Note: Written for the Enterprise Ficathon. The assignment was: Story 1: Reed/Sato -- angst is fine, but would like an ending with them together and fairly happy. Story 2: Sato friendship with anyone. I picked option 2, but made the friendship with Reed, and things happy, only the tiniest dose of angstishness.
Written for: stexgirl2000
Beta: Kathy Rose. Thank you!
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, yeah, etc. All in fun, no profit.
Malcolm stepped through his door into the corridor. Hearing laughter from his left, he turned to see Hoshi as she came out Trip's door, a hot-pink feather boa streaming from her neck and a dime-store tiara perched on her head. As the door closed behind her, she spun once on her tip-toes, then danced down the hall, humming what he thought was "Climb Every Mountain" from "The Sound of Music." He froze in his doorway and watched as she floated away, unaware of his observance.
Her soft song trailed behind her as she left pink feathers in her wake. She rounded a corner and he blinked, hard, then took two quick steps after her. "Hoshi?"
She turned back to look at him, her sparkly silver heels clicking on the deck plating, pink feathers flying off her boa as she moved. When she saw him, she stood rigid, almost at attention, a blush creeping across her cheeks. "Um, good evening, Lieutenant."
As he reached her side, he tried to hide the smile that was threatening to break through. "Nice outfit," he said, feigning seriousness. Hoshi's blush worsened, but her expression softened, so he continued, reaching out one hand. "I admit, I've never worn a feather boa myself, but…" He stopped speaking when he saw Hoshi break into a grin, and she lifted one end of the boa and placed it in his palm, the rest of it still wrapped about her neck.
"I suppose it's never too late to start, sir."
Malcolm patted the feathers, looking down at them, then let it drop from his hand. "Not quite my colour, actually," he said, smiling at her. "Why are you dressed like that?
"Sing along Sound of Music," she said, bouncing up onto her toes happily. "We decided to dress up, Trip, Travis and I." She smiled. "It was Trip's idea, just for fun."
"Sing along Sound of Music?" Malcolm asked, puzzled.
Hoshi flicked her boa at him, causing feathers to fly. "Yeah, it's an old tradition. First time I've done it here, though." She looked down at her feet. "We dressed up in fancy dress," she said, running her boa through her hand as her eyes returned to his. "Although I didn't have much that qualified on board. I had to make do with these, which my niece gave me before we left." She pointed to her tiara, and flounced the boa. "Although the sparkly silver shoes I used to wear out dancing. I'd brought them just in case, but never had the opportunity to use them until now." She did a quick dance step, then curtsied.
Malcolm laughed, and then bowed gallantly. Straightening, he asked formally, "Care to dance?"
"With you?" she asked, her surprise showing on her face as she straightened to standing. Malcolm scowled, slightly hurt, and she smiled. "Joking, Malcolm. You're just usually so..."
"Uptight?" he asked, interrupting.
"No," she replied, her brow wrinking as she frowned. "I was going to say 'serious.'" At his answering smirk, she asked, "But here?"
He glanced down the empty hallway. "Sure," he said, shrugging. "After all, we should make use of the shoes," he said, deadpan. Then he held out his hand, and Hoshi took it.
She squeezed his hand gently. "There's no music, though."
He cocked his head to the side, thinking. "Well, I can hum, but I'm afraid I don't have the best voice," he said, wincing.
Hoshi smiled. "That's fine."
Malcolm started humming "Edelweiss", and he and Hoshi began to waltz through the empty hallway. They danced for a long while, Malcolm moving from one "Sound of Music" song to another, Hoshi occasionally chiming in when his memory failed. They stopped only when a crewman passed, giving them a quick glance and a smile. They broke apart, slightly winded, and Hoshi pulled the boa from her neck.
"It's late," Hoshi said, using the hand holding her boa to wipe her sweaty forehead. A pink feather stuck to her skin where her hand had touched. "I need to get to bed."
Malcolm nodded, then reached out and plucked the feather off her face, handing it to her mock-formally. "You may need that."
She smiled, accepting the feather. "I'd forgotten that dancing was such a good workout."
"Speaking of workouts," he replied. "Aikido?"
Hoshi held the feather between her index finger and thumb, twirling it occasionally. "It has been a while since we've practiced."
"Tomorrow?" asked Malcolm.
"Great. After shift."
He nodded. "No need for fancy dress," he said, giving her a slight smile.
She fluffed her boa, then straightened the tiara. "A woman and her tiara cannot be separated," she said archly. She grinned. "Night."
Malcolm was warming up in the gym when the door opened and he saw Hoshi enter, dressed for their workout, a small bag in her hand. She smiled at him, and he returned it before bending down to pull his towel out of his own bag. When he looked up he saw Hoshi standing in the middle of the floor, her face fierce, obviously ready to begin their Aikido workout, the tiara perched on her head. He burst out laughing.
Hoshi, mockingly serious, broke her stance and stood straight, the tiara wobbling a bit as she moved. "What?"
Chuckling, he said, "I think you've forgotten something," as he waved at her head.
"What? You want to wear it?" She reached up and pulled off the tiara, holding it out to him.
Malcolm shook his head, still smiling.
Hoshi stepped forward, closing the distance between them. "Come on, I think it'd look nice."
He took a small step backwards.
She reached up and tried to put the tiara on his head. "The silver would go nicely with your hair…"
And they were off, Malcolm twisting and running away, Hoshi chasing him. They circled the gym once, Hoshi holding the tiara out at arm's length, Malcolm laughing as he darted around the workout machines.
Suddenly, Malcolm tripped on the base of one of the exercise bikes, and Hoshi tackled him with a maniacal cackle. He twisted onto his back, and she sat firmly across his waist, her legs on each side of him, straddling him as he laughed. As she attempted to place the tiara on his head, he grabbed her arms and forced them away from him, trying to keep her from her goal. Jostling her arm, he caused her to drop the tiara onto the floor beside him. She tried to reach for it, laughing, but he restrained her, pressing her arms close to her sides. Unable to move her arms, she pushed down with her chest, pressing their bodies together, their faces within inches of each other.
Malcolm heard the sound of the gym door opening and froze. His head whipped in that direction, and he saw the Captain standing there in workout clothes, towel around his neck, staring down at them.
The Captain raised his eyebrows. "Um, excuse me," he said, then took a step backwards, through the door, which shut between them.
Still holding her arms, Malcolm looked up in shock at Hoshi. Hoshi looked down at him from her position still straddled across his hips, her eyes open wide. Then she smiled slightly. Then he did, too. She laughed, pushing off him, and sat beside him on the floor, scooping up the tiara.
He sat next to her, and glanced at her briefly. "I should catch him, explain…"
Hoshi smiled wickedly. "Nah."
Malcolm turned to her fully. "But he'll think…"
She raised an eyebrow. "Let him."
He raised both eyebrows in response.
She shoved his knee with her hand. "I'll tell him next shift. Until then…" She stood and held out her hand to help him up.
Malcolm smiled and grabbed her hand.
Hoshi pulled him up, then placed the tiara back onto her head. "Aikido with tiara."