Notes: For Indehed's challenge, and also my own Halloween challenge. Indehed had asked for: Tucker/Reed with a possessive Tucker, can be alien influence or natural, bit of kink, Malcolm gives someone a resound beating in the gym. My own Halloween challenge asked for writers to use any Halloween-related theme in a story. This piece is all very "Romeo and Juliet," but in a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" way.

My first fight scenes. Critique is appreciated.

Warnings: A bit of mild almost-non-con. Slash. Violence. Swearing.


Malcolm let the door to his quarters close behind him and, as it cut off the light from the corridor, he leaned against it, too spent to proceed. It had been one hell of a day.

He ran a weary hand across his face and pushed away from the door. Not bothering to turn on a light, undress, or even take off his boots, he sank down onto his bed and lay there on his back, staring into the darkness and trying hard not to think.

He and Trip hadn't seen much of each other since Trip had returned from the mission to Bechovia. They'd both been so busy with work, and Malcolm had thought... He sighed and pushed his left boot off with his right foot. It fell off the bed with a loud thunk, which was quickly followed by a second. He'd thought everything was fine, that Trip just needed time to catch up with work, and that everything would return to normal once they finally were able to have some time alone. Malcolm grabbed the edge of his duvet. Rolling onto his side, he wrapped himself in it, anchoring himself there. He hadn't realised that he'd have to practically corral the man in order to get that time; or that, once they finally did speak, it would be for only a few moments. Moments that Trip would spend shifting from one foot to the other and refusing to meet his eye. It was only with prodding on his part that Trip had finally said anything at all.

Malcolm tossed away the blanket and sat on the bed, shifting so that his back rested against the bulkhead. The emotions from that moment were still roiling within him: a mix of sadness, and regret, and anger. They'd been dating for two years. Two bloody years!

"More space," Trip had said when Malcolm had finally cornered him in his quarters. He'd said that he'd needed "a break", just "a little time to think things through."

Malcolm let his head fall back and gently hit the wall behind him once, twice, three times. "A break", indeed.

He shook his head. What Trip had said back there was bollocks. Even if Trip genuinely thought "more space" was the answer, Malcolm for a fact knew that it was not. In his experience, when someone in a relationship mentioned that they needed "more space," that usually signalled the beginning of the end. He pulled his legs up in front of him and, wrapping his arms around them, gazed into the darkness as if it would somehow hold the answer.

Trip, intentionally or not, was now leading him along. The relationship was ending. It was only a matter of time.

He could not - would not let this happen to him. He should act the man, rather than the boy, and take control of the situation. No matter the personal pain and his own hopes, he should end it now. It would only save him hurt in the long run.

The first tear surprised him, burning into his skin as it trickled down his cheek. He wiped it away angrily, only to have it followed by more. Damn it, he couldn't - He would not do this; lose himself to grief and, and...

He heard himself gasp and he shook his head violently, trying to drive away the pain. He started mumbling a series of swear words, an old trick he used to use to gain control. Whispering this twisted mantra, he focused on the sound of the words, hoping that their meaning, their violence and anger, would drive the hurt to the back of his mind. He remembered a film an old girlfriend had shown him once, the entire first ten minutes nothing but "Bugger, bugger, bugger," culminating in one "Fuck." Something about..., yes, "Four Weddings and a Funeral," that was the title, right.

He took a slow and careful breath in, and consciously tried to relax his shoulders as he breathed out. In, and out. And once again.

He felt dread chill his stomach as he slid to the edge of the bed. Feet planted firmly on the floor, he checked his chronometer. Twenty-one-hundred-hours. Trip would probably be in the gym.

Reaching out with one hand, Malcolm triggered the lights.


Malcolm was about to leave the dark, empty gym when he heard a rustling. He paused, listening for movement. There it was again.

Instantly alert, he called into the darkness, "Who's there?" When there was no answer, he raised the lights.

He took a full step back in shock at what he saw. Trip and Hoshi were - they were - How long had this been -

He almost turned away in horror and sadness when Hoshi caught his eye. With a chill in his gut, he suddenly saw the scene in a different light. Trip pressing Hoshi to the floor, pinning her there with his body. A hand clamped across her mouth. The other twisted in her uniform top.

Malcolm felt himself go cold and his anger took over. Before he even realised what he was doing, he was all over the man. He yanked Trip away by the shoulders. He jerked him to standing. He saw that Trip was about to take a swing at him, so he hit first.

Then Trip was fighting back, eyes blazing. Trip punched. Malcolm blocked it and staggered back. Malcolm swung a fist at him, allowing his fury to fuel his blows as he responded.

He heard Hoshi scramble up from her position on the floor and run to the comm.

He knocked Trip down, the man slamming against the wall before he fell.

Trip looked up from the floor, his face twisted in rage. He wiped the back of his hand against his lip and it came away bloody. He glanced down at it, quirked an eyebrow up at Malcolm, and smiled.

He smiled.

Malcolm's breath stopped. That was not like Trip. None of this was. Not his coldness in their earlier conversation, not his actions in attacking Hoshi, not his violence here in the gym.

But it was the smile that did it, the look in his eye as he stared up at Malcolm that made Malcolm realise he didn't know this man.

Malcolm kept his eyes locked on Trip as he heard the door to the room open. One of his security staff - McKay, from the sound of his voice - called out a puzzled, "Sir?" Only then did Malcolm look away.

"Take him to the brig," Malcolm said, his voice flat and cold.

"Sir?" McKay said again, his angular face expressing his confusion.

"Do it," Malcolm snapped. "And post a guard outside."

"Yes, sir."

McKay pulled Trip up from the floor. Trip shrugged out of his grip but allowed McKay to nudge him forward, toward the door.

Malcolm held himself still until Trip and McKay had left. As the door shut firmly behind them, he slumped onto the weight bench, head in hands. Now that the immediate crisis was over, he let the shock and confusion hit. He felt torn between trying not to think about what he had just seen, and trying to figure out what in the bloody hell had just happened. Trip attacking Hoshi. Then attacking him. The look in Trip's eye, the smile. None of it made sense.

He felt someone drape something across his shoulders. He heard them walk away, trigger the comm., and hold a soft conversation. Probably Hoshi calling Phlox, calling Archer.

He recognised that he must have drifted there for a moment, lost in thought or shock, because next he heard a voice, very soft, from in front of him.

"Are you all right?"

He lifted his head and saw Hoshi there, squatting in his line of sight. She had a red mark on one cheek, destined to turn to a nasty bruise. Her hair and uniform were dishevelled, but her eyes were resolute.

Taking in her appearance, it came to him that he should actually have been the one asking her that question, but he felt at a loss. "What just happened?"

"I have no idea," Hoshi replied, sitting on the floor in front of him. "I came in... I was too wound to sleep, and I'd figured I could work off some of the stress, get myself comatose. Then the lights went off, and someone was all over me."

Malcolm ran a shaky hand across his face, and pushed the hair back from his sweaty forehead. His hand came away bloody, so he rubbed it on his trousers. "We should get you to sickbay." When he tried to stand, his legs went out from under him.

Hoshi caught him with a hand to his elbow. "They're already expecting us."

He nodded and leaned into her arm as they walked through the door.


Please review and let me know what you think of this so far. Thanks!