Fragile Things

By JadziaKathryn

Rating: G

Genres: angst

Keywords: Baby Elizabeth Tucker

This story has been read by 375 people.
This story has been read 488 times.


Disclaimer: Despite terrible abuses, Paramount owns it all.

A/N: Thanks to the Vulcan Language Institute for the Vulcan words. Also, the title was inspired by the line in “Munich” by Editors: People are fragile things you should know by now.

Written as a backup fic for hopefulnebula in the Enterprise Ficathon.

 


Trip had spent most of the time since his daughter’s funeral in T’Pol’s quarters. He didn’t know what the rumor mill made of that and he honestly didn’t care. They were mourning the loss of their daughter together. What he didn’t know was that Travis was quashing any and all inappropriate rumors.

Sometimes Trip wanted to go bury himself in an engineering problem and attempt to ignore the terrible pain of Elizabeth’s death. The problem there was that he’d have to see people, and he was in the mood neither for sympathy nor questions.

Not that the crew had been anything but helpful and considerate. On the contrary, everyone wanted to do whatever they could to ease the pain. Hoshi screened communications, refusing to let the myriad reporters who wanted an interview talk to the grieving parents. Malcolm had personally set up the security precautions for Elizabeth’s funeral; after the service was finished he withdrew to lead his team in forming a wide and impenetrable circle around the grave, protecting Trip and T’Pol from any unwanted visitors. Chef sent their favorite foods. Everyone was kind and thoughtful.

And yet Trip was still not ready for much socialization, and neither was T’Pol. So they had all but barricaded themselves in her quarters. At night it was the worst, because they had nightmares. Both of them did, and the bond both amplified the pain and provided comfort. When they had nightmares, they just held each other. Somehow, they managed to ride the sea of emotions on which they were adrift. It was painful, draining, and sometimes seemed next to impossible.

T’Pol had stopped trying to block out their bond, and Trip was learning to get used to it. They hadn’t actually talked about their future, but through unspoken agreement nurtured the bond. It was their lifeline, the only hopeful thing they could recognize in their lives, the promise that might save them from despair.

Soon they would have a project to work on. Trip’s mother liked the tradition of growing a plant in honor of a deceased loved one. After the funeral she told them that she planned to plant a rosebush that grew miniature pink roses in honor of the granddaughter she never even had the chance to meet. Trip thought that this was a great idea, and he and T’Pol should do the same. Then he had an even better idea, to graft a Vulcan plant on it. T’Pol was doubtful of success at first, but the thought had a certain poetic resonance that she would admit only to Trip. She carefully selected the da’safi plant as the most likely to thrive and, with Soval’s aid, worked to acquire clippings from someone at the Vulcan compound.

The door chime sounded. Few people dared come by, and it was too early for their lunch to arrive. Neither of them wanted to go to the mess hall, which was like walking the gauntlet.

“Come in,” said T’Pol, sounding tired and more vulnerable than she ever had before the last few days.

Captain Archer stepped in, one arm behind his back, just enough for the door to close behind him. It was dark in T’Pol’s quarters. Both she and Trip were looking out the window without really seeing. “This came from Soval,” he said, holding out a small container with air holes and neat Vulcan script on the side. “He said it’s of a personal nature.”

Trip moved over to take the box. “Thanks for the delivery. Maybe we’ll show you sometime.” The words he didn’t say were loud and clear: when it doesn’t hurt so much.

From behind his back Archer pulled out two flat rectangular objects. “These are for you.” T’Pol accepted the gifts and turned one over. Her breath caught in her throat. Inside a silver frame was a picture of Elizabeth, smiling and undoubtedly alive. Across the top was written in English and Vulcan, Elizabeth T’Les Tucker. On the bottom, smaller and again in both languages, it said Ashal Ko-Fu, Beloved Daughter. The other frame was similar, but with a picture taken from just a bit farther away and a slightly different angle.

“Hoshi?” asked Trip, knowing nobody else who could have written the flowing Vulcan letters.

“It was a joint project. Hoshi did the writing, Phlox had the pictures, and Malcolm made the frame.”

“An’ it was your idea,” finished Trip.

Archer nodded.

“Thank you,” whispered T’Pol, visibly touched.

“We’re here for you,” the captain replied simply.

“That means a lot,” replied Trip. “We’re just…it happened so fast.”

Archer nodded. He’d already told them to take all the time they needed. “If you want to talk, you know where to find me.” With that, he turned and walked out the door, unwilling to intrude on their privacy for an extended period of time. They were not ready for that yet.

Trip opened the box and found two carefully wrapped clippings of what he assumed was da’safi. It didn’t look like the small rosebush already in T’Pol’s quarters, but she believed the grafts would take. There were no flowers, but the oblong leaves were smooth and green. “What does the box say?” he asked.

“Commanders T’Pol and Tucker.” T’Pol took the other clipping out and carefully placed it next to the rosebush. At the bottom of the box Soval had added the appropriate gauze for keeping the graft together and a handwritten note. “The note, however, reads: Please inform me if I can be of further assistance. I grieve with you. The form of ‘you’ is plural.”

She made a precise cut in the rosebush. Trip watched her and didn’t even try to figure out if the overwhelming emotions were his or T’Pol’s. Apparently the bond was so strong because neither of them had the strength to block their emotions. He looked over at the picture of his beautiful baby girl, and more tears welled up in his eyes. Trip was glad to have the pictures, and it was a thoughtful gift. He just hoped it didn’t always hurt so much to look at it.

With his good hand, he held the first clipping of da’safi firmly in place while T’Pol began binding it to the rosebush. “She gave us a pretty incredible gift.” His voice was thick with emotion.

“You are referring to the renewal of our relationship?” inquired T’Pol, although she was almost certain that was what he meant.

“Of course.”

“Then,” she said solemnly, “we must take care to preserve that gift.”

“Yeah,” he replied, “we’ll do that. It’s an amazin’ thing, but what it cost us…” he trailed off into contemplation.

After a moment the clipping was bound and they began another. Trip broke the silence. “T’Pol?”

“Yes?”

“Ya think maybe Lizzie an’ your mom are takin’ care of her?”

In all truth T’Pol had never given the afterlife – if indeed one existed – very much thought. She paused to consider the idea. “I am uncertain,” she answered after a moment, “but I find the possibility…appealing.” Four years ago she would have said that the existence of an afterlife had not been proven. Now she knew enough to recognize the limits of her own knowledge were merely that, and not limits on what actually was present in the vast universe.

Trip held the second clipping ready in his hand while T’Pol cut the stem of the rosebush. “Me too. Still, nothin’s ever gonna be the same.”

She took the clipping and carefully lined the da’safi with the second prepared spot on the rosebush. “Would you want things to remain the same?”

Trip hadn’t expected that, but he quickly saw her point. For things to return to the way they had been before Elizabeth would be to pretend she had never existed at all. “No. It would make us less than human – or Vulcan. I mean, eventually we’ll be okay, but nothin’ will ever quite be the way it was.” He took a deep breath and swatted away a tear. “I’m just glad we have each other.”

Deftly, T’Pol bound the da’safi to the rose. “It is precisely because we face this grief together that we will be able to heal.”

Trip cracked a small and mournful smile at that. “So she gave us just what we needed.”

T’Pol could not find any words to express her response, so she tied the binding and took his hand.

Trip understood perfectly. For some things, words simply aren’t enough.


Comments:

mctrip7
I agree with all the above! Poignant, but positive. Please write more.:D
FireStar
Wonderfully done. Sad but hopeful. This is where the series should have gone. Lisa
FireStar
Wonderfully done. Sad but hopeful. This is where the series should have gone. Lisa
panyasan
Have no words, just very good.
Sharon
Incredible story. Somber subject matter, yet holds in undeniable positive message. :D
tennisgirl
Thank you! The story is awesomely written. Although it is terribly sad, it is great to find stories that have them healing and moving on together after Elizabeth's death. Thanks again.
krn
lovely story JZK - now I'm all blurry eyed.:)
Reanok
Powerful story Jadzia Kathryn.The imagery is emotionally powerful.It's one of my favorite Terra Prime stories.
Linda
I love Trip's sentiment which echoes "it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all." This fic is a unique approach to a subject which has already been well coverd in numerous fics. But no one yet thought of approaching baby Elizabeth's death from the crew's point of veiw and what they could do to protect the grieving parents! It was also an original idea that the bond would amplify night mares as well as bring them nice thoughts. The whole fic makes us feel for this sad event again. Well done!
mauijoe98
I need a case of kleenex after this one guys!!! I love your stories:)
Dinah
What a beautiful analogy: the joining of two disparate plants and their growing relationship! Thank you for the lovely story!
Awe - this is so sweet, JZK. The rose bush with the Vulcan plant grafted on to is was a great metaphor.
Alelou
Sweet!
Asso
Astounding! How much things in such a short job! And what a wonderful intuition. A small and unaware child who gives Trip and T'Pol the greatest gift...
T'Sara
Nice job. Now than....where is my hanky. :*(
Blackn'blue
Exquisite.
evcake
What a lovely idea.
Doomsayer
Truly beautiful...the first fanfic in years that's actually made my eyes glisten...not cry mind you, as I'm far too manly for that ;)

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