TITLE: Unrequited


E-MAIL: scarab@blueyonder.co.uk

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

DATE: 08/28/02

SUMMARY: Archer watches and thinks.

PAIRINGS: Tucker/Reed, Archer/Tucker


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: Deathfic!

FEEDBACK: Yes please, good for the ol' ego

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is dedicated to Nautika who sent me a rather nice message about my Desert Stories. Long story short, I'm not a great writer and the last part of my Desert Stories could have been a lot better if someone else had written it. I was considering never writing another fic, but Nautika restored my confidence that I should try again. So thank you…after that I just hope this story is okay.


Does he realise how beautiful he is, how a single smile from him can brighten my day, how his easy going charm can take the stress from my day. I don't think he does, but I do and I would give anything for him to love me as much as I love him.

As I watch him from across the messhall laughing at something his companion has said, I'm drawn to his eyes and how they sparkle with mischief. I smile to myself as I recall the kinds of trouble he can get himself into. It's never entirely his fault though; he's like a trouble magnet. I watch him as he walks over to one of the tables, his tray piled high and again the sight makes me smile. He never stops eating and yet never seems to put on an ounce; women would kill to know his secret. As he sits he brushes his arm across his companions back, an intimate gesture and as they share a smile, I feel a wave of jealousy. The feeling doesn't last long and is replaced with one of guilt. I have no right to feel jealous, I never once told him that my feelings ran deeper than friendship and now when I see them together, I just feel regret. I always thought that if I told him I'd repulse him, or more importantly kill our friendship. I could never live with that, never see the love he does have for me turned into disgust and hate and so I stayed silent. Yes he does love me, but as a friend, maybe even a brother but until recently I never thought that Trip Tucker would want me or any other man in a sexual way.

Now as I watch them I realise how wrong I was. They are discreet and I only found out about the relationship because Trip told me. He wanted his best friend to know how happy he was, that he was in love with someone wonderful and hoped I wasn't disgusted with the fact it was another man. I had smiled and told him how happy I was for them both, even raising a glass to toast their future together, but underneath the smile my heart was breaking and I knew that due to my own cowardice, I'd lost him.

As I leave the messhall, I give the couple one last look and see the love they have for each other in their faces. Most people on board wouldn't have given a friendship between these two a chance, they are chalk and cheese, oil and water, but what is it they say about opposites attracting. Slowly I head to the bridge to return to my duties as Captain and smile to myself. I will always love Trip and I want to see him happy. If that can't be with me then I can think of no one better for the job than Malcolm Reed.


I know that he is watching us, or should I say watching Trip as we walk into the messhall and for a second I feel a pang of jealousy. As he sits in the corner I briefly see the love and longing on his face and know that he loves the Chief Engineer as much as I do, although Trip is completely oblivious. To everyone else Jonathan Archer and Trip Tucker are the best of friends and have been for years, but I've seen the unguarded moments when the mask slips and the Captain reveals how much he loves this beautiful man.

He has known Trip longer than I have and I cannot believe that he has not once shown him how he feels, how special he is. I must admit that I was stunned when we did get together, one minute we were arguing, the next we were kissing like there was no tomorrow. We take our food to a table and Trip, noticing that I'm distracted by something, brushes his arm across my back and smiles at me, I smile back although part of me is still watching the man in the corner.

I asked Trip when we first became lovers if there had been anything between the two of them and Trip just laughed, that wonderful laugh and in that lazy drawl just said that 'Jonathan ain't like that.' What is it they say about not seeing what is right in front of your nose. In a way it's a comfort, I know that there is someone else watching Trip, keeping him safe. I smile to myself at the thought and imagine the tongue lashing I would receive from him if he knew I felt he needed looking after, although images of other things that tongue of his can do to me also spring to mind. We chat for awhile about inconsequential things, more intimate discussions can wait until we are alone, and I realise just how lucky I am.

I know the Captain knows about us and I was furious with Trip for telling him. It was our first big argument since that first kiss and the main cause was that I thought he had jeopardised our careers in Starfleet, but I can never stay mad at Trip for long. He assured me that as long we were discreet the Captain would turn a blind eye. Since then I've watched the Captain even more closely and that's how I discovered his secret, he's in love with Trip and just wants to see him happy.

My attention is drawn to him as he leaves the messhall and I watch the burden of command fall back onto his shoulders as he prepares to become the Captain again. Jonathan Archer is an incredible man, always prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect his ship and crew, portraying an image of happiness, confidence and control to the outside world, but sometimes if you look hard enough you can glimpse the lonely man within, and my heart breaks for him.


The atmosphere in the Armoury is sombre as I deliver the eulogy and I glance over at Trip. He's staring straight ahead, his face pale, his eyes misted with tears. I pray that he can hold it together for at least the next half-hour. Hoshi standing next to him, her own eyes red from tears gently takes his hand and squeezes it. This seems to bring him back to his senses and he glances at her, blinking, a lone tear rolling down his cheek. I finish my words and look at the coffin before me; it seems ironic that Malcolm Reed's mortal remains will be sent into space like the torpedoes he loved so much. A fitting end to one of the finest officers I have ever had the pleasure to serve with. As the coffin edges it's way into the launch tube I look at Trip again. Every part of him is fighting to stay in control. He won't breakdown here, where the crew can see; he's too good an officer for that. He doesn't look at the launch tube door as it's sealed and Malcolm Reed is launched into space. His only reaction is to tighten his grip on Hoshi's hand as he silently says his goodbyes to his lover.

Three Months Later

I sit in my quarters trying to decide what to do about my best friend. Since Malcolm's death, Trip Tucker has become a shadow of his former self. Although he carries out his duties as well as ever, does whatever is asked of him as an Engineer, the person within is wasting away. The crew has noticed and rumours abound about why he is still feeling the loss of a fellow officer so badly. These range from guilt that he should have done more to save his friend to the fact that the two were more than friends. The latter of these is usually dismissed as nonsense by most of the crew, who think of Trip as a ladies man but little do they know how right they are. Only Hoshi and I know the true reason, and as his Captain and his best friend my lips are sealed.

Doctor Phlox has already voiced his concerns that Trip isn't eating or sleeping and that after three months, he should be getting his life back together, but he just seems to be in a downward spiral. I had seen him in Engineering earlier today and the place had seemed like a morgue. I always thought that with his easy going charm, sense of adventure and lust for living Trip was the life and soul of the ship, as much as his beloved engines are her heart. Now her soul is dying and I've noticed that wherever Trip goes his gloom and despair follow. When Malcolm had died he left some letters, one to Trip, one to his family and one to me. The contents of mine surprised me. He asked me, in the event of his death to look after Trip, that he knew I loved him as much as he did and that he hoped in time that Trip and I would have a wonderful future together. I was stunned that he knew how I felt when I thought I had hidden it so well, but then again he had been trained to observe, to see what isn't meant to be seen. I think of the letter and come to a decision.

I ring the chime on Trip's quarters and am not surprised when there is no reply. Sighing, I use my own security override and as the door opens look into the dim quarters. The light from the hallway illuminates the figure sitting on the bed, he is staring into nothing and my heart breaks a little at the sight. He looks so lost, so totally alone and I walk to stand before him. He suddenly notices my presence and looks up at me, his usually bright and mischievous eyes, dull and lifeless.

"I miss him so much." He says before the tears begin to fall.

"I know." I answer as I pull him to his feet and hold him, feeling the sobs wrack his body and my own tears sting my eyes.

He holds onto me tightly as if he feels I'm going to disappear, his face buried into my shoulder as I stroke his hair and whisper words of comfort. Finally the tears begin to subside and I move us to sit back down on the bed, requesting the computer to turn the lighting up a little, his arms still around me.

"Feeling better?" I ask and he shrugs pulling away from me slightly.

"Sorry." He looks embarrassed and rubs at his face. "What can I do for you, Cap'n?"

"Nothing, I came by to see how you were doing?"

"I'm fine."

"Trip?" I give him a look of concern and for a moment his control begins to weaken. He takes a deep breath.

"I'm sorry, look at me, I should be over this by now, what would Malcolm say."

"He's probably say you were a bloody idiot." I smile as Trip gives a little laugh.


"I was wondering whether you had eaten?"

"I'm not hungry," he pauses, "I'll get something later."

"Trip you have to eat. Everyone is getting worried about you, I'm getting worried about you." My words cause Trip's eyes to mist up.

"I'm tryin', I just can't." his words trail off as he looks at the floor.

"Look, I'll go to the messhall and get us something whilst you have a shower."

He starts to peel off his uniform as I rush down to the messhall. I know that he won't eat a full meal, so I decide to get something light and return to Trip's quarters with two bowls of chicken soup and some French bread. I ring the chime and this time Trip answers. I am stunned when I see him wrapped just in a towel; he has lost weight and looks frail. As I set the food down on a table, he pulls on a pair of sweat pants and a T-shirt, which hang loosely on his body.

"Smells good." He says smiling weakly.

I start to eat and watch him as he slowly does the same. Our dinner conversation is light and I try to avoid talking about Malcolm, instead I tell him of Hoshi's latest battle with the UT and he tells me that he'll have a look to see if he can improve it in any way. I take him up on his offer and say that Hoshi would love him for it. Suddenly his face darkens again and I know his mind has strayed back to the other person who loved him.

"Trip, I know it's hard to carry on when everywhere you go, everything you do reminds you of him." I sigh, "but you have to move on. Malcolm would go mad if he saw you like this, wasting away. He loved you for your zest for life, your spirit but you're letting that die with him." I watch as the tears roll down his cheeks, "It tears me apart to see you like this, Malcolm was a good friend to me and I miss him but I can't help feeling I'm mourning your loss too."

He wraps his arms around himself and shaking his head says repeatedly, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

"I don't want you to be sorry," my words are a little harsher than I intended and I wince as his head snaps up and he looks at me, a slightly frightened look in his eyes. I soften my voice, "I just want you back to being your self. The Trip Tucker, that we all know, the one Malcolm fell in love with." He lowers his head again and so I try a different tact. "Tell me about him."

"What?" Trip looks at me confused.

"I'd like to know what he was like. I only knew Malcolm Reed the Armoury officer and even when he was off duty with me, I was still his Captain. I want to know what he was really like." I hold my breath, worried that my question will upset Trip further but instead of the tears I feared, he smiles.

"He was great, generous, passionate, considerate." He smiles. "Do you remember when the warp core was a little unstable and I was workin' around the clock to make sure we didn't blow up. I barely had time to sleep let alone eat and so Malcolm would bring food down to me in Engineering." He laughs softly at the memory, the first real laugh I've heard in a long time and I realise that this is what he needs, to be able to talk about Malcolm, not just as a friend or colleague, but as the lover he has lost. "He said at the time that knowin' how I like to eat, it wouldn't be wise to let the Chief Engineer keel over with hunger."

"Sounds like Malcolm." I say laughing with my friend, but Trip hasn't heard me as he continues, it's as if a dam has been breached and he needs to say these things.

"And he would do the sweetest things," his eyes brighten. "When we had been together for six months, I don't know how he did it without the crew catchin' on, but he'd talked the chef into preparin' a special meal for two. When I didn't show up for dinner, he brought it down to Engineering and we ate it there. When my people questioned what the occasion was, he told them that he'd been stood up and not wantin' to waste the food and knowin' that I was stuck in Engineering he'd share it with me. I almost choked when he was bemoaning the fact that some 'blonde' had stood him up."

I let him talk for the next hour and it feel good to see my friend laugh again, as he recounts stories about their life together, things I never knew and for the first time I realise the depth of love they had for each other. Suddenly realising how late it is I stand to leave.

"I'd better go, it's getting late." He stands with me and looks uncomfortable for awhile.

"Yeah." He then embraces me and as he pulls away kisses my cheek, "Thanks for stoppin' by." I'm stunned for a moment and then walk towards the door. Just as I'm about to leave, he speaks, "Um. Jon." his voice trails off.

"Yeah?" He looks embarrassed and starts to fidget slightly.

"Um.. would you stay with me tonight?" he asks avoiding my gaze.


"Um.. would you." he sighs and looks at me, my heart breaking at the anguish I see in his eyes. "Since Malcolm. I can't sleep, I just need to know someone is there, just for one night, so that I can sleep." He looks away, "I'm sorry, you'd better go." He turns to his bed and I make my decision.

"Just don't snore," I say as I strip out of my uniform, "or steal all the blankets." "Thank you." He says, tears glistening in his eyes.

We climb into bed and I spoon up behind him, holding him close and it's not long before I hear his breathing change and he's asleep. Something suddenly catches my eye, at the end of the bed stands Malcolm Reed, he nods and mouths the words 'thank you' and smiles. I blink and he's gone, a trick of the light, my imagination, I hope not, I'd like to believe that the kind of love these two men shared is timeless and can reach beyond the grave. As I begin to succumb to sleep myself, I think of Malcolm's letter to me and make a vow that I will do whatever it takes to make Trip happy.


I walk along the corridor to my best friend's quarters to see if he's got time for some breakfast. It's been five months since the tragic death of his lover and my Armoury officer and he's slowly clawed his way back from the brink of despair. It's not been easy; Trip has always worn his heart on his sleeve and feels things so deeply. It used to amuse me, when I could laugh at the agony he put himself through when he felt he had upset someone. The incident when he had read T'Pol private letter was a prime example. Most people would just have kept quiet, but Trip can't do that, he had to tell her and accept the consequences. Now that trait of his isn't so funny when I can see the pain it's caused him and I love him too much to see him in pain.

My musings are interrupted as I walk around the corner and see him outside his quarters with my Communications officer. They appear to be sharing a tender moment and I stop in my tracks as I watch her rest her hand on his shoulder and gently kiss him on the cheek and his response of engulfing her in a hug, whispering something in her ear. They slowly part and she takes his hand, squeezing it slightly and smiles at him. I find myself frozen my heart shattering as Hoshi walks towards me.

"Morning Captain." She says, smiling as she passes me.

"Morning." I mumbled my eyes fixed on the man standing a few feet away. When Hoshi is out of earshot I walk towards Trip, "Well you seem to be over Malcolm."

I regret the words the minute they are out of my mouth as I see the stunned look on his face, but the most shocking thing is the look of hurt in his pale blue eyes and something else, the disappointment I see there. I open my mouth to apologise but he just turns and walks away.

"Shit!" I mumble to the empty corridor.


"Hoshi, can I have a word." I ask as I walk onto the bridge and, assuming she is following me, head to my ready room so that we can talk in private. I need to find out whether Trip and Hoshi are in a relationship, my mind screaming that it should be me. Malcolm knew I loved Trip, he'd given his blessing for me to have Trip, to love him, give him everything, body and soul, but I never thought that Hoshi would take what should be mine. "What can I do for you Captain?"

I turn to face her bringing my mind back to the task at hand.

"Take a seat, I just wanted to ask you something?" I watch as she sits down, and I find myself hesitating. "I just wondered if there was anything you wanted to tell me?"

"About?" she looks puzzled and smiles innocently at me, causing my jealous anger to bubble up again.

"You and Trip?"

"Me and Trip?"

"Ensign, I saw you this morning outside his quarters, remember."

She suddenly realises what I'm talking about and starts to laugh. "You are kidding me, right?" Looking at my face she sees the seriousness of my question and stands, pacing the small room, her arms folded, "I don't believe this." She turns suddenly and I see anger there, "You think I'm sleeping with him, because of what you saw this morning."

"Well, it looked." I trail off, shrugging, suddenly feeling stupid.

"And you call yourself his friend." She suddenly seems to remember whom she is talking to. "Permission to speak freely, sir."

"Well I think you've already started doing that." I reply trying to regain control of this conversation and seeing the anger in her eyes.

"You bastard." Her words shock me, in all the years I've known Hoshi Sato I have never known her get really angry, like she is now. "You witness two friends in a tender moment and straight away assume that they must be having sex, anyone would think you were jealous."

"What was I supposed to think?" I find I am raising my voice, trying to defend my actions.

"Nothing." She pauses, taking a deep breath and regains her composure and 'my' Hoshi is back, "Captain, do you know what the significance of today is?"

I try to think, but nothing springs to mind, "No."

"It would have been the second anniversary of Trip and Malcolm getting together." She pauses as I collapse into my seat, "I was checking to see if he was okay."

"Oh God, what have I done." I rub my hands over my face, remembering the look in Trip's eyes, I look up at Hoshi, "I accused him of being over Malcolm."

"Well I suggest that you talk to him."

"I will." I look sheepishly at her, "I'm sorry Hoshi, I jumped to conclusions when I shouldn't have and I apologise."

"Accepted." She walks to the door; "You must love him very much." She smiles as I blush.

"Yeah, I guess I do."


Engineering is a hive of activity when I get down there and I look around for my Chief Engineer. Not finding him, I see Lieutenant Hess who tells me he's working on a circuitry problem in one of the Jeffries tubes and had said he would be some time. Part of me is relieved that I can put off this confrontation, but I know that I need to sort this out now. With Hess' help, I track him down.

"I'm sorry." I say once Hess has left and we're alone in the cramp Jeffries tube. He glances in my direction briefly and then resumes his work. "I didn't know, I'm sorry."

"And that's s'posed to make things better?"

"Yes.no. I don't know." I pause, frustrated at having to have this conversation here, "Look Trip I was out of line and I apologise." I fidget trying to get comfortable; "Can we go somewhere to talk."

"Can't it wait, I am kinda busy, wouldn't want my Cap'n jumping t' conclusion and thinking I was slackin' off."

"Commander." My tone is harsh and he glares at me as he puts his tools down and indicates for me to precede him out of the confined space and Engineering.

We go to his quarters, neither of us speaking but as soon as the door closes he turns.

"So sir, what d'ya want t' talk about?"

"I wanted to apologise for what I said to you this morning. I didn't know about today and I just assumed.. it was wrong of me and I'm sorry I hurt you." I look at him expecting him to shout at me or even hit me but all I see is disappointment. He slowly sits down on his bed, sighing.

"Malcolm used to t' say never assume, it always makes an ass out of u and me."

"Yeah we'll he was right, I do feel like a real ass at the moment and I am sorry." I sit on the only chair in his quarters and he looks at me, as if he's trying to decide something.

"When he died, he left me a letter. In it he told me that he loved me and he wished that we could have grown old together, ending our days sittin' on a porch, two old coots arguing over our exploits in deep space." He smiles briefly at the image. "He also told me that you were in love with me." His eyes bore into me and I feel like a deer caught in headlights, "Was he right?"

"I.um." I'm stunned and sound like an idiot.

"Cat got your tongue Cap'n?"

"No. I mean..," I take a deep breath, and answer him. "Yes, he was right. I do love you and my reaction today was because I was jealous. I thought you and Hoshi were."

"You thought I was fuckin' Hoshi and got jealous because I wasn't fuckin' you." Trip is furious and I can't say I blame him.

"Yes." I say quietly.

"What? Didn't quite catch that."

"I said YES!" I shout back, "I was jealous, I've been in love with you virtually since the day we met but you never saw it, never saw me as anything but a friend. At first I thought it was because you were straight but then you and Malcolm became lovers and I realised that if I had been braver and asked you."

"That you and me would have got t'gether."

"Yes." I pause and watch him shake his head, summoning up all my courage I ask him the one question that I need the answer to. "Do you love me?"

He looks at me and I realise that I'm holding my breath, waiting for the answer that will either make my dreams come true or destroy a friendship. He stands and walks around the small room turning his back to me. I watch his shoulders sag as he sighs heavily. I desperately want to comfort him, touch him, and show him that I can and do love him as much as Malcolm did but I have to wait. Wait until he gives me some kind of signal, so I sit and hope and pray. He turns slowly and I see the misery in his eyes and my heart breaks a little at the thought that I had caused it, that maybe it's too soon that I should have waited. "Jon," he says quietly, "I do love you, as a best friend, as a brother, you've always been there for me, through the good and the bad but." he pauses and I see the tears in his eyes "I'm not in love with you. I'm sorry."

As the meaning of his words penetrate my brain and I realise what he is saying I feel my heart shatter. I had for so long hoped that he would want me and felt that Malcolm would have wanted it too, but neither of us considered what Trip wanted. I stand up slowly, desperately holding onto the little self-respect I have left and leave his quarters. As I blindly walk through the hallways, I realise that no matter how much you want or need something sometimes it's never meant to be.


I watch him across the messhall chatting and laughing with Hoshi and feel relieved that he is getting his life back together. Suddenly he looks over in my direction and smiles. He says something to Hoshi and she nods, picking up her drink and leaving the room. Trip picks up his own beverage and walks towards me.

"Hi Cap'n thought you'd like some company." His smile says it all as he sits across from me. He's not angry or upset with my confession of a week ago, even though neither of us has mentioned it since.

"What Hoshi get a better offer?" I joke and then wince at what I had said. Trip doesn't seem to notice.

"Nah just told her I wanted t' spend some time with my best friend." He looks at me cautiously, "No harm in that is there?"

"None at all, as long as we know where we stand."

He nods his understanding and I realise that I can live with my love for him unrequited but I could never live without his friendship.

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