"He did have a pet Selhat he was very fond of.”
Kirk took a long swallow from his drink as Amanda spoke.Ordinarily he might have laughed as Amanda, however unwittingly it might be, joined the teasing that McCoy always directed at Spock. But today the words cut deep into his heart. He set the glass down and, with as little disruption as possible, left the assembly room which held the diplomats. He walked blindly along the corridor, burrowing into the closest service niche, he pressed his forehead to the bulkhead. Tears ran unchecked, uncheckable down his cheeks. Two weeks, two pathetically short, insignificant weeks since Spock had told him about I-Chiya, about the importance of the bond that a young half vulcan had formed with a Sehlat. Two weeks ago he'd dreamed about seeing that connection again. And then every dream had shattered, leaving nothing but bitter might have beens.
He jerked straight and turned to face the corridor, brushing his tears away rapidly “Lady Amanda,may I be of assistance?”
Spock's mother tilted her head slightly sideways as she regarded him. When she spoke her voice was not offical, but incredibly gentle. “What has upset you?”
He tried to bluff “Upset? The noise merely gave me a headache and that caused my eyes to water.”
Amanda looked at him impassivly “I am neither a member of your crew, nor a Vulcan. You do not have to hide your feelings from me.” She stepped forwards, hands moving as if to take his own, but she stopped herself.
He swallowed, her calm gentleness, so like Spock when he was in extrimis, was threatening the seals he'd clamped down.
“That said, I am bonded to a Vulcan, so if experience can help you deal with my son being difficult.”
And that drove everything else to the back of his mind, “How did you know? Is it obvious?”
Her lips twitched it what might have been a laugh “Obvious if you want to see it. When my son writes so highly of his captain in every message he sends me, the way your eyes and your smile goes when you look at him, and you won't let Sarek sideline him, as Sarek does for me on Vulcan.”
He took a deep breath “You love your son very much... I, we had hoped to have the same, with our child. But it will not be so.”
She did take his hands then, pressing them tightly within her own clasp “Oh tal-kam.” They stood in silence for a moment, then her arms moved to encircle him.
He let her do so, sinking into the embrace. He'd wanted, needed, his mother that night. Needed her even more than Spock... The simple kindness, the deep empathy he'd seen in her eyes, something, cracked the dam he'd been shoring up as Captain Kirk. She didn't move away or complain as he sobbed, just tightened her hold minutely, rubbing his shoulder with the flat of one hand.
“How many more times must this happen?” He spoke through his tears, muffled against her shoulder.
There was a long moment of silence “It depends on how much you want it, how much you are willing to try. It does make success all the sweeter, when disaster has been faced.”
He drew back from her, and she let him “You too.”
“Four times. Spock was the fifth...Our blessing for being illogical and trying 'one more time'.” Amanda extended her first two fingers and touched them to his brow, a benediction.
Then she took another step back, becoming the formal wife of Ambassador Sarek once more “Captain Kirk, would you kindly escort me back to the gathering?”
He placed a smile back on his face, giving her a half bow “Of course Ma'm”
As he walked back to his quarters from the send off at the hangar deck intending to divest himself of the dress uniform Jim found himself wishing that the Vulcan party had not been the first to disembark of all the diplomats. Due to practicalities relating to Enterprise's route and other commitments of their passengers, it was so. He would have been glad to have spent some, crisis free, off duty time with Amanda. Even some with Sarek, if he could pluck up the courage to reveal their connection to the full-blood Vulcan. He wasn't sure he could have done so. The ambassador was frankly too intimidating, second only to T'Pau in that ranking. The thought made him smile. He'd dance around the admirals and completely ignore them if required, despite the fact they held his career in their hands, yet he went mute when he was confronted by his father-in-law. Oh, the irony.
A comm unit near him buzzed and he answered it partly on a reflex reaction
“Jim, if the Vucan party has gone, I'd like you to come down here.” McCoy's voice held no great urgency, but neither did that tone brook disobedience.
“On my way. Kirk out.”
McCoy had been absent from the farewell due to a briefly injured crewman, but as Kirk entered he was sat at the desk filling in his logs.
“They cleared off alright?”
He nodded “And I have Amanda's word you'll get a report from Sarek's Vulcan physician soon enough.”
His medical officer nodded contemplatively, then reached into his desk draw and pulled out a old fashioned envelope “Speaking of the fine Lady, she gave me this to pass onto you when they'd left. For reading in private.” McCoy raised an inquisitive eyebrow, but in a friendly way.
Jim took the envelope, noting absently as he put it in his pocket that Amanda had very beautiful handwriting, certainly in contrast to his own “Thank you, Bones.”
Although he hadn't given the doctor the satisfaction of agreeing at the time , the dress uniforms did make him feel like his 'neck was in a sling'. Any rate, it was nice to slip back into the everyday gold command uniform. Only at the last moment did he remember the letter. He removed it carefully, unfolding the paper slowly.
Jim, I hope it is not impertinent to address you in such a manner.
I wished to thank you for risking you own health to save my husband's life, and my son from an guilt he would not have forgiven himself for. You are truly his t'hy'la
Good luck, all my hopes, and blessings to you, tal-kam.
Where there is a will, there is a way, and where there is a child, a Sehlat cub can be found.
He sat on his bed holding the letter for a long time, uncertain whether his eyes were going to water with emotion, or if he was going to burst out laughing. Amanda, impossible and wonderful all at once... Somehow she'd managed to make the future so much brighter.