Author's Note: Hey, all. I apologize for the extremely long delay in updates. It has been a really crazy year. Thank you, everyone who has read and supported this fanfic and my writing; you all are the reason I picked this up again. I have decided that instead of writing a sequel, I will simply continue this story, as it will work better that way, plot-wise. This chapter is very much bdsm/emotional baggage-filled, but the next few chapters will have more happening in the plot. Remember, this is just the watered-down, edited version to fit to 's policies. If you want to see the real, unedited story, you will find the link to it on my profile. Anyway, hope you all enjoy, and thanks again!

Spock awoke and sat up suddenly, his mind swimming in a strange dream; something about card people and dormice and lost girls chasing rabbits. He winced in pain and moved to lie back down, guided by Aiko, who was there next to him. She looked him over with concern, before draping herself around him to soothe him. Spock calmed and reached to hold her hands as she cupped his face. His cuts had healed, but he was still sore and bruised all over.

"Good morning," the bot greeted, "Today is your day of healing." She kissed his hands, tenderly, where the bases of his fingers joined together, pressing her soft lips into the crevices.

Spock attempted to response verbally but gasped from the sudden waves of pleasure coming from his hands. He blushed, watching Aiko as she trailed loving kisses down his fingers and along his palms. When she reached his wrists, she nestled her face into his hands and paused, closing her eyes. Her brow furrowed and her expression flickered to something of pain; grief, Spock thought.

"What troubles you, Aiko?" Spock asked, running his fingers through her hair, neatly separating the pink and black stripes.

Aiko shook her head and smiled in reply. "Nothing," she answered, though her glossy eyes concerned Spock as she sat up and knelt. "You are beautiful, Spock," she sighed happily, tracing her fingertips down his nude chest and stomach, stopping short of his waistline.

Gazing up at her, Spock noted that she, too was still unclothed from the night before, but had pulled part of the sheet up to her throat. She had stopped just short of his waistline.

"Shy," he thought, and gave her a gentle smile before tugging lightly at the sheet. She let it go easily, but glanced away as it fell.

"You are also beautiful," Spock stated, stroking his palms down the trails of bright blue lights on her sides.

She moaned softly as her skin prickled with goose bumps and stimulation; Spock's hands trailed over every sensitive part of her body. He sat up carefully and placed his arm around her, cradling her back to prevent her from falling off of the bed. His sensitive fingertips stroked her chest, throat, and face, causing her to writhe against him, caught in a cloud of ecstasy. When his hands moved back to her face, she caught them, smiling up at him as she kissed and lightly sucked between his fingers. He drew in his breath sharply and pulled her down on top of him as he arched back against the bed.

Aiko gasped in excitement as she collapsed against her lover, then shifted and noticed his erection for the first time. She smiled down at him, flushing purple, and straddled his waist. He reached to hold her hands, noticing that she seemed tentative. Spock arched upwards against her in pleasure, and Aiko moaned, her face turned to the ceiling.

A Human smile flickered across Spock's face and he caught her hips. Her fingers caressed his face and ears before wrapping around his chest and back and she clung to him, panting into his chest. Pressed together, they gasped for breath; Aiko on her back, hanging partially off the side of the bed. Her fully dilated eyes blinked and she stared across the room, seeing everything in upside-down vision. Her view suddenly changed to her lover's beautiful features as he swept her up against his chest. She clung to him weakly, and a joy-dazed churl sounded from her.

Spock held Aiko silently, chin rested on her head as he contemplated what he felt for her. Logically, she was caring, but she was programmed to be. However, Spock's human side had connected with hers, and they intimately knew one another. He suddenly wished that she did not have to depart the next morning, and he tightened his embrace around her.

Aiko smiled at his gesture and leaned up to him, shyly grazing his soft lips with hers before kissing him fully. Her brow creased with emotion and her lips and tongue quivered into the kiss as she felt Spock return passionately, his graceful hands caught up in her glassy hair. A tingling sensation flooded her eyes without warning, and Aiko snapped her lids shut quickly, but not quickly enough; bot reflexes were not made for catching tears as bots did not weep.

Sensing sudden moisture on his hand's sensitive skin, Spock pulled back to look as her, his expression subtly tinted with concern.

"Have I harmed you?" he asked as he carefully checked her over for injury.

"Not at all," she answered, obviously working to keep her voice from shaking. She rested her hands on his forearms assuredly and smiled quickly though she kept her eyes closed. Tears seeped out from under her lips, and she mentally cursed ComfortBot technology for not yet making them waterproof as she hung her head to quickly dry her eyes.

"Are you certain that I have not harmed you?" Spock's voice came again, and his gentle hands reached to comfort her, stroking over her damp face and hair.

She smiled quickly again, then opened her eyes as she regained composure. "Spock," she said quietly, "You are wonderful, with objectively very few flaws. I feel fortunate that you are interested in me. I…" she paused, and glanced up at him, noticing that her words had caused him to flush a bright green, "I am afraid to fall in love again," she quietly admitted.

"You have been hurt," Spock stated after a pause.

"Yes," she responded, keeping her eyes away.

"Were you mistreated?" he asked, and she felt his muscles tense.

"No, nothing like that," she answered quickly, and felt him relax once more. She glanced around the room, and, noticing nothing out of place to distract the conversation with, sighed, and continued, "I was assigned to a human who had been sexually assaulted in the past. My mission was to talk to and help this person to cope. I ended up demonstrating, instead, how pleasurable gentle intimacy can be. She was my first experience. I did not mean to fall…" She trailed; her eyes were far away.

Statuesque as always, Spock sat quietly, waiting for her to continue. A long paused droned out before he asked, "What went wrong?"

Tongue-tied, Aiko quickly collected her thoughts, her eyes fixed on a spot on the smooth floor. "She never knew that I was sentient," she finally responded, "I did not know how to tell her of my feelings, and in my shyness, I neglected to tell her of my very existence. When she became comfortable with intimacy, she found a lover and no longer required my services," She closed her eyes, and felt Spock's warm hands cup over hers. She smiled up at him quickly, her eyes still shut.

"This was fifty-eight years ago," she assured, "Ancient history, as humans like to say." She gasped softly as the warm sensation left her hands and traveled to her face as Spock cupped her jaw. His thumbs pressed lightly over her closed eyes, and Aiko tried to pull away as tears were forced out from her lids, which she had deliberately kept shut for that reason. However, the half-Vulcan did not loosen his grip, and gently, wordlessly dried her eyes. Aiko smiled her quick, awkward smile again and opened her eyes. "Thank you," she said quietly, her face burning as she glanced into Spock's eyes, then away. "I have not pursued another until now," Aiko added, "I had not considered ever attempting pursuing another again, until now.

She suddenly reached to cradle his face as well, and locked eyes with him. "I will not make the same mistake this time," she vowed, before tenderly kissing her lover's softly curving lips, and let out an electronic squeak of surprise as he met her kiss passionately and moved his hands to around her waist to lift her without warning. Legs instinctively wrapped around his waist for security, Aiko attempted to question their navigational course but became distracted as Spock continued to hold her mouth to his with kisses that took the breath from her.

"You are the first to ever lift me up like this," Aiko chuckled when the kiss broke, and rolled her head back to see the shower stall's tiled ceiling, "I was surprised that you can, so easily…" She felt her face flush deeply. Though a light-weight model, Aiko was still heavier than one may think on first glance, being biomechanical.

"It would seem," Spock commented as he knelt on the floor with her under the warm running water, holding her to him securely, "that I am your first for several things."

"Yes…" she admitted quietly, ducking her head against his chest. There was a short pause before she added, "I am glad." She smiled up at him, and made an effort to keep her eyes open as tears rolled down her unnaturally smooth cheeks, and splashed onto his strong chest.

"I…I did not know that I could feel this," she mumbled.

"Now you understand how I feel," Spock answered with a rather human, pulling her close to him.

"Mmm, I think it's my turn, darling," Aiko purred. With a sudden grin, she pounced forward, knocking Spock back against the floor, and caught his head securely with her precise hands. Eyes wide, Spock stared up at her, causing her to giggle as she trailed her fingertips over his sensitive ears, causing him to gasp and writhe under her. Spock closed his eyes and allowed his sensations to take over, feeling that it was safe to do so, and clung to Aiko as she leaned down, her breath tickling his ear before she kissed it lovingly, sucking lightly on the tip. He whimpered as her teeth grazed his ears, and then his throat, before all were covered in delicate kisses, their limbs tangled together as the warm water beat down on them.

"I…I did not even notice that we were in the water," Aiko realized aloud after a moment, causing a slow chuckle to escape the half-Vulcan. Glancing up at him, Aiko also allowed herself a giggle, and squeezed him slightly. She then paused, and added, "Thank you."

"What have I done?" Spock asked, raising a damp eyebrow as he sat up sorely, and turned to his side.

"You were gentle with me, though you did not know you were my first," Aiko responded quietly, her cheeks glowing purple as she attempted to make eye contact with her knees, "You are as much a gentleman as you are a tall, dark, and handsome."

At her words, Spock also burned with blush. "Thank you for being gentle with me, as I am also experiencing the previously unknown," he answered after a short pause.

Frowning, Aiko reached to touch a lumpy bruise on the back of Spock's thigh. "I have not been gentle with you," she seemed to confess with her black, mirror-like eyes.

With a subtle Vulcan smile, Spock caught her hand and held it tenderly. "You have been gentler with my mind than any before," he told her sincerely, "I believe, fully, that you inflict as little pain in the process as necessary, both mentally and physically."

"Yes," Aiko answered, letting out a soft sigh of relief as she pulled Spock's hand to her lips, gently kissing the light whip marks along his palm, "I do not receive enjoyment from inflicting pain. However, I do not mind punishing you, because I know that it helps you to release." She smiled a real, comfortable smile before adding, "You make me release, as well." With that, she clicked into full cleaning mode, growing stiff all over, eyes glazed over with electronic glow as soap bubbles seeped from her pores.

Spock blinked, and watched curiously, and was momentarily envious that he did not have any "modes" to switch into that would abruptly end such emotional discussions. Slowly, with great care, he untangled his legs from hers and lifted her up, placing her in the corner of the shower, out of harm's way, and began to bathe himself, allowing a satisfied human smile cross his face briefly as he stretched under the steamy water.

The bathroom door slid open and shut rapidly as Aiko emerged from the restroom and immediately made the bed. She then proceeded to shift random objects around the room back into place, as many had been knocked over or off-center in their recent sexual conquests of one another. The bathroom door slide open and shut noisily, and Aiko paused as she realized then and only then had she been doing this without clothing.

"Eheh, sorry," she said quickly as she turned to look through her backpack.

"I do not believe that I have complained," Spock responded with an edge of amusement in his voice as he opened a drawer. He sifted through it, and deciding that he was rather sore, pushed past his uniforms and pulled out a long, Vulcan, robe, which slid on easily.

Noting his choice, Aiko pulled out a white sundress from inside her pack, and slipped it on, tying the straps behind her.

"I have not worn clothing before that exposes my skin in the presence of another," Aiko commented, and Spock watched her as she turned around and knelt on his bed as she sorted through her pack. "My skin is so sensitive that I fear that I will accidentally be brought to orgasm if an unsuspecting being brushes past me," she added with a mildly frustrated sigh, then smirked, "However, I feel that I am safe, here." She dug through her bag and pulled out several small bottles which she set aside as she sat at the side of the bed. Spock's vision followed the exposed blue lights which blinked in a pattern up and down her back, along her spine.

"Spock, come lie across my lap," she suddenly requested, patting her thigh lightly.

Spock hesitated a moment, but the bot waited patiently. Feeling his skin burn, he carefully positioned himself face-down across her lap. His muscles tensed and he concentrated to keep his heart rate steady.

Sensing his discomfort, Aiko leaned down to embrace him and kiss the back of his head. As she did, a wave of fear from him ran through her like an electrical current, and an image flashed in her database; young Spock shook and was curled into a ball. Aiko blinked and her brow creased with human concern.

"Darling, I am not going to harm you," she assured as she pushed his robe up to his shoulders.

The top of a bottle popped off, and a moment later, Spock felt a soothing, warm cream cover the welts on his back as Aiko gently massaged the tight muscles underneath. Immediately, he began to get up.

"Aiko, I do not want my wounds treated," Spock reminded, "They are there for a reason." He gasped when her hand pressed slowly down on his back; her surprising strength forced him to collapse back onto her lap.

"You need this, Spock," Aiko explained as she continued to apply the cream to his back, "I do not want you to be too sore to return to work."

"I will return to work," Spock guaranteed before protesting, "Please do not treat my wounds." He tried to get up once more, but Aiko pinned him though he stubbornly struggled under her.

"Hold still," she urged, giving his bruised backside a gentle swat, and was mildly astonished when this caused the half-Vulcan to struggle even harder. "What has gotten into you?" she asked and reached to touch his head for a clue, but he pulled away quickly.

"I dislike this position," Spock muttered quietly, "It is humiliating."

She sighed, and pulled his robe back down over his exposed skin to keep his modesty. "I was sent here to punish you for disobeying orders. It would seem that you cannot even follow mine, though you agreed to do so. You are also clearly hiding something that is disturbing you, which you agreed not to do."

Spock slowly went still at the sound of her words. "You are correct," he said quietly, "I deserve retribution for my disobedience."

Aiko sighed again. "I suppose that you do," she contended, "Although this was to be your day of comfort."

"This will comfort me," Spock promised.

She sighed yet again. "I know."

Without warning, Aiko lifted Spock's robe to his waist and clapped her hand down across his sore backside, causing him to jerk slightly and attempt to get up, but she pinned him firmly.

"Please," he nearly begged, "let me lie flat. Tie me down if you wish, or bend me over the desk."

"Your dislike of this position will add to the punishment," she explained in reply as her hand fell again and left a pained splotch on the back of Spock's thigh.

Sighing, Spock stopped struggling though his muscles tightened and flinched as Aiko's hand peppered his bruised posterior with bright green handprints. He stretched his arms out in front of him and balled his hands into the bedspread, shoulders shaking as he took the blows silently.

"It must be something deeply upsetting if you are guarding whatever it is so strongly," Aiko commented as she quickened her pace, and rained the slaps down harder across Spock's upturned backside.

Face and ears flushed deep green; Spock squirmed in discomfort, no longer able to keep himself fully still. It was only her hand, but it hurt so badly over the damage that was already there. Still, he felt that he should be able to take it; he was a Vulcan. Tears of shame and pain sprang to his eyes and he pressed his face into the mattress. He felt Aiko's free hand travel to cradle the back of his head and he felt his body go limp as he finally allowed her to meld minds with him.

The spanking came to a halt as their minds linked, and the last things that Spock felt before entering his memories was Aiko's arm wrap securely around his waist.

Spock was a child, around the same age that Aiko had seen the other Vulcan children bully him. He sat on his bed, his back to the wall and clung his knees to his chest as he shook; he tried to block a pained expression. Across the room, his parents argued; something that Aiko had not seen often in his memories.

"I will not allow you to brutalize our child, Amanda," Sarek said sternly, "Vulcans do not do that."

"He is half human, Sarek," Amanda countered, "You want to punish him for a human outburst, and he needs a human punishment. Your lectures don't work."

"Do you not see the emotional reaction that your method of discipline has created in him?" Sarek objected, pointing in the direction of Spock, "You cannot punish a child for hitting another student who hit him, by then hitting him. That is confusing, humiliating, and most illogical."

"You and your logic," Amanda sighed, "He is upset after you scold him, too. You have no idea."

"Spock has never shaken in terror when I lectured him," Sarek spat, pointing in his direction again, "And I have never wounded his pride nor treated him without dignity."

Amanda looked over at the slender child on the bed, shaking, his eyes forced away from his parents; the bruise from another boy's strike on his face. She looked back at Sarek, who glared firmly, and it hit her; she had frightened her son, of whom she loved dearly. She had meant to save him from emotional damage inflicted by Sarek's cold lectures, not cause more damages, herself. Emerald eyes brimming with tears, Amanda quickly exited the room. Sarek watched and glanced from his son to his wife, leaving down the hall.

"I am sorry, Spock," Sarek addressed formally, causing the boy to look up as a gesture of respect, though he visibly struggled to hold back tears. Instead of his normal chiding reaction to this, Sarek pretended not to notice due to the circumstance and continued, "I will handle discipline from now on. This will not be done to you again. You have my word."

Unable to speak without his voice shaking, Spock simply bowed his head in gratitude, and hid his face back in his knees. Unsure of how to comfort Spock, and very sure that his son needed a moment alone; Sarek left and quietly shut the door behind him. Spock waited for a few minutes after he heard the door close, to ensure that no one lingered outside, before, wincing, he rolled onto his side. His little face pressed tightly to his pillow to muffle all sound, he finally allowed himself to sob, and curled up fully under his covers to hide. Unable to get comfortable, he tossed and turned until he had cried himself to sleep.

Aiko's vision faded into the current time, and immediately warped with tears as she embraced her lover tightly from behind.

"My poor darling," she sniffled into the back of his neck, "I am so sorry. Children cannot consent."

Shakily, Spock wrapped his arms around hers in front and held her hands to his damp face, calming in her embrace. "Her intent was kind. She never struck me before or after that one incident, just as Sarek promised."

"Thank goodness he at least had the sense to do that much," she sighed with an edge of frustration towards Sarek. She tightened her embrace around Spock, protectively. "I am sorry, darling. I will never force this position again. If I had known that your mother-"

"I would prefer that you did," Spock interrupted.

"But you indicated that you hated it," Aiko recalled, "And I cannot blame you, now."

"I do," Spock continued, "And, as you said, it adds to the punishment and does get an emotional response from me; one that I should confront." He heard a quiet, grumbling warble of computerized sounds from Aiko; she knew that he was right, but did not like it. She squeezed him tightly for a moment and planted a soft kiss on the back of both his ears before sitting up.

"Are you sure, darling?" she asked, concern evident in her voice.

"Affirmative," he answered, "What you were doing earlier; scolding me; it…penetrates."

Aiko nodded, and then realized that he could not see her in his current position. "This computes," she added, "I understand why it would. We will continue your punishment, but you will allow me to comfort and attend to you after this."

"Yes ma'am," Spock quietly replied, and folded his arms under his chest, to brace himself.

"Good," Aiko affirmed, and then sighed as she landed a sudden slap to the center of Spock's backside, causing him to flinch in surprise and tense. "If only you could have been so obedient earlier; then I would not have to punish you at all," she lamented, and began a steady rhythm of sharp swats to Spock's posterior, paying particular attention to welts and bruises.

Teeth clenched, Spock pressed his head against the mattress and stifled a whimper, his body tight with tension to block the pain that slammed through him. Tears flooded his eyes, but he squeezed his lids shut tightly, unable to let them escape as he battled with Vulcan codes and Human pride. Suddenly, Aiko's knee became wedged between his, forcing his thighs apart, and she planted a particularly hard slap over his sore opening.

"You are not allowed to block your punishment, Spock," she chided, continuing the hard swats to the center of his backside, forcing quiet moans of pain from her lover. "You are receiving this punishment because of your general disobedience. Anymore misbehavior and I will use my whip," she added.

Squirming across her lap, Spock panted as he gripped the bedspread tightly as he choked back a pained sob; it hurt so much. Aiko's free arm pressed down firmly on his back, holding him in place as she continued to spank him, keeping her hard rhythm, despite of his struggle.

"That's it, let this pain run through you, darling," she encouraged, "Let the pain of that memory run through you as well. You are safe to finally do so. I will be here to comfort you when we are finished."

Knuckles white, Spock finally released his grip on the covers and began to sob hard, forsaking pride. He writhed in pain, but stilled a bit when Aiko rested her hand on the back of his head, taking comfort in her touch for a moment before she activated his memories, cringing for him as he began to uncharacteristically flinch and whimper with each slap, and quivered against her. Feeling helpless, Spock buried his face in his hands as he wept.

"I am sorry," he choked, somewhere between memory and reality.

"I know, darling," Aiko answered, her tone softer, though she continued to beat him, focusing on his sensitive under curve, "And you are forgiven. Captain Kirk is not angry with you, either. I am going to help you to cry yourself out completely, so that you will feel more emotionally secure."

"Thank you, Aiko," he muffled into his hands as he winced and hissed in pain. He crossed his ankles, and yelped in sudden, less familiar pain as Aiko harshly spanked the backs of his calves without pause and fought her instinct to stop and comfort him. He cried out, and quickly straightened his ankles, which returned the blows to his backside. Panting, he spread his arms out to steady himself as the force of each slap rocked him forward slightly, causing him to muffle pained cries into his arm. Shaking hard, he hung his shoulders in shame as he wept; his Vulcan side as much as his Human side.

"My poor, bad boy," Aiko scolded gently, and stroked the back of his head, wrapping her arm around him, firmly, to hold him as she pinned him down, "You know that you deserve this, though. You were purposely disobedient and wanted me to do this."

She shifted her knee, and positioned Spock further forward. He closed his eyes as more tears flooded his vision at Aiko's words, and he gasped at the sudden movement, but did not try to fight her. She raised her hand high and spanked him harder in his more vulnerable position, leaving a dark green handprint with each strike. Spock muffled a long moan of pain and wept openly as fear and shame ripped through his mind. Several more stinging slaps rained down on the middle of his backside, before he suddenly curled up around Aiko's waist and sobbed hard into her side.

Spock half expected to be pinned back into position and punished more, but felt Aiko's arms wrap around him securely and pull him to her chest and cradle him on his side to take the pressure off of his burning posterior. He clung tightly to her, overcome by emotion. Aiko frowned, and leaned over Spock, who found himself completely caught up in her embrace, her hair draped over him.

"You did very well, Spock," she praised, and kissed his head.

"I did not stay in position," Spock answered with great effort to keep his voice even as tears continued to run down his cheeks.

"I do not think that anyone could have stayed in position longer," Aiko responded as she tightened her embrace, "You are so hard on yourself. Will you let me comfort you, now?"

Spock tried to respond, but could not muster the concentration to steady his voice again and nodded weakly. He felt one arm wrap around his back to embrace him while the other fumbled for medical cream and very gently rubbed a generous amount into his abused backside. He sniffled quietly into her side and used all of the concentration that he had left not to squirm. Aiko's stroking massage traveled down one leg, and then the other. Soon, she had covered every inch of damaged skin on her lover in a thick coat of cream.

"That should help you to heal some by tomorrow," she explained. She then leaned back and carefully moved Spock with her, so that she could hug him tightly to her chest and stroke his hair.

Spock nearly smiled through his tears as his face pressed into Aiko's chest; this was a position that he enjoyed more. He looped his arms around her as she cuddled him close and stroked his hair smooth. Nestled against her, he felt calmer, though he still burned with blush.

"If I had any memories of my first life's childhood, I would share something personal from it with you," Aiko consoled, and frowned, "I am sorry that you have suffered so much."

Her hands tenderly circulated his shoulders, and Spock quivered as emotions rushed through him, seemingly forced out by the action. He choked and hid his face in her chest, and his shoulders shook under her hands. He seemed hesitant, and Aiko remembered; Vulcans were only allowed to display tears in severe pain, which had since been numbed by the medical cream. She gently tilted up his face, and looked seriously into his shining eyes. Her initial intent had been to speak sternly to him, as it usually seemed to work, but her look softened at the sight of his sad, sweet eyes, and she nearly lost her own composure.

"Spock, Humans are allowed to display tears in times of severe emotional pain, as well," she stated, "You are allowed, darling. There is no shame in this. No Human would think less of you, and any Vulcan that would will receive a long, drawn-out, and purposefully boring explanation from me on why it is necessary for your health." Her embrace tightened protectively around the other hybrid as he rocked with pent-up emotional agony. "This applies particularly to Ambassador Sarek, if our paths cross again," she added with a Human-like huff of frustration before she wrapped her legs around Spock's, and held him in a full-body embrace.

His body tensed tightly for a few seconds before he melted into her embrace as he allowed his human side to release fully as he clung to her. Face pressed into her shoulder and water-resistant hair, he sobbed quietly. He tightened his embrace, though his thoughts whirled at warp speed. Faces of his mother, his father, and his teachers played through his head; all of them disapproved. He was either too human or not human enough. Cheek pressed tightly to his, Spock felt Aiko trail soft kisses along his ear and neck. He let out a long, shuddering breath as he calmed into her touch. She approved of him. He pulled back from her suddenly and studied her concerned expression. His eyes traveled to her black painted lips; a curious color for a human, but she was not a full human, either. She carefully dried his tears with her thumbs and he leaned in to kiss her. Tenderly, she returned the kiss and cupped his jaw in her hands.

"Aiko, are you there?" Ted Tudd's voice suddenly erupted from a clip on Aiko's ear, causing them both to jump as the kiss broke. She took a quick, breath-like movement and almost chuckled before she pressed the clip.

"Hello Ted," she answered, sitting up as much as she could as she continued to hold her lover.

"Ah, there you are," the other man answered, "I hope I'm not interrupting anything."

Spock's eyes met Aiko's and in his vulnerable state, his expression nearly seemed pleading.

"Not at all," she responded in a normal tone, though Spock noticed that she blinked rapidly several times during that statement. A slight smile crept up his face; she was a bad liar, but she had tried for him anyway.

"Well," Ted's voice continued with a nearly worried tone, "I hope that you and your current…client are getting along all right."

"We are," Aiko answered after a pause at which she very briefly held a look of confusion, "Why do you ask?" Her voice was calm and steady but Spock could feel her body tense under him.

"Well, I've been thinking…" he trailed.

"Yes?" she asked, and blinked hard; Ted was a good friend, but she occasionally felt the urge to shake him and scream at him to cut to the point, though she would not act on it.

"Well, I've been talking to that Captain Kirk fella, and it turns out that the next place that their ship is headed is near our next stop, too. Practically planetary neighbors, you know," Ted explained, "Their ship is going to pick up resources, and ours has appointments…though not you, you're on break, you crazy woman. After that whole year on duty, the others are beginning to wonder what became of you."

Aiko tensed and blinked quickly. "They are?" she asked quietly, and then seemed to mentally curse herself. Spock observed and gave her a gentle squeeze before he rested his head back on her chest.

"Yes, nearly all of them have asked about you at least once since you were last here," Ted confirmed, "Anyhow, we seem to be in need of Mr. Spock's services, here. And, Kirk and I figured that since Mr. Spock spent his vacation with you, perhaps you would like to spend part of yours with him, at least until we get to the fork in the sky where we go to different planets. Or, would you prefer to be alone?"

Aiko's expression broke into a smile, and Spock nearly did the same. "No, I would be most appreciative of his company," she answered quickly, "And…thank you, Ted."

"What can I say?" the man's voice chuckled, "I'm a sucker for sappy romances. Besides, we have a programming quirk that your Mr. Spock may be able to help us with, and Captain Kirk has requested that he take notes on the functioning of comfort bots." A sound came over the communicator which was evident of Ted's attempts to suppress a laugh, "The physical functioning of comfort bots! That guy's a real hoot!" he exploded in giggles, before quickly adding, "Well, bye, you two love birds! See you both tomorrow!"

Aiko's face fell and what remained of the color in her face drained. She then sported an indignant look and reached to click the communicator with an answer, but heard the telltale beep; Ted had signed off. Flustered, she huffed loudly, and dropped back against the mattress.

"Aiko," Spock remarked, "I believe we have been set up."

"I concur," she chuckled, as she pressed her cheek against the top of his head, lovingly. She held him close and smiled contently. "I think I would have leapt straight off of this sleeping surface if you had not been on top of me when Ted initialed the conversation," she candidly mused after a moment. Her fingertips traced his ear and straightened his hair. "And I am glad," she confessed, "I did not want to leave you tomorrow. I want to hold you forever right now."

"It is an agreeable turn of events," Spock responded as he reached to hold her slightly purpled and swollen hand. He inspected it for a moment before he lightly kissed her fingertips and pressed his cheekbone to her palm.

"And now, I can properly monitor your wounds," Aiko murmured as she softly kissed the top of his head.

"I will make a full recovery very soon," Spock assured, though he did not fight her gesture of affection.

"I meant these," she stroked the back of his head.

He did not respond, but nuzzled against her as she covered his brow, nose, and face in soft kisses. Their fingertips met, and Aiko's hands cupped over his, despite their smaller size. They stayed that way mostly in silence, though it was a content silence.