Disclaimer: None of it's mine except the story.

Author's Notes: Thanks to Delphi and David for the beta job. This is a sequel to my finished chaptered story, Conversational Vulcan. Not necessary to read that first, but it really is very good – you should try it if you haven't already!

Time for Bed, Uncle Spock

You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you,

You let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you

"Closer" by Nine Inch Nails

There were many things for which Uhura was grateful. One of them was the close proximity of her quarters to the turbolift; another was the fact that said turbolift deposited her right outside sickbay. Both of these added up to gratitude and relief that, as she stumbled from her rooms to sickbay, she met with only two people – both of whom were young ensigns who knew better than to comment.

"Leonard?" Her voice was hoarse. It had got too much use in too short a space of time. "Do you have a minute?"

Yet more for which Uhura could be grateful – the studied look of polite interest on her friend's face as he turned away from the computer console. Because McCoy had all the time in the world for patients who asked nicely. "Sure, Uhura, what's the – holy shit, what happened to you?"

She tried to smile. She really did try. But his eyes were running over her, pausing at the swollen thumb-sized bruise about her windpipe – maybe that was why her voice hurt so much – and again at the tear in her uniform across the shoulder, and at her legs which shook so badly she could barely keep herself upright. "Spock," she murmured.

Before Uhura could stop him, McCoy had his thumb pressed to the communications pad. "Sickbay to Security, I want a team to-"

With a deft movement of her fingers, Uhura cut the connection. "That won't be necessary. He's out for the count and he's not going to go on a mad rampage. He's done now."

That eyebrow was so damning, so like Spock's. She swallowed hard, and winced.

"I want a full explanation in the next minute or he's going in the brig."

Uhura nodded slowly, eyes drooping. So tired and so much to explain. "Can I have something for the pain first? I ache everywhere."

He was way ahead of her. "Up on the bed, if you can," he muttered, prepping a hypospray with one hand and running a tricorder over her with the other. He pressed the hypo to her neck, clearly eager for her explanation. "So come on, then. Explain to me how this isn't domestic abuse, and why all the men on this ship who care about you shouldn't be forming an orderly line behind the knuckle dusters."

"Your testosterone levels are making me woozy," she quipped, but her smile was wan and it was a relief to lie back against the bed and feel the painkillers take effect. "This doesn't go beyond this room. I shouldn't even tell you, but it's necessary."

"I'll drink to that," he muttered, feeding the tricorder readings into the main terminal behind her biobed.

Heaving a deep breath, and wincing again as shooting pains ran through her chest, she wheezed before mumbling, "Spock went into Pon Farr. He couldn't help it."

He wass facing away from her, but she could hear his eyebrow rising again, and the disdainful sneer in his voice. "'Pon Farr'? OK, so Vulcans have a fancy name for beating up their girlfriends. So far I'm unconvinced." Turning back to her, he looked like he was in almost as much pain as she was. "I'm so sorry, but I'm going to need you to remove your uniform. Scan's picking up some nasty lacerations I'll need to disinfect."

"Do you know anything about Vulcan biology?" she asked with a note of impatience. Because removing the thin layer of clothing, her only protection against the world, was more difficult than she would ever admit. She unzipped the back awkwardly, muscles screaming at her even through the numbness of McCoy's hypo, and shimmied the garment down her arms. When it dropped to the floor she couldn't help crossing her arms over her belly. McCoy had seen her wearing not-much-more than this on trips to the beach or evening's out in their Academy days, but she didn't think she had ever felt so naked before. She wass grateful for his professionalism, the way he clinically tilted her head to the side and gently pushed her hair out of the way to inspect the deep bite mark on her shoulder. He cursed softly under his breath, and Uhura knew she had better start explaining or McCoy wasn't going to wait for a security team. "Every seven years Vulcans kind of go into heat. It's uncontrollable, and there's nothing he could have done. If he'd resisted, he would have died, and there was no point as he already had a bonded mate." It felt so wrong to refer to herself in that animalistic way, when their relationship was usually loving and logical. Not this time, though, she thought bitterly.

"So he raped you, rather than beating you?" McCoy grumbled, gently opening her legs and wincing at the matching bite mark on the inside of her thigh. "Very comforting."

"Rape implies non-consensual." She made sure McCoy looked her in the eye when she said, "And I wanted it. I maybe didn't want to be held down or..." she trailed off and swallowed, remembering the frustrating details of orgasm denial. That was maybe a private thing. "I was restrained, not forced."

"Do you know how many women claim to have asked for it? Or say that they deserved it?" he said, applying liberal antiseptic.

"Would you stop being a Southern hick for two minutes, and think about who you're talking about?" That made him pause, and she sighed in relief. "I can attest to the fact he was a different person. He had no control over himself. I could feel it."

"The weird telepathy thing?"

She nodded slowly, trying not to blink – because when she blinked she felt the roiling black that had taken over all his emotions, like waves of tar consuming every part of him. Ugly and raw and, just distantly, she felt him struggling beneath it to return to her. "OK, I want to get someone to bring him in. If he's going to wake up ready for round two, I'm going to need to sedate him or quarantine him or something because, seriously Uhura, your have a cracked rib and lacerations to the throat, hip and wrists. Not to mention the bite marks."

"The biting's commonplace. Just not normally so hard," she mumbled.

"Too much!" That raised a smile from both of them and, for a moment, they could almost be allies against Gaila and Kirk again, with nothing more to worry about than passing the latest simulation or getting a decent recommendation. He turned back towards the communications panel, but only got three steps across the room before the sickbay doors opened.

McCoy was totally still. Almost totally. Uhura could see one hand slowly, subtly reaching for a hypo. "Spock?" she said softly.

He was stock still in the doorway, posture absolutely rigid as his eyes swept the room. Normally he looked totally impassive, but his jaw was clenched tightly, and she couldn't tell whether that was because he felt guilty or because he was ready for another go. "Nyota, have I hurt you?" he said with more urgency than she had ever heard in his voice, even on that horrible day when he left the bridge to try and evacuate his parents from Vulcan.

"I'm fine. Are you ok?"

"She's not fine," McCoy interjected, glaring at the First Officer in a manner almost worthy of a court martial. "In fact she's pretty badly battered."

Spock was at her side, but she couldn't quite find it comforting, and found her legs rising up, arms covering her once more. He had the tact not to try and touch her, but his stare bored into her. "Have you been able to administer suitable treatment?" he asked softly, eyes never leaving her face.

"There shouldn't be any lasting damage. Maybe a scar or two," he said pointedly, and Uhura pressed her legs tight shut ignoring the pain. "But she'll need to rest up for a couple of days."

"You will require an explanation," Spock said.

McCoy regarded him for a moment, and Uhura could tell what he was thinking. Even to a man as seemingly obtuse as McCoy, this was Spock -- her Spock again. Peaceful, logical, gentle Spock. He was remembering the way he backed Jim over the console and almost choked the life out of him; and the way he came to the rescue not five hours later. He was an easy man to forgive. "This Pon Farr thing, I'm guessing it's a big Vulcan secret? Which would be why it's not in any of the medical journals?"

"I can provide you with lengthy and accurate records relating to the phenomena – but would prefer that the situation remain confidential."

The doctor snorted. "I'll bet you would."

"Leonard, can you leave us for a minute? Please?" She pleaded with him with her eyes, and was astounded when it worked.

"I have a full medical diagnostic. If there's so much as an extra blemish on her skin when I come back in ten minutes, you're in the brig. Got it?"

"Affirmative," Spock murmured. Uhura didn't think the possibility of upbraiding McCoy even crossed his mind.

And then they were alone. Like they were almost always alone, but different. There was something else in the room with them, and slowly Uhura began to realise it was the phantom of the Other Spock; the Spock that had held her tight to the wall while he prepared her, then crushed his body against hers as he took her. The Spock whose eyes were completely black, completely Vulcan, without any of her own Spock's tenderness or love. She told herself firmly that she couldn't possibly be angry at this Spock, who was so entirely different, or afraid of him.

However, her Spock was very nearly as inarticulate as the Other Spock. Now he was alone with her, he didn't seem to know what to say. "Are you OK?" she asked eventually.

His eyes snapped up to hers and, if she touched him, she was certain she'd feel the subtle yellows of disbelief and surprise. "I am fully returned to my standard state of being," he replied. In a rush he took a breath, and she saw him physically restrain himself from touching her. "It is not enough, but I am sorry."

"Being sorry is always enough," she said softly. "Could you get my dress, please?" she asked, as she turned to get up off the biobed.

"I do not think it is advisable to move yet. You may require further treatment or observation."

"I'm fine Spock. Just a little sore." She tried for a wry smile, but the earnest non-expression made her false cheerfulness falter. "I'll be fine. I just really need for everyone to stop making a big deal out of this. I'm not made out of glass, Spock."

"I am considerably stronger than you. Our normal periods of sexual intercourse require a great deal of control from me to ensure I do not overpower you. This eventuality has long been a ... concern of mine."

"Well, it's over for another seven years. So you don't need to worry." Because she knew by now to translate Spock's language. 'Concern' meant 'worry'. 'Overpower' meant 'force'. And when would these men get it into their heads that she liked sex and no one was forcing her into anything? "And you don't need to explain anything, because I know what happened. I know that you had no choice and that you couldn't help it. To be honest, I thought it would be worse than that. In a twisted weird way, it was kind of nice to see you without the restraints. Kind of like swimming with sharks."

His eyebrow rose, and that was when she knew it would all be ok. "A peculiar analogy. I will research it further."

"Time's up," McCoy announced before either of them could notice the doors were opened. "Uhura, get your ass back on that bed, you're not going anywhere. Spock, the opposite bed, I want to make sure this thing hasn't adversely affected your health."

When McCoy discovered Spock had a couple of bite marks of his own, she couldn't suppress her chuckle.


They were both released to their own quarters by the evening. Spock was given a clean bill of health, and Uhura discreetly moved to a later shift the next day, allowing her an extra twelve hours' recovery. Their evening was quiet. Spock meditated, still replacing and tightening certain aspects of his emotional control, and Uhura read the latest Xeno-linguistics journal, occasionally reading excerpts aloud to Spock. When they undressed for bed, Spock neatly folded his clothes, leaving him in his underwear – as always. And as always, Nyota carefully took his black under-shirt from the small pile and pulled it over her head, breathing in the smell of him from its fabric. But when they climbed into bed, Nyota rolled away from him and verbally commanded the light be turned out.

This was not their routine. Usually Spock would lie on his back and Nyota would arrange herself on his chest while they talked for an average of twenty-three minutes about their work, or what they had read, or their crewmates. Then Nyota rolled onto her other side and, once she had fallen asleep, Spock moved behind her and held her gently, counting her breaths in the way she had taught him so that he, too, could slumber.

There was a tension in her back that was also abnormal. He frowned very slightly, deep green guilt twisting within him. "You are angry with me," he stated.

"I'm fine," she muttered, and looked over her shoulder. Her mouth was smiling, but her eyes were oddly sharp. "I'm just tired."

He waited for nine minutes and listened to her closely. "You are not asleep, though you claim to be tired."

"I am tired. But it won't come."

Tentatively, he reached out to her. He had been careful through the day to avoid physical contact, fearing that she would see some trace or echo of the strange, boiling blood fever that had overtaken him during the afternoon, and assume it was not really gone. It was an illogical fear, and one that was beneath him, but it was there all the same. When his fingertips met the cotton covering her spine, she tensed very slightly, but did not pull away.

Rolling onto his side, Spock extended his left arm and lifted the T-shirt. His palm connected with her cool skin and, though he held back from the telepathic connection that they both usually encouraged, he felt a wave of pleasing familiarity that was the shape and space of her mind. His touch was firm but gentle, sweeping over her spine, and avoiding the bruises on her left side that would take another two days to heal. His thumb massaged the muscles of her shoulder, fingers splaying upwards over her neck to the base of her skull and pressing. With a slow transition, Spock changed from kneading her skin to simply stroking it, enjoying the texture beneath his sensitive hands. He did not find it erotic, as he so often did; that aspect of his psyche and physicality was truly exhausted from the day's events – but it was pleasing to be close to her and to be himself with her once more.

After six minutes of the more gentle caresses, Nyota moved one foot back towards him. It bumped gently into his shin, then her toes ran up and down his leg. With the smallest of smiles, Spock realised that this was forgiveness.

He slid closer, without halting his hand's progress along the smooth planes of her back. When he was flush against her, their legs twined together in the way they usually found themselves in the morning – without either knowing who had initiated which intimacy – his hand rested on her hip. Normally it would circle her waist, but he had no intention of causing her further pain.

"You're not hugging me," she murmured sleepily.

"I will hurt you," he said.

Her hand took his and gingerly pulled it over her body. She pressed his palm to the slight swell of her abdomen, covering it with her own. "Right there is fine." He did not reply and assumed, after another three minutes, that she had fallen asleep.

He was about to follow her when he heard her murmur, "I love you, you know."

As was his custom on these rare occasions of mutual declaration, he pressed a human-kiss to her shoulder and replied, "And I love you."