"The Right Tool for the Job"
Rating: R (adult themes, nothing explicit)
"What is it?" T'Pol was staring down at the smooth metal object in her hand. It looked like...
"It's called a vibrator," Trip said.
She raised an eyebrow.
He reached over and twisted the base. Indeed, it began to vibrate.
"What purpose does this serve?"
Tucker smiled and raised his eyebrows. "Can't you guess?"
She had learned some time ago that it was not a good idea to guess about anything having to do with sex. Trip might dissolve into a fit of hysterical laughter, or he might sulk for days. It was impossible to predict. So she just looked at him and waited.
He turned pink. "It helps a woman have a good time. Thus the shape. Well, not just women, I guess."
"Why would I require such an item?"
"I'm not saying you do. At all." He smiled. "But, um..." He swallowed hard. "With this, you definitely don't need me to have a good time."
She stared at him. Was he - what was the word - dumping her? And providing this... this tool in return?
He brushed his hand softly on her cheek. "I'd like to know that we're together because the whole relationship matters to you, not just this. So... here's another option for you. If this does the trick, and you don't really need all the rest of it...."
She sank down onto the bunk.
"T'Pol?" he said.
"If you do not wish to continue our relationship, I hardly require a mechanical substitute."
"I didn't say I didn't want to continue our relationship. I just want to know that we have a relationship that consists of more than sex."
"I would have thought that was self-evident."
He stared sadly down at her. "Not to me. I mean, I know we have this bond, and I know we're friends and colleagues, and I know we had Elizabeth... I guess I just want to know if we're more than just ... you know, all that ... with benefits."
She looked up at him. The vast gulf between Vulcan and Human was so wide sometimes that it filled her with pessimism. "And all that is not sufficient?"
"I thought it would be," he said, gesturing with his hands. "But I'm not sure anymore. Because I'm not sure what all that is. Two Humans would talk about how much they love each other, but you can't do that. Humans would make plans to have a family together, or they would get married, or at least announce to the world that they are couple, and you don't seem too interested in any of that, either. I don't know what Vulcans do, but whatever it is I don't see any sign that you're doing it with me. So I figured a logical test would be to see what happens if you have a way to achieve sexual satisfaction without me."
"Sexual satisfaction is largely irrelevant in Vulcan relationships. Vulcans mate for life."
"Okay, but I'm not Vulcan."
"But I am."
"So what are you saying, T'Pol? That we're mated for life? End of story?"
"I don't know, because you are not Vulcan, although you do seem to suffer some of the symptoms associated with a mate bond. However, you also seem to feel a metal object can serve as a satisfactory substitute for a mate. Apparently, among humans one's relationship depends largely upon the satisfactory achievement of orgasms."
He rolled his eyes. "You're not getting it at all. For a mate, maybe yes - or maybe getting a kid out of it, if you want to look at it biologically. But for the love of your life, that's not what matters. At least, that's not what it's all about. It's about commitment. "
"Commitment is irrelevant among Vulcans. You are mated, or you are not. Commitment implies a choice."
Tucker's face scrunched up in frustration. "Which is exactly what's driving me crazy! Here I am, and I'm supposed to commit to a woman who doesn't have the freedom to choose me - she's just stuck."
"I suppose that is essentially the case," T'Pol said. "And this bothers you."
"So, you wish to 'break up' and give me this tool instead."
"No. No. That's not what I wish. Of course not. This is just an ... an... exploration."
For the first time, T'Pol understood how insulting that word must have seemed to him at that breakfast table so long ago. "And I am your lab rat," she said.
He stared at her for a long moment. "Look. I love you. I love you with all my heart. I just want to know that you love me too. Is that so much to ask?"
She considered just saying, "Of course I love you," since that apparently was all he needed to hear, but she just couldn't bring herself to do it. It would feel too false. "I can try to show you exactly what you mean to me, but it will mean that you will have access to all of it - not just the affection, but the frustrations and the disappointments as well. And I will see the same from you. Are you truly willing to experience this?"
"You're talking about a mind meld?"
"Yes. I am not sure it is a good idea. I am not sure our relationship will survive. It is possible that there are some things better left unknown about one's partner."
"All I know is that I need more than this."
She swallowed. It seemed there was no other option. She lifted her hand to his face, spread her fingers, closed her eyes, felt for that ineffable whisper of another's katra. "My mind to your mind..."
She felt her consciousness slip into that essence that was so familiar but so much stronger here and immediately she felt the love the need the hurt the anger the hunger to know the immense frustration the helpless desire to possess and yes she wanted to be possessed she wanted him to possess her so she gave a little gasp and let her own barriers down, gave him access to all of it, to the great shameful naked morass of her own needs and wants.
And all the time in the back of her mind she was thinking that if this didn't work, if this had been a disastrously bad idea, if he left her now, she would just die.
Oh his voice said in her head, oh no, sweetheart beloved darling my heart, and then they were both gasping back to themselves.
"Why didn't you just say so?" he said.
"That you would want to die."
"I believe that would have had the effect of coercing your continued involvement."
"Then you're not so different after all," he said. "You want me to be here because I want to be here."
He stepped forward to kiss her. They kissed long and hard. Mind melds were no substitute for this.
They broke apart breathlessly. "I do not believe I will be requiring your vibrating device after all," she said.
He grinned. "That doesn't mean it can't still come in handy," he said, and lifted his hand to unzip her catsuit. "You might just be surprised at what a fine piece of equipment can do in the hands of a talented engineer."
She shivered in anticipation. "Show me," she said.
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