Title: Exile, The True Story

Rating: PG-13

Author: Mac/Tay (col_sarah_mackenzie@yahoo.com)

Disclaimers: All Star Trek characters are property of Gene Roddenbarry and Paramount Pictures.

Author's Notes: Welcome to the Tu/S Shipper friendly version of Exile. This is a WIP so bare with me! It's also a continuation of my fic, "In Mourning".

***************



He couldn't believe he was so nervous! Him, of all people! *Just go in and talk to her. You'll never know if you don't.*



"But if she doesn't have the same feelings," Trip argued to himself, " the rest of this mission's going to get awfully uncomfortable."



"Talking to yourself, Commander? That can't be a good sign."



Trip turned to see Malcolm. He gulped. "How long have you been standing there?"



The Armory officer grinned. "Long enough. So, you have a thing for Hoshi?"



A thing? It was more than that! Ever since that day in the mess hall. She had helped him come to terms with the death of his sister.



"Earth to Commander Tucker."



"Huh? Oh, sorry, I must have spaced out there for a minute."



"So it would seem," Malcolm replied with a chuckle.



Before Trip could respond, Hoshi stepped out. "What are the two of you hanging around my quarters for?"



*********

Hoshi found an unoccupied spot where Commander Tucker was sitting. "Is this seat taken?"

"Not all," Trip replied. "Have a seat." He could see Malcolm out of the corner of his eye so he did his best to ignore him. "How how has your day been?"

Hoshi took a sip of her water. "Pretty good, thank you for asking."

"Um... are you busy this evening?"

"No, why?" she asked.

Trip took a deep breath. "Please don't take this the wrong way, Hoshi, but I really like you. I was wondering if you'd like to join me for dinner in my quarters."

"Join you for dinner, Sir?"

*Oh, God,* Trip thought. *Bad idea, Tucker!*

She smiled. "I'd love to."

Shaking off his initial shock, Trip smiled back. "Great, be there at 1930 hours!"

***********

Hoshi checked her appearance in the mirror. A small amount of make-up completed her look. She nodded, satisfied then glanced at the chronometer. Five minutes, time to head out. Stepping out of her quarters, she nearly ran into Ensign Cutler. "Oh, sorry," she said.

"No, it was my fault, Hoshi. I wasn't paying attention to where I was going." Elizabeth stared at her and winked. "Do you have an evening rendezvous?"

"Excuse me?"

Elizabeth grinned. "You can't fool me! You're wearing make-up! So, spill it, who's the lucky guy?"

Hoshi crossed her arms. "Can't a person walk around a Starship without anyone thinking there's a rendezvous?"

"Not if the said person is wearing make-up."

--Jackson to Cutler--

"Cutler here," she replied, still looking at Hoshi.

"I've been waiting ten minutes."

"Keep your shirt on, Heather, I'm on my way." Elizabeth turned to face Hoshi again. "Don't worry, I'll find out what's going on."

"There's nothing going on!" Hoshi insisted as the young ensign ran off. "Crap, this isn't going to be easy." With a shrug, she headed to Trip's quarters.

Her heart skipped a beat when Trip opened the door. He looked gorgeous in his khaki pants and light blue shirt. "Hi," she managed to choke out.

"Hello," He replied with a smile, attempting not to drool. She looked even more beautiful with her modest amount of make-up. "Come in."

Hoshi looked around the his quarters. The lights were low and candles burned brightly on the table. She heard soft music playing and could smell something wonderful. "What's on the menu?" she asked.

"Lasagna. I told chef I had company this evening. He has no idea who, but he readily agreed to cook for us. Would you like a glass of wine?"

"Yes, thank you."

After pouring her a glass, he pulled out a chair for her. Hoshi took a seat as Trip went over to grab the plates of lasagna. "There's salad on the table," he told her. "Help yourself."

Hoshi complied then looked up at him as he sat down across from her. "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

"You said the other day that you really like me... In what way?" She inwardly winced. If he said he just liked her as a friend, she was going to be devastated.

"I hope this doesn't sound too forward or anything, but I think I'm in love with you." Hoshi was about to say something, but he held up his hand. "Please, let me finish." At her nod, he continued. "When I first saw you I thought, and still do, that you were the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, but Starfleet regulations kept me at bay so I didn't try anything."

He took a deep breath. "However, we've been around each other a long time and right now I don't care about regulations. I'm not getting any younger. I love the passion you have for your job. I love how you don't give up. I love you, Hoshi."

With tears in her eyes, Hoshi smiled. "I-I don't know what to say. That was so beautiful..." She trailed off, unsure what to call him. 'Commander' didn't seem right after what he just said.

"You can call me Charlie if you want, darlin'."

"I love everything about you too, Charlie and I love you."

**********



Trip stared at Archer in disbelief. He and Hoshi had been together for a month and they were already going to be separated. "Are you sure about this, Cap'n? I mean, we know next to nothing about this alien and you're going to let Hos- Ensign Sato stay with him until we get what we need?"



Archer stared at him. "Trip, I thought you, more than anyone, wanted the Xindi to pay. Refusing his offer of help is stupid. What's this all about?"



Trip promptly shut his mouth. He didn't want to give away their relationship. He could only imagine what T'Pol would say if she found out. It was hard enough to keep it under wraps, but now his feelings were getting the best of him.



"Nothing," Trip replied. "I was just asking a question."

"She'll be fine, Trip. She's come a long way."



He nodded. "Yeah, you're right. I gotta get down to engineering."

Archer watched his friend leave. There was something more to this conversation that he just couldn't place. Now, he'd have to find out what.



*******



Trip had just arrived in his quarters after finishing a long shift when his com beeped. "Ensign Sato to Commander Tucker."



"Tucker here," he said with a smile.



"Are you busy, Sir?"



"Just getting ready to hit the shower."



"Sounds like fun," she said with a giggle. "Need some help?"



"I do. It's going to be a few days before I see you again. Come on up, but remember..."



"Discretion."



"See you soon!"



Hoshi Sato made it up to Charles Tucker's quarters in two minutes flat.



A little bit later (we won't get into how much later), Trip was walking Hoshi down to the Shuttlebay. Whenever they were alone in the corridors, they would steal a kiss or two.



"Hoshi," Trip said, just before they entered the Shuttlebay. She looked up at him, her brown eyes sparkling. "I love you."

She smiled, giving him a quick peck on the cheek. "I love you too. See you in a few days."



"Took you long enough," Trip heard Archer say as the doors closed. He chuckled. It was definitely worth it.



*****



Phlox was taking a walk when he passed Trip. He noticed a slight, pink tinge to his cheeks. "Ah, Mr. Tucker, good evening."



"Phlox. What brings you out of Sickbay."



"Just taking a walk. Yourself?"



"Just seeing the Captain off," he responded. His face seemed to get a bit more color to it. He could feel the heat eminating from it.



Phlox stared at him. He wasn't too sure that was true. "Hmm, are you telling me this has nothing to do with a certain beautiful Japanese ensign?"



"Just what are you insinuating?" Trip asked, eyes darting back and forth.



"Calm down, Commander," Phlox said. "Your secret is safe with me. I take it that's the real reason you've been sleeping so soundly the past few days?"



Trip took a deep breath and nodded. "No offense to T'Pol, but those Vulcan message techniques didn't do much for me."



"I understand. Different sleep aids affect people in all sorts of ways. Some for the better, some not helping at all. I'm just happy to know you're feeling better."



He smiled. "Thanks, Doc."



******



A couple hours after the captain left the planet, Hoshi was having dinner with her lonely host. She didn't want to admit it, although he probably knew already, but he was really creeping her out.



"Um, I think I'd like to turn in," she told him. "It's been a long day."



"But you just arrived. Wouldn't you like a tour?"



She smiled politely. "How about tomorrow morning before you begin your research?"



"Very well. Let me take you to your room." He could tell that she was trying to keep her mind closed to him. She didn't want him to know what she was thinking.



But it was too late, he already knew.



And he knew how he could keep her there.