Title: Fool Me Once

Author: Joules Mer

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

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

Date: Completed December 29, 2004

Archive: Everyone else ask first.

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Category: Slash

Rating: G

Pairing: A/R


Series:  None

Beta: None


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


    Jon knew it was unprofessional of him, but he couldn't help being somewhat distracted all morning.  After four hours of sitting in the captain's chair he still had no idea what he was going to do, and was thoroughly worked up about what Trip might be planning.  In retrospect, he should have known to be suspicious of any unusual requests, but since it was Malcolm who contacted him he merely agreed to meet the lieutenant in 15 minutes so they could discuss the new cannon upgrades.

    Exactly 15 minutes later he was standing outside Malcolm's quarters, quickly wiping his hands on his thighs in case they were sweaty and taking a breath as he pushed the chime.  The door slid open and Jon stepped into the small quarters.  He'd opened his mouth to say something when he caught sight of Malcolm and froze.

    Jeans.  Surprisingly tight jeans and a black t-shirt.  Jon could count on one hand the number of times he'd seen Malcolm in casual clothes.  When Malcolm gave him a lopsided smile and positively stalked over Jon took an involuntary step backwards.

    "Punctual, Captain, I like that."  With Malcolm's accent the words were enough to make Jon shiver.

    He tried to hide his confusion as he said, "You wanted to discuss the cannon modifications?"

    Malcolm made a dismissive gesture.  "That was just to get you off that bridge of yours."  He took two slow steps forward and continued, "Although, I wouldn't mind taking a look at *your* heavy weaponry."  As Malcolm licked his lips and gave a predatory smile Jon felt his mouth drop open in surprise.

    He felt a blush rise up his neck as he tried to come up with something to say.  "I... Malcolm..."  A sudden flash blinded him and there was a burst of uncontrollable laughter as he tried to clear his vision.  When he could see again he was treated to the sight of a still guffawing Trip Tucker carefully extracting himself from Malcolm's closet.  Jon didn't know how he'd managed to fold himself inside.  It was the camera in Trip's hands that finally clued him in, that and the way Trip managed to gasp out, "April fool!"

    He looked from his still sniggering friend to his furiously blushing tactical officer.  "You..."

    Trip slapped his friend's back.  "Aw, Cap'n, you should have seen your face!"  He dissolved into helpless laughter again before managing to choke out, "Serves you right for what you did to my shower last year."

    "You mean you..."  He turned helpless eyes to the other man.  "Malcolm?"

    Malcolm ducked his head as his blush deepened, but he forced himself to meet his superior's eyes as he answered.  "I'm sorry, Captain.  I'm afraid I lost a bet to the commander, and while this was distasteful I couldn't welch."

    Of course he couldn't.  Malcolm was predictably responsible in matters like that.  Since Malcolm still looked quite uncomfortable Jon hastened to reassure him.  "It's okay, Malcolm.  You're not the first person to have been drawn into this."

    Trip slapped Jon's back once more and managed to compose himself.  "I've got to get back to work."  He patted his camera meaningfully.  "And download that picture."  He said bye to Malcolm over his shoulder and then he was gone.

    When the door slid shut after Trip Jon eyed Malcolm carefully.  After a moment Malcolm waved a hand at his small sofa.  "Would you like to have a seat?"

    "Thanks."  Jon smiled as he sank into the seat.  "I think I need it."  He watched in fascination as Malcolm blushed again at the comment.

    "It's my understanding that you and Trip don't keep the normal morning only time limit on your pranks.  May I ask what you've got planned for him?  I wouldn't mind being there when he gets what's coming to him."

    Jon ran a hand over his face.  "Actually, I haven't really been able to come up with something."


    "When we were back on Earth it wasn't a problem, but as captain..."  He trailed off as Malcolm nodded his understanding.

    They sat in awkward silence for a while before Malcolm cleared his throat.  When Jon looked up he cautiously said,  "Well, there is a way this whole joke could be on him after all."
    Intrigued, Jon leaned forward.  "How's that?"

    "Well..."  Malcolm shifted on his feet.  "Trip clearly thinks having me come on to you was a good joke.  But with T'Pol conducting that geological survey it will only be you and Trip at dinner.  If I were to come too... Well, he'd be pretty surprised and uncomfortable if we were to, you, know..."

    Jon's eyes widened.  "You think we should *flirt*?"

    Malcolm shifted again and his cheeks acquired a rosy hue.  "Well... If you're not uncomfortable with the idea..."

    "Malcolm that's great!  He won't expect it from you and he'll be too tongue tied to ask what's going on."  He couldn't keep himself from grinning as he imagined how Trip was going to look.  Just as quickly a concern presented itself and he said, "Just how comfortable are you with this, Malcolm?  I don't want you to do anything that you're not comfortable with."

    "Actually, I should ask you the same thing."  Malcolm looked a little sheepish.  "If anyone is going to be uncomfortable I'd have thought that you..."  

    When Malcolm trailed off Jon had the feeling he was missing something.  "What?"

    "Well."  Malcolm waved a hand vaguely.  "You know..."

    His brow furrowed.  "Know what?"

    Malcolm stared at a spot somewhere beyond Jon's left ear.  "About me."

    Jon felt particularly dense.  "What about you?"

    Malcolm ran a hand through his hair.  "That, while Trip might drag me out after women, I'm..."  He licked his lips in a nervous gesture.  "Partial to men as well."


    Malcolm swallowed.  "Prefer, actually."

    "Oh, Malcolm, I..."

    Malcolm straightened until he was practically at attention.  "I'm sorry, sir.  Please accept my apologies and forget I ever suggested..."

    Jon didn't let him finish.  "I don't know that I can."  Malcolm's jaw shut with an audible snap.  "You see..."  He levered himself to his feet.  "I know the feeling."

    "The feeling, sir?"

    "I prefer men as well and..."  Jon closed the distance between them as he said, "I don't think you should call me sir."  He took in how the pulse was hammering in Malcolm's neck before throwing caution to the wind and kissing his armoury officer.  When Malcolm reciprocated he had the absurd thought that he should pinch himself to see if he was dreaming.
    When he finally pulled back he decided that a slightly dazed Malcolm was something he'd like to see on a regular basis.  Malcolm blinked twice and said,  "So you'd like to make Trip as uncomfortable as possible tonight?"

    Jon grinned.  "Beet red and squirming would be perfect."

    Malcolm couldn't quite meet his eyes as he said,  "Does that also mean that you'd be amenable to continuing this tomorrow?"  

    Jon leaned in for another kiss and said, "And the day after that, and the day after that, and..."

    The smile on Malcolm's face was like a breath of fresh air after a year in deep space.


    "Evenin' Cap'n."  Trip strode into the captain's mess and stopped short at the sight of three place settings on the table.  "T'Pol?"

    "Malcolm, actually."  Jon poured a glass of iced tea and passed it over to the far side of the table.  "Chef's going to make pineapple cake for dessert, kind of an apology for what you made him do this afternoon."

    A smug smile settled on Trip's face as he sunk into the chair corresponding to the drink Jon had poured.  The fact that it was T'Pol's seat didn't register.  "I got you good, Cap'n, and you're running out of time to get me back."

    "Just wait, Trip.  You should know better than to underestimate me."  He pretended to surreptitiously check the chronometer and said, "It's unlike Malcolm to be late.  Maybe we should start soon."

    Trip raised an eyebrow.  "Why?  You on a deadline?"

    Jon affected an air of nonchalance.  "No.  No rush.  It just looked like a good movie tonight."

    Trip leaned back in his chair and smiled.  "I know.  It's my favourite."  He paused and then said, "Which is why I'm not going."

    "What?"  Jon allowed a hint of alarm to creep into his voice.  "Why not?"

    Trip chuckled.  "The timing was just a bit too good, Cap'n.  I'll be watching the movie all right, but in my quarters."  He laughed outright as Jon's face fell.  "I know better than to go to a crowded movie theatre today, especially if my favourite film is playing.  It was way too obvious, Cap'n."

    The door opening cut off any further jeers from Trip.  Malcolm, looking happy to be back in his uniform, immediately began to apologize.  "I'm sorry I'm late.  There was a problem with the aft cannon assembly that I had to look after."

    "No problem, Malcolm."  Jon waved at the seat between Trip and himself.  "Take a seat."

    "Did you get it fixed?"

    Malcolm took the glass of iced tea that Jon handed him with a nod of thanks.  "It was just a burnt circuit, but the diagnostic wasn't working right so we had to wade through half the assembly to find out which one was causing the problem."

    Trip winced in sympathy.  "If that happens again give me a call.  I've got a fair bit of practice at working the glitches out of the diagnostic systems."

    "I'll be sure to."

    A steward chose that moment to bring in their food.  Dinner was spent largely on work related small talk.  It was only when three large slices of pineapple upside down cake and a bowl of whipped cream were placed on the table that Jon put his plan into action.  He just hoped the stewards would remember his instructions to leave them alone after delivering dessert.

    "Would you care for some whipped cream, Malcolm?"

    Malcolm licked his lips.  "Yes please, Captain.  Two spoonfuls, if you don't mind.  I'm quite fond of cream."

    Jon dropped two generous dollops on top of Malcolm's cake, accidentally getting some on Malcolm's thumb where it was gripping the edge of the plate.  "Oh.  Sorry Malcolm."

    Malcolm practically simpered.  "No harm done."  With that he brought his thumb to his mouth and licked it clean more slowly than was strictly necessary.  Trip looked from Jon to Malcolm with a somewhat confused gaze and shifted in his seat.

    Jon turned to his friend.  "Whipped cream, Trip?"

    "Oh, uh, just a little would be great."  He retrieved his plate from the captain and watched with narrowed eyes as his companions began to eat.  A few mouthfuls later they seemed normal enough so he turned his attention back to his dessert.  He'd barely got started when Malcolm broke the silence.

    "Is there any whipped cream left, Captain?"

    Trip looked up to find that the small mountain of cream that had covered Malcolm's cake was gone.  Jon peered into the bowl.  "I think there's a scoop left."

    "Lovely."  Malcolm passed his plate over and Jon scraped the serving bowl clean.

    "I think that's all I've got."  Jon deposited the last of the whipped cream on the remnants of Malcolm's cake.  "I hope that's enough to satisfy you, Lieutenant."

    Malcolm gave a half smirk.  "I'm notorious for being up for seconds."

    Trip made a strangled noise in the back of his throat before focussing his attention on his own plate.  After a few bites he looked up only to pause mid chew.  The way Malcolm's lips were sliding along the tines of his fork would make Phlox blush.  What was worse was how Jon seemed to be unconsciously caressing his glass.  Trip hadn't known fingers could move in that kind of stroking-twisting motion.  He swallowed hard and felt the tips of his ears beginning to burn.

    A chuckle from Malcolm drew Trip's attention.  "I suppose something had to happen to make up for my day."  Malcolm reached down and brandished a cherry

    Jon leaned over the table to look.  "I though we ran out of those months ago."

    Malcolm shrugged.  "I guess Chef had a few hidden away."  He took in Jon's wistful look and said, "I would be willing to share."  With that he carefully bit off half the fruit before passing it to Jon.

    Instead of taking the fruit, Jon gripped Malcolm's wrist and steered his hand upwards.  He gently drew the half cherry into his mouth, carefully sliding his lips over Malcolm's fingertips.  A choked cough from the other end of the table made them both turn.  Malcolm frowned and said, "Oh, sorry Trip.  Did you want some too?"

    The blush spread from his ears to his cheeks.  "Oh, no, it's okay, Malcolm."  He indicated his half finished dessert.  "My cake is just great as it is."

    Malcolm took another bite and closed his eyes in bliss.  "Mmmmhmmm."  He swallowed and smiled.  "I don't think there's anything taster in the world than pineapple.  It's other benefits are just a bonus."

    Jon said, "What other benefits?"

    Malcolm took a sip of his drink and in a matter of fact manner said,  "Pineapple makes ejaculate taste sweeter."

    Jon raised an eyebrow.  "Really?"  When Malcolm nodded he grinned and said, "Then eat up."

    Trip dropped his fork.

    "I think I will, *Captain*."  There was something in Malcolm's tone that made Trip pause in his search for his dropped utensil.

    "You do that, Lieutenant."  Jon matched Malcolm's tone and Trip's eyes widened.

    Malcolm set his fork down and slid his chair back from the table.  "I'm sorry sir, but I have more *pressing* matters to attend to."

    "Are... Are you two feeling okay?  There haven't been any aliens or..."  Trip trailed off as they ignored him completely.

    "Are you disobeying an order, Lieutenant?"

    With a display of admirable flexibility Malcolm quickly straddled his captain's lap.  He grabbed the front of Jon's uniform in a tight fist and growled.  "I love it when you get all commanding."  Trip just about had a heart attack as Malcolm yanked and pulled Jon into a demanding kiss.

    "Oh Malcolm!"  The words were muffled, but Trip could just make out what Jon was saying.  Jon brought his hands up and ran them over Malcolm's back.  "Oh, Mal.  Oh..."  There was a pause for some serious spit swapping before they both moaned, stilled, and crowed, "April fool!"

    The table rattled as Trip jumped and bashed his knee against its underside.  Wh- What?"

    Malcolm extracted himself from Jon's embrace and stood next to his chair.  He smiled at his bemused friend and said, "April fool."

    "You mean?"

    Jon leaned back in his chair.  "The joke's on you, Trip."

    "It was all a joke?"

    "Well..."  Jon and Malcolm exchanged a lingering look.  "Not entirely."

    Trip still couldn't quite comprehend what had happened.  "So..."

    Jon grinned.  "So, while it was quite surprising at the time, the word I'd use to sum up how I feel about what you did earlier is 'thanks'."

    Malcolm walked over to a support beam that protruded from the ceiling across from Trip and pulled something down that had been concealed behind it.  He held it out and Trip realized it was a small camera.  "This has been taking pictures of you every ten seconds."  He smirked at Trip and took Jon's arm.  "Come on, Jon, let's see what we've got on our camera."

    "That's an excellent suggestion, Malcolm."

    The couple left the room together and Trip weakly sank down into his chair.  He surveyed the remains of dessert and shook his head.  "I'll be damned."