kageygirl

Enterprise slash

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Enterprise kageygirl

Making Advances

Title: Making Advances

Author: kageygirl

E-mail: kageygirl@gmail.com

URL: http://www.kageygirl.com

Fandom: Enterprise

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Rating: PG

Summary: How Tucker got his groove back.

Spoilers: "Stigma"

Comments: Post-ep for 2.14 "Stigma" (though I mostly ignore the A-plot 'cause…well…yeah). It's been so long since I posted that I've nearly forgotten how this goes. Bad kagey, bad! Started this in February. Where'd the time go?

Beta thanks: Leah the FierceBadMonkey and the wondrousness that is Kylie Lee (the former of whom yells at me incessantly, bless her tiny Canadian heart, and the latter of whom looked at this so long ago that she's probably forgotten, but I didn't).

"Are you all right, Commander? You look a little flushed." Hoshi looks at me with concern, her hand resting lightly on my forearm. Travis leans in, too, staring at me intently. Malcolm—well, it feels like Malcolm's been watching me all evening.

I know it's all in my head, I know that. But my body seems to be ignoring the memo—I'm feeling overly warm inside my uniform. "Yeah, I'm fine." She smiles at me, and it's an innocent smile, damn it. And she doesn't really stroke my arm as she takes her hand away.

When the captain asked me if I wouldn't mind letting him and T'Pol have dinner alone, I was happy to oblige. I was hoping they could work out whatever had happened between them at the Interspecies Medical Exchange Conference—they've been acting funny around each other ever since they got back from the surface.

I'm starting to think that the tension between them is getting to me—that, or I'm still overly sensitive after Feezal's visit. One thing I do know is that my crewmates have not been coming on to me all through dinner.

It's a small table, so Travis's knee rubbing against my thigh is purely accidental.

And Malcolm is absolutely not giving me long, lingering glances from across the table as he eats his rigatoni more provocatively than any man has a right to eat anything. No matter how much I want to believe otherwise.

Hoshi launches into a story about something that happened on shore leave, and fiddles with her fork as she talks, wrapping her fingers firmly around the handle and running her thumb slowly along the edge. I work to swallow the food in my mouth and look down at my plate, before my thoughts run me down a road that'll leave me unable to look her in the eye ever again.

Travis starts talking about the sport he played down on the planet, the one that left him with all the bruises, and stretches his legs out under the table, his shin resting against mine. I can feel the rhythmic shudder as he starts bouncing his knee, apparently unconsciously, and the friction of our uniforms brushing together is almost ticklish. I try to shift my leg out of the way without being too obvious, but there's only so much room under the table. Then I make the mistake of glancing up.

Malcolm is spearing his pasta one piece at a time and sliding each one into his mouth, slowly and deliberately. My uniform's starting to feel a little constricting. I realize that I'm staring at him when he raises his eyebrows inquisitively, and I quickly shift my eyes over to Travis as he finishes his story.

"…And you would not believe what he could do with his tongue."

I choke on the bite I just took, and Travis pats me on the back as I cough. "Yeah, those fargans can just suck out the inside of a melon in no time flat." That really wasn't what I needed to hear, and I duck my head as I cough some more.

Great. Now the three of them are staring at me again. I wave off their attention. "I think the jambalaya might be a little too spicy for me."

I reach for my water glass, but Hoshi catches my hand and folds her fingers around mine. "Milk's better than water for spicy food—it washes away the capsaicin. Let me get you a glass." She trails her fingers up my arm as she stands up, and I flinch a little when her nails scrape lightly against my neck.

They've drawn dinner out long enough that ours is the only occupied table, and at the same time I realize this, I see Malcolm and Travis exchanging a meaningful look. I set down my fork and rest my hands on the table, palms flat, leaning forward and giving them both my best command glare. "All right. What the hell is going on here?"

"Sir? I'm not sure what you're talking about." Travis is all confused earnestness, but I'm not buying it. I once saw him talk Liz Cutler into sitting on the floor of a shuttlepod for an hour, supposedly to help balance out the soil samples we were bringing back against strong solar winds, and he had the exact same innocent look on his face then.

I turn to Malcolm, who smiles pleasantly and moves over to take Hoshi's seat next to me. "Sir, I regret to inform you that we may have a security risk on board this ship."

"That so?" I don't bother to hide my suspicion.

Travis smiles broadly, putting a hand on my shoulder. "Sir, it's your sheer animal magnetism. It's making it hard to concentrate."

I hear a giggle behind me, and Hoshi leans over my other shoulder to set a glass of milk on the table, pressing her weight against my back. She turns her head without moving away, her breath warm in my ear, and I think I feel her lips graze my cheek. "So, Commander, are engineers really as good with their hands as I've heard?"

I ignore the ensigns and turn to Malcolm, who reaches over and starts rubbing the cuff of my sleeve between his fingertips. The bright mischief in his eyes tells me a lot more than the slight smile on his lips. "You bastard. You told them about Feezal."

"I don't know what you're talking about." But Malcolm's smile widens as Travis slides closer, kneading my shoulder gently, and Hoshi tips her head, her hair swinging to brush across my neck in a silky wave.

Oh, they're good. And they know it. "All right, you got me. Y'all are a barrel of laughs." Travis grins at me in a cheerful gleam of teeth, and Hoshi's giggling down at me, resting a hand on my back.

"Sorry, sir. But you do seem to be awfully popular with the aliens." Travis is still grinning, which apparently renders him immune to my deadly glare.

There's just too much frivolity around here for me to stay mad at them, so I give in, sitting back and favoring them all with a cocky smile. "Well, it's the Southern charm. Gets 'em every time." That earns me more giggles, and Hoshi leans against me for balance. She hums appreciatively and starts threading her fingers through the hair at the back of my neck, and I tilt my head back to grin at her.

Travis nods in agreement. "We know all about it, sir. It's hard to keep from jumping you at any given moment." He runs his hand down my biceps, eyes widening in mock appreciation, and I shake my head as I chuckle.

Malcolm is now playing with the zipper on my sleeve, looking up at me coyly through his eyelashes. "That explains why you end up in your underwear so often. Being that close to you must be overwhelming for your uniform."

"Well, obviously it's a damn shame to keep a fine body like this covered up." I give Travis my most provocative smile and flex my muscles under his hand. He finally breaks down laughing, and Hoshi sounds like she's going to need oxygen soon if she doesn't stop giggling.

Hoshi finally recovers enough to check the time and pushes away from me. "Hey, we're going to be late for the movie. Are you two coming?"

I raise my eyebrows at her as she moves around the table to join Travis. "What's playing?"

Hoshi tries to look ingenuous, but her eyes give her away. "'The Seven Year Itch.'"

I have to smile at that. "Special request?"

"Not by us. But I hear Phlox has been browsing through the movie database…" Hoshi looks like she's fighting back another laugh.

"Great." I shake my head and wave them off. "No, thanks. Don't want my overwhelming physical appeal to tempt you into doing something embarrassing in public."

"Damn. And we were hoping to grope you in the dark." Travis hangs his head in mock disappointment. "Malcolm?"

"You want to grope me instead?" That sets them off again—Hoshi starts cackling like a fiend, hanging onto Travis's arm. Travis is pretending to scope Malcolm out, though it's not really working because he's laughing too hard. Malcolm gives me a conspiratorial grin before shaking his head at the two of them. "Thank you, no. It's not really my kind of movie."

"Your loss." Hoshi hooks an arm through Travis's and all but drags him from the mess hall, giving me one last wink on the way out.

Turning back to Malcolm, I drawl, "I'm going to kill you, you know."

"You'll have to catch me first." Malcolm seems unruffled at the prospect of his imminent demise. He leans in and starts tracing small circles on the inside of my wrist through my uniform sleeve, glancing sideways at me while he does. I leave my arm where it is. I've always found him particularly charming when he's playful, and I'm not about to deprive him of a little fun, even at my own expense. I take a drink from the glass of milk and he adds, "Of course, if you do catch me, I expect you to have your wicked way with me."

The milk goes down the wrong way, and I start coughing. I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand, staring at him. He looks back at me with a straight face, raising his eyebrows a little, and I shake my head in appreciation. I hadn't realized the game was still on. "Damn. You got me again. Better cut that out, before I decide to take you up on it."

"Oh, we wouldn't want that," Malcolm says archly, giving me a wry smile as he stands up. He leans in close to me, resting one hand on the back of my chair. It's a kick watching him like this. He runs a hand along my chin, eyes twinkling, his thumb brushing at a smear of milk that I missed. "You've spilled on yourself."

"That was your fault." I'm getting a buzz from his gentle stroking, the good-natured teasing in his eyes. Feezal's advances notwithstanding, I've got nothing against casual flirting—I just prefer it to be mutual. Malcolm's right inside my personal space, and I can feel him like sunlight on my skin, warming me all over.

"So it was." Malcolm holds my gaze with his, something in his eyes, in his face suddenly warm and accessible. I can't look away, though I don't really want to. "Only fair that I should take care of it, then." He leans in closer, and I feel my heart speed up as I wonder how far he's going to take this.

Malcolm licks my chin, his tongue warm and rough, all the while staring into my eyes. I abruptly forget how to breathe. His lips are soft, grazing over my skin, and the feel of them catching on my stubble is tantalizing and strange. My eyes slide shut when I can't take the heat in his any longer. He nibbles on the corner of my mouth, our lips brushing together, and I have to swallow hard, my mouth almost painfully dry.

Malcolm moves away, but not far, because I can feel little puffs of breath against my face. I'd like to take a minute—or an hour—to get my balance back, but I can feel him waiting. I open my eyes to see him watching me, blue eyes dilated, breathing through parted lips. He looks—hungry, and a thrill shoots through me. He's not as casual about this as he'd like me to believe.

But there's something wary about him all of a sudden, a tension in him, and I realize that he's already bracing for rejection. If I don't give him a sign, he'll play it all off as part of the joke and never mention it again. We'd still be friends, I'm sure of it. He wouldn't make it awkward for me, ever.

And I'd never see that ardent expression again. Never feel those eyes burning into mine like they are now. Never find myself reeling from the dizzying rush that's still sweeping through my body.

I've taken too long, and Malcolm starts to back away from me, his mouth twisting into a familiar ironic smirk. I stop him with a hand on his shoulder before he can get too far away. He freezes, the muscles under my hand knotting up. Already, his expression is guarded, eyes going unreadable even as I watch. Tactical alert—hull plating polarizing automatically, defensive systems coming on-line.

Watching the walls go back up makes me hurt for him. Malcolm took a big chance opening himself up like that. I need to make sure he doesn't regret it.

I have to clear my throat before I speak, but my voice still comes out husky. "I warned you what the consequences would be if you did something like that again."

Malcolm's eyes widen in surprise. "You did indeed." He licks his lips, and the anticipation that's been simmering under my skin surges into full-blown arousal.

I slide my hand behind his head to pull him down, but Malcolm is already leaning in to meet me.

The feel of his lips on mine is even more charged this time, and some tiny part of my brain not lost in the sensation of it is marveling at the electroconductivity of armory officers. I taste the tang of marinara sauce, and remembering his little display with his dinner makes me moan into his mouth. Something flutters in my chest as Malcolm deepens the kiss, and his hand on my cheek is trembling a little.

When he pulls away, Malcolm brushes his thumb thoughtfully across his lower lip. I want to follow the same path with my mouth—and then strike out into unexplored territory.

I push away from the table, and Malcolm offers me a hand as I stand up. I shift my grip to his forearm and pull him in close, lowering my voice seductively. "What say we continue this conversation in my quarters, before some poor unsuspecting crewman walks in on their superior officers in a compromising position?"

"Are we in danger of ending up in a compromising position?" Malcolm's voice is light and airy, and if I hadn't been paying such close attention the past few minutes, I might miss the sensual hunger lurking in his eyes.

I brush my temple against his, and breathe down into his ear, "Actually, I'm thinking of several compromising positions we could try out."

He gives me a dark, knowing chuckle as we gather up the remains of our dinners. "Lead on, then."

And somehow, I'm still surprised when he grabs my ass on the way out.