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Author - Sue | Genre - Romance | I | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
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Summary: Missing scenes.
Keywords: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."
Practically all of what I once concluded about Mr. Tucker...Trip...is suspect. My assumptions, fault-finding and criticism lie exposed for what they have been all along--wrong! Far from being the impulsive, irrational sentient, I used to label him as being, now I wish that he was not so logical, reasoning and behaving as though he had once been schooled at the knee of Surak himself.
I want the Trip who admitted to my mother that he loves me. Yet, daily, I find myself questioning whether or not he still does. He is so cold, and distant, so gallingly--rational--whenever I am in his company, as though I am someone to avoid. I confess to myself how much he means to me, how much I need him to be what he was becoming in my life, but I lack the courage to tell him. Trepidation over hearing him say that I should meditate what I feel away plagues me.
How I miss the Trip whose every challenging comment, speculative propositions and spur of the moment, as he would say, actions challenged my preconceptions. He has caused and nurtured these strong emotions I feel for him, and I will NEVER give them up. These emotions are precious to me. I cherish them now, as they grow stronger with every passing day whenever he seems to have no trouble ignoring me. It seems of small consequence to him when he treats me as if I am nothing more than a PADD.
Trip...the Trip who...
I had just finished telling him that as guests we were expected to prepare the morning meal. It had stunned me how physically appealing he had looked, bare from the waist up, staring at me in disbelief as though I had just told him he was expected to go before the High Command for debriefing. I had felt nothing but empathy for him, and I suppose that is why, instead of going away, I went to him, knelt beside the bed and had asked if he had slept well.
"Just fine, T', but I gotta confess, I kind of miss the old bunk aboard ENTERPRISE.' I'm not used to havin' this much room to spread out in."
I had not known how to respond to his remark, so I had merely nodded by way of acknowledgment.
"So this meal prep'...what's involved exactly?"
And I had gone on to explain why guests were expected to fulfill this obligation, as well as what was more or less involved. He had asked additional questions, several of them, and I had not only tried to evaluate his responses, but more importantly, his motives for asking.
I had weighed his various reactions carefully. Unquestionably, my Trip is a man of varied, multi-faceted reactions...my th'y'la...the peerless soul I am prepared to sacrifice everything, which was once so important to me, for so we may commune in ways he does not yet know exist.
"So...you'll show me what to do?" he had asked with the oddest of grins on his gentle face.
Again, I had nodded, and before I had become aware of his unhurried approach, he had leaned in and kissed first the side of my head, then my cheek, and had ended with fluidly claiming my lips as his with his own.
"You're great wakin' up to."
The feelings that had overwhelmed me were exquisite; I had not wished for him to stop conquering my amazement with his amorous worship...but to our shock, we had heard my mother's voice calling my name, doing so insistently.
"She must not see me leaving here, and she is near," I had whispered to him, my heart beating wildly, having skipped several beats, he having taken hold of my hand, squeezing the blood from it. "Even to find me in this room with you like this would be an affront to her, and would demean you in her eyes. She will see me if I leave now."
"You could hide, but where?" Trip had suggested.
There had been nowhere apparent. Vulcan quarters are stark, as you well know, the majority of them designed without closets.
"Hold on..." he had insisted. And I had almost smiled, since he had had a strong grip of my hand, still. "Duck under," my commander had commanded, having lifted up the blanket and moving his body over, leaving room for me to wedge myself beside him. "Best I can do, considerin' there isn't even any crawl space under this bed."
"Platform beds are sturdier."
"This is no time to debate home decor, darlin'. Get in!"
I had wasted no time then, diving beneath the blanket and sheets, shielding myself from my mother's critical eyes that were sure to make their way in here. Almost instinctively, I had known she would presume to open the door to the guest quarters, undoubtedly having wanted her suspicions confirmed all along. I had scooted as close as I could to Trip, and now thinking back, I don't believe he had minded my imposition at all.
In fact, he had nipped at the tip of my right ear, and had growled into it. "You're welcome to come back tonight." He had thrown one of his legs over both of mine. "We could keep it down, and nobody'd hear a thing." Then, compulsively, he had arranged the blanket in strategic places so the outlined angularity of my curves were not so obvious just before...
The door had opened, and I had imagined my mother standing in the doorway, scrutinizing Trip with a fine-toothed comb, as he is fond of saying. Jammed up against him, as I had been, it had been as though I had been at the bottom of a pit looking up to where his head cleared the blanket so he could 'hornswoggle,' most certainly his word, not mine, my mother with the rough-cut charm that drapes him like an aura.
"I beg your indulgence, Commander, but I am looking for my daughter." The edge to her tone had not been accidental; I know that tone well. "Have you seen her?"
"Mornin', ma'am. I see you're an early riser too."
"T'Pol. Do you know where she is?"
Beneath the blanket, I had felt his heart beating as vigorously as mine. I had lain very still, having not even dared to breathe. His talent is abundant for all that is mechanical, but was he up for the formidable contest that is my mother, I had been powerless to resist thinking.
"Well, ma'am..." He had whistled then, having made it long and drawn-out. "But...my, my, my...you're purely a lovely sight this early in the mornin' for sleepy eyes tryin' to focus. It's easy to see who T'Pol gets all her charm, grace and beauty from."
Oh, he is something, I had thought, and that something is akin to what he says the male leads in all those movies he never tires of inviting me to have—star quality. I recall having stuck my index finger in his aesthetically-pleasing navel, which, as I think back now, wasn't a wise thing to have done because Trip had nearly exploded in laughter. It had been interesting seeing his middle writhe as he had twitched.
I forget how ticklish, as he says, he is.
"Why, thank you, Commander, but your flattery does not answer my question. Did T'Pol come to see you?"
"Well, I'd certainly know if she had. See, when we're aboard ENTERPRISE, she's not in the habit of comin' to my quarters for a personal wake-up call."
The hand that wasn't holding the blanket up he had rested it in the hollow of my abdomen, and I had closed my eyes, reliving sketches of what we had done aboard ENTERPRISE when I could not help myself. I had wanted him all over me that night.
"I see," my mother had said, with a palpable dose of disdain. "Perhaps she is in the hydroponics atrium selecting herbs and spices for the meal."
"That has all the earmarks of a plan, ma'am." Trip had flinched a little, and had quickly deferred, "Uh, no pun intended, so help me..."
I had wanted to harass his navel again, but logic had dictated, finally, to assume the upper hand, and had stayed mine.
"Earmarks," my mother had repeated. "An interesting choice of word." This time her tone had been more neutral. "You should dress, Commander. You are expected to help T'Pol prepare the meal."
"Yeah, I know. T'Pol told me." He had winced just enough so I could tell, he having realized his error too late.
"Yes? And when did she tell you?"
"Uh, well uh...before we went to bed--I mean before she and I retired--separately--separately, is what I meant, ma'am. You know..."
I had hoped my mother did, because if I had been she, I'm inclined to believe I would have been at that bed yanking the blanket back.
"I will go find my daughter."
Under his breath, he had said, "Yeah, you do that."
I had felt relief rolling off him.
"That was close. For a minute there I thought she was about to come over here and tear the covers clean off this bed." Then he had changed tact. "Of course you know she knows we've got somethin' goin' on. Regardless of how close to the vest we're playin' it, tryin' to keep what we are from her. She's your mother for God's sake. All mothers everywhere got that sixth sense when it comes to their kids, doesn't matter who or what the mothers or the kids are."
"If what you say is true, then my mother will have to accept the fact that I am proud I have brought you here."
"To show me off...your human boyfriend."
"That as my esteemed colleague and--"
He is nothing if not stubborn, which is likely why I feel close to him. We are alike in more ways than not.
"Extremely so..." I had felt myself blush, and had grown warmer in his strong arms which had embraced me with such force. Trip had chosen to ignore what my emotions had caused, and I had felt grateful that he had. "Having you here, in my home," I had breathed against his cheek, "is a great honor. I will always appreciate that you decided to join me."
He kissed me thoroughly and, unwillingly, when he had run out of air, broke off from my pliant mouth. Huskily, he had said, "You think maybe one day we'll always be like this? Two crazy kids who'll never be able to get enough of each other?"
"Perhaps, th'y'la, perhaps..."
The meal my mother expected from us had nearly gone unprepared that morning. So often when I sit in my quarters alone, here aboard ENTERPRISE, I think back to the start of that unusual day on Vulcan. I have known the depth of his love for me long before my mother divulged what was in his heart. The deepest affection I feel for him is inextricably linked to regret and a despair the like of which I have never known before knowing...Trip.
All that has happened between us feels as though it has occurred lifetimes, his and mine, ago.
Are we over before truly beginning? I rise from my bunk, upset. Lately, I have gotten into the useless habit of wringing my hands, something else for which Koss is to blame. A strange spiking of anger fuels my resolve to see Trip, hoping he will want to see me.
When I arrive at his quarters, my heart is pounding as never before. I have no idea what I will say, but somehow what I feel inside must be spoken. I won't rest until I make my feelings known, and perhaps suggest something that could work for us, but only if he approves. After I sound the chime to his door, momentarily, the impulse to leave as quickly as I came captivates my thoughts. Might he think I'm bothering him, unable to take his distancing himself from me as his answer? He has made his feelings clear already, hasn't he? I must make certain.
"Come on in..."
The sound of his voice steadies me, dispelling further thoughts I entertained about running away. I enter to see him poring over some specs. Taking his time, he looks up from his desk, which looks neater than I've ever seen it, and says nothing for several moments. He just looks at me with a look I imagine I have given him on numerous occasions.
"I had a feelin' it'd be you." He gets up and steps away from his desk. I sense his hesitancy, but he decides to take a few steps towards me. The look on his face dramatically softens. When he reaches me, he guides me over to, what he calls his, "functional, but uncomfortable" chair.
"Have a seat. You look like you could use one."
On the strength of his gentle touch, I allow myself to be led. As calmly as I can I tell him why I've come. "It is imperative we talk."
Trip looks from his specs to me, to his bookcase, and back to me following several seconds of opening and closing his mouth. "I thought we already did while we were tryin' to get a lock on that signature."
"We were interrupted. I wished to speak further. There is more to discuss." There is desperation in my voice, though faint, it is discernible, nevertheless. He must have heard it too because his eyes cling to my face. There is an unsettled quality in them.
"What more needs to be said, T'Pol?" His face contorts. "This situation's awkward to the nth degree. It won't take me some time to adjust--I don't think I ever will. Adjust?" His eyelids droop. "Story of my life, ya know? When it comes to affairs of the heart, things just NEVER work out. Add yourself to my sorry list."
"What I say might change your opinion."
"Oh, yeah? Okay...what more do you need to say?"
His bitter tone confuses me, but only momentarily. "I disagree with your literary comparison."
"What comparison was that?"
"The reference to 'Romeo and Juliet.'"
"Oh, yeah, that one." He shrugs, and eventually throws up his hands as though with an air of defeat. "It's the only Shakespeare I know. I wasn't big on English Lit. But ya gotta admit, what the star-crossed lovers faced applies to us. You haveta admit we're as different as night and day...and...and we've got our problems, don't we?"
"What man and woman don't have their differences, even when they are of the same species? It is the lot of being male or female."
"Yeah, well, okay, can't argue with that. Divorce is still a huge problem on Earth. On average, one out of every two marriages ends in it." I perceive that he is thinking what he said over. "But, you've also gotta admit that, for whatever reasons, there'd always be folks against our bein' together...havin' somethin' negative to hand us. They'd never see us as normal...a happy, lovin' couple. They'd see us as different, always different. Strange. She's Vulcan, he's human...weird."
I didn't expect him to stand next to me and rest his hand on my shoulder. "Our being together would not involve others." I look up at him and say, "As I've told you before, living for ourselves is what matters."
He pats my shoulder. "That sounds nice in theory, but the dumb reality is what other people think matters a whole damn lot."
"Not to me."
Just as stubbornly, he insists, "Not to me either."
He has granted small concessions, but I will take what I can get, and be grateful. "I don't care what anyone thinks about our being together. What you think is important to me."
"I believe ya, sweetheart, honest, I do." Then he admits as he evenly strokes my neck, "It's a tendency with us humans to make excuses when it looks like there's no chance in hell what we want to work out, will. Like, it's no big deal, so get over it."
"Do you wish to be, 'over me?'"
"T'Pol, I'll never be over you. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me."
"So there's no reason for you to stop treating me the way you did before. Nothing has changed, Trip. Certainly not the way I feel about you." I was going with the flow, as he often tells me I do when my figurative walls come tumbling down.
He shakes his head and looks very sad then. "Ah, but that's where you're wrong, as wrong as wrong can be. Everythin's changed, T'Pol. What did you expect? What did ya think it was gonna be like once we got back here? Workin' side by side? That we could just pick up where we left off? You're MARRIED, T'Pol. Words, important ones, were said over you and the man you're married to. You said your vows, whether your heart was in 'em or not. I won't be a party to your violatin' 'em, I don't swing that way, regardless of how I feel about you. I was raised to believe marriage is sacred, and I do, 'cause, hell, it is. Married women are off limits. Suppose we were married..." He stops and blinks, what he has just said, sinking in, I assess. "Do you think I'd stand for you messin' around with another guy? If I ever found out, I'd break his neck, and, please forgive me, I'd wring yours."
"I know you told my mother that you love me." What I feel for him cries out to me, and I struggle to keep composed.
A look of guilt works the muscles in his face, and he grips my shoulder. "She asked me, but she already knew. I told ya she knew. I wanted to tell ya out at the lava fields, but how could I after you said you were marrying Koss?"
"Do you still feel the same? Do you love me?"
The room becomes very quiet, save for the thrum of the ship's engines. "But it's different now. You know it, I know it. God, I don't want to make it any harder for ya. I didn't then, and I won't now."
"There is at least one thing I share in common with Juliet. I thoroughly researched your reference. Juliet didn't wish to live without Romeo, and I don't wish to live without you, Trip..." Both of us heard my voice catch and I cannot stop trembling when impassioned words tumble from my mouth. "Koss IS NOT my husband, and he will NEVER be my bondmate. He is an arrangement." I heard the coldness in my voice, and I harden it further. "A means to an end. YOU are what I have become, th'y'la...I am yours. I won't give you up!"
He falls to his knees and buries his face in my lap and as he turns his face to look up at me, I stroke his forehead. "T'Pol, I love ya so much--I'll never love another woman more...but..." His eyes fill with tears and they stream down his face. "You're not free, honey...not free any more. And it's tearin' me up inside." He clutches the sides of my thighs convulsively. "Sooner or later, you'll go back to him and do what he expects."
He is the rarest of treasures; his honorableness draws me closer to him with every breath we take. My fingers find their way into his hair. He relaxes a little when I begin massaging his head. "I feel nothing for Koss. He feels nothing whatsoever for me. I am his trophy. When I return to Vulcan, once my mother has regained her full stature and tenure so she will never be compromised in the manner in which she was, I will seek setting the marriage aside." My words have a soothing effect because his sobs are no longer so sustained.
"Can ya do that? Get out of it?"
I wipe his tears away with the tips of my middle and index fingers. "I'm..." I may have been speaking a bit too impulsively, but, letting my emotions take the lead as they often do now, felt good, and I like what I spoke. I can tell what I said made him feel better too. "I'm not absolutely certain, but that is my intention."
"Isn't there somethin' in Vulcan culture that involves fightin' to the death for a mate? A challenger could contend for...I forget exactly how it goes. But isn't there some provision like that?"
He knows a few things about my heritage, but in this case, I don't want him thinking along these lines. Koss' strength is far superior, and he would kill my th'y'la easily. So...I redirect without insulting his informed intelligence. "You refer to the Kunat-Kali-fee, the mating challenge."
"Yeah, that's it. It was on the tip of my brain, but I wasn't sure if it was right. The Kali-farr is somethin' else, isn't it?"
"Indeed. It refers to bonding, mating, having sexual intercourse..."
"A personal favorite..."
It is good to hear and see that some of his joviality is slowly beginning to return. I dig my fingers into his scalp. "Marrying."
"Yeah, big difference." He looks thoughtful. "So, I could challenge Koss for you, is what you're sayin'."
"No," I say flatly. "I refer to other litigable recourse, releasing me from him."
"Like what other kind of legal recourse?"
I don't know; I don’t know everything, so I make something up. Yes, I make something up. That is how I've heard Captain Archer and the senior staff describe various forms of prevarication. Although, there could be a grain of truth to my premise. "If it is proven that I am mentally incompetent, emotionally unstable, undesirable as a marriage mate, Koss would be free of me."
Oh, why not, I tell myself. It is worth it to see Trip smile easily, the way he always used to. "Yes..." I'm no expert in every facet of Vulcan legality, maybe something exists in our ethical codes as it relates within this context.
"So, you've gotta act nuts, loony, kookoo, off your rocker." He gives my middle a tiny pinch. "You bein' the level-headed looker that ya are, it won't be easy."
Yes, his smile gets even bigger, and he stands, bringing me up with him so he can hug me.
"You never answered my question."
"What question was that, darlin'?"
"Do you love me?"
He laughs into my neck, nodding furiously. "I sure as hell told ya how much a second ago."
"Are you sure?"
He holds me away from himself and looks as though I've told him I'm pregnant with his child. "You're kiddin', right?"
I know I don't look as though I am.
"Am I sure? When I found out you had been spirited away by the slavers, I nearly had a stroke."
"I thought I may never see you again while I tried to meditate in the rank cell they imprisoned us in..."
Snorting, he challenges, "How's this for sure?" He cups his hands about my face and kisses it all over, favoring every inch that he believes needs his concerted attention. "I love you, T'Pol, I'll always love you. Physically, I may not be able to show ya how much, with things bein' the way they are, but you mean everythin' to me. Everythin'! If they declare ya nuttier than a fruitcake, the first thing I'll ask ya is to become my wife. Please, be my wife."
"And I will accept."
Now I know what the expression, 'being knocked over by a feather' truly means because he certainly looks as though one would flatten him. Before I let him wrap his arms around me again, in a fit of exuberance, I say, "There is a way we can share all we feel on a level far deeper, more satisfying and lasting than the mere physical..."
He looks surprised, but willing. "Really? How's that possible?"
Assuming nothing, I lead him to his bunk, and I can see by the look on his face that he thinks that what I have in mind is doing to him what I did to him the night our bodies became one. "It's not what you think, Trip."
"Oh, it's not?" he says with an animated roll of his eyes. "Like I told ya, hanky-panky with a married woman is not my style. Let's not start somethin' we'll regret later." Then he sighs. "Ya know, call me cracked, but I can't help long for bein' back in the Expanse where, compared to the way things are with us now, it was much less complicated."
"I think you will enjoy this."
"Oh, I'm sure I will, I always do, but will I be able to respect myself come tomorrow?"
"I think you will..."
Placidly, he says, "Seriously, T'Pol, I won't have sex with you, and you know my reasons why."
"Do you trust me?"
"You know I do. I'm sorry you felt you had to ask..."
I tell him to close his eyes as I seat myself opposite him on his bunk. We have never done this before, but I am confident he and I will be successful. He possesses a beautiful mind. It is quick, responsive, inquisitive, intuitive and I love its possessor profoundly. I raise my right hand and gently rest the pads of my fingers on the sensory contacts of his face. Slowly, and surely I recite a variation of the litany, which he deliberately begins to recite too, that will seal our fate...forever. "My mind to your mind...my thoughts to your thoughts..."
... ... ... ...
Our minds were melded for approximately forty-five minutes and twenty-seven point four seconds. In time, the blending will be longer. It was pure bliss for us both. The sated look he wears tells me so and as impossible as this may be, I now love him in every sense of the way he means it when he says he loves me.
Though I avoid saying how much I love him aloud, he knows I do because he heard me say it and express it often enough while we reveled in the endless vistas of our vivid minds.
We are standing by his door as I'm about to return to my quarters. I know he has many questions about what we engaged in, but I will allow him one. Too much information could easily overwhelm him. He is happy, and that's all that matters.
"Uh, T'Pol, can I ask, well, say somethin'?"
He decides, and rightly so, that holding me in his arms is appropriate, considering that what we have shared those endless minutes defies, easily surpasses, any carnal experience he has ever had, I too, for that matter. He is my th'y'la, my life, 'ha'kiv-da-nel,' many times over now.
"I never dreamed you could feel like this about me."
"This is only the beginning, th'y'la..."
"I've done tons of wishful thinkin' in my life, but honest to goodness this is the first time a wish really came true...well, sort of. The only catch bein'..."
He falls silent, and an odd look steals over him, as though he's seen something he can't quite believe. We read each other's minds, in the purest sense of what we have empowered ourselves to do, speak with our eyes and repeat in monotonal unison, "Koss..."
"Damn, I heard ya think that same time I did. It's the meld, right?"
I nod and add, "Coupled with the bond we are well on our way to forging."
"It's sorta freaky, but I like it." He kisses the crown of my head; his lips linger at the spot. "You're always full of surprises, you are."
Our emotions have blurred, and it is almost impossible to pinpoint where his begin and mine end. I think how prepared I am to have him discover all my secrets.
"Ya know, though," he continues, "Mister Koss doesn't seem quite the same insurmountable obstacle he was before we had our talk." He squeezes me so hard, his hand is flush against a rib, and I wonder if there will be a bruise as though leaving his mark on me.
"He will never be."
"I'm glad you made me listen."
"I could never make you do anything you don't wish to do."
We kiss the Vulcan way. Swooning never felt like this.
"So...here's my question before ya go, and you’d better go quick ‘fore I change my mind and I’m forced to take back what I said about your body bein’ off limits." He makes halting motions with his hands. “Just kiddin’, just kiddin’.” He reaches for my hand and confides, “Thank you for makin’ your mind available.” He beams into my face, but looks somewhat sheepish, and says candidly, "Are ya sure it’s not cheatin'? I'm so tingly and all, like after...well, you know."
I think what my answer is, and when he knows what I've thought, it makes him smile his big, 'all's great with the world' smile. He sends me on my way with warm, pleasant thoughts to envelope me as they accompany me the entire way back to my quarters, where tonight, I won't be alone. I'll have Trip to hold and it won't be in dreams. Dreams could never compare with the unbreakable bond we have begun to share, and the constancy, the reality of his amazing love.
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Nine of you have made comments
Mentally incompetant, eh? Bonding with a human could qualify...
Ok dang it are you happy now! You went and made me cry! Ok Im a sap for happy endings! Real great stroy!
Hmm... she lied though. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I hope it will work out, because now that she's bonding with him it would probably kill Trip to lose her again.
Of course, bonding with a human might be just the ticket to get T'Pol w=out of her pesky marriage.
Simply marvelous. I think Koss will be only too happy to set T'Pol aside when he finds out about her mentally bonding with a human on top of everything else. No more Koss! Are you getting all this TPTB?!
A neat way for them to be together until some solution can be found to the arranged marriage to Koss. I really loved how you described that, so sensitive, gentle and loving. Ali D :~)
Wow How romantic
How to fix the dreadfull mistake of Koss.....?
Message received from SC from VHC.