Bully Lesson

by Juli

(Based on an idea by Angelise)

January 2003


******* The Past *******

Jonny Archer whistled as he made his way down the street. As much as he'd loved traveling the world during the summer after high school, he had to admit that it would feel good to go home tomorrow. All he had to do was pick up his last paycheck from Yolande Cooper's public pool and he'd be all set.

In a way, this last stop in London had been the most foreign-feeling of all. The language was the same as home - mostly - and he'd assumed it would follow that the culture would be the same too. The people he'd met had been nice, but a little more reserved than what he was used to in California, especially that lady with the cute little boy, Malcolm. It had been a week since he'd given the five year-old a swimming lesson, but it still bothered Jonny that the youngster's mother seemed to regard her son's fear of the water as an embarrassment. Given his own close family situation, the teenager couldn't quite understand that attitude and his reaction to the Reeds had begun to color his perception of the English as a whole. It wasn't fair to them, he knew, but neither was it fair to make a little kid shoulder the responsibility for a phobia that he couldn't control….

"Coward!"

"Sissy!"

"Better stay in the kiddie pool - or your mum's wash basin!"

The raised childish voices interrupted Jonny's thoughts and he sped up to a jog, instinctively responding to the potential trouble he heard in the unseen confrontation. He rounded the corner to find a group of children in front of the building that housed Yolande's pool. One familiar small figure had been singled out, the other children surrounding the forlorn child and taunting him.

"Yeah, Malfunction, you should still be in your nappies, not a swimming suit."

Jonny came up behind the group and laid a heavy hand on the last speaker's shoulder. Pressing down hard on the tormenter and keeping her from running off, Jonny, otherwise ignored the girl for the moment. Smiling at the boy he'd nicknamed Stinky, he used a gentle voice to reassure his young friend. "Everything okay here, Malcolm?"

Malcolm's tear-streaked face immediately turned towards him. "Jonny!" The child launched himself at his rescuer and, even though he was a small missile, the teenager still staggered back a bit as he caught him. Malcolm immediately hid his face in Jonny's neck and the American automatically started rubbing his back to comfort him.

Jonny frowned at the other children, realizing he wasn't going to get an explanation from Malcolm. He was impeded from questioning them, however, by Yolande Cooper's entrance into the scene.

"Liesel, Andrew, Casey," the teacher called out. "I want to see the three of you in my office. Now." Her eyes swept over the remainder of the young crowd. "The rest of you, inside and get ready for your lesson." As her students trouped by, she looked at Jonny with Malcolm and her expression softened. "Jonny, why don't you see if Malcolm's all right and join us in a few minutes?"

Technically, Jonny Archer didn't work for her anymore but he nodded his head in acquiescence. Part of his ready agreement had to do with the respect he held for his mentor and part of it had to do for the concern he felt for the child in his arms.

After the other children were gone, Jonny walked over to a handy bench and sat down. As he did, Malcolm sniffed and lifted his head.

"You okay, Stinky?" Jonny asked, using the nickname now that the bigger kids were gone.

"I guess so," Malcolm said, wiping his eyes. "You remembered to call me Stinky!"

"Of course I did," Jonny assured him. "Those other kids, though, they seemed kind of mean and I didn't want to use it in front of them." The tentative smile that the five year-old had started when he mentioned his nickname faded as Jonny brought up his tormenters. "The other kids were teasing you about your swimming, huh?"

Malcolm nodded glumly. "Why do they do that?"

"Tease?" Jonny asked. When Malcolm nodded again, the teenager drew a deep breath and tried to explain. It was made harder by the fact that he didn't really understand such behavior himself. "Well, my dad always told me that there's two types of people who bully other people."

"Two types?" Malcolm asked when Jonny fell silent.

The American smiled at the youngster's curiosity. Of course, in his place, he'd probably be trying to learn as much about his foes too. "First, there's the lazy type. That's the type of person who bullies other people because they're too lazy to do something themselves. They bully people to intimidate, try and get them to do things for them that they're too lazy to do for themselves. Like maybe doing their homework."

Malcolm shook his head slowly as he considered. "No, Liesel doesn't ask me to do her homework. I don't think she's that type."

Jonny blinked. He'd had to bite his lip to keep from smiling at Malcolm's solemn consideration, but was surprised that his homework example was even remotely applicable. "Homework? Are you in any of the same classes?" He knew Malcolm was small for his age, but the girl seemed at least a couple of years older than his young friend. It seemed unlikely that with such an age difference, that they would share any schoolwork.

"We have mathematics together," Malcolm answered, becoming calmer by the minute. "What's the second type of bully?"

"The second type of bully are the ones that are afraid," Jonny explained.

"Afraid?" Malcolm repeated. He obviously wanted to believe his hero but wasn't sure if he should or not. "Why would Liesel be afraid of me? I'm not scary."

"She doesn't necessarily have to be afraid of you," Jonny tried to explain. "Maybe she's afraid of something that she doesn't want her friends to find out about, so she picks on you so they won't notice that anything's wrong with her. Or maybe there's something that you do a lot better than her, so she teases you about something you're not so good at because she's afraid people will like you better than her."

Malcolm's forehead furrowed again as he tried to make sense of the explanation Jonny offered. "That's just silly."

"Yup, that just about sums up bullying," Jonny agreed. "I never liked bullies." Malcolm wasn't looking at him, instead seemingly fascinated by the laces on Jonathan's sleeve. "Now that you know how bad it feels to be bullied, you know not to do it to anyone else, right?"

"Right," Malcolm agreed, looking up at Jonny with a firm expression that seemed out of place on his child's face. "And if anyone tries to bully Maddie, I'll… I'll kick them in the arse." The child slapped a hand over his mouth. "Oops. I said a bad word. Sorry."

Jonny smiled at him conspiratorially. "I won't tell anyone if you don't, Stinky." When the boy giggled, he added, "Kicking someone, though, or hitting them, isn't always the answer. It's okay to tell an adult if someone's being mean to you."

"Wouldn't that be like tattling?"

"Not exactly," Jonny hedged. It would be easy enough to quote the trite Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you at Malcolm but, as even the five year-old knew, words could indeed be very hurtful. "You've got the right to go to school or to swimming lessons without being bothered by bullies."

"I s'ppose," Malcolm reluctantly agreed, back to being fascinated with Jonny's shirt. He gave a big sigh and looked up at his hero. "If the bully is the afraid type, a grown-up should know so they can help her not be scared anymore, right?"

Jonny was startled at the boy's compassion and rewarded him with a hug. "Right. No one should have to be afraid. Not even bullies."

"Jonny! Malcolm! Could you come inside now, please?" Yolande called to them from the doorway.

Jonathan got to his feet, careful to balance the child he was still carrying. On an impulse, he bent to whisper in Malcolm's ear. "But if a bully's trying to hurt you and there's no grown-up around, it's okay to kick their arse as hard as you can."

Malcolm looked at him in surprise and then giggled. "Right."

The teenager grinned at him, pleased that he'd cheered the little one up. As a special treat, he swung the youngster up in his arms, finally settling Malcolm so he was seated on his shoulders. "How's the air up there?"

"It's brilliant!" Malcolm exclaimed. "I feel like I'm flying."

Jonathan bounced a bit, causing a few more smothered giggles, before making a show of pretending to knock Malcolm's head against the top of door. By the time the twosome made it inside, both were openly laughing.

Yolande had the other children gathered at the pool door and she gestured for Jonathan and Malcolm to join them. "We have a special presentation today and I'm very glad that Jonny is here to share it with us." The swimming teacher held out her hand to the little boy on Jonathan's shoulders and waved him down. Jonny set Malcolm on his feet and stepped back as the child approached his teacher.

"Students, as you know this is our final class," Yolande said as she gathered Malcolm to her side. "Those of you who've had lessons with me before know that I traditionally give out an award to the student who's progressed the most. I don't think that any of us can argue," she shot the earlier troublemakers a glare and Jonathan could see from their expressions that they'd been raked over the coals, "that there's one student who's most deserving of the award." With that, she pinned a blue ribbon on Malcolm's shirt. On it, it read Most Improved.

Malcolm fingered the ribbon with awe, before looking at Jonny with a smile that came close to splitting his face. The other students gathered around him, patting him on the shoulders and arm, asking to see his decoration. It was quite a change from the scene that Jonathan had stumbled into before and he was glad to see the happiness radiating from his young friend.

Yolande shooed the children in towards the pool to start their final lesson, but Malcolm held back. After the others had gone in, the dark-haired boy ran to Jonny, hugging him around the legs. "Thank you, Jonny."

"You're welcome," he answered, "but you did all the work."

"I wish you didn't have to go home," Malcolm's voice was muffled as he pressed close to the teenager. "I'll miss you."

"I'll miss you too, Stinks," Jonny said, pulling back enough to squat down by the child. "But tell you what, all you have to do is look at this ribbon," he fingered the satin blue material, "and you'll know that you can do anything. Right?"

"Right," Malcolm said. With a final squeeze, he let go and ran for the door, pausing at the last minute to turn around and wave wildly. Jonathan waved back and then Malcolm was gone.

The teenager sighed as he felt a warm hand on his arm. "He's a tough little squirt." He turned to look at Yolande. "Did you read those bullies the riot act?"

"Oh, yes," Ms. Cooper assured him. "And I'll do it again when their parents show up." She patted Jonathan and then gave him a quick hug. "I wish I had a ribbon to give you too - you did wonders with that child in the short time you were here."

Jonny blushed. He wasn't used to getting enthusiastic hugs from women his mother's age. At least, women he wasn't related to, anyway. "Heck, I told Stink…, I mean, Malcolm, the truth. He did all the hard work."

Yolande gave him a searching look before letting go. "You know, something tells me that in a few years, I'll be bragging to folks that I knew Jonathan Archer back when he was Jonny Archer. You're going to go far, sweetheart, even if that Starfleet idea you're dad's been talking about never gets off the ground."

The teenager's blush deepened and he was glad when his employer turned to the business of giving him his last paycheck.

Years later, though, with the launching of the Enterprise, Yolande Cooper was proven absolutely right.

*******  The Present  *******

Captain Jonathan Archer rolled his shoulders as he walked down Enterprise's familiar corridors. It had been a very long but very rewarding series of days, helping the miners drive off the Klingons that were intent on taking all of their hard-won deuterium. Jonathan never had liked bullies and, even though he'd just met the colonists, it just hadn't felt right to not help them.

But why did helping someone usually end up with him aching all over?

Now that the Klingons had been driven off, the deuterium had been loaded, and the Enterprise was headed off to a new adventure, Jonathan had a chance to do something about those aches and pains. He got the feeling that the rest of his crew felt every bit as satisfied at helping the colonists, even if it had meant back-breaking work for all involved. He didn't know about the rest of the crew, but Jonathan was very glad that the entrance to his quarters was in front of him and he could anticipate a nice, hot shower. He'd been through decon already and was reasonably clean, but nothing took the place of clean water out of your own shower.

The captain entered his cabin only to realize that someone had beaten him there and that it wasn't Porthos….

"Hello, Jonathan," Malcolm smiled shyly from his perch on the bed.

"Hello there, yourself," the captain responded, grinning at the younger man.

Jonathan had been true to his word when he'd promised Malcolm that they'd take their burgeoning relationship slowly. It had just about killed him, but he'd done it. For a long time, they'd stayed with private dinners and attending the movie together, with few being aware of what was really going on. Malcolm had seemed reluctant to go any further until Hoshi, of all people, had intervened. Jonathan had heard from his usual source of information, Trip, that Hoshi had sat Malcolm down and had a long talk with him, reassuring him that there would be no repercussions from the crew if he and Malcolm become involved. Truth be told, if had been anyone else, there probably would have been hard feelings, about favoritism and the like, but it had been Malcolm Reed. Everyone knew how by-the-book the lieutenant was and no one worried he would take advantage of the situation.

After that, their relationship had gradually become more intimate. The two men had worked their way to long, slow kisses after a meal and holding hands at the movie, but that was about it. Now, seeing Malcolm on his bed, dressed in a sleeveless knit shirt and loose pants, was giving Jonathan all kinds of ideas.

"I thought, if you were as sore as I was," Malcolm said, "that a massage might feel nice."

"That sounds like the best idea I've heard all day," Jonathan responded eagerly.

Malcolm's smile broadened at his lover's enthusiasm. "All right, then. Off with your uniform and on the bed." He moved off the mattress and gestured Jonathan down.

"I thought I'd never hear you say that," Archer teased, ignoring his instructions and grabbing Malcolm into a loose embrace.

Malcolm let himself be kissed, then pulled back. "On the bed, if you please."

Jonathan practically stumbled in his haste to get his boots and uniform off, but soon he was safely facedown in the prescribed position, still in his bright blue underwear. He practically groaned aloud when he felt Malcolm's weight settle on top of him as the British man straddled Jonathan's prone form. He did groan aloud when Reed's hands started manipulating the tense muscles in his shoulders. "God, that feels good. Don't stop."

"I've no intention of stopping, thank you very much," Malcolm said tartly. "You weren't kidding, were you, when you said you didn't like bullies?"

Jonathan tried to think past the sensation of finally having his lover's hands on his flesh, but it was hard (both the thinking and the flesh)."What do you mean?"

A quick brush of Malcolm's lips across the back of his neck caused Jonathan to shiver. "All those years ago, at Ms. Cooper's pool. You said you didn't like bullies. I guess that hasn't changed."

Jonathan smiled as he remembered. "No, I guess not."

"The Klingons, those were the lazy types of bullies."

Archer tried to turn around, but Malcolm's hands pressed him back down. "You remember that?"

"Oh, yes," The smile in Reed's voice could be clearly heard. "Jonny Archer's advice stuck with me for a good, long while. And I kept that ribbon until it was thread worn."

"Ah," Jonathan cried out as Malcolm hit a particularly knotted area. "Don't tell me that this is just a schoolboy's crush?"

Reed rocked forward, pressing his groin against the small of Archer's back. "Does that feel like a boy to you," he whispered in Jonathan's ear, nipping lightly at the sensitive lobe.

"N-n-o-o, thank God," Jonathan groaned. He groaned again when Malcolm's weight abruptly shifted off him. "Hey, where you goin'?" The captain lifted himself up on one elbow, looking at his lover in dismay. Had he offended Malcolm, by teasing him?

Malcolm was looking down at him fondly. "I'll admit, though, that when I started dating, I did have a tendency to stick to the tall, blonde, and green-eyed type. You ruined me, love."

Jonathan didn't have a response to that and just smiled at him.

The lieutenant had opened a container that had been sitting on the table and was smearing some sort of ointment on his hands. "My sister makes this liniment for me," he explained. "It's got a muscle relaxer in it." His expression turned contemplative. "For some reason, she seems to think I manage to injure myself a lot."

"I wonder why," Jonathan said wryly, making a show of ducking the glare that Malcolm shot him. "You enjoyed yourself today, didn't you?"

Reed tilted his head as he thought. "I suppose so. It's not often that I get to use the full range of my tactical background. It felt good to exercise those muscles, if you will. I don't often get the chance to practice ground maneuvers."

"I thought so," Jonathan said as he settled back. "I'm glad you had a good time, kicking some Klingon butt."

"And no one got seriously hurt," Malcolm added. Then, in a change of subject, gestured at Jonathan with his chin. "Off with your shirt."

"Huh?" Jonathan said articulately.

Malcolm waived liniment-covered fingers at him. "This won't help your shirt at all, but should help with your aches and pains a bit. Now, off."

Jonathan didn't need to be told again. He sat up and stripped off the garment, then settled back on the bed, face up. Malcolm didn't object to his change in position and again straddled Archer's larger form. With a fierce expression, he started rubbing the liniment into Jonathan's skin.

Archer's breath caught at the sensation and he bit his lip to keep from crying out. The combination of Malcolm on top of him and massaging him was almost more than he could take.

"Like that, love?" Malcolm asked.

"MmmmHmmmm," Jonathan responded. He kept his eyes closed, knowing that looking up into Malcolm's face would be more than he could take. That changed, though, when he felt Reed's body move. He looked just in time to see Malcolm remove his own shirt, the ointment leaving sticking fingerprints on the soft gray fabric. "What about you, Stinky, aren't you hurting too? Maybe I should give you a massage."

"Oh, I don't know," Malcolm purred, wiggling until he was laying completely on top of the bigger man. "What is a massage, but skin rubbing against skin. Seems to me there's more than one way to massage."

Jonathan gasped as he felt his lover's flesh pressing into his own. "C-can't say as I'd argue with that," he said, bringing his hands up to cup Malcolm's bottom. "Except for one thing, we've still got our pants on. There's not enough skin."

"That's easily rectified," Malcolm retorted, deft hands reaching for the waistband of Jonathan's briefs. Archer eagerly cooperated, steadying his talented mate while Malcolm stripped both of them of their remaining garments.

Both men were rewarded for their efforts when their erections met for the first time.

"Ah!" Jonathan gasped out, clutching Malcolm's closer. Reed was silent, but buried his face in Archer's neck, licking and nipping at the soft skin there.

Moving in concert, the two lovers rocked together. Jonathan automatically spread his legs and bent his knees, cradling Malcolm between them. The younger man undulated almost desperately, arching his back and pressing himself forward as though he were trying to merge his flesh with Jonathan's.

How long they stayed like that, Archer couldn't begin to say. It felt like forever and, at the same time, it felt like just a moment or two. As in the rest of their relationship, however, Jonathan was ready for completion first. "Aah," the captain cried out, lifting his hips as his orgasm hit. Malcolm felt Jonathan's hot semen against his belly and quickly followed, remaining silent but nipping sharply at his lover's neck as his own body found release.

Afterwards, Malcolm remained pillowed on Jonathan, panting lightly as he regained his breath. Jonathan showered him with kisses as his big hands roamed up and down Malcolm's back. Now that the captain had permission to touch his lover's skin, he was loath to stop.

"We should have done that ages ago," Malcolm sighed.

"Mmmm," Jonathan said noncommittally. He didn't want Reed to feel bad for taking longer to be ready for this intimate stage of their relationship. "Does this mean I can start calling you Stinky in front of the rest of the crew?"

Malcolm nipped him on the chin. "Do it and you'll be sleeping alone for a good, long while."

"Does that mean that if I'm good, I won't be sleeping alone?" Jonathan asked hopefully.

"Not good necessarily," Malcolm teased, "I'm rather fond of naughty. Just stay away from Stinky, that's all I ask." Loving fingers traced Jonathan's face. "Thank you for being so patient with me."

"It was my pleasure," Jonathan assured him, before rolling them both between the covers. Patience, he'd learned, had it virtues and, in his humble opinion, chief among them was the man who'd finally graced his bed.

~the end~  

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