Contact Me

__Fiction: Slash

The Truth Will Out

Date: 11/02/05
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Tucker/Reed
Archiving: Yes to Warp 5, anyone else please ask.
Beta: Nope, but if anyone wants the position I doubt I'd say no
Spoilers: Absolutely none!
Summary: Malcolm decides enough is enough and admits to Jon he's seeing Trip.
A/N: This story was originally the end of a much longer story that I can't get to work the way I want (hence the references to a mission earlier in the day). I don't think it matters though as hopefully all the important information is still in the story itself. Malcolm's POV.

I can tell the captain is surprised to see me, and frankly I'm a little surprised to be standing outside his cabin in the middle of the night myself, but I do believe what I said to Trip about dealing with all this sooner rather than later. Trip has been working his way into a right old state ever since I expressed my wish to make our relationship public and today's little misadventure just goes to show how preoccupied he is. Perhaps I oughtn't to have pushed things so soon, especially after the experience I had coming out to my father - makes me shudder just to think about it - however all the sneaking around and outright lying is doing no favours to either of us. If Captain Archer did used to have a crush on Trip he'll just have to grow up and deal with it, and cope with the fact that Trip didn't want him and does want me. Right.

I must be sporting a particularly grim and determined face because the captain's expression segues from bleary eyed confusion to near panic and the first words out of his mouth are, "Are we under attack?"

I force a smile to reassure him, which apparently fails entirely to do so if the eye-narrowing of suspicion is anything to go by. "Oh no, sir. No, this is... this is a social call. I suppose."

He relaxes, a little, and rubs his eyes. Behind him his quarters are in darkness and in comparison even the dimmed pseudo-night-time hallway lights must seem awfully bright. He's wearing pyjama bottoms and nothing else - actually if I weren't with Trip, and if the captain wasn't my captain... but that really is not the point. Can't help wondering what Trip sees in me if he turned down Jonathan Archer though.

"So, how can I help you, Malcolm?"

"Er... I'm sorry to disturb you, sir. Maybe it should wait 'til morning..." I trail off, suddenly feeling particularly stupid. Why am I here again? Why didn't I wait until morning to begin with? This is all Trip's fault.

Captain Archer's brow is furrowed but it's a baffled frown rather than a scowl, if I'm reading him right. "Well, seeing as I'm awake now anyway, why don't you come in?" He steps aside and brings up his cabin lights. I catch a glimpse of Porthos snuggling sleepily in his basket, trying to ignore my rude interruption.

I go in, and not really knowing what to do with myself I stand At Ease just inside the doorway. Archer picks up his robe and wraps it around himself, and I admit to being glad he's covered his chest, it was rather distracting. He's waiting for me to say something, to explain myself. I've never once, in all my time on board Enterprise turned up uninvited on his doorstep, and certainly never off duty.

"Sir, I was hoping I could speak to you off the record."

Archer nods, and waves me to sit down. I chose his desk chair; he sits on the edge of his bed. "Go ahead, Malcolm."

"I'm not really sure how to put this," I say, wishing Trip was here with me. Or better still, instead of me. "It's about Commander Tucker."

He sighs and rubs his hand over the light stubble on his chin. "Trip's been rather distracted lately and if it's because you two are having some sort of disagreement, I think that maybe it's worth discussing on the record, Lieutenant."

"Oh no, Captain, you misunderstand me. Trip and I, we're getting on very well, and that's what I wanted to talk to you about." He looks even more puzzled than before, both his eyebrows shooting up enquiringly, "It's what he wanted to talk to you about also, but he's not sure how to. Nor am I for that matter..."

"How about you just spit it out?"

I nod, more to myself than to him. "He's... we're concerned how you'll take the news. As captain and as a friend."

"What news? Look, Malcolm, you're welcome to stop by whenever you want, I've said that before, but it's been a hell of a day and I'm not up to solving riddles."

"Yes. Right." I take a deep breath. "Trip and I are involved."

"In what?"

I know I'm staring now, I only realising I'm gaping when I have to concentrate on shutting my mouth in order to swallow. Archer looks as bewildered as ever I've seen him. He really doesn't have the slightest inkling what I'm talking about. I have to say I'm chuffed to know that we've been so discreet. Although perhaps it would all be easier if Archer had guessed. I plough on.

"In each other." Images form, and I think I'm blushing. "I mean, er, with each other. Sir."

He's contemplating. In fact, I feel I can almost hear the cogs turning. "You and Trip? Dating?"

I smile tentatively; I can't help it, dating makes it sound so incongruously sweet. "I suppose you could put it like that. Yes. Trip and I are dating."

He stands, and starts pacing, head bowed. I can't see his expression, which unnerves me, but he doesn't seem upset, angry or responding negatively at all.

"I'm sorry Malcolm, but this is kind of a shock. I mean, you and Trip? But he's straight!" He drops back onto the bed and finally looks at me, a solid gaze that let's me see what he's thinking. Maybe Trip was right all along. Archer looks hurt. "I mean, I guess he's not. But... he couldn't have told me himself? We're supposed to be friends."

"Sir, Trip told me what happened between you two back on Earth. How he told you quite decisively that he was straight. I don't believe that he was lying when he knocked you back -"

"When he what?" Archer's on his feet again, thunderstruck, and I leap up too, natural defences kicking in. You don't sit down when there is someone angry standing up. "Look, I don't know what Trip's said, but he's never knocked me back!"


"I've never made a pass at him! He's my friend, my best friend. I don't fancy him, he's not my type!" Ordinarily I might have considered Archer was protesting too much, but that isn't the impression I get. Archer's tone is almost questioning, as though he couldn't understand how I'd even come up with such a bizarre accusation. Again I wish Trip were here. "Why isn't Trip here telling me this?" And seemingly I'm not the only one.

"He's embarrassed."

"Because he once knocked me back?"



"At the 602, not long after you met I gather. You told him..." Should I go into this? I can feel my face burning; I must be crimson by now. "You said that you liked him, and thought he was attractive, but things would be complicated what with you being his superior -"

"And I thought we should get all our feelings out in the open." He sighs "Hell, I remember that conversation! One of the other commanders told me they thought Trip had a crush on me. That conversation was my way of letting him down gently. He got sort of embarrassed and started flirting with the waitress and I figured I'd got him wrong. Don't tell me all this time he though I was making a pass at him?"

And he's laughing, shaking his head and running a hand distractedly through his hair. I join in, relieved. All that worrying was for nothing, and everything is out in the open. Finally.

"He's been avoiding me all this time because of that?" He smiles sadly, "Poor Trip."

"So, you don't have a problem with as seeing each other?"

"No, Malcolm. I certainly didn't expect it." He pauses, a look of dedicated concentration on his face, "I can't quite imagine it. But then perhaps I don't want to. You two are happy?"

"Very. And it won't interfere with our duties, I assure you, Captain."

"I know that, Malcolm. I trust you both. There is one thing I'd like to say though."


"Seeing as it's the middle of the night, I'm half undressed and you're dating my best friend, do you think you could see your way clear to calling me Jon?"

To think I was ready to believe that he'd hate me and hurt Trip. I'm ashamed that I ever thought Captain Archer would stoop so low. I hardly feel worthy to use his given name, but he's extending the hand of friendship to me despite the number of times I've practically thrown his civility back in his face since this mission began. He wants us to be happy, Trip and I. Trip would be happy knowing that his best mate and his lover were getting along. I extend my hand for him to shake.

"Thank you, Jon." He takes my hand, shakes it warmly and then decides better of the idea and envelops me in a bear hug.

When he releases me - and I've regained the breath that got squashed out of me - he holds my gaze and says very seriously: "As Trip's friend I have to say to you that if you hurt him in any way I will personally make your life miserable." I open my mouth to protest that I have no intention to do any such thing, and he stalls my words with a raised hand, "But as your friend I shall be warning Trip not to hurt you either."

"Aye, sir. Jon."

"And talking of Trip, I take it he's off somewhere worrying about me flying into a jealous rage at you?"

Well doesn't that just sound stupid when put into words? Unfortunately it's pretty much the truth though. When I told him I was going to see the captain he told me he'd come along too, only he was ever so tired after the mission, and when I called him a coward he rolled over and feigned sleep. "He's in my quarters still, I believe."

Probably having a nervous breakdown by now.

"Time to talk to him then, don't you think?" There's a mischievous glint in Jon's eye, and I can't help but think he's up to something. He moves to the comm. panel. "Archer to Tucker, come in." His voice is hard, but he winks at me and my suspicion is definitely confirmed.

Trip, on the other hand, sounds much more unsure of himself than is usual.

"Commander, report to my quarters immediately."

"You heard me, Commander. I don't expect to be kept waiting. Archer out." He closes the comm. line. "That should get him moving." "You don't think that was a little cruel?"

"Serves him right for believing himself to be so damn irresistible. You sure you want such an egomaniac for a boyfriend?"

"Maybe he is an egomaniac but he's my egomaniac." Good Lord, did I actually say that? Jon is giving me a disbelieving blink and chuckling.

"Wow, you have got it bad! I don't get how I didn't see this earlier." The door chimes. "Ready?" I school my expression into one of sad solemnity, and dip my head as an affirmative. "Come in."

Trip enters, in uniform no less, though it's looking a little crumpled. "Sir." He sees me, deeper inside the room, and I avoid his gaze, trying desperately not to laugh at his nervousness. "Lieutenant."

"Commander," I reply.

"Trip, Malcolm tells me you and he are involved in a sexual relationship now."

"Uh, yeah, that's right." He's looking to me for reassurance, he looks so lost, one might almost say cute. Instead of responding I look at Jon who, from this position at least appears to by biting the inside of the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing.

"How could you Trip? How could you?" Oh, he's quite a fine actor, is Jonathan Archer. All wounded pride and doe-eyes.

"I-I-I dunno what...?"

"You've known all these years how much I love you! And yet you'd go behind my back... Break my heart!" He can barely hold it in, and I'm not doing much better for that matter; I have my hand clamped over my mouth as I watch. Jon twists suddenly, turning away from Trip, he can't keep himself from chuckling; I can see his shoulders shaking.

Trip meanwhile looks absolutely mortified, the silly bugger. "Cap'n. Jon. Don't cry." And he is apparently misinterpreting Jon's tremors, which if anything have just gone up a notch. I feel maybe it's time to join in.

It takes every effort to keep my face straight. "Trip, I can't believe you've been leading the captain on all this time."

"Malc! I never did! I wouldn't. I mean, sorry Jon. Oh Geez!"

"I know you're an incorrigible flirt, Trip, but really, can't you see how much you've hurt him? How do I know that you're not leading me on too?"

"Dammit Trip," Jon throws over his shoulder, "don't you know you're goddamn irresistible?"

I'm afraid I succumb to what can, unfortunately, only be described as a fit of hysterical giggles. Frightfully undignified. Jon is doubled over guffawing heartily, and Trip, bless him, is looking from one of us to the other with his mouth hanging open as he tries to make sense of the scene.

"You devious bastards!"

"Now Trip," Jon says, turning around and waggling an admonishing finger as he makes a valiant stab at looking stern, "Is that any way to speak to your captain and the man you love?"

I feel like the laugh has been physically ripped out of my throat and I'm not sure that I'm still breathing. Neither of us has mentioned the 'L' word yet. What I mean to say is that I know that our feelings for each other run deeper than just casual sex, and I'm fairly certain that Trip feels the same as I do, but we haven't got around to the declarations yet.

He's staring at me. I'm staring back. Jon must have realised that he's in the middle of something he hadn't expected to me in the middle of because I hear him wandering into his bathroom muttering something about keeping his big mouth shut.

Trip's hand goes through his hair almost of it's own volition and he smiles a crooked little smile at me. "You're gonna have to say something, 'cause I ain't gotta clue where to start."

"Well, I think Jon's okay about us," I offer.

"Jon?" Trip repeats, his tone indicating his surprise at my use of the captain's name. I've never called him 'Jon', not even in private with Trip.

"Yes. We appear to have made friends."

Trip pulls a wonderful face that is part grin, part grimace. "So I see. And I gotta say, the thought scares the hell outta me. Between you two I don't have any secrets!"

"Secrets?" I tease, "Oh, this does sound interesting. Secrets like what, exactly?"

He catches my gaze and holds it and it feels like we're the only two people in the universe. "Like the one he just guessed at and helpfully blurted out. I do love you, Malcolm Reed."

I walk up to him, let him take me into his arms and kiss him soundly. "Even though I'm a devious bastard?"

"Even though," he agrees. So, obviously, I'm duty bound to kiss him again.

"I love you too, Trip."

An irritated faux cough stop us from a third kiss and we move apart, Trip keeping a proprietary and wholly unprofessional hand on my arse regardless. Although, seeing as we are off duty I see no reason to dislodge it.

"And I love that you love each other, but I was hoping to get a few minutes sleep before morning. If you don't mind gentlemen? I'd like to go back to bed."

Well, fair's fair, I reckon as we say goodnight. I'd rather like to go to bed too. Sleep optional.



Disclaimer: I do not, never have and sadly never will, own Trip, Malcolm, anyone aboard Enterprise, mentioned on Enterprise or the Star Trek universe as a whole. Or my own home, but that's another matter. All fic is for fun, so please don't sue.