Disclaimer: If I owned Star Trek, I'm sure someone would have told me by now.
A/N: Written for a prompt about how Sarek is a Vulcan Badboy and Amanda is a Good Girl. It amused me and really fit in with my personal view of them, so I wrote this. I'm working on a sequel and a prequel to this. Hopefully done after Comic Con, alongside a bunch of Reconciliation. :3 (I've read this through, but I'm sorry if there are any errors! It's very late.)
"That guy is back again," Carolina Peters complained over the top of her magazine. The cover flashed something in mixed Chinese and English and informed her, in French, that her pores were overlarge and unattractive. Amanda eyed Carolina and her periodical distastefully before tapping her stylus on the display screen across her lap. The two were seated in the staff lounge of North Hall, the location of the SBP Applied Theory Labs, and were riding out the dreary September weather with mild disinterest. Greyish light filtered in through the large, paned windows and cast the blonde aide's shadow across the couch Amanda was slouching on.
"What?" Amanda asked as she turned back to her work. Carolina and she were friends—mostly in that neither of them had ever managed to directly offend the other and they shared a penchant for similar restaurants—but she never bothered to listen too closely to anything the blonde said. It was more often than not that she had to ask her to repeat herself.
"That guy," Carolina repeated and absently rapped on the glass being her with her knuckles. "You know, the one from the other day," she elaborated unhelpfully and Amanda's eyes flicked up to her briefly. "From the thing."
"Which one?" Amanda asked vaguely and Carolina frowned at her.
"Which guy or which thing?" The blonde furrowed her brow and Amanda sighed.
With a slow stretch Amanda pulled herself up, onto her feet. She set her display screen back on the worn couch and stretched her arms above her head as she crossed to the windows. Carolina watched her with muted interest and craned her head in an effort to direct Amanda's gaze. Amanda watched her and rolled her eyes as she surveyed the view of the North Hall parking lot.
The lot was a circular affair with two levels and a gate. It was flanked on the building side by perennial trees—all of which were half bare and half covered in dried, greenish leaves—and the El Camino Real cut by the opposite side, interrupting the expanded campus. Amanda eyed the footbridge that crossed over the large street and spotted no one of note—her eyes drifted to the roof of the parking structure, but she only saw Rob Zimmerman walking to his electric ground car. Amanda's gaze shifted over the lot and the conveyances approaching, but she found very little amiss. There were always a cavalcade of unmarked conveyances gathered in the North Hall parking, so Amanda was uncertain what exactly had caught Carolina's attention.
"Rob?" Amanda supplied and glanced at the blonde. Carolina gave her a sharp, confused look, and tapped the glass again, motioning to the staff drive at the base of the North Hall steps. Amanda glanced back down and her eyebrows shot up as she spotted the rubbed metallic gleam off the side of the parked hover-bike. She leaned forward, almost against the glass, as she sought the owner of the familiar bike—but he was gone. "Oh, he's back again, I wonder what for?"
"Pfft," Carolina scoffed and Amanda turned to eye her.
"What?" Amanda objected and the blonde turned a page in her periodical—it played a short jingle at her.
"He's Vulcan," Carolina replied, nonplussed, "Whatever it is, I'm sure it's logical...i.e. Uninteresting."
Amanda hummed flatly in response to Carolina's statement and stepped back from the windows—she cast one final glance at the sleek hoverbike as she turned away. Her work taunted her from where it lay on the couch she'd been ensconced in for the last several hours. A frown pulled at her mouth as she stared at it. "Hey," she said quickly, without looking back at her compatriot, "While I'm up, I'm going to get something from the Lobby replicators. Want anything?"
"Number three," Carolina responded blandly as Amanda crossed the room, away from her menial data entry. She gave a short nod in reply as she stepped through the automatic doors and out into the hallway.
In November, just before the labs closed for the holidays, the SBP campus submitted its theoretical work and findings with the academies on Andoria, Iotia, and Vulcan respectively and received the work of those institutions in kind. In mid-October, the department chairs would select the most meaningful and the specifically requested data to compile into packets. With less than a few weeks of study left before the selection process and subsequent exchange, the students and professors who frequented the labs were scrambling to achieve results. To and fro across the hallway, aides and students dashed, carrying stacks of PADDs and delicate instruments. From each doorway and open comm, Amanda overheard the exchange of lengthy equations and short arguments about the validity of test findings.
She passed Gene and Rod on the way to the turbolift—they were conversing animatedly with an Andorian and a Vulcan about the application of chaotic motion in predictable systems—and gave them a short wave as the lift doors opened and she stepped inside. She palmed the lobby and was joined, very quickly, by several students, another pair of Vulcans, and an Iotian in a lab coat. It wasn't uncommon to see non-humans wandering SBP campus—they were, after all, only a short distance from Starfleet Headquarters, itself—but the sheer number of non-resident aliens always jumped a surprising degree when it came time for the exchange. In the last week, they'd had envoys from all three of the related embassies (and several spare, roving scientists) arrive and demand tours and access to the labs.
In the rush she'd met, given tours to, and had been expected to remember the (complicated) names of more than a hundred different aliens. The Iotians were forgiving of her general inability to remember names, but the Vulcans and Andorians always gave her the impression that they considered her mentally deficient for her failings. Among all of them, she'd be lucky if she didn't swap one species' naming system for another on accident. No, she'd just have to remember. As the fall-back of Dean Langley, she'd be damned if she was going to embarrass the school and herself with something so silly.
The doors of the lift snapped open with a pressure hiss and interrupted Amanda's silent musing. The other occupants of the turbolift scattered into the lobby as the lift halted and she was nearly trapped as the next set of occupants flooded the compartment. Escaping narrowly between a pair of lab-techs, Amanda jogged out into the North Hall Lobby. The marble floors and high ceilings had always reminded her more of a bank than a university, but it did give off an appropriately majestic feeling. She'd never understood how they could keep the columns gilded and the extensive windows perfectly clean but wouldn't spring for replicators in the staff lounge. With a sigh, Amanda maneuvered through the crowd that packed in the space and made her way toward the small offshoot lounge and the replicators therein.
Amanda halted, mid-step, and craned her neck to find the voice that was calling to her. She spotted a man near the front who was waving but didn't recognize him—she arched an eyebrow but the situation resolved itself as the woman he was waving to (apparently on the same side of the room as Amanda Grayson) dashed up alongside him and embraced him. Without hesitation, Amanda continued forward—she only realized her error as she turned and found herself uncomfortably close to a man approaching with a stack of PADDs the side of a large dog balanced, tentatively, in his arms. Her eyes widened and she backpedaled abruptly, scrambling out of the man's path. Her foot slipped on the marble and sent her sprawling—or it would have, had she not collided with someone behind her. A hand settled on her waist and helped steady her as the PADD laden scientist slipped past her toward the turbolift.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," Amanda professed as she turned to face the person she'd all but collapsed on. Her eyes widened as she took in the Vulcan before her—he was taller than her by a considerable amount. His dark hair was wavy and manicured back against his scalp, and his eyebrow twitched upward as she took in his Kevlar jacket and moderately ruffled clothing. She knew him, he was the Vulcan who rode the hoverbike outside. A smile spread across her face before she recognized her proximity to the man—his hand pulled back from her waist and she flushed as she realized she was still almost on top of him. She stepped back and her smile took on an apologetic lilt. "I'm so sorry—thank you for catching me."
"You are welcome," he responded evenly, his deep baritone made Amanda's heart race and she fought the urge to fidget under his weighty scrutiny. His eyes drifted downward and Amanda was confused. She looked down and instantly realized what had caught his attention—the small groan in the back of her throat, hopefully, went unnoticed. While the majority of people in North Hall were clad in jumpsuits and lab coats, she'd come in casual-wear today. Her strappy camisole and wide-legged pants made her look more like a visiting high-schooler than a graduated PhD, her pumps were illogical at best, and the pink cardigan she'd snatched out of her conveyance spoke volumes about how little she'd prepared for the weather.
C'est la vie. Laxness concerning weather patterns was the price one paid when they lived in California.
"I spotted you coming in today," Amanda ventured in an effort to break some of the tension and draw his attention away from her unprofessional attire—her statement didn't help the situation and only caused him to stare at her with increased (if it were possible) blandness. "From the staff lounge," she clarified and motioned toward the ceiling with her right hand. His eyes didn't even move toward her indication—she tried not to let her discomfort show on her features. "Would you like to get something to eat?" she interjected quickly, "I was just headed to the replicators."
He stared at her for several seconds and then inclined his head ever so slightly. Amanda let out a quick breath of relief that she tried to pass off as a laugh—she didn't think he bought it—and turned to lead him toward the lobby dining center. The doors swished open and Amanda was greeted with the sight of several labtechs arguing with an Iotian senator over the complex behaviors of the test subjects on the third floor. She ignored them and lead the Vulcan behind her to the replicators before ordering something for herself and choosing a seat. Her sandwich and coffee in hand, she commandeered a table near the veranda windows and plunked down with as much grace as she could manage. The Vulcan arrived several seconds later—he set his helmet on the spare seat and then sat himself silently in the chair across from her. They ate in relative silence and Amanda tried not to stare at him.
She'd met the man two weeks prior after she'd been hauled out of a lecture and forced to take the Vulcan Ambassadorial party on a tour of the labs. The entire lot of her tour group had been uncharacteristically silent during the walk-through and posed her only brief questions with easily discernible answers. By the time the tour was over, she was so offended by their general lack of interest and the fact that she'd been pulled out of a class, that she'd hardly noticed the shock they'd all expressed when she grabbed the tallest one's hand—the man across from her—shook it, and dismissed herself from their presence. He'd shown up the next morning and she'd been more than terse with him until Dean Langley shot her a withering glance from across the labs. Dually chastised, she proceeded to answer the Vulcan's questions on anything and everything to do with the research on any of the levels. He'd found the data most satisfactory and left. He'd returned two days after that with a set of new questions and then again and again—after the first day, he always came alone and always rode that same gleaming hoverbike.
"So what can I help you with, today, Kevet?" Amanda asked as she swallowed the final bite of her sandwich and plucked her coffee off her tray. The man shot her a dry look and his eyes briefly darted to the windows behind her. Had he not been Vulcan, she might have thought he was formulating a lie.
"Kevet?" He prompted and one of his eyebrows arched. Amanda's stomach dropped and she fingered her cup of coffee—had she offended him? She was terrible with names, but she was certain she'd heard the other Vulcans call him Kevet Dutar.
"I'm sorry," Amanda apologized again, quickly, "Kevet Dutar," she corrected and took a quick sip of her drink. "I wasn't certain if it was all one word," she admitted with a small shrug, "I figured it'd serve to be a little more informal over a meal."
"If you wish to shorten the term," he informed her dryly, "Dutar would be the applicable selection."
"Oh, of course," Amanda responded—so Vulcan surnames preceded given names? That was fine, Dutar was no sillier a name than Kevet. "So what can I help you with?" Amanda repeated and Dutar stared at her thoughtfully.
"My inquiries today are of a more private nature," he admitted evenly, though his voice was subdued as he spoke. Amanda's interest perked quickly and she set down her coffee.
"Oh?" She prompted and he inclined his head.
"Having finally settled all active accounts left from my travels to this planet, I find that I am in need of a guide to inform me of the local environs," Dutar explained and folded his hands on the tabletop as he did so. "As a native of agreeable temperament, your expertise would undoubtedly surpass those found at the Vulcan Embassy."
"Undoubtedly," Amanda agreed and he continued. She pretended not to notice that he'd just admitted she was agreeable, even though she was pretty sure she'd blushed.
"You are, of course, free to decline my request if you feel you are unable to aid me," he finished and glanced, pointedly, at several students and professors as they scrambled outside.
"I've been cataloging lab results since dawn," Amanda answered with a hint of humor—her tone escaped him and he inclined his head sharply. She could almost feel the tenseness as it settled across him.
"If it is your wish to continue—." Amanda interrupted him with a quick, spontaneous laugh and shook her head. When she looked back at him, he seemed confused and irritated, though his expression had not actually changed.
"I would be more than happy to show you anywhere you want," Amanda quickly diffused with a broad smile. His shoulders relaxed and he took up her tray as he stood. Amanda picked up his helmet and followed after him as he exited the dining area and the Lobby altogether. As he started down the broad, white steps of the North Hall, Amanda jogged up beside him. "Did you mean right now?"
"Yes," he answered evenly and arched an eyebrow as she attempted to hand the helmet off to him. When it became apparent that he wasn't going to take it, Amanda pulled it back and held it before her.
"Don't you work for the Embassy?" Amanda asked quietly and the Vulcan cocked his head slightly.
"Yes," he repeated and Amanda frowned.
"Well, won't they be cross if you play hookie with me?" Amanda asked in that same hushed tone and drummed her fingers atop the helmet. Despite his casual attire, he'd taken notes every time they'd conversed and the information she provided was obviously spread around the Vulcan Embassy. Clarke Langley had congratulated her on being their go-to-guy.
"I do not understand this idiom," Dutar commented after several seconds and Amanda frowned tightly.
"If you travel around with me today, instead of...well...taking notes," Amanda motioned back at the North Hall and, once again, the Vulcan didn't spare her motion a glance, "Won't they be angry with you?" He inclined his head in understanding and held out a hand in the Vulcan expression that ended conversations.
"Vulcans do not become angry, your concerns are unwarranted," he informed her and Amanda sighed. Today was her free day, and she'd come in anyway, so she could leave whenever she wanted....but she really shouldn't be risking this man's job and likely his residency on something as silly as a look around the Bay Area. But, if he was certain that they wouldn't be concerned, who was she to argue? It wasn't like she knew any of the goings on of the Vulcan Embassy—or any other Embassy for that matter—beyond the cursory conversations with the Department Heads.
"Well, alright, if you're sure," Amanda professed in a warning tone and he inclined his head as he started toward the parking lot. Amanda followed after him and couldn't prevent the smile that spread across her face as they arrived beside his metallic hoverbike.
The bike was brushed steel-tungsten and it shone in the heavy, grey, September light like silver. He stepped up beside it, tall and clad in exclusively black, and Amanda couldn't help but stare as he sat astride the conveyance and adjusted the controls. He palmed the throttle of the bike and it chimed something in Vulcan before initiaing the powerup sequence. The motor hummed as the contact chambers initiated and Amanda almost sighed at the sound of it—she wasn't sure what it was, but there was something inexplicably attractive about a man on a bike like that. When he turned to regard her, she wished she had a capture—she'd get the scene blown up into a poster and plaster it across her office.
"Does this manner of conveyance cause you distress?" he asked, his deep voice snapping her out of her contemplation, and she shook her head. "Please utilize the protective headgear."
"Of course," Amanda answered and slipped the helmet on—it was a bit too big, but the strap pulled it snugly against the top of her head. Suddenly very aware of his eyes—he was staring at her now, and it made her far too self-conscious—she walked alongside the vehicle and swung one of her legs over the secondary seat position. Once she was astride, he turned to regard her.
"The hand holds are insufficient for the altitude I intend to reach," he warned and settled his hands on the handlebars, "Anchor yourself by interlocking hands around my torso."
Amanda was hesitant—most Vulcans didn't like to be within two feet of another person, let alone a Human—but did as he requested. Her arms came around his midsection—he seemed thin, but was very, very solid—and she gripped her own wrists tightly as she tried to refrain from leaning against his back. He inclined his head as he disengaged the ground safeties on the bike and the frame abruptly lifted off the ground. Amanda let out a small sound of surprise and all etiquette involved in this situation was gone—she released her wrists in favor of splaying her hands against the front of his jacket, gripping at the cloth, and pressed her torso against his back to assure herself that she wouldn't fall. He didn't comment as the frame lifted higher and he pulled out of the parking area.
Within minutes, they were at the highest altitude permitted for unregulated air traffic. Amanda was having trouble seeing in the wind, but it didn't seem to phase Dutar much. She leaned into the wake that his body provided and glanced down at the houses below them. It had been a very long time since Amanda had taken anything but her electric ground-car and the feeling was exhilarating. She grinned against his back and watched as the distance to the bay slowly vanished. Once in San Francisco, he lowered the bike to an acceptable altitude and she began to lead him about. She showed him the best Vegan restaurants, several locations for shopping of all varieties, warned him of some of the seedier locations, and pointed out the Starfleet Academy environs as they passed by. As evening fell and his questions came to a slow, Amanda treated him to a light dinner at a hole in the wall on Vaness.
"I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to see the Arboretum," Amanda added as she glanced outside at the darkening sky, "But the Sausalito Bay Aquarium was a good look into the life aquatic, I think."
"It was indeed fascinating," Dutar admitted as the waiter took away his plate and cast his fifteenth confused look at the pair. "The sheer variety of oceanic life-forms on this planet is staggering."
"I do so love the jellies," Amanda commented offhand and Dutar stared at her in comfortable silence. The two shared several minutes in the restaraunt before the waiter returned with the receipt and Amanda's credit chip. Dutar shot her a reproachful look which she ignored altogether as she slipped her cardigan back on and rose from her chair. He followed in suit and the two stepped out into the night—the air off the bay was much colder than it was back inland and Amanda shuddered dramatically as the cold prickled her skin. She wasn't actually that cold, but the action made her feel better. She turned to find Dutar removing his coat and instantly regretted her actions.
"No, you don't have to," she interrupted his action and pressed her hands across his to prevent him from unzipping it.
"You exhibit symptoms of discomfort," he pointed out and Amanda blushed as she withdrew her hands from his.
"I'm fine," Amanda assured him and watched him dryly until he'd zipped up his coat—if she was chilly, he'd be downright freezing in this weather. She knew enough about Vulcan to know that it was hotter than hell. He closed his jacket front and watched her—she smiled up at him and he didn't react. After several seconds staring, Amanda caught herself and flushed—she was fortunate it was dark out. "Well, it's getting late."
Apparently, the cue was universal and he inclined his head, "I will return you to the Campus, if that is satisfactory?"
"Completely," Amanda responded and followed after him as he walked to the hoverbike. The ride back to campus was colder than the ride from and Amanda was grateful that Dutar was several degrees warmer than her. When they landed and she was forced to relinquish her hold on his torso, she felt bereft and much colder than before. She bid him a good night and he inclined his head before taking off down the staff drive and back toward the city. Amanda watched him go and let out a wistful sigh.
"At this rate, he's going to bash you across the head and drag you off to Vulcan." Amanda jumped as the voice of Clarke Langley resounded behind her and she spun to find him adjusting his coat and the grip on his atache case—beside him stood Madeline Lockbaum, Dean of Linguistics. Dean Langley stared at her knowingly and leveled a wry grin in her direction even as the elderly, spectacle-clad woman at his side elbowed him.
"They hardly ever do that anymore, Clarke," she commented and Dean Langley ignored her.
"Now tell me you're not in it for the money," Dean Langley teased and Amanda blinked at him, "Guy like that could get quite a few replicators in the lounge."
"Pardon?" Amanda prompted and glanced back over her shoulder, as if he were addressing someone else. Amanda stared at him blankly for several seconds as she tried to fathom what he was on about. "You mean...Dutar?"
"Dutar?" Dean Lockbaum laughed sharply and rolled her eyes. "Let me guess, he wanted you to call him Kevet-Dutar and you wore him down?"
"Uh..." Amanda blinked and the two Deans shared an amused if not questioning glance. "I thought that was his name?"
Dean Lockbaum folded her arms as a look of surprise snapped across her features. She stared at Amanda suspiciously for a moment and glanced at Dean Langley before answering, "Kevet-Dutar means Ambassador." Amanda was so dumbstruck that her mouth actually fell agape. "That was Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan," she elaborated, "He's one of the most influential men in the Federation." The look Dean Lockbaum shot her could only convey--How didn't you know that? Dean Langley's gaze shifted between the two women several times before he interrupted the awkward moment.
"Well," he announced and made a show of looking down at the chronometer on his wrist, "just look at the time! Madeline, we'd better get going."
As the two Department Heads wandered off into the parking structure, Amanda lingered by the building and considered, with shock, the events of the day. She'd gone sight seeing with the Ambassador from Vulcan? She'd taken him to the Aquarium—and bought him dinner—and, dear god, been concerned that he'd lose his job if he was caught by...well...himself. Amanda flushed and was glad there was no one around to see it. She'd been salivating over him and the figure he cut on that bike all day—he was the Ambassador, the political and cultural representation of all that was Vulcan on Earth.
Amanda stared off at the sky in stunned silence and the only thing she could think of was that he'd offered her his coat.