Running Out of Time

By Aquarius

Rating: PG

Genres: romance


This story has been read by 1009 people.
This story has been read 1910 times.

RATING: PG for language
SUMMARY: An older Trip looks back on the life he's had with T'Pol and considers his mortality.
DISCLAIMER: Enterprise and the characters and situations this story is based on are the property of CBS/Paramount. I just used them here for my own amusement. Relax, nobody made any money off this story.

A/N: This was a response to the autumn writing prompt at, in which we were to choose a couple and write about them in the "autumn" of their relationship. I chose Trip and T'Pol because there are circumstances unique to them that I couldn't explore through any other pairing's dynamic at that time in their lives. I'm not sure how much I like this or how well it actually fits in with my still-forming vision of what Trip and T'Pol's future will be like, but doing this exercise gave me some food for thought for when I am prepared to write them at this stage of their relationship and mean it.

Natch, it disregards "The Abomination."


Sometimes I worry about what she's gonna do when I'm gone.

Don't get me wrong. T'Pol could take care of herself long before I came along. It's not about that. I just worry about her being lonely. She's still got another whole lifetime ahead of her after I buy the farm.

Hey, it's not like I’m planning on going anywhere anytime soon. But I'd be lying if I said we didn't know the difference in our life spans was gonna be an issue eventually. We've just tried not to think about it much. It seemed like we had all the time in the world back then.

After thirty-odd years together it's getting kind of hard to ignore. She's just as gorgeous as the day I met her, and barely looks any older. For her people, she's barely approaching middle-age.

I'm starting to look like I could be her dad—if she wasn't a Vulcan, that is. I bet people see us together and think it's some kind of demented trophy wife thing. I usually think it's funny…

…until I think about how long she's gonna be alone. Like I said, we didn't think about it much, because there wasn't really anything we could do about it, except maybe not get together. And that wasn't going to happen.

We had bigger, more important things to worry about back then. Besides the usual man/woman stuff most people go through, we had our share of misunderstandings due to cultural differences. Then Starfleet wasn't too thrilled when they found out about us. And then there was all that racial bullshit from those whackjob bigots who didn't approve of our "mixed" relationship.

Back then, things always seemed like they were sink-or-swim for us.

Eventually, we learned how to float. But it took a lot of time. And patience. And maybe some of that damn Vulcan stubbornness, because I think the hard parts were hardest on her. She's got nothing on Vulcan any more. She doesn't talk about it; things are supposed to be different there now but I get the impression that any relatives she has left don't want much to do with her. We haven't exactly been invited to any family barbeques or anything. They probably think I corrupted her, made her less Vulcan than she's supposed to be or something.

So all she's got are me and the kids. They turned out great, mostly because of their mom, I think. Somehow she took all the craziness and dysfunction that happens when a Human and a Vulcan get together and start a family and made it all make sense, and somehow we were able to raise two reasonably well-adjusted individuals.

T'Pol went through hell bringing them into the world, though. There were always doctors and tests and samples and scopes…and the miscarriages before they got our genes matched up just right. Like I said, she always got the brunt of any punch we were thrown; all I was good for was holding her hand through it all. Finally we were blessed with not one but two full-term pregnancies and it was like the universe finally smiled at us. I look at our two beautiful children and I wonder how anyone could say it's wrong because of politics or race or culture.

We Tuckers are a culture all our own. We've had to be. And we like it that way.

Our kids are grown now, away starting their own lives. We miss having them around, but I'm not gonna lie: I like having their mom all to myself again. Did I mention she's gorgeous?

Yeah, I know: a Vulcan with sex appeal. Who'da thought?

But she's so much more than that. For one thing, she's easily the smartest person I've ever met. For another, she'll deny it, but she's got this subtle sense of humor—you just have to know how to listen for it. The combination makes her so much fun to argue with.

She's seen me at my worst. She brings out my best.

She "gets" me…most of the time.

Everything good in my life, I have because of her.

And I know someday I'm gonna have to leave it all behind, and her with it.

Hopefully I'll keep aging gracefully. I don't wanna end up one of those gomers in the Starfleet Home for Dirty Old Engineers and become that "obligation" she has to deal with until I finally kick. That's all she needs, to hang around watching me waste away when she should be out there living.

It hasn't come to that yet, not even close. But face it: I'm not getting any younger, and by our standards, she isn't getting much older. So I've started thinking about it sometimes. She's got –what?--another 100 years or so ahead of her after I'm gone. Is she gonna go back to Starfleet? To Vulcan?

Is she gonna find someone else?

Yeah, I think about that. I think about wanting her to move on and be happy. Sure, the idea makes me a little jealous, but I'm not gonna be selfish. She's got too much time ahead of her to be all alone.

But then I wonder, would anyone else love her and appreciate her the way I do? Will they "get" her the way I do? Could another man possibly be as lucky as I am?

I guess I'll never know.

All I can do is be thankful for every minute of every day I still have with her, and do everything I can to make sure we have as many days as possible.

I'd do anything to stay with her forever, but the writing's on the wall: we're slowly running out of time.



I was having a crap day at work, and I'm so glad I snuck some time to read this, because despite the bittersweet nature it is a beautiful story and I loved it. You approach a tough subject with the concern and levity that I believe Trip, especially after he's seen a few more years, would have in this instance. Fantasic.


Beautiful sad and bitter sweet


Beautiful,thank you.


I read it again and enjoyed it again very much. I like Trips voice, the jokes and the gentle painting of their marriage, the way you portray the difficult road for them to have childern. Beautiful fic.


One of the great things about Vulcan logic that Trip's aging really wouldn't be an issue for T'Pol. Of course it is for Trip because he's human, but for her it really wouldn't be a factor. She's made the choice to spend her life with this man knowing that his physiology will end up killing him before her. That's just his species the way he's made, she can't change it so why dwell on it. Trip is a loving and concerned partner and I really like his selflessness. I love the depth of comitment they share with each-other very touching.


This is awesome, a great example of the concise, evocative writing I SO wish I could do. :)  Now I understand the star-crossed lovers idea. VERY well written again, gal! :)

This is very good. Other writers have touched on this subject, but you have explored it in depth, at least from Trip's side. Can you do it from T'Pol's side too? And maybe have a heartfelt discussion between them about it? Nice job!
I like it very much. It's sweet and I don't find it sad, really. Remembering a complete and (mostly) happy life doesn't seems sad to me. What I like is how we see their life from [i]his[/i] perspective. You do a good job giving enough information in some lines and leaving the rest to our imagination. "Don't tell everything" is a basic writer's tecnique and a skill hard to grasp, and you've done it, so kudos for it! The best line IMO: [i]"[...]and the miscarriages before they got our genes matched up just right. Like I said, she always got the brunt of any punch we were thrown; all I was good for was holding her hand through it all."[/i]
Lady Rainbow
Very poignant story, and it addresses something that we've all managed to not think about: what will our loved ones do when we're gone? I really like this line: "All I can do is be thankful for every minute of every day I still have with her, and do everything I can to make sure we have as many days as possible." Trip strikes me as very mature here.
I am a bit late to comment, but I just wanted to say I really enjoyed this story. You did a great job portraying a serious issue with love and humour. Great job!
I don't think they will be separated. They will go together. Fate doesn't make them uncoupled. Their story is "WITHOUT END". I said that, already.
Thank you everyone, not only for taking the time to read, but also for your thoughtful comments. I know it's a sad fact of life for Trip and T'Pol that, barring some freak accident or weirdassed disease, T'Pol will most likely outlive Trip by a lot. What I was hoping readers would take away from the story is that what they have is a once-in-a-lifetime love--even if that lifetime differs greatly between the two partners--so it was worth doing, despite the pain they knew they'd endure when the end came; that they had a good run, and would continue to make the most of their time and each other while they still had it. [b]Ezinma88[/b]--I thank you for sharing your family's story with me! I think when I wrote that about T'Pol, I had it in my mind that change is often made by the young--that in T'Pol's lifetime, the government and attitudes of her planet changed because of the new, younger regime when T'Pau took things over, but--much like here on Planet Earth--there'd still be a lot of old geezers around who don't approve and long for the Good Old Days, no matter how repressive they were. I imagined in many ways that T'Pol might've been regarded as the "black sheep" of her family, as she's often demonstrated being more open to ideas and experiences (though it took Archer and Trip a while to see this) than many of her contemporaries were, and then here she goes and hooks up with a human--pretty radical for her time. She did it their way for a while when she married Koss, but ultimately she made [i]herself[/i] happy. So I didn't quite have a familial experience like yours to draw upon when I wrote that. For me, it was more like the reasons why I've let every high school reunion come and go without attending, because I did things my own way back then and took a lot of ridicule for it, so if I wasn't good enough for them then, I have no interest in seeing them now, even though they've probably "grown up" since and would probably accept me now. So from that perspective, I agree with you here, in that it's [i]T'Pol's[/i] perception that she no longer fits there. She's long since given them the proverbial finger and moved on. As for Trip's age...I was imagining him as a 60-something here...I believe it was established that he was 29 when he was assigned to [i]Enterprise[/i], so fast-forwarding a few years to Terra Prime and a little bit beyond, Trip would've been in his mid-30s when he and T'Pol defined and formalized their commitment to each other. Here, I have him say they've been together for "30-odd years", so I think that puts him in his mid- to late-60s. Thanks again, everyone! It's always nice to be rewarded with so much thoughtful commentary. :D
I read this a couple of days ago...but have been thinking about it since then. A really poignant piece. I too love the line: "Like I said, we didn't think about it much, because there wasn't really anything we could do about it, except maybe not get together. And that wasn't going to happen." There is so much hinted at here. So much left unsaid. I'd love to know T'Pol's take on these last few....months, perhaps years with Trip. I'd also be extremely curious as to how her relatives on Vulcan view the whole thing, now that they've had several decades to contemplate the union. Like Trip said, things would have changed, and maybe the biggest barrier to T'pol reconnecting with a favourite cousin (10 times removed) is more in her mind. ....My parents left their homeland just over thirty years ago and although (my mum in particular) still speaks English with a heavy accent it can be hard for her when she goes home. That's because 'home' has changed so much, and so has she. So she's like a person without a comfortable nationality in a lot of ways. When I read your story, it really made me think of my family....of how T'pol may well be accepted generally now, but it still would never be home. Not in the same way. The whole thing made me feel...really quite sad, actually. This was a lovely stand-alone. But, just as an experiment, I would love to see a bit more of this world. A love story where one of the main characters was just coming to end of their involvement in it...more focus on what happens to T'Pol and what kind of trials and tribulations their children go through etc. Just a thought. Oh, and can you tell us how old you imagine this Trip is? Pure curiosity on my part.
I like this line: "Like I said, we didn't think about it much, because there wasn't really anything we could do about it, except maybe not get together. And that wasn't going to happen."
Oh, this is sweet and sad and oh so poignant. *sigh* Very well written - especially Trip's concern about being an "obligation." That's something I can really see him worrying about.
This is a rather sad story, but it also speaks of great love and respect. You did a beautiful job of capturing the concerns that an older Trip would have about leaving his beloved wife. At least he is able to take comfort in the fact that T'Pol will have her two children to help keep her memories of him ever bright. Very well done!
Trip is wise, isn't he?:) Sad, maybe, but sweet. Captiving. And absolutely well done.:D
This really sounds like an older, wiser and wonderfully settled Trip musing this thing through. It's sweet and realistic. Love the line about the "demented trophy wife."
This is such a sad fact of life for our favorite couple.Very well done.
very believeable story about Trip\'s thought about T\'Pol and their time together.
Very nice: touching and and believable..:)

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