She must have fallen asleep when Sarek suggested that she rest when they wait for news about what was happening. They were still in the sparse quarters on the Enterprise, and she was monitoring Spock through her mind when the exhaustion of everything that had happened—and the fact that as far as she could tell she had been awake for nearly forty-eight hours—finally took her.
Bella woke to the familiar feeling of long, alien fingers running through her hair.
Love overwhelmed her and simple contentment and she reached out, only to catch a shirt between her fingers. “Spock. You’re back.”
“I had every intention of returning, adun’a,” he told her quite calmly.
She could feel the bed shift as he came and sat beside her. Without even thinking, she half crawled into his lap, her eyes still closed, as she drifted between sleep and wakefulness.
“Terra is saved,” he murmured as he leaned down to place a kiss on her forehead, “and Nero’s ship destroyed.”
Her brows furrowed. “I don’t know what that means, but those only sound like good things.”
“Very good things,” he returned, his lips lingering over her skin. “Come, adun’a, awaken. It is time to return to San Francisco.”
He coaxed her into a seating position and she stretched, opening her eyes and looking around her. She was certainly still in Sarek’s quarters: he was, in fact, sitting in one of the chairs reading a screen of some sort. Spock was wearing his uniform, blue instead of black, and his arm had come around her shoulders.
“I think I’m dressed like a refugee with these socks,” she commented, looking down at her jeans that had gotten torn, it seemed, when she rolled from the moving car back in Port Angeles.
“Your wardrobe is on Terra,” Spock promised her as he got off of the bed and offered her his hand. She gladly took it, delighting in the sparks between their fingers.
“Your wife,” Sarek commented as he, in turn, stood, breaking the moment, “has unusual telepathic abilities for the member of a race that has many similarities with Terra.”
Spock turned in confusion, his fingers running down her palm enticingly. “Indeed, Father?”
“When the ship made an abrupt stop, we both fell and I grabbed the Lady Isabella to decrease the likelihood of injury, and a parental bond immediately formed.” His voice was solemn, unemotional, and yet he was acting as if he was imparting great wisdom.
Spock’s fingers toyed with the Venus mound on her hand and she felt pleasure and desire squirm into her core, and realized they were entirely her own.
“Indeed,” he returned, his voice as unemotional as his father’s. “I must return Lady Isabella to my quarters so she can properly prepare for Terra.”
His fingers entwined with hers and he began to lead her from the room, warmth and desire and sheer need filtering into her mind, and she picked up her pace as she began to wonder if—if—
Sarek was certainly following them, she could feel him both as a physical presence and in her mind—
They were beamed down to what must have been Terra and several men and women—Terran and otherwise—were waiting for them. Her fingers were still entangled with her husband’s, but she felt no shame when confronted with these leaders.
“Acting Captain Spock,” one greeted, stepping forward and looking at the rest of the party. “Terra gives you a hero’s welcome.”
“I am gratified,” Spock returned with a nod. “May I defer my debriefing for approximately two hours? My wife is a refugee from Vulcan and I wish to see to her comfort.”
Well, that wasn’t exactly true, but Bella wasn’t going to refute it.
A small smile crossed the face of the man who had spoken, and he nodded. “Of course. There will be a general debrief tomorrow at 0900 hours.”
“Thank you, Admiral,” Spock returned. He then helped Bella off of the platform and the others behind them followed, but soon they were walking past everyone and out into the cool San Franciscan air.
“Spock,” she murmured when she realized the ground was wet. “I’m only wearing socks.”
“That shall be rectified,” he promised and swept her up into his arms, just like when they had first met.
Possessiveness washed between them and Bella snuggled into Spock. Time seemed to swirl around them before they were once again in the dormitory she remembered and she was even the one who pressed in the access code before he was carrying her into the living room.
She didn’t even have time to react before she was placed down on the couch and he was roaming over her, his lips seared onto hers. It was strange, but she didn’t know what emotions were hers, what were his, but he just breathed in her soul through her mouth, his hands fisting in her hair.
“Ashayam,” he whispered against her lips as he pulled away slightly to look into her eyes. “Do you consent?”
“I—” Her throat was dry when she suddenly realized what he was asking. “I’ve never—”
His hand fluttered over her cheekbone and he nodded. “I am aware, wife. I assure you, if it is any concern, that I have never been intimate with anyone but you.”
A small smile flicked her lips upward, and that seemed to be the only response he needed because he was kissing her wantonly again. It was slow and heated and sensual, and he did things with his tongue Bella didn’t even know could be done.
She lost herself in the sensations and didn’t even protest when she tore off her shirt, knowing that it was no use to her here and she doubted she’d be able to take it back with her. His warm hand settled over her left breast, kneading slightly, and she keened.
But that was nothing compared to the feeling of warm skin full against her. She looked away, embarrassed, when his hand skimmed down to her nether curls, which she had never bothered to do anything about. However, she could feel his desire increase and his satisfaction and she once again captured his lips in a heated kiss.
Somehow Spock knew exactly how to touch her, where to kiss her skin, to bring her pleasure, and she sighed in sheer bliss when he entered her for the first time. She wasn’t certain it was supposed to feel like this, she was strangely numb as if she had been shot from the inside with novicain when her hymen broke, but then there was only a rush of pleasure.
When he surged up to kiss her again as he moved within her, her legs slung around his hips, her mind seemed to nearly explode from their combined pleasure, lust, and love. She didn’t even realize when his mind fully slid into hers, the press of fingers against the side of her face, and Spock was intermingled in all of her thoughts. Flashes of her in Orion silks slid into her memories, her smile which he found ‘aesthetically pleasing’ as a child of just twelve, desert sands, and a hideaway somewhere that was only theirs.
She must have slipped off into sleep because she awoke to the feeling of Spock’s fingers once again in her hair. He was draped over her and his weight was oddly comforting and she smiled as she turned toward him. “Good morning, Baby,” she greeted.
“Good evening,” he returned with a mental smile rushing through their bond.
“I guess I’m not a virgin anymore,” she mused wryly.
“You have not been a virgin for eight years,” he informed her, the hint of satisfaction murmuring from his thoughts to her.
“You have not been a virgin for eight years,” she told him quite plainly. “I—on the other hand—”
“Of course, adun’a,” he agreed as he placed a kiss on her temple. “I remember when I was a young man of seventeen, my whole future in front of me, and I felt nervousness and you, as my bonded mate, of course knew.”
“I aim to please,” she teased as he opened her eyes and looked into his own.
He leaned down and kissed her softly and she moaned as he shifted upward, his hand reaching down and pushing her legs apart, his intention clear. “Do you consent?” he breathed heavily, and she didn’t have to think before she nodded and kissed him just as he thrust carefully into her, the strange numbing sensation there before it quickly dissipated so that she was nearly overwhelmed with sensation.
The thrusts were slow, methodical, and his eyes held hers. “I was so nervous,” he confessed. “I was about to accept the offer from the Vulcan Science Academy, but I didn’t want you to think that I was turning my back on you.”
He pushed into her again, and she gasped, careful never to lose his gaze.
“And then, adun’a,” he told her, a possessiveness running through him, “you kissed me in the Terran fashion for the first time.”
“I don’t understand,” she admitted, but he still just moved within her, drawing gasps and moans from her, his warm hand against her knee.
“Terrans join mouths. I know that although my mother was Terran, she never engaged in such an activity with my father. I had never thought to consider it myself—until you, wife, showed me everything that had been lacking in my life.”
Another thrust of his hips and she lifted hers up to meet them, and they both groaned at the pleasure that was filtered back and forth between them.
“How do you kiss?” she gasped as he continued to slowly torture her with sheer ecstasy.
The hand that was holding open her legs, skated up her side and then their fingers were tangled, and she felt tantalizing pleasure flow through the tips of her fingers, and she fell apart in his arms.
It was only a few thrusts later that his warmth suffused her tired body, and he carefully lowered himself onto her, his nose skating down her neck.
“Then you kissed me in both the Vulcan and Terran way when you saw me here at Terra.”
“Affirmative. But it is our custom.”
She lifted an eyebrow at him and began to giggle lightly. “I adore you, Spock of Vulcan,” she whispered as she leaned up to kiss him.
“I am aware, adun’a,” he agreed, accepting the kiss.
They might have stayed that way for hours if Spock had not gotten a communication. She enjoyed watching him stand, his skin perfectly pale and luminescent, his ass pert and arousing. He turned and looked at her, confusion and amusement betrayed in their bond, before he quickly got dressed and accepted the transmission after she rushed into the bedroom to go find her Vulcan clothes.
Of course, the shower was too much to resist. It was strange. It didn’t use water at all, but she stepped in and ran her fingers through her hair so that it wasn’t so tangled, before letting the shower work its science.
Displeasure filtered through the bond and she wondered what was wrong, but she stepped out of the shower less than two minutes later—and didn’t people miss long, wet showers?—and opened the closet to choose black robes with pink accents and a pink veil that was nearly the same color.
She was just putting on the finishing touches, when Spock entered, taking off his uniform shirt and kissing her shoulder before entering the shower.
Bella sighed. Shower sex must not exist on Terra, from what she could tell, not that she’d ever tried. She’d just heard things—from her mother, unfortunately.
When Spock reentered the room, he chose his black professor uniform, which she must admit she favored. She smoothed out the fabric over his chest, just liking the fact that she could touch him however she wanted, and she saw the approval and devotion in his eyes.
“What is it?” she asked carefully.
“My foster sister, Michael, is on Terra. I did not know as we do not speak.”
“Oh.” She wasn’t certain what else to say. “What did she want?”
“She feels the loss of my mother, as she was more than just a caregiver to Michael.” He picked up her hand from his chest and kissed her knuckles briefly. “She wishes to have a ‘family dinner’.”
“Of course,” she returned, thinking. “Sarek is here, after all. Did—did Sybok survive?”
“I believe so,” he agreed, “although I do not know his location. He also never cared for my mother given her—Terran heritage.”
“Ah,” she murmured, shocks of pleasure running through her fingers. It was nearly overwhelming. “I try to avoid my mom, so I kinda get it.”
Amusement and sympathy shivered into her mind, and she smiled at Spock who was still staring down at her fingers, at the ring she was wearing proudly.
“But in times of tragedy, perhaps it’s good to try and keep the peace? Be polite.”
“Indeed,” he agreed. “I had determined I would only attend the dinner at the Vulcan Embassy she had convinced my father to have if you were present, as my wife.”
She nodded, relief she didn’t know she would feel flowing through her. Bella didn’t want to be a ‘dirty little secret’ as difficult as she knew their marriage was. “She’s Terran, right? That means if I accidently touch her I won’t form a bond with her.”
“Your logic is sound,” he agreed. “Hopefully this phenomenon is limited to only members of the House of Surak, however many of us survived.”
She nodded and leaned up so that she could rest her head against his. “When that strange Vulcan on that planet carried me, nothing happened. Then again, we were all bundled up against the cold—we may never have actually touched.”
“Who was he?” Spock asked. “Jim Kirk would not tell me.”
“He was strangely familiar but I know I have never seen him,” she reiterated. “He seemed awfully interested in our marriage. He seemed to think it was impossible that you would marry me.”
Spock at first did not answer her, his thoughts clearly processing the information, and she just breathed in the same air as him. “Many,” he told her carefully, “believe the only way I can redeem myself in Vulcan society is to marry another Vulcan. However, that was impossible from the very beginning.”
“Oh?” she inquired. “I realize I am irresistible—” That was a tease that she only believed when she was fully basking in his love and adoration.
“You are irresistible, adun’a,” he agreed, his lips twitching up into a smile. “However, I never desired the bond my father arranged with one named T’Pring. I met you just hours before the bond was to be set within our minds, against my inclination, and with your presence I found that I was already bonded, although to a stranger.”
Thinking that over, she remembered the feeling for her when she first woke on Terra. “Yes, I remember a similar sensation. I was too confused to really pay attention at first.”
“Of course, adun’a,” he agreed. “I remember it well—but if it is true that you have yet to meet me, and that you have just not been forced to forget, then I will leave it for you to discover.”
She nodded and rested her head on his shoulder.
His hand ran over her veil lovingly. “If you do go to Vulcan—you must not say what has happened. You must pretend that you don’t know.”
Pulling away, she looked into his dark brown, terribly Terran eyes. “But what if I could stop–?”
“Do this for me, adun’a,” he made her promise, his hand on her cheek. “You never mentioned it. You never tried to influence me. It is what caused me to respect you when I was initially confused. I would not change it. I would not change us. And time is sacred.”
She nodded and then he pulled her against him, an embrace of both comfort and love, before he pulled away and stated it was time to depart if they wished to be punctual.
A laugh escaped Bella’s lips, loving the strange way her husband spoke, and she frankly looked forward to learning Vulcan.
As usual, the two gained looks as they exited the building, her colorful Orion silks (from what she now knew) the most expensive and exclusive in the galaxy. Spock, from what she could gather, was also somewhat of a Federation hero, though she hadn’t really heard the story. She was still confused how Jim was allowed out of the brig, but she would ask him later.
The holocar took them to the familiar Vulcan Embassy, all mirrors and glass, but the interior was quiet. They used their black cards to gain entrance, and all the Vulcans whom they passed were solemn and quiet in a way that was somehow different than before.
Silence pervaded the turbolift but Spock held her hand in his as they waited in the back, Bella leaning against the wall. Spock was standing straight, his face emotionless, but she sensed the turmoil in him.
Bella wasn’t entirely certain what she expected when they entered the room that Spock accessed. There was some stringed instrument playing and Sarek was dressed in subdued robes, waiting for them near the door.
A figure in Starfleet uniform was standing at the window, looking out, but she turned when they entered.
Shock suffused her face, but Bella turned her attention to Sarek who was offering the ta’al to Spock. However, he surprised her when he turned to her:
“Daughter,” he greeted, leaning forward and pressing his cheek against hers in a form of greeting and affection.
“Sarek,” she responded with a small smile when he pulled away. “Are you staying at the Embassy?”
“Affirmative,” he returned as he motioned them further into the room where a table set for four was placed. “I have regular quarters here as Vulcan’s Ambassador to the Federation.”
“Of course,” she agreed. “Ambassadors—on my home planet—sometimes have their own houses in the Capital cities where they—are posted.” Blushing, she realized, “I’m not explaining it well.”
“Not at all, Daughter,” he disagreed. “I own a great deal of property on Terra, so your supposition is not incorrect. However, I possess none in San Francisco.”
She nodded and looked at Spock, who was gazing down at her adoringly.
The woman was approaching, her skin dark, her hair short, her eyes more human than anything Bella had yet encountered on Terra.
“Do your parents possess much property?” Sarek asked in what seemed to be both politeness and curiosity.
She licked her lips briefly before answer, “My mom and her husband stay in hotels. Phil, my stepfather, is a professional sports player, so they move around a lot.”
Spock indicated they should sit and she knelt beside him on one side of the table. “On Vulcan, we no longer partake in sports. That is not the case, however, on Terra, where they are used for recreational purposes.”
“Yes,” Bella agreed. “Dad has a house in the town where he’s the chief of police. It’s small, but it suits us, I suppose. I’ve seen nothing like it here on Terra.”
“That is only to be expected,” Spock agreed, “as you grew up on neither Terra nor Vulcan.”
At this, the woman—who must be Michael Burnham—spoke. “Where did you grow up?”
Bella looked at her and saw distrust in her eyes.
It was Spock, however, who spoke first. His hand rested on top of Bella’s on the table, which seemed to be a clear message to his foster sister given that she was glancing at their entwined fingers. “You know the answer, Michael.”
“Do I?” she returned, her eyes harsh. “I thought this was a family gathering.”
“You have been aware of my marriage to the Lady Isabella for several years, Michael,” Spock told her firmly. “Be hospitable.”
“I’ve met the Lady Isabella,” Michael returned coldly, much to the shock of everyone else at the table.
Spock’s hand tightened slightly over Bella’s, but his mind hummed in reassurance. His eyes, however, remained on Michael Burnham. “I believe you are mistaken,” he returned.
“No,” Michael returned. “I was with Amanda in Shri’kahr, shopping. Your wife had credits and was trying to communicate with a shopkeeper in some strange mixture of Vulcan and Standard. Amanda approached her and offered to help. Lady Isabella purchased a Bible from Terra.”
The stomach dropped out of Bella, as she wondered why she would buy a Bible.
“Strangely, I saw the same book in your room two years later. It was exactly the same.” Her eyes bore into Spock’s, who didn’t even blink. “It had a red cover, the upper right corner was torn at a strange angle.”
Sarek looked at his foster daughter. “I remember just such a book. I inquired of your mother about it, Spock, and she informed me that she did not know where you had gotten it.”
Bella was utterly confused. None of this made sense.
Spock emoted only silence in his mind, and Bella had no idea what he was thinking. Then, he spoke. “You remember my brother Sybok?” When no one answered, he continued, “He intimated to me that God was speaking to him when I was approximately six years of age. Years later, I intimated a confusion in the belief of ‘God’ and my wife appropriated the Bible for me, to further my understanding.—I did not know that mother facilitated the purchase, and I am grateful for it.”
“I have never understood Sybok’s belief in this transcendent God,” Sarek agreed. “What are your thoughts, Daughter?”
The dishes were brought out and Bella found that they were eating spaghetti and meatballs. Curious, she asked, “Are those actual meatballs? It’s just, I thought Vulcans didn’t eat meat.”
“They are tofu,” Sarek responded. “This was a favorite of Lady Amanda’s. We eat it in her honor.”
There was definitely red sauce and Bella looked down at her plate and saw that they fortunately had utensils, unlike last time.
Michael still regarded her with mistrust. “You never named your home planet if you are not, also, Terran.”
Bella was twirling her spaghetti into her spoon, much to the silent amusement of Spock and the fascination of Sarek, who didn’t seem to know of that particular practice.
“I didn’t, Michael,” she returned. “It seems to be ‘a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.’”
Spock blinked and the same amusement shuddered between them.
“I believe that is a quote from a twentieth-century Terran film,” Sarek returned. “I remember studying it when I got my appointment here in San Francisco.”
Dropping her fork in shock, Bella gasped, “You know Star Wars?”
“You can’t,” Bella asserted. “It’s from my home planet. My dad saw it when it first came out.”
Sarek put down his utensils. “It is the story of the Jedi—”
She groaned into her hand and looked at Spock in confusion. She saw a similar emotion in his eyes and she took a deep breath. “Terra cannot be the Earth that I know,” she whispered desperately. “We don’t have any of this—and yet this is San Francisco—which is in California—in the United States of America.”
“Who is your president?” Spock asked carefully, understanding what she was saying.
“George W. Bush,” she told him, her eyes searching his.
“She cannot be Terran,” Sarek refuted. “She has telepathic abilities.”
“Perhaps she was exposed to some sort of radiation,” Spock suggested.
Bella, however, wasn’t quite listening. Instead, she had just figured out how to make enough money to replace her shoes and other clothing, and maybe pay for college. If Terra was Earth, then she could access Earth’s history, and lay bets on various things. Huh. It was a thought.
A smile curled on her face at the idea, though when distress fell through the bond, she turned to Spock and grasped his hand firmly.
Now she had to solve the idea of unelected time travel. She wondered if the problem would prove more difficult than teleportation.