A Small Healing In Small Hands
Sarek stands before a table in a room that reminds him so much of one he might find in Vulcan he can hardly believe he's actually on the Starfleet's Enterprise, going at warp speed. The lighting is warm; the decorations and furniture sparse, lots of clean edges, alternating light and dark pieces. The room is very Spock, if he were to be quite honest with himself, because even though his son has so obstinately gone against what the colony would consider to be truly Vulcan, he plays homage to his home planet; his home people, with pride. Even hundreds of light years away, Spock is respecting his home, in his own way.
The only thing willfully not-Vulcan in the room is the art- paintings, struck with warm oranges, reds, blues that are powerful and aesthetically pleasing landscape pieces depicting the plains of United States of Africa. Sarek, while stubborn to a fault, will not deny that these paintings are beautiful and enhance the aura of the room rather then retracting from it.
An off-tune hum distracts him from his observations and he looks down to the lone, small figure at the table; a small boy no older then three years of age. He's using careful hands to drawn on a piece of paper before him with Earth crayons, the green one clutched in his fingers while the other colors are placed neatly in a rainbow before him on the table. From where Sarek is standing, he can just barely see the drawing his Grandson is working on. It seems to be a depiction of space; with the vast vacuum colored deep purple whilst a tremendous amount of stars are gloriously multi-colored.
Sarek is fascinated.
"Sa'mekh'al?" The boy's voice surprises Sarek, but his expression is passive when the child looks up at him. He is not surprised his Grandson speaks Vulcan fluently; he is the child of a linguistics genius and a perfectionist, after all; but he is surprised with what ease the boy speaks in Sarek's native tongue. Just by the sound of his voice, no one would even know he was only a quarter Vulcan.
"Yes, Ilori?" He responds in Federation Standard, hoping perhaps that Ilori would feel more at ease. The boy, though, seems non-plussed.
"How many solar systems do you think there are in the universes? Deep space included?" Ilori's very serious, Sarek can tell. He takes a moment to let his eyes study his Grandson, committing his image to memory. His eyes sweep over a warm skin tone, much deeper than his own but nearly not as deep and rich as his mother's , high-arched eyebrows that don't trail off quite like a Vulcan's, but make him look inquisitive and charming, and dark black hair that curls more than lays straight. He does, though, certainly have the ears, a trait Sarek is a bit smug and happy that Ilori had inherited.
"I am not sure," He answers honestly, locking his hands behind his back, "It is fair to deduce we have hardly touched many of space's corners."
Ilori seems to contemplate this for a moment, then slides his green crayon perfectly between two others, squirms a bit in his seat so he can sit taller, and then continues.
"Uncle Kirk has said there must be trillions," He nods, rubbing at his ear and nodding in the only way a small child can, "But I believe he is embellishing and being fictitious to quell my queries."
Sarek's raises an eyebrow at this. Obviously familiar in reading Vulcan expressions, Ilori is quick to insist.
"However, I do not take offense to this, Grandfather. I tend to ask very many questions. I believe it is a positive statement Uncle Kirk made - to capture my imagination, perhaps. He also says that we will visit many of these worlds, and that one day, when I am of age, I will be an asset to a Starfleet ship of my own - perhaps as a Captain, or a First Officer, like Papa."
Sarek isn't sure what to say to this, but his heart aches in the only way a Vulcan heart knows, because he is without a doubt captured with this child and knows Amanda would have been absolutely smitten. He could only imagine her awe in which she'd fawn over Ilori, comparing him to Spock and embracing both his Vulcan and human tendencies.
It is at that precise moment Sarek actually mourns having missed so much of his Grandson's life. It seems illogical to have not been more a part of this fascinating creature's upbringing.
Looking at Ilori, he's sure he had gotten the more positive aspects of what it's like to be part Vulcan and part Human - being raised by mainly humans has taught Ilori to embrace that side of himself while respecting and learning about his Vulcan side by Spock. If Sarek were to express his emotions outwardly like Ilori, he might just weep for him and his son- what Spock must have gone through to embrace both his humanity and Vulcan tendencies- what he must have gone through to fall in love and create this being in front of him who was so, so special.
Sarek is about to respond to his Grandson when a voice from the door interrupts; Spock has returned.
"I apologize, Father, for the interruption. Captain Kirk needed to relay a message to me from Starfleet Command."
From his position, Sarek could see his son in the doorway, with Nyota Uhura, his bond-mate, his wife, standing a bit behind them, halo-ed by the light coming from the adjoining room.
"No need to apologize, Spock," Sarek insists, looking down at Ilori, who had gone back to his drawing.
"My sa-fu," Spock addresses Ilori, which draws the boy's attention, "I believe it is time for you to retire to your room."
Ilori's eyes scrunch up, he looks like he's ready to protest.
"Papa, I am visiting with Grandfather." He says, and then gestures to his drawing, "And I would like to complete my drawing."
Spock's lips quirk in a familiar almost-grin; Sarek has to look away.
"Your drawing will still be here when you wake up," Spock says, "Momma is waiting for you; she'd like to read you a story before bedtime."
Ilori's up and out of the chair in a flash - clearly this is a tradition dear to the child, "Sounds like a fair compromise."
He nearly trips in his rush to meet Spock, but the older Vulcan steps forward and meets him halfway, crushing his son into a hug that makes Sarek both fascinated and uncomfortable. It seems Spock had grown accustomed to human traditions Sarek never truly embraced in his household, even with a human and half-human child under his roof. Again, Sarek's heart breaks.
His face, however, does not betray him.
Spock holds his son close to his chest for a moment, then gently tweaks Ilori's ear when the boy scrambles away, laughter burbling from his chest. In a flash, Ilori's gone, his small feet taking him rapidly towards his mother, who is standing with a soft grin on her face, waiting.
When he's nearly there, the breaks seem to catch and suddenly Ilori's back, stepping carefully past his father to stand in front of Sarek, breathing slightly out of breath from his dashing to and fro.
"I nearly forgot!" He smiles, and he looks so much like Spock when he was younger suddenly that Sarek's reserve cracks and he can't help but lift the corner of his mouth in a slight smile. Ilori lifts his right hand in salute.
"Live long and prosper, Sa'mekh'al." He says. Sarek salutes him back, and then watches in fascination as Ilori raises two fingers to his grandfather in the equivalent to a Vulcan's display of affection. Sarek reaches down and presses his two fingers to his Grandson's.
"I hope you do visit again soon," He says, stepping away, "Perhaps, next time you may tell stories of Papa's childhood on Vulcan."
The three adults are speechless, in their own ways. From where he is standing, Sarek can see Nyota wiping away a stray tear as her son comes tearing back towards her, arms outstretched. She catches him with an expert hand and tucks him close to her; her expression shows she might not be able to hold him this way much longer. She closes in on Spock and the couple share a moment, voices low and quiet. Sarek observes his son touch her face delicately and she leans into his touch for a moment before stepping away. She nods at Sarek and then turns to take her son elsewhere in the family's quarters.
The two older men are quiet in their wake for a few moments.
"I hope he was not too much of a disturbance," Spock finally says, although his words and inflection clearly contradict one another. Sarek admires that - Spock should not be worried that his own son was bothering him; he should be proud of the little boy, so well-spoken and bright. It was something Sarek himself should've done when handling Spock as a child.
It was illogical to feel regret, but it was without a doubt what he was feeling.
"He is...remarkable," Sarek replies. He and Spock lock eyes, and Sarek feels his reserve slipping. His voice cracks slightly on his next comment, and Spock feels it very deeply.
"She would have loved him, very very deeply. Your mother. It is illogical to ponder, but I can imagine how dear he would have been to her."
Spock is quiet for a moment, expression impassive but eyes betraying his feelings. He is moved.
"Father, I would like to be the first to tell you Nyota and I are expecting another child," He says, "And that we would like to extend an invitation that you visit more often."
Sarek nods, and something heals a little- whether it's his heart or his relationship with his son, he's not sure.
"I would be honored." He replies, and then locking his eyes with Spock, gestured at the table before him, "May we sit? I believe we have a lot to discuss."
Spock inclines his head in a nod, and this time Sarek doesn't flinch when his son smirks.
Random final author's note(s): Writing Vulcans is HARD. I apologize if Sarek seems OOC in this - the image of Sarek being left in a room with the Grandson he hardly knows when Spock is suddenly called away just couldn't get out of my head. For those of you interested, Ilori is a name of African descent and it means "special treasure". Also, the Vulcan words Sa'mekh'al (grandfather) and sa-fu (son) were taken from a Vulcan-English online dictionary I found. I will most likely write one or two more in this 'verse, with Ilori as Spock and Nyota's first child - probably one that takes place before this one, but after b0600 Hours/b. Thank you for reading!