Keep Them Burning

BY : LeComtesse
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 1317
Disclaimer: I do not own Andromeda, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Even through the grease and grime Gaheris easily picked up Beka’s scent through the corridors and onto the Maru. As decisions waited to be made and nothing was being done the rest of the crew seemed to have entered some sort of limbo, waiting on his next move – Beka’s response had been to retire to her ship.
“Beka…” Gaheris said softly as he approached her bunk.
“I’m not asleep.” She said, continuing to lay still, her eyes closed. “Are we leaving?” She presumed it was only a matter of time before Gaheris sorted the situation, if he hadn’t already. She raised an eyebrow, still not opening her eyes when no answer was forthcoming. “Where’s the Admiral?” Deep down part of her was expecting him to say the man was dead – at least that would be a resolution, though not the one she would hope for.
Gaheris actually smiled; there was something about her that was so predictably sweet.
“We’re not leaving just yet… and Admiral Rhade is alive and well and being made comfortable by Andromeda until I decide what to do.” Beka finally opened her eyes, rolling onto her side to look at Gaheris.
“What to do? What are the choices… what’s going on Gaheris?” She was a little unsure about what decisions were left. “He was behind the fake Magog, his troops are in the streets, what else is there to think about? Surely someone should arrest him at some point before this becomes civil war… if that happens we all lose.”
Everything she said was completely valid even if she didn’t have the newer facts. Instead of replying he climbed onto the bunk, holding his weight above her.
“We can talk about it later.” He told her quietly. For a moment he lay there, balancing his weight as he rested his head onto her shoulder. Beka instinctively pulled her arms around him with a slight frown, wanting to help in any way she could. She wanted to say something of comfort but couldn’t find any words that wouldn’t sound like her telling him that something had to be done, he was the captain and though he didn’t always do things the way she would, she had agreed to be part of the crew. Before she could think anymore she smiled, feeling his lips softly pressing to her neck.
“I just want to take my mind off things for a while…” He really did, he was trying to solve this, and in his mind it kept coming back to the same thing, Rhade was being set up and if he let Rakel get away with it he would get everything he wanted and more. He rolled off her onto his side and looked at her, her head turned slightly towards the light making her features glow. He leaned over and gently kissed her cheek, feeling her smile widen as he ran a hand softly down her stomach snaking it across her waist and pulling her to him. He pressed his lips closer into her neck – nuzzling into her. He lay there, nestled into Beka, wanting the distraction, needing her – as always.
“Gaheris…” She started but still had nothing really to say, she lay against him with her head on his chest. She looked upwards a little to see that his eyes had closed, though his breathing remained the same. She stroked her fingers back and forth across his chest. “Remember the first time…” she smiled. “I came to find you, to shout at you – as always…” She chuckled again. “And when I opened the door, there you were all wet fresh from a shower… A sticky towel on the floor…” Her grin was unstoppable now as she remembered with no small amount of humour.
“Mmm…” Rhade murmured, growing a smile of his own at the memory. “Your voice at the door pushed me over the edge.” At the memory he let out a soft groan and ran his hand down Beka’s back, over the curve of her buttocks, pulling her tight to him. He still hadn’t quite worked out how she had this hold over him, but there was something about her that before meeting her he would never have believed he could want a human woman. He took a deep breath in through his nose, taking in her scent as he moved his other hand around and pulled her up onto him, holding her close into his chest.
“Anywhere you go I will find you.” He spoke the words softly aloud that he had been thinking when he breathed in the aroma of Beka Valentine, his Beka Valentine.
Beka’s breathing was becoming slowly deeper, his hands on her, pulling her to him, his words. Even if she was unsure, even intimidated by the sentiment on occasion, he had a way of saying things that made her want him, to know that he wanted her so much. She slid her hand down the small space between them, running her fingers over the fastenings of his trousers, feeling the swelling bulge below. Gaheris moaned softly, picturing in his head what Beka was doing, but lacking the energy to do anything. He lay there, a strange mix between relaxed with all the tension beginning to flood away, and tense as Beka’s attentions caused involuntary muscle flinches. Beka moved off Gaheris, sliding beside him, her lips finding his neck as she continued to massage his hardening cock.
The trousers of his uniform were now becoming impossibly tight as he ached for Beka to touch him. Almost as if she were reading his mind Beka finally began to undo the fastenings, slipping her hand beneath the material and wrapping her fingers around his now swollen length. Gaheris moaned, throwing his head back and almost involuntarily Gaheris moved a hand down to tug at his trousers, trying to give her more room. Beka smiled, running her thumb over the head of his cock as his hand reached for hers and rested over her grip on him. Beka’s slow strokes gradually increased as she pushed herself up against Gaheris, watching his face as his features contorted with ecstasy as she brought him near the edge. Pumping him faster she moved her lips back to his neck once more, finding the few sweet spots there and imagining that continued look on his face as gargled moans issued from the back of his throat. His hand moved back off hers to the bunk, gripping it hard as he felt the heat burning through him and the imminent release. Letting out a long growl as he climaxed, shooting his load hard and fast into his trousers. Beka smiled, pulling her hand back up onto his chest as she moved over him a little, looking down at him. Still panting he smiled back as her hair fell around him like a curtain, framing her perfect face. Again it felt like she was reading his mind as she leaned in to kiss him, softly at first as he pulled his arms back up around her, but then harder and much more passionate.
“Feeling any better?” she asked, pulling back and smiling down at Gaheris. She had never seen him like this before, he had never been too exhausted for fooling around. She was only just beginning to realise quite how deeply this was all effecting him, that he didn’t even try to stop her, to please her first as he normally did, not that she minded at all – the look on his face had been enough for her. Gaheris smiled, he couldn’t help admit to himself that her actions had been satisfying, stress-relieving even and that was exactly what he needed right now. Looking up into her smile just made him realise more how much he wanted her, needed her really, and though he knew she cared he sometimes wondered if it was enough.
“Will you always be around…” as usual it wasn’t a question but again something he didn’t realise he had said out loud and as soon as he did he smiled, trying to grin it off as not serious, though his tone had been obviously sober. “I don’t think I could stand to lose that sort of stress relief.” His grin spread as he pulled her closer to him again, trapping her on his chest. Beka’s smile faltered slightly at his words but she covered it by leaning in for another kiss. She wasn’t stupid, she knew how he felt, it was increasingly obvious that he was becoming reliant on her being around as a lover just as much as a first officer. She wasn’t totally sure how she felt about it, part of her cared about him deeply, but what they were doing – the Commonwealth, it wasn’t going how she had thought and it was increasingly becoming something she felt she hadn’t signed up for. In fact she wasn’t sure how much longer she would be able to avoid thinking about that, especially as part of her knew that if she really did think about it too long she might not be able to stop herself leaving. Rev seemed to be the only other person that understood what she felt, the little she had dared tell him, and as for Gaheris… she wanted to enjoy the now and put off the future for another day.
Gaheris was happy enough to respond to Beka’s kisses, moving his hands up into her hair breathing her in as hungrily as he kissed her back, his tongue seeking hers, almost frantically in contrast with the slow fingers he was playing along the back of her neck. Beka moaned into the kiss, the moan turning into a giggle as Gaheris rolled them on the small bunk, ending up squashed slightly against the wall. Gaheris let out a low laugh as well, before sliding his hands down to her breasts, squeezing them together as he ran his thumbs over her nipples. He wanted to tell her how he felt, that as every day passed he was less able to live without her, but he knew she wasn’t ready to hear it. He didn’t know whether she would ever want to hear it, but he knew that the closer they had become over the last few months strangely the more distant she seemed.
Pushing the thoughts away he moved his lips down to her neck, nipping his way down to her collarbone, moving his hands up from her breasts to rip at her vest, splitting the material to reveal the soft rounded flesh below waiting for his touch. Beka drew a small breath as the cold air hit her already erect nipples and Gaheris began to head down to unfasten her trousers and pulling them roughly down along with her underwear. Beka grabbed his shoulders, pulling him back up towards her, claiming his lips once more as she began to unbutton his tunic, pushing it back over his shoulders as she returned the nipping kisses. As Gaheris continued to shrug out of the tunic, Beka pushed his already unfastened trousers further down, his cock already hard once more. Frantic and passionate, like it had been the first few times, when they had needed each other, wanted each other – when it was still sex rather than making love.
Beka gasped a little as he pushed inside her, her fingers tightening on his arms as she shifted beneath him, struggling the last little way out of her trousers and lifting her legs up around him. Gaheris groaned, remembering the numerous times he had spent before and after they had gotten together imagining those perfect legs wrapped around him, him nestled sweetly between her thighs. Despite their frantic pawing the moment upon them was there to be savoured, he knew just looking down into her eyes. He breathlessly kissed her, slowly – mirroring his motions as he gradually drew himself into her, deeper with every gentle but firm thrust. As their tongues slowly caressed each other’s their hands roamed across each others bodies, exploring as if they were feeling each other for the first time. As he began to pick up the pace a little, Beka moved her legs further up, wanting him, all of him, deep within her as her own hands found a purchase on his muscular back, pulling him closer.
As he continued to thrust deeper and harder, no longer able to keep his lips to Beka’s, Gaheris groaned. The feeling of the friction, almost as if he were being pulled deeper into her was becoming almost unbearable as his breath was drew out in deep pants and moans. Beka’s own breathing was also laborious as Gaheris’ movements, back and forth brought her nearer to her own climax, her mouth barely able to make the occasionally attempts at this throat, licking and nipping lightly. As their hoarse breaths became more erratic Gaheris extended his arms, his bone blades standing totally erect. If she could have spoken at that moment Beka would have cried out his name or praised the gods, only vaguely recalling now that time when she called his name through the door. Everything else began to recede and there was nothing else in the room, object or sensation, only the friction between them as their bodies moved together, pulsing and tingling. With a last few laboured thrusts they climaxed together, their glistening bodies collapsing into each other.
Gaheris used his last ounce of strength to roll his weight off Beka and collapse on the bunk next to her, the skin around his boneblades still tingling as he tried to get his breath back. With some effort Beka propped herself up, taking a moment to look down into Gaheris face, before she nestled her head into his broad chest.
“Feeling better now?” She asked with no hint of humour as she trailed her fingers across his torso before letting her arm rest there, holding him. Gaheris replied with a soft groan.
“I should get back to work…” He told her. Beka squeezed him a little tighter.
“So… before you do, will you tell me what’s going on.”
Gaheris cleared his throat and rolled onto his side a little. “It’s Rakel, it was her all along, she set him up.” No matter what his feelings had been earlier, he now found himself lacking even the energy to sound annoyed about the situation, much less be annoyed.
“What? Rakel?...” Beka shook her head slightly, not really disbelieve but exasperation, as if their trip to Terazed could get even more ridiculous. “So… where is she now? Under guard?”
“Not yet…” Gaheris’ tone was heavy and he reached a hand up to rub his face. “It isn’t that easy Beka… maybe she has done us a favour…”
Beka shot upright and looked down at Gaheris. “You can’t be serious… you can’t be suggesting that we let Rhade take the blame!” Gaheris no longer had the energy to try and protest, instead his tone was calm.
“If he does then we get what we came here for.”
Beka frowned, but his eyes were still closed. She wished he were shouting, that they could have an argument and she could tell him what an asshole he was being, but he just lay there.
“You’re going to aren’t you?” She wouldn’t pretend to totally understand his problem with Telemachus Rhade, but this seemed like a step too far. How very Nietzschean. She had never imagined he was anything else, but some how somewhere along the line she had forgotten quite how selfish they could be, even with Tyr around reminder her well enough, she had somehow lost sight of that truth.
Gaheris opened his eyes and looked up at her, they said it all. He had thought he would spend a long time thinking about it, wrestling with himself over what would be the right thing to do and whether it was outweighed by the long term benefits, but then he realised, he had made up his mind before his conversation with Rhade had ended. Part of him even believed that he would have come to the same decision even if it had been some other man than Rhade, the Commonwealth and Terazed’s contribution to it were too great to be thrown away. He looked away from Beka and closed his eyes again, he didn’t expect her to accept or like what he was going to do but they were there for the Commonwealth and that was all that mattered at this point. He was surprised when she lay her head back on his chest and nestled back into him. He smiled sleepily and brought a hand up to lace his fingers through her hair, happy to lay there just a little longer and enjoy being with Beka.

***

It took Beka ten minutes to find Admiral Rhade, and was surprised to find herself still slightly freaked by his similarity to Gaheris, wondering briefly exactly how much more freaked by it Gaheris was.
“Admiral, Captain Rhade has asked me to accompany you to see the Triumvir and place her under arrest.” She informed him. As Telemachus raised an eyebrow Beka faltered for a second, the gesture was so like Gaheris that she had to remind herself that he was still on the Maru, and wouldn’t be leaving there for some time. Cocking his head a little Telemachus smiled.
“I have to say, I am surprised – I didn’t expect the captain to take this course of action.”
“Yeah, well, it’s amazing what a good think can do.” She smiled back, trying to look confident but sure it was coming across as anxious as she felt. Telemachus nodded a little.
“Gaheris didn’t send you did he?” He asked but didn’t look as though he expected an answer. Beka pursed her lips a little and sighed.
“Gaheris wants you to take the fall.”
“And you don’t?” Telemachus was a little confused, he hadn’t even met this woman and she was willing to help him out. “Why would you do that for me?”
“Not just for you… I mean, no one should take someone else’s blame. Besides, I’m doing it for Gaheris…” She added the last bit quietly. She knew he wouldn’t realise it now but he would regret framing Telemachus Rhade she was damn sure of that. Telemachus gave a curt nod, he understood. He drew his forcelance and gestured for Beka to lead the way to the Triumvir.

***

As they approached the hangar bay Beka nervously played with her holster strap, getting ready to pull out her weapon, but still feeling weird about the way she left Gaheris. They had lain there a little longer until finally he had fallen asleep and she snuck off, securing the Maru’s doors before heading to find the Admiral, it would all be over before he even knew what was going on. She gritted her teeth a little at the betrayal she was enacting, but even if Gaheris could live with himself if he handed over Telemachus, she couldn’t live with him.
Telemachus could sense Beka’s anxiety with or without the distracting fidgeting.
“You are nervous.” He commented, looking over at her as they walked to see her nod. He knew she wasn’t nervous about the Triumvir, it was obvious Beka Valentine had been in her fair share of scrapes, instead the scent of Gaheris Rhade rising off her like perfume was enough to let him know why. He was still looking at her when they turned the corner and she jumped a little. He looked ahead of them and frowned. Gaheris stood blocking the way through to the hangars, shaking his head.
“Beka.” He continued to shake his head. He couldn’t find the words to describe how he had felt to wake, alone, find the doors secured, and then finally get back on his ship in time to ask Andromeda to trace Beka. He hadn’t wanted Andromeda to confirm what he suspected when he couldn’t find her on the Maru. “You’re choosing him and the Isolationists.” He finally managed.
“No Gaheris, I’m choosing what’s right and when you look back on this you will realise that.” She stood her ground, a small part of her wanting to crumble under his look, but she knew she had to see this through now, she had made her decision. “This isn’t about Rhade or Terazed, its about doing what’s right and the fact that a month from now you wont be able to live with yourself because the foundations of your new Commonwealth are built on the betrayal of an innocent man… what kind of Commonwealth will that be?!”
Gaheris shook his head, he didn’t want to hear it, because she was wrong, what mattered now was setting things right and if a Rhade had to take the fall then so be it. Before he had a chance to make any comment Rakel’s guards emerged from the hangar, weapons drawn, followed quickly by Rakel herself.
“Captain, I see you are yet to apprehend Rhade… is there a problem.” Gaheris looked at her, he could smell her fear beneath that air of confidence and knew that she was waiting to find out which of them was going to be taken down. He looked to Beka fleetingly before settling his gaze on Telemachus.
“Admiral Rhade you’re under arrest.”
Telemachus shook his head slightly with a smile, having already resigned himself to this outcome. Quickly he raised his lance and shot down one of Rakel’s guards, using the distraction to move across to Beka and grab her in front of him. Gaheris’ reaction was so predictable, quickly moving in front of the triumvir so that no stray shots would get her as Telemachus backed away from them down the corridor with Beka held close.
At the nearest turn off Telemachus pulled Beka out of the line of fire and let her go, he was just about to make a run for it when she placed a hand on his arm and shook her head, indicating the other direction.
“Follow me, I’ll get you to an escape pod.” With another raised eyebrow but no questions Telemachus nodded and followed her lead.

***

Gaheris stood watching, his anger visible, as Telemachus dragged Beka out of sight.
“Captain what do you propose we…” Rakel stopped short as he turned his gaze to her before marching over and stopping into front of her.
“I propose Triumvir at this point you remain silent… we wouldn’t want the truth getting out would we.” The muscles in his jaw flexed as turned back to look down the corridor. “Andromeda, track Beka.”
Andromeda’s hologram appeared almost instantly next to Gaheris.
“Beka and the Admiral are heading to the escape pods on this level, Tyr is the closest to intercept, would you like me to alert him?” Gaheris thought for a moment, he begrudged ever having to involve Tyr in anything.
“Yes, do it.” He grumbled. Rommie nodded and vanished once again before Gaheris turned back to look at a very pale Rakel. He had no words, instead he did the only thing he could, signalling for her guards to follow him he broke into a trot down the corridor.

***

Beka was relieved when they got to the escape pods, and a little surprised that no one had caught up with them yet. She opened the hatch and Telemachus quickly got in before turning back to her.
“Are you coming?” He asked, holding out a hand. Beka gave a half smile and shook her head.
“I belong here… for now. Don’t worry he’ll get over it.” She was pretty sure that Gaheris wouldn’t be able to hold this against her for long. Telemachus nodded.
“I won’t forget this Captain Valentine…and, if it means anything, I would have made the same choice as Gaheris, it was the sensible choice to make” He smiled and gave one last curt nod and she began to close the hatch. As the hatch came down a hand grasped Beka’s arm firmly, turning Beka looked straight into the grinning face of Tyr Anasazi.
“What an interesting situation.” He commented, the grin not changing in anyway. “And what would your lover say?”
“Fuck off Tyr.” Beka spat the words at him as she shoved the hatch down as hard as she could. She saw Telemachus reaching to get back out as Tyr tightened his grip on her arm but she shook her head quickly and pushed the emergency release, within seconds the escape pod and Telemachus Rhade were gone. “Now would you look at that!” She grinned. “What do you think my lover would say if he could see you had the chance to stop Telemachus Rhade, the man that tried to seize control from the Triumvir, and used me as a hostage to escape? But you were too busy roughing me up!”
Tyr’s lip twitched as he let out a low growl, squeezing his fingers into the flesh of Beka’s arm before throwing her across to the other wall. As he took a step towards her the sound of a shot rang out down the corridor and a small explosion near his head made him turn to look and see Gaheris at the other end of the corridor with his forcelance pointed at him, Rakel’s guards jogging up behind him.
“Will it be today Tyr?” Gaheris asked menacingly. Tyr clenched his teeth together, almost biting back words, knowing it would be stupid to throw away everything he was working towards. He looked back down at Beka before reaching a hand out to her and helping her up off the floor. As Gaheris approached, lance still raised, Tyr turned and walked back up the other way.

***

Gaheris sat silently watching in the med-deck as Trance treated the welting bruises on Beka’s arm. Beka would steal a glance at him every now and then and Trance remained totally silent. When Trance finally left Gaheris moved over to the side of the bed. Part of him wanted to ask why she had done it, but he didn’t need to, he already knew. In the end it was she who spoke first.
“So what happens now… with Terazed I mean.” She didn’t look at him, turning her attentions instead to studying her arm. Gaheris took a breath and sat on the edge of the bed.
“The coup died out, Rakel is back in control… thanks to Rhade’s actions..” he found those words difficult to say to her, with her knowing as well as he did that ‘Rhade’s actions’ were a mixture of manipulation and fabrication. “Thanks to that the Isolationists have been discredited Rakel has called for another referendum in light of the ‘emergency’ situation and in all likelihood the votes will be heavily in favour of the new Commonwealth.”
Beka nodded. “Win-win then. And what about Admiral Rhade?” Beka finally looked at Gaheris, wondering if the mixture of anger, hurt and disappointment was visible to him. Gaheris cleared his throat a little.
“A warrant has been issued but he is still at large, in all probability he will shortly be captured by the reformed Commonwealth authorities and brought back for a treason trial on Terazed.” Beka nodded at his words and slid silently to the edge of the bed before slipping off the end and heading for the door.

***

Gaheris stood alone in Command watching Terazed rotate below them. Rommie’s holo fizzled into being next to him, standing silently by.
“Andromeda… did I do the right thing?” In his head he had meant to say ‘make the right decision’ but knew that ultimately it would boil down to what was right not what was best.
“You mean by letting Rakel Ben-Tzion get away with her crime and assisting in the framing of Telemachus Rhade…” She looked over at him and then back out once more at the stars. “I try not to dwell on what's right and what's wrong. It slows my processors. Still, one innocent man convicted, one guilty woman set free - in exchange for a fleet, a crew, the ability to protect Terazed and a thousand other worlds from a genuine horror.” Her tone betrayed nothing of feeling and Gaheris still wasn’t sure where her opinion lay.
“One act of betrayal to save the universe.” He mused soberly. “The price could have been higher.” He muttered aloud. Rommie turned back to him for a moment.
“What makes you think it wasn’t?” She asked before fizzling out once more. Gaheris drew in a deep breath, knowing she was right, the price was still being calculated, all he could do for now was watch and wait.

*


PART TWO – “FLESH AND BLOOD” COMING SOON!


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