Welcome to Day Twenty 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, “surreptitiously”comes to us courtesy of KG at Books, Music, Photography, and Movies.
I bounced ideas around for hours before this one just popped into my head. It’s the continuation of my December story, “Animals”, which appears in installments on this blog. At the end of the story, I’ll post links to the other segments, so you can read in order, if you’d like (and that will also clue you in to the contents of Schrodinger’s basket…).
This episode takes place several months after the events in the Star Trek: Enterprise Season Four episodes, “Demons” and “Terra Prime”, and ignores the travesty of the finale whose name shall not be spoken.
And, as always, I don’t own them; they’ve just got a direct link to my imagination. I write their stories for passion, not profit.
Kath Tucker watched surreptitiously from the kitchen as her son guided the grav chair into the living room with great tenderness, murmuring too softly for her ears to pick up anything but the rhythm, which reminded her of the ocean. She couldn’t see her daughter-in-law’s face; only a huddled form hidden by layers of Vulcan robes and blankets.
“Will she recover, Doctor?” Charlie kept his voice low; of course, T’Pol could probably still hear them, if she was inclined to listen. Kath remembered the numbed shock that had nearly smothered her when Elizabeth died, and didn’t even want to imagine what it must be to lose not just one grown daughter, but four babies.
The Denobulan doctor smiled faintly. “If your son has anything to do with it, she will eventually make a full recovery. He is a most determined man.”
Kath watched Trip as he lifted his wife into his arms, bending his head to kiss her, his voice still rising and falling. “He always has been – even when he was a little boy – ”
“I remember.” Hoshi Sato said, cryptically, and Kath wondered vaguely what she meant by that. But the young woman went to the living room, where she stood aside. Trip had explained that she here as some kind of moral support Vulcans needed when they were incapacitated.
Their little house had gone from far too roomy and quiet to nearly overflowing in just two days, and Kath could only wish that the circumstances were happier. But, at the same time, if T’Pol needed a secluded and welcoming place to grieve and heal, she was glad this was the place she wanted to be.
A warm, strong arm wrapped around her, and Charlie pulled her close. “Our boy’s home, sweetness, and he’s brought his little injured bird with him to our nest. If anyone can help him help her get better, that’s you.”
“Mom? Dad? We’re ready – or as ready as we can be.” The hurt in Trip’s voice made her want to grab him up and hold him tight, the way she had when he was little and always seemed to dare a bit more than he could manage safely. And, so as anything, Lizzie’d be right beside him…
Kath swallowed. She was going to do her damndest to keep her tears away from T’Pol. She’d had too much pain; she didn’t need the alien human kind to deal with, on top of it.
“I grieve with you, Kath.” Scarcely more than a whisper from the layers of wrappings – insulation against the pain? Or a shield, to give her privacy? “There’s no need – to hide your sorrow. I can’t hide mine.”
“Oh, pepperpot…” Trip choked out, and then his own grief, and maybe his wife’s, broke loose, and he was crying hard. But Kath had mother’s ears, and they’d had a lot of practice, these last two days. They picked up the tiny sounds even over Trip’s sobbing.
She picked up the two baskets – the tiny nestlike one, and the larger one that held the supplies. She was grateful she had Charlie to lean on, and grateful that Trip and T’Pol had each other, and their friends. Doctor Phlox went to the table to check out the offerings she’d set out, but she could feel his readiness to shift instantly to medical mode. Hoshi was sitting in the chair by the window, a small piece of lace in her hands, her fingers moving swiftly as she tatted – Kath hadn’t known that anyone still tatted by hand. Maybe they’d get a chance to talk about that.
But now, there was something else to take care of. They walked together, Charlie keeping her snug against him, to the couch where Trip was holding his wife – Charlie had shown him well how to be a good husband even to a woman of a different species, whose needs were not human.
“That them?” Trip asked, his voice still rough with tears that leaked from eyes just like his father’s. T’Pol’s face was hidden against his chest, and inside the hood of the robe she wore.
Kath nodded, and passed the little basket to him, just as another, more insistent, sound came from within.
“What is that?” T’Pol’s voice held a faint trace of interest.
“This?” Trip cleared his throat, and guided her hands to the basket as he put it in her lap. He chuckled – a thin and wavering version of his typical hearty laugh. “This, pepperpot, is Schrodinger’s Basket.”
Now, as promised, here are the other episodes in this serialized story, in chronological order: