Love in a Cold Climate Controlled Environment

Water scorched her skin in the most delicious fashion, enveloping the room in a thick steam.

For the past three days heating on the Enterprise had been malfunctioning, temperatures had plummeted. The crew had resorted to wearing cold weather uniforms and taking long showers attempting to ward off the chill.

Christine had been standing under the steady stream for longer than she could remember, her skin was starting to prune. She was loath to leave the warmth embracing her for the Arctic climate of the cabin. Her shift was due to start in an hour, and she had still to go by Spock's quarters to drop off reports. Since the difficulties with heating Spock had been spending more and more time in his cabin, the Captain, in consideration had managed to redirect some of the limited heating to his cabin making it tolerable for the Vulcan.

Jumping from the shower she literally ran to her bed, throwing layer upon layer to ward off the encroaching cold.

"This is ridiculous" she muttered "I am so off this ship if the heat isn't sorted, I swear first planet with sun and beach and I am off". Her words hung in the air, below zero conditions holding them briefly before her.

Checking the reports were all together she went to leave, turning to grab a scarf and hat sitting by the door "Sometimes thermal gear just doesn't cut it, thanks grandma", she smiled twirling the multi colored concoctions about her neck and head.

oo00oo

"Mr Spock"

Waiting waiting

"Mr Spock, its Nurse Chapel may I enter?"

Waiting longer

"Forget this, its too cold to wait. CHAPEL override security – medical"

"CODE ACCEPTED ENTRY GRANTED"

"Bout time", she grumbled quickly entering, immediately noting the slight rise in warmth from the corridor outside "mmmm cosey"

Christine became aware of the sound of running water, as most of the crew had done; it appeared that Spock was seeking the warmth of the shower to defrost.

"Hmmm…. Awkward..I'll just drop these and go" her thoughts briefly drifted to images of water running down the length of Spock's toned body.

A distraction a moment too long, as the door to the bathroom opened to reveal the object in her mind.

"Nurse Chapel!"

"Spock!"

She turned flustered, falling over her own feet, hitting her head on the edge of the table. Spock moved forward instinctively, briefly hesitating due to his state of undress, conceding medical attention outweighed modesty.

"Nurse Chapel?"

Christine lay still upon the ground; he noted a small cut to her forehead, though layers of clothing did not allow closer examination.

"Nurse Chapel….Christine can you hear me?"

Still no response, he removed the scarf from her neck, a small ingot falling into his hand. He stared momentarily at the item; it was the cross that he had become accustomed to seeing gently encircling her neck. Distracted he rubbed it between his fingers, before allowing it to fall to the side.

A slight chill caressed his naked thigh, bringing thoughts back to his lack of clothing, the reason for the nurse lying unconscious before him. He moved to dress, attempting to contact Sickbay enroute to his uniform. As he had suspected the comlinks had been affected by the temperature drop. Static greeted his ear.

Quickly dressing he recalled the crew rosters; given the extended time in his cabin this was an easy exercise. His eyes did not leave the figure, now lying still within his cabin. Nurse Chapel was due on shift within the hour, her absence would be noted and assistance would be sought to locate her. It would be illogical to move her, perhaps causing more damage.

Spock felt uncharacteristically at a loss. A feint trail of blood had started to harden along her forehead running down to the line of her cheek. It disturbed something deep within. The sharp intrusion of deepest red was inconsistent with the paleness of her skin. A sudden thought prompted action, he swiftly moved to grab a small cloth from the table, dampening it then returning to her side.

He crouched closer, her angle awkward, lying partly to one side against the chair. He leant across her to reach the injury. With great care he lifted the small knitted cap, barely covering her head "how like you to choose such illogical attire for the conditions", he thought, then mused how it was likely to have been sent by her family, "how like humans" he paused "how like my mother", his sight drifting over to a collection of home made crafts sent from his own human heritage.

Leaning closer he proceeded to wipe the blood from her face, tentatively, fearful of harming her. Moving hair from her eyes, his fingertips brushed across her cheek. In attempting to remove the offending line, he managed to smudge the residue across her skin. His brows furrowed together, he had wanted to clear her skin, bring back her alabaster glow, and instead he had made it worse. He pressed harder to clear the area; a deepening purple bruise was broadening across the line of her eye. She groaned.

"Christine?"

Silence responded

Leaning back upon his heels he sat watching her. McCoy would have reached her cabin by now. It was approximately four minutes from Sickbay. He would have tried contacting her, and then in his southern drawl would have proclaimed there to be trouble and barged from his office to find her. McCoy could do that, exhibit his care without censure, to some it was his greatest strength.

"He will be here soon Christine"

She remained unconscious, he ventured a little closer to again hold the charm hanging from her neck. He counted the times he had focused upon the pendant, so as not to allow himself to drift up to the beckoning blue of her eyes. The smallest details were a source of comfort to him, the curl of her hair, the subtle scent of disinfectant, the manner in which she regularly attempted to pull her skirt lower, conscious of her legs, thinking that there were those who may be offended by the curve of her thigh.

"McCoy will have checked your cabin, remembering now the reports he requested you drop to me"

Her breath was steady. Her lips slightly parted, turned upward towards him. The balm she had used to protect them against the cold provided a moist sheen that lured him closer. Logic told him this action could serve no purpose; it may even be morally questionable yet something deeper urged him forward.

"If choice was mine", he whispered "know that I would choose you"

He leaned closer, his breath upon her lips, one moment in silence to feel the…

"Spock! Thank God she's with you" McCoy burst through the door, overriding security. "I was worried sick"

"The nurse fell, hitting her head. I assessed I may cause greater injury carrying her to Sickbay"

"The Nurse! Spock its Christine! Doesn't matter, its not like you care"

McCoy ran his tricorder of over body.

"She'll be fine", McCoy looked to Spock "Sorry, what I said, uncalled for"

Spock watched her removed from his quarters.

Tomorrow would be as every other day. He would be polite yet distant. Query as to her health, in line with Starfleet regulations. He would resume the role of one who did not care.

Yet each time he turned from her, each time he failed to acknowledge her greeting, part of him would reach out just short of her grasp, another moment would be lost. In the solitude of his cabin, he would mourn what he had not the freedom to claim.