Title: Matchmaking, MACO Style

Author: Pretzelduck

Author's e-mail: pretzelduck@yahoo.com

URL: http://www.geocities.com/pretzelduck

Date: Posted to Archer's Enterprise, EntSTSlash and maco_love 03/15/2004

Archive: Permission to archive granted to Archer's Enterprise and EntSTCommunity

Fandom: Star Trek: Enterprise

Category: Slash

Rating: R

Status: Complete

Pairing: Reed/Hayes

Summary: The MACOs conspire to get Hayes to do something about the attraction between him and Reed.

Warnings: None

Series: n/a

Sequel to: Through Another Pair of Eyes

Beta: n/a

Spoilers: The Xindi, Harbinger, Hatchery

Disclaimer: I don't own the Star Trek franchise. Paramount does. I also don't make any money from writing this. The only thing I make money on is my ability to roll pretzels and work a cash register.

Author's Notes: Thanks be to Kelly for helping me craft the ending to this story. If she hadn't, it probably still be sitting on my hard drive.

It was like nothing I had ever seen. Of course, I've seen smiles. Wicked ones, polite ones, leering ones. He's graced me with that derisive smirk of his before. But this was different. It was genuine.

It was Malcolm's smile. And he was smiling at me.

Malcolm? When did I start thinking of him by his first name?

I need to focus. That dinner keeps creeping into my mind. The images are distracting and pretty soon Kemper is going to notice that my attention isn't completely on our sparring session.

Argh. Too late. I hate it when people under my command manage to knock me on my ass.

Especially when it's because I'm distracted by thoughts of a snarky Starfleet armory officer.

"You okay, Major?"

"Fine but let's call it quits for tonight. If that's all right…"

Kemper holds his hand out and helps me up from the mat. I really can't stand it when I get taken down. "I've got no problem with that plan. Are you going to go the armory and get some…uh, extra work done, sir?"

Did he just pause after the word 'some'? That's fairly odd. Kemper is usually relatively coherent.

I don't get a chance to ask him is something is wrong because the door opens and spits out Corporal Romero. He looks my direction long enough to come to attention before turning to Kemper.

"Hey, Sarge, you about done?"

I turn my back to them so I can put away the equipment the sergeant and I had out. Everything has to go in its proper place. That way, Reed has one less thing to be snippy about.

"Yeah, hang on."

"What are your plans for the evening, Major? Headed to the armory maybe?"

Why do people keeping bringing up the armory? "Only if Lieutenant Reed is on duty…" What the hell am I saying? Pay attention to your thoughts, Hayes. "…I mean is not on duty."

I can hear a pair of muffled snickers behind me. I have two options. I can either question them as to why exactly a verbal slip-up is so funny or I can change the subject.

"What about you two?"

"We're meeting up with Mayweather and Rostov for a few hands of poker."

Poker? Why do I have a feeling that was all Kemper's doing? "Don't take all of their alcohol rations, Sergeant."

I don't have to turn around to know Kemper is smiling. I've served with him before but the others haven't so they don't know how good of a poker player he is. They'll find out soon enough.

"I have no idea what you're talking about." I can hear him shove a few more things into his gym bag and zip it up. Then, the two of them team up on a "Good night, sir" before I hear two sets of footsteps head toward the door.

"Good night."

There is a hesitation at the door. I hear them pause before Romero's voice sounds behind me. "By the way, sir, the lieutenant is in the armory right now."

What the…?

The door opens and shuts and now I'm alone in the room. I'm not surprised that Kemper didn't ask me if I wanted to join them for poker. My men have fit in with the Starfleet crew better than I have. The feud between Lieutenant Reed and myself has undoubtedly made it more difficult for me to get along with them.

I'm not supposed to be here to make friends, though. I have a job to do, much to the occasional chagrin of Lieutenant Reed. Despite a truce of sorts and a growing understanding between us, I don't know where I stand with him.

What disturbs me and is beginning to distract me more and more is that I'm not sure where I want to stand with him.

When Starfleet first asked for a MACO presence on Enterprise during its mission to the Delphic Expanse, I was allowed to look over both the personnel files of the senior staff and the ship's records so I would have a better understanding of the crew we would be trying to mesh with. Everything I read about Lieutenant Reed and his actions here led me to believe that I would find an ally in him. Notations in the official record show that he frequently would recommend a greater security presence on away missions only to be rebuffed by Captain Archer. There are also many notes on upgrades he's made to the weapons and defensive systems I thought he would welcome me and my men. Another weapon in his arsenal and another way to make the Enterprise stronger.

The lieutenant instead has resented our presence. It took months until I overheard that he hadn't been informed of our joining the crew until the day we were scheduled to arrive. Within a week of knowing him, I learned that he doesn't like to ask for help. The MACOs had to seem to him like cry of help. A sign that he couldn't do his job.

It bothers me to admit that I didn't care about his issues with me being here. I had a job to do. His problems with me had absolutely nothing to do with it. And they shouldn't.

So why do they now? Why do I suddenly care?

I don't know why it bothers me so much that he didn't think he could trust me with the mutiny. Telling him that I would have sided with the captain was a ruse, I think.

I've been a soldier my entire adult life. I was raised and then trained to put discipline at the forefront of my mind. The idea of obeying my commanding officer is something that should be unquestionable.

But I think…no, I know that if Lieutenant Reed had come to me, I would have trusted him. That's something I didn't expect. Coming here, I knew that the crew of the Enterprise was the best Starfleet had to offer. All competent men and women. So I assumed I would grow to trust Lieutenant Reed as a fellow officer.

But not as a man. Not to the point to where I think I would have disregarded years of training because he said he was right and it was wrong.

I've got to get out of here. These thoughts are just a little too dangerous.

Thankfully, the corridors are empty for the moment. Right now, all I want to do is go to my quarters and spend the rest of the evening reading over reports and the like. Maybe then I'll stop thinking about making a detour to the armory along the way. I turn the corner and realize that my luck has already run out. Corporal McKenzie is headed right in my direction.

"Good evening, sir."

I wonder how long it'll be before I run into every member of my team. "Hello, Mac."

"Headed to the armory, Major?"

What is with these guys today? "You're the third person to ask me that tonight."

She doesn't say anything right away. Instead, McKenzie just smirks and pushes a hair out of her face, tucking it behind her ear. Taking a step closer to me, she gets her patented mischievous glint in her eyes. Whatever she's thinking can't be good.

"Lieutenant Reed is in the armory right now."

That's it. They're up to something. I know the people under my command. Whey they want to be, they can be the most secretive, interfering busybodies I know.

"I've heard that before too. What's going on, Corporal?"


Don't try it, Mac. I've had enough of games. "I know you all are up to something. Do I have to order you to tell me?"

She has the grace to look somewhat contrite. "Romero, Kemper, and I were all in the mess hall the other night when you and the lieutenant had dinner together."

"I know. I stopped and talked you. Remember?" "Do you know what Reed was doing while you were?"

"Eating his dinner or speaking with Commander Tucker most likely."

"Nope. He was staring at you." McKenzie takes a quick glance down the corridor in both directions. "And by staring, I mean ogling your various body parts. He favored your ass, I believe." She smirks at me again before adding an obviously insincere "sir" probably out of habit.

I have no doubt in mind that she's wrong. The lieutenant is complains about me, picks fights with me, and generally ignores the fact that I may be an expert in areas that he is not. There is no way he would be checking me out. If he was watching me, it was probably to ensure that I didn't run off to the armory without his supervision. He's as protective of it as I am of our weapons. No sharing.

"Corporal, I don't know what you think you saw but it won't…"

"Respectfully, sir, that's a load of shit."

McKenzie interrupted me. She never does that. We may be a tight knit team but there is still respect for military protocol. She doesn't give me a chance to remind her of that because she ignores my pointed look and keeps talking.

"MACO Rule of Survival Number Three, sir. I know what I saw. We know what we saw."

If you can see everything, you can hit anything. If you don't see something, that will be what kills you. MACOs are trained to observe everything around them. It keeps you alive. The ability to read others' intentions in their eyes and body language is a key part of that.

Lieutenant Reed, for a few moments, was checking me out.

"Be that as it may, I still don't see why this is significant."

McKenzie looks like she wants to throttle me out of frustration. "We were there, sir. The three of us saw what happened when you went back to the table."

"Mac, you're not making sense."

With a second quick look around us, she takes another step toward me. "You smiled at him. You hardly ever smile at anyone, Major."

I try to glare at her but my mind is too busy running on all cylinders. I've been trying to keep that interlude with the lieutenant out of my head. It has a tendency to distract me at the most inconvenient times. And now McKenzie has to bring it up.

"And the lieutenant smiled back at you."

"Your point being? We don't get along. We physically fought each other hard enough to end up in sickbay."

"Ever heard of sexual tension?"


"Sir, you two are driving us crazy. For the sake of your men, make a move on him. With all due respect, Major." That smirk shows up again so of course, my brain has to supply the thought that it looks much better on Lieutenant Reed. "You know the fleeter won't do anything." I don't know about that necessarily but I don't know if I want to do anything either. A false move could be worse than no move at all. I can just imagine how ugly the fallout would be if I propositioned Lieutenant Reed and he was not responsive. Relations between us are tenuous at best. Another misunderstanding could push us even farther apart.

Or an understanding could push us closer together.

The lieutenant is an intriguing man. I can't lie to myself and say that I don't want to know him better. Or that I don't like it when we spend time together. I can't deny that I wish that he wanted to get to know me better. But is there something more between us?

Do I want there to be?

This is ridiculous. I shouldn't even be contemplating doing anything. McKenzie is wrong. She has to be. An onboard relationship would be even more distracting than memories of Reed's smile. I know our regulations regarding such fraternization between officers. I'm unfamiliar with the intricacies of Starfleet's rules but they are undoubtedly more relaxed. However, I have a feeling that he is a strict follower of them.

Why am I concerned about regulations complicating a relationship that I don't even know if either or both of us want?

"McKenzie, while I do appreciate the concern of you and your cohorts, I don't think it would be a good idea to take your advice."

"So you're willing to give him a black eye but not a hickey. You've got some screwed up priorities, Major."

"I don't need your opinion on my so-called priorities, Corporal."

"Yes, sir."

McKenzie turns and starts to walk away. Frankly, I didn't think she would back down that easily. She takes only a handful of steps before she stops and looks back toward me.

"Though, if you're interested, he's by himself in the armory, doing basic repairs. Commander Tucker called the other crewmen away to work on upgrades in Engineering. Maybe you can help him out."


"We're MACOs. A little recon is a walk in the park."

She finally walks down the corridor and out of my sight. And now I'm standing alone in the hallway completely confused.

Maybe I can help him out? Lieutenant Reed would probably be too suspicious of my intentions to let me work with him. He'd probably accuse me of trying to take over his job again. I doubt Malcolm would want me around.

Damn. I'm thinking of him as Malcolm again.

This would be simpler and less confusing and less distracting if I didn't enjoy the times when I'm around him. Even when we're arguing. I like the challenge of proving my value to him, as bizarre as that sounds.

I know I want him to trust me but I think I want him to like me.

That is a disturbingly saccharine thought.

So why am I headed in the direction of a lift? Once inside, my fingers press the button for 'F' Deck of their own accord.

Why is it that when I finally come to stand in front of the door to the armory, my heart inexplicably skips a beat and my palms start to feel a little moist?

And why do I have to remind myself to breathe as the door open to let me inside?

Like I've told repeatedly, the armory is empty, save for the lone figure of Lieutenant Reed.

"Good evening, sir."

Reed turns around to face me. The expression on his face is impressively blank.

"Is there something I can do for you, Major?"

He sounds so indifferent to my presence.

"I was wondering if you might like some help." "No thank you." I feel this odd twinge of pain and I realize that it actually hurts a little to have him dismiss me this quickly. "I appreciate the offer, though."

"No problem, Lieutenant."

That's that, I suppose. A quick about-face and I'm walking back toward the door. I can hear movement behind me but I don't turn around nor do I stop. The last thing I want Reed to think is that I want him to stop me.


He's right behind me. I'm fully aware of the closeness of his body. It's almost like a heightened sense of some sort. One that brings back to life memories of our fight. The feeling of being pinned to the deck by him; his strength evident in his intensity. I remember his chest rising and falling against mine as I held him down. The memories and the awareness combine to set me even more on edge. If I turn to face him, the lieutenant will be close. Too close. But if I don't, he might get the wrong idea. Think I'm being not personable or standoffish.

As aware as I am of his presence, I know that I can't help but turn around.

Just like I was afraid of, Reed is only a small arm's length away. If I was feeling self-indulgent, I would take a moment to relish having him so close. Without him being accusatory or wanting to take a swing at me, at any rate. I've been avoiding his eyes but I decide to take a chance and look directly into them.

The last time I did was at that dinner. I looked a little too long then. His eyes were and still are an unusual shade of grayish blue. As much as I fought then to keep a thought out of my head, I'm fighting that much to keep it out now. This time, though, I fail and the idea that his eyes are actually rather beautiful pops into my head. Another ridiculously sappy notion. No matter how true it is.

Once again, those eyes meet mine. I wonder what he sees when he looks at my eyes. They're not that remarkable. Basic. Average. What about when he looks at me? I wonder if he sees a rival or a threat or maybe…possibly something else.

"If you truly don't mind, I could use your help."

Would I be giving too much away if I gave him a big, happy grin? Um…yeah. So I compromise and let a half-smile turn up a corner of my mouth.

"I'd be happy to lend you a hand…" Malcolm. I could say it. No. No calling him Malcolm to his face. Thinking it is bad enough. But I remember his shy smile and I'm looking into his eyes and I can't help but wonder what it sound like coming off my tongue. "…Lieutenant."

Lieutenant is better than sir. Isn't it?

My words bring one of his smirks to his face. But it's not a malicious one. It's playful. I can see humor in his eyes.

"Actually, I think I might need to borrow both of your hands. If that's all right."

I have to chuckle aloud at this hint of his sense of humor and I have to let my smile widen slightly. I want him to know that I can relax around him and that it's all right for him to do the same around me.

"Perfectly fine. How can I help?"

He jerks his head toward the weapons console and walks in that direction. I follow him and watch, fascinated, as he bends down right in front of me so he's crouched before an open panel. What's the harm in gazing at his ass? McKenzie said he stared at mine.

"See this?"

He's pointing at something but I can't tell what from this angle. I suppose I'll have to get right down there next to him. That's a shame. I guess I could hover over his shoulder but…

I thought I was aware of his body before. That was nothing compared to the awareness I have of him now. I'm leaning up against him only so I get a better look at what he's pointing at. Not because I want to feel his body against mine. Or because I want to feel the heat from his skin seep into mine. It's weird being this close to him without taking a swing at him. I think I could become accustomed to it rather easily.

"This is the circuit panel that I think is defective. It's throwing off the alignment of the phase cannons. I've been working on rerouting the signals that pass through it but I need you to watch the sensor display and see if the adjustments are being transmitted."

"I thought you said you needed a pair of hands."

"I suppose I should have said I needed to borrow your eyes."

"I'd rather have yours."

Oh shit. Did I just say that? I'm pretty sure I did. Damn.

"I beg your pardon?"

I was irrationally hoping that Reed wouldn't comment on that. But he did. So now what do I say? I could excuse away verbal blunder by attributing it to exhaustion. Or I could tell him what I think of his eyes. Attempt to, anyway.

Where is the boldness that soldiers are supposedly famous for? Time to bite the bullet.

"Your eyes are…" Beautiful. Amazing. Mesmerizing. "…nice."

Nice. What kind of word is nice? That's going to win him over. I am most definitely Casanova reincarnated.


Reed looks away and I swear I can feel his discomfort. I'm expecting him to get up and move away from me. Say that he doesn't need my help after all. So much for my fellow MACOs' theory of a mutual attraction.

"You have my apologies if I've offended you, Lieutenant. Good luck with your repairs. I'll be going now."

Standing up, I'm immersed in the fact that I sounded like a whipped puppy with that hint of sadness that crept, against my will, into my voice. So absorbed in fact that it takes me a few moments to realize that Reed's hand is on my shoulder. And he's standing next to me.

"Don't." I can't say anything. His voice is harsh, full of emotion. "I didn't mind."

"You didn't?"

His hand squeezes my shoulder. I can't remember the last time someone did that. Reassured me…hell, touched me in a manner that had nothing to do with team camaraderie or sparring. It makes me wish I had gotten something out of my mouth that was a little more eloquent than 'nice.' Especially now that I know he wouldn't have minded.

"Do you still want to work on the sensors with me?"

I smile at him. I can't help it. He wants me around and he wasn't put off by my comment about his eyes. Even if it was rather lame.

"Of course."

He's touching me and I'm fully aware that my body is aching to return his touch. There's no reason to bother in trying to control myself. My hand reaches out of what I know isn't its own volition and my fingers gently but quickly brush long the lieutenant's jaw line. I feel a hint of stubble and a hint of security as his cheeks blush and a smile begins to form on his lips. I swear that my hand isn't trembling slightly as I pull it away from his face.

I have to tell myself that I'll know this gentle touch of his again in order to get my body to bend down. "Which one of these again is causing the problem?"

Looking up at him, I suddenly realize just how much I owe Kemper, Romero, and McKenzie. Coming to the armory was definitely the right course of action.

Once more, Malcolm is smiling at me. That same genuine smile that has been distracting me for days. I don't mind.

I just might never mind again.

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