Title: Waking Up
Author: Joules Mer
Rating: PG-13
Date: Posted to Live Journal (joulesmer) October 27, 2004.
Disclaimer:  Enterprise is the property of Paramount.  This is merely my little parodical world.  No profit was, or will be, made from this fic.
A/N: Ate lunch in the microbiology research building.  The whole place is haunted by the smell of stale agar plates.  Thus, a ficlet was born:

    Malcolm awoke slowly, noting with dismay that his body had the detached, floating feeling that indicated a system pumped full of medication.  He risked a sniff.   His nose was confronted with warm, somewhat sterile air tainted by a hint of something he couldn't quite place.  It was the unfortunately familiar aroma of sickbay.  That funny musk was probably due to the bat.

    "Malcolm?"  Evidently he'd given away that he was awake.  There was a shuffling sound by his side before someone gathered up his right hand and laced their fingers through his own.  "Can you open your eyes?"

    Trip.  It was Trip holding his hand.  "C'mon, Malcolm, open your eyes."  It took a few tries, but he finally got his eyes to obey and muzzily blinked up at his friend.

    "What happened?"

    The wide smile that had settled on Trip's face when he'd opened his eyes faded slightly.  "You don't remember?"  Malcolm tried to shake his head, but stopped when he realized movement made him nauseous.  "Doc!"  At the call Phlox hurried out of his office and over to Malcolm's biobed.  "Something's wrong."  Trip ran a hand through his hair and stabbed a finger in Malcolm's direction.  "He doesn't remember what happened!"

    Phlox ran a scanner over the supine man before giving his patient a hypospray.  "That should help with the nausea, Lieutenant.  Considering the blow to the head that you received it's not surprising that you're having trouble recalling the incident."

    Malcolm gingerly sat up, relieved that whatever had been in the hypospray seemed to be working.  "Blow to the head?"  He turned his attention to his friend, who, for some reason appeared to be blushing.  "Trip?  What happened?"

    The flush spread all the way to Trip's ears and Malcolm wondered what could possibly have happened to get his friend in such a state.  Visibly squirming under the intense scrutiny from Phlox and Malcolm, Trip mumbled something that could be taken for "kind arsenal" if that phrase made any sort of contextual sense.


    Trip gulped and, realizing Malcolm wasn't going to drop the subject, let his gaze slide over to the doctor as he said, "It's kind of personal."

    "Oh."  Malcolm swung his legs over the side of the bed.  "I see."  In an effort to mask his bemusement he changed the subject.  "Can I go to my quarters, Phlox?"

    The doctor frowned slightly.  "You're off duty for 48 hours and I would prefer you weren't unsupervised tonight."

    Malcolm snuck a glance at the chronometer on a nearby console.  2000 hours, which meant he had at least 12 hours until Phlox would let him leave in the morning.  "But Doctor..."

    Phlox had already raised a forestalling hand when Trip blurted, "I can stay with him."

    They both turned to him in surprise.  Despite how tempting he found the offer, Malcolm's habitual politeness forced him to protest.  "Trip, I couldn't..."

    "Malcolm."  The firm word and stern gaze from his friend effectively shut him up.  "What do you say, Doc?"

    "Well, I don't see why not."  Phlox gave them a wide smile.  "Be sure to comm me if anything seems amiss, Commander."

    "Will do, Doc."

    As the doctor bustled away Trip took his friend by the elbow and firmly guided him out of sickbay and into the corridor.  Once they were alone Malcolm pulled out of Trip's grasp and regarded his friend with a frown.  "What was that all about?"

    "Look, I'll explain later, okay."

    Malcolm's eyes narrowed.  "No, Trip, it's not okay.  I want to know what happened.  Now."

    Trip held up his hands in a desperate, pleading gesture.  "Trust me on this, Malcolm.  Now is not the time."

    Malcolm merely crossed his arms.  "Trip, I just woke up in sickbay feeling like I'd been on a bender of epic proportions.  Despite the good doctor's drugs my head hurts and I have no idea *why* it hurts.  I want an explanation, and I want it right now."

    "Can we at least walk and talk?"
    Careful scrutiny revealed that a blush was once again tinting Trip's cheeks.  Quite puzzled, Malcolm decided a small concession couldn't hurt.  "Fine."

    They set off down the corridor and Trip kept his eyes pointing straight ahead as he began to explain.  "We grabbed dinner in the mess earlier."

    Malcolm recalled sitting in a corner table and inviting Trip to join him.  "I remember that."

    "Good.  Well, um, then I asked if you'd like to go back to my place and grab a drink.  You said you'd like that, but had to be up early for a early duty shift."  Malcolm remembered that too.  He'd been thrilled when Trip had invited him, and just a little bit nervous.  "I managed to persuade you that one would be okay and we headed off to my place."

    Trip was silent for a few paces so Malcolm gently prodded him.  "Then what happened?"

    "Well, we got to my quarters and I got out some brews.  We were sitting and chatting..."

    "And?"  Malcolm knew Trip wouldn't lie to him, but getting the story out was proving difficult.

    "And then I sort of, well, said that I find you interesting.  Really interesting.  And you..."  He nervously ran a hand through his hair.  "You kinda implied that it was mutual."  Trip glanced at his friend sideways in an effort to gauge his reaction.

    "Oh."  Malcolm was somewhat taken aback.  While it was true they'd been dancing around a mutual attraction for a while now he hadn't expected either man to do anything about it.  Not so soon, anyway.  "So how did I wind up in sickbay?"

    Somewhat relieved that his friend hadn't bolted at his little revelation Trip continued, "Well.  You kinda kissed me, and then things heated up pretty quickly, you know?"  Malcolm grinned at Trip's difficulty talking about anything related to sex.

    Feeling a bit like he was baiting the man Malcolm continued to press.  "I don't see how that leads to me having a head injury."

    "Well, things got really, um..."  Trip coughed.  "Heated.  We were standing in the middle of the room kissing pretty good and I, well, kinda undid your pants and started to push them down.  I think you were trying to get so you could step out of them 'cause you took a step backwards, but your boots were still half on so you tripped.  With your legs all tangled up you managed to stumble a bit before going over backwards.  I think the stumbling just made things worse because you were going pretty fast when you hit the deck plating... head first."  Trip shook his head at the memory.  "I've never seen anyone have such a bad fall from just standing before."

    "Oh."  Malcolm couldn't decide if he wished he remembered the incident or was glad he didn't.

    "Anyway, you were out cold so I called the doc and when he showed up he gave you a hypospray of something and had a med tech and I pack you down to sickbay."

    Malcolm couldn't keep a horrible suspicion to himself.  "Did Phlox..."

    "No, no."  Trip hastened to reassure the other man.  "I pulled your pants back up and put your boots on before the doc got there."

    Malcolm felt a blush crawling up his neck at the thought of what the scene must have looked like.  "Well."  He stopped walking as they arrived in front of his quarters.  "I'm sorry to have given you a shock like that."


    He punched in his door code and then regarded the man hovering nervously by his side.  Making a decision he waved Trip into the room and then followed.  "What time do you have to be on duty tomorrow?"

    Trip perched himself uncertainly on the edge of Malcolm's small sofa.  "I'm off until the afternoon."

    "Good."  Malcolm walked over and sat on his bunk, pulling his boots off and tossing them to the side.  He flashed a mildly abashed smile at Trip to let him know that things were all right between them before slowly running a hand over his own chest with affected casualness.  "What do you think of trying again without any calamities?"   
    As he launched himself up from his seat Trip couldn't remember ever having moved so fast in his life.