Title: New Familiarities
Fandom: Star Trek (AOS or TOS, pre-canon)
Characters: Amanda Grayson
Pairing(s): Amanda Grayson/Sarek
Notes: Wrote this for micathemineral within happy_trekmas. I'm quite pleased with it because Amanda Grayson's adventures on Vulcan are great fun. This is pre-AOS and TOS canon so it could go either way.
Summary: Amanda's life on Vulcan is beautiful and strange.
New Familiarities (1562 words) by Oparu
She wants a tree. Amanda, wife of Sarek, has an appropriate number of houseplants for the size of their home, but she wants a tree. A conifer that smells of home and Christmas, but that's really quite much to ask on a desert world.
Christmas is an antiquated holiday on Earth, something practiced more out of love of tradition than any real belief in the stars and the shepherds. Vulcans have contemplative days of meditation and solemn days of self-improvement. They aren't a festive people. It's not that they are a joyless people. She lives in a word of quiet joy, full of love and respect, but there are no carols.
The abundance of incense and the intoxicating smell of the market almost makes up for the sad lack of mulled wine. She made her own in the kitchen and Sarek commented that dulling the alcohol with the application of heat is an illogical culinary choice for an intoxicating beverage. She explained it was all about the smell.
He sat across from her and watched over his work as she took hours to drink two cups of wine. She would have pulled it all up into her nose if she could, without having to swallow any of it, but practical reasons stopped her. It smells of a home that never was as it is in her memories. She thought once she'd create her own Christmases, but she's far from snowflakes and mistletoe.
When Sarek joins her in bed, he agrees that it's a pleasant smell. He's gentle, caring and far more considerate than any lover she's had and t's not just the telepathy, or the way he sinks into her mind as they touch. He makes choices to please her because cultivating her pleasure is logical.
There will not be snow, but she's never been more loved. Her happiness gleams inside of her like the painted rocks of the desert on the edge of the city. Amanda could radiate happiness the way they bleed heat into the night. Perhaps that's what she ought to do. Smile in the darkness where she is not a strange being, walking through the ranks of the telepathic like a beacon of misplaced humanity.
They're heading back to Earth in few months, just in time for the deep, wet cold to sink into San Francisco. The Vulcan embassy in the Egyptian desert is far more pleasant in the winter. Luckily Sarek has an apartment there. The market won't have the same smell, and she finds the company of humans odd now. She'll miss the spice of the little Vulcan market and the way it's alien yet never familiar. There are truths here that most humans never see. Her parents think her letters are a fanciful view of Vulcans, who are stodgy beings who never smile. She can't possibly be happy living with them.
She's always been too odd for her own good. At least on Vulcan she's clearly odd. Her ears are flat, her eyebrows cling too close to her eyes, she still smiles too much and yet there are moments she feels more accepted than she's ever been. It would be illogical to remind her that she's an outsider. She must know her own state, so no one else mentions it in her presence.
Now that she's lived here more than a year, she's finally stopped apologising for her emotions. They're not all stone, her neighbours. There are differences in their levels of emotional control. Some have Kolinar, but others keep their emotions closer to the surface. Compassion, kindness and genuine interest are all free from being considered emotional concerns and she has never had to worry that she's been cheated or followed home.
Her instincts are dulling. Crime has been waning on Earth as the reforms reach every corner of the globe. It is entirely absent on Vulcan. She has nothing to fear, surrounded by pacifists. When she travels with Sarek off world she reminds herself that Vulcan is an oasis of respect for life and she cannot expect the same on suffering worlds. Her natural optimism is nurtured here, because Vulcans believe in potential. They all strive to be better, expect each other to be reach their goals and assist each other.
She's surrounded with offers to meditate or share meals. She might eventually have to learn the lute, because the songs she hears fascinate her so. Many of her students play beautifully and they start tuning for the music class that follows while she picks up her things. Terran culture and practices is one of her best subscribed classes and she likes to think she's putting a good face on her people.
They'd learn a Christmas song for her if she asked. She hums a few to herself as she walks home, trying to decide which would sound best on the lute. She's always liked Greensleeves but a song about clothing might be too illogical to explain. She'll blame it on love. Love is that most bizarre of explanations that covers most of the oddities of human behaviour. She's been trying to get her mind around a solid explanation of love for the logical, but she ends up speaking of moments and sensations.
Love is the scent of Sarek's hands after he's been in the garden, the sound of his robes as he gets dressed in the morning and the touch of his fingers to hers. Today she gave up and offered her mind to one of her braver students. She doesn't have the words to explain love and all its variations. The wistfulness, longing, hunger and contentment that make up the emotion. Sarek's the only one to have been in her mind and she wonders if T'Suk can feel him there. He must be wrapped in love in her thoughts.
Her heart stilled, her breathing slowed and her mind was more ordered than it's ever been. T'Suk traded her love for her mate, a calm, consuming, deeply passionate Vulcan love that hangs in her mind like the scent of mulled wine. There's a deepness to Vulcan love, a richness that seems to have crackled outwards to the pores of her skin. She wanted to run home to Sarek and throw herself into his arms after that experience. He shared in her physical desire for him and was content to share her body, if not her passion. She lay next to him, panting up at the stone ceiling of their bedroom after they'd finished. She couldn't explain, so she held his hand to her temple and let him take her thoughts. He made no signs of affection, only a nod of understanding before he fell asleep at her side.
Amanda's heart raced in the darkness alone until she found calm. That kind of love lived in her quiet husband and the echoes of his hands on her skin still shivered through her.
She wants for nothing. Passion burns within him that's so strong it could consume her, and will when Pon Farr finds him. She has love like the light in the darkness and it's more than she dreamed, or even thought was within the capacity for dreaming.
She picks up fruit on the way home through the market. The thick, green-skinned teshIr are one that Sarek finds quite acceptable, considering their balanced taste and nutritional merit. She likes how they have tiny seeds inside that are a deep jewelled green that reminds her of pomegranates. Amanda takes the teshIr to the kitchen and leaves them on the counter. She has some of the black noodles and broth for dinner, and these can be dessert.
She heads to the living room, searching for Sarek to negotiate a time for dinner. The sun's sinking low and they could watch the stars come out while they eat.
Instead of her husband in the centre of the living room, Amanda stops in front of the conifer rooted in a huge clay pot. It's over a metre tall, full of thick green needles that smell of home and a childhood that grows rosier in her memory every year.
"It has been illuminated," Sarek says from behind her. He activates the control, flicking on all the tiny lights in the branches. "I believe that is the traditional use of the tree."
"You brought this in for me?"
"It was a simple matter of finding the appropriate conifer and a suitable receptacle. I hope the lights are adequate."
"They're perfectly beaut-- adequate. Thank you, my husband." She reaches for a branch and holds it to her nose. The spice of the desert still clings to the scent of pine and she adds that to Christmas. "I think I will teach my students folk songs of Earth tomorrow, to go with our tree."
"Terran melodies are simple, but melodic. Your students will learn them well."
Amanda strokes the branch of the tree once more and nods. "They set themselves to their tasks."
He nods, ever serene, and agrees to eat in half an hour.
She hums while she cooks, then stops, losing herself in the lights of the tree. He knew she wanted it and found it for her, without the need for any more logical explanation than that it would appeal to her human emotions. She allows herself a smile only the fruit can see and finishes making dinner.