Title: Tell Me a Story

Author: Qlara2002

Author's e-mail: letterq@appleisp.com


Archer's Enterprise

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Category: Slash

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Rating: NC-17

Archive: EntSTSlash, Archer's Enterprise

Disclaimer: Don't own them, just imagining the possibilities.

Summary: A late night conversation about a late night conversation.

Author's Notes: Beta'd by TheGrrrl, Shi Shi, and Cincoflex. Generous, and truly wonderful betas. Their insights and comments were invaluable.

Honestly, don't you ever get tired of hearin' me talk about Malcolm's and my sex life? Yeah. Me neither. Especially when I've got the night off and he's pullin' a double shift. But ya know what they say—if ya can't spend the night makin love, ya may as well spend the evening talkin' about it. Okay, I just made that one up, but ya know what I mean. Tell ya what, set us up with a round of drinks—or better still, bring the bottle—and I'll tell ya 'bout the first time Malcolm and I made love. Better yet, I'll tell ya 'about the time Malcolm and I talked about the second night of our first date. I know that doesn't make sense, but if makin' sense was really some non-negotiable requirement for love, then Malcolm probably wouldn't have been snuggled up next to me that night.

When you look at us together—and I know that a lot of people do—we seem complete opposites. Malcolm carries himself with a certain stature, but you'd have to be blinded by more than love to not notice that he's on the short side of tall. I, on the other hand, am on the tall side of average. He's dark; I'm fair. He's thorough and strategic; I'm still learnin' how to spell both words. I'm jokin'. I know how to spell strategic. Then there's our accents. His helps as much as mine hinders. What I mean is that he looks bigger than he is, and I seem smaller than I am. Bottom line—complete opposites; at least it seems that way if ya stop lookin' at the surface level.

I've overheard a few speculative discussions on the subject of what we talk about, or if we ever do. Butler's favorite is her version of a typical evening's conversation in the Tucker-Reed cabin, done complete with accents. Malcolm starts it out -

'How was your day, sir?' 'Fine. And yours, darlin'?' 'Just grand, love. Now, having dispensed with the necessary protocol regarding relations between a superior officer and his subordinate, shall we fuck?' 'Baby, I was wonderin' when you'd ask. Where's the lube?'

For some reason that bit still leaves 'em rollin' in the aisles. Yeah, that Butler—pure comedic genius. Another fifteen minutes of material and she'd almost have a routine.

Ya know, the funniest thing—besides the fact that so many people on this ship have nothin' better to do than think about me and Malcolm—is that we actually do talk a lot, about everything, and argue just as often. That's one advantage to a relationship made up of two smart-asses—we each always have something to say. And being sweet smart-asses, we never hold a grudge. We've talked about our families, our friends, our soon to be friends, our newly found enemies, the mission that was our dream, the mistakes worse than our worst nightmares. In short, we talk about us. What we've experienced and learned about ourselves during the last several years, and shared with each other over the last couple of months. That's where I think we really work. We may not seem to have a lot in common, but we share a lot. Put in that way, we start to make a little more sense—least to me at any rate, and that's halfway all that really matters.

And on that note, maybe I should get started on that story I told ya 'bout.

Truth to tell, Butler's little stand-up routine was a pretty accurate rendition of the start of that evening. Jon knew about Malcolm and me, and whenever possible gave us matching schedules. But, ya know how it goes. For most of the previous week we hadn't set eyes on each other except in passing, and hadn't noticed the other in bed except when one of us got out to get ready for their shift.

Suffice to say that when things settled down into an Enterprise version of normal, we were more than ready for a make-up study session. Not only did we catch up on lost time, we made love in a way that gave new chapter, verse, and line to the textbook, plus a half page of footnotes- twice.

By the time we came up for air not only was I feelin' satisfied, I was feelin' pretty damned satisfied with myself. There's a certain gratification in hearin' Malcolm scream both my name and God's in the same breath. Especially when mine comes first, most often, and loudest. And did I happen to mention that it happened twice?

"Trip, tell me a story."

"Darlin, for future reference, maybe you could just tell me now exactly how many orgasms it takes to put you down for the night."

"Want to sleep. Can't sleep. Feedback systems malfunctioning—too, too amazing sex override protection in effect," he says, all low and slow and sex sleepy slurred.

Who knew that a Brit could drawl as well as the best good ole boy? It's his own version, of course, but essentially the same song. Usually it happens when he's exhausted, or—like he was that night—still sexed up but too tired to do anything about it. It's like he's savorin' the taste of every word before lettin' them out of his mouth, kinda like the way he'd held my dick there earlier that night. Now, as appealing as all that was, the fact remained that right then I was whooped, wiped, and done for the night. Let's face it, no matter how hot a lover you are—or claim to be—at some point in the evening you're gonna tap the tank and get nothin' in response but a hollow, suckin' sound—and not in the good way.

"Well, that's flattering, Malcolm, but I'm exhausted. You're gonna have to find a way to get your relays back online that doesn't involve my dick."

"I don't want another lay, just a bedtime story. Though if you'd prefer—I remember reading about this technique for reviving one's lover. It involvesŠ"

"Which one do ya want—Jack and the Cornhole, or the Legend of Sleepy Malcolm?" I say real fast, before he climbs outta bed and starts assembling an equipment table or somethin'.

"How about the one about the first time we made love?"

Aw. Now don't that sound sweet? Malcolm so loves rememberin' our first night together that nothing will make it better than hearing my version. And you can kiss my sweet ass if you think I was fooled for a second. Bedtime story? Yeah, like the one ya tell a four-year-old who'll then proceed to toss the world's biggest hissy fit if you vary by one word from the story he'd expected. Look, we're all adults here, and we've all been there. Not the four-year-old part, but the middle of the night conversation with your lover that can just as easily lead to the best sex of your life as leave ya wishin' you'd never been born. It's like walkin' through a minefield planted with words. One false step, and the only thing you're kissin' is a good night's sleep goodbye.

I wasn't up for any of it, but certain parts of my anatomy had other ideas. Remember that empty tank I talked about? Well, I started feelin' this sort of rumbling in my balls that told me they were bein' refilled. Then my dick perked up like a poker player who'd seen the cards we'd been dealt and liked our odds. He seemed decidedly inclined toward "raising", if you get my drift. So there's Malcolm on one side of me, my balls underneath, my dick in between—and me? I guess I'm in.

"Afterwards, you'll close those pretty eyes and go to sleep?"


"Okay then, Malcolm. Don't really know where to start."

"Well, 'once upon a time' usually works well as an opening line. Or you could just start at the beginning, keep going until you get to the end, then stop. And just what are you laughing at?"

"It's just funny that no matter how tired you are, you've always got enough energy left to be a smart-ass. Hey, what the hell?"

"If you'd like to get some sleep, and keep your balls, I'd suggest you give the man his damn bedtime story."

Not only is Malcolm clutchin' my nuts in a way that only the freakiest among us would call affectionate, but my dick seems to have left the game in favor of applying for refugee status up inside my stomach. Now, I'm all for bedroom fun and games, but that one had gone far enough -

"Look, that death grip ya got on me is plenty motivatin', but it does nothing for the inspiration department. Ease up, will ya?"

"That better?" he asks, strokin' my boys and tryin' to make nice.

"Much," I say, "very much. Now, if you'll just use the same technique to pull my dick outta hiding, and keep a nice soft hold on it—that's a nice, soft hold—I'll tell ya the story of 'The First Night Malcolm and Trip Made Love'."

"That's a pretty boring title."

"Hey, are you gonna lay back and hear your goddamn story, or instant relay criticize?"

Like I said—Malcolm and I argue. It's a natural part of our relationship, but in a way completely different from any I've had before. It's not like we're doin' it because we're pissed off at each other; it's more like we're playin' with the differences and enjoyin' what we find. Sometimes I think that the fightin' is more foreplay than anything else. It reminds us what we loved about each other in the first place. Funny how sometimes when shit happens, everything gets worked out better in the end.

"Sorry, sorry," he says, giving me one of those sweet kisses that just take the piss out of me every time.

"Well, all right then. I guess that night actually started the night before when youŠ"

"But, what about the day before that?"

"Ow, ow—death grip, Malcolm, death grip. Are you sure your parents never sent you away to boarding school?"

"Apologies, love. I suppose I'm just adamant about having the whole story, not the edited version you'll include in your memoirs."

"Adamant? More like ball-bustin' intent. Anyway, if I ever write my memoirs I'll be doin' it with you. And I plan on savin' a large section of that book for stories about doin' it with you."

"Is that a promise, or a threat?"

"Well, I'd say that depends on your keeping the word 'adamant' a safe distance from my nuts. Now I take it ya want me to start with that day I came by to walk ya to work."

"Thank you, and yes. More's the pity such extreme measures become necessary in order to facilitate a proper telling," Malcolm says. Just like him to not give up a point he's just apologized for makin'. Then, he starts movin' his hand on my dick, and I'm not sure if he's stokin' memory or desire. It was enough to get me started in more ways than one, but he spared me that decision by beginning the story himself -

"We find our lovers meeting in my cabin. You were exactly on time, but I was running a bit late due to a last minute search for a book of poetry I'd promised the captain."

"Oh yeah. You quoted me a few lines from a poem your father used to recite. Ya know, I've always wondered if there was another reason you chose that particular poem. I mean, your father used it to share his love of the sea, but I recall gettin' the sense of a bit more meaning when you recited it. I remember some such about 'flung spray' and 'blown spume'. Pretty damn suggestive, don't ya think?"

"Oh Trip. You're so wonderfully sweet when you're being naďve."

Actually, I wasn't bein' naďve, not at all. I just wanted confirmation that what I thought had happened was what Malcolm really meant—that he wasn't just bein' shy, but bein' nasty and shy. I do so like a shy and nasty Malcolm.

"You were pretty sweet yourself when you finally let me kiss you. Later on I was talkin' to Jon about what happened, andŠ"

"Just a minute, country bumpkin. You told Captain Archer about that morning?"

"Oh, calm down, Limey Have-a-Fit. I didn't give 'im any of the specifics, just a general outline. And by the way, he was totally fine with it."

May I just say ' Proximity alert to all in the vicinity of this particular late night conversation. We've just entered an area containing a big pile of shit. Recommending immediate deployment of all necessary diplomatic measures. Repeat-'

"Darlin', Jon knew what was up between us even before either one of us did. Maybe because he's the Captain, maybe because he's my friend, I don't know. I do know that he not only approved of what was happening, but he encouraged me to pursue it as well. Frankly, I think he was kinda relieved that I'd finally done something and would stop bending his ear on the subject."

"Are you expecting me to take comfort in the fact that my superior officer—the man who relies upon me for sound judgment in the most stressful, and life threatening situations imaginable—will be judging those abilities in light of his knowledge of the intimate details of my romantic relationship?"

Mayday. Mayday. Grip on dick intensifying. Pressure increasing. Diplomacy ineffective. Attempting immediate efforts toward extraction, and complete honesty. Only hope. Repeat—only hope.

"Malcolm. Put the dick down. Nice and easy. That's it. That's good. Now, I want you to listen to me. The truth is that I desperately needed to talk to someone. Not just about what happened that morning, but the feelings I'd been having for you since long before then. Darlin, ya gotta try and understand what we understood; that I was talkin' to Jon, not Archer. I was havin' a sit-down with my best friend, not our Captain."

"Trip, I'm sorry if I've hurt you—again—but you're really not getting the point. Best friend, Captain. It's a fine line, love. And it's one thing for you two to be willing to walk it, but completely inappropriate to expect me to join you there."

"Okay. Fine. Point taken. But another one seems to be left on the table. Darlin, just what sort of 'intimate details' of our relationship do you imagine I talked about? Jesus, what do ya think—that we sit around laughin' and nudgin' each other over my blow by blow description of your oral sex technique?"

I stopped for a minute then. We'd both just said things that went places neither one of us had expected to go at the start of that conversation, and we each needed a moment to catch up. At first he just sat there bein' quiet—real quiet—like a lonely night spent in a desert ghost town. For a minute there I really thought I could hear crickets chirping, sagebrush rolling, and a coyote howling in the distance. Then—and there was a discernible change—he went silent. I started to wonder if that absolute lack of anything comin' from him had somehow created a vacuum in our cabin cuz I swear to God, I thought I felt my ears pop. Finally, he said something -

"Shouldn't that be 'superior' oral sex technique?"

I gotta give it to him, he may not always pick the best battles, but he does always find the best strategic retreat. Even though we were sitting in the dark, I could feel the smile on his face. I think it had something to do with the way he started painting it across the head of my dick.

"Actually, I talked to Hoshi, too."

"Well now ya don't see me pullin' a huff. Do I get to hold your dick while ya tell me about that one?"

"Feel free."

"Is that all right?"

"Quite a bit more than a bit of all right," he says, snugglin'up close in a way that had me thinkin' he was in for the night. But, ya know, he's not the only one playin' this game.


"If you insist. You know that Hoshi and I'd been close A.R.—after Risa, after Ravis She always knew which team I played for, but that I was nevertheless always on her side. The poor girl spent a small fortune in tears on my shoulder about that man, then it was my turn to share a few on hers about you."

I'd been aware of his and Hoshi's particular friendship. That I was a subject of their discussions was made clear when I walked into the mess one night and found them gigglin' and glancin' at me in a way that was meant to be sly, but was actually glaringly obvious. It was like in high school when girls did the same thing in the effort to make you know, without comin out and sayin', that they "liked you". Yeah. I remember that. Kinda scratched my head at the time, but if that was what Malcolm needed.

"Did it ever occur to ya to go to me?"

"Trip, sometimes a man just needs to talk to his best girlfriend. No one else will do. I suppose I have to admit that it's rather like your talking to the Captain."

"Yeah. Rather," I say, filing that little insight under 'Things I will Never Mention to Jon.' "I'm guessin' that one of the topics of conversation was the whole Gay thing?"

"You know,Trip, if you didn't have your hand wrapped around my dick, I'd give you an earful. The 'Gay thing', as you dismissively put it, is pretty damn important. It may have been easy for you to deal with, but that was just because you didn't know better. I did, Trip. I knew."

"What did you know, Malcolm? And how did any of it apply to me?"

"I'd known straight guys who'd wanted a bit of experimentation and thought I'd make a good lab partner."

"I never thought of you in that way. Never did, never have, never would. Actually, if there was any experimentation involved it was more along the lines of me findin' out what would happen if I stopped just falling in love and tried walkin' in with my eyes open for a change. I hope by now you've figured out that I liked what I saw."

Ya know, every once in a great while the first thing outta my mouth is actually the right thing to say. Even though we were sittin' in the dark I could feel Malcolm's blush risin' up through his body. And it wasn't an embarrassed blush, but the one he gets when he's really, really happy. I do so enjoy pullin' that one outta the depths. The last clue that I'd really gotten it right was when he let loose this little sigh of contentment that he usually saves for right after he's finished coming. Yep, just call me "Trip Tucker—master baiter".

"Trip, do you know when I first knew that I was in love with you? It was on Risa, right after we picked up those twoŠaliens. I'd never felt sadder. Not in retrospect over the whole damnable experience, but at this one moment in the evening. It wasn't me you had your arm around. It wasn't my ear you were whispering into. I wanted that, Trip. And I never realized how much until right then. Then the rest of the night became a runaway train trip into hell, so I never had a chance to even think about it again untilŠ"

"Until I'd had time to realize that I was thinkin' the same thing too, Malcolm. There was this time when I looked at them, and looked at you, and I realized what was wrong with the picture. It should've been you in my arms. That would've made the whole thing right. That's when I knew. I'd had a lot to drink that night, but that wasn't the only reason I was reelin'. First I thought it was some weird variation on the spins, but it was really just all of the pieces of the puzzle falling into place. Everything that I'd been thinkin' and feelin' suddenly started to make sense. Then the next thing I knew, we were tied up next to each other."

"Under other circumstances, it could've been the perfect end to a perfect evening."

"Darlin, I'm stone cold sober and can't quite wrap my head around that one"

"Perhaps it's time to return to the bedtime story."

"Your conversation with Hoshi must've happened on Tuesday. That seems to be your favored chat night. It would've been the night after your little literary cocktease moment."

"Well, you needn't put too fine a point on it—but yes. Hoshi and I got together for drinks."

"Shit. You two are somethin' to see when you're in public together. Must be somethin' to talk about when you're in private, and with a few drinks in ya."

"We needed to hash out a few things about her, me, as well as you and I. Needs be, love."

Right—needs be. I didn't mention how one of his "needs" when we'd gotten together that Monday night had included a passionate roll around every corner of his bed, before he sent me home with a kiss and a hard-on that could have been used as a ragin' illustration of the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary. Does the O.E.D. even use illustrations?

"Could you lighten your grip a bit, cowboy. You're riding English."

"Sorry. I was thinkin' about something."

"I'll take that as a cue that you've got more to say about what you did while I was talking to Hoshi. Here. Let me get more comfortable."

Let me take a moment to set the stage here. We'd started out layin' side by side, each of us telling our side of the story. But right then, Malcolm decides to claim his rightful spot between my legs, and takes his sweet time doin' so. Well, he is the season ticket holder after all, and I have no problem at all with him claiming his seat while bare-assed naked and sweaty. His back's to my front, and it's that back of his that's flusterin' my front no end. See, he's takin' his seat, but he's not sittin' still. He keeps settlin' himself- again, and again, and again. And in the process, of course, he's rubbin' up against my dick—again, and again, and again. He knew exactly what he was doin', and so did I. Malcolm's sly like that. Invitin' me in to play a game where he's set the rules and determined the outcome. But I'm not gonna hold that against him. Not when I could hold my dick against him instead. He's sly, but I'm clever, and I know which side of the bed has the butter. Storytime could go to hell until Malcolm had finished givin' his personally guided tour of all else, and I was more than willing to sit back and enjoy the ride. But nothin' lasts forever -

"Trip? Love? Is that a well-lubricated massage tool you're rubbing against my back, or are you just happy to have me here? It feels wonderful, but do you know what would be even better?"

"What, darlin'. I'll do anything."

"Tell me what you did that night."

And he chooses that moment to finally settle himself. He just stops moving entirely.

"Darlin'—out of curiosity—has anyone ever called you a tease?"

"Well, love, if you define that as someone who promises what they've no intention to deliver, then no. I've been called many things in my adult life, but never a tease."

Well, when he put it like that, and followed it up by stroking my thighs in a way that was more than promising, it made me remember that I hadn't yet gotten to the good part of the story.

"I remember sittin' here thinkin' about you. Wishin' that you were here, but kinda glad that you weren't. See, I knew that I wanted to do more than kiss, but I hadn't really thought about what 'more' actually meant. And I knew that we'd be doin' 'more' sooner rather than later, so I'd better take that night to get up to speed. Then I realized that even though some of the things we'd do would be new to me, at the same time they wouldn't exactly be unfamiliar cuz we've both got the same equipment. We're workin' from the same specs. Hey, I can't see it, but I can feel that grin. What's that for?"

"Just 'equipment' and 'specs'. It never occurred to me that the reason you're such a talented lover might be because you're such an accomplished engineer."

"Ya know what they say—'Engineers do it with their hands'—or somethin' like that. Anyway, that's what this engineer did that night. I started really thinkin' about what I'd want to do with you if you'd been there. Then I started doin' it to myself."

Then Malcolm spread his legs even wider, took my hand and put it back on his dick like he had a bookmark holdin' its place. And it's a good thing he had one, cuz at that point I was lost.

"Was it like what you're doing to me now? Did you stroke your dick the way you're stroking mine now?"

"Yeah. Oh, yeah."

Well, kinda. I've never been one for a dry rub, either with barbecue or masturbation. Sweat's good; but lube's better. And ya know what they say -there is no such thing as too much lube—and I didn't just make that one up. So, I reached into the bedside table and got our bottle. Opened, upended, squeezed, and warmed; all done somewhat dexterously, if I do say so myself. My effort did not go unappreciated.

"Thank you, Mr. Slick. Always lovely to be reminded that you're a gentleman as well. Nothing worse than cold lube."

Then he started pumpin' his hips against my hand, and his dick through my fingers. I've had a lot of surprises since bein' with Malcolm—bein' with another man—and one of the best has been how much of a turn-on it is to feel his hard cock in my hand. It's like I'm holding desire itself and squeezing it outta him. By that point I'd given him enough hand jobs that I could read his responses like a book. Right then he was lettin' himself go, but holdin' himself back. He wanted more. Like, the rest of the story.

"Trip? You were saying?"

"Where were we?" I whisper into his ear. By that point I'd also become quite comfortable with that question of 'more', and I wanted some- bedtime story be damned.

"Love, I'd call you a tease but present circumstances make that quite impossible. Nevertheless, you did promise me a story that I fully intend to have, and I've a rather pressing feeling around my arse that tells me you've yet to quite finish."

If love is a game—and some would argue that it undoubtedly is—I would add that there comes a point when you're not playing against your partner, but with them. Can ya figure that Malcolm and I were at that point?

"Yeah, Malcolm. That 'arse' of yours figures quite prominently in the rest of the story. After I'd covered our dicks to my satisfaction, other areas remained. Asses. Ass play. That was completely virgin territory for me."

"Oh, hold on, Trip. I mean, let loose."

Well, he was movin' so fast that I had no choice if I didn't wanna hurt 'im. So, he's kneelin' there between my legs, lookin' at me like he would've been laughin' his shorts off if he'd been wearin' any.

"Are you telling me that up until the age of thirty-two you'd never had your arse played with in any way shape or form?"

"Shall I take a bow? Seems fittin'. Look, Malcolm, I don't know. Maybe I just hadn't been hangin' out with the right people."

"But what about yourself—hadn't you been the least little bit curious? I mean really—dick, balls, arse. It's like frequenting a neighborhood but never setting foot in the candy store."

"And with your help I think that I've more than made up for lost time. But at that time it was all new, and I remember it as bein' really nice."

"Tell me."

"Honestly, I wasn't sure how I felt about bein' fucked, but I thought you might be into it, so to speak."

"Quite right, but how—pray tell—did you come to that conclusion?"

"Well, it may have had somethin' to do with the way you kept bending over in front of me."

"Nothing about the number of times, nor the way I bent over was anything other than completely functional."

Yeah. Right. There was a period of time there when I wondered if Malcolm was suffering from some kind of neurological disorder. He seemed to keep droppin' things whenever I was in his vicinity, and his favored means of retrieval involved bending over at the waist. Mind you, I had no complaints about the view, but for a while there I was concerned. Then I figured it out.

"Yeah, and I guess that little bit of English you'd give at the end was for the purpose of savin' your back."

"I never did that."

Again—yeah, right. See, I liked Malcolm, but I didn't know if he liked me. I mean, if he liked me the way that I liked him. You know what I mean. Once I figured out that he wasn't suffering from early stage Parkinson's disease, it still left the matter of his bending over and this little twist he did with his hips at the end of it. Then he'd look over his shoulder and act like he didn't know I was standin' right there. Like I said, I figured it out.

"First time I had your ass, I was wonderin' why that move seemed so familiar. Hey, no ticklin'."

"Then let's leave that question to speculation and move on with the story. You were saying."

"Well, I've always seen it as a matter of respect to never ask anyone on my staff to do anything that I can't or won't. So why would I treat you any differently? Anyway, I got myself comfortable, lubed up my fingers, and found out what all the hubbub was about."

"You fucked yourself?"

"Yeah. And for the first time in my life—deliberately. Ya know, Grannie always said not to give a gift ya wouldn't want to receive, soŠ"

"Dear God, Trip. I'm not sure which I find more disturbing. That you thought about your grandmother while giving yourself a butt job, or that you imagined the dear woman was referring to anything other than a questionable set of dish towels."

"Actually, I was more wondering why no one ever told me about the 'prostate gland'—that's what its called, right? Talk about the candy store. And is that God's joke, or what? One way to get there and it's the one road most men never walk."

"I don't know about that. I've known many a straight man who's been there."

"Have you now?"

"Another story for another night, Trip. I think it's time we switched off now. I get to hold your dick for awhile. And actually, there's something else that I'd like to know."

Mayday. Mayday. Help. But I was just whimpering into the wind, and facing Malcolm. How could someone on their knees be in such a position of power? Oh, yeah—maybe because he had my dick in his hand. He knelt there in front of me, squeezing off the excess lube from his cock, and rubbin' it on mine. I felt like I was about to be injected with some kind of truth serum that would cause me to spout shit I didn't even know I had inside. Holy mother of God; what happened to the damn bedtime story?

"How's that, love? Does that feel good?" he says, strokin' my dick, lickin' his finger along something that was gettin' slicker by the second despite the lube or my better judgment. He had me, and we both knew it.

"What was it that ya wanted to know, Malcolm?"

"Oh, just a simple thing, really. After our morning, and our separate nights, we made a date for the next one. Before I went to your cabin I commed you, mostly to confirm that we were still on, but then—well, you sounded so flustered that I thought you were having last minute second thoughts."

"More like last minute cleaning anxieties. Malcolm, ya know I'm not the tidiest person in the world."

"God knows that one, Trip. So why didn't you clean up the night before?"

"Darlin, after that workout, I was barely in any condition to cuddle, much less clean my room. All I could do the next night was run around and try to make the best of a bad thing."

"Run? Trip, how could've you built up enough speed to run for all the piles of stuff around here? I mean, look at this—padds, books, dishes—not to mention your clothes. Christ, your dirty laundry practically qualifies as an armed occupation force with territorially imperialistic leanings."

"Thank you, Mother Liberty. Malcolm—and I mean this in the best possible sense—but has anyone ever told ya that you have a truly impressive grasp of the obvious?"

"Trip—and I too mean this in the best possible sense—but have you forgotten that my 'truly impressive grasp' currently encompasses your dick? Perhaps you should just tell me what happened."

"Good point. So, I'd gotten this place as clean as I could."

"You might put a bit more anticipatory glee into the telling."

"Believe me, whatever I lack in the tellin' was more than made up for in how I was feeling. In fact, I remember sayin'—"

"Wait a minute—'sayin'? I thought you were alone."

Oh, man. Here we go. And the only way out was to tell Malcolm something I'd never told anyone before. But, then I realized that I'd already done that so many times before, what's one more? Besides, he might even like it.

"Yeah, Malcolm, I was. It's just that sometimes, when I'm alone and need to hash something out, sometimes I—well, I just talk to my dick."

"You do wha'?"

"I talk to my dick. I got no one else."

"Does he answer?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact. And his advice was surprisingly objective, considering that he had a stake in the outcome."

"And does this esteemed personage have a name?"

"I call 'im 'Young Charles', but you may call him 'Mr. Tucker'. Hey, tickling's fine, but no offhand squeezin', okay?"

Not only was he ticklin' me, but he was giggling too. When Malcolm goes there, well, it's a sight to see, and a place I can't resist. He's gone, and I'm following, and all bets are off.

"So just what did Mr. Tucker talk have to say?" Even while sittin' in the dark, the glow on his face showed through. He's so open, and honest. I can see the traps, but can't help walking in anyway because I know what's there is too sweet to pass up.

"Well, I said that I was really nervous. That I felt like I didn't know my lines because I hadn't gotten the script. He suggested that I should worry less about what I was gonna say, and think more about my motivation."

"You mean why you were doing it, rather than how to make it happen?"

"Yeah. I knew that we'd either sleep together, or not. And if we did, things would probably get a little more complicated, but if we didn't they'd get even moreso. But, I wanted to. And, Malcolm—it wasn't because after all that time spent waitin' I just wanted to find out what would happen. What I really wanted was you. I was achin', Malcolm. And not just blue balls pain. I'd started to get this pounding in a joint of my middle finger every time I looked at you. It was like this urgent hunger all over my body, but focused there. Malcolm, sometimes I just wanted to hold you up against me, throw you over a console andŠ"

"Yes, Trip. Yes. I know exactly what you're talking about. Do you have any idea what it's like to walk through the day and occasionally find yourself bent over—not bending over, mind—but bent over in this spastic, rampant response to your need for someone? Legs spread, Trip. Legs spread. I knew what I looked like, but I didn't care anymore. Sometimes I just wanted to pull down the stupid uniform, pull up the damn jersey, and announce to all and sundry, and you in particular—'Would you please, just fuck me.' Of course you do, you did. Now what are you laughing at? It wasn't funny."

"That's a matter of opinion, but just now I was remembering when you walked in that night. I thought I'd made a pretty good job of pullin' this place into shape, but you took one look around and I thought you were gonna write me up for disciplinary action. Then you scrunched up your nose, and started wavin' your hand in front of your face."

"That's a gross exaggeration. I did nothing more than make a discreet pass. Considering the fact that you greeted me at the door with your hands full of with dirty dishes, I shouldn't think you'd wonder."

"I was kinda hopin' I'd have time to return those to the mess before you arrived. Oops."


"Well if I'd been back home I'd have just put 'em in the shower, but since I'd recently experienced the joy of lube, I thought we might need it."

"Oh. Back home dating technique. Should I even ask what was lurking in the bottom of your closet?"

"Not unless ya wanna know where my old shorts went to die."

"You're joking, right? Trip?"

"Why don't we just say that since we've been living together, my closet is your closet and there isn't anything there that I wouldn't want you to see. Moving on—I made room for the dishes on top of my desk and told you to make yourself comfortable while I washed out a couple of glasses. But when I came out of the bathroom you seemed closer to the door than to the couch. I kinda felt like I'd caught you tryin' to make an escape."

"It was a big step, Trip. I was very nervous."

"I could tell. When you finally decided to have a seat you edged your way over to the couch like a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs."

"Like a ŠOh, for heaven's sake. Where do you get these expressions? Shall we just say that I made it to the couch, tail intact? And refresh my memory, if you will. Did you actually pull that yawn and stretch maneuver in order to get your arm around me?"

"Yeah. It's cornball, but I figured you'd either laugh it off, or go with it."

"It was cornball, but sweet."

"Sweet, huh? Guess that's why you went into full officer mode and asked me if I required any final instructions before we proceeded with the evening's activities."

"I believe what I asked was if there was anything more that you needed to know, and what I meant was if there was anything left that we needed to talk about."

Dirty dishes in his face; the threat of disciplinary action, final instructions, and a downright juvenile attempt at getting to first base—great ways to start a romantic evening, right? But the fact remained that after all that he still ended up in my arms.

"Malcolm, can we agree on my reply? I said—'Just one thing. Do trust me?'"

"And I said—'Yes, Trip.' Then you kissed me."

"Even better, you kissed me back."

"I remember wanting to memorize every moment of that kiss, but all I can recall was when you held my face in your hand and stroked my cheek with your thumb. I felt safe, Trip, and loved."

"I remember lookin' at you when we stopped and thinkin' that if you were that beautiful after one kiss, you must look like God's gift after makin' love."

Then he leaned forward. Onto my dick, and into my mouth, and reminded me why all that we'd gone through before—including that evening- was worth it.

"Then we sat there, Trip. And we kissed for the longest time. It was as if we were getting to know each other all over again. Suppose we were, really. Have I ever told you how grateful I was that you were willing to spend all that time just kissing?"

"Malcolm, there is simply no such thing as 'just' kissing you."

Ya know, I don't think I've ever kissed "just kissed" Malcolm. I don't even thing that I've ever even kissed him just once. Not even in the morning when we're both runnin' late, or when it's a quick one while we're on duty. It's like the first one recalls why love him so much, and the second reminds me why I go back for more. His lips.

"The next thing I recall was Trip's amazing magic trick."

"Beggin' your pardon?"

"The one that got us both naked in the blink of an eye."

"You blinked, I pulled—shirts, pants, zippers, and buttons."

"How'd you do all that without my noticing?"

"The oldest magician's trick in the book, Malcolm—distraction. When you're gettin' your nipples licked, you wouldn't notice a ship wide boarding of the full Klingon fleet."

"You figured that one out pretty quickly."

"Hate to tell ya, darlin', but ya got the most obvious tell in the world. Somethin' to do with the way ya throw your head back and start speakin' in tongues."

"Next memory, please."

Now here's where you've gotta understand something about Malcolm. As much as he means what he says, he does what he means even moreso. His words speak loud, but his actions speak louder, and you'll never get close to him until ya figure that one out. It's like a test he gives to find out if you're worthy. Will you take the time to not just hear what he says, but look at what he really means. Yet, it still kinda embarrasses him to be seen. I think he feels exposed, even when he loves and trusts the person seein' him—probably because too many people in his past hadn't loved him, and hadn't proved worthy of his trust. I've taken it upon myself to let him know that he's got nothing to be ashamed of.

"I think the strongest memory I have of that night was when our dicks touched for the first time."

"Oh. Why was that particularly noticeable? Did it disturb you?"

"No, Malcolm, no. I have never been in my life been so turned on as I was in that moment. Baby, you felt so hot and hard and soft all at the same time. I couldn't get enough of that feeling, and I couldn't get enough of you. It was more than I'd expected, and better than I ever imagined. You're kinda quiet all of a sudden. What're ya thinkin'?"

"Just my own memories. How incredibly relieved I felt that you were okay with what was happening."

"I thought I just made it clear that I was a hell of a lot more than 'okay'."

"The past, Trip—my past, before you. Kissing was fine. Seeing me naked was fine. I suppose that up to that point they could have still write it off as just fun and games. But the moment I stepped into his arms, and he felt another cock pressed against his own, it's sometimes been an uncomfortable moment of recognition that ended the evening, and—more than once—the friendship as well."

"Darlin', I'm thinkin' that we might wanna start lookin' at your past as a day trip, and our past as the primary tour. So, let's hit the road and get on to what happened next. Do ya remember? Here, I'll paint a little word picture for ya. You—flat on your back with your legs spread wide open. Me—with my face firmly planted between them."

"For a word picture it's not very poetic."

"Okay then, you tell it."

"Well, for all that I'd said earlier, I was actually feeling quiteŠ romantic. It seemed like things just might work out well between us—for the night at least. Then you told me that you wanted me in your mouth, and you lay me down on the bed, andŠwell, I knew you hadn't been with another man before, so I just put your rather impressive skills down to a youthful appetite for lollipops. I was quite taken, to say the least. I'm thinking that my response might have been just a bit brazen."

A bit brazen? Just a bit? Okay, I knew that at some point our memories were gonna diverge, but he went totally Rashoman on my ass with that one. Ya know, Rashoman—that old Japanese film where three or four people tell their versions of a crime, and each story varies because of their individual perspectives. I guess that's how Malcolm saw it, but let me tell ya what really happened. After he figured out that I wasn't gonna go runnin' off into the night, screamin' about the cock that bit me, I figured it was now or never. So, I whispered in his ear something along the lines of—'I really wanna suck your dick, right now.'—and gave him a gentle nudge toward the bed. Well, my man does a back first flop onto the mattress like he'd been cold-cocked, and spreads his legs wider than the gates of Buckingham Palace on 'Peasants Get in Free' day. He called it a bit brazen, I call it nasty as fuck, and about the sexiest sight these eyes had ever seen, but I wasn't gonna argue with Malcolm's memories or the way he wanted to remember that moment.

"Trip, how'd you like that—sucking me the first time? "

"Well, it wasŠsurprising. Yeah, surprising."

"Dare I hope that it was pleasantly so?"

"Oh yeah. God knows I'd thought about it, and it was great in my fantasies, but how often do fantasies work out as well as they did in your head."

"Yes. One's mileage may vary on that one, but I see what you mean. Were youŠ offended?"

"No, Malcolm. There were surprises, every one was different than I'd expected, but none were unpleasant. I liked it, Sweet. I liked it a lot. Hell, I loved it. Goddamn, I thought holding you in my hand was the most intense experience I'd ever had, but havin' you in my mouth was…"

"Right in your face?"

"And my teeth, and my nose, and when I pulled back I think some got some in my hair as well. That was an unexpected surprise."

"Yes, and an embarrassing one at that. I suppose there was no way you'd have known that when I came, I wasn't quite finished."

"Shit, Malcolm, I didn't care about a little spooge in my hair. I was just happy that it happened at all. When I thought about goin' down on you it was always perfect, but fantasies always are. I'd imagined these scenes where everything I did just drove you nuts. You'd be moanin' and groanin' and clutchin' the sheets, wrappin your legs around my head and pumpin' your hips around so much that I could barely keep your dick in my mouth. But when it finally actually happened, it wasn't quite like that. I mean, we started out according to the script, but then you got really quiet. I started to think that I wasn't doin it right."

"Trip, the fact that I didn't wake the neighbors, shred your bedding, or give you a whiplash were no indication of a lack of enjoyment on my part. Frankly, I wasn't sure that we'd ever do that again, so I wanted to remember every moment. I rather liked just laying back and feeling what you were doing to me."

"Took a couple minutes, but I kinda figured that. In a way it was inspiration."

"I noticed. Besides, I got off as much on what you were doing as the fact that it was you doing it. Finally."

"Then you came. God, you looked pretty."

"Pretty what?"

"Just that. Pretty."

"Well, thank you. I suppose. But now the big question—what did you think of your first mouthful of man milk? I did warn you, and I said that it would be fine if you pulled off. I didn't expect you to takeŠ"

"Wait a minute, and what the fuck—man milk?"

"If you can call me pretty, I can quote an old friend. It was what he used to call sperm—facetiously."

"Well I should hope so. Sweetheart, it's a good thing we finally met, cuz you definitely need a new set of friends."

"Have you been saving that one up all night?"

"Oh, darlin'—Jesus saves. I was just tryin' to make a point."

"And since at that at this point you're about to laugh me right out of this bed, I should let go of your dick so as to allow you to pull yourself together."

"Ah, Darlin', no hard feelings."

"Actually, it's one particular hard feeling held in my hand that compels me to let loose. We haven't quite finished here, Trip. If you'll remember, the evening didn't end when I came."

"Oh. You want me to tell about when you went down on me. Also known as—the first time Trip saw God."

"Call it what you like, but yes. And you're waiting for what?"

"The triumphal march announcing the entrance of the world's best practitioner of oral sex. That's you, by the way."

"Trip, while I've no problem with ascending to that hallowed throne, a more down to earth recollection of what got me there would be greatly appreciated."

"Oh, you wanna hear about how all that thrashin' and groanin' and tearing of sheets that I'd expected to get from you was achieved on me with a single swipe of your tongue."

"Well, everyone enjoys hearing how their talents are appreciated."

" 'Appreciated?' Malcolm. Remember when you said that the way you lay down on the bed was brazen? Like you couldn't hide what you were wanting anymore. That's the way you sucked my dick, but more so. It wasn't that you couldn't hide, but that you wouldn't. It was like any lie, or pretense, or anything else between you and me was gone—anything that lay between your mouth and my dick. God, man. I wasn't just in your mouth—I was touching your soul. You opened yourself up to me in a way that wasŠ beyond pretty, beyond beautiful—and to say that I merely 'appreciated' it is to give insult to you, and to me, and to us."

"Trip, have I told you recently how much I love you?"

"Recently enough. Now let me tell you something. I don't know where you wanted to go when you asked me to tell ya that story, but I think that we're both hard enough to get there now. Darlin', why don't ya grab the lube, bend over, andŠ"

I spy with my little eye something that begins with my empty glass, and a half full bottle of liquor close enough to call. I've told ya about the first time that Malcolm and I made love. Pour us another round, and I might be induced to recount the first time that we fucked.

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