And I resolve to come back stronger than before
With every instinct pacing, hungry at the door
The habit cowed by stronger memories than pain
The arrow darkens and recalibrates its aim
Will Stratton, The Arrow Darkens
It always started with Amanda baking.
The Graysons baked when they were angry, when they were sad, when they were anxious and when they were happy. It was a habit she didn’t really get rid of. But certainly, everytime Sarek heard the clinking of plates and sensed the faint smell of flour in the house, he knew his wife was feeling some emotion. Of course, there was no sugar, vanilla or chocolate, on Vulcan. She managed. She always did.
It was how he found out she was pregnant, 3.4 years ago now. He left in the morning for a meeting with the smell of flour hanging in the air, and when he came back later in the afternoon, she was still in the kitchen. She had not made that much cakes really. From the swelling of her eyelids and the soreness that he perceived in her throat when she spoke, he figured she had spent a significant part of the baking process crying, which would have slowed the endeavour certainly. As they had been trying to conceive a child for a time, it was only logical that this was what this outpouring of emotion was about. He had asked, before she even had to say. She did protest that he always seemed to know everything, but she was smiling, in a way he rarely saw. She kept her smiles to herself most of the time, for his sake, to fit in. The cakes were not adequate. They were 60% over an agreeable level of bitterness. The moment was adequate though, in fact Sarek sometimes wondered if a moment in his life had ever been so adequate.
However, this time, when Sarek entered the living room to find a heavy smell of flour in the house, Amanda’s eyes reflected something very different. It was not about Spock, as he had seen him reading quietly on the table when he came in. He had to put up his mental shield immediately because their bond was full of anger. Wrath, even. The Vulcan even had to close his eyes for a moment to banish the wave he had encountered. He then looked deeply into her eyes, waiting for her to explain. Anger had never been one of Amanda’s regular emotions, in fact he had never seen her more than mildly irritated. She did not explain, as he expected her to. It seemed she was rather waiting for him to explain something. She only said, notably in Standard and not in Vulcan:
“He’s in the guest room.”
Sarek lifted an eyebrow, expecting more details. She tightened her lips and turned her back to him, clutching the kitchen counter. He stayed in place for a few instants, waiting for her, before he finally left. His walk through the house was calm and collected, Sarek walked slowly with his hands behind his back. When he finally got to the door of the guest bedroom, he knocked.
“This is Sarek. May I?”
“Yes, you may.”
The answer came in Vulcan, and in a voice that was slightly too high-pitched to be that of an adult. Sarek opened the sliding door.
In front of him, stood a boy.
Though he appeared to be around the age of 10, he was already very tall. His dark hair was cut in the usual Vulcan fashion, and his eyes were a sharp brown. He could have been any boy, but of course Sarek knew. As Amanda said, he always knew everything. The boy took a step towards him and bowed respectfully before giving him the Ta’al. Sarek did not reciprocate.
“Kindly forgive the sudden arrival into your home, Sarek. Be aware it is not my choice, as I am only a child, I was taken here by agents of the Vulcan Council, on account that you are my father. My name is Sybok.”
There was another time were Amanda notably baked, another three years after that. Not alone. Sarek and her had been off-world for quite a long time on various business, well, one business in particular. One of the first thing she did when they came back was take Michael to the kitchen and make her cook with her. Michael did not really do so much, she stayed silent, in a corner, and watched. Her eyes were fixed on the movements of Amanda’s hands. Sarek also looked at Amanda, but he did not know what emotion made her start baking, that time. There were times where he could not decipher her exactly, only through the reassuring humming of their bond could he feel that nothing was wrong, that is was just a strange kind of contentment. He had exited the kitchen with a little light in his eye.