Title: The Return of Tarquin
Rating: PG13
Author: Mac
Disclaimers: All Star Trek characters are property of Mr. Roddenberry, Paramount Pictures, and some other people who aren't me. I am not using them for profit of any kind.
Voices seemed to buzz inside his head as he came to. He blinked and looked up. He wasn't in his quarters, he was lying on the floor in the back room of engineering.

Why did his head hurt so much? How long was he out? He'd have to wait to get those answers when he heard someone calling his name.

"Trip?" It was his CO and good friend, Captain Jonathan Archer. He ran over to his friend when he saw him. "Trip, what the hell happened?"

"Cap'n?" Trip had no idea why his voice sounded so old.

There was worry in Archer's eyes as he helped Trip up. "Are you all right?"

"I don't think so. My head is pounding and I'm real dizzy."

Archer was definitely concerned now. Trip rarely admitted he wasn't feeling well unless it was bad. "Lets go see Phlox.

About ten minutes later, Phlox had finished examining Trip. "Well, Commander. It seems you are perfectly healthy."

"Except for the fact that he was unconscious, he has a massive headache, and he's dizzy," Archer replied.

Phlox nodded. "Indeed, Captain. Since I cannot currently determine why you're experience everything the Captain listed, I would like you to remain here over night for observation."

"Observation?" Trip asked, looking over at Archer for support. "But I need to be down in engineering to help--"

Archer held a hand up to quiet Trip. "I understand, but you need to take care of yourself first. I'm sure the doctor will agree with me when I say that if there doesn't seem to be anymore problems, you can return to work tomorrow."

"Of course!" Phlox replied.
Hoshi set her tray of food down on the table. Malcolm seemed to be eyeing her carefully, but didn't say anything. "Do I have something on my face?" she asked.

He took a deep breath. He was one of the few who knew about her relationship with Trip. "Have you talked to Trip?"

Hoshi shook her head. "Not since this morning, why?" She could see the worried look in his eyes. "Oh God, did something happen? Is he all right?"

"Hoshi, calm down!" Malcolm said, seeing everyone staring at them. He got up and took her hand. "Come with me."

She followed Malcolm down the hall. "Are you going to tell me what's going on?"

"Hoshi, Trip is in Sickbay."

"What?!"

Before he could say more, she was gone. "That could have gone better," he muttered.
"Doc, what the hell is that noise?" Trip asked.

"My Tarkanian death beetle. It's in heat."

"Well, can't it be in heat somewhere else? People are TRYING to get some sleep around here!"

Phlox smiled. "Now, now, Mr. Tucker, just relax. Sleep will come to you."

"Not with that thing make that disgusting noise," Trip replied.

"Ah! Ensign Sato!" Phlox said, happy to have a distraction for his patient. "I'm sure Mr. Tucker could use a visitor right now."

Hoshi nodded and walked over to Trip, concern in her brown eyes. She took his hand. "Charlie, are you all right?"

He smiled at her. "I'm fine, darlin'," he replied, placing a kiss on her hand. "I just got a little dizzy, that's all."

"And lost consciousness," Phlox said from the back room.

"Charlie."

"Hosh, I'm fine, really. I just haven't been sleeping much lately."

"Those dreams still bothering you?" she asked.

Trip shrugged. "Not as bad as before, but yeah. I..."

The monitors started beeping crazily. "Doctor Phlox!" she cried.

Trip felt as though he were floating through space. Looking around, all he saw was blackness. Hello!

What the hell? He couldn't even hear his voice. What was happening to him? How did he get here? Try as he might, there was no sound coming out of his mouth. He felt lost and alone.

NO!

Hoshi was with him somewhere! He just had to find her. He had to get out of this place and back to Enterprise.

'You will not be going anywhere.'

That voice, he knew that voice. But why couldn't that couldn't be him. He was far away on another planet. He couldn't get to him... could he?

'You took her away from me and you will pay.'

HOSHI! HELP ME!
"I'm afraid Commander Tucker has slipped into a coma," Phlox told Archer twenty minutes later. They glanced over at him. Hoshi was keeping silent vigil. He pulled up an image of Trip's brain tissue. "See this dark mass in his cerebrum? That's what's causing the coma. I cannot figure out what it is, but it's slowly killing him."

"I trust you'll keep me appraised on his condition. We definitely can't afford to lose him, not in the Expanse. Besides, we lost him once and that is a situation I'd like to avoid all together."

Phlox nodded. He knew Archer was speaking of Sim. "Um, Captain, I was wondering if you could convince Ensign Sato to get some rest. She's been here for nearly five hours."

Archer nodded. "I'll see what I can do, Doctor." He stood next to his Communications officer. As much as he didn't like the idea of two of his officers in a relationship, it was easy to see how much they loved each other.

"Captain," Hoshi said as she stood up. "I didn't see you there."

"As you were, Ensign. You look a little rough around the edges. Maybe you should go to your quarters and get some rest."

Tears formed in her eyes, but she held them in. "I... I can't, Sir. What if he wakes up for a few minutes and I'm not here? I want to be here, Sir. I have to be!"

Archer sighed, but he had an idea. "Will you promise to get some rest here if I can clear it with Doctor Phlox?" he asked. "You can sleep in the bed right next to Trip."

"Thank you, Sir," Hoshi said with a smile.
'You will never have her. You realize this, don't you, Commander? She is mine. She does not want you.'

Try as he might, Trip couldn't get any words to form. He was tired, frustrated, and utterly alone. He wasn't going to let this guy win. Whoever he was. Wait a minute, Trip thought. He heard a laugh. The same laugh from a few days ago...

'That's right, Commander Tucker.'

TARQUIN!

'Hoshi will be mine forever and you will be alone until the day you die. No friends, no family. No one.'

Please! Don't take her away from me!

But all Trip felt after that was the pain, and that's when he realized he was going to die horribly and alone. Tears escaped his eyes unnoticed. I love you, Hoshi...

Tarquin laughed evilly.
"Doctor Phlox!" Hoshi exclaimed as all the monitors around Trip began beeping. The doctor rushed to his patient. "I-I..."

He gently pulled her away so he could help Trip. "TARQUIN!" he cried out.

"Commander Tucker, it's me, Doctor Phlox."

"Please don't take her away from me!"

Hoshi was crying uncontrollably now. Her heart was in pieces as Trip relieved the memories of Tarquin. "Doctor, you have to do something!"

Suddenly, the Denobulan cried out, "That's it!"

"Doctor?"

He began to dash about sickbay, picking up the odd medical instrument or two. Hoshi couldn't believe her eyes. Trip seemed to be dying right before her and all Doctor Phlox was doing was collecting instruments.

"Hoshi..." Trip seemed to whisper. She quickly went over to him, taking his hand. His beautiful blue orbs were still closed to the world. "I love you."

"I love you too, Charlie," she replied.

"Ensign, keep talking to him, I'm going to try something." Phlox picked up a hypospray from the small table next to him.

"What is that?"

"Don't worry about it, even though he's still unconscious, I think he can hear you and NEEDS to hear you!"

"Charlie, it's me. Charlie, please hear me! It's Hoshi. I love you and want you back! Please!"

Trip was struggling on the bed and Phlox was having a hard time injecting the medicine into the young commander. He hated having to restrain him, but he had no choice. Hoshi stared at him, silenting ask the doctor what he was doing.

"It's for his own good, Ensign." She nodded and continued talking to Trip. Telling him he wasn't alone and that she'd always be there for him.

'Charlie, it's me. Charlie, please hear me! It's Hoshi. I love you and want you back! Please!'

Hoshi?

"NO!" Tarquin exclaimed. "She does not want you. You're only hearing what you want to, Commander. Hoshi does not want anything to do with you!"

Trip had enough of this. He knew Hoshi would never say any of the things Tarquin was accusing her of. He knew she would always be there for him no matter what. They loved each other so much that nothing could separate them.

"GET OUT OF MY HEAD!"

Hoshi and Phlox jumped back from the bed. Trip's eyes were wide open and looking around. He was pulling at the restraints. "You better be glad you're only in my mind, Tarquin," he said menacingly, "because if you were in this room, I wouldn't be responsible for my actions."

"Charlie!"

Trip blinked as if he were still in a dream state. "Hoshi? Doc?"

The pair smiled and walked back over to him. The doctor thought it was safe enough to remove the restraints. "How do you feel, Commander?"

"Like someone's been using my brain as a drum."

Before anyone could say more, Tarquin materialized behind them and grabbed Hoshi. She yelped in surprised. "Hello Commander Tucker, Doctor Phlox. So good to see you both again. And you all thought I was sent to prison. It's amazing what one can do to cloud the mind."

Trip jumped off the bed. He noted, with luck, that he was still in his jumpsuit. "Commander," Phlox warned, but he was ignored.

"I don't know what your problem is, Tarquin, but Hoshi likes it here on Enterprise. If she didn't, she wouldn't have come out here. Now why don't you let her go and leave so we can go away and not bother each other anymore."

"You don't understand, Hoshi is my wife!"

"What?" she cried.

"Huh? How is she your wife? She never consented to anything like that." As an afterthought, he added, "Did you?"

Hoshi shook her head. "Of course not, Charlie! I don't know what he's talking about."

"Do you remember that night I gave you that gown?" At Hoshi's nod, he continued. "That was the first time I went into your mind. We are married now."

"As I recall, you went into my mind without my consent and I practically kicked you out of the room," Hoshi said. She looked over at Trip, tears in her eyes. "You're the only one I love, Charlie."

Trip stared at her in confusion. He had no idea what she was planning. "Hoshi..."

Hoshi quickly jammed her elbow into Tarquin's stomach, who fell to the ground. She then kicked him in the face and he lost consciousness. Trip ran to her immediately and hugged her close. "That was either really stupid or just damn smart."

She laughed nervously. "A little of both, I guess."

While the couple had their reunion, Phlox carefully tied up Tarquin and gave him the strongest neural suppresant he could find on board. By the time he was finished, Trip looked ready to fall on his feet.

"Commander Tucker. You've been through a trauma and you need to rest. I order you back into bed."

Without argument, Trip agreed and Hoshi was helping him get comfortable when Captain Archer walked in. "You guys seem to have all the fun," he stated.

"Yeah, Cap'n. Fun!"

Phlox chuckled. "So much fun. Captain, I assume you spoke with Tarquin's people?"

"I did," he replied, glancing over at Trip and Hoshi. "They should be here within two days. How's Commander Tucker?"

"He's doing quite well, Sir. I've just prescribed plenty of rest and Ensign Sato's company. I believe they'll both be all right."

Archer smiled. "That's good to hear, Doctor. Nice work."

Phlox returned the smile. "It wasn't me, Captain. It was Hoshi. She is quite the talented little officer you have over there. And you can tell how much they love each other."

"If we weren't in the expanse one of them would have been transferred from the Enterprise. However, this works just as well. There are no two people who deserve it more."

"That I can agree with, Captain."