Spock was aware his mother checked on him at night, that she stopped by his room to ensure all was well before seeking her own rest. From earliest childhood, he recalled listening for the click of the door and the faint rustle of her robes. She never lingered. Fingertips smoothed his hair, lips brushed his cheek, and then she left as quietly as she entered.
He always pretended to be asleep. Mother tried her best to uphold serenity, to restrain the exuberance of her maternal affection. He did not wish to shame her for demonstrating emotion. She could not help being human. When he was six, and his father was away on a diplomatic mission, she broke the pattern of her visits and remained at his bedside.
"Spock, take my hand," she whispered.
He obeyed, noting with alarm the brightness of her eyes and the trembling of her lips. Her fingers—normally warm against his—were chilly. Spock deduced that she had recently spent time outside and was experiencing some sort of distress. He did not tug his hand away. "May I enquire where we are going?" he asked.
Mother led him through the dimly lit house to the back garden and the square of dark green amidst the xeriscape plants. Cardassian velvet grass thrived in arid climates. Its finely textured leaf blade was prized throughout the Federation yet regarded as sensual indulgence on Vulcan.
She said, "Lie down and look at the stars."
Spock watched her stretch out, baffled by the unusual variation in her normally calm tone. He said, "I am able to view them equally well standing."
He complied with her request. The grass was comfortable. He understood why she preferred to meditate there.
"I received a communication from Starfleet today," she said.
"About my father?"
"No, mine." She was silent for a while, and then said, "When I was growing up my family would spread a blanket out on the lawn and look at the stars. We'd take turn pointing out constellations." Her voice sounded oddly thick. "My father knew all the stories."
Vulcans required no fanciful memory aids to chart the sky. Spock heard his mother's breath hitch and turned his head to gaze at her in concern.
She said, "When I look at stars it reminds me of him, and how much he loved us. How much I—"
Spock realized that his mother had stopped talking because was silently crying. He could feel her body shake and hear her ragged gulps of air. He concluded the Starfleet message was a notification of her father's death. While he himself had no memories of the man whose failing health prevented travel off planet, his mother obviously felt a deep emotional loss.
He did the only thing he could think of to offer comfort. He took her hand in his.
San Francisco, Earth
A child of two worlds, he had always strived to control his human emotions. To put aside logic and do what felt right was no easy task. Entering Nyota's dorm building felt like the start of a journey into unknown territory.
Her roommate's green complexion turned blue when she answered the door and recognized him. An Orion trait, Spock presumed. Interesting.
"Your boyfriend's here!" Gaila yelled over her shoulder before giving Spock a once over. "I can't believe you are the mystery guy we've all been wondering about. You never gave me a second glance when I was in your class. I thought you were asexual."
"Uninterested," he said, looking past her to see the woman he regarded as his partner rather than a mere friend. Her casual blouse and black trousers were well suited to their destination and exceptionally attractive. He looked forward to helping her move out of the dorm and into private, officer's quarters.
In the lift, he said, "I trust you did not feel obligated to accept my invitation. The hour is late and—"
Nyota stopped his rehearsed speech with a kiss. "I want to be with you." Her small smile was far more enticing than the unsubtle wiles of her roommate. "I thought I made that clear."
"In many pleasurable ways." He enjoyed her soft laughter.
"May I enquire where we're going?" she asked when they exited the building.
Her gentle teasing gave him a pang. He said, "You'll see."
Spock led her to the Academy commons and a blanket spread upon the grass. He stretched out and waited until Nyota was beside him to confide, "My mother's family would lie on a blanket together and identify constellations."
"That sounds nice."
Fighting to master his emotions, he said, "On Vulcan, whenever she looked at the stars, it reminded her of her father's love." He swallowed around the lump in his throat. "And how much she—" Spock couldn't continue and maintain self-control. His chest hurt as though a great weight were pressing down.
"What do you need?" Nyota whispered. "Tell me."
On the Enterprise, Spock answered her plea with the first words that came to mind. Now he spoke from the heart. "Take my hand."
Her fingers entwined with his and clung tightly as he stared at the sky and allowed the stars to blur.
A/N: I saw Star Trek for a second time to take notes for my McCoy/Chapel story Down to the Bones (yes, I am that mental—er—dedicated about getting details right :D). While watching, I found the relationship between Spock and his mother extremely touching, and couldn't help wanting to explore it in a short story. Demonstrating that Nyota's sensitivity goes beyond aural was an added bonus.
In the film, one of the drinks Nyota orders at the bar is a Cardassian Sunrise. Cardassia Prime is known for being hotter than human species find tolerable, so it seemed a good choice to develop a species of velvet grass there to suit arid landscapes.
If this story suited its readers, I would love to know. As Spock would say, I trust you do not feel obligated (to review), but any who choose to do so will be greatly appreciated . . . which is only logical. :)