Bitter Waters

by Satin Ragdoll

Spock exited the pub post haste. He had been sitting in a dark corner, and was thoroughly glad he had not been seen by the two people he had witnessed walk in.

They were on Earth for a two month furlough, a major problem in environmentals needing to be fixed. Nobody but the repair crew could be on board. There had been a toxic leak, and the whole ship was exposed.

Spock had been at the pub for a reason. He knew that the Captain had been there many times, and he had hoped to speak to him, alone. His pon-farr was coming up this year. It was coming up, and he had been considering asking Valeris to bond with him. That option disappeared when Valeris had betrayed them all.

After considerable meditation on the subject, Spock had come to a conclusion. Much to his chagrin, he realized that for a very long time he had been...well...an idiot.

So he was at the pub to find his captain, and to get some advice on how he could possibly, finally, make a beginning with Commander Chapel.

He had been waiting to see if Jim would visit the pub that evening, as was his habit, when Jim indeed walked in, but not alone. He was with a woman, and it was apparent by their behavior that they were together. Very together. The woman on his arm just happened to be Commander Christine Chapel. The woman who had loved him for years. On the arm of his captain, when he had finally realized what a good woman she was, and what a fitting match they were.

Spock had been totally floored, and could not exit the pub fast enough.

oOo

He was walking toward the water when he heard a feminine voice he recognized, "What are you doing here?"

An older woman was sitting on the park bench, loose blonde hair blowing in the wind. Her eyes, as blue as Christine's, were cold and miserable, and she held an open bottle of vodka. She gestured to the pub, "Trying to get away from that, as well?"

Spock sighed, "Commander Janice Rand. Are you sure you should be drinking?"

Her eyes cut up at him, "Shut up, Spock. I can take my liquor better than you. This is nothing," and with that she took a slug from the bottle.

Spock sat down and she inched away from him. He sighed again, "I will not bite, Commander Rand." She glared at him, "Shows what you know. That's all your fault, you realize that, don't you? Too many years of nothing will wear any heart down. If you find yourself wanting her now, you have to realize how stupid you've been."

Very quietly Spock replied, "Indeed."

Janice stared out at the water, "We both have been years past stupid, Spock. I never got over him, but she apparently got over you. Bully for her. Thing is, she knew how I felt! Well, now I know how you felt with Valeris." She took another slug from the bottle.

Spock's mouth tightened, "Please do not mention her name." Janice nodded.

She sighed, "I'm tired, Spock. I'm thinking of going far, far away, and not coming back for quite a while. Life has become bitter waters, and sometimes you just have to run." She looked at him, "Can't run from yourself, though. That's the mistake you made at Gol. Wherever you go, there you are." Jan chuckled to herself and hit the bottle again.

Spock was quiet, just thinking, when Janice hissed, "Oh, stars, there they are!" She quickly took Spock's hand in her own two and leaned toward him with an earnest look on her face.

Spock's brow quirked up, "Janice?" She spoke through her teeth, "Shut up, Spock. Play along, hmm?" She stroked the back of his hand, slowly. Spock's lips tipped up, "Ah." On impulse he leaned over and kissed her gently.

They both heard Chapel's choking astonishment and Jim's dark laughter. When he was certain they both were gone, he released Jan.

She took a deep breath, "If I didn't hate you so much right now, I might really like you. You kiss nice."

Spock regarded her. During the kiss, he had seen into her mind. She was more of a complex person than when she was on the first mission, but she was still utterly transparent. It was like looking deep down into totally clear water. Unlike certain...other...people. People like Valeris.

He met her eyes steadily, "Hate fades."

She met his eyes just as steadily, "Yeahhh. It does, doesn't it?" She rummaged in her purse and pulled out a card, "This is where I'm staying. In case you want to have other conversations, later. About hate fading."

Spock looked at the card, "This is the establishment where I am staying."

Janice quirked a brow, "Oh, really?" She stood, slung her purse around her body, capped her vodka and tucked it in her arm. She offered her other arm to Spock, "Then would you care to see a lady home?"

Spock stood as well, "That would be agreeable."

Fin?