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Fragile Minds

Author - Eratta | F | Genre - Angst | Genre - Romance | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
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Fragile Minds

By Eratta

Rating: PG-13, Romance/Angst
Spoilers: "Rajiin."
Archive: yes, just tell me where.
Disclaimer: If I had my way, I'd be head of the writing team for this show and make everyone involved ridiculously rich. As it is, I don't own a thing.
A/N: Inspired by the deepening relationship between Trip and T'Pol in the Expanse, takes place the day after "Rajiin". Go easy on me; it's been about a month since I've actually written anything for fun, and I'm a bit rusty. I just need to get this out of my system.


T'Pol had returned to her quarters late that night, deciding to end the day only when her work was totally complete. The captain had asked for a detailed analysis of the ship they had recently encountered and the vortex it had disappeared into. For her part, she was all too glad to have something to focus her attention on. It would give her sufficient distraction from her encounter with the slave, an encounter she was quite willing to forget.

Yet the power of the Vulcan mind can be underestimated sometimes, even by Vulcans themselves. She had worked harder than she realized, and was beginning to feel the full affects of exhaustion and mental trauma. As a result, she was now lying on her bed with nothing to occupy her troubled mind. Thus, she had no choice but to remember that awful experience. This was the second time T'Pol had been mentally violated, and the aftermath was just as painful as it had been the first time. She couldn't repress the feelings of revulsion and fear that surfaced during the slave woman's callous romp through her psyche. But almost worse than knowing that Rajiin had seen her innermost thoughts and feelings was having to experience them now. Once brought to the surface, there were some things that would never become dormant again. T'Pol shivered involuntarily beneath the blankets as the deluge of feelings crashed over her. The effects of the Expanse and Rajiin had rendered her helpless, stranded in the boiling sea of her emotions. Clenching the sheets and squeezing her eyes shut, she was forced to relive each one in excruciating vividness. Reality was lost as she tumbled through the darkest corners of her own mind, mixing memories with feelings to create grotesque paintings of her life. She was drawn back to herself in the same method as she had the previous night.

She heard the distinct sound of her door opening, and forced her eyes open. For one terrified moment, she believed the slave woman had returned. But it was much worse, if there could be anything worse than seeing Rajiin again. It was Commander Tucker.

He had barged into her quarters very quickly, only now to be standing sheepishly in the entry way, rubbing his left bicep. T'Pol sat up and pushed the blankets away, fighting to at least appear to be feeling normal.

"I'm sorry ta barge in on ya like that, but ya didn't answer the door and after what happened last night . . ." he trailed off, stealing a glance at her. T'Pol hadn't answered. She was sitting upright, but was slightly stooped and her head was bowed. Trip could even see that she was shaking. He took a step closer, not sure of what to do.


She said nothing, did nothing. She was a statue, dead to the world. He came to crouch in front of her now, peering up into her darkened face. He tried once more.


This time she did look at him, and Trip was taken aback. Her expression . . . there was no way to describe it other than bleak and terrible. No one knew what exactly Rajiin had done to her, but from this one look Trip knew it was something very serious, something that couldn't be easily or quickly remedied, if at all.

"Why are you here?" she asked. Her eyes were hard, but it wasn't real; he could tell. She was trying to put up a front, and was failing miserably at it. He glanced away for a moment before answering.

"I was comin' for the neuropressure. I shoulda known it would be a bad time." He got up, but in a moment of uncontrolled impulse, T'Pol grabbed his wrist and held tight.

"Don't leave." She whispered. She couldn't bear to see him go. He crouched back down, gripping her wrist in turn. Trip couldn't stand to see her like this.

"We should get you to the doctor."


"T'Pol, even you can't deny that somethin's wrong. It's best that you get checked out. Maybe you can even tell 'im what's on yer mind. It might make you feel better."

The Vulcan stared at him. He was making it so difficult. How could she stand a chance against these feelings when he was being so good to her? She could no longer dismiss the mild sensations that fluttered through her when she was around him, could no longer claim that she helped him with neuropressure for his sake alone, and could no longer deny that she was deeply, psychologically attracted to him. A large part of her still couldn't accept this fact, but a growing portion already had. What was she to do in the face of such strong emotions?

"Nothing the doctor can do or say will help me." She answered, eyes never leaving his.

He paused; still gazing into her mesmerizing walnut brown eyes, and asked,

"How about me? Can I help?"

She was on the verge of telling him; of trying to articulate that which her heart understood, but her mind couldn't begin to comprehend. But at the last moment, blessed reason won the battle. What good would it do to tell him? It would only make matters worse. T'Pol swallowed audibly and looked away, withdrawing her hand as she replied,


She sat back against the wall of her bunk, her face more composed than it had been when he'd entered. Trip sat on the edge of the tiny bed, still focusing intently on her. God, how he wished she'd trust him. What did he have to do to make her understand that seeing her like this was shredding him up inside? That it was a thousand times worse because she didn't know how he felt, and would never let him comfort her the way he wanted to?

Finally, T'Pol looked up and moved closer. Logic had saved her yet again: by acknowledging that she could never share her feelings with Trip, she had been able to confine the tumultuous desires. At least, for the time being. She was still First Officer, and she still had a job to do, both on and off duty.

"Please remove your shirt and face the wall hanging." She asked him, rubbing her hands together to warm them. She tingled with anticipation as he did so. His body, warm and supple, was divinely meant to be touched. T'Pol's fingers shook as she placed them on his muscular shoulders, beginning the techniques that would help him sleep in peace. He sighed and began to breathe deeply as she pressed into the knobs of his spine, and T'Pol took comfort from the feeling of his body under her hands.

She drew a line down his spine with her index finger, starting at the nape of his neck and trailing it down to the sacrum. Trip gasped and sat up straighter. He loved the feel of her hands on him, loved the way she made him feel whenever they did this. The calm was unparalleled to anything he had ever experienced, and just being with her was wonderful. She would never understand how much he'd come to look forward to these sessions, especially knowing that idle ship gossip didn't bother her. They had become more comfortable with each other in these rituals, and she was fast becoming his best friend and confidant.

T'Pol's hands stilled suddenly, and then withdrew from his flesh. Trip, surprised at the brevity of the exercise, twisted to look at her. She was staring back at him, eyes wide and unreadable.

"What is it?" he asked.

The question broke her out of the reverie, and she averted her gaze once again in a manner that Trip recognized as embarrassment.

"Nothing. I think that should suffice for tonight."

He continued to regard her, then got up and came to sit behind her.

T'Pol was slightly alarmed. "What are you doing?"

Trip was warming his hands together in the same manner she had earlier. "It's your turn."

"I don't think so."

"I do." He reiterated firmly. "You're goin' ta need sleep, and it's clear to me that you need some help."

T'Pol hesitated. Surely this was not a good idea. The mere sight of him was enough to send bolts of pleasure through her body. If he touched her, now, when she knew the breadth and depth of her regard for him in its entirety . . . and yet, why not? She asked herself? Just this one indulgence, just to see how it felt. Just one last time.

Trip grinned softly to himself as she barred the lovely expanse of her back to him, holding the silk material over her chest for some lingering semblance of decency. His broad, flat hands covered her shoulder blades, and he could feel her tense beneath them.

"Relax." He chided softly.

He tried to mimic the techniques she had used on him, and caught his breath when she sighed. Finally, with trembling fingers and dry lips, he traced the curves of her spine. But instead of using a single finger, he lay his palm flat over the immaculate indentation and let his entire hand glide slowly down the length of her back. T'Pol gasped and arched like a cat.

Savoring his touch, she leaned back until her head rested on his shoulder, her cheek separated from his by only a hair's width. Trip's hands now slid forward to her stomach, where they entwined with her own over the silk of her chemise. He turned his head slightly, and kissed the corner of her jaw. Minutes like hours passed, and neither moved for what seemed like an eternity.

When T'Pol broke the silence, it was with great reluctance. She pulled away and pulled the chemise over her head, taking her time before turning back to him and addressing the situation they found themselves in.

"Commander . . ."

"Don't, T'Pol. Please." He cut her off. She was silent, gazing at him expectantly. Trip ran a hair through his hair, struggling to find the words. Finally, he laughed in frustration.

"Dammit, I don't know what to say."

"I apologize, Commander. In my . . . distress I acted inappropriately."

"You weren't any more inappropriate than I was, T'Pol. And distress mighta been yer motivation, but it wasn't mine."

There was silence again as both comprehended his words. That silence said more than words ever could, and both understood the implications. Trip sighed.

"I just want you to know, that if you ever need anything, I'm just down the hall."

T'Pol nodded her understanding, and Trip stood and walked to the door. Before leaving, he turned back and asked quickly,

"Do you want to forget this ever happened?"

"Do you?" T'Pol held her breath. Everything depended on his answer.

Trip deliberated before answering softly, "To be honest, no I don't. But I'll take whatever road you choose."

"In that case, I'll see you tomorrow evening as well."

Trip smiled and threw her a wink before exiting her quarters. T'Pol turned off the lights and lay back down, pondering the future. But sleep soon claimed her, and she left off speculating to allow the future to write itself.

To Be Continued

A/N: Okay, yeah I know they haven't gotten this far yet. Can I help it that I want some fluff? Just leave a review and help me get back into the swing of things. I feel like I'm starting back from square one, so any critique is helpful. This might be the end, or maybe not. I don't know. It all depends on how much time I have and whether or not the mused decides to bestow her favors.

Continue to Part 2

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Nine of you have made comments

Excellent! This second violation would indeed be hard to bear, and I am sure that the only one to know its depth and implications are Phlox and ... Trip! He's sensitive, and now sesitized to the subtleties of T'Pol's emotional displays. Slumped shoulders, and a quivering lip -- despite a mask-like expression: Trip could not walk out of that cabin. He couldn't leave. And, she wouldn't/couldn't let him.

I agree, you should be on the writing team! :) Excellent prose, and right in character! I'll be looking for more from you!

I was squealing and squiggling in my seat reading this! And that line about how he was meant to be touched. Absolute perfection. Please continue!

Oh yeah I loved this! I have not seen any third season episodes yet as they have yet to air over here but I really am excited if this is the direction they will be going in. I hope you intend to write a sequel. Can't wait for tomorrow night... Thanks, Ali D :~)

'His body was meant to be touched...' woo-hoo! Wish I was T'Pol's fingers.

Nicely written piece. I haven't seen series 3 yet, but have been reading Zealousgirl's synopses. But I was momentarily confused when I read that T'Pol 'barred' her back to him...maybe that should be 'bared'.

But keep on writing...a very enjoyable read.

Oh, very nice. It didn't occur to me how similar to the Tolaris incident Rajin's actions were. Great idea. And Trip, only going as far as she wants, trying to do the right thing. The emotions and everything. Very nicely written!

More? Maybe?

I really liked this as well. Poor T'Pol has her mind plundered way too much. I think that it's good when this is addressed. Good stuff.

Sigh. Someone who also understood the depth of what T'Pol must have been going through for the 2nd time as her mind was violated. It *does* need to be addressed on the show. And it looks like poor T'Pol might be in for more of the same next week. Hurt/Comfort...I eat it up with a spoon. *g* Wonderful stuff you've written here!

I liked T'Pol's somewhat subdued verbal response. And, I'm really looking forward to a sequel (hint, hint). Especially after seeing "Impulse."

Trip's going to have to tread very carefully. He can't take advantage of her vulnerability, even with her consent. I don't want anything (sexual) really happening between them until both are emotionally healthy. I want it to be decision made with full faculties. Out of strength instead of weakness.

I changed my mind. Keep the weakness.

(I vacillate between wanting my favorite characters to have healthy relationships and my love for hurt/comfort fic - expect me not to make sense).