"Invested Time"

Summary: Trip spends sleepless night thinking about some of the things that were said during those two rather unfortunate days.

Warning: mild slash to begin with.

Spoilers: Shuttlepod One. If you didn't see it, then this won't make much sense.

A/N: before I get any messages I'd like to say that yes, I know Malcolm's favorite food is pineapple, I saw Silent Enemy. Trip however, does not know that at this time because he didn't requisition medical records from Phlox just to figure out the man's favorite food.

EDIT: It was totally pancakes. MY favorite thing to have peanut butter on is waffles... haha... I'm silly.

And yes, I know why Malcolm didn't join the navy, Trip however does not for similar reasons as those above.

"I've invested far too much time trying to figure you out, Mr. Tucker. I'm not about to accept that it was all for nothing!"

Invested time. That's what he'd said. Trip turned to lie on his back and stared at the ceiling. No one had ever said those words to him before and he was having a little trouble thinking of anyone who could be said to have invested any large amount of time in figuring him out, let alone 'too much' of it.

Certainly his parents had invested a good amount of time in him, but those were his parents. And his sister, but family couldn't really count; you were going to invest time in them whether you wanted to or not. Lieutenant Malcolm Reed wasn't family.

John had invested time in him. Yeah, John had done that. Trip rolled on to his side and closed his eyes, ready to get some well deserved sleep. Except that he and John were friends. Had been friends for years before Enterprise and there had never really been a 'figuring out' stage in their relationship, they'd pretty much just hit it off. And up until recently Trip wouldn't have considered Reed a friend.

Frustrated the chief engineer rolled onto his stomach and glared down into his pillow. The stuffy English bastard had given him headaches since day one, he was not about to be robbed of sleep as well.

Except he really couldn't think of anyone else who'd "invested too much time" in him and for some reason he found it distracting. Past girlfriends…. Well if they'd invested time in him he'd not be thinking of them as past girlfriends. Instructors had lead him along, taught him what they could, but had never really given him the amount of thought that would bring the phrase "invested too much time" to mind. Trip pulled his pillow over his head.

And exactly what right did Malcolm have to say that he'd been the one putting in time to figure Trip out anyways? Trip had spent more than a few sleepless nights thinking about the other man as well.

That statement didn't sound right, even in his own head. But it was true. Malcolm Reed was an enigma. There was no reason that Trip could think of for after generations of proud British naval officers, one would suddenly defect and get launched into space, and he'd given it a whole lot of thought. The man didn't seem to have any close friends amongst the crew, just vague acquaintances and people that worked for him. You would think such an uptight man would be picky about his meals; wanting specific things, or particular quality; not so much. Malcolm seemed to eat a little of everything and the only deviance from that pattern that Trip could see was the whole peanut butter on pancakes thing, which for all he knew was a British Naval Officer tradition. Either peanut butter was the man's favorite food, or he didn't have one.

Reed didn't appear to have a sex drive either (excusing, of course, his odd preoccupation with T'Pol's backside, which if Trip was going to be perfectly honest, wasn't that bad despite the owner). He didn't hit on the female or male crew. But then the British had always seemed rather asexual to the people from Trip's neck of the woods. Maybe he was a closet, wouldn't be the first in Star Fleet despite the Don't' Ask, Don't Tell policy being over ruled forever ago. Maybe he was bi and just not attracted to any of the other crew members, despite there being some prime examples of both genders on board – Trip was secure enough to notice and acknowledge these sorts of things (and there was nothing wrong with just looking).

Maybe he had someone back home, Trip thought as he pulled the pillow off his head and rolled onto his side, his back to the room. This was a theory that Trip had a really hard time accepting. Malcolm Reed was an all or nothing kind of guy and that sort of man commits fully to whatever he takes on. Malcolm wouldn't have a girl (or boy, no need to start making judgments) waiting for him to come back from a life or death mission in space. He'd have stayed on Earth and joined the Navy which would have made much more sense in any case. No, he was in space and he'd committed all his time and energy to the Enterprise and her crew.

Trip wondered mildly what it'd be like to be in a relationship with someone so intense. He was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to stand it. He'd come from laid back people, in a laid back town; Charles Tucker had a real hard time doing 'intense' for any extended amount of time.

The relationship might be destined for doom but the sex would probably be amazing.

Trip paused and rewound the last sentence in his head then asked the computer for the time. He had to be on shift in three hours and he'd yet to get any rest. That was his excuse and he was sticking to it. In his own defense though, Trip reasoned as he turned back to the ceiling, Malcolm was fairly attractive even if he was British. There was no shame in admitting it. And it wasn't like the other man was going to find out.

Still, it would be interesting, wouldn't it? Trip thought as his eyes started to drift closed at last, The Cowboy and The Gentleman… it was an idea you could name movies after.

Please review and check out the follow up story On The Mend.