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Spock had hesitated to suggest performing a meld with Nyota – had hesitated because he was... afraid. Fear was irrational, and yet he had felt it before, could not fail to recognize that he felt it now. Fear, not that she would be too human – she was human, she could not be too human – but that he would not be able to find comfort in that humanness, would not be able to find joy the way he had come to find those things in her presence. They were quite compatible; he did not wish to discover ways in which they were not compatible.

He did not wish for things to change.

This realization, in turn, was what prompted him to initiate the meld. Change, he well knew, was the essential process of all existence: every second, every nanosecond, was different from those that had come before, even if only slightly. He could not wish things unchanged, could not make them so. Best to choose for himself at least some of what those changes would be.

They were sitting together on the lounge in his quarters – he reading some of the day's reports from the science team, she writing a letter to a family member on a padd. Their shoulders touched. Bodily contact was eminently logical in close relationships, even when clothing separated them. It fostered the bonds between them, satisfied unspoken needs. Most sentient beings benefited from touch of some sort.

But he found now, in the fullness of time, that this limited contact was not enough.

"Nyota." She turned to look at him, putting the padd aside easily at his gesture. "Would you wish to—" No. Better to do than to speak.

He offered up his hand to her, fingers spread. She reached up to touch it with her own fingertips, smiling; when Spock shook his head her eyes widened, but she understood at once and asked no questions, merely lifted the beautiful sharp curve of her cheek so that he could fit his hand to her face.

Spock had expected… coolness, perhaps, the way the human environment was cool, the way her body was always slightly cool to him, even in the flush of lovemaking. Refreshing, like the air skimming across the desert after the last of the annual rains. Or that her mind would taste the way her mouth fitted against his own, Earth spices and softness and strength.

Instead, he found words.

They flowed around him in eddies, darting close like lizards and then away again, circling back into themselves. Some were sharp-edged, inquisitive, thin and precise enough to cut, others fond, caressing him in welcome. It was not that she did not sense, did not feel. But her senses came in words, her emotions were words, swarming together in flocks not according to language – for she knew many – but according to varying schema, the needs of the moment, the patterns and memories she had developed through years of study and uses and experiences.

It could take him the rest of his life to unravel the knots of those words – for they would change, too, even as he learned them. And yet Spock found he did not mind the prospect.