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“Beautiful…” I whispered.

The dark eyes looking back at me narrowed in puzzlement.

It had all happened the night before. Strange, really, to think that we had been dancing around the subject so long. I think we both knew but were both afraid to be the one that took the first move. In the end, I think it was both of us. In my quarters, we had yet another of those conversations that could have led somewhere, if we let it. About being glad of our close relationship, the praise of a duty well-performed or about a kindness well done. The talk itself was harmless enough, deliberately ambiguous. The looks we traded were less so. But we had been pussyfooting for far too long, and instead of switching the intensity off, moving away and retreating from it as we always did, this time… this time was a time when enough was enough. We moved closer and closer together, until at some point something snapped and suddenly hands were everywhere.

The rest is a tangle of limbs and sensation. Of such intense feeling that I cannot arrange it to make a coherent pattern. Perhaps great ecstasy, like great pain, is best forgotten. I can just remember how he tasted, how he sounded, and flashes here and there – a flash of pale neck arched back, the incredible heat and friction, caressing the sensitised fingertips, drinking his kisses in as if they were the last thing I would ever feel. At last, we collapsed, gasping and spent into each others’ arms. I must have fallen asleep almost immediately, because when I awoke it was morning and he was inches away, watching me with fathoms in his eyes. God, he’s beautiful, I thought, and the last word of that thought escaped my sleep-dry lips.

“Beautiful?” enquired Spock.

I smiled and reached out my hand to stroke his face, to assure myself that he was, in fact, real. I smiled at him, hoping to convey just how much I meant that with my face. He was never a good one for picking up the subtleties in facial expressions, however, so I tried to inject that feeling into my voice as well.

“Yes,” I answered.

He was silent for a time. He had that faraway look in his eyes that he gets when he is lost in some complex calculation. Then his awareness drifted back to me and still he said nothing, only searching my face for something. When he did speak the low rumble was so unexpected I started a little.

“I had never thought to appreciate beauty before you. Beauty was a human concept, an alien concept, one that had no basis or purpose.” I blinked to show I was listening. He continued. “As of this morning, I find that beauty does indeed have a purpose. The world around us is suffused with beauty. No, it is saturated with beauty. From the basic principles of mathematics to complex biological systems, everything – as I understand it – is beautiful. It gives meaning to existence, an extra wonder for us to enjoy, a… reward, if you will, for the various uglinesses we have to face. But, if I may say so,” he continued, reaching up to cover my hand with his, “the most perfectly beautiful aspect of this world, in all the many aspects I have considered so far…” he came closer, drawing towards me with that contented half-smile. I barely breathed, held rapt by his regard. I traced my thumb down his cheekbone, feeling the superheated Vulcan fingers sliding over mine.

“…Is you.”

We drowned in each others’ scent once more.

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