At six o'clock their mummies and daddies,
Will take them home to bed,
Because they're tired little teddy bears.
Though it was early the next morning, Sascek wasn't suffering from a lack of sleep. In fact, he felt suffused with well being, and he hurried to the kitchen before the rest of the staff would normally be there, to see T'Jar, who as T'Rueth's assistant arose first.
She looked up as he entered, and though she wasn't smiling, her face glowed. "Sascek!"
He was suddenly shy. "T'Jar…did you rest well?"
"I could not rest at all," she confessed. "My thoughts were full."
"Do you still--"
"Yes. Do you?" she asked anxiously.
"Of course. We must tell our parents."
"But we cannot tell them everything," she replied, appalled.
T'Rueth entered the kitchen and both Vulcans greeted her. "You are here early, Sascek," she noted. "Breakfast is not yet ready."
"I will come back," Sascek said, giving T'Jar a meaningful look.
"I will just inquire of the Lady Amanda and Sarek what they would like," T'Jar said, and made good her escape.
"Let us call our parents now," Sascek whispered, when the door had safely closed behind them.
"But, I must--"
"If we do not do so now, we will have to wait for this evening, and another day will pass before we can make arrangements to be bonded. And I cannot wait long, T'Jar."
"Being unbonded did not stop you before," she teased.
"Very well. We can use Sarek's office," she whispered. "There is a communications unit there. And it will be private."
Hand in hand the two Vulcans hurried off.
Sarek, meanwhile, had been dressing, eyeing his still sleeping wife and not being especially quiet about his movements. But when that ploy failed to awaken her, he was forced to use other methods to rouse a wife who was just as determinedly trying to stay asleep. "Amanda?"
She responded by rolling herself in the sheet. "Just a few more minutes."
Sarek sat down on the edge of the bed and spoke to her mummified length. "It is time to arise."
"It can't be morning. I just went to bed a few hours ago."
"'It is the lark, the herald of the morn," Sarek quoted teasingly. "'Night's candles are burnt out.'"
"Go away, Romeo," the sheet intoned. "Your Juliet has shuffled off this mortal coil. Expired from an overdose of Federation politics. Always lethal in excess. You knew the dangers. Go away, shut the door and weep for me, past hope, past care, past help.1"
"You always say this after every party," Sarek said, "and yet, you will rise again. With a little persuasion. Another of my taxing chores as bondmate."
The sheet rolled itself up a little tighter. "Ning was telling me just last night that when she metamorphosized into her adult state, she wrapped herself in a cocoon and slept for three months. Three months. She said it was heavenly. I think I want to be a Helio being."
"Unfortunately, you are not a Helio being. And you have six classes to teach today. You will need to be wrapped in something more than a sheet." Sarek tugged on the end of the sheet and deftly unrolled her with a snap of the wrist. "And though emerged from her chrysalis, she is yet quite human," he remarked, and tickled her toes with a finger.
She regarded him darkly, unmoved, and restrained herself from delivering a swift kick and taking that smug look right off his face. She would never actually do it, but oh what a tempting thought. No one had a right to be so awake and so amused after so short a night. "I have never been less impressed with your questionable sense of humor."
As if picking up her thought, he encircled her slender ankle with a firmly restraining hand. "Regardless--"
"I must have done something very bad in a previous life. Murder. Or worse. It is cruel and unusual punishment to expect me not only to give your dinner parties, but also expect me to get up the next morning and teach after such a shortened night. Surely I deserve a day of vacation."
"So you always say. But, as you know, Vulcans do not take vacations. And as you teach at the VSA--"
"Do you know that if I had stayed on Terra, married some human, and taught there, I'd get three days off every seven? Three whole days? Plus six weeks of vacation a Terran year. What have you to say to that, you tyrannical slave driver?"
"You have repeatedly stated your love for teaching. You should thus be grateful to me, for providing you an environment where you can indulge in it daily." Sarek raised a brow, but gave as good as he got. "To put it in human terms, I did you a favor in marrying you." But at that, he drew back, prudently out of kicking range.
"Oh, that does it. You're insufferable." She took her pillow from behind her head and flung it at him, and when he raised an arm to ward it off, launched herself at the opening in his guard. He went back under the force of her assault, but soon captured her and rolled her over.
True to most hostilities, the warfare escalated, and both were so engaged they neither heard the tinkle of the door harp on the outer suite or T'Jar's light tap. Amanda had just laid possession to the principle weapon, and lambasted her husband, refusing to let go even when Sarek grappled for it and tugged, forgetting his great strength. The pillow ripped with a tearing sound and T'Jar walked in on her astonished employers to the accompaniment of a burst of micro down. She stared from the down clusters flying through the air to the wreck of the room, sheets and pillows tossed everywhere, and her employers, one flushing red human, naked as the day born, and one green tinged Vulcan, dressed but with his clothing plastered with sticky down.
Sarek recovered first. "T'Jar, your mistress could use some tea." When the girl didn't move, still staring, astonished in her turn, he added, "Now," in the emphatic mode, and rose to his feet, his mein and manner every inch a clan leader regardless of the questionable circumstances.
"That does it," Amanda sat up amid a small flurry of down particles after T'Jar had fled. She was half amused, half dismayed. "We have permanently shattered that girl's Vulcan illusions. And it is all your fault."
"You were the one refusing to awaken--"
Outside there was a roaring of servo vehicles and a crash of a lift gate letting down. "Oh, no," Amanda moaned and flung the sheet over her head again, setting off a small down storm. "Not again."
Sarek rose to his feet, set the suite's air handling controls to 'filter', and looked out the windows. "They are dismantling--"
"I don't care, make them stop. That's no herald of the morn I can deal with. I'm going to go back to sleep."
"Amanda, you will feel better when you have some tea," Sarek said, trying futilely to brush off his clothes and realizing he would have to entirely change.
"I'll feel better after at least two more hours of sleep. Can't you arrange that, oh deistic one? You said you were a god."
Sarek looked from his wife, cocooned again, to his clothing, hopelessly down-spattered, and reflected that if he were a god, his supernatural powers lacked some efficacy. At another crash from outside, and a moan from his enshrouded wife, he changed swiftly and left to take matters in his own hand.
T'Jar ran down the stairs, her face bright green with embarrassment, and ran smack into Sascek.
"You --!" she sputtered.
She caught hold of her tongue, reflecting that things had changed. True he was Sascek, forever underfoot and always where he was least wanted. But he was to be her promised bondmate now. "You startled me."
"Has something happened? Your color…"
She blushed anew. "Sarek and the Lady Amanda…"
"Did they ask you about last night?"
"No. They were – I walked in--"
He correctly deduced her embarrassment. "T'Jar do not speak of anything that would violate their privacy--"
"Oh, they were not kissing. They were – in some sort of altercation--"
"A pillow had ripped and feathers were everywhere and--"
Sascek's brow cleared. "They were not fighting, T'Jar."
"No? But the room was so …disordered and …"
"It is only a game they play. Usually it is with words only, but even I have heard--" he hesitated, embarrassed in turn. When he'd heard them 'fighting' before, he and T'Rueth had shielded T'Jar from the facts, considering her too young.
"They were …playing?" Her voice rose in astonishment as she considered what she'd seen.
"Softly, T'Jar!" Sascek drew her back into Sarek's office, and closed the door. "I think you will find, when you take them their breakfast, they are as they always are with each other."
"They were playing?" she said, amazed. "Only playing. Like pre-Kahs Wan children." She shook her head, thinking she had something else to consider.
"T'Jar, I have a healer on the comm to discuss bonding arrangements.
"Very well, but I will have to be quick," T'Jar said, looking at the door. "I have to hurry to get them tea."
"They will undoubtedly be grateful for a few moments to compose themselves," Sascek said dryly.
She shrugged in tacit agreement to that, and went to join Sascek at the comm console.
Holding the tray precisely level in his hands, Sarek shouldered the door to their suite prudently closed.
She sighed and shifted under the sheet, throwing it aside, and sitting up, rubbing her eyes. "I know, I know. I'm getting up."
Sarek put the tray on the bed. He had retrieved the tray from a blushing T'Jar, reflecting to spare them both another too soon encounter at the scene of the crime. Even though he felt sure of keeping his own countenance, Amanda – and even T'Jar, were far less likely to do so. But when he had entered his office to make a critical call, what he had seen on the floor had almost disturbed his own equilibrium. A fragment of microdown. And when he went to make the call, there, on his communications console, had been another fragment of down. Even his office was no longer his own. He shook his head minutely, human style, and shelved that concern for the moment. But he had determined at that development that he would speak to the …culprits. But first, his wife… "Unfortunately, I cannot make or create time for you. But as a substitute…"
"Oh! Caffeine! With sugar. Sure to jumpstart even the most sluggish human." She took a sip, sighed, and looked at him innocently. "The nectar of the gods. Thank you. You have some microdown in your hair." She plucked it out and added, "and on your tunic and on--"
"It wasn't there when I went down," Sarek said. "I changed."
"Just keep telling yourself that, dear, it will help save your Vulcan image. In your own eyes at least. And I think you're going to have to change again."
"You are quite wicked."
"Me? Who ripped the pillow? That wasn't me."
"You started it. You helped."
Amanda laughed. "You sound about five years old. Someday, my husband we really must grow up."
"And you must get up."
"I know. I'm coming back to life with every sip." Her eyes widened. "Sarek! It's quiet! What happened to the crash and boom gang?"
"I stopped them."
"You did? I take it all back. You are a god. The god of all gods Vulcan. I bow at your feet. Or will, when I get up. How did you manage it?"
"I called the distributor and notified them that we would keep the lighting system."
"I told you I fancied the fairy lights." He said, unperturbed.
Sarek tilted his head, considering. "How did my human wife put it last night in reference to another illogical item? I like them. They're pretty. I want to keep them."
"Sarek, you are hanging around me much too much," she said, eying him warily. "You're starting to scare me. Say something logical quickly. Or I may be forced to call T'Pau for an intervention."
He just raised a brow. "If we keep them, we will not have to listen to that racket with every party preparation. And every tear down."
Amanda nodded her head. "Well, that is true. And logical. Quite brilliant in fact."
"You really are insufferable."
"Let us not go there. We have already destroyed your pillow."
"What is this we business? It was you who--"
"Amanda, if you do not arise now, and dress quickly, you will not have time for breakfast."
"I've had a breakfast," she said, indicating her cup.
"A proper breakfast is not composed of caffeine and sugar."
"All right, spoilsport, I'm up, I'm up." Amanda proved it by getting to her feet. And then sank to her knees, in a salaam. "Thank you for the tea, oh, great one, god of gods." She backed away towards the bath.
"Must I ensure you stay up by escorting you down to breakfast?"
"I knew this had something to do with breakfast," she said, reappearing. "You must be starving after missing dinner last night."
Sarek didn't comment. Which Amanda took as assent. Dressing as casually as her position as teacher allowed, and merely plaiting her hair, she was ready in record time, not incidentally hurried along by Sarek's air of barely repressed patience. "There, do we still have time for a 'proper' breakfast?"
"A short one," Sarek said, reflecting that at least this was one meal that would not be interrupted by his trysting staff.
But the trysting staff had other ideas. "We have to tell them," Sascek insisted. "We have told our families, they are logically the next who must know. Aside from the traditional aspects of their being our clan leaders and employers, and the implicit disrespect if they are not the next to be informed, there is also the more practical aspects of appropriate housing."
"You don't understand. It isn't just that Sarek noticed us last night-- "
"We do not know that--"
"But also this morning, I--"
"I told you as a personal attendant one sees things. One doesn't ever look. Or notice. Or comment."
"And I am sure, when he took the tray from me, he knew we had been in his office--"
"He could not."
"You are merely troubled by all that has happened. As soon as we tell them, you will be more at ease."
"Oh, this is not the way things go in books," T'Jar moaned as he took her hand firmly in his.
"This is not more of your Terran fiction, T'Jar," he hissed back, and led her to their employers.
Sarek saw the ….lovers…approaching the terrace table, and figuratively threw in the towel. He was beginning to believe he would never take a meal uninterrupted in his household again. Or would he…
Though less than pleased at missing another meal, far from being the interview T'Jar had dreaded, Sarek took the news of the impending nuptials with something akin to relief. Here at last was a situation he could handle, and a possible solution to his recent troubles. After expressing the appropriate gratified acknowledgement of their union, and allowing a stunned Amanda to do the same, he swiftly raised the subject of appropriate quarters. Fortunately the Fortress had ample room for such accommodations, and he soon settled it that they could occupy a commodious suite, with room for suitable ….expansion of family… and even a patch of garden, in a far distant wing. Far distant. In fact, as far distant as Sarek could arrange and still be in the fortress proper. With the most…critical… rooms facing the mountains, and not the inner court. Where sounds would be least likely to carry.
"That is most generous, Sarek," Sascek said gratefully. As head of Amanda's security detail, he was a most important retainer, but the proposed accommodations rivaled anything he might have expected.
"Naturally it has a full and complete kitchen," Sarek said blandly. "For …late night …snacks."
Sascek and T'Jar both froze, neither looking at the other. Amanda gave them, and him a puzzled look. "Snacks? What an odd thing to --"
"In addition, it is close to the fortress boundaries," Sarek said casually, not answering her. "With the accompanying population of wildlife nearby. But you will not be disturbed by such creatures, no matter how loud their nighttime cries."
"N-No, of course not," Sascek stuttered, a flush washing over his features, while T'Jar turned bright green.
"That's right," Amanda remarked, for once, slow on the uptake, probably from sleep deprivation. "I remember hearing something last night--"
Sarek overrode that comment. "And of course it has full communication facilities, so those need never be …borrowed elsewhere…in future."
T'Jar gave a strangled moan, and only Sascek's hand firm behind her back kept her in place.
"No, indeed," Sascek said.
This time Amanda looked truly puzzled. "Communication facil--"
"Then I trust these arrangements will be suitable to all involved," Sarek said, with grateful relief and dismissed them. He was short a breakfast, but he hoped he had won the war.
"What was all that about?" Amanda asked, bemused. "That was the strangest combination of amenities I've ever heard mention relative to an apartment.
"It seemed appropriate in this situation," Sarek said dryly and regretfully regarded the remainder of his breakfast, that even by wolfing – as Amanda called it – he could not finish.
She looked at him closely. "You weren't at all surprised by their announcement, were you?"
"I suspected something of the sort," Sarek said casually.
"You did? How did you know?"
Sarek glanced at her, and considered her teasing of yesterday. Perhaps being short of breakfast brought out something equally inestimable in him. "A little bird told me."
She made a face, miffed. "Sarek. Come on, tell me. How did you know? I never suspected at all – I never even saw a glance pass between them--"
"No," Sarek agreed wryly. "Not a glance. Certainly"
Amanda was still clueless. "Then how--"
"I told you that Surak's heirs had omniscient characteristics, my wife."
She sat back, frustrated. "Which means you aren't going to tell me."
"Perhaps, some day, when you are more …grown up," Sarek suggested.
"Can it be Vulcan to enjoy teasing your wife?"
"My wife is an incorrigible tease. And thus deserves such treatment in kind," Sarek returned equably. "And as two can play at these games…"
"Are we playing a game?" she asked, giving him an arch look.
"When are we ever not?" he teased in turn. ""Perhaps you can invent a religion, my wife and ask those gods."
"Oh, indeed? Perhaps next party you can deal with T'Rueth yourself."
Even the tactician, Sarek decided to quit while he was well ahead. "It is time for us to go, my wife. "You will be late for the Academy. And I for Council."
Amanda drew a breath, but Sarek had already taken her hand and drawn her to her feet.
Sascek and T'Jar stood in the attached garden of their new apartment. "It is beautiful," T'Jar said, enraptured. "Room enough even for you, huge as you are, to walk about without encumbrance. And a study for me to read. And one for you, to clean your interminable weapons."
"T'Jar," Sascek said. "Sarek could not have been more plain that our… trespasses were to cease."
"Oh, yes, we will never use his office again," T'Jar said, busy with other concerns. The apartment was lovely, but she already had designs on one of the hill farms. "And the kitchen in this apartment is more than adequate." Her eyes narrowed, as she watched Sarek and Amanda walk the path to the hanger, foreshortened into tiny, and far less formidable figures by distance, "but I still have my library pass. My lady said nothing about rescinding that. And I will read."
Sascek sighed and resigned himself to that. And then thinking of the rewards, considered that perhaps it was not at all a bad compromise.
Amanda was the least satisfied of the four, and she paused on the way out the gate. "Sarek, you are really being unfair. Why won't you tell me? How did you know?"
"If I were Vulcan, wouldn't I know as well?"
He looked down at her and considered. It was true, and she did have a point at that. Well aware she'd scored one, and never shy to claim an advantage, she raised a brow in challenge. "I will get it out of you one way or another," she warned.
Conceding that fact with a flick of his own brow, he bent his head and whispered in her ear.
Her eyes widened. "They did what!"
"Softly, my wife!" Sarek said, and taking her hand, hustled her down the path.
September – November, 2005
By Pat Foley
Inspired by Sascek and T'Jar,
Sarek and Amanda,
And Phyllis McGinley's
Eros in the Kitchen
(with profuse apologies in that regard to T'Rueth, the cook of record)
Teddy Bear Picnic.
Dedicated to those who agreed that Sascek and T'Jar should hook up,
And those who wrote and told me they "fangirl" Sascek.
Teddy Bear Picnic, words by Jimmy Kennedy, music by John K. Bratton 1907
McGinley,Phyllis, "Eros in the kitchen", Times Three, Vantage Press, NY 1960
1 Shakespeare, William, Romeo and Juliet