Ronan walked close beside him for which Suvoc was grateful. For some reason, Suvoc had anticipated Father would be the difficult one rather than Sa-Mekh.

The trip to their apartment was fraught with silence from Sa-Mekh but Ronan kept up chatter with Father.

Once in the apartment, Father said, “Well, let’s get you settled in your room—”

“Suvoc, a word, please.”

He stiffened and looked regretfully in Father and Ronan’s direction. At the moment, Ronan was trying not to look at either Suvoc or his Sa-Mekh, and Suvoc could hardly blame him.

“Spock, you’re being rude,” Father said pointedly.

“No, Father. It is all right. Please show my mate to our room.”

Suvoc turned to Sa-Mekh as soon as Father and Ronan were out of earshot. “You wished to converse?”

“This bonding was…sudden.”

“Quite. In human terms, we eloped,” he replied, as stiff as Sa-Mekh.

“Very recently?”

“Affirmative. I…it was my time and Ronan…” Suvoc shook his head, aware he was becoming embarrassed.

“Your time? I was not made aware.”

“As there was nothing you could do about it, there was no requirement to notify you,” Suvoc snapped. He straightened. “Please. There is no reason for objection to Ronan.”

Sa-Mekh looked as though he would argue, but then nodded. “As it was sudden due to your…Pon Farr, that is the way of things.” He turned toward the kitchen. “I will prepare tea while you get settled.”

Suvoc bowed. “As you wish.”