The return of sanity was starkly illuminating if nothing else. Ever collected—at least to the outside eye—there was a savage streak within Vulcans when they lost control.

Husband and wife stared incredulously about the room as Spock fished for a blanket, wrapping it about Saavik before curling against her side. For a moment they lay still, the floor almost cold against their skin so recently cooled from the blood-fever which had nearly killed them both. It was Saavik who first lifted her head and spoke.

"I will claim half of the things broken, husband, if you claim the rest."

"I remember little, Saavikam, but I know for certain it was your ... enthusiasm ... which resulted in more than half of this."

Saavik gave a non-commital jerk of her head. "A fight for our lives is hardly enthusiasm."

"And the undeniable fervor of ..."

"Yes?"

Spock raised an eyebrow momentarily, searching for a word. "Biology," he said at last. "What about that? There is no proper term for it, as well you know."

"There was more than biology, husband." Saavik reached up and traced the brow he had just quirked, smiling slightly as his hand tightened about hers and a shudder passed through his body. "You'll never admit the word, so I won't waste breath saying it."

"The 'word,' Saavikam?"

She shook her head, knowing Spock's adherence to logic--even if adherence to logic was in itself illogical. What else could explain their survival? She had held on, close enough to death that the healers kept constant watch; her mind always straying, searching amongst the stars that she might find him. And he--he, where his survival was easier than hers, had waited. Had himself fought death that he would be with her and her alone. The knowledge of the other's painful death had driven them both.

"Look," he murmured, drawing her from her thoughts. "The Fire-pot still stands. Not everything is broken."

"It can be arranged." Saavik shifted, stretching her foot forward until her toes curled about the pot's stand. She glanced at her husband, at his austere features, and was surprised to see the faintest smile playing about his face. No one would have noticed it but her.

Of course, she added mentally, reaffirming their mental bond greater than any physical coupling, it won't be me who breaks it.

"The loss of control affects both of us. Rationally, how can you claim it wouldn't be you, my wife?"

She was slightly disappointed that he had spoken aloud; of that which they shared now, reunited, one in body and one in mind, it was his thoughts melding with hers which she most cherished. He sensed this, for unintentionally her Romulan half had let slip her emotions, and he brushed a lock of hair away from her sweat-streaked face.

Saavikam . . .

Her name was enough, and she closed her eyes, content.

Thus they said nothing for a long while, their breathing deep, their hands still, suddenly aware of how weary their bodies had become. It was late into the third day, and only now had they begun to return to themselves.

Whether either—or, most accurately, Spock—would admit it, constant union had brought them closer than the obvious carnality. The same Fires which had almost killed them affected their circadian rhythms, so that now, together, consumed with the ancient drives, sanity had not relinquished its hold that they might rest. Three days of what would be called savagery to an out-worlder would render any Vulcan without strength, and now they could scarcely move.

Saavikam?

Within her mind, his voice was a mere whisper, smooth and comforting and—dare she admit it?--carnally moving all at once. She lifted her head where it had been resting against his shoulder that she could see his eyes—glittering slits in the fading Vulcan sunlight. iSpock?/i

T'hy'la . . .

She fully opened her eyes, startled by the word. He had never called her that—the closest word of endearment between bondmates in the Vulcan language. He reached up, drawing her to him, settling her against his chest again. "What surprises you about the word?" he asked after a moment.

"Your use of it."

"It is a word, Saavik. It does not express . . ." He paused and she did not know whether to strangle him or forgive him for his naivety. That he should pass off this sacred word—this word that meant so much to her—as just that, a word, three syllables--! The bitterness was strangely, grossly overwhelming.

What does it not express, husband?

Immediately she regretted thinking as she had, for again her Romulan half betrayed her; Spock closed his eyes for a moment, somehow seeming more drawn and weary than before. He reached to touch her temple with two fingers, then let his hand slip through her hair to brush the beautiful—yes, he would admit ithat/i word—curve of her ear.

Saavik drew a sharp breath, eyes widening. "Husband—Spock—"

"Sanity is so fleeting, t'hy'la?"

"No—it is not—but that's not why—" She shook her head, struggling for words. His hand left her ear to grasp her hand, bringing it to his temple.

The words fail you, Saavikam. Show me what you cannot say.

Instinctively, as easily as she could feel her own heart beating, her fingers found the psi points and she slid through the open door he had created between his consciousness and hers. Oh—to have him trust her so, for little else could be more personal to a Vulcan—if he could know how much it meant—

I can. You forget, Saavik . . .

His mind curled about hers gently, slipping into the dark places—memories from Hellguard and the worst of Starfleet and Genesis—and bringing light there.

That place, he conveyed at this last recess of her mind, I do not remember, you know this. But whatever I did then, in the ravages of instinct, I regret it. The whole matter—I regret that, too. That you, my Saavik, were put in so difficult a position.

Entwining her mind more fully with his, she let her free hand brush against his hair, catching it between her spread fingers. It was my choice, Spock. You saved the ship—all of us—and had I not—had we not—you wouldn't have lived. And I could not bear to lose you again.

He drew a deep breath. And . . . when I left Vulcan? You lost me then, too. But you stayed, where you could have followed.

The violence with which she wrenched her mind from his and physically jerked away from the warmth of his body left him as wounded as if some piece of him had been severed. Hastily he reached for her.

"Saavik. Please—t'hy'la—I did not know it was still difficult for you. I am sorry."

She pursed her lips. The Fires were momentarily slaked and in this moment of sanity she had no excuse to not adhere to the same teachings of Surak which had drawn the Vulcan people from animal darkness. Fighting away the fury and pain she turned back to her husband. "Do not apologize." She had not intended it, but her voice was cold as steel and Spock's eyes darkened. Saavik sighed, dipping her head for a moment. Damned emotions. . . . She couldn't help but smirk as her Romulan half let slide the oath. More seriously she murmured,

"There is nothing to apologize for, t'hy'la. As you were not yourself on Genesis, so you weren't yourself when you left Vulcan. Three months, and you still had reclaimed so little of your memory . . ."

"Most of which—that forsaken planet being the exception—I have indeed reclaimed, Saavikam. Everything—everything."

"Except that you broke more than I did." Her hand found his.

Before he could realize it was he who moved, his middle and index finger curled about hers, tracing the bones and veins across the back of her hand.

And sanity, so quickly come, was fleeting and all the more sudden to leave them. The blanket wrapped about them was hurriedly torn to shreds as they sought each other more fully and, however savage a coupling it might seem, there was nothing but love between them.