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Chapter 35

      For the first week and a half, Jeremy fumed.

      The guards, there were always two of them, would escort him from this quarters to engineering, and back. He didn't really know any of them. They were familiar to him, after all these years everyone on the ship was, but he didn't think he'd even interacted with them. He was certain Gral had picked them on purpose, he didn't want anyone he was friends with cutting him any slack.

      The point was solidly made when he tried to go to the shops, to get some things they needed. His guards wouldn't let him go. They guided him to his apartment, and he had to get Gral to get them. He'd been angry enough that night that he wanted to go sleep with a friend, rather than in his own place.

      Of course the guards wouldn't let him. So he'd tried to sleep on the couch, but found that for all his anger, he missed having Gral next to him, so he'd gone back to their bed, and while not talking to him, he'd curled up against him.

      The next two weeks he simmered. He acted like his guards weren't there. He didn't try to lose them, or go where he wasn't suppose to, he simply didn't acknowledge they were there.

      He spent a week trying to become friends with them, but they wouldn't have any of it. Jeremy had no idea what orders Gral had given them, but he certainly made sure they were afraid of disobeying them.

      After that he was sullen for a while. By the end of the sixth week, which he's spent mostly in contemplation, he realized that with all the screaming, arguing, fuming and other emotions he'd gone through, there was one thing he hadn't done.

      Jeremy closed the door to their bedroom. The cubs had been sleeping for a few hours now, and the two of them had kept busy separately. Gral was already naked, sitting on the edge of their bowl shaped bed. Jeremy took a breath and turned to face him.

      "I'm sorry," he said. Gral tilted his head. "I'm sorry I killed those Taournians, I'm sorry I tortured that human. You're right, I know better, and I've been trained better than that." He needed to pause steel himself again. "I'm sorry I endangered the ship, and the operation. I'm sorry I endangered us."

      Gral indicated he should move closer, and Jeremy stepped forward until he was right in front of him. Gral rested his head against Jeremy's chest, and wrapped his arms around him. "Thank you," he said softly.

      Jeremy was still looking down at him, perplexed, when Gral finally looked up, eyes damp. "That's all I wanted," he said. "I just needed you to acknowledge you'd been wrong."

      "Are you saying that if I'd apologize back then I could have avoided the guards?"

      Gral looked him the eyes. "Would you have meant it?"

      Jeremy looked back into the deep amber pools, Gods he'd missed loosing himself into those eyes. "No, I wouldn't have." He didn't even consider lying to him.

      "I need to know something," Gral said, "you know that what you did to that human was wrong, but how do you feel about it?"

      Jeremy had to look away for a moment. "I want to do it again," he whispered. "I know it's wrong, and you were right. It wasn't all about getting him to answer my questions. I wanted him to suffer."

      "Like you suffered?"

      Jeremy nodded.

      Gral let himself fall back into the bed, pulling Jeremy along with him. The shape of the bed almost forced them to end up curled up together in its center.

      "I'd like you to talk to Lieha. She's trained to help with the kind of trauma you went through."

      "I will," Jeremy answered. He had already been planing on going to talk to her.

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