There had, of course, been the initial expectation of rescue. This had lasted a solid couple of weeks, expectation had from that point started to drain away to a vague hope. Two months abandoned and hope had sapped to a begrudging acceptance of being completely lost, focus moved from deliverance to daily survival.

A small wooden hut constructed from the local vegetation had become their home. The twisted wreckage of their shuttle had been scavenged of anything useful, before blossoming into a fireball. The means to keep contact with the Enterprise had disappeared within minutes, lost in a dark billowing cloud enveloping all around them.

She had had to admit that the beard was an improvement, and though he would never openly state it, even to himself, her hair- now free from strict regulatory controls held a fascination that taunted the fringes of his calmly logical mind.

"I suggest leaving it" she forwarded as they ate lunch, her head down slightly "You must admit Spock, it has to be easier to maintain this way"

She had dropped the "Mr." approximately a month into their forced companionship. He had slightly raised his brow, however had made no accompanying chastisement, she interpreted this as permission to continue the informality. He would refer to her as Nurse, though recently "Christine" had slipped into his communication, her lack of response appeared to also reassure his actions such that his aberration was becoming the norm.

"There is merit in your suggestion, however I find the growth irritating" as if to prove a point he scratched at his beard. "I am unaccustomed to the length and believe if it continues to grow at this rate it may become unwieldy" she laughed, like blossoms dancing on air.

"We've both looked better," she attempted to pullback her hair into a makeshift ponytail. The white blond was fast retreating from a darker natural color emerging more each day. Spock had noted, however refrained from comment. He had considered advising her that the darker shade was an improvement, he had ultimately settled to be silent on the matter..

"I'm not sure what we were able to grab from the shuttle before it blew, the explosion pretty much destroyed everything, but if it really bothers you I could try an old fashioned cut throat razor shave, there's a scalpel that I can sharpen"

Alarm flickered across his eyes, "my preference is for my beard to be shaved not my throat to be cut Christine"

She refrained from comment, her smiling eyes his response.

Making do with makeshift bowls and hand made soap she created a space to perform her task. Warming the water, she immersed her hands, gradually molding the soap to a manageable handful. Spock, curious as to her preparations leaned over her shoulder-she continued yet noted the slight rise in temperature from his presence.

"Lather up" she directed

In one smooth move he stepped forward, removing his shirt. The humid conditions of the sun and wet air of their unnamed planet, had combined, in her mind, to create the perfect storm - deeply tanned skin stretched across defined muscles, accentuated by fine rivulets of slightly salty sweat streaking his back.

Raising her hand to push her hair back, she was intercepted by his touch.

"I would prefer your vision to be clear Nurse, given the sharpness of your implement and it's proximity to my jugular" she stood still as his arms lifted to either side taking each strand from her face to pull them back behind her. His dexterity impressed her as he twisted her hair into to contained style, pulling her forward to complete his task; her head rested only inches from his chest.

"I think I...I mean you need to sit down"

Wordlessly Spock obliged, she hid her shaking hands in the water, steadying her breathing.

Conscious that her touch would betray her current mood, she pushed the small table toward him

"As I said Spock lather up".

Dipping into the pool, his hands massaged the soap, moving it slowly between each finger, then raising them to his face. He rubbed with languid ease to begin, then firmer and faster increasing the tiny white bubbles to form a foam across the lower part of his face. The pale suds sharp contrast to the remaining naked sun seduced skin. She sighed, stepping behind him.

Hands firm upon the scalpel she requested he lean back, he willingly surrendered to her. Tightening her grip, she placed the blade against his throat – slowly pulling upwards, the tissue of his flesh at first resisting, slightly.

Stroke upon stroke, the silver knife slid across the moistened path, along the tilted line of his jaw His exposed vulnerable neck offered to her in complete trust. She mused at his innocence. His eyes closed, she could at any time cause untold damage with just the slightest turn of the instrument in her hand.

"Christine?"

"Sorry, I was distracted"

"Have I reason to be concerned?"

Her mouth opened slightly to answer, then fell silent. Returning her attention to his neck, she hastened her strokes becoming firmer the more his beard was removed. Leaning into him to neaten the last line of his chin, she could feel his head press into her stomach; his eyes remained closed as she drew the knife a final swipe along the length of his cheek. There was no apology for his intimacy, she asked for none.

"Nearly finished", her voice barely a whisper – it seemed out of place to speak loudly. She moved a fraction closer to finish, a strand of her hair escaping Spock's earlier manipulations. Barely touching him, he flinched slightly, opening his eyes to look up into hers.

"Your hair has come lose" his words drifted up to brush her mouth

"Well the job is done anyway", she stood back to admire her work, surprisingly neat given the crude implements. She handed him a mirror, turning to lift the bowl to pack away.

"Indeed Christine, your work is without fault, mine however appears to require more attention". Confused she half turned to face him when she was stopped by his hands, again swooping into her hair, though now instead of tying back, he was loosening his attempts from earlier.

"I am unfamiliar with preferred female styles of hair wear", he conceded

"Something simple is always good", she murmured – stepping closer to allow him greater freedom.

She felt his fingers wrap around the length of her, pulling gently to raise her face to his.

"SPOCK!"

Both spun to see flashes of gold and red, a blue blur swirling in between as it ran towards them.

"Thank god you are both ok, we've been looking everywhere!"

They had bee rescued

Just in time