Title: While You Were Out

Author: MJ

Author's e-mail: mjr91@aol.com

Author's URL: http://www.geocities.com/coffeeslash/mj/

Date: 04/03/03

Pairing: A/R

Rating: PG-13

Length: 850~ words

Spoilers: The Crossing

Author's Note: Reply to a privately issued challenge this morning. Where was Malcolm while that thing was in his body?

"I did *what*?" Lieutenant Malcolm Reed buried his face in his hands as he sat on the edge of Jonathan Archer's desk.

"I thought you'd want to know before you went on duty again," Archer explained. He sat up on the bed, facing his lover.

"I dogged Harris, I propositioned Curtiss in the turbolift, and I tried to molest the Sub-Commander? Jonathan, I cannot go back out there. I'm—damn it all, I am incredibly humiliated. I'll just be lucky if Curtiss doesn't file sexual harassment charges against me before the week's out."

"Malcolm." Archer flung his legs over the edge of the bed, now fully upright. "A quarter of the ship got taken over by those—those *things*. Everyone knows that. It's no secret, and neither is the fact that those alien—clouds—did some very strange things when they were in everyone's bodies." Archer looked over to Porthos, who was wagging his tail. The beagle had hidden himself during the crew's temporary possession by the other beings, apparently as cognizant of the strange behaviors as everyone else had been. "Nobody's going to blame you. Curtiss got sacked by one of the things herself later."

"I don't bloody care if the whole ship was possessed by tap-dancing monkeys and trained seals—the fact remains that I, or my body, at any rate, behaved completely inexcusably. I should put in for a transfer. Or resign. That would be much better, all things considered."

Archer stood, then closed the gap between himself and a dismally pouting Reed. "Don't be an idiot." He slid an arm around Reed's waist and pulled the other man closer, to lean against him. "Nobody's filing charges against anybody; if they were, Trip would be the first one up for a court-martial. He assaulted several crewmen, attacked Phlox, attempted to sabotage the plan to get rid of those—whatever they were. But it wasn't Trip—his body was there, but his mind was off somewhere at a rib cookout in Florida the whole damned time. If Trip's not getting dragged off in chains, I'm certainly not locking you in the brig until we meet up with some Vulcan ship that can haul you back to Jupiter Station for permanent sentry duty." He planted a kiss in Reed's hair.

"By the way, you've never told me—where were *you* while that thing that got in you was trying to seduce T'Pol?"

Malcolm blushed. "I don't think you quite want to know."

"Try me."

"I was…" Malcolm trailed off as he burrowed against his lover. "You really don't want to hear this, Jon."

"Oh? Now I *really* want to know." Archer perched himself against his desk, still holding Reed, settling in for the story. "And if you don't tell me, I *will* throw you in the brig for impeding my investigation of this incident."

"Oh, my God. You're not going to put this in a report, are you?"

"Not if you tell me," Archer blackmailed. "I only have to report that my crew was suffering from hallucinations of things they either recalled from their pasts—like Trip's visit to the beach—or of fantasies they'd had. I don't have to itemize anything. But I don't have to be specific."

"I presume that means *I* don't have to be specific?"

"Spill it, Malcolm," Archer growled. "All right, but I *did* warn you…" Reed took a deep breath and sank more deeply against Archer. Archer shifted slightly, adjusting to Reed's weight. "I was back on the spaceport when we were chasing Kl'aang."

"That's an odd place…"

"Not really, Jon. I'm afraid you didn't get to go wandering through the red-light district there that Travis and I went through."


"Spaceport. Red-light district." Malcolm paused. "Good lord, there's a bloody whorehouse on Jupiter Station, and we all damn well know it, it's just that Starfleet still wants to pretend that woman's really running a private health club. Well, there were quite a few more of them where we were chasing that blasted Klingon."

Archer was fascinated. "You'd better go on, Malcolm. No quitting this story now."

"There was this one male brothel we—well, I suggested we'd better cut through. I…I wanted to get a look inside, I'm afraid. So I told Travis that I thought there might be a Klingon bioreading there so I had an excuse to go in."


"And?" Reed laughed, recalling the incident. "Poor Travis. I don't think he'd seen anything like it before on more than one count." He paused. "Look, Jon…this was before we got together, you and I."

"I know that, Malcolm."

"Right…it's not that, you know; it's—damn it, we've only been seeing each other for what, five months now, and you want to hear about my having a hallucination that I was shagging my way through a spaceport bordello?"

Archer bit his lip. "No, come to think of it, I *don't* want to hear about it."


"Come on, get in bed."


"I don't want to hear about it; I think you need to show me."


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