Chapter 1: Broken Bow
Malcolm's lips quirked in a small smile as the door slid open, revealing the face of the one and only Charles Tucker the Third. Their eyes met and Trip smiled back at him. The engineer took two long, quick strides to the bunk were his husband sat and without a word, pulled the armoury officer to his feet. "Been lookin' forward to this all day," Trip murmured, brushing his lips lightly against Malcolm's ear.
A soft chuckle escaped Malcolm. He wrapped his arms around Trip's waist as he whispered, "Are you absolutely certain that you really want me to 'keep my shirt on,' Commander?"
Trip saw the mischievous twinkle in the smaller man's eyes and knew exactly what was coming next. He smirked and reached his hands for the top button on Malcolm's uniform. His nimble fingers skillfully undid said button, just as skillfully as they could repair a plasma relay. "In this case, Loo-ten-nant... that shirt's comin' off."
"Good," Malcolm replied softly, nipping at the Commander's ear. "It's too itchy for my liking."
"Do you think... we should tell them?" Trip asked hesitantly, his hands stopping and resting gently on his husband's chest. "'Bout us?"
Malcolm frowned, crossing his arms. "Why should we? It's none of their business. I mean, if you want to tell Captain Archer I can understand that, because he's your friend. But the rest of the crew we hardly even know. And more likely than not, if the Sub-Commander were to catch wind of this, she'd have both of us on the next Vulcan transport back to Earth." As much as Trip wanted to object, he knew Malcolm was right. If T'Pol found out, the first thing she would do was tell the Vulcan High Command. "Besides," Malcolm continued, "not even our parents know. Even if by some miracle she didn't make a fuss out of it, my father sure as hell would."
Trip nodded in agreement. "I know... I just wish that we didn't have to hide this part of our lives from everyone. I want people to know that I love you. I wanna be able to go to a party, walk with you up to a buddy-a-mine, and say, 'Hey, meet my husband, Lieutenant Malcolm Tucker-Reed- ya touch him, you'll get zapped an' tossed in the brig faster than you can say 'flux capacitor meets DeLorean.'" Trip ducked his head down, his cheeks burning with shame.
"Trip..." Malcolm put a hand on the engineer's chin and tilted his head back up so they were again eye to eye. "That's exactly the kind of thing that, if... if our situation were different, I'd like to do with you." He pressed his lips gently against Trip's for a few seconds before pulling away. "I love you, Mistah Tuckah. With every fibre of my being, with every breath I take, and every heartbeat, to the end of time..."
"'Till death do us part,'" Trip threw in jokingly, earning another chuckle from the armoury officer in his arms.
"I love you, Trip." Malcolm took one of Trip's hands in his own and lifted it up, pressing his lips against the back. Then, as he lowered the Southerner's hand, he continued, "Nothing will ever change that."
A mischievous smirk flickered across Trip's face as he guided Malcolm towards the bunk. "Then prove it, Loo-ten-nant," he murmured, nipping the Brit's jawline flirtatiously. He started back on undoing the buttons of the armoury officer's uniform, then slid the top-half off when he was finished.
Malcolm replied, "Gladly, so long as no more half-crazed, ungrateful Klingons interrupt." This earned him a good laugh from the younger man in his arms and then to follow, a long passionate lovemaking session. Even if their marriage wasn't exactly the love story of the century, Malcolm wouldn't change any of it for the universe. Because all that mattered now was him and Trip.
Nothing and no one else.
Trip grinned as he spotted Malcolm sitting in his usual spot in the mess- with a mug of coffee in his left hand and a sandwich in the other, all while reading a datapad. The engineer grabbed his lunch and made his way to sit next to the Lieutenant. "Must be a real page turner, huh?" Malcolm lifted his gaze and in spite of himself a small smile traced his lips. Trip couldn't help but continue, "Toldja Superman was subtext layered on subtext."
Malcolm rolled his eyes. "Is there something you need, Commander? We are on duty as you recall." His voice lowered an octave with that last statement.
"Just 'cuz we're on duty doesn't mean I can't have lunch with Enterprise's best, does it?" Trip countered, also lowering his voice to a whisper. "C'mon, Mal. I'm tryin' to be discreet 'bout it. I'd like to spend time with ya outside our quarters too- even if it means havin' to pretend we're just friends."
Malcolm didn't reply right away, as he was chewing on a bite of sandwich. After swallowing, he replied softly, "Trip, you do know how much I care for you. Just because we spend a few hours apart doesn't mean I love you any less. That is why I married you."
"Mal, that's exactly why I'm willin' to keep my hands off ya till we're in our quarters," Trip told him. "'Cuz I have a handsome husband waitin' for me every night. You're always worth the patience, Malcolm. Always."
Malcolm smirked and nudged Trip's leg playfully with his foot. "Good. Because if it were otherwise, you'd come back to our quarters to find all your comic books in the recycler bin."
Trip couldn't hold back a snort of laughter. "You wouldn't." Malcolm wiggled his eyebrows teasingly and nudged Trip's leg again. Then a thought crossed Trip's mind. "Are ya doin' okay, Mal? I mean, it ain't every day ya board a ship and find bodies hangin' from the ceiling."
"I'm alright," Malcolm told him, taking another bite of his sandwich. "I'm not sure how Hoshi is doing, though. The past few days has clearly taken a toll on her."
"Poor kid," Trip murmured. "What'ya think she's gonna do now?"
"I don't know," Malcolm admitted. "Her mood has improved since our encounter with the Axanar. Whether or not she's decided to stay... I don't know." He eyes the slice of pineapple on Trip's tray. "Are you going to finish that?"
Trip smirked. "Wouldn't ya like to know." He put said slice on Malcolm's tray. "If you're havin' my pineapple, does that mean I can have your sandwich?"
"'Wouldn't you like to know?'" Malcolm quipped, handing Trip the remains of his sandwich.
Trip's smirk grew bigger and he raised up the glass of orange juice in his hand. "To livin' to eat 'nother day."
"I'll drink to that." Malcolm raised his coffee mug and clinked it against Trip's glass. "So... our quarters, twenty-one hundred hours?"
"Mal, do ya even have to ask?"
Don't worry, the crew of the Enterprise will get a lot more involved in the next few chapters. :)