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Author's Note: Written for Journey to Drabble.

Boundaries
by LJC

Vulcans are touch telepaths.

Every Federation schoolkid knows this. They're taught it with their ABCs, 123s, and how to share milk and cookies after recess. Vulcans are touch telepaths, and you can't play with them like you do the other boys.

Uhura takes great care not to automatically offer her hand when they are introduced by the head of the linguistics department, but keeps her hands clasped loosely behind her back, inclining her head slightly instead.

She has attended his lecture courses for several weeks, but hasn't (yet) got up the courage to attend his office hours. It's not that she does not have questions. It's that she is too self-conscious, sure she will make some horrifying social gaffe and he'll look at her like something he's scraped off his shoe, and that will be that.

So she is surprised when, after the first chorale recital of the new term, he separates himself from the crowd in the company of an older woman in Vulcan-style robes. Her grey hair is elaborately coifed, and hides both the tips of her ears and the sweep of her brows, but she is clearly human as her smile is warm, and her dark eyes lively with humour. What's more, Spock's arm is tucked in hers, and he protects her from being buffeted by the crowd by his height and the broadness of his shoulders.

"Cadet Uhura, my son tells me your sense of perfect pitch has proved invaluable in in-class exercises."

Her eyes widen, as she glances between them, blinking rapidly.

"He has?" she says without thinking. "I mean... thank you, sir."

She is not the only one flustered, and she realises suddenly that his mother must have pulled him down towards the risers from the seating area. A slow green flush is creeping up his neck, and it cannot be from heat as the amphitheatre is cool by human standards—and probably cold by Vulcan.

"It is a simple statement of fact. I was not surprised to learn you performed, as I have noted on more than one occasion your ability to reproduce phonemes with a degree of accuracy that far surpasses most of the students who attend my lectures. A sense of perfect pitch is advantageous for both linguists, and singers."

"What he means to say is, your solo was lovely," she says, patting his hand affectionately.

"Thank you..." Mrs Sarek? What do you call the mother of one of your professors, and the wife of Vulcan's Ambassador to Earth? Uhura finally settles on "...Ma'am."

They drift away, swallowed by the crowd, and Nyota is once again surrounded by the giddy, smiling members of the chorale society, still high from the performance and the thunderous applause of the crowd.

Uhura was always careful never to touch him. Afraid he would find her human emotions distasteful, jarring.

Seeing him here with his mother, clearly as affectionate and doting as a Vulcan—half-Vulcan—could possibly be, Nyota realises maybe she is being too cautious.


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