A mind shut off from conscious thought is a curious thing. Though the physical body may exist with in an environment of chaos, the mind can withdraw so far within itself that it is a billion light years away, immersed in a reprieve of tranquility.
It originated as a defense mechanism. The highly evolved Vulcan was granted the unique opportunity to escape the defining destruction of self-induced chaos, and retreat into their own mind to find peace. Thus began the practice of Mind Melding. Once a singular exercise, through the years it evolved to become a uniquely communal experience.
Peace by its very nature strives to beget its own. A Vulcan not half satisfied with inner peace derived from the teachings of Surak, manifested a way to share peace with the cosmic universe. What began as a study of inner calm, was warped and molded into an instrument to connect two inner consciousness's together in unprecedented harmony.
Two minds converged.
Nyota felt the fringes of her thoughts moving like waves against what she could only imagine was her own cerebral walls. It began as a gentle lapping against the pools edge. Some machination from the core of the fount caught current and created cresting waves that splashed up the sides.
She was becoming aware.
Pulled back from the darkness, from the void, her mind was being engaged by either the physical world, or something else entirely external. Slowly she began to feel again. It started at the base of her skull. A hard surface lay beneath her head. Her consciousness flowed down the length of her body and she realized she was laying, presumably, upon ground. More specifically, a rock like surface. All at once she could sense an orange light behind her eyelids. She willed them to open, but the lazy haziness of unconsciousness was slow to recede.
She flexed her fingers as a test, and then her toes. Her foggy mind attempted to report that both seemed in good working order. Slowly her eyes fluttered open, and the sensorial onslaught was equal measures riveting and alarming.
A red sky loomed above. Hues of pink and orange, swirled and mixed together in a delicate dance, as the cardinal color of crimson made the constant backdrop of the canvas. She breathed in sharply. The air was thin and laced with new sensations. It nearly tasted metallic to her tongue. She felt the gentle powder surface of the finest sand that clung as a tablecloth over the hard bedrock beneath her.
Willing herself into a sitting position, the landscape that greeted her was unnervingly foreign. In an instant she knew she was no longer on earth. High on the wide ledge of a cliff she looked out at a mountainous landscape cradling a desert valley. Red spires of rocky earth jutted forth from the ground, looking like the outlines of famed cathedrals against the sunset sky.
She suddenly felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up as the uncanny tingle that the sense of being watched purveys. It lit up her skin in goose bumps.
Whipping her head to her left, her eyes crashed into the morose dark orbs of the only Vulcan she had ever known.
"Spock?" She uttered involuntarily. He continued to stare at her unabashedly. A slight flicker passed his eyes. Relief perhaps? She couldn't know for sure, and yet she was certain. He was dressed in traditional Vulcan garb. A grey tunic, with minimal embroidery. It made the green tint to his ivory skin all the more pronounced.
The gears of her mind grinded to a halt as realization dawned.
"This isn't real, is it?" She breathed.
"Correct." He nearly smiled. Not because her intelligence amused him, but rather that it still surprised him.
"Where are we, really?" Nyota asked, shuddering at the thought of such an aberrant disconnection from her physical body.
"We are in the basement of one of Mr. Wyndamere's warehouses." Spock turned his gaze away from her at once. It struck Nyota as a most bashful thing to do, a seemingly foreign gesture to a Vulcan.
"Why this?" She motioned around them, once again in awe of the jagged landscape.
"I needed a moment." His voice was like a defeated exhale. It caused Nyota to suck in a deep breath as a sense of alarm invaded her mind, causing her heart rate to spike. She knew enough about Vulcan's to know that they retreated into their own minds to usher forth calm against a physical backdrop of calamity. What sort of chaos loomed?
All at once memories assaulted her on every side like snap shots from an antique polaroid camera. Her cheek smashed against the cold marble. Her arm twisted in such a heinous angle. Pain inflaming her body. Gruff hands that grabbed and pawed. Spock going down from a blow to the head so militant it should have killed him. Hands at her throat, fingering her vein, only to be followed by the sharp stab of a thick needle. She remembered she had attempted to flail then, but it felt like a hundred hands were upon her body holding her in place. One lone thought had ricocheted throughout her mind,
But as the needle dug deeper into her flesh, that all consuming thought dimmed low. She remembered hearing her heart beat in her ear, a rapid rat-a-tat, like gunfire. But the longer that burning needle in her neck sunk deeper, that deafening beat slowed, and slowed into a soft whomping noise. Her thoughts grew distant and hazy as her eyelids fluttered and drooped. Her tensed muscles, subdued by large roughened hands, grew weak and listless. It was at this point that her memories became unreliable. Whatever drug they had introduced to her system had made the world around her appear engorged and in constant motion. Everything after could have been little more than delusions conjured by a drug addled mind. Bright flashing colors, screams, walls that ballooned and bubbled like a bog. Japeth's voice snarling and cackling as though right behind her ear. Hands that shoved, and the feel of a scratchy and grimy wool blanket on… a bed?
None of it made any sense, and her brow furrowed in as she tried with all her might to make sense of the haze. Yes. There was definitely a bed. The springs of the mattress had sounded deafening when she was thrown down, or perhaps dropped from a great height on to it. There had been hands then. Cold, harsh hands that had pulled and jerked… pinned.
She could sense Spock tensing at her side as she muddled through her hazy memories, every muscle in his body was keyed up as though he was about to spring into motion. It suddenly made sense why.
They were connected after all.
Every thought she pulled forth from her mind, he could see just as clear as the red sky looming above them in his own mind. Once again, alarm flooded Nyota. Something had been holding her down, of that she was certain, but every other detail eluded her. There had been pain. Given her drugged state, it must have been quite a lot for her to have felt it. She suddenly feared the state she would find her physical body in, when Spock finally released her from the charade of his meld. She winced as the sensory memory poured over her mind. A hand had been at her throat, it's grip so tight it could crush her wind pipe. The burning sensation of her lungs and throat as she attempted to breath had been excruciating. Each attempt at breath like knives slashing to ribbons the flesh of her esophagus.
And, then… all of a sudden it was gone. Just…gone. She remembered hearing fleshy noises of suction and tearing, but keeled over on her side sucking in ragged burning breaths of scorching air, she had paid it no mind. The hand was gone, and that was all that mattered. Seconds as long as ages passed, and she remembered a new hand, a gentle hand covered in a sticky syrup, had touched her neck. Her closed eyes had fluttered open as a cooling sensation had loosened her throat enough for clean gulps of cool air to pass through into the depths of her lungs without issue. Seeking out the owner of the heavenly hand, her eyes had fallen instead upon a demon.
Sharp and tangible, she remembered that face. It had been covered in blood. Black, haunted eyes full of fright had searched her face. Rivulets of blood had streamed down his sharp cheekbones, and splatters stood out starkly against his pale olive skin. Nyota shuddered at the image as a terror unknown flooded forth from her very heart.
The blood upon him was not his own, of this she was certain, for its shade was crimson.
Suddenly the image was wiped from her mind, like water washing over a still wet painting. Nyota closed her eyes against the bright red twilight as a sinking feeling pervaded her every nerve.
"Why did you bring me here?" Her question, though only a whisper seemed to echo. She cast her gaze to him, and was startled further when he couldn't meet her eyes.
"Spock…?" She breathed, unable to keep the panic from her voice. He cleared his throat, still refusing to look at her, he cast his gaze out over the valley.
"In a few moments, you'll begin to see Delta Vega rise over Mount Seleya, just there." He pointed off into the distance at a lonely but proud mountain. Nyota frowned at his words, as she surveyed the formidable peak, the side facing them up lit brilliantly in a rich amber hue by the sun setting behind them. His words came floating back to her then. He needed a moment. He needed her to give him a moment before… before reality. She sucked in a steadying breath attempting to quite the onslaught of questions slamming around in her brain. Looking down, she took in the white linen dress draped around her.
"What is this I'm wearing?" It was made of a soft almost silky cotton, and it pooled around her legs gently, the hem lifting easily with the warm breeze. Thin straps exposed her bronzed shoulders, the white all the more arresting against her complexion.
"I don't know," Spock replied, his voice quiet, "Your mind created it." She gave him a doubtful look. Never in her life had she seen such a dress. The notion that her subconscious had made it was ludicrous, however, the idea that her mind was an active participant in this shared dream arrested her.
"I can create things in here?"
She sat pensively for a moment, her lip tucked gently under her teeth in quiet contemplation. Suddenly, like a raid, the skyline was assaulted with fifty rising rock spires that rumbled forth from the earth beneath. She breathed out an exhilarated sigh at the new skyline.
"Incredible." Spock breathed as he took in her creation. The rock formations were nothing like those found on Vulcan. They were craggy with pits and jagged edges. Not smoothed from the constant beatings of sand storms. He wondered if these peaks boasted similar architecture of the mountains from her homeland. A light gray, turned pink in the hue of the world they now found themselves in. Something about the idea of Nyota imparting part of her world here in his, warmed him. The desire to stay with her here forever and create a new world together made his bones ache with longing.
"Are you going to tell me what's going on?" She was certainly persistent. He could feel her bright gaze upon him, but he kept his eyes riveted on her magnificent creation. A moment and an eternity intermingled as the silence stretched forth. With their minds connected, he could feel acutely her anxiousness and her mounting frustration. It began to peak, but she hid it well, and asked again with full patience, "What happened?" He breathed in deeply savoring the easy air, it's taste was both comforting and debilitating. It made his mind conjure forth a wave of melancholy. Finally, he breathed out answer,
"Something… illogical." His voice was quiet with a light tremor that seemed to be swept away with the breeze.
"Are we in danger?" She asked it calmly, bravely… pragmatically, and without even a hint of the anxiousness that he could feel pulsing through her mind. He almost smiled at the strength of her resolve, the well constructed mask of her composure.
"No, there is no threat," he swallowed hard, she watched the bob of his throat, "… now." He breathed in through his nose, his chest expanding as he could feel her fear nettle its way down her spine in his mind.
"Spock, why haven't you awoken me?" Her voice was strong, brimming with authority. Such a juxtaposition from the true emotions he could feel flowing through her mind, pumping through her very blood. Not for the first time, he found himself in awe of her. It was true, she was human through and through, and yet, at her young age, she had attained the laurel of her species. This uncanny ability to swallow fear whole and artfully mask volatile emotions behind a façade of calm command. She was destined for great things, of this, he was certain, and it made his heart burn with a pride he didn't understand. A new emotion he could not identify, fashioned from this misplaced pride warmed him from the inside out. Still gazing at her spires, suffocating under this emotion that clenched his heart, he whispered without thinking,
"May I kiss you?"
It was out, hanging in the empty space between them, and they both felt the other's knee jerk reaction to the question.
"I…what?" Nyota breathed. Swallowing hard, he turned to her fully, his dark eyes capturing hers. He knew she heard him. He knew instantly every thought and feeling that surged through her as her brain processed his request. Not one prone to redundancies, he almost didn't repeat himself. But the allure to feel that heat that had risen and spread through her once again was too insatiable. Holding her gaze, he repeated his words clearly, his voice stronger.
"May I kiss you?" He was rewarded fully as another onslaught of heat rushed through her, so potent and virile his eyes almost closed at the force of it. How deeply humans felt things. No wonder they were such slaves to these base emotions. His heart rate increased to out pace her own. Perhaps his gaze upon her was too intent, perhaps she could feel clearly his response to her thoughts in her own mind. Perhaps the realization of what her feelings did to him was too much. For she looked away. Her rich eyes glanced up, staring once again at the lonely peak in the distance. He could feel it before she spoke, and it was choking in it's urgency and in its sadness.
"It won't be real," never had defeat sounded so foreign. Her disappointment was palpable, and he didn't understand it.
"I know." He said simply. Of course it wouldn't be real. That was the point after all. They couldn't be held responsible for their thoughts. Didn't she understand that the fact that it wouldn't be real was paramount? He was of a higher rank, her instructor, she his subordinate. It could never be real, not without the pair of them forsaking every hope and dream they held respectively for their futures.
"Please tell me. Why haven't you awoken me?" Her voice was a plea.
"Because once I release you," he motioned between them, "this will be lost." He looked away from her confused face, hating the surge of pain it caused to flare through him. "A time in which you didn't know, will be gone forever."
His dark thoughts threatened to crash in on them. He couldn't think of those things while connected to Nyota. He couldn't allow them to flow from his mind into hers. She couldn't see. He couldn't let her see.
"I… I don't understand," She stammered her voice a whisper, "Know what?" But her clever mind pieced it together with out him. It didn't need his shadowy thoughts that lurked on the fringes of his mind to find a way in. Her mind, of it's own volition, conjured forth every shred of memory and took it upon itself to fill in the blanks through deduction.
His face flashed in her mind once again and he mentally cringed at the sight in her mind's eye. Human blood had streamed down his face like red rivers, and as he surveyed the hollow look in his own eyes he felt thoroughly haunted. Answering her question, and confirming her assumptions he confessed, "…the things I'm capable of."
A sadness so raw ripped through her body, and he suddenly couldn't breath as it flowed through their connection into his own mind. It was as if someone had sucker punched him, and every morsel of air had been forced away from his lungs. Though he wasn't looking at her, he could tell that she was desperately holding back tears.
He had never felt self-disgust run through his veins so potently before, but he, one accustomed to melding, kept it far away from their connection unwilling to let her feel such darkness. He had to shut it down.
What began as an attempt to pull her out of her unconscious state had left him so very vulnerable to her humanity. It was a new perspective to attempt to grasp the nuanced spectrum of human emotion roiling in her mind. Her ability to feel was singularly vast, like the universe, varied beyond precedence and without end. And she lived everyday allowing it to pulse through her without any design to suppress it. Without any attempt to control it, to release it. The thought of such an existence both enthralled and exhausted him.
Silence stretched between them, and he purposely blocked out her thoughts, warping the connection to mute her high notes. He didn't care to know the damning things she must be thinking at present. His brow creased at this cowardly response. It wasn't right to leave her alone with the burden of her empathy. It wasn't right for her to feel pain over actions he exacted, while he found refuge in his practiced art of repression. Sucking in a long breath, he braced himself as he lifted the veil between them. Nothing could have prepared him for the new landscape of her mind.
The sadness was still there, just as harsh and solemn as before. But it was honed now, tuned sharply into something else entirely. She had focused it in a direction he never anticipated. Her sadness was not that a man she knew had died, or that a man she admired was capable of bringing about such a thing. Her sadness was more ephemeral. Like how one is sad over a natural disaster. It was a detached sort of sadness. A sadness without blame. And what was more, a companion emotion was latched arm in arm with her sadness. While the former was all gray tones, and lonely howls, it's companion was a ruddy golden thing that beamed brightly into his mind. He recognized it as unadulterated gratitude. It was this emotion that beckoned his battered heart forward into its soothing presence.
All at once the most glaringly obvious fact was made blatantly clear for him:
She was alive because Japeth was dead.
It was as if her mind was holding his, and he supposed in a way it was. Without touch, she was comforting him. She didn't blame him. He sat in it's glow for what seemed like hours, neither of them speaking. Neither moved, until he noticed Nyota's fingers running tracks through the sand on the ground. He looked down at her long, lithe fingers as they moved back and forth over the surface, deepening the troughs of sand.
"This feels real," her voice was equal parts amazement and suspicion.
"It's meant to," Spock replied, still watching the migration of her fingers through the sand. Her motions were gentle and languid, and he couldn't help it as he wondered what it would feel like on his skin. That thought nettled it's way deep into his mind and prodded him incessantly. Suddenly the desire to touch her consumed him.
In a gesture too bold and foreign to understand, his hand slid across the ground and slipped over the top of her own. As it closed around her's, a smear of red powder smudged across the back of her hand. He could feel her body tense at the contact, and if he could not have felt acutely the dazzling effect of his gesture in her own mind, he might have removed it at once. It was not lost on him that initiating intimacies with a woman while connected through the meld gave him an otherwise unrealized advantage. Her hand was warm and silken to the touch, and he only idly wondered if reality was on par with this projection from his mind. Gently, he allowed his long fingers to explore hers, taking his time as he softly dragged his fingertips across the hollows between her fingers.
Nyota was transfixed as she watched his hand caress her own. Though the contact was innocent, it up lit her very bones.
"…Would it feel real too?" Her voice was breathless. Spock knew at once she was referring to his request for a kiss.
He let go of her hand and leaned back to allow his other hand to reach across and slid from her wrist up her arm in a feather light touch, slow and torturous.
"Does this feel real?" he questioned, coaxing her to her own conclusions.
She swallowed hard, her eyes trailing his fingers as they left a smear of red powder in their wake. The touch was maddening, and as she lifted her gaze to catch his, she was ill prepared for the intensity brimming brightly from his darkened eyes. It caused heat to slid down her chest and drop to the bottom of her stomach where it burned like a city. She watched as the feeling passed freely from her mind into his, and relished the way it caused his eyes to close slightly at the sensation.
"Yes," she replied unnecessarily, a glimmer of boldness lacing her tone.
"And this?" his hand ghosted from her shoulder across her décolletage, his long fingers spreading out wide across her chest, his pinky tracing the rise and fall of her cleavage. Moving further up to gently grip her thin neck, he used his pointer finger to hook under the point of her jaw and steer her face to his.
Unable to answer when he was looking at her like that, she made a small nod, her lips slightly parted as her darkened eyes revealed the extent of her longing for him. Leaning in ever so gently, Spock had never been more certain of his course. This surge of certainty drowned out any insecurities of inexperience that existed. He had always found the act of kissing a base and rather disgusting human practice, but in that moment, as he watched Nyota's eyes flutter close, he couldn't be bothered to care.
Suffering the heated effects of her nearness, he gently leaned forward, beckoned by her full lips. A gentle brush, the simplest of contact, had his heart racing as fire slid down his stomach. He leaned in further, pressing firmly against her lips, cradling her lovely bottom lip between his own. Nyota, hesitant at first, began to set the pace. Long, languid pulls against his lips, like the ebb and flow of the shore.
Spock was beside himself with the onslaught of sensations. Drowned in both his own, and those reverberating from her own mind, he was only further encouraged. Grabbing her jaw fully, he deepened the kiss. Shock and delight intermingled in his mind as he felt her tongue gently slid along his lip. The very feeling made his heart stop and his eyes spring open. He allowed her to guide him as she slid her tongue into his mouth moving her head to the side, he followed course, and could not fight his rising arousal as she taught him how to slide his tongue against her own. Without thought, his hand shifted to her hip and pulled her abruptly into his lap, never breaking the kiss, except for Nyota's startled gasp. With the new angle, she took further control of the kiss, placing her palms on either side of his face.
Spock, so entranced with the weight of her body against his, and feeling of her fingers running through his hair didn't notice as his concentration on the meld weakened. Like an eerie specter, he vaguely began to smell the metallic scent of blood.
Nyota, drowned under the searing sensation of kissing her Vulcan. As his hand slid up her side, she wondered how far they should go in this dream. Spock's eyes popped open as he tensed, and Nyota's opened to his dark gaze as she realized he'd heard her thought. She would have felt embarrassed if not for the raw desire emanating from his eyes and mind. Colliding back together their kiss took on a heated urgency as they grabbed at each other. So preoccupied with where to put his hands, and how to touch her, the meld further slipped from Spock's grasp.
Suddenly, Nyota felt the connection, like a pulsing energy sewn to her temple. She could feel it weakening. As it fell away, the new onslaught of sensations were dark and overwhelming. Gone was the comforting orange sky and the feel of warm firm lips against her own. Chasing it away was the stale darkness of a warehouse basement, the air moist and foul. Bereft of the connection, she had never felt so suddenly alone. The fresh air with traces of chemical taste was at once replaced by the horrific stench of blood and death. As her eyes fluttered open, she hardly recognized the man before her.
To be cont.
A/N: So, not abandoned… just… took a bit. (Well, a couple years.) Apologies for any mistakes and errors, both grammatical and canonical. Please feel free to leave some feed back as it's always helpful to the process. Thank you so much for reading!