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 –
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.”
“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 –
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’.”
“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.
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?”
“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.”
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.”
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.