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Turn (R)- Epilogue
By stub & Joe
He was gathering up some things to take to T'Pol's quarters when the chime on his door sounded.
"Come in!" Trip called out. He turned around to find Jonathan Archer standing near the doorway.
"Evening, Trip," the captain greeted his Chief Engineer. A tight smile formed on his lips.
"Cap'n," returned the engineer. "What brings you by?"
"I was just out walking the halls and this is where I ended up."
Trip looked up. "That's not like you to jus' wander about, Cap'n. Did ya have somethin' on your mind?" Trip waited.
"Actually yes," Archer replied, "I did." He gestured to a chair. "May I?"
Trip nodded. "Please."
Archer took a deep breath. "Just wanted to say I'm sorry." He waited a moment to gauge his friend's reaction. When Trip just cocked his head to the side and waited, Archer continued. "I'm sorry for the way I acted yesterday."
"You don't have to do this," said Trip, holding up a hand. "It's not necessary."
"Yes, Trip, it is." Archer glanced at his friend and continued. "I'm so sorry about your loss. I know this must be hard on both of you right now."
"Yeah," he acknowledged. "It is hard. But we'll get through it. Thanks." He shoved more items in his duffel bag.
Archer sighed. "And I'm sorry that I got a little green."
"A little green?" Trip said looking up. He was still a bit pissy with Jon about that.
"Trip," said Archer, his voice not quite at warning level. "I realize that I was an ass about the whole thing."
"Yes, you were." Trip paused before continuing. "I really did think you were over her, you know."
"Well, I guess we both know I'm not." Archer sighed again. "What's done is done."
"Jon, don't give me this 'done is done' crap. Don't blow it off like that. If you've got somethin' to say, say it." Trip sat down across from Archer. "I'm a big boy. I can handle it."
"What can I say, Trip? I missed my opportunity. I had all the time in the world to do something about it and I didn't."
Trip looked at Jon. "Well, why didn't you?"
Archer dropped his eyes. "I don't know. That's the thing, I just don't know. It didn't seem right. I tried to picture myself with her and no matter how many times I thought about it, it never seemed to work."
"So, what, you didn't wanna take a chance?"
"No." Archer looked regretful.
"Why the hell not, Jon?" Trip was confused. "If ya wanted her..."
"Because," said Archer, "because I saw the way that you were with her. Meditating together, working side-by-side, bickering like schoolchildren whenever there was a conflict. I could see it well before either one of you did. I guess I never did anything about it because every time I thought of her, I thought of her with you."
Trip's jaw dropped. "What? Why didn't you say anything?"
"It wasn't my place, Trip. I can't encourage fraternization amongst the crew. If it happened, I would have dealt with it but it wasn't for me to say." Archer looked up. "And now here we are. It's happened. And I'm dealing with it. Though not too well at the moment."
Trip just sat there. He had never had a conversation like this with him. This was rather unexpected. "Jon, I don't know what to say."
"I guess there really isn't much to say," said Archer. "It's going to take some time for me to work through this. I can't say I approve. But I can't say that I disapprove, either."
"So, what about the Vulcan High Council? An' Starfleet?" Trip asked reluctantly. "Don't you hafta file some sorta report with them regardin' this...situation?"
"Yes. Under normal circumstances I would have to file a report. But sometimes I think some things are better left unsaid. In this case, what they don't know won't hurt them. Don't you think?"
Trip nodded. "Yes sir. Thank you."
Archer forced a smile. "Don't mention it. Please."
Trip was silent for a few seconds. He studied his friend's face. He could see the sincerity there, the honest sorrow. "Jus' to clarify, I am, y'know," said Trip quietly.
"You are what?" Archer asked, confused. He sat with his elbows on his knees.
"In love with her," Trip answered. He leaned forward. "I never answered your question in Sickbay yesterday."
The captain nodded. "I'm glad."
"Never thought I'd hear myself say that. I'm in love with a Vulcan," Trip said, chuckling lightly. He looked up at his friend. "T'Pol is everything I'm not, Jon."
Archer looked him in the eye. "So you're happy, then?"
It was Trip's turn to nod. "Yeah," he said thoughtfully. "Yeah, I am." He regarded the man before him. "Are we gonna be okay?"
Archer looked back at him. "Yeah, Trip, you will be."
"Not me an' T'Pol. I meant us." He pointed to himself and then to Archer.
"Yeah, I know," said Archer. He got up from his chair. "Goodnight, Trip."
Before Trip could utter a reply Archer was gone, leaving the engineer staring thoughtfully at the door.
AUTHORS' NOTES: Sorry this took so long to write. Hopefully we got our timeline right. It was a labor of love that took a lot of time to bring to fruition. We are very pleased with this and hope that our readers enjoyed it as well. If there is some interest, we might consider following it up with a little back story (prequels seem to be popular these days) as to why Archer reacted the way he did to Trip & T'Pol's situation. It probably wouldn't happen for a while though as we're currently cooking on all four burners and still falling behind. As always, thanks for reading.
stub & Joe
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Four of you have made comments
great stuff. i loved this story! i even got a little weepy at the end! well done.
You managed to absolutely capture the essence of why a Trip/T'Pol relationship is more interesting than an A/T'Pol relationship in this chapter.
Nice A/Tu stuff too.
Well done, enjoyed it.
That was beautiful. I had tears for a bit there, thank you.
So few comments...
I loved this story, the characterization and story-telling were very beautiful and I can just imagine this taking place so easily. Lovely story, one of my all-time favourites.