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"Hello Love." Malcolm greeted his husband entering their joint quarters.

"Hey." Jon replied softly, sitting at the desk, his back hunched.

Malcolm moved up behind him, starting to massage the tense shoulders and neck without a word.

"Your mother called." Jon said eventually.

"She... what did she want?" Malcolm asked.

Jon stopped Malcolm's massage by turning the chair around and pulling Malcolm close against him.

"You father had a stroke." Jon said softly.

He knew Malcolm's relationship with his father was precarious at best, but still, he really didn't want to be having to tell Malcolm this.

"I'm sorry Malcolm." Jon said, looking into Malcolm's blue-grey eyes with a gentle sadness.

"It was sudden? He didn't suffer?" Malcolm asked calmly.

"Yes, your mother said he wouldn't have even known it was coming he just..." Jon knew Malcolm was hurt by the news, but he knew Malcolm needed to figure his own way around this just now, later it would be time for Jon to talk to him.

"I am going to shower." Malcolm said.

"Okay... Malcolm there is a message on the computer, she said your father recorded it for you several months ago when updating his will... I'm going to go do some work in my ready room, call me if you need me." Jon said, giving Malcolm a quick hug and a kiss, and leaving him to his own devices to shower and listen to the message.

*~*~*~*~*

Malcolm was tempted to shower and then listen to the message, dreading what it might contain, but reasoning told him that at least if he listened to it first he would have time to collect himself before he had to go and see Jon, because undoubtedly his husband was expecting a visit.

Sitting at the desk, Malcolm activated the screen, and opened the unread messages box.

Taking a deep breath to prepare himself Malcolm opened the message.

*~*~*~*~*

Hello Malcolm,

I'm not one for small talk, so I suppose I may as well just get to the point. I'm dying... your mother doesn't know, nor will you until I'm already gone.

I regret greatly that I was never able to say this in person, but emotional confrontations have never been my strong point... I suppose that is where you get it from, but I suppose that has changed somewhat since you went and got yourself married.

I know I didn't react well to that; you have to understand that I expected you to carry on the family name, and now it's unlikely that you ever will. I suppose that's rather old fashioned... of course I know there are ways, but it's never quite the same.

Jonathan Archer is a good man I think... he certainly seems besotted with you, you’re a very lucky man Malcolm to be loved so completely... I know your mother loves me in her own way, but what you and Jonathan have is a one in a million love and that is to be treasured.

I wish I could say I'm sorry for all the arguments we had over the years, or for the harsh words that were often spoken, but I can't, I won't, because ultimately it made us both better men I believe.

I needed you to go against me to see that I was not always right, and you needed to do it to follow your own destiny.

I know I've never said it, but I'm proud of you Malcolm, proud of the man you've become, mostly I believe in spite of me, believe that Malcolm, if you've never believed anything else I've ever said believe that I am proud of you, and I'm glad that you've found the happiness you have.

Goodbye


*~*~*~*~*

Malcolm felt the tears rolling down his cheeks.

Hitting the comm panel Malcolm called Jon, and was still sitting at the desk when he appeared a few minutes later.

"Malcolm? Sweetheart?" Jon asked, immediately concerned, Malcolm was not easily reduced to tears.

"He said he was proud of me," Malcolm murmured, and Jon understood, of all the things Malcolm had ever wanted that was at the top of the list, whether he liked to admit it or not.

Jon pulled Malcolm against him, tears soaking through his uniform where Malcolm's head rested against his stomach, gently running fingers through the soft waves.

Silently to himself, Jon sent a private thank-you to Stewart Reed, where ever he maybe, for finally giving his son that which he so craved... after all it was better late than never.


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