"One In Six Thousand"
Title: One In Six Thousand
Warnings: AU (S3, Twilight)
Disclaimer: The story is mine, the
Beta: None, so any suggestions for
improvement are most welcome.
Summary: Captain Tucker feels the
weight of command.
Author’s Note: Inspired by the weary expression on Captain Tucker’s face when he
greeted Captain Archer
during the S3 episode ‘Twilight’.
Dr Marsh finished her scans and
regarded her captain sternly. “Captain, you are mentally and physically
exhausted. I must insist you get some rest.”
Trip Tucker shook his head
vigorously. “Uh-uh. I don’t have time. I gotta meet with the construction
supervisor from the colony in an hour …”
“Which Commander Hess can take care
“And I need to reschedule the
patrols to compensate for the Intrepid bein’ out of action …”
“Which Captain Ramirez can handle
just as well as you.”
“Captain, I’ve checked with
Commander Reed, and he tells me there’s nothing on your desk that can’t be
delegated or wait until tomorrow.” Her expression softened. “You’ve been running
on empty for a while now, Captain. I’m prescribing twelve hours of R and R,
including at least six hours of uninterrupted sleep. Your outburst this
afternoon proves you need it.”
“D’you know what? I’m really
startin’ to miss Phlox.” Tucker snapped at the young woman who had replaced the
genial Denobulan when he had returned to his home world.
“I could make it an order …” she
cajoled, and Tucker glared at her as he rose from his chair and headed for the
ready room door. “And I don’t want to see hide nor hair of you ‘til 0800
tomorrow,” she cautioned him, knowing she had won.
The doctor was probably right, Trip
reflected as he made his way to the turbo lift. He’d been under constant
pressure since they’d arrived at Ceti Alpha Five. The last six thousand humans
in existence: a ragged band of Starfleet ships, cargo haulers and civilian
transports. And since T’Pol had chosen to resign her commission and live on the
surface with the seriously injured Captain Archer, Trip Tucker was their de
facto military commander.
This afternoon matters had come to
a head when a member of the civilian council had tried to insist he send out
patrols to search for other Human convoys and guide them to safety. He’d
simmered quietly as he tried to explain that it was futile, that there was
no-one else out there, that his ragamuffin fleet barely had enough resources to
stand watch over the colony, let alone go out chasing phantoms. Never mind that
by going outside the system they risked drawing attention to themselves. Finally
he’d blown his top and all but manhandled them off the ship.
“Going to your quarters?” Malcolm
Reed fell into step beside his captain as he emerged from the turbo lift.
“Because if you are, you’re on the wrong deck.”
“I was just gonna swing by
engineering first, see if Tanner trimmed out that fluctuation …”
“Oh, no you don’t,” Malcolm said,
shaking his head as he took Trip firmly by the elbow and steered him back to the
“What is this, a mutiny?” Trip
protested, only half-joking.
“No, I’m just making sure you get
your R and R.”
“You colluding with the doctor
“Who do you think sent her to your
ready room?” Malcolm smirked.
They reached the captain’s quarters
and Trip keyed the entry code and stepped inside. He was surprised and a little
annoyed when Malcolm followed.
“What d’you want, Malcolm? I don’t
need a babysitter.”
“With respect, sir, I don’t want
you to end up reviewing sensor data or working on some engineering problem.”
“So, what? You’re gonna sit and
watch me fall asleep?”
Malcolm’s smirk was somewhat
enigmatic. “I hope I’ll be a little more useful than that. Why don’t you sit
Trip sighed and sat heavily on the
edge of the bed.
“Do you want to tell me what
happened this afternoon?” Malcolm said as he sat down next to him.
Trip shrugged. “You already know.”
“No, I mean what happened to you?”
Trip slumped forward, elbows on his
knees as his head drooped between his shoulders, and Malcolm reached out and
rubbed slow circles on the centre of his friend’s back.
“I’m not cut out for this,
Malcolm,” he said wearily. “I’m just an engineer. I was never meant to be a
captain, let alone commander of the fleet - what’s left of it. And as far as
dealing with the civilians … well, my Mom always said I was never gonna be a
“This isn’t what anyone expected,
Trip. We’ve all been called upon to do things we’d never imagined before Earth
was destroyed. And sometimes people need to have their heads banged together.
You do very well.” Malcolm’s fingers had crept up into Trip’s hair as he spoke,
and Trip allowed himself to lean into his first officer’s touch.
“Thanks. That means a lot comin’
from you.” He sighed again as Malcolm climbed onto the bed and knelt behind him,
beginning to massage his scalp in earnest. “Six thousand, Malcolm. All that’s
left of humanity. And all that stands between them and annihilation is a few
busted ships flyin’ on a wing and a prayer, and me.”
“Forget about it, Trip. Just for
tonight.” Malcolm spoke softly next to Trip’s ear.
“I can’t forget about it. I’m the
“You’re also a man.” Malcolm’s
breath caressed Trip’s neck. “A human being who deserves to be cared for.
Cherished.” Malcolm released him and sat back on his heels. “Take off your
uniform,” he said gently.
Trip shot a questioning glance over
his shoulder, but his hand was already reaching for his zipper of its own
accord. When he had stripped down to his briefs he lay on his stomach on the bed
and sighed in anticipation as Malcolm warmed a handful of massage oil in his
palm before spreading it liberally over Trip’s back. He closed his eyes as he
felt Malcolm’s hands on his body, his strong fingers pushing deep into the hard,
knotted muscles in his shoulders and upper back, easing the tension out of them
and eliciting an occasional soft grunt when he released a particularly tight
area. As much as he needed and enjoyed Malcolm’s touch, a small part of his
brain was protesting at this intimacy with his first officer and friend, and
when Malcolm pushed his thumbs all the way to the bottom of Trip’s spine and
slid his hands into the waistband of his briefs as if the pull them off, he
finally voiced a protest.
Malcolm crawled up to lie beside
him on the bed, and Trip was only mildly surprised to discover he’d shed his own
“I promise you nothing that happens
between us tonight will ever leave this room,” Malcolm assured him. “Just relax
and enjoy it.”
After a moment’s thought Trip
nodded his assent, reasoning that he trusted this man with his life on a daily
basis, and it wasn’t such a big step to trust him in this way as well.
Malcolm paused long enough to drop
a feather-light kiss on Trip’s temple before he applied more oil to his back.
Warm hands worked down from Trip’s waist to his hips and this time he didn’t
resist when Malcolm hooked his fingers into the waistband of his briefs, even
lifting himself to make things easier as he peeled them down his legs.
Trip felt completely vulnerable,
yet completely safe as Malcolm began an altogether more intimate massage,
leaning his weight into him as he straddled his legs and drew his thumbs along
the cleft between his buttocks, setting Trip’s nerve endings tingling. Trip felt
a surge of arousal as Malcolm continued his ministrations, and only Malcolm’s
weight prevented him parting his legs and rising up on his knees, offering
himself. He’d never felt so … cherished - the word Malcolm had used earlier came
back to him - and as Malcolm finished off the massage with long, light strokes
of his fingers along the length of Trip’s back, his eyelids drooped and he wore
a relaxed, happy smile.
Malcolm crawled back up to lie
beside him, gently nuzzling his ear on the way. “Turn over,” he urged softly,
combing his fingers through Trip’s hair.
“I can’t.” Trip was all too aware
of his arousal, and how obvious it would become if he complied.
Malcolm smiled as he leaned forward
and gently captured Trip’s lips, giving Trip the sweetest kiss he’d ever known.
As intimate as they’d already been that evening, Trip was still surprised to
find Malcolm’s mouth moving tenderly against his own, but he only hesitated for
a moment before he gave himself up to it, rolling onto his back and opening his
mouth as Malcolm’s wet, questing tongue flicked across his lips. The kiss was
everything he’d longed for over this last, difficult year. Malcolm tasted
exactly the way he’d imagined, spicy and musky, and Trip growled deep in his
throat as he felt Malcolm’s tongue probe deeper, tasting the inside of his lips
and winding around his own in a slow, rhythmic dance. Malcolm’s hands explored
his chest, his fingers brushing through the dark blond fur that covered it and
playing with the fleshy nubs of his nipples, and then he reached down over
Trip’s taut belly, pausing to caress the sensitive skin around his navel before
he travelled lower, until finally he closed his hand, still slick with massage
oil, around Trip’s hard length.
“Mal …” Trip murmured, still
unsure, reaching to stop that wonderful stroking hand.
“Ssh … relax, Trip,” Malcolm
soothed him, sipping another kiss from his lips. “Let it happen.”
“I don’t wanna use you, Mal.”
Malcolm smiled. “You’re not. Just
relax and let go.” He trailed wet, nibbling kisses along Trip’s jaw and sucked
gently on his earlobe as he began to caress his erection once more. “Imagine
it’s someone else if you like,” he whispered. “Princess Kaitaama, or Lisa.
Anyone you want.”
Trip’s pupils were large with
desire as he raised his hand to cup Malcolm’s jaw, drawing his thumb along one
impossibly high cheekbone as he gazed into Malcolm’s beautiful blue-grey eyes.
“What if I want it to be you?”
“Then you’re in luck.” Malcolm’s
smile was radiant as he leaned in for another long, deep kiss, his tongue
slipping easily into Trip’s hot, willing mouth, devouring it eagerly, hungrily,
as he touched Trip intimately, fondling his soft, velvety sacs, weighing them in
his hand and caressing the sensitive skin behind them with his fingertips,
delighting as Trip moaned into his mouth.
Trip closed his eyes as Malcolm
began to stroke him in a firm, insistent rhythm, a little slower than he would
have chosen to pleasure himself, but all the more arousing for that. His fingers
laced through Malcolm’s hair as their tongues duelled in each other’s mouths,
swallowing each other’s saliva as they gasped whatever air they could without
Malcolm was relentless, stroking
and squeezing his rigid penis and drawing his thumb over the tip to catch the
dribble of slick fluid, using it to make his touch even more pleasurable. Trip
grew breathless and blood sang in his ears as he tried to devour Malcolm,
moaning incoherently in frustration as felt his belly tighten over and over, but
never quite achieved the release he craved. He longed for Malcolm to stroke him
harder and faster, to bring him to completion, and he grasped Malcolm’s hand,
trying to guide his movements, but Malcolm kept to the same maddeningly slow
pace, building pleasure on pleasure as Trip bucked his hips, thrusting into his
Trip gave a harsh cry of protest as
Malcolm pulled away from his lips.
“I want to taste you,” Malcolm said
huskily, a wicked gleam in his eye as he swooped down and closed his lips around
the head of Trip’s penis, and Trip reached up and grasped the headboard as he
watched his aching cock disappear into Malcolm’s mouth, his tongue swirling
around it and tickling the slit.
“Please, Mal,” he gasped. “Please
…” He was on the edge, tantalisingly close, ready to come. He could feel sweat
on his back and his brow, and a furnace growing low in his abdomen, spreading
slowly up his chest and down his thighs, building to a crescendo as a final wave
of heat crested and he cried out Malcolm’s name as he released a fountain of
fire into his mouth.
Trip lay back, breathing hard,
recovering, and as Malcolm finally released his softening organ and came up to
lie at his side Trip pulled him close and found his mouth, licking his own semen
from his lips as he captured it in a slow, tender kiss. He drew his hands slowly
over smooth, warm skin, touching gently, caressing as he explored Malcolm’s
body, hearing his soft grunts and sighs as he discovered how Malcolm liked to be
touched. This was everything Trip had dreamed of for so long, but ever since
he’d taken command he’d thought this kind of intimacy was beyond his reach. But
now, if only for tonight, Malcolm was in his arms and in his bed. He tried not
to think about the many lonely nights to come.
He could feel Malcolm’s warm body
pressing into him: chest to chest, thigh to thigh and his huge, hard cock making
its presence known against his groin as it strained under the bright blue fabric
of his briefs. He slid one hand down inside them, touching Malcolm for the first
time, burying his fingers in the curling hair that covered his abdomen and
feeling the weight of his thick, hard shaft. He pushed Malcolm onto his back and
began to shuffle down the bed, kissing and nuzzling his stomach, intending to
pull down his briefs and take that beautiful cock in his mouth.
“No, Trip,” Malcolm said, grasping
his shoulders and bringing him back up to gaze into his eyes.
“But you’re …” Trip paused, his
gesture taking in Malcolm’s obvious arousal. “I was just gonna return the favour,
Malcolm’s gaze was steady as he
reached up to touch Trip’s face. “Tonight is all about your pleasure, Trip. Not
For a moment Trip considered
telling Malcolm how often he’d imagined sucking on his cock and making him come,
how he’d longed to taste him and touch him, and at the thought his own organ
began to swell again. Maybe there was a way to give them both pleasure.
“Then fuck me.” The words had
escaped before he knew it. “Please, Mal …” The remainder of his breathless
whisper was swallowed in a kiss.
It had been a long time since Trip
had been with another man. He’d had male lovers at college and during his early
years in Starfleet, but they had always been casual encounters. It was different
with Malcolm. This was the first time he’d loved another man.
Malcolm was gentle and confident,
using plenty of massage oil and preparing Trip carefully until finally Trip
couldn’t wait any longer and begged Malcolm to take him. Malcolm came forward
and kissed him hungrily as he entered, slowly pushing deeper until Trip felt
incredibly, wonderfully full. They moved together, slowly at first, Malcolm
giving Trip small, tentative thrusts, nudging against his prostate and sending
pulses of pleasure along his spine. Then he grew more forceful, thrusting harder
and faster as their passion built, taking both of them higher with each stroke,
and Trip felt like he was on fire, sweat soaking from his back into the
bedcovers beneath him. He moaned into Malcolm’s mouth, touching every part of
him he could reach, wanting to imprint Malcolm on his body and his soul, then
when Malcolm closed his hand around his hard length and stroked in counterpoint
with his thrusts, Trip felt his orgasm building, his abdomen tightening, his
heart pounding, his breathing shallow and rapid, his balls contracting and his
penis lengthening until finally he came in an explosion of light and heat,
spurting his semen over both of them. He was only dimly aware of Malcolm’s final
deep thrusts inside him before he reached his own explosive orgasm and
collapsed, spent, against Trip’s chest.
They lay together afterwards, words
unnecessary as they kissed and touched and held each other, their legs still
entwined. Trip didn’t trust himself to speak for fear of offering a sentiment
that would be too much for Malcolm. Would this one night with his love be enough
to sustain him for the rest of his life? Would it have been easier to live with
the dream, never having known the reality? Would he ever be able to look at
Malcolm again without remembering his taste and his touch?
When he woke the next morning Trip
was disappointed but not really surprised to find only an empty space in the bed
beside him. He sighed, thinking he should have known Malcolm would wake first.
He’d fallen asleep cradled in Malcolm’s arms, his head on Malcolm’s chest,
lulled by his heartbeat and the steady rise and fall of his breathing and
feeling agile fingers combing through his hair as his hand rested on the soft
dark fur on Malcolm’s stomach. He’d looked forward to waking up the same way.
He rolled over into the space
Malcolm had occupied. The sheets still held some warmth from his body, and Trip
wondered how long ago he had left as he buried his nose in the pillow, breathing
the now-familiar scent of Malcolm. He closed his eyes and savoured the
bittersweet memory of their lovemaking - for Trip that was what it had been.
He’d been fascinated by the complicated Englishman almost since their first
meeting. He’d spent nearly two years learning all about him, trying to get close
to him, to get Malcolm to trust him, and he’d been rewarded with a few glimpses
behind the barriers Malcolm used to protect himself. He’d seen Malcolm strong
and capable, sensitive and prickly, hurt and vulnerable, dry and witty, and he
loved all of them. But when the Xindi had attacked Earth everything had changed.
In the beginning Trip’s anger and grief had eclipsed all other emotions, then in
the fight to save Earth and the seemingly endless search for a safe harbour
after it was destroyed he told himself he couldn’t afford the luxury of a
relationship even as he realised he still loved Malcolm. Then T’Pol was gone and
he became commander of the fleet, protector of humanity, and Malcolm seemed more
out of reach than ever. Until last night, which he would have dismissed as a
particularly intense and erotic dream if he didn’t have the lingering soreness
to prove it was real. But now Malcolm was gone, and Trip had never felt so
He was startled out of his
melancholy by the sound of the door opening, and his heart leapt as he looked up
to see Malcolm stepping through it carrying a tray of food.
“Damn, I hoped I’d be back before
you woke up,” Malcolm said, placing the tray on Trip’s desk and coming to sit on
the edge of the bed. Trip noticed he was wearing a loose t-shirt and sweatpants.
Loose because they were too big. Too big because they were Trip’s. “I thought
I’d better intercept the steward,” he explained. “As nice as it was lying here
with you, I didn’t want him to walk in on us.”
Trip gazed up at him, feeling a
little off balance. “I thought you’d gone.”
Malcolm smiled down at him. “You
can’t get rid of me that easily.”
“You mean last night … it wasn’t
just a one-time thing?”
“Not unless you want it that way,
but I got the impression you wanted something more.”
“I do, Mal. Oh god, how I’ve wanted
Malcolm treated him to another
megawatt smile as he leaned down to kiss him tenderly.
“Mal?” Trip asked through a
mouthful of scrambled eggs some time later.
“Yes?” Malcolm’s hair was still
damp from the shower they’d shared. Trip thought he looked delicious.
“Why now?” He grinned. “What made
you suddenly decide to seduce your commanding officer?”
Malcolm regarded him thoughtfully.
“Because last night you needed someone, and it had become obvious you were never
going to come to me.” He took Trip’s hand across the table. “And because there
are only six thousand of us left. And in the middle of all this death and
destruction, if we can find some measure of comfort and happiness together …
then why the hell shouldn’t we?”
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