The Klingon Bird of Prey, rechristened the Bounty, disappeared from the sky, but Saavik still looked at its last spot.

Left behind.



Amanda read it all in the parted mouth, the furrow in the forehead. Decades with Vulcans gave the older woman an advantage that way.

She lifted her own gaze to the sky and spoke like they were in the middle of the conversation.

"Being a Vulcan female is not only genetics. It is a part of who we are, our katra, part of our paths. What is passed down of what has been learned. Things like what being a woman means, discovering what it is to you, learning the rites, Elder to child and, sometimes, learned together. It is sacred and ancient and important. You missed a few moments that mark that passage, that celebrate it, because of your childhood."

Amanda brought her gaze to that profile. "But if you will let me, I will lead you through those rites when you are ready for each one. Then in the future, we can make them together. T'Mes and T'Pau were my guides and they will join us when the practice calls for more than two women. Or you may call on their guidance yourself."

The dark gaze hadn't left the sky.

"It's not running in the stars, but it is discovery, Saavik. Discover what Vulcan is, as a scientist, as an explorer, and what it is for you. The same with the discovery of who is the person here," she touched Saavik's forehead, "and here." She touched the heart in that side. "Maybe it is all something you've already been seeking."

She said nothing more.

But that husky voice did, slowly. "T'Pren talked about a place called Home, where Quiet Ones like her and Little Ones like me belonged. Where there were no guards or people dying in the night, where food was free and children slept and no one was afraid. Home was that star, there, with all the others shining in the night."

Saavik said nothing for a minute and Amanda remembered who T'Pren was. The older woman had gone out to learn more about Saavik when she had moved in, including talking to the other Hellguard survivors. All of them talked with reverence for the Vulcan woman who had died getting them help. Plenty of them talked about Saavik's relationship with her.

The younger woman spoke again. "I can point out Vulcan – point out Home - in the sky wherever I am. It is not only the stars that T'Pren gave me. She gave me this one. I am standing on it for the first time in my life. And if she had lived…"

Amanda took a chance. "If she had lived, she would have taught you the women's rites. That's how it should be." She paused. "I cannot give you T'Pren, but I can be there for you. And you, you can be there for me. It's not the same, but it will be good, Saavik. And when you return to the stars – and you will – you can take all this with you, even if you choose never to return."

Amanda felt a pang deep in her heart. She already would miss Saavik so much if she learned her lessons and left, never to come back.

Saavik's eyes finally lowered to the ground and she nodded. "I want my citizenship. However, I want it under my terms."

"That means?"

"I will not take the genetic scan."

Amanda bent her head to better see the other's face. "Then that is what we will do and, in the end, you'll be Saavik of Vulcan."

It was repeated in a whisper. "Saavik… of Vulcan."

"You can keep your room with Sarek and me. It will give us more time together."

Something clicked between them. Seven years of moments like this lay ahead, not that Amanda knew it now.

"Saavik, stop looking like that. The event for the President won't be such an ordeal. I'll be there and I'll guide you every step of the way. You'll see."

"Oh, my wonderful clueless creature. It's not the ballgown or the jewelry or anything else like that. It's you. Someday, I'll find a way to teach you that awareness of yourself."

"We're alike in that way, how we started later. Of Vulcan in our terms."

"I did study with the adepts, Saavik. I needed to learn what drew Spock to Gol. And I found peace."

"It's amazing how much I adore you despite you being so infuriating!"

"I know I asked you to tell me a sample of the humor you heard growing up, but I honestly don't think I'll sleep for the next few weeks after hearing that. We need to work on humor, Vulcan humor. They're masters of it if they choose to be, quick witted, table turning, and drier than the Forge."

"Valeris doesn't have your heart. She never will!"

"Saavik, it's about Genesis, isn't it? You would be there, wouldn't you? For Spock."

"T'Pren isn't the only one who loves you."

"T'Pren, I'm recording this in the hope it reaches you in the Hall of the Thought. It's about Saavik. I tried to take care of her the best I could. I hope you'll think I did."

Saavik's eyes returned to the sky, probably imagining Spock, the others and the stars themselves.

Amanda waited, still as proud to have the younger woman next to her. She felt the moment and knew life changed in this instant.

She couldn't be more happy. So, when Saavik took her eyes from above and met Amanda's at last, her head was held high too.

The blue eyes sparkled. "Now, let's truly begin."