The first time I went to Vulcan, the trip didn't exactly go as I had planned, but compared to why I'm here now, that vacation seems wonderful. Today, I bury my daughter... my beautiful baby girl, Elizabeth. Since her death, T'Pol has been more distant than she usually is. She hasn't wanted to be near me. We haven't been alone together since I broke down in her quarters and she held my hand. I've lost Lizzie, I've lost Elizabeth, and now, I guess I'm losing T'Pol too.
Jon has been there for me every step of the way, he's even giving a speech at the funeral because I couldn't bring myself to do it. I can't write any more eulogies. I've written enough of those.
"You ready?" I turn around and see Jon standing in the doorway, wearing a traditional Vulcan suit, just like I was wearing.
"As I'll ever be," I replied. Jon just nodded his head and let me leave the room first.
Since Elizabeth's death, everyone has been asking me if I'm okay. My child has just died. Do they think I'm okay? What I love about Jon is that he never asked me that. He has enough sense to realize that someone who has just lost their child is far from okay. He's just a genuinely great person.
Jon and I walk out of the room I'm staying in, at T'Pol's house, and then into the lobby where everyone is waiting before the funeral begins. T'Pol is nowhere in sight. There are many people here, including most of the delegates from the conference. The minister, T'Pau, is here, along with all of the my friends from Enterprise. Everyone offering their condolences just makes me feel worse. I can't stay in this room.
I turned to Hoshi, who's standing right next to me, talking to Travis, and I ask, "Have you seen T'Pol?"
"Yeah," she answers. "She went to the cemetery. She wanted to make sure all the preparations were okay."
"Thanks, Hoshi." I then turn to Jon and ask is he can take over and make sure everyone gets to the burial site on time. He tells me that he'll do anything I need.
I hastily make my way out of the house and begin walking to the cemetery. It doesn't take that long; it isn't that far away. I walk to the plot that Elizabeth will be put into and there is T'Pol. She's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. She is wearing a gorgeous black dress that flows gracefully in the wind. The top has a v-neck that dips low but not too low. The waste fits her like a glove and the sleeves fall near to ground. She looks like an angel.
"T'Pol," I call to her.
She makes no movement, but simply says, "Hello, Trip."
I walk up and stand beside her. She then takes a step away from me. I don't bother to attempt to get closer or say anything else. After a while without either one of us doing anything, I am about to walk away when T'Pol says, "Our daughter's dead."
"I know," I says, quietly. "I know, T'Pol."
I make an attempt to reach out to her, but before I can touch her, she makes a very un-Vulcan like flinch backwards. Before I can comment on what she just did, people begin to enter the cemetery. It's time for the funeral to start. Everyone begins piling into their seats and, as, expected, T'Pol stays as far away from me as she can. T'Pau was the one who ran the funeral – she offered when we arrived at Vulcan a while ago and T'Pol and I agreed because neither one of us really wanted to do it – and I have to say, she's done a great job. Elizabeth deserves the best.
Before they put the coffin in the ground, Jon begins to speak. "Elizabeth was someone that we never got to know. She would have grown to be a woman of such elegance and grace. She would have been someone that her parents were proud of. She would have been someone that was always trying to change this universe for the better. She would have been someone people admired because her ability to inspire those changes in people. She would have been someone that everyone was better for knowing. Elizabeth was quite a woman that we never got to know."
I really don't care who sees me cry. My daughter is dead. To hell with everything else in the world. At this moment, I need this. I look over at T'Pol, and to everyone else, she would appear to be as stoic as ever, but I know her. I know her better than anyone else. She's pretending. She's hiding something. Why can't she just tell me? If she notices me staring, she doesn't do anything. T'Pol avoids looking at me and at Elizabeth's coffin during the entire funeral.
Before the service began, I told T'Pau that I would like to do a human tradition of putting a handful of dirt on the coffin, once it's in the ground, to conclude the ceremony. I wanted to honor Elizabeth some how. T'Pau said that that would be acceptable. When they start putting the coffin in the ground, T'Pol looks at it and is visibly shaken. It was just for a moment and since everyone was watching the coffin, no one else saw the look she gave.
Once Elizabeth was completely lowered into the ground. I start to walk to the dirt pile. Surprisingly enough, T'Pol got up also. I wait until she's at the pile too and then we both grab a handful of dirt. I'm first to let the dirt fall. T'Pol keeps her hand over the hole, and after a few more seconds, T'Pol lets the dirt go.
The guests begin to get up and leave, but T'Pol doesn't move... so I don't either. We both remain next to Elizabeth's grave, as the workers fill the grave. We stay there until we're the only ones left, and even then we don't move. T'Pol and I stay in that same spot for hours. I don't even notice the darkness filling the sky. I hear someone walking up to us, so I turn and see that it's Archer. I moved away from T'Pol and closer to him.
"Hey, Trip," he says, once he's close enough so we can speak face to face.
"Hey," I respond back.
"Everyone's getting ready to start heading out," Jon says. "I didn't know if you wanted to see them out or thank them for coming. But if you don't feel up to it, say the word and I'll do it."
Before I can answer, T'Pol, seeming to have overheard, says, "That won't be necessary, I will do it."
She passes us and starts walking in the direction of the house. Jon starts to follow her, but I stop him and ask, "Could you... could you just stay here with me? Please... I don't want to go back to the house right now."
"Of course, Trip," Jon answers.
We don't stay in the cemetery, though. I can't bare to be in it any longer. We just start walking... where doesn't matter. I just need to be with my best friend. I don't want to be alone. And since T'Pol can't be anywhere near me, I'll gladly spend the night doing random fuller things with Jon.
"I want you to take some time off, Trip," Jon says, as we walk down the road.
"Jon, I don't need time off." I reply. "I'm fine."
"I love you, Trip," Jon says. "But that's crap... and you know it. You're not fine. You're not anywhere near fine." I try to interrupt but he keeps going. "And it's okay to be sad. It's okay to huddled up in a fetal position, crying in your room. After everything you've been through, you're entitled to it. You don't have to be brave all the time."
"Yeah, I do, Jon," I shout. "I need to because I can't deal with the other option."
Jon looks confused and tried to interrupted, but this time I don't let him speak. "I nearly lost it when Liz died and when I finally broke down, T'Pol was there for me. And Jon, I love you, too, and I know that you're here for me, but it's not the same." I can barely keep going at the risk of crying. "She doesn't want to be near me, Jon. I don't know what I'm going to do without her. I can't be left alone here to do nothing. I need to do something... I need a distraction. And if I don't have one, I don't know what I'll do. So please... I don't want to talk about this anymore."
Jon nods and says, "Okay, Trip. We don't have to talk about this right now."
So instead of talking about me, Jon picks up a random conversation about some of the delegates that actually came to Vulcan. I join the conversation, but I'm not really paying attention. He and I both know it isn't important anyway. Jon begins to direct me to his hotel room and makes me wait in the hall when we get there. He enters the room for maybe ten seconds and then comes back out with his arm behind his back. "Well, this will cheer you up." Low and behold, there in his hand, is a bottle of Andorian ale. "A gift from the Andorian Ambassador."
I take the bottle he's offering and say, "Jon, you thought right."