For LtBlackFire, byspecial request.

Warnings: T/R slash, but mild.

x-x

"So, did you want Pop Tarts, or Toast 'Ems?"

Malcolm's eyes fluttered open and, vision blurred from sleep, he squinted to make out the face hovering over his. "What?" was all Malcolm managed to say in response as he struggled to sit, the sheets sliding away as he moved. With a quick hand, he grabbed them and pulled them back over his body, sitting up fully. What in the world? Not only was Trip in his quarters, which was odd enough, but the man was…

Malcolm's eyes opened wide as his vision finally cleared. Trip was standing over his bed, grinning like a madman, a box of toaster pastries in each hand. And nude. Utterly starkers. Malcolm's eyes flew down to where they had no right looking, then away to the books on the shelf, the monitor, the far wall, anywhere but at Trip. It was only then that he realised that there was something even odder going on.

This wasn't Malcolm's room. This was Trip's. And Malcolm had no bloody idea how he'd gotten there, or why Trip was naked. Malcolm lifted the sheets that were covering his lower body, then let them drop. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest, and his breath started coming in fast gasps.

Make that, why Trip and he…

His vision greyed.

A voice came from above him. "Hey, you all right?"

Malcolm raised his eyes to look at Trip. His head immediately started swimming, so he closed his eyes. He felt a gentle hand on his shoulder – Trip must have put down the Pop Tarts. God, the man was trying to serve him breakfast, of a sort. Malcolm heard himself giggle.

"Christ, Malcolm. Are you okay?"

Malcolm shook his head. That made the dizziness worse, and he winced. "I'm not…sure…" he said, his voice trailing away as he felt himself sliding sideways.

x-x

Malcolm's eyes fluttered open and he stared off at nothing. There was a steady, muted bleeping somewhere nearby, and the lights were dim. He inhaled the familiar scents of antiseptic and animal bedding, and knew where he was: sickbay.

He pushed himself to sitting and floated there for a moment, waiting for his head to clear. It didn't, so he went ahead and slid off the edge of the bed, his bare feet making contact with the smooth, cold floor. He stared at his hands, then rubbed his arms. Someone had dressed him – he was wearing a t-shirt with "Florida State" scrolled across the chest, and a pair of sweat pants.

He didn't own sweat pants.

He looked up and only then realised that he was swaying, the rows and rows of empty biobeds undulating before him.

Cold, he was so cold, and sore, his head was murder. Hungry, too. Hadn't he… Pop Tarts! He started in shock, the events of the morning coming back to him in a rush. He turned in place, trying to see if anyone else was in the room, because Trip had been with him…

A wave of vertigo hit, and he caught himself with a quick hand to the mattress beside him. He stood there, head down and eyes shut, trying to even his breathing. He could feel himself trembling, whether from the cold or from something else, he wasn't sure. He was powerless to stop it.

He heard someone's tread nearby, then felt a soft hand on his arm, the palm seeming hot on his too-cold skin.

"What are you doing out of bed?"

Malcolm turned his head slightly and, seeing a man's hand on his arm, allowed his eyes to trace the hand, the arm, the shoulder, the neck, finally resting on Trip's concerned face. "Did we have sex?" he heard himself asking. He frowned, because not only had that not at all been what he'd meant to say, but it was also a truly horrible opening line.

Trip blinked, his expression showing worry and surprise, and even a flash of hurt, all there for a moment before he slipped what Malcolm thought of as his "poker face" into place. "You're sick, Malcolm. Phlox said –

"We did," Malcolm said, again finding himself speaking before he could make himself stop, or think through his words. It was if his mouth had been disconnected from his mind. "Bad, bad, bad."

This time Trip did look hurt, and a bit angry. He pulled his hand away.

Malcolm felt its absence. The skin there felt burnt, as if he'd been branded. "No, no," he said quickly, his words running over each other. "That's not at all what I meant. You weren't bad…" At Trip's wince, Malcolm rephrased. "…Not that I'd know. I mean…" He smiled at Trip, he hoped suggestively, but he suspected that he simply looked squeamish. "I missed it."

Trip frowned, a deep furrow creasing his forehead. "Excuse me?"

Malcolm turned to fully face Trip. "I know that we slept together. At least, I assume so," Malcolm tugged at the hem of the sweatshirt, "due to our initial state of undress and my current wearing of a token of your affection."

Trip cast anxious eyes past Malcolm to the far wall, where Phlox's office stood.

Malcolm felt another chill pass through him in a wave, and the dizziness returned. "I don't remember." His vision tunnelled, leaving Trip, at its centre, the only thing he could see clearly. "I think I'm sick."

The last thing he heard before he hit the deck was, "No kidding," then an alarmed voice shouting, "Phlox!"

x-x

Malcolm looked up in surprise as the curtain surrounding his biobed was scraped back. He felt the heat in his cheeks when he saw Trip standing there, a nervous half-smile flickering across his features.

"Feeling better?" Trip asked, nodding to the padd that Malcolm had been reading.

"I am indeed," Malcolm answered, placing said padd on the table beside his bed.

"Sorry I wasn't able to come by earlier," Trip said, crossing his arms over his chest. "Phlox had told me that you were…" His voice trailed away.

"Lucid?" Malcolm filled in.

Trip nodded awkwardly. "Somewhat." He shifted. "Listen, Malcolm –

"Trip, I –

They both stopped when they realised they'd spoken on top of each other.

Trip dropped his arms. "I'm really sorry. I hadn't…" he stepped forward, closing the distance between them, eyes lowered. "I didn't realise that you were sick." He raised anguished eyes to meet Malcolm's, dropping his voice. "How sick you were. I didn't mean to…" He looked away, then back again, his face now composed. "I can understand if you want to file a complaint."

"What?" Malcolm asked, unable to say more past his shock.

"I took advantage of you when you were in no position to defend yourself." Trip's poker face crumpled. "I am so damn sorry."

"What? No. I wanted to…Well, I'm not sure that I wanted to at the time, since I can't actually remember," Malcolm said with shades of his earlier fevered ramblings, but this time he could have stopped himself from speaking. He just didn't want to. He had to get this out, make Trip understand. He gave Trip a gentle smile. "I'm sure I would have wanted to, had I been of sound mind." That still wasn't quite right, and he shook his head, trying to find a way to say this clearly. "Because I would…I mean, I'd like to…I mean….Oh, bloody hell." He reached out, grabbed Trip's shirt, and pulled him in for a kiss.

After a moment, Trip pulled away slowly and gazed at him, confusion and anxiety clear in his eyes.

Malcolm frowned. He'd been hoping for more of a reaction from the man. "Phlox said I'm not contagious," Malcolm supplied, thinking it was that.

"I know." Trip simply stared at him, as if at a loss for words. "Why…"

At that, Malcolm smiled in understanding. "I missed our first time."

"Uhm…yes."

Malcolm raised a devilish eyebrow. "Care to make it up to me?"

Now it was Trip's turn to smile.

x-x

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