DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of J. M. Lane and is copyright (c) 1986 by J. M. Lane. This story is rated PG-13.
Dr. Christine Chapel yawned and stretched in her seat in front of her computer console after a grueling day in Sickbay. She had been here since 0500; her first day as acting CMO had been murderous. A steady stream of patients had filed in from the moment she arrived, the last having departed just 15 minutes ago, at 1900.
How thankful she was for junior nurses and orderlies to whom she could delegate the less complicated medical tasks! She sighed and stretched before returning to the computer console to finish up the overdue medical cataloguing. She'd been at this so long that she was beginning to feel like part of the machine!
She heaved a sigh of relief upon finishing five minutes later. Thank Heaven that was behind her at last! She prayed no one else would require her services, though visiting hours didn't end until 2100 -- and she was obliged to remain until then. After that she hoped to have a shower, slip into her favorite nightgown, robe and slippers ...then curl up with a good book and her favorite music.
With those intentions in mind, Christine began to rise from her chair. At that precise moment she heard the outer doors swish open and closed again, signaling the arrival of yet another patient. *Oh great, just what I need,* she groused. *Another patient. The way I feel right now, I could use medical attention as much as they!*
She listened for a voice to call out, then went to investigate after receiving only silence in reply. Stepping through her office door and into the outer room, she was shocked to find Spock, First and Science Officer of the Enterprise (as well as the man she had loved almost since first coming aboard) waiting there.
*Oh my God, I don't believe it!* Christine exclaimed to herself. Even now the sight of him turned her knees to jelly and made her heart pound so hard that she felt like it would break through the wall of her chest. His time away had made him even more devastating -- and to think that (until now) she had been convinced that she was over him once and for all!
As she looked upon the handsome but aloof Vulcan, she knew that her feelings had never died. They could never have been so easily re-kindled otherwise. Spock's death had devastated her. She had cried every day for weeks afterward, the pain of loss so acute that she felt she could die of it. After a month she pulled herself together, throwing herself into her work with such zeal that she alarmed friends and colleagues ... among them Leonard McCoy and Jeff M'Benga.
She had assured them everything was fine, but privately admitted that had it not been for the demands of her work, she could not have endured the ordeal of trying to put her grief behind her. Christine had been unable to attend Spock's funeral; she could not have endured anyone speaking of him to her.
Life *with* him had been difficult, but at least she had had the dubious privilege of being in proximity to her beloved, able to gaze upon him or hear his deep, rich voice. She had long ago lost count of how many times she had wished he could have spoken to her of love and permanence, even as foolish and unrealistic as that wish had been.
She had eventually transferred to Starfleet HQ planetside, unable to bear being around places Spock had frequented -- or remember the poignant, bittersweet encounters between them. She especially remembered the time on Platonius when they had been forced to kiss by the psychokinetic aliens for their amusement. It had been humiliating, a mockery of the feelings she bore for Spock ... but at the same time, the kiss had been wonderful.
His lips had been every bit as warm and sweet as she had always imagined. Of course, she would have preferred it to have happened naturally, but one couldn't have everything. Spock had apologized to her later, but she couldn't bring herself to regret the experience -- at least not totally, since it had put her into Spock's arms ... and nothing which did that could be all bad.
Christine had talked many hours with James Kirk after Spock's death and the crippled Enterprise's return home after defeating the murderous lunatic Khan. The Captain had been Spock's closest friend; their relationship couldn't have been closer than if they had been brothers. Indeed, Spock had often referred to Kirk as his 't'hy'la,' meaning 'brother.'
Both had loved the Vulcan in their own way, sharing a common grief at his untimely passing. It hurt to hear the Captain speak of him -- and he spoke of him so often! -- but Christine wouldn't have missed their discussions for the world. He was the only link she had with the man she loved.
She liked Kirk immensely; he was an attractive, charming man. Be that as it may, she could never think of him (or any other man) as anything more than a friend. It had always been the Vulcan she loved -- a man who had known of that love and appreciated it, even if he had been unable to return it at the time.
Spock had always been courteous, gentle but firm in his rebuffs ... and she had long since forgiven him for his lapse while in the throes of his first *pon farr*. She had never forgotten how he had thrown the dinner she had made and brought him across the room and out the door of his quarters to crash against the corridor bulkhead, sending her screaming out.
"If I want anything from you, I'll ask for it!" he had bellowed after her like a mad bull. Not even the Captain and Leonard had escaped his wrath, but at least he hadn't gotten violent with them ... although McCoy had later related to her that Spock had threatened to break his neck for bothering him about coming in for a physical.
Fortunately Spock had eventually calmed down and asked her to make him more plomeek soup. She had been more than happy to comply, still remembering how he had brushed her tears away. Christine hated herself for crying in front of him, but he had seemed to understand -- and his gentle touch meant as a gesture of comfort.
It had been all she could do to conceal the thrill which had gone through her at his touch; she had closed her eyes in order to conceal it from him. But what she hated herself the most for was not having been perceptive enough to have recognized his statement "It would be illogical to protest our natures, don't you think?" as his way of making advances to her.
Oh lord, how many times she'd kicked herself after realizing that! If only she could have realized it then and taken him up on his offer when she'd had the chance...
For a moment Spock stood there, unaware of Christine's presence and puzzled as to where the doctors were. He finally called out but received only silence in reply. Only then did he look around, spotting her in the doorway of the office she shared with M'Benga. Christine fought back disappointment when the Vulcan showed no detectable sign of recognition. Despite her knowledge that it would take time for him to remember everyone he had known, it would have been nice ... Oh, well.
*Silly lovesick fool,* the doctor chided herself. *He's a Vulcan, a computer in Humanoid form. I've never really existed for him, at least not as a woman ... so why *should* he remember me?*
"Pardon me, Nurse. Is Dr. McCoy or M'Benga available?"
"They are away at medical conventions and will not return for at least a week," Christine reported in her most professional voice.
"I came for my regular physical examination, but it is obvious that I will need to reschedule. Forgive me for disturbing you."
Christine knew it was foolish to say it, but she had to. "No need for that. I could give you the examination."
One upswept eyebrow lifted in Spock's characteristic gesture of surprise; she fully expected him to refuse. "You do look somewhat familiar. Have we served together in some capacity before?"
Christine suppressed an urge to shout for joy. He had indeed remembered her! "I was Dr. McCoy's Head Nurse on the original Enterprise. I transferred back to this one only recently."
"I believe your name is Chapel. Is that correct?"
"And you say you are a doctor now? Congratulations."
"Very well, Dr. Chapel. You may examine me -- but make it brief. I am due on the Bridge in 13.42 minutes."
She was pleasantly surprised. Spock had never done such a thing before ... at least not in her memory. For a moment she couldn't speak.
"Is something wrong, Doctor?"
"Oh, no ... of course not. I'll be in to examine you as soon as you're ready." Spock gave her a strange look but said nothing, simply turned and walked into the adjoining examination room. *I'd like to examine him, all right ... in more ways than one!* Christine thought wickedly, blushing even as she thought it. She took several deep breaths in order to calm herself and slow down her pounding heart. It was criminal for anyone to be so attractive and desirable, yet light-years out of reach. Many women had been attracted to Spock over the years, but most had lost interest after learning he was unable to return their feelings. However, Christine's own had not changed -- and she now knew that they never would.
She waited until she was sure he was ready, but knocked on the door as a precaution. "Are you ready, Mr. Spock?"
"Yes, Doctor." But when she entered, Spock wasn't on the diagnostic bed or in any state of undress. Instead, the First Officer sat in one of the two chairs in the room, fully dressed and waiting for her.
"I thought you said you were ready."
"I am," came his reply. "But not to be medically examined. I wish to speak privately with you for a few moments, if I may. I trust I am not keeping you from anything else you need to do?"
"Of course not. In fact, I'm free for the night after this." He just raised the aforementioned eyebrow again -- but that simple elevation spoke volumes. "Would you like to move into my office? We would have more privacy there."
"Right here will suffice. This concerns a very important matter which has gone unresolved between us for too long. Won't you sit down?" He gestured to the empty chair across from him.
Christine sat down before her treacherously weak knees betrayed her. "Wh -- what could that be?" She hated herself for blushing like a schoolgirl.
He gave her a half-smile. "You ask such unimportant questions." Spock silenced her with a lifted hand when she attempted to speak. "Please do not interrupt me," he began, taking a deep breath. "In spite of the fact that what I am about to say is totally illogical, the feelings prompting it are too strong to resist any longer." He moved to sit on the edge of his chair, then reached for her hands and entwined their fingers together -- a most unusual act for him, particularly when he also told her to lift her chin and looked deeply into her eyes. "Ever since I had that dream about you during my first Time of Mating, I have struggled to decipher its meaning, since I rarely have dreams charged with such intense emotion. I now believe that I have discovered that meaning."
Christine's heart felt like it would burst with love and happiness. Spock had never spoken to her or touched her like this before. Dare she hope that his brush with death had changed him so that he could admit to having romantic feelings for her, despite his consistent denial of his emotions and Humanity? Her throat tightened when he again looked deeply, almost tenderly, into her eyes -- so much so that she could hardly breathe. But it was breath well lost if Spock would only continue to look at, speak to and touch her as he was now doing.
When she again tried to speak, Spock again silenced her with a lifted hand. "Do not apologize; I am not blaming you. However, due to my strict Vulcan upbringing, I could never allow myself the luxury of feeling romantic toward you in return. But I am presently experiencing an emotion I have never known in my entire life ... and suspect that the subliminal message of love you inadvertently sent is responsible. I am at a loss to explain how or why this has come about -- but nevertheless, I must say this ... " His voice trailed off.
"Yes?" She sounded breathless.
"I want you to -- bond with me. I wish for us to feel each other's thoughts, lock our minds together and become *one*. If you are unfamiliar with what the Vulcan marriage ritual involves, let me know and I will explain it to you."
Christine was stunned speechless, only her eyes giving any indication of the joy and rapture she felt ... but Spock seemed to require verbal reassurance, since he interpreted her silence as rejection. "Have I offended you by speaking in such a manner? If I have, you have but to say the word. I will leave and never mention it to you again."
Christine had never been as happy as she was now, knowing that no matter what she did or how she tried, the only man she would ever love was Spock of Vulcan. No other man in the universe could even begin to compare with him. Not even Roger had affected her so much. What she had felt for him was lukewarm compared to her present feelings for Spock.
It was a full minute before she found her tongue again. "Oh no, Spock. You haven't offended me ... by no means. It was just such a surprise. I never expected you to remember me, much less how I felt about you -- and must admit that I am honored and flattered by your offer of marriage."
"I am relieved to hear that, since I am unsure of the meaning of most Human mannerisms ... particularly those of women. And, Christine?"
"I trust that you are aware that I am not what you would call a 'physical' person -- not one for public demonstrations of affection ... so I cannot understand the feelings you are bringing out in me. I am not undergoing the mating fever, so perhaps it is my Human half influencing me. Mother warned me it would. Whatever the case, I believe it would make you happy if I were to hold you in my arms and kiss you."
Christine nearly fainted from shock and joy upon hearing his words. He wanted to kiss her! "Yes, Spock. I would like that very much -- but only if you want it, too."
"I would not mention it otherwise. So, if you would allow me ... "
Spock stood up, extending a hand to where Christine sat across from him, her hands folded in her lap. She placed one hesitant hand in his; he pulled her to her feet and into his arms. One encircled her waist, then the fingers of his other hand lifted her face to his as he bent his dark head -- and their lips met.
Christine's fatigue was forgotten in her exquisite joy at being with Spock, knowing he did indeed have feelings for her -- had for some time, even though it had taken his brush with death to get him to express those feelings. His lips tasted like warm honey; she prayed the kiss would never end. There were no words to describe the feelings his kiss and the closeness of his body brought out in her. His embrace tightened when she moved closer, his lips brushing the top of her head before returning to her lips to continue kissing her. Several moments later the unlikely lovers reluctantly parted. Christine knew that even if nothing came of this, she would cherish it forever.
She was at last able to hold, touch and kiss the man she loved -- and best of all, he seemed to want to do the same to her! She loved Spock all the more for allowing her to indulge her Human desire to hold, touch and kiss him ... and for responding so warmly to her. Christine was aware that physical contact made Vulcans uncomfortable due to their being touch-telepaths, but was hopeful of teaching him to enjoy physical love a lot more often than every seven years. Most of all, however, she looked forward to what he could teach *her*.
In the event it happened, Christine was determined that their marriage would last and be as long and happy as Sarek and Amanda's, producing a son like Spock ... .and God willing, a daughter too. After he released her, the couple proceeded to perform the bonding ritual -- the most that could be done until they could get to Vulcan and be married properly, he told her.
"You must not discuss with anyone what has transpired between us today. When the time is right, I will inform Jim -- Captain Kirk -- and have him marry us in a Federation ceremony prior to the official one on Vulcan, if that meets with your approval."
Christine didn't care who married them as long as they were married! In the midst of her joy, she wished her family could meet Spock. They would love him as much as she did ... and while they didn't have the rank and importance his family did, they were by no means unimportant people. Speaking of important people, she could hardly wait to go to Vulcan and see Spock's parents again. Amanda, his Human mother, would be a strong ally since she could advise Christine on how best to handle a Vulcan husband. Christine also knew that she would enjoy Amanda's reminiscing about Spock's childhood and youth, even if it embarrassed him.
It wouldn't hurt him, and his parents would be pleased to see their son bonded and married at last. Lastly, Spock admonished her that until such time as they married, she was to continue treating him in a professional manner -- at least in public. No one was to know of their new romantic relationship other than the Captain ... and perhaps Uhura and Dr. McCoy. With everyone else, they were to maintain a businesslike facade, but could show affection when alone together. She wanted to shout it to the world, but at the same time, knew she must keep their secret -- and that he would always do everything in her power to please him.
* * *
Christine began her campaign as instructed. She dressed carefully, fixing her hair and makeup so that even she had to admit that she'd never looked more beautiful. As much as she appreciated the men she attracted, she had bigger game in mind. She also noted a welcome change upon arrival in Sickbay -- very few patients. Even M'Benga did a double-take when he first saw her! Once over his initial shock, he told her he could handle things for the time being but would call her if he needed her.
She headed for the Officers' Lounge on C Deck after stopping back at her quarters for some needlework she had been doing; her heart pounded double when she saw Spock approaching on his way to the Bridge. He raised an appreciative, if surprised, eyebrow upon seeing her.
"Good morning, Dr. Chapel. You look most attractive today." Nothing could have shocked her more than statement, especially considering the source, but she managed to accept the welcome -- if unexpected -- compliment graciously.
"Thank you, Spock."
"I must report to the Bridge now, but perhaps we will meet again later. Until then, if you will excuse me ... "
"Of course." After Spock disappeared around the corner, Christine had to lean on the nearest bulkhead for support, knees weak and head spinning. She could hardly wait to tell M'Benga what had happened -- and did just that as soon as she could trust her legs to carry her.
He was pleased but warned her, "We've gotten off to a great start, but remember, this is only the beginning. Things are bound to get tough ... *real* tough ... once he realizes he's falling in love with you, so be prepared for anything."
Later that day Christine was called to the Bridge to treat a crewman's minor leg injury. Spock caught her eye and smiled at her when everyone's backs were turned ... then *winked*. That had to be a first! She would have shouted it to the whole crew if it hadn't been meant for her alone.
All the same, Jeff's warning proved valid in the following days. After the compliment, smile and wink on the Bridge, Spock didn't even bother to acknowledge Christine's existence, making sure at least one other person was in the room with them when they did happen to be in proximity -- speaking to her only when absolutely necessary ... and exclusively on ship's business. She was hurt and bewildered, but told herself things would change.
They did -- but for the worse. She talked with M'Benga about her mixed-up feelings. "Jeff, I don't understand. He was almost Human that first day, but now I might as well be invisible for all the notice he takes of me." The other doctor remained silent, seeming to be waiting for something. "He seems to be *closing* up rather than *opening* up."
"That proves you're getting to him. That's a classic defense mechanism. I doubt he would admit to this, but the broken bond with his first betrothed hurt him deeply and he's determined that it never happen again, whatever the cost to himself or anyone who loves him. Another favorite mechanism is turning his back to hide whatever emotion may be showing on his face. And if I may be so bold, that Vulcan girl T'Pring wasn't even half good enough for Spock. Most women would be proud and honored to be the consort of such an extraordinary man."
"Fortunately for me, T'Pring wasn't `most women'."
"Amen to that."
Christine couldn't fathom how any woman supposedly in her right mind could reject Spock -- he had everything any woman could ever want. Of course, not all women would see him as she did. *I know *I'd* certainly be proud and honored to belong to him,* she thought.
"He's weakening, take my word for it. It won't be much longer. Hang in there."
"I'm doing my best."
"Keep it up; you'll see. Things are going to change drastically ... and soon!"
* * *
Things hadn't been exactly a bed of roses for Spock, either. He knew the mating fever was upon him again, but was hard-pressed to understand why; it had only been five years. He also couldn't understand how Dr. Chapel could have become so disturbingly attractive of late. It had taken every meditation technique he knew, performing them several times daily, to calm his overflowing heart and the strong attraction he felt toward the Terran woman ... even temporarily.
*I must resist her -- I must,* he scolded himself. *It is illogical to have such strong desires, even in the Mating Time.*
His self-discipline was such that even during pon farr (at least in the early stages) he seemed like his normal self, but the feelings he presently harbored were unlike any he'd ever experienced before. *I must stay well away from her, even if it means going out of my way to do so ... because it would never work. We are still much too different, despite our many similarities,* he told himself. Spock had vowed never to become romantically involved with Christine Chapel or any other woman on the Enterprise, but knew the time was coming when he would be unable to keep that vow -- at least as far as Christine was concerned.
* * *
What happened next surprised -- no, shocked -- them both, though neither could have brought themselves to regret it. While M'Benga and McCoy were having lunch (the Chief Surgeon had returned the previous day), Christine had answered the Sickbay intercom to hear Spock summoning her ... to *where*?
*His quarters? He wants me to come to his quarters? Only his family or close friends have ever been invited there ... * Then it struck her. *Does this mean that he wants me to be his -- close friend?* She hardly dared even think that he might want more! Christine called for one of the interns to cover for her until one of the older doctors returned.
She stood at Spock's door five minutes later, heart pounding and knees wobbling, scarcely able to reach out and press the button which would alert him to her presence. The doors slid open and he said, "Come in," closing silently behind her after she stepped through. To her surprise, he also locked them! "May I offer you a drink, Dr. Chapel?" Christine gratefully accepted. "I sense that you are wondering why I summoned you to my quarters," Spock commented as he made up two drinks.
Thirty seconds later he placed one in front of her, then seated himself facing her, hands folded around his own glass.
"I must admit it surprised me. Your preference for privacy and solitude are well-known. You don't take just anyone into your confidence, especially a woman, without good reason."
"Correct ... but there is something very important I must discuss with you. It is -- why I asked you here." The Vulcan's own heart was pounding as he inhaled Christine's perfume. Never had he fought so hard for control! Spock clutched as tightly as he dared to his glass, but even so, his hands began to tremble. Her nearness was almost unbearable; he was unsure how much longer he could endure it without possessing her. He hoped Christine hadn't noticed his hands trembling or the tremor which had come into his voice -- and was thankful she couldn't see the most obvious symptom of his affliction. The ache in his body grew worse with every passing minute, his uniform pants having become a prison from which he had to escape ... and soon! It was all he could do to sit still.
His lifted hand silenced her when she tried to speak. "I must apologize for my behavior toward you in the recent past. I had a good reason for it ... and will explain that reason as best I can."
"Yes?" Even her voice seemed to caress him; the Vulcan gritted his teeth and he took a deep breath before replying. "I believe you are aware that I am -- in the midst of what is known on my planet as pon farr, the Time of Mating. It usually comes upon male Vulcans every seventh year of their adult lives, but has only been five years since my last episode. I am therefore very much at a loss to ... understand why it has come -- two years early. Or how it could last ten days when it normally lasts only ... seven."
"I remember Dr. M'Benga telling me something about that." Christine set her now-empty glass down.
"Indeed? Would you care to tell me what -- that `something' was?" His reaction was a raised eyebrow and "Fascinating. I must keep that in mind." Spock took another deep breath. "However, to get back to the subject. I assume you also know that I ... become more -- susceptible to feminine charms during the Time of Mating."
"You mean to say that you find me ... sexually attractive?"
"I believe -- I said that, Christine." He raised her hands to his lips after bringing them both to their feet. Her heart pounded so hard she was sure he could hear it. "I wish ... I *need* you to -- bond with me. I want us to lock our minds together ... be as one."
*Oh my God, this has to be a dream,* she thought. *It can't possibly be happening!* But when Christine closed her eyes and opened them again, Spock was still there, still kissing her hands. Suddenly her presence, her closeness, overwhelmed him. It was unVulcan to feel so much for a woman, but he was beyond caring about anything but possessing her. Like a magnet being attracted to metal, her face was lifted to his. The kiss was deep and passionate; his hands stroked her back before he pressed her body close to his own. Christine prayed this incredible rapture would last forever. Never in her life had she been this happy! Her most cherished dream was coming true -- and she had M'Benga to thank for it. The Science Officer swung the Doctor off her feet and into his arms, carrying her to his bed and depositing her on it. Her arms locked around his neck, drawing him down with her.
"Christine, I ... need you desperately. I must -- have you, right now!"
"Yes, Spock. *Yes*!" She was amazed at how quickly he managed to divest them both of clothing. A short time later, both sighed and relaxed against one another. The ache in his body was gone (for the moment), but Spock knew it would return. Not only once, but many times ...
* * *
It wasn't until two days later that the couple got around to fully bonding, locking their minds together as their bodies had been countless times during the proceeding day and nights.
Christine woke first, watching Spock sleep. Now they were as close in mind as they had been in body. She had lost count of how many times they had made love in the course of their weekend together, for his need seemed to be almost constant. They would hardly finish one time before his erection renewed itself and they would be at it again...but that suited her just fine. After so many years of denial, Christine doubted she would ever get enough of Spock, just as it seemed he would never get enough of her. And he wasn't always gentle--but then, neither was she. She'd waited far too long for this! Christine hadn't been a virgin when she'd come to Spock's bed, but he made her feel like one. She wished that she had been, in order that he be the only man who had ever possessed her--not only in body but heart and mind as well. Oh lord, what a weekend they had had! If Christine had been a cat, she would have purred.
When at last they had slept, she had felt in her mind his embarrassment at the passionate abandon he had shown during their weekend together...but most of all, he was embarrassed because he had also felt tenderness and love.
She eventually felt him stir in her arms, then his eyelids fluttered open and he smiled. "Did you enjoy our time together, Christine? Did I please you?"
She stroked his lips and he kissed her finger. "Oh, Spock, beloved...*yes*. It was wonderful."
"I am pleased to hear that. It was most--pleasurable to share physical love with you as well."
After the last two days, Christine was convinced that Spock couldn't possibly be what many sordid rumors claimed: the Captain's lover. It had appalled them when they'd first heard that, especially the logical Vulcan. How could anyone believe such a thing? No Vulcan (male or female, as far as Spock knew) had been sexually attracted to their own gender--or their counterparts in other races. It was the most illogical thing in existence...especially considering the well-known fact that James Kirk preferred women! Indeed, Spock had to admit, he and the Captain were close--but not that way. They were like brothers.
The pair crossed fingers before parting at his door. "We must part for now, but will be together again tonight if you wish it." Christine's eyes spoke for her; Spock sensed her deep love for him and in spite of himself felt the same for her.
"You know I do."
She kissed his hand. "I love you, Spock...you'll never know how much." He lifted her chin up to kiss her deeply in reply. He couldn't say it, at least not yet--but Christine sensed that Spock's feelings for her ran as deep as her own for him. She could scarcely fathom that this extraordinary man actually belonged to her, cared so much for her. She prayed she would prove worthy of him.
The female doctor departed the First Officer's quarters, smiling as she remembered lying close in his arms in warm darkness when he had confessed his difficulty in understanding emotions.
"That's because emotions cannot be logically analyzed," she had said. "Often emotions and what they motivate us to do defy all logic."
He had sighed, breath warm and sweet on her skin as he nuzzled her throat. "Perhaps in time I will understand how to deal with them more effectively--if you help me."
"If you'll help me to understand Vulcan philosophy."
Then for a long time afterward, the only language spoken had been the language of love--a language which needed no words. It was as though only a moment had passed when Spock spoke again. "I will understand if you cannot accept my proposal, since I have hurt you so much that it is a risk for me to ask you to join your destiny with mine. I can only ask your forgiveness for my illogical behavior."
"There's nothing to forgive."
Surprise had been evident on his face and in his voice. "You truly mean that?"
"More than I've ever meant anything in my life." She kissed one pointed eartip. "And I hope you'll try to remember that I'm Human, so my reactions won't always be logical--especially where you're concerned."
"As long as you can accept that I will sometimes misinterpret your words and feelings."
"Then let us bond." Their fingertips had touched one another's faces in the mind-link position; within seconds their minds had touched. Her presence had warmed his being for an all-too-brief moment, then he had dropped his hand. The intensity of contact had gone, because she had also dropped her hand...but he was still with her and she with him. Neither had ever known such total union with another--and Spock knew he had searched for this feeling all his life. "Never and always." He placed a gentle kiss on her temple.
"Never and always," Christine had replied, feeling unbidden tears slip down her cheeks. "Forgive me, Spock."
He had kissed her tears away. "That is unnecessary. I will not forgive you for something you cannot help. You are what you are, just as I am what I am." He had felt her acceptance in his mind, seeing his own joy reflected in her eyes.
She had stroked his bare chest with her fingers, then trailed kisses up to the junction of his neck and shoulder. "Please make love to me again." He had done so, willingly and thoroughly. Afterward her head had been cradled on his shoulder, the fingers of his left hand ruffling her hair and his right hand holding her left as he had kissed the top of her head, then her temple again.
* * *
Christine awakened late on the morning after their official wedding three months later (the earliest opportunity their duties and ship's missions permitted) to the sun shining brightly into the picture window of their new apartment in the residential section of Starfleet HQ. She opened her eyes, yawned and stretched, then closed them again. Her hand felt for her husband, but found empty space. She sat up and frowned, then donned her robe and went to look for him. She returned to the bedroom to shower and dress when her search proved fruitless.
Where could he have gone the morning after their marriage -- during their honeymoon? Christine knew how much of a workaholic Spock could be, but surely not even he would do such a thing after just being married. Even Vulcans took time to be alone with their mates after just being married. After a leisurely shower, she dressed and breakfasted, smiling as she relived the night she and her new husband had spent together.
Christine had never imagined that Spock was capable of such tender passion. He had been open, vulnerable, in her hands. For once he had faced his feelings for her, and hers for him, instead of trying to hide behind his well-known wall of logic or explain his emotions away. As M'Benga said, Spock did indeed have emotions -- very strong emotions. You just had to know how to get to them. It was also necessary to go about courtship in a different manner than with a regular man ... but that was the thing she loved most about him, that he *wasn't* like other man. Love and determination had gotten her this far; it would see her through the months and years to come.
Marriage with a Vulcan wouldn't be any cinch, but then Christine had always loved a challenge. It has taken most of the last three months to get used to being telepathically linked with Spock, hearing his voice inside her head and feeling his love even if they were separated. She didn't mind that; what was unnerving was knowing that he knew and sensed *her* feelings.
She had even told him once how uncomfortable she felt, if only a little, when this happened ... and had been flabbergasted to hear his laughter in her mind. But it was pleasant, even beautiful, once she got used to it -- and he had replied mentally that he considered her mind-voice and laughter just as beautiful.
*How could I ever have thought a physical relationship the ultimate in intimacy? Now I know better.* With that thought, she again heard Spock's mind-laughter and his affectionate voice inside her head.
*Not everyone can be as fortunate as we are, my wife.*
*I know, and it's hard not to gloat, because so many will never know how wonderful it is to be both physically and mentally intimate. No wonder your parents have been so happy together for so long!*
*You learn quickly, my wife,* he smiled through the link.
*I had a good teacher,* she reminded him with a laugh.
* * *
The door opening and closing brought Christine back to reality.
She recognized Spock's footsteps, wanting to run and throw herself into his arms, but managed to control herself and wait for him to enter the living room. The couple greeted one another with smiles and finger-crossing.
"Good morning, my wife. I trust you slept well."
"Yes, thank you." Christine was all set to ask where he had gone, but Spock answered her question before she voiced it ... another advantage of being mentally intimate.
"I regret leaving you while still on our honeymoon, but found it necessary to inquire as to the earliest possible time we could leave for Vulcan. Would you care to spend the remainder of our honeymoon with my parents? Mother has expressed a desire to speak privately with you -- talk 'girl talk', she said."
"When do we leave?"
"Tomorrow at 0900. The Captain has offered to drop us off on the way to the Enterprise's next mission. We report to the ship at 0830 and will visit briefly with him before going to our quarters."
"It'll be good to see him again."
Christine smiled at the light in her husband's eyes as he spoke of his friend. Not many men had such friendships as the one between Spock and Kirk, but then it was only natural that two such extraordinary men would have an equally extraordinary friendship ... even if one was a Vulcan who normally eschewed developing a close friendship, especially with a Human. No one deserved the best of everything more than Spock after all he had been through in his life -- and now, thankfully, that was essentially what he had. A flourishing career, devoted parents, a wife who loved him and whom he loved, not to mention a close friendship with his Commanding Officer, as well as other friends like McCoy, Uhura, Scott, Sulu, and Chekov, who had risked their lives and careers to save him ... even defying Starfleet orders in order that he might live among them once again. The only thing he didn't have was children, and she was working diligently toward rectifying that.
"What do you wish to do now?"
"I want to hear more about Vulcan and your family."
"You already know a great deal," he reminded her.
"But I always enjoy hearing you talk about them. I consider it 'fascinating'."
"I have noted how Humans seem to enjoy having things repeated to them -- especially by someone they care for," Spock rejoined dryly. "Very well. I will talk about whatever you wish to hear."
After crossing fingers again, the couple discussed his home planet and family background again. Spock had an answer for nearly everything, but even he was at a loss for words -- if only for a moment -- to answer her last question. He finally said, "You misunderstand our philosophy. Our original intention was merely to control our warlike tendencies and regrettable fondness for killing, replacing it with peaceful logic."
"But why suppress love and caring? Those are things which should always be encouraged."
"Because they can often be as bad as hatred when they are misused, as so many do."
"I suppose you're right, at least part of the time, but you even tried to achieve Kolinahr, the total absence of emotion. I've never believed that to be logical. One is nothing more than a machine without emotion. What kind of life is that?"
"I must remind you that I did not succeed in achieving Kolinahr. Even the discipline which that involves could not prevent my Human half from overshadowing it."
"I'm thankful for that -- and you know why? Because your Human side is a part of you which you'll never be able to get rid of, no matter what you do. You'd be denying half of yourself, and no one can live as half a person. Surely you haven't forgotten what happened to the Captain when he was split into two people."
Spock closed his eyes and visibly winced. Christine could tell he remembered only too well how Kirk had nearly died before a way was found to make him one person again. "I can't believe you would knowingly try to do the same thing, if only figuratively -- since even you have admitted that prejudice in any form is illogical."
The Vulcan's eyebrows shot up; for a moment he was silent and thoughtful. "When something is born into you, it's a part of you, and you can never lose it entirely ... and Humanity is as much a part of you as Vulcan is.
"Do you realize that being ashamed of your Terran heritage is tantamount to being ashamed of your mother? The Human race can't be all bad; we'd never have made it to the 23rd century otherwise. Earth has had her share of problems, I grant you, but so has Vulcan ... so you need not fear being as proud of it as you are of your Vulcan heritage, since both are equally responsible for making you the person you are ... the man I love and have married."
At last Spock found his voice again. "You have brought many fascinating points to my attention. It will take time, but I promise that I will take all you have said under consideration. In fact, Mother has often spoken of the same things ... but I was unable to comprehend her love for her home planet or its customs and history until now."
Christine yawned deeply and stretched.
"Do you wish to retire now, my wife?"
"Yes, I think we'd better. It's late and we have to get up early to make our flight."
"I am also fatigued. Come, we will go to bed now."
Christine could imagine how much trust it took for Spock to admit to weariness ... and was pleased that he valued her enough to even *consider* changing!
* * *
Spock and Christine reported to Kirk's office after having breakfast and beaming their belongings aboard. He greeted both warmly. "So good to see you both again. Marriage seems to be agreeing with you."
"It's good seeing you too, Captain -- and we couldn't be happier," Christine smiled.
"Indeed," her husband concurred.
"I reserved the VIP quarters for you," Kirk said.
"Thank you, but that was unnecessary. We would be comfortable wherever you choose to place us."
"And I choose to place you in the VIP quarters. You deserve the best for your honeymoon."
"In that case, you're very welcome." The Vulcan allowed himself to smile at his wife. "Would you care to freshen up?"
"Yes, thank you."
"Until tonight, Captain." Spock nodded in the Captain's direction, then crossed fingers with his wife and headed for the door.
"I'll be expecting you for dinner at 1800 then," Kirk called after them as the couple reached the door.
"We will be here."
Kirk smiled and nodded, then sat down in his chair again after their departure, putting his hands behind his head and entwining his fingers. They looked supremely happy and contented; how he envied them! Nothing had a right to disturb such happiness and contentment; no trouble should mar their honeymoon trip ... but how often did things turn out as planned?
* * *
Christine showered and changed into her favorite dress when it came time ... a pale blue, form-fitting affair which looked as though it was covered with stars. It boasted a moderately low scooped neckline and long, fitted sleeves with hugged her slender arms, tapering to a point on her slender hands. Her long, shapely legs were covered by opaque white hose, a provocative knee-high slit on the right side of the dress showing off her ankle and calf. Her feet were encased in gold slippers, her only jewelry her wedding ring and an IDIC necklace made with diamonds, gold and platinum -- a wedding gift from Uhura.
Christine called to her husband when she stepped out of the bathroom, noting his appreciation for her beauty in his dark eyes. After crossing fingers with her again, he went to get ready himself. A renewed thrill rushed through her at every touch of her husband's fingers with hers ... or whenever their eyes met. It was unbelievable that she actually belonged to him -- and he to her!
Something brown with a gold stylus attached to its spine peeking out of Spock's open suitcase caught Christine's eye. She walked over and picked it up, her intention being to put it away in the top dresser drawer on his side of the bed -- but her nervous fingers slipped and she dropped it. On the bed, thankfully ... and she couldn't believe her eyes when it fell open to where he had been writing. She had assumed it to be full of scientific hypotheses or computer theories; never anything like this.
The writing was neat and precise, as was Spock's way -- but other than that there was scarcely a trace of the logic he was so noted for. She never dreamed he had it in him! Guilt stabbed at her for reading in what was obviously Spock's private journal, his name inscribed in gold on the Corinthian leather cover.
Christine knew she should simply put it in his drawer and forget about it, but was consumed with curiosity and couldn't resist a look, even with the ever-present risk of discovery. Many pages were filled with what seemed to be diary entries but most were filled with sonnets ... poems about his closest friends, family and the women he had loved. Christine especially loved the ones about her. She wasn't mentioned by name, but knew herself well enough to know he was describing her. His latest sonnet was unfinished, but what he did have down was so beautiful it brought tears to her eyes. She prayed she would be able to read it in its entirety one day. She had gotten to him after all!
Scanning the entries -- some years old -- Christine noted that the sonnets were systematically divided, so many for each person. She recognized the sonnets written for Leila, the girl on Omicron Ceti III, as she did the ones for Zarabeth, the girl he had loved on a trip to the planet Sarpeidon's past, five thousand years ago. If only she could have shown them to someone ... but she couldn't, not even to the Captain. Spock would surely discover the journal missing and she couldn't risk that. *If only I could have known about this journal and its contents earlier,* she thought. *Things might have been very different between us long before this.*
Her heart pounded with not only renewed love but stark fear. She was probably never meant to see them, and if he ever learned that she had ... well, that didn't bear thinking about. For a moment she considered publishing them under an assumed name, dismissing the thought almost as soon as she thought it. *Now that I think about it, anyone who knows us or about his romances, friendships and family ties would know who had written them, given the opportunity to read them. If Spock chooses not to share them, I must respect his wishes. Whatever his reasons, I know they must be the correct and logical ones -- doubtlessly the best course of action for all concerned.*
When Spock returned, she gathered up her courage and walked up to him, journal in hand. "What is that in your hand?" he asked sharply.
"I was putting your things away and found it."
He raised a skeptical eyebrow. "Have you looked in it?"
"Not without your permission." She hoped he wouldn't detect her lie.
"Which neither you nor anyone else will have unless I wish it ... and there is very little likelihood of that. Kindly return my property to me at once." He sounded almost angry.
"That's just what I was doing," Christine declared in a voice betraying her pain at his doubting her.
Spock not only heard but sensed that pain and his gaze softened. "My apologies, my wife. I was simply concerned, since I have never shared the contents of that journal with anyone -- and more than that, I *can*not. Not with Jim; not even with you. Please accept that explanation and try to understand."
She didn't -- doubted she ever would -- but there was no point in arguing. If only he could trust her! She'd never tell a soul if it could be a secret just between the two of them.
"Are you ready for dinner?"
"Then let's go." The Vulcan lifted two fingers to cross with his wife's in the customary manner, then the couple departed for the Officers' Lounge where Kirk and their dinner would be waiting.
* * *
On her wedding day, Christine had vowed to become pregnant. She hadn't had birth control injections since then because she wanted Spock's child more than she'd ever wanted anything in her life, except Spock himself. The one thing she yearned for with every fiber of her being ... How like (and yet *un*like) Spock Zar had been! It had been all she could do to hide her feelings from the youth upon meeting him. He had also been a telepath, so he had surely sensed those feelings and wondered why she would never discuss Spock with him.
But as more and more time passed, Christine did not become pregnant. She was aware of how difficult it was for a Vulcan and Terran to conceive a child, but it could be done. Spock himself was the product of a Vulcan-Terran marriage. Unfortunately there was more to it than that. She was now in her forties, and age always worked against a woman -- particularly where child-bearing was concerned. It was difficult for her to remain optimistic, she wanted Spock's child so much. It was a positive hunger inside her. Christine yearned to feel a tiny life nestled beneath her heart, the product of her beloved and herself ... a child with his ears, his lovely eyes, his brilliant brain. She also hoped their child would be more Terran as far as emotions were concerned. She had seen how difficult life was for Spock, constantly denying his feelings. She wanted none of that for her child -- or God willing, children.
The straw which broke the camel's back came three days later, when her parents wrote to tell her that her older sister had married and given birth to a fine son -- the very one none of them had ever expected to marry and have a child. It wasn't fair. *Dammit, it isn't fair!* she sobbed angrily. *All I've ever wanted all my life, aside from a medical career -- and it's denied to me!*
It eventually reached the point where she couldn't take it any more. She threw herself on their bed and sobbed, holding her parents' crumpled stargram in her left hand. Hours passed, but Christine was oblivious to the passage of time. She didn't even hear the door open or Spock calling to her. Only his gentle touch brought her back to reality. He sat down beside her and touched her shoulder, reaching to caress her hair with his other hand.
"Christine, what is wrong? Is there anything I can do?" Silence was his answer, broken only by her muffled sobs. "Please stop crying, my wife. It distresses me to see you in such a state. Tell me what I can do to please you."
Christine turned over to face him, her face flushed and her eyes swollen and red. "Give me a child."
The Vulcan's eyebrows shot up. "We have only been married for three months. There is plenty of time for a family."
"Maybe for you. Not for me. I want to have our child so much, Spock -- but I'm afraid I never will."
He hardly knew what to say to this. He finally gathered her into his arms, voice gentle and soothing as he alternately stroked and kissed her hair. "If we are meant to have children, my wife, we shall have children ... but if it turns out that we cannot, we will still have each other -- and it would be illogical to dwell on what can never be." Her tears were gently brushed away; her eyes and cheeks softly kissed. "Now calm yourself and prepare for dinner with the Captain again. We are due to join him at 1800 and it is already 1630."
She stood up and turned toward the bathroom after Spock released her. He followed her to the door, stopping her with a hand on her shoulder. "Since you desire offspring so much, I shall do my utmost to grant your wish."
"You are quite welcome." The couple crossed fingers and exchanged smiles, then Christine disappeared into the bathroom to dress for dinner.
* * *
STARDATE 8412.26, CAPTAIN'S PERSONAL LOG:
We just dropped Spock and Christine off to finish their honeymoon with his parents. It hardly seems possible -- their marriage, I mean -- but I couldn't be happier for them. It seems as though they've always been married; they seem to mesh like a well-oiled machine. When I think of all the times I could have married ... Oh, what the hell. No use dwelling on it now. Just concentrate on feeling good -- so good that I feel nothing bad could ever happen to spoil it!
STARDATE 8412.29 ...
McCoy, Kirk and Uhura had just stepped off the turbolift on D Deck and were heading for the Conference Room when it happened -- so quickly that it seemed as though it was being run in fast forward. One moment they were talking; the next, all hell broke loose. (There had been rumors of a Romulan spy among the crew who might try to kill the Captain. Given the excellent security force on board, that was unlikely, but it was best to be prepared, so everyone carried hand phasers on their persons.)
Uhura wasn't fast enough to turn and stun the attacker; all she could do was scream, "Captain! Doctor! Look out! Behind you!" and pray they got out of harm's way in time. She was knocked aside in the ensuing melee, suffering a blow to her left temple as her head struck a bulkhead (McCoy later determined that she had sustained a slight concussion) and a sprained wrist, sustained as it took the full weight of her body when she rolled over onto it.
The Chief Surgeon made a valiant effort to save his friend and superior officer, suffering a glancing blow from the knife-wielding assailant ... only a flesh wound on his left arm, thank God. Certainly nothing compared to the pain Jim would endure in the coming days and weeks. In fact, McCoy ended up being so busy keeping the Captain alive that for long stretches he forgot that he had also been injured by the murderous attackers -- and only an occasional sharp twinge reminded him of it.
The madman leaped on Kirk and stabbed him repeatedly in the back and throat -- throwing him viciously against the bulkhead. But by some miracle, the Captain was still alive enough to croak out, "Bones ... " and McCoy was beside him instantly.
The corridor looked like a slaughterhouse, blood splattered over the bulkhead and deck. Uhura finally managed to lay hands on and fire her phaser, rendering the insane attacker unconscious even as he attempted escape. (He had timed his attack to coincide with the change of Security shift.)
Uhura summoned two men from the oncoming shift before dropping down by the prone body of her Captain, holding his hand as tears dimmed her eyes.
"That slimy piece of space scum! I should have killed him!"
"For God's sake, Uhura, pull yourself together!" McCoy's voice came out unintentionally harsh; he apologized upon seeing fresh tears in the dark woman's eyes. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like it came out. Would you please send for a medical team right away? Every second counts."
But Uhura seemed frozen, just clutching Kirk's hand and sobbing.
"Never mind. I'll do it," McCoy finally said.
When Uhura found her voice, it was roughened by tears. "Doctor, you have to save him!"
"I'll do my best. You'd better get to Sickbay now and get your head and wrist looked at. Do they hurt much?"
"More of a dull throb."
"I'll be there as soon as I can. Go on now." Uhura reluctantly left; McCoy made Kirk as comfortable as possible, then got up and punched the intercom, shouting for a stretcher and medics to come on the double.
He turned his head upon hearing a moan of pain. "Jim, no! You must lie still! You've lost a lot of blood and need all your strength just to hang on. There's not a moment to lose! Dammit, where are those medics? Oh my God, if only Spock and Chris were here!" There were tears in the Doctor's eyes as he labored to keep the Captain alive.
The medics and stretcher finally arrived after a seemingly endless wait. Security had long since taken the prisoner to the brig.
"Bones -- don't tell ... Spock or Christine. Let them -- enjoy ... themselves -- " Kirk's voice was a rasp through pain-tightened lips as the medics lifted his bleeding body onto the antigrav stretcher. McCoy then injected a strong painkiller and blessed darkness claimed James Kirk.
Darkness with no pain, only blissful sleep.
* * *
Leonard McCoy was a top-flight surgeon, having lost count of how many times he had brought his Captain and friend back from the brink of death ... but even he could only do so much. The only ones who could help pull Jim through were light-years away, honeymooning on Vulcan. Spock with his healing mind-meld; Christine with her medical skill equal to his own -- and her inimitable bedside manner. How could he disturb them on their honeymoon? But what was more important, that or Jim's life?
He dithered with himself a while longer, finally issuing a medical order to contact Vulcan, locate Spock and Christine ... then get them back to Earth posthaste. Captain Kirk had been critically wounded and wasn't expected to live much longer. Even with warp speed, it took several days to make the trip from Vulcan to Earth. Could he hang on? That was the biggest unknown. Even as fast as warp speed was, was it fast enough to get them here in time to save to help save their Captain?
It was all the Doctor could do to keep Kirk stable after repairing and closing his wounds, then sedating him. As for himself, he was going on sheer guts. What a hell of a thing to happen after such a joyous day as Spock and Christine's wedding -- but it seemed that for every joy, there was a tragedy ... and this was it!
* * *
Spock awakened to his mother's insistent knocking on his bedroom door. The chronometer on the bedside table read 0300; what was so urgent that she would wake him in the middle of the night to tell him about?
He rose quickly, making sure his wife still slept peacefully (no need to alarm her yet) before grabbing his robe and shrugging it on, tightening the sash around his slender waist before opening the door.
Amanda was in tears; he could hardly understand a word she said. "Spock, the most terrible thing's happened! The Captain ... Jim ... he's -- "
Spock had been having a disturbing dream about his friend having been injured. He hoped it had only been a nightmare, but now his fears had been confirmed. Amanda threw herself into her son's arms; he spoke soothingly as he held her.
"Calm yourself, Mother, please. What has happened?"
"An emergency medical summons from Starfleet just arrived. You and Christine are urgently needed. The Captain has been attacked and critically injured. Uhura and Dr. McCoy were with him at the time, sustaining only minor injuries. The Doctor is doing all he can, but it's difficult to keep Jim stable. In fact, Dr. McCoy was the one who insisted we inform you. He says that you and Christine are the only ones who can help pull the Captain through. Even so, Jim said not to bother you on your honeymoon -- "
"He is in no condition to give orders. I will inform Christine and we will leave immediately."
"But you only arrived three days ago. We've hardly had any time together."
"I am aware of that, but if we are needed we must be there. Please don't cry, Mother. We will return as soon as possible ... and keep you and Father informed."
"Please do. Jim is such a lovely person. How could anyone do such a monstrous thing to him?"
"I have no idea, Mother -- but I intend to find out." Spock gave his mother a reassuring hug and she left. He turned and went back into the bedroom, making discreet inquiries on his personal computer. He spoke quietly, toning its mechanical voice down so as not to disturb his sleeping wife. He learned that the Captain's attacker had been Romulan, having served with the female Commander with whom Spock had had a brief interlude many years ago.
Interrogation had revealed the assailant to be Tal, her former second-in-command. He had been (still was, in fact) in love with the former Commander, vowing revenge on Spock for hurting and deceiving her. Since the Vulcan cared more for others' lives than his own, Tal had obviously figured that the best way to get to Spock was to hurt his best friend James Kirk, also the Vulcan's Commanding Officer and co-conspirator in the theft of the Romulan cloaking device.
What mystified Spock was how Tal had managed to gain access to the Enterprise in the first place. He learned from Starfleet channels that the former Commander had not only been unaware of Tal's intentions, but had not seen him for many years, having lived in exile since her government learned of her failure.
All this was bringing up disturbing memories of that long-ago time, memories which Spock had neither the time nor desire to dwell upon. He forced them from his mind and got up to wake his wife and inform her of the emergency.
Within two hours they were ready for departure. Amanda bade them a tearful goodbye. "Tell them we'll be praying for the Captain," she admonished her equally tearful daughter-in-law as the women shared a parting embrace.
"Of course." How could anyone attack the Captain so savagely? Who could hate him so much?
They literally flew to the spaceport in Spock's aircar, booking passage on the first available warp-drive ship going to Earth. Even so, the trip seemed endless. It was all they could do not to haunt the Bridge for any news which might come in, good or bad. Right now, no news was bad news. Anything was better than this maddening suspense, never knowing from one moment to the next whether Jim was alive or dead!
* * *
After three interminable days of travel they arrived on Earth, beaming directly to the Starfleet hospital in San Francisco, where they were told that Captain Kirk was in Intensive Care. Spock seemed in total control, betraying no hint of concern ... but Christine knew better. He had hardly slept since they departed Vulcan, and his weariness showed, no matter how he tried to deny or conceal it -- or the love he bore his best friend and brother. All too often she had seen emotional exertion drain people of their energy ... twice as fast as physical exertion. Even Spock's Vulcan physique could only take so much -- and even though she had been praying and agonizing right along with him, she knew he needed her to be strong now, more than ever before.
She squeezed his hand when they were alone, willing her strength to filter into her husband's depleted body and spirit.
* * *
It was well after midnight before McCoy was able to see them. He looked twenty years older and totally exhausted as the three friends embraced. "Thank God you're here! I haven't slept a wink since this happened; just going on sheer guts!"
"How is he, Doctor?" Spock asked.
"Stable for now, Spock ... but it's been so touch-and-go that I've hardly dared leave him, even for a moment."
"May we see him?"
"Only for a few minutes. He's been heavily sedated, so he may not even know you."
"We want to see him anyway, Leonard -- if only to assure ourselves he's still alive. Don't worry; I'll keep an eye on him," Christine insisted.
"All right then, I'll leave him in your hands. I'll be in the Doctors' Lounge sleeping if you need me." McCoy yawned deeply, eyes red from lack of sleep and helpless tears for his friend. He damned himself for being unable to do more for Jim, but hadn't admitted it since he knew what Spock would have told him.
* * *
They stepped inside Kirk's hospital room. It was heart-wrenching to see the usually so vitally alive Captain so still and white. He was swathed in bandages from neck to mid-chest, tubes and machines monitoring his vital functions -- everything from heart action to urinary output. Christine checked the readings, making sure they were still stable, then checked all the vital tubes and took her place on the left, taking Kirk's cold, limp hand between both of hers in an attempt to warm it.
Spock sat on the other side of the bed, long, slender fingers on Kirk's face in a healing meld. He closed his eyes and concentrated; Christine could see the pain and distress the Captain endured in her husband's face as the Vulcan linked his mind with that of his stricken friend in a valiant effort to heal him.
It must have done some good, for Kirk's eyelids weakly fluttered open and he smiled -- also weakly -- at the two hazy figures on either side of him. "Spock ... ? Christine ... ? But I told them not to bother you -- "
"We know, Captain -- Jim -- but we wanted to come. It is all right. Rest now," Spock gently admonished.
"Where's ... Bones?"
"The Doctor is taking some well-deserved rest. He said he has not slept since you were attacked, so we promised to care for you in his place."
"Poor Bones. One -- would think it was ... his sole responsibility, keeping me -- alive." Kirk sounded somewhat stronger.
"I believe that he feels it is."
"It's good to see you and know you'll be all right," Christine said.
"Indeed," Spock concurred, holding his Human friend's cool, weak hand in his strong, warm Vulcan one.
"It won't ... take long for me to be -- all right, now that the ... two of you are here." Kirk tried to squeeze his Vulcan friend's hand.
"Please, Jim. You must rest."
Kirk sighed. "All right, if you insist -- but you must come see me ... every day that I'm here."
"Count on it," Christine assured him. The Captain yawned deeply. "It seems that -- the dope Bones gave me before you came is ... beginning to work again, so I'll -- sleep now and see you both in the morning."
Christine gave Spock a relieved smile, heading for the door after replacing Kirk's hand on the bed and expecting her husband to follow.
"Return to our quarters, my wife," he said. "I will join you shortly."
They crossed fingers, then she left, suddenly feeling an overwhelming wave of nausea. Fortunately there was a bathroom close by; Christine dashed in and was violently sick. She wiped her face with a cool, wet paper towel after her stomach stopped churning, straightening her clothing and continuing on without incident. She began preparing for bed upon arrival.
Come to think of it, I've been feeling sick for the past week. Could I really be ... ? No, that's too much to hope for -- but it would be wonderful if I was. I'd better have Leonard check me just in case, she told herself as she settled into bed.
Spock came in twenty minutes later as she was reading more in her favorite book, Jane Eyre.
"Why did you stay?"
"Merely to tell the Captain that Mother and Father were praying for his recovery ... and tell the nurse on duty to keep an eye on him until Dr. McCoy awakens."
"Oh, I forgot! Thanks so much for remembering."
"No trouble at all."
* * *
Christine insisted on staying to help despite her nausea, even over McCoy's protests that she should be home caring for herself. "Perhaps when everything's under control. Right now I cannot; I'm needed."
She sounded for all the world like her Vulcan husband! He eventually threatened to tell Spock and enlist his help in obtaining her cooperation. "Come on, Leonard, you know was well as I do what he would say."
Nothing McCoy did got any more reaction from her than it would have from Spock -- if anything, less. Christine finally reluctantly promised after McCoy declared that he would voice his findings to Spock, that she was indeed pregnant at last ... something they both knew she didn't want him to know yet.
"That was a low blow, Leonard. You know I want to tell Spock about our baby myself."
"Perhaps, but I had to make you listen somehow. You owe it not only to yourself, but your baby ... and most importantly, Spock -- to see to it that you deliver a healthy child."
* * *
Even with all the help Spock and Christine gave him, it still took a month in the hospital for Kirk to recover enough to go home ... and even then he had to convalesce another two months -- McCoy's orders. If he didn't, the Doctor threatened, he'd put him back in the hospital and tie him down ... so Kirk resigned himself to eight weeks of taking it easy.
Eight weeks of climbing the wall, I want to be back in action so much, the Captain thought. McCoy had also warned Kirk that if he tried to get back to work too soon, he'd not only be put back in the hospital but retired from Starfleet service. So given a choice -- which seemed more like a command -- Kirk chose the lesser of the evils and resolved to take care of himself during his medical rest leave.
Oh well, I need a vacation anyway, even if it's an enforced one ... and it could be worse. I *could* spend it all in the hospital! This way I'll be home and have visitors -- and who knows, I may enjoy *not* working so much I won't want to go back, Kirk suggested to himself, though deep down he doubted this would be the case.
* * *
On the second day of Kirk's third week home, he heard his doorbell ring around 1500. "Come," he said, surprised to see Christine step in. She wore slacks, flat rubber-soled shoes and a loose peasant blouse. Did that mean something? If so, what? He resolved to ask as soon as he could think of a way to bring up the subject.
"Christine! What a pleasant surprise. Come and sit down. Could I get you a drink?"
"Altair water." She watched Kirk move around, thankful he was mobile once again. "You seem to be on the mend."
"According to Bones, I am -- but can't get well soon enough to suit me."
"That reminds me. I'm going to have to quit work soon."
"Can't you tell? Look at me."
For several seconds Kirk drew a blank, then her meaning sunk in. "Do you mean to tell me...?" He handed her the drink, then gingerly sat down in his own chair again.
"That I'm pregnant, yes," she finished.
"That's wonderful. Congratulations! Spock must be very pleased."
"I haven't told him yet. I was hoping you might give me some tips on how to do it."
Kirk shrugged. "The best I can do is tell you to come right out and tell him. We both know how he appreciates frankness. Oh yes, I meant to ask you -- where is Spock?"
"Repairing a faulty computer at the hospital. He said to send you his regrets, that he would visit at the first opportunity."
"Tell him I'll be looking forward to seeing him."
"Will do. I've got to go now. See you later." She finished her drink, then nodded and smiled in Kirk's direction before getting up and leaving.
* * *
Spock returned home at 0200, his explanation being that there had been trouble with another hospital computer so he stayed and repaired that one as well. Christine believed him, since Vulcans didn't lie, and by their natures weren't skirt-chasers. Quite the opposite, in fact. The woman in question was usually the aggressor -- as Christine knew she had been, whether she had meant to be or not.
She sat down on the bed and called to Spock as he prepared for bed. "Spock, there's something I have to tell you."
He sat down next to her. "I went to see Dr. McCoy yesterday -- "
"I'm pregnant." His eyebrows rose and he was quiet for an interminable time. "Well, what do you think?" she finally had to ask. "Personally I couldn't be happier. I've wanted this for so long."
"I am ... naturally ... quite pleased. Did the Doctor estimate just when you would give birth?"
"Approximately another five and a half months."
"That would mean you conceived right after our arrival on Vulcan. That very night, according to my calculations."
"My parents will be very pleased to hear that we are expecting a child, especially Mother. She has expressed to me many times -- quite indelicately, I thought -- that she wished me to marry and give her and Father grandchildren. After all, they weren't getting any younger."
"She has a point."
"Maybe so, but need she have expressed it so bluntly?"
"That happens when Terrans get older." Christine sighed. "Well, we'd better start thinking about who we want as our child's godparents."
"Godparents? Oh, yes ... I believe that is the sponsor of a child at its baptism or christening."
"I think the Captain would be very happy to be godfather -- and I want Nyota as godmother."
"Excellent choices. We must now inform them of our decision."
"I'm meeting Nyota tomorrow; I'll tell her then. You can tell the Captain when you visit him again in two days."
* * *
Christine fought to be able to work as long as possible before the child was born, declaring that she would climb the walls if she sat home all day with nothing to do. For once, not even Spock's objections could change her miind, but she was warned that deep-space voyages were out; she was restricted to Starfleet HQ planetside.
Not exactly what she had in mind, but something she could live with. In the event of any problems with her pregnancy (though she hoped there wouldn't be any) she would be close to the best medical minds on Earth -- or at least in San Francisco -- McCoy and M'Benga. Both surgeons had requested temporary planetside assignments in order to keep an eye on both Kirk and Christine's unique child.
Things went well the first five months, but in her sixth month Christine nearly miscarried. It had taken McCoy and M'Benga's combined skills to save her and the child. She doubted Spock would admit it ... even to her, unless asked point-blank -- but he had been deeply concerned for her health and that of their child. (He had also requested a temporary planetside assignment.)
McCoy had told her that until she and the child were out of danger, Spock had haunted the hospital, neither eating nor sleeping. She was happy to know he had been nearby (he only did such things when he really cared) though it had distressed her to know that he hadn't eaten or slept for almost a week ... simply divided his attention between work and sitting with her at the hospital.
Like any loving wife, she'd have felt better knowing he was all right, eating and sleeping as he should. It had been touch-and-go for a while; M'Benga suspected that it had been due to the child being part Vulcan and the different physiologies clashing -- but how much Vulcan the child was, he could not determine without more observations and tests.
Spock began to eat and sleep again once the doctors had pronounced her and the child fit ... for which Christine was thankful. He drove himself too hard as it was, even without this latest crisis.
* * *
When she was seven months along, M'Benga told her that the child was at least one-quarter Vulcan, possibly more. (Also being a medical professional, Christine had figured that out for herself, but didn't tell him.) She felt lucky, even blessed, since she had heard that Amanda had been unable to carry Spock within her body. A surrogate Vulcan mother had been necessary after careful gene-splicing and fertilization with several days' development before implantation.
Kirk had been delighted to act as godfather, as was Uhura to be godmother. It was decided that they would all go to Vulcan for the official christening once the baby was old enough to travel -- and Christine over having him.
Vulcan law required that the child of every Vulcan native be officially christened in a private ceremony, and the boy was part Vulcan, however small that part was. The child was automatically a citizen if one of the parents was Vulcan, but Christine hoped for dual citizenship -- to raise the child on Earth for at least part of his life.
Be that as it may, she was a Vulcan wife and had to abide by her husband's decisions, though it was within her rights to air her views and reasons for them. If Spock wished, she would abide by his decision to raise their child as a Vulcan, on Vulcan.
After the ceremony, the Vulcan High Priestess T'Lar would record the birth, writing down the child's name, gender, stardate and place of birth ... as well as parents', grandparents' and godparents' names. The group would then take a ground-car to Spock's family home where he and Christine would introduce their son to his Vulcan grandparents.
* * *
Christine was glad that Spock had been with her through her labor, easing her pain through healing mind-touches. He had even held her hand after the worst of it ... that is, until McCoy and M'Benga had shooed him out when delivery was imminent. How she wished he could have been with her then! She intended to ask Amanda at the first opportunity if Sarek had been at his child's birth. The idea seemed logical to her, but she wasn't Vulcan -- and had no way of knowing, since Spock had never said one way or the other. Of course, there was always the possibility he might not know; Amanda may never have told him.
"Are you well, my wife?" Spock asked upon his first visit after the birth.
"Yes, though I'm very tired." They crossed fingers and exchanged smiles.
"Understandable. I will not stay long -- but wished to tell you that I have seen our son. He has dark brown hair, eyes and ears such as mine, but your nose and lips. His complexion is more golden than my own; Dr. MBenga believes this is due to the fact that his blood is neither green nor red, but an unusual combination of the two. It will likely have characteristics of both, though neither doctor could tell me exactly how much at this point. But they do know that the child is three-quarters Terran ... and that there will be no way of knowing which side will govern him at a given time. They think it would be best for him to be taught the basics of both philosophies, then let him decide for himself as to which way he wishes to live. In essence, he will have the best and worst of us both."
"That happens with most children, I believe."
"True. I know it certainly did with us."
Had Spock been anyone else, Christine was certain that he would have laughed -- but he merely smiled slightly and raised an eyebrow, crossing fingers with her after kissing her forehead and wishing her a good night's sleep. She lay in bed thinking of the private talk she had had with Amanda via holocom earlier that day. It turned out that Amanda had indeed been able to carry Spock within her body. He had been born healthy, but she had had to remain in the hospital for the bulk of her pregnancy, having required constant monitoring because of the differences in her and her child's physiology.
It had been a long, difficult ordeal, she had said, but their beloved son and only child was such a source of pride and joy to her and Sarek that he had been worth every moment ... and they would gladly do it all over again if it meant having him. Christine learned things about her husband that she'd never known before in her heart-to-heart talk with her mother-in-law -- things that Amanda admonished her to keep just between them, since Spock would be embarrassed if he knew that his wife knew such things about him.
She suspected that not even the Captain knew these things, even as close as he and Spock were ... since they were things only his mother would know, things only his mother would cherish in her heart. Spock had never been one to discuss his private life or personal background -- not willingly, at any rate -- and even then only with a close friend or immediate family. Because of Amanda's candor, Christine knew and understood her husband better than ever before ... not to mention her consideration for her son's feelings in advising his wife to keep certain things to herself for his sake.
She was reaching for the overhead light when McCoy entered. He smiled and asked how she was doing. "Fine, Leonard. You?"
"Okay, I guess. Just damn tired."
"I know what you mean. I can hardly keep my eyes open."
"Then I won't keep you awake much longer -- but had to tell you this before I burst. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him do it!"
"Seen who do what?"
"Spock. Chris, I saw Spock! He actually picked up your baby and held him. That in itself is rare for him, but what shocked the hell out of me was when he actually smiled at the baby and let him grip his thumb while crooning a lullaby to him. At least I think it was a lullaby, because he was singing in Vulcan. Damned if he didn't look every inch the proud new daddy! Then to top it off, he kissed the baby's forehead before putting him back in his cradle. I declare, I've never seen a fella look happier -- not even a Human!"
"That does sound most unusual, I'll grant you that."
"That crazy half-breed has surprised me before, but nothing like this. I doubt anything else he does will surprise me even half as much!"
"Me either," Christine muttered under her breath.
"I don't think he saw me watching, but just to be safe, don't mention it to him." McCoy walked to the door, blue eyes twinkling as Christine yawned deeply. "Better get some sleep. Spock told me he would be picking you and the baby up at 0700 ... and you know how punctual he is."
"Do I ever! See you later, Leonard."
"Good night, Chris."
After the light was out, Christine lay in bed thinking over what Leonard had seen the normally undemonstrative Vulcan do. Spock's behavior with their child seemed very much out of character, considering the way he'd treated his other son by Zarabeth. Maybe the fact that one had been grown and the other was a baby had something to do with it. Be that as it may, Spock and babies had never been the best of friends -- even at the best of times. She still remembered what Leonard had told her about the experiences on Capella Four ... and wished she could have seen Spock's face when the baby had been offered to him to hold.
Maybe it was necessary for the child to be known to him from the start for him to show proper paternal feelings. If the incident Leonard reported was any indication, Spock might actually turn out to be a doting father, lavishing love and attention upon his child as Christine herself would -- at least in private.
* * *
Spock arrived at the stroke of seven to pick her and the baby up; it didn't take long to arrive back at their apartment. He suggested she rest since he had "an errand to run" and would return soon. After putting the baby down, she lay down herself, promptly falling asleep with him in her arms. She awoke to her husband's kiss two hours later.
"Where did you go?"
"To check into when we could travel to Vulcan for our son's official christening."
"What did you find out?"
"We may depart in seven days ... if the doctors release you."
"I'm sure they will."
"It is illogical to speculate on something which has yet to occur, my wife."
Christine sighed in affectionate exasperation. Sometimes Spock's Vulcan logic was annoying, but what mattered was that he belonged to her. She would never stop thanking God for giving her the man she loved -- and his child!
* * *
Two weeks later, they neared Vulcan in Kirk's personal spaceship. She was no Enterprise -- that beautiful starship was in a class by herself -- but the small craft, somewhat larger than a Starfleet shuttlecraft (28 feet long), did have warp drive. Her maximum speed was warp three, and she accommodated six. Kirk was glad that McCoy had certified him fit to travel, if not to return to work ... and even then he was not to overextend himself.
Sulu was taking care of the Enterprise while Kirk was away. She was in Spacedock awaiting their next mission, fully provisioned and refueled. Scotty and his crew had made what repairs were needed. The Captain knew his ship was in good hands, but wouldn't feel complete until he stood on her Bridge once again.
Sharp pain stabbed at him as he watched Christine and Uhura play with the baby. He wished he could have known his own son David as a baby, seen him grow up instead of meeting him when he was already grown -- then losing him at the hands of the Klingons just when they were getting to know each other. But even with the pain James Kirk felt at his loss, having been unable to share in David's life and be a proper father to him, could not mar his joy at seeing his beloved friend so happy in his own marriage, with a woman who truly loved him and whom he loved, having created a beautiful child out of that love.
The boy had been named after one of Spock's Vulcan grandparents and Kirk himself. The first had been mutual choice, the second was Spock's choice. No surprise, considering the friendship between them. It was obvious even to Kirk's medically untrained eye that little Sokar James showed every sign of being as intelligent and attractive as -- if not more than -- his illustrious parents. Their height, build, everything they could give, was there in their son.
Kirk also suspected that the child would use his emotions, perhaps even express them ... but logically, instead of suppressing and/or denying them as his father had. That was Spock's only real fault (if you could call it that) for it had been precisely that quality which had gotten them out of life-and-death situations more times than Kirk cared to count. At the same time, it was a self-imposed prison, and only Kirk knew the full extent of the Vulcan's loneliness and unhappiness. Marriage and fatherhood was just the thing for him. He truly seemed to have found his niche in life!
The Captain was brought back to reality by a familiar touch on his shoulder. "Captain ... Jim...?" Spock's voice.
"We will arrive at Vulcan in 1.5 hours, present speed."
"When are we due there?"
"ETA is 1500 hours. That will make us three hours ahead of schedule."
"Maybe we'll be able to stop by your parents' first, since the christening isn't until 1800 hours."
"A most logical suggestion. Why did I not think of that?"
"You might have had something else on your mind," Kirk said with a smile and wink, noting how the Vulcan's eyes rarely left his infant son for more then a few seconds.
Spock was ready to deny it but sensed that if he did, his all-too-perceptive friend would give him another smile indicating that he knew otherwise. Jim had done that entirely too often in recent days; it was illogical to give him another opportunity. "Correct."
"He's a fine boy. How proud you and Christine must be!"
"If only I could have seen David, known him as he was growing up. You'll share things with your son, have the opportunity to instruct him in being the best person he can be ... things I was denied," Kirk reflected sadly. "Forgive me, Spock, but I envy you -- beyond all reason or logic."
The Vulcan placed a comforting hand over his friend's own. "I understand. It is unfortunate that you were denied the chance to see your son grow up, nurture and instruct him in ways only a father can ... but remember also, my friend, that no one can take away the memories of him that you do have. They are yours to treasure until the day you die."
Kirk visibly relaxed, which had been Spock's intention. "You're so right, Spock. How did I ever live without you?"
The two friends' hands clasped briefly, affectionately. "I have no idea." Kirk was sure his friend was joking, even as he heard Spock's affronted voice in the back of his mind: "Vulcans never joke."
The Vulcan's face showed that he was very serious. "But that is a redundant question. What matters is that we are friends now." Kirk had been about to reply when Spock was called away. "Excuse me. I will return shortly."
The Vulcan was back within five minutes. "We will arrive at Vulcan in 15 minutes and should arrive at my parents' home within the hour."
"It'll be good to see them again."
"Indeed. It has been a long time."
Before leaving Earth, they had visited the elder Chapels, now retired, who had found their half-Vulcan son-in-law charming and polite, if a bit standoffish ... but had absolutely adored their new grandson!
* * *
The next thing Kirk remembered was the small ship touching down, then getting into the waiting ground-car. In less time than he had imagined possible, they had arrived and Amanda was greeting them. She embraced him, thanking God he was well again and had recovered so completely from his horrendous wounds -- then he heard her address Christine.
"So this is my new grandson! He's beautiful. You two have out- done yourselves. May I hold him?"
"Of course." Christine smiled as she handed her small son to his grandmother.
Amanda cuddled her grandson possessively, insisting on carrying him inside to show his grandfather. Everyone else followed her in. Their next sight was of the proud grandparents sitting on their sofa, eyes following every move their grandchild made. Not even Sarek's Vulcan control could prevent him from feeling joy at having a grand- child at last -- or from having that joy show on his face.
Christine noted the warm affection glowing in his dark eyes. Love and pride were obvious on Amanda's face when she kissed her grandchild. Christine couldn't resist taking a holograph of the heart-warming scene.
Time passed rapidly as everyone talked and visited; eventually little Sokar loudly indicated his hunger and Amanda reluctantly relinquished him to his mother. Christine's face glowed with love, pride and happiness as she prepared herself and started the baby nursing.
It was Sarek who announced, "We had best be on our way. It will soon be time for the christening."
The new family sat in the front; the new grandparents and godparents were in back when they left in the ground-car moments later.
T'Lar was already there when they arrived, tall and majestic in her priestess's robes, her ramrod-straight back belying her advanced age. She watched silently as the small group approached and didn't move until they reached the altar ... then slowly stepped down two steps.
She automatically returned the Vulcan salute after Spock greeted her with it. "Spock, child of Sarek and Amanda, thee have come to christen thine own first-born child. Is that correct?"
She noted Kirk and Uhura. "Thee has chosen these two as godparents?"
"Very well. Let us begin," she said in Vulcan.
* * *
Kirk found the Vulcan christening ceremony hard to describe. If anyone asked about it, he would likely say, "I can't describe it. You had to be there."
At any rate, it was soon over, and little Sokar was duly recorded as a Vulcan citizen ... but Christine told of her desire for him to also have Terran citizenship. For a long time there was a deafening silence, then the High Priestess spoke.
"Dual citizenship is not often granted, but in this case I will contact the proper Terran authorities and take the necessary steps."
The new parents thanked her; the elderly Vulcan merely nodded. "Spock, and Christine, wife of Spock, thee have brought to Vulcan a fine son. May he be as much a source of pride to thee as thee have been to thine own parents. May thee both live long and prosper."
This time both Spock and his wife saluted. "Peace and good health to thee, T'Lar."
Kirk and Uhura followed as the new family made their way to the exit where Sarek and Amanda had been watching and waiting. Christine couldn't help but steal looks at her husband as they headed back to ShiKahr. It seemed like a dream to actually be married to Spock and holding their child in her arms ... but if it was, it was one they were all living -- and God willing, they would continue to live it for the rest of their lives.