Kiss and Make-up

By Distracted

Rating: PG

Genres: romance virtual season

Keywords:

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This story is number 3 in the series Virtual Season Five


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Virtual Season Five

Episode Three : Kiss and Make Up

By Distracted

Rating: PG
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Paramount. I'm just making it a little fluffier.
Category: Romance (With a title like that were you expecting anything else?)
Summary: Here's the third in my series of post Terra Prime stories... a sequel to my story, Don’t Ask, Don't Tell. (Yes... with three stories out and one in the works, this has officially become a series.) I suppose you could consider it a fifth season if it weren't for the fact that I don't do action/adventure well. So what you get is more like a soap opera (The Young and Spaceworthy? All My Vulcans?) ... all fluff... all the time. In this installment TnT have their first spat since their marriage, and Malcolm makes a really dumb move.

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It was the fourth week of their interminably dull voyage to Denobula. Armory Officer Lieutenant Malcolm Reed had inventoried every hand weapon on board, overseen the maintenance and diagnostic checks on all ship-mounted weaponry, perfected the ship’s security protocols, and checked shield alignment… three times. There was nothing else to do until this evening, when he had scheduled the self-defense class he had been teaching in the Armory three times weekly for the past three weeks. He sat in the dining hall, nursing a now lukewarm mug of Earl Grey, gazing surreptitiously at T’Pol as she sat alone at a table across the room. Commander Tucker had just left, after spending an uneventful fifteen minutes sitting across the table from her and eating his breakfast. Malcolm had stationed himself at this table every morning for the past week to observe the couple, and he was now convinced that the rumor of a romantic relationship between the two officers was a figment of Hoshi’s fertile imagination.

How could he sit across the table from a woman that bloody gorgeous every morning and not show some appreciation? he thought.

Malcolm sighed. At least T’Pol now seemed quite willing to tolerate the presence of a human male in her vicinity. Perhaps it was time to determine whether she would be tolerant… hopefully even more than tolerant… of the presence of another human male in her life.

I cannot believe I am even thinking about doing this, Malcolm thought to himself. He gulped down the last of his tepid tea, and pushed back from the table, inhaling deeply and straightening his shoulders as he stood up. All she can do is say no, he thought with a wry grin, as he crossed the dining hall with his eyes fixed on his objective.

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Trip Tucker lay on the bed in T’Pol’s quarters, watching her change with great appreciation. He was totally relaxed following their meditation session… surprisingly so, since they had actually meditated this time rather than engaging in more physical activities.

“So… to what do I owe this delicious view?” he asked, admiring the interplay of muscles beneath the smooth bronze skin of her bare back as she pulled on a sports bra and midriff-baring t-shirt to accompany her skin-tight sweat pants.

“I asked you to come early for meditation this evening because Lieutenant Reed has requested my assistance with a self-defense class that he is teaching. He expects me in the Armory at 1800 hours,” T’Pol explained. She outwardly ignored his compliment, but he could feel her pleasure at his enjoyment of her beauty.

Trip’s brow wrinkled in puzzlement. “Why’d he ask you and not one of the MACO’s? They’re better trained for that kinda thing.”

T’Pol regarded him with one brow raised. He could sense that he’d inadvertently wounded her pride.

“I believe his reasons are quite logical,” she said defensively. “The class this evening is for female personnel. Lieutenant Reed required a female demonstration partner of similar stature as his students. The female MACOs are all quite tall and muscular, as I’m sure you quite clearly recall.”

Her oblique reference to his past relationship with Amanda Cole stung a bit… was it retaliation for his lack of appreciation of her hand-to-hand combat skills?

“I bet you could teach Malcolm and those MACOs a thing or two,” he said with a conciliatory smile.

“My intention is to teach the students, not to impress the security personnel, but I do appreciate your confidence in my abilities,” she replied in a mollified tone as she left the room.

“Have fun!” Trip called after her. He lay back on the bed and crossed his arms behind his head, chuckling.

I’d love to see her whup up on Malcolm, he thought with a wry smile.

Suddenly he imagined T’Pol, dressed in her skin-tight work-out clothes, throwing Malcolm to the ground and landing on top of him to immobilize him. He blinked twice, then sat up abruptly. The smile left his face.

“Damn!” he said in startled realization. “He’s makin’ a move on her!”

Trip left T’Pol’s quarters in a hurry, heading to his own cabin to change. It was time to go to self defense class.

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Commander T’Pol and Lieutenant Malcolm Reed stood side by side on the practice mats in the center of the Armory floor. Six young women were lined up at the edge of the mats, their attention focused on what Lieutenant Reed had to say… or, at least in the case of Ensign Hoshi Sato… focused on Lieutenant Reed’s lean, muscular body, and the way it filled out his sweat suit.

In addition to Ensign Sato, the members of the class included Crewman Liz Cutler, Lieutenant Janice Hess, and a trio of pretty young ensigns, one blonde, one brunette, and one redhead, all from the same department… astrocartography perhaps? Malcolm wasn’t sure. They giggled a lot and batted their eyes at him. He’d taken to mentally calling them “the triplets”, since he couldn’t seem to remember their names.

“I’ve got a surprise for you this evening, ladies,” Lieutenant Reed announced. “I’ve asked Commander T’Pol to assist me with the demonstration of a few advanced combinations of the defense techniques you’ve been learning for the past three weeks.” He gave all of the women in the class a brief professional smile. One of the triplets giggled, earning an exasperated look from Hoshi. “I’ve also asked her to give you some suggestions from her personal experience about how to deal with an attacker who is physically larger than you are.” He stepped to the side and nodded at T’Pol. “Commander?” he offered, indicating with a gesture for her to take the floor.

Lieutenant Reed was not a large man, but compared to him, T’Pol appeared positively fragile. She was fully a head shorter and at least thirty pounds lighter than he was. “I reviewed the Starfleet self-defense manual after Lieutenant Reed requested my assistance with this demonstration,” she began without preamble. “Many of the defense techniques in the manual would be less than effective when employed against an attacker of much greater size and strength. I would like to review with you a series of defensive moves which I believe would be beneficial to you in such a situation.” She turned to face Malcolm, standing in a completely relaxed position with her hands at her sides and her feet a shoulder’s width apart. “We will begin with a defense against a frontal two-handed attack. Lieutenant, come toward me as if you were about to choke me… fifty-percent speed.”

As Malcolm moved forward, extending his hands toward her as she had requested, T’Pol bent both knees and stepped forward into his attack, raising both arms above her head to block his forearms.

“You will notice that small stature gives you an advantage in this instance, enabling you to easily drop beneath your attacker’s center of gravity,” she said, as she gripped him securely by both shoulders and slowly extended her left knee, with her leg bent fully and her posterior calf in contact with her thigh, her hip extended, and her weight balanced on her right leg.

“It is extremely important to extend the hip fully and push off with the supporting leg in order to exert sufficient force at the point of impact to incapacitate your attacker.”

T’Pol’s knee slowly but firmly came in contact with Malcolm’s groin, lifting him completely off the ground. He hung there in limbo while she continued to lecture in that position, supporting both his weight and hers on one leg, steady as a rock.

Hoshi stared in disbelief at T’Pol’s unintentional display of sheer physical strength. She’d known Vulcans were stronger than humans, but she’d had no idea of the extent of it. What was worse, Malcolm, the friend to whom she’d been trying for months to be more than a friend, was obviously enamored of strong women.

Just look at him! He’s practically drooling! she thought.

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Malcolm swallowed and began to sweat, despite the fact that the activity in which he was currently engaged required no physical exertion on his part. The reaction his body was having to being dandled on T’Pol’s knee like a child was far from childlike. T’Pol could smell the excess pheromones in the air now, and realized that Malcolm was enjoying the demonstration quite a bit more than he should be.

“Following the strike to your attacker’s most vulnerable area… “ she continued, meeting Malcolm’s eyes briefly in warning, and lowering her knee slightly to allow him to put his feet firmly on the mat, “…you simply side-step…” She pulled her knee back and stepped smoothly to one side. Malcolm fell forward, catching himself with both hands. “…and follow up with a blow to the back of the neck.” She gave him a token tap on the posterior neck with the fleshy side of her right fist. The blow knocked Malcolm to the mat, the air rushing from his lungs from the impact.

“Are there any questions?” T’Pol gave her astonished audience a questioning look. Malcolm rolled over and sat up slowly, gingerly rubbing the back of his neck and looking up at T’Pol in admiration. The sound of a single person clapping echoed in the high-ceilinged chamber.

Trip Tucker walked toward the group with a sardonic grin on his face, clapping slowly. “That was real impressive, Commander. What’re you gonna do for an encore?”
T’Pol could feel his valiant but unsuccessful attempt to suppress his jealousy over her intimate physical contact with Malcolm.

I have the situation under control, Trip. This is simply a self-defense demonstration. There is no need for you to be concerned, T’Pol reassured him silently.

I know that’s all it is to you darlin’..., Trip shot back, his eyes fixed on Malcolm, …but I’m pretty sure this almost ex-friend of mine has other ideas.

“You are just in time to assist us, Commander Tucker,” said T’Pol. Please trust me to deal with this situation, husband. You may stay, but only if you promise not to confront Lieutenant Reed.

Trip nodded curtly. “What can I do to help?” he asked reluctantly.

“The students would benefit from another practice partner,” T’Pol replied.

Trip sighed. I guess I shoulda just let her deal with this.

T’Pol heard his thoughts quite clearly, and raised a brow as she turned away. Her lips twitched minutely at the resignation which preceded his next mental comment.

Or at least I shoulda worn a cup.

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“Ahhhh!” groaned Trip. “That hurts so good!” He lay face down on the bed in T’Pol’s quarters, shirtless. T’Pol sat on the edge of the bed beside him, firmly pressing both thumbs into the neuropressure points at the nape of his neck.

“It’s the least I can do after your assistance this evening,” she told him. “It was never my intention to risk injuring you.”

“Did ya hafta pair me with those three ensigns, T’Pol?” Trip asked, shifting his hips uncomfortably in the bed. “They were competin’ with each other to see who could hit me the hardest in a part of my anatomy you oughta have an interest in takin’ real good care of!”

“You should be grateful then, that I had them change their target to the solar plexus after the first repetition,” T’Pol replied, moving her hands to the pressure points in his mid-thoracic region.

“Breathe,” she instructed him. He focused on his breathing for a moment.

“You’re not very happy I showed up, are you?” he asked, wincing as she leaned into his back, then sighing in relief as he felt a sudden loosening of the muscles she was working on.

“I believe you are reading more into the situation than was originally intended. Lieutenant Reed’s… interest…. was understandable given the circumstances,” T’Pol said dryly, working her way down to the lumbar pressure points.

“You do have a point,” Trip replied with a chuckle. “He’d hafta be dead not to get a little worked up in that position…. But I’m pretty sure he asked you to help with the class just so he could get in that position.” He sighed in relief as T’Pol began to gently massage his aching muscles.

“What makes you think that Lieutenant Reed would deliberately seek to begin an intimate relationship with a superior officer? Of all the officers on Enterprise, he seems the least likely candidate to break regulations in such a manner,” stated T’Pol, with typically faultless logic.

“I’m not real sure why… but somethin’ he said at movie night a couple of weeks ago, combined with what I know about how much he admires certain things about you, makes me think he’s not thinkin’ of you as a superior officer anymore,” Trip said enigmatically.

T’Pol sat back and tapped him on the shoulder, indicating to him that she had completed his treatment. He rolled over on his back and propped himself up on both elbows.

“Please clarify your statements, husband,” T’Pol said sternly. “I must have complete information if I am to deal with this situation effectively.” She sat back on the opposite end of the bed. Trip sat up on his end, and reached down to take her right foot into his hands, pressing firmly on a neuropressure point in the instep. She closed her eyes and exhaled in bliss as he explained.

“When we were stuck together in that shuttlepod and nearly died a while ago, Malcolm told me a lot of things that he’d probably be real embarrassed if I told anyone else. One of the things he told me was that he found you physically attractive.” Or at least certain parts of you. Trip thought with amusement.

Do you also find my ‘bum’ appealing husband? T’Pol asked curiously in his head. Trip laughed aloud, shaking his head at her puzzled tone.

“Can’t I even think a sly comment without you hearin’ it, woman?” Trip demanded in mock indignation. “Of course I do, although it’s not your only appealing feature.” He sent her images of what he planned to do that evening with all of his favorite areas of her anatomy.

“I’m afraid I ‘hear’ everything when we are in such close proximity, husband,” replied T’Pol primly. He could sense her amusement. “Would you like me to teach you some shielding techniques?”

“Some other time darlin’,” he told her. “We’ve gotta figure out what to do about Malcolm first. All that rough stuff’s just whetted his appetite. We’re gonna have a problem unless you tell him you’re not interested. If we let this go too far, I’m gonna hafta get involved, and that’ll blow our cover.”

T’Pol pulled her foot from Trip’s grasp and looked at him in surprise.

“You would allow your jealousy to jeopardize everything we have worked so hard to achieve?” He could feel her disbelief and dread at the idea of losing their careers over something so trivial.

“I admit it… “ Trip told her reluctantly. “… seein’ the way he looks at you sure does make me jealous, but it’s not just that.” He looked aside, tongue tucked into his cheek in frustration, then back at her face again. “You and I both know you’re not interested, but he doesn’t. He’s my friend, T’Pol. You’ve gotta let him know he doesn’t have a chance before he gets too attached. I don’t want him hurt. If you won’t tell him, I won’t have a choice but to tell him you’re mine.”

“Yours?” she repeated with a doubtful expression. “I wasn’t aware that I had become your property.” He felt her annoyance at his choice of words.

“You know that’s not what I meant!” he said angrily. “Why are you being so difficult?” He reached out to place a hand on her arm, trying to make an emotional connection through the barriers she erected when she became angry with him. It was like banging his nose against a brick wall. “I know you feel my jealousy and it disturbs you, T’Pol, but please hear me out… You’re not my property any more than I’m yours…”

The door chime sounded loudly, interrupting his attempt at reconciliation. He sighed and dropped his hand. “We’re not done, T’Pol…,” he whispered as he grabbed his shirt and pulled it back on. “We need to talk about this.”

T’Pol nodded in acknowledgement as she turned immediately to the meditation table in the center of the room, lit the candle, smoothly settled into the seated position facing the door, and closed her eyes. Trip slightly less gracefully folded his long legs under him and sat facing her with his back to the door. The entire procedure took no more than two seconds from start to finish.

“Come in,” T’Pol said calmly, opening her eyes as their visitor entered the room. Ensign Hoshi Sato set one foot into the room, and then realized that Commander T’Pol was not alone.

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“I’m sorry, Commanders. I didn’t mean to interrupt. I’ll just come back another time…, “ she said in a rush, starting to back out of the door again. Her eyes were red, as if she’d been crying. T’Pol could see that she was upset.

“That won’t be necessary, Ensign. Commander Tucker and I were just completing our session,” T’Pol reassured her. “Please come in.”

T’Pol! Trip pleaded with her silently, Let her go! We’ve got things to discuss tonight! He remained seated, his slow breathing rate unaltered. Only his face, unseen by Hoshi, who stood behind him, betrayed his need.

She is distressed, husband. As First Officer, I am responsible for the well-being of the crew. Please allow me to do my job, T’Pol sent back firmly, her face impassive.

Trip’s face hardened. He stood up slowly and nodded briefly to T’Pol, then turned to give Ensign Sato a professional nod as well.

“If you’ll excuse me, ladies...,” he said politely, his face rigid. He turned his back on both of them and left the room. T’Pol could feel his suppressed fury as he strode down the corridor toward his quarters. Her own emotions were in turmoil, and she felt vaguely nauseous. This was not at all similar to their usual disagreements. She did not find the sensation enjoyable in the least.

“Commander, are you all right?” Hoshi asked, concerned about T’Pol’s prolonged silence.

“I was merely thinking, Ensign,” T’Pol replied, pushing aside her personal concerns for the moment and focusing her attention on the young communications officer. She took a deep breath. “You appear to be in some distress. How may I assist you?” she asked matter-of-factly.

Hoshi seemed somewhat taken aback by the commander’s direct approach, but then apparently decided to answer directness with directness.

“I believe you and I have a mutual problem, Commander… “ she told T’Pol with a determined expression. “…a problem by the name of Lieutenant Malcolm Reed.”

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After showering and changing out of his sweats into clean drawstring pants and a t-shirt, Trip was restless. He wasn’t ready to sleep at only 2000 hours, but what he really wanted to do… to confront T’Pol and make her understand that his jealousy was not the threat that she seemed to think it was… was not an option. He decided to walk to Jon’s quarters to see if he’d received any more recordings of games from home. A couple of beers and a good game of water polo might be just what he needed tonight. He walked to the dining hall and grabbed two cold ones from the stasis case, then headed down the corridor toward the captain’s quarters. He heard voices as he approached. Looking around the corner, unseen as yet by the two men standing in the doorway of Jonathan Archer’s quarters, he was confronted with an unexpected sight.

Dr. Phlox stood at the captain’s door, a bottle of blue Andorian ale under one arm. He had a broad smile on his face as the captain motioned him into the room.

“Come on in, Phlox! I’ve got the game cued up and ready to go!”

“I’ve been looking forward to this all day, Jon,” replied Phlox. “You will teach me the rules, won’t you? Water polo is not very well-known on Denobula…”

The door closed behind Phlox as both men entered the room.

Trip was floored. Since when does Phlox call Jon by his first name? he wondered. What else have I been missing since I got married? He shook his head and sighed. I wish I could talk to Malcolm about all this… but he’s got the hots for my wife. He looked down at the two bottles of cold beer in his hands.

“I guess it’s just you an’ me, guys,” he murmured ruefully. “Why don’t we go see if beer tastes better when you drink it in the ‘sweet spot’?”

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At 0700 the following morning, Captain Archer called a meeting of the command staff in his ready room. Enterprise had arrived at her destination. Dr. Phlox had invited the captain to accompany him to the surface, where, after escorting the remains of the Denobulan ambassador and his autopsy findings to the members of the medical community and the ambassador’s family, he planned to introduce his friend to as many of the members of his extended family as he could manage to gather in one place. Archer considered it a diplomatic opportunity, but he wasn’t sure whether he was looking forward to the experience or dreading it.

Commander T’Pol entered the room, closely followed by Ensign Sato and Lieutenant Reed. They sat at the conference table, looking expectantly at the captain. It was 0705.

“Has anyone seen Commander Tucker this morning?” Archer asked. It wasn’t like Trip to be late for a morning briefing. Archer looked at T’Pol questioningly. She regarded him blandly.

“He wasn’t in the dining hall when I left a few minutes ago,” volunteered Hoshi helpfully. She glanced at T’Pol, who gave her a slight nod of thanks.

The ready room doors opened, and Commander Tucker walked in with a cup of coffee in hand. His hair was still wet, and his eyes were bloodshot. He sat down gingerly into a free chair, obviously trying not to make any sudden moves as he did so. He looked up to see every eye in the room focused on him.

“Sorry I’m late…” he said with a weak smile. “… Did I miss anythin’?”

Archer cleared his throat. “All right people, now that everyone’s here, I’d like to hear your departmental reports.”

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At the conclusion of the briefing, Jonathan Archer stopped Trip as he began to follow the others out of the room.

“What’s going on, Trip?” he asked under his breath with a concerned look on his face. “You look like death warmed over this morning. Do you want Phlox to take a look at you before we leave?”

“Don’t worry ‘bout me, Cap’n,” replied Trip with an embarrassed grin. “There’s nothin’ wrong with me that time and aspirin won’t cure.”

Archer’s brows went up in surprise. “Don’t tell me you did this to yourself! I’ve never seen you drink more than two or three at a time… “

“I didn’t mean ta drink more than that this time either, Jon… But after the first couple I guess I started feelin’ a little sorry for myself.” Trip laughed ruefully.

Archer crossed his arms and looked at Trip sternly. “There’s only one thing I can think of that might make you do this. You promised me that there’d be no problems, Trip.” He uncrossed his arms and pointed a finger at his Chief Engineer in admonishment. “Before I get back from Denobula tomorrow, you two better kiss and make up!... That’s an order, Commander!”

Trip straightened to as close an approximation of attention as his hangover would allow. “Aye, aye, Cap’n!” he said loudly with a wide grin, then winced and grabbed his head as Archer left the ready room.

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At the end of his duty shift, Trip reported to the acting captain’s quarters as ordered. He wasn’t sure what to expect, considering the fact that his wife obviously thought it necessary to pull rank on him in order to convince him to talk to her. His hangover symptoms were nearly gone, except for the mild remnant of a headache.

She must really think I’m furious with her, he thought. He had been the night before… but not any longer. It’s amazing how she can push my buttons, and then…just a few minutes later… all the anger is gone, and all that’s left is sadness that we’re not understanding each other. He shook his head, and then pressed the door chime, determined this time not to lose his temper, no matter what happened.

“Come in,” came T’Pol’s soft reply. It sounded muffled, as if she were at a distance from the door. He entered the room, the door closing behind him.

The lights in T’Pol’s quarters were dimmed. There were three lit meditation candles on the low table in the center of the room. The only other light came from the open door of the bathroom. There was no sign of T’Pol.

“T’Pol?” called Trip uncertainly.

T’Pol stepped into the bathroom doorway, her body silhouetted by the light from the room behind her. She wore a nearly transparent black negligee whose V shaped neckline ended just above her navel. The hem ended at mid-thigh, leaving a seemingly endless stretch of slim bronze leg bare for his perusal. Trip swallowed and stared, stricken speechless by the sight.

“I am here, husband,” she whispered. “I had to be certain it was you before I came out in this...garment.” Her expression was uncertain… perhaps even a little embarrassed.

Trip took a deep breath and finally found his tongue. “I have never in my life seen anything more beautiful than you are tonight,” he told her softly. “That’s not exactly Starfleet issue…,” he added with a smile. “Where did you…?”

“Ensign Sato insisted that I borrow it,” T’Pol replied. “She was firm in her belief that this was appropriate attire for a proper… apology.” T’Pol left the doorway and slowly entered the room, making her way to where he stood transfixed in its center. Placing both arms around his neck, she pulled his mouth down to hers and slowly explored it with her lips and tongue. Trip met her explorations with his own, and lifted the hem of the silky bit of nothing she wore to stroke the smoothness of her bare back and hips. He groaned when she broke away. Her eyes fixed on his face in the near darkness.

Please forgive me, t’hy’la. Trip heard clearly in his mind the words she would never be able to bring herself to say aloud. I allowed my fear of discovery to impair my trust in you. I know that you would never do anything to risk our careers unless there were no other alternative… and… I am yours, just as you are mine.

I’m sorry I got so mad, darlin’. Trip smiled at her apologetically. I just get scared when you shut me out like that. I’ve gotten so used to knowin’ what you’re thinkin’ that when your barriers go up it leaves me feelin’ mighty lonely.

T’Pol released his neck and ran both hands down the center of his chest, unbuttoning his jacket as she gently kissed the side of his neck. He shrugged off the jacket as she pushed both hands beneath his undershirt, caressing the smooth skin of his back as he cupped her face in both hands and gently kissed her lips. She brought a hand to his face, softly tracing the outline of his lips with one finger and gazing deeply into his eyes.

“Would you like for me to assist you with dispelling these feelings of loneliness, Commander?” she asked in a dry professional tone completely at odds with her wanton appearance and behavior.

Trip chuckled and claiming her lips again with his, said softly into her mouth, “Aye, aye, Cap’n. I sure would!”

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Lieutenant Malcolm Reed walked into the Armory at 1755. Commander T’Pol and Commander Tucker were already present, both dressed in rather baggy Starfleet standard issue sweat suits. They were engaged in a partnered stretching routine that they appeared to have done together many times, their movements in perfect synchronization without a single word being spoken. They finished in unison, and then T’Pol turned and addressed the Lieutenant.

“We will need to leave the class a bit early this evening, Mr. Reed. The captain has requested our presence at dinner at 2000 hours,” she told him, walking toward him where he stood on the periphery of the mats. Trip followed her, standing immediately behind her as she spoke to Malcolm. He neither touched T’Pol nor looked at her, but the look he gave Malcolm was one hundred percent pure possessive male.

“Hi, Mal,” Trip said with a smile. “What’s on the demonstration schedule tonight?”

Malcolm Reed looked from one of them to the other with a puzzled look on his face. Was it possible that he’d misinterpreted the situation?

“I thought I’d have T’Pol demonstrate some things the students have been asking about,” he said hesitantly, still unsure of the significance of their behavior. “T’Pol told me this morning that one of the ensigns wants to learn some take-down moves which would immobilize but not injure an attacker.”

Trip suppressed a smile. “I guess she’s afraid she might be attacked by someone she doesn’t want to permanently damage,” he said, biting his lip afterwards to keep from laughing.

T’Pol considered his explanation with great seriousness, and then nodded. “I suppose there might be some utility in that, although such techniques would be inadvisable in a life threatening situation.”

“I don’t think that’s what she’s planning to use them for,” Malcolm replied, with a sidelong glance and a grin at Trip. “Although, I might take it upon myself to help her practice… just to be certain she’ll be able to use them effectively.”

“I’m certain that she would appreciate your assistance, Lieutenant.” T’Pol said. She looked over Malcolm’s shoulder as their students began to arrive.

Malcolm turned to greet the new arrivals and stopped in his tracks with a rather comically stunned expression on his face. While all of the other members of the class wore their usual nondescript Starfleet issue sweats, Hoshi Sato had opted for a change in wardrobe. It was, in fact, the identical clothing that T’Pol had worn to her first demonstration, but Malcolm didn’t know that, and he was smitten. The skin-tight sweat pants and midriff baring t-shirt that Hoshi wore showed curves that he’d no idea she possessed. She walked toward him, maintaining eye contact as she approached. When she reached a distance close enough to touch him, she smiled in a way better suited to the bedroom than the Armory.

“Was that an offer of private lessons I heard, Lieutenant?”

“It was you that… I mean you’re the one that wants to…,” Malcolm stammered.

“A girl never knows when she might need to pin a guy down and make him behave,” replied Hoshi, blatantly giving Malcolm the once over, then smiling as if she liked what she saw very much.

Malcolm turned bright red from his hairline to his collar, smiled weakly at Hoshi, and then cleared his throat. He looked back at the rest of the class, who were all watching his interaction with Hoshi with amused smiles on their faces.

“All right ladies!” he called, sneaking another look at Hoshi. She caught him looking and winked. He immediately looked away and redirected his attention to the entire group. “Let’s get started!” he said.

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T’Pol calmly sat and ate vegetarian pizza with a knife and fork, fascinated by the antics of her dinner companions. Trip was laughing so hard he had tears on his face. Captain Archer was regaling them with tales of his trip to Denobula. Phlox sat on the captain’s left, and Trip sat on his right.

“Jon…,” chuckled Phlox. “Tell them…” He broke out in laughter, unable to complete his sentence. “Tell them what Feezal said when we finished dinner.” He pressed his lips together, forcing himself to stop laughing, and waited for Trip’s reaction to the captain’s tale, eyes twinkling merrily.

Jonathan Archer grinned broadly as he took a bite of pepperoni pizza and washed it down with a swig of root beer.

“Okay, Phlox… okay!” he said good-naturedly. Turning to Trip and T’Pol, Archer said, “We’d just finished this huge five course meal for forty people… and that was just immediate family, mind you… when Feezal comes out with… and this was at the dinner table…’Well, Jonathan, I wonder who we can find for you to sleep with tonight?’!”

“Nooo! You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me!” laughed Trip.

“I swear! I’m not kidding! Come to find out, the house was so full of everyone who came to visit Phlox that poor Feezal had to put two in every bed. I ended up bunking with her third husband, Jaxin.” Archer rolled his eyes and took another swig of root beer.

“Why, Jon,” Phlox said in reproach. “Jaxin is a fine fellow! He’s my favorite of all my wives’ other husbands.”

“I’m sure he’s a great guy while he’s awake, Phlox,” replied Archer ruefully, “But when he’s asleep he snores as loud as Lieutenant Reed’s tactical alert siren.”

This statement triggered another round of uncontrolled hilarity. T’Pol swallowed her last forkful of pizza, and dabbing at the corners of her mouth with a napkin, sat back in her chair to watch Trip’s face, quietly enjoying his happiness.

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Trip entered his quarters and headed straight for the shower, stretching wearily as he pulled his shirt over his head. The evening’s meditation with T’Pol had been wonderfully relaxing, and then she’d surprised him by aggressively taking the lead in a bout of lovemaking that rivaled their first night together in the Expanse. He shook his head and chuckled as he stepped beneath the showerhead. Although he could always sense when she desired him, exactly what caused that desire to overwhelm her at times remained a mystery to him. He supposed he could always try to use their telepathic bond to explore the question, but he found that the capriciousness of her desire for him… one moment ice queen… the next moment passionate sexual aggressor… added spice to their relationship.

Trip toweled off and dressed in t-shirt and shorts, and then fell into bed with a sigh. Before he’d left her quarters that night, T’Pol had asked him to enter mediation for a few moments after he got into bed. She’d said she “wanted to try something new”. Trip was exhausted, and briefly considered simply falling asleep, but it had seemed important to T’Pol that he do as she had asked, so he closed his eyes as he lay on his bunk, and, breathing deeply, searched for T’Pol’s mind in meditation. Opening his eyes, he found himself facing her in the white space.

Hi there, beautiful, he said, gazing at her with a smile as she stood there dressed in her blue silk pajamas.

Come, husband, she answered, gently reaching up to stroke his cheek, and then taking him by the hand. They turned, and he saw the circular sleeping platform from the temple chamber where they’d spent their wedding night materialize from the whiteness. He looked at T’Pol quizzically. She led him to the platform and gently pulled him down to lie with her among the pillows, kissed him softly on the forehead, and then rested her head on his shoulder. He took her in his arms, pulling her back tightly against him, and, inhaling the sweet fragrance of her hair, fell peacefully asleep with a contented smile.

T’Pol waited until she was certain that Trip was sound asleep, and then withdrew slowly from the meditative state. She opened her eyes and wearily rose from her seat on the floor. She was pleased by the success of her experiment, despite the considerable mental effort that maintaining the illusion had required.

It will undoubtedly become easier with practice, she decided. And even if it does not… His smile of pure bliss replayed in her mind. …it is most definitely a worthwhile expenditure of effort, she thought. She climbed into bed and lay back with a satisfied sigh.

“Good night, t’hy’la,” she whispered, not risking mental communication to avoid waking him. “Sleep well.”

End

 


Comments:

Asso

Enthralling!

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