The Nature of Things

By Aquarius

Rating: PG

Genres: romance

Keywords: character death

This story has been read by 792 people.
This story has been read 1185 times.


CHARACTERS:  Trip/T'Pol

GENRE:  Romance

RATING:  PG, for a sorta mature theme.

SUMMARY:  T'Pol becomes introspective over her life with Trip

WARNING:  Character death

DISCLAIMEREnterprise and its characters are the property of CBS/Paramount.  No copyright infringement is intended; this is a labor of love for a show that is with us in repeats only.  Just doing my part to keep the dream alive, so please don't sue me.

 

A/N:  Response to March "nature" prompt.  Also, this is a companion piece to Running Out of Time, set approximately thirty years after that story.

 


 

He sleeps so much now.  I have not left this room in nearly two weeks.  I spend my time meditating, sitting vigil, and holding him in my arms as I lie beside him.

He will leave me soon.

We are born.  We live.  We die.  That is the nature of things.  It's orderly.  It's logical.

Acceptance of this makes it no less painful.

I am Vulcan.  I am supposed to deny my pain, not indulge it.  But I do indulge it...because of everything else this man has inspired me to indulge in.

Love.  Happiness.  Hope.  Passion.

We almost had none of it.

At the risk of my own destruction, I sought emotion.  I wanted more of what I felt when he looked at me, talked to me.  I came to crave his touch.  I did dangerous things to get more and more.  I became lost, and it all very nearly took me over.

And I pushed him away.

My actions have left me permanently altered.  I no longer process and repress my emotions like a Vulcan.  I also do not experience them as Humans do.  I must constantly struggle to find my own way to logic and order.  It has become easier over time, but by no means is it easy.

Eventually, through Trip's patience and devotion, I was able to strike a balance.  My future self told me her Trip had done this for her, that my Trip could likewise do the same for me.  All I had to do was let him in.

That T'Pol lost her Trip after less than twenty years of marriage.  The severance of their bond very nearly killed her.  She had to carry on for more than a century without him.

I could not bear such a thing, so again I pushed him away.  Sometimes he pushed back.  It was just as well, or so I thought.  I had duty and family to occupy me.  The balance I sought eluded me a while longer.

I have never believed in superstitious concepts such as luck or fate, but Trip does.  He has argued that our telepathic bond is evidence that we were destined to be together.  When the distance we put between us became too great, and everything that we ever had with each other was in danger of being extinguished forever, it was there to pull us back together.

Whether due to Human luck or Vulcan physiology, I soon realized the futility of resisting what I knew to be true:  there was no one I would rather be with than Trip.

Soon the distance between us will become insurmountable, and I wonder if the bond will again force that distance to close.

I carefully protect this thought.  Trip would become angry if he knew.  He expects me to go on, to live a full and happy life after he's gone. 

Assuming the severance of our bond does not kill me or drive me mad, I will go on.  I have no alternative.  I will carry out my roles as mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother; as scientist, diplomat, and peacemaker.  I will live my life, but "full" and "happy" are out of the question without my ashayam to share it with.

And it is with this in mind that, rather than keeping our bond weak to spare us the inevitable pain as I thought best in the beginning, I have spent more than half a century encouraging our bond to become as strong as possible.  Vulcan lifetimes are twice those of Humans; though there are no guarantees, we knew I was likely to outlive Trip by a hundred years.  He calls what we have "once in a lifetime," and I agree. 

And that is why I cannot bear to spend the rest of my life without him.

Our marriage came at a price.  It nearly cost us our careers, as well as our lives on several occasions.  There was a younger, more progressive government in place on my world at the time, yet I found myself shunned by my own people for choosing to mate outside my species, our union regarded as an obscenity and our offspring considered a crime against nature.  I cannot return to a world that reserves its "enlightenment" for its own people.  My Vulcan blood is tainted as far as they are concerned, despite the fact theirs is being poisoned by prejudice.

I miss my birthplace, my culture; I occasionally become what Trip calls "homesick."  I have property there, a house that sits empty since my mother died.

But I have no home on my home world.

Mother.  She warned me that our children would live in shame.  Trip and I did our best to raise them to accept themselves for who and what they are, to be self-assured and to be proud of both their Vulcan and Human heritages.

The irony is not lost on me, encouraging my children to embrace a world that does not embrace them in return.

It was most difficult of all when they were school age.  Though both our careers had us living in communities where we were usually regarded with curious tolerance, largely among academics and other Starfleet personnel, children can be so cruel.  Raising ours in the traditional Vulcan way may have spared them broken hearts and damaged egos, but Trip and I agreed they must be exposed to both ways of life then allowed to find their own way.  I confess that at these times I often felt inadequate as a mother, raising children who had so much access to such a range of emotions.  Vulcan mothers aren't trained to soothe heartaches and disappointments, though I've endured a few of my own, and I drew upon that experience whenever necessary. 

Never have I been more grateful for their father's uniquely Human perspective.  He always knew what to say when I did not.  Our children could not have had a better father.  I cannot imagine persevering without him.

I have occasionally contemplated how my counterpart in the alternate timeline managed to continue raising her son alone.  Despite the premature loss of her mate, she had no regrets.

Likewise, I would change nothing.  Even considering our occasional difficulties, I dare say I am proud of all we have built, the family we have raised.  I feel no shame over my choice to love and to be loved in return.  I feared it would cost me dearly in the beginning, but I cannot imagine a life more enriched than that of being the wife of Trip Tucker.

I have had much more time with my Trip than she had with hers; yet here, on the precipice of losing my mate forever, I fear I am weak where she must have been strong.  Perhaps it is because she had their adolescent child to continue to care for.  Our children are grown, with families of their own.  No one needs me as much as I need him.

So I would welcome it, when the time comes, if the bond would take me, too.  A selfish notion, perhaps, illogical and irrational, but it is what I feel nonetheless.  A life without his love, his touch, his presence in my mind is unimaginable.  For sixty-three years, seven months, two weeks and four days, he has been an integral part of me.  Parting and never parted.  It is not a mere vow; it is an indelible truth.

And time, in an ultimate act of cruelty, seeks to force us to part.

I open myself to him, to gain comfort from feeling more of him.  I sense that he's stirring, and I brush away the tear that has escaped the corner of my eye.  I cannot hide my struggle with my emotional control from him; he'd already be aware of it.  Still, I do not wish tangible evidence of my lapse to cause him guilt or heartache over that which neither of us can control.

He inhales deeply, and his eyes open.  Even now he tries to charm me with his crooked smile, though it has been weakened by his failing health.  His eyes still shine with mischief, and he raises a shaky hand.  I take it into both of mine and still I am amazed that these work-roughened hands could touch me so tenderly, stir things inside of me that I'd never thought possible before we'd met.

I owe the most fulfilling years of my life to these hands.

"We've had a hell of a good run, baby," he says in the raspy whisper that has become his voice.  Though I tried to shield him from my thoughts, I feel a stab of guilt as I now suspect some of my musings have intruded upon his rest.  Regardless, he knows our time is almost at an end.

"Agreed," I answer, squeezing his fingers.  I allow him to see a faint smile pull at my lips.  Small displays like this still leave him feeling like he's gotten away with something, even after all our years together.  Of all the things I should be giving him at this moment, he finds such a simple pleasure so meaningful.  I give it freely.

"I love you forever," he says with great effort.  "Remember, no matter how much you love me, I love you more."  It's a game of sorts he likes to play with me.  I admit it took a long time for me to understand the rules, and that it existed largely because despite our bond and each constantly knowing how the other feels, he is Human and has always possessed a Human need to articulate his feelings.

"If you say so," I answer as I did the first time, and every time since, "though I don't believe that is possible, ashayam."

His laugh immediately erupts into coughing, and I sit helplessly waiting for him to catch his breath.  "Tired..." he says when he's finally able, and within seconds he is dozing again.

I climb into bed beside him, disturbing him as little as possible as I wrap my arms around the man who has been everything to me for more than half my life.  The notion of facing the next eighty years or longer without him is frightening.

I analyze and memorize every nuance of our conversation...on the chance that it was our last.

I wait.

For him to draw his last breath, I wait.

...and I quietly cling to the irrational hope that it is also my own.

 


Comments:

Moichino

This is so good!  It is romantic...T'Pol style...sad, comforting, poignant, and ... satisfying to a dedicated Trip and T'Pol fan that they did have a good life after all.  Thank you so much for such a great story.

Hummingbird2

Fantastic! ( And I have no problem with Trip calling T'Pol '' baby ''. )

Honeybee

I love this story because it address the truth that no matter what, T'Pol is eventually going to lose Trip. Barring her own untimely death, she will outlive him, and they both know this time had to come. It is in the nature of things. Would that some TV writers we all know would have recognized that pathos inherent in the situation as you have. Great, bittersweet story.  

panyasan

This is such a beautiful written story. Loved the teasing part when Trip said that he always loved her more and the fact that they had a beautiful life together. Wonderful story.

 

Aquarius

Mary--Thanks a lot for your remarks! 

WarpGirl--I disagree.  (Obviously, since I wrote it that way, lol!  :p)  It's long been a part of Trek lore that when one bondmate dies, it's so catastrophic and such a shock to the system to have the link so suddenly severed, that the other bondmate often dies, too, or goes insane.  So I would tend to say that T'Pol doing everything she could to nurture the bond and make it as strong as possible in the hopes that when he goes, she goes, too, is precisely plotting a "suicide by bond."  Whether or not she gets the results she wants remains to be seen.  The point is, she's made up her mind a long time ago that she wants to go.  And if she's a strong telepath, then it seems it would follow that she'd have the mental strength/discipline to keep Trip, who is not a teleptah, from seeing this thought.

As for the "baby" thing, it's not something I see him calling her all the time, and it has little to do with what she'd "accept" from him.  On the occasions he uses it I see her being more perplexed than anything...and in this particular situation, he's like ninety and can probalby pretty much call her anything he wants and under the circumstances, she won't bat much of an eye.  ;)  I can totally see where others wouldn't have him using it, and that's cool.  It's just a matter of opinion. 

Thanks for your thoughts.  :)

WarpGirl

I don't think you can plan 'suicide by bond" ot either happens or it doesn't. It depends on the strength of the telepath. Also if the bond IS that strong I find it hard to believe Trip wouldn't pick up on T'Pol's thoughts. He might not be able to change anything but he'd "know." Anyway I have one teeny, tiny, microscopic, nit-pick. I just don't see T'Pol liking the moniker of "Baby" or Babe (I've seen it done) even from Trip. I can see her accepting Sweetheart, Honey, Darling, Wife... And others, but definitely not Baby. Sorry please don't kill me. 

Mary

I'm a hopeless happy ending type. I like to pretend no one dies. However, this was such a touching, emotional piece, beautifully written. I loved T'Pol contemplating their life together and realizing that though there were problems, the good and happy times dominated.It is actually very romantic that she prefers to die with him, wanting but  not forcing that to happen. Thanks for the tears

Aquarius

Holy crap!  What happened to the spacing in the story??  Ah, well, I guess we'll worry about that later...

Any way, just had a peek here and saw new reviews--it's like Christmas up in here today!  :D

Linda, I can see where you might have an issue with the word "deny".  However I think there are a couple things at work here.  First, while Vulcans have feelings, they don't really allow themselves to experience them, and to me that's the distinction that led me to that word choice.  They just fold up whatever they're feeling and put it in some little pocket somewhere, repression is big with these people.  Second, since T'Pol doesn't have the same emotional control she had before messing around with Trellium D, and since she's been actively involved with an emotional mate and emotional children, I feel sure that an undertone of anger, fear, and resentment at the prospect of losing her mate may also have led to a more extreme word choice.  

Just a matter of interpretation, I guess.  ;)

Thanks again to all who've taken the time to read and comment.

Linda
Very well done and very moving. It reminds me of a similar story written by Bether - either on Triaxian Silk or on Trip/T'Polers. I don't remeber which site. I like the insight you have that T'Pol pushed him away after the Vulcan Arc episodes because she thought she could not stand to live without him for a hundred years like old T'Pol had to. I don't think anyone else has pointed that out! One thing that seemed off though, you said "I am supposed to deny pain". I don't think Vulcans are supposed to deny it, they are allowed to acknowledge it, but as you said, not indulge it.
SaddenedMonkey
That should be INfamously, I think, JT. And I believe it was less that she could move on than it was how quickly it took place (and with who) that irked. This is really sad but beautiful, Aquarius. I have no words.
justTrip'n
I like that she doesn't buy the "destiny brought us together" theory but she won't disuade Trip from his belief in it. Ahd that she has found her own simple reason for their relationship: "Whether due to Human luck or Vulcan physiology, I soon realized the futility of resisting what I knew to be true: there was no one I would rather be with than Trip." Famously, I wrote a whole story arguing the plausibility of an opposite scenario from the one presented here: that T'Pol IS ABLE to move on beyond Trip's death, as painful as that might be. But in this story, the children are grown, so it is different. I understand her desire to go with him. I hope she doesn't. I hope she, and others facing this type of loss, comes to see she still has something to offer the world and there may be happiness again down the road.
Aquarius
[b]Asso[/b]--I'm glad that you and others have grabbed hold of the fact that Trip and T'Pol managed to have a happy life, against the odds. But there are some painful and un-pretty things going on here, not the least of which is that T'Pol has basically been planning "suicide by bond" throughout the course of their marriage. Yes, she's prepared to go on without him if she has to, but in my mind it's cooler if she gets to go with him, which is what she wants any way. [b]Little Red[/b]--I'm so happy to be BFFier! :D Thanks again to everyone who took the time to read and comment. Feedback makes the world go 'round. :D
Asso
Dear [b]Aquarius[/b], you're quite a character, you know?:p You say you're fond of saying "love isn't always pretty" the exact moment you demonstrate it is so.I love this story, not only because it's pretty, yes, but because it meets my feelings.Only, since I'm who I'm, I tend to go a little bit beyond.;)Now, I don't want to to advertise myself, but - if you want to do it, cast a glance at my "Without End", and you will understand why I said that you and I are very close, about these peculiar feelings:D
Little Red
PARTING AND NEVER PARTED!! Oh my god, you are so more BFFer after this fic. I love it. [i]LOVE[/i] it. I don't find it sad, though, as much as wonderful and happy. This is the happy ever after. And as much as T'Pol feels despair now, you know she will go on, and she will be content to see him in his descendants and feel closer to him the older she gets. It's just so beautiful. I feel like I have to read it three times more. *hughughug*
Aquarius
Thanks, everyone. You all know I'm fond of saying "love isn't always pretty." Sometimes it hurts and a situation like this is one of those times. I thought this out to what I believed to be the "logical" conclusion; that once Trip's gone, T'Pol's done--she just doesn't see much point in going on without him. She's had lots of time to think long and hard about this. She knows the outcome she wants, the big question is whether or not she'll get it. At any rate, it seems I made you all feel something, so that means I did my job here. [b]BnB[/b]--I'm not sure if that means you're mad at me for this or not, but either way I'm happy you gave it a read and I thank you for taking the time to comment.
Dinah
Wow, talk about the power of love! It's great to see two people who are still completely devoted to one another after over 60 years of marriage. Life hadn't always treated them kindly, but they drew strength from each other and from their family and created something wonderful. I'm glad that T'Pol is prepared to go on with her life, but I can also understand her desire to take that last journey with Trip. When one considers how devastating the loss of a spouse is for most Humans, the severing of a bond must be absolutely catastrophic. At least she has her children and their descendants to give her a reason to continue on. This is beautifully written! It's presented in a calm, logical way, but the emotions T'Pol is feeling resonate through the story from beginning to end.
Asso
I think never you and I were so close.The "Last breath" of your last powerful phrase, if you have read something I wrote, will be really the last, for him and for her.This is not sad, I think it is joyful.What else more joyful that the awareness of having shared a joyful life with your love?This T'Pol, that you drew so attentively, is more, more joyful than many T'Pols I have seen.And, Trip will wait for her. On the other side.
JadziaKathryn
This is beautiful, and wonderfully written, but it's so sad! :( Poignant, and your T'Pol voice is spot-on. *wipes tear*
Reanok
Aquarious this a very powerful and emotional story. I liked how portrayed T'Pol's pov about her marriage to Tripand the years they had together.
anaM
This brought tears to my eyes, but at the same time I'm thinking that it is the best that could have happened to them, living together a long, happy life, loving each other to the end and facing death with a clear mind. So I am sad, but I'm happy for them too...
Alelou
Oh ow, let me go quietly sob in a corner now....But this is lovely in a bittersweet kind of way. I could see T'Pol quietly and desperately analyzing the situation like this.
BnB
You have never heard the word mercy, have you? Youch. Don't do that to people, it hurts.
bluetiger
Holy crap, make me cry much! That was so sad and beautiful.

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