Darker than a Shadow

By Lady Rainbow

Rating: R

Genres: drama romance

Keywords: bond marriage

This story has been read by 2825 people.
This story has been read 10832 times.

This story is number 2 in the series Shadows and Echoes


Chapter 1

Darker than a Shadow - Chapter One

Rating: R for language and adult situations

Notes: Here's the sequel to "Louder than an Echo", which was in turn a challenge from Dinah. Trip and T'Pol's lives are changed in many ways, some for the better, some not.  The other members of the Enterprise crew get entangled in trouble of their own.'

Remember, "Affliction" and "Divergence" didn't happen in this universe, so events are AU.

Thank you to my betas justTrip'n and Honeybee!


One

"All right, if we can modify the plasma flow to these regulators here and here--"

"And angle it, what five degrees? No, wait, it'd have to be ten. No, eight."

"Jesus, you sound just like an auctioneer, Mike. "

"Eight point three three degrees, to be exact, Ensign Rostov. The starboard regulator would have to be aligned in the correct position to compensate for the flow deviation."

"I still think the static charge would be a bitch to work with. Anna, any ideas?"

"Divert it to structural integrity somehow? Might as well use it since we've got it."

"That's an idea, if we can pull it off without blowing the ship to smithereens, like we nearly did to Columbia. Anna, how about you and Mike start working up a way to do it. T'Pol and I can adjust the plasma regulators once we can take the load off the converters." Commander Trip Tucker tapped the controls on his PADD and the screen went blank. "Good brainstorming session, people. Get some rest. You two still have your regular shifts tomorrow."

Lieutenant Anna Hess and Ensign Mike Rostov grinned at each other. "Sure thing, Boss," Hess said. "It's wonderful having you back from Columbia. We're looking forward to working with you ... officially, again."

Trip waved a hand and chuckled, but the good humor sounded flat. "Yeah, well, we've still got three days until we reach Jupiter Station. I want to make sure we make it there in one piece. That means keeping the engine room runnin'."

"Not a problem, Boss. We'll make sure the Jupiter Station guys won't have much to complain about by the time we dock." Rostov waved back as he steered Hess towards the door. "Good night, Commander Tucker, Commander T'Pol."

After the door shut behind them, Trip leaned back in his chair and sighed deeply. T'Pol finished straightening up the conference table, then approached her husband with a slight smile. Trip found himself mirroring that smile; she was his wife now, had been for the past week and a half, since they'd left Vulcan. Damn, he still had trouble believing it.

"It is late, Trip," she said softly. "Perhaps it is time for us to retire to our quarters for the night."

"Yeah. I'm supposed to have breakfast with Jon and Malcolm in the mornin'.  Somethin' to do with Gardner pitching another hissy fit.  We'll deal with it."

She raised an eyebrow, but only extended a hand to him. He took it and together, they left the engineering alcove. It was Gamma shift, so there weren't many people on duty in Engineering, but they all bade Trip and T'Pol good night with bright smiles and cheery words. Trip waved back and thought, Damn , it's good to be home. Ten months away is too long.

Indeed, Husband. T'Pol didn't turn to look at him, but he felt a definite wave of warmth through their mental bond. He grinned; the sensation still made him feel giddy. Now that they were together, it resonated strongly between them, much more than when he'd been on Columbia as Hernandez's chief engineer.

Movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He turned to open the main engine room hatch for T'Pol and spotted Commander Richard Kelby on the upper deck. Kelby stood with his hip against the railing, an electronic scanner in his hand as if he was taking readings. The current Enterprise chief engineer pretended not to watch them go, but Trip still felt his hooded gaze.

He and T'Pol were silent as they took the lift to their new quarters on B Deck. Once they were safely inside, he sat down on the double bunk.  Their bed, in their quarters. There were times when he was afraid to open his eyes, afraid that it was all a dream, that he would wake up alone in his room aboard Columbia.

She glanced over her shoulder as she unzipped her duty uniform. "You are troubled, ashayam."

Trip closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. "It's Kelby. Rostov hadn't been kiddin' when he told me Engineering was close to mutiny. I shouldn't have--"

"It will last only for another week, until we reach Jupiter Station. He will become the new dock chief, and you will regain control of your engine room."

"Yeah, I know. Part of me kinda feels sorry for him."

"Because your presence disrupts the 'status quo' for the past ten months. I assure you, ashayam, that although your physical presence was absent, your spirit was very much felt in Engineering."

Trip opened his eyes. "And in other places as I remember."

T'Pol remained serene as she replied, "Yes. In a way, you never left."

He blinked as she let her hair down and it tumbled over her shoulders. T'Pol had let it grow in the past ten months, and it brushed against her collarbone. Now she wore a sleeveless purple gown, one that clung to every curve of her body. He grinned in appreciation of the plunging neckline, accented by golden threads embedded within the fabric.

 "I told you you'd look good in Triaxian silk. Where'd you get this? I don't recall seein' you in this one before."

 "It was a gift from V'Lar."

He choked out, "V'Lar gave that to you?" Trip tried to imagine the dignified, silver-haired Vulcan ambassador giving T'Pol this outfit, but couldn't do it. "She has good taste, but I didn't know Vulcan had its own version of Victoria's Secret."

She raised an eyebrow. "V'Lar has visited many worlds in her long, diplomatic career. She acquired this from Risa."

"Still looks good on you." He pulled her onto his lap and ran his hands against the fabric on her back. She shivered at his touch, closed her eyes, and reached for him through their newly-minted bond. He slowly let down his barriers, allowed her entrance, and met her halfway. The resonance echoed between them, doubling in strength, now that it was no longer limited by light-years.

 I must still be dreaming, Trip thought.  She's so beautiful ...

 "This is no dream," T'Pol whispered, as she brushed a hand over the back of his neck. "I am here."

He chuckled as he took one of her hands and kissed her palm. "I know, Darlin', but I still have trouble believin' it. It'll take some time."

He felt, more than saw, her smile. "A Vulcan couple traditionally spends a year together after their joining. I suspect it will take us some time."

They sat there for a moment, basking in each other's presence. "T'Pol," he whispered.

"Trip," she responded. She raised two fingers of one hand and he gently touched them with his own fingers. It was such a simple gesture, but it spoke volumes, this Vulcan equivalent of a peck on the cheek, or something deeper.

Ozh'esta, T'Pol thought to him. It means what we wish it to mean.

He sent his amusement through the bond. Oh? And what does it mean to you right now?

T'Pol slipped from his lap as stealthily as a cat and stretched out on the mattress. He lay behind her, his free hand caressing her skin. He brushed his lips against her shoulder, before angling upward to the slim curve of her neck. Gently, he turned her towards him as she sent another slow shiver through the bond.

It means this, my husband. She slid her arms around him and kissed him slowly, and he savored this experience that was still so new to him.

All of his senses were focused on her: her touch, her smell, her very essence. They took their cues from each other and moved in harmony. Making love mind-to-mind was the most sensuous thing he'd ever experienced. It transcended the physical and came as close to the spiritual as it could get. Every one of his previous relationships paled in comparison.

And she was with him, completely and utterly. She gasped with him as she found a sensitive spot, and he cried out with her as the urgency rose to fever pitch. He felt the explosion slam into her body and it triggered his own, flooding his senses ...

And in that moment, his awareness detected something else, a part of him, yet separate. A part of T'Pol, yet separate. T'Pol was too lost within the sensations to detect it, but it jolted his consciousness. What the hell is that? The strangeness of it threw him off, but it seemed to know he was there, and sent a wordless question.

And within that question was a tiny spark of joy, of homecoming, of belonging. It reached for him, but fumbled in its way, before it slowly faded.

Trip groaned as he collapsed heavily next to his wife. His wife. She was his wife now. Parted from me, and never parted ... T'Pol wrapped her arms around him and drifted off to sleep. Trip tried to stay awake, but despite his best efforts, he followed her, still bathed in the glow of their love.


The glow of the computer screen was bloody damn annoying, and apparently, Malcolm wasn't the only one who thought so. Hoshi stirred restlessly in his arms, still half-asleep, the insistent buzz wrecking havoc with her sensitive hearing.

"Turn it off," she mumbled into his shoulder. "It's interrupting my fantasy."

He smirked and brushed his lips against her temple. "Which one? Tell me."

She growled playfully and replied, "I'd rather show you, but if you don't turn that thing off, you'll never see it."

"Your wish is my command, Milady." He untangled himself from her and went to the console. Malcolm tabbed the receiver and saw it was a non-priority transmission. He'd set his comm to DND, 'Do Not Disturb', which should have routed it into another queue. It must have been a system glitch.

He frowned at the routing code; it was familiar, but he couldn't place it. The message itself was text only, which set off alarm bells in his head. Malcolm accessed the transmission, which asked him for a set of old recognition codes he hadn't used in a long time.

Cold sweat broke out on his skin. Damn it. I thought I was free of that infernal organization. Why the hell is he contacting me now? He was tempted to erase the message anyway, but if he simply ignored this, the next contact would be more blatant and attract unwanted attention.

He couldn't afford that. Reluctantly, he typed his old passwords and the text message came up on the screen: Meet me on Jupiter Station. We have a problem concerning your old friend. He and his wife are in danger. Contact information on this channel when you arrive.

There was no signature, but Malcolm knew who had sent the message.  Bloody bollicking hell.

"Malcolm?"

He quickly erased the message. One advantage to being involved with Enterprise's Communications Officer was that she'd shown him tricks about the message queues that no one else knew. Unfortunately, that meant she might discover it anyway, but if he didn't give her a reason to search for it, she wouldn't be the wiser.

"A message from Jupiter Station. Security issues." He managed a slight smirk. "It seems that Enterprise has garnered plenty of attention of late, especially with the new engine installation."

"I heard Captain Jefferies himself is coming up to take a look. At least, that's what Trip said. I've heard plenty about Jefferies, but I've never met him. Everyone in Engineering considers him a god."

"Maybe you'll get to meet him when we arrive," Malcolm said. He made his way back to bed. Hoshi curled up around him, the warmth of her body not quite dispelling the chill in his soul.

"Thank you, for turning off that alert. I should reprogram that thing to make it less annoying."

"You're quite welcome," he answered. Malcolm smirked again as he gazed down into her liquid brown eyes. "Now, about that dream of yours..."

Hoshi's lazy smile sent another thrill through him. "Inquiring minds want to know?"

He kept his tone light, in spite of the unease that now nagged at him. "You've piqued my curiosity, love."

"Then I should satisfy that curiosity," she purred, as she pulled him closer to her and kissed him, long and deep and full of promise.  After the broke the kiss,  she whispered, "First, I have you exactly where I want you, right here-" , she pushed him onto his back, and murmured, "and then, I do this-"

He couldn't reply even if he'd wanted to; it would have been choked gibberish anyway. He closed his eyes and lost himself in the exquisite sensations she roused in him. She surprised him yet again, with her audacity and her inventiveness. Quite a change from the timid schoolteacher; never again would he call her "timid".

"God, luv, I can't--" His control shattered as he shuddered under her, and she threw her head back and cried out as her body responded to his release. She collapsed on him, her long black hair spread over his chest like a blanket.

"Can't what?"  she whispered hoarsely.

"Can't resist you," he managed to finish between gasps. He drew her lips to his and kissed her fiercely, not willing to let her go.

Yet a part of his mind warned him darkly, Enjoy it while you can, for if she finds out your secret, you'll have lost her forever.


T'Pol held her weekly status meeting with the various science department heads under her command. Her calm façade assured the crew that nothing had changed, now that she and Commander Tucker were formally bonded. The relief in the room was palpable; aside from a few solicitous questions regarding her new husband, the department heads got down to business.

Yet it took her more effort to keep her mind from wandering. She lost the thread of conversation several times, but managed to regain it before anyone noticed. By the time the meeting was adjourned, she knew something was amiss.

Not wrong, per se, just odd. T'Pol carefully shielded her thoughts from Trip, who was in conversation with Captain Archer and Lieutenant Reed. Although Trip 's mental control had improved, he still suffered momentary lapses, and picked up stray thoughts and emotions. It was a side effect of a new bond; once they became used to each other's presence, T'Pol hoped it wouldn't become a problem.

She couldn't afford to distract his attention, especially now. The last thing she needed was her husband charging through the ship's corridors in pursuit of a perceived threat to her safety.

T'Pol entered Sickbay with a hint of trepidation. Squawks and chattering erupted from her right, but they were quickly soothed by the sound of food being dropped into cages. Doctor Phlox hummed a reassuring tune as he went from cage to cage with practiced ease. She waited patiently for him to finish the noonday feeding of his animals.

"Ah, Commander! Forgive me, I didn't notice you standing there. Can I help you?"

"I would like to ask you a favor, in confidence, Doctor."

Phlox frowned at her uncharacteristic words and said, "Of course. Please, step into my office and we can discuss this favor. This way."

When they were safely within the walls of his office, Phlox insisted on serving her chamomile tea to calm her. After a fortifying cup, she felt much more in control. She placed her cup on Phlox's desk and sat back in her seat, clasping her hands together in her lap.

"Is there a problem I can help you with, Commander?"

She looked up at him with an unreadable expression, then answered, "I require a complete physical, Doctor."

He leaned forward, immediately concerned. "Are you feeling unwell?"

"I-" She hesitated as she tried to put her feelings into words. "I have been feeling ... unusual."

"What are your symptoms? I cannot make a proper diagnosis without all the pertinent data."

She took a deep breath and told him everything. "I have been distracted by random thoughts while on duty. My sense of hearing, sight, touch, smell...they seem more sensitive than before. This morning, I had to double my dosage of the nasal inhibitor, and I have never had the need to do so."

Phlox shook his head. "Perhaps it is another side effect of your new bond with Commander Tucker?"

"That was my first thought as well, but I don't think that is the cause."

"How long have you had these symptoms?"

"A week, I believe. It may have begun earlier than that, but I haven't noticed anything amiss until now."

"That is unusual. Just a week? Since Enterprise left Vulcan?"

"As I said, that was just when it became noticeable enough to become ... uncomfortable."

Phlox tapped his finger against his PADD. "Any dizziness? Headaches? Nausea?"

"Not enough to impede my performance on the Bridge."

"Yet you feel them." Phlox's frown deepened and he stood up abruptly. "Then it's good you came to me, then. Let's run that physical. I'm not sure exactly how your bond with Commander Tucker works, but if you have picked up some sort of virus, it will most likely impact his health as well. Please, this way."

T'Pol nodded and followed him to the main part of Sickbay. At his instruction, she carefully climbed onto the biobed and submitted to the various scans and examinations. Phlox raised his eyebrows at something on the scanner, before nodding at T'Pol.

"I'll need a more detailed scan from the imaging chamber, Commander."

"Of course." T'Pol moved to the bed of the imaging chamber and lay down. "How long will this take, Doctor?"

"About five minutes. Try to relax." He activated the button that carried her inside the chamber and sealed her inside. He studied the readouts, then murmured, "Fascinating."

After five minutes, T'Pol emerged from the chamber and she slowly brought herself up to a sitting position. "Is there a problem, Doctor?"

"I suppose it would depend on your definition of 'problem', Commander." He tapped his PADD, handed it to her and retreated back a step.

She glanced at the readouts, narrowed her eyes as she read them again, then said flatly, "It is not possible."

Phlox raised his eyebrows at her and said, "Usually, I would be inclined to agree with you, but apparently some things are possible." He watched as she struggled with her emotions, then said softly, "He needs to be informed of this, T'Pol. He is your husband."

She took a deep breath. "Yes, of course."

"Shall I call him, or would you prefer to do it?"

"I would be grateful if you summon him here."

Phlox nodded and gave her several extra minutes to get herself back under some semblance of control. Finally, she nodded assent, and he touched the communications link. "Phlox to Tucker."

There was a pause. "Go ahead, Doc."

"I need to see you right away, Commander."

"I'm with the Cap'n and Malcolm right now."

"This concerns T'Pol. It's a medical matter."

"Medical?" Now Tucker sounded concerned, and Phlox heard him inform the captain. "I'll be there in a few minutes, Doc."

"Good. Phlox, out." He closed the channel and nodded at her. "He's coming."

She only nodded back and closed her eyes in dread.

 


Comments:

Aquarius

Color me rivited.  I LOVE pregger T'Pol!  :D

bluetiger

Very nicely done. A married Trip and T'Pol is always a good thing. Can't wait for Trip's reaction to the announcement (what ever it is ;) )

Asso

Definitely this is my cup of tea, but that doesn't be enough to explain the immense satisfaction I felt while reading this start. That's BEAUTIFUL, Lady Rainbow. And that is all that must be said.:D

panyasan

Really loved the conceptus scene, well done: piece of him and her, combined together, which makes an unique personality. For some reason I like your Kelby too.

WarpGirl

Oh a baby! Wow! But um how? Frankly I'm most psyched out about Malcolm and Hoshi here. Ug now I get that thread of yours... You won't like my replies at all. But I love this series, it's joyous.

Silverbullet

Great chapter.  Loved Hoshhi and Msalcom

Is T-POl Pregnant? She has only been with trip for one week?  If she is a month or two along there is going to be some questions to be answered.  Don't think that Trip could do it through the bond.

We wil see. Waiting for the next chater.

 

 

Honeybee

Twisting and turning. . .plenty of delicious developments. Keep 'em coming, LR. This is a keeper.

justTrip'n

Yes, yummy. And in both pairings there is a little tinge of angst (or something) that makes it interesting. Ahh!!! Belately, I get it. ;)

Alelou

:p Ah, you have a "Conceptus <Somethingess>" moment there (Enterprikayak's classic story has a similar development, though something tells me this one will involve a great deal less angst).  This is the hottest stuff I've seen outside of decon in awhile, LadyR.  Lots of fun to read!

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