Saavik lay close to Spock’s side, her hand resting between his legs. They had made love most of the night, but without the mind-passion Saavik now felt as handicapped as a human without a meld of any kind. As he rolled toward her, his body eager once again, she reached hopefully for his face.
“No,” he said, catching her hand and stopping his movement. “We must not.”
She sighed, looking into his dark eyes, pleading to feel the oneness once again. He kissed her slowly before sliding off of her and sitting up.
“Come,” he said, helping her up beside him. He looked at her intently, rubbing his fingers over both ears and down her slender shoulders.
“T’nash-veh ashaya,” he said. “I can remove the memory of the kashek shaukaush...”
“I do not wish you to,” she said, stroking his face and lips. “I spoke the truth when I say I do not regret it.”
He studied her face, tracing the upswept brows and the delicate lips. “But your satisfaction his incomplete.” He did not need to mention his own feelings of incompleteness; she could read that on his face plain enough.
“I am sorry,” he said, lifting her suddenly lowered face and kissing her slowly again. At length he looked into her eyes .
“If the loss could be reduced,” he asked, “would you accept it?”
She looked at him with confusion but some hope. He smiled a little and stroked her soft curls.
“The memory would remain,” he said, “but would no longer overshadow future experiences.”
She reached for his face, holding it between her hands. “Yes,” she said softly, “I would accept it.”
He looked relieved at that, but her eyes showed sudden concern. “And what of your loss?” she asked.
He looked at her a long time, a look of sudden sadness but resolute as well.
“I alone will bear the loss,” he said. “It is fitting.”
“No!” she said, pulling away from him. He caught her hands again and kissed them.
“Please, Saavik,” he pleaded, “let me help you.”
She allowed him to reach for her face, seeking to meld. She reached her hand up also, but he caught it and held it firmly.
No, the word echoed in her mind. Let me help you.
He allowed her to see herself as he did, in every moment that he could remember. His mind-hands caressed her and revealed all he could experience at her touch. It was a meld nearly as deep as any kashek shaukaush, but tethered to him alone and without a physical joining. She embraced the mind-love as if it were reality, for in truth she did not know, and clung to his image there with fierce determination. He loved her again and again, the mind allowing what the body could not. Her mind smiled as she recalled the comfort of the mind-touch and the safety in his gentle arms. She tried to tell him that but his mind repeated in her head.
Please, Saavik, let me help you.
She heard herself cry out as he did, his mind-hands holding her yet again. His mind-body moved as she remembered, urgently seeking completion. She gave her mind to him completely, reserving nothing. His sigh was her sigh, his mind, her mind, his heart, her heart.
Slowly he withdrew, the whisper of his thoughts receding, taking to himself the overwhelming power of the kashek shaukaush and leaving her mind with its impotent memory. She opened her eyes as his hand slid from her face.
“T’nash-veh ashaya,” she murmured, stroking his tired face. He opened his eyes to her, returning the caress before settling back with her against his chest. His hand was gentle against her temple and in her hair. She stroked his chest next to where she lay and looked up into his face.
“Let me help you too,” she pleaded quietly.
He smiled at her, kissing the top of her head. “Your skill is not sufficient,” he said without reproach.
She reached up to stroke his face, kissing him carefully and slowly. “Someday,” she whispered a promise.