Shieldbrothers: The Rescue

BY : Lursa_and_BeTor
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 3854
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 Seven: Harper Reclaims His Space

Tyr stands at the command console. His eyes flicker over the readings from time to time. His hands are loosely clasped behind his back. He likes to stand watch at this time. He often volunteers to stand watch; to enjoy the silence and the time to think while the others are still tucked snugly away in their beds, nearing the end of their sleep cycle. This has been especially true during this dark time in his relationship with Harper. Tyr would rather be here than alone in their quarters.

Will his plan to motivate Harper work? It is not acceptable for Harper to live apart from him. Nor is it good for either of them. Instead of healing, Harper seems to be imploding. He must do something and soon. Tyr sighs and checks a reading on his console. He has tried respecting Harper’s will in this matter but the situation is not improving. It makes no sense to allow the current arrangement to continue.

The Andromeda’s image appears in the center screen. “Tyr, Archduke Bolivar would like to speak to you.”

Tyr squares his shoulders. “On screen.”

Charlemagne Bolivar appears on the screen. He appears decidedly less martial than he did the last time that Tyr saw him. He is wearing a white silk shirt; open over his chest and bronze leather pants. He is holding a dark crimson rose in his elegant hands. He offers a smile of apparent delight. “Anasazi!”

“Bolivar.” Tyr keeps his face neutral. This quick a response to his own message hinting of increased interest in Bolivar’s sister is promising.

Charlemagne sighs and leans back against the gray silk of his chair. He waves a languid hand, sending lace foaming about his wrist. “You seem in no better humor than the last time we met. Your crewmember recovered from his experiences with the…ladies?”

“He is continuing to heal.” Tyr frowns. He is not going to discuss Harper with Charlemagne.

“I would think that this would bring you…what? A sense of peace, accomplishment?” Charlemagne sniffs delicately at the rose.

“We are here to discuss your offer…not my state of mind.”

Charlemagne peers at him over the crimson darkness of the rose petals. “But my offer has everything to do with your ‘crewmember’ and your state of mind.”

“How so?” Hmmm. Yes. Most promising. Tyr fixes an expression of mild interest on his face.

“Well, to be blunt my towering Kodiak friend, I have a sister who has a…let’s call her a companion. This companion is a kludge…pardon me…what is the politically correct term…human female? They are inseparable.”

Tyr leans against the command console and studies the Archduke closely. The rumors that he has heard about Charlemagne’s sister are true then. This might work out very well. “And this concerns me in what way?”

“The small human is your shieldbrother, correct?” Charlemagne smiles and strokes the side of his face with the rose.

Tyr nods slowly. He allows no sign of his rising interest to show. “And if he is?”

“Then my proposal will aid us both.” Charlemagne leans close to the screen. “My sister refuses to choose a mate from among any of the eligible males because she has taken the klu…human as her shieldsister.”

“Is she fertile?” Tyr asks suspiciously. A sister of Charlemagne’s even a junior one is a prize. Most would be willing to overlook much to acquire the woman and the blood ties that came with her.

“Oh yes.”

“Then why does she not choose a male to be father to her children?”

Charlemagne sighs. “She will only choose someone who will allow her to keep her human. She refuses to end the relationship and settle into a bonded relationship and motherhood.”

“I see.”

“Do, you, Anasazi? This situation is a source of embarrassment for my family.” Charlemagne sits back in his chair with a sigh. “The situation has escalated. I must get her wed and bedded soon or risk…repercussions.”

“So you come to me.”

“Indeed.” He waves the rose gently in the air. “This quandary with my sister must be rectified. I have spoken with my sister and discussed your situation. Don’t balk. I didn’t mention names just vague references. She has indicated an interest.”

“Go on.”

“My proposal is this. Consider the benefit of an alliance with the Sabra-Jaguar.”

“This will benefit me in what way?” Tyr asks in an indifferent tone. He pretends to study the readings on his console.

“You can keep your shieldbrother.” Charlemagne twirls the rose between his long fingers as he stares at Tyr. “Get my sister, hopefully, happily pregnant with a strapping Kodiak child. You will have the…gratitude…of the Sabra-Jaguar.”

“Gratitude?”

“Yes. There are…among the members of my pride…those who are not necessarily of pure descent.” Charlemagne arches an eyebrow in meaningful way. ”One advantage for you could be…if you choose…a place to raise your sons. As members of my family; they will be protected, trained. Something to sweeten the arrangement in a manner of speaking.”

This is indeed a prize that is being dangled before him. Charlemagne must want this sister wed badly. Charlemagne must also want his sister’s happiness as well or the Archduke would not have gone to the trouble to seek out someone like himself, Tyr thinks. The care and inducements that the Charlemagne is offering argues for a close relationship between the Archduke and his sister. Such closeness would increase the value of the sister. “And where would I raise my fledgling family. Is there a world within the Sabra-Jaguar control suitable to the needs of my pride?”

Charlemagne nods thoughtfully. The ice blue eyes are watchful on Tyr’s face. “I’m sure arrangements could be made.”

“The proposal has merit, Bolivar. You are most accommodating.”

“Well, we are practically family.” Charlemagne smiles and sniffs his rose.

Tyr smiles back. “So, tell me, what is the advantage for you?”

“The advantage for me will be the cessation of the murmuring within my pride. Once you are mated and my sister pregnant; the union can proceed, or not, as the both of you see fit.”

The offer is most intriguing. The chance to sire more children for his line. An alliance with the Sabra-Jaguar. Close personal ties to Charlemagne. A strong pride to nurture and protect his sons. A wife who will accept his human shieldbrother. All good things. Then there is the effect that this news will likely have on Harper. If watching him display for a prospective wife does not jolt Harper into action…Tyr smiles slowly. He glances over his shoulder as the door to command opens and Harper walks briskly on deck. He catches a glimpse of Harper’s haunted eyes as the human looks from him to Charlemagne’s image on the screen.

“Don’t let me interrupt.” Harper snaps testily. He moves to his station and begins tapping a series of commands.

Tyr turns his attention back to Charlemagne. Oh, yes, this seeming threat to their bond would motivate Harper quite well. “Your sister, she has a name?”

“Diana.” Charlemagne glances sidelong in Harper’s direction. “She’s quite comely.”

“Do you have her image available?” Tyr asks. He folds his arms over his chest. “I’ll make my own determination.”

“Of course.” Charlemagne leans over and taps a series of commands.

Bolivar’s image is replaced by that of a woman. She looks healthy and strong. Champagne colored silks mold her lean, athletic lines. Her pale gold blond hair just brushes the pale skin of her bare shoulders. Light gray eyes seem to stare boldly back at him. High cheekbones and a full, willful mouth. Tyr leans forward on his console studying the image. She is tall. Good. He likes tall women. And blonde as well…always a plus. Tyr allows his approval and interest to show on his face. He strokes his beard thoughtfully. He can feel Harper’s stare boring a hole in his back. “She seems…acceptable.”

Charlemagne comes back on the screen. His icy blue eyes gleam with satisfaction. “We can arrange for a meeting at your convenience.”

“Your matriarch will supply a sample of her DNA, yes?

“Of course. We will work out the logistics of that later.”

“I will consider your offer.” Tyr bows slightly.

“I look forward to hearing from you. Bolivar out.” Charlemagne closes communication.

Tyr taps a couple commands on his console. He clasps his hands behind his back and continues to stare straight ahead, giving every appearance of being unaware of Harper fidgeting about behind him. The muttered curses. The hard taps on the console. The quick, angry breathing pattern. Tyr smiles as his eyes lower to his console.

“Well, I suppose it was going to happen sooner or later.” Harper jabs his console angrily.

“Are you addressing me?” Tyr asks without turning around or looking at Harper.

Harper stalks over to stand in front of Tyr. His blue eyes are fierce and challenging. “Yeah. I’m talking to you. What’s all this with Charlemagne? You trading up to a Nietzschean female, now?”

Tyr lifts one eyebrow. “And if I were?”

Harper scowls. “If you were, I’d like to know about it before she moves in and pushes me out of our bed.”

“You have not been in our bed for some time, remember?” Tyr makes a show of studying his console. He misses the sex but that can wait until Harper is better. What he misses most is the sheer pleasure of having Harper with him. The companionable silences…the times he held Harper and read to him. He will have Harper back, whatever strings he must tug on to arrange it.

“You know what I mean, Tyr.”

“This does not concern you.”

“It doesn’t concern me?” Harper’s voice rises with outrage. “How can you say that, Tyr after all we’ve been through?”

“Are you implying that my negotiations with Bolivar are of interest to you?” Tyr asks quietly. Is Harper ready to demand his due; to challenge for a shieldbrother’s rightful place?

“Yes, they interest me. You’re my…my….” Harper glowers.

“I’m your what?”

Harper stammers, his gaze flickers away. “You…you’re my friend.”

“Then as my friend you should rejoice with me that a Nietzschean female of excellent lineage from a good pride is considering mating with me.” Tyr’s voice is as bland and cool as his gaze.

Harper bites his lip. He rubs his hands over the bare skin of his arms and shivers. “Of course I’m…happy for you. It’s just that I thought we…”

Tyr steels himself not to respond to the stricken look in the blue eyes. If he does not play this exactly right he will lose Harper. He shrugs. “As you’ve shown me repeatedly over the past few weeks, Harper, there is no ‘we’ anymore.”

“I never said…that we were…not together.” Harper crosses his arms over his chest and huddles deeper into the bright lime and gold fabric of his shirt. His mouth thins in anger.

Tyr’s amber eyes darken with the same anger that roughens his velvet voice. “Are we together, Harper? Have you returned to our quarters without my knowledge?”

Harper looks away. “No.”

“I didn’t think so.” Tyr returns his gaze to the screens.

“Tyr…I…what I mean to say is…” Harper stammers to a halt.

Tyr waves dismissively without looking up. “Get back to work, boy.”

Tyr’s cold dismissal wrings a shocked gasp from the human. Harper stalks over to the door but hesitates next to it. He looks over his shoulder, his face full of pain and anger. “So are we severing ties?”

“I haven’t decided.” Tyr keeps his tone brusque with an effort. He gripes the edges of his console to keep from turning and offering Harper reassurance. His stiff shoulder’s droop as Harper stomps out the door. As hard as this pretense of coolness is, it offers hope. Harper’s anger and jealousy over the challenge to his place in Tyr’s life is a positive sign. A very positive sign.

He could not have received Charlemagne’s offer at a better time and place if he could have commanded the Archduke to contact him at a set time. Harper’s response is most promising. Now, he must plan the next move in this little play. It is time to force Harper to make a choice.

***

Harper’s anger carries him down several corridors. How dare Tyr do that? So the Nietzschean hasn’t decided if he wants to sever ties or not has he? Tyr has another think coming if he thinks that he can just dismiss one Seamus Z. Harper from his life with no consequences!

Okay so, maybe he has a few issues. Okay – a lot of issues. He is entitled. He’s gone through hell and back. What is Tyr expecting that he just fling himself on the bed and offer…he can’t. Harper shudders. He can’t do that. Not now. Not yet. Maybe never. As much as he loves Tyr, the idea of having sex with Tyr has about as much appeal as snuggling up to Rev Bem. Yet the idea of Tyr having sex with anyone else fills him with a screaming fury.

It was bad enough when he found out about Mariyam but at least that was well before Tyr had invited him to share quarters. Now, Tyr is seriously considering taking a wife, a Nietzschean wife, right in front of him. Where will that leave him?

Harper’s stride slows as the hot energy of anger suddenly deserts him. What just happened back there? How had things come to this? He shivers, remembering the cool distance in Tyr’s manner. He shivers and rubs his hands briskly down his arms. What was wrong with this damned ship? Why is it so cold all the time?

His anger has carried him all the way back to their…Tyr’s quarters. Harper pauses outside the door. He wants to go inside but can he? Harper steps forward and the door slides open. So Tyr still has not changed the codes.

Harper hesitates outside for a moment before crossing the threshold. He feels warm and comfortable as he does each time he has sneaked into the rooms to sleep near his lover. Harper inhales deeply and closes his eyes. Tyr’s scent wraps around him like a warm quilt. God, how he misses this place…how he misses Tyr.

He opens his eyes and looks around. It all looks the same. He runs a finger over the table where they had dinner that night before Tyr left with Dylan. Harper picks up a candle and smiles, remembering glowing intricate array of candles that greeted him when he first moved in.

He stops in front of the big couch. After a long moment, Harper drops down, taking his usual place on one end. He leans back against the couch and closes his eyes. It feels so good here. Like he can almost feel safe enough to sleep. He needs that feeling. It’s one of the things he craves when he sneaks in to lie by Tyr’s bed. If he could only come back home…but…

What is he going to do? Harper jumps up. He runs his hands through his hair. He had known from the beginning that this day would come but did it have to come now? When he is least able to deal with it. When he feels so vulnerable. But it has come and he must decide what to do.

Tyr with a Nietzschean woman…he can hardly bear the thought. Harper walks to the door of the bedroom and stares at the bed…their bed. Will Tyr bring his woman to the bed he shares with Harper…correction…shared with Harper? He imagines Tyr writhing on the bed with his new perfect Nietzschean bride: of Diana giving Tyr the pleasures that he can’t. Harper squeezes his eyes shut against the persistent vision of Tyr covering that tall, beautiful woman; of her pale gold hair spread out on the pillows.

There are obvious advantages for Tyr in the union of pride Sabra-Jaguar and Kodiak. And where is Harper in this deal? He had thought that he would have some say in who Tyr married but Tyr is acting as if his opinion isn’t a consideration.

And what is Harper going to get out of the deal?

“I’ll tell you what, a big fat nothing.” Harper smacks his open hand against the wall. He scowls balefully at the big bed. It’s not fair! He’s gone through hell for Tyr and the boys already. He just needs a little more time and he’ll move back. If only Tyr could be patient just a little longer.

Harper shakes his head. His shoulders slump. He can’t offer Tyr the things that Diana can. All he has to offer is himself and not even all of that. He still can’t bring himself to offer Tyr sex. “That’s not gonna be good enough, Harper. You know what Tyr wants. You know you’re not ready for that.” How is he going to get Tyr’s interest and keep it without doing the sex thing?

Harper stands in the doorway a moment then turns on his heel. Tyr was not going to sever ties with him so easily. Seamus Zelazny Harper is not one to be cast aside on a whim. He exits quickly from Tyr’s quarters and hurries to his old quarters to gather his belongings. He might not be able to fuck Tyr but he is definitely not going to let him bring someone to their bed before he has a chance to try something. He’s not going to give Tyr up without a fight.

***

Tyr walks over to his console and taps a few last commands. He ignores Beka cool, accusing stare as she waits to relieve him of the watch. He knows that she does not approve of his relationship with Harper nor does she approve of the way he has handled things since rescuing Harper. Perhaps she should try remembering that he was the one who rescued Harper. Not her.

Beka steps up behind him. Her hands rest on her black clad hips. Her booted foot taps impatiently. “Tyr. We need to talk.”

“We do?” Tyr asks without turning. His tone is cold and unwelcoming.

“Yes.” Beka nods briskly. She moves around to where she can see his face. “I’m concerned about what’s happening with Harper.”

“Meaning?” Tyr makes a show of examining the readings on the console.

“Harper is slowly self-destructing. Surely you can see that?” Beka waves her hand. The gesture is full of exasperation.

“What would you have me do that I have not already attempted?” Tyr asks without looking at her.

“Have you tried talking to him?”

“Yes.”

Beka’s shoulders slump under her gray and black shirt. “I was hoping you had some other ideas.”

Tyr raises his eyes and gives Beka a cold, hard glance. “Sorry, I’m all out of charitable excuses for Harper. He is not the only one in pain, Beka.”

“I know.” Her head bows as her gaze drops to the floor.

“Since you’re so concerned about the Little Professor; perhaps your Magog could speak to him. He seems to listen to the creature.”

“What about you, Tyr?” Beka asks more softly. She glances up at him. “How are you doing?”

“Is that concern for me, Captain Valentine? Remember, you threatened to throw me out of an airlock if I harmed your friend. I’m…fine.” He knows that Beka is Harper’s friend but she has no claims of intimacy with him. This matter is between him and Harper alone.

“How are the boys doing after Harper went apeshit?” Beka has tried talking to them but they remain closed mouthed on the issue.

“They are…confused and concerned for Harper.” Tyr steps back from the console, allowing Beka to take charge of it.

“Tyr. Just be patient with him,” Beka urges. Her eyes are worried. “He’ll be better soon.”

“My patience grows thin.” Tyr walks from the command deck.

***

Rev Bem walks along the corridors in search of Harper. Rev has tried talking with Harper on several occasions recently but has been gently…then not so gently rebuffed. Now is the time to try once more. Rev knows that Harper is in pain. Trance mentioned that when Tyr brought Harper back from his ordeal he had been chanting the mantra Rev taught him.

Rev stops outside the door to Harper’s old quarters. He knows Harper is inside. Rev had asked Andromeda his location. He presses the chime requesting entrance. The doors slide open on the darkened rooms.

“Harper? Harper, are in you here?” Rev calls into the darkness. He can hear the small noises of Harper stirring, moving.

“Yeah…yeah I’m here.” Harper replies from the far corner of the room.

Rev looks around. This sitting in the dark is not a good sign from Harper. How long has the human sat, brooding? He should have come here sooner. “Might we have some light, Harper?”

“Rommie, increase lighting by thirty percent.”

“Light increased by thirty percent, aye.”

Rev stares in shock at his young friend. Harper is crouching on the floor, shivering. His arms are wrapped tightly around his legs as if holding himself together. Sparky Cola cans litter the floor. Clothes are piled in heaps here and there around the room. Rev takes a step closer. A Sparky Cola can crunches under his foot. “Harper…what is wrong? Why are you sitting here alone in the darkness?”

“Nothing…everything…what are you doing here, Rev?” Harper scrunches his face up in concentration. His eyelids droop with exhaustion.

“I came to visit my friend.” Rev replies. “It looks like I arrived not a moment too soon.”

Harper rubs irritably at his tired eyes. They ache and itch in the most annoying way. “It’s too late Rev. Too late”

“What is too late?”

Harper opens his mouth to reply then sighs and shakes his head. He isn’t sure that he wants to talk about it. “Never mind…just never mind.”

Rev sits down on the floor, his orange robes spread around him. “No Harper. Tell me.”

“The universe hates me; Rev. It really does hate me.” Harper’s arms tighten around his legs. He rests his chin on his knees.

“What makes you say that?”

Harper stares broodingly at the heaps of cans. Perhaps the beer would have been better choice. He is wide-awake now but he hurts. The idea of Tyr giving himself to that Nietzschean floozy…giving what is Harper’s to her, it hurts in a way that he does not even have words for. He rubs his cheek against his knees. “It let me find love only to snatch it away.”

“Is that what you believe?” Rev asks softly.

Harper snorts. “Well, yeah…what else am I supposed to believe?”

“Believe in the Divine, Harper,” Rev urges.

“I’m trying, Rev. I really am…but so much has happened to me.” At least Rev is offering to listen. Tyr was the only other person to offer to just listen. Dylan didn’t have a clue what had really happened and Beka kept talking like it was something that he could just put aside and ignore. He’d tried ignoring before and it had never worked very well. Perhaps talking would if he could find the words. Harper sighs.

Rev reaches out and pats Harper’s foot. “I have time to listen if you have time to talk.”

“Tyr’s thinking of mating with Charlemagne’s sister.” Harper forces the words out. Diana’s image is burned into his mind. He can’t stop seeing her with Tyr and thinking how handsome they will look together. Then there is himself trailing along behind in the background somewhere. Maybe.

“He’s a Nietzschean, Harper; it’s what they do.” Rev’s voice is quietly sympathetic.

Harper bites his lip. He shivers and huddles deeper into himself. “He’s going to sever ties with me.”

“Did he say he was going to do that?” Rev asks.

“Well, not exactly.” But Tyr had come damn close to it. Close enough to scare Harper badly. “He just told me to bug off because the new bride-to-be is not my concern.”

Rev strokes his medallion. “I can not believe Tyr said these things to you. He genuinely cares for…loves you.”

“I thought so too…but he has changed his mind. He wants to have perfect Über kids with his shiny new and perfect Über wife.”

“Is this what you truly believe, Harper, in your heart?”

“I don’t want to but I saw him talking to Bolivar. I saw the picture of Bolivar’s sister.” Diana’s image flashes in his mind again. Harper shoves it away hard. He will not have her in his head. It’s bad enough that she may be foisted on his life.

“Maybe you misunderstood…”

“No. No misunderstanding, Rev. He is going to mate with her.” Harper had seen the look on Tyr’s face and it had stricken him to the core of his soul. Tyr is attracted to the woman. Tyr wants her and all that goes with her.

Rev shifts closer for a moment. “Think on this, Harper. Tyr needs a political ally. Bolivar could be a powerful one. This does not mean that you are no longer a part of his life.”

Harper nods. Rev is not telling him anything that he does not know. He isn’t sure what to do. If he has any chance of reclaiming Tyr or what he can offer Tyr these days. “I don’t know what to do. I…want to move back home…but I can’t.”

Rev touches Harper’s arm with a claw. “Yes you can, Harper. You just said you want to move back home…then do that.”

“What if he doesn’t want me back? What if I’ve waited too long?” Harper fights back a shivering fit.

“You’re a resourceful man, Harper. I’m sure you can think of something.” Rev struggles to his feet. “Now I must go.”

“Thanks for stopping by, Rev.” Harper lifts his chin. He feels stronger and more confident after talking to Rev. So what if Diana has beauty and connections. He has brains in abundance and his past has left him with a vast knowledge of dirty tricks if such tactics should become necessary. He is here to stay and Diana will just have to accept it. He is not giving up Tyr or the boys. They are his family.

“Hopefully the next time I visit you will be in your and Tyr’s home.”

“Hopefully.” Harper watches as Rev turns to leave. “Rev?”

Rev turns back. “Yes, Harper.”

Harper finally has the right words to express the way that he has been feeling. “I…I feel like a door to a part of my life has been slammed in my face.”

Rev tilts his head and studies Harper. His voice is warm and encouraging. “It is my belief that when the Divine closes one door…another opens. Do not despair, Harper. There is another door open for you.”

The words seem to flow through him and stink deep. Harper rises to his feet. There is a determined look in his eyes now. He grabs a bag and begins heaping clothes in it. “Yeah…maybe there is. See ya later, Rev.”

***

Tyr walks slowly down the quiet corridor leading to his quarters. He is reluctant to face another lonely night in his bed, missing Harper’s presence; wondering where Harper is and if the human is well. He is betting a lot on this arrangement with Bolivar’s sister. The look in Harper’s eyes and the knowledge that he put it there makes him flinch inside. There is also the dread possibility that this will push Harper further away rather than bringing him closer. Tyr has lost too much in his life; he will not lose Harper as well. He must believe that his ploy bring him the prize he seeks.

The door to his quarters hisses open and Tyr walks in. He looks sharply around. He can smell Harper’s scent. There! Harper is curled up asleep on the couch. Tyr walks closer. Harper’s boots are tossed on the floor. The deep blue of his shirt makes Harper look even paler than usual. The baggy pants seem looser. He will need to see that Harper eats better.

Tyr brushes his hand lightly across the wild blonde spikes, feeling the silken tickle against his palm. Harper is really back in their quarters where he belongs. His surprise fades to be replaced by a wild, giddy joy. How many times has he dreamed of coming back and finding his human here again? Unable to resist, Tyr runs a fingertip over the curve of Harper’s cheekbone. It has been so long since he touched Harper. He quickly pulls his hand back as Harper stirs. The human blinks sleepily up at him.

“You’re home.” Harper yawns widely.

“What are you doing here, Seamus?”

“I live here.” The blue eyes are full of bold challenge. Harper’s mouth is set in a determined line.

Harper has made stealthy visits here before while he thought that Tyr slept. Always the human eased silently away after a few hours. Is Harper showing up and waiting for him a sign that Harper is back for good? Back to demand his rightful place? Tyr clasps his hands firmly behind his back to fight the urge to touch Harper. “Do you? You’ve decided to move back?”

“Yeah.” Harper sits up and leans back comfortably against the cushions.

“What changed your mind?” Tyr asks, trying hard not to think about how tempting Harper looks spread out on the big couch; how badly he wants to mark Harper with his own scent; how badly he wants to press his face to the curve of Harper’s throat and shoulder. On some level he cannot truly believe that Harper is his again until Harper wears his scent. Harper is back in their quarters. He cannot ask for more now.

“I went back to my old room and did some thinking.”

“What sort of thinking?”

“Sit.” Harper nods at the other end of the couch. “I’ve got a few things to say.”

It sounds like his shieldbrother wants to re-negotiate the terms of their relationship. He is willing to make as many concessions as Charlemagne if it will get Harper back. “Maybe I should stand for this inquisition.”

Harper reaches up and takes Tyr’s hand. “Sit...please.”

Tyr sinks slowly down to the couch next to Harper. He lowers his eyes to keep the heated longing aroused by Harper’s touch from showing. He must not alarm Harper with importunate desires. Harper’s hand still clasps his own. It is more than he thought possible at this point. Tyr sits still and waits full of hope to hear Harper’s terms. “I’m sitting. What do you want to talk about?”

“Let me say what I want in my own way, okay?”

Tyr nods. To his disappointment the cool touch is withdrawn from his hand.

“Okay…I…uh…” Harper gets up to pace. He moves back and forth over the space near the couch before perching at his usual place at one end of the couch. He meets Tyr’s gaze. The blue eyes are solemn. “I need to be near you…but I don’t think I can have sex with you yet. Hell, I know I can’t. It’s so confusing because I want you so much, Tyr but with all that want and need and longing I still freeze when I think about…about…”

“Me…inside you…” Tyr is careful to ease all the longing that he feels from his tone.

“Yeah…” Harper lowers his eyes. “…that’s it.”

“Seamus…I…” Tyr fumbles over the words. He cannot promise Harper that he will never ask for that. He would be lying if he said that he did not want it. All he can promise is to wait until Harper offers.

“Wait. Let me finish.” Harper eases closer and lays his hand over Tyr’s. His voice is slow and reluctant. “I know. I know you need to ally yourself with Bolivar. I know that’s important to you and to the pride you have dreamed about. Bolivar’s sister will help you by producing a child…probably more than one from when you…when you…bond…with her.”

“She is a means to an end, Harper…nothing more.” Tyr studies Harper’s closed face. Whatever Diana may become to him, she will never threaten the bond that he has with Harper. Can Harper hear the truth in his words?

“I know you want to have sex with her. She’s a hottie.” Harper smiles weakly.

Tyr caresses Harper’s hand with his thumb. His eyes half close at the smooth feel of Harper’s skin: at the dizzying scent. He aches to set his mouth against that pale skin. “Go on.”

“Understand that I’m not going to sever ties with you. Never…not ever.” Harper’s blue eyes are fierce. His voice demanding. “I am your shieldbrother. You…you named me this. I will not be pushed aside for the first piece of Nietzschean ass that wiggles by. You got that?”

Tyr shifts his weight trying to ease the aching press of his shaft against his leather pants. Harper’s words; Harper’s challenge for him…to him…are making him hot and hard. His gaze warms with admiration and longing. “Yes I understand.”

“Good.” Harper sighs. “Okay…here’s the other thing. It’s about all this touching and …and…other things. Please understand why I’m saying this, okay. I need…I need you to let me initiate things for a while.”

Tyr stares. His heartbeat is picking up at the implications of Harper’s words. Is Harper offering touch? How much and under what terms? This is better than he had hoped. He is greedy enough to accept any kind of touching from Harper. “What are you saying, Seamus?”

Harper stares back, his face etched with determination. “I’m…I’m saying that I can touch you but I freak when you try to touch me. So let me do the touching for a while, okay?”

“That is acceptable.” Anything. Anything. Any indication that Harper is willing to touch him is more than acceptable. Tyr can hardly wait for the time to come when Harper is ready to put action behind his words. The promise of those words is enough for him for now. The rest can wait until Harper is ready. He will control himself until that time.

Harper nods once and stands up. “Great. Good.”

“Seamus…”

“Lean back on the couch, Tyr.” The tone makes it an order.

Tyr leans back watching his lover closely. His stomach tenses in anticipation. Is Harper going to touch him? He should urge Harper to wait; there is time but he aches so badly for anything that Harper is willing to give him that he cannot bring himself to say the words. He will not demand but if Harper is offering, he will not turn away whatever his shield brother chooses to offer. “What would you have of me?”

Harper kneels between Tyr’s knees. “Nothing. I just…I just….I want to give you something.”

Tyr watches hungrily as Harper’s hands settle delicately on the front of his pants. Harper’s fingers move nimbly over the flap, exposing the swollen shaft. Tyr moans, his hips tilting upward as cool fingers stroke him. He spreads his arms over the back of the couch, hiding the quivering bone blades from Harper’s gaze. His hands clench on the fabric as the cool hands stroke and squeeze. One hand slides lower to explore the weight of his sac. Tyr arches his head back against the couch. His thigh muscles flex and clench. It has been so long since Harper touched him with affection. Tyr longs to lose himself in the sensation of Harper’s touch. He can smell only Harper’s own delicious scent and the faint traces of arousal.

“Seamus…you’re driving me crazy.” Tyr writhes under Harper’s caresses. He cries out as Harper leans lower and begins exploring with velvet tongue. Tyr tosses his head, his breathing harsh and quick as the dampness of Harper’s mouth moves over and around him. The sight of his lover’s blonde head bent intently over him combines with the skillful caress to send him over the edge. Tyr gives himself over to the pleasure. The intensity of his climax surprises him. Tyr arches off the couch with a hoarse cry.

Tyr collapses back against the couch. He is distantly aware of Harper’s hands affectionately tucking him back inside his pants and fastening the flap. He can feel his bone blades slowly retracting. Will Harper be willing to grant him one thing more? “I have a request, Seamus.”

Harper eyes him warily. His hands still rest on Tyr’s thighs. “What?’

“I want to hold you…for a moment…in my arms.” Tyr adds quickly at the panic that flickers over Harper’s face. “Nothing more.”

Tyr sits motionless as Harper crawls up to straddle his lap. Harper’s strong arms slide around his throat then back down. Harper’s hands press against Tyr’s chest. The cool lips brush softly over his. Tyr responds, keeping the kiss gentle and delicate as his hands settle on Harper’s waist. He strokes the tip of his tongue over Harper’s lower lip, seeking permission. It has been so long since he tasted Harper. To his delight, Harper’s lips part. Tyr presses gently inside, affectionately stroking his tongue over the human’s. As the kiss deepens, Harper settles more confidently against Tyr.

Harper raises his head. His hands slide up Tyr’s chest to tangle in the long braids. “One more thing.”

“Yes?”

“Your new wife? You cannot fuck her in our bed.” Harper’s hands tighten into fists, gripping the long braids.

“Our bed?” Tyr permits his head to be pulled down.

“You heard me. Don’t change the subject.” Harper cool blue eyes stare into Tyr’s molten amber.

“I will consider your request.”

Harper’s mouth thins into a hard line. “You’ve got me wrong, Tyr. That was not a request.”

Tyr breathes in Harper’s scent. He yearns to kiss the human again but he will hold to his promise not to initiate any touching. He will instead have to do everything that he can to make Harper want to touch him. “I will not bring her to our bed.”

“Good.” Harper cuddles closer and yawns. His head settles on Tyr’s shoulder. His hands remain tangled in Tyr’s braids. “I can live with that.”

“You are sleepy.” Tyr tentatively slides one arm around Harper’s narrow waist, cradling Harper against his chest.

“Yeah.” Harper yawns again. He settles more comfortably against his lover.

“Would you like me to get a blanket for you? You can sleep here, if you’d be more comfortable.” Tyr offers quietly. Harper has given him so much tonight. It will be asking far too much to expect Harper to share his bed.

Harper stirs, raising his head to blink sleepily at Tyr. “No. I’m sleeping in our bed…with you.”

Tyr is surprised into silence. He sits still, afraid to say or do anything that might change the human’s mind. His hands slide away as Harper crawls off his lap and starts toward the bedroom. The human stops at the doorway and looks back over his shoulder. “You coming?”

“Yes.” Tyr walks slowly into the bedroom, allowing Harper plenty of space. He positions himself well away from the door and leans against the wall, watching in wonder. Will Harper feel bold enough to sleep bare again? The human has surprised him so many times tonight that he does not know what to expect any longer. But, no, Harper only removes his cargo pants, leaving on his blue tee shirt and boxers.

Harper crawls up on the bed and slips between the sheets. Harper leans back against the pillows, trying to look casual but his eyes are darkening with apprehension. Tyr slowly removes his clothing, keeping a careful watch on Harper’s reactions. The human is paling and his blue eyes getting bigger and bigger. He can hear the racing heartbeat and scent the rising smell of fear.

Tyr turns casually away. He takes a pair of gold silk lounge pants from one of the drawers and pulls them on. From the edge of his eye, he can see the open relief on Harper’s pale face. Tyr perches on the edge of the bed, waiting for a clue as to what Harper wants or expects.

Harper holds out his hand. A faint tremble makes it waver briefly. “Come lie beside me, ‘kay?”

Tyr accepts the hand and allows Harper to pull him down and tuck him beneath the covers. The Nietzschean lies back against the pillows, keeping his body relaxed and his bone blades firmly retracted. He watches Harper closely. What now? Harper stares at him for a moment then eases closer and closer. Harper settles down, his shaven cheek rasps against hard curve of Tyr’s bicep as he snuggles closer. Tyr holds himself very still as Harper’s arm curls possessively over his chest. Harper lifts his face in clear invitation. Tyr brushes his lips lightly over Harper’s, sternly repressing his urge for a deeper kiss.

“’Night, Tyr.” Harper snuggles back down under the covers.

“Goodnight, Seamus. Dream pleasant dreams.”

Harper smiles sleepily. “I will…tonight.”

Tyr remains still until Harper slips into a comfortable sleep. He wraps his body protectively about his human and drifts to sleep as well.

***

Tyr awakens instantly as the pattern of Harper’s breathing lightens. The human will wake soon. Tyr presses a delicate kiss to Harper’s forehead. Harper appears so peaceful; the watchful, guarded lines easing. He has a few more moments to indulge himself before Harper awakes. Tyr softly nuzzles the blonde spikes, feeling them tickle softly against his lips. His hands ghost over the muscles of Harper’s back, rejoicing in the feel of Harper cuddled against him. His lover has come home. Tyr silently vows to do everything within his power to see that Harper remains where he belongs. He eases back, sliding away to allow Harper space.

Harper yawns and stretches. His eyes open slowly. Fear shadows the blues for a moment before being quickly replaced by awareness of where he is and who he is with. He smiles sleepily. “Morning.”

“You slept well.” Tyr smiles, relaxing at Harper’s apparent ease. The human looks much better this morning. The blue eyes are bright and alert; the violet shadows beneath fading.

“Yeah. For the first time since….in forever.” Harper snuggles back against the pillows, watching as Tyr gets up.

“I’m going to shower. I’m cooking breakfast for Bellerophon and Chimaera this morning.” Tyr stands and looks down at his lover, smiling. It is good to wake with Harper; to see Harper curled in his bed again. He longs for the time to come when he and Harper will share their morning showers again as they had before but he will wait until Harper is ready.

“Tyr?” Harper calls softly.

Tyr looks over his shoulder. His amber eyes warm in invitation as he catches the faint scent of arousal in the air. Harper may be joining him in the shower soon one of these mornings. “Yes?”

Harper hesitates then asks, “Would you mind if I joined you…for breakfast?”

“I would be honored.” Tyr swaggers toward the shower.
Harper trades his own pillow for one of Tyr’s and snuggles into it, reveling in Tyr’s scent. It is good to be home. He feels lighter and freer and safer. Harper smiles as he listens to the vigorous splashing coming from the shower. This is his. Tyr is his. The boys are his. He may have to share with Diana but Tyr is his.

He almost found the nerve to join Tyr in the shower this morning. Soon…he’ll begin to share more of the things with his shieldbrother that they had before…before…the dark times. Harper reluctantly pushes himself out of bed. He better get a move on if he wants to be dressed when the boys make it here. He owes both of them an apology. He intends to do that this morning. He wants his family back and he is going to do everything he can to make them believe that.

Harper sits on the edge of the bed, watching as Tyr saunters into the bedroom. The wide chest gleams damply in the lights. The mass of braids is swept forward over his bare shoulder. A thick, gold towel is wrapped low on the narrow hips. Harper stares, transfixed by the subtle, supple slide and flex of muscle. Harper stands up and walks to Tyr. His hand strokes over the damp braids. Harper kisses the center of Tyr’s chest before walking on to take his own turn in the shower.

Tyr grins as he heads toward the closet. He pulls on a pair of brown leather pants and stands eyeing his shirts and vests. As far as he can tell, Harper likes him in anything but there is one vest that tends to rate a particularly favorable response…ah, there it is…the brown and gold vest. Tyr pauses, holding it. No, he puts it back, no. Harper responds most strongly when his chest is bare. Perhaps a bare chest will inspire Harper to touch him again. It has already won him one kiss this morning.

He turns toward the bed and pauses. No, he won’t make it up. The boys need to see that things are getting back to normal. He shoves his hair over his shoulder and walks into the kitchen area. A contented smile curves his lips at the small domestic sounds of Harper finishing up his shower and moving around in their bedroom dressing.

He knows the moment that Harper walks quietly into the room but Tyr continues chopping the vegetables for the meal. His smile deepens as Harper walks up behind him, peering around him at the ingredients spread out on the counter.

“Do you need any help?” Harper slides one arm around Tyr’s waist. He rubs his cheek affectionately against Tyr’s arm.

Tyr smoothes out the sudden increase in breathing pattern before it becomes apparent to Harper. Fortunately, Harper cannot hear the way his heart races at the simple touch. It has been so long, the need has built up so much in him that almost any stimulation has him reacting quickly and strongly. “No. Just keep me company.”

“I can do that.” Harper leans one hip against the counter. His gaze focuses on the slow trickle of droplets of water down Tyr’s bare chest. One drop circles and pauses on the tight bead of a dark nipple. It is quite distracting. “Let me get a towel before you drip in the omelets.”

Harper disappears back into the bedroom just as the door to their quarter’s chimes.

“Enter.” Tyr calls.

“Father, have you seen Harper? We stopped by his quarters on our way here and he didn’t answer.” Bellerophon rushes in. His dark eyes full of worry.

Chimaera follows his brother into the room. “We haven’t seen him in days. You don’t suppose he’s sleeping in the access tunnels again? We’re going to look for him after breakfast.”

Harper walks out of the bedroom carrying a small gold hand towel. He smiles warmly at the boys. “I’m right here, guys.”

Harper walks over to Tyr. He pats the towel over the fall of braids, gently squeezing. He smiles as his eyes meet Tyr’s warm amber gaze. For a moment he is lost in those beautiful eyes.

“Harper!” Chimaera exclaims and hurries forward, smiling widely.

Harper starts at the sudden movement and flinches back against Tyr. Tyr frowns sternly at his sons over Harper’s head.

Chimaera stops instantly. Embarrassed color washes over his face. He glances over his shoulder at his brother.

“Good morning, guys.” Harper responds sheepishly.

“You’re home?” Bellerophon’s eyes lighten with hope.

Harper nods. “Yes”

“This is a good thing, yes?” Chimaera asks with a grin.

Harper smiles warmly at both boys. He walks up to them. He cups a palm against each of their cheeks. “It is a very good thing. I’m with my family.”

Bellerophon’s eyes are wide. “Harper, are you still angry with us?”

Harper pulls the tall youth down to his level. He presses his forehead to the young man’s. “I was never angry with you. I love you both.”

Chimaera moves closer. “You don’t hate us?”

Harper strokes Chimaera’s braids…so like his father’s. “No. I don’t.”

Harper glances at Tyr, checking on how the soon the meal is likely to be done. There is time enough for what he needs to say. He gestures the boys to sit on the couch. “Come sit.”

Harper stands before them gathering his thoughts. How can he explain this to them? How much will they understand? How much are they ready to hear? They certainly don’t need to know about most of what happened to him.

“What is it?” Bellerophon asks.

“I’m just trying to figure out how to say this. I guess I’ll just blurt it out. There’s been a lot of bad stuff going on with me. You don’t need to know all of it. Just know that I had a rough time on the ship with the Über Bitches and I will be dealing with some of it for a while longer.”

“Can we do anything to help?” Bellerophon asks gravely.

Harper sighs and shakes his head. “No. I have to do the healing and I’m working on it. I just need you guys to forgive me for going crazy for a while.” Harper turns to Bellerophon. “I’m so…sorry…I never would have…I was just.”

Chimaera leans forward slowly. “Harper. You don’t have to apologize to us.”

“We love you.” Bellerophon says simply.

Harper’s eyes sting. He nods once and clears his throat. “Well, I don’t know about you but I’m starving!”

Harper turns to see Tyr watching him with warm approval. He walks up to Tyr and stands looking at him for a moment before wrapping his arms around the narrow waist and hugging tightly.

Tyr brushes his lips over the silky spikes. His shield brother is home again. His sons are safe. His heart is full and warm. He looks over at his sons. “I trust you all have huge appetites.”

TBC




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