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16 May 2005 @ 10:23 pm
Enterprise fic! post-ep for "Bound"  
Title: "Equilibrium"
Rating: PG
Category: T'Pol. Trip/T'Pol.
Spoilers: post-ep for "Bound." General stuff for everything up to that episode, most notably "Awakening."
Summary: It has been too long since T'Pol was last alone.
Author's Note: The blame here is divided between anr and the Over the Rhine song "Little Did I Know." (yousendit.com, ~8MB)


It has been too long since T'Pol was last alone.

Her quarters are blessedly quiet. The door slides closed behind her, and the relief is almost physical, like a weight lifted from her shoulders.

T'Pol has long since gotten used to the ever-present hums and vibrations that exist on a starship. The cacophony, once loud to her Vulcan ears, now sounds like a familiar silence. It's the constantly changing sounds of footsteps and voices and laughter that exhaust her when she has gone hours or days without solitude.

Disaster after potential disaster has kept her occupied for the past several days, the Klingons and the Orion women the most notable amid a constant stream of smaller emergencies that require her attention. She knows better than to regularly shirk her daily meditation time in the face of other priorities -- her year in the Expanse illuminated that lesson quite clearly -- but there are some self-disciplines that she has always found harder than others to maintain.

Her father, who was fond of preaching on any number of topics, rarely reminded her about the importance of the meditation hours for her mental health. He simply found it "too obvious" to mention -- puzzled, more than anything, by his overly emotional offspring.

"The benefits of adequate meditation time are readily apparent," he said once, more to silence his wife's suggestion that he speak with T'Pol than to impart information. "The detrimental effects of an irregular practice are equally so. The logical conclusion should be obvious, even to a child."

That phrase was his way of terminating conversations with her or, at least, of delaying them until she would reach an age where intelligent discourse would become possible. It was, she now recalls, one of his favorite sayings.

Her mother was equally fond of remarking, "T'Pol is not always a follower of the obvious."

Her mother's absence is still unsettling. Though they didn't speak often since her assignment to Enterprise -- often going months without exchanging letters -- she is still unused to being without that steady tie to her home. She is incapable of feeling grief as keenly as Commander Tucker still does for the death of his sister, but Vulcan families are bound tightly together in other, less emotional ways, and the loss of her mother is a vital one.

She has no idea what T'Les would have said if she were here, if T'Pol could explain to her the deep, sacred connection she has apparently -- somehow -- formed with a member of such a confusing, emotional species.

Perhaps she already knew. She was always remarkably perceptive, something that has both reassured and frustrated T'Pol all her life.

T'Pol, on the other hand, has always had a mixed relationship with the obvious.

Professionally, scientifically, this has never been a problem. She is almost always the first on Captain Archer's bridge to recognize patterns and propose logical solutions.

Personally, her ability to selectively ignore her own reality has led her into unsteady emotional control, a recovering chemical addiction, and a mating bond with a human that drives her every sense to distraction.

Trip's recent absence, for his brief posting to the Columbia, left her a very different kind of unsettled. The very feel of the ship -- the hum of the engines and current-charged conduits around her -- was altered, as though some key environmental component was missing that only she could detect.

The others missed him, yes. They talked of him often, usually in whispers whenever she was in the room. She didn't miss the looks sent her way by those who either idly suspected she played a role in his departure or seemed to blame her for it.

She missed him, too. The removal of her closest personal association reasonably required that she alter her schedule, that she eat her meals with Phlox or Captain Archer instead, that she spend more time alone. It was logical that she notice the change and that it would take several days or weeks to acclimate herself to her new routine.

The way her skin seemed to burn, the way her mind restlessly turned over and over itself like it was searching for something or someone just beyond reach, the way the ship sounded different when she was alone in her quarters... none of that was logical.

But then, as her mother had confided when she was deemed old enough to know, "There is very little reason involved in the ways of mating." Her voice had been tinged with as much wistfulness as a good Vulcan voice allowed, something that suggested there was much more that the older woman was not imparting. The young T'Pol had been both intrigued and apprehensive.

She feels much the same way now.

At the time, her slight hint of emotional fear could be excused by her youth and immaturity. She has other excuses now, most of which are her own fault, but even with potentially permanent Trellium damage to her brain, she is a mature Vulcan in every way that matters -- physically, mentally, sexually.

She's still apprehensive. And intrigued.

All of this, the changes she saw in herself in Trip's absence, this is more than missing him. He is human, but her mind -- the same Vulcan mind that has ignored so many other conventions and expectations that would have made her life easier -- ignored that fact and bound her to him anyway.

Her mother had another favorite saying: "You have never been one for the smoother path."

For the most part, she always said those things with a fondness T'Pol has never heard from anyone else.

Except perhaps from Trip.

Now that she knows what this is, knows why his opinion matters so deeply to her, why he matters... she isn't sure if she should be relieved that the odd sensations have a tangible cause or, as he said, "really worried." He has her on edge as much as he ever has, leaving her unsure of herself, shaking loose all her beliefs about who and what she is and how she should behave. She has always been this way -- ill-suited to the Vulcan cultural norm, uncomfortable and restless in her own skin, fascinated by outsiders -- but Trip is a catalyst, accelerating the changes in her to a speed so reckless that neither of them can keep up.

She supposes it's a side effect of the bond that she isn't sure whether to worry more about losing herself in this or losing him. When logic falls aside -- and reason has always been fighting an uphill battle when it comes to Trip -- both prospects seem equally unbearable.

And that does scare her, and she thinks that it should. Even if she is an adult, she is facing something that no other Vulcan ever has -- or has ever admitted to. When she's meditating or on the edge of sleep, she can feel Trip's emotions at the edge of her mind, tugging her own out of balance. She is facing the previously unfathomable prospect of never again being truly alone.

But the ship feels right again around her and, in spite of everything, she does, too. Trip's tumultuous human emotional state is sometimes intrusive, but it acts like white noise the rest of the time, wrapping her in a warm, familiar comfort that soothes her restless mind and makes her feel at home.

T'Pol knows that she will have to speak with him again, have to fight past his flippancy and her own reluctance to really discuss what now exists between them, but that can wait. She has not had time to herself -- whatever that means now -- in too many days, and she requires rest and meditation to organize her thoughts and place her emotions back in check.

She will talk with him. She will make the effort to repair their friendship after all of her previous attempts to dismiss it, because it has become necessary. Perhaps it always was.

But for now, it's enough that he's back on Enterprise. Her skin tingles with his presence through four titanium decks and her ears ring with echoes of the day's conversations. His words were frustrating as always, his emotions puzzling and forever just outside the range of her Vulcan comprehension. She doesn't know if he has forgiven her for the erratic behavior that drove him away in the first place, but the smiles he gave her makes her think that he can.

T'Pol lights a candle for her evening meditation, but finds herself ignoring it. Instead, she focuses on the quiet hum at the edges of her mind of someone else's existence bundled with her own, and slowly, she relaxes.

anr: triptpol takemyhandanr on May 17th, 2005 02:42 am (UTC)
You already know how I feel about this fic. Sooooooo good.

Little Red: trek - trip/t'pol i love you - ashismmylittleredgirl on May 17th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)

You rock my WORLD, darlin'. I can't wait to see yours. :)
espirk: DR Loveespirk on May 17th, 2005 02:50 am (UTC)
Love it! Just what I need after the finale. This made me miss Trip even more, but I love how you've worked out the way in which T'Pol manages to somehow come to terms with her bond with Trip.
Little Red: trek - chekov grr! - viresse_iconsmylittleredgirl on May 17th, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, Trip's so not dead. It was so lame and not true. Perhaps I'll feel more emotional about it if I rewatch it... but seriously, he was a holodeck character! I not only didn't care when he died, I had forgotten by the end of the commercial break and w0lfstar had to remind me why T'Pol was messing with his stuff!

Eeee. Hoshi is on my desktop calendar today! (Your calendar gives me DAILY JOY.)
(no subject) - espirk on May 18th, 2005 04:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
Melody: Trip T'Pol side by sidepellmelody on May 17th, 2005 03:01 am (UTC)
Her mother was equally fond of remarking, "T'Pol is not always a follower of the obvious."

Boy, is THIS the truth!!

I like this. Your characterization of T'Pol and T'Les is right on the money.

Her skin tingles with his presence through four titanium decks and her ears ring with echoes of the day's conversations. His words were frustrating as always, his emotions puzzling and forever just outside the range of her Vulcan comprehension.

OH yes. Perfect.
Little Red: trek - trip/t'pol i love you - ashismmylittleredgirl on May 17th, 2005 02:54 pm (UTC)
Boy, is THIS the truth!!

*laughs* Noticed that, did you? But she's cute that way. Except when it's infuriating. ;) (It really is a wonder that Trip doesn't, like, grab her and shake her on a regular basis.)

I LOVE T'LES!! *fangirls* My adoration of T'Pol's mom knows no bounds. :) I'm so fascinated by T'Pol's childhood, too... ever since "Carbon Creek." And not just because Vulcan kids just have to be adorable.

I think I'm FOUR YEARS late on this particular bandwagon of OBVIOUS, too, but it's just now clicking to me how fundamentally alien these two are -- like they're forever going to be speaking different languages. Because mostly on the show it has been Trip boggling at how weird and incomprehensible T'Pol is being with her Vulcan ways, but she's never going to be able to really get him, either, not completely. Clearly, I really haven't been paying attention, and must watch the show again. :)
(no subject) - pellmelody on May 17th, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mylittleredgirl on May 19th, 2005 03:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
likes wearing candy-apple redcette_vie on May 17th, 2005 04:03 am (UTC)
You're a savior, after the cancellation of this series. I wanted to cry when I saw this fic. Thank you for not letting me down.
Little Red: trek - hoshi miles to go - speshulduckmylittleredgirl on May 17th, 2005 02:55 pm (UTC)
Awww! Thank you! I'm a total dork and am just now starting to write fanfic for this show. I'm so glad you liked it!
(no subject) - cette_vie on May 17th, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Groovekittie: home by phantomvampgroovekittie on May 17th, 2005 04:53 am (UTC)
Oh wow. That was magnificent! Thank for writing something so perfect!
Little Red: trek - trip/t'pol i love you - ashismmylittleredgirl on May 17th, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC)
Eeee! I got a 'perfect'! *boggles and flails*

Thank you! :)
sour girl: ent - anotherspeshulduck on May 17th, 2005 05:05 am (UTC)
Score! You write good fic. If we're not good friends inside a month it'll be my fault.

On to the actual fic itself. You write an excellent T'Pol; Vulcan yet that disctinctive T'Pol edge that constantly borders on emotion. And -- echoing the sentiments of others -- after the finale that was much needed. I'll be recc-ing this one when I put out the T/T'P manifesto :)
Little Red: trek - trip/t'pol i love you - ashismmylittleredgirl on May 17th, 2005 03:08 pm (UTC)
Eeee, new friend! *passes you notes in class* I do write fic, wheee, but am Very Weird and am only now starting to write Enterprise fic. *shrugs*

And thank you for the vote of T'Pol confidence... I totally spent most of the series yelling "What are you THINKING!?" at my TV, so it's nice to know that I somehow managed to write her anyway! *snuggles the adorable worstvulcanever*
stexgirl2000stexgirl2000 on May 17th, 2005 06:25 am (UTC)
Oh, how I :heart: this. You nailed T'Pol's voice. Nailed it.


Little Red: trek - trip/t'pol i love you - ashismmylittleredgirl on May 17th, 2005 03:11 pm (UTC)
Awww, thank you!! *snuggles you* (And wheee! It took me four years, but I finally got the first clue as to *what* is going on in T'Pol's head!)
callistacallista1159 on May 17th, 2005 08:15 am (UTC)

I heart this muchly - v beautiful.

Little Red: gleee! - nenyamylittleredgirl on May 17th, 2005 03:12 pm (UTC)
*runs about collecting e's*


Thank you! :)
(no subject) - callista1159 on May 17th, 2005 06:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mylittleredgirl on May 17th, 2005 06:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
xsabx on May 17th, 2005 08:22 am (UTC)
Read this
via the Crack Van recommendation and you have nailed T'Pol beautifully. A job very well done.

Off to see if there's anything else to read...
Little Red: trek - hoshi miles to go - speshulduckmylittleredgirl on May 17th, 2005 03:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Read this
Oooooh! Thanks for letting me know I was rec'd! *squeees to self*

I'm just now getting into writing Enterprise (I know, I know, I'm four years late to the prom), so I only have one more so far.

Thank you! :)
Bright Beak: puffins - hide - kiplibrightbeak on May 17th, 2005 01:20 pm (UTC)
oh WOW!!!!
this just *ROCKED*
Little Red: trek - trip/t'pol i love you - ashismmylittleredgirl on May 17th, 2005 03:14 pm (UTC)
Eeee! Thank you! :)
Lisa Yaegerlisayaeger on May 18th, 2005 01:34 am (UTC)
Perfectly wonderful :-) You did it again!
Little Red: trek - trip/t'pol i love you - ashismmylittleredgirl on May 19th, 2005 03:28 am (UTC)
*bounces happily with new pairing to wriiiiiiite*
w0lfstar: Empress Hoshi by naushikaw0lfstar on May 18th, 2005 04:39 am (UTC)
T'Les!!! *clings* T'Pol!!! *clings* Trip!!! *clings* Hoshi!!! *clings* (oh, wait, not in this fic, so I use in icon instead!!)


Yay! So cool!!! And so good! *continues to envy your writing talent*
Little Red: sga - kinky mind sex - natushkamylittleredgirl on May 19th, 2005 03:31 am (UTC)
T'Pol's mom is AMAAAAAZING! (And omg, I just wrote Hoshi/Travis fic and posted it! Bweeee.)

*gleees happily* Vulcans! YAY! And Trip and T'Pol who are now JOINED AT THE BRAIN for future kinky mind sex! (HOW do I not have a kinky mind sex icon for them?)

OOOOOH. Report on The Snake Now Known As Starbuck: skin shed! one mouse was eaten, second mouse was declined. My parents watched in awe and provided running commentary.
(no subject) - w0lfstar on May 19th, 2005 04:58 am (UTC) (Expand)