Title: The Heavens Shone Bright

Author: The Moonmoth

Author's Contact: moonmoth47@hotmail.com

Archive: Yes to Archers_Enterprise, ReedsArcheryRange and EntSTSlash

Rating: PG-13

Status: Complete

Series: N/A

Pairing: Archer/Reed

Type: romance

Warnings: Fluff alert! There is no point to this story.

Spoilers: None

Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters, I just play with them. I did it for love, not money.

Beta: From my keyboard to your inboxes—no beta, I'm afraid.

Summary: Jon, Mal, a campfire and a starry night…

Author's Notes: My attempt at answering Kez's fluffy romance request on EntSTSlash.

Feedback: Yes, please. Please?

Embers from the campfire flew up into the night sky, dancing, burning bright, combining incalculably with the fixed firmament of stars. The heavens shone bright over Captain Archer and his armoury officer.

It had been a long, surprisingly warm day in the planet's spring, but the night was cool and a fire had been most welcome, once suggested. The entire team had sat around over dinner, talking, laughing, missing only Travis's ghost stories. Ensign Mayweather, however, had been left behind for this trip, as had most of the senior staff. The captain had felt it was time some more of his junior officers got a chance to stretch their legs. He was here simply to be a presence of authority to Ensign Cutler and her science team. Along with getting Porthos some fresh air, of course. Captain's prerogative.

And Malcolm… Jon sighed contentedly, glancing at the man by his side on their shared log. Malcolm was here to field test his new electromagnetic 'force' field against the few larger predators T'Pol had detected in the region. With Jon's help it had taken just an hour to set up and calibrate, and for the rest of the day the two men had walked for miles through the surrounding countryside, playing with Porthos, happy to be in each other's company. Jon thought he could count on one hand the number of times his lieutenant had called him 'sir' or 'captain' once out of earshot of the camp. For once they had just… been.

And now, after everyone else had retired to their tents, the two men sat together in companionable silence, Porthos snoozing by Jon's feet. The dog growled in his sleep and twitched.

'Still chasing butterflies,' Jon chuckled, sliding onto the ground from the log to scratch his pet affectionately behind the ears. Malcolm said nothing, but smiled, shaking his head slightly at the indulgence the captain showed the animal. He returned to watching the remains of the campfire, a few last flames licking up through the glowing ashes of the wood they had gathered earlier. Then a thought struck him and he sat up.

'Bananas!' he exclaimed and, leaving his seat by Jon, walked over to his tent and disappeared. A moment later he reappeared with two yellow crescents, a shiny rectangle and what appeared to be aluminium foil in his hands. Joining Jon on the floor, back leaning against the log, he looked at his captain's bemused expression. 'Bananas,' he explained. 'And chocolate.' He held up the bar of chocolate blocks still in its wrapping. 'I forgot I bought them down with me, but I thought you might appreciate it, being an Eagle Scout…' Smiling a little shyly, he glanced at his captain sideways.

Jon grinned and watched as Malcolm expertly slit the bananas down the centre and broke off a few blocks of the chocolate, stuffing them into the fruity envelope. He then wrapped it all up in the aluminium foil and carefully placed the two small packages on the edge of the ring of heat so that they wouldn't burn.

'Chocolate bananas,' Jon said smiling, shaking his head, 'I haven't had those since I was a kid.' He turned to his companion, now all seriousness. 'I do appreciate it, Malcolm. Thank you.'

Malcolm met his captain's eyes, a little startled by the intensity he saw there. He wondered for a moment exactly what Jon was thanking him for, but the thought quickly left him, along with all others, as he felt himself being drawn in by those familiar green eyes, glittering with the fire through the night. After a day like this, it would be so easy now to lose himself to those eyes, to just let go…

Malcolm coughed, suddenly self-conscious of his behaviour, and withdrew his gaze, casting around for something to say to fill the silence. Then he spotted the wrapping on the ground in front of him, shining in the glow from the embers. Reaching down, he picked it up and gestured with it in Jon's direction.

'Chocolate, Jon? There's plenty left. I was expecting to cater for rather more people.'

Jon was so entranced by the shy smile once again sent in his direction that he nearly missed it. But then it registered and he stared wide-eyed at Malcolm for a moment, running the words back through his mind. Yes, he definitely said it. There it was; a minor miracle!

'You called me Jon!' he said, voice cracking slightly on his own name, unable to hide his surprise. A tentative smile began to find its way across his face.

Malcolm winced internally and bit his lower lip, thinking back. 'So I did,' he eventually agreed, voice soft. In the dying light of the fire, his captain seemed to glow with pleasure. And, if he was honest, the usually reserved lieutenant didn't really mind the slip. The warmth, the soft glow and pleasing crackle of the fire, the beautiful starscape above and false heavens of flying embers all seemed to conspire against him, urging him to act out what the intimate setting demanded. And after such a wonderful day together, why not end it in such a way?

Shifting his position, moving closer to the other man, Malcolm leant over and placed a soft, lingering kiss on Jon's cheek. Jon smiled tenderly at Malcolm's gentle touch, feeling a long-missed warmth spread throughout his chest, starting at his heart and sending flutters through his stomach. He raised his hand to touch the smooth, pale, almost translucent skin on Malcolm's cheek.


For a moment, they just looked into each other's eyes, bodies close, smiles slowly growing on both of their faces. Then, without further word, Malcolm moved around Jon and repositioned himself between the other man's legs, leaning back against his chest, a soft sigh escaping his lips as he settled into this most comfortable of positions. Instinctively, Jon wrapped his arms around his Malcolm, burying his face in the soft hair of the dark head in front of him. He breathed in deeply, then kissed the top of the head, relaxing back into the log.

The bananas forgotten, Malcolm stretched his legs out towards the campfire and yawned. He was so warm and comfortable, and before long his eyes fluttered closed and he drifted off to a peaceful sleep, lulled by the steady beat of the heart so perfectly in tune with his own.

Following the path of the burning embers whipped into the sky by the breeze, Jon raised his eyes to the glittering night sky, heart bursting with joy and contentment. He seemed for a moment to be searching for something, then he simply smiled and mouthed 'thank you,' holding the sleeping man in his arms a little tighter. The heavens shone bright over Jon and his Malcolm.


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