Healing Touch Chapter 8 K/U [NC-17]
Image: Manip by moi.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek. I only own my fantasies.
Beta: Sincere gratitude goes to: Nyotava, Bandicca, Zapp and Trekskitten for such wonderful betaing! Each of them brought fresh insight and used their unique expertise to make this story a reality.
Summary: A sequel to "My Faith in You," addressing Uhura's recovery from a brutal attack and the depths of Kirk's commitment to keep her in his world.
He felt himself being drawn inexorably toward the peak…the crest of emotions so strong he was helpless as they engulfed him, carried him away like so much flotsam in their mad rush to the surface. Each wave carried him further along, buffeting him in ignorance, lost in the nature of what it was. Pummeling him once, twice, and then a third time, before erupting in exquisite release.
Spock bolted upright in his bed, a strangled cry torn from his throat as he gasped for air. He flung the sticky sheet off himself and leaned forward, masking his face with his hands. Using what meager control he still possessed, he calmed his breathing and tried to focus his thoughts and emotions, his and those of others that were only now fading from his mind. The others who had conquered him in sleep and held him captive as they raced toward ecstasy.
The Vulcan had no doubt who had invaded his subconscious; the texture of their touch was familiar and wholly human. He reached out in his mind and tried to sense if they still lingered, but he felt no one. The touch had been brief, but intense, far too intense for him to fight. Instead, he had been a prisoner to the intertwining of the two he had inadvertently locked together with a meld. Trapped by their desires and the desire to escape the shadowy fixation between them, he had merely been the uninvolved conduit of their merging both mentally, and to his dismay now, physically.
Spock rose from the bed and stripped the sheets, throwing them and their contents into the recycler. He turned on the shower--water, not sonics--and willed it to wash away the voyeurism he felt. How had this happened? Nothing in his research had warned him of a risk of the 'bridge' mind being involved in a fixation resolution. He hoped it was resolved, he prayed it was resolved, he could not withstand another onslaught of such deep and erotic emotions pouring into him from somewhere outside of a bond. He had failed to control his own body tonight, it had succumbed to the emotions that had assailed him and reacted as any male would. His face burned in embarrassment and shame as he remembered the release that had spewed out of him, in unison with those on the planet.
He leaned against the shower wall and let the water pound his shoulders, trying to erase the images seared into his mind. Images of bodies locked in a primal dance, fevered lips scorching skin as they moved over mahogany flesh, flesh he wanted to explore. The feel of long nails raking along his sides and back. No, not his, but it might as well have been, the touch was just as real as if he had the welts to prove it. The memory of instinctive urges to thrust and possess what had been denied for so long. He turned his face into the water, illogically hoping it would wash the craving from his consciousness. He chose not to question whose desire he wished away, his or theirs.
His only solace was that he had sensed no awareness from either of them that they had been in contact with him. He could bear his shame so long as he was the only one who knew. If they were cognizant of it as well, he would not be able to face them ever again.
How had he failed so completely? He had studied the meld technique diligently. He had entered her mind stealthily and erased the alien-made terrors constructed there. His only error was in leaving before he broke the contact between the humans, his attempt to allow them a moment of privacy they could never know in the physical world. While he recognized it, he had not considered their attraction to each other as a factor impacting the outcome. Now, much too late, he saw his error. Now he paid a price, not nearly as enduring as the price they would pay, but in some ways more so. As a Vulcan with an eidetic memory, these feelings would not fade with time; they would stay as fresh and fevered as tonight.
Realizing the futility of his efforts, Spock turned off the water and dressed in one of his meditation robes. There would be no more sleep tonight. Walking past the damning evidence of his stripped bed, the Vulcan kneeled before the fire pot and sprinkled it with incense. He settled into the first state of meditation and waited for the trembling in his body and mind to stop, echoes of their passion still affecting him physically. It was a long wait.
Uhura awoke from a sleep so deep it might have been a coma. She lay in the bed, unmoving, assessing her surroundings. Kirk was no longer in the bed beside her. She turned her head and saw him sitting at the table on the balcony, reviewing something on a data padd. A platter of fruit and breads was in the middle of the table, along with a pot of coffee. Uhura stared at his profile, watching and looking for any clues to his mood. She knew she felt wonderful, but was cautious not to transfer those feelings to him.
Wait--she did feel wonderful! No, not just the residual high one got from a night of great sex, but instead, she felt so alive! Yes--alive, whole, complete, content--as if she really had awakened from a three-month coma and found her old self once again--the person she had been before Bengali. No--wait--since the meld! That was it! Uhura's mind raced with the epiphany. She had assumed, just like Doctor McCoy, that all her issues stemmed from her rape, but now she believed there was more to it than that. Yes, the rape had traumatized her in ways she was still recognizing, but the sense of loss and isolation was not there until after the meld.
When she had been trapped in her terror attacks, Kirk's presence had been her only link with sanity. The tiny world he had created for just the two of them was her only refuge from the chaos constructed in her mind by the Orions. The meld had intensified those feelings, gave her hope and overwhelmed her with an outpouring of love and desire. Then it was gone, and it took all her feelings of joy, love and contentment with it. Now, she realized what she had been seeking was that part of her soul--and she had found it. Uhura did not understand how she knew, but it seemed as if she and Kirk had taken a part of each other when the meld was dissolved and had given it back last night as they made love.
Jim must have been affected too; she recalled how quiet and sad he had been after the meld, sitting silently by her side. The past months had found him restless and agitated, unable to keep the stress from bubbling to the surface. Now it was obvious, but then she had thought only she had felt the aloneness. She remembered the tender kiss he had placed on her cheek, a simple gesture that had left her feeling more unsettled, more desolate.
Did he recognize the reason for it? She did not think so. She remembered how he had struggled in the meld between his desire for her and his belief that it was wrong. For a brief moment, he had taken possession of her emotionally, but quickly backed away; it had scared him to want her so badly. It had scared her too; his intensity was scorching.
Uhura knew she would get no answers from the comfort of their bed. She moved to the foot of it and retrieved her gown and robe. She ached from their night of lovemaking, but smiled with the memories each twinge evoked. She slipped into her gown, thinking of how nervous she had been when she took it off last night. The intimacy no longer intimidated her, but going out to greet him gave her butterflies. Would it be awkward? With the coming of dawn, would he regret their night together? Did he feel as different as she did this morning?
Kirk looked up as she neared the doorway. Uhura finished tying her robe and stepped out onto the balcony, attempting to smile as brightly as the morning sun that was shining down on them. Kirk returned her smile, melting away her fears with just as much warmth, making her feel at ease--everything would be okay.
"Good morning. You got up early."
"Old habits--I always wake up early. You were sleeping so peacefully, I thought I would come out here and let you finish your nap."
"Ah, I haven't slept that well in months, and it's all your fault." Uhura laughed as she kissed him lightly before sitting down at the table with him.
Kirk waggled his brows as he fought to control the smirk that was trying to invade his grin.
"Why thank you. You won't mind if I don't apologize for it, will you?" He inquired drolly as he poured her some coffee.
"Hardly, I would be more offended if you tried," she bantered back, noticing his mood seemed to be as good as hers, no hesitancy or awkwardness on his part.
Uhura sipped her coffee and enjoyed, for the moment, being the center of his attention.
"Jim, do you feel…different this morning?" She asked, unsure how she would react if he said 'no'. "Do you feel whole--complete?" Uhura prompted.
"Complete? Yes…complete describes it. Something I haven't felt for a long time now." He nodded his head, latching onto the word with conviction to describe his feelings.
"Say, like the last three months--since the meld?" She watched him intently, reading the realization on his face before he spoke.
"Yes!" He answered excitedly. "Since the meld! I thought it was just me, my reaction to your injury--to almost losing you. But you're right, I have been empty and angry, searching for something and no idea what or why. How did you figure this out?"
"I don't know. This morning I just felt like my old self and I realized that most of my issues seemed linked to the meld rather than Bengali. When you parted from me in the meld, I felt so alone…hollow. I wanted to tell you that, when I asked you to stay for a moment, but I didn't know how to express it then or what you would have done if I had."
Kirk dropped his eyes for a moment, she sensed he was uncomfortable with that last part. Would he have done anything? She didn't think she would like the answer to that question.
"Do you think Spock had any idea what was happening with us?" It was an obvious question to ask since he was the third party to the meld.
A ripple of emotions flashed across Kirk's face before he schooled it into neutrality.
"Possibly, though he did not share anything with me."
Uhura sensed that oversight would be addressed once they beamed back aboard. She did not envy Spock when Kirk broached the topic with him--and she knew he would. Uhura was not angry with the telepath if he had suspected something, she was just thankful to be back to normal.
"I'm sure if he did, he would have discussed it with you." She decided a little preliminary smoothing of the waters might be a good thing. The look she got back could be called skeptical at best.
"Well, regardless, we both seem to be back to normal. Whatever the reason for our problems, or their resolution, we should be happy for that." Uhura reached out and placed her hand on his, squeezing it, trying to get him past the tenseness her question about Spock had summoned.
Kirk sat back, but captured her hand in his, stroking the back of her hand with his thumb. He let out a soft sigh before giving her a resigned smile.
"You're right, of course, and I am happy for that. I just don't like mysteries, especially when--no, never mind, you're right."
Uhura heard him say it, but she did not think he intended to let it drop, just postpone it for awhile. At that moment, his communicator chirped and he glanced at her before flipping it open.
"Spock here, Captain. I called to inform you that twelve more Potakai warbirds have entered orbit during the night. That brings the total to three hundred ninety-seven. The planetary news sources are advising the population to remain calm and that the Warriors are arriving to conduct a ritual as part of the Ascendancy Ceremonies. The universal translator is having some difficulty; the Potakai dialect used in religious and formal situations sounds markedly different than the one used in everyday conversation."
"That's true Spock; we've had to deal with some of that down here too." Kirk seemed to let go of the earlier topic and focus on the news his First Officer reported.
Both he and Uhura sat up straighter, eager to hear more of the Vulcan's report.
"It would appear the Warriors are preparing to commit some type of ritual suicide. Their precise reasoning I have yet to ascertain."
"That's correct, Spock. The Dowager told me of it herself. With the war over, they feel they no longer serve a purpose. If they live, the chance of war starting again is extremely high."
Uhura cast a look his way. She wanted to be mad that he had known and kept the information to himself, but she had found out from Lilu'ka and had yet to share it with him. Neither of them was doing a good job in the debriefing role. She vowed to remedy that.
"That is unfortunate, Captain. Logically, peace should stop the loss of life, not condemn so many to death."
"Agreed, Spock, but the Potakai are trapped by their biological imprinting. They have no choice but to follow it." Kirk's tone was sad, Uhura could see the same pain on his face that she felt in her heart about what was to come.
"Biological imperatives are often severe, please offer the Dowager my regrets."
"I will, Spock. Keep me posted if more ships come in and keep all scanners passive but active. I don't want any trouble with someone who feels like they have nothing left to lose. I'll check back in with you later. Kirk out."
"Affirmative, Captain. Enterprise out."
Uhura had remained silent during their exchange, listening and watching the Captain and First Officer's interactions. It was hard to imagine Kirk had just been questioning Spock's knowledge of their predicament before the call from him. She had no doubt they would weather that discussion just fine when it happened.
Uhura stood and walked over to gaze out at the mauve sea. She heard Kirk leave the table and come stand beside her. She watched him for a moment before speaking, enjoying both sights--him and the sea. With effort, she turned her mind to their mission and the problem at hand.
"Captain, I think I can send a few tips to Lieutenant Palmer that may enhance the translator's abilities. Listening to all the different dialects and knowing when they are used has given me some ideas."
Kirk pulled back from his own thoughts and gave her a quick smile. "Great. I'm sure that would make them a bit calmer if they could understand all that is being said."
"Captain," Uhura pressed on, needing to confront him about what she suspected was really going on. "Lilu'ka told me of the Warriors’ fate yesterday. She was sad but matter-of-fact about it. I can't imagine so many deaths happening at once and it being sanctioned by this society as a whole. It seems so callous: 'thanks for saving our lives, now go away, we don't need you anymore'--"
Turning away from the sea, Kirk interrupted her. "Lieutenant, Anata'ka is not callous in her view of what is expected. She is consumed with worry and, to a degree, guilt over their fate."
"Captain…have you noticed a …familiarity…between Anata'ka and Chota'di, something more personal than their professional relationship? I saw something between them at the temple and she read my mind, but never answered. Her silence told me all I needed to know."
"I've sensed a closeness and a level of comfort between them. Why do you ask? Why is their relationship important?" Uhura saw that her seeming change of topic threw him for a moment.
"If the Warriors are biologically compelled to commit suicide, would not their leader be driven to do so as well? Won't Chota'di be just as compelled to kill himself? If Anata'ka is in love with Chota'di, then wouldn't she risk everything to change his fate…to protect him?" Uhura drew a calming breath before she pushed on to what she really wanted to know.
"Captain, what did Anata'ka say to you in your private audience with her? Why did she really request you to represent the Federation? She has a plan to stop this doesn't she? It involves you somehow, doesn't it?"
Kirk's expression shut down; he hid behind his mask of command and Uhura knew she was right.
"Lieutenant, I'm not able to answer that."
For a brief moment Uhura saw pain flash in his eyes. Pain that he had to keep her out of his confidence. His answer told her enough, a truth couched in a denial.
"You don't have to, sir. I know it's true. You don't request somebody from half way across the galaxy on a whim. But I'm scared...for you. Something of this magnitude has to be dangerous, and Starfleet has just thrown you into it. If Anata'ka is working from personal motivations to save Chota'di, then she will risk a great deal. Please be careful, I can't bear the thought of losing you either."
"Lieutenant...Penda...I'm well aware of how emotions can influence one's decisions." His switch from her title to her name made Uhura mindful of what decision he was meaning, and it was partly because she knew he was distracted by her that she worried all the more.
"And do you regret any of the ones you've made because of emotional involvement?" She had to ask, she had to know if he regretted last night.
"Nothing recent comes to mind." He said with a ghost of a smile dancing across his face.
He pulled her to him and kissed her lightly, then more forcefully. Uhura placed her arms around his neck and pulled him down to her with just as much passion. Somewhere, in the recesses of her mind, she knew he was attempting to distract her from the issue. For the moment, she let him. He broke the kiss but still held her close, moving his lips to rest against the top of her brow.
"I have more trade talks today. I don't want more trade talks today. They will all be re-negotiated anyway once a real ambassador is named. No, today I want to tour the city, get outside these walls and get a sense of how the general population is feeling about all of this. I want to go somewhere unplanned, see everyday Potakai."
"How do you intend to do that?" Uhura asked, pulling back to look at him. She knew he already had an idea; it was all over his face.
"I want to go... house-hunting...you know, find a great location for the future Federation embassy."
"Ahhh...hmmm...do you have the authority to make such a decision?" She looked askance as he released her and slowly walked toward the bedroom door.
"About as much as I do to negotiate trade. Uhura, I'm a paper tiger in this role; my sole purpose is to keep Anata'ka happy and strengthen our relationship with Ramsha'ka. Anything else will be for the future ambassador to deal with. They, however, don't know that, so I intend to use it to our advantage."
This suite of offices was just as ornate as the other five they had visited all over the city. Kirk allowed Mek'ka to give him the grand tour as if his whole reason on this mission was to peruse Potakai real estate for the future Federation Embassy. The young Third Deputy Prime Minister's Assistant certainly considered it of prime importance. He took his sudden assignment as a show of confidence in his abilities.
Uhura lingered back, staying in the front room, and looked out through the balcony doors. The street was awash with Potakai going about their daily lives. Several clusters of Warriors were standing guard along the thoroughfare, but for the most part, the citizens ignored them, seemingly immune to their presence. This was basically the same behavior they had observed throughout the city; the Warriors more involved with themselves than the citizenry. If the regular Potakai showed any concern, it was from the sheer number of Warriors that were present.
"If the Ambassador wanted a tour of the city, I'm sure one could have been arranged--had he asked."
Chota'di stepped up silently to Uhura and spoke to her for the first time since they had begun this excursion. He did not seem pleased that Anata'ka had demoted him to escort service. He had stayed in the background, allowing the excitable Mek'ka to do all the talking.
"I'm sure, General, but we really must advise our Diplomatic Corps of acceptable embassy sites." Uhura smiled her most charming smile at the solemn Warrior.
"The Ambassador scouts the city like a Warrior, not a diplomat. These buildings, like several of the others we've visited today, are much too far from the Palace to be of use as an embassy. Instead, he searches the high ground, the port, the business district and now the transportation center, looking for our strengths and weaknesses."
His bright yellow eyes flashed from Uhura back toward Kirk's figure down the hall. His look was keen and measuring.
"Anata'ka says we have much in common, the Ambassador and I, but I find him confusing. If he were a real Aristocrat, I would sense either a challenge for leadership or an acceptance of Anata'ka's dominion. Instead, I sense a Warrior who chooses not to fight, yet his tactics tell me he studies us for opportunity."
"General," Uhura turned and faced the tall Warrior, "Ambassador Kirk has no interest in conquering the Potakai people. What you are sensing is his curiosity about your culture and way of life. The Ambassador is a soldier in many ways, but he never sees violence as the only way to resolve a conflict. In our world, Ambassador Kirk is primarily an explorer for the Federation."
Chota'di looked down at Uhura, studying her with the same measured look he had fixed on Kirk a moment before.
"That is what Anata'ka calls him as well, an explorer. Why does one explore but to ensure that home is safe from potential enemies?"
"Or perhaps to find a new friend? Is it not possible that could make the search worthwhile? To find other cultures that would welcome you just as the Federation has." Uhura challenged softly, knowing it would go against all his instincts to consider her rationale.
"Those are decisions outside my province, but it has given me something to consider. Many of your ideas are strange and require reflection." He dropped his crest slightly to show she had made her point.
Chota'di looked up as Kirk and Mek'ka walked back down the hall, apparently finished with this tour as well. His expression became implacable and his crest was once again held erect. Uhura sighed; she had hoped to have gotten through to him that Kirk wasn't his enemy. Unfortunately, in this hierarchical society, two personages of equal stature would always create contention between themselves until one came out on top. Kirk did not even seem to notice how his easy confidence rankled Chota'di, though she was sure he was quite aware of it. Uhura just hoped it didn't get him killed.