Title: Uncertainty

Author: Joules Mer

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

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

Date: Posted to EntSTSlash 09/17/2004

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

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Category: Slash

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: T/R

Summary:  The beginning of a new future.

Series:  The Grandfather Paradox (fourth in series, sequel to Twenty Percent)

Beta: None

Spoilers: Countdown (major spoilers), general season 3.

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

A/N:  The series will become very AU soon.

"I can live with uncertainty."
*Richard Feynman*  

    There's someone leaning heavily against the wall in the corridor ahead.  He doesn't even notice when I approach so I move to stand in front of him.  "What's wrong?"

    Malcolm jumps at my words, but once he realizes who it is he relaxes again.  "Noth..."  The look I give him stops the denial in it's tracks.  "I was just in sickbay..."

    My heart leaps into my throat at the expression on his face.  "Hoshi?"

    He hurries to reassure me.  "No, Trip, she's stable.  Phlox is looking after her."


    He looks down at his feet for a moment before meeting my eyes again.  "Hayes is dead.  We were talking and then he just..."

    "Damn."  While I could tell he was critically injured when he collapsed on the transporter, I had hoped Phlox could save him.  Even after all our time in the Delphic Expanse I still think of the doctor as a miracle worker.  I guess we've even run out of miracles at this point.  With his head down again Malcolm looks lost.  While they fought like cats and dogs I can tell the major's death is hitting Malcolm hard.  I want to try and help, but am uncertain what to do.  I'm afraid that any gesture I make won't be appreciated.  This leaves me, as usual, just standing uncomfortably by him wishing I could do *something*.  All at once the enormity of what has happened hits me and I can't help but reach out and place a hand on Malcolm's shoulder, gripping the living flesh through the fabric of his uniform.  Hayes is dead.  It could just as easily have been Malcolm.  He wanted to be the one to lead the team to rescue Hoshi.

    He doesn't say anything at the contact and we stand like that for a while before he shrugs me off.  "I have to go talk to the MACOs."  He straightens up and visibly pulls himself together.  I nod mutely, not envying him that task at all.  Malcolm's face is expressionless as he turns and walks back the way I came.

    The captain hasn't said much about his exact plans, but with Hayes gone it means that Malcolm will be leading the team into the weapon.  "Hey Malcolm."  He turns and looks back at my soft call.  "Take care of yourself."

    One side of his mouth twitches upwards and he gives a curt nod.  I turn to the turbolift doors and just catch a "you too" before they close behind me.


    They're both going.  As soon as I hear I run to the airlock, desperate to catch them before they leave.  Malcolm is in full armoury officer mode, his favourite rifle in one hand and a box of supplies in the other.  He's about to board Degra's ship, but when I call out to him he stops and turns around.  When he looks at me everything I'd been meaning to say flies out of my mind and something impulsive comes out instead.  "Bring me back a piece of that weapon."  He looks almost confused at my words, as if they're not what he was expecting.  "A souvenir."

    "With pleasure."  A nod to me, a word to the captain and he's gone.  From the way he nods I can let myself believe he understands.  Then Jon and I are left standing there, trying to be blasé about what could be our last conversation.  Ten years of friendship and all I can do is call out, "Good luck."

    He truly understands and his face softens as he turns back, a ghost of a smile crossing his features.  He looks to T'Pol who has been silent.  "I expect you to keep him in line."  My eyes flicker guiltily to the floor for a moment before we briefly lock gazes.  Then he's gone too.  I stand at the closed door for a moment after T'Pol leaves, waiting until I hear the docking port retract.  Pressing my fingers to the cold metal I whisper softly, Goodbye."