Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is copyright (c) 2006 by Mistress V. Rated R.
Live, Across the Galaxy, Its the Iggys!
Camera rolls to see two presenters standing, immaculately coiffed and coutured, with the famous violet carpet of the InterGalactic Film Association's headquarters in the background. One is an effete Andorian male, in a perfect tuxedo. The other is an Orion woman, in a clinging, fabulously-made gown, hair upswept and bejeweled tastefully.
"Hi, film fans across the galaxy! This is Jade Phaire!"
"And Mr. Telal. We're here on the famous violet carpet, getting ready for the broadcast of tonight's fabulous award show!"
"That's right, Telal. And we'll be coming back to you through the afternoon with updates as the stars begin to arrive. So stay tuned for all the latest gossip!"
"Jade, you are much too kind. Stay tuned for all the latest scandals! We'll see you later, and remember, it's live in your part of the galaxy!"
* * *
On the Enterprise, Christine Chapel put down the last report she had signed off on and glanced at the computer's chronometer. Just enough time to get to the spa and make an appointment for a massage tomorrow. She had tripped and fallen on a planet visit two days ago and her back was still knotted up. Then she would grab the latest copies of Intergalactic Bride, Bride of the Galaxy and Planning Your Wedding from her desk in Spock's cabin and head to her quarters for three hours of absolute bliss.
She had not even thought of a dress yet, she realized. Amanda had sent over a PADD with other details, and she and Spock had chosen invitations and other items, but the dress was still bothering her. Thankfully, it had been decided that due to Spock's technically-divorced state, the full bonding ceremony would not be required. What would happen instead was called a "Ceremony of Blessing" and would be more low key, though they would still bond. It would take place in the garden of Spock's parent's home in Shi-Khar, and no challenges would be allowed. Christine was still at a loss for a dress, though. She was most definitely not a virginal bride, nor a full Vulcan bondmate, but she yearned for a dress that would capture all the qualities she and Spock's relationship had become. Understated elegance -- in that the passion was there, but did not have to be blatantly advertised. Nyota had offered suggestions, but nothing had materialized yet, despite their brainstorming.
So perhaps a few hours with the Iggys would help, she thought. The stars always wore amazing offerings, so she was sure to get some ideas. To her relief, Spock had said he was going to be busy with a report, so she was free to indulge her passion. There was no way he would watch the Iggys, even though a Vulcan documentary, and its song and soundtrack, had been nominated. Spock watch an award show with her? That was like ... discussing ... politics! She shuddered at the thought.
* * *
Spock finished up his documentation of the arboretum and dismissed the team. They were pleased to be off early. He suspected that they, too, wanted to watch the Iggys, but he had not indicated this because it would be illogical to have his subordinates believe he had an interest in the show as well. Perhaps in the future ... yes. But not yet.
Christine had said she was buried in reports, so he would be able to indulge his private passion privately. Spock loved film -- all film, not just the bad cinema he and Christine enjoyed, but all classic and not so classic film. The Iggys were a red letter day on his chronometer. Christine, a competent and logical doctor, would no doubt laugh at his secret, so he intended to keep it cloaked as long as he could.
Although, he realized, she would undoubtedly find out. Their bond had blasted wide open recently. It had happened innocuously enough, after the last karaoke night. He had taken Christine to the observation deck and had shared his favorite Johnny Cash song with her, "Highwayman". It had proved to be more than they had imagined. During the song, crystal realization had descended upon both of them -- that they were soul mates, besherts, Vah'ren -- and it was a breathtaking revelation.
They had made powerful love right there on the deck's floor that evening, and had spent the most of the night there, covered in an emergency blanket, not wanting to leave the magic for a moment. The concept was new to both of them, though the idea of a soul mate was not alien to either of their cultures. But it was as though, Christine said tremulously, the last pieces of an aeons old puzzle had clicked into place. And something had changed for the positive. Their link deepened, and their sexual passion, already amazing, had escalated well beyond their expectations.
Naturally, Spock had studied the concept. The ancient Vulcan philosopher T'Rish had spoken of this in legend, and he read her descriptions avidly. There were Terran stories as well that pointed to the same conclusion -- that some unknown force at some point made the bond known to the partners -- but it was still a bit frightening for both of them. Christine had pulled back a bit for some reason, and he respected her privacy to not push the matter, in person or through their link. He wondered if there was not someone he could speak to about this on Vulcan, but had dismissed the thought as soon as he had conceptualized it.
Oh well, he thought, using one of Christine's phrases, there would be time enough for that later. Now, it would soon be showtime. He paused to pick up the container of fresh avocados, onions and tomatoes and headed to the arboretum's kitchen. Regardless of their differing tastes, he had guacamole on the menu for later that evening.
* * *
"Hi, Kala!" Christine greeted the spa coordinator.
"Hi Doc! What can I do for you?" she replied warmly,
"I need a massage tomorrow, can you fit me in around 16:00?" Christine regarded the spa's reception area, which was set up for a party of sorts, with large holovid receptor in evidence and female-oriented snacks set out. "What's going on here?" she asked.
"It's the Iggys. My staff and I will watch them here to get ideas for the new trends bound to be born tonight. That way, we're ahead of the curve, as they used to say on Terra."
"Kala, someday you and I need to have a long talk about why you're not the manager of a fabulous spa somewhere other than in space!" Christine replied.
"A mere stepping stone, Doctor. And if you have ideas about your bonding ceremony attire or hairstyle, I would be honored to assist you." The Klingon smiled broadly.
Christine's heart softened at the words. "Tomorrow, Kala, we can discuss this. I need to get ideas first, but then perhaps we can make something happen? I am at an impasse right now."
Kala smiled a little less broadly, an indication she was humbled. "I can also see that your dress is made to your specifications, Doctor," she said softly.
"Maybe I can get inspired tonight, Kala. And ... it's Christine. You know me well enough to call me by my given name, don't you think?"
A flush spread across the Klingon's cheeks. "See you tomorrow, then ... Christine!"
* * *
"Okay, folks. We're a half hour away from the violet carpet reception! Jade, can you just feel the excitement?"
"Yes, Telal, I certainly can. So stay tuned everyone! The really big show is about to start!"
* * *
On Vulcan, Amanda turned at the sound of the door opening.
"My husband, you have arrived in good time!" she said.
Sarek gave a heavy exhale of relief. "Indeed, my wife, the High Council agreed to adjourn early for this most momentous evening. Since Vulcan is represented so positively, it is indeed logical that we view the proceedings."
Amanda smiled. "I have made a picnic supper, my husband, that we may view the ceremony and have our endmeal simultaneously."
"Most logical, my wife." He regarded the holotransmission, which showed two Vulcan presenters in a somber, sterile environment. Then he reached for the remote and flipped over to the Terran channel. The Orion and Andorian pair were chatting amicably onscreen.
"Much better, my wife, do you not agree? For diplomatic purposes, it would be logical to see other cultural reactions to this night."
Amanda smiled again, the smile of a woman who knows she has won without even battling. "Yes, my husband. Most logical."
* * *
On Q'onoS, Worf glanced at the light dial and began to power down his computer. The compound was quiet for once. Tomorrow, he and Mogh would inspect the hydroponic greenhouse and work up their findings, but tonight was for them to share.
As if on cue, a smaller version of himself entered the study. He bore a plate with slices of pizza arranged on it.
"I have brought us a meal to share during the holomission, my father."
Worf smiled. "What culinary work have you created, my son? It smells most appetizing."
His son returned the smile. "I have dried the to-may-tows we grew and have added the Vulcan chilies you brought from the Enterprise to make a spicy sauce. Then I added Tr'alo meat sausage on top, plus some of the ... moss ... mosz..."
"Mozzarella." Worf continued to smile.
"Yes, the cheese."
Worf took a piece and bit into it. His eyes registered surprise.
"This is quite exceptional, Mogh! I have tasted nothing so good, not even at Terran cafes. Truly, you do have talent!" Worf reached for a second piece.
"I wish I could share this talent with others," the boy replied sadly, "but they ridicule the dish."
"Because it is Terran?" Worf asked, as he indicated his son to join him on cushions in front of the screen.
"Yes!" his son replied abruptly. "Why do the warriors scorn non-Klingon things? Father, you and I will watch a Terran transmission this night, as will most of the planet, yet we view these beings as enemies. I do not understand? Pizza is satisfying and quick meal!"
"My son, we both know that whatever transpired on this broadcast tonight will be planetwide gossip on the morrow. At the Science Institute, I studied Terran history. It was much the same centuries ago as today. Whole governments and nations, for example, were taught the United American States was an evil empire. Yet these same countries' citizens looked to emulate that culture's films, fashions, trade, agriculture, whatever. The same is true today, all over the galaxy." Worf patted his son's head.
Mogh sighed as well. "It is confusing," he admitted, munching pizza, as the images flashed on the screen.
"A wise friend once told me, my son, that if ordinary citizens met face to face more often, perhaps governments would not wage war so freely. It was not logical, he said, but it was often so."
"You mean the Vulcan?" Mogh pointed to a framed photo on the bookshelf, of his father and Spock standing at the top of a snowy halfpipe.
"Yes, son. Spock and I spoke of these things many times when I was on his ship."
Mogh bit into another slice of pizza. "This Spock, my father. He is wise?"
"Very wise," Worf replied affectionately. He glanced towards the door. "Where is your mother? Shall we save her some of your dish?"
"She is sleeping, with my baby sister," Mogh said. "I have saved another pie for later. But my father, please tell me when I was younger I did not cry as she does!"
Worf laughed. "My son, I cannot tell you anything of your future, or of mine, but I can tell you that all of us: you, I, and all your ancestors, cried as babes. It is the nature of the babe, even a warrior babe, to cry."
"It is not logical, my father," Mogh said, "but I guess it is so."
* * *
On the Enterprise, Kevin Riley set out beers and snacks for his guests, Sulu and Kyle.
"We coulda made a fortune," he said sadly.
"Kevin, c'mon," Sulu said, matter-of-factly. "The karaoke night went down great, so we can do more parties in the future. For now, this is babe city, so sit your sorry ass down and enjoy the scenery."
"Cheers," Kyle said as he raised his beer.
* * *
Christine gathered up the last of her magazines and a padd and was preparing to exit when the door whooshed open, revealing Spock's familiar figure.
"What are you doing here?" she gasped suddenly.
"I live here, Doctor, as do you. Is there a problem?" he asked as he moved to put away the items he was carrying. That done, he sat down on the couch and turned on the holotransmission screen to the Terran Iggy broadcast.
"I-was-just-leaving," she replied, tongue tied.
"You are going to finish your reports?" he said, glancing at the magazines she carried, a smile playing on his mouth. "Or are you planning on watching the show alone in your quarters because you think a passionless Vulcan could not possibly enjoy the spectacle?"
"Er, yes. I'm kind of opinionated about the Iggys."
"Christine, if you want to watch the Iggys, it would be logical to do so here with me, do you not think? Unless you do not wish to view this with me for some illogical reason you refuse to divulge?"
She walked over to the couch and sat down, laughing helplessly. "OK, you win, but don't say I didn't warn you."
"Agreed." He gathered her comfortably against him.
* * *
"Ladies and gentlemen, here we are and the stars have started to arrive! Jade, I am just trembling with excitement!"
"Yes, Telal, and look who's our first guest! It's the famous Caitain actress, M'Raou, who's been nominated for her supporting role as Ms. Kitty, in the remake of the classic Terran Western, 'Gunsmoke.' "
A stunning older biped feline figure, clad in a beautiful but understated gown, smiled at the camera. She was flanked by an older, ancient, leonine male, and a younger humanoid man who was dressed in a horrendously retro sweet-potato colored leisure suit, circa Terra 1974.
"M'raou, you look fabulous! And you must be so proud to be nominated after such a long and illustrious career!"
"Thank you, Jade and Telal!" The actress curled her tail around her feet invitingly.
"Who's with you, M'raou?"
"Telal, this is my husband, Leo, of course, who helped my career to launch. And may I present Mr. Bella Oxmyx, Jr., who was a major production force behind 'Gunsmoke'."
Both males smiled at the camera, then the humanoid grabbed a familiar looking device and spoke into it briefly.
"Good luck, M'raou," both presenters said simultaneously.
"She must be on her 15th life," Telal said to her retreating form. "Why I can remember..."
* * *
Christine stifled a giggle.
"You think she did not deserve the nomination?" Spock asked.
"She was a stripper, for gosh sake. Her husband bankrolled her entire acting career. And whoever this Oxmyx dude is, he's only in it for the money. But what do I know? You visited her planet, not me!"
"That was years ago, with Captain Pike," Spock said in his defense. "And I did not go to any cabarets while I was there."
"Then how did you know there were cabarets on Cait, darling?" A well-aimed kick landed on his leg.
* * *
"So, Bones, now you know what happened to that communicator," Kirk said as he took a swallow of beer.
"What, it morphed into a stripper?"
* * *
"And tell me," Amanda said icily, "more about this 'Cat o' Nine Veils' dance, my husband?"
"I was a very young junior diplomat, my wife!" Sarek sputtered. "It was long before I ever met you. The delegation was sent to Cait for an official visit and protocol required that -- that..."
"That you what?" Amanda asked. "Think carefully before you reply, my husband!"
"It was part of the evening's official entertainment! I was obligated to attend. And -- she was but a kitten at the time!'
"Is that remark meant to exonerate you?" Amanda continued wickedly. "Will you next be telling me you are one of the featured performed in her vid, 'Stroke Me and I'll Purr'?"
"I believe it is time for ... some cooling beverages!" Sarek fled to the kitchen unasked.
* * *
"Yes, that's it," Kala said as she swiftly drew versions of the actress' hairstyle. "She looks so much better when she styles her hair according to her age! What do you think?" she asked her staff as she held up the sketches.
"A classic," they all agreed. "Always in style."
* * *
"And here we have the Ardanan director, Manna Phista, whose action romance, 'Bridge Beyond Our World' is nominated for best picture, and who is also up for best director. Congratulations, Manna, you must be very pleased!"
"Thank you, Jade and Telal. This film seeks to show how far we on Ardana have come through the years to now be deemed peacekeepers of our section of the galaxy, with the message being equality for all!"
Spock raised an eyebrow as he held Christine close. Things certainly had changed on Ardana since his last visit. The woman director wore a modernized version of the Trog underground uniform, while her handsome escort looked to be straight off of Stratos. He began to speculate further about what had become of--
*DON'T go there.*
* * *
"The bandana look is still in among the younger staff members," Kala observed. "I guess I'll get a few more on our next planetary visit. But it's so ugly a look!"
"Who said trendy was pretty?" laughed one staffer.
* * *
"And here's the recording artist Romo, nominated for best song with his stunning offering, 'Across the Galaxy.' Romo, what are your thoughts?"
A short, mouthy Ferangi spokesperson interrupted the conversation.
"ROMO does not speak," he said. "ROMO is angry that his talents have been overlooked by this imperialist group!" Romo had also starred in the production of the same name, to great critical acclaim, but it had been rumored the Association had been too frightened to nominate so renegade an artist for best actor.
"Then why is Romo here?" asked the Andorian.
"ROMO will perform the song he has been nominated for. He will sing on behalf of all spurned races who are not adequately represented. ROMO will prevail!"
The imposing Romo, who stood a good 6 feet plus, had clearly inherited most of his African prize-fighter father's genes. But just enough of his Romulan mother's exotic features had made it into the gene pool to give him an mystical, handsome appearance. He was the poster boy of much of the female (and some male) populace of the galaxy, who had been hypnotized by his silent, brooding good looks ... and sexy, raspy voice.
This evening, the artist was dressed in a traditional Romulan-styled formal robe, made of African kinte-cloth. He cut quite a dashing figure. His eyes were masked by the extremely fashionable sunglasses, called Romo Chop Specials, that he had inadvertently made famous.
"ROMO has spoken!" the Ferengi said emphatically as the duo moved into the auditorium.
"Half-breed moron," the Andorian said. "He has all the intelligence of a horta!"
* * *
On Janos IV, the miners were enjoying a rare night off to watch the Iggys. Beer and Mexican food were on the menu, another seldom-enjoyed treat.
A few of the less shy of the many juvenile hortas scuttled through the rec room, stopping now and then as miners scratched them companionably.
Two of the creatures stopped in one corner, regarding the comment that had just been made.
^Why, my sibling, does everyone one think we are not intelligent beings, with nothing to say?^
^Because we cannot speak as they do, perhaps? It is sad. The miners accept us. Why can others not?^
^I do not know, sibling. But remember, the mother-being told us of another race who understood us better?^
^Yes, the Vulcans! And will they visit us soon again?^
^Their beings will be here soon for a scientific visit, it is said. Perhaps -- we could communicate this thought to them? They are most receptive of our ideas.^
^Do you think our story could be told to the galaxy someday?^
^Why not, sibling? Penguins, birds, and Vulcan flowers have all been the subject of great films. Why not a Horta's life?^
^Indeed, sibling. But let us observe the screen once more.^
* * *
"Nice try, Romo, but Madonna did it first," Christine told figure on the screen.
"Yes, she should have been nominated in the best actress category for 'Evita' in addition to singing the best song nomination," Spock replied as he kissed the side of Christine's forehead.
"You get ten bonus points, mister," she said as she snuggled closer to him
* * *
In the spa, all eyes were on the departing figure.
* * *
"And here is the Vulcan director, S'omm, and his lovely wife and co-director T'annu. Your stunning documentary, 'Songs of a Vulcan Spring' is tapped to win best film in its category. What are your thoughts?"
"It was logical to make the film," S'omm replied. "The spring on Vulcan is an extremely short but biologically diverse and breathtaking event. To see all its wonders up close on film is a logical way to preserve it for future generations. We strove to share this beauty with the galaxy."
"And T'annu, your excellent soundtrack is up for the best score award, as well as your haunting song, 'Fire Flower.' Do you perform this night?"
"I do," the exotic beauty replied. "And I hope the logical offering shall prevail, though all are worthy."
"Good luck to you both!"
* * *
"There goes the neighborhood," Christine remarked.
"What do you mean, there goes the neighborhood?"
"That film has generated almost as much interest in Vulcan as Stark's victory," Christine said emphatically. "A win tonight will significantly increase tourism to Vulcan, thus exposing your planet to otherworld cultures as never before. Even without a win, there's plenty of interest in things Vulcan. How does Vulcan plan to deal with this?"
Spock thought a moment. "T'hyla, your logical concern is valid. But it is said the only constant thing in the universe is change. Perhaps the new generation will know a different Vulcan to the one of today." He pulled her even closer. ""But you are correct. There goes the neighborhood as my parents and I knew it. Yet in the old neighborhood, as you say, would we sit as we do now, unbonded yet physically intimate, and of different races?" He kissed her before she could reply. Things started to get interesting at last.
* * *
"They met at the Vulcan Science Academy, you know," Sarek said. "The film grew out of their graduation project on botany."
"Were they bonded at seven?" she replied as she held her husband's hand more firmly.
"No," Sarek told her. "They chose to bond after they completed their studies. Both entered the Academy unbonded."
"And a fine match was made by them, nonetheless, unaided by anyone," Amanda observed.
"As our son and his beloved have also done," Sarek answered.
* * *
"A Vulcan documentary? How exciting can that be?" McCoy asked with a snort.
"Dunno, Bones," Kirk said. "I can think of one Vulcan who's gotten pretty exciting lately."
This was a reference to Christine's recent convalescence in sickbay. The unfortunate McCoy had inadvertently walked in on the Vulcan giving his ACMO an intense physical examination after hours.
McCoy closed his eyes. "Don't remind me, Jim," he said.
Kirk laughed and handed his friend another beer. "Been there, done that, Bones. We may as well get used to it.
"Do we have to?"
* * *
"OMIGOD!" Christine broke free from Spock's embrace. "Stark!"
"Really Christine," Spock said. "The youth may be viewed as a god-like figure by some, but he is hardly a deity."
They both stared at the screen. Indeed, the Vulcan youth was escorting the stunning Deltan actress Ahh-Mor. Stark was dressed in a modern version of a traditional Vulcan tunic suit, in garish bright patterns, and an overlarge IDIC pendant sat on his chest. The suit's colors were--
"Most painful," Spock remarked. "Stark has much to learn yet."
"At least he's trying," Christine said as she moved her hand back where it had been caressing something that had been persistently making its presence known. "That's worth something. I have a soft spot for Vulcans who make the effort."
"Indeed," he replied as he slid his hand under her sweatshirt.
The Deltan was, in contrast, splendidly unattired in a filmy wisp of flesh colored sheer fabric. Her bare scalp was decorated with a shimmering bejeweled headpiece.
"Ahh-Mor, you look fabulous!" the Andorian fawned.
"It's the Thracian mineral-gas bath treatments. I have never felt better!"
"And your companion?" Telal was well known in the galaxy for his preferences ... male. He made no secret of his appraisal of the Vulcan.
Stark grinned at the camera then flashed the Vulcan salute. "Live long and prosper, dudes!"
Spock shook his head. "He won't be needing an awakening," he remarked.
Christine squeezed the bulge in his jeans. "Not if he's with her," she agreed. "But let's not speculate about the sex life of other Vulcans."
"You must admit, though," Spock said, remembering a good film they had watched recently, "that was a nice little nothing she was almost wearing."
Christine turned to stare at Spock. Her eyes were wide. For one awful moment, he thought she would kick him again.
"Of course!" she gasped, then kissed him. "Spock, you're a genius!"
Spock was at a loss for words. He had, of course, been tested at genius level, but he surmised that this was not what Christine was referring to. Instead, he succumbed to the pleasure of the embrace.
* * *
"Gods!" Kala muttered. "Now we'll have a stampede in here of females wanting their heads shaved. Why can't that wretched woman wear a hairpiece? And what's a Thracian gas bath?"
"My cousin is working on Thracia. I'll send a holomessage to find out more," a staff member said. "And maybe Lt. Singh can teach us how to henna scalps? It looks great on a hand, so why not a forehead?"
"Good point," Kala said as she made more sketches. "I think we'll have a busy week! Who's up for some more ice cream?"
* * *
"At least the youth is trying to show his Vulcan side, even if he is half-Deltan," Sarek sighed. " But 'Dude'? That is not an acceptable term on Vulcan ... yet. And who is his couturier? Surely not someone from Vulcan?"
"I believe," Amanda said, "that the Vulcan female designer resides in New York on Terra. Her work is quite popular with offworld residents. Though, of course, she has been influenced by things Terran."
Sarek held out his fingers, inviting her touch. "As have I, my wife," he replied.
* * *
"And that's it for the violet carpet! We'll see you inside, after the sponsor breaks!"
* * *
"That's it for the real show," Spock said. "Now what?"
"I don't know, the awards ceremony is so boring since they banned acceptance speeches and special awards. I suppose we could watch anyway, unless you have a better idea?"
Spock got up and went into the next room. He returned with a bottle of the potent Vulcan version of champagne and two glasses.
"Why, Spock, do you intend to get me drunk and seduce me?" Christine asked innocently.
He next brought in a plate of guacamole and chips, just made by himself that afternoon in the arboretum's kitchen.
"Certainly not, doctor. I plan to feed you as well."
* * *
"Well, that's that for another year," Christine said as the actual awards show ended.
True to its format, it was incredibly boring, and she could hardly wait for Nyota's update. This was the one night of the year her friend wanted to work overtime, just so she could hear the subspace gossip.
"A most blase broadcast, I agree," Spock replied, draining his glass.
Although they had only had one glass each of the fizzy liquid, it was very strong and both of them were feeling just a little less inhibited. It was, actually, a nice feeling.
"We don't have to work tomorrow. Didn't you have to finish reading a report?" she asked as she stroked his chin absently.
"The report has been read. And you, did you not have any work to do?"
The energy shifted subtly between them just then, nothing negative, just decidedly more sensual. Spock got up and pulled Christine to her feet, holding her close.
"Do you remember -- the very first time we were together?" His hands caressed her shoulders then slid down to cup her buttocks, pressing her against his hips firmly.
Something told her not to be glib. "Of course, my love, how could I forget?"
His eyes had become dark pools, lit with intense emotion. "And the first time you ... touched ... me?"
She knew he did not mean simple tactile contact. Her hand reached up to stroke the hard plane of his cheekbone. "Yes, love," she whispered.
"Please, Christine, my Vah'ren, please..." But he could not verbally finish his thoughts, he was so aroused.
*It would be my pleasure.*
Her hands moved down his shirt front, opening the buttons and sliding the garment from him until it fell from his body to the floor. She reached the button of his jeans and teased the line of dark hair that was just above it, letting her finger circle the indentation of his navel.
Spock drew his breath sharply inward. Intense pleasure was dancing across his face.
Her fingers worked the button open with agonizing slowness and moved the zipper down a few inches. She slid her hand beneath the soft fabric and encountered his hot, rigid flesh. Gently, firmly, she held his pulsing warmth and slid her hand up and down its length.
As he had the first time, he let out a wordless sound of pleasure.
"You enjoy my touch, my love?" she purred, rubbing the drop of his essence over the head of his erection. Both hands began to stroke him, more purposefully now.
Spock leaned his head on her shoulders, his breath coming in ragged inhalations. He watched her actions through heavy lidded eyes, closing them now and again when the pleasurable intensity overcame him.
"My woman, you make me burn for you," he whispered.
"I burn for you too, Spock. I always have."
His mouth found hers then and took her breath away in a kiss full of needing, wanting, and above all, unconditional love. Christine broke free and shucked his jeans down his legs so he could kick free of their constraint. Then he stood, naked and glorious, before her.
"Sit, my love," she murmured as she pushed him onto the sofa. She followed, kneeling before him, her hands on his hard muscled thighs. His eyes, lit like twin flames, widened with the realization of what was about to happen.
*You do not need to serve me this way.*
*I wish to.* And she remembered his words of a few weeks ago. *Let me love you. Trust me, my love.*
The scent of his arousal was filling her, making her wanton. Then her mouth closed over him and there were no more words necessary.
* * *
It was much later when Christine awoke. The chronometer said 0300. She stretched. The preliminaries on the sofa had led to even more amorous doings in bed. Spock was dead asleep next to her. They had finished the champagne afterwards, so he was likely to be out for awhile. Alcohol, when he drank it, usually knocked him for six, but if he was hung over in the morning, a hypospray would fix that.
She slid from the bed and threw her sweatshirt on. "Spock?"
"SZXYTSZTK" he snored. Another alcohol side effect, but he never admitted it. It was her secret to keep.
The desk was dimly lit by the firepot's light. She turned on the lamp, low, and looked through the bookshelf for the vid she had wanted to see since Spock's comment had put the idea in her mind. Once found, she slid it into the player and fast forwarded the images until the got to the one she wanted.
A smile crossed her face. Perfect. Absolutely perfect in every way. She started sketching on a notepad swiftly, absently singing the film's theme song.
"You drift through the years and life seems tame...
Then one dreams appears, and love is its name...
And love is a stranger, who beckons you on...
Don't look for the danger, or the stranger is gone..."
Satisfied with her efforts, she closed the notebook, removed the vid and put everything back the way it was. Then she slid back into bed and dropped the sweatshirt back at the foot of the bed.
As she settled herself on the pillow, Spock turned in his sleep and pulled her against him in a comfortable embrace, his arms firmly wrapped around her. It wasn't even a few minutes before she drifted into a happy sleep.
* * *
In the state of Hollywood, United American States of Terra, dawn was slowly breaking over the site where the IGFA awards that had been held the previous night. All was silent, except for the chirping of birds and the hum of the cleaning crew's machinery. It hardly seemed possible that only 12 hours before, there had been such splendor there to be seen all across the galaxy.
* * *
On the Enterprise, Kala woke early as usual and began her tai'chi discipline. She was confused, though. Yesterday, Dr. Chapel had been quite friendly with her, not in the way that was expected of an aesthetician and client, nor between a spa owner and staff. Like a friend and a friend.
At Celeba Colony, where she had grown up, Kala had been readily accepted by other races, but both the Klingons and Terrans there had viewed her as a genetic anomaly ... or worse. Despite her parent's good connections in the Federation and the Empire, Kala bore the brunt of every fear and hate driven racist comment imaginable. The hurts still ran deep, so Kala had resisted making friends on her posting now, despite the fact that the crew of Enterprise and her staff were more than accepting of her. Even Worf, the visiting scientist from Q'uonoS, had seemed pleased to speak with her during his stay on the ship. Kala wondered if she could ever have a friend in someone like Christine Chapel. She quickly dismissed the idea, and was suddenly ashamed that she had dared to suggest she might help her with wedding hair and attire ideas. Surely Dr. Chapel would not realistically consider such an offer from someone like her.
* * *
Christine stirred and opened her eyes. It was a Sunday, and she and Spock had the day off, but her duty-oriented body clock still woke her early. Beside her, Spock slumbered on, which happened on the odd occasion when they indulged in a glass or two of strong Vulcan wine. He almost never suffered any ill effects, just slept a bit longer than usual, which Christine was glad for, because (in her professional opinion as a physician, of course) he still worked himself way too hard.
She turned on her side and spooned against him. Spock automatically drew her close, even as he slept. But try as she might, she could not drift off again. Thoughts were racing through her brain, and though she tried to ignore them, she brooded.
It had started after the last karaoke evening. The strange feelings that both of them had experienced when they listened to "Highwayman" had been intense, wonderful, and frightening all at once. Afterwards, they had made incredibly intense love right on the floor of the observation deck, then she and Spock had remained there for most of the night, talking. Suddenly, all the things that they had enjoyed separately long before they had come together -- things like rain, Johnny Cash, chocolate, guacamole, and long, slow dances -- had made perfect sense. The idea that both of them had been seeking the other half of their soul in the other for years without realizing it no longer seemed illogical or impossible. In the moments it took to listen to one verse of a song, everything just clicked. Like Nyota had said to her not so long ago, the timing just had to be right for it to work. And now was the time.
But that was not what was troubling her. Ever since Spock had performed that night, more than half of the women onboard, it seemed, had been looking at him in an entirely new light. He was sexy. Mysteriously brooding sexy, like that damned Romo. No matter that he was hers, he was suddenly an object to be regarded, and, unfortunately, pursued. The smoldering glances he now got, though, were nothing compared to the jealous, downright nasty stares she was receiving on occasion. More than once she had overheard some younger female crew members plotting how someone could make a move on the Vulcan.
Of course she would never doubt Spock's fidelity. It was just that she knew that his past was not nearly as sullied as hers. Yes, he had been bonded early, and during her work with M'Benga, she had learned of the whispered legendary Reldai females, who helped young Vulcan males through their awakening...and their older counterparts as needed during pon farr. She and Spock had talked about the concept of awakening in other contexts, but never his. Though Spock had admitted he was a virgin to her on their first night together, she suspected he meant virginal in the fact he had never bedded a Terran woman for pleasure. It didn't bother her, though, and she obeyed the 'don't ask, don't tell' protocol about the matter and never mentioned it to him.
But now Spock had discovered the joys of, well, human-style sex. And she was not nearly as young or as nubile as some of the women on board. His human side might be wanting to explore other avenues ... other female avenues. Of course, his Vulcan side would likely hold this back, but she did not want him to end up shunning her eventually because his love for her kept him from experiencing other intimate female companionship. It sounded downright illogical, but she'd seen plenty of it in her lifetime, and had experienced it once or twice herself.
Which brought up the other issue nagging at her. She had a past. A real past with a real former lover. Roger was long dead, but their relationship had been physical, though nothing like the bliss she shared with the man sleeping beside her. And there had been two others during her time away from Spock, when she had been searching for someone to replace the memory of the one man she thought she could never have. Spock, like she, had never asked, and she had never told, but now she wondered if this was the best idea. As their link opened more and they bonded fully, they would have no more secrets from each other, and that thought terrified her. Any infidelity, whether from her past, or casual thoughts Spock might entertain (and which most men did, she knew), would be known immediately. And as strong as she had become, the prospect of that made her want to cry. She did not want to hurt him with her thoughts any more than she wanted to be hurt by his thoughts.
"What troubles, you, T'hyla?" His soft voice gently intruded on her musings.
He turned her to face him and his dark eyes, still filled with the remnants of the passion they had shared the night before, searched hers. His arms drew her close and his hand stroked the side of her face.
"I I -- need to talk to you about something that's worrying me, beloved," she said, taking a deep breath. Better this got out into the open now, not later. It might mean losing everything, or ... winning it all. The gamble was hers.
Spock already had a very good idea of what was bothering her, but he elected to say nothing. They were not yet fully bonded, so he did not want to seem like he was intruding on her private thoughts. The fact she was worried concerned him. He did not like to see her upset. Beneath his logical Vulcan exterior, he was totally and completely devoted to this woman and would let nothing harm her. But what if the thing threatening to harm her was herself?
"We talked about ... how our souls had been looking for each other for so long," she began.
He nodded. "Yes, my Vah'ren." He kissed the tips of her fingers.
"But Spock, you were bonded from seven. There was no one for you but your betrothed. But for me, well, I had other options."
"Roger. But he too was your betrothed, so what is the concern?" he asked.
"It's not like on Vulcan, Spock. We we -- lived together, as you and I do now. We were intimate. You and your betrothed were not, it was unthinkable, right?" Her eyes were welling up with tears for some insane reason, which infuriated her. The last thing she needed was to show her emotional side.
His hands moved touch her face. He drew her close, nose to nose, eyes looking into hers so deeply she wondered if either of them could ever break the connection.
*Do not be ashamed, beloved. I surmised that you ... had ... been involved with others before me. How could I judge you for something neither of us had control over? Our lives, even though they were moving toward this moment, led us along different paths. And now the paths have joined, and we are journeying together. The first time I kissed you, it was as though our pasts dissolved and there was only the future before us. The past no longer concerns me, nor should it concern you.*
He paused to kiss her with a reverence she did not know he possessed, and broke the meld to speak once more. "I love you, and you love me," he whispered. "That is all that matters. Please cease worrying. Worry does not become you, leave that to the gossips on this ship." And then he smiled.
"You told me once we had baggage, remember?" she sighed after a moment. "I think I just jettisoned the last of it."
His smile grew wider as he laughed. Then he took his index finger and tapped her lips lightly. "And no, Christine, I am not interested in those giggling juvenile females. I shall leave them to your friend Tex Dillon."
"What do you mean, my friend Tex?" she asked, pretending indignation.
"Doctor, he too was attempting to pursue you, if I recall. But I believe, as you Terrans say, the best man won."
"You were -- jealous!" she said. "I can't believe it!"
His eyebrow rose, right on cue. "Perhaps."
"Jealousy is an illogical emotion, Spock. And besides, Tex never had a chance. I was hopelessly in love with that hard-assed Vulcan First Officer we have on the Enterprise." She was enjoying this.
"But love is an illogical emotion too, T'hyla, and I cannot explain the logic of that, except to say again that I love you. And to be honest, I have concluded that, for the first time in my life, I simply do not care about the logic in this case. Now, to give Lt. Dillon his fair due, he is quite an efficient officer and a pleasant young man who also enjoys Johnny Cash. In fact, he has asked me to sit in with his friends one evening for a session, and I may do so."
Christine was trying to figure out if Spock had somehow opened another bottle of champagne during the night and drunk it without her knowledge.
"Now, unless we have more issues to discuss, I propose that we find something to do with this," he said as he placed Christine's hand on his erection. "Have you any suggestions, Doctor?"
She smiled. "A few." She trailed her fingers along his length, delighting in the reaction she always got. It was obvious, as that song he had chosen for them to dance to months ago, that no one else had ever made him feel this way. He relished how she touched him, just as she went crazy for the way his mouth explored her.
Spock still had something else to say, though. He closed his hand over hers, increasing the contact, then he leaned up on his other elbow, looking down at her.
"Nothing really happened, you know," he said mysteriously.
"What do you mean, nothing happened?" So what if she was repeating herself, she had no idea what he was talking about. Unless...
"No, not another. I spoke the truth when I told you that I had not been with anyone prior to you. Not even in the way I am certain you heard rumor of on Vulcan. Suffice it to say, T'hyla, my human side -- my youthful human side -- won out then. I believe the correct phrase has something to do with a hair trigger? There was no contact whatsoever, yet the deed transpired of its own accord, and the urge left me soon after that. My father, naturally, attributed this to my mothers' side of the family." The tips of his ears were flushed, but his eyes were amused.
"Why are you telling me this? Aren't you breaking some kind of taboo? I don't need to know ancient history," she told him, fearful that he would eventually regret his openness. No one on Vulcan spoke of this, not ever, according to M'Benga, not even husbands and wives, and certainly not with outsiders. He himself had learned only through gossip.
"Because my mother suggested I clean the slate, as she called it. She was certain you would be jealous of the matter for the duration of our marriage if I did not. So I chose to do so." He kissed her once more, again with great reverence, as if sealing a covenant of trust.
It was obvious Spock's parents had a marriage more communicative than most on Vulcan, Christine thought. God bless Amanda. "I would not have asked, my love," she said to reassure him. "You did not need to speak of this, and we do not need to again. I understand. But I am grateful you were so honest with me."
"No matter, it is done and in the past. And now, shall we attend to this more pressing issue? With the swiftness of his Vulcan genes, he rolled her onto her back and entered her in one smooth thrust. "And I can assure you," he said, with a devious twinkle returning to his eyes, "I no longer suffer from that particular malady. Doctor, you have cured the patient most adequately."
"Oh my," she sighed.
"Oh my, indeed."
* * *
"Hey, Ny, can you meet me at the spa about, oh, 17:30?" Christine asked through the com unit.
"Sure, and believe me, I have plenty of gossip about last night, I was up till 03:00 talking with everyone on subspace! What's up?"
Christine did not say that she, too, had been up until nearly then, but for a different reason altogether. "I got an inspiration for my dress. Finally, don't ask how. Anyway, Kala has said she might be able to help me get the dress made, so I want your opinion and hers together. And I have an idea for your dress too! How's that sound?"
"That's great! I hear Kala is a whiz with a dress form. See you then!"
* * *
"Hello Doctor," Kala said as she greeted her client.
"It's Christine, Kala."
"Very well, please make yourself comfortable on the massage table so I may begin."
The aesthetician's hands and fingers moved swiftly over Christine's knotted back and shoulders, and within moments, the tension just melted away. But Christine was confused. Try as she might, her best efforts at engaging Kala in conversation were met with an almost Vulcan-like resistance.
As the session ended and Christine returned to the reception area, she caught the woman lightly by the elbow.
"Kala, have I done something to offend you?" she asked.
Kala shook her head. "You have not, Doctor."
"What's with the 'Doctor' stuff, Kala? Yesterday, we were talking freely and today you've built a wall between us. Don't tell me something's not wrong. I brought sketches of a dress idea and I need your opinion, because I know you can make it into a real garment. And I invited Nyota to join us, because I have an idea for her dress too!"
There was silence for a few moments. "You -- you want me to help you with your wedding dress design?" Kala finally said.
"Of course, Kala! You're the most talented woman on this ship, so I want your assistance. And the design needs a special hairstyle too, something I am sure only you can create. Don't you know me well enough by now to realize that I value your input? I need someone to help me, but I also want you to talk to me. Aren't we ... friends by now?"
"Friends?" Kala looked stricken.
"Yes, friends?" Christine's voice softened. "Kala, how long have you been looking after me now?"
"A year, Doctor." She would not raise her eyes.
"And you know everything about me, Kala."
"It is the nature of an aesthetician to engage her clients."
Christine laughed. "Kala! I already have one Vulcan spouting logic, I really don't need it from you, too -- you're not even Vulcan! Loosen up, will you?"
Kala looked up and met her gaze. For a moment, her eyes were windowless. Then a smile crinkled at the corners of her mouth. A moment later, she was laughing. And so was Christine.
"I am sorry ... Christine," she finally managed to say. "It's just, well, on Celeba, most Terrans looked on me as a half-breed freak, good only for service, not anything else. Your friendliness surprised me."
Christine gave her a hug. "I know all about that, Kala. I do not give a rat's ass about your genetic makeup. I think you're an amazingly talented woman and I would be honored if you were my friend, too. We all need friends, Kala."
A real smile split Kala's face. At that same moment, the spa doors opened to allow Nyota Uhura's entry. She carried a bottle of root beer and carton of Neapolitan ice cream.
"Ok, girls," she said, "we have a wedding to plan!"
* * *
"Yes, that dress works very well," Kala agreed. "But what color scheme are you thinking about?"
Christine shrugged. "Vulcan red? I have no idea. I'll need to ask my future mother-in-law about the weather and the state of her garden. We're getting married in the high summer on Vulcan. Hot, hot, hot."
"I'm sure a sunset ceremony will work just fine, but I need to know more about the fabric of the dress. And the same goes for the one you designed for Nyota." Kala frowned thoughtfully. "The right textile for the ceremony's environment makes all the difference. Remember Princess Diana's wrinkled dress?"
They all nodded. "No one figured the fabric would crease so badly in the coach ride," Nyota said.
"I know I will be walking out to the garden, but I don't know the logistics. I think we need to meet up again after I've spoken to Spock's mother," Christine replied.
"It would help if I could see how the dresses originally looked," Kala remarked, chewing on her pencil a bit.
"I have an idea," Nyota suddenly said. "Chris, when are you planning to speak with Spock's mother?"
Christine now frowned. "Maybe in a day or two?"
"When are we all off again? Friday night?"
"Yep, I am," Christine said.
Kala nodded. "Me, too, I take off early because Saturday's busy from about noon on."
"Then let's get together again then, say at my quarters, and compare notes ... and watch both films as well. After all, how better to see exactly how the dresses looked?"
"That would be a suitable plan," Kala ventured timidly.
"Suitable? It's brilliant!" Christine was grinning from ear to ear. "We can have root beer floats or lemon drop martinis, for all I care. Let's say 19:00 in Nyota's cabin? Bring your ideas and a snack, I'll do the drinks. And no males allowed."
Christine continued. "And then we can discuss the really important matter."
"You mean the shipboard ceremony?" Nyota asked.
"I haven't even thought of that, guess I'll need to talk to the Captain and Spock for ideas. Naah, I meant ... who's your favorite Bond? No answers yet. We may need to do a ... comparison study."
"I have a question too, and we can answer it now," Nyota said. "What's your all-time favorite holo wedding scene?"
Christine thought a moment. "I guess 'Father of the Bride', I adored Spencer Tracy. And Liz was so glam."
"Yeah, the originals were the best. But I liked 'My Heart to Yours, because it was the first one to acknowledge that other galactic races did fall in love and marry too. Kala, what about you?"
"Well," Kala hesitated. "Please don't think it's because it's because I have Klingon genes..."
"Kala!" Christine shouted good-naturedly. "Just tell us, ok?"
Kala blushed. "It's 'Sweet Home Alabama'. I like it when Reese pops her potential mother in law in the jaw -- she was a real slime devil. But I really love when Reese runs out into the rain after the man she never stopped loving and drags him back to his own wedding reception. She -- she could have been from Q'uonoS. True warrior spirit, that one."
Christine, who had not only been to Alabama's Gulf Coast on a roadtrip, to the ancient landmark the FloraBama Lounge, years ago, but who appreciated rain even more than anyone could possibly know, held her hand up for a high five to the astonished Kala.
"Amen, sister," she said. "Ladies, I think we need to let off this excess energy. How about a dance before we depart?"
"Why not?" Nyota agreed. "Work off the ice cream."
Kala just shrugged, a smile on her face.
"Computer. Cue 'Sweet Home Alabama.' " And they rocked.
* * *
Spock looked up as Christine came through the doors. "I was beginning to wonder where you were. Is everything well?"
She smiled. "Just fine, but I do need to ask your mother some logistical questions. You know, planning purposes and all. Could we call her in a day or two?"
"I shall arrange a transmission time tomorrow." He moved to where she stood and pulled her against him. "Are your plans progressing satisfactorily?"
"Now beloved, you know enough of human courting practices to realize there are some things I cannot divulge to you. But suffice it to say, yes. And once I speak to your mother, we can plan the shipboard side of the event as well. Thank heavens my mother is studying at the Meditation Colony on Auhmm III, at least I don't need to deal with her till much later." She looked up at Spock and smiled, glad to be back in his presence once more.
"It is 19:00, shall we eat dinner?" His arms tightened his grip on her just a smidgen.
"Eventually," she sighed as she leaned against him. "Right now, I'm fine just where I am."
"Shall we dance, then, for now?" he asked, his eyes soft and full of emotion.
"I'd love to."
The music swelled softly and they moved to its beat. As ever, the words matched the mood perfectly. Spock had once again done his homework, and Christine realized -- once more -- just how much she loved the man holding her close right now.
"It's late at night and we're all alone with just the music on the radio
No one's coming, no one's gonna telephone
Just me and you, with the lights down low...
And we're slow dancing, swaying to the music,
Slow dancing, just me and my girl
Slow dancing, swaying to the music
No one else in the whole wild world...
And we flow together when the lights are low
And shadows dancing across the wall
The music's playing so soft and low
And the rest of the world's so far away and small...
Hold me, hold me. Don't ever let me go....
As we dance together in the dark
There's so much love in this heart of mine
You whisper to me and I hold you tight
You're the one I thought I'd never find...
And we're slow dancing..."