Title: Collage, First Piece

Author: Qzeebrella

E-mail: qzeebrella@yahoo.com

Date: 08/23/2003; reposted to AE 1/4/04

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Disclaimer: The show and the characters belong to Paramount, no infringement is intended, no profit being made.

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Rating: NC-17 just in case

Series: Journey Into Love

Previous story: Improv

Next story: Collage, Secondn Piece

Number in series: 2

Warning: AU

AN: AU, reference to child abuse. AU is where Trip meets Malcolm on Jupiter Station. Timeline for this part is from just before Broken Bow to the end of Sleeping Dogs, the next part deals with Shuttle Pod 1 to Shockwave

Archive: Yes to EntST*, Archer's Enterprise

Pre-Broken Bow

Malcolm was, he admitted, scared out of his wits. He was going to meet his new CO, his lover's best friend, and the son of a man he deeply admired both for his ingenuity and his determination, yet he was only going to meet one man. Captain Jonathon Archer, who by all accounts, was a bit of a cowboy, but Charles admired him and Archer did have a good service record so perhaps he and the captain could have an amicable relationship.

He hoped that that sort of amicable relationship would be possible, for it would improve the chances of his sustaining the relationship he had with his love for as long as possible. If he and Jonathon Archer could achieve respect for each other or even be friendly acquaintances, then Charles' best friend would support Charles choices. Malcolm had arrived at the room on time, where he was supposed to meet his lover, but the engineer was nowhere in sight. His communicator beeped so he opened it to receive the call.

"Commander Tucker here, sorry Malcolm a kink in the warp coils is going to prevent me from being there." He heard that lovely voice say then felt his stomach sink and twist itself into knots. "I know you wanted me to be there for your first meeting with the captain, and I'd be there if I could, but unfortunately due to this emergency I can't. I'm sure you'll be all right alone. I already let the cap'n know, since it was a duty related meeting we were going to have, hope all goes well for you. Damn! A fuse or somethin' blew—I got to go. I'm sorry, see you tonight."

Malcolm heard the beep of the com closing and sighed. He then gathered all of his courage and rang the door chime—he could do this. He could face Jonathon Archer on his own and survive.

"Come in Lieutenant." He heard a very nice voice say.

He entered the room to see a tall, nicely built man with green eyes petting a friendly looking beagle. "Hello, I'm Lieutenant Reed." He introduced himself; the beagle ran up to him and looked at him expectantly. "Is it all right if I pet this dog?" He asked.

"Yes, he's friendly, his name is Porthos. I'm Captain Jonathon Archer." The man with the green eyes said.

Malcolm petted the dog, it seemed very nice, he hoped it would be coming with them and that the captain might consider letting him walk the dog from time to time. He had always wanted a pet and had never been allowed one. His parents had used the excuse of his allergies, yet he had only food, mold, pollen and dust allergies as far as any doctor could determine he was not allergic to any animals dander or hair.

Though Malcolm enjoyed this opportunity to pet the small dog, he used it to discreetly look around the room and see what he could conclude about the man. Most of the pads around the room were arranged neatly giving an efficient feel to the office. There was one pile stacked haphazardly though, pictures and models of the previous incarnations of Enterprise vessels and a doggy bed for Porthos. So history, organization—as long as it wasn't obsessive, and his dog was among the things important to this man. So far Malcolm thought he could learn to get along with this man.

Jon had picked up a pad and sighed, "I was hoping Trip could read through this list of five people command has given me for a potential helm officer. I really need to find someone who is both qualified and has at least some experience flying in deep space. These people either aren't rated for warp engines or have no experience other than simulators."

"I know of someone who would be a good helm officer." Malcolm offered, "though he just graduated from flight school, he's a boomer, born and raised on a cargo ship. Has flown his family ship for years before flight school, it's only a warp 3, I think. Though he has likely seen more of other planets than you, Commander Tucker and I combined, he still loves space, is awed by it and has a desire to explore and learn. He's the best pilot I've ever seen with some amazing instincts."

Malcolm saw Jon look up at him with an accessing look. "Just what is your relationship with this pilot?"

"He's a friend, and was a student in one of the hand to hand combat classes I taught. He's excellent at one of the martial arts and has a wide range of interests." Malcolm informed the older man. "He is very nice and is becoming a good friend of mine, but I would recommend him even if he were only an acquaintance."

Jon nodded, "Let me know his name and I'll look him up in the computer to see if he could be what I'm looking for."

"Certainly, Ensign Travis Mayweather, currently of Lunar Base 3." Malcolm said.

Malcolm watched as the captain looked up the information. After just a few minutes he saw the older man nod.

"Yes, he would be who I'd like to see at the controls, seems to be a better pilot than even I was." The older man said. "Thank you for the recommendation. Here let's sit and have something to drink and get to know each other better. Would you like coffee or tea?"

"I'd like a bit of Darjeeling if you have it, if not coffee would do." Malcolm said.

After drinking some tea and talking with the captain for some time of his experiences with the Eagle Scouts and his love of all kinds of weaponry, he was dismissed. Malcolm had enjoyed reminiscing about the Scouts, almost all his experiences with them had been positive. Earning badges on his own merit after hard work, the Scout leader firm in making sure no one was bullied, and it was through the scouts that he had first handled a weapon and knew he wanted to learn how they worked. It looked as though he and the captain would be able to work with each other.


Jon contacted his friend after meeting Trip's new love Malcolm Reed. He was very glad that he had the chance to talk to the young man alone. It had confirmed for him that the armoury officer was just the kind of person he would like to see with Trip. Malcolm was level headed, extremely intelligent, and very good looking. He almost wished he had met the Englishman first. His talk with the younger man had also let him make sure that Malcolm's saying that Ensign Mayweather was his friend meant just that.

That the armoury officer's statement meant that the Boomer was a friend and nothing more. Though Jon knew Trip could look after himself, he occasionally needed to do the 'protective friend' thing—the engineer called it 'the over-protective almost big brotherish thing.'

Jon opened a com link to engineering to talk to his friend. "Trip, I just finished talking with Lieutenant Reed." Jon informed his friend. "He seems a bit reserved, but very nice. I'm glad you'll have a voice of reason to keep you from your more wild adventures. And I'm glad he'll have a voice of fun to lead him on some wild adventures. He even recommended a helmsman to me, one that's perfect for Enterprise. You're a very lucky man."

"I know Jon, I know. See you soon." Trip said, turning back to finish the last of the repair work on the malfunction.

Broken Bow

Well they had headed out early; Malcolm had been forced to delay properly outfitting Enterprise with all her weapons in order to return an alien to its homeworld. Though the alien had been attacked by an enemy that seemed to be able to change it's shape enough to crawl under the cracks of doors, Malcolm distrusted the Klingon male as well. Mainly due to his hostile attitude and the fact that the database labeled his people as extremely warlike. Also, in spite of being able to get all the way to the alien's homeworld with information his leaders desperately needed, the leaders and other Klingons seemed to be extremely hostile, aggressive, and a distorted need for vengeance. They were now on Malcolm's list of hostile species to tread quietly around. The other malleable bodied species were also on his list of species to watch out for.

Malcolm had made arrangements to spend the evening with Charles. Having dinner with him, Travis was going to join them as his love wanted to meet the young man that had become his friend. He had let the engineer know that the friendship was important to him, for he liked the younger man's love of life, and he assured his lover that Travis was just a friend. Travis was looking forward to meeting Charles too, the boomer had said he wanted to shake the hand of the man that had managed to get the Brit to smile from time to time.

Malcolm entered the mess hall; he habitually looked around the whole room, getting a good idea of who was there and what was going on. Neither Charles nor Travis was there yet so he selected his dinner, baked chicken, mixed vegetables, and a baked potato. He then grabbed a small empty teapot, hot water and Darjeeling tea to make himself some proper tea. Going to sit in a corner where he could watch all entrances and yet keep his back to the wall.

Charles entered the room, spotted him, got his dinner which was the same as Malcolm's except he had chosen coffee instead of tea. Then came over to him, Charles looked longingly at him. Malcolm had researched all the rules and regulations Starfleet had since that first time he read enough to confirm that he and his love could be together, and had confirmed what he was about to do was allowable. He stood up just as Charles set his tray on the table, leaned toward the engineer and briefly kissed him on the lips, making his heart sing with the promise of more.

'There, mission accomplished.' He thought as he sat back down and saw the surprised, pleased and embarrassed look his love had, then he caught sight of Travis heading towards them. "I certainly am glad short kisses and hand holding in public areas such as the mess hall and observation lounges, is allowed under the regulations, as long as the people within the relationship are off duty."

He saw Charles smile as if receiving a precious gift. "I am too darlin.'" Just as Travis joined them. Travis also had a wide smile and a teasing glint in his eyes.

"Charles," Malcolm said, gesturing at the young boomer, "This is my friend Travis Mayweather, he grew up on a boomer ship and worked in each section including engineering. Travis, this is the man I've talked endlessly to you about, Charles Tucker the third."

"Call me Trip when we're not on duty." Charles offered, his 'good ole- boy' charm coming to the fore. "Sit yourself down and we'll get to know each other a bit. How did you meet Mal?"

After hearing the recap of how he and Travis met from the younger man's point of view. Malcolm was laughing softly, almost completely relaxed; though he still scanned the room from time to time, out of habit. From bitter experience he knew you needed to be constantly on guard. Travis had regaled Charles with how on a survival training together Malcolm had supposedly managed to create a 3 bedroom log cabin, with running water, a cold storage space, and a fireplace and chimney from a bunch of twigs and rocks.

Malcolm had protested that it was only a lean-to created from three trees, some shrubs, a trench built from the river to a nearby dugout, then back to the water to create a mini-river to lake to mini-river situation, and a firepit.

Charles had said that he believed Travis story ahead of his, "you have understated your accomplishments before, so if Travis says you built a 3 bedroom cabin with all the amenities that's likely what you did."

Malcolm shook his head in disbelief, then grinned; it would not hurt for Charles to think he could perform miracles. They had finished eating and by the looks Travis was giving the engineer and him, the pilot wanted a chance to speak with the older man alone. "Charles, I think you and Travis need to talk a bit, I'll go to my cabin and read a bit. Will you come by soon?"

"I'll be there just as soon as I'm finished here." Charles said, "I'm glad I heard the true story behind your two's meeting." Nodding towards Travis.

Malcolm snorted, bent to kiss Charles on the cheek and left the room.


"So," Trip said, "you and Malcolm seem to have a good friendship." He knew that sounded like fishing, but he had to know just what was up between his love and this man. He had to admit the younger man was very nice looking, but from the way Malcolm and Travis talked about the survival training it sounded like a good way to bond. Though the interaction of the two had more of the sense of friendship, Trip still felt a few moments of uncertainty and jealousy. He hoped he did not have competition for his Malcolm's love.

"Yes, we are good friends." Travis said, "I'm glad I've been able to get him to relax a bit, smile and chuckle from time to time. I'm very glad he found someone like you, you had him laughing openly tonight, and it was good to see him really laugh finally. Almost the only thing he talks about with me these days is you. I'm glad he found someone, as his friend I had been hoping he would, but I'd like permission to speak to you freely and off the record."

Trip blinked, the younger man had just gone from friendly to very serious looking, what he was about to say must be very important to him. "Go ahead, you may speak freely and off the record."

"I take my friends very seriously, if one of them is hurt physically or emotionally I do everything I can to help them. If you ever hurt Malcolm in any way, I will hurt you, it won't matter to me that you are superior in rank to me, it won't matter that you are the captain's friend. If you ever hurt Malcolm, you will regret it for I will enact whatever kind of revenge I see fit. Is that clear Mr. Tucker." Travis voice was full of menace.

"Very clear, Travis." Trip assured him, looking the younger man in the eye. "Though to hurt Malcolm would be a direct attack on my heart and soul, for he is my heart and soul. If I ever hurt Malcolm enough for you to want to come after me, I'd likely allow you to do whatever it is you needed to do. For my heart and soul would already be kicking me from one end of the ship to the other, it'd likely want some help from someone and invite you to join in. I think you should know the captain just overheard us, so I don't know what he'll think of what we just said."

"I would watch the butt kicking." Jon said, coming up to be seen by the determined looking ensign, who hadn't even flinched when hearing that the CO had been there. "Then I'd sit with you in sickbay, telling you how idiotic you were to let a man like Malcolm go, and send Travis to go talk to him and help him."

Trip looked his friend in the eye and came to understand why Jon would be willing to stand by and allow a butt kicking on his ship. His old friend had apparently fallen half in love with Malcolm too. The engineer knew that Jon would never try to steal Malcolm away, but that Jon would always have a soft spot, a protective streak towards the armoury officer. If the southerner were ever idiotic enough to hurt his love, he'd have not only a boomer to contend with, but his captain and best friend as well.

/// From Broken Bow to Unexpected

Malcolm lay within Charles arms, content and warm. Everyone on board seemed to know about their relationship now, Malcolm had been surprised to find out that other people knowing about their being lovers did not bother him. The armoury officer had also come to having gotten used to his love hovering behind him when the Brit was at his post on the bridge. To have him there, usually once a day gave him the feeling that his engineer was silently supporting him.

Malcolm had even made a few new friends, Hoshi, the communications officer, who smirked whenever she saw them kiss lightly or hold hands. She sighed when he and Charles got sappy and spoke lovingly to each other. She had told him, much to his embarrassment, that she wished she could watch them make love with each other. That most of the female crew loved watching them and speculating on what they did. No matter how much they tried to picture it, Malcolm knew they would never get close to the wonder and beauty of the actual experience.

Whether making slow and gentle love, or fucking each other into the bed, each time seemed to touch his heart and soul and mind. Healing another bruise, sealing one of the seeping wounds left on him by his parents' and classmates' abuse. Each day they set aside a half-hour to just talk, usually cuddling while doing so. It was these talks, full of Charles' admiration for his inventiveness, his support—both spoken and inferred. Along with his willingness to listen, his willingness to confide in Malcolm, and the fact they could just sit and hold each other in silence and be perfectly content. It was all of this that warmed Malcolm's heart and soul in ways he just could never described.

Malcolm was beginning to believe he deserved to be treated with respect and gentleness, and that he had many things of value to contribute to Enterprise, her crew, and his love.

Malcolm had even made friends with the resident aliens, Phlox and T'Pol. His conversations with Phlox were full of debates on philosophy, sharing with each other the history of their respective planets, sharing their love of literature, and Malcolm helping Phlox to understand some of the more confusing traits humanity persisted in. Malcolm had put his foot down and made sure Phlox understood that he and Charles would never demonstrate human copulation for him. Once Phlox understood how strongly Malcolm felt about keeping their intimacy a matter of privacy, the doctor had let his desire go and had focused instead on their many discussions.

His relationship with T'Pol was vastly different than any he had ever known. T'Pol had mentioned to him that his emotional control was exceptional for a human. Malcolm told her of how he had read Plato and various other philosophers, focusing on those who advocated a life organized by reason rather than dominated by desires and appetites. He told her of his study of Marcus Aurelius' life and stoicism in general, his quest to learn as much as he could to harmonize his desire for inner peace with that philosophy. She had then given him a copy of Surak's teachings, which they discussed and compared with what he knew of other philosophies.

They had interspersed this with his views of why emotion and acting on it were important for humans in general, playing chess while debating tactics, strategy, and when force was a necessary reaction to a situation. T'Pol had even taught him the basics of meditation, which he now tried to do a half hour a day so as to clear his mind and focus on his duties. Meditation cleared his mind, and it also seemed to be helping him to heal his soul. Helping him to put his parents' actions and words into context, beginning to realize that he was not at fault for their treatment of him. That he had done nothing to deserve their violent actions or words. Due to his continuing discussions with T'Pol, her approaching him with a respect she showed no other on board, he began to be both humbled and honored that he had earned her respect.

He had helped her to understand why movies could help her gain an understanding of how the human mind worked, even if they were comedies or absurd science fiction movies. He knew that if he had not had Charles, if he had not fallen in love with the southerner, that he would have likely been blinded by T'Pol's physical appearance, air of mystery and unattainability and would have lusted after her from afar. She noticed a lot more about how humans saw her than anyone else gave her credit for, if he had lusted after her from afar, likely tripping over his tongue from time to time, he would not have had the chance to get to know her as a person. They would likely not have had the discussions of logic and reason, emotion and impulse, silliness versus solemn stoicness, and he would have missed out on having a friend, a colleague who's discussions were helping him to heal almost as much as Charles' emotional support and conversations were.

Malcolm was glad he was making so many friends. The captain and he had even started a tentative friendship based mostly on their both being Scouts and a love of good literature, or a good thriller for that matter. He was immensely glad he was serving among people who were fast becoming more like a family to him than anyone else had been with the exception of his sister Madeline. He was home. He turned in Charles' arms as the engineer awoke and kissed him, reluctantly getting up to dress for another day.


Malcolm was somewhat worried that Charles would be entering and staying on the Xyrillian ship all by himself. They knew very little about the species and though Malcolm had protested the trust the captain insisted on showing them, with the intention of proving that they were explorers and not a threat, Charles was going alone. He just hoped nothing happened to his love, that his love would return to him safe and sound.


Trip looked around at the scenery that had showed up out of nowhere, his hands in the pebbles, and then looking at Ahlen who he got the feeling was attracted to him. She did nothing for him though. She wouldn't have even if he had not had Malcolm to go home to, but this technology sure was interesting. As was the feel of pebbles against his skin, it almost felt as if something was entering him and settling in his abdomen. Sure the feeling was a bit odd, but it wasn't threatening so he decided to ignore it. He hoped he would be able to help out these people quickly and return to Malcolm soon.


Trip was really worried, something strange was happening to him. He had woken up with Malcolm in his arms, which still seemed like a miracle to him, to have been able to convince the somewhat shy and reserved man to take a chance on him. It always gave his heart a bit of joy to awake with his armoury officer, and awed him that he always did so. Malcolm choosing to use his cabin only for meditating, reading, and occasionally dragging him in there for a change of scenery. So far the only times Malcolm had felt comfortable enough to ask him to let the younger man penetrate him were the times they were in the Brit's cabin.

Perhaps one day Mal would gain enough confidence to seduce him in Trip's cabin or elsewhere. The engineer was looking forward to that day, not only for the sheer pleasure having his love inside him, but because it would be one more step on the path to his love being completely healed. Trip had been truly awed the first time Mal had seduced him in the armoury officer's cabin. He knew how hard it must have been for the younger man, how much courage it had taken for him to risk rejection, and he had been honored by the request. Mal had been so gentle, so tentative, as if afraid of breaking him, as if cherishing each moment, and it had been wonderful.

Though Trip tried to distract himself with happy memories, so as to remain calm and still, so as to give his love more time to sleep, whatever it was that was happening to him was getting harder to ignore. His abdomen felt strange, his stomach queasy, he was dizzy, and he desperately hoped he hadn't caught anything contagious…at the thought it might be contagious, and that Phlox might have missed it he knew he had to wake Mal and get him to help him to sickbay.

"Malcolm," Trip just barely whispered, barely touched his love, and Malcolm rolled out of bed into a defensive upright position. God, he hated whatever had caused Malcolm to expect attack whenever woken unexpectedly, hated to see those eyes clouded by fear even for a moment due to something he did. But this was important, if whatever was making him feel strange was contagious it could hurt Mal…and the rest of the crew. "I don't feel that good, I've been feeling a bit off lately. It started on the Xyrillian ship and has been getting stronger ever since, I'd better see if Phlox can figure out what's wrong."

He was immediately helped into a robe, and a second later escorted out of their, uh, his cabin by a robed armoury officer. Trip still wasn't quite sure how Mal had gotten both their robes on so quickly.

"It's going to be okay, Charles." Malcolm's voice was soothing, but Trip heard the quaver of uncertainty in it. "I will be with you and help you in any way I can."

The engineer knew that Malcolm was worried, and hoped with all his heart that if the worst did happen to him, the friends they had made on Enterprise would rally around his love and help him through it. Help him mourn and move on, he hoped that if he ever had to leave Malcolm behind that Mal would find love again, he deserved it. It was way too soon to be thinking of death though, where there was breath, there was hope. ***

Malcolm was terrified. Phlox kept scanning Charles, noting the new additions to his loves arms and going, "Uh-huh, and then what did you and Ahlen do?"

'Good heavens,' Malcolm could not help but think, 'why does that matter? I hope it helps you figure out what's going on. Please let Charles be okay! Please make him better. If you do, I promise to discuss the history of Karaoke with you, as you've been wanting. If you make Charles better, I'll…"

Phlox saying, "Ah that explains it." Interrupted his mental bargaining. "Commander you are pregnant."

Charles and I stare at each other, his mouth is agape in astonishment as I assume mine must be.

"Uh, p-p-pregnant." Charles stutters. I'm amazed he can get it out as I think I have been shocked into speechlessness. It may take hours if not days for me to regain the ability to speak. It isn't possible it is my child, is it?

"The Xyrillians' have a unique method of gestation." Phlox explains, "the female chooses a host for the child, a male to carry it, once she passes the necessary genetic material to him with the help of round porous objects, pregnancy occurs. None of the male's genetic material goes into making the child. The child receives only the female's genetic code, which is altered to create a unique genetic makeup by the porous objects breaking down her genetic code and reassembling it into a unique zygote. The zygote is then implanted into the male hosts abdomen here." Phlox touched Charles right side; I looked at it and see a slight swell starting.

Phlox continued, "it would be a good idea to find the Xyrillians again as the child would have the best chance of surviving and flourishing with them. We should let Captain Archer know what is going on."

I see Charles looking up at me with uncertainty. He must be worried that I would think he had stepped out on me, or perhaps concerned how the captain will take the news of his best friend being pregnant. It certainly should turn the captain's world upside down!

"Charles, I promised I would help you through whatever was going on, and I will." I assure him, going to kiss him briefly and take his right hand in my left. "I will support you as we inform the captain, help you as we go looking for the Xyrillians and in the very small chance we are unable to find them, I will be there for you regardless of what you choose to do about your situation." My assurance was more of a vow to him, whatever he chose to do; I would be there. Even if that meant ending up a father to an alien child. I don't know if I'd be a good father, but I certainly know better than anyone else what not to do.

"Okay, we'd better let Jonny know right away." Charles agreed. "Doc, would you call him here, once I tell him I want you to explain how it happened that I got pregnant. I just hope he doesn't kid me about whether I'm sure Mal's not the father. This is strange enough as it is. Uh, no offense Mal."

"None taken love." I reassure him.


Well, it would have been nice to have had a camera to take a picture of Jonny's expression when he learned that Ahlen managed to impregnate me. It would have made nice blackmail material. He did resist the urge to ask me if it was Malcolm's child though, well as long as Mal was nearby. Once we were alone he looked at me and grinned one of his shit eating grins, "so are you sure your boyfriend isn't the reason your pregnant? If it is, I'm going to have to see whether I can arrange a 'phase pistol wedding.'"

I gotta tell you I was tempted, heck I'm still tempted, to let him carry out that phase pistol wedding idea, though I know this thing isn't even my child much less Mal's. I did turn to Jonny though and put on my best offended look, "now Cap'n I would have thought you'd know that unless we had gotten Phlox to do some creative surgery and your permission Mal and I could never have created a child on our own. Besides why in the world didn't you ask me this when Mal was around?"

Jon blushed deep red at that question, which surprised me a lot, I didn't know I could still torment him enough to make him blush. "Well Trip, I didn't ask around Malcolm due to the fact that if I did T'Pol would never find my body and always wonder where I disappeared to. Though I have to say it's been difficult getting you alone, you seem to have your own personal guard hovering over you most of the time. Which is a change from the way you stick close to Malcolm on the bridge."

I blushed that time and smiled a bit sheepishly. But that was a couple of days ago, now I'm worried. What happens if we can't find Ahlen and her people? I'm not ready to be a father; this thing growing in me seems to me to be more like a parasite than a child, at least that's the way I'm thinking of it now. And as I've told Mal it feels like I was assaulted without my knowledge, like those 'date rapes' of the 20th century. I feel kind of dirty, though I know nothing sexual really happened and I don't know how to deal with that. Talking with Mal has helped some, as has talking with Phlox, and my talks with Jonny were helping me see myself as normal. As having not done anything to be ashamed of, like I was and still am from time to time.

I needed to think on it awhile, try to stop blaming myself for my unusual circumstances, there was no way I could have known what putting my hands in those pebbles with Ahlen would do. I did nothing wrong, I was not used or assaulted, and I have nothing to be ashamed of.

Now if only I could convince myself of that.


Malcolm sat on the floor of a storage deck across from T'Pol. Both sitting with legs crossed over feet resting on top of the opposite leg up by the thigh a yoga position. Malcolm had hoped just meditating with T'Pol would help him figure out how best to help Charles. Charles emotions were all over the place with sudden highs and lows, surging this way and that, part of the reason for that was due to the pregnancy that T'Pol had been made aware of. Part of it due to how his love was reacting to it, blaming himself as if there had been a way for him to know what placing his hands in those pebbles when Ahlen did as well could do. Malcolm was doing the best he could to help Charles realize that it wasn't his fault, that the engineer had nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

Added to the stress of trying to help Charles deal with the information was his own anxiety on the issue. Malcolm truly did not know how to deal with the development emotionally. He occasionally just wanted to find Ahlen and her people and blow them out of the sky for the pain they, intentionally or otherwise, were putting his love through. Then he'd feel guilty for wanting to essentially murder a ship full of people for what may have been an unforeseen occurrence. He also felt lost and bewildered, not knowing what he would do if he and Charles were faced with raising the child themselves. Though he knew he would do everything in his ability to be a good father if he ever had a child, he really had no idea how you would go about being a dad. Meditation wasn't helping him sort out his thoughts and feelings this time, they were just swirling around and taunting him. He looked up at T'Pol and cleared his throat, he saw her come out of her trance.

"Yes Mr. Reed, do you need help in achieving a trance today?" She asked, it seemed to Malcolm that she spoke to him with a tone of respect and fellowship that she did not approach anyone else on board ship with.

"Actually I don't think meditation will help me sort out my thoughts and feelings today." Malcolm said, "they keep going in circles. Until I know what will happen in regards to Charles' situation, I don't know how to deal with it. When I asked you to join me today, I had hoped that it would help me to find a way to help Charles deal with some of the things that are haunting him due to this unexpected development. It seems as if all I am capable of doing is holding his hand, or watching him as he torments himself with thoughts of how he should have been more careful. He is blaming himself for what happened, when there is no way he could have known what would occur. He is seeing what happened as an assault, and at times I see it in that way too. In spite of the fact that Ahlen may have had no idea that a cross species impregnation could occur. And since I see it as an assault at times, I find myself being consumed by vengeance when I know I will need a clear head. I need to remain focused on doing my duty both to Charles and the ship, if I allow myself to be consumed with thoughts of vengeance it would likely lead to actions that I would always regret and can never take back."

T'Pol inclined her head, "the cause is sufficient for you to be occasionally wanting vengeance. Your mate has been harmed, is hurting, and regardless of how much you want to take the pain away, the only thing you can do is be there. Mr. Reed, being there for your mate is enough that is what he needs from you right now. Until we ascertain whether we will find the Xryllians we will not know whether Ahlen impregnated Commander Tucker intentionally. There is a good chance she did not. You are doing everything you can; all you can do is continue to support your mate by being there for him. When on duty focus on your work, go through all the steps you would take to do a detailed diagnostic of your station, the equipment in the armoury, or even all the moves you would make in a chess game against a fellow master of the game. That will help you control your emotions so that you do not do anything you will regret once we do find the Xryllians."

Malcolm nodded his understanding, hearing T'Pol reassuring him that both his feelings and what he was currently doing to try to help Charles were an appropriate way to handle things centered him in a way that attempting to meditate had not. She had helped with her words to slow down the circling thoughts long enough for Malcolm to itemize them and set them aside. He could now go back to Charles, for his mind was settled enough to focus on how to be there for him instead of a twirl in his own stress and thoughts. "Thank you T'Pol. Shall we get together at our regular time for meditation later this week, or as soon after as our duties allow should we be unable to meet at the regular time."

"Yes, that would be acceptable to me." T'Pol said, "I am certain you and your mate will cope with whatever does happen admirably. I stand ready to listen to you should you need my assistance to gain perspective with this development."

Malcolm nodded his appreciation. "Farewell for now." He said as he left the room.


Trip was a bit confused, they had finally caught up with Ahlen, convinced the Klingons not to blow either them or the Xyrillians out of the sky, and the doctors had figured out how to transfer the embryo to a willing host. It seemed that Ahlen truly had not known that her actions would lead to pregnancy for him, considering how different their races were she had thought there was no risk at all. Yet Trip still felt used, and now was remembering how the embryo had started to move inside him. He found himself missing it to his surprise. Empty, sad, and angry, as if something precious had been stolen from him.

'Oh god,' he realized, 'I had begun to think of it as a child.' He knew he would have to talk to both Malcolm and Phlox about it. For he was feeling as if he'd gone and had an abortion instead of just transferring a parasite. He had truly not wanted to have the child himself. If they had been unable to find the ship Trip knew he would have made arrangements for Phlox to abort the fetus. If that option could no longer be pursued due to the length of gestation then he would have given the child up for adoption. He truly did not think he could have raised the child seeing as he would always see what happened to impregnate him as an assault, an almost rape. But he knew he'd have to deal with his feelings of regret, emptiness, and anger. And he knew Malcolm would be there to help him through it.

Trip was beginning to believe that it would be a whole lot easier to convince Malcolm to enter a lifelong relationship than he had dared to hope before this happened. So one good thing had occurred out of all this, he now knew for a certainty that his love loved him in return.


Captain's personal log: "Trip and Malcolm have been working through the after effects Trip's unexpected pregnancy caused. They seem to be doing well, I was worried about Trip, the way he was beating himself up for something he could never have foreseen…well he seems to be slowly recovering. He dealt well with the teasing he got from the crew on becoming pregnant, and told me he was grateful they were both supportive and teasing. We have just entered orbit around a planet that has the ruins of what looks like a colony on it. We aren't quite sure what's up yet, but we're hoping to find out who these people were and what they were like."

Terra Nova

'Oh my god!' Trip thought, though it felt more as if his heart and soul were crying out. 'Mal's been shot and Jonny had to leave him behind. When the Cap'n told me, his eyes were haunted. I know he'll kick himself the rest of his life if something happens to Malcolm. Oh god please let Malcolm be all right! Especially as Mal got hurt protecting him, I know it's his job and there's a risk he or I will die in the line of duty, but this is the first time I've had to face the reality of Mal's job. I knew that it'd be hard, but I didn't know that it would put my heart and soul through the wringer. As long as Mal's okay, as long as he returns to me alive, and Phlox fixes him up, I'll be okay.'

'Oh god, it's so hard not to know, not to be able to find out if he's still alive, if he'll be okay. It'll never be easy to wait and see. But as long as he always recovers, my world will go on. Oh god, let him be okay!"


'Thank god, Mal's back on ship.' Trip thought. 'He lost quite a bit of blood and was having a thankfully mild allergic reaction to something in those caves, but Jonny brought him back. Phlox has given him a shot for the allergic reaction and removed the bullet from Malcolm's leg. He'll need a bit of physical therapy, but he's going to be okay. If his allergic reaction had been more severe…thank god it wasn't. Malcolm is going to be okay. My lover is going to recover. My love has come back to me and he is going to be as good as new soon. Malcolm is going to be okay.'

Trip wondered why he was crying when Mal was now safe and sound on board ship again. But decided to focus on running his fingers through Malcolm's hair and caressing him gently so as not to wake him. Malcolm was going to be okay.


Travis and Hoshi were planning a covert mission that they were referring to, as 'Save our Soldier,' of course it would have the side effect of saving Phlox as well. They had gotten Phlox's permission to spring Malcolm from sickbay for a few hours, at a time Phlox would be immersed in taking care of his animals. They would help Malcolm get to his quarters and share with him all the news.

Hoshi had been in charge of persuading Phlox to allow the temporary escape. She had joined Phlox for breakfast and over the meal had said; "I know Malcolm is going to be released from sickbay the day after tomorrow. But if he does not get a temporary respite from it soon Malcolm will spontaneously combust, taking sickbay with him in the explosion, and we might need sickbay eventually."

Phlox had chuckled over her phrasing and said, "yes I can see that happening, I normally feed my animals from 1300 to 1530 and when I do so I am so immersed in taking care of them that I would notice nothing else unless an emergency were to occur."

So here they were, having been given the afternoon of 12:57 and counting, about to initiate 'Save our Soldier.'


Travis had to grin at his two friends as they sat in Malcolm's quarters. Malcolm had figuratively jumped at the chance to get out of sickbay for awhile. The engineer had been practically living in sickbay when not needed on duty and had given he and Hoshi his unstated permission to have Malcolm to themselves for awhile. Commander Tucker was pretending he did not know about the escape, but had implied that he knew of it and felt that Malcolm needed to unwind with his friends.

Travis thought it a shame the commander could not join them, he was becoming as much a friend to him and Hoshi as Malcolm was.

"So Malcolm," Hoshi said, her face full of mischief, it looked as if she was embarking on one of her, 'I'm going to make Malcolm blush' missions. "I bet you're looking forward to having your leg better, able to bend and take any kind of use you put it too. I'm sure you'll think of something to do with Trip to celebrate when your leg is back to normal. Something requiring flexibility and endurance."

Malcolm blushed at the wording, turning a deep red and chuckled. "Hoshi, you wicked girl!"

Hoshi had a 'who me?' smile on her face.

Travis decided to join in the teasing, "I think he can't wait till his leg is better. I'd bet that he'd find some way to celebrate with Trip once he's released from sickbay, even if he has to celebrate while lying on his back."

Travis watched as Hoshi was reduced to helpless laughter and Malcolm turned even redder, which he had not thought possible. He was glad to be able to have this time with his friends.


Malcolm was finally out of sickbay lying in Charles' arms, feeling so much joy and peace while within him. Though Charles' kept him company overnight in sickbay, he could only sit by his side not lay down beside him. It had been nice when waking up in the night to see Charles in a reclining chair asleep, hand firmly holding his, but it would never compare to the joy he found lying in his loves arms. The armoury officer was still awed that Charles wanted to be with him. It was a miracle; one he was beginning to hope would last even beyond their time on Enterprise.

One of Charles' arms was hugging him from behind, their hands clasped against his chest. Malcolm brought Charles hand to his lips and kissed it softly. Then blinked as he saw his own hand. He released Charles' hand to a murmured protest and looked more closely at his hand.

Why, his hand was nice, elegant in a way. Long fingers that could disassemble and reassemble armaments faster than anyone else on board could. My hand is deceptively fragile, very agile, quick, and gentle when comforting a friend or lover. Firm and competent when guiding someone through self-defense exercises or phase pistol training. Strong and uncompromising when dealing with any kind of threat to his love, his friends, or his home. Malcolm decided that he liked his hands.

Breaking the Ice

Trip had to smile at the identical grins of excitement and anticipation Malcolm and Travis were wearing. They were really looking forward to exploring this unique comet. The two of them were becoming more like brothers every day. Their relationship changing and growing in different ways than his and Jonny's had, but they were becoming as much like brothers as he and the cap'n. He wished he could go too, explore with them on the comet and watch Malcolm's enthusiasm and anticipation up close, but they had no real need of an engineer for it. Oh well, they'd be back soon enough. And it wasn't as if anything could go wrong on the mission.

*** 'Sigh, I know that the snow Vulcan Travis and I made was not the usual thing recommended on scientific missions. Normally the few minutes we took to kick back and have fun while waiting for the testing to finish would not have been a problem. How were we to know a Vulcan captain was watching our practice?

If I had thought for one moment our moment of fun was going to compromise either our safety or embarrass our captain, I would not have taken the risk. Captain Archer was initially upset, but once he got over the worst of the embarrassment and had accepted help from the Vulcans, he saw the humor. He told me, "it sometimes seems as if the Vulcans are ice cold towards most of humanity. Next time if there is even a hint that any Vulcans other than T'Pol are around I want you to focus only on your duty. The smile was a nice touch. I'm glad the Vulcans were able to get you and Travis out in time."


Malcolm caught up to T'Pol finally, entering a turbolift with her soon after the snow Vulcan incident. "T'Pol, I hope I did not offend you in any way in what I chose to make out of snow with Travis. When on Earth people, especially when younger, consider snowmen and forts to be a work of art, a right of passage, and a way to have fun." Malcolm informed his friend.

"Vulcans create sand sculptures of historical figures, family members, and even abstract shapes. Some of these are intended to be as temporary as your 'Snoval'. Others are made in such a way that they will last for quite some time. I considered your attempt with Travis' of creating that construct to be similar to our working with sand." T'Pol said, "I was not offended by it, however I would think that if your hands were not encumbered by the bulky gloves of the EV suit that you would make a more aesthetically pleasing sculpture. I learned from watching Crewman Cutler working with what to me was an unknown substance, that humans make small artworks out of modeling clay. Would you be willing to show me how? If you are it will give me an idea whether my supposition that you could make a more aesthetically pleasing work using the full capability of your hands is correct or not."

Malcolm smiled at the hinted compliment and at T'Pol's hint of curiosity, which he did not think anyone else would have heard in her voice, with the notable exception of Hoshi. "Yes, I think that would be an interesting activity for us to pursue." Malcolm gave the barest hint of a smile. "How about we attempt it after our next meditation together?"

"That would be acceptable, Malcolm. I shall see you then." T'Pol answered before leaving the turbolift.


Trip held Malcolm closely in his arms, so glad that the captain had put aside his resentment of Vulcans in general to go to his loves rescue. It had been another close escape. The engineer had started reading up on how the husbands and wives of servicemen dealt with close calls, injuries, and just waiting for their mate to come home. There was a lot of information in the data base ranging from studies done from the 1900's on regarding policemen, firefighters, and the military. Trip focused on the studies about policemen and the military, on any study done from then to now. Starting from his day and working back. He figured his Malcolm and the other tactical officers were the closest things they had to a police force on board, they had the riskiest job.

Knowing this caused Trip all kinds of worry and stress any time Malcolm had left the ship without him. But he knew Malcolm was happiest when he was actively protecting the crew and ship, so he was learning how to deal with it the best he could. Talking with Phlox from time to time and to Jonny. Making sure his friend knew that the southerner was aware that there might come a time when the captain would have to sacrifice the armoury officer. Trip hoped desperately that it never happened, for he did not know if he could forgive Jonny, in spite of the fact he knew Jonny might not have a choice.

For now Trip was deeply thankful his love was safe and sound, lying in his arms.


Silent Enemy

Well, Malcolm, his officers, engineering and I busted our butts to install the phase canons. Jonny wanted to throw Malcolm a birthday party as appreciation. He asked me about Mal's favorite food and I told him that Mal likes pineapple a lot. So we had a nice dinner with some Guinness and followed dinner up with pineapple upside down cake. Mal's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw it. Jonny had also tried to get some well wishes from the Reeds' for Malcolm, not having asked me if it'd be appropriate. He just wanted to do something nice for the Brit.

His sister Madeline and his Aunt Sherry sent really nice greetings by the way of Jon. Malcolm's parents though…Jonny said talking to them was worse than talking to any Vulcan. No matter, the greetings from Maddy and his aunt brightened his face. I have some plans regarding Malcolm and his love of pineapple later that have nothing to do with cake. I'm really looking forward to it.

Sleeping Dogs

'All right I just want to know one thing, one little thing, is that too much to ask?' Trip's brain was yelling at the universe. 'Why is it that it seems to be always Malcolm that ends up in these near death occurrences? Can you tell me that? Why can't you make it so he's always nice and safe? No sinking ships, no getting shot, is that too much to ask? I don't think it is. But no, that seems to be too much to ask, well screw you!'

'Oh god, I didn't mean that! I know you'll bring Mal back to me safe and sound. You just got too, please. I can't live without him. He's my heart, my breath, and the light of my life. Please bring him back safely.'


Charles chewed me out for going with T'Pol onto the Klingon ship, especially when I wasn't feeling well. He was very angry and even yelled at me. Normally he is so gentle, so patient with me, but this time the universe had pushed him a little too far. Yet even at the worst moment of his yelling at me, even at seeing him so furious that he was shaking, I wasn't scared of him. I did not worry, even for a moment, that'd he would hit me. I knew he would never hurt me intentionally. I felt safe with him even then, and I made sure to tell him once he calmed down that I did not blame him for being angry. That I knew he would never hurt me and would only yell at me, when it was justified. That I trusted him and was glad he felt confident enough in what we had to show me when he was upset. And that I knew we would be able to work through things together.

Now if I could only help him to realize that yelling at me when he was upset was okay. For Charles is beating himself up for it now.


Jon was getting ready for bed when his door chime rang. "Yes, who is it?"

"Jonny, it's me Trip, I need to talk to you." His friend of years said, his accent thick and voice scratchy. Jon knew that tone, it was Trip's 'I think I did something terrible so I'm kicking myself for it.' The captain also knew the only way he'd be hearing that tone now when the engineer had Malcolm as a lover, was if the southerner was kicking himself for something he did to Malcolm.

He felt immediately protective of the Brit and had to take a deep breath, he'd better find out whether there was cause for him to give Trip a butt kicking before he administered it.

"Come in Trip." He said grabbing some whisky to help with Trip's confession.


I ran right in as soon as Jonny said come in and started gushing out what I had done. "Oh god Jonny, I'm such an idiot. I knew Mal had nearly died on that ship, that he was probably kicking himself over lettin' that Klingon lady get the drop on him, and I went and chewed him out. Just cause he went over with a cold instead of sendin' someone else. Yeah he should have taken the day off to try to recover a bit, especially when the cold was hitting him so hard. But to lay into him with words just after he came back? The worst thing Jonny is that he said he understood that I had just cause to yell at him. Maybe so, but I came so close to hurting him with words instead of just chewin' him out. Oh god, Jonny, I came so close to tearing into him with words, so close to being vicious. What if next time I loose control? How does a husband prevent himself from hurtin' his love with words, from using them as weapons?"

I see Jonny blink in surprise and wonder why. He had listened with little to no expression on his face as I had started to talk. Looking like he does when having to control himself severely from throttling someone first then asking questions. But why the surprise? Was it because he didn't think me capable of chewin' Mal out right after he had narrowly escaped death?

"Husband?" He asked.

'Oh shit, I had said husband.' I thought, 'sure that's the way I see Mal, he is in my heart my husband.'

"Husband, not boyfriend?" Jon repeats, "when did you start thinking of him as your husband? Is this a recent development?"

"Uh, not exactly." I hedge, and see by his expression that's not going to be enough information, so I spit it out. "I've seen Malcolm as my husband since the first night I met him. When I invited him to my quarters I wanted to carry him over the threshold like a new husband would, but knew I didn't have the privilege yet." I say, then I start stammering. "Not that I know I will eventually, I might not, I hope with all my heart and soul, but with tearing into him today…"

"Trip," Jon sighs, interrupting me. "From what happened today, you had good reason to be concerned. Malcolm was sick, he knew it, he knew it could affect his ability to do his job effectively, yet he still chose to go to the Klingon ship. Considering all that and how strongly you are committed to Malcolm, your reaction was understandable. Add on all the stress and worry over whether we'd be able to save him, a little yelling is a perfectly normal reaction."

"But what if next time…" I try to say and Jonny cuts me off again.

"You will deal with next time, next time." He says. "I can not guarantee you will never unintentionally hurt Malcolm with words. But I can reassure you that from what you say of how Malcolm reacted this time that he forgives you. Considering the strength of your commitment to Malcolm I know that if you ever do harm him with words, you will make amends, and you will do all you can to heal any wounds. Then you would likely have to deal with me, Travis, T'Pol, Hoshi, well, the whole crew lecturing you on how idiotic you were to hurt Malcolm. I think everyone on board has a soft spot for our armoury officer. Even Chef, and you know how much of a hard nose he is."

I chuckle weakly at that. Jon's reassurance helps a little. I decide to sit and talk a bit more on how special Mal is to me, I need some time to unwind. To let go of the last of my worry and anger, before going back to my love. But I will go back to him tonight and make sure he knows how much I do love him.

He is my heart and soul.

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