Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the property of FarDreaming and is copyright (c) 2005 by FarDreaming. Rated PG. I usually don't post to this group as most of my fiction is strictly Sa/Am, but this story includes Spock, so I thought the members that are not on the Sa/Am group might enjoy it as well. (My Sa/Am fiction is on my site at http://fardreaming.com/sarek_and_amanda/home.html if anyone is interested!)
If left on the branch, the a'aoli flower will only last for a few brief hours, spreading its rich fragrance for a single desert night. However, if cut at the proper moment, an a'aoli will last for many, many days, in fact, some have even been known to last for more than a month. It is a matter of bragging rights how long one can make its rare gift endure. And now one precious bloom lay crushed within Amanda's hand, its promise spent in a single moment. She let the saffron colored petals drop to the floor one by one...
...the first petal...
She was exhausted. Every part of her mind and body ached for sleep. No matter what she did, it didn't work -- the baby cried and cried. It seemed to her he had been crying for days on end. All Amanda wanted to do was close her eyes and get some sleep.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. She had imagined a romantic homecoming, with candlelight and a favorite meal, the baby safely tucked away in his bed. This had been the first time Sarek had been away since, well, since before his time so many months ago. And although it had only been for a few days, she had grand plans for his return. Now she felt haggard and worn.
"Please, Spock, please hush," Amanda vainly tried to rock the child in her arms, thinking of anything soothing, anything at all. Then, like a violin strung too tight, the string broke and a flood of her own tears followed. She sat down on the low stairs into the sitting room, her back to the door as she and the baby cried.
It might have been hours, or it might have been minutes, when she felt a hand at her elbow and looked up through tear-heavy lashes at her husband now by her side. He gently nudged her arms open, taking the baby in his arms.
"He won't stop. I've tried everything..."
But -- he had stopped. In his father's calming arms, listening to the gentle whisper of his father's voice, the baby was silent. And slowly his eyes started to close.
"You must shield better, Amanda. He feeds off of you in more ways than one. If you become distressed, he will as well."
"I'm sorry. I try- I try so hard!"
"I know that you do, my wife. And you will learn in time. I am home now and I will put our son to bed," Sarek sighed as he felt his wife's head leaning against his arm, bobbing to keep herself awake, "and I think it would be well if you also get some sleep."
"But tonight -- tonight was going to celebrate your homecoming and I had everything all planned..."
"Tomorrow is another night and you will be well rested. I think that our plans would be better met with a wife who can stay awake for her husband's attentions, do you not?"
She nodded as they walked down the corridor to the small nursery off their bedroom where they put their son to rest peacefully in his crib. And then moving to their own room, Amanda let her husband do the same for her.
There was a quality always to Sarek's voice, a pitch that she could always hear from a distance, or find in a crowd. In this case, it seemed to be coming from within his study. A gentle rhythm of words, some of which she understood, just as many she did not. Peeking around the corner, she spied the two of them situated behind Sarek's massive desk.
Both had pen in hand and she wasn't sure who was having the more difficult time writing, Spock with the stylus large and wavering in his three-year-old hand or his father, in a vain attempt to show the proper method, holding his stylus in the hand he admitted he favored little and had control of even less.
"Who's teaching who what? Are you teaching Spock to write or is Spock showing you how to use your right hand?" She laughed and settled in across the desk.
"We learn together, do we not, my son?"
The child's shiny head bobbed in response. They were always trying to decide where that silky cap of perfectly straight hair had come from. Perhaps, Sarek had mused in a private moment between husband and wife, perhaps it meant their son would keep to a straight path and not the wayward one of his parents.
"And what brought this lesson on?"
"I was writing my report and Spock was attempting to imitate me. So I thought to use to the hand he favors rather than have him try a double task, to both learn to cipher and to translate my movements to the hand that he prefers. It was, I had believed far simpler for me to switch to my right for his ease. Now I do not know which of us is the worse off."
"Mother, see?" Her son proudly waved his sheet for her approval.
"Why that's just wonderful, Spock!" She settled back into the chair a look of mischief in her eyes, "I would say you are certainly doing a lot better than your father is!"
Her husband looked at her with a look of mildly amused reproach in his eyes. And when Spock could not see, he let the hint of a smile echo on his lips...
He would not have dared to touch his father's console, so hers now lay Spock's victim in dozens of parts strewn across her desk. She was furious, all the work that was stored there that she now may have lost, and for what? An experiment?
The eight-year-old victim of her fury stood safely beyond her arm's length, head bowed in submission.
"Your father will have to be told--"
"No, Mother, please. I think I can fix it if you just give me the time."
"Spock, I don't have the time. I need the papers I have stored on there for my class tomorrow. Your father--"
"Yes?" Neither of them had heard him silently enter the room and both of them jumped. They had each in their own way expected to be better prepared for any confrontation with Sarek.
"This," Amanda broadly gestured to the chaos on her desk, "is what your son has done!"
"My son?" He raised his brows, tilting his head his head ever so slightly, narrowing his gaze on the immobile child.
Spock is like the proverbial deer frozen in headlights, the thought flashed through Amanda's mind, before she turned to he husband to clarify her statement. "He doesn't get the desire to take apart computer systems from my side of the family, that's for sure!"
"Indeed," he shot her a wry look before turning back to Spock. "Explain."
Two dark brown eyes peered up through a brush of bangs, trying to steel themselves. "I was having problems with my console, and needed to take it apart to see if I could fix it."
"I see. And were you able to accomplish this?"
"Almost, Father, but I had one part left over, and could not locate where it went. So I thought to look and see on Mother's console."
"Obviously, you were not successful in your quest?"
"I regret to say I was not, Father. And I ask my mother's forgiveness."
"It is not surprising that you were unable to complete your task. Perhaps we should look at your mother's unit together and see where you went wrong. You can then apply that to your own 'experiment' in your study. "
Amanda looked as her son's eyes lit up in anticipation. Increasingly, as Sarek's skills as a mediator became more well known in diplomatic circles, he had less time here at home, and even less time to sit down with his son. Though neither would admit it, this would be a treat for each of them. And as father and son settled themselves behind her desk, pouring over parts that were incomprehensible to her, she quietly left the room. Hopefully, she would have access to her database in a timely manner. But if she didn't, well, sometimes even disasters had a way of turning around into triumphs...
Somehow, it had never occurred to her that Vulcan children would have their own version of pre-teen angst. But she was wrong. Very wrong. She had gone through hell getting Spock to come, almost giving up and leaving him home, but Sarek had been adamant about having the two of them join him. It had amazed her that as soon as Spock was on the special Star Fleet shuttle that had been arranged to pick them up, he seemed a changed boy. She would lose sight of his whereabouts for hours at a time, finally finding him holed up in a corner with this crew member or that, grilling them on the finer points of starship travel. But that lasted as long as the flight. Once they had arrived on Nevaraan, it was back to square one.
Diplomatic receptions for her had become little more than matter-of-fact functions. They could be great fun, mild diversions, or sheer torture. This one was proving to be the latter, with a son who seemed content to sulk through the night, upset at being torn from his books and studies for such a frivolous affair.
She glanced over at her only child. At twelve, he was close to her height now, growing so fast it seemed. Each minute he drew further away from her. Where once they had shared a world of books and imagination together, he had moved on and left her watching his passage into young adulthood.
Following the direction of Spock's suddenly intensified gaze, she saw Sarek moving toward them, in conversation with a small nut-brown being who barely grazed her husband's elbow.
"Das-en U Beiron, my son is a great avid follower of your interspactial theories," Sarek motioned with his left hand in introduction. "Spock."
The gangly youth looked up in anticipation.
"Spock, I believe you have more than once indicated a desire to meet E-cheu U Berion. Das-en U Berion, I would like to introduce you to my son, Spock."
She saw the light of excitement in her son's eyes. She might not have been able to follow any of the diminutive scientist's theories, but she knew this was someone Spock had developed a deep admiration for from afar and now his father had given him a great opportunity. To be introduced to a real life hero.
She smiled up at her husband, thinking how sly he had been. To pull their son out of his shell and across half the galaxy to meet face to face with a scientist he revered. She would have to thank Sarek later that night....
"Spock, your father is very pleased with you," Amanda had wanted to say proud, but caught the word before it could escape. "If it were at all possible for him to be here, he would."
She made a motion to straighten one of the folds of his tunic and could actually see him flinch from her touch. She tried to tell herself it was only because it was so public and at sixteen he was too old for her fussing, but other parents were doing the same to their children, with not a twitch. As much as she did not want to believe it were so, she knew it was because she was his mother. To the vast majority of her husband's people, she would always be That Terran Woman and that was in their kinder moments.
Sadly, she took her leave to allow him to prepare his final exercise with his classmates. This was the juncture of their lives, when the promises and skills they had shown in their early studies moved each into the school that would best showcase their talents. Amanda was sure that Spock would make Science Academy -- it was a given -- but at what level? Would any less than first not only be a disappointment to Spock but to his father as well?
She settled into her place, as always the round peg in a sea of squares. The seat beside her was empty, and would remain so. Like a scene in a thousand movies, it seemed to hold the hope that one special person would dash through the door at the last moment and take his seat next to her. But her husband was light years away, involved in peace treaty talks on Gamma Five. There would be no last minute miracles. And as she heard her son's name announced and the coveted first level placement, she allowed her self the luxury of letting a single tear fall. Sarek will be proud.
"There will be no discussion on this matter."
She had seen the look that Sarek gave Spock level far older and more experienced beings than their eighteen-year-old son. It meant he would suffer nothing further on the subject, but still Spock pressed. And she knew in her heart by doing so it would cause Sarek to be more adamant in his refusal.
"I have said there will be no discussion. I will not have my son associated with a service that acquires its main power from force and violence."
"But Star Fleet--"
"Do not speak to me of Star Fleet. I have seen what expenditures Star Fleet requires and for what purpose. I am fully aware of what Star Fleet stands for and I will hear no more of this."
Amanda started to speak but was silenced with a glance. Now was not the time or place. If Spock had been patient and bided his time, the two of them might have been able to soften Sarek to the idea. Ease him into, if not giving approval, at least acceptance. But this had all gone very wrong. And she was very much afraid that her husband and son had backed themselves into opposite corners, from which neither would be able to retreat.
"You are dismissed."
It was a cold order, in a tone that had been reserved for enemies, now turned toward their only child. And with that Spock spun on his heel and closed the study door with a determined click.
She looked at her husband framed in the window, his broad shoulders etched with a tension only she could see, his impressive profile set in firm determination. She opened her mouth to speak but thought better of it and turned and left the room and Sarek to his decision.
...petal floated to the floor at her feet. She dropped down next to it on the step, looking at the shattered remains of the flower in her hand before letting them fall as well. How do you pick up pieces that are bruised beyond repair?
The door blew open as Sarek entered, no -- stormed through the door. There was no whitewashing the anger she felt in him. He had been hurt and betrayed by one of only two people that he could allow himself to feel so deeply for. The entry doors slammed shut and with them the mask he turned to the outside world was discarded. The anger fell away leaving only the pain as he sat beside her on the step and took her hand in his. With his other hand, he reached down, picking up the remains of the a'aoli, staring at them as if his thoughts alone could make not just the blossom, but his family whole again.
He was quiet for a long moment, gathering and forming his thoughts. Finally, her husband squeezed her hand in quiet reassurance that between them at least, all would be well. He gazed out into a distance that stretched far beyond the parameters of the four walls that surrounded him.
"We give our children wings and teach them how to fly in the hopes that they never wander so far that they are beyond our reach. I will not reach out to this place where he goes. He has made this decision against all that I am and all that I stand for. I can look upon him as my son no more."
Amanda rested her head upon his shoulder, sitting on that same stair where once Sarek had held his sleeping child while she sat beside him in wonder. And they sat in silence until the night overtook them in their sorrow.