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Rob Morris

July 30th 2295

He was once told that he spread toxicity with his every movement. So he went insane, and then went away and learned how to spread better feelings. He had even gotten good at it. So good, in fact, that the crew had noticed almost immediately when he shifted into neutral. It was for his own good. Peter Kirk wasn’t a Vulcan, but he had good reason to fear his unrestrained negative emotions.

His cabin was spacious, by any standard except that of his room back in Riverside. He had always maintained his room at the Kirk family farm as though his two brothers would join him at any time. People weren’t supposed to just go away, but they did.

The door chimed.

"They also don’t stay away when they’re supposed to. Come."

That it was her was no surprise. He’d felt something about her since he came on board. Not sparks, or whatever vague term people liked to use. No, this was something of Teresa minus the hormonal overload, and for this he was grateful.

"Something I can do for you, Commander Saavik?"

He knew that time had a way of slipping away. Barely one week ago, she had been in the misguided clutches of an extremely ancient, massively powerful alien being. Consumed by loneliness, its actions had been the final catalyst in the start of a deeper relationship between the two new friends. Yet that week seemed more like a few hours, just as six months seemed more like a mere day.

"It is wholly unlike you to stay away from your duty shift. I became concerned. Should I be?" The door closed, and one level of formality was lifted away. "Peter, I asked you a question."

He sat up, and nodded. "That you did." Was his depression that apparent? He had tried keeping himself well, for appearances sake. But some part of Saavik—perhaps her Romulan side—seemed to sniff out any and all subterfuge.

"I am still waiting." Her patience was not infinite, Peter had learned, during a long game of advanced tri-dimensional chess.

"Two years ago, I stayed on Serenidad. My leave was, shall we say, complicated, by the events surrounding the Gorkon Peace Conference."

Saavik raised an eyebrow. "When one considers all that occurred during your efforts to save Princess Teresa, complicated is almost a euphemistic description."

He looked at her, and wondered anew just why she had to be so very damned pretty. "Indeed. Among the things that happened was...well, I fell in love."

"With Princess Teresa?"

Peter actually chuckled. "Well, yes. But I was more referring to her personal physician, Doctor Calita Iberez. We fell in love, and became engaged to be married."

Saavik visibly started. "I was unaware of your...engagement."

She’s hurt, thought Peter. "Well, there’s nothing to be aware of, at this point. It ended poorly. And even if the events of last December had never come to be, I had my doubts about our ability to make it work. See, her childhood rivaled either of ours in pain. It all seemed to enervate her spirit. It left her—"

When he clammed up, Saavik actually tried finishing for him.

"Weak? Unprepared? Vulnerable, beyond your ability to help? Immature, on some levels?"

At first, Peter felt annoyed. But then, he came to a realization. She was right. "All of the above. God, I hate myself for saying that. know our agreement not to talk of past traumas, unless it became vitally necessary?"

"It is one of the wiser agreements I have entered into during the initial stages of a relationship."

Which in and of itself almost slapped Peter around. But he kept on. "Well, Teresa and I had a similar agreement. Talk alone can’t heal the past. Sometimes, it only opens old wounds for no purpose. But Calita’s childhood...let’s just say she talked of it frequently. It made me feel angry and helpless for her. The one time I tried to help her see that dwelling on a painful subject is just as bad as avoiding it entirely—Teresa had to intervene to keep her from leaving me."

Saavik’s face looked pained. "We cannot force maturity, Peter. Even on those we hold most dear. I learned that with David."

She knows, bless her. She knows exactly what I’m talking about. "I think now that I saw signs of it from the beginning. When I stayed behind at the royal residence to ensure Teresa’s escape from the Kh’myr, Calita turned on me and then begged me not to take those kinds of risks."

"A highly illogical request to make of a Starfleet officer." Before he could respond, she added something more. "But then, love makes fools of us all."

There were times when she was so perfectly Vulcan in his eyes. There were times when she was utterly Romulan as well. But then and there, Saavik looked to Peter very much like another child of the Midwest. Lady Amanda’s aunt, he now fully realized, must have been as great an influence on her as Spock himself.

Feeling so off-center at that moment, Peter knew that finding soft euphemisms meant to talk about, rather than to the truth would be problematic at best. So he laid his best hopes on the emotional control that Saavik definitely had, as formidable as her supposed temper. "You know where I was supposed to be right now? Where I surely thought I’d be, right up to the morning of the Enterprise’s launch, late last year?"

She didn’t respond, of course. Logically, there was no way she could know.

He continued, "I was supposed to be working either at a lab or in the royal security force on Serenidad. Or even if I hadn’t left Starfleet by that point, I was supposed to be trying to contact my wife to celebrate the six-month anniversary of our perfect wedding. The wedding where Uncle Jim danced with his new niece, and where I valiantly stepped in to save a tired Doctor McCoy from his young wife’s appetite for all-night ballroom dancing. January 30th, 2295. A date of huge potential. A date which came and went, a day as any other for me."

Saavik asked the obvious, even if she was still possibly perturbed by news of this former engagement. "Why did the wedding not occur? Was Doctor Iberez killed along with the Princess and her children?"

"No. But she was wholly devastated by their loss. What we two had was often held together by the memory of our love, when it was brand-new. With Teresa gone, Calita began openly to say some things she would never have when she was still alive. She accused me of—well, of a lot of things. Some few of them were even true. I guess that..." He stopped, his heart in his throat.

"Peter, of what did she accuse you?"

Saavik seemed stunned when he sat down, and spoke a few words. "I can’t tell you. I can’t ever tell anyone. I gave my word."

A bit of a tremor ran through her, and she nearly glared at Peter. "We have had no secrets. I have spoken of scavenging on Hellguard and of my deliverance. You have spoken of the final incident with your brother and of the parasites. While you coped with pain and learned how to walk anew, I learned how to deal with a society based on trust rather than carnage. We have both endured the petty hypocrisies that pushed us away, than punished us for the other-ness that created. Worst of all, the foolishness of turning away from those who loved us best when we needed them most has forever marked both our lives. I thought perhaps that I had your trust, Peter. I am sorry that this is not the case."

When she did not get up to leave, Kirk looked over. "You had my trust before we even met. Because you have the trust of the seven finest people I will ever know as a grown man. You have it now. But this issue is not about trust, Saavik. It’s about words that must never be written down or discussed. Not with Doctor Beals, Doctor Noel, Christine, Pavel, the Ambassador. No. Not even with you."

Perhaps Saavik noted his deliberate omissions, now that she was calmer. "You have never been close with Captain Sulu. Demora was only a child. Commander Uhura is a private individual. That leaves poor Captain Scott, your Uncle and Doctor McCoy. Are or were they privy to your secret? And would you have spoken with them?"

"Scotty never was. Jim knew, but he only once even broached this subject, and never again. The Ambassador knows, but would never raise it. Doctor McCoy has reserved the right to raise it, but only on his end. It was to him I gave my word."

She looked at him. "Would you tell me if you could?"

His answer surprised both of them for its speed. "Yes. Trust with you is not an issue."

Her answer shocked him, and perhaps greatly surprised her as well. "Words are merely one form of communication. Would you care to try another?"

"Are you certain?"

She nodded. "Of you, at least, I am certain."

Again, events seemed to have a momentum of their own. Laying back on his bed, he felt no fear at her approach. Sitting next to him, she began an act that xenobiologist Peter knew very well was among the most intimate acts in the known galaxy. He would never have requested it himself. That would have been like lowering his trousers and requesting she service him—something just not done in casual conversation.

"Our minds are one. My mind and your mind, moving closer and together. Your thoughts mine, and mine yours..."

She had thought that the connection might be difficult, he now felt. But he was open to her, as though this had always been so.

He said goodbye to that beautiful world, where so many had died. He could no longer function as he had. Worse, the one who now meant everything to him would often be nowhere in evidence.

She said goodbye to that hideous world, where so many had died. She could no longer function as she had. Worse, the one who now meant everything to her would often be nowhere in evidence.

The strong older woman, hand of iron, hand of down. Teaching, always teaching. The Academy. Tragedy unspeakable. The jealousy of others. The passing of that wonderful woman.

It was all happening faster than they could gauge. Had this been a mistake? Already, their memories swam together. But then they diverged again.

A training cruise. I am privileged to walk among them. The deposed megalomaniac rears his ugly head and lashes out at them. The loss unimaginable.

A training cruise. I was not even considered. Rumors, so many rumors. I have a cousin. But I will never meet him.

A dark secret. My love cheated science, and now fate takes him. The loss is undone. Two crimes occur. ( You cannot see. You would hate me. )

Not you. Never You. But now a monster walks in my place. A scheming creature of fear and reaction. He spends his hate in petty, vile crimes, and then I reemerge. But that is a lie. I was the monster, all along. I have betrayed those I love best.

They understood, and forgave you in time. But I waste years and a hard-fought for reputation in an ever-declining cycle of pointless anger. My crimes haunt me. My achievements fall away to nothing.

I return, and I am healed and whole again. Those who loved me best love me still, despite the fire, despite the thievery and lying. Clockwork disaster strikes, but I prove better than it. In triumph, I return to Enterprise. To Jim. The doctor asks me to stay with his family.

I am approaching the end of my career. Why can I not control my emotions?

I meet her. Despite my stupid lust, in her I find a friend, a sister. My wonderful Teresa. Two crimes are committed. ( You would hate me if you knew. )

The great man is gone. T’hy’la to my hero. Father to my beloved. I am nearly undone, now.

Jim. Teresa. My precious Davie and Jimmy. Connor, so seemingly invincible. Scotty. I am turned away from—but don’t I deserve that?

I am taken in, despite my sins, by two who have known me, and who still care for me. Yet my crimes are now exposed. Forever.

I am taken in, despite my sins, by two who have known me, and who have always cared for me. But now I must speak of my crimes.

Their mental worlds merged again. For at least one of the ‘crimes’ they spoke of was almost identical.

Genesis. Spock is reborn, and Spock is dying again. I have held him dear, always. But now he needs a mate, merely to live. I become that mate. Guilt. Shame. Pleasure, despite it all. Wrongness. Violation. Silence must reign.

Serenidad. Teresa’s body has betrayed her, and she is dying. I love and adore her. I have placed my lust in abeyance, to celebrate the sister I have found in her. But the wounds the Klingons left are deep. I must become lover to this sister, wife to a great man. There is so much joy, at first. But then she becomes a monster, impossible to please. I become as a machine. Wrongness. Violation. Guilt. Shame. I ask God to forgive me for falling in love with another man’s wife. Silence must reign.

Now, the two crimes were followed upon.

David, who looked so like you, but had so much growth ahead. He is slain, and I cannot bear to be without him. I do not mean to imprison all that he is. But I do. I must not be alone.

Calita, who was so like you, but had so much growth ahead. She was weakened by her early trials, and I used this mercilessly. I tell her that I want to make her my wife. But while I care for her, this is a lie. The one I want to make my wife—is already a wife, and a mother, and I have called her sister. Teresa. You introduced us to keep back from me. I proposed to our poor fragile Calita for the same reason.

One last phrase came, as the meld ended.

For my own needs, I lied and kept a living heart imprisoned. What sort of monster am I?

They stared at one another as they came to.

Peter finally spoke. "You scare me. You scare the living hell out of me. Because you are so smart, so strong, and so very damned pretty. I’ve hurt and used people. I’ve been hurt and used. But only in you do I sense the power to just destroy me entirely."

Weighing his words for about a minute, Saavik responded, "You were not what I expected. I fought your coming here at first. I fully expected that your grief over Demora Sulu would have you off the bridge that very first day. I had become expert at pushing people away. But you refused to be put off by any turn. So frustrated, I met the challenge you posed, thinking certain that you would not be equal to it. You won’t go away, though. No matter my determination or my efforts."

So it was that the scared little boy leaned over and kissed the angry little girl, and quickly the fear and anger both possessed in nearly equal portions fell away in waves. Fate’s stepping in just then only confirmed for these two the correctness of their choice.

"Vasquez to Kirk."

A mild chuckle passed between the two. Each, in their own way, had expected just such an event.

"Kirk here. What’s up, Robbie?"

The chief science officer sighed. "Sorry, Pete. I know you’re off-shift, and with some reason. But we need you down here, ASAP."

Briefly brushing Saavik’s lips with his own again, Peter answered. "On my way, Mister Vasquez."

She took his hand as he arose. "Slowly, then?"

Gratefully, Kirk nodded. "Past history would seem to make that a logical course." He kissed her yet again. "Of course, this may test our patience."

She grabbed and kissed him back. "Be certain of that."

She departed for her upcoming shift on the bridge, and he for Sciences. The slight smiles that they could not fight off had people all over the ship guessing.

Saavik and Peter let them keep guessing.

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