Of Mars and Moon: To Boldly Go
by Cecily Hawkins
Disclaimer: This is a not-for-profit fanfic containing characters inspired by copyrighted characters. No damage is intended. This story will contain same-sex romantic and sexual relationships. This is number 12 in the series Of Mars And Moon. Each entry takes place in one day. And yes, that was the airdate of Dark Frontier. Love and kisses as always to Shandryl for beta-reading these things. :)
Her slippers muted the slap of her feet against the cold marble floor - once flawless, now covered with the dust of the thousand chips and flakes that hailed from above. Reflected ghosts in the mirrored walls paced her as she ran, distorted by the spiderweb of fractures forming in the glass. "Princess," Arete rasped. "Princess!"
Chantrea stood before the throne, her lips drained of color, her skin as pale as the snow of damaged crystal that settled in her hair. Her eyes were only for the empty seat.
"Princess, we must go now," Arete insisted, and yet not daring to lay hand upon her ruler, her beloved. "The battle is lost. We must regroup."
"Must?" Her face cracked open to echo the word. "You dare to tell me what I must do?" But even these words were passionless.
"I am acting on your mother the Queen's orders."
"We all acted on her orders. And look where they got us."
"If anything is to survive, we must fall back. We have to follow the plan, we can still save something!"
"I have nothing left worth saving."
"Maybe you don't, but I do!" Arete flared. "I can't let you die."
"You have no trouble letting other people die," Chantrea said, without even a hint of recrimination. "Let me go too."
At last, anger sharpened her features, chilled her voice. "As your superior, I order you to leave."
Arete's fist slammed into her jaw. She slumped against the darker woman, felled by one punch. Arete gathered the girl into her arms, mourning at how much lighter the body had become in recent weeks. "You're lucky I don't take orders worth a damn," she whispered, but the tears made her words hard to understand. If there had been anyone left to listen.
Terry rolled her head back and around on her shoulders, trying to work the stiffness out of her neck. The thick textbooks of Electricity and Magnetism had done their best to yank her spine out of alignment, and as usual she found herself with barely enough time to check her email and chug a soda before staggering to her next class. It was a good thing, she reasoned, that she had bought the tickets the day before.
It had been Shannon's doing, really. The Asian girl had apparently developed omniscience along with her violin skills, for she had managed to cross Terry's path during the day and mention a performance that seemed perfectly suited for Terry and Shaye's "date". A woman known as Mehal, trained originally in the Lucknow gharana of kathak, would be giving an exhibition of original dance - all of which meant to Terry only that there would be dancing, there would be music, it would be cultural, and it would be classier than a night at the movies. Since Shannon was going, it was presumably high-quality stuff, whatever exactly that stuff was.
With the rush of Wednesday classes, she had no time now to worry about what the evening might hold, or what her dreams meant... It was not the first time there had been hints of sorrow in those nocturnal imaginings. But before, the sense of loss had been distant, a faint wistful sadness on the fringes of memory. This latest dream had been filled with a terrible despair held only just under control, and never before had Terry been so glad to wake and free herself from the mind of her dream-self. Only nerves, she had assured herself as she lay in bed that morning. Nervous about this new relationship that you're plunging into with a girl whose motives you can't quite fathom. Simple as that. And she had resisted the urge to rush straight into Shaye's bedroom and hold her tight and never let her go.
She deleted mailing-list chatter and forwarded spams to the appropriate abuse addresses, then logged out and stood, preparing to rush out of the lab. At the edge of her vision she noticed the terrible bruising on the face of a girl entering - then stopped and focused on what she'd seen. That wasn't a bruise. Something dark was smudged on the girl's forehead. Terry examined the next few entrants. There. Dark smears in the shape of a cross. Was it Ash Wednesday? She reviewed her limited religious knowledge and conceded that it was probably the right time period for it. But if Lent was beginning, did that mean that her date and any other activities with Shaye were off? The blonde hadn't said anything about it.
The glare from a redheaded young man reminded her that a crowded computer lab was no place to stand and daydream, and she had a class to get to. Terry shouldered her worries and headed off.
February 17, 1999
Poor Terry. I've turned her world so upside down. She's nervous all the time when she sees me looking at her, she drops things and stammers and bumps into walls. And when she doesn't see me looking, she's watching me with this wonder in her eyes, like I'm a soap bubble hovering in the air that hasn't popped yet or something. I guess that's a silly thing to say, but, like, she's not sure if she dares to believe what's happening. Or something. Me, I feel great. It's not so much that I'm really in control of what's going on as that no one else is either. I feel so free. It's like flying, I'm just going to follow this path as far as it goes.
I wonder if this is what it was like for Mom when she pushed her way into Father's life?
I'm not my mother, really I'm not. But it's weird how in one way I'm totally running away from the rules of my past and at the same time behaving just like it. I mean, I don't want to go back to the church, but I'm definitely following God and the dreams He sends me. And I'm putting myself and my beliefs on someone else which is kinda-sorta like Mom except that Terry's not a guy.
"Guy" almost looks like "gay", doesn't it?
It's weird. It's easy for me to think about touching her now, about kissing her, about being with her. But I can't think the words. "Lesbian"? I'm just me, I'm not a label. The first time I saw Alex and Shannon together, all I thought was that they were "gay". And strange. I didn't consider that there could be anything more than friendship between normal girls. Arete and Chantrea, in my dreams, I thought they were just friends. It wasn't until I read that story, about Raye loving Serena even if she didn't dare act on it, that I understood what my dreams were really saying. I didn't understand myself until I saw myself in someone else's words.
God can't be against women with women, or He wouldn't have brought me to Terry. And if I'm misunderstanding, He'll tell me so.
I do believe in God. I don't know what I feel about the church. There's definitely things wrong with it. But is it wrong for me to turn my back on it completely? I thought about giving up church for Lent, but that's kinda backwards, as there's no point to Lent if I'm not... oh, nevermind. I don't want to give anything up. I just started my life. I did make pancakes for dinner last night. I don't know where that tradition comes from, but I like pancakes, and not having them just because it's Shrove Tuesday makes as little sense as having them just because it is, so I may as well.
We're going out tonight. She showed me the tickets but I don't even remember where. I don't care. It doesn't matter what we do, I'm sure it'll be exciting. I think she might be in love with me. I know she likes me, and I like her. I don't think I love her. Not really. But I haven't known her very long and I haven't even known that women were an option for very long and I don't know if my mother really knew what she was doing when she set out after Father either, but if you just hold onto it and try and see, maybe it works, maybe it doesn't, and what more can you ask for than that? All the signs are saying that this is what I'm meant to do. No. No, I don't want this to be about destiny and my mission. But it doesn't make sense not to do it just because it's what my dreams say either. Oh, drat. Nothing makes sense when I think about it. I just want to see what happens, I don't want to make plans and reasons anymore. Go Nike. Just do it.
The Reynolds Theater was many times larger than the Baldwin, and as such only rarely showed student-produced events. More usually it played host to small touring companies of music, drama, and dance from a variety of ethnic and artistic traditions. Not the Broadway shows or the immensely popular headliners, but the performances that "cultured" people attended - or people from the appropriate artistic departments of the university, or those whose classes required them to go. It had a lobby with a real ticket window and walls lined with benches and modern art. Patrons milled about in the usual college concert of everything from students in flannel and jeans to old women with rhinestones and faux fur.
Something of the innocently shining young girl remained in Shaye's appearance. Sweater and skirt, as she'd so often worn before, but this skirt ended just above her knees, and the little pink sweater was unbuttoned over a white shirt and beaded necklace. If she still wore the cross on the golden chain, it was out of sight beneath her clothing. Two glittering star-shaped hair clips held the honeyed lengths away from her face. The blush that tinged her cheeks might either have come from a compact or from the excitement of the occasion; it was hard to tell. Terry, for her part, had allowed Shaye to pick her attire and fuss over her appearance before they left the apartment. She wore a wine-colored long-sleeved blouse and black pants snug at the hip, loose at the ankle, which along with the heeled black shoes lent her much impression of slender height.
No one looked twice at the pair they made, no disapproving eyebrows were raised when Terry handed over their two tickets to the usher and received programs in return. They made their way down the sloping aisle to their seats and settled in to stare at the curtain hanging over the stage. Terry fumbled with the programs, managed to drop them while trying to hand one to Shaye, leaned over to grab them from the floor, and bumped her head into the exposed skin of Shaye's leg. The blonde laughed. Terry flushed and righted herself. "Sorry."
Shaye reached for her hand and gave it a little squeeze. "Don't worry about it," she smiled. And brought their hands to rest together on the arms between their seats.
"Sorry," she repeated, having trouble meeting the other's eyes. "It's just..."
Shaye pulled her hand away. "You know, if you don't say what you're really thinking, how are we supposed to communicate?"
"If I just said anything that was on my mind all the time, I'd get in trouble for being rude and insensitive."
Shaye scoffed. "Haven't we said enough shocking things to each other already? Give me a little credit. What were you going to say?"
Still wary, "I was thinking that one minute you were a raving fundamentalist and the next you were going out with me, and it was a bit much to handle, but that it wouldn't be polite to say it."
"What's so funny?"
"The way you tiptoe around everything trying not to upset me all the time. You - " she poked Terry in the arm " - need to loosen up."
"And you're an expert in that?"
"I'm getting there." She smiled serenely.
Terry felt the tension ease out of muscles that had been wadded up in nervousness for far too long. "I suppose it is a little silly."
"Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show."
At last the lights dimmed and the curtain rose. The stage was bare of all but a single hunched figure. Stagelights rose to reflect off glossy black hair with hints of midnight blue. Softly, a woman's voice began to sing, a liltingly foreign melody that stroked slowly over tones not given to Western scales, and the dancer stood. Her hair was the black of the night sky, winking with stars, with silver ornaments woven in. Her skin was pale for an Indian, but her features, the shape of her chin, the definition of her nose, were refined and exotic. Her fingers, long and slender, flicked outwards in a gesture that welcomed the audience, invited them into her space. A low-cut top of dark blue edged with silver covered her breasts and arms but left her midriff bare. A gathered skirt fell past her hips and leggings beneath it came near to her ankles. Strips of leather hung with bells were woven over her bare feet and up her legs to her knees.
Her first gestures were stylised, precise, and left Terry with the sensation of watching mime in a gestural language that she could not understand. But as the beat of a drum joined the voice of the singer, the dance became fluid, motion carrying across the stage, whirling and posing to words that were no less foreign but somehow almost carried sense. The pace quickened, the beats came closer and closer together, and the furious stamping of the dancer's feet made the tintinnabulation of the bells she wore sound like rainfall. And then the number ended, and the cycle began again.
It went on like that, each dance telling a story, and Terry strained her eyes in the dim light to make out the accounts of Rada and Krishna that the program explained the dance portraying. But then, so faint that she couldn't be sure, she thought she heard something that was no part of the performance. A thump, far distant overhead, and a whooshing sound that she couldn't relate to anything. Some sixth sense itched with curiousity, and without a word of explanation to Shaye she stood and slipped out of the theater.
Outside, the February night was dark and cold, invigorating after the hypnotic Indian music. Terry rubbed her arms and blew out a huff of warm breath. There! A thud, from... the roof? She looked up but was standing too close to the building to see anything at all. Terry took a few steps backwards, craning her neck to see. For a moment, she thought she glimpsed a person standing on the roof. Asian, like Shannon, but in a tiny little skirt that showed off better legs than she'd ever thought Shannon possessed. Unfortunately at that moment she backed directly into a potted plant, set outside to beautify the campus, and after regaining her balance, the mysterious figure was no longer in view. She waited a few moments, but nothing happened.
The glass doors of the building squeaked open from within. "Terry?" Alex's head poked out curiously. "What are you doing out here? Aren't you supposed to be on a date?"
Terry grinned. "Yeah. I am." A real date with the girl of her dreams. Who would have imagined it would come to this? She dismissed the rooftop trespasser from her mind and went back in to enjoy the rest of the performance.
The show had ended. They had driven home. Entered the apartment. Closed the door. And stood there, looking at each other.
"So," Shaye said.
"So," Terry returned.
"Um. There's a perfectly good couch right there. I'm going to sit down." And she did.
Terry hesitated a moment. "Good idea." She followed suit.
They sat there.
"Um," Shaye said intelligently. "TV. Yes." She hopped up, turned on the set, and plopped back into her seat. The tall blond Seven of Nine was speaking, backed by the interior of a Borg cube. "I intend to rejoin the Collective."
"I can't let you do that," Captain Janeway replied.
"You have no choice," Seven said.
The shorter woman aimed a phaser rifle at her personal Borg. "Keep moving. That's an order!"
A forcefield flickered into reality between them, and Borg drones began moving in. "Go!" Seven pleaded.
But Shaye's attention was not on the science fiction confrontation. She laid a hesitant hand against Terry's cheek, skin lightly brushing skin.
Terry smiled. "Let me." She leaned forward for a gentle, lingering kiss, promising without demanding. Their lips parted wetly, and Terry brought her fingers up to trace down along the side of the other girl's neck. Shaye shivered. "You like that?"
"I think so."
Terry was in her element now. She stroked the other side of her neck, feeling Shaye tremble beneath her touch. "You have such sensitive skin." She brushed back the blond hair, fingertips teasing the rim of her ear.
Her breathing was quick and shallow. "I never knew..."
She lowered her head and flickered her tongue against the flesh beneath Shaye's jaw, enjoying her gasp. "Do you want me to stop?" she whispered.
"No," Shaye groaned.
Terry let her fingers contruct a curve down along Shaye's collarbone, dipping just barely beneath the cloth of her shirt. "What do you want?"
"I want you to touch me," she murmured.
"Then kiss me."
This time the meeting of their lips was intense, practice having taught each the rhythms of the other. Shaye gladly welcomed Terry's tongue into the warm depths of her mouth, raking her fingernails against Terry's back, pulling them together, needing more. Terry stroked the blond head, her hand bumping over the starry hairclips. The fire of urges long denied was burning in her blood, and she pressed the younger girl against the sofa cushions with the power of desperate wanting. They parted for air, hands meeting as Terry pushed Shaye's pink sweater off her arms, as Shaye's hands fumbled open the buttons of Terry's blouse, both finally having to sit up and pull apart to properly remove clothing. Terry slipped the wine-colored fabric onto the floor and paused, hands behind her back, watching Shaye pull the white t-shirt over her head. The beaded necklace was dragged halfway up to her nose as the shirt came off, and then slapped back down against the golden chain of the cross which rested on her skin. Only the silky pink bra remained to support and hide her breasts. Terry's heart caught painfully at the sight of them, the warmth crying out to be cupped and caressed and tasted. She hesitated, reminded by that innocent pink of how much risk she was taking with an unschooled girl.
"Don't stop now," Shaye hissed.
"Are you sure?"
"I don't want to stop."
With trembling fingers Terry unhooked her own black bra and threw it to the floor like a challenging gauntlet. Shaye's followed it. Blushing pink nipples rose stiffly from beautifully rounded flesh.
Again they came together in a kiss. Both gasped as one at the near-electric shock of their bare chests meeting for the first time. Hands stroked backs, lips tasted earlobes, experiencing, delighting. The exquisite pain of sexual need shot through them like lightning, screaming with urgency. Shaye felt as though her head could explode at any minute from the fury of simple kisses and touches, and yet she knew there was more to be discovered, and eagerly awaited the moment when...
The phone shrilled.
They separated, breasts heaving as they fought for air, for control. It took another ring for Terry to relearn the English language and stammer, "I'm getting it," before scrambling still-topless away to her room to answer the phone.
As her pulse returned to normal Shaye became aware of her undressed state and, cold, folded her arms over her breasts.
On the screen, the captain and the first officer of Voyager faced off over the issue of their lost lamb. "She's had any number of opportunities to leave before now," Janeway insisted.
"But never direct access to a Borg vessel," Chakotay reminded her. "'I will betray you.' That's what she said two years ago when you disconnected her from the hive."
"Two days ago, she told me Voyager had become her Collective," Janeway said.
Shaye took a slow breath, let it out, willing her hands to stop shaking. The moment was obviously spoiled. It had been incredible - and overwhelming, and overwhelmingly incredible. Wasn't that what love was all about? Getting swept away in the moment? She reached down for her clothes, pulling on the white tshirt and wadding the bra and sweater together to take back to her room. Well, there would be other moments, other opportunities. There was no need to rush.
After all, she wanted her first time to be special.
Contented with the thought of the rewards of patience, Shaye carried her clothing to her room, while not far away, a frustrated Terry held a phone receiver under her ear. She had expected that pushing her luck with the inexperienced blonde would make her change her mind, if anything would. But as usual, with Shaye, she'd gotten more than she'd bargained for. And worked herself up more than she'd meant to. She and the vibrator were going to have to make friends again.
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