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Author - Nikitee | Genre - Angst | Genre - Romance | Main Story | R | Rating - R
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By nikitee

Rating: R - English – Romance, Angst

DISCLAIMER: They all belong to Paramount, not me... no profit, just recreation here!

NOTE: Please be kind - this is my first ever fic, if you don't count creative writing in grade school! Warning: There are spoilers for just about every ep they've produced in here, and if you aren't a fan of R/smut prose, stop about half way through chapter 5, and pick up on 6. The rest is PG/PG-13.

Chapter 1



He was standing in the rain. It was pouring, and he was soaked, shivering. He looked around: they were all there, looking at the small casket. Dressed in black. They had umbrellas. He was soaked... drenched... drowning and freezing at the same time. Phlox's voice droned, loud and monotonous, but he couldn't hear the words. Gallons of water, it seemed, rushed past his ears. Then she stepped up to him, covered him with her umbrella. So now he was dry, but still cold. She took his hand, but her fingers were like ice...

And then they were in decon, alone. The blue light made him shiver, despite the heat he felt building when he looked at her. Her body was so finely chiseled, he thought, and her skin shimmered like diamonds in the icy glow. He wrapped his arms around her, to give her some of his heat, willing her to respond to his touch, to ignite in his embrace.

Her lips were cold when they kissed. Cold? Like space? Space is very big, you know... He started awake... sickbay, he was in sickbay... Porthos?


"It concerns one of the crew. May I speak with you privately, Captain?"

Jon Archer nodded, and waved casually at Trip Tucker, who was draped over the easy chair closest to the desk, leg dangling. Recorded football could wait, if it had to... The engineer downed the last bit of precious Guinness in his bottle, planted the empty on Jon's desk with a tired grin, and headed for the door. "Don't watch the end without me. I wanna see the Gators cream yer sorry team."

The captain smirked and returned his attentions to Phlox. "Sit down, Doc... what's up?"

"It's a delicate situation..." he paused, unsure of how to begin. "Several of the senior staff were... mistreated by the Suliban, as you know..."

Jon's expression darkened as he thought of the Malcolm Reed he'd seen lying in sickbay after the Helix incident, face bruised and swollen, ribs crushed. Pain was etched on his pale face, along with defiance and satisfaction. He'd done his duty, and lived. Mistreated was an understatement...

"...unforeseen complications to normal development could be significant, even life threatening," the doctor continued, the characteristic cheer gone from his voice and expression.

"Wait, say that again?"

"You are aware that the Subcommander is older than any of the humans aboard Enterprise, but she is young by Vulcan standards. She has not yet reached full maturity either physiologically or psychologically. Her experiences with Tolaris and the Suliban have complicated the situation beyond my ability to deal with... medically."

"T'Pol? I'm not getting this, Doc. What's wrong?"

Phlox pursed his lips, and started again. "Subcommander T'Pol is in the midst of the secondary maturation phase for females of her species, the pon frell. She... at her age, Vulcan females normally co-habitate with their bond-mate. When... the time comes, they mate both physically and mentally... the female's maturation to full adulthood from this point takes about a year, with frequent sexual and telepathic contact."

Jon stared at the doctor. T'Pol was going through... puberty?

Plox continued, almost as if he were afraid to stop. "There are a few documented cases of Vulcan men living through what I take is the male equivalent of this maturation phase -- the texts don't describe it openly -- by using extreme forms of relaxation techniques, drug therapy, and intense meditation. I have searched every medical database I have, and can find nothing pertaining to female survival rates..." Phlox cleared his throat, and stared at his hands. "Without a mate, the hormonally-induced fever will kill her. I believe the only option is to take her to Vulcan."

"Does T'Pol know?"

"That she is in the early stages of pon frell, yes. That her condition has progressed, no. That I am now speaking with you as her doctor to her commanding officer, no. The unengaged phase can last up to five years, and she has come to sickbay regularly for both nasal inhibitors and hormone therapy. It was working until recently. . ." He paused, and let out a low whistle. "The drug regimen the Suliban administered during her... interrogation... stimulated both adrenal and hormone production, and accelerated the cycle. Until the chemicals fully dissipated, we couldn't determine the effects on her own body chemistry. The fever, aches, unease and agitation she has been experiencing we had both attributed to the Suliban drugs... the tests I ran this morning show the symptoms are not after-effects. She is progressing to the engaged phase of pon frell."

"How long before her condition is critical?"

"Her frontal-lobe synaptic activity is becoming erratic, and it is stressing her mental controls. She told me she has been putting extra effort into her meditation since Tolaris' "mind meld," but that the repair schedule has not allowed her to maintain her routine. I won't be able to compensate for the changes in blood chemistry much longer using Anaprovalin and Gerraxon. I won't be able to control the hormone production or fever spikes. Two weeks, maybe three."


Two weeks... two weeks... they could make it back to Vulcan at high warp in a month. With three decks exposed to the vacuum of space, sustained high warp was out of the question. Jon did the math in his head again as he worked his way to E deck. Way too late, if Vulcan was where they needed to be... Options, what were the options? Take her all the way to Vulcan, and hope she lived that long? Meet a Vulcan ship mid-way? How could he explain that to Admiral Forrest and Ambassador Soval? Private matters, indeed! Could you find a Mr. T'Pol and put him on your fastest ship, no questions asked?

And both supposed she had a bond-mate waiting for her, and that she wanted to go home... she's never even mentioned a husband, fiancée, or boyfriend... but she's chosen to stay here on Enterprise twice, twice!*... she knew what was happening to her, and didn't go home. Maybe there was no one there. Maybe there was no bond-mate on Vulcan waiting for her. Or maybe there was and she didn't want him, or didn't want him as much as she wanted to be on Enterprise.

The captain of the Enterprise stopped in the center of the corridor, pinched the bridge of his nose, and looked at the door panels to get his bearings. Had he had this headache all day, or did it just start? O, boy. Walk, Jon, keep walking.

T'Pol doesn't like humans, he objected to himself feebly... we're smelly, and emotional, and unpredictable, and stubborn, and diplomatically immature... but she's stayed here with us. She eats with us, banters with us, stands up for us... whenever I've needed her, she's been there. I didn't expect it, but now I've come to rely on it... her, on her. She cares for my ship, and my crew, even if she won't admit it... She endured torture to protect the ship, and me...

"Admiral Jonny Archer." I know I saw her smile, just a little when she read it... She gave me a book about logic... Was it about her... understanding her? Ambassador V'Lar said T'Pol and I have a bond... do we? Would I do? So she could stay here on Enterprise, and not go back to Vulcan... not leave us without a science officer... not leave? Would I do? I would, I...

"Ahem... Captain? Are you okay?" Crewman Michaels asked for the second time, looking concerned.

"Oh, yes, sorry for stopping in traffic..." Jon stammered, "I wasn't paying attention." The captain stepped aside and kept walking, amazed that he'd gotten lost on that train of thought. Where had that come from?

Fine. It was an option he could offer her... better than death, right? And she hadn't flat out refused him when he'd bumbled on about the friction between them, after Porthos had recovered. No, she'd cited protocol: he was her superior, she'd said. He was, and he was responsible for her, and not hypothetically... He was strong, healthy -- not as physically strong as she was, but strong... he could shower... and... make love to her, for... a year... if he had to. O, boy.

Jon Archer felt himself blush and stiffen at the same time. He dropped his head and rubbed his temples, shifting his hips to make a bit more room in his jumpsuit. He saw feet... and gave himself a mental kick. Be aware, Jon.

"How are the hull repairs coming?"

"Progress is satisfactory. Four more compartments have been sealed during this shift, and we are testing them under pressure now." Subcommander T'Pol shifted the oversized PADD she was carrying from gloved hand to gloved hand and back as she looked him over head to toe, appraising. "Do you have a headache?"

"Uh, yes... it's been an interesting day."

"Yes..." She nodded, and changed the subject. "I was just about to contact Mister Tucker. The 17-E bulkhead is showing microfractures, and should be replaced or reinforced before we proceed to repairing the next deck. I am... reluctant... to interrupt his first off shift this week, but we cannot afford to lose the repair time."

He studied her face, looking for... anything to confirm what Phlox had told him. Fever? Weakening control? Anxiety? She was obviously tired, and dirty -- but she was focused. She had been working with Trip, working with the engineering crews in EV suits to repair the decks blown out on the port primary by the Romulan mine. It had been a week of hard physical labor, 21 shifts so far. Adrenaline... she was living on adrenaline, he suddenly realized.

"T'Pol, are you okay?"

The science officer nodded, and plucked at the keyboard of her PADD, then pulled off her gloves and unzipped the EV suit with a yank, revealing the form-fitting pressure suit underneath. She punched the keys again, more effectively without the gloves, and frowned slightly at the screen.

"I am... tired, Captain. 16-E seems to be microfractured as well; we will need to address these immediately, before the supply vessel arrives with the new hull plating." She stepped backwards, almost jittery, toward the corridor junction.

Jon swallowed hard, and looked at the sheen of sweat near her hairline: it made her hair curl at her temples, made her glow -- deep gold under the emergency lights. Vulcans don't sweat... do they? O, boy. Humans do. He swallowed again. "Trip and I were watching a football game to unwind, but got interrupted. He's probably in the mess hall or his quarters. I doubt he's asleep yet."

He nodded, trying to regain control of himself, but she'd already spun on her heel and strode down the corridor in search of the chief engineer. He watched her disappear, and knew what he needed to do.


*Actually three times, but Archer doesn't know the full story of "Breaking the Ice."

Continued in Chapter 2

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