Title: Love Me

Author: Beverly Crusher

E-mail: bev_crusher1971@yahoo.de

Date: 09/16/03

Rating: NC-17

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Archive: EntST*, Archer's Enterprise

Category: slash (m/m)

Characters: Archer/Reed (who else?)

Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything…poor little me nothing…just playing…blah blah woof woof

Summary: Love isn't always easy, and T'Pol is glad not to be human.

Feedback: Please, please, please…thatīs what truly makes my day and gives me hope, that there is someone out there, who enjoys reading as much as I do enjoy writing.


I've never seen him like that before. He seems to suffer. But I don't know why. His already fair skin has even gone a shade whiter, he eats too little, and I haven't seen him at the movie-nights for a long time. But he's in the gym nearly every night, working out till he's near to collapsing.

Malcolm has always been on the lean side, but now I'm really worried that he's lost quite a bit of weight.

I've mentioned it to Phlox, and he promised me he'd talk to Malcolm without mentioning my name.

He did.

But it didn't help any. Physically Malcolm's in good shape. So Phlox presumes that he must be wrestling with some kind of emotional problem.

Hell, I've even talked to Jonny about it. I know, I know. That should have been a last resort, but seeing Malc like this really scares me half to death.

Jon said he'd invite Malcolm to breakfast to try to see if he can get him to talk about what's bothering him. I hope he figures something out soon, or he's gonna start having some physical problems. He can't keep going on like he is.

Malcolm's one of my closest friends here. To be honest, it hurts to be shut out like this. Hell, he hasn't spoken to me properly for at least two weeks. Tomorrow's gonna be the breakfast with Jon.

God, I hope he is more successful than I was.


He has invited me to breakfast again. I shuddering to remember the last time he did so.

It was a disaster, to put it mildly. I was completely incapable of relaxing in front of my commanding officer. I never learned how to do that, since my father taught me to always show the utmost respect to my CO. But Captain Archer is so different from any captain I've ever served with. At our last breakfast, he teased me about "bringing my homework with me" when I tried to steer the conversation to professional matters.

It was embarrassing.

This time it will be no better. I'm certain of it. I've seen the worry in Trip's eyes. I've heard Phlox's concern about my weight loss. Trip has tried several times to talk to me. But I can't. I cut him off with some pretty lame excuses. I know that's not fair to him. He's the closest thing to a friend I've ever had, but I still can't possibly tell him the source of my problem.

I'm in love.

Truly, madly, deeply—if not very wisely.

I'm sure Trip would be happy about it if I told him I'd fallen for some lovely young woman. Someone like Hoshi, perhaps, or Liz. Even T'Pol would do, though he'd probably slap my back and tell me to dream on.

I can't say a word to Trip about this, for the person I've fallen for is his best friend, and our captain.

And now said captain has invited me to breakfast. In his private mess. Tomorrow. And I have to sit there, alone with him, making light conversation, eating Chef's delicious "eggs benedict", tasting nothing. And all the time I'll be thinking about kissing him senseless, gliding my tongue over his muscular back, running my hands through his hair, and fucking him into heaven…oh god, I'm getting hard just thinking about him.

It's 2343 hours now. I think I should go to the gym, just for a short run. Maybe ten or twelve miles will do…

Jonathan, the next morning

I was really shocked as the doors opened and revealed a pale, almost fragile looking Malcolm Reed.

Of course I've noticed the changes—the way he's been avoiding Trip. And me. Even Travis hasn't spoken to him in quite a while. Neither has Hoshi. Well, at least not really. Nothing beyond "Hello" and "Good bye" in the mess.

And now he's standing there, framed by the doorway, looking so shy and uncomfortable. If I didn't know better, I'd say he looked lovelorn. The look in his eyes makes me want to just take him in my arms, kiss him, hold him, and…


Stop it, Jonathan Archer. Dammit, you're his captain. His superior. His CO. If there's ever going to be any kind of-…-whatever between us, it has to come from him. He has to initiate it. I must not, it's completely against all regulations. I could be court-martialed for even thinking about it. So I decide for now to lock my feelings for this extraordinary man deep inside my heart and throw the key away. Well, maybe not too far away…just in case he ever indicates that he wants me that way…

This breakfast is almost as terrible as the first one. He speaks only when he's asked a direct question, and I guess he could be eating wood shavings without even noticing it, though he's staring a hole in his plate.

Trip's right. Something's definitely going on here, so I take a first tentative step.

"Malcolm, don't you like the eggs?"

His head snaps up as if I had slapped him in the face.

"No, I mean, yes…they…they're fine, sir."

Fine. Ha. Everything's always fine. He could break his leg, and when you ask how he's feeling, sure as hell he'll say "I'm fine, sir."

His head drops again. I smile, and try a bit of sarcasm.

"Then why aren't you eating? You're raking your plate, shoving the eggs from one side to the other, but you're not eating. Don't you feel well?"

This time he raises his head a bit more slowly. For a moment I can see emotion in his eyes. I swallow hard. What I see there is unadulterated lust, passion, desire…but it's all gone in a blink of an eye. Within milliseconds his mask snaps back into place. All I see now is the face of Lt. Give-me-something-to-blow-away.

What is he trying so hard to hide?

I look at him more closely now. His eyes are clouded, his cheekbones are so tapered, they seem to nearly burst through his skin. His skin. It's like fine porcelain—shining, pale, almost translucent.

Without thinking, I clasp his hand and squeeze it lightly. His eyes widen and he looks at me like a deer caught in the headlights of a car, as the old saying went.

"Malcolm, you know you can tell me anything, right? I'm not only your captain. I hope you consider me your friend, too."

And most of all I want to be your lover, want to kiss you, want to stroke you, and want to make love to you until you beg me to never ever stop again…Good God, Jon, pull yourself together and concentrate on HIS problem.

I release his hand and go on eating as if nothing had happened. Malcolm seems to hesitate as he lifts the fork to his mouth, and I can see his hand slightly shaking.

"So, what is it?"

"What do you mean, sir?"

I put down my fork, and resist the temptation to take his hand again.

"Something's bothering you. I can feel it. Whatever it is, you can tell me about it."

He looks at me, all professional armory officer.

"Has anything been amiss with my work recently, sir?"

I wince a bit at the formality. Of course he would take it that way. I should have guessed it.

"No. Nothing. Your work's excellent as always. Malcolm. This isn't about your work. It's about you, Malcolm. Look at yourself. You've lost weight. You're pale, you hardly eat and yet you work out hard every night in the gym. That's not okay. Not even for you."

Aaahh…mistake. He backs away and his eyes, these beautiful gray eyes, narrow suspiciously.

He opens his mouth to say something, when suddenly Trip's voice calls over the comm.

"Tucker to Captain Archer. Are you busy or could I talk to you for an second?"

I curse inwardly and go to the comm.

"Archer here. Is it important, Trip?"

"I want to talk with you about some modifications on the warp engines."

That's our secret code for when he wants to discuss something in private with me. I glance at Malcolm, who seems visibly relieved, at the chance to escape. I nod at him with a smile. He jumps up, and with a slight nod in return, he's out the door in a flash. I sigh.

"Trip? What is it really?"

"He's still there?"

"No, left a second ago. I'm sure he'll hail you as his savior. Do you want to come up here, have a cup of coffee with me?"

"On my way, Jon."

I close the comm and stare at the remains of our breakfast without really seeing it.


I don't even have to ask. One look at Jon's face tells me more than any words. He's helpless, too. I sip at my coffee.

"He didn't let anything out, did he?"

Jon shakes his head.

"Nope, not a single word. He's locked up like an oyster. We talked a bit about his work, about the new weapon systems, and that was it."

Jon is pacing the room like he always does when he's thinking about something. Then he heaves a deep sigh and sits down across from me.

"If I didn't know better…you know what I'd think? That he's in love…and has no idea what to do about it."

I stare at Jon. Of course. That's it! It was so easy. And all the time it was there right in front of my nose. I jump up—and grin at Jon's questioning look.

"If you're right and our English man is really lovesick, then I have just the therapy for him. Trust me. With a little luck, I'll be able to fill you in tomorrow."

I empty my mug and head out of door. Okay, Malcolm. If I were you, where would I be licking my wounds…?


What is it about these people? Can't they just leave me alone? Trip just caught me on my way to the armory and invited me for dinner in his quarters tonight. Well, at least I think it intended as some kind of invitation.

His exact words were: "Dinner. Tonight. 1900 hours. My quarters. You'd better be there or I'll personally break each of your damned stubborn British bones."

Wasn't that a lovely invitation?

Who could deny him?


Okay, I got him. Plus I've got two real good bottles of scotch. My plan's pretty simple. Give a man enough really strong stuff to drink, and he'll tell you pretty much everything you ever wanted to know. Maybe even more , sometimes. I asked Chef to make something light for dinner; I want the alcohol to work fast and efficiently. I'm so sick of sneaking around Malcolm, imagining, probing, guessing…just trying to figure out what's up with him.

Now I'm gonna take the easy way…fill him up and let him talk. Works almost every time.

He should be here any minute. I don't…

beep beep

There. If it isn't Lt. Punctual!

"Come in."

The door hisses open and there he is -a compact figure standing in the doorway. Wary, with a strange burning in his eyes, he's dressed in casual blue jeans and a white T-shirt. I can see he's not too happy to be here. I pretty much threatened him to get him here. But hey…I was successful, wasn't I?

I gesture to the laid table.

"Come in. Dinner's ready. Would you like a beer? Or do you prefer wine?"

Malcolm stares at me like I'm crazy. Then he mumbles.

"A beer would be nice, thanks."

He walks past me and I can smell his unique scent. Whew…poor lady. Or poor guy, whoever it is, Malcolm has set his eyes on. Once he finds the courage to chase after his prey, the lucky victim won't have a chance against him.

He goes to the table and sits down. Dinner passes pretty much without conversation, but I make sure he's never holding an empty beer bottle. When we finish eating, he's on his third beer, while I'm still nursing my first. It's a sacrifice, but one of us has to stay sober. And that definitely would be me.

When we move over to the couch, I see he's a bit tipsy. Not bad, but not enough. I pour two drinks of whiskey, a smaller one for me, a bigger one for him.

We clink glasses and for the next twenty minutes we talk about everything and nothing. I can see him finally relaxing. His tension seems to ease, and his eyes become dreamy. When his glass is empty, I refill it over his half-hearted protests.

When his voice gets a little blurry, I know he's ready for the questions. Malcolm would be proud of my tactics here. I change the topic abruptly plunging right into the deep end.

"So, who's the lucky one?"

Malcolm stares at me in shock. But he recovers himself pretty fast for a guy who's had that much to drink.

"I donno whachure talkin' 'bout." Yep, that's where I want to have him.

"Aw, come on, Malc. I know you too well, plus I wasn't born yesterday—I can read the signs. You're in love, aren't you?"

He blushes furiously. Bingo. I never knew anybody could get that red in the face. But his blush tells me everything I need to know. I'm absolutely right.


Oh, what a British word. I get him. I'm so close to getting him.

"C'mon, tell me about it…you know that I know now. So, who is it? Liz Cutler? She's really cute. Or Hoshi? Sue? Hey, is it Brian from engineering? Donna? Kevin from armory?"

"Caponcher." he mumbles.

I didn't understand him, so I lean closer and ask.

"Huh? What was that?"

He raises his head, his eyes are glowing now. His cheeks are still red, the hand holding his glass is shaking a little. With the expression of a haunted man on his face, he looks me straight in the eye and says, accentuating each syllable,

"I said Captain Archer!"

Oh boy.

If I had known then what I know now, I might never have asked him. While I recover from my shock, he starts talking. Well, to be honest, it was my plan to make him talk. But it was NEVER my intention to listen for two solid hours worth of praise for the oh-so-holy-captain. I never knew that Jonny had so many good traits. As far as Malcolm is concerned, our captain is pretty close to being canonized.

Hot damn. I never thought Malcolm could be romantic. But once the dam is broken, he seems unable to stop.

And I just can't bear to make him stop. I don't want to. I'm his friend. I want to be there, to be his shoulder to lean on. To be his confessor and his co-conspirator. I made him talk, I owe it to him to listen to whatever he wants to say.

When he leaves, it's 0239 in the morning, and he has my promise that I'll never ever breathe a word to Jonny about our conversation.

Now I know a lot of things about Jonny that I truly never wanted to know. Like the way his muscles move under his uniform. Or how his eyes shine when he laughs. Malcolm described in every detail how the sweat trickles down Jon's neck when they are together in decon. Hell, I've certainly never thought about Jon as being sexy. But Malcolm made me think of Jonny in a way I never did before.

I can't say I really like it.

Now I'm deadly tired. We emptied the first bottle completely and started the second one. I know I'm gonna have one hell of a hangover in the mornin'. But that's what Phlox is there for, right? But now all I need is a bed and an eyeful of sleep.


I woke up this morning with an ungodly headache. I'm hardly able to stand up, and I'm feeling sick in my stomach. Thinking about last night, my mind gives me only a weird, blurry vision.

That vision slowly gets clearer.

Oh my god, what did I tell Trip last night? Did I tell him about? Oh no. The memories come back in a flash. I bury my face in my hands and now I feel truly wretched. Not only did I tell him everything, I went on and on about the captain to his best friend. I'm not sure if I can ever look him in the eye again. He will surely tell the captain all about it.

No, wait. A glimpse of hope.

I didn't leave before Trip had given me his promise to remain silent about everything I said about the captain.

I take a cold shower and go straight to the armory. I'm not really hungry. Maybe later…

Five hours later

I slowly raise my head when someone touches my shoulder. Normally I'm startled when someone comes near me without me noticing his approach. But I'm too tired. I look up and see Trip, his blue eyes clouded with concern. I wonder how late it might be.

"Hi, there. What are you doing here?"

I know it sounds very impolite and surely not like myself, but I can barely think. My stomach still isn't working quite properly and my hands are shaking. I've avoided the mess hall today even more than I usually do. I wasn't sure if I could ever look at Trip again, after more or less crying my heart out on his shoulder.

I should have known him better. His blue eyes are staring directly into my soul. We've been through too much together not to know each other quite well. He sits down next to me.

"Mal, what is it? Do you regret telling me about your feelings for Jonny?"

I look down at my hands, which are folded. He mustn't see them shaking. "No, Trip. I'm not." I whisper.

"I just don't know what to do with myself. I can barely sleep. I have to force myself to eat something. Whenever I hear his voice, my heart seems to be pounding so loud that I'm afraid he might hear it. I close my eyes and all I see is Jon. His face, his hands, his eyes, his smile. Trip, what can I do?"

I hate sounding like that. I'm almost whimpering. But what the hell, Trip knows all about it already anyway. He's the only one I can talk to.

He's silent. Then he grabs my arm, and pulls me up. I sway slightly, but he steadies me…in more than one way.

"Come on, English man. Let's get you some comfort. Beginning with food."


He's asleep. Finally. It took me three pieces of pineapple-pie, one pecan-nut-pie, three cups of herbal tea, and lots of soul stroking. He's lying in my bed his stomach now well-filled, and is sound asleep. The backrub I gave him finally sent him off into dreamland. I hold him close, not like a lover, but as a friend. Just to make sure he's not alone when he stirs in his sleep. Which he does often. Too often. He clings to me like I'm his anchor in the stormy seas of his dreams.

I wish I hadn't been so quick to give him my word not to say anything to Jon. There has to be a way to get around that without exactly breaking my word. I need a co-conspirator.


No, it would be all around the ship faster then I could say 'warp core breach'.


Hmm, see Hoshi.

Phlox? Maybe. He's always keen on knowing everything about humans.


T'Pol! Perfect. I gently lay Malcolm on the bed and jump up to my computer. This is a delicate subject, and it has to be treated carefully. I'll send her a message to explain everything, and ask for a little private meeting tomorrow at 1000 hours.

When I return to my bed, Malcolm is shifting, as though he's uncomfortable. In a way he reminds me of Porthos, shuffling around in his bed, trying to find the best spot for a nap. When I lay my hand on his shoulder, he grabs it, presses it to his heart, before sinking down into deep-sleep again.

I sigh. Lucky Jon. When what Malcolm feels is mutual, he's gonna be the luckiest guy in the universe. And somehow, deep down in my heart, I must admit that I envy him a little bit.

T'Pol, the next morning

I will never understand Humans. I just received a very confusing message from Comdr. Tucker.

Concerning Lt. Reed.

He wants to meet with me to discuss a private matter. He should be here any minute.

beep beep

He's here exactly when he said he would be. I've come to appreciate that about Comdr. Tucker. I open the door and ask him to enter. He appears to be somewhat uncomfortable, as if he is not sure whether coming here was an appropriate action for him to take. I ask him to sit down, and we share a cup of my morning tea. Since he seems reluctant to do so, I address the issue he raised in his message.

"Comdr. Tucker. I'm not entirely sure that I interpreted your message correctly. Are you requesting that I spy on Captain Archer?"

He winces. Then he looks me straight in the eye.

"Subcommander, can we just talk? Putting the ranks aside for a minute?"

I nod.

This must be important to him, as he relaxes visibly at my response.

"Okay, I have a problem concerning Malcolm Reed and Jonathan Archer. I don't want you to SPY on Jonny. That's too harsh a word. I want you to talk with him, maybe carefully question him to try to find out if he has any kind of feelings for Malcolm. And if he has, what kind of feelings those might be. Does he think of Malcolm as a friend or maybe as something more, like a real close friend, if you take my meaning."

I understand. At least I think that I understand.

"Your Mr. Reed…he has…feelings…for the captain then, I am to assume?"

Comdr. Tucker nods his agreement.

"Oh yes, you could say that. Very strong, very passionate feelings. He's head over heels in love with Jonny. And I promised him, I HAD to promise him, not to say a single word to Jon about any of it. But I never promised him not to talk to YOU. So, I didn't break my promise. I just can't stand to see him suffer like this anymore. Please, T'Pol, could you do this? For Malcolm?"

I remain silent for a little while. It is absolutely not my intention to interfere in human mating rites, but I can understand the point that Comdr. Tucker is making. Lt. Reed has indeed been somewhat less efficient than usual, more absentminded in the last few weeks. We are in a very quiet part of the galaxy here, but if we were to meet a hostile species, if Lt. Reed were not at his best, the encounter could have an unfavorable outcome.

If Comdr. Tucker is correct, then bringing Lt. Reed and Captain Archer "together", as humans put it, could enhance the quality of his work and perhaps the captain's as well.

I look at Comdr. Tucker again; his eyes are fixed on me. I nod my agreement and I can tell that he is relieved that I've agreed to help him. He jumps up and wants to take my hand to thank me, but he remembers just in time that I prefer not to be touched. He drew himself together and speaks more formally.

"Thank you, Subcommander. Not for me, but for Malcolm and Jon."

The he turns and leaves my quarters.

I sit down again. I require a logical explanation for why I would ask Captain Archer about his feelings. Of course I have noticed the recent changes in Lt. Reed, too. His loss of weight, his paleness, the dark circles under his eyes. Comdr. Tucker referred to him as "lovesick". This is another human emotion that I will never be able to understand. If Lt. Reed's condition is typical of this emotional state, I believe I am fortunate not to experience it. But I have been asked to help. And I find that I wish to do what I can to provide the necessary assistance. This is the first time anyone from the crew has come to me for help with a personal matter. I will not disappoint him. I get up again, and step over to the comm.

"T'Pol to Captain Archer."

His response is almost immediate.

"Yes, Subcommander?"

"May I speak with you in private, please?"

"Sure. Do you want to come in my Ready Room?"

"That would be acceptable. I will be there in fifteen minutes."

I close the comm. The best way to proceed is to take this logically. I have not made any promises, so I do not have to hide anything or dissemble. I will simply ask him directly.


What the hell is wrong with T'Pol this morning?

She's sitting here in my Ready Room for about fifteen minutes now, and if I didn't know better, I'd say she is confused.


T'Pol has never been confused before, at least not that she's ever let me see. But she is talking about some things that sound pretty strange coming from her like the necessity of having a partner, a soul-mate, as the Vulcans put it. She is explaining the relevance of feelings, of love, of companionship.

Huh? A Vulcan is sitting here explaining the importance of feelings and love to a human? I think I'm the one who is confused as hell.

I interrupt her. I know, that it's very impolite, but I have to know one thing. Could it be that my cold-hearted Subcommander has fallen for a human?

"T'Pol, whom exactly are we talking about?"

She looks at me with her big dark eyes, her face emotionless as always.

"Lt. Reed, of course."

I swallow hard, and feel myself go pale. I turn around, so she can't see my eyes.

No, not him. Not Malcolm. Why did she have to fall for Malcolm? He's mine. I want him to be mine. I so desperately need him, and want him to be mine. And why did she say 'of course'?

"How does he feel about it?"

Her gaze is becoming a bit softer.

"He's in love. Head over heels, as Comdr. Tucker explained it."

Trip. He knows about it? Why am I the last to know? Hell, I am the captain, I'm supposed to know what the hell is going on with the people on my ship!

Hold it, Jonny. It's not as if they have to ask permission to fall in love.

Love. Have they gone that far? Do they love each other?

Malcolm and T'Pol. When did this happen? HOW could it happen?

My god, it hurts. I just want to crawl into my bed, pull the blanket up over my head, and see and hear nothing for the next two days. I'm not listening to her anymore. I can see her lips moving, but my brain seems unable to process it.

I dismiss her with a wave of my hand, before slumping heavily in my chair. I bury my head in my hands and feel like crying. But I can't. I feel empty and exhausted. I cancel my dinner with Trip with a short note, saying that I still had some important work to do.

Ha! Work!

The only thing I have to do is grieve my loss.


Malcolm kisses me softly hello, as he enters my Ready Room. I must have fallen asleep, after T'Pol left. I open my eyes and look directly into his tender gray orbs. There's this adorable half-smile, twitching his lips upwards a little, and his right hand is lying on my shoulder, while his left caresses my sleep-ruffled hair.

"Hello, love. Say, was the day that hard? You didn't even make it to our quarters. I was waiting there for you for over an hour now."

Did I hear that right? Our quarters? Hell, who cares…

I clasp his neck tenderly and pull him down to me again, kissing those delicious lips once more, and, as we deepen the kiss, I'm dueling with his talented tongue. I hear a muffled moan coming from Malcolm, as he slowly sinks to his knees beside my chair.

Gasping for air, we part after several minutes. I get up, and pull him with me. He laughs. I stare at him for a moment, and I'm sure I've never before heard a sound more beautiful. Then I feel a smile coming from deep within me, and without thinking I let it out.

"Come on, my Malcolm. Let's go to our quarters, and I'll show you, that your waiting wasn't in vain

I take his hand, holding it tight against my chest, when suddenly…

"Captain Archer?"

I sigh. Oh no, not now.

I look at Malcolm. Do I dare ignore this call? Go with my lover to my quarters and love him to heaven instead?

"Captain Archer? You okay in there?"

I raise my head with a jerk. For a few seconds my hands want to reach out for Malcolm, but my Ready Room is empty. With a loud *thud* my head falls back on the table.

"Jonny? Are you all right?"

I slowly get up and walk over to the comm.

"Archer here. Trip, what's up?"

"I was just going to ask you the same. I'm calling you for the third time now. If you didn't answered this time, I would have called Malcolm to override your security codes. You're sure you're okay? You sound a bit…muffled."

I turn and look at my desk. I had been dreaming again. In my dreams Malcolm and I are lovers. Always. In my dreams I can touch him, kiss him, feel him, make love to him, and sometimes even fuck his brains to the stars. Oh god, just the thought of it makes my pants tight. I concentrate on Trip.

"I'm okay. No need to bother Malcolm. By the way, he might be busy."

I'm cranky. I know I shouldn't be, but I can't help it. And I should know by now that Trip can read between my words.

Trip seems amazed at what I'm saying.

"No more busy than always. Why should he be? He's in the armory. Sure, he's not too well, but he's on duty."

"Not too well? Maybe T'Pol can take care of him now. I'm sure that would make him feel better."

My god, I'm ashamed of myself. I sound like a rejected lover. But with this last dream still in my heart, the mere thought of Malcolm and T'Pol together fills me with anger. And disappointment. And sorrow.

"Malcolm? And T'Pol? Jon, what the…ah, wait. I'll be there in a minute, okay?"

Now Trip seems to be really thrown off-balance. Before I can reply, he has closed the comm.

beep beep

Wow, that man is fast. Why the hell is he here? To twist the knife in the wound that has just been made by T'Pol? There is only one good thing about this whole mess. It can't get worse.

"Come in."

What do I have to lose?


Hell, I'm almost startled when I look at Jon. It looks like he slept in those clothes. The work on his desk is untouched, and all the PADDs are in exactly the same spot where I put them this morning. He has deep, dark shadows under his eyes. His "brilliant, shiny, green eyes", as Malcolm put it- so poetically.

I look at him and wonder what in the world T'Pol could have told him or asked him. When he'd asked her how it had gone, she just mentioned that he seemed a little absentminded or distracted.

Absentminded? Ha! He's standing right next to himself.

"Jon? What's wrong?"

He gestures to the couch under the viewport and let himself slump down.

"Nothing. Just…bad dreams. Call 'em nightmares."

I don't believe a single word. No way!

"You know, Malcolm, " I see him wince, as I mentioned Malcolm's name. Good. "Malcolm has problems with sleeping, too."

He barely looks up, just waves with one hand.

"He should see Phlox about it. And maybe T'Pol can give him one of those famous Vulcan massages."

Suddenly I understand. He must have taken the whole conversation with her the wrong way. All of a sudden, I can see it all too clearly. How could I be so stupid? What kind of a friend am I? He's nearly as madly in love as Malcolm. All these little comments about T'Pol and Malcolm? He's jealous. He thinks T'Pol is interested in Malcolm.

I smile. Then I giggle. And then I can't help myself and burst out laughing. This is so ridiculous.

Malcolm and T'Pol?

Jon shoots me angry looks and I can see he's close to throwing me out of his ready room.

Before he can say anything, I raise a hand to stop him.

"Wait, Jonny, wait. You really think T'Pol and Malcolm are in love with each other?"

He nods briskly. I wipe a laughing tear away.

"Why? Jonny, what did T'Pol tell you?"

He looks at me and his anger subsides a bit.

"She told me something about soul-mates, partners, love. Stuff like that. And they were all about Malcolm."

I look at him with a deadpan expression.

"Jon. Did you listen to her closely? Did you really understand what she was trying to say?"

He bows his head and stares very interested at his right hand. Then he slowly shakes his head.

"Jon, look. I…ah…oh god, Mal is going to kill me for this. But I have to tell you. Jon. What do you feel for Malcolm? Honestly?"

He pales and then he flushes furiously, turning almost as deep a red as Malcolm had.

"I love him."

The words come quietly, but with conviction.

I can feel my face go wide in an imitation of Phlox's goofy grin. Here we are.

"Jon, what would you do if I told you that he loves you, too? All his suffering, his nights in the gym, his loss of weight; it's all because he's madly, desperately in love with you."

Jon's head snaps up. The color had drained from his face, leaving it pale and angry.

"Don't mess with me, Trip. Don't do that to me."

I walk over to the couch and sit down beside him.

"I'm not joking, Jon. Very far from it. You remember what I said, about me making Malcolm talk? Well, he did. And it was a hymn to you. Every word was only for you. Hell, he described your body so intimately, I guess I can never go into decon with you again without staring."

A tiny smile appears in the corner of his mouth, finding it's way into his eyes.

"He did?"

I nod. Oh, another mistake. For the next two hours I'm stuck here listening to Jon praising Malcolm. And boy, that man has fantasies…

Malcolm 2043 hours

I'm completely exhausted. The last night's sleep had been wonderful, but waking up next to Trip this morning has been a little disturbing. Now my shift's finally over, and I want nothing more than take a shower and go to bed.

When I enter my quarters, my heart seems to skip a beat. There, in the middle of the room, sits Porthos. He jumps up and comes to greet me enthusiastically.

Without much thought, I stroke him behind his soft ear, when suddenly…


…something stings me. Fastened to his collar is a flower. A single red rose.

I swallow hard, and carefully remove the flower. It is attached to a little slip of paper. I open it, and tears come to my eyes while I'm reading it.

"When you know the meaning of this flower, and when you're ready to take the consequences, follow Porthos."

My hands begin to tremble. No name. No signature. I don't need one. Who else would use Porthos as cupid, if not Jon?

Hastily I strip off my uniform and put on a pair of blue jeans and my favorite black shirt. I don't dare to take time for a shower. Who knows how long Porthos has been sitting here? I comb my hair carelessly with my fingers, then I look at the little dog and open the door.

He runs down the corridor and turns left. I follow him. For anybody not knowing what's going on, it must look like I was playing some catch-me-if-you-can with him.

After a few minutes, and a few turns to left and right, I'm standing before Captain Archer's quarters. I'm panting lightly. Porthos is in much better shape than I am. What a shame! Before I can raise my hand to ring the chime, the door before me opens.

I stand and stare in wonder. Soft music is playing, the entire room is lit only by candles, and the table is laid for two. Porthos runs over to the viewport and there he is. I swallow as I let my gaze wander over this man. The captain is dressed in a black suit, white shirt and a dark tie, and he looks absolutely adorable. Despite his elegant attire, he lifts Porthos up and buries his nose in the warm fur of his dog.

"Hey, sweetie, I see you brought someone with you?"

Now he lifts his gaze and looks at me.

"Hello Malcolm. It's so good to see you again. You look great. Would you do me the favor of having dinner with me?"

I take a step forward and the door shuts hissing behind me. Suddenly I feel totally underdressed as I watch this stunningly beautiful man before me. I want to take his face in my hands and want to kiss him, until we both feel dizzy, I…

"Of course. Thank you, Captain."

His smile fades for a second, and promptly I get nervous. What? Was it something I said? It was indeed.

"No ranks here, Malcolm, please. Not tonight."

He comes closer, his right hand still caresses his beagle's neck. Oh how I wish I could be that beagle. Now he lets him down, goes to the chair and pulls him back a bit. I'm sure my jaw is going to hit the floor any minute now. Will this man never stop surprising me? He waits until I seat myself, then gently pushes the chair back in place. He pours the wine into our glasses, mine first. Then he finally sits down himself.

We clink our glasses together, and without thinking I make a toast.

"To the ones we love."

His eyes are green as the lakes in Ireland as he repeats the toast. Suddenly, he puts his glass down.

"Malcolm, I want you to know something."

My heart turns to stone. That's it. It's over before it began. He can't have a relationship with a subordinate. He doesn't like men. He doesn't like me. My voice sounds slightly breathless, even to my own ears.


He takes my hand and squeezes it lightly.

"No ranks, please. Malcolm, what I want to tell you…ah…this is not easy for me."

I slowly but insistently pull my hand away. He doesn't need to say it. I know it. Somehow he must have heard about my feelings. Now he's looking for the most careful way to tell me that this feeling's not mutual.

But he just tightens his grip on my hand, so I'm unable to free it.

In my head I say his name over and over again, to gain the courage and call him, for the first time, by his given name. Jon…Jon…Jon

"Jon, I think I understand."

The bright smile of sheer joy on his face, when he hears me calling him Jon, almost takes my breath away. And it breaks my heart even more, for I know that he's just being friendly, no more.

I continue, to make it easier for him. I stare into my glass and gather all my courage.

"Look, Cap…ah…Jon. I know, this must be terribly hard for you. And I'm truly the last one who wants to make things…more difficult…or complicated. I know that you don't feel the way I do. So, let's just forget it, and go on as we were. I understand perfectly."

Okay, that's it. I stare at the table, for I don't want to see the relief on his face, which must undoubtedly be there by now.

Silence. He says nothing.

Suddenly a hand touches mine; startled, I look up directly into these amazing green eyes. They are sad, and I wonder why. His voice is very quiet, very tender, as he speaks.

"Malcolm, Trip told me about your feelings. No…," he holds up a hand, as my head snaps up. I'm going to kill Trip with my own bare hands.

"No, don't hurt him. He had to. After you told him about…me, he desperately tried to find a way to help you. To help US. So he drafted T'Pol. She came to me and talked about partners, about soul mates, and I had absolutely no clue as to what she really wanted to say. Then she mentioned you. And you know what?"

Speechless, I can only shake my head. He seems a little abashed now, still stroking my hand with his thumb.

"I wanted to kill her. I wanted to hurt her. I wanted to throw her out of the nearest air-lock. For I was certain that she finally had what I so longed for…you. Your love, your heart. And I was so jealous. I was sure that I've lost you. Who can compete with T'Pol? Then Trip came and found me broken…literally. I was so down that he had an easy time getting me to admit what was wrong. I told him everything I thought I knew about T'Pol and you. And do you know what he did? He laughed. He laughed so hard that he cried. And I wanted to beat him, for I thought he was laughing at me, about my feelings. Only then he told me of your dinner and the drinking that you two had done together, and all the things you've told him. Can you imagine my relief? But there is still something you have to know."

His voice now becomes urgent, so I meet his eyes again.

"I am your superior officer. You are my subordinate. Whatever it is that is between us now or ever, I MAY NOT initiate it."

The last part of the sentence remains unspoken. He may not initiate it, but I can. If there were to be a chance for the two of us, then I have to make the first move.

Slowly I reach across the table and touch his face. His closes his eyes and leans his face into my hand, covering my hand with his.


My voice sounds husky, even to my own ears.

His eyes open slowly, and suddenly he reminds me of a beautiful cougar. His look is lazy, but I can feel the tension lying underneath, waiting. I gather all my courage and lean closer to him, slide my hand behind his neck, and pull him closer, till our lips are only millimeters apart.

"I love you." I'm breathing against his mouth and at last, finally I kiss him. Not only in my dreams, but in reality. His lips are so soft, and they part under my pressure. Within seconds our tongues are dueling in a dance of desire. He tastes so good, I never want to let him go. His hands reach out and I can feel them wrapping possessively around my neck, where they begin to play with a few strands of my hair. I can hardly believe this is happening, when I feel him pulling me out of my chair and onto his lap.


Oh my god.

I never thought it would feel so good. He's finally here where he belongs. In my arms, my life, on my lap, and I can touch him, kiss him, hold him tight, and press him against me. I have to pinch myself a bit, to make sure I'm not dreaming again. But his weight on my legs is real, as is the rapid beating of his heart against mine, and his tongue in my mouth.

After a few minutes we break apart, panting. I look into his stormy eyes. They are clouded with passion. I feel his aroused member pressed against mine and when he slightly shifts position, I can't hold back a deep moan.

His hands comb through my hair, and with a very seductive smile he loosens my tie and tosses it aside. Now he opens my shirt, one button after the other, incredibly slow. Tantalizing.

When he touches my bare skin for the first time, I inhale sharply. I get up, carrying him with me, which elicits a startled gasp from him. He clings to me like he was made just to do that.

"Jon, don't. I'm too heavy for you." he murmurs in my ear.

"Are you kidding? How much weight have you lost? Five pounds? Ten?"

"Twelve." He mumbles shyly.

I almost drop him. That's why he's so easy to carry. Carefully I lower him to my bed, and begin to undress him. With every piece of clothing that's removed, I kiss a new part of this magnificent body. When he's naked at least, I sit back on my heels to admire the view.

He's gorgeous. I always knew it. Within seconds I rip my own clothes off my body, and when I can feel him for the first time skin to skin, it's almost enough to make me come. I'm incredibly hard.

I lie down next to this man, and lay my hand on his chest to feel his heart beating. Gazing up in his face, I let myself fall and drown in these eyes that haunted me night after night. Without much thinking, I say the first thing that comes to my mind.

"I love you."

His smile lights up the whole room and I can't resist kissing those smiling lips again and again. My hands wander slowly down his body, stroking, caressing, teasing. I play with his nipples, which makes him breathe heavier. Tenderly I kiss his shoulder before moving deeper. Deeper in the southern direction. My hands roam over his body, discovering every inch of his beautiful skin.

Mine. It's all mine now. I can touch him whenever I like. I move my hands to his fully erect cock and slowly close my fingers around him. He nearly jumps off the bed. Then suddenly a thought crosses my mind.

I prop myself up on one elbow and look lovingly at him. His face is flushed, his breath comes in ragged gasps and he's absolutely adorable. But there is one thing I have to know.

"Malcolm? Have you ever had a male lover before?"

He stares at me as if I'm out of my mind to ask him this just now. Then he nods slowly, while his eyes darken at the memory.

"Yes, but I've never…you understand? It always hurt."

I understand perfectly. No one had ever really made love to him the way he deserves it. My heart's flying to him and I hold him to me, to protect him from the dark memories.

"I won't hurt you, my Malcolm. Just tell me when you feel uncomfortable and I'll stop, okay?"

I can feel him nodding at my shoulder. Then a soft whisper.

"You can't hurt me, love. Never. I trust you."

My heart swells at these words. I kiss him passionately and close my hand around his penis once more. Steadily I begin to stroke him, up and down, always watching his face. He has his eyes closed and is lost in his passion. His hands gently caress my back, my face, every part of me, that's within his reach.

Now there's only one thing I want to do: I want to taste him. Slowly I move deeper, tease his navel with my tongue, and am rewarded with a slight gasp. When I first touch the tip of his penis with my tongue, I have to pin his hips to the bed, for instinctively he's thrusting upward.

I smile.

Then I'm captured by my prey. How long have I been waiting to do this. I gently nibble on the underside, from the base up to the tip, and then engulf him with my lips. I begin a steady pumping motion, which brings him closer and closer. As I lick downwards again, to suck gently on his balls, I suddenly feel him stiffen and I knew this finally threw him over the edge. Hastily I take his cock in my mouth again and he comes with a deep moan, his hands clenched to fists. And the taste of him, combined with his voice in my ear, his hands on the back of my head, makes me come, too. I feel a bit awkward, like a teenager. But hell, I've been on sexual overload since Trip told me about Malcolm's feelings. I can hear my lover whisper my name, over and over again. I crawl up to him, and am shocked, to see a single tear in the corner of his eye.

"Malcolm, honey. You're all right aren't you?"

He opens his eyes, and I'm blinded by their luminosity.


Dreams CAN come true, and right now I'm holding one in my arms. I never thought he could love me back, and here I am, lying naked in his arms, feeling his heart beating, the butterfly-kisses he spreads over my face. All the sweetness, the caring, the tenderness…it's so unlike everything I've known before.

I rest my head on his shoulder. He asks, if I'm all right.

All right? More than that. I've never felt like this before. I want to sing, dance, do crazy things. I want to embrace the whole world, and stay with Jon in his bed forever.

"Jon. My love. My Jon, you were amazing."

I snuggle closer to him, and feel his arms close around me. I feel safe, content, dreamy. Just before I drift off to sleep, I hear his voice, barely above a whisper.

"What do you want?"

I think for a moment.

"You. Your love. What about you?"

He pulls me even closer, though that is hardly possible.

"The same. Your love, your loyalty, your soul. You, for the rest of my life."

I raise my head and give him a deep kiss.

"All yours, as long as you want to have it."

We fall asleep together, legs entangled, fingers intertwined, hearts full of love, singing in silent joy.

I'm at peace.

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