Title: Collage, Third Piece

Author: Qzeebrella

E-mail: qzeebrella@yahoo.com

Date: 12/21/2003

Archive: yes to EntSTSlash, Archer's Enterprise, Reed's Armory

Category: slash

Rating: NC-17, in one part

Status: this piece complete

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Summary: Malcolm and Charles are continuing to live with the ramifications of being a couple and serving together.

Series: Journey Into Love

Previous story: Collage, Second Piece

Number in series: 4

NB: Here's the order of fics: Improv; Collage, First Piece; Collage, Second Piece; and then this one, Collage, Third Piece.

Spoilers/Timeline: Minefield to The Communicator

Disclaimer: The show and its characters belong to Paramount, the story below is mine. No profit is being made, no infringement intended.

Feedback: pretty please

Dedication: to Louise



Why was he so nervous? It was only breakfast with the captain and Trip's best friend. He knew the captain only wanted to get to know him better. They had also yet to deal with the events surrounding the Suliban and the alien planet, the captain had apologized for making it sound as if he blamed Malcolm, but they still had that damaged trust between them. And now the Englishman couldn't help but feel like a little child called to task by a parent.

He smoothed his hair and uniform, trying to do something with the hair Trip had deliberately ruffled when kissing him goodbye this morning. Comforted a little by the work PADD in his hand.

As he tried to make small talk with the captain, he wondered why it felt so awkward and stilted. They had talked as friends before. And why had he denied following sports? He enjoyed a good game of Cricket even if he hated explaining the rules. His awkwardness had tempted him to tell Jonathon that the only sport he participated in was naked wrestling with Trip, but he thankfully restrained himself. And now he had brought up the PADD of work, using it more as a shield, this breakfast could not get more awkward.

Ah, saved by the COMM.


'Great! Just great! Mines that are invisible until they explode or attach to the hull of your ship! What will they think of next, invisible ships?'

Malcolm got back to his station and assessed the damage, the danger that would occur unless the mine was cut off. But to detach that piece of hull would take quite a bit of work and leave a sizable hole in their ship. One not easily repaired this far away from any known spacedocks.

Lieutenant Reed looked up. "Someone needs to go out and defuse that thing and that someone should be me."

He saw Captain Archer nod his permission and understanding, secured his station for the relief crewman he called up and made his way to the turbolift. He turned towards the bridge and as the doors closed he saw Jonathan's look. It conveyed determination and reassurance. Malcolm realized it was meant to say, "I believe in your ability, I will look out for Trip and keep him safe for you, and you had better come through this unharmed for Trip's sake."

Malcolm had every intention of surviving this task unscathed. He was aware, as everyone was that he might not due to the hazard involved. As he got into the EV suit for the mission he likened it to incomplete armor. It would protect him from the airless void of space and the absolute cold, but it would not protect him from a bomb going off. He finished dressing, picked up his case and headed out the airlock. He needed to get that bomb off to protect the ship, his home, and his love.

/// After a visual examination, Malcolm examined the mine carefully with his scanner, hoping the methods it used to show him the arming mechanisms would not inadvertently light the fuse. He let out a careful breath when he was sure the scan had not cause the mine to decide to count down and go boom.

A very complicated mechanism, but nothing he, one of his junior officers, or a good engineer with experience disarming torpedoes couldn't handle. He had just started on the process when one of the legs of the mine, that hadn't deployed, but he had detected, decided to shoot out. Unfortunately it speared his upper thigh, throwing him onto his back on the ship and pinned him.

'When you agreed to become chief of security onboard Enterprise, you had hoped to become a part of the ship, attached to her even, but this is ridiculous.' He thought to himself. Then informed the captain of his situation.


'Malcolm, please be okay. I kind of understand why Jon didn't allow me to go out there. He knows I'd be too worried about you to concentrate. I'd likely get to worrying about you, focus on you, tap the wrong thing and…well at least we'd be together.'

'Please Cap'n get him out of there alive. That's all I want. Just him alive, safe, and with me.'


'Roast Reed for dinner?' If I wasn't so pissed at you right now, I might find that funny. I am going to get you out of here in one piece and back to Trip. Sure amputation might be a last resort, cause you'd still be alive, but I don't think I can live with that. No lieutenant, we'll find a way out of here even if it means taking the bomb apart a piece at a time.


'All right, how does it make sense for the captain to come out here himself. He knows my people have been trained in how to defuse bombs, as have Charles and at least two of his engineers. It would have made a hell of a lot more sense for one of them to come out here, but no, the captain does. Then he derides me for my gallows humor and insists on babbling about us, refusing to consider the option of amputation, or cutting the hull and me off of the ship.'

'I would rather not be cut off of the ship, left to float in space until the inevitable, but it is preferable than the bomb going off. The explosion would likely kill me, the captain, and possibly others due to the location of the bomb. Amputation could be done safely, so that the captain can drag me back into the ship and then cut the hull loose. With artificial limbs being so well made these days I could even stay on Enterprise as chief of security. Why the captain refuses even to consider this option, I'm not sure.'

'Now a hostile alien has shown up threatening to destroy the ship. Everyone on board is at risk. At any moment the bomb could go off, taking me, the captain, and an unknown number of people with it. At any moment the alien could attack, possibly destroy the ship, and the only thing preventing my friends and Charles from warping off to safety is the fact I'm tacked onto the hull. I would much prefer to live, to return to Charles and sleep safely in his arms every night, but…but I am in the equivalent of a burning house about to collapse.'

'I have told my captain the story of my uncle who went down with his submarine and how heroic I felt he was. It wasn't only heroism that motivated him—it was dedication. I don't have a death wish, I wish there were a way to explain this properly to the captain. Every day I am on duty, I know I may be asked to go on an away mission in hostile conditions. I know I may be in the armoury, a highly desirable target for enemy ships and there are live torpedoes all around, which have been known to misfire. I know that with my training and knowledge in facing various hostile situations, that I am best suited to get everyone out safely, including myself, if at all possible.'

'I've weighed the risk my captain is taking, the cost the bomb going off or the alien attacking against my own life. I can think of no way to get out from being pinned and away from the about to collapse house. There is only one option left to try to give everyone a chance to get out safely, and it is the one my captain refuses to consider.'

Malcolm reached over to detach the hose from his helmet, air vented from his suit and he knew it was only a matter of minutes before he breathed his last. The captain saw him though and came towards him and the lieutenant realized he was going to try to stop him from giving the crew a chance to get to safety. He tried to push the captain away, but failed.

A bitter failure, oxygen filling his suit again. And an offer of hope, with an insane, risky plan from the captain as to how to get him out with the use of shuttlepod doors as shields and cutting the leg off of the bomb while detaching the hull. It was brilliantly insane and it just might work. He may still be able to sleep within Charles arms soon.


Well, it actually worked. I'm back inside Enterprise with an injured, but live Malcolm and we're laughing together. We may even become friends. If nothing else I can torment him about the comment, "may I please have some more, sir." At least I now know what a drugged Oliver Twist would sound like.

And here comes Trip with Phlox. No real reason for Trip to be here, but he looks relieved to see Malcolm, anxious about the injury, and tired. At the moment the only person he notices is Malcolm. The love those two have for each other vibrates through the room. I'm glad I found a way to bring him back for Trip, if I hadn't I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself, even if Trip tried to.


God, it's so hard watching him struggle to lift just a bit more weight with his leg. He's in so much pain. But any time I tell him to rest a bit he bites my head off. We've had a few shouting matches, me trying to talk sense into him, him being more than just stubborn. Yelling back and forth, I make sure to say its what he's doin' to himself that's getting me riled.

Ain't no way in the universe I'll have him thinking its him that I'm mad at. He's the most important thing in the universe and I am not going to make it sound as if it's him. God, Mal, I just want to help you and see you out of pain.

And if you just listened to Phlox and didn't push yourself so hard, maybe you'd recover faster.


What use is an armoury officer that can't stand on his own two feet? Why can't Charles understand I have to fight my way back as soon as possible? "I am not being a damned stubborn fool, I am doing all I can to get back to fighting form!" I state firmly to the daft engineer standing at the foot of the weight bench. "Enterprise, our home needs me to protect them, you need me to cover your back and keep an eye on you. That is why I will keep pushing the limits at physiotherapy. I don't care if Phlox thinks I'm trying too much too soon. I'm the one who knows what's best for me…Charles, stop laughing."

Dead Stop

I'm not sure if I like the sounds of this repair station. The Tellarites mentioned it, but the message wasn't received in full. And now we get here, Charles tells me the whole thing is completely automated with no staff, just the computer, which will not answer some questions. The payment we are making doesn't quite make sense either; the whole situation just doesn't sit right with me. But since I have nothing to point to except for "gut instinct" the captain isn't listening. Likely discounting it as he has in the past as paranoia.

I can only hope he's right and my gut is wrong.


Well, that was odd. My leg is completely healed except for a scar at the entry and exit points of the wound. No more pain while walking. It's almost too good to be true. And now having a meal on the station with Charles, across from me, immersed in schematics. God, we must look like an old married couple to anyone watching.

He wants to go crawling about the station looking at the machinery. Why am I not surprised? And why am I agreeing to go along?


Travis is dead.

He was found in a storage bay by a panel, electrocuted. The area had been closed off for repairs and I am trying to figure out why Travis chose to go there at this time. There has to be a reason for it, a clue as to why he did. Since there is no indication of Travis having talked to anyone before leaving his quarters, I'm reading through his personal logs and letters, but they don't give me any kind of clue at all.

Travis is…was such a good friend. He would tell me of how he and his brother Paul would wrestle and yell at each other. Seemingly not getting along, but when the chips were down and they needed too, the brothers were a formidable team.

Growing up as a boomer gave him so much experience, he has seen more places and logged more time in space than anyone I ever knew. And yet he saw space as a wonder, a joy to explore. It's just so hard to think of that joy, that optimism, or that spirit being snuffed out.

Travis was likely the closest I ever had to a younger brother and while he was going to his death, I was confined to quarters after crawling about an automated station like a kid playing hide and seek with my lover.

If I had been here for Travis…//Phlox//

What an extraordinary duplicate. If it hadn't been for the fact the station could not replicate the living virus, I do not think I would have found out that this replica wasn't Travis.

From weight to height, to facial features, to color of skin, to blood type, and every oddity of anatomy that can occur in humans. Some with only one kidney, others with three, extra bones, organs in different places, even with all of the organs in the mirror position to the illustrations in Grey's anatomy. The small differences that are a part of, a thankfully alive, Ensign Mayweather are a part of this replica.

Even the small scar on the right buttocks is duplicated. I wish I had been able to take a closer look at the machinery and process that did this. Technology that can replicate things to this detail could provide amazing medical advances.

I had almost completed my autopsy when we discovered it was a replica, I asked the captain to be allowed to finish it on the replica so as to see if there is any medical knowledge to be gained from it. Captain Archer seemed a bit disturbed by the request but said I might complete it on the faux Ensign Mayweather as long as I do not mention the autopsy to Travis or the rest of the crew.

Perhaps due to the fact it would remind them of how close we came to loosing our colleague.


Sitting here, gabbing with Travis. Watching him tell tall stories to everyone about his travels on the Horizon. Watching him tease Malcolm about me and getting my love to blush. God Malcolm's gorgeous when he blushes. And he's so glad to see Travis alive and well that he's teasing him right back, very sly and wicked teasing, for everyone to see.

It's like watching brothers to see them kid each other. It's so good to have our boomer back alive. I'm not sure if Malcolm could have forgiven himself if we hadn't found out about the replica.

Though what he could have done to protect his friend is beyond me.


Here I am, lying in Charles' arms, so very tired. I may not have done that much physically, but it has been a very long day. From disappearing from the station to the bridge and the embarrassment I felt; to Charles and I being deservedly chewed out by the captain for our actions. From thinking Travis was dead and having to go through his things grief filling my heart; to the wonder and almost unreal feeling of having my friend back whole and safe.

And now just lying here, one arm draped over my chest, and Charles' spooning behind me, so very close. Charles treasures me. I treasure him in return. His love means everything to me. I am so very glad I found him.

/// Marauders

Oh god, Charles would make a great father. The way that boy Q'el is following about. In fact if humans had ever been this way before I would be wondering if the boy and Charles were related. My love seems to savor having a child asking him all kinds of questions, playing with him, and talking with him. I know how much he wants a family of his own I just don't know if I will ever want children too.

Would I become like my father? Always disapproving and vicious?

I don't know if I can risk the possibility of becoming like my father, be like that to any child I might have. But would Charles be happy if we never had children or come to resent me for not risking it?

I do love how happy and carefree Charles' looks as he spends time with Q'el. I need to help the villagers prepare for an assualt.


Now that he had convinced Tessec and the colonists to accept help there was a lot of hard work to put in. The Klingons had left and gone out of sensor range, but they would be back. Now that they had moved the village and Malcolm had given the colonists basic lessons in how to wage a successful ground assault, they were as ready as they would get.

Jon looked over at Malcolm in his grey shirt, arms bare, biceps defined, you could see the lean muscles normally covered by his uniform jacket, the way the sweat glistened…the captain shook his head and focused on the colonists again.


Q'el sure was an interesting kid, liked followin' me about, asking all kinds of questions, and just wanting to spend time with me. It's been fun spending time with him, I don't know if I'd want to be responsible for a kid myself though.

I did mention to Malcolm that I wanted kids one day and having kids would be nice but not unless I was on a planet of some kind and Malcolm wanted them too. I think Mal is intimidated by the idea, worried he'd be like his parents were to him. So unless he gets that notion out of that head of his, I don't think we should have kids.

I scan the area to see if I can catch a glimpse of Malcolm and see Jon droolin' over someone, I follow his eyes and see Malcolm in just that grey shirt of his, arms bare, sun strikin' him just so, god he's gorgeous, I guess I can't blame Jon for drooling.

/// The Communicator

Jon and Malcolm have gone back to the planet to retrieve the communicator Mal lost. Mal was beating himself up about that, losin' a piece of technology on a planet that doesn't have warp drive. It could have happened to anyone though and it could have been that someone picked his pocket rather than him having dropped it. I just hope I can convince him it's no big deal when he comes back.

The COMM is going off, I'd better see what's up…we've lost contact with the cap'n and Mal, their lifesigns are now half way across the planet. We need to mount a rescue and the best chance of getting there is by taking the Sulliban pod down to the surface. All we have to do is figure out how to make it cloak within a few hours when we haven't figured that out in all the months we've had access too. Then Travis has to figure out how to fly it and we go down to rescue them.

God, I hope I figure it out. The announcement we overheard said that General Gosis intended to execute the two "spies" his people had captured. If I don't figure this out in time we'll be retrieving dead… oh Mal, be safe. Please be safe.


I've watched Malcolm as he got as much sleep as he could. Standing here at the far end of the cell, leaning against the top of the bunk bed, just watching him sleep. Something I'm sure Trip does from time to time, he must, as Malcolm is so beautiful when he sleeps. I just hope I can get him out of here, back to Trip and the Enterprise. Malcolm deserves the best and the strength of Trip's devotion to this man is the best.

If, by some small miracle we make it back to the ship, I am going to have to focus my attention on someone else. I have the feeling that I may always be fond of Malcolm but I need someone of my own to love.

I close my eyes briefly as Malcolm still sleeps and for a moment think of Travis.

What the…well he is…is handsome and intelligent and so full of life, maybe…just maybe.


I woke up to find my captain just standing there watching me, it was a bit disconcerting. For the rest of the day everything seemed so unreal. The only thing too real to bear is the knowledge that I likely won't make it back to Trip safely as I had promised I would. It's so hard to bear that I almost break down in tears while trying to reassure the captain that I expect a rescue at any moment.

I don't though. I can think of no way for anyone to get us out of here in time. It is likely that the captain and I shall die, that I will go to whatever there might be beyond death alone.

Trip, I love you, please have a long and happy life for my sake.


Damn! While tryin' to figure out how to get the stupid pod to cloak I somehow cloaked my right arm. I know it's there, I just can't see it and I'm finding it impossible to work properly when I can't see what the arms doing. Phlox gives me a glove to wear and reassures me that he thinks my arm will become visible again.

If it doesn't, well how will Mal react?

I smile wickedly, I'm pretty sure Mal would enjoy playing with my invisible arm, no matter how long it stays invisible.

I work on the pod awhile, desperately trying to get it to work when T'Pol comes up and tells me we are running out of time. I tell her we can get it going on the fly, Travis gets in to fly the thing and we're off.

I just hope we reach Malcolm and Jon in time. Please Mal, be safe, I want to have more time with you.

We go in phasers blasting, I go first and as I go into the chaos I see the noose around Malcolm's neck. I blast away as many idiots as I can, trying to get to Mal. There's chaos everywhere. Jon and Mal get out of the nooses and off the platform. They find a way to help us fight the aliens. Jon says we need to get the equipment back so he and Mal disappear to get the equipment, they come back get on the pod and we take off.

We get back to the ship and Malcolm goes to be scanned by Phlox and to get his disguise taken off. I go with him, telling him it's to make sure he doesn't detour to the armoury. It's really because I can't bear letting him out of my sight.

We finally get to go home and I show Mal how my arm is like now and tell him how I accidentally cloaked it. He starts drooling over the thought of completely cloaking himself so he can just sneak around planets and as he talks of the possibilities, his eyes sparkling with mischief and yet still a bit haunted from the close call I kiss him.

A long, hard, lingering kiss. Reducing us both to need. We're in my quarters and I roll on top of him when he suddenly takes control and I'm flat on my back. We wiggle out of our clothes and Mal is still on top of me. Kissing me, gently nipping at my throat, his hands everywhere. He's over me, on top of me, touching me everywhere. His eyes blazing with fierce love and determination.

Finally we're both naked and he starts teasing me. Flicking my nipples with his fingers, running those hands of his over my abdomen. I feel that wicked, wicked mouth of his start kissing and licking down my chest. Closing over one nipple, driving me wild. His hands still touching me everywhere, he goes to the other nipple and gives it equal treatment.

I'm almost beyond thought now. He starts kissing his way down and wraps that mouth of his around the tip of little Trip…god…


Charles is moaning and writhing beneath him, his taste teasing my tongue as I hold his penis in my mouth and flick my tongue across the tip. I hold his hips firmly, controlling how much he can thrust. I swallow along him then give long firm licks then back to just swallowing against him. I let go with one hand using it to caress him. Then I let go of the treat in my mouth to a disappointed moan, catch those amazing eyes of his and wet two fingers thoroughly with saliva. I take him in my mouth again and he angles his hips up so I can work my fingers in him, teasing his hole open and then carefully entering him with my fingers. Swallowing around him as I do I start stroking him inside and he comes. I swallow tasting him, savoring him. I lick him clean.

I move up, hoping the stretching I've done, the saliva is enough and I enter that tight heat. As slowly as I can and hear him gasp and moan. He braces himself and thrusts against me taking more of me in. I kiss him desperately and thrust completely in him, wrapping my hand around his cock.

His body moves with mine, muscles flexing and sheen coating it. He looks so wonderful beneath me, I thrust again and again and seeing his head tilt back with pleasure I come inside him and continue stroking him soon he comes again and I watch his face reflect the beauty of it as I milk him.

"Love you…Charles." I am able to whisper as I collapse on him. He wraps his arms around me. It sinks in that I'm safe, back on the Enterprise, alive, and with my love and I start to sob.

"Hush…it's okay Mal, I've got you. It's okay." His voice reaches my ears and he starts gently stroking my back. The sobs taper off and I fall asleep with him still whispering to me, petting me, telling me I'm safe and loved.

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