Trip Of A Lifetime II - Vulcan Heat

Authors Note:

This chapter is largely un-beta'ed, if you feel like taking upon you the task of beta-reading a lot of writing from a non-native speaker, please contact me.

The first part has been all about drama and the fight our star-crossed lovers had to take to both the Vulcans and Starfleet. From now on, the story will continue in a more lighthearted fashion. There might be funny, hilarious or downright ridiculous moments ahead, so if you're looking for nerve-wrecking space battles or gut wrenching angst, sorry, I suck at writing such stuff and I hate angst, we got way too much contrived angst in the series, nothing of that in here. But don't worry V'Lon and his cronies are not defeated yet, so they will have enough challenges ahead.

The next two or three chapters will be a bit more geared towards intimacy, while later chapters will put that more in the back burner, once the two star-crossed lovers have found ways to make their different cultures compatible, both above and below the waist line.

I'm taking some characters way out of direction, concerning their appearances in the show. If someone doesn't like my ideas, feel free to disregard my ideas as AU.

The story picks up immediately after the Events of Part I "I Grieve With Thee".

Update (June 2010): This is a re-upload with minor cosmetic changes, as lately the site seems to have done some creative reformatting...

1. "My Mind To Your Mind"

T'Pau was a woman of quick thinking. The initial arrangement of two guest quarters for the Commanders Tucker and T'Pol was changed to a shared suite, almost literally, at the wave of a hand. The room, which was used to host visiting dignitaries was richly ornamented, not as drab as most other Vulcan arrangements.

T'Pau had accompanied the couple to their suite, surrounded by 4 heavily armed members of the security force. Since the guards scanned the surroundings for possible safety threats, they did not pay too much attention to the couple, but T'Pau had noticed how their hands had locked together and their glances met each other frequently. As they reached the door and turned to enter, T'Pau instructed the guards.

"Major, a guard of at least four will protect this room at all times. You are not to enter it without the expressed consent of Commander T'Pol and Commander Tucker. No visitors are to be let pass without my order to do so."

"As you wish Minister."

Entering the room after T'Pau, the couple could not stand the separation any longer and they launched at each other, engaging in a passionate kiss. They had completely forgotten about their audience of one. The Vulcan leader did not express any indignation, choosing to observe them with curious interest instead. It seemed to her as if T'Pol had known exactly that the human was in need of this strange way of touching each others lips and wrapping their arms around each other. There was an intense closeness in that contact, which was completely unknown to Vulcans.

Realizing their oversight, the Commanders quickly separated.

"Sorry about that Minister," Trip muttered with a slight blush. "couldn't hold back."

"There is no need to apologize Commander, it is an understandable reaction. You are human. We cannot force you to observe all Vulcan limitations and you held your decorum better than any human that I know during the questioning. You refrained from showing such closeness in a public place. You did well."

"Do I correctly assume that you have instructed the Commander in meditation?" she asked T'Pol.

"Yes. He is a most agreeable student."

"You honored your mate and yourself by your conduct Commander Tucker. I found it difficult to accept that I was witnessing the same man, who had been forced into an emotional breakdown just days before. You presented yourself most honorable."

"Well, thank you. I just didn't want V'Lon to get his way again and I knew that spilling the beans about the bond was the only chance we get," Trip explained. T'Pau looked at T'Pol, waiting for clarification of the strange human way of speaking.

"Humans have a confusing tendency to express many things by... colorful metaphors, frequently involving food terms. 'Spilling the beans' is an earth expression meaning the release of yet undisclosed knowledge." T'Pol clarified.

"A most logical planning; did you plan to claim her as your mate as well?"

"Well I would've preferred popping the ques... Sorry, I mean, I would have preferred to ask her to marry me in better and more romantic circumstances, but when V'Lon started getting fancy ideas about severing the bond, I had to do it to protect us from him. Who knows, what he'll try to separate us."

"So you had included this as a possible course of action in your planning as well." T'Pau stated to make sure she had understood correctly.

"Yes, but that was about the last ace up my sleeve though."

"He had no further realistic options beyond that," T'Pol explained, after another quizzing look from the young Vulcan leader.

"V'Lon did underestimate you Commander Tucker, as did I. You chose well T'Pol of Vulcan."

"Well it's not over yet. V'Lon can still come up with one of his cronies and claim the Kha-li-fee. And then they'll really catch me with my pants down."

"He is concerned that V'Lon summons one of his supporters to challenge our marriage and is further concerned that he will not be able to fight for me. Humans possess considerably less physical strength and resilience than Vulcans." T'Pol translated from drawl to Vulcanese again.

"You are already bonded. There can be no challenger. The rite of Kha-li-fee applies only to individuals who are not bonded yet. Challenging a bonded individual would be a capital crime. Your marriage is a mere formality. You will undergo the ritual that is called Kal'i'farr," T'Pau announced. "I shall now leave you. I need to meditate before I meld with you. It is advisable for you to do so as well."

Nodding to both of them, she left the suite. As soon as the doors closed, the two lovebirds launched at each other again. When both had satisfied their pent up need to give their tongues a workout, they changed into a more comfortable set of clothing and prepared for meditation.

X X X

Trip saw a tear run down T'Pol's face, as soon as they appeared in their white space, in which they always met during meditation. In this space, she did not need to hide her emotions, as the meditation was a Vulcan's way of dealing with them in the first place. Here, she could shed tears or smile. It was her smile that fascinated him. It was one of the main reasons for Trip to bear with the long immobility of meditation.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Nothing is wrong. I am most ... honored that you claimed me as your mate."

"You know, I really don't like that phrase. 'claiming someone'," he sighed. "Almost sounds as if I bought you from the Orions."

"I shall remember that in future conversation. What is an appropriate Earth expression?"

"Proposing marriage - there's even a ritual for it. Stand up, I'll show you."

Puzzled, but complying, she stood with her arms clasped behind her back, while he approached her.

"Need one of your hands, darlin'," he whispered.

As she gave him her right hand, he clasped it between his hands and knelt down. Looking up into her eyes with love and passion he asked the question of questions.

"T'Pol, Ashayam, You are the love of my life, the sun that shines in my world. Without you I am incomplete. Will you honor me and become my wife?"

"I wish to become your wife," she nodded with a smile that could light up a galaxy.

Rising up, he embraced her and the two shared a long gentle kiss.

"A most fascinating ritual, it is most agreeable to declare the deep affection for the desired mate. I am grateful that you showed me that custom," she resumed. "Does that ritual not include rings?"

"Been reading up, eh?" he smiled. "Well not considering that it is sort of difficult to buy rings in here. They are not really mandatory. Some people wear engagement rings, but since we're marrying soon anyways, we don't need that. They are mandatory during an Earth wedding, though."

"Can't wait to tell my old folks that they have a daughter-in-law, and such a gorgeous one at that," he beamed with the trademark Tucker smile.

"When I read your mothers messages, I noticed that she often asked you to contact your father. Did you neglect that task?"

"I didn't neglect it, I refused. Ever since I told them that I love you, and at that time we were just back from the expanse, he's been giving me hell about it." Trip frowned.

"He does not condone our relationship?"

"He thinks I'm nuts. He believes that you're a completely emotionless being who wouldn't give me a kiss if your life depended on it. He remembers that, as a kid, I needed a lot of hugging and cuddling. Tried to talk some sense into him for ages, then I just gave up. We'd probably have to make out in the din for him to believe it."

"I do hope that, when he witnesses us exchanging a kiss, he shall realize that he is in error. What does 'making out' mean?"

"Well, that darlin' is a project for another day. You said 'when he witnesses', so does that mean you'll not stop kissing me when we're with my parents?"

"Do you wish so?"

"Hell no, just didn't know how you feel about kissing in public."

"On Earth it is considered acceptable, even more so if we're accompanied by family members only."

"They'll be a bit miffed though, that we didn't invite them to our wedding."

"Since you proposed marriage in Vulcan as well as human tradition, it is logical to assume that we perform both wedding rituals as well. We shall invite them to witness when we conduct the human ritual."

"You would do that? Damn, I love you darlin'" he beamed and kissed her.

"You have always held old traditional customs in high regard, so it was logical to assume that you would know a ritual for our situation and you would wish to perform it. We shall prepare for it as soon as we reach Earth."

He narrowed his eyes, the trademark Tucker sign for deep thought or the imminent arrival of an idea. "Tell you what, I got a better idea. Since there never has been a marriage between a Vulcan and a human before, I doubt that Earth will recognize our marriage just like that. Instead of doing the legal limbo, we'll go into engagement for a year and then on our first anniversary we'll do the Earth wedding. And I believe that a R'Tas is a bit over 260 Earth days, so our bond should be complete by then as well."

"The Vulcan year has a length of 266.4 Earth days, so by the time of the anniversary the bond is completed and if I surmise your intention correctly, you want to go into a period of betrothal and use the Earth ceremony to celebrate the completion of our bond and make our marriage official on Earth as well."

"Impeccable logic as always," he sighed happily.

Suddenly he fell silent and the sudden change from his Tucker smiled joy to narrow-eyed deep thinking startled T'Pol. She still had no idea how that human could change his whole emotional constitution from one general state to another in a matter of seconds.

"You appear to be thinking extensively about something," she stabbed in the dark.

"Yeah, I do. It's sort of strange. Much of the crap I'm getting from my old man is about contact things. I noticed that in the last time we often start holding hands almost automatically. We did it on Enterprise and we even did it today with Minister T'Pau around. And you seem to spend a lot of time giving me the cuddles. Not that I'm complaining, it's just not what you'd expect from a Vulcan, maybe that's why my old man just doesn't get it."

"Trip, Vulcans are touch telepaths. When we touch another individual, we can sense their emotions. When our hands are connected, I can sense your emotional state, even without the bond. I experience a very deep connection to you that way. I also know that this gesture is most reassuring for you. The impulse to hold hands often is mine."

"Now a few things make sense; that's why you guys don't like shaking hands and that's why your mom had riddled me out all of a sudden." he said wide-eyed.

"Meaning?"

"Before the ceremony... with Koss, I was in my room trying to straighten the robe, I was wearing. Your mom dropped by to tell me that things are about to start. She helped me with the robe and while she closed it properly she touched my neck. And all of a sudden she knew that I'm madly in love with you."

"She sensed it," T'Pol croaked as suddenly tears started running down her face.

Trip became worried. Although she expressed her emotions in her meditative mind, all out crying was still a rare event. "What's wrong darlin'?"

"The sensation of guilt, about causing you so much suffering, is still present with me."

"It's ok darlin'," he said, gently cradling her. "It's not like it was fun for you either. I was pretty mad at your mom though for making you go through with that, especially since she knew that she wouldn't get her job back for long anyway. I think she thought that, if you're married into the family of a Minister, you'd be safe. She probably already knew that V'Las would go after the Syrranites."

"I do think so as well. I am very grateful, that your affection did not subside after I caused you to suffer."

"Well, you know, we Tuckers are stubborn as a mule at saddle time. In this case it was a good thing." he said with a smile.

After a while her tears dried up as she took comfort in his loving gentle embrace.

"Darlin', can we take a break? My legs are killing me, even in here by now." he groaned.

"We shall end the meditation," she consented and they warped back to reality.

X X X

"Whew! That was a long one," Trip noticed as they finished their meditation. He looked at the beginning sunset of Vulcans sun.

"Agreed," a voice from behind them consented.

"Minister T'Pau," T'Pol said startled.

"I have watched you for almost an hour. It is most unusual to see a human silent and immobile for such a prolonged period of time. You appear to have a natural talent to meditate," T'Pau praised.

"That is not correct," T'Pol answered. "Trip… Commander Tucker is considered one of the most emotional and most active members of Enterprise's crew. His progress is the result of a very determined effort on his part."

"That honors you Commander Tucker. It is also a sign that you have found ways to bridge the differences between our species. It honors you both and disproves a lot of mutual misconceptions between our two races. May I ask how you reached such a state of understanding?" she asked, turning to T'Pol. "How do you handle your mate's emotions? From what I observed earlier you appear to know exactly, when or how to allow him to touch you."

"We are still adapting Minister. I learned that humans are in need of many emotions and gestures that we consider irrelevant or sometimes even inappropriate. The human need of contact is a very strong one and a very meaningful example. Commander Tucker respects my personal space strictly and is willing to suppress his own need of being in close contact. I have learned to see subtle signals that his body emits, when that need becomes more pronounced. I can then allow him to cross into my personal space to provide the contact that he wishes. I also have experienced, although substantially more rarely, instances, where that need was not his but mine."

"May I ask a question here?" Trip interjected.

"Yes, you may," T'Pau nodded.

"I know how T'Pol analyzes everything an' all. I'm afraid, if we continue this talk, that cute mate of mine will mention some things that humans find troublesome to talk about. Isn't it just easier to fill you in on the paydirt during the mind meld?"

"It would require your permission to do that. You would have to allow me unrestricted access to your mind. That is a very... intimate connection." T'Pau lectured.

"Well you have my permission. I have no secrets from T'Pol and I see no reason to have them from you. You have done a lot for T'Pol and me today and if I can help you understand humans better, opening up my mind for you to rummage around in it, is the least I can do. Unless it is so... uh intimate, that it triggers T'Pol's bond reflexes, I'm game. You can look at anything you like, no closed doors in here." He pointed at his temple.

"Trip, Vulcans define intimacy different than humans. My reflexes will not be triggered. I do however share my mate's wish. You may access my mind without restriction, I will not shield anything from you," T'Pol added, turning to T'Pau.

"I am most honored. I shall begin with you T'Pol."

"Never tried meditating alone, but I'll give it a try meanwhile, to smooth the ride for ya," Trip nodded towards T'Pau.

"We shall initiate the meditation together; you are still inexperienced. I will break my meditation as soon as you are prepared to continue unaided. Please do not follow me, when I leave." T'Pol explained, as they sat down into the meditation position. T'Pau observed them with curious interest again.

Sitting in their customary white space, they looked at each other for a while, before T'Pol leaned in to kiss him.

"Stay here, Ashayam, I will return later," she whispered and turned to leave. After that she disappeared as she ended her short meditation.

"We shall start T'Pol," T'Pau said and positioned her fingers on the correct positions.

"My mind to your mid. My thoughts to your thoughts. Our minds are merging. ... Our minds are one"

"I sense his presence. You are truly bonded. The bond is still young."

T'Pau wandered through T'Pol's mind. Unlike during their last meld, that cured her pa'nar syndrome, T'Pol had not raised any mental barriers and T'Pau could freely roam through T'Pol's consciousness. She could see how her relationship with Trip turned from initial resentment to curious interest and into respect. From there grew a heightened romantic interest into a deep affection. T'Pau witnessed the wild swings of emotions during and after T'Pol's forced marriage to Koss, the searing pain caused by Elizabeth's death and the torture of her mate by V'Lon.

Observing the couple dealing with their troubles and their growing affection, she also learned about 'delicious parts' and 'icing on the cake', causing her to gasp at the sheer intimacy of her findings. She could also observe, through T'Pol's eyes, how she picked up an almost unnoticeable roll of his tongue in the cheek, indicating the wish for a kiss. She shared the wash of strange and exceedingly strong emotions that swept over T'Pol when she shared such an intimate touch with her mate.

"I will break the meld now."

Both Vulcans were breathing heavily.

"You experience a high amount of... unusual emotions and sensations. Most of them are immensely strong." T'Pau said slightly panting. "Emotions that I have never experienced before, not even when I melded with Archer. How do you control them?"

"Vulcans do not know these emotions, because they are elicited by human gestures. The touch that humans know as a kiss was entirely unknown to me and it took a considerable time to match Trip's level of skill," T'Pol explained with a pronounced blush. "I learned that the emotions caused by this ritual can be most agreeable. They do not need to be controlled or suppressed; they are not harmful and subside by themselves. There was a need to learn to experience them, because I do not wish to deny my mate the emotions and sensations he needs. Unlike us, humans need to experience certain emotions to reach a state of contentment."

"Very well, we shall join your mate in meditation, if you allow my presence. Do you possess a third candle?"

After retrieving a third meditation candle from her bag, T'Pol lit it and nodded her consent with T'Pau joining in the white space. She handed the candle to her and they sat down. T'Pol put her hand on T'Pau's to establish the touch-telepathic link, that would allow her to join their white space and both drifted into meditation.

Trip was still sitting silently, waiting for his mate to return. He didn't dare to get up or take a walk, afraid of accidentally breaking the meditation.

Suddenly he saw the two petite Vulcans approaching. As the women sat down on each side of him, he taxed them.

"How come that you're in here, Minister? I thought this worked only for me 'n T'Pol because of the bond."

"Vulcans have touch telepathic abilities. T'Pol allows me to share her meditation. If you consider my presence inappropriate I shall leave."

"No, no, stay if you like. Just didn't understand how you pulled that off. Are you two ok?"

"We are well Commander," T'Pau answered and he could have sworn she was smiling a bit.

"Well, you two are sorta green in the face... Wait-a-minute... Your blood's green. That's a Vulcan blush!" he reeled as he broke into a roaring laughter, prompting the greenish complexion on the faces of the two young women to turn even darker.

"Oh boy," he chuckled after the laughter had subsided. "Are ya sure you want to meld with me? I mean, if you blush from T'Pol's memories and thoughts, you'll pass for an Orion girl when you read mine. We humans have a knack for rather colorful images of thought."

"I do not doubt that," T'Pau answered. "I know about the strength of human emotions, but you are far better prepared, than your Captain was. I will also concentrate my access to those questions I wish to find answers for. The strength of human emotions will not allow me a long time for the meld. Since you allowed me to access your entire mind I shall find my answers in the time that is available."

T'Pau nodded consent, when she saw T'Pol's and Trips hands slowly crawling to each other. Seeing the approval they locked their hands in one another.

"I had seen the signal, as well," T'Pau said. "It is most fascinating to experience that."

"Commander Tucker. We shall go now. Wait here for our return, T'Pol."

"My mind to your mid. My thoughts to your thoughts. Our minds are merging. ... Our minds are one"

Mentally bracing herself for the onslaught of human emotions, T'Pau entered his mind. As with T'Pol, she immediately sensed a second presence, although less pronounced than in T'Pol. Trip wasn't telepathic, so he could not raise any barriers, but only because of his expressed permission T'Pau allowed herself to look at all that was available. She wasn't quite prepared for the wild chaos that was Trips thoughts. Wildly swinging between every known form of emotion, she was fighting to keep her composure. She sensed a rudimentary form of structure in his mind, undoubtedly from the meditation training, that T'Pol had been giving him. He would never even come close to the structure of a Vulcan's mind, but changing his nature wasn't the goal in the first place. She saw how Trip and T'Pol both started to learn to adapt to each others needs. She saw, what a smile was and learned how T'Pol's ability to do so in their meditation space was such a strong part of his willingness to learn.

She experienced the emotion of amusement and saw Trips keen sense of humor. T'Pau experienced the power that a human joke had to cause positive emotions and relieve tension. Further she learned of Trips burning desire for his mate, his grim determination to never let harm come to her and the red hot passion he harbored. The wave of passion and pleasure, that washed over T'Pol through the bond every time she snuggled up to him, wearing nothing but her 'giggle brow', did now wash over T'Pau and stunned her in amazement.

It wasn't the amount of emotions, which overwhelmed her, it was their immense power. Emotions caused by his mate were hugely powerful. Especially the power of passion was almost frightening. On a side track, she also found the answer to T'Pol's question about the meaning of 'making out' and what sort of demonstration he had in mind.

"I will break the meld now."

Heavily panting for air, barely able to stay upright T'Pau wheezed "We shall meditate".

Even in her meditative mind, T'Pau was so overwhelmed, that her legs barely carried her. Squatting down near T'Pol in a less than dignified manner, it took her almost 5 minutes to compose herself.

"Sorry Minister, I didn't mean to upset ya." Trip said with a blush of embarrassment.

"There is no need to apologize, Trip" she returned. The unfamiliar address caused Trip's eyes to widen and T'Pol's 'surprise brow' reached North Pole.

"Having experienced such an... intimate level of contact, it would be illogical to refer to each other by formal titles in private conversations. I do know that your given name is Charles, but you prefer to be addressed as Trip," she explained.

"So, T'Pau, one thing's for sure, I have never seen anyone's face in that shade of green before," Trip teased.

"Agreed," T'Pol added with a hint of amusement.

"Let's hope it goes away, if anyone sees you like that..."

"I will dismiss any incriminating conclusions by… claiming to have researched photo synthesis," T'Pau deadpanned, sending Trip into a fit of laughter.

T'Pol looked confused at her mate's laughter. "I do not understand."

"I strongly suggest you meld with your mate in the future. His mind taught me great a deal about, what the humans call humor. I shall use my findings in the future to ease the tensions in dealing with them."

"Oh dear; T'Pol has cracked one from time to time, but ya really take the cake, T'Pau" Trip managed before reeling into the next fit of laughter.

"Unfortunately I was not able to learn much about his colorful language."

"That would require multiple melds," T'Pol deadpanned.

"I learned that humans also put very much importance in close contact with each other. There was a level of intimacy attached to this that I had never experienced before. Interestingly, close contact with you T'Pol seems to have an almost meditative influence on your mate." T'Pau explained.

"Is that intimacy thing the reason, why you were so shaken by the meld?" Trip asked worriedly

"Yes. I do not wish to inconvenience you, Trip. I will abstain from offering too much detail. The images in your mind of what you refer to as 'icing on the cake', 'delicious parts' or 'making out' are overwhelming for a Vulcan."

Now it was Trip's turn to blush... very deeply.

"I saw your concern. Yes, the concept of what you refer to as 'erotic' is completely unknown to any Vulcan, but T'Pol. And she has only experienced a minuscule part of it. There is nothing comparable to that in our culture. I saw a picture in your mind that you described as eating the main course of a meal and leaving the dessert untouched," T'Pau continued in a clinical voice, despite the highly touchy subject.

Trip's face was about to turn very deep purple, causing T'Pol some concern.

"That is comparable to Vulcan mating practices. They are pragmatic, short and efficient. From what I saw in your mind, that would be most disagreeable for a human. You do not need to fear that you will have to experience that permanently, except during T'Pol's Pon-Farr. I saw in her mind that she is able and willing to adapt in the future. I am sure you will open experiences to her that no other Vulcan is able to access and it will be to her advantage. I must caution you however. The emotions involved are immensely strong, especially in you Trip. The form of affection, humans refer to as love, is overpoweringly strong in you and your emotion, that humans call passion, is the most powerful experience I had in my life. You must be very careful, how much of those unfamiliar emotions and sensations you open to T'Pol."

"Oh dear," he sighed "that's some stuff I didn't even talk about with ma parents. Well, they can't look into my mind, that's explaining a lot."

"Do you regret the mind meld?" T'Pol asked.

"Are ya kidding? I'm glad, that I did it. T'Pau explained a helluva lot that I was pondering for some time. Suffice to say, you guys seem to freak out when you see our ideas about ... uh intimacy, and we freak out when you talk about it. Pretty amazing," he grinned.

"Agreed," T'Pau added. "You are not an ordinary pair. You are walking a path that no one has walked before. Everything for you will be uncharted territory and it will determine the path for future couples of our two species."

"Talk about pressure," Trip sighed with a smile. "So on a different note, what's gonna happen next, with V'Lon and the hearing?"

"I will demand Minister V'Lon's retirement from the High Council. His conduct has become intolerable and due to your provocations, he admitted to his dishonorable plans. That gave me sufficient reason to have him removed from the High Council. I will also order an investigation into his followers. I do not condone acts of xenophobia on Vulcan. As for you, your wedding ceremony will be held the day after tomorrow. Enterprise will be in orbit until then. It is customary, for the male to have his closest friend in attendance, which in your case Trip, would be your Captain. And since T'Pol's family is not alive anymore, I do believe that the crew, you served with for over 4 years, will be pleased to stand in," T'Pau explained, while Trip and T'Pol were practically glowing. "Most unfortunately, they will not be able to return you to earth. You will spend 10 days on Vulcan and the human vessel Columbia will take you aboard."

"We could switch over to T'Les' house until then," Trip supplied.

"That would be most agreeable."

"I will summon you to the High Council for the conclusion of your questioning at 1100. We shall break the meditation now," T'Pau concluded.