IRRITATION (Final Draft)

May 1999
Updated July 6th, 1999

This started out as a PWP but I'm not sure what it is now.

Warnings: Tom and Harry become rather snitty with one another.

And oh yeah, there's that little matter of the male/male sexual situations *eg.* There's also a bit of bad language.

Cliches: Cave, medical problems requiring embarrassing treatment, Tom suffers, dissing shuttles, angst.
Missed Opportunities: No pool, no bad Neelix food, and no Sandrines. Hell, no Voyager.

Beta-ed and mentored by Nniol. All crap remaining is my fault. I'm a Canadian, so expect British spellings as well as American. For all you confused Americans, the word 'keener' refers to a person who is very 'keen' to impress their superiors (basically). You know, a suck.

Somewhere in the fifth season after 'Thirty Days.'

Title: Irritation
Author: Ashera (Stephanie)
Fandom: VOY
Rating: [NC-17]
Codes: P/K
Summary: On an away mission down to a planet's surface, Tom decides to have some fun. Neither Tom nor Harry can imagine the consequences.
Series: I've started a sequel, but if you all think that it sucks...
Archive: PacKage, ASC/EM, R’rain, anywhere else please ask

Disclaimer: Tom and Harry belong to Paramount.

Help out a newbie. Please send feedback to I promise to reply.


by Ashera

 "So, what should we do while we're down there?"

 Harry was leaning over the console, frowning down at the troublesome sensors. "Huh?"

"What should we do while we're down there?"

 Harry glanced up at Tom, looking slightly disgusted. "What are you talking about? We're going down to the surface as part of a mission *for research.* This isn't shore leave."

 Tom turned in exasperation toward his counterpart. "Harry, we aren't going to be working every second that we're down there. We'll still have lots of time to fill."

 Harry ignored Tom and returned to his work.

 "I have some ideas."

 "Why do I get the feeling that I'm going to regret this trip," Harry muttered.

 Tom snorted and turned back to the conn of the shuttle to make a flight adjustment. "Harry, haven't I taught you anything yet? You need to lighten up."

 "The only thing that you've taught me, *Ensign,* is to be very afraid when I'm sent on an away mission with you."

 "Well," Tom said dryly, "at least the humor lessons have helped."

 Harry rolled his eyes.

 "I don't understand why we had to take this damn shuttle anyway," Tom continued in agitation. "Sometimes I think that the Captain is trying to get rid of us."

 "All indications are that this planet is safe. We don't exactly need your ‘marvel of engineering' on this one. And you know that B'Elanna wanted to work on the flyer."

 Tom muttered to himself and made a new adjustment.

 Harry sighed and returned to his work again. Or at least tried to. After a few more minutes of bitter muttering, Harry spun his chair around and faced his friend. "All right, Tom. What do you want to do when we get down there?"

 Tom turned to coyly grin at Harry. "Well . . ."


 Harry looked down the sheer cliff face that Tom had pointed out to him.

 "Oh, Tom. I'm not in the mood. I hurt my shoulder last week playing hoverball anyway. I'd like to take it easy for once."

 "C'mon, Har," Tom whined.

"Tom, we're stuck on this planet until Voyager returns from the Kitell system in two days. We were sent down here to collect samples of vegetation. Why the Captain sent us, I don't know - considering our track record. But wouldn't you say that this would be a perfect opportunity for one of us to hurt ourselves and then we'd be in deep shit? Haven't you learnt anything? Didn't you listen to her damn lecture?"

 "Why, did you?"

 Harry groaned and let his head fall back.


 Harry raised his hands as if in surrender. "You know what? Do whatever you want, Tom. I don't care. Just don't call me when you break your ankle or when you get abducted by some weird alien who lives in the cliffs and likes to use humanoid bodies for breeding."

 Tom smirked and raised an eyebrow.

 Harry shook his head and turned to go. "I'll be at the camp, Tom."

 Tom stepped pleadingly in front of Harry. "Harry, I can't rappel without you."

 "Then just go for a nice hike."

 "But I brought all the gear and . . ."

 "Tom," Harry interrupted forcefully, giving Tom a look that settled it.

 Tom smiled ruefully and handed Harry the rappelling gear. "Fine, but you'll be missing out." Tom began to scan the bushes for a good opening, smiling as he saw a good place to start his trek.

 Harry slung the cables over his good shoulder and started back. "I bet," he muttered once he was out of earshot.


 Tom pushed back from the face and looked up the incline in front of him, taking a deep breath of the fresh air. The vegetation around him was beginning to thin out, and he could see clearly up to the top of the mountain. The twin suns were beginning to dip to the horizon, and he knew that he had to start getting back soon. He wouldn't have enough time to make it to the top, unless he camped up there. But he still had a good hour and a half, and he would make good time going down. Tom just wanted to go a little farther up, to see if he could get to that one cleft ahead. It looked like it would be a good lookout. The sky was so beautiful in the late afternoon, and the landscape so breathtaking. Tom had few chances to enjoy times like these, especially with ‘real' landscapes, and he wanted to make the most of it.

 "You really are missing out, Harry."


 Harry packed away the few samples he had collected. He and Tom were not actually required to start their work until tomorrow, but he figured that he ought to try and get a bit done considering the way that Tom was behaving. It was always hard for Tom to take missions like this seriously. If there was no armada to escape or no girl to save then Tom would get bored. Harry figured he ought to get a little work done while he still had some peace and quiet.

 Harry set the last sample bag off to the side by the cave wall, and then settled in back near the fire, throwing a couple more branches on it to keep it going. They could have stayed inside the shuttle, but Tom had insisted that they camp outside considering how temperate the planet was. Harry had acceded, but with one condition: that they have some kind of shelter. When Tom had found the cave nearby it had seemed like the perfect compromise.

Harry now realized that it had been a good idea. It was kind of fun.

 One thing was for sure, the vegetation here was a whole lot more diverse than what they had anticipated. It was unfortunate that they didn't have more time to study the planet. It would be nice to stay for a while.

 Harry could hear Tom trudging up behind him, and he immediately felt relieved. He really had been concerned about what would happen to Tom, as it had seemed inevitable that something would go wrong. Harry had become aware of the sky darkening for some time, and he'd been involuntarily waiting for Tom's arrival.

 "Harry, Harry, Harry."

 Harry smirked but didn't turn around, waiting for Tom to come and sit by the fire.

 Tom slumped down wearily across from Harry. "Uhh, I am beat." Tom peered up at Harry impishly. "That alien really took all of my energy."

 "I guess I really did miss out."

 Tom chuckled and sat forward, grunting as he started taking his hiking boots off. "It was so nice. I'm glad that I went. It was so beautiful up there. I just wish that I could have made it to the top of the mountain. Or hill. Whatever it was."

 Harry smiled sheepishly and Tom's face turned apologetic.

"I'm not trying to make you feel bad or anything. If you didn't feel like it . . ." Tom shrugged.

 Harry reached into his pack and pulled out a ration. "Hungry?"

 "Not really. I ate when I was up there."

 Harry nodded and bit into the bar.

 "So, what did you do?"

 Harry chewed solemnly on the bar and swallowed. "Uh, I got some work done."

 Tom looked incredulous. "You worked?"

 Harry looked up defensively. "Yeah, so?"

 "Why? We weren't supposed to start until tomorrow."

 "So, I just thought I'd get some done a little early. So what?"

 Tom snorted and scratched at his neck absentmindedly. "Whatever floats yer boat, Har."

 Tom sat back and scanned around the cave. Eventually, his eyes fell on Harry again, who was looking at him with open disdain.


 "What is so bad about my getting a little work done?"

 Tom shrugged indifferently. "Nothing."

 "Then why did you make such a big deal of it?" Harry glared at Tom. "You think I'm some kind of keener don't you?"

 Tom chuckled wearily and started to spread out an emergency blanket on the cave floor next to the fire. "Sheesh. What is wrong with you lately? You've been so testy about everything."

 Harry tossed the offensive bar off to the side angrily, "Well, maybe I wouldn't be so testy if you weren't constantly attacking me."


 "You constantly make fun of me. You make it sound like I'm a stick in the mud."

 Tom smiled cruelly as he laid out on the blanket. "Well, if the shoe fits."

 Harry nodded irritably. "I see. Because I don't act like an irresponsible idiot then that makes me boring."

 Tom had begun to turn over in the other direction, but he froze. He looked to Harry coldly, scratching at his shoulder. "I'm surprised that you didn't request to work with someone else. Wouldn't want to put your Starfleet career in jeopardy because of my irresponsibility."

 Harry scowled. Both he and Tom knew each other's sore spots; that was the danger with arguing with a close friend. Lately they had been getting on each other's nerves more than usual. And now that they were picking at old wounds it was bound to get ugly.

"Well, maybe next time I will. We've been around each other too much lately, anyway."

 "You can say that again." Tom sat up and started scratching vigorously at his shins.

"Why do you *always* have to have the last word?" Harry demanded.

"Because," Tom lifted up a pant leg to scratch at his skin, "it drives you nuts."

Harry sat back in shock. "I really dislike talking to you sometimes, Tom."

 "The feeling's mutual," Tom muttered as he continued scratching angrily at himself.

 "Fine. Then let's just keep as far apart from each other as we . . ." Harry's voice trailed off and his angered face became one of confusion. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

 Tom scratched at his legs and glowered at Harry. "I don't know!"

 Harry watched in disgust as Tom began scratching at himself frantically.

 "Holy shit."

 Tom growled. "I'm itchy everywhere."

 "Why? What happened?"

 Tom sat up on his knees and began to scratch at his neck. "I don't know."

 Harry sat up anxiously. "Well, did anything weird happen?"

 "Uhhh," Tom kept scratching at himself, his face contorting into a grimace, "I don't know. I was hiking everywhere. I touched a lot of plants. I tripped once and fell against this weird flowering bush. But it didn't hurt and it smelt really nice. I don't know what it could be!"

 Harry sat stunned as Tom began to claw at himself viciously.

 "Oh, God. Harry, it's getting worse."

 Harry stood up and rushed to the medkit, "Ahhh. Okay, I'll figure out what's wrong. Don't worry, Tom."

 Harry moved over to Tom, fumbling with the medical tricorder. "Okay, I'll just scan . . ."

 Tom began to whimper. Harry looked to him and gasped. Tom's exposed arms were bleeding.

 "Tom. Stop scratching."

 "I can't."

 "You're only making it worse."

 "I can't help it. It's driving me crazy!"

 Harry hastily ran the tricorder over Tom's frenzied body and blanched.

 "Oh, no."


 "You've got some kind of fungus practically eating you alive. And now that you've opened your skin, it's working faster. Tom, you've *got* to stop scratching!"

 Tom cried out and continued clawing at himself. "I can't! Get it off me!"

 Harry tapped away swiftly at the tricorder. "I will. I need some kind of antifungal cream, with an analgesic. I'll have to replicate it. But you have to stop scratching!"

 Tears started to stream down Tom's face which only served to aggravate him even more. Tom began to scratch furiously at his face, Harry cringing as he watched the skin swelling under Tom's reddened eyes.

 "It's burning!"

 Harry made to grab Tom in desperation, but managed to stop himself in time. He hurriedly pulled on a couple of medical gloves from the medkit, then began to rummage through the rappelling gear with determination.

 "Tom, I'm going to tie your hands."

 Tom looked up with a tortured face. "What?!"

 "I have to, Tom. You're making yourself worse."

 Tom began to scramble away from Harry, tearing off his shirt at the same time, trying to scratch at his chest. "No!"

 Harry hesitated, then stared down at Tom grimly. "Ensign Paris. That is an order! Stand up and hold your hands above your head!"

 "We are the same damn rank, Harry! Oh, God. Please . . ."

 "Stand up now!" Harry's voice thundered through the cave.

 Tom groaned and stood up shakily, extending his arms over his head, his tortured features displaying his agony.

 Harry used the hammer to drive a bolt into the cave ceiling behind Tom, the loud taps echoing in the small space. Tying Tom's hands as quickly as he could, Harry pulled the cable tight.

 Tom took a stumbling step back as the cables set him off balance, powerful shudders racking his body.

Harry tried to ignore Tom's stifled sob.

"I'm going to the shuttle, I'll be back in a few seconds and then you'll be okay."

 Harry didn't wait for a response, but sprinted out of the cave to the shuttle.

 Harry waited over the replicator feverishly, having entered the information from the tricorder. Once the antidote materialized, he wrenched it away and leapt out of the shuttle, running back into the cave.

 Harry reached into his pack behind Tom and pulled out a knife. "I've got to cut your civvies off, they must be covered in it."

 When Harry got no response he walked around Tom to look him in the face.


 Tom's face was contorted into a horrible grimace, his eyes squeezed shut.

 Harry began to swiftly cut away at Tom's clothes, careful not to let them touch anything but his gloved hands as he threw them aside. "It's going to be okay, Tom."

 Tom whimpered at the stimulation as the clothes were pulled away, and he tugged hard against the bonds that held his hands above him.

 Harry also carefully threw Tom's emergency blanket into the far corner.

 "Harrrry," Tom pleaded.

 "Stop tugging. You'll only hurt yourself. Or end up pulling the bolt out." Harry stood behind Tom's now naked form and took a deep breath. "Okay, I'm going to start putting on the antidote." Harry picked up the medicating ointment - which was a greasy mass with a slightly sour smell, although not unpleasant. Harry dipped his bunched fingers into the cream and scooped out a large quantity into his plastic covered palm. He reached forward and gingerly spread the cool lotion across Tom's broad back.

 Tom hissed and arched away from the contact. "Aaaagh!"

 "I'm sorry, Tom. I'm trying to be gentle."

 Tom cried out again, but then muffled it through clenched teeth. He forced himself to stop tugging at his bonds, his entire body shaking in the process.

 "I'll do this as quickly and as carefully as I can."

 "I know," Tom grit out.

 Although the contact was painful, it was not enough to satisfy Tom's tingling flesh. He pushed back into Harry's movements, the touches maddeningly light, desperate to create some much needed friction.

 "Tom . . ."

 "Please, just scratch under my left shoulder blade. Just for a second."

 "It will only . . ."

 "Please," Tom begged.

 Harry scratched momentarily at the spot as Tom moaned in pleasure/pain. All too soon he smoothed the area over with the lotion and moved on, Tom groaning in frustration.

 "Does it feel like it's helping?"

 A new particularly itchy prickling sensation was spreading across Tom's thighs, and Tom fruitlessly tried to sate it by rubbing his thighs together.


 "I can't tell yet," he gasped. "Not really. Harry! It's driving me crazy."

 Harry placed a sympathetic hand on Tom's shoulder, "I know. I'm so sorry, Tom. I'll work faster."

 Tom took in long sobbing breaths, using all of his will-power to resist the urge to pull his hands out of his bonds. "Why are you sorry? I'm the one that should be sorry. Why do I always get myself into situations like this. Oh, God!"

 "You're a thrill seeker, Tom. You can't help it." Harry mumbled as he gently coated the backs of Tom's raised arms, careful of the tender cuts where Tom had scratched at himself.

 Tom involuntarily jerked and hissed at the searing pain, almost knocking into Harry's face. Harry took a wary step back.

 "I know, Tom. It must burn. But it's better than the fungus eating away into you."

 Tom's body convulsed as the cream soaked into his skin. Harry stepped back towards him and scooped out another handful from the container.

 "I need to cover the rest of your arms, Tom. And I'll be able to work faster if you don't jerk around."

 Tom nodded wordlessly, his body still trembling.

 Harry cautiously began to finish coating Tom's arms. Tom gasped as Harry's fingers smeared cream into his armpits, but he managed to remain still. Harry drew away to scoop out another handful and Tom's body slumped forward.

 "Harry," Tom breathed.

 Harry smeared the ointment around Tom's waist and down to the top of his buttocks.


 "It's working."

 Harry stopped. "Really?"

 "Yeah, my back isn't as itchy."

 Harry sighed deeply. "Oh, thank God."

 "But everywhere else is, Har. Hurry up."

 Tom squirmed under Harry's still hands to emphasize the point.

 "Oh, sorry."

 Harry reached behind him to scoop out another handful of ointment. He kneeled down behind Tom and began to spread it over the backs of his thighs and calves, Tom taking in a sharp intake of breath.

 "I swear, I am never going hiking again," he rasped.

 Harry chuckled. "Yeah, right."

 "Trust me. If you had any idea of how I felt right now, you'd know that I meant it."

There was a slight tremor in Tom's voice and Harry admonished himself for his flippancy. "There's nothing wrong with what you did," he said softly. "You don't deserve this."

 "Because I'm a thrill seeker?" Tom croaked, sounding almost amused.

 Harry thought carefully about his response. "Well . . ."

 "Because I'm irresponsible, you mean."

 Harry massaged at Tom's legs with determination. "Tom . . ." Harry placed his hands around Tom's foot. "Lift your foot."

 Tom obediently lifted his right foot and Harry coated the underside.

 "Now the other."

 Tom obeyed again and shuddered as Harry passed over a particularly bad area. Tom willed himself to be patient, knowing now that the salve would eventually soothe his skin.

 Harry grunted as he leaned forward to coat the top's of Tom's feet. "I shouldn't have said that. I've just been really . . . stressed lately. And we've been around each other so much."

 "I know I've been a pain in the ass." Tom laughed anxiously.

 Harry was now smoothing the salve up over the backs of his thighs, Tom becoming vaguely aware of a new sensation creeping up through his body.

 "You're a thrill seeker too, Har," he said, trying to occupy his mind.

 Harry paused for a moment in thought. "Well, I guess I am to a degree. I wouldn't be in Starfleet if I wasn't. But I don't let adrenaline control me. I can't let it interfere with my actions when I am responsible for others." It dawned on Harry that his comment sounded judgmental. "I mean . . ."

 "Don't worry. You're right," Tom breathed through clenched teeth, obviously still besieged by the itching.

 Harry quickened his actions again. "Tom, I didn't mean that I think that you're irresponsible. I don't think that at all. You've proven the opposite a million times over."

 "Harry . . ."

 "I respect you so much. Especially what you did with the Moneans. It was so selfless. Sometimes I wonder if my loyalty to Starfleet blinds me, or is only an excuse for being afraid to take real risks."

 Tom said nothing.

 "We need risk takers like you, Tom."

 Again Tom didn't respond. Harry continued massaging the cream over Tom's thigh muscles, Tom's body shaking from the combined itching and fatigue. Harry had to blink sweat out of his eyes and he wiped his brow with the back of his forearm.

 Harry turned to scoop out another handful from the container, swallowing hard. He had to cover every inch of Tom's skin with this stuff, and that meant every inch. He turned back around to face Tom's trembling body.

 Harry hastily spread the salve over his warm hands, running his eyes nervously over Tom's frame, trying to gauge the man's state of mind. Harry began to spread the lotion over Tom's rounded buttocks, the tiny blond hairs lying stickily against the ivory skin.

 Tom was standing remarkably still, Harry barely aware of Tom's shallow breathing. Harry wanted to say something funny in order to lighten the mood, but he knew that his voice would probably betray him. Especially when it occurred to him that spreading the cream around wasn't going to be good enough.

 Harry kept spreading the ointment over the exposed flesh of Tom's buttocks. Knowing that he couldn't put it off anymore, Harry spread Tom's cheeks apart and - with as much distanced professionalism as he could muster - thumbed some lotion between them. Tom flinched as Harry passed his thumb over his anus, then past it across the perineum to smear the back of Tom's scrotum.

 Harry sat back, Tom's body immediately relaxing as Tom let out a deep breath.

 Harry wiped his mouth with the back of his sleeve, eyeing Tom nervously. 'Don't relax yet, pal,' he thought morosely.

 "Uh, Tom? The fungus is everywhere on you. Just to make sure, I should really . . . put some inside you."

 Tom froze.


 "Uh," Tom shrugged, which looked funny considering that his arms were tied above him, "if you . . . have to."

 "I think that it would be best." Harry said gently. "Who knows what this fungus would do to you if it got inside you. And Voyager couldn't be here for hours if anything . . ."

 Tom just nodded.

 Harry took off the med gloves he wore and threw them over to the dirty pile he had started. He grabbed a new pair from the kit and pulled them on, all the while staring at Tom's ass as if it were a bomb he had to defuse.

 Harry decided to get it over with. He spread Tom's cheeks again. "Uh, Tom?" Harry cleared his throat. "You're going to have to relax."

 Tom said nothing, but his body slumped forward.

 Harry gathered some salve onto his fingers. He closed his eyes for a moment, then pushed a greasy finger inside of Tom experimentally, biting his lip as he felt Tom's body tense. Tom's ring of muscle tightened around Harry's finger reflexively, then relaxed again. Harry tried as best he could to spread the ointment inside of Tom, Tom's body completely still. It wasn't working very well and then Tom began to push Harry's finger out.

 "Tom . . ."

 "I can't help it," Tom whispered.

 Harry pushed in another finger more forcefully, Tom letting out a small squeak as he did it.

 "I'm almost done," Harry said thickly.

 Harry had to swallow as he pushed in another finger past the muscle. He used his thumb to push in a thick glob of ointment and smeared it around inside with his tight bundle of fingers as far as he could push them in, Tom standing on the tips of his toes.

 Harry withdrew his fingers with a huff and Tom's body slackened.

 "I'm done." Harry sighed wearily and peeled the greasy gloves off.

 Even though Tom couldn't see, and seemed to have no interest in moving at all, Harry passed his hand self-consciously over his groin, finally readjusting the erection that had been throbbing on him throughout the exercise.

 He drew out a new pair of gloves and pulled them on, then picked up the container and began to stand up.

 Tom's body snapped to attention and he twisted his head around towards Harry.

 "Harry . . ."

 "Don't worry, buddy. I know your front must be driving you crazy, I'll work as fast as I can."

 Harry began to walk in front of Tom, Tom grunting nervously. "Ahhh . . ."

 Harry blanched as he stopped in front of Tom, immediately seeing why Tom was so uneasy.


 Tom bowed his head in shame. "I'm so sorry. I couldn't help it."

 Harry was relieved to see that what he was doing was not just having an effect on him. But then, Tom had an excuse: physical stimulation. Harry wondered what his was. "Hey, Tom," Harry said reassuringly, "don't worry about it. It's a natural reaction." Harry considered telling Tom that he was in the same condition, but decided that it would only further complicate matters. "Let's just get this over with. Okay, buddy?"

 Tom nodded and looked away.

 Harry scooped up a handful of ointment into his gloved hands.

 "Could you start with my chest? It's unbearably itchy there."

 "Sure," Harry said as amicably as he could.

 "And my neck. Oh, god I want to scratch."

 Harry patted the handful onto Tom's chest. "I'm hurrying." Harry spread it out across Tom's pecs, having to smooth the lotion out through his chest hairs. Tom growled through gritted teeth.

 Harry kept working, both men silent. The carefree banter was gone, neither man able to pretend that this situation wasn't the incredibly awkward one that it was.

 "You'll have to stand for awhile and let it soak into your skin after I'm done. Then you'll be able to lie down."

 Tom whimpered as Harry grazed a nipple. Harry's eyes shot up self-consciously and Tom grinned in embarrassment.

 "They're really itchy."

 Harry considered rubbing some lotion onto them directly, then chastised himself when he felt the electric jolt in his groin. "You must be ovulating."


 Harry giggled. "Libby's nipples used to get really itchy when she was ovulating. I used to drive her nuts . . . ah . . ."

 Harry swallowed nervously. The last thing he should be bringing up was sex. Especially considering that he was finding it hard to keep his mind from dwelling on the insistent erection that he could see on Tom in his peripheral vision.

 'Oh God,' Harry thought in horror, 'what am I going to do when I get there?'

 Harry stretched to rub the salve up Tom's arms, so close to Tom that he could feel his breath on his neck. Harry tried to concentrate on the job at hand, staring bleary eyed at Tom's sculpted arm. Listening to the hypnotic rhythm of Tom's breathing, Harry lost his balance for a moment and fell against Tom, Tom's erection jabbing into his hip.

 Tom grunted and pulled back violently.

 "Sorry. I'm sorry. I lost my balance," Harry stuttered.

 Tom took a shuddering breath, unwilling to look up at Harry.

Harry brushed at an itch on his jaw with his shoulder, peering up at Tom surreptitiously. 'Calm down,' he insisted to himself. 'Be thankful that he didn't knock into your erection.'

Harry rotated his stiff shoulders, trying to relax. "Close your eyes, Tom," he said serenely, trying to calm himself as much as the tormented man before him.

 Tom obeyed and Harry gently smoothed the cream over Tom's pained face, Harry frowning at how the ivory skin had turned red. Tom had his eyes squeezed shut, his jaw tight as Harry gently smoothed the lotion over the swollen skin under his eyes.

Harry stepped back to gather more lotion, but Tom held the grimace.

Tom's eyes shut, Harry allowed himself an indulgent sweep of Tom's body, Harry's mouth drying at the sight of the straining figure, the firelight playing across the moist skin.

Harry saw a flicker of movement and he swiftly turned to set down the container.

"I'll need to put some in your nose, ears, and mouth too."

Tom was staring at him sharply.


"In my mouth?"

"Just inside your lips."

Tom let his head fall forward and Harry immediately lifted it back up with a gloved finger, Tom's keen eyes on him. Harry coughed and quickly looked away. He began to cover Tom's long neck, Tom's adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed nervously. Smearing the lotion up into his hairline, Harry steeled himself as he watched Tom shivering powerfully. 'Why am I so uneasy? This is Tom.'

Tom flinched again as Harry worked it through his hair, the poor man trying as best he could not to yank away as his tingling scalp was caressed. As Harry's gentle fingers began to smear it into his ears, Tom whimpered and reflexively jerked his shoulder up.

Harry said nothing, knowing that Tom couldn't help it. He sniffed and quickly replaced his gloves again.

"I'm going to put it into your mouth now. Open up."

Tom frowned, but slowly opened his mouth.

Harry slid his fingers along Tom's lips and then along the underside of his lips, Tom wrinkling his nose.

"Okay," Harry sighed, "now your nose."

Harry could swear that Tom suddenly looked even more embarrassed.

"What's wrong?"

Tom's teeth were chattering from the trembling. "Well, my nose probably isn't very . . . clean."

Harry looked confused.

"It's really dusty around here. And after the hike."

Harry stepped back. "Are you asking me to . . ."

"No," Tom hastily insisted. "Just that . . . I don't know. Just warning you."

Harry thought about it. "Then maybe I should . . ."

Tom fidgeted impatiently. "Don't bother, Harry. Just put the crap in. And please hurry up. I'm dying here."

Harry pursed his lips. "Fine." He unceremoniously started to push some of the lotion up into Tom's nostrils, Tom breathing noisily through his mouth and wriggling in exasperation.

"Harry," Tom warned.


"I have to . . . ." Tom wrenched away from Harry and sneezed violently. Then again. "Sorry," he offered sheepishly as he regained voluntary control.

"No problem," Harry smirked. He replaced the ejected lotion in Tom's nose hastily while Tom smacked his lips in disgust.

"This stuff tastes horrible."

"I'll have to come up with a better recipe next time."

They both allowed themselves small smiles. But Tom's expression soon returned to one of agitation.

"There will never be a next time."

Harry licked his bottom lip uneasily. For some reason the comment made his stomach turn over.

Harry bit that thick lip. Having coated Tom's arms and chest thoroughly, he knew that he couldn't put off moving on. He began to grease Tom's waist, stopping at the slight curve of his hips. Tom groaned and Harry flinched away.

 "My stomach is so itchy," Tom croaked.

 "I can't scratch it."

 "C'mon, Harry. It doesn't matter anymore."

 Harry began to move further down, moving over Tom's stomach, then grazing the dip into his groin. Tom quit his pleading, his body wracked by a new wave of shivers.

 Both men said nothing. Tom's erection hadn't abated in the least. If anything, it only seemed more determined.

 Harry kneeled to do Tom's legs, deciding to skip Tom's groin and do it last. Harry immediately regretted it, however, as now he had only underlined the awkward nature of what he was going to do, exacerbating their embarrassment. And then there was the matter of a glaring erection mere inches from his face.

 Harry kept his head as low as he could, smoothing a new handful of ointment over Tom's shins, his motions more urgent.

 "I'm sorry," Tom breathed out raggedly.

 Harry didn't bother trying to pretend that he didn't know what Tom was apologizing for.

 "It's all right," he responded curtly. "Don't worry about it."

 But it wasn't all right. His own erection was just as insistent. And it was hard to ignore with the evidence of Tom's excitement dangling before his nose.

 Harry could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He had to do it. Tom was suffering. He couldn't be concerned with his own discomfort.

He looked up at Tom. It had grown so dark in the cave, their small fire having almost died away, that Harry could barely make out Tom's face as he peered up from the ground. Somehow, in the dark, it didn't seem as bad. This was no big deal. He could do it.

It didn't even occur to Harry that Tom himself could probably finish the treatment at this point, the path he was on seemingly inescapable. His mind was a blur as he reached the tops of Tom's thighs.

 "Harry . . ."

 But Harry couldn't hear him, his thoughts so deeply set on the path his hands were following, his finger tips grazing the edges of Tom's pubic hair.

 Harry scooped out another palmful of the salve without even turning around, and he spread the glistening lotion across his palms. He reached out without warning to cup Tom's scrotum, Tom's mouth opening in a silent moan.

 And so, with one swift movement, Harry drew his slickened palms along the top of Tom's penis from tip to root, then along the underside, ending with a swirl around the head.

Tom gasped and his body coiled, his slippery cock spasming out of Harry's grasp, a shot of ejaculate catching Harry in the face before he was able to duck aside.

 Finally freed, sound ruptured out of Tom's throat, and he cried out as his body finished its release, finally slumping forward and sagging against the bonds.

 Harry sat in shock on the floor and stared at Tom in disbelief.

 The only sound in the dark cave was Tom's breathing, which gradually became more even.

 Harry reached up and wiped his face with his sleeve. He peeled off his gloves, throwing them into the pile, then stood up.

 "Harry, I'm so . . ."

 Harry glanced up briefly at Tom, who looked absolutely mortified. Harry undid the cables holding up Tom's arms, Tom groaning as his tortured limbs were slowly lowered. Harry handed the ointment to Tom.

 "You'll need to put some on your wrists."

 Tom nodded shakily, looking white as a sheet.

 Harry turned away and kneeled to get a new pair of gloves.

 "Harry, I'm so sorry. I tried to tell you . . ."

 Harry stood while putting on the new gloves, his face unreadable. "I need to take all of this stuff outside and burn it."

 Tom looked at Harry sadly. "Yeah."

 Harry picked up the pile of gloves, the blanket, and Tom's clothes, then remembered Tom's boots and grabbed those. He turned to leave the cave.

 Tom stood holding the container, watching as Harry left without a word.

Harry stepped carefully out of the mouth of the cave - the landscape barely illuminated by the moon - carrying his dangerous cargo. He held it away from his body, swaying precariously as he stepped over some rocks. He had to stop to get his balance, not exactly sure why he felt so light-headed.

 He went a few more paces, and satisfied that he had found a good spot, dropped everything. There, using his phaser, he ignited the clothes and watched everything slowly begin to burn. He carefully peeled off his own uniform top and used the inside to scrub at his face until it was raw. After a moment's hesitation he also removed his turtleneck, and threw everything into the fire.

 He stood there, staring into the dancing flames, his face a mask. Slowly, he brought his hand up to graze his groin. But in less than a second he grimaced in disgust and moved his hand away. He stood with his eyes closed for a few moments, taking deep breaths.

 He crossed his arms tightly, rubbing at his bare arms. It was beginning to feel cool out. He would have to return.

Walking up to Tom in the cave -  who was now sitting on the edge of a rock in a brand new pair of boxers - Harry kept his eyes on the campfire.

 "We should sleep in the shuttle. It's not a good idea to stay here."

 Tom didn't argue.

 "Are you feeling better?"

 Tom blushed at the question. "Ah, yeah. The itching is pretty much gone. My arms still kinda burn."

 Harry nodded gravely. "Just sit here and I'll take things back."

 Harry loaded everything back into the shuttle, Tom sitting in stricken silence all the while. After the last trip back to the shuttle, Harry peered outside to make sure Tom wasn't around, then kneeled down and spread some of the sour lotion over his own face, arms, and hands. He peered anxiously out the back of the shuttle again, his heart pounding. It still felt as though the stuff was on his face. Like a brand. And he couldn't suppress the irrational fear that it was somehow visible.

When he couldn't put it off any longer, Harry returned to the cave. He stamped out what was left of the campfire as Tom's dark figure sat in silence.

"Let's go."

When they laid down to sleep in the shuttle and were left with their thoughts, Tom cursed his nature for the umpteenth time in his life, marvelling at his ability to create disaster. Harry, on the other hand, resigned himself to the fact that much of his life was a lie, and wondered how he was ever going to survive without Tom as a friend.

The End

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