Welcome to Day Six of Just Jot it January, where, for a month – well, we jot. Whatever. However. Wherever. Whyever. It’s graciously hosted by Linda G.Hill.
Context: This story picks up where “Something Shattered” ended. I don’t own them; I just love them.
The room was Vulcan hot; beside him, Trip was unceremoniously stripping out of his T shirt and sweats. Jon wasn’t surprised to see that his best friend wasn’t wearing a damned thing underneath – or that his fair skin was a landscape of scratches, scrapes, bruises, bites, and what looked like carpet burns.
The candlelight flickered fitfully, but there weren’t any other lights on, not even the required emergency lighting. Jon thought about mentioning it to Trip, but he was already headed toward the little alcove where they had their bed. “If you come in, don’t expect – well, anything – “
“T’hy’la!” T’Pol’s voice was so shrill, it was almost a shriek. Jon had thought that Trip sounded brittle, but T’Pol – what kind of hell must she be in, to make a sound like that?
“Right here, pepperpot. On my way.” Trip’s voice was a low and tender murmur; she’d hear him. That much, she still had, even with so much lost.
Jon followed at a respectful distance – five steps back, so Trip could get to her first. How could he still be jealous, when she sounded so vulnerable?
He was surprised to find Hoshi on the bed, her arms around a shuddering shape shrouded in thick blankets. Phlox was kneeling beside the bed, with a mug of steaming tea in his hands.
“Trip…” a hand trembled out, two fingers held together and extended. Trip brushed past Phlox, climbed up on the bed, apparently unconcerned with Hoshi seeing him naked, and met those fingers with his own, drawing them up to kiss them.
“I’m right here, pepperpot. Sorry I had to go – needed to talk to the Cap’n, and thought I could do it while you were asleep.”
“She woke as soon as you left,” Hoshi said, very quietly. Phlox set the tea on the bedside table, and they withdrew together to the outer room.
“Cold. Trip, I’m so cold.”
The light in here was dim, too, but Trip’s face was in the little flickering pool the candle cast as he smiled – a pained smile, but not the rictus grin from the Ready Room. “Well, let’s see what we can do about that…I know you’re in here somewhere….” He didn’t peel back the blankets she was swathed in so much as he wriggled his way into the cocoon. A trembling sigh was his reward.
“Someone else is here.”
“Yeah – Cap’n wanted to see you – “
“Only if you’re up for it,” Jon said, quickly and softly. “If not, I’ll go.”
“Stay.” There was some motion, and then the blankets fell away to reveal T’Pol, huddled in Trip’s arms, swathed in Vulcan robes – Trip’s robes, which Jon knew had once belonged to her father. The hood was pulled up, and her face was shadowed by it. But her voice – T’Pol had always had a strong voice, a little husky, and, once she and Trip became a couple, she had gained layers of emotion. But now they were gone. Her voice was flatter than it had been when she first set foot in his Ready Room almost six years ago.
“T’Pol – how are you?”
She didn’t answer, but she reached her hands up, and fumbled with the hood –
“Here, pepperpot.” Trip’s hands came up to rest on hers, subtly guiding her to push back the shrouding fabric –
And Jon gasped.
She’d always looked delicate, even though she was the strongest person on the ship, but pregnancy had rounded her face and her body, giving her a robust vitality that went well with her sense of contented peace as Trip’s baby grew inside her –
But the woman with candlelight on her face was less than a shadow of what she’d been, just a week ago. Her eyes were unblinking; Phlox hadn’t found anything wrong – not with her eyes, and not with her mind. But she couldn’t see, or sense anyone telepathically – not even Trip.
“Now you see what I mean?” Trip asked, and his voice trembled the same way her hands did. He held her gently, and began to rock, just a little.
“I’m well, Trip.”
“Little liar. You can’t see me, and you can’t feel me. You can’t eat or drink or meditate. You almost bled to death, and you’re wasting away – “ Trip’s litany, gentle and loving, cut off in a yelp of pain, and then there was a frenzy of movement, as T’Pol dragged him down into the shadows.
“Least you can still do this – still want to do this – with me.”
“Always. Always. Always.”