Title: Future Imperfection

Author: Lady Ithilrien

Author's e-mail: lady_ithilrien@yahoo.co.uk

Author's Web site: http://www.geocities.com/lady_ithilrien/somethingreal.htm

Date: 09/29/03

Archive: EntSTCommunity, Archer's Enterprise, and BLTS, everyone else has to ask.

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Category: Slash

Rating: PG

Status: Complete

Pairing: Tucker/Reed, Reed/other

Summary: Can you find the other half of your soul across time and space?

Warning(s): AU, Other.

This fic has a sequel, Past Perfection

Beta: Mareel, I adore you!

Spoilers: Cold Front, Singularity & Vox Sola

Notes: I love What Ifs…I also love the idea of Malcolm having some darkish secret in his past, so…The graphic to this fic can be found at http://www.geocities.com/lady_ithilrien/futureimperfection.jpg

To Malcolm Reed time, as such, did not exist. He had the control of it, so days or years had no meaning to him anymore. As long as he could continue telling himself that, he might even believe it one day. He had always found the stars of a night sky calming. He had been born and lived among them. But tonight, watching the stars from the window of Enterprise's observation lounge no longer had the calming effect that it did in the past. Or would in the future

He knew that the Federation Timefleet had sent someone else to this timeline in addition to himself. What he didn't know is why they choose to do this. When he found out that Daniels had been here as well, it had infuriated him. This was supposed to have been his mission! It had been his job to make sure that Archer stayed alive, to ensure that the formation of the Federation would take place. It had been his job to keep these people alive, because without them the future simply would not exist. They had given this mission to him; he had studied for years, learning the details of the beginnings of mankind's firststeps into the vastness of space. The Federation Council had assured him that because his abilities, he would be the best person for this job. Malcolm had believed them; after all, his ability to read emotions—thanks to his telepathic mother—had reassured him that he had the Timefleet's trust.

But something had changed. Daniels was here, or rather, had been here. Trip had told him that the time traveller was dead, but Malcolm knew that a being from another timeline could die only in his or her own timeline. It was not possible that Daniels was dead. Besides, Timefleet would have pulled Daniels back to his own time if something like this happened. Malcolm took slight pleasure in knowing that Daniels would most likely get an earful from their superior officers. After all, his colleague had revealed his true identity to Archer, and according to the Temporal Prime Directive, that was permitted only as a last resort if the situation became extremely dangerous.

But if Daniels had been here, without Malcolm being informed of his presence, it meant that he could come back whenever the Timefleet wanted him to return. But why? What had caused them to believe that Malcolm Reed could no longer be trusted?

The dark-haired Brit sighed and opened his clenched fist. He looked at the wedding ring lying in the palm of his hand. It was the only thing that he had been allowed to bring from his own timeline to the past. Once again, he looked at the stars and smiled sadly to his own reflection. For a moment, he allowed his true self to surface. His eyes returned to their natural colour, a deep ice-blue. He let his true voice break free from his throat for a quiet prayer. The long-studied British accent was gone, replaced by the soft and deep Karnian accent, the same accent that his half-Karnian father had spoken.

Only Malcolm's well-trained senses warned him that he was about to have company. By the time Trip Tucker walked through the observation lounge doors Malcolm was back in himself.

"Malcolm?" Trip's voice was muted and gentle. Malcolm could sense his uncertainty. Trip always worried when Malcolm left his quarters in the middle of the night to watch the stars. Malcolm had never answered when the other man asked about his lover's surprisingly strong connection to the stars. The engineer's hand touched his shoulder and Malcolm had to control himself to keep from flinching at the electrical jolt caused by that light touch.

"Mal?" Trip's voice was only a whisper now. It was soothing and slightly seducing. Malcolm wanted to scream; he wanted to tell Trip the truth. He felt an overwhelming need to tell the man he loved the truth. But he couldn't—he couldn't tell him that Malcolm Reed was dead, that the Suliban had killed him long before Enterprise had left Earth. And that the man who played Malcolm Reed for the sake of the future had a life and family waiting in the future.

The man who was Malcolm swallowed and closed his eyes. He tried to remember his wife's face, her long curly brown hair and the forehead ridges that were the legacy of her Klingon great-grandmother. But instead of his wife's image, Trip's face appeared in his mind as the dark-haired man's blue-grey eyes opened. The window reflected the blond man just as his own mind had projected him. Beautiful as ever. Malcolm took a deep breath and carefully slipped his wedding ring into his pocket. Their eyes met through the reflection in the window and Malcolm could feel the tears starting to form behind his eyelids. He finally realised why Daniels had been sent here.

"Charles." Malcolm whispered and Trip slipped his strong arms around his waist. A gentle kiss was pressed to Malcolm's neck and, just for a moment, the stars seemed to glow more brightly.

Malcolm Reed's time was running out; he had created the tactical alerts and the first rudimentary force fields. He had done what the future expected of him and soon the future would no longer need him. Stuart and Mary Reed's son's life was near its end. He would soon face his death while protecting the crew of Enterprise. Malcolm Reed would be remembered as a hero. And this man, the one who tonight was gazing at the stars in the arms of his forbidden lover, would, in a way, die as well. His life in this timeline was ending and soon he would return to his own timeline where he belonged.

"Come back to bed, darlin'."

Malcolm turned and smiled his assent. The two of them left together, hand in hand. No words were spoken, or necessary.

The future could wait one more night.

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