Title: Dysfunction

Primary Author Name: Macx

Email: macx@nexgo.de

Website: http://home.arcor.de/macx/index.html

Date: 07/02/02

Category: Slash

Rating: R

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Series Title: Relived

Sequel to: Crisis

Five long days.

Five long days he had suffered through the alien cold, sneezing, coughing and sniffling his way around the ship. Dr. Phlox had kept him in sickbay for a day, then told him he was off duty for the next two. After those forty-eight hours had been up, he had still been sneezing now and again, and another forty-eight had followed. Malcolm Reed was by now fed up with colds, especially those caught in the hermetically sealed environment of a space ship, and he had been more than happy to hear he was now free of the virus.

Rounding a corner he was suddenly grabbed and pulled into the alcove of a doorway. He made a noise of surprise, which was smothered by a pair of lips on his. Malcolm recognized the feel and smell of his lover almost immediately, then the taste, and he opened up under the sensual assault, hands grasping the dark blue material of the jumpsuit. Trip's tongue was intent on performing a tonsillectomy on him and Malcolm was only too happy to comply. He gave as good as he got. Since coming back from the away mission, he and Trip hadn't been able to share more than a few words and touches, mostly because of the virus. Phlox had reminded them again and again not to risk anything. And Malcolm had been too tired and exhausted from the cold to really think of it. He had been happy enough to just survive the sneezes and dry coughs. Sleeping at night had been a feat anyway, even with Phlox's medication, and he had felt intolerable of anyone with him in bed. Trip had been understanding, and had given him room.

The engineer released his mouth and both men were breathing hard. Trip didn't give him much of a chance to say anything as he claimed another kiss, hands grasping his buttocks, pulling him closer, kneading the tight muscles. Malcolm felt his lover's arousal and something inside of him started to boil. Finally Trip pushed back, cheeks flushed, looking oh so desirable.

"My quarters," he whispered huskily. "In an hour."

And with it he was gone.

Malcolm licked his lips, smiling. If that hadn't been the nicest invitation he had ever received…He was already looking forward to the party.

That was when he realized something was wrong. He blinked, inhaled deeply, feeling the remnants of his desire dissipate all of a sudden.

What…what the…?

"Oh bloody hell," he murmured.


Trip's release hit him like a tidal wave. He hoarsely screamed out his climax, back arching off the bed as his hips thrust forward into the hot cavern of his lover's mouth. Malcolm licked his lips, gently running his fingers over Trip's now very sensitive manhood, feeling his lover twitch and moan. He placed a gentle kiss on the softening member and crawled up the trembling body. He placed kisses on the sweat-slick skin, licking along the nipples he had sucked and licked to hardness not long before, drawing more groans.

"Mal…" Trip breathed, heart hammering a staccato under the muscular chest. "You're gonna be the death of me."

Malcolm chuckled and nibbled at Trip's jaw, then sought out the sinful lips and kissed them deeply, his tongue seeking his lover's.

Trip's fingers glided over his skin and to his buttocks. "I love you," he murmured.

Reed smiled against the lips. "I love you," he echoed.

Trip's hands ghosted toward his groin and there was a surprised expression on his face. "Mal…?"

"I came with you," the other man whispered, kissing him again, pressing his body against his lover's.

Trip's hiccupping groan as Malcolm's knee touched his member was swallowed by the kiss. Reed had come over his lover like a whirlwind, had devoured him, had used his talented hands, lips and tongue to make him soar and forget everything. He had taken control and refused to surrender it. Tucker had gone along, hadn't fought the erotic assault on his body, and he had accepted that his lover had simply come with him.

Malcolm was glad for this talent.

Even if he wasn't glad about the ability to lie so convincingly to the man he loved.


Trip smiled as he discovered his lover in the armory's small side room, all alone. He reached for the smaller man and pressed a kiss onto the slender neck. Malcolm flinched and whirled around, stepping back.

"Trip!" he stammered.

"Hey, love. I've just come off shift and I know you're already off. So I thought we might use what time we get and play a little."

Malcolm looked suddenly trapped, even panicky. "I…ah…I can't, Trip. I…I have work to do."

Tucker frowned, the jovial expression dipping into one of misgiving. "What the heck is wrong with you, Mal?"

"Wrong with me?" Malcolm suddenly snapped, gray eyes lighting up with an anger Trip hadn't seen there just a second ago. "The question should be, what is wrong with you?"

Trip stared at him. "Me?" he echoed. "Well, compared to you, I'm perfectly fine!"

"Oh really? Is that why you've been haunting me the last few days? Never leaving me alone? Always demanding we go somewhere together?"

Tucker still stared at him, but now the anger was rising. "Malcolm, what is botherin' you?"

The armory officer's lips became thin, white lines. "Nothing."

"Nothin'? You call avoiding me, not lettin' me kiss you…touch you…nothin'?"

"I didn't know our relationship was built on physical contact alone!" he growled, quite aware of the low blow.

Tucker stiffened. "Malcolm!" he hissed.

Malcolm wanted to walk past his lover, but Trip's hand stopped him. He looked at the strong fingers curled around his arm. "Let me go."

"Not until I know what's eatin' at ya!"

"I told you, it's nothing. Now, please…"

"Malcolm Reed…" Tucker started.

"Maybe you should order me to talk, Commander Tucker," Malcolm suggested levelly, eyes sparking a challenge.

Trip stared at him. In their relationship, he had only once made the mistake of pulling rank, and he had regretted it for days. He still thought back to it with shame and embarrassment. There was an unspoken rule between them that the moment the door closed after them, the ranks stayed outside. But currently, his lover severely pissed him off.

"Don't give me ideas," he growled. "I just might."

Reed tore his arm out of his grasp, glaring. "Then consider this a warning of imminent insubordination: I won't tell you!"

And he disappeared out of the room.

Trip stared after him, dumbfound. That was close to a confession that there was something wrong, even if he had denied it just seconds earlier.

What was going on with his lover? What was wrong? For the last two weeks, the two men had seen little of each other. Malcolm had been on an away team for three days, had spent a day in sickbay because of some viral infection that had come across like a common cold, then nearly a week fighting the cold itself. Except for the little encounter almost two weeks ago, there hadn't been much going on. Malcolm had buried himself in his work down in the armory. While Reed claimed that there was little to do for a tactical and armory officer aboard an exploration vessel, he had a full schedule. He was still trying to work out the problem with the phase cannons at warp speed, as well as modify the miniature force field he had developed a while ago. Both took time and extensive testing. The phase cannons seemed to be fickle. Either they worked at warp or they failed completely, taking out the whole weapon's systems in one strike.

The last test had been two days ago and had resulted in the cannon in question biting the dust. Malcolm had spent all his time down there with his team.

But that wasn't the problem in their relationship. Trip had been waylaid by his work often enough; it was their job. They knew it. What had been a problem were the few times they had seen each other and Malcolm had…refused him. Tucker had accepted the first few excuses of being too tired or having no time, but then it had become almost ridiculous. Malcolm had even shied away from kisses or touches.

And damn if he wasn't touchy!

Trip rubbed his forehead. He had to get to the bottom of this. Needed to get to the bottom of it. Because if he didn't get an explanation from Malcolm, he would have to come to his own conclusion and accept it. And what he didn't want to think about, didn't want to accept, was that maybe Malcolm was ending it.


Malcolm stood in the armory, which was thankfully empty, and stared at the torpedo tubes without really seeing anything. The fight with Trip had drained him, mostly emotionally, and he felt a shiver run through his body. It wasn't that they never fought. They had before, but never like this. Never over…their sexual relationship.

Reed wrapped his arms around his body, sinking against the torpedo launch. He couldn't tell Trip what was wrong with him. He just couldn't. What should he say anyway? It was embarrassing enough as it was.

But his lover had made it clear that he wouldn't accept further pushing away. He wanted answers. But what if he didn't get them?

Malcolm shivered more.


We should think about hiring a counselor, Jonathan Archer thought with a mixture of amusement and resignation.

He was currently watching his best friend and chief engineer go over his beloved warp engine, an expression of fierce concentration on his smooth features. Everyone was giving Tucker a wide berth and only those of his staff who had to talk to him approached. Trip muttered something as he checked the read-outs and then glared at the hapless machinery.

"Trip?" Archer called softly.

"What?" the blond snapped, then looked sheepishly at his captain. "Uhm, sorry, cap'n. I…you startled me."

"Apparently." Archer frowned. He walked up the few steps to the control panels of the warp engine.

"Anythin' I can do for ya?"

"I wanted to ask the same question. You've been kind of…touchy as of late."

Trip hung his head for a second, then straightened, a rather unconvincing smile on his lips. "Work's been pilin' up left and right…"

"You have people working for you, Trip. Delegate."

"I already do."

"Then what is it?" Archer refused to give up.

"Nothin', cap'n. I'm sorry if there was reason for complaint. I'll work on it."

"Trip, I'm here as a friend, not just your captain."

Tucker looked around, taking in the men and women of his staff. His face clearly spoke of the inner battle he was experiencing. Finally he reached a decision. "Got a place more private?"

The captain nodded. "My cabin. Fifteen minutes?"


With that he left engineering.


"Got trouble with Malcolm?" Archer asked as he filled his glass with ice tea after offering Trip one.

"You playin' counselor, cap?" Trip teased, but with less of his usual humor than normal.

"If I have to, yes. It comes with the job. So, Trip…what happened?"



"You asked what happened. I told you. Nothin'."

Archer's eyebrows dipped, then rose. "Nothing," he repeated, realization dawning. "Since when?"

"Two weeks. And I mean nothin', Jon. Nothin' at all. Not even a kiss. No kissin', no touchin', no nothin'!" Trip paced the cabin, agitated. "And he won't talk. Says he's got work to do. I know we sometimes have work loads, but even then we found time to…well…be together."

There was a note of desperation now.

Jon looked at his friend, seeing the strain he was under, and he wished he had any wise words to say.

"You think he wants to end it?" he asked softly.

The flare of panic spoke for itself. Trip had never been lucky in relationships and this one had been the first that had weathered so many odds and had come out stronger. Archer didn't want to believe that the two men would go their separate ways.

"I don't know," Trip murmured. "I just don't know."

"Do you want me to talk with him?"

"Hell, no!" Tucker blurted.

Archer smiled. "Thought as much."

"But I don't know what to do, Jon. I want to be with him, but somethin's wrong and he won't tell me. I feel so damn helpless!" Trip stopped his pacing and slumped against one wall. "I love him. I don't want to lose him."

He sighed deeply and gazed at the opposite wall.

"I've been goin' over the past days and I can't for the life of it tell you what went wrong. Suddenly, he draws away. It's like I got some kind of infection he doesn't wanna catch. Gawd, I can't go on like this!"

"Trip, you two need to talk. Make him listen. Tell him."

"I tried already and failed," was the soft reply.

"Maybe you didn't ask the right question."

"And that would be?"

Archer smiled. "Something that will startle our Mr. Reed out of whatever personal hell he is in…"


Malcolm had spent the last two days avoiding his lover completely. He had been in the armory almost twenty-four hours—if he wasn't in his quarters for a spell of never more than five hours of sleep. His staff avoided him, but he knew they were shooting worried looks his way. One of his men had even asked if everything was alright. He had just nodded, given him his perfect Reed mask, and busied himself with the phase cannon shieldings.


He flinched back from one of the power couplings and held his hand, hissing softly. Pain throbbed through the abused fingers and they were already reddening. If he was lucky, they wouldn't blister. Malcolm frowned at the small cut.

Okay, not so lucky. He was bleeding slightly.

Sucking at the wound, he cursed silently and crawled back out of the access tunnel. Angry at himself, he stalked over to the desk.


Reed looked up at the softly voiced question. Of all the things he needed…! Why couldn't Trip leave him alone? Why did he have to pursue this?

Trip walked over to him, voice serious, a decisive expression in his eyes. "Malcolm, I have only one question…and I want the truth."

He swallowed. Lord no…

"Do you want to end this relationship?"

It hit him out of the blue like a sledge hammer. Right in the stomach. Winding him. End it?

"No!" he blurted before he could rein in his surging emotions.

Relief crossed the handsome features and the blue eyes lit up slightly. "Then why, Mal? Why? What's wrong? Was it something I said or did? Whatever it was, I apologize. I truly didn't mean it and I promise I won't ever do it again…but please tell me what it was…"

Reed shook his head, stunned and amazed. Trip felt he had done something wrong? That he was the cause?

"You didn't do or say anything…," he murmured.

Trip shot him a confused look. "Then what didn't I say or do that upset you so?"

Malcolm felt a surge of emotions. "Oh lord, Trip," he murmured. "This isn't about you. It's about me."

"I don't understand…"

Reed inhaled deeply. "This isn't easy for me."

"You know you can talk to me about everything," Trip offered.

A weak smile. "I know."


"So nothing."

"Mal-colm!" Real anger entered the blond's voice. "Quit dancin' 'round it like a cat on a hot tin roof! Ah wanna know what's goin' on here!"


"It's personal," Reed finally said.

"You're right it is! It's us personal. Not just you…us! The two of us personal." Trip's eyes were hard and demanding. "It's destroyin' us, if ya wanna have it or not! Just talk to me, Mal. Please?"

Reed drew in a shaky breath. "You can't understand, Trip…"

"Make me!"

"It's just…Oh bugger it!" Reed hesitated, then stepped forward and grabbed his lover, pulling him into a deep, desperate kiss that boiled the blood. He felt Tucker melt into the intimate contact, felt the hands on his hips, the tongue possessively dueling against his own. And it was so good, so right…When they separated, Trip's face was flushed, his eyes slightly dilated, and he was breathing hard. "Mal?" he whispered, confused.

Malcolm let one hand wander south, over the hardness that was now twitching under his light caress.

Trip groaned.

"It's not you," Malcolm murmured and reached for one hand, guiding it to his own groin. "It's…it's me, Trip."

Tucker's hand touched him, but instead of feeling the same arousal as he displayed, there wasn't even a twitch. Trip stared at him in confusion.


"I feel desire for you. More than that. I want you, Trip, but…I can't…"

The engineer removed his hand, a stricken expression on his face. "But…since when?"

"Ever since the cold," Reed confessed, looking embarrassed as hell.

"Two weeks?!"

A nod.

"But…we had.. I mean…we were together!" Trip whispered, unable to comprehend what his lover was telling him. "We had sex!"

And then his face turned into one of horror. He pushed Malcolm away at arm's length, shaking his head in denial.

"Oh dear lord, no! Don't tell me…please, don't tell me you play-acted again!"

Malcolm evaded his eyes. He had lied, he had played a role, and it hadn't been unlike that one time three years ago when he had misinterpreted just about anything coming from Trip; when he had thought Tucker was only interested in his body and simply wanted him for the sex. He had played the role then, but he had been found out. Just like now.

Shame flushed his features and he started to turn away.

"Why?" Trip wanted to know, disbelief in his voice. "Why again? Don't you trust me?"

Malcolm flinched back as if he had been hit. He stared at his lover, then lowered his head and backed away more.

"I apologize," he whispered, voice small but still strangely formal. He didn't really say 'commander', but it was audible in his tone.

"No! Don't go there!" Trip blurted. "Don't even think about raisin' those damn walls! Ah been workin' too damn hard to make yer leave 'em off around me!"

Reed closed his eyes, hands clenched into fists. It was an almost instinctive reaction for him to hide behind the walls of hid training. It was the safest way to deal with what life threw at him.

"Malcolm…you know I love you. At least I thought you did," Trip said, voice soft and gentle. "I want to be with you, yes, but not under all circumstances. I thought you had understood that three years ago. You don't have to please me, play someone you are not. You can talk to me, Mal. I would have understood!"

Reed felt his pulse race. The panic was still there, but hope battled it. Still, the fear remained. He looked up, met the blue eyes, and swallowed.

"Would you?" he asked. "For you, it's different. A different point of view. This isn't happening to you! You have no idea…how…how it feels. How I still want you but I can't…I mean…I love you, Trip. I trust you with my life. My heart…my soul…! But.. would you tell me if you couldn't have sex any longer?"

His voice rose and he bit down on the hysteria that threatened. Malcolm Reed didn't get hysterical. He was an officer of Starfleet. He had control. Well, right now control was bloody absent!

Trip looked at him, eyes filled with compassion. "Oh, Mal," he murmured and pulled him into a hug.

Malcolm stiffened briefly, then gave in to his need to be held. Trip kissed the bowed head.

"Have you seen the doc about it?"


Malcolm's head came up and he stared at his lover in shock.

"I asked if you had seen Dr. Phlox about it."

"No…Trip, I can't really…"

Tucker gave him a light kiss on the nose, grinning. "You're cute when you're embarrassed." Then he grew serious again. "But you have to go. This isn't normal and it might be more serious than you think. You've had problems for two weeks now…"

Malcolm lowered his head again.

"Mal, please…It's nothing to be ashamed of. I love you. You should have told me."

"I'm sorry. I'm…it's not something I'd…well…talk about."

"Not even with the man who loves you?" Trip asked softly. "Because it is somethin' partners share. I was worried, Mal. I thought it was somethin' I had done an' you were pissed enough to end it."

Malcolm tightened his hold on the taller man. "Sorry."

Trip smiled briefly. "Talk to Phlox. Please? I'll be there, too. It's nothin', absolutely nothin' to be ashamed of."

Reed was silent, but he nodded slightly against his lover's shoulder.

"Let's go now," Tucker murmured.

Malcolm's head flew up, panic again taking hold. "Now?"

"Yes. Now. I won't let you push it ahead of you. This might be more serious than you think and the longer we wait, the more serious it gets. Please?" Trip begged.

"Okay." His lover inhaled deeply. "Okay."


Phlox looked unhappily at the screen that told him the results of his test. "It seems that the little virus you caught on your last mission affected you to a much greater degree than I initially thought, Lieutenant," he finally said. "While it was harmless, displaying the symptoms of a common Earth cold, it is also very resistant. I treated it to prevent heart infection, but I didn't remember that the human system can be affected in more ways than one."

He turned to look at the slender man sitting on the examination table.

"The virus is responsible for the problems you have experienced. We call it erectile dysfunction. It is a good thing you came here, Lieutenant Reed. Had you waited any longer, I might not have been able to treat it."

The armory officer paled considerably and his hands clenched. "I understand," he whispered, shaken.

Trip, who had been hovering close by all the time it had taken for Phlox to perform the examination, stepped up to his lover and rested a hand on a tense shoulder.

"But you can treat it now?" he asked.

"Of course. Lieutenant Reed will be back to his old self in a day or two." The doctor smiled and walked over to one of his desks to prepare an injection.

Malcolm inhaled deeply and hung his head between his shoulders. Trip gently rubbed his hand over his back.

"See?" he murmured.

"Thank you," was all Reed managed.

Trip pressed a little kiss against one temple. "You're welcome."

He stepped back when Phlox returned to administer the injection.

"I'd like you to come back again tomorrow, Lieutenant. You'll probably need another shot."

Malcolm nodded. "I will." He slid off the table. "Thank you."

"No problem at all. It is what I'm here for after all." The pointed look the Denoblian gave him told Reed that if he had come sooner, a lot could have been avoided. He knew that already.

Walking back to his quarters, Malcolm was quite aware of Trip at his side.

"Hungry?" Tucker asked.


"How about we see what's left in the mess hall then?"

A shrug. "Sounds like a plan."

The mess hall was mostly empty. Malcolm got himself a tea and a sandwich, while Trip made a dash for the last slice of pie and ordered a glass of cold milk to go with it.

"Commander, Lieutenant!"

Hoshi Sato waved at them, smiling. She sat at one of the back tables, a PADD next to her, and an empty plate at her side. From the few leftovers it looked like she had eaten a salad.

Both men joined her and Malcolm lost himself in the light conversation, for the first time in two weeks enjoying the company.

"You seem to be in a better mood," Hoshi remarked quietly, smiling as Malcolm blinked. "For the last ten or so days you seemed a bit…preoccupied."

"Uhm, yes. I…I had a problem that was resolved today."

The language specialist looked back and forth between the two lovers, then smiled again. "Good. Travis was already wondering if we had to worry about you two."

Trip had the decency to blush lightly before grinning. Malcolm just ducked his head.

"It wasn't that," he murmured.

Hoshi decided to ignore it, chuckling. "Whatever, it's good to have you back, Malcolm." The conversation tapered off after a while and Hoshi excused herself. She had planned on reading some in her quarters before she went to sleep. Trip and Malcolm took care of their glasses and plates, then left the mess hall as well. It was past both their shifts and neither was expected anywhere, but when his lover followed him to his quarters, Reed felt his stomach flutter again. The door closed after them and Trip wrapped his arms around the smaller man, kissing his neck.

"Trip…" He swallowed.

Another kiss, then the lips were against his ear. "Will you just let me stay the night?" It was an almost plaintive question, one that touched Malcolm deeply, and he twisted around in the embrace.

"I love you," he murmured. "Of course you can stay the night."

He sought out Trip's mouth again and kissed him gently, feeling the first signs of his lover's arousal. Malcolm let a hand wander down south, but it was caught in a tight grip.


"No," Tucker told him.

Confusion rushed through him.

"Together," the blond whispered. "I can wait."

"But I want to pleasure you," Malcolm argued softly.

"Just like I want to satisfy you, Mal, but it won't be satisfaction for either of us."

Reed cupped his face with his free hand, rubbing his thumb over the lightly stubbled cheek. "I'm not playing a role, lover. What I feel is real. Seeing you like I do…when we are in bed…it gives me satisfaction, Trip. Because I know it's me doing this."

Trip looked at him, amazement in his blue eyes, a small smile on his lips. "I can wait a few more days," he then told him. "Just holding you is enough right now."

He bent down and kissed him again, a slow, sensual kiss that left the other man breathing hard.

They stripped down to their boxers and crawled into the bed, Trip wrapping his arms around his lover. Malcolm snuggled close to the other body he had missed so much. Strong hands caressed him and small kisses were planted on his head. Listening to the sound of Trip's breathing, the beat of his heart, Malcolm fell asleep.

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