, It was inevitable that her dreams would be infiltrated, the majority of the latter part of her day had been spent twisting the small crystal ball – making it snow, letting it settle, watching the tiny castle disappear into a swirl to reappear again.

A thirty-six hour shift, now flowing into the thirty-seventh - her concentration was slipping, slowly being seduced by the small snow dome McCoy had been given as a Christmas present.

McCoy had watched her deterioration with some amusement, as she searched for the tiny figures that moved in and out of view with each turn of the ball.

"Chris, go to bed – you're exhausted"

"Doctor I'm fine – really"

"Chris you have spent the last hour and a half gazing into a crystal ball – now I'm no wizard but I see sleep in your future. Go the bed, the rush is over"

She opened her mouth to protest, yet fell silent. Her body groaned, she left for her cabin.

Sleep came quickly, opening the door to her slumbering subconscious.

***Snow fell about her "it should be cold", she thought, "I should be freezing". Her dress was thin cotton gauze with hand embroidery across the bodice. Tiny stitches of midnight blue criss-crossed about her body. Her hair was loosely tied, longer than she had worn it for years; it fell down her back, lightly resting at the base of her spine.

Her feet were in simple sandals, almost blue from the weather, yet she did not feel discomfort. She was waiting this she knew, just not what for. The sound of footsteps distracted her, a low voice greeted her.

"Fair maiden"

"Dark Knight"

A figure moved towards her, dressed for the weather, he quickly moved to drape her shoulders with a large fur, pulling her slightly closer, his warmth seeping into her skin.

"I cannot be long, the court will note by absence" his voice firm, yet a hint of regret tainted his authority.

"I had only wished to say goodbye", she risked looking up, quickly turning away as her resolve dissolved into his dark consuming eyes. "It has been rumored you are to join the Quest"

"It is as said, I leave on the morrow", pausing long enough to take her hand, he then continued, "It is my duty, my destiny"

"Then I shall not protest, I wish for you…only the best", a single tear melted down her cheek. With tenderness cushioned by a comfortable familiarity his hand moved to capture the moment, caressing the moisture between his fingers – he moved his palm to hold her face.

"I could choose no other way", lowering his forehead to hers, his voice now only a whisper. "This path was chosen for me before my time began…you should not have happened, this should not have been"

"I will hold the time within my heart" she pulled from between her breasts a silken scarf of lightest blue, crafted by her own hands, the stitching so fine as to barely be seen "It is enough to know in one's heart that one is loved, the words are not needed". She pulled away, placing the material in his hands.

The fabric flowed across his fingers, softness-evoking memories of stolen nights, pure joy wrapped in heated sensuality.

"It is not enough" pulling her harshly to him, he crushed his lips upon hers, claiming her. She responded opening herself to all that he promised. For one brief moment the world stopped swirling around them. They were all that was, and all that would be.

As they pulled apart, the snow began to fall again, heavier than before, fast and hard. So thick they could not see before them, the storm increased, the winds howled, their hands slipped apart ****

"Spock trust me you have a common cold"

"Doctor – Vulcan's do not contract "common colds"

"Well Spock this Vulcan", he poked Spock in the chest "did just that"

"I do not see how this would be possible"

"I don't know Spock, there's been a bit of it around, have you been in chill?"

"No Doctor"

"Well I don't know, have you been standing around in snow?" McCoy snapped, tired of his differing diagnosis, expecting a retort McCoy was slightly taken aback with Spock's silence.

"You haven't really been in snow have you?"

Spock failed to answer, turning and walking back towards sickbay

McCoy was left muttering, scratching his head "did I miss something?"

Spock was unsure within his own mind as to the purposive strides he took towards sickbay; he had forgotten something. McCoy's comment had triggered a memory held deep within his mind – blurry images of misty blue wrapped in a strange sense of happiness.

It didn't surprise him that it was dark, few crew were still around at this hour. The crisis from the day before had abated and most were back on shift, or resting in the recuperation centre. He believed he was alone.

Walking deeper into the room he noted a sliver of light from under the office door, curious he moved closer. He could discern slight movement from inside, cautiously moving forward he opened the door.

Christine sat at the desk, absorbed in the small tiny world she held in her hand. Her hair was down, tied loosely at the back, longer than he had realized.

She wore a non-regulation gown with no shoes, she appeared cold, instinctively he reached for a blanket for her shoulders. Initially she did not respond, continuing to turn the dome allowing the turmoil inside to engulf the objects within.

"I'm tired" she finally murmured

"Understandable" his response reasoned and calm

"It was a dream wasn't it?" now she turned, looking up into his face.

"There is no other logical explanation, now Nurse Chapel I am directing you back to bed", she smiled.

"Of course Mr Spock, it is my destiny".

She made her way back towards her cabin, Spock walking discreetly behind to ensure her safe arrival. Her weariness made her oblivious to the small corner of light blue sheath barely visible from beneath the bottom of his shirt.