Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy. I do not own Star Trek. If you think I do, please make your way to the nearest insane asylum and let the nice doctors give you some medicine. Oh, wait, they have their own Maggie Walsh? So sad for you.
All translations are listed at the end of the chapter, and were done using the Vulcan Language Dictionary
~ seeking elizabeth grayson ~
The journey is longer than expected. Transporter sites and docking platforms are nonexistent within one hundred forty-five and point six miles of the Sineyan Enclave in any direction. A Federation shuttle carries him to Jidar, a small city resting upon the ruins of Kerak, and is the closest human habitation to the enclave. The local residents are taciturn and wary at his arrival, cautiously smiling. Upon learning his proposed destination, their golden-brown skin falls ashen.
After a lengthy conversation amongst themselves in a tongue stranger than his own, he is quickly led to a nearby geo-transit. The crowd at his back call Thariq thawil! Thariq thawil!
Boarding, he does not speak as he takes his seat. He does not ask the driver for the time or length of the drive. To Tarasiru he is bound, therefore to Tarasiru he goes. He does not speak to the driver or the other passengers, preferring to gaze at the passing land of desert grasses and stone. The air is thick and heavy with dust, sweat, and stale bread.
At the stop for Tarasiru, he is the only passenger to disembark; he stands alone, observing the geo-transit rattle away, trailing sand and grit. Wind tugs at his short-cropped hair, pulling his eyes to the North. There are mountains in the distance, and before him a sign, bearing the word Tarasiru
in a dozen languages with an arrow pointing up. An eyebrow rises and he looks toward the empty gem-blue sky. Humans.
He shifts his weight and takes the first step down the long dirt road leading toward the mountains.
The shadows lengthen as he walks alone along the dusty road. Above him is the empty gem-colored sky, so pale and bright blue that staring brings pain, so he does not. Instead he watches the land around him. He watches tangles of wind and grit, writhing in the dirt as like serpents. He watches the scarce plant-life and animal-life. He marks the massive peaks in the distance and observes the faint clouds evident upon the horizon.
It is one hour, twelve minutes, ten seconds later that he notices a larger-than-average body of billowing dust moving in his direction. He pauses, calculates the possibilities in his mind, and waits. Seconds pass and lengthen into minutes before the larger-than-average body of billowing dust becomes a dun-colored two-seater hover-craft.
The driver, a dark-haired, dark-eyed human of equal height, swings himself from his seat, looking him up and down. “Bit far from home, vuhlkansu.
” There is humor in the human’s brown eye; it is at odds with the sharp blade of the axe upon his shoulder. “What can I do for you?”
“I am seeking Elizabeth Grayson.” The words are spoken indifferently, but not without internal pain. He pauses, collecting himself. “I must speak with her regarding an urgent matter.”
Wind passing over rocks is his only reply. He stands unperturbed at the human’s scrutiny, patient as a monument.
“UEDC isn’t welcome here,” the human says; his voice is sudden and abrupt. There is a glittering edge in his eyes. The human does not recognize him. “We’ve kept our end of the treaty; if the Dips don’t like it, tell them to send back Davis – we like him.”
“I am not part of the United Earth Diplomatic Corps, I am Sarek.” He pauses. “Telsu
of Amanda Grayson, a’nirih
There is silence for a moment before the man’s eye widens and he begins to laugh. “Sarek? Mandy’s-hubby-Sarek? Jeez, you’ve gotten old! How ya doin’? Why didn’t Mandy let us know you were comin’ this way, would’ve met you in Jidar, saved you a bundle on transp-”
Xander Harris,” he says, not without some pained amusement. “I must speak with Elizabeth Grayson.”
That dark eye rests on him again. Never before has he been so inexplicably…relieved…that Xander Harris can see beyond pretension and small talk; there is no need for him to speak his pain. That dark eye closes, the face contorting in grief. The lips move soundlessly; they breathe a single word. A snarl rips away the silence and the eye opens. In place of grief there is a visceral, gut-clawing rage in its brown depths. This is a soldier’s pain, a Primal’s rage, a human’s response to death. For a moment, Sarek allows himself to understand, but soon it is gone and he waits for the human’s rage to subside.
“Who?” The word is deceptively quiet, laced with the obvious desire to tear, maim, kill
. The scent of rock, steel, and desert wind strengthens, its presence almost overpowering.
“He is dead.” It must suffice – Sarek walks and enters the hover-craft; a half-second later, Xander follows. Though it is a half-hour drive to the main city, they do not speak.
Gradually, he notices that their route is not the expected course: instead of approaching Tarasiru from the south by the Wadi Farasa, they are approaching from the east by the Wadi Musa. Before them lies the sun-beaten opening to the Siq. Entering at top speed, the hover-craft zooms through the sun-chinked crevasse, the rose-red walls unfurling in an erratic pattern of rise-give way-rise-give way. His hands are clenching the dashboard of the vehicle, the knuckles white and the fingers digging deep into puckering metal. Xander, in contrast, is silent and eerily calm; his quick reflexes are all the more unsettling when paired with his one eye.
Bright orange light unveils ahead, and within a breath the hover-craft shoots from the mouth of the Siq and comes to a dead-stop at the steps of Al-Khazneh, The Treasury of Petra. Swiftly and calmly, he exits the hover-craft.
“Head that way,” Xander says, pointing, his voice tight. “We only go there to mourn.” His hands ball into fists. “She’s been up there all damn day. Now I know why.”
“Know why what, Xander?” The voice is light, ethereal. “Hello, Sarek.” Willow exits Al-Khazneh, her clothes seemingly floating on air. Her vibrant red hair is threaded with white. She bows slightly to him before fixing the human’s face with an inquisitive stare. “Know why what?”
“Buffy,” Xander says, the name spoken through gritted teeth. He looks upward, the muscles in his neck thickly corded. “We’ve stopped how many apocalypses and this is the thanks we get? Ungrateful scum-sucking mother-fucking bastards!”
“Xander,” Willow says, tugging on his arm. “What are you talking about?”
“Buffy,” he says. “Mandy.” His attention returns to the sky, and he begins swearing in a language that Sarek does not understand.
“Mandy,” she repeats, not understanding. She looks from Xander to Sarek to Xander, and then to the north. She gasps, hands flying to her mouth. “Mandy,” she says again, her voice broken.
Xander stops, breathing harshly through his nose, the thick cords of muscle along his arms and neck rippling from unexpressed rage. After a moment, he jerks his head, nodding. Green eyes suddenly bright and wet, Willow turns to Sarek, her arms jerking up as if to embrace him, until she swallows and lowers them to her side. He breathes in slowly; an inexplicable scent of wild-grass and sunlight soothes him. One tan hand reaches out, pausing and then falling to his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Sarek,” she says, her words a bare whisper. He inclines his head, accepting her compassion.
Eyes glistening, she asks, “Do you want us to come with you?”
He shakes his head, looking to the north. “I must go alone.”
She nods, one arm pulling Xander inside Al-Khazneh. As he turns to go, Sarek hears hushed voices coming from inside, followed by shouting and broken sobs.
In the end, he finds that he must half-hike, half-climb to El-Deir, the ancient temple high above the northernmost edge of the city. Seated on a broken pillar, she is watching the sun-descent. Though she does not react to his presence, he knows that she knows he is here. He seats himself upon a nearby rock, waiting for her to speak.
“Hi, Sarek,” she says in greeting, her eyes fixed upon the reddening sky. “Have you ever seen the summer sun rising over the Eqtanna?”
The question is intriguing, as he has only visited the enclave twice during the preceding thirty years, and never once in summer; he reminds her of this fact. Her eyes leave the sky to rove the plain of dirt and sparse vegetation of the valley-city of Tarasiru.
“I know,” she says softly. “It’s always Montreal in summer.” She smiles, a fragile, bitter smile that shows her teeth. A hand reaches out to caress the pillar. Tanned by long desert-living, the skin of her knuckles tightens. “It’s her favorite time of year.”
She turns and he notices the deep melancholy of her eyes. Eyes that, though not the warm brown of his k'hat'n'dlawa
, hold the same unconditional acceptance, the same bright regard. Eyes that move him to speak perhaps too boldly, as they are so painfully reminiscent of what he has lost.
“Amanda is dead.” His voice is strong and cool, without emotion.
Her smile slips, slides, and breaks. Turning back to the fallen sun, she bows her golden head, eyes closing. “I know,” she says softly. “I always know when one of my girls dies.”
“That is not possible.” Her words are illogical: Starfleet has only recently begun to construct a list of survivors – she cannot have known of her daughter’s demise.
He tilts his head, analytical. Unless there is truth to the rumors of a secret echelon within the Federation, he reflects.
The golden head, threaded with silver and white, rises at an angle, and a small half-smile quirks at the corner of her mouth. A very familiar small half-smile, he realizes. “A lot of things shouldn’t be possible,” she says with a touch of irony. “And yet, they are. Kaiidth
, diplomacy is useless and unwanted. He does not know what to say, and so he says nothing. Instead, he looks at the darkening sky, unwilling to speak and yet reluctant to leave. He has come here to perform his final duty to his deceased wife, and finds that there are no words. Together, they watch the deepening twilight, unmoving as the night-winds begin to stir.
– WallThariq thawil
– The long roadTarasiru
– Tara’s Secret SoulVuhlkansu
– All-Gift; corruption of Old Vulcan meaningK'hat'n'dlawa
– One who is half of another’s heart and soul in its deepest senseKaiidth
– What is, isK’war’ma’khon
– As close as family but not genetically related