Sarek looks uneasy, Uhura thinks. She smooths her uniform skirt self-consciously, trying to pinpoint the source of his discomfort. Was he really so disapproving of his son's human mate? It hadn't seemed so at the bonding ceremony, but then, Sarek was a diplomat and a Vulcan, no doubt very adept at concealing his emotions in public...
"Spock will complete his meditation shortly," she says, making her tone as respectful as she knows how.
Sarek nods gravely.
"There is no hurry. I apologize for the unexpected interruption."
He sits on the edge of the couch, as if he is planning to leap up and run away.
Uhura shakes her head.
"Our home is always open to you." She is certain that this is the appropriate Vulcan phrase, though she has only recently begun studying the sort of language Vulcans use to communicate with their in-laws. She adds, "It is a rare honor to have you aboard the Enterprise. Please, allow me to refill your tea."
She knows he's barely touched it, but she's feeling desperate now that she's exhausted the usual list of pleasantries and received only monosyllabic responses. She leans over the tea set, and he extends his cup toward her without meeting her eyes. Had she done something wrong? She studies the arrangement of cups and bowls carefully, but she can't see anything out of place, and Sarek had never been anything less than polite about her efforts to respect Vulcan traditions. Maybe now that she and Spock were married, he expected more from her?
"I hope the tea is to your liking," she says for what must be the third time today.
"It is most satisfactory," Sarek replies. His language is more formal than she can remember since their first meeting several years ago, and he is looking off in the distance somewhere, carefully avoiding both her and the coffee table in front of him.
"Has there been a security breach on the Enterprise?" he asks abruptly.
Uhura shakes her head, baffled by the sudden change of topic.
"No, not that I'm aware of. Has something happened?"
"No," Sarek says, inclining his head ever so faintly toward one corner of the coffee table.
"I don't under..."
But her words trail off because suddenly she does understand. There, half-hidden beneath the tea tray, lie a pair of silver handcuffs.
"Oh god." She can feel the blood rushing to her face as she bends over to swipe them off the coffee table. "Oh god. I'm so sorry, Sarek." She's not even speaking Vulcan anymore, can't even remember the words. "I wasn't -- I mean, we weren't -- not when you arrived..."
She covers her face with her hands, the handcuffs still danging from one of her fingers.
"Daughter," he says, "I believe I would prefer that you not explain."
She looks up cautiously and thinks she sees faint lines of laughter around his eyes.