"Surrounded By Stars"
Sequel to: Mooning
Author: Kathy Rose
Summary: Malcolm puts his plan for Trip into
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters; somebody with a lot
more clout does. And there's no way I'm making any money.
A/N: OK to archive, just ask first, OK?
Malcolm was on his way to the observation bubble an hour before the time he'd
indicated on his note to Trip. He wanted to make sure the place was unoccupied
before Trip arrived. If it wasn't, he'd just have to chase out anyone who was
An unusual chain of events he couldn't have predicted had led to this meeting
with Trip. After an unprovoked attack on the ship and a long day of repairing
the damage, Trip had unexpectedly kissed him. He'd been taken off guard, able
only to watch in speechless amazement as Trip sauntered away after kissing him.
Malcolm had spent what was left of that night and part of the next morning
considering the possibilities. Once he reached a conclusion, he'd determined a
course of action which had included avoiding Trip for two days, making the man
wait for his response.
Arriving at the observation bubble, Malcolm smirked as he recalled Trip's
discomfort when he'd finally cornered him in the turbolift this morning. The
tall blond was so nervous that it was all Malcolm could do not to yell "Boo!"
and see how far he'd jump. Instead, he'd given Trip a searing kiss, then walked
off, just as Trip had done to him. But he'd also inserted a note in Trip's
breast pocket when he had kissed him.
After that, he'd avoided Trip for the rest of the day. He wanted to prolong
the anticipation Trip must be feeling after having read the note telling him to
come to the observation bubble tonight.
Malcolm found the observation bubble unoccupied. "Bubble" was actually a
misnomer, as the room was the size of a large cabin. It was furnished with a
long couch and several comfortable chairs, a coffee table and a couple of end
tables. The deck was carpeted, which helped dampen sound and make the room seem
The ceiling, however, was made entirely of the same glass used in the window
ports, and an incredible vista of stars was overhead. Very romantic, but he
wasn't going to rely on the stars alone to set the mood.
He reached into the pack he'd brought along and pulled out four candles of
varying sizes. He'd borrowed them from T'Pol, saying he needed them for a
ritual. He neglected to tell her it was a dating ritual. If she did figure out
that part, he knew she'd be discreet. He found it amusing, in a twisted sort of
way, that a woman whose assets he had admired from afar was the person he went
to for props to use courting someone else, especially since that someone else
was a man.
As he placed the candles at strategic spots around the room, doubts began to
surface. He'd never wooed a man before. He suspected that a person would go
about it the same way as beginning a relationship with a woman. He'd find out in
a little while if he was right.
After disabling the fire suppression system -- the last thing he wanted was
an alarm going off when he lit the candles -- he turned back to the pack and
pulled out a bottle of whiskey. He was fairly certain it was Trip's favorite.
Next he dug two glasses out of the pack and placed them next to the bottle on
the coffee table.
His preparations were done and he looked at the chronometer by the door.
Arriving an hour early may have been a mistake, since he still had 54 minutes to
kill. He began to pace.
Trip was excited as he got ready for his...OK, call it what it is, he told
himself...date. Well, maybe date wasn't the right word. Assignation was more
like it. He hadn't been able to think about anything else all day, ever since
he'd found the note in his pocket after Malcolm had kissed him.
Knowing Malcolm, there would be no one else around when they met. That would
be a good thing. If they were going to have a relationship, they needed to
discuss some things first, and they didn't need any curious eavesdroppers
Or, it could mean that Malcolm was going to tell him in private that he
No, that couldn't be it. Not after that kiss in the turbolift. Even if
Malcolm was going to turn him down, he wouldn't do that in the observation
bubble. There weren't too many romantic places on board, and the bubble was at
the top of that short list. It was definitely not a place a person would tell
someone to meet them only to give him the brush-off, he tried to reassure
With a muttered curse, he tossed aside the Hawaiian shirt he'd picked out and
grabbed a plain button-down denim shirt from his closet. He knew Malcolm
detested the loud shirts he favored for special off-duty occasions. He didn't
want to give Malcolm something to not like about him right off the bat.
Glancing at the chronometer on his desk as he tucked in the shirt, he felt
his stomach drop. There was only a half hour before he was to meet
Malcolm turned off the lights after lighting the candles. Returning to the
coffee table, he opened the bottle and poured some whiskey into each glass.
Still ten minutes to go. He looked around the room as he tried to think of
anything he might have forgotten, and his gaze came to rest on the glasses
again. He grabbed one and downed its contents in a single gulp. As the alcohol
warmed his insides, his tense muscles relaxed a fraction, and he sighed.
He refilled the glass and set it back on the coffee table, then forced
himself to sit down on the couch.
Trip stood nervously outside the observation bubble. He raised his hand to
open the door but, at the last second, ran it through his hair instead. He
straightened the collar on his shirt, drew a deep breath, and opened the
The observation bubble was dark, lit only by candles and stars. "Malcolm? You
Trip took a step into the room, his eyes adjusting to the low lighting. He
made out Malcolm sitting at the far end of the couch.
"Nice what you've done with the place," Trip said, and swore silently when
his voice cracked on the last word.
"Would you please shut the bloody door before every person on this ship knows
we're in here with unauthorized fires?" Malcolm asked, a trace of laughter in
"Yeah, sure thing."
Trip moved to comply, then turned back to face his friend and possible future
lover. Malcolm sure sounded confident, and the engineer felt what little
confidence he had slip farther away. What had he gotten himself into? Alone, in
the dark, with the most dangerous man on board.
Trip came to sit in a chair across the coffee table from him. Even in the
near darkness, the tactical officer could tell Trip was anxious. The uncertainty
was radiating off the man in almost palpable waves. They were both nervous,
"Here," he said, picking up one of the glasses and handing it to Trip.
Trip took a small sip, sighed appreciatively, and took a longer drink. The
engineer looked up, taking in the multitude of stars overhead as the ship sailed
along. A long moment passed as Malcolm watched Trip watch the stars.
"Sometimes I almost forget why we're out here," Trip said quietly. "Then I
look out there. The best thing the designers ever did was to put this
observation bubble in."
"It's not really a bubble, you know."
"Oh, pick, pick, pick."
"You're the engineer. You work with exact sciences. You of all people ought
to appreciate precision."
"Malcolm! You know what--" Trip stopped abruptly when he heard soft laughter.
"You did that on purpose," he said accusingly.
"Yes, I did," Malcolm admitted. "Got you over your nervousness, didn't
Trip stared at him for a moment, then chuckled. "Yeah, you did."
Malcolm picked up the bottle and poured more whiskey into Trip's glass.
"Ya tryin' to get me drunk?"
"Only if I get to take advantage of you."
"Well, I guess that means..." Trip's voice trailed off.
Malcolm let the engineer stew for a few moments before saying anything. It
was funny. Trip was the one who had been eager to start this relationship, but
he could read his friend well enough to tell that he couldn't bring himself to
ask what Malcolm's decision was. As if it wasn't obvious -- candles, alcohol,
the room they were in.
Taking pity on Trip, Malcolm said, "Yes, I've decided. I do want something
more than friendship with you. At least, I'd like to try."
A rush of shyness mixed with embarrassment almost swamped him, but he forged
ahead, thankful that Trip couldn't see his blush in the dimness of the room. "I
should tell you. I've never done anything like this before...with a
Trip could hardly believe it. He'd suspected Malcolm had never been with a
man before, yet he was acting so self-assured and in charge. But his admission
gave Trip's confidence a boost, and he got up to go sit by the other man.
He settled carefully on the couch, making sure their bodies didn't touch. He
held his hand out and, after a moment's hesitation, Malcolm took it. Trip give
it a slight squeeze, not quite sure where to start.
"This makes me very happy," he said finally.
"Me, too. I think."
"Like I said, I've never done this before. ... Have you?"
"Um, yeah. A few times."
There was another silence as Trip wondered what Malcolm would make of his
admission. He didn't have long to wait.
"But..." Malcolm started, then tried again. "I thought you
"I like men. But I also like women. That a problem for you?"
"Ah, no. I rather like women myself."
Even in the dimness Trip could see Malcolm's lips curve into a smile. Sitting
so close to him, Trip couldn't resist. He slowly leaned toward the other man,
closing his eyes just as their lips gently touched.
Malcolm remained motionless. Trip tried increasing the pressure, and felt
Malcolm's lips part slightly. Encouraged, he carefully ran his tongue along the
inner edge of Malcolm's lower lip, tasting the whiskey they had shared, and was
rewarded with the softest of growls.
Not wanting to rush what he was doing and make Malcolm feel threatened, Trip
slowly broke the kiss and leaned back. He opened his eyes to find Malcolm's
blue-grey eyes staring at him, an unreadable expression on his face.
"Well?" Trip ventured, unsure of the reaction -- or rather, the lack of it --
he was getting from the other man. He saw Malcolm tentatively lick his lower
"I'm not sure," the armory officer said.
Malcolm gave him a wicked grin and reached for him. "Trip, you want to talk
too much. I much prefer actions."
Trip's last thought as Malcolm claimed his mouth in the same overwhelming
manner as he had in the turbolift was that the wait for Malcolm's decision had
been worth it. Then he gave up thinking, and began to return the kiss in
"The Morning After" is a
continuation of this story
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One person has made comments
Awwwww, wow, this is soooooo goooooooooooddd. Loving this series gonna read
the next part now :) keep writing this is well gd stuff.