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Building the Future
Author - Rocket Girl | B | Genre - Angst | Genre - Romance | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
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Building the Future
“It is with great sadness that we are here today. We have come to mourn the loss of Elizabeth Tucker. While we only knew her for a short time, she quickly became a part of our family. The people who created her wanted to use her to divide humanity and alienate us from our planetary neighbors. Instead she has become a symbol of how different species can find a common ground.”
“Her parents, Commander Tucker and Commander T’Pol exemplify the Vulcan ideal of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. In the beginning, when Trip and T’Pol first met, they were unable to see past their differences. Often the two of them could be found arguing endlessly over every single detail. Many of the crew fully expected to walk onto the bridge one day to find them engaged in a fistfight.
“However, this story was not to have a happy ending. Sadly, Elizabeth paid the ultimate price for other people’s evil. Fortunately, she was able to spend her last hours with her parents, in their loving embrace. Now we are left with our sorrow at losing such a precious jewel and our joy at having been touched by her beauty even if only for a very short time.” With that, Archer nodded and stepped aside.
After what seemed like an eternity, Trip was ready to escape from the service. He hadn’t realized how hard it would be to stand and accept condolences from everyone. He and Soval had wordlessly taken up protective positions at each side of T’Pol. He glanced again at T’Pol. It was obvious that she was near breaking. No expression had crossed her face, but he could see the subtle signs of distress on her face and feel the turmoil of her emotions through their bond. She needed to leave and return to her quarters to meditate. Trip caught Soval’s eye and nodded slightly. Soval interpreted that signal to escort T’Pol from the room. Trip wanted to go with her, but after looking at his parents, realized that they were hoping to speak to him.
After T’Pol and Soval left the room, Trip glanced at his parents to let them know he was ready to leave. They nodded slightly in acknowledgment. Trip quickly left the room with his parents close behind. He hurried toward his quarters, hoping to avoid anyone that might be happening along in the corridors. He didn’t think he could take any more sympathy. After what seemed like much too far a distance, he finally reached the safety of his quarters. His parents slipped in quietly behind him. He sat down on the bed and leaned back, breathing raggedly, trying to hold onto the last measure of control. His mom sat down beside him and took his hand. She sat quietly for a while, waiting for him to talk, knowing he would eventually.
Trip sighed heavily, “It’s just that I could see a whole future ahead of us. T’pol and I together with the baby, and now, I just don’t know. I imagined her first steps, graduations, her wedding. A whole future and now there is nothing. We only had such a small amount of time with her.”
"I am so sorry Trip. You didn't deserve any of this. Those Terra Prime people didn't care who they hurt. T'Pol must be very hurt by this as well. I know how private Vulcans are. I noticed that she didn't have any family here." She hoped that mentioning T'Pol would encourage Trip to talk about her. She was dying of curiosity about their relationship.
Trip's only response was, "Ambassador Soval will tend to her."
His mom sighed. It was going to be harder than she thought prying information out of him.
She decided to give up on that for a minute and talk about something else. "We were very honored that you named the baby after Lizzie.
"Actually, it was T'Pol's idea." Trip saw the surprised look come over his mother's face.
An unexpected opening, she thought. "So, what exactly is your relationship with T'Pol? Should we expect a wedding someday? I can see that you love her."
“Then we went to Vulcan together. I was in heaven. She didn’t ever say it this way, but I was going to meet her mom. I was hoping if I made a good impression that maybe she would see that we could have a real future together. But she got married and that ended that. Ironically enough, her mom really seemed to like me by the time the wedding happened. I really thought after her mom died that maybe we had a chance again, but she pushed me away. Now I am not sure exactly where I stand. These last few weeks, we have kind of gotten back together again. But even with this bond, I still don’t really know what she feels, what she can feel. Did mom ever torture you like this before you were married?”
His dad laughed. “Relationships with human women are never easy. I can’t imagine you will ever have an easy time with T’Pol. The fact that she is Vulcan will make it all the harder. You know that she probably finds you just as incomprehensible.”
"I'm sure dad. I can always tell when I am confusing her." He laughed. “Thanks dad. I feel a little better now.”
They sat comfortably for a while before the elder Tucker decided to change the subject to sports to help liven up the mood. When Trip’s mom returned, the two men were enthusiastically discussing baseball. She let out a small sigh. While it was nice to see them talking and happy, she had hoped that they would talk about their feelings some. She supposed that was too much to hope for.
Both men had looked up when she entered and gave her identical slight grins. She was struck by how much alike they looked and how much she loved them both. She really hoped that Trip could find some happiness soon. She wished that she could have some time to talk to T’Pol and assess her. Until she had a chance to see for herself that Trip had some chance of happiness with T’Pol, she would worry about him. But she knew this was not the time and she didn’t see any opportunity in the near future.
She set up the food on the desk and encouraged her boys to come eat. During dinner they kept the conversation light, mostly discussing news of friends and family from home. By the time dinner was over, it was quite late. Trip looked visibly exhausted. Not surprisingly, he hadn’t been sleeping well.
His mom looked at him and said, “Trip, honey, you should get some sleep. Quarters have been arranged for onboard tonight. We will meet you for breakfast in the morning before we leave for home.” With that his parents exited, leaving him to his very empty, quiet quarters.
He flopped back onto his bed hoping that he was tired enough to finally sleep. After several hours of tossing and turning, it became apparent that sleep was not a possibility for tonight. His mind was churning, refusing to give him any peace. Jon had ordered him to take three days off. What was he supposed to do for three days to keep himself from going crazy? He would much rather work to keep his mind off of things. Jon knew that. What did Jon think could be gained from having him prowling around with nothing to do?
He rolled over again and punched his pillow a few times. He kept thinking about T’Pol, wondering if they still had a chance at a future together. He wanted to go to her, but was worried about being rejected again. Perhaps she couldn’t sleep and was hoping he would show up. Probably not, he thought. She is undoubtedly sleeping peacefully. Vulcans did not experience insomnia. Hopefully she would come to talk to him when she was ready.
Soval Grieves with T’Pol
"Is there something I can do for you Ambassador?" She was in hurry to for him to leave. She could feel cracks in her emotional control and did not wish him to witness any emotional lapse on her part.
"I grieve with thee T'Pol. It is customary in situations such as these to receive support from your family. I offer to stand in their place for you. It would be agreeable if you would allow me to participate in the Vulcan mourning rituals with you."
T'Pol hesitated. To refuse would be illogical and show the depths of her deviation from 'normal' Vulcan behavior. "That would be acceptable, Ambassador."
Soval nodded slightly and entered farther into the room. "Perhaps we should begin with meditation to purge the remnants of the human emotions displayed at the service. To do otherwise would likely disrupt our exercises."
After two hours of meditation, the Vulcans were ready to begin the more complicated rituals. The whole process involved several exercises of varying lengths. Almost all of them were done in silence.
Several hours later, T'Pol was relieved to feel much of her calmness and stability returned. Feelings of grief were undoubtedly some of the hardest to suppress. Vulcan society had acknowledged this and responded by developing these very detailed exercises.
"I am aware of Commander Tucker's grieving process. I was present when he learned that his sister had died in the Xindi attack. At that time, he did not wish to share his feelings with anyone. I do not expect that his position will be any different this time."
"That would be acceptable."
Trip and Soval
His mom looked at him searchingly. She could see the signs of his sleepless night. She asked, “Trip, honey, are you OK?”
Now it was Trip's turn to look slightly aghast as he realized what he had accidentally revealed. Trip scrambled to come up with a suitable reply and finally settled for, "Thank you, Ambassador. I will be sure to look in the Vulcan database." He hoped this reply would be enough to scoot Soval on his way. It was one thing to admit to his parents that he had slept with T'Pol, it was quite another to have told Soval. He just wanted to hide under a rock.
Malcolm and Archer
Lt. Reed immediately moved to follow Archer to the ready room.
Captain Archer sat at his desk and began speaking. “So, Lieutenant, what is your progress on the bio sample security vault?” Captain Archer had asked Malcolm to design a secure facility to store samples of the crew's genetic material. It had been become prudent to store some of each crewman's genetic material in the event that a sample was needed.
“Well, sir, I have designed a locking mechanism and container made out of the strongest materials available. Certainly no tool on Enterprise will be able to cut through. The locking mechanism will receive power from the ship, but in the event of a power loss, the system will rely on an internal power source. In the unlikely event that power is lost for some reason and internal power does not activate, the locking mechanism will remain engaged.”
“At your request, I have told no one about this project. Only those of us with access will have any knowledge of the system. I have encrypted all of the files containing any mention of this project. I will have Dr. Phlox and Commander Tucker ‘invent’ a maintenance issue in sickbay to explain Commander Tucker’s presence.”
“Good work, Malcolm. I have given Trip and T’Pol each three days leave. When they return to duty you can get their assistance. I want to make sure that something like this never happens again. I can’t stand to see my friends hurt like this.”
Archer sighed and asked, “Have you seen Trip this morning?”
“I saw him briefly at the launch bay seeing his parents off. He didn’t look too well. I remember what he was like after his sister died. We need to keep an eye on him to make sure that things do not get that bad again.”
“Definitely not, sir. I didn’t think he would ever recover from that. If it hadn’t been for Commander T’Pol, I do not know what would have happened to him.” Malcolm came to abrupt halt, hoping that wasn’t giving anything away. He wasn’t sure what the Captain knew about Trip and T’Pol’s relationship.
Trip's First Day Off
Just as he was thinking that, his comm beeped. It was Malcolm asking, "Commander Tucker, have you had lunch yet?"
"I thought the Captain was going to choke he was laughing so hard. Unfortunately, no one had let me in on any part of the joke, so I thought the tactical alert was real and responded accordingly. I was all set to fire torpedoes. And we are still in Earth orbit! The Xindi aside, it seems unlikely that someone would attack us while at Earth. So I guess I was a victim of the joke as well. I am now seeking some revenge of my own against Ensign Mayweather and Ensign Peters. Maybe you could help me come up with a really good idea."
Trip responded, "Well, Malcolm, you know I always keep some practical joke ideas floating around for when they are needed. I am sure we can set you up with something good."
Finally, he and Archer went their separate ways. By then, however, the bottle of wine was completely empty and Trip was a bit wobbly. The wine combined with stress and loss of sleep had taken their toll. He would have to talk to T'Pol tomorrow.
He dragged back to his quarters, changed into comfy shorts, flopped into his bed and immediately fell into a heavy sleep. Mid way through the night, unfortunately, he woke up gasping from a nightmare. In this dream not only had he lost Elizabeth, but he had lost T'Pol too.
T'Pol's First Day Off
During the course of the day, T'Pol could feel Trip's shifting emotions. During the morning, she could feel intense concentration. He must have found something to occupy his time. Around lunchtime she could feel some small traces of amusement and happiness. She was curious about what had caused his change of mood. After a while, though, his deeply despondent mood returned. She considered whether Trip would return to his self-destructive ways as he had after his sister's death. She would have to take matters in hand if that happened. She would not permit her t'hai'la to suffer like that again.
When it was time for the midday meal, T'Pol waited until most other crewmen would have finished. She quickly retrieved a suitable lunch from the mess hall and returned with it to eat in her quarters. She did not wish to endure the company of others.
After finishing her lunch, T'Pol decided to read several scientific journals that she had not yet had a chance to study. She was very intrigued by a new method to improve sensor data while scanning nebulas and other obscured areas of space. Perhaps she would look into the application of this new method tomorrow. She should be able to work in an unoccupied area of the science center without having the Captain discover her and chide her for working when she was supposed to be off-duty. This wasn't exactly duty anyway. She was doing this for her own personal entertainment.
Several hours had elapsed while she was reading. It was now just after shift handover. She decided it was time to be mindful of her physical condition and go to the gym for a workout. At that time of day there should be relatively few people there. Indeed when she arrived the gym was empty. She was, therefore, completely unaware that she had missed Trip's exit from the gym by only a few minutes.
spent more than three hours in the gym engaging in a variety of Vulcan and human exercises. The feeling of physical exertion was quite acceptable and reminded her that it been a few days since she had been able to engage in her usual exercise routine.
After finishing her workout, T'Pol returned to her quarters for a shower. Afterward, she went to the mess hall to retrieve some dinner. As with lunch, she was late enough that the mess hall was mostly unoccupied. After dinner, she engaged in her usual evening meditation and retired for the night.
He spent most of the morning lounging around feeling sorry for himself. Finally, near lunchtime, he got up, took a shower and brushed his teeth. He felt marginally better after that.
T'Pol's Second Day Off
As T'Pol readied herself for the day, she became aware of just how out-or-sorts Trip was. She decided to delay going to see him until lunchtime. She did not relish a conversation with him when he was already upset. When he was in this kind of mood, he tended to be very defensive and snappish and seemed to get quite irritated at her calm demeanor. He seemed unable to stop goading her until she gave some kind of a reaction. She wished them both to be in control so that they could rationally discuss their future together.
Now even more people would be looking for some signs of a relationship between them. It was reasonable to think that the gossip would only increase. In the past, she had not been concerned with the gossip overly much. It was really none of anyone else's business, nor was it for others to approve or disapprove.
Unfortunately, recent events had shown that some humans and Vulcans would not welcome their relationship. They would have to take some steps to protect themselves from further harm. At the very least, they would have to make sure no one found about their bond. It was not something Vulcans spoke of, even with each other, so she would not have a problem with this. She also did not think that Trip would ever deliberately tell anyone something this intimate either. The bigger problem was that it would probably be wise for their public relationship to be very non-personal. Eventually, people would think they were just colleagues and lose interest. Trip would have a much harder time than her keeping their public and private lives apart.
Their plans to have children together would almost certainly have to wait until they retired from Starfleet or least until they were posted on a planet or space station. She did not believe Trip had given much thought to the logistics of having children together. He had been too lost in the wonder of having a child to have given logical thought to how it would have affected their lives. She would have to remind him to be sensible.
After breakfast, T'pol went to the science center to further investigate the interesting sensor modifications she had read about the night before. There was only one crewmember in the science center when T'Pol arrived. T'Pol strode in decisively and gave Ensign Marcos a look that said, "You will not challenge my presence here."
Ensign Marcos, for her part, had no desire to challenge the Commander's presence in the science center although she knew that Commander T'Pol was supposed to be on three days bereavement leave. "Perhaps Vulcans do not need to grieve," she thought to herself, "the Commander certainly does not look broken up about the death of this child." Once again she wondered what Commander Tucker saw in the Vulcan woman. He could have any woman he wanted and yet had chosen a cold, emotionless Vulcan. "What a waste of a gorgeous man," she thought.
T'Pol was aware of the disapproving look of Ensign Marcos but was unaware of the cause. Ensign Marcos was relatively new and T'Pol had not had much contact with her previously. T'Pol chose to ignore her and moved to a workstation to begin her analysis.
By lunchtime, T'Pol's analysis was going very well. It certainly looked as though this methodology could be applied to their sensors. With a few more days of analysis, she would be ready to present a report to the captain. She saved her data, snapped off her monitor and started toward Trip's quarters. She would see if he wanted to eat lunch with her. However, just as she turned the last corner towards his cabin, she saw Lieutenant Reed enter into Trip's cabin with two trays. She was too late. Trip obviously already had lunch plans. She moved towards the mess hall to eat lunch by herself instead.
After T'Pol had given adequate time for Trip and Lieutenant Reed to finish lunch, she returned to Trip's quarters to find that he was not there. She would have to return later. She returned to the science center to continue her analysis. By dinnertime, her analysis was considerably further along. She decided to attempt to speak with Trip again. But once again, he was not in his quarters.
She returned to her cabin for a while before deciding to go to the mess hall and eat dinner. When she entered, she saw Ensign Sato starting to clear her dishes. T'Pol took her time making her dinner selection, debating with herself the wisdom of asking Ensign Sato if she had seen Trip at all in the last two days,
Before she had finished her silent debate, Ensign Sato approached her and said, "I saw Trip and the Captain come out of the Captain's mess a while ago. They were talking about water polo. I know the Captain picked up several games while we were at Earth."
T'Pol nodded in acknowledgment and wondered how Ensign Sato had known that she was curious about Trip's whereabouts. "I am sure that will keep them occupied for the greater part of the evening", she replied. "I think I will take my selections to my quarters to eat." With that, she took her tray and strode quickly away.
After finishing her meal, she read few more scientific journals before engaging in her evening meditation. Once again, Trip did not join her in the white space. She was unsure if he was avoiding her white space or if his emotions were just too turbulent to achieve a sufficiently calm state of mind.
While meditating, she could feel Trip's presence grow stronger until she was sure he was right outside her quarters. She prepared to exit her meditation in anticipation of his visit. Suddenly she felt his presence diminish greatly as he moved rapidly away from her door. She was quite startled by this and thus slow to react. By the time she reached the door, Trip had already disappeared out of sight.
Since it would be undignified to chase after him through the corridors, she retreated to her quarters to attempt to make sense of his behavior. His behavior seemed quite illogical. Historically in their relationship, Trip had always done the pursuing. Always coming to her when either one was troubled. What could it mean for him to have walked away from her? Her mind quickly settled on the unpleasant possibility that this time, he was the one who no longer wanted a personal relationship. That would explain his uneasiness about visiting. She had read in the cultural database that humans often felt extremely uncomfortable when ending a relationship. If his intention was to end things, that would just not do at all. She had finally decided to accept their relationship. He must not back out now.
The Third Day
It was four o'clock when he finally gave up sleeping and decided he had to do something. It was way too early to visit T'Pol. With his luck, she would still be sleeping and get "irritated" at being interrupted. That would start the conversation off wrong.
T'Pol opened the attachment and began to read the plans for the bio-sample security vault. Twice she accessed the Vulcan database for their latest information on encryption. By the time she was done a few hours later, she had only three minor adjustments to Lt Reed's work. He had been very thorough. She would have to note this for his next crew evaluation.
To this point, Trip had pointedly avoided looking at T'Pol. He was afraid his voice would falter or his brain would scatter if he had looked at her. Now he glanced at her and looked away quickly when he discovered that she was looking intently at him. He was sure everyone was looking at them hoping to see something interesting.
Trip had not been in engineering for very long when he had gotten a call from Phlox to come look at a maintenance issue in sick bay. He knew this was his cue to go talk to the doctor about the bio sample vault and begin making preparations to build and install the system. He just wasn't sure if he was ready for the doctor's chattiness. The doctor would inevitably ask how he was sleeping. He didn't think Phlox would buy it if he said he was sleeping fine.
“Have you spoken to T’Pol about any of this?”
“Nah, we have been kind of avoiding each other. I am worried she will tell me that she doesn’t want to continue our relationship.”
“That conversation that we had in sick bay, where I mentioned that T’Pol could have gotten pregnant, you told me not to mention my doubts to T’Pol. I swear, I didn’t, but she knew anyway. She busted my chops over that. I still don’t know that she has forgiven me. I didn’t know how to explain to her that my real problem was how much I really wanted her to be pregnant. It’s funny, those Terra Prime people were so horrified at a Vulcan/human child, but I couldn’t imagine anything that would make me happier than a cute little baby with pointy ears. I can’t imagine wanting a baby with anyone but T’Pol.”
The two men proceeded to work in silence for a while. Phlox could see Lt Reed giving Commander Tucker worried looks and decided that Lt Reed wished to speak with Commander Tucker.
“I must see Ensign Monroe about food supplies for my new Rapierian rodent. I will see you gentlemen later”. With that Phlox strode purposefully out of the room.
Lt Reed remained silent for a short while before finally asking, “How are you doing this morning, Commander? ”
“I have been busy making myself busy, to keep my mind off of things.”
“Have you talked to T’Pol much? She has barely spoken to anyone since she returned to duty. She looks more Vulcan than usual.”
“She was that way after her mom died too. She refused to acknowledge that it even affected her. She wouldn’t talk to me or let me help. In fact, that was when she dumped me the last time.”
“She’s dumped you more than once?” Malcolm asked incredulously.
Trip looked irritated at his slip. Then he dropped his head and mumbled, “Yeah. The first time, she gave me the Vulcan equivalent of 'Let's just be friends'”
“And you keep going back for more?”
“Like an idiot, I just can’t see to stay away from her. Every time, I hope it will work out. I don’t know if this time will turn out any better. And it is not that she doesn’t have feelings for me. It is just that, as a Vulcan, she refuses to acknowledge them and almost seems insulted that she has feelings at all. Every time she starts to accept that we have a relationship, something happens to send her skittering away again. I don’t know. If it doesn’t work out this time, I just may not have the energy to keep trying.”
“So, the rumor that you two were back together was true. I mean, everyone had been suspecting that you were.”
“Yeah, that is why I left Enterprise and why I came back. So does that mean that she and I are the hot gossip topic again?”
“Yes, no one else has a love life worth gossiping over. Although, Travis did seem rather broken up over the incident with that reporter. Rumor is that she played him. Still, it looked like he got lucky before she broke his heart.”
“So how did he get hooked up with her anyway? Did she just randomly select him to mess with?”
“No apparently he knew her from back when he was in the academy.”
“Well, I thought my love life sucked. At least T’Pol has never set out to hurt me deliberately. That’s just a convenient side effect”, he groused sarcastically.
After Trip was finished in sickbay, he returned to engineering. He immediately became embroiled in an issue with one of the intake manifolds. It had been slightly out-of-kilter. One of the new ensigns has tried to fix it but ended up making things worse. By the time he had finished, it was well past lunch. When he went to the mess hall, there were only two people there, neither of them T'Pol. Of course she would have eaten earlier. For now he would have been content to just get a glimpse of her.
At her appointed lunchtime, she proceeded to the mess hall to eat. She arrived at the same time as a large number of other shift one crew, but Trip was not among them. He had probably gotten busy and missed lunch again, she thought. She would have to talk to him about maintaining his health with a proper diet.
After lunch, she returned to the bridge to resume her duties. Midway through the afternoon, the Captain asked to speak to her in his ready room. She realized that he probably wanted to indulge in the annoying human custom of asking about her emotional health.
As the door to the ready room closed behind her, the captain said, "How are you doing T'Pol? I haven't seen much of you during your three days off duty."
"I am well, Captain. I spent my time off duty meditating, exercising and reading Vulcan science journals that I had not previously had time to examine. You needn't worry about me, Captain. I am quite within acceptable parameters."
"I am glad to hear that T'Pol.” the Captain paused for a short breath. "Have you spoken to Trip much in the last three days?" The Captain was greatly hoping she would slip and give him an edge on all the ship's gossips.
But T'Pol merely said, "No Captain, I had not seen Commander Tucker at all until yesterday when the fire started. He worked with my damage control team a number of times yesterday, but I did not have many opportunities for unnecessary conversation."
The Captain sighed. He certainly wasn't getting any thing useful from her. He had one more tactic. "Well, after everything that has gone on in the last few weeks, I expected both you and Trip to join me for dinner. We haven't had much time to keep up with each other."
"As you wish Captain", T'Pol replied, giving no hint at how unsettled she was at having the Captain present at the first conversation with Trip in three days.
"Now, I am afraid, we have some crew evaluations that are overdue", the Captain, said.
T'Pol, for her part, was quite welcomed the return to ship's business.
The end of the duty shift found Trip in his quarters sulking slightly. The Captain had made it quite clear that he was to join T'Pol and him in the Captain's mess for dinner. Trip couldn't imagine sitting through dinner, calmly, with the uncertain state of things between he and T'Pol. At the appointed hour, he grudgingly made his way to dinner. He had at least showered after shift so as not to offend T'Pol's sensibilities. Although he knew for the most part that she had become quite accustom to his smell.
Dinner that night was a predictably tense affair. The Captain felt like he talked until his voice was hoarse. Neither Trip nor T'Pol would speak unless spoken to and neither was speaking to each other. That left him trying to carry on the bulk of the conversation himself. He was beginning to think these two needed to be confined to decon until they did something. Fight, make out, anything. Whatever it took to break the logjam. If things were this tense on duty, everyone would notice. Well, maybe it would be better for them in the long run if they returned to being just colleagues, but somehow he didn't really think that would be the case.
After a reasonable time had passed at dinner, the Captain made his excuses and began an escape plan. He would need a few stiff drinks back in his cabin to relax him after this ordeal.
After the Captain took his leave at the mess hall door, Trip and T'Pol continued along the corridor together for a while. It was T'Pol's intention to follow Trip back to his quarters and initiate their much needed conversation. But before they could get very far, a crewman from her science department came and informed her of an urgent computer problem that was threatening an experiment she had running in the science center. Since several weeks’ worth of work had gone into the experiment, it was necessary for her to tend to the problem before the experiment was lost. She informed the crewman that she would tend to the problem. She gave Trip a slight nod and said in a very severe voice, "I'll speak with you later, Commander." The crewman hearing this felt very sorry for the poor hapless Commander Tucker. It was obvious he had done something to get on her bad side. He was just glad it wasn't him, not realizing, of course, that Commander T'Pol was very displeased, in her Vulcan way, at having been interrupted.
Commander Tucker gave her a very irritated look and strode away to his quarters wondering what gods he might have offended to deserve this unending cruelty. He proceeded back to his cabin and prowled around restlessly for a while before deciding to take out his irritation on a computer game. Two hours later, his door chime sounded. He was immediately aware that T'Pol had come and was standing outside his door. "Come in."
T'Pol stepped in and said, "Commander, we need to talk."
Trip immediately felt shivers run up his spine at her impersonal tone. A horrible sense of dread overcame him. She was planning to dump him again. His face tightened noticeably and he adopted a defensive stance.
T'Pol noticed his stance and felt the wave of dread emanating from Trip. She was unsure what might have caused his reaction. She was concerned that it meant that he did not wish to continue their personal relationship. She wondered what steps she would have to take to repair their relationship. Now that they were bonded, it was only logical that they would be together. That was after all, the Vulcan way.
After a moment's hesitation, T'Pol decided to take a chance and ask Trip outright about his sudden feeling. She had previously discovered that he really didn't like for it when she read his feelings through the bond, but figured in this case that it might be prudent.
"Trip, why do feel so uncomfortable in my presence? Are you wishing to end our relationship? I have read that humans often feel uncomfortable in that situation."
"What .... no, T'Pol. I thought maybe you were trying to end things between us. You've made no effort to see me over the last few days. I thought ... well, I thought you didn't want to see me."
"I have made several efforts to see you, Commander. You were either not in your quarters, or Lt. Reed was with you. You have not made much effort to see me either. Two nights ago, you approached my door and then changed your mind. I deduced that you did not want to see me. Why did you walk away”?
"For god's sake T'Pol. Would you stop calling me Commander when we're alone? I've heard you call me Trip before. Why can't you do it all the time?"
"I am sorry, Trip. It is mostly habit that has me calling you commander. But you have not answered my question."
Trip looked irritated. He didn't really want to talk about what had caused him to chicken out the other night. Finally he said, "I didn't think you wanted to share your grief with me. Plus my emotions are so strong right now that I was worried that I would overwhelm you."
"Shared sorrow lightens grief", T'Pol replied.
"You didn't seem to think that when your mom died."
"I have learned much since then."
"Well, if you wanted my company, you should have told me. I have been reluctant to approach you this time, afraid that I would get dumped again".
"Dumped? I am unfamiliar with this usage."
"Dumped, ending a relationship against the wishes of the other party."
"I did not 'dump' you after my mother died. I merely needed time to assess the impact of the Kir'Shara on my life."
"Well, in human terms, the speech you gave me is one of the classic 'get lost' speeches. Right up there with the 'let's just be friends' speech. That one, by the way, is what you gave me the morning after we first had sex. So I seem to have plenty of experience with you dumping me. Why should I think anything has changed?"
"But we are bonded now. That is what has changed."
"You say that like it should mean something to me. But I am not Vulcan so I have no real understanding of what it means to you. Only what you have told me. And you haven't really done a very good job of explaining it to me. You keep talking like it should be obvious to me. Well, I am not a mind reader, T'Pol. You get a lot more out this bond than I do. Sometimes, you've just got to tell me what you need. Don't leave me guessing. The uncertainty causes me to get irritable as I never have any idea if I am doing the right things or not."
"And do not just assume that you understand my feelings just because you can sense them through our bond. I know you were displeased when you thought I had doubts about Elizabeth's origins. But you were wrong about the depth of my doubts. My rational mind knew that you had never been pregnant. If I had some tiny, niggling, irrational thought about it lingering in my brain, well, I am sorry. That's just the way the human brain works. Sometimes, it keeps bombarding us with irrational worries until something new comes along to worry about. When I saw that you had been captured and mistreated, the last of those thoughts left my mind to be replaced with thoughts of escaping."
"And it wasn't even that I ever truly thought you could have been pregnant and not told me. The problem was that I so much wanted to believe that we could have a baby together, the right way this time, not in the weird way it keeps happening for us. It is hard, T'Pol, to keep having children appear out of the woodwork." With this statement paused for a long breath.
T'Pol replied, "It has been difficult for me as well. When we met Lorian, I did not want to acknowledge that there could be a circumstance where we had gotten married and had a child. I also did not want to admit how appealing the idea was."
Trip looked startled for a moment. "Well, you sure did a good job hiding that."
"Thank you", she replied.
Trip had to smile faintly. This statement reminded him of Soval. After they had averted war with the Andorians, Soval had more or less admitted to liking and respecting humans, a sight Trip had never expected to see.
She continued, "My conflict about Lorian led me to be more harsh with you than was warranted. For that, I apologize. This time, with Elizabeth, I did not even try to be dissatisfied with the idea of having a child with you. That made listening to your feelings of doubt somewhat disconcerting. I could not understand where your doubt could have come from. It was not logical."
"So where do we go from here this time? I want to spend my life with you, and I want to do it without doubts and without fear. Are we together this time, T'Pol?"
"Yes", she replied after only the slightest hesitation.
Trip moved swiftly to her and enfolded her in his arms. They stood like that for some time before he finally leaned back and asked, "Will you stay with me tonight?"
"Yes", she replied moving into his arms. He slowly led her over to the bunk. They both stripped down to their underwear and laid down on the bunk. For the moment, Trip was content to just lie on the bunk with her. He did not want to push her to physical intimacy if she was not ready. Their eyes slowly closed and they drifted off into shared dreams.
When he awoke, Trip immediately felt T'Pol's warmth sufficing both his body and mind. She was lying at his side lightly trailing her fingers over his chest. As a human male, he had naturally woken up already aroused. He wondered if T'Pol was aware of that aspect of human physiology. Probably, he thought. She always seemed to research everything very thoroughly. He could feel himself becoming somewhat embarrassed as her fingers caused his arousal to become more insistent. He tried to pull away slightly to hide his condition. He was still very wary of pushing her too fast. She took matters out of his hands by tightening her grip so that he could not pull away. He suddenly realized that he could feel her arousal as well as his own. She was doing this to him on purpose! He could feel a slight breeze of her amusement in his mind that it had taken him so long to determine her intentions.
He rolled a bit to bring her flush against his body. Their lips met slowly and tongues tangled deliciously. Slowly he slid his hand up her side and slipped it underneath her tank top. He worked his fingers around to her breasts until finally caressing the tips. She, meanwhile, was working studiously to remove his shirt, being careful to fully explore every inch of his exposed skin.
He could feel himself about to burst from their combined feelings of pleasure. Their bond had never been this intensely noticeable to him before. Now they worked quickly to finish removing each other's underwear.
When they were both fully naked, Trip rolled on top of T'Pol. He nibbled his lips down her neck and shoulders until he reached her nipples. He toyed with one nipple with his lips. He used his fingers to manipulate the other. He could feel her arching in pleasure and straining to get closer to him. She mumbled something in Vulcan. He felt a wave of wonder that he was able to cause her to lose control to the extent that she forgot to speak English. He figured that was quite an accomplishment.
She allowed him to continue tormenting him for some time before flipping him so the she was on top. She then proceeded to pleasure him until his eyes rolled back into his head. Finally, when he thought he would explode, she moved to take him inside of her. The pace quickly accelerated, as neither one had much control left, until they reached shared climax, able to feel their own pleasure as well as the other's. As they recovered, they laid together enjoying each other's presence.
Sometime later she finally spoke, reminding him that they needed to get ready for duty. With a sigh, he kissed her one more time. Just before rising, he looked at her and asked, "Will you teach me to speak Vulcan?"
She had, what was for a Vulcan anyway, a very surprised and pleased look at this request. He was always happy to catch her off guard.
"Of course, th'yl'a, we may begin tonight." With that, she walked off into his shower.
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