"Errant Trips"

Author: Trillian
Category: Angst
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Malcolm forgives Trip
Beta: Jensen
Spoilers: Precious Cargo
Sequel to: The Truth is Hard to Swallow

Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters, only the storyline belongs to the author and may not be archived anywhere else but here without the author's permission

A/N: The song is Silhouettes, written by Slay/Crewe


Trip wasn't sure how long he had been sitting there, hugging his knees, collapsed on the floor in front of his lover's quarters, when he heard the voices from within grow louder as they approached the door.

He jumped up, panicking, yet undecided whether he should run away or confront the person that would walk out of Malcolm's quarters any second. Trip tensed his muscles, ready to either run or fight, and waited.

When the door didn't slide open as expected, he managed to relax to some degree. He swallowed hard and took a step closer to the door. The two men inside had obviously stepped back further into the room again, because Trip couldn't understand what they were saying. Realising he had stopped breathing for a few seconds, he drew a sharp breath, leaned back against the wall next to the door and closed his eyes. He felt tears gathering behind his lids. Tears of pain, of desperation, and of anger.

He clenched his teeth, wondering which of the three was the most unbearable. The pain of having lost Malcolm? The desperation about the fact that it was his very own fault? Or the anger about having been so incredibly stupid to put everything he had wanted for so long and had finally achieved at stake for a few moments of pleasure?

And he was also angry that Malcolm was so quick to retaliate. He would have never expected this of him. Malcolm hadn't even been ready to listen to him. Alright, Trip could understand that, with the pain freshly burning in Malcolm's heart. But that Malcolm would just turn around and throw himself into someone else's arms - some other *guy's* arms? Especially after he was still kind of shy in front of Trip when they were alone. Still insecure sometimes, as was Trip himself. For both of them it was their first same-sex relationship. And so far Trip had considered it unique and special. 'Yeah, right. That's why you jumped at the first opportunity you got to have it off with a woman.' Anger rose again within him, and he started pacing up and down the corridor.

Trip had come to talk things over with Malcolm, probably to apologise, if Malcolm was ready to let him. And to tell him that he HAD thought about things, about them, as Malcolm had told him to. And also to let him know that he loved him. Truly, with all his heart, his soul, his whole being. Admit that he had made the biggest mistake of his life on that swamp planet. That it had just been physical with Kaitaama, and that he was disgusted by himself for what he had done. He realised that this was horribly true, when a wave of nausea suddenly washed over him.

He stopped his pacing, closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. In through the nose out through the mouth until he felt better. Dizzy, but still better. He opened his eyes again and stared into nowhere. 'Now what?' he thought. 'Now what?' His mind went blank for a moment.

Cheerful laughter emerging from within the room in front of which he was lurking ripped him violently back into the present. Listening to the two men behind the door giggling, Trip felt a cyclone of emotions forming and rising from deep within himself. It was pain, denial, rage and fear altogether, and he felt like bursting, or screaming, like hitting his head against the wall until everything around him would go mercifully black and numb.

But at the same time he felt alive he felt his heart pumping blood through his veins, heating his body. He felt air filling his lungs, and his muscles tensing and relaxing again. The feeling of being paralysed slowly slipped away, making room for an incredible rush of energy. He turned towards Malcolm's door and took one deep breath, whispering 'No matter what I've done to deserve this, I'm not gonna let ya go without a fight.' He pressed his thumb on the buzzer and waited, trying to keep his emotions under control.

The conversation behind the door ceased. When that remained the only reaction, Trip felt anger rise in him again. He lifted his fist and started banging on the door. "Open up! I gotta talk to ya!" He heard footsteps approaching the door, and a voice asking, "Who is it?" Trip banged on the door again as if to emphasize his words. "You know damn well who it is! Now open that door... please."

Desperation tried to win out once more. Trip closed his eyes and clenched his teeth. He didn't immediately open his eyes when he heard the door in front of him slide open. "Yes, Commander? Is there a problem?"

Trip had braced himself for the look in Malcolm's eyes. A mixture of disappointment, scorn and contempt. But he wasn't ready for what he did see when he finally looked up.

He wasn't looking into the eyes of the man he loved! He wasn't looking into Malcolm's face! He stared at the crewman standing in front of him in his leisures, with touseled hair and a slightly shocked look in his eyes. "Sir?" the other man asked again.

"Um - " Trip had never felt this speechless before. He tilted his head to look past Crewman Davis into the room, just to find another only remotely familiar face staring back at him. "Ah, er, Crewman - Conrad?" Trip lifted a hand to wave at the confused man on the other side of the room who shyly waved back.

"Are you alright, Sir? Is there anything I can do for you?" The tone in Crewman Davis' voice had switched from confusion to concern.

Trip felt his face grow hot. 'Oh my God, this isn't Malcolm's quarters at all! What the hell....?' He cleared his throat. "Oh, um, no, no thanks, I, er," he slowly started to retreat backwards from the door, "I jus' wen' by an' I though' I heard, er, no, ah, it was nothin', jus' forget it, er, my mistake. See ya!" With that he turned around and walked back in the direction of his own quarters, fast, still feeling the looks of the two confused men following him.

After having walked around two corners, he stopped and slowly turned around. He went back to the last junction he had passed and looked in every direction. Then he started to giggle. At first silently, then louder, until he had to lean against the nearest wall and hold his belly. After a few minutes, the hysterical laughter slowly subsided, and Trip felt tears running down his cheeks. 'Oh God, Malcolm. How could I have ever thought you would do this to me.'

Trip pushed himself off the wall and started running, taking care that he didn't take a turn too early like he had done in his earlier fit of emotion. Finally he stood before the right door. He was certain, this time it *was* the right door. And this time he did not hestitate to press the button next to the door. The reply came immediately. "Come in!" Trip took a deep breath, as if he was about to jump into a lake of unknown depth, and let himself in.

Malcolm jumped up from the chair he had been sitting on, dropping a PADD from his hand onto the table. "Commander?" There he was, the man Trip loved, totally in control of his feelings, almost Vulcan-like. But not quite. Trip very well noticed the little twitch in the corner of Malcolm's mouth. Trip couldn't help but smile. 'I love you.' he thought.

"Now cut that Commander crap, Malcolm!" Trip finally managed to say. "You know why I'm here."

Malcolm listened in silence to what his lover had to tell him. That he loved him, that he had made a mistake, that he was sorry, that he hoped he hadn't destroyed everything by his mindlessness, and again and again that he loved him. He wasn't sure if the words had this effect on him, or the tears that kept flowing out of those beautiful blue eyes, or the silent sobs that interrupted his lover's words at irregular intervals. Or seeing that tall blond man who usually was the one in control being reduced to such a miserable little boy.

But Malcolm was sure that he wouldn't be able to do what he had planned to do, should this situation ever arise. He had wanted to remain ice cold, to let Trip feel the pain he had felt, and to take his time to decide whether he wanted him back or not. Although he had made that decision a long time ago. Of course he wanted him. And as for the pain, looking at the other man, Malcolm was sure that Trip had learned by now what it felt like.

When the torrent of words had dried up, Malcolm took a step towards the sad man who still hadn't dared to move too far away from the door, probably expecting to be kicked out again immediately. "You're an idiot," Malcolm said, grinning, and reached out his arms to Trip, who didn't hestitate one second to rush into them.

They stood like this for a while, Malcolm patting and stroking the taller man's back, whispering soothing words into his ear, Trip digging his face into Malcolm's shoulder and crying, crying, getting rid of the pain, the fear, and the tension. When he finally had regained some control over his voice, he whispered, "I love you, Malcolm. And you're absolutely right."

"Of course I'm right, love. You *are* an idiot." Malcolm gave Trip one of his heart-warming smiles. And Trip couldn't help but to smile back.

"Yes, but, um, it's even worse than ya think."

Malcolm raised his brows. "Worse? What else have you done that could possibly be worse than to ... "

"Naw, that's no' wha' I mean." And Trip told him about how he had spent the past hour or two, lurking in front of some other man's quarters, ready to beat up the guy that was with him, just because he had taken one wrong turn in the corridor due to his inner turmoil.

When Trip had finished, Malcolm looked at him for what seemed like an eternity. "What?" Trip finally asked nervously.

Malcolm folded his arms in front of his chest and replied, "I'm not sure if I'm supposed to laugh or cry, Mister Tucker."

"Wha'd'ya mean?" Trip asked quietly, wondering what he had done now to chase that beautiful smile away from his lover's face, and to make him call him 'Mister Tucker' again.

"Well, for one thing," Malcolm started, "this is just so typically you. To confuse doors, even whole corridors. What are you going to do next? Walk onto the bridge with only a towel around your hips because you mistook the turbolift door with the one to your bathroom? Are you at all sure you're on the right ship? But there's one thing that really excuse me pisses me off."

The grin that had started forming on Trip's face again froze. "And what's that?" He asked carefully.

Malcolm sighed. "Did you really think that it was me behind that door? With another man? Did you really have the impertinence to suspect me to pay you back like that?" He was getting angrier by the second.

"Malcolm, love - " Trip started.

"Let me finish, please, will you?" Malcolm hissed. "This may be your style, Mister Tucker, to jump at the first opportunity that presents itself to you, but it certainly isn't mine. I thought you knew me better than that. Right now I'm really not sure what's worse. What you've done to me or that you could possibly think I was capable of doing the same to you."

He turned around, away from Trip who had gone pale, not knowing how to react, and picked up the PADD from the table, just to slam it back down after a moment. Trip felt the tears creeping back into his eyes, and a lump in his throat threatening to choke him any second.

"That's jus' part of the same big mistake, Malcolm," Trip managed to whisper hoarsely after a while, "both of i'. I had gone down into the gutter, and that's where my min' still was at tha' time. I don't know I didn't know wha' I was suppose' ta think. I was blin', I was furious, I was imaginin' things that could never will never happen."

Malcolm turned around slowly, without lifting his eyes to look at the man who had turned into that sad little boy again. He just wanted him to know that he was listening, even though he didn't know what to say yet.

"Malcolm," Trip went on, still whispering, "I love you. And standin' in fron' of tha' door I realised jus' how much. I was ready to do anythin' to get you back. And I still am. I apologise for lettin' myself down to thinkin' tha' you could ever - " he broke off, swallowing hard. "I know you wouldn'." He went on, shaking his head. "That's why I love you so much. You're no' like me."

When Trip saw the tiny smile that he loved so much return to Malcolm's mouth, he added, "Will you jus' give this idiot one las' chance?"

Malcolm sighed, grinned, and slowly shook his head, making Trip's heart sink. "Love," he said, "I'll probably always be a fool for this idiot. Just be a bit more careful with what you do, say and think, alright? You hurt me, Trip. You hurt me terribly, and I still feel the pain. I don't know when it is going to subside, if ever."

"Oh I know, love, I know." Trip threw his arms around his friend and held him close. "I'm so sorry, I cannot tell you how much. If there's anything I can do ... "

"I'll think of something." Malcolm grinned. "Something horrible, something disgusting, something that will make you whimper for mercy."

"Sounds interesting. Give me details?"

"Later, dear, later." Malcolm placed a soft kiss on Trip's mouth, then freed himself from his lover's embrace and went over to his desk. "First of all, I want you to listen to this."

"What is it?" Trip asked, following Malcolm who was typing something into his computer.

"Oh, you know, this whole situation has reminded me of an old song," he replied.

"How romantic." Trip had positioned himself behind Malcolm who was now sitting at his desk, and started massaging his shoulders. "Who's singing?"

"Ever heard of Herman's Hermits? 1960s. English band. Some of their lyrics were pretty naughty. For their time, that is. You'll love them." Malcolm explained.

"Let's hear it then."

"Alright. Care to make yourself comfortable? As far as I'm concerned you don't have to leave tonight." Malcolm smiled, gesturing towards his bunk.

Trip smiled back at Malcolm, sat down and kicked off his shoes. "Thanks for the invitation. I sure wouldn' wanna be alone right now."

"I know." Malcolm pushed the button to start the recording and went over to his bunk to sit down next to Trip who had propped his back up against the wall. Covering both him and Trip with a blanket, Malcolm leant back into his lover's arms and closed his eyes.

Took a walk and passed your house late last night
All the shades were pulled and drawn way down tight
From within, the dim light cast two silhouettes on the shade
What a lovely couple they made

"Oh my," Trip whispered.

Put his arms around your waist, held you tight
Kisses I could almost taste in the night
Wondered why I'm not the guy who's silhouette's on the shade
I couldn't hide the tears in my eyes

"Jeez, Malcolm, that's incredible. Were those guys time travellers? Or clairvoyants or something?"

Malcolm smiled. "No, they just described things that can - and obviously do - happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime."

Lost control and rang your bell, I was sore
Let me in or else I'll beat down your door
When two strangers who have been two silhouettes on the shade
Said to my shock "you're on the wrong block"

Trip started laughing. "Oh God, Malcolm! I don't believe this!"

Rushed down to your house with wings on my feet
Loved you like I'd never loved you my sweet
Vowed that you and I would be two silhouettes on the shade
All of our days, two silhouettes on the shade

"Oh yes, Mal, that's exactly it!" Trip laughed, then continued more quietly, "jus' you and I, all of our days. Sounds kinda nice, doesn' it?"

Malcolm nodded. "Would you like to hear the other songs as well?"

"Sure, why not. I think you got me hooked." Trip laughed.

"Thought so." Malcolm nestled into Trip's arms and slowly drifted off.

Trip kissed the top of his lover's head and listened to the words of the next song. That one was about someone losing his love and the resulting pain. 'Lucky guy I am.' Trip thought watching his lover sleep in his arms for a few more moments before closing his own eyes.

'I was pretty close today to becoming the bloke in this song.'


This material is posted here with the author's express permission. Please do not repost this material without permission directly from the author.


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Four of you have made comments

yes, u wrote more and omg sweet. kinda makes u want to cry :'(. loevly story

And there is a castle in the sky after all... that was lovely, a damn fine example of forgiveness and second chances at their best... *applauds author*

Great stuff!

bravo! lovely!


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