"Oh, yeah…" Tommy moaned softly before he could catch himself. His hands were moving quickly all over his body, sensation rolling off him in waves. Gasping with pleasure, he pressed himself further against the wall, wanting to feel more, wanting to go higher. Tommy didn't stop his ministrations, he wasn't sure he could if he wanted to. All he could do was hang on to every drop of euphoria as it rushed through him fast, too fast. Every nerve ending sang with endless delight as he moved his hands up to his neck before moving back down again. He couldn't miss a single spot, a single moment, or it would end far too soon.

Suddenly something changed though, and he needed more. Tommy's eyes rolled into the back of his head and he knew he was almost there, just one more minute. All breathing stopped and he moved farther up the wall until he was standing on his toes. He never wanted this feeling to end, but he'd die if it didn't. Tommy hit his sweet spot and he knew it was all over. He just needed to keep moving…there…right there…almost…

"Tommy, what are you doing?" Merton's voice shattered the moment.

"Merton?" He squeaked—though he would never admit it—and dropped his hands. He stepped away from the wall quickly and tried to act nonchalant. "What are you doing here?"

"Um, it's my Lair." Merton looked at him strangely, and if he was looking at Tommy like he was weird, then it had to be bad.

"Oh, right. Of course you'd be here, in your Lair, because, you know, it's your Lair." Tommy winced at how stupid he sounded. There was no way he was going to get out of this. He hadn't meant to come to Merton's house, but it was closer than his and he really needed a place where he could do this. Besides, he didn't think Merton would be back for a while.

"Are you ok? Do you need to tell me something?" Merton said in his best 'guidance counselor' voice.

He shook his head vehemently. "What? NO—er, no, of course not. Why do you ask?"

"Well, I just came home from my Gothic Fantasy Guild meeting, which you should have come to, by the way, you missed a great discussion on Jack the Ripper and his carving techniques. Actually, it was more of a lecture—Ernie fell asleep halfway through it, but it's understandable since he's been up all night practicing for the Dungeons and Dragons tournament that starts next week so he's just always tuckered out nowadays," Merton shook his head. "My point is, I just came home to find you rubbing against my wall and scratching your chest, back, and legs like you were one big mosquito bite. So, what's wrong? Is it a rash? I told you not to wear angora, it could irritate your sensitive skin."

"No, it's not a rash, Merton. I'm fine, I was just a little…itchy. But I'm better now, seriously." Even to his own ears that sounded weak, but Tommy was hoping Merton would let it go.

Of course, his hopes were in vain. "I don't think so, mister. You're not getting off the hook that easy. Obviously, you're not telling me something, lift up your shirt." He said, crossing his arms, a clear sign he was not to be refused.

"I'm not lifting up my shirt." Tommy said, grabbing the hem and pulling it down, scandalized.

"Oh please, you sound like a Victorian bride on her wedding night. I just want to see what's making you itch." He wormed his hands past Tommy's and they struggled a bit before Merton managed to push up the fabric, exposing his torso. "Man…oh, man, Tommy. You're covered in fleabites. What happened? Did you stop wearing the collar I gave you?" Merton touched Tommy's stomach slightly, his cool hands soothing him but causing a completely different tingle. He destroyed that thought immediately, not wanting to let it get to him.

"Maybe," he replied sheepishly.

"Why? It was working so well." Merton looked at him, annoyed.

"It looked stupid. I couldn't keep walking around with that thing on. People were beginning to talk." Tommy's felt his face heat up as he remembered the snickers and whispers in the hallway.

"I told you that if you didn't wear it something like this would happen, what with all the patrolling you do in the woods. But you never listen to me and now look what happened. You're going to have to live with the consequences. Get undressed, I'll start the water running," Merton said briskly and started to walk to the bathroom.

"Excuse me? I'm not getting naked in your house," he hissed.

"Give me a break, Tommy. It's not a big deal, you need a flea bath. It's the only way to get rid of all those bites and to kill all the bugs. And from now on, when I say wear the collar, you had better wear it." The look in Merton's eyes reminded Tommy eerily of his mother, another thought he viciously didn't want.

"But, Mert—" he began.

"Don't 'but' me." He walked over to his closet, pulled out a towel, and threw it at Tommy. "Shuck the shorts and I'll get the flea powder."

Tommy sighed and moved into a corner to take off his clothes. He knew he could have argued some more or even run out of there, using his wolf-speed to get home, but then he knew he'd never hear the end of it.

In the bathroom, the water started to run and he could hear Merton preparing the water. Tommy wondered if giving flea baths is normal best friend behavior, but the bites were still driving him nuts and he figured it was all for the best anyway. He picked up the towel and wrapped it around his waist before walking into the small room. The tub was overflowing with suds and Tommy had to smile, half in amusement and half in relief. At least the bubbles would hide any indiscretion on his part.

"There you are. The water should be just right, I tested it myself. Now get in." Merton was sitting beside the bathtub, sleeves rolled up, a scrub brush in one hand and the canister of powder in the other.

Grabbing the knot of his towel defensively, Tommy said, "Merton, I am not dropping my towel with you…watching me."

"Oh, fine," Merton rolled his eyes. "I'll leave the room and you can get in without disturbing your modesty. Will that make you feel better?"

"Yes. Yes, it would," he said emphatically.

"But if you're not in there by the time I get back, I will force you in there, towel and all."

Tommy scoffed. "How would plan to do that? I can throw you across the room."

Merton's eyes narrowed and he placed the brush and can carefully on the sink before stalking over to Tommy. Before he could figure out what was going on Merton was attacking his ribs, tickling him into submission before he could gasp out, "Ok, ok! I get it. Now, leave. I'll get in the water." Satisfied (and more than a little smug, the bastard), Merton ceased his relentless tickling and left the bathroom.

After Tommy caught his breath, he stripped off what little he was wearing and got into the bubbles quickly before Merton came back.

"Ok, I'm in," Tommy called out.

When Merton saw him, he smiled cheerfully and picked up the brush again, ready to get to work. Belatedly, Tommy realized that he could handle washing himself very well and didn't need Merton's help in any way, but the moment the rough brush ran over his back, he was in heaven. That feeling of bliss he experienced earlier came back, only tenfold. The old adage about someone giving you pleasure being better than doing it yourself was true, apparently. He leaned into the sensation, riding it out as much as possible.

"See? This isn't so horrible, is it?" Merton said, quietly.

Tommy could only moan a response. A small part of him was whispered that this situation was not normal and that he should stop before it went too far, but the rest of him, the part that itched like crazy, told it to shut the hell up then proceeded to hog-tie and gag it. The rhythmic movement of the brush became very relaxing, his every muscle melting under the attention and the warm body. Soon, a hand joined the brush, smoothing out all his aches, pains, and tension from wanting to scratch all day but not being able to. Tommy almost started to purr at the feeling until he reminded himself that he was part wolf, not housecat.

He looked up at Merton and found he couldn't focus on anything but those big, blue eyes, staring down in concentration. To his dismay the thoughts he tried so hard to keep away were coming back full force and this time they were almost impossible to control. Sitting in a warm bubble bath with his best friend touching him and taking care of him made all his defenses drop. So, when Merton finally took notice of Tommy's staring and looking at him in that adorably confused way that didn't happen very often, no amount of will power could stop Tommy from reaching up the few inches that separated them and kissing him.

For a moment, everything was perfect. Merton's lips were soft and just a little dry against his. Tommy felt a frisson of desire go through him as Merton's mouth opened almost immediately, welcoming his tongue. They stayed like that for several seconds, enjoying the taste and feel of each other, and then Merton stiffened, as if realizing what was going on, and pulled away. The loss of body heat was almost unbearable and Tommy shivered, looking at Merton, desperate for any sign of disgust or anger. He saw shock, confusion, and possibly hope, but that could've just been his own imagination. Still, it stopped him from completely giving up.

"W-why did you do that?" Merton asked, looking at Tommy like when he'd first caught him scratching.

"Uh…well…" A thousand explanations were on the tip of his tongue, but for the life of him he couldn't bring himself to use any.

"Because if this is gratitude for helping you out like this it's really not necessary. I mean, we're best friends and all and you know I'm happy to help you out whenever you need it, but you don't have to do this in return. Yeah, it's true I haven't been kissed by anyone in a really long time, not since Lori anyway, and I may get…lonely sometimes, but I'm not that desperate so there's no need to be chivalrous, or whatever it is you think you're being by doing this. Wait a minute," Merton paused and looked at Tommy in horror before launching fully into nervous babble mode, "you don't think this is some kind of weird seduction, do you? It isn't, I swear, I just wanted to help. You were itching so badly and you know how I can get, I'm a little overenthusiastic when it comes to dealing with your wolf-side. I realize now that maybe giving you a bath was going a little too far, but you can't blame me for wanting to do what I think is best for you. But really, if you think I'm seducing you, why are you falling for it? Not that I am mind you, but maybe you think that all I need is this one time to get it out of my system? Well, I doubt that's going to happen, mister. I don't need a pity fuck, especially from someone I could easily get addicted to." Merton briefly paused then added, "Ok, disregard that last state—hmph," before he was cut off by Tommy's mouth again.

Tommy pulled away quickly to say, "This isn't out of gratitude or pity, now will you please shut up?"

"But," Merton said, pulling away before Tommy could effectively quiet him, "then why are you doing this?" He sounded genuinely confused and Tommy inwardly cursed all the girls that had ever rejected his best friend and given him such a low self-image. The lost look Merton was giving him just seemed so strange, seeing as he'd always known Merton to be a huge self-promoter.

"Merton, do we really want to have this conversation while I'm naked in your bathtub?"

"Oh," Merton blushed, realizing where they were. "You're right. Um, I should just…yeah…leave you alone, then." He dropped the brush and all but ran out of the room. Tommy sighed, disappointed that his moment of pampering was over, and set to work getting himself as clean and itch-free as possible.

When he finished, Tommy got out of the tub, and dried off with the towel he walked in with. Looking around, he realized that his clothes were missing and he had nothing to wear. Tommy didn't know what else to do, so he wrapped the damp cloth around his waist and walked out. Merton was sitting on his bed with that lost and confused expression still on his face until he looked up. Seeing Tommy practically naked, his mouth dropped open and his eyes reflected pure lust. The look on Merton's face made him puff out his chest and blush at the same time. He was thankful that all those years of getting pounded on the football field had paid off.

"Where are my clothes?" Tommy asked because he couldn't think of something better to say.

For a second, Merton had no idea what he was talking about, then his mind caught up to everything else and his face grew redder. "Oh, that. Well, while you were getting into the tub, I put all your clothes into plastic bags. I was afraid they were still infested and I didn't want you getting bitten all over again and them spreading all over my room. Sorry I didn't think to tell you before. Look, I'll see if I can find something that fits you, hold on…" He got up and started to rummage through his drawers. Tommy walked over to him and grabbed his arm, forcing Merton to look at him.

"That's ok. You can look for something later," he said. Then with deliberate carefulness, Tommy lowered his mouth onto Merton's and kissed him with the same passion as before. This time, Merton didn't stop to ask why, but rather gave into it, giving as good as he got. Tommy moved backward until his legs hit the side of the bed, then he dropped down, pulling Merton on top of him. Their lips dueled and fought, then gentled to an almost imperceptible caress. The combination was driving him insane and he needed more or he knew he was going to just ignite entirely. He grabbed the hem of Merton's t-shirt and pulled it up. Merton got the hint and pulled away long enough to get it over his head. Tommy reached out to him, but Merton paused, causing Tommy to groan.

"Are you sure about this?" Merton looked at him cautiously.

This time Tommy looked at him like he was crazy. "I kissed you, remember? I'm pretty damn sure."

"I know, but I just want to be absolutely positive that you're not doing this just for my sake."

Sighing loudly, Tommy sat up, forcing Merton off of him.

"Look, you're my best friend, right? I'd do anything for you. But I wouldn't kiss you if I didn't mean it. I don't pity you and anyway, pity could never create," Tommy grabbed Merton's hand and placed it on his erection, "this."
Merton gulped, "I see."

"Good, so can we get back to the kissing and the touching? I'm ready to wolf out here." He didn't care if it sounded like he was begging. Hell, he was begging.

"You are?" Merton's pupils dilated and Tommy made a mental note to file that kink away for later.

Suddenly, Merton was on top of him, burying his face in Tommy's shoulder without ever letting go of his crotch. Tommy moaned loudly when he felt an answering hardness against his leg and he reached down to open Merton's pants. Tommy reached inside Merton's underwear and wrapped his hand around his cock. For a moment, Merton froze and Tommy thought he'd gone too far, but then he heard a moan in his ear and felt the body above him rock back and forth. He listened to Merton's breathing become rapid and he felt himself get lost in the experience of giving his best friend pleasure. Vaguely, as though from far away, Tommy was aware of Merton's hand moving away from his hardness, only to work his towel open before mimicking his own movements. Then Merton lifted his head and captured his lips in a kiss, keeping his eyes trained on Tommy's face the whole time.

Tommy arched his back, intense pleasure rolling through him. He started to speed up his hand, not wanting it to end, but needing it too. Merton started moaning against his mouth and slowed down his movements until he nearly stopped. Tommy wanted to cry out in frustration, but Merton's tongue muffled him. Finally Merton began bucking against his hand and, unable to take anymore, started coming. For a second his body went limp, though he never stopped kissing Tommy, then he sat up and, before Tommy could say another word, Merton crawled down his body and took Tommy completely in his mouth.

The Wolf, which at this point was straining to be released, nearly succeeded and when Tommy looked down at Merton his eyes were glowing bright yellow. The sight made Merton rumble deep in his throat around him and Tommy couldn't stand it. He came with a wild howl that ended in a sob and watched with something akin to awe when Merton swallowed it down.

Looking up at the ceiling, Tommy knew the grin on his face must have looked stupid, but he didn't care. He just had sex. With Merton. The smile just grew wider. He felt the bed shift and looked over as Merton walked to the bathroom. His best friend, now lover (his smile just kept getting bigger) walked back with a couple of washcloths and handed one to Tommy before sitting back down on the bed. They cleaned themselves off and then Tommy set himself to the task of removing the rest of Merton's clothes, which Merton allowed with just as wide and goofy a smile as Tommy's.

When he was finally naked, they settled down on the bed and spooned, Tommy cradling Merton in his arms.

"Wow," was all Tommy could say.

"I hear ya. So…now what?"

"I don't get it."

"I'm just…well…I don't…are we…do you…?" Merton babbled and Tommy kissed him silent.

"I love you, too," Tommy said, fondly.

For a moment, Merton was shocked. "Oh."

"Oh?" His voice was dangerously quiet.

"I mean…really? You're not just saying that?" That lost look was on Merton's face again and Tommy groaned.

"No, I'm not, I love you. What do I have to do to get you to believe it?" He grabbed Merton's chin in one hand to look into his eyes.

"It's just no one said that to me except my mom and Margaret, except my mom doesn't count and Margaret was holding a voodoo doll at the time which was just plain creepy. Though it does explain why I couldn't seem to move my left leg for a week. I finally had to calm her down long enough to snatch the doll away. I guess she doesn't count either. So you see, I've never had anyone tell me they love me before, not even Lori, but I guess she never really liked me that much anyway, since she left me for you, which, by the way, you never did tell me why you left he—hmph," Tommy had to shut Merton up again.

"Because, I – Love - You." Tommy enunciated clearly after he pulled away from those tempting lips.

"Oh," Merton said before shaking his head. "I love you, too."

"Good." Tommy smiled at him.

After a few moments of contented silence, Merton spoke up again, laughter in his voice. "See? Now do you see why flea baths are a good thing?" he asked.

"Hmm," Tommy pretended to think it over. "I think so. But I still itch, you know. What are we going to do about that?"

"Well, I see many more baths in the future, until you're cured, of course."

"Of course," Tommy echoed.

"And you're putting the collar back on. But in the meantime…I'll go get some calamine lotion." Merton grinned evilly, jumped out of Tommy's embrace and headed to the bathroom.

Tommy merely sighed happily and waited for his lover to return.