"Two Sides of the Same Coin"

Author - Kathy Rose | Genre - Angst | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
Trip * Malcolm Fanfic Home

Author: Kathy Rose
E-mail: kproffitt@wpfranklin.com
Category: Angst/Friendship/Slash
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Takes place during "Zero Hour." What happens after Malcolm tells Trip that Jon is dead.
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. (OK to archive...just ask first, OK?)

T*M Disclaimer: Enterprise, the series, concepts and characters, are the property, copyright and trademark of Paramount/Viacom. No ownership or claim on said property, copyright or trademark is made or implied by the use of these characters in this story. This story is non-commercial, not for sale or profit, and may not be sold or reproduced for commercial purposes.


Malcolm watched as the disbelieving, tormented expression Trip had worn for so long after losing his sister came over his face again. Malcolm had considered having Hoshi tell him, but as the senior officer returning from the mission to destroy the Xindi weapon, it had been his duty.

It had been one of the hardest things he had ever had to say in his life.

"The captain didn't make it, Trip."

Bless Hoshi. She gave Trip a hug right when he needed human contact the most. It was something Malcolm couldn't allow himself to do in public, especially with T'Pol standing there.

Later, when the door closed behind them in Trip's quarters and they were alone, he reached out tentatively to touch Trip on the sleeve. Trip turned to face him, his eyes glazed with shock, and hurled himself into Malcolm's arms. That's when the feelings both of them had been holding back in front of the crew burst out.

"Oh my God, Malcolm!" Trip sobbed, his head on Malcolm's shoulder. "He's dead. This can't be happening."

He held Trip tighter then, knowing his own sense of loss didn't come close to what the engineer was feeling, at least where Jon was concerned.

"It's not fair," Trip said, his words tumbling out in a rush. "We've been through so much. We got rid of the weapon, and Earth's gonna be OK, and now Jon's dead!"

He held Trip in his arms as sobs wracked his body, and Malcolm felt one or two tears of his own slide down his cheeks. He didn't know if he was grieving for the captain or the loss of the closeness he had once shared with Trip.

"Damn it!" Trip muttered, clutching him. "I finally accepted that Lizzie died. Now I have to go through it all again for my best friend?"

The words stabbed Malcolm like a sharp knife. Trip and Jon had had a special friendship. They had known each other much longer than he had known either of them. Their long friendship was part of the reason the captain had allowed Trip such leeway in the military order of things. Protocol didn't matter between close friends.

Malcolm had envied that friendship for a long time, while deploring the relaxation of military discipline. Malcolm needed such structure in his life. But Trip and Jon could talk easily to each other and tease each other, an undercurrent of affection always showing through. Trip and Jon had lived with an easy acceptance of each other.

Malcolm and Trip, on the other hand, were always testing each other, pushing each other, fighting each other. When he and Trip had finally become friends, Malcolm had thought his jealousy over Jon would go away, but it didn't. Even when he and Trip had become lovers, he still was jealous of Jon for a time.

When Malcolm had finally reconciled the differences in Trip's relationships with him and Jon, he was able to see that the captain saw him as a friend, too. There had always been a certain distance between him and the captain, but he was more comfortable around the older man after that.

Then the Xindi had attacked Earth, and everything had changed.

Trip had become distant, wrapping himself in grief and a desire for revenge. He hadn't wanted Malcolm's love then, and had seemed to be doing his best to destroy their friendship as well. Every overture Malcolm had made to help or comfort Trip had been rebuffed, often rudely.

Trip hadn't told Malcolm he wanted to end their relationship -- it just happened, without a word from Trip. Respecting Trip's grief, Malcolm had held onto the hope that someday Trip would be over his need to be alone and they would be back together.

That hope had been crushed when he found out Trip and T'Pol had been intimate, and Trip hadn't had the courtesy -- or maybe the nerve -- to tell him.

Jon, meanwhile, had become rage personified, so burdened with the responsibility of saving mankind that he couldn't see Trip's hurt.

Malcolm had been horrified when the captain threatened to kill an alien by depressurizing the airlock. Before the Xindi, he knew it would have been nothing more than a bluff. Once they'd entered the Expanse and he'd seen Jon's morality being chipped away bit by bit, however, he wasn't sure how the captain would react to anything.

The man who had earned his respect as captain, whom he come to think of as a friend, wasn't the same man any more, just as Trip wasn't the same any more.

"He was my friend, too," he murmured to Trip as they stood in the engineer's cabin, trying to comfort each other. "Enterprise seems...wrong...without him here."

Trip pulled away from him and looked him in the eye, the anguish and confusion easy to see. "What am I gonna do now, Malcolm?" he asked, turning away and running a hand through his hair. "Jon's gone. T'Pol's a wreck, and now that our mission is over, she probably won't be stayin' anyway."

The mention of the Vulcan's name caused Malcolm to flinch, and he was glad Trip hadn't seen his reaction. The jealousy he felt toward T'Pol stung, but he had never let on how much Trip's dalliance with T'Pol had hurt him.

Trip turned back. "I'm next in the command chain after T'Pol. I don't want to take Jon's place. All I ever wanted was to take care of the engines while Jon was runnin' the show."

Malcolm swallowed. When all else failed, there was military procedure to fall back on. As much as he empathized with Trip, as much as he wanted nothing more than this whole bloody mess to be over and done with, their duty could not be ignored.

"Trip, you've got to pull yourself together," he said evenly.

"I don't know if I can," came the anguished reply.

"You have to. For the crew... For Jon."

Trip, who had been looking away again, jerked his head back to stare at Malcolm's unaccustomed use of the captain's first name.

"He would have wanted you to see this through," Malcolm said earnestly. "As you pointed out, T'Pol's not in good shape right now. That means you're going to have to lead. The captain would want you to do your best by this crew."

Trip held Malcolm's gaze for several seconds before lowering his eyes. "She loved him, ya know."

"Excuse me?"

"T'Pol. She's always had a thing for Jon. She doesn't love me. She told me I was a scientific experiment in sexuality for her."

Despite Trip's despair, Malcolm couldn't keep his own hurt from his face, and his voice became hard. "You picked a strange time to finally tell me about you two," he grated out angrily.

"Just one more thing that got screwed up out in this God-forsaken area of space," Trip said softly. "I never meant to hurt you, Malcolm."

Malcolm didn't know what to say to that. Not once since they had entered the Expanse had Trip talked about anything personal with him. Recently, they'd regained their old sense of camaraderie, working together to keep the ship operational and able to defend itself so they could complete their mission.

He'd even gone so far as to tease him about T'Pol's neuro-pressure sessions, but that had been a suspicion-inspired ploy to find out if Trip had become her lover. Trip's vehement denial that anything had been going on had reassured him for a time. But a few days later, he had overheard two crewmen gossiping about the pair's "morning-after" conversation in the mess hall.

Now wasn't the time to be discussing his non-existent relationship with Trip, however, no matter how much he wanted to. The mission outweighed everything, and although they had destroyed the Xindi weapon, they still had to get back to Earth. Their mission wasn't quite over.

When Malcolm didn't say anything, Trip burst out, "I wish I could be strong like you, Malcolm, but I'm not. I don't know why I pushed you away, except that everything hurt so bad."

Malcolm turned his face away, trying his best to shove a renewed flicker of hope aside, lest he be hurt again.

The comm panel beeped, followed by Hoshi's voice. "Bridge to Commander Tucker."

Trip inhaled deeply, then punched the button, his voice steady as he answered. "Tucker here."

"Sir, we ready to leave the Aquatics' ship. We're getting close to Earth."

"I'll be right there, Ensign."

Trip thumbed off the connection and looked up to find Malcolm smiling slightly. "What?"

"You're going to do fine, Trip. You slipped right back into command mode as soon as you answered the hail."

Trip gave him a hesitant smile. "It's only because I've got your strength backin' me up, Malcolm. As long as you're there, I'll be fine."

Trip stepped toward the door, his duty calling him. But as he moved to open the door, he hesitated and turned to face Malcolm. "You don't realize how much I depend on you, Malcolm. Knowing you're always there, always strong and steady... Sometimes I think it's the only thing that's kept me goin'."

"I'll always be here, Trip," Malcolm whispered back. "As long as you need me."

The radiant smile that blossomed on Trip's face took his breath away. It had been a long time since he'd seen that. Maybe there was still hope.

"Come on," Trip said. "Let's go tell Earth we're home."

--The End--


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One of you has made comments

Awwww, thats sweet. a beutiful little dialogue.

I personally h8 Archer but the look on Trip's face >:'( no fair, the poor guy.

Can't w8 4 season 4 wen they get reunited


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