Title: Trusting Your Senses

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Series: ENT

Rating: G

Code: R/S

Part: 1/1 NEW

Date: January 16, 2005

Summary: Hoshi searches Malcolm's cabin.

Disclaimer: Paramount owns all the characters, etc., I am just

using the characters for a little fun and relaxation.

Note of Appreciation. Special thanks to my beta readers: Cindy, Kathy Rose, and Marsha.

Posting: Please notify me before you do.

Trusting Your Senses

1/16/05

"I'm counting on you, Ensign," Archer said. "Do you understand the assignment?"

Hoshi, her face pale and looking exhausted, nodded. "If it's there, I'll find it, sir."

He passed her a slip of paper which contained a series of numbers and instructions. "I think you're the best person for the job."

She smiled, pressed the slip of paper against her chest, and left the captain's cabin.

She hurried down through the corridors towards her destination. With trembling fingers, she followed the directions on the paper and unlocked the door. When it swished open, she walked in, turned on the lights and let the door shut behind her.

"Where should I begin?" she questioned herself aloud as she observed her austere surroundings. The walls were bare, nothing seemed out of place. It was what her cabin had looked like just before she moved with the exception that the bed was made. "It looks like no one even lives here."

Archer told her it had been Phlox's suggestion that by playing Malcolm's favorite music they might entice the lieutenant back to consciousness. At this stage, they were willing to try anything. Quietly she started to open drawers, beginning with the one by Malcolm's bed, searching for something, anything that might help bring him back from the coma he'd been in for almost a week.

What she found first was a variety of medicines specifically for treatment of allergies, including
hypodermics which were housed in a sleek well-worn carrying case. She marveled that she had never seen them before, even though from the appearance, the case had been used or carried often, at the minimum probably on every away mission. While this piece of information was revealing, it wasn't what she was looking for so the closed the drawer and continued her search. In the drawer above, she found a small chess set, two packs of playing cards, and a cribbage board.

She soon realized that it wasn't what she was finding that was so unusual, but what she wasn't finding. There were no music chips, no letters, no photos -- save for a small one of his mother, father, and sister which had been slid inside the cover of an old book about British flora and fauna. Well, that was amazing, she had to admit. Who knew Malcolm liked plants and animals, especially with his allergies?

She even ventured into his bathroom, only to find that his bathroom -- or loo as he would say -- was likely the cleanest one on the ship. Everything, like Malcolm, was orderly. A place for everything and everything in its place. All toiletry bottles stood at attention -- they wouldn't dare tilt into a parade rest! she thought.

One more set of drawers to look at -- the dresser which sat at the end of his bed. She had to find something that could help. This was her last shot. Working from bottom to top, she found four neatly folded regulation workout pants -- placed in two stacks of two. In the next drawer up were four also neatly folded workout tops --again in two stacks of two -- all in place just like everything else in the lieutenant's cabin. Still nothing she had found could help. In the top drawer she found something she had seen before in the decontamination chamber and one other time, Malcolm's blues. There were eight pairs of briefs stacked in two piles of four. Beside them, were four blue tank tops, stacked like the rest -- two stacks of two. Behind them were four V-neck tank tops -- three in one stack and one sealed in a clear plastic bag.

Hoshi started to close the drawer but stopped when a realization hit her. This wasn't right. Why not stack the V-necks like the other items in even stacks? Why did this one shirt warrant placement in a sealed bag? Curious, she removed the seal on the bag. Her nose picked up a scent, faint but definitely present, and definitely recognizable. Lowering her head, she inhaled deeply and confirmed her suspicions. The scent was familiar and the source was from the lone V-neck placed by itself away from the rest.

With a gasp she covered her mouth with both hands. This wasn't just any shirt, she realized. It was "The Shirt." It was the shirt she had borrowed from Malcolm after she had lost hers in the overhead crawlspace. And it was the same shirt she had returned shortly thereafter after she had washed it. She had washed it herself by hand so no one would be the wiser, using her special gentle detergent she usually reserved for her unmentionables. The scent of the detergent was unmistakable -- a combination of melon and spice -- it was a scent she often tried to match when she chose her perfumes and other feminine fragrances.

Removing her uniform top, she carefully folded it and, shaking out Malcolm's T-shirt, put it on. It elicited the same feeling when she had worn it before -- it made her feel comfortable and safe. She prayed it would also be what they were looking for to help make him wake up. She picked up the uniform top to take with her but changed her mind and instead placed it in the space once occupied by The Shirt.

During her walk to sickbay, she ignored the looks she received from fellow crewmates upon seeing her dressed in The Shirt. She didn't care what they thought. If it could help Malcolm, she'd do anything. Stopping briefly by her cabin, she dabbed herself with her perfume behind each ear and on the insides of her wrists before leaving for the final destination.

Opening the door to sickbay, she looked inside. Everything was how it had been when she was there last. A soft glow from a wall sconce illuminated sickbay's only patient. Malcolm was laying peacefully on the biobed. Phlox stood to one side taking readings while Trip paced on the opposite side of the bed. The sound of Hoshi's footsteps caused Trip to stop pacing, and in turn the doctor looked up from his task.

"Did you find something, Hoshi?" he asked hopefully.

"Perhaps." She smiled shyly and walked up to the foot of the bed. "Would you mind if I could be alone with him for a while?" she asked.

"No, not at all. I'm all done anyway -- at least for another hour," Phlox said. "May I ask what it was you found, Hoshi? Did you find some music?"

"No, Doctor, I didn't, but I found something else that might work."

"What did you find?" Trip asked. "Does it have something to do with..." he motioned towards The Shirt.

"Well, to be honest, Commander, it's a bit personal," Hoshi said, her face blushing.

"Come on, Commander," Phlox said, placing a hand on the engineer's shoulder. "Let's leave them alone for a while. I have work to do and I'm sure there's something you could be doing in Engineering. You can come back after your shift." Trip shrugged and with a sigh left sickbay and the doctor retreated into his office.

Alone now, Hoshi pulled a chair up beside Malcolm. When she was sure they were alone, she placed her wrist under Malcolm's nose. "Breathe deeply, Malcolm," she urged. "I know you can do it."

Minutes turned into hours and still Hoshi would not leave his side. She talked to him, sang to him, and every once in a while she would again lean against him so he could breathe in her perfume. As evening came, Phlox urged her to return to her cabin, telling her they would try again tomorrow, but she was stubborn and refused to budge. Instead she placed her head down on the mattress when she grew too tired to resist the lure of slumber.

It seemed like she was flying. Wind whipped at her hair and it felt warm and alive -- it whispered her name.

"Hoshi?"

The word was soft and comforting to her and she was content.

"Hoshi."

She could feel what felt like someone fingering her hair back away from her face and it roused her from her slumber.

"Hmmm?"

Again the hair was smoothed back. "Wake up."

Her eyes popped open. "Malcolm!" she cried out. "Oh my God, you're awake!"

A tired looking Malcolm Reed smiled back. With a voice barely above a whisper, he spoke. "Hoshi, did I ever tell you that you smell wonderful?"

"How did you know this would work?" Archer asked the doctor from their secluded position near the animal cages.

"Ah, dear Captain, are you familiar with the saying, 'Love conquers all'?" Phlox replied but remained focused on the pair at the biobed.

"Of course....do you mean?"

Phlox looked at the captain, his smile reflecting his confidence in his statement.

"Do they...?"

"They don't realize it yet, Captain, but they will. All the signs are there. I've observed all the sly glances. Her blushes. His stammers. They just have to take the time to look, touch, or perhaps -- smell."

The end.