"Three Little Words"
Spoilers: Not a
single one (!)
Disclaimer: All I own is the alcohol, damn it! Paramount owns
the rest … damn them!
Summary: While on shore leave, Trip finally hears
Malcolm say those three magical words …
"We shouldn't be doing this. Really, this is completely inappropriate."
"Shut up, Loo-tenant. You're ruinin' the moment."
Malcolm Reed stared. "What moment?"
Charles "Trip" Tucker stared back, rolling his eyes. He sighed. Obviously,
some people never got the point of shore leave. "This moment," he replied,
waving his arm at the scenery around them. "Here I am, tryin' to get you all
relaxed and you're doin' everythin' you can to get out of it."
Malcolm raised an eyebrow. "I was hardly aware you were making an effort,
"First off, don't call me that. We're on shore leave. My name is Trip."
"Whatever you say, Commander," Malcolm smirked, finally letting himself take
a look at the view surrounding the two officers.
"That's not even funny, Malcolm," Trip replied. "Look, when was the last time
you let yourself go?"
Malcolm glared. "I have never to my knowledge, as you so blithely put it,
'let myself go'. I'm a Starfleet officer, I do my job and be done with it."
"Starfleet, huh?" Trip got up to stretch his legs. "I've heard a lot about
that organisation. Heard a lot about you, as well."
"Sir?" Malcolm was genuinely baffled.
"You know, Mister Reed, I heard a lot of talk that you're just another one o'
them Vulcans." Trip stopped pacing, and turned to face his friend, looking at
him incredulously. "Except, o' course, that your ears got fried off by a phase
Said friend started laughing. "That is one of the most stupid things I have
ever heard," he said, shaking his head. "And I've heard a lot of things."
"So I hear," Trip quipped, and was rewarded by another mini-laughing fit from
the normally oh-so-reticent lieutenant. It made a nice change.
Malcolm stopped laughing. "I suppose I should thank you for arranging all of
this," he said seriously, looking around again. "Although as I said already, it
is completely inappropriate. I'm not all that sure we should even be here."
"Malcolm Stuart Reed, you are the limit," Trip sighed. "The whole point o'
this little exercise is to get away from work and to have a little fun. I do
presume you know what 'fun' means?" he asked in mock seriousness.
"Is that the point, Commander?"
Trip sighed again. Obviously, this was going to take some time. Crossing the
room, he picked up two bottles of the local tipple. He had it on good authority
from the bartender the stuff was strong...whatever it was. Anaran ale didn't
exactly ring any bells with someone who hailed from Earth. Both bottles were
duly opened, and he offered one to Malcolm.
"If you're goin' to be so damn formal, Loo-tenant," he said, drawing out his
friend's rank, "then I may as well pull some rank on you. Drink. Now," he
finished, thrusting the bottle into Malcolm's hand. "I'm not takin' no for an
"Yes, sir," was the sarcastic reply, and both officers drank deeply of their
latest alien intoxicant. Trip finished his, and stared at the bottle. Damn. It
really was strong. They were going to have one *hell* of a hangover in the
morning. He looked over at his friend; Malcolm's bottle was half-empty, and he
looked quizzically at Trip.
"So, Commander," he drawled in a near-perfect Southern accent, "what little
strategy have you got going on here? Get me drunk, have your wicked way with
me?" Malcolm smirked.
Now it was Trip's turn to look surprised, then he quickly recovered.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" he said suggestively, waggling his eyebrows at the
There was a brief pause before both men cracked up laughing; possibly from
the effects of the ale, neither really knew. Malcolm doubled up, and duly
dropped his ale on the floor, smashing the bottle. He wiped some tears from his
eyes, and looked miserably at the glass shards now decorating the floor. "I
think I'm going to need another drink," he concluded sadly.
Trip fetched another bottle, but refused to hand it over. Instead he held it
out of Malcolm's reach, and with one hand, kept him pinned to the chair he was
sat on. "Couple of things we need to get out of the way first, Malcolm," he
Trip grinned. "You need to set somethin' straight, Loo-tenant. Repeat after
me; I, Malcolm Stuart Reed -"
"I, Malcolm Stuart Reed -"
"- do solemnly declare -"
"- do solemnly declare -"
"- that I am one o' the most uptight officers -"
"- that I am one of the most uptight officers -"
"- and one o' the biggest killjoys -"
"... and one of the biggest killjoys -"
"- that the Enterprise has on duty."
"- that the Enterprise has on duty. There. I said it. Can I have my drink
now?" Malcolm glowered.
Instead of yielding, Trip merely chuckled. "One more thing, Loo-tenant."
"I haven't told you yet."
"I am not going and making an arse of myself in front of someone," Malcolm
reiterated. Hell, even he knew the commander was capable of almost anything,
given enough motive and alcohol.
"Now who said you were goin' to do that?"
Malcolm glared. "I know you, Trip."
Trip sighed again. "Just one more thing, Malcolm. Then you can have your
"What?" Malcolm asked, trying to ignore the sinking feeling in the general
region of his stomach, definitely not caused by the half-bottle of ale he had
already had. He was doomed. He knew it.
"I want you to say somethin'."
"Three little words. If you get them right, we'll both get drunk together
before the cap'n finds us. If not, then ..." Trip left the sentence open to
"Three words?" Malcolm repeated to himself.
"I believe you already know what they should be." Hey, Trip had to give the
man some kind of a fighting chance, lest he be targeted with a phase pistol back
on board ship. Malcolm Reed was capable of almost anything, given enough motive
Silence, during which Trip dangled the ale in question over the lieutenant's
head. No response.
Then Malcolm's head snapped up. "Three words, Commander?" he asked, the
beginnings of a smile forming on his face.
"Three simple, beautiful, little words, Loo-tenant."
Malcolm smiled. "I love you."
Trip's expression sobered up. "Took you long enough, didn't it? I love you
too," he replied. He pulled Malcolm up off his chair and kissed him softly. "Now
look what you've done," he smiled.
"What?" Malcolm asked, immediately worried.
"You've gone and ruined the atmosphere," Trip replied. "I'm goin' to have to
start all over again."
The man in his arms raised an eyebrow. "Is that completely necessary?" he
"Yes it is, Loo-tenant. Now sit back down and take this." The Anaran ale was
duly pushed into Malcolm's hand, but he didn't drink it. "It doesn't bite, you
know," Trip commented, as he pulled up another chair, pushed it opposite the
lieutenant and straddled it, leaning on the back of it for support.
"I know," Malcolm sighed. "But I do think you were right."
"It's an odd concept, and I can't believe I'm subscribing to it, but yes. I
do think I ruined the moment there." He looked at the bottle ruefully. "I'm not
in the mood for drinking tonight."
To his surprise, Trip agreed with him. "Love precedes all, takes the heart of
a man to a new place," he said softly.
Malcolm looked at him. "Where did you get that from?" he asked. "And don't
tell me it's Shakespeare because I won't believe you."
"No, not Shakespeare."
"Charles Tucker the First. My granddaddy," Trip said. "He loved my old granny
like crazy, didn't believe a day was complete without him tellin' her how much
he was in love with her."
Gone was the commander with a twinkle in his eye, Malcolm observed. Instead
he seemed to be watching almost an American version of his great-uncle Robert,
one of the black sheep of the Reed line. He had been fiercely in love as well,
except that his was never to be; his love had been married. Married for years.
Married for years to a fine lady of the community. Even in the mid twenty-first
century, some parts of the world had carried on age-old stigma, and Robert Reed
had suffered because of it.
He couldn't help but wonder if he would someday be tarred with the same
brush. Both his parents had been visibly disappointed at the lack of a steady
woman in his life, yet heartily disapproved of the notion of him forming
romantic feelings at all.
"My own daddy was always tellin' me how much I was like him. Both passionate
'bout the things we love, and not afraid to show it."
Was he talking about the engines or his lover?
"Thing is," Trip continued, finally looking up and meeting Malcolm's eyes,
"my daddy was right as well. Whole of Enterprise knows I can't sleep at night
without my engines runnin' smoother than a dispersal curve, and I know that I
can't rest easy unless I've got you in my arms, and I know you haven't got
another projectile stuck in you somewhere."
Malcolm stared. "I told you already, I do my job. Security chief, Trip," he
said quietly. "That means if I have to take a projectile or phase weapon in
order to protect the crew then that's what happens."
"Seems like you're in Sickbay every other week, though. I even heard from
Cutler that Phlox is considerin' a hypospray with your name on it, somethin'
strong enough to keep you from staggerin' out of there and back to bein' on duty
before he's even had a chance to blink."
Malcolm scooted his chair forward until he was nose-to-nose with Trip. "And
if it was a choice between the projectile hitting me or killing you?"
Trip snorted, causing Malcolm to jump. "I'd take it anytime," he retorted. "I
love you, Malcolm Reed; I'll sing it through the comm system if I have to."
"I'd much rather you didn't though," Malcolm replied. "Some of us rather
value our sense of hearing."
Trip apparently chose to ignore that comment; instead he reached forward with
one hand and stroked the other man's face with his thumb, a look of tenderness
there that Malcolm hadn't seen before. "Seems like I'm like my granddaddy in
other ways as well," he said softly.
"You're old, grey, and have a thing for your grandmother?"
"No, you idiot. He was crazy about my granny, and I'm crazy about you. I'd
live with you for the rest of my days if I could, but knowin' you, you'll wind
up gettin' yourself killed."
Now it was Malcolm's turn to snort. "I may be a lot of things, but I am not
willing to let myself get killed unnecessarily. Not when I've got you."
Trip smiled at the sentiment, and he pulled his lover into a tight hug, not
wanting to let go. What seemed like minutes later they pulled apart, and now it
was Malcolm's turn to trace his lover's face with a finger. It was either the
alcohol or pure emotion, he mused, but something was certainly in Trip this
Three little words. They had certainly had an impact on the evening.
Three little words. Maybe he should have condemned his precious cannons after
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