Disclaimer: I do not own V'Las (*sigh*...), but Joanna is mine, and S'Vec belongs to Fameanon, who also helped me write this fic.
A/N: I realized too late that I had written a huge discrepancy between "Boundaries of Devotion" and "Insanity". This short story will fix that.
V'Las slowly opened his eyes, memories of the previous night rushing back to him. He smiled openly, stroking his fingers down Joanna's bare back. Her skin was so smooth...so deliciously smooth...
He rolled her onto her back and nuzzled into her plump, rounded belly. A sudden thought came to him, and he pressed his ear to her stomach, as if he could hear the baby within. He was just about to pull away when he felt a small kick.
He looked up, his heart starting to race in anticipation, and he found Joanna was awake, smiling lovingly down at him.
"Amazing, isn't it?" she whispered, as if trying to preserve the preciousness of the moment. "Oh, V'Las..."
He pulled up and kissed her lips. "It is truly remarkable...you both are."
Jo gave her husband a lazy smile and threaded her fingers through his smooth silver lock. "As remarkable as her Daddy." She sighed and pulled him down to snuggle with he. "Hold me, sweetie, for a little bit longer...you're warm."
V'Las wrapped her up in his arms. "You keep calling our child a girl. Are you so sure it is and not a boy?"
She smiled. "I just have an instinct our first is going to be a girl."
"Mm-hm, you don't think I'm going to want to stop at only one?" Her voice was husky, and her fingers moved from the innocent stroking of his hair to running up and down the sharp shell of his ear. "Practice makes perfect you know," she whispered, kissing him full on this thin lips, sending waves of desire to him through their bond.
He clutched her tightly, frowning in amazement, but an amusing idea bubbled to the surface of his mind. He chuckled into her mouth.
"What?" She was grinning at him, that uncertain but trusting grin she gave him when she wasn't fully up to speed with what he was saying. His expression softened.
"A highly illogical thought, my sweet," he whispered, stroking her face. "I want another child soon...as if I could get you pregnant when you are already full with child!" He chuckled again and kissed her deeply, his heart surging with peace and tranquility he had never known before. She calmed him, steadied him, made his mind sharper, quicker...even Somil was noticing the change, and that man, though brilliant in his own right, was incredibly blind when it came to personal matters.
He sighed, his mood turning slightly sour again. They would debate putting in a listening post at P'Jem and make a final decision at the end of the month, and of course, as he was ordered, V'Las was pushing for the post to be installed.
Joanna frowned and reached up, cupping his cheek. He turned his head, kissing her palm. "What's wrong?" she asked.
"Nothing that you need to be concerned about, my dear," he said. It was what he always said. "Things at work are so complex, sometimes even I have a hard time keeping up. I have my personal plans concerning my work, and if I succeed, things will be even better for both of us than they are now."
Her frown deepened, and she stroked her fingers lightly over his flesh, as if memorizing him. "You know you can tell me anything, right?"
"I know, my sweet, I know," he breathed, leaning further into her touch. "It's not that I don't trust you. I trust you with my very heart, soul and flesh, and it is yours to do with as you please...but you must understand." His tone turned colder, and more desperate. "There are some things from which I would spare you. You are trustworthy, you are intelligent...I am not disputing that at all. But for your own sake...some things I will not share, not now. Do you understand me, my love?"
"Not really, sweetie, but I trust you, so I'm not going to question it further," she said, wrapping her legs around his waist and grinding into him with a provocative giggle. "Because I love you. You are..." She nibbled at his neck and up his ear until she whispered, "amazing."
V'Las growled, feeling himself harden from her attention. He was about to lay claim to an unbitten piece of her neck when he heard the comm buzz. He looked up and she pulled him down again, the flash on the computer screen told him it was not Vulcan business, but his father. He let a low and frustrated growl and his length retracted.
Jo gasped. "Where did you go all of the sudden? I felt you on my leg and..."
V'Las looked down at at her and he pouted. "I must take this, my wife." He unraveled himself from her touch and his feet were on the floor before she could blink. "I'll be a moment. I'll take this in my office. Do not move, my pet...I will return."
"You'd better," she retorted, staring at him hungrily. He smirked as he got dressed, and she laid back down, stroking her hand over her swollen stomach. He reached out as he was tugging his pants back into place and held her hand over their child, taking a moment to savor this.
The comm beeped again, and he growled again, zipping his pants and storming out of the room.
He calmed himself before turning on the comm, and his father was there, his expression amused. V'Las swallowed thickly.
"Well, my son, that's the first time in a very long time that you've made me wait."
"Forgive me, father, I was not dressed."
He chuckled. "As if your nakedness matters to me? I've seen you naked before...remember that you are my child. I saw you nude when you came out of your mother, not a hair on your body. Your nakedness is not a very good excuse, but I suppose contact with your new slave has given you ridiculous ideas regarding modesty."
V'Las bowed his head, knowing better than to argue. "That is possible. What orders does my master bring me today?"
"These aren't orders, rather...I want to talk about this slave of yours."
He swallowed again. "What about her?"
S'Vec smiled. "You question me?" he said in a playful tone. "I'm your father, and am told you are expecting a child by this woman. You think I do not have the right to see her? To speak with her?" He slammed his fist into his desk and growled. "I have every right when it comes to you and anything you have in your possession." he spat. "It is only by my graces that you are allowed to have her."
V'Las looked down.
"Whose poison was it that drove the humans mad and allowed you to take her as your own?"
"And who has placed you in the position of power you now hold?"
"You, my master."
"Then do not question me. All that I have done has benefited you greatly." He leaned back and flexed his black leather gloved hand so hard the leather groaned. "I will arrive on Vulcan tomorrow. You will have an elaborate dinner. I will speak with her. Do I make myself abundantly clear?"
V'Las bowed his head. "Indeed, master. It will be as you command."
The comm was shut off, and he slipped out of his shirt, which was haphazardly latched. He tossed it in the laundry and slipped back into bed with his beloved, schooling his features so she would not know what he was thinking.
"You're upset," she whispered as he nuzzled into her neck. He nuzzled harder.
"My father is coming tomorrow. You and I and him will have dinner together, here, in my house."
"Oh, good, I've always wanted to meet your folks."
He sighed into her flesh, holding her closer. She was so naive, so accepting of others. "I love you," he breathed, biting her neck. "I love you so much, Joanna. Please do not fault me for telling you, but I must...I must..."
He almost felt tears building up, and he held her as tightly as he could, marking her over and over again, flooding her mind with his devotion.
S'Vec stepped off the air bike and straightened his clothes, dusting himself off as he looked over his old home. He smirked. "It's been a long time," he muttered to himself, stepping toward the door. His original home was three times this big, and it sickened him that for secrecy's sake V'Las now lived in the shadow of his former estate.
He opened the door and walked in, forgoing the normal social conventions of knocking or buzzing the comm. He pulled off his gloves, glancing around at the space. It smelled better than the last time he was there, and there was even some decor now. He chuckled and nodded his head; it seemed the minister was putting the woman to good use.
"V'Las!" he called, sending an echo through the halls. "Where is my son?"
V'Las handed her another hanger and took the hung shirt from her, placing it carefully in the closet. They had gotten most of the way though the clean laundry, but he excused himself to go greet his father.
S'Vec, however, did not wait to be introduced, walking right into their bedroom and looking him up and down with an approving eye. "You've lost a little weight, son," he said, his mood jovial...for now. V'Las bowed his head in respect, but S'Vec was already striding up to Joanna, staring greedily at the plump bulge of her stomach.
"So this is the little minx who captured my son's attention, hm?" he asked, and Joanna straightened, smiling.
"Joanna Hudon," she said cheerfully, holding out her hand, then drawing it back. "Sorry, I forget sometimes. Human custom...old habits die hard, you know?"
"I do know," S'Vec purred, holding out his hand. She took it with a relieved grin, giving him a hardy handshake.
"A pleasure to meet you, sir," she said, her tone sincere. His poor wife...if only she knew what a monster she was shaking hands with...
"You know, my son, she has beautiful eyes," S'Vec said. He glanced at V'Las, and his son avoided his gaze. "What's the matter? You look...pensive."
He slid around and placed his arm around Joanna's shoulder. "Your husband is so readable, T'Sai. Has been since he was a babe in diapers. He's nervous." S'Vec smiled at V'Las, but a smirk played over his thin lips. "You shouldn't be nervous. I find your wife agreeable." V'Las relaxed for a moment, and S'Vec nudged the basket of clothes with his foot. "I see we are hanging laundry...allow me to help."
He lifted Jo's hands and kissed them above her knuckles. "Tell me my son hasn't made you cook anything elaborate for tonight's meal. We should have ordered out. He didn't tell me you were with child. We need to treat you delicately, no?"
"Not at all!" she exclaimed. "Well, I wouldn't go hiking up a volcano, but I'm tougher than I look. And sir, dinner was no trouble. I love spending time with your son, no matter what we're doing. Cooking for you was a delight."
S'Vec roared with laughter. "Son, she is a gem! No wonder you fell for her so quickly!"
Joanna smirked knowingly at him, sending him a pulse of love and devotion, and he clung to that sensation for as long as he could, sending her a pulse of love in return.
S'Vec pulled Jo closer to him, holding her under his armpit as he grinned at V'Las. "My son, you didn't tell me she was so lovely. I'm hurt to the core. But I shall put it aside for now, and forgive everything if you allow me to taste your cooking. It would vex me terribly to think you worked so hard in your condition, and me not partake. That said," he slowly starting walking with her toward the kitchen area, ignoring V'Las, "you must allow me to take you to dinner in Shi'Kahr tomorrow. T'Kuht is rising, and the exclusive rooftop restaurant has a wonderful view."
He smiled wide. "What do you say, my new daughter? Can I tempt thee with such a delight? I'll be terribly hurt if you say no." He pouted playfully for her.
Jo giggled; she had never seen a Vulcan man act as he was it was...endearing. "I have no problem with it, if my husband says it's ok."
S'Vec's eyes widened and he smiled. "Oh that was a delicious answer!"
V'Las winced at his word choice and carefully placed his hand on Joanna's shoulder, steering her towards the kitchen. "You must be hungry, my dear," he murmured to her, smiling ever so slightly at her. Her expression softened, and she wrapped her arm around him, letting them walk side by side into the dining room. The servants placed the dishes on the table, and V'Las took up the role of serving the table. There was no way he would allow his father to touch Joanna's food, and it wouldn't do to have Joanna serving S'Vec. He was still unsure regarding his father's motives, his plans for Joanna, so it was best to play it safe.
"Joanna, my dear, do you find your new marriage satisfactory?"
"Absolutely," she replied without any hesitation. He felt bolstered and stroked her fingers under the table. "He's a good man, and I love him."
S'Vec grinned and leaned forward. "I never would have thought my son one to end up with a human. What attracted you to him?"
She looked at him and grinned naughtily, and he gripped her hand. "He's got a bad boy streak in there that I find really attractive...but he's still a good person. Blunt, abrupt, even...but a good man."
He felt like he might break down in tears, and he squeezed her hand so hard she winced a little. Forgive me, beloved, he said in her mind. Indeed, he needed her forgiveness on many accounts...
S'Vec leaned back, his eyes becoming almost clouded in a dream-like state. They fluttered closed, and his hand lifted caressing a cheek that was not there.
"Ashaya," he whispered, swallowing thickly. "You hear her, do you not? A bad boy, but a good man. I was a good man, the best man for you."
V'Las's eyes widened. He had seen this behavior before, and he knew his father wasn't in the room with them anymore, at least his mind wasn't. Sometimes he became violent after these episodes, and other times he was placid. V'Las pulled Jo closer to him.
Jo looked at V'Las and then his father, he could feel confusion, and a pity mixed with empathy toward the man's sudden behavior. V'Las tried to give her a reassuring smirk as he repressed the growing fear in his stomach.
Then, as suddenly as he had fallen into the moment, S'Vec blinked and his eyes were as clear as an earth sky. He smiled. "I think we should bring Jo into the family. Totally into the family," he said clearly, and calmly. "I have had such a love too you know, Joanna. A beautiful woman, so devoted, so incredibly..."
He shivered with pleasure. "One only dreams of such a woman as she. She was made for me in every way..." He trailed off, circling the mashed vespar root with his fork. "And eyes green like the foam of an Earth sea..."
"My sister has green eyes," Joanna offered calmly. "They are really beautiful, aren't they?"
"Indeed," S'Vec said, leaning forward, his eyes fixed on Joanna. "How old is your sister?"
"Sunni is...15? Yeah, 15. She'll turn sixteen this winter."
He leaned back again, his gaze still fixed on her, and he touched his fingertips together, staring at Jo over the top of his templed hands. "Your parents must be proud of her...and of you! Married to a minister of the High Command...many Vulcan women would be more than honored to...what is the phrase? Be in your shoes?"
She blushed, squeezing his hand under the table. "I know I'm lucky." She fixed her adoring gaze on him, and he breathed in slowly. "Very, very lucky."
"Do you think Sunni would enjoy Vulcan? You should have her visit."
Joanna grinned. "Sunni is a very adventurous type of girl. I think she'd love it here!"
S'Vec grinned. "Good, then it's settled! Your sister should come and visit. We can make it a family...what's the phrase? Union?"
"Reunion?" Jo offered softly.
"So it is." S'Vec took a bite of his food and moaned in pleasure. "My son, your wife...her cooking skills are beyond compare!" He dabbed his mouth with his napkin and then focused on Jo again. "Tell me, from a human perspective, how fare the newly wedded humans and Vulcans? My son has spoken of it, but in only clinical terms. I wish to hear it from a human perspective. Would you say the joinings are mostly successful?"
"I think so. We weren't expecting this to go this way, but I think most of the women are content with their new husbands."
V'Las let out a slow breath and took another bite of food. "You are correct, father, she does cook quite well. She's taught me a thing or two."
"Aunt Juniper joined a Neo-hippie commune in her 20s. I don't agree with her principles, but she did bring back some cool recipes for vegetarians."
"Oh, they're a group who want to get in touch with nature and stuff like that. Rid themselves of the constraints of society...I think they're kind of weird, and Aunt Juniper was always a weird one."
S'Vec smirked, but V'Las stroked her fingers under the table. My father isn't a vegetarian, my sweet. Could you fetch dessert?
"I like the fact you don't buy into all that Neo-hippie...as you say, philosophy!" S'Vec said with a broad smile as Jo got up to grab the dessert. He pouted. "Where are you going, my dear?"
"To get the dessert," Jo said, glancing at V'Las with a loving gaze.
"Ah, the decadent end to a human meal! I am looking forward to seeing what you have prepared." He nodded and watched her walk out of the dining area. He picked up his tea. "You really should have more servants. Your wife shouldn't be fetching things." He smirked at his son, finally meeting his gaze. "But that would mean she'd be here when you asked whatever question lingers on your lips for me. Do go on...ask away."
"What do you have planned for her? And what about her sister? I've met her over subspace...she's only a girl."
"She could be an important key in a chain of events you do not understand," S'Vec said with a jackal grin. "I want to meet her, and I will. Would you rather me meet her in my own way?"
He blanched at that. "No, master," he murmured, and he fell silent when Joanna came back in, carrying eclairs.
"These were fun to figure out," she said cheerfully, passing the plate to V'Las. "Took a few trial runs, didn't it?"
"Yes, my sweet, it did," he replied, his eyes twinkling at the memory of their experimentation. The first batch of choux pastry had gone terribly wrong.
S'Vec took one of the delicacies from the plate and bit down. He moaned as he chewed, gently patting the table until he swallowed.
"Now that, my girl, is a slice of the divine! Wonderful!" he mumbled and took the other half in one bite. He chewed it up and licked the cream from his fingers. "V'Las, my boy, Joanna is a keeper!" He chuckled. "And I can hardly wait to meet your sister."
S'Vec scooted his chair back. "Allow me to clear the plates while the two of you talk...I'm afraid we are going to have to have a serious discussion after the dishes are done."
V'Las stood and frowned. "No, father, Jo and I will clear the dishes-"
"No." he said firmly. "You stay and talk with your ashaya. I can see to this. Time, my son...time is always of the essence, and you should spend the currency of it with she who you love...while you can."