Title: Fire and Ice
Author: Joules Mer
Rating: PG
Pairing: T/R
Disclaimer: Enterprise is the property of Paramount.  No profit was made, no copyright infringement is intended.
Spoilers: Shuttlepod One (mild)
Feedback: julia_ocean_child@yahoo.co.uk
Website: jmenterprise.popullus.net
Archive: Yes to EntSTCommunity, Tim Ruben and BLTS.  Everyone else please ask.
Beta: None.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

-Robert Frost

    "What the bloody hell is that supposed to mean?"  Malcolm's voice was loud enough to rattle the padds stacked haphazardly on Trip's desk.

    "Dammit, Malcolm!  Ya know I didn't mean it like that."  Trip tried to backpedal, but it was too late.  As a couple Trip and Malcolm had had their fair share of arguments, but never one this severe.

    "Bollocks, your meaning was absolutely clear, Commander."  Trip winced as Malcolm threw his rank in his face.  Malcolm's eyes flashed dark and dangerous as he stalked around Trip's quarters.  "What you did was absolutely uncalled for, not to mention completely inappropriate.  If I..."

    "What I did.  What about what you did?"  Trip stressed the 'you' in a manner designed to irritate.  The tactic worked as Malcolm erupted once more.

    "What I did!  What, pray tell, are you insinuating?"  Trip ignored the warning that was flashing in his lover's eyes.

    "I'm saying that it was just as much your fault." 

    For one horrible second Trip was sure Malcolm was going to hit him.  The other man had spun around and raised an arm, hand quickly balling into a tight fist.  He had already began to pull his arm back when he remembered himself and froze.  His eyes widened and the anger fled as he took in the man before him.  Trip had begun to spring backwards, fear and shock evident on his face.  Malcolm remained frozen for a long moment before he slowly lowered his arm and seemed to slump even as he stood.

    "Malcolm?"  Trip's voice was gentle as he cautiously stepped towards his lover.  Malcolm stuck out his hand, palm facing Trip.  Forcing the other man to stop in his tracks.  Malcolm took a slow, deep breath and let it out, but his voice still wavered when he spoke.

    "I think... I think this is the end, Trip."  He kept his eyes downcast, not looking at the other man.

    "What?"  The word was almost lost in a sharp exhale of breath.

    "I don't think we should see each other anymore, Trip."  Malcolm turned and strode from the room.

    The door slid shut with barely a sound and Trip's world shattered.


    Malcolm hadn't thought that anything could be colder than the time he'd been stranded with Trip in Shuttlepod One.  He was now certain he'd been wrong.  Malcolm turned away from the wall of whirling white that was the snowstorm and trudged back into the cave.  "Any luck, Sir?"  Rostov's teeth chattered as he spoke and his voice was muffled as his chin was tucked into the collar of his jacket.

    "I can't contact anyone.  The storm is still quite severe."  Malcolm shifted so that his back was to the mouth of the cave as a gust of frigid wind cast a flurry of snow into their inadequate shelter.  "It seems we'll have to wait it out."

    "Yes Sir."  Hess sounded resigned.  Trip didn't even acknowledge the interaction.  Malcolm slumped down on the floor across from Trip and curled his knees to his chest in an effort to stay warm.  This was supposed to be a simple 20 minute mission.  Half an hour at the most, sure to be back for supper.  That was before the storm.

    Enterprise had entered a standard orbit of the planet at 0900 that morning.  Initial scans had found interesting mineral deposits beneath the polar ice.  Two teams had been dispatched: Trip, Malcolm, Rostov, and Hess were to collect several ice cores that would hopefully contain samples of the minerals.  After dropping them off with their equipment the captain had taken the shuttlepod on to a second more southern landing site so that Crewman Cutler could collect some faunal samples.  They had almost collected their second mineral sample when the storm had kicked up, forcing them to abandon their drilling equipment and seek shelter in a nearby cave.  Along with winds high enough to prevent a shuttle landing and a complete whiteout of snow, surface deposits of their mysterious mineral had been lifted up and were being carried by the storm.  As the storm worsened and more of this mineral entered the air their comm signals began to be blocked.  Whatever it was it interfered with comm traffic as well as the transporter.  The last message they were able to comprehend had informed them that transportation was not an option and they would have to wait until the interference dropped off or a shuttle could land.

    Another cold blast of air entered the cave and Malcolm hid his face as the accompanying snow settled on him.  The cave was just large enough to fit the Starfleet crewmembers, it was barely more than a crack in the rock face.  There was a small, sheltered crevice in one wall and Trip had ordered Lieutenant Hess and Crewman Rostov to get into it.  They would be sheltered from the occasional gust of wind and snow that entered the cave and would be more able to keep warm.  Malcolm had agreed with Trip's decision wholeheartedly.  As senior officers it was their duty to look after those under their command.

    Malcolm snuck a glance at his ex-lover and was alarmed by the amount of ice that was crusted on the synthetic fur lining of Trip's hood.  Trip had barely spoken to Malcolm since their argument over a week ago.  From his rigid interactions while on duty it was clear that the man was still hurting, but Malcolm didn't know how to try and help.  He'd felt physically ill when he'd realized how close he'd been to hitting Trip.  Over a silly, insignificant argument at that.  He'd broken up in his sudden panic, terrified of hurting his love.  Now Malcolm wasn't sure what would have hurt Trip more.

    "Malcolm."  He started from his reverie and looked up to meet Trip's gaze.  "We should probably..." Trip trailed off and waved a hand helplessly.  Malcolm was only puzzled for a moment before he realized what the other man was suggesting.  He thumped his numb legs until he was able to force them to cooperate long enough to get up and cross the cave to Trip.  Trip moved so that he was sitting with his back to the crevice that contained their junior officers, trying to trap in any warmth that he could.  Malcolm stood in front of Trip and regarded his companion, knowing what they should do yet unsure if he could bring himself to do it.  Trip gave him a weak smile to let him know it was all right and opened his arms.

    Malcolm flashed him a ghost of his old half smile before he knelt down and crawled into Trip's lap.  They arranged themselves so that they were chest to chest in an attempt to keep their core temperatures as high as possible.  Malcolm felt Trip's arms encircle him and then rub his back.  He returned the favour, amazed by how right it felt to be back in Trip's arms.  Even given their circumstances.  After a while just clinging to the other man he turned his head and tucked his face into the crook of Trip's neck.  He waited a moment and then gently puckered his lips and planted a ghosting kiss on Trip's jacket, light enough that the other man wouldn't be able to feel it.  He squeezed Trip just a little bit tighter and marvelled at what he'd thrown away.  Another gust of wind entered the cave and he squeezed his eyes more tightly shut.  When it was over he relaxed.

    It was then that he realized his companion had been still for quite some time.  "Trip?"  There was no reply.  Malcolm gently jostled the man he was wrapped around.  Trip's body was a dead weight.  Malcolm felt his heart plummet as his world shattered.

    Beep.  Beep.  Beep.  The sound of a monitor penetrated his foggy brain and he snapped himself awake.  The sounds and smells were immediately familiar.  He was in sickbay.

    The previous events came rushing back to him and he snapped his eyes open, squinting in the painfully bright light.  "Malcolm!"  The captain positively bounded to his officer's side.  "Doctor he's awake."  Malcolm winced as the captain called into the other room.  He tried to sit up only to have Archer press on his shoulder, forcing him back down onto his biobed.  It was an unfortunately familiar gesture.  He sank back and settled on opening only one eye completely as he squinted up at his commanding officer.

    "The others?"  His voice rasped terribly as he spoke.

    "Hess and Rostov weren't as badly off as you.  Phlox has released them to their quarters."

    Malcolm felt his heart skip a beat at the captain's omission.  "Commander Tucker?"

    Archer turned and indicated the next biobed.  "He's just over there.  He was in pretty bad shape, but the doc is optimistic he'll make a complete recovery."  Malcolm allowed a smile to fix itself on his  face.


    "Ah Lieutenant!."  The doctor was suddenly beaming at him from the other side of the bed.  "It's good to have you back with us."  He gave a brief glance at the monitors over Malcolm's biobed.  "You're still a little cooler than I'd like, but you're well on the road to recovery.  A few days off duty should have you back to your hardworking self."  Malcolm opened his mouth to protest, but was silenced by a look from the captain.

    "Yes Doctor."  Phlox chuckled at the resigned tone of his patient.

    "Now, if you'd like to get some rest, Lieutenant, I have some house calls to make."  He dimmed the lights and indicated the biobed next to Malcolm's,  "He may be a bit disoriented when he wakes, but that should go away if you just speak to him." 

    "I can do that, Doctor."  And he would.  There was a lot that Malcolm wanted to say to Trip.  The doctor smiled his broad Denobulan smile.

    "Excellent, Lieutenant.  I shouldn't be too long, but if anything seems amiss comm me immediately."  He gave Malcolm a final smile before he turned and ushered the captain out of the room with him.  Muttering all the while about overprotective commanding officers who should go eat and perhaps get some rest.

    Jon barely managed a "get well, Malcolm" before the doors closed behind him.

    Malcolm closed his eyes and luxuriated in the warm blanket covering him.  Sheer relief from the knowledge that everyone would be fine made him feel absolutely giddy for the first time in years.  A faint sound that transformed itself into a moan caught his attention.  When this was followed by a slurred, "What'the?" Malcolm carefully rolled off the edge of his biobed and forced his wobbly legs to carry him over to Trip's side.  He got there just in time to see Trip's brilliant blue eyes blink their way open.

    He went to take Trip's hand and then remembered that after his previous behaviour the gesture might not be appreciated.  He settled for looking deeply into Trip's eyes, "Hello.  Welcome back."

    "Hess n' Rostov?"  Trip's voice had an unpleasant rasp to it.

    "They're fine.  Sleeping it off in their own quarters.  How do you feel?"

    "Throat hurts, kinda cold."  Malcolm nodded and took a cup of tepid water off of the bedside table.  He held it and gently positioned the straw so that Trip could take a sip without sitting up.  Trip took a couple of long pulls on the straw before he tipped his head slightly away from it.  Signalling to Malcolm that he could put the cup back.  Trip peered blearily at him for a while before he forced his raspy throat to cooperate so he could speak.

    "Malcolm?"  The uncertainty was evident in his tone.

    Malcolm took a deep breath and willed himself to say words that accurately conveyed how he felt.  "I think I owe you an apology, Trip."  Trip's eyes widened and Malcolm hurried to continue before the other man could interrupt him.  He wanted lay everything out on the table.  "I broke up with you because I was scared, I didn't mean to hurt you."  Malcolm could tell Trip didn't understand so he pushed on, "You're the only one that can make me lose control, Trip.  I had thought that was okay, but then I almost hit you."  Trip opened his mouth to protest, but Malcolm cut him off again.  "Yes I did, there's no sense denying it."

    "But ya didn't Malcolm.  Ya wouldn't."  Trip could only be suppressed so long.

    Malcolm exhaled violently.  "I know, Trip.  I know that now.  I was just shocked by how close I came.  I was terrified of hurting you, Trip, so I broke up with you."

    "What didya think that would do?"

    Malcolm hung his head to avoid the accusatory glare.  "I guess I wasn't thinking.  Or I guess I didn't think your feelings could be as strong as mine were.  I'm not used to being loved, Trip."  He tentatively looked up and was surprised by the look of wonder on Trip's face.

    "You love me?" 

    Malcolm nodded, "I never stopped.  I realized when we were stranded that I didn't want to live without you, Trip."  He gulped and forced himself to take a risk.  "Would you be willing to give 'us' another chance?"  Trip's smile brightened up the room.

    "I can't think of anything I'd like more, Mal."  Malcolm smiled in return and then wobbled as his weary legs protested the exertion of standing for so long.  "Oh, Mal.  You're dead on your feet."  Trip turned onto his side and scooted over on the narrow biobed.  He lifted one corner of the blanket invitingly.  "Hop in." 

    Malcolm looked around sickbay nervously, "Are you sure we should do that here.  It is a rather public place."

    Trip rolled his eyes, "We can just say you were helping me warm up.  I always sleep better with my snuggley, warm Malcolm."

    Malcolm snorted, "I'm not your teddy bear, Trip."  But he was smiling as he clambered onto the bunk so that Trip could curl up behind him.  Trip's arm wrapped around him and he felt Trip bestow a kiss on the back of his neck.

    "Night Mal."

    "Sleep well, love."


    Jon rounded the corner and almost ran into the doctor.  Phlox was striding along, engrossed in the pad that he carried.  "Whoa Phlox.  Is everything all right?  Is Trip awake?"

    The doctor spoke to the captain as he kept walking, forcing Jon to follow him.  "I'm unsure, Captain.  My remote monitoring has started to give me very strange readings for Commander Tucker.  Mr. Reed doesn't seem to be on his biobed, but he hasn't contacted me.  I'm going to check on them now." 

    "I'll come too."  Jon fell into step beside the doctor and they walked the short distance to sickbay.  The door slid open and the sight before them caused them to stop in their tracks.  Jon gave a loud gasp and the doctor gave an excited cry that sounded suspiciously like "mating ritual!"  Trip and Malcolm were cuddled closely together on Trip's biobed.  Both fast asleep.  They recovered from their shock and Phlox crept forward and ran a hand scanner over each man individually.

    His voice was a whisper when he spoke, "They're both fine, Captain.  Just exhausted."  Jon nodded and then whispered back.

    "Do you need to move them?"

    Phlox shrugged, "I don't see why."

    Jon smiled, "Good.  Let me know when they're ready for a visitor.  I'm going to get some sleep."

    "A wise course of action, Captain."

    He was almost at the door when he thought of something else.  "Oh and Phlox.  I don't think they'd appreciate you taking notes."  Jon almost chuckled at the way the doctor's face fell.  He hid his amusement by quickly leaving sickbay, tossing a, "bye Doc" over his shoulder as he went.

    Phlox eyed the door for a moment before he came to a decision and pulled a padd out of his pocket.  What occurred in Sickbay was his prerogative anyway.