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Several days later
Noah looked up at the door. He wasn't expecting anyone but sure enough, the chime had sounded.
Probably another class mate looking in on me, he thought as he moved to the door.
Opening the door revealed something far different: Eris's mother and father stood framed in the door.
No one said anything for several tense heartbeats. Then Noah's upbringing kicked in.
"Please, come in," Noah said, bowing slightly, as he motioned them into his quarters.
The pair nodded and entered the room, moving to sit on the couch and leaving the chair to Noah.
"We are the parents of Eris," her father said, in Basic. "I am Thaalen and this is my wife, Ankisar."
"Eris told me much about you," Ankisar said.
"You honor my home with your presence," Noah said in flawless Andorian.
Both parents shared a glance but said nothing.
"My adoptive mother was a xenolinguist at the Daystrom Institute," Noah began explaining, "so, languages come easy to me."
"She didn't tell me you had mastered our language," Ankisar smiled.
"Did she tell you we were planning to be married after we had graduated," Noah asked.
"Yes, she did. It was all she talked about," Thaalen said, a wistful smile creeping onto his face.
Noah didn't trust his voice but simply returned the smile. He motioned for Thaalen and Ankisar to be seated and then remembered he hadn't served them anything.
"May I offer you a refreshment," he asked.
Ankisar crossed the gap between them and took Noah by the hand, leading him to a seat next to Thaalen.
"Please, do not worry after us. We have met with the staff and the other members of your crew. They're the reason that we're here. We were worried about you," Ankisar said kindly.
"I haven't gone back to class because I can't face them. I can't look at them and not think of Eris…and the others," Noah said.
"While it will be painful, you can not…" Thaalen was interrupted by the door chime.
Noah looked toward the door and wondered who else could be needing his attention.
The door chimed again.
"Please excuse me," Noah said, switching to Basic.
He moved to the door and was surprised for the second time that day. This time framed in the doorway was his adoptive father and mother, Ichiro and Shinobu Hisakawa.
"What…you…" Noah was dumbstruck.
"Hi, son" his father said. To any observer it would have sounded cold but between Noah and Ichiro it was the warmest of greetings. Shinobu Hisakawa, however, didn't beat around the bush. She moved with a speed that belied her advancing age and wrapped her arms around Noah's midsection.
"We came as soon as we got the news," she said, not letting go.
"Uh, why don't you come in. There's someone I'd like you to meet," Noah said.
The trio turned and made their way to the sitting area. Thaalen and Ankisar had risen and were standing together, arms around one another.
"Thaalen, Ankisar, these are my parents, Ichiro and Shinobu Hiakawa. Mom, Dad…these are Eris's parents," Noah said making the introductions.
In a move that Noah wouldn't have predicted in his lifetime, his parents bowed deeply to the Andorians.
"Your presence here honors our family, "Ichiro said before standing upright.
Thaalen and Ankisar shared another glance. Noah picked up on the unease.
"My parents are from Japan," Noah began explaining, "a culture that is steeped in respect and honor for guests."
"But evidently not so much that you offer them a refreshment," Shinobu chided gently.
"Oh, not so. Noah has tried to offer us refreshments, but we refused. We came because we were worried about him," Ankisar explained in reply.
Shinobu smiled at this and a touch of sadness crept into her face.
"We were too, " Ichiro said sadly.
Thaalen looked at his wife and waited until she nodded, then he spoke.
"In our culture, Andorians gather to mark the passing of a clansman," Thaalen explained.
"It is a solemn occasion and one reserved for Andorians only. But we want to make sure that the healing purpose of this ceremony is shared by all, " Thaalen said.
"To be honest, we have no clansmen. We are outcasts within Andorian society because we bore a shan that was…barren," Ankisar explained, casting her eyes down.
Both Ichiro and Shinobu gasped quietly but said nothing else.
"But we were hoping that since Eris had formed a relationship with you, Noah, and a tight bond with the other cadets that you would honor us by gathering with us to remember her," Thaalen said quietly.
Noah didn’t trust his voice. A single tear rolled down his left cheek and all he could do was nod.
"You honor us, Thaalen, by inviting us to such an occasion. We could do no less," Ichiro answered.
Both Thaalen and Ankisar sighed heavy sighs of relief.