Title: Aftershocks

Author: Macx

E-mail: macx@nexgo.de

URL: http://home.arcor.de/macx/index.html

Date: 12/22/02

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Type: Slash M/M

Rating: PG-13

Status: done

Spoilers: Shockwave II (major) and Terra Nova (very minor)

Archive: Sure!

Feedback: empty inbox seeks emails!

Disclaimer: Don't own a single one of 'em. All Paramount's.

Author's Voice of Warning (aka Author's Note): English is not my first language; it's German. This is the best I can do. Any mistakes you find in here, collect them and you might win a prize <g>The spell-checker said everything's okay, but you know how trustworthy those thingies are…

The door to the quarters whooshed open. The two soldiers, carrying a third, limp body between them, stepped inside and threw the unresponsive third man onto the ground. A faint groan could be heard, but it fell on deaf ears anyway. Without a second glance, the two aliens left again, locking the door behind themselves.

Malcolm Reed lay where he had been dropped, trying to find the strength to move. He wondered if he really was in his own quarters. If he was, where were the two unconscious Suliban? Probably they had been found. And Hoshi? Had she been able to make an escape?

His head hurt from thinking, from concentrating, and he felt a wave of nausea assault him. Malcolm tried to roll around, but that only worsened the condition he was in. One eyes was by now completely swollen shut and the other only took in blurry images. His teeth ached, his head was assaulted by a splitting migraine, and his throat felt raw. His lips were split, dry blood caking the sensitive flesh and skin. Blood drops were splattered everywhere over his uniform and face. He knew he had to look like hell; he definitely felt like it.

It was close to an eternity until he could move enough again to roll onto his side, attempting to get up. The room spun crazily as he made it into a kneeling position and coughs threatened to make his head explode. Bloody hell, he thought fuzzily.

The Suliban had had one hard right hook. Not to mention the grip on his uniform, choking him. His throat had to be as colorful as the rest of his face.

The spinning and nausea didn't abate and a part of him clinically reported the very likely possibility of a concussion. Malcolm crawled over to the bathroom and just about made it to the toilet before he lost control of the sick feeling, throwing up breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Exhausted, he sank to the cool floor, curling up, waiting to die. He wanted to die. The pain was incredible and each thought was like a spike driven into his brain. He had had concussion before and he knew where all this came from, but it was nothing to get used to.

The exhaustion finally turned into sleep. Try as he might, he couldn't get himself to move again. He wanted to get up and out of the bathroom; he wanted to find a way to aide the others, but his body refused to cooperate.


Trip knew he had little time to check on the man he had, unwillingly and without a direct order anyway, sent into the hands of the enemy. The rational part told him that Malcolm had been the only one capable of pulling this off. He had been needed in the engine room, Hoshi had been no candidate at all, and T'Pol wouldn't have been able to make it look right.

The emotional part had protested all the way.

Now, with Enterprise pulling away from the Helix, T'Pol had proceeded to the bridge while Tucker wanted to drop by Reed's quarters.

Keying in the personal code, he stepped inside, eyes quickly darting around to search for his partner.

"Malcolm?" he called.

No response. Trip walked into the bathroom and stopped dead in his tracks.

"Shit!" he cursed.

Malcolm lay curled up on the floor, face looking like someone had mistaken him with a punching ball. That was exactly what had happened. The uniform was partially open and Trip could see the colorful bruises there, too.

"Oh, Mal," he murmured and knelt down beside the man.

He studied the damage done to his partner's face and wondered what shape the rest of his body was in. Trip reached out one hand, then stopped. There wasn't a place that didn't look painful…

"Let's get you out of here," he said softly and managed to drag his lover onto the bed, though it was a feat.

Reed moaned once, making feeble defensive moves with his hands, but then quieted down again.

"Shit, Mal," the blond sighed again and carefully combed the short hair. "I'm sorry."

Enterprise was suddenly shaken and Trip looked up. He was needed on the bridge, but the emotional side screamed at the mere thought. Still, the officer won. He walked up to the comm.

"Tucker to Phlox."

"Phlox here, Commander."

"Could you come down to Lieutenant Reed's quarters? He was beaten up quite severely and is currently unconscious. I'm needed on the bridge, doc…"

"I understand," came the soothing reply of their resident Denoblian. "I'll be there right away."

"Thanks." Trip bent down and placed a tender kiss on his lover's forehead, then smiled sadly. "See ya later, love. Got some Suliban asses to kick."


It was the first time since coming aboard Enterprise that Jonathan Archer had the chance to look at his Armory Officer. Really look. And he didn't like what he saw. Malcolm's face, though cleaned and his injuries treated, looked worse than after a bar brawl at Jupiter Station. Not that he could imagine the Brit ever being in one. His left eyes was still not completely open, the lip looked grossly swollen, and there were numerous, very colorful bruises all over his cheek and throat.

Minor injuries? Archer thought, replaying the words T'Pol had used. Hell, that didn't look minor to him.

Reed was upright, on his own two feet, and he had refused a stay in sickbay, which was understandable. Trip was hovering close to his lover's side, trying not to be too obvious in his worry but failing miserably. There was a haunted expression in those blue eyes and like most of the crew, he looked rather disheveled.

Enterprise was far away from the Helix, with no pursuers, and contact with Starfleet had been brief but meaningful. Archer knew that a longer session was still up on the horizon. Right now, though, it was time to give his crew some time off. All of them had been through hell of some degree, not to mention torture, and they needed rest.

He made it an order.

"Aye, aye, Cap'n," Trip quipped, though the grin didn't reach as far as usually. Too much had happened.

Retiring to his own quarters, Archer smiled as Porthos greeted him with an enthusiastic bounce.

"Hey there," he murmured. "Long time no see, my friend."


Malcolm gazed into the mirror, noting in disdain how beaten up he looked. Well, he felt like it, so there had to be physical evidence, butstill…Phlox had given him some salve for the worst bruises and told him to come back for further treatment after a good night's sleep. He just hoped the Denoblian didn't mean 'animal treatment', applying some kind of alien worm to him or whatnot. He had had the dubious honor of osmotic eel treatment before because of a bullet wound. Not something he wanted to repeat. While painless, looking at some grayish-brown, shapeless thing attached to his leg was somewhat…weird.

His throat was a mottled black and blue, down to his chest, and there were grooves imprinted where his throat met his chest. They came from the Suliban armor pressed into his tender flesh several times. His headache had receded, but now and then it flared up again. The concussion wasn't healed yet.

"Hey, handsome," a throaty voice whispered and he looked at Trip through the mirror.

Tucker stood in the doorway, a warm expression in his eyes, shoulder and hip resting against the frame. Like Malcolm he was out of uniform.

"I doubt that," Reed replied softly.

Trip walked up to him and slipped strong arms around his narrow waist. "Let me be the judge of that, love," he whispered and tenderly kissed the uninjured side of his neck.

"I look like a bad stretch of road, Trip!"

"Who says so?" Another kiss, trailing up to his ear lobe.

"I do. I have eyes, Trip."

"So do I. And memory. You'll heal up fine, Malcolm. You'll be okay. And to me, you're always the most handsome man out there." Teeth tugged gently at his lobe. "And in here."

Reed let his head fall back against his lover's shoulder, closing his eyes. Loving fingers slipped under his shirt and massaged his stomach, trailing little paths over the warm skin.

"Sorry it had to be you," Trip went on, each breath a warm puff of air against Malcolm's cheek. "There was only one choice. One sensible choice. And you knew it."

"Yeah. Part of me knew. 'Nother part was protestin' all the way…" Malcolm smiled and his hands lightly clasped over Trip's. "It worked out just fine, luv."

"With some hiccups."

"Interrogation was to be expected," Reed argued. "As was brute force."

Trip winced and briefly tightened his hold.

"I had a role to play, like everyone involved in this scheme. We all acted out our parts and because of it, Captain Archer returned and we're safe. It was a good plan."

"Yeah, yeah. I know that, Mal."

Malcolm turned in the embrace. "But?"

"Somehow, you end up in the middle of it all anyway."

He shrugged slightly. "Happens."

Trip pressed his lips ever so lightly against Malcolm's. "Don't like it."

"I'd be worried if you did."

Another light kiss, trying not to aggravate present injuries. "Love you," the engineer whispered.

Malcolm deepened the kiss as much as he could, which wasn't much, and he winced when the injuries twinged. Trip pulled off, worry in his eyes.

"I'm okay," Reed whispered, maneuvering him into the main room.

"You're beat up, black and blue all over…"

"And I'm alive." Malcolm gently caressed his lover's left cheek with onehand. He smiled as Tucker leaned into the touch. "I'm here."

"Yeah." Trip leaned down and trailed faint kisses over his face. "Let's get to bed. We both need some sleep."

Malcolm followed him over to the bed and both slipped under the covers. Trip pulled him close. There was no thought lost about possible closer encounters of the intimate kind. Neither man was up for more than just being together, feeling the other's warmth. Malcolm smiled and curled an arm around his lover, snuggling closer. Trip rubbed a hand over his back, soothing and calming.

It was how he finally drifted off.

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