TITLE: Mistaken Betrayal


E-MAIL: scarab@blueyonder.co.uk

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

Date: 01/02/2003

SUMMARY: Trip finds out that his lover has been unfaithful…or has he?

PAIRINGS: Reed/Tucker


ARCHIVE: My page on Nautika's site, the list archive and anywhere else, just remind me where it's going.

WARNINGS: No spoilers, takes place sometime in second season though.

FEEDBACK: Yes please, it helps feed the bunnies!

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This came to me today while I was at work and as I was bored out of my skull, I wrote it, so forgive any grammatical errors. I hope you enjoy it!

How the man had the nerve to just sit there as if he's innocent I'll never know. I should have known that like my previous three relationships this one was doomed. I knew that in the past he never took his relationships seriously, he told me as much when we were trapped on the shuttlepod, but I always believed that was because he had never met the person who he wanted to get close to. When we had got together he had assured me that this time he was prepared to let all his defences down, that he would for the first time let someone into his heart and I fell for it. How could I have been so stupid. I knew we would have to be discreet and that would put extra pressure on our involvement and we both knew the risks to our careers, but I thought it was worth it, I thought he was worth it. How wrong could I be and that's why I had to get out of there. Had to walk away before the hurt and betrayal showed itself too clearly on my face. The hurt that my lover has cheated on me with my best friend. I didn't even think the two were attracted to each other, but after what Hoshi said at the breakfast table a lot of things make sense now. The cancelled dates, the not being where he was supposed to be and I never suspected a thing. How could I be so stupid.

Four Hours Previously

I sit at the breakfast table watching Malcolm as he eats his pancakes. I love this time of the day, especially since Malcolm has had to put in a few extra shifts over the last few weeks. I can't lie and say that I wasn't disappointed that our date last night was cancelled but like the previous occasions we are first and foremost Starfleet officers and I know that Malcolm will make it up to me, as I have when I've been caught up in Engineering.

"Can I join you?"

I look up and see Hoshi Sato standing over me and feel briefly put out that my nice quiet moment with Malcolm is over but I still indicate the chair and smile as she sits.

"So who is she Malcolm?" Her comment startles me and I know my own puzzled expression must match his. "Sorry, who?"

"The woman I saw you with in the observation lounge last night." She looks at me grinning slyly, "Seemed to be getting really cosy."

"Really?" I manage to say, my heart turning to lead, "And I thought you said somethin' 'bout havin' t' work an extra shift in the armoury."

"You must have been mistaken, Hoshi" Malcolm looks uncomfortable.

"Nope it was definitely you. I couldn't see who you were with though but you were sitting very close and talking softly, like you have been when I've seen you there before. Always partially in the shadows. So come on let me know who's the lucky lady?"

This statement cuts like a knife and I find I can't bear to sit there any longer, I quickly get to my feet, glancing briefly at Malcolm, who has a strange look in his eyes. He looks as if he wants to say something to me, but apart from the Captain, no-one knows about us and so he stays silent.

"Gotta go, got some stuff in Engineerin' t' do."

Somehow I manage to get my legs to take me out of the room, the cheerful sounds of people enjoying the start of new day too painful to hear. What right have they got to be happy when my entire world is falling apart. I decide to speak to the one person I know I can rely on, my best friend.

I track Jon down in his Ready Room and he notices straight away that I'm not my usual self and tells me to sit down. I rub my face and am just about to tell him of the shock I've had when he receives a hail.

"Reed to Archer"

"Archer here."

"I need to speak to you urgently…I think he knows."

I watch Jon close his eyes and rest his head on the wall as comprehension hits me like a wave.

"Later Lieutenant, I have a meeting with Trip…"

I don't hear the end of the sentence as I race out, I want to scream, yell, hit something. It wasn't a woman who was with Malcolm last night; it was Jonathan Archer, my best friend. In the space of about 10 minutes two of the people, I care about the most have betrayed me.

Now I sit in my quarters thinking of how I had been so blind. Malcolm had tried hailing me a few times and so had Jon. They've even come down to my quarters but the door's locked and Malcolm and Jon's security overrides won't open it…I'm not the Chief Engineer for nothing. They've gone through the different techniques to try to get me to open the door from begging and pleading to threatening and angry. What do I care now if the Captain puts me on charges for insubordination, or behaviour unbecoming a Starfleet officer. Everything I've ever believed in has been taken from me and I just don't care. I know Jon is probably panicking and trying to keep this from the crew, that's why they've gone away. To give me time to calm down and I am calm now.

I don't think I can cry anymore. I'm ashamed that I have cried over this but I don't give my heart lightly and I never thought Malcolm would do this to me. I admit to myself that we need to talk, I need to hear him admit that he has been unfaithful, maybe to hear him apologise and the usual lines, it just happened…we never meant to hurt you…maybe we could still be friends. I walk to the comm unit and take a breath.

"Tucker to Reed" I'm pleased that my voice doesn't crack.

"Reed here."

"We need t' talk", I pause, "My quarters, just you."

I sever the connection and walk to my small bathroom. Looking into the mirror I see that my eyes are red and puffy and decide I can't let Malcolm see me like this. I wet a cloth and wipe my face, just as I hear the door chime. I walk over and remove the lock allowing him to come in. As he walks in I turn my back on him, I can't bear to look at his face.

"I'm sorry Trip, it's not what you think."

"And what do I think?" I turn to face him and he seems startled by the anguish in my face.

"My God. Trip I am so sorry, I never realised I'd hurt you."

"Ya cheat on me and are surprised that I'm hurt by it." I shake my head and walk to the couch, sitting heavily.

Malcolm sits in the chair opposite; he clasps his hands in his lap and looks miserable. Part of me wants to reach out to him, but I'm the one that has been wronged and I resist.

"I admit that I have been meeting the Captain secretly in the observation lounge over the last couple of weeks but it isn't what you think. We've been planning something for your birthday next month."

"Do I look that stupid." I get up and pace the room, "Why the secrecy from the rest of the crew, why choose late night meetings, you could see the Captain anytime during the day, say you've got security protocols to discuss"

"We couldn't contact your family during the day", Malcolm yells at me, "it's late at night there and from what the Captain tells me about your family they wouldn't appreciate being woken up to discuss their son's birthday plans and we wasn't sure we could pull it off." I'm stunned by his outburst but I'm not entirely convinced.

"What have my family got t' do with it?" I ask as I resume my seat.

"You have a large family don't you but you always see each other."

"Yeah, we have lots of family get t'gethers, weddings, funerals, Christmas, birthdays…" my voice trails off as I realise what Malcolm and Jon had tried to do for me.

"This will be your second birthday away from Earth, away from the massive celebrations of the Tucker clan and we thought that if Charles Tucker the Third couldn't get together with his family on his birthday, then we'll do the best we can to get his family to him." Malcolm stands and walks over to me, kneeling at my feet and takes my hands, "I know that you love them all and that you miss them and it was going to be your birthday gift from us both." He looks into my eyes, "I swear that I am not having an affair and I am so sorry that I had to put you through this but believe me when I say I haven't betrayed you, I love you and only you." He pulls a datachip from his pocket and hands it to me. "These are messages that we have so far from you family, we planned on giving them to you on the day.

I put the chip into the computer and call up the first message. It's from my Mom and I watch as she smiles proudly at me and begins her message. It feels so good to see her and hear her voice, but I end the message and hate myself for having to check what Malcolm had said to me. I feel an idiot and know that I need to apologise to them both.

"I'm sorry," I manage to say as my throat begins to tighten, "You must really think I'm a dumbass."

"No, I can't blame you for coming to the wrong conclusions. I'm sorry I hurt you," He looks at me and grins, and you're not a dumbass but you do have a cute ass!"

I find myself smiling back, "Smartass!" I feel awkward at the situation and notice Malcolm is just as unsure.

"I have to get back to the bridge, we can meet up later if you want, make up for last night." He walks to the door.

"Malcolm," he stops and turns back to me.


I walk up to him giving him the datachip and gently kiss him, it isn't passionate but I convey all the love I have for him in it.

"Save this for my birthday."

He smiles and leaves my quarters and I sigh deeply. I walk over to the comm unit realising that it's best not to put anything off.

"Tucker to Archer."

"Archer here."

"Ya got a minute Cap'n?"

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