Words of Comfort

By Distracted

Rating: PG

Genres: drama romance

Keywords: torture Xindi

This story has been read by 1363 people.
This story has been read 3509 times.


Rating: PG for unappetizing medical details

Genre: Drama, Romance

Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters and I don’t make any money when I let them out to play.

Summary: Hoshi finds there’s more to Malcolm Reed than meets the eye. Spoilers: “Countdown” and “Zero Hour”.


 

The first thing she noticed when she opened her eyes was that the dull headache she’d been fighting since the Xindi doctors had messed with her mind was still present. The mental fog which had numbed the horror of what she’d been forced to do was gone, though. She curled up in a fetal ball on the biobed, trying to come to terms with the fact that she’d just helped a race of incomprehensibly xenophobic aliens activate a weapon capable of destroying the entire human race. Someone was talking, but she didn’t want to listen. She just wanted to throw up.

“Now, Ensign... I know this has been very traumatic for you,” Dr. Phlox was saying softly as he ran the bioscanner slowly over her head, “I know that you’re still in pain, but the parasites your captors injected into your neocortex are all dead. The headaches you will be experiencing for the next few days are being caused by your body’s immune reaction to the residual alien tissue. You may also experience a few intestinal side effects from the radiation treatments I used to kill the parasites,” he finished apologetically. He laid the bioscanner on the table beside the bed and picked up the hypospray beside it.

“This should help,” he said as he pressed it into her neck. Her eyes fluttered shut as the drugs took effect. The mental fog returned, numbing the pain, but she knew that it would just come back. Before she even had the chance to protest the injustice of it all, she was asleep.


Malcolm stood staring at the sheet-covered form numbly. It was hard to believe that he was gone. They’d had their differences, but Jeremiah Hayes was the last person he’d expected to see dead. The man was experienced, tough, and smart—too smart to be trapped into making a posthumous hero of himself, or so Malcolm had believed. A transporter malfunction had made the man’s intelligence a moot point, though. Someone had needed to stay behind. He’d made his choice—a typically heroic one. Ironically, it was only after his death that Malcolm had begun to realize that he considered the major a friend.

“Lieutenant Reed?” A soft female voice startled him. He turned blindly, blinking away moisture. Corporal Amanda Cole stood before him in uniform with an apologetic look on her face.

“I’ve been assigned to security duty, sir—to Ensign Sato. The shift would ordinarily be eight hours, but the team wants to have a service for Major Hayes at 2100 hours. I was wondering whether you could assign internal security to relieve me so that I can attend the service,” she said reluctantly. She didn’t meet his eyes, evidently too embarrassed about asking for special favors to do so. He stared at her reddened face for a moment. He wondered who had ordered the MACO guard on Hoshi Sato, and then decided it didn’t matter. She was a security risk. A guard detail was necessary.

If Hayes’ death has hit me this hard, I wonder how Cole feels? he thought. Then he nodded.

“I’ll take care of it, Corporal. Go prepare for the service,” he told her. Cole smiled at him gratefully and then looked wistfully over his shoulder at the draped body on the biobed before turning to leave Sickbay. Malcolm’s eyes followed her to the exit, and then turned toward the curtained alcove across the room. She was there, sleeping behind the curtain. Alive, no thanks to him—and the man who’d rescued her was dead. It should have been me. I should have been there for her. But then he’d be dead as well.

He walked across the floor, ignoring the looks he received from Cutler and Dr. Phlox as he approached the curtained area with trepidation.

I wonder if she was waiting for me to rescue her? he thought. Probably not. She barely knew he existed as anyone other than a distant superior officer. He’d made sure of that over the years. More was simply not appropriate.

After her kidnapping, he’d had to force himself not to think about what the bloody bastards were doing to her. He’d focused instead on her sweet and innocent curiosity—the sheer untouchable beauty that shone from her face. He’d been determined to be her protector, but he’d not been offered the opportunity.

He stepped up to the curtain and pulled it back—and then stopped in his tracks. She was curled in a fetal ball beneath the sheets. Her face was pale, and the dark circles beneath her eyes made her seem near death. She was breathing, though, and her lips moved as she slept. Her whispers were in a strange sibilant language he didn’t recognize. She looked almost nothing like the woman he’d been trying his level best not to fall in love with for almost three years.

“May I help you, Lieutenant?” asked the doctor brightly. Malcolm started and looked up. Phlox eyed him with a questioning smile. Malcolm cleared his throat.

“The ensign is a security risk. I’ll be standing guard this shift,” he said stoutly.

Phlox’s smile decreased in size just a trifle. “That won’t be necessary, Lieutenant. As you can see, she’s no threat to anyone in her present condition.”

Malcolm tipped his head in acknowledgement of the doctor’s statement. “Nevertheless, security protocols require...”

“If she awakens and finds an armed guard at her bedside she may become agitated,“ insisted Phlox. “As her doctor, I cannot allow it.”

Malcolm blinked. The Denobulan was right. She’d just left captivity. He thought for a moment, and then unbuckled his belt. He handed it and his holstered weapon to the doctor impassively. Then he turned, pulled a chair up to Hoshi’s bedside and sat down.

“I’ll just stay here then—as a friend, to reassure her in case she wakes up,” he told the doctor blandly.


The Xindi sloth doctor pressed the loudly whirring drill to her temple. She was helpless, rendered motionless by the drugs they’d given her—but the drugs didn’t stop the pain. As the drill bit entered her scalp, she bit her lip, refusing to give them the satisfaction. She felt the threads bite into her temporal bone as the pitch of the drill changed before she began to scream... ...and woke to the murmuring of a male voice as a hand gently stroked the top of her head. “Shhh. Don’t cry, fy cariad.Cysgu. It’s all right.” You’re safe now.

She reached blindly towards the comforting voice, and a pair of strong arms gathered her to a warm, firm surface that smelled of aftershave and phase pistol lubricant. The smell was vaguely familiar. So were the words. She snuggled in, feeling secure and cozy. Something nagged at her, though, preventing her from falling asleep again.

What language is that? she thought muzzily. The fabric beneath her cheek was damp with her tears. She opened her eyes, wincing at the dim light within the curtained-off cubicle. Nausea suddenly overwhelmed her, and she pulled away, retching. An emesis basin appeared just in time to save the sheets. She dry-heaved miserably for several seconds before collapsing backwards onto the biobed, squinting at her own personal Florence Nightingale in disbelief.

Lieutenant Malcolm Reed put the emesis basin down on the bedside table and picked up a hypospray, showing it to her with a rueful smile.

“It’s feeding time for the menagerie, but Doctor Phlox gave me this...” he offered.

She eyed him suspiciously, working her tongue around inside her mouth, which felt and tasted like putrid cotton wool. She looked at the hypospray and shook her head. She needed to stay awake for a little while to sort everything out. Then the oddness of his presence at her bedside finally struck her.

“What are you doing here, sir?” she asked in a raspy, puzzled voice. Speaking made her head throb, and she raised both hands to her temples. Then, realizing how ungrateful her question had sounded, she added painfully, “Not that I’m complaining or anything, but don’t you have more important things to do than play nurse?”

He reached for the pitcher by her bedside and poured her a cup of water with an uneasy expression. He held it for her as she took a sip. “Not nurse... security detail,” he admitted without meeting her eyes, placing the cup back on the table.

“Oh. I see,” she replied softly, finally understanding the situation. They both fell silent. He stood awkwardly at her bedside for a second or two without looking at her and then cleared his throat, turning to sit back down into the chair at her bedside. She studied him through half-closed lids, resting her head on the pillow. It was the wet spot on the front of his shirt that made her realize that the events she’d experienced earlier hadn’t been just a pleasant dream her mind had concocted to help her deal with her trauma.

Her lips twitched upward just a trifle. Who knew Malcolm Reed could be such a softy? She’d certainly had no idea. While it was true that a lot of the women on board considered him attractively tough and unattainable, she’d always preferred the romantic type. Men like Malcolm Reed required too much effort—and, of course, there was the non-frat policy to deal with. He was such a stickler for the rules. He was awfully dreamy looking, though. Those eyes...

“All you need to do is tell me, and I’ll help you with the hypospray,” he volunteered softly. His grey eyes were oddly tender. He’d never looked at her like that before. “Maybe you should take it again before you...”

“Before I start dry heaving again?” she finished wryly. He nodded with a half-smile. She smiled back—a small one, but it was a start. “I’ll give you fair warning,” she reassured him. Then her eyes narrowed. The puzzle she’d been subconsciously working on finally fell into place.

“Welsh?” she asked in disbelief. “You speak Welsh?”

His eyes widened. She could have sworn he looked—frightened. Then he recovered, and his expression became calm and unconcerned. He shrugged.

“Not really. My grandmother was a ‘Preserve the Mother Tongue’ fanatic,” he told her. “Never spoke anything but Welsh whenever I visited on holiday.” He looked away evasively. “I don’t remember anything, really. Sometimes—in certain situations—the words just come out.” He gave her an embarrassed smile. “I had nightmares as a child, you see...”

She gave him a tired half-smile in return. “I won’t tell if you won’t,” she said. He looked relieved. She closed her eyes and swallowed. The nausea was returning.

“What about that medicine now?” he asked in a concerned voice. She sighed and nodded. He pressed the hypospray into the side of her neck. In the moments between her medication dose and sleep, Hoshi finally accessed the memories she was looking for. It had been a while. She hadn’t explored ancient Anglo-Saxon tongues since the summer she’d turned fifteen.

Fy, the personal possessive pronoun, “my”...cariad, noun, “love”... My Love?

She fell asleep with a tiny smile on her face. It’s a good thing he didn’t know what he was saying, she thought drowsily. He’d probably die of embarrassment.


Malcolm sat at her bedside, watching her fall asleep. She looked so fragile. Anger welled in his chest over the atrocities she had suffered, but he kept it in check. Now was not the time. Don’t worry, fy cariad, I won’t let anything else happen to you—not if I have to kill every Xindi left alive. I promise.

End


Comments:

Hummingbird2

Very touching and beautiful ( and it's on my favorites list at W5C ). Thank you!

willow

just to let you know i loved this

you really have to write more

that was so tender and sweet

the writers should have explored their relationship on the show maybe it wouldnt have gotten cancelled

WarpGirl

This is my favorite Malcolm Hoshi story EVER! I think it's just perfect.:D

JULIE

Warm, romantic and very touching.

:)

Linda
I THOUGHT that was Welsh before you told us, it looked like Gaelic language. Nice realizatin for Hoshi that there was more to Malcolm than she knew.
This is the story that made me realize the increadible potential for Hoshi/Malcolm fics. It's absolutly wonderful!
blacknblue
I remember this one. It's even better the second time around.
JadziaKathryn
I've always liked this. First, it's good to see that Hoshi's trauma is addressed, and then it's a nice sweet R/S story. Plus, I can see Malcolm being related to someone who's a "preserve the mother tongue" fanatic, somehow... ;)
Asso
Yes. Very delightful.:p
justTrip'n
Aww . . . Very sweet. Well done. :)

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