TITLE: Nightmare; 1/1; R/Tu; AU (?); frAO/NC-17.
AUTHOR: Serit.
PAIRING/S: Reed/Tucker.
RATING: frAO (Fan-Rated Rating: frAO: Adults Only/NC-17)
SUMMARY: Malcolm has a terrifyingly vivid, disturbing nightmare; Trip tries to calm him.
DISCLAIMER: The names of all characters and concepts contained herein are the property of Gene Roddenberry, his Estate, Paramount Pictures, Viacom, CBS, and the actors who portrayed the characters. No money is being made here; no infringements of these copyrights are intended and are used here without permission. I like 'happy-ever-after' and 'amor-vincit-omnia' fics, so file this as fluff, shmoop, mush, or whatever. For extra credit: Guess which movie inspired Malcolm's nightmare!

His eyelids were closed tightly over his eyes. His eyeballs moved back and forth rapidly, a sure sign that he was dreaming. His muscles twitched, once, twice. His whole unclothed body became rigid, and he screamed twice, loudly. Deep throated, hoarse, primal screams of fear and terror shook his body, his lover's body, and the narrow bunk in which they slept.

"Uh… Mal, Mal, fer gawd's sake, wake up!" Trip Tucker shouted as he gripped his soulmate's upper arms when Malcolm Reed screamed for a third time, his muscles painfully taut, his eyes wide open and staring into somewhere‑‑somewhen‑‑else. "Malcolm, it's all right, you're here, with me, on Enterprise," the engineer said, turning to tightly hug his lean and compact lover. "Hush, deares' darlin', it's all right, you're here with me, it's all right‑‑" Trip murmured, paused, and slapped his hand against the interior bulkhead next to their bed until he found the lightbar and pushed it to create a soft, dim glow in their cabin, just enough for him to see Malcolm's wide, terrified, staring eyes.

"Oh, god, Trip, it was‑‑it was horrible," Malcolm whispered, still shaking from the terrifying scenes that had unfolded behind his eyelids. Trip wrapped the covers around his soulmate's back, firmly embraced his slight, slender lover, and pressed them both against the inner bulkhead to which their bed was attached.

Trip proceeded to kiss Malcolm continuously, on his mouth, sharp cheekbones, brow, neck, shoulders‑‑every place he could reach with his own mouth while murmuring, "Hush, deares' darlin', hush, you're here wi' me now; hush, darlin' love, hush," repeatedly while he gently rocked his distraught love to calm him.

"Touch me, Trip, touch me," Malcolm mumbled, still shivering, "for god's sake, Trip, touch me!" He grabbed his lover's hand and pulled it down onto his phallus. "Touch me!" he shouted.

"Hol' on, now! Deares', calm down an' tell me what was in your nightmare," Trip replied, settled Malcolm upon the pillow, made sure the covers were still tucked under him, and leaned on one elbow over him, tucking the other side of the bedcovers under his hip. Unconsciously, his hand began stroking his lover's phallus, until he realized what he was doing; Malcolm stifled a whimper when he stopped. "Deares' darlin', Malcolm, please, you're scarin' me here; please, tell me about your nightmare. I don' need a dissertation, I don' even need whole sentences, jus', please, darlin', please tell me what terrified you."

"Oh, Trip, it was awful‑‑I couldn't feel myself, I mean, I couldn't feel my body from my waist down, and it was horrifying," the younger man said softly, "it was an unbearable feeling, or lack of feeling. I‑‑I felt so‑‑so useless, so worthless‑‑"

"‑‑Hush, darlin', you're never gonna be worthless to me," Trip whispered.

"Please, Trip, will you touch me?" he repeated, "It‑‑it wasn't just being useless, but being unable to do anything for myself, or control myself, or‑‑or anything." He squeezed his eyes tightly closed, and a trembling shiver ran through his body. Trip realized that his love had confronted a terrifying fear in his nightmare, and he pressed his body upon the slighter man's form. "It was me, but it wasn't," he continued, "It was as if I was hovering over my body, like an out-of-body experience, but I could‑‑and couldn't‑‑feel everything I was seeing happening to me."

"Shh, ma deares' love, you're here now, you're all right now," Trip whispered.

"I could see myself on a bed, a rusty metal bed with stained and yellowed sheets, and‑‑and an automaton‑‑a soulless mechanical parody of a woman's form‑‑" he gasped for breath, and Trip slid his left hand across Malcolm's phallus. "‑‑She, she lifted me up as if I was a ragdoll, sat me into a‑‑a device like a suit of armour, except it was made of copper coloured brass, and it hurt‑‑it hurt so much, tight buckles restraining me in it, hinges at the joints pinching me, acid burns from old-fashioned galvanic batteries leaking inside the suit, many thin, sharp needles sticking into my back above my waist, and wires going from them down the legs of that travesty of a power suit to stick into the paralyzed parts of me‑‑" Trip's right hand slid down his love's back, between the halves of his backside, into his cleft, and he caressed his love's muscle ring. Malcolm inhaled sharply, finally feeling his lover's hands. "Oh, Trip, please touch me, keep touching me, make me come, make me scream with desire, make me feel your hands on my body‑‑" his voice was stopped by Trip's tongue and lips, and they thrust and rammed into each other until each screamed the other's name while in the throes of passion.

An hour or so later, Malcolm sighed contentedly and rested his head upon Trip's shoulder. "Are you all screamed out?" Trip smiled drowsily as he kissed his love's brow again.

"I‑‑I didn't even tell you the half of it," he replied, "I don't know what kind of horrible person that other me was, but he strode mechanically into a huge metal craft‑‑I couldn't tell what it was when I walked into it, but he‑‑that other me‑‑planned to burn London to the ground, and it was only when it crashed that I saw it was a gigantic, copper-coloured, brass, fire-breathing, flying metal dragon, and that other me had destroyed a fairly large part of the city. The worst thing, the worst part of it all, was feeling the dragon's fire all around me after it crashed, feeling my skin burn, my nerves shriek in pain, the metal suit's connections stop working‑‑I felt my body become paralyzed again and immobilized in that dreadful metal suit‑‑and I couldn't move at all‑‑I realized that my back must have been injured again, higher up my spine, because I couldn't breathe, I couldn't feel my lungs moving, everything went black around me, and that was when I woke up screaming."

"Aw, darlin', that's enough scary stuff to freak out jus' about anyone," Trip murmured, "An' I ain' sure where this nightmare might've been hidin' in your head, but you certainly don' need your sleepin' head sendin' you somethin' awful like this to occupy your min'; you got better, more excitin' things to be thinkin' about." He reached up to find a tube of lubricant on the shelf, pushed down the lightbar until it was completely dark in their claustrophobically small cabin again, and he proceeded to make Malcolm scream lustily into his mouth again.

Two months later, the Armoury officer entered his cabin and nearly attacked the small, glittering object flying within, guided by Trip Tucker sitting on their bed and giggling insanely. "What the hell is that?!" Malcolm exclaimed.

"Uh, it's a copper-coloured brass, fire-breathing, flying metal dragon," the engineer sniggered gleefully, "When you tol' me about that terrifyin' metal dragon, I got to thinkin' about it, an' now you control the dragon, it won' control you." But he still played with the remote controls, until Malcolm sat at the desk, and Trip flew the dragon to him, landed it on his desktop, and it walked clankingly towards him, carrying the gift of a wide, gleaming gold band in its carved brass claws.

"For better or worse, I'll always love'ya, Mal," Trip whispered, kneeling besides his soulmate, "for richer or poorer, I'll always put you before everything else in my life, an' in sickness or in health, you'll never be useless or worthless to me, an' I'll always take care of'ya when you're hurtin' or ill." He took the ring from the claws of the small mechanical dragon and slid it onto the third finger of his dearest love's left hand.