Your Mom 'n Me - Part I - Startling Discoveries

By Elessar

Rating: R

Genres: drama romance

Keywords: bond Romulans

This story has been read by 2219 people.
This story has been read 9054 times.

This story is number 1 in the series Your Mom n Me


Chapter 1

By John O.

Rating: Series, NC-17 , This section mostly R for language and eventual sexual content - Romance/Drama/Series/AU
Disclaimer – Paramount owns the characters and everything Star Trek related. Unfortunately.

Spoilers: “Affliction,” “Bound,” maybe further but unintended.

A.N.: Dashed lines (-----) indicate a change in scenery; italics indicate either a ship name or a person's internal thoughts or telepathic communication. Asterisks **** refer to a person flashing back or recalling past events. We begin after the problems with the Orion females’ control over the men on the ship has been averted and the Enterprise is awaiting rendezvous with a ship to pick them up.

Note to Reader: This story was begun prior to Bound with the author aware of spoilers of the episode, however, this story is intended to begin with the author’s idea of an alternate form of the discovery of the “B***”. From that point on it becomes technically AU as it does not account for Demons or Terra Prime.

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Part I - Startling Discoveries

(Section 1 Chapters 1 & 2)

Chapter 1:

A faint singing tone swam against the background in his mind, but Trip focused only on his angel's chestnut brown eyes. The gentle breeze of the Gulf coast tossed his hair as he sank back into the blissful softness of her arms and stretched his muscular arms out over her head and dug them into the warm sand. His body planted firmly against hers, the tufts of hair on his upper chest danced across her breasts eliciting a low moan, so guttural it traveled from her mouth unhindered directly through their joined lips and into his heart.

Again a panging beep interrupted the soft kisses that Charles Tucker had taken to planting in slow procession, melting down the simmering Vulcan flesh beneath him as his tongue trailed from collar to neck to preciously pointed ear tip until finally he looked up into her eyes. A lucidity that didn't belong in a dream passed between the two lovers, heartbeats growing louder until they bellowed like wracking waves of a merciless maelstrom. T’Pol's eyes glowed with an inner fire that illuminated her flesh like a red giant tinted in gentle green until finally with pursing lips and an arched back she thrust her hand behind Trip's neck. She forced their bodies together midway between them, locking her lips to his, releasing her fury into every -

"Commander Tucker respond!"

The comm. panel shattered into his mind with the voice of Jonathan Archer as Commander Charles Tucker III awoke, his eyes wide with a wild disturbance lurking somewhere deep. He tumbled out of a sweat soaked bed, an unrelenting erection uncomfortably reminding the Commander with every step of the erotic dreams from which he'd been forcibly awakened.

He reached the comm. panel and with a heavy sigh answered, "Yeah 'm here, Cap'n. 'S there a problem?"

"Only if they let senior officers sleep a half hour into their shifts on Columbia, Trip."

Trip looked at the chronometer and heaved in disbelief. For months he'd been unable to sleep and now his mind found irresistible ways to make him late for shifts and practically need a pitcher of ice water to bring himself back to reality after each nightly interaction with the woman he couldn't forget.

"Nah, Cap’n, I...I musta slept in somehow, I 'pologize I'm on mah way to engineer'n." Trip felt like an ass stuttering an excuse to the Captain.

Ah well what was I ‘posed to say…’Gee I'm sorry. I musta been havin' too much fun in the Keys with mah dream T’Pol’.

"No worries Trip, just wanted to make sure you weren't dead", the Captain allowed a chuckle.
--------
He certainly didn't mind his old friend being a little late for shifts, what concerned him was that Trip usually had trouble sleeping.

You nearly gotta drug the guy and carry him off in irons to throw him in bed if the engines aren't in perfect condition.

He mused to himself as he paced the bridge, suddenly realizing the eyes of the bridge crew were on him as he marched from one end of the bridge to the other, obviously deep in thought about the conversation with the Chief Engineer.

Archer began to worry about his friend more and more over the past few days, they hadn't been talking as much as they used to. Archer decided that as soon as they could drop off the Orions the first and foremost thing he had to see to before Trip returned to Columbia was having a good heart to heart with his old pal. At least, he hoped Trip would be willing to have one. Archer's expression deepened as he continued to dwell on what might be troubling Trip lately... was he upset he left the Enterprise? Why did he leave anyway? Does he miss his friends and now feel guilty he had made a mistake?

Oh, I wish, the past few weeks haven't seemed like Enterprise without Trip constantly keeping us from busting apart at the seams. We're out here four years; go through hell and high water to save the galaxy... First time Trip's gone and the damn Klingons find a way to nearly destroy the ship with a simple set of subroutines.

Archer rose to seek a more private venue to collect his thoughts about how he would talk with Trip when Ensign Sato called for his attention.

"Captain we're being hailed from the transport ship Voyea, they say they'll be within transporter range in twenty minutes to pick up the Orion girls." Hoshi held her ear peace close as was characteristic of the communications officer as if waiting for something else through the Comm. while Captain Archer looked puzzled.

"Transporter range? Did you tell them we're perfectly capable of docking, and we prefer only to use our transporter on people in emergencies...?” Hoshi relayed the message and Archer again paced back to his chair and turned on his heel, waiting for the reply.

"Captain they say they're late for a rendezvous with a trade ship to auction the girls off to someone else, their transporter systems are advanced enough to safely beam them directly to their ship." Archer looked intrigued but simply gave his shoulders an imperceptible shrug and nodded that their terms were acceptable.

"Hoshi, I'll be in my ready room inform me when the Orion ship arrives."

Archer strode to his ready room to bask in the calming realization that it would soon be back to normal with these women off his ship. He was disgusted by his own response to their advances, he had expected himself more than capable of retaining a degree of professionalism onboard his own ship, regardless of the circumstances.

You sure managed to botch that up, making out with a slave girl in the middle of a briefing...At least it wasn't entirely your fault…I wonder if Phlox just made that mess up about the pheromones to make me look better.

Archer groaned to himself as he dropped into his desk chair of the office and rubbed his hands into his eyes, "I swear I'm startin’ to feel too damn old for this job".

--------------------
Trip released the comm. and looked around the room to get his bearings after such a disorienting dream. Unconscious of the fact that he was already late and had just told the Captain he would be leaving for his post right away, he couldn’t manage to move his feet from the deck plating as a flood of memory washed over him.

Why did she have to choose me to do this to? How did I let myself think a Vulcan could ever feel anything, anything at all…?

As stolid and motionless as a statue Trip stood in his quarters, face buried in his hands when the waves overflowed him. Trying to hold back the pain he could only sink into a pile on his bunk. He felt like darkness shrouded around him, his heart was in ruins and his mind in shambles and wondered how it ever got this bad. He hadn’t realized how crucial the Vulcan was in his life, how much he looked forward to jesting with her at the Captain’s table, how long the grin stayed on his face when she graced Engineering to deliver some insignificant PADD.

His shoulders straightened and he wiped his face, breathing out loudly with conviction. “All right Tucker enough of this, you got things tah do.” He roused himself with great effort and dropped his Starfleet blue briefs behind him as he got in the shower. The water came cold and seizing over his body “Ah, sonofabitch!” he stammered and yanked the ‘Hot’ nozzle to soothe the stream flowing over him. He lathered himself with patience, in no hurry to get back to Engineering where he might run into her and be forced to look into those gorgeous eyes.

Then again, if she weren’t avoidin’ me it’d sure he nice to spend a quiet night with her…Ah dammit, Tucker, she doesn’t want to spend a quiet night with you! Can’t you get that!

The cares of the day, the stress of his dreams and the secret shame of leaving Enterprise under false pretenses finally began to melt away. He felt calmer as the minutes crawled by and he replayed the real lovelorn encounter he shared with T’Pol so many months ago in the Expanse. The way she looked at him in passion was a thing he never expected to see in a Vulcan, her touch was like a smooth fire, deliberate in her lovemaking. And with every kiss her eyes locked into his and they felt as if one heart beat with tremendous intensity for the both of them.

It’s like seeing into her soul, I swear sometimes I think I can see hope for me, for us in ’ere when I look hard ‘nough…Dammit Tucker qui-

The door chime stopped Trip’s daydreaming recollection in his tracks and he stopped the water and grabbed a towel to wrap around his waist.

Shit! I told the cap’n I’d be down to engineerin’ right away he’s probably wonderin' where the hell I’m at…

“I’m comin', Cap’n, just a sec.”

Trip threw the towel around himself, gripped it in the back without securely fastening it as he tumbled across the floor and barely caught himself on the wall while slipping on the bathroom floor. The chime sounded again, Dammit!

“Come on in!” Trip made his way to the door.

--------------------

The soft candlelight bathed the walls with gold in the early morning as Commander T’Pol sat with outward effortless quiet in front of the flame atop a crimson meditation pillow. The square of her shoulders, the slow and subtle rise and fall of her chest gave no sign on the surface of the rampage erupting underneath. Finally submitting to the torrent of emotions bombarding her, a bead of sweat perspired down her forehead and dripped off into the candle, seizing it into darkness. T’Pol’s eyes opened and a glaze held them for many moments before her shoulders relaxed and she peered down into the now smoldering remains of the flame with her sweat trickling down the wick. Her eyes returned to the wall opposite her meditation and let out a breath, looked down at her hands and realized she was trembling. She closed her eyes and began breathing slowly, desperately trying to calm a storm inside herself. Her hands slowly relaxed, and she reopened her eyes.

Morning meditation had never been as difficult as in these past few days. She rose from her pillow and moved towards the door, her shift would begin soon but there was someone she decided she had to speak with first. As she exited her quarters T’Pol suddenly felt a great sadness forcefully enter her mind, she slowed her pace through the corridors and ever so slightly glanced around behind her. A passing Ensign must have noticed as she gave her a strange glance in passing, T’Pol ignored it and continued to Commander Tucker’s quarters. T’Pol focused on the grief in her mind and as she walked her steps became stuttered and she suddenly feared she was going to collapse under the emotional weight bearing down on her. She stopped suddenly, bowed as if to be sick and threw a hand out to the bulkhead to steady herself. The pain pierced through her control and her stomach lurched into her throat. Tears welled in her eyes and her face shook with despondency until, as she was about to erupt and thought she would explode right there in the corridor…it subsided. The fear and pain that engulfed her melted away and her control took back over.

As she rounded the last bulkhead before the straightaway ending at Trip’s room she suddenly felt something else creep into her mind. As she got closer and closer to the door her eyes began to widen and her knuckles went white and she clenched and unclenched them with the rising of her own blood. But it wasn’t anger or fear this time that threatened to overwhelm her, she couldn’t understand but she was feeling need, longing for touch. It reminded her of the disturbances in her meditation, the nagging thought in the back of her mind that told her she needed to confront Mr. Tucker.

Amidst her crumbling composure she reached out and jammed her finger at the call button and waited. Several crewmen walked by and their whispers even as they rounded the corridor twenty meters away failed to go unnoticed by her Vulcan ears, What do you think is going on this time?

She waited and hesitantly stuck her finger out again. She pulled away, about to walk down the hall when she heard a loud thud from inside the quarters and she rang the button again.

What was that? Did something happen to Tr…Commander Tucker?

Trip stood before her with nothing but a towel around his lower half, water dripping from his hair and a bewildered look in his eyes. In her surprise her eyes betrayed her control and drifted from the droplets trickling down his shoulders to the wet hair pleated against his legs.

“T’Pol!” is all he could manage at his surprise not to see the Captain standing tall before his door with his characteristically questioning gaze. Instead the petite figure of a Vulcan with anything but an air of calm composure about her stood before his door. Staring each other down for several moments, Trip suddenly fell back into reality.

“I’m sorry, ah come in, come in, I just gotta get dressed real quick.”

T’Pol moved slowly into the room and glanced into the bathroom where the Commander had just emerged.

As I approached he was bathing…

Trip moved into his quarters to grab a Starfleet jumpsuit as T’Pol stood looking somewhat uncomfortable for a woman who had been in his quarters plenty of times. As he leaned into the closet to remove his uniform, T’Pol felt her glance compelled to ride up his exposed calf. The need in her gut returned as her eyes followed the steady contours of Commander Tucker’s sculpted back, shoulders -

“I – I’ll be right back,” Trip stuttered. He walked towards the bathroom with his head down cursing to himself; T’Pol picked up only incomplete words but wondered at the state of his discomposure.

It would appear nobody is having a very comfortable morning.

T'Pol nervously cleared her throat, adjusted her posture, and folded her hands in various ways. Finally she sat perfectly still on his bunk with her hands laid flat on her thighs, legs covered in the red jumpsuit Trip had previously declared his favorite. Just then she wondered if he’d noticed she worn it today.

It is not logical to spend time pondering if a human noticed a particular article of clothing. But …Trip isn’t very logical and yet our time together made me feel…Could he ever…

Her eyes stared blankly into the floor as a clothed and cleaned up Trip Tucker exited the bathroom, his eyes avoiding her as he leaned against his desk.

“So’d the cap’n send you to yell at me bout takin’ mah time today too or‘d you just decide to go it on your own?”

Trip looked at her quietly with a soft grin; he had found himself far less irritable after the calm of the hot shower. As he looked at the woman sitting on his bed he suddenly realized she had the distinct air of someone who was pouting. His eyebrows rose as she continued to stare at the floor. His joking smile faded when he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to joke through this situation and suddenly a knot of fear leapt up into his throat that this was going to come up again. Ever since the day he left for Columbia, the day he lied to her about his motivations to leave, guilt had forever gnawed at him.

“T’Pol?” he looked questioningly deep into her face. She felt her eyes pulled up, began to lose composure as her lips flinched but she closed her eyes and breathed out very slowly. She re-opened them to find a very confused and half-scared Commander Tucker.

“Comma…Trip, there’s something I need to speak with you about.”

Hearing his nickname erupt from her lips so sweetly always brought his guard down; Trip looked down at her with a new softness in his eyes, uncrossed his arms and laid them on his lap as he leaned in to her slightly.

“What is it T’Pol, everything all right?” The way he looked down at her stirred warmth deep inside her she sought to explain before even realizing what he had asked her.

There is no logic in the way he looks at me, nor in the way it makes me feel…

“When you asked me how I was sleeping after you returned from Columbia, I…” she began, but trailed off and looked at the floor. Trip could see the difficulty in what she was trying to say but his own bitterness cut through his throat before he could think about how he sounded.

“Ya lied to me?”

As if that’s something new Tucker, for cryin' out loud, woman lies about everythin'.

She was visibly shaken, “I’ve been having trouble meditating, ever since you got back from Columbia I – “

”Oooh, so it’s MY fault now that you can’t meditate, I see how it is.”

Suddenly he felt a stab of guilt, she hadn’t meant to accuse him of anything and he knew it, but his fear made him jump into instant defense mode.

He thinks I’m blaming him, this is not going as I hoped!

He sank his head and began to apologize.

“Look T’Pol I’m sorry." He looked down at her and held her gaze for a moment before continuing." I didn’t mea-”

The ship rocked hard with weapons fire and the comm. panel blasted Captain Archer’s voice, “Tactical Alert! All senior officers to the bridge!”


Chapter 2:

“Report!” the captain called against the erupting plasma fires.

“We have hull breaches on B and C decks, emergency bulkheads are holding…but we lost three people.” Reed delivered the news to Archer. The captain turned to the Tactical Officer, “Return fire!”

Reed looked frustrated, shook his head and said “I can’t sir! Weapons systems are offline.”

Dammit, who the hell are these people?

The bridge continued to rock back and forth, a plasma conduit exploded in the briefing area. “Ensign, can you get us out of here?” Archer called to the helm.

”Negative sir, impulse engines are offline and the starboard nacelle has taken severe damage…”

A massive explosion rocked the bridge, the auxiliary power coupling adjacent to the science console exploding into a violent plasma fire. Archer looked in panic as Commander T’Pol was sent reeling five meters from her station halfway across the bridge.

“Hoshi! Can you identify the type of vessel?”

“It doesn’t match any ships in our database, or any we’ve encountered before but…”

Archer lost his patience as the bridge shook and sparks flew into his face, “But what Hoshi?” he called through the chaos.

“Sir I think it’s Romulan! There’s a similar particle wake around their hull as we saw around the Romulan minefield, it might be some kind of side affect of their cloaking technology,” Hoshi answered, panicked by the Captain’s urgency. Weapons down and at a dead stop they were sitting ducks.

Ensign May weather called out, “Captain another ship is coming in…It’s the Orion ship sir.” The captain looked on as the unidentified vessel attacking the Enterprise was disabled by two quick phaser blasts to its engines by the Orion ship. Archer looked up with relief when he was stopped in his celebration by the Orion opening up a final volley, annihilating the attacking vessel. Archer’s grimace widened, that wasn’t necessary he couldn’t help think.

Hoshi Sato held her ear close as the familiar chime of a ship to ship communication buzzed, “They’re hailing sir, they say they’re ready to beam over the Orion girls.” Archer looked on, a little stunned and nodded.

“Make sure to thank them,” Archer added.

“Archer to engineering, Trip what’s our status on warp drive?” Medics were already rushing to T’Pol’s side. A steady stream of green blood was profusely covering half her face and plasma burns covered her entire chest.

A medical tricorder held by the senior medic beeped rapidly, increasing in speed until it erratically stuttered and hiccupped.

“Cap’n, the engines took quite a beatin’ on that last phase blast, the phase coils in the starboard nacelle are cooked, it’s gonna take me at least a week to clean 'em up.”

--------------------

Trip signed heavily in Engineering, “Massaro, an-” Commander Tucker was interrupted by Commander Kelby.

“Excuse me Commander Tucker; I’ll take over from here.” Tucker looked at him with empty shock, one hand still in the air as it was about to gesture to one of his crew where to begin repairs.

Fine, destroy the damn ship tryin’ to fix it for all I care. Let’s see you repair fused phase coils in anything less’n a month.

Commander Tucker turned around while Kelby haphazardly prepared repair crews just in time to see Jonathan Archer come through the door. He slowly approached Trip, looking sorrowful and abject.

Trip eyed him carefully then started in about Kelby, “Sir if you’re gonna ask why I’m standin’ around ‘stead of fixin’ your ship you can march right over there and ask Mr. Fancy Pan-” Archer raised a hand and his shoulders sank, “That’s not why I’m here Trip.”

Archer looked his friend in the eye wondering how he was going to take this, he had been wondering for months if there was something else under the surface of his two senior officers’ relationship, he was just never able to decide one way or another.

“I’ve just come from sickbay…T’Pol is....” Archer almost couldn’t continue, his voice cracked and he shifted his weight, crossing his arms with a grimacing look in his eyes. At the word ‘T’Pol’ Trip became obviously distraught, his icy anger over Kelby’s dismissal of his assistance was quickly replaced with concern.

“T’Pol was at her station when the power coupling in the bulkhead next to her exploded. She’s in a coma. Dr. Phlox says there’s…less than a ten percent chance she’ll survive.” Trip’s heart sunk in his chest. Only days ago he ached to be away from her, from the pain she made him feel, he avoided her every chance he could get. Now he was forced to realize she may not just be gone from his life as when he left the Enterprise…the thought of her being gone cut through all his fear, all his hesitation.

But his stare into the floor across Engineering revealed little more than complete shock, his mind reeled in chaos. Still registering what the captain had said Trip strode a few steps, running his hands down the sides of his uniform, blinking with furrowed eyebrows. He stopped for several moments and realized the immediacy of the situation.

Looking up at Archer only for a moment he blurted out, “Cap’n, I gotta go!” He turned and strode calmly through Engineering towards sickbay. The Engineering crew all stood in silence looking at each other, sharing looks of terror and sorrow. Vulcan, Andorian, Romulan or Tellarite – it was clear race came after being a crewman of Enterprise.

Trip’s brisk walk rapidly turned into a moderate jog for Sickbay, as he reached the doors, bolting into Dr. Phlox who stood directly in his path “Now, hold on Mister Tucker!” he exclaimed as the engineer nearly floored him looking around sickbay.

“Be very quiet, her condition has improved slightly since I spoke with the captain but she is still very weak and I do not want her disturbed, do you understand?”

Trip gave a slight nod, his face still painted with concern. He walked slowly towards the back of sickbay, a large white curtain pulled in front of the rearmost bio-bed. Every step made his feet feel heavier; he weakened and felt a burning sensation begin to overwhelm his chest. He stopped and grasped at his chest with one hand, leaning down and steadying himself on the other. His breath was coming in quick sputtering jolts like a warp engine running on a lean A/M intermix-ratio. Soon he wasn’t sure which was spinning, his head or the room. Trip dropped to his knees, Dr. Phlox rushing to his side. “Commander! Are you all right, here get on this biobed over here.”

Dammit doc, no I hafta see her! What the hell is wrong with me?

“Nah doc it’s all right, I’m –“he gasped for breath, closed his eyes and looked to the ceiling as it rapidly receded out of view. Rising to his feet, Trip lost sight of the doctor as the room closed and exploded into a wide open expanse of emptiness. Eyes shut, Trip focused on empty thoughts and slowing his breathing to a steady rise and fall.

Still leaning on his knees he gasped at the doctor still trying to pull his arm to the biobed, “No doc I’m all right now, I don’t know what it was, I just got short of breath.”

His own voice did not sound like it belonged to him; it rang out from a distant speck of light as darkness continued to shroud his vision. He saw nothing but a sleeping form some distance away in front of him. Bathed in white light, a terror surrounded the vision of the bed in the distance. Regaining his balance, Trip put his foot out to take the next step and realized he was not as restored as he had thought.

“Mister Tucker! Come now, you can’t even stand, please lay down over here!” the doctor was adamant and began forcing him to the other biobed. The stubborn man forcefully lurched forward another few steps and found the foot railing of T’Pol’s biobed through the white shroud; steadying himself on the railing he threw the shroud to the side to see the woman on the bed. As her chest rose and fell with terrifying infrequency, Trip edged his way along the side of the bed, being dutifully followed by the infuriated doctor.

The doctor soon realized he had lost this battle and scrambled about sickbay until he returned. Bearing a small white chair from his office, Dr. Phlox placed it near the head of the biobed on T’Pol’s left side. Trip, still inching along the bedrail looked down into her face as he sank into chair with more of a falling motion than anything else.

Her face was cut and burned, her shoulders in braces and bandages covered her entire chest. Trip looked on her, but then followed her left arm down to her hand. Inside him the fearful Trip Tucker sat as still as a statue, but something else inside him moved. Amidst their uncomfortable encounters over the past few days he wouldn’t have dared to enter her personal space and touch her, but he opened his hand and moved it to hers. He winced at how lifeless she felt, how unlike the soft and gentle touch he’d grown to know from their neuropressure sessions. The doctor stood by the foot of her bed staring down solemnly at the display, unsure how to react so he recoiled into his official doctor role.

“She suffered a dislocated collar bone from the force of the blast, a few cuts and bruises from the fall and the impact but… The real damage was to her lungs and nervous system. The flames erupted so quickly they seared her trachea and severely collapsed most of the mucous membranes in her lungs. When she first arrived both lungs had already collapsed and I did not believe I could save her.” The doctor heaved a sign indicative of great care on his shoulders, “I managed to re-inflate her lungs and they are recovering very slowly. The good news is that the mucous membranes are responding to treatment better than I would have expected, they will likely reform, but…” Trip looked up at Phlox with fear.

“But what doc?”

The doctor hesitated but continued, “T’Pol’s station was close enough to the power matrix that apparently some kind of feedback shock from the exploding power coupling was discharged through the panel. Crewman Munez was also treated for a moderate neuroelectric shock, but she was not as close to the blast as Commander T’Pol.”

The doctor’s shoulders sank as his eyes grew narrower, “Commander T’Pol absorbed the entire shock directly; her synaptic pathways throughout her lower cerebellum were…severely damaged. She may live but… but there’s virtually no chance she will ever walk or speak again. Her motor skills have been severed--” Dr. Phlox trailed off when he saw Trip’s head sink into her bedside.

After several moments the doctor slowly turned to walk away. Phlox crooked his head back toward Trip, “I will allow you to remain here for a few hours at most if you can promise you won’t disturb her.”

Trip kept his head buried in the Starfleet medical blanket, both hands now clasping around the limp fingers lying beside T’Pol's unmoving figure. He never responded, but the doctor trusted he understood and slowly returned to other work.

Trip remained quietly beside the Commander's bed for what seemed like hours, eyes transfixed on her various features but his mind recalling the first time he noticed them.

The Cap'n and I were in his ready room waitin' on the damn Vulcan that was assigned to babysit us. I remember thinkin' how much better I'd a' felt with Porthos on the bridge 'n that steely Vulcan female. What was she like anyway? Can't remember ever meetin' a Vulcan woman, but if they were anything like the men this was gonna be one long trip, even just tah get Klaang home. But when she walked in I was sicker'n a dog in heat, an' surprised as hell that such emotionless people bred so beautifully. The way she stared me down when I tried to offer a handshake, hah I shoulda known right then an' there that woman'd drive me crazy.

Through glazed eyes and a nostalgic grin, a hint of bitterness crept into his face and his lids fell, closing on the image of bandage covered burns blanketing T’Pol's body. A wave of guilt wracked his features, eyes clinching tight as he felt shame for all the times he responded to her sincerity with venom. He hadn't even found the courage to talk to her without snapping at her just before the attack, even when she'd come to him for help. He sat through a long moment of silence and recalled every time they'd argued. Every smirk he shot at her, every time she one-upped him in an argument, every time he beamed inside when they worked together on some solution and fed off each other’s ideas. Something about those memories now made his insides curl at the thought he may never again be warmed inside by the familiar toss of an eyebrow, or hear her quip retorts every time he took a stab at her. He remained there, silently stroking her right palm and grinning boyishly at recollections of her.

Rolling back the clock and savoring every moment of her memory, he suddenly couldn’t help but choke back a lump in his throat. It was then he realized he’d felt like this before and the familiar oven breezes of the Vulcan fire plains sprang from his memory. The day he found out she was to marry Koss, and the moment that conniving bastard clashed the gong for the last time.

And T’Pol was gone from his life. No, this is worse, he thought. T’Pol bein' with another man, that’s one thing… but gone. His face began to shake with the long descent of a single tear. T’Pol there’s so much I couldn’t say… I…

Several minutes passed but Tucker’s mind was absent. Empty, a void, recollection dried up to emptiness; sadness evaporated into nothingness and he simply sat. The life drained from his eyes, the tranquil sea of feeling in them that drew the Vulcan’s stare whenever he was near her was now frozen over, a drab relic of an extinct vitality. Silence held his eyes glazed until his head sank of its own volition and buried in her bedside, his unconscious movements instinctively nuzzling into her skin.

Some time later the duration of which did not register with Trip, Dr. Phlox returned to the bedside. The engineer started, glanced over his shoulder and wiped his face in feigned fatigue to hide the streaks. Phlox lost all air from his lungs when he tried to speak. He graciously laid a hand on Trip’s shoulder and attempted again to form the words. This time they came but the good doctor’s typical resolve was replaced with emptiness.

"Mr. Tucker I'm afraid I must ask you to leave now, I need to run a series of neurological scans with T’Pol in the imaging chamber.” Trip’s head frantically jerked up and his eyes opened as he rose. But Phlox was forestalled from paying Trip’s lethargy much notice when a peculiarity caught his gaze on T’Pol’s readout.

“Well that’s odd…” The doctor stared blankly at the diagnostic readout; Trip looked up more confused than alarmed.

"What is it?" he asked, glancing between the silent doctor and the screen just above T’Pol's unconscious form. Engulfed in some nuance of T’Pol's condition the physician all but forgot Tucker was present.

"My word..." Phlox whispered under his breath.

Finally Trip couldn't take any more of this, "Doc! What is it?" The doctor was suddenly ripped from his reverie, "A tiny portion of her cerebellum has begun to regenerate...this is remarkable, I had no idea even Vulcan physiology was capable of such complex microcellular regeneration of axonal pathways..." the doctor continued to pick his thoughts as Trip continued to look in bewilderment when finally the doctor turned to him.

"And that's...good, right?" Trip asked in uncertainty if T’Pol's condition could actually get any worse.

The doctor's eyes widened. "It’s certainly promising by all accounts but it’s far too early to tell. Perhaps Vulcan neurophysiology is even more resilient than I realized. Hmf..."

The doctor seemed far away dissolving the readings into his mind.

"Oh, Mr. Tucker, I'm sorry but you must leave."

Trip rose to leave, softly laying her hands back at her side while taking an enduring account of her broken body. The sight visibly moved him but Dr. Phlox turned away, feigning work to be done to give Trip a private moment.

So many moments when they had fought each other now appeared to him so clearly as the defenses of two people afraid to feel. But she didn’t want him now; she changed her mind – made her feelin's clear. Before the rock hard lump in his throat could choke him to tears, Trip backed away and headed to Engineering.


Comments:

FireStar

Needs a sequl pretty please. It was way to short.

Lisa

panyasan

A rollercoster of emotions. I liked the mind meld and the dream of the lake they both shared. And that last line is a classic. Great serie.

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