He walked through the courtyard, again, as he always did every time he'd come here, admiring the beauty in the starkness. It had been a while since he'd come to visit, but nothing had changed in all the years she had lived here. Pressing the door chime he waited for her to answer.
Her, "Jonathan," when she finally answered the door, made him smile. It had taken him a long time to convince her to use his first name. "T'Pol," he greeted.
"What brings you here?" she asked standing aside for him to enter.
"Memories ," he answered, holding up a bottle of Andorian Ale he'd brought with him.
She nodded and he followed her as she led him to a table in her private garden on the back side of the house. On the table sat an empty glass in front of an empty chair. A bowl of ice cream sat next to a data padd, and if he had to guess it was rocky road, despite all her complaints about human food, she'd developed a taste for rocky road ice cream and pecan pie, no doubt due to Trip. The glass and her choice of food told him one things, she'd known he'd come and why.
"I heard the new Enterprise arrived at San Francisco Fleet yard from Riverside Shipyard," T'Pol told him as she took the bottle from his hand and poured a glass.
"I was on her this morning," Archer admitted. "She's one hell of a ship. Trip would have loved her," he said wistfully of the absent friend.
Even after all the years she still never said much about Trip. There was so much about their relationship he never knew, neither one of them ever talked about it, and after Trip died, she never spoke about him again unless he brought their mutual friend up. However, he knew what she couldn't, or wouldn't, say. He'd learned to read the inflections in her voice and the little tells that spoke so much more than the words or emotions she never shared.
Sitting opposite her, he took a drink of the blue ale. "I met her new Captain today," he told her. "He seems like a good man."
"His record is impeccable," T'Pol added indicating she'd read his records.
"It's more than that, it's a feeling I have about him," Archer said as he drained his glass and poured another one. "He reminds me of what I was like."
He sipped the ale, watching her as she slowly at the ice cream. He caught the barest of nods at his comment. "I found him in the great hall intending to congratulate him. He was standing in front of that damn portrait," he laughed. "I still remember Trip telling me how it would inspire future generations."
"It appears Commander Tucker was correct."
Archer smiled. Taking a drink, he added, "He had a cadet with him. A doctor. If I'm not mistaken, they are lovers. If they aren't then they have a friendship..."
"Like you and Trip," T'Pol said quietly, interrupting him.
"Yes, like Trip and I," He admitted. "I envy them," he added. "Putting the final touches on Enterprise. Picking a crew. I remember those seemingly frantic days," he said wistfully.
"Those were good years."
"They were," he agreed. He poured a third glass of ale and slowly drank it, sitting in silence as T'Pol ate her ice cream. He knew she was just as lost in the past as he was. He should have know Enterprise's arrival at the Fleet yard would have stirred up memories for both of them just as meeting her new Captain would for him. He knew what Captain Pike would be doing in the next months while the ship was on land and what it would be like once it was moved to Spacedock. He wished the new Captain and his doctor luck.