Michelle Pichette


Chapter 28



* * *

     Harper talked to himself as he hurried to the Institute’s main entrance.  Okay, he told himself, Dom was mad because she thought he was lying about something major.  He’d fix it.  He’d come clean about his lungs being messed up and tell her no big deal, that Crane was totally blowing things out of proportion.  That made his conscience twitch.  Then he would be lying.  He grimaced.  No, he had to tell her about his how his immune system did a spotty job a lot of the time.  He shook his head with a groan.  He couldn’t tell her that.  She’d really freak and he couldn’t tell her that she didn’t need to because Dylan had pumped him full of nanobots that helped him to be at least closer to average health wise.  He couldn’t do that because the Admiral had made him promise not to.  He wouldn’t lie because he liked that Dom trusted him and didn’t want to give her reasons not to.  He couldn’t tell the truth because he could he was sworn to secrecy on half of it.  Trying desperately not to hyperventilate, Harper did his best to convince himself that the right words would come if he just started talking.

     He got out the front exit of the Institute just as Dom was pulling up.  He climbed into the passenger seat saying, “Look, I know that...”

     “Don’t,” Dom cut him off, sounding equally worried and miffed.  “I need to concentrate on driving.”

     Harper fell back into his seat, utterly miserable.  He couldn’t believe the best thing that had ever happened in his life was under threat and it wasn’t even his fault!  He looked at Dom, who was just staring out the windshield with shiny, red rimmed eyes and he got a tight feeling in his throat.  What was he going to do?  He didn’t want to lose her, but he couldn’t tell her about his health issues without worrying her unnecessarily or telling her everything.  He didn’t want to betray the Admiral’s trust either, not when Nelson was trying to keep him safe from harm and being so wonderfully kind to him.  He clenched a fist, hating Crane for putting him in this position, but then he let it go.  Anger wasn’t helping him to think and he needed to have a clear head to find a solution to this dilemma.  He just wished the ride to Dom’s house was longer because all too soon they were pulling into her garage.

     Without a word and before he could say or do anything, Dom got out of her Jeep and went into the house.  Harper sighed, then slammed his head in the headrest a couple of times in frustration, hoping to knock some idea loose.  All he did was give himself a little bit of a headache.  Sighing again, he got out of the Jeep and slowly walked toward the door.  This was what he got for being too happy.  He should have known that fate would punish him, rip it all away.  Wasn’t that what always happened?  He’d figured that he’d only lasted on the Andromeda as long as he had because he kept taking physical abuse to make up for being fairly content.  If only he didn’t have to go against the Admiral’s wishes, he’d just tell Dom about the nanobots and the Andromeda and everything else so she wouldn’t worry about how messed up he was health wise.  He’d wanted to anyway.  Then an idea came to him and a smile lit his face.  Okay, it was cheating, but Dom was already upset with him, so he didn’t suppose this would make things any worse.  As for the Admiral being upset with him, well, he supposed that when Crane told him what had happened that was pretty much going to be what happened anyway.  Might as well go for broke, Harper decided as he opened the door.

     When he got in, he found Dom sitting by the kitchen table with another chair pulled facing hers, waiting, looking like she was either going to yell at him or start crying again.  He didn’t give her a chance to do either.  He went down on one knee and took her hand and said with a sheepish smile, “Will you marry me?”

     Dom snatched her hand from him, looking confused and a little angry.  “Seamus Harper, I swear... If you think that’s going to get you off the hook, you’re sadly mistaken!”

     “I didn’t.  I...” Harper said, standing back up and reaching to touch her cheek, but she stood up too, dodging his hand.  She looked like she was about to punch him dead in the face, so he grabbed her by the upper arms and pulled her back down into her chair, taking the seat facing hers.  “Look, the Admiral made me promise not to tell you about any of this unless I was ready to propose.  I know we haven’t gotten to there yet, but at least now he can’t get too mad at me ‘cause I did propose and...”

     Dom leaned forward quickly and clamped a hand over his mouth, giving him a warning look.  “The next words that come out of your mouth had better make sense and had better be about why Lee was in the lab making nice or I am kicking your sorry butt out the door.  Got it?”  Harper nodded, certain he looked appropriately terrified about the possibility of being kicked out of Dom’s live forever, because Dom moved her hand.  “So, let’s hear it,” Dom said, still sounding angry, but Harper could see undeniable worry in her face.  It was the only thing that kept Harper from being totally panic stricken.  He still had a chance to fix this.

     Harper drew a deep breath, trying to calm himself so he wouldn’t start talking fast and in circles.  “I have a faulty immune system and a lot of scar tissue in my lungs,” he stated then gave her a pained, questioning look.  Was he getting tossed out the door?  The anger vanished off Dom’s face because naked fear pushed it out of the way.  Harper leaned forward quickly and took her hands in his, saying, “But it’s okay.  Really.  See, I’m from the future and I’ve got these teenie, tiny robots in me that keep everything running mostly smoothly.  They’re called nanobots.  The Admiral didn’t want anyone to know about them or that I’m from the future because he was afraid that I’d get kidnapped or somebody would hurt me or something.  I was afraid of that too, and that’s why I didn’t tell you before even though I wanted to.  I have all along, honest, but at first I was afraid that you’d think I was crazy and send me away, then last night I was going to, but we fell asleep, and I was going to tell you everything tonight, but then I had to tell the Admiral this morning because he was freaking out about Doctor Jamieson telling him that my immune system wasn’t working right, which I didn’t think he’d figure out so quickly since the medical practices here aren’t very advanced, not that it matters because I’m okay, really, so I don’t know why Captain was going all psycho about things, especially since I haven’t told him about anything being wrong with me and I doubt the Admiral has, but now you know that it’s okay, but the Admiral is gonna kill me because he ordered me not to tell you anything about all the future stuff unless our relationship got really serious even though I told him that I wanted to and almost did yesterday, which is why I proposed even though...”

     Dom clamped a hand over his mouth again, giving him a dubious look as she seemed to think over everything he’d just babbled at her.  Her doing it actually came as sort of a relief because Harper had pretty much gone into vocal autopilot and if she hadn’t stopped him, he would have kept going until he passed out from lack of oxygen.  Dom didn’t look angry, exactly, or worried precisely.  He couldn’t figure out what he was seeing on his face and he started praying that all the words he’d just squeezed quickly out had done him more good than harm.

     “You’re from the future?” she asked after a few moments.  He nodded, her hand staying firmly in place as he did.  “You aren’t dying?”  He shook his head.  “Your immune system doesn’t work?”  That wasn’t totally true, but since he couldn’t exactly launch into a lengthy explanation, Harper nodded again.  The worried expression on Dom’s face intensified.  “But you have nanobots that do what its supposed to do?”  Again, not exactly true, but close enough, so he nodded, relieved that her expression became a little less anxious.  “The Admiral knows about all this?”  Another nod.  “And Doctor Jamieson?”  He shook his head, then lifted a hand to waggle it, hoping that she understood that to mean the doctor knew some things but not everything.  This would be a lot easier if she’d let him talk, but she didn’t seem ready to do that yet.  She gave him a pout and said, “I come in a poor third.”  Harper shook his head frantically.  “And you’re going to disappear back off to the future again now that I’ve gotten attached to you, aren’t you?”  She looked hurt, but at least she moved her hand off his mouth.

     “No.  The guy that kicked my ass and tossed me in the bay?  He wasn’t a human guy and he tossed me through some sort of time vortex or something.  I can’t go back, so you’re stuck with me.  Well, not you personally, not if you don’t want to be anymore, even though I really, really hope that’s not true.  I’d hate to lose my first girlfriend over something some other guy said.  I figured with my big mouth I’d do it for sure long before...”

     “Wait!  Go back.  First girlfriend?” Dom interrupted him, then gave him a suspicious look.  “You sure don’t kiss like you’ve never had a girlfriend.”

     “Never said I was pure as the driven snow,” Harper replied, knowing he was blushing a little.  He certainly hadn’t intended to broach the subject of his less than impressive history with women this way, but it was out there now, so he might as well just get things over with.  It wasn’t like there was that much to tell.  He had the feeling Dom knew from previous conversations that she was the only virgin in the room anyway.  “But there’s a big difference between someone being drunk enough to do the horizontal mambo with me or someone who kisses my lips off to get something from me and someone who actually cares about me and really wants to be with me and I was sort of hoping...” He paused and moved closer to stroke Dom’s face.  She didn’t swat him away, which came as a huge relief.  “I was sort of hoping that even though I was using it as a loop hole this time that maybe someday I’d get to say... what I said before and have it be real and have you be happy to hear it and...”

     Dom was suddenly kissing him, which took him by total surprise, but it was the sort of surprise he could live with.  Today had been so full of upheaval that he could only hope that the kiss he was currently enjoying meant that this latest jab that life was taking at him might not be as terrible as he feared it was going to be.  When Dom let him breathe again, he asked, “So does that mean you’re not mad at me anymore?”  Please, please let it mean that!

     “You’ve still got a lot of explaining to do, but if the Admiral made you promise not to say anything, you probably should keep your word.  I’m sorry I freaked out, but I thought you were dying and that you weren’t going to tell me or lie about the whole thing.  I don’t know which thing upset me more.  I’m glad none of that was true.  Believe it or not, you being from the future makes sense in a weird sort of way and I can deal with that better than you being sick or something,” Dom told him, her face still close to his, relief making her features soft again.

     Harper took advantage of her nearness and kissed her long and deep, beyond thrilled that she was still letting him kiss her at all.  He wasn’t going to keep anything from Dom ever again, not if was going to make her cry and make him as unhappy as he had been in her jeep.  It wasn’t worth it.  Besides, he was a huge blabbermouth when he was among friends.  He was surprised that he had kept his secrets from her for even this length of time.  Dom was the best girlfriend in the history of the known universe if she was forgiving him this easy for keeping things from her and for coping with the reality of his situation with such calmness.  Harper was going to make sure she knew that what had happened tonight in the lab was never, ever going to happen again.

     When he broke off the kiss, he stroked Dom’s face saying, “I’m not in love with the Admiral, so he’ll just have to forgive me for telling you whatever you want to know.  Ask me anything, any time, any place, and I’ll tell you, I swear.  I don’t ever want to make you cry again.”

     Dom gave him an odd look.  “Did you just say you’re in love with me?”  He hadn’t been trying to make her uncomfortable, but he supposed he probably had.  He didn’t expect her to profess her undying devotion for him.  Heck, he was still a little surprised when she didn’t shove him away each time he kissed her.  She’d made it plain that she didn’t want more than kissing and maybe a little cuddling from him, at least for the time being, and he was a little afraid that she’d eventually decide that she didn’t even want that anymore.  He didn’t mind moving slow so that she could be comfortable with him.  If he was patient and didn’t push, like the Admiral had said, maybe Dom would want more from him for the rest of his life, not just for one night and then she’d be gone.  Thinking that could happen made him hurt down in the middle of his chest and scared that she might leave him.  He didn’t want to lose her.  He didn’t want to stop feeling loved by someone that didn’t really need him for anything, even if she didn’t realize that it was love yet.  He knew it was.  Nothing else could make him feel this good and this scared all at the same time.

     “I fall in love constantly,” he admitted sheepishly.  “I’m hopeless.  Women can be as evil, cruel, and violent as possible toward me and I still want them.  Of course, this time I went and fell in love with someone who’s been sweet and kind and wonderful to me, and I have totally bonded with her, and once I bond with someone, I am so utterly loyal that it would shock and amaze you.  So I only want you and I probably will always only want you for as long as you let me stay around.  I’m afraid that the only way you’re getting rid of me is to tie me up and sell me to one of the mad scientist types I’ve been terrified of since I got here.  I’d sort of appreciate it if you didn’t do that, though.”

     Dom shook her head at him, giving him that little ‘you’re so silly’ smile, to Harper’s infinite delight.  “What am I going to do with you?”

     “Anything you want.  Ever wanted your own personal slave?  I volunteer if it means you’ll keep me, right here,” Harper paused put her hand over his heart and to kiss her again.  When he broke the kiss and looked in her eyes, he could still see concerns and doubts and decided he had to make with the funny fast before he scared her away.  “I’m willing to cater to your every need.  You already know I do housework.  Should I put on one of those little maid things next time?”  Dom giggled at the thought.  That was good.  Keep things light and breezy, Harper, because there had been way too much serious tonight already.  “Of course, slaves are supposed to be confined, not that I’d run off.  Still, maybe you better chain me up, preferably to your bed.  There’s still lots of stuff that I know how to do really well that you have yet to experience.  I’d be more than willing to demonstrate.”

     “You have some bizarre fantasy about being tied up, don’t you?  And I thought you were supposed to be my slave.  That sounds more like you want me to be your little sex kitten,” Dom said, giving him a narrow look.

     “No, no!  This is all about you and your wants and needs, I swear.  My own personal gratification has absolutely no bearing on things.  In fact, everything below my waist is forgotten until you say otherwise.  When you have a use for something down there, you let me know.  From now on, just consider me your willing slave boy, ready to cater to your every whim.  You tell me what you want and I’ll deliver.”  There were still plenty of fun options to be explored even given those limitations.

     Dom laughed softly and said, “Oh, really?”  Harper nodded enthusiastically.  “You know what I want right now?”  Her voice had grown soft and sultry and gave him shivers.

     “What?” Harper asked, hoping it involved going upstairs and messing up the bed linens.

     “Food.  I’m hungry, and you told me you can’t cook,” Dom said with another chuckle.

     Harper felt like groaning, but then figured if Dom was teasing him, he really was out of the dog house and he could relax.  “So, I’ll learn.  How hard could it be?  You throw stuff in a pot and cook until tasty.  Not exactly brain surgery.”

     “It’s a little more complicated than that,” Dom said, then cocked her head to one side and gingerly ran a finger along the sensitive skin around his port.  He shivered with pleasure as his eyes all but closed, absently wondering if he should tell her how erotic what she was doing was.  No, better not, then she might stop and never do it again.  Much as he didn’t like other people doing it because touching him there the wrong way could be extremely painful, he didn’t mind her touching his port.  He would happily let her touch any part of him with her soft, gentle fingers.  In fact, he began imagining her running her hands over all sorts of places and how nice it would feel.  “So what is this really?” she asked, ghosting her fingers over the area again, making him bite the inside of his lip to keep himself quiet.  “You can tell me while I throw things in pots and cook until tasty.”  With that she lowered her hand and rose.  Harper forced himself to take a moment to make sure his voice wouldn’t be a few octaves higher than normal when he answered her question.

     “It’s a neural interface.  It lets my brain sort of jump into computers and poke around.”

     “Isn’t that dangerous?  What if the computer had a virus?  Couldn’t it infect your brain?”

     “No.  Computer brains and human brains don’t work the same way so a virus couldn’t really attack me.  That’s not to say you can’t get a nasty jolt every so often.  Heck, Rommie’s zapped me more than once, a couple of times just for the heck of it, I think.  And we won’t even go into what a Perseid downloading an entire library worth of information into a guy is like.”

     “So who is Rommie and what is a Perseid?” Dom asked as she moved around the kitchen.  Harper smiled.  It was going to be an interesting night, but he didn’t mind talking, especially to Dom. More than anything, he was glad that Dom was asking questions and he wasn’t walking back to the Institute to be alone.

* * *

     Dom had been ready to toss Seamus out the door if she’d needed to, angry with him about what seemed to have happened in the lab back at the Institute.  It seemed like he’d been lying to her and not about some unimportant little thing, but about something major.  Seamus had talked to her about all sorts of things and he had seemed comfortable telling her about just about everything current in his life.  A lot of his past he didn’t talk about.  Considering his scars and that Dom assumed from what he had told her that most of his childhood had been sad and scarey, she didn’t push.  He had told her a few things about his family and the crews of the ships he’d worked on.  She had figured that he would tell her more if she needed to know about it or as they got closer and spent more time together.  He didn’t know everything about her either, after all.

     When Lee had said that Seamus was sick enough to warrant ‘the face’ and had not told her about it, that made her feel angry and hurt.  She’d thought that he would tell her about something like that without being forced to.  After his physical, when they had been out last night, Seamus had told her about Doctor Jamieson’s concerns about his lungs, vague as those concerns were at the time.  She just couldn’t imagine why he wouldn’t tell her if something were actually wrong.  He had to know that she would stand by him, not make him face things alone.  It had hurt to think he didn’t trust her with the truth.

     As extenuating circumstances went, what Seamus had confessed a few moments ago pretty much set a new high mark.  What he’d said also killed off any left over anger in her and went a long way to take care of the worry she suddenly felt over his health.  No wonder Lee didn’t know anything and the Admiral had sworn Seamus to secrecy.  If anyone else found out where Seamus was really from, all sorts of chaos would ensue.  Lee would have a heart attack or insist on Seamus being confined because of what had gone on in the past when someone from the future popped up.  Dom, however, knew from what he’d said that Seamus was just someone who had been caught up in something beyond his control, not someone here to do people harm.  The Admiral obviously felt the same way, hence the fact that nothing had changed between him and Seamus since he told Nelson everything this morning.

     Dom wasn’t angry with Seamus anymore, though she was still a little concerned about his health problems.  He was getting extra helpings of things with vitamin C from now on and she would research how else to shore up a weak immune system.  She couldn’t do much about his lungs, she supposed, but she would make sure he was well away from people smoking and other such things that could further hurt him.  She’d talk to the Admiral about it, but not tomorrow.  She was a little miffed with him about his telling Seamus to basically lie to her about himself, but she could understand his reasoning.  At least the Admiral seemed to have done what he did to protect Seamus.  Still, if the Admiral wanted secrecy, he’d have it.  Dom had told Seamus not to tell the Admiral that she knew anything and she would carry on as if that were true, at least at the Institute.  Seamus had seemed relieved about that and Dom was happy that he trusted her not to get him into trouble about his forced truth telling.

     Dom was definitely angry with Lee.  He could have done a lot of things when she walked in at exactly the wrong moment, but he decided to make sure she was good and upset with Seamus rather than trying to defuse the situation.  He had been trying to get her to push Seamus away since before they were dating and he’d probably looked on what had happened as a golden opportunity.  Dom didn’t like this sudden trend of most of the men in her life suddenly becoming overprotective, but Lee was by far the worst offender in that group.  Lee had better leave her personal life alone from here on out or he would find out how unpleasant she could be.

     As Dom made dinner, all she could basically do was listen.  Now that the truth telling gates were opened, Seamus seemed to be determined to tell her everything about himself and his life in the future that he could squeeze out in the time they had before and during dinner.  She listened as Seamus talked about Rommie, an avatar that he had built for the Andromeda and about Perseids, long chinned, grey skinned, science minded aliens that he had worked with occasionally.  He’d talked about working on the Andromeda Ascendant before, but he’d left out that it was a sentient military starship and he’d worked on her thousands of years in the future.  He told her about Dylan Hunt and the Andromeda and Beka Valentine and the Eureka Maru during dinner, all of whom Dom was somewhat aware of, but never the whole picture.  Things about Seamus started to make a lot more sense to her as he told his stories.  She tried not to interrupt him much, too interested most of the time anyway.  He explained in more detail what had happened the day he’d literally been ripped from his life and deposited on her back door step as they were cleaning up from dinner.

     “So, you really don’t know why the alien beat you and threw you off the Andromeda,” Dom summed up as she dried a dish he’d just washed.

     “I wish I did.  I mean I thought that maybe they were trying to stop me from making the sensor enhancement so Dylan couldn’t see their ship, but popping into the middle of the Andromeda to do it seemed kind of counterproductive,” Seamus replied.  “And why beat me up first if they just wanted to get rid of me?  Why send me into the past where someone would, maybe, kill me?  Why not just snap my neck or toss me through that vortex into the middle of a sun or something?”

     Dom moved next to him and stroked his back.  “I’m glad he didn’t,” she told him when he looked to her.

     That drew a warm smile from him.  “Keep saying stuff like that and you’ll never get rid of me,” he warned her.

     “Why do you keep thinking I want to?  I mean, aside from the misunderstanding tonight, I thought we were good.  Am I giving you some sort of signals that I’m not aware of?” Dom asked.

     “No, it’s just that...”  He looked back at the dish he was washing, falling silent and still for a moment.  “I’ve always felt like if I disappeared out of the universe, no one would notice.  That’s why I sing my praises so much, so that people will remember I’m there.  It’s like I’m not just unimportant, but like I’m taking up space that someone who is important should be using.  I mean, if Dylan had a better engineer, a real engineer, maybe he’d be closer to fixing the Commonwealth.  Maybe Beka would be a rich shipping magnate.  Maybe the alien creep was right.  Maybe I was just in the way.  Maybe they’re better off with me gone.”  He sounded so forlorn that it made Dom ache for him.  She turned him toward her and hugged him tight.  He returned the embrace, holding her to him almost desperately, as if she would disappear if he let go.

     “None of that’s true,” she told him as they held each other.  “And you matter to me.”

     “Then the hell with the rest of the universe,” he replied softly, then kissed the top of her head and laid his cheek there, seeming content to just stand there and hold her.  He did for a long while, then he said, “You’re too good to me.”

     “Seems to me that other people haven’t been good enough,” she replied, then looked up at him, brushing a hand along his temple back into his hair.  His eyes half closed appreciatively and he sighed as she did it again.  He liked being touched, being held, and Dom could only assume that no one had ever taken the time to be slow and gentle with him.  He’d said that the women in his past had either used sex as a tool to control him or been with him because they were drunk and he was convenient.  No wonder he wanted to move quickly towards intimacy.  No one had ever stayed with him before.  He probably expected her to drop him cold once she had whatever it was he thought she wanted from him because that’s what had always happened to him before.

     “So, if I finish the dishes, do I get some more cuddling?” he asked with a little grin.  There was something in his eyes, though, a fearfulness that seemed to confirm her suspicions, that told Dom he was afraid that if he stopped doing things for her that she would push him away.

     “Leave them,” she said, pulling from his arms, but taking him by the hand and tugging him toward the back door.  “Come lay down in the hammock with me and tell me about the stars you’ve seen first hand.”

     Seamus came willingly enough, but he said, “Oh, I get it now.  Be nice to the short, skinny guy in the name of science.”

     Dom stopped at the door and turned, kissing him, seeming to take him by surprise by doing it.  “No,” she told him when their lips parted.  “Be nice to the handsome Irishman with the lovely blue eyes because he’s sweet and gentle and worthy of so much more than he seems to think he is.”

     He raised a hand to cup her face, the troubled look in his eyes intensifying instead of going away as expected.  “Please, don’t say stuff like that, okay?  It’s not that it isn’t nice to hear and it does make me happy, but that’s the scary part.  It never lasts.  Me being happy, I mean.  I get happy, then bad stuff happens.  Everyone, everything I care about, it always goes away.”

     “I was only going out on the back porch and I was taking you with me,” Dom said with a smile, trying to lighten the mood.  What he had just told her, it sounded so terrible and terrifying, to never be able to hold onto anything good.  How had he borne it if that kept happening to him all his life?

     Seamus blinked at her, then grinned a little, seeming to relax.  “You can take me anywhere you want, angel,” he replied.

     “Good.  Come keep me warm,” Dom said, drawing him out onto the patio.  They settled into the hammock and Dom laid her head on Seamus’ shoulder as he wrapped his arms loosely around her, holding her as the hammock rocked them gently.  Seamus kissed the top of her head again, then seemed content being close like they were.  “I must seem so boring,” she commented.  That drew a little chuckle out of him.

     “You excite me beyond words.”  He rubbed his leg along hers and nuzzled her hair and there was no doubt in Dom’s mind as to what sort of excitement he meant.

     “I meant that you’ve had all these adventures all over the universe.  I haven’t been anywhere by comparison.  The other side of the planet once.  That’s it.  No place thrilling.  And here I thought I was entertaining you with my stories about the Seaview and everything.  How wrong was I?  I am such a total country bumpkin.”

     Seamus hugged her gently.  “Nah, I am.  I never left Boston, or at least the immediate area, until I was about twenty, and then I was pretty much staring at the guts of ships, not at the stars.  Ah, the glamorous life of ship’s engineering.  Ask Ro.  She’ll tell you.  It’s not like I’ll ever get to show you, but that’s probably a good thing.  I’m so glad that I got sucked into your world and you didn’t get pulled into mine.  I can see it now.  You drop into the middle of the Andromeda, get brought before the amazing Captain Dylan Hunt, your knees go all buttery,  and boom!  You’re naked in his bed.  That’s if you made it past Tyr offering to share his superior genetics with you.  Then little, scrawny me finally would have gotten to meet you, I would have hit on you with some pathetic pickup line and you would have laughed in my face.”

     “As if.”

     “That’s how things always happened.  Big, handsome, driven Captain, he gets chicks.  Massive, muscular, somewhat homicidal Nietzschean warrior, he gets chicks.  Short, sickly, yet still amazingly good looking and brilliant fix it guy, he gets to spend another night alone, tinkering with mechanical things to take his mind off of the women that want the Captain and the Warrior.  Or... or the hot chick actually pays attention to him, but it’s to get him to sell his soul to her evil master.  If that’s what you were after, the Admiral owns my ass now, so you can stop being nice to me.”                   

     “I think the Admiral would be terribly insulted that you just called him an evil master,” Dom laughed.

     “You know what I meant.”

     “Besides, the Admiral is renting your brain.  I thought I owned your ass, slave boy,” Dom teased as she snuggled against him with a grin.

     “That and any other body parts you want to lay claim to.”  They lay there cuddling for a little while.  “You like my butt?”

     “Absolutely.”  Seamus let out what almost could have been called a giggle of glee and hugged her again.  He rubbed her back and hummed something soft and soothing as they lay together.  It was just getting dark and the stars were beginning to come out, and Dom lay looking at them in Seamus’ arms, feeling treasured.  “Are all the women in the future incredibly stupid?”

     “What?  No.  Of course not.  What makes you ask that?”

     She levered herself up so that she could look into his eyes.  Seamus looked bewildered, which made her smile.  He really didn’t know how special he was, despite the boasting.  “Never mind.  Tell me about Tyr.  You haven’t told me about him yet.”  Seamus nodded and he told her about the Nietzschean warrior while she played with his hair.  The slightest touch set him to glowing with happiness and she smiled at him.  The women of the future had to be stupid if they couldn’t see how beautiful Seamus was.

* * *



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