Title: Tea and Sympathy
Author: PJ in NH
Code: T'P, R
Date: September 11, 2003
Summary: Xinda Coda. T'Pol speaks to Malcolm about what happened between her and Trip.
It was fleeting but I could feel the connection. It was strong and cut through me like a phaser blast.
She knew. She knew better than anyone else on board the struggle I faced everyday balancing the safety of the ship and of the crew with that of our captain's goals.
I knew when we entered the Delphic Expanse we would be taking more risks than we had faced in the past. But I also knew that if we were to destroy or seriously cripple Enterprise and its crew before we accomplished our objective, it would be all for naught.
She too had been confronted with the same conflicts ever since she boarded the ship over two years ago. It was a battle between her Vulcan logic and beliefs, and that of a Human captain and crew – with the exception of the doctor of course.
I'd wanted to say something to her about this for a long time. And there we were, alone.
"I respect you a great deal," I told her.
"Indeed." was all she said but her dark gaze never faltered.
I ventured further into unknown territory. "You may not know this," I dropped my eyes momentarily but quickly focused on her again, "but I admire you, T'Pol." And it's true I do admire her.
"And I you, Mr. Reed."
I bobbed my head, cleared my throat and in an instance the moment had passed.
I thought the connection the two of us had established that afternoon had been all but forgotten when suddenly one morning, shortly after that Xindi had died, she came to see me. I had just showered and dressed for the day when I heard my door chime sound. I don't know what I had expected to find on the other side of my door that morning, but it certainly wasn't the Sub-Commander.
"May I speak with you?" she said in a rush.
I nodded again and stepped aside to allow her entrance into my cabin. She walked passed me and I followed allowing the door to slide shut behind us. When she turned toward me she had her arms crossed over her chest and she looked lost.
"Sub-Commander?" I prompted.
"I probably shouldn't be here," she said not able to look me in the eye. "It is not appropriate."
I wanted to approach her and comfort her as it seemed to me she looked distressed, but I knew she being a Vulcan would consider it to be a great intrusion upon her personal space.
"Why don't you tell me why you came, then we can determine whether or not it's appropriate or not?" I offered, I tried to keep my voice calm and in control.
Suddenly she looked up at me. "I have to speak to someone," she said abruptly.
"About what? What happened, T'Pol?" I asked, this time feeling it would be appropriate to use her name and not her title.
She looked hesitant to speak to me, but at the same time she didn't want to leave.
"Have a seat," I offered and I pulled out the chair at my desk. I thought she was going to refuse when she moved toward me and sank down onto the seat. "I'll get you a cuppa tea." I said and moved to the wall unit and begin the preparations.
"That will not be necessary," she replied.
"It's very necessary," I said insistently as I reached for my better stock of tea I had procured while we'd been back on Earth. I hoped she liked English Breakfast Tea. "In England it's considered customary." I continued fixing the tea and when finished placed two cups of tea on a tray along with some sugar cubes and a small pitcher of reconstituted milk. She thanked me and as I suspected, she picked up her cup and sipped at the hot beverage without adding anything to it. I, myself, added one cube of sugar and a drop of two of milk to my cup.
We each drank our tea for a minute or two. I could tell the simple act of sharing tea together had relaxed her. Seeing her more at ease, I returned my now half-filled cup to the tray. "T'Pol, tell me why you came here."
"I normally wouldn't come to you, or anyone," she started. She still cradled the cup of tea between her hands. It seemed to comfort her. "The further we get from Vulcan, the more I find I need something in which to hold on to. I felt after our conversation in the Command Center, that I could speak to you, Mr. Reed. I needed to speak to someone."
"What's troubling you?" I asked. I wanted to reach out and remove the cup from her hands and hold her hands in my own.
She looked away and before I knew what I was doing I had indeed removed the cup, grabbed her hands and pulled her around to look at me again. "Tell me, T'Pol. What happened?"
I swear at that very moment I could see the start of tears forming in her eyes.
"Two nights ago," she started her voice all but a whisper, "I agreed to help Dr. Phlox."
"Go on," I prompted.
"The doctor insisted that Commander Tucker needed my assistance with a problem."
"Mr. Tucker has been experiencing trouble sleeping since we left Earth. The doctor thought a Vulcan neuropressure technique might be beneficial."
I nodded urging her to continue.
"The doctor arranged for the Commander to come to my cabin and it was there that I performed the procedure."
Again I nodded.
She tried to turn away again, but I still held her hands in mine and once again I pulled her back to face me.
T'Pol scrutinized me for a long time, or perhaps it seemed longer than it actually was. I think she was trying to ascertain that she had made the correct decision to come speak with me.
"Tell me, T'Pol. Tell me what happened."
She paused for a long moment, her dark eyes locked to mine, as if she was trying to read my mind. Ultimately she continued on.
"In order to properly perform the procedure," she began now looking past my shoulder. "You have to disrobe." Her eyes shot back to mine as if challenging me to be the one to look away.
"And the doctor knew this?"
She shook her head. "I don't believe he did. While he is aware of the technique, I do not believe he is fully aware of all its ramifications."
"Can you tell me about this technique?" I asked keeping my voice level.
"It requires applying pressure, generally using the fingers and thumbs, against a pair of neural points on either side of the spine. It is impossible to properly perform on one's self."
"And afterwards this technique will allow the person to relax enough to sleep?" I asked.
"Yes. But I do not believe it has ever been performed on a Human before. I couldn't predict how Mr. Tucker would react to the procedure."
"He didn't sleep?"
"Eventually he did, but not before..." her voice cracked and she tried to pull her hands away from mine but I held firm.
"What happened?" I asked most insistently. "T'Pol! What happened?"
"He mated with me."
"This neuropressure procedure apparently not only assists in relaxation, but also first releases certain hormonal chemical in Humans which ..."
"You don't have to go any further," I said, I was enraged by her revelation. "I'll arrest him and press charges immediately!"
She shook her head. "No. I do not want that. That was not my reason for coming here. This was not of his making, and he will not remember doing it."
I cocked my head to one side looking puzzled.
"There is a little known technique which Vulcans can perform which can make someone forget. In this case, I made Mr. Tucker forget that we ever had an.-- encounter. All he knows is that he's now experiencing less problems sleeping."
"Did he injure you?" I asked in concern. "Physically, I mean." I prefaced, knowing fully well he had injured her mentally, even if she wouldn't readily admit to it.
She shook her head. "No, Mr. Tucker did not harm me."
For that I was relieved.
"But if you don't want me to press charges, why did you come and see me?" I asked.
"I was hoping you would understand. I needed someone to understand my actions."
And I did understand. She didn't need to say anything further. "I do understand. You sacrificed yourself for the crew... in this instance for Trip." I said. "Not everyone would be able to do that. I'm just sorry it had to happen."
She nodded and looked extremely weary, like she was the one now having problems sleeping.
"You will not speak of this to anyone," T'Pol said. It wasn't a question.
"Of course not, not unless you ask me to. It'll be our secret."
"I appreciate that, Mr. Reed."
She nodded ever so slightly. "Malcolm." she repeated as she rose from the chair. This time I did release her hands and I too rose to stand beside her.
"If you feel the need to speak of it again and need someone to listen, my door is always open to you, T'Pol."
"It's good to know I can rely on you, Malcolm," she said. "We must return to our duties now. We are due on the bridge momentarily. I thank you for taking the time to listen to me."
"Any time, T'Pol. You need but to ask."
As she walked back through my door and back into the corridor, I wondered how her revelation to me would affect the rest of the voyage. I hoped that she would indeed come knocking on my door again if she felt the need to confide in me. I too knew that I would speak to her if I felt it was necessary to seek her guidance.
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