DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc and Viacom. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and are copyright (c) 2022 by Djinn. This story is Rated PG-13.


by Djinn



T'Pring dressed slowly, studying Spock as he lay in bed. "I regret I must leave so quickly. I would have preferred staying overnight."


"I understand. We both have our duties."


"But this was a welcome interlude." She did not have to feign the emotion she felt, the level of affection she felt for him. Even if, for the first time, she'd felt as if he was...shielding from her. Their connection physically had been as enjoyable as before but emotionally something was missing. It was the height of irony that she would consider that a deficit. "I care for you deeply, Spock. You know that, yes? This...farce with Nurse Chapel has done nothing to alter that."


"I am gratified." He met her eyes, but again, she sensed he was hiding something. As she turned to leave, she heard him ask softly, "Were you not going to tell me?"


She froze for a moment, then turned as gracefully as possible. "Tell you what?"


He shook his head, but also gave her a look of profound disappointment.


"Tell you what, Spock?"


"It is nothing. And I recognize that in your position, there are things of which you cannot speak." His voice was tender. But he did not meet her eyes.


He was giving her a way to talk around it. To tell him that yes, she had been working with the brother he had looked up to, the brother he had been deeply influenced by. The brother she and his father considered a potentially catastrophic influence on him.


The brother she was helping to keep from him and vice versa.


The brother she would never have been able to get out of Ankeshtan K'til without Stonn's help.


The brother who—had he not been sedated—would have laughed at the kiss she had been forced to witness. She could imagine him saying, "There's real passion for you, you iron-hearted brat. You cannot fake that."


If there were a person she hated, Sybok would be that person. But of course, she did not hate.


Spock was watching her. His expression clouding as she did not answer.


She slipped her shoes on and murmured, "As you say. Secrets are a part of both our professions. I will miss you, Spock."


"And I you." But this time the words were said as if by rote.


She could not meet his eyes as she turned and left him, and she stood for a moment in the corridor to compose herself before heading to sickbay.


Chapel was with a patient, so T'Pring headed for the office they'd talked in before and stood waiting. She would not sit. She would not let this woman tower over her. Not tonight.


She heard her footsteps even though she could tell Chapel was walking softly and turned her back to the door before she entered. "Close the door."


"Please. Close the door...please."


She turned to face her. "My request stands as stated."


"Then the door can stay open."


Tired of arguing over such a trivial matter, T'Pring pushed past her and closed the door. She turned and found Chapel in the same place—she had to give her credit; she'd expected her to back up out of discomfort. "No apology? Spock apologized to me for the...incident with you."


She could see the word hit home.


"Wasn't my idea. And it worked. Why should I apologize?"


"Because you were clearly enjoying it."


She saw something in Chapel's expression, something that said not to push too hard this way. So she softened her tone. "Christine, I am only trying to spare you pain. Humans are such...slaves to emotional entanglements. I know you care for him. But he assured me he could never actually have feelings for you."


She saw the words strike just as she intended them to. Deep and hard like a lirpa. She had to convince this woman she had no chance with Spock.


No matter how passionate that kiss had looked.


But also she needed to ensure she did not make an enemy of her. "He is fond of you as a friend. I have been...inclusive with you because I honor his affection for you and consider you a woman of good character. Not one who would go after a man already claimed."


"Is that your way of saying, 'No harm, no foul'?"


"That sounds reasonable." She tried to make her expression as light as possible. "Spock and I are bonded again. Just in case you were unclear as to the current nature of our relationship."


Chapel just nodded.


"I have upset you."


"As you intended to. You didn't need to come here. To stake your claim—again." Her smile was unreadable. Then she moved to her chair and sat, turning to her terminal. "If there's nothing else, you can go."


"I hope the next time we meet it is under more pleasant circumstances, Christine."


"You and me both."




Chapel watched Spock leave sickbay, touched that he had come to check on her. Her words had been carefully chosen. "You're an honest man. You're not the guy who would chase after another woman while you have a girlfriend. So...I know for certain...there's no feelings between us."


"I'm glad to hear that," he had said.


And she supposed he was. Now that he had T'Pring back. Now that Chapel was giving him an out. Not calling him on the fact that even though their kiss had started as something false, she hadn't been the only one enjoying it by the end. Something had changed mid kiss, the way he'd held her, the way his lips had pressed on hers, his mouith opening slightly.


She'd kissed a lot of people. She knew a fake kiss from a real one. This had been real.


But...it didn't matter. Not when he was bonded again with T'Pring. Not when Chapel wasn't sure whether he was or wasn't the type of man to cheat on his girlfriend but knew she wasn't interested in being the other woman.


She was surprised to see him coming back into sickbay. His expression...unreadable but not in a Vulcan sense. He seemed...angry.




"Your office. Now."


The words were harsh but his tone wasn't, so she decided to do what he'd said. She followed him in and was surprised when he closed the door.


"What are you doing?"


"She lied to me."


"I don't understand."


"She knew my brother was at Ankeshtan K'til and said nothing. Not even when I asked her tonight." He sat down heavily in her guest chair. "My father must know. My mother possibly. The whole of Vulcan perhaps." He clasped his hands together and she could see his knuckles become white from the pressure. "All lying."


"Hey. If she's lying, it's probably out of love. And she does love you. She came down here tonight to warn me off you. That's how much she cares."


He did not seem surprised. "I offer an alternate theory. She is threatened by you. By...us."


"There is no us. She told me you said there was no way you could actually have feelings for me."


"More precisely she told me that." He finally eased his death-clasp and stood up but then reached for her, easing her closer. "As if I needed reminding who and what I am—who and what I want."


And then he was kissing her, an even better kiss than the one on the bridge.


She jerked away, surprising him, she thought, with her action and that she had the strength to do it. "What the hell, Spock? You're doing this because you're hurt and you're mad. At the woman you love. How is this fair to me? How is this honest?"


"I have feelings for you. That is honest."


"But you love her. You're marrying her. So she lied? We all lie. You'll lie to her eventually if you haven't already. It's what love is a lot of the time. Well intentioned lies." She backed away. "And I don't want this."


"Christine, I am a touch telepath. You very much want this."


"Not like this. Not ever like this. You have to leave now. If you're hurt and mad at what she did to you, then you need to take it up with her. Leave me out of it."


"We are friends."


"Yes, we are. And you just made it very fucking awkward."


They stood staring at each other for a long moment, but finally he looked contrite. "I regret that. Logic fails me when it comes to my brother."


"And I bet she knows that. Maybe, just maybe, what she's doing is for your own good." She walked to the door and opened it. "Goodnight, Mister Spock."


"Goodnight, Nurse Chapel."


Once he was gone, she closed the door again and went to her terminal, punching in the series of numbers that would connect her with Roger's office.


His smile was brilliant. "Well, the prodigal scientist returns. I've actually missed you, Christine."


For Roger, that was practically him professing undying love. "I've missed you too, Roger."


"Did you do something different with your hair? You look...radiant."


Vulcan kisses—best skin care ever. "Nope, same old me."


"I'm glad to hear that. I know I was an ass. I really couldn't believe you'd throw everything away." As she started to protest, he held up a hand. "No, I see your point now. I understand your ethics. It's good to know how far you'll go. And how far you won't." His smile was the one she liked best, easy and open and not him playing head games.


This was the Roger she loved.


"So when are you going to be on Earth again? I really want to see you."


This felt good, drifting back into an easy combination of lust and admiration. "I'll let you know."


"Yes, please do. Now, tell me everything you've been up to."


She did.


But she edited out a lot.