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When the chime sounded, Malcolm put a bookmark in his book and laid it aside. He knew who it was before he ever answered the door. Even so, he smiled when he saw her.

Hoshi came in, sighed and collapsed into the chair where he'd been sitting. "Wow. That was some speech."

"The Tellarites do seem to like using complicated words to express simple concepts," he answered, moving around to unfasten her hair. It fell around her shoulders like a black, silken curtain, and he gave in to the urge to run his fingers through it before he started rubbing her neck.

"You think that was complicated? Try translating it into Vulcan without losing any of the contextual meaning, or causing a political incident with your idioms." She made a small sound of pleasure and closed her eyes for a second. "Oh, that's good."

"I'm glad."

"So am I," she answered, leaning back to look at him.

He touched her face before leaning down to briefly press his lips against hers. These small gestures of affection had felt awkward at first, and he still wasn't comfortable being demonstrative in public. But he'd come to enjoy the moments they shared in private.

Hoshi captured his hands before he could start rubbing her shoulders again. "You know, there's one thing I don't like about this 'new normal.'"

"What's that?"

"There's too much politics. How long have we been stuck going back and forth between Jupiter and Mars now, babysitting these negotiations? I'm ready to get back out there."

Malcolm couldn't help it. He actually chuckled at the thought of Hoshi Sato being the one who was eagerly anticipating their next journey into the unknown. "It's not all bad, love. It at least gave us some time to…work things out."

She stood up and turned around to face him, winding her arms around his neck. "True. We had a chance to put some thought into it."

"Do you regret it?"

"Not in the slightest." Their kiss this time lasted much longer, and Malcolm found himself running his hands through her hair again. It was so soft, so lovely. He closed his eyes and lost himself in the moment. This, too, was something he'd never imagined: being willing – and even enthusiastic – about considering a romantic relationship.

"Malcolm?" she asked softly after they'd broken apart. "Can we just forget about work tonight?"

"I can't think of anything better," he answered, tugging her further into her quarters. "Let's pretend we're back out among the stars."

She pushed up onto her toes to kiss him again.

That's all folks! We're done. Hope you enjoyed.

This was written for the 2012 Valentine's Day Playlist Challenge at the Delphic Expanse.