Once and Future Friend

AUTHOR: Gamin Davis

SERIES: TOS (of course), prequel

RATING: G for occasional toxic cuteness

CODES: S, Sa, Am; angst

SUMMARY: Spock's only childhood visit to see some of his Human
relatives results in the beginnings of a friendship with his cousin,
setting a possible precedent for his friendship with Kirk.

Disclaimer: For lo, the Deity Paramount doth own these characters
(except Elizabeth and Jonathan Grayson, c. 1986, Gamin Davis); I do
but frolic briefly with them in their playground.


     Amanda watched in growing dismay from the parlor window.  Below
her, outside and just beyond the garden wall, Spock was again being
taunted by his schoolmates.  She could not hear them, but she knew
what they were saying.  How long was Spock to endure this?  She had
hoped it would stop after Spock had successfully completed the Kahs-
wan ordeal and had chosen to follow Vulcan philosophy.  But that had
been over two years ago, as Earth years are measured, and the insults

    Sarek had always forbidden her to interfere, saying that such
disagreements were Spock's responsibility to resolve, but Amanda
didn't understand how Spock was to do that when Sarek openly
discouraged him from asking questions about his Human half; answers
to such questions would at least give Spock some idea of what to say
in his own defense.  Sarek, however, had become considerably less
tolerant of Spock's curiosity about his Human heritage since their
son had decided to follow Vulcan philosophy.  Amanda found this
singularly illogical--but, of course, she didn't dare say so to Sarek.

    At last, she could stand the scene before her no
longer.  "Sarek, look--they're doing it again," she said, without
turning, trying not to raise her voice.  "Really, now--someone ought
to put a stop to it."

    No response.

    Exasperated in spite of herself, Amanda finally
turned.  "Sarek!  If *you* don't do something, *I* will!"  she
threatened, knowing that would bring some reaction.  Or should have. 
Except that no one was there to react; sarek was not in the room. 
Then Amanda remembered--he was still in meditation.  And his
meditation chamber was soundproof.  Amanda waited momentarily,
thinking, and finally decided she was not under Sarek's authority
when he wasn't around to remind her of it.  Silently, she crossed the
room, exited, went down the hall and through the outside door.


    "Earther! Emotional Earther!"

    Spock ignored Sorik's jeer as best he could, looking around
surreptitiously.  The gate was so close, only a few feet...if only he
could make it.  Spock backed up a few steps and finally answered his
challenger: "That is not true, Sorik.  I passed the test of Kahswan;
I *am* a Vulcan."

    "You had help.  You must have," Sorik retorted.

    "I did *not*!" Spock insisted, stepping back again and ignoring
the fact that he was shouting.

    "You will never be a true Vulcan, Spock.  Your father brought
shame to this planet by marrying a Human," another child, whom Spock
recognized as Sorik's brother, Sepik, put in accusingly.

    For some reason he didn't as yet understand, Spock had always
had a low toleration limit for insults aimed at his mother--and Sepik
had just crossed the line.  The minimal control Spock had maintained
so far gave way suddenly to a facial expression that looked like a
cross between a pout and a glower.  "You take that back, Sepik!  Take
it back NOW!"  he demanded threateningly.

    Sorik and Sepik moved forward menacingly, and the two boys
behind them moved up to flank them, then all four surged toward
Spock.  "Spock is an Earther!  Spock is an Earther!"  they chanted.

    Spock lunged at them, aiming himself at Sepik and managing to
drop his larger schoolmate by making use of the Vulcan neck pinch,
which he had recently mastered.  Immediately, however, Sorik and the
other two were on top of him, rolling around on the ground as Spock
swung and kicked at them clumsily in an efort to free himself. 
Suddenly, Spock found himself pinned on his back with Sorik standing
over him.  "Starn, Serak--hold him down," he directed his two
cohorts, in a tone that sounded dangerously close to a snarl, just as
Sepik was regaining consciousness.  Spock didn't know what Sorik had
in mind, but he resolved to face it as calmly as possible; he closed
his eyes tightly, but otherwise gave no sign of fear.  Sorik raised a
small fist in the air, prepared to strike.


    Alarmed, the children disbanded quickly.  Sorik looked at the
one who had spoken, then back to Spock, and slowly backed away; Sepik
joined him reluctantly, both unrepentant, and Starn and Serak turned
tail and ran.  Relieved, Spock sat up and brushed himself off, then
looked around.  Sorik and Sepik were standing nearby, but were
oblivious to him, watching the garden gate.  Spock followed their
gaze and saw that the gate was open--and Amanda was standing in front
of it.

    Now she advanced toward them determinedly as Spock stood up,
coming to stand directly in front of them.  "Just what was the
meaning of that uncivilized display?"  she demanded.

    All three children were silent.

    Amanda focused her attention on Sorik and Sepik.  "You two--the
very idea!  Two full-blooded Vulcans acting like barbarians--and
*all* of you ganging up on Spock!  *You* are the ones who bring shame
to Vulcan!"

    Sorik and Sepik looked submissive now, if still somewhat
unrepentant.  Sepik looked up at Amanda defiantly, almost as if he
were considering the idea of spitting at her, then abruptly turned
and marched off.  Sorik turned to follow him, then turned back
briefly.  "Lady Amanda, it was Spock who attacked first," he informed
her stiffly, then turned on his heel and left.

    Amanda looked down at Spock.  He was standing silently, head
bowed and hands clasped behind his back--the position he normally
assumed when expecting a reprimand from Sarek.  Amanda reached down
and laid a hand on his head.  "Come, Spock--let's go inside," she
urged gently, offering him her hand.  Spock hesitated momentarily,
then placed his smaller hand in hers, moving closer and following her
through the gate.

    "Well-handled, my wife."

    Amanda looked up and around as Spock abruptly released her hand
and hurried off, hoping to hide himself somewhere in the garden;
Sarek was standing at the bottom of the terrace steps.  Uncertain as
to what to expect, Amanda went to join him.


    "Amanda, how many times must I remind you--"

    "I had to do something, Sarek.  I couldn't just let them torment
Spock like that," Amanda told him quietly.  "I'm sorry.  I know you
don't approve, but *I'm* not a Vulcan."

    They were back in the parlor now, sitting on the sofa.  Sarek
regarded her understandingly.  "I know, Amanda.  I do not expect you
to be," he assured her gently.  "I do, however, expect you to respect
my wishes."

    "And never mind Spock's self-respect?"

    Sarek raised an eyebrow at her.  "Really, Amanda.  How does it
help Spock's 'self-respect' to be rescued by his mother each time he
has some difficulty with his schoolmates?"  he queried.

    Amanda sighed.  "Sarek, he *needed* help, this time.  They were
going to hurt him!"  she insisted.  "That older boy, Sorik, was--"

    "I know.  I saw.  That is why I did not stop you.  That is why I
said 'well-handled'."

    Amanda did a double-take, startled by Sarek's change of tone,
and saw him smiling slightly.  He offered extended first and second
fingers to her, and she touched them with hers.  Their eyes met and

    Sarek got up finally.  "I must discuss this with Spock," he
said, over his shoulder, as he moved toward the door.

    Amanda rose also, going after him.  "Don't be too hard on him--
it wasn't his fault," she reminded him.

    "He lost control," Sarek responded, without turning.  He went
out onto the terrace and started down the steps into the garden,
Amanda still tailing him.

    "He was provoked," she countered.

    They had reached the bottom of the steps, and Sarek finally
turned to her.  "No amount of 'provocation' is sufficient to excuse
Spock from resorting to violence to resolve a dispute," he told
Amanda firmly.

    Amanda hesitated, weighing alternatives, and fnally came to a
decision.  "Sarek...he was defending your honor...and mine," she
informed him intensely, realizing Sarek must have only arrived in
time to see the end of the fight.

    Sarek looked at her questioningly.  "Indeed?"

    Amanda nodded.  "Sepik accused you of 'bringing shame to Vulcan
by marrying a Human'," she elaborated.

    Sarek hesitated, regarding her silently for a moment.  "Do *you*
believe this is sufficient to absolve Spock of any guilt in the
matter, Amanda?"

    "I didn't say that.  All I said was that the guilt was evenly
distributed and that Spock had good reason to 'lose control'.  I
think you should bear that in mind when you talk to him," Amanda
answered quietly.

    "I will," Sarek assured her, "but I must speak with him *alone*."

    Amanda knew a hint when she was hit over the head with it.  She
remained at the foot of the steps for a moment as Sarek continued on
into the garden and watched him uncertainly until he disappeared into
a grove of trees and bushes, then turned in resignation and went back
up to the terrace.

Spock had retreated to the hindmost area of the garden, a
secluded, shade-shrouded place unused by the family except as a
makeshift "den" for Spock's pet sehlat.  He had not left it for some
weeks now, having been ill, and Spock had made it his business to
spend some portion of each day with him.  Spock was there now,
sitting against his side and talking to the sehlat in subdued tones,
now and then stopping to bury his face in the sehlat's fur.

    "Perhaps they are right, I-Chaya...perhaps I am *not* a true
Vulcan," he postulated mournfully.  "But if not, then what am I?"

    Spock looked into the eyes of his pet--for what, he wasn't sure--
as I-Chaya, laying on his side, swung his head around to look at
him.  The sehlat had no answers for him; he only whimpered worriedly
at Spock in response.

    Spock lowered his eyes, sighing, and again buried his face in I-
Chaya's fur.  No, there were no answers here, and none (that he could
find) within himself.  Only questions, and questions that led to mroe
questions, mainly about his Vulcan/Human heritage.  He didn't
understand...his successful completion of the Kahs-wan ordeal and
Life's Decision made in favor of Vulcan philosophy should have
settled the matter; obviously, it hadn't.  If anything, it seemed
only to have increased Spock's uncertainty.  Which, if either, was he-
-Vulcan or Human?

    Thus Sarek found him now, sitting alone with I-Chaya, half-
hidden by greenery.  He stopped some feet away from his son, watching
him silently, almost regretfully, knowing Spock was troubled.  It
might not be a good time for another lecture on the evils of losing
control of one's emotions, but Spock had to be made to understand
that brawling in the streets with his schoolmates was unacceptable,
under any circumstances--no matter *who* started it--and Sarek knew
it was best to deal with the matter while it was still fresh in
Spock's mind.

    "Spock," he called quietly.

    Spock turned around, hesitated, then got up slowly and walked
out to meet his father.  He stopped near Sarek and assumed his normal
I-wonder-what-I-did-this-time position--head bowed, hands clasped
loosely behind his back.  "Yes, Father?"  he answered, with apparent

    "Come with me, please," Sarek directed levelly.

    Spock followed him silently toward the front of the garden, and
Sarek seated himself on one of the many stone benches.  Spock, as
always, uncomfortable in his father's presence, remained standing
stiffly before him.

    "Well, Spock--what do you have to say for yourself?"

    Spock hesitated, wondering if he should bother trying to defend
his actions to Sarek or simply apologize; finally, however, he opted
for defense, knowing he could not learn what was expected of him as a
Vulcan without discussing these incidents with his father.  "I could
not help myself, Father," he began.  "If you had heard what they were
saying about you and Mother..."

    "Your mother told me," Sarek interrupted gravely.  "But is that
why you attacked Sepik?  Or was it because he had insulted *you*?"

    On that point, Spock was still somewhat confused.  "I do not
know.  But I did not lose control until Sepik said those things about
you and Mother," he answered finally.

    Sarek sighed.  "No matter.  The point is that you must learn
patience--patience is the key to emotional control in such
situations.  Giving in to the urge for violence will avail you
nothing," he chided firmly.

    Spock had not moved since Sarek sat down, and he did not do so
now, but meekly answered, "Yes, Father."

    "Now...have you any questions on the subject?"

    Spock looked up finally.  "Yes, Father.  Is what Sepik said
true?  I did not know it was wrong for a Vulcan to marry a Human."

    Sarek's manner softened.  "It is not," he told Spock
quietly.  "As you grow, you will come to udnerstand the Vulcan
philosophy of IDIC--Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations--and
you will learn that difference is a virtue.  Your mother has many
qualities that are totally different from those of a Vulcan, yet, in
their own way, are just as important and just as desirable--and it
was because of these qualities that I married her.  Unfortunately,
there are quite a few Vulcans who do not put this philosophy into
practice.  Sepik's father is one of those, so it is hardly surprising
that he and Sorik were the ones who gave you the most trouble."

    Spock took some time to sort all this out; clearly, this IDIC
philosophy would require further attention.  "Then Sepik is wrong. 
They are *all* wrong."

    Sarek was pleased.  Despite his son's obvious discomfort, Spock
*had* understood his point.  "Yes, Spock--they are all wrong.  I
suggest you remember that--and what I have told you--the next time
you feel moved toward retaliation," he finished finally.

    "Yes, Father."


    Amanda had lost track of how long she had been waiting for Spock
and Sarek to return from their talk.  She now found herself giving in
to an urge that a decade-or-so spent learning to adapt to the Vulcan
custom of emotional control had not driven out of her: she was
pacing.  Each time Sarek was forced to give one of these lectures--
and they were necesary almost every day--Spock reacted differently. 
Sometimes he seemed to understand; sometimes he seemed more confused
than he'd been before.  Always it piqued his curiosity about the
Human half of his heritage, and always it feulled the inferiority he
felt in relation to his full-Vulcan schoolmates at finding that he
had again done something Vulcans would consider wrong.  There seemed
nothing Sarek coould do about that, no matter how gentle he tried to
be with Spock.

    Amanda would, as always, give help and comfort whenever she
could--but Spock had chosen to follow Vulcan philosophy, and it had
become principally Sarek's duty to see that he was raised
accordingly.  Amanda herself was still learning to adhere to it in
the minimal way Sarek required of her, and she often felt useless and
unneeded.  Except during such times as she suspected this might be--
when Spock was full of questions he thought Sarek couldn't or
wouldn't answer.

    She stopped finally at the terrace railing and leaned over it,
looking down; Spock was coming up the steps, followed by Sarek.

    Sarek regarded Amanda with a look that said the talk with Spock
had gone reasonably well--as far as it had gone.  Apparently, for
reasons yet to be made clear to Amanda, Sarek had been holding back
certain pieces of information.  The necessary silent communication
complete, Sarek continued into the house.

    Amanda watched him go inside, then turned around and found Spock
still standing there.  His small face was clouded over with a
troubled expression, though he looked slightly more relaxed that he
had when Amanda had left him earlier.  "Spock?  What is it?"  she
asked finally, sitting against the railing.

    "Mother...am I Vulcan or Human?"

    Amanda didn't know why this question surprised her; she had been
expecting Spock to ask it for some time now, but it had not been
until after the Kahs-wan ordeal that he had been old enough to begin
wondering about it.  And Sarek, while not flatly forbidding Spock to
discuss the Human half of his heritage with them, had made it more
than clear that he did not have his father's approval when he did
so.  As a result, Spock kept his curiosity about the Human qualities
he was supposed to be suppressing mainly to himself.

    Abruptly, Amanda realized that what suprised her was that Spock
was discussing this with *her*.  His relationship with his father had
always been somewhat strained, as if Sarek were constantly (if
unintentionally) making him feel inferior, but Spock looked up to
him, nonetheless; Sarek seemed to embody all that was of value on
Vulcan, as the proper full-blooded Vulcan Spock overtly hoped to
become.  Finally, Amanda answered Spock's question with another
question: "Did you talk to your father about this?"

    "No," Spock told her levelly.  "I know he would say I am Vulcan."

    Amanda thought this over, wondering what, in fact, Sarek *would*
have said if Spock had put the question to him.  Then she returned
her attention to Spock.  "Which do *you* think you are?"  she queried

    The troubled expression flickered again in young Spock's
eyes.  "I do not know," he admitted softly.  "I try to follow the
Vulcan way, but...sometimes I act more like a Human.  Sometimes I
feel strange inside and do not think I can do what Father asks of
me.  So I want to ask *you*, Mother...which am I?"

    Amanda felt an overwhelming urge to take Spock in her arms, and
it was all she could do to ignore it.  "Both, Spock...you are both:
Vulcan *and* Human," she told him finally, after careful

    Spock would be well into his adult life before he fully
understood and accepted what Amanda was trying to tell him; for now,
he decided it was an explanation meant more for consolation than
anything else.  As an answer, it both satisfied and did not satisfy--
but Spock realized it was about all he was going to get.

Dinner that night was spent in silence; this, in and of itself,
was not unusual, since it was not customary for Vulcans to carry on
conversations during meals--what *was* unusual was the degree to
which the atmosphere was strained.  Sarek seemed to be devoting his
full attention to eating his food and was oblivious to his wife and
son, and Spock--as had been the case more and more frequently lately--
was not at all interested in eating and now engaged in the recently-
adopted Human habit of picking at his food.

    And whenever father and son glanced about involuntarily and each
chanced to cath the other's eye, Amanda could almost see sparks
flying as Spock's insecurity warred with Sarek's understated but
apparent disapproval.  Once again, she felt caught in the middle and
dared not say anything for fear of making matters worse.

    Afterwards, the mood became more relaxed as Spock retreated to
his room and his parents retired to the parlor.  Sarek sat down at
the end of the sofa, turning toward the computer terminal on the end
table beside him.

    As he was about to select a tape, Amanda spoke
hesitantly: "Sarek...I heard from Elizabeth today."

    Elizabeth...Sarek searched his memory, not having to waste much
effort in doing so: Elizabeth Grayson, Amanda's sister, a widow with
one child.  Sarek had never been impressed with Amanda's relatives as
a whole, but Elizabeth had been different.  of all of them, she alone
seemed to have some understanding of the complex circumstances
surrounding his marriage to Amanda--and she alone had given her
wholehearted approval, even after Amanda had reluctantly confided the
details to her.

    Not that Sarek had needed her approval, but he had sensed that
Amanda did...and the fact that Elizabeth gave it had given him
undeniable pleasure.  It had been not quite a year, Earth time, since
her last stargram--a "thank you" note in response to Amanda's written
expression of sympathy after her husband's death.  What could she
want now?  "Well?"  he prompted finally.

    Amanda produced the stargram from the bookshelf.  "She's
inviting us to visit--Spock and me, I mean."  At Sarek's raised
eyebrow, she added, "She didn't think you'd want to, I'm sure, or she
would have included you in the invitation."  It was Elizabeth's
yearly invitation for Amanda and Spock to cisit her; every year, she
made the offer, and every year, Sarek refused to allow Spock to go. 
So far, Spock had never even been allowed to know about the
invitation.  As a result, Amanda had never gone, either--that did not
bother her, but she badly wanted Spock to go.

    "No doubt," Sarek agreed nonchalantly, brushing the subject
aside and turning back to the computer terminal.  He selected a
library tape and read it for almost half an hour before he realized
Amanda was still standing there, waiting.  Sarek turned back to
her.  "You may go, if you wish.  I know you have not seen her since
the wedding," he told her.

    "And Spock?"

    Sarek shook his head and turned back to the computer terminal.

    "Jonathan would be about the equivalent of Spock's age," Amanda
reflected, half to herself.  "Elizabeth says he's just dying to meet
his Vulcan cousin!"

    "No, Amanda--not now.  It is out of the question," Sarek refused

    "Oh, please, Father--let me go with Mother!"

    Both looked around; Spock was standing in the doorway.  "Spock,
what have I told you about eavesdropping?"  Sarek chided him sternly.

    Spock entered the room.  "I was not eavesdropping," he answered
defensively.  "I was going to get a book."

    "Then do so and return to your room until your mother and I
finish our discussion."

    "Yes, Father," Spock responded meekly, hurrying to the bookshelf
and selecting a book, then turning abruptly and leaving the parlor.

    Amanda was silent until he was gone, then she turned to
Sarek.  "Was that really necessary?"

    "I believe so," Sarek replied.

    "This *does* concern Spock," Amanda pointed out.

    "It would--if I intended to permit him to go."


    "Amanda.  Spock is finding it difficult enough as it is learning
to follow Vulcan philosophy...exposing him to a Human child at this
stage in his life could only worsen the situation," Sarek explained

    Amanda had expected this reaction, but she fought it.  "You
don't know that for sure, Sarek.  It might *help*!  Spock doesn't
know anything about my family--they're *his* family, too," she


    Amanda decided to ignore that.  "Don't you think you *might* be
wrong, this time?"  she asked quietly.

    Sarek shook his head.  "It would only serve to further confuse

    "But he might...want to go," Amanda suggested hesitantly.  That
last was a substitution; she had wanted to say he might "enjoy it".

    Sarek raised an eyebrow at her again and answered with a
noncommittal "Perhaps he might."

    To Amanda, however, this sounded like an affirmative
response.  "You saw him just now.  You *know* he wants to go."

    "I know no such thing, Amanda...he is simply curious," Sarek

    "*Of course,* he is!  He's never met Jonathan...Sarek, it might
be the best thing in the world for him," Amanda persisted.

    "Wishful thinking will avail you nothing, my wife," Sarek told
her finally.  "The matter is closed.  You will send word to Elizabeth
that you will be coming alone."

    Amanda watched him head for the door.  "Shouldn't we at least
tell Spock about this?"

    Sarek turned.  "Very well, you may tell him...but it will not
change the situation.  Remember: he cannot go."

Amanda spent most of the next day wondering if Srek hadn't been
right.  If he wasn't going to allow Spock to go, anyway, wouldn't it
be better to let the latter forget what he had overheard in the
parlor last night, rather than discuss the matter with him further? 
On the other hand, Spock had never been told anything about his
mother's relatives and was probably curious about them.  And, as she
had pointed out to Sarek, they were Spock's relatives, too.

    She was still debating it with herself when Spock arrived home
from school, and came out to the terrae to meet him.  Spock came
slowly up the steps toward her, and Amanda noted a tight-lipped semi-
pout on his face and just as tight control in his general
manner.  "Spock?"  she ventured questioningly.

    Spock looked around, now seeming to maintain his unbending
control with increasing difficulty.  Amanda knew what he was looking

    "Your father isn't home yet," she told him gently.

    Spock relaxed noticeably.

    "More trouble with your schoolmates?"  Amanda guessed.

    Spock lowered his eyes.  "Tell Father I did not lose control,
this time," he answered evasively.

    "Don't you think you should tell him yourself?"  Amanda
asked.  "I think he'll be very pleased," she added, smiling.

    Spock's face brightened a little and the tension in him began to
lift.  "Do you think so, Mother?  Really?"  He was unable to keep all
the delight out of his voice.

    Amanda nodded.  "He should be home soon.  In the mean time,
shall we go see how I-Chaya is doing?"  she suggested.

    "All right," Spock agreed, and together, they walked back down
the steps.

    In that moment, Amanda reached her decision: even Vulcans needed
a break from time to time, and Spock was about due for one.  She was
convinced that visiting his Human aunt and cousin could only help
Spock, perhaps in ways neither she nor Sarek could foresee; yes, if
Spock wanted to go, Amanda was determined to talk Sarek into giving
his permission.  Drawing a deep breath, Amanda asked
carefully, "Spock, what would you think of going back with me to
Earth to visit your Aunt Elizabeth and your cousin Jonathan?"

    "Could I, Mother?"  Spock responded, clearly interested.

    "Well, we were invited," Amanda told him.

    They had reached the bottom of the steps.  Spock looked up
curiously at his mother.  "Both of us?  By whom?"

    "By your Aunt Elizabeth--my sister," Amanda replied.

    Spock was silent for a time as he digested this information.  "I
think it would be fascinating," he decided finally.  "Do you think
Father would let me go?"

    "I think I can convince him to change his mind," Amanda
asserted, then lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper.  "But
you have to help."


    "By letting your father know that you want to go with me,
otherwise he's not going to believe me when I tell him the same
thing," she elaborated, stopping short of the grove of bushes and
trees that sheltered I-Chaya as Spock continued on and disappeared
inside.  He returned a few minutes later.

    "I-chaya is sleeping--I did not wish to wake him," he
explained.  A loud clicking issued from the front of the garden.

    "Your father's home," Amanda announced.

    Spock turned and moved off in the direction of the sound, moving
slowly and trying to appear nonchalant; the news of his
accomplishment this afternoon would not please his father if he
seemed too eager or too proud of himself in telling it.  "Father..."
he began, before remembering that he should have waited until Sarek
spoke to him first.

    Sarek turned, but decided not to scold Spock for his
transgression--this time.  "Yes?"  he prompted simply.

    "They teased me again..."

    "Sepik and the others?"

    "Yes--but I remembered what you told me, Father.  I did not lose
control," Spock announced, disappopinted with the results of his
efforts to keep any pride out of his voice.

    Apparently, however, Sarek considered him justified.  "You have
done well, then--and now you know from experience that such control
is possible, even when one is provoked," he concluded calmly.  But
though his voice was quiet and his face tranquil, something in the
way Sarek was looking at him now indicated to Spock that his father
was indeed pleased with him.

    Having revealed this accomplishment to Sarek, however, the
feeling of pride dissipated rapidly, and Spock was left with only the
dull pain he felt inside every time his schoolmates teased him.  He
covered it now, hoping his father wouldn't notice what he was sure
must be an obvious effort to do so, then turned and walked--somewhat
faster than he'd intended to--back to the terrace steps and up them. 
Upon reaching the terrace, he sprinted across the three-or-so yards
between the top of the steps and the door at a dead run.

    Having watched his son's ascent and run for the door, Sarek now
turned his attention to Amanda, who had followed Spock and simply
stood in silence as they talked, and raised an eyebrow at her

    Amanda, of course, knew why Spock had been so anxious to get
inside the house; none of his inner feelings escaped her.  She was
not, however, going to give Sarek an excuse to follow up his
recognition of Spock's success in dealing with his schoolmates with
another lecture on something he might not have been so successful
in.  The fact that Spock felt so much anguish and resentment (and
shame) each time the other boys taunted him could hardly be helped;
he kept it under control as best he could, and it seemed to Amanda
that that was all Sarek could reasonably ask of him.  So now she said
nothing to Sarek in response and simply shrugged, heading for the

    Sarek watched her go without comment.  Amanda had been holding
something back, and that was unusual.  Spock was close to her in a
way he could never be to Sarek, and she often understood his
emotional reactions better than he did; seldom had she shown any
reticence about offering her own explanations when asked ( or,
sometimes, *without* being asked).  Sarek remembered the stargram
from Amanda's sister and wondered if Amanda hadn't been up to


    Amanda had gotten inside the house soon enough to see Spock
making a bee-line to his room, and followed at a distance, as
silently as possible, since it would be just as well if Spock didn't
know she was following him.  Reaching the door of his room, Amanda
hesitated for a moment, listening, but no sound came from within, so
she opened the door just wide enough to peek throught the crack.

    Spock was sitting on one of the twin beds, his back to Amanda,
silently looking out the window.  After a few moments, he turned
suddenly, burying his face in his hands.  Though he was facing Amanda
now, it was still impossible for her to tell if he were crying, since
his face was covered and the room was dark.  Suddenly, Spock froze,
becoming aware that someone was watching him, removed his hands from
his face, reached over to his night table and turned on the light.

    Amanda could hold herself back no longer, and by the time Spock
had turned back around, she was inside the room.  Spock saw her and
abruptly lowered his eyes.  Amanda said nothing but simply went to
his side and sat down beside him on the bed, reaching out and
stroking his shiny, black hair.  Spock hesitated only a moment before
drawing himself up against her and burying his face against her
breast, allowing Amanda to embrace him.  No words were spoken between
them; it was one of those situations that occasionally arose in this
Vulcan/Human household when Spock had to be comforted in some way.

    It was a responsibility Amanda was only too glad to accept, and
it was always attended to away from the stern, watchful eyes of
Sarek.  And yet...Sarek knowingly allowed her to give such comfort to
Spock--perhaps because, as he had admitted many times before, he did
not understand this need of his son's.  He only knew it existed and
that Amanda seemed to know how to deal with it.

    Spock shifted his position presently, and Amanda wondered
momentarily if he weren't going to climb into her lap.  Times like
these reminded her also of other concerns she had for Spock, concerns
that she didn't dare discuss with Sarek.  It troubled her deeply, for
instance, that Spock had no friends; Vulcan or Human, it seemed
inconceivable to her that he would be expected to do without them--
yet that was apparently the way it was.

    Couldn't an exception be made in Spock's case?  *Shouldn't* it? 
She knew what Sarek's answer to those questions would be; it was one
of the things they would never agree on.  It wasn't right for Spock
to have no one other than her to confide in--no one who wouldn't
privately or openly condemn him for not being a full-blooded Vulcan
(or Human, as the case might be), no one who would simply accept him
for what he was, be supportive, give advice when he asked for it, and
yes, occasionally, even emotional support...

    Yet how could Spock ever find such a friend?  Amanda was slowly
forcing herself to realize that Spock was never going to be fully
accepted her, on Vulcan; it was a fact both she and Sarek were having
to deal with now, and they had kept it hidden from Spock--
successfully, for the most part.  But Spock was starting to ask
questions, now--he would soon begin to realize it, himself.  And
could it be any different on Earth, or among Humans?

    Amanda decided she secretly hoped it could, though Sarek would
have been scandalized by the idea.  At least within Spock's own
family.  That, perhaps, was one of the main reasons she wanted to
take Spock with her--the possibility that Spock and his Human cousin
Jonathan might get along well enough together to become friends made
her want to dance with joy.

    Finally, Amanda released Spock, who sat back and looked up at
her uncertainly.  "You will not tell Father?"

    Amanda shook her head, smiling encouragingly.  "No," she
promised.  "But maybe we'd both better get out of here before he gets

It was later that night when Spock desided to broach the subject
of his going back to Earth with Amanda to see his aunt and cousin. 
Sarek was in the parlor, standing in front of a window and watching
the purple sunset over the garden, when Spock entered.  Amanda had
just finished with the dinner dishes and followed Spock into the
parlor, but she remained near the door and hopefully out of sight as
Spock approached his father.

    Sarek half-turned at the sound of his son's footsteps.  "Spock?"

    Spock came to stand near Sarek, locked his hands behind his
back, and hesitated for a minute or so, his muscles tensing as if in
preparation for a fight.  "Father...about what you and Mother were
discussing last night...I really *would* like to go," he said finally.

    Sarek raised an eyebrow at him, but his face was otherwise
devoid of expression.  So--Amanda *had* been plotting.  "Would you
indeed?  I rather suspect the idea was your mother's," he commented

    "She only asked me if I wanted to go," Spock countered
defensively.  "I told her I did."

    Sarek turned the rest of the way around and looked Spock full in
the face.  "Why?"  he challenged.  "What would you do on Earth, among

    "Learn about them," Spock replied simply.

    Sarek stared at his son in flabbergasted silence, both eyebrows
ascending into his hairline, as he tried to imagine what Spock hoped
to learn in such a situation.  He managed to keep most of the
indignation out of his voice when he spoke, however: "Spock, that
which you need to learn now is not to be found on Earth."

    "But am I only allowed to learn things pertaining to Vulcan? 
You said Mother has many qualities that are 'just as important and
desirable as those valued in Vulcans'--is it not possible that the
same is true of my aunt and cousin?  What about the philosophy of
IDIC?"  Spock questioned, in a tone that was not challenging or
defieant, but rather surprisingly subdued, as if he expected to be
physically punished for his audacity.

    Amanda, watching from the doorway, was suddenly very proud of
him.  She allowed herself a bit of maternal pride, gloating
inwardly; //the score now, Sarek--2, Spock--4,// she noted to herself

    Sarek, too, was proud of Spock, though he would not have said
so.  being thoroughly told off by his nine-year-old son brought no
shame; Spock was right.  Sarek could find no logical argument with
what he had said, and he was, in fact, pleased that Spock had
remembered their discussion about IDIC and was already trying to
practice it.  If there was any shame involved here, Sarek realized,
it had to do with he himself not practicing what he preached. 

    Following Vulcan philosophy--particularly *learning* to--had
been and would continue to be a difficult and demanding task, even
moreso because of Spock's Human half, and Sarek realized that Spock
often doubted it was worth the effort.  Nowhere was it written,
however, that he could not occasionally take what Humans called
a "vacation" from this rigorous training.

    Spock was growing increasingly disturbed as Sarek's silence
continued; he was sure it meant he was in trouble for essentially
telling his father that he was wrong--something no self-respecting
full-Vulcan child would dare do.  "Please, Father--they are my
family," he pleaded.  "It has been two years since the Kahs-wan, and
I have never met any of my Human relatives.  Please let me go."

     Startled out of his reverie, Sarek regarded his son undecidedly
for a minute or so, then said, at last, "Very well, Spock...I trust
you will not give me cause to regret my decision."

    "No, Father, I will not," he promised gratefully--and try as he
might, he could not keep himself from almost dancing back to the
door, sneaking a surreptitious hug to Amanda, and hurrying out before
Sarek could say anything.

    Amanda finally came out into the open, and Sarek, not looking
the least surprised to learn that she had apparently been standing at
the door, listening to and watching the whole thing, regarded her
gravely.  "This is your work, Amanda," he accused.

    Amanda responded with a look that was innocence itself.  "Do you
disbelieve your own son?"

    "No," Sarek assured her.  "However, in this matter, I do *not*
fully trust my wife."

    Amanda saw the shadow of a smile playing about Sarek's lips and
the pair of extended fingers; she smiled silently and touched Sarek's
fingers with her own.  They serched each other's faces, sharing
thoughts--mainly, now, of Spock and how this visit to Earth might
affect him.

    "Are you so sure visiting Elizabeth and Jonathan will be good
for Spock?"  Sarek asked finally, obviously still unconvinced that
he'd made the right decision.

    "I think so; I certainly don't see how it could *hurt* him,"
Amanda answered.

    "This nephew...Jonathan...what do you know of him?"  Sarek asked

    "I haven't seen him since he was a year old," Amanda admitted
reluctantly.  "He knows about Spock, though.  From what Elizabeth
says in her stargrams, he's very anxious to meet Spock."

    Sarek turned away, toward the window, and was silent for a time.

    Amanda moved up close to him.  "You still have reservations
about Spock going?"


    "You *did* say he could go," Amanda reminded him, hoping he
wasn't going to change his mind.

    "Because I no longer saw any logical reason to refuse him."

    "Then...your reason for still not wanting him to go is *not*
logical?"  Amanda queried, startled that Sarek would admit such a

    "No," Sarek answered quietly, and with difficult, as Amanda took
his hand.  "I am..concerned...that Spock may be going with you
thinking to escape such treatment as he has received from his
schoolmates here."

    "You're afraid Jonathan will tease him."

    Sarek nodded reluctantly.

    "Don't worry--I'm sure Elizabeth will take steps to prevent
that," Amanda assured him, laying her head on his shoulder.

    Sarek allowed her emotional gestures because they helped
distract his thoughts, and he now preferred not to go in the
direction they were leading him.  Though he had never said anything,
he, too, was aware that Spock had never been comfortable on Vulcan. 
He knew that his son had a terrible inferiority complex, which was
nurtured daily by the taunts of his peers (and a father, Sarek
realized, who must often seem unnecessarily strict and harsh). 

    Even if things turned out to be different for him with Elizabeth
and Jonathan, wouldn't it be that much harder for him to return to
his training in the Vulcan way?  Or could it be, as Spock had
suggested, simply another in a series of learning experiences?  In
the end, Sarek decided to trust Amanda's judgement in this matter;
she should know her own sister and nephew better than he did.

    It was with considerable reigned (for Sarek's sake) excitement
that Amanda sat down the next morning to write a stargram to
Elizabeth, saying that she and Spock would soon be coming for a visit.

Jonathan Grayson pressed his nose against the living room
window, staring up through the bare trees at the gray-white sky; it
was late November and winter was just around the corner.  He sat back
and wiped off the condensed water that had been formed on the glass
by his breath.  If only it would snow...

    His thoughts were interrupted by a sound midway between a squeal
of joy and an exclamation of astonishment.  Jonathan turned and saw
his mother hurrying across the room toward him.  "Jon!  Guess what
came in the mail today!"

    Jonathan shrugged, shaking his head. 

    "A stargram!"

    Jonathan jumped down from the hassock he'd been standing on and
ran to his mother.  "From Aunt Mandy?"  he guessed.

    "That's right," Elizabeth replied, more quietly, turning and
heading for the dining room.

    Jonathan followed her, having to run to keep up.  "What did she
say, Momma?  Are they coming?"  he asked eagerly.

    "Well, come sit down and I'll read it to you," Elizabeth told
him, smiling.  She sat down at the table and Jonathan obediently
climbed into another chair nearby.  "Ready?"  his mother asked. 
Jonathan nodded.  "All right, here goes:

    "'Dear Elizabeth--it was good to get your last stargram, and
thank you for again inviting Spock and me to visit.  It took quie a
while, but I think we've finally convinced Sarek to let both of us
go.  Spock has a school holiday coming up in a week or so, so we'll
plan on coming then for a couple of weeks, if that's all right.

    "'You say Jonathan is eager to meet Spock; Spock is just as
eager to meet him.  Bear in mind, though, that he has never been to
Earth, nor met another Human, and all he knows is what little I've
been allowed to teach him.  See you soon--Love, Amanda.'"

    Elizabeth stopped reading and looked over at Jonathan; he was
silent now, eyes lowered, thinking.  At last, he looked up at
her.  "Can I see the picture again?"  he asked, sounding as if he
were having second thoughts about meeting his cousin.

    Elizabeth got up silently and disappeared into the living room,
returning a few minutes later with a framed photo and giving it to
Jonathan.  Together, they looked at it--a family portrait of Sarek,
Amanda and Spock (standing in front of Amanda, very close to her). 
Amanda had sent it just before Elizabeth's husband died.

    Jonathan focused his attention on the solemn, almost mournful
countenance of Spock.  "He doesn't look very happy," he observed.

    "No, he doesn't," Elizabeth agreed quietly, remembering some of
Amanda's previous stargrams.  "I doubt if he is."

    Jonathan looked from the likeness of Spock to that of the taller
Vulcan beside him.  "Do you think I'll ever meet Sarek?"  Some
undefinable instinct--fired doubtless by the forbidding aura Sarek
exuded, even in photographs--told him he could never refer to this
being as "Uncle Sarek".

    Elizabeth sighed.  "I doubt it, Jon--he'ds never gotten along
well with our family, and he doesn't seem to think much of Humans in


    Elizabeth knew Jonathan did not understand what Sarek would have
against Humans, but that matter would have to be addressed at another
time; for now, there were more immediate concerns to be dealt with. 
She went back to her chair and sat down.  "Jonathan, we have to talk
about something before your aunt and Spock get here," she told him

    Jonathan sat straight up and looked across the table
apprehensively; the last time she'd used his full name had been when
he'd accidentally broken a glass figurine that had sat on a table in
the living room.  This time, however, he couldn't remember breaking
anything.  "Did I do something?"  he asked finally, stymied.

    "No," Elizabeth reassured him.  "Not yet, anyway.  Jon, when
Spock gets here, I want you to do your best to make him feel at
home.  He's going to feel very out of place here...think how you
would feel on Vulcan."

    This definitely made an impression on Jonathan. who had heard
terrible things about Vulcan from his cousins (contradicting most of
what Aunt Mandy had told them); he made a face in distaste and almost
shuddered.  "But I thought Vulcans didn't have feelings."

    Elizabeth made a derisive sound.  "Hmph!  Where did you pick up
*that* gem of wisdom?"

    "Daddy said so."

    Elizabeth had almost forgotten David's gloom-and-doom
predictions about Amanda's marriage--they had been pushed out of
sight and out of mind, along with everything else connected with him,
out of necessity, since his death in a shuttle accident.  She
remembered him saying it would never last--a couple of years, he had
given it, at the most--and she had taken endless delight in I-told-
you-sos when it continued and endured, instead.  "Daddy was wrong,"
she told Jonathan finally.  "Vulcans *do* have feelings--they just
keep them hidden."

    "Do you think Spock will like me?"  Jonathan asked worriedly.

    "I'm sure he will--just don't expect him to say so," Elizabeth


    The remaining week-and-a-half following Sarek's reluctant
acquiescence to Spock's request to go back to Earth with Amanda was
spent by Spock in eager anticipation, though even Sarek could not
find fault with his efforts at controlling it and keeping it mostly
to himself.  It was there, however, and manifested itself clearly
from time to time--in his growing tendency, for instance, to follow
Amanda around, constantly asking questions about Elizabeth, Jonathan
and Earth in general.

    Sarek's patience was frequently worn as thin as paper, and he
began regretting his decision; somehow, though, he could not bring
himself to rescind it...Spock was looking forward to going, and,
Sarek reminded himself, he did have a right to see his relatives,
Human or not.  Sarek could only hope that two weeks on Earth would
not totally negate Spock's training, past and future, in Vulcan

    The taunts of Spock's schoolmates weighed less heavily on him
now, and he continued to spend goodly portions of his afternoons with
I-Chaya, though the sehlat's condition was not improving any--in
fact, Spock had a growing suspicion that it was getting worse.  Their
family doctor, the Healer Satik, had been to see I-Chaya twice
already, but there had been little he could do other than prescribe
some stimulants.  Spock didn't like leaving the sehlat for so long,
but he knew Sarek would do his best to take care of I-Chaya during
his absence.

At last the day arrived on which Amanda and Spock were to
leave.  Spock watched in fascination as Amanda packed her travel bag,
producing articles of clothing he had never seen before: a fur parka,
scarf, two pairs of mittens, a pants suit made out of some unusually
thick material...item after item taken from a large box in the bottom
corner of the large closet she shared with Sarek.  She had not used
any of them since before her marriage.

    "What are those things, Mother?"  Spock asked finally.

    "Something a Vulcan wouldn't have any use for, Spock: winter
clothing," Amanda replied, folding up a long-sleeved, black something-

    One of the few things Spock had learned so far about Earth was
the progression and characteristics of its seasons.  Winter, he knew,
was the coldest; that explained the clothes.  "Where does my aunt
live?"  he asked, then.

    "Near Philadelphia--that's in Pennsylvania," she told him,
closing the travel bag.  Amanda then stood up straight and looked
around, wondering if she'd forgotten anything.

    Spock considered this.  There was a globe in his room, a
spherical map of the Earth which Amanda had given him two years ago
(just before the Kahs-wan) as a "Birthday present"--one of many Earth
customs Spock did not understand--so he knew roughly where
Pennsylvania was.  His mother and all her relatives were from that
region of Earth still known as the United States of America, and
Pennsylvania was up near the northeast corner.  "I will freeze," he
stated resignedly.

    Something about the tone of his voice forced Amanda to stifle a
laugh.  "No, you won't, Spock.  I'm sure Jonathan will have something
you can wear.  In the mean time..."  She went to the closet, pulled
out the box, and began rummaging through it.

    Spock abandoned his position by the bed and came to watch her,
curious.  "What does he look like?"



    "Well, he's about your height, I'd suppose...brown hair, green
eyes," Amanda elaborated, still rummaging, then looked up at
him.  "I've got a picture here somewhere of both of them...I'll look
for it in a minute.  Right now..."  She returned her attention to the
box, having nearly reached the bottom.  "Aha!"

    The exclamation startled Spock, but not nearly as much as did
the articles Amanda pulled up from the bottom of the box: two of some
kinds of shirts--one decidedly thicker than the other, which itself
seemed too thick for Spock's tastes--several pairs of long pants, and
an unidentifiable mass of something.

    "Aunt Elizabeth sent these for you a while back," Amanda
explained.  "I should have had you try them on sooner, but there just
hasn't been time."

    "Should I try them on now?"  Spock asked.

    Amanda nodded, dumping all the clothes on the bed next to her
travel bag.  "Just pick out something and get started.  We don't have
a great deal of time."

    "Yes, Mother."  Spock dug through the various things and picked
out a particularly attractive bodysuit, made of some soft, thick
burgundy material and trimmed in cream-colored stripes.  He showed
Amanda what he'd picked out, and at her nod of approval, hurried off
to his room.

    No sooner had he left than Sarek appeared in the doorway,
surveying the cold-weather clothes spread out in disarray on the bed,
and raised a questioning eyebrow at Amanda, clearly debating within
himself the possible imprudence of entering the room and possibly
becoming involved in something he would prefer *not* to be involved
in.  "May one inquire as to what, precisely, is going on here?"  he
asked cautiously.

    "One may," Amanda replied cryptically, attempting to organize
Spock's clothes by matching them up and piling the matched sets.

    "Then consider the inquiry made."

    Amanda looked up at him.  "Spock is trying on the clothes
Elizabeth sent," she told him simply.

    Both eyebrows on the rise now, Sarek decided to
enter.  "Indeed?  That should prove interesting," he commented,
stepping inside the room, moving to the side of the bed opposite
Amanda and sitting down there.

    Amanda was still trying to think of a suitable response when
Spock returned, wearing the bodysuit.  He hesitated, seeing Sarek

    "It's all right, Spock--come in and let us see how you look,"
Amanda urged.

    Spock entered, eyeing his father uncertainly as he walked past
the end of the bed, but Sarek merely watched him curiously.  At last,
he turned his attention to Amanda, who had come forward and was
circling him, so as to check the fit from every angle.

    "Is it comfortable?"  she asked finally.

    "Yes...but it seemed somewhat hot," Spock answered, reaching up
to smooth down the velvet-like material over his small chest.

    "Here, yes--but you'll be glad to have it once we get to Earth,"
Amanda reminded him.

    "Is this the way it's supposed to fit?"

    Amanda looked him over again.  The bodysuit seemed somewhat big,
but then it wasn't supposed to be skin-tight.  It was actually made
of three-ply material, with the smooth surface inside and outside,
and a thick thermal mesh between them, and Amanda knew it would be
just what Spock needed.  On the whole, Amanda decided, it fit rather
well; apparently, Jonathan and Spock were closer to being the same
size than she had thought.  "I think it'll do," she told him quietly,
then suggested, "Come look."  Thereupon, Amanda steered Spock away
from the bed and over to a large mirror.

    Spock stared wonderingly at his reflection, his attention
focusing on the bodysuit.  "Do many Humans on Earth wear this,

    "Just children, Spock.  It's called a..."  Unfortunately, Amanda
could think of no equivalent word that would have any mote meaning to
a Vulcan.  "...playsuit," she finished reluctantly.

    "'Playsuit'?"  Spock echoed curiously.

    Amanda nodded.  "Children...play in it, outside, during the
winter," she elaborated, the rationalized, "Of course, it's practical
*any* time you're going to be in cold weather."

    Sarek, still watching them, almost smiled at Amanda's attempt at
a graceful escape from the difficult corner she had talked herself
into.  Spock contented himself with Amanda's explanation, even though
it did not fully satisfy him, and moved away from the mirror toward
Sarek, until he stood close enough that Sarek could see all of
him.  "Father...?"

    Sarek decided it would do no good now to remind them that he was
a scientist, not a fashion critic.  Instead, he simply looked Spock
over and said, sincerely, "It...suits you."

    Spock was pleased.  Amanda decided to ignore the pun.

    Sarek did not stay to see Spock try on the other clothes.  He
had by now washed his hands of the entire situation, making it clear
to Amanda that any after-effects which might impede Spock's training
were on her head.

    The trip to Vulcan Space Central was spent in silence, since
there was little left to say that hadn't already been said, and it
was clear to both Amanda and Spock that Sarek had agreed to this
against his better judgement and was now aiding and abetting under

    In the spaceport waiting area situated around a row of widely-
spaced transporter platforms, Amanda and Sarek said their goodbyes. 
They touched fingers and Sarek said quietly, "My wife, I...wish you

    Amanda wanted to kiss him for that, but instead she simply
responded, "Then wish it for Spock, too."

    They looked down at Spock, who had been strangely silent since
their arrival; he was oblivious to them, watching the transporters as
people appeared and disappeared on the platforms.  "Spock," Sarek
said abruptly.

    Spock's head swivelled around and up as he returned his
attention to his parents.  "Yes, Father?"

    Sarek hesitated, considering.  "Once among Humans, you will be
expected to adhere to customs which may seem strange to you and do,
in fact, contradict what I have taught you.  While on Earth, you will
have to conform to them as the situation warrants--when in doubt,
consult your mother.  Obey her in all things--and remember, your ways
will be just as strange to them," he advised carefully.  "And...may
you find contentment."

    Before Spock could decide how to react to this, a voice from the
intercom overhead announced: "Passenger transport ship Trans-Stellar
Express now boarding at platform 3."

    "That's us," Amanda confirmed quickly.  "Come on, Spock."

    Spock followed her into the line for transporter 3 and Sarek
watched until the line reached the platform and Spock and Amanda
positioned themselves, along with a few other people, then mother and
son exchanged Vulcan salutes with Sarek just before dematerializing.

    Sarek turned and left the waiting area, finally departing VUlcan
Space Central altogether and heading home in his aircar, still
uncertain in his own mind whether or not he had been right to give in
to Spock's wishes to meet his Human relatives.

The U.S.S. Trans-Stellar Express was a Federation-sponsored
passenger ship based at Lunaport (Earth) that spent almost as much
time in space as Starfleet's Constellation-class starships,
transporting citizens of the various member systems to wherever they
wanted to go on its circle route from Earth outward to most known
outposts, colonies and Federation member-planets around and back to
Earth.  Amanda and Spock had boarded the ship on its return trip, and
there was, understandably, considerable merrymaking and general
frivolity among the Human contingent of the five hundred-plus
passengers and crew by the time Amanda and Spock had gotten settled.

    The trip to Lunaport was long, but largely uneventful.  Spock
was endlessly fascinated by the diversity of passengers, all of whom
seemed to be enjoying the trip and each other--surely this was an
example of IDIC, as practiced by non-Vulcans?  But it was the
activities of the Humans on board that itnerested him the most. 
Amanda soon lost count of the times she found him wandering through
the recreation areas, watching with wide-eyed wonder (always
politely, from as great a distance as was practical) what various
Humans did in the name of recreation.

    It was not until they approached Lunaport that Spock suddenly
reverted back to his normal, withdrawn self--so suddenly, in fact,
that Amanda knew something had to be bothering him.  She entered
their room and found Spock standing in front of their small viewport,
apparently watching the rapidly nearing moon and the orbiting
spaceport in its shadow, itself near enough even now that some of it
could not be seen.  Amanda came up beside Spock.

    "You can see it better from the Observation Deck," she told him,
before realizing that he wasn't really paying any attention to the
view.  "Spock?"

    Spock turned toward her, looking somewhat confused.  "Mother,
I...feel strange.  I think...maybe Jonathan with tease me, too--like
my schoolmates."

    Amanda understood his fear, had expected it, but hadn't expected
him to admit it to her.  She folded her arms gently around him,
trying to comfort him, and Spock did not object.  "I know...I know. 
But Jonathan is family--don't worry," she assured him softly.  "I'm
sure your Aunt Elizabeth won't let him make fun of you."

    Spock, releasing her gradually, decided to take her word for
it.  "Are they meeting us?"  he asked.

    "Yes.  Is everything packed?"

    Spock nodded.

    Amanda turned suddenly and began digging through the travel bag
lying open on her bed, obviously looking for something specific. 
Presently, she found it and turned back to Spock.  "By the way, I
found the picture," she announced, handing a small, flat object to

    Spock examined it; it was a small, roughly oval frame, with a
silver border, holding a photo of two people: an attractive woman
with the same golden-auburn hair and sparkling blue eyes that his
mother had, though she was clearly older, and a smiling boy-child
with golden brown hair and hazel-green eyes.  Spock pointed to the
boy and asked, "That is Jonathan?"

    Amanda nodded.  "*That* is Jonathan," she repeated, shifting the
emphasis deliberately to the first word as pride in the nephew she
had only seen once welled up in her.

    Spock looked again at the picture, at the happy face of the
child who was his cousin; suddenly, for some reason Spock could not
understand, his apprehension evaporated.

    Amanda watching him, seemed to sense this.  She closed and
fastened the travel bags, picked up hers, then turned to Spock,
noticing for the first time that he was wearing the burgundy-and-
cream playsuit.  Of course--now, she remembered; he'd spent a good
twenty minutes that morning just rummaging through his travel bag,
looking for it after she had told him they would be arriving at
Lunaport today.  "Shall we get our bags and go up to the Observation
Deck?"  she suggested again.

    Spock nodded and picked up his travel bag, sticking the picture
in a side pocket, and followed his mother out of the room.


    The Observation Deck was by now crowded with eager onlookers of
every species known to the Federation, but Spock and Amanda managed
to find a spot nest to a viewport.  There were no seats available,
however, and Spock wasn't tall enough to see out, so Amanda talked
him into letting her carry him in her arms.

    By now, only the portion of the spaceport directly in front of
them--one of the many docking bays--was fully visible, the rest lost
beyond the scope of the huge viewports.  The docking bay doors opened
as the Trans-Stellar Express approached, and what appeared at first
to be interior darkness suddenly began to glitter with interior
lights.  Shiny points of red, green and blue paraded in rows across
the viewports as if passing in review, vertically, horizontally, and
in semi-circles.  As if to accompany this spectacle, the ship's
intercom had been left on so the passengers could hear the crew and
Luanport's control center going through docking procedures.  Amanda
tried to listen over the noise of the crowd:

    "...Trans-Stellar Express requesting docking instructions."

    "Affirmative, Trans-Stellar Express--you are cleared for docking
in Berth 1."

    Unfortuantely, this was all Amanda had time to hear before the
intercom was again drowned out by the noise of the crowd.  By now,
the ship was nearing its assigned berth, and the interior of the
docking bay was much easier to see.

    Amanda glanced around surreptitiously at Spock and found him
looking around in fscination, paying particular attention to the
multi-level catwalks surrounding the berth, which were placed at
almost every imaginable angle and were mobile, so as to be able to
completely surround a ship when drydock was called for.  Finally, the
ship slowed to a halt within Berth 1, and the race for the
transporter room was on.  Amanda lowered Spock to the deck and he
took hold of her hand, not wanting to get lost in the crowd on the
way to the transporter room.  After what seemed like an eternity,
they reached the transporter platform and were beamed into the
spaceport's receiving area.

    Spock and Amanda stepped down off a transporter platform and
found themselves in a waiting area much like the one they had
departed from at Vulcan Space Central, except that this one was full
of bright colors.  An electronic sign suspended from the ceiling

    Spock followed his mother away from the transporter and set his
bag down in a chair, taking out the picture and studying it again;
Amanda, meanwhile, looked around for Elizabeth and Jonathan.


    Amanda turned toward the sound of her name, and sure enough,
there was Elizabeth hurrying toward her, Jonathan in
tow.  "Elizabeth!"  she shouted back.

    They met and embraced, then Elizabeth stepped back and looked at
Spock.  "You must be Spock," she observed, apparently pleased for no
reason Spock knew of.

    "Yes," he answered simply.

    Elizabeth urged Jonathan forward.  "Spock, this is your cousin,
Jonathan.  Say hello to Spock, Jon."

    Jonathan inched his way up to Spock.  "Hello," he said
shyly.  "You can call me 'Jon' if you want to."

    While Spock thought this over, Elizabeth said, "Come on--it's
about an hour before the next shuttle.  We can go get something to
eat and talk at the same time."

    "Sounds good to me," Amanda agreed.

    "Me, too," added Jonathan.  "Come on, Spock."  He grabbed
Spock's hand and started off after them; Spock followed silently, too
startled to protest.

Amanda and Elizabeth spent most of the meal catching up on old
times before the conversation finally returned to the present: "What
about you two?  I didn't think Sarek would let both of you go."

    "It took some convincing, all right," Amanda admitted, "but
Spock wanted to come, and he made Sarek see that."

    Elizabeth looked curiously at Spock.  "I have never been to
Earth before," Spock explained.  "I wanted to see what it was like. 
And I wanted to meet Jonathan."  He glanced uncertainly at his
cousin, who gave him a big grin.  Spock felt inexplicably drawn to
return it, but he forced himself to return his attention to his plate
of vegetables.

    "Jonathan looks great," Amanda commented.

    Elizabeth nodded.  "Just shooting up like a weed.  I see the
clothes I sent for Spock fit him."

    "Yes, I meant to thank you for them.  They do fit him like a
glove, and he'd likely freeze to death in Philadelphia without them,"
Amanda told her gratefully.

    Spock and Jonathan remained silent but continued to watch each
other curiously.

    Finally, it was time to leave Lunaport.  They boarded a shuttle
for Lunaport Ground Station Philadelphia, one of any number of drop-
off and pick-up points which were scattered throughout the United
States, in nearly all the major cities, for the Lunaport shuttles. 
Spock sat quietly in his seat during the relatively short trip, but
Jonathan could not stay still and was continually wandering back and
forth from his mother to Amanda to Spock, obviously excited at the
prospect of spending two weeks with his aunt and half-Vulcan cousin.


    After their arrival in Philadelphia, there was a thirty-minute
trip by aircar to ELizabeth and Jonathan's house.  It was an old-
fashioned, two-storey structure with a large porch and an equally
large fenced-in yard.  Within the yard stood two large, bare trees,
and there was a terraced, leaf-covered patio on one side of the
house.  Spock was shivering by the time they reached the porch steps
and was the first one inside after Elizabeth unlocked and opened the
door.  Jonathan hurried after him, eager to begin getting acquainted,
and the two women brought up the rear.

    Spock and Jonathan were left alone in the living room, while
Amanda and Elizabeth visited in another part of the house.  Spock
stopped in the middle of the living room, uncertain of what to do
first, then he caught Jonathan looking at him again.  "What are you
looking at?"  he demanded, sounding irritable, in spite of himself.

    Jonathan edged a little closer.  "I've never seen a real Vulcan
before," he explained timidly, reaching out a hand toward Spock's
face.  "Can I touch your ears?"

    Spock couldn't imagine why anyone would want to do such a thing,
but he reasoned that, for a Human who had never seen a Vulcan in
person, pointed ears would be a subject of great interest and
curiosity.  "If you wish," he answered finally, shrugging.

    Jonathan cautiously touched an eartip and then abruptly pulled
away his hand, as if he expected an electric shock.  Slowly, then, he
returned his finger to the eartip and ran it along the outer edge of
Spock's ear.  Amanda had more than once accused him of
being "ticklish", and Spock decided now that that might well be; what
else could explain the strange tingle that suddenly seemed to travel
from the base of his ear, down his neck, and down his spine?  At
least, this was less offensive than the name-calling of his

    Jonathan was clearly fascinated.  "Do they hurt?"  he asked,

    Spock couldn't quite keep all the indignation out of his
voice.  "Of course not!"  he retorted.  "Do *your* ears hurt?"

    "No," Jonathan replied submissively, sensing he had done
something wrong and backing away from Spock.

    Spock watched him retreat to the sofa on the other side of the
room and sit down.  As Jonathan hugged himself and stared at the
floor, Spock realized he should not have mistaken Jonathan's honest
curiosity and concern for an unsubtle bit of teasing.  Apologizing
was the ostensibly logical thing to do, but Spock had also really
hoped to be "friends"--as his mother called it--with his cousin and
was genuinely troubled that he might have started things off wrong by
hurting Jonathan's feelings.

    He started slowly toward the sofa; Jonathan did not look up or
give any other sign that he was aware of Spock's approach, and Spock
wondered if he were going to cry.  He had heard that Human children
often did that, for any number of reasons, one of which had to do
with being spoken to harshly when they had done nothing--or so they
thought--to warrant it.  He knew the feeling well, though he had
never admitted it--Sarek had unknowingly induced the feeling many
times, often indirectly: the need, kept buried within himself, to
simply give in to his frustration and burst into tears, then cry
until he collapsed with exhaustion.

    Spock couldn't bear to be responsible for similar feelings in
Jonathan.  Vulcans do not cry, or so Spock had been told, but
Humans...Finally reaching Jonathan's side, Spock spoke
carefully.  "Jonathan...I am sorry.  On Vulcan, I have come to expect
ridicule by those of my own age--I thought it would be the same
here.  And when you started talking about my ears, I thought you were
making fun of me."

    Jonathan sat up straight.  "But I wasn't!"  he protested.

    "I know that--now."

    Jonathan stood now, apparently feeling better.  "Can we be
friends, then?"  he offered.

    Spock hadn't expected that so soon, and his eyes widened in
surprise before he realized what he was revealing and forced himself
back into control.  "Do you want to?  Now?"  he asked doubtfully.

    Jonathan shrugged.  "Sure.  Why not?"

    "But I thought it took time to become friends," Spock objected,
confused.  "Surely simply *saying* we are friends does not make it

    Jonathan rolled his hazel eyes in exasperation and grinned at
Spock.  "*Of course*, it takes time!  But first, we have to agree to
try," he explained.  "Okay?"

Spock hesitated; Amanda had never mentioned this preliminary
ritual as being part of what Humans called "friendship", and he was
uncertain as to how to respond.  "I have never had a friend
before...nor been asked to be one," he recalled thoughtfully.

    "'Never'?"  Jonathan repeated, puzzled.

    Spock shook his head silently.

    "Why not?"  Jonathan asked.

    Spock lowered his eyes, wondering whether to tell him or
tactfully change the subject.  Something about his cousin's honesty
and apparently sincere concern for him, even though they had just
met, made Spock want to be honest with Jonathan in return--what it
was or why, he didn't know.  "I am half-Human," he explained finally.

    "What's wrong with that?"

    "It means that I am...not a true Vulcan," Spock elaborated, with
difficulty.  "It makes me...inferior...in the eyes of my
schoolmates...and other Vulcans, too."

    The cost of this admission was not lost on Jonathan.  Very
bright and perceptive for a Human child his age, he now realized why
his mother had made it clear that she would tolerate no mistreatment
of Spock.  He stepped forward and reached for Spock's hand.  "It's
all right," he said softly.  "*I* don't think you're inferior. 
*I'll* be your friend."

    Spock finally looked up at him, a strange combination of pain
and gratitude shining in his dark eyes as he realized that Jonathan
was trying to comfort him.  "If you wish it, I...would like for us to
be friends."

    "Good," Jonathan responded, smiling.

    Spock's despondence dissipated abruptly at the sight of Jonathan
looking finally like the happy, energetic child in his mother's
picture, and he didn't object when Jonathan, still holding his hand,
led him back across the room toward the window.

    Amanda and Elizabeth watched unobserved from the dining room. 
As Spock and Jonathan talked by the window, Amanda flashed a
triumphant smile at Elizabeth, who returned it with a V-for-victory
hand sign; obviously, their clandestine efforts to get Spock and
Jonathan together were beginning to pay of already.  Both had
believed that Spock needed a friend his own age, with whom he could
be himself without fear of retribution, adn Jonathan had been dying
to meet his non-Human relatives; to coin a phrase, it had seemed the
logical thing to do.  Sarek, however, had opposed it from day one, so
the moment they witnessed now had been years in the making.


    Later that evening, Elizabeth suggested that Jonathan show Spock
where he would be sleeping, and Jonathan dutifully led Spock up the
stairs and down a short hallway, opening a door at the end of
it.  "This is my room," he announced unceremoniously.  "You'll be
sleeping here."

    The room looked to Spock much like his own back on Vulcan: twin
beds, a night table, a bookshelf, a closet...there, however, the
similarity ended.  The beds were arranged in an "L" shape, with the
heads against the large, flat night table and one of the sides
against a wall.  Instead of the duller reddish-browns and grays of
Spock's room, this one was decorated entirely in shades of blue--the
royal blue of the bedspreads being the most dominant--and various
unidentifiable items lay on the floor beside a large box near the
door.  Spock followed Jonathan into the room, wondering what purpose
the box served.

    Jonathan went to one of the beds and knelt at the pedestal,
sliding open one of the doors.  He took something out and turned back
to Spock, noting for the first time that Spock was shivering
again.  "Cold?"

    Spock nodded.

    "Here.  Put this on, and I'll get you some blankets," he
directed, handing what he'd gotten out of the dresser to Spock,
taking his travel bag and setting it down on the floor at the end of
one of the beds.  Then he went to the box, and, grunting with effort,
pushed it over to the closet and climbed on top, reached up to the
top shelf, and started pulling out blankets.

    "One...two...three...four.  That ought to be enough."  He turned
back around and pushed the heap of blankets over him and down in
Spock's direction.  "Look out!"  he yelled, expecting their combined
weight to knock Spock to the floor.  Instead, they simply landed on
top of Spock with a loud "WHUFF", and Spock stuck his head out from
underneath them, looking at Jonathan and quizzically raising an
eyebrow at him--a habit he had begun to pick up from Sarek.

    Jonathan giggled and jumped down from the box.  "Come on," he
urged.  "I'll help you spread out these blankets."

    Spock finished putting on the sleeper Jonathan had given him,
following him to the bed and taking a corner of one of the blankets
while Jonathan took the opposite corner.  Together, they pulled it up
over the bed and smothed it out, then repeated the procedure with the
other blankets.  Spock then climbed into bed and got udner the
covers, and Jonathan put on his own sleeper, getting into his own bed
and covering up.

    He looked over at Spock, who was lying down with the covers
pulled up around his ears.  "Is it warm enough?"  he asked, concerned.

    "Yes," Spock answered--then, remembering what his mother had
always taught him about the Human custom of expressing gratitude, he
added, "Thank you."

    "It must be awfully hot on Vulcan," Jonathan guessed.

    "To you, it would be.  It is comfortable for me," Spock repied.

    Jonathan was puzzled.  "Don't they have winter on Vulcan?"

    Spock shook his head.  "We have only two seasons.  In your
language, they would be called 'Season of Growth' and 'Season of
Dormancy'.  The 'Season of Growth' is our rain season, and it is very
short," he explained.  [AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hey, I'd only been writing ST
for 4 years when I originally wrote this--what did I know from Vulcan
seasons? <g> The only thing I know even now is that they have more
than two.]

    "Oh," Jonathan responded, thinking this over
uncertainly.  "Which season is it now?"

    "The 'Season of Dormancy'," Spock told him, stifling a
yawn.  "Goodnight, Jonathan."

    Jonathan, however, was already asleep.

Within a few days of Spock's arrival, it began snowing.  Spock
had just begun getting used to the blue of the Terran sky, and
suddenly it had turned gray-white, and everything else outside was
becoming covered with white, as well.  Spock spent most of his waking
hours in front of the window in the living room, wrapped in one of
the blankets from his bed, and watching the snowfall in undisguised
fascination.  Amanda, grateful that his knowledge of the fact that
snow was merely frozen hydrogen and oxygen had not lessened his
enthrallment with it, soon began to join him.

    Finally, the ground was completely covered with snow, and
Jonathan began pestering Elizabeth to let him go out and play in it. 
Elizabeth, having expected this, did not hesitate to go to the closet
and pull out his coat.  Spock curiously watched him put it on, and
Elizabeth and Amanda exchanged significant looks.  "Spock, would you
like to go outside with Jonathan?"  Elizabeth asked, reaching back
into the closet for Jonathan's mittens.

    "I...think it would be too cold for me, Aunt Elizabeth," Spock
replied uncertainly.

    "Jon has another coat, and I'm sure I could find some mittens
and boots for you," Elizabeth offered.

    Spock shook his head and started to turn back to the window, but
stopped abruptly as Amanda surreptitiously poked him softly in the
back.  "No, thank you, Aunt Elizabeth," Spock corrected himself.

    Jonathan, who had been about to go outside, suddenly turned
toward Spock, looking disappointed.  "Oh, come on, Spock," he
urged.  "It'll be fun."

    Spock drew the blanket more tightly about himself.  "I prefer to
stay inside," he declined politely.  "Please go ahead."


    Spock shook his head.

    Pouting, Jonathan opened the door and went out.

    Spock watched him through the window, curious to discover what
activities constituted "playing in the snow", but Jonathan did not
appear to be interested in playing.  He simply went out into the
middle of the yard and stood, obviously disgruntled, then flopped
himself down in the snow and sat there, still pouting.

    Elizabeth looked at Amanda disappointedly as Spock continued to
watch Jonathan, and Amanda had just decided to say something to Spock
when he looked up at her, concerned but trying to hide it.  "What is
the matter with him, Mother?"

    "I believe he was counting on you coming out there with him,"
Amanda replied mildly.

    Spock looked back out at his miserable-looking Human cousin,
sitting waist-deep in the snow.  "Do you think I should?"  he asked.

    "What do *you* think?"  Amanda countered.

    "I do not know how to...play," Spock pointed out hesitantly.

    "True," Amanda agreed.  "You could learn how, if you wanted to. 
I'm sure Jonathan would be only too glad to teach you."


    "Do you want to?"

    "I..." Spock hesitated again, lowering his eyes.  "Father would
not approve."

    Amanda reached out and lifted his chin, smiling.  "Maybe, maybe
not.  What did he say to you before you left?  'Conform to Human
custom as the situation warrants'," she reminded him mischievously.

    Spock thought this all over and decided that Sarek's teachings
did not apply here.  "I have decided, Mother," he announced.

    "I believe this is one of the times Father was speaking of." 
Spock looked back outside at Jonathan; he looked lonely and
cold.  "Jonathan looks...like I feel sometimes, on Vulcan.  If I can
prevent it by going out there with him..."  He didn't know how to
finish.  The decision was not logical, and he was sure Sarek would
have disapproved still, but he was rapidly becoming convinced that
logic did not apply to Humans.

    Amanda simply nodded.  "I think you've made the right decision,"
she assured him, pleased.

    Elizabeth got out the extra coat, mittens and boots and helped
Spock put them on, then propelled him toward the door.  "Get!"  she
ordered affectionately.  She had decided she liked Spock.

    Spock stepped out the door and Elizabeth joined Amanda at the
window.  Together, they watched Spock cautiously making his way down
the ice-covered steps and out into the snow.  It was nearly to his
knees and still falling.  "Amanda, it *is* awfully cold out there
today," she admitted worriedly.  "Do you think it culd hurt him?"

    "I don't know," Amanda realized quietly.  "He's never been
exposed to it before, but...I'm hoping it won't be a problem."

    Elizabeth nodded once, decisively.  "Better not take any
chances.  Let's give them an hour, then call Spock back inside."

    Amanda nodded also, hoping she would not have cause to regret
urging Spock toward his decision to "play" with Jonathan.



    Jonathan looked toward the sound of the voice and stood up at
the sight of Spock standing at the foot of the porch steps.  "Spock! 
You changed your mind!"  he called back, ploughing through the snow
toward his cousin.

    "Yes.  Well...I have never seen snow before," Spock responded,
taking an experimental step forward into the snow.  "How do you walk
in this?"

    Jonathan shrugged.  "I just *walk*.  But...you'd get too cold
doing that.  Better lift your feet up over the snow--you know, like
you're marching," he suggested.

    Spock complied as best he could, making his way laboriously
through the snow toward Jonathan.  "Now what?"

    "We play.  Come on, I'll show you how to make snowballs."

In a matter of minutes, Spock and Jonathan were chucking
snowballs at each other.  Spock did not understand the purpose of
this game, if that was what it was, but it passed the time, made him
feel less cold, and seemed to make Jonathan happy--from what little
Spock knew of happiness.  So far, he had never experienced that

    Something akin to it, however, was beginning to manifest itself
within him; here, for the first time in his life, no Vulcan elders
monitored his behavior--no schoolmates treated him as inferior.  He
did not have to be ashamed if he were unable to keep his emotions in
check all the time, and no one forced him to do anything he secretly
feared he couldn't do.  Jonathan and Elizabeth seemed to care about
him genuinely; he sensed the same sort of emotions in them as he had
perceived within his mother.

     Throwing snowballs might be illogical to a Vulcan, but for the
moment, Spock didn't care.  This, apparently, was the nature
of "playing"; the snowballs were not intended to hurt.  They were a
form of harmless catharsis, something Spock decided he was in great
need of.  He continued the snowball fight, therefore, with as much
enthusiasm as he could muster.  Soon, he had forgotten the cold
entirely, too intent upon dodging Jonathan's snowballs to notice it
or care.

    Some forty-five minutes or so after Spock had gone outside,
Amanda went back to the window to check on him, looked out--and
thought she was seeing things.  Jonathan was running through the snow-
covered yard, and Spock, stopping every so often to make a snowball
and throw it at his cousin, was chasing him.  Spock wore a strange
expression that was a combination of grim determination and an amused

    At once interested and drawn by the scene, Amanda left the
window, went to the door, opened it and looked out.  Nothing much had
changed; Spock had given up trying to hit Jonathan with snowballs and
simply ran after him, caught him and pulled him down, stuffing snow
into Jonathan's coat.  Jonathan laughed uncontrollably, rolling Spock
over on his back and tickling him.

    Amanda shook her head incredulously.  Spock--running and playing
in the snow, like any Human child.  Sarek would have been furious,
but she was pleased, knowing that she had been right to bring Spock
with her.  Presently, a strange sound interrupted Jonathan's
laughter.  Amanda listened closely; the sound was coming from Spock. 
Slowly, she realized what it was.  Spock was laughing.

    It was a sound she had never dared hope to hear.

    "Oh, Spock..." Amanda whispered, so happy for her son that she
felt she must be broadcasting it by telempathy across the light years
to Sarek back on Vulcan.  She barely restrained herself from running
outside and hugging both boys.  Elizabeth had just started fixing
lunch.  //She's got to see this,// Amanda told herself, and ran into
the kitchen to get Elizabeth.


    Jonathan got up finally and started across the yard, then looked
over his shoulder to see if Spock were following him; Spock, however,
just sat in the snow and looked back at him.  JOnathan stopped, took
a couple of steps back toward Spock, and stared hard at him. 
Something was wrong.  Jonathan didn't know exactly what it was, but
something in his cousin's manner indicated it; he noticed abruptly
that Spock was no longer shivering (as he had been ever since coming
outside) and wondered what it meant.  "Spock?"  he called

    Spock got up with difficulty and took a step toward Jonathan--
and promptly fell face-down in the snow.  Jonathan ran to him, knelt
beside him and rolled him over.  "Spock!"  he cried.  "Are you all

    "I...cannot feel my feet.  I think I should go inside now,"
Spock whispered, getting up slowly.

    "Can you walk?"  Jonathan asked worriedly.

    "I do not think so.  My legs have been so cold...it is as if
they are frozen.  I cannot move them," Spock explained slowly,
demonstrating his point by trying to bring his knee up to his chest. 
He succeeded only in pushing his leg deeper into the snow and sending
a bolt of dull pain up his side.

    Jonathan watched in alarm as Spock's face went white.  "But...we
were playing.  There was nothing wrong!  You didn't *look* cold!"  he
protested incredulously.

    Spock lay down, not wanting to move, or even try
to.  "Perhaps...the snow..."  His eyes closed, and Jonathan noted in
dismay that the whiteness of Spock's face now contained a hint of
purple.  Without waiting for anything else, Jonathan got up and ran
into the house.


    Amanda and Elizabeth had just come out of the kitchen, deeply
involved in a conversation, when Jonathan found them.  He grabbed
Amanda's arm and began jumping up and down insistently.  "Aunt
Mandy!  Aunt Mandy!  Something's wrong with Spock!"

    "What?  What happened?"  she demanded.

    "I don't know, but he says he can't walk because his legs are
frozen, and he's turning purple!" Jonathan cried urgently.

    "Oh, my God..." Amanda ran to the door with Jonathan right
behind her, opened it and looked out.

    Spock was lying in the snow, his eyes still closed.

    Amanda ran outside to Spock, reaching out to touch his face.  It
was definitely discolored now, and a layer of frost was forming over
it.  Jonathan hovered worriedly at her side.  "Is he going to be all

    Amanda looked at him, nodding reassuringly.  "I think he's just
been exposed to too much cold at once.  Go back inside and tell your
mother to get a bunch of blankets and bring them to the door,
Jonathan--he needs to be wrapped in them the minute I get him inside."

Spock spent the next couple of days in bed, covered with
blankets.  Amanda came in and out to sheck on him from time to time,
but it was Jonathan who made it his personal duty to nurse Spock back
to health.  Thinking he was somehow responsible for his cousin nearly
freezing to death, Jonathan decided it was the least he could do.  He
was with Spock constantly, talking to him, reading, or just sitting
quietly and watching him sleep.

    It was during this time that Spock acquired a taste for hot
chocolate.  It occurred to Elizabeth that it might help warm Spock's
body up--and *keep* it warm--if she started giving him hot chocolate
at regular intervals.  So, after clearing it with Amanda, she started
sending Jonathan upstairs with trays of hot chocolate (complete with
whipped cream) for Spock.

    On the morning of the third day, Amanda peeked into the room and
found both boys sitting and drinking hot chocolate.  She decided not
to go in, but instead just stood at the cracked door and watched. 
Spock sipped the drink slowly, ignoring the handle on the mug and
holding it in both hands, grateful for the warmth.  He looked up at
Jonathan.  "It is called hot...what?"

    "Chocolate.  Hot chocolate," Jonathan told him again.  "Do you
like it?"

    Spock nodded.  "We have nothing like it on Vulcan," he admitted.

    "No chocolate?"


    Jonathan was genuinely puzzled.  "Don't they eat candy on

    "'Candy'?"  Spock repeated, matching Jonathan's puzzled tone.

    "Sure.  You know--sweets.  Sugary stuff," Jonathan
elaborated.  "Tastes good but it's bad for your teeth."

    "Oh," Spock replied, understanding now.  He had just been
reminded that "candy" was the Human name for finger food, usually
hard or chewy, with a high sucrose content.  "No, no one eats that on

    Jonathan took a big gulp of hot chocolate and promptly wished he
hadn't--it was still *hot*.  "What *do* they eat on Vulcan?"  he
asked curiously.

    "Almost anything except meat," Spock answered.

    Jonathan thought all of this over.  "I wish I could go visit you
on Vulcan," he told Spock wistfully.

    //No, you don't,// Spock retorted silently, trying to imagine
his happy, playful, openly emotional Human cousin trying to conform
to Vulcan customs.  He thoguht of the difficulty he'd had himself and
imagined it magnified a thousand times--and shuddered inwardly.

    Jonathan, however, was still intent on the subject.  "Do you
think your father would let me?"

    Spock hesitated.  "I...do not know.  I could ask him when my
mother and I return," he offered reluctantly.  Obviously, Jonathan
*wanted* to go.  Spock looked intently into his cousin's hazel-green
eyes; they reflected sincerity, contentment and a sense of inner
peace that Spock instantly realized he himself lacked.  A visit to
Vulcan, Spock thought, might change all that--and he didn't want
Jonathan to change.

    "Would you?"  Jonathan asked excitedly.

    Spock nodded.

    "What do you think he'll say?"

    "I do not really think he would allow it," Spock admitted
finally, finishing off his hot chocolate.  "He did not even want me
to come here."

    "Why not?"

    "He does not...wish me to be around Humans," Spock intoned
softly, distractedly chasing a glop of remaining whipped cream around
the bottom of the mug with his spoon as he realized there was no way
he could word this statement without it sounding like an insult.

    Jonathan, however, did not appear to be insulted; he pouted for
a few minutes, somewhat miffed at being thwarted in his attempt to
get to visit Vulcan, then decided to change the subject.  "Do you
feel better, now?"

    Spock nodded, spooning up the whipped cream remnants and
consuming them.

    "I guess I shouldn't have wanted you to go outside so much,"
Jonathan concluded repentantly.

    "It was my decision, Jonathan," Spock pointed out
gently.  "Please do not blame yourself.  Besides, Mother says I will
get used to it if I go out more often."

    Jonathan brightened, looking out the window.  It had finally
stopped snowing last night, but there was still almost two feet of
snow on the ground, and he knew it wasn't going to melt any time
soon.  "Do you think you'll be able to go out tomorrow?"  he asked

    "I think so.  I will have to ask Mother first, though," Spock

    "Good.  I'll show you how to make a snow-man," Jonathan promised

    Amanda closed the door finally, laughing to herself.  Spock was
recovering nicely, and becoming better acquainted with Jonathan--and
getting a chance to do things he would never do on Vulcan.  She had
been afraid that Spock, like Sarek, would never be able to muster
more than polite toleration of Human companionship and wouldn't ever
get along particularly well with either his aunt or his cousin.  She
needn't have worried; obviously, Spock and Jonathan were going to be
close friends, and Elizabeth had taken to Spock as if he were her own


    The next day, Spock was pronounced fit enough to be up and
around again.  Jonathan kept his promise to teach Spock how to build
a snow-man, and they spent most of the day outside in the snow. 
Amanda and Elizabeth watched them from the large living room window,
talking as infrequently as possible so as not to distract each
other's attention from Spock and Jonathan.  Amanda couldn't help
wondering what Sarek would think if he could see Spock now, whether
he might not approve just because Spock seemed to be really enjoying
himself for the first time in his life.  If only he could see Spock

    Suddenly, Amanda had an idea she was sure was sheer brilliance.

It took two more days for Amanda to work out the details with
Elizabeth, but finally the day arrived for them to put their plan
into action.  Before Jonathan and Spock went out that morning,
ELizabeth donned a coat, cap and scarf, went outside and placed a
portable recorder in an out-of-the-way place, inaccessible to Spock
and Jonathan, yet in such a position that they would be constantly
within its visual field (unless they went inside).  She hurried back
inside then, took off the coat, cap and scarf, and she and Amanda

    In a minute, Spock and Jonathan came down the stairs, went to
the closet, put on their usual cold weather gear and went outside. 
Amanda and Elizabeth again watched from the window, wondering what
antics would wind up being recorded for posterity.  What "illogical"
behavior would Sarek find himself privy to when Amanda brought this
tape back to Vulcan and played it for him?

    Great care had to be taken that Spock did not find the recorder;
Amanda knew that he would never have allowed her an audio-visual
recording of his activities if he'd known about it--particularly  if
he'd known she planned to show it to Sarek--but there seemed to be no
need to worry about that now.  Spock was clearly giving his full
attention to Jonathan and the snow-man they were making.  They took
occasional breaks to throw snowballs at each other, and Amanda noted
that Spock had gained considerable expertise in that area since the
first day he'd gone out in the snow.  He and Jonathan were about
evenly matched, now.

    When Elizabeth called them in for lunch a couple of hours later,
Spock, surprisingly, showed no signs of being affected by the cold
and actually seemed a little regretful of having to come inside at
all.  They sat down to a hot meal of potato soup and cheese toast,
and Spock and Jonathan quickly began to regale their mothers with
tales of their morning exploits.  "We have been making a snow-man,
Mother," Spock reported.

    "So I saw," Amanda replied, smiling.

    She had been smiling a lot since they had been here, Spock
reflected, realizing for the first time that the solemn expression
with which she went through the majority of each day on Vulcan was
*not* her natural facial expression.  "You have been watching us,
then?"  he queried.

    "Yes, Spock."

    "Are we doing it right?"

    Amanda almost laughed.  "If you weren't, Jonathan would have
told you!"

    "Spock sure is strong!"  Jonathan put in, before Spock could
respond, addressing nobody in particular.  "He lifted the whole, big
snowball for the snow-man's chest all by himself!"

    "Vulcans are physically stronger than Humans," Spock told him
peremptorially, knowing Jonathan wouldn't understand the whys and
wherefores if he tried to elaborate.

    Amanda simultaneously realized what Spock was thinking and
decided he was probably right; for that reason, she kept herself from
surreptitiously kicking Spock beneath the cover of the table for
saying something that Jonathan could have easily interpreted as an

    Jonathan, however, appeared mor impressed than insulted and was
content to accept the statement as fact without questioning it.  At
the moment, his mind was fully occupied with thoughts of how he and
Spock would spend the afternoon.

    After the meal was finished, Amanda and Elizabeth resumed their
place in front of the living room window.


    The snow-man was virtually finished.  Jonathan had appropriated
a scarf from the living room closet, and the snow-man had a face, and
two branches for arms, but Jonathan still wasn't satisfied.  He
circled it several times, thinking.  Spock was puzzled; the snow-man
looked finished to him.  "What is wrong?"  he asked curiously.

    "I don't know, but--" JOnathan looked at Spock and suddenly had
an idea.  "Come here," he directed, moving Spock so that he stood
next to the snow-man and pushing back the hood of his coat.

    Spock was getting more confused by the minute.  "Jonathan--?"

    "Don't move!"  Jonathan ordered sharply.

    Spock obeyed, wishing he knew why--then he saw Jonathan make two
small snowballs and press one against the side of the snow-man's
head.  Suddenly, he realized what Jonathan was up to and allowed
himself a very un-Vulcan grin.


    From her vantage point at the window, Amanda could just barely
make out what they were doing.  As soon as she realized what was
going on, she unexpectedly found herself bursting into laughter. 
Jonathan was transforming an ordinary snow-man into a snow-Vulcan,
using Spock as a model.

    Elizabeth, who had left the window momentarily to put up the
dishes, came on the run at the sound of Amanda's laughter.  "After
living on Vulcan all this time, I didn't think you could still do
that," she commented, regarding Amanda uncertainly.

    Amanda contained herself long enough to answer, "Frankly,
neither did I...but if Spock can do it, I certainly can."

    Elizabeth's eyes widened in surprise.  "Spock *laughed*?"  she
repeated incredulously.

    Amanda nodded.  "The day he got that case of frostbite. 
Jonathan had him on his back and was tickling him."  She returned to
the matter at hand.  "Elizabeth, come look--Jonathan's making a snow-

    Elizabeth came to the window and looked out, tried to stifle
laughter of her own and ended up only reducing it to a snicker.  "Are
you *sure* you want to play this tape for Sarek?"  she questioned.

    Amanda turned away from the window to loom Elizabeth full in the
face.  "Yes," she said firmly.  "Do you think for a minute that Spock
would have allowed himself this respite if he didn't need it?  Would
he have pleaded so persistently with Sarek to let him come with me? 
No.  I think Sarek needs to be reminded from time to time that he
can't simply ignore Spock's Human blood or the needs which that part
of him has.  He frequently forgets such things in the process of
trying to raise Spock as a full-blooded Vulcan, and I think this will
be an excellent way to remind them of him."

    Elizabeth digested all this and grinned conspiratorially.  "You
know he's going to have an all-out fit when he sees it."

    "Vulcans don't have fits," Amanda recited straight-facedly, and
they both erupted into laughter, turning back to the window. 
Jonathan was drawing something on the snow-Vulcan's face--probably
slanted eyebrows, Amanda decided.  "I don't know which is funnier--
the fact that Jonathan would think of it in the first place, or the
fact that Spock is willing to pose for it," she opined gleefully.

    Elizabeth giggled.  "I'd say it's a toss-up," she concluded,
turning sideways to face Amanda.  "Amanda, let's *really* give Sarek
something to watch.  Let's go out and join them!"  she suggested

    Amanda watched Jonathan and Spock a little longer, then looked
back at Elizabeth, moving away from the window.  "Why not?"

Before you could say "Koon-ut-kal-if-fee", all four of them were
out in the snow--Jonathan and Spock finishing their snow-Vulcan,
Amanda and Elizabeth milling around at first, uncertain of what to
do.  Eventually, they found themselves emulating their children,
hurling snowballs at each other as if they were little girls, instead
of women in their thirties.  At last, they were interrupted by Spock,
who came over to Amanda as she was making a snowball.  "Mother, come
see what we have made," he urged.  Almost as an afterthought, he
added, "You, too, Aunt Elizabeth--come see."

    The two women followed Spock across the yard to find Jonathan
standing proudly beside their creation, looking highly pleased with
himself.  Amanda and Elizabeth looked it over in startled ammusement;
Jonathan, obviously a budding sculptor, had made a snow-Vulcan with
pointed ears, slanted eyebrows--and a smiling face.

    Amanda looked at Spock questioningly, wondering why he hadn't
stopped Jonathan from drawing on the smile.

    "Jonathan says it is me--the way he hopes I will be when I
return to Vulcan: happy," Spock expleined, but it was clear from his
tone that he neither understood Jonathan's statement nor considered
it possible.

    The air of amusement dissolved abruptly as Amanda realized the
futility of bringing Spock here.  It was too little, too late--or too
soon; a few days of learning something of the life of a happy,
generally carefree Human child out of a lifetime of rigorous training
in emotional control and Vulcan philosophy--for surely Sarek would
never allow Spock to do this again--and everything would be the same
when he got back.  Spock and Jonathan's friendship would never
develop any further, because they would never see each other again. 

    Amanda turned suddenly and hurried back through the snow, up the
steps to the porch and into the house.  Elizabeth hesitated for a
minute, then went after her.

    Spock watched them go back inside, puzzled.  "Did I say
something wrong?"

    Jonathan shrugged, equally uncertain.  "I don't think so."

    Spock looked worriedly toward the front door.  Coming to a
decision, he headed off through the snow toward it.  Jonathan
followed him, sitting on the porch steps while Spock went to the
window and looked in.  Although Amanda's back was to him, Spock knew
at once that she was crying, for Elizabeth was embracing her and
trying to comfort her.  He went back and stood at the head of the
steps.  "Mother is crying," he announced dejectedly.

    Jonathan looked up at him.  "Why would she do that?"

    "I do not know.  I must have done something wrong."  Spock sat
down beside Jonathan.  "Does Aunt Elizabeth cry?"  he asked.

    "Sure.  Everybody does, sometimes, I guess," Jonathan sighed.

    "Not Vulcans."

    Jonathan looked up at him.  "You mean you can't?  Never?"

    Spock hesitated.  "I...am not *allowed* to.  No Vulcan is.  But
sometimes...I have to.  I go someplace where I think Father will not
find me and..." he stopped, too ashamed to finish the
statement.  "And Mother cries sometimes.  I never know what to do
when she cries...I do not know why she does it, but I think it is
because of me."

    "Maybe Aunt Mandy's afraid you're not happy, Spock," Jonathan
suggested softly.  "Maybe you should go talk to her."

    "What would I say?"

    "You'll know what to say," Jonathan assured him.  "Come on, I'll
go with you."


    They went inside.  Spock walked slowly over to where his mother
was sitting on the sofa, Jonathan following.  Amanda sat with her
face buried in her hands; Spock reached up and touched them with his
smaller ones.  "Mother, please do not cry.  I did not mean to say
anything wrong," he pleaded softly.

    Amanda removed her hands from her face and smiled through her
tears at him.  "Spock...you didn't say anything wrong," she assured

    "Then...why are you crying?"  Spock asked, confused.

    "Because...oh, Spock...I actually thought you *were* happy here!"

    Spock began to wipe tears off her cheeks.  "Perhaps I...perhaps
this is *something* like being happy.  But I am not Human...and I do
not fit in ehre any more than I do on Vulcan."

    Before Amanda could respond, Jonathan cut in.  "Oh, yes, you do,

    Spock turned toward him, startled.

    "You're my best friend, Spock.  I wish you could stay here
forever!"  Jonathan declared, bouncing forward and hugging Spock

    Elizabeth appeared mysteriously from somewhere and came to stand
beside them, stroking Spock's hair soothingly.  "We both do.  We love
you, Spock--you'll always be welcome here."

    Spock looked up at her searchingly as Jonathan continued to hug
him.  Aunt Elizabeth was so much like his mother...especially since
they had been here, where she no longer had to restrain her emotions
for the sake of her husband and son.  He looked at Jonathan, who
finally released him, then back up to Elizabeth.  "I am only half-
Human.  This does not bother you?"

    Elizabeth knelt so that she could look Spock in the eyes.  "Of
course not," she answered kindly.  "Why should it?"

    Spock watched her silently as she contined to stroke his hair,
and Amanda suddenly moved into his line of view.  "Spock, your aunt
and I have been trying to arrange for you to visit her and Jonathan
for years," she told him.

    Spock looked at Elizabeth for confurmation.  "You...wanted to
see me that much?"

    ELizabeth nodded.  "I already knew all about you before you
came," she revealed.

    Spock returned his attention to Amanda as realization
dawned.  "That is why you were crying.  You...*meant*...for me to
feel happy, and you thought I could do so here."

    Amanda nodded silently, eyes lowered.

    "But...I never knew Aunt Elizabeth wanted me to visit her,"
Spock pointed out.

    Amanda nodded again.  "Your father refused to let me tell you or
take you with me," she divulged, reluctantly.

    This did nothing to make Spock's ambivalent feelings toward his
father any more positive.  He reflected on the past week-and-a-half,
on all that Elizabeth and Jonathan had done to make him feel at home--
and what he himself had felt in response.  If it was not what Humans
called "happiness", or something so closely related to it as to be
identical, then Spock truly doubted he would ever know the emotion.

    Finally, Spock spoke again: "Mother, I think I was mistaken.  I
am not sure I would know 'happiness' if I felt it it, but...I know
what I have felt here is different than what I feel on Vulcan.  I
think perhaps Jonathan knows this, too, and is concerned that it may
change after I leave.  That is why he made our snow-Vulcan with a
smile."  He looked up at Elizabeth, who was standing again.  "I wish
I did not have to leave, Aunt Elizabeth...I am sure my father will
never allow me to come back."

    Elizabeth held him against her legs, afraid he would protest if
she tried to pick him up and hold him.  Surprisingly, Spock did put
his small arms around her legs and try to hug her.

    Amanda felt infinite relief; Spock was never one to lie about
anything, particularly not his feelings--not to her.  He would not
have tried to tell her now that the Vulcan child she had seen
laughing and playing in the snow with Jonathan every day for the past
week had not been happy.  His only regrets, she now knew, lay in the
fact that it would be taken away from him again when he returned to
Vulcan--regrets they both clearly shared.

    Minutes later, all four of them were back out in the snow,
having a big snowball fight to conclude the day's activities.

    All too soon, the day arrived when Spock and Amanda had to
leave.  Spock got up that morning and slowly began to pack his bag. 
Jonathan watched him worriedly, tears filling his eyes, but Spock was
so silent and withdrawn that he was afraid to speak.  Amanda came in
later to check his progress, and Spock ran to her.  "Mother, could we
not stay here a few more days?"  he pleaded.

    Amanda shook her head.  "You know the answer to that, Spock. 
Your school holiday is almost over, and you have to be back before it
ends," she told him apologetically.  "I'm sorry."

    Spock bowed his head silently and returned to his bed, gently
urged on by Amanda as she walked behind him.  Spock resumed packing
his travel bag, and Amanda decided to help him.  No one seemed to
notice Jonathan until Spock heard a sniffling sound behind him and
turned around to find Jonathan wiping his eyes.

    Spock sighed, not surprised to find himself feeling the same way
he had felt a few days ago when his mother had cried.  She had cried
before, as Spock had told Jonathan, and it always made him feel
uncomfortable, though he did not know why.  Though he could not have
known it then, this discomfort around crying Humans would follow him
through most of his adult life; eventually, he would come to realize
the reason for this was that he was never certain how to respond, or
even if he should.

    Finally, Spock stepped forward to Jonathan, reached out and
wiped his cousin's tear-streaked face.  "Jonathan, please do not
cry," he said, trying to make his voice soothing, as his mother had
often done for him.  "Perhaps I can come back."

    Jonathan shook his head, but complied as best he could.  "No,
you can't," he countered grumpily.  "Sarek won't let you.  You said
so yourself."

    "Then I'll write to you," Spock promised.

    Jonathan seemed to cheer up.  "And I'll write you back."

    "Now that *that* matter is decided, I think we'd better be on
our way," Amanda cut in.  "Come on, you two."


     Elizabeth and Jonathan went with them as far as Lunaport, and
there they said their goodbyes.  Spock, knowing Sarek would severely
reprimand him if he looked or acted any less Vulcan than he had when
he left, was already getting back into practice for the taut
emotional control that would be expected of him when he returned to

    Amanda and Elizabeth had already said their goodbyes, and now
Elizabeth urged Jonathan forward.  Jonathan looked shyly at his
cousin.  "Spock...Momma told me Vulcans don't like to be touched."

    "That is true."

    "I'm sorry I hugged you before.  I didn't know--"

    "Do not apologize, Jonathan," Spock interrupted
gently.  "I...did not mind."

    Jonathan nodded, accepting this.  "I asked Aunt Mandy why, and
she said Vulcans can read their mind if they touch you.  Is that

    Spock nodded, also, hoping Jonathan would not press him for
details; the Vulcan aversion to physical contact was one thing Sarek
had never fully explained to him--no doubt contributing to the fact
that he had not yet acquired said aversion.

    "Then can you read my mind?  Right now, if I touch you?" 
Jonathan asked, clearly intrigued by the idea.

    Spock panicked inwardly, remembering his mental joining with
T'Pring just after his completion of the Kahs-wan ordeal; a simple
bonding that would have taken a full-blooded Vulcan child no more
than ten minutes had taken him an hour and a half, and that was with
Sarek's help.  Spock had made no conscious attempt to use his
inherent telepathic poweres since then.  "I...I am not very skilled
in telepathy yet," he admitted shame-facedly.  "Father says that my
mental powers will develop more slowly than normal because  I am half-

     "But *could* you?"  Jonathan pressed.

     Spock hesitated.  "Possibly.  I do not know," he returned

    "Oh, please, Spock," Jonathan begged, "read my mind."

    Spock sighed, looking up at Amanda.  "Do you think it would hurt
him, Mother?"

    Amanda shook her head.  "Not if he wants it, which he obviously
does.  It's up to you."

    "All right," Spock acquiesced, turning back to
Jonathan.  "Jonathan, this is much more than 'reading your mind'.  If
I do this correctly, our thoughts and feelings will be joined.  Are
you sure you want to do it?"

    Jonathan nodded unhesitatingly.

    Spock touched Jonathan's face gently with one hand, fingers
splayed around Jonathan's temple and cheek.  "Our minds are
merging...our minds are one.  I know what you know...I feel what you
feel," he whispered.

    At first, there was nothing: a black void.  Jonathan felt as if
he were falling through it endlessly, along with Spock, and they were
separated.  The blackness slowly changed to whiteness as Spock
completed the link, and the whiteness became snow.  Once again, they
were running and playing in the snow, and there was the snow-Vulcan
they had made.  Spock saw himself again explain it to his mother, and
again Amanda ran back into the house.  At this point, the mental
images dissolved into chaotic swirls of color--more emotion than
thought--and Spock fought to break the link, finally succeeding after
an indeterminate anount of time.

    When their vision cleared, Spock and Jonathan regarded each
other, Spock uncertain and Jonathan impressed.  Spock remained
silent, afraid to speak; Jonathan, however, felt that he had somehow
gained a new understanding of his Vulcan cousin's inner turmoil and
loneliness, and he wanted Spock to know it.  "Oh, Spock--don't be
sad.  I'll always be your friend," he promised gently, then
hesitated.  "Friends...hug when they say goodbye."

    "All Humans do this?"  Spock questioned.

    Jonathan nodded.

    Spock glanced up at Amanda for verification.  "Yes, Spock--it's
a normal way of parting," she confirmed.

    Spock turned back to Jonathan.  "It is a strange custom, but I
have no objection," he observed.  A slight smile appeared on his
face, and Jonathan grinned back in response.  He came forward and
embraced Spock gently, holding him close but carefully, as if his
Vulcan cousin were a breakable object.

    Elizabeth joined them, focusing her attention on Spock as she
knelt beside him.  "I hope we'll see you again, Spock," she told him

    Spock nodded appreciatively.  "I will come back if I can," he

    They were interrupted by an overhead intercom: "Passenger
transport ship Trans-Stellar Express now boarding on platform 8."

    "Time to go, Spock," Amanda announced.

    "Yes, Mother," Spock responded obediently, finally--and somewhat
reluctantly--extricating himself from Jonathan's arms and moving back
to Amanda's side.

    Elizabeth and Jonathan waited until they had gotten through the
line to platform 8 and dematerialized, then went to one of the large
windows and looked out at the huge passenger ship.  JOnathan scanned
the ship's port-speckled hull, wondering which one Amanda and Spock
might be looking through.  Finally, the mooring lines were cleared,
angled catwalks were pulled away from the ship, and it began to move
off.  Jonathan watched the ship grow smaller and smaller and turn
into a multicolored starburst as it achieved warp speed.

    He placed his hand against the window, and, guided by some
instinct he did not understand, separated his second and third
fingers into a V-shape.  "Goodbye, Spock," he whispered regretfully.

    Elizabeth stared at his hand wonderingly.  Jonathan had *not*
known how to give the Vulcan salute before they had left
Philadelphia; Spock had not taught him, because she had tried to show
him how that morning and he had not been able to.  The mind-meld...?

    Spock spent most of the trip back to Vulcan in solemn silence as
he sought to squelch the feelings that had come tumbling out during
his stay on Earth.  He knew Sarek would be twice as strict as he had
before, and Spock was determined to live up to his expectations--
visits to Human relatives notwithstanding.  Amanda realized his
concern and tried to disturb his self-confinement to their room as
seldom as possible.  The result of this was that it was a long trip
back for both of them.

     At last, however, they arrived at Vulcan Space Central.  They
found Sarek waiting for them as they came away from the transporter,
and although he had apparently decided to postpone any family reunion
until they got home, Amanda could tell by Sarek's manner and
something in his facial expression that something was wrong.

    When they arrived home, Sarek urged Spock to go unpack his bag
and take Amanda's to her room.  When he had gone inside, Sarek turned
to Amanda and she realized she could not hold back her concern any
longer.  "Sarek, what's going on?  What's wrong?"  she asked.

    "I-Chaya's condition has taken a turn for the worse," Sarek
explained.  "For obvious reasons, I could not tell Spock at the

    //Obvious, indeed--you just didn't want to be embarrassed by his
emotional reaction,// Amanda said to herself, inwardly horrified as
she realized the effect this would have on Spock.  Aloud, she
said, "He is dying?"

    Sarek nodded, motioning her to follow him; they went through the
garden, around to the grove of trees near the back that served as I-
Chaya's den.  I-Chaya was there, as always, seemingly asleep.  A tall
Vulcan, younger than Sarek, who had been on his knees beside the
sehlat, stood as they approached.

    "Dr. Satik!"  Amanda exclaimed, forgetting to cover her alarm;
if Satik were here, I-Chaya *was* in danger.

    "Lady Amanda," Satik acknowledged, somewhat coldly, with a nod. 
Like many Vulcans, he did not have a high opinion of Humans--or half-
Humans.  It was purely in deference to Sarek that he was there at all.

    "How is he?"  asked Sarek.

    Satik looked down at I-Chaya.  "He has little time left...a
matter of minutes, perhaps ten," he informed Sarek.

    "He has been in a coma for several days," Sarek explained to
Amanda.  "Satik told me yesterday that he did not believe I-Chaya
would wake up."

    "Oh..." Amanda closed her eyes, her heart aching for Spock
already.  "Do you want me to get Spock?"

    Sarek glanced at Satik.

    "Do as you will.  Since there is nothing more I can do here, I
see no reason to remain any longer," Satik answered shortly, having
no wish to witness the half-Human Spock's emotional breakdown.  He
headed past them toward the front of the garden.

    When they heard the gate click shut behind him, Sarek turned to
Amanda.  "Bring him, my wife."

    Minutes later, Spock came on the run, with Amanda following at a
distance.  He dropped down beside the sehlat, stroking his back, but
I-Chaya remained still and unmoving.  "I-Chaya..." he cried softly,
then looked up at Sarek.  "Mother said he is dying.  Is it true?"

    Sarek knelt beside him.  "Yes, Spock--it is true.  Satik just
left," he answered regretfully.  Amanda wasn't the only one who was
able to anticipate their son's grief, in this instance; Sarek was as
aware as his wife that I-Chaya was the closest thing to a friend that
Spock had.  He reached out and laid a hand against I-Chaya's neck.

    "Is he still alive?"

    Sarek nodded.  "Barely.  But he will not be for much longer."

    Spock turned his attention back to I-Chaya, Oh, I-Chaya..." He
lay his head against the sehlat's back, enircling the massive
neck.  "...please do not die."

    "Spock," Sarek admonished quietly.  "All living things must die,
at some point.  I-Chaya has led a long and useful life, and he has
been ill for several months; it is now his time to die.  To wish him
to live longer under these circumstances is not logical."

    Spock decided it would do no good to respond.  It was useless to
try to defend the type of pain he felt now to Sarek.

    Meanwhile, Amanda appeared at Sarek's shoulder and knelt,
also.  "Sarek, I think perhaps--"

    "Be silent, Amanda," Sarek cut her off, watching I-Chaya closely
and feeling his neck.  "No pulse...he is not breathing."

    "No!  Oh, no...no..." Spock felt a burning sensation behind his
eyes and pressed his hands against them.  His inner pain seemed to
double, and the burning in his eyes did not go away.  Was this what
his mother felt when she was about to cry?  He couldn't do that now,
not with Sarek watching every move he made.  Spock fought to keep any
of his inner turmoil from showing externally as he got up and
staggered blindly through the garden toward the front of the house.

    Amanda and Sarek got up also and followed him.  Amanda caught up
with Spock near the terrace steps; he stood with his back to her, but
did not pull away when she touched his shoulder.  Instead, he let
Amanda draw him against her.  "Spock--" she began gently.

    "Mother, it hurts...I do not understand.  I-Chaya dies, and it
hurts *me*, inside," Spock interrupted, in a broken voice.  "It makes
my eyes burn, and it makes me think of other things, too.  I
feel...alone.  Oh, Mother, why are none of my schoolmates like

    Amanda picked him up in her arms; he had always been small for
his age, so this presented no problem.  She held Spock gently against
her breast and rubbed his back.  "It won't always be like this,
Spock, I promise you," she told him soothingly.  "You'll find a
friend.  Don't worry."

    "How?"  Spock questioned mournfully.  "No Vulcan wants to be
seen with me, and Father will never let me see Jonathan again."

    "One day, you will be old enough to go where you wish and do
what you want without his permission," Amanda pointed out
reassuringly.  "Then, if necessary, you can find what you seek
outside Vulcan."

    Sarek had caught up with them, stopping some distance away and
listening to their conversation in silence.  Now, he joined them,
circling Amanda so that he could see Spock's face.  He was not
surprised to see a couple of tears trickling down his son's
cheeks.  "I...am sorry, Father.  I tried to stop myself...but I could
not," Spock tried to explain.

    Life for a Vulcan child with Human blood would always be
difficult, and situations like this didn't help any; Sarek frequently
did not understand Spock's emotional reactions and difficulties
because he tended to think of his son as Vulcan.  He touched Spock's
cheek gently, wiping a tear away.  "I know it is difficult, at times,
but...you will learn control, eventually.  We will speak of it
later."  He addressed Amanda.  "I will see to the disposition of I-
Chaya's body, then I will be in meditation for approximately two
hours.  I will...leave it to you to see to Spock."

    After Sarek headed off toward the back of the house, Amanda
carried Spock inside the house and into the parlor, sitting down with
him on the sofa.  Spock curled up in her lap, sitting silently as he
tried to return himself to the non-emotional state which his father
had assured him no true Vulcan would ever deviate from.  Spock
wondered if he would ever outgrow the discomfort he felt in Sarek's

    Amanda, too, was quiet, knowing Spock no longer wanted to talk;
holding him, offering him silent consolation and support, was all he
needed from her at the moment to help him regain control.  By the
time Sarek's meditation period was over, Spock was back to normal;
wiping his eyes one last time, he got up and left the parlor, going
to his room.

    Sarek entered the room as Spock left, and he watched his son's
hurried departure with a raised eyebrow, then turned back toward
Amanda, approaching her slowly.  "I take it Spock is...recovering."

    Amanda shrugged.  "I suppose so..." she adopted the manner which
had become customary for her when she wanted to have a serious talk
with Sarek.  "Were you *really* that surprised to see him crying?"

    "Let us say that I was disappointed," Sarek replied
levelly.  "It was a mistahe to allow him to go back to Earth with
you.  It may well have set his education and training as a Vulcan
back several years."

    Amanda shook her head.  "You can't mean that, Sarek."

    "I do," Sarek countered.  He cocked an eyebrow at her.  "Do you
still maintain that Spock benefitted somehow by visiting your

    "I *know* he did," Amanda assured him certainly.

    "Indeed?  How?"  Sarek questioned.

    "He enjoyed himself," she told him, intensely but
quietly.  "Jonathan and Elizabeth were both wonderful to him.  He was
*happy*, Sarek--I actually heard him laugh."

    The significance of this to Amanda was not lost on Sarek.  "I
would not be truthful if I said I was not pleased that Jonathan did
not tease him," he admitted.  "However--"

    "He took to Spock right away," Amanda continued.  "He wants
Spock to come back.  *Spock* wants to."

    "No, Amanda," Sarek refused firmly.  "Too much damage has been
done already.  I only hope it is not irreparable."

    "'Damage'..." Amanda repeated darkly, fighting for the control
that Sarek and life on Vulcan demanded of her.  "Sarek, wait there. 
I want to show you something."

    She left abruptly, going to their room, where she got the tape
she had made of Spock and Jonathan out of her travel bag, and hurried
back to the parlor.

    "What is that?"  Sarek asked.

    "Elizabeth and I made a tape of Spock and Jonathan playing in
the snow.  I want you to se it," Amanda explained.

    This got a reaction from Sarek; he regarded her with both
eyebrows raised.  "'Playing', Amanda?"

    "Yes, *playing*," Amanda repeated emphatically, going to the end
table/computer monitor next to the sofa.  As she stuck the tape into
a slot and adjusted the monitor, Sarek joined her, interested in
spite of himself.  Amanda punched a button.  "This was about five
days before we left," she told him.

    As Sarek watched, the screen went white, and the whiteness
separated into ground, trees, house and sky.  Abruptly, Spock came
running through the scene, covered entirely in clothing, except for
his face.  He turned back and called to someone off-screen;
immediately, an eager, boisterous Human child with greenish eyes
entered and began to chase Spock.

    "Is that Jonathan?"  Sarek asked.

    Amanda nodded.

    "Why is he running after Spock?"

    "It's all a part of 'playing', Sarek."

    "Oh."  Sarek returned his attention to the monitor screen.

    Jonathan had caught Spock and pinned him down in the snow and
was tickling him.  As Spock was thrashing around, a strange sound
issued from him; Sarek realized that his son was, indeed, laughing--
and apparently not minding it.  Soon, Spock and Jonathan were hurling
snowballs at each other, both clearly enjoying themselves.  Then they
were making larger snowballs, piling one on top of the other.  Sarek
glanced questioningly at Amanda.

    "They're...making a snow-man, Sarek," she explained.

    Sarek gave her a look that said she had raised more questions
than she had answered and turned back to the monitor.  Spock and
Jonathan had disappeared.  Amanda punched a button, fast-forwarding
the tape, and Spock and Jonathan re-appeared.  They finished the snow-
man and there was another lull in the action, then Jonathan
positioned Spock nest to the snow-man and pushed back the hood of
Spock's coat, beginning to transform the snow-man into a snow-Vulcan.

    Then it was finished, and Amanda and Elizabeth entered the
picture; Spock was showing them Jonathan's snow-Vulcan-with-a-smiling-
face.  There was a brief conversation, and Amanda ran out of the
picture, followed by Elizabeth.  Left alone, the two boys wandered
back to the porch and sat down.  Spock got up once and looked inside,
then both went inside.  Amanda fast-forwarded the tape again, and all
four were outside throwing snowballs at each other.

    At last, the screen went dark.  Amanda took out the tape and sat
back down, cradling it reverently in her hands.  She looked up at
Sarek with a pleading expression.  "I saw my son *laughing* and being
*happy* for the first time in his life...Jonathan is the first
*friend* he's ever had.  Is this the 'damage' you're so worried

    Sarek sat beside her.  "My wife, I agree that it is well Spock
had this experience once," he said, as gently as possible.  "But you
must remember that he has chosen to follow Vulcan philosophy, not

    "I know," Amanda replied.  "But I think *you* should remember
that he *is* half-HUman, no matter which way he chose to follow.  Is
it part of his training to accept isolation and loneliness as normal?"

    Sarek raised an eyebrow at her.  "Do you seriously think
spending a few more days with Jonathan and Elizabeth would have
changed that?  That which you call 'loneliness' may well be the price
Spock will pay--not just for following Vulcan philosophy, but for
being *Spock*: half-Human and half-Vulcan.  It is more likely that
Jonathan is the exception rather than the rule, even among Humans...I
doubt he would be accepted among Humans in general any more than he
is among Vulcans."

    Amanda shook her head.  "I can't believe that, Sarek.  Spock and
Jonathan are *friends*!  If he has no one here--"

    "Vulcan children do not require 'friendship', Amanda," Sarek
informed her quietly.  "Spock will learn this, in time."

    "Will he?"  Amanda questioned.

    Sarek lowered his eyes and was silent.

    "If that's true, then why did Spock mind-meld with him?"  Amanda

    Sarek looked up at her sharply.  "What?"

    "When they were saying goodbye to each other at Lunaport,
Jonathan asked Spock to mind-meld with him," Amanda elaborated.

    Sarek wondered briefly how Jonathan had found out about Vulcan
telepathy, but he chose to ignore the question, for the moment.  At
the moment, he was fighting shock as he recalled all too clearly
Spock's disastrous attempt to bond with T'Pring.  Spock had not been
able to learn the mental disciplines necessary to complete the
bonding by that time, and Sarek had been forced to intervene
himself.  He had subsequently concluded that Spock was not far along
enough in his training yet to begin learning the mental
disciplines.  "Our son...mind-melded with a Human child?"  he
questioned finally.

    Amanda nodded.

    "Willingly?  Without your encouragement?"

    Amanda nodded again.  "He did ask me if I thought it would hurt
Jonathan," she admitted.  "I told him it wouldn't, but I left the
final decision to him."

    "And he completed the mind-meld with no difficulty?"

    "Completed it, made it last about five minutes and broke it off,
with no apparent problems and all by himself," Amanda assured him
proudly, certain Sarek would share her pride.

    If Sarek *were* proud of his son, he was doing a masterful job
of hiding it.  "My son's first successful mind-meld...and it has to
be with a Human child," he reflected regretfully, not intending for
Amanda to hear it.

    Amanda *did* hear him, however, and thought *she* did an equally
admirable job of hiding her own irritation at Sarek's
stubbornness.  "Perhaps Spock's mind is more receptive to *Human*
thoughts and feelings, so that it's easier for him to bond with
Humans than Vulcans," she suggested quietly.

    The dark look she got from Sarek indicated that she was not to
even *consider* such a thing--yet Sarek was forced to do so,
himself.  It quite handily explained Spock's difficulty with
T'Pring's bond and contrasting ease (with less than a two year time
elapse and no further mental training) in mind-melding with
Jonathan.  The thought that Spock's Human blood might have, rather
than impeded his telepathic skills, made them more receptive and
compatible with Human minds than Vulcan minds bothered Sarek more
than he cared to admit, and he judiciously chose to sidestep the
issue.  "Perhaps, Amanda, but my immediate concern is that Spock has
established a mind-link with someone he will never see again," he
responded finally.

    At this point, Amanda gave up.  Obviously, Sarek had made up his
mind and nothing she could say would change it.  She got up and went
to the window, putting her back to Sarek.

    Sarek stared at the blank computer screen, then back up at
Amanda.  He got up and went to her.  "Did Spock...play...as he was
doing on this tape...the whole time he was there?"  he asked

    Amanda nodded without turning.  "Most of the time.  He was sick
the first few days because of the cold.  Jonathan was with him every
minute," she answered.

    Sarek hesitated for a long moment, then spoke again, choosing
his words carefully: "If Spock finds he truly *needs* a friend
because of his Human blood, he will eventually find one.  In the mean
time, he wishes us to consider him Vulcan and must be raised
accordingly.  This 'isolation' and 'loneliness' which you are so
concerned about will doubtless be, as I said, part of the price until
Spock himself finds some way to alleviate it."

    Amanda nodded again, finally accepting this as truth.  She
turned and left the parlor, stopping at Spock's door and peeking
inside.  Spock was sitting silently at his window, not crying, but
solemn-faced and looking more alone than Amanda could ever remember
him looking.  It hurt her to see him like this, but she didn't know
of anything she could do to help.

    She reflected on Sarek's words and wondered, as she frequently
had, if Spock hadn't chosen the Vulcan way sinply to please his
father.  Sarek had made it painfully clcear at the time of the Kahs-
wan that if Spock failed and/or if he chose to follow Human
philosophy (whichever way you wnated to look at it--actually, in
Sarek's mind, one equated the other), his father woulfd not let him
forget it.  Nothing would have proven more certainly that Spock
was "not a true Vulcan", and Amanda got the impression that Sarek
would never have forgiven his son for humiliating both of them.

    How confusing it must be for Spock, knowing he had mde the
choice he thought his father wanted him to make, to now find that
Sarek *still* exuded disapproval, had even less toleration than
before for the Human traits and emotions that his son was unable to
suppress and would not be satisfied with anything less than
completely Vulcan behavior on Spock's part.  Shaking her head
worriedly, Amanda quietly closed the door and went to her room.

    Later that night, Sarek happened to come across the tape again;
something made him re-insert it into the computer terminal's tape
slot.  He then sat down and watched it in its entirety, lost in
thought as he focused on a Spock he had never seen before: playful,
carefree...happy.  Doubtless Spock had no idea this tape had been
made, and Sarek could not find it in his heart to scold Spock for
what on Vulcan would have been labelled blatant emotional displays. 
He had, after all, been on Earth.  And Sarek, like Amanda, had never
seen his son laugh.  Nor had he ever before now actually seen Spock

    Sarek left the parlor for Spock's room, vowing to himself not to
scold the child; he had something else on his mind entirely.  He
found Spock as Amanda had found him, sitting alone in the
dark.  "Spock," he said quietly.

    Spock jumped, startled, switched on the light and whirled around
to face his father.  "Father--?"

    Sarek entered.  "Your mother told me you accomplished your first
mind-meld while you were visiting your aunt and cousin," he told

    "Yes, Father," Spock answered uncertainly, not knowing whether
to expect congratulations or another reprimand.

    Sarek nearly smiled at his son's apparent apprehension.  "Do not
be concerned, Spock; you have done nothing wrong," he assured Spock
gently.  "In fact, I am quite pleased."

    Spock tried to stifle his surprise and didn't quite succeed, but
Sarek did not seem to notice.  "You are?"  he repeated, bewildered.

    "Yes.  I was concerned that your Human blood might have retarded
your telepathic powers and their development, but it now appears that
I was wrong," Sarek elaborated readily.  He decided not to mention
Amanda's theory that Spock was able to mind-meld more easily with
Humans.  If this were, in fact, true, Spock would doubtless find it
out on his own, eventually.  For now, it would only serve to make
life on Vulcan more difficult and confusing for him.

    The look of relief on Spock's face was the only response he
could think of making.

    Sensing Spock's nervousness, Sarek went to him and sat down
beside him, wondering how to comfort his son.  His emotional
breakdown this afternoon would have to be discussed also, but it
could wait for a more appropriate time.  He tried to think of what
Amanda would do in this situation and reached out to stroke Spock's
hair; Spock pulled away, clearly frightened by the action, but Sarek
persisted, gently holding Spock in place until the boy realized his
father did not mean to hurt him.

    "It's all right, my son...you have done well," he said again,
not unkindly.  "Next time, however, I would not suggest initiating a
mind-meld with someone you were only going to see once.  It exposes
your thoughts and emotions unnecessarily, and it is a waste of
telepathic ability--and such ability is not to be used lightly.  It
is to be used only when necessary."

    "But how will I know when it is necessary?"  Spock asked,
beginning to relax in his father's grasp.

    "You will know, Spock," Sarek assured him.

    Spock thought this over for a minute and decided to accept it as
fact.  "Will you teach me how to do the mind-meld correctly?"

    "Yes, Spock.  I am certain you will become most proficient at

    Spock wondered what made Sarek so sure of that.  "May we start
tomorrow?"  he asked, trying to mask his eagerness.

    "Perhaps.  But for now, it is late--and past time for you to be
in bed."

    Spock climbed into the bed and lay down.  "Good night, Father."

    Sarek turned out the light and retreated to the door.  "Good
night, Spock.  Sleep well."

    Within a few days, things were back to what passed for normal in
the household of Sarek of Vulcan.  There were subtle changes in
Spock, of course; he became more withdrawn than he had been before. 
The taunting by his schoolmates continued, though Spock studiously
continued trying to live up to Sarek's and other Vulcans'
expectations of what was right and proper for a Vulcan child of
Spock's age.

    Amanda thought often of the time Spock had spent with Jonathan
and she knew Spock did, too, though he never talked about it.  She
thought of how well Spock had gotten along with his Human cousin, how
easily they had taken to each other; because it made it easier to
tolerate Spock's present difficulties, Amanda chose to take it as a
sign that her son would indeed find a friend, eventually...perhaps,
as she had long suspected and secretly hoped, among Humans.

    Each day when Spock came home from school, Amanda sensed the
anger and pain he tried to hide and wept inwardly for him; each
night, she prayed to God that she was right and the rest of her son's
life would not be this difficult.

                     *   *   *   *   *   *


    Spock ignored the voice, continuing to stare unseeingly through
his steepled fingers.


    Spock actually jumped.  HIs eyes focused, and he looked across
the table at Kirk, who was watching him anxiously.  "Captain?"

    "It's your move," Kirk told him.

    Spock spared the three-dimensional chess board before him a
fleeting glance and moved a bishop, realizing his mistake a second
too late.

    "Checkmate," Kirk announced, making his countermove.

    Spock realized in dismay that Kirk had won again.

    "Your mind was definitely not on the game," Kirk observed, as
they replaced the chess pieces, putting them back in their starting
positions.  "Is something bothering you?"

    "No, Captain, I was just...remembering something," Spock
answered faintly.

    Kirk's eyes did not leave his First Officer's face; the vaguely
troubled expression he saw there seemed to contradict Spock's
words.  "Then you've been remembering something painful," he
concluded.  "It...might help to talk about it."

    Spock hesitated.  It had been years--decades--since he had
thought of Jonathan.  Sarek had never allowed him to visit his Human
cousin again, for which Spock had never fully forgiven him, and agony
and resentment had always accompanied the memory, as well as
happiness.  He had thought he'd masked it now, but Jim saw it still.

    Strange, it had never occurred to Spock how much like Jonathan
Jim was: same brown hair and sparkling hazel eyes, same enthusiastic
yet gentle manner, same emotional honesty, same charisma--and, most
importantly, same feelings for a certain Vulcan/Human hybrid.  Spock
could easily imagine Jim at the age he had known Jonathan--they might
well have been identical in appearance and personality!

    Spock thought it over.  Kirk knew him well enough by now to have
realized how difficult his childhood on Vulcan had been, and it would
doubtless please him to know that Spock had had at least *one*
friend, for however brief a time.  And he had never spoken of it to
anyone.  Spock wondered if the Human doctrine just pointed out by
Kirk, which said that talking about things with someone you trust
helps ease the pain associated with them, didn't apply here after
all.  He decided it very well might.

    Kirk was getting increasingly worried as his friend continued to
regard him with the silent, searching look Spock always gave Kirk
when he was trying to decide whether or not to open up to his Captain
about something.  "Spock...please tell me what it is," he
pleaded.  "Haven't I always found a way to help you?"

    //Yes, Jim, you always have,// Spock answered, under his breath;
in truth, Spock couldn't remember a single instance when he had been
in some kind of difficulty--physical, mental or emotional--when Kirk
hadn't stubbornly centered all his thoughts on the problem until he
had discovered some way to pull Spock out of it.  Spock decided he
wanted to talk.  "Have you ever wondered, Captain, whether or not I
have any Human relatives on Earth?"

    Kirk hesitated, startled.  "Well, I suppose I assumed you did,
but...I didn't ever think you'd admit to it," he stammered.  "Have
you ever met any of them?"

    Spock told him the entire story as they got up and walked to his
quarters, elaborating on the mixed feelings associated with the
incident, once he and Kirk were alone in his quarters, as he would
have dared to do for no one else.

    Kirk listened attentively as Spock talked, following the Vulcan
to his desk and standing before him as Spock sat down.  When Spock
finished, bowing his head in an attempt to hide the emotions he was
sure were evident on his face, Kirk looked at him with such
compassion that the emotion communicated itself to Spock without his
having to see it.  He lifted his head to look up at Kirk gratefully
in acknowledgement, and waited for Kirk to respond.

    "Sarek never let you go back?"  Kirk asked finally, incredulous.

    Spock shook his head.  "No, nor did I ever meet any others of my
mother's family.  Sarek believed that any interaction with Humans--
other than my mother--would be detrimental to my training, which had
only just begun..." he stopped, intently studying the concerned
expression on his Human friend's face.  "Jim, I wish...perhaps I will
be able to introduce you to Jonathan someday.  The two of you are
very much alike," Spock told him softly.

    Kirk nodded, surprised by the unexpected compliment.  "Thank
you, Spock, I'd like to meet him."  He paused, considering Spock's
relationship with Sarek.  Strange...he hadn't thought his Vulcan
friend had been in conflict with his father until *after* Spock had
made his decision to join Starfleet.  "Let me see if I understand
this situation, Spock: you went to visit Jonathan, became friends
with him...and Sarek, knowing full well that you had no one like that
on Vulcan, *refused* to let you go back?"

    Spock nodded.  "My father...did not understand my need
for...friendship," he confessed hesitantly.  "Neither did I, which
made it rather difficult to explain to him.  Eventually, I had to
block the memory of my visit out of my mind...force myself not to
think of it..."  He bowed his head again.  "Mother understood, of
course, but...there was nothing she could do.  She...did her best to
make things less difficult for me, but..." he trailed off

    Kirk noted a certain guarded bitterness in his voice when he
talked about Sarek, and a completely different set of veiled emotions
as he talked about his mother--and his cousin and aunt.  "You did
mention Jonathan was going to write to you," he pointed out hopefully.

    Spock nodded again, closing his eyes.  "He did, though I did not
find out about it until years later.  Sarek was concerned that I
might be...distracted...from my training and studies, so he...
withheld the stargrams from me and had Mother write to Aunt Elizabeth
asking her to not allow Jonathan to write me any more."

    Kirk closed the distance between them, filled with empathy for
his Vulcan friend and the anguish he had been forced to endure.  How
dare Sarek treat him like that?  "Spock, I'm...sorry.  I had no idea
Sarek could be so..."--he searched for a tactful word--

    Spock didn't look up.  "As far as withholding Jonathan's
stargrams from me, that is perfectly allowable by Vulcan custom."  It
was clear from his tone, however, that Spock neither sympathized with
Sarek nor forgave him, however logical the reason was.

    Kirk wondered idly what grievances Spock might have against his
father that he wasn't talking about.  He reached out and lightly
touched Spock's shoulder, looking down worriedly into the shiny,
black hair.  "I still say he had no right," he persisted quietly.

    Spock looked up slowly, sighing.  "It...does not matter, Jim. 
Not now," he assured Kirk.

    Kirk was unconvinced.  "Are you *sure*, Spock?"

    "Yes."  For emphasis, Spock allowed himself to give Kirk an
encouraging half-smile.  "Mother often told me that I...would find a
friend," he revealed quietly.  "How she could have known I would meet
you, I do not understand."

    Kirk looked uncertainly into his friend's eyes, but there was no
longer any evidence of the pain and anger Kirk had perceived a moment
before--only gratitude and unguarded affection.  He smiled back,
squeezing Spock's shoulder.  Spock's smile faded, but the look in his
eyes did not; his only response was to tilt his head sideways,
resting it lightly against Kirk's arm.

    Suddenly, Spock found himself engulfed in an affectionate,
gentle hug.  It was the only way Kirk could think of at the moment to
comfort his friend, and he had held it back as long as possible,
knowing the Vulcan might not approve.  "Spock, I'm sorry...I...don't
know what else to do.  This memory has been so painful for you..."

    "Do not apoligize, Jim...I do not object," Spock told him
reassuringly.  As long as Jim Kirk--his t'hy'la--was around, Spock
knew he could somehow endure anything life threw at (or withheld
from) him.  An image suddenly appeared in his mind of a lonely
Vulcan/Human child coming home from school after having been
tormented mercilessly by his schoolmates, hurt and angry, wanting to
cry...and Spock made some response at last to Kirk's embrace by
laying his head against Jim's chest and closing his eyes against the

    Kirk, in physical contact with him now, knew the Vulcan's
thoughts as clearly as if they were his own.  "Don't dwell on *that*,
my friend," he counselled gently.  "Remember the time you *had* with

    Spock nodded.  "I...I remember it now, Jim," he asserted,
already sounding much more relaxed and at peace than he had
before.  "Would you...like to rememmber it with me?"

    "Yes," Kirk agreed readily.  "If you have no objections."

    Spock sat back just far enough to have a full view of Kirk's
face and shook his head.  "No, Jim...we have a bond, you and I.  It
is not the same as that which is connected with the pon farr, but it
is just as strong, if not stronger.  We have entered each other's
minds mamny times before, and we will do so again...I have no reason
to block my thoughts from you, any more tham you have to block yours
from me," he assured Kirk softly.

    "Then...please go ahead."

    Spock placed gentle fingers against Kirk's face, beginning the
now-familiar chant that initiated the mind-meld and drawing Kirk's
mind slowly into his.  It was different from any of the previous mind-
melds Kirk had shared with him; instead of the sensation of being
together and one with Spock to the exclusion of all else, they were
together as spectators.

    Before them, the child Spock again ran and played in the snow
with his Human cousin, Jonathan, laughing, throwing snowballs, posing
for Jonathan's smiling snow-Vulcan...

    Kirk saw it and was filled with happiness for his friend.  And
because their thoughts and feelings were one, Spock, too, felt


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