Amanda didn't even fully realize what she was doing until she was in the middle of doing it. She was packing her bag. She had had it. This was it. This was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. She always knew, somewhere in the back of her mind, that at some point in their marriage some issue, some 'thing', would come along and force a permanent wedge between her and Sarek. Married to someone such as he, with such extreme beliefs, it was bound to occur at some point.

Years had come and gone. They had had their trials, disagreements and cold spells. But they had always made it through. That was the nature of marriage. She had mistakenly begun to believe that since they had gotten past all of that, nothing would separate them, ever. But this, this was 'it' for her.

Spock had joined Starfleet. And Sarek was more than 'not pleased'. Every time she initiated anything within their bond, she could feel his emotions. He was livid. He was outraged. It was a real and true and churning pit of black anger threatening to swallow them both. No amount of meditation seemed to be curing it.

In her opinion, Sarek could state his logical reasons for being estranged from his son; to her it was bull. Though she did not agree with his decision, she knew Sarek had free will just as much as Spock did. And if their son made his decision knowing what the outcome would be and Sarek made his decision about Spock's decision, truly there was nothing she could do about that. But there was one sticking point in Sarek's reasoning that Amanda objected quite vocally about. Her contact, or lack thereof, with Spock.


One Month Before

"My wife, he who is our son has gone against family tradition and departed for Starfleet Command. You are aware that I will remain within my correct and logical decision to not speak with him again until he has returned to the True Vulcan Way."

Her stomach knotted. Every time she thought about it directly, her stomach revolted. This situation they happened to be in, it hurt too much. The two men she loved the most in her life were no longer on speaking terms. "I know, Sarek. And there's no reason for us to speak about it, again."

"My wife, you have done a commendable duty in hearing all I have had to say about this. You objected and yet you have not attempted to sway me beyond that. It is commendable that you have contained your human emotions on this subject and have not attempted to sway me. For that, I thank you."

Amanda had a sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach and fear was starting to slide down her body in waves. She felt like a deer in headlights and was frozen to the spot, temporarily speechless. She knew Sarek. He was doing the diplomat thing on her. He was giving her a compliment because he was about to ask her to do something she really didn't want to do. She had a feeling what that thing was. "And?"

"My wife?"

"There's something more here. I don't know what it is, but there's something you want from me. Just come out and say it already."

He regarded his wife coolly. It amazed him at times how insightful she was on his modes of thought. "You have yet to tell me of your decision, Amanda."

She felt herself frowning. Usually she could hold her poker face with Sarek, but not today. Not when it had to do with Spock. Never when it had to do with Spock. "My decision?" she asked.

"You should, logically, side with your husband and also not speak with our offspring. It will cause him to, perhaps, return home sooner and that-"

He was still midsentence and she found herself bolting from the room, refusing to hear the rest of it. As she fled, the words fell from her mouth, "Don't you dare ask me to do what I think you-"

"It is only correct, Amanda," he interrupted with his own words as he followed behind her. "We must present a united front."

"Dammit, Sarek, who do you think you are?" she found herself saying as she whirled around and finally confronted him. Her hands were fisted at her sides and she wished that none of this was taking place.

But here it was. He knew these words had to be spoken by her, knew she must pass through a firestorm of anger before she could begin to see reason so that they could get past this moment and become united in their front to cause their son to return home where he belonged. "I am your husband. And when we bonded you agreed to support me above all others. That includes even any children we produced or raised together."

She looked around herself. Anytime they got into it she lost track of where she was and what she was doing, developed a sort of tunnel vision. She saw she was still within their personal suite of rooms at the embassy in San Francisco. There would be no witnesses to anything shameful she happened to do or say. The wide window looked out over the sights of the city. Dark was descending and she stared at the sight of the place she had grown to love over the years. The window looked outward, but it was fitted with Privacy Glass so no one could see in. She stared at the skyline, wishing she could disappear into it. They had had happy times and sad times in this place, looking out over that skyline. This that was happening right now was neither. This was hell.

They were supposed to be returning to Vulcan in a month. As she forced her mind back to where she was, she found herself sinking down onto the common room couch, deeply disturbed. "Why do we have to do this?" she whispered more to herself than to him. "Why can't we just leave this alone? Just let it be and move on?" And in the back of her mind, she was thinking, 'Not again. First Sybok and now Spock.'

"Amanda, you are aware that it is not logical to avoid a subject simply because it is unpleasant. I will have your word that you will not speak with he who is our son until he returns to the proper way of things. Until he comes home and attends the Vulcan Academy of Sciences as I have done and as also my father has done it is imperative that-"

"You want my word now? Right now? Tonight?" she asked, openly incredulous.

There was an immovable wall in his mind, and he stood behind it. "At this very moment."

Anger shot through her as she stood quickly, her eyes ablaze. "Let me tell you something, Sarek! I have a right, just like anyone else, to take my time and think about something before I make a decision! I have a right to think about the ins and outs and the ramifications and do my own calculations and assessments with things having to do with my personal life! And don't you even think for a second that just because your IQ happens to be higher than mine that I will ever allow you to do my thinking for me! I still possess my own mind!"

He stood there and thought about what she had just said. He could find no fault with the words, though they were delivered too emotionally. But she was of Earth, it was to be expected. He excused her emotions and nodded at her in deference. "Very well. I will have your answer on the next rising-"

"You will have my answer when I give it to you." And her arms were folded, her face set, her eyes blazing even more.

He looked closely at his wife. Were there tears in the corners of her eyes? It should not have mattered to him, but it did. "Very well. I will press you no more at this time."

"Thank you for that, at least," she bit out at him and then left the common room.


The incident brought back all the baggage from just five years before. Sybok, banished, never to return.

Her step-son had been in their home long enough for her to see him as almost hers just as much as Spock. So when he began to do research into questionable things, began to voice his dissent with the Kir'Shara… the strain between father and son entered the home. And the things Sybok had done had not ended there. No, he sank even deeper into trouble. True problems began when he started to try and recruit followers. That attracted the attention of the Masters and the Priesthood. He was promptly taken into custody.

They attempted to work with Sybok, help him from his form of mental and spiritual illness. But he was a gifted telepath on many levels manifesting abilities that had been forbidden for many years. He had obviously researched them, delved into the forbidden on an in-depth level. He was also unwilling to let them go. He was, to put it plainly, unable to be rehabilitated.

He was branded a heretic, an apostate … V'tosh ka'tur. He was expelled from Vulcan. Sybok, for his part, left willingly in what he claimed was joy at being set free from the bondage of unemotionalism.

And here it was, all over. Back then, since they still lived on Vulcan, she had been unable to show how she truly felt. But it manifested itself in other ways. Amanda had had sleepless nights, had become quite physically ill on several occasions within the privacy of their home. As a result of the stress, she lost an unhealthy amount of weight. Time passed and Sybok did not attempt to communicate with them. Gradually she became well again and knew that if anyone could take care of themselves, it was Sybok. She had to admit to herself, at some point, that what her step-son had done was very dangerous. She shuddered to think of a universe with Vulcans with full mental abilities and no mental or emotional controls. It all passed in time. He was simply gone and there was nothing she could do about it.

Now she was becoming sick again, sick to her stomach. And the weight was dropping off. But this time it was worse. T'Pau had insisted, however, that Spock had not transgressed against the Kir'Shara or The Vulcan Way and would not be banished. But Sarek insisted that to follow in the footsteps of your fathers before you was a part The Vulcan Way and neither of his sons had chosen to do so.

There was too much happening, too much going on and her thoughts and emotions were racing on a daily basis. She rose every morning to a man with a demanding question in his eyes and that question continually stretched across the bond between them. He had given her room, at first, but her time was almost cut short, she could tell. She knew him well. He was going to demand an answer and soon. And he was going to demand she side with him.