The problem, of course, was that, while Amanda was all of those things he accused her of – selfish and arrogantly convinced in the superiority of the human way and her own understanding of the universe, immature and physically frail, and quite decidedly emotional – she was much more than that.

She was unwavering in her convictions, and willing to fight for them. She did not let others overshadow or intimidate her – despite her physical frailness and unimpressive social standing compared to the people she had been interacting with at the embassy, including Sarek himself.

What he perceived as her selfishness – the common human tendency to indulge in one's emotions and strive for one's own emotional fulfillment rather than try to serve the needs of the many as was the Vulcan way – never seemed to limit her generosity. In fact, her emotions seemed to make it stronger rather than the reverse.

He had been aware of her intelligence from the beginning, but because of her immaturity he had assumed she would be the one to learn from him. And in some ways she had. For all that she was arrogant in her convictions, she was always willing to learn and understand – to challenge her preconceptions.

But he had come to understand he was the one who owed more.

From her he had learned of the convoluted ways of humans. Not understand them, no. But he had come to recognise there was more wisdom in them – and in Amanda – than he was yet able to take in.

Even what he perceived as the pinnacle of human arrogance – their conviction that they knew what was best for everyone – had been shaken. He had been surprised – and unnerved – by how many times such pronouncements from Amanda had turned out to be true.

It was an arrogant thought – that everyone wanted fundamentally the same things – one he still believed did not hold true in full generality. Yet, he had been forced to admit that it could be applied in even the most unlikely of scenarios.

Only the day before, he had been able to negotiate with the rebel faction of the latest planet applying for Federation membership who had tried to stop the talks by taking hostages, using that principle.

But more than that, it applied to him.

Against all Vulcan teachings, against tradition – and yes, against his personal convictions – he had come to want Amanda as his bondmate. For all that he agreed with the Vulcan way in theory, the very thought of bonding with another – however well-suited she may be – was abhorrent, and thoughts of his trip to Vulcan filled him with dread, rather than relief.

He knew, without a doubt he knew, that no one else would do. He would never be content bonded to another, because he would want Amanda until the day he died.

What was that emotion that filled him with dread and terror, and fire and ecstasy, at the merest thought of her? What was it, that held him rooted to the spot at the entrance of his room, unable to grasp onto a single thought beyond what was in front of him?

It was her.

For in the middle of his room stood Amanda.