spock: logic is sexy

Ficlet: Walk the Line (Amanda/Sarek)

Title: Walk the Line
Author: igrockspock
Pairing: Amanda/Sarek
Rating: PG
Summary: For her, he walks the line between love and logic. Sometimes he's not very good at it.
Notes: for fringedweller, who betaed my ladies1st story on short notice

On their first Christmas together, Amanda receives a toaster, earmuffs, and several pairs of socks. She surveys her husband crossly over a small pile of torn red wrapping paper, which she thinks uncharitably was probably the cheapest in the store.

"Wife, you are not pleased with your gifts?"

Amanda allows her silence to speak for her.

"The toaster has been broken for six months, causing you the unnecessary inconvenience of toasting bread in the broiler. This in turn causes excessive difficulty with punctuality which has attracted your employer's attention. "

Amanda finds her silence very eloquent.

"You frequently remark on the coldness of your ears yet you fail to buy adequate protective coverings."

Amanda shifts a little in her corner of the sofa and tries to surreptitiously study the points of his ears. He would worry about people who don't keep their ears warm. But she isn't ready to be charmed yet.

"Your socks are discolored, and your toes frequently protrude from holes which you do not repair."

Amanda narrows her eyes, her good humor vanishing instantly. Her husband wants her to darn her socks? Sarek shifts away from her slightly, and Amanda imagines she must look rather dangerous.

"At any rate, since you have failed to make these logical purchases, I deemed it prudent to offer them as gifts. You have often helped me to make logical decisions in my own life, and I wished to return the service."

It is true; she has spent hours late at night with Sarek, discussing the teachings of Surak, working through how they might be applied to professional and ethical dilemmas that seemed trivial to her. But it's not a service; it's love, and she hates him a little for not understanding that. She holds her silence.

Sarek glances meaningfully at the wall clock, more for her benefit than his. He already knows what time it is; he always does. He's reminding her that it's time for him to go to work because the Vulcan Embassy cannot close for holidays celebrated in only certain Terran cultural spheres, and because now that they are married, he has to prove that he is Vulcan by ignoring inconvenient human customs. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one and all. She doesn't make him say it.

"I am aware that I have made an error, but I confess that I do not understand its nature. I hope you will instruct me further this evening." He steps out the door without waiting for an answer.

From any other man, it would have been sarcastic, a final parting shot before slamming the door. But Sarek really means it. He always means what he says; saying something he doesn't mean would be illogical. She hates him a little for it, or more accurately, hates him because she can't hate him for it. If he tried to hurt her, tried to be insensitive, then her anger would be justified. But how can she be angry with her husband for trying to bridge the vast chasm between their cultures and doing so imperfectly? How could she fault him for that when he'd already contravened every ruling of his family and his heritage to marry her? It wasn't fair for her to be angry with him when he had already done so much, but she is not Vulcan. She doesn't have his mastery of feelings and never will.

The door swings open again, emitting a cold blast of air. Sarek peers around the door frame but does not step inside. It would be illogical to bring snow into the house.

"Merry Christmas," he says over the howl of the wind.

"Thank you," she chokes out. Her mother and her friends will never understand how that one gesture is enough. To tell the truth, she isn't sure it's enough. But she knows what he gave up to make it, knows that he left for work at the last possible moment so that he could explain himself fully to her, knows that he will be late for work now -- maybe only by 2.8 or 4.7 minutes, but those are things that other Vulcans notice. They will know why he left for work without extra time to compensate for unexpected obstacles. They will think but not say that he made himself late for work to tell her that he loves her, and they will think less of him for it. And it will hurt him more -- even though he won't admit it -- because they are right about the sentiment even if they are wrong about the exact words that came out of his mouth.

She had intended to throw a shoe at the door after he left the first time, and she still wants to a little bit. But she supposes she can repay her husband's patience with a bit of her own, so she picks up a padd instead. Suitable Gifts for Wives Who Care about Love More Than Logic, she writes at the top of the screen. If he does not understand, she will explain. And she will do it over and over again, because no matter how many hundreds or thousands of things Sarek does not understand about humanity, love is the one thing he gets. Even if he will never say the word.
Oh, cross-cultural romance writ large and intricately all at once.
Ohhhh. *beams* This brought on the warm and fuzzy feelings. Perfect Christmas fic.
This is utterly gorgeous. I can't believe it took you so little time to write! It's perfect, absolutely perfect.
Thank you for giving me the prompt! Honestly, I was a bit sick of them, so I know I wouldn't have written this if you hadn't given me a little push. Now I am doing my best to come up with more ideas for exploring their relationship, so I owe you one for rekindling my Amanda/Sarek love!
At any rate, since you have failed to make these logical purchases, I deemed it prudent to offer them as gifts.

*facepalm* Boy, did he make the gifts worse by that sentence. But sadly, it's exactly the kind of thing I can picture him saying.

This story is such an intriguing and fitting exploration of communication within a relationship and within an intercultural relationship especially. Gorgeous work.
Boy, did he make the gifts worse by that sentence.

Heh. Last year, my boyfriend bought me a bread knife for our first anniversary, and explained that it was because I didn't have one even though it seemed like it would be very practical. I confess I was thinking of him when I wrote that line.

This story is such an intriguing and fitting exploration of communication within a relationship and within an intercultural relationship especially

Thank you! That is exactly what I was hoping to get across.
I sympathize with Sarek in this fic, hardcore. I've gotten better about it, but it's always been my nature to give people practical gifts, and sometimes that does not go over well.

Throw in something superfluous and shiny next time, Sarek! That seems to help.

Well-timed and well-written, this fic. I should read more about these two characters.
Thank you! I empathize more with the Amanda side of this than the Sarek one, but I'm glad it comes across as something that happens to real people.

I would really like to track down some more fic about them too, but it seems to be a bit of a rarity.
I have often been an ungrateful recipient of gifts, so this hit me hard. Thank you for this-- an excellent reminder to keep the giver in mind.
I confess I've been equally ungrateful. It's an easy mistake to make!

I'm glad you liked the story.
*clutches heart*
This is just so sweet and understated and wonderful.
Oh, that's adorable. You've taken such a simple idea - Christmas gifts - and used it to really capture the nuances of their relationship. I love it.
Thank you! I find it really captivating to imagine how two such different people could make a relationship succeed.
Thank you! It's so fascinating to read everyone's reactions to Sarek - I agree that he's trying hard, but it seems that a lot of people do not :)
This is awesome, and it made me smile - the perfect balance of patience and trying and natural prickles of hate/annoyance/hurt.

Sarek's explanations ring very IC to me, and I think my favourite part was the entire second-to-last paragraph - and of course, the title of "Suitable Gifts for Wives Who Care about Love More Than Logic" - a lovely sort of balance of impulses and possible suble meanings right there as well :)
Thank you so much for your very thorough comment! Vulcans are quite challenging to write, so it means a lot that you thought Sarek was in character.
This is lovely, and surprisingly applicable to many Terran couples as well.