Chapter Four

Atlantis's raised spires reached through the clouds, inviting her vessels home. Inviting her people home. Amanda had never understood the confessed feelings of security, comfort, and welcome that Atlantis had evoked in the soldiers and scientists that repeatedly worked on the floating city. Now she did, catching sight of that cityscape in the window she was overcome by the sense that if only she could set foot on Atlantis, everything would be fine, everything could be taken care of if she was there.

Amanda stared out the observation window taking in the immensity, of her past, her future, and her son's only hope. Atlantis was without comparison. Spires of metal and glass filled the view as the most beautiful military base in the known universe captivated any approaching. Her towers were full of only the best and brightest, her barracks held only the strongest and most determined. The piers surrounding the city were full of spaceships. Aurora-class long term research vessels, X-303 and X-304 battle cruisers in dock for repairs. There was a Tollan carrier docked in one of the East piers and a rather ackward looking Gou'ld mothership which could only belong to the Jaffa.

"I never get tired of returning to the city." It was a quiet tone of reverence that came from her left. The SGC Marine, Coropral Alice Dennings, who had been assigned as her escort and guest had joined her at the bay of windows. "The Ashes makes a number of trips each quarter to conflict ridden areas: wraith-space, Klingon space," her guide chuckled briefly, "no-mans space. Mostly for humanitarian aid and space trafficking but I've seen nasty work done by people and to people that sometimes I don't know why I fight. Like why fight when your enemy is stronger, faster, and more terrifying than any of your nightmares? In some cases they're from your nightmares.

"but," the corporal paused, "But then we come home to Atlantis. She's so beautiful, so majestic and terrifying and the people that live and work in her, they have no doubt about the fight. They stand on the very front lines of the Union's fight with the Wraith and they don't even flinch!" The Corporal murmured heatedly, "They think they can do it, that they can stand between the Wraith and rest of the world forever. That one day the fight will be over and the Wraith will be gone, and the longer you stay, you …" She sighed unable to get it out but Amanda understood.

"It infects you." The linguist murmured back. "They gaze at you with their heart's fire in their eyes and you have to meet their courage and determination with courage and determination of your own. They don't give you any alternatives."

Amanda laughed, if the look the Marine shot her said anything then it was more than a little edgy. "I worked with Dr. McKay several years ago and he's infected me with this belief that I should have the impossible." A wretched sob flew from her lips. "My son is sick, so very very sick and I divorced my husband because he didn't feel my son was worth expending the resources and effort to save." She hugged herself ignoring the Marine trying not to panic beside her. "It's just so different."

"I'm different." Amanda whispered.

Amanda had never thought she would be back in Atlantis. This was not a tourist destination; they were still very much on the front in the war against the Wraith. It showed on the City, and the City's relationship with the Union. This was the heart of Stargate Command, "the breeding ground of heroes" one general once reported. There was a reason Atlantis hadn't landed on the surface of a planet, a valid precaution that meant the normally invisible shield gave off the appearance of fireworks from the inside. The City was covered in defensive perimeters and the noxious gas giant the city called home was their first one. Patrols continually swept for stowaways and the city was going on a record breaking 53 years without breech but there was always the chance something could go wrong.

Amanda was scared. Scared to be this close to the war against the Wraith. Scared that her baby wouldn't make it. More than that, she was scared that she had changed too much, that the friends she had spent so much time with while on Atlantis would think she had changed too much. That was the cincher, she had already proven that her son's life was worth more than her marriage and Amanda knew that he was worth more than her personal happiness, but what would she do if she couldn't rely on those she had once thought of as family?

It had taken years to gather the resources to come the first time. Years of paperwork on top months of training in emergency situations. More reading in legal disclaimers than most medical experimentation programs, all of which culminated in silence for the first 336 hours of her stay in Atlantis. A little over an Atlantean week, or eleven Atlantean days she had spent in silence. It had been unreal, the exclusion the majority of Atlanteans participated in against new comers, it wasn't intentional simply a matter that the veterans who made their home in Atlantis have very little in common with the newbies who saw the city as a cash cow. While Amanda would be the first to admit that her stay in Atlantis had benefitted her in ways that went beyond academic accolades, she had understood that the city was alive with more than just people.

She had been recognized by Sarek because of her work on Atlantis. Their first conversations had been on the nature of emotional attachments in Atlantis, as opposed to elsewhere. He had argued that it was the nature of the battlefield, while she had argued in favor of the highly popular 'Clan Inclusion Theory'.

Amanda had eye-witness proof, her eyes, that there was something different in the biology of Atlantean residents that effected how they formed emotional bonds with other and how other people formed bonds with them. All living members of Ascended Union Elders had residences on Atlantis, members of a Clan or not. Long term residents lived longer and even short-term residents could heal from more damage than non-residents. Citizens of Atlantis were more tactile, more likely to form intense emotional connection regardless of gender, and less concerned with traditional social constructs. Sarek called it illogically superstitious, that all those factors were more a result of who was allowed on Atlantis, rather than the idea that Atlantis influenced its residents on any level, let alone a biological one. Amanda snorted, finding humor in the idea that his son might grow up heavily influenced by those who believed in this highly illogical superstitious argument.

While those 336 hours at the onset had been hell, Amanda would admit, the exclusion against her was not because of her citizenship or her study of the people, but because of the inclusive nature of the Clans and the heavy military subculture. And the people who were forwarded to the front on Atlantis were the best of the best the Union had, because of that there was often an arrogance that native Atlanteans or long term residents crushed out of them pretty fast. No one left Atlantis the same way they went in. And if they did they often left in a body bag.

From the window on the starboard side of the SGC Ashes, Amanda could see Rodney waiting for her. She wiped hurriedly at her cheeks, gratiously taking the tissues the Marine had gotten her; Rodney had this ridiculous rule about 'No Crying in Science'. Ridiculous not because Amanda thought there should be crying in science but because he could be seen telling it to people outside of his lab. She was pretty sure he'd told his own children that rule, it would explain soo much.

As each soldier of the vessel disembarks for some well-deserved leave, they saluted Rodney as they passed him. They would be back later to ensure that their ship was ready for duty as soon as possible, for now they were just stretching their legs. As always Rodney scowled at the military men getting off the ship, to him they were all ridiculously stupid and should not be allowed to acknowledge that they breath the same air that he … well, doesn't breath to be fair. Luckily, Rodney's Paired had long-standing orders for military members to respect and obey Rodney. He had also broken Rodney of his habit to use them for experimentation, much to Rodney's misfortune.

Walking down the ramp carrying the baby basket Amanda smiled weakly, "Where is John, Rodney? I did not think he could exist without you."

Hands were flailed, "he said something about 'welcoming a lost lamb'. Poor kid's probably gonna die of shock, being welcomed by his- What is that?!" The finger-of-doom, well known to any who had to work with Rodney, pointed as his voice raised and Amanda had the dubious honor of shocking silence into Rodney.

Gently shifting the exhausted and sick child into her arms, Amanda thought about replying to the stupid question with a stupid answer, as she would have when she was first here. But she was too tired, too different. "My son, Spock. Rodney, he's very ill."

Immediately Rodney was on his Comm unit, directing medical to be prepared for a pediatric Vulcan emergency, already ushering her toward the nearest transporter. Amanda didn't wait for the Director of Sciences to lead the way, only waiting for Rodney to enter the transporter before touching the symbol for the infirmary. It was only around the corner from there and the closer she got to the infirmary the faster she walked, until she skidded through the door. Spock's breath hitching in her arms, his fever still high, his pulse still low.

Gentle, always gentle, hands took the baby Vulcan from her to examine his physical form. Amanda distantly noticed a male couple in the other side of the infirmary, a giggling baby with them too, but her concern and attention was on her son.

Part 2

Warmth suffused George, from his head down to his toes, as the happy feeling of home-comfort-safety made him giddy. This was what he missed. It didn't matter that you could barely see the nearest star through 'Smokescreen's' thick red and yellow gas. It certainly didn't take into consideration the gas giant's toxic atmosphere or the repulsive smell the ships would emit from having traveled through the gas. This was home. There was an excitement and hope that filled George to the brim with so much happiness. George could feel/hear the thrum of Atlantis the vague sound of white noise from the interactive tech on the city. Looking down to his baby boy, James was wide-eyed and silently staring at the towers and startling at the welcome home the city sent to her lost lambs. Eyes so large it appeared they were completely blue and an open mouth showing drooling gums, too surprised to have known that his pacifier had dropped.

Popping the cleaned item back in his baby boy's mouth, George shot a look to his partner a quip dying on his tongue at the expression on his face. Chris was not happy, not happy at all. The creases that had developed at the corners of his eyes and his mouth, and wrinkles on his brow described how not happy his partner was.

"Chris?" George gently touched the other man's elbow.

"What if I'm not enough, George?" The pain in his blue eyes, soo close to the blue in their son's, grasping at courage but coming up short.

"You're crazy, Chris! How could they not love you?" Sliding his palms up the other man's arms, "You are everything I could ask for in a Paired One. Honest to a fault, brave enough to willingly take guardianship of my sons, smart enough to know I wasn't myself."

Chris nearly flipped out, and like all things in the past few days, the only thing that kept him from doing so was the baby. Keeping James happy, a desire of both of them, meant keeping their voices even and the movements smooth. James had been good for their communication skills and relationship; George had laughingly joked that all bickering spouses should take their children to therapy with them. Chris had replied that some parents didn't love their children enough not to bicker, quickly shuting down that joke.

"That's just it George! We were incredibly close to Pair Bonding when Winona took you, what if they felt I didn't do enough? That I didn't act fast enough? What if they try to take Sam or James, because you weren't yourself? Because I'm still not your Paired?"

"Winona was ass over teakettle crazy! She attacked you on an SGC vessel, which was reported. How could they possibly think you didn't fight hard enough? You were the one with the evidence!"

"I don't think I fought hard enough!"

The silence was deadening. George's high from being close enough to the City to feel her was obliterated. His world had been rocked, it was visceral the reminder that as much as they had been getting back in the swing of being together, Chris still flinched when they touched and George still cried out in his sleep. They were far from good, they just looked better.

All George wanted to do was make it better, but he couldn't. This wasn't something fixed with a dirty joke, like at the Academy, or diverted with some heavy petting. Chris wouldn't even look at him. Head turned away and with his shoulder tight George didn't know how to approach him. Was he even allowed to? How many times had his partner ached because George had a ring on his finger? How many times had he been frozen at night, waiting for George to crawl in beside him, only to realize he wouldn't? How could they ever get better when Winona had caused so much damage? When he had caused so much damage?

It was the sniffles that caught their attention. Big blue eyes leaked clear liquid as lips trembled. A little nose scrunched and little arms flailed as James gave up. His voice rose and fell, at times piercing in its pitch and at others silent for lack of air. George and Chris leaped to comfort their baby. James couldn't understand what he felt, or where it came from, only that he felt it. And George swore to himself and Chris, James should never feel like that in their hold again.

Chris couldn't deny it. His fears were not going to help him against the Sheppard Clan, and definitely could not solve any of his problems, and most importantly they were hurt his son. Something would have to be done about that.

Debarking from the SGC Narcissus which had been their transport the entire way from the site of the USS Kelvin massacre to Atlantis, they met a surprisingly rumpled welcome party. Four men met their gaze. Two tired blondes in BDUs, a sharp eyed man in haphazard sciences gear, and a surprisingly pristine military officer. Who to Chris's eyes seemed to … glow. Just a little.

George greeted the glowing man with a warm hug first, even as James continued to cry in the background, "Patriarch, I didn't know you could exist without your Paired? Where is he?"

The glowing man, which just registered to Chris as a sign of ascension, laughed. "Rodney is on the East pier doing the same thing as me. Welcoming home lost lambs." The Patriarch's keen gaze pinned Chris to place. This wasn't a man to mess with, Chris thought it likely that this man had never been someone you messed with. After all, not many ascend. "And who is this?"

George gamely did the introductions, "my partner, Starfleet Lieutenant Christopher Pike, and our newest addition, James Tiberius." Standing with his arms around their small family unit like any proud father would. The man in front chuffed, clearly uncomfortable.

"George, Son, I'd love it if you left that part out when you introduced him to your mother." He was a wiry and wrinkled, one of the tired messes in BDUs. "Tiberius Ioannes Kirk, George's dad." He stretched a hand toward Chris, tweaking the baby's nose on the return.

Chris blinked. "That's a hell of a name." The group laughed as his new father-in-law explained that his mother had been the Atlantean Record Keeper and Historian around the time of his birth, and yes, it was rather unfortunate.

The hyper but disheveled scientist was introduced as Caleb Beauzen, Paired One to the second tired military man, who was introduced as Doug Krete-Kirk one of George's closest cousins. They had been passing by when pulled to be part of the welcome wagon and as much as they loved seeing George again could they please go to bed now?

"Patriarch John Patrick Sheppard, partially retired SGC General and a ruling Elder of Atlantis." The unsaid, 'boss of us all' had Chris nervous, especially as he started reaching for James.

It was a lollipop, but Chris had been nervous, anxious, and scared of this man for too long. Chris had courage right then because he knew that he would fight hell and high water to claim James and Sam as his children. To let the Sheppard Patriarch get away with spoiling his son this early in the game was not going to help anyone, let alone him. It was quick work to grab the unwrapped candy from the glowing hand before James could taste it. Popping it in his mouth, Chris gave a cheeky smile to cover his shakes as he passed James to George's capable hands. "Thanks. I was just thinking I was hungry."

The calculation wasn't gone from the Patriarch's eye, though it had dimmed a bit. Chris had drawn a line in the sand that he was completely willing to back-up. His son was not a pawn to be manipulated, and neither was George.

Part 3

Amanda was preoccupied with her concern. So worried that the VSA had been right, that her boy was unviable. She cursed Sarek for putting that nightmarish word in her head, for not caring enough for their son. She was angry at Sarek for being so much gilt covering and not solid gold. She was angry at the geneticist who, having calculated long odds for Spock's survival probably didn't put enough effort into his genetic design. And she was angry with herself, for not being able to help her own son.

So she paced, a movement she hadn't done in years, attempting to expel the nervous energy while staying out of the doctor's way. Back and forth between the open space before her son's bed and the windowed wall at the other end. Wringing her hands and worrying as though she was nothing more than the illogically overemotional being the VSA and House Surak claimed her to be. All Amanda could was admit a certain amount of chagrin, being exactly what they thought she was. She couldn't even keep track of how long she paced up and down the aisle at the front of the Infirmary, trying to stay close, but still out of the way.

Until she hit a wall. Well a wall made of flesh and leather. It smelled of hot sand and spice, a lot like Vulcan, but where Vulcan had always held the lingering smell of antiseptic, this male smelt of blood. It was only his quick reaction that ensured her back didn't hit the hard floor. Amanda looked up to her savior, had to keep looking.

The male was head and shoulders above the majority, including Amanda, and regardless of the point of his ears and the slant of his brows, he was the antithesis of all things Vulcan. The antithesis of Sarek. Armor, scuffed and beaten, clad a body used for war. Geared up 'for the devil's work' as her mother would have said. Scars littered an impossibly well-muscled frame. The hands that had caught her were covered in some type of partial glove, limiting sensation on his end Amanda would have guessed. A safeguard to inspire security in his colleagues, many of who refused to work with the telepathic races out of a false sense of paranoia. False, because more often than not the telepaths could care less about their secrets, they had better things on their mind.

Amanda appreciated the gloves for more than security around a touch telepath, because she was sure her shocked mind couldn't help but draw parallels to her recently-divorced husband. Which might be offensive to this male, who clearly didn't follow Surak. More than that, Amanda hadn't been touched by any except her husband or a medical personnel in a very long time. She didn't know how she would react to unsolicited contact. At least this male had been brief, wide covered palms had braced her against falling and then he had stepped back. Giving Amanda a clear view to his peculiar red-brown eyes, and the tightly woven plait of braids that crested his head in a Mohawk, from his forehead and to the small of his back.

A high pitched shriek filled the air, the alarm for spikes and dips in vitals, and Amanda spun, there was no way she was going to bury her son. Lunging toward the back of the bay where the pediatric beds were Amanda was abruptly stopped by the most ridiculous sight. There was another baby on the bio bed with her son. And he was … teething on Spock's ear?

"What is going on!?" It was a good thing, though she hadn't realized he was still there, that Rodney was still with her because she was stunned by what she saw. A little blue eyed devil was sitting up on Spock's bio bed, tufts of blonde curls uncovered from the infant sized Starfleet command-gold onesie he was wearing. And when he caught sight of Amanda the baby gave a chiming giggle and smiled. Proving that he did in fact have her son's green flushed ear pinned between two soft gums.

"Did you do this?!" Rodney was up in the face of his Paired One, making the two men in Starfleet uniforms lean back to get away from Rodney's push. "I will not let you get away with tampering with the testing!" While Rodney ranted and raved, something he greatly enjoyed doing, also something his partner greatly enjoyed watching, Amanda directed her attention to the output on the bio bed. Now that her blood pressure had returned to normal Amanda could see what the biobed had recorded, and she felt her eyes grow damp.

Spock's blood pressure was rising, approximately a beat every 30 seconds or so, slowly creeping out of the danger zone. And his temperature, which had been at a level dangerously high to doing damage to humans, let alone Vulcans, was dropping. Not fast by any means, and it would be likely that he would have to stay in the infirmary for several more days, but her son was going to survive.

Spock was going to live.

Large covered palms caught Amanda as her knees gave out. She was beyond relieved to realize that her baby boy was going to make it, she paid no mind to the strong body that picked her up when her's gave out. Ignoring the still going argument in the background, she had vaguely heard Rodney move on to some grievance against engineering, Amanda turned to the doctor checking vitals at the base of the bed. "Thank you, thank you so much for saving my son."

Doctor Beauness, as the name tag stated, which Amanda had only then realized he was even wearing. No one wore nametags in Atlantis. "I only did my job ma'am." His charming smile froze as bared fingers graced over his wrist.

"Don't lie." Rumbled beneath Amanda's ear, and in her relief she couldn't even be bothered that her first reaction to the Vri-Vulcan's voice was to associate it with heady summer nights, good chocolate, and whiskey. It rumbled, where Sarek's had always been precise, was warm where Sarek's had been chilly even at the best times, and it incited in Amanda feelings she hadn't had to deal with in a very long time. Feelings she definitely didn't have time for now. "He doesn't know."

"Well, do you Haus'k?" Rodney asked, preforming one of those abrupt turn a rounds that he was so well known for. "The situation with Spock had been the reason we called you back to Atlantis."

Part 4

Chris was so far past overwhelmed he was pretty numb. He thought he had hid it pretty well, except that his partner kept inserting himself between Chris and everyone else. No one got close, no one touched him. And while George did not go so far as to answer the question directed at him, Chris was thankful that very few were. He wasn't entirely sure how they had ended up in the infirmary. There had been introductions as they passed groups in the hall, where Chris tried to be cordial and polite. Patriarch Sheppard had given information on their housing suite, the arranged therapy, and tentative plans for a Clan event but Chris was tired. Right now all he wanted was to crawl into a bed with his partner and know that their son was safe nearby.

Instead he finds himself jolted awake and at attention, hearing the sirens go off around him. Ducking flying pieces of metal, smelling the burning flesh, and trying desperately to herd everyone to the evacuation shuttles. It took a few minutes for George to get through to him, but he was there, holding him.

"Come on Chris, come back to me." Slowly the wreck of the USS Kelvin was replaced with the blue spires of Atlantis, with its crisp blueish metal clashing the red and yellow gas swirling outside the shields. George was just in front of him, worried blue eyes trying to bring him back.

He leaned into his partner, "thanks." His voice raspy as his ears rang, clutching at George. They were far from good, and sometimes, like now, they didn't even feel better. "It was the alarm."

Surprisingly, it was Patriarch Sheppard who took the next move. Resting a warm hand on Chris's shoulder, feeling a lot more welcoming than it would have earlier, he guided them back into the pediatric bay. "Then let's go find out what happened."

Seeing exactly what happened once they reached the source George humorously slumped into his partner and groaned. "It was James!"

Chris laughed a little, "Weren't you predicting earlier that he'd give us hell?"

"I meant later! James can't even move on his own yet. Regardless of his ridiculously advanced development, we left him in a crèche bed in the infirmary. It wasn't like he could just rewire the shield that kept him in!"

Chris gestured at the baby in command-gold, saying the same thing he had when the baby was purposefully dressed this morning, "he's your son." Doing a double-take Chris let his arm fall and walked forward, directing his next question at the nurse right next to his bed. "Is that boy's ear in my son's mouth? Nevermind. Why does my son have an ear in his mouth?"

Because he did. James had one pointed green-flushed ear in his mouth, pinned between toothless gums. The baby Vulcan, and how weird was the thought that there were miniature Vulcans waiting to grow up into precisely accurate and calculating adults; and one of those miniatures was laying against his son's chest, head crooked on his shoulder, propped up so that his ear could meet his son's mouth. That was beyond comprehension.

"Failure to thrive." The deep voice came from the Vri-Vulcan Rodney had called Haus'k as they had entered the pediatric bay. Very intimidating and very alien. These were beings of extreme emotion who made no effort to make their violent society tolerable to foreigners. They were beyond threatening to Chris, beyond threatening to most only exposed to the Surakan Vulcans.

John diverted to Haus'k, clearly and abruptly ending his 'discussion' with Rodney. "Failure to thrive? I thought that rarely happened to Vulcans?"

Beads jangled as Haus'k nodded. "Yes, Vris promote deep bonds between family members in the first months of a pup's life. And Surakans have mentally adapted to the shallow bonds currently used. Both Vris pups and human … babies," He said after searching for the word, "are dependent upon physical contact, it would not occur to Surakans that they were hindering the pup's development."

The woman, with dark hair and dark eyes, moved herself from beside the warrior to a chair beside the bio bed. Dragging bare fingertips up James's arm, she smiled gently and then repeated the action to the baby's delight. "Thank you little Captain, for saving my Spock."

James reached to reciprocate, tiny hands and fingers grasping toward the gentle mother. But he reached too far and over balanced. It sent his diapered butt into the air and Spock's face into his stomach. That was when things got a little heated.

There was an audible 'oof' as both boys ended up without oxygen. Then, and Chris couldn't figure out who, but one fist hits soft flesh with a shriek and all bets are off. George and Haus'k immediately waded into the battle between the two babies, when Chris notes, not for the first time that James is unnaturally in control of his body.

Trusting in his partner that George would get James free of his mess, after all he'd probably spend the majority of the next several years getting James out of his messes. Chris turned to the nurse on watch, who held an antiseptic and gauze in hand, to ask, "James is only a few weeks old, is he supposed to be as active as he is, Nurse ..?"

"Marianne," the blonde medical assistant filled in. "And the physical development of Atlantean children is about twice as fast as the average on Earth." Clearly his shocked expression must have showed because she continued. "Part of that is environmental, Atlantis affects the physiology of all of her long term residents by influencing certain chemical components in their biology. It's why fatalities on Atlantis are most often immediate, she tries very hard to ensure we don't want to leave. 200 years cannot undo the damage of 10,000."

"And the other part?" George asked as he held James to the bio bed, ensuring the nasty cut created by Spock's milk teeth was taken care of.

"The other part is enhanced genetics. As a member of one of the Clans of Atlantis, you know that all founders of the Clans were descendants of the original Alterans, and that after they took back the City certain enhancements were done to ensure the lasting legacy and continued survival on Atlantis. This means James, like George before him, will develop faster, have greater control over his body sooner than his age group. He'll likely start puberty at the early end, and it will likely last longer. James will live longer, learn smoother, and heal faster. This will happen whether you raise him here on Atlantis or elsewhere in the universe."

And that, Chris thought, was a lot to think about.

Part 5

"Thank you for helping." Amanda had watched as the Vri-Vulcan, Haus'k, had waded into the roiling mass of baby flesh and little feet. He had gently but firmly disengaged Spock's teeth from James's shoulder and pulled him to safety. She watched how Spock slowly calmed while resting in the crook of the male's arm.

"There is no debt." Haus'k said as he carefully arranged Spock to straddle her right elbow, facing outwards and securing her forearm across her son's tiny body. Amanda immediately noticed her son go limp as her wrist cradled his chin near her left shoulder.

"Oh, that, what did you do?"

It was odd seeing the gentle light in Haus'k's eyes, Amanda had certainly never seen it in Sarek's. "It is of vital importance that your son feels he is safe. The easiest way to do that is for him to feel your pulse, your wrist against his face accomplishes this. It is how most of the females I know hold their children."

Knowledge, Amanda soaked it up like a sponge and wanted more. So she asked, "You are a member of the Vri-Vulcan? Do you live and serve here on Atlantis, or are you just passing through?"

"I am serving here as all of the elite of the SGC must do, but my home is on Hephaestus, in the city of Chronia, home of the gate." The male smoothly guided her out of the infirmary and back to the main halls, ignoring the overtures of Dr. Beauness. "It is not much different from the physical state of Vulcan: hot, arid, desert. But it is where my people tried to start over after Vulcan." He was very careful to keep their walk appropriate and impersonal even as he gave personal information. "I am Haus'k, of the House of Loau'k, and I know your pup's name is Spock, may I know yours?"

Amanda blinked, in all the time in the infirmary no one had mentioned her name? Or situation? How strange. "I am Amanda Greyson, formerly of House Surak on Vulcan." She watched as Haus'k's gliding walk stuttered for a moment while assimilating that information. She caught the careful glance he used to appraise her, as he slowed their walk to a crawl, and then a stop before turning towards her.

"I can only think of one thing that would drive a wife from a husband of such a House as the House of Surak." His disposition was grey, "but I cannot believe that a pacifist would try to kill his own son."

Amanda fortified her breath, tensing every muscle but she felt soft pressure of covered palms against her shoulder as she was reminded of what that might do to her son. "House of Surak had decided that they would not expend the resources necessary to 'prolong the death of an unviable experiment'." Haus'k visibly winced and started moving again.

"We are a tough and violent people on Hephaestus, but we love and respect just as violently as we hate and despise. Surakans do not do either. They suppress their emotions until the fevers come and it forces it out." Haus'k shot her a mischievous smirk, brow quirking. "That can't be as fun as they wish it were."

Amanda was red. A bright cherry red as she choked and spluttered against her humor in the idea that Vulcan spends so much resources ensuring no one in the Federation knows about their literal seven year itch. All the while those from Hephaestus made no bone about their natural desires.

Eventually they ended up in front of a door in the long term visitor's hall. And Haus'k left her with this thought, "Your son is not human Dr. Greyson. Do not be afraid to ask for help and support as you try to figure out exactly how you want to raise your son."