Written for: 'tis but a scratch month

Warnings: Very mild swears

x-x

ARTHUR:

Now stand aside, worthy adversary.

BLACK KNIGHT:

'Tis but a scratch.

ARTHUR:

A scratch? Your arm's off!

BLACK KNIGHT:

No, it isn't.

ARTHUR:

Well, what's that, then?

BLACK KNIGHT:

I've had worse.

x-x

Malcolm shrugged into his jacket, hands smoothing down the dark material as he gave himself the once-over in his mirror. His sister had sent him the coat, saying that the black of the leather would set off the blue of his eyes. He wasn't quite sure what she was on about, but the thing did fit, and Hoshi had told everyone that tonight was for casual clothing – no uniforms allowed – so here he was. He tugged down the steel-blue tee shirt, another present from Madeline, and ran a hand through his hair, mussing it a bit. Might as well go for the rakish… Oh, exactly who was he kidding? He rolled his eyes at his reflection, and combed his hair firmly back into place. He was about to take off the jacket when his door chime went.

He opened it to reveal Trip there in the corridor. Trip seemed to have taken Hoshi at her word, and had pulled out what Malcolm assumed to be his best (as if there could be a best, when one was discussing Trip's wardrobe) orange-parrot-printed, bright blue, short sleeved shirt. Hairy legs revealed by his shorts, he was also wearing orange flip-flops. With white socks. Malcolm closed his eyes against the vision. When he opened them again, he purposefully focused on Trip's face, rather than his outfit. "Interesting shirt," he said, feeling the need to fill the silence.

Trip smiled coyly. "I know how much you like my shirts."

Malcolm raised a brow, and Trip laughed.

"I had mama mail me this one special." Trip stepped into the room, the door closing behind him. "Blue and orange," he said as if Malcolm should know what that meant.

Malcolm stared, knowing that eventually, silence would win out.

"U of F," Trip said expectantly.

"Ah," Malcolm replied, nodding as if he understood.

When Malcolm didn't bite, Trip went on. "University of Florida. They're the school colours."

"Ah," Malcolm said again. The Xindi had destroyed much of Florida, Trip's home state. His wearing of the uni's colours was appropriate, considering the occasion; although Malcolm was slightly less sure of the parrots.

Malcolm's thoughts were interrupted when Trip said, "You look… Hmm…" Trip gave Malcolm an appraising stare.

Malcolm stood there, suddenly feeling like a complete git. Between the jacket and the shirt and the jeans he'd put on, "It's not quite me."

"Nah, I like it," Trip said. He cocked his head. "It's just…" He stepped forward with his hand upraised, but he hesitated just as he reached Malcolm. "You mind?" he asked, suddenly seeming tentative.

"Mind?" Malcolm asked, no idea what Trip was talking about.

Trip reached out and, with deliberate force, tousled Malcolm's hair. He stepped back and gave Malcolm the once-over. "Better," he said with finality.

Malcolm raised his hand to his hair, but Trip stopped him with an, "Ah-ah-ah!" and an upraised finger. "Looks good." He smiled. "Goes with the jacket."

Malcolm huffed a laugh. "I'll defer to you in consideration of your mastery of all things fashion."

"As well you should," Trip said with a merry twinkle in his eye. "Let's get going."

"Yes," Malcolm replied, waving Trip toward the door. After all, the sooner there, the sooner done.

God, but he hated parties.

x-x

More to come...