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One Soul- Ch. 3
By HopefulNebula (HopefulNebula@hotmail.com)
Rating: PG for now (for one itty bitty swear), but I might raise it when (yes, when) I continue this, general, romance.
Okay, you win. Here’s part 3 (Take that, early January!). Keep posting reviews, or email me at HopefulNebula@hotmail.com. I love all this feedback.
“Phlox, I’ve been in here for three hours. Can’t I leave yet?” asked the impatient Trip Tucker as he paced through the confines of Sickbay. Trip didn’t know what was wrong with him. He’d just felt different after the meld, and he wasn’t sure he liked it.
“Not yet, Commander,” replied the Denobulan, whose normally extensive supply of patience was quickly waning. “I still have to analyze that last neural scan.”
“Does it usually take this long?” Trip, who was tired of pacing, sat on the nearest biobed as he asked this.
“No,” Phlox sighed, “but I do I need to remind you that some of these readings are still anomalous? Please remain quiet, Commander.”
Trip decided not to protest this time; instead he positioned himself at the head of the biobed and tried to meditate on his own. He remembered each of the times in the past when T’Pol had helped him, calling on the memories of these times and attempting to create his own peace. And it was working quite well; he felt the now-familiar sensations of peace, awareness, and relaxation that welcomed him whenever he meditated.
Suddenly, his mind and body were reeling. The last time he had felt as if he were in two places at once was when he was beamed aboard from that planet. That feeling had lasted for less than a second; this time it was much more prolonged. The sensation was eerie, as if part of him was somewhere, or someone, else completely. Trip opened his eyes, rather stunned by the amount of force he had to use to do so. He shook his head and the sensations were gone.
“Whoa,” he said quietly. “What was that?”
“What was what, Commander?” asked Phlox, who was busily tending to a rapidly waking T’Pol.
“It was really weird. It was like I was sitting up and lying down at the same time… like I was two people in two places. I got really dizzy.”
As the doctor considered these symptoms, T’Pol spoke for the first time since initiating the meld. She had heard the entire exchange, and it was obvious to Trip that she had felt something strange as well. “Doctor, may I please have a moment alone with the commander?”
“Of course,” said Phlox. As he left, Trip sat at the edge of T’Pol’s bed.
“So what just happened, T’Pol?” he asked. “I know you know something…”
T’Pol reclined on her biobed, formulating her response. She had a theory about what had happened, but it was, as Trip might say, a long shot. She had no options but to share her speculation, however, so she tried to speak. Unfortunately, she began to cough violently for a moment and was unable to do so.
For the second time that day, Trip had no idea what to do, so he stroked T’Pol’s arm and soothed her as he had once comforted his baby sister long ago. “Shh… it’ll be all right, T’Pol. Just relax. Breathe nice and slow… there you go. That’s better.” Once she seemed to be better, he asked a different question. “You know, when that… when whatever it was happened just now, I felt like I was part of you again. Does that mean we’re—” He searched for the word T’Pol had accidentally spoke a month ago—“bonded?” he ventured.
“No,” T’Pol replied. Trip’s relief was outwardly tangible, but only Trip himself could know what else he felt—something like disappointment.
“So what do you think that was?”
“I believe that the meld became deep enough to initiate a bonding, though it ended too soon to complete the process.” Trip stared at T’Pol as she said this. He still wasn’t sure exactly how to feel about this. Part of him was relieved that he wasn’t permanently connected to T’Pol, but part of him wanted to take her into him for the rest of his life. He needed to know more. He found it ironic that his friendship with T’Pol—the deepest friendship he had ever known—had become what it was by his needing to know more about one telepathic connection, and now required him to know more about another union of their minds.
“So… that doesn’t really explain why we just connected from across the room. What happened?”
T’Pol sighed slightly. Only Trip would have noticed the way she reacted to the question; she seemed almost agitated. “In previous cases of bondings that have been interrupted,” she explained clinically, “the people involved have reported sensations similar to what we have experienced. It seems that whenever one of them reaches the proper mental state—such as meditation, deep relaxation, or sleep—then the couple is, for that length of time, bonded. It is something known as thanel’rhiann, or ‘the false bond.’”
They remained silent for several minutes. T’Pol was fighting off waves of anxiety as she anticipated Trip’s reaction, and Trip was still processing this information. He had a host of questions now, and needed to decide which ones were worth asking.
Eventually, he spoke quietly. T’Pol was easily able to hear him, however; her hearing was quite acute (as the commander had pointed out on numerous occasions). “So… how long will this last?”
“In Vulcan couples, this phenomenon lasts approximately one Terran week, though cases have been known to last twice that long.”
“Okay.” Trip assimilated this answer and asked his next question. “You said you’d felt this too. When was that?
“I regained a slight measure of consciousness earlier, while you were in the scanner,” T’Pol replied. She was surprised to see Trip recognize this event.
“Oh, so that’s what I felt. No wonder Phlox kept me here…” Trip told her. He smiled down at her and continued. “So… does this mean that neither of us will be able to sleep or meditate without feeling… like that?” he asked, concern touching his voice and features.
“No; the sensations lessen with time; the first few contacts are the most… disorienting,” T’Pol told Trip.
Trip only nodded. They lapsed into another silence, each thinking about the possible implications this had for them. Trip was ambivalent about the entire matter. He had been thoroughly afraid only a few minutes earlier, but now part of him wanted to feel the sensations of being bonded again and forever. T’Pol simply tried to ignore or forget the emotions—his emotions—that coursed through her body. These feelings were entirely foreign to her; she didn’t even know what they were called. How could she deal with these?
Phlox decided after several minutes of waiting to check on the couple in Sickbay. Finding them both deep in thought, he coughed slightly to rouse them, then asked “So, what is this theory of yours, Sub-Commander?”
T’Pol and Trip looked directly at one another. Both of their expressions carried meanings, and both these meanings were clear to the other. T’Pol’s face asked Trip for assistance in explaining this matter to the doctor, but Trip’s clearly told T’Pol ‘you’re on your own here; it’s your theory, not mine.’ T’Pol sighed inaudibly and began explaining to Phlox, who interrupted T’Pol repeatedly with questions or ideas. Trip welcomed the second explanation; it saved him from having to ask some of his more embarrassing questions.
“I’d like to run a few scans on you, Sub-Commander, and you should expect to stay here for at least three days before you can leave,” finished Phlox, who was fascinated by the entire ordeal. “Commander Tucker, you are free to go.”
“Thank you,” Trip whispered, and left Sickbay.
Trip paced around his quarters. He hadn’t been annoyed by their size before, but at the moment they were far too tiny for him. Tonight he felt like he was a snake crawling out of his own tight skin. He had to get out, so he left.
This was why he was now pacing around the gym. It gave him far less privacy, but at least he could pace, for that’s what he needed to do. He had to get rid of some of this energy. What had T’Pol done to him, anyway? She had known. He knew that much already. She had known this might happen, and done it anyway. What if they had been bonded? How could she have answered to that? ‘Sorry, Trip, but we’ve become lifemates, whether you want it or not?’ That thought genuinely scared Trip, but what scared him even more was the fact that at least part of him did want it.
T’Pol worked to prevent these dreams and forget them whenever she had them, but nothing seemed to help. Though the details of these dreams were always quite vague, they left her with a surge of emotions like nothing she had felt before today. Perhaps the commander could help her comprehend these feelings sometime. T’Pol felt herself slipping into the deep relaxation that precedes sleep, and felt herself entering Trip’s mind.
He was in the gym, and quite agitated, it seemed. He was definitely moving; that would make it harder for her to sleep. Suddenly, however, he stopped, thought Good night, T’Pol. Sleep well, and returned to his quarters. T’Pol finally slept.
He wasn’t sure exactly how he’d known T’Pol was in his mind again. Trip certainly hadn’t heard any of her thoughts, and he hadn’t felt incredibly dizzy or disoriented either (though that was probably because he had just executed a very fast 180-degree pivot and was already somewhat dizzy). It had felt... normal. He wasn’t sure T’Pol could hear his thoughts, but he closed his eyes, concentrated, and wished her a good night anyway. A surge of tiredness and relaxation overcame him, and he knew his message was received. Suddenly, Trip didn’t feel so restless, so he returned to his quarters to sleep.
Trip and T’Pol locked hands in a tentative embrace and remained that way until the end of the dream. When they awoke, neither was sure whose dream it had been.
When he awoke, Trip took his morning shower and got dressed, as usual. He was halfway to the mess hall before he realized that the mess hall wouldn’t be serving breakfast for another half hour. Normally, if he woke up this early, he was barely conscious until he’d had his third cup of coffee. This morning, however, he felt the best he had ever felt in a morning. It was like he’d slept for a full day and awakened by the sunrise. It was a beautiful sensation, especially for someone who prided himself on not being a “morning person.”
And what could he do with the extra thirty minutes? Trip had to be amused at that prospect. There was one and only one item on his pre-breakfast to-do list: See T’Pol. He turned right at the next junction.
Trip slipped quietly into Sickbay and checked on the form lying on the biobed. She was awake, which made any explanations he might have to make much easier for Trip. He approached T’Pol slowly, quietly, but she still knew he was coming. Trip sat on the edge of the biobed opposite T’Pol’s, so she could see him without moving too hard and aggravating her injury.
“Hey, T’Pol,” he said, at a volume slightly above a whisper.
“Good morning…” T’Pol replied.
“How are you feeling this morning?”
“I am doing… well,” T’Pol stated after a moment of quiet deliberation.
“Good to hear it. So… that’s what being bonded feels like, hmm?” asked Trip.
“Yes,” T’Pol answered stoically.
“Well, it’s not bad at all. I was expecting that when one of us slept, the other one would have to fall asleep as well,” Trip said, chuckling slightly.
“No. Bonding is not that restrictive.” T’Pol responded.
Trip became silent after that. Both human and Vulcan were thinking again, and both about the same thing. Neither had kept track of time, so Trip eventually bolted up from the bed as he realized he’d be missing either breakfast or the beginning of his shift.
“Hey Annelle… Looks like we’ve got another circuit on the fritz up here. Can you shut down power to section G, upper level, so I can get it fixed?” Trip yelled from the catwalk in Engineering a few days later.
“Sure, Trip. Just a sec…” the eager young lieutenant replied, leaving him alone on the upper level. As the Engineering staff worked below him, Trip focused on the sound of the EPS relays just behind him. The sounds and impressions of Engineering left him completely after a minute, and he felt himself becoming much less agitated than he had been that morning. It was a relaxation technique taught to him by T’Pol, and after the harrowing morning he’d just finished, he needed it now. He had forgotten the false bond, however, and soon felt the sensations of being in T’Pol’s mind. This was her first day back on duty after recovering from her injuries.
Tough day? she inquired mentally. This was a phrase she had acquired from Trip sometime in the past year and a half. Though she never used it in the presence of others, sometimes Trip could catch her asking him that question.
You know it, Trip replied.
Can you visit me after your shift? T’Pol requested.
Don’t I always? The burst of laughter that Trip sent T’Pol along with his reply was secretly welcomed by the Vulcan. It was a chance to finally experience emotions safely, and it was a long-awaited opportunity for her.
Thank you, T’Pol finished, almost vulnerably.
“Trip, I’ve got the power shut down up there… Trip? Trip!” Annelle Hess shouted from below.
“What? Oh, sorry, Annelle. Thanks… I’ll let you know when you can turn the juice back on.”
“So, T’Pol, I got the sense that you wanted to talk to me about something besides the weather today,” Trip said as he sauntered into T’Pol’s quarters that evening.
“Yes…” she replied, and waited for Trip to situate himself. Once he had sat on T’Pol’s meditation pad, Trip looked up at her, his eyes nearly begging her to continue. “I… must tell you that I was not completely honest with you regarding thanel’rhiann,” she began slowly.
“So, what… it’s permanent?” Trip said wishfully.
“No,” T’Pol stated flatly.
This time, Trip wasted no energy to pretend not to be wholly disappointed at this. In the time they had been “almost-bonded,” as he called it, he had learned more about himself and T’Pol than he had ever thought he could know. He wanted to keep this link and carry it in his soul for the rest of his life. He wanted to enter her being again and never let go. He wanted to—
“However, it is not as uncommon as I had led you to believe. Sometimes, when Vulcans are allowed to choose their own… mates, they will meet someone else who is not betrothed. When they start seriously thinking about marrying, this couple will sometimes form a thanel’rhiann to determine whether or not a bond between them is desirable.”
“Aah. Kind of like living together before getting married,” Trip said. T’Pol simply nodded. “So… are you saying that you deliberately formed this almost-bond?” T’Pol was only able to nod once more. She was genuinely afraid of what Trip’s response would be to her duplicity, but was able to curb the sensations. “And do you think this bond is a ‘desirable’ one?” The fear in T’Pol’s heart dissipated upon seeing Trip smile—that huge, wide, beautiful, emotional smile.
Trip correctly interpreted the tiny relaxation of T’Pol’s muscles. He was probably the only person on Enterprise who could have noticed something that subtle about her expressions. Even though he knew what her response would be, it took all of his courage to say the one thing he had left to say.
“Good, because I find it desirable, too.”
Well, there you have them. All three parts of my latest fiction. I’ve decided that it’s officially early January right now, and I can open all my gifts, so I’ve got to run, but please remember to review!
Oh—I’ve made a few changes to parts 1 and 2. They’re nothing major, but I wouldn’t mind if you went back and re-read them… wink, wink.
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!
A handful of people have made comments
Great, original and did I mention really good! I would love a sequal when they are fully bonded.
What a great story! "It's like living together" Funny! Who knew Vulcans also did that. Well, as I mentioned before great story and original idea. Never would've of thought of that.
Lovely story. Very neat idea, I really loved the developing telepathic link. I do hope you decide to write a sequel. Thanks for making my day, Ali D :~)
that was so sweet and well written, I hope you will write more :) email@example.com
wow this is what gets me throught reading when a test is done in class. I only print out fan fictions I love and can read over and over again, and this is one. PLEASE WRITE MORE!! xD -Z