In Hiding
by Julad

"WARNING! Countdown at sixty seconds."

They scrambled out of the jeffries tube onto a darkened deck, panting softly, and hit the corridor carpets at a loping run. Their muted footfalls echoed through the deck in eerie rhythm as they moved, casting backward glances over their shoulders, and pausing a second before sprinting past intersections. Then Tom pulled up sharply at a doorway and Harry ran into him, hard, before skidding to a halt.

"Paris, don't be ridiculous," he hissed. "This is the first place they'll look."

Tom deftly keyed in Chakotay's authorisation and hauled Harry inside. "You're wrong, it's the *last* place they'll look." Jogging into the bedroom, Tom roughly dragged the sheets and drapes from the big four-poster bed and then began scattering the commander's clothes all over the floor. "They know I can break into any room on the ship. Why would I hide in my lover's?"

Harry snorted. "On that logic, we might as well hide in *your* quarters. I can't believe you were only ninety percent dumb about this, instead of your usual hundred." He had moved to the desk and begun tapping into the computer, setting off a string of false clues and random locator signal responses. So far he and Tom had won this game seven times, three more than any other pair, and he wasn't about ruin their record with crazy risks, even if Tom was.

"Okay, okay, we'll hide in my quarters *next* time," Tom was now rummaging through drawers, spilling items over the sides in his ruthless haste. "They certainly won't expect us to follow up the blinding obvious with something even more obvious."

"Only because they think *I've* got more sense than that." Harry grabbed their tricoders and set them to start loading information, then grinned over at his friend. "But little do they know..."

"...that you can't say no to me, ever?" Tom grinned back.

"Warning!" the ship computer's voice made them both jump. "Countdown at thirty seconds."

Tom hurled a few more items across the room in different directions, and Harry's fingers flew over the desktop controls as the computer began a countdown.

"Fifteen seconds."

"Now, Har, grab us some extra pillows and blankets from the closet." Harry deactivated the computer and raced across the room. Tom leapt over the couch and demanded the replicator provide two chocolate milkshakes and a bowl of buttered popcorn.

"Ten seconds."

"WHERE?" Harry demanded, reappearing from the wardrobe, arms laden.

"Five." "Under the bed!" "Four."

Tom hurled a few datapadds in the direction of the bedroom as Harry kicked pillows into the space underneath the mattress.

"Three." Grabbing the bowl and drinks, leaping back over the couch as his friend - "Two" - rolled under and out of the way, Tom dived under the bed... "One." ...losing one of the shakes as he did so but managing to thrust the other into Harry's outstretched hand as he pulled the original bed-linen down to conceal them...

*BEEP-BEEP-BEEP* "Attention all 'IT' pairs: hiding time has expired. Seeking has commenced. Moving from your current location will enable the locator signal."

"Ready or not, here we come." Both men giggled as Tuvok recited the traditional warning over Voyager's entire comm-system. Then, still on the adrenalin high of their convoluted three-minute scramble through the ship, and relief at not being trapped out in the open, they turned to survey the state of their hiding place.

"Dammit, Paris, couldn't you replicate something which doesn't spill?" Harry muttered, covering the puddle of cold milk with a folded sheet, and then flicking popcorn kernels away from the floor in front of him.

"Dammit, Chakotay, this isn't the novel I left on the dresser this morning!"

Harry glanced over at the datapadd, and burst out laughing. "Well, at least if it takes them two hours to find us, you'll be able to finish the energy consumption report for him. Maybe you can give it to him before he kills you for making such a mess of his quarters. You mind telling me now what the hell was the point of that? You think his leopard-print underwear by the door will scare off people who get too close?"

"Frankly, yes, Harry. That's what is so brilliant about it." Tom grabbed the milkshake from his friend and sucked on the straw with a smug grin. "When pairs search in here, they'll first notice the alarmingly rumpled bedclothes," Harry chuckled, "then the 'intimate apparel' of their First Officer all over the carpet," Harry choked off a giggle, "then the dildo on the dresser" ...Harry snorted in surprise and then curled up laughing... "and the handcuffs on the pillow. Do *you* think they're gonna get any closer?"

Harry flopped onto his back, snickering weakly and rubbed tears from his eyes. "Not to mention what it'll do for *your* reputation..."

Tom smirked modestly. "There is that. So," he grabbed a pillow and plumped it up, then stretched out, "get comfortable. What with your fudged turbolift records and my creative genius, we could be here for quite a while."

"Speaking of *my* genius," Harry passed Tom's tricorder to him, "which we're about to do," Tom raised a sceptical eyebrow, "check this out. I got the idea while we were in that ventilation shaft last time, remember? and I finally figured out last night how it could work. Both are emitting the standard disruptions to life-sign detection. But yours should also be detecting any tricorder scans for blocking signals, and relay the scanning frequencies to mine. Mine has a partition converted to a rudimentary deflector which will then emit a minor disruptor field at the inverse frequency and..."

"Block all detection of our blocking signals!" Tom grabbed him and kissed the side of his head. "Harry, did you know you're a genius?"

"Yes, but it's nice to hear it from a voice outside of my imagination." Harry arranged his pillows and blankets and then snuggled into them, wriggling luxuriously. "In return I'll graciously admit that this is the comfiest hiding place we've had yet. I would hate to be squashed under *your* miserable little bunk." He squirmed and stretched as his friend tossed aside the energy consumption data and snuggled into him. "How the hell did Chakotay end up with this huge bed?"

"He made it on the last shore leave planet," Tom said, "since you can only have so much fun in starfleet issue. Let me tell you, Har, it's even better when you're on top of it. Or more specifically, on top of it, under the first officer."

"Yeah, well. I know you said he was good, Paris, but I didn't realise there were *handcuffs* involved."

Paris abruptly sat up, cursed loudly when his head hit the mattress supports, and then flopped back onto Harry, holding his head. "Shit, you reminded me." he muttered. "Forgot the whip. It's still in the bathroom."

Silence reigned.

Then Tom rolled over, grabbed a handful of popcorn and munched loudly as he started a game of Donkey Kong on his tricorder. The tinny music of the ancient game filled the space under the mattress, echoing strangely.

"Okay, okay, I give!" Harry finally burst out. "Why was the whip in the bathroom?"

"Harry, Harry, Harry. You know it wouldn't be a wise career move for me to disclose personal information about the First Officer to the worst gossip onboard..." The blue eyes sparkled then returned to the game, as Harry looked like he might explode.

"Paris, you've got five seconds to disclose that information or you're gonna spend the next few hours of hiding out with popcorn up your... where it wouldn't be at all comfortable!"

"You're into humiliation now? This is a new development!"

With a screech of frustration Harry reached for the bowl, but a lightning fast hand trapped his wrist, twisting his arm behind his back and rolling him onto his stomach. "Checkmate," Tom announced smugly as he mussed his friend's hair. "And for your information, the whip was in the bathroom because Chakotay was a bad boy last night, and wasn't repentant enough after a cold shower."

"Hmmmph-ungh mrrgh hrrrch llmph."

"What's that, Har? You're admitting that I am the greatest wrestler in all the universe and you'll never get the better of me, ever?"

"Hmm-NNGH!"

"No? Umm, you're sorry you tried to initiate kinky foodstuff sex with a committed man?"

"H-Hmm-*NNGH*!"

"You're *not* sorry you tried to initiate kinky foodstuff sex...?"

"Hmm-*NNGH* ummmth phhh shmrrgh hnnnk mmm phhh *MMMRRRGHHH*!!!"

"Oh, your face is pressed into the fucking pillow and you can't fucking breathe?" Chuckling, Tom let Harry up. "Why didn't you just say so?"

He was promptly flipped over, pinned and straddled by a red-faced, messy-haired ensign.

"I said," Harry growled breathlessly, dark eyes sparkling inches from Tom's, "who wore the handcuffs then?"

Tom writhed provocatively under him, and stretched his arms over his head. "Me, of course. Don't you think I'd look fabulous restrained?"

Harry parted his lips to reply, but was beaten by a soft warning beep from the tricorder as the doors to Chakotay's quarters swished open.

"FUCK!" they mouthed simultaneously as they froze into place, eyes wide and air fanning softly over each other's faces as they forced their breathing into slow, deep silence.

"FUCK!" The voice of... Ayala? ...was heard from the entrance.

"Oh, my lord." ... Wildman's gentle exclamation was equally surprised. Harry could just see, past Tom's fine hair and through the strategic gap in the sheets hiding them, her boots tiptoeing around a few scattered pieces of underwear and heading their way. Then they stopped and backed off. "I've got no unusual readings," she announced with a note of shocked finality.

"No, me neither." Her searching companion sounded more than a little amused as they stepped into the corridor and the doors hissed shut.

Tom and Harry clutched one another in triumphant glee, still shivering with the sudden rush of adrenalin.

Then Tom smirked deliberately and shifted his hips. "Harry, is that a signal scrambler in the front of your uniform, or are you enjoying some aspect of our current situation?"

The younger man started to back away, but, noticing something as he moved, paused mid-scramble. "Gee, I don't know," he murmured, unsure. "Tell me something. I don't think Mr 'Devoutly Monogamous' Paris got a hard-on because we were talking about Chakotay..."

Tom was silent, but the pupils in his wide eyes were expanding to the shore of the sea-blue irises.

"So what else in here could be tripping your trigger?" The uncertain whisper was sliding into tones of a verbal caress.

"What do you think?" the pilot whispered hoarsely, licking dry lips.

"I *think* that Mr Paris gets a thrill out of misbehaving," Harry said, leaning in until his lips were brushing Tom's as he spoke. "And I think fooling around with your best friend, under your lover's bed, while the whole ship is searching for you..." he flicked his tongue briefly into Tom's open mouth "...is about as bad as it gets."

Tom arched up and moaned, rubbing himself against Harry as his arousal flooded through him. Harry gasped, softly, but in this tight space the warm caress of sound and breath warmed Tom even further.

But Harry sighed a little and then climbed off him, flopping down onto his stomach and reaching for the popcorn with an irritated scowl.

His best friend contributed a glare which would have burnt those reaching fingers to charcoal. "*What*?"

"What what?" He said it nonchalantly, but there was something hard in Harry's eyes now.

Torn between pouting enticingly, venting his displeasure and showing his genuine concern, Tom eventually opted for his best puppy dog look and asked, seriously, "did I do something wrong?"

"No." Harry at his most uncommunicative could rival Tuvok for complete lack of emotionality.

"Fine." Tom at his most put-out could rival Chakotay for complete absence of expressive nuance.

Silence reigned, this time with a heavy hand. Harry fiddled intently with both their tricorders. Tom, deprived of his amusement for the duration, and with the kind of petulance only Harry had ever appreciated on him, started writing Chakotay's energy consumption report. This stalemate only crumbled when the next proximity warning sounded, and the doors parted.

It wasn't long before Neelix's bubbling appreciation of the first officer's underwear cracked both scowls into smirks, and then prompted tightly muffled giggles as the rapturous exhaltation of faux Earth animal fur g-strings continued.

"Why, on Talaxia, this sexual purpose for sanitary garments is simply unheard of!"

"You should put the garment down. Tricorder scans reveal that it is unwashed," Seven broke in, and at the squawking sounds coming from the Talaxian, Tom and Harry stared at one another, eyes huge saucers over the hands clamped over their mouths.

==The underwear was a mistake,== Tom carefully tapped out on the datapadd, wiping tears from his eyes with a corner of the sheet. ==We'll give ourselves away by laughing out loud.==

The discipline of shallow breathing was helping, as was their mounting fear as Neelix' colourful slippers moved closer and closer, trotting from one side of the room to the other and opening cupboards, checking behind furniture...

==Think about the borg detection Seven uses,== Harry returned, the last of his amusement channelled into intent purpose as he typed. ==Has she got anything which can penetrate our shields and decoys?==

... while Seven's deadly spikes paced the perimeter, hotted up tricorder beeping soft negatives.

==I don't know. But Seven can usually pick off a dozen pairs from astrometrics. She wouldn't be here without some kind of clue.==

Neelix approached the bed, then, and the two men drew a little closer out of suspense and trepidation. Fine tremors along Tom's leg vibrated through them both, and he watched, fascinated, as beads of sweat formed on Harry's wrinkled forehead, above his parted lips. Their breathing caught as the brightly coloured shoes marched to the foot of the bed, poking into their hiding place.

A clammy hand crept into Tom's and he gripped it tightly, staring at Harry with as much blind focus as Harry stared at the shoes inches from his nose.

"Seven?"

They pressed closer together, muscles twitching.

"Yes?" The silver heels clipped purposefully toward them, and Tom buried his face in Harry's shoulder, as unable to look as Harry was incapable of looking away.

"Wha-what do you think this thing is? Could it be the source of the static you detected?"

"Possible. Hold still, I must scan the device."

Knowing what was coming, Tom covered Harry's mouth with one hand while muffling his own face into the firm shoulder beneath him.

"The device is a double-headed silver dildo with vibrating heads, as replicated by Commander Chakotay on stardate..."

The satin slippers jumped back several feet and beat a hasty retreat, accompanied by panicked demands for soap and a scrubbing brush, and an irritated borg.

Their nervous, relieved laughter was short-lived, ending faced-to-face with a satiated sigh, a pleased exhalation which seemed to melt their lips together. They remained, not frozen but merely still, feeling the remaining adrenalin shiver its way out of their system, only to be replaced by a different kind of energy.

As he became aware of how entwined they were - hands still clutching, legs tangled among sheets and blankets, Tom's other arm now dangling around Harry's neck since the time for silence was past - Tom felt the surge of arousal start up again. This time, however, it was slow and sensual, beginning with a tingling in the soles of his feet, growing inward from where his body dissolved into Harry's. He shifted lazily against his friend, wanting more places where that warmth could start spreading.

Harry, with a sigh of surrender, pressed back, letting his lips fall apart as the two bodies enveloped one another. He rolled onto his back, covering himself with his friend as their mouths gradually meshed into smooth, deep kisses. A satisfied moan seeped from Tom as he clutched the fine hair, angling Tom's mouth to penetrate it further, wrapping his legs around the hips which ground languidly into him. The position was rewarding, so he held him there, patiently soaking up the closeness as if nothing in the universe existed but infinite time.

Finally Tom lifted his head, hauled in some air, and then buried a humourless laugh in Harry's neck.

"What is it?" Tom marvelled at the soft deep velvet of Harry's voice. He lifted his head and laughed again.

"Harry..." swooping in for another kiss, then another, then giving himself up once more to the moist lips and determined tongue which invaded his mouth over and over, until the pressure in his lungs forced his head back up. "You kiss by the book," he gasped.

Harry smiled a little sadly at the line, head tipped back on the pillow as he stared at the slats of the bed. When Tom unzipped his uniform, he didn't protest. But soon skilled hands were scampering across his chest, pushing the clothing up and aside, exploring his chest with determined thoroughness, and he brought his hands there to help expose it. When his jacket and turtleneck had been tossed aside, he sat up a little and removed Tom's, kissing every inch revealed until Tom was underneath him, shivering, while he sucked dreamily on the exposed neck.

A quick, experimental nip at the pulse point and Tom's hands fluttered to his own pants, and he gripped himself there and moaned. A hard, sucking bite had those hips thrusting viciously upwards, loud moans escaping between Tom's shallow breaths. Harry slipped his hand under Tom's, feeling the hard cock pulse beneath his palm, and rubbed at the fabric while biting down again.

Tom writhed under Harry now, chanting his name, pressing their tangled hands tightly into his groin and thrusting his cock wantonly against them. Sitting back a little, Harry watched, the back of his head pressed against the base of the bed, gripping Tom's erection and working it through the strong uniform fabric. Tom hissed his need through clenched teeth and brought his own shaking hands to the waistband, opening his pants and shoving them down before seizing both of Harry's and bringing them back to his exposed cock. Harry obliged, gripping hard. Tom shrieked his name, arching back as he came. He flopped back down onto the blankets like wires of tension had snapped all over his body and gifted Harry with a pure smile of blue eyes and white teeth. But the other man, still hunched up above him, stared mournfully at the carpet. Tom reached a hand behind Harry's neck, pulled him down until their breath was mingling, warm and moist.

"Harry," Tom whispered, rubbing a thumb across the pouting lips, staring into the pensive dark eyes, "that was so good." He reached up to capture those lips in his own, but Harry shied away.

Tom followed, snuggling into him, wrapping them up until they were spooned up in the blankets, running reassuring hands down Harry's arms and torso. As his hands drifted lower each sweep, the tension altered in the body pressed to him, until Harry was arching into his hands, lashes dark against his golden cheeks, panting. Tom brushed his lips over the impossibly soft ear beneath them. "What do you want, Har? I'll do anything."

Harry shivered and rolled over, latching onto Tom's mouth once more and devouring him, inexhaustibly. Rhythmic moans echoed in their stuffy hideout; Tom was overwhelmed again by the passion infusing Harry's kisses, transforming an activity he'd regarded as a warm-up into a burning enlightenment which made his blood tingle.

The alarm beeped again and voices wafted toward them as the doors opened. Tom surged against Harry's lips, holding him where he was, forbidding the end of this revelation. To his surprise, Harry pressed back, pulling them impossibly close, immobilising all their limbs while he kissed Tom harder and harder.

Fragments of the conversation held in the next room wafted into the front of Tom's mind where he couldn't ignore it. It was the Captain, his brain informed him with much urgency and persistence, and Tuvok.

Harry seemed to hear them also, because the urgency of the kiss was waning; he too was slipping down from the heights they had reached. With a slow, careful exhalation, Tom let him back away.

Tossing him a shaky smile, Harry rolled off and checked their tricorders. A quick nod, and he let himself be drawn back into Tom's arms for some quiet smooching. But there was an edge to the atmosphere now, which Tom felt keenly. After a few seconds he regretfully abandoned Harry's lush lips and slithered on his stomach to the peer through the gap in the blankets. He could feel Harry shift slightly beside him, and his bare ass tingled as little eddies of air stroked it.

"...stronger in here than they were on deck 3."

Janeway and Tuvok stood in the centre of the room, ignoring all of Tom's distractions, studying both of their tricorders and apparently comparing readings. "... couldn't *possibly* have shifted out of phase, could they?" the captain was saying, as Tuvok swept the room again.

"Your hypothesis is far-fetched. I believe the readings are a side effect of a jamming signal," he said. "However, the nature and source of the static are still unclear."

The game was up, Tom realised, and reached behind himself to pull his pants back up before they were discovered. A warm hand on his ass prevented it. He twisted around to see Harry crouched over the tricorders, chewing on his lip.

'Wait,' Harry mouthed at him, the hard edge of determination back on his face as he studied readouts on one tricorder whilst keying furiously at the other.

Tom watched, perplexed, as Harry worked, feeling the air cold everywhere on his buttocks except for where Harry's left hand remained, caressing him absently. He could feel his own heartbeat thudding in his throat, nerves going crazy with the exposure and the waiting; the risk of discovery *right this fucking minute* and the booms and crashes he could almost hear as he imagined the news exploding around the ship - found by the captain half-naked under Chakotay's bed, with Harry... oh, *gods*... with Harry stroking his asshole. Tom couldn't look at his friend, couldn't ask him what he was doing but it was making his cock so hard he sure as hell couldn't stop him from doing it.

Tom watched with panicked eyes as the two seekers swept the room again, murmuring something about inverse frequencies and pinpointed origin, then nearly screamed in fear and arousal as two slick fingers penetrated his ass. Freezing up like a wounded animal surrounded by predators, it took several seconds for him to bring his head around to stare horrified at Harry.

'What are you *doing*?' The meaning, if not the words, must have been clear from agitation on his face. He was hard as hell, clenching helplessly around the warm fingers invading him, nearly choking on fear as he imagined the consequences of discovery in this position.

Harry put the tricorders aside, gave him a quick, confident grin, and slid on top of him. Tom found his level of excitement skyrocketing. Harry's cock was suddenly free, slick with lube or ejaculate or milkshake. The pulsing heat branded his buttcheeks, and then his crack as Harry slid up and down between them.

Once more, Tom couldn't tear his vision away from the officers who could - any second now - uncover them like this. They were pacing in circles, staring intently at readouts, discussing phase variances and polarised static. Harry was stroking his back, trailing caressing fingers down his spine, stroking the hair behind his ears, thrusting lazily in the tight space between the buttocks Tom was clenching in ecstatic terror. Sweat covered them both, their breathing hot and shallow with arousal and fright.

Then Harry's lips moved hungrily across his neck and shoulders and Tom knew, just *knew*, that now was the time he had to clench his teeth and hold his breath because Harry was about to...

Harry's cock slid inside him. Long. Deep. Hard. Tom bit savagely into his own arm to keep from screaming aloud at how goddamn fucking *good* it felt. Moist, rapid panting caressed his neck and ears as Harry lowered himself onto Tom's back, soothing fingers on his arms and throat, silent urges for him to just *hold still*.

They remained there, profoundly intimate, best friends closer than brothers, both experiencing each silent shudder as they watched their superiors adjust the scanning frequency and continue to search for them.

"I've got it!" Janeway yelled, triumphant.

Harry started as violently as Tom, and the impact rammed his cock deeper in Tom's ass than anything had ever been. Fire exploded suddenly through tense limbs and overwhelmed terrified minds, and both Tom and Harry moaned aloud.

Game over.

Nearly whimpering in need and horror, they watched as their soon-to-be discoverers surveyed the room. Harry, having moved, could no longer hold himself still, and was filling Tom's ass with tiny helpless thrusts. Knowing with leaden certainty that he was at the end of his control, that this was *it*, Tom turned his head and reached for another kiss, desperate for one more minute of rapture before his world turned to ashes.

Harry gripped his sweating face and turned it back to the peephole in their hideout.

The seekers hadn't so much as glanced in their direction. Janeway and Tuvok were looking at the ceiling. They nodded triumphantly, closed their tricorders with loud clicks, and strode out the door.

Harry's lust-soaked shout of victory filled his ears, and then Tom's thought ceased as his shoulders were grabbed, his legs spread, and his moans joined Harry's as he was finally fucked as hard as he needed it.

More excited than ever in his life, even the freedom to breathe loudly was sending him higher. Their moans and their body heat were multiplying inside their hiding space, and sweat flowed freely between them. His heart was constricting, his vision was tinged red as Harry's thrusts buried him from the inside. And the barely recognisable mantra that was his name, escaping from his best friend as he soared toward climax, whited out his mind and consumed his body as it boiled over from his cock, burning and burning and burning and finally, long after he thought any more might be the end of him, fading to black.

***

"Awww, aren't they cute?"

"Yeah, real cute, Chakotay. As cute as recurring microfractures of the warp core."

They awoke when Chakotay and B'Elanna found them, curled up around one another, clothes mostly back in place and ejaculate assiduously transferred to an already-stained sheet at some stage before satiation and exhaustion had claimed them.

Staring up into the concerned face of his lover, Tom smiled groggily and stretched up for a kiss. But the sulky protests as B'Elanna tried to haul Harry out from under the bed reminded him that it hadn't been Chakotay who had put him into this state, and he jumped with the recollection. Chakotay laughed.

"Yes, you've been discovered," he said, flashing white teeth, and Tom stared at him, wondering when the curt 'you're on your own, Paris' speech was going to happen. "...even though you have led the ship on one hell of a goose chase. It took us three hours, you know, and it wasn't your phase diversion which gave you away in the end."

"Huh?"

"Ugh, you are even sweatier than when you climbed out of that ventilation shaft!" B'Elanna wrinkled her nose as she dragged Harry bodily from his nest. "Wake up, Ensign. I want to know how the hell you produced indications that you two had shifted out of phase, I want to know how you centred them on the floor above you, I want to know how you made them change location at random and I want to know *NOW*!"

Tom's eyes widened in surprise as relief set his whole body fizzing. He grinned at the flash of triumph in Harry's modestly downcast eyes. 'You're a genius!' he mouthed, and Harry half-smiled his acknowledgement of the fact.

"Easy, B'Elanna," Chakotay said. "You'll hear it in the debriefing." Her eyes flashed with anger, and he quickly diverted it. "I need you to comm the captain, call off the search, and then," he finally got Tom onto his feet and into his arms "you'll have to make up a story better than 'we found them when we stopped in my quarters for a snack and heard snoring.'"

Tom laughed aloud at that, and was rewarded with a firm shake from his lover, who waved a leopard-print g-string in his face. "You, Lieutenant, have some explaining to do."

"Awww, come on Chakotay," Tom said, wrapping himself around the older man. "You can't be mad at me for showing you off. Now..." he disentangled himself just as quickly and drifted towards the bathroom, "why don't you let Harry and I tidy up before we make our report, while you and B'Elanna make up yours?"

With an adoring smile, Chakotay complied, steering the engineer through the door. Harry, who had watched the scene through a veil of lowered lashes, turned to face his best friend.

Left alone again, the usual frenzy of victorious hugging and cheering didn't eventuate. Eventually Tom flopped down on the couch and gestured to Harry to join him, dragging the ensign closer when Harry perched himself on the arm. He stroked the tangled hair out of Harry's downcast eyes and regarded him carefully.

"Are you angry?" he asked.

"No." Harry was back to his most uncommunicative.

"I know we touch a lot, Harry, and..."

"*But*," Harry interrupted, standing up. "You mean, 'But.' I know already, okay." He turned his back and started clearing up the mess. Tom watched for a moment through narrowed eyes.

"Sooo..." he said, moving to the wreck of the bed and stripping it down, "I never got to guess why you were getting a hard-on back there."

Harry straightened up and turned casually, but the dark eyes searing into blue betrayed his nonchalance. "That's because you *don't* get to guess."

"I guess I already know," Tom said, a little sadly. "I've known for ages, when I think about it."

"Yeah, well. Don't feel too bad about it," Harry replied with a bitter twist of his lips. "We seem to have discovered the scenario which works for both of us."

Tom approached him carefully, stopping just beyond an arm's length. "Are you saying I don't need to bring a book to the next hideout?"

"Next week, all the seekers will ignore phase static," Harry said, and shrugged. "I'm saying I could probably shift us out of phase for a few hours. That's all."