Rating: PG-13, for slight sexual situations.
Disclaimers: I claim the redhead.
Spoilers: Affliction
Summary: Malcolm wakes up in his quarters.
Etc.: What is up with me and the bizarre stories lately? I don't know. This is just something short I wrote while experiencing writer's block for my term paper on Bobby Kennedy. Thanks to Matthew Good.


While We Were Hunting Rabbits


While we were hunting rabbits
I came upon a clear
The sky its stars like fortune drilled me
Until now I was a soldier
Until now I dealt in fear
These years of cloak and dagger
Have left us disappeared
Matthew Good, "While We Were Hunting Rabbits"

1. Spring

Malcolm scrambles.

His feet slip in the mud, his hands grasp at the roots of trees, trying desperately to hang on as rain pours down, hair plastered to his face. The ground explodes next to him, a blast hitting near his left hand, a muddy bomb blasting into his face. He falls back and jumps up again. Don't stop, never stop.

At twenty-one, Malcolm is all knees and elbows and sharp angles and bone. At twenty-one, Malcolm is older than he should be. At twenty-one, Malcolm is shadows and knives and bleak gray.

He grabs out and snatches a root. There is mud underneath his fingernails. He claws for a hold. He risks a glance and there's another explosion. He slips again.

Malcolm wakes up in his quarters, breathing harshly.

At thirty-five, he still feels twenty-one.

2. Summer

Malcolm is in an old, broken room. Sun filters in through a dusty window. There's a pain in his arm and some in his chest. He can't feel his legs.

A young woman comes in, long red hair in a braid. She has freckles on her face and bright green eyes. She looks Irish. She puts a tray on the bedside table and sits beside him. She puts a hand on his forehead and there's something soft in her pretty eyes.

She doesn't say a word, only running her hand along his face. It's a touch and it feels nice—nice because it's soft, nice because it's human, nice because it's from a pretty girl, nice because he can feel it and it isn't pain. She threads her fingers in his.

He still has dirt under his nails.

Without a word, she leans down and presses her lips against his. It's soft and warm and it isn't pain and he could just die like this, with this girl whose name he can't remember. Who was she to him?

Malcolm wakes up in his quarters, without the girl.

Her name was Kathleen, he thinks.

3. Autumn

There are days when Malcolm cannot remember who he is. He thinks he is an invisible man, an unreal man, a soldier in the army of darkness. He had a heart of darkness—but then he remembered Kathleen and the ring on his finger and the falling leaves, and it's not so hard anymore.

It's insane, what he does. Cloak and dagger, mystery man. He cannot even tell Kathleen what he does.

A bullet cuts into his flesh and he apologizes to Kathleen as she screams.

He should have told her. If only he could have. If only, if only, if only…

Kathleen is dying in the corner, bleeding out. The enemies had come and destroyed Malcolm's life, all because of them. Malcolm crawls over and holds her hand as she dies. He vows never to work for them again. He vows to go into something safe. He vows never to feel again.

Malcolm wakes up in his quarters, his hand empty.

His heart is broken and beating loudly.

4. Winter

He isn't invited to the funeral. It's understandable: Kathleen's family hates him for what he brought against their beautiful, baby daughter. Malcolm hates himself.

So the day of the funeral, Malcolm applies for a position on the Enterprise and he hopes he gets it, so he can get out of the world of cloak and daggers, so he just doesn't have to feel again. That would be nice, not feeling. He won't have to remember what happened to Kathleen and the baby and why everything is all his fault.

It starts to snow the day of the funeral, while Malcolm is walking around the town. Kathleen loved the snow and their little child was supposed to be born in January. It is then that he decides to hate snow and every living being. Hate is easier than love.

Malcolm wakes up in his quarters, when only yesterday he was in the brig.

In space, it doesn't snow. In space, it's easier.