May 24th, 1999
In response to Maigret’s speed challenge on PacKage, I forced myself to pump this baby out. Needless to say, this hasn’t been beta-ed. Strangely enough (for me anyway) it came out pretty tame. My apologies. *g* Although, it does gets an R for swearing and some smuttiness. I also ignore some tech problems with this one, but heh, it's a stinking speed challenge.
Note: I kind of nick a line of dialogue from the anime film Ghost in the Shell.
>could we have a P/K speed challenge involving a space suit and the phrase, 'long, hard and wet' must be used, >but not in relation to anything sexual.
Title: The Race
Author: Ashera (Stephanie)
Codes: P/K, P/T
Summary: Tom and Harry have always been good friends, but sometimes competitiveness can bring out the worst in people.
Archive: PacKage, ASC/EM, R’rain, anywhere else please ask
Disclaimer: Voyager, Tom, Harry, B'Elanna, and all the other characters used belong to Paramount. And don't read this if boys rubbing up against each other makes you queasy.
Please send feedback to Ashera@asherasarchive.com
by Ashera (Stephanie)
"You’ve got to be kidding."
"Hey, you’re the one who said that I could make up the rules."
"Yeah. Cause I figured you’d be reasonable."
Harry grinned mischievously and Tom shook his head, trying to stifle a grin. "I deserve this, don’t I?"
Harry laughed and then patted Tom on the back. "Hey, look at it this way, now you’ll be famous for something besides being the best pilot."
Tom rolled his eyes and sighed. Reluctantly, he allowed Harry to hand him the space suit.
"I’m going to get you for this, Harry."
Tom took a tentative step into the mess wearing the suit, holding the helmet under his arm, and needed immediately to evade an overly enthusiastic mob of crew members. "Jesus."
Seeing Tom’s distress, B’Elanna came up behind him and pulled him aside and out of the grasp of the frenzied throng. She giggled into his ear, and spoke loudly above the noise. "Apparently everyone wants to see this."
"Oh, Tom," Ensign Lanah wasn’t going to be shaken so easily. "I’m betting on you!" She smiled gleefully and gave Tom’s encased arm an excited squeeze.
Tom smiled nervously at her. "Thanks."
As the ensign turned to complain to someone behind her pushing, Tom hastily pulled B’Elanna outside of the mess with him.
B’Elanna laughed. "I’m not sure who I should put my rations on."
"Thanks. How the hell did everyone hear about this anyway?"
"Are you kidding? This is one of the most exciting things to happen to the ship in months."
Tom gave B’Elanna a skeptical glance. "You didn’t answer my question."
"Oh, please. You don’t think that I had anything to do with people knowing about this? You think that I want everyone watching my boyfriend being humiliated?"
Tom barely had the chance to react to B’Elanna’s impish expression before the noisy crew members in the mess began to spill out into the corridor.
Tom clumsily stepped out of the way and ended up smacking hard into the wall behind him.
"That’s a good start," B’Elanna quipped, Harry pushing through the crowd to stand beside her.
"You look good, Tom."
"Shut up, Harry."
Harry and B’Elanna sniggered together.
"I hate these suits," Tom complained as he adjusted the suit temperature. He was beginning to feel rather hot.
"I thought you loved doing this?" Harry asked with mock innocence.
Tom shot Harry an annoyed glance. "I haven’t done it since I was in the Academy. And that time was long, hard and wet."
"Wet?" B’Elanna scrunched up her nose in disgust.
"I was sweating like a pig."
"Even with the suit’s environmentals?"
"We had them turned off, that was part of the…." A horrified expression began to cross Tom’s features as he read Harry’s and B’Elanna’s faces.
"No. No way!"
"You said yourself, Tom." Harry’s face was lit up.
"Yeah," B’Elanna added indignantly, "if it’s part of the contest."
Tom’s protestations were cut off as Neelix pushed through to join them. "This is so exciting."
"Maybe for you," Tom grumbled.
Neelix frowned at Tom. "I was under the impression that this was your idea."
Both Harry and B’Elanna broke into the giggles as Tom smiled sheepishly. "Yeah, well, I was just talking and . . . things got out of hand."
"Ah," Neelix nodded knowingly. "Where is your opponent anyway?"
"She’ll be here in a moment," came the commanding tone from behind Tom. All of them turned to the Captain, who seemed to Tom to be approaching them with a swagger.
"Oh, no," he said under his breath.
"She’s just being fitted into her suit."
"Are you placing a bet, Captain?"
Janeway turned to Harry’s cheeky tone. "I’m not sure, what are the odds?"
"No." Tom raised his suited hands in an entreaty. "Please don’t tell me, I’m embarrassed enough."
They all chuckled, even Janeway allowing herself an indulgent grin.
Tom caught the flicker of movement down the corridor and looked to see a suited-up Seven striding confidently towards them.
"I can’t believe it." Harry sat in disbelief with his chin on his hands. "I just can’t believe it."
"I know," B’Elanna said, looking similarly stunned. "Who would have thought."
"I thought that the rules I added were going to stump Tom. I mean, crawling through a jeffries tube in a suit? I don’t know how he made it so fast."
Neelix came to set two coffees in front of the preoccupied pair. "I was sure that Seven would win."
"Tom wasn’t kidding when he said that he had some tricks up his sleeve."
Harry snorted at B’Elanna’s comment. "Seven may know practically everything, but she still wasn’t prepared for the kind of resourcefulness that someone like Tom has."
"Do you think that Tom was just pretending to be nervous?"
Harry considered it. "No, I think he was a bit worried that he might be made a fool. But…maybe he did play it up a bit."
Both B’Elanna and Harry cringed when they remembered Tom’s smile after he had won the race.
Neelix clucked his tongue disapprovingly. "I still think that some of the things Tom did were unsportsmanlike. Creating a vacuum in Seven’s suit..."
"That’s the point, Neelix," Harry said defeatedly, "everything is game."
"But someone like Seven doesn’t understand that kind of thinking."
"Which is why he knew that he could beat her," B’Elanna explained. "That was the point he was making. Borg ‘perfection’ results in predictability. Human nature will always prevail."
Neelix sat down at the table with them, all three sitting in silence for a moment. Suddenly Harry’s head shot up from his hands and he beamed at B’Elanna. "Which is why…"
"We should challenge him!" B’Elanna added enthusiastically.
Harry took one last deep breath before attaching his helmet, B’Elanna following suit. He glanced nervously through the visor over to Tom, who was regarding him intently. Harry walked up to the starting line, B’Elanna knocking into him as the threesome tried to stand side by side in the suddenly very narrow corridor.
Tom smiled dangerously at them both. Now that they were the only ones in communication with one another, and the ever present audience was now sufficiently muffled, it was time to go to work.
"Can you guys hear me?"
"So you don’t even have to beat my time? That seems unfair."
Harry turned to Tom. "It’s going to be different this time. We won’t be as naive as Seven. Besides, there’s three of us, not two."
Tom smiled arrogantly back at his friend. "Sure thing, Har."
Harry sighed and adjusted the temperature of his suit. "You and your mind games."
"What about you, B’Elanna? I don’t know if I’ll be able to be ruthless if I need to be."
Tom didn’t need to see the sneer.
"I’m just going to pretend that I didn’t hear that. You know as well as I do, Tom. This is war."
Tom chuckled at B’Elanna’s warning tone. "Okay, you two remember the rules?"
"Yeah, there are no rules." Harry adjusted his suit once more under Tom’s watchful gaze. "Anything goes."
Tom stared pointedly at Harry’s suit controls. "You know, maybe you guys were right. Maybe we should kill the environmentals."
Harry hid his displeasure one second too late, but luckily B’Elanna saved him.
"What’s wrong, Tom? Getting nervous?"
Harry managed to stifle his relief as Tom steeled himself indignantly. "No, just thought that I’d mention it."
"Well, let’s save it for next time," B’Elanna said evenly. "When you try to regain your title."
"Enough talk. Let’s go. You two ready?"
Harry passed one last nervous glance at his suit and then nodded. "Yep."
"Okay, on the count of three. One, two,…three!"
Immediately the three started to charge down the corridor, Tom knocking into Harry violently, sending Harry into B’Elanna hard. B’Elanna swore in Klingon and shoved Harry out of the way, leaping ahead to catch up with Tom.
Harry caught himself on the wall, then used it to push off, hurtling himself down the corridor after them. Unfortunately, he tripped on his own boot and ended up falling face down on the carpet.
Tom cursed himself for agreeing to put himself through this again as he ran awkwardly in the cumbersome suit. His knees were already hurting under the familiar strain, and as he rounded a corner he could hear B’Elanna’s footfalls close behind. He wasn’t about to chance taking a look to see where Harry was.
"You’re going down, Paris!"
Tom grit his teeth as he thrust out his foot before him, then slammed it flat on the ground, forcing his body into an abrupt halt. B’Elanna slammed into him with a surprised grunt and bounced away. Tom was just about to push off into a run when he felt an iron grip clasp onto his ankle, and he teetered unsteadily, unprepared. Before he could respond he felt a paralyzing blow to his thigh, causing his body to collapse onto the floor in an undignified heap. As he tried to recover, what must have been B’Elanna’s boot connected with his jaw, and Tom fell aside, blinking woozily.
"You okay, Tom?"
Tom looked up blearily at a concerned Harry. Tom took a few deep breaths before he allowed Harry to help him up.
"B’Elanna sure is taking this seriously."
Tom managed to smile angelically at Harry, feeling the blood rush back into his head. ‘Still so naïve, Harry,’ he thought wistfully, admonishing himself for what he was about to do. "I know, Harry. Horrible isn’t it?" And as Harry began to put his arm under Tom’s with complete trust, Tom whipped his arm around Harry’s neck and kicked out his knees. Harry fell back in astonishment and Tom sprinted away.
As he lay on the floor, Harry slammed his fists at his sides before trying to push back up.
B’Elanna knew that she had a good amount of distance between her and Tom now, and she could feel the rush of adrenaline pumping through her. She rode the wave, ecstatically charging down the last corner, loving the way that she almost felt airborne, even in the suit.
When she reached the tube entrance she quickly tapped in the code to open the panel, then began to carefully slide herself into the jeffries tube, careful not to let her tanks catch. B’Elanna quickly settled into a steady rhythm, crawling down the tube with a manic determination, again thankful of the adrenaline that allowed her to push so hard and feel no pain. Just as she reached the first juncture she heard someone scrambling at the entrance panel and a shuddering jolt racked her body. B’Elanna pushed herself even harder.
Harry was finally beginning to become accustomed to running in the suit. He couldn’t catch up to Tom, but at least he could see him. He wanted to be able to watch everything that Tom did.
Tom disappeared around the corner ahead, and Harry forced himself to pick up the pace. As he knocked into the panel breathlessly - which was of course closed - Harry swore to himself that he would beat Tom. Whatever it would take, he had to let Tom know that he wasn’t a pushover.
He threw back the panel door and started to climb into the hatch, catching sight of Tom ahead him. To Harry’s complete shock, Tom wasn’t moving at all. For a moment Harry was worried that Tom had really been injured. But as Harry eyed him he realized that Tom was tinkering with his suit, and Harry laughed, thinking that Tom’s suit was malfunctioning. Tom looked back at him anxiously and began again to crawl ahead through the tube, Harry frantically scrambling behind him.
When Tom reached the juncture, Harry saw him hesitate again, doing something to his suit. Harry grinned evilly as he advanced toward Tom. 'I’ll show him no mercy.'
But just before he was about to reach Tom, Harry watched as Tom’s body simply shot away, disappearing at an impossible speed.
Harry sat back in shock, then clambered forward to look up the tube. Tom was literally shooting straight up through the jeffries tube, his suit venting furiously. "You son of a bitch." Harry wrenched around to tap at his own controls. "Two can play at this game."
B’Elanna was just coming up to the next deck when she began to hear a strange hissing coming from below her. She ventured to look down between her arms and just about lost her grip on the ladder. She began to desperately struggle to reach the top when Tom smashed into her, B’Elanna’s gloved hands knocked clear of their hold. Tom swooped her up carefully, but then held her arms tight around her, preparing to dump her aside once reaching the deck. But B’Elanna managed to elbow him in the chest hard, and even with the suit on, Tom lost his breath and ended up leaning back too far, the oxygen tanks knocking into the sides of the tube, his suit making an unhappy whine.
B’Elanna took the opportunity to wriggle out of his arms, leaping onto the ladder and pulling herself up onto the deck.
Tom’s suit was still pushing him upwards, but he was caught on a piece of wiring and a freed tube on his suit was thrashing madly behind his head. He either had to take off the helmet or stop to fix his suit, and taking off the helmet would forfeit the race.
"Wait, B’Elanna. I’m hurt."
"Yeah, right. Try that shit on Harry. It won’t work on me."
Tom sighed. "He won’t fall for it again."
B’Elanna laughed as she peered over the edge of the deck. "See ya, Tom."
Tom had to admit it, she was good. "Yeah, see ya, B’Ela."
Tom pulled himself away from the wiring and stopped his suit from venting oxygen. He was just starting to climb over the edge of the juncture when he heard the warning hiss. Harry whooshed past him and slammed into the ceiling of the tube above them. Harry groaned painfully.
"Hey, Harry." Tom fruitlessly tried re-channeling the gas that was shooting out of the ripped tubing on his suit, but it was hopeless.
Harry rolled along the ceiling and then shut off the venting of his suit, falling into the floor of the jeffries tube beside Tom.
"Pretty far ahead by now."
"Oh, well. If B’Elanna wins, that’s okay. As long as I beat you."
"What?" Harry had sat up and was about to crawl away.
"Can you help me with my suit? I can’t reach it."
Harry snorted. "Yeah, right."
"Please?" Tom fixed Harry with his best pitiful look.
Tom grimaced in disgust. "You’ve really changed, Harry."
"Thank you," Harry replied over his shoulder as he started away.
"And that unfortunately leaves me no choice."
Harry squeaked when he recognized Tom’s warning, and tried to jump away out of Tom’s grasp. But Tom had already lunged at him, and he landed on top of Harry.
"You’re not going anywhere, buddy."
Harry could feel Tom trying to do something to his suit, so he forced himself to roll over. Tom glared at Harry sternly through his visor and started trying to push Harry over again. Harry kicked out with his right foot, catching Tom on the hip. Tom’s face turned red in the helmet and his grasp loosened, and after a moment of feeling guilt, Harry shoved himself out of Tom’s grasp and started to pull himself backwards. But Tom suddenly launched himself up again, landing flat on top of Harry.
Their helmets cracked together as Harry tried to push Tom off of him. "Get off me!"
Tom was reaching over the top of Harry’s helmet, and Harry managed to bring his hand up forcefully, smacking his arm away. Tom grunted impatiently and pulled more of his weight up onto Harry, pinning him down.
"Just trying to level the playing field."
Tom tried again to reach over Harry’s head to his oxygen tanks, but with only one arm bracing him, Harry was able to roll them over, pushing Tom into the wall with a crunch.
"Harry!" Tom admonished.
Tom’s tone was so parental, that Harry couldn’t help but start to giggle, the situation so ludicrous.
Tom started to giggle as well, just in response to Harry’s giggling. "Why are you laughing?"
Harry broke out into an all out belly laugh. "What the hell are we doing?"
Tom was just about to take advantage of Harry’s loss of bodily control when the ridiculousness of the situation fully dawned on him. Then seeing Harry snorting uncontrollably in the suit before him finally did him in, and he started to laugh freely as well. "I’m trying to kick your ass."
That set them both off into another fit of hysterics.
"You’re such an idiot."
Tom’s jaw dropped, even as he giggled. "What? You’re the one who chose the course."
"Only because you were being such an ass. Bragging about how you were undefeated."
"Well, I was. Until now."
Without warning Tom rolled them over, so that Harry was again pinned under him.
"Get of me!" Harry said in mock anger, shoving Tom in the ribs.
"Ouch. Quit that or I won’t be so nice." Tom tried to hold Harry’s arms at his sides.
"What?" Harry couldn’t move anyway, he was laughing again. "You mean you’ve been nice so far?"
"I can be much meaner. Trust me."
"Oooo, I’m scared."
Tom let his head fall on Harry’s chest as he giggled. "I must be suffering from oxygen dep cause everything seems funny."
"Tom, you’re trying to fight me in a jeffries tube while we’re both wearing space suits. This *is* funny."
They erupted into unrestrained laughter again. With Tom shaking above him, Harry tried to roll them over again.
"Then get off me!"
"Fix my suit and I’ll let you go. Otherwise I’ll rip yours apart."
"Yeah, you’ve really made a whole lot of headway so far."
"Like I said…"
"Yeah, yeah, you’re going to get meaner. Whatever, you pathetic asshole. Now get off me!"
"Pathetic asshole?" Tom just about started to choke he was laughing so hard. And Harry couldn’t help but join him. "Oh, Harry. I love it when you talk tough."
"Fuck you," Harry laughed.
"It would be kind of hard in these suits."
"Ha ha." Harry tried to push Tom off again, but Tom only pressed down on him, flashing his teeth as he growled down at Harry. Harry started to really push him hard, letting himself get angry. Tom sniggered in surprise and continued to fight him. "Ooo, now you’re getting mad."
"I’m not going to let you win, you jerk. Get off me!"
"Is that ‘get off me’ or ‘get me off.’ Cause I really think that you need the second part."
Tom could see Harry’s expression change and he smiled ruefully down at him.
"Fuck you, Tom. You’re just pissed cause you’re not going to win this one. Feeling inadequate because your girlfriend beat you? Mr. Undefeated?"
Tom’s expression betrayed his anger. That and the fact that his grip grew painful. "You really do think that your tough now, don’t you? You’re a great guy Harry, but you’re really sad when you try to be something your not."
"I may not be as good an asshole as you, Tom, but I can certainly kick your ass." Harry growled angrily and pulled a hand out of Tom’s grasp, bringing it up hard under Tom’s helmet.
"You little shit," Tom pulled back a bit to get his bearings and Harry took the opportunity, punching him in the side, Tom rolling off him in pain. But Tom had been in too many fights to be so easily taken. When Harry turned over to crawl away Tom grabbed him hard and flipped him over.
Finding himself in the exact same predicament, Harry screamed in Tom’s face. "Get the fuck off me! I mean it!"
"You sure that you want me to?"
"You look kind of excited." With that Tom slid himself further up Harry’s body. "Not that I can be sure with the suit on."
Harry's visor momentarily steamed up as he huffed angrily. "You’ll do anything, won’t you?"
"No, not anything. But I would do you."
Harry sucked in a quick breath. He wasn’t sure he could stand playing this game.
"Maybe we should try this without the suits, Harry."
"Am I making you uncomfortable? Is this hitting too close to home?"
Harry tried to shake Tom off again to no avail. "Tom," he said in frustration, "I know you’re just doing this to mess with me.…"
"Are you sure? There have been a few times when I’ve wondered about you. The way you look at me. I’ve thought about it. I mean, you are pretty hot."
Harry froze under Tom. He knew that Tom was just trying to mind fuck him, but . . . he also knew that there was some truth to what Tom was saying. 'Shit.'
In one movement, Tom finally ripped the secondary tubing that he had been working on open on Harry’s suit. "There, finally. Now you can go." Tom pushed himself up and kneeled back. "Now fix my suit and I’ll fix yours."
But Harry only remained still on the ground, grimacing at Tom. "You really are an asshole," he grit out.
"I told you. What did I say? You probably wouldn’t like the race. That you had to be ruthless. But you were so sure that you were going to beat me."
Harry slowly sat up, his expression cold. "That’s your excuse? You really are pathetic." Harry turned over and began to crawl away down the tube. "I don’t care anymore."
Tom sat back on his knees watching Harry leave. Finally, he removed his helmet and shut off his suit.
"Well, Ensign, looks like you’re my slave for the next week."
Tom smiled ruefully, putting his plate down on the coffee table. "I guess so."
B’Elanna curled up next to him on the couch. "Does that include sexual services?"
Tom picked up her feet and brought them up onto his lap, massaging his thumbs into them. "I must do whatever you command."
"Mmmm. That’s sounds nice."
"You *would* like it."
B’Elanna laughed. "Hey, that’s no way to talk to your Mistress."
Tom bowed his head subserviently. "My humble apologies, Mistress."
"That’s better," B’Elanna purred. She then swiftly stood up and gestured to the bedroom. "Strip and wait for me. I’m going to replicate a couple of things first."
Tom’s eyebrows shot up briefly before he obediently stood up. It looked like it was going to be an interesting week.
But as he carefully undressed, listening to B’Elanna ordering items from the replicator, Tom couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like the next time he saw Harry. Harry had been pretty pissed when he left, and he hadn’t even been there when B’Elanna held her gloating party in the mess hall.
"Hurry up, slave!"
Tom quickly removed his boxers and slid up onto the bed, eyeing B’Elanna warily as she held something behind her back.
"You’ve been a very bad boy."
And Tom knew that she was right. And in more ways than she knew. Because what he also couldn’t stop wondering about was what it would have been like if Harry had won.
Return to Ashera's Fan Fiction