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Author - Shouldknowbetter | Genre - Angst | Genre - Drama | Main Story | Rating - R | S
Fan Fiction Main Page | Stories sorted by title, author, genre, and rating
Rating: R (WARNING: violent sexual situations), Angst, Drama
Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters, the Star Trek franchise and the universe. I just use them for my own private, non-profit making amusement.
NB: This story is part of a series. You may want to start at the beginning:
7. Cry Havoc
“Are you going to tell us or is it classified?” The attempt at humour sounded as forced as it was and earned him a reproving stare.
“Ambassador Soval will lead the delegation.”
“Great!” The muttered interjection came from Tucker, who didn’t even look up from his plate and the first officer glared at him.
“Ambassador Soval is a respected diplomat and an experienced negotiator.”
“If Captain Archer remains silent at all times, he is unlikely to make too many gross errors.”
“Yeah, that’d suit the Vulcans fine!” Tucker delivered the biting statement with a scathing look at the woman and shoved himself away from the table. “Excuse me, cap’n, I’ve got work to do.”
Archer nodded his permission and the other man left. The captain wondered if it was his imagination that made it look as if T’Pol gave a sigh of relief. This was ridiculous. “T’Pol, I think it’s about time you explained …”
She interrupted him. “Ambassador V’Lar will also be with the delegation.”
“She has largely withdrawn from public life. Her role here is that of an observer.”
“She’s been sent to look over Soval’s shoulder?” Archer would be pleased if that were true.
“I do not know.”
“Roheran society is strongly male dominated. Perhaps they wouldn’t accept a female leading the negotiations.”
“I am pleased to see that you have been studying the situation.”
Archer’s mouth pulled to one side. “Well, sub-commander, I don’t really want to stay silent at all times.”
“That is unlikely to be necessary.” Dark eyes met his, cool but not condemning. “You have proved your diplomatic skills in the past.”
So why the earlier dig? To wind Tucker up enough to make him leave? “Thank you, T’Pol, but somehow I don’t think my inclusion was Soval’s idea.”
She acknowledged that with a slight movement of her head although her expression remained blank. Lately she had seemed as remote from him as when she first joined Enterprise. “If you will excuse me, captain, I also have tasks to complete.”
“Of course.” Archer stared after the woman, a frown crinkling his forehead. He was fed up with the situation where two of his friends were unable to speak civilly to each other. It looked as if indirect action was necessary. “Steward! If Mr Reed’s in the mess hall, would you ask him to step in here, please?”
“No, thank you, sir, and I’d rather stand.”
Reed sunk down reluctantly. “Is it about the targeting scanners, sir?” He had a nasty feeling that it wasn’t. “You’ll have my report in the morning. In fact, I was just leaving to …” He made a move to absent himself and his captain held up a preventative hand.
“Stay where you are, lieutenant. Do you know why my first officer and chief engineer are ignoring each other?”
“No, sir. Permission to leave, sir?”
“Denied. Let me rephrase the question. Why are Trip and T’Pol fighting?”
“I don’t think it’s my place to gossip about my fellow officers, sir.”
“I’m ordering you to gossip, lieutenant. Before I was injured in that explosion on Shuttle Pod 1, they were the best of friends. When I got back, they were barely acknowledging each other’s existence. What happened?”
“Shouldn’t you ask them, sir?”
“I have, Malcolm. T’Pol ignores me and Trip tells me to mind my own business.”
“Have you considered doing that, sir?”
“No. Not when two of my friends are involved.” Archer sighed. “You’re right, I shouldn’t go behind their backs, but I’m worried about them, Malcolm, particularly Trip. He’s not acted this … wild … in years and sooner or later it’s going to make it into his service record. I’ve given him long enough to talk and he won’t.”
“I really don’t have any facts, sir.”
“Speculation will do.”
Reed adopted a martyred expression. A captain who took a personal interest in his crew was arguably a good thing, but it was hard on Malcolm’s sensibilities. “The man posing as Captain Krajewski accused them of being lovers. The sub-commander denied it but,” he shrugged, “he must have had a reason. My guess … Trip pushed his luck and the sub-commander didn’t like it.”
“If all he saw was T’Pol pushing Trip away, why suggest the opposite?”
“Bloody hell!” Reed was horrified. “You don’t think she got him pregnant, do you, sir?”
It wasn’t funny, not when the two involved were clearly unhappy, but on the other hand it was, and the two men shared a guilty laugh at the poor joke.
Even T’Pol had been cool in her response to her former associate, although they seemed to be getting along famously now. Archer could see the two Vulcans in earnest conversation and felt a moment’s apprehension. T’Pol had been on Enterprise over two years now and although it was difficult to tell, he was sure she wasn’t content to be there at the moment. If Soval were to offer her the chance to return to his service, would she accept? He would have to address the issue with her once they returned to the ship. He didn’t want to lose his science officer, never mind an able first officer. The way Tucker was behaving at the moment, Archer would have serious doubts about having the man as his second in command.
On that thought, he scanned the room for Enterprise’s chief engineer and found him flirting heavily with a remarkably pretty member of the Trellin party. The woman seemed more amused than anything else, which Archer allowed himself to hope was the reason Tucker was doing it. He ought to know better than to risk an incident at a diplomatic function.
Looking back at T’Pol, Archer found that Soval had finally moved away from the woman, leaving her standing alone in a corner of the room. He started to make his way over, wondering what she was staring at, then got close enough to see her expression and frowned, mouth compressing. The misery wasn’t perhaps that obvious, but on her normally impassive face it screamed at him; and he could guess at the cause. Sure enough, when he checked, it was Tucker she was watching, the engineer having progressed far enough to go for a casual hand on the Trellin woman’s back as he steered her towards the buffet table.
The greeting forced him back to the real business of the day, although the pleasure was genuine. “Ambassador V’Lar, it’s good to see you again. I hope you’ve been keeping well?”
“Very well, captain, thank you.” The elderly woman was studying T’Pol herself now, although the science officer had recovered her composure and was talking to one of the Roherans. “I admit that I do not know T’Pol well, but she seems a little … unsettled.”
Which Archer assumed was a dignified Vulcan way of asking him if his first officer had a case of the screaming ad-dabs. “She’s … not too happy at the moment.” It seemed pointless to deny it. If he could spot the emotion, it must be even more obvious to another Vulcan.
“I trust all is well between you? I was pleased with the friendship I sensed when I was on Enterprise.”
“We’re fine.” Except that T’Pol wouldn’t talk to him and hadn’t wanted anything more than friendship. That still niggled occasionally.
“I am glad.” Then she turned the conversation to professional matters.
It was during the afternoon session, following another long speech from the Roheran ambassador to the effect that he wouldn’t be seen dead shaking hands with a Trellin. He had said the same thing a dozen times in a dozen different ways and Archer had felt like shaking him warmly by the throat a few times, but Soval had been unfailingly polite. Then he lost his temper.
“Enough!” The Vulcan ambassador brought his fist down on the table. “This is foolishness! You have no choice. You will negotiate.” There was a stunned silence from the whole room then Soval rose slowly to his feet. “I am calling a recess. We will reconvene … the day after tomorrow.” He strode out and the other Vulcans in his team followed, heads bowed.
“I don’t get it.” Archer was pacing in his ready room while T’Pol waited patiently for him to get to the point. “Soval actually lost his temper. How can that happen?”
“I do not know.”
He gave her a suspicious look. “I thought you could explain Soval’s behaviour.”
“Speculate. That’s an order.” Why did he have to keep ordering his officers to give him information?
“I am in no position to do so.”
“The only explanations are private.”
Archer sighed and dropped into a chair. “Why doesn’t that surprise me?” The comm. sounded. “Yes, Hoshi?”
“Ambassador V’Lar is requesting permission to board, captain.”
He exchanged a surprised look with T’Pol. “Then have her escorted to my ready room, please, ensign.”
The elderly Vulcan looked more serious than usual when she was ushered in, taking the seat Archer offered with a nod. “I am pleased to find you both here.” She gave Archer an astute look. “I assume you have been discussing Soval’s … outburst.”
“I’ve been asking T’Pol what could have caused it, yes.” The captain’s tone was dry. “She’s not been answering.”
“Rightly so. Such matters are deeply private, not for discussion with outsiders. Now, however, we have no choice. Captain Archer, I include you because T’Pol is a member of your crew, but I must demand your silence on what is to follow.”
Archer saw his science officer’s head move sharply, but she remained silent. “I don’t understand,” he said slowly. “There are some weird stories prevailing about Vulcan mating habits but … Well, most of them agree that Vulcan’s only mate once every seven years. Shouldn’t Soval have known that this was going to happen?”
V’Lar clearly found the matter distasteful, but continued with the explanation. “It is true that Vulcan men come into heat rarely by human standards and the event can, to some extent, be predicted. But Soval is growing old and the onset of pon farr is less predictable. He tells me that he thought to have at least another six months before the madness took him.” She hesitated. “It may be that he should have refused this assignment, but he did not and so we find ourselves in this situation.”
“Why are you telling us this, Ambassador V’Lar?” Archer enquired. “Do you need Enterprise for something?”
“There are four options for a Vulcan male who enters pon farr.” V’L chose not to answer the question directly. “The safest, most natural outcome is to mate, but Soval’s wife cannot be brought here in time. Sometimes the urge can be overcome with meditation but it would take Soval days and we do not have that luxury. In theory, combat is a possibility, but here Soval has no rival to fight. The fourth option is death. I think you will agree, Captain Archer, that that is to be avoided.”
“But you’ve ruled out all the other options.”
“So’ke’fe.” T’Pol spoke for the first time. Archer thought she sounded sick.
“Yes.” V’Lar was again watching the younger woman. “So’ke’fe. The tradition by which a male in pon farr, separated from his spouse, may take another woman with no shame to either. T’Pol, Ambassador Soval has asked that you service his need at this time.”
“I am honoured by his choice.”
Archer had never seen T’Pol’s expression quite so frozen, nor her voice sound so indifferent. “Let me get this straight. Soval wants T’Pol to sleep with him.”
“To mate with him, yes.”
“And there aren’t any other women he could chose?”
“There are no others within the delegation who are eligible. The candidate must be unmarried.”
“T’Pol, do you want to do this?
“It is an honour to be chosen.”
“That’s not what I asked. Do you want to mate with Soval?”
“You do not have to decide at once, T’Pol,” V’Lar put in. “This is not an order. You may have until morning to ponder your decision.”
“That will not be necessary.” Her voice was firm. “You may tell Soval that I will go to him – under the traditions of so’ke’fe. If you will excuse me, captain, I would like some time alone to prepare.”
He didn’t have much choice but to nod.
Her expression didn’t change as Archer crouched down in front of her. “Do you really want to go ahead with this?”
“You asked me that before, captain.”
“And now I’m asking again.”
“You had my answer the first time.” Her words were measured, carefully enunciated.
“No, I didn’t. ‘It’s an honour’ doesn’t answer the question.” She gazed calmly back and Archer’s impatience grew. “T’Pol, you’re proposing going to bed with a man in cold blood! Is that what you want to do?”
“It is the logical solution to the ambassador’s need.”
“Logic be damned! T’Pol, have you ever had sex?”
“That is none of your business. In fact, Captain Archer,” for the first time in months he saw her angry with him, “none of this is your concern. Please leave.”
Her privacy restored, T’Pol closed her eyes but not to begin her meditations again. Archer had no right to throw her weakness in her face when she was steeling herself for what was to come. A shudder passed through her body as his words replayed themselves in her mind. Of course she would rather it was Charles she was going to have mate with her, but that was impossible. Even if she had been fool enough to go to him now, to ask him to take her body so that Soval would not hurt her so much, the human would reject her. She had had plenty of evidence over the past weeks of how much he hated her.
“No.” He stepped inside and she held him off with a strong hand on his chest, but he was still too close. She could see the intense blue of his eyes even in the dim light, see the dampness at his temples, smell his anger. “What the hell d’you think you’re doing?” She started to speak. “And don’t say you don’t know what I’m talking about!”
“How did you find out?”
“Jon told me.”
“He had no right.”
“You tell him that. And tell me how the fuck you can do this!” He was shouting as he always did when he lost his temper. It hurt her ears.
“Soval must lead the negotiations. He has selected me as his … partner.” The Vulcan word did not translate well. ‘Slave’ had some very poor associations in English.
“Fuck that!” She had rarely heard him swear so much. “You told me your husband would expect you to be virgin.”
“Soval will provide testimony as to the necessity of this act.”
“Oh, great, so you’ll come with a recommendation!”
T’Pol was shocked to find herself starting to tremble. Tucker’s anger was hurting her, slamming into the walls around her forbidden emotions and those walls were starting to crumble under the assault. “It is considered an honour.”
“But you don’t want to!”
She wanted place her hands over her ears. “I have no choice.” That was not something she had admitted to Archer, perhaps not even to herself until now.
“You’ve always got a choice! I thought we got that straight years ago.”
Years ago, when she hadn’t loved him. Was that when he had started to wriggle his way past her walls or had it been before that, when a vitally attractive man who knew very well that Vulcans avoided physical contact tried to shake hands with her? “Then respect my choice that I do not want you here.”
T’Pol couldn’t face him anymore. She turned her back, hugging her arms around herself. “Leave.”
“Damn it, T’Pol!”
“Leave!” She was horrified at the unsteadiness in her voice and Tucker must have heard it because he pulled her roughly around to face him, staring down at her.
“Oh, shit,” he said a long moment later, abruptly gentle, “you don’t have to do it.”
It was one blow too many for T’Pol’s increasingly fragile control. Her breath caught and she felt moisture suddenly form in her eyes as Tucker’s face contorted with remorse.
“Ah, T’Pol, I’m sorry. Jeez, don’t cry on me.”
She gave up fighting. It was too hard and she had been alone too long. Careless of what he might think she stepped up to him, arms going around him desperately. Just once. Just once more.
Tucker responded immediately, pulling T’Pol tightly to him, pressing her head gently into his shoulder. “Ssh, it’s OK.” She was still trembling but she held off the tears; Vulcans did not cry, although neither did they need human men to cuddle them. “You don’t have to do it.”
He still didn’t understand. She turned her head to rest her forehead against his neck. “I must.”
“If it was Captain Archer’s life at risk, is there anything you would not do to save him?”
“Soval’s no Archer.”
“Perhaps not, but he was my mentor for many years. I have an obligation.”
He didn’t speak for a moment; she could almost feel him trying to control his instinctive response, to look at the situation from her point of view. “God,” he said at last and she knew he had accepted her decision, even as she felt his cheek press against her hair. “I just wish it was gonna be me.”
T’Pol closed her eyes, trying to focus. “I thought you had revised your opinion on that subject.”
“Then why d’you think I’m here?” he asked reasonably and forced her face up to his, hands cupping her jaw. “I need to apologise. I knew I was hurting you and I still kept doing it.”
“You were right to accept that you could never have me.”
Tucker’s eyes were very sad. “I could’ve handled it better.” He hesitated. “This thing with Soval. Will it make any difference to us? Afterwards …”
T’Pol tucked her head under his chin again. “How can it?” She knew the bitterness was showing and she did not really care. “I must return to Vulcan to marry eventually. Do you wish to bed me for a season so that you can boast …”
“Don’t you dare!” he said forcefully. “Don’t you dare think that! I love you, T’Pol. I wanna take you to bed so that your first time’s with someone who cares for you. Don’t you dare think I just want sex from you!”
“Perhaps you should take his advice, T’Pol.” V’Lar’s calm, uninflected voice made them both start violently, pulling apart. T’Pol stared at the other woman in horror. What would V’Lar think of her, not only to find her embracing a human, but to hear him advocating intercourse between them? “I came looking for T’Pol in case she felt the need for council or companionship,” the ambassador added when neither of the other two spoke. “The door was not locked, and I see that she has found both elsewhere.”
The older woman held up a hand, forestalling T’Pol, which was perhaps just as well; she hadn’t known what she was going to say. “As I said, Commander Tucker’s advice may be sound. The first time of mating is always painful even with the marriage bond and the blood fever to ameliorate the effect. When you go to Soval, I trust that there will be time for his fever to infect you, T’Pol, but he is old and the urge is strong. He may not wait. Of course, with a human there is no chance of relief from either the fever or the bond. He would undoubtedly hurt you greatly. Do you seek pain, child?”
“No.” There were worse pains than the physical and they both knew it.
“You have a great depth of feeling for the human, T’Pol.”
It wasn’t a question but T’Pol felt compelled to give an answer. “That is irrelevant. I assured you that I would go to Soval. I will do so.”
“To my knowledge, you have rejected two proposals of marriage during your time on Enterprise. Was this because of Commander Tucker?”
“No,” and then she faltered. Kos, definitely … probably not. Storan … perhaps. “Yes.”
V’Lar appeared to sigh, tucking her hands more deeply into the sleeves of her robes. “I told you once before, T’Pol, that we bury our feelings but we still have them. I believe you have discovered your own. Do you love the human, child?”
“But you will go to Soval?”
“Are you going anywhere with this, ma’am?” Tucker joined the conversation for the first time, having recovered from the shock of having been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “Or are you just rubbing T’Pol’s nose in it?”
“I am establishing the facts. I assume that you return T’Pol’s affection, commander?”
“But you have not acted on these feelings?”
“We’ve not been to bed together, no.”
“I believed it to be inappropriate.” T’Pol was as confused as Tucker by the conversation.
“As indeed it would be. As inappropriate as pairings with off-worlders have always been.” An eyebrow quirked up at their mutual surprise. “Did you believe that you were the first in two thousand years to see past the superficial differences between our species and many others, T’Pol? Youth can be very naive.”
Something in the woman’s tone made Tucker suspicious. “Have you had an alien lover, ma’am?”
She almost looked amused. “I see you have not learnt tact, Commander Tucker, but I say again, that it a private matter. T’Pol, your time with Soval is unlikely to be easy, especially if you have feelings for another. It may go better if you do not go virgin to Soval, although I can guarantee nothing. Either way, the universe is unlikely to become chaotic if you chose to take a human lover; for a short time and with some secrecy and discretion.” She paused, looking from one to the other. “The shuttle will leave at 0730, Enterprise time. I will see you on board, T’Pol.” She made to leave then turned back, speaking directly to the other woman again. “Although I must question your taste, child. If I were your age, I would have selected the handsome captain, not the engaging Mr Tucker.”
Tucker chuckled briefly, shaking his head as the door closed behind the elderly Vulcan, then turned to the younger one, intensely serious again. “Well?”
In answer, she crossed to the door and locked it then walked into his arms, winding her own around his neck. “Kiss me.”
He gave a deep sigh and ignored her request to pull her close, burying his face in her neck for a moment. “Thank you.”
T’Pol run her fingers into his silky hair. “Kiss me.” He obeyed finally but it was a chaste affair, not at all what she had been expecting. “Charles?” She pressed closer, angling herself against his hard, lean body, sliding her hands to his shoulders and holding up her mouth hopefully. He had never been so reluctant to kiss her before, when they had not had the permission of no less a person than a senior Vulcan ambassador.
“What’s the hurry?” He detached her firmly, holding her away. “There are a few … things … we have to talk about.”
“I do not wish to talk. We will argue.”
“T’Pol, stop that!” She had pulled down the zipper of his jumpsuit and was trying to insert her hands beneath his undershirt. “Be serious a minute.”
“Well … yeah.”
“Why? You have done this many times before.”
“No, I haven’t.” He raised a hand to caress her cheek. “I’ve never made love to you before. I want to make it good for you and I don’t even know if we’re … uh … compatible.”
“I have a basic knowledge of human physiology. I believe your fears to be groundless.”
“Well, that’s … good.” Trust T’Pol to know that sort of detail. “But … you’re gonna have to tell me what you like or if I …”
“I like touching you.” She slid her hands over his stomach to demonstrate. “I like you touching me.”
He gave a small choke of laughter. “It’s a start, I guess.”
She reached up to press her mouth to his, removing the opportunity for further embarrassed instructions. “Charles, I have wanted you for a long time. Just touch me. I will not need much … encouragement.”
He was still doubtful. “V’Lar said I’d hurt you. I’ll be as careful as …”
“Charles,” her hands were busy undoing the buttons near his throat, “do you want me?”
“Of course I do!”
“Then take me.”
He made another small sound of amusement, perhaps of desire, and lowered his head to capture her willing mouth in the sort of kiss she had wanted, slow and deep, his tongue caressing her mouth. T’Pol was sure it was unsanitary but the sensations invoked were far too pleasant to worry about lack of hygiene.
“Yes.” She shifted slightly. “It’s nice.”
“You can say that again.” It had started more embarrassing, awkward and certainly more painful for T’Pol than any other sexual encounter he had experienced, but eventually they had adapted to each other’s needs and then it had been very good indeed. Very, very, very good. Reality and its likely complications returned abruptly. “Tell me we’re not gonna have to go back to just being friends. Not after this. T’Pol, it’s not just the sex. I …”
She covered his mouth with her fingers. “You know I have feelings for you. Very … deep feelings.”
“Then let us be together! It’s been hell, the last few weeks.”
“I know. I missed you greatly.” She hesitated. “Charles, you know I must return to Vulcan within the next few years. This could not be permanent.”
“Isn’t it better to be happy while we can? We know we’re miserable as hell apart.”
“You once recommended contentment over happiness.”
“When have you ever taken my advice? You think I’m an idiot.”
“I do not.”
“It will only make it harder to part eventually.”
“Don’t know that.” His tone was teasing but the eyes on hers were rock steady, pleading. “We might bore the hell out of each other after a couple of weeks. A few more nights of wild sex …” She stopped him talking in the pleasantest way she had yet discovered and his arms tightened. “Was that a ‘yes’?”
“We will regret it.”
“So that was a ‘yes’?”
He grinned, eyes warm and loving, then his expression grew serious again although the emotion was still there. “Thank you.” T’Pol kissed him again for good measure and then again because it was so very enjoyable and felt her whole body react pleasurably. “Oh, no.” He had felt the reaction too. “No way. Not again. I …” Hands stroked his chest, the rest of her body moving sensuously against him as a warm tongue touched the base of his throat and he groaned. “Make that a maybe.”
T’Pol pulled back to regard him, eyes laughing amidst a serious expression. “I believe you told me that in this position, it was I who would be doing all the work.” She waited until he finished laughing so that she had his full attention then returned to work; she had always been conscientious about completing tasks she had begun.
When T’Pol’s alarm went off, Tucker only groaned and she had to reach over him to deactivate it, snuggling back down at her human’s side again. She had always believed that physical contact with him was addictive and now she had further proof; a lot of further proof.
“Was that the alarm?”
“Hell. Wanna call in sick and stay in bed?”
That woke him up. “Really?”
She did not like to disappoint him but, “I would like to stay here with you, but I cannot.”
He grimaced. “You’re gonna go ahead with this thing with Soval?”
“I gave my word. It is an honour.”
“You gotta admire a culture that legalises rape!”
“It is a tradition to which I have consented willingly.”
He glared at her. “And I still call it rape.”
T’Pol sighed. She had to explain but she feared that Charles would react irrationally. “You heard V’Lar speak of the blood fever. It is a physiological condition that affects Vulcan men during pon farr and it is transmitted to those with whom they have physical contact. When it takes me,” she hesitated for Tucker’s eyes were narrowed with the beginnings of anger, “I will succumb to lust. If you are not there, I will not care who satisfies it.”
“It is a product of evolution. A similar reaction occurs amongst mammalian species on Earth when the female comes into heat.”
“But not with people!”
“Then be grateful that in one respect humans are superior to Vulcans. We are not proud of our biology.”
“Sorry.” He stroked her apologetically. “What about this marriage bond V’Lar was talking about? Will that happen between you and Soval?”
T’Pol looked back at Tucker with resignation. For an intelligent individual, he could be very obtuse. “No. It is called a marriage bond with reason. It is only instigated between two people on their marriage. The bond is life long and unless it is dissolved another cannot replace it. One of the requirements for a so’ke’fe is that she is not bonded to another. It would cause a great deal of distress otherwise,” and in the bad old days would have been cause enough for a blood fund between the two males involved. She did not think that it would be wise to tell Charles of that.
He shook his head, not in denial but in wonder. “I always forget that you’re telepathic.”
“My ability is small and I have received no training. It serves no useful purpose.”
“So you can’t tell what I’m thinking?”
“That’s probably a good thing.”
He smiled a little wanly and glanced around for a clock. “What time is it?”
“Better get up then. D’you wanna go see Phlox this morning?”
“You really ought to. You must be so sore.”
“I am fine.” He stared doubtfully back. “But I must meditate before leaving.”
“Yeah, I guess I stirred you up some. Ow! That hurt!”
“Then do not be …”
He grinned and hugged her tightly. “I’d better go. Don’t want anyone seeing me and I need about a litre of coffee before shift. Unless you want me to stay around?”
Reluctantly, despite the fact that she knew he had to go, T’Pol shook her head and shifted out of Tucker’s embrace; she needed a little time alone to compose herself. She slipped into a robe as he sat up, stretching, and reached out to trail a gentle hand over livid finger marks on his back. “I hurt you.”
“I’ll live.” He was pulling on pieces of his scattered clothing. “Come here.” She walked into his outstretched arms again and he pulled her close with one of them, tipping her chin up with the other hand. “You sure about this?”
He sighed, shaking his head, kissing her mouth briefly. “You’re crazy.”
“I am Vulcan.”
“Yeah, I noticed that.” The hand slipped over her unusually rumpled hair. “Call me when you get back?” She nodded. “I love you.” She looked calmly back. “You’re supposed to say that you love me too.”
Her eyes shifted. “You know that I have feelings for you.”
He began to grin and tried to rein it in, teeth closing on his lower lip. “You can’t say it, can you?”
“I believe that I have demonstrated my attachment to you.”
This time he did chuckle. “I guess we can work on that one.” He bent forward for a gentle kiss, amusement fading. “Be safe.”
“There is no danger.”
“And don’t say things like that. T’Pol?”
“If you wanna meditate, don’t you think you should let go of me so that I can get outta your way?”
She released him rapidly, hands clasping behind her back. “I was not restraining you.”
“Were too.” Unable to resist the temptation, he stole another kiss – he’d had to wait a long time for the opportunity – and groaned. “I’m going.”
“But not with any degree of urgency.”
He grimaced, kissed her again and this time made it to the door. “Call me?”
“I said that I would.”
“Yeah. OK, I’m going.”
“Commander Tucker, go.”
“Go.” He gave her a mock-offended glare and went. T’Pol watched the door fondly for a few moments then fetched her meditation lamp. Her mind was at peace as it had not been in a long time, but her controls were in tatters that needed to be re-built. Then once it was over, she could come back to Enterprise and allow Charles to demolish them again.
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