Note: Based on a challenge from Lt. Black Fire.
Warnings: Mild swearing.
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, yeah, etc. All in fun, no profit.
"Oh, no," Malcolm said, looking about himself frantically. "No, no, no." He stood suddenly, his hands patting the multiple pockets of his uniform as his eyes searched the area around his seat in the shuttle. "Bloody hell. Bollocks."
"What?" Trip asked, glancing at Malcolm for a moment, then back to the ship's controls as he worked to prepare the shuttle to dock with Enterprise.
Malcolm squatted beside the seat, one arm resting on its surface as he bent to peer underneath the chair. "All these pockets, but instead, I had to…" He used his arm to push himself to standing and stood there, staring blankly ahead for a brief moment, then he strode towards the shuttle's door, his eyes searching the floor as he moved.
"What are you doing?" Trip said.
"I must have left it in the shop," Malcolm muttered to himself. He turned toward Trip, seeing that his friend's focus remained on the instruments in front of him.
Trip glanced at him again. "Could you at least sit down? We'll be docking soon, and I wouldn't want you to get hurt."
Malcolm nodded and began moving back towards the chair. "Sorry, commander." In a quiet voice, he said, "She's going to bung me down a lavatory."
"Did you lose it?" Trip asked.
Malcolm didn't get a chance to reply. The shuttle shook fiercely, and he looked through the viewscreen towards Enterprise just as the shuttle jolted violently downwards, and he felt his feet leave the floor.
Malcolm dragged himself upright in the sickbay bed, being especially careful of his knee. He hissed as his movement jarred his injured leg and froze there for a second, trying to even his breathing. He'd been in sickbay for three days, and he was sick to death of it, but he'd never get out of here if he couldn't even sit up without help.
He started to move again and felt a warm pair of hands against his back, helping him move to a more comfortable position. He glanced up to see Hoshi's smiling face.
"How are you?" she asked.
"Fine," Malcolm replied, lifting his leg slightly with both hands, trying to find a comfortable position on the bed. He winced slightly.
"How's your head?" she asked.
"Fine," Malcolm said, smiling wryly.
Hoshi cocked an eyebrow, then asked, "How's your leg?" nodding towards the offending limb.
He almost said "Fine," but he saw a flash in her eyes, and he stopped himself. "Painful," he replied instead.
Hoshi nodded and moved away, leaving behind the scent of strawberries, or maybe citrus, but with a touch of crème, in her wake. As she settled herself in the chair next to his bed, Malcolm glanced at her, then away. Damn, he thought. It was foolishness, on his part, not taking better care. She'd only had one request, one thing she'd wanted from their trip, and he'd…
Hoshi spoke, interrupting his thoughts. "I wanted to thank you."
"For what?" Malcolm replied, his eyes returning to her.
"For the shampoo," she said, standing again. She leaned forward, undoing the clasp on her hair, letting her mane drift towards him. He felt it brush his face and was surrounded by the scents of summer, something citrusy and warm. He took a deep breath.
She turned her face to his, inches away. "Smells great, doesn't it?" she said, leaning back again, her eyes bright. "I told you."
Malcolm looked at her in confusion. "The shampoo?"
Hoshi nodded. "Yeah. Thanks. You rock." Leaning down to him, she planted a light peck on his cheek, then straightened. "I have to go on shift in a couple of minutes, but I wanted you to know how glad I was that you could get it."
Malcolm nodded vaguely, feeling certain that he was missing something significant in the conversation as he watched her turn and leave sickbay, her hands moving to refasten her hair as she walked.
Malcolm placed the padd Trip had just handed him beside him on the bed. "Thank you for stopping by and bringing these, commander."
Trip nodded. "No worries, lieutenant." He smiled. "Have you had a lot of visitors? You look wiped."
"Hoshi was here earlier," Malcolm said around a yawn.
"Was she?" Trip said, his lip twitching slightly.
"She said she liked the shampoo."
Trip nodded, a smile breaking across his face.
"But I lost the shampoo I bought her."
Trip nodded again. "I know. I gave her mine."
"Yes, mine." Trip's smile now showed his embarassment. "I picked up a bottle for myself while you were in the munitions shop."
Malcolm looked at his friend, surprised.
Trip shrugged. "I like nice-smelling hair care products. So sue me."
Malcolm nodded, smiling slightly. "Thank you."
Trip rubbed Malcolm's arm. "Sure, no problem." He smiled at Malcolm. "You look tired. I should go."
Malcolm nodded, trying to smother a yawn. Trip gave Malcolm's arm a final squeeze and started for the door.
Just as Trip reached the exit, Malcolm called, "I owe you one."
Trip turned back to him, an evil look in his eye. "Yes, you do."
As the door closed behind the engineer, Malcolm muttered, "Oh, no."