((OOC: Last time on Star Trek Juneau - JP Lieutenant JG John Kendrick & Lieutenant-Commander T'Lea - The Gain of Time, Part 6 (google.com) ))
((The Wanderer – Sickbay))
Kal-if-fee had been decided. T’Lea had chosen her mate, even though he was not the clear winner, but under these circumstances the choice was hers to accept, or refuse him. The fact that she was standing at John’s bedside spoke volumes.
It had to be him.
That affirmation kept popping up in her head every time she questioned it.
But why? Why John?
And why did the stupid EMH leave her alone to finish tending to John’s minor abrasions? She wasn’t his damn nurse. She was his… what? Mate?
Simple answer – Yes.
But was he hers? Did he truly understand what he was doing when he accepted the challenge? Or was John acting out some heroic human chivalry bullcrap?
If he would only wake up she would force an answer out of him.
Wake up. Wake up! WAKE UP!
She kept shouting in her mind.
Stood over Kendrick’s prone body on the examination bed, T’Lea did nothing to aid the scrapes on his handsome face. The only thing she could manage to do was white-knuckle the dermal regenerator device, and then vex the unconscious Lieutenant with razor sharp comments, questions and criticisms.
Wake up, stupid human. You’re supposed to be a security officer, and you let a frakking Romulan p’tak beat you? Wake up!
It was the agony of not knowing what would happen once he did come-to that drove her to anger. That, and the man she desired was sleeping soundly, and she was doing everything in her power not to rip his clothes off. It was a thirst that could not be quenched. A fire that burned, but never consumed. She was drowning in a toxic soup of want that couldn’t be had.
Wake the frak up!
She threw the device in her hand across the room, and then paced off some of that frustration from wall to wall, and then back again. Eventually she ended up at John’s bedside, and forced herself to calm down lest she start slapping him awake.
She repeated the soothing technique, unaware that her rhythm had fallen perfectly in synch with John’s restful cadence. Eventually T’Lea found herself focusing on the vacancy of thought, while her eyes consumed his virile good-looks. The eye of her storm was passing over at the same moment she mentally reached out to him.
Her entire demeanor softened, and relaxed as she stared into John’s unburdened existence. As the seconds passed she recognized, but ignored a connection to him, and only concentrated on a kind of sensory deprivation that his unconscious body was providing her with.
Mellow mind. Cool temper. Sublime warmth.
She was more at peace with herself than she felt in months, and then it started to fade. John was surfacing. She could feel him start to emerge from layers of tranquility. His thoughts began to fire-up with synapse responses, and she quickly backed away, realizing quite suddenly, and with a certain amount of embarrassment, what was going on.
It had to be him because…
T’Lea: … we’re bonded.
The epiphany struck her like a lightning bolt dead between the eyes.
Questions were quickly descended upon and met with guilty answers. This was her doing. Her fault. Her incompetence. Her shame.
The ceiling in Cargo Hold 4. That was the last thing John remembered as he woke up.
Kendrick: ::stammering:: Where am I?
His mouth hurt as the words crossed his lips.
Frak! She took another step back and locked-down her thoughts so that he wouldn’t sense any of her emotional run-off. As difficult as it was under the pressure of Pon Farr, she didn’t want to influence him any more than she already had. Her struggle was, as usual, an epic losing battle, that must be fought to the very end.
T’Lea: The Doctor took care of your injuries. The major ones. How is the visual acuity in your left eye?
So Vulcan. So brave. So very, very ignoring the subject.
He recognized her voice immediately, but the intonation that carried her words sounded cold and distant. His hand reached for his left eye socket. Carefully touching the slightly swollen area around his eye, he was relieved to find out it didn’t hurt much. His vision on his left was still a bit blurry, but that was the least of his concerns right now. As if suddenly hit by lightning, he realized how he had ended up here, on what felt like a biobed.
He pushed himself straight up onto the biobed and turned to the Romulo-Vulcan standing only a couple of feet away from him. As he looked deep into her piercing blue eyes, he instantly knew that the Vulcan stoicism she was trying to evoke was nothing more than a shield. A weakened shield that was on the verge of collapsing.
Kendrick: Dammit T'Lea, what the hell happened?!
Oh but he knew what had happened. Suddenly he remembered everything. The Vulcan nerve pinch, her message asking for his help and finally his fight with the Romulan in Cargo Hold 4. But he wanted to hear the truth out of her mouth. He wanted an explanation. He deserved as much.
And then a deep anger started to slowly build up inside of him. It was as if his blood started to boil. He jumped off the biobed and looked down at his hands clenched in a fist. Passion and desire, wrapped around in an almost unquenchable lust for violence – it was the only way he could describe his current state of mind.
Looking back up at her, he no longer saw T'Lea, but the Romulan Male. The words Kal-if-fee rang through his head. Their fight in Cargo Hold 4 had been undecided, but here in Sickbay without any onlookers he would get his second chance.
He stepped forward and swung his right fist at his opponent who was apparently fast enough to deflect his attack.
Something was wrong. She could feel his anger directed at her, but there was something false about it.
T'Lea: John. Stop. You must resist the urge to act --
The Romulan’s lips moved but it was T'Lea’s voice he heard. He shook his head. The Romulan was trying to play tricks on him. He took another swing. This time he was more successful as his fist landed straight up against his rival’s jaw. The adrenaline was pumping through his veins as he felt his opponent’s blood dripping down on his knuckles.
The impact of pain strangely felt good. Like she deserved it. And had she had a glass jaw it would have been lights-out. He was filled with rage… she could feel it, but it was confused – he was confused.
T'Lea: Resist your emotions!
The instant that she shouted it, she heard the rise of emotion in her own voice. She was getting pissed off now too. On the one hand she couldn’t blame him for the anger and rage over what she’d done to him –without his permission. Taking his assault was in some way penance for all of that. On the other hand he was acting irrationally even for an unwitting human bond-mate. On the other, other hand she felt like unleashing hell on him for punching her in the face, but that would definitely not end well for anybody.
Instead, she retreated further, putting a bit of distance between him while she wiped the blood from her face. When she looked across the small room at him, she got the sense that he wasn’t seeing clearly, and perhaps it wasn’t due to his bruised eye.
T’Lea: John, listen to me. I want you to focus on my voice. Disregard everything else.
Out stretched hand, she gestured for a mind-meld. She needed to correct this mistake before it killed one of them.
Again he heard T'Lea’s voice. Again he ignored her.
For a split second the Romulan appeared to lower his guard as he wiped the blood from his mouth. Realizing he needed to take advantage of the situation, with all the strength he had left, he ran into the Romulan and slammed him up against the wall. Sparks from broken screens and terminals flew everywhere while he kept on punching the Romulan.
At the instant of the impact, she flashed back to her time in the Blood Bowl and recognized the degree of discipline and ferocity she’d mastered in the ring. All those beatings she’d endured to gain the advantage taught her one thing, patience.
But this couldn’t go on. She couldn’t take it and neither could he.
She’d been on the defense, protecting her head with her arms, but once the decision was made she quickly turned the tables on John. Ducking his fists, she spun out, got behind him and pinned him into the wall that she’d just escaped. From behind, she had his arm uncomfortably twisted in her grip and her body locking his in place. She could feel him breathing heavily and angrily against her, and now that she was touching him she understood the confusion. He was only human, and Kal-if-fee had been interrupted.
T’Lea: Stop. Listen to me…
His whole body ached. The Romulan had him in a tight grip, locked up against the wall. And no matter how hard he tried to break free, it only seemed to weaken his own position further.
And then he heard her voice again. On a subconscious level, he knew the truth, but his eyes were still deceiving him. Perhaps a part of him even wanted to be deceived. Maybe he wasn’t ready to face the truth? He closed his eyes again and tried to ignore her voice, instead focusing on his own pain and the fight of which the outcome had yet to be decided.
Kendrick: ::angry:: No! I will not!
This wasn’t working. Words wouldn’t break through his… well his Pon Farr. And T’Lea’s patience was wearing thin. She had to go deeper.
T’Lea: ~~John. Let me help you. ~~
This time however, it seemed as if her voice resounded deep inside of him. A passionate yearning took a hold of him. Oh how he longed for her, to feel her body against his. To hear her heart pounding against his chest. But there was still one obstacle to overcome: his Romulan rival. His muscles tensed up, his body ready to give it one more try.
Kendrick: ::shouting:: No! I must do this alone, without your help. I have to prove myself worthy of you.
Later that statement would stick with her, but for now, he had to be shown the hard way. She released his hand, and before he could act on his freedom, she reached up and mind-melded him from behind like a gangsta. Instantly, a clear telephatic channel had opened and she could see a hazy outline of him standing in the distance of their joined minds.
T’Lea: ~~ It was an accident. The FMS Gold Feather. We’re bonded. What you are feeling are the effects of my Pon Farr. That’s why you accepted the Kal-if-fee.~~
Not because he had feelings for her, she wanted to add, but didn’t.
She began to move toward him through what felt and looked like a thick red fog of uncertainty. Whether it was hers, or his, or both of theirs she didn’t know. But she had to reach him. She had to release him from this curse.
John found himself standing alone, a reddish fog surrounding him. He looked down at his hands which were still hurting. It almost felt like a dream but all his other senses told him he was awake. It was a strange sensation. From a distance he thought he recognized the silhouette of T’Lea, calling out to him, trying to explain what had happened to him… to them. A truth he realized, he already knew but still didn’t fully comprehend.
Kendrick: ~~The Kal-if-fee… It hasn’t ended the way it should have. My body… i'm still struggling. Urges I can’t seem to get under control.~~
T’Lea: ~~ I can take the pain from you. This burden is mine to bear, not yours. I can release you from the bond, but you must come to me.~~
Her words comforted him. It felt like she was the only one in the entire universe who truly knew and understood him. Suddenly it felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He smiled as he slowly started to walk towards her.
There he was. Finally she could see him moving toward her. She stood and waited for him in the heavy red cloud, and suddenly it seemed to dissipate. A shift in the air temperature could be felt and a cooler tone caressed her skin. She glanced up and noticed that the humidity of anger, hate and violence was burning off in some strange otherworldly light from beyond.
Kendrick: ~~The pain… I already feel it subsiding. Those waves of rage… Less intense. ~~
She thought she felt a lucidity returning to his thoughts. That was encouraging. All he had to do was let her disconnect the bond and he would be free.
T’Lea: ~~ Once you are separated from me, I will need a mate. I have none, and I refuse the Romulan. You will need to sedate me. Take me back to the Juneau and put me in the care of Rel or Indobri.~~
It went without saying that if that option failed she’d die. For a moment the fog grew in intensity again nearly blocking out the omnipotent light that shone from nowhere and everywhere. Was he pulling away? She couldn’t sense him as clearly. Was she losing him?
T’Lea: ~~ John? ::pause:: I’m sorry.~~
There she said it, and as painful as it was to admit she really meant it. There was only one thing left to do. Break the bond and let him go. She quietly pressed him to comply with earnest feelings, but secretly… in the recesses of her mind she didn’t want him to.
After everything she said, she still wanted him.
T’Lea: ~~There’s no other way to end this. It must be broken.~~
Like the anger in his heart, so had the red fog returned. He circled T’Lea. He longed for her, had fought for her, and now, now she wanted to put an end to the events she herself had set in motion down in the Brig of DaiMon Kaybay’s vessel?
Kendrick: ~~First you drag me into your mess and now you want me to stand idly by as you destroy yourself?~~
A mirror of emotion reflected back at her. She snapped viciously at his insolent resistance, and her own fragile secrets.
T’Lea: ~~Idiot! I’m trying to save you! Save you from this! From me!~~
The red fog swelled around T’Lea. She was trying to protect herself from his prying mind. She didn’t want him to see what she didn’t want to know.
He kept on circling her. With every step it felt like he was able to come closer and closer to her most inner thoughts. She had opened the gate between them and although she had told him she was prepared to close it off, he knew - he felt - the exact opposite was true.
Kendrick: ~~How noble of you. But have you ever considered my feelings in all of this? ~~
He stopped and reached out his hand to touch hers. She wanted to resist and she was angry at herself for not having the willpower to do so. The sensation of his fingers slipping into hers echoed into the physical planes of her existence in Sickbay. She was giving in, in the worst way--completely. Perhaps even helplessly.
She hated it.
She loved it.
It was awful.
It was wonderful.
The suffocating red fog puffed away with frailty, and with it any sign of resistance. She could feel him move through her mind, and it felt like warm inviting waters that she would happily drown herself in. Slowly she was starting to drift in his strong current.
Kendrick: ~~Let us end what we started. Isn’t that the logical thing to do? ~~
The suffocating red fog dissolved and uncertainty from either one went with it.
He took a step closer to her, his eyes locked on hers, and gently leaned in… and gave her a kiss. As if suddenly hit by lightning, the two of them found themselves standing back in Wanderer’s sickbay.
Kendrick: ::a blissful smile:: Guess this means “yes”?
T’Lea: ::whisper:: No more words.
She released the mind-meld, but the telepathic connection of the bond remained. He turned to face her with that oh-so human smile and she both devoured it with her hungry lips, and tenderly melted into it all at the same time.
Finally, the price of Pon Farr would be paid in its entirety.
TBC in Part 8
Lieutenant Commander T’Lea
Author ID I238301T10
Lieutenant JG John Kendrick
USS Juneau, NX-99801
Author ID J239801JK3