Tomorrow

By Elessar

Rating: PG

Genres: angst romance

Keywords:

This story has been read by 397 people.
This story has been read 533 times.


Author: John O.

Rating: G
Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek characters/names/fans’ souls/etc. If I owned it I’d be busy writing Season 6.
Genre: Friendship/Angst/Romance

Summary: Takes place immediately following one of my favorite episodes, Shuttlepod One (Season 1). I think T’Pol was worried about Trip while he was gone…

A/N: A million thanks to the help of JustTrip’n!! She’s too wonderful.

 


The night shift was well underway and Subcommander T’Pol made her way gracefully through the corridors of the starship Enterprise. Her duty shift had concluded nearly an hour ago; however, she was not immediately able to return to her quarters for meditation and rest due to additional duties placed upon her. As a result of Commander Tucker and Lieutenant Reed’s brush with death aboard Shuttlepod One, both Tucker and Reed were on medical leave from duty for the next three days. As executive officer, the tedious work of filling in the duty rosters and notifying crewmen of the changes fell on her. She punched in the code for her quarters and moved inside, allowing a slight sigh of relief within the comfortable confines of its closed walls. The human crewmen were accustomed to having their “days off,” and some were agitated by the Subcommander’s request to work additional shifts. In truth, many of the humans were still adjusting to being told what to do by a Vulcan, and a few would reply in agitation to any request. Given their reluctance to substitute for the Commander and Lieutenant, T’Pol wondered how these creatures managed any discipline at all without a Vulcan. Commander Tucker, however, held a certain fascination for her that she found herself unable to dismiss; despite his less tolerable qualities.

T’Pol had allowed three days to pass without meditation during the search and rescue for the shuttlepod. She instinctively needed to justify such a lapse with logical excuses to herself, and did so; though in truth, the source of her unsettled state was the absence and endangerment of her fellow officers—a very specific fellow officer. Lest she should be provoked into an emotional reaction in front of others, she buried her concern for Tucker amid study of the micro-singularities that had damaged the ship. Though the phenomena had captured her fascination and she spent a great deal of time studying them, a stronger, more persistently irksome emotional response sabotaged her meditation while the shuttlepod remained missing.

Inside her quarters, she relieved herself of her uniform and donned a comfortable maroon robe and silken slacks. She poured a cup of tea from a tall dispenser decorated with Vulcan glyphs and gilded ornamentation from her people’s distant past. Lowering the lights, she lit a candle and attempted to reach a deep meditative state. For all her stubborn persistence, however, it was hopeless; a defiant corner of her inner self required assurance through direct confrontation with the object of her desire.

Several minutes later, she blew out the flame and rose to redress the blanket of balance and discipline within which she had lived comfortably for over sixty-three years. To reach a state of calm should require no such emotional indulgence—and though she recognized this, T’Pol was looking for solutions, and the only one she could be certain of was sleeping in sickbay.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

0130

If not for the late hour and high likelihood that the corridors would be deserted, she may not have found the courage to breach the doors of sickbay, and may have returned to her quarters to suffer another sleepless night in meditative standstill.

Amid the low-lighting of the medical bay, she peered round a corner towards the quarter of sickbay where she last saw Tucker and Reed occupying biobeds. The beds were empty; the one on the left in which Reed had been resting was precisely made up and untouched. The adjacent bed, however, had its covers bunched in a heap. She shifted her weight and looked round another corner curiously as a wave of anxiety began to creep into her usually composed Vulcan demeanor. The low rhythm of medical equipment filled the soft hued sickbay with a solemn hum, lulling her acute hearing with gentle pause. She was alerted to the presence of another, not by sound, but by a curious awareness—and then a familiar, but unexpectedly potent scent. She quickly dismissed the initial precognition, but turned to find Commander Tucker standing behind her with discerning eyes, and a faint smile on his lips.


“What are you doin’ here so late?” he asked, striding towards her, taking a bite of a previously-unseen snack from one hand. He turned and keyed the lights in the room up to half-power.

“I – I was looking for Doctor Phlox. I see he is not in,” she replied in an uncharacteristic stutter. Tucker noticed her discomfort; she almost tripped backwards as he approached.

“You know better’n anybody he’s not on duty, T’Pol. You write the rosters up, nobody’s on tonight. Slow day, I guess,” he grinned wryly back at her after surveying the otherwise empty sickbay, save for the two of them. She let out a small breath as she realized that the late hour meant her daily nasal inhibitor was beginning to fail.

“Shouldn’t you still be in bed?” she chastised him. He chuckled and shuffled his feet.

”Ah, don’t be such a mother hen, I’m fine,” he ribbed her. An exotic eyebrow told him she didn’t fully understand the allusion but he brushed it aside with a wave of his hand as if to say ‘not important’.

“I see that your condition has improved,” she asserted, righting her stance and placing her hands at the small of her back in an iron-tight clasp. Tucker straightened reactively.

“Apparently havin’ a few drinks makes hypothermia set in faster. I had a little more of the Bourbon than Malcolm,” he confessed genially. T’Pol blinked, suppressing a recrimination as Tucker spoke up again.

“I was worse off, I guess, so he got discharged to light duty.”

He smirked at his good fortune. “Don’t tell him I said so, but the truth is he just can’t hold his liquor,” he chuckled.

“I, on the other hand, get to enjoy a few more days off duty,” he called over his shoulder, returning to the biobed. T’Pol instinctively followed him with her arms folded across her ample chest. He let out a relaxed sigh as he pulled the blankets over his body and fluffed the pillows beneath his head. He sat back, arms folded behind his neck with a triumphant and fun-loving grin. The opening gave T’Pol a chance to assert her disapproval of his behavior aboard the shuttlepod.

“It is exceptionally illogical, even for you, to imbibe alcohol amidst a critically life-threatening situation.” She narrowed her eyes at him, unconsciously moving to the edge of the bed. He rolled his eyes nonchalantly and craned his neck to one side, eliciting a loud pop before entertaining her indictment with a typical response.

“We just did the only thing that was left to do, considering the circumstances. It seemed pretty hopeless at the time,” he told her, rubbing his neck. She regarded him impassively but once again fought an inner battle with her breathing as she considered his death having been imminent.

“And hell, we got back didn’t we?” he asked rhetorically, mimicking her as he folded his arms across his chest. T’Pol’s gaze darted downward at herself, then at him, catching a twinkling blue eye as it winked at her in response. She straightened her arms down her sides neutrally and attempted to relax and regain some semblance of self-control amid the throws of this man’s torments. She refused to simply turn around and leave, for in doing so she would confess to herself the truth of the deepest secret still budding in infancy at her very core. She was far from ready for that yet.

“My little stunt worked, didn’t it? Blowing up the impulse drive got your attention, didn’t it?” he asked again, lifting his eyebrows.

“As I recall from the mission debriefing, the idea was Lt. Reed’s,” she quipped back. He rolled his eyes defeated, turning aside into his pillow and feigning to sleep. He turned back a few moments later and found the petite Vulcan still standing at his bedside. Her fingers almost dared to stretch along the edge of the biobed, when Tucker broke her from the trance.

“Can a fella’ get some sleep?” he asked with a smirk, melting slowly into a smile, as he glanced down and caught her fidgeting.

“Unless you wanna’ join me?” he jibed with a mischievous grin. T’Pol played the part of the disgusted Vulcan, and turned to hide her green-tinged cheeks from his inquiry. The heat was beating from her face now like the red-hot Vulcan sun, but she would not allow his dubious remarks to advance on her control. She moved casually to the sickbay doors.

“Not tonight. Good night, Mr. Tucker,” she replied curtly. Turning towards him, she met his gaze as he looked back from the bed, arms stretched out wide behind his neck. The boyishly suggestive grin was gone, though its obnoxious humor she could have easily tolerated—that human emotion, she had already learned to ignore. What looked back at her instead, was a different, more difficult and challenging thing to comprehend. A true smile, of genuine kinship, snuck back at her, and she barely resisted the urge to let it suffuse her and carve its contagious form into her own lips. His lips widened slowly as he contemplatively tongued the inside of his cheek and winked at her again, drawing out the moment like a slick blade. Her fingers held against the door’s edge, clutching it for support as she keyed the lights off, and the room went dark.

That’s all right, Tucker assured himself, staring up at the dim, blue lighting as it spilled around the ceiling. Something Malcolm said began to worm its way back through his mind and he considered once again the woman that just left the room.

Maybe tomorrow, he thought, turning into the pillow to court a pleasant dream.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


T’Pol moved mechanically back to her quarters, feeling lighter now that she could silence the incorrigible part of her that inspired the pilgrimage to sickbay. Arriving at her quarters, she moved inside, and disrobed. She lit a candle and placed it near the bed, but did not mean to meditate tonight. Instead, she crawled under her Starfleet-issue covers that insufficiently warmed her Vulcan body. Pulling at something from the corner of the bed, she stretched out a thick, red and orange quilt made on Vulcan. When she had satisfactorily wrapped herself in it, she reached to depress a panel, turning out the light. The flickering illumination of the meditation candle danced from the night stand, and she turned on her side to dissect its glimmering tongues. Somehow, the radiant, unpredictable fire had always levied a certain tax upon T’Pol’s discipline; it offered an irresistibly fascinating territory to be explored, beyond the beaten paths of her ancestrally bequeathed logic. There was no telling if she would ever learn to confront the flame and at the same time keep from being burned. She could only hope that one day such a compromise could be possible, for that budding temptation living in her core was a part of her. How could she flee it? She was happy the Commander was well, and relieved that he would suffer no permanently ill effects—but this she could scarcely admit to herself, even consumed by the inspiring fire light that flickered across her face—much less to Commander Tucker. Her feelings in that regard were kept under heavy guard. For now, she would not challenge their captivity.

Perhaps tomorrow, she thought, as she turned away from the flame and sought the dreams that she denied.


The End


Comments:

shanjeniah

I love Trip and T'Pol Mess Hall all-alone scenes...eventually, I'll b sharing some of mine. Until I'm ready for that, though...I'm going to read all of these. 

Starwatcher

Another great chapter love, and like other reviewers I LOVE that Trip introduced her to Chamomile tea. I also liked their discussion about the crew, namely Hoshi, and Trip's very astute comment that perhaps Hoshi is more open with her fears and anxieties than others, rather than her being unsuited to the mission.

And like JT and Elessar, I also loved her comment about his age, too!

Aquarius

I love that Trip introdced her to mint tea!  :D  Fabulous.

Elessar

Excellent... just like Ann, my favorite line was "Oh hell, no.  I've been waiting my whole life for this." :D

This could've easily been a scene and it would have been great, would have brought some very well needed "character cohesion" time to these early episodes, showing T'Pol become one of the crew.

KageOkami-Kogo

Another excellent fic :D I love mint tea and I would imagine T'Pol would too, well done!

Silverbullet

Liked that Trip had the manners to help her with a new Tea and a suggestion of another. Shows that he isn't a hick or just a grease monkey.  He has a sense of others. Still think that T-Pol could be a bit more receptive to Humans as she has been around them for a few years.

Linda

Trip introduced T'Pol to mint tea!  I like that.  These quiet little pieces are very satisfying and fill out the relationships of our favorite characters nicely.  Good job! :p 

Mary

Without even thinking about it, Trip shows his quintessential southern "gentlemanness". He notices that T'Pol does not like what she's drinking and offers alternatives to help her. He just so sweet-what's not to like!!!!! 

vlm

I liked the concept about the tea very clever & quite unique!

Auroraborealis

I absolutly love this but I can't exactly verbalize why.  I think it's what justTrip'n said, it's so perfectly right.  There's nothing dramatic or angsty in this, but it's perfect.  I think the show would have benefited from some character development.  We watched the show for years and never really got real insights into the characters, which while it makes it perfect fanfic material, is probably why the show was ultimately canceled.  I believe if there was more of this type stuff the show would have lasted the full seven seasons. 

Asso

Thanks.:)

panyasan

Having know that moment when you sip your tea and enjoy it (love my green tea and love mint tea), I can understand T'Pols desire for some home comfort. Being the outsider is not nice, also not for Vulcans. Nice about this chapter is, that we know mint and charmomille tea is going to be her favorite tea. All thanks to Trip. I like that this conversation is workrelated, but it shows also that they are willing to help each other.

justTripn

It's totally perfect!!!! You write the closest to the real episodes. I have no doubt you could have writted real episodes of Enterprise.

Most perfect section:

"Do you wonder if you really belong out here?" . .  .

He grinned. "Oh hell, no. I've been waiting my whole life for this."

She blinked at him. Given the man's extreme youth, his "whole life" hardly bore mentioning. Still, it was strangely invigorating to work with beings that suffered from such a high degree of enthusiasm, even if it often verged into the irrational.

If nothing else, it was clear that her steadying presence was sorely needed.

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