by Cheryl Petterson

(Standard Year 2249)

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Go To Part Two

The nightmares never really left her, but they had ceased causing her to wake up screaming. She had taken the sleeping aid Sulu had insisted on for only a week, but she found, to her consternation, that it had been more effective than she had thought it would be. She had had just as much difficulty staying asleep for the nearly two weeks since, though nightmares were no longer the cause. Or, at the least, not those that plagued her while dreaming.

Jilla Majiir lay alone in her quarters, willing herself to accept that her uneasy wakefulness was some side-effect of the medication she had taken three weeks earlier. She willed herself to accept Sulu’s explanation for his absences; his visions of the beings he called the Silmarils had disturbed him and he was working off extra tension – or doing off-hours research on them. Since Ruth had left for Memory Alpha, the Science Section was too busy for him to appropriate the computer time during the day. He knew she was still having some difficulty getting a good night’s sleep, and he didn’t want to disturb her with his disquiet emotions. He had, at first, suggested she continue the medication for a short time, reducing the dosage every day until she could sleep through the night without it, but she had demurred. They had had a brief argument about it, caused by his usual frustration when her learned Vulcan preferences were at issue. But he had acceded to her wishes – and began spending a portion of nearly every night away from their cabin.

He does not wish to further add to my discomfort, Jilla told herself yet again. Perhaps he even believes his emotions are the reason behind my difficulty.

And does he not consider that it is his absence which is the more likely cause?

Sulu, where are you?

You know, telmnor.

Jilla closed her eyes tightly, her left hand clenching into a fist. No. I will not be so mistrustful.

But the images waited there, behind her eyes, betraying her carefully selected conviction. Ensign LiLing, her back to the bulkhead outside of the Deck Five rec room; Sulu standing in front of her, so close their bodies were almost touching, his arms on either side of her; their gazes locked, Sulu leaning down, whispering in her small, shell-like ear; her laughter, sensual and knowing, her hand reaching up to caress his face…

His smile, one that used to be reserved only for her, as LiLing came onto the Bridge…

The feelings of pity directed at her from others in the crew – and anger toward him …

LiLing’s haughty stares and superior smiles, the voice that managed to be honeyed and derisive at the same time, mocking, victorious…


And if it is true, what right have you to object? How dare you be possessive, or jealous or angry? You have no right to feel such things, no right to ask anything of him. You have lived far beyond Aema’s grace, telmnor. Or are you too much of a blasphemer to even be grateful for that?

Tears welled behind Jilla’s closed eyes and, alone, she let them come.


Sulu had not returned to their cabin before First Watch. She didn’t see him until she came to the Bridge with specification reports for Mr. Scott to initial. He didn’t look at her except for a quick glance to the lift as it opened. She kept her head down, careful not to look at him, handing the statboard to the Chief Engineer, fighting the hollow grief – and the bitter reproach.

Suddenly she became aware that Scott was talking to her.

“Is there somethin’ the matter, lass?” Scotty asked softly. She felt her skin begin to shimmer, and realized her gaze must have flickered to Sulu when her chief nodded sympathetically. “Trouble with Mr. Sulu, is it then?”

She swallowed, appalled that it was so obvious. That, too, must have shown on her face, for Scott murmured, “It’s alright, lassie, it’s understood. Go on back to your work, now.”

“Yes, sir,” she managed, and turned back to the turbolift. It opened as she reached it and LiLing stepped out. The ensign paused, glancing critically at her.

“Lieutenant,” she said, her half-smile cold and disdainful. Her almond eyes swept over the Bridge, coming to rest on the Helm and Sulu, and Jilla fled.


Scott’s eyes met Commander Spock’s across the Bridge. Spock lifted one questioning eyebrow. Scott frowned. Spock nodded and crossed with apparent nonchalance to the lift.


“Good day, Commander,” Jilla’s too-soft voice said as the lift doors closed behind the First Officer. Spock noted that her gaze stayed on the deck.

“Is there something with which you require assistance?” he asked, knowing the tone of his voice would make it clear he was not referring to her duties.

“No, Commander…” she began.

“Jilla,” he interrupted.

She looked up at him, misery evident in her grey eyes. He held her gaze, his own warm and gently questioning. She swallowed, again averting her eyes. “No, Spock,” she repeated.

“Mr. Sulu?” he said, ignoring her statement.

“It is of no consequence…” she began.

“His attention to Ensign LiLing.” The Indiian winced and Spock noted her left hand clenching. “It is healthier for you to express such concerns rather than allow them to fester in your thoughts,” he continued, then paused and added, “That is, I believe, what Ruth would say.”

She flushed. “Commander…”


Her eyes closed and she swallowed again, and Spock saw the slight trembling. “I cannot…” she whispered.

“Then consider it the concern of the First Officer for a valued and valuable crew member,” he stated calmly. “Personal problems are within my purview.” He studied her intently for a moment, and when she did not respond, he said, “Report to my quarters at the end of the watch and we will discuss this further.”

“Yes, sir,” she murmured.

He nodded and the lift stopped on Deck Five. “Carry on, Lieutenant,” he said as he stepped from the car.

“Yes, sir,” followed him as the door closed behind him.


Jilla tried not to think of it. She tried to bury her sorrow in work as she always had, but found that the dull throb in her left hand would not be banished. She did not attempt to meet Sulu for lunch; in fact, she worked through the meal. Food held no appeal for her, nor did she feel any need for its sustenance. She did not return to her quarters, going instead immediately to Spock’s as the First Officer had ordered. She hardly knew what she would say to him; to speak the truth out loud would surely destroy her. She knew that if Ruth were there, the Antari would coax it from her, but Spock was both less and more persuasive. She could resist any appeal from the First Officer, but if he commanded her, as mate, even as kindred…

She took a deep breath before the door to his quarters, and signaled for entrance. At Spock’s “come,” she steeled herself and stepped into the cabin.

Spock rose from his desk, nodding to her, indicating that she sit. He spoke with no preliminaries. “Lieutenant Majiir, it has come to my attention that you are having difficulties of a personal nature.” His voice lost its official tone as he took a seat not behind the desk, but beside her. “I would appreciate your confidence, rilain,” he said softly, “and to ascertain if I can be of any assistance. I would not see you discomforted.”

Jilla swallowed, feeling herself begin to tremble as she had in the turbolift. “I am grateful for your concern,” she said, just as softly, “but there is little that can be done.”

“Regarding what?” Spock asked.

“Sulu’s – “ Her voice caught. “ – attention to Ensign LiLing.” She fell silent again, and to her surprise, Spock reached out, taking her left wrist, turning her hand.

Rilain,” he said gently, “what do you fear?”

“It is of no consequence,” she managed.

“So you said, but I doubt it is the truth. This belies it.” His fingers carefully but firmly forced her hand open. “What is it you fear?” he repeated.

“My own damnation,” she whispered.

“I think not,” Spock returned.

Her eyes flashed up at him. “Whatever the truth of it, it is my sin that is the cause,” she rasped.

“The cause of what?” Spock asked.

“My – discomfort,” she replied stiffly.

“Jilla,” he began patiently, and she cut him off.

“My emotions are my own to deal with, Spock,” she insisted.

“When there is sufficient justification…”

“There is no justification!” Jilla cried, rising from her seat. “It is only that I once thought there was that gives me such pain now!”

Spock again reached out, taking a hold of her other hand. “Rilain, tell me. As your kindred, as one who was your mate, I have the right to know.”

Jilla closed her eyes. There would be no avoiding it. She had used their relationship to push him toward Ruth, had taken liberties with it. She could not now refuse to acknowledge his privilege. His voice continued, soft, caring.

“Would you if I were Ruth?”

The sob caught in her throat and she slumped back into her chair. It took several tries before she found her voice.

“LiLing is beautiful,” she began. “She is flirtatious and more than flirtatious. Sulu is – was – quite promiscuous, his response to her cannot be a surprise. The only point of astonishment is that it has taken him this long to…” She stopped speaking, a shudder running through her.

“To what?” Spock pressed.

“You must understand, Spock,” she begged, “I have no right!”

“I will not pass judgment on you, Jilla,” Spock asserted gently.

The sharp, ironic laugh was torn from her. “No, nor can I on him,” she said. “There is no vow, not even that of the contract you share with Ruth. I dare make no claim, I dare not hold him responsible nor rebuke him. I am to blame, Spock, my sin, my damnation, my broken vow, my forsaken honor!” She pulled her hands from his grasp, covering her face, fighting back the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes. There was silence for several minutes.

“You believe him unfaithful,” Spock said at last.

“One must have promised fidelity to be faithless,” Jilla whispered.

“And has he not?” Spock insisted. “I have heard his declarations myself.”

“Words,” Jilla murmured bitterly. “Words to comfort, to allay my fears, to ease my shame and the anguish I inflict upon him…”

“And what are vows but words, Jilla?”

She stared up at him. “When there is no goddess to rejoice in them, just so.” She swallowed. “Do you not see that as I cannot give him eternity, I cannot ask it from him?”

“If he has made such a promise…”

“I have no right to hold him to it.” She stood. “And, at the last, I have no proof.”

“Yet tia knows what it knows,” the Vulcan said. Jilla again clenched her hand tightly.

“Such is the nature of my difficulty, Commander,” she returned. “It is plain, is it not, that there is, as I said, little to be done.”

“Little perhaps,” Spock countered as he, too, stood. “But not nothing. My advice, Lieutenant, is to talk to Sulu. Let there be honesty between you. If you are correct, let you decide together what is to be done. And if you are not, let him again allay your fears.” He paused. “If you wish, Jilla, I will speak to him.”

“No, I could not bear…” She bit the words off.

Spock nodded. “Understood.” There was another silence. “My door is always open to you, rilain.”

Jilla could only manage a nod of thanks as she turned, leaving the cabin.


When she reached her quarters, Jilla heard the sound of running water. The door to the bathroom was open, which told her the occupant was Sulu. Jade Han, whose cabin shared the facilities, would have closed it. She steeled herself and sat at her desk, waiting. When Sulu appeared, he wore only lounging pants, his hair damp and tousled and she had to deliberately stop the intense longing that swept over her. But the desire made her skin shimmer, and she saw him smile as he crossed the room to her. He bent down, kissing the top of her head.

“Did you sleep any better last night, hon?” he asked.

Jilla shook her head, carefully examining his tia. His had always held an intense mixture of emotion; desire, tension, control, joy, warmth, passion, fear, guilt, anger, much of which she could never understand. She tried now to ascertain whether there was more guilt, or more anger – but he had gotten very good at altering his emotions at will; a skill she had been grateful for when it soothed and calmed her. It was only now that she realized it could also be used to his advantage.

He frowned at her response, his tia becoming worried. He dropped to kneel in front of her chair. “I don’t like that, baby,” he said.

Jilla took a hesitant breath. “Perhaps… if you would stay with me…”

“My emotions might make it worse, not better,” he returned, and she detected only a rise in his concern.

“Since I am already not sleeping well, one night, to test…”

His smile was a wry one. “It’s not like I enjoy staying away, you know.” Tension increased, along with desire – but also control. “If you’re sure...”

Relief flooded her. “Yes, my love, I am sure.”

He rose, pulling her up and into his arms. “Can I exhaust you first?” he murmured sensually into her ear, “Or would that not be a fair test?” She blushed, but melted into his embrace, her mistrust vanishing with the teasing carnality that always characterized his seductions.


His lovemaking was as skillful as it had always been, but there was a determination about it that Jilla had not felt from him for over a year. It was the determination that she feel and accept what he felt, the deliberate aiming of desire and acquiescence that had characterized his interaction with her in the three or four days before she had consciously put aside her vows and given herself to him. Then it was to help convince her to do just that.

And what is it he wishes to convince you of now? came the barren taunt.

That his absences have not meant he no longer loves or desires me, she answered, and tried to make it resolute.

Or that he wishes you to believe his absences have not meant he no longer loves or desires you.

I will not be so mistrustful!

Next to her, Sulu sighed deeply, pulling her close to him. “Sleepy yet?” he asked. She nodded, murmuring a soft assent and felt his smile. “Get some rest, then.”

Celletyea,” she whispered, and waited for his usual response; cortayel – eternity.

The ever-present tension in him increased, but he kissed her cheek and replied lightly, “Me, too, hon.”

He was breathing deeply and evenly long before she fell asleep.


She woke, startling, and he was gone. Panic ripped into her, anguish nearly crushing her. He said he would stay with me! cried through her, immediately countered by, no, he did not. He, in fact, carefully avoided saying so. “Sulu…!”

She felt the bed moving and reached out blindly, grasping at him. “Hey, it’s alright,” he murmured. “I just had to use the head.”

“Do not leave me!” she heard herself begging. She felt him stiffen.

“Where’d you get an idea like that?” he asked and his voice carried a note of harsh suspicion.

Jilla deliberately calmed her breathing. She could not bring herself to tell him the truth. “My own fear,” she said instead, and silently pleaded with him for reassurance.

“Why?” he demanded. “Because I care enough about you to want you to get a good night’s sleep?” He moved away from her, again getting out of bed. “So much for a successful test,” he grumbled.

“Please,” Jilla said, swiftly moving toward him, “When I woke and you were not beside me…”

“You thought what?” he snapped.

Her head lowered. “I only knew you were gone,” she murmured humbly. “Please, Sulu…”

“What woke you in the first place?” he asked.

She swallowed miserably. “You were not beside me,” was her whispered response.

There was a long, awkward silence, then Sulu spoke without looking at her. “Have you been waking up whenever I’m not here?”

“Yes,” she replied.

The guilt in his tia intensified dramatically, and with it came tension – and bitter anger.

“That proves my point, doesn’t it,” he said. ‘My emotions are disturbing to you.”

“Your absence is disturbing to me,” Jilla broke in fervently.

And my absence,” he conceded. She felt the anguish flaring inside him. “So what am I supposed to do? Either way, you don’t sleep. Either way I hurt you.”

“My love, I would prefer…” Jilla began softly.

“Selar and Vulcan peace, I know,” he muttered.

Sudden tears welled in her eyes. “That is not…”

“Never mind,” Sulu interrupted, his tone one of utter defeat. “Go to sleep, Jilla. I’ll stay in the outer room. Then I’ll be here and not here and maybe you can rest.”

He took a step away from the bed and Jilla’s heart thundered. She had to say something, do something to keep him with her. The emotion was too much like that which had consumed her in the shuttle bay just before she and Ruth and stolen the newly-designed Chutzpah shuttle to rescue Spock from the addiction to cordrazine, and again, she cried out without thought. “D’Artagnan, do not go to her!”

Sulu pivoted abruptly, facing her. For one terrible moment the truth echoed between them, then his jaw tightened, a veil dropping over his eyes.

“Go to sleep,” he repeated, then turned and left the bedroom. When he was gone, Jilla collapsed to the bed, sobbing silently.


D’Artagnan, do not go to her.

Sulu’s eyes closed as he wearily slumped into a chair in the outer room. How does she know…

Idiot! She’s Indiian!

Yeah, and if I wasn’t guilty about it…

And why did she have to say D’Artagnan? It was excruciatingly painful to hear the endearment. It was one of the few Jilla would actually use. Beloved, my love – and D’Artagnan. It had started after a bout of fencing in the gym. She had wanted to learn, Sulu was only too anxious to teach her. Ruth had commented on the First Officer’s uncharacteristic knack for coming up with nicknames, explaining that Uhura had told her the effect of the Psi 2000 virus had had on Sulu, and that Spock, after dispatching him with a neck-pinch – and catching the virus in the process from the sweat on Sulu’s shoulder – had told Security to “Take D’Artagnan here to Sickbay.” Jilla had, predictably, asked, “D’Artagnan?” and the way her soft voice said the French name had sent shivers of desire though him. In their cabin he’d explained to her all about his fondness for Alexandre Dumas’ musketeers – in between kisses and caresses – and ever since, Jilla had called him D’Artagnan when she was feeling particularly amorous. She couldn’t seduce him, he knew, and so ‘D’Artagnan’ was her signal, her way of telling him she needed him to be physically close to her.

And you just rejected it.

But she knows…

Did you actually want to keep it from her?

I don’t want to hurt her…


Damn it, what can I do? I’m not what she needs, I can’t be what she wants. I’m a selfish bastard and all I’ve done is take advantage of McCoy’s damned miracle cure! She’s better off without me.

Is she better off with nothing? Now that Spock is married, what chance does she have?

So I condemn us both to a lifetime of emptiness and nightmares and useless, barren comfort…

Isn’t that what you promised her?

He suppressed the shudder, deliberately stopping the thoughts. It was futile, there was no way out. He would go on, he knew, affair after affair, breaking her heart over and over again, watching her die a little more each time his strength and control weren’t enough. And it would get easier each time, he’d fall with less and less provocation. He had tried to convince himself that he could stop, that it was a moment of weakness, nothing more, only because LiLing was breathtakingly beautiful and just as willing. But moment followed moment, he got in deeper and deeper until he was forced to face the undeniable fact that he wouldn’t stop. Though he wanted with all his heart to be faithful for all eternity, to keep Jilla’s fear and desolation at bay, he now accepted that it could never be. He wasn’t strong, he wasn’t good, he wasn’t loving or loyal or perfect… He would never be her husband, never be the one she called to in the middle of the night…

Unless you can erase her memory, like on Canti, he thought bitterly.

Yeah, and then how do you keep her faithful?


He swallowed, grimacing, and willed himself not to think of her warm skin, the sweet, fresh innocence he had despoiled – and the promise he was breaking.


They dressed in silence the next morning. Sulu refused to look at her. She touched him, once, and he pulled quickly away, then left the cabin. Jilla fought back her tears and reported numbly to Engineering.


“Sulu, I waited for you,” LiLing said casually as she walked past the Helm. Sulu closed his eyes.

“I know.”

She conversed briefly with Spock, then stepped past him again. “Your silver one?” Her voice was cutting.

“Ensign, kindly conduct your personal business on your own time,” Captain Kirk interrupted sternly. Sulu glanced at him, then abruptly faced his board. He could feel Pavel Chekov’s incredulous stare as LiLing left the Bridge.

“You have been seeing her?” Chekov stated bluntly. He made the last word sound like an insult. “What of Jilla?”

“It’s none of your business,” Sulu muttered.

“If you’re through with her, can I have her?” It was a caustic question, a parody of a hundred similar joking conversations.

“I said mind your own fucking business, Lieutenant!” Sulu snarled.

“That’s enough, Mr. Sulu,” Kirk snapped. “I won’t tolerate that kind of language on my Bridge. Is that clear?”

“Yes, sir,” Sulu mumbled and Chekov snorted in disgust.


Scott accompanied Jilla to the messhall for lunch. She had demurred, telling him she wasn’t hungry, but the Chief Engineer insisted that she had to eat “to keep up your strength.” He gallantly selected her food for her and led her to an vacant table.

When she had stared at her tray for several moments without touching it, Scott leaned over to her. “D’you need to talk about it, lass?” Her Indiian skin shimmered but she silently shook her head. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

She glanced up, both wanting and afraid to see the warmth in his brown eyes – and her gaze froze. Scott turned his head. Sulu and LiLing were just entering the large room.

Jilla heard Scotty’s intake of breath and his muttered profanity. “I’ll be havin’ a talk with that boy…” he began.

“Mr. Scott, please,” Jilla broke in hurriedly.

“Lassie, how can you just…”

The Asian couple walked toward the bank of replicators. It was obvious Sulu hadn’t seen her, and just as obvious LiLing had. The ensign turned to him, spoke briefly, and he continued on to the replicators. LiLing then moved boldly toward the table.

“Good afternoon, Lieutenant,” she said.

“Now see here…” Scott began.

“You wished to speak to me, Ensign?” Jilla interrupted quietly.

LiLing smiled coldly. “I wanted to share with you what an amazing number of pleasant and enthralling talents Sulu has,” she said. “He’s quite the catch, don’t you think?”

Only Vulcan control kept Jilla from rising to strike the beautiful mocking face.

“I’ve spent so much time with him the past few weeks,” the ensign continued. “I have a degree in botany, you know, and he’s really quite – knowledgeable.” Her glittering show of teeth underscored the innuendo. “He told me you had a garden on Vulcan, in your husband’s home, but that you never talk about it.” Again the woman smiled and again it was icy. “Why is that, Lieutenant? Don’t you think he’s – interested?”

“Li, did you want eel or…” Sulu’s voice stopped as he came up behind LiLing. The ensign’s body had obviously blocked Jilla from his view. Scott bristled angrily. Sulu began again, this time speaking to Jilla, his voice tight. “We were just… I thought you’d work through lunch. You usually do.”

“You need not lie to me, Sulu.” Jilla’s voice was barely audible.


“Boy, you’d best leave the little one be,” Scott rumbled, and Jilla felt Sulu wince at the engineer’s terminology.

“I agree, Sulu,” LiLing put in, then she tsked at him. “You’ve apparently upset her.” She gave one last smile. “I do hope you feel better soon, Lieutenant.”

Jilla bent her head, trying desperately to control the trembling. Scott laid his hand on her arm comfortingly and she flinched, pulling away from the touch.


“What the hell do you think you were doing?” Sulu hissed as he pulled LiLing away from Jilla’s table.

“I was simply making conversation,” she returned innocently. The taunting gleam in her eyes belied the ingenuousness. “It really isn’t polite to simply ignore her, is it?”

“Li, that wasn’t…” he began.

“Does she own you, Sulu-chan?” she broke in pointedly.

Sulu took a breath, glancing at the table. She needs, she needs

Loyal, loving, strong…

He closed his eyes. “No,” he lied.

“Then it really doesn’t matter.” LiLing put her arms around him, leaning up, whispering in his ear. “Does it?” Her breath was a caress and he shuddered.

“Stop it, Li.”


“There’s no need to hurt her like this.”

“Have you told her?”

The guilt seared into him. It was what LiLing had been pushing for, that he tell Jilla and make his relationship with the ensign an open one. “No,” he said again.

“Then I think there is,” she returned. “Won’t it be easier for you both if she knows exactly where she stands?” She kissed his ear, his cheek, moving her lips to his. The helpless desire shot through him, the anguished, angry cry of selfish whore consuming him, and he could do nothing but respond.


Jilla raised her head as LiLing’s arms slid gracefully around Sulu’s waist. Tears burned in her eyes. She heard Scott’s dark muttering, felt his protective anger. The same emotions began beating at her from nearly every tia in the mess, the crew staring at the embracing couple with frank disgust and disbelief. She felt her control slipping, the pain and humiliation eating away at her restraint, filling her with raw anguish. Then Sulu was kissing LiLing; deeply, passionately. The tears slid down Jilla’s cheeks and she got up, pushing the table blindly away, stumbling, bolting out of the room.


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