Author's Note: Horrors, it's a Koss fic! He sure is a much-maligned Vulcan. But does he deserve it? I'll let you decide. T'Pol and Tucker are in this, of course – but from the Koss's point of view. I'm playing around the edges of Home and the Vulcan trilogy. This is a one-shot. Please note that your shrieks of dismay and heated arguments will be happily accepted as reviews.
Disclaimer: CBS/Paramount's, not mine.
As Koss stood there next to the ceremonial gong, waiting, he reminded himself that the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few, or the one – namely, him.
It was true that he had found T'Pol intriguing from the day they were bonded. That petite seven-year-old had drawn herself up to her full height and eyed him with imperious skepticism. Her attitude today seemed little different – except that her skepticism had evolved into a kind of muted fury.
Didn't she realize she was broadcasting her emotions to everybody present?
And shouldn't someone intervene? What kind of priest would continue with these proceedings, after T'Pol had defiantly kissed her paramour right there in front of everyone?
But the priest, like Koss himself, was no doubt just playing out his role in his parents' plan. They had worked hard to resurrect this marriage. Karok needed political cover for his attempt to help T'Les regain her position. It wasn't charity, although T'Les and her deceased husband had long been associates of his parents. Like T'Les, Karok and T'Pera had become quiet followers of Syrran. All three were deeply suspicious of V'Las's administration, which had seemingly managed to spread its suspicious and militaristic influence everywhere, even into the Science Academy.
Koss did not approve of V'Las either, and he naturally sympathized with his parents and T'Les, but he personally questioned the logic of the Syrrannites' obsession with the Kir'Shara. He doubted that it could possibly have survived the raging battles of its time, assuming it had ever truly existed at all.
He also would have thought that a matter as important as his own marriage might reasonably be left out of such matters. Was it truly for the good of the many that Koss must marry a woman who had already disclosed a dishonorable relationship with a human? And confessed to carrying a shameful disease?
"Pa'nar Syndrome is not what you think it is," his mother had told him. "She can easily be cured."
"Then she should be cured now," Koss said. Perhaps then T'Pol would be better at hiding her distaste for him. She might even begin to accept the logic of their joining.
"She's not ready. T'Les tells us that T'Pol believes the lies the High Command has promulgated about the Syrrannites. It will take time to prepare her for the truth."
"I am surprised that you and Father would wish me to marry a woman who so clearly does not wish it."
T'Pera frowned. "Few couples start out married life in perfect sympathy with each other."
"I see no likelihood that she will ever develop any sympathy if she is going to go immediately back to her ship – and her human lover."
"You must be patient, Koss. This is all part of a larger plan."
"And when my time comes? Will that be part of a larger plan too?"
"Your needs will be met."
Koss had said nothing further. There was little point.
Now he joined fingers with his bride as the ceremony dictated. She stared stonily up at him without quite making eye contact.
He studied her dispassionately. She was certainly a very attractive female. And she was not lacking in intelligence or accomplishment. Perhaps, if he was patient and kind, she would realize there was no logic in further resisting this union.
x x x
After the ceremony, husband and wife stood next to each other to receive official greetings from the rest of the party. This did not take long since it was an extremely small gathering, for which Koss was grateful. The priest glared disapprovingly at T'Pol; apparently he had noticed that unseemly kiss. Commander Tucker was last in line. His face was noticeably pale as he quietly raised his hand and wished them both long life and prosperity, then hurried into the house. T'Pol stood as still as a statue.
"Shall we go in?" Koss said.
"In a moment."
"Would you like to sit down?"
She looked at him. "That won't be necessary."
"I hope that in time you will learn to feel more satisfied with this arrangement."
She frowned. "I find it illogical that you hope to be satisfied in this marriage at all, given what you know about me."
"As in your own case, my personal desires have nothing to do with it," Koss said. But then he remembered that he had resolved to be patient, and it would hardly help to rudely proclaim that he was here as unwillingly as she was. "However, I do consider you an attractive female who has led a most unusual and interesting life. I look forward to our becoming better acquainted over the next two weeks."
T'Pol turned and faced him squarely. "I see no point in that."
Koss felt his face flush hot. "You don't?"
"I have made arrangements for an extended period of meditation on Mt. Seleya." T'Pol said. "I require time to regain my emotional control."
"I could join you there," Koss offered. No doubt he also would benefit from some extended meditation at this point.
"I prefer to be alone. And then I will return to Enterprise as planned." Her tone was fierce.
What could he say to someone so lost to reason – and custom? "T'Pol, you are my wife. Someday I am going to require you. Would it not be preferable that we develop a relationship of mutual respect and affection before that time arrives?"
"I will fulfill my obligation to you, Koss. But I see no reason to go beyond that until I have to."
He reminded himself that T'Pol had lived among humans years now. They were known for their childish self-indulgence. And she had been all but forced into keeping this obligation after doing virtually everything possible to escape it. She also freely admitted that her emotional control was frayed. This did not mean that once the blood fever brought them together they would be unable to forge some connection. After all, she surely expected to raise children at some point.
She took a breath. "Shall we go in?"
At the door they met Commander Tucker coming out, back in his human clothing, a duffel bag on his shoulder. He nodded quickly at them both and tried to move past.
T'Pol stepped into his path. "Trip. Safe journey. I will see you back on Enterprise."
For the first time that morning, the human's face betrayed him; his eyes filled with tears. He said nothing, just gave her a last, wounded look, and left.
T'Pol closed her eyes, obviously struggling once again to compose herself. Clearly, the sooner she was cured of her Pa'nar Syndrome the better.
"I am told that humans often make quick transitions from one mate to another during their short lifespans," he said, trying to be helpful.
"Indeed," T'Pol said, and gave him a withering look. "That may be true. However, Vulcans do not. And I am Vulcan."
And them, flagrantly violating custom, she stepped ahead of him into the house.
X X X
Koss opened his door. Vulcan's new Administrator T'Pau was far younger and much more attractive than any other Administrator in Koss's lifetime, and it was most surprising to find her standing on his doorstep.
"You are Koss, he who is husband to T'Pol?" she said, looking him up and down.
He stared back down at her. "I am."
"You performed a most useful service for us," she said.
"The captain said my wife's life was at risk."
"It was. Indeed, all of Vulcan was at risk. Your help was most timely. May I come in?"
"Of course, Administrator." Koss stood aside to let her pass.
"This is a beautifully appointed room," T'Pau said. "But then I am told that you are a talented architect."
He said nothing. He doubted she was here to hire an architect on her first day in office.
T'Pau's mouth twisted. "Your wife's reputation on this planet has risen considerably after her role in rescuing the Kir'Shara."
Again Koss said nothing. What was there to say?
T'Pau gave him a penetrating look. "But I am here to tell you that your marriage must end."
He stared at her in surprise. "And why is that?" Had T'Pol had wrung this concession from T'Pau during their recent adventure?
"I performed a mind-meld on T'Pol. She has a mating bond with another. She should never have married you."
Koss turned away to hide his shock. "She told us she had a close personal relationship with her human colleague. She did not mention a mating bond. I did not know that such a thing is even possible."
"It surprised me as well. I imagine it may surprise her too, someday. She doesn't appear to realize it has occurred. I suppose, since her bond is with a human, she may never know." T'Pau's lip had curled infinitesimally on the word 'human.' Koss found it somewhat surprising, since he understood that the human captain had played a major role in bringing her to power – had even carried Surak's katra within him, if such a thing was to be believed.
He crossed the room and stared out over the city, attempting to gather himself. If what T'Pau said was true, he must end his marriage with T'Pol and find a new mate as soon as possible.
T'Pau followed him. "This is a remarkable view," she said.
"When I designed this building, I chose this unit for myself," he said. He looked down at the woman standing next to him. She radiated a tremendous force of will. "Should you not have told T'Pol what you discovered?"
T'Pau's mouth set in a thin line. "I told her I would cure her Pa'nar Syndrome and I did. If she chooses to mate with a human instead of the person her parents arranged for her, then I believe she must deal with the repercussions of that herself. "
"You disapprove of her."
"Of course. Don't you?"
Oddly, now that he knew T'Pol's true situation he felt more understanding. It was no wonder she had resented their marriage so deeply. "My parents tell me she was always quite emotional."
"Yes. She is also stubborn and shockingly reckless. It does not surprise me that she wishes to live among the humans, though I doubt she will ever find the home there that she longs for." T'Pau stared out the window. "The young man my parents chose for me requested to be released from our betrothal when I became notorious as a Syrrannite. It is possible that this colors my judgment of people who ignore their parents and the interests of their betrothed to indulge their own selfish desires."
"It does put one's betrothed in an awkward position," Koss agreed.
"As it happens, I remain unbetrothed," T'Pau said. "I have great respect for your mother and father, Koss. And you are an interesting and accomplished man. Once your marriage is dissolved, you might consider marriage to me."
Koss stood up straighter. It was an interesting proposal. It was also quite remarkable to think that marriage to an unwilling near-pariah might lead him to a marriage with the most powerful woman on the planet – and at her request. That was a most pleasant change from his current marriage. "Indeed, Administrator," Koss said. "I would be honored."
"Then you agree?"
"I believe it must be up to our parents to finalize the match, but I have no objection."
"Excellent," T'Pau said, and held out her two forefingers.
Koss touched T'Pau's fingers with his own and felt a most agreeable thrum of interest, even desire, pass between them.
x x x
For the second time, Koss was escorted through the unappealingly utilitarian corridors of the earth ship to his wife's quarters. The crewmen he passed all eyed him with undisguised curiosity and he wondered again how she could possibly have tolerated living as the only Vulcan among them for so long.
Her greeting was not as stiff as the last time, perhaps because he did not even try to offer her his fingers. A livid green bruise still marred the side of her face and he took some satisfaction in the idea that he had contributed to her continued survival.
That may have been why she seemed unusually apologetic as she said, "I'm not certain when I'll be able to return. I'm aware that I promised your family that we would live together eventually."
"That's not why I'm here," Koss said. "I'm releasing you from our marriage. I know you only bonded with me to help your mother. She's gone now. There's no reason for us to continue."
Indeed, there was an extremely pressing reason why they should not continue.
To his surprise, she said, "You don't have to do this."
"I know," he said, which was true in a strictly legal sense. He had considered whether he should share T'Pau's discovery with T'Pol, but ultimately decided that he would honor his future wife's views on the matter, especially since she had not authorized him to reveal their conversation. A mind meld was surely an extremely private matter. He felt sure that it was simply this, and not the memory of T'Pol's persistent snubs, that had driven his decision. He turned to leave.
He turned back and felt an uncharitable touch of satisfaction: T'Pol looked dismayed. Apparently curing her Pa'nar Syndrome had not helped her emotional control much. Of course, she had excellent reason to feel dismayed. Her foolish dalliance with a human had effectively exiled her from her own people – and from him, the man promised to her since childhood. It was highly unlikely she would ever marry among her own kind now.
"Goodbye, T'Pol," he said, and turned and left.
As he walked back to the airlock he realized that he was feeling a touch emotional himself. As his betrothed, T'Pol had played a significant role in his imagination. Especially in recent years, he had followed her career with interest. And surely no man could be expected to walk away from his marriage partner, unfortunate as she might have proven to be, without some sensation of loss.
He wondered whether T'Pol's human was still hers; judging from her reaction today, probably not. Perhaps he had already moved on to his next liaison. And even if the two of them did somehow forge a lasting relationship across their two cultures, could a woman who had so little self-discipline ever achieve contentment? He doubted it. T'Pol's life was certain to be difficult, if more interesting and adventurous than most.
At least he could congratulate himself that his own behavior was beyond reproach. Indeed, by steadfastly following the Vulcan way, Koss had achieved a most satisfactory resolution.