Of Mars and Moon: Where No One Has Gone Before
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 13 in the series Of Mars And Moon. Each entry takes place in one day. Love and kisses as always to Shandryl for beta-reading these things. :)
"What have you got there, Esme?" Chantrea leaned over and scooped the blonde toddler into her lap. The girl's pudgy, dirt-stained fingers were wrapped around the stem of a white puffball flower. Muddy smears and bits of grass showed plainly against the fabric of her lacy white dress. "We need to get you some better play clothes before we let you out in the garden next time."
The royal gardens in late spring were a profusion of colors, bordered by white. Creamy honeysuckle blossoms softened the outlines of the walls, while pink-veined starflowers and snowy puffballs twinkled along the curving paths, setting off beds of deep blue hyacinths and fiery tulips. Stretches of verdant grass and ornamental benches like the one on which Chantrea sat completed the picture.
"Flower," Esme proudly proclaimed.
"Yes, it's a lovely flower, precious." Mischief twinkled in her eyes. "And what do we do with those flowers?"
The little girl squeezed her eyes shut, puckered her lips, and blew. A cloud of white motes detached themselves from the flower and floated through the air to settle on the dark hair of Chantrea's companion.
The princess giggled.
"Laugh all you want," Arete frowned, slapping at her hair to brush the seeds away. "Just wait until you find something slimy in your bed."
"Artie mad?" questioned the toddler, enormous blue eyes pleading.
"No, sweetie, you're just fine," Arete reassured her.
"Yeah, she knows who's boss around here," Chantrea grinned.
"Someday this little bundle of sunshine is going to be your superior. My second-in-command."
The dark woman frowned. "This innocent child, a warleader?"
"There won't -be- any war." She smoothed Esme's hair. "I believe we can end the cycle of violence. There's enough for everyone, there's no reason for anyone to be in need, in suffering. Someday, this little child of love will be all the warleader we need."
"And what will I do then?" Arete asked, only half-joking.
Chantrea dimpled. "You'll tend to my personal needs, of course!"
"Brat!" Esme crowed, snatching the silver circlet from Chantea's head and waving it about.
"Hey!" the princess yelped.
"No, no, sweetie," Arete coaxed. "Give the nice lady back her crown." She pondered. "Or not so nice lady."
Chantrea pouted. "Can I have it back, precious? Then you can go play in the grass some more."
The little girl considered, then brightened. "Okay." She set the circlet carefully in Chantrea's hand, then wriggled and slid off her lap, scampering away from the bench.
Arete watched her fondly. "If I had been brought here as young as she was, do you think your mother would have dandled me on her lap?"
The princess was carefully setting the argent band back in place. "If she had, you probably would have yanked all of her hair out."
"She's so much like you."
"Who? My mother?"
"No. Esme. You'd almost think you were related." Arete eyed her warily. "You haven't run off and had a child while I wasn't looking?"
"I think you would notice," Chantrea teased, and leaned over for a kiss.
The longer she lived at Terry's apartment, Shaye mused, the smaller the guest bedroom felt. Perhaps it was the exposure of the large windows that made the tiny room uncomfortable, perhaps it was the lack of personal decorations on the walls. In any case, lingering there, as she was now, felt cold and lonely. Not like the welcoming warmth of the areas they shared together.
The dreams were becoming more vivid, so much so that Shaye sometimes expected to open her eyes and find herself in the gown of the princess. She hadn't told Terry yet about those nighttime images with such familiar faces. Would she laugh? She was certain of it, now, that the women of her dreams were lovers. Too bad, she added with a smile, that they hadn't seen fit to intruct her in how to go about it.
Although she had told Terry that Alex and Shannon's interlude at the pool had given her an education, there really hadn't been too much that she could see, from her hidden position behind the door. They had lain together on the pool chair in bathing suits, yes, but what exactly they had done with each other to cause the sounds that she had heard she was unsure of, and how exactly it had felt she had no idea. Her brief encounter of two nights past had left her with only the desire for more, not a clear notion of what more meant. And with the rush and press of schoolwork, she and Terry had traded no more than a few kisses in the time between. Now, with the freedom of the weekend, would they continue further down that path?
Shaye examined herself in the mirror that hung on the back of her bedroom door. She did not look like a woman expecting to be seduced. She looked like a young girl who had only just begun to dream of her prince on a white horse. "Someday my prince will come," she thought to herself with a touch of humor. "Who needs a prince?"
Her hands rose to cup her breasts, soft and inviting through the fabric of her shirt. She gave them a tentative squeeze, watching the fleshy swells of her reflection coming together and apart. Would it feel different when it was someone else's hands? In a flash her body remembered the exhilerating contact of skin and skin from that night on the couch, and her nipples rose and fought to escape from their restraints. Would Terry kiss her breasts? She was sure she had seen Alex do so to Shannon. Cautiously one hand drifted down to her stomach and hesitated there, afraid even on her own to contemplate what lay beyond. Would it hurt? It was supposed to hurt the first time, she had heard, but that was with a man. Did it really count, with a woman? Would it hurt very much?
"Are you ready to go?" Terry's voice called from the apartment proper. "Shaye?"
She shook herself free of the dreaming. One thing at a time.
First she had to get through the day's classes. Then she could see what the night would tell.
They had ridden the same bus between classes again that morning. Terry had struggled to contain a blush each time the jostling of the road brought their hands in contact, ducking her eyes away from the knowing smile on the bright face of her companion. The church mouse had become a bewitching vixen almost overnight, leading Terry along with enticements whose promises alternately thrilled and terrified her. There had not yet been a time to follow up on those temptations, but the weekend loomed overhead, and this time, there would be no bluffing...
Terry trembled with anticipation and wiped her sweaty palms on the legs of her jeans.
"Is something wrong?"
"No, no, nothing." She forced herself to refocus on the screen before her. "Okay, so this function has to accept a generic node, see? The traversal will take you through both internal and leaf nodes. You don't know at this point which kind you're on, you won't know that until you get there," she pointed to a line of code. "They're both children of the generic, it will work fine."
He nodded, reluctantly, and she held her breath, hoping that this time he would accept her advice and not demand that she begin all over again with the explanation. This was the student whose call pleading for a face-to-face conference had interrupted... what it had, that night. Playing games with Shaye was a clear mistake. The girl had proved more than once that she was not just an innocent girl, that she knew what she was getting into, and had made an informed choice. The next time they started something, she had to be prepared to follow through.
Concentrate! she scolded herself, and turned an indulgent smile on the student. "Yes?" she coaxed, doing her very best to appear interested and concerned with his mindless, same-as-every-single-other-year programming problem and not to think about sex, no sex, no no no...
A smile broke gradually across his face. "I think I can take it from here."
She muffled the sigh of relief. "Okay. Let me know if you have any more questions." The parting line slipped out reflexively, but it was her job, after all.
Terry slipped away to her own computer, letting her spine relax into the lab chair. A series of deep, measured breaths, and she felt almost capable of facing the world without her heart lurching with desire.
And she would have to be clear-headed. Intelligent decision or no, Shaye was almost certainly a virgin. That put the responsibility of the "first time" squarely on Terry's shoulders. She would be expected to be suave and seductive, cool and in control. She would have to be careful never to make Shaye feel self-conscious, never to imply that she was doing anything "wrong." There would be no room for her own insecurities in that fantasy. But she owed that to Shaye, for making her dreams come true: a perfect first experience, one that any girl could treasure forever.
And then... and then she would learn to accept that she had a real girlfriend, and not just a little fling. She would have to learn to believe.
Believing, she thought with a smile, was something Shaye was good at.
She shook her head and tried to lose herself in websurfing, only to find herself wandering through Valentine's websites. With a silly grin, Terry noted all sorts of romantic suggestions. A true relationship deserved every bit of it, even if they had just slightly missed the holiday. Who needed a Hallmark holiday to be thoughtful, anyway? She hummed a little tune to herself as she paged through recipes and flowers and outings and ways to build lasting memories.
Faint notes tugged at her ear, contrasting with the melody in her mind.
Curious, Terry stood and moved over to the window, peering out into the little back parking lot where only a few weeks ago she and Shaye had sat with candles under the stars. A small knot of people was clustered around a dark-haired figure with a violin - Shannon? Wearing pants? Now that was a first. The elegant Asian was unfailingly ladylike. The choice of music, too, was different than her usual; it sounded like an Irish dance, not a classical sonata. Perhaps it was someone else and her mind was just supplying Shannon because she was the only violinist Terry knew, she was really too far away to tell. But there was a tall blonde standing against a tree with arms folded who could have been Alex ... in a -dress-? There had to be a story there.
She pressed her nose to the window, peering out. Upon closer examination, it was suddenly clear that the performer was holding the violin upside down. The onlookers were tapping their toes with interest, but didn't yet look impressed. The mad player whipped the instrument off of her shoulder and stuck it between her legs from behind, continuing to bow at high pace. Now the audience laughed and applauded. But the show wasn't over yet. As the musician returned the violin to its usual position, the blonde tossed a round yellow object in her direction. It landed on the player's foot, and was flicked up into the air, where it returned to the side of the outstretched foot and was tossed again. The performer kept it bouncing like a hackysack, all the while playing a furious jig as the circle of viewers clapped to the beat.
A pale face moved into the edge of Terry's vision. Without quite turning, she managed to get enough of a glimpse to recognise Justine. The colorless skin that had previously struck her as porcelain now seemed weary, shadowed, and she remembered Karl's concern about this girl. "Good, isn't she?" she offered as a conversational opening.
Well, they were off to a smashing start. "Wish I could do something that well."
Terry repressed a sigh and decided to drive straight to the heart of the matter. "So, you and Alan are dating."
"I thought I saw you together last weekend."
Justine shrugged noncommittally. "What's it to you?"
She sought a reasonable excuse and found that the truth would serve perfectly. "He's in the class I TA for. There was some suspicion raised about one of his assignments. I don't really know him, I thought maybe you could tell me about him."
"You wanted me to tell you whether or not he was likely to cheat?"
"Well, you could put it like that, I guess."
Justine stared blankly out into the sunlight that cast no warmth on her. "I don't know him at all."
Terry followed her gaze back outside, to the performer who had traded her violin for the hand of the blonde. They stood there, the happy couple, each half complementing the other, yin and yang.
When she looked again, Justine was gone.
Shaye scraped a match against the side of the box, tilting the little glass jar to the side so that she could catch the wick with the flame before singing her fingers. A quick breath put the match out, and she flicked it into a wastepaper basket as the cinnamon smell of the candle began to mix with the smoke.
She was alone in the apartment. Terry had brought them home, then gone out again with a vague explanation of "needing to run an errand." Shaye was left with only a nerve-wracking anticipation that kept her too distracted to focus on any activity. Even television couldn't hold her attention. A few minutes into a program she'd find herself pacing the hall again.
Should she cook, or should she assume that Terry was fetching dinner? Should she change into more provocative clothing, or pretend nothing was happening? She satisfied herself with a skirt and button-down blouse, which had the dual features of looking quite proper if nothing happened and allowing easy access if something did. For the apartment itself, the scented candle was a nice touch of atmosphere, but believably innocent as well.
Shaye fidgeted, sitting on the edge of the couch, leaning forward, wound up with tension. You're being silly, she scolded herself. You don't know anything will happen tonight. Besides, would Chantrea be this nervous? The thought of the princess opened inside her like sweet sunshine, filling her with warmth and happiness. She relaxed into her seat with a smile. Life was good.
She heard the door open and close, then the jingle of keys being stowed. A rustling of bags. "Hey, beautiful," called Terry's voice, "can you come and give me a hand?"
Beautiful. Shaye glowed. "What have you got there?" she asked, rounding the sofa.
"Food." She held out one brown paper bag, keeping another to herself, then sniffed the air cautiously. "You didn't bake, did you?"
"No, that's just a candle." Shaye accepted the bag and took a curious peek inside, but could see nothing for the paper wrapping of the items inside.
"Be patient," Terry smiled. "I got us both the same thing. Put one at each place."
Shaye nodded and carried her burden to the table, as Terry ducked into the kitchen to set down the bag she still held. Shaye pulled out two roughly rounded objects, sandwich-sized, wrapped in unmarked white paper, and set them down. "Plates?" she called, but Terry was already returning with two plates and two brown glass bottles. Shaye eyed the drinks warily. "Is that... alcohol?" She wasn't entirely sure that drinking was wrong anymore, but this wasn't the night she had planned to start.
But Terry only laughed. "Root beer. IBC." She placed them on the table and popped the caps off, one at a time, with a bottle opener. "You can unscrew this kind if you try, but I think bottle openers are more fun."
"Oh," she relaxed. "So what else did you get?"
Shaye let her lip stick out a bit in what she hoped was a charming pout, then spread her skirts and sat demurely, folding her hands on her lap.
"Good girl," Terry teased, taking her seat. "Now you can open it."
Shaye paused only a moment with her eyes closed to think a silent grace over the meal. Then she peeled apart the paper wrapping to discover a bagel. A bagel sandwich, to be precise, with something pink in it. "What is it?"
"Salmon and cream cheese with lemon and pepper, lightly toasted," Terry said, opening her own. "Go on. Try it."
Shaye lifted the bagel and took a hesitant bite. Chewed. Pondered. Swallowed.
Terry watched her over her own raised sandwich, waiting for a reaction before she tucked into her meal. "Well?"
Shaye smiled. "Good."
Terry relaxed and began to eat. Neither one seemed in any hurry to get past the meal, lingering over bites, casting meaningful glances across the table as hands slipped around the slick-smooth bottle necks. At last Shaye wadded up the paper wrapping on the center of her plate. "Done?"
"Not quite," said Terry, and returned to the kitchen and the second bag, which Shaye had assumed held only the drinks. She came back with two more paper envelopes, this time each holding a pastry.
Shaye blinked. "Croissants?"
"Dessert." Terry handed one over.
Shaye bit off an end. Her eyes widened. "Chocolate!"
"I thought you'd approve," Terry smiled. Chocolate-filled croissants were not her favorite food, really, but her romantic reading had particularly suggested them for the connections with the French.
The pastries went much faster than the bagels had.
"Now what?" Shaye asked, fingertips resting on the table like birds about to startle into flight.
Terry chuckled. "What do you mean? Were you expecting something?"
She pinked. "Um."
Terry stacked the dishes and whisked them away with a secretive smile. "Well, I certainly didn't have any immediate plans."
"After all, a good meal deserves time to digest, don't you think?"
"So you should probably find a comfortable place to do that."
Terry disposed of the garbage, set the plates in the sink, and turned, expecting to see Shaye sprawled on the couch with TV remote in hand. But the little blonde was nowhere to be seen. She peeked over the couch to be sure she wasn't on the floor, then down the hall and around into Shaye's open room, no one there, then around to the bathroom, no one there... finally, in confusion, she opened her own door.
The blonde lay stretched out on the bed, her hands behind her head, gazing back at Terry.
She blinked. "Excuse me if I'm wrong, but isn't this my room?"
Shaye smiled serenely. "You said I should find someplace comfortable. This looked like a comfortable place to me."
"And what do you think you're going to do there?"
She arched her back and yawned, wiggling around a bit, her breasts proudly thrust into the air. "Take a nap? Listen to music?"
"Should I leave you to it, then?"
"Stay," she breathed in a low voice that didn't quite suit her.
Terry smiled and crossed the room to her, sitting not on the bed or the floor but the nearby desk chair instead. "You don't have to try so hard."
Shaye propped herself up on an elbow. "What do you mean?"
"Sprawling on my bed, talking sultry... You don't have to lure me in, I'm already here."
"Maybe I'm just tired of waiting," she challenged.
"Well," Terry smiled, "then I suppose we should do something about that."
The breath caught in Shaye's throat. She looked up and up as her dark angel rose from the chair and descended upon the bed, balancing herself upon the edge of the mattress, not quite touching. She could feel the nearness of their bodies radiating, making her tremble deep inside.
Terry brushed the back of her hand against Shaye's cheek. "My beautiful princess," she murmured.
Part of Shaye's mind wondered about that, wondered if it was just normal chivalry to call a girl a princess or if it meant something, if she should really tell Terry about those dreams she'd had, but the rest of her mind was getting quite enthusiastically behind the concept of kissing. In only a few days the action had become natural and easy, and delicious.
They flowed swiftly together down the path they had taken on Wednesday, deep kisses and wandering touches and buttons swiftly undone to bare the tops of breasts. This time, however, Shaye sucked in a shuddering breath as Terry's lips grazed the swells of flesh, as her hands gently coaxed them out of confinement. The tip of a tongue rolled around her nipple before it vanished into the hot, sucking wetness of Terry's mouth. Shaye whimpered at the flood of confusion unleashed, the maternal need to nurture tangled with the desire she could not name. She lay spellbound by sensation as Terry traveled over her skin, stroking and tickling with lips and fingers. This is it, her mind whispered. This is real.
Those were the last thoughts that formed with any clarity before the stimulation carried her away. As if in a dream, she felt the touches on her thighs, sensed their target, but could not react. Then in a heart-stopping bolt those fingers touched her most secret place, and it was all she could do to breathe. The feeling of her wet folds being teased open was so unlike anything she had ever known that she could not connect it with her body at all. She was not aware of any pain or tearing as those fingers penetrated her, was not aware of her own hands pressing relentlessly into the bed beside her, was not truly aware of anything at all.
Terry looked down at her blonde partner with the tiniest of frowns on her face. After crying out and relaxing, prompting her to withdraw, Shaye simply lay there, flushed and gasping, her eyes open but rolled away, staring at nothing. Was this a good sign or a bad sign? "Are you all right?" she ventured at last.
Shaye blinked a few times, flickering her tongue out to wet her lips. "I can't move my hands," she said at last.
Terry looked down to be sure no one was on top of them, but they lay seemingly at peace by Shaye's sides. "What do you mean?"
A hand lifted an inch, holding its stiff position. "My fingers. I can't move them."
Curious, Terry took a hand in her own, heedless of Shaye's juices still coating them. She tugged at the fingers, trying to separate them, but they remained locked in place, and she was afraid she'd cause damage if she pulled harder. "They won't budge."
"Does that mean we did it right?" she said wonderingly.
"I don't know what it means." And I'm supposed to be the one who knows everything here, Terry thought ruefully. Looking down at the dazed expression on Shaye's face, she knew she couldn't expect any reciprocation. Not that it was really necessary, but it would have been very nice to be touched in return.
"My thumb wiggles now," Shaye announced.
"The rest of the feeling will probably come back shortly," she said, trying to sound reassuring. "I'm just going to go wash up."
A few moments in the bathroom and she had removed Shaye's scent from herself. With a sigh, Terry let her forehead fall against the cool surface of the mirror. Had she done right? Was she good enough? There was no chance to start again now.
She returned to the bedroom to find Shaye staring in horrified fascination at a small spot on the sheets. "I'm bleeding," she whispered.
With a pang, Terry suddenly wondered how much sexual education Shaye really possessed. She had sworn she knew what she was doing, but now she looked like nothing but a frightened little girl whose games had gotten out of control. "That happens on your first time," she offered.
"I know but..." Tears brimmed in her eyes. "I thought that only happened with a man."
"Oh, sweetheart..." She rushed to the bed and sat beside her, putting her arms around her. "Do you hurt?"
"No..." But she nuzzled her head onto Terry's shoulders and shivered and cried as they rocked together, cried for the shock and the fear of things that had seemed so simple only a half hour before.
"I'm sorry," Terry was murmuring over and over. "I'm so sorry."
"No," she sniffled. "It was *my choice*."
"I should have made sure you understood what was happening."
"I wanted you." Shaye relaxed into their shared embrace. "I have you," she continued softly. "Next time we'll make it better."
"Next time?" she said with some surprise.
"Unless... unless you don't want me anymore?"
"Oh, princess..." she nuzzled the golden hair. "Of course I want you."
They spent a few silent minutes like that, just holding each other, until at last Terry pressed a soft kiss to Shaye's forehead. "Come on. Let's get you cleaned up."
And they left the bed, hand in hand.
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