They awoke earlier than expected and enjoyed a leisurely swim in the spring before dressing and preparing for the walk back to the house. Now that the sun was up it was necessary to wrap themselves in the blankets to hide the sheer robes they wore. Saavik laughed as she tried to make the thick covering look more like something to wear and less like something to sleep on. Spock kissed her neck, breathing in her scent once more before leading the way back home.
Thankfully there was little foot traffic this far out and they reached the garden gate without seeing anyone. They slipped inside and paused at the fountain when they heard voices inside the house. It would be difficult to enter unseen. They sat instead on the stone bench, hands and feet intertwined as they watched the dancing water.
They were startled by the sudden opening of the door and Sarek’s deep baritone calling sharply from the house.
“Spock, I will speak with thee.”
Spock rose, Saavik beside him and entered the large gathering room closest to the garden door. Sarek was there with Amanda and Jim.
“Hi, Spock,” The captain greeted him happily, before realizing the sudden contention between father and son. Spock inclined his head to him but his eyes were on his father.
Sarek glared at the unlikely coverings they wore and his eyes bore into his son. “You have come from the desert?” It was more an accusation than a question.
“We have,” Spock answered, his lips tight with sudden tension.
Sarek reached out and pulled the blanket away, revealing Spock’s sheer robe beneath. Sarek stared in open shock. “You have performed the kashek shaukaush?” he demanded, not bothering to hide the contempt from his voice or face.
Spock’s face darkened but he stood his ground. “Yes,” he answered evenly.
Sarek composed himself with some effort and addressed the others in the room.”I will speak with my son,” he said. “Alone.”
Saavik started to protest but Amanda led her out of the room with the captain. As the door closed behind them, Sarek turned his barely controlled fury on Spock.
“You have endangered your bondsmate with this perversion!”
Spock’s eyes flashed with the same fury, slightly less controlled. “It is not a perversion,” he declared hotly.
“You enjoyed it?” Sarek countered with open contempt. “Are you Rik’ tash?” he asked scornfully, referring to a disgraced sect that embraced emotion over logic.
Spock ignored the remark and glared at him with open hostility. “There is little danger when one is prepared,” he said evenly.
Sarek studied his face. “And were you both prepared for this?” His voice was sharp, ungiving.
”She did not protest it,” Spock answered, but there was a slight hesitation in his voice.
Sarek drew himself up, his dark eyes flashing. “Did you ask her?” he demanded icily.
Spock didn’t answer immediately and his eyes looked away from the intense glare. “No,” he finally admitted.
Sarek looked at him with unmasked shock. “One cannot protest what one does not foresee,” he said, his voice cold. “The normal aversion to this practice is based on the real danger that one or both parties will choose to remain in the meld. Were you ignorant of this danger?”
“My mental discipline is strong enough for both of us,” Spock insisted. “There was no danger.”
Sarek stepped in front of him, forcing his gaze back to himself. “And if I were to question Saavik?” he demanded, “what would her answer be?”
Spock stared at him resolutely but said nothing. Sarek stepped toward him.”Why, Spock?” he demanded, his angry eyes inches from his son’s.
Spock met that glare unflinchingly but his own intensity was fading. He turned and looked into the garden. “I wished to achieve complete oneness with her,” he said,”And chose the only means possible to accomplish that. I also theorized that the shock of it might complete the joining.”
“You were curious?” Sarek thundered, his deep voice betraying emotion he chose not to control. “You risked your life and hers for this?”
Spock stiffened but didn’t answer. Sarek’s eyes bore into his back.
“And did you accomplish the second objective?” Sarek demanded after a moment.
“No,” Spock said after some silence. Sarek walked around him to face him again.
“And now that you have experienced the kashek shaukaush, will anything less satisfy either of you?”
Spock looked up sharply at the impertinent question and at the man who spoke it. The memory of the experience still floated on the edge of his mind and he really didn’t know the answer . They stared at one another a long moment,emotion showing clearly on both of their faces. Finally Sarek sighed deeply and composed his features.
“You should go to your wife,” he said.
Spock tried to calm his own emotions as he inclined his head with proper respect before leaving the room.
Kirk had been quickly ushered through the house as the Vulcans began to argue. He could still hear the angry voices through the closed door, even where he sat in the kitchen of the large house. Amanda had found a robe to replace the blanket Saavik had wound around herself and now she sat close to the Vulcan woman, speaking in low tones in an effort to comfort her. Kirk noted that Saavik looked more angry than hurt, and he felt sorely out of place in what was obviously a family affair.
“It was both of us!” Saavik hissed. “Why does he always blame Spock?”
“They have always argued,”Amanda reasoned. “You know that.” She patted the other woman’s hands and moved closer to her. “Sarek is worried for your safety—yours and Spock’s,” she said, studying Saavik’s distressed face. “It was a dangerous thing to do.”
Saavik looked up, her eyes questioning. “I do not regret the experience,” she said.
“I don’t doubt it,” Amanda said, patting her hand again. “But the danger is real. Did Spock warn you?”
She looked down at her hands, her head shaking almost imperceptibly. A single tear escaped her eye and tumbled slowly down her cheek.
“Sssh,” Amanda soothed, wiping the tear away with her hand. “He had no intention of hurting you. You must understand that.”
Saavik looked up again. “I might have stopped it,” she said hesitantly, “but I didn’t want to.”
Amanda smiled at her. “It’s hard to stop something like that,” she said. “Especially during the joining.” She smoothed the other woman’s hair out of her face. “Please be careful,” she pleaded.
Spock had entered the room then, looking still intense from his argument with Sarek. He ignored the other two and went straight to Saavik, taking both her hands in his and pulling her to her feet. She searched his eyes but finding no answer there, she placed her hand on his face to attempt a meld. His eyes widened at the impropriety but he didn’t stop her. Instead he placed his own hand on her face, opening a link together.
Forgive me, my love. I failed to recognize the danger.
It is done. I do not regret it.
I have broken your trust and my pledge of protection...
I am still here...
Kirk watched the strange spectacle, the anguish in their minds showing clearly on their faces. He followed Amanda into the sitting room to give them some privacy.
“I really should be going...” Kirk began awkwardly.
Amanda took a deep breath and composed herself.. “I’m sorry, Jim,” she said. “It’s always difficult to witness a family’s drama. Please don’t think poorly of Sarek. He really does care for Spock.”
Kirk took a deep breath of his own, “Forgive me,” he said, “but I’m not real clear on what Spock actually did.”
Amanda turned to the window, suddenly tense. “It is not something easily spoken about,” she said. “Suffice it to say that Spock and Saavik were in real danger last night.”
“In the desert?” Kirk asked, still confused.
She turned back to him. “Don’t worry, Jim,” she said. “It is a Vulcan matter and they will deal with it as Vulcans. There is nothing we can do.”
She led him back to the entryway and he noted that Spock and Saavik were no longer in the kitchen. Whatever was going on here, he was convinced that McCoy had the answers and he vowed to shake them out of him the next time they met.