Title: Fooling a Fool

Author: Joules Mer

Author's e-mail: julia_ocean_child@yahoo.co.uk

Author's URL: http://jmenterprise.popullus.net

Date: Posted to EntSTSlash 04/04/2004

Archive: Permission to archive granted to EntSTCommunity and BLTS.  All others ask me.

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Category: Slash

Rating: PG

Pairing: T/R

Summary:  Who's the fool now?

Series:  Spirit of the Season

Beta: None

Spoilers: none

Disclaimer: Enterprise is the property of Paramount.  No profit was, or will be, made by this story.

A/N: Just typed it in on the fly and posted so I apologize for any errors.  I don't have much free time these days.

    The door slid open after he punched in an override code and the intruder tiptoed into the room.  He hurried over to the desktop chronometer, picking it up and prising off the bottom.  He carefully used a tool to remove the chip that wirelessly connected it to the ship's internal chronometer.  The slot didn't remain empty for long as he inserted an almost identical chip of his own design before replacing the small panel and setting the device back on the shelf.  He then hastened into the small bathroom and removed a few items from the shelf by the sink.  Each was carefully replaced with what appeared to be an identical counterpart.  A few more adjustments and he was done.  With one last look around to make sure everything was in its place he hurried out of the quarters before he was caught.


    Malcolm was having a marvellous dream.  He'd invented a new weapon that he was using to blow asteroids into clouds of interstellar dust.  He spun around in his chair at tactical before locking the targeting scanners and firing again, a hulking asteroid vanishing in a very satisfying perfectly symmetrical explosion.  What made the dream marvellous was that Trip had an arm draped over Malcolm's shoulders and was telling him how much he'd always liked explosions, found accents drop dead sexy, and firmly believed that good things came in small packages.  When Trip took Malcolm's chin and turned it to face his own, puckering his lips slightly as he leaned in, Malcolm eagerly abandoned his console.  There were some things explosions came second to.  He moistened his lips before leaning to capture Trip's with his own.

    "To Reed."

    "What?"  He blinked and Trip vanished.

    "Tucker to Reed.  You there, Malcolm?"  He blinked his eyes open and sat up, flinging out a hand to punch the buttons on the panel over his bunk.  He shut his eyes against the sudden light and replied, "Reed here."

    Trip's voice boomed into his cabin, "What's up, Malcolm?  You're late."

    "Late?"  Malcolm's brow furrowed in confusion.  His brain was still muddled by sleep.

    There was what sounded like a note of exasperation in Trip's tone, "Yes, 'late'.  You didn't forget our 0800 meeting did you?  We were going to look over those new canon specs and see if we could modify ours."

    Malcolm blinked his eyes open in surprise, causing them to tear up in the painful light, "No, sir.  I ah..."  He trailed off, still confused by being summoned from his bed.

    Trip's voice filled the silence, he sounded genuinely surprised, "Malcolm, you didn't *oversleep*, did you?"  There was a note of incredulity that attested to how unlikely Trip found that idea.

    Malcolm wiped his eyes and looked at his chronometer.  08:15 blinked back at him and he uttered a forceful expletive in his head.  "I'll be there in ten minutes, Commander."  He closed the comm channel before Trip could realize he'd evaded the question.

    He leapt out of bed and rushed into his lavatory, splashing some water on his face and wiping the sleep from his eyes.  Malcolm looked into the mirror and grimaced, his cowlick was sticking straight up again.  There wasn't time for a shower so he sloshed some water on it before reaching for the hair gel he kept for occasions when he had to make himself presentable in a hurry.  He flipped open the lid, but the bottle slipped from his grasp and fell to the floor with a clatter.  Cursing, he bent down to retrieve it and used his face cloth to wipe up what had spilled onto the floor.  He dropped the towel onto the counter and was about to squirt a dollop of the gel directly into his hair when he stopped in confusion.  Malcolm slowly set the bottle down and retrieved the towel, sniffing it and wrinkling his nose in disgust at the odour.

    Malcolm's eyes narrowed slightly as he brought the bottle of hair gel to his nose and sniffed delicately.  He promptly set it down on the counter and took several deep breaths of the clean air in his quarters.  Gardenia and roses.  If the gel had made it to his hair he'd have spent the day stinking like some bloody botanical garden.  

    "What the hell?"  Malcolm scrutinized the counter and noticed that the bar of soap looked almost brand new, he was certain he'd worn his down a bit.  Wetting a corner of the towel and touching it to the soap revealed the presence of what appeared to be glitter.  His eyes widened and darted around the counter, coming to rest on his shaving kit which he was certain he'd never leave quite that close to the sink.  He gingerly opened it and was not surprised when a careful look at the business end of his shaver revealed what looked like two pink strips.  He touched one with the tip of his pinky and the digit came away with what looked like a coat of blush.

    Malcolm smoothed his hair down as best as he could, got dressed and strode towards the door of his quarters, determined to find out who had done this once his meeting with Trip was over.  As soon as the door shut behind him he stopped dead, the corridors were deserted.  He frowned, normally there would be people about at this time in the morning.  Slowly, he turned back and re-entered his quarters, going quickly to his computer terminal.  He switched on the screen and immediately looked to the top right corner.  0645 April 1 glowed softly back at him.  

    Malcolm sank back in his seat and covered his face with his hands for a moment before sitting up and activating the comm, "Reed to Tucker."

    "Tucker here."  The tone was tightly controlled.

    A muscle in Malcolm's face twitched, "Very funny, Trip."

    There was a pause and then a crow of laughter, "April Fools, Malcolm."  The laughter dissolved into a sniggering giggle which Malcolm patiently waited out.

    "I'll see you at 0800, and you'd better be able to fix my chronometer."

    "Smell ya later, Malcolm."  There as another explosive snorting giggle before the comm shut off.

    Malcolm sat back in his chair and thought for a few minutes before a grin slowly spread across his features.  If he could pull this off, it would be a perfect way to get back at Trip, and deal with a bit of his own frustration while he was at it.  He reached out and opened a comm channel to someone he knew would be up this early, "Reed to Phlox."


    "Good morning, Commander."  Trip's head snapped up from the padd he was reading and a broad grin alighted on his features.

    "Morning, Malcolm."  He sniffed the air as Malcolm got closer and frowned, "You didn't?"

    The other man gave a wry smile, "I'm afraid my face cloth was the only casualty of the hair gel.  You don't think I'd be this cheerful if I smelled like *that*, do you?"

    Trip smiled at Malcolm's only party theatrical shudder, "No, I suppose not, but you have to admit it was a good try."

    Malcolm nodded slightly, "And you almost pulled it off."  Suddenly a frown creased his brow and he stepped forward, capturing Trip's chin with his left hand, "What are those?"

    Trip's brows furrowed, "What?"

    "Those."  Malcolm gently touched the tip of his right index finger to a spot on Trip's forehead, "That."  He scrutinized Trip for a second before prodding a few places on Trip's neck and face, "And that, and that... And that."

    "Huh?"  Trip craned to look at the reflection of his face in the polished surface of the metal workbench and Malcolm grabbed his arms, rolling up the sleeves and prodding a few places on his right arm and hand and then his left.

    "You've got them here too."

    Trip looked at his hands and was confronted by some vague blotches he was sure hadn't been there before.  Now that he had noticed them they began to itch slightly.  The spots began to puff up as if the skin was irritated and he felt a slight wave of panic as he remembered what has happened the last time strange spots had grown on him.  "Sonuva!"  He reached up to scratch at his now itchy face, but his wrist was caught before his hand could get there.  He found himself looking into the concerned gaze of Malcolm, who had grabbed his wrist.

    "You shouldn't scratch them if you don't know what they are."

    Trip gulped, but nodded his assent.  Malcolm pulled Trip's wrist and positioned it so they could both get a good look at his arm.  The blotches were turning into what looked like hives.  Blue hives.  Trip turned wide eyes on his friend, "Oh Gawd, Malcolm.  What do you think they are?"

    "I have no idea, I think we'd best get you to sickbay in case it's catching."

    "Catching!"  Trip practically wailed the word.

    "Come on, to sickbay with you."  Malcolm took his friend by the arm and set off briskly down the corridor.  Trip's anxiety was only heightened by the strange looks the passing crewmembers were giving him.

    He pulled his arm from Malcolm's grasp and scratched at a spot on his face where the itching had become almost intolerable.  An absolute bundle of nerves he couldn't help babbling again, "What do you think it is, Malcolm?  What's wrong with me?"

    Malcolm stopped and regarded his nervous friend, "Well, it's really Phlox's place to say, but..."

    Trip felt a surge of hope, "But what?  Have you seen this before?"

    The lieutenant reluctantly shook his head and Trip felt his heart sink, "No, I've never seen it before, but..."

    Trip grabbed his friend by the shoulders, "But what?"

    "Well, we did have the Follisians on the ship last week."

    Trip couldn't understand the pointed look Malcolm was giving him, "Yeah?  So?"

    "So I seem to recall catching you snogging that Follisian engineer in the cargo bay.  That *blue* Follisian engineer."

    Trip looked like he was going to faint, "You think I caught something from her?  But Malcolm, it was just one kiss!  She said she'd read about the human custom of kissing and asked me if I'd demonstrate.  You can't catch something from just kissing, can you?"

    Malcolm pulled on Trip's arm to get him moving towards sickbay again, "I think we'd better let Phlox be the judge of that."


    Trip paced back and forth in decon, scratching absently at the spots on his arms.  One look at him and Phlox had sent Trip to the small room, and it felt like he'd been there for hours.  By his estimation, it must be getting close to lunchtime.  He stopped in his tracks as the door to decon slid open and Malcolm stood framed in the doorway.

    "Malcolm!"  He took a step towards his friend and then stopped, he didn't want the other man to catch what he had.

    Malcolm regarded him gravely, "Phlox has figured out what it is."

    Trip felt a knot settle in the pit of his stomach at Malcolm's tone.  It couldn't be a good sign that Malcolm was having a hard time meeting his eyes, "What is it, Malcolm?  Tell me."

    His friend shifted uneasily before continuing in a solemn tone, "You've got Severus Foolus Aprilis, it's caused by Prankus Failus."

    Trip's anxious expression slowly melted as he worked out what Malcolm had said.  Trip's eyes widened and, "You bastard!" popped out of his mouth before he could stop it.  A gesture that caused his friend to release a mirthful laugh.

    Malcolm grinned unapologetically and shrugged, "It was only planned this morning.  After what you tried to pull you certainly deserved it.

    Trip held his face in his hands, unable to argue with the last statement.  After a moment he lowered his hands and revealed a face flushed with embarrassment, "I don't suppose you have a way of getting these off?"

    "Of course."  Malcolm pulled a small vial from his pocket, "Just rub this on them and they'll go away.  Then maybe we can go get some lunch?"

    Trip took the proffered cure, his face full of chagrin, "Okay."  He stood looking at one of his spots for a moment before giving a gusty sigh, "Malcolm, I have to admit you got me good."

    Malcolm smirked, "I try."


    Trip carefully deposited his heavily laden tray on the table and slid into the seat across from Malcolm.  He took a gulp of his drink and regarded his friend who was still smiling slightly.  "So Malcolm."


    Trip shook his head slightly, "What gave you the idea to do *that*?"  He watched in fascination as a slight blush blossomed on Malcolm's features which twitched slightly, very interesting considering that he'd gotten through the morning with a perfect poker face.

    "Oh, um, I dunno."  Malcolm kept his eyes firmly fixed on his plate, as if a grilled cheese sandwich and soup was the most fascinating thing he had ever seen.
    Trip frowned and leaned forward, he had the feeling he was on to something interesting, "Come on, Malcolm.  I can tell something's up.  Why did you do it?"  When Malcolm merely shrugged Trip wracked his brain to try and figure out why his friend would be acting like this.  After a few seconds he carefully spoke, "You weren't... jealous of me, were you?"

    Malcolm gave a surprised snort, "Hardly.  Why on Earth would I want to snog some woman?"

    Trip started, "What?"

    He sniffed derisively, "I don't snog aliens.  You don't know where they've been."

    "You didn't say that."

    "What?"  The innocence was just a bit forced.

    "You said 'woman', not 'alien'."

    Malcolm's mouth opened and closed once before he got out a weak, "Oh?"

    Trip's looked slightly confused, "Is there something you want to tell me, Malcolm?"

    There was a muttered, "Not really," before Malcolm gave a weak smile and spoke so that Trip would be the only one in the mess able to hear, "I'm gay."

    Malcolm made a violent hushing gesture and leaned over the table, "Quiet!"

    Trip looked poleaxed, "But what was all that stuff about T'Pol's bum about?"
    Malcolm grimaced slightly, "How does 'I like sex and I get really, really, slutty when I'm drunk' sound?"

    The other man gaped, "Gawd, Malcolm!  But what about when we went to Risa to pick up women?  We're friends and it isn't anything to hide, why didn't you tell me?"

    "Well..."  As Malcolm trailed off and flushed more deeply Trip realized the two questions he'd blurted out were linked.

    "Are you..."  He frowned and tried again, "Is it possible that you weren't jealous of me, but..."  He paused and looked at his friend closely as he finished, "jealous of her?"  Malcolm's reply was mumbled.  "What was that?"


    Trip sat back in his seat, "Wow."

    Malcolm threw down his napkin and made as if to sit up, "I think I'd better get down to the armoury."

    "Wait!"  They both froze at Trip's exclamation.  "Stay."  Malcolm obediently settled into his seat, his posture tense.  Trip fiddled with his fork before meeting Malcolm's eyes, "I think I've got something to tell you too."  He took a deep breath, "I'm bisexual, in the being a guy who likes men and women way."

    It was Malcolm's turn to be flabbergasted, "Oh."

    Trip smiled weakly, "And I kind of like you too, Malcolm."

    "*Oh*."  He licked his lips in a nervous gesture, "Well, um."  He trailed off and settled for, "Well."

    Trip reached across the table and captured Malcolm's hand with his own, "Would you like to, maybe, go out?"

    Malcolm was still feeling a bit shocked at the turn of events, "Out?"

    "On a date."  Trip clarified.  "Maybe tonight?"

    "Tonight."  Malcolm's brain finally managed to process what was going on and verify that it was real.  All at once he smiled more broadly than Trip had ever seen him smile before, "I'd love to."

    "Great."  The goofy grin on his face matched Malcolm's, "It's a date then.  I'll pick you up at 1800, we can have dinner and then go to the movie."

    "Sounds lovely."


    Malcolm rolled over and flung out a hand to quiet the insistent beeping of his alarm.  


    Malcolm stretched and rolled back to plant a quick kiss on Trip's lips, "That is the 0700 alarm."  He grinned as Trip blearily blinked his eyes open, "You'd better get up or you'll be late for your shift."

    "First thing's a meeting with the Cap'n, but that isn't till 0900, I could've slept in."  The sleep roughened tone trailed off and Trip gave a jaw cracking yawn before snagging another kiss from his new lover.

    "Well, I have to be in the armoury in an hour so I'd better get moving."  Malcolm rolled out of bed and stood, "C'mon lazybones, you could at least join me for breakfast."

    Trip slumped into the mattress, "I'm not usually the 'into the sack after the first date' kinda guy, but Malcolm, you completely wore me out last night.  Can I just stay here all day?"

    Malcolm laughed softly, "Well, I wouldn't have a problem with that, but the captain might."  He stood for a moment and smiled fondly at the man in his bunk, "Fine.  I'm going to have a quick shower.  You get up and make yourself presentable so we can go to breakfast."

    "Yes dear."

    Malcolm snorted at the reply before heading into the bathroom.  Trip frowned as he sat up, only Malcolm could have him completely whipped after one night together.  It would almost serve him right if...  Trip's musings were cut off by a volley of curses coming from the bathroom.  He winced, yesterday Malcolm must not have discovered the surprise he'd rigged in the shower.