"I find myself in need of your assistance," Spock said once he had settled into the home of the younger man.
"This is a most unique situation then," Zar said, with just a tiny uplift of one corner of his mouth, but his eyes were flashing with amusement at the statement. His father was not an easy man to know, but Zar had come to terms with their differing methodologies on life.
"Have you heard of a planter called Thieurrull in your current pursuits for the Federation?" Spock questioned, priming the subject he needed to broach. Zar inclined his head.
"I have become familiar with all of the systems encompassed by or touching the Neutral Zone, Father. If I am to be an effective listener, I must be knowledgeable of both names for each one. I believe it is commonly called Hellguard?"
"Yes." Spock met his son's eyes in the oh so human habit of signalling seriousness. "The Symmetry was recently there, and due to the unique difficulties facing a child rescued from there, I seem to have found myself in care of the same." The dry tone did not hide from Zar that Spock was actually somewhat surprised by the twisting lines of his life.
"I have an adopted brother… or sister… now?" Zar asked as he processed all the words said, and tasted the emotions, normally hidden, behind them.
"While I have established her within the family lines, I have not officially adopted her," Spock told him. "T'Pau has agreed that less formal ties, at this point, are adequate."
Unique difficulties. "She is not wholly Romulan," Zar concluded. "Despite that planet being firmly inside the Neutral Zone."
"She is half-Romulan." Spock paused before concluding. "The other part of her genetic makeup is Vulcan."
"And you wish my help?" Zar looked thoughtfully at Spock, encouraging him to explain.
"While the Romulans and Vulcans share common ancestors, the philosophy and evolutionary trends since the schism have led to… interesting differences regarding emotional control. For the girl to fit into Vulcan society, she will need to learn at least the pretense of societal expectations regarding her emotions. Much as you have learned to control yourself, without relinquishing who you are, in order to live here."
Zar chuckled at that. "Point. You wish me to help her 'pass' and still be confident in herself, despite -- or in support of -- her dual heritage."
"You have succeeded in it for yourself, Zar, and I think exposure to you will help her, and myself, in making her capable of having a good life within the Federation."
Zar felt the child's nerves and fear so blatantly that he had to check his own shielding and other disciplines to be certain he had not regressed. Perhaps it was the latent Vulcan blood in her, unchecked by social conditioning. Idly, he wondered if she had resorted to his own brand of 'pushing' to survive on her homeworld.
"My name is Zar."
"Spock told me," she informed him icily.
"It is still polite in societies that interact with Terrans to make a personal introduction," he reproved her slightly. "I want to help you learn those ways, and it is best shown through demonstration than taught through rote instruction."
She cocked her head slightly, a delicately arched eyebrow rising. "What if I do not want to be a part of the society Spock has brought me to?"
Zar tried to find the right answer for that. He had not wished to remain on the Enterprise, not at first. His homeworld, though, did not exist in this time. There had been few options, and in the end, Spock had learned to accept the concept of having a son, allowing them to build a relationship.
"What options do you perceive, Saavik, that not learning at least the tools to blend in would not be of service to you for your chosen path?"
It struck the right note, apparently, as the girl moved to take a seat on the subtly patterned couch, one designed to both please the eye and rest the body in testament to the Vulcan ideology of form and function.
Spock learned quickly that his presence in Zar's home at T'lingshar would only be tolerated if he agreed to understand that Saavik was an emotional being by default, and his corrections for the same were to be delivered gently. It made Spock reflect over the course of his relationship with Zar, and made him understand more that he had, illogically, set off on a very poor foot with the young man.
Saavik being in her room gave Spock a moment, this visit, to address that with Zar directly.
"When I first encountered you, I reacted harshly."
The words startled Zar, and he opened his mouth, but Spock raised his hand in a stop motion.
"You were a testimony of a time I had experienced a reversion to a more primitive state, one where my emotions were overwhelming. Not strictly because of the primitive Vulcan past, but because, as a half-human, I have always been prone to emotions at a level that most of the Vulcan race chooses not to admit to. I did not understand for many years that Vulcans do feel, unless they purge the emotions. All slips of my control were harshly reprimanded or I found myself shunned for them… and I now see this is more because it reminded them of what lurks beneath the surface than because I erred. That, itself, is an emotional reaction."
"You explained that it had been a regression." Zar wasn't certain what to make of this conversation, but Spock was not finished.
"My reaction to you was shameful, for it was based in shame and an inner need to forget that I could slip so far. Because of it, I was cold and distant, leaving your education more to the care of McCoy, Kirk, and the rest of the ship's personnel at first." Spock steepled his fingers in front of him as he often did while discussing deeper matters. "I erred. And yet… it was the knowledge of my error that led me to you, to help care for Saavik when my duties demand I not be present. I trust in your judgment as to how to guide her."
Zar drew in a deep breath, then let it out, carefully controlling his emotional storm. "Father… I am honored. And grateful that the reminder I was did not prohibit us from finding a plateau to work from."
"The honor, Zar, is mine, to know you, and have you as my son."