Missing Scenes from Season Four: Bound

By Alelou

Rating: PG-13

Genres: missing scene romance smut

Keywords: bond Columbia

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This story is number 17 in the series Missing Scenes from Season Four


Part I

DISCLAIMER: All things Star Trek belong to CBS/Paramount. "Bound" was written by Manny Coto.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Two parts to this one. Many thanks, reviewers!


Hoshi sat in the mess hall nursing her cup of tea and nibbling on her breakfast of grilled salmon and seaweed over rice and waiting to see if the pattern of the last week held up.

Ever since Commander Tucker had returned to Enterprise, each morning around this time he walked in, looking haggard, ordered "coffee, strong," then grabbed a breakfast and found someone to sit with. So far it had been with her about half the time.

Less than two minutes later, Commander T'Pol would come in, see that Commander Tucker was sitting with someone else, fill a mug, and leave the room.

Sure enough, Tucker soon came in – today he looked even more exhausted than usual – grabbed the coffee, and filled a plate.

This time Commander T'Pol entered almost immediately after him. "Commander," she said, in greeting, and picked up a plate from the stack.

"Commander," he said politely. He quickly finished filling his plate and made his way over to Hoshi's table. "May I join you, Ensign?"

"Sure," she said, and saw T'Pol stop and take in what had just happened. Her face expressionless, the Vulcan replaced her empty plate, filled a mug, and left.

Hoshi hoped T'Pol was getting some breakfast. She was looking kind of thin.

"You and Commander T'Pol used to share a lot of meals," she said. "Why don't you anymore?"

The engineer scowled at her. "She could have sat down with us if she wanted to."

"Maybe she just wanted to sit with you."

He sighed tiredly. "Then she should ask me. I'm not a mind reader."

"Huh," Hoshi said, unable to entirely contain a smirk. "She is."

He stared at her from over his coffee mug, his expression equal parts confused, tired and irritated.

She decided to explain. "When we were trying to track down Phlox, after you left for Columbia, she performed what they call a 'mind meld' on me."

His eyebrows went up. "She knows how to do that?"

"It was the first time. The captain helped her."

"The captain?"

"Apparently Surak passed along a whole bunch of practical wisdom for Vulcans." Hoshi still found it amusing that the guy who so often had complained to her at length about how irritating he found Vulcans was now Earth's premiere expert on the subject.

Tucker frowned. "So what was it like?"

Hoshi had been asked to explain this by others, but still wasn't quite sure how to put it. "She asked me to remember being on that street at night with Phlox, so I did, but it was as if she was walking along with me, talking me through it. We really only needed to figure out what species they were, so it didn't take very long."

"And that was it?"

"Yeah, that was it."

"Did you see inside her mind?"

He would want to know that, wouldn't he? "No. She was just … there, in my memory. Kind of the same as she would be on the bridge."

Tucker said nothing, just looked a little disturbed.

"But, you know, I had the weirdest dream that night," Hoshi said. "You and T'Pol were having this intense conversation in this really white space."

He looked up sharply.

Hoshi continued, "I asked her about it later, because – well, no offense, Commander, but I didn't remember ever dreaming about you like that before – and she said subconscious thoughts can be shared during a mind meld. Anyway, if that's true, I'd say her subconscious thoughts include an awfully realistic version of you, right down to the way you argue."

He just stared at her, and Hoshi felt her heart beat a little faster. She was taking a chance saying this, but she felt she had to. "I haven't carried around Surak in my head like the captain has," she said. "But I can see what's right in front of my eyes. We all missed you when you left, but she really missed you."

For a moment he looked just a little vulnerable, but then he scowled. "It's illogical to miss people."

"I'm just saying…"

"I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I don't think you fully understand the situation."

"Are you certain you do?"

He got up. "I'm certain I need to get to engineering. That's enough for me."

Hoshi watched him go and sipped her tea. Trip had reacted defensively, just as she had feared, but sometimes it paid to launch an idea anyway. You never knew when it might land.

x x x

That night Trip went to see the captain in his quarters.

"Trip," Jon said, smiling. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Hoshi told me you helped T'Pol do a mind meld."

Archer stared appraisingly at him for a moment. "Yes."

"I guess carrying Surak's katra around has turned out to be pretty handy."

"I definitely understand Vulcans better than I used to." Jon reached up into his closet and brought down the bottle and two glasses. "Perhaps that's not saying a lot."

Trip smiled and pace the room nervously. "I was wondering if I could ask you something off the record."

"Shoot."

"Off the record."

Archer poured him a glass and handed it to him. "Yes, off the record."

"Because you did say you didn't want to know anything, before."

"Look, Trip, I won't deny it would make my work life easier if I didn't know anything - but you're also my friend, and I don't want to turn my back on that. So … just give me some plausible deniability. Anything you tell me here … it's probably fine. In front of a room full of witnesses … or near a recording device … or if it's something that's going to seriously interfere with the mission or ship's operations … then we might have a problem."

"Okay." Trip swallowed and took another lap to the window and back. Porthos looked up from his doggy bed but stayed put.

The thing was, this was still risky. Hallucinating chief engineers could arguably interfere pretty badly with ship's operations. "Do you know anything about Vulcans getting inside each other's heads … by accident?"

Archer took a slug of his own drink. "You need to give me a little more to go on than that."

"Well… suppose a Vulcan is just sitting there meditating, and suddenly she's having this mental conversation with someone who isn't even on the same ship … say, with someone who's busy trying to do his job, except he's suddenly been shanghaied into her Vulcan la-la land."

Jon stared at him.

"And before you ask," Trip said, "he's already determined that no, he's not hallucinating."

Jon took another sip of his drink and appeared to ponder his answer for a moment. "I can't say for certain, but there's a reason Vulcans are expected to live together for at least a year after they marry. Separation early in a relationship can be … problematic."

"These two people aren't married."

"Well, with Vulcans, it's not really the marriage that matters ... it's the bond."

She'd said something about a bond in the white space recently, hadn't she? "I don't understand."

"Vulcans mate for life. Like … I don't know … parrots or penguins or whatever. Humans form pair bonds, too, but ours tend to be temporary. We have to work at staying together for life, and only about half of us succeed. Vulcans … well, they don't have to work at it the same way we do. It's not really a matter of choice. So, if a Vulcan bonds with you…"

"She hasn't bonded with me."

"How do you know?"

"Because she married the other guy. And then when that was over, she decided it was time to go all Super Vulcan and devote herself to that Kir'Shara. So, obviously, she was perfectly capable of choosing to do something else." Trip could feel his face turning hot. He didn't enjoy reciting that particular litany.

"Maybe she only thought she could. In Surak's time, Vulcans understood this stuff. But they've been repressing everything related to their psychic abilities for centuries. You can't measure it, so it's gotten this rap as not scientific, maybe not even real. You've seen how badly they reacted to mind melds. They've gotten like that with their pair bonds, too. They never talk about them. They just have them."

Trip gulped the rest of his bourbon. "So you're saying you think she might be stuck with me despite all her best efforts."

"Yeah, that's what I'm saying."

"Does that mean I'm also stuck with her?"

Archer shrugged. "You tell me."

"If I am, I don't think it's fair. I never asked for this."

"Maybe she doesn't think it's fair, either. Imagine what it must be like, to be the only Vulcan around who doesn't know if her partner can be relied on."

"I'm not the one who went and married someone else."

"I don't think you should go back to Columbia," Jon said. "Not until you've figured this out, anyway."

"That's not exactly objective advice. You want your old chief engineer back."

"Of course I do. I also think you should consider the more positive aspects of this situation. Here's a beautiful, intelligent woman who will never grow old during your lifetime and who will never even be tempted to look at another man."

Trip scowled. "She's never tempted to look at me, either."

"That's not what I see."

Trip sighed. Apparently everyone on this ship saw signs of interest from T'Pol that utterly escaped him.

"Trip, you are a resourceful man. You can figure this one out."

"Would you want to spend your life with someone who simply got stuck with you?"

"A bond doesn't form unless both people want it."

Trip stopped his pacing and sank into Jon's desk chair. Yes, he'd wanted it – though he'd had no idea what he was getting into. She hadn't either, probably. It was a pretty bad deal for her by any logical standard. "Maybe what we really have here are two victims of the Expanse."

Jon gave him a serious look. "You two were dancing around each other for a long time before we got anywhere near the Expanse. Why don't you just admit that you're head over heels and deal with it?"

"If I get one more no, it will kill me. Or I'll kill her. Neither option is good."

"Did you ever really ask her a question she could say yes or no to?"

"I did, actually." Not that he'd exactly made his best effort there. Still, he'd given her the option. And she hadn't taken it.

Jon got up and patted his shoulder. "I'm sorry, Trip. But if I have one piece of advice about T'Pol, it's that you have to find a way for her to back into the things she wants, especially when she thinks she shouldn't want them."

Trip sighed. "Suppose I stayed. What the hell would we do about Kelby? And where does that leave Columbia?"

Jon grinned. "Let me worry about that. Your plate is already full enough."

No kidding.

Jon poured them each a little more. "To positive resolutions."

Trip clinked his glass against Jon's and took another swallow. If nothing else, at least he felt as if he and Jon had finally reconnected. Maybe he'd had to leave for that to happen, too.

He held the glass up for a second toast. "To old friends."


To be continued


Comments:

Alelou

Thanks, all.  Yes, Trip can't quite let go of the whole "she married the other guy" thing, especially since she hasn't really tried to help him get over it ... which is, of course, because from her point of view, his distance clearly indicates that there would be no point.  I like to think that it's more than some funky white space moments and Orion babes but also some caring friends that might be needed to knock some sense into these people... and I also really just wanted Jon to be Trip's friend after some painful distance there, too.  I think Trip needed that -- it gives him the support he needs after all the ego blows he's taken.

panyasan

I liked Hoshi's attempt to let Trip see that T'Pol really missed him as well. I am happy to see some friendship between Trip and Jon. We haven't seen that much of it on the show in season four, but good to see Trip and Jon talking like friends. Like Trip I am happy they reconnected. Trip seems to repeat the sentence "she married the another guy" a lot - an indication that he probably keeps saying this to himself to justice his actions and his hurt when that happened. I like to think Trip isn't clueless (he is an intelligent man with great social skilss), but finds it hard to come to terms what happened between Home and now.

Cogito

I like Hoshi's description of T'Pol really missing Trip, and I like the idea of Archer knowing T'Pol well enough to realise that "you have to find a way for her to back into the things she wants, especially when she thinks she shouldn't want them". Although I don't recall Archer doing anything on the show to earn it, he was supposed to be respected as a great 'people' person and renowned diplomat, and I like the thought that he was actually pretty clued up about what was happening between Trip and T'Pol, and was lending both of them his support. And Trip is pretty clueless, as usual. And, again as usual, I wish he'd get his act together and stop giving T'Pol the cold shoulder. :)

Distracted

I really like the idea of Trip and Archer being so close that Archer actually knows about Trip's relationship problems with T'Pol and privately encourages him even though it's technically against regulations. That's what a good friend would do.

weeble

I like the interaction with Hoshi. She is/was? a great observer of people. She see's what Trip won't, and he needs a nudge. Your Jon is the perfect second place for Trip to ask questions. It is all about denial is it not? I hope Trip decides to get over himself. (I still do not like angst, especially written by the master....)

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