TITLE: A Girl in Every Port

AUTHOR: Julian Lee

EMAIL: thwarted1066@yahoo.com

URL: http://www.geocities.com/thwarted1066/index.html

Date: 04/25/03

CATEGORY: Tucker/Reed


DISCLAIMER: I am not the two-headed being that is Berman and Braga. I am not Paramount. I don't own these characters (though I believe they'd like me best, if given the chance); I don't make any money from this venture.

SUMMARY: "Steel-Eyed Blues," or, when Malcolm stopped watching Sarda and started watching for Trip.

Archive: Yes to ENTSTCommunity

NOTES: This one's for you, Perpet. Thanks for the beta; thanks for all sorts of stuff. This fic certified 95% fluff by the Slash Fiction Underwriters' Commission (SFUC).


Malcolm yanked his head away from the cold glass of the tavern window, cursing himself. When had he stopped watching the sites of Sarda and started watching for Trip?

Malcolm rubbed his fingers across his forehead. Damn the man. None of this would be happening if Trip could answer a question like a sane person. That was the story Malcolm was sticking with, anyway.

All he had done was ask Trip—a perfectly valid, logical question, all things considered—about his plans for shore leave. And instead of answering, that perfectly exasperating specimen of the human race had started singing.

"I'm a travelin' man, made a lot of stops all over the world. And in every port I've opened the heart of at least one lovely girl." And then the insufferable prat had winked at him before swaggering up the corridor to his quarters.

Malcolm had been inclined to pass it off as a joke, but the song had continued to niggle at him—as had Trip's lascivious wink. Finally caving to his curiosity, the Lieutenant had pulled up the computer's information on Trip's song. "Travelin' Man," mid-twentieth century, Ricky Nelson. The rest of the lyrics were twice as offensive as the ones Trip had serenaded him with.

Hoping to get Trip to admit his joke, Malcolm had cornered him the next morning. "You never really answered my question."

Again the leering wink. And again the Commander's warbling tenor:

"Oh, my sweet Fraulein down in Berlin-town makes my heart start to yearn, And my China doll down in old Hong Kong waits for my return." Malcolm had made a sharp disapproving noise and walked away, shaking his head. "Really," he muttered, "the man is impossible."

Still, in the days that followed, Malcolm's thoughts had drifted repeatedly back to Trip and his song. Could it be true? The man was outgoing enough, the life of any party, with enough bluff good cheer for ten of Malcolm. Was there a chance that every shore leave since Enterprise left space dock had been nothing more than an opportunity for Trip to add another notch to his tool belt?

"Malcolm? Hey, man, you in there?"

Malcolm had blinked and looked up, unsure how long Travis had been calling his name. He turned out a wobbly smile. "Sorry, Travis. What did you say?"

His friend had smiled indulgently, and Malcolm had been grateful for the hundredth time that most of 'Enterprise's' crew believed his frequent bouts of absent-mindedness indicative of a single-minded devotion to weapons and tactics. "I asked what your plans were for shore leave," Travis said.

Obligingly, Malcolm had launched into an enthusiastic description of hiking trails, history museums, and dance performances he hoped to explore on the planet's surface.

His plans, he could say with some pride—though only to himself, of course—did not include Trip Tucker in any way.


The beginnings of Malcolm's shore leave had gone exactly according to plan. The sunrise over the Agalia Mountains, as he watched from the Forest of Giseling, was a riot of violets and greens that took his breath away and didn't make him wish Trip could be there to share it with him. Not once.

He misplaced several hours in the history museum. Although Sarda was a peaceful planet now, its history was filled with wars interplanetary and internecine, and Malcolm's tactical side reveled in exhibit after exhibit on military history. Some of these ideas he might be able to implement into the Enterprise weapons systems. He'd have to tell Trip when—Damn it.

When he reached the theater where the national dance company performed, the Lieutenant's plans began to unravel.

"At capacity?" he demanded.

The woman in the sales window smiled blandly. "I'm very sorry, sir," she said. "This is the company's most popular show of the season. We're sold out for at least three weeks. If you'd like to reserve an advanced ticket—"

"No, thank you," Malcolm replied, sighing. "I won't be here, then."

What now? He wasn't meeting Travis for dinner until 1900; they had arranged their plans around the performance. Now he had three hours with nothing to do.

I wonder what Trip's doing now.

Oh, for the love of—Malcolm stopped in the middle of the street, running a hand through his hair in frustration. He was not supposed to think of the Commander today. Trip was supposed to go off, find his girl in this port, and come back to Enterprise smug and self-satisfied. He wasn't supposed to be Malcolm's concern.

I wonder if it's even true, or if the song was just to get a rise out of me.

Malcolm growled to himself. Think, Reed. You have three hours and an entire planet; surely you can think of something to do with yourself.

Where do you suppose Trip finds his women?

Bugger all. Malcolm shook his head. Maybe there was no getting around the fact that Trip had well and truly snared his attention.

A drink, perhaps. Yes, that would do nicely. He would go into s local pub, have a drink, chat up the locals—he might not be as charming as Trip, but he could hold his own in a conversation.

And if he chose a pub in a seedier section of town, a borderline red-light district where a man in search of easy women might be hanging around…well, better, perhaps, not to think on that.

Which was how Malcolm found himself with his forehead pressed to the front window of a Sardic pub, unwilling even at this late stage in the game to confess that he was searching for a certain boisterous Southerner.

So, now, to go in or to move on? The pub looked reputable enough, a good place to stop for a while. If he moved on to another venue, he would have to admit that he was stalking Trip.

But if he went inside, he would have to stop stalking Trip.

As he stood outside debating, the door of an establishment at the end of the block opened, releasing none other than the object of Malcolm's musings. He came into the breezy afternoon, shielding his eyes against the slanting rays of sunset. Facing away from Malcolm, he didn't notice the Lieutenant duck into the entryway of 'his' bar and peek cautiously around a post to watch where Trip went next.

At least he was alone, Malcolm thought as the engineer consulted the PADD in his hand and moved purposefully up the street—right in Malcolm's direction. He withdrew further into the shadows, but Trip didn't even look his way. Once a suitable distance had grown between them, Malcolm slipped out of his hiding place and began to follow. Trip never once looked behind him, and Malcolm gritted his teeth and cursed the other man's recklessness. "When are you going to learn to be careful, Commander?" he muttered. "Anyone could sneak up on you." Although, in all honesty, Trip had little to fear. Sarda was practically crime-free, and at this hour there was hardly a soul on the streets. So Trip was in no danger of being followed by anyone but the person who wanted to prevent Trip being followed. Wonderful.

Trip walked for half an hour, city streets giving way to tree-lined suburban neighborhoods that could've been any on Earth. Elevated trains rumbled genially overhead; tykes on scooters rolled past; but no one heeded the two off-worlders with the too-pale skin and the too-few fingers. Malcolm gave up all hope of figuring out where Trip was headed.

At last, Trip turned and walked up a long driveway with an imposing—though open—gate. Frowning, Malcolm halted at the end of the walk, unsure he dared follow further. Craning his neck, he could just make out an enormous edifice that, apart from the pinkish tinge of the building stones, could've passed very well for the Reeds' abandoned ancestral estate in Scotland. But what the devil was it? He noticed the metal plate on a brick to the left of the drive. Shoving aside a clump of branches growing across the metal, Malcolm pointed his Universal Translator and watched the alien letters resolve themselves into—no, no, no. That couldn't possibly be right. Malcolm pulled out his communicator and connected to the bridge. "Reed to Sato."

"Go ahead, Lieutenant."

"Hoshi, I need you to translate something for me."

"Is your UT broken?" she asked worriedly.

"I'm not sure. I'm looking at a written word, and I'm not sure it's being translated correctly."

"Oh, okay. Send it up."

Malcolm again pointed his translator at the plate. "Got it?"

"Yeah. Hang on." There was a pause as Hoshi ran the word through the ship's database. "Lieutenant, where are you?"

"What does it mean?" he asked tersely.

He could picture Hoshi shaking her head. "It means 'orphanage.'"

Malcolm's hand went numb around his UT. Orphanage. No. It couldn't be. It just couldn't. When Trip sang about his girl in every port, he couldn't mean—he couldn't mean a girl in every port.

Oh, God.

"Lieutenant?" Hoshi's voice crackled over the comm link.

"Ah, sorry, Ensign." Malcolm shook his hand until feeling returned. "Thank you for the translation."

"No problem. Sato out." Her end clicked off.

Malcolm slipped the communicator and UT back into his pocket and stared at the walkway Trip had disappeared up. He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. If he didn't want to spend the rest of his leave—and maybe the rest of his life—thinking the worst of Commander Tucker, he would have to follow him inside the orphanage.

And not throw up.


Malcolm's understanding of Sardic religion was sketchy, but he had no doubt that this orphanage was a religious institution, or that the woman who came to the door when he rang the bell was akin to a nun. Malcolm's stomach roiled. He didn't have the best history with nuns.

"Good afternoon," she greeted him, tiny wrinkles crinkling at the corners of her dark brown eyes as she smiled at him. She reminded Malcolm of his grandmother, and he smiled back with considerable relief.

"Good afternoon," he replied. "My name is Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, and I—" He stopped. He what, exactly? 'I'm afraid one of my crewmates is a pedophile' didn't strike him as an appropriate opening gambit.

But the grandmotherly woman's eyes crinkled again. "You must be a friend of Commander Tucker's!" She stepped back and waved Malcolm in. "Of course! Right this way."

Well, that was a relief. She didn't seem angry about Trip's presence here, or that of his fellow-humans. But what if—Malcolm frowned. Temple prostitution had a history on any number of planets—including Earth. What if this smiling matron was the madam of some kind of sacred child brothel? It wasn't a possibility one liked to dwell on for long.

"My name is Donya," Malcolm's guide informed him as she led him along a long, softly-lit corridor inexplicably filled with randomly placed stairs. Two steps up here, three down there; keeping his footing was proving a challenge. "I must say, we were thrilled when your Commander Tucker contacted us last week. We do what we can to keep the children's days filled, but we know their lives can grow tedious, with only clerics and each other for company. So an alien visitor—from the crew of a deep-space vessel, no less!—is a real treat for them."

Some of the tightness around Malcolm's heart eased. "I'm sure it is," he said.

Around a corner, up and down several more odd miniature staircases, Donya stopped in front of a closed door. "In here."

Even without this announcement, he would have known that the engineer was inside from the wonderfully familiar sound that greeted him—Trip's harmonica. Malcolm smiled. Trip really could play the thing well.

Donya made a small gesture towards the door. "Aren't you going in?"

"I, ah—" Malcolm bit his lip, thinking fast. "I wouldn't wish to interrupt him while he's playing," he said. "Is there another way into the room?"

Nodding, Donya led him around the corner to a door which would be to Trip's right, behind the line of his peripheral vision. "Perfect," he said. "Thank you."

Donya smiled. "Should I tell him you've arrived? When he finishes this song, of course."

"No!" Malcolm tried to recover; he'd spoken too forcefully, but he needed to know what his crewmate was playing at. "I don't—that is—I'm here as an official observer from 'Enterprise.' Our Captain sent me to watch Commander Tucker and make sure he keeps out of trouble." My God. I'm lying to a nun.

"Trouble?" Donya frowned. "Commander Tucker?"

Malcolm suppressed a smile at the thought of Trip's various antics since their mission began. "He has been known to be a bit obstreperous."

"Be that as it may," the woman countered, leaving Malcolm stunned by the respect and affection Trip had stirred in this relative stranger, "I talked at length with the Commander when he contacted us, and I believe him to be a good man." Her gaze sharpened, and the finger waggling at Malcolm seemed even more disapproving because he knew there were thirteen more to be waggled. "A *very* good man."

Malcolm was hardly surprised to find that alien nuns intimidated him every bit as much as human ones. He took a step back, out of effective pointing range. "I agree. Still, an order is an order." Even a wholly invented one.

Donya hummed disapprovingly and walked away. Malcolm took a deep breath and pushed the door open.

A wide pillar shielded him from Trip and the children in the room. And they were children. A few sullen adolescents hung in the back of the room, trying to pretend they weren't interested in the visitor, but for the most part Trip's audience looked to be between six and ten, and they were glued to his every move.

Malcolm leaned against the pillar and watched as Trip ended one song and launched into another, and then another. The Lieutenant didn't know much about twentieth century American blues, but he recognized a few of the songs. Each piece reminded him anew of the engineer's talent. Really, it was a shame that life aboard Enterprise afforded him so few opportunities to play.

And over and over in Malcolm's head, a mantra of sorts was playing, keeping time with Trip's music. This man amazes me. He was beginning to see how little he knew Charles Tucker. When he thought of the Commander, he pictured the jocular chief engineer, overly protective of his engines, overly chummy with the Captain, overly cavalier towards life in general. Yet here was another side to him, a side Malcolm would never have guessed at. Here was Trip giving up an afternoon of the first shore leave he'd had in six months to entertain children at an alien orphanage. He was practically a harmonica virtuoso (as insane as that sounded). And, Malcolm admitted as he watched the blond American, long legs sprawled around the chair he had turned backwards, eyes closed in concentration, he was a truly gorgeous man.

At least, Malcolm noted gratefully, Trip was wearing old, frayed jeans and one of his loudest, tackiest tropical shirts. If the Commander started showing fashion sense, Malcolm's head might implode from the shock.

Trip paused and brought the harmonica away from his lips. "This is gonna be my last song," he said. As the children groaned in protest, Malcolm checked the chronometer on his communicator and was shocked to find that he had been standing here for an hour. He'd barely been aware of time passing. "Don't worry," Trip said, laughing. "I'm not done here yet. My lips just can't play much longer. This song—" The engineer blushed slightly. "I wrote myself. It's called 'Steel-Eyed Blues.'"

The instant Trip began to play, the atmosphere of the room changed. The song was melancholy, phrases crying after each other in a call-and-response that reminded Malcolm why this music was called 'the blues.' From the pain in Trip's face as he played, the song had been written with a specific person in mind. He didn't know who this 'Steel-Eyes' was, but they had better hope they never met Malcolm Reed.

When the song ended, the children stared at Trip in mute awe, and Malcolm imagined the look on his own face was very similar. Trip wrote that? Yet another hidden depth.

Smiling with uncharacteristic shyness, Trip returned the harmonica to its case and the case to his shirt pocket. Rubbing his palms on his pant legs, he grinned more openly and said, "What should I do now?"

Instantly, a chorus of young voices clamored, "A story! A story!"

Malcolm smiled. This was a side of Trip he knew well. The man could spin a story out of anything. It was a talent to which Malcolm often found himself indebted, as it had spared the two of them punishment more times than he cared to count.

"A story, huh?" Trip pretended to mull it over. "What kind a story should I tell?"

"One of your stories," a small girl in front, all enormous dark eyes and springy ringlets, called. "A story about your home."

Trip leaned towards the girl. "What's your name?"

"Nasheel," she answered quietly, suddenly shy from the unexpected attention.

Trip looked at the other children. "Nasheel wants a story about my home. What do ya think?"

An enthusiastic chorus rose up. Trip smiled and rested his forearms on the back of his chair. "All right." He rubbed his chin, deep in thought. "There are tons a wild, dangerous, magical creatures on Earth." he began. Malcolm crossed his arms across his gray t-shirt. This should be good. "Fire-breathing dragons, abominable snowmen, and the wily Porthos."

Malcolm bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing. He didn't like Trip telling children on other worlds such patently false tales about Earth, but he couldn't deny the humor in calling the Captain's beagle a magical creature.

"But of all the animals that roam Earth, none is more sought-after, or more prized, than the wild Malcolm."

Malcolm straightened, his arms dropping to his sides. What on—what was—fuck. He had to put a stop to this.

Before he had the chance, Trip was speaking again. "The Malcolm is a noble creature; fierce, proud, and independent, but also loyal, protective, very clever, and very beautiful." Trip sighed. "So very beautiful." He shook his head. "And so, one spring, after the snow outside my door had melted—"

Snow? Malcolm thought with an inward snort. In Florida?

"I took my sturdiest boots, my strongest length of rope, and my harmonica—" He patted the pocket where the trusty instrument rested, "and went into the forest in search of one."

The Lieutenant listened with horror as Trip wove his tale, a fantastical myth about a relentless man who battled every obstacle in his path to true love. That was the story Malcolm heard beneath the story, the undercurrent of determination and desire. Numbness crept over him. How long had Trip been hiding these feelings? Malcolm had been content to pine over the engineer from afar, but if the attraction was mutual, that made the situation worse, as Malcolm's personal policy against fraternization with superior officers was stricter even than Starfleet's, and now, knowing what he was missing out on…

None of that, of course, had any bearing on the terrible thing Trip was doing right now.

The story was drawing to a close. Trip told the children how, after his final, hair-raising encounter with the Malcolm ("Close enough to touch," he said wistfully), he realized this was not a creature that could be tamed. "So I gave up my quest," he told his spellbound audience—including the one behind the pillar. "But from that day 'til the day I left for Starfleet Academy, I always left a gift on my front porch for the Malcolm, hopin' that, one day, he would come to my door, and that if he did, he would know he was welcome."

Trip stopped speaking and returned his arms to the chair back, indicating that his tale had ended. The children continued to stare raptly at him. Malcolm knew how they felt.

A young man in robes similar to Donya's walked briskly to the front of the room. "And now I'm afraid our time together is at its end."

The children sent up a loud protest. Malcolm detached himself from his pillar and slipped from the room as the cleric insisted that even for as illustrious a guest as Commander Tucker, daily devotions could not be disrupted.

Illustrious. Malcolm snorted as he stormed up the hall. Three steps up. How illustrious could a man be who told a pack of bald-faced lies to a roomful of alien orphans, one of which involved turning a fellow crewmember into a wild animal?

But what to do about the situation? One step down. Confront Trip? He couldn't continue spreading this misinformation about Earth. But that conversation would involve Malcolm admitting having followed the engineer around all afternoon and eavesdropping on his confessions. Go to the Captain? Normally, Malcolm wouldn't dream of taking his personal problems to a superior officer, to say nothing of the breach of etiquette necessitated by going over Trip's head, but Captain Archer might be able to make a better impression on his old friend than Malcolm could.

That settled it, then. As soon has he returned to 'Enterprise,' he would—


Too lost in his thoughts to give proper attention to the bizarre layout of the hallway, Malcolm had taken a stair where there was none and ended up sprawled across the floor. Cursing, he tried to stand, only to discover that his left ankle was twisted in a somewhat unnatural direction. He winced. The injury was not severe, but it would complicate his return to town.

"Here, lemme give ya a hand."

"Thank you. I—" Twisting to his feet, Malcolm hissed.


In the dim corridor, Malcolm and Trip stared at each other like two trapped animals. "Commander Tucker," Malcolm said crisply. "Thank you for your assistance." He tried to turn away. He wasn't surprised when Trip's hand closed painfully around his bicep.

"What the hell are you doin' here?"

Malcolm stood as squarely as he could given that his ankle wasn't in any condition to bear weight. "I could ask you the same question."

Trip's bright blue eyes were ice-cold and narrowed in fury. "I was invited by the clerics who run this place. And you?" Of course Malcolm had no answer to that, so he simply intensified his glare. "Were you followin' me?"

"And if I were?" Malcolm shot back.

"I'd bust ya back to Crewman and confine your ass to the brig for the rest a the mission."

"Oh, would you?"

"Yeah, I would."

"Then I'll be prepared for company, because once I tell Captain Archer what you've done today—" "What I've done?" Trip's voice chilled.

"'The wild Malcolm'? You've told I don't know how many lies about Earth to a group of aliens—"

"So I told a bunch a Sardic orphans a fairy tale about Earth. None of 'em is ever gonna get there. And the fairy tales I learned when I was a kid haven't hurt me any."

"You've turned me into a laughingstock."

Trip's eyes widened. "How've I done that?"

"You've made me a joke, Trip! I am not a magical creature!"

The intensity of Trip's eyes could not be borne, and his voice was *so* quiet. "You are to me."

Well. Well, then. Indeed.


Trip stepped closer, and Malcolm found that his inability to step away had little to do with his ankle. "You have to know it, Malcolm. I'm no good at hidin' my feelings."

Malcolm shook his head. "I'd no idea."

Trip moved closer still. "I've been wantin' you since the first time I heard ya do your damned impression of me."

Malcolm had no idea Trip had ever heard that. Not that that was the salient point in the conversation. "I appreciate your honesty, Commander. Thank you."

Trip dropped his head, and in the corridor's half-light, Malcolm couldn't see his eyes. "You're welcome, Lieutenant," he said stiffly. "Excuse me." He pushed past, his shoulder jostling Malcolm's as he passed.

Malcolm closed his eyes. This was all for the best. Trip was a superior officer, a loose-tongued rake who couldn't keep a secret to save his life—especially not from the Captain. Besides which, it would never do for Enterprise's armory officer to make attachments that could lead to him placing Trip's life above the other crewmembers'—or even above the ship herself.

All for the best.

"Trip?" He felt the Commander still. "You wrote that song for me."

After a heartbreaking pause, Trip sighed. "Yeah."

All for the best.

But how were either of them to get any work done when they were in so much pain? "Trip?"

Rapidly losing patience, Trip snapped, "What?"

Slowly, Malcolm turned to face him. "I'm supposed to meet Travis for dinner in an hour. But I did something to my ankle, and I fear I won't make it in time."

That would not have been a surrender from anyone else, but Trip knew Malcolm well enough to see the gesture for what it was, and he was almost smiling as he returned to the Lieutenant's side. He wrapped an arm around Malcolm's waist, and Malcolm slid his arm across Trip's shoulders. Together, they hobbled towards the exit. "Do you do this on every shore leave?" Malcolm asked carefully.

Trip nodded. "Ever since the disaster on Risa. It keeps me outta trouble. Plus, it helps my problem of missin' kids so much. There's a lot a little Tuckers runnin' around Florida, and I miss 'em."

"I see." Malcolm thought for a minute. "Do you tell that story every time?"

Trip laughed shakily. "No."


"Sometimes I tell the version where I catch the Malcolm."

With Trip's arm warm across his back, Malcolm couldn't rouse the ire the statement warranted. He shook his head. "What have you been thinking, Trip?"

Sheepishly, Trip added, "He always escapes 'n runs away in the end."

Seventeen generations of Reeds spun in their graves, but Malcolm made his choice in that instant. He slowed and then stopped, forcing Trip to stop as well, looking at him in confusion. Malcolm put his hand on the side of Trip's neck. "I'm not running away this time," he said softly.

Trip's eyes widened, and he took an involuntary half-step backwards. "Malcolm, don't kid about this. Please."

"Reeds never kid. We're genetically incapable." He tilted his head, considering Trip's mouth and how much he'd like to kiss it. "Tell me, Trip, have any of your magical creatures ever kissed you before?"

"Have any—what?" Malcolm watched understanding sweep across Trip's face like a glorious sunrise, and the Commander's smile turned sly. "Porthos's licked my face a couple a times."

Growling, Malcolm shifted his grip to the back of Trip's neck and pulled his head down. "You are hopeless."

Hopeless, perhaps, but oh, could he kiss. His lips were at once both softer and firmer than Malcolm had imagined, his breath warm and sweet, and his tongue very agile once it teased past Malcolm's teeth. And his hands…the way they gripped Malcolm's hips, thumbs hooked through the belt loops of Malcolm's black jeans, made Malcolm feel more real than he had in years. As his own hand slid up Trip's back, he felt the muscles hidden from him by the hideous shirt, and he added one more item to his list of reasons to hate Trip's civilian wardrobe.

Reluctantly, Trip pulled away, resting his forehead against Malcolm's. "That was definitely better than gettin' my face licked."

Malcolm chuckled. "I would hope so. Though I'm sure some face-licking could be arranged later."

Trip pulled his head away. "Will there be a later?"

Malcolm tugged Trip down for another, reassuring kiss. "The wild Malcolm is very loyal."

Trip broke into a dazzling, giddy, goofy smile. "Thank God."

"And a little bit horny."

Trip's eyes widened. "Really?"

"Mind, I'm still mad at you," Malcolm warned.

"I don't blame you," Trip said. "But I know plenty a ways to apologize."

"Incorrigible," Malcolm said affectionately. "Come on. If I'm to make my dinner with Travis—"

"D'ya have ta?"

Malcolm frowned. "I see we'll have to have a talk soon about proper behavior."

Trip's face fell. "You're not gonna be any fun, are you?"

"I assure you, I am plenty fun," Malcolm said, cocking an eyebrow. "But you had to suspect that more than the usual amount of decorum would be involved in any relationship with a Reed."

Trip grinned. "I sure did. I'm just glad I'm gettin' the chance to test my theory."

"You know," Malcolm said, noticing Trip's self-satisfied smile, "you don't seem particularly surprised by this."

Trip's grin grew three times as insufferably smug. "I told you," he said, and, while Malcolm stood by, too horrified to stop him, Trip launched into the travesty of music that had started it all:

"And in every port I've opened the heart of at least one lovely girl." Malcolm hit Trip's shoulder. Hard. Trip pretended to be injured, and Malcolm laughed before kissing him again. "Oh, Trip. You really, really ought to stick to your harmonica."

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