Star Trek: Defiant

Pilot Episode 3B

Written by T'Mal

"Proceed. With the ceremony." Steven clarified. His grip on her finger tightened, drawing her attention back to him. "That's why everyone is here. Do you feel ok, T'Mal? We don't have to do it now if you don't want to. We have the rest of our lives." He excused her to the people staring at her expectantly and smiling. "She just needs to sit down for a minute. I'm going to get her a drink of water."

Steven led T'Mal to an empty table and seated her. She did feel physically weak, light-headed even. He let go of her finger and headed for the bar. She watched him push his way through the press of people, so many people she didn't know. Where was Emeras? She had barely begun to collect herself when he returned with a frosty glass of ice-water, not the way she usually drank her water, but the way he liked his.

"Look, Steven I do not know what is going on here, but I do not like it. It does not make sense to me. Is everyone expecting us to marry -now-?"

He sat down next to her, took her small hand into his much larger and more callused one, and sighed deeply. "T'Mal, I thought this is what you wanted. I thought you wanted to marry me. Everyone here knows how much you've wanted this. Haven't we waited long enough? If there's someone else..."

"There is no one else. This is very sudden. I have not had time to adjust to the idea. There is much to consider."

"You call 3 years sudden? We had planned this for a year ago, to make sure we were married before your Pon farr. Unless I missed it, it should be coming very soon. What is there to consider? I am here, we have been planning this. Everyone is gathered now to celebrate with us. Tonight or tomorrow, what does it matter? You aren't experiencing plak-tow now are you? You are acting strangely."

Steven seemed to her very sincere, very concerned, his reasoning sounded logical, and yet there was something here she couldn't quite put a name to, something that eluded her grasp. She almost understood it, only to have it slip away again. Maybe it was the early stages of the blood fever, it -was- almost time, and no one could ever guess exactly when it would begin. That must be why everything felt strange and unreal. She looked upon the face she had longed to see again, the face of one she truly trusted. He -must- be right she thought. It did not matter. She could think of no more arguments against it. If only she did not feel so tired. She had been spending too many nights in the Lab, not sleeping enough, even for a Vulcan, there was so much work and no one to do it but her. He was waiting so patiently for her answer, looking ... worried?

"I am feeling better now." She finished the glass of water. "However, it is a private thing, the melding of two minds in marriage. As you have always known, my family does not approve of us. I know that Humans have a public display of vows, but it is more than that with Vulcans. I suppose a diversion to Vulcan at this time is impractical, and I do not feel the need to go there. I have never doubted the strength of your mind to complete the melding, but it will have to be done amongst a much smaller group."

"Of course. There will only be you, me, Tuvok, and Captain Bridges to witness."

"And Emeras. I must have her there. If Myah were not at Starbase 23, I would include her."

"Whatever you want. I want to make you happy, T'Mal. You'll see, this is the right thing to do."

Steven pushed back from the table, stood, and gathered her to his side, encircling her shoulders with his strong arms. T'Mal relaxed into the embrace, let herself experience the wash of loving emotions Steven always seemed to emenate. It was so -different- feeling from anything else she had ever felt. She has experienced the unsolicited touch of others before, usually well-meaning beings who did not realize that to touch a Vulcan against his will was an insult. Those experiences had mostly been uncomfortable to her, but she knew how to block that kind of discomfort. It had never been like that with Steven. Nothing could ever be wrong as long as his arms were around her, to guide her and protect her. It calmed her, put her at ease, all doubts were dissolved in the face of Steven's surety.

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