It's really nice to be back.
Thank you all for the very lovely reviews and I promise that questions will be answered in due time. Thank you so much to AtanaM for taking time out of her very very busy life to help me with this and I hope she knows how greatly she's improved this chapter and this story as a whole. I cannot, could not do this without you.

He does not wish to speak with her.

No, that is an inaccurate statement, that is not his meaning. It is not the conversation he illogically wishes to avoid. It is, rather, the vocalization of his shame. He does not want to confront the fact that he has done this to her, has made her sick. He was not careful, he let his emotions, his feelings possess him and now they must suffer the consequences.

In truth, he has been avoiding this moment since Kirk identified his problem so quaintly as "woman troubles." Nyota told him that it was merely a result of residual stress from recent events coupled with a chemical and physical neuroreaction to a new contraceptive in rotation. The combination of those factors, she told him, was causing changes in her mood, matter and biorhythms. He was not to worry, it was nothing to be concerned about and for a time he was more than willing to believe her lie.

No, he thinks, that is also inaccurate. Though she is completely capable of the act, Nyota is not lying to him. She herself believes that it is simply biological upheaval and stress. She does not know differently, does not know the...alternatives to the meaning of the changes within her body and mind. She is not Vulcan, she has no logical reason to view her symptomatology than anything other than human biological standards. He himself has only recent seen the symptoms for what they might be and while there is a part of him that desperately wishes to continue the charade, he knows he cannot, no longer. He has let this go long enough as it stands.

He wishes that he could pretend, that he could, in the face of this fact walk through their door and act as if nothing is the matter, acting as if he is fine, as if she is fine, as if they are fine.

But he cannot. He knows of this terrible thing he has done and if he continues to evade the obvious she could die.

Now he must face the consequences.

She has never felt better.

As she makes tea, she knows how silly this must sound if she were to say this aloud, but she, given what she has gone through, has never felt better. She woke up this morning after the best sleep of her life, she is neither exhausted from too much sleep nor too little, she actually ate normally instead of feeling vaguely nauseous or dizzyingly ravenous as she did every morning, her pains are gone and as far she can tell her moods have been fairly normal today. In fact, today she genuinely felt happy—as if it was this remarkable thing to be alive and well and being.

She hopes Spock arrives soon, she wants to sit and talk with him and go about their off hours together as if everything was completely okay, because it actually was for a change. There wasn't a Sybok after them, no chemical imbalance to keep them apart, everything was as it should be and it was profoundly marvelous.

The tea steeps and she carries the mug out to their living quarters. She sits on the sofa, concentrating for a moment. She can feel Spock if she concentrates long enough and she imagines that with enough time and practice, she won't need to consciously make the effort anymore. He has finished his shift and any lingering duties, she senses and he is coming back to their quarters. Suddenly, a sense of dread coils within her and she cannot understand why. She thought things were fine, at least they were for her. Why is he so...frightened? She reviews the last few days-their interactions, their conversations, everything of pertinence. What has made him so upset? She cannot think of anything. The mission since Mantose IV was so routine, charting a heretofore unexplored portion of the Nebarian Nebula. No danger, no surprises. It has been almost boring for weeks. True, she has not been feeling well, has been off-kilter emotionally and physically but that was completely understandable under the circumstances. Spock had not held it against her when she explained what was going on. He had been so understanding and kind, willing to give her time to work things out. Had she been blind this entire time? So wrapped up in her own trauma that she missed something important? Something that would fill him with this sense of dread?

Like quicksilver, she is furious at him and herself. She hates herself for being so self-absorbed that she did not even realize that something was bothering him. What kind of bondmate was she? She hates him for doing this, for bringing this sense of dread home and ruining her. She hates that he can't just let them be. He has to over-complicate everything and now they're going to fight and she's going to yell and she doesn't want to go to bed angry.

They've been through so much.

Why can't they just have a nice dinner and quiet evening at home?

As he walks in, he remembers the first time Nyota was really, truly angry with him.

They were not in a relationship, not quite yet. She was still his teaching assistant, there were rules, regulations, things intentionally left unsaid keeping them apart. Still, they had spent so much time together that in retrospect it was rather...illogical that he used those excuses as obfuscation.

The night before, they were supposed to eat together. However, he had a meeting before with the faculty of the computer science department, a meeting which ending well after cadet curfew. He would have sent her a message, to let her know that he would have to postpone their dinner meeting, but he had neglected to do so, assuming that she would just infer that his meeting had run late and thus their dinner was canceled. The next morning, he walked into his office and said hello to her, as he always did, yet she did not respond. She always responded, she always said 'good morning, Commander,' and smiled at him. Instead, she simply nodded her head to acknowledge his greeting and said nothing. He was surprised how much it saddened him; something was now not quite right and he desperately wanted to make it right, wanted to make her smile again.

He observes her sitting on the couch and he realizes that there is so much that is different from that moment, how once he ascertained his mistake and vocalized it, she accepted his apology and he took her to her favorite restaurant the next day. A relationship was established a two months, one week and three days later. His planet was destroyed, his mother killed. He discovered a brother, he endured his time. There is so much between them, so many things they have had to endure together.

Yet, and he hesitates to think this, he is not sure they can endure this.

He may have killed her. He would not find her to blame if she were to refuse to see him ever again.

"God, Spock, would you just talk already? I really can't stand it when you're brooding like that," she snaps at him, staring fixedly at her mug of tea.

He looks up and over at the chrono. Five minutes, twenty three seconds have passed since he entered their quarters. She has not said hello to him, she has not kissed him. Nothing is like it should be and he is, as humans say, stalling.

"I am sorry, ashayam," he murmurs. There is so much he is sorry for.

She looks at him, her anger softening somewhat. "Why? Why are you sorry?"

He has tried to find the words before this moment yet when she asks him why, he finds that all the words are gone from his mind and he is stuck, blank, with nothing to say to her. He simply does not know why to say.

"Spock," she sighs. "You have to tell me what's wrong; you have to let me in."

He continues to stare at her, saying nothing. It occurs to him that he really could say nothing, he could tell her that the anxiety that she feels from him is because he had a particularly troubling meeting with Kirk, which would not be that far from the truth, given that Kirk is such a troubling individual. He could lie.

No, no he could not. Vulcans do not lie, even by omission. He must tell her the truth, he must destroy them to save her.

"Nyota," he begins, taking a deep breath. "How are you feeling?"