DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of T'Sia and is copyright (c) 2004 by T'Sia. This story is rated G.



Bright light blinded her. She jerked the steering wheel and the wall of rock came nearer and nearer while the car slid out of control. The headlights illuminated every detail of the deathly hard surface. Faster and faster her death approached and she screamed and threw her arms up to protect her head and face...

She awoke and heard her own muffled scream. She opened her eyes and saw nothing. An instant later she realized she had been dreaming. But the dream had been so real that her arms and hands still covered her head in a protective gesture. Slowly she uncurled and tried to relax her ragged breathing. She sat up and glanced around her, not recognizing the room at first. The light of the full moon filtered in through the large windows and illuminated the chamber dimly. Almost fearful she took in the scene. Where was she? After several tense minutes, memory slowly came back to her. The accident and the Vulcans. She remembered accompanying the Vulcan to the Embassy. She had been given a guest room in the private wing of the impressive building. Her nerves still buzzed with aftermath of her dream. She shivered but was not cold. Slowly she got up and padded to the door on bare feet. Opening it, she glanced into the passage. Only small nightlights gleamed on the walls but the passage was otherwise deserted. She thought of returning to her room but her stomach gave a loud growl when she was about to retreat. She felt extremely hungry and decided some food and maybe a glass of milk would help her to calm down.

She had been to the embassy as a visitor before and vaguely remembered where the great kitchen was located. However, this was the private wing of the embassy, not open to visitors, and she had to find a way to the public area first. She walked down the hallway and descended several steps until she reached a heavy door. She opened it carefully and read the message on the other side 'Private Area, staff members only.' She sighed in relief. Now she would find her way. She checked the closing mechanism of the door and found the lock that would prevent the public from opening the door to be opened from the public area without the proper key card. She had expected this and looked back into the hall to search for something to block the door so that it would not close behind her.

She spotted a high vase in one corner that held a bouquet of flowers. She lifted it and found it heavy enough to prop the door open. She placed it between the doorframe and door. It came down on the polished stone floor with a light bump.

* * *

Somewhere down the hall the beast awoke from its sleep. Yellow eyes opened and keen ears perked up. It rose stealthily and snuck through the half-closed door.

* * *

Recognizing the surroundings from her last visit, she made her way to the kitchen and opened the high metal doors. The room was lit enough by the moonlight and so she decided not to switch on the lights to prevent anyone from finding her. She walked by the long rows of counters, noticing the metallic surfaces of the various casseroles and pans hanging on high racks above the counters reflecting the moonlight while she moved past them. She had visited the embassy and passed by the kitchen but it had not been allowed to inspect it and so she continued her search for food. All she had found so far were pots and pans. Her stomach growled again. She was at a loss and stopped in the middle of the room. Turning around in a circle she finally spotted a set of doors on the opposite wall of the entrance.

She walked over and tried the handle on the door. It opened and she went into a room with ceiling high racks, stuffed with vegetables and fruits and a lot of other food that didn't require any cooling. The door at the other end of the room had a thermometer and the temperature showed that it was for cool storage -- a big fridge. Her gaze traveled further and fell on a row of metallic gleaming cupboards to her right side. She approached one of the smaller refrigerators and pulled open the door. She smiled slightly when she realized she had found what she was looking for. Milk and cream cheese. She was not surprised when she found cold meats and other animal products. After all, the embassy had to entertain guests too and the non-Vulcan staff members required other food than Vulcans. Satisfied that she had found what she needed, she closed the refrigerator. When the door clicked shut she thought she had heard a noise from outside the kitchen. But who should be awake at that time? She dismissed the thought, feeling safe in the embassy. She carried the milk and cheese back into the kitchen and snatched up a package of bread from one of the high shelves.

* * *

The beast crept slowly down the corridor. The light traces of the foreign smell intensified when it proceeded further down the hall. It stopped at the door to the public area and sniffed the cold surface of the vase that blocked the way. The smell was more intense here and it pushed against the obstacle until the vase toppled and crashed to the floor. The water inside flowed on the stone floor and the beast pushed through the door. It lapped lightly at the water but found it tasting odd. It shook its heavy head and continued following the foreign smell. It was not thirsty, it was after something else and it increased its steps when a delicious fragrance wafted from the entrance of the kitchen. It left huge wet paw prints on the stone floor, the claw tracks clearly visible.

* * *

Amanda ate her slice of bread covered with cream cheese and watched the milk grow hot in the small pot. She had been delighted to find some honey too and she dipped the spoon into the jar and twisted it to prevent the thick golden liquid from flowing down on the counter while she moved the spoon over the pot. She stopped twisting and watched the liquid flow lazily from the spoon into the milk. A delicious scent filled the kitchen when the honey mixed with the milk and she retrieved a cup and held it ready. When the hot liquid steamed she took it from the heat and went to the sink where she had placed the cup.

Suddenly she heard a clicking sound and saw a trace of dark behind one of the counters. She stopped dead in her tracks. The dark thing moved in her direction. She wanted to run and hide but she was frozen to the spot and her muscles refused to move. Then the thing came in sight when it rounded the counter. A horrified shriek died in her throat and, like being in a dream, she screamed but only a slight whimper came out.

The animal was huge. It had big yellowish eyes and looked like a bear. But it was no Terran animal. She recognized this when it opened its mouth and showed its six-inch fangs. It growled loudly and came nearer.

Her body reacted on pure instinct. She dropped the milk and ran for the storage room. She shut the door behind her with a loud chunk but it could not be locked. Frantically she looked around and saw the door to the cooling room. Without thinking about the consequences she darted to the door and snatched it open. Cold air wafted out and her breath fogged. Her only goal was escape and she fled into the room, shutting the door behind her. It clicked and the closing mechanism was activated. Now safe, her common sense kicked back in and she realized she could not open the door from inside without the key.

* * *

The beast watched the strange animal leap away. With a light growl it sniffed and caught the delicious smell of the warm milk which had splashed onto the floor when the animal had dropped the pot. Content, the beast sat on its hind legs and lapped the sweet mixture from the floor.

* * *

He felt cold, so cold. Shivering Sarek awoke and found himself in his bed at the embassy. The blankets where wrapped warmly around his shoulders and only the pillow lay beside his bed. He sighed and snatched it up from the floor. As illogical as it sounded he was a restless sleeper and tended to move a lot during the night. Usually he ended with either the pillow or the blanket lost on the floor. He sat up and realized he was still feeling cold. Frowning he analyzed the feeling and realized it originated not from his own body. Concerned, he checked the link to his son. He found nothing out of the ordinary, but rose nevertheless. He left his room and crossed the hall to the sleeping chambers of his son. The door was slightly open and he entered. The curtains were drawn shut but his Vulcan night vision guided him securely around the toys on the floor. He made a mental note to lecture his son about keeping his room tidier and approached the bed. The boy was sound asleep. A slight tender smile, which he allowed only in the darkness of the night, appeared on Sarek's face and the thought about the lecture dissolved in an instant.

The bedclothes were rumpled and the boy lay sprawled on his stomach in midst of a pile of blankets and pillows. Obviously the child had inherited the sleeping behavior from him. Carefully Sarek lifted the pillow from under the little body and arranged the blankets. Then he settled his sleeping child gently in the ordered bedclothes and covered him warmly with the additional blankets. He touched the meld points of the child briefly and reassured himself that the child was comfortable.

He straightened but the feeling of biting cold did not subside. He left the room and paused in the hall. He thought about meditating in order to purge this nagging feeling from his mind but something urged him to investigate. He wandered the hallway silently until he passed the door of his guest. It was closed and Sarek hesitated in front of the door. His conscience and manners forbade him from entering the room unbidden. He wanted to turn back to his own but again the feeling returned and he shivered. Lightly he knocked on the door but only silence answered him from inside. He knocked twice more but still nothing happened. Deciding that he was responsible for his guest's well being he reached for the door handle. Determined to make sure that she was all right, he opened the door and peered into the room. He noticed in an instant the bed was empty. The door to the small bathroom stood open, but she was not there either. She must be somewhere else within the embassy.

He left her room and followed the passage until it ended at the door to the public area. A broken vase lay between the door and the doorframe, preventing the door form being closed completely. Carefully, he stepped over the broken porcelain and regretted that he had not put on any slippers. He proceeded further and the half-dried tracks at the floor told him who had passed here and had probably broken the vase. He knew where he had to search now.

He headed for the kitchen and found the door open. He entered and heard a scratching sound immediately. He peered around a counter and saw I-Chaya, the family sehlat, lapping the last remains of a white substance out of a pot, sliding it over the tiled floor in the process. He switched on the light and the animal started and turned around. He almost managed to look embarrassed about being caught in a forbidden area. He watched Sarek and the pot in turn and gave a light apologetic growl. Sarek raised an eyebrow and lifted the pot from the floor. I-Chaya's gaze followed the remains of his prize while Sarek placed the pot in one of the sinks. The sehlat approached and touched Sarek's hand with its dry nose. Sarek scratched him between the ears. 'You have already had enough, old friend,' he sent to the animal. The sehlat gave a disapproving sound but relished the touch of his master.

Sarek perceived the contentment of the animal and something else. A picture of a Terran woman in one of his long pajama shirts. He immediately remembered his guest and put the puzzle together. She had woken up and had gone to the kitchen to search for some food. I-Chaya had followed her and had obviously scared her away. He looked around the kitchen. Where could she be? He concentrated and felt the cold creep back into him but weaker this time. His gaze fell on the door to the storage room and he approached with long strides. He opened it and entered the chamber behind. All was silent except of the humming of the cooling room at the other side. He froze when realization set in. Quickly he moved to the door and unlocked the handle. It opened and a cloud of fog steamed out when the cold air from the chamber hit the warmer air outside.

When the fog subsided he was able to see into the room and his heart nearly skipped a beat when he saw Amanda sitting curled in a ball on the floor. Her arms where drawn around her knees and hands where covered with blood. Obviously she had tried to free herself as the handle on the inside of the door was smeared with blood too. Quickly he went into the room; the cold floor hit his bare feet with a shock and bit him like thousand tiny needles but he did not care. He knelt in front of the women and lifted her head, afraid it may already be too late. She opened her eyes a fraction and tried to say something but her blue lips only quivered and the word came out in a moan.

As gently as he could he hooked one arm under her knees and supported her back with the other. Then he lifted her and carried her out of the cooling room. The warmth of his body revitalized her senses and her body began to shake in an attempt to warm itself further. Her teeth rattled and she laid one hand flat against his chest to draw more warmth from him. He held her closer and hurried back to the sleeping chambers. He hesitated in front of her room. The temperature inside had dropped as she preferred to open the windows during the night. So he turned and brought her into his own room that was noticeably warmer. He laid her on the bed and covered her with the thick blankets. Then he went to the adjoining small office and called his personal healer. He retrieved a bowl with warm water and several towels from the bathroom and began to clean Amanda's hands from the blood to inspect the wounds. They were not severe but had bled heavily.

A light knock on the door announced the arrival of the healer and Sarek let him in quickly. The other Vulcan's brows rose in astonishment when he saw the Terran female lying in the Ambassador's bed but he wisely chose not to question the circumstances. His scanner hummed over the shivering figure. He diagnosed slight hypothermia, not yet dangerous, only straining for the body. He bandaged the cuts in the woman's hands and prepared a hypo spray. It hissed slightly when the medicine was injected.

Immediately Amanda felt a comfortable warmth spread to her body and she stopped shivering. Her eyes grew heavy and she dozed off. The healer gave Sarek further advice to keep her warm and left.

Sarek closed the door behind him and was at a loss what to do now. Amanda now slept peacefully in his bed and he approached to watch her sleep. He sat on the other side of the bed and pondered the circumstances under which they had met and which had brought her into his bed. The corners of his mouth twitched slightly at the last part. The logical part of his mind rejected the possibility that intuition had led him to search for her. They must still be connected mentally when he had been able to feel her distress so clearly. Carefully, he searched his mind but found only the pulsing link to his bother. The flow of energy had eased and Silek had obviously been placed in a healing trance after the surgery. He wondered whether his brother had felt the connection to Amanda too. Did his brother feel as drawn to her as he did? He had not considered taking a new wife after T'Rea's death and his pon farr was not due for another three Standard years, yet he caught himself imagining this woman to be his wife. He felt compelled to touch her mind again and feel her chaotic, yet strong and patterned thoughts. But he did not even lift his hand. Melding without the other person's permission was considered a crime on Vulcan and no Surakian Vulcan would ever force a mind meld with an unwilling or unknowing partner. He knew Silek would have rather chosen to die than to force a link on that woman if she had objected.

Slowly he rose and approached the door to the meditation chamber when a slight scratching sound could be heard. I-Chaya. He sighed and opened the door. The sehlat watched him with huge yellow eyes. Then he turned and crossed the hall to the child's room. The animal scratched carefully on the closed door and Sarek understood that he had closed him off after he had made sure his son was well. He thought about putting the animal back outside in his special pen. Normally sehlats would not be tolerated in the house or a child's bedroom but the frightened state of his son had convinced Sarek that the presence of I-Chaya would calm the child and he allowed the huge animal to rest beside the boy's bed on this special occasion.

He opened the door and the sehlat slipped through and took his guarding place in front of the child's bed. Sarek returned to his own room. He wished to meditate but the day had left its toll on him as well and he felt rather fatigued. He watched the bed longingly but deemed it improper to sleep beside a woman he knew only for a couple of hours. Reluctantly he grabbed the remaining blankets from the bed and tried to make himself comfortable on the small couch in the room. He was too tall, however, and his feet were dangling over the edge of the armrest. He tried to draw them nearer to his body but almost fell off the couch in the process. With a heavy sigh he wrapped himself up in the blanket as good as he could and fell into a light sleep.