Unearthing The Past


Maarten Buitendijk



Disclaimer: I don't own the universe of EVE, CCP does. The characters are mine, though, as I haven't used any of the existing characters from that world except possibly merely mentioning their existence.

A/N: Sorry this took a few days to post, I was very busy at school. It also turned out to be quite long. :) I'm having a bit of trouble keeping the chapters the same length because sometimes there's no good separation, and I hate stopping a scene in the middle of a chapter. So I don't think there's any way around having some 7k chapters, and then have the next one be double that. This chapter is mostly sweet romantic things, but also has more backstory that I myself was amazed to discover about both characters. Heh. I hope it's interesting! Oh, the second half of this chapter has some rather detailed descriptions of a loving, shall we say, consummation of a F/F relationship, so if you don't want to read that feel free to skip it :) But I hope it appeals to some to read it, as it was certainly very easy to write. What can I say, besides that both characters are really interested in the other. Out of my hands, in that respect *smiles*.

There will most likely be a few more slower chapters before the pace of the story really picks up, but I'm hoping to build up enough background and establish characters that the later chapters are that much better for it. Anyways, enjoy!

Also, if anyone wants to request the addition of a character at a later time in the story, please PM me about it and I can definitely consider it.

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to email me at mbuitendijk@gmail.com!

Chapter 4 - Escape Velocity

I woke up to the soft sounds of the holopad alarm going off, feeling wonderful and still utterly bonelessly tired all at the same time. There was a rather solid weight on my chest, soft currents of air moved against my upper chest and neck, and it took my sleep-addled brain a few seconds to figure out what it was. Then it hit me, that was Alecto, and I felt the warm glow of happiness suffuse my being once again at the realization that that had really happened only a few short hours ago. That we loved each other deeply, and the tender, passionate times we had shared earlier. It was by far the best feeling I had ever woken up to. I definitely can get used to this, and quickly , I thought with a smile.

Her soft voice shook me out of my thoughts. “What are you smiling about, Evie?”

I smiled warmly at her, pouring all my significant joy into it. “You, mostly. And this.” I motioned at us with my hand. “I just can hardly believe I'm really here, in your arms, snuggling with you. Having just slept in the same bed with you. It's a bit hard still to completely wrap my mind about it, you know? I mean, it'll get used to it very soon, I imagine. We'll just have to train our confused brains a little, with plenty of conditioning.” I grinned at that.

She met it with one of her own. “Oh, definitely... And now we'll have something to look forward to, for when you get back from Vylade. We'll have to make plenty of time for that, then.” She paused. “Erm, that is if you do come back here?”

I thought about it seriously for a moment, not wanting her to think I wasn't giving it any thought. “I am quite sure I will. Before today I had not decided one way or another, but since I have no firm idea for what institution or company I want to work, yet, considering us , I will definitely try my hand here, first. I mean, on a world this large, especially also counting the adjacent space stations and orbital platforms, there has got to be something . I don't know if I could bear it being away from you constantly... Not when I finally found such amazing happiness in your company, your arms.”

Alecto nodded, clearly relieved. “Good... good. I must admit, it would have been very hard for me otherwise. I am not quite done here, as you know, with my studies I mean, but we could always decide to locate elsewhere after wards if that would suit your prospects better...” She chuckled, somewhat nervously. “But look at me rambling, that is neither here nor there, not today. We have plenty of time to discuss that another time. Let us enjoy what is left of our day, together, as it will be a few weeks, most likely, before I see you?”

“Yes, I was planning on staying at home for about two or three weeks, circumstances allowing. I'll probably look for various employment opportunities in the mean time, at least narrow down the possibilities, find some leads.” I frowned a little myself. “Hopefully that will distract me from missing you too much.”

She grinned. “Yeah. I'll have to study more than usual, keep my mind off of that. I've grown very fond of you quickly, my love. It'll be hell being apart.” She thought for a moment longer. “And you're welcome to stay here any time, if you want to and feel comfortable to, I mean. But if that would be a consideration, otherwise? I know you're not by any means well-off right now, so if you need somewhere to stay while you look for employment, or a place to yourself, you're more than welcome here.” She blushed rather profusely. “I'd like it if you did, even for more than a temporary solution, but I want you to make that choice of your own volition, of course. I just wanted to let you know it was an option, that I did not mind at all... And look at me rambling like that.”

I simply hugged her in response, my throat quite choked with a sudden rush of emotion. “Oh, my love, please don't worry so much. Of course I would love to stay with you, we have known one another for quite some time already, so it is not like we've only barely met and know barely anything...” I kissed her fiercely, conveying once more how much I felt for her. “And it means so very much to me that you'd want me to stay here with you. And when I come back here I will certainly take you up on that, even if only for a little while. It'll be a good exercise, right? See if we can stand being around each other for a long period of time?” I glanced at how closely entwined we were, still. “Though judging by how much time we spend trying to crawl into the other's personal space, I very much doubt that will be an issue. I just love being around you, even if we do our own things. Just the physical presence of you near me is so soothing, makes me so content and happy. It is wonderful, quite happily so.”

Alecto nodded, her eyes slightly moist. “Aw, Evie, you really are the most wonderful, sweetest person I could have the pleasure of knowing. My life already is so much richer, better and more fulfilling for having you in it. I can't wait to see what our future brings. I imagine it will be beyond anyone's wildest dreams, even our own.” She grinned, but her eyes were very solemn. “I promise you that I will do whatever is in my power to make this, ” she gestured between us, “work out over the long run, and I will invest as much of my time, energy and attention in it as I can. That is my promise to you, today.”

I felt salty tears leak down my cheeks at that, trying to contain them but failing to as her words touched something deep inside me. “I will promise you the same. I will be back here as soon as I can be, and of course contact you very frequently in between... And do everything I can possibly do to make sure we can stay together for a very, very long time. I want that ever so badly, and no force in the galaxy will be able to keep us apart for long. I will find some way to get past whatever obstacle is in the way, I swear that to you. I love you so very much, my love, more than I thought it was possible to feel for another person.”

I held her in my arms as she clung to me, and I to her, both of us soaking up the warmth and comfort of our little cocoon under the blankets of her bed. We were entirely sealed off from the rest of the galaxy, right then, and it was just about the two of us, and what we wanted to do. And in that sense, we were the only people who would ultimately decide whether it would work out or not. It was both scary, and incredibly empowering at the same time to really think about that.

I nuzzled her throat with my nose and mouth, wanting to feel her pulse against my lips. After a few more moments we reluctantly parted, knowing we had to get up or we'd run out of time. Alecto tossed the blankets off of our naked forms, the air slightly chilly on my skin as she rolled herself off my body. I gazed at her beautiful form longingly, trying to memorize every last curve of it for the many days I would miss her more than I'd missed anything before in my life. I could see that she was doing the same thing to my body, and we both smiled knowingly when we realized that.

We moved towards the hygiene chamber first, though, to quickly wash up enough for my long trip. There certainly was quite a bit of touching and kissing that happened inside while the water was running, but expediency kept us from letting it get too much out of hand, knowing we would get carried away if we started another round like before. It was a little easier not giving myself a taste of her intoxicating self than trying to pull back in between. I wasn't that good at controlling myself, not yet anyway, and certainly not when it came to resisting my beautiful beloved's many, many charms. Only minutes later we were both scrubbed clean, almost all traces from our earlier activities now gone. Except, that was, the intensely giddy grin I was still wearing every moment since I woke up. She had one, too, for that matter. And I realized that I very much loved doing even this little things with her, that weren't in the least bit arousing, or sexual in nature... Simply washing her lovely form, taking care of those types of things, was as important, if not more so... Her well-being now mattered so incredibly much to me, it took my breath away every time I thought about it. I imagined it would for quite a while longer, until I had completely become used to it. And seeing the way she reverently touched me, rubbed a towel over the curve of my abdomen, or breasts, made me so warm deep inside. It made me feel supremely cared for, and loved, and I promised myself that I would always strive to make her feel exactly like I felt just now, forever, as long as I had breath left in my body.

Alecto giggled, then, and I couldn't help but do the same in response. “Oh, we're terribly in love, are we not? This is going to be a miserable time, being apart. But I suppose it will be bearable in the knowledge it is only for a short time. And I will certainly contact you by video, very often. Maybe right before bedtime, each night?” I grinned suggestively. “I think we need to ensure we have a secure line for that , but it would be ever so satisfying , and I'd hate for you to go without... release... for so very long.”

Alecto bit her lip in response, her mind clearly going to wonderful images. She scowled at me right after. “Oh, you're terrible, now I will have that stuck in my head all the rest of today, and the week probably.” She shook her head with amusement. “Though I certainly wanted the image, so I cannot be that cross with you, after all.”

I grinned at her even more broadly. “I know, that's what I thought. Well, shall we get dressed? I'd love to watch you walk around like that for longer, as you're absolutely gorgeous, and so very comfortable in your own skin that is a joy to watch you move around without clothing on... But I think we need to get ready to leave before we get distracted again. I can't quite afford to miss this shuttle.”

She nodded, and we reluctantly moved to the living room to collect our clothes. I ended up borrowing some of Alecto's more stretchy underwear as mine was not in any condition to comfortably wear. I saw her glance at my previous pair, some indiscernible look in her eyes, and I grinned at her. “Here, keep it. I know you like the way I smell, and it'll give you something to remind me with if you miss me enormously at some given time. And maybe I can keep yours? I would love that.” I blushed rather profusely at the request. So did she, which brought forth another round of mutual giggling. “I guess that answers that!” I added, with a laugh.

“Oh!” I almost shouted. “I had completely forgotten. I brought you something!”

Alecto's expression turned giddy. “You did? Can I see?”

I nodded, retrieving the small bag I had stashed away and handed it to her.

She very slowly, hesitating as if wanting to stretch out the surprise, unwrapped the contents of the package. Her eyes lit up at the sight of the tea, and the small set of flowers. “Oh Evie, that is so thoughtful. I love the flowers, they are my absolute favorite ones! You remembered that from so long ago! And the tea... that is so wonderful of you...” Her hands touched the little chip with the book on it. “Oh, a book... Which one? I love books...”

I grinned at her enthusiasm. “It's the one you were talking about off-handedly before... Investigations and Ruminations of the Ancients .” I watched her hopefully, praying she liked it.

Her first response was simply to tackle me as she flung herself at me like a squirrel jumping for a branch. I very nearly toppled over in surprise, but somehow managed to steady myself. She planted her lips on mine, giving me a very warm, passionate kiss that showed exactly how happy she was. It was exactly what I had hoped for, and it pleased me ever so much that she loved my small gifts to her as much as she did.

“Evelynne, those were the best gifts. It's so touching that you remembered all those things I mentioned ages ago, and would get them on such short notice, just for me. And that book, I've been wanting to read it but hadn't had a chance to buy it myself... so it is absolutely perfect. Thank you so much, you're the best girlfriend in the world.”

Her face blushed fiercely as she said that, realizing that we hadn't really talked about that . It did not bother me in the least, though, and in fact rather pleased me, as I had already thought of her as that, and more even at times. I touched her cheeks tenderly. “Oh, don't be shy, my love. Of course I am your girlfriend, and partner, as you are mine. I think what we share is much deeper to be occupied too much with silly labels... But don't ever be afraid of naming something to me, as it can only ever be good to make the unsaid open and explicit. It is very brave of you, and honest, and incredibly attractive in my eyes. And I love you all the more for it, especially how you can get so flustered sometimes saying these things. It's quite endearing to me.”

She smiled, then, relieved that I felt that way and she had not made it an awkward situation by accident. We each finished dressing, then, and moved into the kitchen to try some of the nearly-forgotten chocolate treats we had made earlier. Alecto also produced a vase for her flowers while I ate one of the utterly decadent tasting chocolates. They were so very rich in flavor, it felt like a bomb went off in my mouth and I moaned rather unceremoniously.

“Ah, you like them?” She grinned at me, of course producing a blush on my face as it always did when she teased me.

I simply nodded, making more approving noises. “This is excellent, they're going to be one of my favorite treats, I think. Today is just a day for first discoveries of many things. New lunch restaurants, new relationships, new treats...” I grinned broadly. “Not necessarily ranked in order of importance, of course.”

“I'm glad you like them. Here, I'll pack them up in a container so you can take them with you, for on the way. You said the trip took a day or two, right?” I nodded. “We might be able to talk here and there through the holopads, but I imagine you'll be exhausted when you actually get to Vylade initially. So maybe no long, special bed-time video conversations for the first day or two.” We shared a knowing grin at that.

“Yeah, that sounds like it'd be a good idea, probably. Also... I share a room with my little sister in all likelihood, so I am not sure if I will be able to do that much, come to think of it. Maybe I can find a time everyone is gone? I'd very much want to, myself, of course.”

She smirked. “I just bet you do. Okay, then, that's settled...” Alecto glanced at the time. “Hmm, it's nearing 5 pm, we should probably head towards your dormitory to collect your other belongings so we can head to the spaceport...” She thought for a moment. “Would you like me to accompany you all the way to the larger one? I don't really have any plans the rest of the day, so it would be my pleasure. I'd like to spend the extra few minutes that'd give me with you, anyway.”

I nodded eagerly. “Oh, yes, that would be lovely. I'll have so much time alone over the next couple days that any company, most especially yours, is absolutely welcome.” I made a face. “I am not looking forward to spending most of my time holed up in lines, and at customs. Ugh, all the red tape drives me crazy sometimes. Way too much bureaucracy in this federation of ours... if you ask me anyway.”

Alecto smiled at me in response. “Oh, you're so wonderfully impatient. I love that about you, dearest Evie. And yes, it also drives me quite insane sometimes, but my people tend to have patience drilled into us from a very young age so I am a bit more... accustomed to it. Which makes your perspective all the more refreshing to me, to be honest. It is quite nice for a change to be around someone who really wants to do things, rather than just being concerned about how to properly go about getting the right clearances.”

We both grinned as she said that. Life at the university certainly was like that in many respects, there were thousands of little rules, tens of thousands even, and you had to get exceptions and fill out forms for absolutely fucking everything you could conceive of, and many things you couldn't. It was infuriating and stupid all at the same time.

I collected the last of my things while Alecto ran quickly into her bedroom. She returned only moments later, her face the picture of innocence. I knew that she had something planned, but I figured she'd show me eventually. Besides, I couldn't imagine it would be anything but good, knowing how utterly mesmerized and in love she was with me. I smiled warmly just thinking about it, about how much more wonderful today was ending than it had begun this morning. It was remarkable how quickly life could turn around for the better, though in our case I guess we had laid the ground work for this day for a few years beforehand.

We left Alecto's apartment our arms, hands and fingers entwined as we walked. We kissed softly while we waited for the elevator, or when doors were a little slow in opening. It was utterly wonderful being with her and I soaked up every moment of it eagerly, storing it for the weeks to come when I would go mostly without it. I would certainly be loved by my family, but it wasn't quite the same need that attention and love met in me, in my mind.

I think a few people glanced at us walking around like the lovestruck pair we were but I could not have cared less if I tried. All I had attention for, eyes for, was her . To be fair, for some of them who had cause to know either of us, it was probably surprising we were suddenly together. Though I did see a few knowing glances, as if others had already suspected we liked each other in this way. That did make me smile. Had we really been that obvious before? Yes, I am actually quite sure we were... I thought. You just didn't want to admit it for a long time .

We reached my room at the dormitory a few minutes after. I opened my door with a finger on the door's sensor pad, letting Alecto in. She looked around the tiny space where I had lived for years with a rather intense scrutiny. Finally, she met my eyes with a smile. “It's certainly not the best place, but I think it kind of suits you in some ways. Very practical and all that. I can easily see you sitting here studying, or reading a book on your holopad. It's quite appealing to me to think about you doing all those things, and I'm glad I got to see this place before you left it, because it was such a big part of your life here.”

I nodded. “Though, really... I don't ever want to live in a space this small if I can avoid it.”

Alecto laughed heartily at that. “Yeah, that part I can understand. Also, I think I've spoiled you on a functional kitchen, have I not?” I nodded it was true. “That's what I thought. I'll make a proper hedonist out of you, yet. It's just a matter of time before you're lounging on a sofa somewhere sipping luxurious alcoholic beverages.” Her eyes twinkled at me as she said that, grinning.

“Yeah, that'll happen around the same time the star here dies... I mean, I don't mind having some luxuries in my life, but yeah... I doubt I will ever turn into one of those people.” I shook my head in mock disgust.

We shared another laugh at that vision, it was truly so incongruous with my nature that it was rather funny to think about. Though I did show her the shower area where I had had so many good times all by myself. I whispered a few highlights into her ear, just to give her mind some inspiration for those lonely nights we would be apart. And from the way her green eyes darkened, it certainly worked. “ That is evil, Evelynne. Though I suppose I can forgive you. But only if you promise to enact a little replay of some of those scenes, just for me, later?” I almost swallowed my tongue when she said that, though it was quite appealing when I thought about it more. And I had agreed to it without even really having thought it through, so certainly some part of me wanted that just as much as she did. That visual, rather explicit in my mind, caused another blush to appear on my cheeks. Alecto grinned my response looking quite pleased with her ability to constantly fluster me.

I collected my bag and we set off once more, towards the shuttle platform on one edge of the campus. I supposed that was one advantage of attending such a major school; having ready access to spaceports right where you lived was quite convenient. For public access, anyway, obviously some of the more elite places for the very rich had their very own landing pads, but that was not quite something I could ever imagine having access to.

As we walked into the large building that housed the security checkpoints for the arriving and departing shuttles I grew increasingly despondent. The realization that very soon I would not see her for quite some time was really dawning now, and I was rather amazed at how much it was affecting me. Oh, hormones... Wonderful little things you are. I smiled a little smile at that. Though, it is certainly stronger for how much I am attached to her already.

A faint trace of it still touched my lips while we were waiting in line “What are you smiling about now?” Alecto sounded amused.

“Oh, well. It is just that it is rather remarkable how quickly your presence, your constant presence, has become quite important to me. Takes a bit to get used to, for me anyway.” I smiled bashfully at saying it so openly.

She hugged me to her and kissed my cheek affectionately. “Oh, Evie. You're so silly sometimes... That is nothing to feel bad or self-conscious about. I know exactly what you mean.” She grinned. “Just better at masking it. I suppose it is a lifetime of habit, coming from a fairly long tradition of mid-level politicians and leaders .”

I smirked a little at that, knowing how she was not that impressed by either general class. Though to be fair, some of her ancestors had sounded quite remarkable, doing quite amazing things even within the rather limited capacity they served in. And her ‘donor' probably had been a rather impressive figure. Not that I am biased about that or anything ... “Yeah, that is probably true. Although I very much appreciate that you're much more open with how you feel when it's just us. I believe I'll have to learn much from you in the art of better schooling what I think and feel in public. It is quite impressive to watch how much control you have.” My voice was a little awed. “It's very admirable, I think.”

Alecto smiled warmly in response to my words. We had slowly moved forward in line to one of the ticket vending machines and she was about to speak before noticing others were waiting on us. I saw her smile a little, instead, shaking her head at herself, before punching in a series of touch commands in that efficient yet rather elegant way so uniquely hers. I enjoyed watching her, simply shaking my head with a smile gracing my features as she raised an eyebrow at me in question.

I checked the time as she finished the transaction. We still had about twenty minutes before the shuttle would start boarding, then another hour or so before the final shuttle would bring me to orbit to dock with the interplanetary transport. I would leave her, then, as the boarding check-point at the main Bourynes VI spaceport was really the final point before you got on board. No more waiting areas after that, just extremely slow ships flying around until we hit the customs checkpoints near the edge of the Nexus constellation before we jumped into the Coriault constellation that contained Vylade. There would most likely be another one right before we docked at the station in the Gallentean capital system. Especially these continually moving transport ships that had been in space for decades were very heavily scrutinized at each point, it was probably too easy for malcontents to otherwise hide on the ships.

She saw my face frown over a little once more, and led me off to a more secluded portion of the waiting area. Sitting down at a small bench she tugged my arm until I first reluctantly, then quickly eagerly folded into her embrace. Hesitation mainly because it was a very busy place, but right now my desire to be close to her, be comforted by her definitely outweighed any shyness I might otherwise feel about very public displays of affection.

I snuggled against her warm body happily, content to forget about what was to come for just a little longer. It was remarkably easy as my senses were once again slowly suffused with experiencing her. Alecto's hugs were so very all-encompassing that it was like the entire world disappeared from around me. She had her lips pressed against my hair, hands tenderly tracing over the skin of my neck. It made me shiver in delight, and I cooed a little into her neck. Definitely my favorite place for snuggling, I thought contentedly.

I heard her growl softly, somewhere from deep in her throat and murmured a questioning. “Hmm?”

Her lips were still on my hair and it was easy to hear her voice even as soft and low as it was. “Oh, someone was casting disapproving glances our way. As if there's anything wrong with showing affection in public. In fact...” Her voice trailed off, and I could clearly visualize her expression as I felt her arms tighten around me almost possessively, pulling me closer against her body.

I certainly didn't object to that, and giggled softly at her reaction. “I love you, Alecto...” I whispered into her neck. “Especially when you get so very rightfully annoyed at people like that. It is very appealing, charming even.” I heard her growl in what I knew to be mock outrage. “Oh, hush, you. I'm just teasing. And you are utterly charming in my eyes, so better get used to me saying that if I want to.”

Alecto chuckled. “Yeah, that's true. I'm just not used to being called that , and from anyone else I would not like it. But it is rather appealing coming from you in a way. I'm sorry I get this way, anyway... I hope I did not make you uncomfortable. I just cannot stand it when people feel like they have to object to someone else showing love , of all things. It is utterly ridiculous.” She mussed my hair a little, affectionately. “But let us get back to enjoyment, there's not enough time in my life to worry about that kind of thing, anyway. Not when I can snuggle with you instead.”

I felt a bit more adventurous than I normally would have in this situation as my face was currently completely hidden, and started nibbling on the silky skin of her neck. She tensed ever so slightly, and I could feel her breath deepen in response. I didn't really want to escalate this , of course, not here, but it was so very hard to resist nibbling the soft, so very sensitive skin that was right there , and I did not care to try. I was just happy nuzzling into her like that, hearing tiny little gasps only barely audible underneath the sound of her breath as I tested her control rather significantly.

We were sadly interrupted only minutes later by the overhead announcement. “ The shuttle to spaceport Epsilon will be boarding in five minutes. Please make your way over to the boarding gate and present your tickets when asked.”


We sighed simultaneously, and I reluctantly disentangled myself from Alecto's embrace. I stretched my body, the still-exhausted muscles from earlier protesting once again being awakened from their rest. Poor things were probably very confused right now. She smiled at me, a brow raised questioningly. I chuckled, adding. “Seriously, when I get home, I am spending two whole damn days in bed to recover.. My muscles are so very sore, though pleasantly so.” My voice lowered and I leaned towards her ear, whispering. “It will be a wonderful reminder, though. It will almost be like having you there, though not quite. But still, the physical evidence of what we did is very nice, in itself.” I blushed fiercely. “Also, that , too.”

Alecto giggled at my blush. “You're so cute when you get embarrassed by these things... But we should head over to the gate so we don't miss the connecting flight. While I don't mind having you here for another day while we sort out replacement tickets, I imagine your family wouldn't be so pleased.” I nodded, smiling. “Besides, I'll have you back here soon enough, it's only fair to give them some time with you, too. I can imagine so vividly now how hard it must be to not see you around, and I cannot imagine doing so for several years.” She kissed me softly. “Make sure you enjoy the time you have with them, okay? At least now that you've graduated and will work soon, you may be able to take time off and visit them much more frequently.”

I nodded, touched that she had thought about them , now of all times. “I agree, I am very happy about being able to do that. I've not seen little Sophie in years, and I want to spend a lot more time around her, see her grow up into a beautiful young woman... Tell her about all the stupid mistakes I made when I was that age, talk about silly things together like sisters do. It'll be so much fun.” I was getting rather excited just talking about the prospect of it.

We quickly made our way over to the gate, nearly running as we had lost track of time again . We were among the last people to go through before it closed. Thankfully, the shuttle was not entirely filled and we found a quiet place near the back of the small transport ship. Shuttles such as this were capable of interplanetary flight in theory, although these versions had most likely been modified to be better suited for atmospheric flight and higher passenger capacity at the expense of space faring features.

Moments after we had sat down the shuttle started to lift, quickly making a swerve in mid-air with its powerful thrusters and shooting diagonally upwards. I could see the rapidly receding campus below us as we sped off at nearly 300 meters per second. The Epsilon spaceport was only about one hundred and ninety kilometers away from the campus and it would only take about twenty minutes to cover the distance at our current velocity. I sighed happily. I fucking love technology.

Alecto managed to squirm enough in her chair that she found a way to lay her head on my upper chest, one cheek resting against the softness of my breasts. Her arms wrapped around my neck as I embraced her now, our earlier roles switching very organically as I sensed that she now needed me to hold her close, cradle her to me.

I simply pressed my lips against her nose, then placed kisses over her eyelids and brow as I lovingly looked at the slender woman that meant so much to me. Her eyes were rather moist as she struggled not to cry right then, and I murmured soft words of affection and love into her ear as my fingers stroked her incredibly soft hair. She clung to me intensely for a few more minutes as I had clung to her before, and it made me supremely happy to know I could give her such comfort on the rare occasions she needed it as badly as she did now. She was normally so strong, composed, that it was especially touching that she allowed herself to be so vulnerable around me . It made me feel quite special, and I treasured that feeling, that honor she had entrusted me with.

The intensity of her need slowly lessened as we drew closer to our destination, Alecto finally detaching altogether as we felt the shuttle starting to descend once more. Our lips met in a sensual kiss of shared emotion that made my heart do little back flips with how wonderfully sweet and intense it was. The deceleration intensified, and we drew apart with smiles on our faces before the g-forces caused us to smash our teeth together or something equally unpleasant. You never knew when the pilot decided to swerve to avoid some bird, and I did not want to find out exactly what that felt like. Nothing good, I imagined, and felt comfortable leaving it at that without ever receiving first-hand knowledge of the experience.

People started filing out of the shuttle after the doors opened. We were among the last to leave as our seats had been all the way near the back. When I stepped out of the shuttle I was momentarily dazed by how enormously huge this place was. It had been years since I last came here, and the details of the memory had faded enough over time that it was like stepping inside it for the first time all over again. This arrivals hall alone could have housed most of my dormitory, and I knew it was one of hundreds as most of the traffic from this part of the planet converged on the sprawling spaceport. It was essentially the size of a large city, serving as the transit hub connecting over a billion people to the vast reaches of space.

I saw her looking at my awestruck behavior with another one of her luminous expressions, and I smiled shyly, somehow managing this time not to blush. We clasped hands again and followed the signs to the general departures information lobby. I knew from experience that I'd have to head through security about fifteen minutes before the shuttle left, at the latest, giving us just under an hour to spend together. She would not be able to follow me through the checkpoint, and I felt a more gloomy sensation momentarily pierce through the constant joy I had been filled by for most of the day

She used the tips of her fingers to touch my face tenderly, turning my head towards her. “Hey, now, none of that my love. Let's just enjoy the last time we have together today, we can miss each other and pine dramatically later. In fact, I will certainly join you in spirit, then. But let's get something delicious to drink, perhaps some coffee? I've seen the awful stuff you used to put inside yourself, and I have been dying to treat you to a properly brewed version.” She was rather giddy saying that, and it proved infectious. Within moments, the darker mood had left me again, at least for the time being. She's right, of course... I thought. If I spend this hour being all sulky I will surely regret it later.

We headed over to one of the small cafeterias off the main departures plaza after figuring out what security checkpoint I needed to go to. I sat down in a tiny booth, trusting her to order something delicious for me. She came back a few minutes later with a gigantic mug filled to the brim with aromatic, deliciously dark coffee. I took a slight sip and basked in the complex, bitter flavors caressing my taste buds. It tasted very strongly like coffee was supposed to, I imagined, and I rather liked the taste. of it. Certainly nothing like the cheap stuff I was drinking before. Of course, who knew how much this treasure would cost. I was certainly going to indulge in the treat, though.

Alecto watched my expression as I was processing the taste of it, smiling. “You're so interesting to watch, Evie. I can read so much from your expression, it is like reading an encrypted disk that I mostly know the keys for. Quite the challenge, but so very stimulating to think about, and very rewarding when you do figure things out.” I blushed a little at the intense scrutiny. “It's really quite endearing, I think... I take it you like it?”

I nodded furiously, causing her to laugh again at my enthusiasm. “Oh, it is the best I've had. Do let me know later what type it is, I can save it for special occasions, perhaps? It seems too good by far to be something I could afford to drink all the time, but for rare, special events it would be delightful.” She just smiled warmly, pleased at doing something simple that I enjoyed so much. I felt a little self-conscious once more and sought to change the topic. “Could you tell me some more about your family, where you grew up?”

Alecto nodded, thinking for a moment where best to start. “Well, as you know I grew up on the Intaki homeworld, Intaki V, though I was not born there. My parents were on Vylade at the time, in YC 86, when my mother prematurely went into labor contractions. Rather than make a last minute trip back to their home my father decided it was better to simply deliver me in one of the hospitals the diplomatic corps used. Apparently quite the nice place, I hear it told.” She smiled. “But we traveled back to Intaki V very soon after when my parents heard my great-great-grandmother was dying, and it was decided that I would be the recipient of her spirit so that it would live on forever, at least in part.”

She took a sip of her own coffee, before continuing. “I don't remember too many details of my childhood, beyond endless, endless lessons in all manner of subjects. A lot of diplomacy and etiquette training, obviously, as well as all the normal things children learn about. Except I mostly had private tutors as a child because my parents traveled around very much to different diplomatic embassies all over the Federation, and even beyond. I had a pretty good childhood, though I did not see as much of my parents as I would have liked when I was younger, they were so busy all the time.” My fingers closed on her hand in sympathy as I could tell it did hurt her to think about, still. “I mean, they clearly loved me deeply, but I sometimes wish they had a more open way of showing it, and did so more often. More like how you talk about your family being, I mean. I don't think they quite approve of my chosen interests, either. Being an archaeologist, whether one in the field or at a university somewhere is not quite our family tradition, as they see it...”

I pressed a kiss to the back of her hand, tenderly. “Oh, my dearest. I'm sorry to hear that. I will just have to introduce you to my little family, then, as I am sure they will be as smitten by you as I am. Well, maybe not that much.” I chuckled. “But especially once they see how you look at me, how you treat me with such tender love and care, they'll be sold on you within moments of meeting you. And I am sure that they'll welcome you with open arms. So you can have a second family that loves you just as much, just differently, if you want to I mean...” I got a little flustered as I said those words.

She smiled radiantly, leaning forward over the small table separating us to kiss me passionately. “Oh, that means so much to me, my sweet Evelynne. I would love that ever so much, and I cannot wait to meet all of your family. They sound wonderful. More like what I always imagined a real family would be like. ” She softly whispered the last part, and it nearly made me cry to see that kind of sadness, wistfulness in her voice. I scooted around the bench until I was right next to her, and folded her into an embrace once more. She clung to me with relief, soaking up the comfort I gave her. Small splashes of wetness that dripped down her cheeks soaked into the fabric of my shirt, and I let her cry, softly rubbing circles on her back to soothe her, until she finally stopped her silent emotional release.

I realized that it was nearly time to get ready, and kissed away the traces of wetness that remained on her cheeks with light, fluttery touches of my lips. That brought a warm smile to her face, shining through her still glittering eyes. She seemed to appreciate that I did not otherwise acknowledge her tears, and in a few more moments she had regained her composure, though she remained snuggled up close to me. “Alecto, love, I think we have to head towards the gate, I am sad to say. I think it is nearly time...”

She nodded. “Yes, I believe it is. But before we go, I have something else for you.” She rummaged in her purse before retrieving a small module from it, handing it to me.

“Is that what I think it is?” I gasped in surprise.

She nodded, smirking. “Yeah. Though that's a vague statement, my dear. It is an upgrade module for your holopad that will allow secure transmissions between it and its companion.” She tapped her fingers on the cover of her own. “I thought that would be very useful for us to have, as I very much dislike the idea of not being able to contact you whenever I want.” She blushed a little at that. “I hope you do not think that is strange. It is modeled after some of the technology used by capsuleers, though it is obviously not surgically implanted. That would be weird.” We giggled at the thought. “Though I suppose it's pretty cool, too. Still, mostly weird.”

I laughed at her silliness. “Thank you, though. That is an amazing gift, and I will certainly make excellent use of it. Do you know what the range on it is?”

She thought for a moment. “Well, it should work almost anywhere in the Federation, for sure... It is something like fifteen light-years? Though obviously at extreme ranges it would not work as well for real-time applications... we could still use it to send written messages instead.”

I hugged her once more, struck speechless by the thought behind this. And at what it must have cost, but I knew better than to bring that up, as I trusted her judgment more than enough to know that if she offered it to me, it was more than worth whatever the price had been. “Thank you, this will make our time apart so much more bearable, as we can talk together nearly any time we both have a moment free. Rather than having to use cumbersome public pathways that take time to set up and are much less stable and secure.”

She nodded. “Yeah, it actually is the same technology that is used in certain communications implants, though for that it needs to connect with cybernetic adaptors in the person's brain. But look at me again, getting all distracted on tangential matters.” She blushed for once.

“That's fine, Alecto. I don't mind, I love learning about those things.” I placed a warm kiss on her lips, spending a few more moments familiarizing, exploring her mouth with my tongue and hearing her gasp into my opened lips. “Hmm, I will miss your taste... It is truly sublime. But I think we must go now, for real, or I will miss the shuttle.”

She nodded. We set off together for the security gate that would separate us for the next few weeks. We reached it mere minutes later, and time came to say our temporary fare-wells. For real, this time. I embraced her firmly, pressing her body into my own with both arms as I lifted her lighter mass off the ground ever so slightly. She held onto me with her own arms, and we kissed tenderly, lovingly for a few minutes until the announcement blared overhead that boarding time for the Bourynes - Vylade interplanetary transport was now .

I reluctantly let her go, not able or willing to stop my tears from seeping out of my eyes now. Her eyes were equally wet, and we whispered soft words of affirmation and love. She gave me one last hug and a kiss that left streaks of her salty tears on my own face where they mingled with my own, before gently pushing me away. “I love you so much, Evelynne. And I will see you again before we even know the time will have passed. Now go, before you're late.”

I nodded, my voice rather hoarse. “As I love you, my dearest Alecto. I will be back. The exact day I will tell you later once I know for sure. But it will be over before too long, and then we can be together once more. And I won't leave your company for quite some time then.” Barely audibly, I added. “And I promise nothing can keep me from you.” I saw her form a similar phrase on her full lips, in acknowledgement of my own promise, and we shared a smile of understanding.

I turned from her then and walked towards the security gate before she could see a renewed flood of tears coming from my eyes. I knew it would pass soon enough, and my elation at being together with her would once more return, and I did not want her to feel helpless seeing me so upset without being able to kiss me and make me feel better. She hated that helplessness, and doing this for her was something that I could do right now, if nothing else.

I saw the security officer look at me with a sympathetic look, his eyes glancing past me to where Alecto must still have been. He did not say a word, probably sensing it would only upset me further if he had, but he clearly was affected by the depth of our misery at being separated. He instead efficiently checked my boarding ticket and led me through a scanner that could pick up any illicit substance known to man. It beeped approvingly, and I was allowed through. Walking to the end of the hallway until I was far enough away she wouldn't have been able to discern the wetness on my face, I turned around. She was still there and I waved at her for a moment, as a final gesture. She returned it, even managed a smile that I could barely make out on her face from this far away, and I smiled back at her in return, before turning around once more and running towards the actual boarding gate.

It was nearly a kilometer away from here, and I was winded by the time I reached it. The shuttle had already started boarding so it was a good thing I ran that quickly. It took the remaining reserves out of me, though, and all the momentous events of the day, all the activity finally caught up with me as I very nearly collapsed in a heap on the floor as I reached the back of the line of passengers waiting to board the ship. I somehow managed to steady myself against the railing next to me, and gulped in big mouthfuls of air to get some oxygen back into my cramping muscles. Still, the reminder of what we had done earlier, why I was so very exhausted, caused a wide grin to break through my sadness. Three weeks really was not that bad, when you thought about it. Not in the face of a very long time together after that, right?

I did not really think about what, or who rather, I was looking at as I grinned like that, quite obviously thinking , to anyone who possessed working eyes anyway, about something extremely pleasing as I felt my skin flush from the mental images. A deep voice disturbed my recollection of how she had filled me, stretched me so thoroughly that time... “I did not know I was that good looking.”

I would have fallen over in surprise as the contrast was so jarring with what I had been thinking about, if strong hands hadn't caught my arms. It took me a few moments to figure out exactly what was going on, until I realized that it was not Alecto who had caught me. Definitely not, by the feel and looks of them, as this person was decidedly male , and she was most definitely not . I turned bright red as my mind finally processed what he had said, and what I must have looked like at the time considering my internal visuals. Sputtering, it took me more seconds to find words as my tongue did not quite cooperate. “Ah, NO! I mean, no, I wasn't... Not that you're bad to look at, but no I was most definitely NOT looking at you like that...” I knew I was rambling, but given my current state I did not much care.

He chuckled. “Ouch, you sure know how to crush a guy's hopes and dreams... My apologies, sincerely so, it really seemed like you were looking at me .” He thought for a moment. “Must have been some memory you were having, then, to make your face light up like that... But then, you can't blame me too much, my rugged good looks do inspire that reaction in people quite often.”

I smiled at his response as I could tell he was not being disrespectful. Just scandalously flirty, but then again, some people were like that and it came rather naturally to them. I knew Alecto and I certainly flirted outrageously like that with each other all the time. “I'm sorry to crush your dreams like that, but no. I was not thinking about you. Just remembering some pleasant memories...” I was getting lost in thought again. “I'm Evelynne, by the way. Thank you for catching me, today has been very exhausting and I would have probably broken my face if you had not caught me then. Though, you did cause me to fall in the first place, so it would have been your fault to begin with.”

“Ouch again.” He grinned at me in a friendly way. “The name of this strapping young man whose ego you are efficiently obliterating with your rude remarks...” He winked at me, teasingly. “His name is Max, by the way, or Maximillius in full, but I killed the last person who called me that who wasn't a parent.” I shook my head at him with amusement. He was rather funny, I had to give him that. A smirk touched his lips. “So, who's the lucky guy? I'm assuming you were thinking of those kinds of memories?”

A blush once more crept up my cheeks, and I coughed. “Not a guy, actually. Her name is Alecto, and she is wonderful. The strongest, and smartest and most loving person I have ever known. And I was simply thinking about how deeply I love her, and she loves me. It was beautiful .” My voice filled with awe until it was nearly palpable around me.

Max seemed to pick up on it, too. He smiled at me gently, seeming to understand. “That... really does sound amazing. You're lucky to have her, to be with someone like that who can make you that happy. It's something you should hold on tight to, and never let go of, but I'm sure you know that already.” He grinned again. “Though my heart still lies shattered from your cruel rejection, and I fear it will never recover... And let me know if she goes insane and leaves you.” Adding that last part with a wink.

I laughed as we moved another place forward in the line. “Yeah, I”m sure you'll be crushed forever. Something tells me you have no lack of female attention, or companionship.” He merely smiled, not answering either way, though that was an answer of its own. “Exactly my point. And I'm not even going to dignify your kind offer with a rejection. You're an angel, a paragon of virtue, truly.”

He chuckled. “Well, can't fault me for trying, right?” I guess that's true , I thought. “Where are you going in Vylade, if I may be so bold to ask? Visiting Alecto?”


I shook my head, a bit sadly. “No, though I wish she could be there as well. I am returning home for a few weeks to visit my parents and sister... I haven't seen them in years so that will be wonderful. Still, it's not easy to be apart from her for so long.” I saw his smile at that. “Oh, shut up. I know three weeks isn't that much time, but we have only just begun exploring our bond together, so it is most unfortunate timing...” I blushed once more, my voice trailing off as we nearly had reached the entrance gate to the shuttle.

He laughed rather heartily at my embarrassment. “That's fine, I am only teasing you, Evelynne. I do think it is great, and I won't begrudge you that at all. Cherish it, is all I can say. I know I would in a heartbeat if I were in your shoes and knew someone that amazing... It is a rare thing to find, you know.”

I nodded, knowing the truth of that . As we went through the next checkpoint and made our way to the shuttle I waved at Max again, gesturing to invite him over and sit next to me. He was very funny, actually, in a roguish way that was so over the top that it wasn't at all bothering me, as I knew he wasn't really trying to flirt with me, not seriously anyway. And I had so few friends that it would be nice to chat with someone, maybe get to know him well enough over the next few days to actually start up a friendship... And it'd help keep my mind off the worst intensity of missing Alecto. Just thinking about her brought a grin to my face, though it was laced with a bit of sadness and a lot of longing. Oh, how badly I wanted to be close to her, to snuggle up in her arms and drift off to sleep with her.

I sat down in one of the window seats as I loved watching these trips to orbit, the few times I had experienced them before. It was an utterly gorgeous, enchanting and inspiring sight to my eyes. When I first traveled to the University of Caille five years ago it had been one of the biggest reasons I had chosen my concentration as I had. I loved ships, and had wanted to learn everything about them the moment I first stepped on board of one.

Max joined me a few moments later, sitting down next to me with a smile. I had just plugged the new module into my holopad, playing with its functionality a little to see how it worked when Alecto's face popped up in a corner of it. Intrigued, I tapped it with my finger and it enlarged to fill up the entire screen. She smiled at me warmly. “Hi, Evie! I just wanted to check that you'd made the shuttle in time as I realized we were cutting it a bit too close saying goodbye... And to show you real quick how this new toy of yours works.” She grinned, eyes playful and bright.

“Hi...” I murmured back at the screen, rather surprised it was so easy to talk to her now. It filled me with wonder once more. Surely this would make our absence a lot easier to handle, being able to see her as if she was right in front of me. “ I love you .” I told her simply. “And miss you, already, but it's not so bad, especially with being able to talk to you like this.”

She grinned happily at me. “I know! Isn't it awesome? That's why I got one for you, as my parents used them all the time for their private conversations, and it worked so marvelously. And I love you too, my dearest Evie, so very much. I'll let you go again, I just wanted to check you had made the connection.” Her voice trailed off a little. “And say goodbye again, as I am terrible at doing so.” Her cheeks flushed a little, the blush visible even on the screen in front of me.

“Me too. Me, too.” I added, sharing a warm smile with her filled with longing. “I'll contact you when we get to the ship and I have time to get settled in, okay?”

Alecto nodded. “I'll hold you to that, then...” She added teasingly. “Find somewhere private, okay? I might have a little surprise for you.” I turned scarlet and simply promised her I would. A few moments later the screen went dark again, and I sighed happily.

“Yep, you've got it pretty bad. But I can't blame you, she sounds, and looks , like a wonderful catch.” Max' voice shook me out of my thoughts, and I groaned.

“Oh, dear, I completely forgot I was not alone... She kind of has that effect on me, forgetting about other people, I mean, when she's near.” I sighed. “Oh, look at me rambling again.”

He shook his head in amusement. “Nah, don't worry about it. Like I said before, you guys are really great together, I think. So...” I raised an eyebrow at him, waiting for his question. “You two available for a threesome?”

I punched him in the arm for that, as hard as I could. It really fucking hurt, too, as he had way too much muscle there, but at least he winced a little. I glared at him for added effect. “Jerk. And fuck, your arm is solid. What are you made out of, brick?

“Ow, what did you do that for!” He sounded indignant for a moment, then chuckled. “You have a pretty good punch, by the way. That actually did some damage, more than I thought it would be possible for someone such as you to do, anyway.” He rubbed his arm, wincing slightly as his fingers touched the part of his biceps where my knuckles hard landed.

I scowled back at him. “What do you mean, someone like me ?” I crossed my arms in front of me, which had the added bonus of pushing my breasts up a little higher making their size and shape even more pronounced than normal, just see the effect that would likely have on him. “As for where I learned how to punch, my dad taught me self-defense. And I train a lot, mostly individual exercises and a little bit of martial arts.”

“Uh, huh... Sounds like more than a little bit.” He was trying not to stare at my breasts, which eventually broke my composure and I giggled at the look on his face. “You are positively evil, you know that? That is cruel and unusual punishment, and is probably more properly classified as an act of torture. Damn, woman, you can't do that to a guy with a healthy imagination like me!”

I grinned back at him. “Well, you totally deserved it. I mean, really? Eww. Nothing personal, Max, but I can honestly say that I have no desire to do that with you, at all, at any time.” I crinkled my nose a little. “I mean, you're just too solid , it's not very appealing. And bulky.”

Max shook his head sadly. “Again, you crush my poor spirits. Twice, no, three times in one day. I will need to do much pep-talk later tonight to get over the rejection and hurt from you so coldly shooting me down.” He mused thoughtfully. “Either that, or see if I can find someone more amenable to my advances. Maybe you can help scope out potential targets? You certainly have a good eye for beauty. I mean, damn.” He whistled appreciatively, then grinned hopefully at me.

I laughed in response. “Maybe... Though it would depend on the particulars of the situation.” And you deserve some more payback for that comment. Just wait... I smiled in anticipation. That's going to be hilarious, actually. “Besides, you're lucky Alecto's not here as I think she would have strangled you for saying that. Possibly, anyway. She can be a little fiercely protective of me, which is very nice.” I grinned again. “So... what are you doing on Vylade?”

He told me he was going there mostly for business, though he didn't quite specify what his business consisted of in explicit terms. It was a little shady, but somehow complemented his character, fit him, rather well. Apparently it was some type of medicinal supply, though it could have been anything from generic pharmaceuticals that were still under monopoly licensing on that world to, shall we say, recreational varieties. I didn't really care, honestly, as I had a rather good sense of people and I could tell he wasn't a bad guy. He did tell me he would be staying with his little sister, though only little in the sense she was younger than him. Sarah, his sister, was 25. I joked he must be ancient then, and he once again grasped his heart in mock lethal agony. It was pretty funny, actually, and I was glad that I had such a good distraction to keep me from thinking about how badly I missed Alecto all the time. I still did, but at least it was bearably pushed back deeper in my consciousness. My love for her shone bright as always, and I held the feeling close to me at all times.

The shuttle started rising, the more powerful engines easily capable of breaking escape velocity for Bourynes VI. We shot upwards at incredible speed and we stopped our conversation for a few minutes until enough of the gravitational and accelerating forces had faded. The rest of the way we mostly spent with me critically giving him feedback on which of the other passengers on our shuttle would be his best target. Apparently my incessant teasing remarks had crushed his fragile masculine ego, and it needed replenishment. I thought it was quite funny, in a way, though also very foreign to my mind at the same time.

Still, I probably saved him from some certain rejections as I was naturally very observant and had picked up on several of the women he found appealing being unavailable in some way. Whether it was by spotting some type of ornament they wore that signified commitment, or the way I had overheard them mentioning a partner. I steered him away, too, from one obviously pregnant woman. How he missed that I had no earthly idea... Probably got too carried away admiring her enlarged breasts to spot the also clearly enlarged belly underneath. Though I had to admit the expecting mother looked absolutely amazing. Damn, I love breasts. File away for later study. I felt my face heat up as my mind shot to a curiously appealing thought of what Alecto might look like if she was ever pregnant. I very nearly drooled at the mental image of her slender body transformed like that, soft, round curves everywhere. Okay, that's enough of that, self . I had to rip my mind away from thinking about her like that or it would be a very uncomfortable day. Also, moving a little fast aren't we? I chastised myself, though the other part of my mind immediately replied that it was hard to argue with the attraction, or the desirability of both the process and the end result. I did know that I wanted children, even if much later in life... But it certainly was something I had thought about, and wanted very much. And Alecto would be a wonderful partner to have children with, I could tell that already just from how utterly considerate and thoughtful she was, and always tried to make sure my comforts were taken care of. We'd have to talk about that, some day. Though definitely not any time soon.

“Umm, Evelynne? Are... you okay?” Max' voice shook me out my thoughts of Alecto looking like that , and kids rather abruptly.

“Oh, err, yeah. Sorry, spaced out for a moment there.” He smirked at me, though he could not have guessed what I was thinking of. He probably just assumed my mind was thinking about amazing sex. “What about her?” I tried distracting him from my embarrassment. It worked rather well, better than I had expected it to. Hmm, good to know, distracting Max is rather simple. I grinned.

He considered the woman I had pointed out to him just then. She was actually stunningly beautiful. Not exactly my own type. I had to admit, as the incredibly expensive attire and assortment of ostentatious jewelry were not really something I normally found appealing. Didn't quite work with my very spartan preferences, or the more simple, though equally beautiful, aesthetics Alecto so favored that I absolutely adored. But she had an incredibly attractive face I remembered from before, full red lips, piercing blue eyes, all her features spaced perfectly apart as to approach the ideal face one could imagine. And her body was... well, almost unreal. Didn't quite compare to Alecto, I could honestly say, as I doubted anyone could in my eyes, but damn. Her expensive, tailored shirt perfectly fit firm breasts that were slightly larger than my own significant ones. My face blushed rather profusely as I imagined the look on Alecto's face if I wore something showing that much cleavage. I'd have to try that some time, she would definitely love it. The woman had long, elegant limbs, all perfectly formed and accessorized to draw attention to just the right places, to maximize her significant natural beauty. I mean, really, I could definitely see the beauty, and appreciate her form very much on an aesthetic level. She was a pure work of art, that was for damn sure.

I glanced over at Max, and I think he was equally awe-struck. “Wow, Evelynne. You have a good eye, I don't even know how I missed her .”

I grinned back at him. “Well, you probably were still too busy trying to figure out how to con me into that threesome at the time.”

He winced. “Ouch. Way to remind me of that dark period in our history. Have you no mercy?” I grinned, shaking my head. “Well, that settles that. I'm going to see if she doesn't want to grab a drink with me when we get on that flying bathtub of a transport.” He considered something for a moment. “It's a bit odd that she would travel on a ship like that, as she looks rich enough to afford a regular, fast transport. Maybe there's a story there?”

I shrugged, not really caring too much personally. Besides, I was trying to think of how to best exact my revenge from earlier. He definitely had that coming. I had to work very hard not to cackle like a maniac just thinking about it, but somehow managed to contain that side of myself. Besides, it'd give away my surprise, and I totally wanted to see the look on his face when I put this into motion. He was still subtly glancing at the woman so I doubted he had any idea. Perfect .

We were breaking through the higher layers of Bourynes VI's atmosphere and I could see the features of the continent we had just left receding rapidly underneath us. Seeing the visual evidence of my Alecto hurtling away from me made me sad again for a few moments until I managed to shake myself out of the gloomy thoughts. Instead, I looked at the amazing spectrum of colors the star made as it irradiated the upper reaches of the atmosphere with its various forms of solar radiation.

Then I saw the enormous transport as we cleared the last pull of the planet's gravitational well. It looked like a repurposed freighter and was truly giant in dimensions. Capable of moving nearly one million cubic meters of cargo in its original form, it had been modified to allow thousands of passengers to comfortably make long trips. If you did not care about getting anywhere fast. The freighter itself was slow, and due to the vast amount of passengers it held at any given time, ther waiting times at customs check points were absolutely horrendoes. It sometimes took nearly an entire day before the transport would be cleared for jumps into an adjecent constellation. But they were cheap, which is why many people still used the things. I mean, going to another constellation for a few hundred ISK? Yes, please. Sign me up. I supposed I already had, so yeah... I definitely saw the value in them.

But damn, the smell in the things was horrendous. You needed some serious olfactory blocks to stay on one. Probably a function of the fact that they had been flying for decades, and it was hard to get certain smells out without really taking apart the entire ship. The corporations that operated the transport lines didn't care enough, and as long as we had olfactory blockers available, the passengers didn't care that much, either. Possible career path: design a non-smelly transport? I grinned.

A few minutes later the shuttle was gliding into the docking bay of the giant transport freighter. It touched down swiftly, smoothly. The artificial gravity generators on the ship generated slightly less gravitational force than I had gotten used to on Bourynes, but it was close enough I wasn't flying around like a ball on a trampoline as I got up from my seat. The passengers filed out of the shuttle in an orderly line. My nose was already being assaulted by the awful stench of the ship, and I made my first priority once on the thing to get a damn olfactory blocker. They sold them everywhere, obviously, so that shouldn't be too hard. There'd be serious riots on board otherwise.

Max was just in front of me, and I could see him keeping track of where his ‘target' was going. Again, I had to say, she was very attractive, especially watching her move, or rather, glide across the landing bay. Also, the swaying of her hips was rather mesmerizing to watch, I had to admit. I did wish Alecto was here, as I imagined watching people would be a lot more fun then. Her wit was incredibly sharp, so it amused me thoroughly to hear her comment on pretty much anything. Besides, comparing our aesthetic taste in people was interesting. I liked knowing these things about her, it rather fascinated me, and I knew she felt the same way with what I liked.

I did spot a vendor selling the blockers, then, and made a beeline for it. Some of the first-time passengers were milling around confused, still, but many of the others had already sprayed the blocker into their nasal passage. I imagined frequent travelers probably carried them on their person, but I did not have that foresight. Max followed me, buying one blocker for himself for a rather pricey 55 ISK. But still, it beat choking on the fumes of this thing. The universe only knew what kind of diseases you'd get living on one of these. I bet they hid those stories from the news.

I was considering what to do when I had lost sight of him for a moment, finding him completely gone. I scoured the landing bay, finally spotting him on the far end where he had found the woman we'd been admiring before. Wow, the guy moves fast. Judging from the way she had not run away screaming or punched him, he wasn't doing all that badly, either. I had to admit, he was quite charming when he tried to be, and if I had not been so deeply in love with Alecto and interested in bulky, muscled guys, I would have been tempted. Heh.

I grinned, moving over to where they were standing. I was a pretty good reader of body language, and it seemed she was quite interested in him. Perfect . Payback time. I grinned a little, though quickly hid it as I got closer. The woman was coyly playing with her hair as she listened to something Max said, laughing melodically. She had a very nice voice, actually. And the way she leaned ever so slightly towards him... Yeah, she was definitely into the guy.

As I came within a few meters of them I heard his reply. “Oh, I am certainly available later. How about a drink?” Okay, then, showtime... I grinned deviously in my mind, thinking of Alecto and putting the most gushing, love-struck look on my face that I could produce. And steeled myself. This is for a good cause... I can do this!

I noticed that she saw me, then, her eyebrow rising questioningly. Before she could say anything, I stook up to the tips of my toes as I pressed myself against his back, wrapping my arms around his muscular chest from behind in a very intimate manner, my lips planting a rather passionate kiss on his neck that could not possibly be mistaken for something anyone but a lover would do. I made my voice come out high, almost sickeningly sweet and lilting. “Oh, darling! I missed you so very much! I've been absolutely dying to get back to our room...” My voice trailed off meaningfully at the end, implying things I could not have brought myself to say.

It was more than enough, as his completely frozen stance, looking like a deer frozen as it saw its doom approaching made him look all the more like an unfaithful jerk . The woman's entire body language shifted instantly, her features twisted into a furious scowl that looked seriously scary if it had been directed at me. I could feel Max shrink away from her, which only pressed him against me more, adding to the effect. She slapped him across the face, hard. “ You BASTARD!” She shouted at him, her voice quivering with fury. “I cannot believe you would do such a thing! And she stormed off without another word, looking like an avenging angel hunting down some poor condemned criminal. It was rather impressive. I felt momentarily bad for involving her in this, but at the same time I had probably saved her from some heartbreak as I was pretty sure Max had no desire to be in anything but a very casual relationship.

I could no longer contain the giggles that had been trying to escape from my throat, and they burst forth uncontrollably as I released him. “What the hell, Evelynne... Why in the name of everything that is good in life did you do... that .” I looked at him, then, a single eyebrow raised in challenge. “Oh, that.”

I nodded at him in response, grinning. “ Yes, that. You totally had it coming for that completely inappropriate, and can I say, gross comment from before.”

I could tell he was trying to stay angry at me, but the realization that he kind of could have deserved it took most of the fire out of him. “Still, that's cold.” His gaze measured me with something akin to sincere respect. “Impressive, too. You're quite the actress. Very convincing. I mean, I nearly thought you had lost your mind and desperately wanted me.”

I smiled, rather pleased with myself. “Well, if you refrain from saying such things about us , I'll promise to never do that again. Besides, there's several thousand females on this ship, I'm sure you won't be lonely tonight. Though, to be honest, she was gorgeous.”

He scowled at me again. “Yeah, no kidding. Thanks a lot .” Then he simply shook his head. “Well, I suppose you're right, I'll just have to hunt through the ship's bars later to find some charming company. You're welcome to come along with me if you promise not to do that again.”

I grinned again. “Sure, that sounds good, although I will probably retire before it is too late, I've had a very long day. My muscles are agonizingly tired. Maybe this place has sonic showers, the vibrations would put me out like a light.”

He laughed. “Yeah, they probably do. I doubt this bucket has water showers, anyway, as it would be hard to come by enough of it for this many people.” He thought for a moment, about earlier. “Interestingly, though, she had just started telling me a bit about why she was here... And it is somewhat curious, as she really did not give any good reason for why she would be here. I mean, she is rich, I am quite sure. Why would a woman like that travel on a low-class ship like this? It's quite a mystery...”

I laughed. “You're just sad you did not get a chance to solve it yourself, Romeo. Though it is interesting, I must admit. Maybe she's running away from home, stowing away on board of this ship to escape the clutches of her overbearing parents to find a life of her own?”

He grinned. “You have quite the imagination. Well, I doubt we'll ever know now, I don't think she'll finish telling me about it any way. And she's probably too horrifyingly embarrassed to approach you. I mean, I would be if our roles were reversed. You make a convincing doting partner, you know... And you throw a good right hook.” He glanced down at my hand, then. “Speaking of which, I have some ointments and cold packs for that in my suitcase. I know you're trying to act tough, like it didn't hurt, but I am not going to face the risk of being hunted down by a pissed off girlfriend for breaking your pretty little hand.”

I shook my head at that, laughing. “Always the charmer, you are. I suppose you're right, though. It is hurting like a fucking bitch.” His eyebrows rose as I swore. “What, never heard a delicate woman like me swear before?”

He simply shook his head at me, in return. “You're something else, Evelynne. Here, let's get to our rooms and I will fix your hand up so it's almost good as new. The rest of it will have to heal more slowly. But at least that way Alecto won't notice when you video call her tonight. I'm serious, that woman loves you deeply enough to burn a path across the stars for you.” He grinned. “Not even kidding about that. So let's keep you whole, and me , alive in one piece. I'd rather not lose any parts of my anatomy. Would miss them too much and all that...”

We were laughing as we walked the half-kilometer to our rooms, which were located in the same section of the freighter. He had a large suitcase of his own, I just had my medium size bag. Truly not much to show for five years of living somewhere, to be honest. Though, I thought living with Alecto would most likely change that, as she had already given me more things since I had known her than I remembered buying for myself, period.

When we reached his room he used his boarding pass to open the door to it, quickly setting down his suitcase so he could retrieve a small medical kit. He held my small hand in his much larger ones very carefully, scrutinizing the rather lurid bruises that were discoloring the fair skin around my knuckles. “Yep.” He murmured to himself. “That needs some work, or it's going to hurt like hell for the next week. I've treated enough of these bruises over the years, so let's take care of that real quick and you'll be good as new. Just don't punch anyone else today. Please. Most especially not me...”

He grinned again, then turned serious all of a sudden. “I know I am going to regret telling you this in the future, but seriously, next time you want to punch someone? Punch them somewhere vulnerable . Throat is good, genitals are better. Kidneys and solar plexus work, too. But punching arms or the stomach or the chest, or worst of all, the head, is dumb as they are very heavily armored on the human body. It just hurts your fist and barely does any damage. Remember that, and live it, because you never know if it'll save your life one day.”

I smiled at him, touched by his concern. “Thanks, Max. You're pretty awesome. Even if you're an inconsiderate jerk.” We shared grins at that. “I'll remember what you said, and promise not to use that expertise on you. Unless you say something bad again, anyway.” I glanced at his arm.

He saw it, and laughed. “You're bloodthirsty by nature. I like you! Here, I'll show you my arm if you want to see it that badly. It actually hurts quite a lot. Like I said, you throw a good punch. If you get it in just the right place? The other person is not getting up. Seriously.” He pulled up the sleeve of his shirt and there was a rather large bruise discoloring the significant muscle of his upper arm, shaped exactly like one of my fists.

I touched it hesitantly, blushing somewhat as I did so. He was right, I was strangely intrigued by these things, learning how to fight well. I don't know if that was something I had always had within me, or if it was summoned by my newly awakened protective instincts concerning Alecto and her current and future well-being. I mean, I'd always liked self-defense, but I had never actually punched someone outside of practice. It was strangely exhilarating to explore this part of me.

“See?” He spoke, drawing me out of my musings. “If that had been someone's throat they'd be lying there useless, gasping for breath. Like I said, good punches.” He considered me for a moment. “If you want, later, I can show you some practical moves? We'll be stuck on this boat for the next 36 hours or so anyway, so might as well learn something useful in between steamy sessions of video sex with your girlfriend.”

I mock glared at him for a moment, then changed tactics instantly and grinned deviously at him instead, figuring it was a better response knowing him . “Oh, definitely. If I can still walk tomorrow, I will consider the lessons. We do get rather carried away. Alecto gets me so voracious when she starts having orgasms that we pretty much keep going until we run out of fluids, or pass out. Alecto is even worse with me...” My voice trailed off and I ran my tongue over my lips rather suggestively, winking at him.

His gaze turned inward, and I laughed at his expression. “Damnit, Evie. You can't do that . It is so utterly unfair to say such things to me. I won't be able to get that image out of my mind for the next day .”

I just giggled at him. “Again, that's what you get for talking about us having sex. Maybe one day you'll learn how to keep your mouth shut, or I will have to torture you like that for the rest of your natural life. And believe me, I have plenty of inspiration to draw upon.”

He laughed. “Yeah, I'm finding that discretion may be the better part of valor when it comes to that subject. I like you, Evelynne, you're pretty damn awesome. I'm glad we got to know each other today, because I think we'll be excellent friends before we know it. Now, stop distracting me...” I looked at him unbelieving. “Okay, stop being distracting to me, and let me fix your hand so you can go call your love and let her know you got here safely. Then maybe later we could get some drinks at the ship bar and see if we can't have a good evening?”

I held out my hand once more to him, and he squirted some cold ointment on it that immediately caused the skin to tingle, tighten as the blood that had extra-vasated from the vessels was quickly re-absorbed. The worst of the bruise was fading quickly after that, though it still hurt. He put a second mixture on it, this one more of a paste. It numbed the pain dramatically and I gasped in relief. I hadn't quite realized how intense the pain had been because it had so gradually appeared and become slowly worse as time passed. But having it gone made me feel a million times better instantly. I smiled thankfully at him, and he carefully wrapped my slender hand firmly in bandages that would keep the bruised bones from moving too much. He did the same on his own arm, without the bandages, and I watched again in awe as the bruises became nearly invisible within minutes. “Wow, what is that stuff?”

He just grinned at me. “If I tell you that, I'd then have to kill you.” I scowled in response to that. “Seriously, though, it's a proprietary mixture. Maybe one day I'll tell you, but I designed it myself. Works well, no?” I nodded that it did, indeed. “One day it'll make me rich! Just you wait.”

I laughed at his enthusiasm. “You're a good guy, Max. I'm glad you're my friend. I did not have many before, at school, besides Alecto I mean. So it's really nice to have met someone else who's awesome to spend time with, and have fun with. Even if you're an inconsiderate jerk, as we have already established.” We shared another laugh at that.

“Yep, that's me.” He grinned. “Now, go tell Alecto that you're fine. We can meet back here in, say, an hour?”

I nodded. “That sounds good! I'll have you know I hold my liquor well. And I will totally drink you under the table.”

He just chuckled. “Well, I really doubt that unless you have a biosynthetic liver... But if anyone who's your size can do it, it'll be you, Evelynne. I probably outweigh you by a good 30 kilos. That's a significant amount of mass to compensate for with superior metabolism and training.”

I grinned back at him. “Yeah, tell yourself that enough and you may believe it yourself. You'll be begging for mercy before the night is over. Though I will say, I am not ending up completely inebriated. I am still recovering from severe dehydration.” The last I added with a smirk.

He shook his head. “Okay, out! I will see you in an hour. And no more innuendo about stimulating acts of sex, please. I've had about all I can take for a single day, I think.”

I pouted at him as I got up. “You're no fun, Max.” I waved at him as I slipped out the door, hearing his chuckle as it closed behind me.

My room was just down the hall from his, and I collapsed bonelessly on the small bed as I entered and my legs gave out right then. I rolled over on my back, reaching down towards my bag to retrieve the holopad. I somehow wrestled it out of the cover and positioned it in front of me on the bed. I also grabbed a bottle of water that I had stashed with my belongings just in case, as I really hadn't been kidding before. I really was quite dehydrated. The coffee hadn't helped, either, as delicious as it was. An uncomfortable need made itself known once more and I grumbled, rolling off the bed and unsteadily making my way to the bathroom.

I emerged a few minutes later and laid down once more, opening up the connection to Alecto's holopad. The time read 8:45 pm now, and I imagined she was probably reading something. Possibly right where we had made love earlier today. The thought alone made my face, and other parts of my anatomy, heat up deliciously, though I was much too tired to do anything about it now.

Her face appeared almost instantaneously, a loving smile lighting up her features beautifully. I waved happily at her. “Hello, my love! I'm on the transport now, and exhausted .”

Alecto grinned at me. “You look it. You seem like you're about to pass out if someone as much as blows on you hard enough. Or rubs your feet or scalp a little...” She added knowingly.

I smiled. “That would be divine, but is somewhat out of the question for now. I was thinking of taking a sonic shower and letting the vibrations turn my muscles to putty. I'm betting I'll sleep amazingly. Though obviously not as well as earlier.... That... that was beyond wonderful. I have never slept so deeply, or felt so good, so warm and loved and cared for as I did when I woke up in your bed, with you in my arms. I love you so much, my dear. I'm so happy we're paired and bound together now. It makes me deliriously happy.”

She nodded, her eyes slightly damp. “Oh, I agree. You're the best body pillow a girl could wish for, too. I have not had such a comfortable rest, or such amazingly good snuggles and hugs, ever . And thank you so much for being so understanding, so patient with me before. It really meant so very much to me that you knew to simply hold me tight when I was so distraught... And before that, when you knew just how to touch my for the first time...”

I nodded solemnly. “It was my only desire to see your needs taken care of, my love. I promise you I'll always watch out for that, keep your mind, body and heart safe within my palms.”

She nodded in appreciation. “I will do the same, I swear that to you. Now... how was the trip up there? Had anything interesting happen?”

I laughed. “Well... you could say that again. I made a wonderful friend on the shuttle up here, and we've actually become fast friends already. His name is Max, short for Maximillius of all things, and he things he is God's gift to women everywhere. It is rather amusing once you get used to it, as he is so over the top with his comments that it is not at all something threatening. Hard to explain, but he's a real character... I think you'd like him a lot, too. We've been laughing a whole lot on the way here, and I've had to shoot down his ‘advances' so many times already. He insists I have utterly crushed his delicate ego. We're having drinks later while he looks for a companion for the night, I imagine, and probably succeeds at it because he is very charming. I think after earlier he respects me too much to hit on me more than jokingly, so now it's mostly just friendly teasing between us.”

Alecto laughed at my rapid fire descriptions of him. “You're right, love, he sounds like a rather interesting fellow to know. And I'm glad you made a friend. That is always a wonderful thing, to have someone you can rely on, share good experiences with.” Her sharp eyes suddenly spotted my bandaged hand. “Evie! What did you do?!?”

I blushed sheepishly. “Oh, that. Well.... It's a bit of a tale. Essentially, Max started talking to me trying to charm me into sleeping with him, and it took quite a few strong rejections before he got the picture. Then, after you called me, he suggested he'd be totally available for a threesome ,” I shivered once more at the thought. “with him, and I punched his arm really hard to show him that wasn't okay. It rather hurt, but it got the point across, and I think after that was when he really started looking at me differently. Oh, and then I exacted revenge on him with a little act of me own, while saving the heart of a mysterious stranger he was trying to charm. Mostly by acting as if I was with him. It was rather hilarious.”

I grinned at the memory of his totally shocked expression. “I don't think he thought I had that in me... He felt bad about it after, and bandaged my hand up for me with some ointments to speed the healing process, because, as he said I don't want a pissed off girlfriend hunting me down and removing essential parts of my anatomy .” I giggled. “Like I said, he's a character. But means well, and his heart is in the right place. He actually showed remarkable concern for me after wards, which was surprising in a very good way. And he promised to teach me some better techniques for throwing good punches!” I smiled happily at that last bit.

Alecto just shook her head at my rather involved tale. “Evelynne, my love, you're something else. I leave you for two hours and you have that much adventure?” She grinned broadly. “Next time I am definitely coming with you, I won't miss that excitement again. Oh, to have seen the look on the guy's face, I can just imagine that now. Do be careful, okay? And send me a quick message when you go to sleep? We can quickly say good night to each other, then.”

I nodded. “Of course, I will. I'm only going to the bar for a few hours, at the most. I am very tired from today. It seems like this day has gone on for ever . Seriously the longest day I have ever had. And the best, so far anyway, although I will try my hardest to make every day we have together from now on even more special... With your help, anyway.”

We shared a warm smile. I grinned, then, an idea crossing my mind, and placed my lips against the screen. Alecto did the same, and it was actually remarkably satisfying to see her face so close to mine. I could very nearly imagine kissing her for real, as the memories of how she felt and tasted were so fresh in my mind that I could conjure them easily.

After a few moments I backed away once more, grinning giddily at her. “That was rather fun...” She said, smiling. “Good idea, Evie. You're so creative. Imaginative... I love every expression of that wonderful mind of yours, especially when it is applied to such exploits.”

I spent the other ten minutes telling her about other things that had happened so far on my trip, random impressions that had remained in my mind, really anything I could still recollect. She did think it was strange about the mystery woman, grinning knowingly at me when I described her beauty in some detail. I blushed fiercely, of course, but she told me not to worry about such things, as there was really nothing wrong with the simple admiration of beauty, in whatever form it took, whether a person or a work of art. I smiled happily at her in response, glad that she did not mind it when I told her about these things, as I felt that it really only strengthened our bond together to be able to share that, too, without worrying about jealousy entering the picture for something as simple, innocuous as that . She definitely agreed that it would be more fun next time to people-watch together, as I called it.

She, in turn, told me briefly about her trip back to her apartment, which had been rather uneventful. She blushed fiercely, a true rarity, as she mentioned rather shyly that she may currently have my underwear stashed close by, soaking her senses in the intensity of my scent whenever she felt particular longing. I smiled knowingly at that , as I would certainly do the same later. I did not want to take it out right now, though, as poor Max would probably detect the smell on me when I met him in a few minutes, and he would probably have a heart attack as a result. I giggled at that thought, and Alecto and I decided that perhaps it would be good for him to find some companionship for the night, to keep his mind off us for just a little while.

The last few minutes before I was to meet with my friend we spent whispering sweet words that held meaning only to us. Then it was time to go. “I love you, Alecto. I'll speak to you in a few hours, my love.”

She nodded. “As I love you, Evelynne. Be safe, and have fun with your friend. You can tell me about your adventures, and misadventures , tomorrow.” She waved at me with a warm, affectionate smile on her lips, before the screen went dark. I spent another minute basking in the wonderful feelings that simply talking to her could evoke in me.

Finally it was time to get up, collect Max, drink him under the table, and get the poor guy some company. Because eww, I would have to resort to drastic measures involving completely unnecessary amounts of blood and sharp bladed instruments if I ever caught him privately enjoying thoughts of us. That really had to end, I decided with a grin. At least some day soon. It certainly did not hurt to take his mind off it a little, today, did it?

I barely made it off the bed without falling over from sheer exhaustion and giggled. This is going to be an interesting night. And I could not then have known how true those words would be in hind-sight.

To be continued

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