Title: Out of Uniform
Author: Joules Mer
Author's e-mail: email@example.com
Author's URL: http://jmenterprise.popullus.net
Date: Posted to EntSTSlash 09/2/2004
Archive: Yes to EntSTCommunity. Everyone else please ask first.
Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise
Disclaimer: Enterprise is the property of Paramount. Characters just
borrowed for fun. No profit was, or will be, made by this story.
A/N: A few EntSTSlash challenges in one.
Trip skidded to a halt next to the crumpled figure on
the ground and sank to his knees. "Malcolm?" Concerned at the
lack of response from his friend Trip gently prodded and repeated, "Malcolm?
You okay?" At the touch Malcolm squirmed slightly, his face twisting
into a grimace. "Open your eyes, Malcolm. Easy, that's it."
Malcolm eyelids fluttered for a moment before they opened properly.
Confusion was plain in his gaze.
Trip chuckled. "I dunno if you should be referring
to me as Commander considering that you're definitely out of uniform."
"What?" Malcolm gaped for a moment before registering
that the light breeze was ruffling more than just the hair on his head.
Trip grinned as Malcolm blushed a deep crimson. "Wh-what happened?"
He cleared his throat self-consciously and carefully sat up, looking for
anything that he could use as cover while he did so. Nothing presented
"Don't you remember?" Trip's brow furrowed in concern
as he carefully kept his gaze above Malcolm's waist.
Malcolm thought back. "No, not really. Wait,
I remember being at the reception. There was a toast, with that red
drink they had. That's the last thing I remember clearly besides a
sense of panic. Were we attacked? Is everyone all right?"
"Take it easy, everyone's fine." Trip reached out
to put a hand on Malcolm's shoulder and then seemed to change his mind and
awkwardly set it on his own knee instead. "You had a severe reaction
to the drink they served, seems you were allergic to some of the herbs in
it. Since the transporter is out of commission and it would have taken
too long to use a shuttlepod to get you back to Enterprise the Naxar had
to treat you. They managed to deal with the allergy, but then you reacted
to their drugs and got a bit... loopy. You took off from their hospital
and we've been looking for you for hours."
Malcolm frowned. "Took off?"
Trip averted his eyes from his friend's face and admitted,
"There's a security video of you, well, skipping down the hall and out the
Malcolm was horrified. "Skipping?"
Trip winced. "Skipping." Malcolm groaned and
hung his head and this time Trip did tentatively pat him on the shoulder.
"Don't worry, only the bridge crew saw it. And we did tell the search
teams that you couldn't help it because of the medicine they'd given you."
Malcolm didn't look at all relieved. Trip stood up and offered a hand.
"Think you can stand up?" Instead of replying Malcolm took the proffered
support and hauled himself to his feet where he fidgeted self-consciously.
Trip unzipped a pocket on his arm and pulled out a communicator.
Quickly flipping it open he spoke into the device. "Tucker to Archer."
"Archer. Did you find him, Trip?"
"Safe and sound, Cap'n. Can you pick us up?"
Relief was plain in the captain's voice. "We'll
be there in five minutes. Archer out."
"Trip!" Malcolm hissed. "What did you do that
for? We only have five minutes! You can't let them pick me up like
this." He looked horrified at the prospect. "I'd be a laughing
Trip could barely keep a straight face. "C'mon,
Malcolm, it'll boost morale. You know how much people enjoy it when
they get to laugh at me in my underwear."
Malcolm flushed a deep red at the thought, "No!
Trip, you can't." His mouth worked soundlessly for a moment before
he stammered out in a near whine, "P-please Trip, you have to do something.
Please. Just give me something to wear. You don't have to give
me your uniform, but please... Something. Anything."
Trip sighed and undid his own uniform. He pulled
off the sleeves of his jumpsuit and removed his black shirt and blue undershirt
before doing his uniform back up, wincing as some stray chest hairs got caught
in the zipper. The shirts he passed to a still crimson Malcolm who
snatched them up impatiently. Malcolm quickly tied the black shirt
around his waist so that it covered as much as possible and pulled the blue
tank over his head, plucking at the loose fabric over his chest.
Chest still stinging Trip fought not to grin at his despondent
Malcolm blanched as a whine of engines could be heard
approaching. "It will have to do."
"Damnit." Trip sniffed at the underarms of the undershirt
he'd worn the day before and grimaced to find that it didn't smell all that
fresh. Seeing no alternative Trip resignedly pulled it on and hurried
to finish dressing for his imminent duty shift. While it was true he'd
wrecked a few since leaving spacedock, lending a shirt to Malcolm had left
him with a serious shortage. He'd gotten the black shirt back as soon
as they'd reached sickbay and Malcolm had managed to grab a pair of the sickbay
issue pajama bottoms, but now it was four days later and it appeared that
Malcolm had forgotten to return the tank. He'd have to go collect it
after his shift.
A few minor calamities had kept Trip in engineering well
past the end of his shift so he stood in front of the door to Malcolm's quarters,
paralysed by indecision. It was late, but it wasn't too late.
Was it? He didn't *think* Malcolm would be asleep, but he didn't want
to wake him up. Malcolm was usually up pretty late, and he had been
on the same shift. Finally Trip gave a disgusted snort at himself and
pushed the chime, it was his shirt after all.
Trip opened the door and took a careful step inside so
that it could close behind him. He was relieved to see that although
Malcolm was in bed, it looked like he'd been stretched out on top of the
blankets reading a padd. "Evening, Malcolm, how are you doing?"
Malcolm shrugged with affected nonchalance. "Oh,
you know. Every day I beat my own previous record for number of days
I've stayed alive."
Trip shook his head at his friend's attitude. "I
guess so." Taking heart at the warm reception he stepped further into
the room and got down to the business that had brought him there in the first
place. "I was wondering if you still had... wait, is that my shirt?"
Malcolm glanced from his friend's narrowed eyes to the
garment he was wearing as a pajama top and flushed. "Oh, um, I was
going to return it."
Trip frowned at the obviously false statement. "It
looks to me like you've appropriated it for your own use."
For some reason that caused Malcolm to flush even more.
"I'm sorry, I just... it's comfortable."
"More comfortable than your own blues. The ones
that *fit* you? Heck, that one probably even smells like me."
When that comment only caused Malcolm to blush more deeply and mutter something
unintelligible Trip decided there was more happening than Malcolm was letting
on. In truth, Trip found Malcolm in his skivvies top very easy on the
eyes. "What was that?"
"It's not a bad smell." Malcolm's eyes widened at
his own admission and he hurried to backpedal. "I mean, it's not all
that nice, but it's not unpleasant."
A hint of mischief glinted in Trip's eye as he pushed
Malcolm towards the admission he hoped his friend would make. It wasn't
as if he hadn't caught Malcolm staring in the gym on more than one occasion.
If Malcolm got any redder he'd resemble a tomato.
"I.. I mean. You don't smell bad, Trip."
"But I don't smell good."
"No, you smell fine. You just smell like that nice
shower gel you use."
"You like my shower gel?"
Malcolm looked like a cornered animal as he licked his
lips nervously. "Ah..."
Trip chuckled. "Relax, Malcolm, I don't mind.
That stuff you use smells pretty good too." Figuring he'd tormented
his friend enough Trip brought the conversation back to safer ground.
"At least 'Lieutenant Loopy' smells good."
Malcolm groaned and hung his head. During the days
in orbit reports of the time Malcolm spent on the run had slowly filtered
to Enterprise from the Naxar administration. Travis and Hoshi had mercilessly
teased him about incidents ranging from dancing through a fruit market to
bathing in a public fountain. It was unclear who had initially come
up with the nickname, but it had spread throughout the ship.
"At least you're not alone. I've heard them call
me 'Trip the Strip'." The smirk that Malcolm wasn't quite able to hide
told Trip his friend was familiar with the name. "It should go away
in a month, so long as you don't have a repeat performance."
Malcolm shuddered. "I don't intend to."
"You'd better not." Trip shuffled his feet on the
deck plating as all the levity vanished from the atmosphere. "The look
on your face when your throat was closing up..." He shook his head
and muttered softly, "Took ten years off my life."
"So you... care?"
Trip tentatively met his friend's gaze. "Of course
I care." While they had danced around this very conversation on many
occasions, Trip decided that maybe it was time for things to be said.
"I care a lot." Malcolm just nodded and when the silence stretched
Trip broke it in frustration. "Open up, Malcolm. Can't you just
Malcolm looked thoughtful for a moment before speaking.
"I don't want to be hurt." Malcolm looked into his
eyes with dead seriousness. "I've been hurt before, and I won't stand
for it again."
Malcolm's gaze took Trip's breath away. "I won't.
I promise, Malcolm. I won't hurt you."
"Don't try to fix me, I'm not broken."
Trip had never been with someone who made demands like
this before agreeing to get involved, he wondered what Malcolm must have
gone through in the past. "I won't."
Malcolm gave a clipped nod and a sharp look before his
features softened. "Good." He quirked his signature half smile
and continued, "I was hoping you'd say that. I, ah, must say I find
you intriguing, Trip."
"Intriguing?" Trip grinned at the wording before
taking a risk. "Care to do some exploration?" He slid closer
along the couch and licked his lips. "How about some oral exploration?"
Malcolm rolled his eyes, but nevertheless rose to the