Author's Web site:
Disclaimer: This is a
nonprofit fanfic. No copyright infringement is intended or should be inferred.
Comments: Thanks to
all those who commented on "Temporal Anomaly", which was supposed to be part of
this one, but I couldn't quite fit it in. This is a Challenge Fic in response to
one of DSRT's challenges, the one that stipulated, and I quote: "Write a story
where a new Lieutenant is assigned to the Enterprise and becomes fixated on the
chief engineer Charles 'Trip' Tucker and will literally do anything to obtain
his affections, even assault and murder.--Must be m/m (Tucker/Reed can be
established or pre-slash);--Bonds of Leather;--Attack;--Close quarters;--fear
and loathing;--a phaser blast. I think I got them all.
EntSTSlash on 02/24/2003.
Trip*Malcolm with the author's express permission.
voice of Ensign Baker jarred Malcolm out of his daydream. He coughed and tried
to look like he'd been thoroughly focused on his phase pistol. The ones on the
table, that is. "I'm going to take this down to Engineering." Yes, Malcolm
thought. OK. All right. Those were the correct answers. He knew that, but the
"I'll do it,"
launched a full-scale rebellion and escaped his mouth entirely of their own
"OK..." Ensign Baker
blinked, but didn't disagree. Malcolm coughed again, then winced. God, he
thought, much more of that and people were going to think he was sneaking
illegal cigarettes in the cargo bay.
"I wanted to discuss
something with Commander Tucker," Malcolm said, by way of explanation. And left
the armoury before the ensign could think to ask what that was.
When he arrived in
Engineering, Malcolm was treated to the very attractive sight of Trip Tucker
lying under a console, his legs spread, his knees up and his groin in full view.
Malcolm was tempted to stop and enjoy the vista, but Trip was, unfortunately,
not alone, and Malcolm didn't want Lieutenant Hess or one of the ensigns to ask
him what he was doing. So he cleared his throat and said:
"I've got some specs
for you, Commander."
"Put it on the desk,
would ya, Malcolm? I'll get to it when I have a sec." A few weeks ago, Malcolm
would have done that and left. But that was when he was merely interested in the
Commander. Now he was obsessed, it wasn't enough.
"I was hoping you'd
look at it now." He hadn't been, at least not from an official point of view.
They were unimportant weapons specs, but that didn't matter. He wanted to talk
to Trip for as long as possible. Which, Malcolm thought, just went to prove he
was losing his mind. Normally, he would have rushed back to the armoury as soon
as was even remotely polite. Or before.
"I'm kinda busy,
Malcolm," was Trip's distracted reply. Malcolm took a deep breath and blurted:
"It's a proposal to
reroute forty percent of the engine power to the weapons systems." It had the
intended effect, but not in the intended way. Trip sat up, hitting himself the
console, and rolled out from under it, clutching at his head.
"Are you all right?"
Malcolm asked, with genuine concern.
"What the hell was
that?" Trip looked up at him and smiled. To Malcolm's great, if not displeased,
surprise. "A joke?" The smile did him in every time. Malcolm had to smile back.
"It got your
attention, didn't it?" And, if Malcolm was honest with himself, that was what he
wanted. Trip's undivided attention. All the time.
"Yeah, well. There
are easier ways of doing that." Trip rubbed at the rapidly forming lump. Malcolm
swallowed and, tightening his grip on the PADD, replied:
"Like what?" Malcolm
had his own ideas, none of which involved keeping his hands to himself. The
pause seemed to last forever. Finally, though, just as Malcolm started to
seriously wish he were dead, Trip's smile got even larger.
"Be my date tonight."
Malcolm's cough returned, so violently that he drew the attention of two
crewmembers on the other side of the room, as well as Trip's concern.
"Good. Cause the
Captain's already bailed on me and Hoshi's having some kind of toenail-painting
party with Liz. And I don't want to go to the movies on my own." So he was third
choice. Malcolm didn't really care. He could do nothing but nod like a broken
marionette when Trip continued: "You'll come with me, right?" Squashing all
thoughts about coming with Trip---or coming over, inside of or next to Trip---
Malcolm asked, as a pure afterthought:
"'An Affair to
Remember'." Malcolm suppressed a groan and, as he headed back down the hall,
consoled himself with the thought that he wouldn't be spending any time thinking
about the movie, anyway.
pinpoint the exact moment---when they were trapped on the shuttle and waiting to
freeze to death---that his distaste for Trip had turned into respect. He could
even generalize the time---after a few dinners and the odd movie or two---that
respect had turned to friendship. What he didn't know was when the friendship
had turned into a crush of adolescent proportions.
Or maybe it was more
than a crush, Malcolm thought, as he sat next to Trip. Since 'An Affair to
Remember' was not the most popular movie in the rotation, they were the only
people sitting in the back row, which didn't do much to make Malcolm feel more
mature. He was picturing what it would be like to make out with the Commander
right there when he glanced over at the object of his lust and saw he was
crying. Sniffling, Trip pulled a tissue from his pocket and blew his nose, never
taking his eyes off the screen. Malcolm had a sudden, intense urge to hug him.
Ever the tactician,
he weighed the variables. They were in public, but that wouldn't necessarily
upset Trip, who Malcolm had long suspected of having more exhibitionist
tendencies than the average streaker. He was clearly emotionally vulnerable at
the moment, which could work to Malcolm's advantage. And, from an optimistic,
practical point of view, neither of them had to get up early the next day. But
there was one unknown variable, rather a large one. He didn't know how Trip felt
about him. He flirted, but then he flirted with everyone. Trip touched him,
frequently, but no more frequently than he touched, say, the Captain or Hoshi.
Either or both of whom, Malcolm was sure, would gladly, along with just about
everyone else on board, have done anything Trip asked of them. Which meant,
Malcolm thought sadly, he couldn't even hope Trip would eventually come to him
out of desperation.
came back to see Trip wiping his eyes on the tissue. "You OK?"
blinked, surprised. "Are you?" He was touched to see a blush appear on Trip's
cheeks. "Fine. You ain't the only one with allergies." Trip stood up and seemed
surprised when Malcolm didn't immediately follow. "You coming?" Malcolm looked
forward to see the final credits rolling and the rest of the crew filing out, in
various stages of emotional distress.
"Wanna come in for a
nightcap?" Trip asked when they arrived outside his quarters. Malcolm could
think of a thousand reasons why that wasn't a good idea, and immediately
dismissed all of them.
"Now, if I remember
right," Trip smiled, tossing the tissue away and taking a bottle out of his foot
locker, "You're a bourbon man."
"Where did you get
"Let's just say, the
Captain felt real bad about deserting me tonight." He winked and poured Malcolm
a drink. "He'll feel even worse when he realizes what I 'borrowed' on my way
out." Malcolm drank, the liquor having the same warming, intoxicating effect
that Trip's presence did, all the time.
"I'm the head of
security, Trip. Don't tell me that." Trip smiled into his own glass.
"I trust ya." Trip
lay back on the bed, as Malcolm forced himself to sit at attention, trying to
quell the urge to go and join his friend. An urge that didn't waver when Trip
said, seemingly out of nowhere: "Hey, you still got that thing for T'Pol?"
"Not really." Malcolm
swallowed hard. Trip nodded thoughtfully.
"Yeah. I can see how
you might prefer someone a little more...responsive." Malcolm knocked back the
rest of the glass, burning his esophagus as he did so. "Anyone else caught your
After the briefest of
pauses, Malcolm shook his head, sure that his cheeks were the colour of a
standard tomato. "Really?" Trip put his head on one side, looking at Malcolm
like he was a fascinating new life form. Or a malfunctioning engine part Trip
was determined to figure out. Malcolm began to fiddle with his empty glass, then
reached for the bottle and poured himself another one. Without asking, which was
just one more indication of how flustered this man could make him feel.
It didn't help that,
when Trip finally spoke, it was to say:
right, Malcolm?" It wasn't really a question, which was fine because Malcolm had
no answer beyond:
"Yes," to offer.
"Then I can tell you
something." Trip grinned again, and Malcolm had a familiar, paranoid feeling
that he was being teased. "There's someone on board who's caught my fancy." The
teasing suspicion disappeared, replaced with another familiar feeling. Crushing
disappointment. He took a long swallow of bourbon, which did nothing to abate
it. So, as usual, Malcolm defended himself by going on the offensive.
"Who? The Captain?"
Trip actually laughed at that suggestion, a sincere, surprised laugh like the
thought had never even crossed his mind.
"Not my type,
Malcolm." Malcolm didn't ask what Trip's type was. He didn't want to hear him
describe some cute little engineering ensign or one of his six-foot armoury
Amazons. Or, worse yet, Hoshi.
continued anyway. "I like 'em short, dark and brilliant. The kind of person who
acts real shy, but I know better." Damn, Malcolm swore. Then decided the
occasion merited a more aggressive, Fuck. Since that wasn't what he was going to
be doing any time in the foreseeable future. Since Trip was clearly describing
Malcolm was so
convinced of this, it took a moment for him to realize that the next part of
Trip's description, "And who's got a real sexy accent" didn't compute. In that
intervening moment, Trip moved down to the end of his bed, until he was a mere
foot or so away from Malcolm. This meant that when Malcolm finally realized that
Hoshi didn't have any accent, at least not one that would be overly discernible
to Trip, he had only to glance upwards to find himself staring into Trip's eyes.
"Like I said," Trip
repeated, his voice suddenly low and his breathing, Malcolm noticed, increasing
rapidly. "Short, dark and brilliant."
Malcolm's lips were
dry. Unconsciously, he licked them, then realized that might not have been the
ideal form of body language to speak at that precise moment. On the other hand,
Malcolm thought, maybe it was very appropriate. Time for some tactical
manoeuvres. Still not sure if they were on the same page, or even in the same
library, he leaned forward an inch, and felt his insides seize as Trip did the
same, tilting his head a little. Malcolm was about to test his theory further,
when the door chimed and Trip looked up sharply. Malcolm sat back in the chair
as the Commander cleared his throat and called,
"Come in," and the
door slid open to reveal the Captain.
"Hey, Trip." Captain
Archer glanced over his shoulder and, with typical sensitivity, added, "Oh, hi,
Malcolm. Glad I got you both together. There's something I want to tell you." If
the next words out of the Captain's mouth weren't 'Suliban operatives have
kidnapped the entire crew,' Malcolm thought, then he would eagerly chair the
next mutiny meeting.
The announcement was
not quite so dramatic, but it was as unexpected.
"We're getting a new
crewmember tomorrow. Lieutenant Hamish MacEwan. He'll be working with you,
Trip." Trip frowned, and Malcolm sympathized. He could barely tolerate most of
the people Trip worked with already.
"Never heard of him."
"He's new to
Starfleet. But he's got a Masters in warp theory from MIT." Trip rolled his
"Great. Thanks, Jon,
that's just what I need. Some wiseass who thinks he knows more 'an me..."
"He'll only be with
us six months. You'll survive." Trip came very close to pouting, an expression
Malcolm hadn't seen before, but which he didn't find entirely unappealing.
"So what, we're
running a work experience program now?" The Captain looked embarrassed.
Forrest's godson." Trip gave a sardonic grin.
"That explains it."
"We don't have a
choice, Trip. He seems like a perfectly fine guy."
"Have you met him?"
"I spoke to him on
the comm earlier. That's why I couldn't join you for the movie. How was it?" He
sounded like he was trying to appease Trip. From what Malcolm had seen, the
Captain spent a good deal of time appeasing Trip, and that went a long way---
much further than any comradely breakfasts or attempts at friendly
sports-oriented conversation--- towards endearing Archer to Malcolm.
"Fine." Trip sulked,
then glanced at Malcolm, and his expression turned to something quite different.
"Good." Jon stifled a
yawn. "Well, it's getting late and I'm tired." Archer looked at Malcolm. "Walk
you back to your quarters, Lieutenant?" Malcolm's brain froze and he couldn't
think of any good reason to decline.
Trip replied for him, shooting an almost nervous glance in his direction.
"Malcolm and I were gonna have one for the road..."
"One what?" Jon's
expression turned suddenly suspicious. "I thought you told me you were all out
of booze." Trip tried to backpedal, but it was too late.
"I meant...That is,
"Is that my bourbon?"
Malcolm knew that, should the need ever arise, he would unthinkingly and without
regret give up his life for anyone on board the ship. It was much, much harder
to sacrifice this moment, but he did it for Trip. After all, they had all the
time in the world, and Malcolm wasn't one to rush things. If there was anything
to rush. In many ways, Malcolm would rather live with a certain dream than an
uncertain reality. Faking a yawn, he said:
"It is late, Captain.
Shall we go?" As he left, the still-frowning Captain trailing after him, he
looked back at Trip, who smiled with a combination of gratitude and promise.
Malcolm floated out of the room on a cushion of air, a cushion that was promptly
burst by the Captain.
"If you don't mind me
saying, Malcolm," he said, before they had even reached the end of Trip's
hallway. "There's something you should know about him." Malcolm stopped,
wondering if the Captain was more astute than he'd given him credit for, or if
he himself was just that transparent. Archer lay a hand on his shoulder and gave
a rueful smile. "Trip's the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet, but he's got the
attention span of a three-year-old." He squeezed Malcolm's shoulder, then
turned, heading off towards his own quarters. "Try not to take it personally."
The Captain hadn't lost his talent for confusing speeches. Malcolm was up all
night trying to figure out what he'd meant by that.
Malcolm looked up from his resequenced chicken to see Trip sliding into a seat
on the other side of the table. He put down his PADD, where he was adding
Lieutenant MacEwan into the security databases, and picked up his tea. Then put
that down again, fiddled with his fork, and finally decided to clasp his hands
in his lap.
"Commander." He said,
then decided that was too formal, moved his hands onto the table, and added:
"Trip. How's the new fellow getting along?" They had both, along with the
Captain and T'Pol, been in the bay when the Lieutenant's shuttle arrived. The
man hadn't overly impressed Malcolm. MacEwan was in his early thirties, short,
dark-haired and Scottish, although years in the States had tempered his accent
into a something quasi-comprehensible. But he was nothing special. Trip
"All right, I guess."
He speared his chicken. "How are you?"
"All right." Malcolm
frowned, wishing he could think of something wittier to say. "I'm..."
"Want to come over
tonight?" Trip asked, suddenly, in a rush. "You know, I thought, if you wanted,
maybe we could..."
"Excuse me, mind if I
sit here?" It took every ounce of Malcolm's self-control not to judo flip Hamish
MacEwan onto the mess hall floor.
Trip ran a hand through his hair and inched his chair over. MacEwan sat down
"Food looks great,"
was MacEwan's enthusiastic verdict, as he tucked in.
"Yeah, Chef's pretty
good," Trip obviously tried to inject some feeling into his voice, but it looked
difficult. And Malcolm was glad.
"I was just sorry
they didn't have pan-fried catfish on the menu," MacEwan continued, chewing his
chicken. That earned Trip's attention.
"Butter 'im up a
little and Chef'll make that, too." MacEwan smiled widely, and Malcolm had to
admit, the man wasn't exactly Quasimodo.
"You guys have got
everything!" Trip paused a moment. Malcolm willed him not to ask the question,
but the Commander selfishly ignored the attempted telepathy.
"Where'd ya get into
catfish? I never thought of it bein' a real big seller up there in
Massachusetts. Or Scotland."
"My mother's from
"Get out!" Yes,
Malcolm agreed. Please do. The sooner the better. "There's a great beach right
near there. What's it called..." Trip drummed his fingers on the table.
"That's the one. You
"We spent practically
every summer there when I was a kid. It was a hell of lot warmer than
Edinburgh," MacEwan added, smiling at Malcolm. Who looked back with all the
warmth of a Vulcan executioner.
"I don't believe
this." Trip grinned excitedly. "Hey, you don't know the Riddells, do you?"
"Mona and Jim? My
sister was a bridesmaid at their daughter's wedding."
"To a dentist who
plays bass in an amateur rock and roll band." Trip pushed his plate away, all
thought of resequenced chicken forgotten. Along with, Malcolm feared, all
thought of his other lunch companion.
"Eric Brewer!" They
answered, in unison. It was enough to send Malcolm over the edge.
"I hate to interrupt
the all-Florida state reunion, but..."
"Yeah, sure, Malcolm.
See ya later." Trip barely took his eyes off MacEwan. "Eric, huh? He always was
a nutcase. I remember the summer after tenth grade, we took this case of beer
out to the dunes..."
Later that afternoon,
Malcolm was in the armoury, angrily jabbing at buttons, when Trip came in. He
refused to raise his hopes, but his hopes didn't listen and raised themselves
anyway. And were then promptly dashed into shards like a faulty electronic
about tonight. Hamish brought a bunch of home videos. I'd invite you, of course,
but it's just a bunch of people you don't know. It'd be real boring for you."
reverted to his favourite, all-purpose word, used when things were anything but.
"Some other time,
"If I happen to be
available, Commander." And if Trip managed to tear himself away from Lieutenant
MacEwan. As Trip left the armoury, Malcolm recalled the Captain's words of
warning. And wondered exactly how he was supposed to take it.
If Trip's attention
span was short in relation to Malcolm, it seemed that in relation to Lieutenant
MacEwan, it was inexhaustible. For the next week, they were practically a
symbiotic entity. Wherever Trip went, MacEwan was right behind. Malcolm saw them
eating together in the mess hall, working out together in the gym, and sitting
together, deep in animated conversation, in the lounge. Since Trip had the
Lieutenant with him whenever he came up to the bridge, it was a week until
Malcolm next saw Trip alone. He'd given up going to Engineering himself. He'd
also given up on pointless fantasies that were clearly never going to be
So, instead, he went
back to focusing on his work. In between defending the crew and trying to teach
them to defend themselves, Malcolm didn't have much chance to indulge his own
love of weaponry. Finally deciding to make the time, he was alone late one
night, shooting a few practice rounds and reflecting on how phase pistols never
deserted you for snotty Lieutenants from MIT, when the door opened behind him.
Malcolm glanced back
and saw Trip hovering inside the door.
turned back to the range. He didn't want to see Trip's Scottish shadow. He may
have given up thoughts of having sex with Trip, but that didn't mean he wanted
to spend time with the man who was currently licking the Commander's arse.
Figuratively for certain, and perhaps literally as well. "What can I do for
"Just thought I'd
drop by. You never come see me anymore." If Malcolm hadn't known better, if he
hadn't been warned, he might have mistaken Trip's tone for hurt.
apologized insincerely. Malcolm glanced back briefly, then returned to his
weapons. "Where's your friend?"
"Who?" Trip was a
remarkable actor. Malcolm had noticed it before. This time, he cocked an eyebrow
and said, simply:
"Oh. I don't know.
Last time I saw him, he was looking at blueprints of the ship."
professional." Malcolm didn't bother to keep the edge out of his voice. Trip
hesitated, then laughed.
"Yeah." Malcolm shot
the target once more, then carefully put the weapon away. He was mildly
surprised to see that Trip remained where he was, which meant Malcolm had to
brush by him on his way out. He did so, saying:
"Well, Commander, if
you don't mind..."
"Malcolm." Trip put
out a hand. It happened to land on Malcolm's shoulder.
stiffened unconsciously, but tried to keep his voice light.
He sounded shy and uncertain, but Malcolm wasn't about to fall for that.
Instead, he sniffed like he didn't know what Trip could possibly be inferring.
"Why should I be?"
After all, it wasn't like Malcolm had any claim on Trip. Trip, however,
misunderstood. Most likely, Malcolm thought later, by choice.
"You shouldn't," was
Trip's soft reply. Before Malcolm could correct his perception, he found himself
with a mouthful of Trip's tongue.
mind may have been thinking, his body was more than willing to respond. He
kissed back, slipping an arm around Trip's neck. Trip pulled him closer,
murmuring a little. It was a quiet sound, barely audible, but it was enough to
bring Malcolm back to reality.
"No." He pulled away,
leaving Trip blinking. "I can't do this." Because losing Trip's friendly
attention had been difficult. Losing Trip's physical attention would most likely
"Malcolm, I don't
want Hamish, OK? I don't even like him all that much." Trip smiled and raised
his eyebrows. "To be honest, he's kinda creepy."
"That didn't stop you
hanging about with him all week."
"You think I wanted
to? The Captain told me to make him feel welcome." Putting aside, just for the
moment, the fact that Trip had seemed pretty eager to make him 'feel welcome' at
Malcolm's expense, Malcolm snapped:
"Really. The Captain
told me something, too." Bloody typical, he told himself, making another move
for the door. Breaking up before they even got together. Well, Malcolm thought,
at least it was efficient. Not to mention time-saving. Perhaps he could add it
to the 'Personal Qualities' section of his résumé.
"What?" Trip put up
his arm, blocking Malcolm's exit. Malcolm regretted the words, but he wasn't
about to back down.
"It doesn't matter."
After all, he'd had first-hand experience of the very thing the Captain had
warned him about. "I just don't want to get left behind as soon as someone
better comes along." And there it was, Malcolm's greatest paranoia, the crux of
his personal neuroses. It had haunted him his entire life. There was nothing
Trip could have said to defuse the fear. So it was probably just as well that he
didn't even try. Instead, he grabbed Malcolm, harder this time, and leaned
forward to whisper:
"I promise you,
Malcolm, the minute someone better comes along, I will leave you behind."
Malcolm, who had been expecting a half-hearted denial of what he knew to be
true, didn't know what to say. He didn't become any more quick-witted when Trip
continued: "Of course, I've never met this person and I seriously doubt they
exist, so you're gonna be stuck with me for a while. Think you can handle that?"
"Mmph," was Malcolm's
considered reply. Pressed up against the bulkhead with his hands on his
commanding officer's ass, it was hard to think of a soliloquy.
Not that he believed
Trip, of course. If, he thought lying in Trip's bed the next morning, he had an
international nickel for every time someone had promised never to leave him
while walking out the door...Still, Trip was Trip and sex was sex. And for once
in his life, Malcolm decided to suppress his better judgement and go with it.
His reward for such
irresponsibility was a slow, nuzzly waking up, followed by a very distracting
shower (Trip had developed a sudden, deep concern for the amount of energy the
showers used and insisted they save power by going in together.) A mad rush for
the mess hall had followed that, when they realized they were about to be late.
Still, Trip made Malcolm sit while he brought a pot of tea, pancakes and a
portion of peanut butter over to him.
"Thank you," Malcolm
smiled, trying to encompass the entire experience, and not just the breakfast,
in the statement. Trip smiled back and, for the first time in his life, the idea
of taking a sick day crossed Malcolm's mind. Not that he would, of course, he
didn't even do that when he really was ill, but the fact that he would even
think of it spoke volumes about what this man could do to him. He lowered his
eyes and slathered a pancake with peanut butter.
"Hi, Trip." He looked
up when he heard the scraping of a chair and an Edinburgh accent. Trip glanced
over at Lieutenant MacEwan, who was making himself at home by the Commander's
side. "I was looking over those calculations we did last night..."
interrupted. "Listen, Hamish, you think you could give me and Malcolm a moment
"Sure," Hamish nodded
amiably. "I have to go and get my breakfast anyway..."
would have had no compunctions about telling the man to sod off, but Trip
favoured a gentler approach. Which Malcolm admired more than he could
understand. "I mean, could you eat somewhere else? I kinda want to spend some
time with Malcolm." Malcolm could have kissed Trip right there in the mess hall,
but refrained. Trip had already done a thorough job of 'outing' them to one
member of the crew. He didn't want to spoil the surprise for everyone else.
himself on being somewhat of a connoisseur of human nature, or at least of the
less positive aspects of it. He saw the change in MacEwan's eyes, even if the
smile remained static, and it disturbed him. But not, as he later regretted,
enough to do anything about it. He was too caught up in Trip, and the pressure
of Trip's foot against his calf as MacEwan left silently and Trip leaned forward
to wiggle his eyebrows and whisper, grinning:
"I told ya. Cree-py."
thought, was as good a word as any for the man who, an hour or so after
breakfast had ended, showed up in the armoury. Alone.
"Lieutenant Reed." He
had never come to the armoury before, at least not without Trip leading the way.
But he was smiling and brandishing a PADD in his hand, so Malcolm was cautious,
but not concerned. After all, while they were surrounded by weapons, he doubted
an MIT engineer knew how to use any of them. He also doubted this MIT engineer
had enough martial arts black belts to open an accessory boutique. Which was
exactly his plan when the 'Enterprise' returned to port.
Malcolm gave a non-committal nod, then turned back to his console. After a
moment's silence, was MacEwan was still standing and smiling, Malcolm prompted:
"Can I help you?"
"I don't know."
"Then why are you
here?" The only other person present was Ensign Baker, out of earshot but well
within their line of sight. Malcolm knew this was why MacEwan kept smiling
pleasantly as he said:
quite the fellow, isn't he?"
"How long have the
two of you been together?"
"What are you talking
"I don't blame you.
Like I say, he's quite the fellow. I just hope you're ready for a little
competition." Malcolm drew himself up and gave MacEwan a look that would have
frozen the corona of a minor sun.
I suggest you leave my armoury immediately."
inclined his head graciously. "Just remember what I said." Malcolm watched him
as he left, then shook his head. He returned to his work, pausing for only a
brief moment to wonder why, after a career of being threatened to no effect by
everyone from the Klingons to the Romulans to Chef (for repeatedly choosing
baked beans on toast over any one of his fantastic creations,) those few words
from MacEwan left him vaguely unsettled.
Malcolm wondered if
he should tell Trip about the encounter, but soon decided there were better ways
to spend their private moments together than chatting about Hamish MacEwan.
Besides, later that evening, after they'd tried out a few of the more athletic
diversionary techniques, Malcolm could barely remember his own name, let alone
"Hey," Trip lifted
his head off Malcolm's sweat-soaked chest and kissed his nose. "I got a surprise
"Another one?" For
the last three hours, Trip had done nothing but surprise Malcolm, with his
skill, his stamina and his incredible enthusiasm. Malcolm had always suspected
Trip of being as vocal during sex as he was during everything else, but he'd
never suspected the man had such an extensive vocabulary of wonderfully dirty
expressions. Several of which he received when he suggested Trip let Hoshi write
a paper about him.
"We're goin' on
"Well, not really.
But the Captain wants us to take the shuttle out for a little run." Trip kissed
him with sweaty, salty lips, a taste Malcolm could definitely get used to. And
which already rivalled baked beans on toast, peanut butter pancakes, and
pineapple. "Guess it's because we did such a great job last time."
swallowed. Malcolm didn't need to ask if the Captain knew about their
attraction, but, "Does he know we're..."
"Goin' at it like a
couple of dogs in heat?"
"I was going to say,
"Dating, huh?" Trip
threw a leg over Malcolm, so he was sitting astride his hips. This position
coincidentally placed Trip very close to an important part of Malcolm's anatomy,
a part which, although Malcolm had thought it was done in, was doing its best to
rise to the occasion. Yet again. "I like that. But, no, I haven't told him. It
was his idea to send us off on our own for two days. Course," Trip licked his
lips. "Can't say I did much to talk him out of it."
"Good," was Malcolm's
verdict. Trip moved, bumping against Malcolm's growing erection, which resulted
in another grin.
"Hot damn, Malcolm."
"God, don't be. I
just don't know how I'm gonna keep up with you." He shifted, so he was lying,
rather than sitting, on his lover's body. "But I do know I'm gonna have fun
"Just how long are
you planning on being away, Trip?" Captain Archer cocked an eyebrow at the large
duffel bag Trip had slung over his shoulder. Malcolm, who had asked the same
question just prior to their arrival in the shuttle bay, blushed.
"It's all necessary
equipment, Captain." Unlike the Captain, Malcolm had received a sneak preview of
what the bag contained. While they may not have been strictly vital to the
mission, even Malcolm had to admit that the leather restraints, the chocolate
sauce, and what appeared to be a red rubber vibrator did seem like a lot of fun.
"Ready to go,
Captain." Malcolm was torn from his happy anticipation by the appearance of
Lieutenant MacEwan, a small bag in hand. Trip's face fell. Malcolm felt so badly
for him that he almost forgot his own disappointment. Almost.
"Oh, yeah," Archer
added, a little sheepishly. "Lieutenant MacEwan asked if he could accompany
"Is that really
necessary, Captain?" Trip tried. "I mean, there's barely going to be enough work
to occupy the two of us..." The precise reason, Malcolm thought, they had both
been looking so forward to it.
never done a shuttle mission." And Malcolm had never murdered his commanding
officer, but no one was going to allow him do it. At the moment, though,
permission scarcely mattered.
"Isn't this cosy?"
They were well away from 'Enterprise' when MacEwan spoke for the first time, in
a calm, strangely flat, tone. On boarding the shuttle, he had silently taken a
seat in the rear, and had remained silent while Malcolm assisted Trip in
piloting towards the nebula they were meant to be studying. "The three of us in
such...close quarters." Neither Trip nor Malcolm replied. "I really did want to
go on a shuttle mission," he continued, seemingly unfazed by the lack of
response. "I'm sorry if I'm interrupting the honeymoon."
Trip turned around first, which Malcolm thought was just as well. It gave him a
moment to compose himself. And he didn't know how they could possibly explain
returning to 'Enterprise' with the corpse of Admiral Forrest's godson. "I am
your superior officer and Lieutenant Reed is your colleague. And I don't give a
shit who your family is, if you don't you don't treat us with the required
respect, I'll have you off this ship so fast you won't know what hit you."
Commander," he finally replied, "I know exactly what hit me." Trip turned back
to his instruments, shifting a little in his seat.
"We discussed that,
"Yes." MacEwan stood
up suddenly, and Malcolm's hand went to the emergency phase pistol on the wall.
"What we didn't discuss was why. Seems to me I've got a lot more in common with
you than he," a dismissive shake of the head in Malcolm's direction, "does."
Trip's neck reddened and Malcolm decided to intervene. From his vast repertoire
of tones, he selected icily polite, and said:
"I don't know what
you're talking about, but I suggest you sit down at once. Unless you'd like to
explain to the Captain why we had to cut the mission short..."
"You don't know what
I'm talking about?" MacEwan interrupted, laughing. "Isn't that interesting. I
would have thought the two of you shared everything. Maybe you're not the
perfect couple after all."
Slamming his hands on the console, Trip stood up, placing himself in front of
Malcolm in a protective posture. Malcolm found this rather sweet, especially
since Trip had saved Malcolm exactly twice in two years, while Malcolm saved
Trip every other week. "Look, Hamish, I'm real sorry if you thought there could
be somethin' between us, but I never did anything to make you believe that. And
I told ya, you're a real great guy, but I'm with Malcolm, OK?" MacEwan nodded.
"I know. But if you
just thought about it, Trip, you'd see that..."
"Forget it, Hamish."
Trip sounded tired rather than exasperated. "I love Malcolm. Nothing you say's
gonna change that." There was a little more, but Malcolm's hearing, along with
all other brain functions, froze as soon as the word 'love' made an appearance.
Trip loved him. That should have scared him, but it didn't. It just made him
even more resentful of MacEwan's presence. Because the feeling was mutual, and
Malcolm had a some good ideas of how he could prove that to Trip.
Not that he felt any
warmer towards the Lieutenant when, without warning, the man lunged forward,
knocked Trip to the floor and grabbed the phase pistol. Malcolm jumped up, but
MacEwan surprised him with a very hard punch to the stomach. A second later,
Malcolm felt MacEwan's arm around his neck and the phase pistol against his
"Nothing I can say,
Trip? Then maybe there's something I can do." Trip blanched.
"Now, Hamish, just
grabbed MacEwan's arm, and the phase pistol jammed harder against his temple. He
wasn't worried for himself. It was set to stun, and while being shot at such
close range would result in serious burns, he was more concerned with what might
happen to Trip if he wasn't around to help.
"There's no need to
do anything foolish. Maybe we could talk..."
"We've talked. A
lot." Trip's Adam's apple bobbed.
"But maybe I didn't
listen as well as I coulda. I mean, I'm sure you've got some real good
points..." Malcolm didn't wait any longer. He hit MacEwan in the groin, and was
surprised for the second time in as many minutes when MacEwan responded by
throwing him to the ground.
Reed." He kneeled over Malcolm, looking almost solicitous. "I should have told
you. There was a Vulcan martial arts instructor at MIT. Extra-credit course."
Keeping the pistol trained on Malcolm, he went over and rifled through Trip's
duffel bag. Trip looked at Malcolm with definite fear in his eyes, so Malcolm
did his best to look reassuring. While simultaneously clutching his stomach and
trying not to cough up a vital organ.
"Oh, I like this."
Grinning, MacEwan held up the leather handcuffs. "See, Trip? We do have a lot in
common." MacEwan dragged Malcolm across the floor and fastened the studded
manacles to his wrists, winding them around a pole as he did so. Malcolm had
done kinky, but never this kinky. He was not altogether pleased to discover that
the restraints were painfully stiff and chafed his wrists. "Now." Satisfied that
Malcolm wasn't going anywhere, MacEwan stood up and went over to Trip. "We can
have that chat."
"Sure thing, Hamish.
If that's what you want." Trip swallowed, glancing back at Malcolm, then turned
his attention to MacEwan. "But I think there's better ways of spending our
time." He embraced the Lieutenant and, as Malcolm watched with a mixture of
horror, jealousy, and appreciation for Trip's quick thinking, kissed MacEwan on
Trip put on a good
show. Too good for Malcolm, who forced himself to use MacEwan's momentary
distraction to try and remove the handcuffs. There was no chance of that. Trip
obviously did not go in for flimsy novelties. These were serious restraints and,
although Malcolm nearly severed his arteries in the process, he finally
acknowledged that he wasn't going to get out on his own. A moment after he
reached this conclusion, he looked over to see Trip's mouth still busy with
MacEwan's and his hand reaching for MacEwan's pistol. The one, Malcolm was
relieved to note, in his hand.
"Oh, Trip." The
second Trip's hand hit the pistol, MacEwan pushed him away. "That's too bad. For
a second, I almost believed you."
"What do you mean,
Hamish? I don't go around kissin' just anyone..."
"I'm not stupid." He
pointed the phase pistol at Trip, and Malcolm's heart nearly stopped. "Get over
there." He indicated Malcolm's position. Trip didn't bother to argue. Instead,
he brushed Malcolm's leg as he sat down beside him. Malcolm smiled, as sincerely
as possible under the circumstances, while MacEwan went through Trip's bag
again. This time, he produced something Malcolm hadn't seen, a pair of standard,
"I didn't know if
you'd like the leather ones," Trip whispered, in response to Malcolm's unasked
"Good thing I had a
backup plan, then." Malcolm just looked at him. MacEwan snapped the handcuffs
onto Trip, then changed his mind and switched them around, attaching one of the
cool metal handcuffs to Malcolm's chafed wrist while fastening one of the
leather manacles to Trip. This meant that, as well as being attached to the
shuttle, they were attached to each other, and effectively immobilized. Malcolm
had to admit, for an engineer, MacEwan knew a thing or two about securing
"When we get back to
the ship, Lieutenant..." Trip attempted. Malcolm could have told him it was
"We're not going back
to the ship, Commander." Trip glanced over at Malcolm. "Do you really expect me
to let you go off and live happily ever after?" Malcolm didn't, but then he'd
had experience with madmen. He'd lived with one until he was sixteen.
"So what are we..."
"We're going to
examine the nebula." MacEwan sat in the pilot's chair. The console beeped,
indicating he was changing course. "From the inside."
Reeds did not give
up. Nor did they let their personal feelings get in the way of the greater good.
Which was why, although it nearly killed him, Malcolm leaned towards Trip and
"Do you really love
me?" Trip looked at him tenderly, which didn't make what he was about to do any
"Of course, darlin'."
"I love you, too."
Despite their current situation, that brought a smile to Trip's mouth. Malcolm
brushed his lips across that smile, said, "I'm sorry," and used his shoulder to
push Trip into the metal pole hard enough to knock him out.
"What the hell was
that?" MacEwan turned around.
"He was struggling
pretty hard. I guess he fainted." Malcolm blinked ingenuously and moved on with
phase two of the plan. "I've got to say, Lieutenant, there aren't many people
who can beat me in hand-to-hand combat."
"I guess I had the
advantage," MacEwan admitted absently, turning back to the controls. Suppressing
his nausea, Malcolm continued:
"I understand how you
feel. He's a really great guy."
"If you're trying to
change my mind..."
"I'm not." Malcolm
forced a grin. "Ever seen him naked?" MacEwan turned around to stare at him.
Malcolm, more frightened than he could remember being and loathing himself all
the while, shrugged. "It's not like he's going to put up a fight."
"It's not him I'm
worried about," MacEwan replied.
"What could I do to
you?" He rattled his chains and leered. If he pulled this off, Malcolm thought,
he was going to request an Academy Award. Or at least forgiveness from Trip. "I
can assure you, it's quite the sight. But if you'd rather just drive us into the
nebula..." MacEwan shook his head and waited. Malcolm did the same, hoping that
it was going to work. Hoping that Trip didn't come to until they were safe.
Hoping that, if MacEwan didn't fall for it and they died, they would at least
end up somewhere together. Heaven or hell. Malcolm imagined both would be much
the same with Trip in them.
had a similar belief, because, after an agonizingly long hesitation, he got up
and moved to the back of the shuttle, phase pistol in hand. Staring suspiciously
at Malcolm, he began to unzip Trip's uniform. It took all of Malcolm's willpower
to sit still, smiling, as MacEwan pulled Trip's unresisting arms out of the
jumpsuit. Malcolm felt physically ill as he watched, trying to look
non-threatening, as MacEwan ran his hands over Trip's chest. Trip stirred a
little, but thankfully didn't open his eyes. MacEwan hesitated, then, his breath
quickening, removed Trip's T-shirt and the blue tank-top underneath. He paused,
enjoying the view, then started to push down Trip's jumpsuit.
The plan was to wait
until MacEwan was thoroughly engrossed in Trip's nether regions, but, even with
his zen 'Art of War' training, Malcolm couldn't control himself that long. The
top of Trip's blue underwear was barely in view when Malcolm drew on another
aspect of his training, the six months under the tutelage of a master yoga
instructor, and contorted himself to kick MacEwan in the kidneys.
He hadn't considered
what might happen if the phase pistol fell out of his reach. Fortunately, that
wasn't an issue. He picked it up with his slightly more available hand, the one
attached to Trip, and shot MacEwan in the chest as he lay writhing. Then, aiming
very carefully indeed, he used the phase pistol to slice through the leather
restraint, unfastened the handcuffs more carefully (because those, he could
imagine using again) and ran to the pilot's chair just in time to correct their
They were halfway
back to 'Enterprise' when Malcolm heard a moaning behind him. He looked over to
see Trip, half-naked and attached by one hand to the metal pole, blinking at the
prone figure of MacEwan in front of him. Immediately, Malcolm went back to kneel
"Are you OK, Trip?"
He ran a hand over Trip's forehead. Trip smiled, then winced.
"Did you...hit me?"
"I'm very sorry."
Trip shook his head, as if to clear it.
"It's OK. Looks like
it was for a good cause." Malcolm gazed fondly at Trip, said:
"The best," and
leaned in for a kiss.
"I just can't believe
it." Captain Archer said, for the third time in as many minutes. "He's from MIT.
MIT! And he's Admiral Forrest's godson."
"And he's a total
nutjob. They aren't mutually exclusive, Captain." Trip had a large bruise on his
forehead which caused Malcolm to wince every time he saw it. The bruises on his
neck and collarbone, though, those ones Malcolm could look on with pride.
"And I sent you two
off alone with him." The Captain furrowed his brows guiltily. "What if you'd
been killed? I never would have forgiven myself."
"We weren't, sir,"
Malcolm pointed out helpfully.
"Thanks to Malcolm,"
"You played your part
as well, Trip."
"Yeah, I guess. But
I'm real glad I can't remember it." Trip turned his most brilliant grin on
Malcolm and, heedless of the fact they were in the Captain's ready room with the
Captain himself, continued: "There's only one person I want undressing me."
Malcolm felt his cheeks begin to burn. Archer, though, just laughed.
"I suppose the two of
you had better get some of that rest the doctor prescribed." Prescribed to Trip,
anyway, who was suffering from a mild concussion. And a chafed wrist.
"I'm fine," Malcolm
replied automatically, before he realized that a little rest might not be a bad
thing. And not resting could be even better, as they'd discovered on the shuttle
ride back to the ship.
"Thanks, Captain. See
you at dinner."
"If you make it," the
Captain called after them, as Trip pulled Malcolm from the room.
"Darlin', can I ask
you something?" Trip shifted in the bed and looked down at Malcolm, who was
doing his best not to pass out from pleasure. It was so much nicer to be fully
conscious during the after-effects.
"What did Jon say
that got you all pissed off at me?" Malcolm's eyes snapped open. He'd been
expecting a question about what, exactly, Malcolm had been thinking when he'd
decided to use Trip's body-and MacEwan's fixation on him---to save them both. To
be honest, Malcolm couldn't have answered that. It hadn't seemed like a good
idea, even at the time, but it had seemed like their only shot.
"He told me you've
got a short attention span," Malcolm answered. "And that I shouldn't take it
personally." Trip quirked his eyebrows, which stirred Malcolm all over again.
"What did you think
he meant by that?"
"That you'd take off
the minute I got boring. And when you started hanging about with MacEwan the
"I'm going to kill
"He's already on his
way back to Earth." Where, high-level connections or not, Hamish MacEwan would
most likely be committed to an institution for a good long while.
"Not him. Jon. He
didn't mean that."
"I do get bored real
fast, darlin'. But not with you. He meant with MacEwan. Jon knew he was a good
looking guy with an accent." He had, Malcolm remembered, spoken on the comm with
him that same evening. "He knows that's my type. He also knows that I've wanted
you since the first time we met."
"Two years?" Malcolm
hadn't imagined that. He'd only developed his crush within the last few months.
"More. Since that
first press conference thing." Trip smiled. "I nearly jumped you right there in
front of the world media."
"That would have made
quite the Reuters item," Malcolm joked. Trip laughed and nudged Malcolm with his
"After wanting you
for that long, do you really think I'm gonna leave now I've finally got you?"
"Wouldn't be very
logical," Malcolm agreed, a little cautiously. "But tell me one thing, love."
Trip kissed him quickly on the lips.
"He is a good-looking
"Before he went mad,
did you ever think, even for a second..."
interrupted. "Not even for a second." He smiled. "You've got no competition,
Malcolm." Malcolm smiled happily and snuggled in beside Trip.
continued, mock-thoughtfully, "He was real keen on those leather handcuffs..."
"Right. Sorry, darlin'."
Malcolm wasn't. He was, in fact, as he lay cuddling Trip, seriously considering
sending a thank you card to the Starfleet Hospital's psych ward, care of Admiral
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