Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the property of Mistress V and is copyright (c) 2006 by Mistress V. Rated PG13.


Let It Snow

Mistress V


It was hot.

Blazingly, blisteringly, hot. The heat rolled off the planet's surface like waves from a blast furnace and singed any exposed body parts. Christine's throat and lungs felt like they were seared and she could only nod as the head of the mining colony and the colony physician met the medical team.

They were spending the week on this desolate, decent replica of hell to perform the colony's bi-annual medical checkups. Supplies had also been offloaded, and the Enterprise would be rendezvousing with them at Starbase 23 after making a few more supply runs along the way.

Fuega 3 was so out of the way that standard communication was almost impossible. The ionic storms in this sector prevented regular subspace frequencies from reaching the radio operator a lot of the time. Most of the wind-generated power was conserved for the mining operations. Personal PADDS could not be recharged, so were to be used only for making reports -- reaching the ship was out of the question.. Uhura would check in once a day with the radio operator, in the evening, when the storms were less likely to be disrupting the signals. There was nothing in the way of modern entertainment, frivolities or anything resembling air conditioning except for old-fashioned fly fans. The 400 colonists lived very simply -- but quite happily. It was just like stepping back in time -- about 500 years, that is. The minerals indigenous to the planet were needed in the sector, but the cost to modernize everything was just too prohibitive. Fuega 3 was commonly known as "The Dinosaur Outpost."

Leonard had joked with her that the planet would be good practice for Vulcan, but even he knew the heat on Fuega was much hotter -- and the oxygen thinner -- than on Spock's home planet. She and Spock planned to be bonded there in 6 month's time, when the Enterprise would be passing through that sector. The civil shipboard ceremony would follow. Until then, they were unofficially living together, kind of -- both had kept their respective quarters, but they shuttled between the two. They were also publicly a couple. An adult couple, as Christine had stated to Spock, not some kind of "arrangement", and to her astonishment, they had progressed to just that. Spock had obviously been determined to show her that as he'd matured, his human side was much more evident, and she liked that.

It certainly had been evident the night before, she thought as they headed to the colony's adequately equipped, though decidedly old-fashioned hospital. Spock had made dinner -- no replicator, the honest to gosh real thing (pasta al pistou, one of their shared favorites) and they'd made love until the small hours. He was giving her treasures to remember, he'd said, to remember during their separation. And this was their first separation with her being absent. Spock had been gone for only a week a few months before, and upon his return, he had proposed.

She involuntarily shivered. What would happen at the end of this separation? Try as she might, Christine was still afraid Spock's hard-assed Vulcan side would come surging back with a vengeance one day, and soon. She just imagined him saying, with that cold stare of his, "I am sorry, Dr. Chapel, but this has been a most illogical course of events to follow for the both of us. It must stop at once." This spectre made her more frightened than she could admit even to herself, and she tried her best to block it from their bond. She simply could not believe this was real, she kept comparing them to the people they were all those years ago. Why, the combined mortification of the PSI-2000 incident, the journey to Vulcan and the unfortunate events on Platonius had been the reason she left the Enterprise for medical school. She had not even been able to speak to him as nurse to patient, it was just too humiliating. Never, in a million years, had she dreamed their paths would cross again, let alone the fantasies she had had all those years ago start to come true. Absently, she glanced down at the ring on her finger and told herself to stop worrying so much.

A voice interrupted her speculations. *Yes, beloved, please learn to trust me more. I love you. I cannot say it more plainly or simply than that.*

Guiltily she answered. *Touche, my love. I am sorry. Forgive me.* She felt his arms encircle her through their link.

"Christine?" a voice interrupted her daydreams. She snapped to attention to find a woman her own age looking at her with a smile of recognition on her hardworn but pretty features.

"Evie?" Christine, suddenly remembering who she was, replied. "Evie, what are you doing here? Didn't we leave you on Rigel 12?"

The two women embraced warmly. It had been many years since they had met, thanks to the infamous Harcourt Fenton Mudd.

"Ben's the chief mine foreman here," Evie said proudly. "We moved to the colony a few years after you saw me last. Been here ever since! Of course, you'll have dinner with us this evening! I'm the school principal -- finally got my degree via the spacenet. We have two great children too."

She felt Spock laugh through their link. *Harcourt Fenton Mudd,* he said, almost in disbelief. *T'hyla, I will wish to hear every detail, of course, when you return.*

*Of course!* she replied.

The medical team settled in and got straight to work. By the time they had seen the first of many patients, compiled reports and eaten dinner, they were ready for sleep. She had checked in with Nyota as arranged, a quick report in the colony's radio room, strictly business, to save precious radio time and energy. She sensed Spock standing there as well, but neither of them felt the need to speak.

It was still very hot and windy at night, and the desert breezes sang through the canyons. Christine, who was sitting on the porch of the Mine's guest quarters, looked up at the skies above her and wished on a meteor shower she saw. A song her father had played on his ancient cd machine so many years ago washed across her mind.

"A quarter moon walkin' across the Milky Way ... you and me, baby, we could think of something to do... It's the right time of the night, the stars are winkin' above ... it's the right time of the night for makin' love..." She sent the thought to her beloved, though she had no idea what he was doing right then.

"Hi Chris," Evie said as she sat down in adjoining chair. "I brought you some lemon iced Svengai tea."

Christine took the cooled drink gratefully and sipped its tart, refreshing flavor. "Mmmmm," she sighed. "Thanks, Evie, and thanks again for such a great meal, too." She had spent a wonderful evening at their house, catching up on many old memories. The sight of Ben, Evie and their two delightful kids had made Christine's heart happy. Maybe, she told herself, maybe if such a mismatched couple had managed to find happiness, there was hope for Spock and her as well.

"So," Evie asked as they contemplated the multitude of stars above their heads, "I can't help noticing that beautiful piece of ice on your finger. Who's the lucky man?"

Christine felt herself flush. "It's Commander Spock. You knew him as the Enterprise's First Officer. The Vulcan?"

Evie smiled. "Uh-huh," she reminisced. "But I was kind of distracted by the Captain, if I remember. You were a couple back then? I had no idea."

"No," Christine admitted. "We were never involved then. This relationship started much more recently, after we were assigned back to the new Enterprise."

"What's meant to be will always find a way," Evie sang a line from the old Terran c/w song. "So, when are you tying the knot?"

Christine's voice caught in her throat. How could she tell this welcoming stranger that she was terrified that the wedding would never take place? Best not to disturb the sleeping dog of her emotions. "Next year," she replied as calmly as she could, then yawned (for real) and said it was way past time for her to get to bed. Evie promised to check in on her during the week as her duties allowed.

As she lay on her bed, covered only by a thin muslin sheet, Christine headed quickly towards sleep.

*You are tired, T'hyla,* came Spock's quiet voice.

*I delivered two children, removed three sets of infected tonsils, and saw over 40 patients today ... so I guess I am,* she told him drowsily.

She felt his caress of her lips. *Sleep, love,* he whispered.

*In THIS heat?* she asked, amused, as she fell asleep properly.

* * *


The week passed rapidly, in a flurry of medical exams, endless reports, and tours of the colony's various outposts. The Enterprise checked in every night, and Christine made her abbreviated, professional summary of the day's activities there in the colony's ancient radio room, aching to tell the man she loved -- who she knew to be standing at the console as well -- how she missed him. She and Evie had spent many quiet evenings together, conversing about life in the old rocking chairs that sat on the guest quarter's sagging porch.

The conversation had finally turned to the subject of her relationship to Spock one night. Christine admitted she was terrified of the depth of her feelings for a man who, until recently, had been so ultra Vulcan it hurt to look at him. How could she trust that he wasn't just having a last fling at humanity before he took himself back to his home world for good, to live a proper Vulcan life? She talked a bit about her perception of Vulcan marriages, from what she had seen, and admitted to Evie that she could not fit the mold, no matter how she tried. And that scared her the most.

"I am who I am," she said miserably.

"And that's who your man fell in love with, Chris," Evie had said almost sternly. "Remember how things were headed for Ben and me? He thought I was someone else, until your Captain proved to the both of us that he had fallen in love with who I was, not what I was. Sometimes," she finished, clinking the glasses of brandy she'd gotten from her husband's "special occasion" liquor cabinet, "you have to take that leap of faith."

Christine promised that she would. The shuttle came as scheduled the next evening, and the medical team made its final preparations to leave the colony. Evie and Chris hugged one last time, and promised to stay in touch. As they boarded the craft, each member of the team picked up the messages and snacks that had been brought for them. Chris had begged Nyota to send her sorbert, plenty of it, which her friend had happily done. The shuttle pilot handed her a small PADD as well. "Commander Spock asked me to give this to you, Doctor," he said pleasantly.

They all settled in for the long night's flight back to the Enterprise.

Christine leaned her head against the window and adjusted the earpiece. She expected it to be a voice gram from Spock, but, to her surprise, it was much more than that. An image flashed onto the screen, of Spock, surrounded by what could only be a (holovid) New England winter. And then a series of musical selections began.

"Sleigh Ride." "Winter Wonderland." "Let it Snow!" "Winter Daydreams." "Winter." "The Snow Queen." "Polaris Rhapsody." And at least a half-dozen more tunes, all themed with snow, ice, and coolness. How had he found the time to do this? Christine was so touched she felt a tear slide down her cheek.

*I love you, my beloved,* she whispered to the unheeding stars as she finally dozed off.

*And I love thee, my T'hyla,* he whispered back to her sleeping form.

* * *


Spock glanced at the chronometer. It was 22:00, and the shuttle would not reach the ship until 06:00. He felt Christine's exhausted sleep through their link, as well as her pleasure over the PADD of winter songs he'd sent to her. He answered the question she had not posed. *I found time, beloved. I thought you would enjoy this. Sleep well.*

He turned to his companion, who was busy locking his snowboard boots into place. "Shall we?" he asked.

The Klingon smiled. "Let's do it!" he replied, in his best Terran slang.

They headed up the chairlift to the top of the holodeck half pipe.

After depositing the medical team at Fuega 3, the Enterprise had called at Ceres, an experimental agricultural colony. It dropped off supplies and had taken on some Federation official passengers. One of whom was a Klingon agricultural biologist. Ceres was an Organian colony, and welcomed all races to come and learn the newest methods of agriculture.

Spock had met the newcomer the first day. They had discussed hydroponics and he'd shown the visitor the Enterprise's extensive banks of water grown fruits and vegetables. The agriscientist was hoping to take this method of crop farming back to his home planet, and had discussed several possible agriplans with Spock. All told, it had been an enlightening exchange of logic.

That evening, as Spock sat in the rec room awaiting Jim for a chess game, he was surprised to see the Klingon approach him.

"Mr. Spock? The captain has been detained on business and can't make the appointed match."

"Thank you," Spock replied, but the visitor continued.

"I can play a bit," he said. "And I have heard you are quite the master on board here. Would you grant me a match?"

"Certainly," Spock told him.

The match had progressed well, if slowly. The otherworld visitor had been eager to speak to the Vulcan because, he said, it was refreshing to speak of things other than agriculture.

They discussed the recent Klingon hockey victory at the Winter SportsFest at Polaris, and he'd paid high praise to the Vulcan referees who, it seemed, could not be fazed, despite the goings on outside the rink.

This was a reference to Stark, the Vulcan snowboard sex symbol, as well as the Vulcan ice dance scandal. Spock had admitted that the whole mess seemed illogical, but perhaps out of this illogic could come enlightenment of sorts.

"Never mind," the Klingon had said. "The Klingon sports council has decided that a female Klingon figure skater will compete in the next games on Terra. It's a first step, but even a baby takes those. The rest of the galaxy needs to see that Klingons can do other things besides wage war and act oafish."

Spock had regarded his opponent with respect. "You speak diplomatically," he'd said. "What are your plans? The InterGalactic service, perhaps?"

The Klingon shook his head. "I plan to return to my home planet, and join my wife, who is also an agrarian scientist. We hope to bring new types of farming to our more far-flung outposts, in the hopes that they may become more self-sufficient. The borders are volatile enough already without unnecessary dangers being posed by food-supply ships."

Spock had agreed. "My own father is a diplomat, and he has often said that disputes would not happen so often if ordinary citizens spoke face to face on a regular basis."

His opponent sighed. "Even on an Organian colony, the other scientists thought I was a spy. Or that I would kill them in their sleep and steal their womenfolk. It's utterly--" He paused and smiled, "illogical, but my race's reputation went before me. And here I am, mated and a father, with another child soon to be born -- and I am a scientist, not a warrior. No one could see beyond the fact I was a Klingon. No one would truly speak with me as you have, for fear I would take the information and use it against them."

Spock answer surprised even himself. "I see the logic there," he said tiredly. "I am engaged to a beautiful Terran. I am half-Vulcan and half-Terran, but she cannot yet come to terms with that. She believes I will vacillate between one half or another until the Vulcan side will win out, and that side will shun her. Even though I have stated that as I have matured, a combination of both attributes has been quite acceptable ... and logical."

"Checkmate," his opponent replied. "I remember hearing an old Terran song. 'The more things change, the more they stay the same.' Trust is a most difficult thing, do you not think?"

At that moment, Engineer Scott appeared. "Ah, Mr. Spock," he said. "We've worked out the bugs on the holodeck halfpipe. All's well now, and we plan to re-open it tomorrow. But perhaps you'd like to run the program yourself one time to be sure?"

Spock turned to his newly-made friend. "Have you ever snowboarded?"

"No," came the startled reply.

"Well, neither have I," Spock said. Would you care to try out the holodeck halfpipe with me?"

Far away on Fuega 3, Christine was preparing for sleep. It had been an exhausting day, with a visit to one of the colony's far-flung outposts. As she lay in her bed, listening to the winds sing through the canyons, she heard something almost unfathomable through her link with Spock. An ancient Terran war cry of sorts...


She shook it off. "I definitely had too much sun today," she decided.

* * *


The shuttle was landing and Spock stood on the deck with McCoy.

"It's good to have them home," the physician said.

"Indeed," the Vulcan replied.

* * *


"And I want you all in sickbay for a checkup immediately," McCoy concluded the debriefing. "After that, you have the day off."

The rest of the party moved into the turbolift, leaving Spock and Christine alone. They embraced.

"I've missed you something fierce, beloved," she said as he held her tightly.

"And I you, T'hyla," he replied.

"Spock?" an unfamiliar voice interrupted. They both turned to face the speaker.

"Spock, son of Sarek," the Klingon said formally, but with a smile in his eyes. "I thank you for your mentorship this week and wish you a prosperous and healthy life."

"Worf, son of Worf," the Vulcan replied, "I wish you the same. I have enjoyed our chess matches and our snow adventures. Take care and be well in your future endeavors. Keep me posted of your travels, as I will do for you."

Formality over, the Klingon turned to Christine. "Is this your betrothed? Will you both join me for a meal this night on the planet, before I leave for Qo'nos tomorrow?"

Spock made the necessary introductions and a time was arranged. The Klingon walked onto the shuttle, then turned in the doorway to wave at the couple.

As they headed towards the turbolift, Christine gave Spock a critical eye. "Snow adventures?" she asked disbelievingly.

"You shall hear of them this evening, T'hyla," he answered logically.

* * *


"You're good to go," Mc Coy said to his assistant medical officer, "Spock, she's all yours."

The couple moved into her office and shut the door. They kissed briefly and then simply embraced, delighted in feeling the other's presence after the separation.

"What will you do this day?" Spock asked her as she dreamily leaned against his shoulder.

"I need a nap," she replied, "and then some down time" Her reference to skating in the holodeck. "--and then a spa treatment. What time shall I met you at the transporter room?"

Spock was about to reply when McCoy buzzed to be let in.

"Sorry to interrupt," he said honestly, "but I just got the orders. We have to start annual physicals at 0800 tomorrow. It'll take about a week, Starfleet needs the result quickly, something to do with a study. So I'll need you first thing ... and you'll be pulling some late shifts..."

He looked sadly at the couple before him. I am sorry," he repeated.

Spock remained his usual implacable self. "It is not your fault, Doctor," he replied as he put his arm around Christine's shoulder. "But your concern is appreciated."

McCoy was taken aback. Was that a thank you?

* * *


She had started skating again.

Maybe it was the InterGalactic Sportsfest, maybe it was just her workload. Or a way to work off emotional steam without having to justify it to Spock. But she had begun an almost daily workout on the holodeck's perfect ice and she loved every minute.

Spock had wormed it out of her almost immediately, when he had gone for more sodas during a commercial break during the Sportsfest and had returned to find her doing calculations on her PADD while muttering oaths.

"No way that was worth the deduction," she had said to herself.

"T'hyla," Spock had interrupted lovingly, "forgive my ignorance, but how do you know so much of this sport?"

She'd had no choice but to tell him.

"I skated. Competitively," she said.

He'd raised an eyebrow. "And?" he asked.

"I grew too tall. And that meant no one could partner me. I didn't want to be a tall singles skater -- the center of gravity would have made it more difficult. So I retired at 14, at least from competing. But I never stopped loving my sport."

"Do you still skate?" he had probed further, curious.

"Yes," she said, eyes closed, as if in shame.

"Shall we skate one day?" he continued.

He was surprised at her reply.

"No, Spock," she said determinedly. "When I skate, I pour all my emotions out onto the ice. It's most illogical and very Terran. I could not expect you to comprehend the love affair I have with the ice."

He was silent as he held her.

"I respect your wishes," he had finally assented. "But I hope one day to share the ice with you, just for enjoyment."

She had stared back at him, astounded. "You skate?" she finally asked.

"My family took me to Terra ... and to Polaris and Arctica," he said. "I am well-versed in the sports of the snow and ice, though have only discovered snowboarding recently, with Worf the Klingon. I enjoy the coolness of the winter climate, as a change from my usual habitat."

Christine smiled. "And?" she asked. There had to be more.

"I played hockey for the Academy for two years, as a wing. My Vulcan speed made me a most valued player."

"Spock," she had laughed at the time, "you never cease to amaze me."

* * *


"I will meet you at the transporter this evening at the appointed time," Spock had said as he bade her farewell in Sickbay. "Have a good skate."

She had watched him leave through the doors, and had blessed the fact that he loved her, despite all her non-Vulcan emotions.

The ice was glass smooth as always. Christine surveyed it for a long moment after she had finished lacing her skates. She had been dreaming of its coolness the whole time she was on Fuega, and now it was hers. Her breath came out frosty -- a refreshing change from the searing, sulfurous hell of the past week.

"Computer. Select music," she said as she skated towards center ice. Usually she did a workout to something catchy, like "Mambo #9" or "Kerosene," but today she wanted something different. Something decidedly ... emotional. So she could pour out her heart onto the ice, instead of risking Spock's disapproval. Oh, he had said he himself had played hockey in his younger days, and that he understood her love for the ice, but a part of her kept doubting that, kept expecting to the full Kholinar Vulcan Spock to awaken from the dream they had been sharing. And shut her out of the love they had finally realized after all these years.

She wondered why she had these doubts and then remembered her friend Vikki. They had been at the Academy together and Vikki had developed a friendship with Cliff, a fellow student, but nothing more had happened. Years later, their paths had crossed again, and, as impossible as it seemed, they fell head over heels in love, both being in their mid-30's, and decided to marry. Christine had tried to warn her friend that perhaps the lust factor was clouding her judgment, but Vikki wouldn't hear any of it. Trouble was, Cliff had ultimately decided to re-marry his wife instead -- and had not bothered to tell Vikki it was over. He had left her alone, pregnant and scared. Christine remembered her friend saying bitterly after her miscarriage, "I should have known better. People our age just don't fall in love. It's all about the sex. No one's judgment is clear. That's it for me!" And she had remained single ever since. Last Christine had heard, her friend was working way out in the Antarean system at a remote outpost, far away from anything that could hurt her again.

She's right, thought Christine. People our age don't just fall in love, let alone logical Vulcans. Spock's having a human fling and is enjoying it -- but if we get married, it will suddenly be time for me to become the proper Vulcan piece of property. As much as she liked Spock's parents, she could not see herself in Amanda's role, and the thought of this made her eyes fill with tears. She remembered the first night she and Spock had found themselves together. His declaration of love for her the morning after and her stunned reaction. Thankfully, they had managed to start a relationship, "bass ackwards" as Ny had put it, from that highly-charged sexual beginning. Spock's hitherto-repressed emotions had surged forth like the lava on the volcanic world of Krakos, and had carried them forward into full-fledged love. Oh, outside of their time together, he was his usual Vulcan self, but it was a softer self. One that was not afraid to drape an arm across her shoulders, or laugh at a joke in the mess hall. But she could not help thinking he had lost his respect for himself -- and denied his heritage -- by trying to please her. And how could she expect him to understand?

"Star Wars, Episode Three," she said to the computer.

She loved this sad, haunting music. The combination of the themes for Luke Skywalker and his sister Leia were perfect for skating a slow, emotional piece, and that was just what she planned to do today. Later, much later, she would try to find the courage to tell her fears to Spock. But could he accept them? What kind of fool would admit to someone that yes, they were correct, when the thing they were correct about was damning?

He had asked her to skate with him. Boy, would he be in for a surprise if she ever said yes. She could just imagine his facade falling away as he witnessed the range of emotions the ice could draw from her. It was, after all, like making love, or so the champions had said for centuries.

She took a deep breath and started her routine.

Spock had not meant to intrude on her thoughts. They were not fully bonded yet, so it was fairly straightforward for him to simply observe if he chose to. But it felt like an invasion of her privacy, so he seldom did so. As he'd been preparing to tell her that they would be meeting Worf that evening for dinner at 18:00, he had accidentally tapped into her monologue. Fortunately, he'd been in his office compiling yet another report for Starfleet, so he was able to feel everything in private. Even though he was ashamed of himself, and able to admit it (something he would not have been able to do years ago), he felt every emotional slice of her blades on the cold ice.

He realized why she had asked that it be her "down time." Her love of what she did was clearly apparent. Spock wondered what she had been like as a competitor -- probably a formidable one indeed, given what he'd seen of the last Winter SportsFest. What bothered him is that she felt he was unable to express the same range of feeling, and, when they had first met, that had been all too true. Troubled, he thought for some time about what he could possibly do to allay her trepidations, and convince her, once and for all, that the new, improved Spock was here to stay. He briefly considered speaking with his father, but what good would that do? Sarek would give him the old Vulcan kick in the ass and tell his son to convey to his lady exactly how he felt, that being the logical thing to do. Even though his relationship with his father had also softened after his return from Gol, Spock knew he had to act of his own accord.

After a few moments, he came up with an idea. His fingers tapped into the computer and searched for just the right combination of elements. Ahh. An old Terran example, but absolutely suited to his needs.

Christine finished her routine and headed to the locker room to change. After this, she was going to the spa for a cool eucalyptus wrap and then would catch a nap before their dinner engagement on the planet below.

Her communicator buzzed. "Chapel here," she replied.

"Christine," Spock said, "I was not certain you were done skating, so I did not want to disturb you. We will meet Worf for dinner at 18:00, and he has stressed the fact that it is to be an extremely casual meal. He said he wished to get some pizza at the Terran cafe, as it's nearly impossible to find this dish on his home planet. So I'll see you in the transporter room at, say 17:30?"

"Sure," she laughed, genuinely pleased at this turn of events. "Will you wear your jeans?" she asked with a hint of mischief in her voice.

"Indeed, I had planned to," came his answer, which about floored her. He had started wearing casual clothes off duty, which Leonard had found to be extremely amusing, even though he said not a word.

"OK, see you then," she told him as she finished packing up.

It never even occurred to her that he had not linked with her for the information exchange, and Spock was grateful for this. Otherwise, he might have given his unintentional eavesdropping away.

Even though she knew Spock had planned to go casual to dinner, even Christine was a little surprised at his attire. Well-faded (but impeccably fitting) Levi's, a light denim colored chambray shirt, and casual loafers. She stared at him as she stepped onto the transporter pad.

*Have you seen Spock?*

*No, I think he's meditating somewhere. You free for the evening?*

Lt. Kyle, who had already witnessed the first phase of this character metamorphosis awhile back, made a mental note of everything, with a view to a good story after duty at the bar.

Dinner was, to use the old Terran phrase, a real scream. It turned out that Harcourt Fenton Mudd was well-known in the Klingon Empire as well, and the stories of his escapades on the Enterprise and later with his android population had Worf incredulous at one point. Both he and Spock were pleased to hear that Evie and Ben were doing so well on Fuega, however. This was followed by a re-telling of Cyrano Jones, the Tribbles and the unfortunate Captain Koloth, which had passed into Klingon legend by this point. Worf could not believe they had actually both been there. "I simply refused to admit it was true until this moment," he had said, wiping the Klingon equivalent of tears from his amused eyes. "But it had to be -- who could concoct such a preposterous tale?"

They had made a root beer toast to "ordinary citizens being friends." Worf had looked thoughtful for a moment. "Perhaps," he said almost wistfully, "there will come a day that my grandchildren could attend the Academy as well..." And to this, they had made a second toast, to the future.

Christine took the opportunity to look at both of her dinner companions right after that. "Now," she enunciated clearly, "about these ... 'snow adventures?'" Soon it was her turn to be incredulous.

"That was one of the best evenings I've had in a long time," she said as they walked back to Spock's quarters, "present company excluded." He gave her rear an affectionate grab. *Ass man,* she said.

*I like what I like!* he replied.

Once in his cabin, she went over to the replicator for some iced tea. When she returned to Spock's sleeping quarters, she was surprised to find it aglow in candlelight, and even more surprised to see him standing there in just his jeans. Seduction was obviously on his mind (hers too!), but this energy was, well, different.

He moved forward and put his arms around her. "I thought we'd dance," he said softly.

"Mmmmm," she replied as she nibbled at the delightful-looking skin presented to her. "That would be nice." She kicked off her shoes, glad she had opted for leggings and a matching shirt.

"Really dance," he murmured in her ear.

"What do you mean?" she asked, looking up at him.

"Trust me," he said, holding up two fingers. *Just follow my lead -- and listen with your heart, T'hyla.*

"Computer," he said.

The music swelled up and they just swayed together to its rhythm, getting used to its beat and to each other. Then the words began and Spock started moving with her -- in an old Terran style reminiscent of Ceroc, the French Rock and Roll that was very fast and very sexy.

"I would walk home every evening through the pyramids of light... I would feed myself on silence, wash it down with empty nights..."

He turned her and dipped her body sensuously, following her as their hips rocked to the beat, his eyes blazing with passion as the words continued.

"Then your innocent distraction hit me so hard... My emotional reaction caught me off guard..."

He pulled her back up and they melded together, still swaying, his link to her boring a hole in her heart.

"It was nothing at all, like anything I had ever felt before... And it was nothing at all like I thought, it was so much more... No one else has ever made me feel this way ... and when I asked you how you did it, you just say ... that it was nothing at all..."

*Hear the words,* he was whispering. He twirled her, asking her to throw a leg up on his shoulder, and then he amazed her by twisting her around his body and landing her back on her feet.

*We're SKATING!* she looked up at him.

He was smiling as the song continued, and she closed her eyes as he led her.

"Now I walk home every evening and my feet are quick to move ... cause I know my destination is a warm and waiting you ... from our first communication, it was clear, any thought of moderation would soon disappear..."

She danced seductively away from him, wiggling her hips, wanting him and he followed the beat as he moved forward and pressed his body to hers from behind, dipping them both low once more.

A throbbing, sensual guitar solo had them breathless, swaying again, kissing and touching like fire beings. Then the words started up once more.

"Then you innocent distraction hit me so hard..." and Spock pressed his need against her and lifted her up, just as he had that very first time, and instinctively, she wrapped her legs around his hips and locked her arms around his neck. He started moving them together in ever increasing pirouette-like steps.

And then she saw what he saw. They were skating under a Polarian moon, flying across the ice as one body. He was partnering her every move, he was sliding on his knees across the ice and she was sitting his shoulder, looking into those eyes ... they were gliding as a blur together as one, not even moving a muscle, pressed so closely together ... he prepared to throw her into an impossibly difficult jump and she felt herself drifting through the air, but still joined to him, felt his joy when she landed it effortlessly...

"No one else has ever made me feel this way... but it was nothin' at all..." She opened her eyes to look into his as he dropped to his knees in a last rotation, then they fell onto the floor together as the music ebbed and finished.

For a long time, neither one of them spoke. Spock pulled a cover off his bed and wrapped them in it as they recovered.

"That was ... almost better than sex," she finally said.

He pulled her onto his prone body and she felt him, pulsating with warmth and need. He raised an eyebrow in that sexy way of his.

*Shouldn't we do a comparison to be sure?* he asked as he slid her leggings down off her hips and onto the floor. Her hands moved to the zipper of his jeans but he stopped her.

*In time, beloved.* And then he touched the tip of his tongue to the center of his top lip and she felt herself go from damp to soaked. He smiled as he let his fingers leisurely trail down her body to explore her warmth, then he brought one to his lips and licked it agonizingly slowly with an extremely suggestive look on his face, making her want him even more -- if it was possible. *The more I taste -- the more I must have,* he said as he moved down to explore her center with his mouth.

Her response was almost instantaneous, she'd been so aroused already. She felt herself at the brink and surrendered to the sensations, shouting his name.

*Delightful,* he had finally said. And then she was finally able to free him from the confines of his jeans, and the night belonged to their love.

They had crawled up into bed much later, but had not slept immediately.

"Now do you finally believe that I can feel emotions too?" he asked gently, as he held her very close. He spoke not through their bond, but with his voice. "T'hyla, please understand. When we first met, I was busy trying to be more Vulcan than Vulcanly possible. I was trying to prove to Starfleet, myself and my father that I was truly of my heritage -- but I forgot something very important."

She said nothing, but assented through their link. *I do understand, my beloved.*

"I am also Terran and had almost destroyed that part of myself trying to be the other. But a whole is only made from the sum of its parts -- something my mother told me many years ago. My mother had suffered a great deal from my stubbornness, and I know now I hurt her deeply. After doing the Kholinar training, I finally realized that my attempt at exorcising my human side had very nearly torn me in two. And I could not deny it any longer or it would kill me."

Christine kissed his brow and leaned closer, listening with her ears as well as her heart. Tears were falling down her face as she finally allowed herself to believe what he was saying.

"And so, T'hyla, I decided to allow my human side to assimilate into the Vulcan one. I had been doing this for some time before you re-joined the Enterprise. I have not lost sight of who I am, but I feel that there has been a marked improvement in my demeanor and my character, which I find to be a good thing. And when I saw you again after all that time, I finally realized what I had been forcing myself to run from for all those years. And suddenly, I was tired of running. "

His voice hid a smile as he continued. "Granted, I had not planned for us to consummate our relationship quite so soon..." And they both laughed at the memory," but I had every intention of wooing you as humanly as I could ... and then, hopefully, knowing the joy of having you share my bed and my love for you with me ... and perhaps bonding and marrying one day."

"I think that's been accomplished," she replied with a happy sigh.

He held her at arm's length, eyes searching hers, amused. "We both had, how do you say, some baggage? I am hoping that we've at last jettisoned that excess, for it is most illogical to keep having to carry it everywhere we go..." And then he smiled a little more. "It's time we moved forward together. We are not those people we were all those years ago, beloved. And that is, I think, a good thing."

She laughed and kissed him again. God, how she loved this man, she thought to herself.

*Then you WILL marry me and be my bondmate?*

*Yes, beloved. I love you -- ALL of you.*

And at last, they were able to sleep.

Physicals took up the rest of Christine's week, but she and Spock spent the evenings together like a normal couple would, even if she did fall asleep early into the news bulletins most evenings. They planned to celebrate the end of the nonstop hours on Friday. Lt. Riley had arranged a double film feature in the rec room, the two "WORST" films ever made in the last 4 centuries, and everyone who was anyone was planning to attend.

"Why do the invading aliens always chase the hot Terran woman?" Sulu asked as they sat in the bar afterwards, enjoying a drink. They had just finished watching "Robot Monster," which had drawn even more laughs than, as Riley had introduced it, "That time-honored stink bomb, 'Plan Nine from Outer Space.' "

"Maybe they know a good thing when they see it," Kirk had replied, with a knowing look at his First Officer.

"I fail to understand why exceedingly bad ancient Terran cinema focuses almost exclusively on a woefully inadequate perception of what the filmmakers thought alien life might be," Spock had said succinctly as he finished his iced Vulcan tea.

Christine rolled her eyes in mock exasperation, even as he put his arm around her, right there in public, and allowed himself the luxury of a smile.

"You can take the boy out of the Vulcan, but you can't take the Vulcan out of the boy," McCoy declared with a wink.

As they left the bar, Spock put the question to Christine. "It's a fine evening," he said. "Shall we go skate on the holodeck?"

"Yes," she said with a smile, "let's."



PS: Spock's selection for their music was Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)", a logical choice, based on both lyrics and tempo. It was a good-bye, of sorts...to the past.