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Summary: When asked how they met, she only responds "at a conference"
Chapter 6 Always
Amanda felt a warm buzz that morning as she gave her lectures. As unexpected as her relationship with Sarek was, she found she could see a future with him. They were so vastly different, yet shared so much. Perhaps they were indeed an example of infinite diversity in infinite combinations.
At lunch she was stopping to retrieve some materials from her office when she overheard words from someone's newsfeed: "Violent confrontation…Geminorum…" What? A hollow feeling suddenly gripping her stomach, Amanda quickly snapped on her own newsfeed. She gasped at what she saw. "Hostilities escalating … hostages…combatants extremely unstable…diplomatic casualties…" No! It could not be. Her heart cried out silently as she sank into her chair. With shaking fingers, she comm'd the Vulcan Embassy.
They could not tell her much. Sarek had left with his two top aides and a security detail aboard the Surak; they would have arrived in the Geminorum system by now. The aide left in charge revealed that the embassy had not heard from the Surak for several hours. When Amanda queried T'Shonah for any unofficial information, the healer hadn't been able to add anything, but Amanda could sense her concern.
Next Amanda tried her linguistics contacts at Starfleet Command, hoping they could turn something up. She learned that the starship Farragut was en route, but nothing further.
By that evening, she'd been able to learn that a Tellarite ship had apparently been attacked and hostages taken by forces claiming to represent the Iiniobi, and that there had been casualties on both sides and among third party diplomats there to broker peace. Both sides were on the verge of declaring war. Sarek's image flashed innumerable times across newsfeed screens where he was identified as the "recently dispatched top peace negotiator, whereabouts now unknown." Sickened, Amanda crawled into bed clutching her comm unit, but was unable to sleep.
The next morning, Amanda made it halfway through her first class before she dismissed the students early. Turning the remaining classes over to her graduate students, she retreated into her office, and upon finding no new news, attempted to meditate. The technique was one that Sarek had showed her, and she felt the tiniest bit closer to him as she sat trying to center herself. Perhaps she could even reach out to him somehow, if that were even possible. She couldn't help the recriminating thought, If I'd already bonded with him, I would know if he were alive or not, possibly could help him in some way. Never again…
Sitting in the near-darkness, she startled when her comm buzzed. T'Shonah's face appeared. "T'Sai Amanda, I have news," the healer began. Amanda's heart leaped. "Osu Sarek is returning. He has been injured, but the Chief Medical Officer aboard the Farragut assures me that he is no longer in serious danger. I will of course be the judge of that assessment," the healer finished.
"T'Shonah, thank you!" Amanda exclaimed, relief flooding through her. 'Serious danger'? "What happened?"
"Osu Sarek was injured by phaser fire when the Surak was ambushed while approaching the hostages' location. Regrettably, three other members of the diplomatic party were killed in the assault, Security Chief Storn, Stessel, and the pilot, T'Lina. The hostages were freed before the Surak was disabled. Sarek was able to alert the Farragut to the attackers' whereabouts and to the presence of a Klingon battleship, which the Farragut neutralized. The Farragut is on its way back to Terra now with our delegation, although they are under a communications embargo until they arrive." The Vulcan woman's even voice reported the events as if describing the weather while Amanda felt a chill sweep through her. He had been so close…
"I grieve with thee, Healer, for your losses," Amanda replied as calmly as she could. "I will be there when the Farragut arrives."
Amanda waited impatiently in space dock along with T'Shonah and several others from the Vulcan Embassy, Starfleet personnel, families of Farragut crewmembers and a throng from the press. After what seemed an interminable delay, passengers and crew began to disembark. Finally, she saw Sarek, walking slowly but unassisted, left arm in a sling. His eyes were scanning the crowd, searching.
Amanda pushed through the crowd and ran to him. She flung her arms around him as best she could while avoiding the sling, infinitely thankful for the feel of his warm, living body. She did not know if he could sense her, but she projected as powerfully as she could imagine, I love you.
There was a muffled gasp from several onlookers, and she saw security personnel tense out of the corner of her eye. Realizing what she'd done and embarrassed on his behalf, she started to pull away, but he forestalled her with his eyes. He had sensed her. He deliberately lowered his forehead to hers. The space dock receiving hall fell silent, its occupants captivated as the reserved Vulcan Ambassador stood, thoroughly engrossed by the human woman embracing him. Her face buried in his chest, Amanda blinked back tears.
Then she looked up at him and declared quietly for only him to hear, "Sarek of Vulcan, be forewarned: If you insist upon continuing to endanger your life while brokering peace agreements, then I shall be forced to continue making thoroughly emotional scenes when you return."
One side of Sarek's mouth curved up ever so slightly. "Then you will simply have to accompany me on all of my peace missions to make that unnecessary," he murmured in return.
"You have a deal, Ambassador," she said, smiling tenderly, and her eyes told him she was referring to far more than their banter.
Hours later, after Sarek had been thoroughly evaluated by T'Shonah, had informed the families of the deceased, and had been debriefed by both embassy personnel and Starfleet, Amanda walked with Sarek back to his private quarters in their first true moments alone.
"You need rest," she enjoined him gently.
"At some point," he agreed, "but I have no wish to be separated from you after so brief a time. Will you…stay?" His eyes searched hers.
Amanda's blue eyes stared back. "Yes. And as long as I am staying, I believe we have some unfinished business. If the offer is still open, …my husband…I would like to bond."
Sarek's eyes widened and Amanda quickly amended, "That is, whenever you are recuperated enough and if there isn't a ceremony that needs to be performed first…"
Now his eyes held a twinkle of amusement. "I am sufficiently recuperated…my wife. As you may know, the healing staff here is excellent. There is a bonding ceremony; it is tradition. However," he continued, his voice growing husky, "as we are no longer children, the ceremony can wait. It is quite …proper... to bond on our own." He lowered his mouth to hers.
The pair knelt, facing each other. He reached a hand to touch the katra points on her face and was still for a moment. She felt him flow into her mind, his consciousness easing into hers like her body slipping in amongst the softest blankets. Part of him searching to complete a connection as his people had done since time immemorial, and part of him feeling like he was, at long last, coming home.
Finding the contact points. Forming the bond. Reciting the ancient words… He heard her join him in his mind:
/Parted from me and never parted. Never and always, touching and touched.../
He gently removed his fingers from her face. /It is done; we are one. Amanda, Ashayam, K'diwa, Beloved./
/I love you, Sarek./
Somehow, not entirely unexpectedly, they found themselves on his bed. She pushed him gently back, and eased his sore body out of his robes. /Allow your bond-mate to tend to you once again, K'diwa…/ She kissed him, and he did not resist.
Later, wrapped around one another, they looked out on the starlit sky together. Unexpected, but so meant to be.
- END -