The large meeting room at Starfleet Headquarters had all but emptied and Spock was more than ready to leave. His travelling companion had managed to find real alcohol from somewhere and also some people to help him drink the stuff. His deep baritone voice could be heard murdering the old earth ballad "Danny Boy" somewhere over in the corner.
Spock had sat patiently through all the speeches and tributes including one by his old friend Admiral Joshua Landsbury in which the he told the assembly of how the doctor had once saved his life.
Apparently the Admiral had inadvertently gotten between two Klingons involved in a blood feud and come away with a Klingon dagger imbedded in his chest. When Landsbury had complained to McCoy later that he would have a scar, McCoy had quipped "I'm a doctor not a seamstress". As the room erupted into gales of laughter, Spock recalled other such comments made by the doctor over the years and sighed.
He had often found the doctor's sense of humour irritating but had recently discovered that he had missed his dry wit. Amidst the inappropriately merry throng, Spock suddenly felt very alone. As the doctor had been infuriatingly human, Spock could not even return the favour McCoy had once done for him. He could not carry his Katra to the Hall of Ancient Thought.
Perhaps the people around Spock looked at him and assumed, as they did of other Vulcans, that he had no feelings. He sighed again. I am a Vulcan, not a machine. McCoy would appreciate the humour in that statement he thought sadly.
He paid his condolences to McCoys' family and numerous friends, joined in the toasts and made one or two of his own. Now most of the assembled Brass had left.
Spock had been gratified to see Admiral Landsbury again. 70 years ago, Cadet Joshua Landsbury had received his first Academy posting as a diplomatic aide to the Klingon Embassy, and there he had met Ambassador Spock. Over the years, they had become friends. The Admiral was one of the few members of Starfleet who knew of Spock's mission to Rihannsu. Jean-Luc Picard was another.
Spock wondered why Picard was not present at the Memorial Service. According to Landsbury, after the destruction of his ship, the Captain was granted shore leave, which he had taken on Earth. And knowing that Spock was in a position to be at the service, it was logical to assume that he would also attend. Perhaps he had seen enough death recently.Spock made his way over to the singers and cleared his throat loudly to get Scott's attention. "Spock - jump in any time"
"I regret that I must leave Mr Scott. I have managed to arrange transport on the Federation Medical Supply ship - Alexander Fleming. It leaves orbit in 48 minutes for Vulcan. It has been most agreeable to see you again"
"Leaving are ye? That is a great pity. We were just about to sing "I'll take you home again Kathleen."
Spock's face took on a far away pained look, "I cannot listen to that particular piece without remembering it sung quite badly by Lieutenant Kevin Riley."
"God almighty Spock that's right. I remember it well - what a time we had getting the bugger out o my engine room. Everyone was coming doon with some strange virus or the like but I didn't have the time - I was too busy with savin' ma engines. Do ye remember it Spock?"
"Indeed I do. That particular episode raised some serious questions for me that I had never considered before. It was a most illuminating time."
"Aye Well tis sorry I am tae see you go Spock. I often feel verra, verra lonely in this time period. Will we ever meet up again, you and I?"
"It is a very small Universe Mr Scott. I have no doubt that we shall. Live long and prosper."
Spock raised his hand in the Vulcan formal salute but Scotty shook his head. Before Spock could guess what the engineer had in mind, he was being pulled into a gentle bear-hug. Somehow the physical closeness did not repel Spock as it often had in the past. He allowed his barriers down enough to sense his friends' sorrow and loneliness and clumsily hugged him back.
It was Scott that broke the embrace first. "Sorry Spock - I shouldna hae done that. Even after all these years I sometimes forget."
Spock held out his hand, and automatically the engineer took it. " There can be no insult taken where none is meant - and you are, after all, my friend."
With that he turned on his heel and strode out of the hall, taking care not to look back.
Later that evening, Spock found that the contemplative mood he had fallen into would not leave him. Once installed into his VIP quarters on board the Fleming, he allowed himself to reflect on things.
So much had happened to him recently that he could barely credit it. The past 3 years, he had spent living entirely on Rihannsu. Somewhat surprisingly, the Vulcan had come to regard it as home. He doubted that he could make a permanent home on Vulcan now, especially if the Vulcan High Council remained closed on the matter of Unification. No matter how eloquently Spock had argued the logic of it, he was really no further forward. Eventually, he would be duty bound to return to Rihannsu even if it mean his death.
Then there was his marriage to Seleya and the birth of his son 38 Standard years ago. For some inexplicable reason, Spock had kept this aspect of his life a closely guarded secret, even from Picard. Now he tried to analyse his decision.
His meeting with Seleya in the office of Senator Pardeck, had been a revelation to Spock. Apart from the very real danger that his cover was blown, there had been the realisation that the long suppressed feelings he had for the woman were still very much alive. She had been standing with her back to him when he entered the room but somehow he had known her right away. Not once had he imagined that their paths would cross. The fact that she was here was a tribute to her tenacity - it would have taken an extraordinary woman to survive the punishment inflicted on her by the Empire after that sorry business of the cloaking device, and yet survived she had.
Spock realised that he had made what would probably be a fatal error of judgement. Then she had turned and seen him. The shock of recognition was apparent in her face but she had covered it well. The Senator was talking and Spock became aware that he had missed the first part of the conversation.
No matter, it was all academic now. She would expose him for who and what he was, and that would be an end to him. The Senator would not protect him and Spock would not expect him to. It was always understood that if Spock should be discovered, he was on his own. But she said nothing. He saw a fire in her eyes and wondered if it was hatred that burned there.
They were introduced and shook hands formally, although Spock still remembered vividly the current of electricity that shot through his body at the touch of her hand. He had betrayed her all those years ago. It had always been his intention and yet he had not bargained for his complex feeling for her. And when the moment came to stand with his Captain, Spock had almost rebelled against the only choice he could have made in all logic. But she would not have had him, knowing the truth about his motives. He could not have blamed her for hating him. And yet she said nothing.
Later that evening, after the formal dinner served at the Senator's home she had sought him out. They had wandered casually into the moonlit gardens and stopped by a rippling waterfall. She had turned to him with those huge brown eyes and said simply, "What are you here to steal this time Mr Spock? Surely there can be nothing in this Empire that you could possibly want?"
Spock sighed deeply and shocked himself by saying, "You are wrong"
She quickly turned away from him towards the waterfall.
"Seleya, -please believe me - I never wanted to hurt you"
"I do not grant you the right to use my given name."
"You did once"
"And you betrayed me. I will not bore you with the details of my life since then. It has taken many years to get back any semblance of respectability within the Empire. I should be a Fleet Commander by now instead of working as an aide to a Senator. But no matter. That is the past. What interests me now is what to do with this information. There were many years when I dreamed of exacting my revenge upon you Spock. Now I finally have the opportunity. What would you have me do? Shall I allow you the Romulan Right of Statement before I reveal you Spock? Or would that be foolhardy?"
Spock reached for her shoulders twisting her around to face him. It had been his intention to let go but now he found he could not. His anger was rapidly being replaced by another emotion.
"Let me go."
"There is something you should know. I had been a Starfleet Officer for 20 years and never in all that time had I come as close to mutiny as I did on that day. Did you honestly believe that I had no feeling for you Seleya? That I have none now?"
They were both breathing rapidly. Slowly he had pulled her closer so that now she was pressed against the length of him. His eyes burned, his skin burned. Any moment now he would surely burst into flames.
"What I believed was that you must be a monster Spock and I was right. Here you are again deep within my Empire, using your talent for espionage to what ends I do not know - yet. But I will Spock, I will know the truth this time."
Spock heard none of this. He could no longer hear anything but the beating of his own heart or feel anything but the heat of her body pressed so closely to his own. His hand slid from its vice-like grip on her shoulder up her neck and buried itself deep within her hair. He felt her gasp against his lips as he claimed hers in a white-hot searing kiss that left them both shaken and breathless.
"Tell me you feel nothing for me Seleya and I will walk away now....Tell me......"
She pushed ineffectively at his shoulders, trying to twist away from those dark, fiery eyes. "I hate you Spock - that is what I feel for you. I hate...."
The end of the sentence was lost to the burning heat of his lips on hers once again. This time she did not fight. He felt the resistance leave her as her body became limp and pliable in his arms. She slid her hands into his hair and matched his passion with her own.
Many moments later he tore himself from her with an almost physical wince of pain. " Madness. Why do you have this effect on me? I am a Vulcan, trained to repress emotions, and yet I have no control where you are concerned. I cannot allow this to happen"
She clutched the low wall in front of her and shook her head. "I told you that I hated you Spock. That was true, I hated you and your dammed Captain Kirk and all of your Starfleet Officer friends. I hated them for being more important to you than I was. Ours was a brief affair but one that affected me more deeply than any I had had before or have had since. Of course my heart was never truly involved before. But being in love with you will not stop me from avenging myself on you."
Spock sat down heavily on the small wall surrounding the pool of sparkling water. She loved him? Long ago he had no experience of that emotion and could not have recognised it in himself. He had been through so much since then and had learned so many things over the years, about himself and the people around him. He had learned that love was not a weakness, but a great strength. It was what he had shared with this woman all those years ago and not even known its name.
"Love is not a concept that Vulcans claim to understand, Seleya. We even try to deny its existence, but I cannot deny it. I feel it burn in my very soul. If that makes me less of a Vulcan then so be it"
His words sounded so bleak that she took a hesitant step towards him, her hand raised as if to touch him. But then she stopped and let the hand drop away.
"Why must you do this to me Spock - I must know the truth. Why have you come here?"
Spock rested his elbows on his kneed and steepled his fingers. There was nothing to be lost in telling the truth now. "There is a growing need amongst both the Vulcan and Romulan peoples for re-unification. I am here to begin the process"
"Re-unification? It will not happen in my lifetime."
"On the contrary Spock, I would welcome my Vulcan siblings with open arms, but I know many who would not. People who matter in the Empire. Very powerful people. If this is truly what you are here for Spock, I fear you will leave this planet empty handed."
"Or I will not leave this planet at all." He stood slowly and reached for her pulling her into an almost tender embrace, "My fate is very much in your hands Seleya. What will you do with me?."
She smiled slyly at him. "Firstly we must leave the party without causing a scandal. Then........."
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