Title: It Started With a
Author: Joules Mer
Author's e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Summary: A snowball fight has unexpected consequences.
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.
Zoë's Christmas present. She wanted drunken Tu/R and I was happy
to oblige as best I could.
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
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
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
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
Trip's hand obscured his face, but his comment was clearly
heard by everyone in the room. "Why does this stuff always happen to
"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.
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
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.
"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
"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.
"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
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
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
"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
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.
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
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."
"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
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