A/N: I've literally just found this continuation of this fic on my computer! I realise that it's been so long since I've published the first chapter but I hope that there are still some people who want to find out what happens next! As always, enjoy!
It seemed as though a long while had passed, but I knew it had only been a few hours. A few measly hours. It was painful, and I wondered how much longer I could take it. He had said to meet me at the bar at 1800 and it was that time now. In fact, it was 1830 and he still hadn't turned up, which somewhat alarmed me. I had never known a Vulcan to be late for anything.
I had spent the past half an hour of the waiting time looking out of the windows. They were large windows – floor-to-ceiling – and offered a fantastic view of the breathtaking scenery. Sometimes I couldn't help but marvel at the engineering of the place. Here I was, tucked up safe and sound on a star base, and yet the complex was orbiting some planet down below at break-neck speed. All that separated me from the depths of space beyond was a few inches of reinforced glass and a force field.
Just as I was finishing my third glass of synthale, and just as I was about to get up to leave, I finally caught sight of Sedek's tall figure walking into the bar. The room, it seemed, fell silent, and I couldn't help but wonder how many people on the star base actually knew what had happened. But I shook those unpleasant thoughts out of my head. After all, how could they know? I hadn't told anyone about it, and Sedek didn't strike me as the sort of person to go blabbing about something as deeply personal as that. But then again…
He strode over to me without taking so much as a second glance around the room, and positioned himself squarely in front of the table that I was sat at. I glanced momentarily down at my wine glass and then up at him. He was looming over me, and I suddenly felt an uncomfortable feeling settle in my stomach.
"I apologise for my tardiness," he said, before nodding to the empty seat opposite my chair.
I gestured for him to take the seat and then regarded him with firm eyes. "I was starting to think that you weren't going to come."
He raised an eyebrow, apparently offended. "A Vulcan never breaks his promises."
That comment caused me to giggle slightly, and then I sighed and looked wistfully out of the grand window beside my table. "That's just as well," I continued, my tone of voice all of sudden quiet and demure. "Because we've got a lot of stuff to talk about."
"You must understand," he began, his voice getting so strained that she could register his discomfiture. "That I had no intention whatsoever of putting you in this unfortunate situation."
I laughed awkwardly and placed my hands on the table, spreading my fingers and tapping them on the cold surface. "I suppose we're both to blame, aren't we?"
"That does seem a good assessment of the issue," he murmured. "And, as I believe the human saying goes… 'we are both in the same boat'." He frowned and considered. "Not that I see what a sailing vessel has to do with our situation."
Bemused, I shook her head and sighed. "Never mind that."
He nodded, and when I looked into his eyes, I could discern a slight amount of concern in the blue-grey irises. He was nervous, unsure, it seemed, but I wondered if he would ever share those emotions with me. I wasn't going to hold my breath. "But I am due to leave this star base next week… so we will need to come to some sort of arrangement."
"You're leaving? Whatever for?" I demanded, my hands balling into fists as I leaned over the table.
He nodded curtly, apparently unfazed by my elevated tone and anxious expression. "My ship departs the star base at that time."
"Oh," I muttered, her breath escaping from my lips too quickly. I swore silently, though I knew Vulcans had some degree of telepathic abilities, and he had no doubt realised what I had wanted to say. "You're in Starfleet?"
"I am, yes. I am stationed aboard the USS Enterprise," he said calmly.
I flinched, annoyed that I was impressed at his posing. The Enterprise was Starfleet's flagship, and as such, was the best in the fleet. I was jealous, it seemed, and I didn't like the feeling. "But you can't leave," she protested.
He cocked an eyebrow, trying to maintain his stoic expression, but she could see that the tips of his ears were turning the slightest shade of green. "I have to attended to my duties, Sam."
A strange sort of sensation rose in my chest when he spoke my name. I shook her head furiously and exhaled. "Then you should have thought of that before-" my voice failed her and I could say no more, for which he looked grateful. Calming down, I added, "And if I am… If I am pregnant, then we'll have to sort this out. Oh God, it's such a mess!"
His hand had, up until this point, been resting languidly on the table, but before he knew it, he had reached out to take hers and was holding it weakly. "A week is sufficient time, I do believe. The word 'mess' does not necessarily need to apply to this occurrence. I am asking you not to worry for the moment."
"For the moment?" I repeated, laughing bitterly as I said the words. "How can I possibly not? I've been such an idiot." I shook her head and rose to my feet, leaving him sat alone looking confused. He looked up at me and I scowled. "Don't you look at me like that!"
And with that, I stormed out of the bar. I had had enough. A few of the people in the room turned their heads to see what all the commotion was about, and then they lost interest and continued their gossiping. Sedek rose to his feet slowly and then left the bar shortly, unperturbed by the curious glances of the other officers and civilians around him.
I had barely gotten ten feet down the corridor when I heard footsteps gaining on me. I sped up my pace, but it was no use; he had caught up with me in no time. I came to a standstill, and all of a sudden, I was shaking. Composing myself, I stood squarely and prepared to face him. "What do you want?"
"I understand your apprehension in talking with me," he began slowly, his voice measured and careful. He was, no doubt, trying hard not to upset me. "I have found, in my experience, that humans can often be unpredictable and nonsensical. For that reason, I suggest that I escort you back to your quarters."
My mouth hung open. I had no words. No words whatsoever to describe how shocked his words had made me. No, not shocked. Insulted. Humans can often be unpredictable and nonsensical. I bit my lip and shook my head, embittered. "No, I don't think so."
"I do not think that-" he had begun to say, but I soon cut him off. "Leave me alone. You go back to your quarters and meditate or whatever it is you do all day, and I'll contemplate my entire future." My tone had risen considerably, and to a random passer-by, I had no doubt that my speech sounded more like a rant.
"I do apologise if I have upset you," he finally said, and I could detect, in his blue eyes a sort of sense of worry. If Vulcans could even worry, that was. His gaze was darkening and his temples had started to flush a slight shade of green, and it occurred to me that he was worried.
Defeated, I raised a hand up to my face and brushed the strands of hair that were hanging loosely near my vision. As a I massaged my thumping head, I conceded, "And I suppose I ought to say sorry, as well."
He gave a curt nod by way of response and then said nothing more for a good minute or two. "Do you, therefore, accept my offer of accompanying you to your quarters for the time being… so that we may converse?"
I gave him a wry smile. "Yes, I accept."
As we walked, I felt almost obliged to mention our awkward encounter in the bar only a few moments ago. "We were supposed to talk about it back then," I said, somewhat disappointed with myself.
"However, I was late arriving at the designated meeting point," he admitted. "And our discussion did not progress much."
I laughed and nodded in agreement. "No. It did not." I looked up at him and, as I caught his curious eyes, I detected a hint of mischief – of humour – in his countenance. We walked on for a bit more, and then we finally came to my quarters. My temporary quarters, that was. I had come to the starbase with my brother while he was waiting for his ship – the USS Montana – to dock. In a few months, he would be on his way and I would have to return to Earth. "Here we are, then," I announced, keying in the correct entry-code. I stepped in, and waved for Sedek to follow me in.
He seemed a bit alarmed, almost overly conscious of his surroundings, but it was incredibly hard for me to penetrate his stoic Vulcan exterior. He was not going to make any exceptions, it seemed. "I know that Vulcans are, well, known for their logic. They pride themselves in it, am I right?" He nodded and I continued. "But don't you… I don't know… miss emotion sometimes?"
He raised an eyebrow and shifted his weight from one foot to another. "I do not quite understand the question, as I have never experienced life with an emotional influence. Therefore, my testimony would be invalid."
I had spoken to a great deal of robots and computers in my time, and Sedek was really starting to sound like one. I sighed. I gestured for him to sit beside me, and he did more or less get the message, except he positioned himself on the opposite end of the couch.
"Tell me about Vulcan," I had asked, after a half an hour or pointless small talk and avoiding the central issue.
The question had caught him unawares, it seemed, and he stared at me blankly for a short while. And then he crossed one leg over the other seemed at last to be gaining some degree of confidence. "What would you like to know?"
I shrugged. "Anything. Your family, your friends, Starfleet. Whatever you want to tell me."
He gave me a very detailed exploration of his heritage, his people's beliefs and customs and his education in Starfleet as a science officer. He seemed immensely proud of his achievements, but he tried his best to disguise that sense of pride. But there was one aspect of his life that he did not talk about – that he did not even touch upon. There was no mention of it at all. But there didn't have to be – I knew exactly what it would be.
"Don't worry about the Pon Farr bit," I told him, a slight smirk playing on my lips.
He cleared his throat and nodded quickly. "No, of course not."
"I mean, I think I've got quite a good idea of what it is. But… you've never really told me how it all works. I mean, what with the bonding and the marriage ceremony. We were taught something about that in history class back at school, but other than that..." I droned off when I realised that he had been staring at me for five minutes flat. "Sorry."
He shook his head and rubbed his nose. "Not at all. If you would like me to, I shall provide you with more knowledge about the marriage ceremony. Perhaps it would be useful for me to use a recent example."
I nodded and waved for him to continue, but only after having gotten myself a drink of water from the replicator. I had offered him some, but he had politely declined.
"My brother completed his marriage rites last year," Sedek explained. "Except, he and his mate were not bonded in the traditional Vulcan manner, which has children bonded from the age of seven until they reach maturity." He took a breath and then continued. "His name is Sokal, and I speak with him often. He used to tell me of a strong telepathic connection that he felt whenever he was near his prospective mate."
"And did she feel it too?" I enquired, actually finding that I was intrigued. It was weird for me – and for any human, I supposed. The whole idea of being bonded to someone as a child all seemed a bit too medieval for my liking.
Sedek took a glance around the room. "He. Sokal's mate is male. And yes, I suppose he must have done."
I smiled, though it was slightly sheepish, then asked for Sedek to continue his story.
He pursed his lips briefly and then carried on. "The reason being, my family does not adhere to the strict regulations bestowed upon Vulcans by our heritage. Certainly, we respect every value pertaining to emotional control, but there are certain things – marriage being an example – that we do not adhere to in the conventional way."
I had not meant to sound rude, but I eventually ended up yawning. He had talked for another two hours, and at first I was genuinely interested and engaged, but then it started to dawn on me that I had had one too many synthales. They certainly were very realistic. Slowly, my eyelids began to shut and my vision eventually went blurry, and then dark, and then black.