Missing Scenes from Season Four: Borderlands

By Alelou

Rating: PG

Genres: angst

Keywords:

This story has been read by 439 people.
This story has been read 913 times.

This story is number 4 in the series Missing Scenes from Season Four


DISCLAIMER: All things Star Trek belong to CBS/Paramount. "Borderland" was written by Ken LaZebnik.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I personally find the augments arc pretty damned tedious, so I'm happily ignoring the augments themselves for this entry. Indeed, you could argue I'm ignoring all the rules of good short story construction as well, but whatever. Thanks as always to my kind reviewers (and even my snarky ones – I appreciate hearing criticism, too). Thanks also to you eagle-eyed editors out there.


Yeah, he knew there was no such thing as a honeymoon on Vulcan – at least not for T'Pol and Koss. His question was just his way of showing her the fence line. For better or worse, she was married now, which put her squarely on the other side of it.

What did she expect? That he would settle for some sort of undefined continuing relationship – one that would entail committing emotional adultery, if not something more outright – while she maintained her façade of Vulcan duty?

So, okay, maybe that was what she expected. Maybe, deep down, she still thought humans were oversexed baboons who would take what they could get. Maybe she still, deep down, thought he was an oversexed baboon who would take what he could get. Hell, by Vulcan standards, he probably was. And even by human standards, he knew plenty of guys who were.

But not him. Not with her.

Didn't she think he had any self-respect? Why should he be content with someone who had chosen someone else? He knew it wasn't really her own preference, but neither had they held a gun to her head. He'd even offered to marry her. And she'd made her choice.

That was what he wanted to say to her. Sometimes, after he'd had to brush her off again, he imagined screaming it at her in full-throated rage: You made your bed, now lie in it! But he didn't say it. First of all, he couldn't forget how desperate she had been, walking out into that desert that terrible day.

Second, what would be the point? She just didn't get it.

That was all he could figure from the way she kept trying to engage him. In the last two days he'd had to walk away from five separate conversations she'd initiated, and that wasn't even counting the ones that had been cut short by explosions or Captain Archer.

His mom got it. She had taken one look at him when he got home, and said, "Oh honey," and given him a big hug. Then she'd waited until he was ready to talk about it, which wasn't until the night before he left.

"Poor T'Pol," she said. "Of course, you never know how things might turn out in the end." Trip hadn't been sure exactly what she meant by that. Did she mean to encourage him that he might end up with T'Pol after all? (Sometimes, in the middle of the night, it was damnably hard to completely ignore that niggling little thought, even though he knew he should.)

But probably his mom just meant that he would be better off without T'Pol. Which was true. He'd even made a list:

Reason #1: It would make things a lot less uncomfortable professionally. Now he could just focus on his job again. Not to mention they could both keep their jobs, which would have gotten pretty difficult otherwise.

Reason #2: It increased the chances of having a Charles Tucker IV, or any child, someday. Yes, so they'd met Lorian. But who knew if they would ever be able to replicate what Phlox had done in the other timeline, when he didn't have anything else to compete for his attention?

Reason #3: If they did marry, Trip was going to get old and decrepit and ultimately die long before she did, which would have been difficult for her, and depressing for him.

Reason #4: Now there would never be any question of living on Vulcan, which had been terribly uncomfortable for him even before he learned to associate it with misery.

Reason #5: She'd married the other guy.

Reason #6: She'd married the other guy.

Reason #7: She'd married the other guy.

And no self-respecting man could ever forget that.

He knew the captain got it – once he'd gotten over being royally pissed, mostly because Forrest had berated him for letting his ship turn into some sort of orgiastic pleasure cruise for undisciplined senior officers. "I hope you realize that if she hadn't gotten married, one or both of you probably wouldn't be back on board right now," he'd growled. "And that was a damnable position for you to put me in, Trip."

"Sorry, Cap'n," Trip said. "It wasn't anything I set out to do."

Jon had just stared at him, clearly unimpressed.

Trip had tried to explain. "I know it wasn't ideal professional behavior, even if the technicalities were a little fuzzy at the time. I have to assume she knows that, too. It just happened. It was like some sort of irresistible force. Maybe it was that Trellium-D exposure she took. She says she's probably always going to have some difficulties with her emotions now. Hell, even you noticed she wasn't exactly in full control in the Expanse."

"Even I?"

It was a good thing, Trip reflected, that he had never tried to go into diplomacy. "Hey, you had the weight of the world on you out there, Cap'n. You were pretty much keeping your distance from the rest of us mortals. Which was completely understandable, sir." Even if it had felt pretty awful at the time.

Archer's face had turned hard. "Are you by any chance trying to blame me for you nailing my first officer?"

"No, sir. Not at all."

He watched the captain frown and take a deep cleansing breath. Thankfully, Jonathan Archer wasn't one to hold a grudge, especially when it would get in the way of doing his job. "Do you have any idea what her current prognosis is?"

"Prognosis?" Trip said, startled.

Archer gave him a very odd look, then, and changed the subject quickly. "What do you think of the work on the upgrades?"

Trip told him, all the time thinking: Prognosis? What the hell was that about? He even made a mental note to ask T'Pol about it, before he realized it was no longer any of his business.

Reason #8: He wouldn't have to worry about her anymore.

Trip sighed. Someday, he might even talk himself into believing that. Right now, though, he knew it wasn't true and probably never would be. Hadn't he promised to remain her friend? Hadn't it become obvious, while she was in Orion hands, that the thought of losing her existence somewhere in his life, however distant, still terrified him?

Even at his most depressed, Trip would comfort himself: at least she's not dead.

So what the hell was this "prognosis" about?

But if she hadn't told him about whatever the hell Jon meant before, he was hardly going to try to get any information about it now.

It was none of his business.

It was all none of his business.

Malcolm got it. He'd accepted Trip's bottle of Talisker and his terse account of the events on Vulcan and pressed for nothing more, just shared a drink with him, patted him awkwardly on the shoulder, and asked about other matters. And from the way Hoshi and Travis and the others didn't even ask him about it, Trip assumed that Malcolm had run interference for him. After all, it wasn't as if his trip to Vulcan hadn't become notorious. He'd even had to fend off reporters at his parents' house in Mississippi.

So this meant, really, that the rest of the crew got it.

The only one who didn't get it was T'Pol.

Sometimes, he wondered how much worse this would feel if she did.


The end


Comments:

Mary

I totally see Trip perspective on the situation. He was rejected  over  Koss, regardless of why. He  mind knows  why she did but his heart is having a harder time comming to grips.He is hurt actually HURT or maybe HURT  and can't simply move on with " oh well, lets be friends"  Its just too hard , too soon.

Malcom was great offers friendship, understanding now lets try to distract with work and warn everyone else off. A true friend.

I didn't like Archer, reprimanding over something that saved not only Earth and the Universe but Trip and T'Pol  who were needed to save Earth and..... Somewhat limited understanding by Forrest and Starfleet and Archer. Not there for his friend when he so needed one, not there now when he's so sbviously hurting and needing a friend again.

Cogito

This is very depressing. Far from always being her friend, Trip seems to be going out of his way to avoid T'Pol. I imagine that by now the whole crew will have worked out that Trip and T'Pol have fallen out and I guess most of them will have picked sides - and I doubt that there are many who are looking favorably on T'Pol at the moment. It must be a desperately lonely and upsetting situation, even for a self-sufficient Vulcan.

While I can sympathise with the idea that Trip might react like this, I'm disappointed in him for doing it.

Alelou

I think you're right, Panyasan. Poor Trip may have said he'll be her friend, but it's proving just too painful.

panyasan

I really liked the conversation between Trip and Jon. Jon is in full captain mood when they speak, but still I see sparks of their old friendship - nice to see.

As for don't getting it: not only T'Pol doesn't get it, also Trip. He seemed to think T'Pol made a choice to marry Koss (like most Humans who have the abbility to choose) but I think that from T'Pol's POV she thinks she had no choice.  Trip may understand this rationaly, but not emotional. Emotional he feels like he is dumped for another man - and he can't be the friend he promised he would be. Even T'Pol's attempts for conversation are seen as a continuing of their relationship - which is true for T'Pol - she tries to get in touch with him again - but he doesn't want to go there. There is nothing left for T'Pol. I can't blame Trip for acting like this, but that's their situation right now. 

Alelou

Thanks, D.  And heh heh ... JT is still reading ... (grins maniacally)

distracted

I agree. A nice set-up for a Panaar Syndrome and Trellium D discussion.

justTripn

Ahh . . . now he's worried about her "prognosis." Nice touch.

 

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