Eclipse

By Little Red

Rating: PG

Genres: angst romance

Keywords:

This story has been read by 396 people.
This story has been read 542 times.


 

Category: Enterprise, Trip/T'Pol, T'Pol!fic.

Spoilers: Takes place throughout the series, but most major spoiler is for "Terra Prime."

Summary: "You can't see the Vulcan sun," he tells her.

Disclaimer: The toy box belongs to Paramount.

Archive: Yes.  Please email mylittleredgirl at gmail dot com to notify.

 

 


 

When T'Pol arrives on Earth for the first time, it's a chilly night in San Francisco.

She is met by a lowly assistant at the space port, a human, to show her the way to the Vulcan compound.

He catches her glancing at the sky.

"You can't see the Vulcan sun," he tells her.  "You'll have to wait for the new moon."

She replies, "I know where it is."

It seems odd that he would expect her to be searching for familiar stars.  She doesn't know if humans do that, try to place their location in the galaxy by such imprecise means.

But then, she has never spent any time with this species.

 


 

It is rare that clear skies and the full moon coincide, but when they do, the light is remarkably bright.

There is no scientific reason to spend time in the courtyard observing such a well-documented phenomenon.  The humans use colloquial expressions to explain such unspecific motives when they prefer to be outdoors, but her legs are sufficiently stretched and the air is no fresher than it is any other night. 

The moon reflects on the bay, appearing to double its light.  If she were closer, she could see the water ebb and flow.  The satellite's gravity directs every body of water on the planet, affecting the evolutionary development of Terran life, even tugging faintly at the water inside human bodies.

The tide forces of the Earth's moon must affect her body as well, beneath the threshold of her senses, just because she's here.

 


 

She meets Commander Tucker once before leaving Earth, but it is a chance encounter and neither of them would recall it until years later.  She is touring the Starfleet shipyards, and he's tangled up in a piece of technology, swearing.

Sub-commander Sotek tells the small tour that the plasma compression regulators the humans are designing are inherently flawed, though they continue to illogically attempt variations on a faulty premise.

T'Pol doubts that Sotek intended for the human laborers to hear him - more likely, he did not consider it relevant one way or the other - but a human with Lieutenant Commander stripes pulls his head from the machine to glare.

"We'll get it fixed just fine - no help from you," he calls, with non-standard intonation.  "If you don't like it, don't stand there and watch."

Sotek ignores the human's emotional response and continues the tour.  T'Pol is the only one in the group to glance behind her as they go.

 


 

The air on Enterprise is just as oxygen-rich as it is on Earth, but it lacks the humidity of San Francisco and the scent of salt water.  The humans frustrate her with their stubbornness, and it's an emotional frustration.

Something inside her warns that it will be dangerous for her to stay too long, that she finds their erratic behavior compelling as well as irritating.

It's an illogical consideration, and as a Vulcan, T'Pol makes her decisions solely based on logic.

 


 

On a personal level, T'Pol does not seek out time with the histrionic chief engineer, not outside the dinners that Captain Archer insists she attend.

Scientifically, though, she finds him an interesting case study.  He appears to embody all the qualities of humans discussed in her High Command mission dossier.  He's erratic and emotional, impulsive, with surprising bursts of intelligence hampered by stubbornness, prejudice and lack of focus.  He is well-liked among the crew, so she presumes these distasteful qualities are what humans most value in each other.

It is remarkable to her that humans can retain a command structure, working together despite their inability to approach a problem with a uniform point of view.  They brainstorm chaotically as a group, and yet, are often able to reach a consensus with minimal discussion.  Captain Archer permits his crewmembers to speak out of turn, and Commander Tucker abuses that privilege most frequently.

T'Pol finds herself doing so, as well.

 


 

They travel to dozens of stars.  T'Pol is precisely aware of their position in space, and their relative position to local phenomena of interest.

It surprises her both that she gets the desire to find the Vulcan sun in the space outside the a window, and that she has to use a star chart to locate it.

 


 

They return to Earth when the Xindi attack.  Soval speaks to her in Vulcan, and it sounds strange to her ears.

Logic dictates that she must remain with the Earth ship on its crucial mission.  She can't understand why all other logical Vulcans disagree with her.

 


 

At a certain point, she stops thinking of her encounters with the very human chief engineer as data points for her qualitative study of humanity.  He engages her in conversation, and not always about work.  She identifies his more companionable behavior toward her as teasing, a form of social interaction unique to the most emotional species.  At one point during her second year aboard, Doctor Phlox makes an offhanded comment about Tucker and Archer being her friends.  That relationship state is not completely alien to Vulcans, though of course companionship in her species never includes the emotional component.

She supposes they are, in a way.  Certainly, without Archer, she would not have remained on Enterprise, and in the final accounting, Commander Tucker has made her posting here more pleasant, rather than less.

Phlox reminds her of that friendship when he asks her to aid her crewmate with neuropressure.

Practically, in this dangerous part of space, her survival is dependant on a well-rested, functional chief engineer.

Tucker is unaware of the intimate associations Vulcans hold toward physical touch, though she thinks about it often when he brings her dinner, encourages her to talk about her day, fails to look away when she removes articles of clothing.

Once, he falls asleep on her floor as she's completing the daily neuropressure regimen.  She can't bring herself to draw her hands away, his skin igniting something in her veins left over from her terrifying experience on the Seleya.

It obscures her vision, literally and figuratively, and she feels compelled to bring it into focus.

 


 

The Trellium-D hurts.  Her temples throb painfully as the first roiling emotions explode through her brain, and the injection site will burn for hours. 

She grows frustrated when Trip is late for their neuropressure sessions, because she times her injections so the pain is gone when he arrives, but her nerves still feel alive.

She doesn't ignore the fact that this is not behavior a proper Vulcan engages in.

Logically, though, she must bring her experiment to conclusion, even if there is no end in sight.

 


 

They have sex once, and after that, every neuropressure session feels like the final hour of Trellium potency - there are flashes all over her skin of remembered sensation, emotional fantasies choking her thoughts, and a desperate need for more.

Though others have worried, Trip is the first to tell her to her face that there's something very wrong with her, and that he can't stand it.

He wants an explanation, and she has none, can only think of him.  When she closes her eyes, he's like a full moon over the San Francisco Bay, blocking all other lights from the sky.

 


 

They have sexual intercourse again, and she feels as though she's drowning, unwilling to breathe where she is, unable to lift her head above water.

Having his body against her, inside her, touching more nerves than she thought she had, is too much to bear, but she can't escape, even without the drug.

She thinks she wants him to pull out, to go, to leave her to find something, a pole star, to point her compass toward.

She wants him to go, but digs ten half-moons into his shoulders from her fingernails as she pulls him in closer.

 


 

She marries and divorces, he leaves and returns, all in less than a year.  They gain and lose a child in less than a week.

T'Pol has never been so grateful that she stopped abusing Trellium-D.  If she could feel this pain without a filter of mental discipline, she thinks she would die.

Trip feels it, and when she fails to find a logical way to comfort either one of them, he disappears to Mississippi to be with his family.

She waits in San Francisco, in the Vulcan compound at Soval's suggestion, but she feels like an alien among her own kind.

She meditates outside, at night, when the sounds are distant and the courtyard is empty.  The sky has been cloudy all week, blocking out the waxing moon and whatever stars she would have been able to see.  A lunar eclipse is happening behind the cloud layer.  A human, Trip, would probably see symbolism there - her child's whole life took place on the moon and was blacked out by Earth's shadow.

She senses his approach before she hears him.  "Trip," she says.

He looks rough, unslept.  "Ambassador Soval let me in when you didn't answer in your room."  He stands next to her until she moves over on the bench to give him room.  "It's kinda cold for you out here, isn't it?"

"I hadn't considered it.  How is your family?"

He frowns at her.  "Fine.  They're fine.  I don't think they really get it.  I don't know if I really get it."

In her week of meditation, she has come up with nothing to say. 

Trip doesn't wait long in the silence.  "Come up to the ship with me."

"Our leave is not over for another two days."

Trip bristles at her factual, logical response.  "Look, if you say no, I won't ask you again.  But I want to sleep next to you."  His voice sounds choked, presumably with an emotion, though T'Pol can't decipher which one.  "I can't - I don't want to do this by myself."

She isn't yet ready to face the crew.  The sympathy in their expressions only compounds the emotions she can no longer completely suppress.

Trip stiffens next to her, and she braces herself for whatever sharp, angry emotion will come next.  For some reason, he only says, "Sorry," before getting up to leave.

Her throat chokes closed, and she reaches a hand out for his.  He considers it, but doesn't take it.  "T'Pol, I can't..."

The need for touch, for his touch, feels like an empty space in her chest.

"Stay here with me," she says in a single, rushing breath.  "Sleep here."

"The Vulcans won't mind?"

"Not you," she says, though she is really speaking only for herself.

He sits back down next to her, and speaks under his breath.  "Will you still be there in the morning?"

She feels tears in her eyes.  She can't promise.  She leaves so often, but his gravity always pulls her back, ebb and flow.  He leaves her, too.  One of them has to learn to stay rooted.

"I will try," she says.

He takes her hand and squeezes, and he stays.

 


 

 

 

 


Comments:

Eian

There is so much gooey goodness in this, I hardly know where to begin...

My favorite lines?

The humans use colloquial expressions to explain such unspecific motives when they prefer to be outdoors, but her legs are sufficiently stretched and the air is no fresher than it is any other night. 

That is such a well-crafted sentence.  It just reaches out and grabs ya'. 

Scientifically, though, she finds him an interesting case study.

I just love that.  What great foreshadowing of alien justification.

It surprises her both that she gets the desire to find the Vulcan sun in the space outside the a window, and that she has to use a star chart to locate it.

Coming back to this, some distance from the opening segment, is such a fantastic bit of writing.  Very nicely done.

The Trellium-D hurts. 

And that's it in a nutshell.  Three words to describe most of season 3 and 4.  It's piercing, actually.  Wow.

She marries and divorces, he leaves and returns, all in less than a year.  They gain and lose a child in less than a week.

This has been commented on already, but it is, indeed, a powerfully and emotionally resonant sentence.  It encapsulates everything

T'Pol has never been so grateful that she stopped abusing Trellium-D.  If she could feel this pain without a filter of mental discipline, she thinks she would die.

How awesome is that???  This is absolutely brilliant.  You've captured T'Pol's struggle in such an eloquent manner while still maintaining her innate characterization.  It's lovely, really.

Outstanding work.  Truly outstanding.  One of the best pieces I've read, in any fandom or genre, in ages.  Well done.

Ezinma88

There is a great reflective quality to your writing. Although everything is written in the present tense it 'feels' as if the narrator has had years to reflect on the events in the story.....It gives your words a slightly wistful touch that I enjoyed very much. The story is so deceptively simple. Lines like : "She marries and divorces, he leaves and returns, all in less than a year.  They gain and lose a child in less than a week." are so poignant and laden with meaning. I loved the way you experimented with extremely short paragraphs that jump through time.....You never force-feed the reader with needless information....actually (in the best possible way) you make the reader do their own fair share of work - recollecting key moments from the series.How long did it take you to write this Little Red? It feels effortless.

Linda

What a beautiful little fic!  You bring up subtle new dimensions in a character we all thought we knew completely.  And yes, you carried your theme through nicely, in a very poetic manner.  Love your use of words - evoking delightful images.    

JadziaKathryn

This just sounds like T'Pol, and I really like that. Kudos on making a very authentic T'Pol voice!

 

Have to say, though, that for their relationship to work they both have to learn to stop running away.

Dinah

You did an absolutely beautiful job of carrying the theme through from beginning to end.  I rather enjoyed this line:  "When she closes her eyes, he's like a full moon over the San Francisco Bay, blocking all other lights from the sky."  It keeps to the theme, but at the same time says so much about how she feels about Trip.  Congratulations on a marvelous story!  Very well done!

Mary

This short fic is so like T'Pol, succinct, no superfluous words but to the point, acknowledging emotions but not being emotional. Quite touching and a littlte hopeful.

Aikiweezie

Wow - somehow you managed to sum up their complicated relationship in a few hundred words!  Well done.

Little Red

I completely fail at crediting!  Mad props go to my lovely beta Aquarius for keeping me all up with the canon and the grammar and the whatnot. <3

Thank you for reading and commenting. :)  You're making my day like crazy.  This is such a wonderful community.

(Pitseleh, I wasn't listening to anything in particular.  This was a short-fic challenge based on a randomly generated word.  I got lucky with "eclipse.")

Pitseleh

I'm awed by your writing in this particular story. It's like reading a poem, so well structured and coherent and yet so full of lyricism. I don't think I could ever get tired of reading something like this. It's just amazing. Please, keep up the great work.

 

PS: Were you listening to anything in particular while writing this?

anaM

It's one of those stories that make the words they are made of more beautiful than what they ordinarily are and affect the reader's mood for quite a while. Thanks!

katsiro

Thank you for taking us all back in Trip's and T'Pol's Universe. You're the perfect pen to do that.

 

 

Aquarius

The more I read this piece, the more I love it every time.  It never gets old. 

I think my favorite part is this:

He sits back down next to her, and speaks under his breath.  "Will you still be there in the morning?"

She feels tears in her eyes.  She can't promise.  She leaves so often, but his gravity always pulls her back, ebb and flow.  He leaves her, too.  One of them has to learn to stay rooted.

"I will try," she says.

He takes her hand and squeezes, and he stays.

 
Overall the piece is so simple and beautiful, and as Alelou points out there's a haunting quality to it.

Bravo.

Alelou

Ah, this is so lovely.  So spare, so Vulcan, yet precise and haunting.  Beautiful perceptions of the "histrionic chief engineer" and of her service on Enterprise.  I also really like Trip's line about not being sure his parents get it, or that even he gets it.  This is really great writing.

Escriba

Oh, I love you! In a very heterosexual not romantic fangirl way, of course ;) It's so, so powerful. So insightul into T'Pol's soul. So very well written!

My favorite part: "She marries and divorces, he leaves and returns, all in less than a year.  They gain and lose a child in less than a week." A simple line, but so meaningful.

Asso

Simply lovely.

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