TITLE: Tears of a Clown


E-MAIL scarab@blueyonder.co.uk

URL: http://www.lookout2.com/nautika/sara/index.html


Archer's Enterprise

FANDOM: Star Trek Enterprise


SUMMARY: Malcolm tries to help a friend.


RATING: PG-13…a little bit of bad language and some angst!

ARCHIVE: My page on Nautika's site, the list archives [EntST*], BLTS and anywhere else, just remind me where it's going.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Enterprise or her crew Paramount does….I just like to borrow them sometimes. No copyright infringement is intended.

WARNINGS: Slight spoilers for The Expanse.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This takes place shortly after the Enterprise leaves Earth to go into the Expanse and before the events in The Xindi. I hope you enjoy it.

He slowly walks along the corridor, his steps shuffling, and his arms around himself, his head down. It's late and he knows that it's unlikely that anyone will witness this now regular nocturnal excursion. He has no destination in mind, letting his feet lead him and he suddenly finds himself outside the one place that would normally be his haven. He knows that his arrival would be noticed and questions that he doesn't want to answer will be asked, so he turns and walks away. His head still bowed, not seeing and not caring where his feet will lead him. It's been like this for the last few nights but this time there is a difference…this time he's been seen.


Malcolm Reed sat his post on the bridge a yawn escaping.

"Are we boring you Malcolm?" Captain Jonathan Archer asked, a slight edge to his voice.

"What!?…No! I'm sorry Captain." Malcolm started to feel his face burning as the attention of everyone else on the bridge was drawn to him. He also didn't want to annoy the Captain, who since their departure from Earth had lost the light heartedness that he would have normally shown in a similar situation.

"It's alright," Archer said wearily just as the lift doors opened and the ship's chief engineer walked across the bridge to his station. He turned to him. "How are the upgrades faring Trip?"

"They're fine…I'm gonna see if I get a little more from the engines though." Trip Tucker worked at his station not looking at his captain once. He glanced at the PADD he had in his hand and entered a few adjustments.

"Trip?" The captain's voice got his attention and he turned to see his friend's concerned eyes watching him carefully.

"I'm fine." He smiled weakly at the unasked question and continued with his work. After a few minutes he walked back to the lift and returned to engineering. The bridge was left quiet and Malcolm suddenly wished someone would say something to break the uneasy tension. He yawned again, once again drawing the attention of the captain.

"Would you like to have a nap Malcolm?" Archer asked, looking over as Malcolm tried to shake off the tiredness he felt.

"I am sorry Captain…I just can't understand why I feel so tired."

"Probably up late polishing your pistols…," Travis Mayweather said trying to lighten the mood, causing Hoshi Sato to giggle. Malcolm blushed but was grateful that the tension had been broken and didn't mind that he was the subject of the joke, although he didn't miss that Archer didn't smile.


The stars streaked past the windows of the messhall but Malcolm didn't see them. His mind was on his friend and the pain that he seemed to be going through. He had been shocked to see him three nights ago shuffling through the hallways, his whole being screaming out in pain and anguish and Malcolm realised that he had never suspected that things were as bad as they were. So for three nights he had carefully watched and followed his friend, knowing that he always ended up here staring into space until the chef turned up to prepare the breakfasts. More than once Malcolm had wanted to say something but he was so stunned by what he had seen his own mind wouldn't accept it was real, so he stayed in the shadows. Now he realised that it was all too real and unless he acted someone he cared about deeply could be lost.

Movement suddenly caught his eye and he watched as his friend walked in, too wrapped up in his own despair to notice Malcolm.

"Can't you sleep either?" Malcolm asked getting the other man's attention. Trip Tucker looked startled for a moment and then realising where he was walked over to the drink dispenser. He turned his back as he got some milk and cleared his throat.

"Nah, thought I'd get some milk." He slowly turned trying to keep his face in the shadows and looked at the armoury officer who had stood up and walked over to him.

"Is that what you come here for every night?" Malcolm asked, watching Trip carefully.

"What d' ya mean?" the engineer walked over to one of the tables and sat down heavily. He looked out of the window.

"What I mean is your nightly excursions around the ship." He walked over to the table and sat down himself. "I've seen you Trip, I've seen the way you walk around the hallways for hours, always ending up here." Leaning forward in his chair he tried to get the younger man to look at him but Trip continued to stare out of the window. Sighing heavily he sat back, trying to think of some way to get through.

"I jus' can't get it outta my mind," Trip said slowly still not looking at the other man. "I jus' got a letter from her sayin' how she'd got this great job t' do and that she hoped I wasn't gettin' int' any trouble and keepin' safe." His voice began to crack as he spoke and Malcolm felt his throat tighten as Trip sniffed and looked up at the ceiling, his eyes bright with unshed tears. He suddenly looked straight at him. "She shouldn't be dead Malcolm…she should be enjoyin' her life…havin' fun with her friends…." His voice trailed off and he returned his gaze to the stars, a lone tear running down his cheek.

"Trip, I really think you should speak to Phlox and get something to help you through this."

"I'm fine."

Trip…you're a mess…you're falling apart and you won't let anyone help you."

"I said I'm fine Malcolm." He paused, "I can do my job and when the time comes I'm gonna make those bastards pay for what they've done."

"So until that time you're going to fool everyone into believing that you're coping with your grief, that you've mourned and do your job and at night you'll wander the hallways like some pathetic creature waiting to be put out of it's misery!"

"Malcolm…ya ain't got any right t' talk t' me like that…" Trip stood over Malcolm, anger replacing the grief he had been feeling.

"I've got every right…you're my friend and this is tearing you apart," he yelled back, standing himself. "You've always been the one who makes everyone else smile. You lift everyone's spirits…"

"The class clown…huh!" Trip said wryly.

Something like that." Malcolm smiled, relieved that for a moment Trip's anger had subsided. "I can only imagine what you are feeling but I do want to help you cope with it."

"It's jus' so hard…" the anger in Trip's previous outburst seemed to have drained from him and he slowly sat down.

"I know and that's why you need to let someone help you through this." Malcolm looked into Trip's tired blue eyes and seeing that the fight had left him knew that this was the time he could get through to his friend. "I know that you're angry, you're upset and that you're hurting but none of that is going to help Elizabeth. You want to avenge her death and all the others but you're letting your grief destroy you before you get the chance." He looked at Trip carefully and for a moment there was silence in the room.

"So ya think Phlox could give me somethin'?" Trip sounded defeated.

"I'm certain of it." Malcolm stood and patted Trip on the shoulder. "Come on I'll go with you."

They walked to the door slowly and just as the doors opened Trip paused. He looked at the other man sheepishly.

"I'm sorry I yelled at ya Malcolm and I can't promise that I won't again while I sort this out in my head." he paused, " It's jus'. well. ya a good friend.."

"It's alright Trip." Malcolm smiled, "I won't take it personally."

Trip nodded and smiled weakly, not trusting his voice to say his thanks and Malcolm felt relieved that his friend was finally taking that first step. He knew it wouldn't be easy and there were bound to be nightmares and tears but as he glanced at the man beside him, he vowed that he would never have to face them alone and that he would be there for as long as it took.

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