Title: Brig Time

Author: Kate Kernshaw

E-mail: k1a9t8e0@yahoo.com

Date: 10/17/02

Rating: PG

Type: Slash M/M

Pairing: Archer/Reed

Length: ~1,165

Status: Complete

Summary: EntWriteBrigade "brig challenge": Since we've been talking about settings anyway, we might as well have a challenge. Put one character in the brig. What did he or she do? What does he think about his new office? Does he get out?

Series/Sequel: No

Archive: Luminosity, EntSTSlash, Archers_Enterprise, WWOMB, anyone else who wants it.

Feedback: If you wish, send to: kkennedytx@prodigy.net or kimaken1103@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: Paramount owns the Enterprise and Star

Trek universe. I do not make any money from writing fanfiction.

Spoilers: None

Warnings: None

Comments: Thanks to Taryn Eve for the challenge idea, the EWB group for general suggestions, and Leah for the wonderful beta and valuable advice.

Captain Jonathan Archer was furious. He paced back and forth from the short distance between the bulkhead and door in his ready room, taking deep breaths and trying to quell his anger. "How could you do this? One of the few times when I was really counting on you to behave yourself, you just had to go and do something really stupid!"

Standing before him, eyes cast to the floor, stood the culprit, who had embarrassed Archer and the crew of the Enterprise in front of their Vulcan guests from the ship, Ryetanev. With his head hanging, the prisoner listened intently to Archer's voice and nervously licked his lips, while he tried to stand as still as possible.

"You better hang your head in shame, mister," berated Archer. "I have never been so disappointed in you as I was this afternoon at the reception. Your outlandish behavior was a disgrace. Your actions were careless; someone could have been seriously hurt." Archer turned and glared hard at the prisoner before him. "I know you're not fond of Vulcans; neither am I, but that's a poor excuse for such rudeness!"

Beside the prisoner, standing fully at attention, stood Archer's lover and armory officer, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed. "Sir," began Reed.

"Oh no, Lieutenant," Archer said flatly. He turned and glared at the younger man. "Don't you dare try to defend him. This offense is too serious and I can't allow it to pass without appropriate disciplinary action."

"But, Sir, the Commander…" Reed started, but was cut off by another of Archer's harsh looks.

"Lieutenant, has your crew finished preparing the brig?" Archer asked. Because there was no official prison cell on Enterprise, a small storage room in the armory was in the process of being refitted with a couple of bunks and a few basic amenities to keep a prisoner or two whenever necessary. This particular storage room shared a wall with the small lavatory adjoining it, which, once the common wall was removed and the lavatory's door tightly secured, would make it nearly ideal as a brig.

Despite Reed's protests that the room was too closed in with no portholes or interior windows, Archer deemed it a suitable jail cell, and Reed was nonetheless ordered to have the room emptied, renovated, and cleaned in readiness for its first inmate.

At Reed's reluctant nod, Archer paced for a few more moments, carefully considering his words. *You*," he said directly to the prisoner, "are hereby sentenced to forty-eight hours of solitary confinement in the new brig."

Turning back to Reed, Archer added, "I want a guard posted around the clock. "This miscreant is to have *no* visitors." Reed started, astonished at the harsh punishment. At his lover's surprised look, Archer made one conciliatory gesture. "Very well, since the room is so confining, I'll permit one fifteen-minute rest break outside the brig every four hours, but only under close guard." The prisoner wisely remained silent, his guilty eyes staring hard at the floor. He shuffled his feet and stifled a yawn, but otherwise said nothing. Occasionally he glanced hopefully back up at Archer.

"Don't you look at me like that," said Archer. "You can only go so far on good looks and charm." Archer took a deep breath. "As long as I've known you, and as close as we are, I still can't believe you pulled such a stupid stunt. And your total lack of repentance speaks volumes."

"But, Sir, Trip didn't mean…" Reed rushed to defend his friend, but again was cut off by the angry captain.

"Save it, Lieutenant." Archer looked from Reed to the prisoner, then back at Reed. "I cannot let my relationship to him," he looked hard once more at the guilty party, "be an excuse. As captain, I simply cannot show blatant favoritism; it would set a bad example for the rest of the crew."

"But, Sir, really, the Commander…" Reed tried again to defuse the anger filling the ready room.

Archer resumed his pacing in front Reed and the prisoner. "Malcolm, I know you two have become close friends. I can appreciate that. But don't let that friendship prevent you from doing your duty." Pointing at the prisoner, Archer continued. "His actions nearly started a diplomatic incident with the Vulcans."

Archer stopped pacing and stood directly in front of Reed, his angry green eyes gazing intently into Reed's saddened gray ones. "I expect you to carry out my orders, to the letter. If you, or anyone else, disobey me on this, there *will* be severe repercussions. He hesitated a few moments, then added quietly, "Dismissed."

"Yes, Sir," murmured Reed. Reluctantly he escorted the prisoner out of the ready room and walked with him to the newly created brig. After seeing his friend safely settled, and ensuring there were no possible means of escape, Reed closed the storage room door and firmly locked it. He leaned heavily against the door, letting out a deep sigh, and thought about how he should have tried harder to prevent his friend from making such a fool of himself.

Several hours later Archer arrived in the armory looking for his lover, who had failed to meet him for dinner. Approaching the door to the makeshift brig, he was surprised to find no guard posted outside the door. Cautiously he touched the doorknob, slowly turning it, and quietly opened the door.

Sitting on one end of the small bunk was Commander Trip Tucker, sound asleep, with his back leaning against the wall and his head slumped over his left shoulder. On the other end sat Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, also sound asleep, with his back leaning against the wall and his head slumped over his right shoulder. The two men held each other up, supported by the wall, friends forever, come hell or high water.

Lying dejectedly in the middle of the cot was the prisoner, his head on his front paws, his tail wagging in time to the snores of the two men. At the sight of his master, Porthos jumped off the bed and eagerly licked the hand offering him reconciliation.

"Hey, boy, how are you? Did you miss me?" asked Archer, happy to see Porthos again. He bent down and vigorously rubbed his dog, making sure to scratch behind the ears.

"I know you're sorry about getting loose from Trip, crashing the reception, and biting that mean old Vulcan's fingers, aren't you, boy? Yeah, served him right for grabbing the last of the cheese." Snapping the leash on Porthos' collar, Archer led his dog out of the small room.

Turning back to the open door, Archer considered waking Tucker and Reed. Instead, he gently kissed the top of Reed's head, quietly closed the door, locked it, and then pocketed the key. Smiling down at Porthos, he said, "Well, I did tell Malcolm that if my orders were disobeyed, there would be severe repercussions. Come on, boy, let's go get some dinner. Maybe Chef has more of that cheese…"

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