Acquainted with the Night

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek. Sadly enough.

Warnings: Vague spoilers for the recent movie.

His mother often walks at night. It is the only time of day that the heat of Vulcan does not overwhelm her within minutes. The only time they truly have to themselves as he ages and his schooling requires greater amounts of his attention. It is something unique to them, to this human woman and her half-breed son. And never once does his father accompany them.

She tells him stories then of her first home, of Earth and all the people she had known there. He listens, completely enraptured, even as a near adult. Some part of him wishing to go and see for himself, to glimpse the vast bodies of water and greenery all around. To see the people of that place and hear the rise and fall of their voices.

Occasionally, an older Vulcan woman joins them. One of his mother's few friends. She is strong but slight, hair grayed and eyes wise. Unlike the others, she does not reprimand his mother for her outward emotions, the nostalgia so clear in her tone. Instead, she actually seems to enjoy it, mind distant as though remembering herself. Nor does she disapprove of Spock himself or the attachment for his mother that is so very obvious in those moments.

Her behavior is odd when he sees her, the dark of the desert casting shadows everywhere. The way she looks at him is so strange, so expressive that he would label it longing were she anything but Vulcan. The same look his own mother gives to him every time her eyes fall on his face.

"Her only daughter died when she was very young," his mother tells him one night they are alone on their walk. "You are a reminder of her."

"Why did she not have more children?" he questions in return. Imminently intrigued but not outwardly showing it.

Her eyes are sad then, shining with a thousand things he cannot name. And she is silent for a long moment, the sound of the wind the only thing breaking the quiet between them.

"You will have to ask her, my son," she says finally as one hand reaches to rest on his arm. "It is not my story to tell."

But he never does. Never dares. Even though he is only half-human, he is still his mother's son. Aware enough to know that this wound is deep and still bleeding. Even if he can't quite understand why. Emotion so foreign and beyond his reach.

Their walks naturally end when he joins Starfleet and travels to Earth on his own. Only to discover that it is everything she said it would be and more. Loud. Full of people and passion. Full of life. Greens and blues as far as he can see with only the barest hint of red. Not at all like the solemn home of Vulcan.

It is strange but in the best sort of way. New and intricately fascinating. The people are surprisingly friendly, and only a few take offense at his awkward aloofness. Most find him to be the typical Vulcan, which is explanation enough. This is Starfleet, after all. San Francisco. In some parts of the city aliens outnumber the natives. No one cares that he is part-human, that he is a half-breed. No one can even tell by looking at him.

The only thing that truly bothers him is the weather, the incessant clouds that always seem to pour down rain whenever he is outside. In spite of season, regardless of how many years go by, it happens with astonishing regularity. Even more, it is so bizarre the first time he looks out the window to see nothing but haze and fog. To walk through the light drizzles that barely moisten his uniform. Vulcan has rain but not like this. Only harsh torrents that normally abate within minutes. Nothing that lasts for days on end.

It is colder here as well, chill sinking into his skin, but he merely wears more layers. And more still whenever he steps outside and strolls across campus. It is always fully dark then, nearly midnight, and classes are more often than not scheduled for the morning. However, he does not require as much sleep as most, and the calm quiet is restful on its own. More centering than meditation even. And despite the fact that his mother is not with him, this is a habit he cannot seem to break. Even years after the fact.

It is cloudy outside with the vague hint of precipitation when he leaves his quarters and exits through a side door before taking the second left. His normal circuit takes him by the language labs, one of the first buildings he passes. She is just coming out the front as he reaches the sidewalk by the steps, gaze meeting his as he pauses momentarily.

"Commander," she greets him with a nod and the slightest of smiles. Her dark skin practically glows in the faint light from the streetlamps.

"Cadet," he returns, falling into step beside her easily. "Shall I escort you back to your dorm?"

Her eyes glitter, tone a sharp and clear contrast. "Of course. Lead the way."

He merely nods and sets a slow almost meandering pace. They pass by the quickest way without comment and instead choose one that will be longer but take them by the bay. It is his usual route, but one that she enjoys.

There are two men on a nearby path, both dressed casually. One grins like he hasn't a care in the world, while the other is equally amused and exasperated. Such an odd combination but one that humans have perfected. She rolls her eyes at the sight of them, but neither seems to notice her or even him. They are more focused on each other, on whatever plans they are in the midst of making. Something involving a bar and undoubtedly copious amounts of alcohol.

They are gone from sight soon enough, swallowed by the fog that rolls ever closer. It is quiet out, the air heavy but crisp. Her boots should make a sharp sound on the pavement, but each footfall is somehow soft and gentle. Nearly noiseless. The only true sound is that of their breathing, the soft cadence of her heart that he can barely hear through the rustle of her uniform.

Her eyes meet his occasionally, dark but not shadowed. Face smooth and politely blank. Nevertheless, she is aware of every move he makes, just as he is of her. Catching every step, each movement of hand and arm. The way her fingers tap at her sides in a rhythm to a song he doesn't yet know. How her earrings reflect the light of the lamps they pass.

The distance between them is not far but still appropriate given their relative positions. Not but nearly touching. Her clothing brushes his with each step, and her hair curls at his shoulder whenever she turns her head to gaze at the bay.

They walk without words, but their silence speaks volumes.

AN: Title comes from a Robert Frost poem. Also, I am only guessing if it rains on Vulcan. I honestly have no idea.

Ever Hopeful,