The weather, when she stepped off the shuttle at the Seattle shipyard, was just as she remembered it: gray and damp. Amanda wasn’t sure if she ought to be reassured or dismayed by how quickly she readjusted to it after over a year on Vulcan.
What did catch her a little by surprise, however, was the great big hug her mother immediately engulfed her in. Familiar, of course, but it felt strange.
“Mom, the baby.”
“Oh, honey, don’t worry about that, we’ll take good care of both of you.” She fixed Amanda with a beady eye. “Unlike that husband of yours, who clearly doesn’t feed you enough, and lets you go hopping all over the planet while he-”
“I told you, he’s in Paris, he has business.”
She stopped arguing, but Amanda didn’t miss the look of disapproval on her face. It was a lot easier to read than a Vulcan’s. She would keep her mouth shut, because she didn’t come all this way to argue with her mother, and because it was pointless, trying to explain Sarek to her. She’d tried. Often.
Amanda had become quite adept, over the past months, at reading disapproval on the faces of Vulcans. Not Sarek, of course, he looked at her quirks with a detached sort of curiosity, but other Vulcans, she was beginning to suspect, didn’t try very hard to keep their feelings about her to themselves when she was in a room, suggesting something outlandish.
Like making a trip to visit her family on Earth, halfway through a complicated and potentially dangerous pregnancy.
With utter calmness, the doctors overseeing things had explained each and every danger that she would be putting herself and her child in, were she to undertake interplanetary travel at this time.
And with the same calmness (at least she thought so), Amanda had acknowledged their arguments and outlined every precaution she planned to take. She wasn’t reckless, simply taking a calculated risk.
She wanted to see her mother, and there was no logical excuse to stop her.
“I trust that you are comfortable, and that the weather is not too inclement?”
“The weather here is always inclement, that’s why I like it.” Sarek’s eyebrows quirked slightly, and Amanda smiled at him over the vid feed. “I’m perfectly comfortable. My mother wants to know when you’ll be arriving here.” Actually, she hadn’t been nearly as polite about it as all that. More like, demanded.
The quirk of his eyebrows changed very slightly. Amanda knew that indicated frustration, as frustrated as he ever got, anyway. “A matter has arisen involving a group of Cardassian traders. My services will likely be required here for several more days. I will keep you informed.”
“Of course. I’ll let you get back to work; I’m exhausted after that shopping trip today.” He knew she was prone to exaggeration, which was why he didn’t respond except to nod, even when she said, “I love you.”
He didn’t often repeat those words.
Her sister suggested the Lamaze class. Her mother just took the idea and ran with it, deciding it would be a great way to “bond” with the baby.
Amanda reflected that her mother was the only person with whom she just didn’t argue. She could’ve pointed out that “bonding” with the fetus in her womb was technically not possible, and in a pregnancy such as hers, it might not be the greatest idea to get too attached, anyway, but instead she simply sighed, and agreed.
She even kept her mouth shut as her mother explained all the reasons why it should be Sarek accompanying her to the class.
“I fail to see a logical reason for such exercise. Your breathing will be well-regulated by the medical staff at the birth.” The eyebrow quirk was “confused”, of course.
Amanda shrugged. “It’s not about breathing, or the baby. It’s about keeping the peace.”
He paused a beat. “I see.” She knew he would. Going along with a strange alien custom in order to strengthen diplomatic ties. He did it often.
The subject changed to her dietary needs, and Amanda didn’t even reflect on how it might seem to an outsider, considering her own mother “alien”.
No one seemed to understand that the pregnancy hadn’t come about because one of them had forced the idea on the other. The Vulcan med staff all seemed to be under the impression that the scheme was entirely Amanda’s idea, while Amanda’s family seemed to think Sarek had somehow talked her into it.
In reality, they both wanted a child, and had been discussing it since before they were married.
It was a complicated process, of course, and dangerous. It was explained, over and over again, in minute detail, all the ways in which Vulcans and humans were physiologically incompatible.
Amanda knew exactly how likely it was that she would carry this child to full term. It was a small number. Still, she was convinced she could do it, by sheer force of will if necessary.
Sarek, for all his logic, didn’t argue with her. He wanted this, too, and was just as stubborn, in his way. It was why Amanda loved him.
“I still don’t see why you can’t have the baby here.”
Today, Amanda had discovered something she would, in fact, argue with her mother about.
“There are lots of reasons,” she snapped. “The Vulcan doctors - “
“Humans are just as good at that sort of thing!” Everything is better on Earth, or at least as good, was the woman’s mindset. It wasn’t exactly wrong, just very…Terracentric.
Amanda sighed. “I’m already knee-deep in this, Mom, I’m not going to change everything around now. It would just make things even more complicated and dangerous. This was my choice, and I’m going to do it exactly as I planned it.”
“Why would you choose to have a baby on another planet? Why aren’t you going to have it here, at home?”
Looking sharply at her mother, Amanda stood up to leave the kitchen. “Vulcan is my home, and it will be my child’s home as well. I love it there. End of discussion.”
She realized, as she stormed out, that she’d never thought of it as “home”, or a place she “loved”, but it was absolutely true.
Before leaving the planet, Sarek accompanied his wife to a Lamaze class, and dutifully learned to help her regulate her breathing. Amanda’s mother cried, and smiled, and hugged her again at the shipyard, the baby kicked a lot, and Amanda knew exactly how she would feel when she felt the arid heat on her skin again - at home.