Time Frame: At the Academy after Salen's run in with Langrin, but before he graduates and moves in with the Diamond Dogs (he and Joanna had a few months together before they were assigned to ships). At this point she knows some of Salen's past, but not all of it.
WARNING: Contains sexual content, nothing graphic, nothing violent, but I figured a warning was needed none the less.
Joanna was woken from a deep sleep by a soft whimpering. Opening her eyes she looked at Salen who was sleeping next to her. He was spending more and more time at her dorm, but he rarely actually slept there. Tonight he had been too tired to resist and at her insistence he had stayed. Seeing the way he jerked while trapped in a nightmare she realized why he didn't like to spend the night.
Salen's expression turned to one of pain and fear as his breathing became shallower. His back arched slightly as he moaned against the demons in his head. Joanna was uncertain if she should wake him. She hated to see him suffer, but she was afraid that if she woke him and he realized that she knew his nocturnal weakness that he'd pull further away from her. As it was he always seemed on the brink of bolting away from their relationship. Salen's chest suddenly started heaving as his panic grew.
"Please stop..." Salen whispered pleadingly in his sleep.
Unable to watching him struggle Joanna reached out and put her hand on his chest to wake him. The contact jolted Salen awake with a sharp gasp. Sitting bolt upright he scrambled away from her with a cry of fright. His eyes darted around the darkened dorm room as he desperately tried to figure out his surroundings.
"It's okay, Salen." Joanna said gently.
"Joanna..." Salen closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I am sorry."
"I did not hurt you, did I?"
Joanna sat up and wrapped her arms around Salen. He hesitated for a moment, but then returned the warm embrace. He nuzzled against her thick hair and deeply breathed in its scent. Joanna rubbed the bridge of her nose under his jaw affectionately in hopes of encouraging him to lay back down. Salen held her tighter for a moment before pulling away.
"I should go."
"It's three o'clock in the morning." Joanna protested.
"I do not require much sleep."
"That's good, because I don't think you get much."
"Do not worry about me."
"Do you want to talk about your nightmares?" Joanna asked gently.
"It may help."
"I do not see how. They are illogical."
"What makes you say that?"
"The past can not be changed by reliving it at night, I do not see why my subconscious feels the need to return to these memories. It has been years since my release from captivity, I should be beyond this by now."
"Time alone isn't going to heal this wound, Salen." Joanna said sadly.
"Then what would you suggest?"
"Do you trust me?"
"Yes." Salen said instantly.
"What are you going to do?" Salen asked nervously.
"Just relax and enjoy."
Salen looked at her doubtfully but he did lay back. Joanna settled down next to him and gently ran her fingers through his shock white hair. She had learned in the past that smoothing out his hair tended to relax him. Joanna was right and after a few minutes Salen began to visibly calm.
"Try to concentrate on your breathing, slowing it down. Whatever hesitations or stress you have just let it go for now." Joanna instructed. "Don't worry about tomorrow, or yesterday, just focus on right here, right now."
When Salen closed his eyes she brushed down the bridge of his nose and down across the scars that were etched into his cheek. As she continued her delicate touch Salen took a deep breath and held it for what seemed like an impossibly long time before releasing it completely. Joanna brought her gentle touch down to his bare chest causing his skin to prickle pleasantly. She traced over the large scar from where Langin had slashed open his chest a few months ago, nearly killing him. As she began drawing over each of the green streaks in Salen's skin she began to truly realize just how many time he must have been cut for his blood.
"How did you even survive?" Joanna whispered so quietly she couldn't even hear herself.
"I do not know...I wished many times for death to release me, but it never did."
Joanna's eyes brightened with tears at the sorrow in Salen's voice. She propped herself up on her elbow so that she could kiss his cheek. A smile twitched the corners of Salen's mouth. As Joanna continued her treatment she watched for any signs of tension. Her original hope was to lull him to sleep, however her caress was having a different affect. Salen started to shy away from her touch as it began to cause increasing arousal.
"I am sorry..." Salen muttered as he reached down to pull the sheets up over himself.
"What did I say about apologizing." Joanna smiled. "Besides I think you could use this."
Salen reached up to card his fingers into her hair and pull her into a soft kiss. When he started to continue his touch by running his hand down her neck Joanna gently took his wrist and put his hand back down by his side. Salen looked up at her in confusion.
"I just want you to relax." Joanna explained.
"I do not understand..."
"You will. Close your eyes, and trust me."
Salen nodded and closed his eyes once more. Joanna continued to gently caress his face and card her fingers through his hair until he started breathing deeply again. Making sure to move slowly so as not to startle him she moved her hand down on his chest once more before spreading her hand out onto his stomach.
When Joanna brought her hand down lower Salen took a deep breath and released it as a quiet moan. Far from being in distress as in his nightmare Salen relaxed further. Joanna was fairly certain that it never occurred to Vulcan's to engage in sexuality this way, despite their sensitive hands, since it never lead to the creation of another life. Reminded of how enjoyable he found hand contact Joanna took one of his hands in her free one and added a soft massage to his elegant fingers. Salen started breathing heavier, but in a healthy way.
With his eyes still closed Salen began to writhe slightly under her touch. Joanna smiled to herself and leaned in closer. Putting her lips against his ear she whispered that she loved him just before taking the tip of his ear captive between her teeth. Joanna placed a tiny amount of pressure on his pointed ear. Salen breathed in deeply just before his entire body tensed. Arching his back he cried out in ecstasy. Relaxing completely Salen smiled brightly with a quiet chuckle.
"That was...intensely pleasurable." Salen sighed in contentment.
"I think the best way to heal your wounds is to prove to you body that another's touch doesn't have to mean pain and humiliation."
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