Saavik knew more than her mentor thought she did about a great many things. Spock had taken her for a child when they left Hellguard together and Saavik had been all too happy to indulge his assumption. It had suited her motives and aspirations fine. In a great many ways she had been like a child. She did not know his language. She did not know the proper way to do anything he asked of her, from how to handle food at a table or even the conventions surrounding when and where to sleep. She was ignorant of a great many things back in those early days.

She knew more than he suspected, however – both then and now. She knew how to survive. She knew how to kill. She knew how to think and learn on her feet. These things he knew. But, even on Hellguard she'd had better emotional control than most Vulcans her age despite what appeared to be frequent tantrums and the outward signs of emotion. Simply put, on Hellgaurd being emotional at the wrong time meant you were vulnerable. Saavik had learned very early when it was safe to feel any given emotion and when it was not. She'd instinctively honed this skill until by the time Spock arrived she could feel one thing, show the world another, and switch at anytime. Spock only saw the Saavik she wished him to see. She only reacted emotionally when she knew it was safe to do so and when there was the possibility it might benefit her in some way. Spock made it safe. Spock also made it beneficial.

Saavik knew people. She knew how to tell if someone was a threat. She knew when they were truthful or deceiving her. She knew when they wanted something from her and when they were protecting something she might want. Most importantly for the matter at hand, Saavik knew when they desired her.

She was not a stranger to carnal acts. She had been on the receiving and giving ends enough times before her rescuer had arrived. She'd been forced, she'd been seduced, she'd traded herself for food or safely. She'd bedded others of her own accord simply out of a desire not to be alone for just a little while. She knew without a doubt when a male, or a female for that matter, wanted her physically. She knew and she'd grown up on Hellgaurd and survived by using it to her advantage. It do not matter her age back then, only that there was a service to trade and she was an excellent barterer.

Spock had not lusted for her body on Hellgaurd. He had wanted her help and her guidance in the rough terrain and with the other outcasts. He had needed her expertise and in return for it he had offered a way off the world. One look at his clothing and his technology had been enough. Saavik knew a good deal when she saw one. She'd have been willing to help him as well as bed him for the rest of her life if it meant a ticket out, a chance to have the comforts and the safety she knew without a doubt a life with him could have afforded. The guards on the planet had only ever wanted a quick satisfaction to their most primitive desires. Spock wanted something deeper and had offered far more than a quick meal.

Saavik had seen his loneliness, his need for company and understanding. She'd grown up learning to see the weaknesses in others and his was not concealed for all he would deny it. After Spock had trained her, taught her things, Saavik realized she was so gifted with reading people's intentions and desires because of her mental abilities and telepathy. She was talented in this area. She had sensed Spock's weakness from the start because of her mind gifts.

She had pretended to be the child he wished her to be, not so much to please him at first as to secure her place in his life and gain the security and comfort she had originally bargained on. When her goal had shifted to seeking his approval and respect she did not know. At some point it had, and now she pretended to be ignorant for reasons she could never have imagined on her desert homeworld. Once if she wanted something she would take it if it was in her power to do so. Now, now she worried over others before herself, Spock over everyone.

Saavik looked over at her mentor as he sat, fingers steepled in front of his eyes, his forehead creased in thought and his eyes closed in meditation. Spock was troubled. Saavik cocked her head to the side and regarded him wearily. Spock was not like those on Hellgaurd; she did not know exactly how to respond to the changes she saw in him.

Spock desired her. She could feel it in the very core of her being. Spock had trained her, made her the picture of a consummate Vulcan. On the outside. Inside Saavik retained the lessons of her youth, carefully and diligently preserved despite the teachings of his homeworld. Saavik understood the value of her "gut" as Captain Kirk would call it. Her gut was telling her that Spock had changed and that Saavik had best decide how far she was still willing to go in her quest to repay him the debt she would always owe.

Saavik turned away and looked at the computer screen in front of her again. Since Hellguard she had accepted only one man into her bed. David Marcus had wanted her from the first moment he'd laid eyes on her. Saavik was use to the attention, use to the feeling of being desired. It gave her a perverse hidden pleasure to deny them. She no longer had to barter her body for food or shelter. She no longer had to give in to those stronger in order to avoid injury. Her own desires, which she'd indulged frequently enough as a youth if the mood struck her, were quiet. There were far greater pleasures to be had in this new life. Sex paled in comparison to a liquid shower.

David's interest so soon after the loss of her mentor had finally nudged her own desires back into the light. She'd wanted physical comforting, she'd needed a chance to forget that she had just lost the only living creature that cared a whit about her and had never asked for payment in return. David had provided both and soon she could sense in the young man an interesting truth. David was attached to her. She assumed it was what the humans called love. He desired to protect her above even himself. This could be useful. So, Saavik allowed it, cultivated it. Again she found that giving her body to another provided her with a protection of sorts. David shielded her from the rest of the crew. He did things for her. He made life a little easier. In the end her plan had succeeded. He'd died for her.

Saavik knew that she should feel some kind of remorse for this. Part of her, the part that Spock had given seed to in the years since Hellguard did miss David. There was regret for his death, but not for the sacrifice he made. That was his purpose and it was part and parcel of their unspoken agreement. Sex for protection, an age old trade and David had kept his end of the bargain.

Saavik took a deep breath. Spock desired her now. Since his rebirth and the return of his memories she had sensed this change. He no longer saw Saavik-am the child. He saw Saavik the female. What was primitive in him longed for what was primitive in her. Saavik did not really see a problem with this. Spock had provided her with protection and shelter and food and all that she needed to forge her own place in the universe – essentially he had made it so she would never have to be beholden to another ever again. He had allowed her to be in a position to strike the sort of willing and non-forced bargain she had made with David. Saavik did not mind that now Spock wished his payment for his actions. She had willingly given him company to assuage his loneliness in her youth. She would willingly give her body to assuage his lust now in her adulthood. She did not see shame in this or any reason to deny it if that is what he wished.

Spock felt shame. Saavik allowed a low quiet growl to escape the back of her throat. Spock did not understand himself. He did not understand why he wanted payment. He did not even know that was what he sought. By the rules of her youth Saavik knew instinctively she was Spock's, he only had to claim her. The Romulan in her knew this. The Vulcan in her recognized it. Saavik knew her primitive side and she did not fear it, she was not ashamed of it, and she knew when it was appropriate to allow it control.

Spock did not.

Spock feared his primitive nature. He feared the Time of male Vulcans and he did not understand. He could not accept that he desired another physically when that Time was not at hand.

Saavik did not know how to proceed.

Saavik was two people in one, the girl of her youth and the woman she was now. Each part of herself gave her strength, made her complete. She embraced both. Spock was two also, but he did not yet understand this. He could not yet see that it was unwise to deny half of what he was. Lady Amanda knew this and had tried to teach him. She had failed. Saavik looked at his unmoving black clad form and knew. It was time she became his teacher.

Spock stayed a long time in meditation and Saavik waited for him, tea at the ready. When he finally lifted his head and opened his eyes he seemed surprised to find her still there. He rose slowly from the floor with not quite the same grace Saavik remembered from before. Death had aged him.

He sat down with a barely detectable stiffness at the little table and nodded his head in thanks before taking up his cup of tea. Saavik watched carefully as he drank, trying to discern if his meditation had yielded any results.

Besides Saavik there were only two other living beings that could read Spock as she did. Jim Kirk had learned the ability but he still missed some of the more subtle nuances – believing as many did that certain things were beyond a Vulcan. Lady Amanda was another – yet her vision was clouded by her wishes and hopes for her son. Saavik had neither problem and over the years she had observed her mentor carefully and learned to read him even when the Captain and his mother could not.

Spock was troubled. His eyes were still shadowed and his hands were not quite relaxed. The muscles of his right index finger were twitching under the skin as if they could not abide being idle. This only happened when Spock felt the need to act but lacked either the information to do so or felt he could not, usually do to regulations or some since of ingrained honor.

Saavik did not understand honor. She did not understand morals. There was only one thing to consider in a situation, and that was what would benefit you in the long run. It benefited Saavik to keep Amanda and Sarek in good terms. They had connections that could prove useful. It was necessary to keep Starfleet happy by following their rules. They paid her and feed her and gave her a chance to see space. It behooved Saavik most of all to pay attention to her mentor and his needs. Spock saved her, but it was not out of debt. He was still useful and, despite her training in the Vulcan way, Saavik was still able to admit she preferred his company over that of others.

David had awakened her carnal desires. They did not dissipate with his death.

Saavik's logic did not always agree with Vulcan logic. To Saavik it was perfectly logical for Spock to give in to his physical desires for her. She was willing, he was willing. They would be breaking no Federation, Starfleet, or Vulcan laws. The social ramifications would be minor at worst. The only possible negative would be if they conceived a child. Since the House of Surak needed an heir, this would benefit Spock. Saavik could see birthing a child positively as well. It was her biological purpose after all and it would guarantee her safety and life-long prosperity. The House of Surak would keep the mother of its heir well cared for. Another solid bargain in Saavik's opinion.

Logically, it all seemed to be in order. Spock, of course, did not see it that way. His honor was getting in the way. He still saw her as a child in his care. He saw his desire for her as the desire for a child and was ashamed.

Saavik had contemplated simply stripping naked and lying on his bed. She knew Spock well enough to know that wouldn't work.

Instead, Saavik waited till his cup of tea was almost gone and then spoke, her voice even and controlled, her Vulcan only slightly accented.

"You desire me, Spock. Your meditations have not changed this fact."

Spock's hands were not quite steady as he set the cup down on the table, his eyes following the empty vessel rather than meet hers. "I have no wish to dishonor you with my lack of control, Saavikam. I apologize for my weakness." His voice was so quiet Saavik had to strain to make out the words.

"No dishonor was intended so none is taken." She tilted her head to the side and regarded her mentor with sharp calculation. "I do not consider this a weakness. You are male and I am female. Neither of us is attached. This was inevitable."

Spock's head slowly raised. His eyes were dark with disbelief and what Saavik had learned to recognize as self-disgust. "Saavik, I have no right to place you in this position. It is intolerable."

Saavik let a very unVulcan like snort escape and watched Spock carefully as she lowered the passive exterior he'd helped her cultivate. Surprise flittered across his face as she slowly let a predatory smile form. "If I found the situation intolerable I would not have started the conversation. You always assume that others could not return your feelings, Spock. You assumed James Kirk could never be your friend, you assumed the others on the Enterprise did not care for you. You were wrong. Now you assume that I do not share your desires. Again, you are wrong."

"Saavik?" Spock's voice was shaky and Saavik's grin widened.

"You forget, Spock. I am not Vulcan. You have taught me and shaped me to where I can pretend. Even your father is fooled if I wish it." Saavik leaned across the small table, her eyes reflecting the dancing flames of the still lit meditation pot. "But I am not Vulcan just as you are not. We, the both of us, are something apart." She smirked. "Is it not logical that together we find what with others we can not?"

Spock shook his head. "You had David Marcus."

"As you have had others in the past." Saavik reached a hand slowly out and fingered the cuff of his robe. "They are no longer here and again we are both alone. I do not like being alone, Spock. There is safety in numbers."

Spock's eyes were in shadow and Saavik could not quite read his expression. "I do not wish only for you body, Saavikam. You do not know what it is you trifle with."

Saavik's eyes flared and she slowly licked her lips. "Oh, I have a working hypothesis." She let one finger drift down the side of his hand and Spock could not stop the quickly inhaled breath her action caused. "I made this bargain with you long ago, Spock. I have waited patiently for you to claim what is yours. On Genesis what there was of you did so out of need. It is only right that now the rest of you does so with a clear mind."

Spock's eyes darkened and Saavik recognized both anger and want in their depths. "I did not do what I did on Hellgaurd because of a debt you owe. You are free, Saavik. You owe me nothing. Even if you had, it has been repaid. You saved my life on Genesis, at great cost to yourself."

Saavik nodded. "Marcus' death was unfortunate. At the time I was willing to give mine to save the rest of you. It was his choice to take the Klingon blade. I did not ask it, but I will not regret it. He too made a bargain, Spock. Biologically males are programmed to protect their female. He did so. I honor him for it. But he is gone and we remain." Saavik sighed heavily and steepled her fingers together mimicking her mentor's favorite pose. "I do not seek the same bargain with you, Spock. I do not need to secure protection, you already give it. From the first moment we meet on Hellgaurd you have shielded me and given me your protection. Even now, in this conversation, you seek to protect me. Do I not have the right to protect as well? You are valuable to me, Spock. Not only in way of survival, but..." Saavik trailed off to choose her worlds carefully.

"You taught me to be unemotional because it is Vulcan." Saavik's voice was soft. "In truth, Spock, I am unemotional because it is a weakness. I do not care what is Vulcan and what is not. You know I have never embraced your philosophy. But I appear Vulcan and the others take me for Vulcan so it is in my best interests to appear Vulcan. I am not nor will I ever be. Logic is a means of survival not a way a life. I can give you the logical reasons why I wish for what we are discussing, but the core of the matter is the fact that I have one weakness. I care for you, Spock. I have for a very long time. I can not remove this weakness and I am unsure I would choose to do so if I could. If a thing can not be changed it must be embraced. You do not seem capable of altering this reality either. So, we find ourselves here, at an impasse."

Spock's eyes glittered in the light of the meditation fire. "You care, Saavik?"

She nodded slowly. "I care, Spock."

He returned the nod, equally slowly. "Then perhaps you know more than I have given you credit for."

Their fingers touched gently in the flickering light and Saavik taught Spock exactly what she knew.