Disclaimer: If I owned Star Trek, I'm sure someone would have let me know by now.
AN: One of several vignettes written for a meme—the prompt on this one bears some explaining before we jump in...that is, assuming anyone reads the author's notes. The prompt was the song "Something About Us" by Daft Punk. I was listening to it as I wrote and, somehow, this came out. I think the lyrics, more than the actual melody, prompted this.
Also: I would like to thank everyone for the love on my Amanda/Sarek pieces—also the rest of fic in general, but specifically those. I'm really glad I haven't disappointed anyone yet. I hope this maintains that streak. :x
Amanda Grayson was nothing if not punctual, particularly when it came to their personal outings. Initially, he had afforded her lateness little concern due to the unpredictable nature of public transportation in San Francisco. Fifteen minutes had bled into thirty before he had taken conscious notice. In the time he'd been acquainted with Amanda Grayson, she had never been more than a minute off schedule, despite external variables.
This sudden departure from established norms was worthy of investigation.
Somberly, Sarek pulled up her contact information on his personal PADD and it trilled as it attempted to establish contact with the unit in her domicile. The call was routed, after several seconds, into her offline message section. As the recorded image of Amanda prompted him for a message, he terminated the up-link and tucked his PADD into his robes. Never had she failed to answer her personal line, even despite her own inconvenience. He waited for two minutes, an appropriate amount of time for her to recognize the origin of her missed call and attempt to establish communications—but no alert came.
It was illogical to assume, given the nearly transfinite number of possible variables present in San Francisco, that misfortune had befallen Amanda Grayson. Sarek was well aware of this but, as he mentally computed the facts on hand and compared them to the established behavioral patterns of Amanda Grayson, he concluded that there was a very significant probability something of note had occurred.
If his gait was 5.75% swifter and his steps a full six centimeters wider than normal, he attributed the irregularity to the unpleasant coldness of the bay breeze and his instinctual need to remove himself from its direct influence.
He arrived at the threshold of Amanda Grayson's domicile—an older-styled condominium in a historically relevant section of the city—in thirty seven minutes and fourteen seconds. This, he reasoned, was the most likely place to locate the wayward Professor Grayson. She had, a short time prior, granted him permanent access within her security system—If she was not present at the moment, he could simply wait here, in the location to which she would most likely return.
Sarek entered his access code into the panel beside the door and it trilled acceptance before flashing and barking a harsh sound at him. He arched an eyebrow and commanded the door to open again—it flashed green then red, emitting the same uncooperative sound. His passcode was accepted and yet the door refused to open—before he could ascertain the reasoning behind this conflicting information, the door trilled and slid open with a hiss.
He was unprepared for the action and equally unprepared for the sight that met him at the threshold. Standing before him, in a rumpled Terran suit, looking utterly disheveled with her head hung low, was Amanda Grayson. He took in her state of dress and the shoes cast aside by the doorway—a pair of heels, though one appeared to be damaged—and determined that the door had refused him entry because she had been blocking it. She did not look up to greet him, and he could not see her face from such a short distance and sharp angle—her hair was down, another abnormality.
"You are disheveled," Sarek stated in a modest volume and his eyes darted across her form as her shoulders raised and she wound her arms across her chest. "You are showing signs of distress, is this related to your tardiness today?"
"I—," her voice broke and she cleared her throat lightly before turning away from him. When he reached out and grasped her shoulder, preventing her from completing her turn, he was as startled by the action as she. She looked up at him and made brief eye-contact before diverting her face away—her error was brief, but did not go unnoticed.
"You have been struck," he elaborated with more vehemence than was probably necessary. He crossed the threshold into her darkened domicile and the lights flickered on in response. The door slid shut behind him, and he took her other shoulder in hand before pulling her squarely before him. She looked at the joint where the door and the threshold met, keeping her eyes off of him. "Explain," he demanded and she took a shuddering breath—he had to consciously prevent his grip from tightening as she did so.
"It's," she started, her voice clear but very small. Had he not been Vulcan, he might have had trouble hearing her. There was something offensive in the diminutive volume she was employing, something unlike the woman he'd come to identify her as. "It's stupid...and over."
She stared away from him for several seconds, unwilling to elaborate, and he took a deep breath before releasing one of her shoulders and bringing his hand up to her face. The gentle pressure of his fingertips along the edge of her cheekbone was enough to turn her head. She insisted on looking away, even as he tilted her face to better see her, but she didn't stop him or step out of his tentative grip. His expression tightened as he examined her soft features—she had acquired two contusions, one above her left temple, another across the right side of her jaw, and had a three centimeter cut across her left eyebrow. Her eyes were swollen, and the light red tracks on her cheeks spoke of her emotional reaction. Very softly, he traced the edges of her wounds with his index finger, and furrowed his brows as he did so.
"I can only assume that, by your behavior," he said quietly and she almost recoiled at his voice, "I am somehow directly at fault for your injuries." Her eyes locked on him instantly, wide and red, they read panic as clearly as if she'd stated it aloud.
"No," she corrected him quickly and, without thinking, wrapped her hands around his wrists. He could feel the raw roughness on her palms—they were damaged as well. A moment passed and neither moved or spoke. He replaced his hand on her shoulder and she took a deep breath as she organized her thoughts. "No," she repeated, "I...I'm just upset."
"Clearly," he answered quietly, though the sentiment was completely without judgment.
"I was," she started and looked down as she spoke, "walking to the transportation hub and...it happened very fast." She blinked and her tongue darted out to moisten her lips. "Someone recognized me," her confusion at the very concept was obvious, "and started harassing me about...about, well..."
"Me?" Sarek supplied evenly. He forced his jaw to relax and kept his touch light as she relayed this information.
"Yes," she confirmed and took a long breath. She was unwilling to continue and made that apparent as her hands dropped from his wrists. He hesitated to break contact with her, despite himself, and leaned forward just slightly. She didn't move and he closed his eyes for .35 seconds longer than usual as he assessed the situation.
"I presume you have alerted the authorities?" he prompted and she inclined her head. He pulled his hands back from her shoulders and set them, uneasily, at his sides—she was still staring down. Had the door not been directly behind him, he would have taken a step back. Without the option to do so, he found this proximity to be uncomfortable. "I would like to..." he paused to consider his words and his heart raced painfully, "Thank you. Your company has been invaluable. It is unfortunate that external forces require we no longer share time."
"What?" Amanda's head shot up and she stared at him wide-eyed for the second time that evening. Her hands came up and nearly took his own, but she caught herself and her eyes darted across his face. "What are you talking about?" Her reaction currently opposed his conclusions and he arched an eyebrow as she examined him.
"You do not wish to terminate our liaison?" Sarek asked and this time she didn't hesitate as she reached for his hands.
"No," she said quickly, almost aghast, and clasped their hands in front of herself. It was an exceedingly intimate gesture, one that she was committing unconsciously. "No, no, no," she repeated and leaned forward, almost erasing the remaining space between them.
"One no would have been sufficient," Sarek commented and a weak smile spread across her face. He'd been unaware of the tension in his shoulders until it released—until she'd smiled at him.
"I'm sorry," she said quickly, as though she'd been considering whether or not to actually say it. He arched an eyebrow and she glanced down but quickly returned her gaze to his. "I had fully intended to come back, put on some foundation, and meet with you...." She tightened her grip on his hands briefly. "But when I came back, I just...I couldn't stop crying."
"You were emotionally compromised," Sarek assured her evenly.
"That someone could attack another person, just like that," she continued and her brow furrowed. "It's inhuman."
He chose not to comment on that particular statement and, instead, extracted his hands from hers and set them on her shoulders once again. She blinked, questioningly, at him and he regarded her silently for several seconds.
"Is there anything you require for your physical or mental wellbeing?" Sarek prompted and Amanda stared for several seconds before nodding lightly. "What?" She didn't answer him, but rather stepped forward and wrapped her arms around his waist. With a quiet sigh, she buried her face against his left shoulder, and relaxed against him. Physical comfort was not an alien concept to Vulcans, but it was one Sarek was unused to. Nevertheless, he wrapped his arms, loosely, around Amanda Grayson and permitted her this prolonged trespass into his personal space.
Apparently she required little more than Sarek himself.