kageygirl

Enterprise slash

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Enterprise kageygirl

Desperate Times

Title: Desperate Times

Author: Kageygirl

E-mail: kageygirl@gmail.com

URL: http://www.kageygirl.com

Fandom: Enterprise

Pairing: Sato/Cutler, Tucker/Reed

Rating: PG

Category: Slash

Summary: Liz reaches a crisis point. Hoshi helps her through it.

Spoilers: 1.16 "Shuttlepod One" (barely)

Comments: I have two very good friends and coworkers who are making me nuts. This is dedicated to/written in response to them. Though they'll never read it.

Beta thanks: The incomparable Leah, who in fact threatened me with grievous bodily harm if I didn't post this post-haste. How do you explain having your ass kicked by a tiny Canadian?

Liz Cutler rested her head against one of the mess hall tables. She liked this table. It was cool against her forehead, and unlike certain shipmates, it didn't seem determined to drive her completely insane.

She heard a coffee cup plunk down on either side of her head, but didn't bother to look up. When Hoshi murmured, "Hi, Liz," Liz waved languidly at her.

She heard Travis chuckle on her other side. "All right, what happened now?"

Liz sighed as she straightened up, and rubbed her forehead to dispel the mark she knew she'd left. The curse of being fair-skinned. Instead of answering, she rolled her head over to stare at Hoshi, who stifled a giggle. Hoshi gave Travis a knowing look, and reminded him, "Malcolm got hurt on the away mission today."

"Oh, right." Travis shook his head. "And Trip was mooning over him in sickbay again, wasn't he?"

It wasn't really a question, but Liz answered it anyway. "Like a lovesick cow." She lowered her head back to the table and thumped her forehead against it a few times. It amused her to hear the coffee cups rattle gently. Hoshi quickly slid her hand across the table to intercept her, and Liz let her head rest on Hoshi's palm for a minute. "It's not as effective if you do that, you know."

"I know." Hoshi's voice held matter-of-fact sympathy. "But you won't develop that concussion you're working on, so you won't have to go back to sickbay and see them at it again."

"Good point." Liz raised her head again and looked at her friends. "Just tell me, for the love of god, why don't they just get it on already?"

"Because they're men, and thus idiots?" Hoshi glanced quickly at Travis. "Present company excepted, of course."

"Thanks. I think." Travis played with his coffee cup, rolling it back and forth between his palms. "If you think that's bad, you should see them on the bridge. If it weren't for the shift changes, the engineering console would be dusty."

"Hey, you're lucky. You don't even see the half of it." Hoshi rolled her eyes. "If they're not standing next to each other, they're looking at each other. Not staring, but just these…" Hoshi waved her hands as words failed her, and Liz suppressed a smile at the frustration in her eyes.

"Maybe we should just get them drunk and lock them up somewhere together."

Liz admired the way Travis' mind worked, but she shook her head. "That didn't seem to work on the damn shuttlepod." Her eyes went wide when she realized what she'd said. "Oops. Patient privilege. Neither of you heard that."

Travis chuckled, and Hoshi smiled indulgently. "Sweetie, the whole ship already figured that out. The captain was teasing Trip about alcohol rations for a week. But it's nice of you to try to protect them."

Travis jumped in to save Liz from the last vestiges of her embarrassment. "Hey, could you inject them with something? Loosen them up a little?"

"There's a thought." She pretended to mull it over. "I bet Phlox would even agree to help. Even if he didn't get all the details, I'm sure he'd think it was therapeutic."

Hoshi rested her head in her hand, looking thoughtful. "I could go shake them out of their complacency. Hit on one of them."

"Slut." Liz took Hoshi's hand possessively, and Hoshi grinned. Liz couldn't hold her stern expression and grinned back. "It would never work. They both know we're together."

"How about me?" Travis asked. "I could hit on one of them."

Liz sized Travis up. "Hmm. You are pretty hot."

She ignored the swat that Hoshi delivered to her arm, as well as the murmured, "Now who's the slut?"

Liz frowned at Travis as she considered the plan. "But what if they go for it?"

"Well, then, it's win-win either way, right?" Travis held up his hands defensively. "Kidding, kidding. Boomers believe it's bad luck to interfere in the course of true love."

"Really?"

"Well, sure. Getting shoved out an airlock at warp is pretty unlucky."

Liz giggled as Hoshi leaned forward conspiratorially. "Knowing Malcolm, if you laid a hand on Trip, he'd shove a phase pistol right up your—"

"Lieutenant! How's the arm?" Travis sat up straight and shot a cheerful grin towards the door. Hoshi turned bright red and waved weakly to both the armory officer and the chief engineer behind him. Liz raised her coffee cup in greeting, then took a sip to cover the wicked smile threatening to break free. Ugh. The coffee had turned tepid while she was communing with the tabletop.

"Fine, thank you." Malcolm looked bemused at the stifled merriment hovering over the group's table, but merely nodded at the two women. "Hoshi, Liz."

"Hi, Malcolm. Hi, Trip." Hoshi's blush was receding slowly, and Trip raised his eyebrows at her.

"Something we should know?"

"Long story." With two words, a head shake and a tiny shrug, Travis seemed to convey to them that said story wouldn't be nearly as funny the second time around, and hardly worth the effort to retell. Trip smiled and turned away to follow Malcolm, and Liz wondered if she'd seen male shorthand at work, or just Travis' natural expressiveness. She glanced down into her unpalatable coffee, and had an epiphany.

Liz stared across the room, where the two senior officers were gathering a late dinner. "I know what to do."

"Liz?"

She hadn't realized she'd spoken aloud, but she smiled down at Hoshi and repeated herself as she slowly stood. "I know what to do."

Hoshi stood up with her, looking alarmed. "No. Whatever it is, no."

"It's so simple." Liz continued as if Hoshi hadn't spoken. "I'm going to spill my coffee on Malcolm. Then I'm going to tell Trip to strip him down and clean him up with his tongue."

"Liz…" Now Travis was standing, his eyes wide. "This is a bad idea."

"No, no. You'll see. This will work." Liz started to move forward as if in a trance, pulled by the force of her stunning revelation. She couldn't imagine why it had never occurred to her before. Travis stepped in front of her.

"You could get court-martialed."

"I'll plead extreme emotional duress. No one could convict me." She tried to dart around Travis, but crashed into Hoshi, who'd been coming around her other side. The resultant ball of kinetic energy took down Travis, too, as he tried to catch them, and they all ended up in a heap on the mess hall floor.

"Are you three all right?" Trip sounded concerned. That was sweet. Liz couldn't see anything past Hoshi's shoulder, which was currently jammed in her face, but Trip certainly sounded concerned.

"Fine, sir." Hoshi sounded strained, and Liz guessed that the parts of Travis that weren't pinning her legs were lying on Hoshi. The pile shifted, and Liz could breathe a little easier. She could also see the mess hall ceiling. What an…ordinary ceiling it was.

"Need any help?"

"No, sir, we're good." Travis' voice shook with laughter, and Liz started to giggle, too, at the thought of how they must look.

"All right then." Trip's footsteps moved away.

Hoshi pried herself off Liz's chest, eyeing her carefully. "Are you going to behave?"

"I need another drink for my plan. My coffee spilled." The coffee, she was unhappy to note, seemed to have landed mostly on her lap. Exactly the most embarrassing place to have a giant wet spot.

Hoshi let her weight sag against Liz, and Liz was amazed that such a tiny woman could muster such mass. "Liz!"

"OK, OK. I'll be good."

Liz let Hoshi pull her to a sitting position, and Travis gave them both a hand to their feet. Malcolm and Trip were sitting at a table together, warily watching them untangle themselves, and Liz wiped a hand down the front of her uniform self-consciously. Nope, the coffee had definitely soaked in.

"If you'll excuse us." Hoshi nodded politely to the two men and led a disappointed Liz into the corridor. Travis brought up the rear, and Liz had the distinct impression that he was making sure she didn't make a break for it again.

As soon as the mess hall doors slid shut, Liz rounded on Hoshi. "Dammit, that was a brilliant plan."

Hoshi folded her arms and gave Liz the same kind of look her mother used to give her when she'd found Liz playing in the dirt. "Remember when you asked me to keep you from doing really stupid things?"

"This was a stupid thing?"

"This was a stupid thing." Hoshi leaned forward and slid her hands around Liz's neck, stroking her thumbs down the tight muscles there.

Liz let her head hang forward, stretching her neck and easing the tension. "I'm sorry. I just want them to be happy."

"I know you do, sweetie. We all do."

Travis slid an arm around her shoulders and pressed a kiss to the curtain of hair that hid her face. "They'll come around. They're reasonably smart. For men."

Liz gave a tiny chuckle and looked up at Travis. "Thanks for stopping me."

"Hey, any time you want to roll around in a pile on the floor, let me know." He grinned at them both, then headed off down the hallway.

Liz looked down at herself. "I'm a mess."

"Yes, you are." Hoshi was suppressing a smirk—poorly.

"Want to strip me down and clean me up with your tongue?"

Hoshi giggled and pressed a soft kiss to her lips, then rubbed her nose against Liz's. "I was hoping you'd ask me that."