You sat up on the large bed, now knowing why Spock had placed multiple blankets on you. Vulcan was hot- so annoyingly so- but was very much a dessert. In the middle of the night, it would become too cold for you, and you wouldn't want to move at all to conserve heat.
Times like now, you quickly learnt, were close to perfect. When the sun had set and all the tiles on the ground were still warm from the heat. A cool breeze went through an opened window and you stood before it, taking in a deep breath of the air. You would have never before imagined yourself living any place than Earth. You had always been loyal to your home planet, but now something had changed that. Someone.
The half-Vulcan was steady in his sleep, hardly shifting unless he had a nightmare. Because of the mind meld he had done with you, you'd end up waking each time he had one. They weren't often, usually meditation always soothed his mind. So when he did toss and turn you'd hold him until he once more went into a peaceful sleep.
Now everything was calm but you, wondering as you stared up into the starry sky, how far away was home. As if by some miracle chance, you could see Earth, even though it was lightyears away. The same distance seemed to be as an ocean on Earth though, for all the times you had travelled across the galaxy.
You heard the blankets move and looked back to see Spock waking.
He walked next to you without a word, looking out the window and upwards. He noted every star out there, recognized every constellation or formation. Astronomy was something he enjoyed as a child, and he was so use to being right beside those stars. That every time he looked up from a planetary surface, he'd see a different collection of lights dancing above his head.
He had these ones all memorized from childhood and though he found familiarity to be slightly comforting, it did have its disappointments. Mostly a lack of challenge, nothing more that he had to learn. No questions which would make his knowledge in any ways useful. They were now just stars.
"When I was younger, every time I saw a shooting star, I would think it was a starfleet ship. On Earth, shooting stars are believed to grant you a wish. All I wanted was to see a starship though. I suppose that did come true... I almost miss it."
Your voice was soft, speaking to yourself more than your T'hy'la. He knew a starship could not be seen from the surface of the planet if it was out of the atmosphere. But he didn't correct you. Because like many people who joined starfleet, the stars meant to him exploration, discovery, challenges and mystery. Much like the science his father wanted him to go into.
"You could take up the request to captain your own."
It was a fact he kept bringing up, and you wondered why exactly for. Your answer would always be the same. He may not understand it, or perhaps he didn't care about understanding. Maybe he wanted to hear you keep saying you chose him over being a captain, or the fact you didn't want to leave him. Regardless, you weren't changing your mind.
"My life is with you, T'hy'la. Besides, if they really needed a captain, they'd ask you. To which I would sign onto your ship to be with."
"I would refuse the offer. We have made our decision and I will stand by it."
You brushed your hand against his and your lips against his cheek in a chaste kiss, both Vulcan and human at once. You then slowly turned and went towards the bed, a hand holding the edge of Spock's robes to bring him with you. He went and climbed onto the bed without complaint and you wrapped yourself up in blankets and him. He brought his arms around you, and you hugged him deeply, eyes closed and head buried into his shoulder.
He brought his hand forward and touched your cheek with it. A type of peace and love filled you which was clearly Spock's. A vulcan's serenity was soothing to its very core. You laid a small kiss on the nearest skin of his in your contact, his neck, and ran your fingers up the rest of his neck.
Spock's heartbeat and the sound of light winds outside was your lullaby.
"Now how does one cook with this? And could I simply not use this?"
You held up two things which looked rather identical to you but by Spock raising an eyebrow in his usual manner that he had as a first officer, you were wronger than possibly conceived. So perhaps cooking in a Vulcan manner would take some getting used to.
You put both things down and then looked in the other cabinets. Everything just confused you and you started wondering who traditionally cooked in a Vulcan relationship. Surely, both people must have had equal parts in such duties, that would be logical. Then again, Spock also spent a good part of his life prior to now on a starship. It was debatable.
"Amanda came across the same difficulties. Check the lower cabinet to your right."
Sarek walked in and you gave him a light smile before opening said cabinet. Finally, some things you recognized. In a mixing bowl you found some papers and opened them up. It listed some Vulcan foods and their equivalent to what they were on Earth, give or take.
"Your mother, Spock, was amazing."
You began pulling things out, taking the papers and placing them on the counter for references. Spock didn't say anything, and Sarek poured himself a cup of water.
"How long will you be staying?"
The question was directed at Spock who didn't respond for a few moment. It reminded him that if he was to stay on Vulcan, he did have to get himself his own home and such. He couldn't stay here.
"Perhaps another week until I can find other arrangements."
"Well, I no longer need this house. I'd much rather move to the city for work, and I am hardly on Vulcan as it is as of late. So this house is no longer needed by I."
Spock didn't respond, casting his gaze discretely around where all his childhood memories were created. He supposed he always assumed this would always be there for him. That once he came back, home would always be the same. That was illogical though, but how he felt.
"I never knew Vulcans implied things so obviously."
You leaned against the counter and Sarek gave you a small nod.
"But I am a diplomat. I'll let you two think it over and discuss among yourselves."
Sarek nodded once more before taking his cup elsewhere. You then glanced at Spock.
"Would you like to adopt this house?"
"It would be most illogical to judge our future location-"
"We're either going to live here or on Earth, Spock. I don't care where. If you want this place, even just because of some emotions, then go ahead."
"You may not be comfortable away from the main city-"
"I like the seclusion here. I'm not exactly a welcomed member of Vulcan society."
You reached out and placed your hand softly on Spock's cheek, fingers tracing over above his eyebrows and drawing a line to one of his pointed ears. It made Spock fall silent, thinking to himself until he gave a small nod.
"If you do not wish to live here, we could move later."
"Thank you. Should I tell Sarek?"
"If you are certain you will not change your mind." He spoke the word 'again' in his mind as he watched you go through a door. It was something he was used to after all this time, humans changing their minds every second if possible. He didn't want to annoy his father with those same problems.
He watched the way the Vulcan robe fell elegantly down your body. It was undone, revealing a set of Terran clothes in the same sublime hue of colour as the Vulcan script. Both he and Sarek didn't comment or find any especially negative thoughts about you wearing it like that.
Amanda had been much more careful, trying to fit into a society and offer help. She had been a teacher, that was her way. You though, had at times commanded starships and saved planets. It showed in the way you held yourself, but the underlines of a diplomat and wisdom outlined your smaller movements.
And as you kneeled across from Sarek at a low table, he saw all of that in you. He had to stop comparing you to Amanda. He had met many humans before, but perhaps it was because you were the only one since her in the house. A house which was sometimes tense with just him alone from memories. Sometimes he wished very deeply he could show his emotions to Spock like Amanda did.
But until- and if- he ever could, Spock was content with you. And so was Sarek. He was eagerly awaiting for you to become his daughter-in-law, which did not contain any hostile feelings in this culture compared to Earth in-laws.
"So, Spock doesn't want to give this house up. And I personally like it. So, we'll stay here as long as you don't change your mind. Which happens even if you're a Vulcan. And I promise regardless I won't touch your things or room. Though the kitchen will have to be changed slightly..."
Sarek gave a small nod to your list of responses. Another human trait, to list them all of so eagerly. Although your words were all smooth, flowing, carefully pronounced. As it should be for a person who has travelled the stars and communicated with dozens of species- not all with fantastic English skills.
"On the note of your future, I must ask where you and Spock will live in the future. Earth or Vulcan? If you two won't continue to work for Starfleet."
"We're still trying to decide. I was thinking of a home on both worlds. I just hope I won't get bored. I'm used to always waking up to a red alert."
You gave a sheepish laugh and Sarek brought his hands together.
"I am most certain you and Spock will find peace in your decisions."
"Hmm, or at least half peace if we spend half a year or something at both places... Do you know where he wants to live? Any fatherly advice?"
Sarek thought for a moment, trying to remember when he had brought Spock to Earth. He was always the one to tell Spock to follow Surak's teachings and hide his emotions.
"Amanda and I did take him to Earth, but mostly Amanda did. When he was a child- very young- he always loved Earth's culture a little more. It was more open towards him. When he grew up, he shunned it, as any other society but Vulcan, as he wanted to disregard his human half.
"My son has served Starfleet though and I never expected him to retire so soon. He would probably find more comfort in Earth, but wish to stay in Vulcan."
You gave a slow nod, understanding what Sarek was telling you. Spock was divided in the choice just like he was divided between Vulcan and human, Earth or his home world. You were divided between your own home and the one of your T'hy'la. Vulcan didn't mean that much to you. You wondered if that was how Spock felt about Earth.
You gave Sarek your thanks and left. You eventually found Spock sitting on the outdoor porch next to the sand. He was meditating and you decided you loved the way he looked when he did it. Much wiser in some ways, no subdue agitation or tenseness that he always had while on duty. His body was still held straight but more gracefully then stiff. The creases seemed to fade on his face.
The hot wind already started to form a bit of sweat on his brows, his body having adjusted to temperatures better for Humans after all those years on a starship. Your eyes followed a drop and you wiped it away.
"I must concentrate, T'hy'la."
"Hmm, I know... Find me when you're done, okay?"
Your lips tweaked as you pressed a kiss to his forehead and decided to explore around the house. A rocky ground made by large slabs of stone were around the house, all covered in a layer of sand. A large rocky cliff was near one side, offering shelter from the usual sand storms which came from that direction.
You pulled the hood up from the Vulcan robe you had on and wondered how far it spread. You judged it's distance to be a forty minute run. The height was about six stories. You tested the rock, it was steady and somewhat brittle. But you've climbed worse.
You made sure Spock was still meditating on the other side of the home before lifting yourself up. Your feet went on small chunks of rock which had been carved out slightly by erosion. The stone burned underneath your hand slightly, the stone smooth from the sand rubbing against it for so long.
When you hit roughly the half-way mark, you noticed you could have more easily climbed the top of the house and leaped to your position. You didn't make any sounds, there'd be no one there to empathize.
You tried not to trip on the robe which was just an inch from the ground. You grabbed the silk-like material (it had been a gift from Spock, but was still durable to the sun and sand), and put it over an arm to make sure you wouldn't step on it. You finished your climb with sweat dripping down your face from both heat and exertion. It felt good though to finally do things. You somewhat missed the unexpected beam down missions. This wall would get boring soon.
You carefully perched at the top of the wall, knowing the wind would be stronger. It wasn't as strong as expected, but then your hands clutched the rock and you dipped your body lower slightly. The wind came in strong gusts.
On the other side of this wall, the wall went much deeper down. Like the side of a cliff. More platform like areas existed, and it seemed as if the house was on the highest one. And judging by the surface height of Vulcan, this would lead below the surface. A canyon, if anything.
You wanted to explore it, see if those black shadows on the rocks were indeed cave opening.
It was lost in the wind but you did register some sort of sound. You climbed down a bit of the wall to avoid a good part of the wind and to make sure it didn't go over your ears to ruin your hearing.
Spock was at the bottom of this 'wall', and you knew that expression. The one he used when he was disapproving of what someone was doing. Either for regulations or worry.
"I'll be fine! And back in twenty minutes Earth time."
Spock didn't seem to like this answer and began to nimbly climb the wall despite his heavier robes. He was at the spot in half the time it had taken you. Obviously, he had done this plenty of times before.
"You are not dressed for this activity."
You pulled off your robe and allowed it to fall to the ground next to the house. You then glanced at Spock, as you were in clothes much like you wore on Earth.
"Now I am. Are you coming or not?"
You jumped over that cliff's top vault style and Spock did so in a much less showcasing style. You two descended that wall, sand getting into your face and you wished you had your robe once more. That hood was useful.
You two aimed for a lower piece of ground jutting out of the cliff wall. You jumped the last bit, the rock giving way beneath you in a way you didn't expect. Spock jumped down calmly, expertly swaying to combat the affect he knew what would happen if such a force was exerted on these fragile rocks.
Once you were steady he strode over to the first cave.
"This was where I spent much of my youth. It was illogical to go to such a dangerous place though..."
"Everybody has their hideout. Especially as a child. Mine was just as natural, simply with more plant life."
Your fingers skimmed over the stone which had ink all over it. Math formulas, handprints, calligraphy. All remains of Spock's childhood and what he had been interested at that time. The cave had a large room after the somewhat small entrance which was much like a crack in the wall. Inside was slabs of rock which made various raised platforms. Some papers and an old Federation computer were left around.
Spock seemed to have forgotten about these lost items and began to collect them, rolling up the papers and placing them in a nearby bag which was cast in a corner.
You glanced around at the walls before pausing.
"Spock, it's beautiful."
Spock looked at where you were staring the seemed to no longer care about the papers. He strode to where you were and wiped a hand against the smeared blue and red, trying to hurriedly erase it. You stopped him with a non-forceful and soft touch of your fingers to his arm.
"Don't ruin it. You allow yourself to express music but not visual art? Why are you so against your human side? Why are you so scared of people finding it? You can show it to me. And I'll love it also."
Spock refused to look at you or his early artwork of fiery stars in a dark blue sky. The now ashy paint stained his skin from the natural base of plants. The paints came from Earth, from Amanda's relatives. It was one she gave him and told him not to tell his father about. He never could have anyways. His father would have been against the display of emotions. Even his musical work had to be strict and almost uncreative. Nothing could be spur of the moment. Of course you didn't know that. You never heard any of the songs he played before and how could you?
"Those songs weren't created by I."
"And you didn't create those stars. But the mere act of trying to mimic them is art by itself.... I won't argue with you, Spock, about this. But only if you won't be scared anymore to show your human side."
Spock didn't say anything for a moment then lowered his hand. He stood there for a good amount of time, until you gave him your usual light kiss and went to explore the rest of the cave.
Spock raised his arm once more, overlooking the attempt at art he made all that time ago. Showing his human side was simply not him. If it hadn't changed since his childhood, it wouldn't change now.
He wiped away the picture as best as he could, until all that remained where streaks and specks of the dried paint in a pattern which made absolutely no sense.
Spock felt a hand go over his, careful not to touch the inside and become painted. He watched carefully as your other hand pressed against his collect the paint. You placed your hand against the wall and pressed, leaving a red-hued handprint. You then raised Spock's hand and did the same. His handprint had more purple and blue hues to it, and larger than yours.
"... I like it. It's symbolic... And some of the first art children do."
The look you gave Spock told him you were already forming a plan. He was pleased though that it didn't involve you access to photo torpedoes this time. When you schemed, somehow Kirk would end up giving you full power of the ship. But that was now of the past.
"Humans have reverted to drawing in caves since the beginning of their evolution."
"And Vulcans never did?"
"Vulcans chose a more verbal way to share their history."
"Huh, odd that your species has the stronger links to ancient history then. Especially ancient alien encounters..."
You wiped your hand off on your pants, leaving a smeared handprint. This time when you went, Spock followed, being a comforting shadow behind you regardless of how many dips and turns this cave had.
You wished you had your boots, especially when there was a steep down climb. You half slid down it and jumped, Spock climbing down it with hands and feet.
"How far did you ever explore these caves?"
"I had never managed to get down that fall."
You smiled at Spock before stepping further away. This time, it was a bit more slowly. Spock knew what to expect back there, here he didn't. You observed this area like you had done to hundreds of other planets. And it brought a certain thrill down your spine. Perhaps you were always meant to be part of starfleet...
You glanced back at Spock who was studying the rocks around you carefully. It seemed even he would always be more curious than a Vulcan should be.
Rocks now became coated slightly in water from an underlying oasis. You followed the small stream in the opposite direction of its flow before finally arriving at a good size stream. This long cavern was cold and damp, water droplets forming on all the walls and down rocks.
"I found an oasis. Who would have guessed?"
"This would be the underground water source we gain our water from in the house. It seems to be laced with high amounts of mineral composition, comm- T'hy'la."
At Spock's mix-up you couldn't help but give a light laugh. You grabbed his hand to make sure he didn't think any insult in it and smiled brightly at him.
"Good to know I still have a science officer in you somewhere. Hmm, old habits die hard. Wonder how Jim's been handling it..."
You feel completely quiet at the thought of him, which then turned to McCoy, who had to be your best friend on the Enterprise. You somewhat missed them. Well, you truly honestly missed them. But what could you do? They kept in Starfleet, and were probably light years away and still going further.
"You miss them,"
It wasn't a question and your eyes widened at how easily Spock picked that up despite his lack of knowledge on human emotions.
"Yes, I do. But I'm sure they're fine wherever they are."
"Doctor McCoy will be on Earth for another two months. He is still concluding finds and research data from our voyage. Kir- Jim, is now an admiral, and he'd most likely be on Earth for the majority of his work. Everybody else would be back to work in space."
You gave a sorrow-filled smile. You doubted you'd be back on Earth in two months.
"Spock, we need to talk. I know you want to stay on Vulcan but I want to stay on Earth."
Spock already knew this, simply waiting for you to admit to it. Thus, he already came across what he hoped would be a solution accepted to you.
"There is a flight going to Earth next week. And I have already gotten two tickets for it. We will split our time on Earth and Vulcan equally. But since McCoy won't be on Earth later, we may as well shift our living schedule to accommodate that."
"I knew you missed him to."
Your arms wrapped around Spock and he placed a hand on the back of your head, holding you close.
"Perhaps we could also see Jim...?"
"Of course. I'm not going to forget him, Spock. He's your best friend."
And this time, Spock decided it would be best not to fight it in any way, in any form. He let the words make some warmth bleed inside of him, and he let the faintest smile go over his lips. And you noticed, eyes shimmering with love.