The Truth Will Out
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
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
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
"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
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."
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
"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.
"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
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
"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
"Commander," I reply.
"Trip, Malcolm tells me you and he are involved in a sexual
"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
"Dammit Trip," Jon throws over his shoulder, "don't you know you're
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
"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
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
"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
"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.