Fluffy

by The Grrrl

Title: Fluffy

Author: The Grrrl

Author's email: thegrrrl2002@yahoo.com

Author's URL: http://www.geocities.com/coffeeslash/thegrrrl/

Archive: Ask first.

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Date: Sep 7, 2002

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Rating: PG

Summary: Trip calls Malcolm "Fluffy" and gets away with it.

Challenge: Yes, in response to the challenge that someone call Reed "Fluffy" and get away with it

Author's Notes: Just a short little bit of fluff. It's unbeta'd, so all the mistakes are mine and mine alone.

"Find the problem yet?"

Malcolm glared at the partially disassembled phase cannon. Then turned his glare towards the man entering the room. "No, I haven't," he answered.

Trip studied Malcolm's face for a moment. "You remind me so much of Fluffy when you look at me like that."

"Fluffy?"

"Cat I grew up with," said Trip. "Name was Fluffy."

Trip sidled up next to him, watching as Malcolm began to remove the rest of the outer casing. He was standing too close again. Malcolm wondered if the man had any sense of personal space. He could feel Trip's presence like a physical force, making his skin tingle, making his heart beat faster. For a moment Malcolm refused to look up at him, knowing Trip was watching him, waiting for a response. Trip had been doing this for months now, tossing out odd little comments, needling him, getting under his skin. Confusing him. Malcolm wanted to let the comment pass. Ignore it completely. But, as usual, he gave in. "I remind you of your cat? Bloody marvelous."

"Hey, he was one tough cat." Trip pointed at Malcolm with the wrench as he spoke.

Malcolm snatched the wrench from Trip and went to work on the fastenings. "He?"

"Yeah, 'he'. And what I'm telling you is that you are just like him. He was rather handsome, you know, all black, real sleek and shiny—"

"Shiny? You mean he had short hair?" Now Malcolm couldn't resist turning to face Trip as he spoke. Big mistake. Their faces were mere centimeters apart. Malcolm watched those appealing lips curl upward into a smile, but averted his eyes before he got lost in the sweetness of it. "You mean he didn't have long, er,"

"Nope. He had short hair, and a hell of a lot of attitude."

"Fluffy." It was more of a statement than a question.

They finally exposed the interior of the phase cannon. The smell of the fried machinery assaulted Malcolm's nose. "Hell, that stinks," he exclaimed, frowning.

"There—that's it. The look. You are channeling Fluffy."

Malcolm turned to his superior officer. "Commander," he said as haughtily as he could muster, "I do not resemble some—PET of yours."

Trip just grinned at him, looking gloriously young and innocent. "Toss me that diagnostic pad, will ya, Fluffy?"

***

"Status, Trip? Malcolm?" Archer questioned as soon as the two of them entered the bridge.

"Still not sure what shorted out the relay again," said Trip. "We've replaced everything we could think of. Time for another complete diagnostic of the system from here."

Malcolm was already on the floor under the console of his bridge station. Within seconds he had the panel removed and thoughtfully eyed the various components. "Commander, do you want me to test each unit or just replace them all?"

Trip knelt next to him, his knee nudging Malcolm's thigh. "What do you think?" he asked, peering at the exposed circuits.

Malcolm leaned to his left, trying to casually remove his thigh from the vicinity of Trip's knee. "Best to replace them and get the damn cannon functional again. I'll test each component later."

"Good idea, Fluffs. I'll call down for the replacements." He reached over and ruffled Malcolm's hair as he got up to leave.

Malcolm sat stock still, shocked. His hair. Trip had actually touched his hair. Petted him. He looked about the bridge cautiously but no one had seen. They had been crouching below his console, after all. What the hell was Trip doing? He was no fluffy little pet, to be stroked and cuddled. But he couldn't shake the image from his mind of Trip's hand running down his back, warm against his skin, strong fingers kneading his muscles as he stroked.

***

Malcolm tried to stand on the opposite side of the lift from Trip, but somehow the man ended up next to him. But despite the unsettling closeness, Malcolm felt it was necessary for them to clear the air. " Trip, while I'm touched that I somehow remind you of a cat you once owned—"

"Just a minute, Malcolm. NOBODY owned Fluffy. Fluffy was an independent little cuss. He belonged to himself. If you tried to treat him like a pet cat he'd be all over you like white on rice. But if you treated him with deference and respect, he'd come around. A little bit at a time. First he'd rub up against you, let you know he was thinking about accepting you. Then maybe let you touch him, you know, pet him a little."

Malcolm swallowed. Rubbing and petting.

Trip leaned closer to Malcolm, his blue eyes sparkling. "Then, if you passed muster, one day he'd just jump right onto your lap and curl up. And, if you really were lucky, " continued Trip slowly, "he'd roll over onto his back…"

Malcolm found easing in closer to the man as he spoke.

"…and even let you rub his belly," finished Trip in a husky whisper.

"Oh," was all Malcolm could say.

The lift stopped and Trip stepped off. "'Later," he called out over his shoulder.

Malcolm just stared at the door as it closed. And thought about fingers rubbing his belly. Rubbing him all over as he sprawled across those hard thighs.

***

"Um, Malcolm, is that resequenced meatloaf I see on your plate?" Hoshi was looking at him with a shocked expression on her face, as if he were about to bite into an osmotic eel or worse.

"Meatloaf?" Malcolm looked down. Yes, that was meatloaf on his fork. He regarded it with horror. "I had intended to have the pasta. I suppose I picked it up by mistake." He tried to hold his voice steady. But it had been a close one. He had very nearly eaten it.

That was it. He needed to talk to Trip. His distraction over the man was become downright hazardous to his health.

***

"What can I do for you, Malcolm?" Trip got up from his desk as Malcolm entered his quarters. Innocent words, but Trip managed to make them sound both suggestive and hopeful at the same time.

Stop flirting with me. Flirt harder with me. Leave me alone. Come and stand closer to me.

When Trip actually did walk over to him, Malcolm panicked. A spash of color on Trip's desk provided a distraction. "Reading those comic books again?" he asked as he turned a few pages. "Superman, I gather."

In no time at all Trip was standing behind him, leaning over his shoulder. "Do I have to explain to you again how this," Trip tapped the book in question, "is the finest in American pop culture?"

Malcolm could feel little gusts of breath against his neck as Trip spoke. Overwhelming him. He knew Trip was waiting for a sharp comeback, but Malcolm's mind was distressingly blank.

Then Trip's chest was every so slightly touching Malcolm's back. Soft gusts of breath still caressing Malcolm's neck. Malcolm didn't move away. His heart was pounding in his ears, his palms growing moist. They stood, not speaking, for what felt like an eternity. Malcolm knew he should move. Break the contact before it became even more awkward. Leave. In as dignified a fashion as possible.

But instead his body treacherously leaned back, increasing the contact. His ass pressed against Trip's hip, and his back was rubbing against Trip's broad chest. The heat of Trip's body seeped through the rough cloth of their uniforms. To Malcolm's astonishment a small tremor flowed through Trip's body.

Malcolm turned his head to brush his cheek along the engineer's chin. Immediately, Trip's hand came to rest lightly on the back on his neck, fingers stroking and toying with his hair. Finally Malcolm took that last step, reaching up and pressing his lips against Trip's mouth. The lips were soft against his, tentative, pressing gently against Malcolm's lower lip, then his upper, with small, gentle kisses. Sweet kisses.

Without breaking the contact he turned so he was facing Trip completely, feeling the man's arms slide around his waist. He brought his hands up to cup Trip's face, to slide to the nape of his neck, then up through the short, silky hair. The kisses increased in pressure, then their tongues were carefully sliding over each other's, investigating unknown territory. At last the kiss ended. Malcolm pulled back, gazing at Trip's face.

"It's about damn time, Malcolm," Trip said, beaming at him.

"I just want you to know I'm not about to sit in your lap and purr," growled Malcolm.

He was to discover later that he was quite wrong.

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