Summary: Trip tells
Malcolm something important
Spoilers: tiny ones for SP1 and
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
This was it! He was going to tell him today! Now!
Trip was standing in front of the armoury door, trying to muster up all his
courage to push the button. He knew that Malcolm would be here this very early
today. He always was when he had a problem to solve on his mind. He wanted to be
able to present at least one decent solution to the Captain at their morning
briefing. Trip only hoped that he could get enough of Malcolm's attention for
what he had to say.
He didn't want to visit him in his quarters for this, nor ask him to come to
his. He didn't know what kind of reaction he was to expect from his friend. His
friend! Would he still be his friend after this conversation? He would know the
answer soon enough. But he had to get this off his chest. The situation had
become unbearable for him. He got distracted from whatever he was doing every
time Malcolm entered the room, not able to return his concentration to his work
as long as he was around. The images of his friend that formed inside his mind
made him blush – images of naked, sweat covered legs and arms, two bodies lying
next to each other in an intimate embrace, exhausted and panting after
Trip violently shook his head to get the pictures out of it. He had realised
that just dreaming about his friend becoming his lover wouldn't get him anywhere
eventually but into a straightjacket. He finally pushed the button that opened
the armoury door. By the next time he'd pass it, he would have either lost a
good friend or gained a lover. That was a chance he had to take.
Malcolm was working at a console at the other side of the room. He didn't
notice Trip at first, concentrated as he was, frantically typing data into a
PADD, comparing them with the ones on the consoles in front of him, silently
cursing and changing some configurations for what seemed to him like the
Now's still time ta change your mind and walk away, Trip thought. No. Get it
over with! "Good mornin' Lieutenant!" he called out, taking care that he wasn't
too close to Malcolm so he wouldn't startle him, and trying to sound more cheery
than he felt.
Malcolm briefly turned around, looking up from his work for just a second
before bowing his head over his PADD again. "Morning, Commander! I simply cannot
get these configurations online. Something seems to be not compatible. But I
cannot figure out where the problem is."
Not getting a reply from Trip made Malcolm look up again. What he saw made
him worry. His friend's cheeks were flushed, and dark blue rings under his eyes
seemed to give evidence of probably more than one sleepless night. Malcolm put
down his PADD and crossed the room in Trip's direction. "Is there anything I can
do for you?"
Trip licked his lips and almost unperceivably took a step backwards. "Well,
actually..." Run! His inner voice yelled. No! Shut up! He silently yelled back.
"There is something."
Malcolm crossed his arms in front of his chest, expecting Trip to invite him
to just another crazy adventure on some seemingly routine away mission that
Captain Archer better not find out about in detail. "Alright. I'm all ears."
Trip raised his hands in a soothing gesture. "Please, promise that ya won'
jus' walk out on me. Let us talk about it."
Malcolm frowned and nodded. "Okay. Just go ahead."
"This isn' goin' to be easy at all."
"Don't worry. Just out with it, alright?"
"Alright then. Malcolm, Ah don' know how to say this." He looked at his
friend, who still stood there with his arms crossed, now having decided to wait
in silence for whatever was about to be said. "Ah – Ah've had these thoughts –
dreams – well, fantasies – about you – about us. Not only dreams, it's –
sometimes Ah lie awake and – picture what it would be like to – to hold you. To
touch you. To – to make love to you."
Malcolm felt the blood rush to his face. This really wasn't what he had
expected to hear. His heart was racing and his mouth running dry. For a moment,
he doubted that he understood his friend correctly.
"Excuse me?" he asked hoarsely.
Trip closed his eyes, swallowed hard and continued: "Malcolm .... Ah've ...
fallen in love with you." He paused, then added. "Ah wouldn' have minded dying
for you in that shuttlepod. That was when Ah firs' realised it."
He paused, wanting to give Malcolm a chance to react. When no reaction came,
he moved a step closer to his friend. Now ya can jus' as well tell him
everything, he thought. Quietly he continued. "Ah want you so much. Ah want to
feel your fingers on my skin and your lips on mine. Ah know Ah shouldn' say
this, but it's the truth, and maybe if we talk this over, we could – Ah – could
handle it a little better. Ah mean, we still have to work together." He felt
tears welling up in his eyes and whispered. "Please, don' push me away. Say
Malcolm stared at his friend, his colleague, the man with whom he had spent
days in the shuttlepod, a night in the cellar of some obscure bar and endless
hours in the gym and the mess hall. The man he thought he knew so well!
Is it just me or is it really getting hot in here? Malcolm thought suddenly.
Maybe not really having known Trip wasn't the problem at all. Maybe it was
himself. Slowly he realised that he wasn't totally unpleased to let the meaning
of what he had just heard sink in. Was that the reason why he hadn't been able
to get close to all those girls he had thought he was in love with? Perhaps he
shouldn't have been searching for what he always wanted and needed in a woman.
Could it be...?
All of a sudden it dawned upon him. Was it really so totally impossible that
he could feel more for this man than just friendship? This was the question that
had been lurking in the back of his mind, not daring to surface. Ever since that
moment when he had watched with horror how his newly won friend tried to climb
up into that airlock to sacrifice himself – to save his life. Afterwards, he had
sometimes thought that instead of pointing a phase pistol at Trip, he should
have pulled him into his arms, should have kept him warm, should have told him
that everything would be okay, eventually. But he had always thought, That's
what a brother would have done.
But now, staring into his friend's sky blue eyes, those eyes that now seemed
to reflect obvious fear and pain, Malcolm remembered that since their rescue he
had often caught himself staring at the young engineer, not daring to think what
it would be like to ....
"Please don' think that this is jus' physical." Trip suddenly went on, not
being able to bear his friend's silence any longer. "But Ah've had these
feelings for you and this desire for such a long time, Ah only know that by now
I can' even think straight anymore when you're near. You've been such a good
friend all this time. And Ah didn't wanna threaten our friendship. That's why I
never dared to say anything."
Malcolm softly shook his head. "Trip, I..."
"Hey!" Trip called out, throwing up his hands, taking two steps back and
attempting a smile. "No expectations there on mah side. Don' worry. Jus' wanted
to get it off mah chest, ya know." He dropped his arms again and hung his head.
Malcolm still felt unable to move and wasn't sure what to say. He wasn't even
sure what he was supposed to think, let alone feel. But suddenly he felt an urge
to take this sad man in front of him into his arms, and finally tell him that
everything would be okay. For heaven's sake, why have I never dared to notice
how handsome this guy is? No doubt, that suffering look in his amazing eyes
becomes him, Malcolm caught himself thinking. Remember who and where you are! he
then reprimanded himself. He cleared his throat.
"Um, Sir, I..." he began.
Sir? Well, that makes things clear, I guess. Trip thought sadly. He's
reminding both of us of the distance that there is and has to be between us.
Sir? Malcolm thought. Is that really how you want to address him? But are you
ready for anything else yet? He hung his head. No, no, you're not. But if he's
serious about you, he will understand. He will be ready to wait.
If anyone else had entered armoury at that moment, he wouldn't have known
what to make of what he would have seen. Two men staring at each other in
silence, not moving, hardly breathing, expecting the other to speak the first
word or make the first move. But neither knew what to say. Neither knew whether
to move towards the other or away from him. Both lost in their own thoughts.
Finally, Malcolm broke the silence. "I'm not ready."
"Trip," he started, then paused for what seemed like an eternity. "I'm ...
flattered. I ... I want to be honest with you. I couldn't be anything else than
honest with you."
That's it. Trip thought. I don't want to hear it. He closed his eyes. "Ah
know what you're gonna say."
"You do?" Malcolm raised his brows.
"Yeah. Save us both the embarassment, okay? Jus' try ta forget Ah've ever
been here this morning, will ya? An' let's get on with our work. Ah jus' hope
... Ah hope you can still be mah friend."
Malcolm stared at Trip for a moment. He thinks you're telling him No! He
thought, panicking. "Wait a minute, Mister Tucker. You DON'T know what I'm going
"No! I said I'm not ready. Yet. That means I ... I like you a lot, Trip, and
... I think I ... I like you more than just as a friend. But please, please,
give me some time. I've just started to realise this. I haven't had months to
think about this as you did. I never dared to look at you like anything else but
a good ... pal ... with whom I can sit in a bar and talk about the ... assets
... of the ... girls that walk by. And now ... this."
Trip could hardly believe his ears. "You mean ... you ... are you saying ...
there's really ... a chance ... for us?"
Malcolm gave Trip one of his shy smiles. "Well, I don't see why not. But ...
right now ... this is all so sudden."
Trip held out his hands to Malcolm, palms turned upwards. Malcolm hesitated
for a moment, then put his hands in Trip's and smiled once more.
"You'll get all the time you need ... my friend." Trip finally said.
"You mean, I don't have to secure my door at night?" Malcolm replied with a
Trip slowly pulled his hands away, lifted them towards Malcolm and shook his
head. "Ah'd never do, or even try to do anything that you don' approve of. Ya
won' find me sneaking into your quarters at nigh'!" He dropped his hands and
looked down, whispering, "Unless of course you'd invite me to." Then he looked
up at his friend, tilting his head and added, "And Ah sure wouldn' mind you
sneaking into mine."
"Mister Tucker! Try to behave!" Malcolm smiled, and suddenly felt like a huge
weight had been taken off his shoulders. He imagine that his friend felt the
same after his confession, and especially after this answer he gave him, which
probably had turned out more positive than Trip had dared to expect. He couldn't
help it any longer and held out his open arms towards Trip. "Come here." he
Trip felt his eyes filling with tears again and had to bite his lip to
prevent himself from sobbing loudly. He slowly stepped into Malcolm's embrace
and put his own arms around his friend's waist. He had often imagined what this
would be like, never really expecting to be finding out for real one day. It
felt so right. It felt like this was where he belonged. Let the worlds collapse
around us. He thought. And the universe explode. Right now ... it – does – not –
"This feels so good. Can't we at least cuddle a bit tonight?" The words were
out of Trip's mouth before he could stop them.
Malcolm opened his eyes, not loosening his embrace, though. "Are you sure we
would be able to refrain from doing anything else than just cuddling?"
"Honestly, Ah don't know. But it's worth a try."
Malcolm looked at Trip, then freed one hand to wipe away the tears that were
running down his lover's cheek. "Commander?" He smiled. "We gotta go now."
"The morning briefing?" Malcolm said. "If we want to have breakfast first,
"Oh. That's true." Trip replied, still having his arms firmly wrapped around
"Um, Commander? It would be easier to leave the room if you let go of me."
"Ah don' wanna let go of you." Trip grinned.
"What do you think the Captain will say if we appear in the situation room
arm in arm?"
Trip rolled his eyes. "Frankly, Ah don't care right now."
Malcolm dropped his arms. "Trip, let's give this a little more time, okay.
Give ME a little more time. .... "
"Yes, yes, you're right." Trip released Malcolm from his embrace and took his
hands. " You have all the time in the world, my friend." He briefly drew him
closer one more time and whispered in his ear, "Now Ah know that everythin' will
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