DISCLAIMER: This story is written in response to Amber's Statement on ASCEML that Spock/Christine Smut would help make Kella forget she's trying to quit smoking. It also follows the notion that (can't remember who said it) that Spock needed someone to 'knock him upside the head' to realize just what he had right in front of him. LOL Paramount and others have all the rights to these people. I'm simply making 'fair use' of the characters. I will make no money from this endeavor. Copyright (c) 2003 by Kiristeen ke Alaya. Rated R

Just Around the Corner

Kiristeen ke Alaya

Spock slipped quietly into his quarters. He'd known for 4.56 hours that Christine was 'up to something'. He'd sensed her anticipation through their bond. The fact that her ability to shield from him was improving markedly, made that all he could sense. It peaked his curiosity and he found that his own anticipation was growing rapidly as he scanned his quarters for any signs of what she was planning.

Nothing. He frowned slightly, deep in thought, then pivoted on one heel and strode back out into the corridor. She would still be on duty. It was the ideal time to do a bit of detective work without the concern of being caught by her.

It had only been 2.34 months since the two of them had been locked into the lab during the most recent crisis. It was then that the ... situation, between them had come to the fore. To this day it had the ability to amaze him how quickly things had progressed that day. It had not seemed logical then, and remembering it now, it still fairly reeked of the irrational.

* * *

"Miss Chapel, this last batch of data has been corrupted. The information gained from it is not valid. Erase it from the database, while I reprogram the original baseline information."

"Certainly, Mr. Spock," she answered softly, as she moved to comply.

At that moment, several things happened at once. The ship rocked, sending both him and Christine to the lab deck and the ship's alert began flashing red, dutifully accompanied by the purposely irritating 'whoop' of the siren.

With a glance to Chapel to deduce whether she was injured, Spock rose. After ascertaining that she seemed uninjured, he headed for the door. Half way there, the ship lurched a second time sending him barreling against the bulkhead, just as the lighting flickered and reduced to half intensity. His head struck, rather harder than he would have cared for and as he slid down to the floor, he noticed that Chapel, who had yet to rise fully to her feet had faired far better.

Through hazy sight, he watched her make her way across the deck on all fours. Noting that, undignified though it was, it was probably the safest way to travel.

"Spock, are you all right?" she asked him.

After a moments quick assessment, he had to admit, he was not. "I am not completely without injury," he replied. In fact, his head was pounding, and his efforts at controlling that pain, were not adequate to the task. His vision was blurring further, and now he could just barely make out the outlines of her form.

Her hand came into focus near his face and he pulled back automatically when he realized she was reaching out to touch him.

"Stop that!" she ordered impatiently.

He stopped, more from surprise at her tone than from any true compliance. He heard her chuckle and wondered what she could possibly find humorous about this situation.

"Caught you off guard there, didn't I?" she asked as she turned his head to the side.

Unexpectedly, however, he only received very hazy impressions from her. "You could say that," he allowed, then winced in new pain as she touched just above his right temple. He focused on her hand as best he could, when she pulled it away. It was only then he realized he'd cut his head when he'd impacted. "How bad is the injury?" he asked.

She looked up at him then, but he couldn't see her expression clearly. "The cut itself isn't that bad. But that's not what I'm worried about," she answered softly then began questioning him about what he was experiencing. She went through the entire catalogue of sensations he was feeling and he informed her accordingly.

"You've probably got a concussion," she continued. "Though in this damn emergency lighting it's difficult to judge your eye responses, they appear unequal and sluggish to respond."

"That would explain why everything is blurry."

The lights went out, plunging the lab into complete and total black. He winced when Chapel let out a startled yelp.

"Sorry," she whispered immediately. "It surprised me is all. I'll be right back."

"Where are you going, Miss Chapel?"

"It's a medical lab, Spock. I'm going to find the emergency medical supplies."

"In utter darkness?" he questioned. "It would not be wise to try and administer any medical treatment when you cannot see."

"Of course not, Mr. Spock. But I can get the pack."

For several moments he heard only the soft scratching and swishes of her crawling across the lab floor. He tensed as the ship rocked violently once again. He managed to barely prevent his head from banging back against the bulkhead.

A loud thud, jerked his head around, an action he regretted instantly as it sent pulsating pain through his head, and streaks of light shooting behind his eyes.

"Ouch! Mother may I!" Christine yelped.

Her pain-filled, hissed words sent Spock to his feet, until spinning waves of dizziness and violent nausea nearly overcame him, making him reconsider his options. He slid back down swallowing repeatedly and breathing shallow quick breaths.

"Miss Chapel, are you all right?" he asked when he could.

"I'm fine!" she snapped back, irritated disgust filling her voice.

The dim backup lighting came on just as she was carefully making her way back across toward him.

* * *

The corridor was empty as Spock arrived at Christine's quarters. He quickly entered the access code and slipped inside. "Computer lights."

He searched, careful to leave no obvious traces of his presence, his thoughts once again returned to that fateful day.

* * *

"The door still won't operate, Mr. Spock. The com system, at least in here, is still down also."

He sighed. "We must wait, then." During the last failure of the inertial dampeners, Chapel had sprained an ankle. That left neither of them up to any vigorous climbing or other such escape attempts.

"Doesn't seem much else to do," she replied as she eased herself down beside him. "How are you doing?"

"I am ... better."

They sat in the dimly lit lab, silently for an hour, before they were both startled by the sound of the Uhura's voice over the intercom.

" ... Lab 4. Are either of ... injured?"

Christine struggled to stand and limped her way over to the intercom. "Yes, Nyota, but neither of us is in any danger."

Spock listened as the lieutenant quickly filled them in on what was happening throughout the ship. Hearing the increasingly long, list of things that had gone wrong, Spock tried to stand, knowing he was needed.

The immediate resumption of mind numbing and stomach irritating dizziness, brought back the reasons they had been 'waiting', all along. The pain medication had all but taken care of the pain from the concussion. What was left was easily manageable. It was the other symptoms he was having difficulty with. He lost track of what Uhura was relating to Christine as he focused all his attention on controlling his rising nausea. He did not intend to allow his dignity to suffer that much.

He was still concerned about his inability to control the symptoms, which were far worse than with his past concussions, but Christine had explained, it was quite probably due to the area concussed and that his abilities should return as he healed. At this point, he could only believe that she was correct.

"We're gonna be here a while," Chapel told him as she sat back down.

"Could you ... possibly ... be more ... specific," he asked in between swallows.

She looked at him sharply. "Are you all right?"

Spock closed his eyes before answering, wishing the room would quit seeming to spin quite so quickly. "No," he answered shortly. "But, I will be, momentarily."

He cracked his eyes open, gratified to find the room, relatively still. He could see Nurse Chapel, peering at him intently. "You need not worry. It is easing."

"What set it off, this time?"

"I tried to stand," he admitted.

Christine's shoulders fell downward, her head tilted to the side and she looked at him with an expression he did not quite care for.

"I told you not to do that," she said finally, exasperation coloring her words.

"I assure you Miss Chapel, I will not attempt it again."

"Good," she responded, finally. "Just warn me, if it gets too much for you to handle. Okay?"

An eyebrow arched up. "You will be the second one to know," he replied, drily. "Now, do you know, approximately, how long we will be in here?"

"Nyota said at least three hours."

* * *

After completing a second round, musing that perhaps he'd missed something the first time, he still found no evidence of what she was planning. Confirming with the computer that the corridor outside her quarters was empty, before stepping out, he turned his thoughts to other ways he might discover, ahead of time, what her surprise could possibly be.

It had been a full three hours. In fact it had 3.58 hours before they were released from the lab. Eventually, they'd begun to talk. It had started out revolving around the research they were conducting together, but had eventually turned to other topics. Somehow it seemed appropriate to ask the questions about which he had been curious for some time. By the time help arrived they had both asked and answered questions that neither had thought ever to get answered.

What had surprised him the most, however, was learning that she carried on private research of her own. It was that, that had held both of their attentions for the last hour of their entrapment.

Upon being conditionally released from Sickbay, he'd intended to return to his quarters, but something stopped him. He had turned to her and asked if she would care to continue their earlier discussion over dinner.

It was obvious she was very surprised by the invitation, but had accepted readily. That evening was when things took a decidedly surprising turn, for both of them. If he were given to emotionalism, he might even say shocking.

* * *

He looked across the table at his dinner companion, still wondering what had prompted him to invite her, of all people to dinner, and why he'd chosen to have it in his quarters instead of the Officer's Mess. Admittedly the research she was currently conducting was interesting, but it was something that could have been discussed while they worked together in the lab.

She put down her fork suddenly, looking up at him strangely. "What?" she demanded.

Caught off guard by her to the point question, he answered honestly before he could come up with a way to hedge his answer. "I'm trying to figure out why I invited you to dinner."

He realized just as quickly as she did how that might be interpreted, but before he could qualify it, she laughed. "I thought you wanted to talk about my research," she responded lightly.

"I do," he said. "But I'm finding holes in the logic of doing so over dinner. The discussion could have just as easily taken place the next time we worked in the lab."

To his surprise, Christine rose suddenly. "It's about time I was going," she said, walking quickly toward the door.

"Why?" he asked in surprise, following behind her.

She turned to him, a sad look in her eyes. "Because I'm human. Because I'm beginning to read things into this that I shouldn't be. Because ... Oh...just because!" she answered, and spun back toward the door.

His arm snaked out and he grabbed hold of her wrist, aborting her attempt to flee. Surprising both of them, he continued the action by pulling her against him and kissing her solidly. It was over in seconds, he pulled back and gazed down at her challengingly. "Is it possible to misinterpret that?" he asked, shocked to his very core that he would kiss her, let alone ask such a thing, but now oddly determined to follow through on his less than subtle advance.

"No," she answered faintly, a dazed expression in her eyes. "It was ... uh ... pretty much to the point."

The close contact allowing him to sense her turmoil, with several emotions conflicting within her, hope warring with fear seemed to be the two strongest. Considering how long he had consistently avoided any kind of emotional entanglement with her, he could understand why she might not trust this sudden turn around.

Perhaps she needed ... convincing he was sincere, however sudden it may be. He leaned forward slowly, catching and holding her gaze with his eyes. As he descended her eyes widened, like an animal caught in a spotlight. He gave her every opportunity to pull back, but she didn't move and finally his lips touched hers again; lightly, caressingly.

He put all his experience into that one slow, soft kiss. She melted against him, and he responded to that unique feeling of exhilaration by deepening the pressure of his lips.

She responded eagerly parting her lips beneath his. Her arms wound around his neck and he wrapped his behind her, pulling them closer together. They lost themselves to the shy wonder of a first kiss, exploring and learning, finding that which pleased them both.

Christine pulled back first, breathless and flushed. Stepping back shakily but firmly, she took a deep breath. "And now I really need to go," she said and was out the door before Spock could do much more than step forward. Despite his own reactions to the kiss, his eyebrow raised in astonishment as he watched her stride down the corridor.

"Something have you confused, Spock," Kirk asked as he approached.

Spock swiftly reordered his thoughts, and turned his attention to Kirk. "No, Captain."

Kirk laughed, "Yeah right!" Then he frowned thoughtfully, staring down the corridor where Spock had been staring only moments before. With a sinking feeling, he turned back to his First Officer. "Don't tell me, she tried--"

"No," Spock answered quickly. "Quite the opposite in fact," he continued as he stepped back, allowing the door to close on a flabbergasted Kirk.

Kirk stared at the closed door for long moments before returning his gaze to the now empty corridor. 'And she left?' he thought in astonishment. Then shaking his head he turned toward his cabin. 'Good for you, Christine,' he thought as he crossed through his door.

* * *

It had been two days before he could speak with her privately again. It almost seemed to him as if she were avoiding him. When he had managed to find her, she'd smiled up at him as if she hadn't been purposely harder to find than a Klingon in a room full of Tribbles.

* * *

"You have been avoiding me. Why?"

"Avoiding you?" she asked innocently. "What would make you think that?"

"Christine," he said firmly, purposely using her given name. "This is a small ship. I know how difficult it is to remain unfound."

"Speaking from personal experience, are we?" she asked, laughter dancing in her eyes.

He shifted uncomfortably before answering. "Yes," he said, then paused before continuing. "There was no need for you to 'hide' from me. I would--"

"I know that," she said cutting off what he was going to say. "Just as there was no reason for you to hide from me."

It took only seconds for him to make the connection. "So, it was a ... lesson?"

"No," Christine said, shaking her head in denial. "Not intentionally, at least it didn't begin that way. I simply have been busy, then I decided not to rush things. There have been weeks on end where we never came into the one another's sphere. It's just that for the first time, it happened when you were actually looking for me. While I didn't purposely avoid you, I also didn't go out of my way to find you either. It seemed to me, that if you were serious, you'd find me."

"I assure you, Christine, I am quite serious," he responded, then added more to himself than to her. "Surprisingly so."

* * *

She wasn't in his lab, and there had been no trace of her having been there that day. He was tempted to use the computer to find out where she was, but it was almost an unwritten rule not to use any aides; mechanical or otherwise.

Deciding that since, he had yet to get any clue, he would go to the Officer's Mess and eat dinner, perhaps while there, he would think of something he could do to uncover the rest of the mystery. He was just about to leave, when something colorful caught his attention.

As he drew closer, he realized it was actual paper; purple paper. He picked up the folded piece and opened. On the inside was a hand written note.

If you're looking here, you haven't figured it out yet. This time, I'm gonna do it.

Love, Christine

With a faint smile of amusement, he took up her challenge. Dinner could wait. He would not lose this battle of wits.

* * *

Late that night, dinner was an exercise in restraint, unexpectedly so. Both, with a newfound, heightened awareness of the other, had been caught by each tiny move. By the time they finished eating the sense of anticipation was palpable.

Spock had not wasted the two days following their being trapped together. He'd done some research, about her. He rose as she put down her fork and manually programmed his computer console. As he rose, the quiet strains of a classical waltz began playing.

He held out his hand to her. She took it. As her eyes widened, he pulled her close pulling her expertly into a smooth and graceful waltz. Long before the music ended, they had stopped dancing. Their hearts raced as they lips danced another dance entirely.

Hands wandered, lovingly caressing and eagerly tasting each new discovery. Spock swept her off her feet without pulling his lips from hers.

Christine pulled her head back slightly. Cupping his face with both hands, she looked deeply into his dark eyes. "Are you sure?" she asked.

"Christine," he answered softly. "I've never been more sure of anything in my life."

* * *

He had never pictured himself becoming part of a 'whirlwind' romance, but despite the fact that they had known one another for years, that was exactly what he found himself in the middle of. What had happened between them seemed to keep spiraling beyond his ability to fully comprehend or even come close to controlling. Less than two weeks after being trapped, she'd agreed to the betrothal bonding and all that it entailed.

He had realized very quickly that she 'loved' surprising him, but to his amusement and her frustration, he was always one step ahead of her and knew well in advance just what she had in store. It had become something of a game between them. She trying to surprise him, and he, just a diligently foiling her attempts.

Until today, it had been easy. Another 45 minutes had passed without trace of Christine or what she had planned, but his sense of her anticipation kept growing. It was ... disconcerting that she could keep something from him that obviously excited her. Today he'd felt her perception of her own years melt away from her. It was like she was growing younger, the longer she managed to keep her 'secret'.

* * *

Spock rounded a corner more determined than ever to uncover her plan and nearly ran into the captain. "Captain," he said, stepping back slightly.

"Spock! You're a difficult man to find these days. I wanted to ask if you'd like to play a game of Chess."

Spock seriously considered turning the Captain down, but realized that to do so would involve some kind of explanation; one the captain would believe without asking questions. Aside from that one slip when he had been caught by surprise, and had revealed a little more than he'd intended, he was not yet ready to reveal just where their relationship had progressed.

Originally both he and Christine had decided that the longer they could keep it from the ship's rumor mill the 'happier' they would both be. Consequently, they'd agreed to tell no one until both were ready. Unfortunately that now left him with no reason not to play chess.

"I would," he said with nod.

He missed Kirk's grin as he turned, leading the way back to his cabin.

* * *

"Spock, your mind is not on this game," Kirk said with a smile as he moved his bishop into position. "Checkmate."

"Indeed, Captain. It is not."

"Mind telling me where it is?" he asked, leaning back in his chair.

Spock cocked an ironic eyebrow at the captain. "No, actually, I do not. However, I believe it would be pointless to continue playing this evening."

Kirk laughed. "You've got a point there."

Spock rose and without further word, the door closed behind him.

Kirk rose and crossed quickly to the com-unit, keying in a direct line to Sickbay. "McCoy here."

"Bones, you're on."

"On my way."

Quickly switching lines, he keyed to the Officer's Rec room.

"Kirk to Chapel."

Moments later, she answered, somewhat breathlessly. "Chapel, here."

"He's slipped past me. McCoy's intercepting now. How much more time do you need?"

"Only about 30 minutes. We're almost done here."

"That's cutting it awful close. I don't think McCoy can keep him busy that long, not without arousing any suspicion anyway."

* * *

Spock made it to his quarters and half way across the main room, fully intending to meditate. The fact that his curiosity toward Christine's plans had interfered with his abilities to perform other tasks, disquieted him. He should still have been able to concentrate on it. It did not matter that it was merely a chess game.

He paused, then ignoring the thoughts that told him he needed to meditate, strode out of his quarters. He was going to the Rec deck next.


He slowed his pace, considered ignoring the Doctor's call, then turned. "Yes, Doctor?"

"Are you busy?"

"Yes," Spock answered, turning to continue his walk.

"Oh," McCoy answered, trying to sound downcast.

Spock sighed and turned back to him. "It is not overly important. What is it you wanted?"

"Well, it's like this. I've got this problem." McCoy hesitated, purposely.

"What kind of 'problem' could I be of help with?"

"It's not really a big problem, just an ... embarrassing one."

Spock drew back slightly. "Doctor, do you not think that perhaps someone other than myself would be a better choice for an 'embarrassing' problem?"

McCoy blushed immediately, realizing he'd given the wrong impression. "No, no," he said quickly. "It isn't anything like that. I just know you'll keep your mouth shut, and I don't want my making a stupid mistake to run the gambit of the rumor mill."

"I see," Spock answered slowly. "And just what 'stupid mistake' do you need my help with?"

"You see, it's the computer in my office ... "

* * *

Kirk ducked into the Officer's Rec room, after he saw McCoy draw Spock away. That was just too close, he thought. Then slumped his shoulders and sighed in frustration. "What happened?"

Christine looked over at him with murder in her eyes. She stalked toward him and shoved a datapadd into his hands. "You deal with it," she snapped, then added a belated but respectful, "Sir. I have to go change clothes," she finished with a deadly glance over her shoulder, before stalking out of the room.

Kirk crossed slowly to the young lieutenant who was as covered in ... goo as the nurse had been. Struggling, mostly successfully, to keep the burgeoning grin from his face, he stopped right in front of the poor man. "If I were you," he said carefully. "I would stay out of Lieutenant Chapel's way for at least the next few days."

"Yes, Sir," he replied wryly. "I agree that would be the prudent thing to do."

"Um, What is that stuff anyway?"

If it was possible the young man looked even more dejected than before. "It was a Vulcan pastry," he said, hesitated, then finished in a rush. "That Lt. Chapel made by hand."

He couldn't help it, his mouth fell open and he stared in shock. "I revise my earlier estimate, Lieutenant. You might want to avoid her for the next couple of weeks."

* * *

Christine stormed through the corridors. It was utterly ruined! And she didn't have time to repair the damage. She'd spent the last 3 months learning to make that blasted thing. Three tries to get this one right, and in the space of 20 seconds it was all over. That Kevin was lucky she had a firm grip on her temper and that all she'd done was return the favor of covering him in this purple goo!

She took several deep breaths. She really had to calm down. It was hard enough keeping this from Spock without her losing it completely. These past 2 months had shown her, just how much energy went into shielding. It might not be physical labor, but she was beginning to feel like she'd been climbing conduits all day.

* * *

Spock froze suddenly as he felt a spurt of frustrated anger, gratified that he was presently alone in the corridor, as his pause would have been difficult to explain. He wondered what had happened, but he suspected something, or someone, had upset her plans in some way.

He thought briefly of shielding against her emotions, but ruled it out as counterproductive to his ultimate goal. Unfortunately, she learning quickly how to control her internal emotions. An eyebrow went up at that thought. He'd never before thought he would consider such a circumstance, unfortunate. First time for everything, he concluded thoughtfully.

* * *

It wasn't helping that she could also feel Spock's growing curiosity about what she was planning, as well as a healthy dose of determination. She couldn't help but smile. This was the first time she'd managed to keep anything from him for this long since their bonding. It made her feel giddy ... like a teenager with a secret. She knew he was trying to track her down. If he found her now, at
least part of what was going on would be immediately obvious.

She laughed quietly. After all, she was covered in very suspicious sweets. Just one more corner, she thought, then she would be safe in her quarters. She quickened her pace.

* * *

He felt her tamp down her anger, far more quickly than he expected her to, before any of what she was planning managed to 'leak' through. He tightened his lips as he quickened his pace slightly. He would just have to continue this the old fashioned way. He figured he had very little time left.

He had already run through the list of possible 'occasions' for the surprise, but had ruled them all out. None of what humans considered 'significant milestones' in his life occurred on this date. He was still considering whether he could have missed one when he rounded the corner and ran into Christine. He automatically shot his arms out, grabbing hold of her, when she lost her balance.

"Spock!" she yelped, startlement making her voice squeak. She pulled back immediately, stepping out of reach. However, she noticed he was already inspecting his upheld hands.

"Christine ... ?"

"Oh, it's nothing, Spock," she said hastily. "Some Lieutenant was clumsy and spilled this ... stuff all over me. I'm just headed to my quarters for a shower." She darted around him, quickly covering the remaining distance to her quarters and slipping gratefully inside.

Spock watched her hasty retreat, not believing her 'cover story' for a second. After a moments consideration, he followed behind.

* * *

The door slid shut behind her and her shoulders slumped. Less than 10 meters from her quarters and who does she run into? Spock, of all people! Her com-unit buzzed startling her an inch off the deck. Hurrying to it, she thumbed the connection open. "Chapel here."

"They're here. McCoy says Spock already left Sickbay. You'll need to keep him away."

"How long have I got?"

"They'll be boarding in 5 minutes."

"Good. That'll give me time to shower first."

"Are you sure you can distract him?"

Christine bit down on her grin. "Yes, Captain. I believe I can manage that."

"Good, We'll be all set in here in about an hour. Kirk out." Christine shook her head as the connection cut off, then started toward the shower, stopping dead in her tracks as she heard the door swish open behind her.

A shiver ran down her back. It always did when he walked in unannounced. Despite everything that had happened, there were times, like now, when it all still seemed so unreal.

"Christine," Spock called. "Just how, exactly, did you manage to get Pinarrii all over you?"

She turned slowly, keeping her face as neutral as she could. It became difficult as she noticed a small piece of the Pinarrii had managed to find its way to Spock's jaw. "I told you. It was a careless Lieutenant."

Spock started toward her slowly. "While there is a grain of truth to that, it is far from the complete truth."

"Really?" Christine asked, backing away just as slowly.

"Yes," he answered assuredly. "You have got something planned and this Pinarrii has something to do with it."

"Does it?" she asked in a squeak as her back met the cold metal of the room divider.

Spock's eyebrow shot up as he continued his slow stalk. "You know it does," he said weaving his fingers into the wire mesh behind Christine.

Trapped and knowing it, Christine frantically sought a way to redirect his line of thinking, but the smudge of purple pastry kept distracting her. With half a grin, she reached up slowly and wiped
it off with one finger.

She brought the finger to her mouth and sucked off the sweet frosting. "It's really quite good, isn't it?" she asked, a twinkle in her eyes.

"I am quite fond of Pinarrii, however, I do not know if this one was any good as I have not tasted it."

Christine smiled. Reaching across herself, she wrapped her hand around his wrist. Pulling on it lightly until he let go, she brought his hand to her mouth, never once breaking eye contact with him. She flicked out her tongue licking the remaining traces of pastry and icing from one of his fingers.

"Yes, it's definitely good," she whispered and sucked one finger into her mouth, curling the sides of her tongue around it. "Pinarrii, with just a hint of Vulcan." Spock's breath hitched and the pulse beating against her thumb sped up suddenly, as she worked his finger seductively around her mouth.

"I think," he said so quietly she had to strain to hear him. "I will try some." He leaned forward, lowering his head to the hollow between her neck and shoulder. He sucked lightly, swirling his hot tongue on her skin, lapping up the sticky pastry that was clinging in that sensitive hollow.

Christine melted back against the divider enjoying the incredible feelings sliding through her body.

He pulled back, locking hooded eyes with hers. "You were half right. It is good, but has just a hint of human," he said with a faint twitch of his lips. He started to lean back down, but she ducked out under his arm and headed toward the bathroom.

As the door opened, she leaned casually against the frame and looked back at him with a tiny, sly smile. "You coming?" she asked, then ducked inside.

Spock hesitated only a moment and then followed her in. He stepped through the door in time to see her uniform slip down her back to reveal her the curves of her buttocks and drop to the floor.

He stopped to admire her graceful movements as she bent over and adjusted the spray. He raised an eyebrow that she'd chosen a water shower. The absolute decadence of it set off a shiver down his spine. He did not move, just continued to watch her. The sight of his lover nude and performing such a domestic task sent a warm wave through him. Just as she straightened, he stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her waist, trapping her against him.

The fledgling bond between them flared open as both responded to the intimate contact. Christine turned in his arms and they lost themselves in each other, neither concerned about anything else that may be happening onboard.

* * *

Christine sauntered away, her nude wet body glistening as she moved gracefully toward the bed. She knew she had Spock's complete attention. She cast a look over her shoulder smiling at him with the merest corners of her lips. She stopped at the end of her bed and posed; hands on her hips and one foot positioned slightly in front of the other.

She watched his eyes flicker down, then back up and she enjoyed the thrill that ran through her body at his response to her. She had waited long for this and it was everything she could have wished for, certainly more than she'd expected. When that Vulcan let go, he let go and despite the delicious lovemaking they'd shared with the steaming hot water pouring over them, she found she wanted more of him.

Having him, fed her desire; made her want more. She felt like she was addicted to him. As he stalked over to her, catlike in his movements, she wet her lips in anticipation. His own nude body gleaming with the remaining water droplets clinging to it. The muscles in his lean body played beneath his skin as he approached her in the dim light, the shadows dancing across his frame.

Her breathing hitched as he neared, her body flushed with desire. He could hear her breath rate increase the closer he came. His own was coming faster as well. It surprised him; this nearly constant desire for her. It seemed the longer he was with her the more of her he wanted. "Christine," he whispered softly, reaching out to caress her cheek. "You affect me as no other woman ever has."

Christine was frozen in place. His tender caress; his words, moved her beyond anything that had come before. She stared into his eyes, transfixed by what she saw revealed there.

"I cannot get enough of you," he continued, pulling her into his arms.

She melted against him, not entirely sure her legs would hold her up any longer, without the support of his arms around her.

"In fact," he said, after only a moments hesitation. "I believe I have ... fallen in love with you."

Christine gasped. Never in all her dreams had she truly imagined him saying those words to her. She cupped his face in her trembling hands. "I love you with every fiber of my being. You," she said softly. "Are the other half of my soul."

Spock gasped softly, his body flashing hot with her incredible words. The power she had to make him react was astonishing. He leaned forward slowly, barely touching his lips to hers. He moved his hand up, placing his fingers on her contact points and as easily as breathing the two lovers minds slipped together, sharing all that they were, their love, their desire, their thoughts and their souls.

Intermingling easily, they touched places no one else could go; places that were private and sacred to them and them alone, each reveling in differences and similarities between them.

* * *

Both trembling and lying side by side on a bed neither knew how they'd gotten onto, Spock and Christine quietly, touching each other, enjoying the simplicity of complete peace and utter trust. Their movements, slow and languid, were reverent and tender, each one as new as the first.

Spock looked over at her suddenly. "So," he asked casually. "What is it, exactly, that you have planned?"

She laughed. "You mean I managed to keep it secret, despite ... " She trailed off, blushing.

Spock's eyebrow twitched upward, as did the corner of his mouth. "It amazes me, Christine, that you still blush. But to answer your question. Yes, you are getting very good at that."

She grinned broadly. "Good, because you're not supposed to know yet."

"I believe," he said, his voice lowering to a conspiratorial level. "That it is time for retribution." No sooner had he said the words than he moved suddenly, pinning her to the bed beneath him. Holding her wrists firmly at her sides with his hands, he began at the hollow of her neck, trailing kisses and light nips down her chest to her abdomen.

Christine moaned softly. "I like your idea of retribution," she said between short, quick breaths.

Spock ignored her words and continued his downward path, stopping when he reached the hollows of her hips. There, he teased her until she moaned again. He moved purposely lower and licked and nibbled lightly at her inner thighs, sending shivers through her body.

She bucked beneath him. "Spock! Please!"

Spock smiled. "Patience, T'hy'la. I've only just begun." He felt a second shiver travel through her.

The com-panel beeped for attention and a frustrated sigh was torn out of him. He reluctantly started to pull back.

"No!" she responded urgently. "If it's important, they'll call again. If not ... " She purposely let her voice trail off suggestively.

Spock frowned thoughtfully, torn between his sense of responsibility and his desire to continue. Finally coming to the conclusion that she was correct, he leaned forward to resume right where he'd left off.

The com-panel beeped again.

Spock sat back immediately, his eyebrow up. "It seems it is important," he said drily.

With a sound somewhere between a groan and a growl, Christine rolled out of bed and headed for the main room. "It had better be," she muttered fiercely.

Reaching the panel she jabbed the connection open. "Chapel here," she said tersely.

"There you are!" McCoy's frustrated voice came over the frequency. "We're waiting."

"Oh!" she responded, startled. "I forgot."

"Forgot?" McCoy replied, his astonishment coming through very well. "How?"

"Uh ... never mind," Christine answered. "I'll be right there."

"Okay, McCoy out."

Christine closed off her end, sheepishly. How could she have forgotten, indeed. She turned toward the bedroom and found Spock watching her, leaning against opening. He raised an eyebrow questioningly.

"This will take only a couple of minutes," she said, slipping passed him. She quickly gathered up a fresh uniform and began dressing. "When I'm done, I'll meet you for dinner in the Officer's Mess." She looked up at him. He hadn't moved, except to turn and face the bedroom. "Is that okay?"

He nodded. "That will be satisfactory," he replied, still not moving.

She paused, second boot in hand. "Aren't you going to get dressed?"

"Shortly," he answered, eyes twinkling. "For now, I'm simply ... admiring the view."

Christine grinned in spite of her sudden shyness and awkwardly resumed dressing, very aware of Spock's eyes watching her every move.

* * *

Christine rushed into the Officer's mess, slightly out of breath. Both the Captain and Dr. McCoy were waiting by the door.

"You forgot?" McCoy asked still incredulous.

"Yes," Christine answered tersely. "Sorry about that," she continued, her voice softer.

Captain Kirk looked at her with an amused expression. "And just how could you forget?" Suspecting he already knew at least part of the answer. Unfortunately, as curious as the next person, he had been unable to discover anything past that single encounter months ago. Either they were the most discreet people he had ever known, which considering who they were, was entirely possible, or nothing more had happened.

He knew he couldn't ask, but he had to admit he wondered ... hell, he more than wondered; he was dying to know exactly what or was not going on. Now, watching Christine Chapel's reactions, he was beginning to lean more heavily toward the former, which did nothing to ease his curiosity. In fact in only deepened it.

Christine hated it, but she couldn't quite stop the blush that rushed to her face. "Let's just say I got distracted and leave it at that," she said, definitely not wanting to elaborate.

McCoy opened his mouth, but Christine cut him off. "Everything's ready? They're here?" she asked the captain.

He nodded, moving out of her line of sight. Only then did she see the two very special visitors. She grinned. "Perfect." She frowned. "Except for the Pinarrii."

"So," Kirk said, forestalling a second attempt by McCoy to question Christine. "Anyone know of a non-suspicious way to get Spock in here?"

"Oh, he should already be on his way," Christine answered as she headed toward the buffet. She wanted to make sure everything was set up just right.

"Now just how do you know that?" McCoy called after her.

She ignored him.

McCoy glance over at Jim. In his opinion the man looked just a little too innocent. "What do you know about this?" he demanded.

"Know about what?" Kirk asked innocently.

McCoy glared at him. "You know what I mean."

"No, I'm afraid I don't, Bones. Excuse me would you? I want to make sure our guests have everything they need while we're waiting for Spock.

McCoy sputtered behind Kirk, but couldn't call him on it without making a scene. Instead he fumed and became determined to discover what it was that he didn't know.

He started toward Christine. Unfortunately, Spock chose that moment to walk through the door. "Spock," McCoy exclaimed, moving to intercept him, purposely standing in his way.

"Yes, Doctor?" he asked, wondering what had the good doctor rushing to greet him as soon as he came through the door.

McCoy was saved from having to come up with a good response, when Kirk chose that moment to step up to them.

"About time you got here, Mister," Kirk said.

Spock's eyebrow shot up. "I was unaware that I was expected. Is there some specific reason I was supposed to be here?"

"Of course there is," Kirk returned evenly. "Didn't you get my message?"

Spock shifted uncomfortably. "I am afraid I have not been to my quarters for several hours. I--" Kirk grinned suddenly and Spock's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "I suspect that I am being ... 'put on'."

"Why, Spock," McCoy said, bouncing slightly on his toes. "That's because you are."

"Really, Doctor," Spock responded drily. "And to what purpose?"

"Greetings, my son."

Spock's head jerked up and he just controlled his visible surprise at the sound of his father's voice. "Greetings, Father," he asked evenly. "May I inquire as to what brings you on board the Enterprise?"

"You may," responded a feminine voice.

For the second time in as many minutes, Spock fought to control his surprise. This time, he was not quite as successful. "Mother!" he replied, turning slightly to face her. She grinned at him, her eyes dancing and he knew he had not masked all of his reaction.

"Surprise," she said lightly.

"Indeed," he responded, once again showing only that which he wanted. "I was not expecting either of you." Seeing a touch of the light dim in his mother's eyes and immediately recognizing it for what it was, thanks to his new association with Christine, he moved to correct the misunderstanding. "However, I'm far from adverse to your presence. Welcome aboard, Mother; Father."


"Come on, Spock," Kirk interrupted, beckoning him further into the room. "All will be revealed shortly."

With a raised eyebrow and an aborted sigh, Spock indicated with a wave of his hand, for his mother to precede him, then followed behind. Glancing casually around the room, he noted the 'festive' decorations and the buffet already set out. Most of the day shift Bridge crew was present, along with several members of the science department. It was immediately obvious to him that a great deal of effort had been put into this 'surprise'.

It was then, he finally saw Christine. She was standing with three officers from his Science department. Speaking animatedly with them, she was grinning ear to ear and only now did he begin to receive from her the ... glee she was feeling. It was difficult not to smile in response. Surprisingly, it was not an unpleasant sensation.

"Well, I guess you're wondering what we're all doing here."

"Indeed, Captain," he responded. "I am most curious as to the 'occasion'."

"Well, I recently discovered, there was something about you that I did not know."

"And what was that, Captain?"

Kirk grinned. "That there is a day that is held as being special in a Vulcan's life."

Spock glanced at his father, wondering what this was about, but was giving no clue from that source.

"I am still at a loss?"

"We are here to celebrate the anniversary of ... " Kirk paused and handed Spock a hand written card. "Your passing of your kahs'wan, the day you became an adult."

Spock's eyebrow shot up as he absently opened the card. It was signed by everyone present ... including both his parents. He wondered for just a second, how they had persuaded his father to go along with it. "I ... appreciate this gesture, but the date of that particular anniversary was 3 days ago."

"Of course it was, Spock," Christine responded brightly, joining the circle around him. "How else were we going to pull this off without you suspecting what it was about?"

One corner of Spock's mouth twitched upward as he felt her satisfaction with 'finally' managing to surprise him. "Logical," he replied with a nod, setting the card on the table. He gave no outward sign of his thoughts, but he fully intended to 'have a talk' with Christine as soon as the opportunity arose.

* * *

The party was beginning to wind down, as all do eventually. He was gratified to note, however that it was a relatively tame party, without alcohol. Apparently, everyone had decided it would not be 'appropriate' considering he did not drink. It was that kind of consideration that sometimes caught him unaware and made him reflect on just how much this was home to him and how much these people, his friends, were an important part of his life.

For a long moment he watched his mother interact with the other party goers and wondered if she, as a human, felt as at home among Vulcans. He frowned thoughtfully, concerned that it had never even occurred to him before and why it occurred to him now.

He rose and strode across the room, nodding to those who greeted him. Stopping just outside the group she was speaking with, he waited silently for an opportunity to speak with her. It didn't take long before she turned to him.

"Spock," she said, facing him.

"Mother, if it is convenient, I would like to speak privately with you for a moment."

Her eyes widened slightly in surprise. "Certainly." She turned to the others. "I will return shortly."

The two of them moved toward a secluded corner of the room, seating themselves comfortably. They talked quietly for nearly 30 minutes, Mother and Son finally understanding each other a little better.

"Well," Amanda said finally. "I guess I really can stop worrying about you."

"Yes, Mother," Spock replied, then with a touch of amusement dancing in his eyes, he continued. "Besides, as you well know, it is not logical to worry about that which you cannot control."

Amanda laughed then. Drawing her husband's attention. "You and your logic, Spock. One of these days, living among humans, it's going to get you into trouble."

Spock cocked an eyebrow at her. "That also would not be logical," he said, then leaned forward whispering confidentially. "But, it has already done so; on several occasions."

"Oh, Spock," she responded, grinning and shaking her head. "I'm glad you inherited my sense of humor--"

"Mother," Spock interrupted, pulling himself up straight with mock indignation. "There is no need to be insulting."

"And not your father's," Amanda continued as if he hadn't spoken. Spock could not respond to that for several seconds. "Mother, Father does not have a 'sense of humor'."

"Humph," was her only reply. Both were prevented from continuing their current line of conversation by the arrival of Sarek.

Spock rose respectfully. "Father."

"Spock," Sarek acknowledged.

Amanda rose also crossing fingers with Sarek's outstretched ones. "My wife, Captain Kirk has mentioned they have upgraded their arboretum and has offered to show us."

She grinned. "Very well, my husband," she replied. "I will enjoy that." With a look of affection that could be plainly seen, she continued. "I will join you shortly," she said with a shooing motion.

Sarek arched an eyebrow at the gesture, but allowed the hint of a smile, that was solely for her. Then he turned to his son. "Spock, I would speak with you before I leave. It is not urgent and can be done anytime in the next 36.56 hours." He turned to leave then hesitated and turned back. "Your associates are ... tenacious people. It seems to me that serving among such people must have both its rewards and its penalties," he offered gently, then turned and walked off before Spock could respond.

Instead he turned to his mother. "That was ... unexpected," he said, slightly puzzled as to his father's exact meaning.

Amanda tilted her head sideways, gazing at her son measuringly. "Sometimes, only occasionally mind you, it is difficult to know whether what he says is tinged with approval or disapproval. I think, in this case, he was trying to tell you he approved of your choices."

Spock nodded. "That is possible, Mother," he replied thoughtfully, gazing at his father's retreating back, wondering if that were actually the case.

Amanda turned to leave, hesitating just as Sarek had. "Oh, and Spock?"

"Yes, Mother?"

She grinned secretively. "I think she's waited long enough. Don't you?"

"I do not understand."

"I think you do," she corrected gently. "Go to Christine."

Both Spock's eyebrows shot to his hairline. "What? How did you--" Spock's voice cut off; for one of the few times in his life at a loss for words.

"Mothers have their ways of knowing these things, Spock," she responded with a knowing grin. "I only have one question. Was it just your father and I you're trying to hide it from ... or is it everyone?" Then she too turned and left.

"No one knows," Spock answered quietly and he knew she had heard him, when her step lightened. He scanned the room and quickly found the person he was seeking. She was actually alone for the first time this evening.

He dismissed his mother's words and casually made his way over to the punch bowl, where she was getting herself a cup. As he reached for one of the clear crystal glasses, he whispered. "You cheated."

He heard her quiet laughter before she spoke. "I beg to differ."

"You got help this time."

"Nope," she said, her amusement rippled across her words and their bond. "This whole thing was the captain's idea."

Spock looked at her sharply, his surprise registering in his eyes.

"He asked me to help with it, because ... and I quote here ... 'because who's the least likely person for Spock to suspect of arranging a surprise party'."

The corner of Spock's mouth twitched upward, the irony fully appreciated. "Indeed," he replied, allowing his own amusement to be felt by her. "In that case, you are exonerated."

"Careful, Spock," she said quietly as she turned from the table. "You might not get the present I have planned for you." So saying she walked away, but not before sending a jolt of exactly what she had planned for after the party.

He took a swift hissing breath and swallowed slowly, before walking the opposite direction.

The End