I walked across an empty land

I knew the pathway like the back of my hand

I felt the earth beneath my feet

Sat by the river, and it made me complete

- Keane, Somewhere only we know.

PART ONE.

Spock had never seen snow before. Of course, he'd seen holo-vids and seen pictures of it, but that hardly compared to the real thing. When Spock learned that his family's visit to the embassy on Earth would coincide with winter, Spock immediately purchased a new notebook in which to put down all of his research on snow, as well as on any other unfamiliar thing he encountered. And there would be a lot.

"Will there be cows?" Spock asked as he sat on his bed and watched his mother pack his clothes.

"Cows?" Amanda packed Spock's socks by rolling them into tiny balls. "Why do you ask?"

"I have only seen photos, and they look fascinating." Spock said. "Did you know the primary form of milk Humans drink comes from cows?"

"Yes, I did." She seemed amused. "But cows are usually on farms, and farms are in the country. San Francisco is a very big city. I'm afraid you won't see any cows."

"Oh." Spock was slightly upset, but pushed past it. After all, there were many other things to observe. "Will there be any snails?"

"Oh, I don't know." Amanda laughed as she shoved what looked like a hundred pairs of underwear in Spock's suitcase. "Why?"

"They seem fascinating." Spock said. "They carry their homes on their backs."

"They do." She smiled. "But I'm not so sure. Snails come out after it rains in the summer, and I think snow is too cold for them to survive. I think," She reiterated, "Only because I've never thought to look for one before, so I'm not sure of their patterns."

"I see." Spock hid his disappointment. For a human born and raised on Earth, his mother was not very good at answering his questions about it.

"Spock." Sarek, his father, appeared in the doorway of his bedroom. I-Chaya was at his heels, lumbering slowly. "Are you distracting your mother from her duties with your questions?"

"No, Father." Spock said, getting up from his bed and proceeding to help by packing some of his books. "I was only gathering information I will need for my research on Earth."

"You will be researching?" Sarek almost looked amused. "Though I doubt a child your age could deduce more from the planet than any of the past Terran scientists, I still encourage you to try. This will build a solid foundation for your future career."

"My career." Spock's eyes widened in awe as he looked down at one of his favorite science books. He imagined his own name in place of the author's.

"Sarek, should he really be worried about a career at his age?" Amanda asked as she tried to rearrange Spock's clothes so that his books would fit. "He's only eight years old."

"Yes, I do." said Sarek. "One cannot ever begin too early, and I am pleased that Spock is already certain of what he wants to do in the future."

Pleased.

Sarek was pleased with Spock's scientific ambition.

Spock felt his chest well with pride and color rise in his face.

His father was hardly pleased with anything, especially after Spock's... incident. He tried not to think of the fight he had in school, or his horrible failure that had caused it. Instead, he thought of how pleased his father would be with his completed research notebook once they returned to Vulcan.

"Is I-Chaya coming with us?" Spock asked as he wrapped his arms around the animal's neck. They did not go all the way around, but provided nice leverage in which to press his face into the fur. That was guilty pleasure of his.

"No." said Sarek. "I-Chaya is a pet, and pets have no place in ambassadorial work. He will stay in sehlat kennel for the duration of our trip.

"Oh." Spock found that this trip was starting with many more disappointments than he would have hoped.

"Spock, do you really need four volumes on African animals? We are not going to Africa." Amanda sighed in annoyance.

"Can you at least fit my volumes on North American animals?" Spock asked. "What if we see a wolf? Father," he turned to Sarek. "Perhaps we should take I-Chaya with us. He can defend us against a wolf."

"No, Spock. I have had my final word on it. Furthermore, there are no wolves in the city."

"And I-Chaya is too old to defend us against anything." Amanda chuckled as she struggled to zip Spock's case. "He's older than you are. He's even got grey on his muzzle!"

"Does he?" Spock examined the sehlat closer. He'd never noticed before. Still, it wasn't as if he spent much time studying their sehlat, as he'd already learned everything about sehlats that he could by the time that he was four. Vulcan animals did not have much variety or excitement. Terran animals did.

"Alright, that's it." Amanda sighed in defeat. "Spock, please narrow it down to two books total for the trip."

"Two?" Spock was almost outraged. "All of my books come in volumes of four or more. I cannot bring an incomplete set. That is denying me sufficient knowledge."

"Oh, Spock." Amanda looked so weary as she sighed and rubbed her head. "Sarek, why don't you give it to him now? It'll save us from having to hear Spock's heartache."

"Give me what?" Spock asked, looking up at his father.

"We have a gift we would like to give to you." said Sarek.

"Gift?" Giving gifts was not something Sarek did. Even when he brought Spock back things from his trips to Earth, he always emphasis that they were to aid in his pursuit of knowledge. That meant they did not count as gifts.

His understanding was that a gift was given for no real reason other than that you cared about someone and wanted them to have something nice. Spock did not know what to do with that knowledge. They wanted him to have something nice.

"Yes." Sarek reached into his coat pocket. "I planned on giving this to you on the shuttle ride, but perhaps now would be best."

"There's no time like the...present." Amanda laughed to herself as Sarek handed Spock something covered in decorative paper.

"The wrapping is only customary when giving a gift." Sarek explained. "Though, quite illogical as it is meant to be torn off."

"If you don't tear the paper, I'll keep it and save it for you." said Amanda.

Spock nodded and carefully began to unwrap it, inching his nails under the tape and peeling gently. Finally, it was revealed that the flat object was not a book, but a PADD.

"My... own?" Spock's eyes widened in awe once more. Before, he always stuck to paper when doing his research or reading books, and the only electronics he used were computers at school or the one in his father's study. Even the PADD his kept his school work on technically belonged to the school, and was locked so that it only allowed pre-approved material.

"Yes." Sarek nodded. "You can put anything you want on it. You can put as many books as you desire, and even upload your own research to it for your mother and I to read."

"Much more room than a suitcase." Amanda winked at him.

Spock politely thanked his father with a nod and endured his mother's hug, before finishing his packing. Finally, it was time to leave and take I-Chaya to the kennel and head to the shuttle station. Spock wordlessly waved to the sehlat as they left it in the care of the kennel owners. Though Spock longed to hug him instead, he did not want to seem foolish in front of his father and the other Vulcans.

On the shuttle, Spock occupied himself with scrolling around on his PADD and reading from many of the books he'd loaded on there. He looked over at his parents. His mother was snoring softly, her head resting against the window. His father was also reading, though one of his hands was gently holding Amanda's. Spock felt another pang of emotion as he remembered the incident from months ago.

He decided to try meditating. He put his PADD back in his bag and drew his feet up on his seat and crossed his legs. He closed his eyes and focused on what he could sense on the outside; the sounds of the engine, his mother snoring, a creaking he could not place. He then focused on the senses in his body; his breathing, the beating of his heart, the feel of his travel robes against his skin, and how the back was slightly frayed from the way it got stepped on under the heel of his boot.

Soon, those things did not matter. He couldn't sense any of them. Just the inside of his mind. It was like its own world. Bright and blue. He never realized before how much his head-space on a good day looked and felt like the way the Terran sky looked on its good days.

As they arrived on Earth, Spock realized it was one of those days.

"Look at the sky." Spock pressed his palms to the cold shuttle window. "Look at the snow."

"Snow?" Sarek stood over Spock's shoulder. "How inconvenient. The weather report says this is the largest snowfall in San Francisco in thirty-six years. Vulcans were not built to withstand snow. What will happen to Spock?"

It had never occurred to Spock that he might not survive the trip from the station to the hotel. He suddenly felt a little afraid, and he was sure it was the uncertainty in his father's voice that did it. He looked over at his mother.

"Oh, Sarek, don't be such a worry wart. I brought these for Spock." She lifted one of her bags. "And for you too."

From Amanda's bag, the three of them bundle up in the strangest clothes Spock had ever seen. His coat had zippers down the front and layers of down inside. His gloves had only one section for all four of his fingers and one for his thumb. He actually liked it better this way. His had had flaps that covered his ears, slightly muffling the outside world. Finally, his mother wound a scarf around his face, across his mouth.

"Mmmph..." Spock's voice was muffled too.

"What?" Amanda pulled the scarf down a tad, freeing his mouth.

"I said that I am adequately warm. I should dress like this every day."

For some reason, that greatly amused Amanda. She laughed as they all stepped outside the station into the cold Earth winter.

It was so white and fluffy looking. Spock crouched down and prodded it with a finger. The snow crunched like hard ice. Fascinating.

"Spock." He looked up to see his father showing his ambassadorial clearance badge to a taxi driver. "Get in."

Spock left his snowy trek of five seconds behind as they rode to the hotel in a car. Once again, his dream of looking through the snow for snails was crushed as they went from the parking lot to the building under an awning. Spock deduced that such cold must really be dangerous for his and his father's Vulcan physique.

"I must check in at the embassy. I will be back at dinner." Sarek said. Spock helped his mother unpack until he could no longer hear his father's footsteps in the hall.

"May I go outside?" Spock asked.

"I don't know if that's such a good idea. It's so cold out there." Amanda said.

"Please?" Spock knew it was impolite to speak against his mother's word, but he would never again get the chance to experience snow, or possibly the Earth ever again.

"Oh, alright." She placed her hand on his head. "But come back in if you get cold. Here, let me bundle you up."

Re-bundled in his hat and scarf, Spock took the elevator back down stairs. He carefully pushed open the door and stepped out into the cold. It was so white, but it did not smell clean. The smell of dirt and human seemed to be everywhere on Earth. Even in their hotel room, which had been thoroughly cleaned before their arrival. Spock carefully walked around the side of the building, his feet sinking in the snow. He saw no signs of animals or people. Finally, he arrived around to the back. A fence separated the hotel property from some sort of structure. Spock leaned against the chain-link fence for a closer look.

It was a lot of metal equipment. Some of it resembled the exercising and climbing frames he used at school in physical education. Others were completely alien to him. One piece of equipment had a ladder on one side, and a shallow metal incline on the other.

Spock walked down the length of the fence until he found the gate. He opened it and approached the foot of the metal incline. Spock had a childhood of climbing sand dunes. This incline would be nothing compared to that. Spock climbed onto incline and began to move towards the top. With no rails and frost coating the metal, it was a lot harder than he'd anticipated. He slipped twice, but did not fall off.

He was just about to reach the top when a voice called out.

"Hey, kid! You're going up the wrong way."

Spock was startled, causing him to slip once more. He placed his hands down on the incline to steady himself and carefully turned around. Another boy around his age was standing at the bottom of the incline.

"The wrong way?" Spock recalled the ladder on the other side. Was that the way up. Well, then what was the point of the incline?

"Yeah, move, I'll show you."

Spock climbed off the incline and watched the boy go around the other side. He climbed up the ladder and sat down at the top of the slope. He then slid all the way down.

"Weee!" He was launched off the end, landing with a thud in the snow.

"Are you alright?" Spock asked, peering down at him.

"Yep. You go now." He instructed.

Spock climbed up the ladder and slid down the slope just as the boy had done. After landing in the snow, it occurred to him that he forgot to say weee.

"Wee." He said, sitting up. His coat and the snow had cushioned his fall, but still, he did not see the point of that.

The other boy laughed and stood up. He took off his wool hat to shake snow from it, and Spock saw that his hair was quite a light color. His skin was also slowly turning pink from the cold and the exertion. A human. Maybe he could help Spock find some wildlife.

"Yeah, the slide is kinda for babies, though. Let's go on the swings instead." He raced across the snowy ground towards another structure. Spock followed as best as he could.

The swings turned out to be plastic seats suspended from a bar by chains. The boy sat down on one. Spock sat down on the other.

"Do you need me to push you?" The boy asked.

"No, thank you." Spock understood that kicking his feet was all he needed to get enough momentum to swing.

"Come on, you can go higher than that!" The other boy was already much higher than Spock thought was safe. "My brother says he managed to go all the way around the top once!"

"That does not sound possible." Spock looked up at the bar they were hanging from. Certainly not physically possible.

"Ha! I knew he was full of it." The boy laughed. "Watch this!"

Spock watched as the boy swung to the highest point and let go of the chains. The swing swung back, leaving the boy to flying through the air. Spock closed his eyes, preparing the hear the deafening crunch of bones breaking as the boy hit the ground. Instead, he heard the soft plop of a body in snow.

"Ta-da!" The boy called from a way away. "I'm okay!"

"That seems dangerous." Spock dragged his feet on the ground to stop the swing before getting off.

"Don't be a baby." The boy scoffed.

Spock did not understand what was so bad about being an infant, but the boy had already mentioned it twice in a derogatory way. Spock vowed to himself not to do anything babyish, or else the boy might not help him.

"Do you live around here?" Spock asked.

"No." The boy began running towards the climbing frame, and Spock tried to keep up. "I live in Iowa. My family is just here visiting my Uncle Pike. Can you believe this snow? It's never like this when I'm here!"

He climbed to the top and Spock followed. This was quite easy. The boy sat at the top. Spock grabbed a bar near the top and began pulling himself up so his chin was above the bar. It was the same exercises he did at school. At school, his record was only thirty. He was not the best in his class, but he was not the worst either.

"Woah! You're good at those!" The other boy sounded shocked. "I can only do ten."

He dropped down and began doing pull-ups as well. Spock could see signs of exertion in his pink face seconds before he dropped to the ground.

"Eight." Spock said, letting go and dropping beside him. "You only did eight."

"What are you, my gym teacher?" The boy scoffed. His face remained red, despite the cold air. "Whatever, let's play a different game."

Spock did not get a chance to ask about wildlife, as now, the boy was making a pile of snow. Spock dropped down to help, unsure what it was for.

"Okay." The boy stood up. "This is the base. I'll be the captain, and you be the Romulan."

"I do not want to be the Romulan." Spock suddenly felt offended.

"Okay, fine. I'll be the Romulan. Go stand over there and close your eyes and count to a hundred. I'll hide, and you have to find me and tag me before I get to the base, okay?"

Spock nodded and walked over to a nearby bush. He closed his eyes and counted. He could hear the boy dart left behind him, and the sound of the metal of the slide. Spock mentally mapped the area, and pinpoint the location, just as he finished counting.

He made a beeline for the slide and looked underneath. He found the boy crouched down. They locked eyes, and the boy immediately jumped at him, knocking him over. The two rolled in the snow, until Spock's greater mass had him on top.

"Hey! How did you find me so fast?"

"I could hear you." Spock said.

"Bullshit. Okay, you hide now. Get off!"

The boys spent the rest of the afternoon alternating between hiding and seeking. Spock realized the other boy got very mad if he was found too soon, so Spock occasionally looked somewhere else, even if he could hear the boy breathing somewhere nearby. Spock forgot all about his desire to see animals, as the sky grew darker.

Spock felt slower, more tired and cold as they played. As he chased the other boy, his feet felt heavy, and he stopped running and shivered.

"Hey, are you okay?" The boy dropped down from the climbing frame and ran back over.

"I am cold." Spock said.

"Yeah, me too. Let's go back in the hotel. My mom can make us some hot chocolate."

"I would rather have tea." Spock said as they walked towards the gate.

"Okay. Our hot chocolate is just powder anyways. It's not that good."

The hotel was so warm, that Spock felt the snow that had made its way into his coat melt away. He could also feel the feeling slowly returning to his fingers. The boy sat down in one of the lobby chairs and began pulling off his boots. Spock took off his hat and began to rub his numb ears.

"Woah! You're an alien!" The boy raised his voice.

"You did not know?" Spock looked up, surprised. The boy was staring at his ears.

"No, I thought you were just weird." He laughed. "What planet are you from? Vulcan?"

"Correct."

"Yeah, I know the embassy is right around here, and I saw one of the ambassador guys in the news the other day."

"That was my father." Spock said. Sarek was often featured in articles about interplanetary relations.

"Spock." Just then, Sarek walked into the lobby returning from his day at the embassy. "Were you outside?"

"Yes, Father." Spock replied.

"Were you on your quest for finding cattle?" He asked with the seriousness that he might use with another adult, but Spock still felt a bit like he was being mocked. Perhaps because they both knew there were no cows here.

"Cows?" The boy chuckled. "If you wanna see cows, there's like a million of them back at my house in Riverside. I can send you a picture of some."

"A million?" Spock could not fathom that many of the gentle creature. "I would like to see that."

"Spock, come upstairs now. We are going to have dinner." Sarek started towards the elevator.

"Yes, Father." Spock said.

"What room are you in?" The boy asked. "I'll come get you tomorrow and we can go back to the playground."

"We are in 408." Spock said, dragging his feet on the way to the elevator to extend their conversation.

"Cool. We're in 510. I'll see you tomorrow. My name's Jim, by the way. Jim Kirk."

"I am S'chn T'gai Spock." Spock said as he stepped into the elevator beside his father and the doors began to close. At the last moment, Spock recalled it was customary to greet someone with the ta'al. He held it up for Jim, but realized his mitten kept it from being seen.

The last thing Spock saw before the doors closed was Jim waving in return.

"No wonder you're so hungry, you never came up for a snack today." Amanda said as Spock got a second bowl of plomeek soup. It was replicated from the hotel's kitchen, but Spock was too hungry to tell.

"I was at the playground researching." Spock said as he paused to blow on his soup. "Human behavior is very odd."

"Who says we're odd?" Amanda asked, surprised.

"Spock saw a human child outside today." Sarek explained. "The son of Captain George Kirk."

"Do you know his father?" Spock asked.

"No, but I have met his mother. Winona Kirk is a Starfleet officer, and she occasionally visits the embassy. I have also seen the memorial nearby for his father, which is how I recognized him. They look remarkably alike."

Memorial. That must mean his father was dead. Spock could not imagine that. Not only would there be a physical absence without one of his parents, but a mental one as well. His mental link with his father would fade as he became more independent, but Spock was still certain it would be around for a few more years.

"Is he odd?" Amanda asked, an amused smile on her face.

"Yes. He keeps referring to me as an infant when I do not behave the way he wants." Spock sipped his soup.

"Oh, that's just something humans say to try and control each other with shame. You see, it's shameful to be thought of as a baby."

"Why?"

"Because babies can't do anything for themselves. And they cry all the time." She explained.

"Oh." Spock was still not sure he understood. "He also did not like that I was stronger than him."

"Well, what did he like about you?" She asked. "There has to be something."

Spock thought for a moment. "He liked it when he got to show me how to use the slide and the swings. And showing me the hiding game."

"See, it's because you're a Vulcan, and you don't know Earth well." Amanda took his empty bowl to the sink. "He likes feeling smarter."

"He is not smarter than me." Spock felt offended that his mother would imply that.

"He is about Earth. You may have read books, but he is native here. That gives him an advantage. Not everything can be learned from books, Hun."

Spock wondered if she was just biased towards Jim since they were both human, or if she actually had a point. He'd have to do more research to find out.

After dinner, Spock took a bath. The hot water was still not hot enough for his preferred temperature, but it helped him feel better. He hadn't realized how damaging the cold had been to him. He'd have to be more careful tomorrow not to fall in it so much.

When he got out of the bath and dressed in his nightclothes, he opened the bathroom door to see most of the lights off in the room. His father was meditating, the soft glow from his firepot illuminated the room. He could see his mother laying on the bed she was sharing with his father. He could tell she was listening to one of her programs, as she was wearing his headphones.

Spock started tiptoeing towards the separate sleeping alcove that he was staying in as to not disturb his father. After all, he still needed to do his own meditation. His bare feet padded across the carpet in front of Sarek.

"Spock." Sarek opened his eyes.

Spock froze, wondering if he somehow did something wrong. Sarek's disappointed voice sounded a lot like every other voice, so it was sometimes hard to tell.

"…Yes?" Spock whispered, one foot still hovering mid-air.

"Would you like to meditate with me?"

Spock looked over at him in surprise. They had not meditated together in a long time. Spock usually spent his evenings working on school work, and their schedules just did not allow for it.

Spock nodded and sat down cross-legged in front of his father. The firepot between them casted a golden glow on them, and Spock still felt very warm inside. This time when he closed his eyes and focused, his headspace was a matching golden color.

The next morning, it was barely after sunrise when Jim knocked on their hotel room door. He was already dressed in his boots and coat and seemed annoyed that Spock was still eating breakfast.

"Come on, before some other kids take the swings." He whined.

"I cannot go out without sufficient nutrients." Spock said between bites of oatmeal. His father had already left for work, and his mother was in the kitchen making tea in a thermos for him to take out.

"Ugh, you eat so slowwww." He sat down at the table across from Spock and waited.

"Jim, would you like some oatmeal or fruit?" Amanda asked.

"Yes, please." He seemed to perk up.

Now, he did not complain about Spock's slowness as they ate together. Afterwards, Spock got his backpack and put his notebook and thermos inside. He then began looking for his thickest pairs of socks and his boots.

"Come on…." Jim waited by the door, shifting from foot to foot.

"Alright." Spock finished getting ready and stood up. He could barely say goodbye to his mother, before Jim was grabbing him by the wrist and pulling him out the door and down the hall.

The snow was melted a bit, and was more like slush as they walked to the playground. Instead of walking down to the gate, Jim climbed over the fence and landed roughly on the wet ground. Spock climbed over and landed nimbly on his feet.

"Okay, you were the last one it yesterday, so I'm it today. Go hide."

"What about base?" Spock asked, approaching the site of yesterday's snow pile. It was gone completely.

"Uh, let's just use the top of the jungle gym." He said, eager to get on with the game. He covered his eyes and began counting just as Spock began searching for a spot.

It seemed that they had already used every hiding spot in the playground at least twice. Spock recalled that it had taken Jim the longest to find him when he'd been behind some bushes at the far end. He started over there, taking note of his much of the ground was now exposed. He walked right over an expanse of sand he hadn't seen the day before. It was contained in a shallow wooden box, and Spock could see something sticking out of it.

Spock reached down and pulled out a plastic bulldozer. From the other side, he could hear Jim rounding thirty.

"Ready or not, here I come!" Jim shouted, before taking off in Spock's direction. He seemed to forget about tagging Spock as he came closer. "Cool! Where did you find that?"

"In the sand." Spock said.

"Someone must have left it here before it snowed." Jim took the toy from Spock and turned it over. Wet sand poured out from inside. "Well, it's ours now!"

"It is?" Spock asked.

"Yeah. Finders keepers. Duh." Jim sat down and began pushing the toy through the sand.

"When someone loses something, whoever finds it now owns it? That is how it works on Earth?" Spock could not understand how that was fair.

"Yep." Jim seemed to be enthralled with moving the toy through the sand.

Spock walked over to the climbing frame and climbed to the top. He sat down on top and got out his notebook.

"Research subject Jim Kirk seems to have a short attention span. He also seems to become emotional very easily. This is most notable when he is not winning at a game or competition."

"What are you writing?"

Spock looked up to see Jim climbing up beside him. The toy laid abandoned down on the ground nearby.

"I am writing about Earth." Spock said. Jim sat beside him and looked over at the page.

"Hey, that's about me!" He exclaimed. "I do not get emotional! I can't believe you're writing mean stuff about me."

Spock had not meant for any of his research to sound mean. He was only writing what he observed. He looked over at Jim, who seemed to be glaring at him. Spock found he did not like that. He began to write something else.

"Jim Kirk is exceptional at adapting to most situations. He is very knowledgeable about…" Spock thought for a moment. "games."

"Games? That's what I'm good at?" Jim scoffed, still reading over his shoulder. "You forgot about how fast and strong I am."

Spock did not point out that he was in fact faster and stronger than Jim.

"The subject considers himself fast and strong."

"I feel like you're mocking me." Jim scowled. "I bet—" He stopped and looked out into the distance. "Oh no."

Spock looked up. At the other end of the playground, the gate opened and two boys walked in. They looked to be several years older.

"What is wrong?" Spock asked, but Jim didn't answer. He just looked down to wear one of the boys picked up the bulldozer.

"Hey!" Jim yelled. "That's mine!" He dropped down onto the ground.

Spock quickly put his notes away and did the same.

"I don't see your name on it." The older boy said.

"I found it, so it's mine." Jim said. Spock did not say that it was technically he who found it. He just watched at Jim began to show signs of fear. Spock wanted to write this down.

"What are you looking at?" The other older boy looked over at Spock.

"You." Spock answered honestly.

"What?!" The boy took a threatening step towards Spock. Spock did not flinch.

"Gimme that!" Jim made a grab for the toy, but the older boy held it out of reach.

"Why should I? Finders keepers." He grinned.

"But I had it first." Jim growled.

Spock did not point out that Jim was not the toy's original owner, for now the boys seemed to find entertainment with tossing the toy back and forth over Jim's head. No matter how high Jim jumped, the toy was just out of reach. The older boys howled with laughter.

Spock walked in between them and jumped. Despite the difference in Earth and Vulcan's gravity, Spock was able to jump high enough to catch the toy.

"Hey!" One of the boys made a grab for it. Spock turned just as the other lunged as well.

The toy fell to the ground as both boys grabbed at Spock's arms. Spock was suddenly back at school, when Stonn and the other Vulcan boys in his class were crowding him. This was just after the incident. They'd found Spock and T'Pring alone after their ceremony and decided to attack Spock for taking her away from Stonn. None of them even listened as Spock tried to explain that their bonding was not successful.

As Spock fought back against the bullies, he could see Jim's face worryingly amongst the blur just as he'd seen T'Pring's. Unlike her, choosing to not take part for either side, Jim jumped in. Spock felt someone's fist connect with his face, and he stumbled back.

He felt the plastic toy break under his foot just as someone else swung at him. Spock ducked, and turned to see one of the boys holding Jim around the neck. Spock lunged at him and jumped on his back, wrapping his own arms around his neck.

"Let go of him." Spock growled in his ear. The boy let go and reached back to grab Spock. Spock let go of his neck and fell to the ground.

"Hey! Hey! Get out of here!"

Spock heard another boy's voice enter the mix. Spock looked up to see another boy, older than all of them. He kicked at the two bullies until they scrambled up and ran towards the gate.

"Jim, you okay?" The boy asked, bending down towards Jim.

"I'm fine." He snapped, standing up. He was bleeding from the lip, and seemed to be crying as well.

"You don't look fine. You're both bleeding."

"I said I'm fine, Sam." Jim snapped.

Spock lifted a mitten-clad hand to his lip and saw green blood stain the fabric. Immediately his heart began pounding.

"Come inside. Mom can patch you up." Sam said.

"I can fix myself up." Jim pressed his hand to his face and left it. He then caught site of the broken toy on the ground. "Aw, man. It's broken!"

"Is that what you were fighting over?" Sam crossed his arms. "Some stupid toy?"

"It was mine." Jim growled.

"No, it was not." Spock spoke up for the first time. "You should have just let them take it."

"Shut up!" Jim's face was red, and his cheeks were stained with tears. "I found it."

"I was the one who found it." Spock pointed out.

"Then take it!" Jim picked it up and threw it at Spock's head. It missed drastically and landed in the snow.

"Don't be a baby." Sam rolled his eyes. Even Spock knew that was the wrong thing to say. Jim swung his fist at his brother, but Sam grabbed his wrist. "Cut it out."

"Shut up!" He growled again, kicking against Sam. "I hate you! I hate both of you."

Spock had never seen such a display of emotion in all his life. Despite this, he did not think anything less of Jim. He was just very confused.

"Cut it out." Sam tugged at Jim's wrist. Jim fell limp against Sam, finally too tired to fight back. "Come on. Mom can give you a bandage."

Spock watched as they walked towards the gate, Jim dragging his feet behind Sam, who still held his arm. Spock could feel the blood trickling down his face and his heart racing as he just stood there. Without Jim there, the wind suddenly felt colder.

Spock waited until he was sure he would not run into them, before he walked back to the hotel. He still felt cold inside, despite the heating as he took the elevator up to the fourth floor.

"What happened?" Amanda gasped when she saw Spock's face. Spock thought for a moment as she got a wet rag for his face.

"I…do not know. I am not entirely sure." Spock did not flinch as she pressed the cloth to his face. He considered putting this in his research, but he was not sure what he would say, as he did not understand what had happened.

"Do you wanna tell me?" She asked, giving him a smile.

She did have an understanding about humans that he didn't, and he did feel a strange nagging to understand why Jim had said what he did. So, Spock relayed the entire incident to her, telling her about the toy and the bullies who had hit them, and finally about how Jim's brother had chased them away.

"I do not understand why they all felt the need to resort to violence." Spock finished, taking the cloth away from his face and looking to see how much blood there was on it.

"That's just how humans are sometimes." She sighed. "Did you fight back?"

"Only in self-defense. I have only ever fought in self-defense." He said, knowing she was recalling the incident.

"I know." She said. "I think those boys wanted a fight, because they thought they could win. They'd feel stronger."

"By beating up younger children?" Spock asked. "How illogical."

"Yes. I also think Jim was upset that he was being picked on in front of you. He was embarrassed."

Spock was grateful he had her to explain human emotion to him, but he was still not sure he completely understood it all. The rest of the week would be quite boring with no one to research with.

"I did not even get a chance to ask him about his cows." Spock sighed.

"Well, you can ask him tomorrow." She said brightly.

"But he is not my friend anymore." Spock wondered how she could have missed that key element to the story. "He said he hated me."

"Oh, I'm sure he didn't mean it. The thing about humans is, they're emotionally charged. When they get upset, they say things they don't mean. He'll cool down, and I'm sure he'll want to play with you again." She smoothed his hair.

"You seem to be an expert on human behavior." Spock noted. He'd never realized before, likely because she was the only human he'd ever known.

"Well, being married to a Vulcan and living there for so long has given me a lot of time to reflect on how and why my instinct is to act a certain way. I also studied a bit of psychology in college."

Spock decided that perhaps he would show his mother his research on humans once he completed it. After all, it would be a chance to have an expert in the field give him feedback.

Spock spent the rest of the day reading books on his PADD. His father came home and greeted Spock as usual. He had to have noticed the bruise of Spock's lip, but he did not comment on it. Spock was grateful of that.

After dinner, Spock tried to take as long as possible in the bath so that his father would already be done meditating. He waited until his fingers were wrinkly and the water was cold, before he got out.

Still, as he opened the bathroom door, he saw his father meditating by the window. They made eye contact by the dim light of the firepot.

"Spock, have a seat." He said. Spock did so, knowing that was not a suggestion.

"Your mother told me what happened to you today. How are you?" There were hints of concern in his voice, as well as in their mental link. Spock was a little surprised to be able to sense it so clearly.

"I am fine." Spock said. It was not a lie, as he did feel fine physically. He wasn't bleeding anymore, at least.

"And Jim?" Sarek prompted.

"I…do not know. Mother says he will be alright once his emotions recede and he has time to cool off."

"Do you wish to continue to see him?"

"Yes." Spock was surprised at how easily the answer came to him. Despite how emotional he was, Spock found he'd quite enjoyed their time together yesterday.

Sarek gave a slight nod before closing his eyes again. "Would you like to meditate with me?"

It would be easy to decline, but Spock realized he did want to. He closed his eyes and relaxed as best he could. Despite feeling his father's link clearly, as well as his mother's, he found he could not completely enter a peaceful head-space. The warm gold from yesterday was gone, and the best he could get was pale grey like storm clouds.

Spock was eating breakfast the next morning when someone knocked on the door. Amanda looked through the peephole and smiled before opening the door.

"Hello, Jim."

"Hi." Jim stood in the doorway with a towel around his shoulders. "Can Spock come to the pool with me?"

"It is much too cold to swim." Spock said from the table.

"It's heated indoors, you dork." He rolled his eyes. "Come on, it's fun."

Spock looked at his mother, silently praising her on her accurate prediction of human behavior. She winked at him.

"Alright." Spock took his dishes to the sink and went to his suitcase. "Though, I do not have a swimsuit."

"You can borrow one of mine. Let's go before all the old people get there."

"Here, Hun." Amanda handed him one of the fluffy white towels from the bathroom. "Be back before dinner."

That gave Spock all day for research, but he forgot to bring his notebook before they left. Spock waited as they walked down the hall, but Jim said nothing about yesterday. Not even after Jim darted back into his own hotel room for a swimsuit for Spock did he mention it.

They went into the locker room by the pool, and as Jim tugged his shirt off, Spock tried to examine his face and neck for bruises.

"What?" Jim asked when he caught Spock staring.

"You are not bleeding anymore." Spock said.

"Yeah, neither are you." He averted his eyes, his bare chest reddening.

Spock finished changing and followed Jim out. On Vulcan, the swimsuits they all wore for physical education was full coverage with sleeves, unlike the one Jim gave him, which was just like large shorts. Though Vulcans had little qualms about nakedness, Spock still felt strange to be uncovered in front of someone else.

"Hey… I'm sorry about yesterday. That was so dumb." Jim kept his eyes down on the tile floor.

"I thought you were going to avoid saying anything." Apparently, Spock's hypothesis on human behavior was wrong.

"Well, you looked like you wanted me to." Jim sat down on the edge of the pool and put his feet in the water.

"Did I?" Spock followed suit and found the water was an acceptable temperature.

"Yeah, yesterday was dumb. But I wasn't really mad about the toy."

"I know." Spock said. "You were upset that those other boys were trying to take your things. But you should know, they only wanted to fight you because they thought they could win. They wanted to feel stronger."

"I know. And stupid Sam." Jim splashed his feet roughly in the water. "He thought he was all that by chasing them away, and he only did it because he knew he'd win. It's easy for him to save my butt against kids, but when it's Frank, what does he do? Nothing! He just sits upstairs and lets it happen."

"Who is Frank?"

"No one." Jim sighed. "Besides, when we came here we left him behind, and Mom hasn't mentioned him once. So, maybe they're finally splitting up."

Spock did not know what to say to this, so he decided to do the swimming warm ups they did in school. He floated on his back and stretched out his arms and legs.

"Have you ever seen the ocean?" Spock asked.

"Sure. Lots of times." Jim swam in doggy paddle circles around him.

"Fascinating. Have you ever seen a whale?"

"Not in real life." Jim tried to copy Spock's floating. "They don't have oceans on Vulcan?"

"No."

"What do they have?"

"Sand." Spock sighed.

He soon realized that Jim enjoyed answering his questions. He then recalled what his mother had said. Perhaps he liked answering them because it made if feel smarter. Spock also felt smart, as Jim asked many questions in return.

"How old are you?" Jim asked.

"Eight."

"Me too! In a few weeks." He floated on his back. "What grade are you in?"

"Grade?"

"In school. Like, I'm in second, but I could have moved to third already if I really wanted to."

"Our classes do not go by grade, but by course level. I am currently in course level three." He liked it much better than course level two.

"Do you have girlfriend?"

"A girlfriend?" Spock knew the term, but could not place it.

"Yeah. Like, I have like three girlfriends at school. On Mondays I hang out with Julie, then on Tuesdays I hold hands with Sarah, and Rita and I always swap lunch on Fridays. Do you have a girl like that?"

Spock remembered the darkness of the elder's chambers as he sat across from T'Pring. It was deafeningly quiet, and he knew it was because they were supposed to be hearing each other. T'Pau connected them, and finally he could hear something, but it wasn't in his head like it should be.

"What is going on? Is something wrong?" T'Pring opened her eyes and the elder pulled her hands away from them. Spock had never felt less Vulcan and more like a failure.

It was surpassed only moments later when T'Pau told him that he was unbondable. He still did not understand what compelled T'Pring to share the blame and tell Stonn that it was both of them that were incompatible. It didn't stop the others from attacking him anyways.

"Spock? Hello?" Jim splashed his foot near Spock's face.

Spock blinked. He was not in the chambers. He was floating in the pool. He took a few deep breathes and stood up, letting his feet touch the bottom.

"No. I do not have a girlfriend." He said, staring down at the bottom of the pool and watching the way the water distorted the image of his feet.

"That's cool. Sometimes they're annoying. Hey, wanna see who can hold their breath the longest?"

Spock was prepared to say that his greater lung capacity, as well as the difference in oxygen levels on their respective planets would insure his victory, but Jim was giving him such an innocent smile, that Spock just nodded.

For some reason, Spock could not hold his breath for as long as he thought he could. Perhaps it was something to do with the way Jim laughed happily when he won. It was just easier this way.

When it was lunch time, Spock and Jim dried off and prepared to go back to Jim's room. Spock carefully dried off his whole body and payed extra attention to his feet to prevent fungus from the wet floor. Jim was still dripping when they left, obviously not caring.

"You want some ravioli?" Jim asked, looking through the cabinets. They were alone in the hotel room, as Jim's mother was with Jim's Uncle Pike, and Sam was out somewhere in the city. Spock wondered how Mrs. Kirk could let a boy no older than twelve go out alone.

"Is it vegetarian?" Spock asked.

"Uh…no. Hold on." Jim crawled across the counter to reach a different counter.

"Can we not order from the hotel kitchen?"

"Uh. No. My mom said she'd get groceries. We can use the replicator, though. You want cereal?" He handed Spock a box of something that looked to be mostly sugar. Spock opened the refrigerator.

"Is this cow milk?" He asked.

"Duh. What else?" Jim began eating the cereal dry from the box.

"Goats also produce milk that humans drink." Spock poured himself a cup of milk and sipped it. Interesting.

"Oh, I thought of something we can do." Jim jumped down from the counter and went into the sitting area. He began pulling all the cushion off of the couch. "Let's make a fort. It can be our starship."

Spock felt a sinking feeling at the thought of being forced to be a Romulan again. He decided not to pitch in. He just stood in the kitchen and sipped his milk from his cup.

Jim went into the bedroom and came back with several pillows and a blanket dragging behind him like a cape. "Come on. You can be my first officer."

That was much better than being a Romulan, Spock decided. He finished his milk and began to help. Soon, they had a sound structure supported by two dining chairs.

"Ah! Tell me, Commander Spock, what do you see?" Jim asked from inside the fort.

Spock pocked his head out from inside the fort and looked towards the kitchen, the seating area, and the closed bedroom door.

"Nothing."

"Yes, you do." Jim whispered urgently. "Say you see an enemy vessel."

"I see an enemy vessel." Spock said monotonously.

"Hm…oh no! Spock! I think you're being impersonated by an enemy!" Jim grabbed a loose pillow and launched at him, swinging it at his head.

Spock understood that it was difficult to act out pretend war with only two people if they were going to be on the same side, but he did not want to fight back. It was easy to dodge all of Jim's attacks, and when they did hit, it was only a pillow, and it did not hurt.

"Ah! Take that you Romulan!" Jim brought the pillow down roughly on Spock's head.

Spock stumbled back and fell flat onto a cushion. It was easy to play dead, as all he had to do was lie very still and breathe through his nose. It was like meditation.

"Spock." Jim nudged Spock's foot with his own. "Spock, get up."

Spock felt Jim poke him in the stomach, the arm, and the ear. The last one tickled slightly, but Spock did not move. Then, he felt Jim's hand on the side of his head.

As Jim's palm crossed his psi-point, Spock's mind immediately reacted. It was suddenly alight with the same bright gold it was during his most content. Spock gasped and opened his eyes as he simultaneously felt Jim's hand feeling for his heartbeat on the wrong side of his body. That really did tickle.

Spock sat up and pulled back, wrapping his arms around his middle where he could feel his heart hammering, as well as the phantom feeling of tickle. His face was burning, and there was still gold behind his eyelids when he blinked.

"Jesus, I thought you were really dead. Hey, are you okay? Your face is all green."

"I think my body was not designed to ingest cow milk." Spock squeaked, getting up and running to the bathroom.

He vomited in the toilet before laying on the cool tile floor. Jim opened the door and laid one of the blankets over Spock.

"You want me to go get your mom?" Jim asked.

Spock said nothing. He just curled beneath the blanket and focused on the color in his mind that was fading from gold to its usual pale grey.

He heard the front door open, and a few moments later, Jim returned with Spock's mother. He felt her cool hand on his face.

"Oh dear. You're so warm. Come on, time to have a rest at home." She pulled him up to his feet. Spock still felt a tad dizzy as he followed her out, Jim's blanket still around his shoulders.

"Hey, Spock." Jim called softly from where he sat on their dismantled blanket fort. "If you're feeling better tomorrow, I know where we can go look for some animals outside."

Spock felt a rush of excitement, and as he flopped down onto his cot in their room and fell asleep, his mind pulsed once more with gold.

The weather was warm for Spock's remaining time on Earth. Jim and Spock looked for creatures the next day and put them in a metal coffee can they'd gotten from Jim's mother. They only managed four beetles and a worm.

At one point, Spock caught a lizard, but nearly screamed when its tail broke off in his hand. He felt unbelievably sad at the thought of having hurt it, until he recalled that the lizard's tail would grow back.

When they got bored of outside (well, when Jim got bored) they switched to playing chess indoors. Spock was surprised that Jim knew how to play, and even more surprised that he was very good. When they wanted an audience, they switched to playing the electronic version on Spock's PADD so Spock's parents could watch. Spock knew Jim just wanted someone to see that he was winning majority of the games.

Before he even realized, it was Spock's final day on Earth. He tried to have no emotion about it, but Jim certainly did.

"I don't wanna go back to stupid Riverside and stupid school." He grumbled as they swung in sync at the playground.

Spock also felt that his courses would pale in comparison to his firsthand experience of Earth. There were still so many things he hadn't seen, and so many questions he had for Jim.

"Only three more months till summer, though." Jim smiled and swung higher.

"Yes."

Spock did not get summer break, but he would get a break from his courses if he finished his current level before level four courses started. That would be possible with a lot of hard work. Then he could see Jim and the Earth again.

"When you come back, maybe we can go to the beach! Or the museum. They have a whale skeleton, and it's real!"

Spock's heart soared to match his physical height as he swung higher. This was not simply a companionship from the convenience of being the only two children at the hotel. Were they actually…friends? Would Jim say the word?

"Watch this! Bet I can go farther than you!" Jim let go of the swing at its highest point. He sailed through the air and landed on his feet. "Oh, I just thought of something else, too! At the arcade, you get extra tokens if you bring a friend."

Inspired, Spock held his breath as the swing went higher. At the top, he let go.

He saw Jim smile widely, and Spock felt completely exhilarated. He soared through the air unhinged.

"Wee…" He whispered.

A second later, there was a deafening crunch as Spock landed on his arm.

Spock knew the mental link he had with his father would flare at the sign that Spock was injured. Moments later, Sarek found Spock sitting on the ground holding his broken arm. He was trying desperately not to cry by focusing on Jim's voice. Jim was going on and on.

"Boy, why'd you have to go and do a stupid thing like that?" He chuckled.

Spock did not answer. He knew that saying "because you told me to" was not a logical answer. "Because I wanted to look cool and impress you" was even worse.

Sarek crossed the playground and carefully picked Spock up. Finally, in the safety of his father's arms, he could feel his natural Vulcan biology attempting to put him in a healing trance. He closed his eyes and rested his head against his father's shoulder.

When he opened his eyes, his arm was in a cast. He'd been given the medicine to mend his bone, but still, he would have to have the cast for a while.

The shuttle ride home would be quite itchy.

Amanda and Sarek packed Spock's things for him. He sat on the bed his parents had shared and looked out the window. He could see the playground down below. Though the equipment was a bit too juvenile for him, he would miss there actually being something to do outside.

There was a soft knock at the door.

"Hey." Jim poked his head in. He was dressed in his coat and had a backpack over his shoulder. "I just wanted to see you again before we left. How's your arm?"

"Healing." Spock replied. "We are also leaving soon."

"You have a cast? Can I sign it?" Jim seemed to perk up.

"Sign it?" Spock thought that practice seemed outdated, seeing as broken limbs were so easily fixed with modern medicine, and there was no need for casts to stay on very long. Nevertheless, he nodded.

Jim fished around in his backpack and found some of the coloring pens they'd used days before when making crafts. Spock was exceptional at origami. Jim was exceptional at decorating Spock's origami with markers.

Spock held out his arm, and Jim stepped closer. He shyly covered what he was writing with his free hand, before stepping back.

Spock turned his head to the side to read it.

Get well soon! – Jim

Spock raised a quizzical eyebrow at the foreign symbol at the end, but as he looked up to ask Jim what it was, he saw that Jim had picked up Spock's PADD from the bed.

"Can I put my name in? I can send you pictures of cows and stuff from the farm?"

Spock nodded, and there was the beep of a successful added contact.

"Jim, your mother is here. She says you're leaving now." Amanda opened the bedroom door.

"Okay. Thanks." Jim put Spock's PADD back on the bed and picked up his backpack. "I guess I better get going."

Spock followed him to the front door where Winona Kirk was waiting with Sam. She smiled at Jim and reached out to ruffle his hair before looking to Spock.

"Thank you for watching after my son. I know he is a bit of a handful."

"I am not!" Jim piped up.

"It was no inconvenience." Spock said. He appreciated how she seemed to talk to him like she would an adult, and not a child.

"Well, that's a pleasant surprise to hear." She laughed. "Goodbye, and thanks for your hospitality." She looked up to Spock's parents over his shoulder.

"Bye, Spock." Jim waved and help up the ta'al. Spock was so surprised that Jim had taken the time to learn something Vulcan, that a small smile slipped onto his face.

"Goodbye, Jim."

He watched them go down the hall to the elevator, and then he was gone. Spock felt strange inside. Lonelier than he ever had before, even though he was now just as he'd been when they arrived, only now with a cast on one arm.

"Time for us to get ready to go to, Hun." Amanda placed her hand on Spock's shoulder.

It had been his left arm he'd broken, so luckily, Spock had his dominant arm to type with as he sat on the shuttle with his PADD in his lap. He thought of the snow and the sudden climate change to warmer weather that brought out insects.

It was all so fascinating, but he could not think of any observations to make about them that hasn't already been said in one of his books. Instead, he decided to finish his work on a previous subject.

TERRA RESEARCH

By Spock

Subject: Jim Kirk.

Jim Kirk is exceptionally imaginative, being able to craft scenarios in which he has no prior experience. Example; he was able to mimic the sound and movement of an attacking shark in the pool despite never seeing a shark before.

He'd written more than he'd realized, when he finally looked up and realized both his parents were asleep. He yawned, but decided that his work was more important than sleep.

Apparently, he had not factored in the time change. When they arrived home on Vulcan, it was nearing two in the morning. The sky was darker than Spock recalled, having got used to the Terran moon.

"What about I-Chaya?" Spock asked, stifling a yawn as they walked in the front door. The comforting familiar smell of his home had grown stale in their absence.

"It is too late to get him from the shelter. I will do it tomorrow. For now, you must go to sleep. You have school tomorrow." Sarek said.

"Yes, Father."

Spock went to his room and unpacked his backpack. He changed into his sleeping clothes and climbed into bed. It was strangely cold without the sehlat. Spock hear a chime, and realized it was his PADD. He picked it up from the nightstand.

Hey! This is Jim! We just got back about an hour ago. My mom said you guys won't get to Vulcan until really late tonight, but I wanted to send you this picture anyways. Rosie says hello!

Below the message was a picture of a gentle looking black and white cow. Its muzzle was pink, and it had very small horns on its head. Jim stood beside it, his face pressed to its flank as if it were a pet.

In the private darkness of his room, Spock managed another smile.

He saved the picture to his PADD before uploading it into the research he was writing. He wanted to say something about it, but he was quite sleepy, and couldn't seem to find very profound words.

Subject Jim Kirk, as well as Rosie the cow seem both to possess a certain trait or characteristic that I have only ever seen in Terran things: preciousness.

He did not know if that was the most professional term, but he would revise his research later. He laid in bed, attempting to get comfortable despite the cast, and closed his eyes. Tomorrow after school, he would be able to see I-Chaya again, as well we get his cast removed.

He could not wait to show Jim a picture of both of those things.

Amanda sat in front of the vanity in her and Sarek's bedroom and brushed out her hair. She hoped it was only her imagination that told her she was going grey. Well, that, and maybe the mirrors were faulty.

In the mirror's reflection, she could see her husband sitting cross-legged on the floor with his eyes closed.

Was he sleeping or meditating?

Sarek snored.

Ah, he was sleeping.

"Sarek, why don't you get in bed? It's late." Amanda said.

"You are not in bed." He pointed out.

"My body is still on Earth time. I told you, it's called jet lag." She smirked, knowing her husband was about to tear that sentence apart with logic.

Suddenly, there was a chime from her PADD in her bag by her feet. She took it out. It was from Spock. Why would Spock send her a message if he was only upstairs?

As she clicked it, she realized it was not a message, but a notification that Spock had uploaded something to the drive that the family shared.

"Our son is a published scientist." She chuckled.

"Did he write about the trip?" Sarek asked as he seemed to take Amanda's advice and get in bed.

"Yes. I bet this is all about those bugs he was collecting." She scrolled through the document, and her face began to redden. "Oh dear… I wonder if he realizes we can see what he wrote."

"About the earthworms?" Sarek asked.

"No… about Jim."

"Jim Kirk?"

"Yes, it seems that's the subject he chose to focus on. Not exactly science, but it is very cute." She decided to respect her son's privacy and close the document. After all, if he wanted them to read it, he would surely ask.

She climbed into bed beside Sarek and rolled over to him like she always did. He was like her own personal space heater.

"I'm so glad Spock has a friend." She told him. "Especially a human one. I know there's still time for the Vulcans in his class to warm up to him, but this way, he has someone to talk to that never thinks about the fact that he'd half of anything. He's just Spock."

"He is just Spock to us as well. I do not think of my son as anything negative."

"I didn't mean to imply you did!" Amanda reached for his hand under the blanket. "And you know I don't mean to say anything bad about the other Vulcans in his class."

"Their behavior is illogical. Bigotry comes from ignorance. They are all only children, but it is still a reflection of a flaw in our society if they do not accept Spock."

"Well, they'll have to once they see what a great scientist he becomes one day."

"Yes."

"Oh, Sarek, you've got to let Spock go back to Earth with you this summer. Jim will be off school, and they can see each other again."

"What about Spock's school work?"

"I'm sure you can work something out." She squeezed his hand. "This is so important for him. It's the first time someone seems to see what a special boy he is. Jim even drew a little heart on Spock's cast! Oh, Sarek, say you'll take Spock with you!"

"Alright." Sarek knew once Amanda wanted something, then he had to do everything he could to make it happen. "I will take Spock with me next time."

"Really?"

"Yes."

"Promise?" She yawned and closed her eyes.

"Yes, Ashayam. I promise."