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By Eian Flannagan

Rating: G
Disclaimer: Paramount owns the sandbox. I'm just taking a shovel to it.
Genre: TnT Romance
Description: Some future time in the Happy Medium Universe.

Author's Note: "Bond-speak" is denoted by the italicized words in bold.



  1. 1. Soft speech produced without full voice.
  2. 2. Something uttered very softly.
  3. 3. A secretly or surreptitiously expressed belief, rumor, or hint.
  4. 4. A low rustling sound

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company

Trip twisted his torso back and forth, stretching his muscles as he took in the bustling marketplace.  His curious gaze could hardly settle on any one display before flitting off to yet another, his ears reveling in the sounds of a new cultural experience.  He shrugged his shoulders as though donning a cloak of contentment.

 "Come on, T'Pol, let's head over that way."  He eagerly pointed toward some garishly colored blankets hanging from a merchant stall off to the left.

 T'Pol rolled her eyes as she got a good look at the merchant's wares.  We are not purchasing any of these for our quarters, Adun.  They are hideous.  She was not nearly as comfortable in the cacophonous environment as was her husband.  Her senses were warding off a brutality not felt since she was held up for bidding at an Orion slave auction.

 Trip made a funny face at her.  Not all of them are terrible.  Here's a nice one.  He held up a fabric woven with threads of muted earth tones. 

 T'Pol cocked her eyebrow.  "Indeed.  That one is not terribly displeasing."

 Trip opened his mouth to retort but stopped at the look on the Vulcan's face.  Her features had suddenly settled into a picture of quiet concentration, her gaze unfocused, as though turned inward.

 "What is it?"

 Dissonance.  Her head tipped slightly to the side as she turned toward a sound Trip couldn't hear.

 "What d'ya mean by that, T'Pol?"  Trip couldn't see anything amiss from the direction she was indicating.  I need specifics.

 With an involuntary wince at a sharp change in pitch, she turned back toward her mate.  She started to describe the sound while she had the opportunity but was quickly silenced by a piercing whistle. 

 She never got a second chance.

*** *** *** *** ***

 Trip twisted his torso back and forth, slumped against one of the walls in sickbay; exhaustion draping his frame like a shroud.  His listless gaze could hardly settle on any one spot, his ears fruitlessly straining for a Vulcan voice.  He shrugged his shoulders as a general cloud of discontent enveloped his person.

 Though devoid of human or Denobulan voices, the facility was anything but silent.  Phlox's creatures scrabbled around in their enclosures, chirped in their cages, warbled from their pens.

 But for all the soft sounds of sickbay, his mind was quiet.  Dissonance.  Too quiet.

 And he hated it.

 A slow chant began in his head. Dakh pthak. Nam-tor ri ret na'fan-kitok fa tu dakh pthak.1  It didn't even occur to him he was thinking in Vulcan.  It had become "habit" to think of Surak's teachings in such a manner.  Dakh pthak. Nam-tor ri ret na'fan-kitok fa tu dakh pthak

 He shoved away from the wall and collapsed into a chair next to one of the beds.

 Dakh pthak. Nam-tor ri ret na'fan-kitok fa tu dakh pthak

 He wished she'd wake up.  There had been a time when he'd never ever thought he'd enjoy the presence of someone else in his head.

 Until she disappeared. 

 Now he figured he probably knew how the hollow tree felt.  It would take but the slightest push from without to cause the greatest of crumbling within.  Where are you, T'Pol?

 Dakh pthak. Nam-tor ri ret na'fan-kitok fa tu dakh pthak.   Trip thought about that for a minute, wondering exactly what he was afraid of.  And quickly concluded the answer was rather simple.

 Permanent silence.  Because that would mean the unthinkable.

 It had already been twelve hours which, somewhere around the seventh, had started feeling like an eternity.

 Dissonance.  A freak accident.  Wrong place, wrong time.  Wrong.  Trip sighed in disgust and crossed his arms over his chest.  Everything about this was wrong.  T'Pol was one of the strongest people he knew.  It was wrong that the weaker human standing right next to her had escaped the explosion virtually unscathed. 

 That thought gave Trip pause.  He leaned back in his chair, a thoughtful expression falling across his countenance.  T'Pol was physically strong where Trip was weak.  True.  But T'Pol was also fragile where Trip was stout.

 Rigid where he was laid-back.

 Delicate where he was coarse.

 Abrupt where he was sensitive.

 Calm where he was crazed.

 Thoughtful where he was blasé.

 Was loved where he was cherished.

 Loved where he adored.

 Trip smiled.  Dissonance.  He found that rather fitting, all things considered.

 He leaned forward to take another long look at the woman who'd captured him so completely he truly wondered if he'd be able to live without her.  And that, too, was completely fitting given that she would, more than likely, be unable to continue without him.  Her skin was pale.  Angry bruises marred the smooth flesh, her face and torso a riotous mixture of every shade of green imaginable. 

 Angry bruises marred Trip's heart, his face a riotous mixture of pain, compassion, anger, and defeat. 

 Dakh pthak. Nam-tor ri ret na'fan-kitok fa tu dakh pthak

 He reached for one of her hands.

 Dakh pthak. Nam-tor ri ret na'fan-kitok fa tu dakh pthak

 He stroked his first two fingers down the back of T'Pol's, hoping against hope to feel something.

 And to his surprise and immense relief, he did.  It wasn't strong.  It wasn't defined.  But there was definitely reciprocal sensation now where previously only emptiness had resided.

 He cleared his mind of everything except their bond and concentrated.  It was elusive.  An amalgamation of sensations, feelings, memories; nothing to which he could grab hold. 


 He received no response.

 This continued for the next several hours.  Phlox and the Captain both came and went, unsuccessful in their attempts to get him to rest.  Every thirty minutes or so, he would pick up T'Pol's hand and attempt to garner a reaction.

 It was now the wee hours.  A new ship's day fast approaching.  Shortly after his latest attempt at "communication," Trip groaned and scrubbed his hands vigorously through his hair before leaning forward with his face buried in them. 

 Dakh pthak. Nam-tor ri ret na'fan-kitok fa tu dakh pthak.

 "I'm workin' on it, Old Man," he muttered, his voice muffled and defeated.

 And then there it was.

 A rustle of cloth against skin. 

 And a "tickle" in his mind.

 He lifted his head and stared hard at T'Pol's face.  He reached down and grasped her hand.  T'Pol?

 Surak is not an 'Old Man.' 

 Even her mental voice sounded weak to Trip.  His eyes watered in reaction.

 If I'd known that was all it took to getcha to wake up, I'd of insulted the guy hours ago! 

 He smiled down at her, gazing in abject wonder through blurry eyes, and waited.

 Her lashes fluttered against sallow skin before slowly cracking open.  Her lips moved in silence.  Trip leaned down and brushed his cheek against hers, his ear close and starving for sound.

 And was rewarded with the shallowest of whispers.  "Ashayam."


--- --- ----


1Cast out fear. There is no room for anything else until you cast out fear.





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