Spock reached both hands up to the bar over his bed and effortlessly performed a series of pull ups. Maintaining strength in his upper body had been relatively uneventful, but he was frustrated by the continued weakness in his legs.
“Good morning,” McCoy greeted him as he entered the rehabilitation unit in sickbay. He glanced at the bed’s readout but still held his scanner to check Spock’s vitals directly. When he had recorded his notations, he raised the sheet for a hands-on examination. The short hospital gown Spock wore left his legs bare and easily accessible.
“How are you feeling today?” he asked as he palpated the injured areas.
Spock no longer winced at the touch. “The pain has reduced significantly,” he said. “However, there is still marked weakness, particularly on the right side.”
The doctor nodded. “Is Saavik still helping with the exercises and massages?” he asked. He noticed a definite flush of Spock’s skin and a dilation of his pupils at the mention of Saavik’s name.
“Of course,” Spock answered as he closed his eyes in what might have been an attempt at biofeedback. McCoy patted his shoulder firmly.
“You’re healing well,” he said, pulling the covers back in place. “It shouldn’t be much longer.”
Spock sighed deeply as his body refused to cooperate with his mental disciplines. He looked at McCoy with an uncharacteristically helpless expression. “The wait is most....tiring,” he said.
McCoy grinned and patted his shoulder again. “I’ve noticed,” he said. He turned when he heard movement in the doorway and smiled as Saavik entered the room.
She nodded at the doctor but went to Spock’s side, taking his outstretched hand. His other hand gently stroked her still-flat belly.
“Are you two going to need a chaperone?” McCoy asked with a grin. Saavik started to shake her head, but Spock sank back on the bed with a sigh.
“Please stay, Doctor,” he said. “You can monitor my progress.”
McCoy raised both eyebrows but moved to a chair where he could watch the therapy. Spock’s battle to control his physiological reactions must be near the breaking point for him to make such a request. He shook his head and wondered how Vulcans ever managed such things.
Saavik stroked Spock’s face briefly before moving to the foot of the bed to begin the therapy. As she expertly manipulated his legs in a natural range of motion, Spock closed his eyes to concentrate on the movement. He noticed also the warmth of her hands and the arousing nature of her touch. She met his eyes even as she continued the exercises.
Forgive the touch, husband, she thought. It is necessary.
I quite enjoy it, he replied silently causing her to laugh out loud. When she had finished the manipulations, she laid his legs back on the bed to begin the massages. He sighed again.
The doctor assures me it will not be long, she thought as she attempted to avoid arousing him further. How is your control?
He smiled at her. My lack of control is evident, beloved, he replied. She stopped massaging him to look into his eager face and return the smile.
McCoy loudly cleared his throat. “Five minutes, each leg,” he directed firmly. “No matter what he’s thinking over there.”
Saavik immediately resumed the therapy as Spock resolutely settled his gaze somewhere on the ceiling. McCoy shook his head as he chuckled softly to himself. He had long suspected that Vulcan males weren’t much different from the males of various other species, despite their insistence to the contrary. And Spock was certainly in need of a distraction.
“Have you discovered any more about that trausium?” he asked him. Spock had insisted on having a library computer next to his bed and often collaborated with Saavik when they weren’t involved in therapy.
“Indeed,” Spock answered, grateful to have something else to think about. “Trausium is mildly radioactive, but poses no danger to living organisms. This property combined with it’s strong magnetism are the reason our communicators and transporters are inoperative within a certain radius of the mineral, but I have yet to explain the continued functioning of our tricorders.”
“Do you think it has a use beyond construction or energy production?” McCoy asked.
Spock considered the question. “It is possible of course to create weapons,” he said, “though the Derilians do not appear to have any warlike tendencies.”
He paused as his attention shifted again to Saavik’s touch. McCoy decided it was time to rescue him from his dilemma. He got up and moved the parallel bars close to the bed.
“That’s enough for now, Saavik,” he said. “Let’s see our patient walk.”
They helped Spock to sit up and position himself between the bars. He used his hands to pull himself to a standing position and slowly began to walk forward supporting himself on the bars. His left leg appeared to be moving almost normally, but his right was weaker with much less range of motion. Spock was silent in his progress, but it was apparent that the exercise took considerable effort. Saavik went to meet him at the end of the bars, putting her hands around his neck and rewarding him with a kiss.
McCoy smiled. “I see where you get your motivation,” he said.
Spock raised an eyebrow as he laboriously turned around to repeat the walk the opposite direction. “I am highly motivated to walk, Doctor,” he said, “even without Saavik’s encouragement.” He paused as his right foot suddenly gave way and stopped to re-position his legs to try again. Saavik stood nearby but let him make the adjustment on his own.
“You’re doing good, Spock,” McCoy said. “I know it doesn’t seem like it, but you’re making remarkable progress.”
Spock sighed deeply as he once again reached the end of the bars. “It is not logical to expect a quicker outcome,” he said, “but I do wish it.”
“Yeah, I know,” McCoy said as Saavik gently turned Spock’s head for another kiss. “Spock...can I ask you a question?”
Spock brushed his lips on Saavik’s forehead as she began to massage his lower back. “Of course, Doctor,” he said.
“Well,” McCoy began, rubbing a hand across his mouth, “I know you’re still affected by her hormones and such, but isn’t it distasteful for a Vulcan to show affection in public?”
“It is not the norm,” Spock agreed as he shifted his weight to rest his right leg. “However, as you point out, I am biologically affected by Saavik’s hormonal shifts. It is not logical to hide from you, that which you already know.”
McCoy pursed his lips.“Well, you’re showing more restraint than I would if our positions were reversed,” he said.
Spock smiled a little as Saavik’s hands began to massage his shoulders. “More than you know,” he said.
McCoy smiled. “How about we get you out of this room for a bit?” he asked. “I have an anti-grav chair standing by to take you anywhere you’d like to go.”
Spock glanced back at Saavik with a small smile. “I will leave the choice of destination to Saavik,” he said.
McCoy brought the chair and helped Spock to transfer from the bars. He sighed gratefully when he was able to sit again. Saavik arranged a blanket over his lap to cover his exposed legs.
Crewmen they passed greeted them warmly as they made their way down the corridors. As they neared the rec room they could hear considerable commotion inside. A tense mission always seemed to draw people to recreation more than at other times.
Several groups clustered around the digital gaming tables while others were engaged in chess and other traditional games of skill and chance. Officers and crewmen sat in groups or pairs, talking and laughing. McCoy could hear Uhura singing but he couldn’t see her in the melee. He stopped Spock’s chair right inside the door and spied the captain at the synthesizer. Kirk smiled when the doctor waved and made his way toward them with his drink.
“Out on good behavior?” he asked Spock with a wink.
“He is,” McCoy answered before Spock could do more than raise an eyebrow. “And what’s more, he’s making great progress, thanks to his personal nurse.” He smiled at Saavik.
“That’s great, Spock!” Kirk beamed. “The bridge doesn’t seem right without you.”
“Actually, Captain,” Spock said, “I would like to ask permission to resume my duties, at least on a part time basis.”
“Getting tired of me already?” McCoy said.
“On the contrary,” Spock answered, “I do not resent your company, Doctor. However, I am well enough for general duties, and a reduced schedule would still allow for physical therapy.”
McCoy nodded at Kirk’s questioning look. “It’ll be good for him, Jim,” he said. “Sickbay can feel pretty closed in after a while.”
Kirk smiled. “Request granted, Mr. Spock,” he said. “How’s first shift tomorrow?”
“That will be acceptable,” Spock answered as he idly found Saavik’s hand and held it to his chest. Saavik allowed him to keep her hand but scanned the room for prying eyes. It was one thing to allow the doctor to see such lapses, but a public viewing was a serious impropriety.
Kirk gave McCoy a wide eyed look but made no comment.
The doctor cleared his throat. “So where would you like to go next, Spock?” he asked.
Spock let go of Saavik’s hand as if suddenly aware that he was holding it.
“The observation lounge, if you please,” Spock answered. Kirk and McCoy gave a surprised look. It was not a destination they expected Spock to choose.
“Your wish is my command,” McCoy said anyway as he activated the chair and sent it on it’s way. As he and Saavik followed, Kirk fell in behind them.
There was no one in the lounge at this hour and they parked Spock’s chair in front of the tall windows. He gazed out at the view of Derilia and it’s moons as if lost in thought. The others watched the troubled worlds also as they waited for whatever Spock wished to do here.
“Captain,” he finally said, “what do we know about the third moon?”
Kirk looked at him, surprised at the question. “They call it Elaanus. It’s not inhabited,” he said.
Spock continued to gaze out the window even though the third moon would not be visible until their orbit brought them to the other side of Derilia. “And why do you suppose that is?” he asked. “Sensors indicate that it has a breathable atmosphere. Why would the Derilians reject this moon in favor of Taini that requires considerable effort to support life?”
Kirk and McCoy opened their eyes wide. Why indeed?
“Captain,” Spock continued, “I suggest detailed scans as soon as we are in range.”
Kirk nodded. “That will be just about when you come on duty tomorrow. I trust you’ll do the honors?”
Spock bowed his head in acknowledgment.
“Well,” McCoy said, “if Spock has to get up early, I guess we’d better get him tucked in for the night.” He winked at Saavik. “I’ll let you help.”
Saavik raised an eyebrow at the doctor while the captain laughed.
“I’ll see you in the morning, Spock,” Kirk said as McCoy turned Spock’s chair in preparation of leaving.
“Yes, Captain,” Spock answered as he reached for Saavik’s hand again. McCoy shook his head as he deftly inserted himself between them to spare Saavik an uncomfortable walk back to sickbay. Spock raised an eyebrow at him but returned his empty hand to his lap without a word.
When they arrived back in rehab, McCoy assisted Spock back to his bed, leaving the head of the bed raised so he could sit up.
“I suppose you’ll want to work awhile,” he said as he rolled the computer close. “You have one hour, then lights out.”
When Spock started to smile, he gave him a stern look. “And Saavik will be going out as well,” he scolded. “Now you two behave. I’ll be right next door.”
As the doctor left the room, Spock held out his hand to Saavik. “Saavik-kam, come here,” he said.
As she took his hand, he pulled her close and lifted her on to the bed beside him. She laughed lightly at the surprise of it and bent to kiss him. He held her against his chest, extending the kiss. She laughed again and stroked his face and lips.
“The doctor will return,” she warned him.
“He did say one hour,” Spock answered, smiling widely.
Saavik kissed him again. “You are not strong enough, husband,” she said as she traced her finger along his up-swept brows.
“Indeed,” he said, outlining one elegant ear with his fingertips. “I am not strong enough to resist.”
She leaned into him, kissing him softly. “Soon, my love,” she promised. “When you are well.”
Spock made a low sound, almost a growl and gently bit her lip. “I need you now, “ he admitted honestly.
Saavik looked into his eager dark eyes. “ Tal-kam veh,” she said, stroking one pointed ear, “your logic fails you.”
“I do not care,” he said, and meant it. She was soft and warm in his arms and he held her close while he nuzzled her neck. She held his face and kissed him, feeling his desire leap through the touch.
She pulled back and searched his face. “You should meditate,” she said with concern.
“I do not wish to,” he answered, reaching for her again. She raised both eyebrows in surprise and stopped his advance with a hand on his chest. The look he gave her was neither repentant nor ashamed.
“Husband,” she admonished him, “the pon farr must have weakened your control. Perhaps work will distract you.” She reached over him to pull the computer closer.
“You distract me, Saavik-kam,” he purred as he deflected her hand from its intention. He slowly kissed the hand he had caught, working his way up her arm. She shivered as his warm lips tickled her skin and she nearly gave in to his insistent advances.
“K’diwa,” she said as she gently extracted herself from his arms and got off the bed. She avoided his reaching hand and made her way to the other side of the bed, keeping the computer between them. “Remember you are Vulcan.”
Spock smiled as he shifted himself toward her. “My heritage is difficult to forget,” he said wryly. “And even though my pon farr has ended, my joining obviously has not. The biological imperative of that condition is a constant test of my control. I grow weary of fighting it.”
She reached out to stroke his face, sighing as he took her hand and kissed her palm. How easy it would be to do as he wished, if only his injuries didn’t prevent it. She moved close again, kissing him gently.
McCoy shook his head from the doorway. “At least one of you could act like a Vulcan,” he admonished with a small smile. “It took me years to get used to the repression of emotion.”
Saavik stepped away from the bed as Spock reluctantly let go of her hand. Spock turned his attention to McCoy.
“It is not typical to repress emotions between bondsmates, Doctor,” he admitted. “At least not in private.”
“You don’t say?” McCoy replied with interest. “Anything else your family doctor should know about Vulcan married life?”
Spock ignored the question as he watched Saavik walk around the bed again to stand on the other side of the doctor. Without trying, he began to calculate the distance between them and whether he would be able to traverse it safely. Saavik kept her eyes averted even though he reached out to touch her mind.
Saavik-kam, attend me.
Husband, I cannot.
She glanced up suddenly as a particularly intimate suggestion crossed the link and she blushed a brilliant shade of green.
K’diwa! Where is your logic?
He laughed in thought and reality. I am weary of logic. Attend me.
Soon, my love, she replied silently as she moved around the foot of the bed. His eyes watched her closely, continuing to calculate distances and his own abilities.
McCoy glanced up at the biobeds readings, raising his eyebrow at several of the indicators.
“Spock, I hate to do this,” he said, suddenly raising the hypo he had concealed at his side. “But you need to relax.” He applied the hypo to Spock’s arm before he could resist. Spock’s eyes fluttered briefly before closing in sleep.
“It’s just a sedative,” he said to Saavik. “He’ll sleep ’til morning.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” she said as she watched Spock’s tense body slowly relax. “It is difficult for him.”
McCoy nodded as the indicators began to level off, then turned to Saavik. “For you too, I imagine,” he said.
She blushed deeply. “Naturally,” she answered, “since I am the cause of his condition.”
“Don’t you worry about that,” McCoy said. “Your last tests showed a marked reduction in pheromones and a stabilizing in hormones. He glanced at the sleeping Vulcan. “He won’t have that as an excuse much longer.”
Saavik went to the bed to arrange the covers over Spock. His breathing was soft and regular and he moaned softly at some dream image. She brushed her fingertips across his lips. Rest now, my love. Slowly she bent to kiss his forehead before bidding the doctor a good night and leaving the room.
McCoy shook his head and smiled as he dimmed the lights. Love was love no matter which species you asked, and whether they chose to speak of it openly or not. Even Vulcans couldn’t escape that particular dilemma.