Title: Keeping the Personal Life Private

Author: Beverly Crusher

E-mail: bev_crusher1971@yahoo.de


Archer's Enterprise

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Category: slash

Archive: Permission to archive granted to Archers_Enterprise, MEGA-Archive, EntSLSlash, and whoever wants it…just ask me first.

Rating: R

Status: complete

Sequel to: Best-Laid Plans

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Warnings: none

Disclaimer: Not mine…all Paramount…lucky bastards. No money, just fun.

Beta: The wonderful Mareel. Thanks a lot.

Summary: Some people asked, what happened when Trip and Malcolm returned to Enterprise…here's the answer.

Feedback: Pleeeeeeaaaaaaaase…it's what truly makes my day.

They packed their camping-gear in silence, constantly interrupting the task with kisses, touches, and teasing. Both men knew that these little displays of intimacy would be inappropriate in public once they were back on Enterprise. So they enjoyed the last hour they had alone together.

Shuttlepod One was glinting in the sun when they finally arrived there. It was midday and it was definitely getting hot. Feeling the sweat trickle down his spine, Malcolm remembered their little lake wistfully, and wished themselves there again.

Trip had the shuttle repaired in about twenty minutes. Malcolm stood next to him all the time, staring him down. The engineer had only shrugged and given him a kiss, smiling one of his irresistible smiles. But Malcolm continued staring until the southener couldn't stand it any longer. He stared back.

"What? What is it, Malcolm?"

"It took you exactly nineteen and a half minutes to fix the engine. Either you're the best damned engineer I've ever met or you're the best damned liar I've ever encountered."

"Which would you prefer, darlin'?"

Trip's voice was seductive as he put his arms around Malcolm's waist, drawing him nearer until their hips bumped softly together. The smaller man's hands reached up toward Trip's head as if they had a will of their own and entangled themselves in the engineer's short blonde hair.

"I'm not sure. Maybe you can convince me that you're not a liar."

With these words Malcolm closed the gap between their faces and kissed the taller man. When they parted after several minutes, both slightly breathless, Malcolm had a devilish smile on his face.

"If we don't stop now you'll have to think of a very good reason to give Captain Archer to explain why we are REALLY late. Because if you go on like this, I will throw you on the floor, rip your clothes off and…"

Hastily, Trip closed Malcolm's mouth with another kiss before he could finish the sentence. The erotic image that appeared in his mind would certainly match the armory officer's suggestion but Malcolm was right. They had to go back. They both had work waiting to be done.

And Trip knew there was also going to be a very curious captain waiting for him.


Jonathan Archer was indeed very curious. The talk he had with his friend a few days ago was still running through his mind. And he still wasn't quite sure how to put it. Trip wanted to spend more time with Malcolm. Jon smiled at the thought.

Was that even possible?

As far as he knew, Trip was spending almost all of his off-duty time with Malcolm. Not to mention the countless dinners, breakfasts, and lunches they were taking together.

Archer knew the signs.

It looked like his friend had fallen deeply for the attractive English-man. He'd seen it before when Trip was Interested In someone. His shining eyes whenever Malcolm was near. The nervousness when Trip was arguing with the stubborn Brit. The slightly shaking hands when he worked with him. Little signs that hardly anyone would notice.

But Jon knew Trip all too well.

Now Jon was pacing his office waiting impatiently for the arrival of Enterprise's engineer and her armory officer, remembering the little chat he had with Trip a few days ago…


Jon was sitting in his ready room going over the reports from the night shift, still enjoying his first cup of coffee when the chime rang.

"Come in."

To his surprise Trip stuck his head in.

"Hey, Jonny. Got a minute?"

Jon nodded.

"Sure. Come on in. Take a seat. You want some coffee?"

"Yep. Thanks."

Jon handed the mug with the steaming liquid to his friend, than took a seat opposite him and looked at him with a question in his eyes.

"So, what can I do for you? I thought I'd given you a few days off to relax. What has thrown you out of bed so early in the morning?"

"Well, you know…thatīs what I wanna talk about. My days- off. D'you think I could go down to the planet? Take a nice little camping trip?"

Jon wasn't very surprised by that request. He knew Trip loved being outdoors, as long as it wasn't in the desert. And that planet really was beautiful.

"I see no reason why you shouldn't. The science lab will be busy the next few days and we have plenty of time here. Sure. Go and have fun."

"Great. Thanks."

Jon eyed his friend closely and he could see there was still something nagging at him. Trip was still sitting in his chair, staring down into his half-emptied mug, and Jon could almost see the little wheels in his brain working.

"Is there anything else I can do for you?"

"Aah…well…yes. There is. If it's possible, I'd like you to give Malcolm a few days off too, so he can join me."

Trip's voice was getting smaller. Jon blinked in mild surprise. Then, after a short pause…

"Sure. If he wants to join you, I'll manage that. Does he?"

"Ahem…I haven't asked him yet. It's a surprise."

Now Jon was really getting curious. Trip wanted to spend his days off-duty on a camping trip with one of the most attractive men on Enterprise. He was flushing a bit as he asked Jon's permission, and he hadn't managed to ask Malcolm first. So there was definitely something going on. A thought came to Jon's mind, and his green eyes began to sparkle.

He tried to sound innocent as he continued in a casual tone:

"So, are you planning a nice romantic trip to the forest? Maybe some campfires? Making love under the stars maybe?"

Trip almost spilled the last gulp of his coffee, and coughed he faced his old friend.

"What makes you think that?"

Jon laughed out loud at the bewildered expression on Trip's face.

"Oh come on…Trip, it's me. You can't fool me. Say, is our English-man as madly in love as you are?"

Trip's face went pale. Then he blushed furiously. But he quickly regained his composure, and looked at Jon with a deadpan expression.

"Hell, Jon, what are you talkin' about? I only plan on spending some time with an old friend."

Jon nodded, but couldn't conceal his grin.

"Sure, Trip. Absolutely. So, what are you up to? Once you're down there."

Trip eyed him for a moment, then he smiled.

"Oh, I have my plans, Cap'n. Don't worry. I'll tell you all about it when I get back. But could you maybe order Malcolm to go with me on an away mission? As I said before, it's goin' to be a surprise."

"Sure. No problem."

"Thanks, Jonny. I owe you one."

In an instant Trip was out of Jon's ready room, the doors hissing shut behind him.

"You do, Trip. You definitely do." Jon chuckled as he approached the comm panel.

"Archer to Reed."

"Reed here, sir."

"Malcolm, can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Of course, sir. Do you want me to come to your ready room?"

Jon thought about it for a second, deciding that it might be a good idea.

"Yes, if you're not too engaged in the armory at the moment."

"On my way, sir."


The chime rang only minutes later. Jon smiled. Damn, that man was quick. But would he be so quick to notice Trip's intentions?

He suppressed the grin that threatened to spread across his face, and pretended to be serious.

"Come in."

The doors hissed open, and Malcolm stepped in. He carried some PADDs in his hands, which, reminded Jon vividly of their first, and last, breakfast together. Again he felt the smile threatening to burst through to the surface. He pulled himself together.

"Sir, I have some ideas for modifications to the weapon systems. If you would care to take a look at them?"

"Malcolm. I'm sure they're perfect. But that's not the reason I wanted to talk to you."

Malcolm became a living question-mark

"Trip wants to go down to the planet's surface one more time, and he wants you to join him."

"With all due respect, sir, I don't think it would be necessary for Commander Tucker to have me join him. The planet appears to be safe, so there is no security or tactical reason for me to accompany him. Maybe someone from the science lab would be of more use."

'Not for what Trip has in mind,' thought Jon, with a barely hidden smile. He turned his back to Malcolm, pretending to reach for one of the PADDs.


He coughed a bit to suppress his impending laughter until he finally was ready to face Malcolm again with a serious face.

"He asked for you. I guess he must have his reasons. Do you think you can leave the armory for a day?"

"I believe so, sir, If necessary. When do I have to report to Commander Tucker?"

"In about two hours. Meet him in the launchbay. Dismissed."

When the doors closed behind Malcolm's stiff back, Jon nearly collapsed in his chair. He laughed so hard that tears came to his eyes.

Poor Trip. It would be easier to seduce T'Pol than It would be to convince Malcolm of his feelings.

And poor Malcolm. Once Trip set his sights on someone he was chasing, that special someone had little chance to escape. He just couldn't wait to see where this was going to lead.


Shuttlepod One glided in a gentle curve into the launch bay. When the air-lock closed and the atmosphere was back to normal, Malcolm took a deep breath, cast a quick glance at his lover, and opened the door.

And looked into the see green eyes of his captain. His first instinct was to flee back into the shuttle, but he felt Trip giving him a light push from behind. Malcolm stepped out, and stood at attention.


Jon smiled, resting a hand on his shoulder.

"At ease, Lieutenant. Well guys, have a nice time on the planet?"

Malcolm blushed furiously, and Trip's wide smile reminded Jon of Phlox. Laughing, Jon raised a hand.

"Okay, I don't want to hear any details. Enjoy the rest of your off-duty time. Trip, like to join me for dinner tonight?"

Trip shot a sideward glance to Malcolm, who was now busy unloading the shuttle.

"Sorry, Cap'n, but not tonight. Breakfast? Tomorrow?"

Jon nodded, and patted his friend's shoulder. Then he leaned closer, whispering in Trip's ear.

"Been successful?"

Trip's smile grew even more impossibly wide. He nodded, and gave his friend a quick thumbs-up. Jon laughed silently, as he turned and headed out of the launch bay, leaving the two lovebirds alone.


"Do you think he knows about us?"

Trip shrugged slightly, holding his lover to him, tracing gentle patterns with his fingers on Malcolm's shoulderblades.

They were lying naked in Trip's bed. They had unpacked their things in record time, and met for dinner just an hour later. But before they finished their meals, they fell on each other instead. Each practically ripped off the other's clothing as ,clinging together, they stumbled to Trip's bed. Now they enjoyed the afterglow of their passionate love-making, at least until Malcolm turned their thoughts to Captain Archer.

"Would you have a problem with that?"

Trip's love-fogged brain had serious difficulty in forming this sentence. He still was deep in his Malcolm-induced wonderland.

"No, not really. It's just…I like to keep my personal life private. I…how can I look him in the eyes again, knowing that he probably knows…"

Trip laughed and gave Malcolm a kiss on his temple.

"Why would that be a problem for you? Do you fear Jonny could think less of you?"


Malcolm pulled himself up on one elbow. His eyes were dark and unreadable. Why didn't Trip get the point? Archer was his superior officer. He was his CO, and it was none of his damned business. But maybe now he already knew, for Malcolm's lover happened to be the captain's best friend. If not now, then It would be tomorrow at the latest.

"It's just…I don't want to let everybody on this ship into my private life."

Trip stared in surprise at his lover.

"Mal, darlin', it's only Jon, and not the whole ship. Do you really think he would spread it around? Hell, we're talkin' about Jonny, not Hoshi or Travis. What are you afraid of?"

Malcolm sat up, turning his back to his lover.

"Trip, what is that we have here?"

Now Trip also sat up, his brow furrowed in concern.

"What do you mean?"

"What do you call our…liaison?"

"I'd call it a relationship, if you want to…"

Malcolm didn't move.

"If I want to? What about you? Do you want to have a serious relationship? For…you know, I've never figured you as the long-term-guy. I just want to know where this will lead us."

His voice became smaller.

An entire chandelier suddenly appeared over Trip's head as he finally understood what was really worrying his beloved armory officer.

Trip moved closer to his lover's warm body, pressing up against him from behind. He closed his arms around that small waist, and rested his chin comfortable on Malcolm's shoulder.

"Hey, Brit, did I tell you lately that I love you?"

Malcolm turned his head a bit, his famous half-smile on his lips.

"Not since the last time you came, screaming my name. Does that count? That was about fifteen minutes ago, as I recall."

"Didn't you believe me?"

Now Malcolm turned completely around, facing his lover fully. His whole face was a question.

"Of course I did. Why are you asking?"

Trip locked his gaze onto Malcolm, blue eyes boring Into storm-gray.

"Then please believe me when I tell you that I love you. With all my heart, my soul, and my body. I truly want a relationship with you. I want to wake up with you, I want to go to sleep with you. And sometimes I simply wanna fuck your brain to the stars. But most of all I want to be with you. Got that, Brit?"

Malcolm smiled, then laughed, and finally he pulled Trip in for a deep and passionate kiss.

"I love you, too, Charles."

"Then shut up, Englishman, and make proper love to me."

Malcolm laughed again, and Trip gazed at him in wonder. It was a beautiful sound. He decided that he had to find plenty of reasons to make his English-man laugh, for he would never get enough of his laughter.

But as Malcolm continued kissing him, rational thinking vanished within seconds. But he didn't care, for it wasn't exactly what he needed right now. What he needed right now was this terrific man in his arms, his tongue in his mouth, and his hands in all the right places.


"So exactly what HAS happened?"

Jon leaned back, and took another sip from his coffee. Trip had a very special smile on his lips as he enjoyed another forkful of his scrambled eggs.

"You don't really want to know, do you?"

"Oh, I definitely do. You've been three days down on this planet with one of Enterprise's most attractive guys. Are you seriously telling me that nothing happened?"

Trip's smile became mystic.

"I didn't say that. It's just that I may not talk about it."

"You MAY not?"

Jon's voice sounded unbelieving.

"Yep…he asked me to keep it private."

Jon stared at his old friend for some very long seconds. Now he knew, that the…whatever it was…was really serious. Normally his friend would have told him all about every single second down on the surface. What Malcolm said, what he did, what they did together, and so on. But now he was locked up like an oyster, practically glowing from the inside. And just because Malcolm had asked him not to say anything, Trip remained silent.

Okay, he could wait until his friend was ready to let him in on the details.


Malcolm was busy.

And he was cursing. Very colorful cursing. Things just didn't work out the way he Intended. He had just run the fourth simulation, and again…kaboom.

If he were to change the settings the way he had planned, the warp core would breach within ten seconds, and Trip would make his life a living hell, assuming the both survived the core breach.


For a moment, Malcolm stopped working and allowed his mind to wander back to last night. To this morning, when he had been awakened by tender kisses along his shoulder blade. He had turned in Trip's arms, and placed a gentle kiss on the invitingly opened lips.

"Morning, love."

"Hmmmmornin' handsome. Slept well?"

"Very. But waking up was even nicer. What time is it?"

"Donno. Don' care."

Malcolm smiled. Then he turned, took one look at the time, and was out of the bed in an instant.

"Bloody hell…it's 0730 hours. My shift starts in 30 minutes."

He got dressed in record time, while Trip was still lying beneath the covers, watching him with an amused smile. Malcolm leaned over the bed again, gave him a quick kiss, murmured a quiet "See you later, love.", and was out the door.

Malcolm sighed deeply, returning to the present and trying to concentrate on his work again, when suddenly two strong arms circled his waist from behind.

Later, nobody could tell what exactly happened. It was a reaction based on pure instinct. Within seconds Trip lay panting beneath Malcolm, who hovered above him, and was looking in the muzzle of a phase pistol.

"Goddamit, Mal, do you wanna kill me?"

Malcolm stared at him in disbelief. Then he lowered the pistol, and got up, releasing his prisoner. He found himself shouting as he turned away from the man, who was trying to recover from the unexpected attack.

"Bloody hell, Tucker. Are you out of your mind? How can you…why did you…what do you WANT here?"

"Just stopped by to say hello."

"Splendid. Hello! Tell me, how should I explain to the captain that I accidentally killed Enterprise's chief engineer when he stopped by to say hello? Don't you EVER do that again."

Trip eyed him with surprise, while he slowly got up and wiped dust from his uniform. He'd wanted to catch his lover off-guard, but he never expected such a strong reaction. Half of the armory staff was watching now. Malcolm tried to regain his composure, and Trip could only stare, a rather stupid expression on his face.

Malcolm shot him a glance.

"Commander, would you join me in my office, please?"

Still stunned, Trip followed him. After the door closed behind them, Malcolm turned to Trip again.

"Are you crazy? Are you completely out of your head? What were you thinking…touching me in such an intimate way in front of my people?"

Trip raised his hands in an attempt to sooth his agitated lover.

"Whoa there, Malcolm. Take it easy. I didn't know that you'd be uncomfortable with me touching you."

Malcolm sighed, and moved a step closer to his lover.

"Mr. Tucker, let me be very clear, I LOVE it when you touch me. But if you ever do that again in front of my staff, I will have to kill you. Seriously, Trip, I told you before that I want to keep my personal life private. I MEANT it. Please, try to understand."

Trip just stared at him, his expression unreadable. Under that gaze, Malcolm grew nervous.

"What? What is it?"

"Malcolm. Your whole staff has just watched you throw me over your head and try to kill me for no reason. Malcolm, I made sure no one would be watching us. Hell, we were alone there then. No one could see us. But don't you think, they'll get plenty suspicious now, after that little…incident?"

Malcolm's shoulders sagged down.

"I overreacted, didn't I?"

Trip nodded.


Trip closed the small distance between them and took his lover in his arms, feeling his body tense up at the closeness.

"Malcolm, I guess we need a good long talk tonight."

The English-man managed to wriggle himself carefully out of Trip's embrace, and was now straightening his uniform. While pulling at his sleeves, he nodded.

"How about 2100 hours, my quarters?"

Trip smiled.

"Sounds great. Now I'll go and have lunch with Jonny. He sure as hell wants to ask more questions about our time on the planet. No, don't worry."

He interpreted the pleading eyes of his lover just right.

"I won't tell him anything. Not unless it's okay by you. Now…"

He suddenly put on a puppy-look.

"…may I kiss you? It's such a long time till we see each other again…"

Malcolm gazed at him lovingly, stepped close again, and laid his hands on the taller man's shoulders.

"Of course, love."

It was like the first time down on the planet. It was intended to be just a short peck, but within seconds they were lost in each other, tasting each other, pressing up against each other.

And it was at that exact moment that the door to Malcolm's office opened, and an amused voice asked very politely.

"Am I interrupting something? Maybe I should come back later?"

The two man broke apart, similar shocked expressions on both their faces, both still breathing heavily, only to meet the sparkling eyes of Captain Jonathan Archer.


"Are you okay with it?"

They were sitting in Malcolm's quarters after their shifts had ended. The dinner had been a light Italian work of art from chef, accompanied by a rich red wine. Trip clinked glasses with Malcolm, looking deep into the beautiful gray eyes of his lover, who was a bit thoughtful at the moment.

"Do I have a choice?"

Trip shook his head, and began staring into his glass.

"Nope. Not really. He caught us in action. Like two boys with their hands in the cookie-jar, so to speak. And I've been so careful not to tell him anything, not to give him the slightest hint, even when we had breakfast that morning."

Malcolm emptied his glass, and refilled it.

"Don't worry, love. It's not the end of the world. As long as it's just between you and me and the captain, I believe I can live with it."

Trip raised his head, and smiled questioningly.


Malcolm looked at him and suddenly burst into laughter. With a fluid motion he got up, moving with feline grace around the table until he finally stood in front of his lover. He grabbed the front of Trip's shirt, and pulled him carefully but insistently out of his chair. On his face was a seductive smile that made Trip's heart beat faster. Malcolm unbuttoned the southerner's shirt ever so slowly, feeling the other man's breathing become rapid. He pulled the tacky shirt over Trip's shoulders and let it drop to the floor. Tenderly, he kissed the other man's chest, while his hands roamed over the soft skin stretched over steely muscles.

Trip let his head fall back and simply enjoyed. His hands rested lightly on Malcolm's shoulders, leading him gently, forcing him to nothing.

Malcolm felt the hands on his shoulder tremble as he began playing with the sensitive nipples.

He smiled.

Slowly his right hand slid deeper in a southern direction, and with experienced fingers he opened Trip's jeans. He pulled them down in one swift motion, then he knelt in front of his lover. With a sparkle in his eyes, he noticed the large bulge in Trip's boxers, just before the boxers quickly went the way of the jeans. Finally he had his lover's cock right in front of his eyes. Malcolm licked his lips involuntarily, a gesture that caused Trip to moan deep in his throat. And finally he felt the English-man's lips close around his hardness.

Trip let out a deep sigh and felt his knees go weak. His mind tried in vain to form a coherent sentence, but he was only capable of one single word.


With a silent laughter Malcolm got up from his knees, and pulled Trip over to the bed. Trip stumbled over his discarded jeans, and nearly fell, but Malcolm caught him at the last Moment.

"Oh no, love, not so fast. Let's get you out of your clothes first."

In a frenzy of impatience, Trip tore the rest of his clothes from his body, and tugged impatiently at Malcolm's shirt.


"Is that an order, Commander?"

In lieu of an answer, Trip pulled him close and kissed him dizzy. In a heap of legs and arms they fell on the bed, and entangled themselves carefully.

"I can't get enough of you, Mal. The way you touch me, make me feel, love me. That's nothing I've known before."

"Don't call me Mal."

"Would you prefer 'honey'? Or how about darlin'?"

Malcolm smiled. An irresistible smile, reaching his eyes, making his face shine.

"I guess darling would be all right."

"Okay, darlin'. Now…where were we?"

"I think…here."

With that, Malcolm lowered his head and engulfed Trip's cock with his mouth once again.

"Oh yessssss…that's it."

And these were the last words from him for a long time.


The wine bottle was empty. The music was repeating itself for the third time, and the candles they'd lighted earlier for the dinner table were throwing flickering shadows over the two man lying naked under the bedcovers, gently stroking and kissing. Trip hovered over Malcolm, spreading little butterfly kisses over his lover's neck, his collarbone, and finally returning to his mouth.

With a very contented sigh, he leaned back into the pillows, pulling Malcolm with him, until the shorter man's head rested comfortable on his shoulder.

Suddenly he could sense that Malcolm's thoughts had shifted. He looked down at the dark-haired head.

"What is it? What's bothering you, darlin'? Still thinking about Jonny?"

Malcolm raised his head in surprise. He really had been thinking about the captain. About his reaction, now that he had found out about the two of them. If he would object to their relationship.

"I was indeed. You still can't understand this, can you?"

"No, I guess I can't, not really. I mean, we're not doing anything forbidden. We're in love, and there's no need to lurk around in the shadows."

"I'm not lurking!"

Now Malcolm propped himself up on one elbow. His brow was lightly furrowed, and his eyes were a deep, mystic gray.

"It's just…I don't want to be the next 'rumor of the week ī. I love you, but I want to keep it private as long as it's so new to both of us. Does that sound plausible?"

Trip's blue eyes showed deep sympathy for the other man. It had taken him a while to break through his resistance, and there was no way he would risk any of It now.

"If it's what you want, I won't say a word. To anybody. I guess it's not so hard, now that Jon is involved in our little secret. You see, first of all he's my friend, not my captain. We never had any secrets. And by the way…"

He smiled with a tender expression on his face.

"I love to brag about you."

Malcolm tried to keep his face expressionless, but the warm shimmer in his eyes betrayed him.

"Well, if that's your intention…"

Trip's smile widened.

"It is. I have the most handsome, and most desirable man on Enterprise here in my bed. Who wouldn't want to brag about that?"

Malcolm laughed.

"If it means so much to you. But right now, only to the captain, okay?"

Trip pulled his lover close again, kissing his temple, snuggling closer beneath the bed-covers.

"Promised. I love you, Brit."

"I love you, Southener."


Somewhere in the armory, a young ensign from the gamma shift, his eyes shining, was telling his colleagues the story of how the captain caught his boss and the chief of engineering kissing in the lieutenant's office.

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