A/N: Righty ho, two things: number one: I reread the last chapter, as I always do before writing a new one, and realised I did one of those things that annoy the crap out of me in other people's writing, I forgot to take Christine's knickers off during the doggy-style scene... ehm, well not I, Shrem, really, but you get it. Anyways, if you're like me and noticed, it's fixed.
Secondly, and I have no idea how that happened, but now it's waaaaaay too late to fix it, 'turns out Robert's name is actually Roger... ooops. (All you serious Star Trek fans, who are clearly no longer reading this, thereby making this note completely superfluous... I'm so sorry!)
After Dipshit stormed off, apparently incapable of delivering an impressive one-liner by way of a parting comment, since he merely gaped, then huffed incredulously a few times, and finally made a noise as if he wanted to cough up a fur-ball, before finally turning on his heel and disappearing towards the turbo lift, the apartment door sliding shut behind him, Christine's laughter became decidedly more quiet, until finally, she placed her head in her hands and began to moan:
"Oh God… oh God."
Shrem didn't blame her. He'd somehow guessed that the unexpected mirth couldn't last; and now felt a small stab of guilt for the fact that he had not covered at least some parts of Christine with his hands when Dickwad was staring at them. He'd noticed him only a moment before Christine had, but his first reaction was one he was not exactly proud of. He would have expected to feel angry, or protective, or even embarrassed on her behalf – nothing really ever embarrassed Shrem himself, bent antennae excepted – but there had been a somewhat less considerate emotion at the forefront of his mid: Smugness.
Pressing a deliciously sweaty and panting Christine closer possessively, his inner deamon had whispered in a rather self-satisfied voice:
'Yea, fuck-face, take a good look at her. I did this. Not you; me. And you're never getting your hands on her again. She's mine, and the Alpha Quadrant will be sucked into a black hole before I give her back.'
Christine was now crying softly, and Shrem's gut twisted just a little at the fact that he'd let his possessiveness get the better of his protective instincts.
"It's alright, Buttercup, he's gone... and I'm sorry... I should have..."
He broke off, deciding that the words 'covered your tits and pussy' would probably upset her more.
"Sorry for what? 'Nothing you could have done..." Christine hick-upped on a small sob.
"I... well... I should have known this would upset you..." He pulled her closer, finally draping her comforter around her, and she snuggled gratefully into his arms.
"Of course this upsets me... what the heck was he doing here? I thought I'd made things perfectly clear and now..."
"And I've deleted all his messages, I have no idea what he wants... and..."
Shrem felt oddly reassured by the fact that Chris seemed far more upset about the fact that Asswipe had shown up, rather than that he'd seen her naked and... well, in action.
"We could always get Gaila to trace the deleted messages... if you're really worried about this... I doubt he didn't get the picture this time, but... you know... just to be safe."
She smiled hopefully at him, small droplets of moisture still clinging to her lashes:
"I didn't even think of that... Gaila, of course. And I would feel better... just in case... I don't trust him not to talk my parents into sending another psychiatrist."
So it happened that Chris, Gaila, Jim and Shrem sat on Christine's couch, all of them in their pjs, all of them clasping a cup of coffee, and all of them staring at the com screen with identical expressions of disbelief on their faces, as they watched the three deleted and retrieved messages Robert had left over the previous weeks.
"... and whatever you believe you saw, certainly is no reason to end what has essentially been a mutually beneficial relationship. You must consider my reputation, Christine... everyone expects us to get married... would you like to explain to my superiors why I have to return their well meant engagement presents..."
"... this is ridiculous... surely you are aware of the fact that sexual gratification is a purely physical thing... not unlike other bodily functions, it has no deeper meaning; and quite beyond that, what do you expect? You are incapable of enjoying the act, and have always been unwilling to put in the slightest bit of effort... it is only natural that I would look elsewhere. And none of that has any bearing on the fact that from a social point of view we make perfect sense, Christine. Think of your parents... have you not disappointed them enough with your recent career choices?..."
and finally the message left while they were on Andoria:
"... this is preposterous... I have explained time and time again that the department prefers stable, family orientated men for their higher funded projects, and you have always understood this... it is a question of my career, and I have no doubt in my mind that, since the evaluation showed that you are quite sane, you understand that it is your duty to be seen on my arm at the gala. This is not about feelings, Christine, this is about obligations..."
"Holy fucking shit, Chris... how the hell did you stand that guy for nine years? I rarely say things like that, but I wouldn't let that thing touch me with a barge pole." Gaila looked more pitying than judgemental, but Shrem still scowled at her a little:
"We all make mistakes, Froggikens, no need to rub it in."
"It's alright... and to answer your question, Gaila, I haven't the foggiest... this is surreal, it's almost like looking at somebody else's life... why would I ever... I mean... just, ugh..."
"My thoughts exactly." Gaila nodded with grim satisfaction.
"Incoming call, Robert Korby, Boston."
Incredulous silence and outright stares were interrupted by Jim's exclamation of:
"Fuck yea, it's the live update."
"... ehm... I'm not sure that's such a good idea... I don't know if I want to talk to - "
"Uh-uh, you put that wanker on screen and I'm gonna give him a piece of my mind." Gaila's tone broached no argument, and Christine, always too easily wrestled into things, gave in:
As Dipshit's face appeared, Shrem had to suppress the urge to growl at him.
Taking in the four people on Christine's couch, the asshole had the gall to sneer:
"Well, I can see where your new morals originate."
He was still pale and a little queasy looking; presumably he'd only just returned home, but he was fixing Gaila with such a look of complete disdain, that both Shrem and Jim sat up a little straighter, ready to give the idiot what for. However, Gaila was quicker:
"Well, I can see why Christine used to not have orgasms... you even look like you wouldn't find a clitoris with a navigational system and a honing device."
"... I... what?... well, I never..." Fuck-face spluttered.
"Yea, clearly you never."
Jim snorted at Gaila's response:
"You tell him, baby."
"Is this the company you keep now? Are... are you all... involved?... No matter, clearly I was not capable of catering to your outlandish sexual perversions; so I am sorry to say, Christine, that I don't believe this relationship is salvageable. I regret to inform you that I'm dissolving our engagement." Fortunately, even Ass-wipe looked less than convinced by his own act.
The four on the couch simply broke into riotous laughter, Jim snorting loudly and Shrem succumbing to his high-pitched giggles. Christine, wiping tears of amusement from her eyes, finally managed to say:
"Oh no, Robert... whatever shall I doooo?"
He gave a short indignant snort, and opened his mouth to respond, only to be wiped off the screen by Chris' slightly giggly and breathless:
"Computer, end call."
"Fuck me, that was unreal. That's gonna keep me entertained for at least a week." Jim, recovered enough to just smile broadly, looked at Gaila:
"Sorry sweetheart, I would have defended you, only you were too fast."
She just winked at him.
"Nice parting shot, Chris." Jim added.
Christine's smile was somewhat pleased, then her expression turned thoughtful:
"I completely forgot about that gala thing... you're all going, right?"
Nods all around.
"Thank goodness... ehm, Shrem... I was wondering,... well, since you and I..."
She was blushing slightly, and the flustered look on her face was just too cute.
Trust her to still think she had to ask about this... really, he would have asked her, he'd simply assumed going together was a foregone conclusion, and did not need to be addressed; so, to put Christine out of her misery, Shrem scooped her into his arms and kissed her:
"Of course, Buttercup."
Her smile actually looked a little relieved, and Shrem rolled his eyes before kissing her again, a little more forcefully. Her hands made their way into his hair and a small whimper escaped her, causing him to push further into her and nip at her lower lip, before allowing his tongue to stroke her slightly more tentative one. He was rewarded with a proper little moan this time.
"Ehm... we'll just go... unless you want to play into the wanker's assumptions... but, ahm, well... we don't do that anymore, and you guys probably... ehm, yea... bye."
Jim was dragging Gaila out by the hand, she, in turn, was craning her neck and muttered something along the lines of:
"Ahhh, no fair... that bastard got to watch... and I'm their friend..."
Just before the door slid closed behind them, Jim called:
"Oh yea, before I forget... dance classes with Bones and Eya Friday night in preparation for that thing... you'd better come... might have a choking fit if I see Spock attempting classic ballroom... and I trust you more than Bones to resuscitate me." He smiled at Christine, who'd buried her head in Shrem's neck after realising she'd been making out with him rather heatedly in front of their friends.
"Sure." She muttered over Shrem's shoulder and smiled at Jim. Finally, the door slid shut again, indicating with a small bleep that it was locked once more.
"Hmmm, where were we, Buttercup?... 'Care to demonstrate those 'new morals' for me again?"
Shrem was making dinner for 'his girls', Christine and Aureya, Friday afternoon. They had another three hours until dance lessons... something he assumed was merely and excuse to poke fun at each other and then get drunk. Regardless, the whole idea sounded pretty good to him.
Christine was chopping parsley, while Aureya was cubing chicken fillets... Shrem rather liked experimenting with Terran food.
"Oh Eisenheim's balls... not again."
Aureya rushed off to the bathroom.
"'D you cut yourself, honey?" Shrem called after her, only to be rewarded with the sound of retching.
A minute later, Eya exited the bathroom, looking decidedly less green and a tad more grey.
"Sorry... don't know what's wrong... this has been going on for a while, I should probably see Bones about it... I just thought it was something I ate, but..."
Christine had put down her knife and was approaching Aureya:
"Are there any other symptoms... like tiredness, are you sore anywhere?"
"Hm... tired, yes... sore? I don't think so."
"Ehm... are your breast really sensitive?"
"Excuse me?... Um, Chris, I'm glad you've got that whole sexual discovery thing going on with Shrem, but I don't bend that way." Aureya tried to joke, but Shrem noticed a distinct glint of panic in her eyes. Christine seemed to have noticed it too, since she ignored the joke and asked in her soft professional tone of voice:
"How long has it been since your last period?"
Aureya looked momentarily stricken, then whispered:
"No... I couldn't be... we'd need genetic scramblers... and Vulcan's aren't... well, 'firing live ammunition', unless it's during... ehm... I couldn't be."
"Well, I'm not an expert, but since you're both half human, there's a distinct possibility... Did you use any contraception?"
Aureya, still looking stunned, shook her head and muttered:
"No... we didn't think we had to... shit, I'm on the wrong side of 25 for this... and I'm still Spock's aide... and... holy fucking crap, I'm pregnant!"
There was shocked silence for a moment, during which Shrem had some rather odd mental images of just how confusing life was going to be for a kid who was one quarter Vulcan and one quarter Orion, and just how odd pointy green ears would look on said kid, until Aureya gave a small sob.
"Crap... sorry, I... shit." She was waving her arms around as if to indicate she was going to pull herself together any minute now, but Christine didn't wait that long and simply pulled her into a hug.
That's my girl; cold my ass.
"Eya, calm down... we still have to do a test to be sure, it could be something else. And on top of that, I thought you two were going to get married anyway... I know you're a little young, but... Are you worried about Spock's reaction?"
"Of course I'm worried... he's given up so much as far as social standing goes... things are easier now, what with how tiny the remaining Vulcan population is... but... but... this is complicated..." Aureya was now outright crying.
"He's not supposed to be having sex... outside of this Vulcan thing that I can't really talk about... it's bad enough to have a half Orion mate as it is... and me being pregnant is a bit of a give-away... and... and..."
"Deep breaths, Eya... come on, we might as well head for the med lab. There's no point in getting all worked up over something that might just be a hormonal imbalance, OK?"
As it turned out, Aureya was not suffering from a hormonal imbalance, but really was three months pregnant as Bones confirmed.
Standing outside staff quarters 29Q in Building 18, Shrem was feeling just a tad uncomfortable:
"Why are we here again?"
"I don't know... because I suddenly suck at being an adult and decided I needed backup?" Aureya ventured.
"But I'm going to pretend that I needed Chris' medical expertise and that you just tagged along, so if he asks, that's my side of the story and I'm sticking to it."
"Honey, I thought you couldn't lie to him."
"I can't... hence I'm pretending... to myself." Aureya's upper lip was quivering a little, and she took a deep breath:
"'Don't know what's wrong with me, I'm all shaky and... ahhh..."
"That's completely normal, Eya, your hormones are all over the place and you'll feel more vulnerable and emotional... don't worry, every woman goes through that."
Christine's professional voice really was rather soothing.
"See, medical expertise... I'm starting to believe myself."
Aureya's accompanying smile was a little strained.
"Right, here 'goes." With another deep breath, she punched the code into the lock and opened the door.
Spock was sitting in a chair, PAD in hand, and looked up at the three of them with a raised eyebrow; Shrem surmised that for him the expression passed as expectant.
"I was informed that the practice session in Terran formal dancing would not commence for another 83 minutes, has there been a change in plans?" The inquiry was delivered in Spock's customary tone of what sounded like polite disinterest.
"I... I... well... ehm..." Aureya began.
"You appear distressed... are you feeling ill again?" At this he rose, placed the PAD on the small side table to his right, and approached Aureya with an expression of identifiable concern.
Aureya voiced a small hick-uppy sob, then rushed forward and went onto the tips of her toes to place her small hands on either side of her mate's face, her fingers stoking his temples. He inhaled audibly and became stock still.
"How... how is this possible... my parents attempted to conceive for years... and..." Uncharacteristically, Spock faltered.
Christine, visibly as uncomfortable as Shrem, took a hesitant step forward and said rather timidly:
"Um... well, the fact that you both share human DNA could account for the fact that you were able to conceive naturally... it is still more difficult than if you were both fully human, and that would explain why it took a year without contraception... but Leonard checked everything, and the baby is healthy and exactly where we'd expect it to be as far as development is concerned... so... congratulations?" The last bit sounded like a careful suggestion.
Spock had been looking at Christine merely to acknowledge her presence, but had immediately returned his gaze to Aureya, who was sniffling, clearly attempting not to begin to cry again.
"You are displeased with this development." It was a statement, not a question, the emotional implication of his words indecipherable to Shrem.
"Yes... No... I don't know... I thought you would be concerned... about the social ramifications... about your father... and... I... well... I haven't really thought any further than that." Aureya had lowered herself back onto her feet and was resting her forehead against Spock's chest. He, in an unusual display of affection, was rubbing her shoulders and arms.
"You do not wish to bear me children?" This time it was a question.
"No... of course I... wait... what?"
Eya looked up at Spock with a somewhat baffled expression on her face, then seemed to study him intently, he was still rubbing her shoulders, but his fingers were occasionally straying onto her neck and into the small curls escaping her messy bun at its nape.
"You're not upset." She finally concluded.
"I have learnt my lesson with regards to people I hold dear. I do not concern myself with social expectations any longer, I believed you to be aware of that fact. I understand that this is sooner than you would have expected or preferred, but Lieutenant Uhura seems to be progressing well in her career, and I have no doubt that you will do likewise given the same support. I admit the anticipated difficulties of having a family have occurred to me, considering my parents' history... Under the circumstances, would it be inappropriate for me to feel pleased?"
Aureya, looking first a little surprised, then thoughtful, then tentative, finally broke into the a brilliant smile, and Spock, in the most obvious way Shrem had ever seen, smiled back, then wound his arms around his tiny mate and kissed her. When things started to get heated, Christine announced in an odd echo from that morning:
"Ehm... we'll be going then..." And nodded at the door while grabbing Shrem's hand.
"Cadet Chapel." Spock called them back from the door.
"Medically speaking... would it be safe to...?"
"Perfectly fine... and you can expect an increase in Eya's libido, so be warned... anything that is pleasant and not painful is perfectly healthy for mother and child." Christine was smiling brightly, and seemed entirely unconcerned by the fact that she'd just told them to go ahead and have sex.
Professionalism was a funny thing.
Shrem took Christine's hand on the way to the turbo lift, they were grinning at each other like idiots, and by the time they exited Building 18 they were giggling like a bunch of 5 year old girls.
To Shrem's surprise, both Aureya and Spock turned up to their fist communal dance lesson exchange. Both of them a little dishevelled, but present. He hadn't seen Spock with so much as a hair out of place since the Narada Incident; it made the older man strangely endearing.
At his slightly bug-eyed look, Aureya gave him a grin and whispered:
"What? I said I'd help... and I'm pregnant, not sick." Then she winked at him and turned to the group:
"OK people... as it stands, Bones and I are going to teach you the waltz, Jim and Gaila are in charge of the tango, Miriam and Christopher take the foxtrot, and the Latin ones we'll just have to muddle through in a group effort."
"You're actually serious about this... I thought we were just gonna get drunk... well, not you, obviously, but... ehm... never mind." Shrem felt a little stupid for slipping up already. Fortunately, nobody noticed.
"Of course we're serious. Now, how about we all demonstrate the first three dances and then start with the waltz?"
So, since Aureya was usually boss, that's exactly what they did. Bones and Eya danced the waltz, making everyone a little melancholic, since it reminded them of Alexander Lennox. There was a brief conversation consisting entirely of eyebrow wriggles between the two, and to the best of his ability Shrem translated it into:
So you told him?
The conversation ended, predictably, with Bones and Aureya grinning at each other like a bunch of loons.
They had to break up Jim and Gaila, whose tango had slipped into the x-rated zone a little too quickly.
"I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of simulating intercourse in public." Spock stated dryly, but was reassured by Noyota's:
"Nobody but those two is, Spock."
Admiral Pike followed Miriam's command of:
"Get over here, Christopher, and shake that booty." with a small groan, but did a rather admirable job of twirling the petite older woman around the floor.
They spent the following hour practicing the waltz, and Shrem had a hard time thinking of anything more pleasant than holding Chris in his arms and swaying and turning to soft music.
Well, actually, he could, but that would go right back into the tango minus the 'simulated' element.
Christine seemed to agree, since she kept smiling up at him during the entire time. He spotted Spock and Eya at one point, both gazing at each other intently, and he had to grin again:
"Awww... look at mummy and daddy." He whispered, half joking, to Chris, who smiled a little more brightly when he held her closer.
When they were finished and ready to head out for a drink after all, Spock cleared his throat and announced:
"Aureya and I have somewhat unexpected but fortuitous news."
Now they'd have to go out and get drunk. Well, apart from Eya, of course.
A/N: *glares at Itsa Riddle* Sheesh woman, can't get anything past you!
Well, this one was nicely timed with Half and Half getting over 40.000 hits. I hope it wasn't too fluffy and sugar coated. (Aureya is now the third pregnant woman in my fics... and the first one who isn't black... maybe this is my weird way of getting broody... in fiction only)