Interlude: Shannon
By Cecily Hawkins

Summary: Alex and Shannon have a late-night rendezvous by the pool.

Disclaimer: This is a not-for-profit fanfic containing characters inspired by copyrighted characters. No damage is intended. This story most certainly contains a same-sex romantic and sexual relationship. This is set within the series Of Mars and Moon but is not firmly tied to the main
chronology. And as always, love and kisses to Shandryl. :)

There are those who humorously suggest that I was born playing the violin. None of them, of course, are truly suggesting that the scroll of a Stradivarious was scraping my mother's insides as I made my entrance into the world. But they do believe that it must have been easy for me, must have come naturally the first time I picked up the instrument. That was not the case.

But I do believe that I was born to the water. Again, not literally underwater; the fad of waterbirthing would be years in coming. But something in me was more comfortable splashing in the shallow basin of my bath than cocooned in my baby blankets, something that lay not
quite asleep until I was at last old enough to be taught to swim.

The university controls three swimming pools: two indoor and one outdoor, although the latter is closed for the season. All are long enough for laps. No one else has sought this one out so late at night. I slip into the cool waters and watch as the ripples of my presence spread across what had been a still and reflective surface. Only when the swells have evened do I move again.

The pool my parents first brought me to was shallower than this, of course, and I was ringed around with flotation devices and watched very closely to be sure I would not dissolve. I was too young, they were certain, to attempt to swim on my own. But one night I was alone in the pool, as I am now, while my father conversed with an acquaintance of his at the poolside. I wriggled my way free of the brightly colored inflated plastic that held me out of the water and promptly sank.

That was when I knew that the water was my true home.

Swimming was as effortless as some imagine my music to be. I experimented with different ways to move my arms and legs, watched how they affected my body's passage through the liquid. I came up for air when necessary but mostly worked my way underwater towards the deep end, with little splash to alert my distracted father. I was several feet down examining the lights placed in the walls of the pool when he realised I was gone. He hooked me like a fish and pulled me up with a long rod placed on the wall for just such lifesaving purposes. It took many minutes to reassure him that I had not drowned. It was the first time I had ever seen my father cry, and the shame of it never let him admit the incident had occurred.

Here and now, I make my way from one end of the pool to the other, letting the water flow over and around and into me, seeking out every orifice. It is not so good as the sea, but it is immersion, gentler and deadlier than air, a handless stroking that makes bodies sing with life. I lose track of time in the sway of the currents.

The sound of her footsteps ends my reverie. Her walk is like her self, sharp and distinct, and I know it is she without looking. I kick over to the edge and rest my head on my arms there to gaze up at her, my hair flattening with its newly-restored weight, my legs drifting behind me like a mermaid's tail. She is so gloriously tall. "I thought I might find you here," she says, and the light from overhead is trapped in her hair.

"Care to join me?" I offer, although I know she will not.

She voices no answer, but takes a seat at one of the many tables, propping long legs up in another chair, slipping heeled shoes loose from her feet. I take in the sight of her spare figure and the caress of the water is no longer enough.

She does not rise to greet me as I pad my way from the pool, leaving wet footprints in my wake, but only arches a brow. "Tired?" she teases.

"No," I say, and it is the tone of my voice that draws her from the chair.

Our lips meet, not overly urgent, but needful nonetheless. "Anyone could walk in," she whispers as we come apart.

"I don't care," I reply, and hook my thumb under the strap of my bathing suit, sliding it down my shoulder.

The heat of her palms against my hardened nipples sparks shivers even through the thin wet cloth, and I lean into her, my body pressing dampness into her clothing. Her mouth draws at my neck, tasting the chlorine that I know has seeped into my flesh. "Wanton," she whispers as her lips move to my ear.

"String bean," I murmur in return. It is an old joke, begun when someone mistakenly assumed I was Chinese, and fitting since Alex, besides looking the part, is far more likely to eat greens than I am to eat wontons. I am not a wanton woman, but my partner, although she never denies herself the pleasure, prefers not to initiate matters.

They say the violin is shaped in approximation of a woman, long neck, flared hips, and all. It is a very poor comparison to the real thing, but the play of my fingers over her back is music to both of us. Aha! My fingers discover the outline of a swimsuit under her loose clothing, and I assist her in removing shirt and pants. She is sleek in midnight blue, hip and breast less rounded than mine but exquisitely female.

I maintain control, catching her wrist and drawing her towards a flat pool chair, mindful of the positioning (oh yes! I heard the little gasp, I know who is watching us! And if it is a sin, why do you remain? Let this be your education, little girl.) The chair is not meant for two, but the closeness of our bodies lets it accommodate us.

Her hand steals under the fabric of my bathing suit, cupping the chilled flesh of my breast. Others say my love is cold, but to me, she is always fiery. We communicate in the language of lovers, with soft touches and sighs, wandering lips and fingers. Her mouth fastens on a nipple and I moan as she suckles, greedy as a child. I bury my face in her hair and breathe in the scent of her, then bring her to me for a furious kiss. Minutes pass like this, lost in the wonder of tasting and stroking. I was
not her first lover, I know that, and she has never cared to ask if she was mine, but the magic of *us* overwhelms us still. But desire grows, and attention shifts to other locations.

This is why we are here, on a chair in full view, and not in the pool: Some women's natural lubrication is easily washed away, making underwater lovemaking uncomfortable. I am fortunately not one of them, and the wetness between my legs leaves me trembling until at last her
fingers tease their way in through the leg of my bathing suit, fluttering against the surface and finally pushing into my needy depths. The thrill of exhibitionism adds to our excitement as we thrust into each other, even while that same visibility restricts certain actions - pressed together and still clothed as we are, a passing glance might not realise what was happening between us, but my head between her legs would be too obvious for this game. As I shudder and cry out, I wonder what our audience thinks of our show.

At last we relax, my head on her chest, our toes touching. The pool is still and silent. I suspect our visitor has crept away.

"Your hair is wet," she comments after a time.

"Yes," I say, and stand. The pool is only a few steps away, and I dive in, the cool shock of water driving the languor from my body. I surface to wink at her. "Tired?"

This time, this time she joins me. We splash at each other, laughing like carefree children.

This is what I was born for.

[Author's note: Just wanted to take some time off Terry and Shaye's issues for a little love fest. What do you think? Which couple do you like better, Terry/Shaye or Alex/Shannon? Or some other mix-and-match? GIVE FEEDBACK!]

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