DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Ronda Sexton and is copyright (c) 2004 by Ronda Sextion. Rated PG13.

Tomorrow and Forever

Ronda Sexton

Only moments after Sargon and Thalassa's departure, Christine suddenly felt light-headed. She swayed, and as her world faded to black, she crumpled to the deck.

Dr. McCoy was at her side immediately, while at the same time, Lieutenant Uhura was calling for orderlies to bring a stretcher to the bridge.

Christine came to in sickbay. She was confused momentarily, and her last memory was Thalassa and Sargon's departure.

Dr. McCoy came into view. "That was quite a scare you gave us, Christine. How do you feel?"

"A little dizzy. What happened?" she asked.

"You fainted on the bridge. I could not find anything wrong with you, except some elevation of certain brain chemicals. That could be attributed to what happened to you," he explained. "As soon as your dizziness passes, you may return to your quarters. I want you to rest. You are off duty for the next twenty-four hours."

She nodded her head and closed her eyes, willing the dizziness to go away.

Four days later, Christine was preparing a report for a briefing. She winced as a pain lanced through her head. She had not mentioned these pains to Dr. McCoy, nor had she mentioned her other symptoms. She had been very nervous and restless. It felt as if a part of her were missing. There was no way to explain this to Dr. McCoy with him assuming she was imagining these things since Spock's consciousness had been instilled in her. She knew it wasn't her imagination, but doubted that anyone else would believe her. After privately checking herself over, she discovered the same brain chemicals were still elevated. She decided it was safe to assume she was still reacting the melds Henoch had forced on her, as well as Spock's consciousness being instilled in her with little preparation beforehand.

Sighing, Christine left for the meeting, hoping no pains would strike during her presentation. This would also be the first time she had seen Spock since sharing consciousness with him that day. She was not looking forward to this meeting. She knew she'd made a fool of herself on the bridge that day prior to fainting and had been successful in avoiding him until now.

Quietly taking her seat, she stared around the room. She hated making presentations, but in this case, her expertise in biochemical research had enabled her to develop a successful vaccine for Antarian Bacterial Encephalitis. Too bad her expertise had not been able to cure her own annoying symptoms. As her gaze landed on Spock, disquieting emotions rampaged through her soul. She quickly looked away.

Spock noted the confused expression that crossed her face as their eyes met. He theorized that perhaps she was still suffering the after effects of his consciousness being instilled into her. He had been spending quite a bit of time in unsuccessful meditation in an effort to settle himself after that incident. He had not approached Dr. McCoy about the issue. He did not wish to be the unwilling recipient of the good Doctor's teasing.

Kirk called the meeting to order. As she sat through the preliminaries, pains began to lance through her head in rapid succession. Emotions boiled within her. It took ever ounce of control she possessed not to bolt and run out of the room.

Finally, he part of the meeting came. She stood up and activated the viewscreen on the wall. Just as she started to speak, the pains grew so intense that she doubled over, gasping in pain.

Dr. McCoy and Spock rushed to her side. Spock was beginning to suspect exactly what her problem was because he was experiencing similar symptoms.

Later, in sickbay, Spock very candidly discussed his suspicions with Dr. McCoy and Christine. He carefully explained his theory of the nature of the symptoms both he and Christine were experiencing.

"I believe it is the Son-la-lee-kah," he said quietly.

They stared at him in confusion. Neither of them was familiar with the Vulcan term.

"Can you enlighten us on exactly what that means, Mr. Spock?" asked Dr. McCoy.

"Son-la-lee-kah is a term that means an incomplete or partial bonding. The symptoms Miss Chapel and I are experiencing are consistent with the indicators for the condition," explained Spock.

Christine frowned. This did not bode well for either of them. "So how do we confirm this, Mr. Spock?"

"A Vulcan healer must meld with us simultaneously. He will then ascertain whether or not that is the problem," answered Spock.

Christine found herself growing uneasy. She sensed that this was more complicated than Spock was indicating. The medication Dr. McCoy had given her had eased the pains, but done nothing for her increasing anxiety levels.

"If the problem turns out to be Son-la-lee-kah, what will be done to cure us?" she asked as calmly as she possibly could.

"There are many factors involved," began Spock. "The Healer can assist in dissolving the partial bond in most cases. However, in 25.473% of the cases, it can't be dissolved."

"Why not?" asked Christine.

"It depends on a person's brain chemistry," he answered. "If the Healer is unable to dissolve the bond, the man and woman must bond fully."

Christine stared at Spock in shock. "What happens if they don't wish to bond?" She knew Spock did not want her. She certainly did not want him under these circumstances. Only if he chose to be with her of his own free will did she want to be with him.

Spock shook his head. "They must become bondmates, or madness followed by death is inevitable."

Christine paled visibly, and Dr. McCoy placed a comforting hand over her own. "We can be to Vulcan in four days. Will that be soon enough?" he asked.

"It will suffice," replied Spock.

"I'll inform the Captain," Dr. McCoy said as he rose from his seat.

Christine started to rise from her chair as well, intending to return to her quarters and rest.

"Miss Chapel, I would like to speak of this further with you," stated Spock.

She sat back down, resting her head on one hand, so that her face was partially obscured. Right now, she wanted to be anywhere but here. Since Spock outranked her, she had little choice in the matter.

"I must inform you that upon review of Dr. McCoy's testing data, it is highly probable that we will be forced to complete the bond." Spock's voice betrayed no emotion whatsoever.

Christine felt trapped. She had loved him for so long. She had longed for a relationship with him, but not like this. She did not want it forced upon them. She wanted to be a relationship of their choosing. "I see," she said.

Spock was caught off guard by Christine's obvious distress. He knew she cared deeply for him. He had not anticipated her reacting in this manner.

"Very well, there will be time enough to worry about that after the healer examines us," stated Christine in as steady of a tone as she could muster. "If you will excuse me, I need to go back to my

quarters and rest now." She quietly rose and hurried out of the room.

Knowing his parents needed to be informed, Spock returned to his quarters and established contact with them. After the formal greetings, Spock carefully explained what had transpired.

After hearing Spock's report, Sarek nodded gravely. "I concur with your theory, my son. Sanel will be able to verify it and determine whether or not the bond may be dissolved or if it must be completed."

"Spock, how does Christine feel about this?" asked Amanda gently.

"She is distressed," stated Spock.

"That is understandable, Spock," began Amanda. "It had to be a huge shock to her."

"Mother, Miss Chapel has long desired a relationship with me. Now that it appears to be a possibility based on the current data, suddenly the idea is not nearly as appealing to her. It is highly illogical."

Sarek glanced thoughtfully at his wife for a few moments. "Spock," he began. "Consider how you have treated Miss Chapel in the past. I observed your interactions with her while we were confined in sickbay during the trip to the Babel conference. Your treatment of her was completely devoid of any warmth or appreciation for her care. She may assume a bonding with you will merely be a continuation of the same."

"No Vulcan would treat his bondmate in such a fashion, Father."

"Spock, she is not Vulcan. She does not fully understand the nature of the bond. You must speak with her and explain the bondmate relationship," instructed Sarek.

"I shall endeavor to do so, Father," replied Spock.

Suddenly the console beeped, informing his time was up.

"I must take my leave of you now, Mother and Father. Live long, and prosper."

"Live, Long, and Prosper, my son," they answered. Then the screen darkened.

Spock decided it would be best to allow Christine several hours to rest before attempting to explain the bondmate relationship to her. He would use that time to meditate in an effort to balance himself prior to the discussion.

Four hours later, Christine warily admitted Spock to her quarters. She was still in shock at the possibility of being bonded for life to a man who did not love her.

After they had both sat down, Spock began carefully explaining the bondmate relationship using his parents as an example.

When he finished, he took her hand in his. "You will not lack for that which you need, Christine."

She nodded, not sure how to respond to him.

Four days later, they arrived at Vulcan. Sanel was able to see them immediately. He initiated a meld with them. So gentle was the touch of his mind that Christine's fears brought on by Henoch's forced melds faded away.

After a time, he withdrew from their minds. Without saying a word to either of them, he called up the data Dr. McCoy had been gathering on them. Then, he turned to face them.

"It is indeed Son-la-lee-kah. Based on all available data it is imperative for the two of you to bond as soon as possible. To do otherwise will result in madness and death within a week."

They nodded in understanding. Christine felt the world crashing down around her. She would be bonded to Spock, or they both would die. She felt trapped by circumstance, but she could not allow Spock to die, nor did she want to die either.

"I would further advise you to bond now, so that I may assist you if necessary."

Spock looked at Christine. She knew she had no alternative, so she nodded her assent. He turned back to Sanel. "We will do so."

They both placed their hands in position and began speaking the words of the ritual.

"Christine, parted from me, yet never parted. Never and always touching and touched. Be Thou one with me."

"Spock, parted from me, yet never parted. Never and always touching and touched. I am one with thee."

Spock delved deeply into her mind to form a strong and complete bond. After they withdrew from the bonding meld, Sanel touched their minds again to verify the bonding.

Following a brief visit to Spock's parents, they beamed back aboard the ship. Christine tried to ignore the curious stares that followed them. There was too much to be accomplished today to be concerned with nosy crew members. All of her belongings had to be packed and moved to Spock's quarters. Kirk had made a general announcement about their bonding earlier. Christine was not certain she was ready to share quarters with Spock, but not doing so would see the entire ship abuzz with gossip. This was all so sudden. She wondered how she could live for the rest of her life with a man who did not love or care for her.

When her possessions were unpacked in Spock's quarters, she sat uneasily on the sofa, not exactly sure what to expect next. She had long dreamed of being Spock's wife. However, her dreams had become a real life nightmare. Either they could fully bond with each other or go insane and die. Why did it have to be this way?

Spock sat near her on the sofa and handed her a package that had been carefully wrapped.

"It is traditional for the man to give a gift to his bondmate when the bonding occurs between adults."

She took the gift and opened it carefully. Inside the box, she found an elegant gown of pure silk. She stared at the gown, then at Spock. She was uncertain what to think. Did Spock intend for them to engage in intimacies, or had he merely selected this gift as a random choice.

"I selected blue because it is an ascetically pleasing color on you," commented Spock. He closely observed her, gauging her reaction. He knew she was unhappy that fate had forced this relationship upon them. He was trying to make her comfortable with the situation. He could not understand why after desiring a relationship with him that now she did not want to be his bondmate.

"Thank you, Spock," she said softly.

He sensed her uncertainty through their bond and decided that a change of subject was in order. "We should eat our evening meal now. Would you prefer to eat here or in the mess hall?" asked Spock.

Christine wanted to avoid prying eyes as long as possible. She had been subjected to them enough today. "I prefer to eat here," she answered.

"Very well," began Spock. "What would you like to eat?"

She shook her head. "It doesn't really matter. I'll eat whatever you order from the food slot."

Spock got trays for both of them. He watched as Christine ate her meal in silence. He did not know what to do. She was very unhappy. He sincerely hoped that engaging in intimacies tonight would assure her that he could meet her needs.

When she finished her meal, she carried the tray back to the food slot and pressed the recycle button. She turned to find Spock behind her. He slid his tray into the slot, recycled it, and placed a hand on her shoulder.

"It would please me if you wore the gown to bed tonight," said Spock.

Christine felt his desire through their bond. She nodded and moved so that his hand was no longer on her shoulder. Legally, there were husband and wife. Sex was a normal part of married life. It appeared that Spock intended for them to be sexually active. She could not bring herself to think of it as making love. To her, that implied that the couple engaged in the act out of love, not duty. Right now, she felt absolutely nothing for Spock. She also knew he felt nothing for her. Their marriage was not one of love, it was a marriage for survival. There were trapped in a loveless marriage.

Slowly she retrieved the gown from the couch. Spock watched as she entered the bathroom, gown in hand. He assumed she intended to change and began to prepare himself for bed as well.

Christine stared at herself in the bathroom mirror. The blue gown clung to her body revealing every soft curve. She was nervous, but it did not make sense. She was certainly not a virgin. Neither was Spock for that matter. She resolved to do her "duty" as Spock's wife. Sighing, she walked out of the bathroom.

Spock watched as she walked out. The sight of her in the clinging blue gown aroused his passions. He held out his right hand, extending his first two fingers in the Vulcan fashion.

She walked slowly over to him, her eyes locked on his. When she reached him, she placed her fingers on his. The bond link opened fully and she felt his passion and desire wash over her. It ignited a fire within her. He moved his fingers to caress over her hand and then back to her fingers again. He stared at her, his eyes smoldering. His gaze urged her to copy his caress. She complied, feeling desire burning throughout her being.

She was amazed that such a simple touch could arouse her with such passion. They continued for several more rounds, then Spock allowed his fingers to trail up her arm. She felt as if they were on fire and leaving trails of flame up her arm. He continued across her shoulder and up her neck to her chin. He lifted her face to his and tenderly kissed her. As his hot tongue probed her mouth the bond link opened even more. She wrapped her arms around him and surrendered to his will.

Later, lying in Spock's possessive embrace as he slept beside her, she considered the intimacies they had just indulged in. Spock was a fantastic lover. Her intense orgasm had rocked her entire body. She had never experienced one that powerful. If she had to be in a loveless marriage, great sex would be some compensation. She was tired, so she succumbed to the sleepiness.

Days passed, and the gossip finally began to die down. The only gossip that continued marginally was centered on the fact that Christine seemed incredibly unhappy for someone who had married the man of her dreams.

"Christine, I would like to talk with you. Come into my office please," said Dr. McCoy. Nodding, she followed him inside and sat down.

"How are things going?" he asked gently.

Christine sighed, "It's so strange, for such a long time, I wanted a relationship with Spock. It certainly did not happen the way I dreamed it would." Unshed tears glittered in her eyes. "I can't seem to feel anything for him. The only time I feel connected to him is when we have sex," she confessed.

"How does Spock feel about the relationship?" asked Dr. McCoy.

"He ... he ... I don't really know if he feels anything for me. He didn't have much of a choice in bonding with me." She shook her head. "I never wanted him this way. I wanted him to be with me by his choice. Instead we had to bond or die. Not a lot of choice in that."

"Christine, give him time. T'Pring's betrayal and rejection was hard on him. Harder than he will ever be willing to admit." He noticed that it was time for shift change. "Well, you're off duty now, so I won't keep you any longer. Hang in there."

"Thanks, Leonard," she whispered softly as she left his office to return to the quarters she now shared with Spock.

When she entered, Spock turned from tending the fire pot. He offered her the two finger gesture which she returned. Her on going sorrow troubled him. He was uncertain what to do. Would she reject him at his next Pon Farr as T'Pring had. He quickly banished the negative thoughts from his mind. As was his custom, after holding the two finger touch for a few moments, he gently kissed her.

Christine withdrew and prepared to go to the mess hall for dinner.

Time passed, and Christine and Spock's relationship continued in its status quo for the most part. Their sex life was still great, and when they were locked in passion filled encounters, she was beginning to feel emotions she thought were long dead thawing. Spock sensed this as well, but outside of their physical encounters, they were still very much withdrawn from each other.

Today, they were involved in assisting a colony world that had experienced a severe earthquake. Christine had been assigned to work in a hospital in one of the hardest hit areas. Spock felt uneasy about her being planetside. There was no logical reason for him to feel in such a manner. However, he could not resolve the feelings no matter how hard he tried.

Down on the surface of Datalas Prime, Christine worked feverishly treating patients who had been injured in the latest after shocks. Suddenly the floor began to buck under her feet as the ground shook violently. As the walls collapsed around her, her last conscious thought was I love you, Spock, then darkness consumed her.

In sickbay, Dr. McCoy stood next to Spock as he gazed at her battered, broken body.

"I've done all I can, Spock," he said. "We can only wait and see what happens."

"Is there anything I can do to help her?" asked Spock.

Dr. McCoy looked at Spock. He knew his friend well enough to see the pain in his eyes. "Try talking to her, Spock. Coma patients can sometimes hear."

Spock sat in the bedside chair as Dr. McCoy walked out of the small ICU cubicle. He picked up her hand and held it in both of his. He could not believe that he might lose her. He was going to do everything in his power to prevent that from happening.

"Christine," he murmured huskily. He stared down at her body that was so pale and still. "Christine, I ... I need you so much..." Words failed him, and he sat holding her hand.

When Dr. McCoy checked later, Spock was still clinging to her hand. He looked at the monitors her condition remained unchanged.

Spock looked at him, the question in his mind easy to read on his face.

"There's no change, Spock. I'm sorry." he said gravely.

"May I try to reach her through our bond?" asked Spock.

Dr. McCoy nodded, "You can try. You may be able to reach her." Spock released her hand and immediately place his hands in the proper position on her face. Dr. McCoy left quietly to give him privacy as he attempted to reach his bondmate.

Sitting in his office, Dr. McCoy realized that Spock was taking this very hard. He wondered if this would ultimately change their relationship if Christine pulled through. Her depressed state prior to suffering the massive injuries could make her less willing to fight to recover.

If Spock touched her mind and let her see how much he cared, it could make a huge difference.

Spock delved into her mind, searching for her. At last he touched upon her consciousness. //Christine?// There was no response. //Christine, please, I ... I..// Spock's thoughts faltered, and he sensed her beginning to slip away. In desperation, he call to her again. //Christine, my T'hy'la!//

//Spock?//

He sensed her uncertainty. //Yes, it is me, T'hy'la.// Slowly he dropped his shielding letting warm loving feelings flow freely.

//I love you too, Spock.// Then her consciousness flickered and faded.

Spock tried to reestablish the meld to no avail. He carefully examined the monitors. The readings had changed. He quickly summoned Dr. McCoy.

When he saw the monitors, he smiled. "Well, it seems reaching out via your bond has had some positive effect on her condition. These readings have improved." He looked at Spock. "You need to get some rest."

"I prefer to stay here with Christine," answered Spock firmly.

"I understand, Spock." He quietly left the cubicle.

The next morning, Christine's vital signs had improved even more. Captain Kirk, after hearing Dr. McCoy's report, relieved Spock of duty so he could sit with her.

By noon, her vital signs had stabilized, and she was showing signs that she was coming out of the coma. Late that afternoon, she came to with an awareness of someone holding her hand. Her eyes focused on the person holding her hand.

"Spock?"

"Yes, I am here. How do you feel?"

"Terrible ... I hurt everywhere. What happened?"

Spock tightened his grip on her hand. "What do you remember?"

"I was on the planet working in the emergency ward. Everything started shaking ... was there another aftershock?"

"Yes, and you were badly injured when the walls collapsed on you. I almost lost you," Spock said solemnly. "Dr. McCoy allowed me to try to reach you through our bond."

"I remember ... you ... .you called me T'hy'la." whispered Christine.

"Yes, I did call you T'hy'la. Faced with the prospect of losing you, I discovered just how much you mean to me. I regret that our first months as bondmates were so difficult."

Christine slowly extended her right hand to Spock in the Vulcan fashion. He responded immediately. Love and understanding flowed freely through their bond.

It was a week before Christine was well enough to be discharged from sickbay. During that time she and Spock grew closer and closer.

A week after her release, the doctor pronounced her well enough to resume intimacies. That night they made love to each other. It was so much more than the sex they had been having prior to her life threatening injuries. Love flowed through their bond and each touch and caress seemed to be enhanced by that love. All the barriers were gone. They would be gone tomorrow and forever. They were one.

THE END