Title: The Making of a Man

Author: Weebob

E-mail: weebob@fsmail.net

Date: 01/06/04

Archive: Permission to archive granted to EntSTCommunity, Reeds Armory, Archer's Enterprise—and probably anyone else if they ask first!

Series/Fandom: ENT

Category: Slash

Rating: PG

Status: Complete

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Summary: What makes us who we are?

Warnings: Umm…Cheesiness alert?

Series: n/a

Sequel to: n/a

Spoilers: Vague Season 3

Disclaimer: I don't own or have any rights to the Star Trek universe, "Enterprise", or any of its characters—they belong to UPN/Paramount. I am making no money from this story

The Baby He seemed to be constantly fretful, unsettled and crying, not wanting to eat. His mother, dragging herself away from her desk with great reluctance, went through to the nursery and glanced into the crib. Seeing that nothing was seriously amiss and that his nappy was clean and dry, she shrugged and went back to her work. Her thesis wouldn't write itself—and there was no point in staying with him anyway: he was only a baby.


The Child He was burning with curiosity, wanting to know what the people he lived with were looking at. Normally, he was left alone in the nursery—but they had taken him out for the day and all of them were now standing in an object that bobbed up and down in a rather interesting fashion.

One of his housemates reached over to touch something and, as a loud noise erupted immediately behind where he stood, he startled, overbalancing and tumbling over a low barrier, unable to arrest his momentum.

Suddenly, his body was enveloped in cold. He couldn't see or breathe; couldn't find a way to right himself. He screamed in terror and only succeeded in choking on a suffocating mouthful of cold, salty stuff.

As his thrashing grew more desperate, someone noticed and pulled him back over the barrier. He was dumped on the deck: coughing, gasping, crying—it didn't really matter, as he was being ignored anyway. At last, the loud noise shut off and the taller of the two people came towards him, dragged him to his feet and began shouting into his face: "You stupid child! Dear God, how could I have been saddled with a son who can't even keep himself in a stationary boat!

"Mary, get him out of my sight, will you? I'll take her out for a spin alone and be back for tea."

At that point, he was taken home, dressed in his pyjamas and put straight to bed, frightened, confused and hungry. That night, the bad dreams began.

By four years old, he was used to being scolded and quite preferred being alone: amusing himself in the nursery with the toys surrounding the creature who now lived in his old cot. People called her "Madeline" and paid her a fair bit of attention. He wondered why, but didn't mind—because that meant they weren't yelling at him.

Abruptly, the door opened and the person he'd been told to call "Mother" came in with another grown up—rather like herself but older and smiling.

"Malcolm, this is Nanny Barker. I have a job now, so Nanny will take care of you and Maddie from today onwards."

With that, she passed a few words with the woman then left.

First of all, Nanny Barker glanced into the cot but then—to Malcolm's horror—she focussed her attention on him.

"Hello Malcolm, dear. Its nice to meet you. How are you today?"

People seldom spoke directly to Malcolm, unless they were telling him off, and certainly never asked how he was. He panicked, not having the vocabulary to answer, and hid behind the room's floor length curtains. Nanny Barker sought him out: "I've been told you're backward and a problem child, Malcolm, but I don't think you really are the problem."

Peeking round the curtains, she gazed warmly at him and he froze, staring back at her with wide, frightened eyes. To his surprise, she laughed. "Don't be afraid, darling, I just want to have a proper look at you. Before I was your nanny, I was a nurse and, because your mother says you're always very unhappy, I'd like to make sure you're not sickening. May I pick you up?"

Malcolm thought her proposal over then, deciding to trust her, nodded solemnly.

Scooping him up, she hugged him and planted a kiss on his cheek before standing him on the nursery table. She looked in his eyes, his mouth and ears, lifted his tee shirt to run her gaze over his back and stomach, paused to tickle his prominent ribs and make him giggle nervously, then checked that his spindly legs were straight and strong.

"What a fine specimen! Well done, Malcolm, you've been very brave." She lifted him back onto the floor and tousled his hair. "Now, my little darling, all we have to do is get you talking, and out of your nappy, then you'll have caught up with the other boys your age."

Within 2 months, Malcolm was potty-trained—apart from the odd mishap in bed—and chattering away like a budgerigar. Nanny Barker spoke to him all the time and made him feel, for the first time ever, important—asking questions, teaching him new things and, generally, helping him to find his voice.

When he had nightmares, she wrapped the hysterical child in a fleecy blanket then cuddled him on her lap as she sat in the nursery's rocking chair, soothing away the panic. "That's it, Malcolm, just snuggle into me and remember that, no matter how scary the dreams are, Nanny won't let anything bad happen to you. You're my precious darling and I'll protect you with my life."

The child burrowed into her ample bosom, still sniffling. "But Nanny, what if you aren't here? Mother says you'll go away once Maddie starts school…"

Nanny kissed the top of his head. "You'll be a big boy by then, darling, and able to stand up to any old monsters on your own!" She squeezed his scrawny shoulders "Don't worry about what's to come, Malcolm. You're a brave little fighter and you'll cope with it all. Now, how about a story?"

Madeline, who'd benefited from Nanny's care since babyhood, grew into a bright and biddable toddler, so her parents often took her with them to show off to friends. The reserved Malcolm, they left at home. It never dismayed him though, for it meant that he and Nanny Barker would go somewhere together instead. She called him her "little sponge", as he soaked up information at a phenomenal rate and showed an unusual ability to consolidate and apply his knowledge. He'd never been happier.

The Teenager Trembling, he steeled himself for an important conversation with his father. Two years of Nanny Barker's care in infancy had done more for Malcolm than all the subsequent years of boarding school education put together. The spark of self-belief she'd given him helped him survive as a painfully shy child, suddenly thrust by his parents among bigger, more confident boys—some of whom bullied him mercilessly.

However, it couldn't save him from the destiny that his father had mapped out for him.

Nanny knew that life as a Reed wasn't, and wouldn't be, easy for such a sensitive boy so she tried hard to get him to see hardships as character-building stepping-stones. The day she left the family's employ, Her parting gift to him was a hand-embroidered bookmark with the words "May joy be yours, but trials too, for these are the making of a man."

He'd continued to amass knowledge, being particularly keen on the classics, but his withdrawn nature convinced his teachers that he was stupid and difficult—earning him punishment from his father during holidays at home. Malcolm's confidence fared no better at Naval College, but his misery was further compounded when he finally was made to join the Royal Navy. Against his will, Malcolm had been groomed all of his life to enter military service and now, still only in his 19th year, he felt like a total failure.

Trying hard to control his shaking, he rapped purposefully on the door of his father's study, entering only when bid to do so. The man he had feared for most of his life sat glaring at him, making his heart thunder against his ribs. "Well?"

His mouth suddenly dry, Malcolm froze. This was one monster Nanny had never envisaged when she'd promised he'd be able to bravely stand up to them! "Father…Father I'm leaving the Navy. I want to study the classics and, maybe, engineering, but not…not in the military, and…and…and that's what I'm going to do."

Stuart Reed's face turned puce with rage and Malcolm, having exhausted his supply of bravery for the day, fled.

The Officer Starfleet Lieutenant, Malcolm Reed, shuddered as he watched the insectoid Xindi raiders advance on his position. The enemy had appeared from nowhere and pursued them, crippling their already heavily damaged ship. They'd found a weak spot in the hull and boarded Enterprise, but Malcolm, deploying both MACOs and his own well-drilled security teams, had driven the Xindi back, trapping them in the shuttlebay where, with a bit of luck, they could be dealt with before further blood was shed.

That was before Malcolm's ex-lover, Trip Tucker, broke through the security phalanx. The Xindi had attacked Earth some months before, and Tucker's own sister had been among those who'd been killed. The tormented rage he'd been nursing since then—to the exclusion of all, and everyone, else but that which would further his vendetta against the aliens—now exploded out of him as madness. Phase pistol blazing, he barrelled past Reed's little army and straight at the well-armed insectoids—Malcolm on his heels, screaming back orders for his people to stay put and locking the bay door behind him.

Now Malcolm sat, trembling, behind shuttlepod one, cradling Trip's still body while the ugly aliens stalked them. He gave a wry smile, suddenly realising it reminded him of one of the scenarios he regularly visited in his childhood nightmares. Tucker's charge had taken them unawares and, while they were still collecting themselves, Malcolm sprayed them with phase pistol fire and surprised Trip in turn by stunning him and dragging him to the rear of the pod.

Although his original plan had been disrupted, he was still determined to keep the enemy contained in the shuttlebay, sealed off from the rest of the ship—a necessity if he was to execute the plan now forming in his mind. Straining to manhandle Trip's dead weight, his eyes never leaving the prowling Xindi for long, Malcolm manoeuvred the unconscious officer up the ramp into the shuttlepod. "I've got an idea, love, and I need you to co-operate. So please don't wake up yet."

Momentarily tearing his gaze away from the enemy, he snatched a last affectionate glance at the man who still, despite rejecting Reed when his every thought and feeling became occupied by revenge, remained Malcolm's one true love.

Creeping back out of the shuttle, he locked the door with the security code only he and Captain Archer knew, and then peeked back inside through its porthole. Nanny Barker's comforting words echoed back to him from his infancy and he smiled as he paraphrased them now through the window. "Don't worry Trip, I won't let anything bad happen to you. You're my precious darling and I'll protect you with my life."

Dropping to his knees, then onto his stomach, Malcolm slithered across the floor toward the control panel by the bay's door. He was almost there when one of the insectoids spotted him and called to his comrades. That was it, he stumbled to his feet and broke cover, reaching his target and pounding commands into the keypad.

Turning to squeeze off a few delaying phase pistol volleys at the approaching Xindi, he was horrified to see that Trip was awake and hammering on the door of the shuttle, his face pressed against the porthole. His jaw clenched: "Oh God, please don't let him get the door open. Please…"

Malcolm took a deep breath, wrapped himself round the ladder leading to the bay's upper level and punched the red keypad button, marked "Execute". The exterior doors opened and the shuttlebay was abruptly breached to vacuum.

He glimpsed the terrified looks on the faces of the Xindi as, despite their struggles to find a secure handhold, they were sucked into open space. But it was all taking too long. Oxygen deprivation was beginning to affect Malcolm and his grip on the ladder was weakening. Soon, he could hold on no longer and was torn away from his makeshift anchor and hurled towards the bay doors and the brilliant stars beyond.

As he was thrown across the floor, the last thing he saw was Trip's ashen face—still, thankfully, inside the shuttlepod.

And he smiled.

The Man He winced at the bloody awful racket going on around him: shouting, scuffling and swearing and, above everything, Dr Phlox's calm, professional voice. "I'm sorry, Commander, but you must wait in my office. I cannot do my work effectively if you are persistently under my feet and getting in my way. Now go! Ensign Cutler will sit with you."

There were argumentative murmurs then receding footsteps and, finally, silence. Malcolm risked opening his eyes and found he was staring up into Phlox's bright gaze. "Trip's alright then?" His head and throat hurt.

Phlox smiled widely "Most definitely, Lieutenant—as are we all, thanks to you."

Groaning, Malcolm tried to sit up and was immediately pushed back down "Not yet, Mr Reed. Although it was fortunate, in that it prevented you from being expelled from the ship, being bounced across the shuttlebay, into the maintenance pit under shuttlepod two, has left you with severe bruising, a fractured arm and a concussion. You'll be spending the night in sickbay, then a couple of days resting in your quarters."

The Lieutenant closed eyes again, his head pounding. "The Xindi. Did I get them all?"

A hypospray hissed and the headache vanished. "Every last one. A desperate strategy, but a necessary one. Without your actions, things would have been very different. Now, if you've no objection, I'd like to let Commander Tucker come back. He's been making a nuisance of himself since we unlocked the shuttlepod."

Seconds later, Trip was sitting at Malcolm's bedside, face pale and blue eyes overflowing with tears as he regarded the battered lieutenant. Eventually, he took his hand and gently kissed the bruised knuckles then, finally, he broke down. "Oh Malcolm, ah've been such a bastard. Ah'm so sorry fer shuttin' ya out when things got difficult. Will ya take me back? Give me another chance? Ah still love ya an' wanna make things right between us."

Battling tears of his own, Malcolm stroked Trip's hair. "I've never stopped loving you, Trip. Its been…hard at times, and we've both made mistakes but, even at our worst, deep down, we've still cared deeply for each other. At a time like this, we need that more than ever. Of course I'll take you back."

Trip's face lit up and he gave his lover a rather damp grin. "Ah heard ya."

Puzzled, Malcolm frowned. "Excuse me?"

"The intercom on the shuttlepod door had gotten switched on. Ah heard ya call me yer precious darlin' an' promise ta protect me with yer life. It was the sweetest thing…An' after me bein' so cruel an all. Yer one of a kind, Malcolm, a real special guy, an' ah've learned mah lesson. Ah'm never lettin' ya go again."

Malcolm smiled. It had been a hellish year, its bright spots few and far between, and there would likely be more sorrow to come. But they'd survived and realised the depth of their love for one another. They were growing up.

For the second time that day, Nanny Barker's words popped into his mind. "May joy be yours, but trials too. For these are the making of a man."

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