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) 1999 by J. M. Lane. This story is Rated R for sexual situations. You must be 18 years of age to read it.


J. M. Lane

Christine had made up her mind. No longer would she tolerate Spock keeping her at arm's length when he knew as well as she did how much she loved and wanted him. Of course, upon coming to this decision, it was necessary to figure out a plan of action. It would have been easier if she had Spock's mother around to ask for advice on how to seduce a Vulcan, but as it was, she was on her own. In addition, what worked for a full-blooded Vulcan like Sarek might not work for a hybrid like Spock.

*Maybe a good workout in the gym will take the edge off,* she told herself. *Lord knows I need it after all the tense situations I've been in with Spock lately. Any more, I have to fight to keep my hands off him!*

Just thinking about him had started her heart pounding, and her cheeks were flushed. It didn't help matters either that the area between her legs had become wet and throbbing. She couldn't stand this any more. She had to have Spock, make love to him, whatever it took -- before another 24 hours passed! She had wanted him from the first moment she'd laid eyes on him and her desire had only increased with time. It was driving her up the proverbial wall to have Spock consistently keep her at a distance. How would he react if he could know even one of the dreams she had about him ... or how he could arouse her with just a look or word?

In the meantime, however, she would take a shower to cool off, then get into her workout gear -- a brief, pale blue leotard, dark blue footless tights, white leg-warmers and socks, and finally specially designed athletic shoes. There would also be a sweatband around her head, a shade darker than the leotard. A few minutes later Christine was ready, putting a short coat over her outfit and leaving her quarters for the gym, which was deserted this time of night (0200 hours) and two decks below the living quarters on E Deck. Lucky thing she was off-duty tomorrow!

Upon arrival, she did every exercise she could think of as many times as she could endure, attempting to wear herself out so she could get some sleep and not dream. Particularly not the exquisitely erotic dreams where she and Spock made love in every conceivable way (and some *in*conceivable ways). They were part of the reason she'd lost so much weight lately, and found it all but impossible to keep her mind on her work. They were also the reason she had to do something before her work, and health, began to suffer. Her favorite fantasy came to her as she worked out on the horizontal bars...

She came back to reality with a thud that knocked the wind out of her. That would teach her to fantasize while on the horizontal bars. She could have broken her foolish neck! For the next five minutes she lay on the mat beneath the bars getting her breath back, only to lose it again upon realizing that Spock was standing over her.

"Miss Chapel, are you all right? Do you need help?"

It took a while for the Vulcan's concerned voice to register in her befuddled brain. When had he come in? She'd had no inkling that anyone else had been in the gym with her, especially not Spock.

"I'm ... all right," she forced out. "Just had ... the wind knocked out of me, that's all." Even so, she couldn't bring herself to get up. This was the most attention she'd gotten from him in weeks!

Christine noticed that Spock was also in workout gear -- a short- sleeved pale blue T-shirt, navy blue shorts with a gold stripe down the sides and the *Enterprise* insignia embroidered in the same color, white socks and athletic shoes. The shirt and shorts showed off every inch of his incredible body. Her imagination followed her eyes as they moved down to his groin. She was surprised but pleased to discover that the Vulcan had become aroused while looking down at her.

Her leotard fit her like a second skin, the legs cut high in the French style, and the neckline was cut low to show alluring cleavage. She had not worn a bra because the leotard had one built in. She would have loved to know what Spock was thinking, especially the thought which had prompted his arousal.

The next thing she knew, he had dropped to his knees beside her and helped her sit up. "What are you doing here at this hour? I assumed that I was the only one who used the gymnasium this late at night."

Christine felt dizzy and would have fallen onto the mat again had it not been for Spock's arms cradling her against him. Her head rested on his chest; she felt his rapid breathing and even more rapid heartbeat. She could also have sworn that the latter was even faster than usual. A naughty thought struck her. What if Spock came here for the same reasons she did? If that was the case, she could come to the gym for a workout more often, so they could work off their tension together...in a most delightful way!

"Indeed. Perhaps we could -- workout together after this."

Christine was surprised at his statement, unable to help wondering if Spock was aware of what he was implying ... but decided that she didn't care as long as he was entering into the arrangement willingly.

"That's ... all right with me. I'd just need to know when you plan to work out."

"I will -- contact you."

His tone prompted her to look up at him and raise a tentative hand to his cheek. He raised an eyebrow, but otherwise made no reaction. What happened in the next few moments surprised them both, but neither could bring themselves to regret it. Especially not in view of what transpired later on. "Christine..."

She lifted her head to face him. "Spock..."

His head lowered at the sound of his name, then his lips cut off further speech.

For a few incredible moments their lips hungrily, even greedily, tasted each other as his embrace tightened and Christine's arms slid around the First Officer's slender waist. In the midst of their lingering kiss, she noted his arousal had grown. In such form-fitting clothes as the Vulcan wore, a thing like that would be tough to hide or deny. He knew that as well as she did, but didn't pull away. In fact, he didn't seem at all embarrassed -- until he abruptly broke off contact.

"Forgive me, Christine. I do not know what came over me."

She smiled. "It's all right, Spock. I wanted it as much as you did." Her tone intimated that he would do well not to deny the fact, so he didn't.

They released each other but stayed close. A short time later, Christine moved a hand to gently squeeze the bulge in his shorts. Spock gasped, squirmed and raised an eyebrow at her when she looked up at him and smiled again, the same hand beginning to stroke its way up his body.

This couldn't have worked out better if she'd planned it. She was here in the gym, alone with Spock, late at night with no one and nothing to disturb them. It couldn't have been a more perfect opportunity. Her hunch had paid off. He had feelings for her; he was simply hiding them behind his logical facade. No more. He could never fool her again.

"Christine?" His voice was soft, holding question as their eyes met and locked. His hands were holding hers in order to prevent their wandering further.

"It's all right, Spock. I won't force the issue. I love you. My only wish is to please you." She fought to keep from losing herself in his soft brown eyes -- and his thick, dark lashes were to die for. They would surely feel silky under her lips, provided she had the opportunity to kiss him awake at some point.

"Christine, I ... find myself ... extremely attracted to you, especially when we are -- close like this. Then when I ... kissed you, felt the warmth of your body and the smell of your perfume mixed with perspiration, I wanted to--" He broke off, his cheeks coloring emerald green with embarrassment.

"You wanted to what?"

"To -- share physical love with you. But I have ... never known a woman. The one who was to have -- been my consort rejected me."

Christine recalled the porcelain-beautiful Vulcan woman who had called to Spock from the ship's viewscreen nearly two months ago. The same one who had forced Spock to fight the Captain and nearly kill him. The same one who had cheated on Spock from day one and then presumed to judge *him*! Well, one thing was for sure ... Christine had no such desire. Spock was all she wanted, the only one who could ever satisfy her -- for now and all time!

"Is ... that why you act as you do around me?"

Spock blushed again, but didn't deny it.

"I was -- afraid I would be ... unable to satisfy the emotional and -- physical needs of a Human woman. That is ... why I could not -- allow myself to ... develop feelings for one, much less act on them."

"You should let me be the judge of that." Christine smiled softly again, stroking his lips with a finger. "A Vulcan woman could not -- appreciate you as I do." She was nestled in his arms, close to the warmth of his body, giving a contented sigh as she repositioned herself closer. "Give me a chance to make you happy. I wouldn't care how many mistakes you made, how inexperienced you were. If you need help, I'd be glad to..."

His shocked gaze cut her off like a knife when their eyes met again.

"Forgive me, Spock. I had no right to be so presumptuous. Thank you for your help. I'll be going now."

Christine pulled herself to her feet after extricating herself from Spock's embrace, hating to do it but knowing she had to while she still could. She forced herself not to look back, didn't want to meet his eyes, certain she would never be able to look Spock in the face again. She was nearly to the gym doors when she felt a touch on her shoulder and a quiet voice in her ears.

"Please stay, Christine."

Her knees felt like jelly at the sound of his voice, but she managed to turn around and face him. The look in his eyes was as effective in removing the breath from her body as was her fall from the horizontal bars. A long silence ensued before Spock spoke again -- but before that, the Vulcan traced her lips with one long finger, eyes lingering on them before withdrawing his hand. Christine found it hard to believe that one touch could arouse her so. Perhaps it was the person who did it which made it so exciting ... or even the *way* he'd done it.

"Spock?" She fought the trembling his nearness always caused as she reached up to once again stroke his lips with her own finger.

Spock allowed himself a smile at her touch after kissing her finger. "Christine, I find that I have an -- urgent desire to do ... a very unVulcan thing. And you are the one woman I most desire to -- do it with."

"And what is that 'very unVulcan' thing you want to do with me?"

"This, to begin with."

His hands came up to cradle her face, and their lips met again. The kiss deepened slowly, sweetly, as Christine forced herself to respond tentatively to the warm honey of Spock's lips. Then his hands were on her shoulders as his lips traced a path down her throat to her right shoulder. Ever so slowly and gently, he moved the shoulder strap of the leotard aside so as to kiss more of her bare skin ... then switched to the left side and did the same.

Christine seemed frozen in place, unwilling to move and risk losing the spot where Heaven had come to earth for her. Once the second strap had been moved, Spock's lips made their way down to the hollow between her breasts -- by now just barely covered -- and her nipples hardened. She felt him smile as he lingered there to smell her perfume, then a gentle, tentative tug bared her creamy breasts and rosebud nipples to the Vulcan's hungry eyes ... and even hungrier lips. She moaned as his lips found one breast and drew it into his mouth, then a warm tongue teased the sensitive nipple before he began to gently suck. She cried out softly as sweet pain stabbed through her.

"Spock ... oh, my love..." He continued loving her, switching to the other breast and prompting a similar response.

With the last remnants of her sanity, Christine managed to whisper, "The door..."

"It is locked, my lovely one. No one will disturb us."

Spock never missed a beat even as his hands pulled her leotard and tights off in one fell swoop. (She had not worn panties, either.) Only then did her own hands move to take off his shirt, stroking his warm, bare skin as she went, provoking a gasp when she ran her fingers through the dark, curled hair on his chest and teased his nipples. She hesitated at the waistband of his shorts in spite of her hunger for him, her need to feel him inside her. It took his husky voice to move her.

"Please ... remove my shorts, Christine." The voice was a throaty purr as his lips again found hers. "I have -- become so aroused that I ... cannot endure them any longer."

There was another soft gasp against her lips at the feel of her hands before he sighed in mixed relief and pleasure when his hard, throbbing member was granted its freedom. The shorts dropped to the floor around his feet. He stepped out of them, taking her with him. The verdant shaft stood at attention, nearly straight up against the Vulcan's flat belly. One of the most magnificent sights Christine had ever been privileged to see, now or ever -- and she hoped she would see it often.

"Beloved, you're beautiful," she breathed in mixed admiration and desire. She craved the feeling of him inside her more than she'd ever craved anything. At this point, something told Christine that even as far-fetched as the idea was, it was just as likely that Spock had planned to seduce *her* at some point even as she had planned to seduce *him*. She also hoped they would leave before anyone else got here. Otherwise they would never live it down, never be able to explain why the gym doors had been locked ... much less their coming out with disheveled looks and suspiciously bright eyes. But neither Christine nor her Vulcan lover cared what anyone else might think at the moment. All that mattered was loving each other, here and now.

"I -- think we'd better move to the mat while we still can," she tried to say even as he resumed kissing her. "Unless you want to do it leaning against the wall," she finished with a wicked smile."Which reminds me ... I thought you said you'd -- never had a woman."

He returned a fair imitation of her smile.

"Do you not ... think that even -- Vulcans are capable of ... sexual fantasies? I -- may not have had a woman, but that ... does not mean I am -- without knowledge of how to please one. And I definitely knew what I ... wished to do in the event I -- found myself in a situation ... such as we are in now. Of course, your suggestion sounds most -- intriguing, but I would prefer to employ the customary position before attempting new ones."

With that, the lovers made their way to the mat which would serve as a makeshift bed and their folded-up towels as pillows. Upon sitting down, the couple went into each other's arms again and kissed deeply while lowering themselves to the mat. They held the kiss even as Spock positioned himself above Christine and between her legs. After that, something primitive transpired, and two worlds once again merged into one in the cool darkness of the *Enterprise* gymnasium.

* * *

It was some time before the couple returned to earth. When they did, Christine was the first to speak. Her head was on Spock's shoulder, her arms securely around him as she savored his closeness. She smiled as his left hand ruffled her hair and warm lips kissed her temple. His other hand rested on her left hip as she draped one leg over him.

"Spock, what time is it?"

"0500, I believe. Why? Must you be on duty so soon?"

"Oh, no. Just curious. Which reminds me -- we'd better get dressed and leave soon. The last thing we need is to try to explain why the gym doors are locked with just the two of us here."

"You are right, I'm afraid. When are you next off-duty?"

"Thursday. This is Tuesday."

"Would you be ... willing to meet here again for another late workout at 0200 that morning?"

Christine looked up with a smile, caressing Spock's cheek with her fingertips before the two shared a long kiss. "Need you ask?"

The Vulcan allowed himself a smile at his lover as he stroked her from shoulder to hip and back again. "Perhaps we may even try your earlier suggestion."

She looked up at him again to see a mischievous glint in his dark eyes.

"Agreed -- as long as we can also do what I told you about, my fantasy that made me fall off the horizontal bars. Remember, we've spent the last few hours living *your* fantasy, my love."

Spock fought off a blush at the thought of the intimacies they had shared, but agreed with her proposal. "Very well."

"Now that that's settled, let's get dressed and out of here. When do you need to be on duty?"

"0600," came the reply as he reluctantly released her.

They got up and dressed in silence, making sure not to leave any evidence of their having been there. Spock left first since he had to be on duty, sharing a farewell kiss with Christine as he held her, moving against her as his hands pressed her lower body close to his own.

"I will be looking forward to our next workout," he murmured against her lips, unwilling to release them -- or her.

"As will I. Thank you for a lovely ... and very exciting ... evening, Spock."

"Thank *you*, Christine. I will see you Thursday morning at 0200 hours."

He touched her cheek and disappeared through the gym doors. She felt disappointed that Spock hadn't said he wanted to see her before then, but at least last night had been a step in the right direction. Best of all, once it arrived, she could live her fantasy without fearing for her life. And a lot could happen between now and then, so Christine wasn't too concerned. Lucky thing too, since it was Spock's ballgame at the moment. He called the shots -- and she had to play by is rules. Maybe later she could dictate terms (at least once in a while), but for the time being, beggars couldn't be choosers. What mattered was that she was finally able to have Spock as she had dreamed of having him for as long as she could remember ... and had no intention of screwing that up, not for anything.

* * *

Spock hoped he wouldn't run into anyone he knew before he reached his quarters in order to change into his duty uniform, since he knew that his mask of control wasn't fully intact -- and to his relief, he didn't ... until he arrived. Just as he was about to go in, Kirk came out of his quarters and saw him. The Captain looked his Vulcan friend up and down.

"So that's where you went! I was wondering." In spite of himself, Kirk had to admire the way Spock looked in workout gear. Even so, the Captain's sharp eyes detected the Vulcan's discomfort at his close scrutiny. "Something wrong, Spock?"

"I am -- fine, Jim. There is no cause for concern," Spock said from behind a mask of serenity (which, of course, Kirk saw through) ... but he didn't pressure his alien friend for further information. Spock would tell him when he was ready.

"If you say so. I'm heading up to the Bridge. I'll see you there as soon as you're changed." With that, Kirk continued down the corridor and stepped into the turbolift which would take him to the Bridge. Spock forced himself not to call Jim back, instead entering his quarters to take a quick shower and change. He was sure he had aroused his Human friend's suspicions, but knew that Kirk would not pressure him for the reasons behind his atypical behavior.

Perhaps they could talk once they were off-duty, in his quarters, where he felt most comfortable. In the meantime, his duty shift would give him the opportunity to focus his mind on other, less dangerous things than the night he had spent with Christine in the gymnasium -- and the feelings the aforementioned interlude had brought out in him.

* * *

Spock reached the Bridge 20 minutes later, immaculate as ever and with his usual mask intact. He nodded a greeting to Uhura; she smiled in response before turning back to her communications station. Kirk swivelled around in the command chair moments after Spock seated himself at his science station, and their eyes met. He half-expected the Captain to say something pertaining to their earlier encounter, but Kirk's voice was all business.

"Mr. Spock, give me an analysis of the last sensor reading from the largest asteroid in the Caitian asteroid belt. Starfleet Command wants to know if there's dilithium in it -- and if so, how much."

Spock checked his scanners, thankful for the order which would enable him to keep his back to the rest of the crew until he regained control. Several minutes later he swivelled around in his own chair. "From all indications, approximately 89.75% of the asteroid consists of dilithium. Sensors also read pergium, approximately 10.15%. The rest is trace elements in amounts too small to be of importance."

"Thank you, Mr. Spock." Kirk turned toward the helm/navigation and weapons stations, manned by Chekov and Sulu. "Mr. Chekov, lock phasers on the coordinates of the dilithium and prepare to fire. Scotty, prepare to activate tractor beam so we can bring it aboard."

Within fifteen minutes a shuttlecraft-size chunk of the asteroid sat in the *Enterprise*'s shuttlebay. They also planned to get as much of the pergium as they could, but for now the dilithium was what they were most concerned with. Kirk knew that Spock and his staff would have a field day with it. From what the Vulcan had said, it promised to be the largest and purest source of dilithium they had yet found.

The rest of the shift was uneventful, mainly consisting of Uhura sending a communique to Starfleet Command reporting their find and the large chunk in the shuttlebay, in addition to his signing various reports concerning ship's functions and requisitions for supplies which they would pick up at Starbase 11 in three more days. Of course, this busy-work covered up a very real concern: that something serious had happened to Spock. Obviously something of a personal nature, since he was unwilling to discuss it publicly. For the moment, of course, all Kirk could do was wait. Hopefully after the shift was over, he and Spock could have a talk and he could find out what was bothering his friend.

* * *

Meanwhile, Christine attempted to busy herself with preparations for the crew physicals, which Leonard had told her were scheduled to begin today. She was thankful that neither Kirk nor Spock was scheduled until later. With over 400 crewmembers, it took about a week to get to Kirk and ten days to get to Spock, going alphabetically. That is, if they didn't come in together. The rest of the Bridge crew, with the exception of Nyota, was no problem.

If Leonard got any inkling that something was bothering her -- especially if it was of a personal nature (and with her, that usually meant something having to do with Spock) -- Christine knew he wouldn't let up until she'd told him everything, whatever and however long it took. Even so, how long she could hide it was a matter for debate. The hours she had spent with Spock in the gymnasium were never far from her mind. The taste of his kisses, how his lips and hands had felt on her body, how his arms had felt around her and the unbelievable pleasure she had experienced when their bodies had joined.

She couldn't help a shiver at the thought. How could any man be such an incredible lover? She hadn't believed it possible, especially not a Vulcan ... but Spock was obviously the exception to the rule -- in more ways than one! She wouldn't have minded feeling the touch of his mind either, but one thing at a time. If they were meant to be together the rest of their lives, he would get around to it eventually. In the meantime, she would take what she could get of his lips, hands and body...enjoy him physically until and if he wished to mentally join with her. If their physical intimacy was any barometer, their mental union would be every bit as wonderful. With that, she launched into another fantasy -- or more accurately, a memory...

"Chris--? Christine, are you all right?"

Leonard McCoy's concerned voice registered as she realized she was lying on the floor. "What happened? How did you fall onto the floor?" he asked as he picked her up and deposited her back into the chair she had recently vacated. She thought fast. "I must have fallen asleep. I've been known to fall out of chairs -- and my bed -- on occasion, without realizing it. Usually it only happens when I'm really tired, though."

McCoy looked at her skeptically, but Christine stood her ground."If you say so. I *do* have a suggestion, however. A shot of cortropine might help to prevent a recurrence of your latest ... mishap."

"It might be a good idea," she agreed. Anything to keep him from asking questions -- especially pointed questions she was neither prepared nor willing to answer.

"Why are you always so tired?" the doctor asked as he pressed the hypo of stimulant against her arm. "Haven't you been getting any sleep?"

*Not any appreciable amount,* the nurse thought. *In fact, I can't remember the last time I got a decent night's sleep. If this pattern continues, I won't only be lovesick -- I'll be sick, period!*

"Some, but not much," she evaded.

"Do you think you'll be able to finish out the shift? If you prefer, I could ask one of the other nurses to cover for you so you can go back to your quarters and get some rest."

"No, I should make it," she insisted. "Though I think I *will*take your advice once I'm off-duty."

"Suit yourself," McCoy conceded. "In that case, let's get cracking. We have patients waiting." Christine knew that Leonard had to be suspicious, but she couldn't do anything about that right now. All she could do was deal with it as best she could when the time came and he demanded an explanation.

* * *

Spock had hoped to be able to leave the Bridge without being confronted by Kirk, for he wasn't ready to discuss what had happened with Christine yet -- not even with him. His thoughts were so jumbled, so chaotic ... he wanted to be alone to sort them out. He was not to be granted his wish. The moment shift change occurred, he and Kirk stood up at the same time. The Vulcan tried to pretend not to hear Kirk calling to him as he neared the turbolift, but today James Kirk was determined *not* to be ignored, especially not by his best friend ... and particularly not if that best friend needed him, whether he chose to admit it or not. The Captain quickened his pace and reached the turbolift the same time as Spock.

"Spock, we're going to talk," he declared, clutching the Vulcan's blue-clad arm with a steely grip. Kirk felt his friend stiffen. "Yes, we are -- even if I have to knock you down and sit on you!" Kirk's voice was quiet but emphatic.

Spock sighed, reluctantly admitting defeat. "Very well, but we will go to my quarters."

"Fine by me. Let's go."

Kirk retained hold of Spock's arm during the ride in the turbolift until it stopped at Deck Five. After that the Captain's unyielding gaze held Spock captive until the men reached the Vulcan's quarters. The two entered moments later; Kirk barely waited for the doors to close behind them before he started in.

"All right, Spock, let's have it. What's happened to you? And don't tell me 'nothing,' because I won't believe you. The main reason being, I know you too well."

The First Officer headed for his sleeping alcove and sat down on his bed, head bowed and hands folded in his lap. He was ashamed to feel heat coming into his cheeks and ears, but was unable to control it. After a time, he forced himself to speak, voice barely audible.

"If I tell you, I must ask that you keep it to yourself. I could not endure anyone else knowing of this -- not even Dr. McCoy." *Especially not him,* the Science Officer finished in his mind.

"Of course, Spock." Kirk's voice was gentle and reassuring. "But even if he doesn't hear it from me, how do you know he won't figure it out for himself or find out some other way? And would it be so bad if he *did* know? He may not admit this to you, and it may not seem like it sometimes, but McCoy cares about you. He just shows it differently than I do."

"Jim, please. I could not endure his teasing. This matter is too important to me for anyone to make light of."

Spock's voice was so serious, almost pleading, that Kirk could do nothing but agree. "Okay, if you insist. Now what happened?"

"You know that I was in the gymnasium last night," the Vulcan said quietly, keeping his head bowed and hands in his lap. "I went there to work out, as I do every week. But last night, someone else was also ... working out there."

"May I know who that 'someone else' was?"

Spock swallowed hard, forcing his next words out. "Nurse Chapel."

"Nurse Chapel? What was she doing there?"

Kirk seemed genuinely surprised. He had never known Christine Chapel to do a thing like that, especially not in the middle of the night. Could she have known of Spock's weekly workout day and gone there in hopes of possibly seducing him? After all, it would be late at night and they would be alone... It seemed unlikely, even given her feelings for the Vulcan -- and knowing Spock, it would take more than a few hours to seduce him. Of course, if a Human woman was determined to have a Vulcan lover or husband, she wouldn't let anything stop her. Amanda Grayson, Spock's mother, was proof of that ... and Christine Chapel was cut from the same cloth.

"The same thing I was, apparently," came the reply. "She seemed engrossed in exercise, so I saw no reason to inform her of my presence. I had no wish to disturb her concentration by speaking to her." The Vulcan took a deep breath before continuing. "I changed into my workout clothing and began exercising myself. I was halfway through when I heard a heavy thud in the vicinity of the horizontal bars. I looked up from the rowing machine and discovered that she had fallen onto the mat underneath. She remained prone and unmoving, so I thought she might be injured..." His voice trailed off.

"So you went to see if she was all right," Kirk finished.

Spock nodded. "Upon arrival, I discovered that she was alive, still breathing, but unable to sit up without assistance. I helped her sit up. She seemed dizzy and disoriented, but smiled when she saw me. I asked if she was all right; she said she'd just had the breath knocked out of her. I also asked her what she was doing there at such an hour, that I assumed I was the only one who worked out at this time. She said she came to work off tension -- does it regularly, in fact -- if she has had a tough day." The Vulcan again swallowed hard."Then I did a ... very unusual thing. I suggested we -- work out together."

"What did she say?" Kirk asked, keeping his voice neutral.

"That she would need to know when I planned to work out. I ... promised to contact her. Then we--" At this point the Vulcan knew he was blushing and that Kirk could see it, but the Captain made no comment. At least not about the blushing.

"What happened?" Kirk prompted.

"I ... kissed her."

"Anything else?"

"I -- told her I wished to ... share physical love with her." The blush deepened. "Jim, how could I have done such a thing? It is not logical."

Kirk chuckled softly. "Spock, the attraction between a man and woman is seldom logical -- and there's nothing wrong about it. It's normal."

Spock looked up and gave his Human friend a hard look in spite of the fact his face was still flushed. "For Humans, perhaps. I am a Vulcan."

"A Vulcan who is also half-Human," Kirk pointed out. "Maybe your Human half prompted your actions. Christine *is* quite attractive, you know ... not to mention in love with you. You can hardly blame her for taking the opportunity to be close to you -- or yourself for being man enough to respond to her."

Spock could not reply to this, merely continued his tale. "She was ... dressed in a brief, low-cut blue leotard with footless tights, leg-warmers, socks and athletic shoes."

It sounded to Kirk like Spock was trying to say that he had been aroused by Christine's attire without actually saying so -- and what's more, had responded to her, acted on his attraction. Even at that, he couldn't believe (at least not easily) that Spock had actually done what he was implying ... made love to Christine. But what if he had?

"Spock, did you -- make love to Miss Chapel?" the Captain asked carefully.

Kirk had never seen anyone blush so deeply in his life, but Spock didn't deny it. "Yes. I found it ... most pleasurable."

"Pleasurable enough to want to do it again?"

For a long, awkward moment there was silence, then Spock nodded, unable to speak.

"Did you make plans to see her again?...When?"

"Thursday -- evening," the Vulcan forced out.

"Even so, you aren't one to have a casual relationship. Any plans to ... bond with her?"

"I was -- considering it, although it will ... have to wait for the time being. I wish to -- learn more about her as a person first. Bonding is ... too important to be entered into lightly."

"Do you still intend to have a -- physical relationship with her during this time?"

"If she is ... willing." Spock again blushed deeply.

Kirk chuckled again. "I think that's a foregone conclusion. In that event, a love affair is pretty hard to hide, and McCoy isn't stupid. He's going to put two and two together sooner or later. So will the rest of the crew."

"I can -- live with that. It is ... simply that I do not wish the Doctor to know until a more -- propitious time."

"Would you mind if Christine told him?"

The look on his friend's face told the Captain that Spock wasn't fond of that idea either, but was telling himself he could live with it as long as McCoy didn't tease him about it in public. "Perhaps if Christine swore Bones to secrecy..." Kirk suggested, his own voice trailing off. "That might work. After all, McCoy took an oath of confidentiality when he became a doctor -- and no ethical doctor would violate that oath."

Spock looked up, cheeks still tinged with green, but allowed himself a smile at his Human friend. "That is true. Perhaps I should ... reconsider my position. In which case, I would be honored if you would join me for dinner. Provided you have not already eaten."

This time it was Kirk who blushed, cheeks turning faintly pink."I'd love to, Spock. Thanks for asking -- and no, I haven't eaten. Let's go."

As the two stood up, the Vulcan impulsively reached for the Human's hand and squeezed it. Kirk smiled and returned it, then they donned their usual masks and left Spock's quarters to head for the Mess Deck.

* * *

McCoy had even less compunctions than Kirk did where getting to the bottom of a mystery was concerned, and he had a beauty on his hands. He'd smelled a rat from the moment Christine had said she'd fallen out of her chair because she was tired. Not in all the years he'd known her had she done a thing like that, and she'd been tired lots of times. There had to be more to it ... and he intended to find out what the hell was going on, whatever it took.

Christine was going over the latest patient chart, checking off those whom they had seen and preparing for tomorrow's appointments.

"Christine, I'd like a word with you." McCoy's voice was deceptively quiet.

"Yes, Leonard?" came the answer from the unsuspecting Head Nurse.

"I want to know what's going on."

Christine raised an eyebrow reminiscent of Spock and frowned."Going on? What are you talking about?"

McCoy gave her a look which went right through her. "You know damn well what I'm talking about, so don't give me that innocent routine. That little incident an hour ago when I picked you off the floor after you fell out of your chair. You don't fall out of chairs simply because you're tired. I want the real reason."

"I *told* you the real reason," Christine retorted, annoyed at his prying, however well-meant. "I haven't been sleeping well lately. We've been busy here and once I'm off-shift, it takes me hours to wind down. Sometimes I can't even sleep when I--"

McCoy cut her off in mid-sentence. "Bullfeathers! What do you take me for? Something's bothering you, and I want to know what it is."

"Leonard, for Heaven's sake, there's nothing wrong with me," Christine insisted. "I'm a nurse; I ought to know!"

"I'm not talking about your physical health, dammit!" the Chief Surgeon snapped. "The only time I've ever seen you act this way before was after the Platonius affair when you and Spock were forced to kiss. For days afterward, you seemed to walk around in a trance with a silly grin on your face, like the cat who got the canary.

"I know how you feel about Spock, don't forget, and you're not going to tell me that having him finally kiss you, even under duress, didn't affect you in any way. I know you better than that. You had the same look on your face when I picked you off the floor. Did something happen between you two? You had the look of a woman who had just been thoroughly ravished -- and relished every moment of it."

Christine felt her face flame, bowing her head and intently studying her hands. How could she have been so transparent as to let Leonard see how her night with Spock had affected her? Now she'd have to admit everything...

"You might as well admit it because I'll know you're lying if you say otherwise."

The nurse couldn't speak at all for a time. McCoy's voice became gentle and encouraging. "Chris, I know how it is to be in love. Did you and Spock -- consummate your relationship? Don't worry, I'll keep my mouth shut about it. I just want a simple answer: yes or no."

"Yes," she admitted, blushing furiously.

McCoy's face lit up. "That's great, Chris. Congratulations! Does he plan to ... bond with you eventually?"

"I don't know. I hope so."

"Hell! I didn't think Spock had it in him," the Doctor chuckled. "So he's flesh and blood after all. It's wonderful." After a short silence, McCoy spoke again. "Does Jim know yet?"

"I couldn't say, though I wouldn't be surprised."

"Do you guys intend to 'get together' again?"

"Probably," Christine reluctantly replied. "That's up to Spock. It's his ballgame at the moment, and I'm playing by his rules."

"Can't say I'm surprised to hear that."

At this point the Doctor noted that Christine's shift was nearly over. "Only five minutes until the end of your shift. Things are slow right now; you might as well knock off early. I'll hold down the fort here."

Christine smiled gratefully at her superior and friend. "Thanks, Leonard. I appreciate it. See you tomorrow."

With that, the Head Nurse turned and walked out of Sickbay, her swinging hips flipping the short skirt of her brief uniform which would have provided a momentary glimpse of her nicely rounded backside to any red-blooded (or green-blooded, for that matter) man who happened to be watching. [McCoy wasn't.]

* * *

A short time later Christine reached her quarters. Upon arrival she undressed and took a leisurely sonic shower before wrapping her-self in her favorite fluffy robe and slippers and quick-drying her hair. She combed it out, then perfumed strategic places and left her bathroom to re-enter her bedroom, making her way to her bookcase to select her favorite classic novel *Jane Eyre* before putting on her favorite instrumental music and making herself comfortable on her bed. Her intercom buzzed only moments later.

"Christine?" Spock's throaty voice asked quietly, as if he expected to be overheard.

"Yes, Spock. What can I do for you?"

The Vulcan's eyes closed and he silently called for strength. Even her voice seemed to caress him. "I must speak privately with you. May I come to your quarters?"

Her heart began to pound in spite of herself at the exciting possibilities which presented themselves, but she managed to sound normal. "Of course. I'll be expecting you."

"I will arrive shortly. Spock out."

Christine was glad she had showered, washed her hair and perfumed herself. How Spock had loved feeling her silky hair glide across his bare skin... She came back to reality at the sound of the buzzer. "Come." She pressed the button to unlock the door.

"Christine?" the Vulcan called, a mixture of question and demand in his voice.

"Here I am," she replied from the bedroom.

He hesitated only a moment before joining her. She was surprised to see him in civilian clothing -- a casual navy blue shirt buttoning down the front and equally casual pants modeled after jeans but black in color, with socks and sandals the same color. There was a look of naked hunger in his eyes which Christine didn't miss as he sat down beside her on the bed.

"Christine, you may find this as illogical as I do, but I ... have discovered that I cannot wait to be with you. I must have you -- we must join again ... tonight!"

She had never heard a man's voice so husky with desire, and it in turn inflamed her own to almost fever pitch. At the same time, she felt an almost painful tenderness at the sight of him. "I hope you know that you can come to me any time you need me, Spock. I love you and want you, but will not force my attentions on you. Whatever happens between us is up to you."

"Come here," he said.

Christine set her book aside and moved into his arms. Not long afterward her robe was open, and the couple began to share long, deep kisses even as her hand found the opening to his pants. He moaned against her lips.

"Christine, what you do to me..." Even as he said it, one hand reached to cradle her right breast, its rosebud nipple hardening against his palm.

"Spock, beloved, I must feel you inside me soon. Love me, my darling -- love me now. Love me all night long!"

Less then ten minutes later he was lowering her to her pillow, lips unwilling to release hers even as he positioned himself as she wished ... no, as *they* wished. How could he have waited so long to have her? He would never make that mistake again, not for as long as he and Christine were together -- and if he had his way, that would be the rest of their lives. In the meantime, however, his mind and body were occupied with bigger and better things ... in more ways than one!

* * *

The lovers awakened in the middle of ship's night, pleasantly exhausted from their passionate interlude. Both lay half on their sides and half against each other. Christine's arms held her lover close ... one around his back and shoulders, her hand resting on his bare back, the other on his silky dark hair, covering one elegantly shaped ear.

One of Spock's arms was around and beneath her, the other gently gripping her upper left arm as he slept, his head on her breast. Christine's right cheek rested on top of his head. She smiled, savoring the warmth of her beloved's body even as he breathed in the combination of her flowery perfume and womanly scent. A scent he had found intoxicating the first time they had joined, and an opinion he saw no reason to change since he still found it so, and felt sure he always would.

"Lights, one quarter," she said softly, not wanting to disturb her still-dozing lover, whose breath felt warm and sweet on her bare skin and whose arms were strong but gentle around her. Her heart almost burst with love as she watched the man beside her continue to sleep.

*Oh, my love, I'm so happy.* Christine felt such tenderness at the sight of Spock that she was hard-pressed not to cry. *I don't know if you can 'hear' this, but I hope we can be like this always. It would be a dream come true for me to wake up in your arms every morning for the rest of my life, especially if we spent the night making love.*

Spock stirred against her, and Christine tightened her embrace, wanting to prolong the moment -- feel him in her arms as long as possible. He sighed and settled down again as she kissed his nearest ear. Half of her wished he would wake up so they could perhaps make love again before they had to go on duty; the other half just wanted to hold him. They'd had such a wonderful few hours together...

"Christine," she heard his soft voice close to her ear. Her head lifted and she smiled before kissing his nose.

"Good morning, my love. I hope you slept well." Moments later her lips moved to claim the sweetness of his. He seemed somewhat surprised at first, but soon began to respond as she had always dreamed he could. It was a long time before he answered her, and she knew from the strength of his arousal that her earlier hope was likely to be realized. By the time they separated, both were fully awake and equally aroused.

"Good morning, Christine. Thank you for a most pleasant awakening. However, I find myself very much in need of joining with you again. May we do so?"

"Need you ask?" she smiled as she gently stroked his bare back and gently rounded buttocks.

He gasped in astonished pleasure before responding in kind. She squirmed and moaned at his touch, wanting him more than she'd ever wanted anything in her life.

"In that case..." Spock's voice was a soft purr as he turned his Human lover beneath him again -- and Christine surrendered herself to his arms, his lips, his body and his love ... wishing it never had to end -- but knowing it would, all too soon.

* * *

When Christine awakened again, Spock was sitting beside her fully dressed, having risen earlier and showered. He allowed himself a smile when he saw that she was awake. She picked up his nearest hand and raised it to her lips, kissing it before replacing it on the bed.

"Is it time already?" There was disappointment in her voice because she knew it was even as she voiced it.

"I am afraid so." His reply was laced with tenderness and regret.

She looked up and into his soft brown eyes, reading how much he wanted to stay even as he prepared to leave.

"My duty shift begins in 15.2 minutes, but I can return this evening if you wish."

Christine sat up, uncaring that the blanket fell away as she did so. Her only desire was to feel Spock in her arms again and his arms around her. "Please hold me for a little while," she entreated.

The Vulcan knew he shouldn't, but could not refuse her.

She cradled her tousled head on his chest, one hand over his heart. She smiled as she felt the rapid beat. "I wish you didn't have to go."

"I would ... prefer to remain," he admitted, kissing her temple before resting one cheek on her hair. "Unfortunately, that is not possible at the moment."

They held each other in silence after that, uncaring that time was passing -- or at least *she* was. All too soon he lifted her face to his, fingers caressing her cheek before stroking her lips.

"I will see you this evening. In the meantime, I will leave you with this..." His head bent and they shared a deep, thrilling kiss, reluctantly releasing each other after a final fierce embrace.

"Hurry back, my love. I'll miss you."

"I will be back as soon as I can," the Vulcan promised with one last touch of his hand on her cheek before getting up and leaving.

Christine hated to see him go, but resigned herself to the necessity of his doing so. Besides, she had to get up and get ready for duty herself -- but they would see each other tonight. She was unable to help a shiver at the thought. Oh, what they would do tonight ... a night only hours, and yet an eternity, away! She didn't know how she would ever last until then.

* * *

Only by a supreme effort of will did Christine manage to get through her shift. It wouldn't have surprised her if Spock was having an equal amount of difficulty -- as well as a devil of a time hiding it from the rest of the bridge crew, especially Kirk. As the Captain had said, once things heated up, their affair and the corresponding feelings would be well-nigh impossible to hide. (Spock had told her of his talk with the Captain.)

She could imagine the agonies of embarrassment Spock must have endured in telling Kirk what had happened between them, much less what might happen should Leonard and the rest of the crew find out. After all, Spock had always given the impression that the reason he was so proudly Vulcan was because Vulcans were supposedly above such Human weaknesses such as the need for sexual satisfaction.

He had always looked down his fine nose at them because of their appalling preoccupation with sex ... but would he ever be brought down from his lofty perch should they learn that their logical, unemotional First Officer was carrying on a passionate love affair! Especially if they found out who he was having the affair with. Christine forced her thoughts back to the present and threw herself into her work with a vengeance, striving to ignore her pounding heart and aroused body. *Cool off, Christine. You've got work to do!*

* * *

It might have eased Christine's discomfort if she had known how Spock himself was feeling at that point. As it was, it was all he could do to maintain control. He was thankful that his back was to the rest of the crew because his cheeks felt like they were on fire and his member had become painfully hard -- so much so that he had to fight to sit still. His uniform pants had never posed a problem before, but they did now. Indeed, they felt like a prison ... a prison from which he had to escape ... soon! How could he have allowed himself to become intimate with Christine? One would think he'd know better after what Jim had once confided to him, how he himself felt when involved with one of his many women.

The Vulcan hoped he wouldn't have to turn around because he could not have hidden his affliction, however he tried. Christine's lips, hands and body were the only things which could give his body relief -- but relief was six hours away. How could he ever last? He closed his eyes and called upon every ounce of strength left in him.*Christine, how I need you!*

He spread his legs for momentary relief, resting his elbows on his science console as he buried his burning face in his arms. Despite his best efforts, memories of the previous night began to wash over him...

"Spock? Spock, are you all right?"

The Vulcan came back to reality as his Human friend's concerned voice registered. He lifted his head, but was reluctant to face him. Jim's hand rested on his left shoulder. The Science Officer wanted to tell his friend how he was feeling -- all of it -- but this was neither the time nor the place. He could only hope that Jim wouldn't pressure him for an explanation.

"I am ... all right."

"Are you sure? You don't sound like it. Maybe you should have Bones look you over, make sure you aren't coming down with something."

*No!* the Vulcan shouted mentally. *I could not endure that.*

Out loud, he said, forcing himself to sound normal, "That is ... not necessary, Jim. I am not in need of -- medical attention." *At least not the kind McCoy can give,* the Vulcan finished in his mind.

"But something is wrong," the Captain gently persisted. "Would you feel better if I let you off early today? You can make it up later."

The offer was too tempting to resist. "Thank you, Jim. I appreciate your thoughtfulness." Spock allowed gratitude to show in his voice even as he made sure that only Kirk could hear it. "Please do not mention this to the Doctor. We will ... discuss it later." He stood up and turned toward the turbolift.

"See you later, Spock. I hope you feel better soon."

The Vulcan allowed himself a half-smile in Jim's direction before moving as quickly as he dared for the privacy of the turbolift. As the doors closed, he heard the Captain say, "Take over the science station, Mr. Chekov. Mr. Spock is not feeling well."

Spock didn't want to think of the look that must have been on the Russian ensign's face, but knew that Jim would cover for him. Chekov would have to think what he liked, at least for the moment. The rest of the bridge crew too, for that matter. Spock silently blessed his friend for his perceptiveness, but this reprieve from prying eyes would do him little good unless he could obtain relief.

Even so, how could he contact Christine without McCoy knowing about it? He would have to think of a way -- soon! In the meantime, Spock intended to take a cold shower and see if that would offset the worst of his symptoms, at least temporarily. He headed for his bathroom upon arrival at his quarters, thankful that no one else had noticed his strange behavior between the bridge and his quarters. He undressed, set the shower to as cold as he could endure and stepped in.

He gasped and cried out at the feel of the cold water on his hot skin, but had to admit it was doing his job. He could feel his body relaxing. He only hoped it would last. Spock stepped out and dried off, heading for his bed to lie down, unwilling to dress again. Instead, he lay in his bed naked, covered only by a sheet, doing his best to calm his once-again feverish body. He had the kind of fever only Christine could ease. He didn't want to use the intercom unless absolutely necessary, so he closed his eyes and projected his thoughts out to her, hoping she would receive them and come to him.

*Christine, please come to me. I need you.*

* * *

Christine was sure someone had spoken to her -- so sure that she turned to look to see who it was ... but no one was there. She soon realized that she hadn't heard the voice with her ears. It was in her mind -- and only one person aboard ship had that ability. But why would Spock be calling her now? Had he found the last couple of hours as difficult as she? If so, she would have to go to him, duty shift or no duty shift. If Spock could get off, so could she. She went to find McCoy, who was in his office catching up on "paperwork".

"Leonard?" she called. "May I leave early? I'm not feeling well."

The Chief Surgeon looked up and frowned with concern. "Any idea what's wrong, other than the fact you've not been eating or sleeping as you should?"

"I know how to fix it, Leonard. Don't worry your head about me ...but I won't feel better unless I can get to my quarters. *Or more accurately, Spock's quarters,* she thought.

McCoy sighed. "You can go. Things are pretty slow today. I think I can handle things alone. However, I'll expect you to make up for it later."

The doctor suspected that Christine's "illness" had something to do with Spock, but saw no sense in mentioning it. Better this than Spock being the walking computer he usually was. No doubt Jim had already let him off-duty, and Spock was waiting for her in his quarters. McCoy made a mental note to talk with Jim about their two friends and shipmates at the first opportunity.

"I will. Thanks, Leonard."

McCoy smiled and returned to his work. Christine fled sickbay, forcing herself not to hurry to the turbolift which would take her to Deck Five and the quarters where her beloved waited. Upon arrival, she made sure the corridor was clear before letting him know of her presence.

"Spock?" she called quietly. "I ... heard you -- and came as quickly as I could."

She barely heard his reply of "Come," but was grateful to be out of sight of any who might be inclined to gossip. Just because she and the First Officer were having an affair was no reason to embarrass them in front of the crew by allowing herself to be seen going into his quarters. Upon stepping inside, Christine found herself in almost pitch-black darkness -- darkness only broken by the faint glow of the flame-pot -- but instinctively knew where Spock was ... or rather, where she thought he was. She was about to step into the sleeping alcove when she heard his voice.


She then felt a strong hand pull her close and an equally strong arm enfold her against a warm, aroused body moments before sweet but passionate lips claimed hers. There was no way for her to resist, even if she'd wanted to. She'd waited too long for this! She was vaguely aware of his bare skin even as he began to undress her. Once that was accomplished, the Vulcan swept her into his arms and carried her to bed -- all the while holding a kiss -- barely giving her sufficient opportunity to catch her breath.

Her arms locked around his neck as he lowered her to the bed, his body following hers down. He slid his own arms around and beneath her as her legs parted. Moments later he positioned himself above her, moaning as he lowered himself onto and then inside her. Her hands held him close even as her legs wrapped around him.

"Christine, I can wait no longer. I must have you -- *now*!"

"Yes, my love. *Yes*! Love me ... now!"

* * *

Upon coming back to earth, the lovers lay wrapped in a blanket; Spock was covered to just above his hips. Christine held the blanket to cover herself, sleeping deeply even as her lover's hand stroked her from breast to hip before resting on the hip. Both sighed contentedly as Spock breathed in the musky-rose of her scent of her hair before resting his cheek on it.

*Christine, my Christine. You are exquisite. I shall never tire of touching, kissing or caressing you ... or holding you as I am now. I only regret that we could not have known one another like this much sooner. We have so much time to make up for.*

Spock had asked her to bond with him after their last joining, so he was sure she could perceive his thoughts. He projected as much feeling into his mind-voice as possible.

*We shall have a lifetime now, my love,* her mind-voice replied with equal warmth. *You are every bit as incredible as I ever imagined -- well worth every moment I've waited. And I will be content as long as you love me with not only your mind, but your body and heart, as long as we both live.*

He felt her shaking with laughter. "What is so amusing, Christine?"

She turned over in his arms and kissed his nose. "Can you imagine what everyone must think right now? You'd think we'd never heard of self-control, the way we acted!"

Spock allowed himself a smile at the thought. "Do you really care what they think?" His hand lifted her chin to face him. "What matters is that we are together."

A moment later their lips met sweetly, lingeringly, and his arms brought her close to the warmth of his bare body before he began to lovingly but intimately caress her. She moaned and pressed herself close to him. "Oh, my love, what you do to me..."

It was a long time before he allowed her to speak again -- and when she did, they were so close that they seemed to breathe as one.

"No, I don't care what anyone thinks as long as I have you. You're worth any amount of teasing." She moved to kiss him again, then retreat. "I love you so much."

"As I cherish thee, *m'chejan*. More than you will ever know." His voice held more feeling than she had ever heard from him in all the time they had known each other.

Christine looked up at him and frowned. "What does that mean? Is it a Vulcan term?"

Spock kissed her temple before stroking her hair. "Indeed. It means 'my chosen'."

Christine smiled. "Then it's a term of endearment, like the Human terms 'darling' or 'sweetheart'."

He squirmed when she ran her fingers through the hair on his chest.

"By the way, would you mind if I called you those things on occasion?"

"As long as we are alone," he directed. "Which reminds me. I will inform Jim -- Captain Kirk -- of our plans at the earliest opportunity, then go from there. In the meantime, we must be discreet until we can go to Vulcan and be married properly. For the moment, however, I find myself very much in need of being one with you again. Do you also wish it?" Her smile was all the answer he needed. "That is all I wanted to know."

With that, he drew her close again, and the lovers became lost in each other's arms.

* * *

Such was the case for the next three months until their duties and ship's missions enabled them to travel to Vulcan. Meanwhile, it was fortunate that both had learned to control themselves. It was the hardest thing Spock had ever done, not being used to it, but he had only himself to blame for his present difficulty. Still, he flatly refused to feel guilty about his unVulcan actions, at least in this instance. Illogical they may be, but he had waited too long to feel this happy and fulfilled ... and knew that Christine felt the same.

Upon receiving permission from Fleet Command, Spock asked Kirk to marry them in the standard Federation ceremony. It was so private that only he, Christine and their three closest friends were in attendance. Everyone concerned considered it logical to keep the marriage secret from the crew and galaxy at large until after the official *koon-ut-kal-if-fee* ceremony, which couldn't take place until Spock was within at least a week of his Mating Time. Until then, the civil ceremony and their bonding would have to suffice -- but what was six months when they had the rest of their lives ahead of them?

Spock could only hope that Christine wouldn't become pregnant before the *pon farr*. She could have her contraceptive implant renewed so that didn't happen, but he sensed that she didn't want to do that because she wanted his children now that they were together since she wasn't getting any younger. She would have problems as it was due to the differences in Vulcan and Human physiology. With a part of him, the Vulcan couldn't blame her, but if she were pregnant when his Mating Time arrived, the violent passion which overwhelmed him at that time might injure their unborn child, and neither of them wanted that.

It was "six of one and half a dozen of the other," as Christine would say. Just the same, both of them would be glad once they had completed the *koon-ut-kal-if-fee*. Only then would they be considered married in the eyes of all Vulcan. Christine knew that Spock also wouldn't consider them truly married until then, either ... but for herself, she was more than satisfied. Either way, the man she loved belonged to her at last. That was all that mattered. She also intended to see to it that they *stayed* together, remained happy and in love, for now and all time -- whatever she had to do!