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The Clearest Indication
Author - Stubadingdong | Genre - Friendship | Genre - General | Genre - Romance | Main Story | Rating - PG
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The Clearest Indication
By Stubadingdong, with a beta from Alcott
SUMMARY: Archer does some soul-searching while reflecting on the past year.
NOTES: My partner in crime, Joe, was on vacation when this was written. So I'll have to take the blame for it alone. I was supposed to be working on a sequel to "Harbinger" but this is what popped out instead.
I remember when we first started this mission; both of us were so excited we were like two little kids. You were always at my side during final inspections, ready to be my second in command. And there was no one else I wanted for that job. I've known you for years and easily consider you my best friend. It seemed only natural to have you as my Number One on Enterprise.
You almost killed her in that cave. At the time I was tempted to let you do your own thing. The devil on my shoulder wished you had burned a hole through her, ridding us of her presence. I didn't harbor that thought for long, mind you, but I did think it. Then the good doctor advised me neither of you was operating at a full mental capacity, and I had to talk you out of it. You came through that ordeal unscathed...physically, anyway. I think maybe both your egos were a bit bruised. It seemed to bridge a gap, though. You both seemed a bit more patient with each other, each more willing to listen to the other. That was my first taste of this jealousy.
When you got "pregnant" I tried not to rib you too much, no pun intended. But then she came right out with the teasing. At least I thought it was teasing. Maybe she was a bit jealous herself. It's hard to say.
I was able to tune out the bickering at the dinner table every night. But it was the smoldering, icy glares that I couldn't ignore. The way you'd insult her and she'd give it right back. The many times you'd look her up and down. She returned those looks, whether you realized it or not. She did. I saw them all...well, the ones given in my presence. Obviously I can't say what goes on between you, if anything, when I'm not around.
I saw the look in your eyes when you realized that transmission she received wasn't spy material, but highly personal. I know you well, and I know you felt sick about whatever that letter said. But I also know that whatever transpired between you two because of that letter was the Beginning. I saw the look in her eyes that day on the bridge, when she silently thanked you. More importantly, I saw the look in your eyes when she did. I don't know what was said or even what that entire situation was about, but whatever it was made a huge impact on the both of you.
Ever since that day I've noticed a change in your behavior; a bounce in your step, a twinkle in your eye. Your face would light up the room when she walked in. The glares at the dinner table turned into gazes, though I'm sure neither of you would admit it, to this day. I noticed the lingering glances you exchanged when you spent time on the bridge with us, how close the two of you would stand together. I noticed these things.
I hated letting you work together, but I knew you worked together very well. I found myself getting more distracted by this green-eyed monster invading my soul. I thought I was losing my best friend to a Vulcan. It even impaired my judgment for a while.
When we hooked up with those renegade Vulcans, I ordered her to work with them. I was testing you that day I came down to Engineering and asked about her. You didn't even seem fazed that she was spending time with him. You even accused me of being jealous. And I was, but not for the reason you thought. I was jealous for you. You should have been the one questioning her time spent with him. But you didn't. You trusted her even then, although you didn't have a clue about how you felt.
I tried looking at the world through your eyes. I've tried to view her as a challenge to overcome, maybe crack that shield she has around her. To my knowledge, you're the only human on board to have succeeded. Perhaps I've put a chink in her armor, but that's about it. Maybe it's my own authority that prevents me from accomplishing this where you have succeeded.
I wish I could talk to you in person about this. We rarely get the chance to be the buddies we were back on Earth. I'd love to bring this subject up over a beer but Hell, you don't even know how you feel about her. I'm half tempted to tell you, but that would suck all the air out of your little balloon. One day you'll read this and ask how I could possibly have known, even when you didn't...and she didn't either. I remember one evening at dinner with a trader named D'Marr. He offered some silk in exchange for a protein resequencer.
Quite out of the blue you turned to her and said, "I bet you'd look good in Triaxian silk." I remember quite vividly the thinly-veiled way you were leering, her eyebrow raised in curiosity. I have no doubt that if I hadn't spoken up then you two would have stared each other down all night.
I tried to get some of that old Trip Tucker back when I asked you to go to the desert with me. If I had known what kind of disaster that would be I never would have asked you. I obviously couldn't have known what lay ahead of us. All I know is that I had to beg you to spend time with your best friend. I felt like a child, but I was desperate. God, I'm sorry about that. I'm sorry I ever talked you into that. Lesson learned, my friend. I should have listened to your protests, but I was too selfish. I should be able to find other ways to spend time with you without nearly causing your death. Maybe I just didn't want to hear it, that maybe you wanted to spend more time with her.
Maybe it's just been so long since I've felt that way about anyone. I forget how consuming it can be. You'll always be my friend, assuming I can let you live your life and not interfere. I'm not saying I disapprove of your attraction. Hell, I'm not even sure that's what's on your mind. But I know you. You want her and from what I can see, she wants you too. Now that I can accept this is what's going on, it's kind of fun to watch. It took me a while, and almost at a very high price, but I've accepted it.
My point here is this: I hope that one day I can find someone that will make me lose my head the way she makes you lose yours. Maybe that will happen after this mission is complete, or maybe after I screw it up so badly they'll make me return to Earth. For now though, I'll settle for my love affair with Enterprise and live vicariously through my very distracted best friend.
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Half a dozen of you have made comments
This was lovely. A beautifully crafted piece of insight that was a pleasure to read. Your poem perfectly complimented the prose and it was achingly to the heart of the matter to have this little probe inside Archer's head, the jealousy so poignantly observed. The final acceptance of Archer's being the true affirmation of friendship. Thank you, I loved it. Ali D :~)
you know i've read this about a dozen times and each time i find it disturbing and real.
thanks for writing and sharing. well done.
Nicely written. I love it!
I enjoyed this very much. Good character piece on Archer, and seeing T/T from someone else's POV is always interesting.
Beautiful! Love the review of season one. Guess Archer's not so clueless afterall. ; )