Something More

By: emn1936

Disclaimer: Story is mine; characters and settings are not

Chapter One

Clad in her off-duty uniform comprised of jeans and a casual shirt, Uhura strode through the nearly deserted corridors at a brisk pace. She had gone off duty several hours earlier and though it was late, she was not yet ready to seek her bed. She loved this time when most of her crewmates were winding down for the evening and settling into their quarters while the much smaller evening shift manned their posts.

Like most of her crewmates, Uhura thrived on excitement and the controlled chaos that made for life on the Federation's flagship; but she also cherished the near hush that fell over the Enterprise at this time every evening. While the busy thrum of her duties and interacting with the senior bridge crew kept her mind nimble; these treasured moments of alone time allowed her spirit a chance to rejuvenate.

She entered the large fitness and recreation center that comprised a significant part of one of the lower decks and entered the locker room. Pressing her thumb over a small scanner, she heard the lock disengage and pulled open the door to her private storage area. Her gaze fell on her workout clothes and she automatically began to reach for them when suddenly she stopped and instead debated the merits of the two swimsuits stored there. She quickly made a decision and stripped out of her clothes and into her favorite bikini. She had denied herself the slice of chocolate cake that had been calling out to her at dinner earlier that evening and as a reward for her show of willpower, she felt she deserved a relaxing hour or so spent lolling in a chaise lounge poolside in the artificial sunlight rather than sweating off imagined unwanted pounds. She yanked a tote bag from her locker, stuffed a towel, her personal music player and an e-book written by a new mystery writer into its depths and slammed the door closed.

Pleased that the lack of activity in the locker area indicated that she would have the pool area to herself, she slipped her feet into rubber-soled sandals and tugged a loose cover-up over her suit. Her pony-tail bounced jauntily as she set off for the pool area. As she exited the locker room, her mouth curved down in disappointment as the sound of distant music indicated that she was not as alone as she had hoped, though she quickly came to realize that the sound was coming from the fitness center and not the pool. Curious, she detoured towards the glass window that ran the length of the fitness center and looked in. Her first sweeping glance over the room indicated it was empty, but then she caught the signs of movement coming from one corner. As she slipped through the open door, her gaze fell on the unmistakable figure of her captain using one of the treadmills at the far end of the room.

He was shirtless and a loose pair of navy running shorts rode low on his hips. His normally blonde hair was two shades darker with sweat and perspiration gleamed on his torso and soaked into the waistband of his shorts. A stack of PADDs was piled haphazardly on a small table next to the treadmill and another was propped in a slot on the machine's display panel. Though Uhura had come to reach a hard-earned respect for her commanding officer in the three months since they had been assigned to the Enterprise, neither was she inclined to seek his company while off-duty. She didn't think he had taken note of her presence and she decided to back out of the room and continue on with her plans for the rest of the evening when her gaze fell on the overhead monitor displaying the stats on his workout. Judging by the number of miles exhibited and the severe pace he was setting, Kirk had been on the treadmill for a grueling amount of time. Uhura's gaze flew to his face and she was startled to find her normally handsome, young captain looking haggard and worn. His eyes were closed, his typically smiling mouth settled into a grim line.

This was not a man out to hone his body into shape but rather a man bent on penanceā€¦ or punishment.

A/N: Though I was wholly-intrigued by the S/U pairing in the movie, this is the story that popped into my mind. It may wind up being a friendship, a romance, or somewhere in between. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it. I'd love to know what you think.