Sarek was frustrated but he refused to display the emotion. After a long day with planetary officials and representatives from both moons, very little had been accomplished. All parties claimed innocence in the destruction and seemed unwilling to work together in the investigation. Meanwhile the rescues continued unabated, with three hundred confirmed dead and nearly as many still missing.
With no resolution in sight for the impasse, Sarek had returned to the ship to rest and to check on his son.
He folded his hands in front of him and closed his eyes in a brief meditation before entering the sickbay. His Vulcan ears could hear Spock’s cries through the closed door, and his Vulcan mind rebelled at the unmasked emotion of the angry voice.
There was no one in the waiting area and Sarek proceeded to recovery where he found McCoy next to Spock’s bed.
“Saavik-kam! Attend me!” Spock cried loudly, though he had ceased to struggle.
“He suffers much,” Sarek observed quietly.
“Yeah,” McCoy agreed as he noted Spock’s readings on his pad. He made sure to stand a safe distance from the Vulcan, just in case.
“Has he been violent?” Sarek asked as Spock screamed again without words. McCoy’s caution had not escaped his notice.
The doctor shrugged. “He talks the talk anyway,” he said. “But the restraints are holding.”
Sarek accepted that answer silently as he observed his son. Spock panted as if physically exhausted and the veins of his neck distended from the effort to remain still when every instinct called for immediate action. He screamed again, louder than before.
“Saavik-kam! T’nash-veh kashek yontau na’ du!”
Sarek closed his eyes and his mind to the emotional onslaught and turned his attention to the doctor.
“Vulcan emotions are very strong,” he said. “He will feel all of them in time.”
“Can he survive it?” McCoy asked bluntly.
Sarek glanced at Spock again, whose face was twisted in desperate rage.
“Only time will tell,” he said, and regarded McCoy again. “How is his physical condition?”
“Improving,” McCoy said, his voice brightening, “though any excess movement could change that.” He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “I wish there was something I could do to make it easier for him.”
Sarek took a step nearer. “You must sustain yourself,” he said. “Go. I will stay with him.”
McCoy glanced up as if suddenly realizing his own exhaustion. “You’re probably right,” he said, though still hesitant to leave his patient. “Will you call me if there’s any change?”
“Of course,” Sarek agreed as he moved to sit in the chair next to the head of the bed. McCoy took one more look at Spock’s haggard expression before leaving sickbay for food and sleep.
Saavik stirred fitfully and jerked fully awake in an instant. Spock’s voice screamed in her head with such a feral intensity that she wanted to both flee and embrace it. She got up quickly, pulled by the ancient bond to respond to her mate.
She found sickbay deserted except for Sarek sitting quietly next to Spock. She started into the room, but Sarek rose and caught her at the doorway.
“He sleeps,” he said firmly, holding her shoulders so she could not proceed further. She looked at him furiously and at Spock’s face, anguished even in unconsciousness. She made a sound, desperate and wild without words.
Sarek led her firmly back to the waiting area. “No, Saavik,” he said, holding her arms before her, his dark eyes searching her face. “He must pass through this alone.”
“But I can help him!” she cried as tears threatened to dim her vision and logic threatened to leave altogether. Sarek held her gently but firmly as he guided her to a chair and sat with her.
“That option is not possible,” he said, searching her eyes for some thread of logic. “While his body heals, his mind must master its passions alone.”
She looked past him at Spock’s prone form, his body tense and his mind calling to her even in his sleep. She answered in the silent privacy of her own mind.
My love, be still. I am near.
A startled recognition and a long silence proceeded an answer.
Why do you wait? The fires burn!
Saavik trembled visibly and tried to stand again. Sarek stood with her and tightened his grip on her hands. “Saavik!” he said sternly, drawing her attention again. “Let him rest while he can.” He stared intently at her as if reading her mind.
“And you must refrain from touching his mind...for now,” he said. “It distracts him from his purpose and weakens his resolve.”
All control left Saavik’s face as the tears escaped her eyes silently. Sarek reached up and touched her face gently, a flash of thought passing through the touch.
“Come,” he said, sitting her back down and pulling up a chair to face her.
“You must meditate,” he said gently. “I will assist you.”
She nodded slowly though the tears continued to fall. Gently he touched his fingers to her temple, supporting her with his calm assurance. She suppressed a sob, trying vainly to organize her desperate thoughts. He made his own mind an anchor to guide and comfort her. She opened her eyes wide at the familiar touch, so similar to Spock’s when he had helped her meditate. She realized with a start that Sarek must have taught him the art, and wondered again at their often contentious relationship.
Slowly the dark thoughts evaporated from her conscientiousness as logic became a tangible possibility again. The tears that dried on her cheeks became a testament to her forgotten despair, as gentle certainty replaced each lingering doubt. For the first time in many hours her breathing became deep and regular and the future was not something to fear.
She opened her eyes to Sarek’s intent gaze as she folded her hands in her lap and composed her features to a Vulcan calm.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
Sarek continued to gaze at her. “Your mind is strong,” he said. “If you wish, I can teach you a greater mastery of mental disciplines.”
“I would be honored,” she replied.
“Come,” he said as he rose, “you must rest now.” He led her back to recovery and the empty bed next to Spock. She hesitated.
“Your presence will do no harm while he sleeps,” Sarek assured her. “And his nearness will give you comfort.”
Saavik stood still, battling the desire to reach out and touch Spock with her hand and her mind. His face was contorted as if in a nightmare and his body strained against the tight restraints. Somewhere his frightened voice pleaded as it called her name.
With desperate determination, she closed her mind to him and turned away as she got on the bed. The sudden silence in her thoughts was such a tangible shock that it nearly ripped away her hard won logic. She lay on her side with her arms curled around her legs and tried to concentrate on anything but the man in the bed beside her.
Sarek sat back down in the chair to watch over them both.