Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

Working Late

Working Late

by Mara

Summary: Trip’s been spending too much time working, methinks.

NOTES: This little ficlet is a response to a Challenge in a Can from the
Linguistics Database. I’ll reveal my challenge at the end. To see the original
Challenge in a Can, visit http://www.dymphna.net/challenge/. The shippiness is
for Josephine, ’cause she keeps asking so nicely 🙂

* * * * *

//Engineering’s sure quiet this evening,// Trip thought as he started at the
sound of the tool he’d dropped clanging onto the decking above the warp core.

After a few deep breaths to slow his heart rate, he picked up the tool and went
back to crouching over this section of his beloved engines. Within moments, his
concentration was so deep he failed to notice the sound of footsteps until
someone stood behind him.

“There you are,” Hoshi said.

Trip yelped in surprise, falling over backwards to sit on his butt, the tool in
his hand flying over the railing to land beside the warp core. “Commander?” a
startled voice shouted from below, “Are you okay?”

“Fine, Lieutenant, just fine,” Trip lied through his teeth from his position on
the floor. He maneuvered to his knees and slowly turned at the sound of a giggle
to glare at Hoshi.

“Sorry,” she said, sounding thoroughly unrepentant as she stood with her hands
clasped behind her in a parody of military posture.

Looking to the heavens for patience, //just like my momma used to do,// he stood
up and dusted off his hands. “What are you doin’ here now? I know you’re off-

“I could ask you the same question.”

“The coolant levels have been fluctuating strangely,” he said. “And it’s the
first chance I’ve gotten to check it out.”

“Is it an emergency?” she asked, looking concerned.

“Well, no, it’s not an emergency,” he said with a frown, “but I didn’t want to
let it go too long.”

“Could somebody else do it next shift?”

He fidgeted in place, wondering why he was allowing an ensign to interrogate
him. “I suppose so.”

“Oh, good.” A brilliant smile lit up her face, and he caught his breath at how
beautiful she looked with that smile. As he opened his mouth to ask why she was
smiling, she grabbed his left wrist, locking a handcuff around it.

He stared in shock at the cuff, linked to another cuff around her right wrist.
“What the-”

“Just a little idea I had to get you out of engineering for the rest of the
evening. You ate and ran so fast, I knew you were coming back here.”

“It’s my job, you know,” he said in annoyance. “Now, get this damn cuff off,

She stared up at him, the very picture of innocence. “I don’t have the key.”

A primitive growl emerged from his throat. “Then we’re gonna march down that
ladder to main engineering and I’ll cut the damn things off.”

Her face fell. “And spoil my fun?”

She looked so downcast that, in a daze, he found himself saying, “Fun?
What…kind of fun?”

Her smile crept back and she stepped closer to him. “Naughty, Trip, not that
kind of fun.”

“I didn’t-”

“I’d planned a little treasure hunt for you,” she said, looking up at him. “I’ve
hidden the key to these handcuffs somewhere on the ship. Do you think you can
find it with some clues?”

//I should say no,// he thought. //There are lots and lots of good reasons to
say no.// If only he could think of any of them, with her standing so close that
her silky hair, unbound from its normal severe style, kept drifting across his

“Yes,” he said.

As she led him out of engineering to find the first clue, he spared a few
moments to wonder where she’d found the handcuffs, before deciding some things
were better left unasked.

* * * * *

My challenge was engineer/tease/handcuffs.

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