Disclaimer:  Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom.  This story is the property of T'Kuht and is copyright © 2006 by T'Kuht.  Rated PG.


An Old-Fashioned Walk


Sunday afternoon literally ticked by.  Uhura swung lazily in the hammock.  Janice was curled up with a book and a box of tissue.  Spock was at the dining table intent on piecing together a 5000 piece picture puzzle of the Andromeda Galaxy taken with, he decided, a slightly out of focus lens.  McCoy had gotten it for him with the challenge that it was unworkable.  After two days and still nothing more done than the edges put together, Spock was about to concede defeat.  He also feared blindness would set in from trying to focus on the blurred pieces.


"It's too pretty to sit in here all day.  Anyone wanna walk down the beach with me?" Chapel asked coming up from the ground floor with a load of laundry.


Uhura grumbled her answer.  Janice waved a tissue, "Allergies."


Spock agreed, "I will go."


"Great.  Thought we might find some clams or driftwood while we're at it," she said and grabbed a bucket and the long spade.  Spock pulled on his jacket and took the other bucket with him.  The crisp air made him take a deep breath.  They walked along with the sound of the waves and the seagulls as company.  Christine smiled, "How's the puzzle coming?"


"It is not," Spock admitted.


"I'll tell him you're nearly done.  It'll drive him nuts," Chapel answered with an impish smile.


The Vulcan gave her an appreciative look, "That would be satisfactory."


Christine chuckled and braced against the strong blast of chilly air coming off the ocean, "Best place for clams is over there."


Spock followed to the secluded stretch of beach close to the water's edge and watched as Chapel started to dig.  "Would you care for assistance?"


"Yeah but isn't it a little anti-Vulcan to gather clams?  I'm not collecting them for pets you know," she reminded.


"Point taken," he replied and looked up and down the beach noting something interesting and went to investigate leaving the second bucket with her.  It was nothing more than the sun's reflection, and he turned to go back.  The way Chapel was positioned and dressed reminded him of the woman he knew as Number One and Christine called Leigh.  It had happened before, this déjà vu feeling when he caught sight of the younger Chapel from afar.  They'd not been twins but could have easily passed as such.  The differences were subtle, little things that meant the world.  Number One's hair had been a rich walnut almost black while Christine's natural color was a softer brown with golden highlights.  Both women were of equal height and build, both brilliantly blue-eyed, and voices uncannily similar.  But Christine's eyes always smiled at him, for him, and Number One had only smiled on rare occasions and never at him.  Her looks of affection were always for Captain Pike, not the gawky awkward half-Vulcan whose control was abysmal.  He studied her, emulated, imitated everything from how she commanded to how she played chess and interacted with the crew off shift.  He had chosen his role model well.  Spock watched Chapel a while longer and found himself wondering if Pike ever dreamt of Number One on Talos IV where she could be real and alive again in his world of fantasy.  Spock had no such world to fall back on.  All he had were the moments of brief delusion when Christine Chapel was at a distance and he could 'imagine' she was his ideal if only for a millisecond.


Spock blinked the thoughts away as she approached with two buckets full of clams and a brilliant smile, "You've been over here long enough.  Found something fascinating I suppose?"


He shook his head, "No, simply admiring the view."


The wind whipped her shoulder length hair across her face and with both hands full she couldn't brush the strands away.  Spock took the loose curl away and tucked it behind her ear.


"Thanks," she said turning a bit pink cheeked.  The wind promptly whipped the hair back in her mouth.  She held out a bucket, "Here take this."


They began a slow trek back.  Spock was desperate to speak but had nothing to say.  Christine seemed to sense it, "What's wrong?"


"There is nothing wrong," he assured.


"Perhaps I should have said penny for your thoughts," she rephrased.


Spock stiffened.  How did she always know?  "There are times that the resemblance to your sister is extraordinarily remarkable."


"Well, I guess you'd know.  I never got to be around her much.  She went to boarding school and then Starfleet.  She'd come home for the summer and I'd be off to camp or something.  Leigh was ten years older than I was and had no time for me and vice versa.  I know by the time I was eighteen I was ready to do anything to get away from her.  A body can live in the shadows of perfection only so long," Christine reminisced.


"Is that the reason for the blonde hair?" Spock asked.


"I didn't do that till the Enterprise but, yes, that was a big reason.  I know I'd walk right into a mess since she'd been exec for so long.  Must have worked, you had no clue who I was for years, did you?" Chapel poked.


Spock admitted honestly, "No, I did not.  I did know Number One's full name but it never connected before."


"I could tell," Christine remembered.  "I'll never forget the first time you saw me with this brown hair.  You looked like you'd seen ... a ghost."


"You are correct," Spock agreed.  "That is how it appeared, at first."


"It's funny.  This was her house and I inherited it and you pay me rent and you probably knew her more than I did.  I always tend to think of her as beautiful, statuesque, someone to be admired like a work of art," Christine recalled.


They were at the steps for the beach house.  Before they climbed up Spock stopped and revealed seriously, "As I have said before, it is a remarkable resemblance."  He handed her his bucket and disappeared under the deck to his suite leaving her to muse his departing statement alone.