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The Morning After- Pts 1 & 2
The Morning After
A/N: This is a warning from the author to you: This fic is pure fluff. Nothing else. Don’t expect much serious sci-fi action. It is what it is, so have fun with it.
Trip Tucker thought it funny how life tends to repeat itself. Once again, he had known the passion of a woman who mystified him unlike any other he’d ever met. He could remember every stroke of her fingers on his skin, every breathy sigh that escaped from her lips, every scratch of her nails. Even now, his skin tingled from where her frenzy had branded him, and he knew that there would be visible marks when he turned on the light. Just like the last time.
Only then, both of them had been fully aware and fully participatory in the act. They had been this time, too, only every thought of last night was fuzzy, like those old movies where Vaseline had been smeared on the lens to get an ethereal effect. He remembered it all, it just felt like a dream. And unlike the last time, Trip got the feeling that it hadn’t been an argument over who was jealous and who wasn’t that had lit their fire last night. There was just something weird about this whole thing. Almost like they’d been infected by something.
Above him, T’Pol slept on. He’d tried to rouse her already, right after he realized who she was. But if Trip were honest with himself, he hadn’t tried very hard. The thought of her being in his bed again was amazing, and he wasn’t quite ready to relinquish the warmth of her skin against his. Absently, he stroked the soft skin of her upper arm, his thumb grazing the slightly wrinkled place where her upper arm met her shoulder. His other arm tightened around her back, curving down around her hip and drawing her more tightly into his arms. She felt so right here with him.
For that very reason, Trip could feel the weight of regret sinking in his gut. Why, oh, why, did they have to have sex and ruin everything again? They were just starting to be friends again. Real friends! It had taken awhile after she’d declared him a sexual experiment for Trip to open up to her again. And her mood swings while they’d fought the Xindi had been erratic, so much so that he’d almost written her off. Then she’d gone and admitted she needed his help, his friendship. She’d even opened up enough to admit her age to him and it seemed that things had changed. That they’d turned over a new leaf in their relationship and were finally progressing to something meaningful.
The two months since they’d been redeployed had been filled with moments that warmed Trip’s heart like nothing ever had. She sought his council. She sought his company. Hell, she’d even told a joke once in his presence. Vulcan humor, of course, but he’d been elated at the idea anyway. He could see something in her eyes sometimes, something that gave him hope that his burgeoning feelings weren’t unreciprocated. That maybe someday, she’d realize how good they could be together. And maybe finally she’d confide in him as to why she’d been so un-Vulcan in the last few months.
Trip frowned in the darkness, his fingers pulling away from her and running roughshod through his hair. He’d had a plan, dammit! And it hadn’t included something as stupid as seducing T’Pol. Sure, he’d had thoughts of making love to her. Night-long, detailed, arousing thoughts. But he knew that if he wanted more than a quick fling with this woman, he’d have to do it the old-fashioned way. He’d have to be her friend first, her lover later.
T’Pol stirred against him, wriggling like a snake against his body. Stifling a groan, Trip took advantage of her movement to take her shoulders in his hands and shake her slightly.
“T’Pol,” he said at normal volume, right in her cutely pointed ear. “Wake up, T’Pol.”
She did nothing more than squirm against him again, inciting a response in Trip that he didn’t want at the moment. He couldn’t afford to be aroused by her right now. It was already bad enough that they’d been together the one time last night. Well—Trip’s breath caught, his face flaming—maybe that was four times. Oh, god. She was going to hate him.
Another slight shove to T’Pol’s shoulders made her whimper indignantly. Moving her mouth against his neck, T’Pol began to rain soft kisses on Trip’s skin, her small hands coming up to stroke his face. Her eyes remained stubbornly closed, and it seemed that she was searching for his mouth with both her own and her fingers. She finally found it, tracing the outline of his slightly open mouth with one finger.
When she kissed him, Trip had just about had enough. He couldn’t take this. Couldn’t control this. Because by God, if she stuck her tongue in his mouth and did what she did last night, he wasn’t going to be responsible for his actions. He had to get away.
Her tongue slid along the seam of his lips.
Oh, damn it! He had to get away now!
Almost violently, Trip shoved her away from him and slid out from underneath the heavenly warmth of her body, the cold air of his quarters shocking him into full awareness.
“For the love of God, T’Pol, wake up!”
She sat up abruptly in the darkness, One hand pressed against her forehead as if a headache pained her.
“I am quite awake, Commander,” T’Pol said, calm infusing every nuance of her tone. Only the trembling of her fingers gave away her discomfiture.
“Good.” Trip sank into a chair near the bed, then suddenly realized his lack of clothing. Snatching up his sweatpants from the floor nearby, he jerked them on quickly. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw T’Pol raise the sheet to cover herself.
“Why am I here?” T’Pol’s voice was cool. Almost cold.
Trip snorted. “I think that’s pretty obvious, darlin’.”
The darkness prevented him from seeing her expression, but he could picture the frown quite clearly as she answered. “That is not what I meant, Commander. I don’t remember entering your quarters last night.” She paused for a moment. “But I remember much of the night thereafter, although not clearly.”
A sigh escaped him. They were back to “Commander” again. Three damn months of painstaking work to win her trust had been flushed down the drain, all for one night. One glorious night. A night that made every cell in his body sizzle.
Quickly, Trip jerked himself out of the swirling pool of lust that threatened to engulf him once again. Walking over to the panel on the wall, he turned the lights on to a dim setting. It surprised him to find that even that small amount of light strained his eyes.
“I don’t know what the hell happened, T’Pol. But I think we need to talk about it.”
“I don’t think that would be beneficial.” Her emotionless voice cut him.
“Why the hell not?” he asked, anger coloring every word. He leaned back against the wall, his arms crossed. “I’m not going to just sit back and let you turn me into some kind of lab rat like you did last time!”
She stiffened noticeably. “I did not compare you to a lab rat. I said that I had been meaning to explore human sexuality. And I had been. That is all.”
He stood away from the wall suddenly, arms dropping to his sides as he advanced on her. “It was more than that, T’Pol. You know it. I know it. It’s why we have to talk about what happened last night.”
Shuttered brown eyes searched his face. Finally, she turned away from him, her back ramrod straight. “I fail to see the point in discussing this further. This mating was not of our choosing. At least not entirely. We were affected by some type of anomaly. It is the only logical explanation.”
A growl of frustration bubbled up in Trip’s chest, but he stopped it from escaping just in time. Taking a moment to calm himself, he closed his eyes and focused his emotions, just like she’d been teaching him. After a moment, he opened his eyes and stared her down.
“Look at me, T’Pol.”
Brown eyes rose to meet his blue ones. “I don’t want to mess up what we have because of last night, anomaly or not. You’re too important to me. Your friendship is too important to me.”
Something passed through her gaze, but it was gone before he could identify it. “One act beyond our control should not destroy our friendship.”
He sighed. It was like jack-hammering through concrete to get through to her sometimes. “That’s not what I meant. How we ended up sleepin’ together last night isn’t important, T’Pol. It’s that we did. And we enjoyed it. At least, I did. I’d like to think you did, too.”
She stared at him but didn’t answer.
“I just don’t want you to shut me out of your life like you did after the last time. I care about you too much.”
“Nothing will change,” she insisted.
“T’Pol, stop lyin’ to yourself!”
“Vulcans do not lie,” she said indignantly.
“Damn it, woman! You’re more stubborn than—”
The comm. panel beeped suddenly.
“Attention all Senior and Bridge Staff. This is the Captain. Report to the Situation Room at 0900 hours. I repeat, All Senior and Bridge Staff report to the Situation Room at 0900 hours. Archer out.”
Trip looked at the chronometer on the wall; it was 0850. “We’ll have to continue this discussion later.” He turned around. “I guess we’ll just—”
His comment was met with silence and the swish of his closing door. T’Pol was gone.
“. . . all Senior and Bridge Staff report to the Situation Room at 0900 hours. Archer out.”
Captain Archer’s hand lingered on the comm. panel just a moment longer, his mind drifting as his own words faded away. He was so confused. And so unnervingly satisfied.
It was weird, this way that he felt right now. In all his life, Archer couldn’t remember a time that compared with this morning, a time when he’d felt so emotionally relaxed and physically uncomfortable, all at once. When he awoke this morning, just before awareness crept over him, he hadn’t felt like he’d slept on his Ready Room floor all night. He’d felt as though he’d slept in a cloud of feathers, heated by the passion and warmth of a beautiful woman.
Then he’d shifted slightly, and pain had destroyed the bubble of pleasure surrounding him. Suddenly, every muscle ached and he had this weird feeling that something wasn’t right at all. The next few moments were the most astounding of his life, the discovery of Hoshi in his arms.
And then, like a deluge of floodwater, it all came rushing back to him. His whole body had flushed as he’d realized just how glorious making love to her had been. She was so different from him: small, smooth, golden, soft. They were a study of opposites, a beauty of contrasts that made his breath catch. She was a dream come to life. The perfect woman who’d always eluded him.
But she was Hoshi.
Just the thought of betraying her trust like that made him recoil inside. A shudder passed through Archer as he remembered how shocked she’d been to realize who he was, and how embarrassed she’d seemed as she’d leaped up, gathered her clothes, and sailed out the door with apologies streaming behind her. As if the fault somehow lay with her.
At his desk, Archer lowered his head to his hands, rubbing his eyes futilely. Of all the people on the ship, it had to be Hoshi. A woman he’d never admitted, even to himself, that he’d always been attracted to. Why couldn’t it have been some nameless woman from another part of Enterprise? Someone he barely knew and could sever ties with quickly? Someone closer to his own rank? Why did it have to be someone he’d have to see every damn day on the bridge and remember how it had felt to be inside her?
Desperate to escape this train of thought, Archer stood quickly, shutting off his computer terminal. He’d sent a brief subspace message to Starfleet, notifying them only that he needed to speak with Admiral Forrester immediately. He dreaded that call. Not that he had any answers to impart. Not yet.
But damn it, he was going to find the answers to this mess if it killed him. If only he could make Hoshi forget last night happened, maybe he could find his sanity again, too.
As atmosphere’s go, the situation room was about the most uncomfortable that this ship had ever seen. The faces of the senior staff reflected the same feelings as a group of teenagers who’d been caught red-handed by their parents. Not one pair of eyes met another as they fidgeted where they stood, hands clasping consoles or edges of their own clothing in an attempt to steady their bouncing nerves. Only T’Pol gave some outward semblance of control, but had anyone looked at her eyes, they would’ve seen the same disturbance reflected there.
All eyes whipped to the door as the Captain strode in. Careful to avoid the eyes of his communications officer, he stood near T’Pol and assessed the state of his crew. Sighing, he ran a hand over his already worn features. It was only 0900 and everybody looked as though they’d been up for three days.
Archer looked at each person for a moment, even Hoshi. Most met his eyes briefly, then their gazes skittered away from his. Blushes tinted cheeks, jaws twitched, lips pursed. Every single person in that room knew they weren’t alone in their embarrassment, yet that knowledge did nothing to reassure them.
Sighing again, Archer shook his head. “I’ve called you all here because we have a bit of an unusual situation on our hands. But before we talk about this, I want to say something, and you’d better listen because this is the only time I’m going to say it.”
Reluctantly, most of his staff raised their eyes to look at his face.
“The details of what happened last night will not get anyone into a court-martial situation, no matter what ranks or fraternization issues are involved. Even without any investigation, I think we can all agree that what happened to us was not the result of anything natural.”
“The probability of that would be highly unlikely,” T’Pol said in agreement, the efficiency in her tone belying her discomfort.
Archer nodded. “Then I think its important that we treat this situation clinically. How you deal with the person you shared your bunk with last night is your business. But I do need to know how many of you were affected by this.”
Everyone shifted awkwardly.
She paused and swayed slightly on her feet. Not looking anywhere but at the wall across from her, she answered stiffly. “I was in Commander Tucker’s quarters last night.”
Trip turned a slight shade of pink. “She’s right, Cap’n.” He cleared his throat and cricked his neck as if his collar were suddenly too tight. Why’d she have to just spill it all out on the table like that?
“Okay,” Archer said, uncomfortable himself. He didn’t even want to think about the ramifications of that relationship yet. “Mayweather?”
Of everyone, Travis Mayweather looked the least embarrassed. In fact, he mostly looked bewildered. “I was alone, Sir. At least I think so. I had some strange symptoms late last night but I passed out soon afterward. I woke up in my rack alone this morning.”
Malcolm’s back was already impossibly straight, but he stiffened a bit further. Raising his chin with the tattered remains of his pride, and answered shortly. “I was with a female MACO, sir.”
Archer raised an eyebrow at that but didn’t inquire further.
The doctor bounced on his feet, appearing to be in his trademark good spirits. “Like Ensign Mayweather, I was rendered unconscious by this anomaly, Captain.”
“Good. Well, that makes everyone accounted for.”
Without thinking, Tucker spoke up. “What about Hoshi, sir?”
Hoshi blushed deeply. “Captain Archer already knows my whereabouts, Commander.”
Trip looked confused. “Oh.” Then his eyes went impossibly wide, darting back and forth between his captain and Hoshi. “Oh! Um, sorry, Hoshi.”
She shrugged. “It probably would’ve come out eventually, anyway.”
Archer straightened up again and cleared his throat. “I want each of you to interview your staff, but try to be sensitive to their feelings right now. Please reiterate what I told you about there being no blame for this situation. I want a count of all staff who were, um, active last night and a separate count of those who were unconscious.”
There was a round of “Aye, sir’s from his staff.
“Phlox, I want you to begin immediate scans on every person onboard, beginning with the people in this room. I will accompany you back to sickbay, as will Hoshi, T’Pol, and Tucker. If there’s some biological reason for this behavior, I want it found.”
Phlox nodded. “Of course, Captain.”
“Reed, you have the bridge in our absence. Dismissed.”
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A whole mess of folks have made comments
Oooooooooh, can I have the next part soon! I really enjoyed that.
I think you really caught the level of discomfort well, and I liked how well Archer handled the situation...he sounded very much like a Captain you can rely on...well done!
LOL. That was great! Very well done. I agree with Clicks. I really liked how Archer handled himself and the situation.
Ah, that´s a great addition! You´ve got the uncertainty of all of them really perfect! What a "wonderful" situation for all of them. :-)))))
Please continue sooooooon!!!!
This made me chuckle so much, I could easily imagine the atmosphere and like how Archer is handling the fallout. His sensible approach is a breath of fresh air but I am intrigued. Why did some just pass out? Perhaps they were not yet ready for that level of passion? Ali D :~)
I really enjoyed this!! Everyone's discomfort is clearly felt throughout this story. You have also written an Archer in whom I don't have to pull my hair out; thank god because my hair is short enough. Well done!
This just keeps getting better and better! I don't think I'm the only one here who thinks this story is gold! Ha! I haven't laughed like that in a while!
What a tasty morsel this story is turning into! My mouth is watering waiting for the next part!
Oooooh - can't wait for more!!
I've been checking several times a day for the next chapter.
And yes, I know I have no life! :)
Is this too soon to start whining for the next chapter? Great story!
I've been checking everyday too for the next chapter(s). Wouldn't it be funny if the women turn out pregnant? Why? I don't know. I guess it's just a thought from a hopeless romantic.
Still checking EVERYDAY!!!
It's coming, I promise. Almost done with the next chapter. :D