Title: Following the Doctor's Orders
Author: Joules Mer
Date: Posted to Live Journal (joulesmer) October 23, 2004.
Disclaimer:  Enterprise is the property of Paramount.  This is merely my little parodical world.  No profit was, or will be, made from this fic.

    Malcolm peered into the mirror and gently prodded the livid mark under his arm, hissing at the resultant sting.

    "Ready to go?"

    He sighed at the intrusion and turned away from the mirror to face his guest.  "I don't know that I can right now, I've got those specs to go over for the captain."

    A waved hand dismissed the protest.  "I talked to the Cap'n about that.  He says you can send your findings to him in a few days."

    "You talked to him for me?"

    Trip ignored the rising anger visible on Malcolm's face.  "Yup, I promised the doc I wouldn't let you weasel out of your therapy."  He picked up the crutches from where they were leaning against the wall and helpfully held them out.  "Now come on, we've got a date with the gym."

    Malcolm frowned and crossed his arms, wobbling a bit as he tried to balance on one foot.  Hobbling around in front of junior officers was degrading and he'd try to get out of it through any means possible.  He squared his shoulders and glared at the other man.  "I can't believe you went behind my back to the captain!  You're going to wait here while I finish my report and then *personally* deliver it to the captain with your apologies for misleading him."

    "So you want to be difficult?"  Trip pulled back the crutches he'd been patiently holding out.  "I can deal with that."

    "Trip..."  There was a warning implicit in the name.

    Devilment danced in blue eyes.  "Yeah Darlin'?"

    Malcolm's jaw twitched at the endearment.  He knew he was being goaded, but couldn't help rising to the bait.  "What did you say?"

    "Nothing, sweetkins, but if you're going to give me a hard time I'll just go down to sickbay and tell the doc I can't look after you any more.  I'm sure you'll love being back in his care."  Malcolm's eyes narrowed alarmingly, but Trip continued, "While I'm there I might have a little chat, you know how talkative he is.  He's got that fascination with human behaviour, sometimes it's all I can do to change the topic when he starts asking personal questions.  Last time he wanted to know about the initiation of mating between two human males.  I'm sure he'd love to hear about the time you dressed up in that tight black number and got ahold of a bottle of Chef's best chocolate sauce.  Or what about the little pecan pie incident?  You looked pretty fetching in that getup, if I do say so myself."

    "You wouldn't dare."

    Trip threw a rough approximation of Malcolm's smirk back at him.  "Watch me."  With that he turned and strode out of the quarters, taking the crutches with him as he headed towards sickbay.

    Malcolm gaped for a moment before starting into action.  He started after his lover, grunting a little as the motion caused pain to flare up his lower leg.  Making it to the hall he found that Trip was already about halfway to the turbolift.  The commotion of Malcolm coming after him made Trip turn around and slow down as he walked backwards.  He kept his pace just fast enough that Malcolm had to work to catch him.  By the time he was almost at the lift Malcolm was clearly flagging as his painful and awkward gait made simple walking a trial. Finally Trip stopped and held out his arms.  Sweating and cursing, Malcolm practically fell into the other man's arms.  Trip smoothed the sweaty hair back from Malcolm's forehead and tried to will away the lines that pain had creased into his brow.  "I think that's enough for one day, Malcolm.  Phlox said not to overdue it."

    Malcolm blinked at the realization of exactly what had just happened.  Getting balanced on his good foot he looked back at just how far he'd walked before catching the satisfied grin curling the corners of Trip's mouth.  "Damn you, Trip Tucker."  He couldn't quite keep a fond smile off his face.

    "Come on, Mal, I'll help you back to your place and then go grab us some dinner."  Trip set the crutches under Malcolm's arms and carefully walked next to the other man as he swung his way down the corridor.  Now all he had to do was figure out a way to get Malcolm to do tomorrow's physiotherapy.