“Uhura—Nyota, wait!” Jim calls after his friend as she huffily storms off from him. Okay, well not huffily, Uhura looks every bit as elegant and cool as usual, but he knows how to read her moods. The tightness of her posture, the way she refuses to look at him in the eye—the fact that she told him to drop dead for hooking up with her best friend—is a dead giveaway. Trying not to cause a scene, Jim takes off after her as discretely and as quickly as he can manage. “Nyota,” he hisses, ignoring the looks he’s getting around the campus as he follows Uhura from one end of the premises to the other.
They are about to enter the cafeteria, Uhura has one foot up on the stairs, before Jim finally catches up to her and grabs her by the shoulder, spinning the brunette around to see the barely perceptible smudge of usually immaculate eyeliner around her eyes. Whoa… She’s obviously upset—like, almost out of character upset, and it’s YOUR fault Jim. He feels his heart drop into his stomach as Uhura avoids his eyes and clenches her jaw. “I did it as a favor,” he blurts out, immediately wishing he could kick himself for being so ridiculous.
Uhura’s eyes snap up to meet his and Jim nearly lets go of her, the heat of her gaze is nearly scorching. “She’s MY friend, Jim!” She looks and sounds like some kind of wrathful divinity, forcing Jim to literally take a step back as she pokes him hard in the chest. “She’s OFF LIMITS! I told you she was off limits!”
Uhura is seething, but upon realizing that they have started to gain an audience, the brunette turns to sweep away. Jim grabs her again, this time mustering up his best ‘I’m a sad, sorry little puppy’ face, “look, that’s… not what I meant. Can we go somewhere private to talk? Please,” he says quietly, batting his lashes to get Uhura to agree.
“I swear, Kirk, I don’t know why I put up with you,” Uhura grumbles, snatching her arm away but letting the blond lead her away from the growing crowd.
“What? Why would she do that?” Uhura looks flabbergasted, hurt even. Uncrossing her arms to brace herself against the nearest desk, the brunette sits down heavily. “She usually tells me everything…”
Jim shrugs his shoulders, “she didn’t tell me and I didn’t ask. Sorry,” he says honestly, looking around the empty classroom and then taking a seat on the adjacent desk. He’s tempted to give her a consolatory pat on the shoulder, to squeeze her hand or something, but he and Uhura aren’t as touchy-feely as he and Bones are, so he settles for a smile instead, “heeey, it’s not all that bad.”
Uhura rolls her eyes, “you’re about to say something stup—”
“You at least got to see me in my underwear,” Jim winks as he gestures to himself like he’s some kind of prized treasure, seemingly proud of the fact that his friend had seen him nearly naked. “That’s gotta count for something,” he jokes, hoping his lightheartedness would cheer Uhura up. For the most part, it actually does. A smile cracks across her face before she quickly smooths out her features.
“You’re squishier around the middle than you were three years ago,” Uhura remarks playfully, “Bones might want to change professions if being around him is making you fat.”
Jim pretends not to be at least a smidge bit insulted, although he starts smoothing his hands across his stomach reflexively, “in his defense, I don’t listen to him—”
“You don’t listen to anyone,” Uhura corrects.
“What can I say?” He shrugs coolly, “I’m the kind of guy to go with the flow—make it up as I go and all that.” Uhura is about to rag on him about that too, but hesitates all of a sudden. It's as though a light's just come on in here head. Watching her have an epiphany before him, Jim scrunches his face up in confusion, “uhhh, did’ya short circuit there?”
The brunette’s eyes widen and, suddenly, she jumps up off the desk, “wait a minute! Why didn’t you sleep with Gaila?”
Jim is taken aback, “uh… what?”
“Why. Didn’t. You. Sleep. With. Gaila?” She asks, slowly and clearly as if talking to a small child.
Jim feels his throat dry a little. Uh oh. Trying to keep his cool, he shrugs his shoulders, “I’unno…?”
“Is that a question or a statement?” Uhura probes.
It’s Jim’s turn to stand up next, “I’m wondering why you’re interested all of a sudden.”
“Because three years ago you turned those twins down too and I’m trying to figure out what your M.O is. All I can think is either you’re harboring feelings for me, or if you’re horribly xenophobic,” Uhura is giving him a look that says she isn’t going to take no for an answer. After all, this is the determined young lady that is at the top of her classes, the one that never seemed to get intimidated. Jim feels like his balls are in a vice as those brown eyes bore into his brain through his eye holes. This is the stare down of the millennium, he thinks.
Unconsciously, Jim’s eyes break the connection with Uhura’s, drifting to the door over her shoulder as he tries to come up with the right excuse.
She knows too much. Abort. Abort.
Jim doesn’t realize that she’s still talking until he catches the tail end of her last statement, “are you gay?”
“W-What?” he sputters, looking back at her quickly, watching as her expression softens at his reaction.
“It’s perfectly fine, Jim, its 22—”
“I know what year it is, Nyota.”
“There’s no need to get defensive, Jim. You’ve been my friend for three years, I’m not going to get mad at you for being yourself.”
“I’m not gay,” Jim declares unconvincingly. The sympathetic smile on Uhura’s face makes him want to disappear into the floor. Cmon, just tell her the truth. “I mean… shit, I don’t know…” he feels the heat creep up his neck but refuses to let himself get flustered. Staring back at the door, he pushes through the knot forming in his throat, “like… like, don’t you have to have sex first to figure out who you like and all that?”
Uhura scoffs, “sexuality is far more complex than th—wait…”
Jim really, really wishes the floor would eat him up right about now. Uhura’s face is unbearable, the way it morphs into this warm, almost sisterly expression as realization dawns on her. “James Tiberius Kirk—”
“Don’t say it!”
“—is a virgin!” she gasps amusedly, “wow.”
Embarrassedly, Jim buries his face in his hands, “Mhm, yeah… wow,” he says into his palms, “so funny.”
“I didn’t say it was funny!” Uhura clarifies, even though she’s giggling, “I’m just surprised, is all. You play the role of insufferable flirt very well, I have to admit."
"..." Jim is wholly unimpressed.
"So, how’d that rumor…” Uhura starts to wonder aloud.
Jim drops his hands down onto the edge of the desk, interrupting her with an incredulous look in his eyes, “what, you didn’t start it?”
“Don’t flatter yourself, Jim.”
“I’m so going to kill Bones.”