Disclaimer: Characters not mine. Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's GPP feature not mine. Towel song based on 'I Love My Dog' by Cat Stevens, not mine.

Warning: Ford/Arthur slash, nudity, and language.

Author's Note: This was sort of inspired by the line, "You sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is!" And it's the first Hitchhikers story that I've written, which doesn't fit into the timeframe of the books. I think it could take place between LUE and Fish, though, because there is an unspecified gap of time there. And I love the towel song. I made up this variation, I'm very proud of myself.

Towel Troubles

"Aaarrrrthuuuuur!" Ford's voice was loud and piercing, even through the metal door. The door in question was the door to the apartment Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent shared, on the planet Emfrenedma. Arthur was, when he heard the shout, standing outside the door, searching his pockets for the encoded identification badge which would let him in, while balancing a large bag of groceries. He located the badge, pressed it against the door's sensor, and the door slid open, with a surly,

"Fine. Make yourself at bloody home!"

The apartment had come cheap, 'with character'. A flaw had been discovered in the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's GPP (Genuine People Personalities) feature, namely that these doors, after several months of being irritatingly cheerful, would suddenly become utterly disillusioned with life. They would sulk, refuse to open, and then finally settle for being rude to everyone who passed through them.

Arthur's musings on this subject were stopped by the sight of the source of the voce, the humanoid from Betelgeuse who greeted him as he stepped into the room. Ford was standing behind the sofa, so his lower half was concealed, but what was visible of his body was completely naked. And sopping wet. And of course, the now-aroused Earthman staring at him, asked not the obvious question, "Why are you standing in the middle of the living room naked and sopping wet?", but "How did you know I was at the door?"

"I could hear you," Ford replied. One of his non-human characteristics was a startlingly acute sense of hearing.

"I'll just put these in the kitchen, then, shall I?" Arthur asked, rather flustered.

"Arthur, I've lost my towel!"

"Oh. Have you looked—?"

"Yes!" Ford interrupted, "I have looked absolutely everywhere. It's not in the bathroom…"

"Where normal people keep their towels," Arthur interjected, going into the kitchen.

"…not in the bedroom…"

"That's surprising, seeing as you sleep with it."

"You're just jealous." Ford began to sing a variation he had made up of an old Earth song.

"I love my towel,

As much as I love you,

You may fade,

My towel will always be true…"

"But you just said you lost it."

"Look, shut up, I'm still talking. Not in the kitchen, not in the living room. I mean, it's right there in my satchel when I'm in a giant cup floating three hundred feet above the ground, when I need to flag down a logically nonexistent spaceship on a prehistoric planet—"

"That was my idea!"

"—even during routine hyperspace jumps. But when I need to dry off after a shower, I can't find the BLOODY DAMNED ZARKING THING! BELGIUM!"

These last few words were punctuated by vicious punches to a pillow. Ford collapsed dramatically on the sofa, and Arthur appeared in the kitchen doorway with a cup of tea in his hand. The main reason they had come to Emfrenedma, incidentally, was because of the availability of tea there.

"Ford!" Arthur said, "Don't Panic!" He was a little worried himself, never having seen Ford get so worked up about anything before. "You could use mine," he suggested mildly.

"It's in your bag."

Ford had equipped Arthur with a bag like his, so he could carry his own essential hitchhiking gear. Arthur put down his teacup, and picked up his satchel from where he had dropped it on the floor, upon entering the kitchen. He got out his towel, and turned around to see Ford standing behind him. The puddle of water slowly forming around his feet did nothing to detract from his utterly gorgeous appearance. His ordinarily curly ginger hair was stuck down against his neck, and his slender body sparkled with water droplets. Arthur wrapped his towel around his alien companion's chest, effectively embracing him at the same time. Ford hugged him back, dropping a light kiss on the side of his neck. Arthur could hear him smiling.

"This was all really just a ploy to get me turned on, wasn't it?" The earthman asked.

Another kiss, and a wet hand in his hair.

"Of course not. Just a fortuitous coincidence."

The End