Title: i Squared

Author: Joules Mer

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

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

Date: Posted to EntSTSlash 05/8/2004

Archive: Yes to EntstCommunity and DKEB (if you want it).  Everyone else please ask first.

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Category: Slash

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: T/R

Summary:  The beginning of a new future.

Series:  The Grandfather Paradox (first in series)

Beta: None

Spoilers: E^2 (major spoilers), very minor for The Expanse, Future Tense, Two Days and Two Nights, and Shuttlepod One.

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

A/N:  Written between 12 and 1 am... sorry for the rough spots.  The series will be more AU later on.

    I can't believe what I did in the mess hall yesterday, practically propositioning that poor ensign.  Get a grip, Reed.  The middle of the bloody expanse is not the place to get maudlin about possible futures.  I once thought I had a chance with Trip.  Back before the Expanse when we were all bright eyed explorers.  Back when the captain had just discovered, to his amazement, that aliens might actually want to *shoot* at us.  Back then the Xindi attack would have been inconceivable.  Back then life was first contacts and grand adventures.  Back then a really bad day was being tied up in my underwear with Trip Tucker, in a basement no less.  Sounds like a holiday, or as close to heaven as I'll ever get.

    There was one extremely drunken night when I learned that Trip had, in the rather distant past, been known to stray from the fairer sex.  He still doesn't remember sharing that information with me.  In fact, he doesn't seem to remember anything at all after our sixth round, which is probably a good thing.  I was always a bit too shy to act on this tidbit of information.  It took me months to work up the courage just to ask him to dinner.  When I finally garnered my courage, Dutch in actuality, and asked him to dinner, he accepted.  He could easily have assumed I just wanted to talk about upgrades or weapons, but that little sideways smile he gave when he said yes hinted otherwise.  I had butterflies in my stomach that day, I haven't felt like that since I got the acceptance letter from Starfleet.  It was April 24th.

    After the attack Trip both closed off and lashed out, he's always been a man of many contradictions.  There was so much anger in him.  Hurt I might have been able to deal with, I know about hurt, but I didn't have a clue how to help him with his anger.  It was frightening to see his formerly sunny personality so focused on vengeance.  In some instances the intensity he radiated would make me believe he could be a cold blooded killer.  He didn't seem like the same person at all.

    I'm so bloody pathetic.  To think I must have pined for Charles Tucker the Third for the rest of my life.  Even after he'd gotten married and had a child.  What a sick bastard I am, I wonder if I ever hoped he'd leave T'Pol for me.  Leave his son for me.

    I'm sitting in the mess hall again.  Practically in a sulk, again.  The pasta on my plate has turned into a congealed blob that I can't help but mash with my fork.  I remember once saying that I'd like to travel into the future, it never occurred to me that all I'd see was failure.  I don't want the future that I saw.  I don't want it at all.  The only problem is that I don't have a clue how to prevent it.  All those women whose names I reeled off in the shuttlepod, they were more an attempt at bragging than anything else.  They were an attempt to prevent Trip from thinking I was some kind of pathetic failure.  The worst thing is that as much as I keep telling myself otherwise, I don't want anyone on Enterprise but Trip.  The other problem is that when he pulled away from me he seemed to become close to T'Pol.  I know she was doing some Vulcan mumbo jumbo to help him relax and sleep, but if the rumour mill is to be believed she's done a lot more than that with him.

    I shouldn't give up on my dreams because of some rumours, though.  Even if they have him tiptoeing out of her quarters during the wee hours looking, and smelling, like hedonism incarnate.  In all fairness I did some pulling back as well once we entered the expanse.  At first I told myself that this was a place where I had to be more professional than ever, then I became almost paranoid that Hayes was going to be able to take over my duties.  Neither left me much time for an overly emotional engineer who was *sure* he didn't need my help.  Maybe he was afraid of me dying too, who can say.

    The makeshift door to the mess shudders open and who should step in but a certain chief engineer.  I watch him select a plate and scan the room, obviously looking for space at a table.  I lurch to my feet and curse my legs which have started to shake on their own accord.  "Commander!"  He sees me and flashes a tired smile.  The gesture emboldens me to continue and I wave at the chair next to me, "This seat is available."