Title: Getting Your Questions Answered

Author: Joules Mer

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

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

Date: 11/13 and 14/2004

Archive: Will be sent to EntSTCommunity.  Everyone else please ask first.

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Category: Slash

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: T/R


Series:  None

Beta: None

Spoilers: None

Disclaimer: Enterprise is the property of Paramount.  Characters just borrowed for fun.  No profit was, or will be, made by this story.  
A/N: Season 1.


"He's such a bastard.  A smug, holier-than-thou, by the book bastard.  Of course, he isn't always a total bastard.  That time in the shuttlepod when we thought everyone was dead, he wasn't such a bastard then.  Even if he did record a million whiney obituaries.  No, then he wasn't Lieutenant Reed.  In the shuttlepod I got to see Malcolm.  He was practically crying at one point, telling me just what the loss of Enterprise meant to him.  Later he was hauling me out of the airlock and calling himself my friend.  I liked the sound of that.

    "The rest of the time he's a bastard.  A munitions obsessed, paranoid, condescending bastard.  Just last week he re-routed power to the armoury.  From the warp core.  Without my permission.  I had to threaten to go to the Cap'n to get him to remove his little modifications.  It wouldn't be so bad if he were just the least bit repentant, but he ain't.  He even had the gall to say that he was going to submit a proposal to the captain to make his damn modification a permanent feature.  I think he does it just to get to me.

    "It wouldn't be so bad if he weren't so good looking.  That dark hair and those eyes are quite the combination.  And that accent can make me completely space out when he gives a report at meetings.  It doesn't help that I know how kind he can be.  Like how he's worked with Hoshi to help her get her space legs.  She's got a newfound confidence, and I know it's largely thanks to him.  He can be so nice to everyone except me."  There was a pause and a scuffling sound before he finished with, "I just can't help it:  I've fallen for a bastard.  I wonder what he thinks of me?"

    Trip reached out to turn off the log recorder and managed to bump his coffee mug with his elbow.  It wobbled once and tipped over, spilling its contents over the desk.  "Dammit!"  Trip leapt up, jostling buttons as he tried to rescue padds from the hot liquid.  When the mess was sufficiently mopped up he turned back to his computer where a blinking icon caught his attention: Sent.  "What?"  Trip called up the record of his messaging system and froze.  *Shit*  Rather than saving the recording in the "March 2152" file of his personal log, he'd inadvertently pressed enough buttons to switch programs and send it to the only Ma- in his address book: Malcolm Reed.  If only he'd ordered his address book by last name, it wouldn't be so bad if Travis had received it.  Trip sank back into his chair.  This was a disaster.

    Trip didn't have long to wait until his door chimed.  Feeling the oppressive cloud of gloom overhead settle a little lower he hauled himself out of his seat and over to the door.  He spared a second to wipe his sweaty palms on his pants before pressing the button to open the door.

    Malcolm's arms were crossed over his chest.  "So I'm a bastard?"

    "Whoa, Malcolm, I didn't mean it quite..."  He didn't manage to complete the sentence before he found himself sitting on the floor, clutching his smarting jaw.  Trip gaped up at the man standing over him.  "You *hit* me!"

    "And you deserved it.  Did you think I could just let you get away scot-free?"  Malcolm shook his hand to relieve his stinging knuckles and crouched next to the other man.  "Now shut up and let me kiss it better."  


    "What happened to your face?"

    I swallow my mouthful of eggs and look up to find Jon scrutinizing me with the hint of a frown on his face.  "What?"

    He leans over and runs his hand over one side of my jaw.  "There's a faint mark right here.  I almost didn't notice it."

    I try to be as nonchalant as I can.  "It's nothing."  I take a quick sip of coffee and explain vaguely, "I just bumped it last night."  Which is true.  I bumped it against Malcolm's fist.

    The one problem with having Jon for a best friend is that he can see right through me.  At least T'Pol isn't here too.  "How'd you bump it?"  He's put his cutlery down now, which means he isn't going to let me go until he finds out what he wants to know. 

    "I had a little misunderstanding with Malcolm and..."

    That was definitely not what he was expecting to hear.  "Malcolm *hit* you?"     
    "Not hard and it was because..."

    He doesn't let me finish.  "It doesn't matter what it was about!  He doesn't get to hit someone, not on my ship."  Jon's out of his seat and halfway across the captain's mess as he continues, "I'm going to order him to wait for me in my ready room.  Once you tell me what happened I can decide what sort of reprimand is fitting."

    "Reprimand!"  I almost upset the table as I scramble to my feet and desperately call out, "No, wait!"  Jon's shaking his head as he reaches for the comm button and he's got that look he gets when his mind is made up.  It'll take something truly shocking to get him to stop.  "He's my boyfriend!"  That probably wasn't the best thing to blurt out.  Now he probably thinks I'm in some sadomasochistic relationship with Malcolm.

    It's effective though: he stops dead and slowly turns to me.  Disbelief is plain on his features.  "What?"

    I gulp involuntarily and croak out, "He's my boyfriend."

    Jon slowly crosses the room and sinks back into his chair.  I take the hint and do the same.  "And he hit you?"

    "He wasn't my boyfriend then."  Now I've really confused him.  He's got that look he gets during a particularly baffling first contact. 

    "But you didn't have that yesterday."

    "He wasn't my boyfriend yesterday."

    "I think."  He picks his napkin up off the floor and carefully sets it down on the table.  "I think you'd better explain this to me.  From the beginning."

    I take a deep breath, looking for the words to explain what happened.  "I was recording a personal log.  I'd had a bad day and was a bit mad at Malcolm so I kinda vented a bit: I talked about how he can be such a bastard and how I find him attractive anyway."  Jon raises an eyebrow at that, but I just keep going, "I knocked over my coffee and wound up accidentally sending it to him as a message.  He showed up at my quarters, all upset that I'd called him a paranoid bastard.  I didn't really apologize and he took a swing at me.  Not hard enough to really hurt.  It was more on principle than anything.  Then he offered to kiss it better and, uh..."  I can feel myself blushing.  "Yeah.  We're, um, good now."  I'm practically holding my breath.  Malcolm could be in a lot of trouble if Jon decides he deserves it.

    After a moment he shakes his head.  "Only you, Trip."

    I bark out a relieved laugh.  Things are going to be okay.


     It felt like one of the longest shifts of my career.  Every time someone looked at me sideways I was sure they were looking at the mark and wondering how I got it.  My team is pretty close, and I was afraid one of them would ask if I was okay and if I needed to see Phlox.  There are all kinds of chemicals in engineering that are skin irritants, and they all merit a visit to the doc if it looks like someone has run afoul of one.  It didn't help that the port injector chose today to cop out on me.

    By the time I'm on my way to Malcolm's to pick him up for dinner it would be an understatement to say I'm a bit cranky.  I ring the bell and cross my arms, mimicking his posture from the day before.  As soon as the door opens I treat him to my best scowl.  "The cap'n noticed."

    There's a momentary crack in his veneer where he looks nervous, but he quickly schools his features.  "Oh?"

    "I had to explain it to him so he didn't bust you down to crewman."

    "And how did the good captain take the news?"

    I can sense just the slightest hint of insecurity from him, but he hides it well.  I hold out for a few seconds before putting him at ease.  "You're damn lucky Jon's command style doesn't involve messing around in what he considers his crew's personal lives."

    He sniffs like he knew it was going to turn out fine all along.  "I have it on good authority that I'm considered the most dangerous man on the ship.  That's quite a reputation to live up to."

    He's so smug I can't resist trying to take him down a peg or two.  "Did it ever occur to you that brawling with other officers isn't the best way to keep up appearances?"
    The corner or his mouth twitches.  "I don't recall you putting up much of a fight."

    I can feel my pride deflating as I stand there.  This isn't an unusual feeling where Malcolm is concerned.  "Yeah, well, I'd like to see you try to take me out without catching me by surprise."

    The smug little bastard just smirks.

    He's gorgeous when he smirks.