T'Pring did not want to be the wife of a legend. She neither wished to leave Vulcan behind, nor did she wish to be left alone, married but without the presence of her husband in her life. And in the years in which it had come to seem that Spock would never enter pon farr and come to claim her after all, she had found her t'hyla elsewhere, in a man named Stonn.

But when Spock's blood finally did come to burn, later than expected, she realized that her only choices were to accept him, or to cause the death of a Vulcan man. And aside from the violation of the precepts every Vulcan held dear in causing the death of any sentient being, the two who risked death by her choice were her t'hy'la and a man who had been her childhood friend, whose absence from her life these many years had never been meant as harm to her. She couldn't do it. For the sake of her love's life, and for the sake of her own conscience, she put aside her lover and let her betrothed claim her.

Of course, through the bond, Spock learned of Stonn's existence. And he was not secure enough in his Vulcan identity, even with the power of the clan of Surak behind him, to leave his wife behind on the same planet as the full Vulcan man who had been her lover. He feared that she would go to her t'hy'la, and that all would see it as the true Vulcan blood winning out over the contaminated hybrid, and logic could say nothing to alleviate this fear, because it was entirely accurate. That was exactly what would happen. So he persuaded his captain to allow T'Pring to come aboard his ship... the only civilian on a starship anywhere in the Fleet, the only full-blooded Vulcan to live on a ship that was not fully crewed by Vulcans. Her work in data processing and analysis was not a task that easily adapted to the requirements of a starship, and would have put her directly under her husband's command, which would not have been allowed by Starfleet... quite aside from the fact that Starfleet preferred not to have civilians working aboard the ships at all.

So she had no work. There was only one Vulcan aboard, her husband, and he might as well be alien. Everyone else was an alien. There was no place for her here, no work for her, no companionship. Some of the humans reached out to her, trying to offer her friendship, but aside from Sulu, whom she could discuss Vulcan botany with, and Uhura, whom she could talk about music with, she had nothing whatsoever in common with any of them.

She went to Dr. M'Benga for fertility assistance, seduced her husband outside his Time, and became pregnant. On Vulcan that would be somewhat shameful, visual evidence that a couple couldn't restrain their animalistic, emotional lusts to the one time when it was inevitable. But there were no Vulcans here, and she was so terribly alone. A baby would at least give her something to do.

Once she became pregnant, the starship captain wanted her to return home, saying that a starship had no place for children; but the chief doctor argued otherwise, insisting that sending a man's wife away just because she was pregnant was inhuman. She would have said otherwise. It would have been a highly un-Vulcan thing to do; on Vulcan, families who sailed the spaceways did so together, sharing the dangers equally. It did seem, however, to be an absolutely normal thing for humans to do. Yet the doctor's words, illogical and inaccurate though they were, swayed the captain, and she remained.

Little T'Len - named for the doctor who had argued for T'Pring to remain - did in fact occupy T'Pring's attention, and filled much of her need for companionship. Her existence gave T'Pring common ground with more of the humans... humans were as biologically programmed to care for babies as Vulcans were. The doctor had a daughter of his own, the engineer and the captain both had nephews, and even the chief nurse, who had seemed to despise T'Pring for illogical human reasons T'Pring had never even tried to understand, treated the baby with all the warmth and gentleness that any humanoid infant, even a Vulcan one, required.

It was not enough. Once she had been T'Pring, daughter and sister and lover, but with a life and identity and work of her own. Now she was mother of T'Len, wife of Spock, but it seemed as if T'Pring herself no longer existed. Yet it was all she had, so she endured.

At the end of the five year mission, she was to go home to Vulcan a week early, while Spock took T'Len to Earth to show her to his Grayson family there before following her to Vulcan. But there was an ion storm, and complications with the transporter, and the Vulcan she beamed to was... her home and not her home.

There was another T'Pring there.

She was property of Spock, but he had released her to live her own life. She lived alone, as propriety demanded, but Stonn visited her as they chose. She had her work, still, and her friends... her family seemed to consider her a disgrace, but her friends still embraced her.

T'Pring took water with her and a midday meal while they tried to figure out how to return her to her proper time.

This T'Pring had called challenge. She had come up with an ingenious solution - she had chosen Spock's human friend Kirk as the challenger. A man who had no interest in her whatsoever, who would have no desire to fight Spock to the death, whose blood did not burn and who was not Vulcan anyway, and so he would be no match... but if he died, it would devastate Spock and he would turn away from the woman who he had killed his friend for. Her actions were designed to keep her from becoming Spock's wife and allowing her to remain with Stonn, without likely causing the death of any Vulcan. And in the end she had caused the death of no one, because the human doctor had faked the captain's death.

T'Pring was troubled deeply when she learned what her counterpart had done. Causing the death of a living being was anathema to the way of Surak. Evil, in fact, unless it was in self defense. And she had come to know Kirk, and McCoy, and she knew them to be good and honorable men, for humans. The idea that another her could have committed an act that could have resulted in Kirk's death was... painful. And then, there was the fact that because this T'Pring could not officially bond with Stonn, she could not bear a child. The joy that little T'Len had brought to T'Pring's life would never come to this T'Pring.

And yet.

This woman was not a wife and mother. She was, simply, T'Pring. She lived the life she had wanted to live, held the lover she herself had chosen close at night, had work that fulfilled her and friends that understood her. She had no need to subsume herself into the needs of a small child in a desperate quest to give her life meaning or to have any companionship at all. The act she had committed was evil, and had threatened the life of people T'Pring had come to value... and yet, by committing it, she had kept her identity and everything she valued of herself. And by doing the right thing, the correct thing, the supposedly logical thing, T'Pring herself had lost everything.

It was painful to admit that. It was painful too to realize that as dearly as she held her daughter... T'Len's existence did not make up for the emptiness of the rest of T'Pring's life, or the loneliness and lack of Vulcan companionship she felt, or the loss of Stonn, or the loss of her work. She had endured because that was the Vulcan way. She would not let the emotions of grief and loss rule her.

But she could not help but acknowledge the truth. Her other self, the one who had cut herself off from family by committing an evil act... was happier. Was more the self T'Pring wanted to be.

And when they found a way to return her... T'Pring almost chose not to go.