Title: Inexplicable

Author: Pretzelduck

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

Author's URL: http://www.geocities.com/pretzelduck

Date: Posted to Archer's Enterprise, EntSTSlash and Maco_Love 04/05/2004

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

Fandom: Star Trek: Enterprise

Category: Slash

Rating: PG-13

Status: Complete

Pairing: Reed/Hayes

Summary: Reed and Hayes finally make a move without any outside interference and with no one around.

Warnings: None

Series: n/a

Sequel to: Matchmaking, MACO Style

Spoilers: Shuttlepod One, Harbinger

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: I'm sticking with fanon here and giving Hayes the first name of Matthew. Just giving you a heads-up on that.

The ball is in my court.

And I have no idea what to do with it.

Hayes came to the armory. He offered to help me work on a few repairs. How he knew that I was alone and probably needed assistance, I don't know. Almost on instinct, I rejected his offer. It's safer to work alone, after all. But I suppose some other part of me won out and called him back. We bantered and smiled at each other. Then, he told me that my eyes are nice.

Neither of us are the most open of individuals. I think I recognized a kindred spirit in that regard the day I met him. So while many others may have found his compliment pathetic, I liked it. I liked the sincerity of it. It reminded me of something I might have said. After the words came out of his mouth, I could tell Hayes regretted them.

It never even occurred to me…it never entered into my mind until I heard that hopeful tone in his voice that he might look at me as something other than an unwanted colleague. I told Trip that my newly acquired attraction to the major was idiotic. Being presented with information that could refute my assumption was a little alarming. I don't handle mutual attractions well. I either push the person away or I let them in too close. Painfully close.

This isn't anything I need to be worried about, though. It's just physical. It has to be.

I'm not certain what I said in response but I know it was the wrong thing. He sounded so apologetic…certain that he had offended me. Hayes wanted to leave. A tactical retreat. So I went on the offensive. I needed to stop him. It was a reaction I still can't explain.

I stood up next to him, staying close. For the most part, I keep a larger personal space boundary than other people I know. But it didn't bother me to be a scant handful of centimeters from Hayes. Instead of making my skin itch at the intrusion, my fingers burned in their desire to reach out and touch him.

So I did. My hand on his shoulder. It seemed safer than touching his hand or arm. Less intimate.

He stopped moving and his head turned back around to face me. There was something in his eyes. An emotion that I can't name. But it was the same emotion that was in my voice when I told him that his comment didn't bother me. He parroted my words, turning them into a question and sounding so unconvinced that I gave his shoulder a squeeze. All I intended to do was reassure him that I wasn't offended. That his words hadn't bothered me in the slightest. Threw me off-balance but hadn't angered me. But the instant I did, something else happened.

His eyes closed briefly and when they opened, there was this sliver of vulnerability in them for a moment. I was hit by the oddest urge to take another step toward him…the last step that would have him in my arms…

It was necessary to remind myself that it was only physical in order to push the thought away. An impulse to hold him should only appear if this was something deeper. If it was an attraction meant to grow…one to act upon.

My attempt to ignore that urge almost became pointless when Hayes reached out and caressed the side of my face.

If this is just physical, then why did my heart stop beating not just at his touch but at the softness in his eyes? If this doesn't mean anything, then why did I was so pleased as his face seemed to relax in relief when I didn't reject his touch?

And if this is nothing, then why I am down here?

I feel like I'm entering enemy territory. This is the area of the ship that the MACOs have claimed as their own. Their quarters are here, one of their training rooms is here, and the storage room they converted into a lounge of sorts is here. It's quiet. Not a lot of hustle and bustle in the corridor. I wonder what the MACOs do during the day. I know they train extensively, combat drills and simulations, but that can't take up an entire day.

I suppose I should probably know what they are up to but if I'm being honest with myself, I have to say that I didn't particularly care for a long time. As long as they stayed out of the way of me and my staff, it didn't mean anything to me if they sat in their cabins and twirled their thumbs all day.

Maybe it's not all of the MACOs and their possible boredom that I'm concerned with. I think it might be the major's. He seemed capable enough with the targeting sensors last night. I wonder if Hayes would be comfortable enough to assist with repairs more often.

Wait a minute.

This is Major Hayes I'm thinking about. Not long ago, I was half-convinced that he wanted to take over my job. Now I'm talking about asking him to help out in the armory on occasion. Because I'm worried that he might be bored.

And why? All he did was compliment my eyes and look relieved when I told him that I didn't mind. There's also that moment of lost vulnerability when I tried to reassure him with touch. He seemed so surprised that I still can't help but wonder how long it's been since anyone has shown him affection. Of course, my list wouldn't be complete without adding the affection he showed me. It was too gentle for something that it is just physical. I knew then that this is something more than that to him.

It's making me nervous that it is beginning to be something for me as well. I dreamed about Hayes' touch last night. His hand lingered longer on my face, though, and I liked it. A lot. Even at this very moment, I can feel his caress on my skin. Both the real one and the dream one. I saw his smile last night too. I like his smile. But I think I like that I seem to make him smile more.

Beginning to is probably an understatement. If it wasn't, I wouldn't be standing in front of the door to Hayes' cabin, trying to decide if I should press the chime.

I suppose I didn't come here just to turn away.

Oh. Hayes is dressed casually. Not that the painting-while-blindfolded uniform style of the MACOs isn't attractive but this is nicer. Tight gray T-shirt and a pair of black sweats. I like the way the clothes show off his build. Muscular without being overly so. I'm curious as to what Hayes would look like dressed-up for a dinner date. I think he'd look good in a black dress shirt. It would complement his eyes.

His eyes? I think I'm in too deep for my own good. What if I'm wrong about all of this?

Oh god, what if I'm right?

"Hi." Oh, the wonderful eloquence.

Hayes looks surprised to see me. I've never been to his quarters so I guess his reaction makes sense. Maybe a part of me was hoping he was pacing the length of his cabin as distraught over this burgeoning thing of ours as I am, wondering…hoping I would come to see him. Instead, the major just looks shocked that I would ever step foot in MACOland.

"Hello, Lieutenant." He looks troubled for a moment before a calm look appears on his face. "Is there something I can do for you?"

Most definitely. You can tell me I'm not losing my grasp on my sanity by coming here. That this isn't some elaborate hallucination I'm having. I'd appreciate it if you'd give me one more sign that this is something mutual.

"May I come in?"

That calm look transforms into a soft little smile as he steps to one side so I can enter. I wonder if he knows that he has an enchanting smile.

Despite being the highest ranking MACO aboard, Hayes' quarters are small, about the size of Ensign Mayweather's and we've all nicknamed his Enterprise's broom closet. There are only a handful of personal items in sight. A photograph of what appears to be the shore of a lake on his desk and a pair of military-issue boots next to the bunk. It looks like my quarters in here.

I turn back to look at him and find Hayes watching me curiously. Don't worry, Major. I have no idea why I'm here either. The closest I've come to articulating a reason is that I'm here to hit on you.

Words. I need words to say. Argh. Why do I have to speak? Isn't it his turn in our lovely conversation? Why isn't this easier? Perhaps I should have come up with an excuse about why I wanted to see him before coming down here. Great. I'm turning into the captain, marching off into the unknown without so much as a weapon and only my optimistic intentions in hand.

"I was wondering if we might have a bit of a chat."

A bit of a chat? Why don't I ask him to tea and crumpets while I'm at it?

I think he's trying not to laugh. It definitely looks like it. I'm not very good at this. Please help me.

"About what?"

Just say it, Malcolm. Bloody hell, say something. "Me and you."

Hayes takes a step toward me so we're almost as close as we were last night. I suppose that could be a good sign. There's something on his face though…I think it might be hope…that makes me a little less nervous. And an energy in the air that sends my heart rate through the roof.


I like the way that sounds. Us referring to me and him. I can feel my cheeks blush at the thought but just as I'm starting to get embarrassed, my eyes notice that I'm not the only one of us with a reddening face. He looks good like that. More approachable. Before I let myself overanalyze and worry, I reach out and brush my thumb across one of his flushed cheeks. His skin feels warm underneath mine. That warmth flows into his eyes, making him look rather pleased with everything. I wanted another sign. I think I got it.

I try to pull my hand away but it won't move. Instead, it hovers just over his face. Until Hayes moves slightly so my hand is lying completely against the side of his face. His eyes flutter close for a moment and I can feel his smile forming underneath my hand.


I've never cared much for my name. It always seemed a bit stuffy. But the way Hayes just said it…in a breathy whisper…is quickly making me rethink my aversion.

His right hand reaches out and slips through my hair, stopping only to trace along my earlobe with a fingertip. The gentle contact sends a shiver through my body and sets me on a hyperawareness isn't lessened when his hand comes to rest on the side of my neck and his fingers continue to caress my skin from this new angle. I believe I know why he closed his eyes briefly earlier. If my hand feels like his does…

I'm almost afraid to say something. This doesn't feel tense. Despite having every sense heightened, it feels comfortable. Right. I don't want to say the wrong thing that could shatter it. But not saying something could be just as bad. What though?

"That feels good."

His eyes are sparkling. I made them do that. I guess letting him know what I'm feeling was a decent idea. This time, anyway. I know from experiences of mine that it sometimes isn't a good idea to do so. But everything seems all right at the moment.

More than all right.

I want to close my eyes and drink it all in. The aura surrounding us. This overwhelming connection that seems to have grown of its own free will over these few weeks. I wonder if it was there before our fight or if it took that to break down a few of the barriers between us. I need to stop analyzing things. For a reason I don't know, this 'us' is too important to me…too fragile…to risk damaging by scrutinizing every little thing.

We haven't even kissed yet.

I've been watching his eyes this whole time. Watching them glow as stand here, unaware of the passage of time. So I'm able to see them light up a little more when I think he comes to the same realization.

Our movements seem to be synchronized; we're both inching slowly closer to each other. And I'm surprised. His lips taste sweet and they're soft. So much softer than I had any part of him capable of being in my mind. I know we're both being careful…tentative. It's such a departure from where we were even a month ago. The contact between us lasts not even a minute. But somehow it already seems almost natural to kiss him and to be kissed by him. Like this is what we should have been doing all along.


Isn't that a faux pas of some kind? Calling the person you just kissed by their last name is definitely not terribly romantic at any rate. But I've never thought of him in my head as anything but Hayes or the major. I've never let myself. He grimaces, though, and that makes me feel even worse. With a barely audible sigh, he leans back in toward me until his lips are almost against mine.

"Call me Matthew."

I can feel his breath as he speaks and I'm about to kiss him when my mind registers that there was something wrong with what he just said. Pulling back slightly, I try to focus on the question that is undoubtedly readable in my eyes.

"It's my middle name. I don't really like my first name."

I burn this shred of information into my mind, feeling oddly privileged at being given even this tiny piece of personal detail. A chuckle escapes me as I realize how his sentiment echoes my thoughts on my name; I'll have to tell him that later. Right now, I'd rather kiss him again.

This kiss starts as tentative as the first but the pressure of his lips becomes surer, more insistent and I return it, deepening the kiss. We linger in the sensations but eventually pull apart, remaining close.


"Much better." I feel rather than see his smile.

"I suppose I should train with a MACO more often."

Is that too vague? I know I've been accused of being too subtle at times. Will he understand or should I just start explaining myself now…

"Preferably only with me…if that's okay. I mean it doesn't have to be but I'd like it to be…really like…"

Matthew is adorable when he's uncertain. He seems so confident in our interactions as armory officer and MACO team leader that this side of him is almost a revelation. Maybe soon I'll be able to tell him that. But for the moment, I think I should stay with what seems to be comfortable for both of us. Sliding my hands down, I rest them on his back and pull him into an embrace.

It feels good. He feels good in my arms. Matthew wraps his arms around me and brings us closer together. Our chests are pressed against one another and our heads are resting on the other's shoulder and I can't help but notice how well we seem to mold to each other. It's almost as if we're a perfect fit.

"It's okay with me…" I pause for only an instant. "…Matthew."

He gives me a squeeze which I return without hesitation. Because it's definitely okay.

This is something worth letting grow, after all.


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