"Breathe Again" (100 Themes Story Challenge #10)

Author: Starfleetdream

Rating: R

Characters: Amanda/Sarek

Disclaimer: Don't own; only profit in my mind

A/N: I don't know where this challenge list originated, but Aconitum Napellus has some wonderful responses to some of the themes on DeviantArt. Thanks to Caz for re-posting the challenge list at the Sarek & Amanda newsgroup and sparking my inspiration.

Breathe Again

by Starfleetdream

I slowly come to consciousness, drifting up through the layers of sleep until I nearly startle myself, realizing that I have awakened on my own. He does not wake me. For this first time in recent memory he is not jostling me, nuzzling, biting, or climbing astride me because he needs me again. Finally, after days, he sleeps. With one arm thrown across my waist in a possessive but exhausted claim, he slumbers deeply beside me. I take a long and slow breath, thankful that he is safe.

The dark olive crescents below his eyes tell me how much he needs this rest, and although I try not to disturb him when I sit up, I can't hold back a groan. My whole body protests with aches and pains. A particularly sharp stab catches my attention and when I shift to inspect the source, I remember the bite to my inner thigh. It and what followed immediately after had been so arousing that again a jolt shivers my core as I recall the memory. His strength, his desperate need, our shared passion, the roughness and how disturbed I was that I enjoyed it all so much…

The bite stings now and draws me back to the present. I seek my bearings in the dim light of the cave. Gingerly, slowly, I slide from beneath his arm, holding my breath, but amazingly he does not stir, his breathing still deep and even.

Once on my feet I slowly pad over the soft rugs to the small refresher unit in the alcove. After this I turn toward another, smaller alcove and discover a small stasis unit as well as water and a rather extensive set of medical supplies. Among them I find tubes of healing gel, neatly labeled, one for Vulcan, one for Human. Logical. I look over at him, at the bright green scratch marks on his back and shoulders from my nails, his slumberous respiration in stark contrast to this violence and to the harsh pants he so recently heaved past my ears.

I'm rubbing the gel into my skin while I casually open the stasis unit, wondering what is traditionally stored there. My breath catches. Inside I find a thermos of my favorite tea, a blend of English Breakfast and Vulcan tsa'e; a selection of European cheeses and breads (obviously imported); and several sash-savas fruit, their tart, citrusy flesh bringing back fond memories of our honeymoon together. And off to the side, my silk bathrobe, no doubt stored here so I wouldn't find it too soon and inadvertently have it come to harm at his feverish hands.

I hungrily swallow slices of the fruit with gulps of the tea, and my eyes tear up. The robe from our bedroom and the Terran foods could not have been placed here by the ritual attendants whom I'm told care for this place and its periodic guests. They could only have been brought so thoughtfully by my husband, at that point already in the throes of the fever. To come here, to the caves at the place of koon-ut-kalifee, at that time, would surely have been to brazenly court the full force of the madness.

And yet he did it anyway. So that I would have some small creature comforts, no doubt illogical to a Vulcan mind, when we emerged from the Fires. He does not acknowledge love. But how can I deny it of him when I see it so plainly?

I return to what has been our bed for the past several days, and carefully slide back under his arm. He stirs a little, mumbling something incoherent, and pulls me closer. I lean in and kiss him softly, knowing he'll smell the tea and fruit as I breathe out again.

"I love you, Sarek of Vulcan."