By Taylor Dancinghands

Title: Union/Reunion
Author: Taylor Dancinghands: taylor@willendorphians.com
Series: TNG/TOS
Rating: NC17
Codes: Data/Picard/Spock
Warnings: PWP. Sort of. A wee bit of angst at the start, just to whet the appetite, and then it's just sex (and some food) and sex (Yes, that would be graphic depictions of three men having sex. Together).
And although it's not necessary, you may get more out of this if you've read “The Way of the Truthseeker”
( http://www.tdancinghands.willendorphians.com/Truthseeker.htm ),
and it will make even more sense if you've also read “Debriefing”
( http://www.tdancinghands.willendorphians.com/Debriefing.htm )
which precedes it.

Summary: Spock and Data would like Jean Luc to know how grateful they are that he's such a decent (adorable) and generous fellow, so they show him.

Disclaimer: As I understand it, some entity called 'Paramount/Viacom' “owns” the characters, features and ideas that make up the mythology known as Star Trek. I know I don't. Nonetheless, it is my steadfastly held opinion (backed up by a Mr. Henry Jenkins of MIT! [at: http://web.mit.edu/21fms/www/faculty/henry3/ ]) that the Star Trek Mythology has come to take a place among the mythologies of the new global folk culture -and as such I have every right to try my best to contribute something of my own to the myths and stories I love so well. As long as I don't try (goddess forbid!) to make $money$ off of it.

         Jean Luc Picard appeared impassive as he stood before the transporter platform. He was not, but he'd have never allowed himself this relationship, no matter how much he care for his Third Officer, had he not been able to manage moments like this. He was, in truth, terribly anxious to see his lover again. He hadn't seen Data in three weeks and for much of that time they'd been altogether out of contact. The mission had been terrifically important and equally dangerous and Picard's job had been to brief him and send him on his way. And then wait.
         Now, however the waiting was almost over. He'd begun to feel his tension abate somewhat when they'd received Data's first message upon emerging from the Neutral Zone, more still when he'd made contact this morning, arranging this rendezvous, but Picard was still too much the old campaigner to allow himself to really relax until Data was standing before him, in the (synthetic) flesh. That moment was -finally- just seconds away.
         It was the moment that he could hold his love close and let him drive away the anxieties of the past three weeks with a passionate kiss that Picard was really waiting for, but that moment, he knew, was still some hours away. This moment was for seeing and touching Data at last, knowing that he was home and safe for certain, and that was worth cherishing for it's own sake. He drew a breath as he heard the low beginning hum of the transporter beam.
         Seconds later, Data, and the man he had risked life and liberty for, materialized upon the platform and Picard knew the lifting of a great weight from his heart. Geordie LaForge, who'd been standing by at the transporter console, just in case, grinned broadly as Data appeared, but left to Picard the role of stepping forward to welcome the rescued dignitary. After all, they'd met before.
         “Ambassador.” Picard greeted Spock as he stepped down from the stage. To his surprise, the vulcan reached forward to take the hand that Picard quickly offered in response to the gesture.
         “Picard,” he said, almost warmly, Jean Luc thought. “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance again.” They clasped hands for a moment only, but in that moment the vulcan met Jean Luc's gaze directly and there again Picard felt a real warmth of regard in the gaze. It both flattered and puzzled him.
         “I owe both you and your officer a debt of gratitude who's magnitude I find difficult to express.” Spock continued. “I hope I may find a way to begin to do so while I am your guest on the Enterprise. For now, however, I require some rest, as the last several weeks have been … somewhat eventful for me.”
         “Of course.” Picard replied. “I've had quarters made up for you, and will escort you there myself, if you will give me a moment with my officer.”
         Spock nodded graciously and Picard turned to Data, who was watching the two of them with great interest. With a smile that still seemed a bit shy to Picard, Data offered his hand as his Captain drew near to take it up with both of his. This restrained but affectionate gesture was the only concession they made to their relationship while on duty.
         “Welcome aboard, Commander.” he said, clasping Data's hand between his two and drawing comfort from the real solidity of it. “And congratulations. I'd say that was decidedly the kind of mission Star Fleet likes to give commendations for, and I very much doubt anyone else could have carried it off.”
         Jean Luc drank in the loving welcome he saw in Data's eyes as they touched, but as Data's hand slipped free he dropped his gaze and Picard knew something was amiss.
         “No,” said Spock, unexpectedly. “There is not another soul in Starfleet who could have carried off this mission successfully. There is no question of that.”
         What, Picard wondered to himself, was going on here? He desperately wanted to talk to Data but now was not the time. There would be time, later on this evening, though. He would make sure of it now.
         “You are still coming to my quarters for dinner tonight, at seventeen-hundred hours?” he asked Data.
         Something was definitely distracting the android, for it took him a whole second to respond.
         “Yes.” He said. “Seventeen-hundred hours. I will be there.”
         Picard almost told him that it wasn't an order, but then decided that he wanted to see Data this evening, no matter what, and so kept silent.

*         *          *          *

         Data was nothing if not punctual, and when Picard heard the door to his quarters chime at precisely seventeen-hundred hours he knew without a doubt who it was. This was, at last, the moment Picard had really been waiting for, and he felt his heart race as it drew nearer. Entering as the door opened, it took a second for Data to step across the threshold, another for the door to close behind him and then he was in Picard's arms and Picard was wrapped firmly in his.
         At last he felt himself shed his too-familiar professional reserve and relax into himself. He'd worn that reserve for weeks and months at a time in the old days -the days before Data- and he'd been wearing it without a break for pretty much all of the last three weeks. It had been awhile since he'd gone so long, so tightly controlled and he wondered how he'd managed in the past. But then, he found himself wondering how he'd ever managed without Data on a regular basis these days.
         Heady with liberation after such a long restriction, Picard stepped up the heat of their embrace with a passionate kiss, devouring Data gratefully with every one of his senses. Data's response was far from lacking in passion, but there was, Picard noted, a sort of wistfulness to it. He let the embrace draw to a close and then drew back enough to meet Data's gaze directly, without letting him out of his grasp.
         “Data, what is it?” he asked. When Data would not meet his gaze, Jean Luc felt a fist of dread close around his artificial heart.
         It is a troubling thing when a man who can conduct trillions of operations in a millisecond cannot find words to say what he means, and several very long, troubling, silent seconds passed before Data spoke.
         “Spock and I have become bond-mates.” He said at last, having evidently found no suitable preamble to this announcement. He finally looked up to meet Picard's eyes when he refused to release his grip on Data's shoulders. Jean Luc wasn't letting go yet, but he did have questions -a lot of them.
         This Data read in his gaze, and with a look of determination bereft of hope, he commenced to try and answer as many of them as he could.
         “He would not have lived, had we not done this,” Data said, confirming Jean Luc's first guess, but he then went on to confuse him further. “But the purpose of our bonding was not to save his life. Vulcans would consider this reason insufficient, and such a bonding depraved.”
         Picard nodded, done with guessing and only wanting very much to understand.
         “Lifelong bonds must only be made between individuals who are demonstrably compatible or who … care for each other.” Data's gaze had dropped back to the floor. “And we do. I do … care for him … very much.”
         “Do you love him?” Jean Luc asked -this being no time for mincing words.
         “Yes, I do. I do love Spock.” Data answered, understanding the need for clarity.
         The next question was painful even to contemplate but inescapable. Jean Luc asked it quickly -as he would pull a dagger out of his own heart- and his voice was rough.
         “Do you still love me?”
He had loosened his grip on Data's arms, so that he could pull away if he wished, but instead Data reached out to take him by the arms, his grip insistent.
         “Yes, oh yes! Jean Luc, yes! I will always love you. Always. That … that is one thing that will never change, but …”
         Picard hung on this half reprieve, willing Data to clarify things with all his heart, but now Data seemed restless and so they released each other. The android paced the short length of Picard's sitting room twice, and then looked across at Jean Luc with an utterly helpless expression.
         “This bonding, with Spock …” he began and then paused again, still lost for words, but now Picard was beginning to understand why.
         “It has changed everything. It has changed my life, and it has changed … me. Spock is part of me now, and I am part of him. You …”
         Data looked up at him again and now Picard could see a terrible apprehension in his eyes, and as he spoke it showed in his voice as well.
         “You were never asked if you wished to have a relationship with Spock. I do not know if this is anything you ever wanted. But you will have one now … whether you like it or not. Unless, of course, you choose not …” Data could not bear to finish this thought, but the question remained to be asked and so he summoned up his courage (which was considerable, really) and asked, his voice hushed and unsteady.
         “Jean Luc, do you … still love me?”
         And at last Jean Luc understood, and knew that all was well. He strode across the room to stand before Data again and reached out to touch his face, lifting it to meet his gaze.
         “Are you still Data?” he asked.
         The question confused Data for a moment, but only a brief one. Brilliant thinking machine that he was, he had figured it out and even as he answered and Picard saw the clouds of doubt and fear pass away from Data's countenance.
         “Yes.” He said, and the sun came out in full splendor.
         “As long as you are Data,” said Picard, giving the explanation Data had already guessed, “Then I will always love you. And that will never change, either.”

#          #          #          #

         It was towards the end of dinner that the other shoe dropped.
         “You know, what's really delightful about all of this,” Picard was saying as he pushed the last bit of chicken korma onto his fork with the last fragment of papadum, “is that I find that I am nearly as pleased for Spock's sake as I am for yours. Spock's been very lonely for a long time.”
         Data had not forgotten that Picard had once melded with his new bond mate, but he had not recalled this until after he and Spock had bonded. It was still surprising Data, Picard noted, when he would occasionally reveal how intimately he knew Spock.
         “He told me you would be accepting, and I believed him, … until I stood before you and had to explain everything that had happened.” Data said, stepping back into the dinning room carrying the pan of rice pudding he'd chosen for dessert.
         “Then it suddenly seemed like so much …”
         “It was a lot.” Picard confirmed, serving himself a portion of the confection with pleasant anticipation. “But no matter how many transformative adventures you have, Data, as long as you remain true to who you are, then no matter what you do, or who you become, I will still love you.”
         “I think Spock might have tried to tell me that, but it may be that he knew I would need to hear it from you.” Data reflected.
         “That's not unreasonable. In some ways Spock probably knows me even better that you do, but that's not what matters. What matters is that you need to hear what I feel from me.”
         Data was nodding in agreement, but part of Picard's statement had caught his attention.
         “It is true.” He mused. “Spock does know you better than I do, and he knows me better than you do, as well, for you and I have never melded.”
         “Seeing as neither of us is telepathic, that's hardly unexpected.” Picard remarked with a smile.
         “Indeed.” Data said thoughtfully as he savored the last of his small portion of dessert. “But Jean Luc, my love … both our lives have always been filled with the unexpected, have they not.”
Jean Luc consumed several more spoonfuls of rice pudding as he considered the possible implications of Data's last remark.
         “Is there something you would like to … propose?” he asked at last.
         “The proposal is Spock's, for the most part, though I do support it enthusiastically.” Data said.
         Picard sat back in his chair and gestured for Data to continue.
         “As I told you earlier,” he said after a moment's consideration, “during the days following the onset of Spock's … affliction, we occupied ourselves with a number of very pleasant and enjoyable pastimes … and we both came to wish very much that you might somehow be able to share in those pleasures.”
         There could be little doubt of where this was heading, but the full reality of it was difficult to come to terms with. He nodded for Data to go on, giving the idea some time to sink in.
         “Spock, in particular, feels that he owes you a debt of gratitude.” He said. “He believes that your support of my … personal researches … lead to my finding him on the K'keft Taa forum. Had we not come to correspond on the forum for all those years we never could have become suitable bond mates and Spock would have died.”
         “ I don't know if you can credit me with your discovery of the K'keft Taa forum.” Picard demurred.
         “But you always consented to try the exercises and … experiments I conducted, with me. That stands for much in Spock's mind.”
         “I was never sorry!” Picard smiled in fond memory. “Data you have broadened my horizons in ways I never could have imagined and it has given me more joy than I could ever have conceived.”
“Then,” Data leaned across the table, drawing conspiratorially close, “you do not believe that your horizons have been broadened too much?”
         “Never!” grinned Jean Luc, knowing a challenge when he saw one.
         “Then will you join Spock and I,” Data asked, daringly, “two nights from now, on holodeck five for dinner and … an evening of other pleasant engagements, afterwards?”
         Dinner, and a night of vulcan sex magic with his own true love and … a living legend of the Federation. He'd be a fool to say no, regardless of how difficult it was to get his head around. He'd have two days for that, though -plenty of time.
         “Alright.” He said, at last. “What should I wear?”

+          +          +          +

         The ancient vulcan monastery perched high atop a cliff, cut into the living red granite rock of those very cliffs, and overlooking one edge of a nearly measureless and pitiless desert the Vulcans call the Sea of Gems. This flat pan of baked clay crusted with crystallized minerals of astonishing variety was once, in truth, a shallow sea -eons ago. In more recent history, the monks of this monastery harvested many of those minerals and crystals -used for a variety of medicinal, spiritual and alchemical purposes, and the monastery profited immensely. In it's day it was one of the most important seats of power on Vulcan.
         Today, the true Monastery of Crystals was a ruin, fallen victim to the turbulent times of the Logic Revolution and the Great Emigration. Yet it could still be seen in all it's splendor and glory … on the Enterprise's holodeck. It was on one of the wide open stone terraces of that monastery that the three of them knelt, in a close circle, facing each other.
         At the center of their circle was a stone lamp, supporting a single flame from a well of fragrant oil. Picard followed the thin strand of smoke rising above the motionless flame and found it continuous and unbending as far as his eyes could see. The air was that still.
         The carpet they knelt upon was thick and well padded, and magnificently decorated. Many of the minerals the monks here harvested, Spock had told them, had been used to make pigments and dyes available nowhere else on Vulcan. Most of the surface of the great stone terrace was covered with various polychrome rugs and walking across them in his bare feet had been a truly sensual experience (the first, no doubt, of many this evening).
         The sun had just been disappearing behind the mountains west of the monastery when they arrived. It would've been unbearably hot here at midday and the temperature would drop precipitously after the sun set, but the dark red granite that surrounded them absorbed the sun's energy throughout the day and would slowly release that energy after it set, keeping them warm throughout the night. Just now the still air was a little warmer than Picard liked, but it was probably perfect for Spock, kneeling serenely beside him.
         Jean Luc had chosen an outfit of sand colored silk -a tunic and loose flowing trousers. It was light and comfortable and (though Jean Luc was most definitely not thinking about this -no he was not!) easy to remove. Now he felt the thin fabric of his tunic stir slightly, even as he saw the thread of smoke above the lamp waver and vanish. At last, the faintest of breezes had stirred.
         This was the cue for Spock to begin the ritual in which he and Picard would recognize each other as t'hy'tka -translated approximately as 'brothers/lovers by circumstance'. Picard watched as Spock took up an ornately carved stone goblet filled with wine and lifted it high for the three of them to see.
         Jean Luc was intrigued and excited to be taking part in this ritual on many levels. The anthropologist in him was thrilled to be taking part in a ritual right out of the Vulcan 'Middle Ages', when it was one of many important methods used to bring about all-important clan alliances. He wondered as well, whether this ritual might still be enacted occasionally on modern Vulcan, in private.
         “<I bring the cup of fire and passion>.” Spock intoned in his native tongue. Turning to Data he said, “<May it bring you joy>.”
         Picard was still finding the idea of being formally linked, in any way, with one of the most important figures in Federation history, a little boggling. He was very much hoping that in completing this ritual with Spock he might finally be able to see the man in a new light, without his historical baggage.
         Data took the cup and drank from it, then bowed to Spock. “<Indeed, joy is mine>.” he said. He turned to Jean Luc next, handing him the cup with the same words as Spock.
         The liquor in the cup was far stronger than wine, though Spock had named it so. He gasped a bit as he gave his ritual response to Data and Spock looked across at him archly.
         “Who do you think it was first taught the Romulans to make ale, long ago?” he asked.
         The smile this elicited colored his voice as Jean Luc turned to offer the cup to Spock. “<May it bring you joy>.” he said, with joy in his heart and voice.
         The hands that brushed his as they took the cup back were too warm, and left an impression of strength and grace. Spock lifted the cup and drank, savoring it with his eyes closed for a moment.
         “<Indeed, joy is mine>.” He said at last and though his face remained almost as placid as before, his voice, Picard marveled, was resonant with emotion.
         After another moment of silence Picard realized that the next part was his. Bside him was a pale round flat-bread, still warm from some oven somewhere in the vast monastery complex. He lifted it up, as Spock had done with the cup and recollected his lines.
         “<I bring the bread of foundation and sustenance>.” He proclaimed, pleased with his archaic Vulcan accent. Now he broke off a piece and offered it to Data, placing it in his mouth when it was opened.
“<May it bring you strength>.” he said.
         Data took a moment to chew and swallow the bread and Picard watched him savor it, as he did so many things since he'd first activated his emotion chip -marveling in what his senses bought him.
         “<Indeed>,” he said eventually. “<Strength is mine>.”
         Jean Luc handed Data the rest of the flat-bread so that he could, in turn, tear off a piece and offer it to Spock with the accompanying ritual phrases. Jean Luc watched raptly as Data's pale, slender fingers, with their offering of bread, approached Spock's dark, full lips.
         Spock gave his response and now he had the bread, tearing off the piece he would offer to Picard.
         “<May it bring you strength>.”
         Jean Luc leaned forward and opened his mouth to accept Spock's offering and as they were departing the vulcan's fingers brushed his lips. He could have sworn they lingered. Once again he was surprised at their heat and how much that heat fascinated him.
         Remembering to chew, he found the bread sour and slightly bitter, like a good, strong rye bread.
         “<Indeed>,” he said when he had swallowed most of it. “<Strength is mine>.”
         Now both Jean Luc and Spock turned their focus to Data who had taken up a white taper in each hand.
         “<Joy and strength beget love and life>.” He said in flawless Vulcan, lighting the two tapers in the central lamp in such a way that the lamp was extinguished as the tapers were lit.
         “<Love and life in turn beget joy>,” and he handed a lit candle to Picard, “<and strength>.” then handed the other to Spock.
         “<T'hy'tka, complete the circle. Let joy bring love and strength bring light>.”
         Jean Luc looked across to meet Spock's gaze directly, for they must say the next words in unison.
         “<We are t'hy'tka, and we are here to complete the circle>.” And together they relit the stone lamp.
         Jean Luc had not noticed before how much light the lamp gave, but the dark amber light of the setting sun had been fading rapidly over the last few minutes and now the single flame seemed to cast quite a significant amount of light.
         He and Spock now turned to face each other for the last part of the ritual, each moving their candle to their left hands. Spock went first.
         “<I greet you, t'hy'tka, my lover's lover and brother in my heart>.” As he finished, Spock lifted his right hand, first two fingers extended.
         “<And I will always know you>,” Jean Luc recited. “<T'hy'tka, my lover's lover and brother in my heart>.” And he lifted his hand to touch his own outstretched fingers to Spock's.
         It was very different from a mind meld -subtler, and in an inexplicable way, more intimate. Though it came without memories or thoughts, this touch granted Jean Luc access to a thread that ran directly to the very heart of Spock's being. When they touched thus he knew Spock and Spock knew him.
         Jean Luc raised his eyes to meet Spock's directly, but found that the vulcan had his eyes closed, focused inward, exploring his connection with Picard. Jean Luc was content to observed the vulcan's elegant face in the fire light and as he did he made a profound discovery.
         The flame lit face he saw before him was somehow, for the first time, not a face he recognized from historical files or Starfleet briefing sessions. It was the face of someone he knew, and was coming to care about more and more with each passing minute, but it was, at last, not the face of the legend that he had been seeing every time he had looked at this man, since he had met him for the first time. This was the face of a friend -a good friend and perhaps even more. He felt something surge in the connection between them and Spock's eyes opened suddenly.
         “T'hy'tka,” he said, “My heart rejoices.” And there was such warmth in that voice, and in his eyes and even in the oh-so-subtle smile that played around his lips that Jean Luc's titanium alloy heart was utterly melted.

@         @          @          @

         A banquet had been set for them, and torches lit all around the terrace, while they were occupied with the ritual and as Picard stood, slowly for the sake of his aching knees, he caught a whiff of something unexpectedly mouthwatering. Suddenly he was hungry.
         A marvelous variety of dishes were laid out on a long, low table set parallel to the edge of the terrace and surrounded by cushions and low benches. Hungry as he was, Picard took a moment to work out the kinks in his knees, strolling past the table and along the edge of the terrace, taking in the view of the stark, starlit landscape below. Data walked over to meet him when he finally turned back towards the food.
         “Jean Luc, is this … are you …” he knew what Data wanted to know, and loved him for not knowing how to ask but trying anyway.
         “I'm fine Data.” He interceded mercifully. “I really am enjoying myself and I am definitely looking forward to *everything*.” Then he decided that actions were likely to speak louder than words and leaned forward to kiss Data on the lips. It was his honest joy that he wanted his kiss to convey and if Data's passionate response was any indicator then he'd succeeded.
         They found Spock watching them with pleased amusement when they came up for air, but the delicious odors of their banquet assailed Jean Luc's nostrils as he drew a much needed breath, and he found his appetite asserting itself powerfully.
         “Where do we start?” he asked Spock at last, after he had taken the time to really look over the bewildering assortment of dishes.
         The vulcan then lead them through an astonishing culinary journey, beginning with a clear kelp broth, with a delicate, subtle flavor, and followed by a variety of dried, salted root vegetables. Then there were a number of things wrapped in cooked or preserved leaves, like Greek dolmas, but with a wide variety of fillings from mild grains and nuts, to furiously spicy pickled beans. A round of fruits and cheese type dishes followed, with more of the sour flat-bread and some other, herb flavored hard biscuits.
         Sharp herbs and exotic spices seasoned the vegetable pates and tureens which comprised the next set of dishes. They spread these on the different breads and biscuits and fed each other different combinations. How delightful it was to see, thought Jean Luc, that men who make their living exploring new worlds and alien cultures (when they weren't saving the universe) could still take pleasure in exploring new ways to combine the flavors of vegetable spreads and crackers.
         Next was another soup, this one thick and creamy, almost sweet tasting and very, very rich. They all had one small cup each, and though Picard found himself wishing for more, he knew he'd had just the right amount. This was sort of the 'grand finale' and what remained stood as a sort of culinary denouement.
         There was more fruit and biscuits, and this time they were accompanied by an assortment of spreads and dips made from aged, fermented yeasts and legumes, called m'tevgeie. Each one had a vintage and was known by it's region of origin, like an earth wine, and like some earth wines, certain vintages of these spreads were accorded great value. Jean Luc started with one which Spock had recommended, spreading it thinly over a plain biscuit, like caviar.
         This stuff, Jean Luc thought to himself after his brain had recovered from the sheer sensory overload, is what caviar wishes it was on the most ambitious day of it's life! The flavor was strong and salty, like a good dark olive spread, but with a sophistication and depth that would put the finest French red wine to the test.
         Beside him, he saw Data's eyes widen as he tried a different 'vintage'. He turned toward Picard, moved to share his discovery, but saw in his face that he'd already made his own.
         “Now,” said Spock, “You should really experience what the flavors are like when they are combined.”
         It took both Picard and Data a full beat before they realized what Spock really meant, but then leapt to the task with enthusiasm. Jean Luc moved over to sit next to Data on one of the enormous brocade cushions, carefully savoring the taste of his m'tevgeie as he chewed and swallowed the last of it. Watching Data doing the same, eyes half closed as he concentrated on his senses and his response to them, made Jean Luc smile. He was still smiling when Data swallowed the last of his m'tevgeie and looked up at his Captain, and he answered with a beaming smile of his own. It was a fleeting thing, though, for Jean Luc's arms had already closed around him, drawing him into the kiss.
         Surely this was some kind of Vulcan alchemical magic, Jean Luc wondered, for the taste made him mad with desire for the taste of more. Hungrily he laved every surface of Data's mouth, plunging ever deeper in search of the taste. Data's tongue seemed to be driven on a parallel quest, and to aid it he had taken Jean Luc's head in his hands, caressing it as he held him close.
         There was a touch on his hand -it was Spock's touch and as Jean Luc realized this he felt his senses seem to expand. For the briefest moment it seemed that he could feel what Data felt, stroking his temple and the back of his neck and tasting his own kiss.
         He gasped with surprise, drawing away from Data's lips and at the same time realizing that something similar, or equivalent had happened to Data, though he wasn't quite sure he knew how he knew that.
         “Jean Luc?” Data asked.
         He gave a shaky laugh. “That was … remarkable.” Now he turned to Spock. “Am I to expect … more of the same, as the evening progresses?”
         At this, the vulcan broke out in a real smile, the full lips curved beguilingly and lifted with humor. He had drawn another couple of cushions over and had set himself across from Picard.
         “Jean Luc, we have only barely begun.” He said, brushing biscuit crumbs off of his elegant fingers. “But now, would you like to try the D'tak Valley, from the year 24541?”
         It was the invitation of a lifetime. He need only lean across and those dark, full lips would be his -how could he say no? He did pause a little, just as their lips touched, not out of hesitancy but to savor the moment. He brushed his kips against the vulcan's, letting their heat excite him, and gently tasted Spock's lower lip with the tip of his tongue. He caught just a trace of the mysterious and enticing m'tevgeie, and was drawn in instantly. The flavor of the m'tevgeie in the vulcan's mouth was quite different from what he had tasted in Data's, but it was equally alluring and he found himself plundering Spock's mouth with fervor.
         Spock's mind came into his gradually, as his paired fingers stroked Jean Luc's face and neck, traced the contours of his ears and caressed his scalp. The vulcan's presence was as heated as his body and Picard felt his breath quicken. He was breathing Spock's breath, thinking Spock's thoughts …
         *Are you ready?*
         He was … and now he was tasting his own mouth with Spock's tongue, feeling his skin with Spock's sensitive fingers. And Spock, Jean Luc realized, amid the maelstrom of sensations, is feeling what I feel. Data still had a hold of one of his hands, but his lover seemed to realize what was happening and moved in closer, releasing Jean Luc's hand to stroke his chest. Both hands freed, Picard set out to explore Spock's elegant ears and silky hair with his fingers, thrilled to feel the response which his touches engendered.
         So rapt in these sensations was he that Jean Luc hardly noticed what Data was doing until he felt a pair of lips caressing one of those elegant vulcan ears, and then a tongue. Spock's shiver of pleasure ran straight through him and then their roles were reversed a moment later as Data slipped his hand under Picard's silk tunic and ran his thumb over his left nipple.
         Jean Luc could not but moan aloud into Spock's mouth, at last and bought an end to their kiss. Both he and Spock turned to Data with smiles of appreciation.
         “Provocateur!” Spock accused him with affection.
         “C'est moi, certainment!” Data answered, taking up both their hands to kiss them. After a moment Spock slipped his hand free so that he could rest one hand on each of their shoulders.
         “Are you ready?” he asked, aloud this time.
         This seemed to mean more to Data than Picard, but Data was already explaining.
         “I asked Spock, earlier, if he would join our two minds -as he is able to do- so that we, too would know each other as well as he knows each of us … if you wished.”
         “I would love nothing more.” Jean Luc answered, a little breathlessly.
         Picard felt Spock's fingers on his own face as he saw him place them carefully on Data's. Thinking what it meant that anyone could make any kind of telepathic contact with Data at all, Jean Luc slowly realized what compounded miracles were at work at this moment, and it made him dizzy.
         The spectacular order of Spock's mind, as it came into his, calmed him somewhat, though Spock also shared in his appreciation of the uniqueness of the moment. Soon, however Spock's presence faded into the background as the vulcan made himself a conduit for Data and Picard's joining.
         There was magnificent order in Data's mind as well, Picard found, but this order was more organic, being part of the essential nature of the being that was Data, instead of an order rigorously applied to a naturally, wildly disorderly vulcan mind. Rather than order applied to chaos, Data's mind was order mimicking chaos and, like chaos equations translated into images, fantastically and intricately beautiful.
         Here, Data was a constellation of dancing lights and he a drifting wisp of dark smoke. They greeted each other with joy and exuberance, Data marveling at him as he had marveled at Data. Together they co-mingled and wandered the mansions of each other's memories.
         They laughed at how similar many of their awkward academy experiences were, marveled at the moments of self discovery, shared regrets, lost loves and remembered joys. In their wanderings they eventually came to the painful events which had brought together, but they did not turn away. So it was that Data came to know the terror and helplessness Jean Luc had felt as he was first assimilated into the Borg, and Jean Luc came to experience the horror of Data's rape by the Borg Queen. Drawing strength from each other, they walked through both their nightmares and came out into the glorious dawn of their new love.
         Discovering each other, they rediscovered themselves and found themselves to each be truly and honestly reflected in the other. Not being telepaths, there could be no true bond between them; still, Jean Luc and Data forged a connection in that moment which would be with them for all their lives.
         They lingered together, as close to each other as they could ever be, for a few moments and then, knowing that further delights awaited them, let their minds drift apart.
         Picard noticed drying tears on Data's face as he returned to himself and felt them on his own. Spock's face was impassive as he lowered his hands, but Jean Luc noted in his eyes a look of sober respect.
         “I honor thy love with all my heart.” He said as he leaned over to kiss the tears away from Jean Luc's cheek.
         Jean Luc found himself moved beyond speech. He bowed his head and closed his eyes, cherishing the sensation of Spock's fevered lips caressing his face and ears. It must be Data's lips then, on his fingers, slowly making their way up his arm, as Spock's kisses were making their way downward -from his ears, to his neck, to the sensitive hollow of his throat.
         Jean Luc gave a sigh of soul-deep contentment, lifting his head to encourage Spock's ministrations. When he did, though, he found his tunic being lifted away by two pairs of eager hands so that two eager mouths could gain further access to him. He groaned loudly as two pairs of lips each found a nipple and licked and sucked and nipped until Jean Luc felt compelled to act.
         He seized Data's head away from his breast and lifted it up to plunder his mouth ravenously and then reached under Data's shirt to return a favor or two. He laughed into Data's mouth as his eyes met Spock's, conspiratorially, and then watched as the vulcan reached up to unfasten the catch at the front Data's shirt collar. The kiss broke apart into laughter as Data shrugged his shirt the rest of the way off, but the laughter was soon subsumed by ardor as Spock gracefully untied the sash allowing his own robe to fall open and drop to the floor around his knees.
         Surrounded by silk and stone and rich carpets, and lit by torch light, Spock's elegant body, Jean Luc reflected, was indeed a thing to be admired. Data seemed to think so too, if the besotted look on his face was any indicator. It was not in Spock's mind to stand still and be admired, however. With both hands he gently pushed Jean Luc back to lie amongst the cushions, leaning over him so that the heat from his body radiated down upon him.
         Jean Luc felt the heat of his own desire growing within him, stoked relentlessly by Spock's hands slowly caressing his torso. Data was fanning the flames quite ably as well -kissing Jean Luc's face, nibbling the soft flesh at the base of his jaw, tonguing the hollow of his throat. Now Spock's hands were moving lower and their heat, transmitted instantly through sheer silk, seemed almost to burn against his thigh. Already rigid with arousal, Jean Luc felt his sex push up against silk and then felt the vulcan's heated caress pressing it back.
         He moaned loudly again, helplessly lifting his hips with desire. Intent on giving as good as he was getting he reached out to stroke his hand up the inside of Data's thigh, resting on the hardness his found at the end of his caress. Data, engrossed in the task of tonguing his nipple, gave a surprised little sobbing sigh and then caught Jean Luc's sensitive flesh between his teeth, biting ever so gently. His cry in response elicited an almost sinister chuckle from the vulcan, who moved to place his own mouth against Jean Luc's other nipple while continuing to stroke his aching sex with fevered fingers.
         Jean Luc was shortly writhing with arousal under these ministrations and could hardly speak for gasping moaning. Still, not inclined to take an entirely passive role, he had managed to slip one hand under Data's trousers to caress his cock with his fingers -massaging the head with his thumb till he felt moisture there. It fired his heart to hear Data's breath become unsteady and the little whimpers he made in response to his touch.
         It was Spock who bit him this time and Picard's shout roused Data from his pleasant fog. The two of them evidently had something in mind for now both applied themselves to task of removing Picard's trousers and then finished removing Data's. Jean Luc started to sit up, but Spock and Data (both, he realized, significantly stronger than he was) gently pressed him back to lie back in the cushions.
         “This first,” Spock whispered into his ear while caressing it with his lips, “is a gift for you, from us, of pleasure only. When we have done, the evening will still be young.”
        Jean Luc relaxed into the cushions, the experience of Spock and Data's combined strength having rendered him loose limbed with desire. The languorous breeze, hardly cooler than Jean Luc's skin, caressed his body above; velvet cushions and luxuriant carpets embraced him below. Now Data's kisses were falling on him like raindrops, striking in scattered clusters on his chest, his cheek, his hip, his belly, his thigh, …
         Spock, he realized, had moved to kneel between his upraised knees and now took his thighs in those strong, smoldering hands and pulled him closer, spreading his knees further and opening him. Data stole his attention away in the next moment by landing a cluster of his kisses on Jean Luc's sensitive cock, which brought forth a gasp. The gasp became a moan as the kisses became licks and more moans and other inarticulate sounds ensued as the licks became more encompassing, until Data had all of Jean Luc's cock in his mouth.
         Even in such transports of delight as he was experiencing now, Jean Luc never failed to bring his vision into focus to watch Data suck his cock, whenever possible. It took little thought or effort to find a cushion to prop his head up so that he could observe in comfort, even as Data's tongue was causing him to groan and writhe in delight. The enraptured look of total concentration on his true love's face as he moved his mouth up and down Jean Luc's rigid sex went straight to his heart. Gazing down upon Data, Spock's eyes held a warming light for him as well and, remarkably, a moment's spark of gleeful anticipation.
         It was with a mixture of longing disappointment and relief that Jean Luc felt Data's mouth gradually depart, for he was near to climaxing, but he watched with keen interest as Data lifted his head, drawing closer to Spock's. Jean Luc watched them kiss with pleasure and a full heart. The bliss on Data's face, and the astonishing tenderness on Spock's was something he would hold in his heart for the rest of his life.
         As their lips parted Spock lifted his two fingers back to Data's lips, as though to silence him, but Data took them into his mouth instead, closing his lips around them. When the vulcan slowly withdrew them they glistened slightly, and Jean Luc understood the cause of Spock's anticipation. Data, however, had further contributions to make, now bending over to blissfully lave Jean Luc's testicles and the area below with his tongue, leaving behind generous quantities of his own, thickened saliva lubricant.
         Spock's fingers were warmer than the very warm flesh they caressed, and that fact alone had Jean Luc squirming with pleasure, not withstanding the way those fingers were teasing his sensitive opening. They were both inside him before he realized and even then their heat seemed remarkable and thrilling. The sensation wrung a long, loud groan from him and he felt himself inevitably building toward climax again.
         Spock seemed to sense this, and apparently desired otherwise, for he moved the two fingers of his right hand (his left being occupied) to gently touch Jean Luc on that particularly sensitive spot behind his testicles. Even as Spock continued to move the fingers of his *left* hand around inside of him, and Data continued to rain fresh kisses on him, Jean Luc felt the progression towards climax freeze.
         “Thee shall come to completion only when we have finished with thee.” Spock's velvet baritone informed him. “Thee must know much, much more pleasure first.”
        The vulcan's heated fingers, still moving inside him, stretching and relaxing his opening, were soon joined by a third and Jean Luc felt no discomfort. He was ready and now he was wanting, but instead he felt Data's kisses cease. Focusing his vision on his love, he watched Data bend to apply himself to Spock's sex, now, he noticed, standing rigidly erect. He had only a glimpse of the graceful member before Data's mouth encompassed it, the android attending to the task with his accustomed blissful intensity.
         The vulcan drew a long breath, his face remaining serene and focused, though not without warmth. After only a few moments, however, he touched Data's head affectionately and he drew back slowly, leaving Spock's elegant member coated, as his fingers had been, in thickened spit. Jean Luc's heart raced with anticipation, even as he sought to relax himself in preparation.
         Drawing his fingers out, leaving Jean Luc with a pang of longing, Spock grasped his legs again, lifting him and pulling him closer, so that Picard's buttocks rested on top of the vulcan's thighs. The sensation of Spock's strong, over-warm hands gripping his hips to maneuver him to where his hard flesh could enter, had him as relaxed as he possibly could be. Spock pressed and was admitted entrance, and Jean Luc felt the hard, heated flesh press further and further into him until he was filled, utterly.
         A delicious counterpoint to this ecstatic fullness were the countless butterfly kisses Data was lavishing on his face, but as they landed near his lips they deepened. Jean Luc seized the opportunity to express his delight to Data as directly as possible, claiming his love's mouth with his own and ravishing it with his tongue. The sensation of Spock slowly moving inside of him soon put a stop to any actions which required volition on his part, though, and so the kiss eventually disintegrated.
         Data's shower of kisses continued, moving over his neck and shoulders to his chest and stomach and finally to his aching sex, which was, by now, weeping copiously. Only the vulcan's thrilling strength could have held him still, as he did, when Data bent to take Jean Luc into his mouth again. He cried out, arching his back -or trying to- in involuntary ecstasy, but Spock's strong hands on his hips held him pinned, impaled on the vulcan flesh, as he writhed helplessly among the cushions.
         Feeling his cock pressing the back of Data's throat, while Spock continued to move slowly within him, Jean Luc was all but overwhelmed by sensations which, under any other circumstances, would have had him giving way to orgasm long ago. As wave after wave of pleasure washed over him, Jean Luc could almost feel the still place of vulcan control within him, allowing every delightful sensation but preventing them from moving him into climax.
         There was, it transpired however, an intent behind Data's oral assault of Jean Luc's cock, apart from sending his Captain to previously unattained heights of ecstasy and delight, for he covered it's full length twice only and then slowly drew it out. At last Jean Luc had an idea of what was in store for him and it made his head spin.
         “Oh, dear God.” He whispered as Data moved to straddle him, and caught at his lover's hand. Opening his face into a grin of pure delight, Data lifted his hand to kiss it, then leaned forward to kiss his mouth, sharing his pleasure with his love. The kiss lasted till Spock ended it as he had the last one and Data stroked Jean Luc's face tenderly as he drew his lips away, then knelt back until his Captain's rigid cock pressed hard against his opening.
         Data could, of course, relax himself with a thought, but he would not relax too much. Jean Luc cried out as he felt the tight ring of synthetic muscle admit his flesh and caress it as he pushed his way further in. Never in his life had he know this pleasure -to be entered and entering, filled and filling. The compounded sensations were all but overwhelming.
         Drawing a breath to steady himself he looked up a Data's face, bowed over his body. His graceful lips were parted with desire, his eyes half closed as he cherished the sensations he was experiencing. As Jean Luc watched, Spock reached forward and caressed Data's shoulder with one hand, then leaned forward to kiss the back of his neck. For a moment, all three were still, poised on the brink of something.
         The realization that he was free to move came to Jean Luc as an epiphany and he exercised that freedom without further delay. Quickly, he made the delicious discovery that his range of motion was still considerably restricted by the cock he was impaled upon, and the body impaled upon his. Push down a few inches and he was as far down on Spock's prestigious member as he could get, thrust up and he was soon buried to the hilt in Data. It was just too much. He had hardly begun before he completely lost control.
         He was vaguely aware that the others were now moving as well, matching their rhythms to the one he set, so that the effects of his movements seemed amplified. Now Data pushed back against him as Jean Luc thrust into him, and Spock lifted his hips to meet Jean Luc's pushing down, forcing the vulcan cock deep within him. Crying out with each panting breath felt his own body driven by forces so primal that they could not coexist with conscious thought, and so drove it out. At last, Jean Luc Picard was truly out of his mind.
         Now he was a creature living in sensation, aware only in the present, fleeting moment. He was in the throes of the most stupendous rutting drive and it was good! Good! Good! … and now it was even better. Spock had released the stilled control within him, just a little, and Jean Luc felt the very beginnings of the climax begin to creep over him.
         He was shouting now, with every breath, every convulsing thrust, his hands grasping among the scattered pillows. Data's hand found one of his, grasping it tightly with that controlled strength. There was another hand now, Spock's, reaching forward first to Data's mouth, then moving lower to grasp Data's graceful sex. The grip on his own hand tightened, almost painfully, but not quite.
         Data threw his head back and gave a long moaning cry which seemed to vibrate through all three of them and within him, Jean Luc felt the last controlled bit give way. With the next thrust of his cock into Data's enclosing flesh, the next thrust of Spock's double ridged hardness deep into his own Jean Luc found himself born up into a yet more intense level of ecstatic arousal. He felt himself on the very verge of release and knew unsurpassed bliss.
         It was by design that Spock caused Data to release first, for it was watching Data throw back his head, crying out his ecstasy, and feeling the seizures of pleasure in Data's body grip and pulse around Jean Luc's cock that sent him, in a moment of indescribable joy and pleasure, over the edge himself. He had never before heard his voice make sounds like the ones he was hearing now, and it wasn't stopping. Orgasmic waves of ecstasy rolled over him again and again as he felt himself spend prodigiously into Data's quivering body.
         Even as he began to detect the volume of his cries lessening, as the waves of bliss began to recede at last, he heard Spock give a sort of low growl, then almost a roar, thrusting forcefully into Jean Luc one last time as he released. Finally, Jean Luc found his cries trailing away and soon the only sounds he heard were a few night insects and the sounds of three very dear friends taking many long, slow, deep breaths.

&          &          &          &

         Linear thought returned to Jean Luc gradually, just as he was becoming aware that Data had leaned forward to rest his head on his chest, as though listening to his heartbeat. As his climax had lingered, so did this moment of 'afterglow' -the sense of perfect satiation, satisfaction and languorous relaxation combined to make the moment timeless, and Jean Luc was content to have it so.
         Time did return to him at last, with the sounds of his beating heart, Data's soft, regular breaths, and his own desire to lift his hand and stroke Data's silken hair, to caress with his fingers the features of the quiescent and beatific face of his lover. He watched with profound pleasure the tender smile slowly form on those features in response to that touch, and felt his own smile grow in response.
         Growing within him was the desire express his own joy and pleasure and gratitude to Data and to Spock, but Jean Luc knew he was not yet ready for words. Though they were not truly linked, he found that if he closed his eyes he could sense the others: Spock laying at his side, still largely enveloped in the languor of satiation and pleasure, but beginning, as he was, to stir, and Data, quicker in both mind and body than either of his two lovers, moving into more active thinking, his next possible course of actions already turning over in his mind.
         Jean Luc drew a slow, deep breath, lifting Data's head where it lay on his chest and signaling to Data that his Captain could be ready to move. Beside them, Spock took a long stretch, his body trembling at it's apex and his hands casually brushing Jean Luc's torso. Data took the cue and rose slowly from where he lay, letting his hands trail along his Captain's arms till their fingers met and tangled, lingering with each other for a moment.
         As the moment passed, Jean Luc ordered his fingers and had them take hold of Data's in order to pull himself upright. Having done so, he still did not relinquish Data's hand until he had drawn him close enough to kiss him lovingly on the eyes and lips. Turning back to Spock, Jean Luc found the Vulcan, having drawn himself up on one elbow, observing with warm regard. Still marveling a bit at what he was about to do (and what he had just done), Jean Luc leaned over to draw his new lover into a passionate kiss, endeavoring to express every bit of the gratitude and delight he felt but still had no words for.
         As the kiss deepened he felt Spock's paired fingers caress his own and through this new connection he perceived that there was indeed understanding. Spock did know his gratitude and pleasure and this knowledge bought him great joy. Still, language was a habit with Picard and speaking the words as their lips parted at last pleased him.
         “Thank you.” He said, with all the warmth and regard he felt. “That was … “ and then he quickly discovered that he was not yet altogether in a place where spoken language worked well.
         “Our gift gave thee pleasure?” Spock asked.
         “Yes.” That much, at least, he could find the word for.
         “Then I know joy.”
         Jean Luc let these words resonate within him, meditating for a moment on joy, and what it might mean to a Vulcan. His reverie was broken by Data, coming to kneel beside him and offering him something to drink. It was pleasantly chilled, slightly sweet and tasted of flowers or fruit, he couldn't say which. It also made him realize how thirsty he was and he all but drained the goblet before handing it back to Data with heartfelt thanks.
         The android had darted back to the table to refill it before he had half finished and Picard noticed that most all of their banquet had been cleared away, leaving some plates of fruits, cheeses and flat bread and a large pitcher of whatever Data had just offered him. Jean Luc watched as Data poured a fresh draught of the beverage and returned to kneel and offer it to Spock, with such unselfconscious grace and poise. Spock watched him too, he noted, and smiled as he accepted the drink.
         “We have spoken of joy many times this evening.” Jean Luc said, reflecting aloud on his earlier thoughts. “If joy -the 'lightening of the heart' in the your own language-is an emotion, is it regarded in a different light from other -possibly more 'negative'- emotions by most Vulcans, or do the Kol'sh'harr have a unique attitude in this regard?”
         “Stin'a'tef, the light of the dawn in one's heart” replied Spock, having drunk his fill and cradling the goblet in his hands, “is an emotion, no different from any of the others, save that all emotions are different and therefore must, logically, be regarded each in it's own light.”
         Spock paused in what Jean Luc could see was about to be a very interesting discourse, to hand the goblet back to Data.
         “Dost thee know that it is a pleasure to watch thee move, my t'hy'la?” he asked.
         Data gave an adorably bashful half shake of is head.
         “Thy Jean Luc finds it so as well, I think.” Picard grinned to see Data trying to hide his pleasure and embarrassment.
         “Would thee please us further, my t'hy'la, in allowing us the privilege of observing you as you return to the table to gather for us some light nourishments?”
         Data recovered himself with a laugh. “Thee need not use flattery to ask such a small favor, my t'hy'la.” he said, rising effortlessly.
         “Not flattery, but the truth, young truth-seeker,” Spock replied sagely, “and as you can see, it has inspired you to beneficial action.”
         “It is commonly known among humans,” the vulcan turned back to Picard to continue his discourse, “that the Kolinahr espouse the banishment of all emotions, indifferent to what they are and how they act upon us. Surak himself, however, spoke of mastery of the emotions, not banishment.”
         Spock paused again so that they could both watched with pleasure as Data gracefully lowered himself to sit among them while holding in one hand a tray of fruit and cheese, and the refilled goblet in the other.
         “Delightful.” Spock remarked, helping himself to a slice of some bright purple fruit as soon as Data had set the tray down on the carpet before them.
         “There is no logic,” he said when he had finished it, “in banishing any thing which serves as such a powerful motivator for good in all beings, but neither is there logic in squandering such a powerful force on the tawdry or sensational.”
         Jean Luc tried one of the slices of purple fruit for himself and found it had a crunch like an Asian pear and a sweet ethereal flavor like lychee. He tried another with a small slice of sharp cheese and found the flavor combination so appealing that he immediately made one up for Data.
         “Mastery of our joy does not mean stifling it, but it does mean that we are enjoined to seek our joys with intellect and sophistication.” Spock nodded in affirmation at Jean Luc's delight with his fruit and cheese discovery, and watched him feeding another to Data with pleased approval.
         “You will note that aesthetics have always been an important feature of Vulcan culture.” Spock continued as he chose a reddish-orange berry and a different type of cheese, and handed them together to Jean Luc. “Now try this.”
         Jean Luc could not but exclaim aloud at the delightful flavors he was tasting, and at the same time could see Data's eyes brighten with pleasure as he savored the fruit and cheese which Picard had just given him.
         “Surak has said: 'Let thy aesthetic sense be thy guide in seeking pleasure.' In this way also must we be guided in seeking joy.” Spock paused again, this time to take up one of Data's hands and tenderly kiss his fingers. Turning his lover's hand over, he kissed the palm and then the slender finger tips, tasting the fruit juice on them with the tip of his tongue. He did not relinquish Data's hand as he looked up to speak again.
         “Thus, speaking on the subject of joy, the sage Ch'strell has directed us to, 'seek subtle and sophisticated flavors,”. He paused to kiss Data's palm again, and then released it to cup his face.
         “To seek the novel,” Spock continued, his eyes meeting Data's with affection “not for novelty's sake, but to learn more about who you are and what pleases you.” He paused again to kiss Data on the mouth now, deeply and tenderly.
         Jean Luc ate another one of the orange berries and watched contentedly as Spock finally concluded his kiss with Data, and turned toward him, reaching out to touch his face.
         “Also did he advise us to keep the company of the wisest and brightest,” Spock murmured tenderly, stroking Jean Luc's sensitive scalp with those fever warm fingers. “For among such will you cultivate the truest friendships, and the joys you share with them will be the most lasting.”
         Jean Luc was ready for Spock's kiss when it came, but not for the effects of Spock's paired fingers as they traced a path across his skin. It seemed that Spock could erotically stimulate any part of his body with that touch, and he moaned aloud into the kiss. When those fingers found their way to the nape of his neck -rendering Jean Luc aquiver with desire- Spock finally let the kiss end and traced Jean Luc's jaw line with his lips, pausing just below his left ear to speak again.
         “Ch'strell's final comment on the subject is this:” Spock's velvet baritone voice and heated lips caressed his ear. “Be certain always to partake of your pleasures with joy, and pursue your joys with pleasure. If you can be assured of those things then you can be assured that you will never stray far from the true path.”
         Spock continued to hold his fingers at the top of Jean Luc's spine as he moved his lips down his t'hy'tka's neck and throat, kissing and tonguing it's hollow. Jean Luc sat helpless under Spock's ministrations, emitting little gasps and moans from time to time, and then much louder ones as Spock moved still further down and began to lick and bite at Jean Luc's nipples.
         At last the vulcan took mercy and moved his fingers away, strengthening his arm to support Jean Luc, who collapsed as he was released. Data was there to support him too, and Jean Luc found himself leaning companionably against the android as Spock took up both their hands.
         “Now I wish to make a gift,” he said. “from myself to the two of you, for it would give me great joy to give you both much pleasure.”
         “In case you had any doubts,” Jean Luc said, pausing to kiss Spock's elegant fingers as they held his own, “You have shown me more pleasure this night than I have ever know, with one possible exception.” He concluded with a warm sidelong glance at Data.
         “Then indeed joy is mine.” Spock quoted from their earlier ritual. “Yet would I still pursue more.”
         “And you have called me insatiable.” Data remarked to his Captain with a smile.
         “As have I.” Spock pointed out, “But I believe that it is, in the main, your inexhaustibility which makes it seem so.”
         “I do think you're right, Spock.” Jean Luc leaned over to caress the inside of Data's thigh and observe his delightful and instantaneous response, as though demonstrating his point. “I have often wondered how it would have been if I'd met Data when I was 40 or 50 years younger.” He waited for Data to comment that he had not yet been activated 40 or 50 years ago and was pleased to see that the android was sufficiently distracted to let it pass.
         “Indeed I had many occasions over the last week to wish that I was as I had been 70 or 80 years ago,” Spock mused, “but had we been able to fulfill these wishes, I fear we would need to reserve this holodeck for a week rather than an evening.”
         Jean Luc chuckled and Data said, a bit breathily, “A week of such activities might even surpass the limits of my neural nets, but I do not think I would mind spending some time to discover what those limits might be.”
         Now Spock chuckled and there was almost a sinister cast to it. “Would thee know the pleasure of two at once?” he asked daringly.
         “I believe I would.” Answered Data, his voice a trifle unsteady with anticipation.
         “And thee?” Appreciating Spock's carefulness, Jean Luc nodded his assent. A moment later he felt Spock's over-warm fingers at his temple and saw the vulcan's other hand come to rest on Data's face.
         So close were they already that no words were needed and a moment after he observed Spock's fingers contact Data's skin he realized he could feel them there himself. Then he felt Spock's presence with them as well, anchoring the link by some means that not even Data understood. When he was done Spock's presence faded as he lowered his hands, but Jean Luc and Data remained linked through their senses, each one as aware of the other's physical sensations as they were of their own.
         Thus when Spock reached down to stroke the inside of Picard's thigh, pausing to brush caressingly past his testicles, both he and Data responded, Jean Luc by moaning aloud and leaning over to clutch at Data, and Data to gasp and arch his back, his sex rising from softly erect as his Captain had left it, to quite rigid. He caught at Jean Luc's clutching hands and drew them to his mouth to be kissed.
         Spock moved to Data next and he, sensing some unspoken cue from his t'hy'la, lay back into the cushions, pulling Jean Luc with him. Laying his hands on Data's upraised knees, Spock watched the android open for him with pleasure and anticipation. When he bowed his head to kiss the base of Data's rigidly erect sex both he and Jean Luc gasped and sighed a writhed together among the cushions.
         By now Jean Luc was just as erect as Data was, and the sensation of Spock's tongue caressing Data's balls and the base of his cock caused him weep his first few drops of precum, even though no one had actually touched him. After only a few moments of this torment, however, Spock relented and, with a touch to his hip, signaled Data that he wished him to roll over.
         Data rose to his knees to comply, grasping an additional pillow to pile beneath his hips. He settled at last with his head resting on Jean Luc's chest, laying so that he could look up into his captain's eyes, and could just reach his left nipple with the tip of his tongue. Spock had evidently come to note the state of Jean Luc's weeping cock as Data had been shifting, and the moment he settled Spock assaulted it with his tongue. Picard cried out with pleasure and Data gasped and bit his nipple -which he felt himself and gave a little yelp of surprise.
         This caused both Spock and Jean Luc to laugh aloud but Spock's demeanor soon grew intent and focused as he reached over to offer the two fingers of his right hand to Data's lips. Jean Luc felt the heat of them in Data's mouth when he opened for them, and even experienced the unique and curious sensation of having salivary glands capable of producing particularly viscous saliva. He felt Data's tongue skillfully manipulating the substance so that it thoroughly coated the vulcan's fingers and then felt them slip away.
         Almost thoughtlessly, Jean Luc found himself reaching down to stroke his fingers through Data's silky hair and then discovered that Data had idly reciprocated, reaching up to caress his Captain's face. At last, Jean Luc thought to himself with delight, Data would know how stimulating it was to feel his touch moving over the smooth sensitive skin of his scalp, and how pleasant it was to comb Data's hair between his fingers.
         At the same time, Jean Luc realized, he could feel how Data thrilled to feel his fingers tangle in his hair, and how much he loved to touch and stroke his captain's head. So lost was Jean Luc in this reverie that he almost didn't notice the sensation of Spock's heated breath drawing near Data's exposed opening. It caught his attention just in time to prepare him, somewhat, for the sensation of Spock's vulcan warm tongue probing and caressing in that most sensitive spot.
         Together Jean Luc and Data gave a long gasp and writhed against each other, their otherwise unoccupied hands finding one another and grasping as though in desperation. Their gasps quickly became long moans as Spock continued to caress Data's opening with his tongue, working closer and closer to the center until it began to press and demand entrance. These ministrations had caused things to relax somewhat, but it still took some strength for Spock to press the tip of his tongue past the tight ring of Data's entrance. The sensation of that soft warm flesh pushing it's way inside Data had them both shouting in ecstasy.
         Feeling the sensations of Spock's tongue moving within Data was so overwhelming that it was moments before he realized that he himself was also penetrated, with Spock's well lubricated, paired fingers. Remembering what those fingers could do just resting at the nape of his neck, Jean Luc knew that he had no choice but to surrender himself utterly to Spock's will. He would know pleasure beyond his wildest imaginings and he was helpless to prevent it.
         Feeling Spock move his fingers inside him, and his tongue inside Data had him shouting aloud, clutching at a fistful of Data's hair and discovering that Data found the sensation surprisingly alluring. Jean Luc knew himself to be only moments away from climax but, as before, Spock prevented it, holding the progression in place while Jean Luc writhed and moaned in ecstasy for as long as it pleased him to have it so.
         Giddy with helpless pleasure, Jean Luc looked down to gaze upon Data's face and found the android's eyes shut tight in ecstasy, lips parted to emit rapid, panting breaths. Was there really a way to directly access the pleasure centers of the brain with a mere physical touch? Spock's next internal caress with fingers and tongue drove the question (and every other rational thought) entirely out of Jean Luc's mind.
         When Spock had reduced them both to a mindless tangle of quivering and spasming limbs, all but overcome with ecstasy, he relented, gently withdrawing from his two lovers and giving them a moment or two to recover. With his returned coherence came Jean Luc's awareness that Data was still lying on him, but was stirring himself, and that all three of them were rigid and aching for completion. Flushed and tousled, Data helped him sit up as Spock came to kneel before them.
         “Now we finish.” He said, pleasant anticipation coloring his voice as he held up the palm of his hand for Data to lick. Now he gently pushed the android back to lay among the cushions and leaned over to engulf Data's stiffly erect cock with his mouth. This he did just long enough to moisten Data's sex along it's length before applying the generous amount of Data's own lubricant with his hand. Jean Luc relaxed and leaned back on his elbows to watch with pleasure as Spock straddled Data's body and lowered himself onto that graceful, golden cock. He and Data both savored the sensation of Spock's over-warm flesh enclosing Data's aching sex.
         Spock's elegant face was serene as Data settled within him, eyes closed and full dark lips almost curved in a smile, but not quite. He drew a deep breath as Data lifted his hips beneath him, and then opened his eyes to reveal the light of desire within them. Data dropped his hips and then thrust again, more forcefully, and Spock's lips broke into a broad smile. He beckoned Jean Luc now, with a gesture, to rise and stand before him.
         It took him a moment or two to get his feet under him and he didn't feel any too steady as he stood over Data facing the vulcan as he had been guided to, still feeling the sensation of Data's cock penetrating Spock's tight flesh. Now Spock placed his hands over Jean Luc's hips and touched him just so with those paired fingers again, and he felt his leg muscles strengthen and steady. This turned out to be a good thing because the next thing he knew Spock had taken his whole cock into his mouth and begun caressing it most skillfully with his tongue. In no time Jean Luc's primal rutting urge had taken over and he found himself thrusting his cock down the back of the vulcan's throat again and again.
         As before, he found the sensation of his cock moving through the moist heat of Spock's enclosing flesh echoed in Data's sensation of plumbing the depths of Spock's ass with his own cock. The compounded sensations reverberating between Jean Luc and Data began to form a sort of feedback loop and as the two of them fucked Spock with increasingly reckless abandon some distant and faintly sensible part of Jean Luc noted that Spock was beginning to let his control slip.
         Whether he was aware of this or not, Data's next act was to aid considerably in the undermining of that control, for Jean Luc felt him lay yet another generous quantity of thickened spit on the palm of his own hand and then wrap it lovingly around Spock's own hard and burning flesh. The sensation of Spock moaning aloud around Jean Luc's cock caused the block that the vulcan had placed in him to shift and he began to progress, ever so slightly, towards climax again.
         Now Data began to time his thrusts into Spock with the strokes he gave to the throbbing flesh in his hand and Spock's hold on things became very tenuous indeed. Jean Luc felt him groan around his cock again and then a pair of fingers, not quite as steady as they had been, came to seek and gain admittance to his opening again. The sensation of Spock's fingers moving within him, caressing those most sensitive places while he continued to suck and tongue his cock, did almost cause his knees to buckle, in spite of Spock's reinforcement, but he clung to the vulcan's head and shoulders and remained upright.
         With this, however, the last of Spock's control was spent and broken and the chaos of pure desire quickly consumed the three of them. As the sensations of Spock's double assault layered over Data's sensations of fucking Spock's ass carried him to new heights of pure pleasure, Jean Luc gave way first, grasping the vulcan's head as he spent down his throat, sobbing out his ecstatic climax. Spock followed only moments later, the spasms of his orgasm coursing through him even as Jean Luc's cum was still pulsing into his throat. And even as he felt his own climax fading Jean Luc felt Spock's quivering, climaxing body pulse and throb around Data's cock, sending the android over the edge at last.
         The sensation of two orgasms, one coming on the heels of the other, left Jean Luc seemingly boneless with pleasure, only vaguely aware that he was collapsing, but he found himself being carefully lowered into the cushions rather than falling on anyone and so knew perfect contentment.

         He could hear Data, lying next to him, laughing uncontrollably. The sound brought Jean Luc back to himself with a smile. Particularly good orgasms did that to Data from time to time, and at first he had insisted that it must be a unique quirk of the android's wiring. Data had, typically, just done a bit of research and was eventually able to prove him wrong one evening, by means of a startlingly delightful demonstration.
         Spock lay on his side, outstretched arm and head resting on Data's chest, chuckling along with him and Jean Luc would have joined along had he not still been pretty blown away. He was altogether content, however, to lie back and let the sounds of their ebbing laughter wash over him, a counterpoint to his slowly ebbing afterglow.
         Wiping his eyes, as the last gales finally subsided, Data turned to gaze upon his captain.
         “Do you remember the first time I ever laughed?” He asked.
         “Indeed I do.” Jean Luc answered, half surprised that his voice had responded as well as it did. “It was the first time I ever saw Q do anything truly decent. I had to reassess him after that.”
         “I had just saved his life.”
         “By an act of real selfless compassion, and this was long before you installed your emotion chip.” Jean Luc reflected.
         “We do not count compassion among the emotions, on Vulcan.” Spock entered into the discussion. “It is something more fundamental. We name it an impulse -an instinct, like that for survival.”
         “I believe I did read somewhere that humans are hard-wired for compassion.” said Jean Luc. “Its in our neural nets. Yours too, it would seem.”
         He reached across the brocade cushions to lay his hand on Data's shoulder, and Data reached across to touch his captain's face with tenderness. Jean Luc caught up his hands for a request.
         “Data, my love, it would be a compassionate act indeed if you would find me some more of whatever we had to drink a little while ago, for I am absolutely parched.”
         Data grinned his assent and sprang effortlessly to his feet to find and fill the goblet. He returned only moments later and Jean Luc drank gratefully. Data handed the beverage to Spock when he had finished, as it was still more than half full.
         “Thank you, my t'hy'la for your gift.” He said as he handed over the goblet, his voice still colored with laughter. “It has given me great joy and pleasure.”
         “Then I am well satisfied.” Spock purred contentedly, draining the goblet and then setting it aside.
         “My thanks as well.” Jean Luc contributed, rolling onto his side to prop his head on his forearm. “Never have I received such treasures. I only wish I had something to offer in return.”
         “Thy gift has preceded mine, t'hy'tka, did'st thee not know this?” Spock asked. Jean Luc shook his head.
         Spock rose and shifted himself so that he sat between Jean Luc and Data, facing them, and took up both their hands in his own.
         “I have not, nor will I ever forget that the two of thee preceded me and my misfortune. Duty brought him to me,” Spock nodded towards Data. “But fate, or happenstance, whichever you may believe in, made him the one I needed the most to find me just then. Great courage and a great heart made him my t'hy'la, but only allowing that he had made true bonds with another, which he would not break.”
         Now Spock's gaze shifted to Jean Luc. “He had trust in you, always, and I promised him that he was not mistaken in that trust. You, however, were neither bound by that trust nor by my promise, but still you have opened your heart to me and to us. That is the gift I speak of.”
         Jean Luc drew himself up and turned his head aside, appalled to find himself blushing at this praise. “It was not such a difficult thing.” He said, quietly.
         “And dost thee not know how remarkable even that is?” Spock reached out to touch Jean Luc's face and draw his gaze up to meet his own. “It is, in truth, not that common an attitude even among my own 'logical' people, and among yours … It was not long ago that most humans considered jealousy a noble impulse in romantic relationships.” Jean Luc shook his head in sorrowful agreement.
         “Few beings, among any peoples I know of,” Spock continued, “have the strength of integrity to live as they profess they should, particularly in the matter of personal relationships. It is no small accomplishment for any man, Jean Luc, and no small gift which you have given to me and to us.”
Passionately confirming this sentiment, Data had leaned closer and now enclosed his captain in loving embrace, and Jean Luc found himself reaching out with the two fingers of his right hand to meet Spock's, joining the vulcan in an equally intimate embrace.
         The moment finally passed and they drew apart to find Sock, sitting between them still, with a light of joyful anticipation in his eyes.
         “I would propose now a gift that we give to ourselves and each other, though it entails, in a way, one more small gift from Jean Luc.” Data and his captain both regarded the vulcan curiously.
         “Indeed, as the Great Circle requires at least three people, Data and I have never been able to attempt it and, in truth, I have never myself had an opportunity to do so before. Thy presence and thy willingness affords us a great and unique opportunity, t'hy'tka.” Spock said earnestly. “This then, would be the nature of thy gift.”
         Jean Luc shook his head slowly with wonderment, and let a broad smile grow on his face. “Would that I had the opportunity to give such gifts more often.” He said, almost with a laugh.
         A serene joy moved over Spock's face as he moved to sit closer still and took up Jean Luc's face in both his outstretched hands.
         “Thee already has some theories, no doubt, on what is entailed in the Great Circle?” Spock asked. Jean Luc gave a small nod.
         “We three will link again, not to share sensations but so that thee may be guided in thy actions and aided in the movement of energy.” Jean Luc nodded once more, feeling just a touch of nervousness.
         “None of this will be beyond thee.” Spock assured him with a shake of his head, and then regarded him thoughtfully.
         “I would that thee knew the rare privilege of the pleasures that we are partaking of this night.” The vulcan's hands began to move away from his face to slowly caress their way down his neck and shoulders.
         Finding it easy, at last, to respond, Jean Luc reached across to caress Spock's face in turn, sweeping the long jaw line with his thumb till his fingers met a graceful, upswept ear.
         “I would that thee knew what a remarkable and unexpected joy it has been to find you part of my life now, and a rare privilege as well.” He answered.
         Their kiss followed naturally, filled with warmth and depth of feeling, but it ended quickly, for further pleasures were waiting.
         “And if our new interactions have bought the two of us joy and pleasure,” Spock said, voicing Jean Luc's very own thoughts, “then there is one we must thank as well.”
         He and Spock both reached out and drew Data into a close circle with the two of them. Jean Luc leaned over to kiss Data on the cheek as Spock took up and kissed his hand. Data grinned with delight and met each of his lover's eyes in turn with a look of giddy joy.
         “Now,” said Spock, his voice filled with quiet joy, “We are ready to begin.”
         Reaching out to carefully place his fingers on Data and Jean Luc's faces, he began to intone quietly.
         “Three wills, one mind
         One mind, three bodies
         Three bodies, one great Will”

         Not much changed at first for Jean Luc, except that his last traces of nervousness vanished. He drew himself up to his knees and waited in contentment while Data arranged the pillows in such a way that when lying back upon them, his hips would be well supported and his head and shoulders elevated.
         Jean Luc and Spock drew close as Data situated himself, to sit on either side of him, and began a campaign of pleasant assaults upon his body as soon as he was settled. Jean Luc found himself landing his kisses and caresses on Data's face and neck, occasionally straying to molest his nipples, while Spock focused his attention lower down. Without actually feeling the sensations, Jean Luc knew that the vulcan was applying his tongue and teeth liberally to the inside of Data's thighs and to every part of his sex.
         Within moments the two of them had Data gasping, moaning and writhing about in the cushions between them, and his cock was rigidly upright, already weeping a drop or two of pearlescent precum. It was only out of sheer self indulgence that Spock took the graceful member into his mouth, tasting the length of it with his tongue. Jean Luc stifled Data's cries with a kiss, feeling his hips thrusting upwards in desire.
         It was with restraint as much as mercy that Spock lifted his head away, giving him a moment to relax as Jean Luc gently combed his fingers through the android's hair. Soon, however, the vulcan was back on task, moving to kneel, straddling Data's torso. Jean Luc could not say for sure whether the impulse to offer his open palm for Data to lick came from him or Spock, or both of them, but he was happy to comply.
         He had guessed already what his next actions would entail before his guiding impulses confirmed it, and he bent to the task of spreading the thickened saliva on his hand over the length of Data's straining cock with delight. As he did so he noted that Spock was busy offering Data further distractions, having moved so that he was now straddling Data's face. The android went to work immediately, caressing the vulcan's cock and balls with his tongue and spreading generous amounts of especially viscous spit all around his opening.
         Jean Luc heard Spock draw a long, unsteady breath as Data's tongue probed a little more deeply, and the vulcan's cock soon came to rigid attention. They were clearly ready to move ahead. Jean Luc shifted to kneel by Data's shoulders as Spock slowly knelt back to press his opening against Data's hard and ready sex until he was penetrated.
         Jean Luc watched, captivated, as Spock threw his head back, eyes shut tight with bliss to feel the length of Data's rigid flesh sinking deeper and deeper into his own body. Just watching made Jean Luc's own cock begin to rise, and the impulse that came to him next made it stiffen further in anticipation.
         Now it was his turn to kneel astride Data, just in front of Spock who stroked his vulcan warm hands over Jean Luc's body by way of welcome. While one fevered hand moved caressingly from the top of Jean Luc's smooth head to loiter over his chest and nipples and then stroke along the inside of his thighs, the other reached forward to Data's mouth once again, for a coating of Data's personal lubricant. So distracted was Jean Luc by the action's of Spock's left hand, he knew not what the right was doing until he felt it caressing and probing gently at his opening. So relaxed was he that the vulcan's over-warm fingers were admitted entrance almost immediately.
         The caresses of pair of equally warm lips over his right ear were his reward for such compliance, but it was the overall nearness of the bulk of the vulcan's heated flesh that was driving him mad with desire. He could feel the hardness of Spock's rigid member pressing up against his buttocks as more fingers worked their way into his opening and he felt his patience fraying. He wanted. He wanted Spock's forge hot, iron hard flesh within him now, and Spock understood.
         The fingers withdrew, lingering on his cheek to guide him, but he needed no guide. His flesh sought Spock's flesh unerringly and Spock's sought likewise. They met, pressed against one another, and then joined, the one entering into the other.
         Jean Luc cried out with ecstasy and desire, first at feeling the vulcan's double ridged flesh entering his body and thrusting deep within him, and then at the sensation of Spock wrapping his arms over his chest and drawing him into a tight embrace with the vulcan's furnace of a body. Being enclosed so tightly in Spock's overheated flesh, while that same flesh penetrated him, sent Jean Luc into fresh waves of ecstasy.
         Spock held him very still, however, and so clarity of thought returned after a moment and he saw that Data had propped his head up further with more cushions, so that his lips stood poised, mere centimeters from the tip of his captain's trembling cock. The heated lips which had been caressing his ear for some time now whispered a question.
         “Are thee ready?” Spock asked.
         Jean Luc considered the question seriously for only a moment before bursting into helpless laughter at the absurdity of it. He heard Spock's smoldering chuckle in his ear and then his own laugh broke off in a strangled gasp as Data bent forward to kiss his cock. The circle was at last complete.
         The moment the android's lips touched his straining cock, Jean Luc felt something within him leap, like a spark bridging a gap, from him into Data. Data answered this by moving to engulf the whole of Jean Luc's cock with his mouth while at the same time thrusting up, into Spock. The vulcan groaned aloud as Data's cock impaled him and then he in turn, thrust into Jean Luc.
         As the vulcan's cock thrust deeper into his ass, Jean Luc felt the spark leap into him again, flaring far more brightly than it had before. It moved through him as, without thought, he pushed his cock deep into Data's throat and he gasped to feel the android's throat constrict around him as he moaned. He felt the steadily waxing spark of energy move around the circle, through Data, then Spock, and into him again, ripping a shout of ecstasy from his throat.
         It's brightness illuminated every part of him from within. He felt it not just as pleasure but as strength and vitality, coursing through his body. This is the very force of life itself, he thought with astonishment, and he knew that neither Spock nor Data would disagree.
         Jean Luc let his fingers clutch and pull fists full of Data's silken hair, remembering how he had enjoyed it before, and thrust his cock into Data's mouth, all the way to the root. Feeling the force move out of him into Data was nearly as wonderful as feeling it enter him, and when he realized this, Jean Luc wondered if it might be possible to keep this energy circling through the three of them forever.
         As the tempo increased, however, Jean Luc realized that it could not be so, for the energy was not stable, seeking to build itself until it could no longer be held. This then was to be their destiny.
         Jean Luc felt the energy drive through him, faster and faster, as he drove his cock down Data's throat and Spock drove his own burning member into Jean Luc, again and again. Gradually, he, Spock and Data became instruments of the thing they had created.
         They were all three shouting now, each as deaf to the cries of the others as they were to their own. Data's hands were gripping Jean Luc's thighs just a little too tightly, really, and he didn't care. Spock's arms remained wrapped about him, clutching at him with crushing strength, but it was that strength that let him know that he was safe, in spite of how insane and out of control everything felt just now.
         The energy seemed to be attenuating, lingering in him even after it had moved into Data, barely passing away before Spock thrust into him again. Soon the circle of energy would lap itself, finding it's own completion, and Jean Luc knew that this would trigger theirs. He felt the climax building in all of them, felt the energy suffusing his body. He was saturated; he could retain no more.
         He felt the energy pass into Data as he felt his cock press up against the back of the android's throat, though a part of that energy remained with him as it passed, with Data's thrust, into Spock. It lingered still as Spock tightened his grip and thrust into him, and then it met itself within Jean Luc, ignited, and the climax of a lifetime shook Jean Luc Picard to the very core of his soul.
         It took all three of them, simultaneously and Jean Luc felt his seed explode into Data's throat even as he felt the vulcan's fiery release burn deep within him. His throat was raw with screaming, his fingers cramped from being so long clutching Data's hair, but he could not stop doing either of those things and neither, it seemed could anyone else.
         The energy burning so furiously within them soon began to dissipate, however, as did their strength and coordination, so that Spock and Jean Luc each slowly collapsed to lie in the pillows on either side of Data, still gasping and crying out quietly, just as he was. It took some time for the last tremors of ecstasy to fade away, and more time passed still before any of them felt the desire to speak or move.

~          ~          ~          ~

         Somewhere Jean Luc thought he heard a bird singing -a thin, reedy, tuneless warble that pierced the stillness of the night and rose above the sounds of their heavy breaths. He let his eyes drift open and focus on the preternaturally clear and twinkleless stars in the dark sky above. The constellations were not familiar, but his mind had little difficulty in making up it's own.
         There, above their heads, he made out a Starfleet 'chevron'; over to the left was clearly some sort of three fingered hand and there, just above the horizon, was a configuration which could, with some convincing, be construed to represent a galaxy class starship. Jean Luc smiled at his conceit, and heard the lonely desert singer begin it's song again.
         At last he felt an urge to move -to draw a deep breath and stretch, and beside him he felt the others beginning to stir as well. Data rose first, naturally, and then turned to lend a hand as Spock and Jean Luc each struggled to sit up. Still they sat in contented silence for a little while more. Spock still seemed half dazed, his eyes remaining half lidded as he sat.
         Even so, Jean Luc noted, the vulcan tilted his head ever so slightly as the tuneless whistle sounded again from out of the dark. After a moment he nodded in recognition.
         “A reshk'ahat -the dawn harbinger.” He said softly.
         “A vulcan songbird?” Jean Luc asked, because he had never heard of any such.
         Spock shook his head. “A small reptile, insectivore. She sings to wake her band to prepare to feed during the brief dawn twilight.”
         “A crepuscular, singing reptile.” Jean Luc thought aloud to himself. “And I thought I knew everything important that there was to know about Vulcan.”
         “Perhaps you do, now.” Suggested the vulcan with only a hint of a mischievous smile, his eyes still half lidded.
         Jean Luc considered this for a moment, and then said, “No, that can't be true because I still don't know what's in that tea, or fruit juice, or whatever it is that we've been drinking all evening. Which, by the way, I could certainly do with more of just now.”
         He had hardly finished speaking before Data sprang to his feet, caught up the goblet from where they'd left it earlier, and trotted back to the table to refill it. They both watched him and marveled.
         “He is, naturally, indispensable to one in the throes of the Ponn-Farr,” Spock remarked, “but is it not, at times, fatiguing for you to have a so tireless a lover?”
         Jean Luc chuckled as he watched Data return and drop to the cushions before his captain, offering a brimming full goblet without spilling a drop.
         “He never runs out of energy,” Jean Luc remarked, after having drunk his fill. “That's for certain, but that just means that at the end of a long and tiring day, he still has enough energy for both of us.” He met Data's eyes with affection, handing the goblet of drink to Spock. “And he's never out of sorts, either.”
         “A treasure indeed.” Spock nodded, accepting the drink gratefully. “But as for this beverage, you may be interested to know that it is not altogether of Vulcan, after all. It is, in fact, vulcan grown, Terran green tea, sweetened with a little juice from the tahk fruit -the purple fruit we enjoyed with the ekkran 'cheese' a little while ago. Green teas were some of the very first commodities regularly traded in the first years of Vulcan-Terran relations. Today there are green tea plantations on Vulcan which are over 3 of your centuries old, and many of my people have forgotten that it is not native to our world.”
         “Fascinating.” Jean Luc remarked with a smile, and then was almost overcome by an enormous yawn. “I, ” he admitted, “am clearly not so indefatigable as Data.”
         The vulcan gave a conciliatory smile. “Nor am I.” He commented. “I have seen to it that there is a bed in the adjacent chamber.” He gestured to a doorway on the far side of the terrace. “If you would care to rest here.”
         Jean Luc considered for a moment. “Your hospitality has been flawless, throughout the evening.” He said at last, “But although I could probably fall asleep anywhere at the moment, I think I'd prefer to wake up in my own bed.”
         “A reasonable preference.” The vulcan responded with a nod.
         Jean Luc was finding that, having let one yawn out, many others were clamoring to follow in its wake. Responding to his captain's evident growing fatigue, Data reached over to take Jean Luc's hand and prepared to rise. “It would seem then,” he said, “that the time has come for us to conclude our evening.”
         Tired as he was, Jean Luc felt real sympathy with the tinge of sorrow in Data's voice. He knew that their time together would have to end at some point, but it was still difficult to face the fact that this end had finally come.
Spock nodded in concordance and the three of them, with considerable assistance from Data, slowly moved to stand.
         “Think not that what we have begin tonight ends here.” Spock responded once he had gotten to his feet. “We in the Kol'sh'harr believe that when such energies as we have called up tonight are raised, that they act not only on ourselves -in most beneficial ways- but operate on a level removed from time, as well, and may serve to forestall, in some small way, the eventual heat death of the universe.”
         “Well,” Jean Luc commented with raised brows, “I'm glad to hear we've accomplished something of value. I'd hate to think that we wasted an evening merely enjoying ourselves.”
         “And if so, then it is still no waste,” Spock answered him, “because I find that whenever the three of us encounter one another, each of us walks away wiser, and that cannot but be of benefit to Starfleet and it's aims.”
         “I'll be sure to note that in my personal log.” Quipped Data with a smile.
         They found their clothing, gathered and neatly folded on one of the benches by the same mysterious and invisible agencies which had provided and cleared away their feast. Donning the light weight silk he had begun the evening with helped to move Jean Luc out of the dreamlike state of mind the evening's adventures had invoked and readied him for the shift from medieval vulcan splendor to the twenty-fourth century corridors of his ship. They represented home, though, and a well loved home at that. When he thought of his bed in his quarters he felt more affectionate still, and another yawn escaped him.
         Data called for the holodeck entrance and it's sudden appearance struck Jean Luc as even more surreal and incongruous than usual. He realized he wasn't quite as ready for the real world as he'd thought. Data placed his arm around his captain's shoulder's in sympathy. It was inescapably time to make their farewells and he still didn't know quite how. His heart was full to overflowing and his mind was still fogged with endorphins and fatigue. He couldn't begin to think of any words adequate to the task.
         “Spock,” he finally said to the vulcan standing before him, once again dressed in his austere back meditation robes, “I would have you to know what lies here.” He laid his hand over his synthetic heart, “And words will not suffice. May I ask you … ?“ and he reached out and took a hold of the vulcan's right hand, lifting it to his face.
         Spock nodded, reaching out the last few centimeters to lay his fingers on Jean Luc's temple. He opened his heart, as he felt Spock's presence enter his mind, letting the gratitude and joy spill forth without restraint. It was with astonishment, however, that he discovered Spock's intent to be twofold, for as he had opened his heart to the vulcan, so did he invite Jean Luc to share what lay in his own. Truthfully, Jean Luc should not have been surprised to see his own feelings echoed by the vulcan, but they most decidedly were, and the astonishment of that discovery lingered as Spock lifted his fingers away, a smile shining from his eyes alone.
         Words still being wholly inadequate, all three of them moved, at last, to communicate their mutual affection with an embrace which lingered for many long minutes, until Jean Luc caught himself actually dozing off in the arms of his two lovers. He shook himself awake and the three of them drew apart, Data turning to kiss him sweetly on the cheek.
         “I will remain here for the remainder of the night and meditate.” Spock informed them as the incongruous doorway opened to reveal the Enterprise's corridors without.
         “Between the setting and our recent activities, I would expect them to be most enlightening.” Data remarked, placing a supporting hand on his captain's shoulder as he turned to leave.
         “Expectations, young truth seeker,” Spock admonished, with a twinkle in his eyes, “are the first thing one must rid oneself of when entering meditation.” He paused archly, and then continued.
         “Had I any expectations, however,” Spock's smile almost reached his lips, but not quite. “I would say that they coincided with yours. I am looking forward to it.” Spock reached out to Data with his two fingers extended, which the android met with his own.
         “I, for my part, am looking forward to my bed.” Said Jean Luc, turning to meet Spock's gaze.
         “My T'hy'tka,” he said, “it has been an honor and a pleasure and the experience of a life time. Thank you.” To reach out to Spock with his own two fingers extended seemed surprisingly natural now, as it was to feel the connection between them when the vulcan's fingers met his.
         “As it has been for me, my T'hy'tka.” He answered. “I wish you both peace and long life.”
         Spock lifted his fingers away from Jean Luc's to raise his hand in the old ritual gesture, and was still standing so as he and Data left, and the doorway to ancient Vulcan closed behind them.


(c) 2002 Taylor Dancinghands

Thank you Pickledance for this fantastic pic! T.D.

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