Title: Finding Home
Author: Philippe de la Matraque
Rating: R (for discussion of violence and torture)
Pairing: R/S light
Archive: Yes to Trekiverse.org, otherwise, please ask.
Summary: Sequel to Alien Us. Malcolm Reed barely survived to see to be
reunited with Hoshi Sato. But things have taken a downturn and now he
needs a new heart and a way to heal.
Author's note: I deliberately use italics like this *in text** just
because it makes conversion to HTML so much easier.
Malcolm Reed had no sense of time as he lay in bed. He wasn't even so
much aware he was in a bed except that his body, for the most part, was
comfortable. Meaning that few parts of his physical body bothered
making themselves known. His wrists were sore as were his ankles. There
was a deep pain in his chest, however, and it anchored him to the
mattress for countless hours.
His thoughts boiled with images and voices, memories of his sister, the
orcs, his father, the water, the torture, the fountain, the surgeries,
the pond, the laboratory, the ocean, the desert, the tub of water and
T'Rex's clawed hand on his neck. They played over and over, digging
deeper and deeper in his memory to find forgotten scoldings and
unremembered frowns, moments of terror that bled into each other.
Over time, other parts of his body vied for his attention. His
stomach, his bladder. The force of the memories and grief were such
that he hadn't noticed either. Hours had passed until they became
So Malcolm turned. He pushed the blankets off and found, to his
surprise, that he wasn't cold. Why had there been a blanket? Had the
orcs given up so soon?
The room he was in was dark, the building quiet. No red lamps to heat
the night. There was a small light off to his right so he sat and
pushed himself up until he was standing. He moved toward the light. He
found a restroom. So he could quiet one of those insistent needs.
Once he'd done that, his stomach insisted he stay up. The orcs hadn't
fed him. He dreaded what that meant. Memories of darkness and immense
pain cancelled out all other thoughts, pausing the roiling litany for
this one or six. His chest, his leg, his arm, his eye, his back, his
head, his groin.
When those memories subsided enough to let his father's voice chide him
for not fighting back, Malcolm found himself on the cold floor of
wherever he was. And he found his stomach fairly screaming its need for
food. He pushed himself up onto his knees then used the sink beside him
to stand again. He walked back into the room with the bed and noticed
another light to his right. So he walked through a door.
He was in a corridor, narrower than the ones he'd seen in the lab. More
like home. He turned left, toward a lessening of the darkness. He
could make out two sleeping forms in a larger room. The orcs were
sleeping. He had to be quiet or he'd wake them. Maybe he could get
out. He crept closer, using the wall for support and hoping they
couldn't hear his father yelling back in that first room.
More light to his right, another doorway, wider than the last. There
was light beyond, not bright, but like the desert at night. He went
through it and found a room bright with moonlight shining through a wide
glass door. There was a table with many chairs and a hum of low-powered
devices. He stopped walking as his memories tried to make sense of this
A woman's voice. Not Madeline, not Mother. Not Hoshi. Someone rose
behind him and he was afraid to turn. A hand on his shoulder, turned
him gently. "Are you hungry?"
It was as if the world had become silent. He couldn't hear his father,
the orcs, any of it. Slowly the sounds of nature, birds and insects,
filtered through the large glass door to his ears.
He looked at the woman. She was older than he was, more Mother's age,
but with more lines, dark circles under he eyes. She wore her hair in a
pony-tail. She was wearing a robe over a gown and house slippers. He
didn't recognize her. Or the room he was standing in.
He took a moment to look around now that his eyes had fully adjusted to
the relative light in the room. There was a stove and storage cabinets,
an ice box or refrigerator. The table with its chairs. He was in a
kitchen. A kitchen where?
His voice was breathy when he finally used it. "Where--am--I?"
The woman pulled out one of the chairs then took his hand and led him
to it. "You're in my home. Trip's home. I'm his mother. Would you
like me to make you something? Maybe some scrambled eggs?"
Malcolm's stomach growled. "Please." Trip's home.
She retrieved some items from the ice box and a dish to mix them. "I
have trouble sleeping, too," she said.
Trip's mother. Trip's sister. Dead. Her daughter. Dead. Elizabeth.
Dead. Madeline. Dead. The pain in his chest came roaring back as the
memory slammed into him. Madeline was dead.
"And for what?" Father was back. "If you hadn't needed a heart, she
would be alive. It's your fault!"
Malcolm closed his eyes, wishing for the silence, the birds and insects.
A hand touched his arm. "Here, eat. You'll feel better."
He opened his eyes to find a plate with yellow, scrambled eggs in front
of him. The steam warmed his face. There was a glass of milk, too. He
lifted the fork from the plate, but his father's voice behind him caused
his hand to shake, and he dropped it.
"We ought to have been with you by now," he harangued. "So many
opportunities to rid us of your disgrace."
"It's alright," she said, picking up the fork. She scooped up a bit of
the eggs and put the fork back in his hand. She helped him hold it
steady as he brought it to his lips.
"Look at you!" his father spat. "You're weak. A Reed man would never
let a stranger, especially a woman, see himself like this."
He couldn't even taste the eggs as she helped him eat bite after bite
until they were gone. It settled his stomach, which left the pain
dominant. His throat hurt, making it hard to swallow.
"I know grief," she said. "You don't have to hide it from us, from me."
He looked across the table and, for just a moment, he saw Madeline
smile at him. He felt a hand on his back, but it wasn't his father. It
was gentle, soothing. He looked at the woman, Trip's mother. The words
came out before he could hold them back. "I think I'm losing my mind,"
he whispered to her.
She scooted her chair closer and let her arm reach around to his other
shoulder. "Well, this is a safe place to do it." She smiled, then
pulled the glass closer. "Have some milk." She wrapped his hand around
the glass and helped him lift it.
He drank half then sat it on the table. She stood and helped him
stand, then led him by the hand to a bench set into the wall. She sat
and pulled him down to sit beside her. "I have trouble sleeping
sometimes, too," she said, without letting go of his hand. "Sometimes I
dream of my daughter, and it feels so real, it wakes me up. Then I come
here to sit and listen and remember."
Malcolm didn't want to remember. Any of it. Not his father's voice,
not his sister's death, not the orcs, not the water. He remembered
Hoshi. He wanted memories of her. He wanted her. But all the other
memories crowded her out. And she was gone. Madeline was gone. Bayzhoo
was gone. His father glared at him from the table.
"Do you mind if I tell you about her?" the woman asked. "She was
beautiful. She had long, blonde hair, like her father's used to be.
Albert has my dark hair. Trip is somewhere in the middle. But Lizzie's
was all blonde. She was funny and loved telling jokes. We weren't
surprised at all when she wanted to study architecture. She had just
gotten her first real job as an architect."
Madeline was an architect. Madeline was blonde. She liked telling
jokes. Even if they weren't funny.
The woman sighed. But then she started again. "Albert was maybe too
old for her, but she latched on to Trip straight away. Whatever he was
doing, wherever he was going, she wanted to tag along."
Malcolm's eyes grew heavy as he listened to her voice. For a moment,
he felt he could make it. It wasn't Hoshi, but her voice gave him
something to hold onto. If he closed his eyes, he couldn't even see his
father, and he felt safe.
It felt good to remember Lizzie when she was young and vibrant.
Memories she hadn't thought she still had came to her, and she found
herself telling him another story. But she'd noticed when he'd closed
his yes. A little while later, his body had relaxed and he'd nodded
forward. She caught him and gently pulled him towards her, so that his
head ended up on her shoulder.
She smiled. When she spoke again, she lowered her volume. "Well, at
least one of us can sleep. I think you need it more than I do."
Then she told him another story. Or she told herself. It didn't
really matter, as long as he was peaceful. She thought maybe her
stories had kept his demons at bay. And something good had come from
her own sleeplessness.
As she spoke she could see Lizzie and Trip chasing each other around
the kitchen table as kids while she cooked at the stove.
"Gracie?" The voice surprised her. She opened her eyes to bright
light beyond the glass door on the other side of the kitchen. Charlie
stood beside her in his robe and slippers. She turned her head to see
Malcolm still there asleep. Her arm felt odd and tingly. He looked so
peaceful she didn't want to wake him, but she needed some circulation in
her arm. She tried opening and closing her fist a few times but it was
Charlie had that look on his face that told her he was thinking, with
his lips pressed to one side. "Think he'll want breakfast?" he whispered.
She nodded her head toward the table where the plate and probably warm
milk still stood. "He had a little," she whispered back.
"Not like we can pick him up and carry him back to bed."
She smiled remembering doing that with the kids. But Malcolm was not
one of those. "Maybe Trip can coax him back there. Hopefully, he can
get back to sleep."
Charlie nodded and left the kitchen. She heard him waking Trip in the
living room. Not two minutes later, they were back.
Trip bent down and kissed her forehead then turned to his friend. He
put out a hand to touch Malcolm's other shoulder, but Malcolm bolted
upright and his expression scared Elaine. His sleep had been anything
but peaceful. He was terrified.
Trip grabbed his shoulder, touched his face. "It's okay. You're
safe." Malcolm's hands had gone to his chest, like he expected it to
burst open. How invasively had he been studied? she wondered.
Malcolm's breathing calmed. The initial terror was gone but now, in
the light she could see that he was gone again. He looked around like
he didn't know where he was. Maybe he was right and he was losing his
mind. She hoped the therapist could help him. She wanted to think he
could heal here.
He seemed to trust Trip and stood. Trip walked him out of the kitchen.
Charlie waited until they were down the hall. "I'll get breakfast
going. How long was he here?"
"It was dark," Elaine told him. "Couldn't see the clock." She could
now. It was 6:43. And she remembered Trip had to leave today.
Despite the abrupt waking, Malcolm still seemed tired when Trip got him
back to the still rather dark bedroom. But Malcolm didn't go right back
to sleep. So Trip pulled the chair close.
"You're safe here, Malcolm," he said. "Mom and Dad are going to make
sure of that. Miguel is here to help you stay healthy. Your parents
don't know you're here. They won't know. You can be a part of my
family now. It'll be different than what you're used to, I think. But
I'm sure you'll get the hang of it."
Malcolm didn't say anything or even give him any way of knowing that
he'd understood. The only difference from yesterday was that his
eyelids were heavy and kept trying to close.
Trip realized now why Malcolm kept forcing them open. The terror he'd
seen on his friend's face, the way he'd clutched his chest, had told him
that Malcolm hadn't been sleeping peacefully. He guessed Malcolm had
been dreaming he was paralyzed. And being cut open.
"I wish I could help you have better dreams," he told Malcolm. Malcolm
had been awake for the better part of forty-eight hours now. That
couldn't be helping his mental state. But neither could nightmares like
that. And maybe they were more terrifying or vivid now because of the
state he was in.
"I wish you'd talk to me." He remembered the letter he'd seen
addressed to Hoshi. "I have to leave today. To go back to
*Enterprise.** I want to tell Hoshi that you're okay. That you're
healing. You were. And I gotta hope you will again, but we won't know
until the mission's over and we can come back here."
Nothing. Trip had really hoped that Malcolm night-time walk to the
kitchen and falling asleep on his mother's shoulder had meant some sort
of breakthrough, that Malcolm was coming back from the brink or at least
further away from catatonic. Maybe a few more hours of sleep, however
that went, would get him back to at least some level of lucidity.
Hoshi and he had told each other stories to help them through their
respective horrors. So Trip thought it was worth a try. "Did I ever
tell you what it was like for me growing up? I'm a middle kid. Not the
oldest and not the baby." So he told Malcolm about Albert and what it
was like when it was just the two of them. Then when Lizzie was born
and how he'd been disappointed she wasn't a boy. Though not for long.
By the time he'd gotten to some of their epic games out in the yard
with the other kids from the neighborhood, Malcolm's eyes were closed.
Trip ran his fingers through his hair. He was certain he still had bed
head. Dad had woken him up and brought him right to the kitchen. He
thought about using the bathroom here but didn't want to wake Malcolm
with the noise. So he quietly left the room and went to the one in the
hall. It was 0730 when he made it back to the kitchen, where Mom and
Dad had cooked a big breakfast. There was toast, eggs, ham, pancakes,
milk and juice.
Trip sat down and started filling up his plate. Miguel stood, having
just finished his. "How is he in there?"
Trip sighed. "Kind of like yesterday except he's asleep this time."
"That's good," Mom commented. "He needs it."
"Yeah, but what he's dreaming," Trip replied, shaking his head. How
much should he tell them, and at breakfast? "What they did to him in
that lab, it was horrendous. As scared as he was when he woke up, I
gotta think he's dreaming it. I hate leaving him like this."
"Maybe you should ask Starfleet to let you stay," Dad suggested.
"Tempting, but there's the other side of it." He washed some of the
food down with some orange juice. "I have to get back to Hoshi. I
promised her I'd take care of him. And I promised him I'd take care of
her when I got back. I was looking forward to telling her that he was
healing and getting better. But now?"
"When do you leave?" Mom asked.
"This afternoon," Trip said. "I'm supposed to be at Starfleet
Headquarters at 1600."
"Dr. Perez wanted to see him," Miguel said. "I told her I didn't think
it was safe to move him right now. So she's coming here. Malcolm had
surgery just a week ago. He's got to be in serious pain."
The comm system in the kitchen chirped. Miguel was still up so he
answered it. Trip recognized Trevon's voice. "Is it too early for me
to come over?"
Trip stood and met Miguel at the comm. He's asleep and we're having
breakfast. Give us about thirty minutes then we can fill you in on last
night when you get here."
"That will be fine. See you in thirty minutes." The call blinked off.
Trip went back to the table and Miguel left to check on Malcolm.
By the time Trevon got there, the table was cleared but Trip's parents
were still sitting there with cups of coffee. Trip brought Trevon in
and offered him a cup.
"Thank you, but I have yet to develop a taste for it. I find tea more
to my liking, but don't bother. I've had some already before coming.
May I sit?"
"Of course," Mom answered.
"So tell me," Trevon said, "what happened last night?"
Trip deferred to his mother. She'd been the only one up.
"I sometimes have trouble sleeping," she told him. "So I come in here
to sit." She indicated the bench set into the wall behind Trip. "I
hadn't been there long when Malcolm walked in. He stopped at the door
and looked very confused. He asked where he was. I could barely hear
him. I told him and made him some scrambled eggs. His hand shook so
much he could barely hold the fork, so I helped him. Got him to drink a
little milk. He kept looking like he was seeing or hearing someone
else, too. He said he was afraid he was losing his mind. I told him it
was a safe place for it. I had him sit beside me and I told him about
our Lizzie. As I told him stories, he fell asleep. He started to nod
over so I pulled him to my shoulder."
"Dad found them over there this morning," Trip added, picking up the
story. "I touched him on the shoulder and he jerked awake, but he was
terrified. I could see it in his face. He clutched his chest. I think
he was dreaming about what happened on Sharu. I took him back to his
room, figured stories worked with him and Hoshi, and now Mom, so I told
him stories and he finally went back to sleep after the better part of
"So he's asleep now?" Trevon asked and Trip nodded.
"Miguel says Dr. Perez is coming over to check on him."
"It's good that she's coming here," Trevon confirmed. He paused for a
moment, thinking. "I hate to wake him now that he's actually asleep."
He looked to Mom. "I would guess that his biological needs got him out
of that bed. Otherwise, he hasn't eaten or drank anything?"
"No," Trip answered. "First words he spoke since comin' here, too."
"Then it was good you got some nourishment in him," Trevon said. "I'll
want to talk to Perez when she arrives."
Trevon didn't have to wait long. Dr. Esmeralda Perez was young,
perhaps in her thirties, with short-cropped brown hair and eyes to
match. She came with several cases and a couple nurses to carry them.
"You must be Dr. Trevon," she said, holding out her hand to him. She
had a heavy accent, which he'd learned was regional.
"Dr. Perez, I presume," he replied as he shook her hand.
"A telepath, huh?" She smiled. "I never met one before."
*Well, you'll meet two today,** he thought. "I've met more than I can
count," he answered, smiling in kind.
"What's your take on Lt. Reed's mental state?" she asked, getting right
down to businesses.
"He's severely traumatized and basically stuck in a cycle of
flashbacks. He found out that his sister died to give him his new
heart, and not in a helpful manner. And there's the year that put him
in the condition to need a new heart."
Perez sighed. "Yeah, I got to read those notes. So what we need to
determine is his physical state and how much of his pain is physical and
how much is emotional. I'd think you wouldn't want him so drugged up
you couldn't work with him."
Trevon nodded. "It would be counter-productive, but I don't want him
to suffer needlessly either. That surgery was a week ago. I can
guarantee he's in physical pain."
Perez sat down on the sofa so Trevon sat in one of the armchairs
nearby. "So I've been thinking," she said. "We want something local
with minimal intrusion." One of the nurses handed her a case. She put
it in her lap, opened it and withdrew what looked like tan papers. "Time
release patches. We used these a century ago for various things like
birth control or smoking cessation. We can get them under his bandages
so long as we can get in there and change them. They should be good for
up to a week. We'll want to reassess dosage by then anyway."
"The fact that you are female might make it easier," Trevon said.
"There were no females where he was held during that year. That made a
difference before he found out about his sister and entered this state.
He seems to have tolerated Miguel Tucker, here."
"I was able to rebandage his wrists and ankles the night he arrived,"
Miguel said, speaking up from his spot in the doorway the kitchen.
Perez regarded him. "Well, then maybe between you, me, and Nancy here
we can get his chest, too. Sorry, Nikita, you'll have to stay out here."
Miguel looked to the other male nurse. "Mom's got pecan pie in the
fridge." He pointed his thumb over his shoulder toward the kitchen.
"Well, now I'm jealous," Perez said. "I do hate to wake him as I've
been told he didn't sleep since he got here."
"Not until very early this morning," Trevon agreed. "Perhaps you
should let me try." He tapped a finger to his forehead. He stood and
started down the hall, waving for her to follow. He stopped at the door
and opened his barrier, expecting the flood of cascading memories and
thoughts. But there was only one scene. Trip had been right.
Malcolm was screaming in his mind. Trevon couldn't see anything but he
felt his back was on fire with lacerations and fingers reaching in. It
took his breath away. He had to put a hand against the door to steady
"You okay?" Perez asked.
Trevon raised his other hand. He tried Malcolm's trick. A console. He
pulled one to mind, labelled the controls and shut off Tactile. The
pain began to fade. The screaming remained. "He has horrible
nightmares," he explained to the doctor.
*Malcolm,** he tried. *You're not there anymore. You're on Earth.
The screaming stopped.
*Open your eyes. You're lying in a soft bed, in a bedroom in a house.
Trip's house. You're safe.**
Now the memories came and the cascade began. Trevon closed the
connection. "He's awake." Then he had another thought. *Trip, perhaps
you should come and introduce the doctor.**
Trip dutifully sidestepped into the hall and motioned the doctor into
the room. Trevon followed and stood in the corner by the door, out of
"Malcolm, this is Dr. Perez," Trip told him. "She's gotta check you
out. Think you could sit up for her?" Malcolm was pliant as Trip did
most of the lifting until Malcolm was seated. Trip then beckoned the
two nurses in. "That's Miguel. You've already met him. And Nancy
here, is a nurse, too."
"Hello, Malcolm," Dr. Perez said. Malcolm didn't even look at her. She
looked to Trevon.
*He's compliant,** he told her telepathically. *That may be as good as
you'll get for now.**
She turned back to her patient and scanned him. "You're dehydrated,"
she told him, "but your wounds are healing well enough. We do need to
change your bandages, however. Would you mind if your friend steps out
so we can do it quickly?"
Trip's expression was troubled but Trevon surmised that was more due to
Malcolm's state than being told to leave. Trevon followed him out. They
stopped in the hall to wait. It wasn't long. The doctor emerged and
met them there while the nurses finished up.
"The patches should be begin to work in the next fifteen minutes,"
Perez told them, keeping her voice low. "When the pain subsides, he may
"The patches can't stop all the pain," Trevon commented. " Emotional
pain is my department. Still, it's likely to help."
She nodded. "It would be good if you could get him to eat, drink some
liquids. Meet in the middle and try some soup."
"He did get himself up last night," Trevon replied. "Could be that
he'll notice clues like hunger more when that pain subsides."
"I'd like to see him at the hospital for physical therapy in a few
weeks. But I can see that's a big ask at the moment."
Trip showed her to the front room again, and Trevon went inside to wait
the fifteen minutes with Malcolm. The latter was lying down again,
facing into the room, which was more helpful than facing the wall. By
the sleeve on his upper arm, he could see that his night-clothes had
been changed as well.
Trevon pulled the chair closer so that Malcolm was in reach. He had an
idea that might allow Malcolm to stop his cascade and hold his attention.
Malcolm visibly relaxed as the minutes ticked by. He had been so still
that Trevon had not thought him tense. The patches were apparently working.
*Malcolm, do you hear me?** He eased open the barrier to listen in on
Malcolm's thoughts without being bombarded by them. Malcolm turned his
eyes toward Trevon for just a moment before they lost focus and moved to
another part of the room.
He had gotten the background reports from Dr. MacCormack yesterday
evening, and Trevon now had some inkling of how bad things had gotten
between Malcolm and his father. But he didn't understand why. For that
he needed to know Malcolm. Not the Malcolm that survived his time on
Sharu, but that twelve-year-old Malcolm who had lost the love of his father.
*Malcolm,** he began again, *I know I told you it's better if you
speak. But if you can't speak with your voice, speak with your mind.
And if you can't do that, you can show me.**
And things changed. The cascade of memories had slowed to more
coherent thoughts running from one trauma to another. Water was the
most common of them. But he could now also see what Malcolm was seeing
in the room. An old man harangued him from the corner by the door. His
father. A pretty blonde woman, probably his sister, showed up now and
then. The orcs strode past the door, occasionally looking in.
Malcolm Reed was out of time again. Not physically as he had been in
the crash but in his mind. So Trevon tried something he usually
wouldn't. As a rule, he did not touch his patients. Most wouldn't have
taken well to such intimate connection.
But Malcolm needed an anchor. So Trevon took hold of Malcolm's exposed
left hand. *This is real. This is now. We're on Earth, in the Tucker
family home. You are safe here.**
It silenced the father, though it didn't banish him completely. The
orcs disappeared from the hallway though.
*Malcolm, I think it's time you shared that secret hurt, the one your
father used against you.**
The cascade stopped, the father vanished. Trevon could still see the
bed with Malcolm in it, the curtains on the window behind the bed, but
he could also see a schoolyard under a partly-cloudy sky. His viewpoint
was closer to the ground than Trevon was used to. He was walking past a
building, and somehow, he knew it as Grayton Hall. He could hear the
Tuckers quietly speaking in the kitchen. But he could also hear a child
crying not too far away, and, louder than that, the unmistakable,
gleeful laughter of others tormenting that child.
The vision from Malcolm froze. Trevon knew that if they moved forward,
their shadow would give their presence away. *But they're tormenting
one of the other boys,** young Malcolm thought. *If I run to get a
teacher, they'll be gone by the time I get back.** That the older
Malcolm could share all this detail in memory and even his thoughts
within that time was astounding.
Then young Malcolm looked back. At the side of a cottage there was a
gardening implement. A rake. Trevon felt the younger Malcolm's
trepidation but he also felt proud of Malcolm for his own part. "Let
him go!" Malcolm yelled as they rounded the corner, brandishing the
rake. And Trevon knew the actors in front of him. Victor Renslow, the
victim from a form below him. Leslie Morris, the ring-leader. Terrance
Bishop and Gerald Balinsweel, the henchmen. Bullies were universal.
"*Getoffofhim!**" Malcolm shouted. The words rushed out in one long
burst as his fear met his determination.
"Get out of here, fish-boy," Leslie spat. "Before we make you sorry
you turned up here."
The name-calling meant nothing, didn't cut the way Leslie wanted. But
Trevon didn't miss the venom with which it was spoken. "No you get out
of here." The rake swung in Malcolm's hands, and Trevon wondered that
he felt that swing as if Malcolm had used his arms.
One of the henchmen, Terrance, backed away, which loosed the victim's
arms. Young Malcolm moved forward and swung again. "Move off."
On the third swing, dangerously close to Leslie's face, had the desired
effect. He got off the younger boy. "You've just made a big mistake,
"I don't care, Leslie," Malcolm said and Trevon felt the young man's
pride match his own. Victor scrambled to sit up and spat out the mud
and gravel. "Are you alright, Victor?" Malcolm asked. But neither he
nor Trevon missed the other henchman throw something.
Trevon felt the sharp pain in the side of his own head, felt the
dizziness even as he was still sitting in the chair. But young Malcolm
had closed his eyes and only swirls of colors were superimposed on the
room. Still, young Malcolm swung, but to the side so as not to hit Victor.
With a shout, they were on him, and Trevon felt the blows, wanted to
curl up just as he sensed young Malcolm was doing. On and on it went
until Trevon felt them lift his arms and drag him forward to somewhere.
His whole body felt heavy and sore. He couldn't see where they were
taking them. and the voices of the bullies seemed to come from far away.
Then cold engulfed his head. Trevon felt Malcolm's hand tighten on his
own with strength born of panic. He looked to his patient, focusing
more on the reality of him than the memory. Still he knew where young
Malcolm was, and that he could not push off his attackers. Malcolm on
the bed began to shake, to try and push himself back to the wall. He'd
closed his eyes tight against the memory.
Young Malcolm's eyes opened, and Trevon saw the concrete bottom of a
pool or fountain. Fountain. His instinct was to hold his, breath but
he was aware enough not to do so. Malcolm, his patient, however, was
not. He was drowning.
Trevon put his other hand on Malcolm's quaking shoulder and tightened
his own grip on Malcolm's hand. *This** he reminded him, *this is real.
This is now. You are safe. I see it. Let it go. Come back.**
And then he heard a woman's voice. "It's the air," she purred. "It's
hurting you. Let it go."
"Stop," Trevon told him and used his voice. "It's over. I
understand." Malcolm's other hand reached out grab their joined ones
and slowly, the shaking stopped, the vision faded. Trevon left the
chair to kneel in front of Malcolm. "They drowned you. This is why
you're aquaphobic. Someone must have saved you."
Flashes of moments came to his mind. Coughing out the water, a woman
beside him. Medics lifting him on a gurney, a hospital room, coughing
some more. Malcolm's parents at his bedside, worried looks on their
faces. A doctor's words. Pneumonia. A news program. "...could not
positively identify the attackers."
Trevon found that odd, considering that Malcolm--and likely
Victor--could have identified them. Perhaps Malcolm had still be in the
hospital, too sick to answer investigators' questions. Maybe Victor had
been too scared.##
The images stopped. Trevon could see that Malcolm was exhausted. The
memory of his first drowning had taken a lot from him. Trevon still
didn't understand how Malcolm's assault had changed his relationship
with his father. How had the anguished father at his bedside turned
into the criminal Trevon had found in the background check?
Trevon gently pulled his hands back. He stood and adjusted the
blankets over Malcolm. "I'll let you rest. Then you should try to eat
He left the room and found Trip in the kitchen with his parents and
Miguel. "Perhaps you can sit with him for a bit," he suggested to the
engineer. "It was a difficult session, but important."
Trevon could see the urge to ask questions in Trips eyes, but he sighed
and left the table for Malcolm's room. "I'm hoping he'll eat something
after he rests some more," Trevon told the others. "I think I could use
a break as well. Perhaps I can return in the afternoon?"
"Of course," Mr. Tucker replied. Trevon let himself out.
# Quotes from *The Lord of the Rings** by J.R.R. Tolkien, Houghton
Miffline Company, 1994, p 798-799
## As told much better in the novel *Last Full Measure** by Michael A
Martin and Andy Mangels, Pocket Books, 2006, New York, pages 146-150.