Author: Gigi Sinclair
Special thanks to ane and Rusty Armour for input and canon information.
Spoilers: All of Season Three
Why is Malcolm Reed so unlucky in love?
During the first two seasons of Enterprise, fans successfully shipped Lieutenant Malcolm Reed---the Malaysian-born, emotionally restrained, Royal Navy-raised armoury officer portrayed by Dominic Keating---with everyone from Captain Archer to Ensign Sato to Sub-commander T'Pol to Dr. Phlox. Canonically, though, Reed doesn't mention any partners back home, although when he believed he was about to freeze to death in a disabled shuttlepod (Shuttlepod One) he wrote farewell letters to a number of ex-girlfriends.
On screen, during the first two seasons of Enterprise, we saw Reed fantasize fruitlessly about Sub-commander T'Pol, engage in a disasterous bar-crawl in which he ended up robbed and tied up in his underwear, and have a near one-night-stand with an alien visitor to the ship (who termed his weapons as "quaint".) He also built a close friendship with Commander Trip Tucker, and developed a slowly warming relationship with Captain Jonathan Archer, both of which have been the basis for a lot of fannish speculation.
In the premiere episode of season three, though, entitled The Xindi , we were finally introduced to Reed's perfect partner. Naturally, in keeping with Reed's general luck in these matters, Major J. Hayes was dead before the season finale, but neither that nor Hayes's lack of a first name kept us from seeing the feeling that was there between them. I therefore present for your consideration:
The Hard Facts:
Major Hayes was played by Stephen Culp of "JAG", "The West Wing" and lately "Desperate Housewives" fame, and was brought onto Enterprise in season 3, episode 1, The Xindi as the leader of the Military Assault Command Operations (MACO) unit assigned to help the Starfleet crew fight the Xindi in the Delphic Expanse. He appeared in five episodes: The Xindi, The Shipment, Harbinger, Hatchery and Countdown. During Countdown, the major led a mission onto a reptilian Xindi ship to rescue the kidnapped Starfleet ensign Hoshi Sato, was hit by enemy fire as he transported back to "Enterprise" and died in sickbay, after asking Reed to look out for his men.
From the beginning, Reed didn't take to the MACOs, and felt in particular that Major Hayes was attempting to undermine his authority and take over his job.
There was perhaps some basis for this fear. After all, in earlier episodes such as Minefield (season one), it was fairly firmly established that Reed didn't feel his security concerns were always taken seriously by Captain Archer. The fact that non-Starfleet personnel were brought on board to "assist" Lieutenant Reed and his crew would likely be the kind of thing that Reed would take as a negative comment on his abilities. By the end of Hayes's five-episode arc, though, Reed had not only learned to live with the MACOs, he'd become close enough to the major to be personally affected by Hayes's death.
Although Hayes appeared in only five episodes, there was no shortage of subtextual slashy moments between him and Reed.
"Harbinger": Archer let Hayes and the MACOs run training drills for the Starfleet security crew, which Reed took as a personal affront. This led, in the guise of one of these training exercises, to an all-out physical fight between Reed and Hayes which was one of the most suggestive fights ever seen on TV:
Between evenly matched combattants
And the aftermath </a>
"Hatchery": Archer was sprayed by a neuro-toxin and ended up acting as the mother figure to a clutch of Xindi eggs. Hayes and the MACOs took over the ship, until Reed led a mutiny that ends up with them pointing their weapons at each other on the bridge. At the end of the episode, Hayes seems genuinely upset that Reed didn't come to him with the information about Archer.
And then there's Countdown, the slashiest of the Reed/Hayes episodes.
Why It Works:
Reed and Hayes had much more in common with each other than they did with anyone else onboard "Enterprise." They both took their jobs very seriously, and saw any error or problem with a mission as a personal failure.
In Countdown, Reed felt personally guilty for MACO Corporal Hawkins's death under his command on the Xindi sphere; in the same episode, Hayes made sure everyone transported up to "Enterprise" before he did, even though it cost him his life. In Hatchery, when Reed and Hayes found themselves as opponents, they were equally determined to gain and retain control of the ship, respectively, and it was here, as well as during the fight in Harbinger, that we saw how Reed and Hayes were well-matched physically as well as when it came to their values and ideals.
Although we have no canonical information about Hayes's family or past beyond the fact that he went to Westpoint (Hatchery), there has been a lot of fan speculation that he was raised in an emotionally restrained, possibly military family like Reed's. Whether or not this was the case, neither Hayes nor Reed was exactly free with the expression of his emotions. Nevertheless, in Countdown, they had two distinct heartfelt conversations, the kind we hadn't seen Reed have with anyone. Reed tried to comfort Hayes as he lay dying, and refused to admit that Hayes was seriously injured. Knowing he would likely not survive, in this same scene Hayes entrusted his men to Reed, a gesture that takes on even greater significance when you realize how important his position and his subordinates were to Hayes.
It's the earlier conversation in this episode, though, before Hayes leaves to rescue Ensign Sato, in which we saw the true depth of understanding between Hayes and Reed. Hayes admitted he'd "never liked putting people under someone else's command." Referring to the death of Hawkins, he continued: "You're a senior tactical officer, but they're my team, and I can't help but think that if I'd been there, things might have turned out differently."
Reed, showing more emotion than during most of the season, replied: "Hawkins may well have been a MACO, but he was my responsibility out there."
"When we first came on board 'Enterprise'," Hayes then said, "We definitely felt like outsiders." Reed apologizes if he "contributed to that", and Hayes cuts him off: "My point is, none of us feel that way any more."
True enough, when Reed told the MACOs that Hayes was dead, they accepted Reed as their new leader, and we were left to wonder how Reed and Hayes's professional, and personal, relationship may have progressed if Hayes had survived.
The Fan Fiction:
Most Reed/Hayes fiction is either set before the events of Countdown, or in an alternate universe where the major was injured, but not killed, by the reptilian Xindi. Since we never learned Hayes's canonical first name (although in a chat on startrek.com Stephen Culp suggested "Jeremiah"), the name "Matthew" was invented by maching_monkey and adopted by most Reed/Hayes fans.
Inexplicable by Pretzelduck. Hayes and Reed decide to deepen their relationship.
Ruminations on My Other Life by Pretzelduck. Based on the season three episode E2, in which Hayes did not appear but an AU Reed was revealed to have lived out his days on "Enterprise" as a "bachelor."
Take a New Picture by Pretzelduck. Hayes and Reed change their relationship. Challenge fic.
There's also my Hayes Series , a four-part series that attempts to give Hayes a background, and then kills him off as per canon.
Look But Don't Touch by Gaianarchy. Hayes recovers in sickbay.
Shadows in the Dark by Pretzelduck. A post-"Enterprise" future in which Reed and Hayes live together and help each other with the nightmares that continue to plague them.
Teamwork by Miera. Based on the season four episode "Home" and a bar fight that would have been much better if Hayes had been there.
What It Looks Like by Gaianarchy. The crew goes camping. Reed and Hayes make some discoveries about each other. (Fondly known as the "tent sex fic".)
EntStSlash: The best Enterprise group out there. For all pairings, including Reed/Hayes.
Maco_love : My list, dedicated to all MACOs and pairings thereof.