TITLE: Twins, 2/10?, Tu/R, Tu/OC, pre-slash, (T+-R) PG-13 to NC-17.
PAIRING/S: Tucker/Reed, Tucker/original character.
RATING: (FFN: T+-R); (W5: PG-13 to NC-17).
WARNING/S: References to child abuse, prostitution, non-consensual sex, violent molestation.
SUMMARY: What if Malcolm Reed had a twin brother that he‑‑and his parents‑‑didn't know about? An alien bazaar like Rigel X is life-changing for Reed and Tucker. Basically, this is my excuse for twice as much Malcolm (!) in a fic.
DISCLAIMER in Chapter 1.
Phlox called Reed, Tucker, and Archer back to Sickbay two hours later. Malcolm looked through the window into the separate ICU unit. Derek was unconscious on a biobed, and his head was tilted back to accept the tube and hose going into his lungs and stomach. Every bit of his skin not covered by bandaging or the sheet seemed to be covered with sensor disks; quiet beeps and chirps sounded from the life-support equipment. Phlox was cleaning equipment and disposing of used items when the officers arrived.
"What's the prognosis for his recovery?" Archer asked when he arrived.
"I'll get to that in just a moment, Captain," Phlox said. "Mister Reed, I took the liberty of reviewing your personnel file and your medical file; both were clear. According to Starfleet records, you have one sibling, a sister, but there is no mention of a brother, identical or otherwise, living or dead. My test results irrefutably prove that Derek Cane is your biological brother. Why you‑‑and your family‑‑know nothing about your twin brother's existence appears to be a mystery, one that I cannot solve, regrettably. You will have to seek answers on your own, although I can advise you," the doctor smiled comfortingly. "Everything I tell you from this point is privileged information between you, I as your physician, and your brother, when he regains consciousness. Do you understand?"
Reed turned away from the window to face the doctor. "Yes, sir," he replied.
"Considering the circumstances in which we found your brother, you may have Mister Tucker and Captain Archer stay to hear my summary and diagnosis," he said, "or, because of doctor-patient privilege, you may restrict this information to just yourself‑‑and you may change your mind regarding your decisions at any point," he added.
"I know, Doctor Phlox," he said, "I'd like Trip and the Captain to stay." He appeared doubtful and turned to Archer, "unless you don't want to, sir‑‑"
"If you want me to stay, Malcolm, I will," Archer replied.
"Yes, please stay, sir," he said anxiously, took a deep breath, and faced Phlox. "What's Derek's condition now? How badly is he hurt, and when do you think he'll come out of the coma?"
"The coma will help the healing process," Phlox said, "I'm troubled by the results of my examinations I conducted before I began treating Mister Cane. His body reveals numerous injuries and evidence indicating that he was repeatedly tortured and violated within the past two to four weeks, probably by the same mercenaries who accused him of treason and theft."
"Phlox, are you certain?"Archer asked in disbelief.
"Who the hell did it? Can we find out, somehow?" Trip asked in a quiet, cold voice. " 'Cus I'd like to bring some Engineerin' and Armoury staff back there an' have a chat with 'em‑‑"
"Trip, we can't do that," the captain said, although the same thought crossed his mind.
Malcolm gazed through the window that separated him from his brother. The news about the violence done to his brother angered him, but the emotion sank as quickly as it rose. The Orions, Nausicaans, and other mercenary aliens would distrust and attack any outsider, especially one who did not share their beliefs, whether he was Human or not.
"After cleaning him and bandaging his injuries, I pumped his stomach and irrigated his intestines to remove all possible foreign matter," Phlox explained.
"‑‑What kinds of foreign matter?" Trip asked.
"Don't ask, Trip," Malcolm said suddenly, "You don't want to know."
Phlox continued. "‑‑I removed various items attached to and inserted into his body‑‑"
"‑‑You're right, I don' think I wanna know."
"‑‑I set his fractured ribs and broken nose; put IV lines into him, intubated his lungs to prevent collapse, and put a feeding tube down his esophagus to his stomach."
"Doctor Phlox, how long will it take Derek to recover?" Malcolm asked uneasily.
"I‑‑I can't be certain," he replied, "I'm using an antiquated dialysis machine to filter toxins from his blood‑‑what little he has left of his own. I've administered synthetic blood and a pint of your blood from storage. Mister Reed, I need you to donate blood now, to replace what I just used, and I'll clone your blood components as quickly as possible for your brother."
"Whatever you need," he said, "has Derek contracted any alien infections or diseases that you couldn't identify in Decon?"
"No, I ran extensive scans and tests," he replied, "Sub-Commander T'Pol assisted me once she cleared Decon. All infections were identified and eliminated, and all fractures will heal, given time and better nutrition."
"Will he recover?"
"Yes, he'll physically recover, but I can't predict his emotional recovery, however," Phlox replied. "His coma could be caused only by physical factors, or it could be a defense mechanism in response to the trauma he has experienced, or it could be a bit of both conditions."
Conflicting feelings crossed the young man's face swiftly. "I‑‑may I visit him, please? May I please stay with him?" Contradictory emotions rose in his eyes. "Captain Archer, I realize this is a dereliction of my duty‑‑"
"‑‑No, it's not," Archer corrected him quickly, "he's your brother, a member of your family. If you need time off to be with him, take it. Do you want to call your family on Earth now?"
"N‑‑no, not yet, sir," he replied, "I want Derek to be conscious and recuperating before I call my sister‑‑and my parents." He seemed overwhelmed for an instant, but his professionalism reappeared and he looked at Phlox again. "Is there anything else I can do to help Derek recover, besides donating blood?"
"Many things," Phlox said, "If you talk to him when you visit, that will help. Comatose patients can hear; numerous patients have recovered because of family interaction and support. I'll give you more information when you visit tomorrow."
"May I see him today, right now?" Malcolm asked, suddenly anxious.
"His condition needs to stabilize, and I want him to have a quiet night," Phlox replied, "I'd like to draw your blood now, both to replace what's been used and to put into the sequencer."
"Yes, sir," he said calmly. Archer silently pulled Tucker over to the ICU window to give Phlox and Malcolm privacy.
Phlox placed medical equipment on a wheeled cart; Malcolm sat quietly. "Drink plenty of fluids, get a good night's sleep," the doctor reminded the young man once he was finished, "and avoid drinking alcoholic beverages‑‑I will not be held responsible for your bad influence, Commander."
"Doc, you know I wouldn' do somethin' like that at a time like this," Trip said.
"Could I please see Derek now, just for a moment? Please?" Malcolm asked.
Seeing the young man's bereft expression, Phlox gave in, "All right, I'll let you see him for a moment‑‑only for a moment," he added.
Malcolm carefully held Cane's thin, bruised hand in his own. "Hello, Derek, I'm Malcolm, your brother," he said, leaning over him. "You're aboard Enterprise; you're in Sickbay, and you're safe here. I'll look after you for as long as you need me until you've recovered. I'm glad we found you, and I'm glad you're my brother. I'll visit you tomorrow, and I'll be here when you wake up. Get well soon, Derek; good night," he ended, brushed his brother's hair off his face, and lightly kissed his brow.
Archer and Tucker could not hear what Malcolm said to his comatose brother, but Phlox did and was pleased. He knew that Malcolm's loyalty to his friends and dedication to duty would be necessary for Derek's recovery and well-being. Malcolm patted his brother's hand and left ICU. He appeared tired and lonely to Tucker and Archer. "Why don't you get a bite to eat, Mister Reed, and a good night's sleep," Phlox said quietly.
"Phlox, is there any way Derek Cane could be some kind of‑‑of manufactured clone, or altered alien, or anything like that?" Archer asked; Malcolm appeared stunned and panic-stricken by the question.
"No, captain, I already made sure, including verifying unique physiological conditions," replied the doctor. "Mister Cane has the same allergies as Mister Reed, and in fact, the detailed genetic assessment indicates they are monoamniotic, monochorionic, monozygotic twins. Derek Cane is very definitely Malcolm Reed's twin brother, and I would stake my credibility as a physician on my findings."
"What does that 'mono-mono-mono whatsis' mean?" Trip asked.
"They developed in the same placenta, same amniotic sac, and have the same appearance and same sex," Phlox replied.
"Well, then‑‑Lieutenant Reed," Archer said; he sighed when the young man snapped to attention. "Malcolm," he said more gently, "I want you and Trip to have breakfast with me tomorrow, at 0700 hours, in the Captain's Mess. Come prepared with personnel lists and schedules, and we'll discuss your time off."
"Yes, sir; thank you," the young Armoury officer replied. He turned to Phlox. "If Derek's condition changes, for any reason, you'll call me, won't you?"
"Of course, you'll be the first to know," the doctor assured him, "Everything will be all right, Mister Reed; you just need to give Mister Cane some time to heal at his body's own speed."
"Mal?" Trip spoke quietly, "Malcolm?" His friend looked absentmindedly at him, "C'mon, let's get some supper in the Mess, an' then we can go over our schedules. Okay?"
"Okay," Malcolm answered and nodded. The engineer put his arm around his friend's shoulder and led him out of Sickbay, leaving Archer with Phlox.
Trip and Malcolm were Starfleet officers and gentlemen, respected colleagues, and best friends. Each relied on the other for emotional support, and Malcolm needed sympathy at the moment. On their way to the Mess hall, Trip glanced at his friend and realized that Malcolm was too upset, still stunned to find an unknown twin brother; he would be in no shape to socialize with other crewmembers. Trip accompanied Malcolm to his quarters, guided him to his bunk, and then ran to the Mess to pick up dinner. He convinced Malcolm to eat half a sandwich and some soup, guided him to his tiny lavatory to clean up, and reminded him that he still had his brother's 'box bag' in his sleeve pocket. Malcolm hastily opened the gun safe in his room, stowed the bag, and returned to his bed.
Malcolm was shocked to learn that he had an identical twin brother. He sat on the edge of his bed, his distress growing, and he stammered incoherently about his thoughts and feelings. Trip sat opposite him in the desk chair he rolled close to the bed, their knees nearly touching. Malcolm sometimes lowered his head, elbows on his knees, his head in his hands, silent for a moment or many minutes that made Trip wonder if he had dozed off. Malcolm suddenly stopped speaking, or mumbling rather, sat up straight, and stared at his friend with tear-filled eyes. "Trip, he‑‑he's in so much pain," he whispered, "and I‑‑I don't know what I can do to‑‑to help him‑‑" he stopped, gasping repeatedly through parted lips, unable to finish his thought. His whole body began shaking, as if all of his long-suppressed emotions were about to explode, and Trip saw one tear begin to slide down his friend's cheek.
Trip pushed the chair away, sat next to Malcolm, and placed an arm around his friend's shoulders. After he considered the day's frightening, appalling events, Malcolm closed his eyes, turned to his only close friend, rested his brow on Trip's shoulder, and silently sobbed for his battered, broken, and unknown brother. The engineer hesitantly wrapped his arms around Malcolm's shoulders; he ached because his friend was suffering so much emotional distress. Trip was surprised when Malcolm's arms wrapped around his waist, embraced him firmly, and his hands gripped his uniform like a drowning man clutching a rope thrown to him.
He felt near tears himself to feel Malcolm's lean and compact body shaking in anguish. "I‑‑I know Derek's in a lotta pain, an' I know you're hurtin' real bad," he said softly, "an' I don' know what to do, b‑‑but you're my frien', my best frien', Mal, an' I wanna help you an' Derek." Feeling Malcolm's grief crashing against him, Trip gave way to his own tears, and lowered his head onto his friend's shoulder. He rubbed Malcolm's back with one hand, without realizing what he was doing. After a time, his other hand began to gently stroke Malcolm's hair. His best friend's tears slowly subsided, he felt Malcolm's incredibly tense muscles relax against him, and Trip held Malcolm in his arms until he fell asleep.
The two officers had breakfast with Archer the following morning. He told Reed that any reduced time schedule he created would be approved, as long as he didn't sleep overnight in Sickbay. They arranged a schedule which gave Reed large blocks of time to be with his brother ‑‑and a schedule that gave Tucker large blocks of time to be with Reed. When he was in Sickbay, Malcolm focused on his brother; when he was in the Armoury or on the Bridge, he focused on his department, but the mental and physical effort was far more fatiguing than he imagined.
That evening, they had dinner late in the Mess hall. Malcolm picked listlessly at the food on his plate. "Malcolm, you have to eat something," Trip said. His friend continued to cut the slice of meatloaf on his plate into smaller and smaller squares. "Lieutenant Reed, if you don't put some of that meatloaf into your mouth an' chew," he said, "I'm gonna call Doctor Phlox!"
The doctor's name caught his attention. "Phlox? Did Doctor Phlox call for me?" Malcolm said, startled, and pushed back his chair to stand.
"No, he didn't, but if you don't eat somethin' soon, I'm gonna drag you down to Sickbay myself!" the engineer exclaimed, "What are you tryin' to do, calculate its atomic weight?"
"I don't know what I'm doing," he replied, sitting down again.
"Would you please eat something, Malcolm?"
"Yes, sir," he mumbled, eating cold meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
Trip sighed. 'One step forward, two steps back'‑‑that saying described his friendship with Malcolm sometimes. They finished eating and dropped their trays and contents into the Mess's cleaning chute. "Mal? Malcolm, may I stop at your cabin on our way back to our quarters?"
"Sure, Trip," Malcolm replied, "I'm sorry, I've been horrible company today. I don't know why you put up with me," he said as he walked down the corridor towards the turbo-lift.
"I have my reasons," he replied with a wistful smile that his friend missed.
"Come in," he said softly, opening the door to his quarters. It looked as pristine as it did the previous day, except for the wrinkled bedspread. It became wrinkled after Malcolm finally fell asleep in Trip's arms the previous night. He had placed Malcolm atop the spread, removed his boots, and laid next to him after removing his own boots, both still dressed in their uniforms. Malcolm went straight for his bed and sat, elbows on his knees, head in his hands, his shoulders weighed down with weariness.
"Mal‑‑Malcolm, I gotta talk with you," the engineer said, pacing nervously.
His friend raised his head. "Stop that, please, Trip; you're making me dizzy."
"I'm sorry, Malcolm; I don' know how to say this," he grabbed the desk chair and pulled it over to sit before him, "an' it's important to me, an'‑‑"
"‑‑And you accused me of prattling once," he said with a smirk, "Just tell me, and it'll be fine."
"I ain' so sure it'll be fine," Trip said, "You have no idea how terrified I was when I saw you chained to that wall yesterday‑‑"
"‑‑But it's all right, Trip, it wasn't me, it was Derek."
"Please, lemme say what I hafta say, please," he mumbled, and looked at his friend with anguish in his eyes.
"What is the matter, Trip?"
"You have no idea how terrified I was when I saw you chained to that wall yesterday, covered in blood, because I really believed he was you," he continued, "an' I know I done a lotta things without thinkin', but the only thing I was thinkin' about yesterday in that market was keepin' you from getting' killed‑‑" Malcolm was about to speak, but Trip held up his hand. "This has been comin' on for a long time, an' I didn' know what the heck it was 'til yesterday. I have to tell you before I lose you forever, Malcolm, because‑‑"
"What are you trying to tell me?"
"Malcolm, I never said this to another man in my life, an' I don' know how to say it to a man, but I've fallen in love with you. I love you, an' I'd rather lose your friendship but know you're still alive than lose you forever an' live with regret because I was too scared to tell you how I feel. I was too scared to tell you in the shuttlepod, but what I saw yesterday made me realize if I don' say somethin' now, I might not have you tomorrow‑‑"
Malcolm stopped Trip from babbling further by leaning forward and gently clasping his shoulders. "Trip, you will never lose my friendship," he said softly, "and you will always have my love." He closed the distance between them, placed a hand on Trip's face, and tenderly kissed him. Somehow, things got blurry again, and Malcolm found himself on his bed for the second night in a row, snuggling with Trip Tucker. At least this time, it was in response to good news. When they had to come up for air, he asked, "For heavens' sake, Trip, couldn't you have told me sooner?"
"Malcolm, you never gave anyone a clue about your preferences," he replied, "You're the dang Armoury Officer‑‑I never said anything 'cus I kinda like my organs and bones the way they're arranged right now." A wounded expression crossed Malcolm's face. "Oh, Mal, I didn' mean it like that‑‑" he sighed, "Yeah, I did, didn' I? I'm sorry, Malcolm, I am so sorry‑‑" he whispered, tears in his eyes as he moved to get off the bed, "I don' ever want to hurt your feelings‑‑"
"I never gave a clue about my preferences," Malcolm replied, grasping Trip's arm, "because I was an unhappy, celibate bisexual who wanked off in the shower too damn often for his own damn good after being confined for too damn long in a frigid shuttlepod with the most annoying Chief Engineer in Starfleet‑‑" He was silenced by that annoying Chief Engineer's not-so-annoying mouth.
They came up for air much later. "We really oughtta take off our uniforms before we get into bed, ya know."
"I'm too tired for sex, and I can't concentrate on anything but Derek right now."
"I'm too confused for sex, just as tired, and I can' concentrate on anythin' but you right now," Trip replied quietly, and turned to leave the bed again.
"Don't leave, please," Malcolm said suddenly, placing an arm across his friend's chest. "I need to think, but I wouldn't mind someone to hold onto, so I know I'm not alone."
"That's good, 'cus I think you could become my favorite person to hold," Trip replied and embraced him. "Bein' alone is jus' plain sad, but bein' alone when I could be with you is a tragedy."
"Except," Malcolm said, "we really ought to take off our uniforms before we get into bed."
Three days after Derek came aboard, Captain Archer visited Sickbay to speak with Lieutenant Reed. "Malcolm, I know Phlox said Derek is your biological brother, and I believe him, but would you check his bag for his birth certificate, please?" the captain asked. "I want to see his and your birth certificates together; it seems unlikely that Phlox would make a mistake, but why weren't you told about your brother? Would your parents have hidden this information from you for some reason?"
Malcolm's stomach lurched at the order and questions. "I‑‑I don't know why they didn't tell me, either, sir. I haven't examined his bag yet, but I put it through the decontamination process. When would you like to meet?"
"What about tomorrow, ten hundred hours? Phlox tells me that he's usually finished feeding and cleaning Mister Cane by that time. I'll come down to Sickbay."
"That's fine, sir; I‑‑I'll let the Commander know," Malcolm said. "There may be a discrepancy on my birth certificate‑‑compared to my brother's, Captain, but I promise to explain everything."
Derek's 'box bag' from the Adjudicators' Office on Saiph III contained his identity records from Earth, a few family keepsakes, and a copy of his indenture contract. Malcolm had opened the bag in Decon, used the filtering/decontaminating vacuum, and misted the contents thoroughly with a decontaminant spray. The vacuum pulled most contaminating particles from the surface of items and interiors of equipment. The spray neutralized most bacteria and germs, terrestrial or alien, and ultraviolet or infrared light got whatever survived. Phlox scanned the bag and contents as clean and released them. Malcolm just shoved the bag into the gun safe in his cabin the night Derek came aboard the ship, and he hadn't thought about it since.
Now, he opened his safe, removed the small, zipped black polymer bag, and wiped off traces of decontaminant gel from it. He sat at his desk with the bag before him, carefully unzipped it, and lifted it slightly so his desk lamp could light the interior. There were a few laminated photos and documents, Derek's indenture contract printed upon an intriguing alien polymer, and a strange lump of stone. It looked vaguely pumice-like but was quite heavy for its size, a roughly chiseled rectangle that could be held in a hand. His suspicious mind wondered what it was or could be hiding, but he set it aside for now and withdrew the laminated documents.
He spread the documents across his desk like playing cards and examined them. There were two laminated photographs; in the first, a mature, tired-looking woman and a small boy, perhaps five years old, were standing in front of a school building. In the second photo, the woman now appeared much older and much more fatigued, and the boy was older, perhaps ten years old; they stood before large wooden doors, opened to give a glimpse of dark corridors beyond. When he saw the completion certificates for the schools Derek attended, his stomach tensed with anxiety‑‑and profound sympathy for his long-lost brother. From the ages of five to ten, Derek had attended the Gordon School, a 'public' boarding school, meaning 'private' in Britain. It was a 'pre-military' school, preparing very young boys for more rigorous instruction later. When he was ten, he went to the Rhexanor Military Academy, a school notorious for its history of student abuses, and Malcolm suspected‑‑no, he feared‑‑that Derek had been abused there, which would account for some of his oldest intestinal scars. The last thing he examined was Derek's birth certificate with his‑‑their‑‑original birthdate.