Title: It Started With a Snowball Fight

Author: Joules Mer

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

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

Date: Completed Dec. 7, 2004

Archive: This is Zoe's fic.  Everyone else ask first.

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Category: Slash

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: T/R

Summary:  A snowball fight has unexpected consequences.

Series:  None

Beta: None

Spoilers: None

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

Notes:  Zoë's Christmas present.  She wanted drunken Tu/R and I was happy to oblige as best I could.   


Malcolm sniffed and shoved his free hand more deeply into his jacket pocket.  "Bloody hell."  The mumbled complaint was almost inaudible as he sniffed again.

    Almost, but not quite.  "Lighten up, Malcolm."  Trip waved a hand at the glimmering expanse of white.  "It's beautiful."  For a man from Florida Trip was surprisingly in his element on the ice planet.

    Malcolm withdrew his left hand from its pocket long enough to rub at his stinging nose.  "It's freezing."  With that assessment of the situation he went back to the scan he was running on a device cradled in the near numb fingers of his right hand.  Trip frowned at his friend's back for a moment before carefully putting his own scanner away.

    Malcolm input data into his padd and wearily ran another scan.  They'd been on the surface for what felt like hours.  So far all attempts to locate the mineral sources that they'd been told were under the polar ice had proved fruitless.  There weren't any signs of dangerous indigenous species, but he'd been on edge ever since the captain had prevented him from bringing his new phase rifle.  He couldn't wait to get back to Enterprise so he could warm up and relax.

    Something slammed into Malcolm's face with a dull thud.  He froze in surprise as a shock of cold ran down his spine, trying to quickly determine if he'd been attacked by some sort of hostile alien.  A nearby snicker made him realize what had actually happened.  He slowly turned to regard his assailant, water dripping off the end of his nose as the snow melted.

    Malcolm's frown did nothing to dispel the spark of merriment in Trip's eyes as he hid his snow covered hands behind his back.  "Sorry, Malcolm.  You were looking entirely too serious."

    With a squawk unbecoming an officer Trip tumbled into the snow face first as he was tackled, Malcolm landing on his back and pinning him down.  Malcolm reached down and shoved Trip's face into the snow, letting him struggle for a few seconds before nimbly climbing to his feet.  

    Trip leapt up, brushing snow off his face and trying to keep any from going down the front of his jacket.  "That's it."  He bent down and scooped up a handful of snow and began advancing towards the other man.

    Malcolm's eyes widened and he backed away as he protested, "You started this!"

    "Then I guess I'm gonna finish it!"  Trip lunged and Malcolm, bogged down by the snow, barely managed to dodge.  

    He'd just scooped up his own handful of snow when someone behind him cleared their throat.  Malcolm dropped the snowball as if he'd been burned and slowly turned around.

    Captain Archer had his arms crossed over his chest, but he was smiling.  "If you gentlemen are done we're ready to go."  He waved a hand at the crewman from sciences who was holding a sample case.

    Malcolm was at attention so quickly it was a wonder he didn't get whiplash.  "The, ah, scans didn't show anything noteworthy, Captain.  We're ready to go."

    Still smiling, the captain nodded before climbing into Shuttlepod Two to warm it up for takeoff.  As Trip loped by on his way to the pod he flashed Malcolm a grin.  Malcolm only glowered in return.


    Malcolm was piloting the shuttle towards Enterprise when a sneeze tore through the cabin.

    Jon sat back in his seat to avoid anything that might have been blown into the air.  "Gesundheit."

    "Tha-"  Trip didn't get the word out before another sneeze burst out of him.

    "Don't tell me you've caught a cold, Commander."  Malcolm winced in sympathy at the thought and Crewman Jones edged further away from his superior in an effort to avoid anything catching.  When Trip sneezed a third time Jon's amusement vanished and he began to look concerned.  "Maybe you should have Phlox take a look at you when we get back."

    Trip sniffed and then swiped at his nose as it started to run.  He turned confused eyes to his friend as he barely managed to suppress another sneeze.  "That sounds like a good idea, Cap'n."

    Malcolm turned slightly and caught the captain's eye.  Seeing his own concern mirrored in Jon's gaze, he opened a comm channel and advised Enterprise that Phlox should meet them in the launch bay.


    Trip's thick breathing was the only sound in the decontamination chamber.  Malcolm leaned against the wall and tried to ignore the noise as concern for his friend kept him from relaxing.  In truth, however, he doubted he'd be able to relax even if Trip were silent.  The entire away team had been locked in the decontamination chamber as soon as they'd returned to Enterprise so that Phlox could run some scans.  Since the doctor didn't know what was wrong they weren't actually decontaminating, just being kept in isolation.  Malcolm shifted and shrugged off his outer coat.  Anything that had been snow covered was now sodden and after the cold of the planet he felt uncomfortably warm.

    Trip was growing steadily worse by the minute, his rapid deterioration alarming his companions and making them guiltily worry about their own health.  Just when Malcolm reached the point of seriously considering ignoring the captain and comming sickbay himself, Phlox's voice crackled through the speakers.  "Commander Tucker is the only one infected and he does not appear to be contagious.  The rest of you are free to go.  If you'll join me in sickbay, Commander, we'll see what's the matter."

    There was a chorus of relieved sighs as they stood and gathered up their cold weather gear.  Jon helped Trip climb to his feet and gathered up his friend's outer clothing.  "I'll meet you in sickbay after I get cleaned up."  Trip nodded his thanks and set off down the corridor.


    Malcolm wearily wandered into his quarters.  He hung up his coat and long pants, dropped his gloves on his desk, and pulled off the rest of his clothes before heading straight for the shower.  Five minutes under the hot spray and he was feeling decidedly more human.  He reluctantly turned off the shower, towelled himself dry, pulled on some civvies and headed for sickbay.

    The captain was already there when he arrived, hair still damp from the shower he must have taken.  He greeted Malcolm with a tight smile.  Malcolm scanned sickbay, confused to find all the biobeds empty.  "Is Trip..."  He was cut off as the imaging chamber beeped and opened, expelling a bed containing the hapless engineer.  Trip sat up as soon as the bed was still and Malcolm was dismayed to see that his friend was looking even worse.  Trip's eyes were rimmed with red, his nose was running almost continuously and his breathing sounded laboured.

    Before Malcolm had a chance to say anything, Phlox approached.  Trip twisted to face the doctor.  "What's the verdict, Doc?"

    "You're having an allergic reaction to a parasite in your system."

    Trip's jaw dropped.  "I've got a *bug* in me!"

    "From my scans it looks more like a microscopic crustacean, actually."  Trip looked like could vomit.  "It was probably inactive on the surface, but your body temperature is allowing it to thrive.  It's reproducing at a remarkable rate."  Phlox consulted some data on his padd and continued, "What I don't understand is how you're the only member of the away team to pick up this little creature.  Did you have any special contact with anything on the surface."

    Trip shrugged and grabbed a new tissue to hold to his nose.  Thinking back, Malcolm's features fell in dismay as he remembered holding Trip's face in the snow.  "I think..."  Everyone turned to face him and Malcolm faltered before forcing himself to continue, "I think I might know how you got them in you.  When we were..."  Malcolm hesitated, not wanting to say "fighting."  He could feel himself blush as he continued, "joking and I pushed you down."

    Trip realized what Malcolm was getting at and turned to the doctor.  "I got snow up my nose."

    Phlox raised an eyebrow.  "That's a reasonable means of entry into your system."

    Jon ran a hand over his face.  Sometimes he couldn't fathom the situations his senior officers regularly managed to get themselves into.  "Can you get rid of the parasites, Doctor?"

    Phlox nodded.  "An antihistamine will reduce the symptoms, and I think I've come up with a good method to neutralize the parasites so that they can break down and be absorbed into Mr. Tucker's system."

    Trip sniffed and said thickly, "Then do it, Doc.  I'm suffering here."

    "There is a bit of a complication."

    Malcolm, feeling rather guilty about the whole situation, was instantly on edge.  "What kind of complication?"

    Phlox rocked on the balls of his feet.  "From what I can tell the parasites are going to release ethanol into his bloodstream as they break down.  The levels won't be dangerous, but there will be a noticeable effect."

    Malcolm processed the information.  "So you mean..."

    Jon finished his thought.  "He's going to be drunk!"

    "How drunk?"  Trip crossed his arms over his chest and frowned at the doctor.

    "Well, I don't have much data about how you, personally, respond to alcohol, Commander, but it's likely that..."

    "Phlox."  Trip's eyes were narrowed.

    The doctor went straight to the point.  "You'll be quite inebriated."

    Trip's hand obscured his face, but his comment was clearly heard by everyone in the room.  "Why does this stuff always happen to me, Cap'n?"

    "Just lucky I guess."

    Trip groaned and scrubbed a hand through his hair.  "Can I just get this over with?"

    "I'm afraid there's a slight problem commander."  Phlox looked genuinely apologetic as he continued, "I have two patients coming in for important physical therapy and I won't be able to supervise you during your advanced stages of inebriation.  Perhaps the captain..."

    Jon held up his hands.  "I've got to talk to some of the brass about that run in with the Vargosians.  I can't put off the briefing to look after Trip."  Jon regarded the man standing beside him.  He felt bad taking advantage of Malcolm's guilt, but it needed to be done.  "Why doesn't Malcolm look after him?"

    Malcolm's gaze snapped to his superior's face in surprise.  "Sir?"

    Jon worked hard to keep his features even at the look on his subordinate's face.  "You said earlier you were just going to spend the rest of the afternoon looking over those new cannon specs.  That can wait, can't it?"


    Trip turned desperate eyes on his friend.  "Come on, Malcolm.  There are *bugs* in me!"

    The guilt over an incident that he perceived to be his fault won out.  "Fine."

    "Excellent!"  Phlox beamed and retrieved two hyposprays.  "This one is the antihistamine."  Trip flinched as it discharged into his neck.  "And this one should kill the parasites."  He ran a scanner over the commander and smiled at the results.  "Everything seems to be in order.  You're free to go."

    "Great."  Trip hopped off the examination bed and gathered up the rest of his clothing.  "Let's go, Malcolm.  We both missed lunch so you can comm the mess to have them send up some food while I take a shower."

    When the sickbay doors slid closed behind the two men Jon allowed himself to laugh at the look that had been on Malcolm's face as Trip dragged him along.


    Malcolm took a bite of one of the sandwiches that Chef had sent up as he heard the shower shut off.  There were some rustling sounds from Trip's bathroom before the door slid open.  Malcolm's food stuck to the roof of his mouth as Trip wandered out with only a towel wrapped around his hips.  "Anything good?"

    Malcolm choked down his mouthful and managed to answer, "Ham sandwiches, tomato soup, iced tea, and a few cookies."

    Trip poked through his drawers and retrieved some clean clothing.  "Comfort food."  He ginned at Malcolm as he headed back into the bathroom.  "I'll be back in a sec.  Don't eat all the cookies."

    As the door shut behind his friend Malcolm fought to quell the blush he could feel rising up his neck.  He cursed himself for not being able to come up with a good excuse in sickbay.  It was a bad idea for him to look after Trip.  Malcolm had a terrible habit of falling for people who were completely off limits to him, and Trip was the latest to fall victim to the trend.  What made things worse was how much Malcolm valued his friendship with the ostensibly heterosexual man.  Loosing that would be a crushing blow, but Malcolm was certain it would be the result if Trip ever found out about the less than professional thoughts he had on a regular basis.  When he was trying to think of ways to pass Trip off to Travis the bathroom door slid open and Trip wandered back into the main part of the cabin.

    Trip collected his share of the food and carried it over to his bunk where he proceeded to bolt it down in record time.  Setting the empty dishes aside he regarded the man sitting at his desk.  "So what do we do now, Malcolm?  Wait for me to get drunk?"

    "Did Phlox say anything about how long this would take?"

    "Not that I can remember."  Trip wobbled a little as he shifted position and admitted, "Actually, I can feel it starting now."  He blinked to try and stop his head from swimming.  "I don't suppose I can convince you to have a few drinks and keep me company."

    Malcolm smiled.  "I doubt that's what Phlox had in mind when he said supervision."

    "No, I guess not."  Trip shook his head and gasped.  "Whoa."

    "What?"  Malcolm was on his feet and over to the bunk.  "Are you all right?"

    "Yeah.  Just."  Trip felt his head begin to whirl.  "This is coming on pretty fast.  My head's spinning."

    "Oh."  Malcolm sat down on the other end of the bed.  "Well, I suppose that's a good thing.  Phlox's mystery juice must be working."

    "Yeah."  Trip barely bit back a giggle.  "It sure is."  He could feel himself beginning to flush.  "I guess this is when I apologize in advance for anything I do when I'm drunk."

    "That's not necessary.  If anyone should apologize it's me.  It's my fault you're sick."

    Trip held up a hand.  "Don't think that for one minute, Malcolm.  I started that damn snowball fight, you were well within your rights to give me a facewashing."


    Trip grinned.  "We didn't really have snow in south Florida, so when I went on a ski trip in university Mitch and Andy decided I needed educating.  They gave me ten facewashes to make up for my childhood deficit.  It's just rubbing a handful of snow over someone's face so it goes up their nose and stuff.  It kinda hurts."  Trip's face was flushed red and Malcolm noted that he was starting to mispronounce words as he rambled.  "Was kinda fun, though.  Except when I wiped out and one of my skis got stuck in a treewell.  It was a steep run so I was kinda dangling down the hill held up by my one leg.  I was so tangled up with my poles and skis that Mitch had to undo the stuck ski so I could get properly turned around."

    "That sounds..."  Malcolm tried to picture the scene. "Unpleasant."

    "You bet, Mal."  Malcolm frowned at the nickname, Trip never called him that when he was sober.  "Did I ever tell you about the time I got locked out of my dorm room in just my underwear?  No joking!  I had to climb back in the third floor window, and there was this awful floor counsellor who really had it in for me.  He was always trying to get me kicked out of rez, even though I hadn't been aiming at him at all that time with the yoghurt."  As Trip started to tell a complicated story that detailed how he'd crept around mostly naked Malcolm reflect that supervising Trip was turning out be an all right job after all.  At least, it was until Trip's ramblings turned to women.  "You still like T'Pol?"

    Malcolm's heart sunk, it was particularly depressing to be around Trip when he started waxing poetic about the female form.  He tried to keep his tone light.  "No, she doesn't hold much allure for me anymore."

    "Good.  I didn't like the thought of you being hung up on someone who'd never love ya."  Malcolm shook his head.  If Trip only knew.  "I don't see how someone could fall for a Vulcan.  Seems pretty stupid to me, loving a Vulcan."

    He considered it and said, "They wouldn't exactly be demonstrative."

    "Exactly!"  Trip almost fell off the bunk as he stabbed a finger in Malcolm's direction.  "How could a guy love someone who'd supp-,  supep-, keep down any feelings she had for him?  Not natural."  Trip giggled and continued, "Her body, though.  A guy could fall in lust with that."

    A wry smile twisted Malcolm's face.  "Something you'd like to tell me, Trip?"

    Trip attempted to whistle and wound up spraying saliva over the blankets.  "That's the kind of body songs are written about."  He began to sing loudly and in no particular key, "Away, away, with fife and drum.  Here we come, full of rum.  Looking for women to ped-"

    "Trip!"  Malcolm's scandalized cry cut the other man off.

    Trip blinked a few times in surprise, the picture of inebriated innocence.  "What?  My uncle used to sing it at Christmas.  Called himself a newfie, Uncle Tom."

    Malcolm imagined the look on the captain's face if he heard the song T'Pol had inspired his friend to sing.  "It's hardly appropriate."

    "You're right, Mal."  Trip tried to pat Malcolm's knee, but missed and patted much higher up.  As Malcolm squirmed backwards in surprise Trip thought for a moment and began mid-verse: "Twas goin' great 'till she thought I was queer.  'Well,' said I, 'You see, M'dear...' "  He took a deep breath and began the chorus.  "I am a man it's true, and I do greatly admire you. But the best of fun, requires a bum, and not one cock but two!"  He trailed off as the rest of the lyrics deserted him.  "Ain't that the truth, though, Mal?"

    Malcolm gaped, too surprised to come up with an intelligent response beyond, "What?"

    "How's about we have a little fun, Mal?"  Trip had a hand in Malcolm's lap before the other man could pull away.  He attempted to grasp Malcolm through his pants as he leered.  "Or a lot of fun."  When Trip started to install himself in his friend's lap Malcolm's brain finally caught up with the situation and he leapt off the bed.  Trip smiled beatifically up at him.  "Lube's in the nightstand.  Be a dear and grab it, my legs ain't cooperating."  Malcolm's eyes widened, but before he could form a reply Trip's eyes rolled back as he passed out.

    For a full minute Malcolm was too stunned to do anything but stare at the prone figure.  Then rational thought kicked in and he checked to make sure his friend was breathing before comming the doctor.  Phlox came by and gave Trip a hypospray that would let him wake up sober and hangover free in two hours or so.  The doctor headed back to sickbay, ordering Malcolm to stay with Trip and ensure the other man was back to his usual self when he woke.  Malcolm settled into Trip's desk chair and read the new cannon specs that Starfleet research and development had forwarded to him.  At least, he tried to.

    Chastising himself for being so ridiculous, Malcolm turned off his padd and set it down on the desk before hauling himself out of the chair.  He felt terrible because of what he was about to do, but knew if he didn't he could regret it for the rest of his life.  With one eye on the slumbering man, Malcolm crept over to Trip's nightstand and slid the drawer open.  Holding his breath, and terrified he was going to get caught snooping, he leaned over and peered into the drawer.  A tube of lubricant lay next to a padd.  Unable to stop himself, Malcolm reached in and picked up the padd.  When he pressed the power button a word filled the screen: "Passwords?"

    Malcolm licked his lips and held the microphone up to his face as he hazarded a guess.  "Warp core."  An impassioned moan burst out of the speaker as the screen lit up with the image of two men.  Two very naked men.  Malcolm dropped the padd.

    It clattered on the deck plating and landed screen down as another, more muffled, moan came from the device.  When the racket was joined by a rustling from the bed Malcolm scooped the padd off the floor, turned it off, and shoved it back into the nightstand before practically vaulting back into the desk chair.  He snatched his padd back and tried to look absorbed in it as Trip, obviously waking up, rolled onto his side.  Certain that his face was bright red and that his hammering heart could be heard across the room, Malcolm sunk lower into the chair.  He kept his eyes on the padd as more blankets rustled on the bunk, only looking up when Trip spoke.  "Malcolm?"

    He set his padd down and looked up, mouth going momentarily dry at how Trip looked with heavy-lidded eyes and tousled hair.  "How are you feeling."

    Trip sat up and stretched.  "Surprisingly all right."  He rubbed his eyes and peered at the chronometer built into the wall by his bunk.  "2200 hours?  What happened?"

    Malcolm froze.  "You don't remember?"

    "I remember starting to feel a bit drunk, talking with you, and then..."  Trip frowned as he tried to remember more.

    Malcolm felt an irrational surge of panic and blurted, "Nothing much happened.  You actually passed out soon after that."

    Something about Malcolm's manner made Trip want to remember more.  "I remember telling you about that ski trip with my friends... Then I was singing."  Trip chuckled.  "I'm sorry you had to endure that, I don't have the best singing voice."  Suddenly, his eyes widened.  "I felt you up."  He turned to Malcolm for confirmation.  "I felt you up, didn't I?"  Malcolm gulped reflexively and managed a curt nod.  Trip's face fell.  "Oh, Malcolm.  I'm so sorry."  He scrubbed a hand through his hair and fixed his eyes on the blanket.  "I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable.  I hope we can still be friends after this, our friendship means a lot to me.  I shouldn't have let you look after me."

    Malcolm honed in on that last statement.  "What?  Did you know you were going to proposition me?"

    Trip's head snapped up and a blush stained his cheeks.  "I didn't know, but I guess I kinda suspected.  I mean, you're a pretty good looking guy and I have been known to check out guys in the past.  At least..."

    Malcolm took a step towards the bunk and Trip trailed off.  He took another step and Trip regarded him like a mouse cornered by a snake.  Another step and he was settling on the edge of the bed.  He quirked a half smile at his friend before leaning in and capturing Trip's lips in a gentle kiss.  Trip made a startled sound in the back of his throat before reciprocating.  When Malcolm pulled back he ran a finger over Trip's lips, grinning at the dazed look in the other man's eyes.  "Wow."  Malcolm chuckled at the comment and a slow smile lit up Trip's face.  "I guess you didn't mind my proposition then."

    "On the contrary, it just about gave me a heart attack."  Malcolm smirked at himself.  "I had you pegged as absolutely straight."

    Trip tugged at his earlobe.  "Yeah, well the sentiment was mutual.  All those girls in the shuttlepod."

    "I didn't want to drive you away by writing to a third of the armoury corps football team."

    Trip frowned.  "You guys have a football team?"

    Malcolm rolled his eyes.  "Soccer, luv."

    Trip's eyes widened at the endearment and Malcolm cursed himself for moving too fast.  "Luv?"

    "Sorry, I just-"

    "I like the sound of that."  Malcolm's mouth shut mid sentence and Trip leaned in again and whispered, "Come here, luv."  They exchanged a few leisurely kisses before a yawn forced its way out of Trip.  

    Malcolm slid back as Trip yawned again.  "Sounds like you should get some sleep."

    Trip practically pouted at that.  "No, Malcolm.  I'm not really tired."  The argument was negated by a further yawn.

    Malcolm stood.  "Phlox thought you might be tired.  It would probably be best if you went back to sleep."

    "But Malcolm..."

    "No arguments.  I'll see you in the morning."

    Trip perked up a bit at that.  "The morning?"

    "Join me for breakfast at 0800?"  He held his breath as he waited for the reply.

    Malcolm needn't have worried.  Trip beamed at him.  "It's a date."

    The wording wasn't lost on Malcolm and he smiled broadly in return before collecting his padd and slipping out the door.  As he stood in the hallway his stomach rumbled to remind him that the last thing he'd had was a late lunch.  When he got to the mess all the dinner dishes were gone and the cabinets stocked with snacks for people working late.  Since he didn't want to bother anyone he picked out a scone and a mug of tea which he carried back to his quarters lest someone ask why he looked so happy.

    His quarters were just as he'd left them earlier.  He put his food down and set about putting his winter clothes away properly, dropping clothing in a laundry bag and tucking his boots out of sight.  He picked his gloves up from his desk, grimacing to discover that because of how they'd landed in a heap they hadn't really dried.  He set them with his hat by the heater in his lav.

    The day had been so long that he stumbled as he went to sink into his chair, jostling his snack with his elbow.  Malcolm grimaced as he blotted up tea that had slopped over the rim of the mug and set his scone back on its plate.  He ate quickly and got changed for bed before gratefully crawling under the covers.  As he was reaching for the panel to turn off the lights, he sneezed.  He stopped in confusion and rubbed at his nose as it began to tickle.  A few moments later he sneezed again.  He remembered a sodden glove sitting on his desk.  The desk his scone had tipped onto.  The scone he'd recently eaten.  Malcolm flopped back onto his mattress.  "Bloody hell."  As his throat started to itch he rolled out of bed and wearily made his way to the comm panel.  "Reed to Phlox."

    The response was almost immediate.  "Phlox here.  What can I do for you, Lieutenant?"

     He ran a hand over his face, and cursed himself for being so stupid.  Disgust was plain in his voice when he said, "I've got another patient for you."

    Malcolm swore he could tell the doctor was smiling at him when Phlox replied, "I'll be there in a minute.  Rest assured, I'll be free to watch you all night.  We couldn't have you doing anything imprudent, hmmm?"