Shieldbrothers: The Bonding

BY : Lursa_and_BeTor
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 7261
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.

Chapter Six: Meetings and Secrets

"It's a bad idea." Tyr lounges back in his chair. He is getting really tired of telling Dylan this. Some days, he wonders about Dylan's mental health. The Captain seemed to have an unholy attraction to unnecessary risk taking combined with a tendency to select overly complicated methods of achieving his goals. Add to that, Dylan's little habit of sacrificing his crew and then committing the crass stupidity of accepting the scarifical victim cheerfully back to be used again. Accepting back an engineer as brilliant as Harper, after sacrificing him, was an act that amounted to insanity. And somehow it was almost never Dylan who paid the price for Dylan's precious Commonwealth. When Dylan had abandoned Harper to be tortured by lunatics, that harkedrked Harper as deeply as the boy's experience with the Magog. The Magog incident had been more cosmic bad luck rather than any fault of his shieldbrother's. Although from the little comments that Dylan kept dropping, one would think that Harper had acted deliberately and knowingly to implement the incident. And each time Dylan throws one of those little comments like a dart at his shieldbrother, he wants to shove his bone blades right through the Captain's throat. Tyr growls softly, winning startled looks from the others sitting around the conference room table.

"I hate to agree with Tyr, Dylan." Beka leans forward, frowning. "You know I do. But he's right on this one. You don't need to go to the planet to talk to these Nietzscheans."

Dylan spreads his hands. "What would you have me do? Bring themboarboard?"

"It's not like you haven't done it before." Tyr keeps his tone mild. He slants a speculative look at Beka. Is it perhaps time to encourage Dylan to pursue a rash and suicidal adventure? If Dylan was gone, Andromeda would be likely to accept one of her crew as the new captain. What other option did the ship have? And the ship seems mostly likely to select Beka since she is First Officer already and had already on one occasion been named Dylan's successor. Hmmm. He can work with Beka easier than with Dylan and Andromeda wouldn't be likely to suspect him of giving Dylan a little help in meeting up with a fatal accident since Beka will be the obvious beneficiary. He'll have to consider this further.

Headman Wallace St. Clair speaks up in loud, confident tones. "I think it's foolish to bring them here."

Mariyam must have been in a sad way after he left, if Wallace was the best selection as ally and mate. Tyr folds his hands in fists and rests his chin on them, exposing his bones blades to Wallace's nervous inspection. "You do. Why?"

"Nietzscheans, especially these two prides, can't be trusted!" Wallace snaps as his gaze flickers uneasily away from the bone blades.

And this is the man that is raising his sons? A man who fears and dislikes Nietzscheans. It appears that Nietzscheans in general make Wallace nervous. The Han ian is also afraid of him in particular. This blustering creature is what Mariyam selected as father figure? Tyr sneers. "But we are to trust you, on just your word?"

"Not my word." Wallace sniffs disdainfully as he stares at Tyr. "The evidence of their past actions more than compensate."

"Is that so?" Tyr murmurs. Just for amusement, he flexes his bones blades.

Wallace pales and looks quickly away. "Indeed."

"I have more concerns than the mistrust of these prides or the trustworthiness of you and your colonists. I am responsible for the safety of the captain and this crew and I say that this ris tis too big." Tyr slaps his palms down on the glass table, making Wallace jump. There. He is now on record with Andromeda as advising against this in the event that Dylan meets with misfortune. Then if he has to go down to rescue Dylan…all sorts of sad things can go wrong during a rescue attempt if the occasion merits it.

"This is stupid, Tyr." Dylan shakes his head. "We can meet the Nietzscheans at the Colony's main hall and discuss terms there."

Tyr scowls and folds his arms over his chest. It will not do to sound gleeful about the opportunity that Dylan is handing him. But that's the human's modus operandi. On the one hand stab him in the back by stealing the most sacred trust of his Pride, the one that his entire Pride had died to protect, and on the other continue to leave him in charge of both Weapons and Security. "Do you have any idea how difficult it will be to protect you there?"

"Dylan, listen a second, okay?" Beka pleads. "Why are you insisting on placing yourself in harms way? It is so much er fer for us to have representatives of both prides here on Andromeda. The internal security can handle a lot plus we can keep them under constant surveillance."

"I appreciate both your sentiments, but you're just being paranoid." Dylan sighs. He leans back in his chair and folds his arms across his chest, mirroring Tyr’s pose. "I'm taking Rommie with me and I'll have Wallace there. We'll be fine."

"Are you willing to bet your life on that?" Tyr asks softly.

***

Tyr sighs as the door to his quarters chimes. He turns off the water and steps out of the shower. What now? Does Dylan need further objections to cement the determination to proceed on this idiotic mission? Have his sons worked up the nerve to visit his quarters? Does Beka want to discuss ways to dissuade Dylan? He grabs a towel and quicklyts hts his hair. Tyr wraps a thick gold towel around his hips and walks into the outer room. He can think of very few people the wie will be pleased to see just now. Maybe getting an eyeful of annoyed Nietzschean would put a speedy end to this visit. Tyr flares his bone blades out and scowls. "Enter!"

Well, well. Tyr allows his bone blades to settle back into resting position. This is one intruder that he does not want to scare. He stands in the center of the room with a smile tugging at his lips as he watches his shbrotbrother's efforts at stealth. Apparently the human does not yet realize that it does not matter who observes the visit. His new shieldbrother is already marked as his in ways that no Nietzschean would miss. He eyes the passion mark high on the human's throat with smug satisfaction.

Harper bounces in, still looking over his shoulder and already rapidly talking. "Tyr. You're here…Great. Are you busy?"

Does the boy talk in his sleep as well? Finding out will be something to look forward to. His towel slips precariously lower on his hips, but he makes no attempt to stop it. His smile widens with anticipation as he waits for Harper to look his way. "No. I just finished my shower."

Harper whips around and freezes, his eyes widening. He stares at the damp gleam of bare skin, his gaze sliding hungrily over the wide shoulders, down Tyr's narrow waist to the long legs before moving back up to lock onto the gold towel threatening to fall off Tyr's hips. "You're wet. Shower….Right. Nice towels…shit…sorry, I should go."

"What is it?" Tyr eases closer, smugly pleased at his shieldbrother's dazed stare. His bare chest has apparently stunned the ever-ready words that Harper usually hides behind. He shifts his stance so that the gold towel parts and frames his bare thigh.

Harper's gaze immediately drops to study this fresh expanse of bare skin. "Ah, well, ah. Aren't you cold?"

Tyr allows the fierce possessiveness that he feels to show in his eyes as he glides closer to his human. He growls throatily in response to the exciting scent of his shieldbrother's arousal. His Harper looks so...edible, wrapped in his gift. The blue-gray shade is every bit as enticing on the human as he'd thought it would be when he selected the color. "Harper! What is it you want?"

"Oh, god, loaded question." Harper flashes a nervous grin as akesakes a step back and stumbling over a chair as Tyr stalks closer.

So, the human is ready for more play, is he? Good. He wants more as well. Much more. wil will not be satisfied until Harper is living with him and completely claimed in all ways as his shieldbrother. Tyr backs Harper against the wall, crowding close as he breathes in the human's scent...so rich with arousal, but still spiked with sharp hints of fear. Why? He'd hoped that what they'd shared earlier would ease whatever concerns the human felt. Tyr leans down, lightly nuzzling the pale throat, strengthening the notes of his own scent, marking Harper as his. He licks a slow circle around the human's dataport before growling softly. "You're trying my patience, boy."

"We're shieldbrothers, right?" Harper asks breathlessly as he grasps Tyr's shoulders, urging the Neitzschean back. "That means we’re more than just friends…that we trust each other and look out for each other, right?"

Tyr immedately yields to his shieldbrother's hands, allowing the human put a little space between them. He frowns at the question. Does the human still not understand? Perhaps he has overestimated how much his Harper knows about Nietzschean customs. Of course, the Drago-Kasov are inferior examples. Could this uncertainity be the source of the human's nervousness? "That is correct."

Harper looks up to meet Tyr’s amber eyes. He fingers the damp braids lying loose over Tyr's shoulder. "Okay, this may sound crazy, but I just needed to run something past you. You know, to see if it's just my paranoia or if you think something is up."

Tyr traces the line of Harper's jaw, just barely grazing his fingertips along the pale skin. Something is most definitely up and it has nothing to do with those annoying colonists. His fingers stray to the human's throat, measuring the quick pulse beating there. Does the human not understand that he wants...needs...to possess his shieldbrother…thoroughly. And that he is offering himself for Harper's pleasure and need in return. "What are you talking about?"

Harper leans his head back against the wall, looking up into smoldering amber eyes. He sighs sensually as Tyr's big hand curls around his nape. It's so hard to think with the Nietzschean's thumb rubbing softly, distractingly against his skin. He slides his hand down the slope of Tyr's shoulder and pauses at the Nietzschean's biceps. He can't see the bone blades lining the back of Tyr's forearm from this angle...a chilly tingle skates down his spine...can he bring himself to touch them? Earlier he'd managed to ignore their presence, but if he wants more with Tyr, he's gotta be able to accept who and what Tyr is. He can feel his heart speeding up at the mere thought of touching the bone blades. "The colonists. Have you noticed anything…different about them?"

"What do you mean?" Tyr asks absently as he cautiously eases closer, nibbling softly along the line of human's jaw. There is no shortage of things to dislike about the colonists. Which has come to Harper's attention?

"Mariyam's kids, Freya and Freyr…they're kinda special."

"What are you not saying, Harper?" Tyr murmurs as he nuzzles lower to linger over the smooth skin of his shieldbrother's throat. He moans as he greedily sucks the pale skin, pushing down the collar of Harper's new shirt to bare the curve of neck and shoulder. His mate tastes so good.

"They're able to do stuff with their minds."

Tyr breathes in sharply, tensing his stomach muscles as if someone hit him. What does this mean for his sons' genes? If the boys are tainted by Mariyam's peculiar abilities, they will never be accepted into any Pride unless they carefully conceal their unusual ablilties for the rest of their lives. It will be difficult enough with their being half human for them to win suitable mates. This is not something that he wants to discuss, but he needs information and Harper seems to have it. He pulls back slightly to look into his shieldbrother's face. "What do you mean?"

"I mean that her son, Freyr, can do telekinetic stuff."

"You're mistaken."

Harper shakes his head. "No, I'm not. I saw him move a chair for his sister. Actually it wasn't a chair, it was a stool, but you know what I'm saying. And his sister, Freya, is an empath."

Tyr flexes his shoulders, loosening the tensing muscles. His bone blades twitch in response to his rising unease. "I know what you're saying."

"Okay, okay…you knew…okay." Harper relaxes a little as he leans against the wall. His fingers trace the hard curves of Tyr's bicep and skate lightly over the soft skin of the tender inner hollow of Tyr's elbow. "Did you know that the whole fricking colony is 'special'?"

"I didn't know for sure…but I suspected as much." And feared for his sons. He can feel his bones blades extending sharply at the idea of a potential threat to his sons. Tyr hastily forces his blades tightly flat again at the sound of Harper's gasp. His gaze focuses immediately on his mate's paling face. What has happened to his Harper to make the human react so to a simple reflex? When will his shieldbrother feel comfortable enough to discuss it with him? Tyr leans down to affectionately nuzzle the human's throat, offering his scent and touch as reassurance.

"Well, not the whole colony…I mean Bel and Chi are not gifted."

"Who?" Tyr asks absently as he considers ways to deal with the colonists. He'd been careful not to thiboutbout anything that he did not want the colonists to know while he was around them. He'd discovered during his last days with Mariyam that he could fill his surface thoughts with mathematical equations or contemplate literature to conceal his real intentions and plans. A smirk touches his lips. Thoughts of Medea had worked exceptionally well at keeping Mariyam at bay.

"Oh, that's what the kids call each other…Bel and Chi…your sons," Harper adds as his hand slides slowly further down Tyr's arm.

Tyr frowns, spreading his fingers through Harper's pale hair. His palm flexes caressingly against the human's nape. He must speak to his sons. Nietzschean names were carefully chosen and diminutives were not acceptable. He snorts. Bel and Chi sounds like bad variety act or a tavern. Not names that will intimidate enemies. "I must speak with them soon. Such diminutives are unacceptable."

"The other kids say that the mother," Harper pauses. He just can't quite bring himself to use Mariyam's name. "…says your genes make them blind…psychically speaking."

"My sons do not share the colonists…gifts…is this correct?"

"That's what they say. And it seems they get some grief about it from the other folks. Not their siblings…but others."

"What is said?" Tyr snarls softly. Such inferiors dare to cast scorn at his sons and Mariyam permits it. Of Wallace he expects no better, but Mariyam, whatever other defects she might possess, he never throught her the sort to permit such.

"It seems like…from what they were talking about…they are treated like outcasts."

Tyr growls, his bone blades extending fully before he can control the reflex. "Mariyam and Wallace condone this?"

Harper takes a deep breath and runs his hand over Tyr's forearm stroking gently. Fully erect bone blades are simply impossible to ignore. He eases his hand around Tyr's wrist and pulls his lover's hand away. He tilts the Nietzschean's arm, staring almost clinically down at the bone blades. He can get used to the sheer alienness of them, if he can just get past the immediate instinctive urge to grab the nearest weapon and put it to use. He looks up, meeting the waiting stillness in Tyr's eyes. Harper turns his head and places a kiss in the center of Tyr's palm and then on the tender skin of inner wrist as his fingers ease soft, light strokes down the side of Tyr’s arm, near the blades. "Ease down, Tyr. Did you tell Dylan your suspicion about the colonists?"

Tyr moves closer, rumbling an approving noise, deep in his throat. "I tried."

Harper looks up into the dark face. "Didn't listen, huh?"

Tyr shrugs. "Does he ever?"

"Right. Point taken." Harper nods as he releases the Nietzschean's arm. That's enough for now. At least, he managed to look directly at the bone blades without freaking and even touch the skin near them. Maybe he can do this. "But don't you think it's fishy that these folks called for the cavalry when they're perfectly able to defend themselves?"

"Oh, I think it's very fishy."

"So what do we do?"

"Nothing…for now." Tyr rests his forehead lightly against Harper's. "We'll wait until they do something suspicious."

"I don't like it." Harper strokes back the long, daraidraids. His eyes darken with the memory of seeing those braids spread over his thighs as Tyr's mouth closed around him. He wants it again, but not so soon after his little experiment with trying to touch those bone blades. He slips away and turns toward the door.

“Neither do I. But for now that’s all we can do.” Tyr steps forward, wrapping his arms around his mate, pulling the human's back against him. Where does the human think he is going? Those possession marks are not going to be allowed to fade. His embrace immediately eases as Harper's heartbeat spikes with alarm and the l bol body goes tight and tense in his arms. Tyr tilts the human's head back and sinks softly into the cool, damp of his shieldbrother's mouth. There. That should give his mate a pleasurable distraction.

"I should go," Harper protests half-heartedly as the Nietzschean releases his mouth. He stares longingly at the lush curves of Tyr's lips. He really should go. He has places to be. Things to repair. Colonists to watch. He'd promised Beka that he'd check a glitch on the Maru and he doesn't even want to think about what she'd have to say if she came looking for him and found him in bed with Tyr.

"Yes, you should…if you want to," Tyr growls and rubs his beard rough cheeks against Harper’s throat. His scent is still on Harper but not as heavily as he wishes. Harper is his and is going stay marked as his. He kisses the passion mark that he'd left next to Harper’s dataport, winning a shiver from the younger man. "…or you could stay."

"I know. But I think I'd better leave." Harper presses back into the heat of the Nietzschean's lean body.

"Your choice." Tyr brushes his lips temptingly over his mate's. He nibbles lightly at Harper's lower lip before reluctantly raising his head. "Soon, we're going to have to reassess our living arrangements…yes?"

"Yeah," Harper gasps as he slips out of the Nietzschean's embrace and backs out of Tyr's quarters. He leans weakly against the wall, next to the closed . How cow could he have lost his nerve so fast? "Stupid, Harper! Really stupid! He'll probably never ask you again."

Inside, Tyr grins at the comments that his Nietzschean hearing picks up easily. He runs a hand down his stomach, the muscles tight and aching with need. Small chance of his not demanding the human's attentions again and often. "Oh, yes, I will."


***

Wallace sits on a low crate, his hands resting, palm down on his thighs as he glances around at the other members of the Colony Council sitting in session amid the colonists busily roaming the docking bay, unloading precious supplies from the colony's handful of ancient cargo containers. The council members sit on extra crates placed in circle. Wallace straightens his back and tilts his head up in an effort to look taller. The other council members do not look very impressive perching awkwardly on crates. Except for Griffith. The big bastard manages to seem perfectly at ease. Wallace's scowls as he looks at Griffith's bold featured face, framed by long, black hair. Wallace sighs. He really misses the ornate gilded table in his council chambers and his big chair with thick silk cushions and canopy. Now there was a proper chair of state. He glances at the young page standing behind him. "Ephraim, are we ready?"

"Yes, Headman St. Clair." Ephraim bows his head and lowers his eyes.

Wallace turns to a stocky woman on his right and es hes his thick brows in a question he doesn't dare voicing yet. "Judith?"

She nods. Her clear blue eyes are cool and calm. "The countermeasures are in place, Headman St. Clair, the ship cannot observe what we are doing. We have blinded the internal sensors as per your instructions. For all practical purposes, the ship does not know we are still on board."

Good. Good. They can speak freely then. Wallace gives her an approving smile. "How big is our window of opportunity?"

"We have approximately 26 minutes before the ship becomes aware of the anomaly." Judith shifts uncomfortably on her crate.

"Excellent." Wallace nods. That should be just the right amount of time to help keep the meeting brief yet productive. He glances at the other council members. "We all know why we’re gathered here. We may need to modify our decision about dealing with the Nietzscheans."

Wallace holds up his hand to silence the sudden spate of questions and quibbles. He is counting on the lack of time to help curb dissent. All, but one of the council members obediently falls silent.

Griffith's bold, black eyes are full of the same challenge that is reflected in his deep voice. "What do you mean?"

"My meaning is clear, Griffith." Wallace stares coldly back. He is going to have to do something about Griffith. The man had always been difficult, but lately he has become almost unmanageable. Perhaps Mariyam will have some ideas on how to handle Griffith. "Our decision to allow an outside resource to neutralize the Nietzscheans for us may no longer be a viable option. There are more variables than we anticipated."

"Yes." Bea Sanson pulls up her long legs and crosses them. "We did not anticipate attracting the Commonwealth Flagship to our aid. We had hoped for a small freighter. A Slipfighter…something that could be disposed of easily. Now…"

"We cannot go through with the original plan. Much too risky...we risk exposing ourselves to the universe. We must resolve this discretely." Makko Cheng rubs his chin and frowns.

"Yes." Wallace gives Cheng an approving look. "Disclosure is not an option."

"So? We just sit back and do nothing?" Griffith folds his arms over his massive chest. His lips curl in a sneer. "Since when did inaction become our credo?"

Wallace glares at the man. "No. Action is still warranted. We will vanquish this foe. Now we need only decide how and when. We may yet turn the Andromeda to our advantage. Captain Hunt appears most…cooperative."

"He can be easily manipulated and neutralized," Cheng adds.

Bea adjusts the skirts of her pink sari. "What of the Nietzschean officer and the ship's android avatar?"

"Tyr Anasazi is a complication," Wallace concedes with reluctance. He will be most happy to see the big Nietzschean dead. The man had hurt Mariyam. Anasazi was also unpleasantly over-sized – just like Griffith. In fact, Griffith’s aggressiveness and long hair rather put him in mind of Anasazi. "He is not easily fooled and may prove to be a problem. However, like it or not, he is biological father to my sons. He is not to be harmed…for now. The android will have to be disabled."

"Can you use that?" Cheng asks.

"Yes. I have already planted the seed that I am hot headed, reckless and ruled by my wife’s calming influence." Wallace laughs loudly expecting the others to join in laughing at such an openly ridiculous image. He notices that no one else is laughing and looks sharply around. They are avoiding his eyes. He scowls.

"But what incorrect information have you fed him?" Griffith sneers. "We all know that Mariyam's word is law in the St. Clair household."

"Truth be told, our culture is as much a matriarchy as the Nietzscheans," Bea soothes. "With two important exceptions."

"Indeed," Judith adds.

"Your sons have handled finding their father with maturity." Cheng looks questioningly at Wallace. "What have you decided as far as they are concerned?"

"There has been no decision as of yet. We are hoping that this can all be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction." Wallace stares down at his hands. He hadn't minded the boys that much when he first married Mariyam, but now...They looked an awful lot like Tyr and lately they had been acting unpleasantly Nietzschean. He didn't like the way that they had been eyeing him lately either. In truth, he wouldn't mind if they decided to stay with Tyr. Maybe Mariyam will finally agree to have more of his children in that case.

Judith pats his hand comfortingly. "You will not lose your sons, Wallace."

"We shall see." Wallace keeps his tone neutral.

"What of the other crew members? Did you know that they have a Magog as a member of the crew?" Bea shudders and several members of the council gasp.

"He is a Wayist and is away on retreat. He is not a concern. As for the rest of the crew. I assure you they are no threat to us," Wallace reassures them as he pretends not to hear Griffith's derisive snort.

Cheng asks impatiently, "Wallace, how much longer are we going to have to play these games?"

Wallace smiles at his council. "Do not despair my friends. We will turn this to our advantage. Be patient a little longer. Soon, we will neutralize the Nietzscheans. Hunt and his ship will be gone and we will return to our lives."

The councils members bow their heads. "As the Divine wills it, so shall it be."

***

Wallace enters the quarters assigned to his family and collapses onto the couch. Where is his wife? Why isn't she waiting for him? He waits with increasing impatience until she walks in.

"Wallace, what's the matter?"

"Nothing…nothing you can…nothing."

Mariyams walks around behind the couch and begins rubbing his back. "You're tense. Anng Ing I can do?"

He shakes his head. {The meeting…}

She frowns. {What happened? I thought they would be agreeable…}

{They were. It’s just this is a nasty business that we do and I’m not sure…}

Mariyam glowers at the back of her husband's head. Had he managed to screw up the simple instructions that she'd given him? {What? What are you not sure about?}

{I'm not sure if we have to go to these lengths any more.}

"Lean forward and let me massage your neck," Mariyam forces her tone to remain one of sweet concern despite her growing irritation. What could have given Wallace the spine to disagree with her plan?

"Thank you. You’re spoiling me."

{Now, what has you troubled?} She kneads the coiled muscles in his neck and shoulders. He is really tight. What could have gotten him in such a state? Tyr! Might be. Wallace was amusingly putout by her first husband's masculine beauty. {Did Tyr say something?}

{No. No, I haven't seen him and frankly the less I see of that bastard…the better. Him and his bone blades and his muscles! His superior attitude because he's tall! Pah!}

Mariyam grins behind her husband's back. {You sound upset. Are you sure you and he didn't have words?}

{A real man doesn't need all those accoutrements in order to win a worthy mate.} Wallace reaches back to pat his wife's small hands.

{Quite right, love.}

{A real man doesn't need to be disrespectful of his leader because he disagrees with him!}

Mariyam smirks. Griffith's been giving Wallace a hard time again, has he? {We're not really discussing Tyr are we, dear?}

"What? No, of course not. It's that Griffith! He tries to usurp my authority at every opportunity."

{Shhhh…remember the walls have ears.} Mariyam cautions. What had Griffith done this time that'd upset Wallace so? Admittedly it didn't take much with Wallace. And Griffith isn't much brighter, just better looking.

{I'm sorry, my love, I'm so distracted.}

{What did Griffith say?} Mariyam waits with interest to hear the story.

{Nothing overt. The man just mocks me at every turn! The meeting had to be cut short because our countermeasures to the ships sensors would have been discovered.}

Is that all? Mariyam moves around to sit beside him on the couch. She and the other women, the ones with real power had met an area set aside for the young ones while Wallace was playing with his little council. They had rocked the babes and communicated with each other under the watchful eye of the ship without having toloy loy 'countermeasures'. Sometimes the men made situations more complicated than they needed to be. Wallace did so like to think of himself as a master of intrigue. {So you came to a solution?}

{As leader, I am going to talk to these Nietzscheans and resolve this matter.}

Mariyam nods. She and the women had discussed this plan for Wallace and Hunt to go down to the planet and meet with the upstart Prides who dared threaten her reign. {Is Tyr going to accompany the Captain?}

{Of course not! I don't need that muscle bound barbarian breathing down my neck}

Mariyam looks measuringly at her lifemate. Their vows had joined them until death. More and more it's looking as if the time is coming soon when she will need to cash out and move on.


TBC


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