After the Madness by Djinn

"Oh yes, the girl. Most interesting. It must have been the combat. When I thought I had killed the Captain I found I had lost all interest in T'Pring. The madness was gone."

It had not been a lie. The madness was gone. As was any interest he had ever had in T'Pring. But the desire, the desire had not gone away. He still felt as if his body was on fire. It was a controlled blaze now instead of an out-of-control forest fire. *I can master this,* he thought sternly as he leaned over his science station. They were again on their way to the Altair system. There was work to be done. The danger was over, the Pon Farr would subside.

He concentrated for quite a while on his readings. All sensors showed normal. His mind wandered back to the meeting in his quarters when Nurse Chapel.*Christine,* his mind prompted.had come to tell him that the Captain would divert to Vulcan. He saw again her face as the single tear ran down her cheek. Felt again that tear as he gently wiped it from her skin. *Her skin was wet,* he remembered. He could still smell her, the femaleness of her. The fire within him at the time had screamed for T'Pring, yet some part of him had defied tradition, had found the strength to speak.

"I had the most startling dream. Your were trying to tell me something but I couldn't hear you." He remembered moving toward her. Part of him stalking, seducing her, the other fighting the need to touch her, to be touched by her.

"It would be illogical for us to protest against our natures, don't you think?" She had not understood what he was saying. He did not blame her. How could she understand the centuries of Vulcan ritual and discipline he had been attempting to shed. He had not understood, still did not understand it himself.

He had been intensely aware of her reactions. He had felt her conflict. She wanted him for herself, had always wanted him. Yet she had fought that need. "I came to tell you that we are bound for Vulcan. We'll be there in just a few days."

Vulcan. It had been like having cold water thrown on him. Desire warred with duty. The plak tow making it doubly difficult to focus on the traditions he vowed to uphold. Christine was there. She was warm and real and loved him. But on his home planet waited his bondmate. A woman he barely knew but one to whom he was linked. In the end he had asked Christine for soup and she had happily agreed. It was not much, but it allowed her to care for him, allowed him to have her near. It had been the most they could hope for at the time.

He remembered later on the bridge, when T'Pring had appeared on the screen, when he had explained to the others that she was his "wife." Although he had given no sign, he had been aware of Christine's reaction to the news. He could see her shock, the dismay written clearly on her face. She had left the bridge without a word. There had been no time to explain. He had left for Vulcan and T'Pring.

Since coming back to the Enterprise he had only seen Christine those brief moments in sickbay when he had discovered that Kirk was still alive. He again felt the relief that he had not killed his friend. He was surprised to feel no embarrassment over his emotional display at the moment he realized that his captain still lived. She had witnessed his outburst, had smiled in happiness as his life started again. But then McCoy had dismissed her and Spock had not seen her since. *Something that I should remedy,* Spock decided. He glanced at the chronometer. In three point five six hours he could do just that.

***********************************************

His shift over, Spock waited for his replacement to arrive. Once she did he left quickly, finding it difficult not to snap at her for her nearly imperceptible tardiness. He quickly made his way to sickbay, sure that Christine would take longer to leave her post than he had his. She was there. *Control,* his mind murmured to the fire that flared up as he looked at her. *Must control this.*

Christine saw him standing in the doorway. She got up quickly, concern shadowing her face. "Mr. Spock? Are you alright?"

"I am.alright," he found himself at a loss for words. *This is not the place.*

"Should I get McCoy?" Christine began to move toward the doctor's office. His hand on her arm stopped her. She looked at him quizzically.

Fire rushed through him as he touched her. He fought against the desire he felt, the need to pull her to him. He dropped his hand. *Must be strong.* His voice was rough when he managed to talk. "Could you come to my quarters, Nurse? There is something I need. Of a personal nature. Could you come now?"

"I can come, Mr. Spock. But wouldn't it be better if I got Dr. McCoy? He knows what you've been undergoing. He'll be able to help you."

"No, you are the appropriate person to help. Will you come?"

Christine nodded uncertainly, clearly ill at ease with his request. She closed down her terminal and moved to his side. "Now?"

He nodded and they made their way silently to his quarters. Once inside, Spock could feel some of his tension leave him as he relaxed a bit of his control. He turned to Christine.

"How much do you know of what has happened to me the last few days?"

"Not much, Mr. Spock. McCoy kept the information to himself. I only knew you were hurting, that something was very wrong with you."

Spock mused over this. "Yet you came to my quarters to tell me that we were headed for Vulcan?"

She looked uncomfortable. "If this is about using my medical clearance to gain access to your quarters then you have my apologies. I only meant to help but it was wrong of me to enter your room uninvited."

He dismissed her concerns, "The cause was sufficient. I am more interested in knowing why you thought Vulcan would help me."

"Well, I tried to help you. And I couldn't. It seemed that nothing on this ship could since you were so adamant about getting to your home planet. I assumed that there was something there that would help you. I thought it would ease your mind to know that we were headed there. To your wife." The last part came out bitterly.

"She is no longer my wife. You know that?"

"Mr. Spock, I don't know anything." Agitated, she began to pace the length of his quarters. "You beam down to that woman and then suddenly McCoy is beaming back up with a seemingly dead captain. All McCoy would tell me was that Kirk collapsed and that you might be surprised to find him alive. And you certainly were. Then I was dismissed as if I were a rank yeoman. So, Mr. Spock, I know nothing."

"Spock."

She turned to him, "What?"

"Just Spock, Christine. Call me Spock."

She stared at him. "You confuse me, Mr.um, Spock."

He nodded. "Yes, I know. Just as my words to you the other day confused you, did they not?"

"Your words?"

He moved toward her. "I had the most startling dream."

He could tell she remembered the words. He continued moving toward her. "I had the most startling dream, Christine."

She backed away from him. The wall behind her brought her to a stop. He leaned into her. "I had the most startling dream."

Her breathing was ragged as she finished the thought, "I was trying to tell you something?"

"Yes, but I could not hear you."

His hands were on the wall to either side of her head. He moved closer until his body was pressed against hers. He buried his nose in her neck and hair, breathed deeply of the scent of her. He could feel her trembling. Moving his mouth to her ear he whispered, "It would be illogical for us to protest against our natures."

She shivered at the feel of his breath on her skin. "Our natures?"

He pulled back, looked in her blue eyes. "Indeed. Don't you think?"

Her eyes met his. He was relieved to see arousal in her expression. Then suspicion took over.

"This isn't like you, Spock. It's what I've dreamed of for the last few years. But it isn't like you. I need to call McCoy, this could be the Psi 2000 virus all over again."

"No, Christine.it is not the virus. I can explain what has happened. I will do that if you wish. But stay here with me. Let me make you understand."

She looked undecided. He backed away, gave her room to run if she needed it. He moved to his couch. Sat down leaving her plenty of space. "Please, Christine, do not call McCoy. Let me explain?"

He watched as she struggled with her personal desire and her duty. He stayed immobile, kept his features calm. *She must not go.* He saw the moment when desire won. She moved to the couch, sat down next to him.

"Explain," she said.

**************************************************

Spock took a deep breath as he chose the words that would explain the Pon Farr. As he described the plak tow to Christine he saw her begin to understand what he had been going through. He took her through the initial bonding ritual with T'Pring, the long years between that time and now, years during which he had rarely even spoken to his intended wife. He described the challenge and T'Pring's rejection of him and his notoriety. Told her of waking from the madness to see his best friend dead at his hands.

"That's why you were so glad to see him," she realized. "You thought you'd killed him. Oh god, Spock. That must have been horrible."

"It was. I have never experienced such emptiness. Throughout my life I have assumed that my human side would betray me, but it was my Vulcan nature that proved most dangerous. I would have killed him, Christine."

"All for her? A woman you barely knew?"

"When you say it, it does not sound logical," he admitted. "But the burning is not logical. It is the antithesis of logic. It is all the primitive things that Vulcan was, all the barbarism we left behind. The last living remnant of what we might have been, but for logic."

Christine was quiet as she took in all he had said. Finally she asked, "Why am I here?"

"I desire you," he said simply.

"You said the burning was over. You said you wouldn't die now."

"I will not die. And what I said was that the *need* to mate was gone. The *urge* to mate is not. I have long desired you but there was always T'Pring in the way. She is no longer an impediment to us. I want you. I tried to tell you that when you came to me, but I did not fully understand myself."

"*You* want me?" She was clearly shocked. "You've spent the last year avoiding me!"

"It is not logical, Christine. We are after all talking about feelings."

She got up suddenly, began to pace the room again. She stopped, turned back to him. "Do you know what I've gone through because of my *feelings* for you? Do you have any idea what it's like to be mocked for loving someone that you could never have?"

"I am sorry for that."

She began to move again. "And the loneliness. The hoping against hope that you might notice me, just once. The pain when you didn't. And you expect me to believe that you have desired me all this time? What kind of idiot do you think I am?"

She moved toward him again. He could sense her emotions, smell her anger. "Christine, I could not be what you wanted. I thought it better to be nothing to you than something less than you deserve."

"You need sex right now. That's really all this is. You want me to give you what I've always offered to you. Only now you talk about feelings. Why? You could have me without the pretense."

He stood up, tried to hold her but she shrugged away. "Christine, you make it sound so cold. I do *feel* something for you. It is more than just sex."

She backed away, toward the door. "You're on the rebound, Spock. You're very dangerous right now. You've been rejected, and your emotions are in turmoil because of the Pon Farr. Isn't that true?"

He walked to her, put his hands on her cheeks, "My emotions are somewhat unpredictable still, that much is correct."

She put her hands over his. "Spock, all I've wanted for so long is you. I thought that if I ever heard you say you want me that I would be the happiest woman in the universe. But that's not what I'm feeling."

She pulled away from him. "You are sure that you are in no danger, that the Pon Farr will not kill you?"

"I am certain."

"Then I can't do this now, Spock. I just can't do it. Because no matter how much I want you, I'll always believe that you came to me under duress."

"I am perfectly aware of my motivation, Christine."

She nodded, "Perhaps. And if, once the Pon Farr is truly over, you are still certain that you want me then I hope that you come to me."

Her voice broke at the end. Tears welled up as she turned to leave.

He moved to comfort her but she motioned him to stop. "You do not believe I will come to you. Do you, Christine?"

She looked at him sadly, tears running freely down her face now. "No," she acknowledged, "I do not believe you will. And I will hate myself for this moment for the rest of my life."

With that she turned suddenly, palming the door open and fled back to her own quarters.

Spock stood staring as the door closed behind her. *This did not go as expected.* Yet he could not fault Christine's actions in this matter. She was right to make him wait. And he would prove her wrong. He just had to master the emotional chaos he felt until it subsided. *I burn for thee, Christine.*

Spock moved to his bedroom and prepared to retire. These things were imprecise by nature, but he estimated that he had roughly four to five days before the Pon Farr was gone and he could set out to convince Christine to mate with him. *There is much to plan,* he thought as he allowed sleep to claim him.

**************************

In the end it was eight days before Spock felt certain that the Pon Farr had subsided. During that time he had carried on with his life, working his shifts on the bridge, accompanying Kirk and McCoy to the ceremonies on Altair VI, playing chess with the captain or using his off hours to recover from the effects of the Pon Farr. He had only seen Christine once. She had been leaving the mess hall with Uhura and Sulu as he and McCoy had walked in. She had said nothing but her eyes had searched his and had widened in shock as he had stopped to say, "Good evening, Christine. I trust you are well?" She had mumbled a response as Sulu and Uhura had stared at the two of them. McCoy had waited for the mess hall doors to close before he commented. "Well that was different. Something you want to tell me, Spock?" He moved on, clearly expecting no response.

Kirk's voice called Spock back from the past. "So do you have plans for this evening? I'm itching for a rematch. You pretty clearly trounced me the last time we played."

"You were distracted, Jim. I do not normally beat you that many times in an evening."

Kirk smiled wryly. "Distracted? I guess you could call thinking about Ambassador Forvan a distraction."

An eyebrow rose as Spock replied evenly, "It was a shame she only had to go to Starbase 4-1. I am sure you would have enjoyed having more time with her."

Kirk laughed, "And they say Vulcans aren't romantic."

Spock looked momentarily concerned. "Who says that?"

Kirk shook his head, "Or that you don't have a sense of humor! Are we on for chess or not?"

"I believe I have other plans, Captain. Another time?"

Clearly intrigued, Kirk prodded. "Other plans, Spock? That's fascinating. Care to fill me in?"

"Not particularly, Jim." Spock rose as his replacement arrived. He cocked an eyebrow at Kirk as he moved to leave. "If you will excuse me?"

Kirk shrugged in defeat, "Don't let me stand in the way of your other plans, Spock."

"I will not, Captain." Another lift of the eyebrow and Spock was in the turbolift headed for sickbay.

The lift seemed to stop on every floor. Spock resisted the urge to key in a command override that would make the lift ignore any other calls. *Fascinating,* he mused, *I am impatient.* Finally he arrived at his deck. He barely let the doors open before he was out and moving. The sickbay doors opened just as he stepped up to them. He managed to stop before crashing into the person coming out. It was Christine.

"Mr. Spock! I'm sorry, I wasn't looking."

"The fault is mine, Christine." He felt satisfaction as he observed her surprise and pleasure at his use of her first name. "Do you remember our last conversation, Christine?"

She nodded as her face became a controlled mask. Her eyes gave nothing away, neither hope nor fear. *She could be a Vulcan with that expression,* Spock thought. He decided he did not like the look.

"The problem that I was having. It is over. You remember we discussed it?"

"I remember, Spock."

He nodded. "Yes, I imagine you do. There were issues that you put on hold until this moment. I would like to explore them. If you would? I thought we could start over dinner tonight?"

Shocked she stammered, "Issues, explore tonight, over dinner?"

He gave her a small half-smile as he raised an eyebrow, "Was what I said not clear? I can rephrase it."

She gave him a small smile back. "No, it was clear. I'm just surprised."

He nodded, "I have been given to understand that surprise can be a good thing in a relationship. Do you agree?"

She laughed, "I guess it depends on whether it is a good surprise or a bad surprise."

He seemed thoughtful for a moment, "That is logical. Perhaps we could discuss the distinction while we eat?"

The smile she gave him lit up her face. "I think we could do that, Spock."

"Then shall we go?"

"We shall." She laughed again. A sound that he was coming to treasure.

*********************

As they made their way to the mess hall, Spock asked Christine if she had any preference from the replicator.

"I don't really care, Spock. Just make sure it's vegetarian."

"You do not have to follow my customs if you do not wish."

She turned to look at him. "But I'm not. Following *your* customs I mean. My parents were vegetarian. It's the only custom I've really ever known."

He studied her for a moment. "I didn't know that, Christine."

She laughed, somewhat sardonically. "I imagine there are quite a few things you don't know about me, Spock."

"That much is certain," he agreed. "And many things, I believe, that you don't know about me."

"No, you're right. I don't know much about you."

As they approached the mess hall door, Spock held Christine's gaze with his own. "I look forward to the discovery."

She met his eyes for a second before looking away. Her voice was nearly a whisper, but he heard it clearly. "As do I, Spock."

They went together to the replicator. Spock ordered food and beverages for both of them, carrying everything on a tray to a small table against the wall. He was aware that this caused several members of the crew to stare at the unaccustomed sight of the two of them together. He could tell that Christine had not missed the looks they were drawing.

"If you'd be more comfortable, we could eat somewhere else," she offered.

"There is no logic in leaving, Christine. They will stop reacting to this eventually."

"And in the meantime?" she asked, eyeing a particularly gossipy pair of young ensigns.

"In the meantime, we ignore them."

She smiled at him. "Spock, I think you'll have an easier time of it than I will."

"Probably," his expression was calm. "But not because I am Vulcan." He gave her another of his half smiles. "I have been waiting eight point three days to see you, Christine. Now that we are here together, I intend to focus on you."

She stared, slightly stunned. "My. Put that way, how could I do any less?"

"Precisely, Christine. The crew and their reactions to us are irrelevant." As he said this the doors opened and Kirk and McCoy walked in. The doctor was the first to see the two of them.

"Didn't save us a seat, I see," he teased as he walked up to their table. "We could always pull another table up."

"I believe that is against regulations, Doctor," Spock replied. "Section 436.1a of the operating guidelines for mess facility in galaxy class vessels."

"There's no such regulation," Kirk laughed as he walked up with the food. "But we can tell when we're not wanted. Carry on you two. Come on, Doctor, let's find another table."

Spock sighed more audibly than he intended. When Christine looked at him questioningly, he shook his head. "I did not intend to spend our time together discussing the crew or quoting regulations."

"Making up regulations, you mean, Spock?"

"I am sure they meant it to be included in the operating manual." He saw that she was finished with her food. "This location is not conducive to private discussion, Christine. Would you care to come back to my cabin?"

"To talk?"

"Yes. I do not want further interruptions. There are no other places sufficiently private. Except for your quarters, if you would be more comfortable there?"

"Your place or mine, Spock?" She chuckled, "Not very original."

When he gave her a quizzical look she shrugged, "Never mind. Your quarters will be fine."

They put their dishes in the recycler and left the mess hall, both studiously ignoring the captain and doctor who were watching them with no pretense of disinterest. Outside the mess hall they waited for a turbolift. Christine turned to Spock. "I'll meet you at your quarters in a few minutes. If we are going to talk for a while, I'd like it to be in something more relaxed than this uniform."

Spock nodded. "That is not very original either is it?" As she looked at him startled, he continued, "But yes, if you would like to, go change into something more comfortable."

She laughed at him, "Spock, you're full of surprises."

"And we have still not discussed the nature of surprise, both good and bad."

"When I get back," she promised. The turbolift arrived and they stepped inside. "And while you're waiting, why don't you find something else to wear as well."

"As you wish," he agreed. The doors opened on her deck and she exited. "I will expect you shortly."

She turned back as the doors started to close. "I'll be there soon."

***************************

After changing into one of his Vulcan robes, Spock inspected his quarters, which were immaculate as usual. He moved around the rooms, lighting firepots and candles, dimming the normal lighting. When he had achieved a level similar to what he would use for meditation, he took a last look around the room. *How long does it take to change clothes?* he mused impatiently.

Several minutes later the door chime rang. "Come."

Christine came into the room carrying a bottle. "I brought some wine. I got it at Starbase 4-1 from an Andorian merchant. I have no idea if it is good or not, but I thought it might be nice for tonight?"

Spock nodded and studied her curiously. She had changed into black pants and a dark red shirt, both in a soft fabric that draped around her tall frame. Flat sandals replaced boots. Her hair was loose around her face. It had grown quite long and fell in waves past her shoulders. The graceful austere look suited her far more than the abbreviated uniform and elaborate hairstyles she usually wore.

Christine noticed him studying her. "This is the real me, in case you were wondering?"

"I was curious." Spock moved to get glasses while Christine opened the wine.

"I hate my uniform. I don't know why they don't go to the same uniform for all of us. It is past time to abandon those skirts. They are impractical.for most of my duties anyway." She glanced at Spock apologetically. "I'm sorry, Spock. It's one of my pet peeves, I guess."

He took the wine from her to pour. Handed her a glass and motioned to the couch. "No need to apologize. I quite agree with you. I predict that eventually Starfleet will go to the same uniform for both sexes."

"Hopefully sooner, rather than later," she smiled as she sat on the couch, curled her legs up under herself.

"It will happen when it happens," Spock sat next to her. He sipped the wine. It had a pleasant taste. "I am surprised you choose this instead of synthehol?"

She grimaced. "Spock, have you ever tasted synthetic wine? It is disgusting! They've done all right by whiskey, beer and some of the others. But they really have had no luck with wine. So, until they do, I shall continue to buy the real stuff." She took a deep swallow as punctuation.

"Logical. And emotional at the same time. You are deeply passionate about the things you care for, I think."

She blushed. "I am. It's one of my failings."

"And one of your great charms. You have loyalty to your passions too?" His expression was intense as he waited for her reply.

"Are we still talking about wine, Spock?"

He shook his head. "No, Christine. We are not."

"Vulcans aren't real big on small talk, I guess?"

"Talking around the subject is illogical. Why should we discuss things that neither of us really cares about when there is one subject that holds a deep interest for us both?" He leaned toward her. "Unless I am mistaken as to the level of your interest?"

"You know you're not, Spock." She mock scowled at him. "What was your question?"

He took another sip of wine. "My question, which was not exactly what I asked as you well know, is 'Are you still emotionally attracted to me?' You once indicated that you found me an attractive potential mate."

She corrected him gently, "I said I was in love with you, Spock. Slightly more significant."

He nodded. "I did not want to overstate the case. Are you still?"

"In love with you?" She stopped to sip her wine. Then she looked up at him. "Yes."

*Yes,* Spock echoed in his mind. He reached over to take her glass and set it by his on the low table near the couch. He turned back to Christine. She was watching his movements. Her eyes were a liquid blue in the low light. He moved down the couch to be closer to her. He touched her hair, moved his hands through the silky waves. Her eyes closed as he brushed a stray strand off her face. "I am relieved to hear that."

Her voice was low as she replied, "How could you doubt it?"

His hands moved to her face. He traced the lines of her cheekbones, her forehead, her throat. She moaned when he brushed his fingers over her lips. "Your love for me has caused you pain, Christine. It has not been easy for you. I cannot tell you how much I regret that."

He leaned into her, found her lips with his own in a gentle kiss. Then his mouth began to roam where his fingers had been.

"I did see what was happening. I did not know what to do. I could not give you what you wanted in any honorable way. T'Pring was always there. But I did not want her, Christine. I wanted you."

He shivered as Christine began to let her own hands roam over his face. Her fingers seemed to go unerringly to the tips of his ears. Her released a low moan as she caressed him. "The Pon Farr is over. But still I burn for thee, Christine. I want so much from you."

Her lips found his as his hands roamed her body. He could not get enough of her. Her scent, not perfume just her, was making him hungrier to touch her, to have her. He moved under her shirt, felt her cool skin against his fingers. *It is too much.*

"Christine," his voice was a harsh whisper. "I want so much. Perhaps it is too much. Too soon. Perhaps you should go for tonight?"

She pulled away from him roughly. Grabbed his face with her hands. Kissed him fiercely. Shaking her head she replied firmly, "Not on your life, Mister. This is our time, Spock. I want you too. So much."

He pulled her to him. Felt his restraint crumbling. Found he did not care. "Christine. Mine. My Christine."

He stood up. Pulled her up roughly into another embrace. She matched his passion measure for measure. *She is strong,* he realized as she bit his lip lightly, *She is not afraid of this.*

He pulled her to the bedroom, refusing to relinquish her mouth as they moved. When he felt the bed against his legs he pulled her back with him onto the soft coverlet. Their frenzied hands removed clothing until there was nothing between them. Spock looked at the woman he had chosen. *She is magnificent.*

She pulled him down to her, back into a close embrace. He heard her gasp as he entered her. It was as if his whole world was contained in her body. His fingers moved instinctively to her face. Realizing his intent to meld with her, Spock stopped uncertainly. Felt her pull his finger down the rest of the way.

"Finish it, Spock." Her eyes were blue fire as she held him to her. "My love. Finish it." His eyes not leaving hers, his body continuing to move within her, he initiated the meld.

*Christine, t'hy'la.*

He was everywhere with her and she was with him. He could feel her love and her deep passion for him. He opened his own barriers, let her feel how much she meant to him. How he treasured her.

*I had no idea.*

*I could not tell you.*

She hugged him tighter, pulled him deeper inside her. He felt the pleasure of his body, the deep satisfaction of the meld, and wanted more. He was not aware that he had acted until he heard her soft reply.

*Parted from me and never parted. Never and always touching and touched. My husband, I am yours.*

*My wife.* He felt her delight, her emotion, her love. He felt her pleasure as his movements sent her over the edge. Watched her face as she moaned. *My love,* he sent to her. She reached to him, pulled him even closer, moved against him. *My love,* he sent again as he followed her into ecstasy.

*Spock, my love.* he heard from the bond.

*Never alone,* he realized.

Her thoughts were a sultry purr, *Never and always touching and touched, my husband. Now we know what it means.*

*Indeed,* he agreed. He felt her move against him. Found his body responding to her.

*Touch me again, Spock.*

*With pleasure, Christine.*

It was a very long time before they fell asleep, minds and bodies curled around each other in the flickering candlelight.

The End