TITLE: Closet Secret


E-MAIL: scarab@blueyonder.co.uk

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

DATE: 01/23/03

SUMMARY: A practical joke doesn't go to plan.

PAIRINGS: Tucker/Reed


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


FEEDBACK: Yes please, it helps feed the bunnies!

AUTHOR'S NOTES: A little bit of silliness inspired by a conversation that Nautika and I had involving Trip and Malcolm and, in a way, has a teeny weeny similarity to my 'How It All Began' story, although it's completely different!…you'll see what I mean. :o) Malcolm's POV.

DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately I don't own Enterprise or her crew, Paramount does (although if they ever get tired of any of the guys, they can stay at my place!) I can't believe he's still not talking to me. Of all the people on this ship who I knew could take a joke, I never thought Trip Tucker would never see the funny side. True in this case the joke is on him, but that's happened before and he's laughed and swore revenge, but this time he's taken the whole bloody thing far too seriously and all over a something so pathetic!

It had started when I had wanted to get my shirt back from Trip. We had been lovers for several months and like most people who share a bed, I had clothes in Trip's quarters and he has some in mine. This means that we can spend the night together and still have a clean uniform to wear if we're running late. I had opened the closet door in Trip's quarters and after sorting through his various brightly coloured shirts found the one I was looking for, dark blue and sensible. Suddenly something caught my eye on the top shelf and I reached in and picking it up smiled.

"Well, well Mister Tucker, who would have thought." I say to the empty room.

I decided then to play a trick on him and after leaving a message on a DATAPADD, left the room, my discovery wrapped in my shirt. I knew that Trip would be finishing his duty shift in about an hour and so returned to my quarters to shower and change and then walked to the messhall, where I was due to meet him for dinner.

I didn't have to wait long for him to walk in and after scanning the room and spotting me, come over.

"Not eating?" I ask as he makes no attempt to get any food.

"What?" He looks distracted and I begin to wonder whether it was as a result of my 'joke' or something had happened in Engineering.

"Trip, what's wrong?"

"Malcolm," he looks around making sure no one is listening into our conversation, "Have you been int' my quarters?"


"Someone's been in there, somethin's missin'."

"Are you sure?"

"When I left this mornin' I shut the closet door, it was open and then I found this."

He hands me a DATAPADD and I try my hardest to school my features as I read the message I had left.

"So what does this refer to?"

"It's personal." His reply surprises me.

"Trip if something has been taken from your quarters without your permission then as ship's security, I need to know so that I can try to find it."

He looks at me and I can see in his eyes that he is considering telling me, but then the look is gone and he gets up, picking up the PADD and without another word is gone.

This is not the reaction I expected and I realise that in my attempt to be funny I had upset the most important man in my life. I decide to end the joke and follow Trip into the hallway. He has already gone and I head towards his quarters. Once there I ring the chime and after a few seconds the door opens. He glances at me and then walks back into the room and I follow him.

"Trip, I'm sorry I left the ransom note, it was a joke, I thought you would laugh, see the funny side."

"So where did you put him?

"Him…! Trip.!" I can't believe that he's calling an inanimate object 'him'. "IT is in my quarters." I'm getting angry with his attitude and am stunned when he pushes past me and out into the hallway. Sighing in complete frustration I follow him to my quarters and open the door. Once we are both inside he looks around. I walk over to my own closet and pull out the item, handing it to him.

"You ain't damaged him, have ya?"

"Don't be so bloody ridiculous." I walk over and sit on my bed, trying to calm my own temper, "Trip I've seen you do some stupid things but I never thought you would ever be so pathetic over a bloody toy."

"Pathetic and stupid…well Malcolm that says a great deal 'bout what ya really think of me!" He walks out and I'm left shocked and wondering how the situation had got so out of hand so fast.

That had been three days ago and since then with the exception of duty related issues I haven't seen him or talked to him. When I have seen him he's not looked at me and I know that I need to talk to him, clear the air, even though I'm still annoyed that he's reacted the way he did. I make a decision to see him after my shift ends.

I pause before ringing the chime, wondering if he will let me in and relieved when he opens the door and steps aside allowing me to enter.

"I think we need to talk." I say and he nods and sits on the chair at his desk. I look around and decide to sit on his bed. I take a deep breath, "Trip I never meant to upset you and I'm sorry. I thought you would see the funny side and laugh. I never expected you to react so badly."

He doesn't say a word but stands and takes the object that started all this from his closet and sits it on the desk.

"This is Bubba."

I try not to laugh at the seriousness in his voice as he 'introduces' me to the small teddy bear.

"He's been in the Tucker family for nine generations."

I looked stunned and look at the bear more closely, it definitely is old but I never realised that it was as an antique. Suddenly I can understand why Trip was so angry when I had taken him and feel awful.

"I'm sorry, I never realised." I pause, "When did you get him?"

"When my Daddy died, just before this mission began," he smiled, "He always hoped t' go int' space someday but he had a rare heart condition, which finally killed him and this stopped him passing the medical. That's why when I told him I wanted t' be a warp engineer he was so pleased for me, finally a Tucker in space. When he died my Mom told me that he was so proud of me when I told him that I'd been assigned as Chief Engineer on the Enterprise." He pauses and picks up the bear, "He died soon after and I inherited Bubba. He's been in the Tucker family for over a century, but to me he was part of my father, so I thought that by bringing him with me, I'm finally getting my Daddy a chance t' go int' space."

I sit in silence and he looks at me, a strange look on his face.

"I bet now ya think I'm crazy too." He puts the bear back on his desk.

"No," I answer softly, walking over to him, "I think that is a lovely story and a wonderful reason to bring him with you, it's almost like a part of your past is being part of humanity's future here in the stars."

"I'm sorry I got mad at ya Malcolm, it's just that when I found he was gone, I panicked and thought that someone would use him for target practice or somethin'," he shrugs, "Thought maybe people would think that I had t' sleep with a teddy bear."

I smile at that, "Well I could put them right on that one." I walk up to him, "I'm sorry too, I should have realised that it was important to you, but why hide him in the closet. Why not have him sitting on a shelf."

"Well," He looks embarrassed for a moment, "I used t' have him sittin' out here, but then when we started datin' I thought you might laugh at me for having a teddy bear in my quarters."

"Would I have done that?" I answer and then notice his raised eyebrow, "Well okay I admit I would have asked about it, but I wouldn't have loved you any less."

"So ya still love me?" He asks as I pull him to his feet and wrap my arms around him.

"You have to ask?" I pull his head to mine, kissing him to show him just how much I love him as Bubba watches quietly.

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