(I do not own anything Star Trek. Rated T for safty, though if that rating by some chance changes at any point, I will inform you accordingly. That you for reading and enjoy! :))

Larkin placed a strand of the polymer on a small branch, his hand steady until one moment it gave a jolt and the strand fell, attaching itself to the wrong branch and he sat back clasping his hands together. This was the third sculpture he had messed up in a week. It was possible for him to simply cut the strand, but that would disrupt the flow of the rest as he had wrapped it around a few branches already and he wouldn't have it.

He looked at the time and sighed. It was late and perhaps the foul-ups were a result of not meditating enough. He stood and headed to his quarters, grabbing a cup of tea he took off his shoes and his jacket, throwing them to the side by the couch and his eyes glanced around the room. It was a mess and he gave another sigh, walking around picking up his shoes and uniforms he had tossed onto the floor as he shook his head.

If anyone ever saw his quarters in comparison to how he kept the sick bay, they would think him out of his mind. However, the only one who ever saw his quarters was him and him alone. He tried to keep people out for this very reason and no one ever came by. They always called. So why was he bothering to clean right now? He tossed everything into a neat little pile and decided to sort through it later. Right now he needed meditation and he knelt at his alter and lit his candles. He always favored the pumpkin spice from Earth.

The images that flashed through his mind were a blackness and sound. He assumed it was from his time in Wonderland and since he did not see anything his mind could not produce any images and he opened his eyes and slumped forward. It bothered him that he could not see the images. He did not like having anything missing and it was snaking it's way through his subconscious, unhinging his control. It was perhaps a sign of weakness, however it was happening none the less and needed to be repaired.

T~V~T~V~T~V~T~V~T~V~T

The door chime rang and Varel set his book down and quirked a brow, "Enter." He said softly. His chocolate brown eyes widening at the sight of Larkin when he walked in, "Doctor. Is there something I may assist you with?"

Larkin looked around Varel's quarters, noting the stacks of actual books laying about and suddenly his own shame in his messy quarters was not so prevalent, "I wanted to ask a favor of you. I have been having difficulties focusing and through meditation have determined it is due to...the lack of eye sight I endured during our ordeal with Q. I was wondering if you would agree to meld with me so that I may gain the images I missed."

Varels brows raised higher, "You believe this will right the mental obstructions?" He asked, not opposed to assisting him, but rather surprised he chose to ask him.

Larkin gave a nod and set his hands behind his back, "I do not like not knowing. I heard a great deal, but there is no image to accompany the sounds. It does not allow my mind to fully focus."

Varel tilted his head and considered the young man a moment then gave a nod, "I accept. It is inefficient if our chief medical officer is not in peek condition." He set his book down and stood, "You spend a great deal of time seeing to the well being of everyone aboard this ship, that we seem to forget someone needs to look out for yours on occasion as well. Please have a seat." He motioned to the floor and took the place in front of Larkin, placing his hands to his face and began pouring the images into his mind, assisting and explaining certain events.

After wards, Varel stood, "May I offer you some tea?"

Larkin shook his head, "Thank you but no. I will not keep you from your reading and I need to meditate on these new images and rest. Rest well, Varel." He gave a small bow before heading out. His mind was working over the odd images he had obtained and he suddenly did not feel like sleeping.

T~V~T~V~T~V~T~V~T~V~T

T'Pel looked up from her report when her door chimed, "Enter." She said, wondering who it could be at this hour and Larkin walked in, "Doctor? Is there something wrong?"

He hesitated a moment, unsure just what it was he came here for, but he took a step in further, "I wished for conversation. Did I catch you too late?"

She gave a small shake of her head, "I was not planning on sleeping for another two hours. I am not required for work tomorrow."

He looked to the PADD in her hand, "Your report I assume?"

She gave a nod and set it down and motioned for him to take a seat and he complied, "You seem...uneasy. Are you sure something is not wrong?"

He sat a moment and looked around, her quarters were well kept if not a bit more decorated then most he has seen and it was refreshing, "I wanted to go over the ordeal with Q with you. I melded with Varel to gain the images that I had missed. I found that it was hindering my focus." He turned to her again, uncertainty in his sapphire eyes, "Have you experienced the same?"

T'Pel tilted her head slightly, "I have not."

"Why?" He asked.

She thought it over a moment, "The...empathic sensations that I was privy to were enough for me. Why do you ask?"

"Curious." Larkin responded.

Her eyes scanned him a moment and she could feel a low hum of emotion. Something she thought was akin to shame, but she attempted to block it out, "How is Samok?"

Larkin seemed to snap back and gave a small nod, "He is doing well. At his insistence, he has returned to his quarters for bed rest. I informed him he will get three visits daily until I deem it unnecessary." He narrowed his eyes slightly, "How much were you able to read from him? His emotional state was...tested to say the least."

Her eyes shifted to the floor, "Far too much for my tastes, but say nothing to him. He need not know. Though, he fought well."

Larkin gave another nod and looked to the mug of brown liquid on the table next to her and he raised a brow, "What drink is that?" He asked, his eyes shooting up to her in question. He had an idea what it looked like and smelled like.

T'Pel gave a small blush, "The human drink hot chocolate."

His eyes seemed to twinkle with a sense of knowing, "Is this the reason you have not focused on Wonderland?"

Her dark eyes turned to him again, but her blush did not fade, "In moderation chocolate calms me and allows me to think without hindrance."

"Hindrance?" Larkin questioned.

"There are times, mainly when something personal occurs, that my mind tends to wonder because of..." She paused a gave a small huff, "...insecurities. Illogical yes. I have heard it many times, and it has been something I have fought against my whole life. Chocolate simply calms my nerves. I also ask that you breathe a word of this to no one."

He gave a nod and a small smile as he stood and walked over to her replicator, "May I?" When she gave a nod of approval he cleared his throat, "One hot chocolate." Once the cup of the hot liquid appeared he took the handle and resumed his seat.

T'Pel sat staring at him and quirked a brow, "Doctor?"

He took a sip and swished it around in his mouth a moment before swallowing, "Replicated simply is not the same." He looked over at her, "I will offer you a secret to assure you I will keep yours. This is not new to me either. I do not imbibe when on duty, or often. However with recent events, I find that my nerves also require...calming. And please, call me Larkin. Suitable if we are to share a drink together is it not?"

She let the surprise pass through her and picked up her own cup, unable to take her eyes off of him. She could scarcely believe a full blooded Vulcan would intentionally drink something intoxicating, "Larkin it is then. You are correct."

"I will say, it was quite fascinating to see the captain as a child. Was he difficult? How did you two come to find one another? Or were you placed together like Varel, T'Lara, and I?" He took another sip, obviously wishing to explore their adventure.

T'Pel took a sip, "He was polite and well behaved and was concerned with my safety more then his own. I actually stumbled across him in the forest where he was reciting mantras. Solok had no idea where he was, what had happened, and that he was a captain of a Star Fleet Vessel. He took the news rather well considering however and agreed to lead me." The edges of her lips curled slightly into a smile.

"Interesting. What happened before you made it into the city?" Larkin questioned further, taking another sip of his hot chocolate.

"There was a small village the opposite direction of the city that we headed to first. Solok figured it would be the best option. Smaller, making it easier to find anyone else, rather then spending more time searching a city first. That option was quickly ruled out as the villagers did not seem to like people with pointed ears." T'Pel replied.

Larkin cocked his head, "That likely could have been Q's way of forcing Solok to deal with prejudice. Interesting."

T'Pel quirked a brow, "What do you mean?"

Larkin quirked his own brow and tilted his head, "It is no great secret he has never seemed to get along with humans all that well. A lack of understanding on both sides I would assume. He attempts to give them a chance to surprise him, yet if they have heard of him, it is assumed he will intentionally bully them and push their buttons, or so they say."

The papers she remembered reading of Solok's on psychological comparative profile between Vulcan's and Humans came to mind, "Ah, yes. However he seems to be reasonable enough as a captain."

He gave a nod, "Which he is. However he also commands a ship full of members of Starfleet that are of his own race. This also does not boad well to discredit any assumptions of his prejudice with Humans. Though I have never seen him not give them a fair chance to prove themselves."

T'Pel took a sip of her chocolate, "I can attest to that myself. I was surprised when I received news that my request to join the T'Kumbra had been accepted."

Larkin gave a nod and set his cup down, feeling the warmth running through him, "Did you think he would treat you any differently because you are not fully Vulcan?"

"It is a reflex I have come to live with. I have dealt with mistrust from many. Been shunned by some, and outwardly spurned by few. However I was not sure what to expect." She replied.

"Well, you are not a normal hybrid. I would think you would be a point of curiosity for many. Solok never said as much, but he put much consideration into accepting your request. I believe he is one who shares in that curiosity, as I have." He answered.

T'Pel looked up at him, "Curiosity? In what?"

Larkin gave a smirk, "Most hybrids are half Human. I would imagine your parents are the only pairing of their kind, and you and your brother the only result in such a union. Unique. You have one of the most emotionally guarded races mated with a race that feels and thinks far more freely then most. Vulcan Betazoid relations have been...interesting. How did your parents meet, if I may ask."

"The Vulcan school of diplomacy. They were both students. They were often partners and once they graduated, their partnership continued as they found they made quite an adequate team." T'Pel answered.

"How did they come to bond as mates?" Larkin inquired further, sipping his chocolate again.

She gave a pause, "Apparently, my mother attempted to form a relationship with my father a few times later on when they were in school. He was under the impression that she was simply testing him, as she would normally, forcing him to deal with emotions outside of his comfort zone. My mother figured he either truly wasn't interested or he was not ready. So once a year, she would bring him his favorite cup of tea and stand at his side as he studied, holding it out to him, waiting for him to take it until he would wave her away." She took a sip of her drink and adjusted in her seat, Larkin was listening intently to every word.

"Every time she would bow her head and leave him in silence. While they were on a mission for Tellnak Prime and Vrelna, neighboring planets in a dispute over territory as well as issues with some arranged marriage gone arry, My father was going over both sides proposals before a conference and she made another attempt. Quietly standing at his side, holding out a cup of tea. One of the delegate from Tellnak had watched her, and when she was again waved away, he had pulled her aside and asked her what she was doing."

"The Vulcan I travel with, the man who sits in that chair, holds my heart tighter then any man ever has. It is Vulcan custom to offer sustenance to one you wish to take as a mate, a promise that you will care for them and what ever needs they have. It is a proposal for bonding, or marriage in you culture."

"The delegate found this fascinating and in turn asked her how she could love a man who was coldly logical and seemingly without emotion. To which she replied that Vulcan's were not without emotion, and in the time she had come to know Sakar of Vulcan, seeing simple glimpses of his emotional current, she realized that she had fallen in love with his logic, his restraint, who he was. With a single look he moved her in ways she never thought possible." T'Pel stopped, her eyes focused on the floor.

Larkin, now feeling a bit of a buzzing in his skin leaned forward, "Well? Then what? How did they finally bond? Did he finally accept her proposal?" He pressed.

T'Pel gave a small smirk and looked at him, "The delegate, having heard her tale of love and the pain that comes with such detachment, was on his way home when he ran into the delegate from Vrelna, who had seen him talking to her and accused him of trying to sway the negotiations in his favor. Which the Tellnak insisted he was not and explained the story he was just told to the Vrelnan. The story was believed as he had seen a certain sorrow in the woman's eyes when she looked at her Vulcan partner and had wondered why. The two men shared dinner together and discussed it in great detail, devising a plan to assist this woman in gaining the man she loved. For one thing these two people shared, was a deep appreciation for love and finding one's other half. If anything she at least needed closer from the Vulcan. He would need to explain to her why he refused her."

Larkin had removed his shoes by now and had tucked his feet under him after he ran and refilled their hot chocolate, "So your mother got them on the path of working together." he said.

T'Pel raised a hand, "Do not get ahead of me, Larkin." He pursed his lips, meaning he would say nothing more.

"Well, before they could do anything in their attempt for solving this little love problem, my mother was abducted by a hidden third party that had been responsible for trying to cause a rift between the two worlds." She went on, Larkins eyes slowly growing, "The negotiations were put on hold to search for her. The search took weeks, and every little tidbit of information they gained pointed them in different directions. Hope in finding her was growing more desperate with each day. The Tellnak and Vrelnan delegates kept an eye on my father, who with each passing day of no news or bad news, would watch him pace the floors, avoid conversation and often meditated during this time, or so my mother says." She gave a small smile.

"However, something in his actions convinced them that cold logic or no, this Vulcan was harboring emotion for his female partner. They did their best to increase their efforts, and had captured a member of this third party who had told them what they wanted to know. They had left her on a small M class moon. A barren wasteland with little to no water and no life. They found the moon and the first one off the ship was my father, being Vulcan, he was best to search her out in such terrain for extended periods of time. They had traced her faint life sign to a large rock face, that seemed to shadow a small oasis. My father found her slowly clawing her way toward a pool of water barely conscious and seriously dehydrated. The reports say that both sides of the negotiation party were surprised just how fast a Vulcan could run. My father had rushed to her side, took her in his arms as he brushed the sand from her face."

She stopped and took another drink, Larkin was leaning forward, waiting for more as he tried to remain silent as promised. T'Pel gave another smirk, then continued, "From how my mother tells me, she opened her eyes and saw his face and a water flask he was holding near her lips."

"I will give you water when your body is dry, food when you are hungry, shelter from the elements, and my heart should you accept it. You may deny me if you wish, but after you have had water and have healed. Drink my ashal-veh."

"He tilted her head back and fed her the water. Letting her soak it up before they took her back to the ship where they gave her the medical attention she required. When she had recovered enough she had quietly slipped out and found my father sitting in meditation. She had made his cup of tea and sat patiently behind him until he had finished. She often says I would not believe the look of shock on his face when he turned and saw her, holding out the cup of tea to him. He had asked her why. After all the times he had waved her away."

"The time I have spent among your people I have come to learn a great deal about Vulcan. In the time I have known you, I have grown to love you. Foolish as it may be, I will continue to offer you tea on this day. The day we met, because that day you stole something very precious from me. My heart. My Logic. My Katra. I do not want them back. I want you to keep them and so you shall. Even if I have to endure as a simple debate partner. I would be content with that."

"Without saying another word, my father knelt before her and took her cup and drank from it only to share it with her." T'Pel gave a wave of her hand, "The rest was always far to sentimental for my tastes because my mother loves to embellish her stories." She smirked, "So I will spare you. However, you were correct in your assumption that this had brought the two waring factions to working together, and to realize that the issues with the arranged marriage could not be helped. All was well after."

Larkin sat back, "A touching story. You do not hear of such things often where we Vulcans are concerned. Then they had you soon after?"

T'Pel gave a tilt of her head, "He went into Pon Farr some time after, and then yes. My brother came a few years after me."

"Fascinating." He said, glancing to the center piece of her coffee table and quirked a brow, "Chess? Would you like to play?"

T'Pel looked at the board and nodded, "If it would please you."

T~V~T~V~T~V~T~V~T~V~T

It began as just a regular day. Uneventful, as they headed back into Core of the Federation. T'Pel was feeling a slight twinge of annoyance as her schedule had been changed so she spent more time on the bridge, at the captains request. It left her little time for her pursuits of studies of Vulcan and Betazoid comparative psionic abilities. Her attempts to further the control of her own abilities and perhaps even develop new meditative techniques. However, orders were orders.

There was something that pulled at her, that puzzled her. That was her curiosity as to why Solok had requested the change to begin with. It was not as if her skills in astrometrics were anything overly impressive. Though is also seemed that the air surrounding him had changed somehow. She was not sure how or why and felt it best to keep an eye on further change.

The hiss of the ready room doors opening sounded and Solok walked out, "Torvin, lay in a course for home. Vulcan. Starfleet has allowed us to take leave for a few weeks."

He took his seat, raising the PADD in his hand as Torvin gave a nod. Taking leave frequently was not something Vulcan's required, and more often then not, Admiral Burnley had to order him to do so. However, he had put the request in himself. He had figured that after 'Wonderland' and the past year they all needed it.

"It will be a refreshing change to go home. Do you plan on visiting family when we reach home?" Samok asked.

Solok didn't bother looking up, "I will be staying with my sister."

Samok sat back in his chair, "She recently gave birth to her first child, did she not?"

The captain gave a nod, "She did. Her adun is on a diplomatic mission and she would find my company agreeable."

Toz'ot (Uncle) Solok...came a voice in T'Pels mind. She blinked, finding it a little odd. It was more of a passing thought, but didn't seem like hers.

"I assume you will be visiting your parents, T'Pel?" Samok asked her. She turned to look at him and gave a nod.

"If I do not, my mother would hunt me down and have...words with me concerning her anger. That is something I would like to avoid. How about you, commander?"

Samok tilted his head and laced his fingers together, "I will be spending time with my adun'a." He put simply.

His tone and actions toward her had seemed to ease slightly after his encounter with the Red Queen. However she still got the feeling of distrust, and was sure it was due to the intense emotional state he had been worked into that she was uncomfortably privy to. She could only do her best to forget it, but she suspected he still suffered from some form of after math from it.

"There is a new proto-type shuttle we have been working on for Starfleet. Perhaps I should put in a recommendation for them to allow you to be the pilot, Torvin." Solok said after a time, setting his PADD down.

Torvin turned and raised his brows, "I would find that very agreeable captain. Thank you. I was planning on taking out my families jet for modifications and a flight test after, however test flight of a proto-type does not come as often." He had always liked to fly and had always had excellent hand eye coordination and a certain...instinct. T'Pel assumed it was difficult to keep his feet on solid ground for too long and she gave a small smirk to herself.

T'Lara walked into sick bay and found Larkin hunched over his desk, a precision tweezer tool in hand and one eye enlarged by the magnifying glass he was peering through, "Another sculpture?" She asked, taking a seat.

He finished laying a small fiber in place and set his tool down, "Yes. It is going to be a gift. It is an Earth leaf fractal. I am attempting to work the fibers into a vine like pattern along the stems." He responded sitting back, still looking at it.

She stood up and arched over for a look and raised her brows, "Fascinating. It is coming along perfectly. Who is it for?"

"It is supposed to be a surprise." Larkin responded, looking up at her sternly.

She sat back down and crossed her legs, "You believe I can not keep it a secret?"

He cocked a brow, "You do not always keep things to yourself."

The slightest look of feigned offense crossed her tan face, "Larkin...you do not trust me?"

He gave a sigh and shook his head, "It is for you."

Her expression changed to one of actual surprise, "Me? What for? It is not my birthday for another 7 months, 2 weeks, and 28 days."

His finger tapped his desk and he swiveled it to the other side, "You are leaving. It is a parting gift."

Her eyes widened, "How did you find out?"

He gave her a pointed look, "There are many on this ship who have an inability to keep things to themselves. I also saw your resignation on the captains desk."

She looked to the floor, making a mental note to inform Solok to learn to clean up after himself better. Larkin eyed her a moment, "I also know you have had a desire to return home to start a family. Your...biological clock has been ticking for quite some time."

She raised a brow, "Such a human term. I think you use them the most out of anyone aboard."

He gave a small shrug, "They have a way with verbal expression."

"I suppose." she sighed.

Larkin stood and walked over to a cabinet, "I would like your opinion on this other piece I made for T'Pel. I noticed she likes to wear flowers in her hair and favors orchids. I am not sure how good I am with jewelry."

T'Lara tilted her head, "What has inspired such generosity?" She asked, somewhat surprised.

"I do not believe she has had many friends. It would be a...welcomed gesture, I would think." He answered, pulling out a small glass box and handed it to her. Inside was an ivory fractal of an orchid about three inches in diameter and in the center was a small silver and gold Vulcan IDIC pendant, with a light purple fading into the ivory.

T'Laras eyes widened as she looked it over, "This is...exquisite, Larkin." She looked up at his stoic features, "You have growing affections for her?"

His brows raised and he took a step to reclaim the flower, "No. Nothing more then friendship."

She moved it away from him, "This may suggest otherwise."

Quickly he snatched it from her and looked at it, "That is not my intention. However, should she make the assumption I will simply correct her. I do not believe she will, however." He put it back in the cabinet and took his seat again.

T'Lara stared at him a moment before tilting her head, "What would make you say that? If I did not know you as well as I do, I may assume as much myself."

"She seems to be a bit more...oblivious to overtures of affection. Yemen has made a note of that." He responded sitting back.

"Yemen?" T'Lara asked.

Larkin gave a nod, "He has attempted to show her his intentions, up until he had to blatantly point out to her that he was interested in her as his mate. She politely declined."

If T'Lara had been less of a Vulcan she would have given forth a giggle, but this wasn't the case. Instead her eyes softened and she tilted her head, "How unfortunate. Yemen is intelligent and kind. He would make a good mate."

Larkin cocked his brow, "I think our hybrid needs a little more then intelligence and kindness. I think that her displays in...Wonderland, have proven that there is much of her own abilities and nature she is unaware of. Yemen would be too...timid to assist her in such a journey."

She raised a brow and tilted her head at him, "You have put much thought into this topic. Are you certain you do not have similar intentions?"

His gaze hardened, "No." He pulled his uniform jacket down in a tightly controlled tug, "I was simply stating my observations."

"I see." She continued.

"There has been one observation however that I will have to keep a close eye on." He added, knowing he peeked her interest. "Have you not noticed? She has been called to spend a great deal of time on the bridge at Solok's request." He went on.

T'Lara nodded, "He felt that her talents would be better spent there. She is quick and resourceful and empathic. It allows him to deal with other ships with much more ease. As much as that irks her."

"Yemen also told me that he seemed rather forceful in her quarters being repaired. The one she was in originally when she came aboard. Right next to his." He implied.

Her expression was turning to one of confusion, "There was significant issues with that unit before. Logically, if it was not fixed completely, there was sufficient reason to believe the issues would spread."

Larkin gave a sigh, feeling she was not as adept to gossip as he was, "Then have you not see them together? The lingering glances? The pauses in mannerisms?"

She blinked and quirked a brow, "I believe you may be imagining things, Larkin." She responded coolly.

He put the glass box back into it's drawer and resumed his seat, "I do not believe the same." His eyes locked on hers, "You do not believe me...so see for yourself. Watch them."

T'lara gave a sigh and stood, "As you wish. However, I am in need of sustenance. Would you be agreeable to joining me?"

Larkin gave a nod and stood, the two of them headed out.