Title: Shades of Love

Author: Joules Mer

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

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

Date: Posted to EntSTSlash December 25, 2004

Archive: Everyone else ask first.

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise and Chromiumblue.com

Category: Slash

Rating: PG

Pairing: Tu/R, Owen/Sir G

Summary:  Malcolm gets a little help from an unlikely source.

Series:  None

Beta: None

Spoilers: Season 3 (Enterprise)

Disclaimer: Enterprise is the property of Paramount.  ChromiumBlue.com is a Zalman King production.  Characters just borrowed for a bit of fun.  No profit has been, or will be, made by this story.  

Warning: Crossover

A/N:  A big thanks to Zoe.  Merry Chistmas Qzee.

    The snow crunched under his boots.  Trip reflected that after 3 years in deep space a person could forget it did that.  He veered briefly through a patch with a particularly thick crust, just to feel it give under his boots.

    Trip had to knock twice before the door opened.  The difference between the dusk outside and the electric lights from the open doorway made him squint.  "Any hope of a place to crash?"

    Jon raised an eyebrow at the man who had tracked him to the cabin in Colorado he'd inherited from his family.  He turned sideways to give his friend room to pass.  "Couch is free."

    Trip managed a weary smile as he trudged into the main room and dropped his bags.


    It was three days before Jon gathered his courage.  He waited until they were sitting by the fire after a late supper.  He didn't even look at his friend, addressing his question to the flames instead.  "Have you seen Malcolm?"

    Trip shook his head.  The fireplace was the only source of light in the small room and it cast flickering shadows over his face.

    Jon glanced at the other man out of the corner of his eye, noting the set to Trip's jaw.  "Think you will?"  He waited for a response that didn't come before adding, "You should."

    Trip's jaw tightened even more.  "I don't see what there is to talk about."

    "What?" He spun in his chair to face his friend.  "How can you say that?"  Trip only shrugged.  Jon was silent for a minute as he decided how hard he wanted to push.  Eventually he said, "I think you're afraid."

    That got Trip's attention.  "What!"

    Jon tried to hide his reaction to the look in his friend's eyes as he said, "You heard me.  I think you're too much of a coward to go talk to Malcolm."  Trip opened his mouth as if to say something, but thought better of it and crossed his arms over his chest instead.  Jon tossed a padd to his friend.  "He's in fleet housing in San Francisco, here's the address.  I'm going to bed."  He wandered into the cabin's back room without glancing back.  When he got up in the morning Trip was already gone.


    It took Trip three tries before he actually pressed the call button at Malcolm's temporary housing.  He waited uncomfortably during the five long seconds it took Malcolm to answer the door.  When it finally slid open Trip felt a stab of guilt at the way Malcolm stiffened when he saw who had come to visit.  "Can..."  Trip swallowed as his throat suddenly went dry.  "Can I come in?"

    Malcolm looked Trip over before stepping aside.  "Of course."  He watched as Trip entered the room and stood awkwardly by sofa.  After a moment it became obvious that Trip wasn't quite able to start the conversation.  Malcolm leaned against the door frame and said, "Was there something you wanted?"
    Trip looked up from where he'd been inspecting the coffee table and forced himself to meet Malcolm's eyes.  "I thought we should talk."

    Malcolm kept his tone neutral as he said, "About?"

    "Well..."  Trip visibly squirmed as he fought for the words he wanted.  "I was thinking.  We went through some rough stuff and kinda grew apart.  When I think back on how things were I remember being happy.  I guess what I mean is, we're going to be shipping out soon.  And when we do I was hoping we could..."  He trailed off as Malcolm gave a mirthless laugh.  "What?"    
    "Do you seriously think I'll pass the examinations?"  There was no question which examinations Malcolm was talking about.  The scars would soon fade and he'd be as physically fit as he'd ever been.  "They have Hayes' reports and logs.  They know all about our fight, how I accused him of trying to take over my duties.  I look like some paranoid, neurotic little nutcase."  Malcolm shook his head and said, "I *am* a paranoid, neurotic little nutcase."

    "We were under a lot of stress.  Look what I did!"  Trip waved an arm to encompass people who weren't present."  Look what the captain did.  Hell, look what *T'pol* did."

    "There are some things you can't forgive people in charge of highly powerful munitions."  Malcolm sounded resigned to a fate of his own prophesying.

    "You don't know that!  You can't..."

    "I think you should leave, Trip."  Malcolm took the other man by the arm and firmly guided him to the door.

    "But Malcolm..."

    With a gentle push he maneuvered Trip into the hallway.  "Goodbye."  

    The door slid shut in his face.  Trip stood there for a few moments before he placed a hand on the cold metal.  "Goodbye, Malcolm."  He managed to walk away without looking back.


    Malcolm rolled over in bed and pushed the blankets down a little, it had suddenly become uncomfortably hot.  He pulled his arms out and met only warm air; the environmental controls must be malfunctioning.  As he contemplated getting up to see what was the matter a voice made him freeze.

    "This was going to be a little getaway, just for the two of us."  There was a distinct whine in the speaker's tone.

    "Now, now, this is important."  Slightly deeper than the first, but also with a British accent.

    "Pity we can't keep him, he is awfully good looking."  A trace of petulance was still present, but less than before.

    Malcolm tried to keep himself absolutely still, but he must have given himself away.  The second voice said, "I think he's waking up."

    Malcolm sensed someone bending over his bed.  Since he was on Earth he doubted he was in any serious trouble.  Crossing his fingers that he hadn't somehow wound up in a sickbay, he opened his eyes.  

    Malcolm blinked.  He was looking at... himself.  Or nearly.  He'd never worn his hair in that kind of spiky disarray before, and he didn't have that little scar on his upper lip.   Or that one on his nose for that matter.


    The man in front of him smiled broadly.  "Ah!  He speaks!  Malcolm, isn't it?"  Malcolm could only nod in confusion.  "May I introduce Sir G."  Malcolm nodded at the white haired figure standing slightly off to the side.  The man plastered a hand to his own chest.  "And I'm Owen: former bon vivant, so to speak."

    Malcolm frowned, too caught off guard to do anything but say, "Former?"  Owen seemed pretty cheerful as far as he was concerned.

    "Former cosmopolite, ex man of the world."  Owen waved a hand through the air and Malcolm's frown only deepened.

    Sir G helpfully spoke up.  "What Owen means to say is that he's a ghost."

    Malcolm slid himself back from the edge of the bed and scanned the room for an escape route; he'd been kidnapped by madmen.  He briefly considered that he might be dreaming, but that sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach was all too real.  They didn't seem hostile, but the best thing to do would be to keep them talking.  "I don't suppose you know how I came to be here?"

    "Not exactly."  Owen glanced sideways at Sir G and the other man attempted to explain.

    "A man appeared yesterday and said he had a project for us.  When we agreed to help we were told to expect you this morning.  He gave us a few details about you: that your name is Malcolm and you work on a some sort of spaceship.  I have to confess that time travellers are something new for us."

    Owen twirled a cane that Malcolm hadn't noticed before. "We've seen just about everything else, mind you."

    Malcolm honed in on the last thing Sir G had said.  "Time traveller?  You mean it isn't 2154?"

    Owen smirked.  "Try subtracting 160 years from that and see what you get."

    Malcolm ran a hand over his face at the thought of being back in the twentieth century.  At least he wasn't in the midst of a major war.  "Can you tell me what this man looked like?"

    "A rather peculiar fellow.  Dark hair, a touch on the arrogant side."

    "Did he call himself Daniels?"

    Sir G shook his head.  "He didn't call himself anything."

    Owen sniffed derisively.  "Rather rude of him really."

    "He said you had some things to work through, and that we could be helpful.  Do you have any idea what he could have been talking about.

    Malcolm thought back to his recent encounter with Trip.  "No idea."  He didn't like the knowing look Sir G gave him.

    The moment was broken when a horrible grating screech started coming from somewhere outside the window.  Malcolm winced at the sound.  "What-"

    "Cicadas."  Owen looked pained, if it was possible for a ghost to be in pain.  "Nasty little things."


    Sir G nodded.  "They seem to thrive in the Mediterranean climate."

    "The Mediterranean?"  Malcolm couldn't keep himself from parroting back the name.

    "I take it you were somewhere else?"

    "I was in San Francisco."

    "San Francisco!"  Owen clapped his hands together.  "Delightful place.  We were there in '74... or was it '64?"

    "Not now, Owen."  Sir G uttered the words with a smile, as if he'd said them many times before.

    The cicada somehow managed to become even more piercing and Owen massaged his temples.  "If you two will excuse me.  I could never abide cicadas."  With that he slowly faded and vanished.

    Malcolm felt his jaw drop open as he stared at the recently vacated space.  After a few seconds he managed to turn wide eyes to Sir G.

    Sir G smiled warmly and indicated the door behind him.  "How about some breakfast?"


    A cup of espresso and a plate of toast procured by Sir G did wonders for getting over the shock of seeing someone vanish.  Sir G talked about everything and nothing as Malcolm ate, only turning to more serious matters after Malcolm finished his toast.  "You bear more than a passing resemblance to Owen."

    "I was wondering about that."  Malcolm carefully set his espresso cup down on the table.  "My last name is Reed.  Do you suppose we could be related?"

    Sir G rinsed the crumbs off Malcolm's plate as he said, "I'd say it's more than possible, Owen is a Reed as well."

    "Did he have children, then?"

    Sir G laughed outright at the idea.  "Heavens, no.  Owen did have a younger brother, Edward.  We never really kept track of him though, beyond checking to see that he survived the wars.  Last I heard of him he was starting a family."

    "Near Keswick, no less."  Malcolm jumped, but Sir G didn't seem at all surprised by Owen's sudden appearance.  "I never cared for Cumbria myself, it's far too rainy."  Owen perched on the edge of the table and regarded Malcolm. "So I'm your great-great-great-great-great-something?  Nice to know the looks stayed in the family.  Pity you don't seem to be much taller, I've always thought around six feet would be nice."  

    Startled into the defensive Malcolm said, "I've never found my height to be a handicap."

    Owen rolled his eyes at Malcolm's tone.  "Of course you haven't."

    "Gentlemen!"  A stern word from Sir G stopped the brewing quarrel in its tracks.  He looked from a sheepish Malcolm to an unrepentant Owen and frowned.  "Malcolm, would you mind finishing your breakfast on the patio while I have a word with Owen?"

    Sliding his eyes between his two companions, Malcolm nodded.  "Of course not."  He picked up a plate of sliced fruit and walked out the back door Sir G indicated.  He was just settling into a deck chair when the door shut itself behind him and cut off the hushed conversation that had started up.  Malcolm gave himself a mental kick for not thinking of accidentally propping it open.


    "So.  Spaceships."  Owen materialized in the deck chair next to Malcolm.  "Hello-o."

    "Hullo, Owen."  Malcolm surveyed the ghost who appeared to be wearing some sort of antiquated swimwear.  "Going to the beach?"

    "In good time."  He twirled his ever-present cane before pointing it at the sky.  "What's it like up there?"  Malcolm shrugged as he tried to come up with an answer.  As it became apparent that Malcolm wasn't sure how to describe space travel Owen said, "Why'd you go?"

    Malcolm smirked humourlessly.  "The ocean was too small."  Sensing Owen's confusion he elaborated.  "I was destined for the navy, but knew I wouldn't be happy there, and not just because of my aquaphobia.  The ocean just wasn't enough, so I turned to space.  My father wasn't very happy though."  Malcolm affected a voice just a little deeper than his own and said, "Reeds have been navy men for generations."

    "Navy!"  Owen squawked at the thought and drew himself up as he puffed out his chest.  He gave a little mock salute.  "Private Owen Reed of the 4th Leicesters."  He waited until Malcolm returned the salute before slumping back into his chair.

    Malcolm regarded his companion out of the corner of his eye.  Owen was about his age, and he'd been a soldier in a century known for its wars.  He wasn't sure how the ghost would react to his question, but was too curious to stay silent.  "Owen?"

    Owen cocked his head to one side and fixed Malcolm with a curious smile.  "Yes?"

    He licked his lips and said, "How did you die?"

    Owen expelled a great huff of breath.  "The war."  He leaned back in his seat and kicked his feet out in front of him.  "The Great War, to be precise.  The war to end all wars."  The bitter irony in his tone wasn't lost on Malcolm.  It was such a change from his usual demeanor that Malcolm almost told Owen to forget he'd asked.  Owen fiddled with his cane for a moment before continuing, "I died in France.  It was the winter of 1917, in place called Bourlon Wood."  Owen stared into space as if he was having trouble remembering.  "I was shot.  It hurt.  I hurt so much.  I fell down.  I could see the trees above me, just spindly little things.  It started to snow.  I was so numb from the cold I thought I might be dead already."  He gripped his cane in a tight fist.  "I remember being so *angry*.  I was furious with myself.  I thought I was too young to die."  Owen gave a mirthless chuckle and continued, "I started berating myself: telling myself to stop being a weakling and get up, go get help.  I wasn't about to just slip away so I mustered all the frustration and anger and used it to stand up.  The only thing is, my body didn't come with me."

    "So it was just..."  Malcolm fumbled for the words he wanted.  "Sheer force of will?"

    "You could say that.  Owen chuckled.  "Reeds have always been stubborn bastards."

    Malcolm smiled at a fond memory.  "Sometimes I'd get working on something in the armoury and Trip would have to track me down and haul me off to bed or to the mess.  He used to tease me about it.  He said that I was liable to die from not eating and sleeping, and then ensigns would be afraid to venture into the armoury since I was bound to haunt it."

    Owen tapped Malcolm's shoulder with the handle of his cane.  "You sound like a Reed to me."  He hopped to his feet and adjusted the hat that had appeared on his head.  "Now, if you'll excuse me."  He winked roguishly.  "The topless sunbathers always come out at this time of day."  With that he vanished.

    Malcolm gazed at the view without really seeing anything.  He was amazed by how candid Owen had been with him.  Descendant or not, Malcolm wasn't sure he'd have been so open if he were in Owen's place.    

    "So he told you."  Malcolm spun around to see Sir G stepping out from the shadows in the doorway.  Sir G smiled warmly and took the chair Owen had vacated.  "He usually doesn't talk about it."

    Afraid he'd crossed a line, Malcolm said, "Oh.  I wouldn't have asked, but..."

    "He trusts you."  Sir G gazed at the view for a moment before turning to Malcolm.  "It's probably good for him to mention it every decade or so."

    Malcolm fiddled with a loose strand of wicker on the arm of his chair.  "I've come quite close to dying on duty more than once.  I'd always wondered if there was any truth to ghost stories, seeing how close I'd come to being one."

    "Well now you know, but be sure to keep in mind that the ghostly realm isn't as attractive as Owen might make it look."  Seeing Malcolm's curious gaze he elaborated.  "It wasn't until he met me that Owen figured out how to communicate with living people.  He spent over 20 years wandering around France.  So close to everyone, but absolutely alone.  I suspect his current eccentricities are from going a bit mad during that time."

    Malcolm grimaced at the thought and then considered what Sir G had said.  "Were you a soldier too then?"

    Sir G gave a wan smile.  "I was barely 17 when I enlisted.  It was the Second World War, and I lied to the recruiting officer about my age.  I took a piece of shrapnel when my position was shelled.  Right here:"  He placed a hand on his right hip and continued, "I couldn't walk.  I was half dead and waiting for someone to help me when Owen appeared.  He held me until help arrived.  Without him I probably would have died.  At first I thought he was just a hallucination, but when I got better he was still there.  He stuck with me for the rest of the war and kept me safe.  He'd scout ahead to get information about enemy troops and kept me from walking into traps.  During the war we were just friends, but he stuck with me after it was over.  I didn't think he was my type at all: he's so outgoing and flirtatious around women.  But, well, over time you can see what happened."

    Malcolm nodded.  "I know what you mean."  And he truly did.

    "My ears were burning so I thought I'd better check up on you chappies."  Owen, clad in yet another outfit, materialized in front of them.

    Sir G smiled affectionately.  "I was just telling Malcolm how we met."

    "Oh were you?"  Owen stalked over and draped an arm across Sir G's shoulders.  "As I remember it you were a skinny eighteen year old with ears that stuck out.  Took me years to corrupt you properly."

    "That is a matter of opinion.  As *I* remember it you were so relieved to finally have someone to talk to you'd have followed around a cabbage if it said hello."

    Owen pursed his lips.  "Ah yes, I think it was you being mostly dead that did it.  That or my magnetic personality."  He narrowed his eyes at Malcolm.  "You're not dying, are you?"

    Malcolm was taken aback.  "I... I was going to sleep."

    "Did you know 60 percent of Brits die in their sleep?"

    As Malcolm's eyes widened Sir G gently slapped Owen's shoulder.  "What have I told you about making up facts?"  The ghost looked duly repentant and Sir G smiled.  "Good.  Now I believe Malcolm was going to tell me about his special someone."

    Still concerned about his own state of health, Malcolm frowned.  He couldn't remember saying anything about Trip.  "Wha-"

    "Wonderful!"  Owen clapped his hands and perched on the arm of Sir G's chair.  "Do tell."

    "Well..."  Malcolm gnawed on the inside of his lip as he tried to decide what to say.  Confronted with Owen's earnest curiosity and Sir G's encouraging smile he decided it wouldn't hurt to tell them everything.  "Trip and I work together on Enterprise.  I'm the armoury officer, and he's the chief engineer.  When we first met I couldn't stand him.  He's so casual while on duty, he flirts with female crewmembers while off duty and he'd chase after any alien that looks remotely female.  After a while, though, I guess he started to grow on me."  He gave Owen a weak smile and carried on.  "We developed a friendship, of sorts, over time.  It was months before it turned into anything more.  I'd been working on the torpedo launchers all day and he dropped by to give me a hand.  Hours bent over in cramped spaces had my back in knots.  When we finished he offered to get the knots out.  I took him up on the offer and wound up being massaged within an inch of my life, fed dinner, and tucked into bed.  From that day on we were together."

    Malcolm picked at his fingernails as he continued softly, "As least, we were together until the Xindi attacked.  He sort of closed down, and I pushed when he probably just needed space.  Neither of us handled it very well.  He stopped coming 'round, and I stopped looking for him.  When rumours of him and T'Pol started going around I pretended I didn't care, despite how awful I felt.  That might have contributed too.  At some level he might have been trying to get a rise out of me."

    "So you've made no strides towards reconciliation since this 'Xindi attack'?"

    A faint blush stained Malcolm's cheeks at Sir G's question.  "Trip came by earlier today, actually.  I think he was trying to make up, but I didn't exactly hear him out."  Owen made a tsking sound and shook his head.  Malcolm hurried to defend himself.  "You don't understand.  Enterprise is going to ship out again soon, and Trip's going to be on it."


    "So I won't be.  Starfleet has no reason to trust me with the position of armoury officer."

    Owen cocked his head to one side and said, "You haven't been court-martialled, have you?"

    Malcolm looked insulted.  "Of course not!  But some of my behaviour in the Expanse wasn't becoming an officer."

    "Have you been reprimanded?"

    Malcolm shook his head and said, "Not formally."

    "Were you decorated when you returned to Earth?"


    Sir G's tone was firm as he said, "Well then, I don't see why you can't show them that you deserve to be on your ship.  From what our mystery man told us, your Starfleet seems to be a fairly reasonable organization."

    Malcolm opened and shut his mouth a few times, but nothing came out.

    Hoping to drive his point home, Sir G said, "A friend of ours has a saying: love is a gift you can't afford to squander."

    "I taught Henry that!"  Owen sniffed sulkily.  "It was my saying first."

    "Oh hush."

    Malcolm weighed their words and was forced to admit that they were probably right.  He ran a hand through his hair before admitting in an undertone, "I don't know what to do."

    Owen and Sir G exchanged fond smiles before the former said, "Perhaps we can be of service."  At Malcolm's dubious look he puffed out his chest.  "We're highly experienced professionals in this field."

    "This field?"

    "If you only knew.  There was this trek into the desert to recover a woman from the clutches of..."

    It was Sir G who got the conversation back on track.  "This man of yours, is he the sentimental type?"

    Malcolm thought back to Trip crying at the movies of centuries old starlets and said, "Yes."

    Owen and Sir G turned to each other and crowed in unison, "A rose!"


    With a flick of his wrist Owen presented Malcolm with a red rose that seemed to appear out of thin air.  "The sentimental type can never resist a gesture such as this."

    "It's that easy?"

    "Well, I wouldn't say there's anything particularly easy about it, but it will work."

    "Your appearance will help too."  Owen stalked over to Malcolm and playfully ran a hand through his hair.  Setting his chin on Malcolm's shoulder he batted his eyelashes at Sir G.  "I'm thinking black.  All black.  Who can resist a man in black with a red rose?"  

    A snort met that question.  "You never could, that's for certain.  In this case, though,"  Sir G eyed Malcolm, "I think it will do nicely."

    "But what do I *do*?"

    Owen flung an arm around around Malcolm's shoulders and gave a little squeeze.  "I think you know."

    "What?"  Malcolm swallowed nervously.  "I really have no idea."

    "You be honest."  Sir G gave Malcolm an encouraging smile.  "And you say everything that needs to be said."

    "And if that fails just fall to your knees and..."  Owen smirked as he said, "beg."

    Malcolm swallowed again.  "Are you sure?"

    "All right."  Malcolm nodded slowly.  "I'll do it."  He looked from Owen to Sir G.  "I don't suppose you know how to get me home?"
    Sir G glanced at Owen who said, "Just close your eyes."  Malcolm took a deep breath and closed them.  "Now tap your heels together three times and say..."

    Malcolm crossed his arms.  "Oh, come on..."  There was a flash as he vanished.

    Sir G stared at the spot where Malcolm had been for a moment before sitting down.  "Do you think he'll do it?"

    Owen glided over to the chair and perched on the arm.  He playfully ran a hand through Sir G's hair and said, "Of course he will.  He's a Reed."

    Sir G twisted and wrapped an arm around his lover.  Owen leaned down and set his head on Sir G's shoulder.  They watched the boats down in the harbour for a while before Sir G said, "I'm not getting any younger, Owen."

    Owen momentarily stiffened at the comment before he relaxed into Sir G's side.  "You won't truly die, not with me waiting for you in this mortal realm.  And if you do, well..."  He smiled wanly.  "I'll be the first ghost to die of a broken heart."


    Malcolm was aware of a brief sensation of falling before he was rudely shocked by the sensation of landing on a hard surface. His eyes flew open and he found himself on the floor of his temporary housing in San Francisco.  Morning light was streaming in through the bedroom window and the clock was flashing 9:15 am.  Malcolm disentangled himself from the blankets and climbed to his feet.  He wandered into the bathroom in a fog of confusion, trying to determine if he'd been dreaming.  As he stood in front of the mirror he decided that it didn't matter, he knew what he had to do.  

    Malcolm ran a hand through his hair before going straight to his closet.  He was sure there must be something black in there somewhere.


    As he sidestepped uniformed personnel Malcolm couldn't help but wish that Trip had obtained a Starfleet apartment rather than returning to the ship.  At least the scan he'd covertly run from the armoury had shown a biosign in Trip's quarters, he didn't like the idea of having to wander into engineering in this getup.  He rounded a corner and the familiar sight of Trip's door had his palms suddenly going sweaty.  He ran a hand through his hair and straightened his shirt before stepping up and pressing the call button.  "Come."

    Malcolm took a deep breath before keying the door open and stepping inside.

    Trip looked up from the padd he was reading, freezing when he saw who it was.  The door slid shut behind Malcolm and Trip's eyes widened as he took in the other man's appearance: black shoes, black pants, and a black shirt.  What was even more surprising was that Malcolm appeared to be wearing a thin silver chain around his neck.  Trip couldn't recall him ever wearing jewellery before.  He slid his chair back and stood up, waiting for his guest to make the first move.

    Since Trip didn't seem to be about to throw him out Malcolm licked his lips and softly said, "I owe you an apology."  Trip shifted his weight in surprise, but didn't say anything.  "I had a lot of things on my mind yesterday, and I took it out on you.  I've thought about what you were saying and I've realized that you were right.  Enterprise is going to ship out soon, and I intend to be on her.  I was also hoping..."  Malcolm held his breath as he pulled a red rose out from behind his back and held it out in front of himself.

    Trip didn't move for a full three beats of Malcolm's pounding heart.  When he finally did it was quick, impulsive, and exactly as Sir G and Owen had predicted.  Three strides and he'd gathered Malcolm up in his arms, squeezing tightly as he mumbled apologies for how he'd treated Malcolm after the attack and words of thanks and love.

    As he hugged back Malcolm felt his eyes prickle and offered a few thankful words of his own to what was probably a pair of ghosts by now.  Neither man noticed a flicker of light from outside the cabin's window.  

    Peering into the small room, Q smiled.