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Author - Jazz | Genre - Romance | Main Story | P | Rating - PG
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He doesn't use the chime. He likes the spontaneity of physical contact, the rap-a-tap of I'm here--can't you hear me? There is something immediately forceful in the sound of his knuckles on the cold, hard metal. It speaks volumes of what is to come.
He hates the part that follows, though. It harks back to painful memories of his youth: the awkward feeling of not knowing what to say, and the fear that when he does speak, it will simply make his reluctant date laugh and say Oh, Trip, you're so sweet. Then a call over the shoulder to the flatmate--Isn't he a sweetheart? Yes, he was a sweetheart. Yes, he could make girls laugh, but never anything more. But here, he is older and wiser. Here, there is no chance of this one laughing at him. He shouldn't feel sixteen-years-old again.
But he does.
My God, if we were old and married she would still call me that, he thinks, not stepping fully inside her quarters but hovering at the mouth of the door. The room is dark, and the harsh lighting of the corridor mixes unnaturally with the claret sheen of her robe.
"Sub-Commander." He uses the pause that follows as an excuse to step forward, and he can already smell the soft, gentle scent of her. It causes him a moment of dizziness that passes too soon, but by then she has turned away from him, and he has to stand and watch, feeling more useless by the minute, as she makes preparation for their session.
"I...ah...didn't see you at lunch today," he offers to her back, watching as she lights candles and places meditation mats down. "You missed a fine red bean salad."
Her eyes brush over his, and she kneels on the floor. "I was not hungry."
"You all right?" He walks towards her, but does not follow her lead. There is something in her voice that warns him from probing too much, but the sudden thought of her maybe being ill has sobered him more quickly than a cold shower.
She refuses to acquiesce to his sympathy. "We had better begin." She does acknowledge his reluctance, though, by adding, "Please." So he sits.
As they go through their breathing exercises, he feels that something has changed. He waits for her to speak, but she offers him nothing, so he spends the next fifteen minutes silently watching her closed eyelids, and wondering if she feels the same way as he does.
Time check? He sneaks a glance at the clock on her desk. Quarter of an hour. You made the decision before tonight that you'd tell her. He grimaces; glad that she cannot see his expression. Looks to me like you're chickening out... Trip Tucker is no coward, but right now he wishes he was anywhere but here.
After another agonising few minutes he has had enough, and opens his mouth to risk it: "T'Pol--" but her eyes have sprung open, and he clamps his teeth together.
She places an open palm on the back of his neck, fingers curling under the collar of his shirt. He reaches behind suddenly and touches his hand to hers. "No, let me help you first." There is a slight tremor in his voice which shocks him, but he puts it down to the scent of her skin still lingering in the air, and the fact that he doesn't know what else to say to her.
He looks away for a moment, thinking, Why is intimacy so painful? And when he turns again her long, smooth back greets his eyes, not tempting him but mocking him instead. He does not know what prompted this. He does not want to touch that bronze skin, for fear it might shatter into a thousand pieces.
"So Ensign Lyon came to me today," he says, trying not to think of what her shoulders feel like under his hands, trying not to let his eyes linger too long on the perfect lines of her neck, the dark strands of hair curling down past her ears. "Said he wants to surprise Nicholson on her birthday tomorrow, and could he have permission to program her workstation so it sings out Happy Birthday to You when she calls up the morning's rundown." He forces a laugh, but it sounds like the rough boom of a cannon. "Poor guy--he's got a crush on Deb so bad it's getting painful." Not as painful as this. Not as perfect as you. "I said yes of course. Hopefully she'll return the sentiment, he'll get it out of his system, and I'll have a crewmember back in the land of the living."
She tilts her head slightly. He feels the small muscles of her neck move under his hands, and something inside his heart moves with them. "I did not realise you were experiencing problems with your staff," she says, letting her eyes rest on his momentarily before turning back.
"Oh, no, I wouldn't call it a problem," he replies quickly. "All the guy needs is a sympathetic ear. Hell, we've all gotten crushes at some time or other. It's a part of life."
"Vulcan's do not get--"
"Aw, c'mon, T'Pol, don't go there." He doesn't want to spend the evening debating the finer points of their differing cultures. He drops his hands, and lifts her robe gently back over her shoulders.
Once again, he has succeeded in killing their conversation stone dead. Not that we were two philosophers debating the foibles of man, he thinks, smiling to himself. Though right now, I'll happily take that with open arms.. She turns to face him. Trying not to let his nervousness show, he tries to relax, and waits for the cool touch of her hands on his face.
He feels nothing. Opening his eyes, he sees her in the glowing candlelight, watching him.
"There is something I wish to tell, you, Commander."
Now she's the one who sounds nervous. She's actually trembling.. He can't believe it.
Her eyes seem unnaturally large. He can see the lights flickering in those dark orbs, and it scares him.
He feels he cannot breathe. "For...?"
"For putting your trust in me. For allowing me to heal you."
There is something in her gaze that screams an admission of her feelings--and his. But he sees none of that. He cannot see anything past the sudden rush he is experiencing. He should not smile; he should be silent and still in this Vulcan sanctuary, but he cannot stop the happiness that breaks his face in two. He feels giddy, and it is no longer from her scent.
"T'Pol..." He leans imperceptibly closer, and she does not shy away. The candle flames are now flickering, beating a mirror dance to the rise and fall of his heart, but all he sees is her. She closes her eyes as he touches a hand to her face, and he can feel the coolness of her skin melting softly under his fingers.
"You haven't healed me," he says, so quietly he can barely hear his own voice, and he thinks if he could have one moment last forever, this would be it.
"You have given me perfection."
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Four of you have made comments
Ah, this is lovely though not sure what T'Pol *gave* him is perfection, I would say she *is* his idea of perfection but it fits anyway and you wrote a beautiful piece of character interaction. I am hoping there may be a sequel in the works, pretty please? Thanks, Ali D :~)
aww... that was so sweet!
Reads like poetry... most excellent, beautiful, and lyrical! How about another piece, from T'Pol's POV?
really nice...i like how both are nervous about the way they feel toward one another