Saavik paused at the door watching Spock at work on the computer. When he saw her there she smiled and approached the bed.
“The mission was a success?” he asked as she touched her fingers with his own.
“It was interesting,” she replied. “We will speak of it later.”
She sat on the bed and studied his face a long time. “I am not helpless, husband,” she gently reprimanded him.
“I know, Saavik-kam,” he said, reaching out to touch her face. She took the hand and held it, bending to kiss him slowly.
“Is the captain still angry?” she asked as she leaned on his chest and kissed him again.
“I do not know the captain’s state of mind,” he answered while still savoring her soft lips. “I am not even certain of my own.”
She kicked off her boots and lay down on the bed with him. Her hands wrapped around the back of his head as she resumed kissing his lips and face. “It does not matter,” she said.
He smiled at her and stroked a delicate ear. She returned the smile and pulled herself on top of him, laughing when he wrapped his arms around her to keep her there.
“Perhaps it does not,” he said as he stroked her back. “My father has asked for my assistance on the Derilian issue.”
She stopped kissing him long enough to raise an eyebrow.
“It is an opportunity to aid the mission without interfering with ship’s operations,” he continued, “and my father will certainly monitor my behavior.”
Her hands slid forward to stroke his ears and hold his face. “As long as he does not keep you too busy,” she said, nuzzling his neck.
He gently helped her out of her uniform jacket and kissed the bare arms revealed by the sleeveless undershirt. She purred softly and slid her hands under his shirt to pull it off over his head. He smiled freely as her hands and lips explored his bare chest. His hands found her hips and thighs and lingered there.
“Stay with me,” he said as he kissed her ear slowly. She raised her head and her eyebrows and searched his face.
“Not to copulate,” he assured her, “though I wish it. But to simply be together.”
She smiled and kissed him firmly. “I will stay,” she said, “for any reason.”
He returned the smile and the kiss. He had been surprised that sleeping alone had been one of the most distressing aspects of his convalescence, and holding her now relaxed and excited him at once. He moaned softly and closed his eyes.
“Am I hurting you?” she asked, beginning to lift herself off of him.
“No,” he said, catching her again, “the pain is negligible.” He reached down and arranged her legs around him, causing her to raise an eyebrow at the implication.
He shook his head. “The doctor says I must first walk,” he reminded her.
She settled against him and stroked his face. “Then you must,” she said with a smile. “Soon.”
He laughed and kissed her with his eyes open. Her lips were soft and warm against his eager mouth and he held her head to keep her close. She opened her eyes to see him watching her and laughed into the kiss.
“I love you, tal-kam veh,” she said when he finally let her go.
He stroked his fingers on her face, sending whispers of the link between them. “T’nash-veh ashaya, t’nash-veh ashaya,” he murmured, “why do you love me?”
She pushed herself up with her hands on his chest. “The question is illogical,” she said.
“Love is illogical,” he countered with a smile.
She studied his face. “I could pose the same question,” she challenged with a raised brow.
He stroked her face again, letting his fingers settle on the nerve centers. “And I would answer like this,” he said as he initiated a mind meld.
She smiled and touched his face as well, creating a dual link that was intimate and powerful. They both smiled together as their minds touched and shared the answer. They communicated as one mind, one heart, one spirit, one love. Each found amusement at what the other found lovable, and both were in agreement that the love was true. She sighed and lay her head on his chest, feeling his rapid heartbeat and steady breathing as she walked with him in her mind. He wrapped his free arm around her and shared with her anything she wished in the silent reaches of his mind. The intense pleasure of her mind-smile soothed him as she opened her thoughts to him as well. He held her then in both realities and embraced the illogical and consuming emotion of love.
They remained linked for some time, their bodies and minds locked in the same embrace. At last he reluctantly removed his hand from her face as she also broke the link.
“I love you, Saavik-kam,” he said aloud.
She looked up at him with her head on his chest and stroked his face sleepily. “I know,” she said.
Holding her close, he kissed the top of her head as both of them fell gently to sleep.
It was early when Doctor McCoy entered the rehab unit. Noticing the two figures on the bed, he shook his head with a grin.
“Well, well,” he said and laughed at the combined readings on the screen. He gently touched Saavik’s back. “Time to get up,” he said. “I need access to my patient.”
She opened her eyes and blushed brilliantly as she carefully removed herself from the bed. He gave her a long look.
“It was sleep only,” she insisted. “We did not couple.”
He raised his eyebrows but smiled. “If you’d like to stay, he says he’s ready to walk.”
She put on her jacket and boots while he scanned Spock and noted his readings on the chart. Spock’s eyes opened and watched him patiently.
“Whatcha say, Spock?” he asked. “Want to give walking a try?”
Spock nodded and sat up while the doctor went to get a cane for support. Spock eased his feet off the bed and stood up, balancing on the cane. He paused, taking a deep breath in concentration before carefully taking a step.
His right leg gave way a little but the cane supported him. Slowly he made his way across the room, limping but stable.
“You’re doing great, Spock!” McCoy encouraged.
When Spock reached the end of the room, he turned to walk back. “Thank you, Doctor,” he said. “I know my injuries were severe, and your skill in repairing them is most appreciated.”
“Glad I could help,” McCoy grinned while Spock tested his new-found freedom. “I spoke to Jim about you working with your father. He thinks it’s a good idea.”
Spock nodded. “Then I can begin as soon as my father is notified,” he said. “I assume the physical therapy will continue?”
McCoy nodded. “Half a day is long enough to work for now,” he said, then narrowed his eyes.”And you are not to leave the ship, is that clear?”
“Perfectly,” Spock said.
McCoy gave him a long look. “Well,” he said, “I’ll have a talk with Sarek and you can practice with the cane. But don’t over do it, hear?”
Spock raised both eyebrows. “There is nothing wrong with my hearing, Doctor,” he said.
McCoy shook his head and turned to Saavik. “Don’t let him leave this room,” he ordered.
“Of course,” she replied, giving Spock a small smile.
McCoy looked from one to the other and muttered something under his breath as he left the room. Spock held out his free hand to Saavik and she walked forward to stand in front of him. He arranged a loose strand of hair behind her ear and smiled at her.
“K’diwa,” she said, reaching up to kiss him. He held her hand at her side as he savored the kiss slowly.
“Walk with me,” he said as they began a slow progression around the room. She held his hand tightly and matched his slow speed.
“Perhaps the doctor will release you from sickbay soon,” she said hopefully.
“Perhaps,” he said, stopping at the bed and easing down on it. She found his undershirt and helped him put it on.
“We must find you some clothing,” she said, “unless you propose to go out like this.”
He raised an eyebrow and nodded. “It would certainly provide fodder for the gossips,” he said. “However, a proper uniform would be preferable.”
After a short search she found his uniform hanging neatly over a chair. She helped him put it on, the process interrupted by frequent touching and kissing. When finally properly attired, he stood to attempt walking with his boots on. It was a little more awkward, but he made it all the way around the room. She went to him and wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Soon we will sleep in our own bed again,” she said.
He smiled at her. “Soon we will do more than sleep.”
She smiled and kissed him as he put his free hand around her waist. Behind them McCoy loudly cleared his throat.
“I swear I need to turn a fire hose on you two,” he said with a wink as he entered the room. They stopped kissing to look at him but didn’t let go of one another.
“Sarek says you can come anytime,” he continued. “He’s currently in video conference with Regent Aiden but you’re welcome to join in.”
Spock inclined his head. “Thank you, Doctor,” he said.
“I can take you to deck four in the chair and you can walk from there,” he told him. “And I can send someone to bring the chair back when you need it.”
“That will be acceptable,” Spock said, then turned to Saavik again. “You should return to your duties,” he said. “I will be here later tonight.” He bent to kiss her before allowing the doctor to help him to the chair.
“I will walk with you,” she said, her hand lingering on his neck. He took hold of the hand and she didn’t protest it as they proceeded through the corridors.
When they exited the turbolift on deck four they helped Spock to stand with his cane and positioned themselves on either side of him. With slow determination he made his way to his father’s stateroom.
“Take it easy, ok Spock?” McCoy said as he prepared to leave him at the door. Saavik touched her fingers to Spock’s as she turned to leave with the doctor. Spock inclined his head to both of them and engaged the chime. An aid answered almost immediately and let him in.
Sarek’s eyes shifted briefly from the computer screen in acknowledgment of his arrival. Spock made his way to the empty chair next to his father and gratefully sat in it as the aid took his cane to store it out of the way.
“Yes, Ambassador,” Regent Aiden was saying, his face drawn and worried on the screen..“Every day more are taken. No government family has been spared from the kidnappings. My own daughter is among the missing.” He paused as he took a moment to control his emotions. “Please...if there is anyway to help us. We are unable to give the Wramuth what they demand.”
“Have they indicated a willingness to return your people in exchange for the trausium?” Sarek asked.
“They say as much,” Aiden replied. “We are processing the ore as quickly as we are able, but they have increased their demands due to the delay and it is not possible to meet those demands.”
“We have monitored your newsfeeds since our arrival,” Spock interjected. “There has been no report of any kidnappings.”
Aiden nodded. “We have endeavored to keep this news from the population as long as possible,” he said. “They have had trauma enough.” He lowered his eyes as his long fingers rubbed at his head. “They do not appear to have transporters as you do, but must land on the planet with small aircraft to complete their raids. So far these have gone undetected, but I do not know how long that will last.”
“It is possible they may have cloaking technology,” Spock proposed as he sent a request to the bridge from the computer in front of him. After a moment the answer came back.
“Nothing is detected within range of this vessel,” he reported. “If it is not cloaked, it is possible for a ship to be concealed on the other side of the planet or behind any of the moons.”
“If you are correct in their possession of only limited sensor capabilities,” Sarek addressed him, “then it is possible they are unaware of our presence also.”
“I would suspect that is so,” the regent said, “since General Taln has made no mention of another vessel.” He wrapped his long fingers together on the desk in front of him. “To my knowledge he is not even aware of the colonists on Artemis or Taini.” He looked pleadingly into the viewer, his large eyes opening even wider. “Please, I beg you not to go there or he will follow.”
Spock raised an eyebrow. “Would he not have made a cursory exploration of the moons at the time of his discovery of Derilia?” he asked.
Aiden shook his head in a kind of bobbling motion. “The Wramuth have not presented themselves as a very curious people,” he said. “Perhaps most moons do not have resources of their own as Artemis and Taini do. In any case, taking what they wish from populated planets appears to be the normal practice among their people.”
“This is your reason for withdrawing from the colonies,” Sarek surmised.
“Yes,” Aiden answered tiredly, “we wished to protect, not abandon them. Unfortunately the Wramuth do not come on a regular schedule, so we could not risk communicating our intentions to the colonies.”
“Regent Aiden,” Spock said, “when the Wramuth have what they wish, do they withdraw from the system for a time?”
“Yes,” he answered. “At least we always believed it to be so. However, if they have the ability to cloak their vessels, I am no longer certain of this fact.”
Sarek looked thoughtfully at the screen. “I would surmise that they do indeed withdraw,” he said, “or they would have detected our own activity in this sector.”
“This information should be brought to the captain’s attention,” Spock said. “We must not reveal our existence or that of the colonies.”
Sarek nodded. “Of course,” he said, then addressed the screen. “Regent, I will discuss with Captain Kirk the possibility of assisting with your ore processing. If the Wramuth can be satisfied they may return your people and buy us time to formulate a more permanent solution.”
“Thank you,” the regent said sincerely. “After the collapse of the Great Hall, ore production was naturally given less importance. Your assistance in this may be instrumental in saving our lost people.”
“We will speak again soon,” Sarek said. “Are you certain this is a secure means of communication?”
“Yes,” Aiden answered. “We are using a scrambled signal embedded on existing radio waves. We have used this method before without detection.” He sighed tiredly and shook his head again. “I’m afraid Artemis and Taini are too far away for this method or we might have explained our withdrawal.”
“The Enterprise has the means to communicate at this distance,” Spock said. “If you wish to have a conference with the colony leaders, we can arrange it.”
Aiden looked up hopefully. “Yes, thank you!” he said with relief. “When the Wramuth have withdrawn, I would very much like to arrange such a conference.”
“Very good,” Sarek said. “Then let us proceed with our plans. We will contact you soon with the captain’s decision.”
“Thank you, again,” the regent answered. “From all of Derilia.”
As the communications ended, Sarek turned to Spock. “Call Captain Kirk,” he said. “We have much to discuss.”