Title: Synesthesia

Author: Kylie Lee

E-mail: kylielee1000@hotmail.com

Author's URL: http://www.geocities.com/kylielee1000/

Date: 02/13/2003

Length: ~1800 words

Fandom: Star Trek: Enterprise

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Type: Slash M/M

Rating: PG-13 (!)

Status: Complete

Summary: Tucker longs for Reed, in many senses of the word.

Feedback: Yes

Series/sequel: No

Archive: Yes to EntSTSlash, Archer's Enterprise, Tim Ruben, WWoMB, Allslash, Complete Kingdom of Slash, Luminosity, ASCEML, and Situation Room. Anyone else, obtain permission.

Disclaimer: Original material copyright 2003 Kylie Lee. This is not an attempt to infringe on Paramount's copyright. No money was made.

Spoilers: Two Days and Two Nights (mild)

Warnings: None

Beta: The Grrrl and Sarah. Have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate them and how much they rock?

Comment: Written in response to The Grrrl's first-time kiss challenge, posted on EntSTSlash: to have the boys exchange a kiss, and one of the parties is surprised. Don't die of shock—I only answered one challenge here. I wrote this for Kageygirl (http://www.kageygirl.com/). She knows why.


And the way his uniform pulls across his chest. And the way his ass fills out the back. And the way he stands, unselfconscious and masculine. And the way his hair falls in front of his eyes. And the gray-blue of his eyes. And the way he looks right at me and smiles, because he is—and don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for this—he is my friend.

"I need some assistance calibrating the phase cannons, Commander," he says.

I was aware of him the second he walked in, but I pretended not to see him right away. When he walks in, the air in the room seems different—thicker, somehow, because it's harder to breathe.

"I can send Lieutenant Hess over right now," I say. I want to minimize my time with him, because when his body is close to mine and I can't touch, it drives me crazy.

"But you're the expert on the power supply. Could you come yourself?"

I look into his gray-blue eyes. Yes, he's calm, centered, and completely unaware of how badly I want him. "Sure," I say, "but you'll have to wait until after lunch. Is it a big rush?"

"Not at all. Thank you. What time are you eating?"

"Oh, I can be in the armory at 1300."

"No, sorry, I just meant I'll probably see you in the mess. At noon?"

"Yes. I guess I'll see you there. Do you want to bring the specs?"

Malcolm shrugs. "I can," he says. "But I haven't seen you for a few days. We can catch up."

I'm touched. "I'd like that."

He stays another few minutes, and when he leaves, I can breathe again. When he stands by me, I think hard about business. I concentrate on not concentrating on the way his body looks. He's smaller than me, with dark hair, and he radiates an intensity I can't describe. I know what he looks like without clothes, more or less, because we've been in decon together and we've been tied up in basements together wearing only our blues, so I can dream about his bare chest, his naked legs.

We're only friends. But—those eyes. That ass. His forearms. His hands. When I close my eyes, I see him, and I pretend that when he's smiling at me, it's because he feels what I feel.

*** HEARING "Commander?"

"Oh, sorry. Here." There's a clink as I hand Malcolm the tool he asked for.

"Thanks. You seem distracted today. Are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"Because if you want to talk about it—"

"I don't want to talk about it, Lieutenant. I mean, there's nothing to talk about." Does he know that he just makes it harder when he's so damn nice to me?

"Sorry. I thought perhaps there was. I don't want to pry. Pardon me."

"You're not prying, Malcolm." I replace the component. "Try it now."

"Sorry, no, it still isn't working. Give it another go?"

"Sure. Just a sec here." I switch tools.

There's a brief pause. Then Malcolm says, "Can I ask you a question, Commander?"

I look up. "Ask away."

"I'm wondering about—about your accent."

"My accent? What about it?"

"Has it proven to be a liability?"

I ponder that. "Well, now that's an interesting question. I'd have to say yes and no. It's not a high-class accent, you know. Folks hear me and they think I'm not too bright. So they tend to—to kind of ignore me, or discount my ideas. It used to bug me. But sometimes, it works to my advantage. So I have no complaints." I turn the tables. "What about your accent?"

Malcolm smiles. "Oh, I have the opposite problem. Everyone hears British and assumes I'm charming and smart."

"What's wrong with that?"

"Well, for a start, in my case, it's not particularly true." The smile turns into a laugh.

"You don't have to laugh, Malcolm. I think you're charming and smart. And I don't think it's the accent. I think it's you."

"Well, thank you very much. I think you're charming and smart too." His voice changes, and he adds, "But I kinda think it's your accent."

I'm a little shocked. Does he do this behind my back, his Trip Tucker impersonation? "Hey! You can do American! You can do *me*! Is the British accent a put-on too?"

"No, alas, it's really me. Charming and smart, remember?"

"And funny," I say sternly. "I'm not forgetting funny. Now shut up and hand me that spanner."


I hit a button on the console, and we both turn and look at the phase cannon unit. Nothing. I turn and try again, and this time, something happens: it makes a "poof" noise, only metallic, and the acrid scent of smoke fills the air.

"For my next trick, I'll put out the fire," I yell at Malcolm. "Hey presto! Shazam!" I grab the fire extinguisher and start extinguishing.

"I'm really regretting we took this project on," Malcolm yells back. We're yelling because the fire alarm is going off, and underneath it all is the thick smell of burning plastic.

Things are confused for a few minutes. Some crewmen, the captain, and T'Pol all come in, I manage to put the fire out, and somehow the rest of Malcolm's armory team is there. It smells bad, it's hot, and the stupid phase cannons still don't work.

I don't mind a bit. Malcolm's scent, his nearness, do strange things to me. The heat and the crisis have ruffled him. He barks orders at his crew, until one of them surprises him into a laugh, and then the tension breaks.

I stay close to Malcolm. I can smell him despite the mess in the armory. The burning smell only makes me more aware of Malcolm's scent, maybe by way of contrast. The odor descends to the pit of my stomach. It swirls there, red and hot. It's more primal than the sound of his voice. I could shut my eyes and inhale, and I would know it's him.

"This is insane," I say. "Come on down to my office. Let's figure this out there."

He leads the way out, but I get the door for him, leaning in from behind to press the control. I do it because I brush against his body that way, and the scent of his skin and hair wafts back at me. And I inhale deeply and feel the scent coil in the pit of my stomach and groin, warming me.


We're alone in my office, and it's almost time for me to meet the captain and T'Pol for dinner. Malcolm knows this, of course, but he doesn't make a move to go, even though we're done. He stands there, sleeves rolled up to bare his forearms. I really like Malcolm's forearms. I'd noticed them a while ago, just like I'd noticed the way a lock of Malcolm's hair sometimes falls across his forehead. It usually happens when he's focused on something. It's happening right now. And the feeling in the pit of my stomach—it isn't going away. It's getting stronger.

"Malcolm," I say, and then I stop, because what I want to say and what I should say aren't the same thing.

Malcolm doesn't say anything. He just raises an eyebrow and waits.

"Malcolm, I need to tell you something," I say, and then I can't believe I just said that. I feel my face get red. I don't understand how Malcolm can do this to me. The minute I said, "I need to tell you something," instead of saying something like, "Let's go," or "Can I have that tech manual I lent you back?" I knew I couldn't go back. I have to go forward. Now I'm a quivering wreck, and Malcolm stands there, serene. A chasm separates us. I can't touch him. I want to touch him.

"What do you need to tell me?" Malcolm asks gently, and he takes a step closer.

I take a deep breath. Malcolm's eyes hold mine. Gray-blue eyes—gray-blue like an angry sea. But Malcolm isn't angry. "It's just that—" I try.


"I just—"

An expectant look.


He isn't going to help me. I exhale explosively. "I long for you, Malcolm," I say, because it's the simple truth.

Malcolm blinks. I close the gap between us and take Malcolm's hand in mine. And I was right. Malcolm is warm to the touch. My heart beats wildly as I touch the side of his face. I can't look away from those amazing eyes. And then those eyes come nearer as Malcolm steps closer and puts his arms around me.

"I know," Malcolm says.

I can't look away. I slide my hands against his chest, feeling the solid body underneath, and as I move my hands, I watch his pupils dilate. My fingers brush his neck, and it's like an electric spark jumps between us when bare skin touches bare skin. I step close and feel the warmth of his groin as his body presses against mine. My hands caress his shoulder blades.

I can feel him in my arms. That must mean he's mine.

We stand there for what seems like a long time, pressed against each other, soaking up the warmth, feeling each other's heartbeat, hands exploring chest and back and face. When Malcolm brushes my lips with his thumb, I feel it to the very core of me, and I can't stop myself. I don't want to stop.

I lean down and touch his lips with mine.


And I'm surprised.

I had thought about the kiss, had concentrated on not dreaming about the kiss, but my imagination appeared to be poor. I had never imagined this taste, this explosion of color, the heat that washed over my body, the drum of my heart, the pressure and warmth. I had never imagined.

I'm surprised at how easy it is—how easy, even after all the agonizing, the wanting, the looking, the admiring from afar. After all that. There's not even a pause. He kisses me back. Maybe he's the one kissing me. He was waiting for me. He was waiting for me the whole time.

His mouth tastes sweet. His skin tastes salty, and he makes a noise when I gently kiss and lick his jaw, feeling the rasp of the start of his beard. And his lips, his tongue, mouth on mouth, as we learn each other. And he tastes like he smells: deep and hot and clean. And I close my eyes because I had wanted so much, and I had wanted so long, and now I have it.

I taste desire. It's something we share.

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