DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Cheree Cargill and is copyright (c) 2001 by Cheree Cargill. This story is Rated PG-13.



CHARLIE X: WHEN I WAS SEVENTEEN

Cheree Cargill



Stardate: 1534.1. First Officer Spock recording.

The boy disturbs me. Even considering his inadvertent exile from humankind since he was three, there is something about him that is very wrong. I have not been around many humans his age, but his behavior seems abnormal. There is something hidden here that I have not yet puzzled out.

That he does not like me is obvious. There is hostility in his eyes when he looks at me and I fear that I reciprocate in kind. When we are together in the same room, I can feel the incipient lightning that will ultimately crack between us, like two conductors on a power array. The unidentified danger within him keeps me from initiating the explosion, for there is something about this young man that tells me I would lose the encounter.

I try to recall how it was for me, when I was seventeen, and wonder if I felt the same struggles as he. But, no, it was quite different. Where he is wild and uncontrolled, I was already locked into the Disciplines. Where he seeks desperately for friendship among the crew, I had turned my back on my school companions as they had turned their backs on me. Where he follows the Captain about like a motherless cub, I had already asserted my independence and launched myself alone upon the world.

But there is one way I see myself in him. When he looks at Yeoman Rand, his eyes are full of devotion and longing and he yearns for her as if they were Pledged. When I was seventeen, one of my few regrets at leaving Vulcan was that I should be parted physically from T'Pring.

How could a human understand what we meant to one another? I had never seen her until our parents brought us together when we were seven. The kahs'wan was already behind me, as was her own rite of passage, the tjin'wan. It was time for Pledging. Hers was a lesser but still important House and her parents were eager to cross-Bond their daughter into the House of Surak, even if the choice was the half-breed son of Sarek. They could overlook that deficiency, however. No matter my qomi blood, I was still a direct descendant of Surak and the living generations of my House counted in their number the most powerful and prestigious people on our planet. It was not logical to consider those elements in the pledging of one's children, but it was there nevertheless.

T'Pring and I had little say in the matter, although we would not have been pressed if either of us had objected to the other. But to what could we object? We did not know one another. Not until T'Pau touched our thoughts and guided us into a meld. It was the first time for both of us. We were virgins and had scarcely understood what a meld would entail.

I can remember the chill that went over me when she entered my mind and I hers. It felt as if my brain had found a life of its own and I wanted to leap to my feet and run. I knew that she felt the same way. Fortunately, T'Pau was there with us both and soothed us. She made the necessary manipulations that Bound us, and then ended the meld.

But T'Pring was still in my mind, a tiny part of her, and I felt myself within her own thoughts. It was disturbing and eerie in the first days, but gradually we both became used to it and, within a couple of weeks, it had become routine. We both ignored the link and went about our business.

I did not see her often, but found that we could communicate mentally if we tried hard enough. But those occasions grew farther and farther apart as the years passed.

But then when I was seventeen I felt the first surge of sexual awakening. I remember it vividly. It was fifteen days after my birthday and I found myself in the midst of a dream such as I had never before imagined. I dreamed that I was naked and burning with fever, waiting in the ring of standing stones at the base of Mt. Seleya. T'Pring faced me, dressed in a blood green robe and, as I watched, she let it drop from her shoulders. Her body was perfect and gleamed in the light of the setting sun which shone across the arena like a tongue of flame. She walked toward me, then stopped and lay down in the sand at my feet, holding her arms up to me.

What my body did then both excited and shocked me, but I could not control it, anymore than I could control the fire that surged through my heart and veins. In a moment's time, I found myself stretched upon her, my fingers already settling onto her meld points, even as she sought mine. Our minds joined together into one, and then our bodies followed suit, and I experienced for the first time the physical explosion of sexual release.

I awoke abruptly from my dream, to find the bedclothes wet and my body still swollen and heated from the dream. I burned with humiliation that such a thing would happen, that I could exercise so little control over myself, and I hurriedly rose and went to my bathing chamber to cleanse myself and change my nightwear.

While there, I was suddenly overwhelmed by T'Pring's presence in my mind. *Spock!* her voice whispered, and it was breathless with fear and arousal.

I had to clutch the basin to keep from falling, for my body responded to her as if it had been shot with adrenalin. I nearly cried aloud from the intense sensation of it. More than that, I could feel through our pledge-link that she had undergone the same surge of feeling. *T'Pring!* I answered back. *What's happening to us?*

Her only answer was a mental groan and I felt her body rock with sexual excitement. *Spock, I want you!* her voice sounded in my mind. *You must come to me now! I can't stand it any longer!*

I was in physical pain now, the frantic compulsion to join my body with hers bringing me to my knees there on the tiles. I knew that I was about to have another ejaculation and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Awkwardly, I fumbled for a towel and pressed it against my groin, clenching my teeth together to keep from screaming.

Through our link, I knew that T'Pring was teetering on the same precipice and she lost her battle at almost the same instant that I did.

I felt as if I were turning inside out, as if all my internal organs, my soul, my very being were erupting in that indescribable explosion of mind and body. I found myself lying on my side on the bath chamber floor, curled into a fetal position.

My father was kneeling beside me, his hand on my brow. "Spock," he said softly, "I felt your distress. It is all right. Remain quiet for a moment."

"T'Pring," I murmured, still feeling dazed. "I must go to her. She needs me..."

"No, not yet," my father answered. "It is not your Time. This is pon lak'han. It will pass shortly."

I was still locked mentally with my betrothed. I tried to rise. "I must ... I need ..." A wave of utter sorrow washed over me because I knew that it was a need that would not be met. "T'Pring!" I moaned and fell back. Her echoing despair rebounded through our link and I felt my emotional control tremble dangerously. My body convulsed again, ripping me in half.

Father touched my face and I felt him lending support, bolstering me until I could drag the tatters of myself back together. After an eternity, I began to feel as if normality were returning. The link with T'Pring began to stretch and fade as she too mastered her emotions.

At long last, I drew a deep breath and said, "I am quite all right now, Father. I no longer need your assistance."

He rose and assisted me to my feet. "Forgive me for violating your privacy, my son, but you were broadcasting your distress strongly and I recognized what was happening."

I straightened myself, still embarrassed that this should have occurred, humiliated that such a personal thing should be known. Sarek saw my discomfiture and assured me, "It is a normal thing, Spock. It happened with me as well. I suspect most young men experience something similar when the Time of Awakening comes upon them. It will be easier next time."

I gulped. "It will happen again?" I blanched at the thought.

Sarek nodded in understanding. "Do not be alarmed. I will make arrangements for you to go to the reldai on Mt. Seleya. They are trained in this and will teach you Disciplines that will allow you full control." He ventured to lay his hand on my shoulder, an almost unheard of sharing of paternal camaraderie. "But now finish your cleansing and go back to your bed. Try to sleep, Spock. Your mother will be curious if she discovers us both awake and it is best for now that this be private between us."

"Yes, Father," I answered. He turned and started to the door. I looked after him. "Thank you," I said softly. He paused for a second, nodded, then was gone.

* * *

I look across the rec room at Charles Evans sitting beside Rand, desperately searching for her approval, her return of his desire. I know that he will not find it, for she will not give it. Not to him at least. It is common knowledge that she is infatuated with the Captain and I have watched in amusement as she goes through exactly the same courtship displays in her attempt to win Captain Kirk's notice. Again, I know that her attempts are as futile as Charlie's are with her. For each, the object of their affection is already pledged elsewhere.

I think for a moment how fortunate I am to be Vulcan and how thankful I am that our way is sure and logical. I did not understand the wisdom of pledge-bonding when I was a child, but it is comforting to know that I will not have to undergo these antics when my time comes to mate. I know that T'Pring is waiting for me and that we will be called back together.

Our link had been silent for many years, but I know she is there all the same. I have but to reach out to feel her in my mind. I stretch out now to touch her, to reawaken the bond.

*T'Pring, it is I. Do you know that I desire thee?*

*. . . T'Pring?*

THE END