Summary: Charles Tucker and T'Pol were intimate. Yay! But then, all hell breaks loose. This is the story of their bonding. At times, it's highly dramatic. If you have a recording of Through the Barricades from Spandau Ballet nearby, you might want to listen to it before reading this.
Author's Note: This attempt at fan-fiction is dedicated to the wonderful people at the Trip/T'Polers web site. After posting my first story there, I was overwhelmed with the warm and constructive feedback I've received. Thank you so much, guys! This story is for you!
»No other Human understands Vulcans like I do.« Charles Tucker III laughed out loud at the absurdity of it all.
When he had met T'Pol for the first time, he had hated her. She was as arrogant as any sentient being could be. And, of course, the bloody Vulcans had to breed a person as annoying as her into a body like hers. She was the ultimate insult delivered to all men: »Like her? Nice, eh? Wonder how it'd feel touching her? Pity you'll never find out. He, he. Stupid Human.«
Boy, had he been wrong.
Being intimate with T'Pol was … for the lack of a better word … unsettling. He recalled the morning after they had slept with each other for the first time. The moment he had walked out of her door. He remembered how he had eyed the corridor cautiously, how he had felt threatened by the world outside of T'Pol's quarters. He had taken one careful step after another. A sense of alarm had risen in him like a dangerous flood. True panic had hit him at the next corner — and he had turned around and had ran back to her.
»Commander, please calm down!«
»You don't understand, T'Pol, some thing is out there …«
»No, Commander, you don't understand.« she interrupted. »Your feelings of anxiety are perfectly normal. Everything is fine.«
»Please calm down! Don't be alarmed, the discomfort will cease.«
»The DISCOMFORT? Are you crazy? We have to talk to bridge right away …«
»Charles! Will you please calm down? I will explain everything, but you have to listen so I may do so. Please, sit.«
The Commander threw his hands up in frustration, but said nothing. Then he finally sat down on the edge of her bunk. »On our mating bed.« T'Pol thought with delight. The truth is, she was rather flattered by the Commanders however unfortunate experience.
»Charles, please listen carefully. Our intimacy last night was not purely physical. You will have realized this?«
»What do you mean by not purely physical? Of course it wasn't just physical. Wait a second — how is this conversation related to what just happened in the corridor, T'Pol?«
»Nothing happened in the corridor, Commander. When we were intimate last night, so were our minds. You must have realized this!«
»Yes. Yes, T'Pol. Of course I have.«
»Our minds are still connected. What you experienced were emotions, triggered by your mind not wanting to let go.«
The Commander looked at her in bewilderment. He didn't even blink for 15.2 seconds.
»You're telling me I cannot let you go? It's nice to see your confidence back in full swing and all, T'Pol.«
»Charles, both minds must hold on to the connection for it to persist.«
The Commander looked at her even more bewildered than before. The Vulcan hadn't thought it was possible.
»There is no need to be concerned, Commander. The connection will recede. We cannot uphold it at a distance. Please trust me, if you get up and leave now, you will find it much easier already.«
»No way, T'Pol. I have a lot of questions …«
»And I will answer them. But now we both have to go on duty. Please, Commander, trust me. This time, you'll find leaving not as difficult as before.«
Charles Tucker obviously didn't believe her a word, but he nodded, got up, and slowly walked to the door. He hesitated for 7.4 seconds before he opened it and slowly but steadily walked away.
When the doors closed, T'Pol instantly sat down on the floor. With all her might, the Vulcan willed herself to focus on Commander Tucker. She gave him all the strength she had in her, every ounce she could spare, and then she severed the connection. The moment she lost contact, the Universe seemed to implode with her alone in the center. Though her face betrayed no emotions, a river of tears ran silently down her cheeks. In the history of the ENTERPRISE, this would be the first and only day, on which the Vulcan Science Officer was late for duty.
»Can you read my thoughts now?«
»Could you read my thoughts while we had sex?«
»I cannot read your thoughts at all, Charles, we share only what we are willing to share.«
»And if we don't touch for a while, this connection just goes away?«
»It's not quite that simple. The connection is not meant to be broken up. This is why you experienced the discomfort in the first place.«
»And this happens to Vulcans every time they get it on?«
»Vulcans don't usually get it on, Commander. Sexual intercourse is virtually unheard of outside of marriage.«
»That doesn't mean they don't do it. It only means that those, who do it, don't talk about it.«
»I applaud your logic, Commander.«
Charles Tucker remembered the evening fondly. They had bantered for an eternity. He had never fully realized before, how nice it was to be around T'Pol. She always spoke with great earnest, but he could see deeper now, he could see her smile behind those barriers of control. He saw right past them.
The first time he had noticed this, it — once more — unsettled him. He had watched her smiling at him, lost in her eyes. Then he had blinked in bewilderment and had looked again: Her face had shown no emotion at all, it had been perfectly straight. He had studied her with suspicion, but no matter how hard he had looked, there was no trace of a smile. He had given up and had looked back into her eyes, melting slowly. And then she had smiled again.
He had been outright frightened he had gone crazy. This couldn't be real! And then the most incredible thing had happened: T'Pol had laughed.
»Do you realize our minds have touched each other again?«
»Touching another mind without the help of the contact points is very unlikely to succeed. But our minds have done it with barely any physical contact at all. It is a very rare event to occur.«
»So this is somethin' special.«
»Yes, it is.«
Commander Tucker sighed happily and slumped back into his bunk. He focused on his mate for a moment, bathing in her presence. She was on the bridge right now. He couldn't resist reaching out for her mind. Just for the tiniest fraction of a second, he wanted to have her attention. He missed her.
He would startle her, he knew. He shouldn't be doing this. But T'Pol embraced his touch and shared just a tiny moment of intimacy. Then she was back to the sensor logs and Trip was left panting.
His thoughts drifted back to their second night. To what had happened after the bantering had turned into blistering flirtation.
The love-making was strange. T'Pol knew every muscle, every bone, and every nerve ending in the Human body by name, in five different languages, and she knew all their purposes. She played him like a fiddle. For what seemed like hours, she taunted him with her hands, her tongue, and her body. She was slowly, methodically, and logically driving him insane. Something was off.
»She is not involved!«
And as he realized this, anger flamed up in him. He would not let her use him like a PADD, where she pressed a few buttons and observed the results! With force he pushed the delicate Vulcan away, so she fell out of the bunk and slammed into the floor. For a moment, T'Pol just lay there. But when she looked up, he saw the eyes of a primal Vulcan. And by god, she emanated DANGER! But it was gone as quickly as it came. An instant later, there was the T'Pol he knew.
»She is holding back!« he realized, as he looked into her eyes. He knew there was much more behind those barriers, which she refused to give up.
»I am concerned about what might happen.«
»What could possibly happen?«
»I will be unable to let go of you, if the mental bond grows any stronger.«
»And that would be a bad thing?«
»Really? And why is that?«
»Because we would be bond-mates then.«
»And the idea repulses you?«
»If it did, we would not be having this conversation, Charles.« She gave him a moment to let her words sink in.
»You do not remotely comprehend the significance of the mental bond, Charles. It cannot be unmade. Our minds would meld, they would become one mind. I would see your deepest secrets, I would hear your most private thoughts. And you would hear mine. You are Human. You cannot understand this concept, because it's like nothing you know.«
»Right. And since I don't understand it, you make the decision for me?«
»You would like to choose?«
»Of course I would!«
»What is your choice then?«
»What do you mean?«
»Do you wish to be my bond-mate?«
»Do you realize that — if you choose to bond — you will no longer be an individual in the sense you know?«
»Do you realize you will not be able to hide anything from me? Nor will you be able to ignore any part of me. Including those parts, you still have no idea they even exist?«
The Commander said nothing.
»Do you realize it cannot be undone? The bond is so intimate, if either of us broke it, it would kill both of us almost instantaneously. Do you realize I could kill you with my thoughts?«
»Where are you getting at, T'Pol? Do you want me to say no?«
»I am merely suggesting you not choose lightly. I have no idea what a mental bond between us will mean for either of our lives. You are from a different species than I am, Commander.« For a moment, neither of them spoke. Then T'Pol continued in a softer voice.
»Charles, will you honor me by choosing me as your bond-mate?«
With that she slowly raised her right hand and extended the index and middle finger towards him. And she just sat there, with an annoying calm.
It felt like a trap. This was happening way too fast. Just yesterday morning, the mere idea of her calling him »Charles« had been unthinkable. Then they had slept with each other, and ever since then he was tumbling down the rabbit hole. Now he found himself sitting opposite of his fellow colleague, Subcommander T'Pol, and was contemplating the Vulcan version of 'till death do us part.
Of course the bloody Vulcans couldn't just make due with something as ordinary as a marriage. Hell no, they blew it way out of proportion, until it was some ultimate life-or-death decision. Great. Just great.
So what would he do?
»Approach the problem logically.« he thought. He heard T'Pol's voice saying the exact same words in his mind. The next thought sounded like he spoke it: »I am overwhelmed. I am afraid.« And T'Pol's voice answered: »Don't lose perspective. You have known her for so long. You have loved her for so long. And now, out of the sudden, you are afraid?« Finally, his own voice said: »All this is not what I expected.«
The next thought had no voice. It just stood soundlessly clear in his consciousness: »How do you know?«
In this very moment, Charles Tucker transcended the bondage of his humanity and became something greater.
»I am honored to be your bond-mate, T'Pol.«
Her voice was barely audible, when she asked him: »Are you certain?«
He didn't use his voice to answer her. Instead, he lifted his right hand and caressed the tips of her two extended fingers with his own.
He had made the biggest mistake of his life! When he touched T'Pol, reality jumped out of whack by a 90 degree angle. Her overwhelming presence engulfed him and he could feel the terrifying intelligence and power of her mind. She thought at a speed he was unable to follow. Her thoughts were like razors. At whatever she directed them, they cut through anything and everything, they sliced it into tiny pieces, which her unresting intellect would analyse.
He was afraid of what might happen, when she directed them at him. Charles Tucker felt inferior. Discipline was interwoven into any part of her mind. It lurked everywhere, waiting to terminate anything that defied logic. It threatened him.
At once, the Maelstrom disappeared and he found himself standing in a Vulcan desert. There was nothing but sand in every direction as far as he could see. There was calm.
He heard the words. She had spoken them out loud: »Charles, I will not intrude into your consciousness. I feel your distress. Explore me first.«
T'Pol didn't know how much longer she could control herself. Her temples throbbed with need. Her mind wanted to fill the void. It wanted to meld with her chosen one, her bond-mate. But she had to control herself, for his sake.
She WILLED herself to stand still. She suppressed any thought, anything but him. Every one of her senses tuned to her mate. To his mind. Whatever he wanted to see she would show him. She surrendered herself to him.
The instant the idea popped into his mind, he was in T'Pol's bedroom on Vulcan. She was 4 years old and stood in front of a mirror, combing her dark hair. He remembered how she felt. The little girl was curious about everything! Idle thoughts wandered through her mind and they were filled with innocent wonder about the world.
»God were you sweet when you were little, T'Pol.« he thought. There was no answer.
His consciousness raced through her and it left a trail of powerful emotions. They were everywhere! Every thought of his resonated emotions like a gigantic church bell. She had no idea how the Human could even THINK in the emotional chaos. She certainly could not. As her mate hungrily consumed her, he left nothing but destruction.
She had made the biggest mistake of her life.
Trip re-lived every moment they had shared since they came aboard the ENTERPRISE, but this time he saw the world through her eyes. It was disturbing. Every little malicious remark he had made, every time he had taunted her, every time he had tried to stir her control … she remembered everything! He felt how he had hurt her, had caused her pain. And he knew instinctively, he would hurt her again. It was in his nature. And every time it happened, he would know it the second he did. It was disturbing.
For the first time he understood the meaning of the word alien.
The consequences began to dawn on him. He opened his eyes and found himself to be sitting opposite of Subcommander T'Pol. Her eyelids were shut tight, but her eyes jittered underneath them. She was covered in perspiration.
Soon she would ask him …
T'Pol broke her promise. She intruded into her mate's mind to cry out in despair: »Charles? Where are you?«
Now he truly understood. The moment he would open his mind to her, she would know EVERYTHING.
Her mate was gone! He had shut her out. He denied her himself. T'Pol was alone at the center of the Universe. The sensation was menacingly familiar.
Soon her existence would end …
He winced in shock when the she opened her eyes: they were filled with terror. He saw her. She was completely naked and utterly defenseless. She was scared out of her mind.
And so was he.
T'Pol had given him the most audacious gift. He could not comprehend how such a thing was possible. How could she be so powerful and so vulnerable at the same time? How could he accept such a gift?
How could he ever return it?
»HE IS BACK!«
Trip thundered into her consciousness with determination. He knew what he could give her.
Suddenly T'Pol was wide awake. She was in her quarters, but it was the day before. She was with Trip. They were holding each other close. She recognized the moment without any conscious effort at all. She had re-lived this memory over and over and over again. It was the moment before they kissed each other for the first time.
In an ocean of alienation, they discovered something they had in common. Something mightier than anything else. When their lips touched, time stood still. Neither mind would let go of the moment. Together, they could force their will on the world around them. Together, nothing could overcome them.
They were true lovers. They were one.
»Charles, you will have to learn to control your emotions.«
»Is that so?«
»I see, my love. Your wish is my command. I will rid myself of them for you. They mean nothing to me.«
»I am serious, Charles.«
»No, you are not. How can you seriously ask me to control my emotions when you know I cannot?«
»That is why you have to learn it.«
»I cannot focus while you are being emotional, Charles.«
»So what do you propose I do? Do you ask me to give up what makes me who I am?«
»No, I do not. I ask you to control your emotions during the day. Keep them inside of you. Don't let them out. So when you are with me during the night, you may shower me with them.«
»T'Pol, you absolutely must teach me how to do that.«
»Unsettling. It's the only word to describe it.« Trip chuckled.
Once they were bonded, nothing was the way it was before. She was with him constantly. When he was awake, when he was asleep, when he worked, or when he day-dreamed. He had not been alone for an instant ever since. Whatever he saw, she saw it as well. Whatever he learned, she knew it as well. Whatever he did, she watched over him. And so he did for her.
»T'Pol, do you realize my love for you is greater than all of the Universe?«
»Is that so?«
»How is that possible, Charles? Even while traveling at Warp 9, your lifetime would not suffice to cross more than a miniscule fraction of the Universe. How can your love for me be greater than it?«
»My love for you does not answer to the laws of physics. It encompasses everything.«
»What are you doing, my love?«
»I am scanning for brain damage, Charles.«
»My brain is damaged in ways beyond the scanner to see, my love. You are imprinted into it.«
»You are right. The scanner doesn't detect anything.«
»Do you realize my heart shatters into a thousand pieces every time you leave me, my love?«
»The scanner says your heart is fine.«
»That is because you are near, my love.«
»So if I left the room now, your heart would shatter?«
»I have left the room numerous times before. Why is there no trace of the damage?«
»Because my heart heals the moment you return, my love.«
»Yes, my love?«
»How long do you estimate you will go on speaking in riddles?«
»Forever, my love.«
»You unsettle me.«
»It's only fair, my love.«