A/N: Viperion – Ooh, sorry. I plan on torturing you for a little longer. I've still got a ways to go in the series, and I don't want to get ahead of myself.

volley – It never hurts to repeat yourself. :) I have no problem with that.

firebirdgirl – Archer ticks me off a lot, too, which is why I usually write him as a jerk. I'm venting.

scarletwitch0 – Thanks so much! It's nice to have fans.

And now, for your reading pleasure, chapter 10. Character thoughts and anything in Hawaiian or Vulcan (and I apologize for the abundance of those phrases, but translations are at the end, as always) are in italics.

Chapter Ten: A Good Night's Sleep

Malcolm was in pain. Not just pain – a whole hell of a lot of pain. Muscles he didn't even know he had hurt. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror earlier that day and hated the way he looked – like someone had shoved him through a meat tenderizer. His face was still swollen and misshapen, the gashes on his back were starting to scab and itched like crazy, and though Phlox had set his broken fingers they were still a violent shade of purple. More than one person had made a comment about his appearance – Commander Tucker had said something about pissed off Klingons – but he was at least happy to see that they were no longer flinching every time they saw him. Nor were they speaking to him in hushed tones, as though he was on his deathbed. They were treating him, more or less, like normal, and for that he was grateful.

The thing that hurt worst of all was that Kamea had yet to come and see him. He'd been in sickbay for a week now and had an assortment of visitors – even T'Pol popped in occasionally to see how he was doing – but Kamea maintained her distance. He asked the captain about it, but all he would say is that she felt guilty for what had happened. Captain Archer also mentioned that he had to talk Kamea out of leaving Enterprise altogether, that she was convinced more lives would be endangered because of her presence and the only way to save everyone else was for her to leave.

Although slightly surprised that the captain had gone to so much trouble when he didn't entirely trust Kamea, Malcolm was nonetheless grateful that he had managed to talk her out of leaving. Her abandoning Enterprise and once again striking out on her own would essentially be her death.

Besides, he wasn't sure how well he would be able to handle her leaving.

Apparently, she was having a pretty rough time dealing with the events on Altara. T'Pol mentioned – in passing, because it came up, since she was a Vulcan and "Vulcans do not meddle" – that Kamea hadn't been eating well, or even eating at all. She suffered so many minor burns and injuries in engineering that Trip had banned her from the engine room until further notice, but instead of coming to sickbay she called Phlox to her quarters to come and patch her up.

When Phlox returned from healing yet another of Kamea's many burns, Malcolm was almost desperate enough to ask Phlox if Kamea had mentioned him.


But he didn't. Instead, he settled for asking the doctor if Kamea was all right. The basic gist of Phlox's seemingly endless reply was that no, Kamea was not all right. She was about as far from all right as it was possible to get without going completely insane, which Phlox was convinced would happen eventually if Kamea continued the way she was going. He seemed on the verge of continuing but stopped there and put Malcolm through another arduous bout of physical therapy.

Hoshi told Malcolm that Kamea still wasn't sleeping and that now it was obvious that she wasn't – that she had dark circles under her eyes, that the skin of her face was sunken and drawn, that she looked like a zombie from one of those old monster movies Commander Tucker often foisted upon them. Malcolm now knew the reason behind her insomnia, and he wanted to help her through it – he always had, even before he'd known what triggered the nightmares – but she wasn't going to make things easy on him. She was determinedly avoiding him, going out of her way to do so, even to the point of jeopardizing her health.

He couldn't imagine what it must have been like for her, what she must be going through, but after everything she had done to save his life he expected her to at least stop by and see how he was feeling.

But she didn't. And the longer he sat in sickbay waiting for her, the angrier he became. Maybe she didn't want to talk about what had happened – maybe she wanted to forget about it – but he needed to get past it, he needed to move on, and the only person who could even possibly understand what he had been through was Kamea, and she was avoiding him. It was infuriating. She was infuriating.

Even more infuriating was the knowledge that, even though she managed to hack him off more than anyone ever had before, he still wanted her. It went beyond a physical attraction, though that was certainly there. There was no denying that she was a beautiful girl, with her long blonde hair and her bright blue eyes. But she was also intelligent, passionate, and kind – when she wanted to be. She had integrity and an unfailing sense of loyalty. She was always surprising him and seemingly completely unaware that she had such a profound impact on him.

It was almost like he was in love with her.

Malcolm pondered this one night while shuffling through the corridors, engaging in what could technically have been called physical therapy but was really closer to aimless meandering. He had taken to doing his physical therapy in the middle of the night, when there were fewer people milling about, because he didn't like being seen in this condition, and also because Kamea had a tendency to wander around Enterprise at this time. He was hoping he would run into her, but he hadn't yet. Still, he liked the time to himself to think, and he was thinking a lot lately. Mostly about Kamea.

It must have been hard for her, to return to a planet that held so many unpleasant memories. He wondered again what the Andorians had done to her and remembered the scars that peppered her upper body, especially the one that ran the length of her back. Whatever they had done to her, it must have been painful.

Sort of like what he had endured at the hands of the Andorians.

He had been anticipating something like that ever since he had signed up with Starfleet, and even more so since joining the crew of Enterprise, but there was simply no way to adequately prepare for it. How does one prepare himself to be tortured? He looked at his broken fingers, which were thankfully starting to heal. Hopefully, they would soon lose that garish purple color. He supposed he should be thankful that they only broke his fingers and not his arms or legs.

He also supposed he should be thankful that it was he that they had tortured, because he didn't want to think of the horrible things that they would have done to Kamea. The very idea of the things they could have done to her made him physically ill.

He stopped to catch his breath and realized with a start that, without even meaning to, he had gone straight to Kamea's room. He stared at the door, wondering if maybe he should ring the bell – she couldn't avoid him if he were outside her quarters – but he ultimately decided against it. She most likely wasn't in her room – she almost never was at this time of night. He had just turned to head back to sickbay when he heard her through the door.


He paused, leaning towards the door, not certain if he had actually heard that or if he were just so desperate to talk to her that he had imagined it.

"'Olu'olu, 'a'ole."

Now he was positive that he wasn't hallucinating. That was definitely coming from Kamea's quarters, and it sounded as though she was scared. He hadn't told anyone, but he had started to learn Hawaiian, because he was getting tired of never understanding just exactly what Kamea was saying. And at times like these, when she didn't speak English, it was damn near impossible to figure it out. As he had a lot of free time on his hands recently, he had borrowed one of Hoshi's universal translators. He racked his brain, trying to recall what little of the language he learned, but those were common words, and it was killing him that he couldn't remember.

It hit him suddenly. No, she was saying. Please, no.

He could hear her whimpering through the heavy metal of the door. She sounded like she was in trouble or in pain. She could just be having another nightmare, but could someone have gotten on Enterprise without anyone else knowing? It certainly wouldn't be the first time, and Malcolm didn't exactly want to wait to find out, so he entered in the four-digit security code override – being head of security did have its advantages – and raced into her room.

Kamea wasn't in any danger – except, perhaps, in her mind. She was curled up on her bunk in a fetal position, but she was thrashing violently, still muttering. "Ho'opau. Mai." Her blankets had been kicked to the floor, and she was obviously in the throes of a particularly gruesome nightmare. "Malakoma, mai ha'alele ia'u."

Without thinking, he crossed to her bed and knelt down beside her. She was covered in a thin sheen of sweat, which made her hair stick to her neck, her entire face was red, and her breathing was so erratic that Malcolm feared she'd have a heart attack. He stretched out his arm to shake her awake, and as soon as he touched her shoulder she jerked away from him – so violently that Malcolm was startled and fell backwards. She sat bolt upright, nearly banging her head on the shelf above her bed.

"Kamea?" he asked, his voice cracking with uncertainty. She didn't seem to realize where she was, and when he scooted closer to her bed, she backed against the wall, hugging her legs to her chest. "Kamea, it's me."

"Hele ma kahi 'ē," she said, and his limited grasp of the Hawaiian language wasn't quite good enough to know what she was saying. But he could tell that she was terrified – that wasn't difficult to see. She began to babble incoherently – Malcolm didn't know a lot of Hawaiian or any Vulcan, but he gathered that whatever she was saying weren't words in any language – her unfocused eyes darting back and forth as though hoping someone would come to her rescue.

He got to his feet and went to her; she continued to push her feet against her mattress, trying to burrow deeper into the wall, but it was physically impossible for her to go any farther. He knelt on the bed in front of her and grasped her firmly by both shoulders – or as firmly as he could with two broken fingers.

The touch was electrifying. It jolted from the tips of his fingers, traveled to his brain, and exploded out of his toes. He forced himself to remember when he and Commander Tucker had been robbed on Risa to fight down the sudden wave of arousal that nearly knocked him over, but then he looked at Kamea and realized for the first time that she was crying. That sobered him up rather quickly; he didn't think he'd ever seen her cry. He didn't know Vulcans were capable of crying.

He shook her roughly, unintentionally banging her off the bulkhead. She cried out in pain and he belatedly remembered that she had injured her right arm during her fight with Akkenar, but that burst of pain seemed to free her from the nightmare's hold. She looked at him, her bright blue eyes clear, and came back to herself. But Malcolm didn't release her shoulders. He didn't think he could.

They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity, and he was pleased to see that she had stopped crying. He squelched the urge to pull her to him – the way she was looking at him right now, the intensity in her gaze, he didn't think he'd be able to control himself.

She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. She gave a choked sob and launched herself at him, wrapping her arms around his stomach and clutching him so hard that the scars on his back began to throb. She cried openly, her tears accompanied by ear-splitting wails as she burrowed her face in his chest and sobbed into his shirt.

Malcolm was at a loss. All of the women he'd ever known – and there were a fair few of them – and none of them had ever cried on his shoulder like this before. He had absolutely no idea what to do at first, but the longer she sat there with her arms wrapped around him, the more instinct kicked in. He rested one hand on the small of her back, unconsciously pulling her closer to him, and used the other hand – the one with the broken fingers – to stroke her hair in what he hoped was a reassuring manner.

"It was awful," she said after a while. Her voice was raspy, as if from disuse, but it could have been because of all that crying. She didn't pull away from his embrace. Instead, they settled themselves more comfortably on the bed, and she crawled into his lap. "I tried to get to you, but I couldn't."

A lump formed in his throat as he realized that, this time, she hadn't been dreaming about her parents' deaths; she'd been dreaming about his. "It's alright," he said, choking back tears. "You got to me. It's over."

"They would have killed you," she said, ignoring him. "You could have died."

"But I didn't," he said, more forcefully this time. "I didn't. You saved me."

She began to cry again. "You wouldn't have needed saving if it weren't for me," she said miserably. "It's my fault."

He pulled away so that he could look at her. The captain hadn't been kidding when he said she felt guilty about what had happened, but Malcolm hadn't realized that she believed this whole incident was her fault. Although, to a point, it was – but he wasn't about to tell her that, and she certainly couldn't have foreseen what had happened. "Kamea," he said, "listen to me: this is not your fault. You are not responsible for what happened."

She smiled faintly at him. "You're sweet. You're lying, but you're sweet."

He used his thumb to brush away the tears that were still trickling down her cheeks. Hoshi was right; she looked terrible. "Have you not been sleeping?" he asked, though he knew what her answer would be.

"No," she said, hanging her head as though ashamed. "It's worse than before. Before, I would just wake up, but now… Now it's almost like my brain doesn't want me to wake up, like I'm supposed to suffer for what I did by being forced to relive it night after night." She shuddered.

Malcolm cocked an eyebrow at her. "Suffer for what you did?" he asked. What you did, he thought, was save my life. And rid the universe of some pretty nasty characters. It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her these things, but he didn't.

"Vah mau vah tor-yehat ri stau," she said. She gave a hearty sniff and continued. "As far as possible, do not kill. But when they were hurting you…" She trailed off, her eyes distant. "I wanted to kill them. I wanted to kill them more than I've ever wanted anything in my entire life." She took a deep, shaky breath. "And he's punishing me for it."

Now Malcolm was confused. "Who's punishing you?"

She looked at him. "My father. He's there, in my head, saying horrible things. Saying that I've dishonored my heritage. Saying that he's disgusted with what I've become. Saying that he's ashamed to have me as a daughter. Ak'sh'iz." She dissolved into tears once more and buried her face in his shirt, which was already rather wet.

Malcolm remembered that Phlox had come very close to telling him something, and wondered if this was the something he had been about to say. She thought her father was in her head and talking to her? She was worse off than Malcolm had originally thought. He wondered if it was a good idea to leave her alone while she was in this state. She might do something stupid. He couldn't bear the thought of anything happening to her, or of her trapped in that nightmare without any hope of reprieve.

"Would you like me to stay for a while?" Malcolm asked, threading his fingers in her hair once more. God, her hair felt incredible – like strands of silk against his skin.

He felt her hesitate briefly before shaking her head. Her body tensed, and he wondered if she was thinking the same thing that he was – that it was madness for him to suggest such a thing. He was almost shaking with the effort of controlling himself; he wasn't certain how much longer he would be able to refrain from acting on his attraction. The desire – to kiss her, to taste her, to claim her – was just too strong.

"I couldn't ask you to do that," she said, her words muffled because her face was still pressed against his chest. "You need your rest if you're going to recover your strength."

He grabbed a fistful of her hair and pulled her head back so that she was looking at him again. Then he took her face in both hands and tilted her chin up so that their eyes met. God, they were beautiful. No such color existed in nature. "Stop worrying about me. I'm fine. It's you I'm concerned about."

She smiled with her lips but not her eyes. "You and everyone else on this ship."

"And for good reason," Malcolm said, again taking in her haggard appearance. It was now fairly obvious that she had dropped a few pounds – something he had failed to notice before. "You're running yourself into the ground. If you keep going at this pace, you'll run yourself into an early grave."

Kamea shrugged. "Better for everyone else, then."

He stared at her in shock. "How can you possibly say that? You have no idea how that would affect everyone." How it would affect me. He had to bite his tongue to keep from saying it, but he thought it nonetheless. "There are people on this ship who would be virtually inconsolable if something were to happen to you."

"People?" she said. She ran her tongue along her bottom lip, and Malcolm shivered in spite of himself. "Would I happen to know any of these people?"

He ignored her. To answer her question would lead them down a dangerous road, one which Malcolm was sure they were not yet ready to travel. "Kamea, I'm not leaving until you agree."

She stared at him for a long moment, as though gauging his sincerity – he felt something prick in the back of his mind and wondered if she were trying to read his thoughts – and then threw up her hands in frustration. "Fine! If it will make you feel better, then stay."

"'Oia ho'i hā, e ana." he said, surprising himself as well as Kamea with how easily the words flowed. It was almost as if it wasn't him saying it, because even after the words were out of his mouth, he had no idea what he said.

Kamea lifted the corner of her mouth in a barely perceptible smile, then kissed her fingers and touched them to his cheek. "Mahalo, Malakoma."

For a moment, he was too stunned to speak. He finally managed to say, "Komo mai, Kamea."

She lay down on her side, curled in a fetal position and facing the wall. Malcolm stretched out beside her on his back, his hands behind his head. They said nothing more, and Malcolm was content to listen to the rhythmic sounds of Kamea's breathing. He was conscious of the amount of tension that thrived in the inch or so that separated their bodies on the bed, but he chose to ignore it. He forced his body to obey the commands of his mind – Kamea needed help, and it would be ungentlemanly of him to take advantage of her when she was in this condition. But it was difficult to ignore the heat radiating off her body or the tingling that lingered in his fingers where he had touched her. He listened to his heartbeat – or was it her heartbeat? – thrumming in the darkness, and focused solely on that, until sleep claimed him.

He had no idea what time he drifted off, but he woke not long afterwards to find Kamea whimpering beside him. She was once again muttering in Hawaiian, words that were so garbled that he could barely make them out, and her breathing was ragged. Instead of waking her, he moved closer, shaping his body to hers and resting his hands on her arms. She was warm to the touch – he would have thought otherwise, since she was trembling. Her skin was so soft; she probably felt soft everywhere. He could feel himself becoming aroused at her proximity; being this close to her, in her bed, reeked of an intimacy that frightened Malcolm. He had been with his fair share of women – in the Biblical sense – but he had never been one for cuddling, which was essentially what this was. Yet with Kamea, he felt an overwhelming need to comfort her, to ease her nightmares in any way he could.

As he held her, her whimpers quieted, her mumbling ceased. He stroked her arm with his thumb and leaned forward, practically burying his face in the crook of her neck. She smiled like the ocean. How she could smell like the ocean, he had no idea, but he found that he liked it. It was intoxicating. Just being near her like this, it would feed his fantasies for months, maybe years.

"'Oia a'e lā nō, Kamea," he said into her ear, so quietly that if he didn't know what he was saying he wouldn't have heard himself. Again, he felt as though he wasn't in control of the words coming out of his mouth. It was as if someone invisible stood beside him, feeding him his lines. "Au ma'ane'i."

Eventually the whimpering and muttering stopped altogether and her breathing returned to normal, but Malcolm did not let go. He slid his hand down her arm to her waist, and from there he moved it to her stomach, sliding it underneath the tank top she wore and pressing it flat against her belly. Her felt her stomach muscles tense under his hand, but he did not remove it. He pulled her closer, and eventually she relaxed. He was barely conscious of all this, and after a few moments, he returned to the blissful unawareness of slumber.

When Kamea awoke the next morning, she was aware of two things. One, that her bed smelled like Malcolm. Two, that it was morning, and she had slept the entire night for the first time in nearly eight years. As both realizations hit her, she stiffened automatically. Her bed smelled like Malcolm; his unique scent – sweat mixed with pineapples – permeated everything. He had obviously spent the night, though she could remember nothing about it.

She was furious. She had spent the entire night with him, possibly in his arms, and couldn't remember a thing. It was almost too cruel for words.

She stretched a tentative arm behind her. It came into contact with nothing. She rolled over, but she was the only one in her bed. Malcolm must have already gotten up and returned to sickbay, where he no doubt would have been missed. Kamea wondered what excuse he would give to Phlox as to his whereabouts.

She squinted at the chronometer on her desk and saw that it was past 1000. Not like it mattered, because Trip had banned her from engineering days ago, but she was surprised that she had slept for so long. Although, considering she had not slept for over seven years, sleeping for almost nine hours seemed frightfully insufficient. But she felt better rested than she had in quite some time, and was determined to march down to engineering and demand that Trip allow her to resume her work on the plasma conduits.

Right after breakfast.

As it was so late in the morning, very few people were in the mess hall when she went in, and almost no one noticed that, for the first time in days, she was actually eating. She had her usual breakfast of fruit salad and marveled at the fact that she had managed to go the entire night without one nightmare.

It did not occur to Kamea until after she had eaten to wonder why she had slept the whole night, when she had not been able to do so since her parents' murders. But when she returned to her quarters to shower – her first hot shower in years, she almost danced in the stall – she sat on her bed and thought on it for a while. It didn't make any sense, why she was suddenly able to sleep through the night, and the only conclusion at which she could arrive was that it must have had something to do with Malcolm. After all, the only thing different about the night before was that Malcolm had been there.

Kamea had extensively researched Vulcan physiology while she was growing up, hoping that she might be able to explain some of the…oddities…about her body, and one thing she had learned was that Vulcans were touch-telepaths. That was why they were so resistant to the casual touches frequent in human culture. Kamea had learned at a young age that she did not like to touch or be touched except by her parents, but it wasn't until she began to research that she really understood why. She barely remembered anything about the previous night, but she did recall a sense of calm infusing her thoughts, drowning out her father's voice.

It must have been Malcolm. He had to have, in some way, been in her head. The thought was unnerving and exhilarating at the same time. She remembered what it was like to have Wat in her head, and had vowed never to have that happen again, but with Malcolm it was different. His vague presence in the back of her mind – though she hadn't been aware of it at the time – was almost comforting. But she wasn't about to let herself get into that mess again. Best to ignore it, chalk it up to a one-time thing and never think of it again.

Yeah. Like that was going to happen.

She dressed and wandered down into engineering, almost in a daze. It was not quite the triumphant march she had wanted, but Trip looked surprised to see her nonetheless. He was reinforcing the tubing around the plasma conduits, which had been her job until he had unceremoniously kicked her out of "his" engine room, but he looked up when she entered.

"Kamea!" he said, setting aside the molecular welding torch and walking over to her. He scrutinized her, an odd expression in his eyes. She scrutinized him right back. "What happened to you?"

Kamea pulled back in shock. Had something happened last night? She hadn't noticed any marks on her body – Malcolm of course would have been a gentleman – but Trip's comment made her think that she had somehow overlooked something. "Why?" she asked, her hand automatically going to her throat. Maybe there really is a hickey there and I just missed it.

Trip leaned forward until his face was inches from hers, and Kamea leaned back instinctively. Her area of personal space wasn't quite as large as other Vulcans, but she did have her limits. Her eyes weren't even focused, he was so close – she couldn't stand when someone got to that close to her. Well, unless the person in question was Malcolm.

Trip stared at her for quite some time, but at last he grinned and pulled back. She breathed a sigh of relief as he retreated from her personal space, but her relief was short-lived. "Sleep well last night?"

She bristled at the amused tone of his voice but nodded, determined not to rise to the bait. "I had a good night's sleep, yes."

"And who should I thank for that?" he asked, the twinkle in his eyes difficult to ignore.

She glowered at him. "I don't like what you're insinuating, Commander," she said, making sure to make his rank sound like as much of an insult as possible. She would not let him get to her.

He chuckled softly. "Mal finally come to his senses, then?"

Kamea stood on her toes, stretching as tall as she could so that she could better look Trip in the eye. To hell with her vow. "I promised the captain I wouldn't use my abilities on any members of his crew, but I can still kick your ass without them." To her great frustration, her remark only seemed to amuse him even more. "What is so damn funny?"

He shook his head, but she hated that look of smug satisfaction on his face. No wonder T'Pol was always irritated with him; he was really rather irritating. "Nothing. You want to take over the plasma conduits or go help Kelby with the warp core?"

Kamea narrowed her eyes. "Which one will you not be doing?" she asked, at the moment not particularly caring how juvenile she sounded.

Trip smiled. "I was hoping to continue with the plasma conduits. I'm almost done."

She cocked an eyebrow. "Then why did you ask me if I wanted to take over?"

He shrugged halfheartedly. "Just being polite."

She shook her head in disbelief, idly wondering how T'Pol could be attracted to someone so infuriating, and headed over to the warp core to assist Kelby, who seemed very pleased to have her back.

"These guys," he said, gesturing to some of the engineers who were scrambling about behind him, "are the biggest bunch of idiots I've ever met."

Kamea crouched down to examine his progress and gave him a tiny smile, recognizing his remark for the veiled compliment that it was. "I'm sure Starfleet wouldn't have assigned them to Enterprise if they weren't capable of doing their jobs."

Kelby lifted one shoulder in a half-shrug and crouched down beside her, under the pretext of checking the core pressure. He leaned close to her – though not so close as to make her uncomfortable, Kelby at least respected her personal boundaries – and said, "Well, it's not exactly like there were a lot of people volunteering for this assignment after the whole thing with the Xindi."

She looked pointedly at him. "I'm sure it's a lot safer to be onboard an armed starship than to be left virtually defenseless on Earth."

He threw her a wink. "Most people don't think like you."

She laughed humorlessly. "No. I guess not." She stood up, and Kelby did the same. "Well, idiots or not, you seem to be making real progress. It looks like you don't even need me."

"Hey now," Kelby said. "I'm sure we can find something that wasn't done right that you and only you can fix."

This time there was some mirth in her laughter. "Don't let Trip hear you say that."

Kelby shrugged again. "Commander Tucker knows you're a damn fine engineer. You can check the coils, I don't think the guy I had install the upgrades even knows what the hell a warp coil is."

She rolled her eyes but couldn't resist smiling. "Well, that's comforting."

When Kamea went to examine the warp coils, however, she realized that there may have been some truth in Kelby's statement. Whoever had been responsible for installing the new and improved coils had stuck them in the core upside down. Kamea had to shut down the core and force Enterprise to travel at impulse for a good half a day before she was able to reinstall them correctly. By the time she was finished, she was irritable and exhausted, so she skipped dinner and went directly to her quarters, hoping that her nightmares had finally ceased and she'd be permitted to get some much-needed rest.

It was a foolish hope. Not an hour after closing her eyes, she woke with a start, drenched in sweat, having heard her father's voice in her head. She prayed that it was an after affect and attempted to go back to sleep. Some thirty minutes later, she sat bolt upright in bed, with visions of not only her father's lifeless eyes but also a dead Malcolm dancing before her. The air was so thick with the imaginary smell of blood that she could barely breathe. This wasn't working. She had to get out of there.

She went for her near routine walk about the ship, heading for sickbay without even realizing where she was going. Vulcans didn't believe in the subconscious – the existence of a subconscious undermined the importance of logic – but Kamea couldn't deny that her subconscious was trying to tell her something. She wasn't even going to try to fight any more. It was obvious that something about Malcolm helped her sleep, and if she had to sleep with Malcolm every night in order to not have horrible nightmares, then so be it.

She couldn't help but grin.

Not anxious to have yet another discussion about her insomnia with Phlox, she settled for peeking through the doors of sickbay to see if she could spot Malcolm – perhaps she could signal to him – but he wasn't there. Assuming he'd been released that day – it had been over a week since Altara, and he'd been well enough to come to her quarters the night before – she turned around and headed for the senior officer's quarters just around the corner.

Her stomach gurgled as she approached his door. What was she going to say to him? Hi. I was in the neighborhood and was wondering if I could sleep with you tonight. Yeah, like those words would ever come out of her mouth. More importantly, what was he going to think? He would probably think that she was only using him, because she had determinedly avoided him the past week, going out of her way to do so, even when she needed to go to sickbay. But now that she had discovered she couldn't sleep without him, she'd probably be stopping by every night asking if she could stay. He was going to think that was all she wanted from him.

Her stomach lurched unpleasantly – not that any lurch in her stomach was pleasant, really. Perhaps it was best that Malcolm believe that sleep, in the platonic sense, was all she needed from him. She wasn't sure if she could go through that again; her relationship with Wat had screwed her up irrevocably. Damn shape-shifting bastard. Next time she saw him, she was going to…

Damn, she thought. How the hell do you even castrate a changeling? Can't he just grow a new one?

Pushing all thoughts of Wat aside and only briefly entertaining the idea of containing him in a glass jar for the rest of eternity, she stepped up to Malcolm's door and reached out hesitantly to ring the bell.

He opened the door wearing only sweatpants, and she immediately rethought her decision.

Damn that man.

"Kamea?" he said, the concern evident in his soft voice. "Are you all right?"

She wanted to tell him everything – that she thought she might be falling in love with him but couldn't let that happen because of one bad relationship, that every time she closed her eyes she saw him die now, too, that her father's voice would not leave her alone, that Vulcans were touch-telepaths and he seemed to be able to project a calmness into her subconscious that allowed her to sleep, and that if he didn't take her in his arms right now and kiss her senseless, she was going to smack him so hard it would make his descendants dizzy.

But she didn't say that. All she said was, "Can I come in?"

Coward, she thought. Vulcans aren't afraid.

Shut up, you. Vulcans may not be afraid, but humans sure as hell are. And I don't know of any Vulcans who show up at half-naked armory officer's bedrooms in the middle of the night hoping to be able to crawl into bed with them. So cram it.

He looked simultaneously confused and delighted, if such a thing were possible. It was almost as if he had been hoping she would stop by, and he stepped aside to let her in. She considered going directly to the bed but didn't want to give him the wrong impression, as if there were a right impression to be had.

Malcolm solved her problem by asking, "Couldn't sleep?"

She shook her head slowly, opening her mouth to explain the situation. She choked on the words, though. Crossing her arms protectively in front of her chest, she asked, "Can I stay here tonight?"

He was obviously trying very hard not to smile. "Of course. Whatever you need."

She didn't trust herself to move any closer to him, if that made any sense; she was about to be sleeping in the same bed with him. She settled for simply saying, "Thank you."

Kamea went to the bed and scooted as far over to the side as she could, so that she was practically crammed up against the bulkhead. She curled up into a fetal position and waited anxiously for Malcolm to take his place beside her. After a while, she heard him shuffling about behind her and craned her neck to look over her shoulder. He was making himself a bed on the floor.

Well, that wouldn't work.

"You're going to sleep on the floor?" she asked. It came out slightly more pissed sounding than she had intended it. He gave her a strange look, and she took a deep breath to calm herself. "I don't want to deprive you of your bed," she said, priding herself on how much more composed she sounded.

"It's no bother," Malcolm said. He retrieved a spare pillow from his closet and spread out on the floor.

"I don't want to impose," she said, sending Malcolm telepathic messages that he should get in the damn bed already.

"It's no imposition," he said, not getting the hint.

Her patience finally snapped. "Just get in the damn bed already, you daft git."

Malcolm propped himself up on his elbows and looked at her incredulously, but she thought she detected a flicker of amusement in his blue eyes. "I beg your pardon?"

She sighed heavily and rolled over completely. "Look, last night was the first time in almost eight years that I've actually slept through the night, and I know it had something to do with you being there." She could feel her eyes sting with tears and silently cursed her tear ducts. "I'm so tired, Malcolm. You have no idea. So could you just sleep with me? Please?"

Without another word, Malcolm stood up and crawled into bed beside her. She rolled over again so that she was facing the wall and closed her eyes as his arms encircled her waist, pulling her against him.

It felt so good, being in his arms. His thumbs brushed against the exposed skin of her stomach and she shivered. She hummed contentedly, wriggling backwards, trying to press up against him as much as possible. She heard his breathing hitch and smiled with great satisfaction.

"Don't expect this every night," he said, though his voice was shaky. She could tell her close proximity was affecting him as much as his presence was affecting her.

It was a good feeling.

"Wouldn't dream of it," she said, fighting back a yawn. Already his calm was intruding her thoughts, and she could feel sleep washing over her.

Her last conscious thought was to wonder what it would be like to sleep with Malcolm in the non-platonic sense.

A/N: And so ends book 4 of the Kamea Chronicles. To be continued in book 5, "The Soul of the Father", which will be posted whenever I can get around to starting it. As it is, I am currently going insane, so I might not get much writing done in the near future. Since this is now done, I'm going to focus solely on my writing sample for grad school admissions, and once that's done I can concentrate on my fan fiction again. Also, I'm planning on quitting one of my jobs so that I actually have time off (I haven't had a day off in over a week, and I won't get one until Wednesday). Much apologies for how long it took for me to get this finished, but like I said, I haven't had much time off lately, and it's hard to write while going crazy.

Ho'opau – stop

Mai – don't

Mai ha'alele ia'u – Don't leave me.

Hele ma kahi 'ē – Go away.

Ak'sh'iz – ashamed

'Oia ho'i hā, e ana – All right, then, I will.

Mahalo – Thank you.

Komo mai – You're welcome.

'Oia a'e lā nō – It's all right.

Au ma'ane'i – I'm here.

Malakoma is the Hawaiian name for Malcolm. I looked it up on one of the Internet's many baby names websites. I think it was 20,000 Baby Names, but I could be mistaken.

And if you're wondering why Kamea doesn't make a comment about the fact that Malcolm spoke Hawaiian, remember that she doesn't really remember anything about that night, for the sole reason that I forgot about that and didn't realize I forgot until I was proofreading it just now. It will be addressed in the next part.

Kamea's infamous relationship with the oft mentioned but never seen Wat will be explored in greater detail in later books of the chronicles. Until then, I leave what happened between them up to your own imagination. Have fun with that.

Mad props, many thanks, and cookies go to Rigil Kent, Karen-s-c, volley, Lucas43, West Dean, firebirdgirl, scarletwitch0, and Viperion! You guys keep reading, and I'll keep writing!