DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Ster Julie and is copyright (c) 2004 by Ster Julie. Rated PG.


Ster Julie

Part I

It's dark. Everything is dark now. They left me here, alone. Is someone coming back for me? I am not as familiar with this particular lab, however, I am certain that, if I could only concentrate, I could recall the layout of this room. But fighting the creature that now lies dead within me and controlling its pain all this time has fatigued me beyond words, beyond...

So tired. How hard can it be to grope my way back to the ward? I rise to my feet easily enough with the aid of the desk, but I find that I am unable to let go of its security. Or am I afraid? Illogical! Estimate the distance to the door and get moving! Interesting. Human psychology speaks of the inner parent. Mine sounds like Sarek. Enough analysis! Move! I move cautiously into the center of the room, shuffling, arm outstretched. I hear the sensor open the door in front of me. Success! I move confidently, sure of my goal, when, suddenly, my face makes sharp contact with the doorframe.

Just as suddenly, I find myself on my backside, warm liquid pouring down my face. I have bumped my forehead, just under the hairline. I reach a hand to the point of impact and it comes away sticky. It feels like blood.

"Is anyone there?" I call out. No answer. "Anyone?" I call again. I get up on all fours and start crawling forward -- hopefully -- trying to find sickbay. I know that the sight of the First Officer crawling through the halls to be an ignoble one, but I need assistance, now. "Help!"

Finally, I hear the sound of running feet, of "Oh, my God, Spock!" I feel a cloth pressed to my head and hear the sound of a scanner.

"What happened, Spock?" McCoy asks. "What are you doing out here?" I explain how I bumped my head trying to get to sickbay.

"We were coming back for you. Why didn't you wait?"

"I was tired," I admit. McCoy squeezes my shoulder. I could sense his deep remorse. "Help me up?" I ask him. "I can walk, I just need guidance." My voice sounds so small, so vulnerable to me. I ... I don't like that. I haven't changed. Just my eyes.

I try not to think of the implications of that while the doctor gets me to my feet. He places my hand on his shoulder and leads me to the ward. He has me sit at a table while he tends to my wound.

"Well, you hit the edge of the door in just the right place to split the skin," McCoy reports. "There's no concussion. We'll just clean this and close it up. Then you can get some rest." The doctor says nothing further. I can still sense his torment over the cause of my blinding. I grope around until I find his arm. I must make him understand.

"Doctor, this self-recrimination must cease. I have many questions, many needs. Wallowing in guilt, you are of no use to me. I volunteered. I caused my own blindness, not you." I squeeze his arm. "Please," I say quietly. "I need you." I hear McCoy draw a ragged breath. The doctor gently removes my hand from his arm and tells me quietly, "Try to hold still." He then continues caring for me in silence. I sigh.

I wonder what will become of me now. Is there still a place for me in Starfleet? Assisted vision devices are so unwieldy and unsatisfactory. I could no longer serve aboard a ship. If Starfleet sees me as a liability, they will cut me loose.

I don't dare return to Sarek in this condition. When I left home to go to the Academy, Father told me that Starfleet would send me home broken or in a box. It seems that his dire prediction may have come true. This wallowing in self-pity is degrading and illogical! It serves no purpose. Control! McCoy finishes repairing the wound and smoothes my hair back into place.

"I'd like to keep you here for a while," he suggests gently. "We'll find you a quiet corner so you can rest." He takes my arm and leads me to a bed on the far side of the ward. I loosen my collar and wiggle out of my boots before crawling onto the bed. I feel one blanket, then another drawn over me.

"Sleep well," McCoy murmurs. I take the left edge of the covers in my right hand and pull them over my shoulder as I turn onto my side, away from the doctor. I want to be alone with my thoughts. Emotions surge and threaten to overwhelm me. I start to tremble, to gasp. Self-indulgence! I shake myself. I will not give in to emotion! I concentrate on breathing deeply and fall quickly asleep.

* * *

"Spock! Hey, wake up!" I feel someone shaking my shoulder. "You're having a nightmare." McCoy's voice.

I roll back quickly at the sound, and open my eyes. "What is it? What's wrong?"

"It looked like you were running in your sleep. What were you dreaming about?" I don't answer his question. I raise my finger and touch McCoy squarely on the nose. I pull my hand away and cover my mouth to hide my surprise. "Can you see me?" the doctor asks with a voice full of hope. I nod, blink, and nod again. Then, appallingly, tears spring to my eyes.

"What's happening?" I ask.

McCoy covers my eyes and barks to someone, "Dim the lights!" He takes an instrument and examines my eyes. "Tell me what you see."

"It's like... It's like coming indoors from the bright sunshine. Everything has a dark cast to it." McCoy shines a light into my eyes, then jumps back.

"What in blazes!"

"What is it?"

"What did you just do with your eyes?"

I shrug. "I blinked."

McCoy shakes his head. "Impossible. I was holding your eye open."

I shrug again."I blinked my inner eyelid."

McCoy lowers his instrument. "Your what?"

"My inner eyelid. All Vulcans have them. I thought you knew." I see the doctor shake his head.

"Will wonders never cease," he says with a touch of sarcasm. He bends again over my face and examines my eyes. "Everything looks fine now. Is your vision clearing up?" I cast my gaze about the room as McCoy raises the lights again.

"The acuity is not yet what it was, but there is a marked improvement." The doctor sighs.

"Thank God." McCoy's relief seems so genuine. I could not resist the bait.

"What involvement did the Deity have in this?" I watch as the doctor throws up his hands.

"Who do you think gave you those blasted second eyelids?" I feign confusion.

"My Vulcan ancestors?" I see McCoy screw up his face.

"Oh, shut up, Spock." I notice the doctor moving toward a com link.

"Please do not inform the captain just yet," I request. McCoy looks at me quizzically. "Let's go to the bridge together." The doctor smiles.

"Yeah. Let's just walk in like nothing's happened and see how long it takes for him to notice." Childish. Perhaps, but satisfactory.

As the two of us walk to the lift, I review all of the possible scenarios I had considered earlier, when I thought my blindness to be permanent. Is it shortsighted of me to have no plans for a possible future disability? Or would that be paranoid? McCoy disturbs my reverie as we near the bridge.

"So, Spock, what were your first thoughts on regaining your sight?" I thought for a brief moment.

"I now understand another of Mother's old Earth sayings." McCoy crosses his arms and looks at me warily.

"Oh? And which one might that be?" I turn my full gaze to McCoy.

"You were a sight for sore eyes."

Part II

The sound of my cabin doors opening awakens me.

"Spock? Are you here?" I turn on my reading light. Captain Kirk stands before me, holding his nephew Peter in his arms.

"What's wrong?" I ask sleepily as I struggle to sit up. Jim looks down at the sleeping boy.

"I can't wake him up." The captain sounds almost frantic. "McCoy says there is nothing wrong with him physically, but he won't come to. You've got to help him, you've got to." His voice falls to a whisper. "I can't lose him, too." Jim is asking for the Vulcan mind meld. I am so fatigued after the day's events that I do not think I can achieve a link to rouse Peter. I tell Jim so.

"Please." Jim isn't asking me or ordering me to do this; he is begging. I reconsider and reach for the child. Jim places him carefully in the crook of my arm.

As soon as I touch the child, I know that he has retreated deep within himself. He has thrown up a wall of fear to protect himself from the pain.

"Peter?" I speak quietly to him. "My name is Spock. I am a friend of your Uncle Jim. I know what you have been through, Peter. I was attacked by the creature also. I know your pain. But, Peter, the pain is gone now. The creature is gone and cannot hurt you anymore. Don't be afraid. I'm going to touch your mind, Peter, and help you to come back. I will not hurt you." I place my hand on Peter's face and begin the chant. "My mind to yours, Peter, my mind to yours. Closer, closer. Our minds are touching, our minds are one."

Peter? It is I, Spock. You have nothing to fear. It is safe to come back now. You are well. You are free of the pain. The creature is gone, and it cannot hurt you any more... Yes, your parents are gone, too. So, you knew all along...

Peter, your Uncle Jim needs you now. He needs you to come back. He is so sad, Peter, so sad. Come back to him. No, you are not alone now. He is here, and he needs you now, Peter. Come back. I will show you the way.

There is no shame in your tears, Peter. I grieve with thee. Let it out, Peter, let it all out.

I feel a hand on my shoulder, shaking me firmly. "Snap out of it, Spock," I hear. I open my eyes and cannot see clearly. My vision! Not again!

Someone is wiping my face. McCoy. When did he arrive? I feel the boy's chest heaving against my own and know that Peter is weeping. We both were, evidently. Jim scoops his nephew off the bunk and into his arms. I hear him murmur reassuringly to the boy as I fight to regain myself after the arduous meld.

"Are you okay?" McCoy asks me. I nod.

"I'm so tired," I whisper. McCoy straightens my bed around me.

"It's been a long, hard day for you. Go back to sleep." I turn to look at Jim. He is still busy comforting Peter, yet he takes a moment to mouth "Thank you" before leaving my cabin. I nod to him, then sink back onto the bed.

"Will Peter be all right?" I ask, fighting to stay awake long enough to hear the doctor's answer. McCoy nods.

"Thanks to you." As I give in to sleep, I hear McCoy muttering to himself as he leaves my cabin.

"Poor kid!"