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

Shore Leave's Much to be Desired

Jill Jackosn

"Hey, Blondie, what's your pleasure?" The man on the other side of the counter seemed to be leering at her as he waited for his answer.

"He's waiting for your order, Christine," Nyota nudged her gently, and smiled. Christine tried to smile back, but it came out more like a grimace. The crowd around the bar was rowdy and she kept feeling her body being shoved up roughly against the brass-plated rail that ran along the edge of the counter. And she was lipreading the conversation directed towards her, because the actual sounds of anyone's voices was difficult to distinguish in the noise that surrounded her.

"A lager, please," Christine managed to say. The order seemed to satisfy the bartender and he turned away. She was thankful he had not pressed her further for specifics. The last watering hole she had visited during her previous shore leave had specialized in indecipherable drinks with unpronounceable names, and she had awakened the next morning with a pounding headache, acute nausea, and a nagging feeling she had forgotten something. Something important, maybe.

Yeah, she had forgotten something alright, Christine thought to herself. She had forgotten how much she hated shore leave!

Just as that thought made her grimace some more, a hard object was thrown suddenly into her back, almost knocking the wind out of her. Nyota attempted to steady her as she turned around to locate the offending missile.

"Beg pardon, ma'am." The voice belonged to a huge man with bright curly hair, wearing a red Federation uniform. "I must 'ave tripped." Loud guffaws emanated somewhere behind him and the man grinned sheepishly. "An' it was his fault, it was!" The man pointed to several unsteady crewmen who were bobbing in and out of Christine's view. She nodded politely and turned back towards the bar just in time to be presented with a mug of something that looked a bit darker than the lager she had ordered.

"What's this?" she started to ask, but the bartender was out of earshot. Which, in this place, meant slightly more than an arm-length away.

"It's the house drink, Christine," explained Nyota. "It's not bad-tasting, and it's not too lethal." Nyota smiled widely, and winked at her friend.

Christine noticed that Nyota was already on her second drink. But she handled alcoholic beverages with ease and never seemed to be inebriated. Well, except for the fact that the Lieutenant would get a bit friendlier with her male companions. A bit more flirtatious, perhaps.

"He's looking at you," Nyota said, as she glanced over her friend's shoulder.

"Who?" and Christine turned around to look directly up at the curly haired man in the red shirt.

His grin had not left his face. He leaned unsteadily towards her and placed his hand on her shoulder. "Buy you a drink?" he offered.

Christine tried to maintain her dignity in this impossible situation. Shore leave! Dr. McCoy had insisted upon it. She had vainly tried to explain to him that she would prefer to spend her leisure time in other, more peaceful pursuits aboard the ship. But he wouldn't listen to her. She finally agreed to accompany some of her fellow crewmembers down to Delta Colony, on the condition that Dr. McCoy would be part of the group.

But at the last moment, Dr. McCoy had to rearrange his schedule. So the only trusty friend by Christine's side at the moment in this strange locale was Lieutenant Uhura. Christine firmly removed the stranger's hand from her arm and told him she did not need another drink. As she turned back towards the bar, the man pulled at her sleeve.

"Hey, I'm just tryin' to be friendly here. No need to go actin' high and mighty, is there?"

"She doesn't mean to be impolite," Nyota quickly spoke up. "She's just waiting for her male friend to arrive. He wouldn't like it if she was too friendly. You understand, don't you?" She gave him her sweetest smile, guaranteed to melt the resolve of any male ... even the drunken ones.

"Oh, well, why didn't ya say so in the first place?" and the man stepped back, trying to appear fully in control of his actions even though he was in imminent danger of losing his footing and starting a domino effect of people falling into each other around the bar.

He started to focus his attention on Lieutenant Uhura and was beginning to form the words for another proposition when his line of sight was obstructed by the profile of a dark haired man with distinctly pointed ears.

"Eh, a Vulcan?" the drunken man wondered aloud. Seeing that he was being ignored, he spoke a little louder. "A Vulcan? What's a Vulcan doin' in a joint like this? Oh, now, don't tell me..." The man stared disbelieving at the pretty blonde woman sitting in front of him, who was now focusing her lovely blue eyes upwards at the pointy-eared stranger. It was obvious she had been waiting for him.

"Oh, I'm sorry, sir! Didn't mean no disrespect or nothin'." Damn, but it looked like the Vulcan was also an officer. The room was beginning to get very hazy for the teetering crewman. He thought he saw the Vulcan raise a questioning eyebrow towards him, just before the man slipped backwards into the arms of some waiting comrades.

The Vulcan surveyed the situation. Alcohol was a very potent drug, and many of the humans in this establishment were overcome with its effects. Spock himself was not in any need of such a drug and knew that many alcoholic drinks could make a Vulcan violently ill. Only certain wines were acceptable and even those must be taken in moderation.

But occasionally Spock found himself in these outpost saloons; these watering holes that sprang up at every port, in every colony, on every supply station in Federation territory. Usually, it was to accompany the Captain. Captain Kirk liked Spock's company and also knew he was less likely to get into difficulties if his First Officer was beside him. Or, at least, he was more likely to extricate himself out of any difficulties if Spock was there to assist him.

But tonight Spock came alone. He had been on the ship, content to spend his spare moments in the Rec Room perusing his chess board and listening to recorded music of his own choosing. He was the only person there and it was peaceful. Earlier he had spoken with the Captain, offering to relieve him on the Bridge. But Captain Kirk had insisted that Spock take his R & R tonight and the Captain would go on shore leave tomorrow. So Spock found himself alone, left to his own devices. And he had no desire to beam down to the Delta Colony with a crowd of raucous, soon-to-be pickled humans. The solitary Rec Room was much more inviting.

But the Rec Room didn't stay solitary and peaceful for long. Dr. McCoy walked in.

"Spock! What in tarnation are you doing aboard this ship?!"

"Dr. McCoy," Spock explained resignedly, "I am playing chess. It is what I wish to do."

"Well, that's all well and good for you, Spock. But I sure as hell wish you were down at Delta Colony with the others. If I had known you weren't going to beam down, I might have made more of an effort to go myself."

"Was my presence with the landing party your reason for not wishing to go?" Spock asked, with some surprise in his voice. He knew that he irritated the doctor, but wasn't aware that he grieved him that much.

Dr. McCoy gave a short laugh. "No, no, that's not it." He shook his head. "It's just that, well, I wish there was a mature person of some rank down there. The security at the Delta Bar is known by its absence. And there were quite a few female crewmembers beaming down tonight."

Spock sighed. Dr. McCoy was asking him to babysit, it seemed. Captain Kirk had a word for it.

"You want me to be the Designated Pilot," Spock stated.

Dr. McCoy opened his mouth slightly in surprise, then grinned. "You got it. Keep Engineering from blowing their stacks. Keep the navigators from wandering off-course. Keep Lieutenant Uhura from dancing on top of the bar -- she nearly slipped and broke her neck that last time. Oh, and another thing," Dr. McCoy paused at the doorway as he was leaving, "Force Nurse Chapel to have a good time." With that admonition, the doctor left.

Now Spock found himself in the middle of the action at the noisy, neon-lit Delta Saloon. He had entered the place specifically to look for Nurse Chapel and had finally located the tall blonde sitting at the end of the bar. Lieutenant Uhura was beside her. A crewmember from another ship appeared to be annoying her, pulling on her sleeve. Spock could tell it made her uncomfortable.

He began to walk over to the two women, but it was a slow process. By the time he arrived, the annoying crewmember was backing away, mumbling some indistinguishable apology.

"Nurse Chapel. Lieutenant." Spock nodded to each lady in turn. He glanced at their mugs on the counter and wondered what Christine was drinking this time. He found himself gripping the rail on the counter to keep from being jostled into their laps.

Christine couldn't believe her eyes. Spock seemed to appear out of nowhere and he looked even more alien than usual in this unfamiliar environment. The multicolored lights emphasized his Vulcan skin tones. His erect posture and stoic expression seemed even more out of place than usual, surrounded as he was by hordes of laughing, uninhibited humans.

And yet ... she had an eerie feeling of deja vu. Christine shuddered.

Spock stared at her, but said nothing.

"Mr. Spock, why don't you take my seat?" Nyota offered, quickly getting up. "I see an old friend from another shore leave and now that you're here ... well, I don't have to worry about leaving Christine alone." Before either Spock or Christine could protest, Lieutenant Uhura melted into the mass of humanity around them, and was gone.

Spock sat down on the vacated stool. Immediately, the bartender was in front of him. "What'll you have, Vulcan? And I ain't serving water and I ain't serving tea!" With those words, the man leaned on his bar and looked challengingly at Spock.

Spock knew it was useless to protest. The man only wanted to make a profit and no matter what poison he served up, Spock didn't have to actually drink it.

"I'll have what she is drinking," Spock indicated the mug half-full of brownish liquid that was still in front of Christine.

"No, you won't," grinned the bartender. "That slop's good enough for a Terran, but it'll kill you. I've got a special drink for Vulcans. One that you can enjoy and it won't put you at death's door." With those words, he pulled out a beautiful crystal decanter from under the counter and began to pour a thick, blue colored liquid into a small glass.

Spock stared at it, transfixed by its beauty. The blue liquid seemed impossible in its color. It was blue like an ocean on Earth, blue like the scales on the Amoridians, blue like the lady's eyes sitting next to him. He slowly brought the glass up to his face and breathed in the sweet scent of the liquor. He began to feel warm inside and he had yet to taste a drop. For some unexplainable reason, he felt this drink would not be harmful to him. All of his senses were telling him he was safe. Safe with the drink, safe with the bartender, safe with Christine. He slowly set the drink down. It was his turn to shudder, ever so slightly.

Christine was beginning to feel confused. What was in this 'house drink' the bartender had given her? She hoped she wasn't going to get sick again. Not like the last time. The last time? She began to vaguely remember vomiting in some strange lavatory and splashing water on her face from a small fountain, while a cool breeze blew in from a high window. And someone on the other side of the door, asking if she was alright. Spock on the other side of the door, patiently waiting for her. Spock on the other side ... Spock!

Christine quickly looked at his face. Just as quickly, Spock averted his gaze and seemed to be staring intently at his glass. This wasn't deja vu. There was something too familiar about the situation. Scenes from her past were beginning to filter through her mind.

"This reminds me of the last time we had a drink together," she said tentatively.

Spock looked up and met her eyes. "Yes. I was drinking tea. You were drinking some green stuff that looked like slime from a Tyrolean river."

"Oh, gawd, yes!" Christine made a face and tried not to remember the taste of that drink. "The bartender assured me it was perfectly safe. And it did feel good ... for awhile."

Spock continued to gaze at Christine's face. She remembered nothing of that night, he was sure of it. And he had never mentioned it. One cannot be held responsible for one's actions while drugged; one can only be responsible for taking the drug in the first place. And Christine did not know the power of that drink. Christine would never have said those things, she never would have touched him...

Spock reached for his drink a little too quickly and almost spilled it. He brought it to his lips and knew if he could just take one sip, the warm liquid would comfort him.

The taste of the mysterious drink was even more exquisite than he had imagined. He felt the hot liquid pour down his throat and settle into a warm glow at the center of his being. He took a moment to catch his breath when he was finished. The glass was empty.

Somewhere across the room a fight was breaking out. Spock hoped dimly that it wasn't involving anyone from the Enterprise. Lieutenant Uhura appeared briefly at his side, laughing and ordering another drink. Just as quickly, she was gone. Christine was sitting with her legs crossed, moving the top leg back and forth, back and forth, back and forth ... Spock felt hypnotized with the movement. He glanced at the glass in front of him. Miraculously it was filled to the brim again with that cobalt blue liquid. Christine bit her lip in concentration. Flashes of a distant time with Spock were beginning to appear in her mind's eye. Surely she had dreamed it? She remembered sitting on Spock's lap. Impossible! Spock would never allow such a thing! Where had they been? She tried to focus on something besides the feel of Spock at the time. Outdoors ... she remembered being outdoors with Spock ... in a courtyard of some kind. There were flowers. There were benches. Yes, she and Spock were sitting on a bench. She was on his lap, lightly kissing him. She couldn't remember him kissing her back.

"Stars above, how drunk was I?" Christine suddenly blurted. And then gave a little gasp when she realized her inner thoughts had been spoken aloud.

Spock was looking intently at Christine's boot, which had suddenly stopped kicking its way back and forth across his field of vision. He wondered why the boot had stopped moving. Pretty boot. He wanted to touch the pretty, shiny boot. He reached across, but touched a knee instead. He kept his hand there. It seemed to steady him. And that was a fortunate thing, because the room was spinning a little too fast for comfort. He wondered how fast this spaceship was traveling.

"How fast is this spaceship traveling?" he asked Christine. Christine didn't seem to understand what he was saying. She was looking at him, but she wasn't talking. Good girl, Christine. What was it the Captain would say?

"Loose lips, sink ships." That was important somehow. Spock could tell Christine thought it was important, too. She was staring at him very seriously. As well she should, him being the First Officer and all. That was a very impressive position. He liked saying it.

"I'm the First Officer, you know." Yes, Christine was impressed. He could see it in her eyes. Her eyes were like this stuff he was drinking ...she turned to his glass that never remained empty for long ... he was drinking her eyes. That was a good thing, Christine's eyes.

"You wanna know something," Spock motioned to the bartender, who didn't seem to hear him. "Mr. Bartender, Sir!" Spock pounded on the top of the bar for emphasis. "I am drinking my lady's eyes! Beautiful eyes! Now pay attention!" Spock began to raise the glass to his lips again when he felt a tug on his upper arm.

Christine had been sitting next to Spock, feeling flustered and ashamed as glimpses of her past drunkenness were being made known to her. She began to wonder if the brown ale she had been served tonight was some sort of a truth serum. Most alcoholic drinks make you forget ... this one made her remember.

She wanted to say something to Spock, to somehow apologize for her past behavior. But Spock was making it difficult. He kept leaning towards her, with his hand on her knee as if to keep from falling, and was saying the strangest things. 'Loothlip sankips' was one utterance. It must be some Vulcan phrase, for he seemed to take great pride in saying it.

Only now he was raising his voice to the bartender, and gulping down his drink once again. His drink! How many of these little glassfuls had he swallowed? Oh, Lord of all the Heavens, she had a drunken Vulcan on her hands!

Quickly, Christine stood up next to Spock and motioned for him to put the drink down. She then took him by his arm and began to lead him away from the bar. He followed her without protest and did not attempt to pull away.

"This is too easy," thought Christine. They were now outside the saloon. The sky was a light pink, bathing the two of them in a rosy glow. The air was fresh after the suffocating atmosphere of the bar. She took a deep breath and tried to think of their next step. How does one sober up a drunk Vulcan? She couldn't let him beam back aboard ship in this condition. The good news was that there were still 12 more hours before they had to officially report for duty. If they could just find quarters for the night...

Spock left her and began to wander around the side of the building. She decided not to follow him, in case he was attempting to get rid of all that liquor he had imbibed. But soon, she heard him calling out to her. Quickly she ran over to his location. "Perfect!" exclaimed Spock, as he motioned towards a wooden bench nestled in an alcove.

"Perfect for what?" Christine asked, most exasperated. "Spock, we can't sleep here. It won't do."

Spock folded his arms across his chest and narrowed his eyes. "It was fine for you once before. Don't you love me anymore?" He looked for all the world as if he was pouting.

"Spock! Spock ... I really don't know what you're talking about. If this has anything to do with that time on Andromeda 9 when I was drunk, then please forgive me. I honestly don't remember much about that night."

Spock opened his eyes wider and relaxed his posture. He began to walk towards her, backing her into the alcove before he took her into his arms.

"I remember," he whispered in her ear, as he ran his hands through her hair. "I remember everything," he breathed huskily, as his hands now found their way across her breasts, roughly fondling each one through the material of her uniform.

This must be a dream, she thought to herself. A dream, and a nightmare. This was ridiculous! He was completely under the influence. He hadn't a clue as to what he was doing. And chances are, he was so inebriated that any lovemaking between the two of them would be an embarrassment.

As if to prove her last thought, he suddenly stopped fondling her and said, "I need to sit down." Before the words were out of his mouth, he dropped onto the bench.

"Let me rest for a moment," he mumbled, as he stretched out his long body, legs hanging over the armrest. Christine stared down at him. Within minutes she could tell by his measured breathing that he was asleep.

This was for the best, thought Christine, even though now she was going to have to make some type of sleeping arrangements for herself. She knew she couldn't leave Spock here alone. She began to wander around the grounds, hoping to find another bench. Soon she found one, but it was too heavy for her to drag alone. Fortunately she found an able-bodied couple walking away from the bar, and they were willing to help her. They laughed when they saw her passed-out friend, but didn't ask any questions. Christine hoped they didn't notice he was a Vulcan. She didn't want any rumors floating around the galaxies about Spock.

She curled up on the bench across from Spock and prayed the temperature wouldn't drop too much. She lay there and stared up at the first stars to peep out of the night sky. "I remember everything," Spock had whispered to her. What did he remember? And had these memories stayed with him for the past six months? Every time he looked at her aboard ship, was he remembering? The kisses, the embraces? She didn't think there was any more intimacy involved beyond that. Surely she would have remembered? And were these memories ... were they pleasant for Spock?

She glanced over at his sleeping form. "Damn you, Spock!" she said to him just before she, too, fell asleep.

* * *

Christine awoke the next morning to see Spock staring down at her. She gingerly moved up to a sitting position. She felt terrible ... as if she'd spent the night sleeping outside on a hard bench, with all her clothes on, and no chance to rinse the taste of alcohol from her breath. Oh, wait...

"Good morning, Nurse Chapel," Spock intoned.

Ahh, good, he's sobered up, Christine thought with relief. "Good morning, Mr. Spock. Do you feel alright?"

Spock kept his hands clasped behind his back, and stood rigidly. "I am in good health. Are you alright, Nurse Chapel?"

"Yes, I feel fine." Christine thought for a moment. "I feel great, as a matter of fact." She smiled happily up at him.

Spock did not meet her gaze as he cleared his throat. "Nurse Chapel, how did we end up sleeping outside?"

"Well, Mr. Spock, it's like this ... you drank too much alcohol. It happens to the best of us."

Spock seemed to be staring intently at a small yellow leaf hanging from the tip of a tree branch 2 meters in front of him."Please accept my apologies."

"Oh, Mr. Spock, you didn't do anything worse than I did when I got a little soused the last time."

Spock now appeared to be memorizing every detail of that little yellow leaf. His hands were still behind his back, as he repeatedly clasped and unclasped them. "I must admit, Nurse Chapel, that I have no memory of last night's events."

"Oh, don't concern yourself about it, Mr. Spock. Isn't it enough that I remember everything?" Christine slowly arose from the bench and seductively walked over to the Vulcan. He stepped back a few paces but was stopped by a thorny bush. She reached her arms around him, felt him tense up every muscle in his body, and then whispered in his ear, "And I do remember ... everything."

She pulled back a little to look into his face. His eyes were staring past her, but she could see the corners of his mouth beginning to tremble. She licked her lips hoping to make herself look sexy, but also to keep herself from laughing.

"It was wonderful, Mr. Spock. Absolutely wonderful. But then," Christine coyly dropped her eyes, "I really don't have to convince you. After all, you remember Andromeda 9."

Christine was positive she heard a groan emanating somewhere from behind Spock's tight lips. She quickly turned away before Spock could see the mischievous glint in her eyes and called over her shoulder, "Shall we get ready to beam up, Mr. Spock?"

Alright, maybe she couldn't remember much of her shore leave 6 months ago ... and maybe Spock remembered a little too much ... but Christine knew she was going to have a great time 'remembering' this shore leave!

The End