Title: Imbrium

Author: Macx

Email: macx@nexgo.de

Website: http://home.arcor.de/macx/index.html

Date: 07/24/02

Category: Slash

Rating: R

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Series Title: Relived

Sequel to: Moments In Time 6: Pressure

Comments: imbrium, lat. = of rain

He gazed out over the wide open courtyard of the administrative building, watching as strings of rain fell from the sky, saturating the dry earth. When the first drops had hit the ground, small clouds of dust had exploded everywhere. People had quickly sought cover inside the low, compact building, and the courtyard as well as the streets had quickly emptied. Now, small rivulets flowed across the packed earth, coming together for a much larger puddle that grew and grew. Water dripped from the arches of the yard in a continuous stream. The ground was turning slick with a thin layer of mud.

Malcolm Reed leaned against the sandy stone alcove, feeling the cool wall through his uniform, enjoying the fresh air that was brought with the rain. The weather had been hot and sticky the last twelve hours, and even the locals had complained about an unseasonable heat wave. Now, mother nature cooled everything down with thundershowers.

Lightning illuminated the twilight afternoon sky, and only a few seconds later, thunder crashed over them. Rain sprayed over his face as the wind picked up. Somewhere, a piece of plastic wrapping had torn lose and now flapped loudly in the wind.

Enko-Je was a beautiful planet. Very 'back to nature', no steel-and-glass buildings, and a lot of open spaces that showed nothing but grass, trees and mountains. The Je lived in sand stone or wooden buildings that fitted perfectly into the landscape. The civilization had conquered space early on, but then decided that their planet was enough. None of the other planets or moons in their system held any life, and there had been no interest in exploring further. So after a thousand years of exploration, they had returned to their own world. Their technology was beyond Earth's, but they were neither superior in their behavior, not condescending. Je lived in what they called Houses, and the United Houses were led by a council. Captain Archer was currently meeting with the council, discussing possible trade. Enterprise needed to replenish supplies and was offering information about Earth and other worlds. While no longer explorers, the Je were still curious.

Malcolm had come along as part of the security detail. Even the most peaceful world might be dangerous and he wouldn't risk his captain or anyone else on the team. With Archer, Hoshi and T'Pol had come along, as well as Trip. Tucker had been fascinated by their natural technology right from the start and the Je had allowed him to take a look at the machines. Ever since, Trip had been buried up to his eyebrows in it.

Reed smiled. Typically his lover.

A fascinating display of lightning drew his attention. The ever-darkening sky was in complete contrast to the purplish and white-blue electrical discharge. At the horizon, faint yellow stripes could still be seen, but in the last minutes, the darkness had grown. Some of the windows of the building around him were lit. The meeting was apparently still progressing, or it had been adjourned and everyone was enjoying a break, watching the thunderstorm roll across the land. He sensed the presence even before a pair of arms slid comfortably around his waist. Malcolm didn't know why, but he seemed to recognize Trip by now, his presence, his touch, maybe even his smell, though right now, the earthy aroma of the rain-slick ground filled his nose.

"Beautiful," Tucker whispered into his ear as he pulled Malcolm against him.

Part of the smaller man resisted. They were on an official mission here; right in the middle of trade talks. Another part just wanted to watch the spectacle around him, wrapped up safely in his lover's arms.

Trip kissed the side of his neck and smiled. "They're all busy," he murmured. "Watchin' the thunder storm. Accordin' to the Je, this is just the beginnin' of the thunder season. Most of the really big ones won't hit till in about a week or two. Looks even more spectacular from up there."

"I suppose." Malcolm's eyes darted across the empty courtyard, tried to penetrate the darkness. Was someone watching?

"You been here all the while?"

"Yes. I had a look around the compound."

Trip hugged him tighter once more. "Checkin' out the routes of escape? Hidden dangers?" he teased lightly.

Malcolm smiled. "Of course. It is my job."

"And you do it so well."

The downpour of rain increased and with it the noise, as well as the darkness. Trip pulled them deeper into the alcove as more rain sprayed up. The sky was an almost inky black and the only illumination came from the occasional lightning and the few lamps dotting the yard. It was eerie, spooky, and strangely fascinating. Trip rested his head against Malcolm's and the two men stood in the rapidly cooling air, silent, enjoying the spectacle.

"Love you," Tucker murmured.

Malcolm blinked and twisted his head to look at the face of his lover, hidden in the darkness. What had brought that on? Right out of the blue…well, into the dark, actually, he mused with a grin.

"Trip?" he queried.

A soft laugh. "Can't I just express my feelin's for my lover?"

"Any time. You know that. I was just wondering…"

"Felt like it. Haven't told you in a while…"

A kiss was placed against one ear, then his earlobe was caressed by a questing tongue and nipping teeth. Malcolm sighed softly, sinking more against the taller body.

"We're in public, Trip," he whispered, wishing it wasn't so.

"Not at the moment. It's dark. Real bad weather. And we're in an alcove."

"It still is very public." Malcolm pulled away, forcing himself to ignore the sudden loss of comfort and warmth. "What if we are caught? We can't risk an incident."

Tucker sighed, nodded. It was a barely perceptible move in the darkness. "'Course not." He reached out and briefly caressed Malcolm's cheek, the lieutenant leaning into it. "Later?"

"Later," Reed promised.

Trip stole a last kiss, then kept his distance.

The thunderstorm lasted another two hours, in which the trade talks ended and Archer was invited for an official dinner, as well as to spend the night as the guest of honor. Looking at the still bad weather, Malcolm had to agree it would be the safest course of action. Especially since the forecast didn't show much change for the better. He walked to his room and opened the door with the simple plastic card he had been given. As it closed after him, he was surprised when someone pushed the door open once more. His battle-ready stance made way for startlement. Trip slipped inside, smiling as he shut it firmly. "Trip…?"

Tucker pulled him close and kissed him gently, coaxing his lips apart, licking over his tongue. Malcolm sighed into the intimate contact, arms sliding around his lover's waist.

"You're staying?" he breathed when they separated.



"Don't'cha worry about bein' all proper and diplomatic, Mal." Trip kissed his way along the exposed neck. "Got the room next to you. Damn if I know why I confused those numbers on the doors."

Malcolm chuckled and kissed him back. "You've always had a bad sense of direction and were night blind."

"'xactly. Starfleet's brightest an' finest at your service."

Outside, the thunder rumbled again and lightning painted the sky with electricity as the second thunderstorm passed across them.

"Wanna watch?" Trip murmured against the ear he was giving a loving treatment.

"You want to watch the weather?" Malcolm shot him a surprised look.

Tucker shrugged, almost embarrassed. "Kinda reminds me of home. The thunderstorms, y'know. Mom and I used to watch them whenever one hit the area. She loves thunderstorms."

Malcolm smiled. Home. He understood that feeling.

The room had a balcony that was partially covered, making it possible to stay dry while sitting against the building wall. The two men wrapped themselves up in a blanket. Trip settled between his lover's legs on the comfortable, long seat that could have been a couch. Malcolm wrapped his arms around him and their fingers interlaced over Tucker's stomach. Sinking back, Malcolm enjoyed the warmth, the natural forces waging their own war around them, and the very presence of the man he loved.

"This is real nice," Trip murmured, snuggling deeper.

"Hm. Very."

Lightning split the sky and made Reed flinch, then a roll of thunder washed over them. Trip rubbed one forearm, drawing a smile from the other man.

It was how they spent the time, neither one inclined to move, until Trip almost fell asleep. Malcolm pulled him up and toward the bed, where the two men just cuddled together. The weather didn't really abate. If at all, it got even worse. Laying together in their own, private cocoon, neither Trip nor Malcolm cared. The rain was drumming against the windows, but neither man was bothered by it.

"Y'know what's still missin'?" Trip mumbled softly.


"An open fire place and hot chocolate with marshmellows."

Malcolm blinked and shot his lover a strange look. "Hot chocolate with what?"

"Marshmellows. You know…the fluffy white stuff." "I know marshmellows!"

"Okay, then why are you asking?" Trip asked.

"Hmpf. Well, I'd like to have mine with cinnamon."

The blond chuckled. "All that served while we're in front of that open fire…on a bear skin rug."

Malcolm laughed and cuddled closer. "In absence of that…I prefer the bare engineer."

Tucker raised an eyebrow. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm already in the nude."

"Oh. Now that you mention it…"

"C'mere you!"

And Malcolm was pulled in a soft kiss.

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