Title: Warning: Annoyed Armoury Officer
Author: Hel Bee
Series: ENT
Codes: Tu/R
Rating: PG-13 (if that!)
Beta: Charlene
Summary: Malcolm's gets jealous
Disclaimer: I own none of it and I have no intention of selling it!

A/N: Just a piece of fluff without purpose. Written in a pub in London while waiting for a train – a self-prescribed antidote to the angst I put Trip through in my last fic.

Malcolm Reed was not a happy armoury officer. In fact, he would go as far to say he was decidedly pissed off. Enterprise was barely a month into its second mission and Commander Charles Tucker the Third was already engaging in less than exemplary behaviour becoming of an officer.

If he was being fair, and Malcolm prided himself on his fairness, Trip wasn't actually at fault on this occasion. Trip was being pursued, quite actively, by Limic Val, the very male attaché of the Escossian ambassador. At first it had been almost comical to watch the commander stutter out a polite refusal of dinner, to turn down invites for coffee or evenings devoted to cultural exchange, but now Trip looked like he was in danger of wavering. Malcolm's eyes narrowed as Limic's hand was allowed to rest on the engineer's upper arm as he leaned in to whisper something in Trip's ear. His mood darkened further as Trip threw back his head and laughed at whatever witty remark Limic had made. The alien's green skin changed momentarily to pink, which according to the Vulcan database was a sign that the Escossian was very pleased.

At least, thought Malcolm sourly, they were still in public. They were actually at another interminably long reception the Escossians had laid on to mark Enterprise's visit. Over the last week the whole crew had been able to enjoy the Escossian's hospitality on their home planet: a massive M class body, similar enough to Earth to cause pangs of homesickness in some of the newer recruits.

Malcolm supposed he had no right to be jealous; it wasn't as if he'd actually told Trip of his feelings. His deep respect for Trip had morphed, somewhat unexpectedly into lust and, more worrying of late, into something more. Malcolm wasn't the kind of man to bandy the word love around, but he had a sinking feeling that was what felt for the commander. It wasn't as if he hadn't tried to get the man out of his system. He had engaged in uncomplicated sex with willing men while back in San Francisco, and although it had all been very enjoyable it had left him feeling rather hollow. The void was almost immediately filled with an even greater longing for Trip when he returned to Enterprise.

However, his previous annoyance was nothing compared to the burst of vitriol he now felt as he watched Limic Val lead Trip – his Trip – out of the reception hall and into the palace gardens. His feet acted on their own accord and before Malcolm knew what he was doing he was following the object of his affection out into the evening air.

The light was failing, but Malcolm could clearly see Limic leading Trip into one of the rose gardens. The alien's hand had rested in the small of Trip's back as he pointed out statues and flora of interest. For a brief moment Malcolm thought heshould head back inside to give them some privacy, but then he saw Limic's hand side onto theengineer's arse. Trip immediately stiffened and stepped away from his companion. Malcolm couldn't hear what was being said but Trip's body language was shouting at Limic to back off.

Limic had taken no heed of Trip's protestations and had now grabbed the commander by his upper arms, pulling him closer and attempting to kiss the clearly distressed engineer. Trip had obviously underestimated Limic's strength. Malcolm had told the idiot himself to be careful, that Escossians might look human – green skin aside – but were even stronger than Vulcans.

Malcolm growled under his breath and marched across the lawn to the two struggling men. "Is everything all right, Commander Tucker?" he asked calmly, despite the desire to rip Limic's arms off.

Trip's head snapped around and the look of relief was all Malcolm needed to confirm his interruption was very welcome. Before Trip could answer Limic spoke: "Everything is in order, Lieutenant. We are merely discussing differences between our species."

Trip took the opportunity to extract himself from Limic's grasp and in an instant Malcolm was by his side. Limic's eyes widened almost comically. "I didn't realise. A thousand apologies." He looked between them. "If I had known the commander was attached I would not have continued my pursuit."

Malcolm was not the kind of man to look a gift horse in the mouth. He slipped his arm around Trip's waist. "Yes, well, we had agreed not to broadcast our relationship for the time being."

Trip's mouth was agape and Malcolm thought there was really only one way of stopping the engineer from saying something stupid. He said a small prayer to the god of armoury officers and kissed him. Trip's response was more of shock than immediate gratification, but Malcolm persisted and the engineer moaned lustfully, allowing Malcolm's tongue access. Malcolm would admit that Trip could kiss, and when they did finally part Limic was nowhere to be seen.

Trip was staring at him, looking somewhat dazed. "Wow, that was… wow!"

"Erudite as ever, Trip," said Malcolm smirking. "What have I told you about playing with strange aliens?"

"Hey! I didn't encourage him. I told him yesterday that there was no way anything would happen between us. He obviously thought he'd have another go at persuading me to change my mind."

"Hmm, I'm afraid I won't be allowing you out of my sight for the foreseeable future, Mr Tucker," purred Malcolm, tightening his grip on Trip's waist. "You clearly need someone to keep you out of trouble."

Trip grinned, a grin that affected parts of Malcolm's anatomy in the same way every time he saw it, including one particular instance on the bridge when Malcolm had been very glad of his console. "I take it you're applying for the job?"

"Oh, I wouldn't trust anyone else to such an important security mission."

Trip leaned forward and kissed him, much to Malcolm's delight. "Y'know, I didn't think you'd be interested?"

"Me?" laughed Malcolm. "You didn't exactly give me any clues that you'd submit to a round of tonsil hockey!"

Trip blushed. Malcolm decided he liked it. "You are the most dangerous man on the ship. God knows what you'd have done to me if I'd tried something and you'd taken exception."

Malcolm raised an eyebrow. "Are you saying I'm too hard to handle, Mr Tucker?"

"Oh, I don't know about that," Trip said seductively, "perhaps that's something we could discuss in my quarters, once we're back on Enterprise."

Malcolm checked his wristwatch. "There's a shuttlepod due to leave in ten minutes – I think we should be on it."

Trip laughed and Malcolm kissed him again, before pushing the still sniggering chief engineer in the direction of the landing site.