In The Light

By Emberchyld

Rating: PG

Genres: angst drama romance

Keywords: Baby Elizabeth Tucker bond terra prime

This story has been read by 368 people.
This story has been read 492 times.


Disclaimer: Someone other than me owns Enterprise. Full Blown Rose owns the lyrics to “In the Light”. I’m just playing with both of them.
Summary: Reflections through the bond after Elizabeth’s death, based off of the song “In the Light”
Rating: PG
Can be archived.
AN: I didn’t expect this to become as heavy and depressing as it has, but the story had a mind of its own. (Methinks I’m better suited for comedy) The song is very pretty, though.


Winter winds have gone and faded
October skies of thoughts of grey
Tears upon my pillow layin
A child lost to pain
I pray for better days

Elizabeth’s memorial service had been exhausting. In addition to the crew that crowded around that tiny coffin in support of their lost “family” member, dignitaries and politicians from Earth and the other coalition planets had crowded into Cargo Bay three to pay their respects. It had gone from a simple memorial to a testament to diversity—to IDIC. And through it all, Trip and T’Pol stood off to the side of their daughter’s body, T’Pol stoically accepting the condolences in her stiff, heavy Vulcan robes, Trip crying openly beside her, their hands entwined in a nearly white-knuckle hold.

Through their bond, Trip could feel T’Pol’s grief and had expressed it for the both of them. He bolstered her when he could feel her emotional defenses starting to crumble, and physically supported her small frame when, towards the end of the service, the strain of it all began weighing heavily on her.

She had only wavered twice, tearing up when his mother had come over to them and enveloped T’Pol in a giant, camellia-scented bear hug, murmuring softly and sympathetically as only one grieving mother could to another.

The second time had been during Captain Archer’s eulogy, an echo of the speech he had given earlier, on Earth. By the end of the speech, a tear had broken loose before she could compose herself.

After the last dignitary had filed out, the last crewmember had drifted off, and his family had given them a last round of hugs and solace, Trip nearly carried T’Pol to her quarters. To the best of his one-armed ability, he gently helped her weary form out of the outer layer of her robes and onto the bed. Despite her protests that she was fine and didn’t need him to stay, he curled up next to her, not even bothering to change out of his dress uniform, and threw his good arm around her waist. “I need to stay,” he whispered softly, before drifting off to sleep.

He knew they’d have to go through all of this again when they reached Vulcan.

********************************************

The place was familiar, but not. No white light greeted him, no fuzzy, daydream-y haze. Instead, a barren desert landscape stretched endlessly in all directions. The sky was a dark grey unlike anything he’d ever expect over a Vulcan landscape—more like the skies he had seen in late Octobers in San Francisco, when the world hovered despairingly between autumn and winter. This was certainly not like her meditation spot.

At first he thought that it might only be a dream. He hadn’t been able to break into her mental world since Elizabeth’s death days ago—she had closed that part of herself off from him. So, tonight probably would be no different.

Then, a tremendous wave of sorrow blanketed Trip and he turned to find T’Pol standing next to him. With a sob that she would never have uttered in the “real” world, she coiled her arms around his waist and buried her face in his chest.

Trip bit his lip and pushed back the sorrow that was threatening to overwhelm him—he had never felt anything so heart rendering in his life—not when Lizzie died, not at Elizabeth’s death, not even through their bond over the past few days. If he let it engulf him, the strong, unchecked Vulcan emotions would tear him apart. “Darlin’, I’m here. I’m glad you finally let me in.” He gently stroked her hair.

She looked up at him, tears streaming openly down her face. “I could not, before. I could not allow myself… to feel-- everything… until after Elizabeth’s--” She broke off, then resumed with a slight hiccup of emotion, “Until after.” She tried to compose herself and failed.

He choked back his own tears. “I know. But shutting me out isn’t going to make it better. We’re in this together.” He kissed her on the top of her head. “We’ll make it through.”

“It will not bring Elizabeth back.”

He nodded. “No, it won’t.

She choked back a few tears. “There are times—when I wish that I could simply curl into a ball and join her. This emotion, this grief, is too much for me.” She gestured at the grey world around her. “There’s so much darkness. I cannot find my calm, my light anymore.”

“I’ll help you. We’ll help each other,” he whispered, then cradled her and tried to absorb as much of the sorrow as his own soul could take.

*****************************************

Trip woke with a start, the astral world fading away. Quietly, so as not to wake T’Pol, he turned over his tear-soaked pillow, and then cradled her still- sleeping form against him as he did the same with her pillow. And then he prayed. He prayed that Elizabeth was happy—perhaps cradled right now in her Aunt Lizzie’s arms and being cooed over by her grandmother T’Les in a more forgiving world than theirs. He prayed for the strength to make it through this pain. And he prayed that he could help T’Pol through hers.

Lift me up
Lead me from this place
Let your love be mercy on my fate
Rising up
I change before your eyes
Out of darkness standing in the light

****************************

“You look like hell, Trip.” Archer greeted him with a sympathetic smile. He gestured at the chairs in his ready room. “Have a seat… before I have to get Phlox here to scrape you off of the floor when you crash.”

Trip pulled a hand through his hair and looked down at his rumpled uniform before collapsing onto the nearest chair. “Yeah, it’s been a tough few days.” He then looked back up at Archer, “Honestly, Cap’n, I feel really bad asking this, what with everything that’s been happenin’ with the Coalition and with all of the time that we’ve taken already, but I need to ask for a little bit more time off for me n’ T’Pol.”

“I’m surprised. Usually, I’m the one ordering you to take off and let yourself rest.” Archer frowned, then quickly added, “Not that I’m saying you shouldn’t.”

Trip shifted uncomfortably. “I know. Believe me, Jon, I’d love to be back around my engines, but this hit T’Pol really hard. Both of us, really. I know this makes no sense and I can’t exactly explain the whys at the moment, but I’m the only one who can help T’Pol right now. We have a lot to work through and can’t do it if we just bury ourselves in our work.”

Archer studied his friend’s face. Dark circles rimmed his eyes, which were as bloodshot as they had been during the memorial. Trip looked like a shadow of the man he knew. “I understand. Take as much time as you both need.” He then walked over and put a comforting hand on Trip’s shoulder. “Is there anything that I can do to help?”

“Not unless you have a Vulcan grief counselor in your back pocket,” he replied with a touch of dark humor.

“Sorry, I’m all out. But I’ll make sure the crew knows not to let T’Pol back to work until her leave is over.”

Trip started to get up. “Thanks. I really appreciate this.”

Archer nodded. “Trip, you know I’m always here if you need someone to talk to. You’re not superhuman either.”

“I know. Thanks, Jon.”

*****************************************

Hand of hope come and change me
Out of ashes make me whole
Lift me up and recreate me
And help me overcome myself lead me from hell

T’Pol could find no peace in her meditations. For every second of quiet, she had endless minutes of emotion. Anger, pain, denial, and sadness—infinite sadness. Emotion that hit her with such force that it took all of her effort just to keep breathing. No amount of chanting, wall building could keep them back. Her only respites were when Trip joined her on the astral plane, taking some of this emotion onto himself. But when he was not with her, the astral plane, he escape, had become a personal hell.

Elizabeth’s pained cries echoed through her mind and T’Pol would spend what felt like hours each night looking for her child to no result. The few times that she did find her, the child would be a pale, cold corpse. Time after time, she would pick up and cradle the body. Time after time, the cries would continue uncomforted, emanating from somewhere unknown.

Tonight was one of those nights.

T’Pol held the dead infant in her arms, tears rolling down her face, when a harsh voice cut through the cries. “You mourn her, who you only knew a short time, but you did not mourn me, daughter.”

T’Pol turned in the direction of the voice, and, in a heartbeat, found herself keeling on a cave floor. Elizabeth was gone and she instead was looking down at T’Les’ dead body. Her mother’s lifeless eyes stared directly at her. “You suppressed me. Why?”

“Mourning,” T’Pol replied, her voice shaking, “is an emotional response to an inevitable part of life. It serves no purpose.”

A note of hurt colored her mother’s voice. “Was I not important to you?”

“Mother,” T’Pol reached out, but as she touched T’Les’ face, it dissolved into ashes.

**********************************************

That was how he found her, kneeling in a pile of ashes. She recoiled from his touch and turned her face away from him, embarrassment tingeing her cheeks green. “Trip…”

He gently slipped a hand under her chin and turned it towards him so that they were practically nose to nose. “Hey, don’t try to hide from me,” he said softly, using his thumb to wipe away the tear that was running down her cheek.

“I do not think,” she said, eyes still down and meeting his, “that allowing myself to feel all of these emotions is a good idea. Perhaps,” she choked out, “perhaps I should return to Vulcan. There are some meditation techniques that I have yet to…”

“No.” Trip gestured at the ashes swirling around them and piled around her knees. “This is what happens when you bottle everything up. It tends to build up and build up until you just explode. Elizabeth, your mom… if you don’t let yourself feel, you’ll never be able t’move on.”

“I don’t want to feel anymore!” she yelled angrily, tearing away from him.

Trip caught her around the waist and swung her upright and out of the ashes. “I’m sorry, but it’s that or locking yourself in this pit of self-pity that you created for yourself and I sure as hell am not going to let you do that,” he yelled back at her. “I love you too much to let you do that to yourself. And me. And Elizabeth.”

She stopped struggling at his words, but still wouldn’t look directly at him. “I… am… afraid, Trip.”

“I know,” he whispered into her hair. “But you’re doin’ a good job already. It’s going to take a long time, you know, but it does get better.”

“I need you.”

“I’m here.” He then took her hand in his. “Follow me.” With her small hand in his, he pulled her out of the astral plane.

T’Pol woke with a start, sitting up to find herself in her quarters. She felt a body stir next to her and turned to curl herself in Trip’s arms and most of his lap as he sat up. Through their bond, she felt his strength and his sorrow. “I don’t know how Vulcans do it, but… let’s try to find a little bit of that calm for you, okay?” He gently pressed on a few neuropressure points on her hands, then swept her hair back to press at a spot on her temple. “We’ll just try to work with the feelings instead of locking them away.”

She reached up, freeing her hand from his, and pulled Trip’s head down for a small kiss. “Thank you,” she said, her voice still rough with emotion.

****************************************************

I'm rising up,
I'm moving on
Give me strength to carry on
I feel the light upon my face
I hear the angel's words of grace
My broken wings learn to fly
Lift me up and justify
I'm standing up
I'm standing out
I feel the walls come crashing down

T’Pol carefully lit two meditation candles, setting them both on a small shelf near the star port. Trip had suggested lighting candles in memory of the dead and, though she did not entirely see the logic in doing so, she did find an odd comfort in the ritual.

Two weeks had passed, and though her sorrow had not disappeared, she found that the initial pain had subsided into a dull ache that had ceased from consuming her. Elizabeth’s cries no longer haunted her dreams, nor did her mother’s face. And when she first heard Trip laugh again, or felt her own faint amusement at a random comment made by him, T’Pol knew that they were, as Trip said “moving on.”

With a slight glance back at the bed where Trip still lay sleeping, she settled herself on the floor and focused on the two candles. The only sounds in the room were her heartbeat and Trip’s steady breathing. The two sounds merged into a metronome-like sound that she used to focus and clear her mind, helping her to prepare for whatever was waiting for her in her meditations. It, and the memorial candles, became her touchstones.

Slowly, T’Pol closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and just as slowly re-opened them to find herself in a place filled with nothing but light.

A small smile touched her lips.

Lift me up
Lead me from this place
Let your love be mercy on my fate
Rising up
I change before your eyes
Out of darkness standing in the light


Comments:

Asso
This story, the way you show the interaction between Trip and T'Pol, the "grandeur" (i'm not joking) you are capable of describing the subtle T'Pol's distress while she attempts to be the woman she became, all this is grand. I love your story, your writing, your style, your concepts even more, even more, even more!You are capable of being concrete and romantic at same time, and so are your personages.Every time I find one of your stories, I hope - eagerly - you will post another very, very soon.

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