Day 24

T'Pol finished packing, though in truth she had never actually unpacked. She closed her bag and placed it on her bed, which had been made for the first time in three days. The blankets were neat, pristine, and bore no evidence of her and Trip's intimate encounters. The only evidence was the feeling of ultimate contentment in T'Pol's heart and the almost smile that graced her lips, neither of which could be detected by anyone other than the man whose presence lapped at the edges of her mind.

At first she had been disgusted at herself for initiating the mating bond with Trip without his knowledge, but now she was relieved. Her presence in his mind was comforting, reassuring. She liked that she could sense him no matter where he was, that she could feel out his moods.

She moved into the bathroom and examined her reflection in the tiny mirror above the sink. She had never been one for vanity, but she found herself illogically wondering what Trip would think of the outfit she had chosen. He'd never commented on her wardrobe before, other than remarking that she would look good in Triaxian silk, but she assumed it was because he didn't think it mattered to her. And it hadn't – until now.

The shuttle shuddered, and T'Pol glanced out the window. The familiar sight of Mount Tar'hana met her eyes, and so the familiar feeling of unease settled itself in the pit of her stomach. She was not looking forward to seeing her mother again. She and her mother had never gotten along. T'Les had objected to many of her daughter's choices, most notably her decision to call off her wedding to Koss and her decision to remain on Enterprise – both due largely in part to the influence of one Commander Trip Tucker. While having Trip there would soothe her increasingly frazzled nerves, her mother would undoubtedly be angry.

No, her mother would never admit to experiencing such an emotion. "Unsettled" was probably a more accurate term. T'Pol only hoped that her mother would not make Trip feel uncomfortable. If there were any indication that T'Les would be less than hospitable to her k'hat'n'dlawa, then she and Trip would catch the next Earth-bound shuttle and spend the remainder of their leave in the privacy of her quarters on Enterprise.

She felt Trip's presence in her mind become stronger and knew he was approaching her door. She left the bathroom, crossed to the door, and opened it before he could ring the chime.

"I'm not even gonna ask how you knew I was comin'," he said, stepping inside and shutting the door behind him. He bent down to offer her a quick kiss, which she gladly returned, needing the reassurance of his touch. When he pulled away, he was frowning. "Are you okay?"

He must have been able to sense her discomfort. It was no use lying to him, and in any case, she was tired of doing so. "I am uneasy about seeing my mother."

Trip grinned. "A daddy's girl, huh?"

She was able to ascertain the meaning of that phrase through their bond. She nodded. "I was always closer to my father. He was more approving of my choices."

"So you and your mom don't get along?"

T'Pol tensed, and Trip placed a hand on her shoulder. She covered his hand with her own and met his gaze. "We remain civil to each other. But we have never been close. And I have not been home since my father died."

He pulled her forward and planted a kiss on her forehead. "I'm sorry, darlin'. I know what it feels like to lose someone you love." He tossed his bags on top of hers. "Don't worry. I'll be there for you."

T'Pol wandered over to the window. "I am not certain that will help."

He came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. He rested a hand on her stomach, splaying his fingers. "Maybe I can't help you with your mom, but I'm pretty good at easin' any tension you may start feelin' while we're there."

She felt his fingers slide up her stomach, underneath her shirt. She did nothing to stop him, and when his lips found her neck she titled her head back to give him better access. "Indeed. You are most proficient in that capacity." Her knees buckled as his lips moved from her neck to her jaw to her ear. "However, we will not be able to do this while at my mother's."

He laughed in her ear. "She can't be around all the time."

There was an abrupt change in the background noise of the shuttle. They were landing. T'Pol summoned all the self-control she possessed and pulled herself from Trip's embrace. She turned to face him. "We have arrived on Vulcan."

Trip smiled. "Glad to hear it, darlin'. Let's go face the music."

A/N: And that's the end! Now, don't get mad. This is a story about what happened on their trip to Vulcan. Since they're on Vulcan now, the trip is over. This is meant to feed right into "Home" (season 4, episode 3). I was working on an elongated version of "Home" both from Trip and T'Pol's POV, but I kind of got sidetracked (like, months ago). I may start them up again, if I have the time.