Title: Ensign

Author: nostalgia

Rated: R (Tried to craft a PG-13, but they wouldn't stop Touching each other. Damn them.)

Summary: The Morning After the Night Before.

Disclaim: Honey, if it was mine the chicks would kick harder and Bakula would be forcibly made to act to the level to which QL made us accustomed. Also, there'd have been a Dog Episode by now.

Note to Self: STOP writing M/H - it's hurting yourself and other people (and the otter-people, but they only exist in your twisted little head, Liebchen).

Dedicayshuwan: For Lin, who doesn't like 'Enterprise' but who makes a damn fine dysfunctional J/C and inspires me to hurt M/H. This one dysfunctional enough for ya, hon'?


She woke tangled in bed-linen and Malcolm.

The old Hoshi would have yelped and leapt from the bed, would have blushed and hyperventilated. The old Hoshi would have Reacted.

But space had changed her. She had learned to think on her feet - or back, thought her newer, drier wit - she had learned that panic could kill. Space had changed Hoshi, immeasurably. It had, she suspected, hardened her.

So Hoshi didn't yelp and she didn't leap. She lay in the bed until her heartbeat slowed and her mind stopped spinning. Not her bed, she noted, and that allowed an escape, if she choose that route. It also meant a long, exposed walk back to her own cabin, through corridors full of equipment being moved and dogs being walked. Too many knowing looks, although they wouldn't know, not really. She'd be imagining the smirks, like the old Hoshi did when she first came aboard. No, they wouldn't really be judging her. She looked at Malcolm.

He was asleep, and that was good because you couldn't lose yourself in eyes that were closed. He lay, breathing slowly and quietly, an arm across her chest and leg between hers. Insecure and possessive, even in sleep. Stubble tore at her skin as she moved her head. And there he was, sprawled across Hoshi, dreaming of laser beams and nitro-nine. His eyelids twitched as something large and imaginary blew up.

Memories surfaced, and she pushed them back - wine and zippers and pillows. She checked her body for marks as best she could. She swore under her breath as she remembered a bite-mark on her inner thigh that was, yes, still there. Bruising already. She cursed blue eyes and British accents.

I asked for you once, by accident, and you said no, she thought, I was over you before we even began.

He slept on; still time to get away. But what, Ms Sato, would that achieve? She toyed with the notion of complete denial, wondered if she could act convincingly enough to make him believe that he had imagined it all. Probably not, she decided. She'd blush and he'd know.

She wondered and worried about chains of command. But she'd make sure that neither of them talked and anyway, it wasn't as if she were directly (she flinched at her own choice of words) under him. She eyed the door.

But then he woke, and she was trapped.

He pushed himself off her and up onto his elbows. He looked confused, for the briefest moment. "Ens...Hoshi?"

She wanted to hit him.

"Hoshi, I...did...?" He looked down the bed, then back to her eyes, he smiled. And then he kissed her.

"We can't," she said, and didn't mean it.

"Beg to differ," he said low and breathy in her ear. He sounded amused, moved his lips to her throat.

"We shouldn't," she said, and almost meant it. But her body rebelled and reacted to his. She concentrated on not moving her hands.

He paused for the briefest moment. "It'll be alright, Hoshi. I promise. Everything will be fine." He ran his fingers up and down her arm. He looked contented.

"I thought you were supposed to be shy around women?" she'd said, and then she'd had gasped it, turned it into a moan.

He'd pulled his name from her lips again and again. Perfectionist in all things, and he'd brought out her competitive nature - sheets turning to sweat as each tried to out-do the other.

"I don't want to," she said, and had never meant it.

And so he stopped and he moved his body from hers and he closed his eyes for a moment. "Sorry," he whispered.

She felt guilt for a moment, but she told herself that she was doing the right thing. It would never have worked anyway. They didn't work, they wouldn't. She wanted safety and he wanted danger. She collected words because they made the confusion go away; he played with guns because some day one of them might go off by mistake. He was here to destroy things.

She sighed and climbed out of his bed, retrieved her scattered clothes.

"I'm going now, Malcolm, because..."

Because that wasn't normal and we need each other too much and it can never end well. Because if I let you kiss me once more there will be a ring upon my finger and my life will be over. Because this way I'm the one in control and you won't have any power over me. Any more power over me.

"Because I don't want this."

So she dressed and tied her hair back up and didn't say goodbye. He caught her hand as she was leaving, but she shook him away.

"I love you, Hoshi," he said, and it sounded absurd.