Title: The Boys of
Author: Gigi Sinclair
Author's Web site:
Summary: An extended
baseball metaphor. (Hey, it worked for Meatloaf.)
This is a nonprofit fanfic. No copyright infringement is intended or should be
Comments: Notes: For
Leah's birthday. She gave me a challenge which I promptly lost, so the only
elements this contains are the monkey and the crossbow. And a mention of a
22nd century Nintendo Power Pad. A few days early for Leah's birthday, but
she's going to Toronto, and I didn't want her to succumb to SARS before she
got her present.
Archived to EntSTSlash
Archived at Trip*Malcolm with the author's express permission.
The first time Malcolm
heard the noise, he ignored it.
He had just discovered
a serious bug in his plans to install automatic sights on the new crossbows,
he was trying-with limited success-to implement a new phase pistol sign-out
procedure, and he was fifteen minutes late for lunch with Travis. He had
bigger things on his mind than a strange noise coming from Launch Bay Two.
When he passed by an hour later, though, and heard the same rhythmic banging
from within, he decided to investigate.
And came face to face
with a large, frightening-looking stuffed monkey with a miniature baseball bat
and a Florida Marlins cap.
monkey was not alone. It was accompanied by Trip, who was staring at a large
screen that had been attached to one of the launch bay walls.
"What are you doing?"
"Malcolm!" Trip turned
and gave him one of his big smiles. Malcolm turned away. He'd learned long ago
that the more he looked at that smile, the less professional he felt, and he
needed to feel professional at all times. It was the only thing that kept him
sane. "I'm playing baseball."
As Captain Archer had
discovered, Malcolm's knowledge of sports was sketchy, but he did think that
baseball required more than a bat, a white screen, and a disturbing stuffed
"What's this?" He
pointed at the leering monkey.
"It's the trophy for
our tournament. Check this out." Trip hit a panel, and a video of some
ballpark appeared on the screen. It had apparently been shot from behind the
home plate. The stands were full, and there was a pitcher standing on the
himself behind a duct-tape 'X' on the floor. Malcolm watched as, on the
screen, the pitcher wound up and threw a ball at the camera.
As he did so, another
ball, attached to a cord, popped out of a chute beneath the screen. Trip hit
it with the bat, and the cord pulled it back into the chute. As soon as the
actual ball was back in the wall, a video ball appeared on the screen and
ended up somewhere over the pitcher's left shoulder.
Apparently, this was
what Trip had been attempting to do, because his grin only got better. Bigger,
Malcolm corrected himself quickly. He meant bigger.
"Yes." Stepping over
to a thick white pad on the floor, Trip ran in place for a moment and, on the
screen, a man in a pinstriped uniform jogged onto what Malcolm assumed was
first base at the same time. "Get the idea?" Trip turned back to Malcolm.
"You made this?"
Trip shrugged, and
Malcolm tried not to notice the jogging had made him a little sweaty. "I
bootlegged most of the video from one of Rostov's games. But the mechanics,
that's all mine." He sounded proud and, Malcolm thought, he had a right to be.
"I don't know." Trip
said, but he seemed pleased at the compliment. "There's still a few bugs to
work out. The ball's oversensitive. It's givin' away too many home runs."
Malcolm said nothing. He didn't trust himself to make any kind of innocuous
comment about oversensitive balls. "Want to try?"
"I don't know how,"
Malcolm admitted. His only experience with baseball was one horrific date,
during which a man he'd met in a bar dragged him to a San Francisco Giants
game. And had promptly abandoned Malcolm and his civilized conversation in
favour of overpriced beer, yelling at the umpire and trading professional
opinions with other drunken yelling men. Malcolm had left during the seventh
inning stretch. The guy probably still hadn't noticed he was gone.
"It's easy. I'll show
you." Malcolm hesitated, which Trip evidently took as acceptance. Placing his
hands on Malcolm's shoulders, he positioned Malcolm behind the duct-tape 'X'
where he himself had been standing a few moments before. "See?" Standing
behind the lieutenant, Trip pointed at the man at first, who was shifting in
place and glancing at Malcolm. "That's me. You've got to help me get to second
Malcolm was suddenly
aware of how close Trip was standing. To deflect attention from the blush he
was certain was noticeable in neighbouring galaxies, Malcolm cleared his
throat briskly and asked:
"How do I go about
"Easy." Trip inched
even closer, and brought his arms around Malcolm. "You just get a good grip,"
he placed Malcolm's hands on the bat, covering them with his own. Malcolm
noticed that Trip's hands were strangely warm. Malcolm had been cold since he
set foot on this ship. "Spread your legs a little," a knee nudged Malcolm's
legs apart, then withdrew quickly. The hands lingered, though. Malcolm didn't
want them to go. "And get ready to swing." To Malcolm's disappointment, Trip
moved away. "Ready?" Malcolm barely had time to register the question before a
ball was flying at his face.
Malcolm prided himself
on his reflexes. They had kept him alive this long, but they didn't extend to
sports. They never had. At school, he was always picked last for every team;
at the academy, he'd taken up long-distance running because there were no
balls involved. One of the best things about being on 'Enterprise', as far as
he was concerned, was the lack of any kind of recreational team activities.
Well, apart from the recreational activities he'd like to do with Trip, if it
turned out that Trip played on the same team as he did. Those involved balls.
But not the type that
would put your eye out. Malcolm ducked, and the video umpire called: "Strike
"This is ridiculous."
He attempted to hand the bat back to Trip, but Trip was having none of it.
"You're doin' great.
Your grip is just wrong. You gotta choke up on it." Malcolm had no idea what
that meant, although he was reasonably sure it wasn't what he was thinking.
"Here." Trip came back and repositioned his hands. "Try again, Malcolm."
Malcolm tried it
again. He improved. This time, he didn't duck, which meant the baseball hit
him squarely in the forehead.
"Oh, God, Malcolm!"
Trip was at his side in a second, but Malcolm wasn't really in a position to
appreciate that. He was too busy staring at the colourful geometric shapes
dancing in front of his eyes and listening to the cheerful chirping of the
birds that had somehow sneaked onboard. He made a mental note to ask Phlox to
come and catch them. "Are you OK? God, I'm so sorry." Malcolm felt a hand on
"Trip?" Malcolm tried
to focus his eyes on the face in front of him. "Trip," he repeated,
"Don't you worry,
darlin', I'm gettin' the doc."
frowned. He didn't think his hearing had been affected by the blow, although
the sensible thing would to have Phlox check that out, as well. Except he
didn't want to see Phlox. He didn't want to leave the launch bay. "What did
"I..." Trip stopped,
already halfway to the comm. At this point, Malcolm realized he was splayed in
a rather undignified position, and he sat up straight. "I'm getting Phlox."
"The other thing."
Turning red, Trip
stared hard at the floor and looked like he wouldn't be completely opposed to
disappearing into it. "I'm sorry, Malcolm," he repeated, weakly.
How strange. "I'm
not." He wobbled to his feet. Trip stood, frozen, as Malcolm went up and put a
hand on his shoulder. He looked surprised. Malcolm wasn't. He couldn't, in
fact, think why he hadn't done this years ago.
"I'm fine." More than
"Your head..." Trip's
protest sounded token, at best.
"Could use a little
attention," Malcolm admitted. Smiling a little, Trip reached out to touch
Malcolm's forehead. It was Malcolm's turn to correct Trip's stance. "Not that
head," he corrected, as he moved Trip's hand lower.
As they sank to the
floor, Malcolm kicked the baseball out of the way. He was rewarded by a
raucous cheer from the crowd and an appreciative: "Well, don't that beat all!"
from the electronic announcer.
The next morning,
Malcolm woke up very pleased to find himself in Trip's bed, and very annoyed
to see that he was going to be late.
The original plan, the
one they'd formed after they'd had quick, fumbling and entirely enjoyable sex
in the launch bay and after Malcolm had seen Phlox, was that they would come
to the bridge separately. At first, Trip had seen this as proof that Malcolm's
desire for him had been due to temporary brain damage. Malcolm had quickly
"I like you, Trip. A
lot." After the display in the launch bay, and the caring way in which Trip
had dragged him down to sickbay afterwards, Malcolm was beginning to think
that 'like' might not begin to cover it. "But I'm not comfortable with telling
everyone just yet." He smiled, and got one of those great, unprofessional
grins in return.
Of course, the plans
went out the window the minute Malcolm realized they were going to be late. He
and Trip arrived on the bridge at the same time, both out of breath and both a
little less composed than Malcolm would have liked.
The Captain turned to
look at them as they both installed themselves at Malcolm's station, as
"What happened to your
Malcolm glanced back
at Trip, who was clearly trying not to look at him. He failed, and Trip smiled
shyly as Malcolm caught his eye for a moment.
A moment was all it
took for everything to catch up with Malcolm. He'd gone into the launch bay on
a bad day to investigate a strange noise, and had ended up spending the night
with the man of his dreams. He glanced up at the Captain, who was looking back
"Home run, sir."
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