A/N: Written for FemFeb this year. I had this idea for most of the month but was reluctant to sit down to it-– old-fashioned anti-canon/OC bias at play, I suppose. Plus a touch of guilt for leaving the other canon ladies along the wayside. Still, I'm ultimately glad I went ahead with this. The alien race that Uhura's ladyfriend hails from is a product of my own imagination, should anyone be curious about that. I meant to name her but, uh. Forgot to ; Ah, well.
It's so easy to get caught up in the atmosphere of the little hole in the wall lounge. It's someplace new, for one, after so many months spent aboard the Enterprise. The air is thick with perfumed smoke colored by dim lights that blink like lazy cats and catching pretty shadows from the flickering of candlelight from the center of each table. The headlining performer of the evening is a jewel-toned Triseirenian– a rare sight so far from her home world– and sings with three voices in harmony.
Nyota doesn't realize that she's singing along until Janice tucks a hand into her elbow and gives her a shake– then a grin when Nyota turns a questioning look on her, the last few notes flowing still from her lips. She throws a hand over her answering grin as if it will push the interruption back and she hopes her apology shows on her face when she looks back up to the little stage.
But the Triseirenian just interrupts herself with a laugh– with three laughs, in fact, her three voices together like wind chimes. Two of them continue their tinkling even as she says with the third one, smoky as the room itself, "No, no, please– don't stop."
She waves at the Vulcan who's been accompanying her on the lute and glides down off the stage and towards Nyota and Janice's table– or, more accurately, towards Nyota. Two of her four hands hold the hem of her flowing skirt out of her way while the other two are held in front of her. The other patrons crane their necks around, curious, many dozen eyes from a couple dozen folks falling on her. Some would find it repressive but Nyota blooms under the attention, sitting tall and reaching out to the first few strains of music, the same song started over, just as the Triseirenian comes close enough to take her hands.
"I want to take you away with me," she sings, her three voices rising in succession. She's singing in her native tongue, still only crudely put to standard by the translators even after years of refinement. Nyota has studied it, of course, but even she can only just pick out the complexities implied by the choice of words and of the mingling of voices. "Take you away with me…"
Nyota doesn't have three voices to sing with, and pride and respect alike hold her back from attempting to croon in the same language. She squeezes the hand in hers and answers in standard, "I want to go away… I want to go with you…"
There's little more than that to it, as heard in standard. The story– of desire, hope, whimsy, regret– is in the nuance of the song's native lyrics. Nyota pours all she knows into her singing, trying to get across with the emotion riding the notes and with her expressions what she can't with the words. She knows it falls far short of a fluent performance– she's listened to recordings of it done right. But the Triseirenian never falters as she leads her along the beat. Perhaps she's simply pleased to have someone to sing the second part of the song– but the way her thumbs stroke Nyota's knuckles suggests otherwise, if Nyota says so herself.
It isn't a long song, even though the way they're singing it– the way their accompaniment is playing it– spreads it out like a feast for the ears. They come to the end far too soon, though that might just be unavoidable. The Triseirenian leans in to tip her forehead against Nyota's as they croon the last line together, four voices where there are meant to be six rising and falling as one. She stands and slides her hands out of Nyota's as the final note fades and they look away from each other, Nyota to the ceiling and the Triseirenian to the floor at opposite sides. They hold the poses for an extra ten seconds before relaxing, signaling the true end of the performance.
Janice squeezes Nyota's arm before breaking into applause, apparently signaling the rest of the room. The Triseirenian claps, too, before taking Nyota by the hands again to urge her to stand and bow along with her. They share a hug and the Triseirenian squeezes her hands a last time before turning to make her way back to the stage.
Nyota falls back into her seat smiling ear to ear, one hand curled around the room key that was pressed into her palm. She may not be in position to let herself be taken away, she thinks as the Triseirenian catches her eye from the stage before addressing her next song to the room at large, but she'll happily spare a few hours of her shore leave.