Pairing: Nyota Uhura/Spock
Why I love Nyota Uhura/Spock:
He's a half-Vulcan, half-human Starfleet Commander--brilliant, accomplished, dedicated to his people's practice of using logic to contain their emotions. She's a brilliant xenolinguist who we meet giving Jim Kirk the brushoff, and learn later is one of Spock's most talented former students. The revelation that they're engaged in a secret relationship is one of the most surprising plot twists of the 2009 film--and yet once we know it, it makes perfect sense.
From the moment we meet Uhura, we learn that she's liked and sociable, but also very private. "Her drink's on her," she says to Kirk in their first scene together, at a bar where she neatly rejects his advances. Her first name--Nyota--is something she only shares with people she's close to. (It becomes a running joke that Kirk doesn't know her first name--but Spock does.) Uhura spends her evenings in the long-range sensor lab, monitoring faint transmissions from space that others find incomprehensible. Her ability to translate and see significance in one such transmission is a key plot point that saves the Enterprise from destruction.
About Spock, we learn that his calm demeanor is the actually the product of intense effort, using logic as a means to control deep and conflicted emotions. As a child we see him bullied by his Vulcan peers because of his human mother. Later, he rejects admission to the Vulcan Science Academy when they insult his human heritage, and instead joins Starfleet. Like Uhura, Spock seems to hold himself a little apart from others--something the film's bad guy taunts him with the first time they meet. Where Uhura seems independent and scrappy, Spock's distance from others is more of a gulf. He's often misunderstood--except by Uhura, whose exceptional ability to understand what others find mysterious and too subtle to grasp makes her his perfect match.
That these two characters would be drawn to each other--and that the attraction is powerful enough to make them take risks and probably break rules to be together--seems very logical.
Of course there's also the undeniable hotness. What's hotter than a (possibly) illicit and (definitely) secret relationship between two extremely attractive and accomplished geniuses? Very little, in my books.
Seriously how freaking gorgeous are they?
Lots of great stories have been written about Spock and Uhura, some of which were highlighted in the previous round. To help readers, I've chosen to organize the recs into thematic categories. I hope you find that helpful. And if this is your first time reading Spock/Uhura, welcome!
These are stories that, usually in relatively short form, illuminate who these characters are, and what they're like together. For readers new to the pairing, they're a great way to be introduced to the characters of Spock and Uhura, and to the qualities that people love about their relationship.
Fic Rec #1: nyumbani
Why This Must Be Read: This story is an ideal character study: brief and beautifully written, with lots of wonderful, well-though-out detail. Author's summary: "She brings him to see her home." After the Enterprise returns to Earth, Spock and Nyota go to Dar es Salaam. Pitch-perfect and lovely.
Fic Rec #2: Virago
Why This Must Be Read: This is a great character study of Nyota, which includes her relationship with Spock in the larger picture of who she is. It's intelligent and understated, and I think of it often when I write about Nyota.
Fic Rec #3: Pomegranate
Why This Must Be Read: Author's summary: "After Nero, Uhura goes home. Spock and Gaila do, too." There's just so much quiet intelligence and sensitivity in this story! The character interactions are interwoven with a wonderful thread about the Federation reaching out to a new species on a new planet, with Nyota acting as translator.
Fic Rec #4: All That's Best of Dark and Bright
Link: All That's Best of Dark and Bright
Why This Must Be Read: From Spock's POV, this story takes place on the Enterprise, and deals with his emotions after the destruction of Vulcan. It's very telling about Vulcan thinking, and also revealing of Spock and Uhura's relationship--the way they balance and care for each other. It's not easy to write in Spock's voice, but this author does it beautifully.
Origin Stories, or "How they got together":
When did they get together? How long has this been going on? What was their relationship like before the film? These questions have inspired many great stories, with many different interpretations of how it happened. These are a few that I find particularly great.
Fic Rec #5: Figurative Language: Metaphors
Link: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Why This Must Be Read: This very well-done story is organized around a theme of language and the difficulty of cross-cultural communications. The gradual development of Nyota and Spock's relationship is lovely and believable--staying true to her wish to be sensitive to the cultural differences between them and his natural restraint. As an introduction to their characters and the context in which they live, as well as a sweet romance, I highly recommend this fic! (There's also a sequel which you can access from this master page.)
Fic Rec #6: Ad Astra
Link: Ad Astra
Rating/Warning(s): mild R
Why This Must Be Read: This author takes a different approach to Spock and Uhura's relationship, placing its beginning during the film, making their kiss in the turbolift their first kiss ever. It begins with "missing scenes" from the film and proceeds beyond it, filling in some story gaps as it goes. It's a beautifully-written story, with excellent character voices.
Fic Rec #7: Break
Rating/Warning(s): mild R
Why This Must Be Read: This story was recced here last year, but I felt my list would be incomplete without it. This story does a great job of weaving together the gradual development of Spock and Uhura's relationship with the academic environment of Starfleet Academy. It's full of lively, interesting detail, and gets the characters from friendship to romance in a believable, in-character way.
Also notable: Another story that would have been on list is Miscommunication, a modern Pride-and-Prejudice story that's truly great--but it was just recced here recently so I'll just direct you to theworldsforgot's rec here for details.
It's very difficult to choose just a few stories from among the many that deal with Spock and Uhura as a couple with an established relationship. I've chosen these because they're great fics that also illuminate something unique about Spock and Uhura's relationship.
Fic Rec #8: The Love Letter
Link: The Love Letter
Why This Must Be Read: Spock writes Nyota a love letter. The author achieves something I wouldn't have thought possible: to write about sex in a way that's realistically Vulcan (that is, using correct anatomical terms, which is normally antithetical to hotness) yet somehow also intensely romantic and really hot. Her Spock voice is beautifully done--I adore this story!
Fic Rec #9: Cultural Oddities
Link: Cultural Oddities
Why This Must Be Read: This ensemble story deals with the Vulcan mating cycle, pon farr, and how Nyota handles its arrival at a point when their relationship is still relatively new. I love this story for its sensitivity to the characters, for its non-angsty, non-violent depiction of pon farr, and for the way it brings in Kirk and McCoy as supporting--and supportive--characters.
Fic Rec #10: Instruction
Why This Must Be Read: Nyota in the shooting range, working on her accuracy with a phaser. Spock joins in to give her some pointers. I love stories that highlight the fact that Spock and Nyota are Starfleet officers, highly trained and liable to be called on for some badassery at any time. Competence, why so sexy?
Besides being brilliant and crazy competent, this pairing is gifted with extreme attractiveness and a situation tailor-made for Fics of Hotness. Between the secrecy thing, the instructor/former student thing, the "seemingly repressed guy who's a secret dark horse" thing, the potential-for-office-sex thing, and the "we might all die tomorrow" thing, the possibilities are basically endless. These are stories that, for me, convey something unique in the context of THE SEXY.
Fic Rec #11: Unzipped
Why This Must Be Read: Nyota's boots are really sexy. Spock notices.
Fic Rec #12: Quiet in the Library
Link: Quiet in the Library
Why This Must Be Read: Extremely hot, wonderfully in character. I love stories that foreground Spock and Uhura's intellectual compatibility, even as they're engaged in highly irregular sexy behavior in a (questionably) secluded area of the library. Gah, did I mention this one is extremely hot?
Fic Rec #13: One Thousand Words for Snow
Link: One Thousand Words for Snow
Why This Must Be Read: A beautiful meditation on the idea that the Vulcan language has no word for "lover." Hot but not graphic, poignant and poetic, this is just a gorgeous, thoughtful story that stays with you long after you read it.
Fic Rec #14: Discoveries
Why This Must Be Read: A variation on "how they got together," if how they got together was Cadet Nyota Uhura showing up at Commander Spock's door and persuading him that logic dictates that they should act on their attraction for each other immediately. What ensues is six chapters of well-written, crisply paced and refreshingly non-repetitive exploration of that proposition. I have a thing for stories in which Nyota and Spock take a "learn as you go" approach to human and Vulcan sexual practices, and this one is particularly well done. It has a similarly enjoyable sequel, Appetite.
I hope you find some stories you enjoy among these recs. Thanks for reading!