A/N - This story is in memoriam of JG, a relative I lost not too long ago. I didn't know what else I could do to express my grief, so I put it into creativity. I love you, JG.


One

Shanna Brown-Castillo was distracted. She was always distracted, lately. She went to work at the Vulcan embassy, did her job well enough, but as soon as the day ended, she was out of there. It hadn't always been like that.

When she started working there over a year ago as the personal assistant to a very aged Vulcan diplomat by the name of Telvin, she had been very social with everyone. She would attend every office get-together after work hours and enjoyed the life of a single young woman.

No one knew that her life had changed drastically five months before. Everyone noticed, but no one had the nerve to ask why. They were afraid of offending her. Not only had her social patterns changed, but so had her mode of dress. She also looked tired all of the time. They attributed this to the fact that one of her first cousins she grew up with had passed away. But they expected her grief to lift sooner.

One of the other Vulcan diplomats did not have the concerns of everyone else around him of offending her on the subject and he called Shanna into his office one day.

She walked in with a half smile on her face and wondered what Siranon wanted. He almost never bothered her professionally since they barely ever interacted at work. They had had several very interesting conversations when she used to go to the office mixers. He was one of the few Vulcans she found it very easy to converse with. But since she hadn't been going to any of the office occasions lately, they had barely spoken.

"Please, be seated," he pointed to the chair opposite his desk.

Shanna sat down and looked at him, askance since she didn't need to report to him about anything there at the embassy. The two silently regarded one another for a couple of seconds.

Shanna was average height and weight. As to her looks, the things that caught the eye of everyone that met her was the contrast of her flawless dark mocha skin, grey eyes and her raven black wavy.

Siranon was almost tall with dark hair and eyes, but the bone structure of his face seemed to be chiseled to perfection. It was almost disgustingly beautiful. One of the older ladies in the mailroom had once remarked, "Damn shame we can't never see a smile on that face!" as she laughed uproariously.

"Is there some reason you wanted to see me?" Shanna asked carefully. She was very tired, but she was trying not to show it.

"It has been noticed by others that you seem to be quite different since the death of your relative. Are you experiencing hardship due to excess emotion?" he asked out of nowhere.

She felt like someone had slapped her. "Oh…" She didn't know what to think. "Um… did Telvin tell you that my work wasn't any good lately or something?" she asked, confused.

"Telvin has nothing to do with my line of enquiry."

She sat there and looked at him. He wasn't saying anything else. Now she was getting angry. "Do I have to answer your questions?"

"I do not see the reason you would not answer."

She frowned. She was really trying to hang onto her cool. Maybe because she was so tired, she was seeing too much into this, but she was getting even angrier. "Well because maybe I think it isn't any of your business."

She had never spoken to him or anyone else, as far as he was aware, in this way! "It is the policy of the Vulcan embassy to take care of their employees. If you are experiencing any form of hardship, we may be able to provide you some assistance."

Then she felt horrible. "I'm sorry," she said as she looked down at her shoes. "I didn't mean to snap at you like that."

But he saw she still wasn't going to tell him what was going on. "You are in no need of assistance?"

She looked over at him and wondered just how much he really wanted to know. "My cousin died, everyone knows that. But what everyone doesn't know is when he died, his baby was left with…nothing. No one. My aunt and uncle, my cousin's parents, were killed in a shuttle accident ten years ago, so there are no grandparents there. My cousin's wife ran off after the baby was born talking about she needed her freedom or whatever and her parents have no interest in taking the baby. They seem to have just let her go back home and she doesn't do anything at all for this kid! So my mother and I wound up taking care of Ananda -that's the baby." She shrugged. "I wound up with a baby overnight. That's what happened."

She looked up at him when she saw he was not saying a word. His eyes had softened considerably. "I do not engage in subterfuge very well," he admitted. "I was already aware of your situation."

"What?!" she asked, a little horrified. "Why did you make me sit there and say all of that, then?" she began to stand so she could leave the office.

Siranon raised one hand to try and calm her. "Please, please hear me out. I am in my own form of trouble. And I need your help."

She stopped in her tracks. He did look a little desperate underneath it all. "Siranon?"

"Shanna, please sit down, listen to my predicament now. It is not the same as yours, but it is quite similar."

She sat down, concerned. "What's going on? Did you get a baby thrust at you, too, overnight?" she asked jokingly.

He didn't mince words. "Yes."

Her mouth dropped open. "When?"

"One month, three days, five hours, six minutes and-"

"I get the point. How old is the baby? I mean, who's taking care of him right now?"

"I have engaged a nanny. Henry is three months of age, as of yesterday. But my problem is severe."

"Oh?"

Siranon swallowed. "I was served with papers earlier today. The child is human. He was the product of the marriage of my former business partner and his wife. They both perished and… He thought it best to leave the child with me in case of an emergency, I honestly do not know why, but he did so in his will. And now I have a human child." He shook his head. "Why the child's maternal aunt and uncle have waited this long to protest the adoption is beyond me." He swallowed as he looked in her eyes. "I have grown attached, to say the least. And I do not wish to give him up."

She was caught by the throat at the thought of someone coming along and just taking Ananda from her. Her eyes teared up. "That's so sad. What are the grounds of them taking him from you? What about his grandparents, what do they say?"

He saw then that she was quite affected by the thought of Henry being taken from him. Perhaps his plan would work out after all. "His grandparents on both sides have opined that they are old and have raised their children. Due to my educational background and family connections, they have stated that Henry shall be raised well. I had made a provision that he would visit them on a regular basis throughout his life, so they were included in the plans for the adoption. I know both sets of grandparents quite well," he mused. "But the grounds upon which the child's maternal aunt and uncle have protested the adoption is the fact that I am not only not human, but that I am a Vulcan and that I will be incapable of providing Henry with the emotional support he very much needs."

She sat there, dazed. It hadn't even occurred to her to question his being fit as the boy's parent until then. "Oh."

"They contend that I am here at the embassy too much, that I have no wife, that-" He sighed. "I did not wish to agree with their charges, but I suppose they are perhaps correct. How can I, a Vulcan, know how to raise a human child? Already, I have accelerated Henry's education in a Vulcan way. Perhaps I am damaging him by doing so?"

Shanna felt a keen liking of Siranon in that very moment. "You're experiencing parental guilt. You're his father already, whether they like it or not."

He swallowed. "The adoption will not be protested, according to my lawyers, if I bring a consistent human female into his life in form of a wife. I would ask that you be that woman."

She frowned. "What?"

"I propose koon-ut-so-lik. I believe the two of us should marry and raise these children together as siblings."