. It didn't matter that the warm summer night was perfect and the breeze carried the sound of the sea, or that silvery moonlight shone from all the heavens. Spock wouldn't see how that this was supposed to be romantic anyway, as the planet Vulcan didn't have a moon.
She gathered the strength to pull away, because the moonlight from all the heavens fell into in his eyes and froze like ice.
"I am at a loss as to what would you regard as a 'normal' relationship," he confessed from the very beginning. "The probability is high that I cannot satisfy your emotional as well as physical needs. I do not wish to disappoint you."
And with a smile, she had said that she would be willing to try with him, had she not?
Yet at this moment Nyota Uhura almost envied the Vulcans, because she didn't know love would hurt like this.
It was her birthday. For the first time she didn't throw a birthday party with her friends, just so they could be alone together before he had to leave for a science conference on Delta II. It was a form of torture to ask a guy to spend two hours in a group of chatty girls, that part she understood.
The part she didn't understand was how Spock could extricate himself from her embrace, so gently but firmly, methodically.
She felt her control on emotions slipping away. She was on the verge of yelling Don't you love me? but then she saw the pain in those eyes, and somehow that hurt her even worse than her own.
They had discussed sex—which in itself was a minor miracle, because from what Nyota could gather, the Vulcans were the most sexually repressed race on this side of the Federation, bar none.
It was a brief discussion, and one that they would revisit a number times. In the end it always boiled down to the cold fact that the physical desire was simply not present in him and, although he was willing to please her, she could not bear the thought of engaging in unwanted sex. No matter how she tried, she was 100% human and could not part with her pride.
"I apologize, as I understand that what I offer is not enough."
She wanted to say that it was okay, that they'd work through this somehow, like they did with touching and hugging and almost-kissing.
Yet the words died in her throat, because in all of the fifty-eight languages she knew, there was not a single word for heartbreak like this.
Narada changed everything.
Spock was conspicuously absent at the victory party. All attempts to reach him failed, and Kirk eventually said they should respect the guy's wishes and leave him be. A part of her wanted to go find him, but another part said, for once forget about him, Nyota, and just be yourself.
She chose to stay and have a great time with her future colleagues. She traded some jokes with McCoy, entertained herself with Kirk's attempt at hip-hop dancing, helped Chekov convincing Sulu that tiramisu really came from Russia, and even hugged everyone goodbye at the end.
"Hey Uhura, say hi to Spock to us, will ya?" Kirk asked as he helped McCoy dumping a half-passed-out Scotty into the car. "Tell him we missed him, pointy ears and all."
"Forget it! I'm not the guy's answer machine!" she laughed it off.
But she did go to him after that and found him sitting before the window meditating as usual. He greeted her calmly, which in itself was infuriating enough.
"What do you require of me, Nyota?"
She sat down next to him, the effect of alcohol already receding. His body was so close to her own, yet she knew there was a chasm that always existed between them. Above all else, his refusal to close that distance was what troubled her the most. She had tried to understand, to accept; but neither of those was a substitute for happiness.
"I don't know. Can you want me like I want you?" she reached out and touched his face carefully, reading his features with her hand. He did not flinch and turn away, but he didn't lean into her caress, either. And there Nyota had her answer. Damn Vulcan honesty and all.
"Spock, do you know why moths are drawn to flames?"
"Earth's nocturnal insects in the order of Lepidoptera are drawn to light sources because they employ a technique of celestial navigation commonly known as transverse orientation," he looked at her directly, knowing so much yet comprehending so little. That part was endearing, too, even if it was the cause of her pain.
"That is correct, Commander. However, the answer I was looking for was something more along the lines of, 'because the moth loved the light and just had to try'," she grinned and turned her eyes to look at the busy road outside the window. "I know, completely illogical."
Spock was silent for a little while.
"Nyota, you are crying."
"Oh, am I?" she answered distantly. It didn't really matter much now. None of it did.
His arms came around her shoulders then, a chaste and hollow embrace. Startled, she remembered that he had never done that before—even when he had lost his mother and an entire planet, never had he reached out to her like this. The first and the last physical gesture, from this creature all wrapped up in logic. How ironic that she had to deny herself the comfort of this one embrace, just when she needed it the most.