DISCLAIMER: I do not own the characters of 'Enterprise', no infringement is intended, yadda yadda etc.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was originally written for the 'Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines' challenge on the Livejournal Community, 'Femslash_Today'.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Sleepless in Space
By Terias McKlay


Ensign Hoshi Sato, formerly an Associate Professor of the most prestigious university in Brazil and now Communications Officer of the Enterprise, couldn't sleep. It wasn't just that she couldn't sleep, that she could handle. It was that, when more or less trapped on a spacecraft, there was nothing to occupy her mind during her frequent bouts of insomnia.

When she'd been in training in San Fransisco she'd kept herself busy by wandering the Starfleet campus and sneaking into the gym for some time on the mats. Now, she could only wander the halls of the Enterprise, a large ship to be sure but a ship none-the-less. There were only so many Jeffries tubes one could explore before the whole exercise got monotonous.

Sighing and giving sleep up as a lost cause the young Terran dropped her feet to the cold metal floor. She stood with a stretch and headed for her personal shower, one of the few luxuries that set the Junior officers apart from the non-commissioned crewmen. At least as an officer she didn't have to share her bathroom with a group. She'd had quite enough of that at the Academy thank you very much.

She turned the shower to the hottest temperature her skin could handle and set the timer for seven minutes. Even with the recyclers running water was a precious resource, especially here, in the unforgiving vacuum of space. There was no telling when the next planet with potable water would present itself.

The Ensign stripped from her Starfleet issued underwear throwing them into the laundry basket with practiced ease before stepping under the spray. She ducked her dark head letting the water wash over her well toned body a testament to nearly two decades spent in the dojo.

Her training in Aikido had allowed her to transition from child to woman without much trouble. While her friends had been getting used to their bodies,- many of them all gangly legs and arms-, Hoshi's natural coordination and constant training had allowed her to escape the usual gawkiness of her teen years. She still worked hard to maintain her body, spending much of her down time working in the gym. Her fighting skills, however, were beginning to get rusty.

Most anyone on the ship had been willing to spar Hoshi in the beginning, taken in by her relatively small size. She'd moved from putting down some of the younger crewman, who were more bluster than anything else, to taking on Tucker and occasionally Reed. Unfortunately, fighting them was more an exercise in cardio than it was any sort of kumite.

Each of them fought the same way, convinced that -if they could just get beneath her guard- they could over power her. By the time they were close enough to make the attempt they realized she wasn't the 'little girl' they'd initially thought and promptly had their asses introduced to the floor. It didn't require much creative thought on her part and rarely forced her to use any but the most rudimentary of her skills. To be blunt, Hoshi was bored.

The Terran had a feeling her boredom likely had something to do with her insomnia. Few things got the adrenaline pumping as much as a good fight and when the energy waned it left a peaceful lethargy that often turned into blissful hours of fulfilling sleep. A good sparring partner was almost the equivalent of a good bed partner. Not that she had one of those either.

Which could also be the source of her problem.

Being stuck on a ship for weeks, months, on end without an outlet was bound to put anyone in a state of permanent flux. Hoshi was naturally full of energy, had been since she'd been a child, and not having something or someone to expend that energy on was making her restless and throwing off her sleep patterns.

Hoshi's shower beeped, signalling she had only a minute left on her timer. Sighing, she turned the water off. It wasn't doing her any good so there was no point in wasting. She squeezed her dark mane into a thick rope wringing what she could of the water from it and down the drain.

She looked into the mirror, the oval glass reflecting her face back to her. Hoshi frowned at herself, she looked horrible. Her eyes had enough bags under them to supply a Terran colony and the lack of sun was doing nothing for her complexion.

The Ensign didn't consider herself vain, she hadn't spent exorbitant amounts of time on her appearance even when she'd been a civilian. There was even less point in doing so now, when she was stuck on a ship with 80 odd people who all seemed to be more interested in the multitude of profanities she knew than with her appearance. That being said, she still didn't like looking like a Sehlat who'd been run down by a space cruiser.

Recognizing that only a good night's sleep or a few days shore leave would rectify her problem Hoshi resigned herself to looking less than stellar for the time being.

She walked into her bedroom, towel wrapped around her naked body and looked at her bed. Not surprisingly it held no more appeal to her than it had before her shower so rather than climb under the covers the Terran headed for her dresser. She slipped into her track pants and sweatshirt, one of the few pieces of civilian dress she'd had room for in the cramped quarters. Grabbing a book from her shelf Hoshi headed for the mess.

Sub-Commander T'Pol, member of the Vulcan Consulate, Science Officer of the Starfleet Ship, Enterprise, could not sleep. Her message from the Vulcan High Command had left her …unsettled.

The High Command had openly questioned her desire to remain on Enterprise convinced that she'd somehow been affected by the humans. Had even accused that her ability to remain objective, while wading through the primitive deluge of human emotions, had been compromised. As if the Terrans' illogical and self destructive mannerisms were somehow contagious.

Her irritation at such absurd accusations had not dwindled as she thought it would. Hours of meditation, watching the gentle ebb of the candle flame and looking inward for the calm center of her mind, had done nothing to alleviate what she felt. Or rather, what she was experiencing.

Her irritation was hardly enough to be measured as some grandiose emotion, rather a tiny blip in her usually unshakeable emotional barricade. All the same, it indicated an imbalance in her thought processes which further put her on edge.

Letting out a small sigh, her only outward indication of annoyance, T'Pol unfolded her legs from her meditative position and stood from her bed. It was unusual for her meditating not to leave her with her usual inner calm. It was the one point during her day when she could distance herself from everything. Where it was no longer of consequence that she was the only Vulcan on a ship full of humans. Many of whom, including the Captain, evidently felt that logic and good sense was something best left on their homeworld.

Tonight, however, she had been unable to find her center and her growing frustration with her inner dissonance had only exacerbated the problem. Thus, the logical conclusion was that, rather then try and force what would not work, T'Pol should retire the task for now and continue again when she was more settled.

The Vulcan pulled a copy of Nieztsche from her shelf tucking it under her arm. It was unlikely she would find peace tonight, that much she knew. Thankfully, her physiology allowed her to go for days without sleep before her abilities would become compromised.

Deciding that human philosophy was often more palatable when she had something to wash it down with T'Pol headed for the mess.

Hoshi sat alone at the mess table, the lights dimmed to fifty percent. The glaring whiteness of the artificial light was hardly conducive to relaxation and since there was no one else in the mess she'd toned them down for her comfort. She had been lucky, catching the mess empty at the time between Charlie shifts' meals. Not that the mess was particularly abuzz even when C shift was eating, it was a skeleton crew, no more than was needed to keep the engines running and the sensors operational.

The Ensign sipped absently at her chamomile tea, one of Phlox's non-medicinal suggestions for getting her body calmed down enough to sleep. She'd have preferred a good-old fashioned sedative. Alas, the Doctor had proclaimed that a natural sleep was the best and that he would only provide her with a medicinal sedative if her insomnia began to affect her duties. At this point, Hoshi was contemplating ways to safely blow up her station console just so she could get some shuteye.

The gentle 'whoosh' of the doors indicated that Hoshi was no longer alone. She looked up, dark eyes focusing on the form of the Vulcan Sub-Commander, T'Pol. The Vulcan was in her off-duty clothing, -a tank top and exercise pants-, which meant there likely weren't any problems and that she hadn't been specifically seeking Hoshi. The Vulcan was evidently just been wandering around and had stumbled upon her.

"Ensign Sato," T'Pol stated looking up at the lights momentarily before returning her gaze to the young Communications Officer. "Am I disturbing you?"

"Sub-Commander, uh, no, I was…" Hoshi held up her book. "Reading." T'Pol lifted an eyebrow.

"In the mess hall?" The Science officer asked. Hoshi ducked her head before nodding at the Vulcan.

"I couldn't sleep and my quarters make me feel kind of claustrophobic," the dark haired woman admitted a tad bit embarrassed.

"I see," the Vulcan replied. T'Pol neglected to indicate that, whether the Ensign was in her quarters or the mess, she was still enclosed in a relatively small space. Especially given the fact that they were aboard a spaceship. Evidently it was the 'feeling' of being somewhere more open which allowed the Terran to be more comfortable. Humans.

"Um, you can turn the lights up if you'd like," the Ensign said.

"That's not necessary, the lighting is sufficient," T'Pol answered. Hoshi nodded unsure what to say next. The exotic Science Officer usually left her feeling slightly off kilter.

"Would you, ah… like some tea?" Hoshi finally asked indicating the teapot that sat at the center of the table she'd claimed. "It's chamomile." The Science Officer nodded and walked to the dry rack where the dishes were kept.

"I enjoy the chamomile tea much more than the Captain's iced variety," the Vulcan said as she approached the table. There was a momentary pause where the Science Officer seemed unsure as to whether she should take a seat across from Hoshi or whether she should pour the tea and find her own table. Finally deciding that, if nothing else, the Ensign was one of the more tolerable humans and might make for a reasonable conversationalist T'Pol opted to sit.

"Do you mind?" The Vulcan asked indicating the bench across from Hoshi. The Ensign shook her head offering the Sub-Commander a small smile.

"Not at all, please sit." T'Pol did so, refilling Hoshi's cup as was polite before pouring her own. "So…"

"Yes..?" T'Pol asked as she raised an eyebrow. Hoshi floundered trying to come up with something to talk to the intelligent Vulcan about that wouldn't be completely inane.

"Can't sleep either?" The Communications Officer asked mentally shaking her head at herself. Not her best offering but at least she hadn't asked what T'Pol thought about the weather.

T'Pol cocked her head slightly as if determining whether or not she was going to respond. Eventually she seemed to come to a decision and she pulled out the book she had tucked under her arm placing it gently on the table off to the side.

"No," the Vulcan admitted. "I'm finding myself… Unsettled."

"Oh?" Hoshi said, with just a hint of question in her tone. Perhaps she could draw the Sub-Commander out of her shell a bit.

"Yes." Or, perhaps not. Hoshi looked over at the book T'Pol had set down.

"Are you a fan of Nieztsche?" She asked turning her gaze to the face of the other officer.

"I find his theorizing… interesting," T'Pol hazarded. Human philosophy was inevitably intertwined with emotional views of morality and religion, it was often difficult to draw the actual ideas out of the religious rhetoric they were buried in.

"Hmm…May I?" Hoshi asked pointing to the book. Briefly curious T'Pol nodded and used an elegant hand to push the book toward the younger woman. Hoshi flipped through the book finally settling on a familiar passage before she began to read.

"War is another thing. I am by nature warlike. To attack is among my instincts. To be able to be an enemy, to be an enemy- that perhaps presupposes a strong nature, it is in any event a condition of every strong nature. It needs resistances, consequently it seeks resistances: the aggressive pathos belongs as necessarily to strength as the feeling of vengefulness and vindictiveness does to weakness." Hoshi set the book down and looked over at T'Pol.

"I've never really cared for him," Hoshi admitted, sliding the book back to its place by T'Pol's arm.

"Aside from his rather sexist slant on things his philosophies are just so… Cold." T'Pol raised an eyebrow. Hoshi took this as a sign that the Vulcan wanted her to explain what she meant. "From what I've gleaned from his readings he believes pity and sympathy are weaknesses."

"They are emotions, they can warped and twisted as any emotion can be. Perhaps not to have these emotions makes one incorruptible, strong," T'Pol stated. Hoshi nodded, accepting the possibility.

"Maybe, but he believes that to be strong you have to be warlike, predatory almost. I don't think that people should leash themselves to ideals that promote conflict, it can only lead to destruction in the end," Hoshi answered.

"From what I've learned of Terran history, conflict seems to be one constant throughout the ages. Perhaps Nieztsche was correct in hypothesizing that humans were meant to be a violent species," T'Pol said taking a sip of her tea. Hoshi nodded as if considering that and took a sip from her own cup before rebutting.

"If that were really the case, would your people have come down to Earth to meet us?" Hoshi asked.

"You pride yourselves on being free of emotion which helps to eliminate a good deal of conflict. You used that repression to end centuries of war on your planet. If you really thought humans were just a bunch of savages why would you have invited that kind of disharmony into your lives?" The Terran asked genuinely curious. For her part it appeared T'Pol had been caught flat footed as there was a short pause before she answered.

"Perhaps the Vulcan High Command saw our past in your planet," T'Pol said. "And we approached you in an attempt to avoid you having to go through all that we experienced." The Vulcan hazarded. "Or, perhaps they were merely seeking to make allies of humanity before you sought us out and made us your enemies."

"Hmm." Hoshi said looking over at the Sub-Commander. "Maybe." The Ensign yawned covering her mouth sheepishly before looking back at the Vulcan. "Sorry, I think the day might finally be catching up with me." She said before looking at her chronometer.

"Oh and with three hours left until shift, wonderful," Hoshi said. T'Pol could hear the sarcasm in the Ensign's tone. Why humans constantly resorted to the double speak she could never understand, why waste words? Why not simply state directly the point one was trying to make? Chalking it up to yet another human anomaly T'Pol looked over at the human.

The young Terran appeared decidedly worse for wear. Her skin was not its normal golden tone and the energy the woman constantly possessed was nowhere to be seen.

"Have you seen Doctor Phlox about your inability to sleep?" She asked with a quirk of her eyebrow. The Ensign nodded her eyes beginning to droop.

"He said to try and get myself to sleep naturally, told me to drink some decaffeinated tea," the darker brunette said pointing at the teapot. "What really irks me is I'm going to get to my quarters and then be bouncing around like a maniac completely awake."

T'Pol nodded understanding the Ensign's plight. While the tea and conversation had calmed her somewhat T'Pol doubted she was ready to sleep yet either.

"Is your sleep deprivation affecting your duties?" T'Pol asked. Hoshi's head shot up at that, the woman looking almost wounded at the implication.

"No," she stated forcefully. "I'd have the Captain take me off the roster if I wasn't running at a hundred percent. I wouldn't endanger the crew like that, with a ship like Enterprise everyone has to be on their toes all the time." T'Pol held up a hand to forestall any further explanation from the young Terran.

"I meant no offence Ensign Sato," she said calmly. "I only meant to suggest that perhaps Doctor Phlox would be more amiable to giving you a sedative if there were a pressing reason to do so." The Ensign visibly relaxed.

"Oh." She said looking down at the table. "Sorry Sub-Commander, I think the lack of sleep is making me a little more… emotional than usual." T'Pol quirked her lips in what Hoshi assumed was the closest approximation to a smile that a Vulcan could manage.

Satisfied she hadn't managed to offend the Science Officer Hoshi stood taking her cup over to the tray for dirty dishes.

"I'm going to go see if I can get a couple of hours of shuteye in." The Ensign said reaching for her book. "Have a good night Sub-Commander."

"Rest well Ensign." Hoshi gave the Vulcan a small smile before heading out into the hallway leaving T'Pol alone in the mess. As she walked to her room she reflected on her interaction with the Science Officer. She found she'd enjoyed conversing with the intelligent woman, not surprisingly.

T'Pol was by far the most educated person on-board Enterprise so speaking with her on a philosophical level was bound to be interesting. And, Hoshi didn't mind the emotional distance that was inherent in T'Pol's personality.

She was, after all, a Communications Officer and had dealt with many different views and ways of life. She recognized T'Pol's perceived aloofness for what it was, a difference in culture that didn't quite translate when you held it up against human society.

It would certainly make debates less explosive. Hoshi had been in many discussions where people seemed to use the volume of their voices to assert the validity of their point. While she respected them for their passion it did little to help convince her of anything. Debating with a Vulcan would be based on logic rather than personal opinions and subjective morality.

As she reached her quarters Hoshi resolved to try and draw the Vulcan in to more literary conversations, the Ensign thought she could learn a lot from the intelligent woman. And that was why she was out here in the first place, wasn't it? To learn about things no human had ever experienced before.

She doubted anyone at her former university had engaged in a truly in depth conversation with a Vulcan. Scholars on both sides were set in their ways and many refused to even hear out the other side, possibly for fear of having their theories turned on their ear.

Hoshi stripped out of her clothing throwing it haphazardly onto her chair to be picked up in the morning. Her book was put into its place on her shelf and she called out for the lights to be extinguished. Lying down she closed her eyes taking deep breaths before feeling the expected wakefulness creep up on her just as she had told T'Pol it would.

"Kahless. Merde. God frigging…Damn." Hoshi took her pillow from beneath her and screamed into it. It was going to be a long day.

T'Pol sat in bed reading the Nieztchean passage Hoshi had quoted the night before. The young Terran's views had been… intriguing. It had also been pleasant to converse with someone who seemed to possess more than the rudimentary knowledge of philosophy. The few members of the crew she had associated with so far seemed to have neglected all other education in favour of their Starfleet training. It made them exceptional officers and crewmen but left them somewhat lacking in other areas.

T'Pol supposed that much of the Ensign's well-roundedness came from her time teaching at a Terran university. It had likely opened the young woman up to plethora of books and Sato's keen mind had assimilated the information the way she did languages. T'Pol found herself with the urge to converse with the Ensign again. She wondered if the younger woman was versed in any kind of Vulcan philosophy. While Sato's opinions might not be logical they did seem to present new facets of the literature which forced T'Pol to look deeper into what she was reading.

The Vulcan let out a soft sigh as she realized why the Terran intrigued her so: the Communications Officer challenged her. T'Pol had been without a proper mental opponent since leaving her station at the Vulcan Consulate. Ensign Sato was the first human she'd met who was capable of at least making the attempt to mentally challenge her.

T'Pol slid out of bed throwing on a pair of pants and a top before taking her book and heading toward the mess. When she reached it she found herself slightly disappointed to not find the Ensign there. It was unlikely Sato had resolved her sleeping issues in the past 24 hours so T'Pol had believed it stood to reason that the Communications Officer would make her way back here. Not so.

The sounds of footsteps reached her ears long before the person they belonged to turned the corridor.

"Sub-Commander?" The question held a slight tone of surprise.

"Ensign." Hoshi looked at her curiously. "Unable to sleep?" The Vulcan asked calling for lights at fifty percent as she entered the mess hall, Hoshi following behind her.

"No," the Ensign said reaching behind the counter to grab the tea pot and two cups. She expected that if T'Pol was here she'd be staying for a bit. "I managed to get in a few hours of shuteye right after shift but now I'm all over the place again." She set the tea kettle in the food dispenser calling out for chamomile again. She didn't really like it,- it tasted like munching on flower petals to her-, but between Phlox's orders and T'Pol's enjoyment of the beverage she figured it wouldn't kill her to drink it again. "What about you?"

"Vulcans do not require as much sleep as humans," T'Pol said. It was the truth of course, just not the truth as to why she'd ended up in the mess hall once more. The Ensign seemed to take the answer as enough to satisfy her curiosity and began to pour tea for them both. "Thank you."

"No problem," Hoshi said smiling at the Vulcan. "Still on Nietzsche huh?" The Ensign asked peeking at the book. T'Pol nodded before leaning over to peer at the Terran's own book.

"The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius?" Hoshi nodded looking over at the Vulcan.

"Have you read it?" The Terran asked looking over at her companion.

"No, perhaps you could summarize?" Hoshi smiled taking a sip of her tea.

"Well, it goes something like this…"

Hoshi stood in front of Ensign Ortega waiting for him to make his move.

Over the years Hoshi had pulled from various martial arts to better round herself as a fighter. Aikido was still her strength and passion but she'd learned early on that incorporating different fighting styles helped to keep the enemy off balance and increased the likelihood of success.

She was a skilled fighter and knew it, but the teachings of humility and respect had not been lost on her. She didn't actively seek to embarrass anyone with her sparring nor did she announce her skills to anyone who didn't ask. And so, when Ensign Ortega, -a relatively unknown maintenance tech from Beta shift- had issued a blanket challenge to the gym Hoshi had ignored him. She'd found that it was the ones who made the most noise who generally lacked the skills and respect to make them a good opponent.

How she now found herself toe to toe of him she still wasn't sure.

She thought it likely it had begun with the throwaway comment the man had made about T'Pol. Hoshi had bristled at the vulgarity but said nothing, no one was listening to him anyway. However, when he'd sidled up to a group from Alpha shift and started in on his disparaging remarks about the Vulcan, Hoshi had decided she'd had enough.

Never mind that he was slandering a superior officer. Hoshi had had enough issues with her CO's at the Academy to know how irritating some officers could be. But Ortega had never even been directly under T'Pol's command and his bitching seemed to have more to do with T'Pol herself than professional disagreements. That was something she could not let pass.

Over the past few months she and T'Pol had become friends and Hoshi had taken offence on behalf of the Vulcan walking up to the man and pointedly telling him to keep his mouth shut. Several barbs and a not-so accidental shoulder check from the Ensign as he had sauntered off had goaded Hoshi into action.

She'd grabbed the man by the shoulder turning him to face her. They had exchanged heated words before he'd openly challenged her to shut him up. Her tendency toward peaceful resolutions had warred with the flaring up of her naturally competitive nature. Her competitive nature had won.

And now, here she was, goaded into a fight with a fellow officer as other crew members watched. She'd instructed for the others not to stop the fight, nothing would be resolved if things weren't allowed to follow through to their proper end.

It didn't take much more than thirty seconds for Hoshi to move beneath Ortega's guard and flip him soundly over her shoulder and on to the mat. As a commissioned member of Starfleet Hoshi had more or less expected Ortega to play by the rules. He was down, she was the winner, end of story.

His earlier comments should have let her know that wouldn't be the case.

After she dumped him on his ass, -expecting that to be the end of it-, she turned her back to him ready to walk away. It was then that she felt her knee collapse and saw the floor come at her with surprising speed.

Instinct and training took over and she rolled with the momentum easily coming up into a fighting stance and turning to face Ortega. She licked her lip tasting the blood from where she'd bit down in her surprise. Her anger at herself for being caught off guard and her contempt for Ortega's dirty tactic were pushing her to do some serious damage.

"Big mistake," she advised, wiping her lip off on her forearm. "Now I won't play nice."

What had started as defending a friend had just turned into Hoshi making sure Ortega knew his place in the proverbial food chain. She was now determined to put the pup in his place and let him know who was top dog in the dojo.

He charged her and, -rather than avoid the bull-like attack or gracefully take his arm and flip him over her shoulder-, she dropped beneath him. As she did so she exploded upwards with her legs driving her entire body into his chest and flipping him over and on to the mat.

She heard the collective sucking in of breath from the other crewmembers and turned to look at the downed Ensign.

"Stay down," she instructed. He ignored her, getting shakily to his feet before sneering at her. Hoshi rolled her eyes, some people never learned. The man had to know he was going to get his ass handed to him and yet he approached her again albeit more slowly.

He threw a punch at her, slow and sloppy, allowing the Communications Officer more than enough time to contemplate how to defend. She could sit here and trade punches with him or she could finish this. Deciding not to prolong things any further the raven haired woman grabbed the other Ensign's arm mid punch.

She could now do one of two things, she could flip him and hold him until he yielded or, step in and deliver a strike that would put him down for the count. Once again Hoshi found her desire to end the fight as amicably as possible warring with her desire to embarrass the man for his comments about T'Pol. With something akin to a growl she took the high road stepping and turning in to the man and flipping him easily over her shoulder.

As he landed she twisted his arm behind his back and snaked her own arm around his throat tugging him upward putting him in solid choke hold.

"I hear you slandering the Sub-Commander or anyone like that again and next time I won't be so polite," she fairly growled into his ear as she tightened her hold. "Understand?" He nodded as best he could and Hoshi dropped him to the ground satisfied he'd learned his lesson. For now at least.

A few claps and a cheer went up from the small crowd. Hoshi was tempted to deliver a theatrical bow to them all but figured that wouldn't have been showing proper respect for Ortega. Not that he deserved it but Hoshi would be damned if she let him drag her down to his level.

Taking her workout towel from the bench the Communications Officer decided she had had enough excitement for the night. She headed for the door blinking in surprise to see a Vulcan Science Officer standing there with an unreadable look. Hoshi hadn't noticed the woman come in.

"That was not necessary." T'Pol said as Hoshi reached the door. The Ensign looked at the Vulcan her eyes wide.

"Wha..? You heard that?" The woman gave her what passed for a Vulcan 'duh' look and Hoshi coloured.

"Damn that Vulcan superior hearing," Hoshi muttered as she tugged her towel down from around her neck. "How much did you hear?" T'Pol motioned for the Ensign to leave the gym first and followed after the young Terran. The door 'wooshed' closed behind them and Hoshi turned in the direction for the turbolift.

"Enough." T'Pol said in answer as they walked side by side down the hallway nodding at various crewmen as they passed. "You did not need to endanger yourself in my defence." Hoshi snorted pushing the button to bring the turbolift.

"He was a jerk who needed to have his ass kicked one way or another. I'd have done the same thing if he had been talking about Travis," Hoshi said as they entered the lift and T'Pol pushed for 'C' deck. "Besides I wasn't 'endangering myself'," Hoshi said making air quotes. "I could've put him down with one arm tied behind my back."

"You did seem to be… unchallenged," T'Pol said. Hoshi rolled her eyes, Vulcans, diplomatic to the last.

"That's one way of putting it." Hoshi said as the door opened and they headed toward her quarters.

"I did not realize you were so proficient in physical combat," T'Pol said waiting for the Ensign to key in the code for her room. Hoshi shrugged walking into her room T'Pol following after her. In the time since their initial meeting they had moved their discussions from the mess to whoever's quarters happened to be most convenient.

The initial reason for the late night meetings,-a means of using the sleepless hours of the night for something other than counting passing stars- had long since resolved itself. Hoshi had finally begun sleeping through the night and T'Pol had worked through whatever it was that had had her 'unsettled.' They had also shifted the time from meeting at whatever god-awful hour Hoshi had finally given up on sleep to taking the occasional supper together and having tea in one or the others quarters.

The Terran wasn't sure who'd started that, it had happened one evening, when after supper they'd had to raise their voices to uncomfortable volumes just to hear one another in the mess. Hoshi had rolled her eyes at the boisterousness of her fellows and T'Pol had looked decidedly unimpressed. They had stood in unison, as if in silent agreement, and left the dining hall taking their discussion to the quieter surroundings of personal quarters.

When T'Pol dined with the Captain, as was the usual way of things, she often sought Hoshi out soon afterward either for conversation or for help translating the occasional text. They'd discussed most of the books on their collective shelves and Hoshi had taken to picking up any books she could while on planetary leave. She would translate the texts from the new planets and give a copy to T'Pol waiting for the older woman to read it so they could debate the merits of the theories.

On the last planet they had stopped at it had actually been T'Pol who had come back from the surface laden with a sack full of books for Hoshi. The Terran had looked curiously at the Vulcan when she'd been handed the bag which was of a decidedly decorative nature with floral prints embroidered along the colourful green cloth.

"I was informed by Ensign Mayweather that it is your birthday and that it is customary on Earth to give gifts in celebration," the Vulcan had said with her usual even tone. Hoshi had smiled at T'Pol leaning up and kissing the cheek of her friend in thanks. She still wasn't certain but Hoshi could've sworn she'd seen a ghost of a smile pass the Vulcans' lips that day.

"Hoshi?" The Ensign turned to T'Pol who had a perplexed look on her face. Evidently it hadn't been the first time she'd called out. Hoshi was in fact still getting used to the Sub-Commander calling her by her first name, a rather recent development. Of course on shift it was still 'Ensign Sato' but when the uniforms came off they relaxed protocol around each other.

"Sorry, just wool gathering, what was that you said?" Hoshi asked.

"I had asked whether or not you had eaten," T'Pol explained patiently.

"Oh, no I haven't. I went straight to the gym after shift," Hoshi said tossing her gym towel into the laundry basket. "You?"

"No, I had to speak with the Captain after shift." Hoshi kept her smirk an inward one. She had no question the Vulcan had engaged in a discussion with the Captain but she doubted that was the reason why T'Pol hadn't eaten yet. The Vulcan had likely been waiting for her before going to the mess.

For some reason the Sub-Commander never seemed able to invite the Ensign to supper without first giving a valid explanation as to why she hadn't eaten yet. It was as if inviting Hoshi to dinner point blank was some illogical act that would bring the Vulcan High Command down on their heads.

"Let me take a shower and we can go grab something from the mess," Hoshi said. She grabbed a change of clothes from her dresser before walking over to her computer and bringing up her file on the translation of the latest text.

"This is what I've got so far, the grammar is a little out of whack, I'm still trying to get their syntaxes down," the Communications Officer said motioning for T'Pol to come over to the computer console. She waited for the Vulcan to sit before moving to the bathroom. "Give me five minutes and I'll be ready to go."

"There is no need to rush," T'Pol said turning her attention to the text. Hoshi shook her head and went for the shower.

T'Pol sat at the mess table scanning the occupants disinterestedly as she waited for Hoshi to return. Hoshi. T'Pol was still becoming comfortable with calling the young Terran by her first name. It had been at the Communications Officer's request. The woman had argued that most everyone, the Captain included, called her Hoshi whether on duty or off. It was, therefore, only logical that one of her closest friends on the ship shouldn't feel obligated to continue addressing her by her rank.

T'Pol could have argued the point but found she lacked the will to do so, she preferred 'Hoshi' to 'Ensign' or 'Sato' at any rate. She did however, make sure to maintain professional decorum and addressed the woman by her rank while on duty.

The last few months had proved more pleasant than T'Pol had expected. Hoshi was an intelligent and enjoyable companion, much more so than any other on the ship. While she respected Captain Archer and the other command crew she found herself more at ease with Hoshi. The woman wasn't saddled down with resentment towards Vulcans as the Captain was, nor was she constantly suggesting that T'Pol 'lighten up' as Commander Tucker often did.

Hoshi recognized the cultural differences that were present and rather than trying to change how T'Pol was she merely accepted the Vulcan without qualms. It was refreshing to be in the presence of someone who wasn't constantly attacking Vulcan society or questioning her personal motives.

Perhaps it was because of this that, over the months, T'Pol had found herself gravitating towards the young Terran seeking the woman out earlier and prolonging their daily conversations. She'd even taken to engaging the Ensign in conversation while at their stations though she kept it to subjects involving their respective duties.

"Sorry about that," Hoshi said as she sat down at the table. "Can't have meatloaf without ketchup," she said. T'Pol looked at the concoction with mild disgust, generally speaking human food didn't agree with her any more than the Captain's iced tea. Hoshi evidently picked up on her distaste and pushed the plate slightly off to the side and out of T'Pol's direct line of vision.

"There is no need…" T'Pol started stopping as Hoshi waved her off.

"You stopped eating that… whatever it was in front of me because it was making me nauseous," the Ensign argued pulling her salad in front of her. "Besides, I don't really care for red meat," the Terran paused, "though by the look of it I'm not sure that's beef."

T'Pol quirked her lips at the woman.

"Indeed." T'Pol's ear perked up as she heard the mutterings from a few tables over. It was difficult to tell over the din of the mess but she'd been certain she'd heard the word 'Sato' associated with a number of derogatory terms. She looked over at the table unsurprised to see the crewmember Hoshi had defeated earlier sitting in the group.

"What are you looking… Oh." Hoshi said turning to see what had caught her friend's eye. "Can you hear what they're saying?" T'Pol nodded but said nothing. "And..?" The woman prompted.

"It is nothing pleasant or constructive," T'Pol answered calmly though she sensed irritation creeping up on her. It was poor form for the man to speak of Hoshi in such unfavourable terms, though given that he was human she wasn't surprised. As far as she could tell the man and Hoshi had no issues with each other before the events of today. It seemed unreasonable to slander a fellow crewmember over what was a relatively small conflict.

"Yeah I didn't think it would be," Hoshi said with a laugh. "Ass."

"You are not angry?" T'Pol asked with a quirk of her eyebrow. Surely the Ensign must feel something if T'Pol herself was at the point of severe irritation.

"No. Ortega's an idiot and anyone who believes whatever it is he's saying is an idiot as well," Hoshi answered. "I'm a little irritated that just because he got his ass handed to him that he's going to try and drag me through the mud but, short of filing a grievance, there isn't much I can do." T'Pol nodded at the Terran before standing from her seat and approaching Ortega's table leaving Hoshi to watch in open mouthed surprise.

The group fell silent as she came to a halt in front of them her command mask settled firmly in place.

"Ensign Ortega," she said staring down at the man who suddenly found the tabletop to be quite interesting. He looked up at her at the sound of his name and T'Pol thought she saw a flash of anger before he took on an impassive expression.


"You will apologize to Ensign Sato for your disrespectful remarks," T'Pol instructed. The entire mess went quiet as they observed the interaction. Ortega looked at her with surprise evidently forgetting, as many did, the superior auditory ability of Vulcans. When no apology was forthcoming T'Pol restated her order.

"You will apologize to Ensign Sato for your disrespectful remarks or you will be brought to disciplinary actions for slandering an officer. It is your decision," she said her usual calm making the order sound that much more threatening.

Ortega looked less than pleased but stood and turned to look directly at Hoshi. "My apologies Ensign Sato," he ground out. "Please forgive my disrespect." Hoshi, who looked rather taken aback by the whole ordeal, merely nodded. Ortega sat down in his chair and looked at T'Pol.

"If I hear of any further slurs I will bring you up on charges before the Captain," T'Pol warned before heading back to her table. She sat down at her table looking over at her companion who graced her with a smile.

T'Pol felt some of her irritation ebb.

"You didn't have to do that," Hoshi said. "But thank you." T'Pol nodded.

"You defended my honour it seemed only appropriate that I defend yours," the Vulcan reasoned. She saw Hoshi's smile dim just a little. "And… it is what friends do," the Vulcan added with a quirk of her lips. Dark eyes lit up and Hoshi's smile got impossibly wide.

T'Pol's irritation was forgotten.

Hoshi lifted her fists to protect her face circling the mats as her opponent did the same. A slight twitch preceded the punch that came toward her and the Ensign side stepped to avoid the strike. She stepped into her opponent, who was still in midst of completing the strike, and grabbed the arm nearest her dropping to one knee and sending her sparring partner over her shoulder.

T'Pol hit with barely a sound rolling back up into her fighting stance and swiftly shooting out a leg to knock Hoshi off her feet. The Ensign lifted up her leg to defend taking the roundhouse on the shin rather than on her thigh. The pair lunged back and forth each occasionally landing a blow though neither was decisively winning. It had been more or less the case since they'd begun sparring together a couple of months ago, shortly after the Ortega incident.

T'Pol had accompanied her to the gym only to watch Hoshi cycle through a number of opponents without any more challenge than Ortega. It was then that T'Pol had revealed her proficiency in Vulcan martial arts and volunteered to spar with Hoshi. Ever since then they had made it a regular appointment meeting twice a week to keep each other's skills sharp.

Though T'Pol had a number of years experience on her as well as some strength Hoshi had no trouble holding her own. As one of the few women in her old dojo she'd always sparred people more powerful than her and had learned to tailor her fighting style to defend against strong blows.

Hoshi moved around the mat warily the Vulcan had a habit of lunging at her with surprising speed and taking her to the ground. The Ensign wasn't uncomfortable wrestling but once T'Pol had her pinned the Vulcan's superior strength made it difficult to dislodge her.

Hoshi loved sparring with her skilled friend, it was like being back at her old dojo. The Vulcan forced her to be creative in technique and application. The only thing it lacked was the fiery passion that came with most fights.

Many times over the course of her life Hoshi had let pride or anger carry her into some knock down drag outs with her opponents. Matches where, -no matter whom was the supposed victor- both participants were lucky to limp away with limbs intact.

She had not engaged in any sparring matches that even came close to that with T'Pol. The Vulcan was well aware of her superior strength and kept tight reign on the force of her blows, careful not to hurt Hoshi. Her technique was calm and methodical, like each fight was a scientific equation which could be solved successfully if one only had the proper information.

Where Hoshi relied on instinct T'Pol relied more on the logical sequence of moves to put her opponent down. It was this lack of instinct, or perhaps T'Pol's unwillingness to follow her gut feelings, that occasionally allowed Hoshi to win the match definitively. Even then, the Vulcan's feathers remained unruffled, gracefully conceding defeat for the time being and allowing Hoshi her small moments of victory.

The Terran took a step back as she realized her musings had allowed T'Pol to close the distance between them. It was too late though, she saw the almost imperceptible gleam in the Vulcans' eyes moments before the long legged woman lunged at her. With viper like speed T'Pol struck ducking low as she swept Hoshi's legs from beneath her. The Ensign grunted as her butt made impact hands already up to defend against the attack she knew would follow.

She and the Vulcan grappled for dominance T'Pol predictability ending up on top, straddling Hoshi whose back was to the ground. The Terran struggled to free her hands both of which T'Pol had easily pinned with one arm.

"Concede?" T'Pol asked with a quirk of her lips, a small sign Hoshi had learned, that meant the Sub-Commander found the situation amusing. Hoshi returned the almost smirk with one of her one.

"You wish," the Terran planted her feet and threw her hips towards the ceiling unseating the Vulcan before scrambling out of range. T'Pol would not be deterred and lunged again. Hoshi was prepared and stepped out of the way taking hold of the Vulcan's arm and flipping her to the mats. She straddled her friend locking her legs around T'Pol's to ensure the woman couldn't unseat her while Hoshi tried to pin her arms.

T'Pol laced Hoshi's hands with her own pushing up on the Ensign to try and force her back. Hoshi leaned down hard trying to use all of her body weight to counteract the Vulcan's strength.

The attempt brought Hoshi's face to within inches of T'Pol's and the Ensign felt a shiver run down her spine. She looked into the hazel eyes of her friend and felt as though she could see all of the Vulcan. Past the veneer of emotional repression that was her culture to the passionate person she knew lay somewhere underneath.

Moments of awareness such as these had become increasingly common over the last few weeks. It was almost as if T'Pol wouldn't mind if Hoshi just leaned forward and…

"Archer to T'Pol." The moment was broken and as she looked down at her friend Hoshi could see the shuttering of T'Pol's eyes. With a grunt she stood holding out a hand to the Vulcan so she could pull herself up. T'Pol quietly thanked her before walking over to the intercom system to respond to the Captain's hail.

Hoshi gazed at the lean form of the Sub-Commander feeling the now familiar lust creep up on her whenever she saw the woman in her training clothes. Or in her uniform. Or her night attire. Basically any time she was in prolonged contact with the beautiful Vulcan.

She was quite enamoured with her friend, and knew it. She'd resolved early on to simply put the feelings aside and continue on as normal. However she'd been getting the distinct feeling of late that the attraction wasn't one sided. She even thought on more than one occasion that T'Pol might have been gently flirting with her, -in so much as Vulcans were capable of flirting-. Still, Hoshi had yet to make a move.

It wasn't that T'Pol was a woman, foolish prejudices regarding same sex relationships had gone more or less unheard of for the past century or so. It wasn't even that the older woman was of a higher rank, technically T'Pol was outside the command structure of Starfleet as a member of the Vulcan High Command.

Hoshi wasn't actually certain what was keeping her from proposing the idea of a romantic relationship to her friend. T'Pol obviously enjoyed her company. And, over the course of various philosophical discussions, the Sub-Commander had expressed that Vulcans, -generally speaking-, had no overt cultural taboos about two women together.

If anything, Hoshi surmised the biggest problem between a pairing of their nature might be that T'Pol was a well respected Vulcan who would be considered to be abasing herself by coupling with a human.

Perhaps, Hoshi thought, that was where her problem lay. What if T'Pol thought Hoshi was good enough to associate with only so long as they were on Enterprise? The Terran had to admit she didn't think that was likely the case. T'Pol seemed the type to choose being alone over trying to foster a friendship of convenience with someone she considered beneath her. No, if T'Pol and she had come this far in their friendship it had to be because the Vulcan held some kind of genuine affection for her.

That being the case there was really no reason Hoshi shouldn't bring the subject up. Even if the Vulcan rejected the idea she wasn't the kind of person who would make Hoshi feel poorly about it.

If anything, the Vulcan would quietly state she didn't think a relationship of that nature would be a good and/or logical idea. Hoshi would nod and accept the Vulcans' decision before asking if they could 'just forget about the whole thing'. And T'pol, a diplomat to the last, would nod her own agreement and things would carry on as before.

So why couldn't she just get up the guts to go for it? She wasn't usually such a coward.

Hoshi cursed inwardly at her plight, knowing that if she even so much as sighed too loudly the Vulcan's sensitive hearing would pick up on it. For an emotionally repressed being, T'Pol was remarkably astute when it came to picking up on Hoshi's mental states. She watched as T'Pol clicked off the intercom and walked back toward her.

"Supper with the Captain?" Hoshi asked picking up hers and T'Pol's towel from the floor. She handed the Vulcan's towel to her and began wiping down her body. T'Pol nodded in answer to her question allowing Hoshi to precede her to the door.

"He wishes to discuss matters of first contact with the nearby planet."

"How advanced are they?" Hoshi asked, she hadn't been on duty when contact had been established.

"Warp capable though scans indicate they can only travel up to Warp 2."

"Hmm, you on the away team?" T'Pol nodded. "Who else?" Hoshi asked as they made their way to the turbolift.

"I believe that will be one of the topics of discussion."

"Well if the Captain needs a translator I wouldn't mind getting off the ship."

"You are in need of more texts already?" T'Pol asked with something akin to surprise. Hoshi laughed shaking her head at her friend.

"No, I'm still working through half of the ones you gave me for my birthday." Hoshi answered as the lift came to a stop. "I'd just like to get out of here and talk to some people, learn the lingo, that kind of thing."

"I see. I will inform the Captain that you are willing should your skills be required." Hoshi smiled, she knew that was T'Pol saying she'd put in the word for her. If the Captain didn't realize he needed Hoshi yet by the end of supper T'Pol would have him convinced of it.

"Thanks," she said keying in the code to her door. "Well, this is my stop." T'Pol nodded looking all the world like a child who wanted something but didn't know how to ask. Hoshi recognized the look, T'Pol only got it when she was going to ask a favour or enlist Hoshi for some kind of help. Even after all these months the Vulcan was still reticent to ask for any but the most minor things of Hoshi.

"T'Pol," Hoshi reached out touching the Vulcan's arm to get the woman's attention. "Whatever it is you can ask." The Vulcan looked down at the hand on her arm and back up at Hoshi. "Sorry." Hoshi removed her hand and took a step back. She was still trying to figure out boundaries when it came to touching T'Pol.

"No apologies necessary," T'Pol said, "I was… That is… I'd like for us to dine together." Hoshi's scrunched her eyebrows in confusion.

"Aren't you eating with the Captain?"

"Yes, I meant at another time, perhaps tomorrow." Hoshi smiled, why the Vulcan was making a big deal out of a simple dinner wasn't something she understood. Unless the older woman had some sort of ulterior motive.

"Of course T'Pol, don't be silly. We'll meet after shift okay?" Hoshi said to the Vulcan who nodded. "If you're bored after supper come find me, I'll be in the mess playing poker with Travis and the others."

"Alright, enjoy your meal Hoshi."

"You too T'Pol."

"Why do we need Hoshi?" Archer asked with a raise of his eyebrows.

"It is prudent to have a linguist with us on the away team in the event the universal translator malfunctions," T'Pol stated reasonably as she ate her supper. The dinner was tedious and Commander Tucker's constant conversation was beginning to grow tiresome. Archer shrugged.

"Good enough for me. We leave at 12 hundred tomorrow," he said taking a sip from his iced tea.

"I'll inform the Ensign to prepare her kit." T'Pol said as she finished the last of her meal and placed her napkin on the table.

"No need to rush off T'Pol," Tucker said in his slow Southern drawl. "Hoshi won't need all night to get ready, why not stay awhile?"

"Thank you Commander, but I have a number of things to prepare for the away mission as well." T'Pol stood.

"See you in the morning," Archer said as she headed for the door.

"Goodnight Captain, Commander." And with that she took her leave. She was relieved to be out of the confined space. The smell of human food coupled with the smell of humans themselves could prove to be quite… overpowering.

T'Pol was certain that was one of the reasons she enjoyed Hoshi's company so much. Whether it was the woman's borderline obsessive behaviour with taking at least twice daily showers or the Ensign's cleansers themselves, Hoshi was definitely the most pleasant smelling person aboard Enterprise.

T'Pol decided to forego changing in to her night attire deciding instead to go to the mess in her uniform. She heard Hoshi's laugh long before she reached the doorway and took a moment to contemplate the sound.

Hoshi's laugh was neither overly loud or forced, nor was it shy or timid. It was a perfect compliment to the Ensign's cheerful if slightly reserved personality and T'Pol found she was quite fond of it.

T'Pol recognized that her enjoyment of essentially all things Hoshi meant that her initial feelings of friendship and affection for the young Terran had grown in to something deeper. She was attracted to the human, that much was not in question, had not been for some time. Her only issue remained in trying to reconcile with the idea of taking on a non-Vulcan as a partner.

It was the reason T'Pol had asked Hoshi to dinner. Though the Ensign did not realize it yet, it was T'Pol's attempt to determine whether they could be compatible not only as friends but as romantic companions.

She was aware the Terran found her attractive. She had heard comments to that effect accidentally while walking in on a conversation between Hoshi and Ensign Mayweather. Now, it only left to be seen whether Hoshi was willing to attempt a relationship. A question T'Pol intended to raise at supper tomorrow, assuming they wouldn't be remaining on the planet.

Pulling herself from her thoughts T'Pol walked into the mess. Once upon a time, before she'd become acquainted with Hoshi, the entire room would grow silent upon her entrance. Now, she'd become a regular fixture of the mess and it was no longer a grand event when she walked in.

T'Pol easily spotted Hoshi, the raven haired woman was sitting at a table with several others, a large stack of chips in front of her. She approached quietly not wanting to disturb the Terran as she considered her latest hand. When the hand had been played she touched the woman's shoulder to get her attention.

Hoshi turned to look a smile crossing her features as she caught sight of T'Pol.

"Hey, how was your supper?" She asked pushing some of her tablemates down the bench to make room for T'Pol. The Vulcan sat in the small space forcing her into close contact with the Terran. The Science Officer clamped down on the warm sensation that had been sparked by the physical contact with the Ensign. Now was not the time nor the place to have such a discussion.

"It was enjoyable. You'll be accompanying the away team planet side tomorrow at 12 hundred." Hoshi gave her a wide smile nudging her gently with her shoulder.

"Awesome, thanks."

"It was the Captain's decision," T'Pol said. Hoshi smirked but said nothing, they both knew T'Pol had gotten Hoshi on the mission, it didn't really need to be said.

"Alright guys, after this hand I'm out. I've gotta get my gear ready for tomorrow." There was a groan around the table, likely because Hoshi had the largest stack of chips in front of her. T'Pol leaned over and picked up a chip inspecting it. It was a credit for hot water minutes. So this was how the Terran managed to be able to take so many showers. T'Pol had wondered.

The hand was quickly played and Hoshi bowed out of the game taking her stack of chips with her as she stood.

"Nice playing with you boys, see you all next week," she said following T'Pol out of the mess. The Vulcan was sporting an almost smirk as they headed for the turbolift. "What?"

"I had been curious as to how you were able to take so many showers," T'Pol stated as they reached the lift. "I had not realized you won them in your poker games."

"Oh," Hoshi said before letting out a laugh. "Yeah it's usually a good idea to stay away from some of those guys at the end of the week. They don't have any hot water left and they're too much of a baby to just take a cold shower." T'Pol nodded, she could understand that, she wasn't fond of the cold either.

They reached Hoshi's quarters, T'Pol's were further down the hall.

"Want to come in? It won't take me long to pack." T'Pol nodded and followed the Terran in to her quarters. She took her usual seat in the comfortable desk chair leaning back as she watched Hoshi begin packing a small bag of essentials. The Ensign finished her task and sat cross legged on her bed leaning against the wall.

"Can I ask you a question T'Pol?" The Vulcan raised an eyebrow at her young friend.

"You do not need permission Hoshi, ask and I will answer as best as I am able."

"Do you ever wish for…more?" The Terran asked, her facial expression indicated this wasn't exactly the way she'd intended for the question to come out.

"I do no understand what you mean."

"Yeah that was kind of open ended, I meant, do you ever wish for more than just being First Officer on a Terran ship? I know when you got here you didn't have the highest opinion of humans. I'm just wondering if you're happy here or if you'd rather be back on Vulcan. Is there something in your life that you're missing here?"

"What brought this question on?" T'Pol asked curiously with a cant of her head. Hoshi shrugged picking at her blanket.

"I dunno, just something one of the guys said at the game. He just… he said no Vulcan could ever be happy serving with a bunch of humans. It was just a stepping stone for you to something bigger. Basically that you're just biding your time until the High Command finds a better assignment for you."

"And what do you believe Hoshi?" T'Pol asked as she moved from her seat and sat next to Hoshi on the bed. The Ensign gave a tiny shrug of her shoulders and looked away, out toward the stars, before answering.

"I dunno. Sometimes I think you'd rather be anywhere but on the Enterprise. But, then there's times when you seem… content, I guess, to be here." T'Pol took the Terran's chin in an elegant hand and turned Hoshi's head to look at her. She gazed into the young woman's deep brown eyes trying to convey her sincerity

"It is when I am with you that I am most content to be on Enterprise. I am settled when I am with you Hoshi. You bring me calm."

"Oh." Hoshi said looking at her friend in surprise. That wasn't quite what she had thought T'Pol would say.

"I intended to explore this topic tomorrow at dinner," the Vulcan revealed, releasing Hoshi but not putting any distance between them. The Terran raised an eyebrow.

"Now I think I'm the one who doesn't understand," Hoshi said with a small smile.

"I wished to know if you were interested in pursuing a more… physical intimacy," the Vulcan said. "I find you attractive and intelligent and I believe we could be content together as partners."

It wasn't an overt declaration of undying love or even deep affection, but Hoshi had never expected that. She knew what lay beneath the words, the unsaid emotions which T'Pol's culture and upbringing would not allow her to bring to the fore.

The Vulcan was offering all she was capable of and Hoshi accepted its limits. Just as the Vulcan accepted her occasional flares of temper and illogical behaviour. It would take work, whatever this was going to be, just as their friendship had. But it would not be without its rewards, Hoshi decided. To have T'Pol at her side as her partner would be worth whatever would come their way.

All the issues that surrounded them, politics, rank, biology, none of it mattered. She loved T'Pol and, in her own way, the Vulcan loved her back, even if she would never say it in so many words.

"I think 'pursuing a more physical intimacy' would be a very logical step in our relationship," Hoshi said leaning in to T'Pol and pressing her lips to the other woman's.

She was surprised by the passion she felt in the kiss and brought her hands up to T'Pol's neck pulling the Vulcan closer. T'Pols own hands landed on Hoshi's hips tugging the Terran towards her on the bed. Hoshi felt T'Pol deepen the kiss and responded in kind her tongue duelling with the Vulcan's as she moved her body impossibly closer to the other woman's. Long minutes later she pulled back to look at her friend and soon to be lover.

The Terran licked her lips in wonder already aching to be back in T'Pol's comfortable embrace.

"Wow, you… You're really good at that you know," was all Hoshi was able to come up with.

"I believe Commander Tucker once said, 'it takes two to tango,'" T'Pol answered. Hoshi smiled and leaned forward tucking herself into the Vulcan's strong arms.

"This isn't going to be easy you know," Hoshi said.


"Even on Enterprise, a lot of people aren't going to like this."


"Well you know what?" Hoshi asked pulling back to look up at T'Pol's attractive face.

"What?" The Vulcan asked with a raise of her eyebrow.

"They can all go to Hell, I want you in my life and there's nothing else to be said about it," Hoshi stated with confidence. "Besides, if anyone really starts bitching I'm sure between the two of us we could take 'em on." She was surprised to see the Vulcan give her a small smile, not an 'almost smirk', not a 'quirk of her well shaped lips', an honest to Surak smile.

For Hoshi Sato, Communications Officer of the Enterprise, it was more than enough.

The End

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