Author Notes: This chapter is written for ChemicalNova, and everyone else who survived their AS and A levels. Thanks for the feedback, and in answer to JadziaKathryn's review, the title is Latin for Night and Day. Some people might find the content of this chapter upsetting.
Eat, sleep, listen, eat, sleep, listen. That's all it was! Why couldn't they just leave him alone? Why wouldn't they just give up? He wasn't, couldn't, talk, and yet here they were, asking him countless questions about things he just wanted to forget. They had it all wrong. He didn't give a damn about what he had done to those pirates – and that is what truly scared him. He was actually happy that he had brutally killed those aliens. He could still remember the feeling. It had been as if he had known countless new styles of fighting, all flowing through his mind just as he needed them. It had felt powerful, but that was not the reason why he had enjoyed it. Those creatures had murdered billions.
He shivered; even if he didn't still have the whole society's history and culture downloaded into his brain, he could still remember the nightmares, and the images. Every time he closed his eyes he could see the blood, almost hear the screams. The blood had run through the streets like water, and the Klingons had just kept going. Some of the things they had done to those people… If that's what the universe was like, who would want to be a part of it? If the only way to get retribution was to act just like your enemies, then what was the use? The past was black, and the future was blacker.
"Morning, Mal!" Malcolm prised open his eyes and sat up as sickbay flooded with light. He regarded Trip calmly, as he always did, but made no sound. This routine had been going on for almost a week now, bringing the total of this hell up to a month. He sighed inwardly, preparing for yet another hour of 'conversation', if that is what you could call Trip talking and him listening. It didn't matter, though - he had given himself a week, and still felt nothing. He could still look as the past month in a cold, clinical way; no true guilt, no true hate, no true hope. Time's up.
"Sickbay to the Bridge."
Archer frowned, "Archer here."
Phlox's voice rang through, "Lieutenant Reed has…disappeared from my care."
Jonathan's expression deepened, "How exactly?"
"I am afraid I was occupied with my animals. He cannot have gone too far, but I am concerned as to his mental state."
Archer mentally swore, "Alright, I'll get a search team together."
Five teams consisting of any available crewmen were put together swiftly to sweep the decks. In addition, pairs were scouting the smaller areas of the ship. Trip, paired with a MACO named Sergeant Johnston, was checking one of the more obvious places – Malcolm's quarters. Johnston moved back to the door, "He's not here, sir, we should check the rest of this deck though."
Trip didn't answer. Something was wrong here, but he couldn't place it. As far as he could tell, the quarters were just as immaculate as they always were, nothing out of place. The MACO shifted on his feet, "Sir?"
Trip shrugged, "Yeah." As he turned to leave, something caught his eye. The end of the bed, the one near the pillow, was ruffled, as if someone had been too lazy to make the corners. Striding over, Trip knelt and moved the mattress aside. At first he saw nothing, and then his hand brushed something, which he quickly pulled out. As soon as he recognised what it was, he knew the situation was way worse than they had thought.
Johnston stepped forwards, "Sir? What is that?"
Trip closed his eyes, "It's an empty knife sheath. Standard issue. He was here."
The MACO was shocked, "You don't think he'd…"
Trip frowned, talking half to himself, "What is the quietest place on this ship? If everyone was searching for you, where would no one think to look?" He looked up, "Tactically, where would you go?"
The MACO frowned, "Most areas on this ship are manned twenty four seven. Others, you've only got access by going through those crowded areas. That leaves the access tubes, crew quarters, shuttle bays if you're lucky. But if you really didn't want to be found – cargo bays. Except, why would he want to go there? If he's really gonna… why there?"
Trip was already halfway out the door, "Because we wouldn't expect him too! Redirect all teams – allocate them a bay, we'll take six."
How can you feel, when everything is black? One cut, see red, it's the only way. It makes it better. Watch it trickle, if you can't feel in the conventional ways, then you have to try all options. Tiny cuts, don't sever the tendons, if you do, you can't cut more. Not too deep, if it's deep, you die, and to die is painless, you can't feel. Have to feel, can't be so cold.
You think blood is red, but it's not. You've got so many shades, dark, almost to the point of black. See, we all have black in us. The black bleeds fast, like poison. Mixes with the lighter reds, taints the sunset of colours. If this is the only way to feel, to get the dark out of you, then shouldn't you feel better? Not good enough, the dark is still there, with the cold. Have to feel, must feel something. Death is black, but so is life. No one sees it, no one understands, no one can.
Time's up, have to feel, only way, no one sees the black.
"Malcolm!" Trip scrambled down the ladder, jumping the last five. He had seen blood from the walkway, he had been sure. Running around a crate, his eyes finally settled on his friend, "Oh my God…"
Malcolm was half standing, half leaning against a crate. Blood, horribly dark in colour, stained the white clothes. His eyes were half closed as he ran a dripping blade over his wrists. He hadn't even acknowledged that Trip was there, "Get a med team!" he yelled to Johnston, "Now!"
His second yell brought Malcolm partly out of it; at least he raised his head to meet Trip's eyes. "Mal-" Trip voice cracked, and he tried to compose himself, "Malcolm, please put the knife down – you don't want to do this."
"Only way." The voice was so quiet, so lost, but it was there.
"No, it's not. You just have to let us help you."
Trip took a step forwards, "I'll help. I promise. Just, please, this is not a way to go, you're not a coward, you always told me, you told Jon, you'd rather go out doing something good, for other people, not like this."
"I don't want to die. I want to feel." He drew the blade slowly over the already torn skin, "I need to feel. No one can understand."
Trip shook his head, "No. This isn't how you do it. Malcolm, stop it, please."
"Too late. Tried to feel. Couldn't." His grip increased on the handle of the knife, and his gaze intensified, completely clear now, "You can't help me, Trip, you can't understand."
"No Malcolm." Trip was close to breaking point, "I do understand. And I know this isn't how to feel again. This isn't the way."
"You're wrong, you're lying."
"You helped me," Trip closed his eyes for a second, trying to find strength, "When Elizabeth died, I couldn't feel. I just wanted to hurt the Xindi. I thought that no one could help me, I was cold."
"No!" Malcolm's voice held anger now, "You didn't see it happen! I can! I can still remember what they did! I'm glad I killed those Klingons, but I did exactly what they did to the Reefar, I deserve to feel something, some guilt, some pain, but I don't! All I see is what they did, and I feel nothing."
"I didn't see it, no, but I played it over in my head. I could tell you every scream, of every one of those seven million people. I knew I should feel pain, their pain, Elizabeth's pain, but I couldn't. This isn't how you do it."
Malcolm's strength was waning as he slumped against the crate, "I just want to feel."
Trip took the final steps forwards, and gently took the knife from Malcolm's slack hand, throwing it away. He pulled Malcolm into a hug, feeling the weak resistance against his chest, feeling the blood slowly soak into his uniform. Malcolm's legs finally gave, and Trip lowered him to the floor, not breaking contact. Malcolm tried to pull away, but Trip was stronger, "I know you do, but you have to let us help you. You have to let us in."
Malcolm seemed to collapse against Trip, and they sat there, both crying for people lost, both understanding.
To cry is to feel, to feel is to stop the darkness, to stop the darkness is to survive, and to survive is all anyone can do.
Author Notes: That's it folks! I know it might seem like a bit of an odd ending, but I thought it summed up the story more than if I had continued further. I would really love to know what you thought, so let me know! Thanks a lot for the support!