No Good Deed

BY : Lursa_and_BeTor
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 7246
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.

This is the second and last segment of No Good Deed. Be'Tor is happily writing away and...was that a story squirrel that just dashed by??...I am entertaining an idea or two of my own. We shall see what will develop over wine and chocolate.


Part 2

"Shall I have one of my staff knock on the door?" Cassandra asks as her long fingers tap impatiently against the polished wood of the box that holds the Consort's armlet.

"No. We'll give them a bit more time." Charlemagne glances with anticipation at the huge bed. The pearl gray sheets are folded back invitingly and a black and gray quilt with glittering silver thread embroidery spreads over the wide bed. His new consort will look most fuckable spread out on the pale gray sheets. He can hardly wait to claim Harper. A crowd of his Alphas form a semi-circle around the bed, bone blades already fluttering in anticipation. Charlemagne glances at the two Matriarchs standing next to a small table holding a black china pitcher and two silver goblets. The two women are also restively watching the door through which his new consort will enter the room. The change in spouses has left him feeling postively light-hearted. And much more aroused. He grins thinking of how Elsbett would rage to know that he needs no potion to desire the human.

"You seem quite pleased with yourself."

"Who wouldn't? I am free of that Sabra Trojan horse and I am about to bed my rescuer."

"It's awfully quiet." Cassandra frowns at the closed door. "What could they be doing in there? They should be out by now."

"Harper is human and probably unfamiliar with our customs. Anasazi is probably having to give him basic information on the ceremony and what is expected." Charlemagne strokes his hand down the smooth wood of the polished black posts rising at the corners of the bed. Will the human feel as smooth and hard against his palm? He glances across the room at Hunt. The Captain is staring back at him with an odd expression. Has Hunt finally realized what the Andromeda is losing? Good.

"Still...what is the Kodiak doing? Educating him about all our customs at one time? If they don't show soon -- " Cassandra begins ominously when the door to the alcove opens and the small human edges reluctantly into the room with his large mentor looming close behind him. "Finally."

"He looks apprehensive."

"At least, after all this time, the human should be well prepared." Cassandra frowns doubtfully as she notes the human's easy stride as the Kodiak herds his charge toward the bed. The Alphas are watching with interest and a soft buzz of comment is following the human's slow progress toward the foot of the bed.

"I would not be so certain on that point," Charlemagne murmurs. His new Consort is staring at the surrounding Alphas with wide, shocked eyes. The subject of witnesses had apparantly not been addressed by Tyr, and for good reason if the mutinous look gathering on the human's face is anything to judge by. The human glances at the bed and goes even paler, looking hastily away. His Consort's rich blue gaze flickers to the openly fascinated Alphas and away before settling warily on him. Ah, well, their audience will not trouble his Consort for long. The potion will take care of that, and he is skilled enough to keep the human's attention completely on him once they are abed.

Cassandra sniffs delicately as the human stops at the foot of the bed. Her dark eyebrows rise in surprise. "You may be right. I don't smell any lubricant. I don't believe that the human has been prepared to receive you at all."

"All will be well. Have no fear of that." Charlemagne smiles in slow invitation as he meets and holds his Consort's stare.

"Hmmph. Perhaps the Kodiak was not the proper mentor for the human. He has no Pride, no one to train him, it's doubtful the Kodiak knows his business at all."

"Anasazi was Harper's choice and a good one. Tyr will want Harper to do well because his status is tied closely to the human's," Charlemagne murmurs to Cassandra as Tyr leans down to whisper encouragement to Harper. It pleases him that his Consort had not selected Hunt as an advisor. He had expected Harper to select a crewmember and the choice of the sole Nietzschean crewman is sensible in the circumstances. He tilts his head watching the whispered exchange. His consort does not appear to be pleased by whatever the Kodiak is whispering to him, but Harper's body language toward Tyr speaks of trust as well as annoyance. Harper will need an advisor to guide him in life at a Nietzschean court. And the Kodiak will be highly motivated, knowing that his own acceptance is entwined with Harper's survival and success among the Jaguars. "He will have done his best."

"You are sure of that?" Cassandra eyes the small glowering human with disapproval. The klu-human seems to have no idea of the honor, the priviledge that is being bestowed on him. "Are you certain the human is worthy to be chosen as First Consort?"

"Absolutely. The human is of great potential value to the Pride. His skills as an engineer, his deviousness are all admirable traits. I want to bind him to us, not turn him against us." Charlemagne inhales. He scents fear and nervousness riding the human's personal scent, but no trace of lube and only faint hints of arousal. He better not take more than a bare sip of the potion if the human has not been properly prepared, otherwise he will not have enough control to go slowly for the initial coupling. He catches the Kodiak's eye and lifts an inquiring eyebrow. The Kodiak responds with a slight shake of his head and a shrug.

Tyr takes a half-step away from his charge and announces, "Archduke Charlemagne Bolivar of Jaguar Pride, I present Seamus Zelazny Harper of Earth."

Cassandra opens the box, revealing the silver armlet engraved with Pride Jaguar symbols. It shines softly on a bed of black velvet as she offers it to Charlemagne. "The Jaguar armlet, sir."

"Seamus Zelazny Harper," Charlemagne takes the armlet and walks toward the human. He snaps the armlet closed over the pale skin of Harper's muscular arm. "I claim you as my First Consort. You are now part of Pride Jaguar. Be welcome among us."

Harper looks down at the cool metal gleaming softly over his bicep. His hand brushes the Archduke's as he touches the highly polished silver. It's real and solid under his fingertips. This is real. He can feel a tide of panic rising as he stares at the crowd. He really, really, really doesn't like the implications of all those Jaguars and the bed being in the same room. Surely, they'll leave at some point...before things get too intimate. Won't they? It's bad enough to have to do this with a stranger, but if they are expecting him to do this in public...Harper scowls.

"What say you?" Charlemagne captures the human's hand and plants a kisses in the center of the palm. The tip of his tongue flickers lightly, tasting the tender skin.

Tyr leans close to Harper and whispers urgently. "Say that you accept him, Harper."

Harper's scowl fades at the soft heat of the Archduke's mouth against his palm. How can a simple kiss on just his hand feel so disconcertingly good? He tentatively curls his fingertips against the Archduke's face. The contrast between the softness of Charlemagne's lips and the faint rasp of shaven cheek abruptly drops his hand as a murmur of comment drifting through the crowd jars him out of the moment. " you."

"I sense a reluctance in him, Anasazi." Charlemagne looks over his Consort's blond spikes into the Kodiak's amber eyes. Why has Tyr not throughly prepared the human? Is it his Consort's choice or is Cassandra right in her speculations about Tyr? "Why is my consort not prepared to receive me? You are his chosen mentor. If you are failing him, I will advise him to select another."

Harper steps closer to Tyr. "No! I don't want anybody else."

Tyr narrows his eyes. "He would not permit the preparation. And, considering the circumstances, I believe it prudent not to force such a thing on him."

So, this is his Consort's choice. Interesting. Charlemange glances down at the small human. How is he to interpret that decision? Does his new Consort find a carefully contrived amount of pain stimulating? He can work with that, but if something else lies behind the human's choice and he hurts Harper, he will lost any chance to bind the human to him. He needs this mystery solved before bedding the human. "No. That would not have been a wise choice. Does he understand that--"

"'He' is right here and capable of answering his own damned questions." Harper glowers up at the two tall men talking over his head. Sheesh. He might not have any experience in this department, but he's a long way from being an idiot. Do they have to talk over him like he's a potted plant or something?

Charlemagne cups the human's chin, tilting Harper's head back. He searches the vivd blue gaze for cues. "Why did you not allow your mentor to help you? I have no wish to harm you."

"What do you mean?" Harper asks. He glances uneasily at the bed. He simply cannot imagnine himself there...naked in front of a herd of Nietzscheans with a strange Uber beside him. How long can he stall the main event? Can willful ignorance help hold the Archduke off? "How do you know if I'm ready or not?"

Charlemagne leans down, inhaling. Ummm. The aroused notes in the human's scent are deepening. "I don't smell lubricant on you."

Harper blushes hotly as he remembers Tyr waving dildos and bottles at him, trying to persuade him to submit to it. In hopes of stalling, he'd adopted a reasonable air as he listened to Tyr's explanations, but had refused to go through with it every time that Tyr had finally thought him persuaded. He'd asked every question he could think of, no matter how embarrassing, to keep them in that room and out of the coupling chamber as long as possible. He glowers defiantly at the Archduke. "It's not like I'm gonna need it."

"You think not?" Charlemagne laughs softly. Ah, this human is going to be infinitely more interesting than Elsbett. "I will not force you, Consort, but I can promise you that before morning, you will be begging me to take your ass."

"No way." Harper stares back at the Archduke, his blue eyes bright and rebellious. "I'll do what I have to, but my ass is staying out of this."

"We shall see, little one..." Charlemagne chuckles knowingly. "We shall see."

"There is something else you should know," Tyr murmurs.

Harper glances over his shoulder in alarm. Now what? Doesn't he have enough going on without Tyr adding more to it? Oh, shit. Is Tyr planning on ratting about his lack of experience? Charley doesn't need to know about that. "Tyr, not a word."

Tyr sighs. His amber eyes glint with exasperation as he looks down at his charge. "He needs to know, Harper."

"No, he doesn't. Why does he need to know anything else?" Harper huffs. He'd rather hit the sheets in front the crowd than have Tyr make a public service announcement about his virginity. Besides he's gotta do this anyway so the sooner it's done, the sooner he can get back to a normal life. The whole virgnity thing will be moot in a few minutes anyway, so why endure the mortification of announcing it in front of a room full of Ubers who've probably been getting laid since they hit puberty? "Can't we just get the show on the road?"

Charlemagne nuzzles the tempting line of his Consort's throat. They can't stand around talking without giving his court something to watch. He licks the pale skin and smiles at the soft, surprised sound that Harper makes and the way that human's throat arches, silently pleading for more. Mmmmmm...his consort now smells deliciously of desire. Good. He had wanted to be certain that he could rouse the human without the potion's aid. Harper's responsiveness augers well for their future relationship. Charlemagne slowly kisses his way upwards, savoring his Consort's taste and scent. "What else do I need to know?"

"Ummm. Nothing, really." Harper tilts his head, exposing more skin to the heat of Charlemagne's exploring mouth. Damn. He'd thought the kiss on his palm felt good, but this...ooooh. His hands fist in the leather of the Archduke's jacket, pulling the Nietzschean closer. Damn. He'd never believed that any Uber could possibly feel so good. Where else will Charley kiss him? He shivers at the possiblities beginning to glimmer in his mind.

Tyr growls. "Boy, do you want to get hurt more than you are going to be already?"

Charlemagne lifts his head, glancing speculatively from Harper to Tyr and back. Could it be that the human lacks any experience with males? "Harper, no matter how gentle I am with you, there will be some discomfort. If there is something about you that I need to know, then tell me."

"I haven't ever been with a guy before." Harper blurts and looks down at his bare feet. But he'd certainly thought about it plenty. Ever since he'd gotten hold of a collection of porn vids and two of the vids had these guys. He'd never thought about doing that with a guy before, but the vids had made it look...exciting. Those two had turned into his favorite jerk-off material. He'd wanted to try it for real, but when he finally succeeded in luring a guy back to the Maru, damned if Rev Bem hadn't come back early and near about scared his potential partner into a heart attack. They had been sitting on his bunk, kissing and then the guy had glimpsed Rev's furry self trotting past the bunkroom. And now, he has the opportunity to experience his fantasies for real, but in a completely twisted way. He'd never imagined doing this with an Uber. Much less in front of a whole crowd of Ubers. Not to mention Dylan and Beka. Harper sighs. Ubers are so weird. No telling what one would be like in bed...although he has to admit, he really likes the way Charlemagne's mouth felt on his skin.

"He has never been intimate with anyone." Tyr adds.

Charlemagne's eyes widen. "He is a..."

"A virgin." Tyr nods.

"Did you have to say it like that?" Harper turns his head, scowling over his shoulder at Tyr. "That's more than he needed to know. Why don't you just hang a sign around my neck?"

"No. I did need to know." Charlemagne slides his hand through the blond spikes and gently urges the human to face him again. He shudders with a renewed rush of heat at the knowledge that he will be the first to taste Harper's pleasure. The first to slide deep inside, claiming the human's ass. He growls as his gaze drops to the shadowy circles of Harper's tender nipples pressing against the fine mesh. He will be the first to taste those as well.

"Did not. Damn it--" Harper parts his lips to snark, but the Nietzschean's mouth closes over his, urging his lips further apart. He moans as his mouth is filled with the hot, velvet slide of Charlemagne's tongue over his. Oooh. That feels good and even better when he curls his tongue along Charley's and eases into the heat of the Nietzschean's mouth. Oh, yeah. He could get into kissing the Uber. Too bad that's not all he has to do. He could happily do this all day. Oh, man, could Charlemagne kiss. Harper groans in disappointment as the Nietzschean pulls away.

"In light of this new information, Anasazi, I agree with your decision not to prepare my consort." Charlemagne traces a fingertip over the swollen lines of Harper's mouth. He steps back with reluctance. His hands ache to strip Harper but the ceremony demands that the Matriarchs remove the garments. He looks down into the human's dazed eyes. "This gift is too precious not to experience first hand."

Tyr bows slightly and steps back, taking up his position on Harper's side of the bed. As the Consort's acknowledged mentor he is entitled to a prime position next to the bed. He sweeps his long hair over his shoulder and glances covertly over the crowd. A faint smile quirks his lips. He is attracting a certain share of attention. If this ceremony goes well, he will attract even more attention. He needs as many ties as he can create here if he wants to cultivate a favorable place to bring his Kodiak First Wife and an Orca Second. Not to mention, that if he finds a place where the Kodiaks can reform and regroup, there can be no question of his fitness to be First Alpha of Kodiak. A fair enough exchange for establishing ties with the notoriously treacherous Jaguar. Being mentor to the Jaguar First Consort will put him on a relatively stable perch...if Harper pleases Charlemagne. Factor in a few Jaguar wives and perhaps a Jaguar consort and his postion will be strengthened even more.

"Prepare them for the coupling," Cassandra commands. She hands her box off to one the novices and gestures to two of her junior Matriarchs to begin.

Charlemage holds out his arms as first his leather duster and then silk shirt is removed. He watches with amusement as Harper reluctantly surrenders the shimmering vest. He eyes the smooth paleness of the human's chest with approval. He can hardly wait to taste the peach nipples. His gaze drops to the heavy cock so tightly confined by the human's leather pants. Charlemagne licks his lips as he imagines how it will fill him. That's a treat for another day when he and his consort are together in private. For this public ceremony, he cannot permit such a thing, but later when he has trained his Consort in giving and receiving pleasure, it will be something to look forward to. He stares hungrily at his Consort, hardly noticing as the junior Matriarch unlaces his own leather pants and slides them down his long legs. He steps out of them, pausing to display the potent lines of his body to his watching court.

"Wait, lady, I can take off my own pants." Harper grabs for his black leather pants as the other junior Matriarch unfastens the flap, exposing an expanse of pale stomach and a glimpse of gold curls.

"Harper. It is her job to help you disrobe. We discussed this already." Tyr sternly forces his mouth into a somber line, but his eyes glitter with amusement. Such a fuss over a little nudity. He isn't the one impatiently waiting for a full view of those assets so delightfully displayed by the human's leathers. He glances at Charlemagne, admiring the lean, muscular lines of the Archduke's nude body and the thick, hard cock rising higher as the Archduke watches Harper. And Charlemagne hasn't drunk of the potion yet. Good. There will be no doubt at the Jaguar court that their Archduke does want Harper. Such visual evidence will make his job easier and Harper's position more secure. Tyr lifts an eyebrow in surprise as he catches sight of Dylan's stare locked onto the Archduke's naked body. Hmmm. Hunt looks rather flushed and flustered. Well, well, well.

"Yeah, yeah." Harper forces his hands back to his side and squeezes his eyes shut as he feels the leather pants pushed down his legs and a rush of cool air kisses his skin. He really doesn't want to see everyone looking at his nakedness or the hot blush that he can feel surging up his face. He reluctantly opens his eyes. The first thing he see is Tyr staring at him with an admiring expression. Oh, shit. He looks hurriedly away only to catch Beka's wide-eyed gaze and Dylan's shocked stare. Oh, shit. He can't hide behind those sheets fast enough. He blushes harder as his glance is captured by Charlemagne's hot stare. He focuses on the elegant lines of Charlemagne's face, feeling oddly steadied by the Nietzschean's encouraging smile.

Cassandra holds the black pitcher high and pours the contents into the silver goblets. "Give them drink!"

What's this? Harper takes the chilled goblet. Across the room Charlemagne is accepting one also. Harper stares quizzically down at the dark red liquid. It looks kinda like red wine but it smells a little different. Sweeter and milder. He's never cared for wine much and he particularly doesn't like red wine. Harper glances inquiringly at Tyr who nods firmly. Right. Not as if he's in a position to be picky just now. Anything to get good and relaxed before the main event. Harper raises the goblet to his lips and gulps down a third. Wow. That's...that's not bad. Not nearly as dry as he was expecting. Not half bad. Harper sways slightly as warmth rushes through his body, lifting his cock higher and filling his balls with pleasant heaviness. Harper licks his lips, trying to place the wine's flavor. It's like nothing that he's ever tasted before. Sorta berry like. Good stuff. Will they let him have more of it?

Harper hastily drains the rest of the wine. Uhhhhmmm. Good. He looks across the room as Charlemagne glides toward the bed. Damn, Charley looks good. Lickable even. All those hard muscles sliding easily under that creamy skin. He wants to rub himself against all that smooth skin. Lick those pink nipples and...his gaze moves lower as he stares with open hunger at Charlemagne's swollen cock. He wants to wrap his hand around taste it. Mmmmmmmm. Harper is barely aware of the junior Matriarch taking the goblet from him as he walks toward the bed, helplessly drawn by the waiting grace of Charlemagne's lean body.

"Come to me, Harper," Charlemagne murmurs. He draws the gray sheets loosely around them as the human slides into his arms. There. Later, once Harper is too hot to care, he will permit his modest Consort to be exposed to the eager eyes of his court.

Harper gasps as Charlemagne's hard arms close around him, pulling him close. He's almost overwhelmed by the sensation of all that skin against him. He can't get enough of the feel of that silken heat. His hands spread greedily over Charlemagne's back, urging the Nietzschean closer. Ohhhh. Harper pants, rubbing his aching cock against Charlemagne's stomach. He's never felt anything so good. Charley's skin is so warm and smooth. Mmmmmmm. Smells so good. Heat rushes through at him as he stares at the Nietzcshean's mouth. He wants it. Needs it. "Kiss...kiss me."

"My pleasure." Charlemagne smiles and lowers his head to claim the eagerly offered mouth. The human's lips part, yielding easily under the urgent pressure of his. He growls as he deepens the kiss, sliding his tongue over the cool velvet of Harper's. Ummmm. It's going to be hard to pace himself. Hard to hold back with Harper squirming so sensually in his arms. Charlemagne slides his hand down the human's chest. Between wearing that vest for several hours and the effects of the potion, his Consort's nipples should be very sensitive. He rubs his thumbs lightly over the delicate peach of the human's nipples, making Harper arch against him with a muffled cry of pleasure.

"Wow..." Harper lies back against the pillows, staring into hot blue of Charlemagne's eyes. Damn, the man can kiss. And felt so good. So good that he doesn't even care about the flex of those bone blades against his skin. If Charley can make him feel this good, he's more than willing to ignore the cool heaviness of the bone blades. Right now he's much more interested the silken heat of the Uber's aroused body.

"I love the cool sweetness of your mouth." Charlemagne whispers against the human's lips. Many more kisses like that and he will lose control too soon. He eases lower, kissing his way down the human's throat, smiling at the cool strength of his Consort's hands stroking his back and kneading his shoulders. The human's scent is so intoxicating. He moves lower, closing his mouth over the temptation of a tight peach nipple. His Consort's hands cup his head, urging him on as Harper writhes beneath him. Ummm. Yes. Charlemagne slides over to claim the other nipple, savoring the taste of the human's skin and the enticing sound of Harper's throaty moans. He kisses his way back up the cool, pale skin. He wants to see Harper's face. He wants to watch. Charlemagne lifts his head to look down into Harper's flushed face and smoldering eyes. Beautiful eyes. Exactly the shade of his favorite ocean. He smiles as his hand slides low, stroking over the trembling tension of Harper's stomach muscles. His hand closes greedily over the quivering thickness of his Consort's cock. Oh, yesss. He strokes his hand over the impressive length. All that and girth as well. He can hardly wait to get his new Consort alone and indulge his other tastes in private. Charlemagne nods to the matriarchs who gently ease the covers and sheets back, completely exposing them, as he begins pumping the human with demanding strokes.

"GOD!" Harper thrusts into Charlemagne's caresses. He tosses his head against the pillows, panting. He is vaguely aware of the hot eyes of the watching crowd of Ubers and the sound of their quickened breathing, but nothing matters except the perfect rhythm of Charley's stroking. The feel of Charlemagne's hands on him are a thousand times better than the times that he'd touched himself. Damn, who would have thought that a simple handjob would feel so good? Harper arches desperately into the knowning caresses. "So good! Soooooo good."

Charlemagne smiles down into Harper's dazed eyes. His consort is even more responsive that he'd hoped. Harper's open need has him aroused in a way that Elsbett's jaded attempts at seduction had completely failed to do. He quickens the pace of his stroking. "Cum for me, Harper. Cum for me."

"I can't....Ohhhhh...please...please." Harper groans as he stares up into the excited glitter of Charlemagne's eyes. His fists clench on the pillow beneath his head as his hips thrust in helpless response to the Neitzschean's demanding touch.

"Please what, Harper?" Charlemagne bends down to suck at the skin bordering the dataport.

"Don't...don't stop...don't stop...don't...don't...don't stop!" Harper slides his arms over the smooth skin of Charlemagne's shoulders, pulling the Nietzschean close. He arches upward with a loud cry as his release spills over Charlemagne's fist. Harper collapses back against the pillows.

Charlemagne accepts a proffered damp cloth from one of the Matriarchs and gently cleans away the evidence of his Consort's release. The human moves under his touch with a soft hum of pleasure. He returns the cloth to the black china tray and leans over Harper again. His Consort is deliciously flushed and tousled. Charlemagne reclaims Harper's mouth with a long, lingering kiss as he eases between the human's wide spread thighs. Now if he can just keep Harper relaxed, he can begin to prepare the human for more. Charlemagne slides his hand under the pillow and removes a bottle, ignoring the excited response of his court. He pauses as the human's eyes flutter open. The soft blue eyes are wide and dazed as Harper stares up at him. Charlemagne blinks at the sudden dazzle of the human's dimple flashing grin. The grin and the dimples fade too soon as Harper's gaze slides past Charlemagne's shoulders to focus on the crowd of aroused Alphas. Charlemagne turns the human's face back to him and gently kisses the gathering frown away. "Harper. Relax."

"Am relaxed," Harper slurs. He pulls Charlemagne down for another long, slow kiss. He rubs his thighs against the hard curves of Charley's flanks as he shifts restively beneath the hard heat of the Nietzschean's body. Ummmm. Charley feels good. Real good. He already wants the Nietzschean again. He licks the warm creamy skin of his lover's throat and smiles at the way Charlemagne growls and presses closer. Mmmmm. Tastes good too.

"Good." Charlemagne shudders at the slow velvet stroke and lap of Harper's tongue as the human investigates his throat and shoulder. He turns his head, capturing the human's mouth as he hold out a hand in silent demand for a fresh goblet. A little early in the proceeding for it, but he will have to take Harper soon and he wants to be certain that this first experience is so pleasurable that Harper wants to repeat it often. Charlemagne pulls back and lifts the goblet to his lips, taking only a token sip before offering the goblet to his Consort, softly urging Harper to drain the rest of the goblet. He hands the goblet back to the attendants and bends to kiss the human in reward. Ummmm. The potion tastes even better on Harper's lips.

Charlemagne sits back, admiring the sprawl of the human's body against the pale gray sheets. His hands slide possessively over the human's chest. The lightest graze of his fingertips and nails over those delicious peach nipples makes the human moan and shiver. Charlemagne lingers, teasing the tender beads. Oh, definitely, he will have to see that Harper's new wardrobe contains several of those mesh vests if such garments leave his Consort so wonderfully sensitive. His hands slide lower gathering up the jutting temptation of Harper's cock. He must indulge himself in a taste. Charlemagne slides low and licks the trembling rosy cock from base to tip.

"Mmmmmmmm...ooohhhh...yeah." Harper arches his hips into the provocative heat of Charlemagne's mouth. Oh. Yes. Yesss. Oohhh. He looks down the length of his body, watching as the Neitzschean's pink tongue curls around and over him in slow, savoring licks. Charley is going to drive him crazy. Over the Neitzschean's blond head he can see the others watching the show avidly but he can't bring himself to care particularly. Not even as his gaze meets Tyr's dark stare or snags on Dylan's red face. Harper groans and shifts his hips pleadingly. "Ahhhhh. Please."

Charlemagne lifts his head, licking his lips as he meets his Consort's smoldering stare. Hmmm. Delicious. That's the only word for his new prize. He will have more than that small taste before the night is over. He can't last much longer. He has to have Harper. Now. He coils himself over and around the human. "Wrap your legs around me."

Harper slowly slides his legs around the sleek warmth of his lover's body. Despite the heated buzz left by the wine, he can't help but remember all the warnings about how this is going to hurt. His body tightens with apprehension at the first stroke of slick dampness over his cleft. Harper bites his lower lip as Charlemagne's long fingers stroke lightly over him. He gasps at the slow teasing circles of Charley's fingertip gliding slickly over and over the sensitive furl. It's beginning to feel...interesting. His hips shift involuntarily tilting into the delicate caress. Harper tenses as he feels a finger sliding inside, stroking him intimately. He stares into the Nietzschean's hot blue eyes, seeking reassurance as he whispers, "What...what are you doing?"

"I won't hurt you, Harper. Let me in."

"Promise?" Harper tosses his head against the pillows as a second finger eases inside. It feels...ahhhh...he moans at the sensations tingling up his spine with the slow insinuating stroking.

"Yes," Charlemagne murmurs huskily as he continues the gentle teasing and stretching. He can hardly wait to sink into that velvet tightness and claim his Consort. He pauses, fingers pressed deep, as Harper cries out and the human's thighs clench tight around him. The cool, strong hands clutch at his shoulders. Is the reaction pleasure or pain? He curls his body protectively around his small Consort. "Are you alright?"

"So full. Too much." Harper pants, writhing against the bedcover and pillows. But even as he feels the long fingers easing away, he wants them back. He wants them pressed even deeper. He wants more. He needs more. Harper moans loudly as he arches his hips, pressing further back onto Charlemagne's fingers, driving them deeper than before. Ahhhhhh. Harper squirms desperately, wrapping his thighs tighter around the damp heat of Charlemagne's lean body. What was that? Where had that dazzle of sensation come from? Where? He wants more of it...more...ahhhhh.

"Is that too much, Harper?" Charlemagne laughs huskily as he strokes the human's sweet spot again. He presses his face into the crook of Harper's throat and shoulder, inhaling the delicious scent of his Consort's desire. The human is a treasure. Such responsiveness. Such sensuality. And all that brilliant mind as well. A much more satisfactory mate than that Sabra idiot. He eases his fingers free despite the human's protesting wiggle.

Harper slides his fingers through the Neitzschean's short hair, pulling Charlemagne's head back. His voice is slightly slurred from the wine. "No. More."

"Not yet. You're not ready," Charlemagne teases as he pulls away. He rises to his knees and slicks his swollen cock with the shimmering liquid. He is only distantly aware of the admiring murmurs of the crowd. All his attention is on Harper's hungry stare as the human watches the glide of his hand spreading lube.

"Am. Please." Harper lifts his hips eagerly as Charlemagne slides a pillow beneath him. He spreads his thighs wide in offering as he meets the Nietzschean's gaze. How much longer is Charley gonna make him wait? Harper gasps as the wide hot head of his lover's cock touches him, resting lightly against the sensitive furl. Oh, please. Soon. Soon. He can't wait much longer.

Charlemagne pushes slowly inside with a hoarse growl. "I claim you, Harper."

Harper bucks against the invasion of hot cock, taking it deeper. "Oh, God! Oh, God!"

Charlemagne pants, trembling with the effort to ease slowly inside. The human is so wonderously tight. His hands close possessively over the muscled curves of his Consort's ass. One of them must retain some shreds of control if Harper is going to be able to walk tomorrow. It's so difficult to hold back with Harper arching upwards with greedy demand, trying to take too much of him too fast. Charlemage moans loudly as the human bucks again, driving him deeper into the clinging tightness. "Lie still, Little One. I don't want to injure you."

"No." Harper writhes sensually, determined to claim every last inch of his lover's hard cock. He wraps his thighs around the Nietzschean's supple body, moaning as he drives the hot cock deeper. Ahhhhh. He shudders as Charley slowly withdraws and then pushes deep again. Harper stares into the flushed face of his Nietzschean lover. He had never in his wildest fantasies ever dreamed it could be like this. The holovids were pale comparisons to the reality of having Charley sliding so thick, hot and hard in his ass. He reaches down, closing his hand over his aching cock. "No. I want it. I want you."

Charlemagne pushes the human's hand away and closes his own hand around Harper's trembling cock. "This is mine. You are mine."

"Yes." Harper arches into the touch. He doesn't want to cum. He wants to draw out the feel of the Neitzschean's hot cock gliding in and out of him, making fireworks of sensation sparkle along his nerves. He wants more of Charlemagne's knowing hands stroking and squeezing his cock in such perfect rhythm. Harper twists desperately torn between the screaming demands of his body for release and the need for more. He only knows that he wants Charlemagne to stay hard inside him. He doesn't care what Tyr or Dylan or even Beka thinks right now. Maybe he'll worry about it later. Maybe. Right now his only reality, the only thing that matters, is the man curled over him possessing him so completely.

"Very good, Harper," Tyr murmurs with a grin. He leans against one of the bedposts at the foot of bed, watching as Charlemagne flexs, thrusting slow and deep into the pale curves of Harper's ass. The heady scent of the Archduke's arousal and the hoarse growls make it plain that Charlemagne is very pleased with his new prize. Good. Harper's throaty groans and passionate sounds are drawing the crowd closer as the human coils tighter around the Archduke. Tyr shakes his head with mild regret. Who could have predicted that the Little Professor would be such a passionate and enthusiastic lover? Tyr glances around at the members of Charlemagne's court, noting the number of erect boneblades and flushed faces. He breathes in, savoring the scents of aroused Alphas. Charlemagne's Alphas are decidedly enjoying this coupling and no doubt breathlessly waiting for the moment when Charlemagne cums for the first time and they will be free to slip away and indulge thier own desires.

Hmmm. His crewmates seem to be having a bit of a difficult time adjusting to the ceremony. Tyr glances at Beka. Her eyes are wide and her face is white with shock as she stares at Charlemagne and Harper's writhing bodies. Could she have been interested in the Archduke herself? She had mentioned meeting Charlemagne briefly before, during some dull Commonwealth function. Perhaps she hadn't been aware of the dual nature of the Nietzschean sex drive. Now, that's interesting...Tyr smirks as his gaze flickers over Dylan's flushed face and the erection clearly outlined by the human's snug uniform pants. He walks over to stand next to the Captain, watching the human with quick sidelong looks. Captain, captain...aroused and fighting it...but is it Harper or Charlemagne that has the good Captain perspiring and breathless? Ahhh. He follows the human's gaze to the lean, aroused lines of the Archduke's body. Really, the Captain seems almost entranced by the flex of Charlemagne's ass as the Archduke thrusts deeply into the Little Professor. Charlemagne, then. So, the good Captain has fantasies about getting pounded into the mattress by a Nietzschean? Well...unexpected, but workable. Although he has never desired Dylan, there's a certain pleasure in the thought of fucking the Captain so hard that Dylan won't be able to get out of bed the next day. Hmmm. Revenge and the possibility of gaining control of the Andromeda in one neat package. Definitely something to consider further. He leans closer to Dylan. "Harper appears to be comporting himself well, don't you think?"

"What?" Dylan asks absently. He stares at the Archduke's lean, athletic frame. All that bare creamy skin shimmering under a fine gloss of sweat. The damp tousle of pale gold hair, the smooth ripple of muscles down the Archduke's back as Charlemagne thrusts...Dylan licks his lips as he stares at the hard tension filling the Archduke's muscled thighs and drawing the heavy balls high. This whole Coupling Ceremony thing is...well, it's not like he hasn't seen one before, but this is the first time that he's ever seen a ceremony with two's really...very distracting. He reluctantly turns his head to look at Tyr. For a moment his gaze snags on the lush fullness of the Weapons Officer's mouth. "What?"

"Harper...your adjusting well to the Archduke's attentions, wouldn't you say?" Tyr tilts his head, studying the pair on the bed as Harper groans and goes limp against the pillows with the Archduke collapsing on top of the human. He shifts his stance impatiently as he watches couples discreetly slipping away. His own body is hot with need and his bone blades ache, but one of the few drawbacks of his position of mentor is that he cannot leave the Coupling so early. He will have to wait hours yet before seeking his own release. Amusement glitters in his eyes as he notices two large Jaguars talking softly together and staring intently at Dylan. Hmmm. The Captain seems to have gathered admirers and they are walking this way. Tyr glances at Dylan with a sardonic smile. What will the Captian do?

"I...I hadn't noticed." Dylan bites his lip as the couple on the bed stir. He watches as Harper dusts kisses over the damp skin of Charlemagne's shoulders. Charlemagne turns his head and takes Harper's mouth in a long passionate kiss. So soon? They're going to do it again already? Ooooh. The Archduke is already thrusting again in a languid, teasing sort of way as Harper clutches Charlemagne's shoulders and twists impatiently beneath the Neitzschean's muscular body. How can Harper take another pounding so soon? Harper didn't seem to be objecting. The engineer's hands move over Charlemagne with greedy demand and his legs curl possessively around the Archduke's narrow waist. Dylan shivers. What would it feel like be ridden like that?

"Of course not." Tyr smiles knowingly. He steps away, pretending interest in Harper and Charlemagne as a big, blond Jaguar in navy leathers pauses to take a couple of champagne flutes from a server. An equally large Jaguar with sable hair slides past the blonde to stand beside Dylan. The Jaguar's beige leathers outline a heavily muscled and decidedly aroused body. Ah, here comes the blond, taking up a position on Hunt's other side. Tyr glances at the heavy erection thrusting against the blonde's tight navy pants. Hmmm. Both Jaguars are quite well endowed. Ooh, the suspense...are they going to share Dylan or fight over him? Tyr glances at the pair. Share. Definately share. They are clearly working together to cut the Captain out of the herd, but will Dylan look away from Charlemagne's ass long enough to notice? If Dylan chooses to leave with those two, the Captain might have more than his precious 'heavy gravity worlder' genes can handle. That should be most amusing.

"Captain Hunt." The tall blonde smiles warmly at Dylan and offers the extra champagne flute.

"Yes?" Dylan glances at the big man standing next to him. Where had the stranger come from and when? The Jaguar's hair is almost as light as the Archduke's, but his eyes are a deep brown. Dylan smiles back as he accepts the drink. It is rather hot in this room. Something cold to drink will be good.

"How are you enjoying the coupling?" The blonde's smile deepens as he stares into Dylan's eyes. He touches the rim of flute lightly to Dylan's. "I'm Arius."

"It's been...interesting." Dylan eagerly drinks the efferescent liquid. The chilly liquid feels wonderful sliding down his throat. His gaze slides helplessly back to the bed. Charlemagne is pounding into Harper with short, deep thrusts. Dylan's breath catches with each plunge...each thrust. What must it be like...feel like to lie under the Archduke? He'd never been interested in men before, but this...watching his engineer and the Archduke writhing together...listening to the moans and the slick, wet's all so strangely exciting.

"Hasn't it?" Arius glances down. He doesn't need scent to know that the human is aroused. Not with the fit of those uniform pants. He and Marcus had noticed from across the room that the dashing kludge Captain was...interested. He's been wanting to try a kludge and so has Marcus. No reason not to share as they've done so often before providing they can come to an understanding with Hunt.
"Your Archduke seems..." Dylan licks his lips as he stares at Charlemagne. He hardly notices as the empty flute is removed from his hand and replaced with a fresh one.


"Tireless." Damn, it's hot in here. Dylan tosses back the second glass of cold champagne.

Arius eases closer, his shoulder brushing the kludge's. He chuckles as leans closer to whispers in Dylan's ear, "Our Archduke is throughly enjoying his consort. His arousal is most...intoxicating."

"Yes, I suppose." Dylan shivers at the feel of the other man's warm breath on his cheek. He might not have a Nietzschean's heightened sense of smell, but Arius smells good. The press of the Nietzschean's shoulder feels nice, too. He leans into the touch as he whispers back, "I wouldn't know."

"How did you manage?" A deep voice inquires at his other shoulder.

"How did I what?" Dylan turns his head to blink at the Nietzschean next to him. This one is even bigger than he is. Tousled sable hair just brushes the man's heavily muscled shoulders and his blue eyes are almost the same deep shade as the Archduke's. His gaze drops in confusion to the full lines of the stranger's mouth. "Who are you?"

"I'm Marcus, Captain Hunt." The big man leans closer so that his shoulder presses firmly against the Captain's. He looks at the moaning couple squirming vigorously on the bed. "How did you manage not to take the little engineer? He has such a delectable body."

"I...I...don't know what you're talking about." Dylan shifts his stance restively only find that he can't move without brushing against the two men. They feel so hot. Of course, Nietzscheans did have higher body temperatures, but the sensation is...Dylan licks his lips and looks down at his empty flute. That would explain why the whole room feels so hot. Strange, he doesn't remember his dress uniform being so uncomfortable. The tailor must have gotten something wrong. He can hardly wait to peel it off and feel cool air against his bare skin. Dylan bites back a gasp as a big hand slides slowly down his back to settle at his waistline. Which man is touching him? He can't tell. It could be either of them. A tingle runs down his spine at the thought.

Arius glides just behind Dylan, grasping the human's shoulders. His hands slide down the muscled lines of the human's back to settle lightly on each side of Dylan's waist just as Marcus' hand slide up to rest just below the human's uniform collar. He leans forward, his lips brushing Dylan's ear as he murmurs, "Just look at him. His skin is pale...almost translucent."

"I never noticed." Dylan leans back slightly, focusing on the relentless flex of Charlemagne's ass. The slick sounds of the Archduke withdrawing and then sliding home, have him shivering as he feels the brush of Arius' hard cock against his own ass. He squirms as the Neitzschean's hands tighten around his waist, urging him back until the light brush becomes a firm, insistent pressure against his buttocks.

"How could you not?" Marcus laughs softly as he slants a considering look at Dylan. He slides his fingers through the soft brown hair edging the human's collar. "Look how responsive he is. The Archduke is very lucky to have such an openly responsive mate."

"Harper is the lucky one," Dylan murmurs breathlessly.

So the human wants to bottom. That will suit him and Marcus very well. Arius brushes his lips over the back of Marcus' caressing hand. He is willing to go either way, but Marcus is a top only. He rubs his aching cock against the human's firm ass and smiles at the shiver of response that ripples through the human's body. "Ahhh, yes."

Marcus takes Dylan's empty flute and gives him another. "Another drink, Captain Hunt?"

"Yeah. Thanks." Dylan takes a grateful sip. He tugs as the fastenings of his uniform jacket. Maybe if he takes his jacket off he will feel cooler. Or drinks more of this wonderfully chilled champagne. It's really quite hospitable of the Jaguars to keep him so well supplied with it.

'My pleasure." Marcus smiles seductively. He glances up and catches the amber eyes of thier new First Consort's mentor on them. He lifts an eyebrow in silent question -- does the Kodiak want to come play as well? A shake of the head is his answer. Ah, well, perhaps they can persuade the Kodiak another time. For now, the Captain will provide ample entertainment. Marcus looks at the bed as his Archduke cries out in completion. He catches Arius' eye and the two of them watch Dylan's face as Charlemagne's big cock slips free of Harper's ass. A soft, involuntary moan escapes the Captain's lips.

"These proceedings should be over soon," Arius steps to the human's side, slides his hand down to the small of Dylan's back and gently urging the human toward the exit. "Why don't we step out into the corridor for some air?"

Dylan shudders as he watches the way Harper sprawls like a wanton in the center of the bed as the Archduke slowly licks the engineer's cock back into hardness. Dylan drains the last of his champagne. He feels so hot and dizzy. Getting some air sounds good. He needs to cool off. "Sure. That would be good. I'm feeling a little light headed."

"Perhaps you'd like to lie down for a bit." Marcus slides an arm over Dylan's shoulders, guiding the human through the crowd.

"Yes...yes that would be nice," Dylan agrees breathlessly.

"Come." Arius smiles as he slips his arm around Dylan's waist. "I know just the place where you can get a bit of rest in private."

Tyr chuckles as he watches the two Jaguars deftly shepherd the Captain out of the chamber. Apparently Hunt is feeling quite inspired by the ceremony. Ah, but when moning comes around will the Captain be able to walk? He really must discover which room they will be using so that he can be there when the two Jaguars finally allow thier prey to escape. He turns making eye contact with a petite blonde Jaguar female. She holds his gaze for a moment and then lowers her eyes demurely before slanting an inviting glance at him. Ummm. He openly admires the pale, high swells of her half-exposed breasts. Tyr throws an assessing glance at the bed. From the looks of things, he is free to retire now and seek out his own satisfaction. He turns and swaggers toward the woman. Might as well slip away for an interlude of his own.


Harper yawns and smuggles closer to the delicious silken heat of the hard-muscled body curled around him. His lips curve in a contented smile at the sound of birds singing. A sweet scented breeze drifts to him. His stomach growls as the smell of fresh baked bread mingles with the rich fragrance of roses and other flowers. Birds? Flowers? Where is he? His eyes drift open. Ummm. He hasn't slept that well in ages, but where...his gaze skims over gray sheets and the high posts of black wood rising up from the corners of the bed. His hand slides down the sinewy lines of the arm crooked over his waist. His fingers stroke down over the smooth hardness of the half-erect bone blades. Harper yawns again and stretches lazily. It's way past the time that he'd normally be expected to be up and fixing things on the Andromeda, but no one would dare rouse him from this bed. He can linger as long as he wants while, to judge from the mouthwatering smells and soft, discreet voices and clink of china, someone else is busy readying breakfast. Clearly, the Consort thing has more advantages than just the ones that he'd discovered last night. His stomach growls louder as the scent of bacon, eggs and coffee join the fragrance of fresh bread.

"Hungry?" Charlemagne rises up on his elbow and presses a kiss on the human's bare shoulder.

"Oh, yeah." Harper turns over to look up at his lover. He reaches up, tracing the elegant line of cheekbone with his fingertips as he stares into the warm blue of the Archduke's eyes. He pulls Charlemagne down for a long kiss. "Starving."

"We can't have that." Charlemagne strokes back the wild bristle of blond spikes. He dusts soft kisses over the human's face and throat. "You were wonderful last night, Harper."

"You were pretty amazing yourself." Harper spreads his hands over the Nietzschean's back, tracing the supple flex of sleek muscles. How many had been fooled by Charlemagne's clothes and manner into thinking the Archduke was weak? How many had discovered too late what all those silks and laces hid? After last night, he had no doubts about the stamina and power of those lithe muscles or the sharpness of the mind scheming away behind those limpid blue eyes. Then there was the other side of the Archduke that he'd discovered last night. He'd expected that the Nietzchean would prove to be a passionate and skilled seemed a basic skill set for a member of a race who made reproduction a priority...but the generosity, gentleness, and tenderness that Charlemagne had given him all night long...that had surprised him.

"Thank you." Charlemagne lifts his head and studies the human's face. His Consort looks so charmingly sleepy and tousled that he is tempted to linger with the human instead of getting up and attending to business. No doubt there are any number of outraged messages and demands from the Sabra waiting on his desk. Dragans would also have left thier share of messages as well. And then there would all sorts of delicately worded inquiries from the curious. "How do you feel this morning?"

"I'm good."


"A little." Harper stares up at his lover's face. Lover? When had the Archduke gone from being a stranger that he had to bed to being something more? Someone that he is suddenly reluctant to leave and eager to know more about? "Ah, Charlemagne, what happens now?"

"What would you like to happen?" Charlemagne arches his eyebrow.

Harper opens his mouth and shuts it again. How to explain his confusion? He feels full of questions this morning. Questions that he had been to distracted to think about last night. "I'm not sure. I'm not even sure who I am this morning. Yesterday I was the Andromeda's engineer with a head full of schemes for saving a certain Archduke's life and collecting his graditude. Who am I this morning?"

"Did I not seem grateful last night? I would hate to think that all my efforts at displaying the...depth and bread of my...gratitude were unconvincing. I will be delighted to continue to convince you on a nightly and daily basis once your soreness eases." Charlemagne brushes his lips over the enticing line of his Consort's mouth. " wear my armlet. From the moment that I fastened it around your arm, you became my Consort, my First Consort, and a member of Jaguar Pride."

Harper frowns. What is Charlemagne telling him? Does the Archduke see him as some sort of exotic and decorative Fucktoy? He doesn't mind playing the role for fun from time to time, but he's more than that. He has so much more to offer than that and if the Nietzschean doesn't see that and value it, then he better leave. "I'm an engineer and scientist."

"I know." Charlemagne growls throatily and lowers his head to spread kisses across his Consort's chest. "Your Captain told me about your role in the Battle of Witch Head. He seemed to think it might change my mind."

"But it didn't?"

"No." Charlemagne pauses to nibble delicately at one of his human's pale peach nipples. Will it still be so delightfully sensitive? Ah. He grins as Harper arches in his arms with a gasp and clutches at him. He soothes the tight bead with a lick. "Not at all. If anything such evidence of your intelligence and ruthlessness left me even more aroused than the clever way you routed Elssbet yesterday. Left me even more determined to have you."

"You're saying that Jaguars get turned on by cleverness, ruthlessness and deviousness?"

"Oh, yes." Charlemagne slides lower, rubbing his morning stubble against the delicate skin of Harper's stomach. He plants a neat row of kisses over the cloud of golden curls glinting against the pale skin. "It's what we breed for...what we are most deeply and strongly attracted to, particularly when it comes wrapped in such a tasty package."

Harper spreads his thighs wide in welcome as Charlemagne settles between them. "Did Dylan mention that I'm a frigging genius?"

"A genius? Ummmm. That sounds...interesting." Charlemagne dots lingering kisses over the human's thighs, pretending not to notice the rosy cock quivering hopefully in front of him. "Tell me more."

"Make it worth my while, Charley."

"Charley?" Charlemagne looks up, blue eyes bright with amusement and desire. Not a soul in his court would dare, but this small human that he could break with one hand...the human's boldness is most arousing. He does so love playing games. His First Wife is a most intelligent and worthy mate, but she has an unfortunate tendancy toward seriousness. His First Consort will make an excellent counterpoint to her somberness. "I'll see what I can do to persuade you...Zelazny."

"Zelazny! Just for that I'm not telling you anything. You can't call me...ahhhh!" Harper clutches the pillows and moans at feel of Charlemagne's warm hands closing over his flanks, holding him still as the Archduke begins lavishing kisses over his balls. It'd made him crazy last night when Charlemagne had done that to him. The damn Uber knew exactly how the feel of hot velvet tongue and lips there was affecting him. Harper shudders at he looks down at the pale golden head framed by his trembling thighs. "How...about the time...that I...don't stop...please."

"The time that you what, Harper?" Charlemagne darts teasing licks around the human's cock.

"I built a teleporter device...Dylan had a go back to his fiancee and I....ahhh," Harper cries out as his cock is surrounded by the velvet heat of Charlemagne's mouth. His fingers thread through the pale silken strands of his lover's hair. "Please...that feels so good. So good."


Charlemagne settles gingerly onto the uncomfortable confines of his chair. The hard, thinly padded frame required the user assume a rigidly upright position. He studies himself in the big gold-framed mirror that covered the wall across from him. The chair's pale blue upholstery and gold-leaf made a perfect frame for the image that he wants to present in the message that he will be sending. He grins at the delicate, almost feminine air that the gold-leaf and white desk provides. He'd looked long and hard for a furniture that would match his fop persona so well. The white wallpaper behind him curls and writhes in a most distracting manner with tiny gold and blue figures. His pale hand rises to adjust the fall of lace foaming around his throat so that no betraying passion marks peeked over the fabric. More lace ruffled around his wrists, drawing attention to the fine peach satin of his jacket. Since the Dragans would only see him from the waist up he hadn't bothered to change out of his comfortable gray leather pants and boots. His new Consort's assistance had made dressing for the Dragans more amusing than usual. He'd appalled Harper by noting that the shade of his jacket exactly matched the delicious peach of his Consort's nipples. Charlemagne grins at memory of his Consort's expression.

"I thought these props might add a certain something to your performance." Cassandra pauses in the doorway carrying a china tray with a fragile teapot and matching cup and saucier. The white china, heavily patterned with glittering gold geometric designs, stood out sharply against the background of her red tunic. A junior Matriarch stands behind her holding a delicate gold plate filled with petit fours iced in pastel shades.

Charlemagne's smile widens as Cassandra arranges the props on his desk and waves the junior Matriarch off. "It does, indeed. The Dragans will be quite horrified."

"The Sabra representative is waiting in your other office to see you."

"What? Recovered so soon from the illness that kept him from my wedding?"

Cassandra nods. A slow smile curves her full lips. "Remarkable, isn't it?"

"Ah, well." Charlemagne shakes his head sadly. "Subtlety isn't something that one can accuse the Sabra of possessing. I suppose he's demanding that we give Elsbett back or the Sabra will descend in force upon us?"

"Just as you anticipated he would."

"Good. I can be rid of the lot of them...Dragans and Sabras alike at one toss of the dice. It doesn't matter which wins or loses this outbreak of hostilities. Both will be weakened by it and both will hold grudges that will prevent them from allying with each other. And I...I will stand around wringing my hands and looking harmless until it's the right time to pounce." Charlemagne waves a graceful hand, watching the way the lace swayed around it. His tailor had done an excellent job in designing the shirt. The lace easily concealed the strength in his hand. It was a good thing that he was build slim and lean. The Kodiak's heavily muscled frame would have been a bigger challenge for a tailor to hide. "And speaking of the subtlety impared, how is Elsbett faring?"

Cassandra's smile deepens. "I visited her this morning, along with Circe. Elsbett frothed and ranted in a most amusing way. I gathered that several of your wives had dropped by to enjoy the vision. How long do you want her held?"

"Until news of the wedding challenge has spread ahead of her among the Prides. Gossip that interesting...Sabra First Daughter defeated in a wedding challenge by a human...should be swiftly transmitted by my guests." Charlemagne's face hardens. "I want to leave her with nowhere to go where that knowledge is not reflected back at her; where the Sabra are not taunted with it. Let them become a laughingstock among the Prides and the Sabra will respond by doing something foolish and hasty and before long they will have enemies aplenty to keep them too busy to interfere with my plans."

Cassandra touches the transmitter hooked around her ear and speaks softly into it. Her gaze meets Charlemagne's. "The communications officers are almost ready to begin recording and coding a transmission."

"They understand that the message is to be coded so that it will be difficult enough for the Dragans to believe that the message is intended to be secret, but not beyond the Dragans' abilities to intercept and break? We don't want the Dragans to be so suspicous of the information that they fail to snatch Elsbett on her trip back home, or for the Sabra to think that thier dear First Daughter's route was delibrately leaked."

"Marcus and Arius understand perfectly."

"Good." Charlemagne eyes the amber liquid in the teacup warily. It doesn't look like tea. He lifts the cup and sniffs. A grin spreads across his face. "Vedran Brandy....I take it that you approve of the new addition to my household."

"I think he'll be good for you. And good for us. So does your First Wife. After we finished amusing ourselves with Elsbett, Circe and I walked through the gardens until we found Harper lingering over his breakfast."

"You arrived after I left him then? Circe always had excellent timing."

"We walked very slowly. After all, we didn't want to talk to you." Cassandra widens her eyes at him. "We can talk to you any time. We wanted to talk to Harper...alone."

"Oh?" Charlemagne takes a bracing sip of the brandy. No wonder she'd thought that he might need it. His First Consort and his First Wife...he isn't sure that he wants to know what they might have found to discuss so soon after the First Consort's wedding night. Still...if Circe accepts Harper, things will go much smoother for the human. "How did it go?"

"At first, the atmosphere was a trifle prickly...Circe had a few things to say about some of the journal articles that Harper had written and Harper made a few comments on certain of her articles. Then they started talking science and the next thing I knew they were drawing on the tablecloth and talking about tesseracts and such." Cassandra shudders delicately. "I'm glad that someone is interested in that sort of thing, but the only science I'm interested in is political science. I escaped as soon as I could."

Charlemagne laughs. He'd rather they discussed science than dissecting him, but no doubt the pair of Firsts would get around to that as well. "I'm glad that you and Circe approve. That will make life here easier for Harper."

"You put on quite a performance after consuming so little of the potion. It will be much talked of."

"I was...inspired. Let them talk of it. It will only add to my consequence. Since you brought up the subject, how are they talking about this Coupling?"

"Aside from being impressed with your ability to rise to every occasion..." Cassandra smirks.

"Surely that should cause no surprise to my court. What have they to say about Harper?"

"Ummm. The older and more traditional are dubious of the idea of having a human as First Consort when other alliances might have been made if you were in the market for a consort. They wonder if other opportunties for alliance will be wasted since who would agree to be second to a human?"

"Doubters would do well to remember that I command the third largest fleet in the galaxy." Charlemagne takes another cautious sip of the potent brandy. "And I have no intentiion of stopping there. If I want a Second Consort, I have but to ask. They will also discover in time that Harper offers much of value to the Pride. What else?"

"Many of the less traditional are charmed by your new Consort's...enthusiasm and passion. They are curious about him. They are also curious about his mentor."

"The Kodiak?" Charlemagne sets the dainty cup back on it's saucer. He considers the tray's position on the desk relative to message cube that he will be speaking to and carefully shifts the tray slightly more to his left. "I remember that he left with Dominique later on."

"She wasn't the only Jaquar to decide that his genetic potential merited closer investigation."

"No, I imagine not." Charlemagne laughs. "What of the rest of Harper's guests?"

"Beka Valentine spend the evening with Runako. Dylan Hunt retired with Arius and Marcus."

"Arius and Marcus? Hunt must have been feeling ambitious to agree to take on those two. I wonder if they filmed the encounter for thier collection as they so often do."

Cassandra inclines her head. "I will make inquires if you wish."

"Oh, yes. Do. It might be just the thing for a little light entertainment for a select gathering. I'm ready to begin my own recording now."

Cassandra signals the communicatons officers and step back where she will be out of recording range.


Tyr leans his shoulder against sunwarmed stone as he stares over the balcony into the inner courtyard below, watching Jaguar children shriek happily and chase each other up and down the white stone paths, through green shrubs and splash through the stream meandering though the flowers and dwarf fruit trees. Nannies patrolled the area, keeping a sharp eye on thier charges and scattered the perimeter were heavily armed guards. The children were well protected. Tyr nods in approval. If things went well, one day his own children might play in the courtyard with the tiny Jaguars.

"Tyr. There you are."

Tyr looks away from the playing children to see Harper strolling toward him, trailing a trio of hard-eyed guards. There is a slight hitch in the human's stride, but the blue eyes are clear and the smile hints at dimples. Blonde spikes bristle at happy energetic angles. Harper is still wearing the snug black leather pants from last night, but the champagne silk shirt with its rolled up sleeves and dangling tails looks like something Harper appropriated from Charlemagne's closet. "Harper. You look...pleased."

Harper grins, flashing his dimples. "I am. Circe...Charlemagne's First Wife..."

"I know who she is, Harper." Tyr tilts his head as he studies the excited human. Does Harper know that Circe has quite a reputation for specializing in military application? She had been courted by many Alphas and the Prides had been throughly amazed when she had selected Charlemagne as her mate.

"Well, we got to talking after breakfast and she took me on a tour of Charlemagne's flagship." Harper steps closer and lowers his voice. "I know that Andromeda's three hundred years old, but she was so far above anything that I'd ever seen before that she blew me away. Then, this morning when I saw the flagship...damn...the things that that baby can do. I got so many ideas...things to try out. The Athos will take some getting used to, but he's really interested in trying some of my ideas if Charlemagne approves."

"Athos?" Tyr frowns. He thought he knew everyone in Charlemagne's inner circle, but that name was unfamiliar.

"The flagship's avatar." Harper turns his head and catches the eye of a tall man lingering on one side of the balcony. He tilts his head in invitation and the man joins them. "Tyr, this is Athos. Athos, Tyr."

"Athos." Tyr studies the avatar. This one is of a reasonable size at least. The avatar's sable hair falls in a loose waves to brush wide shoulders clad in a black and silver uniform. The large coffee-colored eyes hold a thoughtful glint as the avatar stares back at him.

"Tyr Anasazi." Athos nods.

The husky voice is seductive with some exotic accent that Tyr can't quite place. The effect is pleasing and unexpected. "You don't speak like a Jaguar."

Harper glances at the tall avatar standing beside him. "Oh, I kinda got to tinkering. I'd never thought about programing accents when I was doing Rommie, but I got to thinking that it would be interesting to try one and...if you don't like it, Athos, feel free to change it back to the orignal or we can do something else."

Athos smiles down at the human. "No, Harper. I like it this French accent prototype. My Captain was most amused by it. Having a selection of voices and accents will make me the envy of the other avatars in the fleet."

"Well, good then." Harper's eyes widen as Beka flows out a door, still in her sweeping navy gown. He glances again at Tyr. The Nietzschean is still wearing the same red vest and navy pants that Tyr worn at the ceremony. Did anybody go home to Andromeda last night or had they all spend the night? Who had Beka been with? Had Tyr been waiting out here for Beka and a ride back in the Maru? Harper frowns. Was Tyr leaving? "Beka, hey."

"Guys." Beka walks over to them and smirks at Tyr. "Scared you were gonna miss your ride and be stuck here?"

"No." Tyr glances sidelong at the door leading to another apartment. "I was waiting for something else."

"What?" Beka asks, her eyes wide with curiosity.

"Our esteemed Captain."

"Dylan?" Beka raises her eyebrows. A grin spreads across her face at the prospect of catching Hunt out. "Dylan? I thought he left that sort of thing to us disreputable types. Who did he go off with? Not Elsbett again. Tell me it wasn't that cow."

Tyr shakes his head. "No, it wasn't Elsbett."

"Well, that's something." Beka turns an approving gaze on the tall, dark-haired man standing next to Harper. Nice. She loved those long, lean types and the Jaguar court seemed to be positively swarming with them. "Who's this?"

Harper absently made the introductions as his gaze swept curiously from door to door. Which one was Dylan behind and who was Dylan with? He was with Beka on that one. Geeze, the one time that Dylan decided to cut loose and the Captain had picked a woman who was sure to cause a major diplomatic incident. He'd learned enough about Charlemagne to be glad that he wouldn't be standing next to Dylan when payback for that hit. So which of the local lovelies had Dylan ended up with?

"Tyr!" Rommie stalks up to the group. "Where is Dylan?"

Tyr folds his arms over his chest and stares down at her. "How should I know if you don't?"

"The security systems in the palace are jamming my equipment. I know Dylan is in here somewhere. He hasn't left the palace and he hasn't contacted me. If he had intended to stay he would have."

"Ah, Rommie..." Harper pats her arm as he darts an uneasy glance at the silent row of doors. "Maybe Dylan got distracted and forgot."

"Dylan doesn't forget things like that." Rommie stiffens as she eyes the strange avatar standing so close to Harper. "Who are you?"

"Athos of Paradise Rising." Athos smirks at her over Harper's head. "And you must be the Andromeda Ascendant's avatar. You're amazing...for your age."

Rommie's dark eyes narrow ominously. "I am a top of the line High Guard warship."

"And I'm a Jaguar that is not three hundred years outdated."

Beka claps hand over her mouth, muffling a squeak of amusement. Tyr's eyes are wide with interest as he looks back and forth between the two avatars.

"Hey, guys..." Harper looks uneasily from Athos to Rommie. "You're both amazing, okay?"

Athos smiles sweetly down at the human and gently squeezes Harper's shoulder. "Of course, Harper. And I'm sure that I will be even more amazing after you get through working on me."

Rommie inhales sharply, "Harper, you're working on...him?"

"Well..." Harper looks hopefully at Beka and Tyr. Tyr is leaning back against the stone like a cat enjoying a particularly nice patch of sunlight. His dark, powerful hands are hooked in his belt. His red vest falls open over his wide chest. Beka leans next to him, her long navy skirt drifting the breeze and glittering in the sun. "Ummm, yeah."

"Harper has made some really fascinating suggestions about things that we could do together. Very exciting enhancements and experiments." Athos raises a mocking eyebrow at Rommie. "I feel most priviledged to be in Harper's skilled hands."

"Harper, why are you helping..." Rommie flattens her lips before undiplomatic words slip out in front of the watching Jaguars. Why are there armed Jaguars watching her engineer? What is going on? She scowls as she eyes the other avatar. She knows a warship when she sees one whatever it might choose to call itself. "...the Jaguar with thier warships?"

"Harper is a Jaguar now," Athos adopts a mock helpful tone. "Did you miss the wedding? I'll be happy to send you some images."

Beka slants a wary look at the color rising along Rommie's cheekbones. "Rommie, the wedding didn't quite go off as planned. Elsbett didn't marry Charlemagne. Harper did."

"He...he's the Archduke's consort now?" Rommie's dark eyes widen. "How?"

Athos shrugs. "Oh, the usual way. And he's not merely a consort. Harper is First Consort."

Rommie turns sharply on Tyr. "What did you do?"

"I?" Tyr snorts. "I didn't do anything. Harper did. Try accessing the wedding challenge section of your Nietzschean protocol handbook."

Rommie turns back to Harper with dismay. "Harper, you didn't?"

Harper spread his hands. "I didn't mean to, Rommie. Things kinda got out of hand."

"Even so." Rommie sweeps an assessing look over her surroundings. "You don't have to stay here, Harper?"

"He belongs with us now. He's Jaguar." Athos steps away from Harper. His stance is loose and ready echoing the positions the bodyguards are speading out in. "We know how to value him."

"Harper?" Rommie asks quietly.

Harper sighs softly. He'd known since this morning that this moment would come when he'd have to put his choice into words for all to hear. He'll miss Rommie and she will always be special to him, but he wants to try this. To take this chance at having a family even if it is an Uber family. He wants to feel Charlmagne's beautiful hands on him again. He wants to work with Circe in her lab. He wants to set up his own lab and see what wonderful things he can discover now that he is free to devote most of his time to it and is no longer limited by the size of his bank account in what he can try. "I'm sorry, Rommie, but I'm staying. I want to try this."

"I see." Rommie gives him a disapproving look and turns away. "Where's Dylan, Tyr?"

Tyr shrugs. "He should be along...eventually."

Beka bites back a smile. "Yeah, he's probably just having trouble getting out of bed this morning. So what if he's a little late reporting in today. It's not there's anything to do back on the ship."

"Oh, yes. I suspect Dylan is most definitely having trouble getting out of bed." Tyr laughs.

Rommie glances back at Harper. "Where is Dylan, Harper? Did you see him last night?"

"Ah, yeah. For a little while, but I wasn't really paying attention to him. I kinda got..."

"Distracted?" Tyr grins.

Beka smirks, "Diverted?"

Harper glowers at them. "I was busy."

Beka shrugs as Rommie's gaze focuses on her. "Hey, don't look at me. I was...busy as well. Last time, I saw Dylan he was drinking champagne and watching the Charlemagne-Harper floorshow."

"Beeekaaa..." Harper adopts his best aggrived little brother tone and pouts at Beka, secretly pleased to discover that what had happened last night had changed nothing between the two of them.

"Haarrrpper," Beka mockingly imitates his tone. "It was a very nice floorshow. Honest. Best I've seen."

Tyr nods thoughtfully. "I would have to concur. Most interesting wedding that I've been to lately."

"Where is...." Rommie's voice trails off as a door opens and Dylan staggers out adjusting his uniform. "Dylan!"

Dylan winces and raises a hand to his head. "Not so loud."

Beka bites her lower lip to keep from laughing at the Captain's stunned stare moves over the group. She leans companionably against the warmth of Tyr's shoulder. "Hi, Dylan. We were just discussing the wedding. What did you think about it?"

"It was..." Dylan rubs his forehead. "It was, ah, different from what I was expecting."

Rommie takes a slow step closer, frowning. "Captain? Are you alright?"

"Just a headache, Rommie." Dylan slowly walks toward them, pausing minutely with each steps.

"I bet the ache in his ass is a lot worse than the ache in his head," Tyr murmurs into Beka's glossy hair.

"What?" Beka turns to look in his amused eyes.

"Watch and wait."

When Dylan had almost reached Rommie, a pair of naked Neitzscheans fill the open doorway. A tall brunette leans casually against the doorframe, his arm across the shoulders of a handsome blond man. The blond's pale hair glints like gold in the sunlight drawing attention to his beige-pink nipples and the thick sway of his rising cock. His big hand waves a pair of white briefs, the waistband plainly stamped with the High Guard symbol. "Hey, Hunt! Look, we finally found 'em."

Brunette smiles widely. "You'll never believe where they got to."

"Dylan!" Rommie stares from her Captian to the two Nietzscheans, so cheerfully naked and erect in the doorway as they wave Dylan's underwear.

Beka gasps. "Noooo. He didn't...with them? Both of them?"

Tyr smirks. "Oh, but he did."

Harper's eyes widen in shock. "Dylan did what? I thought he was strictly an only-girls-need-apply type. What brought this on?"

"What can I say? The Harper-Charlemagne floorshow was most stimulating. It will be the source of fond memories." Tyr sighs with contentment. This will be a source of unending memories from what Dominque had told him. How much would Arius and Marcus want for a copy of the recording? No. No need to bother now that he is Harper's mentor at the Jaguar court. He will be much too busy advising the human and shopping for an propriately powerful mate among the Jaguar. Soon. Soon. He will be able to provide a home for his two wives and the Kodiak survivors. Tyr closes his eyes and smiles into the sunlight.

The End

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