kageygirl

Enterprise slash

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Enterprise kageygirl

Breathe

Title: Breathe

Author: kageygirl

E-mail: kageygirl@gmail.com

URL: http://www.kageygirl.com

Fandom: Enterprise

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Rating: PG

Category: Slash

Summary: Anoxia.

Spoilers: "The Crossing"

Comments: Ginormous thanks to Leah, without whom I would not have had this done before the end of Drown Malcolm Month. You can't let down a tradition like that! Also, to them's that celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving!

Beta thanks: Leah, the Monkey to End All Monkeys and Miera, Mistress of Mayhem.

"Breathe, Malcolm."

Malcolm nodded in lieu of answering as another coughing fit struck him. Trip knelt next to him on the deck, running a hand soothingly up and down his back. Malcolm was grateful for his company—between his dizziness and the ache in his lungs, he was disoriented, having trouble getting his bearings. Trip's presence was anchoring him.

"That's it, just keep breathing. It's not that hard—you've been doing it your whole life."

Malcolm shot him a threatening glance.

"Here."

Trip handed him a glass of water, and Malcolm took it gratefully. After a few swallows, his throat felt a little clearer, and he asked hoarsely, "What happened?"

"Hold on. How many fingers am I holding up?"

"Three."

"What's my name?"

"Trip…" Malcolm replied warningly, and Trip held his hands up to placate him.

"All right, all right. After those wisps took control of you, they started taking over more and more of us, trying to control the ship. The captain locked the affected crew in their quarters, moved everybody else into the catwalk, and cut off the air supply to scare them away."

"Oh." Malcolm looked down into the water glass to cover the twinge of horror that echoed in the pit of his stomach. Just as well that he couldn't remember it. He sipped at the water, watching it ripple, and a shiver shot through him. To be locked in his cabin, gasping for breath, struggling for oxygen that wasn't there…

Trip slid his hand to Malcolm's shoulder, thumb brushing against his neck, and Malcolm looked up at him. The concern on Trip's face pulled him away from his spiraling thoughts.

"Are you all right?"

"I'll be fine." He mustered a smile for Trip, and Trip grinned back at him.

"Glad to hear it." His thumb stroked lightly along Malcolm's neck, and Malcolm blinked at him. "I should get back to helping Phlox check on everyone else who was—possessed. I'm thinking he's going to want to scan us all from here till Tuesday."

"I'm sure."

Trip nodded and left. Malcolm sat on the deck for a while, nursing his glass of water and staring at the door.

~~~

Breathe, Malcolm.

Trip was on his back under the console of Shuttlepod Two, less than a meter away from Malcolm's seat at the controls, and the act of inhaling and exhaling suddenly seemed to take conscious effort. Malcolm gazed longingly at the open hatchway and the launch bay beyond, where the air was abundant.

Lately, whenever Trip walked into a room, Malcolm felt light-headed, as if the air had gone thin. As if he might do something he hadn't quite intended. It was as if the commander were an open flame, drawing in oxygen. He flared so brightly that Malcolm couldn't breathe around him.

It couldn't be healthy. One needed to breathe.

So Malcolm had been trying to draw away, but gently, because he didn't want to lose Trip's friendship. Commander Tucker, he reminded himself sternly. He'd already decided that he needed to keep calling him "Trip" out loud, or risk hurting his friend's feelings. But in the privacy of his own thoughts, he must be "Commander Tucker." Too much familiarity led to an implication of intimacy that Malcolm could scarcely afford, but he'd been having trouble distancing himself.

"All right, try it now."

Tucker's voice was strong—Malcolm could hear a little chagrin, that there was a ship's system not yet cooperating with Tucker, but no real irritation. Malcolm ran the sensors through another sweep and glanced down at Tucker. He couldn't see the commander's face, but the three pips on his chest appeared to wink in the low light.

"They're still losing resolution in the upper bands." Malcolm's voice seemed to dissipate in the thin air. Sound didn't travel without a medium to transmit it. But Tucker heard him anyway, because he grunted and slid out from underneath the console.

"Let me have a look at that." He leaned across Malcolm to stare down at the readings, shaking his head. Malcolm forced himself not to lean away, but his lungs ached as he tried to draw a breath that wouldn't come.

Tucker clapped his hands together suddenly, and Malcolm jumped at the sharp sound. "Damn it, I've seen this before. Let's check the emitters."

This involved leaving the pod and accessing the sensor module from the outside, and Malcolm took a deep breath of the launch bay air as Tucker fairly bounded around the pod. "Malcolm, take a look at this!"

Tucker held his find out to Malcolm. One of the focusing lenses had become occluded, almost as if it had been frosted. Malcolm leaned close enough to see the defect, but not so close that Tucker could take his breath away again.

"Some combinations of atmospheric gases and radiation can corrupt the crystalline structure." Tucker seemed torn between satisfaction at finding the problem and annoyance that it had happened on his watch. "Should have recognized it earlier." He settled on a triumphant smile, and Malcolm allowed himself a smirk.

"I'll get a replacement from storage." Malcolm had to turn away from that smile, before it burned away the air and left him in a vacuum.

He'd only taken a few steps away when Tucker's voice called him back. "Malcolm?" Malcolm looked back to see Tucker raising his eyebrows. "Something the matter?"

"No, sir." He could hear the shush of the air vents, faint in the echoing room. The white noise was comforting.

"You've been awful quiet."

"Well, it does seem that every now and then, you can manage a minor repair without my help." Words came more easily now that there were a few meters between them.

"Maybe I just like having you around." Trip's eyes twinkled, and the air suddenly seemed close and stifling.

"As you say, sir." Malcolm regretted the formality of his reply as soon as he'd given it, and he ducked his head at the shadow that passed over Trip's face.

~~~

"Breathe, Malcolm."

It was inevitable. Trip had certainly noticed that Malcolm was pulling back, and, being Trip, had decided to call Malcolm on it, catching him in his quarters.

"Pardon me?" Malcolm had risen from his seat automatically when Trip walked in, and now Trip stood in front of him, studying him intently.

"Every time I get near you lately, it's like you're holding your breath. Did I piss you off? If you've got something to say, go on, let her rip. I can take it." Trip crossed his arms as he waited for Malcolm.

"No, I—I'm not angry." Trip's determination seemed to bear down on Malcolm, and he took a step back to get out from under its weight.

Trip took a step forward, his gaze never wavering from Malcolm's face. "There, what was that? Do I smell bad?"

"Of course not." Malcolm felt his lips twitch as he considered other possible responses, and Trip's relaxed his stance as Malcolm watched, a glint of humor in his eyes.

"Well, then, what is it?" He stepped closer, and Malcolm stepped back again, almost unconsciously. The heel of his boot thumped against the bulkhead behind him, and he realized he'd allowed himself to be literally backed into a corner. Trip's voice softened. "Malcolm, talk to me."

Trip just stood there watching him, breathing evenly, and Malcolm could almost see the air currents floating around him, in a lazy haze of want and need. He closed his eyes against the burning blue eyes that stole all the oxygen, leaving him nearly panting. He felt Trip's nearness, the heat coming off of him. He inhaled, to try to beat back the fog stealing over him, and his breath caught—he could smell Trip, his warm scent working its way in through Malcolm's lungs and making his blood boil. Trip must have leaned closer, because Malcolm could feel moist breath brushing his cheek, and he started to tremble.

Trip's voice was low and gentle, but not at all soothing. "Let yourself go, Malcolm. You can have this. We can have this."

Malcolm breathed out a ragged sigh, and heard Trip's uniform rustle. The teasing breath at his ear moved down across his cheek, and paused over his lips. Trip was so close that Malcolm could taste his breath when he licked his own lips, and he couldn't contain the moan that worked its way out of his throat. Trip seemed to swallow the sound, and his breathing picked up, skittering across Malcolm's lips.

"God, Malcolm. I can already feel how right this is. Can't you?" There was a tremor in his voice, and Malcolm shuddered. He wanted Trip to lean in, to kiss him, to really let him taste those lips that hovered in front of his own. All Malcolm would have to do was sway forward, really, and he'd be there, as close as they were standing. So close. He clenched his fists and pressed them against the bulkhead behind him, to keep from grabbing Trip by the uniform and trying to crawl inside it with him.

"I want you so badly, Malcolm. And I know you want me. But you—" As Trip broke off, he must have ducked his head, because Malcolm felt his hair brush past his cheek, a damnably light touch, silky soft and drawing shockwaves on his sensitized skin. He gasped.

The voice came at his other ear now, rough with need. "You have to want to want this, Malcolm. You have to want to want me." Trip's voice stroked over the coals, sending up sparks behind his eyelids. He opened his eyes, and Trip was right there, so close that it almost hurt.

He watched Trip's chest rise and fall, his lips parting as he panted, his tongue flicking out to moisten his lips. So close—and Trip was right there with him, the same longing Malcolm felt burning in his eyes, the same want in every taut muscle, as he held himself away from Malcolm. Right there with him, and Malcolm couldn't deny Trip what he wanted. Because Trip was feeling what he felt, and wanting what he wanted, the same passion from a different angle, the same ache visible in every line of his being.

Malcolm shifted—that was all it took, a tiny shift—and he was tasting that fire, warming his body against Trip's solid support, feeding the flame between them. Trip sobbed into his mouth, pressing them both against the bulkhead, turning the ache into something sweet and fierce. Malcolm felt the solid muscles under Trip's uniform as he pulled him in, trying to draw them impossibly closer together. He kissed Trip back, feeding off the sounds that Trip was making low in his throat.

Breathe, Malcolm.

As if it were just that simple.