Disclaimer: Star Trek belongs to its respective owners. I am not one of them.
Hello~ Sorry about the wait. I've been caught in the middle of two moves. One back to the parents house (haha) and one to Albuquerque (it'll be an adventure, that's for sure) at the beginning of next month. So updates might be a tad slow. But they are still coming! Thank you so much for your patience, support and feedback! I really appreciate it! You guys are awesome! :D
Thank yous to Geeky BMWW Fan for the beta!! And to Hepburn for the ever awesome helpful ideas. :D
Even in the cover of night, Amari Uhura knew the front porch like the back of her hand. She knew precisely where to step and exactly how to move to insure that only the slight shuffling of her feet could be heard.
Sure her father was a heavy sleeper, but it was better to be safe than 'grounded until you're married'.
Amari paused after resting her feet on the soft welcome mat in front of the entrance door. She checked her wrist watch. It was thirty-five minutes past midnight.
The sliding of the card key and the subtle opening and closing of the door was all that could be heard. When it came to stealth and ambiguity, Amari was a professional.
Her home's familiarity greeted her; all was to be expected. The house was completely silent. Moonlight was seeping in from the front windows to add illumination to the kitchen and dining room, and the faint smell of what she had missed for dinner hung in the air.
Now it was time to trudge up the stairs in a completely silent fashion. Like clockwork.
But before she could place one foot forward, the blaring overhead lights from the kitchen flipped on, showcasing a tall, lanky man with strange eyebrows staring back at her.
In a matter of milliseconds, one of Amari's hands was over her heart in utter and dumbfounded shock, while the other was splayed across the wall behind her.
Surprisingly enough, no one flew down the stairs to see what the commotion was about. But after her outburst, Amari watched the stairs momentarily just in case her father came tumbling down them.
After a second of waiting, Amari turned to the stranger in her home. "Who are you!?"
"I have deducted that you are Amari Uhura. Are you not?"
"Uh... yes... " Thankfully Amari wasn't dumb. Though naturally she was surprised to see a Vulcan standing in her very own kitchen interrogating her. "Wait a minute. You're not..." Her eyes widened. "You are! You're the guy that Nyota brought home!"
"Yes, I am."
"So you know my name, what's yours?"
Apparently Amari's bright enthusiasm could not penetrate the sleep-deprived haze the Vulcan was currently experiencing.
"Well, Spock, it's nice to meet you. If only these were, heh, normal circumstances." Who was she kidding? For the past two weeks, getting home past midnight was normal. "Let me guess, dad put you in the den?" It was meant to be a joke. Spock blinked at her.
Amari merely remained planted in the entryway, gawking at the man that was supposedly holding her sister's romantic interest. Right then and there she admired Nyota for her patience, among many other overlooked attributes she seemed to have possessed.
The silence between the entryway and the kitchen grew massive.
Amari finally piped up, "Well, I uh... Should be going to bed." But before Spock could turn around, she managed to say, "And about the whole me getting home late thing, how about that stays our secret?" She managed to provide the cheekiest, toothiest grin.
The answer she received was in the form of a raised eyebrow, and from Amari's standpoint, it would suffice.
"Lala salama, Spock!" She offered before heading up the stairs.
However, once she set foot in the long hallway, Amari didn't slink into her own room. Instead, she quietly slipped into her sister's.
It took Nyota half a minute to register that someone was standing above her bed, prodding her lightly.
Nyota then sat up abruptly and turned on the bedside lamp.
"Amari!?" She then grinned. It had been far too long since she had seen her baby sister. Once Amari had taken a seat on the bed, the two sisters hugged.
"So... I just ran into Spock," Amari practically spat out with a grin.
"Huh? Oh wait," Nyota took out her earplugs and then smiled. "Sorry, I didn't quite hear you."
Amari stared at the blue gel in Nyota's hand. "Since when did you start using those?"
"Oh, at the academy my roommate Gaila was very..." Nyota paused while staring at her hands momentarily. Rather than continuing, she placed the earplugs on the pillow beside her. "You know what? Let's just forget about that."
Amari was far too curious about Spock to pursue anything else. "So... I just met Spock in the kitchen!"
"What? Why were you two in the kitchen?" Nyota glanced sideways at her bedside clock. "Does dad know you got in late?"
"Uh no! And he won't find out." Nyota raised an eyebrow at that, and Amari couldn't help but notice the shared similarity between her sister and the Vulcan. "Anyway, as far as dad knows, I was home by eleven. That's my curfew."
"Eleven?!" Nyota gasped. Amari shushed her, she still didn't want to wake her parents. "Since when?"
"Since my grades were good!"
"Oh yeah? My grades were good too, but I was lucky with ten!"
Amari shrugged. It was a classic example of the youngest getting away with more, and she hardly wanted to dwell on the subject. "Anyway! What about Spock... he seems... really... nice." She then smiled brightly.
Nyota was off in a dreamy state. "Yeah, I know..."
"He scared me half to death! You have no idea what it's like to have those eyebrows staring at you from out of the darkness." Amari then chuckled heartily but then stopped herself since it was starting to get a little too loud.
"We met at the academy. He taught a few of my classes, and provided many lectures, and well..." Nyota shrugged, leaving the rest to obscurity.
"How romantic." Amari actually meant it. She could only imagine that scenario, and in her eighteen year-old mind, it was awfully dreamy.
"And now, we've been assigned to the same ship. I'm the communications officer..."
Amari interjected. "On Starfleet's flagship. Congratulations, by the way."
Nyota nodded. "Thank you. And he is... the First Officer."
"Wow. That's so exciting!" Amari then flipped onto her stomach and propped her head up on her closed fists. "I can only imagine."
Both sisters remained silent as they visualized their own personal fantasy land. Nyota had butterflies in her stomach knowing she would see Spock the following morning and that he was sharing a brief stay with her family. It was a big step in the right direction as far she was concerned. And now all she wanted was to be snuggled in his arms while watching as the stars of known and unknown galaxies shone above them.
Amari on the other hand was imaging what it would be like to actually live on a starship and be flung into awe inspiring adventure. Not to mention what it would be like to cuddle up to the Captain on lonely nights.
She was lucky enough to have seen stilled images of the Enterprise's new, young captain. Needless to say, he was easy on the eyes. James T. Kirk, wasn't it? Amari made a mental note to ask about him very soon.
A contented sigh escaped Amari's lips. "Nyota, I have something to tell you..." Her tone was surprisingly serious, which Nyota honed in on, breaking her from her Spock-filled reverie.
"Yes, what is it?"
Amari sat up and returned to sitting on the bed, but making sure she was still in arms-length of her sister. She then took Nyota's hand. "I just wanted to thank you."
"For what?" Nyota was searching her sister's face, but coming up short with what the matter was pertaining to.
"No matter what I do... Whether I crash dad's car, or get kicked out of University ... or," Amari squeezed Nyota's hand gently, "Or burn down this house in some wild and crazed flammable accident..." Nyota was hanging on her every word, "I will never be the one who brought home the Vulcan."
Amari was already up and off the bed before Nyota had a chance to throw something at her.
"See you in the morning!"
Spock awoke at exactly 6:45am, his body in tune with his natural internal clock. He woke up craving the outdoors, fresh air and a moment of solitude before the rest of the household rose for the day.
After walking out the back door, which he had become familiar with from yesterday's jaunt playing basketball, he found himself staring out east at the rising sun.
In Spock's mind, when it pertained to Earth, nothing could challenge the beauty of the planet's sunrises. The vivid colors and hues intertwining to create a seismic union was a wonderful sight to behold for those who had not grown up on Earth's surface. Vulcan had once had unrivaled sunsets, but the majesty of Earth's rising new day was nothing short of grandiose.
Kenya's sunrises were spectacular. The sandy ground coupled with the acacia and beechwood trees created a picturesque expanse that Spock stood to marvel at. Even during the dry season, Uhura's home country was out of the ordinary.
The dry heat actually was comparable to the higher and thin atmosphere of Vulcan he had grown accustomed to. It was surprisingly comforting.
He closed his eyes briefly and took in a deep breath. His evening meditation had been challenging the night before; it was time to begin his day properly.
"Beautiful, isn't? It's something I'll never get tired of seeing."
M'Umbha walked out onto the back porch and stood beside him. "I love coming out here in the morning."
"I can certainly understand why," Spock said quietly.
"Did you sleep well?" After she received a slow nod, she added, "I already have breakfast started and coffee. Though, I don't know many Vulcans who are fond of it."
"The caffeinated stimulus is ... quite an undertaking." In all honesty, Spock wondered how human immune systems undertook so much stimulation from food and beverages. "If you have herbal tea..."
"Oh, I have many. And I think rooibos will be to your liking." M'Umbha patted him on the arm. "Whenever you're ready to come inside, I'll set it out for you."
"Thank you, M'Umbha." Spock was distant. He was still mentally picking up the pieces of the traumatic experience that had swallowed up his life momentarily and he was already in motion to put those pieces back together. Still, he couldn't help but feel more than appreciative toward Uhura for keeping him grounded.
She, along with her family, was helping him out more than she would have been able to comprehend.
Spock sensed M'Umbha was standing at the open door.
"Spock... I just wanted you to know, that despite all that you've gone through," She paused as she watched him turn to look at her with his clouded eyes, "you are more than welcome here. And if you need anything,... please let me know."
He nodded and a slight smile tugged at his mouth. "I am truly appreciative of your hospitality, M'Umbha. I thank you."
After that, Spock followed her back inside and sat at the kitchen table to try his rooibos tea.
"It's a redbush tea, native to South Africa," M'Umbha informed him.
"The name is reminiscent of Dutch etymology... "
M'Umbha was highly impressed. But when it came to him, in her opinion, there was an endless list to be highly impressed with. "Very good. The name is derived from rooibosch."
After serving Spock a plate of local fruit, she made sure to comment, "I'm planning on making a couple Vulcan dishes. If that's alright with you."
Mid-sip, Spock looked up in surprise. "That would be... delightful."
"Though I promise no more roast," M'Umbha chuckled. "I noticed how polite you were in avoiding it last night. I'm glad no one brought it up because Stanley would have said something. Something that may or may not have been to your liking." She then laughed and shook her head at her incredulous husband.
"Discreetly avoiding Earth customs has become an art to me, M'Umbha," Spock added humorously.
"Any special Vulcan food you're fond of? I once made T'Kal, a professor I am acquainted with, Plomeek broth. I have to say, the ingredients were difficult to acquire. And to be honest, it was kind of bland. Or so I thought…and since I don't use a replicator too often, I added my own spices. Apparently I ..." M'Umbha laughed. "Apparently I ruined it."
"I will be perfectly honest with you, I too often find Plomeek to taste bland. Leave it to my mother to introduce more effective ways of eating and preparing food."
M'Umbha nodded at that. "Leave it to any Earthling to want to spice something up."
"Good morning, good morning!" Stanley sauntered into the kitchen wearing a pristine uniform. He made sure to kiss his wife on the cheek before taking a seat at the kitchen table. "The girls are still asleep. Surprise surprise. Nyota's acting as though she's on vacation. And Amari doesn't seem to get up before noon anymore."
"It's those afternoon credits the high school offered to her," M'Umbha said.
Stanley made a face. "Yeah, that explains all the late nights. At least she's home at eleven."
Spock opened his mouth to inform Stanley that his daughter arrived much later than eleven. But he tentatively decided against it, instead he offered a, "Good morning, Stanley."
"Ah, Spock!" Stanley acted as though he was much more delighted to see him. "I've done you a favor. Oh by the way, how was the den?"
"Comfortable, thank you."
Stanley stared at his face for a moment. "Ok, ok good. My wife told me that Vulcans are bad liars. So I believe you."
"Stan!" M'Umbha chided. "That's not what I said!"
Stanley waved his hand as if to say 'forget about it', "Right so, Spock, my boy! Today is your lucky day. I've decided to take the day off so we can get to know each other better. In fact, I've scheduled us a golf game!"
"Oh Stanley, you're kidding." M'Umbha was shaking her head.
Spock held up his hand. "No, it is alright. I believe a golf game sounds... challenging."
Stanley grinned. "I knew you would say that!"
When Nyota stumbled out of bed, it was only nine. After staring at herself in her bedroom mirror for a good minute or so to make sure she looked as presentable as possible, she walked down stairs.
The entire downstairs area was quiet. "Mom? Dad? ... Spock?" A smile tugged at Nyota's mouth. She liked the sound of that.
She received no answer.
"Where is everyone?" Nyota walked into the kitchen and spied the plate of food her lovely mother had set out for her. After picking up a piece of fruit, she called out again, "Spock?"
It was silent.
Suddenly she heard a noise in the living room and Nyota bounded out of the kitchen. All she saw was her sister descending down the stairs, rubbing her eyes with one hand and patting her bed-head hair with the other.
"Oh it's just you," Nyota said flatly.
"Just me?" Amari looked mock-horrified. "Um, what happened to my nice sister? Oh that's right. She got a boyfriend."
Nyota's mouth was a grim line. "A boyfriend that ran off."
"It was only a matter of time," Amari said between yawns.
"Huh? A matter of time till what?"
"Till dad scared him off."
Nyota rolled her eyes and walked back into the kitchen, her sister followed closely behind and nearly pounced on the food that her mother had left out.
"Amari, he's a Starfleet officer, not some pushover!"
"Have you ever tried to push him over?" Amari asked between mouthfuls of potato pancake.
Nyota stared at her. "What?"
"Nothing..." Amari said as innocently as possible.
And that's when Nyota spotted it, the message her mother had left before leaving for the University. It was in shining blue letters on the illuminated message board that was attached to the refrigerator.
"Oh my God!"
Nyota swiveled around and faced her sister. "Dad took him golfing!"
"He's going to eat him alive! You know what he's like when he's golfing!"
Amari knew, she knew very well, in fact. It was an understatement to say her father was slightly competitive.
Simultaneously, Nyota and Amari whipped their heads to the framed photo that was on display near the kitchen. It was her father full-on yelling at a referee during one of Nyota's high school basketball games. And it was a game Nyota's team was winning.
"Dad's gonna eat him alive," Amari echoed. "You have to save him!"
"We! We have to save him!"
"Um... I'm busy today."
Nyota crossed her arms over her chest. "You owe me, Miss I-Got-Home-At-Eleven."
Amari narrowed her eyes. "You wouldn't."
"Get your keys!"
Whoot! Thank you again for reading! :D Please let me know what you think!