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) 2001 by T'Kuht. This story is Rated PG.

Once I Had a Secret Love...


Platonius faded from view on the forward screen and Spock was never so pleased to be away from any planet in his life. He had been humiliated beyond words and forced to do things he found unconscionable. As soon as the landing party had returned to the ship, he had exited quickly, not wishing to be inundated with either questions or emotional outbursts from anyone, least of all her. He had known in his gut what Lieutenants Uhura and Chapel had been brought down for and had almost wished, almost that he had not controlled his anger just moments earlier. Now, he not only had the pain of nearly injuring Kirk on his consciousness, but the fact that due to someone else's feelings and emotions, he had nearly harmed them as well. This would have to stop. As Spock readied the science station for auto-pilot mode so that he could leave the bridge for some time, Kirk appeared at his elbow. "You okay, Spock?" he asked seemingly none the worse for wear.

Spock nodded curtly. "I am well. And you, Captain?"

"I'll manage. I don't think it was as hard on me as it was on you, though. If you want to talk about it ..." Jim started and then saw the glazed over look in Spock's eyes starting to form, "well ... you know where I am."

"I shall remember that," the Vulcan said and excused himself from the bridge.

* * *

Christine Chapel felt as if she were Lady Macbeth trying to get the blood off her hands and not succeeding. She had scrubbed her face until it was nearly raw and bleeding. She couldn't even bear to look at herself in the mirror. The dress she had been forced to wear had been destroyed, the sandals as well. It didn't matter that she had looked lovely in them. She wanted everything gone. They could not have violated her any more than they had. Choosing a fresh uniform, she decided to go back to work. Work would be her best friend now. She didn't want to talk about it. She didn't want to think about it. She just wanted to forget everything.

* * *

Sickbay hadn't been too busy. McCoy had been off analyzing and doing more tests on Alexander and the kironide deposits. Christine would have offered to help, but she focused on inventory instead. Her shift came to an end, but she stayed. Finally after she'd been there almost twelve hours, Leonard stuck his head in supply closet #4 and called to her good naturedly, "Hey, get outta there."

"I'm working. I'll be finished in a few minutes," she excused without looking over at him. She didn't want him to see the tears that had coursed down her cheeks the entire time she'd been working.

"You need to eat, girl. Come on, I was going to show Alexander the sights," McCoy offered.

Christine grasped the datapadd. Closing her eyes tightly and holding her breath for a moment, she waited to answer, "I'm not hungry, and I want to finish this."

The tone meant get away before I claw you to death and McCoy backed off. If she were Spock, he'd have bullied her. But she was Christine and she was hurt. Nothing was more fierce than a hurt and wounded animal, humans included. He didn't want to hurt her further. "Okay, well, you eat when you get done, promise?"

"Promise. I'll be fine," she whispered. McCoy hesitated and left. She could hear him patter down the small corridor and the doors whoosh open and shut. Leaning forward, she let the air out her lungs and began openly weeping on the packets of pre-moistened gauze she'd been counting. She was still like that when a voice spoke behind her, "Miss Chapel."

"Shit," she sighed. Spock waited for her to turn to face him and when she didn't he said again, "Miss Chapel."

The voice was not friendly, now was it warm or even congenial. It was downright cold and callous. Gathering what dignity she had left from down around her ankles, she straightened and answered, "Yes."

"I wish to speak to you."

"I'm doing inventory. If you could wait until I am finished," she said still with her back to him.

"You are no longer on duty. I will speak to you now," he commanded.

Gritting her teeth, she turned slowly. She didn't bother wiping the tears away, she looked like Hell anyway. "I suppose you will."

Apparently, she preferred to stay in the supply closet. Spock, however, did not wish to convey his message in such a confined space and moved out of the door motioning with his head for her to follow him. She went forward and kept tight hold of the datapadd. It was reality, something tangible to hold onto.

Once in lab #12, he initiated the doorlock so that they would not be disturbed. No need for the entire crew to be privy to this. He wondered where to begin. "Miss Chapel, for some time you have made it known that you have some feelings toward me. I have not approached you on this subject because up until now they were your feelings and had no bearing on our working relationship. However, this latest incident has proven that they are dangerous to us both. Do you understand?"

"Yes, I understand you perfectly, Mr. Spock. I allowed my feelings to get in the way and it was my fault," she answered with her eyes downcast and looking through the tops of his shoes. Then, with all the strength in her body, she raised her head to look him squarely in the eyes. The enormous amount of pain shot through Spock like an arrow and pierced through the resolve that he had. He found he no longer knew what to say or how to react. His anger was not with her. It was not with Parmen either. It was with himself.

Deflated, he nodded, said nothing and just turned slowly to leave a stricken nurse behind him. He didn't know what he'd wanted from her. She had not been dishonest about her feelings with him. She'd simply not acted on them except in extreme circumstances. Finding that he did not want to meditate, nor did he wish to just sit in his cabin, he sought out Kirk.

* * *

Jim Kirk watched Alexander with amusement. Everything was new to Alexander and delighted him. Even the most mundane things were special. Kirk imagined this was what it was like to be a parent.

Commander Spock walked in and Alexander walked over to him, "Spock ... I was hoping you would come. Your Captain has been trying to teach me to play three dimensional chess. He says you are an excellent player."

Spock's eyes caught Kirk's, and he nodded. The conversation could wait for a time. He still wasn't sure what he would talk about anyway. The Vulcan approached the game table that was always set for chess and began resetting the board. Alexander had taken a kibitzer position behind the Captain. They were halfway through the game when McCoy appeared with more food for Alexander to try. He was sampling bits and pieces of the delicacies the ship offered.

Leonard was still asking about kironide, "Alexander, about the women ... how did Parmen come to chose those particular ones?"

"He scanned your minds to find them," Alexander replied. Spock's hand knocked over a pawn.

"Surely he scanned the female's minds," Spock corrected.

"No, Parmen might be able to control many things and people, but he could not have had that much power and been able to control you at the same time. He searched through the Captain's and your minds to find the women he brought down. After he found that out it was easy to maneuver them there," the dwarf replied still not aware that Spock was growing increasingly uncomfortable. McCoy looked victorious. He had always known that Spock treated Christine differently than the other women aboard. While on the one hand he was brusque, he was also gentle and almost affectionate when he dealt with her.

Spock himself was frantically trying to piece the new information into a puzzle that didn't fit. Kirk had found the revelation that he thought a lot of Uhura interesting but not particularly upsetting. Uhura was a beautiful woman and by virtue of their work he spent more time with her than any other. However, that knowledge to Spock was definitely having an effect. Spock lost the match within three more moves that were careless and without thought. The Vulcan excused himself, leaving Alexander to wonder what had happened. His meditations would be occupied for a long time on this new information.