TITLE: Desert Hopes


E-MAIL: scarab@blueyonder.co.uk

URL: http://www.lookout2.com/nautika/sara/

DATE: 07/31/02

SUMMARY: Archer thinks about how his friendship with Trip has changed. The third of my Desert Stories.

SERIES: Desert Thoughts

PREVIOUS STORY: Desert Desires

NEXT STORY: Desert Dreams

PAIRINGS: Archer/Tucker…preslash


ARCHIVE: Yes, if you think it's good enough, just let me know where it's going.

DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately I don't own Enterprise or her crew, Paramount does (although if they ever get tired of Trip, I can offer him a very good home!)

WARNINGS: Spoilers for Vox Sola and Two Days and Two Nights.

FEEDBACK: Only if you think it's worthy of some :o)

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is basically a 'thoughts' story and is the third one after Desert Thoughts and Desert Desires. Hopefully the fourth and final part will be up soon. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for taking the time to read it.

As I prepare to go down to Risa for some well deserved shore leave, as my Science Officer would say, I feel ill at ease. It's been a couple of days since I confessed I had feelings for my best friend and he knocked me on my ass. In that time, with the exception of discussing work related issues, he's not said a word to me and I've hardly seen him. I had explained to Phlox that I tripped over Porthos and collided with the edge of my table, to explain the black eye that Trip had given me, but I don't think he believed me and he didn't push for the truth. I just feel guilty and because of my lie to Phlox, can't even look at Porthos. Again I wonder how I had got myself into this mess and more importantly how I can put things back to how they were. I miss my friend.

I was hoping that when we were away from the ship, Trip and I could talk. Then I discovered he planned to spend most of his time with Malcolm, and they hoped to find some female companionship in the two days and two nights they were free from any duty. I'd overheard Malcolm asking if Travis wanted to join them when they went on the town, fully intending to enjoy everything this place has to offer. Travis had declined and Malcolm then realised I had heard part of the conversation. He had looked a little uncomfortable, and knowing Malcolm probably thought that I would disapprove of the way he had made no secret that he hoped to get laid during his shore leave. I made a joke to put his mind at ease and just warned him to be careful. He had then started to ask if I wanted to join them, but I just gave him my 'do-you-really-think-that's-appropriate' look and he nodded his understanding and went back to his duties. If only he knew how much I wanted to say 'yes'.

As I finish putting my clothes in my bag, I sigh and sit down heavily on the bed. I start to think when this all started, when did my feelings for Trip change so much. It couldn't have been an overnight thing and then I recall the look of excitement on his face when he watched the water polo in my cabin, if we hadn't been called away would I have tried to seduce him then? I think that was the beginning of the end. Is that what I hoped would happen if I'd got Trip aboard the ship for this mission, I shake my head. No, Trip was selected because he's one of the best engineers Starfleet have, not because I had subconscious thoughts to get him into my bed. Then I think of the time when he'd got the letter from Natalie breaking off their relationship, at the time I was upset for my friend, but then I felt relieved and even happy that his relationship was over.

Charles Tucker is 100% a gentleman, I have never known him cheat on anyone, he would never screw around when he was with Natalie, and I remember an incident when a waitress in a bar had taken a shine to him. We had been having a quiet drink with another engineer and this young 'lady' had served us. She had smiled at Trip and the other guy, Ben Foster, had, like me, noticed that she seemed quite attracted to him. She kept asking him if he wanted a refill or 'anything else' but he made it quite clear that he wasn't interested. Foster suggested that Trip give her what she wanted, and that Natalie would never know. Trip was furious and before things could get out of hand we were asked to leave.

I lay back on the bed and come to a conclusion.I love Trip. Not just as a friend, although he's been the best friend a man could have, but my love for him runs deeper than that and it was only the thought of losing him that made me face the truth, I have been denying for a long time. The tragedy of my realisation is that I know he doesn't feel the same way about me and I feel that no matter how much I want to save our friendship, things will never be the same again. I hope and pray that I am wrong and that the bonds of our friendship will make him forgive me, maybe in time he will, but for now I'll give him his space and let him decide if our friendship is worth fighting for. My musing is suddenly disturb by T'Pol, telling me that the shuttlepods are ready to go. I acknowledge her and tell her that I'd be with her shortly. I pick up my bag and pausing briefly by the door, prepare to face my friend.

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