spock: logic is sexy

Fic: Logic Demands That You Take Off That Ridiculous Hat...(Amanda/Sarek)

Title: Logic Demands That You Take Off That Ridiculous Hat, Get Naked, and Come to Bed
Author: igrockspock
Pairing: Amanda/Sarek
Rating: PG-13
Summary: When people ask how he met his wife, he says they exchanged cultural information at a diplomatic event. He does not mention that she beat him at logic (twice), or that afterward, they took off their clothes.
Notes: my gift for taraljc at ladies1st

At 21:00 hours on Saturday night, Sarek remains at his desk, studying his computer screen. On one side is a column of human faces, contorted into a variety of emotions. But contorted is not the right word; its implication is unpleasant, indicating either ugliness in the humans' expression or disapproval in his. He contemplates other words. Were human faces shaped into an emotion, perhaps? Or did they settle into one? Neither word seems quite right. He had believed himself fluent in Standard since the age of six. Two months on Earth have taught him better. Their language is a minefield, studded with words whose subtle emotional connotations cause hurt or offense. Much of his work in these last weeks has been deciphering which words he might use safely among company.

On the other side of the screen is a column of Standard words he must match to the faces. He has proceeded far beyond Level 1 of the exercise, which asked him merely to distinguish simple expressions like "happy," "angry," and "sad." Now he must contend with nuances: rage, resentment, apprehension, coldness, resolve, joy, amusement, aggression. Sometimes the computer offers written phrases, sometimes dialog spoken in a tone that belies the apparent innocence of the words. Tonight, it's faces. Rarely does it provide all three. For such an emotional species, humans rarely provide too many clues to their feelings, particularly in diplomatic circles.

At 00:34, Sarek retreats from his desk to the small bed chamber on the consulate's first floor. It contains three sets of bunk beds, two of which are occupied. At the last diplomatic function he had attended, a human woman -- Amanda Grayson had been her name -- had inquired whether it was true that the junior staff slept in the consulate and whether he liked "having all his waking and sleeping hours sucked away by his employers." Her harsh phrasing had confused him since he regarded his sleeping arrangements as a matter of logic. Though he maintained a small personal apartment, public shuttles were scarce at the hour he generally retired from work, and he therefore obtained more rest by sleeping at the consulate. Furthermore, he had neither a wife nor children to occupy his time, nor even an extensive group of friends. With much available free time and much learning to accomplish, it was only logical that he should devote all of his energies to his work.

Ms. Grayson had agreed with him verbally, but he saw a trace of sadness, or perhaps pity, in her eyes. He of course had felt nothing; he had simply congratulated himself on identifying her unspoken emotion and cataloged the small shifts on her facial expression for later reference. Perhaps, if he saw her again, he might inquire what emotional needs she imagined went unmet by his sleeping schedule and why she felt they took precedence over the needs of the entire Vulcan Diplomatic Corps on Earth. He wonders if he can ask her this without implying hostility to the human method of thinking and prioritizing.

When he returns to his desk at precisely 7 a.m., his message light is blinking. This is not surprising, but the subject of the message is. Wilderness Team Building Adventure, it says, sponsored by your colleagues in the Terran Diplomatic Corps.

Even after reading the message several times, he does not understand. He has investigated the autumnal temperatures of the proposed location and finds them excessively cold. Moreover, he fails to grasp how wilderness exploration facilitates the development of diplomatic teams. Further consultation is required, so he rises, leans over the wall of his cubicle, and passes the padd with the announcement to a coworker who has been here longer.

"Forgive me, but I do not understand the purpose of this exercise. Can we not form a satisfactory team by observing one another's competence in the work place?"

"Humans believe successful partnerships are created by emotional bonds as well as professional ones."

"And we must therefore explore the wilderness together when climatic conditions are inhospitable?"


Sarek returns to his cubicle. He remains perplexed.

By the morning of their departure, Sarek still does not understand how "a series of orienteering adventures" will serve as "an illuminating metaphor for the diplomatic world" while simultaneously "forging closer bonds, deeper communication, and better problem-solving skills," but he takes solace in making logical preparations for an illogical event.

From the Vulcan office manager, he accepts a survival pack and clothing suitable for the United States' North Coast, which is nearly as cool as Vulcan's polar regions. From the human mission leader, he accepts a color-coded slip of paper that indicates his seating assignment on the shuttle, which he understands will prevent him from sitting with his daily work unit. This provision is logical for the stated purpose of the exercise, though it prevents Sarek from selecting his favored seat near the emergency over-wing exit. Naturally, he has no fear of flying, but he regards it as prudent to maintain quick access to an emergency escape.

As the shuttle takes off, he human Chief Liaison Officer speaks about peace and friendship. His deputy, the mission leader, explains that they will be divided into interspecies teams, each of which will receive a GPS unit, a list of objects they must find, and intersection points where they will convey valuable information to other teams. His human colleagues appear to be awake but their glassy eyes and regular breathing betrays their inattention. Sarek wonders if this is a survival skill necessary for work in the Terran Diplomatic Corps. He, on the other hand, does not wish to resort to deceit; he wonders whether, in the name of cultural exchange, he might inquire about the use of this exercise for urban diplomatic personnel. More pressingly, he wonders if the Liaison Officer truly believes his staff is too stupid to understand diplomacy without the use of an elaborate metaphor. He is aware, however, that these inquiries might be viewed as sarcastic. Moreover, he is aware that he may mean them somewhat sarcastically. He bends to review the contents of his survival pack and resolves to determine his own secondary learning objective for the day.

The shuttle lands in a woodland clearing on the side of a mountain. The wind that blows through the open door is... Sarek fumbles for a suitably inoffensive word to describe it. Bracing, he thinks. That is the Standard euphemism for unpleasant cold. Quickly, he pulls on the warm coat issued by the consulate and unfolds his hat. It is efficiently designed to preserve heat, including flaps to protect his ears, and its orange color will allow air-based search-and-rescue crews to spot him easily. He dons it experimentally, and discovers the feeling of the soft cloth against the points of his ears is not unpleasant.

From the open door of the shuttle, he surveys the terrain around him, attempting to design his learning objectives for the trip. A botanical or mycological survey perhaps, or a physical fitness test if his partners do not object. He scans the humans assembling in the clearing, wondering if he can select a partner who does not object to his interests. His eyes settle on Amanda Grayson, the woman who had questioned his sleeping arrangements. She is perhaps uninterested in tests of physical endurance, but judging from her forthright demeanor, she may be willing to offer somewhat more frank insights into human culture than her colleagues. Engaging her as a partner would therefore adhere to the mission's stated objectives while also providing him with supplemental learning opportunities. It is a logical use of his time.

Having made his decision, he steps quickly from the shuttle and strides toward her. At several previous diplomatic functions, he has observed that her company is in high demand; it is one of the reasons that he has had few satisfactory opportunities to interact with her. Today will be different, he resolves. He is determined to salvage some knowledge from what is apparently a wasted mission.

"Greetings," he says. "I believe we have spoken briefly before. My name is Sarek."

She inclines her head, a form of polite greeting on Vulcan.

"I remember you." She smiles slightly. "Amanda Grayson, though I doubt you need the reminder."

He inclines his head in return, appreciating that she makes no attempt to shake his hand. Prior to his arrival on Earth, he had anticipated that Vulcan touch empathy was widely publicized and would be respected at least in diplomatic circles; regrettably, residents of the U.S. in particular struggle to overcome their fondness for handshakes. He would like to thank her for her sensitivity, but he recognizes that this may be interpreted as patronizing.

In silence after her greeting, he notices that her eyes appear vivid and alert in spite of the early hour. Though he is unable to describe their expression precisely, there is something in them greater than the mere wakefulness or attentiveness. He had noticed it in their previous interaction as well, but at the time, he had believed it a characteristic common to human females. Close observation revealed that it was not, and he would like to understand.

Their silence stretches. She spoke last; convention dictates that it is now his turn to continue their dialog "Please explain why your eyes possess an indefinable quality lacking in other human females," he pictures himself saying. He genuinely wants to know, but he fears conveying the impression of romantic interest, which would be both false and unprofessional. He reflects that approaching her without further plans for conversation was a tactical error. According to his last performance review, initiating "small talk" remains a professional weakness. Mentally, he reviews the conversation cards given to him in his Human Interaction Orientation at the beginning of his tour of duty.

"Do you come here often?" Inappropriate on several counts; he cannot imagine she comes frequently to this remote wilderness, and he understands that this phrase may be interpreted as a 'pick-up line.'

"Do you have the time?" He will not stoop to lies; like most Vulcans, he possesses a flawless internal chronometer.

"The weather is most unpleasant." This is true, but may be regarded as hostile in light of the humans' apparent predilection for wilderness exploration at climatically inappropriate times.

He glances at her quickly, hoping to avoid detection. He has stood beside her for 14.8 seconds while saying nothing, and he cannot determine if the silence is uncomfortable or companionable. Regrettably, she is standing in profile, and he is therefore unable to use her facial expression to ascertain the precise nature of their silence. More regrettably, she notices his glance and returns it, an action which even on Vulcan would require some further conversation.

A smiling blond woman thrusts a GPS device and a data padd into their hands, sparing him the necessity of further conversation.

"You two are partners?" she asks brightly.

"So it would appear," he responds. Ms. Grayson offers the woman a small, tight smile that humans use when they wish to disguise displeasure. He supposes that answers his question about the comfort level of their silence.

"Forgive me," he apologizes as soon as the woman is gone. "While I believe I am adept in managing professional interactions, my capacity for small talk is limited."

She cocks a single eyebrow.

"Thanks for the performance review."

Something in her tone suggests insincerity. He deduces that his actions require further explication.

"Building a team is the stated purpose of this activity. It is logical that team members should be forthright regarding their strengths and weaknesses in order to promote a harmonious working environment."

"Well then, in the spirit of camaraderie, I speak without thinking and eat too much butter."

Sarek studies her slender form, hopefully less obviously than before. Butter does not appear to be a significant vice, though it may ultimately represent a threat to her cardiac health. Still, he cannot see why it would be an obstacle to a diplomatic career. Unable to form a satisfactory response to her alleged butter addiction, he resolves to address her other vice. Speaking without thinking is a serious lapse in a diplomat, and he wonders why she would allow it to persist. He begins to frame a question, but the mission leader begins addressing them once again.

"Welcome to the first annual Earth-Vulcan Diplomatic Team Building Adventure!" she chirps. Sarek notices that many of the humans exchange displeased glances at the word "annual."

"Thank you so much for coming today! As a special surprise, there's a reward waiting for the first teams to solve the puzzle and reach the final coordinates. On your marks, get set, go!"

Sarek gathers that this phrase is commonly used to initiate a race, but no one seems to be running. He notices that he is not the only Vulcan to exchange a puzzled glance with his human counterpart.

"Might I make a cultural inquiry?"

Ms. Grayson flicks her eyes briefly toward him before returning them to the GPS unit.

“Ask away. We might as well do something useful if we have to be here.”

"Indeed." He allows some frustration to enter his tone. It is a lapse of control, but a welcome release in light of the most illogical situation they have been placed in. The small relief allows him to continue speaking without judgment.

"What is the purpose of competition in a team building activity? Is this a common practice on Earth?"

"I hadn't thought about it, but I suppose so."

She begins walking in the direction indicated by their GPS, and he falls into step beside her, pleased that her languid pace enables further conversation.

"Is competition not divisive?"

"Well, it can be, but I think they mean for it to bring us closer together in this case."

Sarek studies her tone and facial expression, searching for the signs of impatience or boredom he sometimes encounters when he asks people to explain human nature. When he detects none, he reflects that Ms. Grayson is indeed well-equipped to assist him in fulfilling his learning objectives.

"I apologize, but I do not understand.”

"You remember she said the teams who come in first. Probably they've designed the course so that several teams have to cooperate to win first place. The prize is an incentive for different groups to come together for a common goal."

"Such an incentive is needed?" Sarek finds the idea that individuals could not cooperate without some material gain faintly barbaric.

Ms. Grayson looks up from the GPS, devoting her full attention to their exchange for the first time.

“You do ask interesting questions.”

“I am gratified to hear it.”

"Now you're lying,” she says severely. “Gratification is an emotion. But, to answer your question, I suppose they imagine competition makes things more fun. Don't Vulcans compete for anything?"

"No," Sarek answers honestly. Students were ranked according to their performance of course; it was logical for students, parents, and prospective employers to understand each individual's strengths and weaknesses. Beating another student, however, was not considered a worthy motivation for personal development.

"Self-improvement is a rational goal for all sentient beings," he explains. "Competition is superfluous. An individual who requires competition to improve him or herself is acting on an emotional desire to win. Moreover, competition is a logically flawed method of self-improvement. If one's competitors are weak, victory is meaningless but one might become satisfied with first place and therefore fail to achieve his or her full capacity."

Sarek glances at her, concerned that he has spoken too long. But the lesson is among the first he learned at school, and it is difficult not to recite the logic to its full end. He is gratified to see that Ms. Grayson does not appear to be bored, even if 'gratified' is not precisely accurate word choice.

"Fascinating. I had never thought of it that way." She looks directly into his eyes to show her sincerity. She smiles again, dryly this time. "Some of my colleagues could stand to learn that lesson."

He looks back at her. Her eyes are quite large in proportion to her face, but the effect is not unpleasant.

"I must apologize. I stated earlier that Vulcans do not compete for anything, but your frankness reminds me that my statement was somewhat misleading. Vulcans do not officially compete for anything, but some of my colleagues are equally inept at quashing their desire for first place. In my younger days, I have in fact committed the same error."

"A Vulcan? Admitting that your logic is flawed?"

Her smile makes her eyes more luminous. He finds this most intriguing. He understands the movements of the musculature of the face that produce a smile, but he cannot determine whether human anatomy would allow her to control the shine in her eyes. Perhaps a biology textbook could tell him? He restrains his curiosity to focus on the topic at hand.

"Hiding faults prevents us from remedying them."

"Forgive me Sarek, but you are the first Vulcan I've met willing to adopt that attitude."

"It is a failing among my people. I hope not to repeat it in my career or private life."

The topic of flaws reminds him of what she had said before, that she spoke without thinking. He had informed her of his failings seriously, as logic dictated that he should. That way, he could prevent offense caused by his poor conversational skills and alert her that he desired instruction in this area. She, on the other hand, had stated had stated her weakness so flippantly that she seemed not to mind it, and then followed it up with a specious claim about excessive butter consumption. Yet, from speaking with her today, he can see that she is intelligent, talented ,and an asset to the Diplomatic Corps. Why she should jeopardize her career with an easily corrected fault is beyond him.

"May I make a personal inquiry?"

She raises her eyebrows, and he considers the potential scope of his question. It seems best to narrow it somewhat.

"I assure you it is professional in nature."

"And here I thought you were going to ask about my sex life."

Sarek suspects that this comment is ironic, intended to indicate that she suspected nothing less than professional from a Vulcan. Why people should choose to communicate by saying the opposite of what they mean is baffling, but as he has understood the message, he considers that it is not the obstacle he imagines. He files it away as a topic for future discussion, then continues with the subject at hand.

"Speaking without thinking is a serious fault in a diplomat. Why do you persist in it when you know that it is an undesirable trait?"

Her eyes flash dangerously even though her tone remains even when she speaks. He wonders if this is some evolutionary adaptation which allows humans to show emotion even when diplomacy demands that their words conceal it.

"My boss, my mother, and my ex-boyfriend will be so happy to hear that you share their concern."

Sarek resists the temptation to furrow his brow, an emotional reaction to poor logic that he has ironically picked up from humans. Still, he is puzzled; she has not answered the question, and in any case, the advice of elders on Vulcan is highly prized. He had not imagined that humans should toss it aside so lightly. He wishes to investigate.

"It is illogical to fail to change a habit which so many people in your life consider unwise."

Immediately, he recognizes the gaffe; he ought to have phrased the comment as a question. It was among the first lessons of his training: humans expound when curiosity is genuine, but withdraw when judgment is implied. He opens his mouth to correct the error, but she is already speaking.

"Perhaps I could offer you my next personnel evaluation form. You could save the ambassador the trouble of filling it out since you know exactly what to write."

Her tone remains even, but he senses a sharpness in her words and a coldness in her demeanor that was not present before. He congratulates himself for his attention to subtle shifts in the emotional atmosphere between them but reprimands himself for poor conversational technique. An apology is in order.

"Forgive me. I fear I have criticized you for a vice which I clearly just demonstrated myself. Were you to complete my next evaluation, you would be justified in commenting on this weakness."

She smiles then, and Sarek feels a trace of her warmth returning. Again, he congratulates himself on his sensitivity to the atmosphere of their conversation, but he does not ask himself why he responds to her facial expression on a personal level as well. For the moment, he is content with the knowledge that his emotion does not appear on his face; he will study the reasons for it later. Now, he must demonstrate that he wishes their interaction to continue in spite of his lapse.

"Your indulgence of my conversational weaknesses is most appreciated."

"You're welcome."

"I must confess, in regards to the other fault you mentioned, your physique does not indicate excess consumption of butter."

"Have you been checking me out?"

He examines her facial expression carefully. Her smile indicates that she is not offended; in fact, he believes that it might be described as 'saucy,' a human word he has failed to understand until this point. Nonetheless, in order to prevent further friction, he judges it wise to explain his motives.

"Most certainly not. I merely wished to ascertain the extent to which consumption of butter constituted a personality flaw."

"I see."

The phrase indicates a certain skepticism, and he feels it necessary to explain the Vulcan philosophy of beauty in order to demonstrate his continued capacity for logical reasoning.

"In any case, aesthetic appreciation is not illogical. It is merely a matter of certain pleasing harmonies in bodily proportions."

"Are you flirting with me?"

He considers the question carefully, then answers honestly.

"Not intentionally."

At this, she laughs. It is different from the restrained human laughter he has witnessed at diplomatic functions; her mouth opens widely, her head tilts back, and her shoulders and stomach shake. The laughter consumes her whole body. Fascinating.

"Mr. Sarek, I think I like you."

"This is not a logical response. I am merely stating a fact that your facial features are highly symmetrical, a quality which is regarded as attractive on both Earth and Vulcan ."

"If you're expecting a compliment in return, you'll have to take off that ridiculous hat."

Sarek is trapped. In the past hour, he has grown uncomfortably warm, and he had intended to remove the hat at their lunch break. But to take it off now would imply he is doing so in order to receive a compliment That would in turn imply that he had complimented her, when in fact he had merely made a factual aesthetic observation. Either choice is illogical: he can force himself to wear a hat that results in an unpleasantly high body temperature, or he can remove it and cause her to believe he suffers from an emotional desire for her approval.

"I know what you're thinking," she says.

"I sincerely doubt it."

"You are thinking that if you take off the hat now, I'll think you want a compliment. But if you don't take it off now, that's illogical because you're hot."

"I was not aware that I was so transparent."

"Aren't all Vulcans transparent?"

"I should think not."

"But Vulcans are logical?"


"So because Vulcans are guided by logic, anyone who understands logic should understand Vulcans. Therefore, all Vulcans are transparent."

He is unable to formulate a satisfactory response. Vulcans are not transparent, of that he is certain. But she is correct: if an individual is guided solely by logic, their thoughts and motivations ought to be discernible to any other being capable of using logic. If he disagrees with her, he therefore denies that all Vulcans are logical; if he agrees, he lies. There is an answer to this, but careful consideration is required.

"Your mastery of the Socratic dialog is impressive," he says at length. It is not an answer to her statement, but it has the merit of being true. She smiles, but her eyes are narrowed in a way Sarek associates with predatory animals.

"Surak did it first, you know. Don't tell me you're adopting androcentric terms just because you're stationed on Earth.”

“Your knowledge of Vulcan history is admirable. I shall refrain from speciesist verbiage in the future.”

“Good call, but you're not off the hook for the bad logic. You're hot, so taking off the hat is definitely logical. If you keep wearing it, it will only be because you don't want me to think you want a compliment. And that, Mr. Sarek, is called pride, which, by the way, is an emotion. Therefore, you must remove the hat."

"Your reasoning is quite elegant."

He removes the hat and wonders if she intends to compliment him, but a ping from their GPS unit interrupts their conversation.

"Purple team, this is Mission Leader. You are six kilometers off course. Do you require assistance?"

Ms. Grayson rolls her eyes while Sarek examines the map on the GPS screen with surprise.

"We're fine, Katie. Just took a wrong turn. We're on our way back now."

"I did not know that we had diverged so far from the prescribed course."

Ms. Grayson looks at him with the grin he had identified as saucy earlier.

"I did."

She strides ahead of him, leaving him to ponder the implications of her statement. Perhaps she simply did not wish to cooperate with an activity she clearly found unpleasant. Such a spirit of individuality did not seem out of keeping with her nature, and since she was apparently untroubled by lies, she could likely avoid disciplinary action upon her return to the office. Yet, if she truly despised the activity, completing it as quickly as possible was the most logical course of action, and their conversation had demonstrated that her understanding of logic was quite advanced. Therefore, if she had willfully prolonged their excursion, it was either from a predilection toward wilderness exploration or a strong enjoyment of his company. He must gather more evidence.

"Are we returning to the required course for the activity?"

She turns to him and smiles. He believes this smile might be classified as 'naughty,' in the sense that it is applied to misbehaving children rather than the more sexual definition.

"After lunch."

Sarek considers her statement. It is 10:34 a.m., much too early the mid-day meal. Moreover, though their path is leading them back toward the group, it is not an efficient means of reaching them. He considers whether he might intervene to direct her back toward the planned activities; after all, separating themselves from their fellow participants cannot enhance their skills in teamwork. Yet, cultural exchange is the larger purpose of today's mission, and Ms. Grayson is a most intriguing window into human culture. He can therefore conclude that following her plan acceptably fulfills both the mission parameters and his secondary learning objectives for the day and is thus not unduly influenced by his curiosity about her motives.

She leads him to a wide, flat rock on the edge of a river. Their journey took nearly half an hour, and at no point did she pause to inspect or discuss the botanical or geological features of the terrain. In fact, she had walked so quickly that it seemed she had no other purpose but to reach this spot to spread out their food and supplies. Logic therefore suggested that the purpose of this detour is to increase their time in one another's company. However, the conclusion is somewhat unexpected, and he feels compelled to test it further before accepting it fully.

"This area appears to contain a wide variety of arboreal species." The remark will be a good test. If she engages with the topic, he will learn something about the terrain; if she does not, he might conclude that she desires deeper engagement with him.

"Indeed," she responds gravely. He suspects that he is being satirized, but before he can respond, she smiles and changes the topic, asking him if he had ever vacationed to spots like this as a child. Each time he tries to turn the conversation back toward the wilderness, she responds the same way, making small, non-committal responses until she can lead him back toward his home and his childhood. Within the hour, she knows more about his upbringing, his parents, and his education than even his closest co-workers.

Though he still considers romantic interest unlikely, he begins to consider that some partnership between them might be beneficial. While he had regarded friendly exchanges like this one as unnecessary to his work, he recognizes that the free exchange of a variety of ideas and personal details is necessary for further personal development. If his fellow Vulcans do not encourage it, it would be logical to seek it elsewhere.

He realizes then that he has not spoken in 62 seconds, which nearly triples the maximum allowable silence he has observed in previous human conversations. Yet, the quiet does not feel uncomfortable; he believes himself sufficiently attenuated to the emotional nuances of their conversation to be certain of that. Amanda's smooth, relaxed features corroborate his conclusion. He appreciates this and wants to make certain she knows it.

"Your comfort with silence is appreciated," he tells her. "I have found it somewhat a rarity among humans."

Her smile is warm.

"Mr. Sarek, I couldn't agree more."

Her formal address brings him to a startling recognition: at some point during their conversation, he has begun to think of her by her first name. Such a familiar form of address might require years to earn on Vulcan, but he supposes that he has already shared significantly more information about himself than he has shared with members of his own species whom he has known for years. It is therefore logical that he should call her by a more familiar appellation. Yet, the sudden intimacy is startling; where he is from, trust is derived from years of observing another individual's logic. Here, it has developed from a brief and highly illogical interchange. The phenomena is somewhat unsettling, but worthy of further study. He resolves to research how he might deepen their friendship when he returns from the wilderness.

Lost in his thoughts, Sarek is surprised when the rain begins 32 minutes later. No inclement weather had been forecast, and their alternating periods of silence and conversation had been so engrossing that he had neglected to observe changes in light and temperature. Though he is somewhat reluctant to disturb their quiet now, the rain intrigues him after spending a lifetime in the desert. It is important to him that he develops the language to discuss it.

"The Vulcan language lacks the vocabulary to describe varying degrees of precipitation. What is this called?"

"This is drizzle. Do you like it?" she asks, and it is evident that she does. She tilts her face upward, exposing the long line of her neck, and allows small rivulets to run down her high cheekbones.

He refocuses on the question at hand without asking himself why he should note so many details of her anatomy. His first reaction is that the question is illogical. Forming opinions about natural phenomena is useless; if he does not like them, he will have to endure them anyway, and if he does, he will only be disappointed if they do not occur with the frequency he desires. Yet, he is on another world, and if he wishes to forge the connections necessary for diplomacy, he must engage humans on their own terms.

"The sensation is novel," he allows, "but the rain is cold." He thinks but does not say aloud that there is intellectual pleasure in exploring this new way of thinking.

Amanda looks up at the darkening sky.

"We should probably get moving." He shivers as he pulls on his coat. She notes this and adds, "we'll get there faster if we go across the river."

Sarek eyes the rocks that cut a rough path through the middle. They stones are reasonably flat, and he believes he possesses sufficient agility to navigate them. He nods his assent to Amanda, whose first name still sounds odd, even when spoken only in his head.

Halfway across the river, he realizes he had neglected to consider one important factor: the rain has made the rocks quite slippery. He teeters back and forth on one, and just as he begins stepping to the next, the rain changes from a drizzle to a torrent. His blurred vision causes his feet to slip against the rock. Amanda's fingers close illogically around his arm; he is far too heavy for her to support, and the river is not so deep that he will drown. They plunge together into the icy cold water.

As he suspected, the river is not more than knee-deep, and they both rise easily.

"Are you alright?" she asks before he can make the same inquiry to her.

"My body is uninjured." He shivers convulsively in the gusting wind that came with the storm. "But as Vulcan tolerance for cool weather is significantly less than humans', I believe I am at risk for hypothermia."

She points up a hill in front of them.

"There's a shelter up there. Let's go."

They walk quickly, but their progress is impeded by wind, rain, and increasingly muddy path. When they finally arrive at the shelter, a simple wooden building with a fireplace and a bed, both of them are shivering hard. Amanda's lips are pale and bloodless, her hands nearly white. Sarek considers that he may not be the only one in danger of hypothermia.

Immediately, he begins stripping. Removal of wet clothing is essential to avoid hypothermia, and he calculates that it will not be long before he loses the fine motor control necessary to unbutton his shirt.

Amanda fumbles with the zipper of her coat, and Sarek turns to help her. Though humans are more cold-tolerant that Vulcans, he considers that he may be better protected due to his superior mass. Butter habit notwithstanding, she lacks the body fat to adequately insulate her from the cold.

"Haste is necessary," he tells her as he casts her coat aside. "You must help me remove your clothes before your health deteriorates further."

"Mr. Sarek, I am not so unwell. You just want to see me naked."

He recognizes it for a joke, and in his weakened physical state, he might even have found it funny if not for the strange warmth he feels at the thought of her naked body. It is logical that she remove her clothes; even if she is unlikely to freeze to death, the wet garments will affect her health adversely. It is not logical that he should find the thought of her disrobing next to him so distracting. To guard their health and to eliminate his rising physical desire, he wraps them both in mylar survival blankets from his emergency kit.

Wrapped in the silver blankets, they stare at the empty fireplace. They have waterproof matches, but no wood, and going outside to retrieve it in their fragile state would be suicidal.

"This isn't going to work," she says.

"The purpose of survival blankets is to protect against hypothermia." A shiver forces him to pause. "We need only to be patient until our body heat is restored."

"No." Amanda's voice is patient but firm. "These blankets can only reflect back as much heat as your body generates, which at the moment is not very much. My tolerance for cold is higher than yours, and I'll be fine once I dry out. But if you want to get warm, I'm afraid you'll need another heat source. Which means you need to get into the bed."

"The bed is not heated."

"It will be if we get in it together."

"Such an action would be most inappropriate. My weakened physical state and your proximity will make..." He fumbles for the right words. He had not anticipated the need to discuss such an awkward situation in his own language, much less another species'.

"Close proximity to your body will make certain automatic biological responses difficult to control," he finishes.

Amanda looks at him uncomprehendingly. Her expression is difficult to read, but he thinks she may be angry.

"Are you seriously saying that you think I'd rather let you die than have you get an erection near me?"

Naked and shivering, Sarek finds his emotional control is precarious. A surge of embarrassment and desire sends a flood of heat to his cheeks. The disrespect it implies to a woman whom he had wished to befriend is incalculable. He has not experienced such a reaction since his childhood, and he does not know how to respond appropriately. He therefore resorts to a human strategy for managing uncomfortable situations.

"I had understood it was customary to buy you dinner first."

She laughs once and shakes her head.

"You are the most surprising man I have ever met."

Then her voice grows serious and firm. "But this is not logical. Your life is at risk. You know that, and you are suggesting that you'd rather die than embarrass yourself. It is unacceptable."

This is the second time today she has forced him to behave logically even though he was ill-inclined to do so. Such a relationship is invaluable, and ironically, this is what makes him determined to resist a little longer even though he is shivering nearly too hard to speak. There is one last truth he wishes to import.

"I regard your respect as..." he pauses, fumbling again for the right words. "Your respect is ... invaluable. Though our acquaintance has been short, I have come to regard you as a friend. I would not wish to eliminate that possibility of that relationship with ill-controlled physical responses."

She lays a hand on his arm and he can feel the warmth of it through his thin mylar blanket.

"There is no risk that you will lose my respect today."

She stares into his eyes and tightens her fingers around his arm.

"Sarek. Come to bed."

It is the first of many times that he obeys.
Oh, this is lovely. I love Sarek/Amanda so much and I love how you make it entirely plausible that they would fall for each other. Very sweet!
Thank you so much! I'm so glad you found it plausible - it's always a concern when writing about Vulcans doing anything remotely emotional.
I love how Amanda out logics Sarek and how Sarek never seems to have the conversational upperhand. I really enjoyed this story!
Mwa ha ha - Oh, that's fabulous. I love your internal Sarek voice and the whole fic is a real gem.
LOLOLOL!!! Your Sarek!voice is hysterical and sounds so true to life that I giggle every time Amanda one-ups him. DEFINITELY MADE OF WIN!!!
Thank you so much! I'm really glad you thought Sarek's voice was funny - I was so worried it would be boring!
Oh that was fabulous! i love Sarek trying to learn more about facial expressions. great characterizations thank you!
Beautiful. The exercises in recognizing human emotions he has to endure are hilarious, as are all the times he's pleased with himself on interpreting and dealing with Amanda's emotions. Your use of the word "minefield" is appropriate for more than just the human language. He's having such a hard time understanding her that he's off balance in more ways than one!
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the computer exercises - I was a little worried that it was weird!
Oh, this is fantastic! :mems: I loved seeing how Amanda and Sarek met. I love their interaction, especially at how she outlogics a Vulcan so neatly.
This is one of the best Sarek/Amanda stories I have ever read. I love the interplay between them!
This is lovely. :) I love getting more perspective on Sarek/Amanda... because compared to Spock/Uhura it's definitely the more unusual pairing (not that I am not in love with S/U too).

Your characterizations rock. <3
Thank you so much - it means a lot that you enjoyed the characterization. I have to admit, I prefer Amanda/Sarek to Spock/Uhura. I think since they are in the movie less, there is more freedom to imagine who they are and how they met. And, yeah, it is a bit more unusual. Spock is half-human, so it's not surprising he goes for a human woman. Sarek was the real pioneer.
"I had understood it was customary to buy you dinner first." I freaking love Vulcan deadpannery.
This story brought a smile to my face. Thanks for posting!
Love this! *Grin* I think I'll be speaking like a Vulcan for the rest of the day thanks to this, you do a Vulcan voice perfectly!
My god, what an incredibly written Sarek-POV. And your take on Amanda was lovely. Fantastic work!
Thank you so much! I was really worried about characterization, so I'm glad you thought it worked.