DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns everything Star Trek. No money is being made here. I'm just playing around in their backyard. This story is copyright (c) 2002 by Cherpring. Rated PG.

"I Know"

Cherpring

"It would be ... illogical for us to protest against our natures. Don't you think?" He speaks in quiet phrases, carefully chosen. Us? His regard is given away in the asking, in the tenderness left unspoken between the words.

I breathe, yet I am not breathing, suspended in a space of time too fragile to count. I look at him ... so beautiful to my eyes that I think I will fly apart inside and fragment into a thousand pieces from the sheer force of all that I feel for him. There are no words.

Dare I know?

"I ... don't understand," I tell him, although perhaps I do. Yes, most illogical, but I have a truth of my own, a truth so glaring that I don't understand how he cannot see it, cannot feel it. He has lived among us, is part of us, yet he doesn't grasp what is right here before him. Or refuses to. That truth is this: The Human heart is not made of logic, or even sinew and blood. It is much more than a bundle of mechanical flesh pumping life to the body, giving sustenance to tissue and thought. The Human heart is made of dreams -- sometimes real, sometimes impossible -- spun together with hope and courage, sorrow and joy, compassion and love. It does not think. It does not reason. It does not acknowledge consequences. It exists in a place that has no boundaries, no traditions, no rights or wrongs. The Human heart is at once impossibly elusive and all encompassing and cannot be defined by the calculated observations of one who pretends to be outside its touch.

This I know.

"Your face is wet."

His hand comes forward and I close my eyes, steeling myself not to flinch away, clutching to my courage. He touches me, sends a quiver that shakes my soul -- tells me what I am only marginally aware of. My face is wet. But I do not cry for me, for this ache deep inside that I cannot define nor escape. It's a part of me now like the blue of my eyes, the texture of my skin, the trembling of my hand. It is part of who I am and what I have become -- whom I shall always be. No, I do not cry for me, or even for us. I cry for him.

Because I know.

There is a man beneath that mantle of logic. A very real man of flesh and blood who yearns for understanding and craves the peace of acceptance from those whom cannot or will not give it. He is a man filled with a quiet passion for life that he dare not acknowledge or embrace lest he lose all that he is in the process. Alone and aloof, he keeps himself painfully apart from those who would care for him. He keeps himself apart from me. Yet, something inside draws me to him, tells me that he aches for the quiet commitment of another lying beside him in the companionable stillness of the dark, sharing a contentment he has never known nor believes he ever will. He is a man who has hope for something else, something better ... A man who is afraid of that hope.

"I came to tell you we are bound for Vulcan. We will be there in just a few days."

I have said it and I know full well what I have done, the opportunity I squander. But it is not noble. It is self-preservation. The choice, when it comes, must be his. I will not have him this way. I won't carry that burden, too. It is enough that I acknowledge love for the both of us. I won't allow hypocrisy to add to the weight. I'm not sure I could carry it. My words settle over him. He nods and I see the light in his eyes dim just a little as he takes a breath and momentarily drops his gaze. "Vulcan." It is as if the weight of that entire planet has come to rest upon his shoulders. Atlas reincarnated. He seems to diminish, somehow. Become less there than he was a single breath ago.

I can't bear to watch anymore. It is too much. What I have felt, what I believed lies in the ruins of that single utterance. But as I turn to leave, his voice stops me once again.

"Miss Chapel?"

"My name is Christine," I tell him, my patience running thin. It's so hard. I could have him if not for my own damnable logic. All it would take is the right touch, the right word. As he is now, seduction would be so easy. I am no fool. I have seen the data and I know the burning that consumes him. But I can't. I can't! Got to hold it together. So damned unfair!

"Yes, I know, Christine."

My back is turned as I move to leave, yet I know he watches me. I can feel his gaze upon me and imagine his eyes dark and speculative.

"Would you make me some of that ... plomeek soup?"

I am momentarily frozen where I stand. There is gentleness in the rich tones of his voice, a kindness that is so much a part of this man I love. Even now. An apology? Perhaps. But there is something else, too, something I do not immediately grasp. I can't make myself turn to look at him as realization stops the rhythm of my heart for an endless beat. Can't let him see. But the joy cannot be contained and a smile comes tremulously to my lips. "Oh, I would be very happy to do that, Mister Spock."

And I know!

Dear God, I know!

Fin