Title: Moments In Time 6: Pressure

Author: Macx

E-mail: macx@nexgo.de

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

Date: 12/28/02

Category: Slash

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Series Title: Relived

Sequel to: Moments In Time 5: Unrestrained

Someone had to be pissed off at him.

Someone really, really hated him.

No other explanation possible.

Trip Tucker stalked down the corridor, looking to all the world like he had just crawled about half of Enterprise's major ducts and tubes—those that were the dirtiest. His uniform was wrinkled, stained, dirty. His face was streaked with dark smudges, the hair standing up on end, and his hands weren't fit for shaking, let alone touching anything edible. Or clean.

All in all, he was a mess.

Quite simple.

And similarly simple was the fact that someone had to hate him.

It had started with a simple burst power line, which had, within ten minutes of its discovery, blown several grids, ruined the hangar door release system and totaled Chef's kitchen. Nothing was working. Nothing. As in…not a single machine.

Trip, immersed in the machine to fail first, had sent some of his people to deal with Chef and the kitchen, and he had thought it would be the end of it, but oh no. Not at all. Not only had they gotten repeated failures on all their tests to power up that section of the ship, they had managed to blow some more. In the end, gravity had failed on half the ship for fully five minutes and they had to take all the important systems off the main power lines, rerouting and remodeling whatever they couldn't live without for a day or two.

Which was a lot.

So when the warp core had started to fluctuate, things had really gotten hairy. Trip couldn't remember much of the eight hours of pure work and stress following the first serious fluctuation that had nearly totaled the left nacelle, but he remembered the eight after that.

Chasing a virus.

Who would have believed that a few seconds of contact with an alien ship could transmit what was a benign security program for the Thanto and a seriously destructive bug for Enterprise? Enterprise had barely managed to limp after the Thanto cruiser that they had met just a day earlier, and Archer had been more than relieved to discover that the Thanto engineer could help them destroy the bug.

But not before the phase cannons had overloaded and the armory had been almost blown to smithereens.

Now Enterprise and its crew were bug free but with massive repairs to do.

Trip ran a grimy hand through his even more grimy hair. The warp engine was doing fine. It had been on top of the repair list. Chef had learned to work his kitchen with an emergency generator, keeping meals simple but still delicious. Replicators were able to come up with simple drinks, too. Anything more fancy would probably end up as a surprise to the crewman requesting it. The bridge was in working order, though some systems liked to glitch. Weapons were…well, according to Malcolm Reed, Enterprise shouldn't run into any hostiles any time soon because he couldn't guarantee what happened if they fired their phase cannons or a torpedo. Throwing potatoes would probably have more effect than their torpedoes.

Archer looked just as harassed and tired as everyone, but at least he wasn't forced to crawl around tight compartments, dislocating every disc in his spine. Tucker stepped into the turbo lift and closed his eyes as he rode down. All he wanted, all he craved with every fiber of his being, was a shower and a bed. His head was killing him.

His shoulders were hard as rocks.

His muscles ached.

His whole body needed an overhaul.

And on top of it, he was hungry. He hadn't had a decent meal since the beginning of this crisis.

Speaking of decent…he hadn't seen much of Malcolm either, for the same reason. He missed his lover's warmth and support, his simple presence. But with not even time enough to sleep in his quarters for more than four hours, take a shower, shove some food between his jaws, there had been no hope to get quality time with Malcolm, too.

Walking into his quarters, Trip briefly leaned against the wall, each beat of his heart resulting in an echo inside his head. The dull throbbing of his earlier headache quickly became a full blown migraine. He rolled his shoulders and the twinge went down his whole back, making him grimace.

By the time he had showered, Trip felt as if someone was stabbing him in the left side of his head with an icepick. The migraine pain seemed to be centered there, simultaneously moving down his neck to his shoulders, causing them to stiffen up.

He wearily dragged himself off to bed, barely managing to strip off the towel before collapsing on top of his blankets. But sleep proved impossible, his throbbing head and stiff neck unable to let him relax. Trip almost blindly reached for the small bottle of pain medication he kept stashed close to the bed, swallowing two pills.

But the pain kept him from falling asleep.

Twisting and tossing in his bed, he willed himself to relax, make the pain killers work, but things only grew worse. Trip groaned softly and rolled onto his back, hands starting to massage his temples. God, it hurt!

A cool hand touching his startled him and he blinked blearily. Someone had entered his quarters and he hadn't even heard it. Well, there weren't many people with his personal access code.

"Malcolm?" he murmured as he recognized the gentle touch.

"Headache?" Reed asked sympathetically.

"One whopper offit," Trip answered woozily. "More like a migraine. 's like the pain started in mah head 'nd went down to mah neck 'n shoulders."

Malcolm soothingly touched his forehead and Trip enjoyed the contact. Those wonderful fingers began to stroke and massage over his forehead, temples and scalp.

"Feels wonderful," he sighed.

Reed smiled and while Trip's eyes were slowly sliding shut, he also discovered that his lover looked a lot worse for wear, too. Unshaven and tired, the sleeves of his uniform rolled up, the zipper pulled down to mid-chest, and the normally so neat hair was tousled.

"Mal, you don't havta do that. You're dead on yer feet, too," he said softly.

Reed stopped briefly and Trip felt an immediate loss. It was only briefly, because he felt the mattress dip under a familiar weight. Malcolm, stripped out of his uniform, settled down beside him.

"But I want to," came the calm reply.

And then the hands were back. Soothing, caressing, massaging. Trip settled against the other body, relaxing into the warmth he knew so well, feeling Malcolm's heat through the underwear Here he was, completely and utterly naked, his lover almost fully clothed, and they weren't even attempting a seduction. His body was releasing all the stored tension little by little and then those miracle hands reached his shoulders, Tucker was halfway off into dreamland. Muscles unknotted, warmth suffused him, and soft moans of released pain left his lips.

"Good?" Malcolm asked.


"Sleep, luv."

Trip grunted softly, almost there anyway. He lost himself in the massage, the hypnotic movement of fingers against skin, how the pain flared briefly and then diffused into pleasure.

And finally into nothingness. He woke to a feeling of pure bliss. One night's sleep hadn't really cured all the aches and pains, but his headache was gone and he could live with stiff shoulders. He had had them on and off anyway. Life of an engineer. Crawling around in tight spaces was part of the job description.

Stretching, Trip sighed in pleasure. He was alone in bed, but that didn't really alarm him. Malcolm wouldn't have left if not for a very good reason, and deducted from the covered tray on the table, getting breakfast had been such a reason. Very good, Sherlock.

The door to the bathroom opened and Trip was treated to the mouthwatering view of his lover, naked except for a towel slung around his hips. Malcolm's hair was still damp and a strand hung roguishly into his forehead.

"Must still be dreamin'," Trip drawled lazily, crossing his arms behind his back and openly leering at his partner.

Malcolm smiled, running a hand through his hair, which resulted in another strand bouncing forward.

"I believe you are very much awake," the lieutenant answered and walked over to the bed.

Trip reached out and grabbed the towel, giving it a gentle tug. It didn't open, but became slightly undone. Malcolm sank forward and kissed him softly.

"Good morning, sleepy head," he murmured. "Hungry?"

Trip kissed along the clean-shaven jaw. "Ravenous."

"I meant food."

"Me, too."

Reed scooted back and turned to get the tray. It treated Trip to another nice view: the wonderful behind of his lover.

Breakfast was a quick affair. Trip wolfed down the slices of toast, the bacon and the scrambled eggs, while Malcolm just ate what looked like muesli. All the time, blue eyes were on the half-naked body. He couldn't get the tray out of the way fast enough.

"Had enough?" Malcolm teased.

"Not by a long shot," Trip growled. "Dessert."

Malcolm gave a gasp of token protest as the blond assaulted him, then he gave as good as he got. Lips clashed in a passionate battle and the pesky towel finally flew half way across the room to leave Trip's treasure open and accessible. He didn't have any scruples using his talents on it either. Malcolm moaned and pushed into his hands as Trip claimed his lips in a deep kiss.

"Love you," he whispered. "Want you."

"You have me. You always will," was the equally whispered reply.

Trip briefly rested his forehead against his lover's, enjoying the full body contact, the naked form underneath him. Strong hands massaged his back and he groaned in pleasure.

"You're hard as a rock," Malcolm commented.

"Ah hope so," he drawled.

Malcolm chuckled and ground his hips against him.

Trip got the hint.


Trip basked in the afterglow of one very hot encounter. He felt…sated, exhausted…happy. Warmth suffused him, undoing all those knots and cramps, and he snuggled close to the other body in their shared bed. Malcolm's face fairly glowed with satisfied need and sexual pleasure. Trip nuzzled the nipple closest to him and received a half-hearted squirm in return.

"Trip…" Malcolm protested faintly.

He kissed the nipple, then scooted upward and did the same with the inviting lips.

"By the way," Malcolm mumbled as they parted. "Merry Christmas."


"Yesterday. The 25th."


Trip couldn't say he had kept track of time. At least not when the whole ship had started to come apart around him. Now that he had time to order his brain, he faintly remembered something like Christmas.

Malcolm chuckled. "Yes. Oh."

"Merry Christmas then, Mal."

This time the kiss was deeper, a real and proper Christmas kiss, Trip thought, relishing it.

"So…did you get me a present?" he asked, eyes alight.

"I did."


"You unpacked it yesterday."

He frowned. "That was all?"

Malcolm laughed out loud and pushed himself up on his elbows. "All? All?! My dear man, you got more than you actually deserved."

"What's that supposed to mean, hm? I'm suffering here. Can you say overworked?" Trip countered with amusement tingeing the outrage.

"All part of the job."

"No way."

"Way. Very much so."

"You really didn't get me a present?" Trip almost put a whine in it.



"But you love me anyway."

"Revising that at the moment."

Malcolm grinned and kissed his lover's nose . "It's in my quarters. We'll get it later."

Trip's face broke into a grin. "I knew it," he crowed and wrapped his arms around the other man.

"So…about mine?" Malcolm prodded.

"What about it?"

The Brit raised an eyebrow and Trip huffed.

"You don't deserve one."

"I do."

"Oh really? How come?"

"I have to put up with you. Have done so for a while now."

"That's called love. Doesn't come with a price tag or in packages."

Malcolm grinned. "With you, Charles Tucker, it's also a lot of patience, tolerance and good humor."

"Not true."

"You're not easy to maintain."

"Maintain? I'm not some engine, I'll have ya know!"

Malcolm smiled down at the indignant expression on his lover's face. "No, you're a very precious man, who requires a lot of attention and love."

"That's more like it."

"And sufferance."

"Arrrr, you!" Trip exclaimed and pushed up, managing to upset Reed's balancing and tackling him to the mattress.

Malcolm laughed in delight and, after a moment's hesitation, Trip joined in.

"You're impossible," he murmured. "Completely and utterly…but I love ya anyway."

"So…my present?" Malcolm needled.

"Later," Trip murmured and leaned forward, kissing him.

"So you get to play with yours, but I have to wait?"

"'xactly…An' you said this isn't it, hm? So fair's fair…" More kisses followed.

Malcolm laughed and pushed his lover away, making a scolding noise. "Charles Tucker, what am I supposed to do with you?"

"Ah hope that's rhetoric, Mal."

"Sometimes, I'm not so sure…" Reed's eyes twinkled and Trip sighed.

Then he reached out and playfully ruffled the thick, dark hair.

"Gah!" Malcolm exclaimed and squirmed away.

Trip laughed and quickly kissed the mock-upset man. They drew it out for minutes, settling down after a while.

"Shift today?" Trip asked, caressing the lean side.

"Gamma. You?"

"Delta. I think. Uh…maybe even double. Brain was mush yesterday." He sighed. "Need to check on her status, too."

Malcolm glanced at the clock and sighed, too. "Then I propose a shower."

Trip twisted his head to follow his gaze, and cursed.

"Time flies when you are having fun," the armory officer quipped.

"Oh, and we had lots of it. So…when do we exchange presents?"

Malcolm grinned. "You are one very single-minded man, Mr. Tucker."

"Only when it's so much worth it, Mr. Reed."

"Between shifts then? Meet me for a snack?"

Trip kissed him quickly. "You got it."

Malcolm shooed him off. "Go. Shower. You'll be late."

"Yes, Mom."

And with that, Trip headed off to the bathroom, whistling to himself.

Malcolm smiled and leaned back against the wall, cushions stuffed behind his bare back. Delta shift was still some time away and he hadn't planned on leaving his lover's quarters before Trip did. He would do his own checks n the Armory, see if everything was calibrated and working…yes, that sounded like a plan.


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