"Can I die now?" The young man on the monitor looked
"No." A sigh carried through the monitor as Malcolm
seemed to slump. "Get up, get dressed properly and go and tell the
old bugger 'no'. It's your life Malcolm." A pajama clad Malcolm
seemed to be wrestling with what exactly to say.
"I don't see how you can call him that."
"It always seemed more fitting than 'Sir'." The
comment had the desired effect as a still despondent Malcolm managed to crack
a small smile.
"You're a devil Madeline Reed."
"You know it, Malcolm. Now go on, I expect letters
from 'Cadet Reed' within a week."
Malcolm had never felt this weak before. He listlessly
raised one hand from the mattress and it flopped back down.
"How are we feeling today?"
"Can I die now?"
She laughed outright at his comment. "Of course
not. This is your own fault you know. What a way to spend your
leave." He gave her his best withering glare. She only rolled
her eyes. "Here's the vid monitor remote." She tossed it onto
his chest and turned towards the doorway.
He raised his head from the pillow to get a better look.
"Where are you going?"
"The kitchen, I've got a sandwich to eat." She licked
her lips theatrically.
Malcolm groaned. "I'd make you regret that but I
don't think I can get up."
Madeline flashed a smile at her brother. "More apple
The rained lashed down relentlessly, forming muddy rivers
on the planes of his face. He shifted and the lancing pain caused him
to hiss aloud. Several long moments were spent gasping for breath until
he could speak. "Can I die now?"
The pale, haunted face of Trip Tucker looked back from
where he had a white-knuckled grip on the shirt wadded over the wound.
"No Mal. They're coming, Mal. Just hold on Malcolm. They're
coming..." The words were repeated over and over. A mantra for
the life of his lover.
"Malcolm! Open this door right now."
"No!" The terse reply could be plainly heard through
"Right, but you'd better help me fix this in the mornin'."
Trip reached down and pried the cover off the door mechanism. He plunged
his hands inside the cavity and began moving wires, cursing under his breath
all the while. The door finally slid open and Trip boldly strode into
the room. He felt himself shoved aside as Malcolm pushed past and threw
his weight into the door, sliding it closed. "What happened?"
Malcolm leaned against the door and closed his eyes. Trip was intrigued
to see a faint flush creeping up his neck. He decided that this was
a point he wanted to press, although normally one doesn't push Malcolm Reed.
"Come on Malcolm, you can tell me."
"It was an accident."
"What do you mean? The salvage mission went fine."
"Not that kind of accident." Malcolm paused and
his skin seemed to get even redder. "It's those E.V. suits."
He trailed off and Trip waited expectantly. "I thought I was talking
to you, but it was the captain."
Trip wracked his brain, trying to figure out how that
could be a problem. "So, he knows about 'us'. What could you
have told him that would get ya like this." Trip waved his arms to
indicate the previously sealed room.
Malcolm spoke rapidly under his breath. "Everything-I-want-to-do-to-you-tonight."
Trip gaped at his lover. "Everythin'?"
"In very explicit detail."
"Gawd Malcolm! Ya talked dirty ta the Captain!"
Malcolm, his skin flushed a vibrant red, turned desperate,
imploring eyes to Trip. "Can I die now?"
Trip pretended to consider the request. "No, now
come on. Cap'n is expecting us for dinner." Malcolm moaned.
"Trip, Trip, oh Trip". Malcolm's hands scrabbled
in the sheets and a faint chuckle could be heard. Trip slithered
up Malcolm's body and insinuated himself over the smaller man. He smiled
and placed gentle kisses over Malcolm's scrunched eyelids. Malcolm's
breath came in harsh pants and his eyes remained tightly closed as he fought
for control. After an eternity he managed to open them and was confronted
by the deep blue pools that were Trip's eyes. He stared, transfixed
by their colour and almost electric intensity. Trip chuckled again,
"Told you there was more than one way to drown."
"Can I die now?"
Trip grinned, "Not just yet." Malcolm could
The bed was warm, a thick comforter wrapped snugly over
him. "Can I die now?" The voice was faint and wavered slightly,
age had taken some of the strength from its tone.