Just one chapter this week. Please let me know what you think :-)

Nadra walked along with Silak, stopping to look at various storefronts. She suddenly turned to him. "Okay, so engulfment. How will this affect you? And how will it affect me?"

"There is much to discuss regarding Vulcan male mating rituals." His voice was soft as he looked at her, his eyes open and almost pleading.

"Silak, what? What is it you're not saying? I can feel it."

He took a deep breath. "Will you accompany me to my dwelling? It is not far from here."

"I…just to talk, right?" She felt nervous. She wasn't a virgin, but the strong feeling she had for him caused an anxious pit in her stomach.

"Yes, of course, just to talk." He looked perplexed. "I am confused…"

"Sorry, just my Terran sensibilities. Yes, let's go to your place." She smiled.

He lived in a small apartment just outside the international center. The complex housed a few dozen dwellings, all with balconies that faced the local mountains. Silak held his hand over the lock pad and the door slid open. He moved aside to allow Nadra to enter first.

She inhaled the scent of Vulcan incense, the same type Spock had given her on her last birthday. There was a small kitchen to the right of the entry way and what she supposed was a powder room to the left. Looking around she noted the comfortable looking seating area as well as the varied pieces of artwork. Vulcan, Terran and quite a few she didn't recognize. She walked to the large sliding glass doors that led out to the balcony. To the right of the living area was another door, which she assumed was the bedroom. Nadra shivered.

"Are you chilled?" He asked.

"No, just…no, it's nothing." She smiled up at him and recognized just how nervous she was.

"Would you care for a cup of tea?" Thee moved to the kitchen.

"That would be lovely." She sat at the small and looked at Silak as he set a kettle to boil and retrieved two mugs and a tea pot. Nadra sounded uncomfortable to her own ears and hoped Silak hadn't picked up on it. He turned to her and leaned forward on the counter.

"Please, do not feel obligated. We are here to…talk. Nothing more."

"Sorry, I feel…I don't know. I just feel." She splayed her hands on the table top and bit her bottom lip. "Talk to me."

Silak poured the water into the tea pot and turned back sitting across from her, allowing the leaves to brew.

"You touch me, Nadra. I feel you, here." He took her hand placed it on his side. She felt the deep, fast staccato of his steady heartbeat. Looking up at him, she felt her eyes fill with tears of emotion. Shaking her head, she smiled.

"Silak, it's all so fast. These feelings, this…connection. I don't understand…" She faltered.

"We all have our…soulmate, Nadra. It would appear you and I have met ours. You are k'hat'n'dlawa." His voice was hushed. Nadra looked up at him, her eyes questioning. "Half my heart and soul."

"Oh!" Nadra gasped as she fully understood. "Can this be real, Silak?"

"How can you doubt what you feel in your heart?" He to and retrieved the tea pot and mugs. "But you need time, I can see this. Besides which, there is much you must know regarding Vulcan males before we can move on. If we move on."

His back was still to her so she went to stand behind him, placing her arms around his waist. "I honestly don't think there's an 'if' between us, Silak. Do you?" He turned in her arms and pulled her to his chest.

"As I stated, there is much we must discuss. And holding you in my arms makes such conversations seem irrelevant." He leaned down and rubbed his lips across her forehead. "Mmm…you taste like…perfection."

Nadra chuckled. "I feel very fortunate that my Vulcan is so poetic."

"Your Vulcan?" He questioned.

"Most certainly mine. Now, let's take our tea into the living room and have this serious talk you keep mentioning. Yes?" She gently pushed herself from his embrace and lifted the cups before walking to the couch. "You coming?"

"Indeed, yes." And he followed her, realizing he would follow her anywhere if she chose to take him.

"Well, that was uncomfortable." Nyota sat on the patio chair and looked at Spock. He lifted on brow and gave a small shrug.

"Well, T'Pring's parents, they totally ignored her. She packed her things and we carried them to the foyer and I stood back when she went to speak with them, but they were downright hostile. I mean, I could hear her father's raised voice. First, he forbade her from leaving and then when she refused, he told her she was dead. The family would never recognize her again. He was so mad, Spock." She paused to take a breath. "So, T'Pring and I picked up and left, but her mother rushed out and almost begged her to relent. T'Pring again refused and her mother whispered that she would always consider her family and to comm her. It was exhausting. Poor T'Pring"

"Do you regret aiding T'Pring?" He asked.

"No, not really, I just feel just feel as if I was an intruder, you know, I was privy to family business and I feel so badly for her. I actually like T'Pring. I thought I would…hate her." She lowered her eyes. "I'm a little…okay, a lot, embarrassed."

"Why did you believe you would dislike a female you had never met?" He asked.

Nyota looked up at him. "Because she had you."

Spock leaned into her. "When did you have this revelation?"

She shrugged. "I don't really know. I consider you my friend, well at least after I became your aide and you became closer to me and my family, I gave up the romantic crush I had on you. And even when you were dating other women I just chalked it up to your hormones. I knew you had T'Pring back here, on Vulcan. Knowing that everyone else you saw, they didn't have a chance because she had you…it hurt, I suppose. And I irrationally blamed T'Pring." Nyota paused and bit her lip.

"What is it?" Spock asked.

"When I realized you were breaking your bond to T'Pring…I allowed myself to face up to the fact that I didn't just want to be just your friend. I wanted more. And I allowed myself to think that maybe you felt the same way." Her voice wavered.

Spock sat back, braced his elbows on the chair's arms and steepled his hands under his chin. "I do feel much for you, Nyota. But you must realize once a Vulcan has made his intentions known, once he has chosen a mate there is no going back. T'Pring was chosen for me, she was never truly t'hy'la. Not like Nadra. Not like you."

"T'hai'la? Friends?" She questioned, confusion showing in her face.

"There are many forms of t'hy'la. The love of a close friend, even considered a soul-mate, sister of one's soul." He moved in closer to her. "And the love of one's true soul-mate, one's k'hat'n'dlawa."

"Half of my heart and soul…yes, k'hat'n'dlawa." Nyota nodded and leaned forward and laid her forehead against his.

"But there is more to Vulcan mating than just love, Nyota."

Nadra nodded and sat back. This was a lot to digest and she could see that is was a very painful matter for Silak. "I don't know, Silak. I realize this is a large part of your biology, but it isn't everything. Every 7 years you need to mate. It could be worse."

"This is not all of it, Nadra. We do not just mate; we become savage in our need. During the early stages of our time, we meditate in hopes of reducing the fire. But the time can last from 4 to 7 days, during which we are consumed with the need to bond most aggressively. To let all of our kind know, she who is our mate is indeed ours. It can be violent. Not in intent, Nadra, but the lust clouds our judgment, the drive to mark our mate becomes all encompassing. She who is our mate must capitulate and allow this unconscionable lust." His voice was hoarse and hushed, as if her were relating the deepest, darkest secret.

"Okay, well this is a bit to digest, but Silak, it doesn't scare me off. I'm a strong woman and if we take the next steps, I can prepare for it. When the time comes. And Lady Amanda is even smaller than me and she's been with the Ambassador for decades." She laid her hand on his. "We can work it out, baby."

"Nadra, there is more. Perhaps I should have broached this first." He looked up at her. "Once bonded, it is for life. Vulcans rarely, if ever, divorce. It can be done, however once a pair has been through," his voice lowered, "Pon Farr, dissolution of the bond can be dangerous. Nadra, you would be committing yourself to me for the rest of our lives."

She took a deep breath. "Silak, I would not enter into a marriage if I didn't plan on being in it for the rest of my life. I know other species consider Terrans fickle and amoral, but we aren't. Well, no more than any other species. I believe that most of us don't take a committed relationship lightly. At least the Uhuras don't." She moved closer to him and laid her forehead against his. "If we bond, it's for life."

"Thank you for your honestly, Nadra. I would have you consider me as a mate. I no longer need to think on it, as I know you are k'hat'n'dlawa." He motioned to his forehead, "You are here," he then placed his hand on his heart, "and here. I will wait until you have decided if you…feel the same."

"Oh, Silak, I think I pretty much jumped off that cliff when I first saw you. However I will take some time to think on it. But in the meantime, we should spend as much time together as we can, so can get to know each other." She paused, a small furrow between her brows. "Um, question…do Vulcans only engage in intercourse every 7 years?"

"Some, yes. Not this one."

"We undergo a neurochemical imbalance that results in a form of madness. Our cortical levels rise and fall as our brain's regulatory system begins to shut down. Serotonin levels become unbalanced, as well. If we do not sate this…need, we can die within 8 days." Spock had been staring over Nyota's shoulder, unable to look into her eyes.

"Spock, sex doesn't frighten me. It'll take a hell of a lot more to change my mind…"

"I am not done, Nyota." His voice rose slightly and he finally faced her. "It is not just 'sex'. It is an all encompassing, violent joining of mates. It will go on for days. The fires are unquenchable. Vulcan males are territorial of their mates, he will claim her body so all will see that she is his. He will mark her, engage in coitus until she can no longer walk. If she refuses, he will force her to submit. During ancient times, before Surak's Awakening, males would often kill to win their mates, thus dampening their lust. Now, many bond at youth to assure a mate, which accounts for T'Pring."

"Spock, your mother's been bonded to the Ambassador for a long time. She's been through this and survived. I'm bigger than her and have no doubt with my training I can handle this." She smiled. "I know this is a huge thing, I'm not discounting it, but Spock, there is more to you than Pon Farr."

"As you say, it is a 'huge thing', Nyota. Bonding, true bonding is also a 'huge thing'. It is for life." He responded.

"Spock, I'm in it for life. Let's see where this takes us, yes? I have no doubt you and I are destined. I can wait for you to come to the realization. But I appreciate you confiding all this to me, Spock, before we move forward. You are my friend and would expect no less." She leaned forward and gently laid her lips on his until he reciprocated.