If you are seeing this paragraph, the site is not displaying correctly. You can see the content, but your current browser does not support CSS which is necessary to view our site properly. For the best visual experience, you will need to upgrade your browser to Netscape 6.0 or higher, MSIE 5.5 or higher, or Opera 3.6 or higher. If, however, you don't wish to upgrade your browser, scroll down and read the content - everything is still visible, it just doesn't look as pretty.
By Samantha Quinn
Confrontation, Part I
I do remember the feeling of sense of completion that accompanied my joining with Charles. I also recall being trapped in the shuttle, along with Charles and Jonathan. The ultimate result is not difficult to discern. What remains to be revealed is the manner in which I shared my preference for Charles. Though I suspect that will be discovered soon.
“Are you fully recovered?” Jonathan asks quietly. At my nod, he turns to Charles. “I’d like to speak to my wife alone.” Contrary to what the sentence structure would have implied, it was not a request. The possessiveness is unpleasant, though I try to withhold judgment, as I am not quite certain of my behavior over the past week.
Charles gives me the briefest of glances. I believe it is to discern whether or not I protest. I realize Jonathan and I must speak and I give Charles a nod for permission to exit.
For a reason which I do not quite understand, my nod to Charles appears to cause Jonathan a good deal of distress. His weight shifts and he crosses his arms to express his displeasure. Irregardless, Charles gives us both a curt nod before leaving us alone.
As I watch Charles leave, I am reminded of a similar situation twenty-five years ago. He walked out my door twenty-five years ago as well and did not return. A sense of overwhelming ache consumes me as I wonder if the comparable situation of the present will result in parallel consequences. Now, however, is not the time to contemplate such thoughts. I must deal with Jonathan first.
My husband sits across from me, straddling the chair and fascinated by the functions of his hands crossed in his lap.
“When was the first time?”
Perhaps it is Jonathan's current emotional state that has confused him, or perhaps it is I that am confused. “I do not know what event you are referring to.”
Twenty-five years of living with the man seated in front of me has aptly familiarized me with his bodily movements and their significances. The action of him biting on his lip, accompanied by a deliberately slow tilt of his head frequently signifies a forewarning of sarcasm, bitterness, or perhaps a combination. “Convenient, T’Pol. Real convenient.”
“I do not fully recall the events of the past week. If you could –"
“When was the first time you had sex with Trip?”
I was not expecting such a question. Perhaps I should have. Jonathan has been known to be blunt. I am considerably concerned about the manner in which I disclosed my want for Charles.
“For what reason do you believe what happened on the planet was a reoccurring event?”
Jonathan emits a humorless laugh. “Because you said as much while we were on the planet.”
There is a considerable silence, as I attempt to answer him truthfully without causing him further pain. It is apparent from his mannerisms that my actions have already caused him a great deal of grief. For that, I have remorse – though I would not alter my choice in order to alleviate that sorrow.
“You owe me the truth, T’Pol. I deserve at least that much from you.”
He is correct, though I suspect he will regret having insisted upon the truth. I hope he is the only one to experience that regret. “I have been affected by pon farr once before. Charles was there to alleviate my condition.”
“Was it before or after you and me?”
“It was while we were captive in the Romulan prison.”
“That happened about ten months before Koval was born.”
Surely I said nothing in reference to Koval’s parentage in the midst of my cycle? Regardless of my lack of passion for Jonathan, I had hoped he would continue to treasure memories of my son. If the truth is revealed, I do not see how he will be able to do so.
“I’ve been doing some thinking, and the things Koval and Trip had in common seem pretty high. Blue eyes, engineering interest, love of pecan pie, love of catfish . . . .you know, T’Pol, you never discouraged his love of catfish. Tell me, why wouldn’t a vegetarian such as yourself want to discourage such a nasty habit?”
“I would not have attempted to force Koval to abandon his human half.”
“Was Koval my son?”
“You raised him. He called you Father. What additional proof do you need for him to be ‘your son’?”
“Dammit, T’Pol, tell me the truth. *Just once,* tell me the truth. Was Koval my son. . . or was he . . .conceived in that prison?”
“Pon farr is the only time females of my species can conceive.” It comes out colder than I intended, but I do not apologize. This conversation is forcing me to relive a similar one I had with Koval when he discovered the truth of his heritage. Though I may be Vulcan, thoughts of my son still cause me great grief. I suspect they always shall.
He does not speak for several minutes. The part of me that holds the affection of friendship – the same affection that compelled me to spend the past quarter of a century with him – contemplates offering some type of comfort. But I can think of nothing appropriate that I can be certain will not cause him further pain.
Eventually, he speaks, though his voice is barely a whisper when it comes out. “I-is that why he couldn’t meld with me? Does the meld have to be shared with a blood relative?”
“Tell me the truth, T’Pol. If I had been his real father, could I have saved him?”
I do not wish to reveal the truth about my son’s sacrifice to Jonathan; however, if I am not completely truthful with Jonathan, he will experience guilt for Koval’s death. I will not allow that. Blame for my son’s death should be entirely mine. “No, Jonathan. A meld can be experienced with anyone.”
“Then why did he refuse to meld with me?”
It is clear from Jonathan’s tone that he will not be persuaded of the truthfulness of my denial until he is given sufficient proof. Again, I do not wish to reveal the truth to him, as it will cause him additional grief, but I will not force him to live with a guilt he should not. “He feared bonding with you would have revealed his parentage.”
I do not need to be bonded to Jonathan to feel the pain he is experiencing. “Yes.”
“You. Trip. Koval. Every single one of you kept me in the dark, and let me believe in a family that wasn’t mine. Who else knew?”
“Maggie is aware of her child’s heritage.”
I was not expecting the slamming of his Jonathan’s hand upon the desk beside him. “All four of you. I loved you as a husband, and Koval and Maggie as my children. Why the hell didn’t even one of you see fit to tell me the truth?”
He rises and begins to pace. I do not speak, for I realize the necessity in Jonathan’s expressing his thoughts. “I trusted all of you, and you all lied to me. How could you do that to me?”
“It was never my intention to cause you pain, nor was it Koval’s. It especially was not Charles’ intention.”
“Our entire marriage has been a lie. The entire past twenty-five years – an entire *quarter of a century,* T’Pol, you’ve spent lying to me. Why the hell did you even marry me in the first place? If you and Trip wanted each other so much, why bother marrying me?”
I know instinctively he will not understand. I myself realize it was a mistake to marry him, though my reasons were not meant to cause him pain. “I hold a great deal of affection for you – “
“But not as much as you do for Trip. You said something on the planet about Trip not abandoning you again. What did you mean by that?”
I briefly contemplate not telling him. Though he no doubt intends to talk to Charles, and if I do not reveal the benevolence behind Charles’ actions twenty-five years ago, that conversation may be a good deal more painful for them both. It is better that Jonathan’s animosity be directed towards me than towards the man who so dearly values his friendship. “In the aftermath of our experience in the prison, I went to Charles, and told him of my intention to end our relationship in favor of one with him. He said that he would not have me, because he would not play an active role in hurting you.”
“So he thought lying to me on a continual basis for twenty-five years wouldn’t ‘hurt’ me?”
“Jonathan – "
“Don’t defend him, T’Pol. Hell, it’s bad enough that I had to watch while you. . . just don’t defend him. What he did, and what you did – was just wrong. The reasons why don’t matter.”
There is a pause. “After Trip rejected you, why did you marry me?”
“Trip was certain that leaving would cause you pain. You had expressed pain in your conversations about the loss of Maureen. I did not wish to cause you similar pain.”
“You didn’t think it would be painful for me if the woman I loved married me while she still wanting. . . my best friend?” He stumbles over the last part of his sentence, and I am concerned with the difficulty that he has in forming the words.
“I have always considered you a friend, Jonathan. During our time aboard the Enterprise, I grew to have a good deal of affection and concern for you.”
“In other words, I was an excellent ‘second best.’”
“If you wish to view it in such terms. I knew I could never return to Vulcan, and thus, I needed a human husband. You held great affection for me. Leaving you would have served no productive purpose.”
“So marrying me was the logical thing to do?” His voice has changed to the soft quiet that makes it clear that he is angry.
“You used me, and that’s logical?”
“I believed our union would be mutually beneficial for us both. Among my people, that is a highly desired goal.”
“Your people have a pretty shitty view of what constitutes a marriage, T’Pol. And you lived among humans for how long? You should have known better.”
I do not respond to his antagonistic view towards my people. There is another pause, this time shorter, before Jonathan speaks again. “You know, T’Pol, I’ve never complained about the fact that you never say ‘I love you.’ I always assumed that it was because you were Vulcan. I figured, if you were human, you’d say it. But you wouldn’t, would you? At least not to me. But you’d say it to Trip, wouldn’t you?”
“I care a great deal for you, Jonathan, however -“
“You don’t love me. You don’t have any passion for me. I love you, T’Pol.”
“You do not. You have not in some time. Instead, you have been longing for another.”
“YOU have the audacity to be upset because I’VE been longing for someone else? I was always faithful to you, T’Pol. Besides, you’ve been ‘longing’ for Trip for twenty-five years. Hell, maybe even longer.”
Perhaps longer indeed. But there is no need to agree. “Then you should understand that the pain induced by your longing for another has been a pain I have felt for twenty-five years. A pain that began because of two being’s desire not to cause you pain.”
“Our situation is hardly compatible, T’Pol. If you – or Trip – would have just been truthful from the beginning, none of your longing would have been necessary.”
“I realize the flaw in my reasoning now. However, it is too late to change what I have done. I can only fix the end result.”
His eyes find mine. “Well, I guess there’s really only one way to accomplish that, isn’t there? After all, there’s no reason to prolong what should have died long ago.”
“You are responding reasonably well.”
“What did you expect me to do, T’Pol? Shout, scream, have a temper tantrum? I’ve wanted to do all of those things during the week we spent on the planet. During the week that I had to hear you and Trip experiencing passion that I have always wanted. . . I went through every illogical human emotion that you claim to despise – anger, hurt, sadness. . . but I won’t burden you with them, because you can’t possibly truly care.”
“As I have said, I regret causing you pain. That was never my intention.”
Again comes the humorless laugh. “I’m sure you didn’t, T’Pol. You know, it’s too bad you and I will never experience a meld. I’d love to see inside your mind - there’s something inside of there that’s made me come pretty close to losing mine over the past week.”
He turns to go. Two feet from the door, he turns back to look at me. “If it weren’t for Trip. . .would you have been able to love me?”
“I do not know. I cannot imagine a reality without him in it.”
“Neither could I, until about a week ago.”
As he leaves, I contemplate his final sentence. I believe it to mean that he considers his friendship with Charles over. I do not want to see the end of their friendship, when Charles placed it above everything else in importance. I especially do not wish to see it end because of me. I already hold the blame for my son’s death. Must I hold the blame for Jonathan and Charles being miserable as well?
I cannot help but think of Koval. Koval meant to keep our secret and to prevent causing each of us a great deal of distress. If Jonathan refuses to forgive Charles, then my son’s last sacrifice will have been in vain.
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!
A whole mess of folks have made comments
Great story and addition. I can't stand Archer and I can't wait to see what will happen next. Hopefully he will realized is time to leave them alone.
This was fabulous and painfully believable given the way in which you have been writing Archer. I find that his single minded fixation on his own pain sad, especially if he loved or loves T'Pol as much as he professes. Trying to understand her and the sacrifice she and Trip made in the mistaken belief he would be spared unintended pain is shown to have been a noble but wasted effort born of a deep abiding friendship that was stronger on one side than the other. He never did truly understand T'Pol. He wanted her but never cherished her. My heart aches for Trip but it weeps rivers of blood for Koval. Powerful writing, can't wait for the next part. Ali D :~)
I have to feel sorry for Archer here. T'Pol is pretty much telling him to his face that she could never have the same interest in him as he does with her. Harsh. I know T'Pol is trying not to hurt Jon further... but somehow I knew all along that hurt would be coming their way when I read the title. I do hope Jonathan and Trip don't just break off their friendship though! It IS too bad T'Pol doesn't meld with Jon for a quick second to show him the feelings she just can't express. :sigh: Can't wait for the next one!
"Again comes the humorless laugh. “I’m sure you didn’t, T’Pol. You know, it’s too bad you and I will never experience a meld. I’d love to see inside your mind - there’s something inside of there that’s made me come pretty close to losing mine over the past week.” "
Gawd, I hope this isn't building to a three way meld. That would be *gasp* just freaky. And Archer doesn't deserve such and honor. He made Koval cry!!! Bastard! OK, I'm probably over reacting, as I try to second guess the author! LOL
Ahh, it's a twisted web you weave. I can almost taste the emotion! I'm loving it!
BTW, did I mention that he made Koval cry?
Yeah, what PK said!
This is an awesome chapter, Sam, and entirely believable to me -- Archer would be this self-absorbed, absolutely... he is able to sacrifice for his ship, but not for others, and he DID want T'Pol as a trophy wife... he never learned one thing about Vulcan culture/her heritage, etc. He expected her to morph into a calm, human woman (except in the bedroom, evidently)...
LOVE IT! :)
Okay, I'm over my feeling sorry for Archer...
Hello! The woman you say you love has lived the last twenty five years of her life feeling alone and unable to be with the man she loves. Your Best Friend gave up his happiness for you. He's had to pretend that the death of his son meant less than it did.
Stop being a selfish git and get over yourself!!! :(
It appears that I am definitely in the minority here, but I will contribute my two cents worth of opinion:
2. Archer is the LEAST culpable character in this story and BY FAR the most honest. What has Archer lied about? Well, lets see... he never openly revealed to T'Pol his affection for Laura, but he never explored that temptation. Why didn't he? Simple, because he puts value in the institution of marriage and repeatedly over 25 years TRIED to give T'Pol all of himself.
Now, if Archer would have slept with Laura and not told T'Pol ... that would have been disrespectful and wrong... but Archer did not do that. Keeping sexual rendevous secret is Trip and T'Pol's specialty. It is NOT Archer's.
And speaking of T'Pol.... a Vulcan who one would expect to be honourable and respectful of vulcan tradition, stubbornly refused to EVER bond with her husband.
3. Another point. Arranged marriages are very common on Vulcan. A simple bonding makes the transition easier. So weak and pathetic is T'Pol that she can't even work up the chutzpa for a BOND with her husband! Not even in 25 years???? I am very reluctant to entirely fault Archer in his lack of enthusiasm to embrace Vulcan culture and traditions when T'Pol herself so flagrantly refused to practice the very one that would have helped Archer understand them better....i.e. through bonding.
2. Did Archer prevent Koval from learning anything Vulcan? No. Did he encourage Koval to do more human things? Probably? Is that wrong? No, it isn't. AND as far as making Koval cry. Pleeease people, give me a break. He is half human and cried 14 times. Whoop dee do. KOvals' failure to open up and be truthful to his father is Koval's failure... a trait inherited from his mother.... and in the end it killed him.
Oh... I forgot to state the obvious. This is an awesome story. Amazing how it can invoke such different opinions from different readers. Great stuff Samantha.
Rocky, I always love your comments. I've never agreed with anything you've said, but they continue to challenge me. Every time I sit down to write an Archer thought, sentence, action, etc , I take your comments into consideration. I think they've truly helped me grow as a writer, so I thank you.
But Archer was still a crappy father *and* husband. ;)
Way to stick to your guns Samantha. I wouldn't expect anything less. I must say though that I thought you gave Archer some well-deserved 'venting' in this chapter. What I have learned from this story (and its predecessor) is that I can still enjoy a Trip/T'Pol story even when they possess characteristics and make decisions that render my opinion of them 'less than pristine'.
My defense of Archer is, admittedly, reactionary, based on far too many assumptions by fellow T+Ter's that simply because Archer might be a poor Captain, (and mentioned as a rival love interest for T'Pol), that he must also be deficient in areas other than his professional life.
BUT you have made this story better by giving Archer some much deserved dignity. The fact that so many readers have conflicting views on Archer show that you have succeeded in his portrayal.
I find it really interesting that you (as the author)could easily point to evidence in the chapters showing that Archer is a "crappy father and husband".....BUT I could point to evidence in your own story that could imply or show the opposite. You have provided fodder for both sides of the debate to chew on and that is why this story works. Great stuff.
I don't know what you have planned for him, but I personally interpret the 'Archer' you have written so far as being someone who would eventually forgive Trip and T'Pol, if, for no other reason than out of respect for his 'son's' heroically tragic sacrifice. I really really hope you don't have Archer "kill himself" in a fit of depression.
Anyways, keep up the great writing.
Frankly on some points I do agree with Rocky but even though I still like Archer in this he has been a little annoying and I didn't like how he dealt with Koval. Trip I think would have made a better father any day. He just has a quality that Archer is sorely lacking.
C'mon, where's chapter 13???
It's boring out here, and I need some good reading material. :)
Guys, really. Suicide and 3-way melds? Why the lack of faith? *Pouts.*
Oh! A suicidal 3-way mind meld...Now you're talking! As long as Archer goes first, and you give T/T' time to count the reasons they should live. *giggle*