DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Beth Carlson and is copyright (c) 1983 by Beth Carlson Originally printed in Trekism at Length #3. Rated PG -13.


By Sun and Candlelight

Beth Carlson


I feel you nearer now than you were when first I felt your need three days ago. And again, this day, I choose. I have the choice to control, to shut your feelings safely away from me, or to share them.

Tradition and propriety deem that I shut them away from my perception; it is logical that I remain in full command of my mind and senses. Logical. Is it logic that brings you to me in a barbaric flood of passion? Or that bids I wait like some senseless prey to be taken? Illogic, it seems, is permissible when named tradition -- or need.

I was surprised when your father came to mine with the proposal that we be bonded. It is logical -- a widow and a man divorced. The choice is limited for you, but I have no need but to carry on my family line -- and even that will eventually become yours. I was surprised, but not displeased. My wishes were not consulted, no more than yours were, I suspect. But it was with interest and acceptance that I met your mind and became a part of you. The image of your face that day comes before my inner sight, wavering between the face of the man you are and the boy with whom I grew.

Alien. They called you alien -- and you were. You are alien. More alien than if you were fully human. Humans we can know and predict; you -- are different. You are a being unto yourself, and therefore uniquely alien. As we were growing, it was not the alienness that I saw, at least not the type that comes from blood, or genetics. It was the alienness of one not afraid to stand apart, not cut to match, and proud, somehow, to be the differing segment. And yet, there was that part of you that stood more Vulcan than the rest.

It was that Vulcan my mind met in the sand that day. It was that stone and esemil structure planted firmly in the raging swirl of your undisciplined mind, the softness beating itself painfully against the hardness. Human crushed against immovable Vulcan. It was frightening, like a wind eddy pulling at the mouth of a cavernous pit. And it was intriguing. It was unfathomable that you exist within your own mind. And yet you do survive. You do function, as well as any. Now, in addition to what you already battle, there is this. If you can bear the torment of this time, how can I, then, not share in it?

* * *

Hours pass and it grows stronger, the tension, the panic, the rising pressure. Still, there is my choice. I still could choose to close it out -- all but the knowledge of your need and the obedience to you. I could close out even the obedience, if I chose the challenge, and began to prepare for it now. But I do not choose the challenge. And I do choose, against all that is "proper" and "acceptable", to ride the pain with you.

My mother is against it, as she was against our bonding. She is logical -- as always. And, in essence, I must agree with her. There is no logical reason to choose to experience the time in any more than my physical body. I would be able to protect myself from the rage of your mind, to shut away the pain in my body, to allow you nothing but what is demanded of me by tradition. Why then do I continue to allow your pain to touch me? To allow your pressure to confine me to my room, my meditations and my solitude -- to await your coming? It is not logical.

Logic. I believe in it with all of my being. But I believe in nothing that imprisons my mind, or dictates my mind, or dictates what, by ancient law -- unchanged -- is my free choice. My mother says that I will regret my decision. That I cannot know what it is, that I have never faced the time, seen the rage, known the madness and the fear. She is right in that -- when Svotel died, I was but eleven. I survived a breaking -- a tearing out of my inner world -- that should have destroyed me. I lived, and I learned the lessons of consuming aloneness. I will not put that on you, my bondmate. I will not leave you to the pain alone.

* * *

Still, you are days away, and I feel your struggle to remain calm. I am calm. Am I reaching you? Can I reach you? Or is it only the intensity of your burden that reaches to me? Courage. Peacefulness, Spock. Relax, my betrothed, the time shortens. Rest -- and sleep.

* * *

My thoughts are full of you. When we were young, I watched you -- wondering what things you thought, why you were so separate, even in being among us. (Your eyes are so liquid clear, Spock.) And when there was that haunting aloneness in you, I wanted to reach out to you. It was not logical. Was not then, and is not now. Perhaps I am not as logical as I might be. Was not then, and is not now. Perhaps...

...I'that'a! We touch! By the mind -- by all that is Vulcan!! I am afraid! I cannot! Pain! I am Vulcan -- there is no-- //Spock? Yes, I hear you! I cannot-- I -- yes. I will -- I am.//

I am calmed by his instructions -- no -- his orders. //Spock?// He is gone. How it must have strained him to send so far -- for me. To have been ordered, and to crave to obey, to seek to be sheltered by another, how unlike me. And to obey, and find peace. All so new.

Though tolerable, it is still intense, the touching of the time -- the invisible barrier of distance is spanned -- and there will be relief now, as there has been none for him. I will not allow the fear to overwhelm me again. I have chosen to share. I will not be a burden to thee.

* * *

Pain. How can one shift from feeling no desire to feeling so much that it hurts? Procreation. Survival of the species. Pressure. Come, betrothed. Great white starship speed on the wings of Athotolis. Oh, pain...

Calm. I must be calm. I am the stronger of mind. I must impart peace to him, allow him to stand in dignity before the Elders, before T'Pau. Whole Vulcan. Completed man.

"No, Mother. I want no food. Yes. I know -- I know."

* * *

The water hurts. "No, Mother. I will not change my mind." Please, this once, be on my side ... and stop your infernal reasoning. Can't you see how hard you make it? Head throbbing. Pressure in me pumping. "No, Mother. I wish no soft music." I wish only silence and an end to this hell. "Thank you, Mother. I could not have put it up myself." The hair off of my neck feels good. Strange garment. Stranger still this stupor. I feel so much from him that I am overwhelmed. The force of his blood pumping through me, my heart pounding. Oh, pain... And heat. I am so hot.

Father? "Yes, Father. Yes." It has been so long since I bent my head into your hands like this. Since ... before my bonding with Svotel. Soothing touch. //Thank you, Father. Comfort to you, Father. Mind of my own, life of my own... You are... The words do not come. Know my heart. Know what you are to me, and what time and happenings cannot touch.//

* * *

He is there as I enter. He is beautiful! My -- our -- hearts pound at the nearness. Our minds are as wild equines, hooves flailing in the air at one another, heads tossing, teeth burying in flesh and hair.


It is he that commands our coming to reality. I was wrong. I am not the stronger of mind. I am pure Vulcan, but I am not stronger. He commands our honor and our dignity. And I obey.

The formalities take a millennium to pass -- words to say, vows to be spoken, the trivia of it all! Pass, Time! Pass and free us to one another! Once again, I feel his quelling and submit to it. Wetness gathers between my paired hands and runs down my wrists, my throat is parched, but I will not show that which is within me.

At last it is over, and I am presented to him. I am aching, my husband. Do not touch me; I will explode. Does he know? Has he heard? He does not touch me. Of course. It is shared desperation and pain. He strides away in the sand toward the Cave of Completion and I follow. I feel the pressure in him -- in us -- building. He is no longer fighting it and we are feeding off of one another's lust and hunger as the cave's darkness invites us into its depths.

It is only logical to undress quickly, to say nothing. His mind is within mine fully; he has not asked, nor have I resisted. It is still the raging swirl of non-discipline, always alien, and now -- voraciously hungry. It is all of me. No. I am not stronger of mind. His mind is undisciplined, as only it could be with its human influence, but it is strong and utilitarian -- and very different.

His palm raises, his eyes dark haunted coals in dimness. I shudder as I feel the depth of his need to mate and lift my hand to his. It is hot and moist, unlike the usual dryness, the fever driving his body temperature past its usual heat. There is a blocking from him, and then a groan as he releases to the sensuality of our touch and allows the hunger to take him, his hand stroking mine. At his release the current hits me fully and it is all I can do not to pull away, but I am trapped. It is coursing too much sensation through me; there is too much of each of us that wants it to go on and on. It is a cacophony clanging, a vacuum drawing. Fear and sickness merge with throbbing and dizziness until we both feel the need to escape and fight it back.

//Why have you chosen this?// Defensiveness? Judgment? Or just rampant curiosity? He is shaking.

//Suffice it to say that I have.// My answer is harsh, as defensive as his seemed.

We are losing (wanting to lose?) the battle for reason. Neither of us is sure of this, neither wants to surrender to it. His hand touches my face and the undertow is set. Our minds and bodies rise, as if by some predestined call, and join forces against our will and control as his hands slide to my back.

//Yes, by the minds, yes!// That cannot be me. But it is. His body is moving, spasming, and hot hands burn down my buttocks and thighs. //Yes!//

His answer is only a growl as he lifts me about his hips and, spreading me, lowers me onto his body, a thrust forcefully taking him as we touch. I am flame!

* * *

Now, for the first time, there is an interim in which to rest. And to think. The days that have preceded have been painful, wearing, and in some ways that are totally and undeniably emotional -- satisfying. We are bruised and dirty, matted and swollen with our activities. The hunger rages intermittently inside with no seeming concern that the implements of consumption are but of flesh. Spock sleeps, and I do not doubt that he will waken soon, the hunger in him rising in my body as well. But for now, he is peaceful. For now, he rests, his head upon his arm, his mouth open slightly, his lashes fringed upon his cheek.

I do not regret my decision to share in the torment of this time with him, to fall witness to his madness, to be that madness with him. And as for his question, "why?" ... I do not know.

* * *

It is over. We kneel together at the mouth of the cave, knees together, balanced on feet, our bodies healing from those frantic first days. His eyes are clear and unclouded, reflecting my face. He gives me a slight bow and puts his hands out to me, palms up, expecting, and receiving, my hands into his. "I am honored to have served thee, my husband."

The darkness in his eyes lights in the morning sun. "As thee chose, we served one another."

I suddenly -- untenably -- cannot meet his eyes, and he reaches -- in that totally alien way of his -- to touch my face. And somehow it is no longer alien, but merely Spock, and valued as such. I feel the need to reach to him as well. It does not make sense, and I should not act upon it. There is no passion, no need in either of us, but the urging is there. I look into the clearness of his eyes and wonder. Have I become so bold that I would act from something that is not logical -- not by intellect or by necessity? And yet, my arms, as if by their own will, lift and come around him. A rush of terrifying fullness sweeps me as he meets my embrace with his own and holds me hard against him. It is not his emotion that I feel inside. Our minds have been apart for hours now. It is my own strange churning. And if I bear this without becoming totally insane, it will be nothing short of a miracle. I do not believe in miracles -- but it is subsiding now, growing more comfortable, and he continues to hold me close. At last it is ended and we sit back.

"Why did you choose to share the madness with me?" he asks, as if the touching had loosed some freedom in him.

I think. And still, I do not know. But I must answer, and as I speak, it comes to me. "I could not bear to see you alone. Even when you were bonded to T'Pring, she was not companion to you." Again, the fullness invades and I fight it back. At last it is contained and I speak -- must speak the truth. "And I did not wish to be left behind. I could not bear not being a part of what was in you. It was an illogical reason, and as such, unworthy." My eyes cast down in shame. Again his hand touches my face, raising it.

"It would be illogical for the wife of a full Vulcan. It was not tradition. But it was wise for the wife of Spock, for I am not in tradition. It took great courage to adapt to the situation, my wife -- to live with the lack of emotional discipline it posed."

He has located a source of discomfort. "I have been--" No. It is not right to put that upon him. But he interposes it, much to my surprise.


"Forgive me. Yes."

Again, almost a smile -- does he smile when he is with the humans, just as he is Vulcan when he is with us? His eyes soften and he reaches out to stroke my cheek with fingertips once again a little cooler than my face. "It will achieve its proper place, the emotion." His hands drops. "You are fatigued and you have been very close within my mind for many days." And then, he does smile! May reason keep me from reacting and offending him! He touches my face again, his eyes all seeing and forgiving. The smile flares and then is gone. "Emotion is not the fatal thing that it is deemed to be, only very dangerous. Once it is learned, it must be contained and hidden, but it can be managed. I regret that my influence on you requires you to experience it and therefore to control. I know of no way to shield you from it but to be totally impersonal. It is an innate part of me."

Relief is sudden. The logic of it touches my mind with a swiftness that causes wonder for the length of time it took to see. Diversity. I am Vulcan and I will be Vulcan, not by what I feel but by what I am and what I do. There is no shame in reaching to one who needs my touch. It does not invalidate me if I can feel another's need. It is my answer. It is the reason for my instinctual sharing with my bondmate. For this situation, and with this individual, it was logical. "I will value this exposure as a point of personal growth, my husband." His face shows relief.

But that is not the end of the spectrum of responsibility for this one's needs and it echoes in my being. I am his. And if his needs are to be met, completely met, I must find some of his alienness in myself to share with him.  There is that space in him that I have seen in these last days, that needs to touch -- caress.

Oh, bold Vulcan woman! Show your courage now!

I cannot!

You must. Let it be now or be forever lost to you -- to him.

And in a rush of panic and against all logic and taboo, I lean to him -- what has been till now led by him, eased by the heat of the fever, becomes clumsy in my own efforts. I press my lips to his as I have felt him do to mine, and his arms come around me. His breath quickens and his mouth is hot and wet on mine, searching and -- by the mind -- finding, passion there.

He pulls me back onto the sand with him. We will mate one more time before we leave this place. And it will not be because of the pon farr, but because of the humanity of this alien bondmate, because of the ancient sexuality this brazen Vulcan woman allows his human touch to incite in her.

His hands touch me, his mind firmly closed within himself, and in shock I feel again the quaking need to be one with him. In a very human fashion, he urges me on, covers my body with his own and -- at last -- enters. And once again, I am flame. Total Vulcan. And totally consumed in the fire wrought by this man who is nothing if not alien.

* * *

Alien. I was attracted to it long years ago, and in this place in me that I have only now admitted.  And I am still attracted to it. Looking at him resting beside me, I see myself for what I am as well: A rebel woman with my chosen granite god. He looks at me and I cannot conceal it longer, but reach to stroke his belly and to smile -- cursed, forbidden smile that it is. "You are going to be the ruin of me, Human." There is that full feeling in me as I speak, and he hears it for he returns the slight smile.

"You are to be incorruptible, Vulcan. I am only a half-breed, not to be trusted for control."

"Then we have a problem, my husband." Again I come into the shelter of his arms willingly. "We have a very large problem." And two slight smiles meet.

"...I love thee to the level of every day's

Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight."

             Elizabeth Barrett Browning

             Old Earth Dating 1806-61