DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of SterJulie and is copyright (c) 2005 by SterJulie. Rated PG13.



After the Credits - Return to Tomorrow/Errand of Mercy

SterJulie



Spock touched the signal outside Nurse Christine Chapel's quarters again. He knew she was inside. He could hear muffled sobs. Spock projected warmth and consolation.

/Let me in,/ he whispered softly in her mind.

The door eventually slid open long enough for Spock to enter. He could hear water splashing in the lav. Christine left the little washroom, drying herself. The cool water she had splashed on her face had only served to make it look blotchy.

"I'm not up to visitors right now, Mister Spock," she mumbled.

"I came to offer support, Miss Chapel," Spock said gently. "And I have an illogical need to apologize to you."

"Apologize?" Christine echoed. Spock nodded.

"Yes," he replied, " to apologize that someone wearing my face used my body to assault you."

"Illogical," Christine sniffed. "Henoch was an evil, evil man. Being telepathic, he knew of my ... feelings for you." Christine cocked her head to the side. "What I don't understand was why didn't I remember it right off? Why did I have to find out only upon examination what he had done to my body?" She cast a suspicious glance at Spock. "What did you do to my mind?" Christine demanded. "And don't hold anything back. I want to hear it all."

Spock, chagrined, dropped his gaze briefly before squaring his shoulders and looking the nurse straight in the eye.

"I only became aware of the assault when Thalassa put my consciousness into yours. At first, I threw up walls between out two minds to protect your privacy. But then I felt compelled to ease your anguish. I hid those memories deep within you to protect you. I should have realized that there might be physical evidence."

"Might be?" Christine exploded. "The bastard tore me up." Spock's gaze dropped to the carpet again.

"I am sorry, Christine," he replied quietly. "I know it was unpleasant."

"Of course you know," she exploded. "You were messing in my head! How could you know otherwise?" Spock winced at her words. Christine did not miss Spock flinch and was puzzled by his response.

"I do know what you went through," he said in a small voice. "I know the terrible invasion and the feelings of helplessness." Spock raised his closed eyes to the ceiling and wrapped his arms around himself.

"Of course you know," Christine said venomously. "You were in my head." Spock shook his head vehemently.

"You are not the only victim in this room, Christine," he rasped. Christine was confused.

"Henoch hurt you?" she asked, puzzled. "How?"

"Not Henoch," Spock hissed, "Klingons."

Christine crossed the small room, intending to throw protective arms around Spock, but she didn't know how he'd react to her touch. Her arms dropped back down to her sides.

"It happened on Organia," Spock whispered.

"When you were interrogated by the Klingons," Christine supplied. Spock nodded.

"They went up to level four on the Mind Sifter," he continued. "When the Klingons were unsuccessful in getting me to divulge any useful information . . ." Spock's voice broke then. "... they switched to more ... primitive ways of interrogating. I was stunned, nearly in shock, when I was taken off the Mind Sifter. I only remember the last three attackers." Spock opened bleak eyes to Christine. "So you see, I know exactly what you experienced." Christine began to weep for Spock.

"You must have been terribly torn up," she whispered through sympathetic tears, "but there is no record of it on your charts." Spock took a deep breath trying to calm himself. It didn't work.

"I did not seek treatment in Sickbay," he said. "I called Doctor McCoy to my cabin. He is the only other person on board that knows what happened."

"He treated you there?" Christine questioned. "Without recording the diagnosis, the treatment? That's unethical."

"I needed a friend, not a doctor!" Spock snapped. "My father's security clearance is high enough that he has access to our ship's logs. I did not want him to know about this, not him, and especially not Mother."

"How did Doctor McCoy cover the use of medical equipment, the loss of medical supplies?" Christine asked. Spock's voice dropped further.

"I had to put a reprimand in his file for misplacing a surgical field kit," he said softly. Christine was incensed.

"A reprimand!" she roared. "Whose idea was that?" Spock looked miserable.

"His."

Christine quieted. That sounded so typical for the Leonard McCoy she knew. Christine sighed.

"So, Doctor McCoy performed surgery in your cabin," she continued. Spock nodded. "I remember that you were on personal leave for three days after we left Organia." Again Spock nodded.

"I was in a healing trance the first day," he explained. "McCoy counseled me on the second day, and I meditated on the third. There were no marks on my body. McCoy did an excellent job in ... repairing me."

"I had brought it to Doctor McCoy's attention that you weren't eating in the days after Organia," Christine mused. "He said he knew about it, that you were in meditation trying to recover from the trauma of the Mind Sifter." Spock looked at Christine.

"So he 'covered' for me further," Spock observed.

"Leonard McCoy is a good man," Christine averred.

"Indeed he is," Spock agreed. "I was very reluctant to file that reprimand."

"I'm sure his pay was docked for the lost equipment," Christine stated.

"I returned the funds to his account." Spock grew silent.

"Mister Spock," Christine began, "your ... assault was two years ago, yet you are still plagued by it."

"Your ... rape brought back an avalanche of memories," he admitted. Spock looked at the nurse intently. "Do you wish me to restore you memories?" Christine balked at the suggestion.

"No," she breathed. "I couldn't do that, to me or to you."

"I understand," Spock nodded. Christine raised her hands to Spock's shoulders. The Vulcan recoiled. Christine shied away.

"I'm sorry, Mister Spock," she murmured. "I forgot that you don't like to be touched."

"It's not that," Spock replied. "How can you stand to touch me, to even look at me after what Henoch did to you as he wore my face?" Christine smiled gently.

"I don't blame you, " she said gently. "That would be as illogical for blaming the stick that you were beat with!" Spock raised a brow in surprise.

"It seems, madam, that you have bested me in logic!"

"Ooh!" Christine teased. "High praise!"

Spock raised his hands to Christine's shoulders and squeezed them ever so gently.

"Let me know how I can help you, Christine," Spock said tenderly. "If you need anything from me, please ask, no matter what."

Christine blinked back tears. She raised her hands to Spock's shoulders and squeezed them in return. Spock felt her desire to hold him and to be held by him, so he indulged her. Spock gently gathered Christine into his arms and found that they were both trembling.

"So, how good was Doctor McCoy for counseling?" Christine asked after a while. "I'm sure he'll order me in for a session or two." Spock didn't lift his head.

"Remarkably helpful," Spock replied. "He was not annoying in the least." Christine couldn't help but giggle at that. Spock found the sound of her laughter to be healing.

"What was the one thing in particular in your counseling that you found most helpful?" Christine asked. Spock paused, grateful that he was still holding the nurse in his arms, that she couldn't see his face.

"'Rape doesn't define who you are,'" he quoted. "'Rape, while highly personal, is nothing more than another beating.'" Christine thought for a while. She pulled back and met Spock's eyes.

"You've been beaten before," she observed. "Do you believe that?"

"Take the emotional aspects of rape away and you are left with a purely physical act," Spock explained. "So to answer your question, I would say yes, I do believe that." Christine cocked a skeptical brow at him. "I am trying to believe that?" he attempted again. At her continued dubious gaze, Spock added, "I would like to believe that? I am working on believing that?"

Christine chuckled again. "No one can say that you are not honest, Mister Spock!"

At that moment, the nurse's comm unit sounded.

"McCoy to Chapel." Christine moved to the desk and depressed a button.

"Chapel here," she responded.

"Everything's quiet down here, Chris," the doctor informed. "How's about a little chat?" Christine looked up to Spock. The Vulcan nodded encouragingly.

"I'll be down in five, Doctor." There was silence on the other end. "Doctor McCoy?" she asked. "Is anything wrong?"

"Nothing," he replied. "I was prepared for an argument." Christine looked back toward Spock.

"Why should I argue?" she replied. "I have it on good authority that you are 'remarkably helpful' as a counselor and 'not annoying in the least.'"

Spock gave Christine a warning look.

"Who told you that?" McCoy ranted.

Christine smiled and winked at Spock.

"Oh, just a friend."

-FIN-