What Could Have Been
Spock runs her fingers through Jane's hair as they lie together, an activity she has grown fond of over the months of their relationship. "I received a message from my mother," she says. "My cousin Setak has recently bonded."
"Congratulations," Jane says. "Should we send something?" She sounds genuinely interested, but Spock can tell she's wondering why Spock is telling her this.
"That is not necessary," Spock replies. "It merely sparked a thought in my mind."
Jane raises her head to look at her. "Oh?"
Spock nods slowly. "When I was a child, my parents discussed whether I would be betrothed in the Vulcan fashion. As you are aware, my mother persuaded my father to allow me to choose my own mate."
Jane smiles, reaching out to lace her fingers into Spock's. "I'm very aware," she says. "And very grateful."
Spock's expression softens briefly, but she soon returns to her point. "It has occurred to me, however, that had I been male, the situation would almost certainly be different."
"How so?" Jane asks, brow furrowing in confusion.
Spock takes a breath, aware she is heading into difficult territory. "Due to their physiology, Vulcan males require a bondmate in a way females do not. It is quite literally a matter of life and death. It is difficult to imagine my parents would have agreed not to betroth me in such a situation."
"Huh," Jane says. "So you – male you – would have been bonded to some Vulcan woman?"
"Indeed," Spock replies. "It has occurred to me that I am very fortunate to have been born female. I much prefer the current state of things."
Jane grins. "Me too."
She leans in and kisses Spock, their bond humming pleasantly in the back of Spock's mind.
Yes, Spock thinks, she is very fortunate indeed.