Title: Beneath the Uniform

Author: Kipli

Author's email: Kipli16@yahoo.com

Author's URL: http://www.kipli.net

Archive: Yes to Archers_Enterprise and Reed's Armory.

Fandom: Star Trek: Enterprise

Category: Slash

Rating: PG

Status: Complete

Pairing: Archer/Reed

Summary: "I'm afraid of what he wants… afraid of what he'll do to me… afraid of what I'll let him do…"

Warnings: None

Sequel: Sits in conjunction with Mareel's Under All Silences .

Betas: Mareel got the first read, does that count? heh

Spoilers: None

Disclaimer: Paramount owns the universe. I just live there.

Author's Notes: I suppose this is the other half of Mareel's Jon fic above. This is my ent_musing Malcolm, and is set just after the events occurring here, when Jon asked Malcolm to use his name off-duty… and everything that followed. Some angst and backstory.

Today he asked me to call him Jonathan… Jon… no titles, off duty.. . just Jon…

I truly think he has no idea of the magnitude of what he asks of me, what it means for me to call him... Jon.

I rest my forehead against the slick wall of the shower stall, eyes closed as I let the warm water run over my skin. I try to just be—try not to think—for these precious few moments, but the events of today are too… startling to push aside so easily.

Thoughts drift in to my consciousness without my bidding.

I'm afraid of what he wants… afraid of what he'll do to me… afraid of what I'll let him do…

The shower is suddenly cold, and I reach to turn up the temperature.

That is it, though… that is what's been nagging at the back of my mind.

I have had horrendous luck in my social life, and worse yet in my romantic life, to put it lightly. I know where this is going with him. I can see it in his eyes. He said he wants to be friends, wants to work on our off duty relationship… but I can see it in his eyes and in his touches some times. He would like more.

And I know I'm guilty of encouraging some of those looks and touches. God, the way he looks at me then, how could I not? Those deep green eyes staring in to mine… They have a magnetic pull on me—a pull I've never felt before. He gets me thinking about things I shouldn't.. . gets me wishing for more touches, any way he'd like to give them...

I shiver and push away from the fogged glass stall. I hold my head under the stream of hot water.

That's where the fear comes in. Because, though I doubt anyone else would believe me, I've had a lover or two take advantage of me… a few use me in ways I shouldn't have allowed… but they were there and interested in me and… so I let them, or pretended they loved me, or really liked me and no one else. Until I couldn't stand whatever they were doing to me any longer and left… Or, sadly more likely, they left. Left me wondering what the hell I had been doing with them in the first place… left me wondering what the hell was wrong with me for them to leave me… again…

To say I'm interested in… Jon is an understatement. I think from the moment I first met him, during my first interview, I was interested. Those eyes, those lips, that ass. He's a gorgeous man. And I'll never admit to them, but I've had more than my fair share of fantasies of the man… one on my armory desk even…

But it isn't just the physical. Even when he's irritated me with his lack of precautions during missions, his awe at where we are, at what we're doing out here, is amazing. He's our captain and bears many responsibilities on his shoulders, and yet, he still has this innocence about him. I know he must have gone through hell to get his father's vision made a reality… must have lived through things not so pleasant during his life… and yet he's managed to keep himself warm, upbeat, *open*. It intrigues me like nothing else. I want to get closer… to understand how he managed it, perhaps.

Even now, in the Expanse, though he has his… dark days, there's still that spark. I miss seeing it every day, but it's there. He's still trying to see the good, still trying to connect with the crew, still stealing glances at me.

All of this wrapped up in one person… one person who seems to like my company as well… It frightens me to death.

I just barely register the warning beep of the computer before my water shuts off. I stand there a moment, arms locked out in front of me against the wall, eyes still closed.

I know… I know if his intentions are not honorable, if he intends to use his rank to manipulate me, if he wants me for just the sex or wants me to be the submissive partner… I know I won't be able to say no to him.

I bite back a frustrated shout at myself, mangling it into a loud growl, as I hit the wet surface of the stall with a thrust of my hand.

"Fucking pathetic," I snarl at myself, as I turn and step out of the stall. I snatch a towel and scrub it over my face and hair before wrapping it around my waist.

But, I know myself, too well perhaps… and I don't know Jon. There are to many what ifs, too many roads he may choose to go down with me.

And all this, all this from his asking me to call him by his first name. Really, it shouldn't be a huge step. He hasn't asked me to dinner, and he certainly hasn't kissed me, yet. The problem is, however, that now my little wall around him is crumbling. Before, he was unobtainable. He was someone to flirt with, perhaps, but nothing more. He was *my Captain* and the rank made him somewhat inhuman. He *was* the rank. He couldn't be just… someone I was completely attracted to. He had to be Captain Archer, my superior… not Jonathan Archer, a human being. Because if he *was* Jonathan Archer… Jon… then there was trouble.

Trouble such as this.

I glare at myself in the mirror, before marching in to the main room to find some pajama bottoms. I toss the towel aside as I tug them on. The room is cold and I look for a top as well.

It doesn't all have to end horribly, though… and that's the hook that keeps me thinking, keeps me dreaming… Maybe he's not like the other men (and women) I've dated, maybe he'll really be everything I've built him up to be, maybe he'll treat me well, maybe he'll be kind and good and… maybe…

I thread fingers through my wet hair.

That is a lot of maybes…

I crawl in to my bunk, quick to pull the covers over me. I think about checking the temperature of the room but don't get up again. I stare at the even ceiling.

…but he might just be all I could wish for. He's never pressured me to relate to him. He's never pushed me too far. He's always watched my back. He's always been kind. He's always been… there. Even if just my Captain.

And that was the trouble with all this thinking. I don't know, either way, whether it ends badly or…

My heart skips at the thought and I cover my eyes with my arm.

I'll just have to… trust him, trust that I know the man… trust that I have the will to stop him if I find I don't really know him… trust… god, but it's been a while since I've done any of that.

I hope…

I hope I know the man behind that uniform, behind that wall I once so carefully put around him…



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