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 © 1999 by Cheree Cargill. This story was written only for enjoyment and there has been no intent whatsoever to glean a penny of profit. One copy of this story may be downloaded for the sole enjoyment of the reader and may not be distributed or reproduced further without the express written consent of the author.

This story is Rated PG.

Plato: Epilogue

Cheree Cargill

Christine's face was absolutely crimson as she raced to her cabin, still clad in the awful psuedo-Greek dress and outlandish makeup the Platonians had compelled her to wear. It didn't matter that the Captain, Uhura and Mr. Spock had been forced into the same humiliating attire. She could have stood it, could have ignored the curious stares of people she passed, had it not been for the knowledge of what she'd been obliged to do and with whom. She couldn't have been more embarrassed if they'd made her paint herself green and dance naked as an Orion slave woman. The point was, they'd required her to do it with Spock, and she didn't know how she could ever face him again.

Reaching her cabin, she raced inside and slapped the lock, then ripped the gown off and flung it on the floor. Quickly, she stripped off the sandals and then hurried into the bathroom, her fingers already tearing down the elaborate hairdo. She started water running in the basin and palmed facial cleanser as it did so. Bending over the basin, she scrubbed her face with both hands, washing away the awful heavy makeup, the shadow and paint that had lifted her brows and eyes into a sort of Vulcan facade. Of course they'd made her look like a cartoon of a Vulcan; what else did they think Spock would prefer?

When she finally lifted her dripping face and peered into the mirror, the reflection showed her the dark blonde brows and lashes of her own eyes, her skin clear and pink once more. She turned off the water and reached over to set the controls on the sonic shower. Stepping in, she just stood for some time, allowing the waves to ripple over her, until she felt clean again.

At last, she turned off the shower and stepped out then went into her bedroom to put on a fresh uniform. She was dressed but still in her stocking feet, standing before the bathroom mirror, redoing her makeup, when the buzzer to her door sounded. With a little trepidation, she answered it and was startled to find Spock standing there, hands behind his back in a characteristic pose. He too had redressed in regulation uniform and looked quite his usual self.

"Oh, Mr. Spock!" Christine stuttered, taken by surprise, and felt her face flushing again with embarrassment.

He tilted his head and gazed at her curiously. "I hope I am not disturbing you, Miss Chapel. I wondered if I might speak with you for a moment."

"Of course, come in," she answered, still flustered, and stepped aside to allow him entry. "Excuse me, sir, I was just getting ready to go back on duty."

"I will only delay you a short time," he answered. He peered at her again. "I assume, Miss Chapel, that the hue of your skin indicates considerable discomfort following the ... incident we have just experienced on Platonius."

She could feel her face burning and couldn't look at him. "Yes, Mr. Spock. I am so dreadfully sorry ..."

"That is precisely why I came to speak with you," he answered and his voice softened so that she brought her gaze up to his eyes. "There is no need for you to feel ashamed. Neither of us acted of our own free will."

"I know that." She was looking up at him, noticing how much taller he was as she stood in her stocking feet. In her boots, she was nearly as tall as he but now she had to lift her face to look into his. "I just don't know who I'm more embarrassed for -- you or me."

"There is no need to feel embarrassed for me," he answered. "I realize that your actions were forced upon you."

She bit her lip and suddenly felt her eyes sting with threatened tears. "You don't understand, Mr. Spock," she responded. "I'm humiliated because ... because I've thrown myself at you for years and I'd dreamed of kissing you. And ... and I knew deep down that you're not interested in me. So, to have you ... forced to do that ... in front of..." She couldn't go on and a tear slipped out through her closed lashes.

She felt a soft touch on her cheek and looked up to find that he had reached out to wipe away the tear with his thumb, and that he was gazing at her with a serious, gentle expression in his eyes. "Miss Chapel, my only regret is that I could not end the humiliation for you. Perhaps, in other circumstances, I would have found our predicament most enjoyable."

She stared at him in amazement. "Spock ... what are you saying?"

He drew back his hand from her cheek, but continued to gaze at her in the same intimate manner, making her heart pound and her breath come a little more rapidly. "That I did not find our embrace displeasing. Only the manner in which it happened." He glanced down for a second, then back up to look into her eyes. "I am simply very sorry that I was not able to spare you the public exhibition of what should have been a very private moment."

She gazed at him for a long time, it seemed, then whispered, "It's private now."

"Indeed," he answered and after a second of hesitation stepped closer to her. He slid his hands along her arms until they rested just below her shoulders and bent toward her. Closing her eyes in anticipation, she lifted up her face and then their lips came together. In their forced kiss, both had been trying to pull away, but now he leaned into her, his mouth warm and welcome. She slipped her hands up around his back, holding him closer as his lips moved gently and thoroughly over hers.

When he lifted his head and moved back a bit from her, he quirked one eyebrow and smiled at her. "Was that what you had in mind, Miss Chapel?"

Still a bit dazed, she couldn't help smiling back. "More or less," she replied softly. He nodded slightly and began to turn toward the door, as if that had settled matters between them, but she asked, "Spock ... where do we go from here?"

He hesitated and turned slightly in her direction. "Back to work?" he suggested with a hint of facetiousness in his voice, then less so as he went on, "Back to the way we were?" He faced her and moved closer, growing still more serious, his voice dropping into a husky whisper, "To friendship?" Then quietly, intently. "...To bed?" The last sent shivers down her spine, for he was not joking.

"You want to go to bed with me?" she questioned, hardly trusting her voice to work.

He was standing very close to her now, his sheer masculinity nearly overwhelming her. "If we should pursue this relationship to its logical conclusion, that would be the desired outcome."

Her legs were trembling so much she wondered how she managed to remain standing. "Now, Spock?" she breathed, half-terrified that he would say 'yes' but ready to do anything he wanted.

One eyebrow twitched up in surprise and that broke the tension. "No, Miss Chapel, I did not mean now, this minute! The Captain is expecting me on the bridge. I am, after all, on duty at the moment." The other eyebrow went up to join its mate. "And so are you, I might add. I expect that Dr. McCoy requires your presence in sick bay."

Christine laughed and sagged a bit. "Good. I mean ... I don't think I'm quite ready for that step yet. Let's give friendship a little time and see where it leads, shall we, Spock?"

"That is agreeable." Again he turned to go and again she halted him.

"Shall we start with dinner tonight? Can I expect you at 1900?"

She almost expected him to refuse, to give her an excuse why he couldn't, but he looked back at her with a quizzical expression and answered, "1900. Very well, Christine. It is a ... 'date'." He smiled and was gone.

Bemused and a little bewildered at the events of this afternoon, she turned back to finish dressing, wondering now what Vulcans liked to eat.

The End