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By Eian Flannagan

Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Paramount owns the sandbox, I'm just sticking my shovel in it.
Genre: TnT Romance
Description: The eighth story in the Happy Medium Universe; fifth and last of the Achieving Balance Arc. Would probably help you out if you read the prior seven...

Author's Note: Italics will represent mental conversation between bonded mates unless otherwise part of a narration or an obvious verbal dialogue.

I struggle daily with control. And I truly have no one to blame but myself. I may have been violated by Tolaris, Silik, and Rajiin, but my struggle is not their fault. I was the one who chose to access my emotions in the most dangerous of fashions. And though I regret the damage done to myself and for the harm I placed upon others during my selfish experiment, I cannot regret some of the doors opened to me by the Trellium.

I need him.

In the most emotional of ways, I need him. Being Vulcan, I find this largely unacceptable. It chafes against my upbringing in untold measure, this uncomfortable emotional dependence upon another. That my emotions play such a dominant role in my life chafes against what I know of my lifelong teachings. And I am unable to master all of these emotions without his assistance. And so I struggle.

And need of him.

That I depend upon a human leaves me unable to reconcile my distant past with my more recent. I am also left with an inability to know what role logic will play in my future...for it must. And that is the balance I must find in this relationship. The resulting chaos in my mind disturbs me greatly, but I cannot find in me any regret.

In the most fundamental of ways...I need him. He is my bondmate. And were it possible to change such, I would not. He fills in me a void I had not known was present. He cares for me. He protects me. He gives me space when I need it, holds me close when I do not. He fulfills my desires, anticipates my needs. He does this heedless of any objections I may offer, and I have finally come to a place where I do not feel compelled to resist his every overture.

Because I realize those are his needs, I believe it is my obligation as his bondmate to attempt to meet them.

Honesty compels me to admit that I want to meet his needs if for no other reason than because I cherish him. Allowing him to care for me in the ways he feels most comfortable is a compromise I make in my efforts to achieve our balance. I find it fascinating that his efforts to achieve balance in our relationship are mostly proactive while mine are largely reactive. It says much about who we are as individuals, as well as what we are becoming as a pair-bond.

He respects me. And, more importantly, he respects the Vulcan in me. I am Vulcan and have no desire to be otherwise. Even though I struggle for emotional control nearly every moment, I am Vulcan. I think in Vulcan ways, I participate in Vulcan habits, traditions and rituals. Because I sought to access my emotions does not mean I desired to be less Vulcan. He knows and understands this. That alone gives me the strength to seek the balance between logic and my emotions. And it is with his care and understanding that I shall succeed, for I have met no other human who strives to understand Vulcan ways as much as this one. He honors me.

He also continues to vex and infuriate me, though not nearly as often as he once did. Our bond, while helpful, does not always lead to understanding. I have spent four years in painfully close association with humans. Nevertheless, I find him to be so incomprehensibly alien at times. If I fail to meet him for a neuropressure session due to experiments I'm performing in the science labs, he is forgiving. If I fail to meet him for dinner for the same reason, he is furious. Evidently, he is very particular about my eating habits.

Aggravating, perplexing human.

He sleeps now, his face pressed against my abdomen. Some of his more unspoken desires were finally met tonight, and he is now thoroughly exhausted. This pleases me even while I, too, am experiencing a profound fatigue. I sit here on our bed attempting unsuccessfully to meditate. Whether it is my own lassitude or the volume of thoughts rampaging across my cerebral cortex or simply the feel of his head in my lap, I am unable to reach the mental calm required for meditation. Since I can do nothing more than reflect on recent events, I feel a need to relish in his intimacy for yet a while longer before giving in to my own need for rest.

It has taken many months for me to allow myself to, once again, experience the disorientation that comes with recreational sexual relations with him. And many weeks to grow comfortable enough within our bond to participate in such intimacy with my husband. From what I know of human males, his patience has been extraordinary.

It was both less and more than I expected.

Less in that I was expecting to be severely overwhelmed in both a mental and an emotional capacity...nearly to the point of detraction. And in some respects, I certainly was. It was not a "comfortable" experience by any means. And I doubt it will ever become so due solely to the sheer volume of thoughts and sensations shared between us. But as he has previously alluded, I was not alone. Our bond made it possible for me to see and understand that he was just as overwhelmed as I. For reasons I am as yet unable to determine, it was easier for me to focus on his difficulties rather than my own. In so doing, my disorientation began to diminish. And with that obstacle eliminated, I was free to focus only on feelings and pleasure---both his and my own.

As a Vulcan, I still grapple with the logic in engaging in sexual relations for the sole purpose of pleasure and/or intimacy. It is anathema to the traditional role sexual relations play in a Vulcan's lifespan. But my life as a Vulcan is far from traditional. I do not have a traditional career, traditional friendships, a traditional husband. I have managed to rationalize the desire for recreational sexual relations with my husband. Though it is illogical to engage in such, to deny doing something that will only strengthen our bond is ridiculous and equally without logic.

I have come to this conclusion because our time together this evening was also more than I expected. I am not immune to the fact that my husband is considered an attractive member of his species. I have finally reached a place within myself where I can acknowledge that I am, indeed, as supremely attracted to him on a physical level as I am the mental and emotional. How was I to know that physical attraction could actually enhance the experience? It's not as though the possibility was ever mentioned when my mother explained such things to me so many years ago. What I learned tonight, however, is that the physical attraction only impacts me at the outset of our recreations. For it was not long before my mind sought his and the cerebral became our "playground."

There is something to be said for knowing, with absolute certainty, that your mate finds you beautiful. I had never before given this thought any credence, as it had always seemed...irrelevant. That is no longer the case for me. It is not that I was previously unaware of my husband's awareness of me, of my features, of my body. There have been many occasions when he has been unable to hide it. And there is a large part of me that still finds it to be of little consequence. What I no longer find irrelevant, however, is how beautiful he believes my mind to be. It is yet one more aspect of our union I find difficult to reconcile, but it seems discount.

We are each separately, and together, achieving a balance in this relationship. While our pace is somewhat slow, it is also steady and encouraging.

I cannot help but run my hand through the silky hair atop his head. It is very fine. An odd accompaniment to the strength I find in him. His musculature. His understanding. His kindness. His devotion to me. These are each a powerful presence, each such an innate part of him. And yet, he is covered by the smoothest, softest, and finest down. I find it endlessly fascinating and am continually captivated by the contrast.

Lately, he has been consumed by thoughts whereby he feels our relationship is not "fair" to me. It is perplexing to me how he can think such while, at the same time, knowing my thoughts on the subject. Yet he continues to fixate on what he feels are the years of life I am being denied by being bonded to a human mate.

He thinks I do not know.

But I am deeply aware of his sadness at the very real possibility that I may die when he does. He believes I am being slighted. He uses a most peculiar human colloquialism. He feels as though I am being...

"Cheated, T'Pol. Yer bein' cheated," he mumbles aloud to me before burrowing deeper into my embrace.

Sleep, ashayam. Sleep. Even in slumber he is attuned to me. It is unlike anything I had ever imagined or ever knew to covet. How he believes our being mated is unfair to me...when he sheds light into so many of my darkest completely unfathomable.

Ridiculous. Exasperating. Dichotomous. Intractable.


And I need him.

Every day. In every way.

I need him.




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