Author's Note: This was the first Enterprise story I posted, but I wrote it before I owned the DVDs and I got stuff wrong. I wanted to fix those errors, and trim a little clumsiness, and then once I got into it a few new scenes demanded to be written. The new 'missing' scenes are from Zero Hour and Home. This is T because of language and sexual themes.

Disclaimer: CBS/Paramount's, not mine.

Prologue: Exploring Human Sexuality His Ass

He hadn't wanted to make love to her in the first place. That's what he kept telling himself after she'd told him she was just "exploring human sexuality."

First of all, it was stupid to get involved with a fellow officer. And it was even stupider to try to have any kind of intimate relationship with someone who was always claiming to have no emotions.

Even if that was obviously a great big load of hooey.

And also exactly how he'd gotten into this mess. She couldn't quite hide her disappointment when he claimed he wasn't jealous, and after that he just couldn't stick to his story. Especially since it wasn't true.

But that didn't mean he wanted to have sex. Well, who was he kidding, of course he wanted to have sex – but that didn't mean he was stupid enough to actually do it.

And while it was highly gratifying to discover he was attractive to someone as generally aloof and as generally gorgeous as T'Pol, it was also nuts. This wasn't like her at all.

Was it possible the expanse was really getting to her? Hell, that could be bad news for the mission. He'd have to keep on eye on that.

Of course that was pretty much what he did already – keep an eye on T'Pol. Who could blame him, right?

He sighed. What had he expected, that a little sex might actually allow him to get closer to a Vulcan? Maybe the expanse was getting to him too.

So, okay, it was just sex. An "exploration of human sexuality."

Looked at that way, Amanda probably would have been more fun. Not that he had time for that kind of thing with her, either. But a feisty MACO vs. an uptight Vulcan who couldn't have had a whole lot of sexual experience?

Oh Lord, had he had sex with a Vulcan virgin? It sounded like a bad joke.

Probably not. It wasn't the best sex he'd ever had, but it was far from the worst. Of course, knowing her she'd probably read everything there was on the subject back when she'd had that bug up her ass about them going to Risa. T'Pol was nothing if not thorough. And while technically proficient, the whole thing had gone a whole lot faster than he'd have liked. He'd high-tailed it out of there pretty fast, before she could throw him out. It wasn't like she was going to want to hang out and cuddle.

Which was where Amanda probably would have been a better choice. She would have wanted to hang out afterwards. And yeah, maybe it was a little girly of him, but he could use a cuddle now and then. Especially now.

No way would T'Pol just lie around in a guy's arms. Any more than she seemed interested in any encores. What did she think, that she could judge a guy on a first time? That was hardly fair. There was a species difference!

And he hadn't wanted this complication in his life in the first place! If he could have said no, he would have! What's a guy supposed to do if a naked woman jumps on him? Tell her to take a hike? How the hell was he supposed to work with her again after that?

So fine. If it was just a little exploration of human sexuality, he could just pretend it never happened. He probably shouldn't even go for any more neuro-pressure sessions.

Damn. Just when he was really starting to enjoy them, too. Not just the therapeutic value, or the lovely views. He loved the conversation. He loved the sound of T'Pol's voice when it was pitched low and soft. It had begun to feel like coming home at the end of a hard day.

He shook his head. Let it go, Tucker. This one had "no-win scenario" written all over it.

The Sex Lives of Vulcans

Trip buzzed T'Pol's quarters. He hadn't gotten around to telling her he wasn't going to do neuro-pressure anymore, and then it came time for the regular session, and somehow his feet had just walked down the corridor and taken him to her door.

In fact, before that they'd also walked him out of mess hall and back to his quarters and into the bathroom to brush his teeth. And as long as his feet were just taking him places he'd figured he should wash them. And if he was going to do that he'd figured he might as well take a shower and change into some nice comfortable sweats.

He was wearing his red t-shirt. Amanda had told him it was a great color on him. If T'Pol told him to take a hike maybe he could go look for Amanda.

See, this wasn't a no-win scenario at all – it was a no-lose scenario! Charles 'Trip' Tucker III could get some nice warm female attention any time he wanted.

His confidence dipped a little when she didn't answer the door. Where the hell was she? He buzzed again. Finally, the door slid open. T'Pol was in her robe again. Her eyes were two deep brown pools staring at him. She didn't say anything, just stepped back to let him in.

Any confidence he had left at that point flowed right down through those traitorous feet of his and disappeared into the deck. What the hell was he thinking? T'Pol could shred his ego into tiny little pieces of confetti without even wanting to, just from being clueless.

"Um, ya sure this is okay?" he asked. "I know it's kind of awkward."

"Vulcans do not experience feelings of awkwardness," T'Pol murmured. "Please disrobe." She gestured to the meditation mat on the floor.

"Lucky you," he said. "I feel awkward enough for both of us." He took his shirt off. "Which posture first?"

"We can begin with the feet."

Thank God. It was the most collegial and the least potentially sexual, at least for him. He was no foot fetishist. On the other hand, once he had her left foot in his grasp he realized how cute her little toes were, how lovely the curve of her arch…. He shook his head and tried again to focus.

She worked his foot and he breathed through it just as he had been taught. The discipline of Vulcan breathing really did help; soon he felt calmer, more centered.

"Why do you feel awkward?" she asked.

His stomach tensed. So much for calm and centered. "You really can't figure that one out?"

Her brows furrowed. "You are uncomfortable because we had sexual relations."

He smiled grimly. "Bingo."

She looked apprehensive. "Why?"

He searched for the most logical explanation he could give her. "With humans that kind of thing usually changes the quality of the relationship."

T'Pol appeared to be considering his statement while she worked on his foot.

"What about Vulcans?" he asked, and gave up any pretense of proper breathing. "Doesn't a sexual encounter change anything between them?"

"Vulcans only have sexual relations with their mates," T'Pol said, then clarified, "Their husbands or wives"

She told him to lie face down, and he did, happily. He loved this posture. It was totally relaxing. It was easier to ask nosy questions too. "So you were supposed to save yourself for Koss."

Her fingers paused in their work. "That is correct."

"And then what? Have sex with him once every seven years?"

She didn't respond.

"So tell me, are you all set for seven years now? Or does it count if all you're doing is … let's see, how'd you put that again? 'Exploring human sexuality'?"

"What we engaged in was hardly the pon farr."

Had she just insulted him? But her manner didn't seem calculated to offend.

She continued, "My mother once told me that Vulcan couples may choose to engage in intimate relations outside of pon farr, even though it would not result in children. She said it was not entirely logical, but that it could be an agreeable way to experience the marriage bond."

"We're not married, T'Pol."

"I realize that."

Her tone was even drier than usual. He eyed her curiously, wondering if there was possibly more going on with her than she claimed. "So why me?"

"First, there appeared to be a mutual attraction. Second, I did not think you would object. Humans are known to choose sexual partners outside of marriage. In the time I have known you I have noted a number of liaisons with women across the galaxy..."

He scowled. "That's not how you put it the other night. You said that Sim told you I had feelings for you. Feelings. You didn't say Sim told you I'm happy to bang any piece of alien ass I can get my hands on."

She looked a little confused by the colloquialism. "You're getting emotional."

"No kidding! You may not have any feelings about this, but I do."

She rose to her feet, so he did too. She walked to the window to look out for a moment, then walked back to him. "What is it you want from me?"

He looked closely at her and decided that she really meant it. And that she really didn't know.

And that she was afraid.

Suddenly he was ashamed of himself. He was doing exactly the same thing he'd done so many times before: trying to make an alien fit his own ideas. He was trying to browbeat a Vulcan into behaving like a human woman in love.

"Look, just forget it," he said, and sighed. "You'd think I'd learn."

"Commander?" she said uncertainly.

"You are who you are," he said. "And I'm trying to make you be something else. I apologize." He sighed. "I should go."

"We have not completed the neuro-pressure session."

"Maybe some other time," he said. "Or maybe not. I'm not sure I can comfortably touch you anymore." He swallowed over a sudden lump in his throat.

T'Pol looked stricken. Obviously stricken, as if she wasn't even attempting to hide it. Something was not right here. He said, "Are you okay?"

She turned abruptly away. "I'm fine."

"Should we be worried about you?" Trip asked. "Is it the Expanse?"

She turned back, her face schooled back into something closer to normal, though her eyes still looked too large in her face. "It is possible I have not been devoting enough time to meditation."

"Another reason to let the neuro-pressure go. It's been interfering, hasn't it?"

She just stared at him, wide-eyed, which he took as a yes.

"Look," he said, grasping for some way to leave matters between them on a decent footing. "Things are stressful enough right now, for all of us. Let's just go back to business as usual. You know I've got your back, and I know you've got mine, same as always, even if we don't always see things the same way. And maybe, when we're done with this mission, we can check in again about this other stuff. What do you say?"

She looked at him for a long moment, then nodded almost imperceptibly.

"All right then." He smiled tightly at her and resisted the urge to hold out his hand so they could shake on it. "Guess I'll catch ya later, then."

As he walked back to his quarters he realized what he'd said. Catch ya later. As if someday he actually could catch that mysterious Vulcan heart of hers for his own.

He shook his head. Even if by some strange twist of fate he could, that didn't mean he should.

To be continued (with a brand-new scene in the next chapter)