Title: Who Needs Enemies 3: First We'll Take You Down Back to the Meathouse

Author: TPau Silver

E-mail: TPauSilver@aol.com

URL: http://www.geocities.com/TPau_Silver

Date: 07/18/02

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Category: Slash

Series: Who Needs Enemies

Previous story: Who Needs Enemies 2: Let's Just See What We Can Do

Next story: Who Needs Enemies 4: And Then You'll Hold Their Hands Again

Rating: PG

Pairing: Reed/Mayweather, of course

Archive: Sure, why not? If you want it, take it. But ask first.

Summary: Now someone else knows about Malcolm and Travis' relationship; what will she do about it?

T'Pau's Note: I didn't get the title from the cliché, well, I did but indirectly. It's from the song, 'Who needs enemies' by the cooper temple clause. The lyrics are in chapter 1

Lauren wasn't a vengeful person. A lesser woman in her position might feel the need to seek vengeance on Malcolm Reed for stealing her love but not she. She wasn't about to stoop to that level. There were plenty of ways to get her man without having to hurt Malcolm.

To start with, she was the only one who knew. Maybe a little publicity was all she would need. She herself wasn't homophobic but she knew a lot of the guys on the ship were. It must be something to do with the military. Even in this day and age a lot of people still couldn't deal with anything different. She'd never understood that. It just seemed that at the moment she was a minority, which worked just fine for her.

She wasn't a very cunning person. She had never had reason to try and plan anything before. She didn't even plan her days unless absolutely necessary. And she didn't really want to hurt Travis, but she had to help her poor boy see the truth.


Travis was feeling a lot better. Everyone was still guessing who he was dating but now Travis was secure in the knowledge that if anyone picked the right person he could stand up proudly and say yes. He had even felt well enough to go with Malcolm to the mess hall for breakfast. He would have thought with the amount of time he was spending with Malcolm, someone would have guessed already.

Malcolm was talking to him, Travis wasn't listening. He wanted to do something. He wanted to reach out and take Malcolm's hand. To kiss Malcolm thoroughly on the lips. To do anything to show everyone his love for Malcolm.

He wondered if he could trick Hoshi into asking if they were a couple. Probably wouldn't take much but Malcolm would know he had cheated and wouldn't be pleased. Travis just wished he could admit his relationship. He wasn't ashamed of it and he knew Malcolm wasn't either, the older man just wanted what he felt was best for them.

Why couldn't Malcolm leave Travis to decide what was best for once? Sure Travis was younger and more inexperienced but he knew people, especially the way people got on long space voyages. And he knew that even if people were hostile at first, they would eventually grow to accept it.

He greeted another crew member cheerily and silently prayed for them to ask. He was trying his best. He sat close to Malcolm and kept brushing against the older man. When they spoke Travis would lean over and whisper in his ear in a very intimate way. But most people didn't even consider the possibility. They were considered straight until proven gay. It was actually quite infuriating.

He glanced around the room. Glen was sat across the room with some friends. Lauren, he knew her well, she was always hanging around his quarters. Sometimes he wondered if there wasn't something going on between those two. Peter, one of Glen's security friends. It seemed every guy on the security team but Malcolm was butch. Not that he minded. He loved Malcolm just the way he was and any of the idiots who had had problems with Malcolm at the beginning because he was so small had quickly changed their minds.

Travis' attention was distracted again by thoughts of his lover. He watched Malcolm eat. His soft lips wrapping around the piece of toast. His jaw tensing. His throat moving as he swallowed. How Travis wished he could lean over and kiss those lips. Run his hands over the firm chest, then down, under the hem of the shirt and up again, teasing the nipples while deepening the kiss…

"Travis," Malcolm exclaimed, distracting the young man from his previous train of thought. "Did you hear a single word I said?"

"No," Travis admitted sheepishly. "I had more interesting things on my mind."

They smiled at each other, eyes locking. Travis wanted to lean over and kiss his lover so badly.


Travis sighed as his attention was pulled away from more important things once again. Lauren stood there grinning at them. Malcolm smiled at her and Travis managed to smile at her to.

"I hope I wasn't interrupting anything?"

"Of course not," Malcolm assured her. She pulled up a chair without waiting to be asked. Travis moved slightly closer to Malcolm, brushing the back of his hand against his lover's. Malcolm didn't respond.

"I just saw you here and thought I might talk with you," Lauren continued, grinning. Travis shifted visibly closer to Malcolm, hoping she would either leave or question them. Maybe she was just as oblivious as everyone else.

"Look, there's something I wanted to talk to you about," she said after a moments silence. She fell quiet again and the two men sat watching her. Finally she drew a deep breath and said in a very loud voice "Are you two going out? You know, like boyfriends?"

A lot of eyes were suddenly on them. There was murmuring as people speculated on the answer and the people too far away to hear were told what Lauren had asked. A sea of faces turned to look at them. Travis pulled himself up proudly and was about to respond.

"No," Malcolm said, perfectly calmly as if it was blandly obvious. "Where would you get an idea like that? He has a girlfriend."

Everyone seemed to accept this and turned back to their conversations. Lauren whispered something about being sorry and left.

Travis couldn't take his eyes of Malcolm. Malcolm just sat there, calmly eating toast. He didn't even look up.

He couldn't sit there anymore. Travis stood and practically ran from the mess hall. Head down, he went straight through the corridors to his quarters. Why hadn't Malcolm said yes? He had promised! He had promised Travis if they were asked directly, they would say yes. Travis had never thought of Malcolm as someone to go back on his word but now he wondered how much he really knew about Malcolm at all.

He stumbled into his quarters and collapsed on the bed, his shift on the Bridge forgotten. Why had Malcolm said no? Was he ashamed? Was Travis not good enough for him? That couldn't be it. He knew Malcolm cared about him.

But he'd said no. Why? Was it something Travis had done wrong? Maybe he had pushed Malcolm too hard. Maybe Malcolm was planning on leaving him soon and said no to save them both the embarrassment for nothing. But why?

Travis couldn't stop the hot tears running down his cheek. If Malcolm had lied to him about saying yes what else had he lied about. For all he knew everything Malcolm said might be a lie. He just wanted to curl up and die.

The door opened but Travis didn't look up. He didn't want to see Glen looking at him with pitying eyes or some random person from the mess hall, following him through morbid curiosity, or even worse, Malcolm. He couldn't deal with that. Not now. He never wanted to see Malcolm again.


It was the Captain's voice. Travis' eyes shot up to find Archer stood in the door. He tried to wipe the tears from his eyes but couldn't stop crying.

When Archer saw Travis his expression softened. He came and sat down beside him.

"What's going on?" Archer asked. Travis fought to keep his tears under control. Malcolm wouldn't want him to cry. Not that Malcolm mattered much anymore.

"I'm sorry sir," Travis said, trying to get himself together.

"You were late for your shift," Archer commented softly, probing for information.

"I'm sorry sir, it won't happen again."

"Just tell me what's wrong Travis."

Travis looked up sharply. Archer looked genuinely concerned. Travis suddenly wanted to confess to Archer. To confess everything. But he couldn't, Malcolm wouldn't talk to him again. But he didn't want Malcolm to talk to him again. It was all so confusing. "I swear, whatever you say won't go beyond this room."

"It's Malcolm," Travis burst. "He said he'd say yes then he didn't and now I don't know what to do or where we stand or…"

"Whoa!" The Captain interrupted. "Calm down for a second, your not making any sense."

Travis threw his head back and took deep breaths. Had to stay calm. Had to relax. He couldn't afford to freak out. He had to stay calm.

"Malcolm and I have been involved in a romantic relationship for a while now. I've wanted to tell people but he keeps telling me to wait a little longer and I didn't argue because I didn't want to upset him. Then when I got home one morning my roommate was in and he thought I had a girlfriend. He told everyone. I got upset and Malcolm promised me if anyone asked directly I could say yes, then in the mess hall someone asked and he immediately denied it. Why would he do that? Is he ashamed of me? Am I not good enough for him? Does he really care that much about what other people think?"

Archer was quiet for a few moments, taking in everything Travis had said. For his part Travis tried desperately to fight back tears. He must have done something wrong, and now the Captain would know to. Now the captain would hate him to and no-one would talk to him and…

"Travis, I understand you're upset. Take the day off; I'll make sure someone fills your post. Would you like me to send Malcolm down here to talk to you? I'm sure he has a reason for what he did…maybe if you just talk to him he can explain it."

"Thank you sir, but I think I just want to be on my own now."

"I understand. But remember Travis, you're not alone. There are a lot of people on this ship who care about you. If you need to talk, you know where my office is. If you need more time off just tell me."

"Thank you sir," Travis whispered. Archer cast the young Ensign another glance then, realizing there was nothing more he could do, he left for the Bridge. Travis collapsed back onto his bed and back into his thoughts.


Lauren glanced up from her engineering console. She felt bad about what happened that morning. She had chickened out, she should have pushed it. But she still got the desired result. Travis ran out of the mess hall, close to tears and Malcolm sat there staring after him. Maybe it wasn't after the passionate break up she was hoping for but still…

She had wanted to go and comfort Travis. She knew she had to get to him quickly if she was going to make any impact on him before he convinced himself that Malcolm was a good person again. She'd wanted to so badly. She was even quite sure her comfort would be accepted in Travis' current frame of mind but Glen had stopped her. He had told her Travis just needed time alone and that her shift was due to start in 10 minutes. She'd realized he was right, about the shift anyway. He was wrong about Travis. Travis needed her and she was going to prove it.

But first she had to wait until her shift ended. She just had to wait and the waiting was driving her crazy. All this time her baby was probably sat alone crying about that stupid guy. Malcolm would never be right for Travis. Well, maybe, in some dimension where she had never been born. But she was here and Travis would be hers.

She had to get to him while he was still hurt and impressionable. She knew that if she acted now she could make Travis realize what she had known all along, that Malcolm was no good for him. Malcolm was no good for anybody. He was just a big no-good blob!

She tried to concentrate on her work but thoughts of her Travis kept her from focusing on the console. Her Travis needed her. Why was Commander Tucker to keep her Travis from getting what he needed? No-one, that was who.

But soon it would be ok. She would convince Travis she was all he needed and they would have their happy ending, and she wouldn't have to worry about interfering Armoury officers any longer.

Title: Who Needs Enemies 4: And then you'll hold their hands again

By: T'Pau Silver

Rating: Overall NC-17, this part PG-13

Pairing: Reed/Mayweather, of course

Archive: Sure, why not? If you want it, take it. But ask first.

Summary: Can Archer interfere enough to get Travis and Malcolm back together or will Lauren get there first?

T'Pau's Note: I didn't get the title from the cliché, well, I did but indirectly. It's from the song, 'Who needs enemies' by the cooper temple clause. The lyrics are in chapter one.

Jonathan Archer sighed and leaned back in his chair. He gazed at the image in the viewscreen. He could see the stars racing past them. It was a view that never ceased to thrill him. For centuries man had been trying to get to the stars, beginning with such rudimentary experiments at tying wings to their arms and jumping off piers. Sure enough, man had prevailed and first conquered his own sky, then built even faster and more powerful ships capable of going into space. With the invention of the warp drive a whole new frontier had opened up to them and now he was truly going where no human had gone before.

Since he was a child he had been thrilled to learn about such things. He must have been the only child in high school who had looked forward to physics class. For as long as he could remember he had been fascinated by space. He would spend hours staring at the night sky if given a chance or, failing that, would sit in his dad's workshop looking over the models of ships on the shelves and imagining flying them through the stars, imagining looking through the viewscreen and seeing the stars wizz by.

None of his fantasies had really prepared him for the real thing though. Captaining his father's ship was all young Johnny had ever wanted; he had never really realized how much it involved though. It wasn't just high adventure and daring fights, there was the simple day to day running of the ship. The relationships that were formed and broken every day, the trusts built and broken. The people who were really the engine of the ship and the reason they were out here at all.

It was the relationship between his armoury officer and his helmsman that held the Captain's attention at the moment. He had been worrying since he had visited the young helmsman's quarters that morning and found him in tears. Whatever had happened it must have been very important to the Ensign. He wondered if Malcolm realized how important it was.

Archer had been tempted more then once to speak to Malcolm, send him to talk to Travis. Since the armoury officer had stepped on the Bridge, he hadn't said a word other then to give reports when requested. He had been so much more open lately; Archer wondered if it had something to do with a certain young helmsman. Archer had promised Travis that he wouldn't say anything though, so he kept quiet.

But Travis had seemed so damn miserable that morning. He wanted to do something. It was his job as Captain to make sure the ship was running smoothly and the people on it running smoothly too. He didn't like to think that Malcolm or Travis would let any break up interfere with their work to any great extent, but it had seemed to hit Travis hard.

To hell with not talking to Malcolm. Travis obviously needed to talk to the older man and Archer was worried. Travis was the youngest member of the crew, only having been allowed on the mission because of his extensive experience on cargo ships. As such Archer felt responsible for him much more then any other crew member and he wanted things to work out for the young man. Being on a cargo ship was much different to being on Enterprise just because of the size of the crew. Travis had probably never really had a relationship, a sexual one anyway, before he got to Earth and Archer knew from speaking to Travis' associates at the academy the young man was quite withdrawn and hadn't had many relationships there either. Archer was going to do everything he could to make this one work for the Ensign.

"Mr. Reed, can I speak to you in my ready room?"

"Yes, Captain," Malcolm said, handing over the console and following the Captain down the steps into the relative privacy. He knew he shouldn't be doing stepping in. He should just stay out of his officer's personal lives, but he couldn't bring himself to do that.

He sat down in his chair and gestured for the Lieutenant to take a seat. Malcolm watched him carefully.

"What's going on between you and Travis?"

Of all the things Malcolm had considered Archer saying, this was obviously not one of them. He looked quite shocked.

"I hardly think it's any of your business sir!" the Lieutenant exclaimed.

"Normally I'd be inclined to agree with you but in this case it's interfering with your performance and I need to know what's going on."

"I assure you sir, it's nothing."

"I spoke to Travis this morning. He told me everything."



He left Malcolm to absorb this for a moment. The Lieutenant chewed on his lip, then looked up to meets Archer's eyes.

"He told me what happened in the mess hall. He's blaming himself Malcolm."

"He shouldn't," Malcolm said automatically. "I don't know why it's such a big deal for him anyway. I don't understand why he needs for everyone to know."

"It doesn't matter if you understand it," Archer told him softly. "It's important to him and if you really care about him then you should think about what he wants."

Malcolm didn't respond. Archer gave him a moment to consider what had been said.

"I think you should go talk to him. Your shift just ended, so you can go now. You need to talk to him; maybe if he explains you can understand why this means so much to him."

Malcolm nodded and excused himself. Archer watched him go, then sat for a few moments, wondering if he'd done the right thing.


Travis lay on his back staring at the ceiling. He had spent most of the morning lying like this. It wasn't that the ceiling was suddenly interesting, or that it provided much of a distraction from his train of thoughts. It was just that staring at the ceiling was one of the few things he could do since he'd moved most of his stuff to Malcolm's quarters and hadn't dared to go get it.

Travis had spent most of the morning alternating between hating Malcolm and hating himself. One of them had to be responsible for what had happened. He didn't know why he'd overreacted so much but Malcolm had lied to him and he couldn't deal.

He briefly considered going to the mess hall for lunch but couldn't bring himself to take the suggestion seriously. He didn't want to run into Malcolm. He didn't know if he'd even be able to be in the same room as the other man without loosing control over himself. He wanted to know what was going through Malcolm's mind. Why he would take back the promise when he knew it meant so much. Maybe he didn't know how much it meant. Maybe that was the entire problem.

Maybe he was expecting too much. It was a grand total of 7 nights since there relationship started. Maybe he was expecting too much when he thought Malcolm was going to publicly acknowledge their relationship like that. It was a very short period of time, but he had wanted Malcolm for so long and he never been able to say anything.

They couldn't break up after just a week! After all the time they had spent wanting each other but not saying anything, their relationship had to last over a week. It just had to.

He sighed and rolled onto his side, favouring a view of the wall to a view of the ceiling. He was surprised the Captain hadn't sent Malcolm down to talk to him by now. Not that he wanted to talk to Malcolm. He wanted to avoid that embarrassing conversation for as long as possible.

The door chime sounded. Knowing his luck that would be Malcolm, here to explain his actions. Not that Travis hadn't tried to explain them to himself enough that morning. He stayed silent, hoping that Malcolm would just go away.

The door opened. Travis tensed, eyes fixed on the wall.

"I'm sorry," Malcolm said. Travis felt himself become even tenser. Even though he knew it was most likely to be Malcolm, a small part of him had hung onto the idea that it might not be…that he might get a little more time before having this conversation.

"Why did you do it?"

"I don't know."

HE DIDN'T KNOW. He had broken his promise and he didn't know why. Travis sat up and glared at Malcolm.

"You promised," he accused in a low voice. "You said if anyone asked directly you would say yes. Why didn't you?"

"I did it for you!"

"That's crap!" Travis exclaimed. "Did you ever think that maybe I know what's best for me. Maybe I know what I want! I want you. I want people to know. I don't care what they say. I don't care what anyone says!"

"Well, maybe I do," Malcolm yelled. "Maybe I don't want you to leave me over this!"

"Maybe I won't leave you over this. Did you even think of that? Maybe I want to be with you and I'm not going to let what people say bother me."

"It's all right to say that now," Malcolm tried to explain, forcing his voice to lower, "But you haven't lived it. The stares and the looks on everybody's faces. The way no-one wants to touch you. Can you even imagine that? When you go to pat someone on the back and they move away, like you've got some disease they might catch. It's horrible Travis. I wanted to protect you from that but obviously I shouldn't have even tried."

"Maybe you shouldn't have. Did you ever think I knew that stuff would happen? Did you ever think that I was willing to risk that for you?!"

They stood there for a moment glaring at each other.

"Will you say yes?"


"Then we have nothing more to discuss. Get out."



Malcolm turned and walked out the door. He didn't look back. Travis felt all his energy drain away. Why did he have to do that? He wanted nothing more then to fall into Malcolm's arms and be held but he had to go and make a scene. Had to go and tell Malcolm to get out. Now Malcolm would never speak to him again and it was all his fault.

He lay down again, facing the wall. He just wanted this day to end. He wanted it all to be over so he could go to sleep and rest for a while. He wanted to go get his stuff and settle back in. Maybe he could just pretend the last week had never happened…

He was distracted from his thoughts by the door chime. It was probably someone for Glen. He didn't want to deal with Glen's friends right now. He just wanted to be alone.

And with that thought the door opened. Why didn't he lock it? He didn't move, just waited.

"I'm sorry," came a small voice from over his shoulder. He looked up in alarm to find Lauren staring down at him. He just stared at her for a second, trying to figure out what she was doing there and she fidgeted nervously.

"If I'd thought you would get so upset about my question I wouldn't have asked."

She thought it was her fault. He wasn't exactly close with her but she was one of Glen's best friends and he knew she was a nice girl. Maybe he should just tell her. He had to say something.

"It wasn't you," he said softly. "You did nothing wrong. In fact I was just waiting for someone to ask that."

"Then why did you run of?" she asked, a look of genuine confusion passing over her face.

"It was Malcolm, he should have said yes," Travis whispered, looking glumly at the floor. He knew he shouldn't tell her but he couldn't exactly send her away thinking it was her fault, could he? She looked shocked. He wondered if Malcolm had been right about everyone hating them for it.

"Have you spoken to him about it?"

"It doesn't matter. As far as I'm concerned he said everything he needed to say in the mess hall."

A silence settled over the room. He had shifted into a sitting position and lent his head on his knee. He could feel tears threatening but he wouldn't let them fall. He'd managed to stop crying earlier, he wasn't about to start again now.

"Maybe you're better of without him…" Lauren started.

"I don't think so," Travis interrupted. "I wanted him for so long but now…now I don't know what to do."

To his surprise Lauren came over, sat on the side of the bed, and pulled him into her arms. He wanted to pull away, to tell her to get lost. He wanted to say he didn't need her sympathy. The only problem was he did need her sympathy. He needed it a lot. He allowed himself to relax into her soft embrace.

"You're better then him anyway. What type of boyfriend is he if he doesn't want anyone to know about you?"

Travis nodded. He'd thought of all this. It didn't matter what bad things he might think about Malcolm though, he still wanted the other man. And he still kept trying to convince himself it was his fault.

"I mean, if he really cared about you, wouldn't he want to shout it to the world? Seems he should. But instead he wants to hide you from everyone. I mean, I work in Engineering and hang out with the security guys, so I know that the guys on this ship can be pretty homophobic, but you can handle it."

People were really homophobic. He hadn't thought they would really have problems. He'd thought Malcolm was just letting past experiences influence him. Maybe he had misjudged Malcolm.

"Who's he to say what you can and can't do."

"He was just trying to help," Travis protested weakly.

"You don't need that kind of help. He was just patronizing you."

"He never patronized me," Travis defended. "He just didn't want to see me get hurt. He just wanted to take care of me."

The realization hit Travis the second the words were out of his mouth. Malcolm just wanted to take care of him. And maybe he hadn't fully explained to the older man why being honest about their relationship was so important. Maybe it was him who was in the wrong all the time.

"Thanks Lauren," he exclaimed, hugging her. "I've got to go find Malcolm; I've got to go make things right."

Travis rushed out of the room, already planning how he could apologize. Lauren stayed sitting on the bed, gazing out the door.

"How did that go so horribly wrong?"


My note: Come on, everyone has to do it at some time :) Many hugs from Dominic and Anthony for Kipli for beta reading this. If there are any mistaked blame Kipli!

Malcolm entered his quarters slowly. Three months of dating Travis had taught his to expect anything, from coming in and finding the Ensign lying naked on his bed to being pinned roughly against the wall and thoroughly kissed. His room was no longer a haven of solitude, and he loved every second of it.

Now they were returning to Earth. Just for a while of course. They would stop and get supplies, change a few crewmen, see their families again, then get back underway, back off to see what was out there.

Malcolm was, for once, relieved to find his quarters devoid of Travis. Normally he looked forward to Travis' ambushes, but today he just wanted to be alone.

He didn't know what he was going to do with himself while they were on Earth. He had volunteered to help with some refits to the phase cannons, arguing that since he would have to work and repair them, he should have a hand in building them. Starfleet command had simply told him he should stop obsessing about work and take some time off.

He absently wondered what Travis was planning to do. Maybe they could do something together. Go see the sights, get out a little. Go someplace where no-one knew them and they could hold hands in public, etc. In this day and age, two gay men holding hands in public wasn't usually looked down upon, but Malcolm had been involved in incidents because of that type ot thing before. Travis was so wonderfully naive about how horrible people could be, Malcolm wanted to keep him that way for as long as possible.

Malcolm contemplated taking a shower but there was no point. Travis would stop by soon. They had seen one another every day since that day three months ago when Travis first admitted that his feelings for Malcolm ran deeper than friendship.

Sure enough mere seconds later the door opened and Travis entered. Malcolm smiled remembering how, at the beginning, Travis had been almost afraid to enter his quarters. Now he came and went as he pleased without even ringing. Malcolm had made it clear from the start that everything he owned was Travis' as well.

Travis came straight to Malcolm, sitting down next to him on the bed and wrapping his arms around the older man. Malcolm returned the hug and rested his head on Travis' shoulder. Malcolm had finally admited to himself that he loved Travis. He hadn't said it yet. 'I love you,' it was such a big step to take. For now he was happy with the knowledge that it was true and that if he did say it, he knew Travis would say it back to him.

After a moment in the comfortable embrace Travis pulled back. Malcolm lent forward and captured the young man's lips in a kiss. He gently parted Travis' lips and let his tongue slip inside, encouraging Travis to take up the exploration, which he soon did. Eventually they moved away. Travis was grinning that beautiful grin of his which made Malcolm's stomach do cartwheels. Travis lent back against the wall behind the bed. Malcolm moved back next to him so they were touching, shoulder to shoulder, arms to arm. He loved the feel of Travis, so close. It reminded him of the times they sat together at the movies. Unable to touch but as close together as two men could casually be. Shoulder to shoulder, arm to arm.

So far he and Travis had been successful at hiding their relationship. Not that Malcolm really feared these people. The Enterprise crew were their friends. Possibly the only real group of friends he'd ever had, who he'd ever really let in.

"So," Travis said, starting the conversation. "What are you going to do while we're on Earth?"

The question must have been on Travis' mind all day, just like it had been on Malcolm's. Travis was gazing at him, waiting for a response.

"I don't really know," Malcolm admitted. "I was thinking maybe we could do something together."

"That'd be great," Travis replied, grinning. Malcolm smiled back at him, then reached out and squeezed the Ensign's hand. Travis relaxed against him, bringing his legs up and snuggling into Malcolm's side. Malcolm smiled and pulled Travis even closer, wishing he could pull the other man into his body and never let him go.

"Have you thought of visiting your parents?" Travis asked, tentatively. Malcolm turned to meet his lovers eyes.

"No, and I'm not going to."


"You don't know my parents Travis," he said, sighing. "They're not kind people. They don't particularly like what I've done with my life, so they wouldn't like you. It would just be awkward at best."

Malcolm froze. He realized he had just assumed Travis would come with him. Maybe Travis didn't want to be stuck meeting Malcolm's parents. Maybe he would rather do something else. Not that they were really going to meet his parents but all the same…

"You should give them a chance," Travis was saying. "They're your family. You have to at least give them one chance. And I'll be there for you, just in case I have to break up any family brawls."

Malcolm smiled appreciatively. "That's wonderful of you Travis, but I'm still not going."

"Malcolm," Travis said with a warning tone to his voice. "I'm sure they're not as bad as you say. Please just go see them with me. I want to meet your parents."

"You're not going to let this go, are you?" Malcolm asked. Travis grinned and shook his head. "Well, I suppose I'll have to agree then. But I won't be held responsible for anything they do or say."

"I know," Travis said, then he kissed Malcolm softly on the lips. "Everything will be ok, just wait and see."


Malcolm woke up with a feeling of unease in his stomach. They were going to see his parents that evening. He had been in brief contact with them through letter and they had agreed that he and his friend could come for dinner. Travis had been a little disappointed at being invited as Malcolm's friend and not his lover but soon got over it.

The feeling of unease grew through the day. He and Travis had been on Earth for three days, staying in a nice hotel and going sightseeing. Malcolm had seen everything before but Travis had never seen anything other than pictures of the famous monuments they visited.

They spent the morning taking a long walk in the countryside surrounding the hotel. It was in a lovely region of England and for once the sun was shining. It hadn't improved Malcolm's mood though. Travis knew how nervous Malcolm was and had kept holding the older man's hand reassuringly.

They changed clothes before they went to dinner. The quiet walk, at one point, had turned into a 'let's throw each other in the mud' game. They had found a stream and Malcolm had lent over, Travis bumping into him. Malcolm wasn't about to let Travis get away with that. Fun had ensued and soon enough they were both back at the hotel covered in mud and happy. The feeling faded from Malcolm as they prepared to go to his parents'.

Travis pulled on a tight navy blue sweater and black pants, and Malcolm was finding it hard to keep his hands of his young lover. Malcolm had gone for a loose pair of black pants, a white t-shirt and a baggy black sweater. He preferred not to show himself off but had no problem at all with the fact that he could plainly see Travis' well muscled chest through the sweater.

Travis was dressed to impress but Malcolm wasn't about to attempt to impress his own parents. They never accepted him and he didn't think they were going to start now, whatever he wore.

Malcolm and Travis took public transport. They could have walked but so far their efforts at walking had all ended in a muddy disaster and Malcolm had no real desire to show up on his parents' doorstep covered in mud. Maybe on the way home. Then when they got back to the hotel he and Travis could hop in the shower together again.

As they got nearer and nearer, Malcolm's feeling of unease grew and grew. Travis reached out and brushed the back of his hand against Malcolm's. Malcolm smiled at the gesture. At least he wasn't going in alone.

Malcolm had no trouble at all facing down a horde of angry Klingons but he felt nauseous just at the thought of visiting his parents. But he was stronger then that. He was an armoury officer, he could deal with his parents.

They finally arrived at their destination. Malcolm knew he wouldn't be able to touch Travis again that evening, and felt suddenly compelled to pull the other man into a tight hug, before running off with him and finding a better way to spend the evening, but he didn't. Instead he walked up to the door and rang the bell. A few seconds later it opened and Malcolm was greeted by his mother.

Malcolm never had a great deal of time or respect for his mother. She had given up her career when she married his father to raise children and keep house for him. There was no reason for it. It was just another of his parent antiquated ideals. His mother didn't hug him. She hadn't since he was about 12 when his father had told her to stop. After all, it was the only way young Malcolm was going to learn.

"Mother," he said curtly.

"Malcolm," she replied, giving him a small smile. "Is this your friend?"

"Yes, this is Ensign Travis Mayweather. Travis, this is my mother, Jane Reed."

"It's a pleasure to meet you," Travis said, smiling at her and offering his hand. She shook hands with him very lightly.

"Come in boys," she said. "Dinner will be ready soon. Your father is in the sitting room Malcolm. Why don't you take your friend through and introduce him?"

Malcolm nodded at his mother then gestured for Travis to follow him. He silently wished he had told them Travis was his lover, then he could have at least held the other man's hand. As it was he had to settle for a soft smile from Travis.

The lounge area was large. One wall was given up to navy memorabilia. Pictures of ships and medals and maps of the oceans. The wall opposite the door had a giant bay window that opened over a moderately sized garden full of roses. In the room there were two overstuffed chairs and a matching sofa. Travis could see a head appearing above one of the chairs.

"Hello father," Malcolm said. The man didn't respond for a second. Malcolm just stood there. Travis was starting to get nervous, then Malcolm's father spoke.

"Come in and sit down."

Malcolm walked into the room and Travis followed closely behind. Once again Malcolm wished he could just turn around and run out and never come back, but it had started now. He would have to face his father. He walked up and stood in front of the man. His father didn't take his eyes of the newspaper he was reading.

"I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Ensign Travis Mayweather."

"Charmed," the other man said without looking up. "Now sit down."

Travis tried not to be insulted. He only just managed it. Malcolm had come all this way to see his family and they were ignoring him. Malcolm gave Travis a look that said "now you know why I didn't want to come."

They sat down together on the sofa. Malcolm tried to engage his father in conversation a few times but he failed. Finally he seemed to give up. Just when Travis was thinking maybe they should find a way to beat a hasty retreat, Malcolm's mother appeared at the door.

"Dinner is ready."

They all rose and filed into the large dining room. The table could easily seat 8 people. Travis sat next to Malcolm. Malcolm's father seated himself at the head of the table with Malcolm on one side of him and his wife on the other.

"Let us pray," Mrs. Reed started.

Mr. Reed bowed his head. Malcolm stole a glance with Travis. Travis certainly wasn't going to pray, he wasn't religious and by the look on Malcolm's face neither was he.

"Dear Lord," Mrs. Reed started. "We thank you for this food and for giving us the power to make the right decisions in life. Amen."

Malcolm flinched. Now his mother was even using prayer to get back to him. It was absurd. He nearly got up and left right then, but Travis put a reassuring hand on his arm. Luckily the hand was gone before Malcolm's parents opened their eyes after the prayer.

They had a Sunday dinner. A roast and some roast potatoes, yorkshire puddings, an assortment of vegetables and a lot of gravy. They all helped themselves in silence. The tension was thick in the air.

"So," Mr. Reed said, the silence apparently finally getting to him. "You two are just friends?"

Malcolm's hopes fell. His dad was already checking.

"Yes," Travis said hesitantly.

"Good," Malcolm's mother replied, smiling. She seemed so relieved that Travis' apprehension grew.

"Nothing to worry about really," Malcolm's father said calmly. "It's just that a while ago Malcolm here though he was gay. It must seem silly to you now Malcolm."

"We kept trying to tell him it was wrong," Malcolm's mother put in. "The bible says so. He just wouldn't listen though. I must admit when you asked to bring a friend, I thought you meant a boyfriend. I'm so relieved."

The worst thing was they were so relieved. Mr. Reed was practically wiping his brow. Travis couldn't understand. He couldn't wrap his mind around the idea. There was none of this on a cargo ship. When people were stuck together in close quarters for such a long time, relationships developed. Some of them were same-sex. There was no room for homophobia.

Suddenly it became clear to Travis why Malcolm wanted to keep their relationship a secret. The younger man still didn't agree with it, however. Travis wouldn't push him though. He wanted to tell Malcolm's parents about them. He wanted to kiss Malcolm hard, to bend him over and fuck his hot little ass right there. Wouldn't that give them a heart attack. Not that he would but…

He still wanted to tell Malcolm's parents. It wasn't healthy for Malcolm to hide these things from them, but it was all up to Malcolm at the end of the day. Malcolm looked at Travis, trying to apologize for his parents behavior. The older man was surprised to see a mixture of love for Malcolm and hatred for his parents, but also a strange understanding. He didn't know what to make of it.

Malcolm's parents had moved on to other topics of conversation. Malcolm realized he was close to having his parents back. It was like the time before he had admitted his interest in men. At least then, even if they didn't talk directly to him at meal times, there had been conversation.

Then the conversation doubled back on itself and started on Malcolm's sexual preferences again. It was really something he would rather not discuss at the dinner table, or with his parents period.

"Are you thinking of finding a young lady then?" his mother asked. Malcolm shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

"After all," his father joked. "You only have so long to have children."

"Who says I want children?" Malcolm asked softly.

"Of course you want them, to pass on the Reed name. What else is marriage good for?"

Malcolm saw his parents in a whole new light. He knew their views were behind the times but he didn't realize it was this bad. That was really the only reason for his parents' marriage, to have children?

"What about love?" he asked softly.

"Let me tell you something son," his father said, his voice taking on a joking tone. "There's no such thing. It's all fine on paper and for poets and the like, but in real life you'll never find love."

Malcolm felt his temper growing. How dare these people have children. How could you marry and bring a life into the world if you didn't believe in love? No wonder they hadn't loved him as a child.

"What about if I said I was in love?" Malcolm challenged in a low voice.

"I'd say you were crazy," his father told him. Next to Malcolm Travis felt his stomach roll over. Malcolm loved him. He had to. He wouldn't say something like that in front of him if he didn't.

"Well, I am," Malcolm told him.

"Oh honey," his mother exclaimed. "Who is she?"

"Not a she," Malcolm said quietly. His parents fell silent. Malcolm was staring at his father. The recent comments seemed to have filled him with an entirely new confidence. A need to strike back and show him he was wrong about life and love.

"Oh Malcolm," his mother said silently. She covered her eyes as if she was going to cry. Slowly Malcolm turned to Travis.

"I know this isn't the most romantic way to finally say this but…I love you Travis."

Travis grinned and wrapped his arms around Malcolm's neck. He didn't care his lover's homophobic parents were sat there watching. It didn't make a damn bit of difference anymore.

"I love you too Malcolm."

"GET OUT," Malcolm's father roared, jumping to his feet.

Malcolm grinned at Travis then stood. "Come on," Malcolm said to his lover, then he turned to his parents. "We won't be coming around ever again. If you feel the need to apologize, then you know where to find us. Until then…goodbye."

Malcolm turned swiftly, grabbed Travis' hand and headed out the door. Travis couldn't stop grinning like an idiot as they walked down the street.

"Do you want to walk back to the hotel?" Malcolm asked Travis, looking over at his young lover.

"Actually, I'm still a little hungry. Mind if we get something to eat first?"

Malcolm smiled at him, then kissed him softly on the lips. It felt so good. To kiss in public without worrying. After all, if he could face down his father, then he could face down anyone.

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