Into the Valley ~ Tantrums #Uhura

Previously ~ No Fury

The best thing about Andorian dream leaf was it how it could be so…comforting. Vira Zwan inhaled deeply, not even sure how many hits she’d had. She just exhaled serenely and passed the bong to Lenny.

“So,” Jim coughed, “I take it you have a thing for Hikaru.”

She was too high to blush. Instead, she dreamily murmured, “Yeah? So what?”

“Must be hard, then, watching that Romulan crack her whip…seeing how he goes running when anyone so much as says her name.”

His words pierced her warm, fuzzy haze, causing the slightest twitch.

“It rankles,” she mumbled, still very high.

“You know, I hate to admit it, but sometimes,” Jim yawned. “Sometimes guys like a rough girl, you know? A real bad apple, with a naughty aftertaste.” He winked. Unlike Hikaru’s wink, Jim Kirk’s did nothing for her.

“N’Tal is more than just a bad apple,” Vira scratched the back of her neck. She was starting to sober up and she didn’t like it. It was like being forcibly dragged from a warm, deep, cozy sleep. “She’s poison.”

“Hear, hear,” Lenny coughed. He hacked for several moments before taking another deep hit, and passing the bong to Jim.

“But he doesn’t see the poison, does he?” There was a deep sympathy in Jim’s voice she would’ve never thought possible. “He only sees the formerly rich girl, exiled and suffering because of her father’s work.”

“Spoiled rich girl,” Vira corrected him. “Don’t forget the whole ‘spoiled’ part.”

“Spoiled indeed,” Jim chuckled. “You know she doesn’t even have a roommate? She made her father pay the headmistress an extra nine thousand credits to just ensure she’d never have to share a room.”
Lenny let out a low whistle. “Nine thousand…that’s like three and half semesters here.” He snorted.

“Daddy’s probably regretting that purchase now that he’s all tapped out.”

Jim shook his head. “As a guest of the Federation, money is the least of Mioral’s problems.” He turned back to Vira. “But enough about N’Tal. I’m sick of everyone talking about N’Tal. Let’s talk about you for a sec, eh? If you really want Hikaru back, I have some suggestions—but you might not like them.”

***

Before proceeding with a tantrum, tirade, or outburst of any kind, it seemed logical that one must look his best.

Spock groomed carefully before going to lunch, putting on a fresh black uniform and new blue tie (he’d replicated several copies). All eyes were about to be on him for the first time in a long while. An audience was necessary for a proper tantrum. The presence of agape, speechless others often intensified and amplified the effect of an outburst.

Spock was actually excited about his upcoming screaming fest. He’d never had one before, and despite the unbridled lack of civility and self-control, he’d always found explosions…fascinating.

The release, the emotional discharge, the liberation...it was all so…forbidden.

The Vulcan shivered delightfully. He was growing used to life on Earth. It was so different from his strict and austere homeworld. Being here had been such an awakening. Never before had he had such arousing dreams, never before had he looked at and touched his own body in the manner he did now. He decided he liked his mouth, and the curve of his ears. He also liked how he’d inherited his mother’s eyes, and his father’s broad shoulders. And when he soothed himself in the blistering waters of the shower, or under warm dark covers of his bed, it brought about a kind of joy he’d never known possible.

It was as though he was not only discovering his human self, but rediscovering what it meant to be Vulcan.

He originally planned to swear at her in Vulcan, but his people’s curses were so muted and long-winded, with references so obscure even he didn’t know what they all meant. It seemed logical then to switch to Romulan, and he rehearsed the curses accordingly. But then it occurred to him that by going off in a foreign language, he would be cheating his audience.

Everyone was always trying to get him to show emotion. Everyone was always trying to get to know the “real” him.  Well, he would show them. He would show them all.

He headed out of his dorm room for the mess hall.

***

Nyota Uhura wasn’t stupid.

She knew good and well what that Romulan was doing, stalking her man and hijacking his holodeck time. Nyota knew her boyfriend had censored something in his conversation with N’Tal, but she wasn’t going to give him hell for it. Not when there was another girl sniffing around him—now was not the time to make Spock reconsider his decision to date her.

Nevertheless, there was only one reason why a girl like N’Tal would speak to a guy like Spock. He was one of the best-looking guys in school and they shared a common ancestry. Their fathers were both Ambassadors. N’Tal spoke the languages of both their peoples fluently and had a first-hand understanding of both their cultures.

So even though Nyota was already his girlfriend, she wasn’t dumb enough to miss the fact that N’Tal had some overwhelming advantages. And while Spock clearly was not attracted to the Romulan today, that didn’t meant it couldn't happen tomorrow.

Nyota herself wasn’t a stranger to liking two people at once. And for a Vulcan interested in enjoying the human ritual of dating, experimenting with more than one subject would be...well, logical.

Smoothing her plaid skirt as she headed into the mess hall, Nyota snorted to herself that Spock wasn’t the only one who could be logical. What was it Machiavelli said? Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

And Julius Caesar had mentioned something about keeping your enemies fat and happy.

Which fit since N’Tal was sitting down to eat with Hikaru. He was apparently trying to introduce her to pizza and milkshakes. The Romulan picked at her food with a delicately distrustful air. She sniffed her strawberry milkshake twice before setting it back down and pushing it away. When Hikaru rose, not doubt to scurry and fetch her something else, Nyota swept in and grabbed a chair.

“N’Tal,” she greeted warmly, taking a seat next to her. “You are looking well this evening.”

The Romulan was surprised but she hid it well. She nodded stiffly. “Thank you,” she replied courteously, however, Nyota couldn’t help but notice that N’Tal didn’t return the compliment.

Fine, she twitched. I can play.

“So how do you like this school?” she asked, forcing herself to maintain her vocal cheer. “Are you enjoying yourself yet?”

“Hardly,” N’Tal scowled, dropping her slice of cheese pizza back onto her plate. “This planet is too wet, the mountainsides too colorful, and everyone in this school gossips like a pack of bored housewives.”

Despite herself, Nyota laughed. N’Tal’s wording was actually quite accurate. Stellar Valley’s students were always so isolated, with little to do. And since so many students skipped at least one class a week, holodeck privileges weren’t popularly enjoyed.

“I should have stayed on Vulcan,” the Romulan spat bitterly. “For all their faults, those stone-faced bookworms knew to keep their mouths shut.”

Well, at least we agree on something. Nyota racked her brain to find something else to say. “Will your father be coming in on Parent’s Day? I understand that it’s in a few weeks, before the human holidays set in.”

N’Tal looked at her as though she were insane. “My father is a planetary Ambassador who meets with politicians working at the highest levels of government,” she snapped unapologetically. “And my attendance at this school is a mere convenience. So I seriously doubt he will board a transport and risk assassination simply to appear at some frivolous human celebration.”

“You don’t have to go here,” Nyota reminded her, trying to keep her voice kind. She was starting to think this was a bad idea. If Spock was dumb enough to eventually be seduced by this harpy, then the two of them deserved each other. “There’s always Trill, Denobula, the Rigelian worlds—”

“My father didn’t give me an option,” N’Tal hissed. “I am here because he wills it. My troubles at my Vulcan school ensured my being sent here.”

“Ah,” Nyota nodded. “So you think you’re here as a…punishment?”

N’Tal gave her a scathing look. “Wouldn’t you?”

Nyota opened her mouth to say something back, say anything back, but she was stopped by a series of interruptions. First, Hikaru returned, two chocolate milkshakes in hand.

“N’Tal!” That came second. Everyone in the mess hall turned to see the only Vulcan in the school striding forward purposefully, his voice louder and more forceful than anyone had ever heard. And was that…fury in his eyes? Fury in the eyes of a Vulcan?

He’s mad, Nyota realized. Like, he is pissed. Her head snapped to N’Tal. What had the Romulan done now? What could she have possibly done to anger him so in the brief time they were apart?

Hikaru!” That came third. All heads turned from Spock, immediately forgetting the Vulcan’s unprecedented display, and focusing on the school’s brainiest girl as she stumbled in. Vira looked as though she’d just downed two pints of bloodwine. She wobbled her way through the tables until she reached Hikaru Sulu. Once she steadied herself, her right hand shot out and slapped him squarely across the face.

Even Spock stopped before reaching their table, as though trying to keep minimum safe distance. The Vulcan’s eyes rapidly assessed the situation, trying to compute the level of danger. In horror, Nyota watched a roommate she didn’t recognize, fearing any moment the girl would tumble over and drop into a coma.

“I don’t know what you see in this Romulan bitch,” the Trill slurred venomously, “but it is officially not funny anymore.”

Hikaru stood stock still, a stinging handprint emblazoned on the left side of his face. His fingers were no doubt getting numb from clinging to the freezing milkshakes, but he appeared to have forgotten all about them. If he was planning to say something, he didn’t get a chance. Ever ready to face a challenge, N’Tal was on her feet and Vira turned—swaying a bit as she did so—to face her.

Nyota sat rooted to her chair, jaw on the floor, eyes unblinking in disbelief.

Dear God, my roommate is about to be killed.

“Who in Arreinnye are you calling a bitch, kllhe?”

“Oh yeah,” Vira rolled her eyes, wobbling on her feet. “We’re all swine and-and worms to you, aren’t we? Ugh, Romulans.” Vira rolled her eyes once more. “Backstabbing rodents of the galaxy. Vermin, all of you! These humans may fear you, but I don’t, N’Tal—your kind come in every species. You’re just another selfish, spoiled little rich girl and there is nothing scary about you.”

N’Tal actually blushed a deep, dark shade of green. She even sputtered a bit when she spoke, “You ….insolent…s-spotted—”

“Oh, shut it, will you?” Vira almost fell over that time but managed to catch herself. “You don’t want to be here? Fine. As far as we’re all concerned, you can haul your fanged vagina out of this solar system on the next transport and don’t let the shuttle door hit you in the ass!”

She spun on her heel, wobbled, and then steadied herself. She locked eyes with a shocked Hikaru once more before delivering another painful slap. Then, gathering her dignity and trying to walk slowly, Vira stumbled from the mess hall, backed by monumental applause.

Hikaru sank into his seat, dropping his milkshakes as his mind struggled to process what had just happened. N’Tal stormed from the mess hall out a different door while Spock finally approached the table, where a lock-jawed Nyota stared after her roommate.

“What the hell is she on?”

“Stole my thunder,” the Vulcan murmured, more to himself than his girlfriend. “Vira…‘stole my thunder.’”

He blinked repeatedly, trying to absorb this new experience. When Nyota looked up at him finally, he returned her gaze, mumbling, “Fascinating.” Pause. “Disagreeable, ill-timed, and inconsiderate, but fascinating nonetheless.”

Next ~ Settling Dust

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