Title: The Way Things Are

Author: Kalita Kasar

Author's Contact: kalita@bonbon.net

Author's URL: http://kalkasar.ussimperator.com/


Word Count: Approx 500

Beta: none

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Pairing: A/Tu A/Tu/R

Spoilers: None

Feedback: The bunnies love receiving it

Archive: Archers_Enterprise only.

Rating: R Implied Sexual references, Language

Warnings: none

Category: m/m/m slash

Series/follow on: The "Changes" Series.

Summary: "And me bein' me, when I get to feelin' good…my mouth runs."

Disclaimer: No They're not mine, but a girl can dream, can't she? I only do this for fun, no money changes hands, and the payoff I do get can't be taken away from me. It's the feedback and the enjoyment of the readers that makes this all worthwhile. No copyright infringement is intended.

PART 1: The Way Things Are: Tucker

I need to talk to someone. Problem is, the two people I would usually talk to, are the ones I need to talk *about.*

Jonny especially. He did somethin' last night, that…I just don't wanna think about…talk about. THAT part I'll keep to m'self, just between him an' me, but I sure need to talk to someone about other things.

T'Pol…well, maybe I could go to her, we've talked some a few times when I've stopped by for those neurotherapy sessions. She's mostly a good listener, because she doesn't give advice much and she doesn't offer opinions often either, but she listens well. Maybe I could talk to her, but I need some advice as well. Malcolm's the one I usually go to for that kinda stuff, and I can't this time. Not with this.

There's no way I could go to any of the other bridge staff; both Hoshi and Travis don't have the kind of experience they need for somethin' like this, and I don't think either Jonny or Malcolm would appreciate me blabbin' my mouth off to lower ranked officers about our private lives.

That leaves Phlox.

There's that whole doctor patient privacy thing; that could be handy in this kinda situation.


I decided to go see the doc on my meal break that day. I found him pottering around in his sickbay as usual. Pottering…it's a good word for describing what Phlox does. I learned that word from Malcolm. It makes me smile when I think of it. Anyway, the doc seemed happy to see me, and when I didn't say anything right away, he found me some minor repair job that needed done so I wouldn't be just standing about in his way I suppose.

As I worked, he fed his animals and chattered away to them in odd languages. Eventually he got around to me though. I like the way he does that, you know? Just makes you a part of the general hubbub in sickbay.

"How are you, Commander?" he asked me. "Sleeping any better these days?"

I glanced at him over the piece of equipment I was working on and nodded. "A little."

"Ah! Splendid!" Phlox looked away from me and tossed a few grubs into a cage in front of him. I watched as the cage rattled and a series of shrill squeals came from inside. I've never seen whatever actually *lives* in that cage, I don't think I'd like to meet it though."

"Is there any reason you came to sickbay today?" His keen blue eyes were on me again and I looked down at the spanner in my hand. I sighed and then set the spanner aside.

"D'you think we could talk somewhere a bit more…private?"

"Of course!" He waved me into his office.

I sat down, rubbed my hands over my face and then gave him the sanitized version of the most recent events in my private life. It wasn't easy and he didn't make it any easier by sittin' there grinnin' like a satisifed cat the whole time I was talkin'.

"And so now I hafta work out which one I want to be with." I ended softly.

I have to make that choice because if it keeps on the way things are, someone's gonna get hurt. Jonny's gettin' more possessive every day, and Malcolm…well, he isn't pushin' anythin' and he's bein' careful to keep his attentions out of Jonny's sight, but…Jon's no fool. He knows what's goin' on.

Phlox looked at me kinda puzzled and shrugged. "Why choose at all?" he asked.

I guess I should've expected that from him. It's not like this situation is abnormal on his planet. I sighed.

"Because I hafta choose, Doc. Jon and Malcolm don't want to share." I knew I looked and sounded pathetic. "Jon's jealous, and Malcolm…" I shook my head, suddenly too tired to try to explain it all.

"Ah…" Phlox nodded and moved closer to me. "Such situations are not uncommon on my home world. Although we have a polygamous society, it does create problems occasionally when two people vie for the same mate." He smiled slightly. "Denobulan males can be very competitive when it comes to selecting a bondmate. We have our own customs for settling such matters, but those wouldn't work here." He paused a moment and then he said. "You know, there *is* a third option available to you, although I don't know that it is the ideal solution to your situation."

I looked up at him and felt my heart sinking. "You mean, choose neither?"

Phlox didn't say anything more and I got to my feet. "Well, I'll finish up those repairs and then I'd better head back to Engineerin'. My break's about over."


I finished out my shift for the day and then headed back to my own cabin to shower. I had a session with T'Pol that night, so Jon wouldn't be expectin' me until later. I was lookin' forward to the massage from T'Pol. She'd got real good at findin' my most knotted up places and we also talked a lot while she worked, and then I would do the same for her. She's never said it in as many words, but I'm pretty sure she appreciates those sessions as much as I do.

I arrived at her cabin about an hour later and she let me in to the candle-lit, scented room. I like the incense she burns. She told me once it is a compound of flowers from some trees that grow on Vulcan and is said to calm the nerves. I have to say she's right.

She directed me to lie down on the small mat she has for our sessions and she got right to work. I closed my eyes, breathin' in the scented air and just letting her work without talkin' just yet.

After a couple of minutes, her calm voice broke through my dreamy state.

"You're troubled about something."

I was used to that by now. At first, when she told me she could sense what I was feeling just by touch, I thought it was just more Vulcan mumbo-jumbo, but since then, she'd been so spot on with it, that I believe she really can.

I shrugged. "I had a tough day at work." "You have been troubled this way for the past two sessions." T'Pol never beats around the bush. I lifted my head off my folded arms and looked at her. She just raised an eyebrow in what I've come to recognize is her way of invitin' ya t'talk.

I sighed lettin' my head fall back to rest on my arms. "I don't know if it's somethin' I can talk about with a Vulcan. It's…kinda personal."

T'Pol dug her knuckles into two spots either side of my lower spine and I grunted, arching my back.

"Breathe," she said. "Slowly" and I worked past the discomfort by following her directions. Something, clicked in my back and I moaned as I felt tension drain out of my body. There's only one other thing that feels better than that!

And me bein' me, when I get to feelin' good…my mouth runs.

I wound up tellin' her the *unsanitized* version of my recent private life.

You know, they used to tell us in school and in Starfleet that Vulcans are uncomfortable talkin' about things like that, but I haven't noticed it with T'Pol. Maybe she belongs to a different generation or somethin', or maybe it's only male Vulcans that are shy about sex.

T'Pol listened to my story and worked on the soles of my feet while I talked. She didn't say one word, the whole time that I let the story spill from me. I told her how Jon and I came to be sleepin' together and she didn't raise one murmur of disapproval. I spilled all about the kind of relationship Jonny and I had and she listend calmly. I told her how things had changed since Malcolm started lookin' me over and she didn't even blink. I told her about the night Jon let Malcolm join us in the bedroom and she just rubbed my foot in silence and finally, when I told her about what Jonny did last night, she met my eyes and I swear I saw somethin' close to sympathy in her gaze.

She didn't say anythin' until after we traded places and I was working on the pressure points in her spine. Her eyes were closed and I thought at first she was meditating. She does that sometimes while I work, and I've learned to enjoy the silence, punctuated only by her breathing and my instructions to her as I work.

After a while, she stirred a little and opened her eyes. "I am surprised that your culture does not have any customs in place to deal with such situations," she said quietly. "On Vulcan, when two males desire to mate with the same female, they challenge one another for the right. The survivor is the one who earns that privilege."

"Um…survivor?" I looked at her, marvelling that something like that could happen on a planet devoted to logic and peace.

"Vulcan males often fight to the death during Ponn Farr," she said matter-of-factly. "It is a simple and logical solution."

"You call killin' someone over a lover *logical.*"

"Yes." She turned her head slightly and met my eyes. "It seems illogical to you, because you do not understand what happens to a Vulcan in Ponn Farr who is denied a mate. Dying in battle over a female is a far better resolution."

"Well, I appreciate you sharin' that with me, but I don't think it's gonna help here."

"Human history records numerous instances where males have fought for similar reasons."

"Yeah, but we're kinda more civilized these days."

"That depends on your definition of civilization."

I grinned at her and asked her to roll over so I could work on her feet.

We didn't talk anymore about it that night; I was no closer to findin' a solution and in a little while, I was gonna have to face Jonny. I found myself wonderin' if he would be mad if I took a rain-check. Sleep or no sleep, I just didn't feel up to dealin' with the situation anymore that night.

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