Disclaimer: I own nothing but the OC. Co-written with Fameanon. Star Trek belongs to Paramount and others, so basically, not me. Enjoy.

Soval passed Sorak's desk and glanced at the inbox tray, raising a nonchalant eyebrow at the pile of PADDs waiting for him. Sorak greeted with him a soft hello in Vulcan, and Soval nodded in reply, craving his morning tea.

"Sorak, do you have my schedule for today?"

"Yes, Osu, it's on your desk."

"Very good," he said, and as he turned, a flash of red in the inbox caught his eye. He frowned and fished the item out of the pile of PADDs, and he flipped the red envelope over to read it. It was addressed to him in a steady, flowing hand, and he raised an eyebrow.

He took the envelope into his office with him and poured himself a cup of tea, then sat down in his chair and contemplated the envelope. The return address was from here in San Francisco, but there was no name listed.

He neatly opened the envelope and pulled out a folded piece of cardstock. It was simply decorated with a repeated heart shape, and he flicked open the card with interest.

Dear Ambassador Soval,

A friend of mine suggested this idea of writing to a political or social figure you admire and wishing them well today, so I decided to do so. Happy Valentine's Day, and hoping this card finds you well. I figure if the media can get away with all this commercialism, then certainly I can get away with expressing my thoughts to you.

I just wanted to tell you that your service honors me, and that I'm glad you're here with us on Earth. I appreciate you and all that you do for us as a people, and I hope your Valentine's Day is a good one.

Your secret admirer

He quirked an eyebrow and pondered the message, and he would be lying to himself if he said that he wasn't touched by this sentiment. He pulled out paper and began to write.

Secret Admirer,

It is interesting that you chose today of all days to express your gratitude. I understood that this day is slotted for people who are in romantic relationships, or are amorous towards each other. Be that as it may, I thank thee for the admiration. However, I must assure you that it is only logical that I do my duty to the best of my ability.

Live long and prosper,

Ambassador Soval

Genie felt like she might hyperventilate as she slid open the letter and read it, and she bit her lip. She couldn't believe he actually replied, and in actual paper too! Well, now he had her address...she doubted Soval would ask her father, Admiral Forrest, where he lived, or that he knew their address. But in any case...this was the chance of a lifetime, and she wasn't going to waste it.

She took up her pen.

Dear Ambassador Soval,

Firstly, thank you so much for replying to my card. You don't know how much that means to me. Secondly, and this could be just personal opinion, but lovers should be no means corner the market on Valentine's Day. I think it's a great opportunity to express gratitude and appreciation to everyone around you, be that a significant other, a parent, a friend, or a Vulcan ambassador.

Thirdly, if you don't mind, I'd really like to ask you a few questions about your job and your culture. I don't know too much about Vulcans, and I really would like to learn, but if you think it's too intrusive, I won't bother you. But if it's all right with you, I have wondered about something for a very long time. Why don't Vulcans shake hands like humans? I understand it's probably a cultural construct that seems foreign to you, but is there more to it? Is that offensive in your culture?

Thank you again for replying to my card, and I hope you have a good day.

Your secret admirer

She had taken an even bigger risk with this card: she was, in a fashion, setting up correspondence with him, communication...for some reason, that made her heart beat even faster as she sealed up the envelope and addressed it with a shaky hand. She debated with herself, then decided to go through with it. She went to the post, slid it in the box and walked away.

And now she would wait.

Soval read over the card and raised his eyebrows. Whoever this was asked intelligent questions, and seemed sincere in their desire to gain knowledge. He nodded in approval, then took out a piece of paper and began to write.

Secret admirer,

I would gladly answer your questions about my culture, and I am honored that you wish to learn.

We do not shake hands, because we are touch telepaths. We can sense thoughts and emotions through skin contact. Since we labor to control our own emotions and we do not wish to be intrusive to other races, we refrain from physical contact as much as is possible. We can block this telepathy, but it does require effort, and not all emotions can be blocked. Things that are powerful will seep through, such as love, hate and desire. I'm sure you can understand why we refrain from shaking hands with you.

Now, if you could enlighten me as to why your identity is a secret, I would appreciate knowing that detail. It does not seem logical that you admire me, yet you wish to keep your name hidden.

Live long and prosper,

Ambassador Soval

Genie briefly considered at least writing her name, but she couldn't do it. Besides, if her father ever found out...why was she afraid of what her father thought of this? This was harmless cultural exchange!

She took up her pen and paused.

Dear Ambassador Soval,

Thank you for setting the record straight. I had no idea you had telepathic abilities! Wow...no wonder you keep your hands to yourself.

Ambassador, if I told you my name, I'd fear you'd judge me. Anonymity, at least for me, allows me to express more and gives me the courage to ask questions I don't think I'd normally ask. And it is for the very reason that I admire you that I keep my name to myself. I'm not trying to be offensive, and I guess you could call me a bit of a coward, but I'd rather remain "your secret admirer" for now.

I have more questions, if you'll allow it. You say that shaking hands is against your culture's rules, and I understand that. But why don't I see Vulcan couples holding hands? Is that still too much contact?

She paused, about to write something about couples being in love, but decided that might be presumptuous.

Furthermore, what is the meaning of holding up one's first two fingers to another person? I've only seen it done a few times before, and I'm fairly sure the couples in question were married. Is that, I guess, your version of holding hands? If this is too intrusive, you don't have to answer. I was just curious.

But also, how long have you been ambassador? Did you choose Earth or were you sent here by the High Command? I realize you might not exactly like it here, but is there an aspect of human culture you admire? If you could change one thing about humanity, what would it be and why?

Your secret (and cowardly and nervous) admirer

Sorak handed Soval a lone piece of mail with the tiniest of smirks playing over his lips and then went back to his duties. Soval took the letter into his office and shut the door. It was the same person; he recognized their handwriting now. His eyes skipped over the letter to see the name. He frowned and sighed when there was none. He sat down and poured himself a cup of tea and then set about reading it in earnest.

Once he was finished, he pulled out his paper and began to write. He paused a moment and hit the intercom button.

"Sorak, I need a copy of the teachings of Surak, the volume on propriety, the one Skon translated into Earth standard." He turned his face back to the paper.

Secret Admirer,

You have asked good questions. Given that I do not know your age or gender, it would be difficult to speak to you openly on the matters of touching between mates. Propriety will not allow me to engage in such discussions. However, I am including a copy of the Earth standard copy of Surak's teachings on propriety. Within the volume you will discover many of the reasons why we behave as we do.

I will now address the questions that I can. I have been an Ambassador here for 30 years. I was sent by the High Command. While at first I did not find the climate agreeable, as it is much too wet and cold for our kind, I have a certain affinity for the people and customs of Earth.

I would not wish to change anything about your people. When we attempt to change people, we often find that we have twisted them into mutated version of ourselves. We rarely find then what we see to be agreeable, because it forces people to behave in such a way that is not who they are. We may only teach and guide, allowing others to learn and become better versions of themselves.

A last thought before I send your letter and book to you. Surak teaches that where there is fear inside us, there is no room for anything else. I would not be pleased to think that a human had so much fear, when there are many more things to be full of. Judgment is a human trait; I see it as only logical to let you know I would not judge you. How could anyone, especially someone it is clear you admire, judge you?

Live long and prosper,

Ambassador Soval

He put the book and the letter in the envelop, and then pulled the volume out. He opened it and signed it, To my secret admirer, may logic guide your path. Soval.

Genie stayed up half the night reading the book under the covers, like a girl trying to read her boyfriend's love note out of sight of her parents. Thankfully the letter arrived on a Friday, and she stashed the book under her bed in the early hours of the morning and finally went to sleep.


She groaned and rolled over, pulling the covers up over her head.

"Genie, it's nearly 1000. It's time to get up, sweetie."

She made a nondescript noise in protest. "Ten more minutes."

"Your mother wants you to go with her to the market."

"Five then. Please, daddy."

"Young lady, what did I just tell you?"

She groaned and shoved the covers away, rubbing her bleary eyes. She frowned at her father and scratched her head, blinking against the bright light of day.

"You missed breakfast, Genie. That's not like you," he teased, and she whacked him with her pillow, but she was grinning now.

He ripped the pillow from her and whacked her right back. "I'm stealing your bacon next time," she retorted, sliding her legs out from under the covers. She stretched and yawned.

"What were you doing so late last night?"

She shook her head. "Reading."

Her father raised an eyebrow. "Interesting. What were you reading?"

"Philosophy," she replied without missing a beat, and she smirked at the look on her dad's face.

"Ok," he said, leaving her to get dressed. She smiled to herself and pulled on some jeans that were laying over her chair, and she noticed Soval's latest letter still sitting on her desk. She grabbed it and read it again, still half-dressed, then stashed it with the others in a box on the lowest bookshelf at the foot of her bed.

"She said she had stayed up all night reading philosophy."

Abigail raised an eyebrow and turned over another egg in the pan. "Do you think she was lying?"

"No, I just think it's weird. Never thought my daughter would be the philosophy type, but if that's what floats her boat..."

"Max, she's a smart girl. I don't understand it either, I mean, something like that would have put me to sleep right away. But if she likes that sort of thing, I think we should support it."

"I thought she was going into the MACOs."

"Who says she's not?" Abigail paused. "She's becoming a woman, Max. There's no rule that says she can't serve her planet and also be intelligent. This is nothing, sweetheart."

"Yeah," Max sighed, turning his attention back to his cup of coffee and the news. "You're probably right."

A/N: Thank you so much to Fameanon for helping me write this. You're the best!