Double Empire - AUwA/CC/Adult - COMPLETE - 12/7/14

Finished stories set in an alternate universe to that introduced in the show, or which alter events from the show significantly, but which include the Roswell characters. Aliens play a role in these fics. All complete stories on the main AU with Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 21

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:53 pm

Part 21

Maria smiled and brought her hands back to his coat, pulling it off of his shoulders with his help.

“It’s heavy,” he warned as it slipped off of his shoulders.

She let it fall to the ground and just pushed it a few feet away from them before she looked up again, placing her hand on the belt that held the sword. “This too?”

He cleared his throat quietly and nodded. “If you wish.”

Maria let him handle that while her eyes stayed on him. It was the first time she had really seen what was underneath his uniform and as weird as it was, she liked what she saw.

Michael carefully set the sword aside before turning back to her. He forced his thoughts away from the way she was looking at him and sat on the tub’s edge once more.

“You didn’t get much sleep,” she said and turned to open up the medic kit sitting on the sink to get the things she needed. It was easy to see from his posture and the shadows under his eyes that it was true.

“There was little time for rest but we were successful.” He watched her as she picked through the items in the pack. “What did you do while I was away?”

“I talked to Scyntar about the kindergarten job, I read a bit, and I met Liz again out in the courtyard.”

“Liz is the King’s new cook?” he asked and she nodded in response. “You enjoyed your visit?”

“Yeah,” she pulled a disinfecting wipe from the kit and shifted to stand in front of him. “It’s nice to have someone to talk to from the same race, ya know?”

“Is it... easier to talk to her?”

“Easier?”

“More...” he cast about for the right words. “Do you find you’re more comfortable speaking with another human?”

Maria shrugged. “Sometimes it’s easier because she knows how humans feel and think, ya know?”

“And Antarians do not have that ability,” he said quietly. “It is understandable that you would gravitate toward those more like you.” His words and tone unconsciously shifted back to the more formal way of speaking.

“Sometimes Antarians don’t know why we’re sad or angry because they don’t handle things the human way. They don’t have real relationships with problems and stuff, they just marry and live together because… well, for plain economic reasons.” She used her hand to lift his head up slightly towards her so she could clean the wound above his eye.

He was silent as she worked, his right hand clenching on his thigh the only outward sign of his discomfort when the antiseptic made the wound sting.

“Do you wonder why I can’t feel this right now?” She gestured at her own eyebrow. “Last time you were injured I felt it, but this time…”she shook her head.

He considered her question. “You have a theory?”

“Just a really vague one,” Maria shrugged and lowered her hand to look at him. “Maybe I didn’t feel anything because it wasn’t anything that put you in danger or anything life threatening.”

“Perhaps,” he mused thoughtfully. “The last time the injury was more severe. This,” he motioned to his face, “this is more superficial.”

“Yeah,” she agreed. “Another theory would be that the connection faded because of the distance and the length of time you were gone, but then it would be weird that I saw something this morning when your sister was here.”

He frowned. “My sister was here?”

“She didn’t tell you?” Maria was surprised. She had thought the Princess would have told him.

“No, I have not seen my sister since I returned. I had a meeting with the King and then I came straight here.”

“She came here this morning, wanting me to find out where you are by using the connection.”

He sighed tiredly. “I told her to leave you alone. I will speak with her.”

“No,” she said quickly, “I think it’s okay. She was just worried about you.”

His gaze leveled on her. “You do not wish for me to speak with her?”

Maria shrugged one shoulder. “I think we were getting along better by the end of the talk.”

“Very well,” he nodded. He wondered if she had thought about the fact that his return meant she would be required to meet with the Captain to answer his questions. He cleared his throat. “Maria...”

“Hmm?” she asked, unwrapping the tiny needle she needed to stitch the wound.

He shook his head slightly. “Nothing. It can wait.” His gaze bounced away from the needle and he swallowed hard. He could deal with swords better than he could with needles.

“Afraid of a tiny needle?” she teased with a smirk when she noticed his expression.

“No,” he denied. In all truth he hated needles with a passion. His hands lifted to settle on her hips, taking comfort in the contact.

Maria swallowed at his touch, but tried to focus on her task. “Only two or three stitches. The injury last time was much worse.” She looked at the needle between her thumb and index finger. “The arrow in your side must have been a hundred times larger.”

“True, but there were no needles involved.”

She laughed. “Don’t be a baby, Michael.”

He straightened up and shot a mock glare at her. “You dare to speak to the Commander in such a way?”

For a moment she had doubts if his comment was to be taken lightly, but then she saw the tiny hint of amusement in his features. “You dare to be afraid of needles AS the Commander?”

He smiled when she relaxed. “Unfortunately it’s true. Absurd, but true.”

“I’m gonna be careful,” she promised.

“Very well. Proceed if you must.” He tried to ignore the feeling of the needle, although it was more the thought of it than anything else. “Do you like to swim?” he asked to get his mind off of what she was doing.

“I used to on Earth, never done it on Antar in the thicker water,” she answered and slipped the needle through his skin quickly with a well practiced move.

“Would you like to?” he asked before he could think twice.

“With you?” she answered with another question and then immediately felt stupid about it. That was not what he had meant, her mind screamed at her.

He shrugged. “Not if it would make you uncomfortable.”

With one last move she completed the stitching of the wound and placed the needle aside. She used her left hand to gently brush his hair out of his face to have a closer look at it to make sure everything was fine. “We’ll see I guess. Why not try it.”

“I prefer to go at night when no one else is around.” And there were many nights when he couldn’t sleep so it gave him something to do.

“Next time you go, maybe you could just stop by and ask.”

He nodded with a slight smile. “I’ll do that.”

Her mind immediately wandered to that future night and she saw images of him and her swimming together in a lake – pretty sure that this time it was only fantasy and not flashes.

Michael tipped his head to one side as he studied her expression. “What are you thinking?” he asked curiously.

“Nothing,” she said and could feel the blush on her cheeks.

He reached up so he could touch her face, intrigued by the color that had leapt to life there. “Nothing?” he teased, his voice a quiet murmur.

Their eyes locked and Maria could already feel the tingling that came with the flashes. It wasn’t possible to stop it once it had started, but by now she wasn’t as scared as she had been the first times. It was the same image again – him and her out on a balcony together, holding each other while they looked over the land. This time though the flash didn’t end there and leave them in the real world once more. No, it went further.

The flashes that accompanied the connection didn’t come as a shock the way they had at first. What was surprising was the direction the flash took as it moved them beyond the normal boundaries of the balcony off of his quarters. He recognized the banquet hall and the decorations that adorned the room - indicators of a royal wedding.

Maria looked at him – really looked at him, when the flash ended as fast as it had begun. “Do you understand this?” She frowned.

He shook his head. “No, and there is little known about...” he choked back the words before he could reveal his suspicions that what they were experiencing was a true connection. “Little is known about such a connection.”

She frowned at him when his words came out hesitantly. “There’s something you’re not telling me.”

“The King’s advisor is attempting to learn more about the connections.” He reached up to rub his eyebrow but caught himself before he could come into contact with the newly stitched wound. “At a recent meeting he revealed the existence of something known as a true connection. His explanation of it - what little he knows - would seem to explain what is happening between us.”

“And what,” she swallowed, “what did he know about it?”

He gnawed on his bottom lip for a moment. “If what he’s found so far is correct then this connection serves to bring people together who are destined to create and raise a powerful offspring.”

Maria looked at him, stunned, not believing what he was saying. “That’s ridiculous!”She shook her head. “Why would you… with ME?”

“I don’t know. The advisor is looking into the matter.”

“Why me? That makes no sense.” She turned to the medical kit again to get another disinfecting wipe for the cut over his cheek.

He reached up to still her nervous movements. “Maria, nothing will ever happen between us that you don’t want to happen.” He hoped she could hear the truth in his voice.

“Is that why Rath….” her voice trembled, “…did what he did?”

He thought about the conversation he’d had with Ava. “Yes, I believe it is.”

“But how did he know? Why did he pick me? I’m not special. You didn’t know this would happen when we met, so how did he know about it?”

“I do not know. There is a specific gene which allows two people to create a powerful offspring. You carry that gene. I do not have full understanding of the situation so I do not know if it is necessary for both parties to carry the gene or if the creation of such a powerful offspring only occurs when both carry the gene and the connection establishes itself. The connection may be the key.”

“That’s insane.” She refused to believe it, though everything that had happened indicated that what he said was true. Her captivity by Rath and his poor attempts to connect with her, the immediate connection with Michael, the flashes, the feelings coming from him and the strong bond that constantly pulled her in his direction…

He could see the fear, the anger that she was powerless to stop what was happening to her. “I don’t know how to stop this connection,” he admitted. It had so quickly become a part of him that he wasn’t sure he wanted to. “I didn’t ask for it anymore than you did.”

“It’s not the connection itself that worries me the most,” she admitted and ran a hand through his hair to underline her statement. “But how many people are out there who know about it and have a huge interest in preventing it?”

He relaxed at her words. “To the best of my knowledge intelligence indicates that Khivar and the Dupes - that’s what we call the hybrids that look like me, my sister, the King, and his sister - are the only ones who know on the enemy’s side. And on our side, I know and I had to inform the King.”

“The King knows about me?” Liz had described him as a nice man, but you never knew.

“We have our differences, but he can be trusted,” he assured her.

“Okay,” she tried to relax a bit and started to disinfect the cut on his cheek to distract herself.

“You remember the meeting you were supposed to have with Kyle,” he started slowly. “It’s been scheduled for tomorrow morning and the King wishes to meet with you afterwards.” He rested his hand against her side. “I know that’s a lot to take in, but you won’t be alone.”

She exhaled loudly and nodded. There was no way around it and she had known it would come up again. If only it was over already.

“Is there anything I can do?”

Maria shook her head and wiped a silent tear away.

He frowned and reached up to cradle her cheek. He didn’t know what to say or do to make her feel better but it was like a physical pain to see her hurting and be unable to stop it.

Her movements stopped as his touch. She tossed the wipe away and lifted one hand to rest over his before she pulled it away just enough to turn her head and place a kiss in his palm.

Michael didn’t understand why everything about her affected him so deeply but it did. His thumb brushed over her cheek as he watched her and something inside of him that he couldn’t define felt like it wanted to break free.

What were they doing? she wondered. The connection was demanding more and it was getting harder and harder to fight it.

He had no point of reference for what was happening between them. He had never considered he would have anything real with any woman. He was set to marry the royal terror Isabel and as much as he hated it he had accepted that it was his duty. But now... now more than ever he wanted to find a way out of it.

“We’re done here,” she said hoarsely.

“You would like for me to leave,” he said as he stood to retrieve his sword.

“No,” she said quickly – too quickly – and rested her hands over his when he reached for the weapon.

“Have you eaten?”

“I didn’t feel very hungry tonight.”

“Perhaps you’d like to get something? I haven’t eaten yet and it’s been a long day.” He smiled softly. “I’m sure Satara could use a break and we’d have the kitchen to ourselves.”

“Sure,” she agreed. “Why not.”

“I will let Satara know she can go for now.”

“I’m gonna change into something else while you do that.” Maria gestured at her clothes.

His eyes drifted over her once more. “Not on my account I hope.”

“No, not on yours, Commander,” she smiled brightly.

He laughed gruffly and reached for his coat. “I’ll speak with Satara and wait for you in the corridor.”

*****

The corridors were silent as the King wandered through them with a single destination in mind. He hadn’t eaten much when the evening meal was served, his thoughts on the battle being waged in the Sun Valley. Now that the situation had been resolved and he knew the farmers and their families had been spared he was hungry. He frowned when he neared the kitchens and he heard the sounds of a disagreement.

Wilgor’s voice was immediately recognizable and he rolled his eyes at the man’s disagreeable tone. It was really the only tone the man had and if not for his sister he would’ve had him removed from his position long ago. He would be well within his rights to remove him with or without her permission but Wilgor amused her and he let her maintain the illusion that she had any control over what went on in the castle.

It was when he heard the second person’s voice clearly that his interest was piqued and he crept closer to the doors that stood wide open. He leaned against the wall and listened as Wilgor dressed the worker down and he smiled slightly when Liz stood her ground and faced off against the man.

“I will not tolerate this behavior in a simple kitchen servant,” Wilgor snapped. “I will have you on the first transport back to Earth. Once I have informed the King of your insolence you will be marked as unacceptable by Antarian standards and you will be banned from Antar.”

“I believe I am the one who would make that call, Wilgor.”

The Antarian paled slightly when the King stepped out of the shadows. “Your Highness,” he said and bowed his head. “I was – “

“I am aware of what you were doing. You may go.” He would decide how to deal with Wilgor later. Once the man had made his exit he turned to look at Liz. “Wilgor has held this position for many years,” he said, his expression neutral.

“I see,” she said back.

“He’s insufferable,” he said with a smile.

“I hope you don’t expect me to disagree.”

“I am the King, you are not supposed to disagree with me.”

Liz smirked. “Of course not.”

“I would like to eat.”

She lifted one eyebrow, wondering if he knew how late it was. “Got something in mind?”

“Food,” he said and then mentally kicked himself. Obviously she knows you mean food, fool! “I have no preference.”

“Food, alright,” she said, amused as she went to the storage room.

He rolled his eyes and fidgeted while he waited for her to return. “Food,” he muttered derisively.

Liz came back with a few boxes in her hands. She had experimented with a few things for dinner and then had been told nobody would be eating.

“What is that?” he asked curiously as he followed her to one of the counters.

“A few things... I made bacon sandwiches with a hint of spicy seasonings and marshmallows.”

“I have never heard of that combination.”

“Well, there’s always a first time,” she glanced up to meet his eyes and smirked.

He swallowed with difficulty at her playfulness and forced his mind back to the matter at hand. “Is it ready to eat?”

“It was a few hours ago, so the bacon won’t be as good as it would’ve been earlier.”

“Oh, well, even so I would like to try it.”

Liz walked over to get a plate and put a sandwich on it. “Here you go, Your Highness.”

He nodded in appreciation. “Do you have your...” What was the word? “Music with you?”

“Not this time,” she said, amused.

He couldn’t hide his disappointment. “Would you like to retrieve it?”

“Would YOU like?” she countered.

“I would, very much.” He took a bite of his sandwich and nodded. “Yes, I will wait here while you retrieve your music and then you may demonstrate more of the dancing.”

He’s so awkward sometimes, she thought. “Okay. I’ll be back.”

“Very well.” He smiled to himself and took another bite of the sandwich. “Good,” he mumbled around a mouthful.

“Very well,” Liz mocked when he couldn’t hear her anymore and laughed a bit to herself.

Max got up and wandered over to the refrigerated storage area to poke around for something to drink. Once he had a drink he snooped around for the bag of marshmallows and was just returning to his seat with them when she came back.

“Not sweet enough, huh?”

He shook his head. “I like these. We did not have them here on Antar until recently. On Earth they make marshmallows covered in chocolate but we do not have that yet.”

“Well, it’d be easy to do that with these.”

His eyebrows lifted. “Then why has no one done this yet?”

“You obviously had the wrong staff.”

“Obviously,” he agreed. “We could adjourn to the meeting hall. It is unoccupied and much more spacious.”

“Sure, if you wish.”

“Why did you choose to leave Earth?” he asked.

“Why? Because it’s horrible,” she told him. “Everything that made it worth living there is gone.”

He nodded. “I am informed quite often of the situation on Earth,” he said as he gestured to the door.

“It’s not pretty,” she said and left the kitchen ahead of him.

“No.” He grabbed the bag of marshmallows before following her. “I lived on Earth for many years.”

“But you were able to leave when it got out of control. Others didn’t have that advantage.” My family for example, she thought but pushed the thought aside quickly.

“We were evacuated when it became too dangerous for us to remain there.” He stared at the floor as they walked. “I intensely regret that our protective detail refused to evacuate our Earth families.”

“Do you know if they’re still alive?”

He shook his head. “By the time we were able to send a unit back for them it was too late. When we returned to Antar our memories of Earth were repressed. I believe we were engineered so that our return to Antar would engage our alien side and anything relating to our time on Earth would be forgotten but it is my opinion that our human sides are stronger than they expected them to be.”

“It’s just cruel to make you forget all your childhood experiences,” Liz said as they walked down the semi-dark corridor. “Those are often the best of your life and they make you the person you are.”

“I have recently experienced memories surfacing,” he admitted. “Isabel and I were close to Michael and Tess on Earth but when we returned to Antar there was a... distance between us.”

“I wondered about that when I talked to Maria today,” she replied. From what she had heard now, it seemed like the Commander and the King didn’t have very much in common.

“Maria?” He frowned as he tried to put a face to the unfamiliar name.

Liz bit her lip. Didn’t he know about the other human girl on the other side of the castle?

“I do not recognize this name,” he mused. It must be the woman the Commander had spoken of. “She is a guest of the Commander?”

“Yeah, she’s another woman from Earth. I went to cook for her last night, I thought the Commander would’ve told you that…”

“He did mention a guest earlier but he did not reveal her name. You are... friends?”

“We just met twice, but she seems to be nice.”

He nodded and gestured to the large double doors that stood open at the end of the corridor. “The meeting hall,” he said.

“Wow, hall is the right word,” she said when she glanced around the spacious room. The ceiling was high, maybe as high as the whole castle. She turned to look at him, confused when she heard a quiet ‘flip’ and the room was suddenly bathed in a much warmer, dim light.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 22

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:53 pm

Part 22

The King stepped away from the doors and walked to the center of the large room. “The formal meetings we have are so rigid and uncomfortable,” he admitted.

“The room doesn’t radiate much pleasure,” she agreed and pulled her iPod out of a small bag as well as two little speakers.

“What are they?” he asked inquisitively as he looked at the strange boxes.

“Speakers,” she explained. “To listen to the music louder.”

“Oh, how intriguing.” He watched her as she moved to one of the tables that set back against the wall.

Liz laughed at his behavior. It was really amazing how he had forgotten about things like this easily. “You want a fast song or a slow song?”

“Slow, I think.”

“I’ll need a partner with slow music,” she glanced over her shoulder and smirked.

“A partner? To do what?”

“To dance. You can’t dance alone to slow music. That’d just be boring and stupid.”

“Very well. You will show me then.”

With any other man she would’ve been offended by his officious tone, but with him it was different. He didn’t even know that a human woman would be offended by his tone and that cluelessness was cute.

He tipped his head to one side when noise began to pour from the small boxes. “What is that?” he asked, wincing.

“Music,” she teased and looked for a slow song on the player.

“And you dance to this... music?”

“Not to all of it, no,” she said and settled for Katy Perry’s ‘The One That Got Away’ for the first dance lesson with the King. She turned and swayed her hips slightly while her lips moved to the lyrics of the song.

Summer after high school when we first met
We’d make out in you mustang to Radiohead
And on my 18th birthday we got matching tattoos
Used to steal your parent's liquor and climb to the roof
Talk about our future like we had a clue
Never planned that one day I’d be losing you
In another life I would be your girl
We’d keep all our promises, be us against the world
In another life I would make you stay
So I don't have to say you were the one that got away
The one that got away


He watched her and tried to mimic her movements but he felt stupid when the motions felt so stilted. “Perhaps I will just observe you.”

Liz shook her head and walked towards him, taking his hands and placing them on her hips before she hung her arms loosely around his shoulders.

His eyes dropped to his hands and he cursed when the simple touch brought the heat into his cheeks again. He felt foolish as he stood there without an inkling of what he should do now.

“Just don’t think about what you’re doing,” she told him. “Listen to the music and move with it.”

He cleared his throat. “Don’t think?” he echoed. He spent his days and nights doing nothing but thinking. It was next to impossible to turn his brain off. He glanced at her when she rolled her eyes and he nodded. “Very well, I will stop thinking.”

“Dancing is about freeing your mind,” she said and tapped his temple with her index finger.

He unconsciously followed the movements of her body as his eyes locked with hers. “I do not remember doing this while I was on Earth.”

She chuckled. “A lot of teenage boys don’t dance because they think it’s stupid.”

“Yes, I can understand their opinion.”

“They’re too stupid to realize that they’d be much sexier in the girls’ eyes if they knew how to dance.”

“Sexier,” he mused quietly. “That is a good thing?”

“Oh, yeah,” she laughed. “Ya know the thing about male human teenagers is that they always wanted sex but they absolutely did the wrong things to get it.”

“What is the right thing to do?”

“Well, dance,” she underlined, “talk about things that keep the girl’s interest, be polite… stuff like that.”

“So we will dance, discuss things of interest to you, I will be polite, and then we will have sex?”

Liz’ eyes went wide and then she had to laugh. “You don’t even know what you just said, do you?”

He frowned. “I believe I restated the requirements you listed so that we may have sex.”

“You wanna have sex?” she asked, one eyebrow raised.

“Yes, I would like to do that.”

“Have you ever…?”

“You will have the privilege of teaching me,” he said, answering her question without actually saying yes.

Okay, this was turning a lot weirder than she had expected it to be. Her movements stopped as she looked at him. “You do know what sex is, right?”

“Of course,” he insisted, his tone holding a hint of offense.

“I was just making sure,” she hurried to say, “because that’s, well… I don’t even know what it is.”

His mouth dropped open. “You... what?”

“That came out wrong,” she made a face. “I do know what sex is, I just meant I’m a bit surprised you’re requesting it so easily.”

“I wish to be instructed and I find you to my liking. Is that not an acceptable request?”

“For a human it’s a bit odd, ya know? Because sex is something that involves emotions for most of us and we don’t just request it from someone like we’re ordering a cheeseburger.”

“Oh, you can teach me emotions?” He sighed and shook his head in frustration. “I feel things but do not always understand them. As the King such things are not desired by the people so that half of my genetic makeup has been buried since my return to Antar.”

“That’s really a shame because what is life without emotion?” The song ended and it took a few seconds before the next one started. Liz grinned when she recognized it as the same song that had played the first time he had watched her dance.

“Emotions are viewed as a weakness here.” He shrugged one shoulder. “When we returned to Antar we were required to participate in training that would aid in suppressing our emotions.”

“Hmm, would you mind if we work on getting them back?” she teased.

“You would like that?”

“I would.”

“Very well. How do you propose to teach me?”

“I think they’ll just come naturally with time,” she said and turned to lean her back against his chest when the beat of the song increased.

You're so hypnotizing
Could you be the devil, could you be an angel
Your touch magnetizing
Feels like I’m floating, leave my body glowing
They say be afraid
You're not like the others, futuristic lovers
Different DNA, they don’t understand you


She swayed her hips and head to the music while she slowly started to bend her knees to go down a bit.

Was he supposed to move with her? Max swallowed with difficulty when his body reacted to her brushing against him, awakening something inside of him. He inhaled slowly when his body started to move without his permission.

There were already some emotions awakening, Liz thought when she something hard pressing against her lower back as soon as she moved up again.

You're so supersonic,
Wanna feel your powers, stun me with your lasers
Your kiss is cosmic, every move is magic
You're from a whole other world
A different dimension
You open my eyes
And I’m ready to go, lead me into the light


She sang along with the song quietly and shivered when he brought his hand forward to her belly.

Max smiled when he felt her move into his body and his fingers spread wide against her stomach to pull her closer. “I still do not understand all the words but I think I like this.”

Kiss me, k-k-kiss me
Infect me with your love and fill me with your poison
Take me, t-t-take me
Wanna be your victim, ready for abduction
Boy, you're an alien, your touch so far away
It’s supernatural, extraterrestrial


Liz repeated the move again, placing one hand over his to encourage him to move his hips as well. Oh yeah, you do like it, she thought.

“This is good for you?” he rasped against her ear as his hips fell into rhythm with hers.

“Fantastic,” she told him, even though her head was spinning with questions; how much trouble was she getting herself into? No doubt, the King was her type and he seemed to be totally willing, but what if it all came out and she was sent back to Earth? Could she risk it?

His brow furrowed in a frown when her thoughts broadcast themselves to him. “You have no reason to be concerned.”

Her movements stopped as she turned to look at him. “Are you reading my mind?”

“It was unintentional,” he hurried to assure her. “Intense situations can cause a connection to form and I have flashes that sometimes indicate what another person is thinking at that moment.”

Ungh, great, now she had to watch what she was thinking. “Look, I don’t wanna be negative, but you’re the King and you’re promised to someone else, so I should be allowed to worry.”

“Of course. It was not my intention to tell you what you are allowed to feel.” His good mood slipped at the reminder of his impending marriage.

“I just don’t wanna go back to Earth.”

“I would not send you back to Earth,” he denied.

And he was the King, right? Who, if not him, could send her back anyway? “Okay.”

“I did not ask for this marriage.” His voice dropped and he lifted his gaze to stare at the wall. “It has been arranged since before I was engineered.”

She looked at him hesitantly before she reached out to use two fingers on his chin to turn his gaze to her. “Ya know what the first step to havin’ sex is?”

He shook his head mutely.

Her gaze wandered down to his lips. “Kissing.”

“Kissing,” he murmured as his eyes dropped to her lips. His thumb traced over them slowly and he nodded.

There was no doubt he wanted it. The way he looked at her couldn’t be mistaken, so she leaned in until only an inch lay between them. “It’s up to you, King Max,” she told him, her voice holding just a slight dare.

His gaze lifted to hers and he saw the challenge in them. But it was the hint of something else that drew him in and he released the inhibitions of his alien side to pull her closer as he lowered his head to press his lips to hers.

Liz wasn’t expecting much from the kiss. Had he done it before? And if so, did he remember it? She was surprised though when his lips moved over hers lightly at first, varying in pressure and intensity.

He expected the flashes because of the intensity of the moment but he wasn’t expecting the feelings that went along with them. The flashes were rapid and he didn’t try to hold onto them as he savored the moment. His right hand came up to settle against her neck, applying gentle pressure to encourage her to shift her head so that he could change the angle of the kiss.

She groaned slightly when she tipped her head and it encouraged him to let his tongue slip over her lips. Okay, that definitely wasn’t a first kiss.

Heat suffused his body at her reaction and at her invitation his tongue slipped between her lips to tangle wetly with hers. There was no way to hide his body’s reaction to her but she didn’t seem to mind and he found he didn’t want to hide anything from her anyway.

The kiss went on a lot longer than expected, but she didn’t mind considering what it brought out in her. Her hands moved over his chest, clenching tightly in the fabric of the robe he was wearing while she pressed her body against his.

His hands moved over her sides, his fingers fumbling with the hem of her shirt as he tugged at it to get it out of his way. His palms pressed against her skin and he growled low in his throat at the primal feelings that rushed through him.

She didn’t know how she heard it, but the quiet sound of footsteps in the hallway seemed to be getting nearer. She released his robe and pressed her hand flat against his chest, trying to push him away. “Max… Max,” she said, her voice hushed when she was finally able to get his attention.

He frowned when she pushed him back, her touch gentle but firm. “What is it?”

Her hand came up to press over his mouth before he could say more and they both listened. She nodded to the door when she heard steps again.

He turned his head to stare at the doorway, listening to the footsteps and easily identifying them. “That will be my mother,” he sighed.

She looked at him in horror. “What now?”

“I am simply instructing you as to the proper placement of the furniture when the meeting hall is occupied,” he said with a slight smirk, pleased with his explanation. “Do not speak to her unless she engages you first.”

Liz shook her head. “She’ll see right through that. I’m gonna hide.” Before he could say anything else she slipped away and crawled under one of the large tables, the cloth on it reaching the floor and providing the perfect hiding place.

His lips lifted in a smile and he nearly laughed. He realized the music was still playing as his mother reached the doors but it was too late to make it stop or hide the device. “Mother,” he greeted when the woman paused in the doorway.

“What are you doing here, Max?” she asked and walked further into the room, scanning every inch of it with her eyes. “Who was with you here?”

“I have been listening to music. As you can see I am alone.” He gestured to the music device. “Perhaps you would like to listen. It is from Earth.”

“From Earth,” her face turned into a grimace. “Why are you using things from that planet?”

“I wish to better understand the people and their customs. They have music and they dance.”

Under the table Liz closed her eyes and shook her head as she fervently hoped he wouldn’t decide to demonstrate his fledgling dancing skills.

“These things act as reflections of their moods and feelings.”

“I told them it was a mistake to send you to Earth,” the woman muttered and looked at him angrily. “Instead of studying Earth habits which you will never need here on Antar, you should be trying to connect with your mate.”

“Humans and hybrids are now living on Antar, Mother. They should not be expected to live such a sterile existence simply because we do not understand their customs. We have the opportunity to teach our people – all of our people – to live together in a manner that is open to understanding and embracing our differences. Earth and her people, they are not our enemy.”

“Humans should be happy that we allow them to live here. If they don’t wish to adapt our way of living then they are very welcome to be transported back to their own planet.”

“A planet that is dying!” he snapped. “You know very well it is only a matter of time before it becomes uninhabitable.”

“And whose fault is that?” she asked sternly. “They used machines and other dangerous things to make their lives as comfortable as possible, they exploited their planet for many years and built the ticking bombs that destroyed their world all on their own. Their race was damned when they started to put their own lives above that of the planet they lived on.”

He sighed. “And our race nearly destroyed itself as well, did it not? Mother, we can learn from each other, and if our people are to cohabit peacefully we must lead by example.”

“If only you would put as much effort in the things that are really important, Maxwell. You have a position to uphold! You must lead Antar.”

“I will lead Antar, Mother! I will lead Antar in a manner that I believe will allow the kingdom to prosper and grow. As the King I will make the decisions that will guide our people and I will not follow in my father’s footsteps! I did not choose to be a leader, I did not choose to be half-human and half-Antarian, but I do choose to lead my people in a manner I see fitting.”

“People will not follow you if you continue to put the marriage with the Princess off.”

“They will follow me,” he insisted. “The people want a King who is a good leader. My marriage to the Princess is not the most important thing to them!”

“That is the human side speaking out of you, but 90% percent of the people on this planet are Antarian and they think differently, Son.”

“You do not care that you sentence me to a life of misery, do you?” He sighed heavily and began to pace.

“You have a beautiful bride, a large castle, a highly educated Commander, and a planet whose inhabitants are willing to follow you under the right conditions. I do not see where your life is miserable.”

“You wish for me to marry a woman I have nothing in common with! A woman I have no emotional connection to. And you damn her to the same miserable existence!”

“Marriage is not about emotional involvement on our planet. It is about bringing two powerful people of royal blood together to lead their people.”

“That may be what it was about for you and Father, but I am not a full-blooded Antarian and neither is Tess.”

“Your father will not accept this, Maxwell,” his mother growled and turned to leave again. “Start on working on your connection.”

“My father,” he spat out, “has little choice in the matter.”

“Your father still maintains a position of power as long as he lives. If you will not follow your destiny, he will announce someone else as the King and you will be banned, Maxwell.” Her eyes softened for just a second. “Do not allow that to happen.”

“Who will he name in my place? Michael? There is no one else in the royal line.”

“You know your father; he always has an alternative plan.”

He shook his head and sighed in defeat. He had no idea what she meant but he knew how important it was to lead their people. “We will work on the connection, Mother.”

She nodded and looked around the room once more, her eyes narrowing at the item the noise was coming from. “And silence that noise. Good evening, Maxwell.”

He waited until the echoes of her footfalls could no longer be heard before his hands shot out in a rare show of temper and he forced the doors to slam shut. He cursed loudly, not even realizing the guttural words were from Earth.

“Well, you definitely know how to curse like a human,” Liz said as she crawled out of her hiding place and dusted the dirt from her knees.

He whirled around and his right hand shot up, quickly curling into a fist as he caught himself. “You should not have been witness to that.”

She took a step back and collided with the table behind her. “I seriously wish I hadn’t.”

“It was unpleasant as are most meetings between my parents and myself.” He raised his hand to rub his forehead as a headache threatened. “I did not mean to ruin your evening.”

“Don’t worry about me.” She waved him off.

He sighed tiredly, his shoulders sagging as the weight of his responsibilities once again burdened his young soul.

“Hey,” she walked up to him again and used her fingertips to massage his temples. “I liked what you said.”

“They engineered us as hybrids to rule Antar and yet they insist on suppressing the very thing that makes us who we are.”

“I know.” The things that she had overheard disturbed her too and she needed some time to think about it. “I should go…”

“I have enjoyed our time together.” He reached up to brush her hair back behind her ear. “I would like to do it again should you find that thought acceptable.”

She smiled. “We’ll see.” With that she freed herself and hurried out of the room.

He fought the urge to use his powers and fling the furniture around just to have the satisfaction of destroying something. He hated what his parents had done to them. And for what? They meant nothing to them beyond what they could achieve for them.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 23

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:53 pm

Part 23

“Da?” Amela looked up from where she was sitting on the fluffy carpet in Tess’ quarters, playing with some colorful blocks, when someone knocked on the heavy wooden double door.

“Hmm, I don’t know, shorty,” she said, amused by the little girl’s excitement whenever she thought Michael was around. She walked over to the door while she dried her hair with a towel and cursed quietly when she almost tripped over the long robe she was wearing. Even though her memories from Earth were weak she was sure she had never worn anything so uncomfortable back then.

Kyle leaned in the doorframe when she opened the door. He was tired from their mission in Sun Valley and Michael had left the reports to him while he had gone to the King with the newest information. Michael had told him to leave the fact that he had met Ava and what she had told him out of the report as long as they didn’t know if she was to be trusted. “Corporal,” he greeted her formally, by her rank, because of the sentries at her door. “I’m here to inform you of the recent developments in Sun Valley.”

She bit back a grin and nodded. “Come in, Captain.”

As soon as the heavy door closed behind them he changed positions and pressed her up against it, kissing her hard. Tess groaned into his mouth and let him do what he needed for a short before she stopped him gently, but firmly.

He frowned at her rejection. “What – “

Tess just nodded at the little girl sitting at the other end of the room, looking at them with big eyes. “We have company.”

He groaned quietly and deftly switched gears. “And what’s this little lady doin’?” he asked as he looked at their little guest.

Amela just giggled and held a block up, but she lost grip on it and it fell to the ground, rolling a few feet away from her.

Kyle nodded and moved to retrieve the renegade block when the little girl looked up at him expectantly. “Gonna make my tired soldier bones sit down and play for a while, huh?”

Tess smiled at his words and bent down to kiss his head. “I’m gonna dry my hair, be back in a minute, okay?”

“Okay. We’ll stay here and build somethin’,” he said, giving her a tired smile.

She could easily see the exhaustion in him and promised to hurry before she left him alone, knowing that he was good with the little one in her room.

“So, what’re we building?” he asked as he stretched out on his side, resting his weight on his elbow and his chin in his hand. His free hand shot out to catch one of the blocks when she threw it and he shook his head before setting it down in front of her. “No projectiles.” He picked up another block and placed it on top of the first one. “See? Like that.”

The little girl giggled and kicked her feet, destroying the two-block tower he had built.

“That’s fun, huh?” He yawned and reached out to rebuild the tower, adding a third block. “Have at it, kid.”

Tess stood in the doorframe of the bathroom, watching her lover and the little girl while she combed her hair. She had seen him interact with Amela on several occasions and there was no doubt he would be a good father. Her expression turned sad at that thought because she knew she could never be the mother of his children in the world they lived in.

Kyle turned his head when he felt her gaze on him and he didn’t need to ask about the look on her face. They had no way of knowing if they would find a way out of her arranged marriage but he knew it was a long shot. His attention was drawn back to Amela when she kicked the blocks and one of them rolled across the floor to hit him in the chest. “May have to teach you to play soccer,” he murmured as he dutifully restacked the blocks.

A few minutes later Tess joined them again and sat down, her back resting on his bent leg. “What’s soccer?” It sounded familiar somehow but she couldn’t remember a thing about it.

“It’s a sport that pits two teams against each other.” He rolled his eyes. Didn’t that describe most sports? Well, the most important ones anyway. “The object is for the players to score goals by driving the ball downfield and through the opposing team’s goal.”

She reached forward and brushed the little girl’s hair back when it hung in her face and blocked her sight. When there was a noise out in the corridors she looked up at the door hopefully. Tess shook her head. “She thinks it’s Michael every time she hears a sound.”

He chuckled. “It’s all about him, isn’t it, Amela?”

Tess turned in her seat and looked at her lover, using her right hand to caress his cheek and the slight cut there – a moment later the little injury was gone.

He caught her hand and pressed a kiss to her palm. “Thanks.”

“I’m getting better at it,” she said with a slight smile. “I can still only heal superficial things though.”

“We’re in luck then ‘cause that’s all I have. I inflicted more damage than I received this time out.”

“How bad was it?”

“No civilian casualties. They were successfully evacuated before the enemy reached the valley.” He tensed as he recalled the soldier he had watched die after being mortally wounded by Ava’s blade.

“You’re hiding something,” she stated. They might not have a connection like Michael now shared with a human, but she could read his body language very well.

“T’lan was fatally wounded while pushing Ava’s unit back.” He swallowed hard and pulled the man’s dog tags from his pocket. “He wanted us to tell his mate something but,” he shook his head, “he was gone before he could say what it was.”

She placed her hand on his, squeezing it slightly before another knock on the door interrupted them. Kyle immediately straightened up and looked at her.

“Probably her caretaker to settle her for the night. It’s way past her bedtime, but she refused to sleep earlier and I was hoping Michael would stop by, but for now he hasn’t.” She got up and picked Amela up from the floor. “Say night-night to the Captain.”

He caught the little hand that reached out to him, rubbing it gently and savoring the innocence of the moment. “Sleep well, little one,” he murmured.

Tess walked over to the door with the baby girl in her arms and opened it, nodding at the woman on the other side. “See if you can settle her down.”

Kyle rolled over and chuckled quietly at the tone in Tess’ voice that made it clear her words were not a request.

After handling the child over to the caretaker she closed the door and returned to him, taking her place next to him since he hadn’t bothered to get up yet. “You know what the sad thing is? The caretakers get her to bed a lot better than I do. Sometimes, when I’m gone for several days I wonder if she even really remembers me, you know?”

“Oh, she remembers,” he assured her and reached over to place his hand on her thigh. “She just doesn’t get to see you as often so when she does the last thing she wants to do is go to bed and miss out on seeing you.”

She nodded thoughtfully and stretched out beside him, enjoying his presence and seeking that comfort while it lasted. He was still wearing his uniform, a sign that he hadn’t had much time to breathe since he had returned. “How bad was my brother about things? I know him; he won’t just let the opportunity to tease slip by.”

He made a face. “For a while there I thought he was gonna let the soldiers use me as a training dummy.”

“I expected as much,” she snorted.

“He wasn’t as bad as he could’ve been, that’s for sure. He’s understandably concerned about what happens when – if – you have to marry the King. He expressed some worry when I told him that wouldn’t stop us from being together.”

He wasn’t the only one who worried about that, she thought. What would happen if they didn’t find a way to avoid it? Could she ask Kyle to still be with her then?

He shifted closer to her. “It won’t, you know.”

She nodded although she wasn’t sure about it. There was no doubt that he would go along with it, but the question was could she would allow him to put himself in so much danger for a relationship that could never be?

“Sometimes I wish I could read your mind,” he murmured as he reached up to rub his thumb over the frown lines causing her brow to furrow.

“Be glad you can’t,” she said and forced a smile. “It’s not always helpful.”

“Maybe not,” he agreed, knowing that he had thoughts of his own that he didn’t feel the need to burden her with. He rolled onto his side and hooked his arm over her waist to pull her closer. “What’s on your schedule for tomorrow?”

“I haven’t talked to Michael yet, but I guess first there’s the interrogation of his guest?”

He nodded. “Yeah, I’ll be handling that.” It was unnecessary information since she would already know. “Know anything about her?”

“A bit…” she said, wondering if he knew about the mysterious connection the woman shared with her brother.

He nodded. “Just a bit?” He hadn’t had time to sit down and read the file Dr. Collon had released to him but he had scanned over it, picking out a couple of very important pieces of information.

“Well… She’s getting the special treatment from Michael.”

“Um-hmm.” He played with the ends of her hair. “There’s that...”

“They share a connection…”

He nodded. “So you’re aware of it.”

“We talked about it.”

“How do you think that’s possible?” he asked quietly. “She’s human, he’s a hybrid.”

“I don’t know… But we will find out,” she said with determination.

“Yeah.” Why Michael and the human woman, but not him and Tess?

Tess moved closer to him and caressed his cheek. “We don’t need a connection…”

“No, we have our own connection.”

She grinned and nipped his lips. “It’s been a while since we… connected.”

He felt some of the exhaustion leave his body to be replaced by a rush of energy when he saw the look in her eyes. “Yeah, too long.”

“Should we move this to a more comfortable place, or…” she let her hand wander over his still-covered chest.

“I can get lost in you anywhere but tonight I’m voting for comfortable.”

“Okay,” she breathed against his lips and got up, offering him a hand.

He stood, ignoring the muscles that protested the movement. He wasn’t hurt, just physically tired. He held onto her hand, willingly following her lead as they moved through the rooms.

“Sit,” she told him and pressed his shoulder down until he came into contact with the bed. The mattress bounced when she crawled up behind him, using her hands, strong from too many battles, to loosen his stiff muscles.

“Somethin’ odd happened today,” he mused aloud as he started to unbutton his shirt.

“What was it?”

“Michael had an encounter with Ava.”

Her movements stopped the moment he said her evil twin’s name. “I hope he killed her,” she grated out.

“Easy,” he murmured, reaching back to touch her leg when her fingers bit into his neck. “She said she wants to defect.”

“Defect?” she said, horrified. “Did Michael tell her to go to hell?”

He cleared his throat. “Tess, she claims she can deliver the others.”

“And you believe her?” She got from the bed to stand in front of him, hands on her hips.

“I don’t know. I wasn’t there. What I do know is your brother could’ve ended her right there and he didn’t.”

Tess pressed her lips together tightly while she struggled for control. “Where is he?”

“My guess is he probably went to see his guest.”

“Of course he would go to her before seeing me,” she growled and went to get a coat to pull over the robe.

“You know if you go see him now you’re only gonna argue,” he said when he saw the angry look in her eyes.

“I don’t care,” she hissed. “If he thinks talking to HER is more important than informing me about Ava, then I’m up for an argument.”

He sighed and fell back on the bed to run his hands over his face. “It can wait, Tess.” Although as stubborn as she was he seriously doubted it would.

“No, it can’t,” she denied and went to the door. “Are you coming?”

“Not anytime soon,” he muttered and sat up.

Tess frowned. “What?”

He shook his head. “Nothin’, if this’s more important then let’s get it over with.”

****

Michael sat on a stool and watched Maria as she moved around the kitchen, her movements oddly at ease. She had insisted that he sit down and rest while she fixed them something to eat and he had complied with her wishes. He was not above letting a woman fuss over him when it suited him, which was a rare occurrence. As a rule he was content to bed women and then be done with them, having them removed from the palace so he would avoid future meetings with them.

With Maria it was different. He genuinely enjoyed her company. He didn’t know how much of that was due to the connection that seemed intent on pushing them together but he had stopped questioning that part of it. It was surprisingly easy to talk to her and when he was around her he found himself relaxing his guard. She was a breath of fresh air in an existence that had become stale and routine.

“You do like things sweet and spicy, right?” she asked with a glance at him over her shoulder.

“Yes.” He leaned slightly to the side in an attempt to see what she was making but she moved to block his sight. He sighed impatiently and began to drum his fingers on the surface of the counter.

“You need to learn to be patient.”

He straightened at her chastising tone. “I am a patient man when necessary.”

She smiled to herself as she finished putting his sandwich together. “When you think it’s necessary.”

“Of course.” He frowned uncomprehendingly.

Maria just shook her head and turned to place the plate on the counter before him. The Antarian equivalent to turkey was a little different than what they’d had on Earth, but it was in his kitchen so she had to assume he liked it. She had piled it on and added two kinds of cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, jalapenos that were much hotter than those on Earth, and then spread a sweet jelly on the bread instead of something like mustard or mayonnaise.

Michael eyed it for a moment before looking up at her. “Where’s yours?”

“Not really feeling hungry,” she told him.

“I’m not sure what I think about eating something the cook won’t eat,” he said as he eyed the sandwich.

“Afraid I’m gonna try to poison you?” she asked to make a joke but it came out more serious than expected.

“If I was concerned about that I’d make you take the first bite,” he said, his lips quirking up at the corners.

“I don’t like it that spicy. Your jalapenos are a lot hotter than ours on Earth and my whole mouth feels like it’s on fire for hours afterwards if I eat them.”

He picked up one half of the sandwich, studying it for a moment before taking a big bite. He chewed for a few moments, letting the flavors mix on his tongue before he nodded in approval. “Good,” he mumbled, his mouth still full.

Maria smirked and without thinking she reached out to brush a bit of jam from the corner of his mouth before licking it from her finger.

His eyes followed her every move and he stopped chewing without even realizing it.

“Sorry,” she mumbled when realization hit her.

He shook his head and forced himself to finish chewing so he could swallow the food. “Don’t be.”

“Sometimes I – “ She fell silent when she heard a baby’s cries echoing off the walls of the castle, obviously coming from the maze of corridors.

Michael set the sandwich down and got to his feet just as the cries became louder and Amela's caretaker entered the room carrying the little girl. He moved to take her in his arms, dismissing the caretaker with nothing more than a sharp nod.

“Da,” the little girl cried while tears, snot, and baby spit ran down her face.

“Someone’s totally unhappy at this time of day,” Maria said softly and went to get something to wipe Amela’s face.

“She doesn’t like to go to bed,” he murmured as he gently bounced the little girl.

“Guess that never changes,” she said with a smile and went to him, offering him the wipe. “You want or should I?”

He turned so that Amela was facing her. The little girl didn’t like to have her face wiped for any reason. “No, go ahead.”

“Wow, you worked yourself up pretty good,” Maria murmured softly while she took care of her.

“When she was younger she wasn’t so difficult to put down in the evenings.”

“It’s normal that their patterns change now and then. Right now she’s growing fast and that unsettles a lot of kids.” She tossed the wipe in a near trash can and reached out to bring Amela’s slightly curly hair in order.

He looked at the little girl. “That’s what causes it?”

“Most likely,” Maria shrugged.

“She’s quite vocal about bedtime.” He rubbed her back as she started to quiet and he watched her when he realized it was his food that had caught her attention.

“Want me to hold her while you eat?” Maria asked. He has let her hold her before, so she was positive he would agree.

He nodded and shifted to see if Amela would willingly go into Maria’s arms.

“C’mere, short stuff, let your big brother eat, huh?” She held her arms out to her expectantly.

Amela picked at his rank insignia as she looked between them but when she pointed at the sandwich and he uttered a quiet but firm no she stuck her bottom lip out and went into the woman’s arms.

“I doubt she’d like it anyway,” Maria chuckled and then went to sit again.

“No, she’d spit it right back out.” He took his seat and started eating again. “She shouldn’t really eat at this time of evening but I hate to eat in front of her.”

She didn’t have a chance to reply when the door swung open and Tess stalked in loudly, accompanied by the Captain.

Michael glanced over his shoulder and he knew before Tess spoke what was going on. “I suppose you’re here to express your displeasure over today’s events.” He turned his back to them and concentrated on his sandwich.

“Apparently you don’t think it is necessary to inform me about it, while I’m certain you’ve already shared it with her.” Tess shot a glance at Maria, her voice softer than the anger boiling inside her because of Amela.

“This’s not a suitable discussion with the little one present.” He took a bite and got up to go and get something to drink.

Maria opened her mouth to suggest taking Amela with her to her room for a while, but she shut it again, not saying anything because the Princess would probably disagree.

Michael turned to look at his sister. “You wish to discuss this right now? Fine, we’ll discuss it and I will make no apologies for my decision.” He shifted his gaze to Maria. “Would you mind taking Amela to your room? I’ll come and get her when I’ve finished here.” He shot another look at his sister. “It won’t take long.”

“Sure,” she smiled slightly when he trusted her with the little girl and she stood up to leave, glancing at the other woman when she blocked her path.

“If you hurt her…”

“I won’t,” Maria told her, not looking away since she felt more comfortable with Michael there.

“Tess, let her pass,” Michael grated out.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

User avatar
Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 24

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:54 pm

Part 24

Kyle placed a hand on Tess’ arm, silently urging her to listen to her brother.

She exhaled loudly through her nose and waited until the human had gone before she took a seat facing her brother. “I don’t understand why you think talking to HER is more important than talking to ME.”

“Seems to me you already have someone to inform you of the day’s events,” he said with a glance at his second.

“And if he didn’t I would still be in the dark,” she said before he could concentrate on Kyle too much. “What’d that bitch say?”

He took his time finishing his meal and washed it down with a drink of water before speaking. “She has indicated she can deliver Rath and Vilondra to me.”

Tess made it a point to snort loudly and roll her eyes. “She lies. Why didn’t you just kill her?”

“Because I believe her.”

“Why? Kyle said he saw her killing our men.”

“She’s a soldier fighting for the man she swore her allegiance to.” He shook his head before she could go off on him. “It would be pointless to try to defend her actions, same as it would be to defend our actions for killing their men. It’s war and we do what is necessary to survive and protect our people and territory. She wants to defect and she’s willing to turn Rath and Vilondra over to me. I do not blindly trust as you know, but I will not allow this opportunity to pass by without due consideration.”

Tess knew he had already made up his mind and she wasn’t going to change it. “What did the King say?” She narrowed her eyes at him. “You did inform him, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I informed him upon my return as is my duty.”

“What information did you get out of her?” There must be more if he was considering believing her.

“She told me why Rath held Maria and kept her alive.”

Kyle and Tess both looked up at that. “Are you gonna tell us,” she huffed impatiently.

“She has the gene,” he answered.

“The gene? What does that mean?”

“It means he was trying to create a super hybrid,” he snapped.

“That’s why you connected with her,” Tess said as she put one and one together.

He shrugged.

“If that’s true then Khivar will do anything to get her back, Michael,” she insisted.

“Then it would be wise to ensure her safety, wouldn’t it?”

Tess leaned on the counter and rubbed her face, feeling her anger slowly pass. “She was able to connect with you this morning.”

“How connected are you?” Kyle asked. The medical report had not been as informative as it could have been.

They both looked at Michael expectantly. “She could tell where you were. Even from here she saw the valley, the dam, and other things.”

“The connection runs deep,” he said slowly. “There have been flashes that would seem to indicate we’re together at a future time.”

“What does she think about it?” Kyle asked, flipping open the medical report he had been carrying around with him since he had gotten back to the castle a few hours ago.

“She’s dealing with it. What else can she do? She didn’t ask to be connected to the man who’s physically identical to the man who violated her!”

“If you ask me she’s dealing with it pretty well considering. She should be the scared for her life being in the same room with you, but for some reason she seems to trust you,” Tess said.

“It’s the connection,” he insisted. “I’ve never experienced anything like it but it’s...” he trailed off, not knowing how to describe it.

“We should augment the number of soldiers as well as the defense area around the castle. If Ava’s guess about the gene is correct then he will try to get her back.”

“We have to be cautious about increasing our forces. Khivar doesn’t know where she is, only that we have her. If he learns that we’re heightening security around the castle he’ll know where she is.”

Tess stood and went to the counter where Maria had been preparing the sandwich for Michael, glancing over the items and starting to make one for herself while she thought about the new development.

“Rath really did a number on her,” Kyle murmured when he went further through her report, preparing for the interrogation the next day and only then realized he had said it aloud.

“Yes, he did,” Michael said as he drummed his fingers on the countertop.

Man, the second in command thought as he read to the first notes the doctor had taken down, imagining the horror story in his head. He realized the interrogation wouldn’t be as easy as others. He had to consider her history with Rath – intimidation was the last thing that would help to get any information out of her.

He rubbed his forehead and sat up straighter. “How do you intend to handle the interrogation?” He had a feeling no matter how Kyle approached her she wasn’t going to handle it well.

“I won’t treat her as a prisoner,” Kyle told him. “I’m afraid that won’t prevent her from getting stressed or hurt though.”

“No, I don’t imagine it will. The connection seems to lessen her fear with me but she won’t have that buffer with you.”

“She felt your pain?” the Captain asked as he went through the next page of her file.

“She did. The connection seems to allow us to feel each other’s pain, physical or emotional. The longer it’s sustained the deeper it seems to become.”

“Maybe she’s the way out of our stupid marriage arrangements,” Tess turned with her food in her hand, not really having paid any attention to what the men had been discussing.

“I can just imagine what Zander would have to say about this development,” Michael muttered.

“We’d better keep it from the old man as long as possible,” Tess snorted. “Well, thinking twice about it, maybe it would give him the last heart attack he needs to finally do what we’re all waiting for.”

He smiled slowly. “There’s a thought and don’t think I haven’t considered it. But it’s also possible that he would view her as a threat and attempt to have her removed.”

“From what you said,” Tess said after swallowing a bite of her sandwich, “you think you and her have a future, Michael?”

“I don’t know.” He didn’t believe it was out of the realm of possibility but he wasn’t sure he wanted to discuss that. “What do you think of the connection being a sentient thing?”

She shrugged. “I always wondered what good it would be if it wasn’t sentient.”

“I had never given it much thought until recently, but it does appear that it is.”

Kyle glanced up from the report to glance at Tess. “You thinkin’ of sharin’ that?” he asked with a pointed look at her sandwich.

“Sure,” she grinned and handed it to him, knowing that it would be way too spicy for him, but she didn’t say anything.

Michael rested his weight on his elbow and watched Kyle take a big bite and start to chew as he went back to reading. Within seconds his eyes started to water and he looked around for something to drink. He shook his head and wordlessly pointed at the refrigerator. “It’s the only thing that explains her ability to be near me after what she went through with Rath,” he said while Kyle hurried to put the fire out.

“This isn’t good,” Tess said. She had a feeling that things were at a turning point and what was to come could be either devastating or something they had hoped for. She glanced at her lover and shook her head with a slight smirk. “Too spicy, Captain?”

“No,” he choked out.

Michael snorted and turned his glass between his fingers. “They push us together, try to force us to connect with our intended spouses... we have to learn more about the true connection. I think it’s the key.”

“And King Max knows about this?” Kyle asked. “He won’t tell his father, will he?”

“Max is no more interested in going through with these marriages than we are. He won’t say anything.” He didn’t know why but he believed it.

Tess nodded, finally not feeling as on edge as she had earlier, although she was still mad Michael hadn’t told her first considering the fact it had been her double. “That makes sense.” She glanced at the Captain where he was sitting at the counter a few feet away from her. “So maybe you should go and put Amela to bed,” she told her brother.

Michael followed her gaze and he rolled his eyes. “Please control yourselves and remember this’s MY kitchen.” He got to his feet and stretched his tired muscles. “And Tess? This connection... if she was a spy I’d know. I don’t know how to explain it, but she wouldn’t be able to lie about it.”

“We’ll talk about it after the interrogation tomorrow,” she told him with a nod.

He took her words at face value and gave a small wave over his shoulder. “G’night.”

She waited until he had left the room before she went to stand behind her lover, who was too focused on the record in front of him to notice. “What do I have to do to get this much attention from you?” she whispered in his ear.

He smiled and closed the folder. “What’ve you got in mind?”

She leaned forward to let her hand caress the counter in front of them. “Does this look solid to you?”

“That looks like my ass landing in hot water if the Commander finds out,” he snorted.

“He won’t come back,” she denied.

“No, I don’t guess he will,” he said and turned to look at her.

She pressed against him as soon as he was facing her, her eyes darkening when his hard muscled body immediately responded with the expected reaction. “I want you, Captain,” she told him hoarsely.

He was incapable of saying no when she was like this. Not that he wanted to, he mused silently. He shot one last glance at the door before he nodded. His hands came up to cup her face and he studied her dark eyes for a moment before he leaned in to kiss her.

Tess’ hands wandered to his belt to open it up. This wasn’t the time or place for slow and tender and he probably knew that as well.

Kyle could feel the urgency of the moment and he allowed himself to be swept away by it. The need to reconnect with her after being separated was always intense and when that separation was filled with battles and loss it was even greater. He fumbled with her clothing, only bothering with what was absolutely necessary.

“I love you,” she rasped against his scratchy cheek and bit his bottom lip until it almost drew blood.

Her declaration combined with the brief stinging pain spurred him into action and he reached behind him to grab the folder, tossing it across the room. He didn’t want any reminders of violence and darkness to infringe on their moment. He caught her around the waist and turned to sit her on the counter, pressing between her legs when they automatically spread to make room for him.

Tess reached between them, letting her hand wander over his hard length several times until she felt that he couldn’t bear it much longer.

He muttered an oath and suddenly the need to feel her against him was almost more than he could stand. His eyes darkened as his heated gaze moved over the thin material of the gown she wore beneath the open robe and when she saw his intentions and gave an imperceptible nod he reached for the neckline and ripped it straight down the middle. “So beautiful,” he muttered and grabbed her hips to pull her closer to the edge of the counter.

She smiled with a little flush on her face and moved one hand up his chest until she was able to grab the collar of his uniform. “Take me, Captain.”

He knew before he reached between them to touch her that she was ready for him and a feeling of power surged through him when she shuddered and cried out. He gave himself another hard stroke as he pressed against her entrance and he leaned forward to kiss her neck. “Mine,” he growled, sinking his teeth into her flesh and marking her as his hips slammed forward to join them.

****

Michael made his was back towards Maria’s quarters, feeling his own exhaustion nagging at him and his whole body giving him clear signs of needing rest. It had been a long day and he knew he had to sleep to regain his strength, but Amela probably wasn’t willing to just sleep and he was unwilling to hand her over to her caretaker again.

Satara was back at her post in front of the door to Maria’s room and he nodded at her, wondering if he would be able to release her after the interrogation tomorrow. For a soldier guard duty was a boring tedium when there were other things to be done.

He opened the door and stepped inside, frowning when there were no sounds at all and only a dim light coming from the very end of the room where the bed was. Slowly, he closed the door behind him and walked further in until Maria’s silhouette came into view. She was lying in bed, facing the other side and he wasn’t sure if she had noticed him until she finally turned over.

“She’s sleeping,” her voice was hushed and her movements careful to not disturb Amela.

His eyebrows lifted in surprise. “How did you get her to sleep?” he whispered.

“I just put her down and rubbed her back a bit. Seems like she like that,” she said with a smile.

He made a quiet sound of surprise. “I’ll have to remember that.”

“Seems to work with adults and children,” she winked at him.

“Is that so?” He started to sit on the bed but then considered that she might not be comfortable with that.

“At least with us humans,” she nodded and moved around carefully, gesturing for him to sit down.

He sat down and reached out to brush the backs of his fingers against Amela’s cheek. “Well, don’t rub my back because I might fall asleep and then you’ll be stuck with me.”

“Aren’t I anyway?” she asked, amused.

He smirked softly. “I suppose you are. But at least right now I’m not passed out taking up the majority of your bed.”

“Yeah…” she said, her mind picturing that and to her surprise she didn’t dislike the thought, which was just crazy.

“She sleeps so peacefully,” he mused as he watched Amela.

“She was exhausted, just hadn’t found a way to settle down.” Her eyes trailed over his features. “And so are you I believe.”

He lifted one shoulder in a half shrug. “Some days are more exhausting than others.” He sighed roughly and leaned back to lie on the mattress and stare at the ceiling. “I find myself believing that someone who has been a sworn enemy may actually be an ally.” He rubbed his hands over his face. “It’s a lot to process.”

Always the soldier, she thought and grabbed a pillow, offering it to him.

He accepted it and placed it beneath his head. “I believe she’s sincere but that’s not enough to rely on.” He shook his head. “You aren’t interested in this. We can talk about something else. Unless you’d like to sleep and in that case I can take Amela and leave you to rest.”

She got a pillow of her own and settled down next to him, rolling onto her side to face him. “No, I’m alone most of the day and the unsettling feeling when you’re gone is sometimes hard to ignore, so stay if you want.”

He nodded. “When will you begin working with Scyntar?”

“She said I could start whenever I want, in the morning or afternoon.” Maria glanced up when Amela shifted and she reached out for one of her tiny hands, smiling when the little fingers curled around hers.

“Do you want children?” He swallowed hard when he realized what he had said. “I mean, did you... before?”

“I don’t know… I guess so. Never really thought about it when Earth was still intact and then later when everything went down there was no point in considering it any longer.”

“Sometimes it’s difficult to think about the future when the present is so uncertain. And to bring young ones into the world when you don’t know if you can keep them safe or if you’ll even be there for them,” he shook his head. “It’s difficult.”

“Yeah.” She looked at Amela. “Once they’re there you don’t have doubts though I guess.”

“No.” He rested his fingertips against the little girl’s hand. “She's provided for in the event anything should happen to me and I know she’ll be well cared for.”

“Don’t talk about something happening to you,” she begged and placed her hand in his. Somehow that thought was unbearable.

He shifted to come up on his elbow and look at her directly. “With who I am and what I do, that possibility will always be there,” he said softly.

“I know,” she said hoarsely. “I just don’t wanna think about it.”

“Very well.” He was used to censoring his words around Amela but not around other adults. “Have you ever been riding?”

“No, never,” she admitted.

“Amela enjoys it. I take her out when I have the time. Perhaps you’d like to go with us.”

“I could give it a try, but don’t laugh at me.”

“Never,” he said, his lips quirking up in a teasing smile.

“Uh-huh,” she snickered. “Somehow I don’t believe that. But it’s okay, I’ll find a way to get back at you.”

He chuckled. “I’ll look forward to it.”

“Me too,” she said and stared up at him. His face was handsome, even with the bruises and cuts there was a kind of softness there when he was around her or the little girl.

Michael watched her watching him and he could feel how comfortable she was with him. It awed him that she felt that way after all she had been through.

“Penny for your thoughts,” she said after a while of silence.

“Generous of you.” He rolled his right shoulder and shook his head. “Just thinking that I enjoy your company and I’m glad you seem to feel the same way.”

“Blame it on the connection,” she told him with a little smile.

Would they have been able to be so at ease with each other without the connection between them? he wondered. He yawned and glanced at Amela. “I should probably take her to her own room,” he said, but made no move to get up.

Maria just looked at the peaceful sleeping baby girl in her bed and didn’t say anything. She didn’t want him to leave, but she had no right to ask him to stay either. Ad it would just be too weird. He was the Commander of an entire planet and she was just a simple woman from Earth who obviously had a few of the wrong genes in her gene pool.

Michael reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes, feeling the exhaustion pushing at him. He knew himself well enough to recognize the signs and he knew if he didn’t move soon he would be impossible to wake, short of an invasion on the castle.

“You can let her stay here if ya want,” she finally said, wondering what his reaction would be.

“I don’t move soon and you’ll have both of us as overnight guests,” he said drowsily.

“I’m not kicking you out if that’s what you’re hoping for,” she told him.

“Kick out the Commander of Antar,” he said and chuckled, the sound whisper soft.

She laughed quietly. “Well, who knows, maybe I’m developing powers through the connection.” It was meant to be a joke, but she wondered if there could be any truth in it.

“Be an interesting development.” His mind was just barely following what he was saying as the words continued to get softer and softer with every breath he took.

It was obvious that he was drifting off to sleep. “You’re lying there pretty uncomfortably,” she said softly, watching him. His upper body was on the bed, but his feet still on the floor. He would be stiff in the most uncomfortable places the next morning if he slept in that position.

“Hmm?” He was trying to follow her voice but it was getting harder to respond.

“You’re still in full gear and only half in bed.”

“Um-hmm...”

She rolled her eyes. Right now he would sleep right through a battle going on next to his ear. Should she just let him stay the way he was?

Michael felt something tugging at his mind, something he couldn’t brush away in spite of his desire to and he forced himself to sit up, grumbling as he fumbled with his uniform jacket.

“Let me help you,” she slipped from the bed and stood in front of him, pulling the heavy coat down over his arms.

He mumbled a response that was meant as an affirmative answer but even knowing it was unintelligible he couldn’t seem to dredge up the energy to open his mouth and articulate.

He looked adorable when he was tired like this, but she was surprised that his tiredness came on so quick and strong. Maybe it had something to do with the lack of sleep and having powers, she mused. Like some battery you had to charge with sleep. “Boots,” she mumbled and crouched down to open them up.

He did his best to cooperate and once the task was complete he started to lie back down but was prevented by hands on his shoulders. “What?” he mumbled.

“Lean to the right and get on the bed fully, Michael. Be careful of Amela next to you.”

“You give orders well,” he muttered with a tired smile. “You’re suited to the position of the Commander’s mate.”

His words made her hesitate. The Commander’s mate? Was that what she really was? Or was it just his drowsy mind speaking right now? “You talk too much,” she said softly.

“N’ver been accused of that one,” he said as he shuffled around to get comfortable.

Probably because no one really got that close to him, she mused. “Sleep well, Michael.”

“Too,” he mumbled, his lightly fisted hand thumping the mattress on Amela’s other side.

Maria made a face when his uncoordinated move made the baby girl next to him stiffen and a moment later her eyes began to open tiredly. “Great.” Quickly she went around the bed and snuggled up behind her, reaching out to soothe her back with her hand. “It’s okay, go back to sleep,” she whispered.

The little girl’s eyes fluttered for a moment before closing obediently and before long she was sleeping once again.

Maria sighed when there wasn’t another crying episode they had to go through and she glanced at the man next to them, his feature relaxed as he softly snored. She reached out and caressed his face, intending to make it just a quick move, but her hand rested against his cheek longer than necessary and then moved up to bush over his hair as well.

A feeling of peace suffused the Commander’s sleep, something that was so rare it almost never happened and the right corner of his lips quirked in a half-smile for just a moment before relaxing back into a sleepy droop.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 25

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:54 pm

Part 25

The castle was humming with activity as the servants’ morning duties were undertaken. The mood was pleasant and everyone the King passed greeted him before moving on. He was oblivious to the odd looks he received in response. Normally he extended little more than a curt nod before going on his way but this morning he felt… What was the word, he wondered. Free, he decided. Yes, he felt more liberated than he had in a long time in spite of his obligations to the throne and his people. Most days the weight of his responsibilities threatened to cripple him as he felt more of himself slipping away, but since the night before something had changed. His role as a leader was still a heavy weight, but somewhere inside of him something was awakening and he felt the warring sides of his personality reaching a balance.

It was Liz, he was sure of it. For so long he had felt as if something in him was unbalanced, as if a part of him was missing. Recently he had told Isabel that he thought it was contact with humans that was allowing his memories to surface and now he was more certain of it than ever. Since spending time with her the night before he had felt something inside of him settle and now, on his way to a meeting, he found himself seeking her out rather than rushing to the war room. It was that kiss, he thought, unable to get it out of his mind.

He was passing a row of floor-to-ceiling windows in the corridor that led to the kitchens and dining hall when he glanced outside and a flash of movement caught his attention. He paused to watch for a moment as Liz worked to clear the many tables set for the soldiers’ early breakfast and he frowned when he realized she had no help. He waited until he saw her disappear through a door, knowing it would lead into the backside of the kitchen where the dishes would be cleaned and he hurried to intercept her.

He literally ran into her as she rushed inside and in spite of his best attempts to catch the large tub she carried it slipped from her grasp and dishes clattered noisily to the floor. His face flushed as he looked at the mess they had just made but before he could open his mouth Wilgor barreled through the door behind him, screaming at the top of his lungs.

“See what you have done now, you inferior human!”

Blocked from the manager’s view by the wall next to the doorway, Max lifted his forefinger to his lips and motioned for her to remain silent about his presence.

“Nothing is broken,” she told him.

“Are you incapable of correctly doing anything I tell you to do?” he bit out. “At your current speed the soldiers will return for lunch and the breakfast settings will still be there!”

“As I told you before, this’s too much work for a single person, but you refuse to listen.” She placed her hands on her hips.

“If you were Antarian it would not be an issue. Yet another reason on my increasingly long list of reasons to send you back to Earth.”

She snorted. “You aren’t even in charge of making that decision.”

“I am in the perfect position to make that decision. Once I speak with the Princess you will no longer be in the King’s service.”

“If I remember correctly she won’t overrule the King’s decision,” she said as she crouched down to collect the plates from the ground.

His smirk was superior. “You underestimate the power the Princess holds.”

“Whatever.” She was fed up with his behavior. No matter what she did, he insulted her all the time. “Maybe I should put in a complaint about you and the fact that you give me tasks that are impossible to get done alone.”

“You are free to make any complaint you wish but I would not expect sympathy from the King. Your complaint is unworthy of his time and as such will never cross his desk. And if it were to ever reach such a level he would not care to listen to your weak complaints.”

Liz wondered if the King actually intended to come out or if he would stay in his hideout all day. “We’ll see,” she answered stubbornly.

“Have you any idea what the King would do to such a burden on his staff?”

“I’d be interested to learn what I would do under such circumstances, Wilgor,” Max said as he stepped out of the shadows. “Do enlighten me as to my behavior.”

Liz couldn’t hold back the laughter when she saw his face as the King stepped out into the open.

Wilgor’s mouth fell open when he noticed the presence of royalty in the room. “King Max…” he stuttered, “I never… I was…”

“You were... what exactly? I await enlightenment, Wilgor! You articulated yourself quite well a moment ago. Please continue.” He waited a moment and when the man remained silent his eyes narrowed. “That was not a request.”

The angry look suited him well, Liz mused. Sexy.

“I do apologize for my words, King Max,” Wilgor said and bowed as deeply as possible. “Of course I am not allowed to make decisions of that nature.”

“No, you are not.” He gestured at Liz. “However, I believe your words were directed at her and therefore, so should your apology be.”

He gritted his teeth when the King made him apologize to her. To a human, he fumed silently. “Liz,” he started and it took all of his strength to try and make it sound sincere, “I apologize for my words. Of course you will be granted another worker to help you by morning.”

Max could feel the insincerity in the man’s words and it annoyed him.

“I don’t believe you’re really sorry, but I’ll take the help,” Liz snarled.

“No,” Max said suddenly.

She turned to him with a frown. No? What did he mean?

Wilgor straightened slightly, feeling smug when the King realized his mistake.

“No, Wilgor, I am appointing you to oversee the food shipments. You will inspect the food received into the castle and appropriately dispose of any food that is deemed unacceptable for consumption.” He turned to Liz. “Your records indicate a working knowledge of kitchen operations and managing staff. Beginning this moment you will assume those duties here. Wilgor, your appointment begins immediately. I will have the necessary arrangements made so that you may take over your new position today.”

The other man had a hard time holding it together and the smug grin on the disgusting human woman’s face made it even harder. “Very well, King Max,” he pressed out with fisted hands and bowed before he stalked off.

Liz laughed when he had left and turned to the other man. “The angry look was really working for me, King Max.”

He turned his head to look at her and his expression softened. “You like that?”

“Not when I’m on the receiving end, but other than that, yes,” she nodded and bit her lip while her gaze moved over his handsome face. “Yeah, definitely.”

He smiled at her response and he started to take a step closer to her when he kicked a bowl and was reminded of the mess around them.

“Guess I should get this mess back in order,” she said but hesitated. Somehow the electricity in the room felt almost palpable.

His gaze dropped to the floor for a split second and he waved his hand, using his powers to send the dishes back into the tub. “I wish to continue last evening’s lesson,” he murmured quietly as his eyes locked on her lips.

“Are you referring to the dancing or…?”

“I found that to be quite stimulating as well, and I would not be averse to further instruction, but I am referring to what followed directly after.”

She nodded and placed the few plates she had in her hands on the counter next to her, almost squealing in surprise when she found the King right in front of her when she turned to look at him again.

“Perhaps we can continue from where we were interrupted,” he said, moving even closer and invading her personal space.

“Wanna refresh my memory?” she breathed into his ear.

“You have forgotten so soon?” he asked, thinking she must be... What was the word? Teasing, she must be teasing him.

Liz chuckled. “Forgotten? No, not at all, Your Highness.”

He relaxed at her amusement and he pulled her closer. “After the incident with my mother you seemed... uncertain about continuing to teach me. Do you feel the same now?”

Instead of answering she pressed her lips to his for a brief moment and then moved back to look at him.

That sufficiently answered his question, he decided as he shifted to turn and press her against the wall as he lowered his mouth to hers for a more thorough kiss.

A groan escaped her lips at his unexpected move. He definitely had experience kissing even if he didn’t remember it.

The sounds she made set off reactions inside of him. His heart started to pound, his blood rushed through his veins so fast the sound nearly drowned everything else out, and lower... he shifted against her as the blood took a decidedly southern turn.

It could go on forever, Liz thought, pressing her body against him. He was just as aroused as her in all the right ways, but there was no way they could continue like this, not here. “Max…” she mumbled, trying to get his attention.

He loved the way his name sounded when she said it but it wasn’t until the third time he called him that he realized she was trying to get his attention. He lifted his head, trying to bring his breathing under control as he stared into her eyes. “You wish to stop?” he asked when the hand she placed on his chest felt restraining rather than encouraging.

“I don’t wish,” she said breathlessly, looking at his kiss-swollen lips, “but we have to. Lunch for the soldiers has to be done and the kitchens will get pretty busy in a little while.”

“Yes, of course,” he said reluctantly. “Since your position is new you may report to me at the end of the day to inform me of any…” he smiled slowly, “needs you may have.”

“I’ll be happy to tell you all about my needs,” she whispered into his ear before she stepped away.

He growled under his breath but didn’t attempt to stop her. “Until tonight then.” He doubted he would see her at mealtime since she would be overseeing operations in the kitchens rather than preparing the food or serving it.

“Later,” she called over her shoulder with a smirk.

“Later,” he murmured to himself, trying the word out. He suddenly remembered that he had someplace to be and he hurried back out into the corridor.

****

The first sun wasn’t very high in the sky when the Commander’s eyes opened for the first time that morning. Antarians didn’t need as much sleep as humans, but he knew that he had slept longer than he had in a very long while. When his vision became clearer he noticed that he wasn’t in his room and after a moment of tensing he remembered and he relaxed against the mattress again. His head turned slowly until he was able to see the woman sleeping next to him.

A weird feeling spread in his chest as he watched her and he frowned as he wondered what had caused it. She was so beautiful, he mused and found himself staring at her full lips.

His gaze dropped lower and he felt the tugging in his chest again when he saw Amela held protectively in Maria’s arms while they both slept peacefully. I wish I could take a photo, he thought, remembering the human habit of capturing special moments with the devices that were rare on Antar.

A glance out the window let him know that he didn’t have much time before he needed to meet the King and for the first time that he could remember he wanted to just stay in bed.

Amela shifted, rolling onto her side sleepily and pushing herself up so she could reach out and touch his arm. She frowned when she realized she was being held and she turned her head to look at the woman holding her. “Mmm,” she mumbled before looking at him again.

“Shhh,” he whispered. “You’ll wake her up.”

She tipped her head to one side to study him and suddenly grinned as if she had figured something out. “Mmm... Mmm... Ma!” She clapped her tiny hands triumphantly.

Maria frowned in her sleep and shifted slightly when something or someone disrupted the silence.

“I think you’ve been successful in your mission, little one,” Michael murmured when he saw Maria’s facial muscles twitch in response to the little girl’s excited cry.

Amela laughed as if she really understood what he had said and she kicked her feet in delight, not paying any attention to who or what she accidently hit.

He caught her feet in one hand and gave her a little tug that made her squeal with laughter.

Maria groaned slightly while she woke up fully and opened her eyes, still feeling tired. The moment of shock when she saw Michael next to her only lasted for a second before she remembered the night before.

“Good morning,” he greeted, his voice raspy from sleep.

“Did you sleep okay?” she asked and let go of Amela when the girl wanted to crawl over to him.

“Very well, yes.” He smiled when Amela leaned on his chest to stare down at him. “What about you?”

“I slept okay,” she told him and brushed her hair back.

“I hope we didn’t impose,” he said, his eyes nearly crossing when Amela grabbed his nose and he tried to follow her hand.

Maria laughed as she watched him. “No.” Actually she was pretty sure she’d only gotten a bit of sleep because he had been there.

Michael nipped at the little palm pressing against his mouth and he chuckled when the little girl leaned back to push on his chin. “You appear rested.”

“She snored last night,” Maria giggled. “I woke up and thought it was you, but it was her.”

“I’ve been told the only time she does that is when she sleeps with me.” He shrugged. “I have no idea why or if it’s even true.”

“Guess it’ll remain a mystery,” she said and stretched a little.

He smiled and reached out to steady Amela when she crawled up to sit on his stomach. “I think soon it’ll be time for you to eat,” he said and tickled her.

Maria tried to relax and not think about the upcoming interrogation. The room was a little cold in the early morning hours and she shifted further under the blanket.

Michael noticed her movement and the slight shiver that accompanied it and he let his hand rest on the bed between them for a moment. He grinned when her eyes widened as her body registered the feeling of heat creeping across the mattress.

“Now that’s an advantage to having powers,” she said, enjoying the warmth that suddenly surrounded her body.

He chuckled. “There are certain advantages.” Just as there were certain disadvantages.

“Well, I wish I could do it. I’m always freezing as soon as the sun goes down.”

“The nights here are cool. I will have a heating device brought to you, something you can activate without getting out of bed in the mornings and running across a cold floor.” The fireplace provided ample heat, but it also meant getting up to start a fire and this would be quicker.

“Or you could just stop by and lay your hand on the bed like you just did,” she said with a smile.

Her soft expression tugged at something inside of him, suspiciously near the region of his heart, and his fingers itched to reach over and touch her. “Or I could do that,” he agreed.

She rolled onto her side to face him, her eyes travelling over his body. “It’s been a long while since I shared my bed with anyone… you know, besides….” she swallowed. “You know. I’m talking about waking up beside someone.”

He moved slowly so he wouldn’t startle her and his fingertips brushed against her face. “You can wake up beside me anytime you wish,” he said with a smile.

“I’d like to,” she said honestly.

“Then consider it done.” He was certain after the interrogation his sister would be satisfied and while Satara’s abilities would still be required she would be there as a protector rather than a jailer.

Maria wasn’t sure what he meant by that. Would he come to her on occasion? Would she be allowed to go to him? It felt stupid to ask though, so she didn’t.

“I can see the questions,” he murmured as they showed on her features. “And the answer is: Whichever you’re more comfortable with.”

Amela got their attention when she moved around, trying to stand on the mattress and taking a step in Maria’s direction before she struggled and reached out to steady herself on her hip. She moved further upwards and suddenly leaned down to place a wet kiss in her cheek.

Maria chuckled and leaned up to hug the girl. “Aw, thanks, sweetheart.”

Michael smiled at the affectionate display. “She’s quite taken with you.”

“She’s a very happy girl,” she agreed and sat up to snuggle with the girl for a moment before she wanted to take off again. “Your wounds are healing fast,” she noticed when she saw his eyebrow better from her new position. She had to lean in to take a better look. “Fascinating.”

“What is?” he asked, lifting his eyebrow.

“I was just saying your wounds heal pretty fast. It wouldn’t already look so good if you were 100% human.”

“Oh.” He was so focused on her that he hadn’t heard what she had said. “I suppose that’s a good thing.”

She chuckled slightly and glanced down at him. “Considering who you are I’d say yes, that’s a very good thing.”

He nodded. “Good point.” He reached up and brushed over the wounded area. “The smaller wounds do tend to heal much faster.”

“Don’t touch it,” she warned, reaching out to keep him from touching it.

“It’s just a small thing,” he said but dropped his hand at her urging.

“No need to make it bleed again though.”

He glanced at Amela, watching her as she looked between them. “No, that’d scare somebody.”

“Yeah, me, I can’t see blood,” Maria teased and laid down again, closer to him this time.

“I’d hope not considering your career choice.”

“Guess not,” she shook her head.

“I’d stay here all day if I could,” he mused aloud. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a day off to do nothing.

“I wish this was possible,” she said quietly. “I’m scared about the interrogation, Michael.”

He nodded. “If there was a way to avoid it...” But he knew they couldn’t.

“I know it’s necessary,” she rolled over to face away from him. “And I’m not worried about your people asking me questions, I just don’t know what it’ll bring up and if I’ll be able to live through that again.”

“You have me,” he murmured quietly. The words, so foreign to him, felt completely right when spoken to her.

“But you won’t be there,” she denied.

“I’ll be close and I’ll know if you need me.”

She squeezed her eyes shut and nodded without saying anything. Living with the dreams at night was one thing, but going back there when she was wide awake seemed so much crueler.

“I wish I could do something to make this easier. Maybe the connection will help.”

“Maybe.”

He nodded, hating to accept that he couldn’t do anything but knowing he didn’t have a choice. “If at any time you need me, Maria, I’ll be there.”

“I know,” she assured him. “Thanks.”

“Would it be safe to assume you won’t want to have breakfast first?”

“You can count on that.”

He nodded. “I have a meeting with the King, his sister, my sister, and his advisor beforehand. I doubt I’ll eat anything either.”

“Sounds like our mornings will be a lot of fun,” she snorted.

“Yeah. I think it’ll be okay if we bypass such events in the future.”

“I doubt that’s possible,” she sighed and got into an upright position again, ready to get up completely. “With you and me and the connection… I doubt anything’s gonna be easy.”

“No,” he admitted and sat up as well. “You’re right, and I should apologize to you.”

“Apologize?” She frowned. “Why?”

Michael looked at her intensely. He had said he should, not that he really wanted to apologize for what was going on. “The connection. It isn’t a human issue and I do understand that you’re uncomfortable with it.”

“I should be uncomfortable with it,” she corrected him. “Or at least more uncomfortable than I am.” She studied him as he reached for his sheathed sword, his fingertips ghosting over the hilt as if he were seeking some way to ground himself. “I should be afraid of you, but I’m not.”

“Last evening you mentioned you feel unsettled when we’re apart?”

Her eyebrows lifted. “I’m surprised you remember that as tired as you were.”

The Commander snorted at that. “I remember everything.” He held onto Amela when she tried to climb over him. “Be still, little one.”

The little girl stopped and looked at him as she gnawed on her fist and after a moment she grinned widely. She pointed at something over his shoulder and raised her left foot, lightly placing it on his thigh and rocking forward experimentally.

“No.”

She stuck her bottom lip out and it started to tremble. She watched him and when he only shook his head her eyes filled and big fat tears spilled over to roll down her cheeks. When that didn’t work she threw herself down on the bed and buried her face in the covers, wailing loud enough to wake the dead.

Michael shook his head at her dramatics, knowing well enough that once she realized he wasn’t giving in to them and she wasn’t going to get her way she’d settle down again.

“Are Antarian girls as dramatic as Earth girls when they don’t get what they want?” Maria smirked, not feeling worried because she was familiar with behavior like this and Amela had already started to calm down again. “I don’t know how to really describe it,” she returned to their original conversation. “It’s just like it’s hard to concentrate on things or just lay down and relax when you’re gone and the more time passes, the more I feel just a little unnerved.”

He studied her while she expressed her feelings and tried to search inside himself to see if he felt anything similar to what she was describing.

“As long as I’m distracted, I don’t notice it,” she said when he looked confused. “Guess maybe that’s why you don’t feel it… because you’re focused on the war outside.” Or maybe the connection didn’t work the same in both directions, she thought to herself.

“Da?” Amela interrupted in a hushed voice and pointed at the window when something caught her attention.

“That’s a Pandaron,” he said when he recognized the large winged creature that came to rest on the ledge on the outside of the window. “They’re pretty rare.”

“It’s beautiful,” Maria admitted in awe when the bright plumage glistened in the morning suns.

“It’s a protected species.”

“People hunt them. Or they have in the past, right?”

He nodded. “Now it is a punishable offense.”

“Were they hunted for food?”

“For decoration. The meat is incredibly tough and unfit for consumption. But many people enjoy adorning their homes or clothing with the colorful feathers.”

“Humans hunted many species into extinction on Earth,” she said quietly. “For that reason or for money.”

Amela looked back and forth between them before her gaze was drawn back to the Pandaron. She clapped her hands and squealed happily when it spread its wings, flapping them for a moment before tucking them in against its body and settling down for what appeared to be a nap.

“Maybe our species are similar in some areas,” he admitted.

Maria snorted. “If you asked me, our species are very much alike. The biggest thing that separates Humans from Antarians is the emotional part.”

Her eyes followed his motions when he got back into his uniform, preparing for his meeting with the King. His hand swept over the countless fastenings on the jacket to close them.

“Well, I guess the powers are something else that separates us.”

He looked at her, trying to determine what she really thought about their races. It wasn’t the first time she had pointed out the fact that Antarians lacked emotions and he wondered if she thought he was even capable of having or expressing them the way a human would. Did he even want that? “It’s time for me to leave, Maria,” he told her and caressed Amela’s cheek. “I’ll send a caretaker within the next few minutes to get her for her morning meal.”

“Okay.” Maria looked at him, uncertain why he suddenly seemed so distant. Maybe it was just a ritual to prepare for a meeting with the other royals, she thought. “I guess I’ll see you later.” Later, when the interrogation finally lay behind her.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Part 26

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:55 pm

Part 26

Alex wiped the lenses on his glasses and held them up to see if he had missed any smudges or smears before sliding them back on. He turned his attention back to the reports spread out on the table before him, scanning the most recent battle statistics. The numbers weren’t as dire as they could be but the casualties their military was suffering were still too high.

He glanced up when he heard the sentries at the door straighten, a clear indicator that someone from the royal families was approaching. When the new arrival didn’t immediately enter the meeting hall he nodded to himself and went back to studying the reports. The Princess would take her time, thinking she was making him wait to be graced with her presence. And as much of a pain in the ass as she could be at times, he enjoyed the brief moments she bestowed upon him.

She was a challenge and she needed someone who wasn’t afraid to stand up to her. He chuckled and shook his head. Oh, she was so certain that she wanted just the opposite but she would never be happy with someone who gave in to her all the time. It was clear that she wanted someone who would see her as her own person and not just a member of the royal family. He had spent a considerable amount of time working on his ability to block her, training to better understand how to tap into the virtually unlimited and untapped resources of the brain. Humans had never learned to fully utilize their brains but his time on Antar had provided him with a deeper insight and understanding of its abilities.

He didn’t have any special powers or anything but he was getting better with his abilities. Like the other day when he had dropped the mental block he usually raised when she started probing into his mind because she was bored. She hadn’t been expecting the scene she had stumbled into and it had given him the opportunity to really test his new abilities. He smirked as he recalled her shocked expression when her brother had called her repeatedly to get her attention and then asked if something was wrong with her.

“Shouldn’t you already be prepared for this meeting?”

He didn’t bother looking up when the Princess stormed inside to face him from across the table. “Is there something I’ve forgotten?” he asked, his tone bored.

“What about your manners? Or the fact that you are required to straighten when royalty enters a room.”

Alex almost snorted, but was able to suppress it with a chuckle. “We humans say: What goes around comes around.”

Isabel frowned at him while she tried to make sense to that. “I don’t care what you humans say,” she dismissed him when she decided there really was no meaning to his words. “We are on Antar.”

“We are,” he agreed and leaned back to finally look at her. “But you are half human, Princess. I didn’t think you needed that reminder.”

“If you dare – “ Isabel inhaled deeply, ready to throw a blast right next to him, when the door swung open again and her brother stepped inside carrying the book they had found the other night in their parents’ quarters.

“What is happening here?” he asked with a frown as he looked between his sister and his advisor.

“Your sister was just showing me how a Princess throws a temper tantrum.” He shrugged one shoulder and returned to his reports. “I’m quite certain she could teach toddlers a thing or two about throwing a good fit.”

“How do you tolerate his insolence?” she fumed.

Max glanced between them. He didn’t fully understand why they acted the way they did toward each other. He was certain his advisor was well aware that acting in such a manner in response to her fits would only encourage her. He let it go, focusing on the more important issues at hand. “In all the time I have known Alex I have never known him to act in such a way toward me. Perhaps it is the way that you treat him.” He continued before she could express her displeasure. “Alex, did we not schedule the meeting at this time?”

“Unofficially, yes, the meeting was scheduled for this time.”

“I do not understand.”

He smirked and rearranged a stack of papers. “Knowing that the Commander and his sister abide by their own schedule I changed the meeting time so that when they arrive they’ll actually be on time for once.”

“They still won’t be on time,” Isabel interrupted.

“Well, perhaps he’ll be on time for your wedding, Princess Isabel,” Alex taunted. “And on the night of your wedding you may be spared an excessive amount of time being offended by his presence. After all, military men do understand the value of a quick thrust and parry when faced with an insurmountable objective.”

Her eyes narrowed to dangerous slits and she ignored her brother as he tried to figure out what military tactics had to do with her impending marriage to the Commander. As the future King of Antar he had been subjected to more intensive training than the rest of them upon their return to their home planet. She had often wondered if it was because he had been the one most affected by Earth and the plight of her people. He had been reduced to speaking and behaving in a manner that was awkward even by Antarian standards. She was saved having to respond to his advisor when the Commander and his sister barreled into the meeting hall.

“Commander,” Max greeted him with a nod and then his eyes slipped to his future wife. Just the thought made him cringe. “Princess.”

Tess was in a ridiculously good mood and she couldn’t stop herself from screwing with him. “Future husband.”

What the… Michael shot a glance at his sister and frowned at her when she used the words no one wanted to hear – not even the Ice Princess across the room. “Let’s get things rolling; we have a lot to do.” He sat down at the table and wondered why everyone was looking at him in confusion.

“Let’s get things…” the King tried to repeat his words.

Only now did the Commander realize that his choice of words had been something that humans would refer to as slang. “It means we need to begin with whatever we need to discuss.”

Max took his seat at the head of the table and used his powers to firmly hold the chair next to his position in place when his future bride reached for it. “You may sit elsewhere.”

For a moment Tess was about to shoot a harsh comment at him, but thought better of it at the last second and decided to just do what he had suggested. The sooner they started with the real discussion, the sooner this would be over.

Michael settled into his chair as the King called the meeting to order. It was a standard and formal procedure and he listened with half an ear as the Advisor was called upon to speak. The man rattled off information from the reports he was constantly updating but for once his mind wasn’t completely on the meeting. He hated meetings but he understood the necessity for them within reason. As near as he could tell, what was being reported at this moment did not require his presence.

The King waited until Alex had concluded his report before he spoke. “Thank you, Alex. As always your work is impeccable.”

Isabel rolled her eyes and drummed her fingernails on the table. She was bored half to death and she just wanted to get to the real reason they were there. “Max, don’t you think we’ve heard enough of this? Let’s just get to the most important matter at hand.”

The King glared at his sister for a moment when she did what she always did and behaved in an unsuitable manner. “Very well,” he said sternly. His gaze wandered to the old book in front of him on the surface of the wooden table. “We found something in our parents’ quarters that might be of high importance.”

Tess’ eyebrows lifted in the first sign of interest since the meeting started. She had no idea how it was relevant but he hadn’t stopped touching the book since the meeting had started. “What is it?”

“We are not sure. It’s in an ancient Antarian language. I have seen some of the signs before, but I don’t know what they mean.” Max opened the book carefully and flipped to the first written page before he turned it around slowly and slid it across the table towards the others.

“How do you know it’s important if you don’t even know what’s in it?” she asked before her brother could.

“Our parents hid it very well, so it must mean something,” Isabel told them.

Alex reached for the book, carefully turning several of the pages that were brittle to the touch. “It appears to be very old,” he mused.

“And you believe this to be of some importance?” Michael asked as he leaned back in his chair. “You believe your parents hid it? Isn’t it possible it was just put where you found it and forgotten?”

“Would you place something in a drawer under a second bottom if you didn’t want to hide it?”

He shrugged. “If I was going to hide something I wouldn’t use the false bottom of a drawer.”

Tess glanced at him sharply. She could care less if he wanted to be irritable and moody during meetings but there was something different about his behavior this morning and she was sure it was directly related to the human he had taken such an interest in.

“Maybe not you, but our parents would,” the King said with conviction. “It’s written in the forgotten language.” He shook his head as he reached over and tapped the pages. “No one speaks or writes this language any longer. It hasn’t been used in generations.”

“Or that’s why they used it,” Tess leaned forward and surprised everyone with her taking the King’s side.

“Yes,” Max said, his features expressing his shock. “It is obviously old but it does not date back to the time the language was used.”

Michael leaned forward to look at it, trying to not show him impatience. “So if we want closure, we need to translate it. Any suggestions how?”

Alex cleared his throat when the King turned to him expectantly. “I’ll need to do some research. Even with the most forgotten languages there is a way to translate them.” Although he had no idea what it was going to take to unearth the necessary information to aid him in the translation. “I’ll get to work on it immediately.”

“Good,” Max nodded.

Isabel snorted. “You will never be able to translate it.”

“As always, your faith in my abilities humbles me,” he said with a smile.

He could never be married to a woman like her, Michael thought as he studied his future wife while she was talking to the Advisor in a hostile tone. Was there ever a time when he had seen her happy? While he tried to remember a quick flash, maybe a memory, hit him. Him and Isabel together – on Earth probably. He was holding a large brown ball and for some reason he had tried to throw it into a hanging basket while she had chased him, laughing and happy. Where the hell had that come from?

“I will oversee his work on this assignment,” she insisted, directing the comment at her brother.

“I do not believe that is necessary,” Max told her. His sister liked to stretch his Advisor’s nerves mercilessly and he was certain this wouldn’t help in his task.

“I insist.”

“She may oversee it, if she thinks it’ll make her feel better,” Alex shrugged, unconcerned.

“I MAY?” she asked and sat up straighter to glare at him.

“If you wish to act like a spoiled child I’ll be happy to treat you like one.” He didn’t bother looking at her as he replied, knowing it would only annoy her further.

Michael groaned and looked at the King. “Is there anything else? I’d like to spend my time with things of use rather than listen to your sister’s sickening behavior.”

“I think there is something else that needs to be discussed,” Max said before the Commander could make his escape. “The information you brought to me last evening should be known to the others.”

Of course, he thought and waved his hand. “Carry on, Your Highness,” he grated out, hoping he would only refer to Ava and not to Maria, but he already knew that was a lost battle.

Alex glanced between the men, wondering what was about to be divulged. The Commander didn’t look like he wanted the information to be shared. After several long minutes of silence the King began to speak, informing them of a potential ally among Khivar’s ranks, the Commander’s rescue of a human woman from Rath’s recently invaded camp, and his connection to her. He waited until silence had once again fallen before he spoke. “How did the connection establish itself?” he asked curiously. A connection between an Antarian and a human was unheard of to his knowledge.

Being put in a spotlight anywhere but the battlefield was something he wasn’t comfortable with, but he knew that he couldn’t tell them to go to hell because the connection was something that in the end affected all of them. “When I first touched her. It was a matter of seconds.”

Isabel frowned. “You just... connected with her?”

Michael ignored her and looked at the Advisor instead because the man seemed to be a lot more interested in the fact rather than the sensation itself. “I didn’t influence it. It happened without my intent or will.”

“That’s interesting,” Alex mused. “How is she with you? I mean, not to point out a sore spot, but you are identical to the man who victimized her. How does she act with you? Is she comfortable? Distant? Afraid?”

Why did his throat feel like it was strangled? Michael wondered and scratched it without successfully getting rid of the feeling. Talking to someone else about Maria was something he didn’t like at all. He felt like he was putting her and himself out in public – totally vulnerable to enemies. “She was at first, but not anymore.”

“What you’re experiencing with this woman sounds like a true connection.” He scratched his chin. “And in the time since you found her neither of you have made an effort to connect? It’s just... existed between you?”

“Correct,” Michael nodded.

Isabel looked at the Commander from across the table and felt her jealousy rising. It didn’t matter that she hated the man and didn’t want to marry him; he was HER man and not some human woman’s.

“Alex, you said recently that you believe the true connection existed between those meant to create and raise a powerful offspring,” Max said.

The Advisor nodded. “I did, yes.”

They all turned to look at Michael. “What?” he asked with a frown.

Max straightened. “She could be the tide that turns the war.”

“Or make it even worse,” he shot back. He hated to think about Maria being the person with that much importance to all of them.

“We don’t know that’s the purpose of the true connection. From what I understand of it at this point that is what I have concluded, but more information could prove my theory to be false.”

“How do you know she isn’t one of them?” Isabel asked coldly. “Tess has the power to mindwarp, maybe she has them as well and they’re even stronger.”

“I say she isn’t one of them,” Michael snarled. “You do not understand the connection and if you had ever given any consideration to anyone outside of your narrow little world you might have a sliver of compassion for her.”

“She’s watched by a guard in the castle,” Tess told the other Princess, knowing that her doubts weren’t totally unreasonable.

“She’s in the castle?!”

The Commander met her defiant gaze directly. “She is and that is where she’ll stay so long as she wishes.”

“Have you met her?” Isabel shot a look at her brother.

“I have not,” he denied. “I will meet with her today after she is questioned by the Captain.”

“I will join,” she told him.

“No.” Michael wasted no time setting her straight. “You have no place there.”

“This is not your decision!”

He looked at the King. “She is not to be there. Her presence is unnecessary to the interrogation or to the meeting afterward.”

Max took a moment to consider his options. Isabel had a right to get to know this person as well as everyone else in the room, but he knew the Commander had gotten over himself last night to tell him about her presence here and ruining the bit of trust the man obviously had in him wasn’t an option either. “It will be just the three of us,” he decided finally. “For now.”

The Commander nodded, satisfied with the response.

The Princess though, was far from pleased. “I will be there.”

“I was under the impression you intended to babysit me as I begin working on the translation,” Alex interrupted before he ended up sitting in the middle of a battle of wills. “I can, of course, undertake the translation without your constant observation.”

“My decision is final,” Max said as he got up. He was sick of all the disagreements every time they met. HE was the King and if he didn’t put an end to it no one would. “I will meet you back here after the interrogation,” he told the Commander. “And you,” he turned to his sister, “will join my Advisor in the library to SUPPORT him and not to terrorize him.” With that he straightened and waved his hand in the air, flinging the double doors open so he could leave.

Michael smirked as he stood and nodded at the Advisor before taking his leave. “I suppose that’s the last we’ll hear on that subject,” he called over his shoulder.

Alex hid his humor as he began gathering the reports into a manageable pile to carry back to his offices. “I trust we can get started immediately.”

“I am hungry. I will eat first.”

The Princess of course had something to say but he let it pass.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

User avatar
Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 27

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:56 pm

Part 27

Maria looked around the sterile room, her nervous gaze bouncing off of the dull gray walls. She picked at her sleeve to keep her fingers busy because she felt like pulling her hair out and screaming at the injustice of an interrogation when she was the victim. Her mind balked at the label of ‘victim’ – it wasn’t something she wanted to be known as. She straightened slightly, her spine stiffening in a show of defiance. She wasn’t anyone’s victim, and least of all a victim of that animal Rath.

She jumped slightly when she heard footsteps approaching and her eyes locked on the door. Like she had told Michael, it wasn’t the questions or his people that she feared; it was going back into that dark place that she wanted so desperately to forget. He had assured her that the Captain would handle the interrogation in a way that wouldn’t focus on what had happened to her, but rather on any information she might have about the enemy Commander.

The door opened and the Captain stepped inside. She was surprised that he wasn’t in full uniform and absentmindedly wondered if he was dressed more casually at Michael’s insistence. He closed the door and against her will she flinched at the sound. She watched him as he crossed the room, placing a file on the table and pulling out the chair facing her so that he could sit down.

“Good morning, Ms. Deluca,” he said with a nod.

“Captain Valenti,” she choked out.

“Kyle will be fine,” he said with a smile that he hoped would help put her at ease. “This is nothing more than a fact-finding interview. I’m not here to make accusations or interrogate you in spite of the fact that this session is labeled an interrogation.”

“Okay.” Maria swallowed nervously and wiped her hands on her thighs without realizing what she was doing.

He opened up the file and set it aside before he reached for a tablet that would record the interrogation and flag anything that needed clarification. “How have you been doing since being brought to the castle?”

“Good. I’m doing good.”

“That’s good to hear.” He nodded and sorted through his personal notes. As much as he enjoyed the ease that Antarian technology provided, there were times when it wasn’t as in-depth because it lacked the human component. It overlooked certain questions that might make a difference because it didn’t know any different. “If you feel the need to take a break at any time, just let me know, okay?”

She nodded dumbly.

“Alright. We’ll get this over with as quickly as possible,” he assured her. He knew this was going to be uncomfortable at times but it was an unfortunate necessity. “Can you tell me the date you were taken by Rath’s unit?”

“It was during the longer season of the sun, in the last cycle,” she frowned as she tried to remember the exact date. “I think it was one day, maybe two, after Rath’s troops set the big fire in the southern woods.”

He nodded and out of habit made his own notations in a notebook so they could be added to the official report later. “Can you tell me how long you were his prisoner?”

“Until you found me,” she looked at him. Wasn't that obvious?

He smiled slightly. “Of course. I wasn’t sure if you were aware how much time had passed during your captivity.”

“It felt a lot longer than two months,” Maria admitted quietly.

“I’m sure it did,” he murmured sympathetically. “When you were captured, did Rath select you for himself immediately?”

She squeezed her eyes shut when her mind carried her back to that day. “The humans were separated from the others. We were all shoved into a train car while… while… while everyone else from our camp was killed. At least those who couldn’t escape.”

“So you were kept with other humans from your field camp after your capture?”

“Not for long,” she shook her head. “They did some tests on us, blood tests, and by the end of the first day I was singled out. I don’t know what happened to the others.”

“Blood tests,” he mused. “To determine the presence of the gene no doubt.” He knew Michael had informed her of the reason for Rath’s continued violations. He knew with certainty that he wouldn’t have kept that from her. “Did he ever at any time mention the gene or why he had chosen you out of the others captured that day?”

Maria shook her head negatively again and swallowed her tears down. “No.”

“During your captivity did Rath ever say anything of his plans against the royal family of Antar?”

“I heard him say some things about Michael sometimes... how he had seen him from a distance in battles or how he wants to see him dead, but it was nothing specific. No plans of an attack or anything. Not that I can remember.”

“What about Khivar? Was he ever at the camp to meet with Rath?”

“Once,” Maria nodded, remembering the day all too well. She had never seen a man before who radiated so much hatred and intimidation.

He looked up at that. It only made sense that Khivar would put in an appearance at the camp to view his latest acquisition. “Did he speak to you directly?”

“Yeah,” she breathed out heavily. “He told me I was the only person on Antar who didn’t have to fear their life before him.” Now she knew why he had said that although it hadn’t made her feel better back then.

“But he didn’t tell you why. You must’ve wondered.”

Maria shrugged miserably and bit her bottom lip painfully until she tasted blood in her mouth. “I didn’t really care about it at that point. All I wanted was for them to kill me because I didn’t feel able to breathe through another day.”

“I’m very sorry,” he said, but pushed forward. It wasn’t going to get any easier for her if he prolonged the interrogation. “Were you ever moved from the camp? Ever sent to Khivar’s castle?”

“No, I was always with… him.”

“Did you ever become pregnant?” He doubted it, was certain that if she had it would’ve shown on the medical report. Although it wasn’t unusual for stress to create situations where a woman could miscarry and even though the medical care on Antar was advanced they had little understanding of human pregnancies.

“No,” she whispered, her hands kneading the material of the end of her shirt for distraction. “Sometimes I wished it would happen though so he would finally stop,” her voice was broken as she spoke, but she knew if she stopped now, she wouldn’t be able to continue at a later time. “Every morning they would bring me to a nurse or a doctor for checks. They didn’t say anything, but I think maybe they were checking to see if I was pregnant.”

“If he had succeeded he would’ve killed you the moment the child was born. I know that’s little comfort to you.” He glanced at the tablet. “Did you have any knowledge of the gene prior to your abduction?”

“I only learned about it when Michael told me.”

“When you worked in the field camp prior to your captivity, were you ever aware of any threat to the camp? Ever hear anything to indicate there were any soldiers who might be disloyal to the throne?”

“Not within our camp, no. But I do remember some of the soldiers saying something about hidden troops in the valley near our camp. I think the men said they had seen footprints, but the scouts told them there was nothing.” Maria rubbed her face. “It was the night before our camp was attacked.”

“Was there any talk that the hidden troops were renegade soldiers? Or were they part of Khivar’s army?”

“I don’t know,” she frowned. “I hadn’t thought about the possibility it could be our soldiers.”

“There’s been some concern that there was a rebel faction within the camp. You’re sure you heard nothing that might indicate that type of presence?”

She went over the things she remembered from the camp. “I’m sure, but I didn’t hang around much once I finished my duties each day, so maybe I missed things. I don’t know.”

“You were assigned to that camp for a while. Is there some reason you preferred your own company rather than that of the soldiers or other medical personnel?”

Maria looked up to meet his eyes. “A lot of the men had been far from home for a while, Captain. Antarians may be different emotionally from us humans, but there are similarities as well. The female nurses preferred to stay in our barracks when we weren’t on duty.”

“Understood.” That was an unfortunate reality that certainly didn’t separate Earth men from Antarian men. He cleared his throat. “When we found you and the Commander touched your arm you connected with him. Have you ever connected with anyone else?”

“You mean with Rath?” She narrowed her eyes at him. “No.”

“I mean with anyone, Rath included.”

“No, with no one.”

He nodded and made another notation. “Did you know of the connection’s existence prior to the one you experienced with the Commander?”

Maria looked around the room and wondered who was standing behind the viewing pane watching her. The Princess for sure, she thought and focused back on the Captain. “No.”

“Then Rath was never able to connect with you?”

“Didn’t I say that before?” she snapped, feeling uncomfortable. “No, I’ve never connected to anyone before.”

“Did you ever have occasion to see Ava or Vilondra while you were at the camp?”

“I saw Ava from a distance, never talked to her though.”

“But you never heard her speak to Rath,” he mused quietly. “What about Zan? Did you ever see him make a visit to the camp or witness any interaction between him and the Commander?”

“Zan?” Maria frowned as she repeated the name slowly. She was sure she had heard it before, but she couldn’t put a face to the name.

“King Max’ dupe,” Kyle told her and flipped the file over to pull a picture out, placing it on the table and pushing it across the table for her to see.

She leaned in with her hands in her lap and looked at the photo. It had been taken somewhere outside, from a distance as far as she could tell.

“Have you ever seen him?”

“I’m not sure,” Maria frowned and used one hand to pull the picture a little closer. “Zan,” she repeated his name to herself, but she was drawing a blank although she could’ve sworn that there was something. “I’m sorry, Captain, I can’t – “ Before she could finish the sentence a wave of sickness washed over her and violent flashes suddenly shot through her head, leaving her breathless and disoriented for the moment. She was familiar with the flashes from Michael now, but it had never happened without his touch and it hadn’t been this harsh with him.

Kyle got up quickly and knocked his chair over with a loud clattering sound, rushing around the table to keep her from crashing to the ground. “What’s wrong, Maria?” he asked in concern when her face went pale.

On the other side of the interrogation room the Commander’s hands tightened into white-knuckled fists. He shoved himself back, turning quickly and reaching for the door. His entire being radiated with tension when a hand settled over his, preventing him from making his exit.

“Don’t.”

“She needs a moment,” he argued at his sister’s commanding tone.

Tess shook her head. “The Captain knows how to handle the situation. Let him do his job,” she urged.

“You don’t understand. You don’t see the things that this is forcing her to remember. Some things are best left forgotten!”

“That type of trauma can’t be forgotten.” It was easy to see that the things Maria was reliving were being transmitted to him and he was disturbed by what he had seen. Or maybe he was still seeing it, she didn’t know. She could tell that it was affecting him on a very real, very intense level, but she had to make him see that it was for the best that he gave the Captain the latitude he needed to finish the interrogation. “But sometimes the only way to leave it in the past is to face the demons because as long as you fear them they have dominion over you.”

Maria stared at the Captain, who still held her, her eyes open wide when the flash stopped as abruptly as it had started.

“You okay?” he asked carefully, not sure what had just happened.

“They killed Zan,” she whispered as if she was scared the wrong people could hear what she had knowledge of.

Kyle tried to be patient. He knew they had to go at her pace for the moment, but she obviously knew a lot more than it had first seemed and now he was eager to find out what it was. “Who?”

She didn’t really pay attention to what he was asking because her mind was still in shock from the harsh visions that she had seen before, seen when Rath had… “I had forgotten about it,” she stuttered and glanced down at her hands when he grabbed them to keep them from shaking.

“Take a few deep breaths,” he told her.

Her eyes focused on his face directly for the first time after the flash and she took his advice and breathed in and out deeply.

The Captain nodded and got up again to right his chair once he was sure she was doing better. “Who killed Zan?” he asked again and took his seat in front of her.

Maria rested her arms on the table’s surface and ran her hands through her hair. She didn’t want to go back to those memories, afraid that there would be more things to see.

“I understand you don’t want to remember those things, but they’re important and could really help us in the war.” He looked at her, hoping she would be able to talk because he knew the Commander wouldn’t tolerate any other methods of obtaining answers – methods they used with the enemies, but never with allies.

“No, you don’t understand,” she denied and squeezed her hands tightly while they were still intertwined with her hair. “I didn’t see this with my own eyes, I just…” a sob escaped past her lips despite her attempts to swallow it. “He let me see it, when he…” Humiliation washed over her and made it impossible to finish the sentence. She didn’t want to remember the moments Rath had given her those flashes, maybe unaware of what he was showing her.

The Captain nodded and cleared his throat uncomfortably. He wasn’t a rookie soldier fresh out of training camp; he had seen so many things on the battlefield and most of them had been terrible. The death and destruction he saw so often was always with him but he could put it away when he came home from the field; he could compartmentalize it. He rarely had occasion to deal with situations like this – women who had been victimized and survived to bear witness to the humiliation and degradation they had endured at their captors’ hands.

“I know what I’m asking isn’t easy.” He frowned when she shook her head and drew in a shaky breath.

“It’s not that it isn’t easy,” she choked out. “What I know… he allowed me to see it. Maybe it wasn’t intentional, I don’t know, but it only happened while he… while he was…”

“While he was violating you,” he finished and the words made him sick to his stomach. “Tell me what you saw. Maybe if you just focus on that it’ll help.”

Maria wiped her eyes with the back of one hand and nodded. “I’ll try.”

“Alright. You said they killed Zan. Can you tell me who killed him?”

She tried to focus on the flash as he had suggested, frowning when it was hard to come up with the words for what she had seen. Maybe it was because she was too afraid that concentrating on it would bring more flashes of things she had buried in an effort to forget about them. “Rath,” she said after a while, “and someone else…” The other person was just a shadow with no face in her memory. “A female I think.”

Kyle wrote down a few notes before he flipped the file open again and pulled more pictures out, glad that Michael had agreed to allow the use of human technology here. Before they had come to Antar the people hadn’t known anything about photography, which was just ridiculous in his eyes. He placed two of the pictures next to each other and showed them to her. “Maybe one of these woman?”

Maria leaned forwards slightly to look at them, but didn’t touch them this time. In the first she recognized Ava because she knew she was Princess Tess’ dupe. “It wasn’t Ava,” she shook her head negatively and shifted her gaze to the other.

The next flash came as soon as her eyes collided with the much taller, cold-hearted looking woman in the photo. Her hands shot out to grip the edge of the table as the scenes flooded her mind. It was almost the same thing as moments before, but the images were a little clearer this time. “It was her,” she said fearfully and shot away from the table as if it was burning her. “It was a trap, they killed him,” her voice sounded haunted all of the sudden.

“Who killed him?” he asked insistently.

She looked at him when he repeated his earlier question and her gaze dropped to the photo of Vilondra on the table.

“Rath and Vilondra?” he asked, glancing at the wall behind her when she nodded. The Commander and his sister would be on the other side, in the observation room, watching and listening. Her silent ascent provided confirmation to Ava’s story that Zan had been murdered by the enemy Commander and Vilondra. “Is there anything about it that you can tell me? Anything you saw through the connection that might be helpful?”

What of such a barbaric, cruel, cold-blooded act could really be helpful? she wondered and was scared to pay attention to the details in the flashes that she couldn’t control. “It was… It was…” she shook her head and hid her face behind her hands. “I’m sorry.”

Tess sighed in exasperation when the woman faltered. “We have little to go on if she can’t provide us with this information.”

“She’s confirmed what Ava reported,” Michael said as he crossed his arms over his chest and stared stoically through the viewing pane.

“What good does the confirmation do if…” her gaze shot to her brother when he suddenly lurched forward and his hand shot out to brace his weight against the wall. “Michael? What is it? What’s wrong?”

His free hand clutched at his forehead as feelings and emotions slammed into him unexpectedly. He shook his head and shrugged her hand off, unable to handle the contact. As the suffocating panic began to ease and the darkness started to clear he straightened and turned on his heel, abruptly leaving the room.

She let him go without comment and somehow wasn’t surprised when the door to the interrogation room opened and he walked inside. She glanced at Kyle, smirking when he easily hid his surprise at the Commander’s sudden appearance. He would’ve been ready for that, she thought.

“Captain,” Michael greeted with a sharp nod at his second.

Maria glanced up when the other man entered to room and hated that she felt a moment of panic because of his similar looks to their enemy, but it was gone a moment later and she relaxed more. “Michael…”

The Captain watched as the Commander crossed the room and pulled a chair out, carrying it around the table and placing it near Maria. He wondered what he was planning to do when he sat down facing her, resting one arm on the table as he drew in a deep breath.

“Maria, do you trust me?” he asked quietly.

“I do,” she whispered almost inaudibly, her gaze shifting away from him when she noticed the Princess in the door as well now.

He turned his hands so that his palms were facing up and he held them out to her. “Then show me what you can’t tell us.”

“Okay,” she agreed and rubbed her palms on her pants before she slowly placed her hands into his. No one had a manual for the connection between them, so she had no clue how to make it work.

“Look at me,” he ordered gently.

Fearfully, she lifted her eyes to him and immediately felt the tingling as their gazes locked.

Michael steeled himself against what was coming. He didn’t fully understand how the connection worked but he knew it was possible that he would see things he didn’t want to see but he knew he had to be prepared. He had to be strong for her. He felt the strangely familiar tugging inside of him, that little tell-tale signal that let him know the connection was forming. The darkness began to push at him again and for just a brief moment he caught a glimpse of Rath’s distorted features before it was suddenly gone again. “Maria, you have to let me see it. Don’t try to censor it.”

She tried again, but deep inside herself she could feel the barrier she had built to prevent her from letting him see things. What if he saw Rath and what he had done to her instead of the murder? No, she didn’t want him to see that!

It wasn’t something he wanted to see. He had seen women victimized in such a manner and left to live their lives haunted by the memories, devastated by the cruelty and violence of that type of violation. Such brutality went against his personal code of honor and he had taken the lives of more than one of his own men for committing such acts.

“Perhaps I could make a suggestion,” Tess offered when it became apparent they weren’t making any headway.

“I’m sorry,” Maria whispered, her gaze blurry from tears.

“You have nothing to apologize for,” Michael murmured. “You did nothing wrong.” He glanced up at his sister. “Your suggestion?”

“Let me try to see things,” she started, pretty sure he wouldn’t agree. “With my powers I should be able – “

“No, that is out of the question!”

“It may be our best option, Commander,” Kyle spoke up.

“It isn’t an option.” He glared at his second. He had promised Maria she could trust him and her relationship with Tess was anything but good, so he wouldn’t let his sister use her powers on the woman in front of him, the woman he was connected to.

Tess frowned. Maybe things hadn’t started very well with the human woman but he had to be reasonable. She was trying to help and obviously they were both blocking the connection to some extent because whatever she needed to reveal wasn’t bridging the gap between them. “Michael, I could help.”

“What’re you planning to do?” Maria asked carefully. She didn’t trust the Princess, but what if they tried to get information out of her again later? Or what if she came after her when Michael wasn’t around?

“She’s planning to do nothing,” Michael interrupted. “So long as you are uncomfortable with my sister she will not impose on you.” His reassurance to Maria was a warning to his sister.

“What I’m suggesting,” Tess corrected, “is that I use my abilities to extract the information.”

“How?”

“I would connect with my brother. At no time would I enter your mind to retrieve information. I would merely strengthen the connection you already have and draw the images to the surface.”

It would also mean he might see things she didn’t want him to see, Maria thought, panicked. “Would it work with just you and me as well?” she asked and avoided looking at Michael.

“I have that ability,” she said slowly. “If that is what you prefer.”

Kyle frowned at the woman’s request to leave the Commander out, but was it really that surprising? Maybe she would be more comfortable talking about things with a woman rather than a man.

Michael reached out to lift Maria’s chin, bringing her downcast eyes to his. “That is what you want?”

She looked at him and then shifted her gaze to Tess before she nodded. Hopefully he wouldn’t feel betrayed by her wish, she thought.

“I do not understand,” he said after a moment. He would give her anything she asked for but this confused him. His sister had terrorized her from the moment they had met and had done nothing to make her feel welcome in their home.

“Commander, perhaps it would be best if we permit the Corporal and Maria to speak privately,” Kyle suggested.

He glared at him and then looked back at Maria, who was still avoiding his gaze. “We will leave,” he agreed and stood, still confused by her decision. After last night he had thought she would trust him without a question, but maybe it was too much to expect after what she had been through.

“Excuse me a moment,” Tess said as she followed them men out of the interrogation room. The door closed behind them and she reached for her brother’s arm. “You’ve connected with her and that allows you to see and feel things, correct?”

“What is your point?”

“My point is, perhaps there are some things she does not wish for you to see,” she said, her tone exasperated. “A woman does not want the man she cares for to witness something of this nature. And,” she added softly, “it is not something you would ever forget.”

“The list of things I won’t forget is already long,” he told her directly and found it hard to control the feeling of rejection in his chest. He glanced at Maria through the window and then back at his sister. “If you hurt her – “

“I will do nothing to harm her. I may have my suspicions about her and she has yet to prove to me fully that she can be trusted, but I know that you care about her a great deal.”

His hands clenched and unclenched several times before he noticed the agitated gesture and stopped it. “You may continue now,” he gritted though his teeth.

She rolled her eyes at him. As if she needed his permission! “You may observe now,” she said, just to annoy him.

“Let her go.” Kyle’s arm shot out to hold the Commander back so that his lover could leave the room.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
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Part 28

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:56 pm

Part 28

Maria winced when the Princess entered the room again and wondered if she could really do this.

“My brother does not understand your wish to exclude him from this portion of the interview,” Tess said, choosing a word that wasn’t as pointed.

“I…” What could she say? It wasn’t her intention to hurt him, but she couldn’t make herself open up in that way, not to him.

She shook her head. “There is no need to explain. Men often do not have an understanding of such things. It is rare they are ever in a position to have reason to do so.”

“Well, they’re not as smart as we women.” Maria found herself trying to make a joke and surprised herself with it.

Tess snorted and nodded. “It is an eternal truth.” She could easily imagine the looks passing between her lover and her brother at that moment.

The nervousness was back when the hybrid woman took the seat across from her, once again wearing a serious expression. She had no clue what she was going to do and what would be revealed, but at least Michael wouldn’t see the things Rath had done to her in case they were shown. She couldn’t look in his eyes ever again if he knew…

“Normally I could connect with you without using anything more than my mind, but the longer you and Michael are connected the more difficult that has become.” She knew it would piss her brother off to learn that she had tried to get into Maria’s thoughts again but it was important for the woman to understand why physical contact would be necessary.

“She’s tried again?” Michael grated out.

The Captain glanced at him. “It would go against her nature to have a stranger in the castle and not question her presence. Especially when the woman has had such an effect on you.” He paused a moment for effect. “Don’t you find it interesting that she hasn’t been able to get into her thoughts with the ease that she normally does with others?”

“Yeah, it’s fantastic,” the Commander said.

“I see you haven’t totally forgotten about sarcasm,” Kyle added, amused.

“So, you’ll need to touch me?” Maria asked slowly, unknowingly bringing the men’s attention back to her.

“Yes. I can only speculate at this point but I believe the connection is preventing me from connecting to you at will.”

“Can’t say I’m sorry about that,” she muttered, hating the fact that someone could walk around in her head just like that.

“Because you have something to hide?”

“Because no one likes to share every personal thought with a stranger,” Maria glared at her.

Tess hid a smile at the spirited response. “With your permission I’ll touch you to connect with you.”

“Okay,” she straightened in preparation for what was coming. This time the memories were the only thing she feared and not who she was showing them too. “I think I’m ready.” And hopefully it would be over soon.

She flexed her hands before taking the other woman’s, clasping them firmly but gently. “You’ll need to relax your mind as much as possible.” It had never before required so much effort to gain entrance into another’s mind.

Maria breathed deeply and tried to shake every thought off. It took a few moments, but then she could feel warm energy slipping through to her from the other woman at the points where they touched.

It was surprisingly light, open and uncomplicated as she began to navigate the paths of the human woman’s mind. She closed her eyes and concentrated, knowing this was only covering the darkness that lay below. “Release the thoughts,” she murmured. “What you’re unable to vocalize… open those gates and let me inside.”

Maria wasn’t sure how to do that, but when the violent flashes suddenly started to host her own mind she was sure the other woman could see it as well. This time she didn’t try to control or block any of them. Everything she had seen… everything she had experienced rushed through her brain at a high speed and made her weaker with each passing moment, but she didn’t back off.

The men on the other side of the viewing pain held their breath when the women’s features switched from relaxed to pained and then from to horrified to sad. Michael could feel things in him – mostly hatred and sadness, but there was also humiliation, which made him certain the feelings belonged to Maria.

The barrage of images, emotions, and feelings hit Tess with extreme force and it took everything she had to contain it. She had seen the inside of minds that were filled with darkness but what she was seeing of Rath’s mind through the connection with Maria was more violent and malevolent than anything she had ever been privy to. Part of her wanted to shut the connection down but she knew how important this was.

She had always known that there was great evil at work in Khivar’s armies and with Rath commanding them it was no wonder they remained so strong. The repeated assaults on Maria made her feel physically ill; the physical degradation, the mental and emotional abuse, the torture, and the constant fear she had been forced to live in were agonizing to witness. She forced her way past that, slipping deeper into her mind in search of the memories she had spoken of earlier.

“The connection is depleting all of their strength,” Michael gritted out when it seemed to go on forever and the women were both getting paler.

“She knows what she’s doing and she knows her limits,” the Captain reminded him so that he wouldn’t interrupt what was happening. Tess was closer to revealing the truth that he or the Commander would ever be and it needed to be done and over with forever. Maria wouldn’t allow anyone in that much a second time, he was sure of that.

Tess slowed her forward push when something caught her attention. She paused and listened to her surroundings and finally pinpointed the disturbance. She turned in that direction and pushed through the barrier into an even darker place. The images Rath had revealed to Maria during one of his many assaults, she realized. She found herself in a meadow surrounded by woods but the scene that would have been peaceful was marred by the images before her.

Zan was on his knees, hands restrained behind his back, and his battered body as straight as he could manage as Vilondra circled him slowly. She drew her fingertip against his cheek as she passed him. She drew great pleasure from watching him suffer, knowing that in spite of his stony façade he was in agonizing pain. She turned to look at the Commander of her lover’s armies and a slow smile crept across her face.

“I don’t believe he’s going to tell us anything, Rath.”

He looked down his nose at the man he had answered to for most of his life. “You aren’t so powerful now are you, Zan? You think you can turn on Khivar?” He drew the tip of his sword against the other man’s chest, leaving behind yet another open wound.

Zan remained silent, his gaze locked on something only he could see. He wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of answering or revealing his pain.

“Just kill him,” Vilondra said.

Rath just laughed. She had grown tired of playing with their prey. “Not until he begs for his worthless life.”

She drew the dagger she carried and mentally shoved Rath aside. She circled the man on the ground once more before ramming the blade through his lower back and twisting it. The move was designed to create unbearable pain and she knew it was but it only angered her further when he refused to cry out.

Rath lifted one booted foot to shove the man off of the blade, watching him as he lay there with his life slipping away. “It’s a shame you’ve gone to Khivar’s bed,” he murmured silkily as he eyed her hungrily. In that moment she was every inch the warrior he knew she was capable of being, her back ramrod straight, her eyes dark, and the dagger in her hand dripping with Zan’s blood.

Tess pulled her hands back, sickened by everything she had witnessed. She didn’t want to see any more. “I stand by the validity of her claims,” she whispered raggedly.

Maria’s eyes shot open when the connection was suddenly interrupted, but her view was blurry from tears she hadn’t even realized she’d been crying. She suddenly felt incredibly exhausted and shook from the sobs racking her body.

The door was flung inward as the Commander and the Captain rushed inside. The Captain reached for Tess, helping her to her feet and feeling the weakness in her body when she leaned on him so heavily. “I’ll take her to her quarters and if you need me to come back – “

“No,” the Commander interrupted. “Stay with her.”

He nodded and supported Tess with one arm around her as they made their escape. He knew she wouldn’t forget a single detail about this, everything was saved in her brain now and she would be able to recall all she had seen at a later time.

Michael approached Maria slowly, not wanting to frighten her with his presence. He settled into the chair he’d had earlier as he let his hand rest close to hers. “Maria?”

She forced herself to breathe, but it was really hard to calm down. Her skin where Tess had touched her felt ice cold and her head seemed to be hot.

“I’m sorry you had to relive all of that,” he said quietly. “Would you like to go back to your quarters?” Lunch was out of the question even though he knew she hadn’t eaten yet that day. “Or perhaps a walk in the courtyard would help? Someplace open and fresh where you can get away from those memories?”

“I would like to go back to my quarters if that’s possible.” Her voice was quiet and she didn’t look at him. Right now, all she wanted was to be left alone so she could curl up in a little ball on her bed.

“Of course.” He stood and held a hand out to help her up, uncertain if she’d take it.

Maria took it, but her feelings were so close to the surface that when the now familiar tingling announced a possible flash she pulled it back again as if she had been burned.

The Commander straightened, pushing down the immediate feeling of rejection. He knew she was protecting himself but it hurt that she felt she needed to protect herself from him. “I’ll take you back to your quarters and notify the King that we’ll meet with him when the first sun begins to descend.”

*****

Isabel wandered through the Advisor’s quarters, picking things up and moving them, poking through the stacks of texts piled high on some of the tables. She had no idea why he spent so much time reading through the heavy tomes when it wasn’t required of him. She reached for a framed photograph, her brow furrowing as she stared down at the humans standing with Alex.

“Who are these people?” she demanded to know when he entered the room behind her.

“Not that it’s any of your business,” he said as he took it from her and placed it back on the shelf, “but it’s my family.”

“You left them struggling to survive on Earth and came to serve royalty and live in a castle?” She followed him when he remained silent and continued on his way. “Do you find it easy to live with that decision?”

“I find it remarkably easy,” he said as moved a stack of historical scrolls aside to make room for the book the King had given him.

“Do you?” She picked up another item from the shelves, running her fingertips over it and trying to decide what it was. “I think you’re lying.”

“And I think you’re nosy.” He took the pocketknife from her and put it back. “Stop touching things.”

“Why do you carry such an odd assortment of items?” Her tone was curious as she picked up a small doll. It was soft to the touch but as she turned it she saw places where it had been burned.

“I won’t tell you again,” Alex bit out as he took it from her and put it away. “You may have every right to act the way you wish to act outside of my quarters, but your status gives you no privilege here. Sit down or I will remove you from my space.”

She tipped her chin up haughtily. “You have neither the authority nor the means to do such a thing.”

“I assure you, Princess, should I decide to do so your ass will end up in the corridor.” He opened the cover of the book and turned a few pages, studying the text in the quiet that followed. He knew she wouldn’t stay silent for long but he intended to take advantage of it while she did.

Isabel’s eyes roamed over the shelves since she wasn’t interested in sitting down. What could be more boring than watching him try to make sense of the old language anyway? It felt odd to look at his personal things from his home; she had a feeling she knew most of the things but couldn’t identify them by name or explain their use.

“Why do you need several of these at the same time?”

Alex sighed to himself and looked up, smirking when he saw her frown at the stack of CDs she held in her hand.

“What are they anyway? Mirrors?”

“Mirrors?” he asked in amusement and laughed out loud. “You know, Princess, some days it’s really hard to believe you ever set foot on Earth.”

She glared at him. “I don’t think any of those memories are necessary for my life here.”

“You so sure about that?” He lifted one eyebrow, certain that wasn’t her real opinion.

“Why should I think differently?” She put the mirrored discs back and shrugged carelessly.

“Well, because former life experiences make the person you are, so don’t tell me you’re not interested. Ever thought about hypnosis?”

“It’s not required of me to explain anything to you.”

“Yeah, well, it’s not necessary for you to babysit me either. If you insist on hangin’ out in my quarters and touching everything I own the least you can do is answer a few questions.”

She picked up a small device. “What does this item do?”

“It plays music. See that button next to your thumb? Press it.”

Normally she would’ve snapped at him for telling her what to do but now she was curious. She pressed the button and held the device away from her when noise began to come from it. After a moment she detected a pattern, a rhythm, to the noise and she brought it closer again. “Did you make this?”

He chuckled and shook his head. “No. I can make music.” He gestured to the bass guitar in the corner, one of the small handful of items he had brought with him on his journey to Antar. He turned his attention back to the book and adjusted his glasses as he studied the symbols on the pages.

“Show me,” Isabel told him.

“Show you what?” He frowned and followed her gaze to the guitar. “Nope, sorry. I’m not gonna play.”

“You will or I will have it removed.”

He snorted in disbelief. “Could you be anymore rude if you tried?” He knew she was bluffing, but she was so sure he would fall for her threats. “We’re here to translate a book and my advice is if you don’t wanna share a bed with the Commander anytime soon you’d better stop sniffing around my stuff and actually help.”

“I will never share a bed with that...”

“Get me that book on the top shelf then,” he interrupted her rant and hid his smirk when she was speechless for a brief moment.

*****

Max paced back and forth along the bridge that spanned the distance between the separate wings of the castle. His gaze tracked the suns through the windows, noting their progression across the early afternoon sky. He was growing increasingly annoyed by the Commander’s lack of punctuality. He brushed the long cloak aside as he made yet another turn, knowing from past experience just how easy it was to get his foot caught and trip on it.

Heavy footfalls and the metal clanking of a sword heralded the Commander’s arrival. His pace was steady but unhurried and the King frowned when the man came into view. Alone. He gritted his teeth and began the long walk back towards the middle of the bridge. “Commander, you appear suspiciously short a guest.”

Michael met his leader, nodding his head briefly in salute. “Your Highness,” he greeted him formally.

“Did the interrogation yield any results?”

“Ava’s story has been confirmed.”

Max clasped his hands behind his back. “And yet your guest is mysteriously absent.”

“I felt it best to let her rest a while. The interrogation was productive, but difficult.”

He walked over to one of the windows and looked out over the field where the soldiers were finishing their meal and in spite of the seriousness of the conversation he found his mind wandering. “Your human,” he mused, almost to himself, “how does she make you… feel?”

Michael shifted uncomfortably. “If you wish to speak of the conversation we will do so. I did not come here to discuss anything of a personal nature.”

“It is not my intention to intrude.” His left eyebrow lifted in interest when Liz appeared through the doorway, stepping outside and directing several of the servants. “I simply would like to know if she affects you differently than other people.”

He smirked when the King tugged on his collar and color flooded his cheeks. “Do you mean other people,” he questioned, “or other women?”

Max’ head shot up when he realized that the Commander knew exactly why he was asking the question. “Don’t play games with me, Michael!”

“I’m not playing games,” the other man denied and shot a speculative look at the King’s new kitchen help, knowing that the brunette woman was of his interest. “Are you?”

“That is none of your business.”

Michael chuckled deeply. “And my affection for my guest isn’t yours.” His eyes swept over Liz again briefly before his look turned serious. “She DOES affect me differently than others because of the connection.

“You don’t think that her human nature affects it too?”

The Commander shrugged. “If your advisor’s theory is right and our ancestors obtained that specific gene on Earth then I suppose her human nature is of a certain importance.” He paused and glanced down at the people below.

“I suppose that’s true.” It wouldn’t explain his attraction to Liz though. What had their parents been thinking when they had decided to create a new species between their races? They looked like humans but were supposed to behave like Antarians.

“I came to notify you that the meeting needed to be postponed.”

Max nodded. “If you think that is best.” He was silent as he watched Liz moving around down below and his tone was almost apologetic when he spoke. “I did not intend to become distracted.” He turned back to the Commander. “You stated that the woman was able to confirm Ava’s story?”

“Maria permitted Tess to connect with her. I do not know all of what she witnessed but it convinced her and you know my sister is not easily swayed.”

That much was certainly true, the King thought. “I would imagine that was difficult for both of them but we must know what information she obtained.”

“The Captain will learn what she witnessed and he will compile a report from that information.”

“Yes, of course. The Captain is a very thorough individual.”

“Indeed.” Michael hid a smirk at the King’s clueless response. He sobered as he thought about his sister. “The report may not be prepared in time for your meeting with Maria, but once it’s complete I’ll deliver it to you personally.”

*****

Liz had long noticed the eyes of the King on her from where he was standing with the Commander and she enjoyed moving around under his gaze. She had no clue what the men were talking about, but obviously it wasn’t important enough to hold the King’s full attention.

“The food has increased in quality recently, don’t you think?” She overheard one of the soldiers talking to another.

“I agree,” the other man nodded and shot a quick look at her. “Must be the King’s new cook. Rumor has it that he’s demoted Wilgor.”

“Past due,” another man said as he sat down with a full plate and started to eat. Liz narrowed her eyes when his face looked familiar, but she couldn’t put her finger on it.

“Captain,” the soldiers at his table straightened for a moment.

Kyle nodded briefly and lifted his gaze to the woman they had been talking about. He smirked when he remembered their little encounter in the men’s showers.

Liz immediately knew why she recognized his face when she saw his amused expression. Ass!

“People like your food,” he called out to her and started chewing on the homemade bread. Man, he had missed the human touch when it came to food! Not that nasty spicy stuff his lover liked so much. His thoughts immediately went to Tess and he clenched his fist next to his plate to focus on being patient. As expected, she had sent him away after he had dropped her off in her quarters. After moments like the interrogation she needed time to regain her strength and control. He only wished she wouldn’t always exclude him from the process.

“Thanks,” Liz made a face and held back a smart remark. She’d been in enough trouble and annoying the Captain – again – probably shouldn’t be on her list too. Instead she followed the small path between the tables to see if anything needed to be refilled and her gaze swept over the bridge above their heads briefly. She shivered when her eyes collided with the King’s again.

He was alone on the bridge now and didn’t try to hide his interest in her any longer. After a moment of staring he glanced at the entry to the kitchen behind her and started to walk back toward his side of the castle.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 29

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:57 pm

Part 29

Max wandered around the kitchen while he waited for Liz to arrive. He began to get annoyed when several minutes passed and she still hadn’t shown up. He was unaccustomed to being made to wait – and the Commander didn’t count. Michael had made it something of a sport and over time he’d found ways to try and ignore the obvious attempts to anger him. It didn’t always work but there was little he could do to make the Commander obey him. It was strange because it was the oddest things that the man chose to do to annoy him.

“Your Highness,” Liz said after watching him pace for several minutes. “I thought we were supposed to meet this evening to discuss my needs?”

He whirled around to look at her, remembering at the last second to jerk his robes clear of his feet. “Yes, of course. I was in the vicinity and thought you may wish to speak earlier.”

“Hmm…” she walked around him, enjoying the way his eyes darkened and followed her every move. “What would you like to talk about?” As she had expected it wasn’t long before it was more than just his eyes following her around the room.

“How has your first morning as manager of the kitchen been?” he asked and with their bodies barely inches apart his breath teased the back of her neck.

“Oh, I think it’s been okay so far.” She bit her lip to stop the grin.

“No one has threatened you over it? No jealousy among the staff? No rivalry?” The conversation really didn’t matter, but he had to at least maintain the pretense of having a reason for joining her.

“I think it’s safe to say they’re so happy about Wilgor’s dismissal that they’ve hardly started to wonder about me.” She stopped at a counter and cut into a few pieces of fruit when she felt his body right behind her.

“You’ll let me know if anyone threatens you or treats you badly again,” Max rasped against her ear. Every attempt to think straight was a waste of time as long as she was around – a fact that both scared and fascinated him.

She gave him a little sideways look over her shoulder, smirking softly when she saw the way he was watching her so attentively. He was trying so hard to maintain his composure. She turned and reached for a piece of the freshly cut fruit, bringing it to her lips and meeting his gaze. “And what will you do it I report someone for treating me badly?”

He felt like his airway had suddenly become constricted and when he inhaled it sounded strangled. “I would…” he cleared his throat and tried again. “Anyone behaving in such a manner will be punished accordingly.”

Liz made a humming sound low in her throat as she shook her head. “That’s not much of an answer, King Max.”

“You wish for a punishment that is more suitable?”

She smiled. He was so rattled he had no idea what he was saying. “I don’t know,” she mused as she bit into the fruit. “You haven’t really told me what you’d do yet.” She leaned in closer and brushed the fruit against his bottom lip.

“Anything,” he muttered, but had no clue what the question had even been in the first place.

Her eyes moved along his lips when he licked the sweet moisture from it. “Anything,” she mocked gently and repeated her gesture with the fruit but stopped him with a shake of her head when he was about to lick his lips again.

Max looked at her in confusion, but it was immediately replaced with desire when she leaned in to let her own tongue wander over his lips in a teasing manner.

Liz knew they were playing a dangerous game. Although he was a King there were people who wouldn’t tolerate what they were doing, but she had always been a playful girl – her mother had told her that more than once. “You want more?” She held the fruit up and her eyes glistened as she asked the question.

He nodded dumbly, but his eyes were on her, not on the food in her hand.

“Get it,” she ordered him gently and let the fruit rest between her lips.

When he lifted his hand and she slapped it away he frowned at her. No one dared to strike a member of the royal family. It was an offense punishable by death if he was so inclined. His attention was drawn back to their game when her tongue darted out to play along one side of the fruit. Humans were so different from Antarians and he had to remind himself that what one race considered offensive was not necessarily viewed the same by another.

She must expect something else of him, he thought. But how else was he to obtain the piece of fruit she held captive? He shifted under her watchful gaze and he wondered why he felt so hot all of the sudden. Something tugged at his memory, something so distant he couldn’t latch onto it but it was enough to let him know what she was waiting for.

Liz felt a sense of triumph wash over her when he finally got it and he slowly moved in closer, his intent clear. He was so close she could feel his breath against her lips but just before he could make contact a loud voice and a door being pushed open interrupted them and they jerked apart. She nearly choked on the fruit when she tried to swallow it and just barely managed to prevent a completely embarrassing scene.

“Maxwell, I wish to discuss your Advisor’s behavior,” Isabel called, her voice trailing off as she came around the corner and saw them. “What is going on here?”

“I have a meeting with the Commander,” he responded without answering her question. “What is your complaint? Has Alex done something to offend you?” The ‘again’ was left unspoken but it was implied all the same.

The Princess’ eyes narrowed on the kitchen staff suspiciously before she turned to her brother. “I am not discussing that in front of a servant.”

“She is now the head of the kitchen, so there is no reason to speak about her like that,” Max told her sternly and looked at the human woman. “We will discuss the menu for our holiday another time, Ms. Parker.”

Liz had to bite back a grin when he came up with a reason for their meeting so easily. Normally he wasn’t that spontaneous. “Of course. I’ll make a list of possible menu creations and maybe you’ll like some of them.”

“Very well,” he nodded and left the kitchen with a determined stride, not waiting for his sister to follow.

Isabel glared at the SERVANT – and she was a servant – and took a few steps forward. “If you think you can go after the King without being punished then I recommend you write your last will instead of a menu.”

“I think you should let your brother decide what he wants for himself,” Liz said over her shoulder as she went back to work. “And for a woman who spends every free minute pestering her brother’s human Advisor I think you should think about taking your advice before handing it out. People in glass houses and all that.”

The Princess frowned at that. “What I do concerning the Advisor is of no concern to you and I do not live in a glass house.”

“It’s an old Earth proverb, Princess.”

“I don’t care what it is. As I said, what I do is of no concern to you and it would do you well to remember that.” She didn’t wait for the woman to throw out another of her proverbs, turning on her heel and following after her brother. She caught up with him in the deserted corridor that ran along the outer wall and she paused a moment, watching him as he stood at a window and stared out over the rolling hills in the distance. “What are you doing?” she demanded quietly, keeping her voice down so it wouldn’t carry.

He didn’t turn to look at her. “What are you doing with Alex?”

She straightened up. “I’m overseeing his work.”

“You shadow the man wherever he goes, Isabel. You’re like a… like a…” What was the word? “Like a ghost haunting him.”

“The translation is of the utmost importance and someone has to make sure he’s doing it right.”

Max surprised her when he gave a short bark of laughter. “And how do you intend to ensure his work, the translation, or anything else he does is correct? You know nothing of what my Advisor does.”

“He’s not from here, Max,” she pointed out loudly. “How can you trust him with all these things and you don’t even attempt to control him now and then? You allow him to wander around anywhere he pleases, he has access to the most guarded family secrets, and now he’s charged with this translation without supervision. I think it’s irresponsible.”

“There are not many people I trust, but I do trust Alex and it has NOTHING to do with irresponsibility,” he denied strictly and went further along the hallway without caring if she followed or not.

“You don’t understand, Max!” She went after him. “I don’t remember a lot from our former life, but one thing is still completely clear in my head. We MUSTN’T trust anyone. Not our servants, not our soldiers,” she lowered her voice, “not even not our parents.”

He stopped and looked at her with one eyebrow quirked up. “So you are telling me you trust the Commander and his sister?”

Isabel rolled her eyes with a groan. “Trust and like are two different things. I can’t stand the man I’m supposed to marry, but the two of them are the only others like us. It has always been the four of us…” Her eyes softened for the span of a breath. “I do trust them. Out of all the people on this planet, you, the Commander, and his sister are the only ones I trust when it comes to protecting what I consider my home.”

“Alex can be trusted. If I harbored any doubts I would not have suggested him for the translation of the book. In all the time he has been with me – “

“That’s exactly my point,” she hissed. “He was assigned to the castle and you promoted him to his current position for the same reason you just promoted that woman to manage the kitchens. You have an affinity for humans.”

He slowed his hurried pace and turned to look at her. “I promoted Alex because his credentials were exceptional and after being released from the intensive training he was the only one who treated me like I was still…” he shook his head. “You wouldn’t understand.”

“You’re not human, Max. None of us are.”

“We’re not Antarian either, are we?” he countered. “No matter how much training they’ve put us through, no matter how much they’ve tried to make us forget, the truth is we’re half-human, half-Antarian. If the view so many Antarians share persists we’ll never belong on this planet. Alex made me feel like I belong, like just being who I am mattered to someone. Not because I was the heir to the throne or because I was a member of the royal family. He was kind to me for no other reason than that’s who he is. He makes me feel…” he sighed. “As I said before, you wouldn’t understand.”

Anger flashed in her eyes. “You were going to say human,” she accused. “Why do you want so badly to be one of them?”

“Why do you want so badly to deny that part of yourself? Because you’re afraid of the rejection you would face if our people became aware of the fact that you’re open to embracing that side of your genetic makeup?”

“I am not denying it,” she spat out, “nor am I trying desperately to be one of them. We are our own species and maybe that isn’t so bad. You ever thought that the fact that our people don’t like us is because they’re envious of WHAT we are?”

Max started at her. Why would anyone be envious? He couldn’t think of a single reason.

“We have the powers of Antarians and the much better looks of humans,” Isabel tossed her hair back to emphasize her statement. “We… YOU should be proud of who we are.”

He frowned. “Is that your honest opinion or are you just trying to convince yourself?” His sister hated their life as much as he did, he knew that. “Are you proud to be the Commander’s intended bride?”

Isabel made a face at his question.

“You talk as if you like what we have here,” Max shook his head. “You don’t have to put on a show in front of me, sister. We are what we are, but we don’t have to like it.” The King turned and started to leave.

“And what side of yourself would you choose if you could?” she called out to him although she already knew the answer. Human emotions were already too deeply ingrained in him to think rationally.

He stopped but didn’t turn around. “What do you think?”

She smirked slightly at the confirmation.

*****

The Commander’s stride was hurried as he mounted the stairs that led to his sister’s level of the castle. He had started to go to Maria first, but had decided that a little more space may be warranted given the sensitive nature of the morning’s events. There was an edge of uneasiness residing in his chest and he wasn’t sure if it was related to Maria’s request to be left alone or if it had more to do with the situation.

His steps slowed as he walked down the corridor that led to his sister’s quarters and he barely spared a glance for the sentries who didn’t even blink at his presence. He was permitted entrance and he looked at his second as he stepped inside and shut the door behind him.

“How is she?” he asked without preamble.

“Attempting to regain her balance.” He motioned to the bedroom door that was tightly sealed. Until she was ready she wouldn’t allow even him to cross the threshold. “The things she saw were horrific and she has to put them in perspective before she can take them out and sort through them.”

“She’s certain that Ava’s story is true.”

“Yeah, she’s convinced of that much.”

Michael exhaled loudly as he stared at the door to his sister’s bedroom. He didn’t want to rush her, but at the same time he wanted every bit of information as soon as possible. “I told the King he will be given the report of the interview.”

“I’ll give it to you as soon as it’s ready,” the Captain agreed with a nod. “You checked on Maria Deluca?”

“Not yet, but Satara is with her in case she needs anything.”

Kyle nodded and stared down at the window while a slight furrowed his brow for a moment. “I didn’t know humans were able to get flashes.”

“Maybe it’s because of the connection.”

“True, but she experienced them with Rath, too.”

“He gave them to her, not the other way around.” At least that was what he had gathered from the interview.

That was one explanation. “I’ve never gotten one from your sister,” Kyle said slowly, not sure if the Commander really wanted to hear that much about his relationship with Tess.

Michael smirked. “Because she’s emotionally focused.” He looked at his second meaningfully. “She doesn’t WANT you to get them.” He knew from former ‘relationships’ with women the possibility of giving them flashes was always there, but they could control them – hold them in. With Maria it was different though, he had no power over what he revealed to her or when.

“The connection seems to differ from the flashes.” He turned away from the window.

“It’s much more intense. There’s nothing I can compare it to, nothing I could use to explain how it…”

Kyle chuckled and shook his head. “The word you’re struggling with is ‘feels’, Commander.”

He ignored the teasing words. “It forges its own boundaries and pays little heed to the concept of privacy.”

“That must be uncomfortable at times, not having control over what the other person is seeing or feeling.”

He was saved from having to answer when the bedroom door opened and Tess stepped out to join them. She shook her head slightly when Kyle took a step towards her, breathing easier when he acquiesced with a nod. She knew he didn’t like being kept at a distance in situations like this but it was how she kept a rein on her emotions.

“How do you feel?” her brother wanted to know.

“Better,” she replied shortly and went to sit on the window ledge, a place both she and Maria seemed to like. “I suppose we should start with the report, which I’m sure you’re waiting to read.”

Michael glanced at Kyle. “Captain, would you wait outside for a moment?”

“Sure,” he agreed, although he didn’t like it. There shouldn’t be anything they needed to discuss about this situation in private.

Tess waited until her lover was out of the room before she looked at him questioningly. “You sent him out?”

He shrugged. “You seem to keep him at a distance.”

“Why do you say that?” She frowned.

“He seemed to be honestly surprised that humans can get flashes.”

Her spine was rigid as she turned and walked over to the small kitchen area to pour a drink. “You shouldn’t have told him about that,” she said stiffly.

“Why?”

“Because it’s pointless.”

“Why hide it? You’re involved with him to the point he intends to continue being with you even after you take your marriage vows.”

“What we do is none of your business. What good can come of him knowing we have the ability to allow the flashes if we wish to? Until your connection to the human woman we have always been told it was impossible to connect with a human on that level. You’re experiencing what we suspect is a true connection, something that shouldn’t be possible with anyone not of royal blood, and certainly not with a human.”

“And maybe we’ve been misled about the connection.”

She turned to look at him. “Explain.”

“Maybe it’s how they keep the royal line pure.” He shrugged. “Or at least it keeps the royal line as pure as they can, considering our genetic makeup.”

“And maybe you’re romanticizing it to justify your feelings for a human,” she snapped.

“Maybe you’re afraid to let him in.”

She slammed the glass down on the counter and ignored it when it broke. “I am afraid of nothing.”

Michael narrowed his eyes at her for a moment and considered the choice of his words before speaking. “I’ve been with other women, Tess. I know it takes an effort to hold the flashes back,” he shrugged. “Nothing I’d want to do in a REAL relationship.”

“Do you think it’s only the connection that’s allowed you to get flashes from her?”

He frowned. “I’ve never gotten one from a human before, have you? So what else could the explanation be?”

“I don’t know,” Tess said and cleaned up the mess she had left on the counter. “You said you can’t control them around Maria, right? So maybe it’s just that. Maybe we are able to get them, we just don’t open that barrier because by holding back our own we’re preventing ourselves from receiving them.”

“And I’m getting them because that barrier doesn’t exist between me and her?” he asked, voicing his thoughts.

“Yes.”

“I don’t know.” He was starting to get a headache from all this thinking. They continually came up with more questions but still had no answers to them. He was getting fed up with the situation.

She stared at him for a moment and considered their talk finished for now. Neither of them had the answers and they weren’t getting anywhere with all the guessing. “I’m ready to get that report done now.”

Michael nodded. He was sure Tess knew the only way she could prove her own theory was to open up to Kyle and see where it might lead, but he knew better than to make that suggestion right now. “I’ll see if Maria’s ready to see the King in the meantime.”

*****

Maria was restless. The interrogation, interview, whatever name they wanted to give it, hadn’t gone as horribly as she had imagined it might. Yes, things had been brought to the surface that she would’ve been happy to leave buried forever, but she hadn’t been treated badly by any of them. Even the Princess had treated her respectfully, which in itself had been unexpected. The woman hadn’t rushed her, had tried to put her at ease, and had tried to allow her to retain as much dignity as possible.

She turned to look at the door when she heard the measured strike of boots upon the corridor floor and her gaze locked on the knob as she waited for it to turn. Her heart started to hammer when the footfalls fell silent and she could hear muted voices talking. The Commander would be asking her guard if there had been any problems, taking the Antarian soldier’s report. No, she reminded herself, Satara wasn’t posted at her door as a guard any longer, but more as a protector.

She backed away from the door when she heard the familiar rap of knuckles against the wood and she hated the momentary sense of fear that washed over her. She also hated the slight quiver in her voice when she called out for her visitor to enter. Surprise was evident on her features when Satara opened the door and stood there, her amber gaze quickly sweeping the room and locating her.

“The Commander wishes to speak with you.”

She nodded mutely.

Satara retreated and took up her post again as the Commander entered the room and quietly closed the door behind himself.

“I thought it best to announce myself considering the morning,” he said, watching her when he took several steps inside and she retreated, strategically keeping different pieces of furniture between them at all times.

“Is it time to meet the King?” she asked, picking up random things and putting them back down again.

“He would prefer that, yes.”

She fussed with an arrangement of flowers and wondered absently if some of the housekeeping staff was human. “What if I would prefer not to?”

“I can postpone the meeting for now, but it’s only a temporary fix. The King will only be put off for so long.”

“Was he displeased with you? I mean, for rescheduling the meeting without consulting him first,” she asked, moving when he changed position again. She reached out to straighten the curtains when the wind caused them to flutter, thankful for the mindless task.

“He has been displeased with me before and I’m certain he will be again.”

“You’d prefer not to put it off again.”

“I think it best to have the meeting and be done with it. I believe it’s in your best interest and it keeps him off my back.” She smiled slightly at his comment and in response his lips quirked up at the corners. “The King simply wishes to meet you. He may have some questions but it will be nothing like this morning.”

“He knows I was held prisoner by your enemy?”

He nodded. “He knows.”

“He’ll have questions.”

He frowned at the defeated tone in her voice. “Maria,” he said quietly, “I can only imagine what you’ve experienced and nothing I say will ever make it any better.” He scratched his eyebrow and met her gaze when she stilled and lifted her head to look at him. “The only way to leave those demons in the past is to face them because as long as you’re afraid of them it gives them control over you.”

“That’s very wise.” She shrugged and looked away. “I suppose you’re right.” She inhaled deeply. “Alright, let’s just go see the King and get this over with.”

He gave a slight nod. It was wise and he was sure Tess wouldn’t mind him taking credit for it. At least she wouldn’t mind as long as she was unaware of it.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

User avatar
Double Trouble
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 925
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:47 am

Part 30

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:57 pm

Part 30

“Do I…” she looked down at herself and frowned. “I don’t know… do I have to change clothes or anything?” She had never met the King, so she had no idea if there were any rules or whatever.

His gaze moved over her and he shook his head. “It’s not necessary. What you choose to wear is up to you. This is not a formal meeting, we’re just satisfying the King’s curiosity.”

“Okay.” She glanced around the room helplessly. “Anything I need to know? Do I have to bow or anything like that?”

He smiled at her display of nerves. “It’s not formal so none of the formalities are required. Just between us, Max isn’t very fond of all of the rigmarole that goes along with his position so in an informal setting he’s quite content to keep things free of formality. He’ll still seem uptight but that’s just his personality.”

His words took a bit of the pressure off of her chest although she wasn’t sure how true they were. The Commander tended to downplay things sometimes. She grabbed a thin jacket and pulled it on over her shirt. “I guess I’m ready.”

He nodded and crossed the room to open the door, motioning to Satara when she straightened at his appearance. He had spoken with her after leaving Maria in her quarters earlier, notifying her of her new orders. She would accompany Maria wherever she went; Maria was her priority and it was her responsibility to ensure her safety above all else. She was no longer to act in the capacity of a castle guard, but rather in the capacity of the woman’s personal protector. He knew Satara was a good fit. She was loyal and duty-bound – she would sooner die than allow any harm to come to her charge.

Maria followed him wordlessly and smiled briefly at the Antarian woman as they passed her. The long dark corridors seemed to be even longer and colder in that moment and it felt like they walked for hours through the castle to reach their destination.

“I’ve arranged to meet with the King in the courtyard by the reflecting pool. I thought that might be more comfortable.” And it was far enough from the kitchen area that the King shouldn’t be distracted by his new kitchen manager. He smirked slightly. It hadn’t taken long for news to travel that Wilgor had been demoted and replaced by the human woman recently hired by the King’s Advisor. He had no complaints about the King’s choice of kitchen managers so long as the food remained edible, and if the woman helped loosen Max up, he certainly wouldn’t have any issues with that.

“What’re you smirking at?”

He turned his head to look at Maria when she spoke. Satara was a trusted soldier and she would not repeat anything she overheard. She was also focused on her job rather than their conversation, her sharp gaze constantly sweeping the surrounding area for potential threats. “This is your first meeting with the King so you don’t know him, but his affinity for the new kitchen manager is amusing.”

“You mean Liz?”

“The woman that I borrowed to cook for you, yes.”

Maria nodded, not commenting on his choice of words. “Well, she’s pretty and smart.”

“I suppose,” he answered with a noncommittal shrug. “It’s the first time he’s shown any interest in a woman that I can remember.”

Obviously he wasn’t into the Princess he was supposed to marry, she thought but didn’t say anything about it. “Maybe she brings out his human side.”

Michael snorted. “She brings something out of him. It’s difficult to keep his attention focused when she’s nearby.”

“Men,” was all she said with a slight eye roll.

He simply smiled and shrugged. Let the King have a good romp with the kitchen help and maybe it’d mellow him out, he thought but kept it to himself.

Maria breathed deeply when they finally reached the doors that lead outside. It was still warm, but not burning hot anymore. The fresh air felt good in her lungs, but only for a second before she realized that the meeting was upon them.

Max stood by the pool, studying his reflection in the calm water. He had changed into clothes more suited to riding, thinking that perhaps he would go out for a while after the meeting with Michael’s human. He wondered if it was too soon to ask Liz if she would like to accompany him. After all, he had offered to give her a tour of the valley. And as the new kitchen manager she might like to see where the food she prepared was grown, he rationalized. He congratulated himself for the idea and turned when he heard someone approaching.

“Your Highness,” Michael greeted the King with a slight nod and was pleased to see him in a much more relaxed outfit than he had worn during the interview. This way he wouldn’t appear so intimidating to Maria. He took a step to the left, giving the woman with him an open view.

“Commander,” he nodded. He moved forward and stopped when the other man shifted slightly. He focused on the woman and tipped his head to one side to study her for a moment, trying to figure out why she seemed familiar. He didn’t recall her name but there was something about her... “I signed your transfer forms authorizing your service with a field unit,” he said suddenly.

She was surprised that he still remembered that since that was quite a few months in the past and he probably signed a lot of things on a daily basis. “You have a good memory then.” Now that she saw his face, she knew she had seen it before. Pictures on Antar were rare, but she had studied a report of the planet when she was back on Earth and his face had been featured.

“Your request for placement with a field unit stood out from other requisitions,” he said, warming to his topic. “You didn’t want the position for status, for morbid curiosity, or because you enjoy danger. You requested that position because you wanted to make a difference, to help the soldiers fighting against Khivar. I sign many requisitions, but my Advisor brought your file to me personally.”

“I had heard that most of the camps outside were short on medical staff, so I thought it would be the best place for me to help.” She hadn’t thought about the risks at all and things looked a lot different now. If she had to make a decision again, she wasn’t sure if she would do it again.

“It was an admirable request. I’m only sorry the course of events made it a regrettable decision. I’ve reviewed your service record for your time at the camp and you’re responsible for many of our soldiers being alive today.”

“I just tried to do my job,” she shrugged. Maybe they looked at things like that because Antarian women were different from human. Most of them would never go out into field camps – they stayed at home and cared for the children, cleaned the barracks, or collected the food when it was ready. Some of the men in the camps had shown her every day that women didn’t belong there.

“Trying to do one’s job is not always appreciated,” he said softly.

“Guess not,” she nodded.

There was really no point going over her captivity since that would have been covered during the interrogation and he would have the report soon enough. “I trust your accommodations here are to your liking?”

She shot a quick glance at Michael before she answered the King. “Everything is nice.”

“Is there anything you desire?”

“No… no, I guess I have everything I need. Thank you.”

He nodded. “I am taking my new kitchen manager out to view the valley today. Perhaps you would like to join us. The Commander will join us as well if you wish to accompany us.”

Michael kept himself from spitting out a smart remark. He didn’t have anything against the suggestion, but he’d liked to be asked before the King made plans for him.

It was very obvious the other man wasn’t pleased with the King’s suggestion, but she couldn’t tell if it was because he didn’t want to go or if it was something else. Maria turned her gaze to the King again and nodded. “It would be impolite to turn that offer down.”

“You will go?” he asked eagerly.

“I would like to see the valley,” she agreed.

“I will have the kitchen prepare a meal we can take with us. Humans would do something like this on Earth, correct?”

She laughed and finally started to relax. “Yes, we would do that indeed.”

“Very well then. I will tell Liz and we will meet in one of your Earth hours. Will that be acceptable?”

“Of course.” She had nothing to do anyway. After the interrogation she had told Satara that she couldn’t work with the kids yet and she had been told that was fine and she could start her new job the following day. A visit to the valley would be distracting.

He smiled, pleased with himself. “I think you will enjoy a tour of the valley. The Commander is quite knowledgeable of the area and it will be a pleasant escape for a while.”

Maria glanced at Michael again. He looked pissed off at the moment and it cast a shadow over her anticipation of the proposed tour. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Max followed the quick look in the Commander’s direction and he frowned slightly. He could tell by the man’s expression that he had done something wrong. Again. He mentally back-tracked, going over the conversation he had been having with Maria and could find nothing there. The offer to tour the Sun Valley had been made... Oh, he realized. It had sounded like an offer as far as she was concerned but it had been little more than an order where the Commander was concerned. “Commander, I hope I haven’t infringed upon any prior engagements?”

“Nothing which can’t be postponed, Your Highness,” he answered through gritted teeth.

“Very well then.” He turned his attention back to Maria. “Have you ridden before?”

“No, but I’ll be happy to learn.” Hopefully it didn’t mean she had to share a horse with Michael though, because her memories were still too close to the surface after the interrogation. What if it only got better in his presence though, was the next thought that entered her mind.

“They’re very similar to the horses on Earth if you can look past their two heads.”

She chuckled. “I’ve seen them before. It was a bit scary first but I’ve gotten used to it now.”

He smiled and nodded. “I’ll speak with the stable caretaker and have him provide you with the gentlest animal we have. They’re very well-behaved but some are more spirited than others.”

“Thank you,” she told him honestly. The King seemed to be really caring and she wasn’t sure what Michael had meant before because he didn’t come across that uptight to her.

“May I call you Maria? Or would you prefer something more formal?”

“Maria is fine.”

“I’m pleased we were able to meet. I must go now. I need to inform the kitchen staff of our meal requirements and to tell Liz we will be touring the Sun Valley.”

“It was nice to meet you.” She nodded with a warm smile and felt a little awkward when the King left and she was alone with Michael again. He hadn’t said so much a word, which couldn’t be a good sign at all.

“You aren’t obligated to go along with this,” he said finally.

“I don’t feel obligated,” she countered when he proved with his words that something wasn’t okay with him.

“Just because he suggests you do something you don’t have to drop everything to do it. I do because my position requires it, but you don’t.”

“And what other important thing do you think I dropped?”

“It doesn’t matter whether or not it was important. You could’ve planned to do nothing more intensive than sit at the window and stare at the sky for all I know.”

She narrowed her eyes at him for a moment. Had he intended to be sarcastic or not? With these hybrids it was sometimes really hard to say. “You know, if your sympathy towards me these last few days was just some show because we’re connected then you don’t have to pretend any longer, Commander. I don’t wanna take up space in your castle if you think I’m just sitting around lazily because I enjoy it.”

He sighed in frustration. “That was not what I meant,” he growled. “My point is you do not have to stop doing whatever you’re doing – or NOT doing – just to please him.”

“He offered a tour of the valley and I agreed because I wanted to go.” She wrapped her arms around herself and stared at the safe walls around the castle – a barrier which wouldn’t be there when they went on the tour. Was it safe? Considering what Michael had told her about the gene she obviously carried some very dangerous people were looking for her. “Maybe I should stay here,” she said suddenly when she felt the panic at the thought of being captured again.

He backed off for a moment when he registered the feelings hitting him. “If you want to go then of course we’ll go,” he capitulated. “You’ll be safe.”

Her eyes lifted hesitantly to meet his. Did he really believe that or was he just saying it to make her feel better? “If you think it’s a risk then just tell me and I’ll stay here. I don’t wanna be captured again, Michael. And I don’t want anyone to be put in danger because of me.”

“I have no doubt you’d be safe. It just grates on my nerves when he makes plans that include me without bothering to even ask if I’m free.”

“I don’t think he meant it like that, Michael.”

“It was an order without consideration for anything I might have already committed to.”

“He just didn’t think about the fact that you might not want to go,” she disagreed.

“He just assumed that I can easily rearrange my plans on a whim.”

There were obviously some deeper disagreement between the men, she mused as she studied his face. “It sounded to me like you don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

“The Commander will join us as well if you wish to accompany us.” He snorted as he repeated the King’s words. “That was an order, not an invitation.”

“But he asked later.” Maria sighed and shook her head. “I guess it doesn’t matter. Maybe I just see things in another way.”

“Perhaps.” There was really no point arguing over it. “I do need to reschedule a few things so I’ll escort you back to your quarters and then attend to them.”

“Satara is with me, so you don’t have to walk me back.”

He straightened and rolled his shoulders. “I would like to walk you back to your quarters. And I would enjoy the opportunity to go riding with you. Nothing I do with you is done because of obligation.”

“Maybe the connection makes it something like that,” she said quietly and turned to move back inside. What if the only reason he cared was that stupid connection and what would it mean if against their recent suspicions it disappeared again?

He closed his eyes for a moment and inhaled deeply, forcing himself to calm down before he moved to intercept her. “Maria, it started like that, I don’t deny that. But this...” he didn’t know how to describe it, “it’s more than just the connection.” He had to make her understand because the look on her face, the hurt in her eyes, and her sudden wish to put distance between them bothered him like nothing else.

“How do you know?” She stopped and turned to look at him, surprised when he was closer than she had expected. “We don’t know what would be left of the things we feel without the connection. Chances are good we wouldn’t care about each other at all.”

“Maybe we wouldn’t, I don’t know. What I do know is that while the connection is what bonded us initially it’s not the only thing that’s kept me interested. It’s destroyed the barriers and opened up paths that otherwise might’ve never been possible. With what you’ve been through you shouldn’t be able to tolerate my presence but you can. It’s allowed you to see past my appearance and even to trust me.” He shook his head. “Whether the connection is permanent or not I have no desire to leave or to allow you to leave.”

“You wouldn’t allow me to leave?”

He winced. “I don’t mean that I would keep you here against your will, just that I would fight to keep you here.”

Maria kept herself from snorting. She didn’t exactly know why, but right now she had the need to keep him at a distance instead of giving in to his words. “Don’t be too sure about that, Michael. When the connection has achieved whatever it wants, it might disappear again, and then we’ll see what remains. I guess you don’t have to be too worried about that moment though, since you belong here.”

He frowned. “I don’t understand.”

“I don’t belong here, Michael.”

“Why would you say that? Humans are slowly being integrated into Antarian society.”

“I mean HERE, Michael!” She pointed at the ground they were standing on.

“In the castle?” He wasn’t following her and it was beginning to irritate him.

“In the castle… at your side,” she swallowed, “however you wanna see it.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because it’s true. As you already admitted to me earlier, you don’t know much about this connection. It might change our minds in a way that you don’t think is possible. As you pointed out just a moment ago, I should be scared of you; I shouldn’t be able to handle your presence at all, but last night we shared the same bed and it didn’t bother me. This thing between us is powerful and it obviously influences us in a very strong way.”

“And you’re afraid of that,” he thought aloud with a frown. She hadn’t seemed to be bothered that much before. Why now? It wasn’t like he was totally comfortable with it – not by any stretch of the imagination – but over the last few days he had started to get used it… and almost enjoyed it.

“It scares me a lot,” she admitted and unconsciously put a little more distance between them. “The interrogation took me back to the months I spent with Rath. It was cruel and horrible and it shows the immense contrast compared to how I feel towards you.”

“I wouldn’t hurt you.”

“I know that,” she said without a doubt. “I know you wouldn’t do anything like him, but that’s not the point. The point is we don’t know anything about the connection. What if it forces us to be together, to produce a child…?”

“Nothing will happen against your will.”

“My will,” she snorted. “I think my will has little say here. I felt your pain when you were hurt, I’ve experienced weird flashes, and I’m restless whenever we’re separated for any length of time. I’m afraid the connection doesn’t care about what I want, it just manipulates me the way it thinks is necessary and once it’s gotten what it wants it might disappear again and what then?” She stared at him helplessly. “With the connection I’m not myself, Michael. Neither are you.”

“Then I will certainly not burden you with my presence any longer.” He snapped his fingers to get Satara’s attention even though it was unnecessary. “Satara will see you to your quarters.” He turned on his heel and stalked off in the opposite direction without another word. He made his way through the castle, seeking the solace of the war room.

He braced his hands on the large table, his eyes scanning over the map that was etched into the surface. Indicators lit up, signalling troop movement and as he studied the patterns for several moments before he reached out and ran his fingertips over a section to enlarge it. Khivar’s armies were some distance away but there were always smaller bands of rebel soldiers, loyal to neither side, but capable of inflicting damage where they saw fit.

There was a small encampment of the rebels close enough to the Sun Valley to caution him against allowing the King’s plans of a trip into the area. It would be unwise to ignore the threat that the rebels posed. He looked up when the doors opened and the Advisor walked in after a brief moment of hesitation.

Alex nodded and carried a stack of reports inside. “Good afternoon, Commander.”

“Little is good about it,” he replied shortly. He tapped the map’s surface to draw the other man’s attention to it. “The King plans to make a journey into the Sun Valley.”

He joined the Commander at the table, leaning over it from the opposite side. “He travels with a unit more than large enough to handle a few rebels should they decide to attack.”

“It would be unwise to take such a risk.”

“Your recommendation is to cancel his trip?”

“We’ve lost enough men out on the field. I am not willing to risk anyone’s life because he wants to show the valley to his kitchen staff.”

So that was the motive behind it, Alex mused with a slight hidden smirk. “Very well, I’ll support this decision if the King asks my advice.”

Michael just nodded, relieved that the Advisor wasn’t working against him in because he wasn’t sure the human would’ve survived it after the talk he just had with Maria. “How far have you gotten with organizing the equipment we need for our troops to hold the line in the mountains?”

“It’s all ordered. I haven’t checked it yet, but it should arrive with one of the transports either tonight or in the morning.”

“When the shipment comes in I want to be notified immediately.”

“Of course.” There was no point irritating the man further when it was obvious he was already pissed off about something. Pointing out that the Commander was always notified in regard to anything related to the troops or equipment requisitioned for them would only direct the man’s anger at him.

Michael took several steps to the right and tipped his head to study the map. “When do you anticipate making progress with the translation?”

“I don’t have a definitive timeline, Commander. I have started working on it but so far I don’t have a clear understanding of the language and once I do I’ll need to determine the cipher.”

He frowned. “A cipher?”

“It’s a method of breaking codes. I’m pretty sure it’s not just written in the ancient language; it’s also encoded to prevent translation.”

“But you’re confident you can translate the book and break this code?”

“Once I find something that gives me a point to start with…” he nodded, “then it should work. It’s all about finding the key and then it’s just a matter of time and technique to unlock whatever is hidden.”

Why did humans always have to talk in… riddles? It was confusing! “If you think I can help with that in any way then let me know.”

“I will,” Alex agreed, although he doubted the Commander was the right person to help with the translation. The man was a firebrand. Best out on the field but too impatient for much of anything else.

“Although I’m sure the Princess is a great help to you,” he muttered.

“She’s a great pain in the ass is what she is.”

The Commander snorted. “Yes, she is.” He straightened and met the other man’s gaze directly. “Do you believe there is a way out of these arranged marriages?”

“I believe there’s a way out of just about anything if you find the right loophole,” Alex said as he leaned over to bring up the biometric scans.

Michael’s mind automatically wandered back to Maria, but then he remembered the words she had just thrown at him. She didn’t even want to be that loophole, so why let his hopes rest on that?

“The connection you share with the human woman could be a place to start,” Alex said when he was sure that was that the Commander was thinking about.

“Don’t be too sure about that.”

Alex lifted an eyebrow at the cryptic response. “Commander, I know this must be unsettling,” he said and cleared his throat when the man glared at him. “Right, of course. What I meant is given we may have proof of the true connection’s existence it may provide us with a viable defense against your marriage to the Princess.”

He shook his head. “It isn’t something that can be brought to light. Such a thing would put her in immediate danger.”

“No, and I wasn’t suggesting that. I understand the need for absolute protection of this information. Perhaps if she feels up to it I could speak with her, gather some information about the connection.”

The Advisor was a smart man and although he had ordered Collon to search for more information he was considering the offer. “I will think about it.” He straightened to glance at the man. “We CAN’T spread this information. Zander MUSTN’T know about it. I don’t trust the old man.” Who knew what the old King would do in favour of continuing his plan of marriage and bonding between their families? It was hard enough to protect Maria from their enemies outside the castle; he couldn’t afford the risk of putting her in danger among themselves as well.

“Understood,” Alex nodded and wasn’t really surprised that things were being kept from Zander. The man was nothing like his son.

“Very well. I have duties to see to.”

“I’m working on the translation and I’ll wait for word from you before I make any attempts to speak with your guest.”

He nodded. “We will speak of this later.”

Alex chuckled under his breath and shook his head when the Commander took his leave. He and the King were alike in some ways and worlds apart in others.
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Fics: A Xmas Story - A Merry Mt. R. Xmas - Cupid's Revenge - Double Trouble - Double Date - Double Dare - Double Empire - Double Xmas Wish - In The Course Of A Lifetime - Mountains So High - Not A Question At All - Surrender - TIC TAC - Two Double Dates at Xmas

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