Disclaimer: The Enterprise characters belong to Paramount
and not me. I am only borrowing them and promise to return them once
I am finished. No money has been made or disrespect meant.
Summary: Jon listens to his heart.
Authors notes: This story picks up sometime after "All that
I need" & "Innocence Lost."
Warnings: None really. This story is rated PG for adult
themes and more angst.
Thanks: To the very kind and helpful Mareel for betaing
this story for me.
Comments: Are welcome and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
What the mind cannot imagine, nor the eyes see, the
heart already knows.
My heart swells out of all proportion, and for a moment I feel
like I am going to choke on the lump that simultaneously forms in my
throat as Malcolm's head becomes a dead weight against my shoulder.
In all the time he has been coming to me he has never once relaxed
long enough for him to fall asleep and the realization that he has,
gives me a sense of satisfaction that quite literally defies
I know what it means, why I feel the way I do, but even as I
recover enough to keep up the careful stroking of his short-cropped
hair, I also know that simply acknowledging something wasn't
necessarily going to make it any easier to live with.
As expected, my elation is short lived, and begins a sure and
steady decline as the reality of our relationship takes hold of me
once more. With very little provocation, my mind fills with images
of the two of us together -- images of how others see us, and of how
we must appear right now, curled against one another in my bed. I
close my eyes, fighting the conflicting emotions coiling inside me,
wishing with all my heart that loving Malcolm were as simple as I
knew it should be.
My father taught me to trust my instincts and not to fear change
but I don't think even he could have envisioned anything like this.
Honestly, I have no idea what Henry Archer would think of my
relationship with Malcolm, whether or not he would understand how
complicated my life has become. What I do know is that I can't just
lie here wondering what other advice he would give me if he were
alive to see me now. I am in love with my armory officer and although
I have suspected as much for a while now, I know it's time I decided
what I am going to do about it.
Opening my eyes again, I wait until they adjust once more to the
minimal lighting in my cabin. Malcolm's breathing is warm and regular
against my shoulder, reassuring me that he is fast asleep, and if I
was careful I might just be able to get my arm out from under his
head without disturbing him.
It takes a little careful manoeuvring and constant checking but
somehow I manage to disentangle myself from the man who, for the time
being at least, seems blissfully unaware of my exit from his side.
Recovering Malcolm with the sheet, I stand for a moment by the
bed, hugging myself in the absence of his arms as I watch closely for
the slow rise and fall of his chest. For someone who usually appears
to be at a constant state of alert he looks incredibly peaceful; so
completely content, in fact, that I am almost too afraid to move. If
he woke up now I know he would want to leave and for the first time
in months, I don't want him to. We need to talk, but before we do, I
need to decide just how much I am going to tell him -- if I could
live with having him know how I feel.
Sighing a little at the enormity of all I have to consider, I
reach down to retrieve my discarded clothing from the floor.
Searching in the semi-darkness for my shorts, I pull on my Starfleet
issued underwear as soon as I locate them, then checking on Malcolm
one more time, I take up a position by the window so that I can also
act as sentry while I think.
It is difficult to know where to start though, and for a few
minutes I simply watch as Malcolm takes full possession of my bed in
much the same way he has my heart. Despite my current predicament I
find myself smiling at him in the darkness, grateful as always for
His initial intention might have been to provide me with an
occasional diversion from my responsibilities, but his company has
become such a constant in my life that I can't even imagine what it
would be like if I ever had to go back to the way things were before.
My last thought leaves me feeling very unsettled and not for the
first time I wish I had someone to confide in, not just someone I
could talk to about the decisions I am sometimes forced to make - but
about Malcolm. If I have learnt anything at all though, it is that
wishing something were different doesn't automatically make it so.
Dropping my gaze, I fold my arms across my chest and turn from the
tranquil sight on my bed to stare out the open viewport. But the
stars in the Expanse only serve to remind me of how far we are from
home, and I close my eyes. Resting my head against the plated glass,
I let the familiar vibrations of the ship comfort and ground me.
Even before I accepted command of Enterprise, I knew the life of a
star-ship captain was not going to be easy. Admiral Forrest warned me
that, amongst other things, I should expect a certain amount of
isolation due to my rank and responsibilities. I had listened to what
he had to say, but I had also decided then and there that I was not
going to be isolated, or alone. There were eighty-two other men and
women aboard. Some I already knew and the others I had simply
anticipated learning more about as time went on.
By the time we left spacedock I was prepared, I thought, for every
We had our mission to contend with. I brought Porthos along for
companionship, and I had my books, PADD's and vid's for
entertainment. I was living my dream; I wouldn't need anything else.
For almost a year, everything went more or less as Starfleet
expected. We explored, relayed what we had learnt back to Earth,
defended the ship when necessary, and for the most part we lived our
lives. At least that's what I thought I was doing. Living. I didn't
even realise how wrong I had been until I spoke to Phlox.
I had originally gone to him to talk about Porthos' allergies and
somehow ended up discussing the human condition. Namely mine. I still
don't know how he knew, or what it was exactly that gave me away, but
during the course of our conversation Phlox managed to bring up the
one thing I had not planned for, or even considered before we left
Okay, so Phlox had a round-about way of saying it, but we both
knew I needed to get laid. There wasn't a great deal I could do about
it though. Shore leave opportunities were few and far between, and
even if there were someone I was interested in onboard, Starfleet
regulations were very clear about the fact that I could not initiate
a relationship with anyone under my command.
I didn't want a relationship anyway. I didn't have the time, or
the heart for something that I couldn't, in all good conscience,
commit to. All I needed was a way to burn off the tension that was
slowly driving me to distraction and the sooner I dealt with it, the
sooner I could get back to doing what Starfleet intended.
Looking back on it all now, I wonder if that's what convinced me
to accept Malcolm's offer when he first came to me. I had been
searching for a quick fix when he had suddenly appeared at my door,
and even while I was still dealing with my initial surprise, I
remember thinking that the fact that he was another man made it safer
somehow. There would be no chance of a relationship between the two
of us, or that I could ever develop feelings for him. I could take
what I needed and not worry about feeling more than the physical
relief. It was, all things considered, the perfect solution. Of
course, I hadn't anticipated just how much the man providing my
relief would ultimately come to mean to me, or that at sometime I
might want more than what we had originally agreed to.
I know my own lack of self awareness is the reason why it took so
long to acknowledge my feeling for Malcolm but I never imagined that
another man could teach me as much as he has about loyalty, and
love's capacity to not only endure, but to grow.
Just what else I wanted from Malcolm, what else we could share
with one another along with how I thought I would go about fitting
him into my life remained somewhat a mystery to me, and would
have to stay that way, I concluded, for at least a while longer.
There is a small variation in the ship's engines as I ponder the
possibilities of having a lover onboard, and I open my eyes and pull
back from the window. Raising a hand to the area where I had been
resting I wait for the irregularity to re-occur. The view is no more
familiar than what it had been earlier, only now I realise that the
man sleeping peacefully in my bed is included there - has been there
all along, my conscience whispers.
I move my hand as I continue to wait, my fingers gently tracing
the outline of Malcolm's reflection. But the only changes I feel come
from me, and they, I remind myself, aren't anything to be afraid of.
I am not sure why, after weeks of contemplating the many changes
Malcolm has inspired in me, my father's advice comes back to me
again. If it's because what I see reflected back at me appears so
natural, or that I am finally understanding that I already have a
lover onboard and I only need to tell him so to make things right.
Knowing what I need to do does not solve all of my problems, but I
know it is a start. The rest of it, how I would continue to deal with
my duties and the changes that would most likely occur because of my
relationship with my armory officer -- are all issues that I can face
as the need arises.
I can no longer detect any variations within the ship and I
withdraw my hand from the viewport. Making a mental note to tell Trip
about what I had observed in regards to the engines, I turn around
and then take the couple of steps necessary to reach the bed.
Stripping off my shorts again, I lift the covers and slip beneath
them. Malcolm stirs as I stretch out beside him but does not wake.
It's because he is too comfortable, I decide, and I smile at how good
that particular thought makes me feel - at how good loving him makes
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