Spock would never admit it, but his human half was worried. Sometimes, at night, in the privacy of his room, when all sorts of inopportune thoughts invaded his mind without his permission before they were finally silenced by blissful sleep, he was caught by the sneaking suspicion that he might be doing his mother a disservice by blaming everything that went wrong on his Terran heritage, but it was a ready-made excuse and it would have been illogical to ignore it.

"Your concern may be viewed as a sign of weakness, Spock." For all his protestations of emotionlessness, Sarek was awfully good at showing disapproval, but as a true diplomat, there were often hidden meanings in his words, and Spock had long since learnt to cling to them for comfort. That thing humans called 'worry' was still distasteful, but he had not called it irrational: he might just as easily be reading too much into it, but perhaps his father hadn't meant to tell him that it was wrong to feel it, merely to give him a logical reason not to show it. There was a world of difference.

"I am aware of it, Father."

"Then act accordingly. There is no reason why things should not go well if you do what is expected of you. Moreover, the other children believe in IDIC, just as you do, and I trust you remember what that means."

"Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations," he recited, unconvinced.

Many years later, he would make it something of a habit to doubt humans and their so-called 'hunches', even when they turned out (against all odds, he might add) to be correct. Kirk and the others didn't need to know that he'd had a hunch of his own once: that however hard he tried to find reassurance in the familiar IDIC symbol, he knew, beyond all logic and reason, that it wouldn't be much of a shield against the hardships of his first day of school.

"How did it go?" Amanda asked tentatively. Her voice was, as usual, tinged with more layers of emotion than he knew what to do with. However illogical it was, he found both his parents hard to read, one because he showed too little, the other because she showed too much.

It was well-known throughout the galaxy that Vulcans did not lie; however, they were also very private and, given the choice, they would take great care to avoid addressing personal problems directly. As a logical result of those two facts, Spock didn't answer at all.

"Did the others laugh at you?" she pressed on.

"Have you ever seen a Vulcan laugh, Mother?"

She paused as if searching her memory. "No, I can't say that I have."

"Then your question is illogical, because you already know the answer to it: of course they didn't." As he left the room, Spock added softly, so softly, in fact, that he never knew whether her human ears had heard him or not: "Perhaps it would have been better if they had."

Vulcans did not laugh at their peers' failures, they analysed exactly why said failure had happened and how it could have been avoided, and they were so thorough in their examination you could have sworn they were taking a malevolent sort of pleasure in it, hadn't they all been ready to affirm without the shadow of a doubt that such pleasure was unknown to them.

Vulcans did not mock, taunt or give derogatory nicknames, unless of course 'half-breed' could be counted as one, but then again, anyone caught in the act of saying it could easily defend himself by pointing out that he'd been merely stating a fact. After all, it is illogical to waste words when silence can achieve the same result, and silence was the worst taunt of them all.

Spock struggled to find a name that covered exactly what they had done. They hadn't actively insulted him – most of them hadn't, anyway – but it was definitely incorrect to say they had ignored him. To do so, in the fullest sense of the term, they would have had to pretend he didn't exist, and that wasn't their strategy at all. Instead, they just stared, as if daring him to confess how much it hurt, testing how long it would take him to crack and show his true, human colours, secretly delighted by the new, interesting test subject they'd been given to study, but too impassive, too controlled, too perfectly Vulcan to give any evidence of enthusiasm.

It was a good thing that traditional education tended to promote self-sufficiency from an early age, because they'd made it abundantly clear that they would never see him as more than a curious experiment. Maybe, someday, if the results satisfied them, they would grace him with their company, much the same way they would reward an animal with treats as positive reinforcement and see if the constant training made him useful in the long run, but he would never have a... what was the proper word for it anyway? Friend? Or was that too human as well?