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Bygone days

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It has been a harrowing day, a day that has eroded his emotional control as few others have ever had. The sight of his quarters after he thought it lost forever is a welcome one; but blindness has been only one of the factors involved in his current lack of mental equilibrium.
Thinking of his captain's pain at the loss of his brother, in the depths of a meditation trance, he allows himself to remember.
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He is four, and the bed shakes slightly with the force of Michael’s helpless giggles as Amanda dramatically reads the March Hare’s lines at bedtime. He is as baffled with the behavior of his mother and sister as with the idea of such a party and doesn’t realize how rare this event will be, or why it should have been treasured.
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He is six, and Sarek tells him “you must not fail” but he hears “death is preferable”. He is nearly seven the first time the walls of his ancestral home stop being a refuge and start to resemble a prison.
He is seven, and the only being that has unwaveringly supported him is dying, because he has been careless. But he is seven when a stranger that isn’t a stranger looks at him and suddenly he is aware that he wants something more. That he can be something more.
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He is seven when his mind is joined to another, and he makes the decision to not consider it a shackle. The Forge calls to him.
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He is eight, and a different stranger arrives at their household; that night Sybok smiles at him and he wonders.
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He is fourteen, and flying down the street, uncaring of property, emotional control or social conventions. They say he has to forget; that he has no brother, but he cannot comply with that. Sybok is cruel as often as he is kind, but he would not leave like this, he would not…
He is fourteen and watches the space shuttle depart from the landing docks. Later, Michael will frown before she remembers herself; he doesn’t know if she is agreeing or condemning him.
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He is sixteen and hears his sister sob through the closed door to her room, and his parents fight in hushed whispers downstairs. He hovers there for a long instant, debating whether he should go in; and then leaves for the desert.
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He is seventeen when he is approached by an elderly Vulcan. She tells him, unprompted, about a child with golden hair and pointed ears and a ship that travelled the stars before any other. He sees in her eyes what he saw in the familiar stranger in the desert, and he ponders what to do.
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He is eighteen, and finally an adult, by the standards of his mother’s people. He is told by his countrymen that the moment has come to rise over an imagined disability. The luxury of time is lost; the choice must be made.
He is eighteen when he chooses the stars, and he is eighteen the last time he speaks to his family. (But he is twenty-seven and he spends hours in front of his computer, wondering if he even has a right to comm—
-
The meditation ends abruptly when the silence is broken by a strangled whimper drifting from the neighboring room. He opens his eyes and stands, mentally sending an apology that will, as always, go unheard. The present is calling.