=/\= Sas-a-Shar (The Forge), T'Karath Sanctuary =/\=
9th Day in the month of T'lakht, YS 9022
Brent opened up his own set of rations and looked down at the unappetizing meal. Well beef stew wasn't as bad as some of the others he had tasted before. He took his the spoon provided to him and began to eat. Sakarra's question had caught him of guard and he looked down at the meal she had before he chuckled at her question. "Mac and Cheese?" he asked her, trying to calm down his amusement. "Ah yes. It's Macaroni. A type of pasta from Earth. That is a poor substitute of Mac and Cheese. My mother makes a good homemade version of it that it extremely delicious. I'll have her make it when we go visit my parents. Once we get out of this sand death trap... It's not half bad you should have it." he motioned at the package before Brent dug into more of his food package. "Oh damn. Freeze dried peaches. These things are good," he said and began to munch on a brick that may or may not have been a peach in its previous life.
"I doubt it would agree with you, Warya."
"As you will."
Lacking any proper plates or utensils for that matter Sakarra simply left a third of the oddly chewy food that was so laden with additives it made her tongue burn as it was and ripped open the package to form an awkward platter of sorts. Placing it carefully on the Sehlat's massive paw she watched her old friend sniff and roll his amber-golden eyes, before he simply devoured the whole thing.
"You are aware you ate the ah, well. It never troubled you before, has it?"
"I should like that." Sakarra watched her Companion attack his food with the usual gusto, and as usual it was a joy simply to observe. "Your mother is also the primary kitchen-mistress? Or is the pasta merely something she prepares on request?"
Peaches. She had tried those and found them rather delightful, reminiscent of the pla-savas that grew like weeds all across Kir only without the prickly shell. Unfortunately the whatever it was Brent was eating, had barely the faintest scent of the velvety fruit. But enough to remind her of home. And once the thought was there, it would not go away.
The sprawling estate, the charming little outbuildings dotting the hills. The gardens with their old, massive trees and fragrant herbs, beautiful flowers and succulent fruits and vegetables, tended lovingly by generations of Vulcans. The high-ceilinged halls and generous rooms, at once Spartan and cozy, grandeur living in harmony with simplicity.
Like an aching void in her heart, a silent pain, bittersweet longing.
Warya burped and had the good graces to look mildly embarrassed about it.
"I think it might be wise to investigate the water source now, ashal-veh. Even if it is not fit for drinking, I should welcome a chance to wash some of this sand off me." If you had wounds that were itching furiously as it was, sand made the matter slightly more uncomfortable.
"Yeah she's the head chef. My dad helps her out when he can. He grills a lot though, that's his domain if you will," Brent replied as he broke off half of the remaining freeze dried peach and offered it to Sakarra. "You should try it. It's not half bad for rations. I heard during the war that some people were offering their first born for little treats like this," he said with a smirk. "My mom has some help in the kitchen. Sure isn't from me though. I'm alright on a grill but dad is better. James is a surprisingly good cook, might even be as good as mom. Good thing too his wife is worse than I am," Brent said making a face at remembering some of the meals that she had cooked for the family before mom decided that would be enough and instead taught James more of her secrets.
"I'd offer to wash your back and a few other places too. Only I imagine you'd screech at me and try to break my hand if I tried with that disruptor blast," Brent said with a wink as he helped Sakarra to her feet and stood up himself. "Lead the way. My beak isn't that good when it comes to smells."
Sakarra nodded and graciously accepted the fruit or approximation of such. Right now her body was grateful for any sustenance; but it was the gesture itself, the sharing of the precious food that held such significance for one of her kind, that made the raven haired Vulcan experience yet another overwhelming surge of tenderness. That, and the way he talked about his family, with the timbre of his voice speaking volumes behind the words themselves.
Her pearly teeth dug into the tough, leathery brick and she was surprised at the sudden rush of sweetness exploding on her tongue. Treat. She would agree with that.
"Vulcans do not screech." She stated matter-of-factly, but with a gentle bit of mischief in her night-black eyes as she nibbled on the last bit of peach, savoring the taste as only a Vulcan can after spending days without food in the desert.
Standing in the middle of the ruined room, Sakarra canted her had thoughtfully, listening, smelling feeling.
"Beak?" He towered over her like a Sehlat over a Tsh'in, and while that had never disconcerted her, it had never felt quite this soothing, either. There was something to be said for a mate whose imposing physiology alone meant you could rely on him to carry you across the Plains of Blood with astonishing speed should the need present itself. Not to mention it made him a quite comfortable pillow.
Perhaps surprising to those who know how greatly Vulcans value and appreciate beauty, they also rarely consider it a factor when choosing a mate. At least not the physical aspect of it. So while Sakarra was on a near absentminded level aware that her Companion could be considered aesthetically pleasing it was not something she pondered often. Enjoyed, and greatly so, when confronted with marvelous details like being pressed against the hard plane of his chest, knowing that it was cool and sculpted and felt highly pleasant under her fingertips; but what made it truly beautiful beyond comparison was when their minds touched, intertwined, created the feedback loop of touch and recognition, shared the joy and multiplied it a myriad times.
When Sakarra looked at Brent in the dim, garnet light cast by a tiny jewel faithfully projecting a broad map into the middle of the room, it was in a way the first time she truly looked at him. And it took her breath away, for a small eternity.
Ah, but he was a sight. And if he weren't as careless about his good looks as a Favinit cares about its beauty, she might have caught on to it sooner.
Realizing she was in fact staring, the Vulcan shook off her mesmerized stupor and turned on her heel to march into the adjoining chamber, just so remembering to grab the little jewel to illuminate the way.
A small set of stairs led into a natural cavern, and the sound of water trickling out of a crevice echoed off the rock. Slow, steady, cool but the stone under her feet was not. Nor was the shallow pool nestled right underneath the crag, shimmering faintly in the garnet light.
A treasure for which centuries ago, entire Clans would have gone to war. Sweet, life-giving water, sated with minerals, and more than that a spring. Water, funneled from the peaks of Llangon, winding and making its way through rock, down, always down, until at last it had no place left to go and became this.
Vulcans don't believe in miracles. They simply know they exist, especially when staring at one.
"Oh, Brent. Look."
Apparently, it was a day for beauty unsought for and found all the same.
"Yes dear. No screeching. Got it," he replied as she insisted that Vulcan's do not screech. He smirked as he followed behind Sakarra, wondering just what she expected to find. A hot spring? Water here? He had to admit that the more time he spent on Vulcan the less and less he liked it. Killer storms, blazing heat, amazement at a little bit of rain. He definitely would not last long here. Perhaps it was good that he was going to go spend some time back home. The rain, the biting cold. Brent thought he could use some of that right about now. Wool coats, heavy boots. Snowball fights with his brothers. Say that's an idea, he could get into a snowball fight with Sakarra. That would be interesting.
"Hm? Oh. You know. Your snozz. Sniffer. Honker," Brent said, catch up briefly enough to gently flick Sakarra's nose. "You know, your nose." he said before he turned, and heard her exclaim to him. "A hot spring. You were right," he said with a slight smile. "So much for more drinking water. But I suppose this will do well for something to relax in hmm?"
Do well? Her beloved's gift for understatement was betimes carrying a little far.
He had barely finished speaking when a sand-dusted tunic landed in his face and judging by the enthusiastic rustle next to him Sakarra was already struggling out of her pants and the bandages wrapped around her torso before a resounding splash announced exactly how well this would do in a Vulcan's mind.
"Reyih, Warya. Baykh'uh, k'say."
Ah, but it was wonderful. Warm and clear, smelling faintly of metal and stone, with barely a tinge of sulfur. Embedded crystals in the rock threw back the map's light and bathed the pool in twinkling, shimmering ruby tones, at once calming and cheerful. No luxuriant bath house could claim such ruddy splendor as nature had created in this hidden, secret, forgotten cave.
=/\= To be continued =/\=
Lt Cmdr Sakarra Tyrax
Brevet 1st Lieutenant Brent Warren