Calculating the Precise Value of Pie
SETTING: Sometime after Season Four, ignoring The Abomination
SUMMARY: Trip and T'Pol meet halfway, over pie.
DISCLAIMER: The characters and situations this story is based on are the property of CBS/Paramount. I just borrowed them for a minute. What I did with them, however, is mine and mine alone. This is a labor of love. Nobody made any money off of this. As if!
"C'mon," Trip urged playfully. "Open up."
T'Pol gazed dubiously at the forkful of brownish-orange cream, flaky crust, and fluffy white topping. Trip's practiced eye didn't miss the war between trepidation and desire percolating beneath her orderly veneer—or the refusal that would be forthcoming.
Damn. He'd almost had her this time.
"Vulcans…" T'Pol trailed off, barely masking her surprise when Trip pulled the fork away and shoveled its tasty burden into his own mouth.
"Vulcans don't share food," Trip recited begrudgingly before swallowing. "I know. But humans do, darlin', 'specially when they're crazy 'bout the one they're sharing it with." He looked at her hopefully as he scooped up another forkful and dangled it in front of her.
T'Pol watched the fork closely, lest it make a sudden move. "It's very…intimate." It was more than an observation, but less than a protest.
Trip put the fork down and gestured widely around the room—the soft candlelight, the floor pillows he and T'Pol were snuggled into, and a night that promised more intimacies than even a slice of Chef's decadent pumpkin pie could possibly inspire—an unspoken "Hello, aren't WE intimate?"
"There's only one fork," she countered.
"You let me kiss you," Trip pointed out. "What's the difference?"
"It is illogical to infer that there is a reciprocal relationship between sexuality and the sharing of food, or a utensil."
Trip stifled an incredulous laugh. "Boy, you people are really missing out!" He sighed. "I don't get it. The way you tell it, we're about as married as you can get by Vulcan standards, 'specially since this happened all by itself." He tapped a finger to his temple, as he often did to indicate the telepathic mating bond that had spontaneously formed between them.
T'Pol inclined her head. "Indeed."
"Well, don't Vulcan couples eventually do things with each other that they don't do in public?"
"Obviously." She rewarded Trip with a raised eyebrow.
Trip grinned in spite of himself. "Well, I wasn't talkin' about that. But don't married people on your planet ever let their guard down in front of each other, when no one else is around? Stuff like…I don't know…drinking milk right out of the carton, or scratching their asses?"
Before T'Pol could open her mouth to refute such absurd and distasteful notions, Trip cut her off with a dismissive wave.
"Never mind. Let me guess: Vulcans don't scratch their asses, either."
Trip felt his frustration wane as T'Pol brushed a concerned hand across his cheek. "What's wrong?"
Though T'Pol could've easily reached into their bond and found the answer herself, Trip was grateful that she always allowed him to express himself, in his own time and on his own terms. "It just doesn't make any sense. I can share the rest of my life with you without it making you any less Vulcan…but I can't share a stupid piece of pie, and you're the one person I wanna share everything with—even when there's only one fork."
On one hand, Trip knew just what he was asking of T'Pol, Social norms in her culture dictated that sharing food from someone else's plate, let alone using the same utensil, was taboo. She had spent her entire life believing that such a thing was unseemly and unthinkable.
On the other…
"Look," he said, placing his hand over hers and giving it a squeeze. "I'm not tryin' to change who you are. It's just…the rules keep changin', you know? You kiss me in an empty corridor. You touch my hand when no one's lookin'. And I'd never ask for any of it. I know you do it because you love me, and it means the world." He gestured around the room again. "What I don't get is why the rules matter in here, when it's just you and me. We're not human or Vulcan. We're both, and we're something completely different—something more."
After a moment of consideration, T'Pol opened her mouth but said nothing. At Trip's quizzical expression, she glanced meaningfully from the plate and back.
"You sure, darlin'?"
A grin tugged at the corner of Trip's mouth as T'Pol leaned in expectantly. Trip picked up the fork and carved off another bite of pie. He felt a rush of warmth as he watched her full lips close over the fork and slide off, a nearly imperceptible look of surprise moving over her face as she considered the alien combination of sweetness and spice on her tongue.
"Fascinating," she murmured when she finally spoke.
Pulling her closer, Trip pressed a kiss into her hair. Even without a telepathic bond, he couldn't imagine feeling closer to any other woman. Ever. Even the smallest things most humans would take for granted were intimate to Vulcans—to T'Pol. Since she'd come into his life, Trip had a new perspective on what was meaningful and important, and he loved that the most about being with her.
T'Pol's cool voice finally brought his meandering thoughts back into the room.
"Is it customary on your world to share only one bite?"