Pairings: Kirk/Spock, Stonn/T'Pring, past Spock/T'Pring, Spock-T'Pring friendship
Word Count: ~23,000
Beta: all hail notboldly, with thanks to the incomparable sweetestdrain for organizational input.
Disclaimer: Under no circumstances am I affiliated with Star Trek or anyone who owns Star Trek. No money made, no offense or copyright infringement intended.
Summary: When Stonn goes into pon farr, T'Pring must break her bond with Spock, which has unforeseen consequences. But that's not where their story starts.
Author's note: Written for the 2011 startrekbigbang. Heaps of thanks to notboldly and sweetestdrain, who had to listen to my whining for months (months!), and never once told me to shut my piehole. Thanks also to maggie2mw, who made lovely art, and pearlstar178, who made an awesome mix. Thanks so much!
Author's note the Second: Full disclosure: I developed a crush on Stonn while writing this. Who knew?
"Time flies on restless pinions - constant never." - Friedrich Schiller
In a cluster behind his father’s house there grew a variety of cacti – knobby, oblong, stout, singular and multiples – all spiny and uninviting. But on one of them, a delicate flower bloomed in a spill of magenta. Amid the dull brick hue of the sands and the dry, sun-fried shades of cactus green, the blossom was a shock of vivid color, stimulating and electrifying. Sometimes, when his mother was preoccupied by a conference call or tending to a student, Spock was able to slip off the grounds to admire it. When he touched the petals, his fingertips tingled at the softness. When one would wither and drop, he stilled the illogical ache in his chest, for surely there would be another one more beautiful to take its place.
When he found out he was to be betrothed following the successful completion of his kahs-wan, Spock knew there was only one token of his esteem that would be good enough to offer when he met she who would become his wife. Her name was T’Pring, and she seemed spun from fine porcelain, a gossamer spirit with wide dark eyes, and she looked at his cast with unveiled curiosity. Before the elders linked their minds, Spock held out the clipped flower to her with his uninjured arm. Silently she took it from his hand, and where her fingertips brushed his palm there was a spark of recognition.
When they reached adolescence and began attending Shi’khar Academy together, Spock brought T’Pring a flower once a week, and she would allow him the privilege of arranging it in her ornate hair. All who saw her knew she belonged to him, and quietly, privately, he was proud.
Sand and silt: Uzh-Ah’rak was rich with it. It was a damper planet than Vulcan Past, more humid than the northern provinces, where T’Pring had been born, and the moisture stifled her, stopped up her breath. Such a thought was illogical, she knew; certain places on Vulcan Past had been as humid, and Vulcans there had thrived as well as those from the flatlands and the mountains. They had been two years on Uzh-Ah’rak and still T’Pring bristled at all this damp, the way her skin stuck, the way her hair misbehaved. But she took care to remind herself that the body was of no consequence — she was here because of her mind, her expertise in the telepathic arts, and her obligation to her people to put that expertise to work in rebuilding their society.
And because of Stonn.
His sand, his silt. When they had first arrived here six and a half Uzh-Ah’rak months after the initial settlement, after too long spent in refugee camps on Earth of all places, T’Pring had watched Stonn exit the shuttle and drop to his knees to inspect the quality of the soil. He pushed his hands into it, rubbed it between his fingers, into his palms. Nothing existed for him in that moment outside of the sand he held in his hands, the loam underneath. By the light of Uzh-Ah’rak’s blazing afternoon sun, she could see the muscles of his back shift and work through the fabric of his tunic; she had to avert her gaze and calm her racing heart. When finally he stood, he was filthy, dust and clay on his trousers, his tunic, his face, his hair, his hands, and T’Pring’s breath caught in her throat. He looked as he once had, as a working artist on Vulcan Past, in the life they had shared in contentment. It had been but half a standard year, and a lifetime.
He had stood and T’Pring had watched him become part of the landscape of Uzh-Ah’rak, free of the dark weight of the past several months. Stonn, she knew, had found his place, and she with him. He held out his hand.
Now T’Pring returned to their modest house in the city center. She required meditation to order her own mind after ten hours spent counseling others, but when she walked through the door, she found glass and sand strewn at her feet. She paused in the entryway and listened.
From Stonn’s workroom in the back came the sound of heavy sculptures being thrown to the walls, to the floor. Crashes, snarled curses — words T’Pring had never heard Stonn utter. She squared her shoulders and took careful, deliberate steps through the debris. When she reached the door to his workspace, she rapped in hard, percussive strikes.
The crashing and cursing stopped. There was a heavy silence as T’Pring waited straight-backed outside the door.
When he finally opened it, Stonn was somehow pale and flushed at once, sweating, and he visibly steeled himself against the penetrative quality of her gaze. His mouth was a thin, hard line, colorless.
“Ko-eik-te’krusu,” he said. “Greetings. I trust your workday was satisfactory?”
“It was as expected,” T’Pring replied. She arched her brow. “Perhaps yours was less so.”
Stonn stiffened but stood silently before her, fists clenching at his sides. She raised her hand and rested her fingertips against his temple. He closed his eyes.
“I will make the arrangements as quickly as possible,” she said. “Go rest in the bedroom.”
Before she could turn away, he caught her hand in his, turned her palm up and pressed it into his face.
When T’Pring was twelve, she was sent to her grandmother’s house for one week during the school year. It was as far as one could get from Shi’kahr before crossing over into the next province, and Grandmother bred sehlats, who smelled like the wild beasts they were. The entire ordeal had been inconvenient, and when she returned, she told her mother so.
“I must never be taken so far from school again,” she said. “It was an hour’s drive by air car, and I am simply not willing to spare the study time.”
T’Kafna paused in her lesson planning and leveled a finely sculpted eyebrow at her. “Do not presume to dictate the choices I make in running this household, daughter,” she said. T’Pring, rarely rebuked, felt her heart give a wholly unexplainable thud in her side. She slid into a chair beside T’Kafna and twisted her hands in her lap. T’Kafna glanced at her and gave a short huff of exhalation. “Do not fidget,” she said. T’Pring forced calm into her limbs.
Finally her mother set her padd down and turned to face her. She pulled T’Pring’s chair closer to her own and met her gaze.
“Perhaps you are old enough now,” she said, “to learn the way of things. The price of a Vulcan man. The pride of a Vulcan woman.” T’Kafna stood and moved to the doorway, where she pressed the intercom and called for tea. She sat back down in front of T’Pring, and they were silent until their housekeeper, Tolksar, brought the tea and nutritional refreshments. When he left, T’Kafna look a long draw from her cup and seemed to contemplate T’Pring’s nose.
“Mother?” T’Pring prompted. She knew it was not her place to order her mother about, but she had assignments to do, and if her mother was merely going to stare at her, then she could do it in another room, while T’Pring did her schoolwork.
But T’Kafna drew herself up to her full, stately height, for all that she was sitting down. T’Kafna was a fierce woman, logical in the extreme, and so beautiful. In secret, T’Pring hoped that she would someday be like her.
“Do you know why the old families practice the tradition of bonding their children upon completion of the kahs-wan, daughter?”
T’Pring answered immediately. “To strengthen the ties between clans with an honorable marriage.”
T’Kafna made a low humming sound that T’Pring could not decipher as agreement or disapproval or something else. But she knew she was correct, she knew. She had been taught the words since her own bonding four years earlier, and they came to her now by rote.
“That is what children are taught, yes,” T’Kafna said. “But the truth is something less—” She waved her hand. “—sanitized. I often question the wisdom of keeping such things secret, but it is not my place to question the foundations of our society, do you understand?”
T’Pring sat up straighter. “What is the truth then, Mother?”
T’Kafna set her teacup down. “The truth is, T’Pring, that Vulcans, despite what the elders may tell you, are creatures of flesh, of blood, of heart and spirit. We are bound by our bodies though our minds are our treasures, and that should not be a source of shame. When we forge our bonds, we do it for logic; when we live our bonds, we do it for the enrichment of our existences. Do you understand?”
T’Pring swallowed. She did not understand. More, she did not like not understanding. Confusion was a foreign state of mind, and she was blind, deaf, dumb. “No, Mother,” she said, voice small.
“I am being unclear,” T’Kafna said with a sharp shake of her head. “I apologize. Let me be plain: T’Pring, I speak of intimacy, both of the mind and of the body. Successful bonded pairs share a mental accord deeper and more… personal than those shared with family. It is a true understanding of another being, and, because our bodies exist and to deny it would be the height of illogic and farce, such an understanding manifests itself in a sharing of the physical. To be close to one’s bondmate in mind and body both is a gift, my daughter.”
T’Kafna fell silent and T’Pring turned her explanation over and over in her mind, as well as what prompted the conversation in the first place. She could come to only one conclusion, but she was not certain she should say such a thing to her mother. However, courage was a virtue lauded since the earliest days of Vulcan civilization, and T’Pring drew all of hers around herself like a shield.
“You… sent me away so you could copulate with Father?”
T’Kafna’s face did something bizarre, just then — her brown eyes crinkled, and her mouth curved very slightly upward. T’Pring thought her mother might not be well and panic threatened to seize her.
“T’Pring, I need not send you away to do that.” She poured more tea into T’Pring’s cup, already over-full, and pushed it at her. “There is more — pon farr. Have your age mates discussed these words with you?”
Cautiously, T’Pring nodded and blew on her tea.
“And what did they say?”
T’Pring took a breath. “Wild, illogical things, Mother. They bear no repeating.”
T”Kafna gave her look as if unimpressed. “You would do well, daughter, to recall that I too was once young, and privy to the scintillating conversations of pubescent children.”
T’Pring shifted in her seat, rolled her shoulders. “Skoltek said — he said that once every century, Vulcan males lose hold of their logic and rampage through the streets, raping sehlats.”
T’Kafna merely nodded. “And what else?”
“T’Kander said she saw a pon farr once, and it looked like the offspring of a wild Vulcan and a le-matya, and it howled at T’Khut.”
“And… and Valek said her grandfather perished because of one.”
T’Kafna sagged back into her chair. She cast her eyes away from T’Pring, studied the opposite wall. She cupped her hands around her tea.
“That, my daughter, is precisely why we practice traditional bondings. So that when the Time of Mating, pon farr, comes upon them, Vulcan males do not succumb to the blood fever and meet death in its flames. The first pon farr is unpredictable — it could occur as early as seventeen and as late as forty. That is why it is important to have a mental link with a compatible mind before the commencement of the marriage: so the bondmate can keep her wits and do what must be done before a senseless death takes place. A bondmate’s duties during pon farr are to submit, to placate, to offer comfort and succor while the male is in need.” Here she turned to T’Pring and pinned her to the chair with her gaze. “This is an honor, daughter. This is what passes between bondmates, a true fire. It is a time when all is laid bare. You should not fear this time, despite your mate’s lack of logic, and despite what others may say. This is when you will be closest to him, as close as it is possible to be, and that is…indescribable. Mine may not be the prevailing wisdom on the subject, but… daughter, I have had a successful bonding. I lead a life of contentment with my chosen and our children. I would not change this.”
T’Pring thought of her bondmate, Spock. Half-human, a year younger than T’Pring herself, slightly round and more than slightly small for his age. They had reached a comfortable accord and exchanged letters on a regular basis detailing their academic interests. They would attend secondary school together in the near future, and she anticipated an increase in time spent with him socially. She wondered if she, too, would be pleased and honored to serve him in his Time. But her mother kept speaking, so she cast off the unsettling thoughts of Spock, older, taller, stronger, with dark eyes that flashed, dangerous.
“Pon farr occurs approximately once every seven years,” T’Kafna was saying. “It lasts between three and six days. You will recall, T’Pring, that when you were five, you stayed with Grandmother as well. You took pleasure in tending the sehlats, then.”
T’Pring found she could not look at her mother. She burned her mouth on tea. T’Kafna’s chair dragged across the floor, a terrible grating sound, and T’Pring felt her mother’s hand smooth over her hair, and then she was alone with the truth.
T’Kafna, of course, was dead now. T’Pring looked in the mirror and could not find traces of her mother in the lines of her nose, her jaw, her brows. She favored her father in looks and always had, but now, almost twenty years after her mother first told her about pon farr, she imagined that she was her mother’s daughter more than ever. Stonn’s Time would not be a burden for her. She would touch him, with her mind, with her hands, with her mouth. She would cherish him.
She cleansed herself thoroughly using the mildest of scentless soaps, washed the product from her hair, from under her arms, from her face. She groomed her brows, her pubic hair. She brushed her teeth, she cleaned inside her anus. She blew her hair dry and let it fall about her shoulders like a wanton woman, like someone of no status. Her stomach was flat, her hips gently flared, her breasts full and well-shaped. In the mirror she appeared healthy, shimmering even, and she felt a spark of — yes, pride. She did not bury it.
T’Pring put on a simple tunic and peeked inside the bedroom. Stonn lay curled in the bed, muscles tense even in sleep. He had need of her, and urgently. She closed the door and went into her office. There was just one more thing to put to rest before she could bond with her chosen.
“Knock knock,” came Jim’s voice. Redundantly, since he was already inside Spock’s quarters, sticking his head into the office space where Spock sat doing his paperwork. Spock looked up at the smiling face.
“Jim,” he said. “Come in.”
Jim entered properly, but instead of taking a seat across the work table, he leaned against the wall and crossed his arms.
“Tell me what I saw on that shore leave schedule isn’t true.”
Spock suppressed a sigh and set his padd down. He leaned back in his chair and regarded Jim with steady resolve.
“I have no pressing needs on a pleasure planet. I require minimal rest, which I can achieve more expediently and more efficiently through meditation in my own quarters, and my presence on the duty roster means that other crew members may take extra time as deserved.”
Jim came over and clapped Spock on the back.
“Always taking one for the team, aren’t you, First Officer?” Shaking his head, he finally took the seat opposite Spock. “And come on, you’re thinking about it all wrong. A spot of R & R isn’t about ‘expediency’ and ‘efficiency,’ for Christ’s sake. That’s like… the opposite of rest and relaxation.” Jim stretched his legs out and crossed them at the ankle. He linked his hands and braced his head in the palms as he slouched back in the chair. Frankly, it looked uncomfortable.
“It is my choice, Jim.”
Abruptly Jim’s posture snapped forward such that his feet were planted flat on the deck, elbows on knees, body draped across the table. Blue eyes took up all the space in Spock’s line of vision.
“Come on, Spock,” he said. “Who will I go joyriding with in the undeveloped outlands? Who will come with me to all the nerd sites? Who will I force to eat increasingly weird native meals with me?”
Spock knew he had a weakness for those eyes. What’s more, Spock believed that Jim knew he had a weakness for those eyes, though he was reasonably sure that Jim was not aware of the nature of that weakness. Jim simply thought everyone could be swayed by a big-eyed, pleading look from James T. Kirk — even Vulcans.
It occurred to Spock that Jim was leaving out something very specific and very important from his list of Things To Do With Spock On Shore Leave: Who will I torment while I pick up an alien female to entertain with the pleasures of my body, which you will never know? At first, Spock thought Jim was being malicious, cruel even, to mock Spock’s regard so, but as time went on, Spock came to the rather comforting conclusion that Jim was simply oblivious, both to Spock’s affections and to how his behavior wounded him. So Spock did his level best to set aside his esteem, and to remind himself that he was not free to accept affection even in the unlikely event that Jim should wish to bestow it upon him. Thus they had not shared shore leave for two cycles, and they would not share this one either.
“Surely Dr. McCoy can be prised from Ms. Chapel’s side for a few activities.”
Jim made a dismissive puff sound and waved his hand. “Bones. First of all, hates air cars; secondly, only ever wants to go see museums of medical oddities if he’s doing museums at all, and ew; thirdly, and most importantly, no, you can’t tear those two away from each other. It’s…” He rotated his wrist in the air trying to find the right words even as he pursed his lips and furrowed his brow in a sour expression of distaste.
“Tedious,” Spock supplied. Jim’s gaze cut to him.
“Yeah,” Jim murmured, hand dropping to the table. “Yeah, that’s exactly it.”
Spock swallowed. “I’m sure you will find suitably stimulating company on-planet. I will remain on the Enterprise.”
The corner of Jim’s eyes drooped infinitesimally and his expression tightened. He drew his hand back and straightened in his chair.
“Yeah. All right, Spock. Maybe next time?”
No, never again. “Perhaps.”
“Right.” Jim stood. “Well, I guess I’ll get going. Unless you’re up for a chess match?”
“I have a great deal of paperwork to complete tonight, Jim.”
Jim nodded and moved to leave. At the partition, he paused and turned back to Spock. He seemed to hesitate, but timidity had never been something he was accused of.
“What happened to us, Spock?” he asked. “You used to come on shore leave with me. You used to play chess with me whenever. We used to… hang out. Did I do something?”
The only thing Jim was guilty of was being himself, and Spock could not hold that against him. Even if doing so were not the height of illogic, he found he had no wish to fault Jim for being as he was. Jim simply was as Spock had come to admire him: brash, arrogant, flirtatious, exuberant. Intelligent, strong, vulnerable, accepting—
“No, Jim, of course not. You’re — wonderful.” As soon as it was out of his mouth, Spock wished he could bite it back. These were not words bandied about in the bonds of typical human male friendship as he had come to observe them. Men were often rough with each other, using affectionate insults to express their esteem if they expressed it at all. Spock felt his eyes go wide in a moment’s loss of control.
But Jim didn’t seem to notice. He just cracked a crooked smile that didn’t reach his eyes and said, “Wonderful, huh? So it’s not me, it’s you?” Spock frowned and cocked his head. Jim waved his hand again. “Never mind. I think you’re great, too, Spock. I’ll see you for alpha.”
Spock watched him leave and a heavy sensation came over his chest. He let himself take in a moment’s blankness, his mind emptying as he exhaled. Then he took up his padds again and got back to work.
Spock’s communicator trilled at his desk. “Uhura to Spock, come in Commander Spock,” came the familiar intonation.
Spock slapped the comm button. “Spock here.”
“Commander, there’s a transmission from New Vulcan for you, marked ‘personal.’”
“Patch it through, Lieutenant.”
Spock sat down in the chair as his view screen flickered, and a point of light expanded until a face filled the screen. It was T’Pring’s face, somehow impassive and imperious at once. At the sight of her hair down, Spock had to calm the uptick beat in his heart.
“Spock,” T’Pring said. “I hope this finds you well.”
Spock inclined his head. “I am functional. What is the purpose of your communication?”
“I call as a courtesy in acknowledgement of what we once shared,” she said. Spock remembered afternoons spent in study, fleeting touches, and, once, a communion of their bodies and minds, a scant few hours when he had felt so close to another being that a cautious contentment had bloomed in his chest for the first time. The next day, a broad-shouldered young man with calluses on his hands named Stonn transferred to their school from a southern province, and T’Pring had been lost to him. Now, though light-years separated them, she managed to tear his measure of peace away again when she said, “Stonn has entered his time, and I intend to bond with him. The connection between us, Spock, will necessarily be severed.”
“I see,” Spock said. He was suddenly very aware of the touch of T’Pring’s mind in his – warm and steady and unobtrusive, like a heartbeat. Though he was often unaware of it on a conscious level, its absence would be… disconcerting. “I wish you both peace and long life.” As he moved to cut the transmission and collect himself, T’Pring cocked her head in a familiar gesture he had come to be fond of, in a different time. He paused and raised an eyebrow in question.
“I am aware that my actions are detrimental to your wellbeing, Spock,” she said. “I find it necessary to apologize.”
“Kaadith. I have known that this day would come, and I am functional.”
“And yet you mourn.”
Spock suppressed the flare of irritation that threatened to eclipse his calm. “You were promised to me,” he said, containing the illogical urge to thump his chest with a fist.
T’Pring straightened her spine and hardened her mouth. “In an archaic ritual used in ancient times to subjugate the female of our species, and which existed on Vulcan Past only amongst the oldest families, mired in tradition. It is a new era, a new planet. No, Spock, I belong to no one but myself, and for me, Stonn is the only rational choice.”
She said “rational choice” as if Stonn were the manifestation of a perfectly ordered list of what is desirable in a mate, yet Spock had been uncomfortably aware of the light in her eyes when she beheld Stonn in those final months before Spock had left Vulcan. That fire had had precious little to do with rationality.
Spock thought then, unbidden, of his captain, whose esteem shone light into Spock’s austere existence. Whose smiles and small touches were the high points of any given day Spock spent in his presence, and whose absence from his life now was a barren desolation, even when Spock engineered those absences himself. Spock would never enjoy his intimate company for innumerable reasons, T’Pring being the first, and Spock’s decided masculinity being the second. Spock pushed down a bitterness at the irony of his convenient reason number one removing herself from his list and following the inexorable path of her heart while Spock could do no such thing.
“In lieu of apology, I ask of you one thing only,” he said.
“Proceed,” T’Pring said with a stiff nod.
“I ask that you acknowledge that you follow not logic in this decision, but the caprices of your emotions. You… care for Stonn, and your preference for him over me is rooted in that affection.”
T’Pring watched him silently through the viewer. The bond between them hummed and throbbed. It stung like an overstretched muscle.
“You and I are not suited, Spock,” she said at last. “I knew it from the only time I slipped into your half-human mind. You are not suited to any Vulcan.”
Spock, who had heard enough of such words and their variations to last him a lifetime, still felt bile roll in his gullet at their utterance. And from T’Pring, they were doubly painful — she had never said such a thing to him before. She had, in fact, deliberately avoided such talk in the past, and shielded him from the talk of others. He let nothing on his face betray the fact that he felt those words like a physical blow.
“Nevertheless,” T’Pring went on, “it would be disingenuous to insist that Stonn and I do not share a mutual affinity. When I am with him, contentment suffuses my being. Does it satisfy you to hear as such?”
Anger and resentment drained from him like so much rainwater. He could neither keep his bitterness lashed nor cultivate it anew. It was gone, and in its place was a lonely sterility and just a dash of jealousy. His hand hovered over the disconnect button.
“Then I do not wish you contentment,” Spock said. “I wish for you a full measure of happiness, and the courage to allow it free rein during private moments with your chosen. Live long and prosper, T’Pring.”
He disconnected and sat staring into the empty viewer for a long time. When he felt something living and raw crack and then snap along the tender edges of his mind, he rose, stripped, commanded the lights down, and curled into his bunk several hours before his usual resting period. He covered his face with his hands and tried to calm the tremors before he fell into a fitful sleep.
T’Pring was uncharacteristically silent as they made their usual way back to the House of Sarek after school on a torpid mid-year day. Spock was content to be in the company of his intended though they shared no conversation. Once in a while, he felt her cast a speculative gaze at him, but hers was a consideration he did not object to.
When they arrived, they greeted Spock’s mother and made their way to his wing of the house. Spock took his usual seat in his study and began to arrange his textbooks in the order in which he intended to work from them, but T’Pring did not do the same. He felt her move up beside him and he looked up with an arch in his brow.
“Did you forget one of your school books?” he asked. She was close enough that he felt the heat of her on his side. He could smell the fragrant blossom he’d put in her hair that morning.
“T’Biran asked me an impertinent question during the midday meal.”
Spock cocked his head. He had grown accustomed to tucking away the small hurts, the taunts from his peers for which he could find no logic, but T’Pring, who benefitted from her family’s status as well as her own ethereal desirability, was rarely subjected to such harassment, and thus was less prepared when confronted with them. As they neared the end of their secondary education, she seemed to bear more and more the brunt of their classmates’ prejudice against Spock.
“Cast it from your mind,” he told her. “T’Biran is known to speak and act without care to logic. She should not trouble you.”
T’Pring pulled a chair over to sit beside him. She placed her hand near his on top of his physics book, their fingertips mere millimeters apart. Spock’s lips parted.
“It is not she who troubles me,” she said. “She is low-born and beneath my notice. Yet her query has merit, and I find I must assuage my own curiosity on the subject.”
Spock curled his fingers into a loose fist and drew away from the temptation of T’Pring’s. He straightened around his wariness.
“I assume you bring this to my attention because it pertains to me.”
T’Pring hesitated, but placed her hand over Spock’s. “It is expected of those who share marriage links to engage in copulation, is it not, Spock?”
Spock felt his eyes widen, but T’Pring’s face remained impassive. “I suppose,” he said.
“Why have you not sought my favor for coitus? Is it because your genitals resemble those of a human male?”
Spock pulled his hand away and turned back toward the table. He fixed his gaze on his books.
“That is quite personal.”
“Am I not your intended bondmate?” T’Pring asked. “Your companion and confidante? Have I not stood at your side, unwavering when our classmates mounted their verbal attacks?”
She reached her hand out again and this time laid it on his chest. Helplessly he cleaved to her touch, pressed down upon it with his own hand. He tangled their fingers and heard the hitch of her breath.
“Do I not deserve to know, sa-telsu?” Her voice was soft and even.
Spock forced himself to meet her eyes. Through their contact he could feel her turmoil, her resentment, and there, low, a steady thrum of arousal. It was intoxicating.
“I am Vulcan,” he said. “My… genitals are Vulcan.” He felt a convulsive squeeze of her fingers.
“I am not certain that is appropriate.”
T’Pring rubbed his fingers, maddening strokes of expert precision. This much they had done with some frequency, mingling sensation with emotion in the touch of their hands. But on the brink of adulthood, Spock desired more. T’Pring, he could feel, had an answering wish.
“What is more appropriate than two beings promised to one another to share in the physical manifestation of that promise?”
Spock swallowed. He let go of her hand and stood. He calmed his fumbling fingers enough to unbutton his trousers and splay open the flies. He pushed the waistband of his underpants down underneath the folds of his sac. He was halfway to a full erection, and his penis – his Vulcan penis, complete with the covering of hundreds of villi engorged and eagerly waving down his entire length – hung heavy between his legs. T’Pring stared at it from her seated position, pink mouth parted, and then she flicked her eyes up to meet Spock’s.
“May I?” she asked. Spock swallowed again and took in a shaky breath. He nodded once, and T’Pring pressed her hand to the base of the shaft, and with the other she cupped his testicles. A rush of blood sent it surging in her grip, and he was at full proportions, big and weighty, villi quivering, slick head extending from foreskin in keen greeting. “Very Vulcan,” T’Pring murmured, and Spock thought he detected a note of satisfaction. She gave a cautious squeeze, and his villi flared outward to maximize touch. Spock bit back a moan. T’Pring slid in one motion to her knees before him and pressed his backside to the table. “Have you thought of this?” she asked him, her wide eyes a clear and perfect brown.
He blinked down at her. “Have you?”
“Frequently,” she said. “And I have done research, of course.” She steadied his penis in one hand while she stroked his villi with the other. Moisture seeped out from them to ease the passage. Spock willed his knees not to buckle. “I am gratified that you are a proper Vulcan in this.” She closed her hot mouth over the head of his penis and the pleasure so overwhelmed his synapses that Spock could not contemplate the casual offense in her words.
T’Pring explored Spock’s penis with too much caution and a certain lack of poise, but the heat of her mouth and the slick press of her tongue were enough to make Spock’s controls tenuous. He wished to touch her, but he was unsure of what to do with his hands. Finally he settled them in her hair, careful not to dislodge the white flower he’d placed there earlier. She was bobbing up and down with increasing grace when he felt the pressure of orgasm gather at the base of his spine, but it was then that she pulled away. Spock gasped, thwarted, and she stood. Braced against the table as he was, they were eye level, and she pinned him with the intensity of her gaze.
“Touch me,” she said, and she pulled his hands to her breasts over her clothing. She pressed close to his body, and he could feel the heave of her breath against his neck. “Touch me, Spock.”
“T’Pring,” he said, “I—”
“Do you desire me, Spock?” she whispered into his heated skin. “Do you think about our bodies and minds in communion?”
“Yes,” he hissed.
“Then cease your missish hesitation and touch me.” She closed her hands around his and forced him to squeeze her breasts. They just filled his palms, a pleasing weight, and he could feel the hardness of her nipple through her fitted tunic. His exposed penis throbbed, caught between their bodies, and he thrust against T’Pring’s leg mindlessly even as he pushed her tunic up around her armpits. He encountered a flimsy brassiere, barely more than a slip of cloth lashing her breasts to her body, and he pulled the cups down to expose her breasts – creamy and full, tipped with sweet olive nipples – to his sight. She let out a tiny sound, a gasping moan, before she pressed her lips together to smother it.
Spock spun them so he was the one whose body bore hers against the table, and he bent to take one of her nipples into his mouth. T’Pring stifled another moan, but her hand in Spock’s hair twisted and clasped him to her breast. He pushed her onto the table and she spread her legs only to wrap them around his hips and pull him into the juncture of her thighs. He didn’t bother suppressing his grunt when he rutted against her and suckled her breast. Her breath came ragged, and small sounds escaped her throat each time he nicked her nipple with his teeth.
He cupped her firm buttocks with one hand, kneaded the muscle beneath her thin leggings. She writhed beneath him, rocked her hips up to meet the insistent thrusts of his, and again Spock thought he would ejaculate, this time on her smooth, bare stomach, but once again she pushed him away. This time she pressed his shoulders down to encourage him to kneel before her. She shuffled out of her leggings and underwear and spread her legs. Spock’s mouth went dry at the sight of her labia parted like petals, dew glistening from her bright green slit. From underneath a hood of flesh at the top, her clitoral villi trembled delicate and tender over the raw pearl of her clitoris. Her scent intoxicated him, and he tugged at his testicles to keep himself from climaxing.
“Please,” she said, though it sounded more like a demand than a request.
Spock grasped her by her hips to anchor her before he lapped at the moisture that peeked out from within her. She gave a sigh and dropped to her elbows on the table, slinging her legs over his shoulders. She smelled of the succulents that grew near his cacti, and the flavor of her was mild and salty. He set to licking at her hot insides, savoring the viscous fluid that leaked from her, but then her hand was in his hair and she was pulling him up against her body again.
“Does this not please you?” he asked in a voice gone hoarse. The flower had fallen from her hair to the table.
“I assume you will become more skilled with repeated practical application,” she said. “Please stimulate me manually now.”
At the first slide of two of his tingling fingers into T’Pring’s wet, grasping vagina, Spock’s eyes closed and he could feel them cross behind the lids. With his free hand, he pumped at his penis, the spongy little villi springing back up each time his hand passed over them. Spock gave his fingers a shallow thrust, and T’Pring’s right hand came up to rub at her clitoris.
“Curl your fingers,” she told him. He obeyed, rubbing the pads of his fingertips against the anterior wall of her vagina, where he could feel more pliant villi pulse at the attention. T’Pring groaned close-mouthed and her head fell back, eyes closed. Drawing in a breath, Spock began to thrust his fingers into her with more fluid, purposeful motions, and he was sure to drag his fingertips against her inner villi. Her legs closed around him, and she pulled his head down to her breasts again. He moaned around his mouthful while she laid herself on her back and wriggled her single free hand back down to rub quick circles on her clitoris. Her tight channel began to contract around his fingers even as she arched to draw him in further. His breath came heavily and he let go of her hip to begin jerking his penis toward the inevitable end.
T’Pring’s orgasm struck first, and the rush of sensation that passed between their skin sent Spock’s villi flaring into stiff little nubs as he too climaxed, his semen spurting onto T’Pring’s thigh. Spock slumped into his chair and blinked through the haze of climax to take in T’Pring, supine on the table, legs limp and dangling off the edge, glistening with her own fluids and striped with Spock’s, chest heaving for breath. Spock lifted his hand to his nose and inhaled the intimate scent of her. His villi gave a feeble twitch, but then lay sated and quiescent against his length. He tucked himself back into his trousers.
After a moment, T’Pring propped herself up and leveled her gaze at Spock. Her tunic was still rucked up above her breasts.
“That was satisfactory,” she said. “I expect we will become experts at copulation.”
Spock nodded, but he stared at her swollen nipples and longed to feel them on his tongue again. He pulled her into his lap and ignored the zing of her suppressed confusion when he peeled her tunic off. He nestled his face in the fragrant, smooth skin of her chest and held her to himself. Her arms settled around his neck and she patted his hair awkwardly.
She drew back to meet his eyes, and her fingers skimmed his temple.
“May I?” she asked. Spock’s heart flipped. He had not dared to hope for this, for T’Pring to want to touch his mind with her own, to know him to the core. He swallowed and nodded, and when his eyes closed he felt T’Pring enter him like life-giving water.
Joining with T’Pring in the most elemental of ways was like seeing colors for the first time, like paint meeting paint in a dazzling display, like the sun lighting him up from the inside. Her being enveloped him, as his did her, and warmth like a heartbeat raced up his spine and burst into his mind and body both. He could feel her beside himself, and he felt whole, complete. Wonder flooded his senses and distantly, he could feel his limbs clutch T’Pring’s body to his, his mouth suckling at her breast, and then there was a break, a rolling thunder, a rising panic, and T’Pring tore herself away.
Spock gasped and blinked up at her. She was panting, hands shaking, and quickly she turned her back to him to pull her tunic back on.
“We must return to our studies,” she said. She pushed a padd into his hands and sat as far away from him as the table would allow. She did not meet his eyes for the rest of the afternoon.
T’Pring found the mandatory arts program at Shi’Kahr Academy to be illogical and wasteful. Spock, of course, had a track in music and music theory, as he was a lyre player of some natural poise, and music was a respectable form of math. However, that was his choice. T’Pring was a powerful telepath, specializing in linguistics. She had no need to create art of her own, and she had no natural inclination toward art of any sort — she was tone-deaf; her drawings and paintings were rough, disproportionate children’s scratchings; she had no eye for holography; mosaic and collage ended up a chaotic mess in her hands. All that was left to her for the necessary art credit she required for graduation was sand sculpture. Desert born and bred, daughter of Vulcan, T’Pring nonetheless disliked sand and disliked sand sculpture — the churning mixture of sand and silt gritted against her skin, dirtied her body and her clothes no matter how large the smock she donned, stuck beneath her fingernails. But it was halfway through her final semester and she could not drop; she had no options remaining.
She thought of Spock with his lyre, his natural ease, as she entered the sand sculpture studio during a free period and prepared her workspace. Spock had been her one constant companion since they entered the academy together. He had even moved up a year due to his accelerated progress. She had heard many instructors speak of his great intellect, and how he had overcome his unfortunate heritage. She walked tall when they enumerated her bondmate’s many accomplishments; he was betrothed to her, linked for always, and he was a son of the ancient and venerable House of Surak. There was no one in the academy who had a finer future than T’Pring. But more than that, she had believed they shared an accord, their minds attuned, their temperaments matched. She had believed that there could be no more successful match than that of Spock and T’Pring, and she was well satisfied in that.
Then, yesterday afternoon, she had felt that future, that satisfaction, crumble like one of her lopsided sand sculptures.
She had let T’Biran’s words twist something proud inside her into something dark and unclean. She had let the pounding of her blood through her veins get the best of her. And in that weakness she found her undoing: there would be no contentment in a full-fledged bond with Spock. His mind, once she had pushed past the order and the logic into the deepest core of him, was a pulsating miasma of color and sensation, warmth and desire and soft feeling, yearning and ferocity and symphonic noise. Her innards curdled at the touch, the proximity, and T’Pring was made brittle and overwhelmed in the aftermath. She still held Spock in high esteem. She still desired the future she thought they would share. She still wished to sit at the Council of Elders as a head of the House of Surak someday — but to deny reality was the height of illogic, as her mother would say. T’Pring was nothing if not a pragmatic realist. She would meditate and commit herself to logic, and a solution to her dilemma would come to her in time. She would be patient, and in the meanwhile, she would be polite and supportive to her betrothed. He deserved as much.
T’Pring had her block of silt domed and spinning on her wheel, asymmetrical and already threatening to collapse, when the studio doors slid open and someone T’Pring did not know glided in as if he were the proprietor of all he surveyed. He was approximately her age, fair of hair and eye — a Southern origin, then — ganglier even than Spock, but broader about the shoulders, and his overlarge ears stood out perpendicular to his head. He had a pointy chin beneath a pursed, harassed mouth, and he stared at her as if she were the interloper.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“Stonn, son of T’Kelsen,” he replied in his curious accent. Illegitimate as well as presumptuous, with neither the brains nor the shame to hide either. T’Pring was not impressed. “I arrived here today from Shan’Kehn.”
T’Pring turned back to her latest ruin, buried her hands in it as if the final product were of the utmost importance to her.
“Scholarship, I presume,” she said.
The newcomer gathered his materials and took the wheel opposite her. She felt his imprudent gaze settle on her face. She stared intently at her own pile, a shapeless mess.
“The measure of my worth is not in my family name,” he said. The whir of his wheel filled the silence. Then, “Nor is yours.”
“You speak out of turn,” T’Pring snapped. When she looked up, he had already coaxed a cylinder from his silt, the dull red coating his hands up to the wrist. In the cup of his palms he threw sensuous shapes as easily as T’Pring might breathe.
“What is your name, ko-eik-te’krusu?” he asked her softly, barely audible over the hum of his wheel. Empress, he dared to call her. Like a Vulcan queen of old, like an uncivilized beast, slave to her baser natures. T’Pring’s mouth pinched.
“You are not worthy of my acquaintance,” she said.
Those pale eyes lingered, unabashed, on hers. Apparently he did not need to look at his work for it to be the finest she’d ever seen, greater in mere minutes than that which she had seen even her instructor create. She swallowed down the rising of her gullet.
“Who could ever be?”
“You dare to mock me?”
Finally, finally, he dropped his eyes to his work. In seconds the tall, delicate structure was a wide, deep bowl, perfectly symmetrical. One hand inside and the other a supportive brace on the outside, his thumbs crossed over the lip of the bowl like a bird in flight, and the bowl grew beneath his ministrations. His hands were large, the fingers long and sturdy, the palms square. They were rough; he worked with them every day, perhaps on a farm, perhaps in this foul clay.
T’Pring’s structure sagged and fell to the side with a dull thud. She felt her shoulders droop before she drew herself back up. But Stonn had stopped his wheel and as T’Pring gaped, he stepped right over the table that stood between them and planted himself on the edge, his legs open and framing her wheel from the other side. She jerked back when their knees touched.
“Like this, ko-eik-te’krusu.” And with no further warning he placed his hands in the mess and centered it on the wheel, effortlessly transformed it back into a dome. She chanced a glance at his eyes, but they were intent on the silt, and all she could see was the foreign green light of them. “Your hands must be strong and steady, like the resolve I see in your eyes. Support the silt from the bottom up with hands that never waver.” Up, up, the silt went, and then, very carefully, he pulled her right hand — by the wrist, but still dangerously close to impertinence — and pressed it to the base. He dribbled water over it. The other he pulled in the same manner and placed at the top of the structure. “You control the silt,” he said, “by pressing with the left and supporting with the right. Never let the speed of the wheel dictate that which you would see made.”
He was close enough to smell, and he smelled like the desert. T’Pring’s lungs felt too tight.
Stonn returned to his own wheel and they passed the period in silence. When T’Pring finished and made to clean up, on her wheel was a single serviceable bowl.