Clothed in a tan jumpsuit, he timidly walked to a see-through wall and looked out into the darkened basement. The silent black area was like a yawning mouth waiting to devour him, and he soon returned to the comforting light beside his bed. With nothing to do, he lay down and his eyes drooped sleepily.
He jolted awake and found that he was no longer alone. Though the woman's visits were seldom pleasant, he was relieved to find her smirking at him from beyond the barrier.
"Bored?" she asked. "Go ahead, tell me all about my flawed theories."
Though he clearly understood the language, he did not know anything about her "flawed theories".
"Come on," she taunted. "You're so damn smart, remember?"
Before now, he had always shrunk from her, but today he stubbornly set his jaw and flung back, "Stop it!"
Her green eyes widened, then one brow arched in amusement. "Well, well. A small seed of defiance." Coolly she turned her back on him and walked toward the lonely distance.
Panic-stricken, he leaped up and cried, "No! Please don't leave me! I'll be good!"
Goodness. That was, in fact, Spock's greatest besetting fault. An overly compassionate outlook narrowed his great mind and stunted what little imagination he possessed.
Sometimes, in fair-haired Tobias, Dorian caught a glimmer of that same moral sensitivity and was both charmed and annoyed by it. At such moments, she never knew quite how to react. Just now, he was standing beside his neatly made bed, in the middle of his freshly straightened room, smiling with almost palpable pride and affection. He reminded her of a clumsy, overgrown puppy-an undeveloped mind inside a man's body, his own tragedy lost on him.
Feeling sudden pity, she crossed the room and touched his smooth-shaven cheek. "It looks so nice, Toby. You did such a fine job that I'll allow you some extra time on your padd."
Blue eyes brimming with gratitude, he caught hold of her with startling strength. It was not the first time he had done this, and she found the nearness of his body-and his mind-rather intriguing. Tobias was from a race of touch telepaths. Though not schooled in Vulcan mental techniques, he was clearly able to initiate a primordial level of contact.
His right hand touched the small of her back, then slipped lower. Though tempted to respond, Dorian stood quite still, neither encouraging nor rebuffing his familiarity. She had been considering this aspect of their relationship for weeks, but so far had kept to the role of observer. Not out of any sense of morality, for she was anything but a moralist. She knew, however, that once the sexual barrier was crossed, their relationship would change for all time. Yet she was clearly the master here, and the scientist. The decision was hers alone, and suddenly she felt ready for a new stage of experimentation. Very gently she disengaged herself from Tobias and guided him to the bed.
It was a delicious irony. Spock boasted a superb education from some of the finest schools in the galaxy, and an enviable career in Starfleet. He patterned his life after the stoic Vulcans, his father's people. He avoided wine, women, and high emotion.
Meanwhile, his double lived ignorant of all but the fundamental niceties of civilization. He idled away his days in a windowless basement. He laughed easily, loved to eat, and under Dorian's tutelage soon developed a passion for sex play. Before long she was spending a portion of each day in his bed, enjoying his handsome, willing body in the name of research.
For his part, Tobias liked the changes. Feelings that had left him tense and confused now found their release with Dorian, and though he did not understand why this had come about, he never thought to question it. Dorian knew the right and the wrong of things, and obviously she approved of the touching that both pleasured his body and made her thoughts mingle with his own.
Her every arrival filled him with relief and expectation. Each day she glided out of the basement gloom into the bright nest of his room, fed and warmed him, then disappeared. And with every parting came a sickening fear that he would never see her again. Each time, he stood at the partition tracking her slim shape as she moved through the stretch of darkness to the faintly lit stairway in the corner. Though he longed to call after her, he kept his fearful silence. There was no following into that other part of her life, to that dangerous place on the outside.
Yet how dangerous could it truly be? Dorian always returned safely, and her continued success set Tobias thinking. If she could come and go unharmed, why couldn't he? Perhaps if he escaped this room, he could go beyond the darkness and follow her everywhere. Then he would never again be alone.
One particularly desolate day, he stood at the partition door, studying it. Before him, the basement lay black and uninviting. His heart's nervous thudding seemed to echo in his ears as he attempted to focus on the task at hand. One of the thoughts he had gleaned from Dorian involved this very door, and now, in his mind's eyes, he saw it clearly. A hidden trigger. In a moment his fingers found the precise spot, and the door swung open.
He could feel the basement shadows creeping toward him, prickling his skin with cold terror, and even the light in his room seemed small and threatened. Panicking, he ran up the basement steps and yanked hard on the door handle. With a sound of splintering wood it burst open, revealing a small closet full of clothes. Impossible! Certain that there was an exit, he groped about, found another locked door, and slammed his shoulder into it. Once, twice, and it gave way. Unable to stop his forward motion, he fell headlong into a blaze of vibrant color. For a moment he lay perfectly still. But then, like a starving child stumbling upon a feast, he sat up and stared in slack-jawed wonder at the marvels surrounding him. Walls alive with garlands of rosy blossoms and green leaves. Polished wooden furniture aswirl with strange, beautiful patterns. A huge bed with a red cover that looked downy and inviting. And soft beneath him, spreading in every direction, a marvelous cream carpeting.
Running his fingers through the carpet's pile, he smiled, content just to sit there drinking in the unspeakable beauty. There was nothing dangerous here. Gentle, soothing sounds pulsed from behind a wall of filmy white drapes that billowed gracefully in a fragrant air current. Curious, he rose and cautiously pulled one drape aside.
His astonished cry sailed out the window. Only his eyes moved, darting about in their eagerness to see everything at once-sky, clouds, ocean, shore, birds-for until now, he had only glimpsed them on the screen of his padd.
Dropping the curtain, he whirled guiltily. One look at Dorian's angry face sent his hopes crashing. She was not happy to see that he had escaped the darkness and found his way here.
"Tobias!" She glanced with displeasure from the forced basement doors, to his cringing figure. "What have you done?"
"I...I came out," he answered in a small, hesitant voice.
"I did not give you permission!" Striding over, she shoved him toward the gloomy doorways. "Get back in your room!" He balked. "Get down there now!" she yelled, slapping the side of his head.
Tobias rushed down the steps. With the hated shadows nipping at his heels, he ran all the way to his room. He could hear Dorian's footsteps coming after him. There was no memory for this, no way to react but with anguished tears and a bewildered scrambling for cover. Hitting the hard floor, he dove under his bed and huddled there in the dark space. Dorian's shoes came into view.
"Don't ever do that again!" she warned furiously. "Never-do you hear me?"
That night there was no dinner. From under his bed, he heard the sound of a workman repairing the damaged doors. When at last he slept, his fitful dreams were black and frightening, full of angry voice and stinging blows. In the morning Dorian came and peered underneath the bed, but he pressed against the wall and refused to come out.
"It's alright," she coaxed in a forgiving tone. "I'm not going to hurt you. See?" She showed him a tray of food. "I brought your favorite breakfast."
He was very hungry. Gathering his courage, he cautiously crawled out and sat at the small table in his room.
"You simply have to learn," she explained, putting the food before him. "You can't leave whenever you feel like it. You belong down here. This is your world."
Struggling to understand, Tobias took a bite while Dorian began to stroke his stiff shoulders.
"But I don't like it here," he dared to say.
Dorian sighed. Yet as she continued the massage, he sensed kindly thoughts from her and began to relax.
Bending over him, she kissed one pointed ear tip and whispered, "Maybe, just maybe, if you're very good, I'll bring you upstairs again. For a visit."
Tobias flashed her an ecstatic smile. "Oh, please! I'll do anything you say!"
"Yes, you will," Dorian said with a touch of irony. Then her hand slid under his collar, to his chest, and the evening's pain dimmed under her fondling.