Rating: PG-13, for violence, sexual situations, and mild language
T’Pol curled her slim body tightly under the lowest shelf of the walk-in pantry in her new husband’s huge kitchen. The house was enormous, with many places to hide, but this was a place, she had found, where he rarely ventured, leaving food preparation to his staff. She raised her sleeve to her mouth again to staunch the bleeding, looking ruefully down at the messy green stains on her once beautiful wedding gown. Wrapping both arms around her knees, her adolescent body aching, her heart still pounding, and her face still tear-stained in the aftermath of the first terrifying Pon Farr with her new husband,
T’Pol held her breath as she heard heavy footsteps enter the kitchen. In a menacing voice totally unlike his usual calm, rational tones, Sorlok called to her.
“T’Pol! Come here, girl! If you don’t come out now, I’ll just get angry, and then I’ll have to hurt you…, ” he growled. “ Don’t make me hurt you!”
The pantry door crashed open, and a disheveled middle-aged Vulcan male reached for her with both hands. His fingers, impossibly strong, closed around her neck
as she fought to breathe…
T’Pol awoke gasping in her quarters on Enterprise, her body drenched in sweat, the room pungent with the smell of terror. Eyes wide, she deliberately slowed her rate of breathing, closed her eyes in resignation, then, with a sigh, wearily got out of bed, sat on the floor and began to meditate…. again.
Charles “Trip” Tucker stumbled blearily into the dining hall that morning, mumbled, “Coffee…hot…black” to the drink dispenser, and caught sight of Malcolm at a table nearby. He ambled slowly to the table, rubbing his eyes with finger and thumb.
“You look like you haven’t slept in a week!” Malcolm remarked, eyeing him worriedly over his morning Earl Grey.
Trip blinked at him, took a gulp of hot coffee, wincing as it burned his mouth. “More like two weeks! The repairs after the Orion incident keep me working late, and I guess I’m just not used to being back on Enterprise yet. I just can’t sleep.” Trip deliberately avoided elaborating. He didn’t think the nightmares and the strange waking dreams that left him alternately terrified and unbearably aroused were the best topic of morning conversation.
“Maybe you should talk to T’Pol about restarting neuropressure sessions. They seemed to work well when you couldn’t sleep a few months ago.”, commented Malcolm, a sly look on his face. “Besides, it wouldn’t hurt to try again with her. The whole ship’s got you two paired up anyway, so you might as well give it a shot.”
Trip looked at him in disgust. “ You know I’ve tried talking to that stubborn woman at least a half-dozen times since I came back on board. She just gives me that deadpan Vulcan eyebrow of hers, like she doesn’t care much to socialize with the likes of me. I sure can’t figure out why I should make the effort if she won’t. “
Malcolm tipped his head to a table behind Trip. “Don’t look now, but there she is!”, he whispered with a grin. His expression became more serious as he got a good look at her.
“Trip… maybe you should check on her. She looks awful!”
Trip turned, and found T’Pol gazing at him from across the dining hall. She looked even thinner than she had been two weeks earlier when he arrived back on Enterprise. Her face was drawn and pale, and she had dark circles under her eyes. As his eyes met hers, he felt himself drawn into another waking dream.
“Shhh, Honey. It’s all right.”, he said, his heart breaking. He took her in his arms and held her tightly, rocking back and forth while murmuring soft words of comfort. “I won’t let him hurt you anymore, Baby.”
Trip was startled back to reality by Malcolm practically shouting in his ear.
“You’ve been staring off into space entirely too often for my liking!” Malcolm said in a puzzled tone of voice. “ What’s wrong with you?”
Trip looked around the dining room. T’Pol was gone.
“Where’d she go?” he asked Malcolm.
“I’m assuming you mean T’Pol. “ said Malcolm dryly. “You spaced out and lost your chance. She finished whatever she was drinking…”
“Chamomile tea…” murmured Trip.
“…And then she left. For a moment I thought she might come over here, the way she was looking at you, but she just started staring off into space,… rather the way you were doing a few moments ago, as a matter of fact… then got up and left in a bit of a hurry.” Malcolm stared at Trip thoughtfully.
“Are you sure you’re all right? Perhaps you should see the doctor.”
“No…, “ said Trip, with a sigh. “But I think I know who I do need to see.”
“Come in, Trip.” said T’Pol quietly. As she stepped aside he saw that she was dressed for meditation in a comfortable robe, and there were meditation cushions on the floor on either side of her candle. She refused to meet his gaze when he sought hers, but she seemed better rested and less fragile than she had that morning.
“Expecting someone?” Trip asked, eyeing the arrangement of the room.
“ After what happened in the dining room this morning, I knew you would come for an explanation. “ T’Pol said softly, her eyes meeting his briefly, seemingly with embarrassment, before looking down at the floor again.
“Please sit down…. Would you like some tea?” she inquired.
Trip stopped short in the middle of the room, crossed his arms on his chest, and looked at her in consternation.
“Tea!!…” He blurted out, his voice raised in frustration. “I don’t want tea! I want to get my hands on the sonofabitch that you’re dreaming about and break his neck! That’s what I want!”
T’Pol looked at him in surprise and reached out a hand to calm him.
“Trip, what you saw happened over 30 years ago. Sorlok is dead for nearly seven years. Sit down and let me explain before you get so upset.”
As T’Pol touched his arm, Trip was inundated through their bond with her uncontrolled fear, guilt and an overpowering sexual desire. Instinctively, he did what he had been doing for the past two weeks when these feelings overwhelmed him. By sheer force of will he dampened the fear and guilt down to tolerable levels, then projected affection and his own brand of sexual desire back at her. She blinked twice, then visibly relaxed, finally meeting his eyes and saying with astonishment, “You’re getting very good at that!”
Trip gave her an exasperated look.
“It’s out of self-defense! I can’t function with all that in my head!”
“Trip, I’m sorry.” T’Pol said with embarrassment. “It’s just that physical proximity makes the bond much stronger, and I have had a great deal of difficulty with control recently. I meditate for hours, but nothing seems to help.”
Trip looked at her beseechingly. “You’ve got to tell me how I can help! These nightmares are keeping us both up, and the daydreams are getting dangerously distracting. The only thing I know how to do is to counter the feelings I’m getting with some of my own.” He closed his eyes and made an effort to calm himself, then opened them again and met her gaze solemnly. “It’s time to tell me what’s going on, T’Pol. You’re making yourself sick trying to do this alone.”
T’Pol pulled him down to the cushions on the floor and settled near him, trying to collect her thoughts. Then she met his eyes squarely.
“Sorlok was my first husband.” she said softly.
Trip’s jaw dropped in surprise, then he shut it with an effort and swallowed.
“Go on.”, he said, with a sick look on his face.
“My parents promised me to him when I was a child, after the death of his first wife. Vulcans often take young second spouses, as most older Vulcans are already bonded. He was nearly a hundred years older than I; a respected scientist within the Science Directorate. Before we married, he was very gentle with me. I appreciated the fact that, despite our age difference, he always respected my opinions and treated me as an adult. At our bonding ceremony, during my first Pon Farr, he was so kind…”
“Pon Farr?” asked Trip. “I’ve never heard that term before.”
“Pon Farr is a subject Vulcans don’t consider polite to discuss…” T’Pol explained. “Rather like humans refrain from discussing the elimination of bodily wastes at the dinner table.”, she said with deadpan humor.
Trip smiled weakly at the analogy and nodded encouragingly.
“Every seven years…”, T’Pol went on. “…adult Vulcans lose the ability to control their emotions and are compelled to mate. This is a biological need, not a choice. We die if mating does not occur. Most Vulcans simply experience a heightened emotional state and insatiable sexual desire for several days. Sorlok was an anomaly. He became violent. He experienced murderous rages, and enjoyed inflicting injury while he was in Pon Farr. After our first Pon Farr together, when he fractured my jaw and right arm, and nearly beat me into unconsciousness, I made a point of learning martial arts. Afterwards he was only able to catch me off guard once, on the day he died. Unfortunately, because of his violent nature, I was never able to risk more than the single mating absolutely required for our survival at each Pon Farr. I believe that is why we never had children.”
“How long were you married to him?”, asked Trip, with morbid curiosity.
“We were married for thirty-eight years.”, T’Pol admitted reluctantly, with a rueful look on her face, as if she realized the decision to stay was not entirely logical. “You need to understand, Trip. Pon Farr was only for a few days every seven years. For the rest of our time together, Sorlok was an unfailingly polite, intelligent, interesting man. He taught me so much about the politics of the Science Directorate. Without his influence I would never have gotten my post on Earth, and would not be on Enterprise now!”
Trip gave her a begrudging nod and sighed resignedly.
“Okay, so he was a great husband except when he was trying to kill you!” he growled sarcastically. “ What happened to cause his death?”
“Well… actually… Koss killed him.” said T’Pol matter-of-factly.
“Koss?! The guy you married and divorced a couple of months ago? That Koss?” demanded an astonished Trip.
“Koss was a protégée of Sorlok’s within the Science Directorate. He spent a good deal of time at our home during our marriage, and developed an attraction to me which I did not return. Unfortunately, he also became aware over the years of Sorlok’s violent tendencies.” T’Pol gave a rueful grimace and an apologetic shrug. “I never encouraged him, but he always seemed to pay a great deal of attention to the minor injuries I was unable to conceal after each Pon Farr. During my last Pon Farr with Sorlok, Koss entered our home uninvited, carrying a phase pistol. He surprised Sorlok in the act of beating me, and shot him on the stun setting to protect me.”
T’Pol’s face was haunted as she recalled the event.
“Sorlok’s heart wasn’t strong. I didn’t know it at the time, but he’d been seeing a physician for heart disease for quite some time. He couldn’t tolerate being stunned. He died that day.”
“What happened to Koss?” inquired Trip.
“ I lied to protect him. He’d saved my life. That day Sorlok nearly beat me to death. We disposed of the phase pistol. Investigation revealed that Sorlok had died of a coronary infarction… an unfortunate consequence of the exertions of Pon Farr. Koss offered to replace Sorlok as my husband when my next Pon Farr made it necessary. You know the rest.”
“Damn!” exclaimed Trip in reluctant admiration. “ I didn’t know Koss had it in him! I’ll have to shake that Vulcan’s hand the next time I see him!”
He sighed and sank back into the cushions with a puzzled look on his face. “But, T’Pol… Why now? Why the nightmares if this happened so many years ago?”
T’Pol met his eyes with a tortured look on her face. “Trip… My next Pon Farr may only be weeks away. I have spent every Pon Farr of my life, except the first, in one-on-one combat with a homicidal Vulcan. I am stronger than you are and better trained. I am very fearful of injuring you without intending to do so. For your safety, it would be better for me to leave Enterprise before then.”
Trip looked at her in surprise and exasperation. “So you’re going to go off somewhere and quite possibly die instead of letting me help you through this! That’s the stupidest, most illogical thing I have ever heard in my life! If you wanna teach me Vulcan martial arts so I can defend myself just in case….Fine! If you wanna have Phlox confine us to isolation so he can sedate you if things get too violent….Fine! But I won’t allow you to kill yourself to protect me! That is not an option!”
T’Pol said quietly, --were those tear-filled eyes focused on his?--, “I would not wish to live if allowed myself to do to you what Sorlok did to me.”
“Sweetheart…” he said, surprising them both with the unexpected endearment, “I could never hurt you, and I promise I won’t let you hurt me.” He held her tightly for a few moments, then gently pushed away, surreptitiously wiping his own eyes.
“Now…” he continued in a businesslike fashion, “give me some ideas about what we can do to make these dreams go away so we can get some sleep! All this sharing is great and all, but I’m liable to get cranky if I don’t get at least one night of sleep in the next couple weeks!”
His attempt at humor caused an answering gleam in T’Pol’s eyes, as she wiped tears from her face. A thoughtful look came over her face, as if she’d just had an idea.
“Perhaps we should try neuropressure?” She suggested.
Trip’s eyes widened, remembering the outcome of their last neuropressure session, the he shrugged with feigned nonchalance.
“Okay… I’m game.” He said, and reached to pull off his shirt.
T’Pol reached out with one hand to touch his bare chest. This time the flow of emotion from her was nearly free of fear and guilt, but the desire was absolutely overwhelming. Trip’s breathing rate doubled. He felt flushed and warm. T’Pol began stroking his chest gently.
“Um….T’Pol?” Trip asked in a rather strangled voice.
“Yes, Trip?” T’Pol responded in a distracted manner, her eyes fixed on the way his chest rose and fell with his breathing as if the sight were the most fascinating thing she had ever seen.
“I was thinking… maybe we should try what humans usually do when they have an …um…really strong need for something.”
“ What are you talking about?” T’Pol asked in a puzzled tone, focused now on the feel of his skin beneath her fingers.
“ I get the impression from the feelings you’re sending me that you’re having trouble controlling certain…needs.”
“So what do you suggest?” T’Pol stopped her exploration of his chest, and met his eyes with her own.
Gathering his wits with effort, Trip took a deep breath, let it out , then took her face gently in both hands and leaned forward until his lips were nearly touching hers. She held her breath, transfixed by his gaze.
Trip whispered, ”When humans have a desire for something, we don’t suppress it…we satisfy it.” As his lips met hers, her response to his suggestion propelled him backwards to the floor, their bodies molded to each other, all thought of guilt, fear or past trauma forgotten in the moment.
Trip pulled his lips from hers and whispered in her ear, “You may have mated before, Sweetheart, but tonight I’m gonna teach you how to make love!”
T’Pol’s answering kiss proved she was eager for the lessons to begin.
Like it? Hate it? Just want to point out a typo? Join the discussion now.
Disclaimer: Star Trek in all its various forms and its characters are the property of CBS/Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended by the authors of this site, which is solely for the purpose of entertainment and is not for profit. This site is owned by CX and was opened to the public in February 2008.