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The Forgotten Time II: Ashaya
Author - enterpriseScribe | F | Genre - Angst | Genre - Drama | Genre - Romance | Main Story | Rating - R | T
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The Forgotten Time II: Ashaya
This story is a sequel to The Forgotten Time.
Trip sighed and rolled over in bed for what seemed like the hundredth time. The blanket was twisted up at his feet, and he couldn’t for the life of him find a comfortable spot on the hard, lumpy pillow. In frustration, he reached behind his head, grabbed it, and flung it across the room, making a mental note to requisition a new one from the quartermaster in the morning.
His thoughts were erratic, almost as if they weren’t his own. He’d been feeling weird for the last few weeks… ever since he and T'Pol had woken up in her quarters, missing twelve hours out of the day, and only vaguely cognisant of having been recruited for a temporal mission of some sort.
They hadn’t spoken overmuch since the incident, but that hadn’t stopped them from spending at least a couple of hours together every night engaging in nearly silent neuropressure sessions that brought them both a good deal of comfort. Their relationship had definitely changed recently, though Trip would have been hard-pressed to say if it was for the better or not. Something was different: something neither of them was quite ready to talk about yet.
She had invited him home to meet her mother…and at the time he thought this a sign that she was ready for the next step in their slowly-evolving relationship. However, things had taken an unexpected and peculiar turn when they discovered that her mother was being discriminated against due to her daughter’s unusual lifestyle…and T’Pol’s old fiancé Koss was the only one with the power to restore T’Les’ position at the Academy.
T’Pol had put her mother’s needs ahead of her own.
The fact that T’Pol was now a married woman certainly complicated things, and at first Trip thought that that at least would have been enough to squelch the strange bond he seemed to be forming with the ship’s resident Vulcan. But the pressure was still building daily, and he was pretty sure it was only a matter of time before it came to a head.
T’Pol was never far from his thoughts these days. He simply couldn’t get her out of his mind, and tonight was no exception. In fact, as he lay there in the darkness, he was debating whether or not to simply get up and go to her quarters for a much-needed chat. If he waited for her to broach the subject, it might be months. Just as he was forming the resolution in his mind, the door chime sounded, startling him into a sitting position. He cleared his throat and croaked, “Come in.”
The door slid open and closed to admit his late-night visitor, the light from the corridor briefly illuminating the room and then fading, again leaving the only source of radiance that of the stars glittering outside his window.
“Trip.” T’Pol’s hushed voice floated to his ears across the darkness of the room. He saw a shadowy form pass between himself and the window, as she made her way deftly to a side shelf where she knew he kept the meditation lamp she had given him recently as a gift. The igniter was lying next to it, and she lit the lamp by touch. She knew his quarters as well as her own now, and had no trouble in the dark.
The soft glow of the flame illuminated her face as she carried it to his low table and placed it down. Trip blinked, his eyes slowly adjusting to the ruddy light. T’Pol had a blanket around her shoulders, and she settled herself on the floor in front of his bed, looking quietly up at him.
“I’m sorry to disturb you. But I had an idea you weren’t sleeping either. Was I mistaken?” she asked in her low voice.
A wry smile tugged at Trip’s mouth. “Nope,” he answered. “I’ve been tossin’ and turnin’ for two hours now. I was actually about thirty seconds from going to your quarters.”
T’Pol, nodding, evinced no surprise at this revelation. Both of them had now noticed the strange bond that was recently deepening between them. Though neither of them had mentioned it yet, they were starting to become almost used to it.
Trip pushed himself off the bed, went to the window, and stretched as he looked out. He could feel T’Pol’s eyes on his back, watching him in the flickering flame light; but he felt no self-consciousness, though he was clad only in his dark blue shorts. He couldn’t remember ever being so comfortable around a woman. Whatever else their relationship was made up of, she had become his best friend. He turned to face her, leaning against the cool glass of the window.
T’Pol’s attention was caught by a PADD on the table next to the lamp. She picked it up curiously and glanced at him. “The teachings of Surak?”
Trip crossed the room and sat on the floor in front of her. “Yeah,” he affirmed. “I’ve been feeling kind of…outta sorts these days. Thought maybe old Surak would have some insight for me.” He didn’t add that lately, anything related to T’Pol and her people had attracted his attention intensely. He couldn’t say why.
“I too have lately been studying ‘old Surak’, as you put it. I have been trying to come to terms with my mother’s recent conversion. We had very little time to discuss it before her…death.” At the mention of her mother’s decease, T’Pol’s eyes dropped. She placed the PADD back on the table and folded her hands in her lap.
Trip reached out and placed a hand on her knee. A familiar sensation traveled up his arm as he touched her. He was starting to get the distinct impression that he could somehow hear T’Pol’s thoughts when they were touching. At first he put it down to an overactive imagination, but now he was certain that something real was happening during their neuropressure sessions. Fragments of thoughts, feelings, impressions that he was sure weren’t his own kept insinuating themselves into his psyche as they worked together. And from the practically clairvoyant comments T’Pol often came out with, exactly echoing things he himself was thinking about, he was pretty sure he wasn’t the only one experiencing the phenomenon. Suddenly, he could keep quiet about it no more.
“What’s goin’ on with us T’Pol?”
Their eyes met, haunted.
After a long moment, Trip sighed. “Turn around,” he said wearily. “I’m too keyed up to think right now. I think some neuropressure would do us both a world of good.”
T’Pol nodded in agreement and swivelled around so her back was to him. Trip kneeled forward and gently pulled the blanket she still held close about her shoulders down a few inches to expose her pyjama-clad shoulders. Softly he placed his fingertips against the warm skin at the base of her neck and started to manipulate the pressure points she had taught him over the last year.
Peace settled quickly over both occupants of the room as Trip slowly worked his way down each vertebra, increasing the pressure as he went. T’Pol silently undid the few buttons on the front of her top and let it slip down off her shoulders to allow Trip access to the bare skin of her back.
Though both of them often exposed a lot of skin during their neuropressure sessions, Trip could never quite get used to the sight of her unclad, muscular form. It always took a good deal of self-control for him to view the scenario as dispassionately as she seemed to. However, Trip was starting to suspect that she was perhaps simply better at hiding her feelings than he was. As his hands travelled tenderly further south along her spinal column, he was sure he was picking up a disquiet that came from loins other than his own.
T’Pol suddenly tugged her top back up, and swiftly buttoning it, turned to face him. “I believe it is your turn now,” she said, indicating he should turn around. Trip did so without comment, tucking his feet into a cross-legged position. But he couldn’t help smiling a little to himself as he did.
T’Pol’s small, strong hands began their firm course along the neuropressure points of Trip’s spine. He had the distinct impression she wanted to say something, was trying to frame an opening in her mind, but was having trouble beginning. Without turning, Trip reached a hand up and placed it over hers on his shoulder.
“What is it?” he asked gently.
T’Pol’s hands faltered for a moment before resuming their path. After a moment, she responded.
“Koss came to see me before we left Vulcan.”
Now it was T’Pol’s turn to smirk inwardly at the brief, but distinct clap of jealousy she felt from Trip’s thoughts. She said nothing about it, however, and continued:
“He has released me from our marriage.”
There was a beat of total silence, and then T’Pol snatched her hands back from Trip’s skin at the belated whitehot shout of joy that silently arced through him and into her mind.
He turned slowly to face her. “Y’mean, you’re gettin’ a divorce?” he asked quietly, incredulously.
“The Vulcan term is p’pil’lay, the unbonding, but essentially yes, a divorce.” T’Pol’s voice was quiet, but Trip could feel her relief pouring through the calm.
“And…you… don’t have any other promised mates out there who’re gonna show up and claim you, do you?” Trip asked warily.
“No.” T’Pol answered simply, gladly.
Trip let out a long sigh. “Well, that’s…that’s great. I never liked the idea of you bein’ married to someone you had no feelings for.” He managed to keep the giddiness out of his voice with great effort.
“I’ve wanted to tell you for some days now,” T’Pol explained, looking at her hands. She glanced up, “But I was…afraid.”
Surprised, Trip looked into her uncertain eyes. “Of what?” he asked.
T’Pol glanced down again, unable to keep eye contact with his quietly burning gaze. She paused a few moments before trying to explain. “Our association has always been…perplexing…for me. On Vulcan, matings are arranged in childhood. My culture does not prepare one for the uncertainties and emotional demands that come with relationships based on…personal desire.” Here she stopped again, searching for words. Trip took her hand, but waited patiently for her to finish.
T’Pol looked Trip in the eye, a strange expression on her face. “I know it was difficult for you on Vulcan, attending my marriage to Koss. At the lava fields, when I informed you of my decision, I was sure you would make it hard for me as well, but you said nothing. I never told you how much it meant to me, having you there, having your…support.” She paused to allow her thanks to sink in, and then continued: “As I told you before, I went directly to Mount Seleya afterward for a period of meditation. However, I found it difficult to concentrate on my studies.” Here her eyes dropped again. Her voice took on a troubled tone. “One thought disturbed me almost constantly.”
If Trip didn’t know better, he would have thought she was near tears. He squeezed her hand, and reaching out, gently tipped her chin up to look at her more closely. “What was it?”
T’Pol’s mouth worked momentarily, trying to frame the words she wanted to say, while she fought back emotion. Finally she whispered with a catch in her voice, “How could you let me go so easily?” A tear followed the question, quickly wiped away, but not unnoticed by the man facing her.
A thousand things to say swirled in his mind, and unable to settle on one immediately, Trip merely sighed, pulled T’Pol toward him and held her tightly for a few minutes. She pressed her face into the skin of his bare chest, enjoying the closeness of being held, but dreading his answer.
Trip kissed the top of her head gently and laid his cheek against her warm hair. Eyes closed, he answered her.
“Darlin’, watching you marry Koss was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever had to do.” T’Pol shivered at the fervour of his voice and the accompanying emotion she could feel pulsing through his heart. “Y’know, right before the ceremony, your mother told me I had to come clean with you, tell you how I felt. She said it was ‘important for you to have all the facts’.”
T’Pol twisted to look up at him, surprised at this revelation. “Why didn’t you?”
“Like I told your mom, you had enough pressure on you as was…I didn’t want to make it worse.”
T’Pol closed her eyes again, breathing in the familiar scent of Trip’s skin. “You put my wishes ahead of your own.”
“I guess you could say that,” Trip agreed.
“So the error was mine in not telling you what my true wishes were in the first place.” T’Pol didn’t elaborate further; she simply tightened her arms around his middle, sparking a curious wondering in Trip’s mind.
They sat like that for awhile, silent, simply savouring one another’s presence and the fragile threads of possibility that were shining around them. Too tenuous to disturb with discussion.
Eventually, T’Pol loosened her hold on him and slowly pulled away to stretch her cramped limbs. Trip did the same, and when he looked up, found T’Pol silently watching him. “Trip,” she began, “could I ask a favour?”
Trip smiled and replied, “Anything.”
“I need to ask the Captain for permission to return to Vulcan for the p’pil’lay. Koss and I were telepathically bonded at our wedding ceremony, and the priest who performed the ritual must be present to remove the link. I would appreciate it if you would accompany me.”
A brief thought flashed through Trip’s mind of all the work he had in Engineering, but he banished it in an instant. He couldn’t leave her to go back alone. To her empty family home. To face Koss. He smiled and nodded.
“I was there for the weddin’, s’only right I should be there for the divorce,” he said wryly. He returned to sit next to her on the floor. After a moment’s hesitation, he asked, “So, you and Koss can speak…y’know…telepathically?”
A small frown passed over T’Pol’s features. “Actually, though I was always told the bond with my mate would be strong enough that we could share our thoughts, I noticed no change after the ceremony. Of course, we spent less than a few hours in one another’s presence before I left for Mount Seleya. Perhaps the bond would have become stronger as we spent more time together.”
Trip thought about this. “Is that the way it usually works?”
T‘Pol shook her head. “I don’t know. It is highly unusual for bondmates not to reside together immediately for at least a year. In fact, I know of no couples who haven’t. Perhaps that is why the tradition came to be.”
Trip looked down, unable to meet her gaze as he asked another question. “Why didn’t you want to live with Koss, if that’s the tradition?”
Her voice uncomfortable, T’Pol replied, “I am an…unusual…Vulcan in many respects.”
Trip raised his eyebrows and nodded, a small smile playing across his lips. “That’s true enough.”
T’Pol bristled slightly. “What do you mean?”
Trip gave her a disarming grin. “Just what I said. It’s true… you’re an unusual Vulcan. No complaints here, though. I like it when you get all emotional on me.”
T’Pol pulled back a few feet and sat up on her heels. “I am not…emotional.” Her voice took on the chilly tone she reserved for being offended.
Trip made no move toward her; he simply looked her squarely in the eye. “Sometimes y’are,” he maintained softly, but not unkindly.
“You are…mistaken.” T’Pol averred firmly.
“Y’know I’m not,” Trip countered. “And I know it too, ‘cause for some reason, I can hear what you’re thinking.”
There. He had said it. He waited, tense, for her reaction. T’Pol opened her mouth to respond, but Trip cut her off. “And don’t bother tellin’ me I’m ‘mistaken’, ‘cause you can hear what I’m thinkin’ too,” he said before she could deny it.
T’Pol met his gaze finally with almost frightened eyes. She didn’t deny it. Finally she spoke in hushed tones. “I was hoping it was only my imagination.”
“You said you didn’t have an imagination,” Trip responded dryly, though not as if he believed it.
“I don’t. So there is only one other alternative.”
Trip waited for her to expand upon this. When she didn’t, he prompted her. “What’s that?”
T’Pol seemed agitated. Trip inched a little closer, and put his hand over hers. Now that they had admitted its existence, it was as if the link had increased tenfold. He held on in wonderment as he felt T’Pol’s emotions—T’Pol’s emotions—pouring gently through his mind. She was definitely agitated. And hiding something. Trip experimented carefully, reaching out via the link to her thoughts.
T’Pol…what is it?
T’Pol’s head jerked up and she stared uncomprehendingly into Trip’s face. She said nothing, but Trip could faintly hear her wild thought:
How can it be this strong?
“How is what this strong?” Trip asked aloud. His attempt to speak mentally had seemed to shake her.
After another second, T’Pol swallowed, and finally answered him, her voice throaty, disturbed. “The nehou ni’var, the touching of minds. Vulcans are touch telepaths, but the skill is deeply shielded. Normally inaccessible without the intervention of one skilled in the mental arts, such as a priest. Or unless….”
T’Pol trailed off, a strange expression masking her features.
“Unless what?” Trip gently prodded.
“Unless…” T’Pol writhed microscopically. “One’s…defences…are severely lowered,” she finished. Her voice was barely above a whisper, almost, Trip thought, ashamed.
“Wha’d’y’mean, ‘severely lowered’?” Trip demanded, concern in his voice. “Is this because of that bond with Koss? Did it hurt you in some way?”
T’Pol turned her face away and stood up, pulling her hand from Trip‘s. “I’m not comfortable discussing this right now,” she said, the chilly tone settling over her words again. Shutting him out. Trip stood as well, but gave her her space.
“T’Pol,” he started, exasperation in his voice, “don’t do that. If you can’t trust me after everything we’ve been through, you’re never gonna trust anybody.”
“I don’t need to trust anybody,” T’Pol rejoined defensively.
“No, that’s right. Just lock yourself up in that confused Vulcan head of yours…keepin’ everyone at arms’ length. You’ll be just fine.” Trip tried not to roll his eyes.
T’Pol turned on him. “Sarcasm is unnecessary, Commander.”
“Oh, we’re back to ‘Commander’, are we?” Trip looked away and then met her eyes again. “Look. Something is clearly upsetting you here. I am your friend. I want to help you. Whatever it is, you don’t have to face it alone. When are you gonna realise that I would do anything for you? Hell, I stood by your side while you married someone else, didn’t I?”
T’Pol, who had been pacing the room, stopped in her tracks.
“Someone else?” she echoed faintly, staring straight ahead.
Trip pursed his lips. Damn it, that was more than he’d wanted to say. Too late to take it back, he decided to be forthright.
“Yeah. Someone else.” He stepped closer and looked her in the eye. “As in someone other than…me.”
Trip waited an eternity of seconds for her response. T’Pol’s breathing had increased visibly, and her lower lip trembled slightly as she stared into his eyes. Finally she spoke, her voice a whisper. “You?”
Committed now, though having no idea of what the outcome would be, Trip flung himself headlong into the void. “Yeah. T’Pol, I…” he reached for her hands and closed his fingers around them. He loved her hands. They were so much smaller than his, fragile-looking, but filled with strength enough to defend herself against someone much larger than he. Looking down at her hands, stroking her fingers, he finally said what he‘d meant to say on Vulcan.
“T’Pol, I love you.”
He stopped and looked up for her reaction, his heart pounding with emotion, adrenaline electrifying his skin. T’Pol said nothing, but he could see her pulse jumping in her throat, could feel loud, chaotic emotions burning in her heart through the simple touch of her hand. Her eyes, locked on his, quickly filled with tears, and she made no move to wipe them as they spilled down her cheeks.
Trip reached up with his other hand to tenderly brush the drops away. As he touched her face, the link became stronger. He knew she could feel the honesty and strength of the feelings he had for her pouring across the space between them.
Finally, T’Pol found her voice. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
Trip sighed and looked at the floor. “I don’t know. I didn’t really even admit it to myself until you told me you were marryin’ Koss. And at that point it seemed like I’d lost my chance. ‘Sides, the one time we discussed the possibility of our gettin’ married, you seemed less than enthusiastic.” He was referring to the encounter with Lorian’s Enterprise. The memory surfaced keenly in his mind, still as painful as the day it happened, though he hadn’t let on at the time.
They had been working alone together. Trip was feeling somewhat giddy over the thought of his half-Vulcan offspring. Lorian was a son to be proud of, regardless of the strange nature of his existence. Trip had been merrily recounting for T’Pol the details of their alternate selves’ wedding and honeymoon, not noticing her increasing discomfiture until she cut across his words.
“It's ridiculous to assume those events are going to happen. Hand me the flux coupler.”
Bemused, Trip handed her the coupler. “Aren't you at all curious about how you and I are supposed to end up together?” A thought occurred to him and he voiced it: “You're afraid to admit that, under the right circumstances, you could have feelings for me.” Mischievously, he smiled a little and pressed the point home. “Maybe…you have them already.”
At this, T’Pol turned. “I should've known this was a mistake.”
“Exploring human sexuality with you. You're obviously unable to have a physical relationship without developing an…emotional attachment.” Her posture and tone left no room for debate.
Trip recognised the familiar barrier she threw up between them whenever things became too intense for her Vulcan sensibilities. Further discussion was pointless. All the same, he felt the need to vent a little of his frustration: “You know, all the other women on board must've been taken, 'cause I can't imagine any other reason why I would've married someone as stubborn as you.” He made for the door. “I'll go help Rostov with the port manifold. You seem to have everything under control.”
Both Trip and T’Pol observed this memory as it passed through Trip’s mind.
T’Pol’s face was stamped with misery, and after a moment, she looked up into Trip’s face, almost pleadingly. “But I didn’t,” she whispered.
Trip held her hands. “Didn’t what?” he asked in confusion.
“Have everything under control,” T’Pol replied, again pulling her hands from Trip’s and pacing the small room.
“It was just a figure of speech,” Trip explained, not understanding her sudden distress.
T’Pol seemed not to notice. She was quietly becoming more agitated, wringing her hands and breathing more quickly. Suddenly she stopped. She seemed to reach a decision. Then she sat on the edge of Trip’s bed, her eyes on the floor. Without lifting them she said, “Trip, there is something else I need to tell you.”
“Okay,” Trip said, mystified by her erratic behaviour and still hanging from the unreturned L-word hovering in the air between them. He sat down next to her and waited.
T’Pol looked around the room. “This is difficult for me,” she began hesitantly. Remembering something Trip had said a few months ago while they were in the Expanse, she looked at him. “You said if I wanted to talk, you would be…‘all ears’.”
“And I am. What’s on your mind?” Trip asked. He abandoned all hope of getting any sleep that night, but was glad she had finally decided to open up. Maybe now he could get to the bottom of her recent bizarre behaviour.
T’Pol composed herself. She had no idea how Trip would react, but it was time to tell him. Something within her was screaming at her to trust him. Something, she hoped, that knew what it was talking about. And especially tonight, when he had just made a leap of faith: telling a Vulcan he was in love with her. That took bravery, she knew.
She also knew she would say it back.
But not until he understood where her new emotions were coming from. Not until he knew what he was getting into. She owed him that at least.
She turned and looked him straight in the eye.
“Trip, do you remember the effects the Trellium aboard the Seleya had on me?”
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A whole mess of folks have made comments
This is wonderful. I'm looking forward to the next chapter.
Holy cliff hanger! My goodness, that was a very heartfelt and well-written sequel. I'm so glad you decided to continue this story. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to see what you have next! I love how you're keeping with canon and bringing up all these refs from season 3! Bravo!!! I can so see them having these conversations. You've totally nailed the characters!
I wish I WISH this would happen in "real life" (ie... on the show). Awesome. Just awesome.
hurry hurry hurry update update update aaaaahhhh *just went crazy*
THANK GOD! THERE'S A SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm really loving it so far! Please continue!
OOO!! ooo!! happy sigh!! :o) !!! To think just a few days ago I was disappointed that the Forgotten Time had ended...and now here I am at the beginning of a new adventure...Cool!
I´m sooooooooooooooo glad you continue this story!!!! Wonderful, beautiful chapter!
Yes yes yes. This is good,very good please update soon.Thanks
Im real glad you decided to write a 2nd part to this story! I love your version of how things should play out between T/T. I cant wait to see how Trip takes the news about T'pol's Trell-d adiction,It seems that no 2 are ever alike. Please update soon!!!!
The Forgotten Time is one of all-time favourites (and I've read them all!)and I'm glad you're carrying the story on. You're an extremely good writer and I'm looking forward to more!
Oh, that's nice. Great convo. Wish we could put that in the show. Glad it's in my head anyway. Thanks. Are you gonna show the trellium conversation?
Yay! I loved The Forgotten Time. I'm so glad you decided to do a sequel. You have a way of making everything fit right into the story.
I love this story so much, beautifully done! Can't wait for the next part. Bravo! Ali D :~)
Wow... I'm loving this one. PLEASE don't take long to keep it going. ;-)
Fantastic! The interplay between the two is absolutely wonderful. Great Job!
Great job! Please post again soon! Thank you!
This is soooo absorbing. I also agree. I hear the interplay between T/T distinctly. Wait expectantly for more.
Please post more very soon!
Loving this. Somehow I think it's going to turn out badly for our favorite couple, though... the situation seems a bit familiar, if you get what I'm saying.
Wow. eScribe, you have freakin' done it again. This should bring some solace to those of us who were devasted by that horrible turn of events on Friday evening.