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We ran – Ran, which was not the same, to Niaan, enjoying the freshness of air, the life in this place, known to the last leaf, and, at once, new and wondrous. We paid no heed to where we Ran, only wanting the sharing, the feeling of wind ruffling our fur – fur! And we are a quadrupedal felinoid predator! – and the freedom to be as we were, as one….

And, in another place, another space, another life, we were staring out at stars – Everdeep! We are in Everdeep, and moving while we sit still! – and the one we knew as Father was speaking.

You will be Promised to T’Pring, as soon as you have adjusted to the sharing.”

Wind, trees, sweetly spiced arytana, starfield, comfortable shuttle, plomik soup….all blended, became one, merging with the words and our own desires.

” We do not know T’Pring, and have no desire to be Promised. We are bound. ” There could be no other, now….there was no room, within us. We were filled, and complete, as we were.

“Your genetics favor Vulcan physiology; we must consider necessity. Your survival and the safety of those around you must not depend upon an absent and unreachable bondmate.”

The words pulled at me, tugged me a little from the sharing, but the sense of her was strong. I sighed, and Niaan puzzled, not understanding the concept of marriage, arranged or otherwise.

“We are learning one another’s worlds, and will strive to come together.”

Sarek nodded, and, surprisingly, his eyes rose to meet mine. He studied me directly, and, as she Ran , Niaan gazed back at him, instinctively wanting to know what threat he posed. “Do not cease in these efforts. It is not my intent to place barriers between thee. I honor what thee have found.”

“You will support us?” We flowed together, once more, and a shivering sigh of yearning passed through us.

Father’s brow rose, and his scent carried warmth and curiosity. “Well met, daughterkin. To the extent I am able, I will support thy bonding. It is likely, however, that you will not fully understand my actions , and that I will not be able to explain to your satisfaction. There is a gulf between childhood and adulthood that can only be breached by time and growth.” There was a new gentleness in the way he said it.

“Then you will do as you please, and we are to trust?”

Sudden jarring chaos – a spilled pot, a collision, and, for the first time, true fear. And there was Kaitiiraan, with her braided lash in hand –

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