Title: Whispers


Chapter 1: Chapter 1


Disclaimer: I own nothing, most of all Star Trek, which is unfortunately the property of Paramount or some other mega monster studio.

"Whispers" Chp. 1

Ambassador Spock's shuttle docked with the small Federation ship. He was on his way back to Vulcan from Romulus for medical treatment for an infection that he had gotten from an accidental cut on his arm that just wouldn't seem to heal.

The Romulan healer to which he had access felt that Ambassador Spock would have a better chance at saving his arm if treated with more traditional Federation or Vulcan medicines than the limited ones to which she had available. Spock had had a small cloaked Federation ship at his disposal since Captain Picard had convinced the powers that be that it was better to have ready access to the ambassador than not. It was a ship rarely utilized and the small crew complement was rotated out every 12 months because the tour was so tedious.

When Ambassador Spock boarded he was met by a man wearing captain's pips. "Greetings, Ambassador Spock. I am Captain Morgan Jones, and it is my honor to have you aboard my humble ship."

"I accept your hospitality and appreciate the speed and stealth to which you have managed to conduct your mission." Spock was nearing 160 Earth years old and still carried a great sense of strength and power.

Captain Jones asked, "May I show you to your quarters, Ambassador, and make sure that you have everything that you may need?"

"Thank you, Captain. You may."

Spock had been meditating for barely 23.35 minutes when the chime to his cabin door sounded. Wearily, for the infection had taken a greater toll on him than he would admit to his Romulan physician—or himself—for that matter, he called, "Enter."

Rising from his meditation position, he turned to find a tall willowy woman standing warily at the entrance to his small quarters.

"You may enter. I will endeavor not to "gobble you up."

"Sir?" Her young face showed alarm and her eyes grew great in size. Spock estimated her age to be in her mid to late twenties, by Earth standard.

"I was alluding to a story that my mother used to read to me when I was a boy. A wolf would try to eat little girls as they traversed through a great forest. I promise that I will not 'try to eat you up'." The severe look on the Vulcan Ambassador's face softened as he watched her waiting at his door so hesitantly.

"Good, Ambassador, because I would hate to tell my father that he was right about my joining Starfleet." The young woman suddenly smiled at him and came through the door. When she drew nearer to him, Spock noticed that she had the most startling blue eyes that he had seen in a very long time. Her dark hair was pulled back into a French twist that almost completely covered her ears except for two dainty pearl studs in her lobes. He also noticed that she was carrying a medical bag.

"I am Doctor Carson, ship's physician as it were." Plopping down her bag onto the desk near the door, she turned and looked him over. "You don't look sick, if you don't mind me saying so, sir."

"I do not mind it; however, I wish that my body agreed with your assessment." The ambassador's voice was a strong baritone and had a quality to it that could calm. Doctor Carson figured that couldn't hurt when it came to negotiations.

"May I take a look at that troublesome arm?" she asked. Reaching into her medical bag, she removed her portable med-scanner that fed directly into the ship's sickbay computers for storage and still gave her an instant reading on the scanner. Turning back around to the Vulcan now seated on the sofa, she saw that he had removed his black tunic and only a regular workman's shirtsleeve covered his arm. "Would you mind pulling this off as well, sir, so I can get a clear look at the injury?"

Spock could tell she was still a little nervous, but she was quite professional and focused on the task at hand. It wasn't easy dealing with a Federation legend, he supposed. He found it ironic that he was a legend simply because he had outlived almost everyone that he had ever cared about. There was a time, before he grew wiser, that he would have denied that. Caring. Now, he found that time seemed to spin by faster, and he felt more alone in the universe than ever before. Not for companionship, that he had plenty of—groupies, they would have been called in Earth history—no, what he found missing from his life was someone to share same life experiences with the way he would have with his old shipmates.

"The infection must be greater than I thought," Spock thought to himself that sounds practically maudlin, as his mother might have said.

The young doctor gasped aloud when she saw the arm. It was practically gangrenous; dark green blotches and black streaks ran almost all the way up to the Vulcan's shoulder. His temperature, which was high normally, anyway, was four degrees higher than it should be.

"Sir, you're burning up. I need to get you to our sickbay and get some fluids in you and try some new antibiotics to try to bring this infection under control. This doesn't look good at all." She stood up and began to gather her things to leave for sickbay, until his voice stopped her.

"Doctor Carson, I will be treated here or not at all. There is nothing that you can do for me there except watch my biobed readouts. I will be more comfortable here and can meditate in peace which will help my healing."

"With all due respect, Ambassador Spock, if your meditation techniques were going to improve this infection, they would have already done so. I need you there where I can keep a fairly constant eye on you." Dr. Carson had stuck her chin out stubbornly when she delivered her spiel.

"Nevertheless, Doctor, here I will remain." Ah, the notorious Vulcan stubbornness she had always heard so much about. Well, if the mountain wouldn't come to Mohammad…

"Fine, sir, but I am staying with you. That is until you are greatly improved. Begging your pardon, but it wouldn't look so good on my resume if I let you die on my watch of what seems to be a simple infection, albeit a virile one." Again, with the chin, Spock noticed.

"Very well, Doctor. You may bring more needed equipment, and you may rest here on the sofa. I will take the sleeping area. Age after all, does have some privileges."

Two hours later

After resting for approximately one hour after Doctor Carson had finished her ministrations, Spock found he had some appetite back. Here he had access to a replicator, which was a luxury when you spent your time on the run from authority. Coming into the living area, he found Dr. Carson reading a pad.

Surprised to see him up so soon, she elevated an eyebrow. "Feeling better, Ambassador?" She asked. "Would you like me to get you something; some plomeek soup perhaps?"

Continuing to the replicator, Spock replied, "Doctor, I am quite capable or programming a replicator for soup, if I so desire. I do not desire soup. I desire watermelon and strawberries."

Dr. Carson covered her mouth to suppress a stray giggle.

Turning around to look at her after he took his fruit from the replicator, he asked, also elevating one eyebrow, "Do you find my choice amusing, Doctor?" He sat down on the chair at the end of the sofa, and she started to swing her feet off the sofa where she had been resting. It seemed disrespectful to practically have your feet in the face of a legend. But the "legend" stopped her.

"No, Doctor Carson, make yourself comfortable. You prescribed sleep, and, as I am up before you instructed me to be, I am intruding on you."

Smiling that infectious grin of hers at him again, she responded, "Ambassador, you are not at all what I expected."

"What did you expect, Doctor Carson? That 'legends' don't eat?" He asked her with a slight trace of humor in her voice.

"No. Just that they don't eat the same thing that my father does when he can't sleep. And to me you are a legend, sir. You lived and worked and made great history happen, with great people."

"That only makes me old, Dr. Carson."

She laughed, "I wish that I could tell my grandmother that I met you. She would have been thrilled."

"Before you tell me why your grandmother 'would be thrilled', please just call me Spock. Ambassador does get a bit tedious and makes me feel more than a little like my father at times."

"Your father was a great man in history, too, Am-Spock" she hastily corrected. "But would you call me by my first name as well."

"I find the terms acceptable. And that would be?" he prompted.

"Amanda," she answered, smiling innocently.


Chapter 2: Chapter 2


I own nothing about the franchise "Star Trek. " Only my memories.

Chapter 2, "Whispers"

"Amanda." For a micro-second, the young doctor thought she saw a smile ripple across the ambassador's aged face, but she must have imagined it for the expression passed so swiftly.

"Yes, I was told that I was named after an ancestor of mine. A teacher, I believe."

Ambassador Spock seated himself in the remaining chair and, after finishing a strawberry slowly, he eyed her with a strange gentleness. "My mother's name was 'Amanda,' as well. "

"Your mother was an Earth woman, wasn't she? Well, that is rather ironic isn't it, sir?" Those lovely blue eyes looked at him with remarkable intelligence and good humor.

"Yes. She also was a teacher. Of linguistics. She taught some years on Vulcan after she and my father were married. She has been gone a great many years now. "

Amanda watched him as his face grew still and he said nothing more for a few minutes, just ate his fruit like it was the most exquisite thing that he had ever tasted. She said nothing, waiting. He seemed to want to talk; he actually seemed a little sad, she thought.

Finally, he spoke again. "I believe I miss her presence in my life more now than I did when I was younger. I was too concerned with being seen as emotional and my attachment to her as being too human. Now, after many years, the absence of her counsel and my inability to hear her voice or see her smile weighs on me like her passing was quite recent. Illogical, but true, nonetheless."

Amanda swallowed. "I understand, sir. My grandmother and I were very close and after her death, all the things she told me when I was young, half of which I felt I never listened to or had considered irrelevant, were suddenly coming from my mouth and seemed to be my beliefs and feelings as well. Weird, isn't it?"

"'Weird' would is perhaps not the word that I would use. Those things which we learn when we are young are those that we tend to cling to in our adulthood." Another half smile from him before he said, "My mother used to tell me that, as well."

Amanda smiled back at him. "Well, sir, what I have learned is that I need to scan you frequently, so if you don't mind…."

"Not at all, Amanda. Scan away." The ambassador continued eating while she finished her med-scans and frowned at her instrument.

"Your temperature is still elevated, sir, and the infection is not quite as prevalent in your system, but it's definitely still there. Is there anything that I can give you to assist you to sleep, perhaps?"

"No, doctor. I would prefer to sit right here for a while and simply rest. Being on the run tends to make one appreciate the time to simply be still, however, if I am keeping you from sleeping…."

"No, sir. I am just concerned about you. You need to give your body time to rest and heal itself. If you have been on the move, as you say you have, that may be one reason that your system hasn't been able to kick this thing. Stress tends to take a toll on the physical body as well—even for Vulcans."

The ambassador again gave her the sort-of smile. "One of my oldest friends used to tell me that not even Vulcans are indestructible. How right he was, although I would never tell him so."

Amanda peered at him over the top of the pad on which she was making notes. "Is this 'friend' also ….gone?"

"Oh, yes, doctor. My old friends are nearly all gone." Spock leaned back in the chair, getting more comfortable and resting his arm on the chair to take the strain off. "All the ones with whom….I shared a special bond, I suppose."

"Would this doctor be from Kirk's Enterprise," she swallowed. The young woman couldn't believe she was listening to a person from history telling her about history as he had lived it.

Spock did slightly smile, hearing the awe in her voice. "Yes, Amanda, Jim Kirk's Enterprise. In all my life, I have never seen any being bear such affection for an inanimate object the wayCaptain Kirkdid that ship. It was as if as long as she breathed, he breathed. "The old Vulcan paused, "I know it is not logical, but it was as if when Captain Harriman took her helm that it was destined that Jim would never live to see her under another captain.

He told me once that he knew that he would die alone. And he was right."


Chapter 3: Chapter 3


Chapter 3, "Whispers"

"I remember," Amanda spoke, barely above a whisper. She could see easily enough that the ambassador, for reasons of his own, needed to talk. Maybe it was the infection. Spock did after all have quite a fever still yet.

"I was not there at the launch of the Enterprise B. I looked for him, of course. It was futile. Later I learned from another starship captain that Jim had had another destiny. It gave me a certain peace about his loss. I miss him still, and that is something that will never pass." Spock stopped. Then spoke quietly, "I must be more tired and ill than I thought. I will retire for a few hours. "

He stood, "If you will excuse me, doctor."

Amanda watched him walk into the sleeping quarters. His shoulders looked slumped and for the first time, the doctor thought he actually looked ill. Wrapping up her work with the pad, she turned over, found a comfortable spot on the sofa, and fell into the sleep of the young and unburdened.

Amanda had been up for a few hours. She had checked Ambassador Spock's readouts and noticed that his fever had dropped. That was a decidedly good sign. It meant the new antibiotic that she had tried was having some effect already. Not that the ambassador was out of the woods yet; he was undernourished, exhausted, and, if she didn't know that Vulcans didn't suffer from depression, she would include that as well.

She was catching up on some work when she heard the door to the Spock's bedroom, swish open behind her. Turning, Amanda watched him approach the replicator.

"Good morning, Spock. How do you feel, sir?"

Without turning from the food dispenser, he said, "Are you always in such perpetually good spirits, doctor?"

"Guess it's a curse. But you didn't answer my question? Your fever has dropped a bit; that should make you feel some better."

"Yes, I find that I am not as full of aches as I was earlier. Perhaps one of your potions may work after all." Spock turned back from the replicator and sat at the small table. Amanda got up and joined him there.

"What's on the menu this morning, sir? Ah, oatmeal?"

"It has been a long time since I have had oatmeal with honey and milk. An old "comfort" food, as my mother used to say."

Amanda smiled at him. "Yep, mine too. Funny, it does make you feel better, though. Probably all psychological."

Spock spoke, "Whatever the reason, Amanda, the food is still as good as I remember. Will you join me?"

"Sure." Jumping up and fetching some oatmeal for herself, she returned to the table. Handing him a glass of orange juice, she said, "I thought you might appreciate this as well. Lots of Vitamin C. And it should be a comfort food. " She grinned again.

"Thank you, doctor," Spock said as he took the juice.

They ate in companionable silence for a while. Finally when both were finished, Amanda collected their bowls and returned them to the replicator. Moving back to his comfortable chair from the night before, Spock spoke to her as she sat down and picked up her medical tricorder. "Tell me, from where do you originally hail, young Amanda?"

"North America. Southern North America, actually."

"Surely, not the old American state of Georgia." He raised both eyebrows as though dreading her answer.

"No, sir, North Carolina. Why did you know someone from Georgia?"

"Leonard McCoy was from Georgia. He was quite proud of his Southern American heritage, as I recall. He was the CMO of the Enterprise for many years, my friend for much longer. McCoy was an exceptional physician."

Amanda seemed to flush suddenly, embarrassed.

Spock noticed. "I meant no disrespect to you, Doctor Carson. I was simply complimenting an old friend," he finished softly.

The young physician looked up at him; her cheeks were still burning.

"Well, I haven't been entirely forthcoming, sir." She paused. "I grew up on stories aboutthe USS Enterprise. You see, sir, a member of my family served aboard the ship with you, so I have always been fascinated by stories about those early voyages, stories about you and Captain Kirk and the others. I actually met Dr. McCoy when I was a little girl."

Ambassador Spock leaned forward in the chair. "Fascinating. When was this, doctor? You must have been extremely young."

"Yes, sir," she seemed uncomfortable; "I was only a little girl. My grandmother took me to the launch of the Enterprise-D, and he was there. She had served with him, but you may not remember her, sir; it was a long time ago."

"I have an exceptionally good memory. What was her name, Amanda?" Spock asked, more than a little intrigued.

"My grandmother's name was Dr. Christine Chapel."


Chapter 4: Chapter 4


Chapter 4, Whispers

Spock would never have admitted it, but he was nearly shocked speechless. He could hear himself repeating her name, but he didn't realize it until it was out of his mouth.

"Christine Chapel."

"Yes, sir. Do you remember her?" Amanda was leaning forward slightly, expectantly.

Spock spoke, knowing that the young woman would be unable to know how much she had discombobulated him with her pronouncement. With a voice as calm as space, he stated, "Yes, I remember her. Miss Chapel served as Doctor McCoy's nurse before she became a fully fledged medical doctor. She was also my partner in many scientific endeavors aboard ship." He paused, taking a breath. "I am sorry to hear of her passing, though it is logical that she would be past the life expectancy for a human female." There. Steady. No emotion.

Amanda looked relieved. "Yes, she was quite old when she died. My mother was an only child and had me quite late in life. Ma grand-mere said she had given up hope of ever having any grandchildren." She laughed. "But mom surprised her, I guess."

"You and your 'grand-mere' were very close, I believe you said." It was Spock's turn to lean slightly forward. "And your grandfather? Were you close to him as well?"

Amanda looked away for a second, and then said, "Grand-mere didn't speak of him often. She described him as a scientist that she knew aboard Enterprise. No matter how hard my mother pressed her, she absolutely refused to discuss him." She sighed heavily. "It was very frustrating for my mother."

Spock spoke quietly. "And your mother? Where is she?"

"She is a neurosurgeon at Aldrin Hospital on Luna. Dr. Skyler Chapel. My father is a professor of English Renaissance Literature, at the University of Florida, Earth. Dr. Phillip Carson. Mom says I take after my grandmother; neither of my parents was interested in joining Starfleet." Amanda stopped talking suddenly. "Sorry, I must be boring you to death. It's just that when I found out we would actually be having you aboard ship, I couldn't believe my good fortune. To talk with someone that I had only heard stories about as a child. Someone who knew my grandmother when she was young. It is almost too much to take in." The doctor flashed that winning smile again.

"I can understand how it would be ….unbelievable almost." Spock managed to utter.

"Doctor Carson, I think I will lie back down. I am feeling fatigued suddenly." Spock rose.

He could hear the medical scanner whirring as he turned to go to his room.

Spock made his way to the bed in the darkened room and sat down heavily. He tried to organize his thoughts, but he was bombarded with images of Christine, especially of one of the last times that he had seen her.

He closed his eyes. It was at Starfleet Command, in San Francisco, and she was coming from Emergency Ops, by her side was a small dark haired girl with blue eyes, no more than 8 or 9. He was preoccupied with…Valeris. That was why he assumed Christine seemed so determined to ignore him. He had looked away from Valeris to acknowledge her, but she seemed to be hurrying the child along, pointedly away from him. Surely not? Surely, she would have told him. Was I so blinded by my own arrogance? So sure of myself that I attributed her avoidance of me to jealousy? Was it more?

Spock lay down on the bed. Memories that he had long buried were surfacing. Memories of Christine by his side. Her golden hair glowing in the near darkness. The coolness of her skin and its silky smoothness. Stop.

Pushing his thoughts aside he moved to the computer in his room. His fingers flew over the keyboard. Accessing Starfleet's personnel database, Spock found the file he was looking for: Chapel, Christine Anne, MD. Scanning down through the information, he found that her personal information was blocked. Fingers once again skipping, he unlocked her personal information.

One daughter. Skyler Amanda Chapel. Born….Spock closed his eyes-within eight months of Christine's leaving the Enterprise. San Francisco, at a Starfleet hospital. Fingers moving at warp speed now, he accessed the hospital database. Birth records. He entered the date on Christine's personal file.

Chapel, Skyler Amanda. Sex: Female. Weight: 8lbs. 5oz. Length: 23" Race: Human/Vulcan.

Human/Vulcan.

Human/Vulcan.

Scanning further, he looked at the entry for paternity. No name was listed. This would take more time than he thought. Prying deeper into the medical database, Spock had almost accessed the information that he wanted when a Starfleet logo flashed onto his screen and the computer voice rang out, "WARNING! WARNING! THIS IS AN OFFICIAL STARFLEET DATABASE. PENALTIES ARE SEVERE FOR BREACHING CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION! WARNING! THIS IS A STARFLEET…" It droned on. He cut the sound, and shut down the computer access. He would just have to find another way.

Spock walked to the outer room of his assigned quarters. Amanda Carson was sitting where he had left her working with her datapadd. She looked up as he entered the room. His visage was stony.

"Ambassador Spock. Are you feeling all right?"

Spock looked at her, his face betraying nothing, but his voice was hard. "Your posting here was no accident, and your interest in me is more than just stories your grandmother told you."

Amanda Carson's face had blanched white, but Spock did not stop.

"You have seen your mother's certificate of birth, or if not, she would have told you. Human/Vulcan. There was only one Vulcan scientist serving with Christine Chapel aboard Enterprise. You know who I am don't you?"


Chapter 5: Chapter 5


Whispers, chp 5

Amanda managed to breathe out one word, "Yes."

Spock now knew what the old Earth adage meant "to have the wind knocked out of you." He reached for the arm of the chair behind him. The young doctor must have thought he was going to fall for she jumped to her feet and grabbed onto his arm, attempting to steady him.

"I am not in need of your assistance, doctor. Release me."

Amanda turned loose of him as if she'd been scalded. Her pale skin flushed dark pink, and for a second it looked like she might cry.

Spock didn't care. Christine had not told him they had a child. Why? Surak of Vulcan! He knew why. Christine was not the kind of person who would ever want him for duty's sake. She would have wanted him of his own volition. She would have wanted him to choose her. And what had he done. He had run off, again, playing 'cowboys' with Jim Kirk, not that he had ever regretted it—until perhaps now.

"You have the genetic material you needed to make a comparison, Doctor Carson." It was a statement of fact, not a question. He looked straight at her, boldly, no compromise in his features.

"You, sir, are my grandfather." Amanda refused to look away as well. It was now a proven fact.

Spock took in her fiery blue eyes; she had what he had always thought of as 'Christine's blue glare of death' whenever she was angry. Suddenly he felt a sharp twinge in his chest, and he seemed to sink into himself in pain.

Fast as light, the doctor was on her feet, scanning him with her tricorder. "We need to get you to your bed. Your system is already stressed from the severe infection, and now you have the Vulcan version of angina pectoris." Probably brought on by stress, she thought, but wisely didn't say.

"I will be fine, doctor, I have had this before and it always went away after I rested. I am an old man; fluctuations in my system are the norm these days. I do not require, nor want, your help at the moment," he said as he shrugged off her concern.

She would not be dissuaded. "I decide what happens here, medically speaking, sir, and you will retire to your bed, or we will, escorted by security, be making a trip to the ship's sickbay. Am I clear, Ambassador?"

Spock tried matching her 'death glare' with his own, but the pain in his chest was becoming sharper, so he folded. "Very well, I will rest, and we will discuss your subterfuge later. Do you accept my terms?" He sounded as if he were negotiating with two warring factions. When in doubt, fall back on what you know, as McCoy would have said.

Amanda narrowed her eyes at him, and for a flashing instant, he thought he saw some of his mother in that face, "That is acceptable. For now."

***********************************************************************************X

Spock lay in the dark trying desperately to clear his mind, but all he could think of was Christine, and how she could have managed to keep this from him. He was so sure he could read her so well. He remembered when he would pass her in the halls of Enterprise, after they had first been together, how easily he could read that half-smile and know she wanted him. When his duty was over, he would appear at her cabin, like she knew he would, and they would—Stop! How could he not have known!? Had McCoy known? Surely Commander Uhura had. He was feeling something that he was unaccustomed to feeling: anger. Intense, powerful anger.

Spock recalled that day he had been escorting Valeris through Emergency Ops more clearly now. He had felt such pride in her accomplishments, such pride in himself for he had sensed her attraction to him. It had all appealed to his vanity. Vanity—one thing Vulcans had in abundance, he thought, but never acknowledged. Then he had seen Christine-Dr. Chapel, now- with the little girl in tow.

He was going to introduce Valeris, but Christine had pushed the girl on ahead of her, deliberately avoiding him, and he had thought she was jealous of the Vulcan woman by his side. Vanity. Again. He had allowed himself to be so blinded by Valeris, in so many ways, and now it had cost him again.

Suddenly he threw his head back on the pillow and in the darkness; Spock spat one word over and over. Damn! Damn! Damn!

His logical mind, however, already knew one thing that his heart might not be able to acknowledge yet. At whom was he really angry?


Chapter 6: Chapter 6


Whispers, Chp 6

Ambassador Spock woke up and found Amanda Carson sitting in a chair in his sleeping area. She was curled up into what looked like an extremely uncomfortable position. Her medical tricorder had fallen off onto the carpeted floor.

Rolling to his side, he observed her for signs of 'Vulcan-ness'. How ironic, he thought. I wish McCoy could see my human granddaughter. Then like a branding iron, red hot anger flared and sealed off that thought. For all he knew, McCoy had known. There was little that was not discussed between Christine Chapel and Leonard McCoy. How could one of his closest friends, the woman he—he swallowed involuntarily. Why? Spock could ask himself that question ad infinitum and he would have no answers. For there was no one left alive to give him answers. What he had left of them, of her, was sleeping in a chair, not three feet from him.

He looked at her, his granddaughter: hair, sleek and straight; eyes a beautiful blue, like her grandmother's eyes; tall, slender. She had long fingers, Spock noticed. Amanda had beautiful, luminous skin, pale and creamy and high cheek bones. Was there none of him in her, he jealously thought. Then he saw it. One perfectly pointed ear sticking out from beneath her hair. Just the tip, but nevertheless, there it was.

Spock sat up slowly. He had been telling the truth when he told Amanda that more of his bodily systems failed than worked these days. He had been hurt or injured either deliberately or by accident many times throughout his tenure in StarFleet and as an ambassador, and his hard living conditions on Romulus over the past few years had been particularly unkind.

Amanda slumbered on. Reaching forward, Spock was drawn to her until he leaned forward and gently touched the tip of her ear. The doctor awoke like a dam bursting.

"What the hell?" she exclaimed, sitting bolt upright, and managing to glare at him simultaneously. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Satisfying my curiosity, nothing more. I am sorry if I frightened you."

Spock sat back with equanimity, eyeing her, as if touching a complete stranger while she slept was the most common thing in the universe.

"About what?" she asked him. Then she realized. Amanda smiled. "My ears."

"Your ears. It is a dominant trait, those ears. You have me to thank for them, I suppose." Again with the enigmatic face. Amanda just couldn't figure him out.

"When you went to sleep, you were ready to throttle me for deceiving you, now you assert your trait dominance like—" She stopped speaking abruptly and seem to flush. It was difficult to tell in the dim light.

"Like I am proud? Is that what you were about to say? Well, I am your grandfather, and you appear to know much more about me than I you." The aged Vulcan seemed to study her for several minutes and then to come to a decision. His face appeared sad, she thought, and he looked so worn out by life. It touched her more than she thought it would.

"I have lost every one that was ever important or dear to me. They are dead now. I have outlived them all. That is the curse of the survivor, to remember and to be alone with your memories. To have no one to share them with or who would care enough to listen. I have lost parents, friends, brothers, lovers, and even enemies. What I do have is a child and a grandchild that I did not know existed. What I have is here in front of me. And what I do not have is a lifetime to live over and be a father or grandfather. So the logical decision is to begin now, if you will allow me to."

*********************************************************************************X

Amanda set the two plates of steaming food down on the table and took a seat across from him. "First, you eat. You need your strength. The antibiotics are doing their job, now you need to do yours and rest and recuperate. Heal yourself, Ambassador." She tempered her words with a smile.

"I am feeling better. Thank you, Doc—Amanda." Spock took a bite and watched her while she ate, as if she were some exotic species that he had never seen before.

"Okay, why are you doing that?" She finally asked him.

"Watching you? I am simply amazed. I have no other children. I did not ever expect to have a child. And now I look at you and marvel. As disappointed as I am that I did not know of your existence, I am at the same time aware of the fact that from the grave, it would appear, Christine gives me something she always gave me in life."

Amanda turned her head to the side, studying him. Waiting.

"You knew her. Probably better than I did," Spock said. "Do you know of what I speak?"

"Love. Unconditional acceptance. A second chance." Young Amanda did not hesitate. "She was always like that. It was if when I was with her, there was no one else in the world more important or anything else that she needed to do. I was her sole focus. She made me feel….precious," her eyes teared up as she finished speaking.

Spock felt somewhat breathless. "Yes," was all he could say.

Amanda ate for a while then looked up at him and into his dark eyes. "Grand'Mere' never stopped loving you. She never married, and she had to be lonely. I never even knew her to date anyone, but as I said, I was born when my mother was fairly older for an Earth woman."

"Probably your mother's Vulcan genetics at work. We have a longer lifespan and she may have sexually developed later or her reproductive years were extended. There could be any number of reasons." Spock said. He pushed his plate back. He had eaten very little, but it was a start.

Amanda looked at him, "Did you hear what I said? Grand' Mere'never stopped loving you." Tears formed in her eyes when she asked him, "Why didn't you come to find her?"


Chapter 7: Chapter 7


"Whispers" Chapter 7

"In time all things grow old and weak, but my love for you only grows strong and better with every second of every day." Unknown

The silence seemed to last an eternity, while Spock faced his granddaughter, anguish clearly written on her face.

"For a Federation ambassador, you don't have much to say," Amanda said bitterly. She grabbed her tricorder and turned to exit the small stateroom. Pausing, she looked back at him and said, "I'll be back in two hours, Ambassador, to check your vitals and see if you are still improving, if not, you will go to Sickbay." The doors swished shut behind her. In Spock's ears the quiet doors sounded like two large, metal doors clanging together in high winds and shattering what calm remained in the old Vulcan's mind.

Spock rose from the table and started to make his way to the computer. Suddenly, there was a sharp, breathtaking pain in his chest, his head began to swim, and his legs turned to rubber, collapsing under him.

_XXXX

Spock heard the customary sounds of Sickbay, and within an instant, he remembered why he was here. Sarek? Was he well? He attempted to raise his hand to get someone's attention, but he could not. Exhaustion forced him to accept his circumstances for the time being. How much blood had Dr. McCoy needed? He closed his eyes and listened for someone to notice that he had awakened.

Sleep must have overtaken him, for the next voice he heard was his mother's; she was standing beside him stroking his hair. His mind was in what the poet Poe had called the "hypnogogic state," that place between awakening and sleeping. Spock knew what his mother was doing was undignified, but at the core of him, he enjoyed her touch. How often had he willingly allowed someone to touch him since he was a child? None that he could recall. Amanda's warm fingers were running softly through her son's sleek black hair and, without warning, Spock felt his chest tighten in longing. He had missed his mother; he wanted to turn and tell her that, but he could not. Before Spock could dwell on his failings, either as a Vulcan or a human—or both, he heard another voice. Nurse Chapel's.

"Mrs. Sarek, won't you please consider resting? It may be a while until they wake," the nurse said softly.

His mother's voice, her faux steely tone, "I told you, Christine, it's Amanda, and if I go, I may not ever get a chance to do this again." Amanda's voice softened, "Look at him. He is so peaceful. I remember watching him sleep when he was a baby, always knowing how little time I had him to myself- before the time when I would have to surrender him to Vulcan culture, and then the precious moments that we had together to openly express our emotions would be frowned upon. And now-now, this is the first time I have seen him, much less, touched him, in eighteen years."

Christine was moved by the sadness and longing in the older woman's voice. "Amanda, please come and have a cup of coffee and sit with me for a little while."

Amanda answered, "I would like some coffee, dear, but could I have a chair to sit here?"

"Of course," Christine said. She went into the other room and brought back two chairs, then returned to with coffee. "Black, or cream and sugar?"

"Any way is fine."

They sipped in silence for a while. Finally, Amanda said, "You know, I almost left his father because I felt he had driven Spock away. No one outside Sarek and me—and now you—know that. Oh, I still loved my husband, but Christine, your child is a part of you, maybe the best part of you, certainly your heart, and I thought those first years that I would not be able to bear it." A soft hitch in his mother's voice caused her to suddenly stop talking.

Spock heard movement and he knew Nurse Chapel well enough to know that she had put her hands on his mother to comfort her. Christine was a toucher; he had been comforted by her when he was sick and she didn't know he was aware of it. The Vulcan part of his mind wanted to recoil at his admission, but at the moment, he noticed it did not appear to have control. He blamed it on the medication.

He now heard the nurse speak, "I have never had children, but if I did, I am not sure I could sacrifice them to a life as difficult. I think you are a wonder, Amanda. The personal strength and endurance on a planet that so eschews emotion must have been agonizing for you." Pause. Nurse Chapel quietly said, "May I confide something in you, Amanda?"

Spock's gut clinched remembering the Psi 2000 virus.

"Of course," Amanda said.

"Spock….is a good and noble person. You are in him, Amanda. I have seen it in his eyes. He may try to hide his 'human' side, but it's there. He has your heart. Don't ever doubt that, no matter what he says."

He heard his mother whisper, "Thank you, Christine."

Nurse Chapel took Amanda's hands in hers, then she rose and said, "I need to check my other patients, but I will be here if you need me."

As the nurse started to walk away, his mother stopped her, and said, "You will take care of him for me, won't you? When I am not with him. " She seemed very delicate and fragile.

There was a slight pause, and Christine said, "Don't worry. I will."

_XXX

His mind and his body were on fire. It was as if he was staked out on the burning sands of Vulcan and he would never have respite. Spock needed water. His throat was parched and his skin was painful. Just a drop of water. Blue, clear, cold water. He wanted to immerse himself in an Earth ocean and float out on the waves and cool his body. Blue. Uniform. Eyes. Christine. Her hand on his. Cool. He could hear her voice echoing in his head. "I love you, Mr. Spock. I love the human Mr. Spock and the Vulcan Mr. Spock. You try so hard." Hard at what? At this point, he wasn't even sure if what he remembered was accurate. All that he could remember was her. Christine. Please come to me, Christine.

Spock had fallen into a fitful slumber. He was inside Christine. She was his! He held her arms above her head and licked sweat from between her breasts. She moaned and begged him for more. He thrust his hips, more, more, and more. Until he could feel his seed fill her up and he cried out in pleasure and relief. Her smell. He turned around to see Christine Chapel's back walking out of his quarters.

He remembered trying to tell her that he wanted her; he needed her. He wanted to take her to his bed and lose himself in her. Allow her to be his shelter. But then her words were like ice. They were headed for Vulcan. T'Pring waited. Christine turned to him. Spock touched her face to wipe away tears. Just to touch her. She was the one he wanted.

_XX

Christine Chapel had stood underneath the hot water in her shower until her requisition for the week expired. Stepping out and toweling off, she stood in front of the mirror, picked up her comb and attempted to put it through her hair. Finally, she gave up and put it down on the small counter. Christine still recognized the symptoms of mild shock, although she had been treated in Sickbay, and made her way through her cabin. Putting on her robe, she sat down on the bed; as if that's all she was physically able to do. Sitting there going over and over the events of the last 24 hours in her mind, she felt that it was like a bad vid that she kept replaying over and over in her head and couldn't shut out anymore.

The Enterprise nurse didn't know how long she sat there waiting for the sedative to take effect. What the hell was taking so long? A bad batch? Wow, how lucky could a girl get? This stuff could take down a sehlat in less time. Tomorrow they would all be debriefed, and she needed a good night's sleep, yet the stress she was putting on herself to sleep was not going to help.

Her door chimed. Christine wasn't aware of how long she sat there staring at the door. She expected it was Nyota, and she just didn't have it in her to discuss the things they had endured. Not tonight. She turned her head away and noticed that her reflection was blurred in the monitor on her desk. Hair tangled, the rest of her face was not recognizable. That's how she felt—unrecognizable. The door chimed. Again. Again. Again. She wasn't aware when it opened. Someone sat down beside her.

"Nurse Chapel?" A pause. "Christine? Can you hear me?" Commander Spock again softly called her name, almost a whisper, "Christine?"

Tears began to pool at the corners of her eyes, and as if they didn't want to fall, waited until they overflowed and eventually ran down her cheeks in surrender.

She was barely aware when Spock helped her into her bed. The tears had turned into racking sobs, and then she felt an extra-warm body next to hers, arms encircling her, and whispering something in Vulcan which she didn't understand. Soon her rigid and aching body began to relax against him. Spock stopped whispering and pulled her tighter against him and his hand searched for hers. Finding it, Spock gently put his fingers between Christine's and pulled their hands together under the cover. His strength became hers as her pain became his.

When he was sure she was asleep, he placed his hand on her cheek. Her skin was cool and creamy. Pale in the dimmed lights. Spock smelled her hair, fresh and clean. He should have protected her. A spot of anger turned into full-fledged fury as he thought of Parmen and the others using her, hurting her for their amusement. Spock quashed the anger, and pulled Nurse Chapel—no—Christine, closer. He had failed her on the planet, but he would not fail her here, now.

Christine turned and buried her face in his neck, muttering in her sleep. He caressed her hair again, then her back, and whispered in Vulcan that it was over. He was here and she was safe. He would see to that.

When Christine awoke the next morning, he was gone. She lay there and thought back about the Platonians and how humiliating it had been for them all. Closing her eyes against the images, she said, "No. No. NO." As if the word could banish the memories of what had happened.

The door swished open and she opened her eyes thinking that she had overslept her debriefing. But it was Spock. Without saying a word, he set food down on her desk. Going into the bathroom, he picked up her brush and returned to the bed, where by now she had sat up. Neither of them said a word as he delicately brushed her golden hair down around her shoulders, gently sorting out the tangles and then gathering it up into a knot. Spock reached over to the nightstand where she had placed some long pins. Using only one, he had her hair neatly bound.

Christine turned to look at him, and their eyes met. She reached her hand up to gently touch his cheek and he placed his hand over hers. Finally, taking her hand, he placed it in her lap and left her room.

_X

The celebration aboard the Enterprise was in full swing when Spock entered the hanger deck. He saw Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott standing by the bar on the left side of room nearest him and made his way there. It had been a year since the V-ger incident. The crew was happy to be back together and Captain Kirk had decided a celebration was in order to boost morale. Morale wasn't really down, McCoy had noted, but bring on the party. Kirk was happy to be back in the big chair on Enterprise.

"Well, Spock, nice of you to join us?" McCoy said, raising his glass.

"I am surprised, doctor, that you noticed my entrance considering your current state of inebriation."

"Current is right, because it is going to fluctuate with every drink." With that comment, he and Scotty toasted each other, grinning.

"Where is the captain?"

"Dancing." McCoy and Scotty answered together, and Spock turned his head towards the dance floor.

Captain Kirk was dancing with a tall, brunette, with quite a shapely ass, he thought. As usual these days, thoughts like that seem to come unbidden into his mind. Contact with Ve'ger had certainly widened his horizons—and his vocabulary. Making a silent notation to self to be more careful in front of McCoy, he made his way to where the captain was giving his dance partner the full 'Kirk effect.'

The floor was crowded and he lost sight of the two of them for a moment, then suddenly there he was at the captain's dance partner's back. Kirk looked up, "Cutting in, Spock?"

"No, sir, I came to tell you that you have a Captain's Eyes Only message from Admiral Smythe."

Kirk's smile faded, "Damn pencil pusher, wasting my time." Looking at his partner, the captain said, "I am sorry, my dear, duty calls. Mr. Spock, finish the dance with Doctor Chapel, would you?"

Abruptly, Kirk was gone, and Spock and Christine stood face to face. Awkwardly, Spock took Christine's hand and they began to dance among the rest of the darkened crowd. The doctor's heartbeat picked up a little, but she remained outwardly calm.

"This is really not necessary," Christine said, looking into his face with confidence and understanding. "I can go get a drink and you can-" There had been an ease between them since his recovery from his encounter with V-ger, and she didn't want to push it. Although she had noticed him looking at her when he thought she was unaware, and he didn't appear uncomfortable anymore whenever they were in a situation together, work or otherwise.

"Nonsense, doctor, I am under captain's orders," Spock said, tightening his hand on her waist, surprising himself.

Her perfume was soft and feminine, and her body slightly cool to his touch.

"I didn't expect to see you here?" Christine said.

"I didn't expect to be here." Spock replied. "However, I am enjoying our dance, and you look very non-medical tonight."

She laughed, "Is that a backhanded way of saying I look good or bad?"

Spock was taken aback, "I apologize. I thought I was clear. Your dress is very flattering, Dr. Chapel."

"Thank you, sir."

For the rest of the evening, they danced. Spock was surprised to find he did not dislike being here, and Doctor Chapel was a talented partner.

Breaking for a drink she made their way over to the bar. McCoy was there and had his arm around an amply endowed woman whom she vaguely remembered as being in Engineering. "M'dear, this is Lola," McCoy said as he introduced them. The women went through the pleasantries until Spock arrived at the bar.

"Commander Spock, this is Lola," McCoy said again, practically salivating over the woman's large breasts.

"Yes, Lt. Avery and I have met. Are you adjusting to the schedule of the ship, Lt.?" he asked.

"Yes, Commander," was all she could get out until McCoy said, "We have a date; see you later." And the two were out the door.

Christine and Spock looked at each other as the couple exited. Spock said, "The good doctor will be lucky to survive the night without being suffocated."

Christine burst out laughing. "You are bad."

"Just an observation," he deadpanned.

"Well, an astute one," she laughed as she said it. "I'm afraid, Commander, that I must call it an evening. I have Alpha shift tomorrow."

"As do I, Doctor Chapel. Would you mind if I escorted you to your quarters?" Spock asked.

Trying to hide her surprise, Christine said, "That would be nice. Thank you."

They reached her quarters first, which was on the same deck as his.

Her door opened and as she entered and turned, she said, "I had a lovely time. Thank you for taking the captain's place, but I feel I kept you from other things by monopolizing your time." And was surprised by his attention, she thought.

Christine was suddenly struck by the look on his face; he looked as if he was considering some complicated algebraic equation.

Smoothly, Spock stepped into her quarters far enough to allow the door to shut, and without a word, leaned forward, placed his hand on the back of her neck, and pulled her gently to him, his lips softly touching hers.

They never pulled apart. Neither of them stopped to contemplate the consequences of what they were about to do.

The fire that Spock had buried so deeply for her, for so many years, was tired of constraint and decorum. Her mouth opened and welcomed him and her hands were on the back of his neck and head. When they finally separated for oxygen, he placed his hands on her shoulders where her silky dress lay barely above her arms. Spock inserted his fingers under the material and attempted to slide it off, but it was fitted perfectly and did not come off easily.

Grabbing both sides of the dress, Spock tore it in half and dropped it on the floor in an iridescent pool of red. Christine glanced down at her dress in disbelief and then looked up at him, and he whispered, "I will buy you another."

They made their way to her bed, clothes coming off, shoes, underwear, and together they fell down onto the coverlet, naked.

The air of the forbidden and the long delayed desire each had for the other, combined with the heat and smells of sex, urged them on faster. Christine was on her back and Spock could not wait any longer. Using his knees, Spock pushed her legs apart and entered her. Christine was moaning softly, and Spock was lost in her warmth and wetness. He grabbed her breasts with both hands and squeezed them as he kissed and bit down on her neck and under her hair. Her smell, her skin, her sex was overpowering. By all that was holy, how long he had wanted to have her. She wrapped her legs around him and pulled him deeper, and she arched up to allow better entrance and clawed his back with pleasure, as if she could pull all of him inside her and it still would not be enough.

Christine felt it building. Spock's strokes become faster and harder, and as her own orgasm washed over her in ripples so intense and so pleasurable that it bordered on the edge of painful; she felt his hot juice fill her insides and for a microsecond, all went black. After it was over, she could still feel the warmth from his cum inside her.

Spock collapsed between her legs and for the first time, since the doorway, they looked at each other full in the face, eye to eye. Christine laughed and he smiled in a most devilishly subtle way. Spock brushed her hair off her brow and kissed her forehead, her ear, and her breasts.

The doctor ran her fingers through his fine black hair and pulled him down onto her. Spock listened to her heartbeat attempting to regain normal rhythm after exertion. Rolling over on his side, his head on her arm, he said, "Did I tell you that I enjoyed our evening, Dr. Chapel?"

Christine emitted a soft, husky laugh. "Damn, was it the dancing? And, no."

Raising himself up on his elbow, he locked eyes with her, and placing his hand on the side of her face, under her hair, he whispered, "Dr. Chapel, I enjoyed our evening together immensely." He then kissed her slowly and leisurely, totally unlike the frantic kisses from earlier.

When he finished, Christine rolled him over and climbed on top of him. Looking down, she was surprised and delighted to see he almost had a full erection again. "Well, Commander," Christine said softly as she rose up off him to take his full penis in herself again, "Since you were remiss in telling me right away, would you show me again." Then she leaned over, allowing her breasts to brush his chest while she licked the tip of his ear.

_XXX

Dr. Carson checked the readouts on the bio bed containing Ambassador Spock. The incredibly strong strain of bacteria that had been in his system was giving all the antibiotics that she had used quite a fight. Now it was dependent on her patient. She had done all she could do.

Spock had been comatose since she had found him in his quarters four hours ago. Amanda was still angry with him, but it was a hurt angry, and she didn't have time to deal with that now. She had a very sick patient—who was also a galactic hero—and if she let him die on her watch it would sure as hell not look good on her resume. Her every treatment and diagnoses would be dissected by hundreds at least. She had placed a cooling blanket on him to help bring his temperature down and had also lowered the lights in Sickbay.

Amanda heard the doors to Sickbay swish open and the captain came in, casting a long look at her patient.

"How's he doing," Captain Jones asked, leaning with his back against the counter where the doctor was working with a culture.

"I wish I knew."

Captain Jones looked at her with consternation. "What the hell does that mean?"

"Well, he could be in a coma or he could be in a Vulcan healing trance." She turned and glanced back at the readouts. "His blood is swimming with that damn Romulan bacteria and I've thrown everything that I have at it, but so far it hasn't cut down the amount of infection. And his fever has risen again. I am down to using old fashioned methods to try to lower it."

"We're traveling as fast as possible to Vulcan without tearing the plating off the hull," Jones said.

Amanda stopped what she was doing and looked up at him. "I have the latest Federation meds here and all I can do is monitor him at the moment. I think his best chance is a Vulcan healing trance."

Jones placed his hand on her shoulder in a comforting gesture. "Look, Doc, if you weren't one of the best you wouldn't have this duty. I know he's in good hands." He paused, "Have you eaten?"

Amanda let out a long breath, "Yes, I ate while he was lying in his cabin on the floor and I didn't know it."

"It's not your fault. Who the hell argues with a negotiating legend and wins?"

Rubbing her hand across her eyes, she said, "I tried. I told him he was coming, but he flat out refused. He was doing better, dammit! I said he had two hours, and I knew what position that was going to put you in—having to bring him forcibly to Sickbay."

"No shit," the captain said dryly.

"That's the same thought I had earlier," she said. And they both laughed.

"Do the best you can, Doc. We're five hours from Vulcan. I'll alert you as soon as we're within range so you can get him ready for transport."

"Thanks, Captain."

He smiled at her as he left. "If you need anything….."

Amanda nodded.

She grabbed a medical pad on Vulcan infections and diseases and pulled up a chair beside his bio bed.

Before she sat down, she leaned over the old Vulcan and whispered, "I don't know if you can hear me, Ambassador, but I need you to get better. If you want to meet your daughter, you have to get better. Don't abandon her. Do you hear me? You owe it to her," by this time she was crying, "you owe it to gran—Christine. You owe it to her to meet your child."

Then she sat down in the chair, wiped her eyes, picked up her pad with one hand and with the other took hold of her grandfather's.

_XXX

Christine Chapel stood on the balcony looking out over the Atlantic Ocean; the French doors behind her left open and the sheer curtains fluttering in the breeze. The sound of the ocean was calming and yet at the same time it was making her restless. The sunrise was spectacular: oranges, reds, and golds that had sprung from the blues and purples near the sea.

Spock lay on their bed in the rented cottage watching her from behind. The sun illuminated her gown and made the outline of her body visible through the material. He looked at her and realized again that he did not want to live the rest of his life without her. The last year had been the most content and happiest-of his life; Christine felt the same. Without her, he felt incomplete, but she held off a full bonding. Spock couldn't understand why; it was illogical. They were happy together, assigned to the same ship, interested in the same things. And he knew she loved him, but through their incomplete bond, Spock could still feel her unease. About what?

It had been a year since their first night together and Spock was planning to talk to Christine again about the bonding. Rising, he pulled on a robe and stepped outside on the balcony. He put his arms around her and pulled her back closely into his chest while they both looked out over the ocean.

"What are you thinking," he asked softly.

"I am thinking about all the wives and lovers who waited on balconies and widow's walks like these for men who never came back from the sea."

Turning her around, he asked, "From where does this melancholy spring?"

"Have you ever thought of asking to be assigned here on Earth?"

"No," Spock answered. "Why would I?"

"If we bond," she asked, "where would we live if we have children?"

For a moment, Spock was struck dumb. "Why Vulcan, of course."

"Why?"

"Christine, what do you mean, 'why'?"

"Our children would be ¾ human. It would be very hard for them on Vulcan."

"My mother adapted, so would they."

Christine looked at him, drawing her brows to a point as if she doubted him. "Did she?"

"Yes, she did. Is that what is troubling you? Living on Vulcan? We are living aboard a starship; it may be some time before we have to decide where we live, with children or without."

She turned back toward the ocean and walking to the railing, she gripped it tightly. "I want us to transfer off the ship, to Earth."

Spock looked at her, his face a Vulcan mask. "May I ask why?"

"I don't want to risk our lives anymore."

"Christine, we risk our lives every day. Accidents, illness, any number-"

She cut him off. "It's not like a deep space mission and you know that."

"What about our positions? How could I explain to Jim that I was leaving him without a first officer after he has finally regained his command?"

"He can get another first officer. But you won't leave him and the ship, will you?" Her eyes glistened. "You don't want to leave him." It was a statement, not a question.

"Christine, there is a universe of difference as to what we may explore or discover in space compared to living Earth bound." She noticed he hadn't answered her question.

Spock wrapped her in his arms. "Come back to our bed. We will discuss it again later. Is that acceptable?"

She nodded, but he noticed tears in her eyes. Christine never brought the subject up again; he assumed that she had reconsidered.

Two days later, they separated. Spock to travel to the Vulcan Embassy in San Francisco to see his father, and Christine went to visit her family. They had 48 hours to report back aboard Enterprise.

_XX

Spock had his hands full with duty rosters of personnel, returning and new. He was sure Christine had her hands full with the new crew physicals as well. He did think it odd that he hadn't seen her at all since his return, which was unusual, but she may have decided to stay longer with her family.

Two hours before they were to leave, Spock finally had time go to Sickbay. When he walked in it was a madhouse; new recruits waiting for physicals, injuries that hadn't been tended to until the last moment before returning.

He made his way through the crowd to McCoy. "Where is Dr. Chapel?"

McCoy looked uncomfortable, and after handing off his patient to another doctor, he motioned Spock back into his office.

"Spock," McCoy started to say before he was cut off.

"Has something happened to her?" Spock asked.

"No. She's transferred off. I assumed she told you." But when the doctor said it, his eyes strayed from Spock's face.

"I didn't approve it," he said harshly. "I would have seen it."

"No," McCoy said, "Jim did. She asked two days ago to transfer to Earth, Emergency Ops. It is a step up for her in rank and -"

Spock walked out. He never asked Kirk why and he never contacted Christine. He never mentioned her name again; it was as if she had never existed.

.

_XX

Amanda Carson was deep into her journal when Ambassador Spock began to babble. The fever, she thought. It was a common occurrence in humans, but she had never heard of Vulcans doing it. But her grandfather wasn't completely Vulcan either. She glanced up at the monitors again. Temperature was holding steady—and high.

She went to the refrigeration unit and took two cooling gel packs and placed one under each of Spock's arms. That fever needed to break, and soon. Retaking her seat, Amanda began to hear snippets of words she understood now; it wasn't all in Vulcan anymore.

"Christine," he said, barely above a whisper. "I am sorry, Christine. Please don't leave me again." Spock now began to get physically agitated, so Amanda gave him a very mild sedative. She didn't want him to exert himself and risk the possibility of a seizure with another spike in fever.

_X

Spock was vaguely aware of being in Sickbay. He could recognize the smells and sounds; he'd been in one enough times. What had happened? Was the ship in danger?

"Christine," he said softly. Where was she? If he was hurt, she would be here. She was always there when he was sick or injured. "Christine, please." It took all that he had within him to call for her; his throat was parched.

"Spock." He heard her voice, but he could not see her. He began to struggle. "Christine, help me."

A different voice speaking, "Ambassador, you need to relax; you are extremely ill." Not Christine, not McCoy, not Jim. Where were they?

"Would you like some water, Ambassador?" The voice again, a doctor he didn't know. Water held up to his lips. Oh, gods, cold and wet.

"Where is Dr. Chapel?" he asked. The old Vulcan's voice was raspy.

The strange doctor told him she wasn't here right now.

"How long?"

For what, the doctor asked.

"Until she gets here? I need my-I need Christine."

I don't know.

"Will you wake me when she gets here? Tell her to wake me—please. I need…her…here." Spock closed his eyes again.

Amanda sat by his side and wept for both of her grandparents and what they had lost.

_XX

Spock felt a soft, cool hand on his forehead. He opened his eyes. Christine stood there, smiling at him.

He sat up on the biobed. "Where have you been?"

She stepped closer, between his legs. He embraced her, reveling in her smell and the way her arms felt around him. "I have missed you," Spock said.

"And I have missed you," she said. She had not aged a day since he had first seen her.

"Christine, you are so beautiful. You have always been beautiful. And I have so missed you," Spock began to cry.

"Spock," she whispered in his ear, 'It just wasn't our time yet."

_X

Spock's restlessness jarred Amanda out of her semi-doze. She stood, reviewed the monitors for his vitals; his temperature had finally begun to come down. The babbling that he kept up was unnerving. It was like he was having a conversation with someone that she couldn't see.

Amanda checked his blood; the infection was lessening. She put her hand on his forehead, "It will be all right now, Grand pere. I'm here. You aren't alone."

As if on cue, Spock's eyes began to open slowly.

Amanda asked him, "Can you hear me?"

"Yes," he said. "I am not deaf, Amanda," then he elevated his eyebrow. "Water?" Amanda held the cup to his lips.

When he finished, Spock ordered in a hoarse voice, "Give me your hand."

She complied. His hand was very warm and he almost crushed her fingers in his strong grip.

Spock said, "You asked me why I didn't return. I didn't know about your mother. I am sure that Christine—your grandmother—had her reasons, and I believe I know what they were, but they are between the two of us, and they will remain so. Emotions, the heart as you might say, whether Vulcan or human, are difficult to understand. There was a time, when I would have believed it unseemly as a Vulcan to admit to having emotions or expressing them, but I am not the same man I was. I have seen more, hurt more, and loved more than I ever thought was possible for me."

Amanda's heart was in her throat as he continued.

"Your grandmother loved me, and I…loved her. I made the wrong decision. The irony is that I ended up doing what she had asked of me, but it was too late. It was not our time."

Captain Jones' voice came over the comm. "Doc, we'll be landing on Vulcan in 30 minutes. Medical will be standing by."

"Affirmative, Captain, we will be ready."

She started to leave to begin preparations for departure, but Spock stopped her.

"Will you be going with me?"

"Yes. I will take care of you," she smiled.

Spock's lips turned up in a partial smile. "Like Christine."

"Just like Christine, Grandpere. Always."