Welcome to Day Three of Just Jot it January, where, for a month – well, we jot. Whatever. However. Wherever. Whyever. It’s graciously hosted by Linda G.Hill.
Today’s prompt, “Frozen”, comes to us from Helen Espinosa. Pop on over and say hi, if you’re so inclined. I took the prompt in an unconventional direction because it fits so well with a story thread I’ve had in my head all week, and because I’m pretty sure Helen will like this one. =)
Disclaimer: I don’t own them, or want to. I’m not looking to profit, only to play. No infringement of anything is intended or implied – I just want to share the love.
Trip visits with Captain Archer, desperate to help a grieving T’Pol after the death of their fourth child. Trip has just asked the captain for a favor.
Jon watched Trip’s face. There was something worrisome there – beneath all the familiar pent-up energy that tended to explode into brilliant engineering solutions, even beneath that horrific shell-shocked grief.
It was something shattered.
He could see it in the way Trip moved, and hear it in his voice. It was almost Trip – and not at all the man who’d been his friend for more than a dozen years. No, this Trip wasn’t even bitter, the way he’d been when his sister was killed in that Xindi attack. He’d have every right to be – Jon couldn’t imagine, really, how he and T’Pol had gotten through the death of the first baby, the one they hadn’t had anything to do with making, other than unknowing providing the stolen genetic material that had created her.
But the next three, the ones they’d conceived after they got married, the ones they wanted desperately –
Trip stared at him, forcing that grin that seemed more like a rictus, his eyes too intense, and, at the same time, glazed and empty beneath the instinctive engineer’s drive to fix things. Maybe that’s all that was keeping him going. “How about it, Cap’n- Jon?” He took a shuddering breath that seemed to almost throw him off balance. Every muscle tense, he barked out an icy version of the Tucker Chuckle. He tipped his head to the side as though he was being shoved, and said, “C’mon, Dad – can we keep ’em?”
“You sure you want the respons-” Jon stopped, the words frozen in the air by the crystallized pain in his best friends’ eyes. He took a breath that sliced into his lungs “Yes, go ahead. I’ll talk to quartermaster and have them set you up.”
A glimmer of something alive tried to shine through the pain in Trip’s eyes, reminding Jon of the watery way the sun had tried to pierce the snow-sodden clouds of an upstate New York winter. Was it hope, or the gratitude of the hopeless for the ability to pretend that this could be enough…
Of course he didn’t want the responsibility of two orphaned kittens. Jon was willing to bet that T’Pol wanted it even less.
What they wanted was a baby – a child who could be the culmination of all they’d shared and been through to be together.
“Thanks, Jon.” A short silence, spiky with shards of things left unsaid, things Jon suspected no words could say, anyway. “Listen, I gotta go – she needs me – or at least, I think she still does -”
He’d been babbling about a Vulcan black hole, and T’Pol going over the event horizon – and suddenly, like that first stab of frozen air on a subzero morning, he knew –
Trip wasn’t just grieving – he was terrified that T’Pol was going to die of grief.
“Let me come with you.” She was his First Officer. His right-hand woman. His protector. His conscience and his logic. His friend.
And the woman he thought he’d always love, in the depths of his own heart. It didn’t matter that what she and Trip had went so much further than love that Jon knew he’d never really understand it. He’d made peace, of sorts, with the fact that he was never going to have her, that, for her, it had only ever been Trip, before Jon even met her. The pangs of jealousy he’d learned to channel into other things; better that than letting it take away his two best friends and his two best officers all at once.
“I dunno – Jon, things at our place….well – she’s not human -”
Jon put a hand on that tense arm, surprised to find that Trip was -quivering- very slightly. “I don’t want to judge – but I haven’t seen her, since – and I’m her Captain, too, Trip.”
Trip seemed to miss the hint of defensiveness altogether. “Course you are,” he said absently. “It’s just that – well – ” He sighed, and his hands jerked up in rigid mimicry of his typical exuberance. “If it’s weird to me -”
“Trip, we’re all friends. I’m not coming to judge – there’s no way I could. I’ve never been a parent, or a woman, or a Vulcan, or married. I just want – ”
What did he want?
He looked into Trip’s eyes, and saw that deep empty hurt, and knew. “I want to help my two best friends, any way I can. I don’t care if it seems strange or alien. I just want to be there for you both.”
Something in Trip relaxed, just a bit. “All right then. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though.”
It wasn’t until the door to the Tuckers’ quarters slipped open that he started to understand what Trip meant.
Well, that’s my jotting for today. Read more posts here, and join in if the spirit moves you! =)