TITLE: Two Days... But No More Nights; 1/5
PAIRING/S: Tucker/Reed, but angst first.
WARNING/S: AU; Profanity; Angst; Character death.
GENRE/S: Angst/Deception/Tourism/Romance;
SUMMARY: Begins as "Two Days and Two Nights," goes AU in the cellar, and there's angst, but each chapter veers closer to "2D2N";
DISCLAIMER: The premise of the Trekverse and concepts of all characters contained therein are the intellectual property of Gene Roddenberry, his Estate, Paramount Pictures, Viacom/CBS, and all actors who have portrayed them. No money is being made by me, and no infringements of these copyrights are intended. Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the galaxy's throne, without whom, etc.* Berman and Braga, Paramount, Viacom/CBS may have the legal rights, but we have the fantasies.

NOTE/S: The section between asterisks (**) is dialogue from the Enterprise episode "Two Days and Two Nights." Everything after is AU. This is dedicated to everyone who has posted great fics here, but especially: Glory1863, Sita Z, RoaringMice, volley, Emiliana Keladry, Galactic Cannibalism, Rowvle, Seacook, BookQ36 and Nephthys Moon; and Leah, Elf, and Sal on Warp 5.

(In the nightclub's cellar, daylight streamed in through a skylight onto Tucker and Reed. They were stripped to their regulation Starfleet blue skivvies, and tied hand and foot.)

Reed: "Morning."

Tucker: "I don't know if it was those Risan mai-tais, or getting shot, but my head's killing me."

Reed: "It was probably both. The sun's up. We've been down here all night."

Tucker: "Great, our shore leave's half over. Hey! We need some help down here! Hello?"

Reed: "I already tried it. The club's closed."

Tucker (annoyed): "I don't plan on spending our entire trip tied up in a basement!"

Reed: "The Vulcan database didn't mention anything about crime."

Tucker: "They said it was very rare."

Reed: "What?"

Tucker: "It had some warnings, but I didn't think it'd be a problem."

Reed (in exasperation): "Wonderful!"

Tucker (indignantly): "You think this is my fault!"

Reed (shouting): "You were willing to follow two strange aliens into a basement!"

Tucker (shouting back): "Gorgeous aliens! Don't forget, they were gorgeous!"

Reed (still shouting): "They were male!"

Tucker (yep, still shouting): "Not at first! I don't remember twisting your arm!"

Reed (breathing heavily): "If we don't make it to the loading zone on time, they're going to start scanning for our biosigns. Do you want the Captain to find us like this?"

"No, but have you thought of anything yet?" Tucker shouted angrily.

"Trip, we‑‑I‑‑I have to get out of here‑‑" Reed began wheezing hoarsely.

"Got any ideas, 'cus I sure don't!"

"I‑‑I'm having difficulty breathing, and I think my wrists and ankles are swelling. I think I'm having an allergy attack."

"Are you sure?" Tucker swung his head around to get a better look at his friend, but he was in the shadows on the other side of the column.

"I‑‑I can't breathe, Trip, I can't‑‑" Reed wheezed, his voice sounding more hoarse. Before he could say anything else, he began choking and convulsing on the cellar's stone floor.

"Mal? Malcolm! Stay with me! Stay with me, Lieutenant, that's an order!" Tucker shouted; he rolled on the cellar floor, looking for something with which to cut the ropes. He pulled a bottle of alien liquor off the bottom shelf of a rack with his feet and broke it, then twisted around to cut his wrists free and then his ankles, ignoring the cuts into his skin. He knelt at Reed's side, cut his ropes, and made him comfortable on the cold stone floor. "Malcolm? Mal, stay with me! For god's sake, Malcolm, don't leave me!" He ran to the door and found it locked. "Hey! Help! Help!" he shouted, banging on the door, "We're down here! We were robbed! Help! My friend is ill! Help! Call for help! Help!" He returned to Reed's side and began CPR on him. He worked for many minutes to revive Reed, banged on the door again, then returned to working on resuscitating his friend.

After hearing the clamor coming from the wine cellar, the nightclub manager ran downstairs and opened the locked door. He was appalled to see two Humans, one with bloody wrists and ankles, the other with his skin paling to bluish-ivory. He ran to call emergency services. Minutes later, alien medics arrived and determined that Reed wasn't breathing. After watching Tucker for a moment, they performed chest compressions for him while he breathed into Reed's lungs.

After many minutes, the medics called Reed's time of death, just as Archer, T'Pol, and Doctor Phlox arrived with the local police chief and medical examiner. Tucker's wrists and ankles were bloody; he was kneeling, sobbing, and holding Reed's body in his arms. He looked up at Archer with a grief-stricken expression; "Oh, god, Jonny, he's dead! Malcolm's dead! It's my fault, I took him here, an' we got mugged, an' we argued, an' I never apologized to him, or‑‑or‑‑"

Now working on the Denobulan equivalent of adrenaline, Phlox knelt next to him, and put his hand on Tucker's shoulder. "Commander; Commander Tucker‑‑" he said softly, paused, and took a deep breath, "‑‑Trip‑‑" that got the engineer's disordered attention, and he looked up at Phlox. "Please, please put Malcolm's body down, please. He's not in his body anymore; he's not here anymore." It was probably the hardest thing he'd ever had to say in his short time aboard Enterprise. "The Risan medical examiner and I must scan Malcolm's body to determine the exact cause of death. Can you tell me what happened to the two of you?"

Tucker struggled to breathe and haltingly described the events from their arrival at the nightclub the previous night to when he woke earlier that day. He was traumatized, despondent, and quiet, and remained that way as Jonathan Archer conferred with the local police chief and government officials. Both Phlox and the alien doctor learned that Reed's death was caused by an allergic reaction from dried plant materials and spores in the cellar; he would not have died if he didn't inhale them overnight while unconscious, but that discovery did nothing to ease Tucker's guilt and despair. His anger and distress briefly surged when Phlox planned to have Reed's body transported to Enterprise. Seeing and understanding Tucker's agonizing grief, Phlox agreed to let him carry his friend's body up to the street, and government officials allowed Archer to pilot and land the shuttle on the street outside the hotel. The hotel's concierge provided bathrobes, and the engineer gently dressed Reed's body in one, but he ignored Archer's and T'Pol's suggestions to put one on himself.

Once back aboard Enterprise, Captain Archer made arrangements for Malcolm's body to be returned to Earth aboard E.C.S. Horizon, the cargo ship owned by Travis Mayweather's family. After Phlox cleaned and stabilized Malcolm's body, Trip clothed him in his Starfleet dress uniform and laid him to rest in a stasis housing. He cleaned Malcolm's bare and painfully neat cabin, packed his belongings for delivery to his family, but kept some of the mementos Malcolm had picked up in his short time aboard the ship. Trip remained depressed by his friend's death, and Phlox removed him from active duty. He stayed in Sickbay's small stasis room most of the time to be near Malcolm's body; it was convenient for Phlox and the other officers because he was nearby and could be closely watched. Archer made sure he returned to his quarters daily to sleep, shower, and dress; Hoshi and T'Pol brought his meals to Sickbay, not that he ate much; Travis and a steady flow of crewmembers stopped by during the day to offer their condolences and sit with him for a time. Trip accompanied Malcolm's body back to Earth. Starfleet had an honor guard and transport at Jupiter Station. His family met him in San Francisco, along with Mary and Madeleine Reed, Malcolm's mother and sister.