Disclaimer: Enterprise belongs to Paramount, not me. I just had fun playing with the disaster twins.
Author's note: I apologize profusely. I thought that I had posted the final chapter of this story months ago, but I was cleaning off my desktop today and realized that this was still there and not on here. I hope that you enjoy the last chapter. I've loved all of your reviews! You finally get to find out the winner of the bet in this chapter. Enjoy and leave a last review!
Chapter 13 – A Comfort
There was a soft beeping in the background as Malcolm slowly came around. The smell of sick bay filled his nostrils as he breathed deeply while relaxing when he realized that the pain was gone and he felt the dullness of medication. He accepted it, enjoying the relief from the excruciating pain he had suffered while on that planet. Animals made noises as Malcolm wondered what time it was. He attempted to open his eyes. Fighting the drugs, he managed to lift his eye lids. It was blurry at first.
"You look like hell," a southern voice clipped.
"I'm sure you don't look much better," Malcolm muttered, focusing on his friend sitting in the chair next to him.
Trip laughed as Malcolm realized that he had his leg resting on another chair and plastered in a cast.
"I think that you should be interested in who is winning the bet so far," his friend teased, crossing his arms across his chest.
"What bet?" Malcolm muttered, attempting to get his bearings and figure out how much time had passed. The last thing that he could remember was being in severe pain and having a conversation with Trip about death or something.
"We promised that we wouldn't end up in sick bay. I don't think that worked out very well."
Malcolm groaned. "I guess it didn't. Who's winning?"
"You wouldn't believe it if I told you."
Trip laughed softly as he observed Malcolm trying to sit up and failing miserably. Doctor Phlox came out of one of his numerous hiding places, chiding the man for moving. He checked his stats, giving one of his famous smiles. It made Malcolm feel more uncomfortable by the moment. Before he could say anything, the doors to sick bay opened admitting a weary looking Captain Archer. Malcolm blushed, not wanting his commanding officer to see him shirtless and in pain. It wasn't dignified.
"How are you feeling Malcolm?" Jonathan inquired.
"Fine, sir," Lieutenant Reed answered, looking down at the sheet. "I am a bit confused on all that has happened."
Phlox gave him a look that said he needed more rest before things were going to be explained to him. Jon smiled at Malcolm and shrugged his shoulders, grimacing once.
"I'll let you know soon. You best get some more sleep before Doctor Phlox puts us all in beds."
"Captain, you should return to your quarters to rest or I will keep you here longer," Phlox threatened, giving a sigh.
Captain Archer nodded, patting Malcolm's blanketed foot. "I'll see you in the morning Malcolm. Get some rest and I'll explain it to you when you are feeling better. You've been through quite an ordeal. Good night."
Malcolm watched his friends exit sickbay as Doctor Phlox prepared more medication for him. Trip had saved his life and he owed him seriously for not letting him die on that strange planet. It wasn't right for the security officer to need a savior when he should be doing the rescuing. But for a friend, it was alright. Two friends saving each other were perfectly fine.
The observation lounge was empty, save a lone figure dressed in jeans and sipping a warm cup of tea. Malcolm relaxed as the stars flew past the window. He could feel the light bandage beneath his finger as he touched his side. The wound has mostly healed, but Malcolm was still fighting an infection and Phlox was keeping him off of duty until he was completely healthy. In the glow of the room, he rested softly. The door slid open as Trip entered, carrying a sick bay blanket and a padd. He plopped down in the seat beside his best friend and sighed, pulling out a package with cookies in it. Trip snacked quietly, kicking up his feet.
"Did the doc left you leave?" Trip questioned, passing him a cookie.
Malcolm smiled, but didn't answer.
"How's the infection?"
"Well, the medication that Phlox is giving me is leaving me exhausted, but I do feel much better."
Trip tossed him the blanket as Malcolm shivered once. "You still have a fever. Phlox asked me to find you and I assumed that you would be here, hiding but in an area that no one really visits unless they are off shift or in need of a friend."
Malcolm covered himself up, rubbing his side as the pain increased a little.
"Wanna tell me how you truly are?" Trip asked with an edge to his voice.
"I'm fine Commander."
"Malcolm, it's not your fault that we crashed on that planet. It's not your fault that your appendix was faulty and decided to give up on you while we were down there. You saved my life."
Malcolm thought about this for a few moments. He clearly remembered Trip's pain and caring for him as the storm came and as he was fighting a losing battle. But he also remembered his best friend taking care of him as his life waned. "You're right, but wrong. You saved my life too."
"Let's call it even."
Trip shook his friend's hand and helped him to his feet since the man was still weak.
"Let's get you back to sick bay before the Doctor sends out a security team and tells Captain Archer that his favorite patients are playing games with him," Trip suggested.
The two headed back to sick bay, walking down the corridor, side by side. Friends, never give up on each other. Even when death stares them in the face, they grab some pecan pie and pineapple cake. Toss in shuttlepod one and there's an adventure to behold. No matter what promises they broke, Trip and Malcolm couldn't ever hate or be angry with each other. They saved each other. Malcolm lay down on his bio-bed as Phlox turned his monitor back on, explaining that if he stays on good behavior, he would be released to his quarters tomorrow morning. Malcolm nodded, feeling his exhaustion catching up with him from his morning quest. Trip plopped down in a chair beside the bed and leaned in close to the Lieutenant's ear.
"I still have those pictures," he teased.
"Trip… no one ever should see those," Malcolm chided, laughing softly.
"Well, if you ever get drunk and decide to tell T'Pol that you think her bum looks nice, I'll just remind you of said photographs."
Trip patted his shoulder and walked towards the doors of sick bay, smiling as he saw Malcolm lying peacefully and about to fall asleep. He was almost gone when he heard a tired voice behind him.
"You never did tell me. If I leave sick bay tomorrow, who wins the bet?"
Trip burst out laughing, holding his sides. "Son of a gun, it's not possible."
"What?" Malcolm inquired, sitting up slightly to look at his bemused friend's expression. "Who wins?"
The commander took one last look at Malcolm, pressed the door to sick bay and as he walked out through the doors laughing, he muttered a name.
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