Title: Hydrophilic

Author: Juli

E-mail: journeyoftheheartfiction@yahoo.com

URL: http://writingonthewall.slashcity.net/challisgal/Enterprise/enterprise.htm

Date: 08/29/02

Category: Slash

Rating: NC-17

Pairing: Archer/Reed

Summary: After the Ferengi incident, Jonathan is feelings a bit depressed and Malcolm, a little territorial.

Spoilers: Acquisition

"There you are!"

Jonathan Archer let out a deep breath—one that he hadn't even realized he'd been holding in—at the sound of his lover's voice. Most of his days aboard the Enterprise were exciting, the nature of their voyage making even the mundane somehow exhilarating. This day, however, had been just a little too interesting. The short bulbous-headed aliens had used guile to overcome the Enterprise and her crew instead of firepower, but the end the result had been the same…his people, including his lover, rendered unconscious…his ship in unfriendly hands…he himself drafted as a stevedore…his dog stuffed in a cargo box…

Although he, Tucker, and T'Pol had managed to turn the tables on the invaders, it hadn't been easy. Jonathan was bruised, in mind and body. He'd felt bad for duping the hapless Krem, especially since his erstwhile captor had been greedy rather than cruel. The encounter hadn't exactly been what he'd expected when they set out from Earth all those months ago, but then again, had any of them?

"There's my little poochums! Did those ugly aliens put Porthos in a nasty box? Mean ol' aliens! But you were a brave doggie, weren't you, luv…"

Jonathan leaned against the door after it closed behind him and grinned broadly. It never ceased to amaze him to hear Malcolm baby-talk his dog. The sing-song voice and cloying endearments were at odds with the Englishman's rather dour public persona. That the ever-guarded Malcolm Reed felt comfortable enough to lower his barriers in Archer's presence touched the captain deeply. As much as the rest of the crew would be entertained to learn of this mushy aspect of the armory officer's personality, Jonathan had no intention of betraying his lover's trust—it had been too hard to win.

And, if he were ever tempted to let the secret slip…well, Archer had no doubt, even on a ship as pristine as the Enterprise, that Malcolm would have absolutely no trouble at all hiding his body. It tended to keep him honest.

"A gallant canine hero like you deserves a treat, doesn't he, Porthos? Yes, he does…"

Archer watched as his lover fussed over the little beagle, making sure any trace of a grin had been wiped off his face. It was one thing to be amazed by the younger man's actions, it was quite another to be caught being amused by it. Jonathan was firmly of the 'love me, love my dog' mentality, which had caused problems in a couple of past relationships. Not so with Malcolm. The older man had a feeling his lover hadn't experienced unconditional love often in his life and Reed had bonded quickly with Jonathan's pet.

Jonathan frowned as Malcolm continued to lavish attention on the dog. Perhaps Reed had bonded too well with Porthos. It occurred to the captain that he had been abused by the invaders even more than the beagle, but Porthos was getting all of Malcolm's care. Archer felt, for the first time when it came to his pet, twinges of jealously.

Porthos had enthusiastically leapt into Malcolm's arms and was kissing the lieutenant's face. Reed chuckled and reluctantly put the little animal down. "Well, at least they didn't hurt you any."

Archer cleared his throat. "They were mostly interested in material things, I don't know if they've heard of the concept of a pet before or, if they have, if they would see any value in it." The captain held out his arms, the action causing the sleeves of his shirt to ride up a bit and expose the marks on his wrists. "They roughed me up a little, though," he said hopefully.

Gray eyes assessed him coolly. "Did they, now?"

Jonathan shrugged, knowing he was being more than a little bit pathetic. "Just a tad."

Malcolm smiled slightly and, with one last ruffle of Porthos' ears, left the dog to his dinner and approached his lover. Gently grasping the injured wrists, he tsked softly. "From the restraints, I suppose." Archer nodded and Reed looked at him carefully. "And I don't suppose you stopped by Sickbay to have Dr. Phlox look at these, did you?"

The captain shrugged again, careful that the movement didn't jostle his hands from Malcolm's delightfully warm grip. "No, they're fin…" Realizing what he was about to say, Jonathan made a quick adjustment in words. "They're okay."

Archer was obviously expecting a reprimand from his mate but instead, Malcolm grinned broadly. "You know, don't you, that I'm going to remember this."

Jonathan groaned, knowing he'd just given Reed fuel for the next time the armory officer was reluctant to get his own injuries seen to. "This is different, Malcolm. The doctor is busy with crew members that reacted badly to the gas."

"Yes, of course," the Englishman murmured, clearly not convinced.

The captain was just opening his mouth to start another denial when, suddenly, he was pinned against the closed door with an armful of Malcolm Reed. The smaller man virtually climbed Archer's body in his anxiousness to reach his lover's mouth. When he did, Malcolm's lips clamped down on Jonathan's, not so much in a kiss as in an oral invasion…with no intention of taking prisoners. Archer's hands automatically dropped to cup the other man's ass, helping keep Malcolm in place, as eager for the contact as his lover was.

When the two broke apart, Archer pressed his forehead against Reed's, not sure where the abrupt intensity had come from. "Malcolm?"

"I watched the surveillance recordings…they caught every moment those creatures were onboard. I saw them bind you like an animal—make you work like a pack mule." Reed's voice had become progressively more ragged. "All the time, I was on the bridge, sleeping like a baby. Useless."

Archer ran his thumb across his lover's lips, their usual soft texture momentarily thinned by bitterness. "Not your fault."

Malcolm went on as though he hadn't heard. "Commander Tucker pranced around the ship in his skivvies, but at least he was of assistance to you…unlike your chief security officer. Unless drooling counts."

"You didn't drool," Jonathan corrected him. "Snored a little, maybe…" The captain's attempt at a jest fell flat.

Malcolm scowled at him. Then, before Archer could say anything, the Englishman moved back and out of his arms. "You stink," the lieutenant said succinctly.

"All right, it wasn't that great of a joke," the older man admitted, "And you didn't snore."

"No, not that," Reed said, wrinkling his nose fastidiously to show that he wasn't referring to his lover's attempt at levity. "I mean, you stink. "

Jonathan took a quick whiff of himself, wincing when he realized Reed was right. "Sorry about that. They worked me pretty hard."

Malcolm brought John's abused wrists to his lips and bestowed a gentle kiss on each. "Come on," he said, tugging on his mate's hand to get Jonathan to follow him. "Let me wash their stench off you."

Archer was a little off balance from the other man's rapidly changing moods but decided to go along with him. As the captain allowed himself to be led into the bathroom. Jonathan was only half listening to Reed's muttered dialogue, about certain engineers who were foolish enough to bring aboard an intergalactic version of the Trojan horse. He was used to Malcolm griping about Trip. No doubt, part of the reason for his lover's pique was the fact that it was Tucker who'd been such a key player in liberating the Enterprise.

The two younger officers had a unique relationship, more like siblings than anything else. Their vastly different personalities, as well as their specific duties, often had them at odds. It was no more unusual for John to hear Malcolm complain of a feckless Trip Tucker than it was to endure Trip's complaint of a paranoid Malcolm Reed. If anyone else voiced similar sentiments, however, Trip or Malcolm would be the first to rise to the other's defense. A more formal captain might have found their verbal sparring frustrating but Jonathan just let them be. It worked, for whatever reason, and the two disparate men had firmly meshed into a formidable team. To Archer, that was all that mattered.

Truth told, Jonathan's only concern was that someday Malcolm would notice that Trip was both younger and more attractive than his current lover…

"Oh, John…" Malcolm's soft exclamation cut off Archer's trail of thought.

While Jonathan's mind had been wandering, Reed had gotten him into the bathroom and seated him on the toilet. Since the older man still had the upper part of his jumpsuit down, Malcolm had gone straight for the black shirt that was usually concealed underneath. Unzipping it had revealed yet another layer of clothing, but the captain's bruises were visible nonetheless.

"It's not as bad as it looks," Archer reassured his lover as he slipped both of the shirts off. Looking down at his battered body, Jonathan couldn't help but think of Trip Tucker's chiseled perfection. Sighing, he realized that he was a poor second and that someday Malcolm was bound to figure that out. When Reed looked at him quizzically, he shrugged before explaining, "What's that old maxim, 'it's not the years, it's the mileage.' I bet you're wondering what you're doing hooked up with a worn-out specimen like me."

Malcolm chuckled. "That just shows how much you know." The lieutenant skimmed appreciative hands along his lover's bare skin, keeping the touch gentle in deference to the bruises that marred its golden surface. "Actually, I was thinking that there are acres and acres of you…and that you're all mine." The younger man straddled the bigger man's powerful thighs, then leaned up and nipped at his lover's ear before whispering in it seductively. "And I don't plan on sharing you with anyone, alien or otherwise." The armory officer wiggled as he settled into Archer's lap, finally getting comfortable with his head resting on the captain's shoulder.

Jonathan sighed deeply and pulled the smaller man closer. The zippers on Malcolm's uniform felt cool on his overheated skin. It was a nice contrast to the moist warmth of the Englishman's breath on his neck.

Wrapped as he was around his mate, Reed felt as well as heard his lover's sigh. Jonathan's silence disturbed him and, for once, he didn't find contentment in the arms of his lover. Pulling back slightly, he tilted his head so that he could look into Archer's face. Frowning at what he saw there, Malcolm gently reached up and brushed Jonathan's hair back from his forehead, ending by cupping the older man's cheek.

"You're just tired, John," Reed said softly. "Why don't you let me take care of you—you'll feel better."

Malcolm didn't wait for the other man to agree. Slipping off his perch, the lieutenant tugged his companion to his feet and quickly stripped Archer's uniform from him. With characteristic efficiency, Reed got his lover into a shower running with hot water and quickly undressed himself. Before the captain could even get entirely wetted down, Malcolm's slender body was squeezed close as the tactical officer reached for the shampoo.

"Let me," Reed said, then pulled Jonathan's head closer.

Archer let his eyes close as Malcolm's deft fingers massaged his scalp. The other man's litany about North Americans and their tendency to breed giants was a soothing background noise that blended nicely with the patter of the water. Although it was a little uncomfortable for Malcolm, Jonathan rather enjoyed feeling the shorter man press against him as he strained up on his toes to rinse the last of the shampoo from Jonathan's scalp. When Reed was finished, he finally opened his eyes, looking down tenderly at his lover. Malcolm's dark hair was slicked back against his head, making the trim officer look something like an otter.

Jonathan reached for the shampoo, meaning to reciprocate, but Reed was having nothing of it.

"No, thank you," Malcolm said, gently pushing the captain's hand away from the shampoo. "I'm taking care of you tonight. Your only responsibility is to let me."

Archer smiled and nodded, for once glad not to be the one in charge. Malcolm reached around him for the temperature controls and Jonathan's eyes widened as the other man adjusted the water to be cooler instead of the expected warmer.

"I said I wanted to take care of you tonight, not put you to sleep." Reed chuckled at his reaction. "Trust me?"

"Of course," Jonathan responded, bending down for a slippery kiss.

"Good," Malcolm said when their lips parted, voice full of satisfaction.

The Englishman lathered up a wash cloth and started rubbing it across his lover's skin. The first time he encountered a bruise, he hissed under his breath and by the time he'd found the second and third, he was growling. Each mark was accorded its own kiss and Archer soon realized why his mate had turned the water to a brisk temperature. The combination of water-cooled skin underneath the heat of Reed's mouth was an intoxicating sensation and he moaned in appreciation.

"Like that, do you?" Malcolm said smugly. Having finished with the broad plain of the older man's back, he turned Archer around in the water so that he was facing Jonathan's chest. "Well, hullo, boys," he greeted his mate's nipples before bending to taste each one. Instinctively, Jonathan grasped the back of Reed's neck, holding his talented lover in place to encourage the stimulation.

Reed cooperated but eventually planted a kiss in the center of Jonathan's chest and pulled away. "Rank has its privileges but even you have a water ration." Archer conceded the point and reluctantly let go.

With renewed freedom to move, Malcolm and his washcloth tended to Archer's legs. "I can't believe the temerity of those creatures, drafting you into service," Reed complained. "I rather hope we run into them again, I'd like to even the score. What did they call themselves, anyway?"

"I don't…don't know," Jonathan stuttered. He was distracted by the way Reed had knelt and started licking the back of his knees. "I never asked."

"Ah, well, it doesn't matter," Malcolm said. He kissed Archer's hip and when the captain leaned into the gesture, wickedly slipped the washcloth between the firm cheeks of his lover's ass. Pulling the textured material ever so slowly, he was pleased to see Jonathan bite his lip in response. The sensations he'd been tormenting his lover with offset the physical affects of the cool water—Archer was fully erect and beginning to show the signs of frustrated desire.

"Malcolm," Archer moaned, reaching blindly for his lover.

Reed easily eluded the groping fingers and moved around to the front of his mate. The Englishmen nuzzled his face into the fur at Jonathan's groin, the running water not quite washing away the musk of Archer's scent. Jonathan moaned again and pressed his hips forward, causing Malcolm to nip the inside of his overeager lover's thigh. Before Archer could respond, Reed put his mouth right where Jonathan wanted, swallowing the other man's swollen cock whole.

"Ahhhhh," Jonathan groaned. The captain braced himself against the wall with one hand while the other tangled in the wet mass of the lieutenant's dark hair.

Reed smiled as well as he could, given how full his mouth was. Curling his arms around Jonathan's hips, he steadied himself as he pleasured his lover, humming a little at the back of his throat. The tactic worked as it usually did. Jonathan's eyes rolled back in his head and the captain started swearing softly in multiple languages. Somehow, Malcolm had the feeling that Jonathan hadn't heard those particular phrases from Hoshi. When Archer had run through his litany of human terms and moved on to Vulcan, Malcolm knew his time was short. Sliding his lover's cock out of his mouth, he lovingly gave the engorged head a kiss, then efficiently moved his hand to the base of Jonathan's penis, squeezing it firmly.

"Hey!" Archer looked at his lover in disbelief. The action hadn't really hurt but had been unexpected…and stopped him from reaching the release his body craved.

Malcolm stood up and kissed him thoroughly. "Sorry about that," Reed apologized. "But I'm not quite through taking care of you yet."

Jonathan nodded and closed his eyes for a moment to gain control. When he opened them, he immediately noticed that Malcolm was still standing in front of him but had changed position. His lover had his arms braced against the wall and his back turned to the captain, all but thrusting his ass in Archer's direction. Evidently hearing the older man's lustful gasp, Reed coyly looked over his shoulder and smiled a invitation…or a challenge.

The captain's erection returned full force and he immediately moved to cover his mate. Using his larger body to pin Malcolm to the wall, Jonathan fumbled for the liquid soap, using it to liberally coat his fingers. Lowering his hand to the point where their two bodies were pressed closest together, Archer reached for his lover's opening, groaning when he found it. Had he thought Malcolm's mouth was hot, especially when compared to the coolness of the water? It was nothing compared the furnace of his lover's inner body.

"Just do it, John," Reed ground out, need making his voice thick.

Archer shook his head, not caring that the younger man couldn't see the gesture. "No way. I'm not rushing this and hurting you." He bent down and nipped the back of Malcolm's neck, payback for the way the lieutenant had teased him earlier. The small part of his brain that could still think rationally objected that Malcolm hadn't been teasing with his elaborate washing ritual—he'd been reclaiming his mate from the aliens' taint. The larger part of Jonathan, the one intent on sinking his cock as deep as it could go inside his lover, didn't have an argument with that logic. In fact, that part of his body was eager to some claiming of its own.

Preparations finished, Jonathan positioned himself at Malcolm's opening and thrust smoothly, crying out when his cock successfully breached the tight muscle and plunged inside. Despite the speed at which he'd opened Reed's passage, he'd been thorough enough and his penetration was unimpeded. Within moments, Jonathan was fully sheathed inside, his large body laid across that of his lover, hands wrapped around the Englishman's hips. Speechless, Archer bowed his spine so that he could lean his forehead in the sweet spot in-between Malcolm's shoulders…

Jonathan could have stayed that way forever…but Malcolm had other ideas. Impatiently, the armory officer pushed back against his mate, groaning in frustration when he couldn't force the other man to thrust.

"John, please," Reed begged, no longer the one in control. "Move."

The entreaty in his lover's voice was more than Jonathan could resist. "Yes, sir."

The captain pulled out slowly, relishing the way his lover's body seemed reluctant to let him go. Then, just before his cock completely withdrew from that velvet grip, he thrust back in—hard. Archer's taut abdomen slapped down on Reed's buttocks, the smacking sound of their skin meeting intensified by the water. Malcolm moaned at the sensation, inspiring Jonathan to do it again…and again…and again.

Jonathan reveled in the wiry strength of the body writhing beneath his. Malcolm was stronger than he looked, easily able to take the pounding the bigger man was giving him. Even up on his toes, Reed met his lover thrust for thrust. Archer had never felt so connected to his mate, never buried himself so deep within the lieutenant's warmth.

But it wasn't enough.

Abandoning his hold on Reed's hips, Jonathan slid his hands down the inside of Malcolm's thighs. Gripping his lover's upper legs tightly, he lifted Malcolm's feet from the floor so that only Reed's hands on the wall kept him from falling. It gave Jonathan just a little more leverage to make his thrusts, helping his cock to bang fully onto Malcolm's prostate. The effect was nearly instantaneous. Reed gave a choked cry and orgasmed explosively…without his penis ever having been touched. A few drops of the armory officer's semen splashed onto Archer's hand, the liquid feeling super-heated against the coolness of the water. Jonathan joined his lover in release, body stilling as he pulsed inside of his mate, their cries of completion swallowed by the sounds of the shower.

Spent, Malcolm slid to the floor, Jonathan only having the presence of mind to shut the water off before following him. He gathered his lover's limp body to him, gladly sheltering Reed from the cold tile that made up the bottom of the shower.

When he could catch his breath, Jonathan asked, "Are you all right?"

"Mmmmmhhhhhmmmmm," Malcolm murmured indistinctly.

Archer laughed and kissed the nearest shoulder. "I guess that's a yes—you're purring." He stroked a lean hip, laughing again when his mate's body arched up into the movement. "Look at you, I think you're just a big cat."

Without opening his eyes, Reed shook his head. "No I'm not, cats don't like the water."

Jonathan considered. "Tigers do."

That comment garnered him one half-cracked eyelid. "John." There was a world of warning in that one word.

Archer tucked away the reaction for future use. Not that he'd ever call Malcolm "Tiger" or "Pussycat" in front of anyone, but the information might be useful if ever he needed blackmail material.

"Come on, let's get cleaned up," he said, standing and offering his lover a hand up. Malcolm took it, leaning into the bigger man right after he got to his feet. "You're sure you're all right? I got kind of carried away there at the last."

"Yes, you did," Malcolm said, purr back in his voice. "I wish I could get you to do that more often."

Jonathan accepted the towel from the lieutenant, smiling sheepishly. "Well, that's what you get when you take an older man as a lover…not as much power in the bedroom."

All traces of languidness abruptly vanished from Reed. "You are not old and, trust me, you have absolutely no problems with 'power in the bedroom.' I was merely stating that I wish you were comfortable enough to lose control more often, that's all." The armory officer looked at his lover with slitted eyes. "What's gotten into you tonight? That's not the first remark you've made about being old."

Archer roughly toweled his hair, only answering when his head emerged from the terry cloth folds, blond hair all rumpled and mussed. "Well, there are younger guys on board…like Trip. He's friendly, intelligent, and loyal as you can get."

Malcolm rolled his eyes. "You sound like you're describing Porthos…and, I'll tell you something, I have just about as much interest in bedding Trip Tucker as I do Porthos."

Jonathan looked at him skeptically. "Excuse me?"

Reed poked at his mate, backing Archer up until the captain was forced to sit abruptly on the commode. "Trip is a nice man and my friend. He's attractive in his own way and I'm sure he'll make a fine companion for someone some day. But he's got one flaw and all the friendliness and loyalty in the universe won't help him overcome it; not as far as I'm concerned."

"What's that?" Archer asked when his lover's diatribe stopped.

"He's not you," Malcolm said firmly. He kissed his beleaguered mate on the nose and tossed both of their towels aside. "All those things you said about Trip—they're true of you as well, except even more so. I assure you, I'm with the man I want." Reed sighed explosively. ".Like I said before, love, you're just tired. Discombobulated by everything that happened today. That's all that's got into you tonight. Tomorrow, you'll be back to your usual, intelligent self."

Archer let himself be led back to the bed, idly ruffling Porthos' ears when the dog greeted them as they exited the bathroom. Still naked and slightly damp, he let Malcolm shoo him under the covers. As the younger man joined him, Jonathan couldn't help but think that those wealth-mongering aliens had been after the wrong sort of treasure. It hadn't been gold, or technology, or even the women. As far as he was concerned, the Enterprise's treasure had been up on the bridge all along, peacefully sleeping thanks to the invaders' drug. As Reed settled next to him, Jonathan turned and pulled his mate tightly into his arm. Malcolm was all the treasure that this human needed…even if he did snore.

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