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.

Moderators: Anniepoo98, Rowedog, ISLANDGIRL5, Itzstacie, truelovepooh, FSU/MSW-94, Hunter, Island Breeze, Forum Moderators

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

Part 31

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:58 pm

Part 31

Liz ran her hands over the light summer dress she had chosen after the King had sent her a message that they would be going out to see Sun Valley. He had given her the whole afternoon off from her duties, so she had taken a shower and pulled on the nicest thing she had found in the meager selection of clothing she had been able to bring with her to this planet.

A dress like this wasn’t often seen around here and maybe some of the people would think it was inappropriate, but she knew the King would like it.

Max’ eyes needed a few seconds to adjust when he stepped out of the dark castle into the sunlight. Something colorful and bright immediately caught his eyes and it took a matter of seconds before he realized it was Liz’ choice of clothing that had drawn his attention. His eyes moved over her slim legs, which were hardly hidden by the dress, and he felt himself harden in response.

Why was she affecting him so much? He shook his head to clear it before he walked towards her. “You look…”

Liz smiled when she turned to look at him and found him speechless. “Good?”

He nodded dumbly and felt his arousal increase when he smelled her scent – a mixture of flowers and vanilla.

“You look good as well.” He was dressed as casually as she had ever seen him but even without the formal clothing and robes, there was an air of royalty that hung over him.

“My plans have been changed.”

“Oh.” She couldn’t hide her disappointment. “We won’t be going out then?”

“We can still go out,” he hurried to assure her. “The Commander believes that rebels outside the Sun Valley could present a threat so for now we must postpone that tour.”

She smiled and took a step closer to him. “And where do you propose we go now?”

“I thought perhaps a tour of the Chymera Fields would be to your liking.”

She had heard of the Chymera Fields. It consisted of more than a hundred acres of flowering fields, primarily populated by the Chymera flower. “Is it private?”

“It belongs to our family,” he said. “Only a few people work there from time to time, but they have already returned for the day.”

“Sounds good,” she smiled. “Your message said the Commander and a guest would join…”

“Other plans have intruded, so it will only be the two of us.” He had a feeling that Michael had come up with some reason to not have to go. He hadn’t seemed to be pleased with his suggestion in the first place and he hadn’t been surprised when he had heard that Ms. Deluca had changed her mind.

“Oh…” Liz tried to sound disappointed even though she wasn’t at all. She had hoped the guest would be Maria, but if she had the chance to spend time alone with the King, she wasn’t going to complain.

“You are not disappointed,” he guessed with a slight smirk.

“No, not at all. I enjoy spending time with you.”

“We will be escorted by a unit of soldiers but once we reach the Fields they will remain a respectable distance away so that we may have privacy.”

“So your soldiers won’t be telling anyone that the King has been out with a human?”

“Not if they value their lives.”

She studied him, trying to decide if he was making a joke or being serious.

“They all sign a vow of silence before entering the military. That is especially true of those in the King’s service,” he explained. “It is a necessary requirement so that no inappropriate information can be spread.”

“I guess that makes sense,” she agreed. “Are we taking the horses?”

“Not this time I am afraid. The way to the Fields is steep at times. It’s not as easy as the path to Sun Valley, so I’d prefer to take the more advanced transport for today.” It was easy to see her slight disappointment, but he was sure it wouldn’t last long. “We will take the horses another day.”

“I’ll take you at your word, King Max.”

He smirked and resisted the urge to take her hand as long as everyone could see them. “Come along, the transport is already waiting for us.”

They boarded the transport and after one of the soldiers moved through the luxurious inner cabin he took up his post in the cockpit with the pilot while the others stayed on the other side of the doors that sectioned the transport.

“You don’t go anywhere without the comforts of home do you?” Liz asked as she moved around the cabin.

His eyes followed her every move and he couldn’t stop looking at her legs. It wasn’t like he had never seen legs before but there was something about hers that held him captive. He shifted as he thought about the ways they really could hold him captive.

“Something on your mind?” Liz asked as she leaned over to look out the window, knowing the move would cause the skirt to slide up with her movements. She could feel his eyes on her and she wondered what it would take to make him snap.

“You have to ask?” He had figured out by now that she was a playful woman and while he didn’t understand the meanings of everything she said and did, it was obvious that she knew exactly how she affected him.

Liz smiled and glanced over her shoulder at the tiny window in the door that separated them from the soldiers.

“Privacy isn’t always easy when you’re the King,” he said when he followed her gaze. Without his notice his speech began to relax. “They have monitors for inside and outside the transport.”

“Really no fun,” she told him with a slight wink.

Max laughed. “Welcome to my world.”

“I suppose there are no cameras on the Fields we’re going to though?”

“No, not at all.”

“So no way of monitoring anything we might get up to?”

He smiled and shook his head. “No. The soldiers will remain at a set perimeter in order to provide the privacy we require. Should I need them they can be summoned at a moment’s notice.” He held his right hand up and turned it, revealing the wide silver band that encased his wrist.

“How is it activated?” she asked, studying it.

“It’s engineered to respond only to the one wearing it. The alert is triggered by the secretion of bodily fluids.”

“Not all of them, I hope.”

The tips of his ears turned bright red. “No, no, it responds to – “

She chuckled. “I understand. Fear can trigger a release of certain chemicals. I assure you, fear is the last thing I wish to trigger in you.”

“No?” he asked and found himself participating in what humans would consider teasing. “I don’t think I need to fear anything with my bodyguards around, but what about you? You’re alone with strangers and we could take you anywhere.” His amber eyes sparkled with amusement.

“I think I trust you as the King of Antar.”

He nodded and his expression became serious again. “Not everyone does.”

“But they should. You’re a man with a heart – not every country can say it’s ruled by someone who truly cares about the people living in it.” She smiled when he looked at her in surprise. It wasn’t like they had really talked about things like that before, so he probably wondered where she got her information. “I’ve done my homework too, King Max.”

“Homework?” His face was puzzled.

“It means I read a lot before I came to Antar. Your people are divided; those who support you and those who don’t. You can count me as part of the first group.”

“Many of our people don’t support the decision to allow a hybrid to assume the throne. We’re often the subject of hateful commentary because our bloodline has been tainted.” He looked at the band on his arm. “How can you hate someone for being who they are?”

“People can hate for many reasons and few of them are rational. You’ve tried to make a difference in the time you’ve been ruling your people and there are many who appreciate the efforts you’ve made.”

“It’s unfortunate there are so many who see humans and hybrids as nothing more than a drain on our society.”

She sat next to him and linked her fingers with his. “What you’ve done is amazing, Max. You’ve integrated so many areas of your kingdom, you’ve given a home to so many humans who’ve lost everything on Earth, and you feel the struggles and suffering of your people.”

He shifted uncomfortably. “I’m not a saint.”

“No,” she cupped his chin and turned his head to face her, “but you are a man who has strong convictions and feels very deeply.”

He chuckled at her words. “All things my father would call useless and overrated. Antarians don’t see the benefits of emotions; they see it as a weakness.”

“They’re just too stubborn to see that not even they can run from emotions. They say they’re forbidden here but the way I see it only good emotions are horrible in their eyes. This war and everything that comes with it only exist because of hate and anger... which are emotions.”

He nodded. “I’ve never looked at it like that but you’re right.”

“Why are people so unwilling to feel the good things like happiness or love? I mean, I’m sure they’re able to feel it, they just ignore it or push it away."

“Perhaps because as what would be considered the softer emotions they’re viewed as weak,” he mused aloud. He had never considered that the very basis of their war was emotion-driven.

“It’s something to think about.” They were quiet for several minutes, each lost in their own thoughts. “There’s something that’s been on my mind,” she said, breaking the silence.

“Yes?” He shifted to face her, giving her his undivided attention.

“You know I enjoy this game we’re playing.”

He smiled. “As do I.”

She nodded and gave him a small smile. “The other day, in the dining hall when your mother interrupted us...”

“Oh.” His good mood dimmed.

“Can your father remove you from your position and replace you with someone else if he wants to?”

“Theoretically he could,” he shrugged, “but he wouldn’t give it to anyone who didn’t belong to the royal family.”

“What about your sister? She’s supposed to marry the Commander, right? Could they be King and Queen?”

“They could, but my father knows Isabel has too much spirit and he wouldn’t give the throne to Michael.”

“No?”

“No,” he shook his head. “Our parents were friends, but my father thinks a man should lead the planet and he knows Michael would never want that.”

“I guess as the Commander of your armies he’s more suited to the action of being on the field than on the throne.”

He smirked. “The throne would be a prison for him.”

“So basically it’s an empty threat? But she mentioned an alternate plan. What if your father were to take the throne from you and put someone there in your place?”

“The throne can only be held by someone of the royal line and unless my father has a bastard child that I am unaware of he has no one else to bear the seal.”

“You don’t really seem to be worried…”

“I never asked for the throne.” Max shrugged and glanced out the window to check their location. “None of us was asked. What they did was plan every detail and now they expect us to follow that plan.”

“But some of you don’t want that, right?”

“I don’t think any of us wants that. Not with everything it entails at least.” He got up and started to pace around without realizing it. “I made my peace with being King, but I wish I could just lead the country my way without all the conditions our parents came up with.” He stopped and looked at her. “I think that counts for all four of us.”

“What would you do differently if you could rule the way you want to?”

“The first thing I would do is completely selfish.” He reached out to steady himself when the transport came to rest near the Fields.

“And what would you do first?” She already knew the answer.

“I would make it so that our arranged marriages weren’t a requirement. No one should marry another person without their consent or against their wishes. It’s a prison without bars,” he sighed, turning his head when the doors opened.

“We have reached the Chymera Fields, Your Highness,” one of the soldiers said as he appeared at the entry, a weapon pressed to his side. “Scouts have already been deployed.”

Max nodded at the man before the door closed again. They would let them know in a few minutes if the area was safe. Before that he wasn’t supposed to get out.

“I don’t see a point in those marriages either,” Liz agreed when they were alone again. “Your folks don’t even believe in love, so why marry?”

“For my father it’s a matter of showing power and tradition. It’s not like a marriage on Earth. You don’t even spend that much time together.”

Liz frowned. “What’re you supposed to do then?”

“We’re supposed to connect. It allows us access to each other’s powers, which makes both parties more powerful in the end. And there are other things that come with the connection.”

“Other things, but not love. From everything I’ve heard about the connections shared between couples on Antar it’s a matter of securing a future rather than strengthening a bond between them.”

“It is a bond and the stronger it becomes the more powerful the couple becomes if they share those abilities.”

“So it’s really a matter of convenience. Your father and the Commander’s father were the most powerful men in your kingdoms so they united to become more powerful.” She bit her bottom lip. “They united their kingdoms before you were...” How inappropriate would it be to ask him about hatching? she wondered. “Before you were born. Is that why you were genetically altered or engineered?” She gave him an apologetic look. “It doesn’t really matter how you ask that question it just sounds so... wrong.”

He shrugged. “Genetically altered, engineered, it doesn’t really matter how you phrase it. We are what we are.”

“So that’s why you were created? To be powerful and rule Antar?”

“When it was time for our parents to ‘produce’ heirs the war on Antar had become very ugly. The castle wasn’t as safe as it is now and there were a lot of people who were working for Khivar. Creating us the way they normally do on Antar would’ve been too much of a risk – at least that’s what they told us. We weren’t safe. Khivar tried everything to prevent them from producing heirs. So they came up with the plan to mix our DNA with human DNA and let us live on Earth undercover until we were old enough to fulfil our destiny.”

“Khivar didn’t find out about the plan?” She frowned, but your dupes – “

“Our dupes were their first attempt at a creation of a hybrid, but obviously they weren’t satisfied with the result and started over. The dupes weren’t supposed to ever return to this planet, but Khivar found out about the whole plot and since the second set was left behind he saw the perfect chance to bring them over to his side to work against us.”

“Oh, so he found out about the same time as you were supposed to return and your own parents had created the perfect weapons for him.” Talk about irony, Liz thought.

“You’re very smart Liz Parker,” he agreed with a nod.

She smiled at the compliment. “Have they ever tried to infiltrate the castle?”

“Attempts have been made but they have been unsuccessful. Unsuccessful at obtaining information,” he clarified. “Ava has managed to get inside our walls on more than one occasion but each time she’s been discovered.”

“But she remains free.”

“I only said she had been discovered, not that she had been captured.”

‘That must be very frustrating.”

“It’s very frustrating for the Commander and his sister. We don’t know why she’s done it because she’s never harmed anyone and never created any damage during the attempts. The Commander stays on alert though as he’s certain she’s waiting for us to drop our guard.” He wondered how that played into the recent meeting between Michael and Ava.

“I suppose life is really hard when you can’t trust more than a handful people.”

“We’re used to it.”

She nodded, but thought it was a sad way of living. “Where did you live back on Earth?”

“I don’t know,” he admitted.

“You don’t know?”

He shook his head. “I have very little memory of my time on Earth.”

“But you lived there for years.”

“Yes. When we returned we were put through special training to subdue our memories and to suppress the weaker emotions.”

Her eyes widened, horrified at the thought. “They tried to take that from you?”

He shrugged as he looked away. He didn’t want to think about the intensive training as Antar’s doctors stripped his soul bare and tried to turn him into a mindless pawn in a game he had never wanted to play. “They did take it from us.”

“It’s cruel to take the memories of your childhood from you,” she shook her head in disgust. No wonder they were all a little weird in their behaviour. “Those things make you the person you are.”

“That doesn’t count for us,” he told her and was glad when the door opened again because this was an uncomfortable subject to talk about.

“Everything is clear, Your Highness.”

“Thank you,” Max nodded and looked at his guest, reaching out a hand towards her. “Do you want to take a look, Ms. Parker?”

“Of course,” she got up and ran her hands over her dress before she took the hand he held out, very aware of the looks of the soldiers.

*****

Tess rubbed her temple in an effort to ease the throbbing that had started as she answered question after question. She could feel the tension thrumming through her lover’s body even from across the room. He had kept his distance, pacing as he asked the questions, and finally coming to rest at the counter as he summed up her answers for the report. His eyes had stayed focused on the tablet and she knew he was pissed.

“You should take something for that,” he muttered.

“For what?”

“For the pain in your big toe.” He jerked his head up and shot an annoyed look at her. “You have a headache and it’s only gonna get worse so go take something for it.”

“I don’t need you to tell me what to do,” she snapped.

“No, and apparently you don’t need to keep me in the loop about anything either.” He stabbed the screen with his forefinger and growled in irritation when he hit the wrong thing and he deleted half of the last statement he had written up.

“Why do you have to make a big deal out of it? Everything was okay before or did you miss something?” She really wasn’t in the mood for this – not with the headache she had and he knew about.

“How was I supposed to MISS anything when I didn’t even KNOW about it?”

“It’s not important, Kyle.”

He waited until he had written the last bit of the statement again before he looked up to meet her gaze. “The flashes or our relationship?” he taunted.

Tess narrowed her eyes at him. “You know exactly what I’m talking about, so stop with your senseless human sarcasm.”

“Why? I’m human and we love sarcasm.”

“And I’m not in the mood for it.”

“For my sarcasm or the truth?”

“Kyle, it wasn’t important.”

He snorted and nodded. That was the second time she had called him by his given name rather than his rank. They rarely used their given names with each other and it was a sure sign she was trying to put distance between them. “Well, Tess, I think it was,” he said, emphasizing her name.

Her eyes narrowed at him. “What does it matter? Why bring up something that was of no consequence?”

“Maybe it was of no consequence to you.”

“I don’t see the point. Random flashes wouldn’t make a difference.” She crossed her arms over her chest stubbornly. “They don’t contain important information.”

“Really? And you know that how?”

“They work like that. They aren’t magical visions of the future!”

“You said before you guys get flashes when you’re in danger to warn you, help you find a way out.”

“That’s not the flashes we’re talking about here. The flashes my brother mentioned, and that we experienced with Maria, are memories.”

“And you don’t wanna show me your memories,” he stated quietly with a nod and finished up the report. “Understood.”

“No, it’s not like you’re trying to make it sound.”

“I’m not trying to say anything. It’s exactly the way I said it.” He started gathering his things together. “All this time we’ve been together and you’ve known it was possible and you’ve held that information back.’

“And it means nothing!”

“It means you don’t trust me enough to let me see you. Why? Because the flashes only work in one direction? You have no idea what could happen if you really opened yourself up to me. We’ve had to keep our relationship a secret but I thought we were more to each other than just an occasional fuck.”

“We ARE more than that,” she told him, frustrated. “Why would you think different? I’ve opened up more to you than anyone else.”

He snorted. “Is that so?”

Tess glared at him, hiding her hurt behind an angry face. “Maybe you can’t understand. Or you don’t want to.”

“I don’t want to?” he snapped. “I’m not the one hiding things.”

“I wish we could trade places,” she muttered and grabbed a robe to pull it around herself over her clothes. “How open would you be if you were the soon-to-be wife of a Commander to protect a planet you didn’t even know a few years ago? How open would you be if there were so few of your own species, Kyle?”

“I don’t really know, Tess, but the way I see it either you trust each other or you don’t.”

“I’m glad things are so easy for you.”

He turned to lean against the counter, watching her pace restlessly. “You think it’s easy knowin’ you’re not comfortable trusting me with somethin’ like this?”

“I don’t want to argue about this. If you can’t understand why I didn’t want to be the only one baring my soul then I guess we’re finished talking.”

He shook his head. “We’re done for now and only because this report needs to be turned in. I will be back.” He paused at the door, his hand resting on the knob. He knew the way she thought, knew how she reacted in most situations, and he knew what she was saying was the truth as she perceived it. He had to remind himself that while she was half-human, that side of her was constantly at war with the Antarian half, and it wasn’t a battle he was willing to lose. “I’ll see you later, Corporal.”
Image
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 32

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:58 pm

Part 32

Tess walked through the cold, dark hallways of the castle, her pace unhurried and almost noiseless. It had been quiet the last few days, since both men – Michael and Kyle – had left to visit and support fighting troops far behind Sun Valley and the mountains.

It had first strained her nerves that her brother as well as the King had given her the order to stay at the castle this time, but she knew they had to be careful. “I don’t want someone else to be responsible for Maria’s safety,” the Commander had said. “I trust my men, but I’d rather leave her in your hands than any other.”

“Really? You haven’t even talked to her since the two of you met the King, did you? What happened, Michael?”

“Nothing, just a lot going on,” he had dismissed her and then had added with a smirk, “By the way, have you talked to the Captain?”

She rolled her eyes at the thought while she pushed the door that led through to the courtyard, open. The first sun had already set and the second was nearing the horizon so the temperatures were pleasant and it wasn’t too bright outside anymore. No, she hadn’t talked to Kyle at all after their argument, but why did he always put her under pressure anyway?

“Princess,” some servants greeted her with a bow when she passed them.

She acknowledged them briefly and went on to talk to the woman who was standing near the reflecting pool, waiting and watching the short, pale blonde a few sword lengths away. “Anything suspicion to report?”

Satara straightened when she realized who was approaching her. “No, Princess. Nothing suspicious has happened, although Ms. Deluca seems to be restless. She moves from one thing to the next constantly.”

Tess nodded and shifted her gaze to Maria, who was sitting at the edge of the pool. The scene should’ve been harmonic, but Satara was right, the other woman didn’t appear as relaxed as she should be. Without talking any further to the personal guard of her brother’s… whatever she was, she went on to join her at the pool. “Hello, Maria.”

Maria turned her head to look at the Princess as she approached her. She didn’t know why the woman would bother coming to see her. Hadn’t she gotten enough information during the interrogation? That morning hadn’t gone as badly as she knew it could’ve, but it had torn old wounds open and it had only gotten worse after the argument with Michael later that day.

She wasn’t sure it could be called an argument. She had pushed and he had pushed back but he hadn’t understood what was going on. She wasn’t sure she fully understood it herself. Part of it was she was scared of what she was feeling, scared of what the connection meant, and afraid of what would happen if and when it was finished with them.

“Your Highness,” she greeted with a slight nod of her head.

Tess smirked. “I think we’re beyond formalities, don’t you?”

Maria shrugged one shoulder and returned to her perusal of the water. She watched the creatures similar to birds as they floated on the surface and she remembered something her mom had told her once. She had always been amazed by her mom’s strength but one day after escaping a run-in with a dangerous looking group of men they had stopped next to a pond and she had commented on the way her mom had stayed so calm.

Her mom had smiled and turned to point at a few ducks. “They look calm to you, don’t they?”

“Well...” she had studied them for a moment, “yeah.”

“If you could see under the water you’d see their feet paddling like crazy to stay afloat. They look calm, but if you could really see what’s going on you’d see they’re not.”


She had discovered a couple of years later that it wasn’t really true but the story had stuck with her and it made her smile as she thought about it.

“How are you doing?” Tess asked when the human stayed calm.

Was the Princess trying to be nice, she wondered. No, she probably wanted something and just wanted to sound understanding and nice at first. Maybe she needed to know where Michael was again? “Okay, I guess.”

“Satara said you seem to be a bit restless. Something bothering you?” Tess studied the blonde woman in front of her. She was avoiding eye contact and she wondered if it was because of what had happened at the interrogation or not.

Great, Maria thought. “I tend to be when he’s gone for longer periods of time. I guess it’s the connection.” She stared at the surface of the water. “I try to keep myself busy to not think about it.”

“How’s that working for you?”

“It’s not,” she answered morosely. “The longer we’re separated the worse it gets. It doesn’t even matter how busy I am or what I’m doing.”

“That must be frustrating.” She stared at the castle. “Do you ever find comfort in the connection?”

Maria shrugged and stared at her hands where they rested in her lap. “It settles when we’re together.” That wasn’t what the Princess had meant, she knew that, but how much could she really trust her?

“After what you’ve been through I think it’d be normal to react strongly against men, but you’re not uncomfortable around him, are you?”

“Not as much I should be, no,” the human girl admitted. “It’s hard to explain. There’re moments like after the interrogation where I wanna be alone, but then there’s this other feeling when he’s around…”

Tess looked at her, waiting to see if she’d say more. She had no doubt her brother carried deep feelings for the woman in front of her, but it was still open as to where it would lead.

“The temptation to just give in to that pull is there, but no one can tell me where it’d lead and…” Gosh, it was embarrassing to talk to the Princess about it. “I know I’m not the one who should be at his side.”

“Maybe you are.”

“Why would you say that?” Maria turned to look at her. “You don’t believe it.”

“Maybe I do and maybe I don’t.” She shrugged one shoulder and sighed. “And maybe I’d like to believe it because none of us want to spend our lives with our intended spouses.”

“I don’t understand how a civilization as advanced as yours could even impose such a sanction on any of its people.”

Tess drew herself up to her full height as she tried to decide if the human woman was insulting her planet and its customs. “It assures the survival of our kingdom by bringing two powerful clans together.”

“It just seems selfish of your parents to expect you to carry such a burden. You’re Antarian, and maybe because they lack the emotional connections they don’t see it as a burden, but you’re also half human... and even though they’ve done their best to suppress that side of your genetic makeup, you can’t just turn them off.”

“No we can’t, but we can suppress it as much as possible.”

“Isn’t that exhausting?” Maria looked at her expectantly. “I can’t imagine playing a role my whole life.”

“You’d be surprised at the things you can do when you have to,” the Princess said and walked around the reflecting pool slowly. “We’re all a lot stronger than we think we are.” The human girl was too, she thought as she looked at her. She had seen things in the flashes – horrible things, but she had also felt the determined will to survive and fight back.

“Maybe that’s true for some people, but not all.”

“No, not all. But I know I am and I know you are.”

“Me?” Maria’s eyes widened. She didn’t feel like she was brave or strong at all.

Tess nodded. “And just because you doubt my brother – the Commander – can be a man meant to be with a human girl – you – that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”

“Why would you say that? You don’t even want me here.”

“He wants you here.”

Maria shook her head in denial. “The connection wants me here to serve some higher purpose. It has nothing to do with me.”

“If it had nothing to do with you why would it bother overriding what happened to you at Rath’s hands? Why not just make you do what it wants regardless of the way you feel?” It made so much sense and it only strengthened her growing belief that the connection was a sentient thing. “Very little is known about the true connection, but there is speculation that it is extremely powerful and lasts a lifetime.”

“Speculation proves nothing. True connection or connection of convenience...” she shook her head and rubbed her temples tiredly. She could feel a headache coming on and she wondered absently if it was just stress or if it was related to the distance between her and Michael.

“Are you scared that it could last forever?” the Princess asked. What if the human girl wasn’t as taken by it as her brother was?

“No,” Maria said quietly.

It was just the opposite, Tess realized as soon as the other woman had spoken. “He wouldn’t just send you away if it didn’t.”

“Maybe he wouldn’t, but what about your duty to marry the person you’re promised to? And what about the people who don’t want me here?” She looked at the Princess.

“You are safe here.”

As strange as it was, she didn’t doubt the woman’s words. “That still doesn’t settle anything. You’re set to marry someone else. All of you are!” She began to pace, waving her hands erratically. “They’ve already planned your lives for you.”

“Yes, they have. And you may be the answer to that problem.”

“I don’t understand.” She was taken aback. “Me?”

“There’s a reason you connected with my brother. He’s a powerful man and since the connection has seen fit to bring you together there must be some greater plan at work.”

“Yeah, it just wants us together to create some super baby!” Just saying the words made her feel like a fool.

“You don’t know that.” She shook her head. “None of us know why the connection established itself between you or how long it will last. It’s possible it’ll last a lifetime.”

“We’re going in circles.” Maria stopped and wrapped her arms around herself. “This whole what if and could be and maybe’s – it doesn’t get us anywhere.”

“And what’re you planning to do about it?” Tess challenged.

“Is there anything I could do about it? The only plan I have is to not give into it as long as everything is so uncertain.”

The Princess studied her carefully. It was easy to see that the human girl was on edge and unsatisfied with her position, but who among them could say they felt any different? They were all in situations that didn’t make them happy and there was little they could influence. “We’re working on finding out more.”

“Do you know anything about my mother?” Maria asked hopefully. Michael had avoided her after their talk a few days ago so things were still open.

“No,” Tess frowned, “should I?”

She sighed and looked away. “No, I guess not.”

“Is that something Michael was looking into for you?”

“I’ve been unable to contact her. He said he’d see what he could do.”

“But with his absence you still haven’t heard anything,” Tess guessed. She studied the human’s mannerisms; the way she stared into the reflecting pool, her face in constant motion as she tried to suppress her emotions, the way she wrung her fingers, and the way she held herself so taut. “You’re concerned that something’s happened to her.”

“Wouldn’t you be? Even if you remember so little from your time on Earth, you know what condition it’s in. You know how dangerous it’s become.”

She lifted her chin. “And why didn’t she accompany you when you came to Antar?”

“She wasn’t accepted.”

“You left her there though.” Again, she studied the human. “But it was not your choice.”

“I just wanna know if she’s alright,” Maria said quietly. “She’s the only relative left and I’d like for her to come here as well.”

“We’ll see what we can do,” the Princess told her and felt the sympathy for the human in front of her growing.

“Thanks.”

Tess nodded and looked around to see if anything was out of place. “The season will be changing soon. It’s getting hotter every day.”

“You have seasons?” Maria asked, surprised.

“Not like you know them from Earth. It’s more like a hot season and then a hotter season.”

“It’s weird that there’s no rain… no rain clouds.” It was still amazing how the water for plants only worked its way through the ground on Antar and she had no clue how that was even possible.

“Rain clouds?” The princess frowned.

“Yeah, don’t you remember them? They look like the clouds here, but sometimes they’re really, really dark, almost an odd shade of blue or grey and they bring thunder as well as lots of rain.”

She frowned but after a minute of thinking she finally nodded. “I had almost forgotten about them. We don’t have them here, but with the hotter seasons storms will come. They can happen from one minute to the next and are hard to predict, so watch out when you’re outside.” Tess gestured in the distance behind the protective walls of the castle. “If you notice a different color on the horizon then it’s most likely a storm which carries a lot of sand and other things.” She looked at the human girl seriously. “If you see something like that, you need to find shelter immediately.”

“I’ve heard about the storms. There were rumors in the camp I was assigned to, suggestions of a dangerous storm.”

“The super storm, yes. We’ve been preparing for it.”

“So it’s not just a rumor then.” She nodded when she saw the Princess shake her head. “They said this storm would be very destructive.”

“It only strikes once every few generations and it is highly destructive. It may only strike the outlying areas but if we do fall in its path the castle can withstand a direct hit. That was taken into consideration when it was being built.”

“What happens if the outlying areas are hit? Do the people there have shelter?”

“There are underground bunkers.” She looked up to study the sky for a few minutes. “Rain,” she murmured to herself. She couldn’t remember the way it felt or the way it smelled and somehow that made her sad.

“Are you planning to go back on Earth one day? You know, not to live there of course, but to have a look?”

Tess shifted her gaze towards the human. Zander didn’t want them to go – he had forbidden it as well as her own parents had in the past, but could they really stop them? “Right now, we can’t leave this planet. We’re at war and we’re needed here.”

Maria nodded. It wasn’t really an answer to her question, but she decided it was better not to push.

“Do you plan to go back?” the Princess asked.

“I always hoped that my mother would be able to pass another test one day and be accepted here,” she admitted. “She’s the only reason I’d go back.”

“You must be very close.”

“We are.” She sat on one of the benches that bordered the reflecting pool. “The decision to come to Antar was as difficult as it was easy.”

“Because you had to leave her behind.”

“You know the situation on Earth, how dangerous it is. There’s little chance that it’ll ever be what it once was. Before I left it was worsening. The climate is extremely unstable, people have become unpredictable, there’s little safety, and the criminals run the streets...” she fell silent for a few minutes.

“Antar’s not safe either. The war’s getting worse,” Tess said thoughtfully, “and we don’t know if it will ever end.”

“Seems like our civilizations aren’t as different as some think,” Maria snorted. “War on Earth has always been going on in one place or another. It seems like no one can ever be satisfied with the things they have.”

Would the ‘super baby’ really be the solution to their problems here, the Princess wondered as she stared at the human absentmindedly. They would only find out if it happened and yet they knew nothing of the truth to that rumor.

It seemed like the other woman didn’t have anything else to say, Maria thought when silence hung over them for a long time. “Do you know when they’ll be back?”

“No. They’ve gone to visit some of the troops and I’m certain they’ll use any excuse to take their time coming back.”

Her eyebrow lifted at the annoyance that underlined the woman’s voice. “Are you angry with your brother?”

“Not so much, no.” Tess plucked at the petals of a bright blue flower.

“Oh. The Captain?” she asked cautiously.

“Why do you think I was referring to me and not to you?” the Princess asked flippantly.

Maria made a face as she went back over the conversation in the last few minutes. “Are the two of you...” She cleared her throat. “Are you together?” What other reason than a lovers’ quarrel could explain the woman’s irate tone?

“Why would I be with a human?” she asked stubbornly and without thinking about it. She was still mad at his behaviour and the way he had left without so much as a word to her.

She shrugged. “You just seem awful annoyed with him.”

“He’s a man, so of course I’m annoyed with him.” Only after she had said it did she realize what a human thing it was to say something like that and she had to smirk.

“Yes, I can understand that.”

Tess glanced at the sky and realized it was time to meet her troops that had been out in the woods beyond the castle to make sure Khivar’s men hadn’t come any closer. “I will leave you to yourself again. Have a good day, Maria.”

She shook her head at the woman’s abrupt change of attitude. “Thanks. You too.” She watched the Princess leave and wondered if it was possible for the other woman to have a good day.

****

Liz inhaled deeply when she stepped out into daylight and a brief smile settled on her lips. After busy days in the cold, dark castle, it always felt good to go outside to catch the last hours of sunlight. The temperatures were always nice at these times and there were only a few people left around the courtyard.

“Finally done in the kitchen?”

She turned in surprise when someone spoke to her. “Nisha, hey. How were things out at the camp? I didn’t realize you were back yet.”

“I returned this morning. The trip was acceptable and I have a feeling the soldiers like the food you prepared for them even after we canned it.”

“That’s good,” Liz nodded and noticed her human friend and the reflecting pool not far from them, but she was about to leave. “Excuse me, we’ll catch up tomorrow,” she hurried to say and took a few steps forward. “Maria!”

The blonde girl turned and her face lit up when she saw the other girl. “Hey, Liz, I was hoping to meet you outside.”

“I just got off from work. Long day,” she said as she approached her and gave her a small hug. “I don’t want to hold you up though. It looked like you were leaving.”

“Oh, you’re not holding me up from anything.”

“Okay, let’s take a seat then, my feet are killing me.”

They walked the small distance towards a bench near the pool and sat down next to each other in a comfortable silence for a few minutes.

“So, what’ve you been up to lately, it’s been a few days since we seen each other,” Maria asked with interest.

“It’s been pretty hectic. Managing the kitchens here is a lot more work than what I did on Earth. But it’s a challenge I enjoy. What about you? Have you started working with the kids yet?”

“I did and they’re really great,” Maria smiled.

“Cool. And things with the Commander?” She studied the woman’s posture. “I haven’t seen him around recently.”

“He’s been away for a few days now.”

She nodded. “Is everything okay? You seem a little,” she shrugged, “distracted.”

“I’m okay,” Maria assured her. The other girl didn’t know about the connection and she wasn’t sure if she should tell her or not. “Haven’t slept a lot the last few nights.”

“Neither have I, but somehow I get the feeling my reasons are more pleasurable,” she said with a laugh.

“Have you met the King again?” the blonde asked, thankful that it seemed like she didn’t want to pry.

Liz leaned back and rested her weight on her palms as she looked up at the sky. “Um-hmm, and he’s very eager to get in touch with his human side. I swear, the more time we spend together I’ve noticed the formal way he speaks is relaxing. Every once in a while some Earth phrase or slang slips in and he gets the cutest look of confusion on his face when he realizes it.”

“A few days ago… I met him and he wanted to go on a trip with you, the Commander and me, but things changed. Did you two go?”

“Oh, we went,” she said with a smile. “But unfortunately he travels with a lot of freaking soldiers. The man probably can’t even go to the bathroom without a guard. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to do anything when you’ve got a bunch of soldiers standing around watching you while pretending not to watch you?”

Maria had to laugh. Liz was the only woman she knew who would just tell about stuff like that even though it involved a King. “So I guess that means you and the King… kissed?”

Liz just grinned. “Yep, and while he may be clumsy around me at times there’s nothing awkward about him when he kisses.”

“Wow,” the other girl mumbled and rested her back against the bench while she tried to work her way around the information. “And you’re not scared that this could cause problems?”
Image
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 33

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:59 pm

Part 33

“It could, I guess. I know he’s supposed to marry the Princess but it’s not his choice and it’s easy to see that just the thought of it weighs him down and makes him miserable. What could it hurt for the guy to relax a little and have some fun?” She sat up and turned to look at Maria fully. “He has all kinds of ideas about the way he wants things to be, so many positive things that would make life better for everyone.” Her expression darkened. “His parents have just made his life hell and everyone expects him to just follow some plan he has no say in. It’s so unfair!”

It was easy to see that Liz obviously wasn’t just seeing some hot guy in him, Maria thought. “I know, it’s ridiculous and I have no doubt the Princess doesn’t want to marry him any more than he wants to marry her.”

“There must be some way out of it. Can you imagine how horrible it would be to have to marry someone you don’t love?” She shuddered. “Someone you’re not even attracted to?”

“Yeah…” Maria agreed and her thoughts automatically switched to Rath for a second, but she shook the thoughts off.

“Are you okay?” she asked when she saw the shadows cross the other woman’s face. She placed a hesitant hand on her arm when she didn’t receive a response. “Maria?”

The other girl hung her head. It felt like she was living in a glass house where everyone could watch her, but she wasn’t able to get out and she was alone. Nobody except the royals knew about the connection and what went on and they were unable to give her any comfort.

“I know we just met recently so it’s not like we know each other really well yet, but I’m a good listener. I know I talk a lot but I really can just listen.”

Maria lifted her head slowly to look at the other girl. “I wasn’t so different from you when I got here,” she admitted and smiled shortly. “Well, I wouldn’t have gone after the King, but...”

Liz watched her for a moment, seeing a hint of the girl Maria had been. “Would you have gone after the Commander?”

She chuckled. “I might have thought he looked good, but I wouldn’t have made a move… ya know, because of the royal thing and all. Besides, I doubt he would’ve done so much as look at me twice.”

“I don’t know,” she mused, “he strikes me as a man who doesn’t miss much.”

“Maybe when it comes to war.”

“Well, I suppose even if he is Antar’s highest ranking Commander he is still a man.”

“Second time I’ve heard that said today,” Maria admitted with a smirk.

“It’s true though, isn’t it?” She laughed. “It doesn’t matter how smart, how hot, how powerful they are, what it all comes down to is they’re still men.”

“I guess they are.”

“And don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing.” She glanced back at the castle and smiled. “It’s a very good thing.”

“Probably,” Maria said quietly. “If you don’t get the real cruel bastards.”

Liz shifted and pulled her legs up in front of her. “That’s true,” she agreed quietly. “It’s gotta be hard to trust the good ones if you’ve had to deal with the bad ones.”

The other girl nodded mutely while she stared at the reflecting pool in front of them. “I was with one of them,” her voice was barely more than a whisper when she finally pushed herself to admit it.

“Not by choice though.” She shrugged one shoulder when Maria looked at her. “You said before that you’d been held in one of Khivar’s camps.”

“No, not by choice. Never that.”

“I’m sorry. Not like that does you any good though, does it?” She smiled. “I hope he gets what he deserves but more than that I hope you’ll find peace again.” Somehow she had a feeling the Commander would see that the guilty party paid dearly.

“Thanks,” Maria said. Liz had no clue what had happened while she had been held captive. Maybe she suspected something and maybe she didn’t. Or did maybe the King had told her about it?

She didn’t pry for details, knowing that whatever had happened was bad – she could guess and it probably wouldn’t be far from accurate. Women who became prisoners of any war were subjected to violations and brutalities that wouldn’t be much different on Antar than they had been on Earth. “It’s too bad they don’t have movies here,” she said, changing the subject to something lighter. “We could pig out on popcorn and chocolate while watching some movie that wasn’t worth the price of the ticket.”

“It would be nice to be able to do normal Earth stuff again. Movies, TV, music. I even miss rain.”

“Well, I don’t have the first two or the last, but I do have music.”

“Don’t listen to it too much then,” she advised. “Otherwise you’ll be sick of those same songs after hearing them over and over again there’s no way to get new ones.”

“That’s true.” She laughed and nodded. “Unfortunate, but true. I’ve been working on the menu for the upcoming holiday. Can you imagine how boring their holidays must be? I mean, no music? At a festival or holiday celebration?”

“I didn’t realize anything like that even existed here,” Maria frowned. “When is it?”

“It’s just a few days away. I’ve created a menu he’s happy with but I think I could’ve made the most boring things in the universe and he’d still sample them and be pleased.” It was an excuse to spend time together and they both knew it. He didn’t care anymore about the menu than he did about the holiday.

“Yeah, he might be satisfied with toast and peanut butter.”

Liz snorted. “Wonder if Antarians have ever had peanut butter? Can you see them all at some formal function eating peanut butter and trying to figure out why it was stuck to the roof of their mouths?”

Maria had to laugh at that thought. “Wouldn’t that be funny?”

“I’d love to see his mother suck on a mouthful of peanut butter.” She rolled her eyes. “What a bitch!”

“So he’s already introduced you to his family?” Her tone was teasing.

“Hell no!” She giggled. “I was hiding under the table.”

“Dear Lord.”

“He was trying to come up with a reason that explained us being together and I was like, no way! I went for the best hiding place I could find. And if Antarians knew anything about arousal he would’ve been so busted as soon as she got a look at him.”

“Oh my God,” Maria laughed harder now and held her stomach. “That is so wrong.”

Liz grinned unrepentantly. “Well, it’s true!”

“I think the King is in for some trouble with his kitchen stuff,” she bumped the other girl’s side slightly.

“He’s in for a LOT of trouble if I have anything to say about it. The poor guy carries the world on his shoulders and he deserves to have some fun.” She winked. “I know how to have fun.”

“I have no doubt,” Maria snorted. “Just be careful, Liz. There’re a lot of people who wouldn’t appreciate something like this.”

“I’ll be as careful as I can be.”

“Let me know when to get a dress for your coronation.”

“Yeah, right,” she chuckled. “I don’t have any illusions about where this’s going. Unless something drastic changes he’s trapped.”

What if she really was something like the key to that, Maria wondered. How much weight would that put on her shoulders and how dangerous could it actually get?

“I wouldn’t mind if it was something serious, but the reality of the situation’s a little hard to ignore.”

“No way around that,” her friend admitted. “He’s a very highly ranked man, hell he’s THE man in this country.”

“See? Hard to ignore. I mean, even if he was free to choose who he wanted to be with chances are slim that he’d be allowed to choose a human.”

“I know.” Maria stayed silent for a moment while a few thought ran through her mind. “Do you think he’d be as interested as he is right now if he was free to have anyone he wanted to?”

“I don’t know. I mean, on the one hand, no one’s taken the risk of pursuing him so there’s that to factor in. But on the other, he’s the King and free to choose any woman he wants if he just wanted to have a discreet fling. And the man has definitely NOT been taking advantage of that particular privilege, so... maybe he would be.”

“Good point.”

“I know he enjoys my company and he really talks to me so it’s not just a physical thing.”

“I’d like to know what they were like when they had lived on Earth, ya know?”

“That’d be interesting. They were teenagers when they were brought back to Antar, weren’t they?”

“I think so. It would be really interesting to know their human side better.”

“Yeah, I’ll bet they were so different on Earth.”

Maria’s thoughts shifted to Michael and she felt the connection grow heavy again as soon as his image crossed her mind. It was like someone reached straight into her chest and squeezed her heart. What would he have been like back on Earth, she wondered and rubbed the spot over her heart unconsciously.

“You’re thinking about him,” Liz teased lightly.

She blinked and looked at her with a wry smile. “That obvious, huh?”

“Just a little. Wanna share?”

“There’s not much to share. No kiss.” Okay, that was a lie because other than the no kiss thing there was A LOT to tell.

“He’s on your mind though. What’s he really like?”

Maria sighed. “If only I knew. I don’t really know who he is and what’s overshadowed by… other stuff.”

“Other stuff? What, like the war?”

“No,” she shook her head and glanced around. Satara was waiting a very safe distance away and there wasn’t anyone else around, so maybe it was okay if she told her about the connection? She desperately needed someone involved in this who wasn’t Michael or the Princess and who could really understand the emotional part of it. “Liz, I… there’s something, but I’m not sure if I should tell you or not.”

“I’m here,” she said simply.

“I know and it’s not like I don’t trust you,” she sighed and glanced at her lap. “The King knows as well and since you’re close I guess it’ll be okay if you know.”

She placed a hand on the other woman’s arm, squeezing it gently in a show of support. “If it helps, he takes confidences seriously. He’s never revealed anything about you to me.”

“I’m not surprised about that. The information isn’t allowed to spread and I guess he just wants to keep that shit from you,” she looked at the brunette. “Maybe it’s selfish of me to want to tell you. Maybe I should keep it to myself and not let you get involved in this mess as well.”

“Involve me,” Liz urged her. “Seriously, maybe it’ll help.”

Maria studied the other girl’s face for several long moments before she nodded. “I don’t know where to start so I’ll just hit you with the most important thing.” She glanced around again to make sure no one was close enough to hear her. “I’m connected to the Commander.”

“Connected?” Liz frowned as she mulled over the word and her eyes suddenly widened. Her voice dropped to a hushed whisper. “Wait, you mean like the big connection between royal couples?”

“Something like that, yeah.”

“But you’re not... He’s... I mean... Wow!” The possibility intrigued her. “That’s gotta be intense.”

“It pretty much does what it wants with me. I have no control over it.”

“Oh. Well... that doesn’t sound very pleasant. No control at all?”

“Not really. It hits me with emotions, pain… things that I can hardly pin down sometimes. It gives me flashes of weird stuff that I don’t know the meaning of.”

“Is there anything good about it?”

Maria leaned her side against the backrest of the bench and shrugged while a different kind of emotion swept through her. “Sometimes I think I can feel that he cares about me and sometimes it feels good to be around him, but… how real are those things, ya know? Would he care if we weren’t connected? Somehow I doubt it.”

“But you don’t know that for sure. I mean, what if he did? What if he is capable of that kinda bond without the connection? Okay, maybe not the weird feelings and flashes, but that bond between a man and a woman when it’s right. What’s he say about it?”

“He says it’s not all about the connection, but the truth is, he doesn’t know either. We connected the moment we met. It wasn’t like we got to know each other before.”

“So you think the connection just overrides everything else?” She shifted to get more comfortable. “What if this’s more than just a basic connection? Max has talked about having to connect with the Princess, having to force it to happen, but nothing he’s said has indicated the connection works by itself, which is what you’re saying it’s doing.”

“Obviously there’s a difference between the forced connection and the connection Michael and I share. We didn’t intend to connect, it just happened and I really wasn’t aware of it at first at all.” She swallowed hard. “They found me in of the enemy camps and I freaked out when I first saw him, believing he was Rath.”

“So the enemy Commander is the one who held you?” She had heard the man was identical to the King’s second and she could only imagine how traumatic it had to be to have such an intimate connection with the Commander after what she had been through.

“Yeah,” Maria admitted, and kneaded her hands together in a nervous manner. “Apparently I have some special gene defect which allows this special connection. Rath… he somehow knew about it and he tried to connect with me.”

“But what could he do with the connection?”

“They say it allows a couple to produce and raise a child with a lot of power,” she admitted and sobbed quietly as the fear of what was to come overrode everything else once again.

Liz wasn’t sure what to say to that so she just wrapped her arms around the other girl and hugged her. Surely the connection wouldn’t force them to... no, not after what Maria had obviously been through.

She held onto her newfound human friend tightly as she cried and felt a little bit of relief for the first time when someone was with her for support. “I don’t wanna be used for something like that.”

“No, I know you don’t.” There had to be some way around it.

“I’m sorry,” Maria breathed deeply when she was finally able to calm down again and she straightened her back.

“Don’t be sorry. Sometimes it helps to share your problems.”

“It does,” she agreed.

“You know what else helps?”

Maria snorted. “I have a feeling you’ll tell me and I’m not sure how much I’m gonna like it.”

Liz stuck her tongue out in response to the suspicious tone in Maria’s voice. “How long’s it been since you’ve had ice cream?”

“I don’t know. Years!”

“Well, it’s taken a few trials and errors, but I’ve finally succeeded in making some. I only have a couple of flavors right now but if you want we can go over to the kitchen and have some.”

“Okay,” Maria agreed. She was thankful for the distraction the other girl offered since she had no other plans for the rest of the day anyway.

She glanced over her shoulder. “Think your guard would like some?”

“We could ask her.”

“Let’s do that then. I have a new flavor that I’ve been working on, using the purple wild berries that’re grown here. She’ll probably like that one since it’s not as sweet as some of the other flavors.”

“Maybe you can throw in a few chiles,” Maria suggested and stood to walk over to Satara.

Liz laughed and got up to follow her, taking her time and giving Maria space to talk to the palace guard in private. She would keep the special stash of strawberry ice cream set aside for the King. She smiled to herself. Max had an affinity for the strawberries and there was no reason to deprive him of the treat.

“Liz had offered to serve some ice cream she made so we’re planning to go over to the kitchen. Would you care for some?”

Satara looked confused at the human’s words. “Ice cream?”

“It tastes really good. It’s cold and creamy.”

“Thank you, I am not hungry,” the soldier said politely, “but enjoy your meal.”

Maria opened her mouth to tell her that ice cream had nothing to do with being hungry or being a meal, but she was interrupted when someone bumped into her and clung to her leg. “Amela,” she smiled when she glanced down and met the sparkling, laughing eyes of the little girl.

“Ma...”

She crouched down to pick her up and smiled when she hugged her little arms around her neck. “You having fun?” Her gaze wandered to her caretaker who stood a few feet away from them.

“Now here’s someone who would really enjoy ice cream,” Liz said and smiled at the little girl.

“We can look after her for a while,” Maria told her caretaker. The woman glanced at Satara uncertainly, but relaxed when the guard nodded at her.

“Who is this little person?” Liz asked.

“She’s the Commander’s and Princess’ sister. Well, not by blood, but she’s the daughter of their Earth parents,” she explained while they walked through the courtyard. Amela rested her head against her chest and played with the top button on her shirt.

“Did something happen to their Earth parents?”

“They were killed.”

She nodded. “So now the Commander and his sister are raising her?”

“They took her in,” Maria agreed while her fingers went through the soft hair on the little girl’s head.

“She really likes you.” It was easy to see that the little girl trusted her, loved her even. “And the Commander must trust you to allow you to take care of her.”

“Ya know, I don’t think he has a choice but to trust me. We’re connected and he’d know if I had any evil plans.”
“Well, I suppose that’s a positive thing about the connection then. Because the same would go for him, right? If he had any evil plans you’d know too.”

“I suppose. No hiding on either side.”

“I can’t imagine how intense that must be.”

“For the most part it’s frustrating. He’s away so often and it always leaves me with an unsettled feeling that gets worse and worse the longer he’s gone.”

“Really?” Liz couldn’t help but have an interest. “Does he feel the same things? I mean, when you’re separated does it affect him the same way?”

“I don’t know. Probably not as much. He’s distracted on the field and he’s physically stronger.”

“Hmm, it must be so strange.” She shook her head and nodded at the sentries who opened the doors to the castle.

“No stranger than making out with the King,” Maria whispered when they slipped into the kitchen. She didn’t want to think about Michael right now because it was increasing the strange feeling inside of her.

Liz just grinned. “There’s nothing strange about that.”

“You’re the only one who would think that though.”

“Only because I’m the only one making out with him,” she answered.

Maria sat Amela on the counter and stood in front of her to make sure she wouldn’t fall. “I’ll admit he’s good looking.”

“Um-hmm, he is that.” Liz went into the large walk-in room that served as a freezer and selected a couple of flavors. “He’s also smart, sensitive, caring, and he’s sexy, let’s not forget that.” She leaned back on the door to close it. “Yeah, can’t forget that.” She set the containers on the counter, safely out of the little girl’s reach and went to find some bowls. “He listens to me, and you know how hard it is to find a guy who’ll really listen to anything you have to say outside of the word yes when they want something.”

“You don’t worry about a lot of things, do you?”

“Life’s too short to worry about much.” She shrugged. “What’s the point of stressing out and worrying about things you can’t control anyway? All you do is make yourself sick and old before your time.” Back on Earth all she had done was worry. She had an opportunity to really live now and that’s what she was going to do.

“So what would you do in my shoes then, huh?”

“What, with a connection to the Commander?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s an interesting question. I mean, the connection formed without your permission. With the King, the attraction’s mutual and it’s with our consent. You didn’t even have the chance to see if you liked him before you were connected.” She focused on putting ice cream in the bowls for a minute. “Based on his looks, the way he acts with his people,” she nodded at Amela, “this little one here, and the way he acts with you... if things had been different and you’d just met him under normal circumstances, would you have been interested in him?”

“Maybe with different circumstances and all,” Maria shrugged while she looked at the little girl in front of her. “He’s got the right looks and all, but we would’ve probably never had the chance to talk anyway. I don’t think he would’ve bothered to get to know me if I wasn’t ‘important’.”

Liz snorted. “Maybe he wouldn’t have given you the time of day under normal circumstances, but you think you would’ve been attracted to him, right?” She went on when Maria nodded. “Okay, so he’s giving you more than the time of day now. So I’d say if you feel like it... see where it goes.”

“And what if the connection disappears again and nothing remains?”
Image
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 34

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:59 pm

Part 34

“What if it disappears and the foundation you created by pursuing it leads to something even better?” she countered.

Maria looked at her and smirked. “Too many what if’s if ya ask me.”

“I think it’s worth the risk, but that’s the way I look at it.”

“Last time we saw each other I guess I wasn’t very nice to him, so maybe it’s the reason he went on that long trip. I don’t know.”

“Oh, don’t you hate it when they just go off and take their sweet time just to avoid an uncomfortable situation?”

“They aren’t that different from human men,” she agreed and smiled when Amela took her first bite of ice cream and made a stunned face when she realized it was cold. “But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I pretty much told him I wished we weren’t connected.”

“Ouch. I’m guessing that didn’t go over very well?”

“Haven’t heard or seen him since then. He left the next day and he didn’t bother to tell me.”

Liz laughed. “Isn’t that a man for you? Well, if he’s as connected to you as you are to him then telling him you wish you weren’t connected was probably a slap in the face. And you know they’d rather be pissed off than hurt.”

“She obviously likes your ice cream,” Maria said, amused when Amela reached for her hand to bring the spoon of ice cream to her mouth faster. “You’re right, he’s not someone who admits being hurt. I just hope he comes back soon.”

“I’m sure he will be.”

She rubbed the spot over her heart again without realizing it as she took a bite of the ice cream as well. Hopefully Liz was right because the last few nights had been restless and she had a feeling that sleep would stay out of reach tonight as well.

“It looks like the ice cream’s a hit,” Liz said and laughed when Amela made another grab for the spoon.

“You can never go wrong with that one and little kids.”

“Yeah, they love just about anything that’s sweet. I wonder if Antarian kids are like that?”

“They are,” Maria told her. “You should see them together… Humans or Antarian… when they’re little they’re so equal, ya know? I guess the differences only appear only later, depending on how and who raises them.”

“That’s sad.” She shook her head.

“Or maybe there’s hope.”

“I think there’s always hope, especially if people really want change and are willing to work for it.”

“Once you become Queen you’ll have the power to make some changes.”

Liz turned and looked at herself in the reflective surface of an appliance. “Queen, huh? I could probably get used to that.”

“Can you imagine the faces of the Antarians if something like that happened?” Maria snorted and made the little girl in front of her giggle at the sound.

“A hybrid and a human couple ruling Antar?” She laughed. “Yeah, I can just imagine the looks we’d get.”

“You wouldn’t think they’d be that surprised, right? I mean look at it… they look like humans, they CAN behave like humans… the only thing that separates us are the powers.”

“That and emotions.” Liz rolled her eyes. “I mean, can you just imagine the uproar if there was music and laughter at festivals and holiday celebrations?”

“True, but maybe they feel a lot more than they show.”

“I’m sure they do but it’s so ingrained in them to hide it.” She took a bite of ice cream, eating it slowly before using her spoon to point at Maria. “Did you know when they returned from Earth they were put through special training to subdue their human side?”

“I didn’t know that, but I figured they must’ve been brainwashed in some way because we don’t lose our memories of Earth just because we’re here.”

“When the Commander talks, is his speech very formal?”

“It depends on his mood. Sometimes he’s very closed off and then at other times there’s this whole difference.”

“When Max and I first started talking his speech was so formal and stilted it was just awkward. And his mannerisms are so awkward at times too. There are times when it’s almost painful to watch. He’s getting more sure of himself every day though and a lot of that’s beginning to fade into the background.”

“I’d say he has the best teacher in humanisms.”

“I do encourage him every chance I get,” she said with a grin.

They heard someone moving around in another room and stopped their talk for a moment. “Da?” Amela asked excitedly.

“I don’t think it’s Michael, little one,” Maria told her and a moment later it was proven when Nisha glanced in and told Liz she had been refilling some bottles.

“Does she think the Commander’s her father?”

“I don’t know. Maybe she does. It’d only be natural to refer to him as a dad, huh?”

“Yeah, she’s pretty young and if her parents have been gone for a while and he’s been with her it’s probably only natural that she’d see him in that capacity.”

“He’s protects her like a father, that’s for sure,” she mumbled while she looked at the girl dreamily.

“I can see that about him. You know, the first time I met him he came into the kitchens looking for someone to make a grilled cheese. At the time Max was trying to be covert about watching me and he wasn’t very good at it. The Commander busted him and he took off. The man came into the kitchen and informed me that he was borrowing me for a while.”

Maria rolled his eyes. “I guess with his job he’s used to giving orders without thinking anyone would disobey them.”

“Under normal circumstances I probably wouldn’t have found it amusing but he looked so confused when I repeated it back to him. Like he had no idea why anyone would question him when he said he was borrowing another living being.”

“He probably had no idea.” She hung her head and sighed. “He’s a klutz but I miss him. Damn connection.”

“No, I’m sure he doesn’t. I guess you’ll just have to teach him.” She went to get a damp cloth for Amela’s sticky hands. “It’s gonna get better, Maria.”

“Not until he returns.”

“What’re you gonna do when he gets back?”

“I don’t know. I guess we’ll have to talk because he’s avoiding me and obviously that’s not really helping my physical condition.”

“It may not be helping his either. I’m sure if he gets back and he’s in a mood Max will know about it right away,” she laughed. “Since they usually meet when he returns from the field.”

“Yeah,” Maria looked up at her and smiled weakly. “I’ll know when he’s back as well. It’s something he can’t hide from me.”

“That must be a little unsettling. I mean, sometimes you just want to keep things to yourself and it sounds like with this connection you can’t do that.”

“It’s not like you can read the other person’s mind, but you feel stuff and it changes from physical to more emotional depending on the distance.”

“Which one is stronger when you’re closer?”

“The emotional side,” Maria tapped her head.

“I wonder how much that would affect you if you were involved in a physical relationship. Not that you’re interested in that right now, but if you were.”

“I wondered about that too. We only have to touch briefly and flashes start most of the time. It’s weird and you ask yourself what would happen if we kissed or just snuggled.”

“Flashes, huh? What kinda things do you see? Are they personal or more general?”

“Personal,” Maria admitted and picked Amela up from the counter when she stretched out her arms for her. “Wanna grab the ice cream and go outside again? I think the little one needs some fresh air since she’s been inside all day.”

“Sure,” Liz agreed and collected the bowls and spoons. The fact that a human could get flashes from them was intriguing, but she wasn’t sure if the other girl really wanted to share those experiences. Obviously she didn’t find it amusing and considering what she’d been through it was really no wonder.

“They haven’t become too personal yet,” the blonde continued when they reached their original place by the pool again. She sat Amela down on the ground and turned to Liz again. “But each time they get a little clearer and more detailed. Not sure what’s coming next.

“What kinda things do you see? Do you think they could be premonitions?”

Maria shrugged. “I just call them flashes.” The word premonitions just suggested too much and she wasn’t ready to deal with that. “They’re pretty random for the most part.”

“I wonder what causes a connection like that to occur. I mean, it can’t be a random occurrence, not with the people involved. It has to be more involved than just a defective gene.”

“Well, it’s just me and the Commander, so it’s not like it’s occurring with any frequency.”

“Right, but the Commander of Antar? And it happened with you. Out of all the women he could’ve connected with, it happened with you, Maria.”

The blonde raised her hand, waving it in front of Liz’s face. “Defective gene here, remember?”

Liz snorted. “So you think if some other random person had the gene and he touched them first they would’ve connected? We don’t know what the defective gene is or how rare it is. For all we know, lots of humans could have it. So what if, I don’t know, what if his second in command had the gene?”

Maria laughed. “His second? The Captain?”

“Hey, we’re theorizing here, don’t knock it.”

“Well, if the theory about the super baby is right, then I doubt a gene defect in the Captain would mean anything for them, despite all the rules of nature being outta place.”

Liz snorted and then grinned. “Well, okay, that’s a good point, but I still think that what you share with him is special and even though it scares you, it could be something good.”

“Maybe,” Maria shrugged and caught Amela when she stumbled over her own feet. “It’s not all bad I guess. It helps me forget about what happened, so I guess that’s something to be thankful for.”

“It makes you forget about stuff?” the brunette asked, stunned.

“I should be scared of Michael, shouldn’t I? He looks like Rath, is similar to him in some ways.”

“You should be, yeah.”

“Well, I’m not. Maybe I was in our first moments together, but it faded quickly.” She looked out for Amela’s caretaker and waved her over, knowing it was almost time for her dinner. “We spent a night in the same bed and it didn’t bother me.”

“You wha-”

“Platonically,” Maria added quickly.

Liz was quiet while the caretaker collected Amela and spoke with Maria for a few moments before taking her leave. The little girl protested being taken away but her cries were gently hushed by the woman carrying her inside. “Not hard to see she likes you. But,” she said before the subject could be changed, “you were saying?”

“Nothing.”

She shook her head and snorted. “Something about platonically sharing a bed with the Commander...?” She nudged the blonde, her smile teasing. “C’mon, you know you wanna share. Who else can you tell?”

Maria smiled slightly and nodded. “I guess that’s true.”

“Is the big, bad Commander of Antar a snuggler?”

“I wouldn’t know about that,” she denied and blushed slightly. “We just spent the night in the same bed, Amela was lying in between us, and we weren’t touching at all – no snuggling.”

“Did you want to?”

Maria bit her lip while she tried to decide if she had wanted to or not. “I feel this pull towards him, not sure how to interpret or explain it.”

“Okay, let me ask a different way: If he had wanted to snuggle, would you have gone along with it?”

“Maybe,” her shoulders drooped, “I don’t know. With the connection it’s something very vague that can go from hot to cold in a heartbeat.”

“But you’re not totally disgusted at the thought of… I don’t know, hugging him? Or letting him hug you.”

“No, not disgusted,” Maria agreed. “As I said, I feel a pull. Like sometimes it isn’t possible to think rationally in his presence. Things just happen as if someone or something is pulling the strings.”

“Maybe this connection that you’re experiencing just heightens something that would be there given the chance,” Liz mused out loud.

She frowned. “Well, maybe that’d be the case if we’d ever seen each other and had a chance to decide for ourselves if we even liked each other.”

“Right, I can understand that. But what if it can determine that somehow?” She shrugged. “I mean, you hear about the connection but no one really seems to understand it.”

“Michael said the King’s Advisor is looking into it.” Maria tipped her head back to look up at the sky. “Have you ever met him?”

“The Advisor?” She shook her head. “Yeah, he met me when I arrived on Antar. Max thinks and speaks highly of him. His name’s Alex, he’s from Earth, and he seems to be the only friend Max really has.”

“That’s sad. It can be a lonely life without friends around.”

“It kinda seems like it’s that way for most of the Royal Four. He says his sister and the Princess are both pretty isolated that way too. The Commander apparently considers the Captain,” she rolled her eyes as she thought about the insufferable man, “a trusted friend. But beyond those two there doesn’t seem to be anyone else.”

“True,” Maria bit her lip as she thought about it. “Guess it’s no wonder, considering they were ripped out of their former life and just put here to fulfil their destiny.”

Liz made a face. “That’s a helluva thing to do to anyone.”

“Yeah, they didn’t seem to care about the effect it would have on their lives at all.”

“I guess that’s no surprise considering their parents are full-blooded Antarians.”

“They should’ve at least considered-”

“Miss Deluca.”

Maria turned in surprise when someone called her name. “Dr. Collon.”

“Hello,” he greeted with a nod. “I was wondering if I could speak to you for a moment.”

“Sure,” she agreed slowly.

Liz lifted an eyebrow when the man backed a few steps away. “I guess I should be getting back,” she said with a glance at the sky.

“Sorry. Maybe we can meet out here again tomorrow.”

“No, not at all. I’d enjoy hanging out after a busy day. Same time tomorrow?”

“Sounds good,” Maria agreed and returned her new friend’s hug. “See you soon.” She waited until Liz had left before she turned to the doctor again. “You wanna have a seat, Dr. Collon?”

“You have made a...” he searched for the appropriate word, “friend?” he asked as he took a seat.

“I did,” she nodded with a small smile. “Sometimes it’s easier when you have someone of your own race around, ya know?”

Dr. Collon nodded. “Of course.” He forced a smile. “You have started working at the school?”

“Yeah.” Why did she have a feeling this wasn’t just random small talk?

“That is good. I have been observing you since the Commander has been gone and the distance seems to be making you restless.”

“You’ve been… observing me?”

“Yes, at the Commander’s request I have been studying the connection, trying to understand how it works. I must confess I still have minimal understanding of it, but I have noticed that the longer he is gone you appear to be growing more restless.”

She looked down at her hands, feeling like a bird in a cage. “It’s true.”

“Can you describe what you feel?”

“Not really,” she admitted and looked at him with a helpless sigh. “I have this weird feeling in my chest, as if someone or something is tugging at me all the time. It’s not painful or anything, it’s just weird and it keeps me from sleeping.”

“You have been unable to sleep since the Commander returned to the field?”

“Not totally. It wasn’t a problem at first, but it’s gotten worse. Not sure if it’s because of the length of time he’s been gone or because I’m putting too much thinking into it.”

“Perhaps you would like me to prescribe something to help you sleep? If your lack of sleep is due to over thinking the situation that may be a solution. If it is the connection it is unlikely medication will be unhelpful.”

“I don’t know.” She hated to take meds as a rule.

“There are other options if you would prefer. Perhaps sleep therapy would be helpful.” He stared at the water for a moment. “I would like to do some tests if you are willing.”

“What kinda tests?”

“Basic tests to monitor your vital signs so that I can compare them to the tests I took last, when the Commander was near.”

“If you think it could help you learn more,” she shrugged.

“It may ease what you’re experiencing.”

“Okay,” she looked back at Satara and the castle behind her. “You wanna do that now?”

“If you feel up to it we can do this now. If you prefer to try to rest first, we can do it when you’re available tomorrow.”

“I’d rather get over with it immediately.”

“Very well.” He stood. “How has your appetite been?” he asked, his gaze moving over her with clinical detachment when she stood as well.

“It’s been better,” she said and wished she could hide from those looks. They weren’t wolfish, but it still felt awkward.

“I have made you uncomfortable,” he said as he observed her demeanor. “I apologize.” He motioned to the path before them. “Perhaps if we begin the tests immediately it will help ease your distress.”

Maria walked back into the castle wordlessly and felt a tiny bit of comfort from Satara when she looked at her with concern. “I will wait here,” the guard told her when they reached the doctor’s area.

“Okay, thanks,” she replied quietly and joined the man in the room she’d been in when she had arrived at the castle.

“This will not take very long and then you can return to your evening routine.”

“I’m not very busy in the evenings anyway, so don’t worry about it.” Mostly, she took dinner alone in her room, considering that the only company would be the Princess if she wasn’t eating with the King. And after that, she was alone in her room as well, reading most of time or staring out the windows.

“But now you have a friend, correct?” He moved to one of the cabinets and began to remove the things he needed.

“Yeah. She works in the kitchen for the King.” And she has a serious thing for the King as well, she added in her thoughts with a slight smirk. Liz really was something – the girl was full of life and despite what was going on around them, she seemed to be really happy here.

“It is good that you have someone who can distract you,” he said, his lips quirking in what served as a smile.

“Distraction helps,” she agreed.

He deftly took her vitals, notating everything on his tablet and then setting it aside. “Your numbers are a bit more erratic than normal,” he said after several minutes.

“Is that something we should worry about?” Maria asked uncertainly.

“I believe the numbers will stabilize when the Commander returns to the castle.” He removed a small packaged device. “I would like to have you wear this so that I can monitor your vitals remotely.”

She glanced at the thing for several seconds before she took it. “If you think it’s necessary.”

“I do not believe at this point you are in any danger even though your numbers are erratic. It will be helpful and easier to be able to monitor you throughout the day without having you brought to the office constantly.”

“Okay.” She glanced at the door. “Is that all?”

“Yes, if there is nothing you feel the need to discuss.” He had the information that was necessary so nothing else was required at the moment.

“No, I’m okay,” she told him and stood to leave. “Good evening, Dr. Collon.”

****

The camp was quiet as the Captain made his way past the tents that housed the soldiers who were off duty for the night. Even though it had been more than a week since he had been home he was still going over that last conversation between him and Tess. It wasn’t so much a conversation as an argument but there was little point dwelling on semantics. He didn’t understand why she’d felt the need to lie to him. And it was a lie no matter how she dressed it up.

During the day when he was engaged in his work it was given his full focus but in the evenings when darkness fell and he was left alone with his thoughts he had no choice but to go over it. As a rule he kept to himself because the more he thought about it the worse his mood got and there was no point subjecting anyone else to it. He caught sight of shadowed movement near the edge of camp and he changed directions.

He knew it was the Commander. The movements were too decisive to be anyone else. Michael had been keeping to himself in the evenings as well, prowling around the perimeter and occupied with his own thoughts. They had kept their thoughts to themselves, neither one engaging the other in conversation, but both respecting the other’s need to be left alone. Tonight though, he was annoyed. The day had been long and hot, the heat of the suns scorching in its intensity, and easily enough to screw with anyone’s mood.

“Commander,” he greeted as he approached the solitary man’s position.

Michael didn’t look at him, instead keeping his focus far out in the distance while he nodded in acknowledgement. “Captain.”

“The camp seems to be running efficiently. The men are in good spirits and it appears that they’re prepared in the event Khivar attacks.”

“Yeah,” he agreed thoughtfully. “Something’s going on though.”

Kyle tipped his head to one side as he found a tree to brace his shoulder on. “In the camp?”

“No,” the Commander denied and sighed deeply before he took his sword and drew some lines in the dirt in front of them. “It’s been too quiet,” he stated and made several circles. “We have troops all over the area, but have they had any encounters with the enemy?” He looked at the Captain and nodded when he shook his head no.

“Yeah, Khivar’s definitely up to something.” He rolled his tired shoulders. “We’ve received no word from any of our spies indicating an attack though.”

“I know.” His gaze swept back towards the woods lying in darkness before them. He wasn’t someone who normally relied on feelings, but something was out of place, he just couldn’t tell what it was.

“You’ve seemed a bit on edge the past few days. That just about Khivar and the lack of troop movement?”

“Why would there be anything else?” Michael glared at him, his tone defensive.

“Same reason I’ve been a little off the last few days.” He shrugged and stared at a point in the distance. “A woman.”

“You knew my sister wasn’t an easy person before you started something with her.”

Kyle snorted. “I wouldn’t have been attracted to her if she was.”

The Commander studied the landscape around them when he saw something moving in the distance. It was just a shadow and gone within seconds. Maybe he was starting to see things that weren’t there now. “The problem with women is when you get involved with them, life gets more complicated.” He turned to look at his second. “The reason why Antarians found a different way of handling relationships.”

“Different isn’t always necessarily better.” He rested the side of his head against the tree. “I can see the advantage of not having to deal with the insanity a woman naturally brings into a relationship but take that out and you also remove some of the fire.” He chuckled. “Don’t get me wrong here. I’d love for her to be rational about certain things but you take irrational outta the equation and what’re you left with?” He sighed and straightened when the shadows in the distance seemed to shift for a moment. “On the other hand, women could use a little more rationality because there’re times when all they do is drive you to the edge of madness.”

“Edge of madness,” the other man repeated slowly and tried to make sense to the words before he snorted. “True words, Captain.”

“Your sister’s a highly intelligent woman, capable on the field, deadly with a sword...” his back teeth ground together as he went over the last time he had talked to her. “But damn it, she’s also the most infuriating woman I’ve ever dealt with. Getting her to open up is like trying to pry the jaws of a pit bull open.”

The Commander was about to ask what the hell a pit bull was, but the words stuck in his throat when he saw someone standing in the distance. Far from anything to use as protection to hide and staring right in their direction.

“That’s not a shadow.”

He lifted one arm to stop the Captain when he was about to alarm the troops and he studied the outline of the person in the distance. Whoever it was began to walk slowly towards them without taking their eyes of them.

“Ava,” he muttered.
Image
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 35

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:00 pm

Part 35

“We’re in a perfect position to capture her right now, Commander.”

Michael didn’t take his eyes off of her as she neared them. Why was she exposing herself like this? Was it a trap? Or did she want to prove that she could be trusted? His eyes narrowed when she stopped about thirty sword lengths in front of them. Without thinking about it, he took a few steps towards her.

Ava watched him as he began to move closer. She was careful to keep his second in her sights, knowing at any moment she may have to defend herself against attack. For whatever reason the Commander hadn’t ordered his troops to move in to capture her but she couldn’t risk relaxing her guard around him. She could remember Zan’s conviction that defecting would open up a new world for them, that even if they couldn’t convince the Royal Four that they wanted to fight for the right side, they would at least be able to convince the royals to allow them to leave Antar without a price on their heads. “Commander.”

He greeted her with a silent nod, his face a stony mask that didn’t show so much as a hint of emotion in his features. “You are here alone,” he stated.

“There’s little point arriving with soldiers. You don’t trust me as it is and I won’t risk the lives of those loyal to Zan.”

“Why are you here?”

“You must have noticed by now there’s been no troop movement for a great distance beyond this camp.”

He didn’t deny it, nor did he say anything else as he waited for her to continue. There was a reason for her appearance and he was sure she would tell him what it was.

“For the past three sun cycles Rath has been amassing troops from three regions. Khivar’s scientists have been working to replicate Earth weapons and he’s altered transports, retrofit them to carry these weapons. They haven’t been able to give the weapons great distance yet but he plans to test their effectiveness at the zenith of the larger sun the day after tomorrow. With the sun’s position it will provide cover for the attack. Your soldiers won’t know it’s coming until it’s too late to stop it. While they’re disoriented by the attack from above the ground troops will storm the castle.”

An attack on the castle? His internal alarm was going off, but he tried to think about what she had said with a clear head. He didn’t doubt that Khivar had finally come to the point where he wanted to use weapons with more power than swords, even though the rules of war were strictly against it, but an attack on the castle seemed to be next to impossible. Not with such weapons, which he was sure his soldiers at home had long detected. “From what direction do they plan to attack?” he asked, letting her believe that he believed her.

She slowly drew her sword, fully aware that both men were watching her every move. She placed the tip of the blade on the ground, dragging it through the dirt and creating a rough map of the area surrounding the castle. “The attack by air will come as I said, using the zenith of the larger sun as cover. Upon deployment of the weapons the ground troops will move in from these three directions.” She tapped an area to the south of the castle on the map she had drawn. “The largest number of troops will come from this area. It’s the greatest weakness in your defense.”

“Where did they place the weapons?”

“For the initial attack the scientists have modified the transports to carry the weapons on the underside. As I said he has been unable to determine the best way to deploy the weapons from a distance.”

It would be one reason why his troops hadn’t detected anything yet, he thought. Those transports could bring the weapons into good position within minutes. “Where are the transports now?”

“The transports have been stationed nearly 50 unions from the city. Khivar has waited until he knew the Royal Four would be present.” She sheathed her sword when the Commander narrowed his eyes at her. “He was once a part of your people, he knows your customs... your holidays,” she said, her tone pointed.

The holiday, he thought. They would be an easy target from the air during the parade. The Royal Family and all of their people who lived in and around the castle would be in danger. “I want to know where exactly those weapons are located right now,” he growled at her.

“There’s a canyon on the other side of Oracle Peak in the mountainous range to the west. He has two of the modified transports there. You have no intel in that region. If you attack there he’ll know you were warned and there are very few who could warn you of this plan with the amount of information I’ve given you.”

“And your advice is?” He glared at her dangerously. “You come here to tell me about a plan and then you want me to stand back and watch my castle being attacked?”

“No, that’s not what I want at all. I came to you with the information so that you can stop the attack. They will begin deploying the transports an hour before the first sun reaches its zenith. Rath knows you’ve been heightening security around the castle and he expects to see troops increase because of the holiday celebration. They haven’t been able to increase fuel capacity of the transports to compensate for the added weight of the weapons. They will have to refuel approximately 15 unions from the city. To do that they will be forced to land and that is when you have the best opportunity to attack.”

He didn’t like the fact that her warnings seemed to be sincere and he also didn’t like that he had no clue if she could be trusted or not. Either way, this could get ugly. “Where will they refuel?”

“15 unions to the west of the city there is a low area in the fields. The location is hidden behind a thick grove of trees.”

The Captain stepped closer, his eyes focused on the enemy – or was she? – as she talked to the Commander. “Change of the guard in three minutes,” he warned quietly.

Ava watched the Commander as he nodded sharply in response to his second’s words. “I must leave now. I have no wish to be taken prisoner.”

“You think we care about the wishes of our enemies?” Michael asked, his tone challenging even as he gave her the slightest bit of a nod.

“I have no such belief. I only hope that one day you believe I am not your enemy,” she said as she began to back away to disappear into the shadows.

He stood straight and watched her leave before the guards could detect her. As soon as she was gone he heard the Captain’s steps behind him. “What did she want?”

“She warned us of an attack on the castle during our holiday celebration.”

“Do you believe her?”

“I want to believe our troops back home would have already found out about it, but she had some facts that could be true.”

“Should we leave tonight rather than wait until morning as we had planned?”

“No,” Michael decided after a minute of thinking. “If it’s a trap they would expect us to leave.” He looked in the direction Ava had disappeared. “If she was telling the truth we still have one day left. How long will it take for a scout to be sent out to the west side of Oracle Peak?”

“We have limited radio contact from this location but we’ll be in decent signal range at the rise of the second sun. Once radio contact is established it would take no time at all to dispatch a small unit to Oracle Peak. The question is: Do we risk dispatching a transport? It would get our unit in quicker but there’s the possibility of detection by enemy troops.”

“No transport,” the Commander shook his head. “We have a small number of troops on the east side of Oracle Peak. Find out if any mountain climbers are located there. I don’t want an attack on possible hidden enemy transports there; I just want a confirmation about them being there or not.”

“That’s a lot of activity for our men to be unaware of,” Kyle said, his tone skeptical.

“True, but it’s not impossible either. We don’t observe the west side of the mountains more than a few times a season.” He turned to look at his second. “If Ava can be trusted then Khivar is planning an attack by air. It wouldn’t take much activity to hide two transports to the west of Oracle Peak.”

Kyle nodded. “I’ll get word to our troops at Oracle Peak.”

“Dispatch a rider tonight to inform Tess as soon as he can raise them by radio. She should get her troops ready for a possible attack the day after tomorrow at the zenith of the larger sun.”

“You don’t want to go yourself?” Kyle frowned.

“You will go home in the morning.”

“You intend to intercept the transports,” Kyle said after a moment of silence. “And if it’s a trap?”

“Then at least I know you are at the castle to protect them,” he glanced at the Captain seriously.

“I don’t think you should do it alone.”

Michael had already expected the protest from his friend, but he shook his head and placed a hand on his shoulder. “I don’t want my sister to fight alone and I’ll be much more focused if I know you’re there to protect them. You know every inch of the castle as well as I do.”

The Captain nodded. “I won’t let them take her,” he promised, knowing Michael was worried about Maria.

He nodded. “She’s the only reason why they would risk an attack in our territory.”

“We knew it was only a matter of time.” He shook his head. ”We couldn’t hope to hide her for long.”

“No, but it increases the risk of future attacks. It’s not a good sign that he’s been working on creating Earth-based weapons.” He frowned. ”And it’s a very bad sign that we’ve had no indication of what’s he’s been doing. The war has been ongoing for years but such weapons of destruction go against the rules of war.”

“We could move her.”

“No. She’s safer at the castle than anywhere else. We just need to hold Khivar’s troops off long enough for me to destroy his weapons. Once they’re successfully disarmed his soldiers will fall back.”

“Then I guess I’d better get moving.”

The Commander nodded and watched the other man leave to fulfill his orders. He knew he could trust him unconditionally but even so he had an uneasy feeling in his chest. No matter what Maria had said about the connection and how she felt about it, he couldn’t let anything happen to her. Not for the sake of the kingdom, but because he had promised her she would be safe with him.

Turning, he stared into the distance, his eyes tracking the path their potential new ally had taken. The things she had said weren’t yet proven and they could turn out to be false, or worse, a trap, but his instincts told him he could trust her. It had to be enough this time.

****

Tess brought her sword down with force, the curved scimitar blade clashing heavily against the blade her opponent wielded. Soldiers surrounded them on all sides, observing the training session and making wagers on the outcome. As one of the Royal Four it was expected that she would be treated accordingly but she had earned the respect of the soldiers she commanded. She had never been the type of person who expected to be treated well simply because of her status; she had worked hard, trained hard, to become the best soldier she could be.

Her father hadn’t believed they would be accepted for no other reason than the royal blood that ran through their veins. When she and Michael had been retrieved from Earth they had gone through training to subdue what their parents felt was their weaker side. Once it was felt that their human sides had been sufficiently subdued they had begun to train side by side with the best Antarian soldiers in the King’s army.

Garrick had taken their father’s orders to train them to heart. The man had been merciless, pushing them to the breaking point and forging them into strong soldiers. They were feared by the enemy, respected by their soldiers, but in many ways they were still outsiders among their people. But here, surrounded by men she had fought side by side with, many of whom she had trained herself, there was acceptance.

“Corporal, a rider approaches.”

The soldier she was sparring with took a step back and lowered his sword, bowing his head slightly in acknowledgement when she saluted with her own sword. She turned and reached up to shade eyes that watered in response to the heat rising from the ground and turning the rider into a shimmery vision.

“Have we received any communications indicating a visitor?”

“No, Corporal,” Hataak responded as he moved to stand at her right shoulder. ”The atmospheric disturbance from the recent storm is still interfering with radio communications.”

“Must be why they’ve dispatched a rider,” she mused when the uniform and riding equipment identified the rider as one of their soldiers.

Kaator sprung from the high animal before it had even stopped, his heavy body balanced well on his wide-spread feet when they hit the ground. They had tried all night to contact the castle by radio, but when they hadn’t had any success reaching them, he had been sent out with an important message to deliver. “Princess,” he greeted, a little breathless after a night of riding.

Tess nodded and gave him the time to catch his breath even though she wanted to know what was going on.

“I am here at the Commander’s orders to bring a message to you by word only.”

“Speak.”

The man straightened and went over the words, speaking them as they had been told to him. “Possible air and ground attack on the castle tomorrow at the zenith of the second sun with new Earth related weapons. Hold all available troops on both sides of the walls, with a double count of soldiers to the west. Cancel the holiday parade.”

She frowned at the man’s words. An attack on the castle? “Where’s the Commander?”

“I have no knowledge of his whereabouts, Princess.”

“And the Captain?”

“Returning to the castle as we speak. He will arrive this afternoon.”

Tess knew she had to wait for Kyle to get more answers because Kaator would have only been given the most important news to deliver.

“Anything else?”

“That’s all, Princess,” he bowed slightly.

She nodded. “You’re dismissed.” When the man obeyed and turned to take care of his horse, she glanced back at the castle. They had expected Michael and Kyle both to be back today to prepare for the ceremonies. If her brother wasn’t coming, then she had to inform Doctor Collon.

****

Dr. Collon frowned at the results from his human patient’s tests early that morning. He ran the tip of one blue finger across the screen, dragging the results from the night before next to those taken several days earlier. He had become concerned after pulling up her stats upon arriving at his office and seeing that the readings from her monitor indicated she was weakening.

He was comparing the numbers when someone knocked sharply on the door and he secured the data before moving to see who his visitor was. He pulled the door open and his white eyebrows lifted at the Corporal’s presence. She was flanked by two of her soldiers and he stepped back to grant her entrance.

Tess nodded at the soldiers and they saluted before turning sharply to stand guard on either side of the door. She entered the doctor’s office and closed the door behind her and she was aware of his questioning gaze as he watched her.

“Is there a problem, Corporal?” he asked after several minutes.

“You tell me, Doctor,” she answered seriously. “How are your results concerning our guest’s health?” The human had been more and more restless the last few days and after another talk with her she had found out about the monitor she carried around with her to record her vital signs.

He tried to hide his surprise that she knew about the monitoring of Maria’s signs. “I have to admit I am a bit worried about her condition.” He turned to pull the data up again and glanced over the information comparing every day he had monitored so far. “She’s getting weaker. And the process seems to quicken with each passing day.”

Tess sighed and rubbed her forehead. “How long do you think she can hold up before it becomes serious?”

“That is hard to say, Corporal. Our experience with something like this is very limited, but I am positive that her signs will improve as soon as the Commander is back. Maybe a few minutes or hours of touching – “

“My brother won’t be back as soon as was planned,” she interrupted him.

Dr. Collon frowned at the information. “Do we know when he will be back?”

Tess didn’t get the chance to reply before there was another loud and somewhat hurried knock on the door. She waited as the doctor went to open it, but stood abruptly when she saw Satara in the doorway, holding the slumped body of the human woman next to her protectively.

“What happened?” She demanded an answer from the guard and went to support Maria’s other side as they moved her into the room and onto the bed at the other end.

“She collapsed while teaching the children,” Satara explained. “She has appeared to be weakening progressively but insisted she was well enough to attend morning classes. I believed her condition to be deteriorating but acceptably stable.”

“She’s very persuasive, is she not, Satara?”

The guard looked at the doctor, one eyebrow lifting in surprise when he glanced at her long enough for her to notice the slight quirk to his lips. “Doctor?”

“Maria,” he said patiently, “her ability to persuade is quite impressive.” He leaned in close to the woman they were discussing and began to take her vitals.

“Dr. Collon,” Tess said, her tone insistent.

“Her condition is not yet critical.” He reached for a biometric scanner and began slowly moving it over her body. “She does show marked decreases in several key areas though.” His brow furrowed. “I would like to keep her here for observation.”

“No...”

Their gazes all moved to the woman on the bed when she moaned quietly in protest.

“Maria, if Dr. Collon thinks it’s better for you to stay here, then...”

“I need to talk to you,” the human said weakly.

The doctor glanced at the Princess before turning his gaze back to his patient. “Do you wish to speak privately?”

She nodded quietly.

“Very well.” He looked at the guard. “Perhaps it would be best if we wait outside to allow them to speak privately.”

Tess waited until everyone was outside before she turned to the human on the bed curiously. “What do you have to say?” With the newest information, she didn’t have any time to lose, so hopefully this was important.

“They plan an attack on the castle,” the woman replied fearfully.

She frowned. What did Maria know of the impending attack? “What do you know of an attack?”

“I’m not really sure,” she held her head when it hurt. Earlier that morning she had tried to somehow connect to Michael, hoping there would be a way to let him know she was starting to feel really weird and she wanted him to come home, but instead she had seen strange flashes. “I saw things.”

“You saw things,” she said slowly. “How?”

“I’ve tried to talk to Michael… ya know, through the connection somehow,” she admitted, and now that it had been said out loud it sounded like a totally stupid idea.

“Were you able to establish a connection?”

“I saw things, I don’t know if they’re real or not.”

“What did you see?”

Maria leaned her back against the wall behind the bed and frowned while she tried to remember. “I first thought it was you, but now I think it was Ava. She was talking to Michael and…”

Tess tensed at the human’s words. “He was talking to Ava. You’re sure it was her?” Were they preparing for a surprise attack on the word of her dupe?

“I’m not really sure of anything, but I believe it was her.”

She paced around the room as she thought about this information. “You said she was talking to Michael. Were you able to discern any of the conversation?”

“I think she warned him of an attack of the castle.”

“Did you get a sense of truth from her? A sense that he believed what she said?” She already knew the answer. He did believe her traitorous dupe, she knew that from previous conversations with him. And she knew from his willingness to order troops to be positioned on the other woman’s word he had to believe she was being truthful with him.

“I think he believed her,” Maria admitted and looked at the Princess. “They’re planning an attack because of me, aren’t they?”

Tess nodded. “It’s not the only reason though.”

“Will Michael come home?”

“In time.” She still didn’t have all of the information so she didn’t know where Michael was or what was keeping him from returning. She only knew it had to be important if there was a battle coming to their doorstep and he wasn’t coming home to be there to greet it.

It wasn’t the answer she wanted to hear. Where was he? Why did he stay away from her so long? Didn’t he feel the same way she did?

“Satara said you collapsed.” She wondered if it was in response to the attempt to connect over the distance or if it was further proof of the intensity of the connection. “Do you feel stronger now?”

“No, I don’t,” Maria answered honestly. It had only been a restless feeling first, but it became more intense with each passing day. She hadn’t been able to sleep for a few nights now and it was hard to eat anything at all.

Tess frowned at that. “Perhaps you should remain in the doctor’s care until Michael returns.”

“I don’t wanna be here alone.” The rooms of the medical center were at the outer edges of the castle. Maybe it was irrational, but she didn’t want to be there when they attacked.

“I’ve already ordered a unit of soldiers to see to your protection.” Rather than ease the human’s mind this only seemed to increase her agitation. “You have become friendly with the King’s new kitchen staff. I am having you moved to the safest part of the castle. I’ll have her summoned to keep you company.”

“I don’t want her summoned,” Maria said stubbornly. “I’ll be happy to see her but only of her own free will, not because you tell her.”

The Corporal huffed impatiently. “Call it what you will. I will send a guard to inquire as to her willingness to accompany you.”

“Okay.” She didn’t want to get into an argument with the Princess because it seemed way too exhausting at the moment.

“I will send Dr. Collon back in and see to it that the kitchen staff is requested.” She left the woman and walked out into the corridor where the others waited. She spoke with one of the sentries and sent him to collect the woman from the King’s kitchen. “Doctor, how serious is her condition?”

“It is really hard to say, Corporal. It seems like her weakness is increasing much faster and if it continues, if we don’t find a way to stop it, it will become serious very soon.”

“And you know of no way to stop it with the exception of the Commander’s return.”

“I’ve tried to give her several medicines we use for our soldiers, but nothing is allowing her vital signs to normalize. Not for very long anyway.”

“You’ll remain with her until the Commander returns. She’s going to be housed in the underground bunker with a protective detail until the threat of attack is gone.”

He frowned. “An attack?”

“It would seem that Khivar is planning an attack on the castle.”

“I will do my best to stabilize her,” he nodded. They all feared an attack on the castle, but until now they had always been kind of a myth.

“They won’t pass the walls of the castle,” Tess swore. Protecting the woman her brother was connected to was important – who knew what could happen to him if she was injured or worse? “Moving her is precautionary, but better to move her now before it becomes too dangerous to move her.”
Image
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 36

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:01 pm

Part 36

“You all know the emergency plans and I appeal to you to act responsibly and follow protocol the way it was described in your training.” Max glanced into the shocked and scared faces of the departments heads around the castle. As soon as the Princess had informed him of the newest events, ceremonies for the next day’s holiday had been postponed and he had called for a meeting with his department leaders.

As the head of the kitchen staff Liz was present and it was hard to concentrate, but this was serious. “No one will be left behind in case of an attack,” he looked especially at the men in the room.

“Where’s the Commander?” someone asked.

“That’s true,” another said, “he hasn’t been here for several days. Has something happened to him?”

Murmurs could be heard through the room while the guessing went on. “Nothing has happened to him,” Max said sternly, before they call the man dead already. “We expect Captain Valenti back this afternoon to give us more information about the Commander’s plan.”

“Should we really trust a human?” Baltharor, a full-blooded Antarian, asked.

Liz snorted and glared at him. “Do you really want to get into that now?”

The man brought his icy glare to her. “I do not trust you emotion ridden creatures.”

“Khivar’s Antarian and yet he’s the one who’s attacked us, goofball!” She almost had to laugh when his expression was totally confused because he had no clue what a goofball was.

“That’s enough,” the King interrupted sternly. “I have no doubts about the Captain’s loyalty and the same counts for your Commander.” He nodded towards the door and two sentries opened them so everyone could leave. “You all know what needs to be done.”

As the department heads began to filter out a sentry stepped inside. “Your Highness,” he greeted with a deep bow. “The Corporal has requested the presence of the human,” he said with a nod at Liz. “I am to deliver her to one of the underground bunkers as companion to the Commander’s guest.” His eyes never moved from his King. “With your permission and her consent.”

Max frowned. Why would Tess request Liz at this time of day? “Tell the Corporal I have received the message and I will speak to our guest in person to look into that matter.”

The sentry nodded uncertainly. “I am under orders not to return without the human, Highness.”

Of course she would send him without any other way out, he thought and ground his teeth together. “Wait outside. Ms. Parker and I will join you in a few moments.”

The man’s fisted hand thumped against his chest and he bowed before turning sharply and taking his leave.

“What’s going on?” Liz asked as soon as they were left alone in the room. “Is something wrong with Maria?”

“The Princess had her taken to a safer place within the castle. Only a few people know about the bunkers below the castle.”

“Has something happened to her?”

“She hasn’t been feeling well these last days,” he said and glanced at her intensely. “But you know that, don’t you?”

“I know she hasn’t been feeling well.” She tipped her head slightly as she studied him, trying to decipher his tone. “Does it bother you that we’ve been spending time together?”

“No, not at all.” He took a few steps towards her as their eyes locked. “How much did she tell you?”

“She’s shared the truth,” she said simply.

“The truth,” he said slowly. “Explain more.”

“The same truth you’ve been told about her situation.” She paused and lowered her voice, conscious of the sentries waiting to escort him when he left. “The truth about the Commander.”

He nodded and stared down at her. “We must be careful with that information, Liz.”

“I’m aware of that, Max. I’ve told no one what Maria’s shared with me.” She met his gaze evenly. “I wouldn’t do anything to put her in danger.”

“This could not only put her, but all of us in danger.” His gaze travelled over her pretty face and lingered on her lips a few moments longer.

“And as I said, I’m aware of that. You may think because I ignore the line that dictates we shouldn’t be together that I’m willing to take risks, and to a degree you’d be correct. But you’re a willing participant in the game we’re playing. We’re adults and we know the stakes so any consequences are on us. The situation with Maria though, that’s a different story. The consequences of me taking a risk with that information would put everyone in danger. That’s one risk I won’t take.”

“Okay,” he leaned in closer. “We have a lot going on and I want you to be safe so make sure you have the emergency plan in your head.” His lips touched her ear while he spoke and he could feel the slight shiver sweeping through her body. “When the attack happens it will be too late to find the right corridors.”

“Don’t worry so much, Max. I memorized that plan the first time it was given to me. I like a little risk and I enjoy a little danger, but not so much that I’d throw myself in front of a bus.” She smiled and she shifted to hide her movements as she let her fingertip graze along his length. “Besides, we have some unfinished business, Your Highness,” she whispered with a teasing smile.

He coughed and backed off enough to stop her movements. “You are a bad girl, Liz Parker,” he said with a slight smirk. “Let’s go and have a look at Ms. DeLuca.”

“You only have yourself to blame,” she grinned.

The woman would be his end, he thought, but excitement rushed through his veins. She was the only thing that made him feel alive in his otherwise numb life. What would happen when he had to marry the Princess?

****

The high gates at the entrance to the castle were pushed open by two heavily muscled sentries and a soldier came forward to greet the rider quickly approaching. He reached up to grab onto the cheek strap of the large horse that pounded through the entry, ignoring the animal’s heated breath as it washed over him. He saluted the Captain as he dismounted, accepting the reins and standing back to await his orders.

Kyle looked around, his gaze taking in the increased presence of their soldiers. “Have there been any signs of movement by enemy troops?”

“Word came a short while ago that movement has been sighted near the edge of the woods to the southwest, but nothing significant.”

“Probably a decoy,” he muttered. “Where’s the Corporal?”

“She’s with the King and the Advisor in the war room.”

He nodded and without another word strode off in the direction of the castle. It only took a few minutes for him to reach the war room and he was granted entrance immediately. He searched his lover’s features for a moment before he spoke. “What’s our status?”

“Everything is quiet so far, they’re probably hiding in the woods. We have three regiments at the castle right now. Kator and Hakan’s regiments are nearby, awaiting instructions.” With a quick glance she checked his body over for any sign of injury and she was pleased when she couldn’t detect anything.

Max looked up from studying the map and he quickly covered his surprise when he saw the look that passed between his intended bride and the Captain. How long had that been going on? he wondered. He shook the thoughts off, knowing that was the least of his concerns at the moment. “Where’s the Commander?”

The Captain walked further into the room and pointed at an area on the map. “He took a few of our best men and is planning to infiltrate the enemy’s plan in the morning when they stop in this section to refuel.”

“It’s true then,” Alex mused. “They’ve begun building weapons of mass destruction.” He shook his head. How long had they really thought Khivar would abide by the rules of war?

Kyle nodded. “We sent a scout out last night to Oracle Peak. He confirmed enemy activity to the west but he couldn’t get near enough to gather exact information.”

“There wouldn’t be enough cover at that elevation,” Tess agreed. “Do we know how large an army he’s sending?”

“Unfortunately we don’t have exact information about that either, but if he’s really planning to attack the castle, there’ll be more than enough.”

Tess nodded and leaned forward to run her finger along an area several unions from the castle. “I’ve ordered several battalions to hold this line. If we can turn Khivar’s army back at this point our defense will be more than effective. Letting his soldiers get past this line is unacceptable.”

The Captain nodded. “But if his transports make it back in the air before the Commander’s able to prevent it, this line can’t be held. We need more soldiers at the castle.”

“I have increased the number of soldiers inside the castle walls as well as outside. Khivar’s forces will NOT breach our walls.”

“We don’t know what kind of weapons he’s using, the damage from an air attack could be extensive.” Kyle glanced at the King. “Of course our first goal is to prevent this from happening, but everyone in the castle should be informed about the possible attack and the shelters they need to go to.”

“All department heads have been informed and they have training for these situations. They know where to take their workers and those who are new have been assigned soldiers to handle things.” Max crossed his arms over his chest as he studied the movement of his soldiers on the biometric map. “Our parents will have to be moved to the alternate location.”

“You and Isabel should be moved with them,” Kyle said as he rubbed his face tiredly.

“My sister should be moved, yes.” Max shook his head. “I’ll remain here.”

Tess stared at him for a moment, surprised when he stood his ground, his words and stance decisive. “Your safety is possibly more important than that of any other person within these walls. With the exception of the human we’ve been harboring.”

“No. Your job is to defend this castle and its inhabitants. You’ve never failed the throne or our people. I don’t expect you’ll do so now.”

“Where’s Ms. DeLuca?” the Captain wanted to know.

“She’s been moved to the underground bunker. Her personal guard was sent with her as well as two units of soldiers.”

“Good,” he nodded.

“We’ve detected very little movement so far.” She shifted to draw attention to another area. “Troop movement here, but it’s been minimal. I believe they’ve instructed smaller units to act as decoys in an effort to draw our attention away from their main goal.”

“He withdrew all troops from Sun Valley and Sarida Place, where the Commander and I have been the last few days. They have to be somewhere.” Kyle glanced at the map while he thought hard about possible hideouts. “Maybe here,” he gestured along a line of naturally small, but deep valleys.

Tess smiled slowly. “If he’s placed his men in the Sonoron Hills he’s a bigger fool than I already think he is.” She tapped the map and it leapt to life, the image rising from the flat panel and appearing before them as a 3-D image. “If he’s made that mistake we could surround them without expending a large number of soldiers.”

“It is a possibility, but there are other hideouts.”

“We can dispatch several units with scouts to determine if the Hills have been occupied by Khivar’s troops,” Alex said.

She nodded. “Yes, we’ll do that.”

He nodded at the Corporal and then glanced at the Captain. “If you suspect other areas we may be able to deploy smaller units with scouts to make the same determinations. I know time is of the essence but if we can say for certain where we need to focus our attacks it would be worth the time spent.”

“It’s like finding a needle in a haystack,” he muttered and glanced back at the map to stare at it for several long minutes. “Here, here and here,” he marked a few places and then stepped away in the direction of the door. “Let’s hope the Commander is able to destroy their weapons before they reach us.”

Max nodded at Alex when the Advisor looked at him for approval.

“I’ll dispatch the units and scouts immediately,” he said and took his leave.

“You believe if the Commander is successful then Khivar’s troops will fall back,” he guessed.

“They know they don’t have a chance if those weapons don’t tear a hole in our defensive wall.”

“How many soldiers did the Commander take with him?”

“Ten.”

Max’ brow furrowed into a frown. “Ten? Against a weapon of mass destruction?” He wasn’t a soldier and he hadn’t been trained to think like one. “Is that enough?”

“They have to refuel on open land, Your Highness. There will be nothing to hide an entire troop. It’s the only way to sneak up on them and manipulate their weapons before they take off again.”

“Open land,” he mused quietly. “He’ll have no way to shield himself from their view then.”

“Well, he has an advantage.”

His right eyebrow lifted and he made a ‘continue’ motion with his right hand.

“He looks like one of them.”

“He looks...” he frowned. “The Commander doesn’t appear Antarian.”

“He’s going to pretend to be Rath,” Tess stated and looked at Kyle. “How do we know he’s not there as well?”

“It’s a gamble,” he admitted. “We don’t know he isn’t there, not for certain. But Rath has no understanding of this type of technology. He’s a soldier and he enjoys taking his enemy down one on one. Relying on machinery won’t satisfy the bloodlust. We’re relying heavily on that part of his character.”

“He’s putting himself in massive danger,” she shook her head. It was typical of him to do that, but she knew that no one could change her brother’s mind once he had made it up.

“The Commander knows how to read these situations,” Max said, easily seeing her worry for her brother beneath the surface.

“He should be more reasonable,” she disagreed. “What we’ve learned about the connection he shares with the human is important. He shouldn’t risk his life like this.”

He snorted lightly. “Since when have the Commander and reasonable ever gone together?”

Everyone in the room chuckled quietly before the mood turned serious again. “Is there a way to contact him?” Tess looked at Kyle hopefully.

He shook his head. “The atmospheric storms have made communications unreliable at best, even when the distance isn’t great.”

“We need to send someone out.”

“Corporal,” Kyle said, “you know he won’t give up on that plan even if you – “

“Maria’s sick,” she interrupted him with a pointed look. “He needs to know that his first act after destroying those transports is to come back here.”

“What do you mean she’s sick?” He shook his head. “She was fine when we left.”

“She’s getting weaker every day. The doctor thinks it’s because of the length and distance of their separation.”

“He’s certain that’s what’s causing it? Is the connection supposed to work like that?”

“We have no clue how it’s supposed to work. Has Michael felt different lately?”

“He’s been restless and edgier than normal. He hides it well, disguises it by patrolling the perimeter and keeping his own company, but to anyone who knows him it’s visible.”

“It started like that with her as well,” Tess bit her lip while she thought about it. “His body is probably a lot stronger than hers considering half of his genetic makeup is alien.”

He nodded. “I haven’t witnessed anything that would suggest he’s growing weaker.”

“We will send someone out to let him know about the human woman’s condition,” Max said. “We don’t know what will happen to her if he stays away for too long.”

“You could jeopardize the mission if you risk sending someone out now,” Kyle insisted.

“That’s right. We will wait until he’s finished his duty there.”

“We can deploy air transport to bring him in once the mission’s accomplished.”

****

Michael stared at the modified transport as it landed in the clearing and as the dust settled around it the rear hatch opened and troops began to disembark to take up positions around it. It was a large transport and it was unlikely that the soldiers onboard were aware of anything beyond their orders to protect the ship and cargo at all costs. Khivar was notorious for only allowing those who required information to be in the loop. He wouldn’t consider foot soldiers when revealing any information relevant to the mission.

“It is as you said, Commander.”

He turned his head to look at the man beside him. Tegran was an Antarian but he was a shape-shifter and a valuable asset to the unit. They had overtaken the ground transport when they had arrived at the clearing, overpowering the few soldiers tasked with refueling the transport carrying Khivar’s weapon. Tegran had quickly assumed the identity of the highest ranking officer on the transport and he looked every bit like an enemy soldier.

The Commander had altered his own appearance and as he stepped off of the ground transport the soldiers around the modified transport immediately snapped to attention. He stalked over to them, his cold gaze seeking out the soldier in charge and quickly identifying him. “You’re late,” he bit out.

“There was a problem with the instruments and – “ His head snapped back when the Commander struck him and in spite of his anger at the treatment he straightened up and stood ramrod straight while he waited for what would come next. Everyone knew Rath could and would take the life of one of his own men on a whim and there was no way of predicting his behavior.

Michael turned to look at Tegran. “Zedan, begin refueling.”

Tegran saluted and quickly moved to begin the process.

His gaze raked over the soldier he had just struck. “Report,” he snapped.

The man quickly began to rattle off his orders, the status of the shipment, the number of soldiers assigned to the transport, and the equipment he was charged with. When he was finished he stood at attention and awaited his orders.

Michael narrowed his eyes as he stared at the man, feeling a sense of achievement when he noticed the sweat trickling along the blue skin of the man’s neck. “Send your men to scout the surrounding area.”

“But sir – “

“Do you want to explain to Khivar if this transport is attacked?” He nodded. “Send the men out to scout for the King’s soldiers. Leave two to aid Zedan with refueling.”

“Yes, Commander.” He saluted and quickly sent his men out. He watched as they deployed to begin searching the surrounding area. “Perhaps you’d like to examine the weapon?” He hated to be surprised and this was the worst kind of surprise. He’d had no idea that Rath was going to be waiting for them at the refueling stop.

Michael watched the other soldiers spread around the area and nodded in agreement before he brought his icy glare back to the man in front of him. With a simple gesture he made it clear that he expected him to go ahead and when the man obeyed he followed him.

Tegran stepped around the end of the transport and glanced at the Commander when they neared him. He gave him a slight nod to let him know the two soldiers assigned to help him had already been taken out.

“This way,” the soldier in charge said and pointed to the left near the rear of the transport.

“Do I look I need you to tell me that?” Michael spit out and shouldered him when he went to examine the weapon. It wasn’t hidden very well. Even a layman could tell that the thing looked out of place there. What a poor job Khivar’s scientists had done.

“No, Commander, of course not.”

He pretended to ignore the man while he studied the way the weapon was attached to the belly of the transport, but he was well aware of the fact that he was nearing him from behind. With a quick glance he made sure they were hidden well by the vehicles around them, and seeing they were, he pulled his sword and swung it around to sever the enemy’s throat.

For a slight moment the eyes of the Antarian man grew wide and Michael knew exactly the moment when he had realized who the Commander really was, but it was too late for him to call for his men. He fell to his knees, his hands trying uselessly to stop the white blood from flowing, but it was a lost battle. A few seconds later his body slumped to the ground, lifeless.

He turned back to study the poorly-constructed weaponry, noting the assembly. It was crude, but knowing Khivar it would be destructive once deployed. The man could be impatient and often enough that led to work of this caliber. He moved around the weapon, automatically searching his memory for Earth weapons of mass destruction. It was very similar in style to several weapons he could recall and Khivar would’ve searched for something that would be both destructive and capable of instilling terror. He ran a fingertip over one of the barrels.

Their people knew nothing of this type of weaponry. The rules of war on their planet clearly stated weapons of this kind were prohibited and while Khivar had always marched to his own drummer, this was a violation even he hadn’t committed prior to this infraction. His trained ears detected Tegran’s footsteps as he approached and he spoke without looking away. “Have our men taken out the remainder of the transport’s detail?”

“Yes, Commander,” he spoke clearly but quietly.

“See to it these weapons are dismantled and prepared for transport back to the castle.” He would consult with the King to determine if their scientists would be permitted to study the weapons or if they would be destroyed.

Tegran straightened with a nod and made a quick sign to the left when someone approached them.

Obviously we haven’t taken them all out yet, Michael thought and gestured to the right, while he went in the opposite direction.

Camron moved past the weapon, his amber eyes sliding over it and making sure all was as it should be. He had already counted most of his fellow soldiers dead but he had survived the wound inflicted on him by one of the enemy. He had taken pleasure in seeing the life drain from the other man’s eyes and he turned his head to the side to listen. He nodded when he heard the nearly silent footfalls of another soldier and he slipped back to use the weapon as a place to hide when a shadow moved to his right, indicating someone approaching.

From of his hideout, Michael could see the enemy smirking. Yeah, think yourself safe, he thought when Tegran approached the other man, aware of the fact that the enemy would notice him – it was part of the plan to take him out.

The shadow moved closer and Camron’s eyes narrowed slightly as his fingers tightened around the hilt of his sword. He shifted as he deftly brought the blade up, preparing to kill the enemy soldier quickly and silently. While he preferred to watch his kills die a slow and painful death he didn’t have the luxury of time right now.

As soon as the sword of the enemy was raised Michael moved out of his shadowed corner, satisfied that the other man had turned his back to him by now, so he didn’t see him coming the moment he rammed his sword through his back where the heart sat. He looked over the dying man’s shoulder and nodded at Tegran, who seemed to relax again.

Tegran bowed his head slightly. “An oversight on my part, Commander. I should not have verified all enemy soldiers had been taken out without first taking a count of the fallen.”

He hadn’t the time to answer, when one of their own men came towards them, his pace hurried. “Commander.”

Michael turned to look at the man and knew something was wrong. Full-blooded Antarians were capable of masking their emotions, but he could see the anger and perhaps even a big of worry in the man’s features. “What is it?”

“News has arrived. The castle has just been attacked with a similar weapon, carried by a transport that approached from the direction of Redona Valley.

He could feel his heart stutter in his chest at the news. His sister was a warrior, she knew how to handle herself, but they had never been attacked in their own home by weapons that were unpredictable and indefensible at this time. His second in command was there, doing everything he could to help stave off the attack by soldiers pushing through their defenses if the weapon had done its job. Amela would be terrified by the noise. His mother would be as well and though they would both be secured in the underground bunkers, they would be blind to what was going on, but not deaf to the sounds of an invading army.

But it was Maria that concerned him most. He had sworn to protect her, to keep her safe from Rath, and at this very moment his dupe could be moving through the castle. “Tegran,” he called the man and then paused. He had been about to put the man in command, to have him dismantle the weapons and prepare them for delivery them back to the castle. But as he looked at the closest one another thought began to form.
Image
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 37

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:01 pm

Part 37

Liz squeezed the washcloth after dipping it into the cold water and placed it back on Maria’s forehead. Her face was full of worry when she glanced down at her new friend. “You have to do something, Doc,” she insisted. “We’re gonna lose her if you don’t.”

Collon looked up from the monitor he had been staring at for several hours now. The room they had been assigned in the underground bunker was only illuminated by several lit candles and it took him several moments before his eyes focused on the other woman in a darker corner of the room. “I am afraid our medicine does not work in her case, Ms. Parker. We’ve already done – “

“Bullshit,” Liz exploded. “There has to be something we can do. Your techniques are so well developed, why – “ The rest of her words were absorbed by a loud dull sound, followed by tremors that went through the ground and walls.

Maria groaned quietly. “What…?”

“Oh my God, we’re being attacked, aren’t we?” Liz muttered and glanced at the sentries on the inside of the room’s door. She rushed to Maria’s side and held her hand. “Hey girl, how’re you feeling?”

“Is he back?” the blonde asked weakly instead of answering.

She exchanged a worried glance with the doctor. “I’m sure he’ll be here soon, Maria.” She brushed her damp hair back and felt the warmth of the other woman’s skin. “You’re connected to the planet’s best warrior so he’s probably fighting his way through enemy soldiers to get here. To you.”

“Where are we?”

“We’re in an underground bunker to keep us safe.” She leaned in closer. “You’re gonna be fine, you hear me?” She wondered how the connection could be a good thing if it did this to people. She didn’t know if she would really want to be connected to someone to such an extent. Maria looked like she could fade away at any moment. What good was the connection if it could kill from lack of contact?

“Safe,” Maria muttered.

Liz looked around, her eyes studying the walls when they shook from another round of fire. What kind of weapon was being used? The weaponry on Antar was medieval at best; technology had been prohibited as far as weapons were concerned, but there was nothing medieval about whatever was blasting them from outside. “I’m sure it’ll be over soon, Maria.”

The heavy door was opened by the sentries and a moment later the King walked in, his face one of worry.

Liz pressed Maria back down when she tried to raise herself from the cot, Michael’s name on her lips. “Max,” she said as she stood. “What’s happening?”

“They’re attacking us heavily,” he said and tried to keep his hands to himself as long as the doctor was around to witness. “There was a second weapon we didn’t know of and it hit us at a sensitive spot.” He shook his head when he saw fear reach her beautiful eyes. “We’re fighting back. They won’t get into the castle.”

“Is there any word from the Commander?” she asked, forcing her thoughts to remain focused.

“Not yet, but his communications officer informed us that they were able to prevent the attack of another armored transport. He can’t be far from the castle.”

“That’s good news. Is everyone safe? Your family?”

“My family and my sister were taken to a different location,” he nodded. Many others weren’t so lucky, he added in his thoughts. Khivar’s soldiers had unleashed the weapon in a highly populated area and though the damage to the protective walls was minimal, he knew there would many victims on both sides in the end. “Captain Valenti and the Corporal are doing everything possible to hold our defensive line.”

“Is there anything we can do?” Even as the words left her mouth she felt foolish. What could they do? They had no training for such situations and while she had faced gang members back on Earth she had never dealt with anything of this magnitude.

“Keep her company,” he said and placed a hand on her shoulder to give it a quick squeeze.

She nodded and reached up to cover his hand before he could move it. As much as she wanted to keep him there with her she knew she couldn’t. “Max, please be careful.”

“I will be,” he said and looked deeply into her eyes before he took a step back. “I must go now.” His gaze shifted to the doctor for a moment. “Do you have any news, Dr. Collon?”

The doctor straightened to meet the King’s gaze directly. “Only that her condition continues to deteriorate. If she doesn’t begin to improve soon…” He shook his head. “Her time is running out, Highness. If there is any way to hasten the Commander’s return, I would suggest doing so.”

“Radio contact has begun to improve. I will set up a communications team to reach him.” He looked at Liz and nodded softly before he turned to take his leave.

It took an effort to keep from calling out to him and asking him to stay. How safe was he outside of the bunker walls when the rest of his family had been moved to hidden locations? When the doors closed behind him she felt a chill race down her spine and for a moment she felt like she was frozen to the spot.

From his position on the other side of Maria’s cot Dr. Collon observed the dark-haired human woman. “You mustn’t worry for his safety. The King’s guards are very well-trained. They will die before seeing harm come to him.”

“And who’d be there to protect if his guards fall?” she asked him back.

“The King’s guards will not fail in their duty, Ms. Parker,” he assured her.

“In case Antarians have just one life like us humans, that’s a ridiculous thing to say,” she answered and crouched down next to Maria again. “Are you thirsty, girl?”

He shook his head. Humans were such strange creatures, he mused as he directed his attention back to the women.

*****

Tess brought the sword down, using the solid hilt to crush in an enemy soldier’s skull before turning to swing the blade at another one. Her mind was completely focused, her thoughts locked on her single purpose: protect the castle and those within its walls at all cost. In that moment nothing else mattered. Nothing else could matter. Khivar had sent many soldiers and after the weapon had ripped a hole through one of the high walls that surrounded the castle, they had suddenly swarmed.

She had lost sight of Kyle but she knew better than to allow her thoughts to stray. She didn’t even wince when the edge of an enemy blade cut through her arm, her mind quickly determining that nothing vital had been severed. She continued to fight, the sting of the wound only increasing her focus and pushing her harder.

Not far away Kyle barely spared a glance at the soldier he had just dropped, the blade of his sword stained white from the blood of too many enemy fighters to count. He drew his foot back and slammed it into the side of a fallen soldier when the man raised a hand that trembled from the weight of his weapon. They had been prepared for the attack but even with the troops they had been warned about he hadn’t anticipated so many men.

The fight had been going on for several hours and the men were becoming fatigued on both sides. Something had to give, and soon, otherwise they were in danger of falling if Khivar sent in another wave. He had expected the Commander to have returned by this time but there had been no sign of Michael. Movement to the side caught his attention and he saw one of his men fall, an enemy dagger protruding from his abdomen, and a moment later his feral gaze locked on the soldier moving to the gaping hole left in the wall by the initial attack.

His fingers flexed around the hilt of his sword and he strode with purpose toward the enemy soldier, gripping it with both hands as he drew the blade back and brought it down with extreme force. The man’s head fell to the ground and less than a heartbeat later his body dropped beside it. The sight was gruesome and there was a time it would’ve turned his stomach. It was a sight that had become commonplace and now it was little more than a blip on his disgust meter.

The ground beneath his feet rumbled and he quickly scanned the horizon, searching for the source of the disturbance. In the distance he could see another transport flying low, the belly of the thing misshapen due to the weapon that had been attached to it. They had managed to take the first attack transport down, but it had been a suicide mission and it had cost them the two transports they had been able to deploy in time. Without weapons similar to those Khivar was now using their only defense against them was to send two transports, one to distract the pilot and another to physically intercept the modified transport. It had cost them two brave pilots and two transports.

“We have to get two more transports in the air,” Tess shouted as she neared him.

He shook his head. “We’ll need more than two. They’ll be aware of the tactics we used to bring the first one down.”

The radio on their belts crackled, but it was hard to understand anything being said. Kyle nodded at her and held his sword in front of them while she clipped it off and barked a request that the message be repeated.

“Friendly transport, the Commander requests withdraw up to twenty sword lengths through the protective walls.”

They glanced at each other as she pressed the button. “Orders received. Inform the Commander we’re withdrawing now.”

“IS he planning what I think he is?” Kyle asked as he motioned for his men to move back.

She indicated the withdrawal to her own men and her gaze locked on the transport in the distance. “I hope so.”

He snorted and from the corner of his eye he saw the blade of a sword swinging towards her. “Down,” he yelled in her direction and swung his own sword above her when she dropped, delivering a killing blow to the enemy behind her.

“Nice form, Captain,” she said as she regained her footing and glanced at the fallen soldier.

“Thank me later,” he told her and turned around again when he was attacked by yet another one.

She smirked but her expression quickly sobered as several more soldiers swarmed their location. They needed to act quickly if they were going to withdraw as Michael had ordered.

Kyle kept walking backwards, but their enemies followed at the same pace. He glanced up at the sky and at that moment he saw something drop from the transport. “It’s about to get very loud here again in a second,” he yelled and his head snapped to the side when he heard a familiar voice cry out.

Tess held her side tightly while she swung her sword at the enemy who had just wounded her. More with luck than strength she killed the man in a moment of surprise before her sword sank to the ground weakly. Blood spilled through her fingers where she was holding her side and she was well aware of the fact that this wound wasn’t just superficial.

He yelled out orders to his men, closing ranks as they continued to withdraw from the front lines. His sword cut down several soldiers as he made his way to his lover. Her uniform had been split open where the blade had sliced through her skin and he could see the blood soaking through it at an alarming rate. A wound that serious could drop her in a matter of minutes and he could see that it was already disorienting her.

“Kyle, don’t – “ She tried to protest when she saw him dropping his defenses to help her.

Several soldiers flanked him as he approached, their expressions fierce as they moved to provide a physical wall between her and the new wave of enemy soldiers that were coming towards them. “As soon as we’re inside the castle walls, fall back!” he ordered as he reached for her. “I’m sorry,” he muttered as he bent to hoist her over his shoulder. The position would be especially painful with the wound but it was the quickest way to move her and still allow him to keep his sword hand free.

Tess groaned, but didn’t complain. She felt her head spinning after the loss of so much blood. Suddenly there was loud noise and the ground was shuddering beneath them. She felt heat in her face at the moment she lost consciousness.

Kyle kept running towards the wall and didn’t glance back when the weapon hit its goal. He could hear soldiers crying out in pain. He couldn’t risk dropping his sword to radio for help as he raced for the castle’s main entrance. The soldiers posted there snapped to attention when they saw the Captain and they accepted their charge when he left the Corporal in their care.

As much as he wanted to stay with Tess he knew he couldn’t leave his men to face the battle alone. The fight was still far from over and he had done everything he could for her at that moment. “Get her to Dr. Collon!”

One of the soldiers saluted and they quickly moved her inside. Two more soldiers took their place, securing the doors and preparing to defend the castle against encroachers.

The Captain ran back out into the battle, his eyes watering as he encountered smoke in the wake of the destructive strike. The bodies of soldiers were scattered around and he blinked rapidly in an effort to clear his vision and decipher any immediate threats to the castle.

“They are withdrawing, Captain,” Vegor informed him and gestured at a line of enemies in the distance.

He nodded. “Take your unit and secure the castle’s outer walls. Send for Hador to make repairs to the wall and provide him with a unit to oversee his protection and that of his people. The work needs to be completed as quickly as possible.” He squinted against the blinding light as the second sun dropped low on the horizon and he stared at the transport that was slowly lowering to land in a nearby field.

Michael stepped out of the transport, his sword held in his hand tightly. He felt a strong, pulling ache in his chest and he didn’t know where it came from. He wasn’t physically hurt and their enemies hadn’t made it through the hole in the wall that led into the castle, so Maria had to be safe.

With long strides, he walked towards his men and he could see the devastation the weapons had caused. Countless dead bodies were lying on the field before him and it hurt to see so many of his own men.

“Commander,” one man on the ground called out for him with a weak voice.

He scanned the ground and found the wounded man in a matter of seconds. He crouched down next to him. “Breathe easy, the medics are on their way,” he told him calmly.

The man shook his head. “Rath was here. I saw him with my own eyes.” His bloody hand came up and pointed at something in the distance.

Michael glanced up to follow the man’s direction and he squinted against the sunlight. A mounted regiment, he realized. As he watched one of the riders began to move, the horse galloping several sword lengths’ before being reined in again. It tossed its heads, snorting and pawing the ground in a bid to be allowed to run.

Rath sat in the saddle easily, his dark gaze challenging as he gave the horse its head and allowed it to walk in the direction of the castle. “You haven’t stopped us, Commander,” he yelled when he was close enough to be heard. His hand tightened on the reins, a silent command for the beast below him to stop.

“I don’t see you moving,” he yelled back and glanced at his similar looking opponent with a deadly glare.

“Commander, his intention is to draw you into a trap,” Aktor warned as he brought his horse alongside Rath’s.

“Do not speak,” Rath growled. “Hold your position.” He kicked his horse into a gallop and he rode towards his enemy.

Michael’s body straightened when he saw him coming closer. Although he was sure Rath wouldn’t let it come to a fight when he was at a disadvantage, he flexed his hand on his sword in preparation.

“You think you always know, don’t you, Commander?” Rath murmured as he drew closer. He was careful to remain at a distance that would keep him safe from the archers he knew would be stationed along the castle’s walls. While Khivar’s scientists were learning all they could about Earth’s weapons he had been doing the same, studying those that were easy to carry and handle. He had convinced one of them to fashion a model he had found to his liking and now, as he sat astride his mount a safe distance from their enemy’s archaic weapons, he pulled the handgun from his uniform and aimed it at the Commander. He could see the other man’s features change as he tried to determine what he held, but by the time the report of the discharge echoed through the air it was too late.

“Just a warning, Commander,” he yelled, smirking when the man’s left hand shot up to grab his upper arm after the bullet tore through it. “The next one will hit a more deadly mark.” He tugged on the reins and turned his horse back to his men.

Michael felt his temper boiling at the open dismissal of the rules of war and his hand shot up to send a shock wave towards Rath. He smirked when the man fell to the ground and he grabbed the reins of the horse that had been sent out to him by his men so he could reach the castle sooner. “Just a warning, Commander,” he repeated his enemy’s words and mounted up, taking the wounded soldier with him.

Rath jumped to his feet and turned to glare at the Commander. “You will pay for that,” he snarled as he launched himself back into the saddle. He was tempted to put another bullet in the man but decided not to waste the bullet. The time was coming and he had to be patient. He motioned to his men, giving the order to fall back.

Michael kicked the animal with his heels and they moved directly towards the Captain who was waiting in the distance. The uneasy feeling in his chest was still there and he wondered if it came from Rath’s presence.

Kyle reached up and caught the horse’s bridle as the animal neared him. He called for a couple of soldiers to come and retrieve the man the Commander had carried in with him. He didn’t call attention to the wound the Commander had sustained until they had been left alone. “You alright?”

“It’s nothing,” he answered with a quick glance at the wound.

“Tess was badly injured,” he said in response to the other man’s pointed look at the blood-soaked material on the shoulder of his uniform. “She’s been taken to Dr. Collon for treatment.”

The Commander’s expression turned into a grimace when he heard the news about his sister. “How bad?”

“It’s likely the doctor has called for the King to heal her.” That admission would let the Commander know just how serious his sister’s wound was.

Michael glanced around to take in the damage before he slipped from the saddle. “The King had better prepare for a healing marathon. I’m going to talk to him and check on Tess.”

“Michael,” he called, his tone somber. He nodded when the man handed the reins to a soldier and turned to look at him. “You’ll wanna move quickly. Maria’s condition has worsened as well.”

“Worsened?” He frowned. “What’s wrong with her? I didn’t know she was in ANY condition at all.”

“She began to weaken a couple of days ago and Dr. Collon hasn’t been able to stabilize her vital signs. We sent a transport to notify you and bring you back but apparently you never got the message.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’ll send a unit out to search for the transport, make sure they’re alright.”

The Commander glanced at the castle as the words registered. “You okay here on your own?” He waited until Kyle gave him a brief nod before he moved to the entrance with a hurried pace.

The sentries posted at the doors to the underground bunker that served as medical quarters saluted the Commander when he approached them. At his short nod they pushed the heavy doors in and waited until he had passed to close them again.

Dr. Collon looked up from his position next to Maria. He stopped before giving the human in front of him another injection when he saw the man standing in the middle of the room.

“Thank God, you’re here,” Liz breathed in relief.

The Commander barely spared a glance for the dark-haired woman as he crossed the room to crouch down next to the cot. “I was told her condition had worsened. Report, Doctor,” he snapped.

“She started to feel restless and uneasy a few days after you left, Commander. I monitored her vital signs when it began to worsen and I tried to find a way to stabilize her, but our medicine does not seem to affect her condition. She continued to weaken with each passing day and the process seemed to speed up as well.”

“What do you recommend to improve her condition?”

“Your presence,” he said simply.

Michael lifted his gaze to the man. He had always appreciated the doctor’s ability to get to the point without embellishing his answers. “The Captain said my sister had been sent to you for treatment of her injuries. What is her condition?” He rubbed Maria’s hand unconsciously as he waited for the man to speak.

“The King was here when she was brought in. He took care of her and she insisted on being released to her quarters.”

“Of course she did. You can return to your offices, Doctor. Your services are going to be needed by many.” He nodded at Maria. “I’ll take her to her quarters and see that she receives the appropriate care.” He looked up at Liz. “I believe the King may need special attention after today’s events. He’ll be alone in the library.” It was where Max retreated after hearing about the loss of his soldiers, but he had been informed on his way to the bunker that the King had been observing from the tower and he had witnessed the bloodshed firsthand.

He lifted Maria up in his arms. “I’ll send for you if Maria needs you, Doctor.” He intended to take her to his quarters but he wouldn’t announce it with witnesses present. And he also needed to check on his sister and Amela.

Maria groaned quietly when her body was moved and she lifted her lids halfway to see what was going on. “Michael,” she cried out, quietly and disoriented.

“You’re safe,” he murmured quietly and carried her out of the bunker. He paused and turned to the sentries. “Escort the doctor back to his department and see that Ms. Parker is safely taken back to her quarters.” He had a feeling she would find the library on her own with no problem and whatever was going on between her and the King, it didn’t need to be publicized.

Liz walked up to him and made him stop. She glanced down at the human woman in his arms and stroked her sweaty hair for a moment. “You’re gonna get better now, Maria,” she whispered comforting. “I’ll see you later.”

Maria’s response was mumbled and unintelligible.

“I’ll send word when she feels strong enough for visitors,” Michael said with a nod.

The brunette woman nodded and looked up at him. “Don’t leave her alone,” she told him before she left with the sentries.

He smirked slightly and shook his head as he turned sharply to walk back to his personal quarters. Max was going to have his hands full. If he didn’t already, he thought. It took very little time for him to reach his level and his personal sentry simply nodded and opened the door without so much as a blink of surprise at the woman in the Commander’s arms.

Once inside he strode through the rooms, easing her down on the bed in his bedroom before stepping back to study her. He crouched down next to her and let his fingertip trail across her cheek as he called her name quietly. He needed to wash off the filth of the battlefield and dress the wound Rath had inflicted, but he wanted to let her know he would be close by if she needed him.

Maria felt a soft touch on her face, but her mind was too foggy to form a clear thought. All she knew was that it felt incredibly right in that moment.

“Can you hear me, Maria?” he asked again when she didn’t respond to him other than leaning into his touch.

“Hear you,” she mumbled after a moment. One of her small hands wandered to her chest. “Hurts.”

Michael’s gaze followed her hand and he frowned at her words. The doctor had said nothing about her being in pain. But maybe it was because of the wound, he thought with a quick glance at his shoulder. He cradled her chin gently. ”Maria, I need you to tell me what hurts.”

Her eyes fluttered open for a moment and she looked at him but it seemed impossible to focus. She lifted her hand and brought it to his chest. After a moment of wandering it settled right above his heart.

He didn’t understand. He had been wounded in the arm, not the chest. Was she trying to tell him that’s where she hurt? Humans could have conditions that weakened their hearts... But, no, that would have been revealed in the doctor’s scans. Maybe she just needed the contact, he mused. He looked down at himself and decided he could get by with just cleaning and bandaging the wound. ”Give me a couple minutes, okay?”

Her hand dropped from him slowly. “Come back to me.”

He leaned forward without thinking and kissed her forehead. ”I will,” he promised.
Image
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 38

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:02 pm

Part 38

A knock on the door made him straighten up again and he got up to answer it, conscious of the human woman’s presence as he opened the door only halfway. “Tess,” he said in surprise when he saw his sister. She looked pale but otherwise good.

“She with you?”

He opened the door fully with a nod and let her enter.

“Collon was really terrified. Is she better?”

“She’s not fully conscious but Collon believes she will improve in my presence.” He nodded at her. ”Kyle said you had been seriously wounded.”

“He worries too much,” she said dismissively. She didn’t want to admit that she had been scared.

“I’m sure he felt he had reason,” he said, but didn’t push. ”Have you seen the little one yet?”

“She’s fine,” Tess assured him. “Her caretaker said she was pretty worked up with all the loud sounds, so as soon as it was over she fell asleep and I think she still is.” Her gaze focused on the wound on his arm with a frown. “How did you get that?” She leaned in closer to have a look. “This wasn’t a sword.”

Michael shifted uncomfortably. “Rath,” he answered shortly. “He had another Earth weapon.” The word for it… he knew it, but it refused to come to mind.

“They’re getting out of control,” his sister muttered and wiped her face tiredly.

“You should get some rest.”

“I will eventually. I need to go and see Kyle so he can see with his own eyes I’m still in one piece.”

“Of course.” He smirked. ”I doubt he’ll leave you alone.”

“Perhaps not, but it appears I won’t be the only one with company for the evening.”

He just shrugged. ”Were you alright with the King healing you?”

“It wasn’t as disturbing as I thought and he didn’t make a big deal out of it.” Actually, she had seen a few things about the man that were definitely responsible for her now seeing him in a whole new light. “I didn’t have much of a choice anyway,” she admitted and gestured to her side. “Wound was pretty deep.”

“Guess it’s good he was here then,” Michael admitted when his gaze dropped to his sister’s side.

“From what I heard he checked on Maria every hour when her situation worsened. He even tried to heal her, but since there was nothing wrong with her physically there was nothing he could really do.”

“I didn’t expect him to do that.” He turned to look at the bedroom where Maria lay sleeping. ”I think it’s possible we’ve misjudged him. The Princess,” he snorted, “I’m not of the opinion we’ve made the same mistake where she’s concerned.”

“No, she’s a real bitch,” she agreed and grinned at her Earthly cursing. “I’ll leave you alone for now.” Her gaze went to his bedroom for a moment. “She knew about the attack before all of us, Michael.”

He frowned. “How?”

“I don’t know. She said something about trying to connect with you to ask you to come back.”

He wondered if it had been anything more than being ill that had caused her to try to connect with him. “We have to learn more about the connection.”

“We will.” She smiled tiredly. “Not tonight, but we will.”

He waited until Tess had walked down the corridor before he closed the door again and went back to check on Maria. She had drifted off to sleep and he was quiet when he pulled out some clothes he rarely wore since his return to Antar. They were what humans would call casual, but since he planned to at least spend a few hours in his room they were just right.

Grabbing the stack, he went to his bathroom to take a quick shower and clean the wound on his arm.

*****

Kyle slipped through the hidden entrance and made his way to Tess’ personal quarters. He knew the King had healed her and he was grateful for the man’s ability to do so, but he had to wonder if it had allowed them to connect in any way. It still annoyed him that she had hidden the truth from him but could he really blame her for holding back? Even with him? She had a right to protect herself, it just stung that she had felt the need for that protection with him.

His heart had nearly stopped beating when he had seen her wounded so badly at the hand of their enemy. It was almost scary just how cold his blood had run in that moment and he knew if she hadn’t managed to kill the enemy soldier he would’ve taken him apart with his bare hands. From the beginning she had sparked something primal within him but it had intensified a thousand-fold as she had nearly bled out before his eyes.

He hadn’t seen her since she had been taken to Dr. Collon on his orders but he had been kept informed of her condition by the good doctor. He suspected the man knew a lot more than he let on about what went on in the lives of the two Royals he was charged with caring for. The doctor was a trusted officer in the Commander’s ranks and he would sooner die than betray a confidence.

He sat on a chair in the living area but after several minutes of being unable to get comfortable he got up and began prowling around her quarters. There was little in the way of decorations but she had surrounded herself with plants. Surrounded herself with life, he thought as he gently ran his thumb and forefinger over a fragile blue leaf. She had moved them recently, keeping them high enough that Amela couldn’t reach them. The little one had always been inquisitive, but since she had learned to get her feet under her she had started to get into anything and everything she could get her hands on.

He turned to look at the door when he heard the lock turn and he moved back into the shadowed recesses of the room to avoid detection by the sentries. He watched her, drinking in her presence and feeling relief wash over him when he finally saw for himself that she was indeed alive and well. She looked exhausted, but that was to be expected. He was certain she would probably be feeling weak from the extensive loss of blood and then the healing process and he wondered if she would let her guard down enough to let him care for her tonight.

There was only one way to find out, he decided as he stepped into the light.

Tess’ hand shot up when her eyes caught movement in the room. She just barely caught herself before she sent a blast in that direction, but she pulled her hand back when she recognized her lover. “Kyle! What the fuck are you doing? You can’t just slip in here after a day like this and scare the hell out of me.”

He almost smirked at her cursing and wondered if she realized how much like a human she sounded in those moments. Slowly, he walked towards her and took her outstretched hand in his bigger one gently. “How do you feel?” He bent his head and kissed her palm softly.

It amazed her how quickly he had managed to blow her anger away while her eyes followed his movement. “I’m good.”

“Good,” he murmured. Hell, she was doing better than he was then. ”I wanted to check on you before...”

She silenced him by pressing a fingertip to his lips. ”It’s a luxury we don’t have.”

He nodded mutely. It was an unfortunate reality with their situation. ”I assume your brother has seen you?”

“He has,” she agreed and let him move his strong arm around her waist to pull her closer.
With his free hand he lifted the fabric of the clothes she normally wore under her uniform and looked at the silver handprint on her side. Nothing else remained of the deep bleeding wound from before.

“Told you it’s okay,” she insisted and pulled his hand away from that part of her body.

His eyes were locked on the silver handprint and in spite of knowing what it represented he couldn’t stop the feeling of jealously. The King had left his mark on her.

“You know you have no reason to be jealous.”

He didn’t respond, too busy trying to tamp down the unwanted feelings. It was just further proof that their time together wasn’t guaranteed.

“What’d it feel like?”

“Awkward,” she replied shortly, not really wanting to share the details about the necessary and temporary connection that had come with it.

He didn’t push, not really wanting to know for more than one reason. It was morbid curiosity and there was no point aggravating the situation. ”How long did Collon say you should rest?”

“He didn’t say,” she replied and left out the fact that she had dismissed the man before he could say anything. “So many of our best men were hurt today, Kyle. I’ll rest later, we need to make order of the chaos and my brother needs to stay with Maria, so it’s up to us.”

“You may be healed, but you lost a lot of blood. That alone dictates you should take it easy.” He knew she could easily dismiss him for pointing out a weakness but he’d be damned if he’d just keep silent.

“I’m fine, Kyle, really!” She shook her head. “We both know we can’t leave them on their own right now.”

“I can get it done.”

Tess smirked at his stubbornness. “And I’ll help. I’ll take it easy, okay? I’ll just stand back and send out orders.”

He snorted at that. She was damn good at issuing orders, but not so great at sitting on the sidelines. ”I’ll bet you dinner and a backrub you won’t be able to stay off the field.”

“Not getting into that with you,” she denied and started to walk out of her quarters again. There was nothing more she wanted to do than lay down with him and forget what happened for a while, but it had to wait until night fell over the country.

And that was one of the drawbacks of being involved with a warrior princess, he thought and it made him laugh out loud before he could stop himself.

****

Michael walked back into his bedroom after showering and making a halfhearted attempt at cleaning the wound on his arm. His bare feet made a slapping sound on the cold stone floor when he walked over to the small desk at the other end of the room. He glanced at himself in the mirror and thought he was seeing a stranger.

Faded blue jeans hung low on his hips and a grey tee shirt, which hadn’t seemed so tight back on Earth, hugged his upper body. It wasn’t a look any of Antar’s people outside of those who lived in the castle had ever seen on him – and most likely never would see. It was strange, even to him, but he shrugged it off and grabbed the tablet device from the desk. He had to talk to the King and while he preferred to do it in person rather than using this technique, he didn’t want to cross the castle to see him while Maria was still in a very weak state.

He pressed a few virtual buttons on the touch display of the device and then the monitor went blue for a moment before it showed the interior of the library. “I want to speak with him,” he said when the face of the Advisor to the King came into view.

Alex nodded. “Just a moment, Commander.” He looked up and placed the tablet aside to walk along the room that housed high shelves with books of every kind. “Max,” he called out when he turned another corner and found the man sitting in a comfortable armchair with the mysterious book held in his hand. “The Commander wants to talk to you.”

Max nodded and got up to follow his Advisor around the large room back to the main hall. He frowned when he didn’t see anyone.

“On the device,” Alex explained and pointed at his desk.

“Of course.” He rounded the desk and took a seat, his mind too occupied to be surprised by the Commander’s appearance. “Your men did well on the field today, Commander,” he said by way of greeting.

Michael nodded and rubbed one hand over his face tiredly. “I would’ve reported in person, but circumstances prevented me from doing so.”

“Understood. I trust your guest is recovering?”

“Slowly, but there has been improvement.” He cleared his throat. “I’m grateful for what you did for my sister.”

Max shrugged one shoulder and wished the conversation didn’t feel so awkward. “The doctor wanted her to rest in her quarters but I saw her making her way back to her men.”

“She’ll be overseeing the soldiers, making order out of the chaos.”
Max nodded with the slightest hint of a smile. “I expected as much.”
The Commander shrugged. “That’s how she is.”
“True enough,” the King agreed. The healing process had forced a connection and he had seen her out on the field fighting mercilessly like the men at her side. What he hadn’t expected was the strong wash of feelings about the protection of her family and a certain Captain. His earlier musings about that relationship had been proven right, but he hadn’t had a clue of how deeply those feelings already ran. He knew he should feel betrayed, but he didn’t.
“We hadn’t knowledge of the second location on the armored transports,” Michael interrupted his thoughts.
“I expected as much. Had you had that information they wouldn’t have gotten as close as they did. It would seem you were able to procure one of the modified transports though.”

“Plan was to keep it for our scientists to study, but they would’ve overrun us here if we hadn’t used their own weapon against them.”

“Khivar’s actions are in direct violation of the rules of war. “ He fell silent for a moment. ”We must respond swiftly and accordingly.”

“And you’re suggesting what exactly?”

Max felt conflicted over what he was about to say. He hated making decisions that he knew would result in a loss of life, regardless of which side suffered those losses. ”We must retaliate with force,” he said finally. ”Until now we’ve been bound by the same rules of war, but with his blatant disregard of the rules he’s nullified the pact.” He rubbed his temples for a moment before lifting his head to look at the Commander. ”You’ve wanted me to agree to a direct assault for a long time and I’ve been reluctant to authorize such a strike.” He nodded at the other man’s shocked expression. ”It’s time to take the fight to his front door, Commander.”

For a moment, the other man didn’t know what to say. How often had he tried to convince the King that it was what needed to be done? Did this have to happen, before the King finally saw reason? He bit back any such comment and nodded with a straight face. “Be my pleasure.”

“I assume you require time to determine a plan of action. If we could schedule a meeting for tomorrow to discuss potential options?”

The other man nodded at the screen before he rubbed his eyes with one hand. There was so much to do after an attack like this, but all he wanted to do right now was to take care of the woman in his bed until she felt strong enough to walk on her own again. “After breakfast.”

“You’ll be eating in your own quarters I assume?”

“I will, yes.”

“One moment,” the King said and his gaze wandered away from the screen and into the distance for a moment before he looked back. “I must go for the moment, Commander.”

He suppressed his smirk, suspecting that the important interruption on the other end was a short, brunette human. “Very well, I will send you my report in a written document and we can go over the details tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow,” Max agreed before he switched the monitor off.

Michael snorted and got out of his seat. He went across his room and opened the balcony doors to step out for a moment. In a distance he could see his men working on rebuilding the hole in their defensive wall and a wave of guilt washed over him. He should be with them now, checking on things, getting things back into order, and making sure there were still enough troops located around the castle to protect it in case of another attack.

With a tired sigh he went back inside, his gaze locked on the woman sleeping in his bed. Would she feel worse if he went out for a while to check on things? It wouldn’t be far, he could stay in between the walls of the castle. He dismissed the thought immediately when he heard soft but agonized groans from her direction and he went to get the tablet device so he could contact the Captain for a report on the situation.

****

Alex glanced up from the mountain of open books he was using as reference material to watch the brunette crossing the room. He observed the King as he disconnected from the call with the Commander, smirking slightly when his presence went practically unnoticed by the two people who only had eyes for each other. He collected the books he needed and shoved them in the backpack he had brought with him from Earth.

He hooked the straps over one shoulder and gestured to the door when the movement caught Max’s attention. “Let me know later if you want me to sit in on the meeting tomorrow.” He nodded at Liz and disappeared through the doors, issuing a quiet order to the sentries that the King was not to be disturbed. He wondered where his shadow was and how she had fared during the attack. No doubt, if she was wound up she would find him. Nothing seemed to please the Princess more than annoying him.

Liz studies Max’s drawn features as she neared him and she shook her head when he stood, his hand gesturing to the chair. “Sit,” she said softly.

Max retook his seat and he turned his head to follow her when she moved out of his line of sight, but a moment later her hands settled at the sides of his neck and exerted gentle pressure to keep him facing forward.

“You’ve had a difficult day,” she murmured as she began to run her hands over his shoulders, feeling the taut muscles beneath his clothes.

“At least I’m still alive,” he muttered and closed his eyes. Something too many brave men couldn’t say after today.

“I saw the gap in the protective walls....”

Max’ expression twisted into a grimace. “Yes. Our enemies managed to wound us badly and forcefully today. We were only able to prevent one armored transport from reaching its destination thanks to the Commander.”

“Is that who you were talking to when I came in?”

He nodded tiredly. ”I fear life on Antar may become too dangerous if Khivar is not stopped soon. The attack today and the weapons he had planned to use...” he shook his head. ”We have no means of defending ourselves against such an attack.”

“What’re you planning to do?”

“The only thing we can do: intensify the fight.”

“Earth weapons?” she asked carefully. If Khivar was going to use them, they didn’t really have another choice, but what if it turned into a disaster like it had on Earth?

“I don’t know. It may be our only viable option. The Commander has suggested using assassins before but I’m reluctant to employ such methods. I have no wish to see Antar fall to the same fate as Earth.”

“Me neither,” she admitted and ran her hands down his shoulders and over his chest. “You think the connection between Maria and the Commander plays a role? She told me about a possible baby...”

“If there’s truth to the story it’s possible. Although it would be cruel to expect such a thing after all she has been through.”

“I know,” she sighed. “I was just wondering if it’s the only true chance for you to win. I mean, there has to be a reason why they want her back if they’re willing to risk an attack on the castle, right?”

“The connection between them would seem to suggest the potential is there.”

“True,” she stopped the movement of her hands and walked around him to sit in his lap. “But how possible is it really?” She rolled her eyes. “I mean, it’s a BABY for a while. How could it do anything?”

“We don’t really know for certain. Alex has theorized that the child’s powers actually become an extension of the more powerful parent, allowing that person to utilize those powers until the child reaches an age where he or she can be properly trained to control them. “

“So with Maria getting pregnant, it could be that either she or the Commander develops strong powers?”

“It would make sense,” he said as he rested a hand on her thigh. ”As you said, what could a baby do?”

“But you don’t know if it works for sure and… It would be so cruel to expect them to…”

“No, we don’t know. It’s all just speculation,” he bit out, his frustration with the situation showing through. ”Ordering them to do this would be immoral enough, but with what she’s already been through it’s also cruel. But if I don’t pursue this I could be damning an entire planet.”

“Maybe you don’t even have to do anything,” Liz mused and rubbed the back of his neck to calm him down.

“What do you mean?” He frowned.

She looked at him and then shook her head. “Forget about it, just had a thought, but it doesn’t matter.” Maria had told her she felt like she was being pushed towards the Commander, but she felt like she would be betraying her confidence if she said anything about it.

“I can’t imagine she would even consider it,” he said, curious about what she hadn’t said.

“What if you look into other weapons,” she said to focus his mind on something else. “There were some good weapons on Earth. Some of them could hit a target across many miles.”

“It’s a dangerous path,” he mused quietly. ”Using weapons with the ability to create such destruction.”

“But you didn’t use it first.”

“No,” he admitted and took her hand, absentmindedly running his fingers over it a few times. “But does that make us any better in the end?”

“Defense isn’t a crime, Max. What’s the other option? Sit back and watch Khivar kill your people or take them hostage?”

He didn’t respond to that because he really had no answers. Instead he pulled her closer and let himself take comfort from her presence.

“I know you’ll do the right thing,” she whispered into his hair.

“I hope so,” he sighed quietly.

“I know so.”

That brought a slight smile to his otherwise taut features. “How can you have such faith in a man you barely know?”

“I know you better than you think I do, Max.” She leaned back to look at him and she let her finger trail down over his nose before tracing his lips. “So much better.”

He felt his heart rate increase along with a stirring of interest low in his belly. “And what do you think you know?”

“I know you’re thinking about kissing me at the moment,” she teased when his gaze travelled down to her lips.

“True,” he murmured.

“I wouldn’t complain.”

His gaze lifted to hers for a moment and he smiled. “No?”

“Proof?”

“Perhaps it would help.”

“You’re really gonna make me take the first step again, huh?” she mumbled and closed the small distance between them to seal his lips with hers briefly.

He chuckled. “Are you complaining?” he growled against her lips.

“Wouldn’t call it complaining.”

“No?” He leaned in for another kiss. Definitely not complaining, he thought with satisfaction.
Image
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 39

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:02 pm

Part 39

Liz groaned slightly when the movement of his lips took on a challenging note. Without breaking the kiss, she moved until she was straddling him.

His body, already on edge at her closeness, immediately reacted to the feel of her pressed more intimately against him. His hands settled on her hips for a moment before sliding around to cup her and pull her even closer. He had never experienced anything remotely like these feelings and he suspected they had barely scratched the surface.

“Is it safe here in the library?” she breathed against him before she could get too carried away.

“Alex would have told them to stand their post,” he assured her. “The sentries will only enter if they feel I’m in danger.”

She grinned and let her hands slide down his robe. “You’re in a totally different kind of danger right now.”

He drew in a strangled breath. “And yet I feel no need to ask for protection.”

A chuckle escaped her lips but she bit back the comment about necessary protection at some point – also in a totally different way though. “You never sweat in these clothes?” she asked instead and opened a few buttons. “They seem uncomfortable and way too warm.”

He dropped his gaze to her hands. “I find them quite uncomfortable most of the time but my Earth clothes are unacceptable to my parents.”

“Bet you look sexy as hell in some blue jeans and a tight black tee shirt,” she whispered in his ear while her hands were still working with the material to learn the planes of his upper body.

“And sexy is good,” he murmured, remembering her assurance that it was a very good thing. “I have clothes from Earth. I seem to recall them being comfortable.” He was having difficulty concentrating on the conversation and had no idea what he was even babbling about. He started to lift his gaze again but paused when it reached her chest. “Perhaps... perhaps I should return the favor and help you with your clothing?”

“You won’t get any complaints from me.”

He studied the material for a moment before waving his hand over it and making it simply fall off of her to land on the floor at his feet. He frowned as he found himself facing yet another article of... clothing? It only covered part of her upper body and he reached out to run his finger below the thin strap on her shoulder. “What is this thing?”

Liz laughed at his confused expression. “You certainly don’t know what a bra is, huh?”

“No, I have no such item of clothing. What is its use?” He pulled it upwards and his eyes widened slightly when her left breast lifted. “Oh, it is a type of... support?”

“Uh-hmm, to hold these two babies in place,” she said and cupped her breasts in her hands to give them a nudge.

“It is an attractive article of clothing, but I believe I will like it even better elsewhere.” He waved his hand again and it fell away to join her shirt. His fingers trailed over her hands, his own hands just itching to feel her skin. “May I?”

She looked into his deep brown eyes and gave him the briefest nod.

He brushed her hands aside and slid his own in to take their place. He palmed her breasts, running his thumbs over her skin. “So soft.” The pads of his thumbs pressed against her nipples and his eyebrows shot up when they seemed to grow before his very eyes. “Intriguing,” he whispered and licked his lips unconsciously.

“Just means I like what you’re doing,” she told him hoarsely. His cluelessness was sweet and refreshing and it’d been so long since someone had touched her in a gentle way.

“Yes, I understand what you mean.” He shifted his lower body that was feeling entirely too constricted by clothing that was suddenly too tight. “It’s such a contrast.” He looked up at her. “Your beauty is breathtaking.”

Was she really blushing? she thought, horrified when his words registered. Shit, she was, and she really couldn’t remember the last time she had done such a thing. “I’m sure you’re exaggerating, King Max, but thank you.”

He tipped his head back and frowned. “You believe I am wrong?”

She looked at him for a long time and then shook her head. “No, I guess it’s what you see.”

He smiled at that. “I do see it.” The fingertips of one hand moved over her arm and when he felt small bumps raising on her flesh his eyebrows once again lifted. “What is the meaning of this?”

Instead of answering, she reached into his open robe and let her fingernails run along his sides until goosebumps appeared all over his chest as well. She looked at him if that was enough of explanation.

One of his hands moved to his chest, feeling the raised bumps there. “Strange,” he murmured. “I like your touch but it causes this reaction... OH, I understand.” His hands returned to her body. “Yes, I understand now.”

Liz smirked. “It’s the same reaction as when you’re cold and shiver, but it feels completely different, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, I do not feel cold at all. Quite the contrary, I feel extremely hot.” He looked at her. “It is the same for you?”

“Very much the same.”

“Perhaps if we remove more clothing...?” He wasn’t sure that would lower the heat running through their bodies. Considering their reactions to each other and current responses he suspected it would only increase the heat but he wanted to know. He wanted so badly to know and understand what was happening to him.

“Doubtful it’ll make us feel and less hot, Your Highness,” she breathed and leaned forward to place light kisses on his bare chest.

His fingers played with the material covering her lower body. “I would like to...” He tugged on it to draw her attention to the material. “May I?”

Slowly she slipped from his lap and stood between his legs. When he was about to swipe his hand in front of her again, she stopped him. “Why don’t you do that the normal human way? I promise you it’s even more fun this way.”

“Fun?” he asked as he ran his hands up over her thighs. His way was so efficient.

She opened the button of her jeans and then brought his hands to the zipper to do the rest. “Fun.”

“Very well.” He ran his finger over the zipper tab, grasping the small piece of metal and dragging it down. The motion was done slowly thanks to her hand guiding him and he shifted forward in his seat. Once the zipper had been taken as far as it could go she moved his hands to her waist and nodded when he hooked his thumbs in the heavy material. He dragged it down over her hips and felt his level of excitement heighten as more of her skin was revealed. He could only stare when she stood before him clothed only in a small bit of material. He touched the fabric and when he heard her inhale sharply he sought her permission to remove the last barrier.

“You sure you want this?” she asked quietly and pointed at their surroundings. “Here?”

He glanced around before looking at her. “This is unacceptable?”

“I’m just asking,” she shrugged one shoulder. “Once you get started it isn’t easy to stop and if anyone thinks they need to talk to you now…”

“We could go to my quarters,” he offered.

“You got condoms there?”

“Condoms?”

“Protection?” she clarified.

“Ah, the human form of birth control, yes?”

“Birth control and other things, yes.”

“It is unnecessary here. Antarians do not procreate in the same manner as Earthlings. But I’m not a full-blooded Antarian,” he mused aloud. “And you’re not Antarian at all. It is likely the doctor will have them, provide them for the humans who have settled here.” His hands wrapped around the backs of her thighs as he looked up at her. “Is it possible to do this without the protection? Or is the risk too high for you?”

“Unless you think a little offspring with a normal human girl would be fun, we’d better not,” she told him gently and caressed his cheek with her hand.

His fingertips played with the edges of the material as he thought about her words. The thought intrigued him. “I do not find myself opposed to that.” He sighed. “But I am not free to pursue such things.”

“No, you’re not,” she admitted quietly. And she really wasn’t ready to think about kids with anyone at this time of her life. “Hey,” she lifted his head to meet his gaze, “if the invitation to your quarters is still open, we could do something different though.”

“What?”

She smiled secretly. “I’ll show you.”

He nodded eagerly. “I would like that very much.”

“Guess I should put on my clothes first, huh?”

“Unfortunately it is necessary.”

Liz nodded and hurried to pull her clothes on again while he buttoned up his robe. “You want me to fix you something for dinner first?”

“I find my hunger is not the kind to be sated by food,” he admitted with a slight blush.

She laughed and wrapped his arms around him when she had dressed again. “Very well said, King Max.”

He smiled. “The sentries will escort us but they will be discreet.”

“Lead the way.”

He walked to the door and rapped his knuckles against it, stepping back as the sentries pushed them open.

“Highness,” they rumbled.

“We wish to retire to my quarters,” he said, hoping they wouldn’t notice the heat in his face.

“Very well,” the one on the right said without so much as a blink of surprise.

The sentries escorted them to his quarters, insisting they stay in the corridor while they quickly checked to make sure everything was as it should be. When they stepped back outside they motioned for the King and his guest to enter.

“It is safe to enter, Highness.”

Max nodded. “Thank you.” They closed the doors after he and Liz entered the sitting area and he turned to look at her. “What should we do now?”

Liz glanced around the room and took everything in for a moment before her gaze landed on him again. “What’s your favorite and most comfortable place here?”

“I spend very little time here,” he said as he looked around. “The doors in the bedroom open out and provide a view of the mountains and the lake below them. I find that very calming.”

“Then let’s go there,” she said and followed him when he started to move. The view was really great, she thought once they reached the room with a ridiculously oversized bed. Her gaze landed on a comfortable looking armchair next to the huge window doors. “Wanna take a seat over there?”

“Very well.” He started to take the heavy robes off but paused with his hands on the lapels. “Should I take this off?”

“Sure,” she agreed.

He nodded and removed them, moving to his closets out of habit to place the robes on the appropriate hooks. He took a calming breath and ran his hands over his clothing before turning and taking a seat as she had requested.

Liz watched him for a while, liking the way his body looked in the white shirt and black pants he was wearing underneath. “Get comfortable,” she ordered gently when he seemed to be way too tense.

He chuckled. “Normally I am the one to give orders.”

“Not now,” she said with a wink and walked over to the bed to grab a pillow. She threw it at his feet and then knelt down in front of him, right between his legs.

He shifted slightly as he met her gaze, noting the intent expression and wondering what she intended to do.

“You don’t have any doubts, do you?”

He shook his head mutely.

“Good.” She nodded and let her gaze wander down his chest. Rising on her knees as much as possible, she leaned forward to unbutton the white shirt and shifted the material aside to have a good look at his upper body. “Very well toned, Mister,” she admitted, impressed as she ran a hand down from his chest, over the muscles of his stomach, to the edge of his pants.

“Thank you,” he mumbled, feeling excited and nervous at the same time. He had no memory of ever doing this before and he didn’t know what to expect.

Her gaze lowered and she bit her lip when she noticed the impressive bulge, which wasn’t hid well in the loose pants he was wearing. Shifting her weight onto the arm resting on his thigh, she used her free hand to run along his hard-on. Just lightly the first time, but then back up with more pressure.

His head dropped back at the sensations wreaking havoc with his body. “I do like that,” he growled.

She chuckled slightly. “Good, you’re no different from humans in that part then.” She repeated the movement a few times, before her hand slipped higher again to open up his pants. “Alright, gonna need your help with this for a moment,” she said and grabbed the waistband his of pants and underwear, waiting for him to lift enough from the seat so she could pull them down.

His hands gripped the arms of the chair tightly as he lifted up enough to allow her to do as she wished. He breathed a sigh of relief when his clothing was gone and the pressure immediately eased.

For a moment she leaned back and enjoyed the view of him, smirking at his impressive length. He probably had no idea how well ‘armed’ he was, she thought and moved closer again to wrap him tightly in her hand.

He cursed under his breath when he felt her skin against his, her touch feeling like the most natural, right thing in the universe. His breath stuttered in and out in tandem with every stroke of her hand and his knuckles were white from the pressure where he was gripping the chair.

“Do you get yourself off sometimes?”

“Such behavior is unacceptable by members of the royal family,” he admitted when she made a gesture to demonstrate. He shrugged at her shocked look. “Antarian views of sexuality are quite different from those of humans.”

“Doesn’t answer my question,” she teased.

“Yes.” He looked away, embarrassed. “The human side seems to be stronger in certain areas.”

“That’s nothing to be ashamed of,” she told him gently and leaned forward to place a quick kiss on his lips. “You can’t deny who you are and us humans… well, we have needs.”

“You are so different from the people that surround me constantly.” His hands came up to cradle her face. “I feel alive with you.”

“Promise you’re gonna feel many other things in the next few minutes,” she told him with an honest smile before she withdrew from his touch and started to kiss a path from his chest down to his lower stomach.

“Yes, I suspect you’re correct,” he breathed raggedly.

She proved him right when her mouth settled on the soft flesh where her hand had been a moment ago. She ran the tip of her tongue along his length, enjoying the pleasant sounds he made. After repeating the move a few times, she decided to take it further and took him in her mouth fully.

He swore and his hands slowly moved, shifting just enough to guide her movements. Nothing he could think of compared to the feelings rushing through him. It didn’t take long before he could feel that telltale sign that let him know he was close and his fingers flexed slightly in warning.

With the use of her own hand and a light squeeze back on his thigh, she told him it was okay to let go whenever he was ready.

Max knew he would probably be embarrassed later at just how quickly he climaxed but at the moment all he could think of was how good it felt.

When he moaned loudly she rubbed her own thighs together to feel any kind of release, but it was a useless effort. He came seconds later and she swallowed all of it instead of leaving a mess all over the place.

He felt completely boneless and relaxed as his body slumped back in the chair and he was barely conscious of her gentle touches as she cleaned him up. As he began to recover he became aware of her restless shifting and he forced his eyes open to look at her. He wasn’t completely clueless about human anatomy but when it came to pleasing a woman he was lacking in experience. Obviously there were anatomical differences, but surely he could do the same for her. He took her hands and held them in his as he looked around, pulling her to her feet as he stood. “I would like to please you.” And hopefully if he fumbled she would forgive his clumsiness.

She laughed slightly and stopped him. “I’m really grateful you wanna do that for me and I’d really love to stay longer, but there’re some people who actually want dinner tonight and I am on duty, Max.”

“But...” He knew she was right, she had a job to perform and she would lose the respect of her employees if she began to ignore her duties. “You will let me return the favor at a later time?”

“No doubt,” she breathed against his lips.

“Would it be inappropriate for me to escort you?”

“It would probably make people wonder.” She smiled and kissed him one last time. “Why don’t ya try to get some rest after the day you’ve had? I know orgasms are the best medicine for a nice sound sleep.”

He smiled. “It does help.”

****

The second sun was almost down when the Commander had finally finished his last meeting on the tablet device, including the Captain as well as two other high ranked officers. Khivar’s transport had caused a lot more damage than it had first appeared and his men would be working hard the whole night and probably all day tomorrow to fix the majority of it.

120 losses, he thought in frustration and pinched the bridge of his nose with a sigh. How many of those weapons were still in Khivar’s possession? Was he building them here or did they need special Earth materials for them? Maybe they shouldn’t concentrate on fighting against those weapons and place more focus on preventing their delivery?

He made a mental note to talk to the science team about it. Maybe they could still find out what materials had been used to build the weapons and if the materials existed on Antar or not.

Putting the tablet away in his desk, he got up and frowned when the automatic movement of his hand to reposition the sword at his side only found emptiness. He glanced down at himself and remembered that he had exchanged his uniform for some old comfortable Earth clothes for once.

His gaze landed on the woman in his bed. She was still sleeping, although it seemed like it wasn’t very deep since she shifted from her back to her side a lot. After he crossed the short distance towards her, he crouched down next to the bed and caressed her slightly sweaty forehead. “Maria,” he called out gently and waited for a reaction.

She felt his presence and was able to open her eyes long enough to recognize he was right in front of her. “So damn weak,” she mumbled.

“Do you feel any better?” he asked.

It was hard to stay awake, but she did her best and tried. “Lil’ bit.”

“That’s improvement.” He rested his palm against her cheek. “Dr. Collon expects your condition to improve with close proximity.”

She looked at him as long as her eyes allowed her to. “You look diff’ren’.”

He glanced down and nodded. “My Earth clothes,” he said. “Too comfortable to leave them all back on Earth.”

A slight smile appeared on her lips for a moment. “More harmless than the Commander looks…”

Michael snorted at that. “Looks are deceiving.”

Maria frowned and forced her eyes once again open. “Why do you say that?”

“Because the clothes don’t make me any less lethal. They’re more casual and they would seem to hide it, but I’m still the same man I am on the battlefield.”

“Yeah, I guess…” she admitted and rolled over to face away from him. It wasn’t something she wanted to hear right now though. Couldn’t he understand that?

He chewed on his bottom lip, her reaction warning him that he had said something wrong. “I would never hurt you, Maria. You must know that.”

Not intentionally maybe, she thought, exhausted. “I’m hurting. And it’s because of you.”

He nodded sadly. He’d had no choice in the connection either but she seemed intent on blaming him for it. “Very well then,” he said formally. “I’ll leave you to rest.” He could always work on his reports while she slept.

“No, don’t go,” she begged quietly.

“I don’t seem to be helping matters.”

“You’re wrong.”

He didn’t understand her. She blamed him for her pain but yet she didn’t want him to leave her alone. Could she be any more confusing?

Maria rolled over again, the movement causing her head to spin and she had to grab it for a moment until everything settled down again. “I wanted so badly for you to come back,” she admitted. “You were gone for so long.”

“You speak in the past tense,” he said stiffly. He could feel himself slipping back into the formalities of his rank and place in royalty and he hated it.

“I already told you I don’t want you to leave.”

“I’m not responsible for the connection or what it’s done.”

“I know,” she tried to sit up just a little and hoped it would help to clear her head. “I’m just scared of what it’s doing. You’re gone and I get weaker until I’m not even able to walk, while it doesn’t seem to affect you.”

“We will find the answers, Maria,” he promised. “I would imagine the effects aren’t as traumatic for me because of my alien side.”

She nodded and looked down at her hands in her lap. “Did you feel anything… at all?”

He shifted uncomfortably, not really wanting to discuss it but sensing that she needed to hear it. Shouldn’t she be able to tell with the connection? Shouldn’t the stupid thing just give her some sort of insight without him trying to come up with words to express it? He covered her hands with one of his and struggled just to put the words together in his own head.

A tear slipped down her cheek when he didn’t say anything, but at least he was touching her, so she did the only natural thing and turned her hand to take his fully.

“I don’t...” Talking was so overrated, he thought when the words remained stuck in his throat.

Her head snapped up with a shocked look. “You don’t?” she asked with a shaky voice.

“I don’t know how to describe what I felt,” he admitted, feeling like he might choke on the words. “I didn’t experience a physical weakness.”

She looked at him for a moment and then nodded before she slowly retrieved her hands from his. He couldn’t talk about it and maybe it was too much to ask that he ever would, considering that he was half Antarian AND the Commander.

“Maria...” he took her hands in his again. “Maria, I don’t... I don’t know HOW to express myself. I’m not the kind of man who discusses these things.” Why wasn’t the connection just doing what it seemed to do best?

Her eyes locked on their hands once more. Was he trying to…? She lifted her head and looked into his eyes. It seem to come slower than usual this time, maybe because of her weakened state, but the weird feeling in her head that always came with a flash was there and a moment later it began.
Image
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 40

Post by Double Trouble » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:03 pm

Part 40

Michael finally felt the connection establish itself and relief washed through him. He tried to relax and let her in to see what she needed to make her feel better.

Most of the scenes she saw were so rushed that it was hard to really see anything. There was the battlefield, a few small encounters with the enemy, conversations with the Captain, and then there was Ava. The scene slowed down as she concentrated more and she could hear parts of their conversation – something she had heard before when she had tried to connect with him. New were the feelings that came with it though. She could feel the worry creeping up his spine after the news of an attack, but the most surprising thing was that she had been the first person he had thought about.

The scene changed and he was pacing around an open field, alone and restless while his hand seemed to keep rubbing the spot over his heart. Memories of their last encounter before he had left were on his mind and Maria felt the hurt she had caused in him when she had pretty much told him she hated the connection. She felt his confusion about it because although they didn’t understand it, he didn’t see it as a burden like she did.

Everything went black and the only thing she could feel then was his determination to keep her safe, whether she hated him or not. As long as he stood on his own two feet he wouldn’t stop protecting her and taking out everything and everyone who was a threat.

Michael watched her, studying her expression and seeing the ease in her taut features. He hoped that meant she was seeing what she needed to see to know and understand what he couldn’t seem to verbalize. He had never been good at speaking aloud when it required a discussion about his feelings and even though he wanted to be able to tell her what she needed to hear, to assure her by sharing those things, he just couldn’t get the words to cooperate.

Although she wanted to go on, the flashed were taking her strength away and she didn’t have much at the moment, so she slowly let go of his hands and exhaled a long shaky breath.

“Maria?” He leaned forward and cradled her cheek. “Hey, you okay?”

“Okay, yes,” she muttered and stared up at the man she was connected to in a very strange way. What was he in the end? Her protector? Her friend? Soulmate? Lover?

“I don’t understand this connection either.” He leaned his elbows on the mattress and braced his weight on them. “The King’s Advisor has yet to discover anything helpful about it.”

“I know.” She turned her head to follow his movement. “I’m sorry for the things I said, I…” She shrugged helplessly. “I’m just scared of the things it’s doing with me.”

“I thought perhaps the distance would help, but it would appear that was a mistake.” He rubbed a hand over his face before unconsciously seeking hers out again. “How long after I left did you begin to feel like you were weakening?”

“You remember when I told you I feel restless when you’re not around?” She waited until he nodded before she continued. “It was pretty much like that again shortly after you left and it increased with each passing days. At some point I wasn’t even able to sleep anymore because I felt restless, like I needed to pace around all the time. Not sleeping obviously isn’t good for humans; it really started to affect me badly after a few nights of sleeping less than an hour or so.”

“We’ll continue working on trying to find answers. I know they exist; we just have to find them. I have no doubt the correct person has been put in place to seek answers. The Advisor is the best at gathering information and conducting research.” His gaze travelled over her exhausted features. “Until we do have answers we’ll have to find ways to work around the issue of distance.”

She chuckled quietly. “How you wanna do that? Pack me in your backpack while you’re out on the battlefield?”

He laughed and shook his head. “No, I can’t imagine that would work.”

“Probably not,” she admitted quietly and squeezed his hands. “And I don’t wanna be in the way. You are the Commander and I know you need to concentrate on the battlefield.”

“I don’t know how we’ll manage it but we will find a way to make this work.”

“Yeah.” She didn’t know how it would work either, but she believed him. “Maybe if you… No, forget it, it’s stupid.”

He tilted his head to one side, expecting her to continue, and when she didn’t he squeezed her hand to draw her gaze back to him. “Tell me.”

Maria sighed, but decided to tell him what was on her mind. “While you were gone I tried to… talk to you through the connection.” She rolled her eyes at how stupid it sounded and she looked at the ceiling, embarrassed. “It didn’t work, but I saw some things… you and Ava, so obviously there was something, so I was wondering if we both tried at the same time…”

“Did it help with the weakness?” he asked curiously.

“No. Not at all.”

He shook his head. “It didn’t help. You... just wanted to talk to me?” Why? he wondered. She hadn’t seemed to want anything to do with him just before he had taken off with Kyle.

“I wanted to ask you to come back,” she admitted with a blush.

“Because you felt bad,” he guessed and nodded in understanding. “Of course.”

“I’m glad it didn’t work though. You had other stuff to do.”

“But you think it would have helped?”

“I don’t know. It was just a suggestion. Maybe not.”

He ran a hand through his hair and mentally kicked himself. “I’m having a difficult time trying to get the words right. If it did work you would feel better because you could communicate with me?”

“That was the idea. I don’t know if it’d really make me feel better. Maybe it wouldn’t even work.”

“Tomorrow I will meet with the King and later I will go out to check with my soldiers to determine the damage from the attack. We can try then if you would like. Perhaps if we work on it with a smaller distance between us it will determine if working on it will enhance those abilities over greater distances.”

She smiled secretly when he really considered her crazy idea. “Okay.”

He nodded, satisfied when that seemed to make her happy. “How long has it been since you’ve eaten?”

“I…” she frowned, “…can’t really remember. The last few days I was so wiped out I don’t remember much at all.”

“Perhaps you would like something to eat? I can notify the kitchen staff and have something prepared.”

“Will you allow me to eat in your bed?” she teased and ran her hand over the fresh white sheets.

“Do you promise not to spill food everywhere?” he asked with a smirk. While eating in the bed hardly constituted a big concession on his part, sometimes it scared him just how much he was willing to give her.

“Then I think I’m feeling a bit hungry,” she decided and rested her back comfortably against a few pillows. “When’s the last time you ate, Commander?”

“Too long,” he said with a shrug. “Other things took precedence.” He stood and walked over to a communication device on his desk and he called up the head of his kitchen staff, putting in a request for their meals.

Maria smirked when he ordered a grilled cheese sandwich for her and gave the cook instructions about how to make it. “I wonder if he has any clue what you were talking about.”

“You said you enjoyed them so I’ve left him explicit instructions based on the notes the King’s new kitchen staff left for me.”

“You gonna eat with me?”

“I intend to do so, yes.”

“Perfect,” she said and for the first time in a while she was feeling comfortable again. “Now if there was only a TV. We could lie in bed, eat unhealthy food, and watch some stupid show.”

“TV,” he mused, trying to remember.

“Yeah, you remember? A mostly black box in living rooms that played colorful videos on the screen.”

“Yes, of course.” He paused a moment, thinking. “Wait here,” he said and disappeared without waiting for a response.

Maria glanced at the bathroom door when he left. Although she felt still weak, she could make it in there and back, right? Carefully she slipped out of the bed and fought the wave of dizziness that washed over her before she slowly walked across the room.

Michael came back nearly 10 minutes later carrying a crate in his hands. He elbowed the door open and frowned at the silence. He paused for a heartbeat before hurrying into the bedroom and his heart thumped heavily against his chest when he saw Maria on the floor. He placed the crate on the ground and rushed to her side. “Maria, what happened?” he questioned as he lifted her up in his arms to carry her back to bed.

“Just felt dizzy after using the bathroom and I thought I’d rather sit down on the floor than fall and hit my head on something,” she told him and rested her head against his chest. The ease with which he had her picked up was impressive; you’d think she only had the weight of a baby.

“You’re certain you’re alright? I could summon Dr. Collon.”

She shook her head. “Please, no. I swear, if he tries to poke me with one more needle, I’m gonna slap him.”

He laughed at that and settled her back in the bed. “I suppose there’s no need to do that to the good doctor.” He faced her as he sat next to her, reaching up to check her forehead. “It’s likely just being upright after not being mobile for several days.”

“I’m sure it’s just that,” she agreed.

“Very well then. We’ll save the doctor being subjected to such violence for another day.”

She snorted and glanced around him. “What’ve you got there?”

He turned to follow her gaze and then got to his feet. “My sister, like most women, packed enough to more than adequately take up every available inch of space in the transport when we were retrieved from Earth. She’s the type to hide things that she thinks anyone might take from her so when we were put in training to remove so much of what was felt to be undesirable in Antarian royalty, she creatively hid things she didn’t want the guards to take.” He shrugged when Maria looked at him questioningly. “Our belongings were searched and things deemed unnecessary were removed and destroyed. Tess is very good at hiding things important to her though. It took her a while to remember how to use some of them when she later found them, but she’s managed to hold onto them.” He retrieved the crate and carried it closer, removing the lid and lifting something out. “It’s a type of recording device with a screen... neither of us can remember what it’s called, but there are many hours of talking pictures on it.” He offered it to her. “Is this like TV?”

“It is,” she nodded excited. “Awesome!”

Awesome was apparently a good thing, he decided when he saw her excitement. “Perhaps you will find something you enjoy?”

“Sure I will. I was a TV junkie back home, so let me introduce you to some real cool stuff.”

He nodded at the doorway when someone knocked on the door to his quarters. “That will be our meal.” He motioned for her to stay put. “Which I will get and bring back to you.”

“Did I tell you how glad I am that you’re back?” she teased with a wink, but it was also the truth.

“You can tell me more,” he said, smirking as he went to retrieve their dinner from his kitchen staff.

By the time he came back with the food, she had already turned on the little portable recorder and to her delight there were a few movies on it she really liked. “Which side on the bed do you prefer?”

“Whichever. You’re fine where you are.” He nodded at the device while he set the serving tray down on his dresser and lifted the covers off of the plates. “You’ve found something you like?”

“A lot.”

“Very good then. I believe all of your criteria has been met for a perfect evening.” He carried the plates over to the bed.

“I think you’re right.” She helped him with it. “Should we first eat and watch later?”

“That or do both at the same time.” He shrugged and settled beside her. “I’m open to either option.”

“What do you have for dinner?” She leaned over to look at his plate and made a face at the jalapenos everywhere.

“It’s meat from animals raised here. The animals were crossbred with Earth cattle to create a breed strong enough to survive the weather here.” He poked at the vegetables on one side of the plate and made a face. “Dinner bread,” he said with a motion at the rolls, “and of course, potatoes.”

She took a bite of her sandwich and chewed on it slowly. “Well, Liz’ is better, but this one’s good too.”

“I would offer to bring her into my kitchens, but I’m afraid the King would refuse to release her on a permanent basis.”

“You can count on that,” she agreed with a laugh.

“He’s become quite fond of her.” He cut into the meat and speared a roasted jalapeno along with it before taking a bite.

“Us human girls aren’t that bad,” she said around a mouthful.

“No, no, you’re not.”

They ate for a moment in silence until, from the corner of her eye, she saw him spill a bit of gravy on the blanket and then made it disappear with his powers. “I saw that you know. Who’s the one making a mess now?”

“It’s not making a mess if it technically doesn’t exist,” he said and licked his fingers after using them to pull the meat apart.

“Well, that’s just not fair because I don’t have those powers.”

“You’re not making a mess either though,” he pointed out.

“Stop me,” she said and dipped her finger into the hot cheese on her sandwich and then ran it over the blanket between them in shape of a smiley.

He stared at the cheesy smile on the sheets for a moment before lifting his gaze to meet her laughing eyes. “I suppose you’ll have to figure out how to remove that,” he said and grinned as he used his powers to move the mess over to her side of the bed. “Otherwise you’ll be sleeping on crunchy cheese later on.”

“That is so not fair, buddy.”

“Your cheese,” he shrugged.

She huffed and moved further to the end of the bed before she started eating again. He would make it go away, it was just a matter of time.

He just smiled and went back to his meal. “You can’t sleep that close to the edge of the bed and not fall off.”

“Then I’m gonna come over and take your space.”

“You’ll have a fight on your hands. My side’s not cheesy.”

She shoved the last bit of her sandwich into her mouth and then looked at him. “You’d really fight me?”

“Well, I’m not giving up the clean side of the sheets.”

“You don’t have to give them up. You just need to share.”

He looked down for a moment, studying the sheets. “Oh, I don’t know. Not a lot of extra room on my side.”

“I’m small.”

“Not denying that, but I take up more than my fair share of a bed. Be mighty close quarters.”

“Well, if you put it like that, I guess I’m just sleeping on dry cheese then,” she told him stubbornly and grabbed the recorder to pick out a movie.

He bit back the laugh at her indignant response. He wouldn’t let her sleep on crunchy cheese but he wasn’t giving in so quickly either.

“Found something,” she said after a while and then glanced in between them. “But since you’re gonna be mean I’ll have to watch it alone because it’s too small to view together from this distance.”

“Very well. I suppose I’ll retrieve my tablet and work on the morning reports.”

She rolled her eyes slightly, but didn’t say anything. If he wanted to be like that... fine. Maybe it was better to keep distance. She pressed a few buttons on the device and the movie started. She smiled when she saw the first scenes. Yeah, she had missed TV.

Michael retrieved his tablet as he had said he would but he couldn’t concentrate on his reports. He kept looking up at her every time she would laugh or smile and it distracted him from what he had insisted he would work on. After nearly 20 minutes he couldn’t take it any longer and he shifted, stretching his arm out and running his hand over the cheesy smile decorating his sheets, making it disappear.

She briefly glanced up at his action and smiled to herself, but kept her focus on the movie. If he wanted to join her then he sure as hell had to make the first move.

He waited and frowned impatiently when she didn’t do as he had expected. He drummed his fingertips on the tablet, unaware of the action. After several more minutes he took a handful of the covers and pulled her back towards him.

“Hey,” she yelped in surprise when the movement rolled her towards him.

“Hey,” he said, his voice low and deep.

She swallowed as their gazes met. “Change your mind?”

“You seem to be enjoying yourself and you promised to introduce me to...” he paused a moment to remember her exact words, “some real cool stuff.”

“Alright,” she sighed as if it was a burden and handed him the device. “You gonna hold it?”

He mimicked her sigh as if he was being put under undue pressure. “If I must.”

“You must,” she told him and tried to get comfortable, but she couldn’t quite find a position that worked for longer than a few minutes before her neck would start to hurt.

He balanced the device on his legs and held his hand out to her as he slouched down comfortably.

Maria looked at it for a moment, not sure what he had in mind, but she took it anyway.

He carefully pulled her closer and she settled against him, shifting to find just the right spot. “Perhaps that will help.”

“Could work,” she admitted quietly as she laid her head on his shoulder. She wasn’t sure what to do with her hand and after a moment she gave herself a nudge and placed it on his chest.

“What are we viewing?” he asked as he rubbed her arm.

“It’s a comedy about people around our age in college.”

“Tess insists I’ve seen many of these movies but I haven’t viewed them since she confided in me about the device.”

“It’s sad they didn’t let you keep anything from your former life.”

“They felt it necessary.” He shrugged one shoulder, lightly jostling her. “It wasn’t a process any of us wanted to go through but we had no choice in the matter.”

She sat up slightly and glanced around for a moment before she crawled around the bed and nudged his legs apart to sit in between them. “Can you sit up a bit?”

He set the device aside and placed his palms flat on the bed to push his body upright then waited to see what she wanted.

Crawling further up she reached behind him to set some pillows up. When his warm breath ghosted over her neck, she suddenly became aware of how close she was, but she pushed the thought away quickly and reached for his shoulder to press him gently back against the pillows.

Michael went along with it, letting her arrange his position to her satisfaction. “Is there some reason for this?” he asked after several minutes of being rearranged.

“Yeah, the position was getting uncomfortable again,” she told him and then looked at him with a smile before she turned around and got comfortable between his legs with her back against his chest.

“Better now?” he asked, the words rumbling through her where they touched.

“Much.”

“Very well then.” He pulled his knees up so that they bracketed her body and wrapped his arms around her. He turned the device so they could see it even though he had a feeling she wouldn’t be awake for long.

“You’ll tell me if I get to heavy, right?” she asked after a short while. Somehow it was really had to concentrate on the movie with his body so close to hers. At the back of her head she could feel his heart constantly beating strong and slow and it had a weird calming influence on her.

Michael snorted slightly. “My uniform and sword are heavier than you, crazy woman.”

She smirked silently and rested one of her hands on his with a squeeze. “Thanks.”

He bent his head slightly. “For what?”

“I don’t know… for not freaking out about this whole connection thing going on.” It really helped that he was looking at things so positively rather than the opposite.

Michael could tell she was beginning to feel better. Her energy was returning slowly, but compared to the state she had been in when he had first returned her improvement was remarkable. “Commanders do not freak out for any reason.”

She laughed quietly at his imperious tone. “No? Not ever?”

“Never. Can you imagine any army following a Commander who freaked out in response to certain situations? It wouldn’t inspire confidence.”

“That is hard to picture.” She was quiet for a few minutes, her eyes following the action on the screen without really bothering to pay attention to it. “Michael?”

He tipped his head to the side to look at her. “What is it?”

“The weapons used today… will you attempt to create similar weapons?”
Image
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

Locked