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Chapter 12

      Jeremy tossed and turned. He'd woken up, and after trying to fall back to sleep for some time, he looked at the clock. Two AM. And he was fully awake. He could stay here, tossing and turning, or he could go do something productive.

      A quick shower, dressed, tools in hand, and he was entering the kelsirian ship. The guard just nodded to him, he'd come and go some much that he didn't need an escort anymore. If the commander knew that he basically had free reign of the ship, he'd either be horrified, or demanding that he poke in every cubbyhole and report what he found.

      The corridors were deserted, but he was still surprised to find the lights dimmed, and engineering empty. He'd expected there to always be someone monitoring. He didn't mind, he could do the work he was planing on alone.

      * * * * *

      He'd been working inside the generator for an hour when he heard a door open and close. They had finished replacing the damaged section the previous day, and most of the work now consisted of reconnected the circuitry. Jeremy saw a shadow out the corner of his eyes. It moved around the generator, and then stopped. He could see a pair of kelsirian feet, brown fur marbled with lighter brown. He didn't understand why the circuits were build so large, He could easily rebuild the circuit he was repairing, small enough to fit eight of them in the same space.

      He finished the connection and crawled out of the opening. He looked at the kelsirian waiting for him and stood straighter on seeing who it was.

      "Captain," Jeremy said, and kept the mental box close by in anticipation of the anxiety attack.

      "Engineer," Growler nodded, "how are the repairs going?"

      "They're going well, I expect that in a few days we'll have reconnected all the circuits and we'll be ready to do a test power up." Jeremy stayed mentally aware of his state, wondering why the attack hadn't come yet. His heart was beating fast, but it was with trepidation, not anxiety. "Do you always come to engineering in the middle of the night?"

      "No." Growler's lips stretched in what Jeremy now recognized as a smile. "The guard at the access informed me you'd boarded the ship. I decided to come see you, without being one in a crowd of many."

      "How do you get anything done, if you're always being informed of who comes and goes on the ship?"

      "I don't. Normally the information goes to the watch on duty, but I left special orders to be contacted directly when you're the one to come on the ship"

      Jeremy felt himself blush. "Why?" he whispered.

      "Because I've been asking the Gods for the day when I can do this." Growler took a step and reached for Jeremy. He gently ran the back of his hand down his cheek.

      Jeremy started panting, gazing in Growler's deep eyes azure eyes. He swallowed and realized he was rubbing his cheek against the hand. He didn't noticed that Growler was closer until he felt his muzzle against his neck, and then a tongue moved up along it.

      He backed up until he hit the generator console. He put his hands on each side of Growler's head and forced him back in front of him. He tried to kiss him, but lips on muzzle didn't work very well. After a moment of surprise Growler licked his lips and nibbled them gently.

      Jeremy returned the gesture, and then yelped in surprise when Growler lifted him, and sat him on the console. Jeremy wrapped his legs around him and pulled him against him, gasping as he felt the kelsirian's erection pressed against him.

      Why wasn't he afraid of what was obviously going to happen, Jeremy wondered to himself. He didn't know, but he did feel he needed some breathing room. He pulled out of the nibbling. "Is this really an appropriate place for this?" he asked softly.

      "No, it isn't." He could see the effort Growler had to make to calm himself.

      They were gazing in each other's eyes when they heard a light gasp. They turned to see a furry back walking away. A moment later a door opened and closed.

      "I guess," Jeremy said, "that if the others are arriving, I should get back to work." He didn't want to work. He wanted to stay in Growler's arms, to find out what else might happen.

      Growler reluctantly pulled away. "Yes, I expect you should."

      "Wait, why me?" The question had been at the back of his mind since he'd suspected why Growler kept looking in on him. The kelsirian tilted his head. "You have a ship full of people, I'm not even the same species as you. Why do you want me?"

      "Because each time I see you, I'm alive. My heart tells me that you're the one for me. That you are the warrior for me."

      "I'm not a warrior," Jeremy looked away, and Growler gently grabbed his cheek and made him turn his head so he could look in his eyes.

      "You are a warrior, I saw it on that first day, when you fought not to react to your affliction. I saw it when you came back on the ship, knowing that you'd see me, and terrified of that moment. The battles you fought have been inside you, but you still fought them." He pulled him down from the console. "When you are ready to have your meal, come find me. I would be honored to have it with you." He nibbled on the side of Jeremy's lips before heading out.

      Jeremy was still dazed when Thuruk walked around the generator. He shook his head to clear it, and realized the kelsirian was looking at him oddly.

      "What's wrong?" Jeremy asked. Had he done something horribly wrong by being that close to the ships captain?

      "What are you doing?"

      Great, he had done something wrong. He tried a few times to explain himself, finally saying. "We were just talking." He wondered if it sounded as lame to Thuruk as it did to him.

      "Is that what humans call what I saw?"

      Jeremy reddened. He grabbed a tool and turned to get back in the generator, where Thuruk couldn't see his embarrassment, but the kelsirian grabbed his arm.

      "What are you doing?"

      "Look," Jeremy said with a sigh, "I'm sorry if me and Gr . . . The captain did something wrong, I didn't know."

      "He left," was all Thuruk said in response.

      "Yes, we have work to do."

      "You let him leave?"

      "We have to repair the generator."

      Thuruk took the tool out of his hand and grabbed him by the shoulders. "The generator can wait. Listen to me, are you really going to let your Heart walk away from you?"

      Jeremy was taken aback by the earnestness in Thuruk's voice. He looked at the generator, an inert machine, and then beyond it, at the door he couldn't see, but knew Growler had left by.

      "No, I'm not." He ran out of engineering without a second thought.

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Oh God! That got many levels of interesting.... I almost had a heart attack when I wasn't able to access the site this afternoon.... But this update was definitely amazing...


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