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.
My Best Vulcan Face
"Your father?" Christine barely managed not to swallow her tea wrong. "Here?"
Spock regarded her with that special, amused look that he saved only for her. "Christine, my beloved," he sighed, rather over-dramatically, though his eyes were twinkling, "you are beginning to emulate your superior's most annoying habit of making me repeat myself more than is necessary."
*And I love you for it,* he added.
He continued. "Yes, my father will be joining the Enterprise in 18.5 hours when we reach Memory Alpha. He has been there on Federation business and will be riding with us to the spaceport at Xenia, for 1.7 days. From there, he shall join a Vulcan transport back to the planet." He let the corner of his mouth turn up a tad as he added, "Is there some issue you have with this?"
Christine closed her eyes, the color draining from her face a bit, but said nothing.
"He is my father, Christine," Spock said as he took her hand. "And in four month's time, you will be seeing him and my mother when we celebrate our bonding ceremony on Vulcan. Surely you know that we are, as they say on Terra, a package deal?" He lowered his voice a tone, even though they were having a quiet meal alone in his quarters. "You are not ... afraid of him?"
She regarded the man she loved. "I guess I am," she admitted honestly.
"Why?" Spock was genuinely surprised.
"Oh, my beloved...." she sighed. "He is your father, and even though you've re-established your relationship with him in these past years, I am still afraid he will find me ... unworthy of his son."
Spock got up and came around to where she sat and enfolded her in his arms, kissing the side of her forehead and sighing. He reached out through their link.
*Why would you think so illogically?*
*Because the last time I met him, I was just a ... a ... blonde bimbo nurse who was in love with his pigheaded son, and let's not forget, I am Terran, not Vulcan.*
*That is not true, T'hyla. You were not a ‘bimbo’. You are now a respected physician, though you were a most capable head nurse as well. And your hair is now its natural color, which I find so very attractive.* He paused to bury his face in it for a moment. *And it is not as it was back then, when I was, as you state so correctly, such a swine-headed youth. He KNOWS about you, trust me, and he does not disapprove in the least. I know, because I have asked him and Vulcans do not lie.*
"I'll pack my things," she said suddenly, breaking the link as she jumped up.
"Pack? What things?" Spock was feeling perplexed now. She was leaving him?
"Remember that night Jim walked in on us?" she asked with a smirk. It had been quite innocent, actually. They had been watching a silly humorous vid while necking on the sofa. It was high-school level ardor, but the look on the Captain's face ... well ... he had learned to announce himself after that.
"Do you REALLY want your father to find himself in that situation as well? After all, we are not bonded or married, Mister ... so in theory, I'm your kept woman. Even Sarek, with all his years of diplomacy -- I wouldn't subject him, or you, to that."
"I understand your concerns," he replied, admiring her respect for his father, "and they are logical. However, I shall miss your presence at night when I sleep without you." His eyes got that glazed sehlat look, which melted her heart every time.
She slid her hand up his thigh and found something very hard to caress. "I haven't moved out yet," she said seductively.
Spock did not need another invitation.
The landing party beamed down to Memory Alpha late the next afternoon. A formal dinner, at the Chief Librarian's home, had been planned, and from there, Sarek was to join the ship for his journey to Xenia.
Christine, who had spent the morning clearing any last remnant of her presence out of Spock's quarters, was shell-shocked when she learned that her presence had been requested for the event.
"I'm only the Assistant Medical Officer!" she wailed to McCoy. "Why do I have to go? One doctor's enough!"
"You're also Spock's fiancee, in case you'd forgotten, Christine! He wants to show you off, I bet!"
The words had sounded like a contradiction in terms. "Len, there's no way he's going to acknowledge that, tonight of all nights! It's..."
"Illogical?" McCoy asked. She nodded.
"Naah. Chris, he wants to shout it from the rooftops. So go get gussied up and I'll see you in the transporter room. Trust me on this one!"
And, Christine had to admit, Len was right. Even though she'd been stuck wearing her dress uniform (uglier than sin, but SOOO much nicer than the older versions), Ny had done a stupendous job with her hair and makeup at such short notice. When she walked into the transporter room, never mind Lt. Kyle's usual once-over -- Spock's eyebrows had risen beyond his hairline.
*You're dumbstruck? That's a first!*
"Energize, Mr. Kyle," came Kirk's standard order.
* * *
"Ambassador Sarek," Kirk said formally. "It will truly be an honor to have you aboard our ship, even so briefly."
"Father..." Spock then said, "it is good to see you. May I present..."
"Your betrothed, Dr. Chapel," Sarek finished. "It is most pleasant to meet you again, after so many years."
Christine, who had been earlier surprised to find Spock offer his arm when they entered the residence, now smoothly sailed through the formalities as she lifted her free hand in the Vulcan salute and intoned the traditional greeting in the formal tense of the Vulcan language. She had been practicing, and it showed.
Sarek had been surprised, and pleased. Truly, his prospective daughter-in-law was a formidable force to be reckoned with. He smiled inwardly as he recalled meeting another striking Terran female, all those years ago.
The dinner was, as ever, interminably boring, but diplomatically necessary. Christine had been drawn into several conversations and, by the look of some faces at the dinner table, had obviously passed muster, though she did not quite know what that muster was.
As they left the transporter room, she had bade good night of her fiancé ... and his father. "I have an early shift in sick bay tomorrow," she had said apologetically, "so I shall leave you for now, and wish you a pleasant evening."
Sarek had stopped her. "Will you join Spock and myself for dinner tomorrow, then, Doctor?"
"I would be honored, Ambassador." She had answered calmly enough, belying the fear that danced around in the pit of her stomach.
Even Spock was impressed at the way she carried herself. He remembered something he had read once, years ago, a description of a Terran woman. "A Thoroughbred, among a field of ponies." Yes, that was what she was. And so much more.
As they both watched her decidedly shapely feminine form depart, Sarek turned to his son. "I would desire a walk in the arboretum," he declared, "to work off the meal we have had, lest your mother accuse me of acquiring a 'spare tire.' Would you care to accompany me?"
They strolled in companionable silence, punctuated now and then by snippets of conversation.
"You are looking fit and well, my son. Are you still practicing your Kholinar disciplines?" Sarek asked after awhile.
"Indeed, Father, I am. I have also recently begun to learn the art of yoga, and, as you can imagine, there are many forms of physical activity available on the ship. There is even a holodeck exclusively for winter sports, including snowboarding." He neglected to add that the yoga he was learning was Tantric -- a sexual version, practiced with a partner, and sans clothes. Privately.
Sarek eyed his son. "Snowboarding you say? Perhaps I shall view this holodeck tomorrow, as I am curious to see it practiced. After all, it would seem illogical for me not to understand the sport that has become a household word on Vulcan, thanks to young Stark's victory at Polaris."
"I have tried it myself," Spock said. Sarek regarded him with what could pass for amusement only on Vulcan, and only between family members. "There were some glitches in the program, which caused its brief closure, that had to be corrected. It was necessary for someone to do a final run-though before it was re-opened to the crew, so I thought it logical to perform this check myself. And I, too, thought I could better understand the aftermath of Stark's victory if I had tried the sport."
"And?" Sarek asked.
"It is indeed a disciplined sport, one requiring great concentration from both mind and body. A good way for youths to channel their energies and maintain a level of fitness." Spock sighed inwardly. If only his father could have seen how he and Worf had enjoyed the halfpipe. By the end of the week, they had progressed to the intermediate level.
They walked further.
"I suppose I would not be, as your mother says, a good parent if I did not ask if you were certain the path you are about to take is what you wish to do."
Spock cocked an eyebrow. "I am certain."
His father exhaled visibly. "Good. Now that is out of the way, perhaps you can help me. Your mother has sent over a PADD with information she requires, to assist the bonding ceremony planner finalize the arrangements for the reception. She has been making my head hurt with these plans, my son, for I know nothing of how these things transpire. Would you and Christine study this and then communicate with your mother? I would be most appreciative."
"A bonding planner?" Spock was surprised. Things had certainly changed on Vulcan. "And next will there be an indoor snowboard facility being built in the capital?"
"You have not heard?" Sarek replied.
Sarek accompanied his son back to his quarters to give him the PADD that Amanda had sent over. They viewed it briefly, and Spock promised to have Christine study it with him. His father could not help noticing a hologuidebook sitting on the desk. It bore the label, "Property of Christine Chapel" in one corner, but that was not what drew his attention. The title of the book was "The Rotten Tomatoes Guide to the Worst Cinema of the Past Half-Millennium." Sarek was quite intrigued, but said nothing.
* * *
Christine looked at her chronometer. It was 01:30. The buzzer of her intercom could only be one person.
"Good evening, Doctor," Spock said as he came in. "I fear that I have acquired a medical condition that needs your immediate attention." He pulled her against him.
"We can't!" she told him, even as she moved her hands to the drawstring of his sweatpants. Her hands closed around his erection and he moaned softly. "What about your father?"
"My father is, at this moment, sleeping ... something I have been unable to do because of the effect you have on me, Doctor..." he whispered as he leaned his backside against her desk. In one fluid motion he had her astride him and all thoughts of Vulcan propriety went out of the air lock.
* * *
In Sarek's quarters, he had just finished an evening meditation and was now communicating with his wife via holotransmission.
"And you gave Spock the PADD?" Amanda asked. Sarek sighed.
"Yes, my wife, our son has promised that he and his affianced will provide you with the necessary information as quickly as possible."
*So,* she asked through their link, *are they -- living together?*
*Yes, my wife, but they are behaving illogically. They are attempting to deny that this is so. Most illogical. It is clear they have been residing together, but I actually believe our son is afraid to tell me this. And Christine appears to be frightened of this possibility as well. They are maintaining separate living arrangements for my benefit, which has hardly fooled me, but we do not need this kind of pretense. They are, after all, adults.*
*I can remember a time when we had to pretend for YOUR parents, though for different reasons,* she reminded him. *Things will undoubtedly work out to a logical conclusion. It did for us.*
*So I recall,* he replied and she felt his affection for her, still as strong as the day they had been bonded, as he signed off.
* * *
Spock's presence, as well as that of one of his research teams, was required on the planet the next day for some final meetings at the library facility, but he would be back onboard well before the Enterprise left orbit. He, Sarek and Christine walked towards the transporter room and finalized their arrangements for dinner that evening in the Officer's mess.
"Nothing special on my account, please," he said. "All these formal dinners have become a bit tiresome." He looked at Spock. "I do wish that people would be their natural selves a bit more and leave diplomacy to the diplomats. Being among real people is a refreshing change from my everyday work, and I have enjoyed it thus far."
Spock felt the tips of his ears flush. Surely his father did not mean...?
At that moment, Sulu and Riley approached, headed back from a workout in the gym. Christine had been standing to one side of Spock and his father as they conversed, so they paid scant attention to her companions. To her horror, they zeroed right in on her.
"Hey, Chris," Sulu said, "are you coming to karaoke tomorrow?"
"I -- er..." she began, certain her face was as red as the tomato juice she'd had that morning for breakfast. Why here? Why now?
Riley interrupted. "And when are we doing another CSI re-enactment? I've got a great episode all picked out. Maybe you could persuade Spock to be Grissom again, he's a nat--" His words faltered as the two Vulcans turned from their conversation to regard him, one curious, the other one inwardly mortified.
"C'mon, Riley," Sulu said as he grabbed his errant friend. "We're late."
"Yeah, I hear my bath water running over," Riley agreed. They fled.
"Your shipmate certainly has good hearing ability for a human," was all Sarek said as Christine excused herself and headed off to the comparative sanity of her patients.
Sometime later, Leonard McCoy was surprised to see Ambassador Sarek enter sickbay.
"Are you feeling ill?" he asked, concerned.
"No, Doctor, do not trouble yourself. I came to see Dr. Chapel. Is she here?"
McCoy shook his head. "She's on a break, down on the holodeck. She goes skating there a few times a week, for exercise. You might find her there, she only just left. Is there anything I can do instead?"
"Yes, actually," Sarek replied. "It is most fortuitous that she is in the very place I had planned to go next. Do you, by any chance, have a cold-weather outer garment that I might use when I do so?"
* * *
Sarek entered the wintry holodeck, grateful for the use of the heavy jacket McCoy had found. He looked around the facility, quite astonished at the range of activities going on about him. Clearly, this was a very popular place, despite the coldness of the atmosphere. He headed for the halfpipe first and saw that yes, the discipline was rigorous, but might be a good way for Vulcan youths to "let off steam" and made notes to discuss this with some members of the High Council when he returned home.
He turned to the ice rink and saw Christine at its center, about to begin her discipline. She did not see him, so he found an unobtrusive vantage point and settled down to watch.
"Computer," she said. "Cue Music. Big and Rich. 'Comin' to Your City.' "
The song started and Christine swung into a jazzy, energetic, routine.
"Well, we're coming to your city, gonna play our guitars and sing you a country song..."
She really got into the rhythm and started to move, feeling like herself for the first time since Spock had told her his father would be arriving. Head thrown back, she laughed as she skated along. This was waaaaaay too good. The tempo changed and she started doing a series of straight line steps and pirouettes, struttin' her stuff as Ny said the last time she'd been here. She sang along lustily. Maybe, she thought, she'd do this one for karaoke.
"Listen up! Now LA's got them freaks at Pink's and fifteen dollar drinks and San Antonio is a wild wild rodeo.. In Phoenix Arizona, we drank way too much Corona..."
Her eyes met Sarek's. Horror washed over her. She skidded, flapped her arms for balance, and then fell in an undignified heap on the ice. Two hockey players, who had been practicing in the corner of the rink, skated over and got her to the edge of the boards. She shook off their concerns and cued the music to stop, wishing the ice would open up and swallow her. This was a very bad turn of events.
Tentatively, she looked over to where Sarek had been. He was gone. She breathed a sigh of relief, then jumped out of her skin when she heard his voice.
"Christine? Are you quite all right?" He was standing right next to the barrier.
"Ambassador, please let me explain, I do not wish--"
He held up his hand to stop her words. His expression was -- amused? Could Vulcans get amused? Christine asked herself.
"Please, shall we dispense with your addressing me as Ambassador? I am, after all, going to be your father-in-law in a few month's time. Why not call me by my name instead? At least in everyday situations, which this certainly is!"
She pulled on a jacket and finished taking off her skates, all the while trying to figure out what to say next. Surely he would not lecture her, but Spock was going to get two pointed earfuls, she thought.
"May I, as you Terrans say, buy you a drink?" Sarek asked pleasantly, indicating the well-equipped warming cafe that stood nearby.
They sat, drinking hot fruit tea, watching the snowboarders attack the halfpipe from the warmth of cafe's windows.
"Your skating abilities are quite remarkable," Sarek said after awhile. His next words surprised her. "It was interesting to watch you enjoy your pursuit. I can tell it is a passion of yours."
"But, Sarek," her tongue almost tripped over his name, "I don't want you to think I act like that all the time. I mean, what could you possibly think of a potential daughter-in law who skates to silly songs, does karaoke and engages in entertainment show re-enactments? It's not the Vulcan way, I know, but please don't hold this against Spock."
Sarek sighed. "I would think that this is the woman my son has fallen in love with. A strong-willed, passionate, intelligent woman."
"Just not Vulcan enough," she said sadly.
"If my son had wanted a Vulcan bondmate, do you not think he would have found one by now, Christine? You are not thinking logically. I recall how you cared for us all those years ago, and can tell you my son was taken with you even back then, though at the time he would never have admitted to anyone -- even himself. When he returned to us from Gol, we spoke at length about what he wanted to do with his life, and who he wished to spend it with. That person was you. He formally asked for my approval to court you, with a view to bonding."
Christine was shaken. "He did?" she asked in a small voice.
Sarek nodded. "And would I be sitting here with you right now had I not given my assent? Please, Christine, do not hide your true personality from me for Spock's sake. He fell in love with that person, and I am pleased that he has. As, of course, is his mother."
Her future father-in-law then changed the topic. "So, do you and Spock enjoy viewing extremely badly-made films? I saw your hologuidebook in his quarters." His expression told her that yes, he knew, so please, stop pretending you and my son do not share living space. It matters to me not a bit.
She smiled so hard it hurt. "YES!" she said animatedly. "Have you heard of 'Robot Monster'? It is so very bad it's become a classic. It's one of our favorites."
"Indeed, the concept of an extra-terrestrial with the body of an ape and the head of a deep-sea diver is most illogical," Sarek replied. "But there are other examples as well that my wife has introduced me to. Her choice is usually 'Ice Station Zebra'."
* * *
Leonard McCoy entered the officer's mess and made his way to the table. He was surprised to see Sarek, Christine, Spock and Jim having what appeared to be an extremely enjoyable conversation. What could they possibly be talking about?
"Good evening folks," he said to the assembled parties. "What's the topic of our dinner conversation?"
"'Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,' Doctor" Spock told him.
McCoy closed his eyes. Oh no, please not another outbreak of PSI-2000, he thought.