DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of T'Kuht and is copyright (c) 2002 by T'Kuht. Rated R.
Spring arrived at Inspiration Point. With it, duties that Spock had never had to undertake before kept popping up almost daily.
"Do you think that you could possibly get the lawn mowed today?" Christine asked for the fifth time that week as her husband drank his morning tea.
Spock sighed. He was not fond of yard work, but unfortunately, they had a rather large yard. "I believe that I have too many things on the list from Father to accomplish that task today," he answered.
Christine set the pan in the sink. "Spock, if you want to have that open house, we have to have the lawn cut and the grass picked up or mulched before tomorrow. Please, I don't care how you get it done, it just needs done."
For the last month, the strain of renovations as well as the sudden increase in the amount of clients that Christine's company had made her rather edgy. Spock found that she was becoming more irritable by the day. He was a little distressed. She had never been this touchy while she'd been the head nurse on the Enterprise nor as assistant chief medical officer. To keep the peace, he replied, "I shall attend to it."
"Good. I have a list three pages long of things to stock up and will probably be late from work. Don't wait up on me. If I miss the last ferry I'll stay in town. I really need to work on this latest strain of neuro implants," she was saying as she made her way around her newly designed kitchen putting things away. Now that she had her kitchen more to her liking and the house in an orderly fashion, they were having a formal open house. The party was proving to be a little more than Christine could handle all at once. Jim Kirk's death had thrown wrenches into everything. Spock had recovered better than anyone had expected, but he was different. He tended to leave things undone or not even begun when he promised. At work his father noted a general lack of interest, and the passion that Spock had had when he first started in the embassy had seemingly left completely. He was beginning to think of the embassy as a drudgery that he could do without. He need not work. His savings was ample enough to support both he and his wife for the rest of their married lives if he so decided.
"Spock, have you heard anything I've said?" she asked when she saw the almost glazed over look in his eyes.
"You have a list three pages long, and you'll be staying in town if you miss the last ferry," he replied looking at his wife with a completely innocent expression.
"All right, please, please, please make sure you get the yard done. Remember, I love you. I'll call if I can't get home so you won't worry," she assured and kissed him soundly on the lips.
He started to deny worrying. "I do not."
"Yes, you do," she said and was out the door and out to her skimmer before he could even move from the chair.
He planned on doing what work he had to do for his father at home. Sarek had reluctantly given him permission to do so. He feared that Spock would accomplish nothing if allowed to work unsupervised, but so far Spock had done more while at home than he did stuck in the office at the embassy. Placing his teacup in the sink, he began organizing what he had to do for the day. The weather had turned unseasonably warm and the windows had been opened to try to air out the new paint smell before the party. Spock still found it chilly, but he was accustomed to Earth norms after all the years he had worked with humans. Retrieving the lined coat that he wore to keep the cold out, he stepped out onto the porch. The yard was a mess. Recent storms and rain had not only jump started the grass, but it had also downed several limbs from the trees that were just beginning to bud. He needed to get the lawn mower out; however, he also had to complete the last section of the treaty for Ophiucus II. Debating for a moment, he decided that it was early in the morning, dew was still on the grass, and logically it would not be a good time to cut it. With that apparent, he went back into the house and prepared to work.
Afternoon arrived sunny and dry. Spock still worked on paperwork. He kept peering out at the blue sky and kept telling himself that he had to work on the yard. Finally, at three in the afternoon, he pushed away from the desk and went downstairs. Grudgingly, he walked out to the summerhouse that they were using for a temporary utility shed. That was the next project on the renovation list. Christine wanted to redo the summerhouse and build an actual utility area onto the back of the garage. Spock had agreed and had plans already approved for the task, but until the builders could begin, this would have to do. With a sigh, he removed the mower and trimmer, hooked the special battery pack up and started to the front where the picket fence separated the house from the sidewalk that ran in front of the house. Starting the motor, he began trimming up the area beside the fence first. Hitting one of the odd pieces of concrete that was half buried in the fence row, he split the head of the trimmer within the first ten minutes. Vulcan oaths were not as reliant on deities as human ones, but they were just as strong. This was something he definitely did not need to deal with at that time. Turning it over to see if it could be repaired or scrapped altogether, he was intent on the trimmer when a voice stopped him.
"You need help?"
A boy, perhaps ten years old, stood on the other side of the gate. He wore the usual fashion of the day, a light jacket, jeans, and a baseball cap. Spock normally did not associate with children, but this boy might be his answer. "Do you know how to cut grass?"
"Yeah, I have a lawn mowing business in the summer to make money. You need your yard done?" the boy asked hopefully.
Spock knew a godsend when it appeared before him. "You are hired."
"Huh, you don't even know my rate of pay?"
"Pay is completely inconsequential. I will pay you double your normal wages if you can have this yard groomed and picked up before dark this evening."
The boy thought a second. He had a load of homework and had to be home before dark. But double his usual rate of pay was too good to pass up. "Deal." He shoved a hand across the picket fence to the rather relieved Vulcan. Spock took the hand after only a moment's hesitation. The boy had a strong grip and Spock suspected that he had worked to get it. Opening the gate to allow the boy in, he showed him the yard and what he wanted done. After all, Christine had simply said that she wanted it done, she didn't care who did it or how. "I will go purchase a new trimmer while you are cutting the main section. I should not be gone long," Spock said.
"Okay, I'll start back here," the boy said. His book satchel was still slung over his shoulder."Say, do you have somewhere I can keep this while I'm working?"
"You may place it on the porch. My name is Spock. Yours is?"
"You can call me J.T."
With that satisfied, Spock left for the local garden supply store. It took half an hour to find what he wanted and return with it. The boy was already finished with one of the oddly shaped sections and was working on the long stretch between the house and the shore. Spock was impressed. It was gratifying to find a child that he could depend upon. J. T. stopped the mower when he approached. "Good so far?"
"Yes, quite satisfactory. If you wish, you may have a steady position doing this yard," Spock offered.
"Sure. I probably will have to do it on Saturdays or Fridays though. I'm not really supposed to be working on a school day. I have homework, and I am behind," he admitted hoping the man wouldn't send him home early.
"Perhaps a tutor. If you need assistance in a particular area of study, I am certain that I can help you."
"Well, I guess that'd be okay. I'd better get started again, or I won't finish before dark."
"Of course. I shall leave you to the work. I will be in the house when you finish. I will pay you then."
The mower started up and Spock headed inside. He thought it best to remain downstairs in case the boy needed assistance or finished before he expected him to. So far, he was an excellent worker. Remembering that Christine had brought Spock lemonade the day that he had first attempted to cut the grass with the excuse that it was 'hot' out and he needed to cool off, Spock poured a glass and while the boy was within eyesight, placed it on the porch beside his satchel. It was emptied before he started on the next section of yard. Just as the sun was beginning to dip below the tree line, J.T. appeared at the door. "I'm finished."
"Excellent, your rate of pay?"
"I usually charge 30 credits for a yard this large," he stated matter-of-factly. He was used to people trying to get it done cheaper, but this Vulcan had promised twice his usual rate and he'd get it.
"Indeed, sixty credits. Will you be in trouble by returning so late?"
"Well, probably, but I'm sure I'll be able to handle everything," the boy said shuffling his feet a little. His father was not pleasant if he was even a few minutes late from school, now he was hours late.
Spock nodded. "Then I shall take you home. I will explain that I hired you and that it was urgent. "
Spock loaded the boy and his satchel into the skimmer and maneuvered to the address that the boy gave him. It was a rundown little house with no yard to speak of. J.T. hung his head. "We just moved here and haven't had time to get stuff fixed up."
Spock accompanied the boy to the front door. J. T. opened it with a keycard and called in, "Pop, I'm home."
"Bout time, where've you been? I told you ... uh, hello. He's not in any trouble is he?" a tall middle aged man asked warily looking the Vulcan over.
Spock shook his head. "On the contrary. Your son has been in my employ this afternoon. He does excellent work. I brought him home to explain his tardiness."
The man snorted. "Yeah, he works hard enough. His schoolwork is lacking though. If you'd spend even half the amount of energy on those books that you do tinkering with engines and motors, you'd get somewhere in school."
"Pop, school is boring," J. T. said, annoyed. His father didn't seem to care if he embarrassed him in front of people or not.
"Perhaps I can help. I could tutor your son in exchange for the yard work. He will be paid of course. I simply wish to return the favor that he did for me today."
"He's had all sorts of tutors. They don't do a whit of good," the man grumbled.
"My offer is still valid. If he chooses, I will tutor him in the areas that he is behind. Meanwhile, I will expect him to complete the yard work at my home once a week if it is needed."
"Sure, sure. Uh, my name is Barry by the way, you are?"
"Forgive me, I am Ambassador Spock. My wife and I live at Inspiration Point. It is the large Victorian on the other side of town."
"Well, that's a pretty big place. I didn't figure that a Vulcan would care for this area," the man probed.
"I purchased the home for my wife as a wedding present. I find it pleasant here. J.T. mentioned that you had recently moved here."
"From Iowa," Barry supplied.
Spock nodded. The evening was setting in and he wished to return to his work as well as to be available in case Christine called. "I should be going. I shall expect J.T. next weekend then."
Spock's drive home was at least satisfying in the fact that he had accomplished the one thing that Christine had been nagging him about for the last week. He considered that word, 'Nagging'. Was she nagging or simply making a normal request? She had asked him five times, but then he had not complied with her request any of the times she had asked.
The house was dark and cold when he returned. He had neglected to leave any lights on and the windows were still up. Going through and shutting them down, he cued the fireplace and went to prepare something for supper. He found that he was not hungry without Christine there to eat with, but there were leftovers that he was expected to finish so that there would be more room in the cooler. The pasta salad was meant to be served cold, but he preferred something warm. Reheating the dish, he waited in the kitchen. The renovations had made it twice as large and created a room that not only stayed true to the features of the house but also gave the house a common area where they could both prepare food and entertain guests at the same time. Just as the reheating oven beeped, so did the comm unit. Undoubtedly it would be Christine.
The face that appeared on his screen however, was not his wife's. The face of the daughter of Stonn and T'Pring greeted him. "Greetings Ambassador Spock."
"T'Zel, greetings, this is unexpected," he stated simply.
"Yes, I asked for you at the embassy, but they informed me that you were at home. I wished to speak to you on a matter of personal importance."
This was odd. Spock wondered why in the world she wished to speak to him. He was not kin to her, but she had no relatives on Earth. Perhaps that was it. "If you would wish an appointment, I can arrange to meet you tomorrow at the embassy."
"That is sufficient," she agreed, and they arranged for a more specific time before she said goodbye.
That communication puzzled Spock. Even if she had no relatives on Earth, why would she wish to speak to him on a personal matter? He kept dwelling on it while he ate. After cleaning the dishes and putting them away, he retired to the study. As he did every evening, he lit the candles that he had placed in specific points in the room, stood over the flame pot as the vapors filtered through to help relax him, and only recently, regarded the chess board. He would not allow anyone to touch it. Christine had thought him a little mad when he nearly yanked her hand away from it and explained that he wished it left as it was but could not give her a satisfactory explanation as to why he did not want it touched. He could not clear the board. It was as if something were telling him to leave it as it was. Jim had been dead for over two months. If Spock had still been under his command, he would have felt the death far more keenly. As it was, the absence of something that had been in his being for so long was causing problems, but the addition of Christine had helped balance that loss with a gain. He wondered if fate had a hand in that more than he cared to admit. He found it amusing, that in his life as a man trying to erase all the human areas of his life that it was two humans who had affected him the most. Jim Kirk was a driving force while Christine had become almost as inseparable as his own soul, and while she was not in the house he could still feel her presence here. He was not certain if that feeling was from his link with her or from the mere fact that he knew she was simply working and not gone as Jim was.
Just as he began to sink into meditation, the comm beeped, and he returned from his trance to answer it. She could tell he was in the study from the background, and he was in the meditation robes. "I'm sorry. I should have called earlier, but it's been a madhouse."
"You look tired. Have you eaten?"
"Yes, Ken sent out for Chinese," she said with a tired smile.
"Have you come closer to a breakthrough with Byron?"
Byron Somers was one of her newer patients who was not responding well to the treatment. She sighed. "No, tomorrow we're going to try adding medication to the mix to see if that might help. I am really at a blockade."
Spock tried sending her reassurance through the bond that they shared. It must have worked, she brightened. "Thank you."
"You will be staying at Starfield then?"
"Mmm-hmm, I have the couch all made up. I'll be thinking of you though. It gets quite cold here all alone."
"You always complain that it is almost too hot to sleep with me," he chided. "Apparently, you are a typical human female who cannot make up her mind."
"You know I relish every moment spent in your arms. I just have to resort to sleeping in summer gowns all year long. Did you get the yard done?" she asked seriously.
"Yes, I hired a young boy to do so. He finished the yard and is contracted to come once a week," Spock admitted half expecting her to be angry with him.
"Great. I'm sure he'll appreciate the money, and you will appreciate the reprieve from the yard."
"You are not angry?" Spock asked confused.
"Of course not, silly. I'm just glad it got done. So, what have you done all day?"
"I completed the last section of the treaty I needed to, cracked the head on the trimmer, purchased a new one, and received an odd message during supper," he admitted.
"Really, who from?"
Spock hesitated, remembered that the only encounter with his former bondmate's daughter had not been a smooth one, and replied softly," T'Zel, she apparently wishes a conference on a personal matter."
Christine's eyes automatically narrowed. While T'Zel was young enough to be Spock's daughter, she was still full Vulcan and very beautiful. Wishing a private conference with her husband was unusual. "Did she say what she wanted?"
"No, simply that it was personal. We have an appointment at the embassy tomorrow," Spock said with a tone that indicated that she had nothing to worry about, but she did anyway. Still, it was probably nothing.
"Well, I'd better let you go. I'll see you tomorrow," Christine said suddenly extremely homesick for her husband. She hadn't spent an entire night away from him since they'd married. She didn't know what she would do when he actually did get to go on a diplomatic mission, and she had to stay home. Her eyes longed to look deep into his, and her hands itched to run them along the soft material of the meditation robe. But she had to work. Other people depended on her to help them. Spock was only half an hour away, and she would be home tomorrow.
"Tomorrow," he assured. His own heart ached to have her there with him. The house was lonely, cold, and dreadfully silent without her there. He would probably spend the night in either meditation or work. He found no relief in sleeping in an empty bed.
"Love you," his wife smiled, waved and reached out to touch the screen.
Spock nodded, "As do I." He placed his hand against hers and remained there until the screen went dark.
Returning to his meditations, he spent two hours clearing his mind and trying to flow through the pain that was still within his soul at the parting of Jim Kirk. The loss was always with him. He wondered how humans with their lack of mental controls were able to cope with the pain of such deep emotions. He had always thought that people who showed their grief in wailing or tears were simply over expressing their pain. If they internalized it they could control it better. Now, he found that he was wrong. Humans showed grief in the manner that they did so that they could function. He was learning that there were some aspects of his own human emotions that he needed to explore further. He found himself doing disturbing things. The first was this lack of impetus with the position that he had at the embassy. The work had never actually been as fascinating as that of science officer aboard a starship. However, he had found exhilaration in it when he was working with the Klingons after Khitomer. The fact of the matter was he found himself completely bored with the drudgery of the paperwork and treaties. He preferred debate and discussion with the major parties involved.
The clock chimed midnight as he came out of his meditations. Without removing the robe, he opened the doors to the balcony and stepped out. The water made lapping sounds along the shore. The full moon shed beams of light down to the yard. It was perfectly groomed. He had been fortunate to find J. T. He realized that he did not know the boy's surname. Neither had the father offered it. He must have assumed that the boy had told him. He would remember to ask when the boy came to do the yard next week.
Spock was hungry. He rarely ate between meals, but he had not prepared a large supper. Going down to the kitchen, he opened the cooler to see what Christine had stashed. She always had something prepared in case she was too busy to actually sit down and eat. Removing the bread, a selection of cheeses, and a particularly favorite vegetable spread, he created one of his unusual sandwiches, poured a glass of tea and went into the living room. He would watch a video to pass time. Selecting something from Christine's vast array of films, he ate and watched at the same time.
This was something else he did not normally do. In his entire tenure on the Enterprise, he had never relaxed in such a fashion. He had spent time watching films when one had been recommended or the captain or Dr. McCoy had invited him, but he hadn't really felt the need to participate in such activity alone. Now, he found this form of entertainment quite enlightening. He could view these films and study human behavior more intently. He also found that it was an excellent way to remain in touch with the ever-changing Standard English language. It was the most continuously changing form of communication that he had ever encountered. It was maddening to learn, even more maddening to figure out the spelling, and almost impossible to use phonetics to make it easier. By keeping abreast of the different media that was available, he found it much easier to understand some of the more unusual references he'd heard.
The food had settled him; the tea with its soothing herbs lulled him into near slumber. Finding himself beginning to drift off while watching the movie, he decided to just settle deeper into the couch and remain there. Pulling the afghan that Amanda had presented to Christine from her collection of items that had been passed down through the generations in the Grayson family, he could still smell the arid deserts of Vulcan in the fibers. His mother had this same afghan draped over a favorite chair next to the windows that looked out onto the sand gardens outside the home that he had been raised in. With that memory strong in his mind, he slipped further into slumber. The vid played till it ended and shut off to leave the room in total darkness except the moonlight that moved across the sky.
The smell of coffee woke him. It was unusual. It was not yet dawn, the moon had set an hour earlier, the house was quiet and still, except for the rattle of the hot water as it circulated through the pipes in the old-fashioned radiators that they had throughout. He assumed that the timer to the brewing unit had been set for that time, but he could not figure out why. Christine was never awake this early, and she preferred to make her coffee while she made the rest of the breakfast, not to have it made for an hour before she rose. Curiosity drove him into the kitchen.
The coffeepot was empty. It was not even on or set to brew. Christine had removed the inner filters and components to have them sanitized and not replaced them. They lay in the drainer waiting till she wanted a fresh pot. Sniffing again, he definitely could smell coffee. It was quite strong. Perhaps there was an open canister somewhere. Going to the cabinets, he checked. They were all airtight and sealed. Perhaps it was a scent that she had for the kitchen, and he had never noticed it. After searching through the kitchen and finding nothing, he noticed that the smell had gone. With a sigh, he decided that it was probably simply a trick of his sense of smell. Vulcans did not possess the same strength of smell that humans did. With a shake of the head, he decided to go back to the task of sorting through the intricacies of the Ophiucus II treaty. He did wish to present it to his father without any delays.
* * *
Christine rubbed her burning eyes. "Just one more hour .... one more hour," she muttered as she tried to focus on more information.
Ken Donaldson stepped in. "Go home. You are exhausted and need your husband to give you a good massage."
The suggestion brought a smile to her face. Ken knew her well. She shook her head ruefully. "In the condition I'm in right now, I don't think I'd be able to enjoy my husband's hands."
"You need to sleep anyway. Don't you have a party to arrange for tomorrow too? I don't want to drive all the way to Block Island just to get a sandwich and a cup of coffee," he said with a rather unamused expression.
"You'll get more than that, and yes, I do have a party to arrange. I just wanted to get Byron something conclusive today. Maybe if I get away from the problem for a while."
"That's the ticket. Anne and I are going to go out nursery shopping tonight."
"Haven't you got that nursery stocked yet? You've bought every new fangled gadget for babies on the market," Christine laughed.
"In twos. Remember, twins," Ken said happily. He was still beaming from the idea of being a father.
"I know, a boy and a girl. All right, close up shop for the day. I'll go home, you go fetch Anne, and Jenna can go pick up Brandon at daycare early for a change," she decided.
* * *
Spock walked through the corridors of the embassy to his father's office. He had waited to present the files until he arrived for his appointment with T'Zel. "The Ophiucus II treaty is finished."
"Excellent. I must admit some amount of surprise at your speed," Sarek said. He had a fleeting hope that Spock was beginning to get back to his old self.
"Christine was at work overnight. I found that paperwork was better than sleeping in an empty bed," Spock replied honestly.
Sarek nodded in agreement. "Yes, I have had that experience. Is there some other reason that you have come here today? You made it quite clear that you preferred to work at home."
"I have an appointment with T'Zel. She called last evening on a personal matter."
Sarek's eyes narrowed just slightly. This was extremely unusual. Spock was neither an associate, a relative, nor an acquaintance. This was not normally done in Vulcan society. However, maybe it was something that only Spock could answer for her. Stopping the ideas from continuing in his thoughts, he remembered something he was to ask. "What time do you wish your mother and me to be at your open house?"
"Christine has issued a warning to anyone who arrives before 1700; they will be put to work. If you wish to remain for the evening, there are accommodations," Spock said with a little pride in his tone. Yes, the house and the aura it had was something he was proud of.
"I believe that your mother has already decided that we are staying. I shall let her know what Christine has said regarding arriving early. No doubt she will wish to assist her. Perhaps we can occupy ourselves with chess while they are cooking."
Spock balked. He found the idea of chess with his father unsavory. He did not know why. Yes, he did. He would have to clear the chessboard. That would not do. If he wished to play chess, it would have to be with another set in another location. He remembered a set that his father had and did not use. "If you would allow me to borrow one of yours?" he asked. If Sarek thought that strange, he did not say so. "Certainly. Which particular one do you wish?"
Sarek was so well known for his avid chess playing that he had been presented with several chess sets over the years. Spock tried to remember the different ones, found there were too many to recall. "It is of no matter. Simply choose one that you would not miss or use on a regular basis."
"That can be arranged. I shall bring it Saturday."
"I must go. I shall tell Christine to expect you early."
Spock went down to the closet he still considered his office. He refamiliarized himself with the room as he walked to his desk and logged in to the communications system as soon as he sat down. In this way T'Zel would not have to inquire whether he was in or not.
She was precisely on time. Entering with as much of a smile as Vulcans allowed, she swept in. "Ambassador Spock."
"T'Zel, greetings. Sit, how may I help you?"
She settled herself before coming to the reason for her visit. "I came on an unusual request. I wish to inquire about Star Fleet. I thought that with your experiences you could advise whether or not it would be a sound decision."
Spock sat back in his chair. That was a blow across the starboard bow if he'd ever had one. Both T'Pring and Stonn were vehement regarding Vulcans in Star Fleet or any other military position. They believed as many did that Vulcans had no place in Star Fleet or even the Federation. Now their daughter, their pride and joy, was considering such a life course. "I can only say that Star Fleet was the answer that I needed at the time. If I may be blunt, why are you considering it at this time? Your own career has just begun."
T'Zel looked down at her clasped hands for a second. "This career was not my particular desire. I am certain that you can understand. I have heard that you and your father disagreed."
Spock nodded. "We did not agree on my choice. Your own parents are even more opposed to Star Fleet than Sarek is. Do you realize that it would most likely mean that you would be an outcast in your house? That is something that I cannot recommend."
The doe eyed girl answered, "I realize that. It is something that I am willing to undergo."
Spock was curious. Turned his head in that manner he had when he wanted to study something more closely. "Why would you wish to chance such exile?"
"My house is not a place that allows for personal growth. You are aware of my mother's coldness," she said.
So, that was it. T'Pring had alienated her daughter through her cold manner. T'Zel had not mentioned her father however. "What of Stonn?"
"Father remains aligned with Mother. Their approval is not needed for my choice of career."
"And if they demand your return or your name dissolved from the family?"
"I have brothers and sisters who will rise in stature. I am serious about this," she said resolute.
Spock nodded. "Perhaps. Have you decided what field you would enter if you attend the Academy?"
"I have considered procurements and requisitions. It would be in line with the areas I am already educated in."
"Logical. I urge you to consider very carefully before you do this. It is not as easy as you may think to simply walk away from all you know. You would not be able to have any contact with your brothers or sisters," Spock reminded.
She thought. "I have considered that. Perhaps you are correct. I will think most carefully before undertaking this."
"I am pleased that I was of service. If you have any other questions about Star Fleet or my experiences, I will answer them."
They spoke for a few more moments until she left. Spock remained in his office for another hour gathering books and data tapes to take with him. He definitely preferred working at home more than he did here.
* * *
Christine flopped down in the chair. Spock was at his appointment with T'Zel. She had come home to an empty house and she desperately wanted a hot shower and a nap. Pulling the shoes off and stripping out of her day old clothes, she removed the short robe that Spock had purchased for her birthday and headed for the shower. That was the first thing that had been altered when they moved in. She absolutely insisted that a shower large enough for two would be added to the vintage bath. They removed a closet to do so. Steam poured out of the cubicle as she languished under the stream of water. Clearing her mind, she drifted down through the warmth to settle in an almost half asleep state. With a growl of pleasure she started to pour shampoo in her hair when strong arms stopped her. Spock had come home right after she'd turned the water on. He'd nearly bounded up the stairs two at a time in order to stop her before she got in, and then had to get out of his clothes before opening the door. He took the bottle from her hand, poured the fragrant liquid into his palm and began to massage it in. As the soapy liquid cascaded out of her hair and down her shoulders, he allowed his fingers to follow. The water allowed his hands to slide silkily across her skin. He pressed against her, the pleasure of his touch evident in his own full erection. Christine smiled. Apparently the meeting with T'Zel had been nothing to worry about. He took the bar of soap that she preferred, began soaping her body. The breasts were always his favorite, but he didn't turn her to do the job. He allowed his arms to drape across her, gathering her close. His lips traveled along her shoulders, up her neck, and over to the base of her ear. She giggled and instinctively started to double over. He released her and let her turn to face him. "Hmm, I like these kind of welcomes."
"The feeling is mutual. Have I told you how beautiful you are?"
She thought a second. "You know, I don't actually recall you telling me that I was beautiful. Henoch did, though."
Spock nuzzled her nose with his. "Then he was a smarter man than I have been. It took him only seconds to tell you that you were beautiful, and it has taken me decades. But I can safely say that I appreciate your beauty more than he ever would have."
"Hmm, you make love better too," she said.
Spock stopped. The water suddenly becoming more a drenching rainstorm. "You had sex with Henoch?"
Christine opened her eyes. The water stream kept making her blink. "Yes. Spock, didn't you know or at least guess?"
Spock tried to remember that far. "I suppose that it would only be logical. After all, he had been trapped for 500,000 years." Returning to his sensual frame of mind he said, "He did have the foresight to pick the most beautiful woman aboard the ship."
"Mmm-hmm. Why don't we get out of this water and into a nice dry bed?"
Spock reached around to turn the water stream off. Warm air began to circulate as he pulled a towel in to help in the drying process. Rubbing her scalp to try to dry the curls, he became highly aroused by that action. Something about that always did him in. Pulling the robe around her shoulders, he fastened it at the waist. "What are you doing?" she asked with a laugh.
"I don't want you to catch a cold," he insisted and patted the bow on the tie.
"Believe me, with your type of heat I'm not going to get anywhere near any germs. I missed you last night," she sighed and leaned forward to rest in his arms. She was so tired. The shower had relaxed her more than she really wanted to be right now.
On impulse, Spock swept her off her feet and carried her to the bed. She was already half asleep. It was not that she did not want to make love to him, but she was physically exhausted and needed to sleep more than she needed sexual pleasures. Spock laid her down, nestled beside her so that she felt his presence and watched her as she fell asleep. She was beautiful. She was more beautiful than he deserved. Pulling the quilt up over them, he placed his head in the crook of her neck and drifted off even though it was still broad daylight outside.
* * *
"Good grief," Christine complained as she got a good look at the state of her house. The party to showcase it had shut down late, and she hadn't even looked back at the mess as she and her husband and their guests headed for bed. They vowed they'd help clean up the next morning. Plates and glasses were everywhere. Food was still sitting on some of them.
Amanda Grayson clapped her hands together at the sight. Behind her she could hear her husband's feet begin to turn to the door. "Many hands make light work, as my grandmother used to say. Sarek."
Her husband stopped in mid-turn. He had hoped to escape the drudgery of housework but was now caught. Spock did not miss the look on his father's face, even if it was just for an instant.
He relented. "She is correct."
Spock and Sarek entered the kitchen carrying what plates and glasses that they could. Setting them down, Spock pointed to the table that had been brought in. "This needs to go out to the summer house."
The two Vulcans easily gathered the table and the extra chairs that needed to be removed and left their wives to the dishwater. Christine chuckled. "We'll not see those two again. What do you want to bet that they hole up in that summer house?"
"No bets. Sarek had his chessboard set up out there after all. We won't see green hide nor raven hair of those two for the rest of the afternoon. That's all right, they'd just get in the way after all."
The two women soon had the dishes scraped and ready to be put in the washer unit. "So, what do you want for breakfast?" Christine asked as she poked through the refrigerator to see what was left. "We have some ham rolls. Oh, I forgot, you don't eat meat anymore do you?"
"No, gave it up. Doesn't mean I wouldn't like a piece of it though," the silver haired woman said. The thought was tempting, and Sarek was going to be in the summerhouse. "Tell you what. Are you going to fry some of that leftover ham?"
"No, but you know that does sound good. Want to have ham and eggs for breakfast?" Christine teased.
"Yes. Might as well while they are gone."
Within minutes Christine had the large iron griddle frying the slices of Virginia ham. She'd wait until there was some grease from the ham to start the eggs. Amanda grinned at the smell. "You know, when I was a little girl, that was my favorite smell, frying ham. You don't miss it when you don't smell it."
"I missed it on board the ship. Reconstituted food is not what it is cracked up to be," she said as she broke an egg into the bowl. "Scrambled or over easy?"
"Scramble them, easier that way."
The two women sat over coffee, ham, eggs, and reheated bread. Amanda's eyes caught the glint of something outside. Sarek and Spock were walking around the yard talking. She nodded. "How is Spock? Since you've married he doesn't visit as often, and now that Jim..."
Christine smiled wryly at that name. Jim Kirk would have had an enjoyable evening. She said her thought aloud, "He misses him so."
"I was hoping he would be improving."
"Oh, he goes through spells. There are days that he is more the man I married. Then something, someone reminds him of Jim, and he is quiet and solemn again. I had wanted to ask. Does Sarek talk in his sleep?"
"No, he never has anyway. I should rephrase that. He has when he has been feverish, and then he's muttered in his sleep."
"Well, Spock's not feverish. He talks, as if he is speaking to Jim. When I ask him about it, he says that he did not dream and that if he did dream it would not have been over something so illogical. I don't press. You've noticed that he no longer seems to care in his work as he once did. He doesn't seem to care about a lot of things that he once did," Christine added softly.
Amanda became concerned, "Has he neglected you?"
"No, in fact he's more ... amorous than I ever thought he could be. It's different though. He seems to almost smother me in his affection. I don't dare go to the store or leave for more than a few hours. I had to spend the other night at Starfield, and the next day when I woke up after I crashed on the bed, he informed me that he preferred that I come home every night, no matter how late it was. I don't think he likes staying here alone," Christine said.
Amanda thought a moment. "Well, it could simply be separation anxiety. Vulcans aren't immune from mental problems you know. They become depressed and anxious just like humans do. It's just that they solve it in different ways than the human method of 'talking' it out with a counselor. There are Vulcan psychiatrists. Perhaps Spock needs to see one of them."
Christine considered that, started to giggle. "Well, I don't think he's gone that far off the deep end. Maybe he just needs some more time. I'll keep your suggestion in mind however."
"Time does heal a lot of things. I wonder what those two are up to out there?" Amanda asked as she watched her two men once again promenade around the yard. It was as if they were searching for something.
"Who knows? Spock found out that this used to be a ship captain's home. Maybe they're looking for buried treasure."
* * *
"Spock, I must point out that it is difficult to work in such a fashion with you here and the embassy in Newport," Sarek reminded. It was time for another gentle hint to get back to the task at hand and go back to work.
Spock stared between his feet, began memorizing the pattern of grass that was there. He did not wish to return to work. In fact, he did not wish to continue working at all. He had other things that he wished to pursue. "I find that it is nearly impossible to do so."
Sarek pounced. "Then you will return to your office beginning Monday?"
"No," Spock said authoritatively.
"I wish to discontinue my service to the embassy." He waited for the news to sink into Sarek.
Sarek's reaction surprised him. "It is as I suspected. You wish to pursue other things?"
Spock nodded. "I find that I am not in the correct ... 'humor' to do diplomatic work at this time. I am still interested in the field, but until I can give my full attention to it, I do not believe I can be of any use."
Sarek agreed which surprised both of them, even if they wouldn't admit it. He had seen Spock's interest wane before Christine had entered the picture and with her entrance, it had left entirely. He had thought when Spock and Jim Kirk retired from Star Fleet that it was finally the opportunity to present his own particular passion to his son. Spock had shown great promise when the negotiations with the Klingons had succeeded after a few misses, but when the mundane tasks began to become everyday and the important diplomatic work only once in a great while, Spock had grown rather disillusioned. He was not a good paper pusher. While on the Enterprise he had been the officer in charge of virtually everything and reported to the captain over all aspects of the ship. With his father, Spock reported on his small part of the diplomatic process, but he was simply a go-between, a middleman. He was not his father's right hand man who had a finger on all the pulses of the process.
"Do you have any plans?" Sarek asked after a few long moments.
"At this particular time, no. However, I do hope to help Christine in some of her work."
Sarek turned to Spock in near astonishment. "Spock, while you are highly qualified in many fields, do you truly believe that you can effectively assist in her work?"
Spock lied, "I believe that I can use my knowledge to her mutual benefit."
He was speaking before he had even thought the idea through. Christine had no idea that he was even toying with the idea of leaving the diplomatic work let alone helping her with her work. He did not know what her reaction would be, but he had an idea that it would not be as calm as his father's. Sarek desperately wished to ask Spock if he was not doing this simply to remain closer to his wife. He had noticed this almost obsessive trend Spock had with Christine. He did not wish to be separated from her for even a moment. Christine on the other hand, appeared to be comfortable with short separations. She did not seem as disapproving when Spock was to go to Iotia as Spock had. Perhaps the pressures Spock felt from years without a bondmate or the concerns due to his upcoming pon farr were creating this problem. He would speak to Amanda when they returned home. She was much better at supposition when it came to feelings than he was.
* * *
The house was quiet, clean, and empty. Sarek and Amanda had returned home after a late lunch, and Spock and Christine had gone into the town to do a little shopping in preparation for the summerhouse being renovated. Supper was spent at the restaurant that Christine had fallen in love with the first time they had eaten there. It was a dockside restaurant replete with dripping candles and red and white checked tablecloths. A large platter of fettuccini Alfredo sat in front of them, nearly all consumed. The waitress brought the ticket. "Would you like a to go box?"
Christine stretched. She was so full now that she was about to pop. But, the sauce here was so good that she had a hard time stopping at just one plate full. "Spock, do you want anymore?"
"No, I have eaten a sufficient quantity."
"Better bring the box. Can you send me an order of the bread sticks as well? I'll take it in my lunch tomorrow," Christine decided.
Spock bit his bottom lip for just a second. He still had to broach the subject of his resignation from the embassy. She was relaxed and much happier than earlier in the week when she was going around trying to organize the party and work on Byron's transtator. Spock leaned forward in the booth to grasp her hand gently. She stopped her preparations to go, squeezed his hand in affection. "What?"
"Nothing. Is there some reason that I have to have a purpose for holding my wife's hand?"
"You always caution public displays. After all, you are the Vulcan of the two, not I," she reminded.
"Even Surak admitted that there were circumstances where emotional displays were warranted."
"Yeah, I just bet he was looking forward in time to this moment," Christine answered and removed her hand slowly. It was not that she didn't want to hold Spock's hand, but she did want to get back to the house and do some homework on her test subjects. Spock became once again the dignified Vulcan when the waitress arrived with their box and the bill. Spock paid for it and left a generous tip before meeting Christine out in the cool night air. She was gazing up at the night sky that had so many stars showing that it was almost one big blur. She knew that if they were out in the country away from the streetlights that there would be even more stars in view. Spock allowed a hand to snake around her waist and whispered, "What are you looking for?"
"Hmm, oh, nothing really. I just keep wondering if I really did spend all those years out there among them. Don't you find it a little odd to be planet bound after decades in space?"
"Yes. But I would not trade any of these times in my life. I would hope that you would not either," he said a little seriously, causing her to turn in the night and give him a concerned look.
"Spock, I love you and our life. Why would I want to trade?"
"Perhaps not trade. Perhaps you would change it if you had the opportunity."
"No, I don't want to trade, and I don't want to change. I don't want to go back to living my life before you reappeared. Are you happy now?"
"Happiness is a state--" he began.
Christine smiled. He was at his bravado again. "That I do not understand. I know. Come on. Let's go home. I wish we could walk. It's such a nice evening, and I could really use the exercise."
Spock looked back at the skimmer. It was locked and essentially safe here. It was a mile walk to Inspiration Point, and the night air was appealing even if it was a little chilly. He started walking. Christine stopped him . "Spock, the car is over there."
"You wished to walk home. The car will be fine there."
She smiled slyly and caught up with him, linked her arm through his and tugged. Breathing deeply and enjoying the sensation of her husband on her arm, Christine began humming a tune. Spock could not place it. "What are you humming?"
"Hmm, something from a little known musical, 'Let's Take an Old-Fashioned Walk.' It's a pretty little song, but I don't know the words off the top of my head."
They walked to the end of the block, turned down the street to go along the storefront side instead of along the back that was not lit well. It might be small town Block Island, but it was still night. And, there were still unscrupulous people about. The sound of their footsteps and the hum of the street lamps were the only sounds on their walk home. Spock thought that it ended all too quickly, but in precisely 1.2 miles, they were in front of their home. He was still enthralled by that notion, home. He had a home that included a wife and a future. For nearly 50 years he had only considered Star Fleet his home. As they started up the walk he broached the subject. "Father and I were speaking today."
Christine removed her keycard. "Hmm, oh, out in the yard. Your mother was a little curious about that. What about?"
Spock waited till they were in the house and had the lights on. "I will no longer be working at the embassy."
Christine took her box into the kitchen to refrigerate it. "Huh? You've been working here for two months."
"I do not mean that. I will no longer be working for the embassy."
Incredulously, she returned to the living room to face him. "What?"
"I have quit my job," Spock said honestly.
"You've quit your job? I know you haven't been happy doing what you've been doing, and I know that we don't have to have the money. But just what do you plan on doing? You can't rattle around this house all day."
Spock swallowed. Now was as good a time as any to talk about it. "I had thought of helping you."
"Helping me?" she repeated. Circling the sofa like a hunter after her prey, she came practically nose to nose with him. "What do you mean helping me?"
"I told Father I would be working at Starfield with you."
"You told your father. Spock, when did you get a sense of humor?"
Spock shook his head. "I am not joking. I told my father that I would be working for your firm."
Christine started to say something, stopped, smiled a confused smile, placed a hand on her husband's chest. "Spock, how do I put this delicately? No."
"Why? Am I not qualified to work in your research facility?"
"Dear, you are the most intelligent man that I have ever met, but you are not a certified researchist. Both Ken and I have multiple degrees in bioresearch. You have none. I'm not saying that you couldn't contribute, but well, there is one other major reason that I don't want you to work with me."
Spock stiffened, clasped his hands behind his back, came to attention as if he were preparing for a blow. Christine was completely serious. "And that would be?"
"The mere fact that when I am around you I cannot concentrate on anything else," she said and for emphasis slid the hand across his chest to the buttoned opening. "We never did finish what we started the other day," she suggested. She was in no mood to talk about work or what Spock was going to do to pass the time. She was in the mood for some sexual release. One of the buttons came undone. Her hand reached in to pet the soft hairs that lay groomed around his nipple. She could tell he wanted her, but she removed the hand, turned to head up the stairs while Spock still stood in the parlor. He made no move to follow her. She waited till she was in the bedroom, called down to him, "Spock?"
He didn't need much more persuasion. Making certain that the house was locked and the lights turned off, he made his way up the stairs to the bath. He would leave her guessing for a few moments. The shower was steaming the room up before he could completely remove all his clothes. Before he could pull off the trousers, he could hear the doorknob turn and the cooler hall air hit him in the back. He didn't turn to face his wife. Her hands covered his from behind, began unfastening the pants. As she unfettered him from any clothes, she allowed her hands to linger and tease him, completely arousing him. He let a small moan escape. She pushed in close from behind, began kneading his buttocks, massaging away any of the tensions. The comfort level of the room was at its maximum, and Spock opened the shower stall door. Pulling Christine in with him, he allowed the water to wash over them from both above and below. Paying attention to each other's cleansing, they remained focused and on task for several minutes.
Finally with Spock's hair soaped and rinsed as well as hers, Christine seized the moment. Pushing Spock firmly against the tiled backsplash, she began fervent almost feverish kisses. Her mouth crushed his, wanted to consume his entire being. Spock found himself caught off guard. She was not normally the aggressor in sexual play. He did find that it was sensual and enjoyable. Her nails were practically embedding themselves into his flesh. With an almost unspoken choreography, Spock reached around her, grasped her buttocks, lifted her onto him easily. They had thought of this eventuality and had special non-slip treads put on the shower floor. His thrusting caught her and began sending her into another spectrum.
"Spock," she whimpered. Small moans mingled with the tingle of the hot water. His own growling accompanied her moans, eventually the explosion came and the hot water turned cold. Drying each other off, Christine whispered in his ear, "The bed is warmer."
"Undoubtedly," he whispered back and taking her hand, kissed the knuckles, especially the one with the wedding ring and entwined her fingers with his. "Come."
She followed. Both were nude but no longer dripping. The bedroom was warm and inviting. Spock turned the lights onto dim.
Christine slid into the bed, pulled the sheet only over her form, allowed it to highlight her silhouette. Spock climbed in after her, ran a finger along the silhouette, created shivers. He went no further however. "You are certain that you do not need my services at Starfield?"
"I need your services here, not at work. If you were at work, I'd not get a single moment of work done. We'll find something for you, even if it's volunteer work. Now, pay attention to me," she commanded lightly. He had no trouble in doing so.
* * *
Spock returned to the embassy on Monday with the skimmer. It was embassy property and technically he could not keep it. He planned on purchasing a new vehicle within the week. Although he had no definite plans to go back to work anywhere, he simply could not be stuck at the house without transportation. His father ushered him in his office before Spock could get to his office to begin removing some of the things. "You have changed your mind," Sarek said simply.
"No, I am here to bring this and to remove some of the items in the office."
"You will be going to work for Christine tomorrow then?"
"No, she has presented a very logical case why it would not be a wise thing to do. I shall seek other things to do," Spock said. He hadn't wanted to tell his father this until he'd found something to present to him. Now he simply looked like a man who planned on bumming around for the rest of his life.
"As you wish. I do need to speak to you about several issues. There will be an opening for your position, do you have any candidates?"
Spock thought a second. He had not really had an eye on any of the younger ambassadors. "I have no recommendations at this time. Did you have someone in mind?"
"I have been watching Seper. He shows great promise with business dealings."
That tweaked Spock's memory. Perhaps T'Zel would consider joining the diplomatic corps. He would have to discuss the issue with her. "Father, before you speak to him, could I have an opportunity to give the position some consideration?"
"Then you do have someone in mind," Sarek said for clarification. This particular penchant that Spock was showing for changing his mind was becoming annoying.
"Not from the embassy, however. I ask you give me only a few days. I will give you a more definite answer then."
"Very well, three days. Also, there are a number of diplomatic situations where your particular expertise with the natives has been invaluable. I wish to know if I may consider you a 'consultant' when it comes to these matters?" The elder Vulcan was hedging his bets to try to keep Spock within the diplomatic circle somehow.
Spock nodded, "I believe that can be arranged."
Sarek was satisfied. He could remember when he first started in the diplomatic corps. He was often bored with his duties, but he had never actually considered doing something else. That would not have been conceivable.
Spock took his leave, went to clean out the desk and remove some of the books. He was in the middle of this when Anne Donaldson stopped in. "I can't believe you're leaving."
"Anne, it is a decision that I felt was best for the entire group. I have other things that I wish to pursue."
The redhead smiled, patted the bulging tummy. "Well, when these two are born, I'm joining you in the leisurely life."
"You have decided to become a stay at home mother?" he asked using the Earth phrase.
"Ken and I really can't see any other way. I couldn't stand being away from them when they're that little anyway. I know that some families, many families have to do it out of necessity, but how anyone could let other people keep their kids the bulk of the day and then expect to know them is beyond me. I want to know every moment of my babies' lives. I'll only have these two I have a feeling," she said with a big nod.
"Ken wishes no more children?"
"I wish no more children, and I haven't even gone through labor yet. I'm sure that when these two are up and going and a little past teething and potty training stage there will be more additions. I just don't want to have four or five all in a row," she admitted. Spock couldn't agree more. He could not imagine having an infant to care for, let alone two at a time.
"When do you plan on leaving the embassy?" Spock asked as he placed the last of the items in the desk inside the box that he'd brought with him.
"Well, the babies are due in mid-July, and the doctors have already warned us that twins are a little trickier than usual births, so I want to make certain that there are as few problems as possible. I think the second week of June is a pretty good time to settle on."
"Then you would have been leaving in just a few weeks," Spock figured.
"Yes, but it still wouldn't have been the same without you here. You and Christine are so important in our lives."
"Thank you. I believe that my wife must take most of the credit."
Anne had to go back to work. Spock turned in his key and the files that he had extracted from the room. He would spend the rest of the day with his mother while he waited for Christine to pick him up. Amanda was occupied with correspondence from Vulcan when he came in.
"Spock, do you have anything you wish to say to T'Pau?"
"No, you may send greetings, however," Spock declared and set the box down on the preparation table in the kitchen.
Amanda sighed, looked over the special reading glasses that she wore when working with the computer. "You are leaving. I was hoping that Sarek had been mistaken."
"No, he has asked that I continue as a 'consultant' on certain issues. I told him that I would."
Spock took a seat on one of the tall kitchen stools and turned to face the petite woman he had always known as the most perfect human ever created. She was his mother. "Good. I don't want you two back on the outs again. I spent over twenty years trying to get you two to listen to each other and thought I'd finally gotten it accomplished."
"We do seem to get along better than in previous decades."
"I hope it does continue. So, how did Christine take the news?"
"She was notably wary. I did approach her regarding working for her. It did not take her long to convince me that it would not be a good idea."
"She'd not keep her hands off you," Amanda surmised and signed the letter to send to T'Pau. Spock was a bit surprised that his mother made that supposition so quickly, but perhaps Christine had spoken of this to his mother before.
"So, any ideas on what you will be doing?"
"Why does everyone assume that I must have something to completely occupy my time?" Spock said, a trifle annoyed. He had been confronted with this question every time he mentioned that he had left the embassy with no clear direction.
"Spock, it's just that you aren't exactly the sit back and garden sort or the type who is content to read all day without anything to stimulate your brain. In other words, you're too active to sit still for long. Are you sure that Jim's death is not the reason you are leaving?" his mother ventured knowing that everyone had wanted to ask this but none of them had apparently dared to do it.
"Jim's death has effected me in many ways. However, if his death has caused my dissatisfaction with diplomatic work at this time, it was only because the dissatisfaction was already there to begin with. I find myself in a state that I had not felt in decades," he admitted quietly after he moved from his seat to the window looking out over the grounds.
"Searching again, as if you don't know who you are or what you want? Spock, I had hoped that marriage had given you more concrete answers."
"Marriage has kept me from doing things I might have in the past. I do have something more solid to hang onto. Perhaps I should say centered around. Christine has become the epicenter of my existence."
"Be careful," his mother warned, coming up behind him to place a hand on his back.
Spock turned to her, instantly dismayed but still remaining completely calm. Amanda smiled slightly. " I am not saying that Christine is even considering in the remotest possibility to leave or alter your marriage arrangement. But, if you keep going as you are, if you continue to be completely dependent on her alone as a center, you may find that she is not completely appreciative of that attention. She strikes me as a woman who has become used to being alone and doing things in her own time. Don't smother her."
"I do not wish to smother her. I wish to love her as she once tried to love me. Do you not think she wishes that still?"
"I don't know. Christine has proven that she needs no man in her life to fulfill her the way many women have believed. She might have bought into the notion that she had to marry in order to be happy when she was young, but she outgrew that wives' tale long ago. Just be careful. Given the choice between freedom and being completely smothered by the man she loves may prove disastrous."
Spock sighed. He could not bear the thought of his life without her. He knew that in time, he would have to deal with her loss. Death was something he could deal with. Abandonment was another monster entirely. Amanda could feel more than see that her son was distressed at the turn of the conversation. "Tea?"
"Yes, please," he answered, and they dropped the topic completely.
It was hours before Christine arrived a little worn out and breathless. It had been a full day before the justification committee. She'd had to prove that the funds that she'd requested for research were being used correctly and that if she required more funds that they would be used wisely. They were invited for supper, but Christine declined saying that they needed to get home early. She had to be back at work very early in the morning.
* * *
They were driving home, the sun beginning to slip into the horizon as they made it to the ferry. Christine relaxed against the seat of the skimmer and breathed deeply. Normally they got out to enjoy the view, but tonight Christine was reluctant to get out. She just wanted to sit in the car. Spock stayed with her, turned his silent attention to her composed features as she leaned her head back against the leather. The conversation with his mother cropped up. He needed to keep from making her the epicenter of his life. Deciding to get out of the car so that he could leave her alone, Spock moved over to the rail. He would give his wife distance if that was what she needed. Christine had been so intent on the headache that she was trying to get rid of that she hadn't heard Spock get out or even feel the sudden rush of air when he'd opened the door. With a slight growl she opened her eyes to find her husband gone. That was odd. He never went out on the deck without her. Not dwelling on it, she went back to relaxing. The headache that she'd been fighting all day was beginning to set in for the night. She felt like she just wanted to go home and go to bed.
"Spock," she mentioned as they drove into the garage.
"I think I'm going to head straight to bed. This headache is really bothering me. Do you mind terribly?" she asked fairly squinting at him in the dim light.
"No, if you are ill you must go to bed. Are you certain it is simply a headache?"
"Yes, it's definitely just a headache this time. Don't worry too much. If you would be a dear, you could bring me some nice warm tea. Not too hot, you know how I like it," she said as they started up the steps.
"Of course. I will bring it up immediately."
Christine went straight up the stairs. Spock debated following her or getting the tea. He decided on the tea. She had a special blend from Vulcan made up that he began brewing. It was for the migraines that she got when she worked too hard. Lately, Spock noted, she seemed to have several headaches that required the herbs. He was concerned even if he wasn't supposed to be. The Vulcan healers who had arranged for the mixture had assured him that it was simply Christine's inadequate human physiology that was not working properly not a more deeply rooted problem. After adding the sugar and the cream that she preferred, he set it on the tray as well as several slices of dry toast. Even if she didn't feel like eating, she would have something to munch on when she did.
The bedroom was dark except for the fireplace and a small lamp. Spock placed the tray on the chair. Christine was already asleep. He could tell she was still in pain from the creases on her forehead. She also clutched the hem of the quilt. She only did that when she was having a bad dream or not feeling well. Smoothing the curls around her forehead, Spock smiled a little. There were so many times in his life that she had done this, and he had never known or appreciated her efforts. Now, he tried to give her a tiny amount of what she had given him. As he stroked her hair he instinctively began to hum. He could feel the pain that radiated out of her as he touched her, wanted to ease it. After a few moments of humming, he realized he was helping. While the pain did not go completely away, it did abate. The tune was completely made up. It simply flowed and ebbed as he petted her. It didn't seem to matter what the tune was. After a time he could feel her heart rate drop, and she fell into a deep sleep. The fingers relaxed their grip on the quilt. Spock considered staying that way for the rest of the evening, but once again, his mother's advice about not smothering her came to mind. Convinced that she would sleep through the night, he took the tray from the chair and went back down stairs with it. There was no sense in leaving it to grow cold up there. If Christine wished tea and called for it, he could reheat it in a moment.
Spock found himself wide-awake with nothing to do. There was always something to be done, however, and he remembered some of the odd tasks that Christine had wanted finished. There were some little things in the kitchen and utility room that she had wanted done since they had moved in. Now was as good a time as any to do them. He had no more excuses to put them off. He was in the middle of putting a shelf up over the washing unit when a voice interrupted him. "I thought you were going to bring me tea."
Christine stood in the doorway, a little bleary-eyed and frowning. She resembled a little girl who wasn't getting her way. Spock took the screws out of his mouth. "You had fallen asleep. I brought the tea back down. Do you feel better?"
"Yes, much. I just have a slight headache now. What are you doing?"
"You have requested shelves. I am putting shelves up."
"So I did. Are you hungry? I think I can manage something light now."
Spock put his project down. It could wait for a while. Christine wanted him with her for some reason. She held out her hand to him as he stepped toward the door. He took it with a slight hesitation. If she noticed she didn't speak of it. Her tea was thoroughly cold, but she reheated it to a more palatable level and chewed on the toast. Spock chose a simple toasted tomato with cheese. He watched Christine as she ate. Her eyes were dark, as though she'd been ill.
She caught his concerned look. "I feel much better. I really do hate these headaches."
"Perhaps you should think about going to a specialist."
"Dear, I can tell you that all the specialists are going to tell me the same thing. Less stress," Christine said with a groan.
"Then they are correct," Spock agreed. Something drove him to take her hand. "Please, consider their advice."
"Spock. Really, I'm not a baby."
He dropped her hand, immediately aware that she was a little uncomfortable. "You are still no closer to finding help for Byron?"
"No, and it's really getting to me. I realize that I can't cure everyone, but..." She pushed away from the table rather vehemently, stood stiffly looking out the window over the sink with her arms crossed over her breast. "Dammit, I have to figure out why his implant doesn't work!"
Tears started to pour down her face in great streams. Spock was momentarily shocked by this sudden burst of emotions from her. Since they'd married she'd been quite controlled in her emotions. She had laughed and smiled, but they had all been constrained. Now with a brilliant flash of lightning, he realized why she was having so many stress headaches. She was bottling things up to the point that she was causing herself great distress. Her hands covered her face as she openly wept into them. For a moment she was alone, then her husband's strong arms wrapped around her to try to offer consolation. She immediately stiffened and began sniffing the tears back in. "I'm okay, forgive me."
"No, I will not forgive you. I wish you to cry as much as you need," he whispered in her ear. She seemed to sense his understanding at her release of the stresses that were plaguing her. Leaning against him for complete support, she melted into his chest and sobbed the pain away. He rocked her as he would a child. No, he would not smother her, but he had to give her a chance to be human. Perhaps he was expecting her to be more than human even if he did not say so. Holding her close and murmuring in her ear, she didn't quite make out what he said.
"What?" she asked as she pushed away from him to look into his face.
"I said I love you," he repeated and wiped the strands of hair away from her tear stained face allowing a small smile to tug at his eyes and mouth. She puckered up even more, began crying again.
Spock kept her close until she was out of tears.
* * *
The knock at the door brought Spock in from the kitchen. Christine was not yet home from work, and he had remained home to work on a few projects while it was daylight. Even though they had already had the open house, there were sections of the exterior that needed attention. J. T. stood on the porch. It was not Saturday and the lawn did not yet need attention. Spock opened the door. "Yes?"
"Uh, hi. Remember you said you'd help me with some homework if I had any trouble?" the boy said a little sheepishly.
"Yes," Spock answered.
"Well, do you know anything about multiplying fractions?" he asked a little distressed.
"A great deal. Do you require a tutor on the subject?"
"Yeah. I have to take a make-up test on it. I failed the first one, and if I don't pass math this term, I'll end up in summer school or be held back next year. I don't want to be held back," he said honestly.
Spock nodded. "Yes, I can see how that would not be desirable. Please, come in. Does your father know where you are?"
"Yeah, well, no, not specifically. I told him I'd be at a friend's house studying," the boy said as Spock led him through the more formal rooms to the kitchen beyond. He was a little awed by the interior, so awed that he ran into the column that separated the dining area from the living area. "Umph."
"Are you injured?" Spock asked from the kitchen.
"Nyah, just clumsy. So, you know about fractions huh?"
"Yes. Please, sit at the table so that we may begin. Would you care for a refreshment?"
The boy nodded. "Do you have soda?"
"No, tea, water, juice, coffee. I believe that tea would be best for you," he decided and poured a glass for the boy.
They settled in with the boy's studies. It was the most rudimentary of studies, but to J. T. it was rocket science. The teacher hadn't been able to give much one-on-one assistance to him since the class was too large, and he was becoming too embarrassed to ask for help anymore. Ever since they'd moved to Block Island, J. T. had been the odd boy out. He had no regular playmates and was rarely picked by the other boys to take part in group activities. After about half an hour of work, Spock could see that the boy was woefully behind in regular work. "How did you pass your courses in Iowa before you came here?"
"Well," he hemmed. "I didn't really get to go to school on a regular basis in Iowa. My mom taught me until she got too sick to do it, and then after she died, Dad tried. When we moved here he had to get a job working during the day, and I had to go to school."
"I see. And how long have you lived on Block Island?" Spock asked as he poured another glass of tea. Apparently all the thinking created great thirst in the boy.
"We moved here in January. I've been behind the whole time."
"If you did not begin formal schooling until January, why were you not given extra tutelage?"
"Huh?" he asked confused.
"Why has no one else tried to tutor you?"
"Dad doesn't make enough money to pay for somebody, and he makes too much money to qualify for the free stuff. They assigned me a kid at school to try to get me up to speed, but we don't get along very well. We usually end up getting thrown out of the library when we study cause we end up in an argument."
Spock harrumphed, "I trust there will be no arguments here. Are you understanding how I arrived at this conclusion?"
"I think so."
"Then do this problem for me to illustrate your understanding." At the boy's confused look, he rephrased it, "Try this one on your own."
Setting to work with pencil gripped tightly to the datapadd, he worked feverishly over the problem, tongue peeking out through the clenched teeth. Spock watched him without giving either advice or making any signs that might change how the boy approached the problem. The boy was on the right track but ended up getting the problem incorrect in the end. Spock pointed this out. "Do you see what you did wrong?"
"This .... when you began adding your sums here you switched to multiplication again. It is a careless mistake that will cost you. Are you well grounded in your basic arithmetic?"
"You mean adding and subtracting? Well, I'm okay with them, but I get messed up with multiplication and division," the boy admitted. He was beginning to feel stupid.
"Then it is no wonder that you are having difficulties with this. How can you be expected to do more complicated work when you are not able to do the more simple tasks? Perhaps we should begin there. You may still have to attend summer school, but it would be to your advantage in the end," Spock suggested which brought a grimace from J. T. 's face. They spent another hour going over basic multiplication. He had a command of the times tables, but needed more work on basic division. Before they knew it, the sound of the front door opening brought their attention to the time. It was dark out.
J. T. gulped, "My dad is gonna kill me."
"You told him that you were at a friend's house?" Spock reminded.
"Yeah, but I'm still supposed to be home before it gets dark," the boy moaned.
"Do not worry. My wife is home, I will take you myself."
Christine appeared at the kitchen door. "Whose bike?"
"Christine, this is J. T., the boy who is going to do our lawn for the summer. He requires tutoring," Spock supplied in a concise form.
Christine smiled brightly at the boy. He was a handsome lad and something in his manner reminded her of someone. "Well, thank you for the wonderful job you did last week. You were really a godsend at the time. My husband does not like lawn work."
J.T. nodded, wondered at the odd twosome that lived in the house. He'd heard about Vulcans but so far, this man wasn't at all like that description. He did not smile or laugh, but he was friendly and had a curious nature. "Thanks. Uh, can you take me home now? I'm really going to be in trouble," the boy insisted.
Spock took the keys from his wife. "Yes. I shall only be a few minutes."
"I'll get supper started," she said. She had seen something between Spock and J.T., something that she hadn't really thought of before. She'd ask Spock about it when he got back.
* * *
"So was J. T. in trouble?" Christine asked as she ladled a bowl of soup out for herself. Spock watched her as she did so. He enjoyed watching her do the most ordinary things.
"At first his father was not very pleased, but I explained that he came to seek assistance and that is what he received."
Halfway through the meal, Christine brought up her observation. "You like working with J.T. don't you? You've always enjoyed dealing with youngsters once they are past the tantrum stage and are willing to learn."
"It was a satisfying experience to assist him with his studies," Spock agreed.
Christine grinned at him. "Honey, that's it. You need to work with youthful people. They present new challenges. You think you've seen everything, and then you get to see the same old things through a brand new perspective. I'm not saying to go out and start teaching, but I'm sure there are after school and summer groups on the island that need help with the kids. I'm not suggesting daycare, but there are surely other kids J.T.'s age and older who need a little guidance from a sometimes grumpy Vulcan."
Spock straightened, if he'd had his uniform on, he'd have tugged it down. "I am not 'grumpy'."
"Oh no, you're never grumpy. All right, a staunch Vulcan. You can't argue with staunch. Please tell me you'll look into it," she begged.
"I will inquire. I will require the skimmer tomorrow," he said as a way to change the topic.
"If I am to purchase one for my own use, I will need one to get to the different dealers," he explained not accustomed to giving an itinerary.
"Oh, of course. You can take me to work and then have the skimmer for the day. Just don't forget to come and get me at the end of the day," she reminded.
Spock's hand found hers across the table," Never."
* * *
"This is the newest model. She's a beauty," the grinning dealer said as he showed Spock a sleek, slender two-seater with a rear bench area for supplies. Spock was not entirely pleased with it. While it was fuel efficient, luxurious, and aesthetically pleasing, it was not what he felt he wanted. He had been to four dealers of skimmers in the area between Long Island and Block Island, and he could find none that 'grabbed' him. It should be an easy process to choose the most efficient model. After all, it was for a utilitarian purpose. With a sigh, he looked over the other vehicles. They were all similar in design and function as this. A flash of light caught his eye, and as the dealer excused himself to handle another matter, Spock went to investigate. Behind a large skimmer bus was a true beauty. It was an antique or a reproduction of a car. The two tone tan and brown model reminded him of the one that he was nearly killed in on Sigma Iotia II. Jim Kirk had not been a satisfactory taxi driver. It was not a logical choice by any means, but Spock found his dream car. Now, he just had to convince his wife that it was not a waste of money.
* * *
"Jenna, I need you to go through and correct this for me," Christine said as she handed her secretary/receptionist a data tape. "This list is at least a year old, and I need it updated."
"Yes Dr. Chapel," Jenna said and placed the tape in the in box to work on first thing in the morning. Jenna was just putting her coat on to leave. Work was officially over for her five minutes ago. Christine kept checking out the door. Spock was supposed to have been there half an hour ago. Where was he?
"You sure you don't want a lift? It wouldn't be any trouble," Jenna asked before leaving.
"No, I'm sure my loving husband will be along. He was going to go skimmer shopping today so I imagine he's still in the middle of that."
Jenna left and Christine was alone in the reception area. Deciding to go back to her office to do some things that she always told herself she'd do when there wasn't anything else, she pulled out a dust cloth. "Might as well clean," she told herself.
Five o'clock turned into six and then seven and still Spock was not anywhere to be found. Christine had left eight messages for him at home, kept trying his comm badge and then remembered he hadn't taken it with him when they'd left home that morning. Spock was never late, Christine worried, but since Jim's death, he had acted a little oddly.
Getting to the point that she had decided Spock had forgotten to pick her up or gotten so sidetracked that she'd have to stay the night, Christine thought of making the couch up. Long before she'd married Spock she'd included a futon couch in her office to double as a bed when she stayed over night. It had come in handy several times since she'd thought of it. The clock in her office softly chimed eight, and she knew that she was staying all night. The last ferry left at 2030 when it was warmer weather, and there was no way they'd make it before it left. With a disgusted sigh, she tossed her keys on the desk," Spock, where the hell are you?"
* * *
Spock wondered what had possessed him to purchase a vehicle that was so antique in nature that it could not go over vast distances in a short period of time. While maneuvering through the close confines of the city streets, the machine had done well. It was on the open road that the time variance was the most noticeable. It had taken hours instead of minutes to travel from the dealer into Long Island. It was pitch dark out and the headlights that were standard equipment for the flivver were hardly adequate to see by. Spock would have to do some very fast explaining to Christine why he had purchased the vehicle without consulting her first. Finally rolling around the curve and into Starfield's parking lot, Spock brought the machine to a halt, put on the emergency brake, and got out. His wife would be furious. He had faced enemy aliens, mind probes, death, and rebirth, and still the most frightening thing in the galaxy had to be his wife when she was angry. The door was not locked, which Spock did not approve of, and no one else was in the building. Music was filtering out from the second floor, and he made his way up to her office. Spock had moved quietly enough to catch Christine doing something completely out of character. While the music was on, she was in a rather awkward position, her behind shoved up toward the ceiling her hands and feet flat on the floor. She swayed back and forth in time with the beat.
"Christine?" he asked which startled her enough to collapse on the carpet.
"Spock, where the hell have you been?" she asked after making certain he wasn't injured. He was simply late.
"I regret being late. I did tell you I was going to look for a new skimmer today," he said.
"Yes, but now we're stuck here for the night. We've missed the last ferry," she moaned.
"I realize that. What were you doing?"
"Oh, I felt like stretching and was doing that when you came in. It felt pretty good. So, did you get a new skimmer?" she asked as she got on her feet.
"You didn't get a new skimmer?"
"Not precisely," he repeated.
"Okay, you found something but it's not new?" she decided.
Spock thought a second, yes that would do. "Yes."
"What is it?" she asked.
"It is outside," Spock indicated.
With a surprised look on her face, Christine hurried down the stairs," What color is it?"
"Brown and tan."
"Sounds like a coon dog, what skimmers come in brown and tan?" she asked as they got to the main doors. Spock allowed the item in question to answer her.
"Spock, you've bought a car!" she exclaimed and looked at him with a horrified expression.
"Yes, it is a 1926 Packard. It has been modified to accept modern fueling methods, but it is a 'flivver.'"
Christine started laughing. Only her logical husband could come up with such an illogical car. Still, he really only needed the vehicle to get around the island with. Any long distance driving would be done with her skimmer.
Spock looked at his wife with a slightly guilty expression. "You are not angry?"
She shook her head. While they were stuck at Starfield for the night instead of at home in her comfortable bed, they were together and alone. Stepping over to him to place an index finger along his lapel, Christine tugged at his neckband. "You hungry?"
"We'll order some Chinese. How does that sound? Then we can do something we've never done before," she said.
Spock looked at her quizzically. "What is that?"
"Have sex on my desk," she teased and started walking back to Starfield barefoot and humming. Spock was not far behind.