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Lt DeVeau and LtCmdr Saveron - A Matter of Touch

Rahman and Rivi Vataix

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((Holodeck 3, USS Invicta))

::The north American forest was an interesting environment, and one that Saveron had not experienced before. The trees were larger than any he had ever seen, much of the undergrowth outcompeted for light and thus the walking wasn’t difficult. The pair wandered through the soft, dappled light as a breeze stirred the leaves and occasional hints of movement gave away the native fauna.::

::Saavok had run ahead somewhere, pursuing a small creature that Alora had identified as a ‘squirrel’. He appreciated new environments as much as his father, but expressed that appreciation with rather more enthusiasm. When they were not amongst others Saveron tolerated his son’s bouts of energetic exploration without comment.::

::He was content to follow behind, walking sedately at Alora’s side, appreciative of her company. It was a state that had only grown since that evening in the ravine, a level of uncertainty had vanished. That she appeared to find his company as agreeable as he found hers made it easy to relax and simply spend time together.::

::As they strolled through the underbrush of the forest, their foot falls punctuated with gentle snaps of twigs and various plant matter beneath, it was difficult to keep her hands to herself. While Alora had no ambitions to get too intimate so early in their relationship, the desire to touch was still acute. Yet, she didn’t want to offend. Touch was such a sensitive subject to Vulcans. In truth, it could be with Humans, though in a different fashion. So, she refrained from reaching out for his hand, although her fingers longed to thread with the warmth of his. She stopped herself whenever she found the desire to reach out and simply place a hand on his arm. This wasn’t anything particularly unusual, she’d been doing it since the first time they’d shared mental contact, but it was becoming increasingly more difficult - especially now they’d revealed their affection for one another.::

::A smile of amusement crept over her lips as Saavok delved into the depths of the forest. Her hand twitched, but she kept it at bay. To fight the temptation, Alora clasped her hands behind her - a motion which allowed her some insight into why the Vulcans took such a common stance around others.::

::The movement caught Saveron’s eye and he glanced over at his companion. That wasn’t common body language for her, indeed it was something that he might do himself. Excessive time in Vulcan company, or indication of some other factor?::

Saveron: Are you comfortable? ::He asked.::

::The environment they were walking through was quite wild and did not make for the easiest of strolls, for all that it provided an array of experiences for the senses.::

DeVeau: I’m comfortable.

::Alora assured him. She wasn’t uncomfortable, she was just having a difficult time reigning in her desires, as innocent as they were. She flashed a smile over at him, then turned away to focus on forging onward.

DeVeau: You?

Saveron: Affirmative, I find the environment interesting. As, clearly, does Saavok.

::The last was said in a slightly dry tone. When a few moments of silence passed between them he tried again.::

Saveron: I ask because you have adopted a stance that I have not observed you use before.

::He saw no reason not to speak plainly.::

DeVeau: Stance?

Saveron: You have your hands clasped behind your back.

DeVeau: Oh.

::It was true. Alora was not inclined to keep her hands in such a manner. That had been spurred by her desire to make sure she didn’t do something he didn’t like.::

DeVeau: I just don’t want to...inadvertently touch you when you do not wish it.

::Saveron paused in his long-legged strides and turned to look at Alora more carefully, clearly considering her words. Alora went on two more steps before she too stopped and twirled about to face the Vulcan.::

Saveron: You are extrapolating based on Vulcan social etiquette. ::He guessed.::

DeVeau: Yes. I’m trying to keep from doing anything you might find...disagreeable.

Saveron: You need not; I would have no objection.

::Quite the opposite, though as ever cultural constraints kept him from expressing that; personal wants were not logical. After a moment’s consideration he held up his hand, two fingers extended as he had in the ravine, though this time he did not offer it to her.::

Saveron: You may make invitation with this gesture at any time, and I will not refuse.

::She studied the Vulcan and the gesture he made, then stepped forward and extended her own two fingers. She knew what such a gesture meant among Vulcans and it was their way of showing affection. Yet it quite didn’t run the gammit of what she wanted. Still, the touch was enjoyable, even desirable and she tilted her smile upon him as their fingers came into contact with one another.::

::Reaching out, Saveron did not make the same firm contact he had before but rather tapped his own two fingers momentarily against Alora’s. The result was a mere flash of mental contact, a brief sense of the other and their uppermost thoughts, mostly just their presence.::

Saveron: Such contact is acceptable in public. ::He explained.::

::The smile faded and she glanced down at her fingers, then let them drop to her side, her expression fallen.::

DeVeau: I see. I’ll...try to keep that in mind.

::The disappointment was stark on her features; it might almost have been comical did it not cut him more than he cared to admit. They came from two very different cultures and whilst many things ran easily between them, sometimes they came up against some convention that did not.::

Saveron: You do not find such agreeable?

::The fingers that had enjoyed the quick caress rubbed lightly and briefly against her thumb as she pondered how to answer.::

DeVeau: I find it…

::No, not it, a lack of it. She considered the question, and finally set upon the path to an answer by asking one of her own.

DeVeau: What are we?

::Saveron deduced that this was not a time for stating the blindingly obvious.::

Saveron: I do not understand the context of the question. ::He said carefully.::

DeVeau: I mean...we’re more than just friends, right? What we did, what we shared...we’re a couple?

::Doubts weaseled their way into her thoughts at any opportune moment, especially when no official conversation had taken place to establish specific boundaries..::

::Now he understood; she was questioning the nature of their relationship.::

Saveron: I would consider that status eminently agreeable, if you would.

::Sometimes words could be incredibly awkward.::

DeVeau: I was kind of hoping...yes, I would find it most agreeable.

::More than just agreeable, but at times she felt perhaps matching his terms was the best way to communicate with him at that particular moment.::

DeVeau: But… ::She trailed off.::

Saveron: But you are not satisfied by my actions.

::There was no accusation in his words, rather he was voicing a conclusion to which he had come. He had known that they had a huge cultural barrier between them; it seemed that they were up against it once again.::

Saveron: Then tell me what you want, or show me. oO Do not make me guess, I do not have the same script that you do. Oo

::He was reminded acutely of their awkward holonovel experience.::

::Tell him or show him? Both? And yet she was trying to avoid unpleasantness.::

DeVeau: I want to touch you. But I don’t want to annoy you, or make you uncomfortable, or offend you, or…

::Or any number of things that would be considered ‘disagreeable’.::

Saveron: You will not.

::He spoke gently, finding her sudden agitation disagreeable, more so than anything she might have done. He understood that patience, flexibility and an open mind were necessary if they were to be close. Such was no burden.::

Saveron: Did I not invite your touch? ::He asked rhetorically.:: I can only show you Vulcan social conventions, you must teach me Terran ones. I do not object to learning. All I ask is your patience. ::As he had before.:: Together we can find what is mutually acceptable.

::There was a moment of reluctance, but Alora stepped through and drew even closer to the Vulcan. She offered the two fingers extended. Then, when he joined her, she unfurled her hand and clasped his in her own. Gently and silently she urged him to open his hand fully, then laced her fingers between his, her palm resting against his. She smiled as her pale skinned hand pressed gently against his more verdant one, then lifted her gaze so that her emerald eyes locked with his silver.::

DeVeau: I want to hold your hand...but I don’t know if you would find that acceptable.

::The initial contact brought the mental contact that they’d previously shared, and his thoughts betrayed nothing but calm curiosity and the steady surety of his growing affection.::

::However as Alora teased his fingers open Saveron drew in a sharp breath and clamped down on some of his thoughts, even as his high cheekbones flushed decidedly green. As she wound her fingers through his he let that control slip just a little. He didn’t find the contact disagreeable at all; quite the opposite.::

:::There was now a hint of more confidence in the telepathic connection they shared. Tendrils of her thoughts wound their way to gently caress his mind in a manner that suggested experience in reaching out to a telepath to some extent. Desire was a pale hue that tinted the very edges even as she silently prompted him for an explanation.::

::His mind welcomed the touch of her thoughts, responded in kind as their thoughts wound about each other. It was their hands he had difficulty with. After a moment he clasped his other hand to hers, sandwiching her slim hand in between his two larger palms, to stop her playing with his fingers any further. Tones that were far from logical had begun to tinge his thoughts.::

Saveron: That is an intimate gesture. ::He explained carefully, his words echoed in his thoughts.:: We have very sensitive hands. ::There was a timbre to his voice that hadn’t been there before.::

::She hadn’t been there on 83 Leonis II when the flash-burn to his palms had felled him as readily as a kick in the nuts.::

DeVeau: Do you wish me to not touch you?

Saveron: I have no objection, I simply wish you to understand. That which I demonstrated earlier is what is acceptable in public for that reason.

::He tried to think of a way to explain.::

Saveron: Professor Bakewell once tried to explain certain Terran activities to me. His words were ‘There’s a polite smooch on the cheek and there’s Olympic-grade tonsil hockey’. ::His PhD supervisor had been both a mentor and a friend.:: This is how Vulcans kiss.

::There was a twitter of giggles at the words, made more humourous by the way they were spoken and who uttered them. That laughter was fleeting, however, as she paused to consider his statement a little more carefully.::

DeVeau: Humans...when we care about someone, we tend to hold hands. It is an outward sign of our affection, as well as a way to maintain close contact without being indecent.

::A hint of amusement coloured Saveron’s thoughts and he raised their entwined hands slightly..::

Saveron: Amongst Vulcans this would be considered very indecent.

::She hadn’t considered that. Alora was aware of the sensitive nature of a Vulcan’s hands, but what was considered socially acceptable had eluded her.::

DeVeau: So I should not hold your hand in public.

Saveron: I would find that preferable, though I have no objection to brief contact.

::The finger-to-finger touch that was often colloquially referred to as the ‘Vulcan Kiss’ flashed briefly in his mind.::

DeVeau: But in private?

Saveron: In private you may do as you will. I have no objection. ::Far from it.::

DeVeau: But not in front of Saavok.

Saveron: Preferably not. We do not keep our children ignorant but neither do they require a practical demonstration. ::He said dryly.::

::There was another soft giggle, but as the boy was not currently in sight, Alora kept her grasp on Saveron’s hand.::

DeVeau: It’s going to be hard.

Saveron: What is? ::He asked gently.::

DeVeau: Not touching you. It’s...I guess it’s an automatic response, automatic desire for humans when they care about someone.

::That drew a warm, wordless response from his thoughts. Behind that mask of emotional control he cared for her, with all the strength of his people’s emotions.::

Saveron: I would not be offended if you did. ::He said gently.:: Only other Vulcans might.

::The rest of the crew probably wouldn’t realise what effect that gentle touch had on him.::

DeVeau: Straasik. He’s an engineer I met when working on finding the Treasure Sprite. He might get offended.

Saveron: Possibly.

::Or he might be more cosmopolitan, working amongst aliens.::

DeVeau: So...when dealing with humans, I guess you have to fend off any sort of social touch.

Saveron: That is why I usually adopt the stance that you did earlier. Terrans particularly are inclined to casual contact.

::Alora nodded, though not all physical touch among humans was considered casual.::

DeVeau: Particularly the shaking of hands.

Saveron: In some things, one must be prepared to compromise. ::He allowed.::

::He shook hands with people who had his respect.::

DeVeau: Are you...sensitive elsewhere also?

::That earned her a long look and an amused tone of thought.::

Saveron: Nowhere currently visible. ::He said dryly.::

::Alora had to admit, she’d plunged right into that one. The comment set her cheeks aflame, but she could not hold her thoughts back from pondering where and what exactly - which only caused the colour to deepen.::

::The green on Saveron’s cheekbones had begun to fade but it flared up again as, through their linked hands and minds, he followed the direction of her musings. And as attractive as he found Alora there were directions he was not yet ready for the relationship to go.::

::The sense of relief that emanated from Alora at that thought was, perhaps, more intense than one might have expected. It was clear that she was not quite ready to travel that road yet by any stretch of the imagination - even if she didsuccumb to certain wonton thoughts.::

::In that then they were agreed. Perhaps a change of subject was advisable.::

Saveron: Let us find my son, before he finds that squirrel. ::He suggested.::

DeVeau: Good idea. We might have to rescue the squirrel.

::And it would help provide a distraction from temptation.::

::As they set off through the forest again, Saveron kept hold of Alora’s hand.::


A JP by

Lt Cmdr Saveron
SO and CMO
USS Invicta



Lt Alora DeVeau
Chief Science Officer
USS Invicta


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