A/N: Welcome! :) This is the third story in my Vulcan Archives collection, The Body vs. the Soul, featuring a Spock/OC pairing :) I would recommend any new readers check out the first two stories (The Mind vs. the Heart, and The Heart vs. the Body) to understand the relationship Spock has developed with my OC, Cora, as well as her backstory and her abilities. I'll do my best to recap some key areas throughout this story, but there may be some parts I miss ;) Just to warn, I haven't seen much of the original series or any of the different continuations/movies of it, so this story will be mostly based on the new-movies with some things I do know of Star Trek popping up.

This story will be about 10 chapters long, updated daily (as best I can manage), and will be a revision of the movie with quite a few original scenes and bridging moments put in. I try to add original scenes to give more background to Spock and Cora and what they'll be going through in this story ;)

I'm going to do my best to keep Spock in character, however, keep in mind, he is half-human and that is something the OC has been helping him accept throughout the first two stories. He has also been mated to the OC for about 3 years by this point, so he may act somewhat differently around her than he has Uhura in the movies :)

A small description of Cora: She is a humanoid alien, an Empathic, from the planet Hestia of whom, her species has been used as slaves by an invading species called the Mas'heirs centuries ago. On Hestia, the natives possess deep/rich colored hair (Cora's is a deep red) and light eyes, such as mints, teals, silvers (Cora's are teal). Empathics are a modest society, so Cora tends to wear a long sleeved version of the blue Starfleet uniform with black leggings and knee-high black boots, this is also due to scarring from the Mas'heirs various punishments. As an Empathic, she possesses the ability to sense and manipulate the emotions of those around her. An actress I picture as looking something like Cora is Brooke Williams :)

I hope you enjoy :)

~8~ is a scene break

Disclaimer...I don't own Star Trek just Cora and original moments...otherwise we'd have had Carol Wallace back as part of the crew ;)

~8~

Another Day in the Fleet

Cora stood beside Captain Kirk as the man spoke to a Delegation of Teenaxi, creatures that looked something of a cross between a frog and a hornless rhino, from what she knew of Earth animals. She was quiet, concentrated on the emotions of the room, holding a small box in her hands, it resting on her flat palms. It was a routine mission, they were to act as a third party to help broker a peace between another species, the Fobonane, and the Teenaxi. In such a situation, the Captain, of course, would be the representative. Often he or she would select a second to go with them as backup, should it turn hostile, or someone with more knowledge of the customs of the species in question.

When an Empathic was part of the crew, that 'second' position was automatically delegated to them. As she was the Empathic assigned to the Enterprise, it fell to her to join Kirk on this particular mission. Not that it was a surprise. She was often part of the landing crew whenever they touched down on a planet. When one didn't know the feelings of the natives to new people, it was best to have someone around that could help keep things calm or knock out potential enemies so they could get away. It was one reason Empathics were such an asset to the Fleet and worth the price spent to obtain one. Their ability to sense and influence the feelings of others transcended species. As far as the Fleet could tell, as far as the information gathered over years of testing and research, there was not a single species immune to their skills.

Already she could tell that this was going to be tricky. Spock had warned her that the Teenaxi were a stubborn race and easy to anger and fall to paranoia, volatile creatures. She could sense it even now, they were suspicious of the two humanoids standing before them. It would also be tricky in the sense that, while an Empathic could influence emotion in others, create feelings at times, by Fleet regulations they were NOT to force another species to agree to treaties. They could make them calmer, more willing to listen, but they were not to make them eager to agree or make them sign, nor could they attack or torment them into signing. Not that an Empathic ever would resort to harm to get their way, it was against their nature. To cause harm was to feel harm.

At most, she could try to calm the Teenaxi down, keep them from attacking.

"My name is Captain James Tiberius Kirk," Kirk began as he spoke to the aliens, "And this is my associate, Cora. We are with the United Federation of Planets. We're appearing before you as neutral representatives of the Fobonane Republic. We bring you a message of goodwill and present to you, esteemed members of the Teenaxi Delegation, a gift from the Fobonane High Council with the highest regard."

Kirk gestured for Cora to step forward and she did so, opening the box to reveal a small, somewhat triangular shaped white object within.

"What's wrong with it?" one of the Teenaxi called down from where they were all gathered high above them on a ledge that circled the room.

Kirk glanced at Cora, though the girl looked equally confused by the question, "Excuse me?" he asked.

"Why don't they want it anymore?"

"Well…this was once a piece of an ancient weapon but now they offer it as a symbol of…of peace. In the Fobonane culture, to surrender a weapon is an offer of truce."

"How did they come by it?"

"They told us they acquired it a long time ago."

"So they stole it then!" the Teenaxi shouted.

Cora winced slightly at the suddenness of it, taking it as a cue to begin her work to try and keep the creatures calm.

"No," Kirk tried to salvage it as well, "They...um...well..."

"You don't know the Fobonens like we do," the Teenaxi began, sounding like he was starting to shout but lowered the volume a bit when Cora's efforts began to be felt.

"Yeah, that's…that's very true," Kirk sighed, "Your Excellency, this gift..."

"They are crowds of untrustworthy thieves who want to see us murdered in our own beds!" the Teenaxi began to shout again, Cora trying to flood the room with calm.

Kirk nodded his head at her, feeling her work himself, which he was grateful for. Just moments ago, all he'd wanted to do was throw in the towel and walk off, but he felt her peace settle over him and felt this may still work, "This beloved artifact is a symbol of trust and peace…"

"They will chop us into pieces, and roast us over a fire," the Teenaxi's voice quickly changed from a shout of anger to a cry of fear.

So Cora tried for reassurance.

"I don't think that's true..."

"And eat us!"

"What?" Kirk shook his head at that, completely lost as to how this had gotten so far into hysteria with Cora there.

Cora didn't seem fully shocked though. It was not uncommon for species that were volatile to change emotions quickly. It was just a matter of catching up or changing them back to calm and peace.

A moment later, the delegate jumped from above, rolling down a curve in the wall and roaring at the two of them when he reached the bottom. It would have been intimidating…had the Teenaxi not been the size of a Tribble. However, unlike a Tribble, the Teenaxi was vicious and launched itself at Kirk.

Cora dropped the box, rushing forward and reaching out to grab the creature, pouring calm into it as she pulled it off him, setting the creature down. Only for the rest of the Teenaxi to follow their leader, leaping off their upper ledge and rolling down to overwhelm them.

"Sleep!" Kirk shouted over to Cora as they were swarmed by the Teenaxi, all of them trying to claw at the humanoids, "Sleep, Cora! Now, please!"

Cora focused as best she could while being attacked, holding her hands out to try and send the Teenaxi to sleep while also trying not to catch Kirk in the crossfire of it. She frowned deeply, finding it harder to dredge up that emotion within herself to spread among the Teenaxi. That was how Empathics operated, they could create emotion in others, but only an emotion they themselves had felt. They had to feel that emotion, draw it up within them, and essentially transfer it to others. Subtly or with force, through projection or physical touch, she could do it all, she had felt it all. The Mas'heirs, the ones who had gained control of her planet, they made sure to train their slaves well. Especially the eleventh children, like she was. They were the ones typically sold off-world, they had to be the ones trained in all manner of emotion, as wide a range as the Mas'heirs could manage.

There were very few emotions the Mas'heirs couldn't manage to ensure they knew. The ones that could not be induced or felt naturally would be introduced via another Empathic who had experienced such emotion. Love, being one of them. The Mas'heirs were strict with their breeding programs, they left no room or chance of love to form naturally between the male and female Empathics. So it was difficult to teach an Empathic, an eleventh child, that emotion if they were to be sold off-world. They had experienced familial love, platonic love, but not other forms. So Empathics who had felt the other forms of love would be brought in to share that emotion, so that an eleventh child would be able to mimic it if needed off-world.

She felt as though she had experienced everything, exhaustion was one that never failed her in dangerous situations. She had taken down Romulans and other humans with as much. She merely had to recall how exhausted she had felt one time or another, and replicate it in others.

But, right now, she was finding it difficult to muster it up. It wasn't unusual when she didn't have a moment to prepare or distance to draw the emotion up during. If she was ready and prepared, like walking through a ship and knowing someone could jump out at every moment, she could bring it to the surface instantly. This was supposed to be a diplomatic mission, not an attack, so it took a bit more doing. It was certainly not something to be alarmed at.

Soon enough though, the Teenaxi were staggering on their feet and slumping down, sleeping.

Kirk let out a breath, looking at his shirt which was ripped at the shoulder, and over at Cora, "Thanks, Cor."

"You are very welcome, Captain Kirk."

He rolled his eyes, "Seriously, Jim is fine."

Cora merely smiled. He had been after her to call him Jim instead of Captain Kirk or James T. Kirk, when in an 'off-duty' capacity, for ages now. And while she had called him Jim in the past…it seemed to only come about after near death experiences, of which there had not been many thanks to her efforts to keep things calm. It just...it wasn't proper to be so informal.

"Scotty?" Kirk called into a comm., "Get us out of here."

"That was quick!" Scotty's voice came through.

"Negotiations did not end well, Montgomery Scott," Cora offered.

"Losing your touch, Lassie?"

"Scotty!" Kirk huffed.

"There's quite a bit of surface interference, sir. It'll just be a bit…"

Kirk had just turned to look at Cora, who had knelt down to pick up the box she'd dropped pulling the Teenaxi off of him, when they were beamed up.

It wasn't till they appeared in the bright room of the Enterprise that they realized two of the Teenaxi had come with them, one seemed to have latched itself to Kirk's boot when it fell asleep and hadn't let go, and another had been dangling from the back of his shirt, leaving large rips in it when two of the crew tried to pull it off him.

Cora looked over at Kirk for a moment when the man let out a long breath, sensing a plethora of emotion from him. The largest being exhaustion, but not a physical one, more of a bone deep weariness. It was mixed with many other things, boredom, exasperation, resignation, irritation, and disappointment. It wasn't directed at anyone, it was all internal. She couldn't help but clutch the box in her hand tightly as she observed him in concern. Sometimes the crew forgot she could sense their emotions, which she was grateful for, to know they were so comfortable around her and truly saw her as one of the crew. The last thing she would ever want was them to hide things bothering them.

But Kirk was a difficult man to confront about his feelings. Often the emotions she felt off others, those of a sorrowful or downward sort, she could help with. She could subtly give a boost of happiness or release, slowly and carefully so they wouldn't know, so they would think they had come to terms with what was bothering them on their own. Or, if they were truly extremely concerning emotions, she could bring it up to Dr. McCoy and the medical teams could authorize one of the psychologists to help as those were underlying conditions that she could help treat for a time, but it was not a permanent solution.

Kirk was also more aware of her abilities and she felt like it was an invasion of his privacy to change his emotions when it wasn't a threatening or high tension situation. If an argument broke out among crew or on a mission, it was her duty to calm things, this was not that sort. He was entitled to feel how he felt, she just wished he would speak about it.

"I ripped my shirt again," Kirk murmured as he stepped off the teleport, Cora following him dutifully.

"You alright, Laddie?" Scotty called, but Kirk didn't answer, Cora offering him an apologetic look before she stepped out of the room.

"Cora!" a voice called as she and Kirk moved down the hall, Spock and Doctor Leonard McCoy joining them, McCoy already with a scanner in his hands to make sure they were both uninjured.

Cora turned, smiling brightly when she saw Spock, "Spock!" she greeted, offering him two fingers as well, though beaming more when he leaned in to kiss her on the lips instead.

In larger crowds or around more of the crew, they followed more of the Vulcan customs. She was always very sure to allow Spock to initiate physical contact as she knew Vulcans were less physical and more intellectual. She never wanted to make others feel uncomfortable, and she loved Spock a great deal. But ever since his Pon Farr almost three years ago, the completion of their mating bond, he seemed comfortable with expressing physical touch and affection with her even when they weren't in the privacy of their rooms, but among friends in small numbers.

It made her feel warm and bright inside when he did that. To know he felt alright with such actions. Her people were very emotionally based, physical touch was a comfort and treasure to them. It was odd how she and Spock worked, but they did. She felt the emotion he couldn't always express, and his customs and how he held himself was like a moment of stability and calm and peace when surrounded by chaotic emotion. She challenged him to accept his human side, to be both human and Vulcan and not just one, and he challenged her to focus. They worked, and seeing these small gestures, how freely he bestowed them on her, she could never contain the elation she felt when he gave her something as small as a kiss on the lips instead of the Vulcan kiss of touched fingers. She felt like it was a moment of connection between them, a moment of completion and contentment and…

"Cor, if you could reel it back a bit?" Kirk's voice cut through her thoughts as she pulled back from the small kiss.

"I do not understand," Cora spoke, blinking at him a moment.

"You're sort of projecting there, Red," McCoy told her, both he and Kirk appearing a little uncomfortable, shifting on their feet and not really looking at either her or Spock.

Cora stared, "I was…projecting?" she repeated, sounding both stunned and very confused.

She…had not realized she had been projecting her emotion like that. She could, of course, project emotion in general, it was how she was able to influence others without need to touch them physically. Though it was often more subtle, sometimes subtle enough where they didn't realize she was doing it and that it wasn't their own emotion in them. But she always had control over it, she would consciously choose to do so. She had never projected without intention before.

"Have done the last few times one of you've come back from a mission," McCoy answered, taking a deep breath as he felt the emotion starting to recede, "Thanks, Red."

"My apologies," Cora murmured, a small frown on her face, startled she'd lost control of her abilities like that without realizing, and more than just this one time apparently.

"It's fine," Kirk waved it off, a small smile on his face, "Understandable."

Spock gave Kirk a nod of thanks, knowing from the faint flush on Cora's cheeks that she was a bit embarrassed she'd slipped, "Did you manage to broker a treaty with Teenaxi?" he changed the topic back to the mission.

Kirk sighed at that, turning to start walking once more, "Eh, let's just say we came up short. Cora did her best, neutralized the threat against us, kept the situation from escalating. Could you uh…log that and put it in the vault, Spock?" Kirk pointed back at the box in Cora's hands, "Thank you."

"Jim, you look like crap," McCoy spoke as they continued walking, glancing at Spock when the Vulcan continued to follow as Cora did and had to smirk. Cora was following as she hadn't been dismissed yet, but Spock was following Cora.

"Thank you, Bones," Kirk muttered.

"You've got that little vein popping out your temple again, you ok?"

"Never better," he huffed, "It's just another day in the Fleet."

"Do you require my assistance, Captain Kirk?" Cora offered.

Kirk turned, walking backwards as he spoke, "No, Cor, thanks though. But I'll be fine," he winked, plastering on a smile before he turned down a hall, McCoy going after him as Cora and Spock slowed to a halt.

"Do you wish to accompany me?" Spock asked Cora, taking the box from her.

She smiled up at him, "I would, yes, however, there is something else I must do first."

Spock tilted his head to the side in question, knowing she could sense his curiosity off him, "Oh?"

"It shall be, I hope, a surprise."

"A surprise?" he blinked.

She nodded, "I will meet you after? We can talk then."

Spock nodded, smiling slightly when she leaned in to press a gentle kiss to his cheek. He would not lie, as Vulcans do not lie, and say he had not grown to enjoy these displays of affection between them. The solitude of space, their time together on the Enterprise, it had helped them grow stronger and closer, but she was right, there was something growing in him, a discussion they needed to have, that she could sense he wished to speak of. He watched as she moved to go down the hall, in the opposite direction of Kirk and McCoy, but also in the opposite direction he was going as well.

He let out a breath, his smile starting to fall when she disappeared around a corner. He was not sure how this conversation was going to go, but the longer it waited to be had, the worse, he feared, it would. He took a breath in and shook his head, it would be illogical to worry before the conversation was held. And so, he turned and walked to the Vaults to put the artifact away as requested.

~8~

Cora smiled and nodded at the few crew members tending to the small garden of the Enterprise. It was something meant to help with the air filtration and also with providing the crew with some fresh vegetables every once in a while. There were some flowers too. A few different species required meditation at times and so the Fleet had ensured all ships were equipped with an area of the gardens to help, a tranquil spot for rest and reflection. The flowers and other plants there were specifically selected as to not be wasteful, they could be used for medicine too. It was good for the other crew members as well, to have a place that wasn't all technology and black or white colors, something real to return to when it became too much.

She wasn't sure what she was looking for exactly, this was not something she had experienced before. She truly wasn't sure her suspicions were even correct. But there were factors coming around that made her…concerned. She had never been introduced to this, it was not something she or her family or the Mas'heirs had ever considered. The eleventh child of a Hestian family was often sold. The only time they weren't was when there was some sort of physical deformity or injury that keeps them from going off-world. The Mas'heirs could not be paid a good price if the eleventh children were not perfect in all ways. She had endured no such fate, though there were whispers of others who would injure themselves for the sake of not being sold, fearing their new masters may be even worse than the Mas'heirs were. As such, no one had told her anything of this.

The projecting. From whispers she heard on Hesita, the projecting of emotion without intention was a symptom, a sign, the first sign.

And, while facing the Teenaxi, she was now suspicious she had experienced the second.

From what she knew, the two other Empathics the Fleet had purchased before her had not experienced the traits as she had.

They were small details, but they were concerning to her. Small things she may not have even noticed had it not been for Spock, of all people. He had helped her focus more, meditate. He'd taught her Vulcan methods to help her keep herself together in hard times. When she had experienced and endured the death of the planet Vulcan, it had been something concerning to Spock for a long time to come. When she and some of the crew had been held by Khan, when she had experienced phantom pains that the others with her had endured, it only grew more so to Spock. He had asked her if she might like him to teach her some meditation techniques to help her focus through the pain or other emotions. It would do little against a planet-wide event, but if the crew was injured around her, it might help her focus enough to hold the emotions and pain at bay so she could get away or help. He never wanted her to be as crippled as she had been after Vulcan's demise.

She had found that she noticed other things as a result. She was more aware of her abilities through the meditation techniques. On Hestia, and even among the Fleet, it was common for Empathics to hold in their own emotions and attempt to dull within themselves the emotions of those around them. Spock had noticed her struggles with it first, it was why she hadn't done well in his Languages class, why he had suggested private lessons back in the Academy. Because she had not been used to non-Empathics around her and the emotion everywhere had been overwhelming and distracting. During meditation, it was like she could actually focus on the emotion in a safer space, focus on what she felt just herself, focus on the emotions inside her that she could bring up.

Now she was a little more aware of herself and what she could do.

But what was concerning to her now, the signs, how she hadn't noticed until others had mentioned it. She shouldn't have been projecting. She'd worked hard during her time on the Enterprise, she had more control, and yet she had projected her emotions? It didn't make sense, it shouldn't have happened.

And yet…realizing she had done so had made her reconsider her past use of her abilities. It made her think back to the mission with the Teenaxi. It wasn't uncommon for her to struggle just slightly to bring up a specific emotion if she wasn't ready to use it. Or that was what she had thought during the moment, in the middle of needing to use it, but with the words the others had said…she wasn't quite sure if it was just a surprise any longer or truly the second sign.

She had had no issue bringing up feelings of calm and peace. But it HAD taken her longer to dredge up exhaustion and sleep. It shouldn't have been so. Had it been anger or pain or torment, she could understand that. It was an emotion she was reluctant to ever use on another.

The Mas'heirs made sure they endured enough pain to know what every torturous moment could feel like. They were inventive when it came to exploring different types of pain. There were two reasons for it. Control, as Empathics would not attack the ones who could so easily hurt them in such a way. But also…power, as the Mas'heirs would have people who could use that pain on others that would dare attack them. Empathics were peaceful, from what was said about her people before the invasion, and she believed it. They did not like to cause harm, because they had to feel it first in order to inflict it, and when they were inflicting it, they felt it off the person they were hurting. It was an endless loop. The Mas'heirs had ways of forcing them to war for them. SHE had never experienced it, she thanked whatever powers there were for that, but she knew it had been done in the past. The Mas'heirs had made them war and fight for them, kill for them. And it twisted in her gut the knowledge that she could, kill that is. The right amount of fear or pain and the body wouldn't be able to handle it, it would shut down, the strain would be too much to bear. It made her ill to think of those in the past that had been forced to do so.

It was harder to bring up the painful emotions to use them. The pain itself, the reluctance, the natural desire not to harm. She expected to struggle there, but exhaustion was not something she'd had troubles with in the past. She had used it before and had no issues.

Two traits, two very small changes in her abilities, and she knew something more was happening.

And that was why she was there, in the gardens. It wasn't for meditation though, it was to test her concerns.

She moved over to a line of small flowers, a few which had just been planted, and knelt on the grass beside them. She looked down at the small plants, the flowers on one had only just started to bloom but some were still closed. She tilted her head as she eyed them.

She wasn't sure what to do.

She had only heard rumors on Hestia. She had never seen it for herself, this test she intended to take, only heard some words here and there. She had never been one of the ones who wouldn't be sold. The Mas'heirs, her own family, had never thought to tell her about any of this. It was expected of those who would remain on Hestia, not those to be sold. But, then again, there were many things she had not known or been taught when she'd left Hestia.

Her first realization that she had much to learn was just in observing other Cadets together. She had entered the Academy halls and, almost instantly, had seen two Cadets pressing lips together. It was something so simple, but complicated. She hadn't even known a thing about courting customs till she had reached Starfleet Academy, she didn't know any other customs but her own and what if she insulted someone on accident? The Fleet was surprisingly helpful with learning, though she supposed they had to be. With so many different aliens joining, they had courses set up to discuss not just languages but customs as well. She had been both curious and more than a little startled at what she'd learned during them. The Fleet did not want any sort of conflict or misunderstandings to brew between their officers or crew. There were archives and entire sections of the handbooks available to all cadets that detailed alien cultures and customs to avoid such things.

She had learned and known what to avoid and what to look for. She had studied the Vulcan customs in depth from the moment she realized the feelings she got around Spock were not just from HER.

But there was nothing much in there about Empathics. There were very brief descriptions of her people, their abilities, but nothing about their customs. Because there was not much known. The Mas'heirs had wiped out nearly every piece of their past, taken almost every tradition from them. And not many of the Fleet expected their Cadets or crews to ever encounter an Empathic up until the Kelvin. The Captains, of course, were given more detailed instructions of how to proceed with an Empathic as crew, what permissions to grant, how to utilize their skills. But for Cadets, that wasn't as much an issue.

Spock had always been very considerate of her, taking care with his words and actions to ensure she found no offense in them. Given her experiences and treatments by other Cadets during the Academy days, she could not imagine the two Empathics before her had been so lucky as to have a half-Vulcan among their crew. Indeed, as far as she knew, she was the only Empathic to begin a courtship and complete a mating with another Fleet member.

She shook her head from her thoughts and moved to reach out for the plants, but hesitated, pulling her hand back a moment later. She swallowed and looked around. For the moment, she was the only one there, there was no one to see if she was wrong in her suspicions. Spock wasn't there.

That was part of her hesitation. If she was…if she was wrong, she didn't know what it would mean for Spock. She…part of her wanted her concerns to be real, but part of her didn't. She didn't know how Spock would feel. It was one thing to feel his emotions as they occurred, it was another to know how he would react to something in the future. And this test could change everything between them. How would he react from a human standpoint? From a Vulcan one?

Another part of her hesitated for fear of what this test would reveal. She didn't know how SHE felt about it either. She didn't know if she would be happy or fearful or disappointed. She wouldn't know till she went through with the test, but it was hard to actually do so. What would it reveal? What did she want?

Well, she knew what she wanted. She was just…frightened. That was the emotion behind it. Frightened. There was so much unknown about this, both because of her people but also…herself. Spock. The Fleet. The crew. Their mission. Her abilities. What would it mean for her abilities if this test proved true? There was so much to consider and she felt like she was going to faint from the sheer overwhelming sensation.

She closed her eyes a moment, taking a breath. She could almost hear Spock's voice in her mind telling her to be calm, telling her that it would be illogical to worry for something that had not yet been determined. She smiled slightly at just the thought.

That was another thing she would need to test, when this one was done.

The times she heard Spock in her mind, more so the time she had heard him recently, it was always far too clear and sounded far too much like him that she felt she wasn't imagining his voice at all but that he was truly speaking to her in her mind. He had a mental connection to her, just as she had an emotional one to him. It would not surprise her if it had grown so strong over the years that he could do more than just read her mind but speak to it directly. Or perhaps it was HER, perhaps she was the one able to hear his thoughts now? She did not know. So much of her people's culture and history had been lost, the full extent of what they could do erased by the Mas'heirs.

But that was something to explore at another time.

She opened her eyes and looked down at the little plant. She reached out with her hand once more, and held it just over the still-closed buds. She stared at it, her hand shaking slightly, and held her breath.

She wasn't sure what to do. She wasn't sure if she was doing this right at all. She probably wasn't. There was no written documentation of this. It was, as the humans would call it, an old wives tale of sorts, oral tradition on Hestia, a whisper among her people. One that had never been intended for her to know. She probably hadn't heard it right, she was probably doing this wrong and…

She let out a small breath when, before her eyes, the plant began to bloom under her hand, slowly but surely. She watched in awe as the small closed buds opened to reveal the beautiful flowers within. But…it didn't stop there. The flowers, it was like they were growing, like they were reaching for the sun but stopped just under her hand, not that they had far to grow as her hand was quite close to begin with. The petals tickled her palm.

She pulled her hand back, curled in a fist and pressed against her heart as she stared at the flowers.

For a brief moment, her mind raced with the implications and she knew, without a doubt, she was projecting a large amount of anxiety and fear at the moment. She swallowed hard and did her best to 'reel it back' as the Captain had called it. Trying to steady her breathing…

At least she had not gotten the old wise words wrong.

Now…now she just had to speak to Spock about what she had learned.

A/N: And we're back! :D I'm really sorry this took so long to get up after the third movie :( A lot happened, weddings, divorces, jobs, stress, therapy, among other things :/ It took much longer than I wanted to get this up, but it's finally happening lol :)

For this story, I can say one theme that I'll be exploring, is growth and change, what's good for the soul? Here, Cora is realizing something has changed regarding her abilities, what will that mean for her? She's grown so much from the girl who entered the Academy, but she still has so much farther to go, what will she learn about herself in this installment? Spock, as we saw in the movie, feels that there are areas where he can grow and change in himself, what will it mean for him? What will it mean for each other? For their bond? And what is pushing them towards these changes? How will they be resolve? What will grow between them or shatter as a result? I'm very interested to find out :)

My heart breaks a little for Cora though. Something is going on with her abilities, but so much has been lost from her culture due to the Mas'heirs she's really going in blind and not really sure what's happening to her :( It's sort of like, if you hear through the grapevine that 'chocolate is good for you' but nothing else and have no one around to ask, you're like 'but WHICH chocolate? all chocolate? chocolate bars? candy? ice cream?' and then you try and figure it out for yourself but all you end up getting is a stomachache :( That's probably a really bad example, lol. I just feel so much for her, she knows the basics of her abilities, some of her language, but so much was erased and taken from her that what she does know isn't a help. It's like there could be a huge sign warning 'danger is ahead,' but over the years it's been worn away to the point where only 'er' is left :( And it's worse because no one else can even really help her. So little is known about Empathics, not even Spock for all his knowledge would be able to do much :'(

And, just to end, mostly putting this here because I've promised my sister I would actually tell people it. I made a page called ko-fi, where people can show support of a person by contributing a 'cup of coffee' to them. It's not a real cup of coffee, it's a donation that is roughly the cost of a cup of coffee, or about 3 dollars. The link is up on my profile or on my tumblr's LINKS page if anyone is interested. There's no obligation, requirement, or commitment, it just sort of feels to me like a little 'let's talk about your work over a cup of coffee' ;)

Some notes on reviews...(from the end of THVTB)...

The Kirk/OC was posted a short while after I finished Cora's series. But since this has been so late with being updated lol, I can also say that the next Kirk/OC story for Beyond will be up, probably around...the end of November. I'm alternating between movie-stories with Captain America, the Loki/OC, and then the Kirk/OC. As for the Khan/OC that may not be up till the end of next year or even early 2020. Only because I plan to get the Bones/OC up after I catch up all my movie-stories and I'll probably aim for some space between Bones' OC and Khan's ;)

That was something I struggled with, Spock's reaction to Kirk's death with Cora there. I wanted him to be devastated Kirk was gone, but I'd also spent the entire story building up his reactions to Cora that I felt like, in the middle of Pon Farr, he'd be more attuned to pain dealt to his mate :( He was still very upset Kirk had died because of Khan, the Pon Farr just sort of forced that to the background :(

We actually DID find out how Chekov managed to get Cora to shorten his name ;) It was in chapter 4 of The Heart vs. the Body, it talks about how Chekov asked Cora to shorten his name by asking her in her native language, the Empathic language, which he went to Spock for help learning :) Because he had been so considerate and went to so much effort, she honored his request :) So far he was the only one to have thought to ask her that way ;)

Lemons and limes, as I've come to understand it, is a term for explicit sex depictions in fanfiction (lemons) and a story that has sexual themes but isn't always explicit (limes). I mostly try to keep sex out of stories or briefly mention it happening behind closed doors or as a throwaway line or teasing remark. It's sort of a combination of me looking at my OCs as my babies and not wanting to think of them doing that, and also seeing the characters in general as people and respecting the things they do in private. That and any attempt I've ever made at writing a sex scene ends up reading like an Ikea manual to assemble a cabinet so...not very good lol :) But lol, a Pon Farr perfume :) I agree, Spock was not being quite so intelligent in trying to evade the Pon Farr. I feel like he realized what was happening and tried to use an extreme amount of logic for why it shouldn't happen and how there HAD to be another option but Cora set him straight ;)

I can understand the heebie jeebies with Pon Farr. To me, it was intriguing to write it but I also felt bad for Spock, because it's something he has no control over that drives him into a state that is so against his normal behavior and personality that I just felt sad he couldn't stop it, that it sort of turns him into something unrecognizable to himself and others :( At least it lead to something good in the end for his bond with Cora. I always try to leave the private moments behind closed doors and, well, private lol :) So we may get a lead up to intimate moments, but not the full action ;)

Understandable about the Fleet inclusiveness. In this story-universe, it's not so much the Fleet buying a slave, as more...there's a planet full of them, but they can't really DO anything to free them. I think, somewhere in the Star Trek universe, I read that there was an entire slave trade going on that the Fleet couldn't stop due to non interference. So long as they weren't taking Federation officials or representatives, the Fleet couldn't fight back or change that culture. It's similar here with Hestia, they can't invade a planet and change the culture just because they don't agree with it :( The Empathics have been trained and are too afraid/submissive to ask for the Fleet's help and Hestia isn't affecting anything significant off-world, it's not making threats against the Federation or planning war against other Federation planets, so there's not much to do :( What they CAN do is try to help in some small way, by getting an Empathic off when they can afford to do so. They do free the Empathics, they don't force them to join the Fleet, but they do end up joining anyway in gratitude. As we saw with Marcus, sometimes an area of the Fleet will 'turn a blind eye' to something they know is wrong to get something out of it, like how Marcus authorized firing on another planet even though he knew it was against regulations. The Fleet has worked out that the Empathics would be so grateful they'd join the Fleet out of a feeling of debt, and they sort of 'allow' it to happen and don't really argue much about how they have other options. We'll see more when Jaylah appears at one point the Empathic notions related to gratitude which will explain more. As for Cora's race, inclusiveness is a big thing for the Fleet, I agree. They may not be seen as Fleet-material due to what the Fleet knows of them and their 'reluctance' to leave their planet or get involved in battle situations, there's also the fact that the Fleet can't really obtain more Empathics than they are at the moment, so Fleet-material may also mean the Fleet's willingness to gain more for the Fleet. They can't really recruit on Hestia, nor would an Empathic volunteer to join the Fleet from their home-world as the Mas'heirs have too tight a grip on their slaves :(

I can't say if I'd do another Spock/OC with a non-Cora OC. I've done a few different OC series for my Doctor Who stories, but I feel like those mostly happen because dimensions and things like that, it could be possible for him to have a different life depending on the dimension and OC. It might be possible here for Spock since we saw how Spock Prime's efforts altered time and reality for the crew. For the moment, the only OC jumping out at me for Spock is Cora, but I can say I have at least one more story planned for her and Spock ;)

Lol, you're not a jerk at all, I think I giggled the entire time I wrote the last story because of all the tension ;)

Cora's people are definitely interesting. They're modest about their dress, but they also view emotions and physical things as natural. So she'd be more inclined to blurt that out as just a final part of the mating bond for sure ;)

Nope, Cora and Spock had not had sex until the end of the last story. You're not alone in that, I hated Khan :( They don't say 'I love you' much, mostly because Spock is very logical and not inclined to speak his emotions, but Cora can feel them so she knows he loves her even when he doesn't say it. And Cora knows it makes him uncomfortable sometimes so she projects her love to him :)

I've noticed I tend to repeat a bit too, thank you! It's something I'm trying to work on. I feel like, when it comes to Cora and Spock, the repetition sometimes comes from them trying to understand other things. They only have their own cultures to go on for the most part so they end up thinking back to it or it ends up relating to how/why they don't know something. But I'll keep an eye out for it ;)

Oh I know ;) DW has gotten through series 10 too before I managed to update this. Lol, it feels like how I feel in the Sherlock fandom, everyone gets everything before Sherlock gets a new season lol...which I am also guilty of as pretty much all my other stories are going to be updated before I manage to get to the latest series for Sherlock and Leena lol :)

I'm not sure if I'll do a sort of mini-series of Spock/Cora in those three years. I've been tossing up the idea of doing a spin-off of Kirk/Victoria's time in the original series if she was there and that led to me thinking about the same thing for Spock and Cora, but then I was also thinking of making a sort of spin-off but for ALL the Star Trek OCs in that three-year gap (Kirk's, Spock's, and Bones's) but I felt like that might be confusing to have it in the same 'story.' Lol, I'm just all over the place with ideas :) We'll have to wait and see if any come about though, I've got a lot to catch up on in terms of my stories first ;)

Yup, definitely keeping up with Spock and Kirk's OCs for the Beyond movie ;)

I think what put me off Spock and Uhura in the first movie was we didn't see HOW it happened. As far as I was aware, being in the Academy, Spock was like a teacher and Uhura was still his student since she was really into languages and I could see her keeping on with classes throughout her time there. With Cora, it felt more like she'd take the basics and then it just sort of fell not into a teacher-student relationship, but a Spock-Cora thing, he wasn't her teacher anymore after the first few classes, he just sort of offered to help her if she ever needed it. And that's what I like about fanfiction, it gives you the freedom to look back at key points that build up a relationship to help :)

I do plan to do the Khan/OC still yes. It may not be up till late next year or even early 2020. I have plans to do a Bones/OC first and I'm going to try and space it out a little more before I get to the Khan/OC too ;)

You can call whatever you like :) Though, it IS within Cora's culture to move quickly into a physical relationship, so she could very easily change her mind or have a change of heart regarding being physical with Spock ;) That and it was either do it or he dies which would probably help nudge anyone alone ;) Empathics don't wait long once they find their partner. Cora, in that sense, feels they were not ready for such a step because she won't feel ready or comfortable till Spock is. If she goes down that route of wanting something he's not ready for, he'll be able to read it off her mind and it would make things tense and awkward. It's better, to her, to wait till he's ready to be physical and so she doesn't try to tempt him or show off too much skin that might have made him uncomfortable before the Pon Farr ;)

I've noticed I use ellipses a bit yes. It is intentional. Usually, when I use them, I'm trying to convey that the character is pausing in their thoughts or searching for the right word. So the note you had about not being sure if I'm using the right word is spot on, because that's my intention for the character ;) Especially when it comes to Spock and Cora because Spock is often unsure about his feelings due to his preference for logic and Cora is often uncertain about decorum and what's proper due to her past. Fanfiction is also, to me, informal writing, which gives more freedom for ellipses compared to the more formal/traditional grammatical uses, as informally they can be used for pauses in dialogue, pauses in narrative, and to represent the character or narrator trailing off a phrase or thought, or to represent hesitation. But I'll try to keep an eye on it in the future :)

Yup, the story is up now ;)