Disclaimer: I didn't create nor do I own "Star Trek." Just borrowing the 'verse for sheer entertainment.


I'm fed up because of him.

No, strike that. I'm pent up and it's beginning to affect my job. I have one of the best assignments in my field—no, in Starfleet—and I'm starting to slip. And I can't, because apparently, I'm a first. I still think that Starfleet assigning the Enterprise a ship's counselor three and a half years into her five-year mission was a little late, but they're counting on me to keep the crew mentally intact. Well, for the most part. They've been through so much already, especially their captain and bridge officers. I've read the logs and ship's archives and been astounded. I'm grateful because I get to study the personification of Freud's psychic apparatus up close and personal.

Right now the super-ego's sitting across from me, silent, pretending not to be irritated I'm wasting his time again. He's sitting up straight on my obligatory couch, not comfortable with it or me. No, not me—what my position represents. "Doctor, I am of sound mind and do not pose a risk of mental defect or deterioration."

"I'm sure, Commander. Still, Starfleet has mandated that I make that determination and evaluate you and your colleagues periodically." I'm used to saying this to him; it's become rote in the past two months. As an exopsychologist I know that Vulcans are very private about their bodies and much more so about their minds. Which is a shame, given their beautiful minds—and this one's attractive body.

"It is illogical to expect me to talk about emotions."

I shrug. "Who says you have to talk about emotions?"

"Doctor, considering your field, is it not expected that I lie on this couch and discuss how I am feeling so that you may analyze my mental state?"

"I'd say you're giving me plenty to work with as it is. And I'm sure I'm the only one who lies on the couch. Between you and me—" I lean forward and whisper—"the only reason it's here is because I take naps when I don't have sessions. You won't tell Doctor McCoy, will you?" I wink, and it elicits a raise of one gracefully-arched eyebrow. I have a habit of using humour to deflect, to obfuscate my real feelings. It serves me well, especially now.

I have to be very careful with him. I mustn't give him any outward indication of what the thought of his lean form splayed out on my couch is doing to me. I'm mindful of my head tilt. "Look, it's your hour, Mr. Spock. You may do with it what you wish." I uncross my legs and take note that his eyes followed the movement for a split second. I add, "You have an extremely quaint idea of my field. That's expected from Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy. They even refer to me by the antiquated and distasteful term 'shrink'. Well, given that our good doctor is called 'Bones,' I can overlook that." I laugh, a small one, just for me. "But you're far too intelligent, well-informed, and logical for such an attitude. I didn't expect you to be so annoyed about our sessions."

Spock lets his exhale become slightly audible. "Annoyance is an emotion, Doctor."

"So it is. We both know not all Vulcans are not completely devoid of them, pesky as they may be." I lean forward a bit. "Did it occur to you that I help people manage their emotions so they're able to act rationally?"

"Yes. And I did not mean that your services were not needed, given the majority of the crew is human. Our Chief Medical Officer would benefit greatly from your therapy."

"We're not here to talk about Doctor McCoy. We're here to talk about you."

"I fail to see the logic in my presence here, as I am not human."

"You're not wholly human," I correct. "Which is more of a reason I should discover what I can about that magnificent—" I can't conceal a grin here—"mind of yours. These sessions are more for research, but if you should ever need a different perspective to help you sort things out, well, I'm here for that too. Is that sufficient elucidation for you?"

Spock takes a moment to process what I said. "Yes, Doctor. You need me. But I do not anticipate a time where I will need you."

"Don't be so sure," I reply coolly. I tap my stylus against my lip before placing my PADD down on my lap. I ensure I have direct eye contact before speaking again; it's an easy task as Spock rarely takes his eyes off my face. "You intrigue me to no end, Mr. Spock." My tone of voice becomes softer, lower. "Your superlative intellect and physical prowess aside, I'm drawn in by your contradictions."

"Explain."

"You prefer the 'graspable,' the 'concrete', yet you hold a high regard for art and music, and they are seldom concrete. You express an amount of disdain for your emotional human comrades, yet you would sacrifice your life for them. You say you don't want command, but you don't shirk it. You've proven time and again that you are an apt leader. You say emotions are alien to you, yet you show empathy, even tenderness on occasion. How very strange you know what to say and do to assuage our more disagreeable emotions, despite claiming they are foreign to you."

Spock sits back on the couch a bit, preparing to be righteously indignant. "Doctor—"

"No offense," I interject. "I'm sure there's a perfectly logical explanation. Still, these contradictions make you admirable, even...desirable—" There's a moment where I think I see something in the Vulcan's expression that isn't discomfort, but it's gone just as fast. I know I slipped, and I need to recover. I inhale and add, "—in a Starfleet officer, especially in a second-in-command. I mean, your empathy and selflessness—without them, you'd probably be a sociopath." I don't think I've said enough. "Well, if you were human and lacked your extraordinary mental discipline."

"Indeed, Doctor. I have to maintain control of my emotions. It can be…challenging at times when presented with…distractions." I've noticed his stare has become intense, and I have to tear my gaze away from his before I stop breathing. I look down at his hands resting on his lap, and notice the long, immaculate, slender fingers. I know the nerve endings in a Vulcan's hand are more sensitive than a human's. Especially the fingertips. It occurs to me that I've observed Spock touch damn near everything. I wonder what information he would gather if he touched my skin, my lips...

If I was trying to compose myself, I failed. Miserably. I cross my legs and swallow. "Distracted? You, Mr. Spock?" I feign an incredulous expression. "That's rare, given the effort it must take for you to compartmentalize your emotions, stuff them in a little box and pretend you don't have them. That must take quite a toll. Do you get exhausted?"

"That is hardly an issue, Doctor. Vulcans possess increased physical and mental stamina. But not even Vulcans are invulnerable." I notice he has a slight grip on his right thigh. Interesting.

"No, I suppose not. But it's relative, isn't it?" I shrug. "I mean, compared to humans. If we did that, the increased stress would kill us eventually—that is if we didn't 'blow up' at an inappropriate time or have a nervous breakdown."

"But some of you show a remarkable amount or restraint, more or less." It looks like a corner of Spock's lip is turning up, but it isn't—it's in his eyes. How in the hell does he do that? "For instance, I find it fascinating you are able to maintain a somewhat rational conversation despite your aroused state."

I make the same mistake every human makes when dealing with Spock—assuming he's too much of an ascetic to not be aware of or affected by attraction. I see that now, in his eyes, in the slight hesitation, the timbre of his voice, his hand. It isn't so much what Spock says but in those subtle indicators. And we're getting into some dangerous territory, taking the focus off him and putting it on me. But all the same, I'd like to hear it from him. "Funny, I didn't know I have a tell." I cross my arms and lean to the side of my chair slightly. "Specify."

"Since I have entered this office, you have exhibited an increased pupillary response, your breathing and voice have deepened, your scent has the presence of pheromones, and your heart rate has increased." His tone is matter-of-fact.

"Yes," I counter. "And my tricorder would give a reading of a marked increase of adrenalin, dopamine, serotonin, and oestrogen—"

"Ms. Parker, you clearly have an urge to mate." Spock pays attention to detail, using the proper form for a once-married human female.

"It's a physiological response," I say mildly. "It'll pass. Eventually." I smirk. "Not having a mating cycle makes it more of a craving than a biological imperative. It's not like I'll die if I don't have sex."

Spock responds with a rather pointed look. Now he's egging me on, the tease.

"I know it's something you don't discuss in polite conversation—"

"Doctor, we do not discuss it. Ever." I walk in and Spock shuts the trap.

There's enough room to wiggle out. "Tough. You brought it up," I point out. I sit up in my chair. "Indulge me."

Spock's lips become a thin line, but he protests no further.

"I know you have to mate every seven years, but does a Vulcan male have enough mind over matter to do it because he wants to? I mean, if he wanted to? Which we know is purely hypothetical, as—"

"Affirmative, Doctor. 'Cravings', as you put it, are known to us." Again, emotionless, matter-of-fact. But his gaze told a different story.

I wish he lied, because half my brain is in collusion with my hormones. I'm wondering how his lips are so pink, and if I bit his bottom lip would it turn green as it's engorged with blood, and speaking of engorged with blood—

A chime goes off, a light, tinny sound, breaking the spell. "That's our time, Commander," I say, standing up. I watch him stand up in kind, hands behind his back in a modified parade rest. "Until our next session. That is, unless I've made you too uncomfortable. My apologies."

"They are not needed, Doctor. The experience was not unpleasant."

I nod and go over to the door; I have to slide the In Session placard out of its bracket. I managed to get him to talk about emotions. As a bonus, I got him to talk about sex without getting embarrassed. Or rather, pretending to not be embarrassed. It's off the record, but not a bad day's work.

Before he leaves, Spock turns to me and adds, "You underestimate yourself, Doctor Parker."

I stare at the door long after it slides shut behind him. It's going to be a long three weeks.