“My Flame, My Nectar”: #STaD; May 20, 2015

Disclaimers:

This story is rated PG-13 because it contains adult language and situations, some suggestive.

My Flame, My Nectar”

I’m drinking tea, alone in the Mess Hall, staring out at the streaking stars. I won’t admit to my human shipmates that I find solace in this view- and more solace in motion, as Enterprise makes best speed toward her planet of origin.

Where meditation has failed, where the flame can’t soothe the residual chaos in my mind, or the echoes of his deep inner chaos, to which I am too intensely Awakened, the stars offer some comfort. I sip my chamomile tea – human tea, and not Vulcan – and wish, however illogically, that it was as simple to offer him some comfort against the pain he can’t accept, the pain that slices through him, and which resonates with my own pain, the remembered pain of Jossen’s face in the moment I killed him, and the lingering embers of the flames of need –

There is a scrabbling sound, outside the door. I don’t need to guess at who it is. “Beats starin’ at it.” The words are slurred strangely, and carry anger -not an emotion that was common to him. until recently. Until the attack.

I rise. It’s not a planned action; it’s an effect of my Awakening, the flames. He is my flame, my nectar. A quiver tingles in my fingertips, fingertips that twitch with the need to touch. But I don’t know if touch is what he needs, and I won’t touch him only for myself.

“No, no, no!” A powerful impact on the panel, as I near the opening door.

Trip – Commander Tucker – staggers into the room, his once vivid eyes glazed, tiny red blood vessels showing in the sclera. That’s all I have opportunity to observe before his feet seem to tangle; his coordination is clearly affected, and he is in danger of fulfilling the human nickname he claims.

I hasten, but I’m not fast enough- he falls, his attempt to throw his arms out failing, and he lands hard, with a grunt that becomes a retch. I’m aware of a glass bottle colliding with the deck plating, and the spray of sharp-scented liquid and fragments of glass.

Commander Tucker gags, and vomits on my boots. The odor is nearly enough to bring a similar response from me. I can’t restrain the quiver as it moves up my fingers, but I won’t succumb to the urge to vomit while he’s incapacitated and perhaps injured.

He stares up at me, when the convulsing of his digestive tract allows him, helpless and clearly inebriated. Most of what coats my boots is liquid; it implies that he hasn’t eaten. I’ve waited too long, because I’m uncertain that he would welcome my help, and because I’m utterly uncertain of my own ability to exercise appropriate discipline in his presence.

“Commander Tucker?” I attempt to keep my voice calm, and to remove the ‘damned Vulcan snippiness’, as he’d termed it. “Trip?”

“First name, eh? Maybe I’m dyin’ . Would be a blessing…”

I suppress my urge to respond emotionally to his statement. Perhaps he’ll feel differently, when he regains normal functioning – if he regains it. “You appear to be – significantly inebriated. Perhaps to the point of toxicity.” The degree to which he is altered is alarming; can he recover? Does he want to? And what will I do, if he doesn’t?

“Puked on yer pretty boots, T’Pol.” There’s a shadow of his humor, and perhaps an apology, in his words. Illogical, the way it sends the quiver up into my hands…

“Perhaps you have purged some of the intoxicants. Are you strong enough to stand, if I help you?” There’s no question whether he can get himself up without risking another fall.

“Stand? Wha’ th’ hell for?” More illogical still, that I am pleased at his resistance.

“If the Captain becomes aware of your – self-medication – he won’t consider my recommendation that you be returned to duty.” It is only now that I know that I will attempt to convince the Captain, even if it’s necessary to personally supervise him to be certain that he doesn’t revert to his former compulsion to increase the engine’s maximum velocity at any cost.

“Returned to – what? Why would you – ?”

Because you will destroy yourself, if we take away your purpose. Because I can’t bear to see you in this condition, without hope, broken as I once was –

I’m Vulcan. I don’t say those words. Instead, I focus on practical matters. Logically, he can’t remain here. “Commander, do you feel you can stand, if I assist?”

“You asked that already.” He’s frowning, and confused. Lost, perhaps, in his intoxication, and his pain. “Too close. Danm, T’Pol, it was too close.”

I hear the jagged wound of his grief, his fear, his anguish – yes, there is a human word for what he feels, and what I felt, when I killed Jossen. Killed a man who might not have been armed – no, T’Pol. It is illogical, and unhelpful, to dwell on your own pain, when the man to whom you are Awakened is in need of tending. I gather my intentions, create purpose.

“I have asked. You haven’t answered.”

His head sinks down on his forearm, and he moans and mutters,“Forgot the question. Brain’s numb – stuck at one-tenth impulse. Slow goin’ – take us months to get home -” So much pain. Is there really anything I can offer him, against such hurt, such uncertainty?

I need to try. For him, because he is lost, and struggling. I’m the First Officer, and his well-being is my responsibility. Awakened to him, I need to serve him – for myself. To be near him, as the quiver urges – a primal need no discipline can begin to tame.

“Trip. Can you stand?”

“Canya catch me?” Slurred and sleepy. I must get him out of sight, erase the evidence, before he loses consciousness. It will be more difficult, if he doesn’t willingly agree to my assistance.

“If necessary, I am capable of carrying you. However, it would undoubtedly arouse curiosity and attract attention that won’t help in convincing Captain Archer.”

“Why do you want me to stand?” His analytical mind is engaging, to some degree. I only know now how much I have missed that, missed his debating my opinions, conclusions, even my culture. Challenging me to see things from a different, non-Vulcan perspective. I’ve grown, with his presence in my life, and I choose to think that he has, as well. But that will do little good if he is observed in this compromised condition.

“This is the Mess Hall, Commander. If you remain here, you will be seen. I won’t be able to assure that it won’t be reported.” In his condition, the truth is perhaps not enough, but I give it to him as a gesture of my respect for him.

“You wanna help me?” The pain, and the hope, tangling together. Such a human response. So very like him to feel so much, so fully.

I kneel, my knees in the puddle of his vomit, but I don’t allow it to affect me. I am unable to exercise the same control over my hand – it hovers above his shoulder, fingers trembling with the need to feel him.

“Yes, Trip. I want to help.” I need to help. If he will only allow it.

“Why?”

“Because I feel the depth of your pain. I understand that you can’t go forward until you’re certain, and that you can’t be certain until you return home. I know that we are too far from Earth for you to bear the waiting. I don’t believe you should be punished for being unable to simply wait. I believe that you should be assisted, and granted clemency for any – perceived failings – that result from this untenable situation.” The words come without caution or forethought, but from a – feeling – that I must give him my truth, at least in this.

“You talk too much, and make my head hurt.” He groans, and hides his eyes, as though the light is disturbing. I regret that we will have to travel through the corridors. But I can at least not compound the discomfort.

“I have experienced the same thing, with you. I will cease speaking.”

He does what he can to help, but I am grateful that I’m well able to support and guide him. I maneuver him into a chair, and ease his path as he slumps almost at once to rest head in arms on the table. He murmurs something incomprehensible; I’m uncertain whether he’s awake or asleep as I set about restoring the room as nearly as possible to its former condition. There is a certain pleasure in the activity, the pleasure of a service willingly given, a duty well performed.

I must decide what form my service should take. I can’t simply leave him here. That’s neither safe nor advisable.

But his own quarters clearly offer access alcoholic susbstances, and he doesn’t seem to be capable of resisting, at this point. Perhaps it is gone, but, if it isn’t – his clothing and body carry an odor that suggests that he’s been incapacitated, and not concerned with his hygiene for some time. If I return him there, alone, he will likely succumb to whatever comfort the alcohol can provide – a comfort I’m ill-equipped to understand.

I decide to bring him to my own room, see to cleaning him, perhaps feeding him, and then ensure that he has an undisturbed place to sleep off the effects of the intoxication, care for him now as he cared for me when the Suliban drugged me.

But if I tell him what I intend, he may argue- or I may further distress him. I opt for silence, helping him up, supporting him as I carefully navigate the route, thankful that it is 0345, and, other than the minimal duty crew, he and I are the only ones likely to be awake now.

“Oh, hell, home….home’s not there….Lizzie….Lizzie…where are you, Elizabeth? Architects travel a lot, don’t they, T’Pol- where’re we goin’?”

“There is no alcohol in my cabin.” I allow my emotion, my affection for him, to color my tone. “It’s clean and quiet. I will tend you, and watch you, and you’ll sleep. No one will disturb you, and, as I am off duty for the next two days, I will see to your needs while you – recover.”

“Why?”

“Because I know what it is to be tormented by emotion, with no way free.” Because I will be near you, and we will be alone, with, as you said long ago, ‘a comfortable bed and a door we can lock’. I don’t know if sexual relations would ease his pain, or compound it, but I know that, if that is what he desires of me, I won’t refuse him. I’m Awakened to him, and the viral mimicry of pon farr has honed my longing into desire.

He meets my gaze, his sharpening for a moment, with his customary focus, and I feel as though he is seeing me, not as he’s expected, but as I am. I feel somehow naked and vulnerable, but I allow him to see me, and I do nothing to raise my barriers.

Then the lucidity fades, and he simply does as I direct. I don’t speak; he murmurs from time to time, but there seems to be no meaning to his words. He doesn’t protest when I remove his clothing. It takes all the control I possess to cleanse him without allowing my hands to linger. It is as well that he needs to be held upright; that provides me a focus, and occupies one of my hands. However, my eyes will not obey me. They study him, in every detail.

He is beautiful. Even now, he is strong and healthy – and male. My stavril aches; demanding penetration. I bite my lip nearly hard enough to draw blood…

I wrap him in a towel and settle him on the toilet while I strip out of my clothing, dry myself, and don my robe. Then I lead him to my bed – and now he balks. “Uh uh -imma gentleman, T’Pol….’s your bed. An’ I’m naked -”

“I will get your clothing once I know you are finished vomiting; it’s too great a risk now.” It’s true, but it’s not my only reason. To have him in my bed – it is what I’ve dreamed, since the virus brought the flame, and the hunger…

I long to touch him. But I change into my pajamas – the blue ones that match his eyes. I will pass the night in meditation, if I am able. If I can’t, there will be pleasure in watching him.

I will control myself, for his sake.

“Sleep with me, T’Pol. Let me hold you. Stick with me.” He’s sitting up, more or less, wavering, but his eyes are focused on mine, glowing in the candlelight, asking and offering in the same moment.

He is even more beautiful, now, and there is no more thought of control. I am needed. By Trip.

I am uncertain how to approach this, what he wishes of me. I decide that I will lay near enough that he may touch me, but no nearer, and that I will allow him to do – whatever he wishes to do to me, or with me…

He draws me into his embrace. “Must be dreamin’. No way Miss Points’N’Logic’s lettin’ me hold her…” I feel him sinking into the bed, and into sleep. “”S best dream I’ve had in – way too long. Chase away the nightmares, my brave little T’Pol – let me sleep tight…you comfy?”

I lie on my side, facing away, and he kisses the back of my neck; soft brush of his cool lips, his cool breath, and the quiver becomes a shudder, brings forth a low tight moan of wanting…

“Was that you, or me? Damn….dreamed of this, so many times…so many…but I couldn’t get it up now if you begged me…” He curls around my body, arm draped over my hip, molding me to him with a long sigh.

Within moments, he’s breathing deeply, then snoring lightly. I turn in his embrace, so that I can watch him sleep. I will not – I will tend him and watch him, breathe his clean smell. I won’t touch – no. I know that, if I do, I won’t stop. And Trip is in no position to either consent or refuse the touch.

But I can watch him. There is a faint smile on his lips, perhaps a lingering effect of his pleasure at being here, and holding me.

I dare to rest my ear against his chest. Curious, that the human heart would reside there; curious, the soothing quality of that slow strong beat, so unlike my own. It lulls me, into the white space of meditation – the space I hadn’t found since the infection…

Pillow Talk?: #STaD; May 19, 2015

Disclaimers:

  • Trip, T’Pol, and Star Trek: Enterprise belong to Paramount, even if Paramount has forgotten all about them…
  • This is an extrapolated “might-have-been” missing scene story which occurs during S2E26:The Expanse. Spoilers for that episode.
  • This story is a sequel to Sticking Point.

This story is rated R for sexual situations and suggestiveness.

Pillow Talk?

“Oh, hell. Oh, damn. Oh hell. I’m so sorry – ”

“Why?”

“Do you seriously need me to tell you? Are you going to make me say it? Ow, damn, my head hurts. I know I should be cursing myself out – and I promise I will later, and I’ll get the hell out of here and try like hell to find a way to make it up to you, though I sure as hell don’t know how I’m gonna do that – oh hell – ”

“Commander -”

“Mind if I don’t look at you? My head feels like it’s about to fall off, and I – I just can’t, after I woke you up that way- hey, what the hell is that?”

“Inaprovaline, for the pain. Anti-nausea medication. A broad spectrum vitamin supplement designed to replenish what you’ve depleted, over the last few days. Commander – Trip – I wasn’t asleep.”

“You weren’t asleep?! You mean you were awake?! For – for that?!”

“Not having been asleep indeed means that I was awake. If you have a headache, Commander, it would be wisest to lie still.. I would prefer that you do not vomit in my quarters; the smell is unpleasant.”

“You’re worried about the smell? After what I did?!”

“Perhaps taking a deep breath would help. If you feel your digestive system can tolerate it, coffee is indicated. Preferably strong, and accompanied by a juice rich in citric acids. I have both available. It is likely too soon to consider the matter of nutrition, but it appears that it’s been several days since you’ve eaten anything of consequence.”

“You want to give me breakfast in bed…?”

“I don’t think it’s wise for you to attempt to go to the Mess Hall, in your current condition.”

“Tell, me something, T’Pol.”

“Yes, Commander.”

“Am I dreaming, or did I drink myself mad? Or to death? If I did though, I’m not sure whether this would be heaven or hell – or maybe both- ”

“You seemed to be enjoying it a few minutes ago.”

“Why the hell’d you let me – let me – I mean I – ”

“As we are both aware of what has occurred, Trip, there’s no need for you to say it, if you find it difficult.”

“Oh, hell – why didn’t you stop me, if you were awake?”

Because your actions didn’t harm me, and seemed to comfort you.”

“’Comfort’? Why do I get the feeling you’re using that the way you used to use ‘agitated’?”

“I’m hardly an expert in why humans feel as you do. I have little context from which to assess your response to your activities. You seemed comforted, and, that is my goal – that you have comfort as you -”

“Please don’t say it. Damn. I almost forgot, for a few seconds. I need a drink.”

“Medically speaking, Commander Tucker, that is the last thing you need.”

“Wasn’t speaking medically; you were. Trust me, T’Pol. I need a drink. Not proud of it, or anything, and I wish to hell I didn’t, but I gotta. You understand? I just gotta -”

“I believe I understand well enough.”

“What’s this?”

“A ceremonial beverage that is consumed upon my world. Please sip, only – it is extremely potent.”

“What ceremonies? What’ll it do to me? Smells – well, really, really good. Will I start spouting logic, or something?”

“Given your nature, that is unlikely. It may have no effect; or you may find that your mind opens to experiences in a way that allows you to begin to find acceptance of what is.”

“T’Pol, I don’t know my sister is dead, and I’m not going to fucking grieve for her! Not unless I know. What the hell kind of brother would I be if I did?”

“You misunderstand my intent. It’s not to mourn; it’s to honor. May I ask you a question of a personal nature? You needn’t answer it aloud. only consider it.”

“After the way I repaid – everything you did for me last night – yeah, what the hell? Ask.”

“If your sister is alive, does she want you to suffer the pain of fearing her dead? Does she wish for you to jeopardize your career, your health, and your life, in self-torment?”

“No – of course she doesn’t. But- what if- ”

“It she didn’t survive the attack, – will it bring her back to destroy yourself? Will it ease your family’s pain to grieve two members, rather than one? Does being constantly inebriated it serve a purpose?”

“Hell, yes, it serves a purpose! Don’t you see?! No, of course you don’t – you live your whole damned life numb – and on purpose! What the hell would you need alcohol for? Hey, where’re you going?”

“I understand that anger is a part of the human process of acceptance. I will therefore distance myself from you until I can be certain that I won’t succumb to the impulse to respond emotionally and unproductively to the insult you’ve just given – or, perhaps, until I no longer feel insulted and misunderstood. This is a choice that I make for your benefit, because you are in pain, and incapacitated. I make it for your benefit, do you understand that? Can you?”

“T’Pol, hey – will you come back? Please? You’re right – I’m being an ass, and you’ve been – well, let’s leave it at a hell of a lot more than kind. I don’t think I knew how much I needed that- but I’m starting to get the idea. I guess – I guess I’ve got a hell of an asinine way of saying t’hanks for pickin’me up off the floor and takin’ care of me.’”

“There is no need to thank me. I have watched you with the crew, and with the alien species we’ve encountered. You would do no less- even for me.”

“You’re right – except that you don’t get yourself into situations that could get you into trouble. You’re way too smart for that.”

“We both know that’s not true. However, it’s irrelevant. If you would prefer something more – familiar, to drink, I will bring it from your quarters. I had heard that you collected alcoholic beverages, including those not of Terran origin. I have very little of this beverage; it is rare, and intended only for ceremonial use. It’s not intended to be shared in quantity, or as a leisure activity. But I wish to share it with you, now.”

“Are you breaking protocol again, offering to share it with me?”

“If I am, it’s no matter. I wish to share it, and to honor your sibling’s place in your life, and you in hers.”

“You said there was a ceremony.”

“Yes. However, it’s not necessary, and may not offer you the comfort it does, for Vulcans.”

“You know, T’Pol – I think I’m starting to get the hang of how you work. Enough to know that you wouldn’t have mentioned a ceremony if you didn’t feel it was important or valuable – but I, uh, that is – umm, should I be doing this naked? Where’s my clothes?”

“Being laundered. I suspect that you were wearing them for several days. If you would like, I will bring something from your quarters. However, I am not disturbed by your state of undress.”

“Like the view, do you?”

“Indeed.”

“What the – I can’t believe you just came out and admitted that -”

“I appreciate beauty in diverse forms, Commander. I believe, as human males are judged, your form is most aesthetically pleasing.”

“But what about you? How do you find my ‘form’?”

“That’s irrelevant.”

“Not to me, it isn’t.”

“Commander Tucker -”

“Hey, you can’t blame a man for trying -”

“Blame is illogical.”

“Do you think we’re ever going to get the hang of talking to each other?”

“We are talking, Commander.”

“Listen – I’m naked in your bed. I just did – well, something I’d rather not admit to – ”

“Why?”

“Why? Are you seriously asking me why?”

“I am generally serious, Commander.. I don’t understand why you would wish to deny an activity that appears to have been involuntary, and which clearly offered comfort.”

“T’Pol, I – oh, damn – I was dreaming – or I thought I was….I didn’t mean to- ”

“May I speak?”

“It’s your room – your bed – your damned hip, too -oh, hell – ”

“I’m – honored.”

“Honored? Wait a minute; must be more hung over than I thought I was. Did you actually just say you’re honored that I – ”

“Yes.”

“Maybe I shouldn’t ask, but can you explain that- because my brain won’t process why my – well, lack of self-control – would make you feel honored.”

“You were distressed, and you – sought closeness. From me.”

“There wasn’t exactly anyone else around, T’Pol -”

“You might have sought comfort from any other member of the crew. You are well-regarded, and many of the women on the ship would have been very agreeable to taking the place I occupy. And yet, it is me that you asked, that you entrusted with your emotions and your – your physical needs- and me that you asked to sleep with you. It has meaning to me, that you could trust – ”

“Hey, now- where are we gonna be, if you fall apart on me?”

“I’m not- ”

“OK, have it your way. I’m still not sure I understand, but I’m glad I – uh, didn’t offend you. I’m not in the habit of doing that kind of thing with someone who didn’t give permission – ”

“You were asleep, and dreaming, when you began. That you would do so – with me, an alien -”

“You’re not alien, T’Pol. Not to me. You’re T’Pol.”

“Thank you.”

“Hey – it’s me who should be thanking you. But, before you prove once and for all that you have as many emotions as any of us, and shatter all those illusions you want us to have, maybe we should have that ceremony, and drink your booze- what’s it called?”

“Kivaswine. I have a request, before we begin.”

“You name it. If I can do it – ”

“You will need to set the kivaswine aside, Commander.”

“Can you try to call me Trip?”

“Yes, Trip. What are you looking for?”

“A coaster.”

“A ‘coaster’? I am unfamiliar with the word.”

“Something to put this down on, that keeps it from leaving a ring on your furniture – ”

“I have nothing of that nature, Comm- Trip.”

“Funny – you seem like just the type who’d insist on coasters. But never mind that, now – what can I do for you?”

“Embrace me.”

“You don’t have to look so shy, T’Pol – I mean, I was holding you all night – and, uhhh, more than that this morning -”

“It isn’t customary for Vulcans to embrace so. But I – I wish to be held, for a few moments, to feel your skin, to – to -”

“Shh. You think too much, you know. If you want a hug, I’m more than willing to hug you. Hey, I thought your nose didn’t like the smell of human?”

“Mmmmm. I find your scent – mmmm- most agreeable.”

“But I’m alien, to you -”

“You’re not alien, Trip. Not to me. You’re Trip.”

“Well, then, you just breathe away, and let me know when you want me to let go.”

“Mmmm.”

“Dinner With the Boss Tonight”:#STaD; May 18, 2015

Disclaimers:

This story is rated R for adult themes and erotic situations.

“Dinner With the Boss Tonight”

Enterprise sailed on, toward what was home to the vast majority of her crew, leaving the Orion women and the havoc they’d caused in her wake. Slowly, the effects of the womens’ potent pheremones began to wear off, leaving some simply embarrassed at how easily they’d been distracted, but others, the ones who had been chosen for deeper manipulation, feeling cheated out of the partners who had shared their incomparable sexual talents, making them feel as though they were the most desirable men – and, in some cases, women – on the ship – or maybe anywhere.

In a softly candlelit cabin decorated in shades of plum and blue, the only two people aboard who had escaped the effects of the Orion pheremones were preparing to speak with their Captain on the intercom. Unseen by him, their fingers danced and twined together, through the poses she had taught him, making promises that they didn’t want to delay. The newly discovered bond was a playground, and he was finally home, and, mostly, all was right between them, at last.

At least, there was a new and deeper understanding, and he could feel how deeply she yearned – and perhaps needed – to give herself to the exploration.

And where T’Pol of Vulcan would lead, Trip Tucker would follow, truly going where no man had gone before – or at least, no human man….

If not for the hypospray T’Pol clutched in her free hand, close to her breast, and the required but incredibly inconvenient dinner date with a jealous and suspicious Cap’n, everything would be perfect.

“I still think we should beg off, pepperpot.”

“He won’t allow that, now. We must show him enough that he releases any thought of being with me.” She’d been inflexible on this point, even before she’d pressed that damned hypospray of trellium against her jugular, sagging into him, as it raced through her swift green blood. For the first time, he’d felt it the way she did, known the icefire in her veins, chilling and alluring and ultimately irresistible.

He hated the hypospray, and what was in it. Yes, trellium-D had been a catalyst for their coming together- but there was no permanent cure for what it had done to her already compromised synaptic pathways. Someday, this compound, which was harmless to him, was going to kill her. It made him want to scream at her to stop, to for gods’ sake be logical, to not set her scanner to record everything as though this were just another of her scientific experiments, when what it was was a long slow suicide.

But he didn’t. She couldn’t help it; the damage was done before any of them knew it, and there wasn’t a damned thing anyone could do about it, because she’d die even sooner if she never ingested it again…

“I wish you would’ve let me take this one for you.” The whisper was soft but potent in the quiet room, and the woman’s eyes shifted, down and to the left, as she swallowed. Her face stayed so calm that someone who didn’t know her, hadn’t spent the last five years trying to learn every possible thing about her – “Just how old are you, anyway?” – wouldn’t see that his sorrow was affecting her deeply. But he’d spent that time, sometimes battering against the walls she threw in his path, sometimes dismantling them, other times sending them crashing down into rubble with a smile or a caress or an unexpectedly thoughtful gesture- “Care for a bite?” “You OK?”

“If we are to convince the Captain, Trip, there must be a significant quantity of Trellium-D in my bloodstream. As he is, he’ll certainly require Doctor Phlox to run a scan. If the trellium is discovered in your system, but I am affected, our bond will be discovered.’”

“Why that would be so terrible, pepperpot? I think everyone will be happy for us.” Once, she’d called him intransigent. When he was a kid, they’d had an expression. “Takes one to know one.” She was at least twice as stubborn as he was, on the best of days, and she was certainly getting her Vulcan up on this one.

“Captain Archer won’t be ‘happy for us’. He desires me, Trip, and he must be made to see that what he wishes is impossible. I’d prefer to do it in a manner that allows us both to remain aboard Enterprise, in our current positions. It would be ideal if we can both maintain our friendships with him – but yours is the more important.” The young woman looked at her bondmate’s chin, her body moving as though her emotions were pushing it, and Trip knew what was coming next. “Entry 630. Conditions referenced in entry 629 -”

“T’Pol, don’t – ” He didn’t quite try to take the device from her; that would be beyond stupid. Even her feelings for him wouldn’t protect him from her strength and reflexes, if she lashed out instinctively to protect her right to the trellium. It gnawed at him that it had been him who first exposed her, by bringing bits of the compound in under his nails, in his hair follicles – that had started the sensitization process, even though none of them had known it yet, not even her, and she’d known long before it started to show in an obvious, impossible to ignore way.

Now, she made a sound that wasn’t quite a warning snarl, and wasn’t quite words, either, and tugged away from him –

“Stay, stay,” he whispered. “At least let me hold you, while- ”

She stayed. Trip fought back tears as she lifted the device.

Hiss of the hypospray in the calm quiet of the room, and a gasping shudder from T’Pol as she dropped the device, and clutched at her mate.

“I’m sorry this is so difficult for you,” she whispered, and he kissed her through his tears, and hers.

**

In another part of the ship, a man was pacing. The room wasn’t large enough to accommodate his energy; he could get twelve paces in if he kept his steps tight, and only ten if he allowed his long legs the full extent of their natural stride.

There were few places on the compact ship that were suitable for pacing, other than the corridors.

The man didn’t want to run into anyone, didn’t want the looks of contempt he imagined he’d see on every female face (except one), or the too-knowing commiseration he’d see on every male face (except one).

He’d tried to figure out why it was these two. Her, he could see. She was Vulcan, not human. She came with an impressive list of strengths – and a few terrifying weaknesses. Long ago, this same man had told her that he was restraining himself from knocking her on her ass, but that was before she’d been thrust into their lives, into his crew.

Long before he knew her, or wanted her…

Before he’d had any idea at all how much restraint she’d shown in not doing a lot more than knocking him on his ass faster than he could even say the words.

A line from Shakespeare danced in the man’s head; something his best friend – his best friend who had somehow, despite his unquestioned humanity, proven immune to the pheremones – had said about T’Pol once, maybe a year or so ago – right after that whole hatchery thing, and the battle at Azati Prime, when she’d been shockingly emotional, and they didn’t yet know why.

“Though she be but little; she is fierce.”

Fierce. Lovely. And extremely desirable.

The man looked at his bed. His beagle was there, sleeping, unaware of the chaos in his mind. It must be good to be a dog, with no responsibility and no worries. For a minute, he wished he could trade places with Porthos.

But Porthos would never have a chance with T’Pol.

“Do you think you do?” He’d landed at the mirror, and he stared at his reflection. Did looks matter, to Vulcans? What did? She’d been married, a few months back; she wasn’t now. That was all he knew- that, and that her husband, an attractive man, at least by human standards, had been helpful in a pinch. Jonathan Archer had never seen the two of them together; had there been anything between them that would pass for affection? What had been the rationale to the marriage? The divorce?

He’d seen her with Trip thousands of times…seen her working with him seamlessly. Just as often, or a lot more often, back in the beginning, he’d seen them butt heads in battles of will that had become legendary on the small ship. He’d damned near had to order them to cease and desist a few times…

He’d had a sneaking suspicion that it was a fight that had driven Trip to leave the ship and crew that he loved, try to start again on Columbia, where he said he was needed. Erika had been thrilled to give him back, trade him for Kelby, who was adamant that he didn’t want to serve on any Engineering crew led by Charles Goddamn Tucker the Third.

Trip, who hadn’t so much as glanced at the Orion women.

Trip, who was immune.

Just like T’Pol.

Trip, who’d been dancing with her – or said he had, in the conference room three hours, ago, and who’d been fetching her tea an hour and a half later.

Trip, whom she’d been mind melding with – for how long? How long did it take a Vulcan to establish the type of mindlink that could work at a distance, well enough that a human would pick up on her thoughts?

Was that all it was?

“Time to find out.”

Jonathan Archer, Captain of Enterprise, was reaching for the comm when it signaled. He tried to pretend that didn’t annoy him as he toggled the switch and snapped, “Archer.”

A pause – maybe three seconds. Then, “Uhh, Cap’n?”

“Trip?” He’d been sure one of them would call. He wished he wasn’t sure they’d still be together. “What’s up?”

“Uhh, about dinner, sir….”

“Yes?”

“There’s, uhhh, kind of a problem, sir. I don’t think tonight’s going to work out.”

“And why is that?”

“Commander Tucker is concerned that my recent injection of trellium will prevent me from attending as ordered.”

Jon knew that he should be alarmed, or at least concerned, about her relapse. The damned poison he’d sentenced her to was going to kill her. Maybe it would take a century – but she should have a lot more. He should be glad that Trip was with her, that she wasn’t succumbing all alone, with no one to see her through all the things she would feel, now….but, hell, he wanted it to be him, and not Trip damned Tucker, who was there with her.

The two of them were there. Together. Still. Damn, but he’d wanted to be wrong about that. Jon eyed the bright yellow water polo ball, and wished her ears weren’t so good. Stress release would have to wait. He took a deep sighing breath that didn’t help, and snapped, “Well, will it?”

“No, sir. On the contrary, I am -eager – to attend.” There was something in her voice, her tone, that more than whispered of dangers he didn’t understand. But Jon was hanging on the note of – looseness? – in her voice, as though a lid had popped open, freeing her.

Vulcan out of the box, he thought, knowing it didn’t make a lot of sense, and not caring.

“Trip seems to think it will be.”

“It will be, Cap’n. Trust me on this one.”

Was it only yesterday that he could trust Trip that easily? Jon sat down on the bed, close enough to scratch the dog’s ears. Only yesterday, he’d lain here, all tangled up in Navaar and her charms…and T’Pol had been a thorn in his side, getting in the way of his goals and his freedom to give Navaar anything she wanted, so that she would shift his reality, blow his mind –

“Trip, I am fine.” Oh, the way she said it. Four tiny little words, but they revealed her, Jon thought. He could imagine her saying, instead, “Jon, I am fine.”

“Two doses in three minutes isn’t fine, pepperpot – awww, hell.” She didn’t seem to have noticed what she’d said, but Trip knew he’d tripped up, said more than he wanted to, said something that made it more than dancing, or tea, or friendship.

“Something you want to tell me, Trip?” The growling tone made the dog leap off the man’s bed and curl up on his own, but Jonathan Archer never noticed. He strode instead to the comm, leaning in as if he could confront his rival through the device, see into T’Pol’s room, to whatever the hell was going on in there.

Silence on the other end of the comm; Jon could picture them, looking at one another, trying to find a way to cover the two slips, and whatever they said about what was going on between them. If he could have seen them, he would likely have rethought his insistence that they join him at in the Captain’s Mess. Certainly, he would have been surprised at the silent ardor of the dancing fingertips, the way his Vulcan First Officer was sitting on his soon to be reinstated Chief Engineer’s lap.

“Trip?” Jonathan Archer couldn’t see them, but he knew a rat when he smelled one. And there was a large rat in the vicinity of his second and third in command. A large and furtive rat. “T’Pol? Or should I say, ‘pepperpot’?”

“You should not.” Her voice was hard and tight; was she angry at him? Trip -” this time she caught herself right away. But two mistakes in as many minutes – that was unheard of, even when she was using trellium. “Commander Tucker – has an unfortunate tendency to assume that, since he possesses the human misapellation known as a nickname, that it is therefore acceptable to address me in a similar fashion. As you well know, Captain, he is quite intransigent-” She tried to cover now, with her stream of what they’d used to call “Vulcan doublespeak”, behind her back, but not out of her hearing, although they hadn’t known that yet, either – but he could hear an edge of panic in her voice, or he thought he could.

“Intransigent?!” A few notes too high, too histrionic. Yeah, he was in on it, whatever it was. Were they lovers? Were they in bed, together, right now? That set a tingle starting in his groin, thinking of her naked and emotionally liberated by the drugs in her system. What would it be like, to hold her in his arms – to do far more than dance with her?

“I believe, Commander, that we have already addressed the meaning of the word. Captain, despite the Commander’s objections and illogic, I assure you that I’m looking forward to dinner – with considerable anticipation.” Her tone, and her pause, made the tingle a hardening, and Jon readjusted his jumpsuit to accommodate the growth, biting back a groan as his hand lingered, and his hips thrust forward into the touch, with a mind of their own. “As a matter of fact, I believe I wish to, as Commander Tucker expresses it, ‘eat dessert first’. Will you see that there are sliced plums, and pie?” There was a suggestive note there; he wasn’t just imagining it. His fingers explored the ever-changing terrain, and his mind was filled with images of a green hand, and a woman with hot green blood.

But he couldn’t say anything about that, not like this. He grabbed at her words, hung on for dear life, but he couldn’t stop his hand, or his hips.

“Pie? What happened to plomik broth?” In all these years, she’d never once asked for any meal but that.

“Plomik broth hardly qualifies as dessert, Captain.” Maybe she really was a Vulcan out of the box, tonight.

Jon thought he heard a soft groan from Trip, and a whispered, “Careful, pepperpot.” But, if he had, she didn’t listen; the box she usually lived in seemed to be forgotten completely.

“I desire -” Jon’s heart caught for the half-breath before her next word. “Pie. Pecan for Trip. Peach for me. And plum slices. That is very important, Captain.” No, he wasn’t imagining it – she was breathy and sultry. Trip groaned again, and Jon wondered whether it was something she was doing to him, or something she might be going to do to him. What would her hot Vulcan hand feel like, wrapped around him -?

“Cap’n – listen to her – and don’t. Don’t make her come to dinner; don’t make me leave her alone like this. I’ll stay with her, make sure she’s got someone – ” There was something tender and pleading in his voice, something Jon didn’t want to hear. If he could have seen his own face, in this moment, as his fingers traced out the contours of his desire, and imagined touching her, tracing the contours of that incredible body, he would have been shocked by the warring desire and rage there. He thought himself a reasonable man; his face, in this instant, would have proven otherwise.

“I’m going to dinner, Commander Tucker. You may accompany me, or not, as is your wish. But I will not allow you to attempt to have me, as you might say, ‘disinvited’. Either desist, or leave.” There was the frosty voice, the one from those first days, the one that said that, even if Trip was besotted or bedeviled, she was not. The voice shifted on the next words. “I’m looking forward to dining with you this evening, Captain. Please don’t forget the sliced plums – I find them – particularly succulent.

Trip made a strangled, angry sound, as the connection cut out on her breath – her hot breath. The man who shared his room with a dog smiled, and silently willed the engineer to do what he seemed to do best, and keep arguing.

**

Lather and hot water were nearly too tempting.

“You’re so very beautiful – and you’re gonna get us in a helluva lot of trouble tonight, pepperpot.” The man looked at the woman, and she stood in a way that she’d seen human females pose, when they wished to attract a male. “Oh, damn,” he added.

“It’s necessary….” T’Pol of Vulcan, who’d never had a water shower in her life before she joined the crew of this ship, pulled her chosen human mate close to her body, her strength enough that resistance would cause him injury.

His stavrit was hardening in the small space between their bodies, and her stavril ached for him, for the mating that would be delayed. “Pleaspleaseplease?” she whimpered, her hips dancing forward, compelled by drives older than his species –

Slow deep breaths from the man who shared the space with her. “If anyone had told me, way back when you came stalking into the Cap’n’s Ready Room, that I was gonna have to be the one with the self-control, pepperpot, I never would’ve believed them. But right now – well, if we get started, if you get started, we both know you’re not going to want to stop, not for a good long time.”

“A good long time- yes – pleasepleaseplease.

“No way he’s gonna let us cancel now, pepperpot. Not after the way you led him on – made me a little jealous.” He touched paired fingers to her cheek, stroking down to the place on her jaw where she’d pressed the hypospray.

“There is no one else, Trip. Onlyyouonlyyouonlyyou.”

“T’Pol in triplicate,” he whispered, and her quivering body was drawn close as she moaned with the pheremone release, and thrust herself against him, arching back, not knowing herself if it was an invitation or a demand. So much was uncertain and uncharted. He had gone, and there had been pain. Now he was back, and there was longing, and a need to claim, to be claimed, to consummate their bond, cement his willingness to be hers in the flames of the Burning, to revel in what they’d created, accidentally –

The scent of citrus and sandalwood, laced with smoky minerals, and the musky male scent of human desire, overwhelmed the lather, but complemented it perfectly.

“Awww, hell,” the human man said, as a Vulcan force to be reckoned with pinned him back against the wall, and contorted herself using five vertebrae her partner didn’t have, and he was forced, by slow degrees, to shift and widen his stance. And then she was upon him, panting and twisting, until she succeeded in impaling herself, and she made a wild hungry cry as she took him –

Most of those who knew her, human or Vulcan, would have been shocked with the speed and fierceness with which she brought him to climax. Her human colleagues would find it almost impossible to grasp that the cool, collected woman who was so seldom rattled could be so utterly, unabashedly wanton, that this was at the core of her connection to this one human who’d moved her as no other ever could. Vulcans would find nothing to note in the woman’s powerful statement of ownership – she was a Vulcan woman, and that made such acts a necessary part of her bonding. What would disturb them would be the way her lips and teeth and tongue tangled with her mate’s….

More, she did not Burn. That she would feel such a need, that she would pursue such a desire in such an illogical moment, would have been incomprehensible to them.

T’Pol didn’t care what either species would think. She needed Trip, could not wait, and so she took him. For the first moment, the surprise and his attempt at self-control led him to struggle to resist – but she was relentless, and needing, and her mind flowed into his, the bond new and tempting, beckoning her, and then he gave himself to her without protest, let her have what she would claim, let himself go with her –

Then there was no thought left, because his climax was reverberating through her body, her mind, her soul, heating her blood, and then she pitched over the edge of reason and emotion –

“Hey, uh, pepperpot? Can I have my shoulder – and my stavrit- back now?” His hands rolled down her back, soothing, meeting a need for touch that was alien to Vulcans, alien to her, before she Awakened to him, before he was her bondmate…

She became aware that she was biting his shoulder as she had the first night – the night she’d bonded with him, with a human. She hadn’t known what she’d done – but she couldn’t truthfully say that she hadn’t, in some sense, wanted this – or that he hadn’t, because such a bond could only spring forth between willing participants. That’s what it said in her Kir’Shara, and what it said in his soul, and her own.

“C’mon, T’Pol, you can do it. You can let go, and we can rinse of and get dressed. But the first step is to open your jaws…”

She was surprised that she could. “Moremoremore?” She stared at him, this man who was her lover, her bondmate – hers.

“Hell, yeah, pepperpot. All you want, so long as we wait for the rest until after -”

“Moremoremore afterafterafter?” Perhaps she should be concerned that nothing was emerging as a single word?

“Yeah. Soon as we’ve had dinner.”

“Nonono!”

“You insisted, pepperpot. We’re having dinner with the boss tonight.”

“Nonono….”

But he kissed her nose, and grinned. “Yesyesyes. But he’s gonna have pie, and plums, and you can get good and soused.”

She pulled him in to kiss him, and something in his mind helped to calm her, make it so that she could begin to think. With it came honesty. “I’m uncertain I can wait that long – ”

He ran a hand over his mouth. “Wanna just lock ourselves in and pretend we’re too sick to eat, or even answer the door?”

She reached past him to turn off the water. Limbic system suppressed, for the moment, she found clarity.

“That’s a tempting proposal, t’hy’la.” Tempting enough that she was willing to allow herself the moment to indulge his fantasy. “But it won’t help us to convince the Captain to release his interest and move forward.”

“You know, pepperpot, a guy could get whiplash from how fast you shift gears.”

“It’s not my intention.” She frowned, studying him as he unfolded a large towel, so that they could be wrapped in it together. “Perhaps, if I hadn’t injected the trellium -”

“Doesn’t matter. It’s just another one of the many, many things I love about you. You’re faster and more powerful than my engines, and way more beautiful, and I still can’t believe I was stupid enough to leave you, as if there was any chance in hell I could run away from this.” He tapped his head, his chest, her head, and the place on her side where her fierce hungry heart beat, in turn.

“I regret that I gave you cause to feel that you must run. If only I had understood…”

“This isn’t time for ‘if onlys’,” he told her. “Besides, that’s one human flaw that you don’t need to get from me. You’re a hell of a lot better off without it.”

“I don’t think I can control what I receive in the bond, Trip, any more than you can. Kaiidth. It is what it is.”

But the conversation helped, in a different way that than the mating had. She was able to breathe deeply, to rest for a moment against him, her ear against his slow, strong human heart, and gather herself, their smells still commingling in her nose.

“I’m glad I came back, pepperpot. Leaving was stupid, and I can’t believe I almost missed out on this – on you. On us. You ready to get out, and go face the music?”

“Music?” She led the way from the generous shower stall. “The Captain said there won’t be any dancing.”

“Why do I have a feeling that he’s not going to end up making those choices?”

“I have injected two doses of trellium. You know me well, t’hy’la – “ The sudden urge for more caught at her breath – but, as she was preparing to go to the place where she’d left the hypospray, he bent, and the device hissed against his neck –

The Vulcan woman dragged him down, seized the unit, pressed it desperately to her own jugular-but it was empty –

She snarled, and flung it across the room, where it broke against the window. A sob of rage and loss-

But then, she felt the icefire, muted, but there, in the bond…

“Thank you,”she whispered, as he came to wrap her in his arms. After a moment, she said, “It’s time to get dressed, and face the non-music.”

“I’m not sure any of us are ready for this,” the engineer said, and there was nothing left for the Vulcan woman to say.

The Captain’s Mess: #STaD; May 17, 2015

Disclaimers:

  • Trip, T’Pol, and Star Trek: Enterprise belong to Paramount, even if Paramount has forgotten all about them…
  • This is an extrapolated “might-have-been” missing scene story which occurs after S4E17:Bound” . Spoilers for that episode; mild spoilers for “S4E14:The Aener”S4E15: “Affliction”; and S4E16: “Divergence”, and for season 3.

This story is rated PG-13 for suggestive/adult themes and mild eroticism.

The Captain’s Mess

Jonathan Archer stared at the door which barred him from the scene of the crime, and wondered how it had come to this. “So you’re saying I’m locked out of the Captain’s Mess?” He stared at the closed door. “Even though I’m the Captain?”

Phlox beamed at him, as though he thought this was a delightful development. “If you insist on entering, I won’t stop you, Captain. However, you might not survive long enough for treatment, if Commander T’Pol decides you are a threat to her current activities.”

Jon wanted to barge in and stop those ‘activities’. He wanted to pretend he hadn’t seen a thing, couldn’t guess what was going on behind that door. Wished to hell he hadn’t seen enough that he couldn’t pretend…

“Why the hell didn’t I just listen to Trip? He tried to tell me that it wasn’t a good idea – but I insisted they both come to dinner. I should’ve heard it, in her voice, the way she talked. But no – I was adamant, ordered them to come, because I needed to see her for myself.”

“Then I would say that you have accomplished your goal, although it would perhaps have been a wiser idea to have attended to the Commander’s warning. He has often seen T’Pol through these – interludes.” Phlox didn’t say ‘trellium relapses’. He was her doctor, and it was a matter of confidentiality, even if they both knew, even though the scans had shown what he’d said were ‘significant quantities’ of the neurotoxin in her system.

“He ought to have stopped her,” Jon said, even though he knew it wasn’t fair. None of them could stop her; that was part of what made her addiction so insidious. It wasn’t Trip’s job, or anyone’s, to prevent her. She needed the trellium, sometimes, and she needed it because he’d taken her to the Seleya, told her it would be OK, that she would be OK, even when she was telling him she wasn’t, because he needed her to be. And all the while, that harmless-to-humans compound was poisoning her, changing her in ways they wouldn’t know about for months.

Now she needed trellium-D, sometimes, and there was nothing that would change that – and it was his fault. But still, he blurted, “Makes me think Trip’s got ulterior motives – ”

“What was your rationale for inviting T’Pol to dinner when you knew her status, Captain?” It was foolish to think that Phlox wouldn’t have heard the jealous edge in his voice. Jon wanted to turn away from the door, from the truth of Phlox’s words, but he couldn’t leave, knowing they were in there, together.

The best he could do was back off a step and glare at the Denobulan. “I don’t want to talk about it while we’re standing here, Phlox. I don’t think I want to talk about it at all.”

“It would be wisest to set a lock on the Mess Hall proper, and an alert that will signal if the commanders emerge before they’ve been medically cleared.” Phlox acted as though he hadn’t said anything. Jon was grateful for the small favor; there hadn’t been enough of those, since the Orion women left…

Images of the evening, moments captured in time, etched in his memory, flooded in – T’Pol in that dress, her hand resting on Trip’s arm, which was clad in a Vulcan robe that suited him in some strange way Jon didn’t want to think about; that light in her wide dilated eyes and the burnished copper of her skin; the way they seemed to be speaking some inner language, and having an interaction that didn’t leave any room for him; that damned remote, and the implications of her giving it to Trip, and him using it, right there at the Captain’s table

Jon took a deep breath, trying to act like he wanted to know for professional reasons, and only professional reasons. “When do you think T’Pol will be ready to come out?”

“It may take several hours, or even a day. It would have been far more convenient, and a great deal safer, to have allowed her to remain in her own quarters until she is stable again. Fortunately, most of the crew will be off their feed for at least three days, so this will present less difficulty than it might otherwise.” His grin got wider; it made Jon’s face ache. “Captain, will you come with me to Sickbay? I believe there are matters we need to discuss before you see either of the Commanders again.”

Jon sighed, turning his back on his mess. The name had taken on a whole new meaning, tonight… He went to the door panel, and started entering the lockout codes. “I said I don’t want to talk about it, Phlox -”

“It would be foolish to bring your current emotional state to your next encounter with either T’Pol or Commander Tucker, and more foolish to ignore the cause of those feelings.”

“Weren’t you heading to your quarters to sleep off the effects?” Why had he thought that bringing a damned Denobulan doctor aboard was a good idea? It would have made more sense, been more logical, to have done some research rather than just diving in the way Trip always did. If he had, he might have found out how nosy Denobulans could be…

“It would be irresponsible, and quite likely dangerous, to leave you until you’ve resolved enough of your own symptoms to ensure everyone’s safety, Captain. T’Pol is incapable of reacting in any way other than she has, and there is no one else aboard Enterprise at this time who can meet her in the manner she requires. If you choose to take this development personally, to bear grudges against either or both of the Commanders, you’ll invite trouble. We have all been affected -” He began to turn away, and Jon heaved a sigh. He knew he should keep his mouth shut, just let it go, but he couldn’t.

“We haven’t all dragged each other down to the floor, and – and – ”Jon squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head – he didn’t want to think about what had happened next. He couldn’t stop seeing it in his mind – the two bodies pressing together, dancing, then sinking down against the window, tangling, their intent more than obvious. T’Pol arching up, her nails raking across Trip’s inexplicably robe- clad back –

Phlox stopped, and turned to face him again, with that eerily wide grin that always said there was something coming that Jon didn’t want to hear. “I wouldn’t remain too long in this space, Captain. Commander T’Pol might desire a change of scenery.” He paused. “Come to Sickbay, Captain. Please don’t force me to make it an order.”

Jon grunted, and followed Phlox out. The man was jovial beyond the point of irritation, sometimes, but he was also relentless. If he made a threat, he’d back it up, and it didn’t matter that Jon was the Captain. If Phlox deemed him unfit for duty, he’d be relieved – and, with T’Pol and Trip doing – whatever the hell they were doing – and the rest of the crew still recovering from the effects of those insidious green women –

He stewed silently all the way to Sickbay, wishing he could get rid of the memories- of that smell of orange groves and burning incense, of hot mineral pools and something vaguely sharp and dangerous. It was only tonight he’d realized that this was her natural scent, as it rose and shifted and damned near drove him mad…but it wasn’t for him, and he knew it. Thinking back to all the times he’d smelled that variant of what he’d just assumed was some type of Vulcan shampoo, soap, or perfume, he realized that Trip was always either with her, or could have been.

T’Pol smelled that way for Trip, and no one else.

What that implied to him was not something Jonathan Archer wanted to think about.

Something he couldn’t stop thinking about, even when they approached the double doors that opened on an empty Sickbay.

Phlox was instantly all business. “Lie down on the biobed, Captain. This won’t take long, and, once I’ve assessed your condition, we can speak freely.”

“Another scan? What for?”

“Your previous scan showed that you are one of seventeen male crewmembers who – shall we say, succumbed – to the effects of the pheremones, to the point of consummation. The effects – particularly an increased sexual appetite and a tendency toward potentially violent displays of jealousy – are stronger after sexual contact is established, and likely to last longer than for those crewmembers not affected to such a degree.”

“Seventeen? There were only three of them, and they were only here a few days -”

“Seventeen male crewmembers, Captain. And nine more, among Enterprise‘s female crew – fortunately, all women who weren’t adverse to such couplings. It wasn’t the case, among the men.”

Jon chewed on that. In three days, or maybe four; he’d lost track once he kissed Navaar, and she’d made love to him in ways he hadn’t even imagined – they’d had sex with twenty-six members of his crew – over a quarter. And she’d made him feel like he was the only one, like there was all the time in the world to be together…

“But not Trip. And not T’Pol.”

“No. As I said, Vulcans are immune.”

“Trip isn’t Vulcan. So how come he’s the only man aboard who wasn’t affected?” Jon had an inkling- well, after tonight, it was more of a deep suspicion. “Have they – I mean, is he – involved with her, beyond tonight? If he was, would that- could that – somehow – affect his susceptibility?”

“Captain, you’re still being strongly affected by the pheremones.” Phlox indicated the display. “The areas of your brain that affect libido are hyperactive. Perhaps that’s why you’re unaware that your questions are inappropriate, and highly invasive of both of the Commanders’ personal lives.” He tapped something into the datapad he held, and it showed on the screen – a highlighted passage from T’Pol’s commissioning agreement. “Might I remind you of our obligations, Captain? ‘As regards all matters of pairbonding, reproduction, and other associated concerns, Commander T’Pol will be accorded the utmost personal privacy, as is the right of every Vulcan citizen.’ You signed the document, Captain, as did I. You violate it with your questions – perhaps understandably so, under the circumstances, hmmn? But I won’t compound the situation by speculating about matters that are a part of this agreement.”

“Phlox, this is important!”

“More important than T’Pol’s rights? Why? Because you desire her? That isn’t a viable reason, Captain. If you don’t know that now, you will, in a few days. Allow me to protect you from the consequences of acting before you’ve fully recovered.”

“Are you excusing her behavior?”

“Your own actions jeopardized Enterprise, and your crew. I’m told that you ordered Lieutenant Reed to destroy a science vessel. If not for the Commanders, and their willingness to – improvise – we wouldn’t be having this conversation. By comparison, Commander T’Pol’s current need to -”

Need? Phlox – I don’t know what the hell that was, but – ”

“Captain, her species has just recently become aware of their latent telepathic tradition. I betray no confidences by telling you that T’Pol rates very highly on the telepathic scale, with a particular strength in perceiving the emotional states of others that perhaps accounts, in large part, for her ability to live and work as a member of this crew. ”

“What the hell does that have to do with anything?”

“The emotional state of this crew, at this time, is highly sexually charged, Captain. There is no way possible that she hasn’t felt it constantly, throughout the last days. However, she – resisted – and was able to work with Commander Tucker to resolve the situation. If she now needs to – purge those energies with a partner who won’t bring more of the same to the pairing, Commander Tucker seems a most logical choice.”

Jon closed his eyes, but there they were again, T’Pol chewing ice and telling Trip, “Moremoremore” in a breathless, husky whisper, and Trip telling her he doesn’t think that’s a good idea at all. She had all but snarled at him then, and that’s when Jon had first noticed the metallic flash of what was in Trip’s hand, while T’Pol’s latched, shaking, onto the tablecloth, and she tossed her head and half-begged, half-commanded, “Moremoremore,” as a fine sheen of sweat broke out on her forehead, and that trembling seemed to spread up her arms, into her body. She was breathing fast and shallow – and she might be the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

And she was staring into Trip’s eyes, and he into hers, in a way that didn’t leave room for anything or anyone else.

That was when she’d smiled, just a faint little upturn at the corners of her mouth, and a loosening of those full lips as they fell slightly apart on her indrawn breath, and Jon couldn’t look away from her, was transfixed by her.

A hypospray hissed against his neck, and Jon grabbed, catching Phlox’s hand so that the instrument clattered away and set off the animals. “What the hell was that for, Doctor?”

“You are experiencing a marked surge in your testosterone levels, Captain. From the readings, it appears that you were intimate with one of the Orion females on several occasions. The effects of such interactions are cumulative; the resulting aggressive and aroused state is, as well.”

“What the hell gives you the right to take that away from me, Phlox?”

“I’ve only given you something to ease the more violent aspects of the condition, Captain. It’s that or physical restraints. If you would prefer those, I will administer another medication which will effectively negate the first. However, the restraints will make it extremely difficult to resolve the sexual tensions you are feeling in an effective manner.”

“You want to restrain me?” He clenched his hand tightly around Phlox’s wrist, and the doctor’s grimace of pain made him smile. “Have you forgotten who I am, Phlox?”

“No, Captain – but it’s likely that you have. Given the tenor of your conversation, I fear that you might, if your responses are left untreated, attempt to – convince Commander T’Pol to consider you as a partner in her current activities. I assure you, such an attempt would be met with swift and certain response from either her or – her companion of choice, and you might well be killed. You may break my wrist if you wish, but it won’t change the facts of this situation. I thought it better to dampen your ardor than to restrain you, so that you may alleviate the tensions in relative privacy, but, if you insist on pressing the issue, I can’t stop you – and it is your life.”

The pleasure went out of it, and, after a quick twist that ground the bones in Phlox’s wrist together, he let go. “You’re saying you think she’d kill me? For propositioning her?”

“I am saying that Commander T’Pol is Vulcan, Captain, and that she has been inundated with the sexual energies of a crew of eighty-three for the last two days, without relief. I’m saying that she may have been under other pressures that we know little or nothing about. That she is certainly under the influence of an agent that heightens her emotionality, often in unpredictable and potentially dangerous ways. And that, when driven to protect what she sees as rightfully hers, even temporarily, she is quite capable of killing you before she becomes fully aware of her actions. Please remember, Captain, that her reflexes and strength are superior to yours, and that you insisted on her attending dinner, thereby exposing her to your emotional content in close proximity to you. She is more than likely to mirror your energy.” The doctor held his arm out; angry bruises were already forming. “Please, Captain. I consider you a friend. Allow me to tend you, to keep you safe until you’re capable of better judgment. T’Pol has chosen, and, at least for now, she hasn’t chosen you. It’s a difficult reality, but one you’d be better to accept.”

“What if I love her?”

The words hung there between them. Where the hell had they come from?

“Allow me to ask you a question, Captain.” Phlox’s voice was kind as he let his sleeve fall back over his wrist.”

Jon sighed. Phlox was smiling disarmingly, but then, he rarely stopped smiling -just the opposite of T’Pol. He’d never seen her smile at all until tonight, hadn’t even known she could, and now he knew he’d never forget the way it had changed her face. She was even more beautiful smiling, her eyes lit up like there were stars behind them…if only she had been smiling at him that way, and not Trip.

“Go ahead.” Trip was supposed to be his best friend, not a rival. Not the guy who swooped in and swept the prettiest girl in class off her extraordinarily grounded feet. Why the hell hadn’t he stayed the hell away, on Columbia?

“If your interest in Commander T’Pol as a sexual partner – ” Was it too late to reverse the transfer? Get Trip the hell off the ship, and away from T’Pol?

“It’s more than that.” It was true; Jon would have pursued something with her years ago, if he’d thought there was even the slightest chance that she’d accept the advance. “We’ve even talked about it, right here in Sickbay.” How mad would Erika be if he stuck her with Trip? He got the feeling his former friend hadn’t fit in well there – did that have something to do with T’Pol?

“ – Or as a romantic companion, has been ongoing, why haven’t you acted on it before now?” Phlox was going on with his questions as though Jon hadn’t interrupted, as though he could focus, but he had to replay the conversation in his head, layered over the way she’d looked, swaying in Trip’s arms, singing human songs with a power and emotion that said that she’d taken the time to really listen and learn them…and what the hell did that mean, that she’d learn love songs, and sing them while Trip held her, while she stared into his eyes, which glowed with a light Jon had never seen in them, in all the time they’d known one another?

“Captain? I understand that you may find it difficult to focus, but the question is an important one.”

“Question – ?”

“If you’ve harbored interest in T’Pol, Captain, why haven’t you acted on it?”

“I’m her commanding officer, Phlox.” And she’d been there, all along, helping him through everything, backing him up, sometimes forcing him to see things he didn’t want to see –

Like the way she’d practically lunged across the table to get to Trip, the way she’d kissed him greedily, pinned him back against the window so hard and fast that Jon was still gaping at the fact that she’d moved, barely out of his chair, when Trip looked at him and said one word.

“Don’t.” And then he’d wrapped his arms around that slender whipcord of a body, and kissed her until she groaned a low, animal sound of desire –

“You are still her commanding officer, Captain. Only your personal circumstances – the effects of the pheremones upon your libido, and your awareness that the Commanders have, or are developing, an intimate relationship – have changed. When the Orion women arrived, you succumbed to them. You did not go to T’Pol.”

That snapped him out of the memory of kissing and groaning, of Vulcan robes and the sexiest kimono he’d ever seen on any woman anywhere, of wide glowing eyes, in hazel and blue…

“What the hell are you saying, Phlox?” Their eyes, their commingled breath, the moans, male and female, as they’d slid down the window, to the floor…

“Only that Commander Tucker proved immune to the effects of the Orion pheremones, but he clearly isn’t immune to T’Pol’s -”

“Neither was I, Phlox – or you, either, for that matter.”

It sounded like an accusation, but the Denobulan only smiled and said, “Commander T’Pol possesses a great deal of aesthetic appeal. When she is – shall we say – unleashed, she is a most formidably desirable woman. I may be married, Captain, thrice and happily on all counts, but I am far from dead. I will make no claims of being immune to the potency of her considerable charms.”

“The way she was tonight, Phlox, I don’t think Michaelangelo’s David would be immune to her.”

Jon remembered her, the way she’d looked, just walking into the room with her hand resting there on Trip’s arm. Maybe he’d known, even then, that he was seeing a couple. How long? How long had they been together? He couldn’t believe it was just because of the Orions- they’d been too – too connected, to attuned to one another, on a level that had discluded him from the start.

“Which is precisely my point, Captain.”

“What do you mean, precisely your point?”

“You are particularly susceptible, at the moment. You’re responding in the only way you can – but if you truly desired a relationship with T’Pol, you would have acted on it prior to this. You’ve had ample opportunities, and yet you’ve let them go by. I propose that there are reasons for this, reasons you aren’t able to consider in light of recent events. But you are a reasonable man, Captain, and your reasons for not pursuing a deeper connection than friendship with your second in command are likely good ones.”

“Damn it, Phlox, you’re right. How come I couldn’t see that before?”

“I suspect the suppressant I administrated has something to do with it, as well as distance from Commander T’Pol’s admittedly potent presence.”

“What the hell am I gonna do? If she and Trip are – well, together, for more than tonight – how am I going to handle that?”

“Over the long term, Captain, I can’t say. Perhaps it’s not an issue. For the immediate future, my advice is that you avoid her, and Commander Tucker, until you are all functioning within your respective normal parameters. You may find that things are not as you see them now, when clarity returns.”

Jon didn’t answer. He had too much information on what T’Pol desired now, and who. And whom she didn’t….

If only he could get her out of his mind –

Sticking Point: #STaD; May 16, 2015

Disclaimers:

  • Trip, T’Pol, and Star Trek: Enterprise belong to Paramount, even if Paramount has forgotten all about them…

  • This is an extrapolated “missing scene” story, detailing some of what might have happened during the months’ long and scarcely shown return to Earth in  S2E26 “The Expanse”. Spoilers for that episode; mild spoilers for S2E1: Shockwave: Part II.

This story is rated PG-13 because it contains adult language and situations, some mildly suggestive.

Sticking Point

“You’re not drunk.” You stare into the mirror, and ignore the multiple images. “Man’s gotta stick to his guns.” You shake your head, hoping the images will resolve into one.

Is that logical?

“Uh uh. Logic – and people who spout it like they’re geysers – got no place here in my head, not tonight.” Nope. Not even if they’re beautiful and brilliant and complicated enough that you could spend a lifetime getting to know them.”

A lifetime – aww, hell…

Shaking your head damned sure didn’t work – now though were four of everything, or maybe five. Didn’t matter. Nother drink would fix things, get those multiple images to stick together, resolve back into one.

Logic.

Lifetimes.

“Damned curse words.” No room for them in your head. Curses on the curses. “Hell with ‘em,” you mutter. “Hell with you, too,” you tell the multiple images of yourself. “Nother drink, that’s all I need. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.”

But another drink only brings things like logic and lifetimes closer; you can feel them breathing hot breath, and cold, down the back of your neck, shivering through your spine, freezing and burning at the same time. Damned dirty words. Why do they always stick around, when – when –

No. Not thinkin’ that. Nothing can make you, not so long as there’s a bottle. And there’s lotsa bottles; you’ve been collecting alcohol since the mission started, askin’ pretty much everyone to give you a little of whatever they brought, anything they found on the planets they visited.

You never really expected to drink it out here, stuck in space. You were gonna bring it home –

“Stop it.” You stare at the bottle you hold – sake, from Hoshi. Just a little bottle, this one. She said her father had given it to her, to toast herself when she wasn’t frightened. You didn’t tell her that you thought her father was kind of an arrogant ass, to send his brave but sensitive daughter out here with a bottle that about screamed he expected her to put her tail between her legs at every lightyear, the way Pothos had when he saw Phlox’s bat for the first time. You don’t tell her that, because you like Hoshi, and you’re damned proud of how far she’s come, even if her horse’s ass of a small sake bottle giving father isn’t.

She’s like a little sister to you –

“Stick to the plan, Tucker. Words you don’t say. Little, anywhere near sister. Logic. Lifetime.” There were other words, but you’ve forgotten them – better that way. If only these didn’t seem to be on an endless loop in your head.

If only you hadn’t been relieved of duty, forcefully, because of logic.

“No. Dirty word.” You drain the sake, because you can’t drown yourself in your work if the Cap’n won’t ket you anywhere near Engineering. Said you were a menace to the ship – what the hell does he know, anyway? You could’ve gotten those shiny, barely broke in engines up to Warp Six, maybe Six Point Five. You’d’ve worked on the damned structural integrity after; ship wouldn’t have come apart – logic be damned; that woman’s not an engineer, or an architect….

Architect. You strangle a cry; won’t let it out of your throat to breathe. It wants to stick a knife in your heart, that word.

Architect. It’s knifing and twisting, and you’re dangling on its point. Its points – her points, and her damned logic…You throw the bottle at the mirror; it’s leaving your hand before you know what you’ve done. You twist that cry into a laugh that sounds maniacal even in your own ears.

Good. Anti-logic. Just what you need. “Stick that in your damned logic pipe, and smoke it,” you say, and laugh at the shattered glass and the dripping sake.

You look at the bottles. Never thought you’d go through so many. You never much liked to drink alone. Your eyes go to the picture. You tried turning it upside down; you tried to put it in a drawer. Three weeks is a long time to try not to look at something, when it’s all you can think about.

You’re tired. Exhausted. You stagger to your bed, pretending it’s not because you haven’t been sober since – awww, hell, since when? Since it had been long enough to be almost sure –

Almost. Filthiest word of ‘em all, almost. All. Most.

You fall on the bed; lie on your back, but the ceiling’s spinning. “Cap’n on the ceiling.” you say, and giggle. But it’s not funny, the spinning, any more than the Captain on the ceiling was for Miss Points’N’Logic.

“She was my Cinderella. Now she’s the Evil Stepmother.”

Logic.

Damn her. Damn logic, the dirty word.

You roll to your belly. But that only makes you feel sick, and you don’t want to sleep, anyway. “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come?”

Damned Shakespeare, too…gotta get out of here, get away, get unstuck. It’s the middle of the night; maybe you can slip into Engineering, just for a minute. If you can touch your engines, you’ll feel better. You’ll be home.

Awww, hell. Home. What kind of home was there now, after –

You scream into your pillow – it claws at your throat all the way up. Somehow, you stop. If you don’t, you think you might scream forever.

You haul yourself back up, grab a bottle without even looking to see what it is. Doesn’t matter; only a means to an end, and nothing more. You’re out the door before you know that you’re leaving the room.

“Where’m I goin’?” Don’t know. Doesn’t matter.

Wherever you go, you’re still stuck in space. So you walk – well, stumble, bouncing off one wall, then another, and banging your shoulder on the junction. You stop, staring at a door…you’ve forgotten how to get in, how to make the door work – you’re an engineer, damnit, you can do this, you can open the door…but do you want to?

“Beats starin’ at it.” That’s true; whenever you stare at any blank something, your mind starts pinning movies to it….two little blonde kids, roaring fire….

“No, no, no!” You slam your free hand on the panel, swig from the bottle. The door opens, and you lurch through, too fast. Your stomach, sick of it all and maybe pushed by your liver, tries to climb out, find a new place to live- but it throws its belongings out first, as you hit the floor and the bottle flies away. You scrabble after it – or try to. But your stomach’s giving you a piece of its mind, and you’re helpless to stop it….

Boots. Not Starfleet boots, oh no.

Her boots. Aww, hell. Of all the people you don’t want to see – she’s all of them, right here. Miss Points’N’Logic.

“Commander Tucker?” Why was her voice so soft, so kind, when you were just sick all over her pretty little shiny boots? “Trip?”

“First name, eh? Maybe I’m dyin’ . Would be a blessing…” You hadn’t said that to anyone. Hadn’t talked to anyone but yourself.

“You appear to be – significantly inebriated. Perhaps to the point of toxicity.”

“Puked on yer pretty boots, T’Pol.”

“Perhaps you have purged some of the intoxicants. Are you strong enough to stand, if I help you?”

You stare at the boots, decorated with everything your stomach owned. A lot of booze. Nothin’ much else. “Stand? Wha’ th’ hell for?”

“If the Captain becomes aware of your – self-medication – he won’t consider my recommendation that you be returned to duty.”

“Returned to – what? Why would you – ?”

“Commander, do you feel you can stand, if I assist?”

“You asked that already.” You think she did, anyway. Or something like it. Close enough. “Too close. Danm, T’Pol, it was too close.”

“I have asked. You haven’t answered.”

You wonder what the hell she’s talking about. Why she’s botherin’ with you. “Forgot the question. Brain’s numb – stuck at one-tenth impulse. Slow goin’ – take us months to get home -”

“Trip. Can you stand?”

“Canya catch me?”

“If necessary, I am capable of carrying you. However, it would undoubtedly arouse curiosity and attract attention that won’t help in convincing Captain Archer.”

“Why do you want me to stand?” You think maybe she’s explained this already, but, if she has, she doesn’t say so.

“This is the Mess Hall, Commander. If you remain here, you will be seen. I won’t be able to assure that it won’t be reported.”

“You wanna help me?”

She kneels, and a hand hovers somewhere over your shoulder. You can see its shadow, but turning your head right now would be a helluva bad idea – your stomach’s threatening to clean its cargo holds, and pitch anything it finds right on her boots, with the rest.

“Yes, Trip. I want to help.”

“Why?”

“Because I feel the depth of your pain. I understand that you can’t go forward until you’re certain, and that you can’t be certain until you return home. I know that we are too far from Earth for you to bear the waiting. I don’t believe you should be punished for being unable to simply wait. I believe that you should be assisted, and granted clemency for any – perceived failings that result from this untenable situation.”

“You talk too much, and make my head hurt.”

“I have experienced the same thing, with you. I will cease speaking.”

And she does. Silently, tenderly, she helps you up, puts you in a chair, where you slump on the table, only half aware that she is on her hands and knees, erasing the evidence. Logical. Thorough.

When she’s done, she supports you – doesn’t take you home, though –

“Oh, hell, home….home’s not there….Lizzie….Lizzie…where are you, Elizabeth? Architects travel a lot, don’t they, T’Pol- where’re we goin’?”

“There is no alcohol in my cabin,” she tells you, her voice gentle. “It’s clean and quiet. I will tend you, and watch you, and you’ll sleep. No one will disturb you, and, as I am off duty for the next two days, I will see to your needs while you – recover.”

“Why?”

“Because I know what it is to be tormented by emotion, with no way free.”

You look into her eyes, and all the images of her slide into one. You see her, as you never have. The feeling stays with you as she brings you to her quiet candlelit room, a room that smells of citrus and sandalwood. That smells of her. She strips your clothing, and you are too far gone, too hungry for simple care, for touch, to even be embarrassed that she’s seeing you completely naked for the first time, like this. She climbs into the shower with you, with all her clothing still on, except the boots, and her socks. Her bare feet are small and delicate, but she supports you as though you weigh nothing.

She puts you naked into her own bed. You protest weakly. “I will get your clothing once I know you are finished vomiting; it’s too great a risk now.”

You long for touch. She can only say no. You swallow pride, anger, hurt. “Sleep with me, T’Pol. Let me hold you. Stick with me.”

When she climbs in and lets you pull her silk-clad heat in close, you are sure you are dreaming.

Watching Him: #STaD; May 15, 2015

Disclaimers:

  • Trip, T’Pol, and Star Trek: Enterprise belong to Paramount, even if Paramount has forgotten all about them…I think it’s long past time they got back to the business of living.

  • This story is a “missing scene” which occurs just prior to the post-teaser opening scene of the Season 3 cliffhanger finale,S2E26 “The Expanse.” It contains spoilers for S2E22 “Cogenitor”; S2E25“Bounty”; and, perhaps obviously,  “The Expanse”.  Mild spoilers for S2E11 “Precious Cargo”.

Watching Him

I’m watching him again, and, again, I can’t say when I began.

This time, his back is to me, and he can’t see me watching. Too often, recently, his blue-eyed gaze has met mine, as it did that first night, when I had broken protocol, and dared to cover my head, swathed in fabric and the San Francisco fog, and walk in the night as though I were human.

He knew I wasn’t. It had been in his eyes, in his face, in the first moment of contact.

I had watched him then, too. I had been helpless to stop myself. As I am now.

I’m Awakened to him. Why him? Why not Koss, to whom I was Promised in childbond? Where is the logic in such an Awakening?

There’s no one to ask, beyond myself. Humans wouldn’t understand. Dr. Phlox might, but seeking advice from him would require me to reveal things no Vulcan willingly would. I remember enough of the early phases of the viral infection to know that I’d already revealed far too much to the Denobulan. What secrets I can still claim, I’ll hold to myself.

He starts to turn, and I drop my focus to my console, so he won’t know I was watching. I can still see him, at the edge of sight – his eyes turn to my station, and hold a moment, before they move on.

Until I began watching him, in the aftermath of fever, I hadn’t realized how often he watches me.

What was his purpose? It had been a year, perhaps longer, since we had touched in any situation beyond duty. There had been at least one other woman – the First Monarch, Kaitama. Their scents, when we rescued them, were commingled in such a way that it was a certainty that they’d mated.

I have no claim to him, beyond being Awakened to him.

Humans know nothing of Awakening.

It is therefore illogical to be agitated by his actions, his choices.

His mating with women who are not me.

His idealism in attempting to better the life of the Cogenitor, who was not even female, and likely incapable of mating in any sense that he could understand.

His insistence on calling the differently-gendered being ‘her’. Had he done it, as he said, ‘because she looks more like a her than a him?’ Or did he desire this being, wish it to be female, because he couldn’t mate with someone who wasn’t?

His focus circles the Bridge, and I am still watching him when it returns to me – and remains.

“Trip, T’Pol – go get some lunch.” Captain Archer is more abrupt and formal with him, ever since the Cogenitor’s suicide. He blames Commander Tucker for the being’s free choice. Perhaps he can’t see that there is a freedom in Charles’ death it was denied in its living. It had grown, and chosen not to be merely a tool to its society. It wouldn’t have, without Commander Tucker’s intercession. Only Charles could say whether the growth was worth its life, and Charles is dead.

“Aye, sir.” His voice is flat, almost as though he is as Vulcan as I. The Captain isn’t the only one who blames him. Blame is useless and illogical – and human.

I rise, and echo his “Aye, sir.” I don’t remind the Captain that I have no need of midday nourishment. Trip – Commander Tucker – needs sustenance beyond food. Perhaps I can help. I am the First Officer; crew efficiency is a part of my duties.

It’s logical to provide him what comfort I have to offer.

He waits for me to enter the turbolift first – a courtesy the male members of the crew frequently offer to the female. I suspect the human women, not possessing Vulcan hearing, don’t know that at least a portion of this tendency, which had been described to me as ‘good manners’, has more to do with a desire to view their ‘asses’ than a wish to observe archaic customs.

The lift door closes, confining us together, his scent filling the small space. Trip sags into the corner.

“Are you well, Commander?” Perhaps it would be best to bypass the Mess Hall, and go to Sickbay, instead.

“’M OK. Just tired of pretending, is all, and I know you don’t really care about my mood-” A ragged sound emerged from him -a human sob.

“I don’t wish you to experience emotional distress, Commander.”

“Cap’n does. He wants to punish me – make me suffer. Like I’m not suffering already, knowing what I did, what I took from her…” The sound again, followed by a deep breath, as he tries to contain the involuntary and perhaps inevitable emotional release.

“Why do you assume the blame for Charles’ decision?”

“Listen, T’Pol – I don’t want to talk about it, OK? Really, I don’t want to talk at all. Just for a little while, I want to be with someone who doesn’t care if I’m not the way I was, before – aww, hell.” The sobs come, and he can resist them nor further. He presses his face into the wall, back to me. Humans have so little emotional control, yet often seem to want to hide what they feel. It’s illogical – but humans don’t value logic as Vulcans do.

I change the settings without comment; I can bring him a meal, if he wishes to eat, but, in this moment, a sanctuary for his emotional release seems a higher priority. Given his tendency toward intransigence, however, I don’t announce the course adjustment I’ve made.

The lift stops, the doors opening. Commander Tucker shuffles forward, then looks at me, frowning. “This isn’t the way to the Mess Hall, T’Pol.”

“Come with me, Commander.” I don’t attempt to explain or argue; I’m his superior officer, and perhaps it’s best if he considers it an order.

“Please don’t tell me I’m in trouble with you, now, too, because I don’t think I can take any more. Between the Cap’n and myself – if I could take it back, T’Pol -”

“You would still attempt to help her, because you aren’t capable of objectifying other cultures.”

He makes a sound humans call a groan – a sign of several emotional states, most tumultuous. “Not this again. I’m trying like hell to learn how, T’Pol, honest – why are we at your door?”

“I believe that you need a place where you may – purge your emotional energy – in safety and privacy. If I’m mistaken -”

“No, you aren’t. But, uh, T’Pol?”

“Yes, Commander?” I disengage the locking mechanism and move inside without further comment; he’s more likely to follow, when he feels that he’s done so by his own choice.

“‘Purging my emotional energy’ is liable to be loud and messy. You sure you want me doing it in your space?”

“I intend to meditate, Commander. As long as you don’t attempt to converse with me while I am doing so, your emotional release won’t disturb me. Or, if you’re hungry, I’ll visit the Mess Hall, and return with your meal, and you’ll have the space to grieve privately, for a time.”

“I’m not hungry.” He says it in a manner that suggests this isn’t the first meal missed. But to address the issue now will deny him this time. I’ll discuss it with him later, and perhaps also with the Captain.

“Then I’ll meditate. Please feel free to move about as you wish.” I open the bench that rests just inside the door as he goes to the window at the other end of the room, pressing his forehead against it with a deep sigh. I want to watch him, to fully experience his presence here in my personal space. My fingers pair themselves, reach to stroke the cover of the Terran book. I long to touch him; my fingers tremble. His shoulders shake with his quiet sobs.

Dangerous- this is dangerous, with him here. Perhaps, even when he isn’t, but certainly now. I occupy myself instead with my meditation table and cushions, placing the second opposite my own, where he might use it if he wishes.

His sobbing eases by the time I set my candle in the center of the table. He’s watching me, in the reflection from the glass. I feel the intensity of his regard; but I say nothing, only reach for my ignition device. His energy fills the room; restive, but not the kinetic restlessness I’ve come to expect from him.

I run my fingers over the book’s cover again before I close the lid of the bench; I’ve spent far more time, of late, contemplating The Congress of the Crow than I have my flame, or my breath. But I can’t allow him to know that; certainly not now, when my own emotional state, after the flames, is scarcely more settled than his.

I light my candle, and set the device on the dresser. Trip comes to stand tentatively behind the cushion nearest the door, while I sit in my accustomed posture and location. “ T’Pol – is it too late to ask you something? I can wait till you’re done.”

“You may ask.”

“Will you – I mean can you – well, you’re the calmest person I ever met- and I grew up with a mother who lived with not just me, but my big brother and baby sister, too. She used to be the calmest person I knew – but you – you’re calm on a whole different level.”

I wonder if he would still think so, if he could see the contents of my mind; the way I stare at the two pages of the Terran book, afraid to look at any others, and more afraid to tell him how much he has filled my mind, since the virus, with its demand that I mate, or die…

No. I must not think of this, now. I must attend to his needs, and not my own desires.

“You’ve failed to ask a question, Commander Tucker.”

His tongue went into his cheek. “Can you show me – what you do? I’ve tried to meditate before, but I can’t stop thinking long enough to be still, or whatever. I’m pretty sure I’m not feeling whatever it is that makes you so unshakeable.”

“I’m not unshakeable. And you aren’t Vulcan. It may be neither possible nor healthy to emulate my demeanor, even outwardly. You’re human, Trip, and you possess a human nature.”

“You just called me Trip.” He sank down on the cushion. “And you didn’t answer my question, either.”

“I’ve been – agitated – since my recent illness, which caused me to become – mentally and emotionally altered -”

“I know. Eating with your fingers…running through the corridors in your undies -” He smiled faintly, then looked at me. “I guess that’s not very funny to you – scary, even. Sorry you had to go through that.”

I don’t tell him that I’m still going through it, that he is, perhaps, ‘it’. I can’t. I don’t understand it myself, and he’s deeply troubled. “It wasn’t your doing. I mention it only because I don’t wish you to believe that I am infallible. I may not be able to assist you in your wish to find emotional stability.”

His smile is slightly more natural. It pleases me in a most illogical way. “OK, so you’re not infallible, but you might be the closest we’ve got on this ship. I’m willing to take a chance on you, if you’ll take one on me.”

“I’m willing, Commander.” I don’t allow my mind to explore what I’m willing to do. “Assume a comfortable and relaxed position. It need not mirror mine.”

“You make that look easy…but I’ll bet it’s not.”

“It’s – natural. I’ve been sitting in this manner since infancy. There is a certain comfort in it.”

“Since you were a baby? Really?” He was smiling openly now, his gaze holding mine. “I’ll bet you were a damned cute baby, with tiny little pointed ears…”

“Really, Commander. And, on Vulcan, they are simply ears.”

“Right. I keep forgetting. So, you’ve been meditating since you were a baby – how did that work?”

“I was held upon my mother’s lap, and instructed to watch the flame, but that touching was dangerous.”

“And that was enough to stop you?”

“In most cases, it was.” I want to share the flame with him, and I’m afraid to reveal myself.

“But not in yours? Don’t tell me – you were a rebel baby, weren’t you?”

I reach out my hand. “If you look carefully, it may be possible to see the scars. I’m told that I would not remove my fingers until forced to do so, that I screamed when I was, and would allow no doctor or healer to tend the burns. I was very young, and retain no memory of that. I remember only the beauty of the flame, and the pain, which held its own beauty and power.”

“I see the scar,” he says, softly. “And I see the power and beauty in your face. Thank you for sharing that with me.” His eyes focus on mine, and they hold more life than I’ve seen in them, since the incident with the Vissians. “If you were human, I’d kiss your scars.” The quiver began in my fingertips, and I pulled my hand back quickly. “I wasn’t going to, T’Pol.” There was hurt in his eyes now.

“I know. You’ve done nothing wrong, Trip. The difficulty lies within me, as a result of the viral infection. I’ve yet to – to fully integrate the emotions I experienced…” Perhaps I can’t, as regards him.

“Maybe – maybe we can ‘integrate our emotions’ together?” That hopeful expression touched places in me that Vulcans were not intended to have. Illogical, untamed places -and, again, I feel the power and beauty of the flame, the taste and madness of the tikkin nectars.

He is the flame, and the nectars. I would be better to detach myself, at once.

I had touched the flame. I had ingested the nectars.

“Perhaps we can,” I say. “Shall we begin, Trip?”

He nodded. “Just tell me what to do.”

“When you are comfortable, you focus on the flame. You breathe, steadily, and attend to your breath. If you notice that you’re being carried off by your thoughts -”

“Bet that never happens to you -”

“You would lose your wager. I often need to refocus my attention to the breath and the flame.”

“You?”

“I’m Vulcan, Trip. I’m not a machine.”

“Believe it or not, machines can get distracted, too, in a manner of speaking. That’s what engineers are for.” I watch him, the way his hands move, as though tending to his engines, and I imagine, for a moment, that we are touching, that I knew the feel of those capable human fingers, his human desires –

“You all right?”

“As I said, I’m not a machine.” I draw a deep breath, hold it, exhale. “The flame, Commander, and the nectars -”

“Nectars? Wait, did I miss something here?”

The intraship engages. “Subcommander T’Pol, Commander Tucker, report to the conference room immediately.”

“Wonder what this is about?” Trip rises smoothly, looking rejuvenated.

I extinguish the candle, and join him at the door as he opens it. “Speculation is illogical.”

“So am I. Now, do you want to tell me about that ‘nectars’ comment, or am I going to do some ‘illogical’ speculating?” He grins at me, and the light of the corridor reflects from his eyes in a way I’ve learned means that he is feeling ‘playful’. It is agreeable, to see that light return, to feel the new lightness in his presence.

“I have found that your actions are often unpredictable, Commander Tucker.”

“So you’re not going to tell me.”

“No.”

“Well, then, I think it’s only fair to tell you that I’m going to speculate – and I’ve got a damned good imagination.”

“I have no doubt about that, Commander.”

We walk the rest of the way quietly, but there is an easiness to the silence that was missing, before.

The remainder of the command crew, excepting Captain Archer, is already in the conference room. I move to my typical place, listening as my human crewmates attempt to discern why we’ve been assembled here. Most of the hypotheses seem to be positive; however, I’ve noted that he tends to dispense positive developments in an informal fashion. A gathering such as this is more likely to carry unwelcome news.

Regrettably, I am correct.

“It cut a swath from Florida -”

A jolting tangle of awareness from Trip – feelings I can only define in part – shock, fear, horror, disbelief, and a reaching love….two blonde human children, a male and a much smaller female, playing together at the edge of an ocean…

I can feel them, within him – that he was the young boy, and the girl the sister that he’d mentioned in my quarters. His mind holds only one word, one thought, echoing, resounding as I watch him.

“Elizabeth!”

“Private Intercultural Research”: #STaD; May 14, 2015

Disclaimers:

  • Trip, T’Pol, and Star Trek: Enterprise belong to Paramount, even if Paramount has forgotten all about them…I think it’s long past time they got to live and breathe (and do  all the other things that make them so delicious together) again!

  • This story contains spoilers for S3E15, “Harbinger”.

This story is rated R for adult content and sexual themes.

Private Intercultural Research”

Trip Tucker was trying like hell not to stare at his door. Maybe he should take a minute or two to appreciate the irony of that – after all, he’d been trying not to watch the doors of Fusion the night she’d walked into his life with absolutely no warning.

But he couldn’t take that kind of time away from staring-not-staring, and wondering if he’d finally gone too far.

He thought of how she’d felt in his arms, how she’d clung to him. He touched the place where she’d sunk her teeth into his shoulder when she came, as though she’d needed an anchor to hold her against that surge of emotional chaos he’d felt in her – and how the hell had he felt what she was feeling? His shoulder hurt like hell, and it had all day, but, every time he noticed it, the memory of her instinctive response, the feel of her shuddering climax, her teeth closing on him, made him grin.

“Shoulda left well enough, Tucker. You got some – and you got her some.”

He’d been her first. That was something he’d never even considered; that T’Pol, the most alluring, mystifying, infuriating, desirable woman he’d ever met, would have been a virgin, until last night, when she practically pulled him inside her.

Would it mean anything to her, that he was her first? Was he right to think that, despite the unflattering comparison to a lab rat, despite her insistence that it was just something about his culture she wanted to know more about, that it had been him and not someone else because –

“Because what?”

The damned door was still closed. Trip paced to the mirror and looked at himself – he didn’t look noticeably different than he had a day ago – same old face; one he was lucky enough that some women had always found nice enough to stick around and see more of what he had to offer.

He stripped off his shirt – no, he wasn’t going to think of what it meant that he’d worn the blue one; the one he’d had on last night, when he got to her quarters, before she’d rocked his world with her first, smoldering, completely unexpected kiss. He examined the perfect set of small teethmarks she’d left him with- he hadn’t let Phlox touch them, other than to be sure he didn’t get an infection. He refused to comment on the ‘alien DNA’ the Denobulan mentioned didn’t match the dead Sphere-builder. Phlox had to know damned well that only one person on the ship could have given him that DNA, but that didn’t mean he had to confirm it.

Especially since she might just tell the doctor that it was all an experiment –

The door signal chimed, and Trip’s heart sped up like it thought it could get to the door and press the button before he could say, “Come in.”

Since he stumbled over his own voice, and sounded like an idiot, maybe it would’ve been a better idea to let it try, so that he could expire on the floor.

But then the door opened, and there she was, in her Vulcan robes this time, holding what looked like an old book –

Her dilated, shining eyes focused on his shoulder. Her lips parted just a little, and the tip of her tongue peeked out to run over them, as though she was remembering the taste of the blood she’d drawn, the way he kept having little flashes of the green blood smeared on her thighs-

She didn’t say anything. Trip wasn’t sure she was even breathing. All she did was stare at the damage she’d done, her eyes glittering and her tongue busy. Citrus and sandalwood drifted into his nose; damn, but she smelled good!

Just an experiment, hell. Damn, she’d marked him. Claimed him, with that bite. Made him hers, in some way maybe she didn’t even understand.

He stood up just a little straighter. Well, if he was hers, he was – wasn’t like he hadn’t been, more than halfway, ever since that first night. But he wasn’t going to make the mistake of bringing it up first – not this time.

Instead, he said, “What brings you by?”

She didn’t answer, didn’t flinch, didn’t stop staring at his shoulder.

“T’Pol?” He took a step toward her, and her gaze darted from his shoulder to his face – and, from there, he silently recited the choreography as she went through her steps, down and to the left, pause, swallow, pause, lift her eyes not quite to his chin – and hold. He wondered if she knew that he hadn’t been lying last night, that he was learning to read her almost easily. He wondered if she had any idea how sexy she was when she blushed.

**

She’d bitten him. Bitten him, as though they were animals –

We are animals.

Had he wanted her to see his wound? Known it was her at the door?

If so, what were his intentions?

Why did she find it so important to learn these things?

“T’Pol?” He’d tipped his head, and his tongue pushed at the inside of his cheek, in the way he had when he wished to hold back something his impulsive nature might cause him to say, regardless. He was watching her, and T’Pol felt far more naked and vulnerable than she had last night, or even this morning, when he had insisted on discussing what had passed between them – the most intimate act she had ever shared with another being – in the Mess Hall, during the busy breakfast hour. “Hey, T’Pol – did you take a wrong turn, or did you really just come to decorate my doorway for a while?”

“Decorate your doorway?”

“Yeah. You took two steps in three minutes ago, and you haven’t said a word since. Now, if you want to stand there, I don’t mind, but I was about to take a shower. Wouldn’t want you to think I was rude.”

“A shower?”

“Yeah, you know. Water. Soap. Lather.” He took another step nearer, and T’Pol’s blood heated as her fingertips began to quiver. She wanted to touch the place where she had bitten him. She wanted to be in the shower with him –

Illogical.

But no less true.

“Hey, T’Pol – you all right?”

“You will be – unclothed.”

He laughed the type of laugh his people called ‘chuckling’. “Well, yeah. I generally like to take my clothes off before I shower. I dunno – it just seems more efficient that way.” She was certain that he was teasing her.

“Trip – you gave me a gift.” Had she decided to speak, or simply spoken?

“Well, yeah.” His complexion grew slightly pinker. “Listen, I might’ve been a little mad at you when I wrote the note. I hope – well, my mama thinks she raised me to be a gentleman. If I went too far – well, in any way – I apologize – ”

T’Pol attempted to sort through the sentences and fragments, and find meaning. “If I understand you correctly, Trip, you didn’t ‘go too far’ – in any respect.”

The intimacy of meeting his eyes made her feel vulnerable in a way she hadn’t last evening, when she had revealed her body to him, claimed him –

“Do you want to – have a seat? You don’t have to stand there by the door, you know.” He ran a hand through his hair; a certain sign of nervous energy. But surely this wasn’t the first time he had engaged in sexual relations?

What she wanted was to be in the shower with him, to explore his body – that exploration might have come last night, if not for the tactical alert. She had mated with him, but still felt – distant – from him. Separate, when she craved closeness. To feel his bioelectric pulses under her fingertips, to feel his chaotic, kinetic human mind, to smell him –

“Hey, T’Pol – are you – well, all right? After last night, I mean – and this morning? Hell, what was I thinking, trying to talk about it in the middle of the Mess Hall? That was kind of stupid – maybe that’s something you need to know, if you’re gonna do any more ‘experimenting with human sexuality’ -”

“Trip, I didn’t say it was an experiment.” She crossed the space to his bed and sat on it, looking up at him as he turned to face her. His scent was stronger, here, and she struggled not to breathe deeply and reveal herself. She was grateful for the book, which offered at least a texture to touch, and feel.

“Yes, you did. And it really hurt my feelings.”

“I didn’t. The word I chose was ‘exploration’. You interpreted it as ‘experimentation’, and became emotional.”

He stared at her for a moment, and, illogically, she could almost feel him reviewing his memories.”Well, I’ll be damned,” he said, finally. “I think you’re right – and I’m a fool -”

“No. You’re human, Trip.”

“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”

“In this case, that the differences in our thought processes have caused certain – difficulties.”

“Mind if I sit, while you explain that?”

“It’s your bed.”

**

Why did he keep expecting her to follow some script? To pick up on his subtext, as though she were human?

She wasn’t. And wasn’t that part of what had turned him on about her, right from the start?

A beautiful woman’s sitting on your bed, and last night you made love- no, it wasn’t that, not really – okay, let’s use her terminology, maybe that’ll help here – you helped her in her ‘exploration of human sexuality’. You wanted her the way she is, and you still do. So accept her – that she’s different, that it isn’t the same for her as it was for you, and let her be who she is…and, if we never have sex again, be grateful that she picked you to explore with.

He sat – just out of touching distance, so that she wouldn’t think he was trying to take advantage of the situation. She was holding that book against her like it was a shield; she must be more nervous than she was letting on, and Trip wished he was even half as good at controlling his expressions. “All right, T’Pol, I’m listening.”

“Vulcans learn, from the time we are infants, that clarity of expression is important, and that separating the hearing of another’s words from any emotion those words trigger in us is a social responsibility. By adulthood, and generally much earlier, this has become ingrained behavior. If I choose the word ‘exploration’, that is the human word that best expresses the intent I wished to convey. It’s less precise than the Vulcan expression, but you don’t speak Vulcan, so it must suffice.”

“OK, so you say what you mean, and you mean what you say, as my dad put it when I was a kid. Only English isn’t as precise as Vulcan, so things can get confusing – but, about this separating hearing from feeling – I don’t know if I can do that, T’Pol. I hear, I feel. Usually at about Warp 10.”

“I don’t expect you to become something you aren’t, Trip. I find – “ she paused, and, this time, her search for the proper word had a different feel, now that he understood how important it was in her culture. “I find it generally agreeable that you are as you are.”

“Aww, shucks, woman – you say the sweetest things.” But he was grinning. “Generally agreeable, eh? Well, I find you pretty generally agreeable, too, when you aren’t driving me nuts. And sometimes more so when you are.”

“Our – communication difficulty – stems from differences that I failed to fully take into account. Differences in language, in thought processes, and in cultural and biological realities.”

“Like what?” He could feel her circling something, something important. Either it was going to mean that last night would be a one-time thing he remembered for the rest of his life –

Or, maybe, she’d decided that she wasn’t done exploring yet.

“You know about the practice of assigning mates to Vulcan children, Trip, and that, typically, Vulcans need mate only once each seven years.”

“So you’re telling me that you’re good for the better part of the next decade -” Damn! He’d forgotten about that. Helluva thing to forget.

“No.” Just that one syllable. And her eyes, watching him, pupils wide.

“Then what are you saying?”

“It is – most unusual – for a Vulcan to – to explore sexuality – outside of marriage. Therefore, I have no cultural context for – discussing it.”

Trip chewed on that for a minute or so, while she sat there with her dilated eyes and that damned sexy quiver of hers…and the rising smell of oranges and sandalwood… “You mean – Vulcans don’t talk about sex – at all? No, that can’t be right – Kov did, right in the Mess Hall -”

“Exploring boundaries was Kov’s purpose. However, the – nature of our sexuality, and the social structures and strictures surrounding it, make speaking openly of such matters – “ She did her little eyes to the left and down again, and her voice was smaller. “Incourteous and unnecessary, at best. Illogical and invasive, at worst.”

“And here I was blathering on about it in the middle of breakfast. Damn, T’Pol, I’m sorry – I wasn’t thinking, only wanted you to know that last night – it mattered to me, and I really don’t want to pretend it never happened because, to be honest, I want it to happen, again and again and -”

He didn’t get any further than that before she was kissing him again, her body leaning in, the book a barrier between them, and her hand splayed out over the side of his face –

“Well, that was a pleasant surprise,” he said, when she let him up for air. “Mind if I – well, return the favor?”

“You wish to kiss me?”

“I wish a helluva lot more than that, T’Pol. I wish to revel in you, lavish you, spend hours ‘exploring’ you – but a kiss will do, for starters.”

“You may proceed.” That almost made him laugh too hard to pucker, but only almost, when her lips were right there, waiting for him.. Instead, he wrapped a hand around the back of her head to cradle it, and leaned in.

“Here I come,” he whispered, as she quivered.

**

“Here I come,” he whispered, leaning in. His lip brushed hers, barely touching.

Was that to be all, when she desired so much more?

No. He was returning, more than a brush, his tongue slipping along the inside of her lips, so that hers came forth to meet it – but it retreated too quickly, replaced by teeth that tugged gently – and then his lips moved, over her cheek, to her ear, cool breath and gentle caresses, tracing out the shape, the difference that so seemed to fascinate his species, and she trembled, wanting, as he had said, ‘a helluva lot more’…

“I want to kiss you everywhere,” he whispered in her ear, before he broke away.

“That would be inappropriate activity, on the Bridge.”

“On the Bridge?! No, no – damn, this is gonna be harder than I thought. What I mean is that I want to kiss – every millimeter of this gorgeous, sensual body of yours. And I’ll tell you something else, T’Pol. When I finish, I want to start all over again, and then again -”

She wasn’t certain she’d understood. At the restaurant, when the image had been in his mind. Or now. “Every-? Even-?” She couldn’t bring herself to speak the words that would name what she wished to know.

Trip cupped a hand under her chin and stared into her eyes. “Every. Even. Definitely.”

“For what purpose?”

“Oh, woman, you have a lot to learn, if you want to explore human sexuality. The purpose is that it’s fun, and it feels good – like nothing else, if we get it right. And you – this body of yours – ” He broke off, but his hand rested on her shoulder.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Well – I don’t know a better way to say it than that you’re sexy as hell.”

“I wasn’t aware that humans who believed in hell thought it to be ‘sexy’.” Vaguely, she wondered what this said about his people.

Not what she suspected, apparently, because Trip groaned.”This is going to be harder than I thought.”

“Isn’t ‘hardness’ vital to the physical mating process?”

“Wait a minute – are we mating, here?”

“I assumed that this was a prelude – ‘foreplay’. But perhaps I was mistaken.” Last night, it had been a simple matter, requiring only that she kiss him, and remove the robe to reveal her nudity. But here, in his quarters, it was different, confusing. “If you don’t wish to mate with me -”

“Oh, I wish it all right – although I also wish we could find a better word than ‘mating’ to describe it -”

“’Having sexual relations?’” T’Pol suggested.

He groaned. “I really don’t think that’s much better. ‘Making love’ I like. Matter of fact, I’d love to make love to you all night long – ”

“Isn’t it illogical to imply that we were creating an undefined emotional state that there has no word in my language?”

“All right – let’s make a deal. No more talking about it, right now, OK? We seem to do better with action. Can I take this, and put it somewhere safe?” He touched the book that was still pressed between them.

T’Pol nodded. Would he pay any more attention to it than the Captain had, in the corridor? She hoped that he would, because she didn’t know how to introduce the topic she wished to discuss.

He grasped the book, turned it so that he could look at the cover – and then his breath hissed in, and his eyes shifted to fix on hers, demanding answers.

**

Trip stared at her, into those wide, unblinking Vulcan eyes – her pupils were so dilated now that he could only see a thin ring of hazel around them. Damn, damn, damn. Every time he thought that she couldn’t surprise him any more – she did.

“T’Pol – this is a copy of the Kama Sutra.”

“Yes.” Naturally, she didn’t elaborate.

“That’s it? You bring this here – this?! – and all you can say is, ‘yes’?”

“What else would you like me to say? It is a copy of the Kama Sutra.”

“Well – how about where you got it, or why, or when, or why you brought it here, through the corridors? Damn – did anyone see you with this?”

“Which question would you like me to answer?” She seemed as calm as she ever had been, not like she’d just been kissing him, not like a woman who’d just carried a copy of Earth’s prime sex text through a human starship.

“All of them!”

“Then you shouldn’t have used the word ‘or’.”

“T’Pol!”

“I purchased the item in San Francisco, approximately three weeks after our first encounter. Why is more easily answered through demonstration, and will explain my purpose for bringing it here. Captain Archer and I had a brief conversation.”

“You talked with the Cap’n? While you were holding this?! Did he ask you about it? What the hell did you say?! Do you – do you have any idea what this book is for?”

She gave him that look that seemed to suggest that he’d lost his mind, if he ever had one to begin with. “I am aware that this is considered the seminal work on human sexuality. I was indeed holding it when we spoke. The Captain noticed it, and inquired as to its purpose. I answered honestly.”

“Honestly – what the hell does that mean?”

“I told him that we would not be joining him at dinner this evening, as we are conducting private intercultural research, and that this volume was integral to that research.”

“That’s what you said? ‘Private intercultural research?’ Did he ask to see this?”

“Quite the contrary. His comment was that maybe he should ‘try to get you out of it’. He seems to think that you will find our – research – dry and unpleasant.” She frowned a little. “Perhaps it was my attire.”

Trip tossed the book on the bed, and grabbed her as though he had every right to. Well, she was the one who’d said, ‘private intercultural research’. He kissed her, and, surprisingly, she molded herself to him, let him deepen the kiss, and then her tongue darted out to tangle with his, her teeth to nibble – and she was trying to pull him over, her legs opening –

Trip got his mouth loose, and said, “Now hang on a minute. You said intercultural, right? That means both of ours -”

“Vulcans do not kiss.”

“Well, humans don’t just throw each other down and go at it. Haven’t you been reading your book?”

“No.” She didn’t elaborate, but she stopped trying to pull him down on her, so that was something.

“Why not?”

**

T’Pol had anticipated that he would ask, that he would want to know why she would keep a book she didn’t read. She had prepared a reply, but now it felt – insincere. If she intended to mate with him, didn’t she owe him her truth, or as much of it as she dared to give him?

“I haven’t read it in part because it is – unsettling to me. As I’ve said, Vulcans don’t discuss sexuality.”

“I guess I can understand that, but not why you’d buy it, in that case.”

“There was – something – I wanted to research. I asked the proprietor of the shop to mark the page in question, so that I could peruse it – somewhat more comfortably.”

“You must really have wanted that information. What was it?”

T’Pol was unable to say. All she could do was to reach for the book, and hand it to him, then rise, and walk the few steps to his window, so that she didn’t need to face him as he made the discovery. Would he remember? Would he be angry? Would he feel that her interest was intrusive?

Would he understand?

“You want me to look at this?” She nodded, watching his indistinct reflection in the glass. “Are you going to give me a clue, here, or do I need to guess at what page you wanted to see?”

She couldn’t answer, couldn’t speak the name she had memorized in those first days, although it was etched in flames in her soul.

“All right, then – time to put my detective hat on, I guess.” He set the book into the place she’d occupied, and ran a finger across the image embossed on the cover. “If all the art’s this lovely, I’m hoping you’ll let me borrow this, if you aren’t going to look at any more than the one page. But we can talk about that later, I guess.” He stood the book on its end, then allowed it to fall open.

Trip stared at the pages that were revealed. He drew in his breath sharply, and T’Pol’s stomach clenched tightly, as though it would reject the plomik broth she’d eaten at lunch. Trip got up, and walked away a step or two, and she could feel his gaze on her, even though she couldn’t see his face from this position. Then he came back, walking around and staring at the book, his tongue pouched in his cheek. Then he dragged a hand across his mouth, and said, “Congress of the Crow…T’Pol? Wanna talk about it? Can you? Because, I gotta say, this kind of raises more questions than it answers.”

“I – wished to – know how – how to – “She couldn’t turn to face him, or go on.

“How to do – this?”

“Yes.”

“T’Pol?” She turned slightly, not trusting herself to speak. “Can I come hold you, while we talk? Or while I do, if you can’t?”

She nodded again. He came to her, slowly, cautiously wrapped his arms around her, from behind. She could feel that he was aroused, even if she hadn’t been able to smell him. “You can lean on me, if you want, you know. And nothing’s going to happen unless you want it to, even though I know you can feel that I’m a little turned on by all this.”

T’Pol couldn’t restrain the impulse that drove her to press back, to hear his pleasure sound, to move in such a way that friction was applied to his stavrit.

**

Mmmn, woman, I know that I said that nothing would happen if you didn’t want it to, but, if you keep doing that – ”

“I am well able to stop you if I wish to.”

“Though she be but little, she is fierce,” he said, smiling into her hair. “I’ll consider myself warned, then. So, where do we start this intercultural research? Can you tell me why your book falls open to Congress of the Crow?”

“I have looked at no other pages.” Trip longed to turn her so he could watch her face. But something told him she needed that much privacy. He thought about how she kept her quarters in candlelight and shadow, and wished he’d thought to turn his lights down for her. He could see a sliver of her face in the window, though.

“I’m guessing you’ve looked at that one plenty, though.”

“Yes.”

He hadn’t expected her to admit that. “Can you say why?”

“Because of you. Because of – that first night – “ Even with her back to him, he could tell her eyes were shifting down and left. Her swallow punctuated a deep, sustained quiver and an intensification of her oranges and sandalwood scent, laced with mineral salts- the scent he’d figured out a while ago meant she was aroused.

“Me, eh? And here I just thought I made you sick, that night.”

“You awakened me.” Her quiver was shaking her, now.

“Hey, come sit down, T’Pol. You don’t have to face me, if that’s too hard for you. But I’m afraid you’re going to shake yourself into falling.”

She let him guide her – but when she got to the book, she stopped, and Trip, leaning forward to sneak a peek at her face, saw that there was something – longing – in it. Her paired fingers twitched out, stroked the illuminated image.

Damn, but she was beautiful!

Maybe it was that, or the way she stroked the painting, that triggered the memory of her, eating a plum with her bare fingers, the way her tongue had slipped around it, how her lips had –

“You remember.” It was a husky whisper.

“Hell, yeah, I do. Damn, woman. Do you have a clue- wait – how do you know I remember?”

“I can – feel it…

“In my mind?”

She turned to him, her eyes not quite making it to his face. “I didn’t intend to invade -I suspect it’s because I am Awakened to you -” this time, the way she said it suggested a capital.

“It’s OK – well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it makes me nervous, but – you are who you are. And you with a plum- well, sorry if I shocked or offended you -”

“You fascinated me. I do wish to explore human sexuality, Trip -because of you, and what was in your mind – and so, I sought information – because there is no logic in such an act. I discovered The Congress of the Crow, but still I don’t understand.”

“It’s about mutual pleasure – pleasure that feeds on itself. Pleasure you can give and receive at the same time. It’s intense, and, when it works out right – there’s just nothing like it.”

“It can’t be used for reproduction.”

Trip smiled at her. “Well, now, pretty lady – if you’d read that book instead of just staring at that picture, you’d know that sex is about a lot more than reproduction, for us humans. A lot more. Take this position, for instance – it takes trust, and time, and teamwork to get it just – hey!”

The word burst out of him at the same time the thought occurred, and she jumped a little, her eyes going big like she was a frightened Key deer again. “Sorry…but I just remembered. That advanced pose we’ve been working on – the shi’ ka’nara – that’s a lot like this -”

T’Pol met his gaze, but she’d gone all burnished copper. “I – invented the posture. I’m sorry – perhaps it wasn’t a trustworthy use of my role as your instructor, but I wished to know -to explore – “

She got all tangled up in whatever it was that she’d been feeling, and Trip drew her in, kissed her long and slow. “All this time, I’ve been wondering if it’s possible for you to want me the way I want you. And all this time, you’ve been staring at this, wanting it, trying to figure out how to get it…”

“Will you? With me?” Her voice was soft, rough, and almost breaking.

“You bet I will – but not yet. We need to learn each other better, trust each other more.” Trip took her hand, and brought it to her shoulder. “This went pretty deep. If you bit down like that – well in the target area – I wouldn’t be feeling anything like what I’m supposed to feel. We’ve gotta get you to a point where you can come and just give yourself to it, not fight to keep your control.”

“Come?”

Trip took her hand again, and, very carefully, brushed his lips against the backs of her fingers. “When I sucked your fingers last night, and you felt a sexual release. We call it climaxing, or orgasm – or, more to the point, coming. It’s kind of why we do things like this- to come. This – we also call this position 69 – can be done in lots of ways, but it’s best when both partners come together – unless one of them doesn’t have enough experience with coming not to bite off something that would make it impossible for her partner to come- maybe ever again.”

“How do we -?”

“We get you all the orgasms we can. You feel them, as much as you can. I prepare to be chewed on, or we find something else you can bite if you need to – like maybe a slice of plum. And we practice the shi’ ka’nara, and, if you’re feeling very brave, we turn some pages of this book, so you can learn more about human sexuality- and you can teach me what you know about the Vulcan kind.” He smiled as her fingers traced the wound.

“Do you think it will work?”

“Well, T’Pol. you’re a brilliant scientist, and I’m a damned fine engineer. I think, if we work this problem together, we’ve got a hell of a good chance of figuring it out. And then – there are 63 more types of sexual acts we can explore, after that.”

She sat quietly for a moment, her fingers hovering over his wound. Then she stood up, slowly, almost as though she was sleepwalking, and opened her robe, letting it fall away- just like last night. And just like last night, she was naked underneath.

“I wish to shower with you.” She announced it almost as though it was a challenge; like she thought there was a chance in hell he’d say no.

“Lead the way,” he said, partly to let her set the pace, and partly so he could enjoy the view of that awfully nice bum of hers.

“You will need to remove your pants,” she answered, and Trip laughed, wondering for a second or two if this was all a dream, then deciding he didn’t care – if it was a dream, he was damned well going to enjoy it.

And, if he had any say in it, so was she.

“Don’t Shave”: #STaD; May 13, 2015

Disclaimers:

  • Trip, T’Pol, and Star Trek: Enterprise belong to Paramount, even if Paramount has forgotten all about them…I couldn’t leave them sitting on a bed holding hands against their shared pain, so I’m giving them a fanfiction hug.
  • This is an extrapolated “might-have-been” story. No real spoilers; just what Trip and T’Pol show me…

 

Don’t Shave”

Falling.

Into flames.

Into nothing –

T’Pol threw her arms out. There must be an edge –

No.

But there was a scent, a mind –

Moving bands of color.

“Red on yellow; kill a fellow.”

“Danger!”

She jerked up too quickly, almost toppled. Was caught. Held in strong arms.

“Shhh, pepperpot. You’re safe. We’re home.”

“Safe? Home?” Eyelids parted. Not enough to see his face. “Trip?”

He helped her trembling hand. Bliss of touch, but this was new terrain.

“T’hy’la?”

“Yes, pepperpot?”

Sigh of pleasure; fingertips caressing newly bearded cheek.

“Don’t shave.”

Treasured human laughter followed her into dreams.

Telling Stories: #STaD, May 12, 2015

Disclaimers:

  • Trip, T’Pol, and Star Trek: Enterprise belong to Paramount, even if Paramount has forgotten all about them…I couldn’t leave them sitting on a bed holding hands against their shared pain, so I’m giving them a fanfiction hug.
  • This is an extrapolated “might-have-been” story. No real spoilers; just what Trip and T’Pol show me…

This post is rated R for adult themes, sexuality, and language.

 

Telling Stories

“Oh, fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck...”

“We just did.”

“Snake, T’Pol.”

“Snake? I don’t understand.” Now, now that it was too late, now she was totally coherent, like it was just another Bridge shift, or any other time talking in bed once she could speak again. Oh, damn….

“There’s a coral snake -” Slowly and carefully, he moved his hand up to the animal’s head, but stopped, wondering if it was a good idea to remove it.

She peered down at herself. “I can’t see its head – there isn’t any pain.”

“Under your breast. Oh, damn. Do you know how long it’s been there?” He was frantically trying to remember everything he knew about corals – shy, not aggressive, needed time to inject their venom….hide in leaf piles. “We must have been right on top of it – oh, hell – ”

“I’ll remove it.” She reached out, slipped sensitized fingers up along the snake’s writhing body, to the head, and made a quick motion. Then she was holding the animal in her hand, right behind the head, and studied it, a scientist examining a specimen. “There appears to be a liquid dripping from its fangs. This species is venomous?”

“Yeah – but it needs a few minutes to inject it – ” Trip watched it wind around her wrist, and resisted the urge to grab the snake and kill it. He thought back over the haze of the mating-frenzy, and then looked at his wife while she looked at her attacker. “I think it’s had long enough.”

“It is an attractive reptile,” she said. “Where shall we release it? Did it come from above, or below?”

“Probably hiding in the leaves – if I remember right, they’re very shy and nocturnal. They use leaf piles for insulation. But don’t put it back – I think we need to take it to Phlox.”

“Trip. I may not be susceptible to its venom. I feel – no substantial difference in my status, other than the easing of the flames…” She lifted her gaze to him, and, damn it, there were still embers there. Easing, not ending. Stupid, to bring her out here like this, thinking he could protect her, thinking she wasn’t going to need what she’d needed countless times, these last few weeks…

He stroked her face gently. “Thing is, pepperpot, that this little guy’s venom takes a while to do its thing. The bite usually doesn’t hurt – but, if you are susceptible to it, by the time you’ve got clear symptoms, it’ll already be getting late to do anything about them.”

“My physiology is different; my species didn’t evolve on this world. My DNA differs significantly from yours.”

“Yeah, I know. But that might make you more susceptible, as easily as you might be immune. We’ve gotta get you to the chickee, and get ahold of Phlox, so he can meet us there.”

“We’ll need something in which to contain the animal.” She was so very much herself, Trip wanted to hug her, but she wouldn’t appreciate that when they had work to do. Instead, he swiped away the threatening tears and the sweat in his eyes – but, damn, he owed himself a good cry, and he was gonna have it once he knew she was safe again. Now, though, he found his shirt, wadded and half-crammed under his hip. She hadn’t shredded it, and he quickly tied up the bottom, tugging to be sure the knot would hold.

He held it out to T’Pol, who used her free hand to urge the snake to drop inside, and then Trip tied the neck and arms together. He set it to the side, then said, “Let’s get a look at that wound. We might be able to squeeze some of the venom back out of it, and that’ll help, if you’re affected.”

But when he touched her, a huge quiver went through her, and she was on him again, as though she hadn’t just been bitten, as though there wasn’t a poisonous snake only a foot or two away, as though he could just forget all that and be ready to meet her the way a Vulcan husband would be able to.

He couldn’t.

She snarled and presented herself, again and again, trying to rouse him – but Trip was too scared. “Sorry, pepperpot. I can’t. Gotta get you safe; make sure this won’t kill you -”

She didn’t even slow down. She couldn’t hear him. She clamped a strong hand against his face, and the bond leapt and surged, her desires fiery, Burning through her, through him –

**

His fear, like a cold rain – a rain that quenched her flames into steaming, hissing ashes.

“Did I – do that?” he panted, looking around at her doused flames.

“You are very strong, and you learn quickly. Thank you, Trip.”

He was still too near tears, his fear a gnawing thing that wouldn’t release him, colored with the pattern of the snake that had bitten her. “Don’t thank me, pepperpot. I shouldn’t have brought you here; should have listened to Phlox, should have at least insisted we wait until we got to the chickee- ”

“Trip.”

“Should have kept you safe – ”

“Trip. I would have left the cabin whether you accompanied me or not. I might not have survived, if you weren’t with me when the blood fever rose.”

“Oh, God – T’Pol. You’re my wife; I’m supposed to protect you, take care of you, not bring you out in the middle of the swamp so that you get bitten by a coral snake -”

“Trip, you were attempting to examine my wound, and perhaps expel some of the venom.”

“You’re right. Sorry.”

“And you are human. I’ve come to expect this type of emotional response from your species when a degree of pressure has been relieved. However, there is merit in attempting to minimize the damage. As I can’t see the wound, it’s logical for you to tend to it.”

“Yeah, OK, all right. Is it gonna send you over the edge again if I touch you, pepperpot?”

“I don’t believe so. Your fear – is powerful.” T’Pol kissed him lightly, in a manner humans used to show affection, without desire. “I don’t intend to die today, t’hy’la.”

“I don’t intend to let you if there’s one damned thing I can do about it. This might hurt; I don’t know.”

“It’s necessary.”

He palpated the area. “It’s a little red and swollen, but that could just be from the punctures. These bites don’t swell, like viper bites do. Do they have snakes on Vulcan?”

“There are sixty-nine distinct species.”

“How many of them are venomous?”

“All of them.”

“You never told me that when we were there.”

“I took you nowhere that was considered dangerous.”

“Yeah – well. Wish I could say the same. Nothing’s coming out of this but a little blood – I can’t tell if there’s any venom in it.”

“It has been nearly ten minutes. It may not be possible to alleviate the envenomation.”

“I wish you weren’t right, but you probably are. All right then – we’ve gotta get to the chickee, and in touch with Phlox. I had a communicator in my lap – thought I might need it – but then you were there, and you weren’t exactly being shy about making your desires known. I don’t know what happened to it….probably in the water.”

“There would be another in the emergency kit. There was one in the bow of the boat; I remember seeing it there.” A sudden cool wind caused her to shiver; Trip’s arms went around her.

“You’re getting chilly – where’s your shirt?”

“I don’t know. I -don’t remember removing it.”

“You did it with style, pepperpot, the way you do everything. You were glorious.”

“You are easily pleased, husband.”

Another gust of wind, and distant thunder. Trip released her, pulled himself up using the trees for support, then edged out to where the decay-choked water began again, peering up at the sky. “I think we’re about to have another problem, pepperpot.”

“The weather has shifted; there’s a storm coming.”

“You got it. Thunder and lightning- and us with a metal canoe and a mile of water between us and the chickee – and you with coral venom doing who knows what inside you….damn.”

“There seem to be many of these areas where the trees provide some footing. Could we move from stand to stand, and cover the distance between us and the shelter?”

“Maybe – but I’m thinking that you shouldn’t be exerting yourself. The higher your blood pressure gets, the faster the venom spreads. I wanted to lay you out in the canoe, nice and quiet and still, and get you to the chickee. But I’m sure as hell not putting you in a metal canoe in a lightning storm.”

**

“You must go for help, Trip. I ‘ll wait here, until you return.”

“No. I’m not leaving you. If you need me – well, if you need me, you need me. And I’m gonna be here, if you do.” He scowled, as more thunder rolled by, and the fist flash of lightning coursed across the sky. “I’m gonna go look for the emergency kit.”

“That’s not safe.”

“I know.” He turned to her. “Even right here, we really aren’t safe. I’ll be quick.” He stepped back fast, because he could feel that she was thinking of trying to stop him.

But that communicator might be their only hope of getting out of this fix alive – if the storm didn’t get worse. If the kit was there. If the communicator was in it. If she didn’t die of coral snake bite poisoning. If the storm didn’t interfere with communications.

“Too damned many ifs.” Growling didn’t really help to relieve the sick stress. If she died –

“Be careful, Trip. If you die – ”

“If I do, you do. I know. I should have known you’d even be serious about this love thing.” Clap of thunder; closer now. “I gotta go.” He stayed upright and waded out. standing tall and keeping his legs wide, to look big to any gators that were still around. He was going to be as quick as he could be, and get back out of this water.

They were only about five meters from where the canoe had hung itself up on the roots of the next copse over. He stared, looking for anything suspicious, then reached out and flipped the craft over –

With a grunt of relief, he saw that the emergency kit was still there – but the grunt turned into a groan when he realized that it was unfastened, and half-sunk into the water. He found the paddle the gator hadn’t grabbed, and used it to poke at the bag.

Lightning streaked across the sky.

“T’hy’la!” Her voice was shrill and frightened – not of the storm, but for him.“I’m OK, pepperpot.”

“Hurry….hurry!” There was a time when he would’ve been shocked to hear that note in her voice, the panic that edged it. But she’d changed, and he’d learned a hell of a lot more about her and her people. All that control – it came at a price, and this was part of it.

“Yes, ma’am.” He poked the paddle into the bottom, beneath the canoe, swept it back and forth, and grabbed with his other hand, yanking the bag free. “Got it – now, to get back to you – hey, wait – what are you doing?”

“Coming to you.” Damn. Fear could blaze into desire so fast, for her. His head spun. “I need you, t’hy’la.”

“You just stay put. That’s an order. I’m coming to you; right now.” Matter of fact, he was coming to her faster than was really safe, but the thought of T’Pol stepping out into the water when she had little understanding of what to watch out for or what to do to avoid trouble scared the caution right out of him.

Her need to please him worked in his favor this time. “Hurry,” she said. “Come safely.”

She was leaning out and reaching for him; that drove him on even faster, because her hand was shaking. That was a symptom – but she couldn’t be having symptoms so soon, could she?

Trip wasn’t sure he’d ever been so relieved to smell her oranges-and-sandalwood pheremones. Relieved – and a little scared – he got close enough to catch hold of those fingers, and she pulled him out of the water with her Vulcan strength. She yanked him in close, threw a leg over his hip, pressed in tight.

“Not on the ground, pepperpot. We don’t need to find another snake” – Thunder again; close enough to shake the ground.

No answer, but she pressed him back against a tree trunk, and her mind flowed hot and hungry into his, consuming, Awakening, arousing..he dropped the bag, and grabbed her…

It was fast, with thunder and lightning for a mood that matched her turbulence. She was quivering, needing, and when she came, she sagged into him, letting him support her. Trip tipped back her head to look into her face; were her eyelids drooping a little?

“All right, now?”

She nodded, as the rain started in fat drops.

**

T’Pol shivered, and attempted to hide the fact.

“We’ve gotta get you warmed up.” He rubbed her arms and back.

“Stop, Trip. If you wish my blood flow rate to be low, a reduced body temperature is a positive development.”

His gaze sharpened. “You’re feeling some effects of the poison, aren’t you?”

“I’m uncertain what the effects are, Trip.”

“Oh, no, you don’t. That’s not an answer; that’s a distraction. I want an answer. More than that; it’s damned illogical not to tell me the truth, because I’m the only one here to help you. Now tell me – the truth, wife.”

“I am having disparate muscle tremors. But they may be effects of the Burning, as easily as the venom.”

“Damn, damn, damn. All right…you sit up here, on this branch, and rest quietly. I’m gonna find the communicator. If it’s working, we’ll get you back to Enterprise, and get a message to Phlox to come help…oh, hell.”

“What is it?”

“Communicator’s here, but it’s wet.” Lightning flashed and thunder clapped, punctuating his words. “I may have to do some tinkering, to get it to work.”

“I have no doubt that you will.”

“Awww, you’re sweet – well, once in a while. But you might have too much faith in me, pepperpot – I can smell a lot of rain comin’, and that’s not gonna make this any easier.”

T’Pol nodded. “It’s somewhat sheltered, under the leaves.” She shivered; it was too cold for her.

“You just want me where you can grab me.”

“Damned straight I do.” She was rewarded with a quick grin, and he vaulted to a branch near hers; then his head bent to the work of examining the communicator. So familiar and comforting, to see him working, doing what was part of his nature.

She watched him, until her eyes drooped….

**

Hey, T’Pol – hey!” A moment of panic when she didn’t answer.

“T’hy’la?” Sleepy – he’d woken her up. Her eyelids lifted halfway. “Is the communicator working?”

He frowned at it, and the pelting rain.

“Well, I think I got it to send an emergency blip – but then it stopped. It’s not just wet; it’s got swamp mud in the circuitry. I’m not going to get very far, very fast, using leaves to wipe things, but I can’t find my bottoms. You must’ve figured I wouldn’t be needing any for a while.” He gave her the best grin he could manage; she seemed to need to see him smile.

“I will search.”

“No, you won’t. You’ll stay right where you are and relax. Enterprise won’t let us down; and it’s only two hours till dark. Phlox was worried about us, and so was Hoshi. If we don’t show up at the chickee, they’ll have Enterprise looking for us, for sure.”

“Trip, will you – tell me a story?”

“Sure thing, pepperpot.” He thought for a second, and pushed the fear aside. There were specific times when T’Pol wanted stories – and one of them was when she was ill or worried, and wanted to hide it. But pointing that out to her now wasn’t going to help. “All right – here’s one. It’s about my something times great grandparents, and it might not be true, but my daddy told it to me when I was a kid, and his told it to him, and so on…it was about how they met at the Grand Canyon, and got together because of a bottle opener, and how, once they went on a hike in the Canyon, and had a fight, and separated. When they reunited and made it up, they were both out of water – ”

“Water – I’m thirsty, Trip.”

“What? You’re never thirsty – I’m starting to think maybe all Vulcans are part camel.”

“I’m thirsty now.”

Trip was scared. She wasn’t opening her eyes all the way, and her tremors were stronger. It could be mild hypothermia; she was made for hotter and dryer air than this, after all. The Burning could be causing the symptoms, too… “Well, the water bottles are among the missing; but we can take a lesson from my ancestors, maybe. When they were caught in that storm, they licked water off rocks.”

“A wise course of action for humans caught in a desert environment they weren’t evolved for. But I see no rocks here.” She didn’t actually look, which wasn’t like her. Now that he thought about it, it wasn’t like her lately not to want him inside her almost before she woke up…

The cold, or the venom?

“We don’t need rocks – we’ve got rain, and a lot of leaves. Just reach out and pluck as many as you need.”

But she didn’t move. “How was a – a ‘bottle opener’ instrumental in a pairbonding?”

“What?” It wasn’t like her to shift gears like that – unless she was trying to draw him away from something disturbing – like the fact that she wasn’t able to get water without giving away that she was sick? He tucked the communicator in a fork of the tree, and went to her. “Here, let me serve you while I tell you about it.”

She’d deny it if she wanted to, for as long as she wanted to, or as long as she could. But, if she had been poisoned, this was hitting her faster than it would if she was human, and that meant that she didn’t need to be wasting her energy fighting with him. If she wanted water, he was damned well going to be sure she got it.

“Thank you,” she said, softly. “The story?”

Her hair was plastered down on her head, and her face was wet. She was shivering hard, so he couldn’t tell if she was having muscle spasms. He carefully pulled loose a leaf, tipped it to her lips, and she sipped delicately. “I’m sorry you’re so cold and wet, pepperpot. More water?”

“Later.” She could get by on shockingly little water. “You should drink, Trip.”

“I will – but I’m OK for now.”

“Then tell the story.”

“Well, my – my forefather, I guess you’d say – he came to work at the Grand Canyon, in one of the restaurants, and my foremother was working there, as the chef. It also happened to be her birthday…but thy didn’t like each other, at first- “

“Nor did we.” Was her voice sounding weaker, or was it just his fear tricking him?

“Seems to me we liked each other just fine the first time- it was the second time that we rubbed each other the wrong way – “

“It didn’t feel – wrong….” She still hadn’t opened her eyes. She was keeping her mind closed, too, separate from his, as though hiding. And it was costing her. He wanted her to stop, but it would only cause trouble to tell her so, make her dig in with what little strength she had. And he wasn’t about to do that.

“Oh, it was good – but you’ve always been a little dangerous, pepperpot. Anyway, one night he bought some beer – a special treat. So special he forgot that he’d need an opener, and he didn’t have one. And that the stores were closed. But he’d really been looking forward to that first sip, and he didn’t want to wait till the next day. So he went out looking for someone who had one – and that was grandma. She told him she’d go dig it out of the drawer, and bring it to him – and, when she did, they spent the next four hours talking. A few months later, they were married, and they were together the rest of their lives.”

“It could be said that we…are together – because of vermillon fread .”

“What?” Trip leaned in close. Had he misheard her?

“Vermillon – fread….” She frowned.

“Oh, pepperpot. Awww, hell….” He was glad of the rain, now – it hid his tears. Slurred speech from T’Pol was a dead giveaway. She wasn’t just susceptible; the poison was racing through her.

“I want to lib…” Oh, hell, she was crying too. “Trip – need your help – to lib – ”

“Right here. All yours. Tell me what you need.”

“Kir’shara -”

“I can’t get you that, pepperpot.”

“Not the book.” Her head twitched to the side, then back. Spasm, or head shake?

“I don’t understand.”

“Somefing…somefing I learned…”

“While you were reading the Kir’Shara?”

“Yes- healing trance- slow- slow…” she grunted in frustration – the word wouldn’t come, and she seemed to be breathing harder now, and drooling a little, too.

“Don’t try talking any more, pepperpot. I can tell you’re working hard. Here, show me this way – “ he picked up one trembling hand, placed it against the side of his face, and her breath caught….

It was there, right at the surface, where he could find it. A trance that would slow down her metabolism, give her a chance of living long enough for Enterprise to find them –

But, if she did it wrong, it could kill her.

“You need me. You need me to help you come back, watch you.”

The affirmative was in her mind. And the certainty that, if they didn’t act soon, she wouldn’t even be able to try.

“I don’t often wish I was a Vulcan, pepperpot – but right now – ”

“It is you – I need,” she whispered.

It was risky, and she didn’t try to hide it. It was a theory, not something she’d known she could do before the cultural awakening the Kir’shara had brought to her people. There wasn’t anyone to teach her…and, if he couldn’t rouse her, she’d die.

The venom would kill her, for sure.

“I’m with you, pepperpot. And, if anyone can do it – you can.”

She didn’t answer in words. She took the logical approach, and just began to slow her breathing and heart rate, her thoughts, sinking into meditative country, then lower.

Lower, slower….she looked like she was scarcely breathing. Trip put a hand against her side; her heart only beat once each twentycount….

Damn – could she live like this? Could she do it right, just by reading about it? Could he bring her out of it, when the time came?

He kept an eye on her, checked that she was wedged in safe on her branch, so she wouldn’t fall. Then he went back and grabbed the communicator, and the makeshift bag that held the snake that had bitten her.

And then he worked on the communicator, laboriously clearing mud and gunk from its innards, with frequent glances at his wife.

“Please, please don’t die on me, pepperpot. We’re finally together; finally happy – oh, god, we were so happy – and -” he remembered something. “Oh, damn….T’Pol. you’re going to make us a baby – maybe you already have – and we need to get this one here safe and sound, you hear me? So here’s what we’re gonna do. You’re gonna do the best you can to stay asleep – good and asleep. And you’re going to take care of that little one to be – and I’m gonna fix this communicator, take care of you, and get us the hell out of here, so you can get better. Now, you put all your stubborn, all your logic, all your everything, on just staying asleep.”

Damn. He was crying – crying hard. Too hard to work on the communicator. Too hard for anything, and way too hard to stop –

That was when the sparkles started – and then they were materializing on the transporter pad, and there was Phlox, already rushing up to them, scanner going –

Trip knew he should explain, get out of the way, but he could only pull her close, into his lap, with his tears falling on her still, silent face.

Fierce: #STaD; May 11, 2015

Disclaimers:

  • Trip, T’Pol, and Star Trek: Enterprise belong to Paramount, even if Paramount has forgotten all about them…I couldn’t leave them sitting on a bed holding hands against their shared pain, so I’m giving them a fanfiction hug.
  • This story is an extrapolation of what might have been.  No real spoilers for anything…

She stood there, the paddle propped against her pink clad shoulder, hands on her hips in a pose she’d gotten from him, just like the T-shirt she wore.

“I understand your need for Seclusion, T’Pol, and your desire to explore, as well. However, you haven’t completed the cycle yet.”

“I am lucid. I have been, for two days.” She frowned, then added, “Perhaps longer.”

“Which is a clear indicator that you will not remain so, T’Pol. The compulsion will likely return several more times before the cycle ends. It’s not wise to be away from your support network, not yet. Patience would be a better approach.”

“I intend to go. Trip.” That wasn’t a question, not even a little bit. She’d probably use her nerve pinch and sling him over her shoulder if he dared to refuse her. She might be lucid, but her emotions – those were still powerful, and her impulse control was all but nonexistent, most of the time.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.” Trip read from her shirt, grinning. “You wanna go, pepperpot, we go. The chickee’s not that far; maybe three or four hours of paddling, depending on how fast you want to go. And, well, if this gorgeous wife of mine wants me, Phlox – well, I’m all hers, anyway. And, to tell the truth – I’m not so comfortable sharing our honeymoon with you and Hoshi.” He didn’t look at the comm officer – the best tactic to stave off T’Pol’s famous jealousy was to pay as little attention to the presence of her female Kiral as possible, even though Hoshi was a good friend. He only hoped she understood.

“You know I’m in service to you, T’Pol.” Hoshi spoke in Vulcan; Trip was still amazed at how well he could understand, and that he could feel T’Pol – her irritation that she was being thwarted, her desire to reclaim her life, and to get away.

“You’ve served well, Hoshi.”

“Then maybe you’ll l reconsider. If you have difficulties -”

“We will not.”

“You might.”

“I am evolved to survive pon farr, and to protect my mate.”

“You’re evolved to do so on Vulcan – in a desert environment, T’Pol. This is not a desert environment.”

“Relax, Doc. I spent damned near my whole childhood here, in the Glades. This time, pepperpot, I can protect you.”

“I am going. I won’t wait to hear irrelevant arguments. Trip -”

He got up from his chair, went the three steps to her – furthest she’d let him get away from her in days, and Trip couldn’t decide if it felt good, or if he just wished she still wanted him right where she could grab him at the drop of her pheremones.

“I’m with you, pepperpot. Don’t worry – I’ll take care of her, and keep her safe. You can meet us at the chickee – but give us -” He looked up at the sky, to a sun that was just past noon – “well – give us till it gets all the way dark, will ya? Cap’n’ll be happy to beam you in.”

“This is unwise, Commanders -”

“Desist!” She grabbed up the paddle, her hands clenched around the pole, like it was a weapon. She gasped out a couple of breaths, breasts heaving in a way that was doing things to him – she hadn’t worn a bra or panties in weeks, and still he couldn’t get enough of the way she looked in just a T-shirt, with her hair growing out and curling at the ends in the humid air. “Your objections have been noted, but I am Burning, not ill.”

Trip wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her in for a kiss, but she didn’t let go of her paddle. “My fierce little warrior,” he told her, and kissed the tip of her cute little nose. “I’m all yours. Let’s go exploring.”

The canoe was pulled up and tied; he let her settle in it before he untied it and shoved off, jumping in once it was floating free, bobbing in the mangroves. She watched him with fierce eyes, and Trip started to think that maybe this wasn’t the best idea, after all – her chin was up, her nostrils flared, and her eyes dilated.

“You OK?”

“Once we are away, I will be. I can’t – can’t stay at the cabin another moment. How do we -” she poked the paddle experimentally and a little clumsily into the brackish water.

“Well, first you put on a life vest – at least until we can trust your swimming a little better.”

“I won’t.” She scowled at the vest. “It’ll be too restrictive.”

“Pepperpot – “

“No.”

Trip sighed.

“Please?” He tipped his head and tried to look adorable. “For me?”

Now she sighed, and knelt to wrap her arms around his waist and look at him upside down.”I can’t.” He could see the restlessness in her eyes. “Do you understand?”

“Not all the way, but I guess enough.” He stroked her cap of sun-warmed hair. “We’ll stay in shallow water, then – and you keep that vest where you can grab it and hang on if you need it, OK?”

“Yes, t’hy’la.” Trip smiled at her. She was being mighty agreeable, under the circumstances. Being married, and going through this together, had brought out a cooperative side that longed to make him happy.

“OK, then, you get yourself back into your seat, and turn around.”

“I won’t be able to see you,.”

“Damn, woman, I love you, you know.” This kiss was long and deep, and came with a hint of citrus and sandalwood, blending with the rich scent of the swamps all around.

“I do know, Trip. And I wish to see you…every moment.”

“I’ll be right here, pepperpot. I’m not going anywhere.” He touched her temple, and she leaned in with a little caught breath. “Always touching and touched, T’Pol. I never knew it could be like this, with anyone.”

“The bond will only deepen with time….” Her fingers danced out to his; her mind opened wide and hungry, the embers alight within the ashes…

She went back to her seat, looking over her shoulder at him, and Trip was reminded of that first day, in the Cap’n’s Ready Room. She’d been so eager to turn her back on him, then, and it had hurt his feelings, after what had happened at Fusion, and outside the Consulate that Tuesday night a year or so back…but now he knew the truth. She couldn’t touch him and maintain her control. Even turned away, her hands had come behind, eager to touch…

“Right here, T’Pol. Right here with you, where I want to be.”

**

In the beginning, it was pleasant to answer the restless need to be away from the invasive presence of others in the cabin.

But she couldn’t see Trip, and her neck was becoming sore from twisting to be certain he was still there, and safe. Each time she did, her paddling fell out of rhythm with his, and often the canoe would drift, and become entangled in the raised roots of the mangrove trees.

“I’m still here,” he told her, for the sixteenth time since they had set out. His irritation was beginning to become more agitating than T’Pol wished, it was detracting from the pleasure of these moments of escape. “This is going to take all night, if we don’t stop ramming into the trees.”

“If you don’t wish me to look at you, I will not.” She remained facing forward for twelve minutes, and he wisely remained silent. But the distance was too great, the need to see him owned her. She turned –

And they were lodged again.

“Look, T’Pol – maybe we should go back to the cabin.”

“No!” She clutched her paddle, but she couldn’t look away.

“I think Phlox was right, pepperpot. You’re not ready for this, not yet. Maybe in a few more days, or a week – but not yet.”

She spun away, shoved her paddle into the mass of roots, shoved off hard, and got the canoe moving along the narrow path. She didn’t look at him, and she didn’t speak to him. There was a long silence, with nothing but their paddling – it was his rhythm, and she began to grow unaccountably agitated at that, at his unspoken command here…

“T’hy’la?” Trip seldom called her that.

She clenched her jaw and didn’t answer, other than to begin to paddle more forcefully.

Silence.

“T’Pol? I can feel that you’re mad at me – but I don’t understand why. We can stop for a bit, and talk it out, if you want.”

She breathed quickly, paddled more forcefully, and said nothing. Her jaw was aching, but she said nothing. She closed her mind to him as much as she was able.

**

Trip tried to wriggle past the walls of anger she’d thrown up, while he stared at her stiff back. Her shoulders moved as she paddled, faster and faster….soon, she was going to hit a speed that he couldn’t hope to keep up with.

“Pepperpot, talk to me. Tell me why you’re closing me off; tell me what to do to make it better.”

Nothing.

“Please?”

Silence – and now she was outpacing him, fully in Vulcan mode.

Trip stick his tongue in his cheek. He thought back to Malcolm telling him, back when they’d finally come clean about the marriage, that he was fortunate that he was marrying a woman who wouldn’t mystify him with her moods….

Trip hadn’t told Mal that he was dead wrong.

“T’Pol, in case you never noticed, there’s no points on my ears. I can’t keep up with you.”

She spun around, water dripping off the end of the paddle as she stared at him, jaw tight. “Then cease.” She spoke through gritted teeth.

“Will you tell me what I did wrong? “

“No.”

He sighed again. “I know you’re not really thinking very logically, right now -”

“Go to hell, Trip.” It wasn’t quite a snarl, but Trip could tell she wasn’t going to talk about it; not yet. She spun around.

He kept himself busy swatting at the mosquitoes that got too close – he was pretty well coated in her pheremones, so they didn’t bother him the way they used to – and they veered away from her, altogether, having no interest at all in green blood. He didn’t even try to keep up with her anymore; there was no hope.

After almost an hour, she was going so fast that the canoe was starting to rock a little too violently. Her anger had shifted to rage, and Trip was absolutely sure, now, that they shouldn’t have left the cabin, and Phlox.

“You don’t trust me!” The hiss slapped its way through the air.

Trip wanted to argue, but instinct and the explosive feel of her mind told him not to. Besides, she was at least starting the conversation.

**

“How so?” he said calmly, and she hated that he was, when she was not; nothing she’d tried had erased the emotions.

“I can feel it! You want to return, where Phlox can – can -” Words failed, choked out by tears. Illogical, to cry when angry.

Human.

She’d bonded with a human, and now his alien nature was part of her. There was no escape.

“Can what, pepperpot?” It was a soft whisper.

“CONTROL ME! MANAGE ME! TRAP ME! TORTURE ME!” Raw screams, but they were no help.

“Is that how you’re feeling? No wonder you’re so mad -”

His understanding brought new emotion, tangling through the furies – a catalyst, a shifting, and –

“Mate with me.”

“What – here? NOW?”

“Here. Now.”

He swept an arm around them, the place stank of decay. “It’s not exactly safe out here.” He pointed to three places with half-submerged logs. “Gators there, there, and there. We tip the canoe, they’ll be on us.”

“Land – there.” She was panting; she could hear her own breath harsh on the fetid air.

“No, not land – not exactly. Not safe, either. Just some leaves and soil gathered on the roots.”

“Enough. Mate with me, t’hy’la.”

**

Damn. She wasn’t asking; she was demanding. He couldn’t get mad about it; that’s just what Vulcan women did, when they Burned. She needed him. It wasn’t a question of want.

But not here. Not when she couldn’t contain or control herself, when she needed nothing less than all he had to give her.

“You’re a fast paddler, pepperpot,” he said, carefully. He watched her face, and didn’t move. Thankfully, she was almost through the cycle; a week ago, she’d’ve just tackled him, rather than order him to give her what she needed. “We’re less than an hour from the chickee, now – and it’s all ready for us. Once we’re there….”

“No.” She shook her head, fierce as her shirt proclaimed her to be. “Here. Now.”

Uh -oh. Her answers were getting shorted, and sharper. At least she wasn’t in triplicate, because, once she was, there was almost nothing that would dissuade or delay her.

Even so, she wasn’t going to like what he had to say.

“We can’t here, pepperpot. It’s not safe.”

She stood, soundless, balancing easily, legs set wide, moving with the motion of the small craft as naturally as though she’d been born for it. She lifted the paddle high, arching her back, her pelvis thrusting toward him in a mating display – and her pheremones released, sending a cloud of scent to tempt him. Were he a Vulcan male, she’d told him, only yesterday, he’d never be able to resist such an invitation –

No. Not an invitation – a command. One she had even more right to give than she did on Enterprise, because she was a Vulcan, and he was her mate.

Aww, hell, he wanted her. Wanted to give her what she needed, what she wanted.

Fiercely, she stared. Her eyes were flame; he could feel the wave of heat rolling through her, inflaming her. Heat only sex could ease; heat that could easily kill her if she was denied.

And if he gave her what she needed, and they tipped this canoe, a gator’s jaws could do the same thing, a helluva lot faster.

“Mineminemine.”

Damndamndamn, he thought, but kept his mouth shut.

“MinemineMINE.” She actually stamped her foot at him, and the paddle was shaking.

“I’m yours. Proving it at the chickee, too.”

“Nownownow?” There was a pleading note to that – she must be coming out of the active phase; but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t try to force things, and Trip reached for his communicator, just in case he needed backup. He put it in his lap, and started to paddle, very slowly, so he wouldn’t upset her balance.

“In the chickee.”

Slowly, she set down her paddle and reached for the hem of the T’shirt, making a little cry as she grazed her own bare thigh. She peeled it off herself, and Trip bit his lip to keep from giving in.

Her chest was heaving, and her nipples were large and taut with desire. “Pleasepleaseplease?”

“Chickee. Soon. Paddle, pepperpot. Paddle, and we get there faster.” He demonstrated.

She made a grunting noise and turned her back on him, giving him the delectable rear view. He knew she knew by the way she rocked her hips in a way he found intensely arousing. Trip paddled a little faster, eyeing the one gator he could see, with her in the bow blocking his view of the other two. It looked innocent enough, basking, but he wasn’t fooled. These were apex predators, and she was a desert creature.

With something between a sigh and a growl, T’Pol dropped her shirt on the bench and sat on it, bare to the world. She reached behind her, caught hold of the paddle, and Trip let go of his lip – she was rational enough to cooper-

A Vulcan missile caught him in the gut, the paddles flying off to the sides with a splash. Damn, she was fast, and strong, and she was grappling with him, trying to get her hands into his pants, while he tried to deflect her and get the paddles back….he looked where the gator had been –

It wasn’t there anymore.

“Gator – in the water – “ She suffocated the rest with a kiss that was almost a biting attack, and her mind was afire – she coudn’t understand, now. All that mattered to her now was the urgent need to be penetrated and fertilized – she didn’t even slow down, and Trip realized that he had to answer her need.

Not that he was going to get a choice. He wasn’t quite ready for her, but she was taking care of that with her frantic kisses and pointed caressed – damn, the woman learned fast! – and he was rising to the occasion, just hoping he could keep this canoe right side up –

He was still hoping when she twisted, trying to strip him, and capsized the canoe.

**

Water, stinking and tasting even worse, in her mouth, her nose – T’Pol struggled; thrashed.

Her mate – where?

Here. Here. She seized him, clawed him, would not release him. The water wasn’t deep; the fever raced and roared through her.

He was shouting, but she couldn’t listen, couldn’t stop….

**

Trip was being pushed beneath her, as she clasped him with her thighs. Strong Vulcan thighs…

Where the hell was the alligator? How the hell was he going to stop her?

He wasn’t, that’s how.

But there was a stand of mangroves within a couple of body lengths. If he could get her there, maybe they wouldn’t look like a late lunch, and, once she got what she needed, maybe they could get to the chickee, and then, if they lived that long, he’d give her anything she wanted, for as long as he could manage.

He tired to keep his body long, and to shield her, and started scooting backwards, on his ass, while she tried to make his body do something it just couldn’t, when he was this damned scared. It didn’t stop her trying, though; she was nothing but her instinctive need to mate.

He caught a glimpse of the first gator – it was still where it had been. Might not stay, but that was something, for the moment…

Jaws opened a few feet away; and snapped closed on one of the paddles –

“Oh, shit!” Trip started moving fast, or at least as fast as he could go with his wife still trying to mate her hungry stavril to his limp stavrit. No use telling her that he wasn’t going to be able to get it up like this; she wouldn’t understand. So he let her try, because it kept her busy, and put all his energy into moving them toward something a little safer than here…

The third gator was gone.

Trip wrenched his back, but that wouldn’t matter if he was dead. Or if she was.

Why the hell hadn’t he listened to Phlox?

He got them out of there, into the trees, while the gator surfaced, the paddle sticking out of the sides of his mouth.

T’Pol began a frenzied assault – kissing, biting, scratching, shredding his clothes, straddling him as she rocked against him in a wordless plea for him to claim her, let her claim him.

Her pheremones let go again, harder this time, and she moaned. Her mind surged into his, her fever immolating him, sweltering, and then they were one, one, joined in mind, in body, moving, seeking the moment when they fulfilled the need for consummation…

Together, they were coming close, so close, rolling, moving, the pressure rising, building toward the ejaculation that could ease the killing flames-

A cry of victory as they felt it, knew the goal was achieved –

Flash of colors, odd pinching –

Nothing.

It meant nothing.

They fell off the edge of oblivion, the seed springing forth, the egg rushing to meet it, and they knew – KNEW – that this would lead to conception –

A flash of color – red on yellow….important – that was important, wasn’t it?

Only this. Only this. Onlythisonlythisonlythis….

Spasms of pleasure, almost pain. Bodies joined, the seed given and received, the release of acceptance a second and greater pleasurepain….

“Red on yellow – kill a fellow – “

Nothing. Nothing but the need for more pleasure, more pain, more feeling….

“Red on yellow, kill a fellow.”

Those words a blade, slicing through the feverhaze of ecstasy.

Slicing through their unity, so that they cried out with the pain of loss.

Trip opened his eyes, and the bands of color caught his focus as he stared just below her left breast – and a cold sweat shivered through the heat of her flames.

There was a coral snake hanging off her body, its jaws wide open, latched into her skin.