"Every Step o'the Way"
Spoilers: More than I can shake a stick at.
Spot them all, and maybe you'll get a prize ;)
Disclaimer: All belongs to
Comments: A happy antithesis to the "Ex astris" trilogy, so there
Summary: "An' you were there beside me, every step o' the
1st, 2200... sometime shortly after midnight. The park was full of young
revellers seeing in the new year - and the new century - with style; the sky up
above them was filled with fireworks of every type, description and colour
imaginable, so bright that to those in the park and indeed for some distance
around, it might as well have been midday.
A small group of people split off from the main throng, and as they walked
along one of the pathways in the park, one of them paused for a moment to tie up
her shoelaces. When she had finished, her friends had moved on ahead of her.
Somewhat disillusioned, but refusing to be down, she instead went to a grassy
knoll and sat there for a while, simply lying back and enjoying the view.
was then that she noticed the two people sitting on a bench a short distance in
front of her, at the bottom of the "hill". Two old men, one white-haired and one
grey-haired, the latter with his arm around the other's back. When they started
talking, she immediately felt embarrassed for eavesdropping, and made to get up
and move away when she heard what they were actually talking about, and who they
"White-hair" shifted position slightly, and looked at his partner. "Mal, how
long've we been together now?"
"Forty-eight years this week, Trip."
"Ah, yes," Trip mused. "Forty-eight years. Beginnin' o' fifty-two. But we've
known each other a lot longer than that. Remember?"
Mal chuckled. "Of course I remember. I was there as well, as you may
"Yeah - you an' me, every step o' the way. When that T'Pol was
makin' an ass of me when we first left dry dock, there you were, smirkin' away
"That I was."
"An' when I was in the "interestin' condition" wi' Ahlen's kid, you were
there as well, smirkin' away behind the cap'n, every step o' the way."
Mal simply nodded. "You know I would have helped out with the baby, dear. All
you would have had to do was ask."
"An' you were there with me, tryin' to go over my head when we were tryin' to
get those cannons operational. Insistin' you knew what you were doin' so much
that the cap'n nearly had t'intervene and kick us both in the brig ass first.
Oh, you were there for me, every step o' the way. Not forgettin' the time ya
nearly shot me in 'Pod One."
"It was for your own good, Trip. Neither of us wanted you to die, did
"I guess not," Trip admitted. "But it was still you an' me, side by side
through everythin'. Like when Kov came aboard, told us about Vulcan matin'
habits. An' you - you were there beside me, smirkin' your head off."
Mal chuckled again. "The look on your face was absolutely priceless. I
couldn't help myself."
"No, ya never could. Leastways we were in the same boat on Risa. Both o' us
got that one wrong - you an' me, every step o' the way."
"Every step of the way," Mal echoed, watching the fireworks in the sky.
"An' the space station." Trip sighed. "No questions about us makin' fools o'
ourselves or breakin' protocol, ya came with me, 'gardless o' the consequences,
even when T'Pol found us both on our hands an' knees in front o' her. Bet she
loved that one."
"And that's what I get for trying to keep your rear end out of trouble," Mal
sniffed, although he didn't sound too annoyed with the memory.
"An' then you were there when I made an ass o' myself pretendin' to be Jonny.
Smirkin' away, like y'always did. But right there with me. Couldn't get any
peace from you after that one, could I?"
"Again, the look on your face was absolutely priceless, dear."
"An' the catwalk. You complained the loudest o' the lot o' them. Weren't
there for me then, were ya?"
"You were the one who forgot to install something so basic as a toilet," Mal
admonished. "Somebody has to stand up for public decency and hygiene."
Trip squirmed in his seat. "An' what about Phlox's wife, comin' onta me like
that? You sure as hell weren't there for me then either, were ya?"
"I had to give the two of you enough space to get to know each other," Mal
said, amusement clearly in his voice. "I was acting in your best interests."
"She threatened ya, didn't she?"
"Every step o' the goddamned way," Trip said. "Every step, my ass."
"Oh, you loved it," Mal shot back. "All those women, coming onto to you,
declaring their amorous intentions, only to be told that you were with someone -
you did tell them, I presume."
"Most o' the time." Suddenly, Trip was a lot more subdued.
"Who didn't you tell?"
"The princess, 'kay? She had it in her head I was her own personal gigolo or
somethin'. Kept my distance from her...mostly."
Again, Trip squirmed. "I wasn't the only one ta stray," he said eventually.
"That Vissian seemed ta like ya."
"Only because she thought that she and I would end up having hot, steamy sex
after the tour of my armoury," Mal replied.
"An' did ya?"
"Yes, 'oh'. She also wanted the two of us to enter into an exclusive and
committed relationship," Mal said pointedly. "So I set her straight."
Yet again, Trip squirmed. "Sorry I gave y'a hard time over her."
"Likewise for you and the princess, dear."
Trip laughed. "You an' me, every step o' the way."
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
"I've been a right bastard to ya, haven't I?"
"I wasn't exactly perfect either," Mal reminded him. "We both had a lot to
deal with back then, you especially."
"Yeah," Trip replied. "An' you were there beside me, every step o' the
"I wouldn't have it any other way," Mal repeated, resting his head on Trip's
shoulder. "Happy New Year, Trip."
"Happy New Year, darlin'."
They both fell silent, and behind them their unintentional eavesdropper got
up, brushed the grass off her back and legs, and quietly slipped away, leaving
Admirals Tucker and Reed to admire the now early morning festivities, the way
home clearly silhouetted by the ongoing fireworks in the sky up above.
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