Spock's been living his whole life trying to balance being half-human, half-Vulcan; days and days and years and years of thinking about what it means to be just equally both. This continually proved difficult, as he grew up in a society that particularly looked down on humans and their nature to let their emotions run (or ruin, some might say) their lives.

He does, though, have distinct memories of his early childhood, memories that seem floating and distant; detached and like he was simply an observer, looking from the outside in.

While Vulcan children are not required to be quite as logical as their adult counterparts, by the age of 3 basic Vulcan heritage is ingrained. In town, it was rare to see a Vulcan child anywhere but beside his/her parents, arms perfectly at their sides, picture of pure obedience.

Spock, however, was different, in early education as much as he was in heritage. He didn't learn this discipline until he'd started school with other students.

He'd spent the first five years of so of his life at home, with his mother. His father was a figurehead to him then, still eyes and stoic expressions – he was hardly ever around because of work. Under his mother's guidance and early teachings, he'd received a fair balance – she'd dutifully teach and educate Spock on Surak and other Vulcan education, but he'd also spend his days in her garden, skipping around Earth-rose bushes and singing what he'd come to learn as an adult were Earth children's sonnets.

He remembers hugs and bright smiles. Tears after a nasty spill; finger-painting and listening to his mother read books to him before bed.

English, very few people knew, was actually Spock's first language, although he was able to pick up Vulcan within days at the urging of his father. However, he'd most often speak English in his home, despite the fact that his mother spoke passable Vulcan.

They fought about it, he knows, his parents did. Their quick, argumentative dialogues behind closed doors did not escape an inquisitive and observant child such as he. Even when he didn't quite understand what the argument itself was about, he knew it must be about the way he was glared at when walking down the street hand in hand with his mother, swinging arms and smiling up at her.

He knew it was because he smiled, he laughed, and the other Vulcan children did not do such things.

He knew he was different, despite his ears, and once he learned, fluency in Vulcan.

So, to quell that feeling, that feeling of "different" and "does not belong", Spock conformed, and by the time he'd finished his first year in schooling, he'd forgotten the feeling of lips sliding over teeth to expose a smile; the feeling of laughter tickling his throat.

His father's eyes had suddenly sparkled with pride while his mother's seemed to shine just a little less. A child, though, Vulcan or not, would not comprehend this change, not really. His mother very obviously still loved him, despite his lack of animation and boastfulness.

In time, he'd become his father's son, despite his loyalness to his mother.

She'd never smile the same way, but they'd love each other just as fiercely as they ever did.

During the first mission of the Enterprise (post-Nero), Nyota and he consummated their relationship for the first time.

"Consummated", he knew, was the clinical, Vulcan way of describing it.

What it was, though, was the first time he'd ever truly felt alive.

Under Nyota's gaze, under her kisses – as her fingers caressed his face, he felt closer to those childhood memories then he'd ever been. Gone was the haze, the feeling like he was dreaming of someone else's memories.

Being able to feel Nyota, both physically and through mental bonding, he could see her memories mirror his. It was, to put it rather "humanly", remarkable.

He loved being a Vulcan; that was true. He loved looking at things clinically, he loved using science and knowledge and using logic before emotion – but then there's Nyota, and her touch and her love and her smile.

It made him want to return that smile.

So one evening, post-long intellectual discussion about the different dialects of ::insert rare alien species name here:: she cracks a joke. It's a very dry joke, one that compares their dear friend Captain Jim Kirk to said alien race, and he smiles. He lets himself smile; full, completely, all teeth showing – and if that's not enough, he feels himself laugh, just so slightly.

Nyota freezes and he lets the smile slide from his face. He's not sure what he's done wrong; he certainly thought it would please her.

Suddenly, though, he has a lapful of Nyota Uhura, who's laughing and sniffling in his ear simultaneously.

"It wasn't even that funny," She teases, as her lips trail over his neck. He doesn't hesitate this time. He smiles, and it feels good – like a bright future and a homage to his sweet, doting mother.

His smiles would be rare, he knew – just like in heritage and in nature he was – but they'd be a careful balance – one that honored his mother and his mate; two women who never failed to bring the humanity out of him.