She didn’t know whether she would call it sad or beautiful, looking at it as it sat there tethered to the floating dock in the fine, steady rain that came down cold. Uhura was one of the few of her former bridge crew who had no interest in sailing, so there wasn’t much that she could say about the sailboat, except that the elegant curve of the hull and the well-tended lines and woodwork were pleasing to the eye, and the way the world was grays and more grays around it made it feel somehow melancholy.
“Do you ever actually sail the boat?” she asked, looking over to where Scotty stood next to her, obstinately outside of the weather shield that was currently keeping her dry from the rain that was plastering his silver hair down to his head like a helmet. It was a good-natured question, and even though their romance had began and ended with the ease and self-awareness of maturity long since, she was still angling for a trip out on the water.
Not for the trip itself, even, but for the company of an old friend.
“Oh, no,” he said, crinkling his nose briefly, then palming the water off of his face with a long-practiced motion. “Never was much of a sailor, really.”
Uhura, of all people, could read layers of communication. She looked back at the boat, and she didn’t bother to ask why he bought it and restored it, if he never planned on sailing it. Even if she didn’t know the story, it was written in the beautiful restored lines and in the gray melancholy of the rain. “Well, Mister, if you’re going to insist on bringing me out here to show it to me and then not taking me out on it, I’m going to insist on something warm to drink.”
That chased away the tired shadows in his eyes, and Scotty grinned back easily, offering a wet arm without concern for her to take gallantly. “That, I can do. I’ll have ye know that I make a mean hot chocolate.”
She took his arm, even soaked, with grin of her own. “That, you can do.”
It was the last time she saw him, before he left on the Jenolan the following year, and she always felt it somehow fitting; the last thing he restored, saved, sitting melancholy in the rain, and his warm, good-natured company over cocoa after.