Title: The Other Side of the Coin

Author: T'Pau Silver

E-mail: TPauSilver@aol.com

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

Date: 10/13/02

Pairing: Reed/Mayweather

Sequel to: Family

Disclaimer: Don't own em :)

Rating: Let's call it PG? Feel free to argue as it's a while since I wrote this and I can't exactly remember if I used foul language etc so I could be totally of :)

Summary: Sequel to my story Family where Travis meets Malcolm's parents. Now Travis gets to return the favour.

Archive: If you already have permission for my stuff go ahead. If not ask.

Feedback: Much appreciated at TPauSilver@aol.com. If donating flames please also send a fireplace, I don't have one and flames aren't much good without a fireplace :-D

Notes: Thanks to Kipli for beta reading. And mistakes are probably my fault since I rushed through this to get it out. I never seem to have time to write any more. Damn college!

Travis checked the heading again. He'd already checked and double checked it over 15 times in the 20 minutes but he could barely contain his excitement. They were going to meet his parents.

It had been so long since Travis had seen his family. It was just so awkward. He'd sent and received a few messages but that was all. Now they were going to spend two days traveling with the other ship.

After their last stay at Earth, they had filled a cargo bay with phase cannons and been instructed to install them on every cargo ship they encountered. Starfleetâ€(tm)s attention had shifted toward securing the vulnerable freighters. Enterprise had upgraded two ships already and then just happened to run into his parentsâ€(tm) freighter.

Malcolm had been mad at Travis last night for bouncing everywhere. Malcolm tended to get mad at him easily when he was in an excitable mood. Travis really didn't mind. He loved Malcolm and knew the older guy was only looking out for him. His response had been to grab hold of Malcolm and hop for joy. Malcolm had been stubborn but eventually complied, he said he couldn't resist when Travis was all bouncy like that, and they'd ended up in a pile in the bed, laughing their heads of.

That was another good thing that came out of the last visit to Earth. Not only were the cargo ships in the area going to be safer but Malcolm had started opening up about them. Once he'd faced down his parents he could take on anyone and now it was pretty common knowledge on the ship.

And only a few people had reacted badly. Sure, they got a few glares. Some people just didn't get it. Most people were fine with it though, and some had even been fairly ecstatic about their relationship.

He couldn't wait to return the favour and introduce Malcolm to his family. He knew they would love him. He didn't know what Malcolm would think though. Travis' family was nothing like Malcolm's. They were so much more open. They yelled and passed around food and were so touchy. Malcolm didn't even hug his own mother.

He knew Malcolm was worried too but Travis had done his best to quell his loverâ€(tm)s fears. Malcolm worried far too much. It sometimes gave Travis a headache, which couldn't be a good thing. Then again, he wouldn't be Malcolm if he didn't worry.

Travis checked again. They were still on course. He only really needed to check about every 5 minutes; he spent the rest of the time monitoring the plasma flow, so on. He just couldn't seem to stop though. He was going home.


Malcolm could barely move. He'd felt like this for the past several days. Rigid with terror. He was going to meet Travis' parents. He didn't want to. What if they hated him? What if they thought Travis was better off without him? What if they made Travis choose? What if Travis chose them? Malcolm didn't even want to think about that.

Travis had told him time and time again not to worry. Travis had told him time and time again that his parents would think he was wonderful. Travis had held him close time and time again, trying to get him to open up. Malcolm couldn't. He found that in situations that scared him, he couldn't open up. Even though they had been together for 6 months he still found he couldn't open up to the other man easily. It was so very difficult and it still took him some time to truthfully tell Travis how he felt.

Travis was wonderful about it, of course. Malcolm really loved him. Travis understood and he didn't judge or whisper behind Malcolm's back. He was warm and loving, and he had that gorgeous smile and a bum that wasn't half bad either.

Yes, Malcolm adored Travis and he wasn't afraid to admit it.

He was just afraid to meet Travisâ€(tm) parents. So many things could go wrong. There were so many things he could do or say wrongly. It was scary. It was more than scary. And it would all start tonight. They wound be in live feed range tonight. He would have to go over there for two days and fit phase cannons, then on the last night he was going to meet them all at dinner. Travis was so excited about it. If it had been anyone else he would have found a way to avoid the dinner but that was Travis and Travis was so damn excited. He'd been, quite literally, bouncing all over their quarters last night. It did lead to great sex but that was something else entirely.

So he couldn't blow the dinner off. He would have to spend all his time for two days on the freighter working his ass off and then he would have to face Travis' parents. And on top of that he would have to put up with Commander Tucker the entire time. It just wasn't fair.

But then again, what was?


Malcolm lay sprawled out on their bed. When they had been on Earth, multiple quarters had been converted for couples. Basically, the bunks in the crew quarters had been cut down and stuck together. He and Travis had acquired one of those rooms. It was a good one to. The only one with its own bathroom.

The decision to move in together hadn't been hard. It was more of a formality actually. Travis hadn't had a thing in his own quarters for well over a month. Everything had been at Malcolm's.

Malcolm thoroughly enjoyed living with Travis. Travis was like a ball of sunshine on an otherwise dark and miserable day. He was so used to coming home to their quarters, he couldn't imagine them not living together. Travis had lived with Malcolm for so long, it was like it had always been that way.

But Malcolm was getting sentimental again. That happened far too often. He pulled himself back to reality and looked over at Travis who was perched on the desk chair, ready to talk to his family. Travis was wound so tightly Malcolm figured he could pull the chair out and Travis wouldn't fall over. Not that he himself was any calmer. He was just better at hiding it.

"Relax Travis," he said softly, scooting to the edge of the bed and reaching out to lay a hand on Travis' shoulder. Travis smiled at him, a small nervous smile, and forced himself to visibly relax a little.

They sat there for a moment. Malcolm didn't know what else he could do to get Travis to relax. He knew Travis wouldn't be able to take a deep breath until he'd spoken to his parents.

Malcolm tried to be supportive. He knew Travis couldn't wait for him to meet his parents. He knew Travis expected him to actively participate in the conversation. He just didn't know how the hell he was going to get anything out of his mouth. He was naturally very quiet and, to be perfectly honest, real time communication scared him a little. In conversations he liked lots of long, comfortable pauses. There just wasn't space for that in these types of conversation. It made him tense.

Finally the light at the edge of the console began to flash and a small alarm sounded, signaling an incoming call. Travis took a deep breath and accepted. The screen was immediately filled with the face of an older woman. Her hair was pulled back into a bun and she was grinning. Malcolm could tell from the smile that she was Travis' mother.

"Mom," Travis said excitedly.

"Travis, it's so good to see you," she exclaimed. "Look at you. You're all grown up. It's definitely been too long."

"It has," Travis agreed. "You look great, mom."

"Flattery will get you nowhere," she said, leaning forward seriously. "Now where's this man of yours? I want to glare at him!"

Travis looked over at Malcolm and grinned. Malcolm steeled himself then slipped over and slid down next to Travis. The younger man shifted slightly to make room for him and Malcolm glanced down to check they were both showing up on the other end.

"Hello," he said softly. He wanted to flee. He wanted to stand up and bolt out the door and down the corridor. But he knew he couldn't. He would just have to settle for getting this conversation over as quickly as possible.

"Hullo!" Travis' mother exclaimed. "You must be Malcolm. Call me Cheryl. It's wonderful to finally see you. Travis sent us a photo but it's just not the same is it?"

"I suppose not," Malcolm answered slowly. Cheryl beamed at him.

"Travis has told us all about you. You sound wonderful. But Travis has always had great taste. I'm sure we're going to get on like a house on fire. I can't wait to really meet you in person."


"I'm sorry sweety but I've gotta go now," she said, turning her attention back to Travis. "There'll be plenty of time for catching up soon."

"Bye mom," Travis replied, grinning. The screen went blank. Travis, barely able to contain his excitement, threw his arms around Malcolm. Malcolm smiled and pulled Travis into an embrace. Cheryl Mayweather seemed like a genuinely nice person. Maybe this wouldn't all be so bad after all.


Malcolm checked his tool kit. He had everything he would need to install the phase cannons. The large components were standing by to be beamed over. Everything was going according to plan. Travis' parentsâ€(tm) ship had just drawn up to them and now a small shuttlepod carrying himself, Travis and Trip was headed over to the cargo ship. He and Trip would spend the day installing the phase cannons while Travis had acquired a day of leave to spend with his parents. They would all be going back over to Enterprise in the evening.

Since the first communication Travis had been hyper. Even convincing the Ensign to sit still long enough to eat was a major task. Malcolm had found himself swept away by Travis' enthusiasm. It wouldn't be so bad.

The shuttle docked. Fear began to rise in Malcolm. What if Travis' parents didn't like him? What if he said something wrong? What if he messed everything up?

He ruthlessly squashed the fears. He had already spoken to Travis' mother. She seemed nice and open. Like Travis. He would like them and they would like him.

The hatch to the shuttlepod opened and Travis practically raced out. Malcolm allowed himself a small smile before following. Travis had already pulled his mother into a tight embrace when Malcolm and Trip stepped out.

Malcolm turned to Trip who simply raised an eyebrow. Travis looked so happy, hugging his mother. Malcolm found himself wishing he had a bond like that with his own mother.

The hug broke and Travis turned to Malcolm and grabbed his hand. Malcolm allowed himself to be pulled forward. Before he could even introduce himself Malcolm was pulled into a hug by Cheryl. She was grinning from ear to ear.

"So, we finally meet," she said, releasing him. "You're just as handsome as Travis said. Now come on, I'll go find Bill for you. He'll show you the armoury."

Then she was gone. Just like that. Malcolm looked over at Travis who was grinning.

Why couldn't his family be like this? So happy and easy going. His family had to have long, drawn out social contact. In his family there were no hugs or easy small talk. Except, maybe, between himself and his sister Maddy.

"Come on," Travis said. He tightened his grip on Malcolm's hand and pulled him out into the corridor. Trip followed, amused. It didn't take them long to catch up with Cheryl, who had found Bill. It turned out Bill was what passed for an armoury officer around here. He was also Travis' cousin and meeting him resulted in more hugs and Trip finally being introduced. Then Malcolm and Travis parted ways and the complicated process of installing and aligning the phase cannons began.


Bill pushed himself through the Jeffrey's tubes. It had been a while since anyone had been down here. There wasn't much need for access to the lower hull generally but now that the phase cannons were going to be installed there it looked like they might be getting a lot more use.

He was in here looking for Malcolm. He'd been trying to align the cannons but wasn't having much luck so he came searching for the armoury officer. He knew Malcolm had disappears down here with Trip some time ago.

He heard voices and came to a stop. He was close, but maybe it would be more interesting just to listen for a moment.

"Come on Mal, loosen up."

"I can't, there's not enough space for two people to be doing this in here!"

"It's not like it's the first time," the first voice chided. There were sounds of movement, then it became relatively quiet again.

"See, it's better with those out of the way."

Malcolm moaned. Well, Bill couldn't be certain it was Malcolm but he was pretty sure.

"Hey!" Trip exclaimed. "Come back here!"

"I'm just trying to get a better view."

"We're not here for sight seeing. You've gotta relax Mal. Just come back over here and we'll be done in no time."

"Fine," Malcolm paused. "There! That's it."

"Yep, won't be long now."

"That's good. Come on Mal, I'm not sure I can keep this up much longer…"

Bill backed out of the tube as quickly as possible. That couldn't be what it sounded like, could it? He'd just spent a good 30 minuets listening to Travis go on about Malcolm Reed and how in love they were and now, from the sound of it, Malcolm was cheating on Travis with Trip. And not for the first time.

What could he do? He had to do something! He wouldn't let Malcolm go on sneaking around and ultimately hurting Travis. Travis was like a brother to him. They'd grown up together. He would give anything not to see the other guy hurt.

He would tell Aunt Cheryl. She would sort it out. Travis was the youngest of three. He was the baby so Malcolm would have a lot to answer to from mom and big brother and sister.

And to think, they'd been so nice to him. They'd gone out of their way to make Malcolm feel at home and he'd responded by cheating on one of them right under their noses. He must think he's so good. Not any more though. Travis was among his family here and they would not see him hurt. Ever.


Bill was nervous. He'd let yesterday slip past. After he'd heard Malcolm and Trip in the Jeffrey's tube he'd been too upset to do anything. He'd known that if he told anyone then, Malcolm would have been thrown of the ship and the phase cannons wouldn't have been installed. They needed the phase cannons.

All the Enterpriseâ€(tm)s crewmen were off the ship now. Even as he stood there Malcolm and Travis were probably getting ready to come over for dinner. Travis was so excited about it that Bill was kind of reluctant to share what he knew about Malcolm. It would hurt less in the long run though.

He entered the mess and spotted Cheryl. She sat with her husband, Boris, at the head of the table. They normally had several small tables but they'd pushed them all together for tonight. Then everyone could meet Malcolm.

"Auntie Cheryl, can I talk to you alone for a sec?" he asked. She nodded and followed him out of the mess hall.

"What is it sweetie?" she asked. He told her all about what he'd heard yesterday in the Jeffrey's tube. He told her about the talking and the scuffling noises and what he thought it all meant.

"I'LL KILL HIM," Cheryl yelled, hitting the wall. She wasn't normally an angry person but when she thought someone was hurting her babies she got very protective.

"Calm down," Bill said softly. "We need to break it to Travis gently. You don't want to hurt him, do you?"

"No," Cheryl conceded. She clenched her fists. It was clear all she really wanted to do was go out and punch Malcolm Reed in the nose but she loved her baby enough not to make a scene.

"We'll have to tell him."

"After lunch," she agreed. "We'll make nice through lunch, then after we'll take Travis aside and tell him. Then, well if Travis is so upset he doesn't care what happened to that scum then I can't be held accountable for my actions."


Malcolm was so nervous he thought his heart would explode. Tonight was the night. Fair enough, he'd met most of Travis' family already, but tonight would be different. Tonight they would all be together.

He knew Cheryl liked him. She hugged him every time she saw him. This made Malcolm very uncomfortable. Of course when he told Travis the younger man had laughed. He was also quite sure Bill didn't like him. Bill had been so strange around him since about lunch time on the first day. He had no idea what he'd done. He hadn't let it bother him though. He'd barely had a chance to breath between installing the cannons and being hugged by Cheryl.

It would all be over tomorrow though. Back to a reasonable work schedule and having Travis, more or less, to himself. He liked that. He already had a long list of things he wanted to do to Travis once the family was gone.

He just had to live through tonight first.

The doors to the cargo bay opened and Travis entered. The Ensign was wearing baggy jeans and a black sweater whereas Malcolm had gone for black pants and casual white shirt. Travis looked at him approvingly then kissed him softly.

"You still worried?"

"A little," Malcolm admitted. "Not too much."

"I know; I just worry about you sometimes."

"I think you'd worry about me more if I wasn't worried."

"True," Travis said with a smile. He kissed Malcolm again then their pilot arrived. They had decided on a pilot as Cheryl had promised to break out the scotch and the Captain didn't like the idea of a drunken man trying to fly the shuttle back home.

The journey over was uneventful and they were met in the cargo bay by Cheryl. She pulled Travis into a giant hug but didn't even look at Malcolm. This was worrying. She'd hugged Malcolm every time she'd seen him before today. He wondered what he'd done to offend her.

She stalked off. Travis looked over at him.

"Ok," Travis said. "What did you do?"

"I haven't the faintest idea," Malcolm said, honestly. Travis smiled softly and kissed Malcolm's cheek, but he still looked worried. This was enough to send Malcolm's paranoia into overdrive.

They moved off to the mess hall and Malcolm couldn't help but mentally check every door they passed for its potential as a hiding place if something where to go wrong. He found himself guessing how far it was to the armoury and how long it would take him to get hold of a weapon once he got there. He knew it was paranoid but he also knew something was wrong and whenever something felt wrong his paranoia went into overdrive. They finally arrived at the mess hall. Everyone seemed relaxed enough. They chatted amongst themselves. It wasn't as bubbly as Malcolm had come to expect from these people but that wasn't too strange…was it?

Travis led him over to two seats next to his parents. Malcolm swore half of the hall was staring at him. He tried not to calm his paranoia. He sat and smiled and managed to lose himself in the small talk.

For his part, Travis was also so nervous. Something was definitely up. His mom hadn't hugged Malcolm. He had expected her to. She always hugged everyone. Malcolm must have done something really horrendous for her to act as she was. Travis couldn't even imagine what Malcolm might have done that would have offend her so much.

Everyone else was being strange too. They were all so quiet and they kept looking at Malcolm. He knew some of it was curiosity. Well he hoped some of it was curiosity anyway. He didn't want to deal with his family not liking Malcolm.

He mentally went over everything he'd said about Malcolm to see if it was something he'd done. He couldn't think of anything. Maybe Malcolm had said something. For all he knew though Malcolm had been working all the time and his family wouldn't hate Malcolm for working. And Malcolm was so careful. He had tried not to offend anyone. He was scared of offending people. It The whole situation was making him nervous.

Malcolm seemed to notice and leant over and took his hand. Travis looked up and smiled at Malcolm. Malcolm was obviously just as nervous as him. Not everyone could see it but Malcolm was nervous. Travis knew him well enough to notice.

He leant over and gently kissed Malcolm's cheek. This caused Malcolm to smile, and his mom to spit out her food all over the table.

"Thatâ€(tm)s it," she exclaimed. "I can't stand this any more. I'm sorry Travis hunny but there's something we have to tell you."

Travis tensed. It must be bad. His mother looked so serious. He didn't want to hear this. He wanted to grab hold of Malcolm and run back to the shuttlepod and pretend this didn't happen. He was pretty certain it would be about Malcolm. It would certainly explain the funny looks.

She looked over at Malcolm. "Bill heard you."

There was silence around the table. Malcolm looked genuinely confused.

"Heard me?"

"He heard you and Commander Tucker in the Jeffrey's tubes."

There was silence again. Malcolm looked so confused. Travis was confused too. He wanted to know what was going on. He wanted to know what Bill had heard. Malcolm gave a small shrug.

"YOU WERE CHEATING ON TRAVIS RIGHT UNDER OUR NOSES AND ALL YOU CAN DO IS SHRUG?!" she yelled. It was Malcolm's turn to be shocked. His eyes went wide and his jaw dropped. Travis pulled away from Malcolm.

Malcolm was cheating on him. That couldn't be. He loved Malcolm. Why would the other man do something like that? It didn't make any sense.

"What do you mean?" Malcolm asked. "I didn't cheat on Travis. I would never cheat on Travis."

"I heard you," Bill said. "I came to find you after lunch and I heard you."

"I don't know what you heard," Malcolm said. "But I most certainly didn't have sex with Commander Tucker after lunch. We were installing some components of the phase cannons."

"I know what I heard," Bill said. "First you said it was to tight be be 'doing this' then you moaned and something about getting a good view…I know what I heard."

"Travis," Malcolm pleaded, turning to his lover. "I wouldn't do that to you. I love you."

"SHUT UP," Cheryl shrieked. She was livid. It was bad enough that Malcolm had hurt her baby, now he denied it. The tension was nearly boiling over in the room. Then Travis started to laugh.

Everyone looked at him. He was laughing. He was laughing so hard he could barely stand up. He had to sit down, wrapping his arms around his waist as if to control the laughter. Everyone watched him.

"I'm sorry," Travis said, dabbing at his eyes. He'd laughed so hard it was crying. "It's just the thought of you and…Trip!"

He started laughing again. Malcolm couldn't help but smile a little too. It was a stupid idea. Sure, he could manage to be friendly with the guy but he certainly wouldn't have sex with him.

"I'm sorry Travis," Cheryl said, moving around and hugging him. "This must be hard for you."

"Don't you get it?" Travis asked, trying to stop laughing. "They can barely be around each other. And Tripâ€(tm)s about as straight as they come."

"How do you know?" Cheryl asked.

"Because I trust the people I love," Travis explained. "Malcolm wouldn't hurt me."

"I know what I heard," Bill said stubbornly. "They took off their clothing and had sex."

"I'm not sure what you heard exactly but we didn't have sex. Trip was trying to annoy me for some reason. We could barely move and he kept putting my tools just out off my reach."

"I don't believe you," Bill said, adamantly. There was silence.

"You believe me, don't you?" Malcolm asked Travis softly, breaking the silence.

"Of course," Travis said. "Even if it wasn't Trip…I would still trust you. I love you."

"I love you too," Malcolm said softly. Travis grinned, then stood up and wrapped his arms around Malcolm. Malcolm hugged him back happily. That had been close. He'd been afraid Travis would believe his cousin and leave him. Then again the idea of Trip and himself having sex was rather absurd.

It would be okay now though.

"Is the performance over now," Travis' father asked quietly, glancing from his wife to his son? "I'm damn hungry!"

Bill sat down slowly, as did Cheryl. Malcolm and Travis sank back into their chairs but they were both still very aware of Cherils eyes on them. She didn't trust them now and may not trust them again.

Once the meal was over everyone began to mingle and Malcolm slipped away, leaving Travis talking to a relative, and found Cheryl.

"May I speak to you alone?" he asked her quietly. She nodded and they stepped out into the corridor. It was clear she was still angry but he had to speak with her.

"I know you may not believe me now Cheryl, and you don't have much reason to trust me over your own family, but I love Travis and would never do anything to hurt him. I have a lot of problems opening up, I don't want to go into why now, but Travis does things for me no-one ever has before. He looks past the cold outside and sees me. He's made me happier and more open then I've ever been before and I can't imagine hurting him ever."

Cheryl was quiet for a moment then nodded.

"I believe you. Bill could have overreacted. I was just so mad at the thought of anyone hurting my baby. And rest assured Mr. Reed, if you hurt him at all I'll personally tear you apart."

"Don't worry," Malcolm said, smiling. "You wouldn't get the chance. I'd beat you to it."

Cheryl nodded, then pulled Malcolm into a hug. A second later they stepped apart and made their way back into the mess hall. Travis went almost straight to Malcolm's side.

"Is everything ok again?" he asked. Malcolm smiled and nodded, then they kissed softly.

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