Reaching Eden: Epilogue
The Book Of Penances

by Mylochka and Cheryl Petterson

(Standard Year 2249)

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“I slept with Del,” Daphne announced at the point where she absolutely couldn’t take another moment of she and Chekov being nice to each other.

In bed beside her, the navigator froze. “What?”

“I’ve slept with Del,” she repeated defiantly. When he turned to look at her, she did relent enough to add. “Not recently. A long time ago.”

She watched him have a response, suppress it, have another response, then reconsider that one as well before finally coming up with, “Oh?”

Gollub, in turn, weighed and discarded her first three responses before settling on, “Yeah.”

“So.” Chekov carefully moved so that he wasn’t touching her any more than was necessary for two people occupying a single bunk. “You have had a relationship with Noel DelMonde.”

“Relationship?” Daffy snorted. “Oh, God, no. We’re friends – in as much as anybody can be friends with Del – but that’s all.”

The navigator weighed this information as if it made a difference to him. “Oh.”

“And you’re wondering why I’m telling you this now,” Gollub said, deciding to fast-forward to the next part of the conversation. “What? You think I’m just burning through some of the get out of jail free cards I’ve racked up as a result of what you did on Dreamland?”

“If by that you are asking if I think your timing is somewhat…” Chekov began slowly, “less than ethical…”

“Oh, you little…” Daffy gritted her teeth and forced herself to remember that she was trying to make peace with the navigator. “What I’m trying to do is to show you that we can talk.”

The Russian blinked at her.

“About things… Even hard things,” she explained. “Even things that might make the other person mad.”

“So…” The navigator took a moment to consider. “You are trying to make me angry?”

“I’m going to try to rip out your…” Daffy forced herself to stop again. “Yes. I did realize that my telling you that I had slept with Del – even though it was a long damn time ago and didn’t mean shit to either one of us and is none of your damned business anyway -- was going to bother you for some unfathomably idiotic male reason – but the reason I said it was to show you that even after what we’ve been through we don’t have to keep secrets. We can tell each other things. We can work though it.”

Chekov nodded slowly, although he still looked lost and as angry as he could dare to be at the moment. “Oh.”

“And this is not about me and Del,” Gollub clarified firmly. “This is about you and Irina.”

All the traces of anger drained away and were replaced by guilt and shame by the next, “Oh.”

“Don’t keep saying ‘oh.’”

Chekov shrugged, unable to meet her eyes. “There is not much to say.”

“Yes.” She turned his face back towards her gently. “There is. There’s a lot to say. A lot of things we should talk about.”

He shook his head with a sad smile. “Not everything can be solved by talking.”

“Listen, bubee,” Daffy said, putting her arms around him. “I know you’re hurting. There’s no need to try to keep it a secret. You know you’re terrible at keeping secrets from me.”

The navigator swallowed and looked away.

Red alerts went off in Gollub’s brain. “And yet you still try.”

“Dafshka...” Chekov began uncomfortably.

“This is not just upset over Irina, is it?” Daffy sat back and observed her lover carefully. “There’s something else that you’re not telling me. Something you feel guilty about…”

The navigator cleared his throat and tried valiantly not to squirm under her critical gaze. “Dafshka, perhaps it is best if…”

“What did you do that I don’t know about?” she asked bluntly.

He took a deep breath, but couldn’t quite make himself meet her eyes. “Dafshka, I am simply not prepared to discuss everything that…”

Who did you do that I don’t know about?” she asked even more bluntly.

That one hit home. The navigator winced, knowing that she knew that she had caught him and knew that he knew that she knew.

Chekov opened his mouth to try to say something – anything – to change the subject, but only a small, strangled noise came out.

“Chione,” Daffy said as a statement instead of a question. “You had sex with Chione.”

The navigator bit his lip and was silent.

“That’s right, isn’t it?” the chemist persisted. “You had sex with Chione, too. Didn’t you?”

Chekov forced himself to look at her. “It was not by my choice.”

Gollub’s face hardened. “Not entirely,” she added, mimicking his accent. “Go ahead. Say it.”

The navigator sighed in defeat. That one word, he knew, was going to be what killed him. The admission that on some level – no matter how unconscious and submerged the desire was and no matter that he could not be sure that the desire was not telepathically forced on him – he had wanted to have sex with Chione was what was going to make Daphne furious. And why not? It was what made him furious with himself.

“It was not,” he could not stop himself from admitting, “entirely by my choice.”

“Oh, God!” Daffy exclaimed loudly, squeezing her eyes and fists closed in rage. “I can’t believe it. I cannot fucking believe it.”


It was too late, though. Gollub had already gotten out of bed and was angrily collecting her clothing. “We’re all in danger of our lives and you’re fucking having a fucking ménage a fucking trois…

“Daphne…” he pled quietly, knowing she was not going to listen to him.

“Sowing your fucking wild oats,” the chemist was loudly muttering while she threw on her crumpled uniform. “While I’m cleaning toilets and almost murdered…”


“You and your fucking Russian girlfriend and her fucking evil bitch girlfriend can all fucking fuck in hell as far as I’m fucking concerned,” Gollub announced before storming out.

Chekov blew out a long breath in the suddenly quiet and empty room. “So much for talking,” he said bitterly.


Jeremy Paget took a deep breath before signaling at the door to Daffy’s cabin. He’d just spent half an hour with Sulu, after a call from Jilla. The helmsman was having trouble with his empathy and needed help she couldn’t give him. Sulu had told him about Ruth’s shoji idea – a damn good one, Jeremy thought approvingly – but it wasn’t working against the onslaught of the misery of Pavel Chekov and Daffy Gollub. The couple’s angst was giving Sulu a constant, low-grade headache and the shojis simply weren’t keeping it out. The helmsman was more aware of what was going on between Daffy and Pavel than he wanted to be and being with Jilla only made it worse. So Jeremy had decided to do his best to get the chemist to understand what had happened on Dreamland after her death. He knew that DelMonde would’ve been better able to explain, but after pumping Sulu for every detail of his ‘overheard' conversation, including that Daffy had confessed to Chekov that she’d slept with DelMonde, he knew the engineer was the last person Chekov needed to find with his girlfriend.

And NC would be none too kind about the whole thing anyway, Jeremy mused. His own qualifications for dealing with the situation were much better with the one caveat that he himself was mind-blind and didn’t really understand what the hell had gone on in what both Sulu and Ruth had called the final battle. All he had were a) what he’d been told had happened, b) extensive tapes over the last three years from Sulu regarding the details of Daffy and Pavel’s on-again-off-again relationship, c) a very long history of watching Daffy in relationships that both did and didn’t mean something to her, and d) his psychological training. He hoped it would be enough.

Daffy’s faint “come” carried all her unhappiness with it. With another deep breath, Paget entered the cabin.

“Daffy, can I talk to you?” he said.

The chemist was sitting on her bed, her face bearing obvious traces of recently wiped-away tears. “I’ve got all my notes ready for the debriefing…” she began.

“No, it’s not about that,” the security officer interrupted. He’d already decided to play it absolutely straight. “Sulu’s out of quarantine but – when he touches Jilla, his empathy reaches new heights of intrusiveness.” He chuckled. “And we both know how likely it is that he’s not gonna touch her. Spike thinks it’s some kind of feedback loop.”

“And you’re looking for a chemical solution?”

“No.” Paget straightened his shoulders. “I’m lookin’ for a way to stop the headache overhearin’ everyone’s business gives him. Del’s business, Ruth’s, mine, Sakura’s. Pavel’s.” He paused, stepping closer to the bed. “Your business, Daf. It seems to be strongest with the people who were fellow Loonie fodder.”

She pursed her lips, glaring up at him. “My business is none of…” she began.

“Yeah, I know. Which is why we want to make it stop. He told me you’ve been fightin’ with Pavel.”

“Like you need to be an empath to have figured that out,” Daffy muttered.

“Well, no, not really. But being an empath lets him know what you’ve been fightin’ about.”

Daffy got up from the bed, brushing past him. “Come on, that’s hardly the challenge of the century…”

“Sleeping with Chione wasn’t his idea, Daf.”

The chemist pivoted to face him, her shock nearly eclipsed by her anger. Jeremy folded his arms. “If you want to blame somebody, blame me. Chekov came to me after he’d been forced into a three-way. He wanted out. He said he’d failed at getting Irina to trust him and that he couldn’t do what was gonna be required of him. I told him to get his Russian ass back in there and suck it up.”

After this allegedly forced three-way,” Daffy commented bitterly.

“Yeah, after. He couldn’t very well’ve known he was gonna be telepathically manipulated into it before it happened, now could he?”

“You mean to tell me you knew he was being telepathically manipulated and you still…??”

“No, I didn’t know,” Paget interrupted sharply. “I wouldn’t know now except for what Kam told me.”

“So you just didn’t give a damn about what such a thing would do to me,” Daffy snapped, but the pain in her eyes was clear. Jeremy sighed.

“That was my job, Daf. I’m sorry it’s hurt you, but I was pretty specific about what would be expected before we ever got on board the Shambala.” He shrugged. “The point is that Chekov didn’t sleep with Chione because he wanted to.” He paused for a moment, then continued. “You know, for a while there on Dreamland, Sulu was a part of the Beast too. He tells me what she was doin’ to Chekov was not something Pavel could have controlled, and I believe him.”

“And he knows all about beasts, doesn’t he, Cobra?” Daffy snarled at him. “And about cheating on his girlfriend with lame psychological excuses…”

Her feelings of rage and betrayal would’ve been obvious even to the untrained eye, and Paget sighed again. “I know, and I’m not defending him,” he managed. “But Pavel’s not him.”

“Except that like all men he’s got a wandering eye the size of Jupiter’s red one,” the chemist spat.

“Well, yeah, the guy’s not dead,” Jeremy responded. “You’ve done your share of ‘ooh-what-a-pretty-pretty-man’ fantasizin’, too, you know.”

“But I never…”

“And if Chione hadn’t been pourin’ poison into Tovarish’s null little brain, neither would he,” the security man interrupted. “And if it wasn’t part of the damned mission, he wouldn’t have with Irina.”


“Because if it wasn’t part of her mission, she would never have hurt him in the first place.”

“And they’d be happily married and waiting on Nest ships to bring dozens of little Russians into the universe, is that what you’re telling me?” Her arms were folded tightly across her chest, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.

Jeremy gently reached out to her. “Daf, I’m just tellin’ you that if things were different, they’d be different. Pavel’s an honest man, sometimes too honest for his own good. He’s not gonna lie to you and tell you that he wasn’t attracted to a beautiful woman – but that attraction doesn’t mean he’s gonna sleep with every woman he sees – regardless of the fact that you make it easy for him to think so.”

“I make it?!” she blazed. “I make it…?!”

“You accuse him of it all the time. It makes him think there must be something to it or you wouldn’t see it in everything he does.” He took hold of her shoulders, saying, “Sulu’s kept me filled in,” before she could protest again. “Pavel’s a good, decent man, Daffy,” he went on. “He’s tearin’ himself apart with guilt, more over things he hasn’t done than anything he has. The Beast controlled him, and you make him think he wanted it – so he’s guilty over wantin’ it, even though he didn’t. He loved Irina, yes, but if this mission hadn’t thrown them together – well, he didn’t go roaming the galaxy lookin’ for her, did he? But now you’ve made him think he was inches away from doin’ just that, and he’s drowning in that guilt, too.” Paget shook his head. “Daffodil, when did what people did in the past – long before they knew each other – when did that start to matter more to you than how they treat you?”

Daffy’s eyes had grown uncertain, but her answer was belligerent. “So now last week was in the past?”

“Technically yes, but… Daffy, you knew going into this that there were things he was gonna have to do…”

“He didn’t have to enjoy it so….”

“Jesus Christ, woman, he didn’t enjoy it!” Jeremy shouted. “Do you need some security refresher courses in handling sexual interrogation techniques? Or just a good long talk with me and Sakura about Tongo Rad?”

Daffy blinked. Paget took a deep breath. “Sex feels good,” he stated. “That’s basic biology. Sex feels good even when the psychological situation isn’t. And that’s more true for men than women because our sexuality is hard-wired differently. There’s an old joke about how to turn a male on – show up. Sure, Pavel’s body enjoyed the sex. But that doesn’t mean – hell, that doesn’t mean anything at all. But you’re makin’ him think it did.”

Daffy was trembling. “I tried to tell him that,” she said. “I tried to tell him that I understand that sex can be just that – sex.”

“Which is where the unkind reference to NC came in,” Jeremy muttered.

“See? You do it too! It wasn’t meant to be unkind, I was just trying to tell him that I was capable of understanding!” She abruptly stopped talking, glaring at the security officer in sudden suspicion. “Hey, how the hell did you know…?”

“Sulu told me,” he said.

She scowled, but waved away his reply. “Okay, it wasn’t exactly a mitzvah but my point was that we could admit hard things and still talk.”

“So why didn’t you?” Paget asked sternly.

“So why didn’t I what?”


“Well, because… because…” Daffy frowned. “Because he still wasn’t gonna talk to me.”

“And what happened when he did?”

The frown turned into a scowl. “I got pissed at him for screwing Chione.”

“And assumed he wanted to.”

“He said…”

“No, Daf,” Jeremy put in quietly. “You said.”

“Are you saying that…”

“You put the guilt in his mind, yes. You made him think – because his body likes sex, a fact, by the way, that you normally revel in – that physical response meant his natural Human reaction made him a lying, cheating bastard. You turned the normal Human desire of male for female into some evil flaw in his very being, instead of the natural, unavoidable reaction it is. Christ, Daffy, if people weren’t turned on by other people, the porn industry would go belly-up.”

Daffy was chewing on her lip. “If he would’ve just told me…”

“He would’ve gotten the same reaction. Which is why he didn’t tell you.”

She was quiet for a while, and Jeremy waited patiently, well aware of the emotional struggle going on within her. Finally Daffy took a deep breath.

“So, Mr. Suddenly-I’m-A-Relationship-Counselor, what do you suggest?”

“Let go of wantin’ to be angry over something you knew he was gonna do and agreed to let him do, whether or not you liked lettin’ him do it,” Paget said. “You tell him everything he needs to know about you – whether or not you want to. Convince him to tell you everything you need to know about him – whether or not he wants to. Then accept that what’s done is done, and neither one of you can change it. Start livin’ in the present and the future, not in his past – or in yours.”

“And if he won’t talk?”

Jeremy grinned. “Smack him in the back of the head.”

Daffy sighed, but there was a grin pulling at her lips too. “And this works for Kam and Jilla, does it?”

Jeremy quickly covered his surprise. Perceptive Miss Gollub is becoming, he noted wryly to himself and shrugged. “No – but they don’t need to talk. Empathy and sensitivity, y’know.”

“And, of course, that she forgives him for everything,” Daffy disparaged.

“Well, Daf, you could try that…” Paget began, then mouthed a quiet “ouch,” as she smacked him in the back of the head.


“Saki, you got a minute?”

Sakura Tamura looked up from her statboard at Daffy’s voice. She was sitting in the rec room, working on her report for the debriefing, having nothing better to do since Jeremy had left her cabin. “Sure, Daf, what’s up?” the yeoman asked.

“Tongo Rad,” the chemist replied, taking a seat.

“Rad’s up?” Sakura returned, frowning in confusion.

“No, I mean… you had to screw him to keep up appearances, right?”

Tamura scowled. “Don’t remind me.”

Daffy seemed to be considering something, then she said, “You got any Rigellian?”

“In my cabin. You need some?”

“For this conversation, I think we both will.”


The two women had settled themselves in Sakura’s cabin with a nicely-filled pipe of Dr. Han’s native herb and religious practice. They both sat cross-legged on Sakura’s bed and passed the pipe between them.

“So what’s this about Tongo?” Sakura finally asked.

“You fucked him,” Daffy replied.

The yeoman made a face. “Yeah.”

“More than once.”


“Because the mission demanded it.”

“Do you think I was attracted to the egomaniacal little bastard?” Tamura said, more than a little indignantly.

Daffy ignored the question. “But all you had to do was lie back and take it, right? I mean, you weren’t the aggressor or anything.”

Sakura snorted. “Our cover was happy, decadent ménage a trios – with Kam,” she stated. “How much lying back passively do you think that lent itself to?”

The chemist took a long, thoughtful drag off of the pipe. “Did you enjoy it?” she asked, then exhaled slowly.

The yeoman eyed her dubiously, taking the pipe. “Well, with Cobra, hell yes. But it was frustrating having to make all the appropriate fore-plays with Sulu, knowing there wasn’t going to be any follow-through.”

“And with Rad?” Daffy asked pointedly.

“I wouldn’t say enjoyed, exactly…” Sakura hesitated. She became aware that Gollub was studying her intently, and found herself flushing. “Ah – my body appreciated the release,” she offered.

Daffy nodded. “And Cobra?”

“I already said I …”

“No, I meant… did he enjoy it with Rad? Not that I want to think too much about it.”

Sakura grinned. Daffy’s opinion on homosexuality was that it was all very well and good for people who went that way, but to keep it the hell away from her. “I think he pretty much felt the same way I did – bothered at the pretend-to-touch charade with Kam, lots of enjoyment with me, and release with Rad.”

“Release, huh?” Gollub mused. “So he – and you – got hot and got off – even with Rad?”

Tamura shrugged. “Sex is, Groupie,” she said, deliberately using the Clavist terminology. “How many people do we know who got off with Cal?”

“Ugh,” Daffy shuddered.

“My point,” Sakura returned. She was quiet for a moment, then glanced at the chemist. “Can I take a guess here? Are you trying to figure out if Pavel liked having sex with Irina and Chione?”

“Did everybody know about that but me?” the chemist bristled.

The yeoman made a sympathetic face. “Del did, and Ruth, and Sulu because of the neurophenes, and I was there when he told Jeremy… yeah, I guess that was everybody, wasn’t it?” She blew out fragrant smoke. “Sorry. But is that what you want to know?”

After a pause, Daffy muttered, “Not exactly.”

“Are you trying to understand how his body could’ve liked it if he didn’t?”

“Closer,” Gollub admitted.

“You are remembering he was surrounded by unethical, amped up, powerful telepaths aiming Buddha knows what kinds of lust at him – which, because he’s a null, he wouldn’t’ve known about – but his body would have because it sure as shit’s not null, aren’t you?”

The chemist flushed furiously. “I hadn’t, no,” she replied.

“So what was your question again?”

Daffy scowled. “How did you stand screwing Rad?”

“I thought of the person I couldn’t be screwing,” the yeoman replied softly – honestly.

She watched as anguished hope sprang into her friend’s eyes, but all Daffy said was, “Men are such bastards.”

“Yeah, who are they to be thinking of other people when they’re screwing us,” Sakura laughed.

Daffy smacked her on the arm. “I didn’t say that, you yutz. I meant Kam.”

“He fell in love, Daffy,” Tamura replied with an elegant, wistful shrug. “He’s a bastard because it wasn’t with me?”

“He’s a bastard because he makes people fall in love with him when he doesn’t love them – and then forgets how they feel when he’s found the Love-Of-His-Life-For-A-Year-Or-Two,” Daffy derided.

“Jilla’s forever,” Sakura murmured.

“Yeah, this week.”

“That’s not kind, Daffy.”

“Only because it’s true and you and I both know it.”

The yeoman shook her head. “You don’t know him like I do,” she said. She saw the chemist’s eyebrows rise questioningly, but said nothing more.

After a moment or two, Daffy sighed.

“So Pavel could’ve not-really-enjoyed sex with the bitches but still gotten – uh – release,” she mused. “And that doesn’t make him a Kamikaze-class bastard.”

Sakura frowned at the designation. “He has apologized,” she reminded.

“And Jilla would forgive him for a star going nova, so…”

“I meant Pavel.”

“Oh.” There was a another pause, and Daffy took a final hit off the pipe. “Rad sucked, huh?”

“Not very well, according to Jeremy.”

The smoke came out Daffy’s nose as she snorted, then broke into choking laughter. Sakura soon joined her and they had collapsed against each other before their amusement was spent.


The Enterprise had been without two of its star musicians for nearly a month, and the crew was more than anxious for the resumption of concerts by The Cataclysmic Non-Denominational Band. Dr. Han had warned Noel DelMonde that he should limit himself to no more than fifteen minutes in such a venue until he was able to judge how much of an effect the neurophenes still in his system would have. He entered the rec room cautiously, feeling out ahead of him for anything that was likely to trigger a renewed bout of hallucinogenic contact with the spirit world. All he detected was the usual bright cacophony of other minds, with a few notable particulars, caused, he had no doubt, by the recent mission.

Daffy an’ T-Paul playin’ Czarina and lowly courtier, he identified with some amusement. Li’l Jilla and Kam an’ he not keep his hands off her for a second. How she gonna play her lyrette like that, son? Cobra an’ Gypsy tryin’ not to notice that Kam’s done forgot they exist. Saki’s used to it, brother, an’ you goin’ back to the Hood soon ‘nough.

Cool green flowed to his awareness, and he became aware that the First Officer was watching him. You sorry she save my life? he asked it. You sorry she had to tell me she love me to do it? Or you jus’ sorry she does?

It not how much I am loved that make me strong, he thought to the Vulcan, repeating the realization that had saved him on Dreamland. True strength lie in how much – despite ever't'ing – I am able to love. An’ I be t'inkin’ you not have a clue how strong I am.

You think that matters, do you?

Del started at the voice in his head. He glanced around, but there was no one looking at him – except Spock. And he was certain the voice hadn’t come from Ruth’s husband.

Before he could approach the Antari, who sat with her guitar at the front of the small crowd, she started playing a simple, sad, evocative melody.

To hear the song, click here

“Just before our love got lost you said,
‘I am as constant as the Northern Star.’

Was there a touch of a Russian inflection there?

And I said, ‘Constantly in the darkness. Where’s that at?
If you want me I’ll be in the bar.’”

The definite New York accent which Ruth had suddenly affected couldn’t be mistaken for anyone other than Daffy Gollub. Del shook his head. You be t'inkin’ a li’l truth-by-music not be evil no more? he thought at the Antari. Even in quarantine he couldn’t help but be aware of the tremendous amount of angst that was being generated by the Gollub/Chekov Back Home Again Fight Club.

“On the back of a cartoon coaster in the blue TV screen light
I drew a map of Canada – Oh Canada –
With your face sketched on it twice

Oh you’re in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you, darlin’
And I would still be on my feet
Oh I would still be on my feet.”

For the second verse, Ruth altered the words just a little – and delivered them in with obviously Slavic overtones.

“Oh I am a navigator
I live in coordinates
I’m frightened by the devil
And I’m drawn to those ones that ain’t afraid.
I remember that time you told me, you said
“Love is touching souls.”
Surely, you’ve touched mine
‘Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time.

Oh you’re in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you, darlin’
Still I’d be on my feet
I would still be on my feet.”

An’ they call me cruel, Del thought. With the reputation both parties had for being able to drink like the proverbial fish, the song was painfully appropriate. And from the looks on both their faces, they both knew it.

Ruth switched back to the New York accent, and Del watched Daffy’s reaction: anger, sorrow, shame. He watched the same emotions in Chekov, and saw the tears that slowly made their way down the Russian’s cheeks. Then he saw that Daffy, too, wept silently.

“I met a woman, she had a mouth like yours
She knew your lies,
She knew your devils and your deeds and she said
“Go to him, stay with him if you can,
But be prepared to bleed.”

Oh but you are in my blood you’re my holy wine
You’re so bitter, bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you, darlin’
Still I’d be on my feet
I would still be on my feet.”

Ruth played on, humming a counter melody line, gazing gentle rebuke and sympathy at the couple. Enough is enough, he could hear her saying to them. You love each other, now stop acting like putzes.

As if they heard her – which they prob’ly did, knowin’ her, Del mused – they turned to each other, pulling each other into a hesitant embrace. Del didn’t know if the audience was applauding that or the song.


Sulu had hesitantly asked if Del would sing something for him. Del kept his opinions on the particular cruelty of the request when Cobra and Gypsy were in the room to himself, but he knew how much Kamikaze still had to make up to Jilla – an’ since Ruth’s decided it’s musical couples evenin’, why the hell not?

Because when have we ever minded being cruel, Cajun?

He jerked his head sharply, determined to ignore what must only be the remnant of the demons playing tricks in his mind.

He conferred with Ruth, who smiled mawkishly at Sulu, then they both started playing, the music soft and flowing. Sulu took Jilla by the hand, moving to the slow rhythm and, Del had no doubt, whispering the words in her delicate pointed ear.

To hear the song, click here

“I'll be your dream, I'll be your wish, I'll be your fantasy.
I'll be your hope, I'll be your love, be everyt'ing that you need.
I love you more wit' every breath, truly madly deeply do.
I will be strong, I will be faithful ‘cause I'm countin’ on a new beginnin’,
A reason for livin’,
A deeper meanin’, yeah”

You better, son, Del thought, unable to stop the overly-sentimental smile from playing in his mind.

“I wanna stand wit' you on a mountain,
I wanna bathe wit' you in the sea.
I wanna lay like this forever,
Until the sky falls down on me...”

To everyone’s surprise, Pavel led Daffy to the space in front of the musicians, joining Sulu and Jilla.

“An' when the stars are shinin’ brightly in the velvet sky,
I'll make a wish, send it to heaven, then make you want to cry
The tears of joy for all the pleasure an' the certainty
That we're surrounded by the comfort an' protection of the highest power
In lonely hours
The tears devour you.”

It was all Del could do not to put the words to the woman sitting next to him. If she be t'inkin’ of anyone, it not you, fool – an’ you know she t'inkin’ o' someone…

Suddenly there was another tune in his head, other words in Ruth’s soft, melodic voice, a picture of calm and peace and warmth shared with Spock.

To hear this song, click here

Love, soft as an easy chair
Love, fresh as the morning air
One love that is shared by two, I have found in you

He shook it away, focusing again on the couple for whom this song had been requested.

“I wanna stand wit' you on a mountain,
I wanna bathe wit' you in the sea.
I wanna lay like this forever,
Until the sky falls down on me...

Oh can you see it baby?
You don't have to close your eyes
It's standin’ right before you.
All that you need will surely come...”

Jilla was flushing, Sulu’s smile as bright as any sunshine. Other couples had joined the romantic dance; Ramon and Monique, M’ress and Mrraal – even Jeremy and Sakura. Sharin’ the heartache, Del thought, and wished he had someone to share his own. He saw that Jade Han was glancing at the captain, and that the captain glanced at her, but neither one of them approached the other.

Like a rose under the April snow
I was always certain love would grow
Love, ageless and evergreen
Seldom seen by two…

Again the second melody invaded his head, carrying with it all his lost hopes and shattering his precarious control. Why you do this to me, babe? he cried out, but he knew from the look on her face that Ruth didn’t hear him.

“I'll be your dream, I'll be your wish, I'll be your fantasy.
I'll be your hope, I'll be your love, be everyt'ing that you need.
I'll love you more wit' every breath, truly madly deeply do...

I wanna stand wit' you on a mountain,
I wanna bathe wit' you in the sea.
I wanna lay like this forever,
Until the sky falls down on me...
I wanna stand wit' you on a mountain.
I wanna bathe wit' you in the sea.
I want to live like this forever.
Until the sky falls down on me...”

Del left the final flourishes to Ruth, trying desperately to stop the pounding in his head. He was grateful when Han tapped her wrist, indicating that he’d had enough time in the rec room, and tried to make it appear that he wasn’t fleeing in panic – and someone’s laughter trailed after him as he ran.

Go To Part Three

Return To Part One

Case of You by Joni Mitchell
Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden
Evergreen by Barbra Streisand

Return to Valjiir Stories

Return to Valjiir Continum