Author's notes: Special thanks to Monica. Without her encouragement this bit of fluff wouldn't exist. You are tops my friend!
I study the face in the mirror as if my life depended on it. Of course, it does not, but that doesn't stop me from looking, trying to see if the woman that is staring back at me is someone I know. The face is the same one I have seen for as long as I can remember. Wait...that's not true. There are subtle differences, little things that change the look of the whole. The cheeks are more flushed than normal and the lips are a little too swollen. The eyes are dazed and confused, and the hair is mussed. Little things, but not enough to change the woman in the mirror.
I'm not sure what I thought I was doing. I wonder briefly if I can get away with possession. I was certainly possessed, but it was not by an unknown alien creature. To allow myself to believe such would be illogical, and I've already suspended my logic enough for one night. Yet how else do I rationalize the creature I was a short time ago? How do I justify my actions? Vulcans are not passionate creatures who find comfort in the sharing of bodies. We are deeply ritualistic people for whom the joining of bodies is meshed with the joining of minds, the bond being the ultimate in achievement. Sex is for procreation, not mindless pleasure, and yet...
I had no intention of engaging in sexual relations, especially not with my captain. He and I had a connection, a bond, but we have always kept things on a professional level, or at least we have tried to. It was through this connection that I understood his grief at the loss of his friend. It was our friendship that encouraged me to push him into allowing me to go with him. I had no choice but to listen, for it soothed both of us for him to talk about his past, and Captain Robinson. Our friendship has been such that I was compelled to check on him. Not finding him in his quarters, I headed for the shuttle bay. It felt right, and sure enough, there he was. There was a difference to the air, an electrical current that passed through me, and though I was uneasy, I found it difficult to leave. And then he touched me. I had decided to leave him to his drink and his thoughts, but he stopped me.
My cheeks flush at the thought, and my hands come up automatically, as if I can will away the rush of blood, as well as the emotions. Here, in my mind, while I am still unsettled, I can admit to emotion. Despite their insistence to the contrary, Vulcans feel every bit as deeply as humans, we just control it better. I'm not controlling them very well at all at the moment. In fact, I am so unfocused that I feel the woman looking back at me should be someone else. A shudder passes through me as I think of my behavior. It is one of arousal, and...something else. Shame? No, not quite that, though it should be for my wanton behavior. Disbelief? Fear? There is some of that too, now that his hands aren't distracting me. Oh what hands too, strong, steady, sure. Once those confident hands came in contact with me, I was lost. Thought and emotion rolled off him like a tidal wave. I was pulled under so completely, I didn't even have time to object. All reason left me in that moment. It was just him and I, and the need that fed us both, and I was lost. I've never been so swept away by anything. I couldn't think, even when we were finished, for his thoughts and words and smell were still with me, filling every part of me, and then he was making love to me again and I was more than willing.
The discontent in me finally raises its head and I notice the mirror woman has gone pale. The conflict is not in the actions, not really. Sex is a biological function, and...justification again. I am an adult and unbonded, somewhat. How do I tell him that I was not raised to share my body lightly? That it goes against my customs? Even more so then choosing an alien mate? Here now is my shame, for how do I tell him that I have deceived him? By sharing our bodies and our thoughts and minds, we have bonded? At least I have...Will he be horrified to know I heard his thoughts, shared them in a way he never intended? And will he turn from me and try to make things go back to the way they were? Or will he demand more? I know I cannot turn him away if he asks me, and yet my conscience will not sit well with being his mistress. For the first time in my life I am in conflict with myself and my beliefs.
I shake my head. The woman in the mirror holds no answers for me and yet I can't leave this bathroom either. He is in my room, in my bed, sleeping. I want to go to him, to allow him to enfold me in his arms and drive away the doubts, but I am so afraid of losing myself in him. I close my eyes, blocking out sight, as I attempt to clear my mind. I almost succeed, and then those warm, strong hands are closing over my shoulders. Shudders shake my body, as I feel him.
His voice is husky with sleep, and oh so tender. I want to slip into it and him, but the me that exists when he is not near is clamoring to be heard. I dare not open my eyes. I can't bear to look at him. I have to make a choice. "We need to talk."
His hands tighten reflexively on my shoulders. "I can't think of too many times I've heard that phrase where it has boded well for me." He says this with a twist to it. He feels the seriousness of the situation as well, and he is attempting humor to lighten the mood. When I don't respond, he turns me toward him. "At least have the courtesy of looking at me."
I pull around me everything I have been taught, everything I know, and open my eyes. He knows of my regret, my doubt. I can see it in his eyes. "Tonight was a mistake and should never have happened." My hands flutter in a nervous gesture, as if through a will of their own.
The storm that darkens his eyes surprises me. From what I know of human males, casual encounters are not uncommon. I've seen anger in his eyes but never quite like this. I nearly flinch as his fingers tighten on my arms. His frustration pounds at my shields like a battering ram. "I agree that I should not have touched you, because it crosses the lines of professional conduct, but I will not agree that it was a mistake. I wanted you and you came to me willingly. Hell, you fell apart in my arms."
His frustration is effecting me, as is his hurt. I want to believe it is just his bruised ego, I have to believe it. "It is one night and it is done. I think we should put it behind us."
Disbelief...Why is it so hard for him to walk away? He did not enter this expecting a life mate and I find I cannot be anything less. I want, need it all. He studies me, eyes narrowing. He is trying to control both his temper and figure this out. His hands are gentle on my arms and one comes up to cup my chin, gently forcing me to look at him. "Why are you running away from me? Why are you pushing me away?"
I was prepared for anger, not compassion and understanding. Why, I don't know. He has always shown these qualities. They are part of the man and why I love him. The strength is drained out of me at that thought and I sag against the sink. I want to sag against him, but I can't let go that much. It is time to lay it all out on the table, and then pick up any pieces that are left. I can't meet his eyes, but I can give him honesty. "Vulcans do not engage in casual sex." He nods, but says nothing, and I don't know whether to be encouraged or discouraged. I try simply for courageous. "Unless there are extenuating circumstances, we mate only with the one we are bonded to. The bond allows us to share our thoughts and feelings, often amplifying the experience..." I don't know how to explain this. For once I am at a loss for words.
"This was not just a casual fling for me T'Pol." There is confusion in his eyes and I am helpless against it.
"We have a relationship based on friendship, respect and trust. I have betrayed that."
"We are touch telepaths. We can share one another's thoughts through physical contact. Humans are easy to read. Our...friendship heightened that connection. I was able to see what you were thinking and feel what you were feeling. I formed a connection to you without your permission. It is still there, though it may fade over time." It is too much and not enough and I am still off, unsettled and confused and wanting things I have never wanted before. What is it about this man?
"And you could always pick up something through touch?"
I can see him struggling to understand and I ache with it. "Yes, though we have the ability to block or limit it which we do as a courtesy. When you touched me this evening, it overwhelmed me. I willingly drop my shields and tried to get as close to you as I could."
He blinks as if he can clear his thoughts that way. "There is more here than you're telling me." He looks as if he doesn't know whether to be angry or flattered. I find myself praying for flattered. He shakes his head. "I've wanted you for a long time T'Pol. When I held you tonight, I didn't care about cultures and all the crap we will have to deal with if we bring this out in the open. I don't really care if you can hear my thoughts through touch, though I would have preferred to know about it in advance. It is done and over with, and frankly I'm not willing to let you go. So unless you can give me a damn good reason for walking away, we are going to have a major fight. Personally, I'd rather make love to you again."
My heart flutters at the thought and yet I wonder if it is acceptable to demand commitment. "I was willing in your arms and will be so again. Despite my words to the contrary I don't want to walk away, but my actions are in conflict with my culture and I have to find an acceptable place between the two."
"What will make it easier for you?"
I drop my eyes. "I allowed myself to draw on our bond, to strengthen it. That is my other sin against you." I take a deep breath and spit it all out. "Vulcans mate for life. By allowing you to make love to me, and by encouraging a mental bond, I have claimed you as my mate."
His eyes widen and then he laughs. Somehow the sound loosens something inside me. I know he is not laughing at me or my customs. "You mean I got myself married, and didn't even realize it?"
I bite my bottom lip. "By Vulcan custom, yes, but because you did not consent to it, it is something I must deal with."
His arms wrap around me and draw me close, and I feel the love that swells off of him. It eases the tension in me even more. Regardless of what I have done, he is okay with it. "Since I participated in the actions that led to this place, I can hardly complain. It's better than a shotgun wedding, that's for sure." He meets my eyes and kisses me, a sweet tender exploration that makes me want to throw away all my doubts. "I've been committed to you in my own way for quite some time. I wouldn't mind making it legal."
I can hardly believe my ears. I'm not some silly, flighty female, and yet my heart beats faster, and I know its not just from the kiss. "There will be a lot of problems with our relationship."
"Don't I know it. But ultimately its still just you and me." My breath stutters as he lifts me onto the edge of the sink, his hands sliding under my robe and up my thighs. "I couldn't let you go if I tried. I love you."
My hands travel up his arms in a teasing caress, before linking behind his neck. As I draw him down for a kiss, I nod. "You are necessary to me as well, Jonathan."
I see a reflection of myself in his eyes, and I find I like the woman looking back at me. After all, I have a lifetime to get to know her.