Solok sighed as he watched his parents load T'Lyn onto a shuttle, and neither Sovar nor T'Pel looked back at him as they filed in behind their granddaughter. Solok's mind was still ragged, still raw from losing his bond with Cleo. At the thought of her, he could still feel tears prick his eyes, and he was short-tempered with both his daughter and his parents. Wu had sent someone to pay his respects to Solok, and he had received the acolyte with a stiff demeanor, and once the human left, Solok had thrown himself back into meditation, trying to clear his mind of excess emotion.

It was difficult for him to restrain himself from snapping at his daughter. It was difficult to not frown at his father. It was difficult to not fall into his mother's arms and cry like an infant. First Roxanne, then Cleo...and his only link to Cleo was now leaving Vulcan, soon to be enrolled in an Earth school.

The ugly part of him was scoffing at the thought of his daughter learning among the humans. He had learned to silence that part of himself with Cleo's help...at one point with Roxanne's help...but now that they were gone, that beastly voice had more reign, more sway. My daughter, falling behind in her studies, so much that she has to debase herself and learn on Earth...

But then the calmer, gentler side of him, the side that had overcome him when bonded to his Roxanne and later to his Cleo, would chide the ugly side. She was traumatized, hurting...a bond was forced on her from the man who had been raping her mind for as long as she was in that school with him...is it any surprise she was falling behind in her studies? Is it any surprise she wanted to run away from the pain? Pain you did not understand, refused to acknowledge, refused to find the cause of? Had you acted sooner, Cleo might still be alive.

That voice made him wince every time it spoke to him. The truth was harsh, and it stung, but he needed to accept the truth. Though the ugly, less rational side of him wanted to put all the blame on T'Lyn, the logical part of him knew that T'Lyn was the least worthy of blame. She had been the victim for almost 2 years straight, her mind invaded, her logic torn to shreds.

It was best that she go. Until he could heal himself and stop blaming her for the tragedy, it would be best if she was not under the same roof as him. In time, his mind would heal, and he could perhaps then be the father he should have been all along.

It was also best that Tomak was dead, else his death would be long and painful. But Solok could not allow himself to dwell on that, lest he succumb to another illogical bout of anger. He sighed again as the shuttle disappeared beyond the horizon, and he turned from the transport station and walked back to the aircar, ready to be alone with his mantras, ready to heal himself of this pain.


S'Vec smiled cruelly as Tomak screamed, the torture devices on the incompetent worm's temples doing a brilliant job of transferring all the anger he felt in this moment. T'Lyn was supposed to have been conditioned, not broken beyond repair! He had heard Tomak talking to his prize when she was bound and gagged on the other warbird. Tomak wanted his prize for himself!

He turned the switch down, allowing Tomak a breather. "Did you really think you could escape me, Tomak?" he growled, turning the switch up again. Tomak writhed and screamed, and tears were trailing down the idiot's cheeks. But the sound of his pleas for mercy...so sweet...

"Please, Master," Tomak whimpered, like a child before their parents when they had done wrong. "Please have pity..."

S'Vec turned the switch back up, higher than before, and Tomak howled in agony.

"Tell me, Tomak," he whispered in the traitor's pointed ear, smiling at the sweat beading on his forehead. "Why did you take what I had so specifically ordered not to be taken? Did I not make it clear to you that T'Lyn was to be mine? Tell me you didn't hear that. I dare you to look me in the eye and tell me you didn't hear that order."

Tomak squeezed his eyes shut. "I...heard the order, Master," he panted, screaming again as S'Vec turned the machine up higher.

"And why did you disobey me?"

The worthless worm could not answer, as he was too busy howling in agony. S'Vec turned to the guard on the other side of the room.

"Get me Voramik. Now, before you share this one's fate," he barked, kicking Tomak's shin, making the man whimper in pain. S'Vec turned the machine down again.

"Now," he whispered to the traitor, "your fate rests in your colleague's hands. I'm inclined to think that he at least tried to retrieve T'Lyn, and that you were the one disobeying orders. Do you want to tell me I'm wrong, Tomak?"

Tears were streaming freely down the man's face, and S'Vec reached out and wiped them away gently, tenderly. Then he turned the switch up, causing his prisoner to howl.

"Answer me!" he roared. "Am I wrong?"

"No, Master, you are right!"

He nodded in satisfaction, turning the machine still higher. "That's what I thought."

Voramik was brought into the room and deposited at S'Vec's feet, and he looked down at the man with a gleeful gaze. He had already extracted the necessary information from both his prisoners, but he needed a good reason not to kill Voramik. The man had proven himself at least partially competent and much more inclined to follow orders. S'Vec crouched down.

"You wouldn't betray me, would you, Voramik?"

The man shook his head, still trembling from his treatment. "No, Master, never."

"Good," S'Vec purred. "Then I can kill this worthless traitor? It's you or him."

"Kill him," Voramik whispered. "I obeyed your orders. He wanted the girl for himself."

S'Vec nodded. "If you promise me that you will obey me, you will be spared."

"I swear it, Master," Voramik said firmly, bowing his head in submission.

S'Vec smiled and turned to Tomak, who was pale. "Well, then, I guess there's no use for you anymore."

He turned the machine up as high as it would go and closed his eyes, smiling in delight as Tomak slowly died, writhing in agony.


Surak pulled back from the meld and gazed tenderly at his T'Lyn. What trials you have endured, my love, he whispered through their bond. I will help you heal.

I know, she replied, her cheeks glistening with tears. He wiped them away, kissing her gently, then laid her back onto their shared bed.

"Go to sleep, k'diwa," he cooed gently, stroking her hair. "Sleep, and heal."

She obeyed immediately, the combined intensity of the meld and the trauma of reliving those experiences sending her off into a heavy sleep. He laid down beside her, not wanting to sleep just yet. He propped himself up on one elbow and looked down at his love, pondering the images he had seen through her eyes.

So S'Vec intended to betray him. T'Lyn did not recognize the man's face from her forced melds with the teacher, but Surak knew: Tomak and Voramik were merely agents, soldiers for a dark cause. Their leader he knew well, and now with this knowledge, he would be prepared for the worst.

He slipped from his bondmate's side and picked up a PADD, looking over a bit of information, then took an IDIC from a secret compartment in the wall. S'Vec may get him, but he would not win his T'Lyn. Surak would see to that.

He had work to do.

A/N: This epilogue was brought to you by fellow Vulcan-phile and awesome writer Sensara! SOON the S'Vec back story begins (probably tonight) Thank you Sensara, and thank you to all the readers, commentors, and lurkers who have enjoyed this story! Rock on *raises Ta'al*