A companion piece/postep for "Extinction." Slash.
When instinct was so strong, however, what need had he for memory?
He had to reach Urquat. He had only the faintest idea of what it was; the name brought up whiffs of memory, however, the feel of cool marble, warm sun - thoughts of home and friends and belong/. He ached to find it. It tugged at him, gently, but not in any direction he could distinguish. He wanted to run, go this way and that to feel the tug grow stronger or weaker - it was the only way he could find Urquat, that lovely place. But there was /that thing to consider. The thing that smelled rank, not like one of them. He wanted to kill it - it was distracting. But the big one seemed interested in it, and the big one was one of his kind. He had to stay with the big one. So they walked with it, painfully slowly.
Perhaps he would kill the big one.
As he was contemplating this, plodding, a sharp scent reached his sensitive nose, and he sniffed with delight. The scent spoke to him; it said food and good and /take/. It pulled him up the tree, leading him unerringly to the perfectly ripe fruits that dangled from a branch. Two of them - a treasure! His stomach grumbled in anticipation as he grabbed them and leapt to the ground. Food! Food - then Urquat.
But the big one took his food.
A very primal and deep-seated rage built up in him. He would kill the big one. Then kill the strange thing, and lead the brood mare to Urquat!
The big one resisted, however, and he had to fight hard. He was thrown to the ground by the big one nonetheless, and the big one reinforced his victory with a blow to the back. The big one smelled very strongly, now, of victory and leader and /dominance/.
These scents spoke to him, as well. He had been wrong. The big one was correct in whatever it was doing. That big one must know things that he did not, and he had been wrong to doubt. The smell told him all.
Instinct once again came to his aid. He knew how to act with someone who smelled like the big one. He crawled on his hands and knees, broadcasting his submission in his own body language and scent.
The big one was pleased. The big one let him eat - two handfuls, no more, before taking the food back. It was his share. He showed his gratitude by grooming the big one.
The big one trilled his pleasure. Yes, this felt right. He would follow the big one.
Reed was ravenous. It had been two days of intense activity, after all, with nothing to eat but two handfuls of the wriggling larvae that lived in that rotting fruit. He quickly turned his mind to something, anything else. The last thing he needed was to vomit up nothing but bile from his empty stomach.
His anatomy was the most obvious distraction. He still had traces of amphibian - gills that had not fully closed on the sides of his face, scales on his sides, a too-soft belly. Maybe he should go for a swim and see if those gills were functional... No, that would be a loony prospect even if they had something as ridiculous as a pool on a starship. This transitional state was just wrong. Maybe he could nap until he was fully human again.
But he still could smell/, and he doubted he could sleep with the riot of scent that surrounded him. It was amazing - like a spectrum of colors that he had never known existed before. Phlox smelled kind and patient, a smell of /care and /concern/, and every one of his creatures, despite being kept in almost too-meticulously clean cages, had a distinctive musky reek. He could even smell Hoshi's female tang, and she had left an hour ago.
Another scent assaulted him before he even heard Sickbay's doors open. Assaulted was the only word; it was a powerful scent, one that smelled like alpha - and now, god help him, like /captain/. He got to his feet slowly, trying to compose his face into something halfway impassive.
Archer spoke to him - something about him and Hoshi, something about sleep, something about taking the day off. Those were just words. They did not speak as loudly and powerfully as the smell of Archer - the smell of dominant and leader/. Reed's stomach plummeted to the area of his ankles as he realized something else - Archer was still half-Loque'eque. He could smell every bit as well as Reed - and Reed knew that he would be smelling of /submission and want and /yield/.
Archer's hand on his arm was too close, too tight, too demanding, and Reed felt all too willing to submit. He broke the contact and hurried out of Sickbay, fighting that scent. God help him, he wanted the promise of Archer's scent. What had happened to him? He longed for the days of Starfleet cadethood, being one of the young lions, being in charge and competent. This entire mission seemed to have been made to take him down and make him less. Lusting after another man? After his /captain/? He tried to convince himself that it had been only the alien who had enjoyed yielding to Archer, grooming him, being close. That it was only the alien that still remained in him that wanted this intimacy.
He almost managed to.
Once in his room, he shed his clothing and dropped it unceremoniously in a pile on the ground before stepping into the shower. He gave himself a blast of cold water from the showerhead and then shut it off, grabbing a handful of soap, lathering himself, scrubbing hard, trying to peel off the alien features that remained, as if his longings would go down the drain with them if he only /scrubbed hard enough/.