blood sweat tears

1. Blood

There was blood. There was always blood.

It flowed from Tom's side no matter how hard Harry tried to stop it, always soaking through the dirty cloth no matter how tightly the bandage was tied. He'd stopped wishing for water to wash the blood away a long time ago; or perhaps he had given up that last luxury only seconds ago. There was no time.

The cloth was soaked again. He tore another strip from his shirt and pressed it against Tom's side. Tom groaned and whimpered and his blood coated Harry's hands. It was warm, which was nice because he was so cold. Cold and tired and his head was full of pain.

Not logical. Not logical. Can't be happening. The brain can't feel pain. Not this sort of pain. Not the pain of thoughts scattered across all the different quadrants of the universe.

Couldn't think. Couldn't concentrate.

"Harry." Tom's voice was shaky. Rasping. Afraid.


Harry grabbed his hand.

Tom was hot. His skin burned Harry's. He squeezed and Tom squeezed back.

It was a lifeline.

He could concentrate on this.

2. Blood Sweat

There was blood. There was always blood.

A bite mark this time, on his neck, when they'd rolled together like rutting Klingons, panting and sweating and choking back noise. Harry doubted that Bateman would appreciate this noise any more than his clarinet.

Sweat dripped into the wound, made him tingle, like the dermal regenerator. His belly rubbed against the carpet, burned him. Tom was heavy and solid and slick and not lovely. Not pretty. Just Tom; flawed, human Tom whose whispered, empty words in his ear were sweet like Bach, like Mozart, like the Captain's unexpected voice piercing hell.

Harry bit his tongue to stop from screaming. Struggled beneath Tom, struggled to dominate this as he could dominate nothing else. Struggled to give in, to give back the hurt, to pull Tom in and never let him go.

"Harry." Tom growled, words rumbling from his chest to Harry's back. His hand covered Harry's, hot and slick and surprisingly heavy; his nails left small crescent wounds in the carpeting. He thrust forward.

Harry pushed back. Stopped struggling and just panted.

Focused on Tom's hand.

Wondered when sex and pain and power and want and need and love all became tangled up into one messy web.

3. Blood Sweat Tears

There was blood. There was always blood.

It bloomed on the knuckles of his hands, stained the dark wood of Sandrine's a shade darker.

He punched the bar again.

This was stupid. He knew that. He knew he shouldn't be punching Sandrine's bar; shouldn't be punching anything at all, really, but especially not wood--simulated or not. He should have called up a phys-ed program, or a boxing one, made himself a bag and wrapped his hands, protected them. He'd probably broken something--or several things; several important things that let him play the clarinet and lead him to invariably finger G-sharp instead of an E.

But it had to be Sandrine's, because it had to be something of Tom's, and being in Sandrine's was like being inside Tom. And it had to be something holographic--he couldn't punch an actual wall, couldn't risk damaging something other than his fist. He knew starships were supposed to be tough, but Voyager had been beaten down too many times for him to intentionally harm her.

He punched the bar again, slamming his fist straight down. Sweat beaded his lip and he licked it off. He'd been doing this too long. Taking out all of his rage and hate and want and fears on something Tom had built and if he kept this up he probably wouldn't have a hand for the Doc to fix. On the other hand, he needed this. He needed to inflict physical pain on somebody--even himself--if only to stop the scream that howled within him. He needed to be able to control something. Anything. Even it was just how much he hurt.

He punched the bar again.

There were tears. They slid down his face and collected in the soft folds of the corners of his mouth. He licked them away and they tasted as bitter as his sweat. He heard a dull crack and he should stop. He should stop now.

He punched the bar again.

There was more blood. It pooled on the bar, small red dots banding together to form larger red dots. His tears hit the old wood and he wasn't sure why he was crying. His hand had stopped hurting a long time ago.

He raised his hand again, heard the holosuite's doors open with a familiar whoosh. He arrested the motion and wished--not for the first time--that the standard Starfleet uniform came with pockets. He settled for letting it hang at his side instead, turning ever so slightly away from the door.

"Harry?" Tom's voice was soft, soothing, like the gentle tug that pulled Harry around until he faced his friend. Tom talked to him like a man trying to calm a wounded animal, cornered and crazed with pain and fear and maybe that's what Harry really was. He looked down at the battered bar and extended his hand, slowly, let Tom take it and examine the blood and flesh that spelled out his failure.

Tom said nothing and held his hand.

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