TITLE: Dinner Date


E-MAIL: scarab@blueyonder.co.uk

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

DATE: 12/08/02

SUMMARY: Dinner with the Captain doesn't go smoothly

PAIRINGS: Tucker/Reed established relationship

RATING: PG-13…although one swear word.

ARCHIVE: My page on Nautika's site, the list Archive and anywhere else you like…just remind where it's going!

WARNINGS: Spoilers for Silent Enemy, Shuttlepod One and Minefield

FEEDBACK: Yes please, helps feed the bunnies!

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is written from two points of view, Jon Archer's in part one and Malcolm Reed's in part two. This is just something that begged to be written while I was trying to write the other part of Gallows Walk…it is a separate story.

DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately I don't own Enterprise or her crew, Paramount does (although if they ever get tired of Trip, he can put his boots under my bed anytime!)


I had thought that if Trip was included in my little dinner invitation, then Malcolm would loosen up a bit. The two men had already struck up a friendship, and Charles Tucker the Third can charm the birds out of the trees. He can make anyone feel relaxed and prepared to talk about themselves, although I do need to speak to him about his persistence in trying to find out how old T'Pol is. That little issue is becoming a personal crusade and I swear he won't rest until he finds the answer. I make a mental note to speak to Malcolm about how to ensure that certain information stays confidential and is 'Tucker proof'.

The chime to my small dining room sounds and breaks me from my thoughts. As I call out for the person to enter I know it'll be Malcolm. He treats everything he does so formally and I think about the brief conversation I had with his parents. I can imagine a small Malcolm standing by his bed in the morning awaiting inspection, before being allowed to play and then only playing games that would not be noisy or cause him to get his clothes dirty. It's no wonder he was never into sport. As Malcolm enters the room he looks around.

"Am I early, sir?" he asks.

"No not all."

"Oh, I thought Commander Tucker was joining us." I can sense the tension emanating from his body.

"He is, but you know Trip, probably decided to run a last minute diagnostic on the.." my words are interrupted by the man himself.

"Sorry I'm late Cap'n. should have started without me."

Trip sits at the table and Malcolm looks at him mortified. He looks at me and I indicate the chair and that he should sit. He does so and looks over at Trip who has already started on the breadsticks. I watch the two men and realise how different they are, Trip who never stands on ceremony and just barrels his way through and Malcolm with his impeccable British manners. I could never imagine Malcolm just sitting at the table without being told to, I half expect him to ask me to check he has no dirt under his fingernails.

"So what's on the menu tonight?" Trip asks, as Malcolm and I sit at the table.

"Steak, I believe." I answer, "but I'm not sure what's for dessert.

"Sub-Commander T'Pol not joining us Captain?" Malcolm asks.

"No," I smile, recognising the tactic, as being the more people around the table; the less likely Malcolm will be called upon to make conversation.

The steward brings in our meal and I watch as Trip dives in, passing his thanks to the Chef. I pour us each a drink and ask Trip how the repairs made at the alien station are holding up; he tells me there are no problems.

The small talk continues for awhile and I notice that it's mainly Trip and I that are doing the talking. I decide on a course of action to involve Malcolm. "Actually Trip, you and Malcolm have something in common." I say and am surprised when both men stare at each other slightly shocked. Trip recovers first.

"And what would that be Cap'n?"

"Malcolm was telling me that his Great Uncle was a Chief Engineer." Both men visibly relax and I know I'm missing something and decide that at my next meeting with Trip, I'll find out what's going on.

"Really?" Trip looks genuinely interested and looks at Malcolm, "What kinda ship was he on?"

"He was a submariner in the Royal Navy." Malcolm looks slightly uncomfortable, "Was a bit of a hero of mine actually."

"Yeah." Trip smiles at him, "Sounds quite a man, I'd like t' meet him some day"

"I'm afraid Commander, that would be impossible, he was killed while serving aboard the H.M.S. Clement.

"Oh I'm sorry,"

"His ship hit an old mine and started to take on water. He sealed himself into the engine room, keeping the reactor on line," he paused, "He went down with his ship, to save his crewmates"

I watch Malcolm as he recounts the story, seeing the pride in his Great Uncle's heroic deed and something else. My musing on this is interrupted by Trip, who looks stunned. He puts his fork down, his appetite apparently gone and the two men stare at each other.

"'S'cuse me I just remembered somethin'" I watch dumbfounded as Trip suddenly stands and leaves the room.

"Sorry Captain." Malcolm is apologising to me and I look at him.

"Malcolm, you have nothing to apologise for, as for Commander Tucker, I'll be speaking to him tomorrow." I find that I'm angry at Trip, I know he can be tactless, but I have never known him be so rude. Malcolm doesn't answer me, instead looks at his plate and I again get the feeling that there is something going on between these two men. I decide to let it go for the moment and return the topic of conversation to something I know Malcolm will warm too, "So Malcolm how are the targeting scanner modifications coming?"


I walk slowly through the hallways to my quarters, relieved that the ordeal that was dinner is finally over. I know that the Captain will question Trip about his odd behaviour and I resign myself to the fact that our secret may be out. I think I can guess what had gone through Trip's mind when I told him about my Great Uncle. I recall the time when I had originally told the Captain that story and the fact that I didn't agree with socialising with superior officers, I chuckle to myself, and here I am sleeping with one. I know that I need to speak to Trip about it, but am too tired, I just want to sleep. I key the code to my door and enter my quarters and see him, sitting in the corner, the light dimmed.

"I'm sorry."

"About what?"

"For walkin' out like that…for embarrassin' you," he pauses, "Why didn't you tell me?" he asks, his face serious.

"Tell you what?" I know what he's talking about, but decide to feign ignorance.

"'bout your Uncle."

"It wasn't important," I shrug and sit on the bed removing my boots.

"Malcolm," he sighs, "Since we were stuck in that shuttlepod, thinking we were gonna die, it's been botherin' me why you were so angry about me sealing myself int' that airlock…threatened to shoot me if I recall…and now it all makes sense."

I know what he's going to say but just don't want to talk about it.

"I told you at the time Trip that…"

"…you had invested too much time gettin' to know me. I remember but we were barely friends then, why would you care and with your naval upbringing you'd expect an officer to do somethin' like that." He watches me closely and I try to control my features, "Then I thought maybe 'Malcolm wants to be the hero', but then you would have stunned me and climb in yourself. So it had t' be somethin' else."

"Look Trip, I'm tired, can we talk about this tomorrow?" I start to unzip my jumpsuit, Usually I would be eager for him to stay for the night but tonight I just want him to go.

"No we can't." Trip turns me to face him and he looks angry. "What really was going through your mind when I climbed int' that airlock?"

"I can't remember." I lie, trying to keep my own temper in check, "It's getting late, I really think you should leave. We can talk tomorrow."

"Malcolm you saw history repeatin' itself didn't you?"


"MALCOLM!" Trip grabs my arms as I try to turn away from him, I glare at him.

"All right! Yes!" I yell back, "I saw another chief engineer sacrifice his life for his crewmates, I saw another person I care about die, being a hero." I pull away from him and turn my back to him and in a quieter voice say. "Yes Trip even then I cared about you but I didn't know what your feelings would be. I thought you were straight and I couldn't live with the thought that you had died for a coward" I feel him walk up and stand behind me, then his hands turning me to face him.

"Malcolm you are not a coward, you're probably one of the bravest men I know"

I laugh bitterly at that, "My father would disagree with that."

"I don't give a shit what he thinks and you shouldn't either."

"But he's my father, his approval is important to me."

"Yeah, why?" He looks at me expectantly.

"Because…" my words trail off and I realise that after a lifetime of being basically ignored by my father I owe him nothing. I look into my lover's eyes and he sees it too.

"Malcolm you have done a lot of things t' make your family proud, t' get a posting on Earth's first warp five starship is some achievement and you've put yourself int' more dangerous situations than I care to count. You, me, the Cap'n and the rest of the crew know you ain't a coward and if your daddy has a problem with that, then he's gonna have t' speak t' me."

I smile at the solemn look on his face and know that the day Stuart Reed and Trip Tucker meet will be interesting to say the least. I caress his cheek and kiss him gently.

"Thank you." I say as I pull away and he smiles.

"No problem. I'd better go," he says reluctantly, "Gotta think of what I'm gonna say to the Cap'n tomorrow."

I know he has to leave, although part of me wants him to stay, but I know the Captain will be looking for him and if he's in my quarters, our secret will definitely be out. I walk to the door with him and he kisses me. It starts out gently but soon deepens as we show the trust, respect and love we feel for each other. Finally we break for air and Trip rests his forehead against mine.

"Love you." he smiles as leaves me alone.

I turn back to the bed and realise that Trip is right. Since our mission has begun I have finally found people who I can get close to, for the first time in my life I don't have to seek approval for my actions. Love and respect doesn't have to be earned by being a perfect Reed, it's given freely by people who I can call family, no strings, no conditions, they accept me as who I am, not who I should be, warts and all. I undress and settle into bed and realise what a lucky man I am to have found such love in my life.

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