Mestral pushed back from her books. This attempt to study was futile. She had to admit she was concerned and needed to meditate. Her emotions were just the slightest bit off center; she was not exactly worried for Sandar but this was the eighth day of his Kahs-wan
. The stubborn human had insisted on going the full ten days. Despite the Council's willingness to limit the time frame for his adult trials. She'd tried to discuss the illogical behavior but he was stubborn. Half Vulcan or not he felt he was just as capable as any of the youths going out.
Logically, she knew he was. More than fifty years together, there was no one she knew better. Sandar was an exemplary member of their race. But it had been a difficult trial for her and she was born Vulcan. This was her t'hy'la
, alone in the Vulcan Forge, so concerned she'd be until he returned.~*~
He hated the heat. Fifty some odd years and he still hated the heat. He was used to it. He dealt with it. He no longer complained about it but he still hated it.
Huddling in a cave, he watched the sand fire storm. He'd just barely escaped the edge of it, finding the cave only because he'd been seeking water for the baby sehlat
he'd acquired. He couldn't believe he was actually taking care of one of these things. He remembered his first view of Mestral's. And as far as he'd been concerned anything with six inch fangs wasn't any kind of damn pet he'd ever want. But the cub had looked so pitiful mewling next to it's dead mother. He hadn't had the heart to leave it behind. So, he'd acquired a traveling companion. He'd never hear the end of it from Messie. She'd quirk her eyebrow at him for weeks to come now.
While he understood and could appreciate the philosophy behind the Vulcan's idea of an ritual to adulthood, in practice it sucked. The ideology of logic backed by strength and courage was a solid one. Their brutal past wasn't as far behind them as they might have liked. Still, he'd learned much in his time with them.
Xander stared out at the lightening storms and fire dancing across the sand, lost in contemplation. In two days he'd be counted as an adult with all that entailed. Once upon a time, he'd have thought that announcement would have immediately been followed by a demand to go home. Now, well now he'd be leaving Mestral behind. Though he was quite sure his t'hy'la would accompany him back to Earth when the time came. T'San had informed him a few years back that they believed they'd pinpointed the temporal shift in his aura and Healer S'ang would be able to perform the rituals to send him back to his time once they'd reached earth. But was he ready to go back? Yes. He missed Willow, Giles, and Dawn; but was he even the same man they'd once known. Would they be able to accept the person he'd become? Because returning home or not he was still part Vulcan with all that entailed.
And why was he even thinking that? Here was the chance he'd been waiting for. He could go home. It was what had driven him for the last fifty years. Home. He sighed. Was it home? He'd spent the last fifty years with Mestral, thirty years longer than he'd lived on earth. Here curiosity or not, he was respected even if some of them still viewed him as a child. And he'd ceased being upset over that a long time ago. Hell, T'San still treated Mestral like a child even though she'd passed her adult trials some sixty years ago. He shook his head 110 years old and she barely looked thirty.
Xander sighed, stroking the baby sehlat's fur. This trial had been full of surprises. He was sure the V.S.A was going to go into spasms when he returned upon seeing sometime over the last few years he too had developed an inner eyelid. One more con against going home. Still, his heart even after so long wanted to see home. He'd left too many things behind. Too many things unresolved. Yes, he wanted… no needed to go back.
There was no rush though. Instead of the childish demands he'd once planned on making, he'd simply request a ride on the next outgoing science vessel. It would give him and Mestral time to prepare. That settled, Xander curled around the cub and tried to get some sleep.~*~
Mestral paced slowly; she was not nervous. Not at all. She'd arrived early merely to provide a welcome sight to her returning friend. It had nothing to do with the fact that she'd feel him coming once he'd gotten within a hundred thonek. Sandar's unique abilities had created a new type of bond. The Healers believed it was because of the combination of his Vulcan physiology and his own telepathic abilities, creating a type of tele-empath. What they had wasn't a mating bond but similar to that between parents or siblings.
T'San watched Mestral with what would have been indulgence in a human. These two had provided many interesting hours of contemplation over the years. The child Sandar having surpassed many expectations. Not Mestral's, nor her own. No, she'd sensed just how exceptional the human child was, surviving against all odds. When Mestral's head titled and she moved down the steps, T'san followed.
Xander trudged forward, movements stiff and slow. Ten days out in the Vulcan desert were hard on a Vulcan and he was only half. But he'd made it. He could see Mount Seleya in the distance. When he might have stumbled and fell, he could feel Messie waiting. And onwards he pushed himself, clutching the half forgotten cub to his side.
Mestral waited still and calm. He was coming, he had done it. What was she feeling? Pride. Happiness, of course. Her student was now an adult. An adult who could decide his own course now; a course she knew might, would lead him from her side. She acknowledged the sorrow this brought and then buried it. What is. Is. She could just see the smirk on her friend's face if he actually had the chance to say it to her for once.
T'San was prepared for the sight of the wavering young man, emerging from the haze of the desert. Some of the others weren't. She might have to assign more meditations, arrogance was not an acceptable emotion either. Believing arrogantly in the superiority of the Vulcan race was as foolish as not believing in the resilience of humans. Infinite Diversity In Infinite Combinations.
Xander was too tired to sigh in relief when he staggered forward to the bottom of the steps. Head held high as he meet T'San's gaze. She nodded once, "Welcome, Sandar. Congratulations. Kalifa. Dup dor a'az Mubster." Live long and prosper.
"Nemaiyo." Xander inclined his head and allowed the waiting healers to help to his feet. Before they'd even made it up the steps a wail spilt the air.
Mestral glanced at her friend. That couldn't have been what she thought it was. "Sandar?"
Xander gave a sheepish grin then held the cub out to Mestral. "It followed me home. Can I keep it?"
Mestral's lip twitched as she gazed at the baby sehlat. She couldn't believe he was cuddling one after the fuss he'd made over her’s. "I suppose since I've taken in two strays, another is no problem."
Xander smirked, then staggered again. Mestral moved swiftly taking the cub. Leaving Xander free to finish preparing for the celebration. No longer a child. Now, an adult in all eyes.~*~
Xander finished his meditations as Mestral entered the common room. "Did you make arrangements for our transport on the V'Tral?"
"Yes," she said and then paused.
Xander could read the humor in her gaze without using any of his other senses. "What?"
"They politely request that you at no time enter Engineering or the Bridge while you are on board," she said.
Xander snorted. "Yeah, like it's my fault."
"No one is suggesting you are at fault. However the fact of the matter is the temporal fluctuations saturating your aura aversely effect delicate equipment on a large scale basis," she explained, for what must have been the thousandth time. "We can not even begin to compute what might happen if you came into contact with the dilithium crystals."
"Well, it's not like I was planning on flying the ship myself anyway," said Xander. "Or fondling the crystals."
Mestral's lip twitched. "Certainly not. But I shall be accompanying you just the same."
Xander sighed, crossing the room to lean against the immense picture window. He stared out across the bustling city tinted the golden red of Vulcan's sun. "Am I doing the right thing, Messie?" he asked quietly.
The Vulcan woman moved to stand beside him. "There is no right or wrong, Sandar." If she'd been human the Vulcan would have shifted uncomfortably before she spoke again. "It is what you feel." She fell silent, as if embarrassed by her sentiment.
Xander grinned then sighed again. He was going to miss Mestral but then again he'd stayed six years past his adult trials. It was time to go home. "The transport leaves tomorrow."
"How about you, me and a picnic at the Fire Plains," said Xander, turning away from the window.
Mestral agreed immediately; it had become one of their favorite ways to spend an off day.~*~
Xander stared at the com in disbelief. "Mestral," he called, voice not quite panicked. "Mestral."
Mestral moved at a quick pace into their joint living space. It had been awhile since she'd heard that particular squeak in his voice. "Sandar, what is it?"
"The radio transmission, Mestral. Tell me your Comm. officer got it wrong. Tell me it's not 1957," hissed Xander.
"I can not do that Sandar," she said slowly. "It is. We've been monitoring earth's communications. It is October 1957 according to Earth calendar."
"Fuck," snarled Xander. "Fuckity. Fuck. Fuck. I haven't gone forward. I've fucking gone backwards!"
"Backwards," Mestral said hesitantly.
"Backwards," moaned Xander.
"This causes unforeseen problems," said Mestral.
"Ya think," growled Xander. "We have to tell somebody."
"Of course, the temporal calculations must be adjusted. We must also beware of creating time paradox's should we land," added Mestral.
Xander groaned; it'd taken them nearly fifty years to figure out how to send him back. With his luck it'd take a hundred to send him forward. He needed to talk to the captain now. With a muttered curse Xander stalked off. Mestral trailing behind.
Captain S'an glared as Sandar boarded the bridge without permission. "Sandar, it was requested that you remain in your quarters until we were ready to send down a team."
"Yes, well see there's a problem. Can't beam down. This isn't my time," cried Xander, before forcibly taking a calming breath. "My initial belief was wrong. It was based on what I'd seen of Vulcan society. You're about a hundred years more advanced than even the humans of my time."
Healer Veran quirked an eyebrow. "You do realize Sandar this error will result in a total recalibration of our calculations. When exactly are you from?"
"2001," groaned Xander. Somehow he knew Veran would say that.
"Fascinating," said Veran, immediately turning to the communications board. The members of the V.S.A and the Tam'a needed to be alerted immediately if they were to begin fixing this.
"If that is all, Sandar," began Captain S'an. "Please, leave my bridge."
Xander sighed, rolled his eyes and marched off. He slid to the side, dodging the members of the shift change, brushing past the engineering console as he stepped onto the turbo lift were Mestral waited.
(Translations:Vulcan maturity ritual, friend-lover-brother lifelong companion, a large bear-like animal with 6 inch fangs)