This is a story loosely based around some of the spoilers for the Enterprise finale episode "These Are the Voyages...". Written by monica20
Jonathan paced the conference room nervously. In ten minutes he was supposed to go out there in front of thousands of people and deliver a speech, and it wasn't just any old speech. It would have a far-reaching impact not only for humans, but their alien allies who'd resolved to be part of this. History was in the making today.
He checked over his PADD with his notes. Yes, all was in order, but that didn't calm the butterflies flying around his stomach or slow down his racing heartbeat. He wasn't one to get nervous — it was just that this was such a big deal and everyone's eyes would be on him.
The conference door room opened. He turned around to see who it was. T'Pol strolled in, dressed in her orange uniform.
"Are you ready, Captain?"
"Just about, but I've got a few minutes, don't I?" He placed the PADD on the conference table desk.
"Yes, I believe you are not due on the podium for another five minutes." He seemed restless. "Are you nervous?"
"Is it that obvious?" He hoped the rest of the audience wouldn't be so perceptive.
"I know you well, it will not be apparent to the crowd."
Her eyes danced over his form. He looked extremely handsome, decked out in his new dress uniform. However the collar on the white shirt underneath the blue jumpsuit looked a little crooked.
"If you'll permit me," she said as she corrected it.
"You look very heroic, Captain."
"Thank you, T'Pol."
T'Pol was rarely complimentary, so this meant a lot to him. She'd told him once that he'd seemed to develop the necessary skills to command a Starship, when he'd asked her if it was a compliment she'd responded in a dead pan manner that it had been an observation.
The last few days had not been easy, and he was still dealing with the shock of the death of his friend. He assumed T'Pol was as well, though to what extent he was unclear.
"Did you want me to look over your speech?" she asked, glancing at the PADD on the table. In the past he'd often asked for her opinion on material he'd written, the first time being when he'd written a preface to a book on his father's life. It had started out at 19 pages, but with careful editing and comments on her part, they'd been able to downsize it to a manageable few pages.
"Er…no, but thanks. I'm happy with it as it stands."
Both of them were quiet until T'Pol broke the silence. "I know you'll miss him."
"I think everyone will. I can't believe he's gone. It's like I expect to go out onto that podium and look into the audience and see his smiling face. It doesn't feel real." He paused, then continued. "I know this must be hard for you as well, T'Pol."
"Commander Tucker and I were good friends but it is you who knew him the longest."
Jonathan had never really been sure of the status quo between his two officers. It had seemed very much like an on again off again relationship. He hadn't been one to pry, and if they had been involved, he'd appreciated their discretion.
There was a knock at the door. Admiral Gardner walked in. "We're ready for you, Jon."
"Okay, I'll be there in a minute." Gardner left and Jonathan sighed. "Oh boy, this is it!"
"You'll do fine," she assured him.
"You'll be close by, won't you? It would be nice to see a familiar face."
He started to walk towards the door when he stopped, and backed up. On impulse, he took her in his arms in a gentle hug. Today was a special day, and he couldn't have imagined being here without her. He also couldn't imagine coming so far without her sound advice and counsel.
He closed his eyes, just enjoying the embrace. He was pleasantly surprised to find her winding her own arms around his back. He pulled her tighter to him, wrapping his strong arms around her waist. She was here, at last, in his arms. He'd waited almost a decade for this moment.
He knew Gardner was waiting, along with an audience of thousands, and the millions who'd be watching via their television sets and computer screens. But he wasn't going to give up this moment for anything. He wasn't going to analyse it either -- whether she viewed this as a sign of friendship or something more, it wasn't important. He just permitted himself the enjoyment of this one brief moment in time with her, where the past and the future were of no consequence.
His face was buried in her chestnut hair, which smelled of coconut and jojoba. Her small frame was pressed tightly against his, her head resting on his chest. The words he'd spent hours memorizing for his speech seemed to have escaped his brain. All he could think about was her and how incredible this felt.
Dare he take this a step further? What did he have to lose? Enterprise was decommissioned and T'Pol was no longer his first officer. Certain he'd never have the opportunity again, he whispered her name and she looked up into his eyes.
Lowering his head he kissed her. And it was no gentle kiss between friends, but one that he'd waited ten years to give her. It was passionate, demanding, but also loving. It spoke of how he felt, of all he'd wanted to tell her over the years, but never had the chance to. But words weren't necessary anymore; his touch conveyed the volumes he'd wanted to say.
Thirty seconds later there was a loud knock at the door and they quickly broke apart.
"Captain, is there a problem?"
"No, Admiral, I'm coming."
"I'll be there in a second."
"Can we talk after the ceremony?" Jonathan asked.
"Right, then we'll talk later…yes?"
She nodded. He appeared flustered and almost embarrassed. He headed towards the door in a hurry.
"Jonathan?" she called out.
"What?" he asked impatiently. Gardner was going to deliver the speech himself if he didn't appear pronto.
With long strides she walked over to the door he was about to open. "I'd suggest you smooth out your hair before you go outside in front of all those people." She'd done a good job of messing it up as she'd ran her fingers through it while they kissed.
"What? My hair's a mess now?" Oh boy! And Gardner had seen it too. What had he thought? He flattened it out with his hand as best he could. "How's that?"
"It will suffice. You should go."
He was just about to reach for the door handle when she gave him a gentle peck on the lips. "Good luck." She opened the door herself and left him standing in the doorway.
Just about to walk out onto the podium he realized his notes were on the conference table. Dashing over to it, and picking up the PADD, he strode with confidence into the dais to face the awaiting crowds.
Climbing onto the podium he scanned the area for a familiar face in the crowd. There she was, as promised, with a slight amused expression on her face. The butterflies in his stomach had vanished. Instead, he was filled with a wonderful sense of hope for his future and hers. Maybe he shouldn't base all his hopes on one embrace, but his instincts told him it was safe to feel this way, and they'd never done so before.
He cleared his throat and started to speak. "Ladies and gentleman, we are gathered here today…"
The curtain swayed as a gust of wind came through the open bedroom window. She could hear the hustle and bustle of the street below them.
"I can shut it if you like."
"No, I'm fine, Jonathan." She curled up next to him. She lay her head on his chest, listening to the steady rhythm of his heart. Here she was, in a San Francisco apartment, in bed, lying in Jonathan's Archer's arms.
Just how had all this happened? She was not one to act on impulse or make rash decisions. She'd done that once and that had been the worst mistake of her life. Of course being on Trellium and choosing the wrong man hadn't helped matters.
While she was surprised at her actions, she knew that where she was at this moment was exactly where she wanted to be, and had wanted to be for quite some time.
"Hold on a sec," Jonathan said, as he sat upright in bed, leaning over to his bedside table. Filling two champagne flutes with the bubbly liquid, he passed one to her.
"I think we have a lot to celebrate, don't you?"
"Your speech was excellent. The crowd gave you a standing ovation."
"They were being polite."
"Jonathan, Tellarites are never polite."
"Ah, you have a point there," he smiled and brushed her lips with his. "Have I told you how beautiful you are?"
"Several times this evening."
"Once more won't hurt," he teased. Then in a serious tone, "We should have done this years ago. What a waste!"
"You were my commanding officer. It wouldn't have been appropriate."
"You're right…but we should at least have been honest with each other, and not danced around our feelings for so long."
On that he had a point. They'd both avoided the obvious. He'd tried to tell her discreetly he loved her, but she'd never seemed to understand the message. And she'd attempted to prove to him just how much he needed her, but he'd taken the gesture as being purely professional. It was as if they'd been at cross-purposes for so long.
And then the Xindi attack had happened. Jonathan had become less accessible, and she'd become less logical, seeking thrills in an emotion-inducing drug. She was not proud of her behaviour; memories of what she'd become were distasteful. She was grateful it was a long time ago, and that in the seven years since she'd returned to being a more logical, less emotional Vulcan.
Until tonight. What had come over her this evening was hard to comprehend. It had been totally unplanned and impetuous. When Jonathan had hugged her in the conference room she'd understood it to imply friendship…well until he'd kissed her. That had been unexpected…but not unwelcome.
But from the moment their lips had touched, he'd rekindled all the emotions and feelings she'd held for him for a long time, feelings she'd acknowledged before entering the Expanse.
After the speech to the congregated throngs, she hadn't been able to locate him. He'd left the podium and exited to the conference room. She'd gone there to find him, but by the time she'd arrived he was long gone, probably whisked away by Gardner or some other Admiral.
There was a reception being held in the adjoining building for all the delegates and she'd imagined Jonathan was the guest of honor. She'd been invited and made her way there, hoping to catch a glimpse of him and arrange to see him later, when he wasn't so occupied with ambassadors and other VIPS.
She'd caught a glimpse of him two hours later, but he'd had an impregnable group of people around him, so she'd bid her time, sampled the tidbits of food on offer that she considered edible and mingled with some of the crowd. She soon discovered she was in demand herself. One of the Tellarite ambassadors seemed to want to adopt her as his escort for the remainder of the day. When she spied Ambassador Soval walking in her direction, she'd been grateful for an excuse to escape.
The afternoon soon turned into evening and still she hadn't managed a quiet moment alone with Archer. Lieutenant Reed stopped by for a few moments, commenting on the Captain's popularity.
"Bet he's having the time of his life, enjoying the limelight and all."
"Perhaps he's tired of it," T'Pol suggested.
"I know I sure wouldn't be. I'd be milking it for all it's worth."
"On that I agree, Lieutenant."
By 8pm she'd decided to give up and retire to her Starfleet apartment. Each member of the crew had received one upon Enterprise's decommissioning. Most of them were in the middle of deciding what career move to next make. T'Pol was as undecided as the rest of them.
Slipping on her Starfleet jacket, she'd been about to head for the exit when a familiar voice asked, "Leaving already?"
"It's been a long day. You have been occupied, I did not wish to disturb you."
"T'Pol, give me five minutes."
"Captain, it's not necessary." She'd long assumed their brief interlude earlier that day had been nothing more than that: just a kiss on impulse. She didn't want Jonathan to make any special effort on her behalf or go into long explanations. And she was tired.
"It is. Just five minutes." He'd noticed she didn't look convinced so had put on his irresistible puppy dog look. She wondered if he took lessons from Porthos. "Please."
Though being Vulcan, even she was not immune to such a face or an emotional plea. She acquiesced.
True to his word, he was back at her side within five minutes, and they left the reception together.
"It's been madness today. Countless times I tried to get away but whatever direction I moved there were people who wanted to talk to me."
"You don't need to explain, Jonathan. I saw it with my own eyes."
"Well I'm sorry. I wanted to talk to you sooner. By the way, thanks for standing so near the front of the audience during my speech. It was comforting to see a friendly face amongst a sea of strangers."
"So you wanna go to my place?"
She stopped walking. "Is that a pick up line?" She didn't want him to misconstrue the situation. She wasn't like his Earth girlfriends.
"No, it was a question. We're not on Enterprise, so I'm not going to say would you like to come to my quarters this evening. I thought we could go somewhere private to talk, and my apartment isn't far. It seemed convenient."
"In that case, yes."
"What did you think I meant, T'Pol?"
"Your choice of words reminded me of something a man in a bar might say to a woman."
"Oh. You been to a lot of bars?"
His apartment was less than a ten minute walk from the reception. They entered, and he took off her jacket, hanging it on a hook on the wall. He asked if she was hungry, but she replied that she'd eaten so many snacks at the reception she couldn't eat a thing. He offered her some mint tea and she agreed to that. He boiled the kettle and made them both some tea.
He'd sat down on the sofa, placing the hot mugs of tea on the coffee table. T'Pol was standing by the living room window, gazing at the traffic below, and the view in front. She could just make out Starfleet Headquarters and the Golden Gate Bridge from his window.
"Are you gonna join me?" he asked.
"Of course." She sat herself down across from him in the armchair.
"I meant next to me, T'Pol."
She got up to move and join him.
"Only if you want …it's not obligatory."
Sitting next to him, she answered, "I know. I don't do things out of obligation."
He smiled and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. "Before my speech…what happened in the conference room between us…it wasn't anything planned. I was surprised by my own actions."
"Are you apologizing?" she asked.
"Er…no…I mean…well…" Did she want an apology?
"Don't be sorry. I'm not. It was a pleasing surprise."
"I'm glad to hear that," he grinned, while inside he felt rapturous joy at her words.
She took her tea and sipped it. All of this seemed surreal: Jonathan's apartment, his sofa with his arm around her. Definitely not how she'd anticipated this day would end.
She felt a little nervous, not sure how she should act. They'd both crossed the line that delineated between friendship and something more and were now heading into unknown territory. She gulped down the remainder of her tea. She wished she could think of something to say, after all this is what she'd waited for all day, to be able to talk to him. However, no adequate words seemed to come to mind.
Words didn't seem necessary for Jonathan. After she placed her mug back on the table, he took her in his arms and began to kiss her.
This was the point where logical thought and reason went flying out the window. He was gentle and tender with her, never overbearing or demanding, but he elicited in her feelings that were new, wild, and unexplored.
He'd been the man she'd wanted for over seven years. She'd gone into his Ready Room that day telling him she didn’t want to return to Vulcan and hoped he'd understood her true meaning. But it had been lost on him, and in the interim she'd discovered she'd actually lost him. Not to a female rival, but to the mission.
How she'd got herself so totally messed up with the likes of neuropressure, Commander Tucker and Trellium seemed cloudy now — but it had been a disastrous mistake from the start. Jonathan was the man she'd decided upon and whom she possessed emotions for. He'd been the man she'd cried for going on a suicide mission, or who she'd mourned for when thinking he was dead.
"Jonathan," she gasped, as she felt his lips explore her neck.
He stopped for a moment and focused his eyes on hers. "Nothing's going to happen tonight that you don't want, T'Pol. If you want me to stop, just say so."
He caressed her cheek. "There's something I've been aching to tell you." He paused. "I love you, T'Pol."
No one had ever told her that — she'd never meant that much to anyone. The depth of his emotion for her thrilled her to the very core. Maybe that's why she was allowing him to touch, caress and kiss her. Because she knew him and what kind of man he was. Jonathan Archer was honorable and noble. She wasn't some notch on a bedpost.
She wanted to say something back — but she was not in possession of a word that would describe exactly how she felt about him. He was the most important person in her life, and being without him seemed unthinkable. But how should she phrase that?
As if reading her hesitation he said, "It's okay, you don't have to say it back."
"It's not that. I have no experience in putting into words how I feel. But I need you to know that I care for you very much."
He smiled at her.
"Very much, Jonathan," she reiterated. "If only I could express it." Instead, she kissed him. She could tell how much he enjoyed her touch, as if he'd been waiting a lifetime to experience it. Had he loved her that long?
He closed his eyes as she mapped his face with tender kisses, starting at his forehead, then his eyelids, his aristocratic nose, and then his soft lips.
"T'Pol," he whispered.
She continued her journey down his neck. The white collar of his uniform was buttoned up high so she undid the first few buttons permitting her better access to his throat.
Arriving at the bottom of his neck, she laved at the hollow in his throat. She paused, uncertain whether the next move was his or hers. She was in full possession of her faculties and she knew if they both took the next step, they'd be crossing over a line they could never go back on.
Jonathan had obviously noted her hesitation. "I love you, but we can stop right here and now, T'Pol."
"What do you want?" she asked.
"You." His reply was simple and to the point and encompassed a thousand meanings.
"Is that what you want, T'Pol?"
"Yes," she whispered. She hadn't been sure at first, but as soon as she'd whispered her affirmation she'd known she was making the right decision. Her encounter with Trip had been pre-mediated, but it had had nothing to do with emotion. Instead, it had been fuelled by curiosity and her drug addiction.
Jonathan was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. That much she knew. In that context, her decision was the right one.
He got up off the sofa and held out his hand to her. She placed her hand in his offered one and stood up. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he hugged her to him. "I've loved you for so long, T'Pol. I kept telling myself there was no hope and that I was a fool to even consider that you might feel the same way some day. But for some reason my stubborn heart just wouldn't stop loving you. Through your marriage to Koss, your relationship with Trip, it just wouldn't stop."
"Jonathan, about Trip…you should know…"
"It's not important right now."
"Yes it is. I think you may be operating under a misconception. I cared for Trip, and I grieve for him now. But I grieve only as a friend, nothing more. I didn't have romantic feelings for him. I may have once imagined that I did, a long time ago. But I was wrong. We didn't even have a relationship. Most of the time we were just friends."
"I wish I'd known."
"I wish I'd told you," she said regretfully.
"Let's not think about that now. I just want to enjoy being with you, here and now. Okay?"
She nodded. He took her in his arms and ravished her with kisses, making her breathless. He kissed her lips, her cheeks, her ears, and then proceeded down her throat.
He stopped for a moment, trying to catch his own breath. Taking her hand in his he lead her to the bedroom. There was no going back now.
"Are you lost in thought, sweetheart?" he asked.
She sipped her champagne, then looked up at him. "Just working out things in my head."
"None," she assured him, running her hand down his bare chest. He caught it and brought it to his lips.
He was overjoyed to hear her response. He'd hoped she hadn't felt coerced in any way. He'd told her several times if she wanted him to desist, he would. She'd never asked.
In fact he'd been amazed by her reactions to him. Her passions had equalled his own. Who would have thought that possible? She was definitely not the ice queen he'd met ten years ago at Starfleet Medical. Tonight he'd had a beautiful woman in his arms that cared very much for him. She'd responded to his touch, matched and fulfilled his desires. He felt completely sated.
Earlier, he'd felt nostalgic and regretful about Enterprise's decommissioning. A chapter in his life had come to an end. He'd fought so hard and for so many years to get that captaincy — to be the first commander of the first warp 5 vessel, it had been the center of his life. Before her maiden voyage, all he could think about was Enterprise and how soon he could get her out of space dock.
Now it was all over — the explorations, the missions, all of it. Starfleet wanted to put him behind a desk now and had offered him the rank of Admiral. He hadn't given them a response yet. He didn't know if he was ready to give it all up. It could be that he didn’t have a choice and their response would be either he take the position or leave Starfleet.
He didn't feel old enough to give it all up yet. Maybe his best years were still ahead of him. He was only 48. But then perhaps today was the start of a lot of changes in his life. He hadn't anticipated T'Pol ending up in his arms tonight. He wanted a future for them as a couple. This was no mere one-night stand for him, and he hoped she felt the same.
Not being a captain anymore made their relationship more acceptable, they wouldn't need to hide it. But he was unsure of her plans. She was a great Starfleet commander; she might even be offered her own command. He sighed at that thought. Of course he'd be happy for her, but then he'd have to face the prospect of losing her all over again.
"What's wrong?" she asked, hearing him sigh.
"Guess I'm contemplating stuff as well."
"Your thoughts trouble you?" Did he regret what had happened between them? If that was the problem it didn't add up. As they'd made love he'd repeatedly told her how much he loved her, what she meant to him. It would make no sense to assume he now regretted the step they'd taken.
"Things are kinda uncertain right now, T'Pol. I mean for me. And I guess for you as well."
"You already miss being Enterprise's captain?" She was relieved to hear it had nothing to do with them as a couple.
Boy was she intuitive! He had no idea she was that keyed into his thoughts. But he loved the fact that she was. Life could be blissful spending it with a partner who really understood you and the way you thought.
"I've become accustomed to it. It feels strange knowing I have no ship to return to."
"Change can be good sometimes, Jonathan. I sense a great future for you, and I doubt it will be boring."
He gently kissed her. "Take up fortune-telling of late, huh?" he teased.
She raised an eyebrow at him in return. "No, I base my predictions on instinct. Your memory will not go by the wayside. Just look at today, you were the most popular man at the reception."
"I know, but it's not fame I'm looking for, T'Pol. What I'm saying is that I enjoyed being a Starfleet captain. It will take time to adjust."
"Of course, but like I said — change can be good."
Was she referring to them? As in the change in the status of their relationship was a good thing? He hoped so.
Maybe she was right. Change could be a good thing.
He felt happy at the way the day had gone. The speech had been a great success, a treaty had been signed, and Earth was at peace with its fellow allies. On a personal level, he'd discovered the woman he loved for almost a decade returned his feelings.
She'd also told him that what he'd believed about her and Trip hadn't been true. There hadn't really been anything between them for years. He should have known.
But whenever T'Pol came up in conversation with Trip, he'd walked on eggshells, not wanting to pry. Trip had never mentioned her in any other way than professional — but Jonathan had merely assumed he was respecting her privacy. Trip had often told him of past relationships with Natalie or Lisa, but if he was having one with T'Pol, he'd certainly kept mum about it.
And he'd never felt comfortable asking T'Pol either. Though if he had he might have discovered the truth a lot sooner than tonight. But that was in the past now…
Despite the happiness of today's events, with the signing of the charter between the different alien species, it had been tinged with sadness as an important member of his crew was missing. Trip had died en-route to the decommissioning in an attempt to save Enterprise and Archer from saboteurs.
It would take time for that wound to heal — or maybe it would become easier to bear. He'd imagined watching his younger friend take his own command one day, and become a famous Starfleet captain himself, leading the newly formed Federation fleet. Sadly, that was not meant to be.
T'Pol placed her glass on the bedside table, and snuggled under the covers. The room temperature was getting cool.
"You're cold, aren't you?" he asked, snuggling under with her, taking her in his arms.
"I'm warm now," she countered.
"Hmm…I still think I ought to go shut that window. San Francisco nights can be cold and damp. I'll be right back, sweetheart."
He returned and they huddled under the bed covers keeping each other warm.
She kissed him on the mouth. This could become habit-forming. It was wonderful to kiss him, and be so close to him. It was pleasing to see him smile and watch his eyes light up with pleasure. She wanted this to be forever…did he? She wished to discover Jonathan the man, learn more about him…and a lifetime at his side would allow her to do just so.
"You were right," she said.
"About what?" he asked.
"We should have got together years ago."
"I thought you said it wouldn't have been inappropriate."
"Yes I did, but on reflection…I feel like we've wasted a lot of time. I don't want to waste anymore."
"Neither do I, T'Pol. Neither do I."
As if making up for all those lost years he kissed her with a fiery passion, rolling her beneath him. "I don't want to waste another precious minute," he whispered into her ear.
Then she was lost as his lips blazed a trail down her neck, across her clavicle and shoulders. Wrapping her arms around his back she ran them down his spine, enjoying the feel of the smooth muscle beneath her fingertips. She surmised the time for talking was over. They needed to talk…about them…their relationship…their future. But there was always the morning.
For the time being she indulged herself in the pleasure that was Jonathan Archer: his touch, his caresses and the feeling of satisfaction that he was finally hers. She'd waited long enough for him.
He was right — they shouldn't waste another precious minute. Logical thoughts evaded her as she surrendered herself to the only man she'd ever wanted to, indulging in the loving intimacy he created.