Passing the Time

BY : Bebe
Category: 1 through F > Andromeda
Dragon prints: 2671
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.

Title: Passing the Time, Part 7

Author’s Note: Right on schedule! Told ya, didn't I? I love seeing the hit counts with every new chapter I upload; I do hope a lot of you are repeat customers! (And if you're not, thanks for stopping by!) I do want to ask a quick favor, though, that if you like this story please review or rate. I'll keep posting 'til it's done anyway, but I like knowing if someone enjoys or appreciates the fic, or at least if I made a typo or factual error somewhere. Thank you all!

Outside of the cabin, the sunlight was filtered by the thick grey clouds overhead. The bare trees looked vaguely ominous in the pearly light. This part of the planet was nearing its spring, but still not quite ready to give up on its winter, with a faint chill to the air even on the warmest of the preceding few days. Every possible resource indicated a dry, cool, dreary day.

It was perfect.

Beka checked one last time what the scientists were saying about the weather before shutting down the computer terminal and pushing away. Tyr must have heard the scrape of the chair from where he stood by the sink, asking, “I assume that the universe is to your satisfaction?” He’d been somewhat surprised when she’d bounced up from eating breakfast and immediately gone to the terminal, something that she rarely did so urgently.

“You can assume that, yeah.” She grinned, coming up behind him. He turned his head to the side, obviously listening to her steps and, she suspected, trying to catch a glimpse of her with that excellent peripheral vision of his. She made it a moot point and slid around to stand next to him, leaning her hip against the counter and watching him finish cleaning the dishes. There were so few of them after most meals that it made more sense to trade off doing the job manually rather than rely on the antiquated automated system.

He slid the second plate onto the pile of dried dishes and picked up a dripping glass. “Are you going to tell me what was so important for you to know immediately?” The tone was teasing, but he had to be curious not to just wait for her to tell him.

Beka scooped up the plates and put them away while she answered. “The only thing I really need to know immediately is if you have anything to swim in.” She grinned again but straightened her expression to look at him when she heard the glass clink onto the counter. He’d had a pair of shorts that he’d used for swimming while they were on Infinity Atoll, but the saltwater had effectively destroyed them by the time they’d left and she had no idea whether he had anything else.

He was considering her, apparently very serious, but she was fairly sure she could see his lips fighting to turn up. “What am I doing that I would need it?”

“Well, swimming. Game?” She picked up the next glass and started to dry it.

“May I point out that it is perhaps not warm enough to be comfortable for a Human?”

“Not a problem. The water’s a good temperature for both of us.”

Tyr had started drying again, and now they both put away the last of the dishes. He turned to face her as soon as he’d settled the last utensil in its place. “I don’t have anything, no.”

“Okay. Not a problem, really, but I don’t know how you feel about going naked. If you don’t mind, then I have an idea as to how we can spend the morning.”

“Which would be?” He crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow in a familiar gesture.

This time she didn’t bother hiding the grin. “Gimme a couple minutes.”

It took a little longer than that. Five minutes by the time she’d gotten that black bikini from Infinity on and her clothes over it, and another five to grab the bag she’d been using the last few weeks and cram in towels. All the while he was standing watching her run between the main room and the loft, seeming more amused than anything else. There was a moment when she realized that he was watching her change into the swimsuit, his neck tilted back so he could see her over the edge of the loft, but as soon as she saw him doing it he looked away. Eventually, though, she was ready to go.

“Anything I should bring along?” he asked.

She ignored the fact that he was blatantly mocking the bag she’d shouldered. It wasn’t very large, so the towels made it bulge on top of the few things that were already there. “No. Now come on, it’s not a long walk but I’d like to get there sooner rather than later.”

Tyr rolled his eyes but obediently followed her out.

It really wasn’t a long walk from the cabin. It helped that she was familiar with the terrain, having trekked it multiple times in the weeks that she’d been there, both before and after Tyr joined her. They spent most of it with him trying to get her to divulge what exactly they were doing and her artfully dodging the question. It didn’t take long before she glanced back and saw him sniffing the air, realizing that yes, he could smell the sulfur even while she couldn’t yet. “Guessed it yet?”

“I have my suspicions.” He gave her that odd little half-smile and gestured her onward, although by now he could probably follow the smell. It was starting to tickle her own nostrils as it was, how she’d found it the first time after she’d gotten over the urge to get back to the cabin and away from unidentifiable nature.

As short as the walk was, it was a relief to arrive and set down the pack in a dryish patch of last fall’s dead leaves, especially since she could stop trying to keep herself from blurting out everything. The heat as she stood facing it was the most welcoming thing, and she smiled blissfully at the comfort of it, sulfur smell notwithstanding. Finally she turned to look at Tyr as he took it all in.

He seemed suitably impressed. She’d been, the first time she’d been here. It was part of a surprisingly long series of hot springs honeycombed through the area, and the closest to the cabin. It was also a really nice hot spring, as far as her knowledge of these things went. The major fault line running through the continent had a small extension, responsible for both the hot spring and the cliff face rearing above it, some dark rock cut almost vertically by some long-ago upheaval. At the base of it the hot spring bubbled out, the mass of that rock forcing the pressure sideways. As a result the pool was a semicircle abutting the cliff, one side straight across and straight up and down, with the rest a curved, steep slope down to some deep central point that was, as near as Beka’s limited instruments could tell, against the cliff. She let him contemplate it and crouched down next to the bag to dig underneath the towels and retrieve some of the instruments. They were part of a survival kit she’d pilfered three shuttle transports ago.

She was practiced at this routine, having done it every few days for the weeks that she’d been here: check the temperature, the water composition, the microbe levels, and otherwise ensure that everything she could think of was within Human tolerances. Satisfied, she stowed them back in the bag and looked back up at Tyr from where she was crouching. “Well? What do you think?

He had been watching her test. Now he crossed his arms carefully over his chest, blades out as always. “I think that while this is a… highly appealing… location, I would like an explanation.”

“An explanation? Okay.” While she was down on the ground, she started unlacing her boots. “I needed something to do while we were separated and I was stuck on this mudball. I started researching the local history in case there were supposed to be hidden gold stashes or something in the area, found out about the hot springs, and found the nearest one to the cabin.” She stood and started pushing off one boot with the toe of the other. “It’s supposed to be safe for swimming in, but I’ve been tracking it in case. It seems okay, no sudden changes in temperature or anything, no bacteria that’ll make you— me— horribly sick, although I wouldn’t suggest drinking the water.” She started to strip off her shirt, but noticed the suddenly interested look in Tyr’s eyes and added, shirt only up to her chin, “Probably shouldn’t do that either. I have no idea what it’d do to either of us there.”

“Such a disappointment.” He didn’t seem too upset by it when she reemerged from the fabric, though.

“Sorry.” She slithered out of the pants, hopped over to a narrow strip of warm rock by the water so her feet didn’t freeze, and tugged the towels out of the pack, shoving the clothes into their place. Remembering at the last moment, she grabbed a small elastic loop and pulled her hair up away from her shoulders. With no plans to go that deep into the water, it was probably unnecessary, but she didn’t like the thought of trying to get the minerals and everything else out afterward. She glanced up at Tyr. “Are you going in fully dressed? I’m not sure what that’ll do to the leather.”

“I hadn’t decided to go in at all.”

“Fine, but you’ll be sitting here by yourself while I’m warm and partially naked in the water.” There wasn’t an immediate response, and she gingerly stepped forward. It was comfortable, maybe a degree or two higher than what she’d find comfortable in a hot bath, and at a meter in she was up to her knees. Each step had to be carefully placed so she didn’t lose her footing and shoot down the slope far faster than she was comfortable with, and she was up to her waist before she stopped to look back at Tyr.

Apparently it was either the threat to leave him behind or the promise of semi-nudity, but he was undressed and stepping into the water a few feet away. She watched him for just a second, his braids loose over his shoulders and muscles flexing as he braced against slipping. His lips parted slightly in his concentration with the next step. He was, frankly, too damn pretty for it to be really fair.

She hadn’t realized that she’d said some variation of that aloud until he smiled, eyes still on the water in front of him. “It’s entirely fair. Just because your ancestors didn’t spend their time searching for the best genetic match doesn’t mean that mine had an unfair advantage.”

“The engineering doesn’t count?”

“Not for the last several generations, no.” He shrugged. “And I fail to see the problem, as you are sufficiently appealing enough to convince me to follow you into situations where wisdom would advise me otherwise.” He was actually past her now, and she eased in up to her ribcage while she answered.

“I thought it was my sparkling personality and winning arguments that convinced you.”

He gave her that surprisingly gleeful smile of his. “I never said those weren’t a factor.” Before she could come up with a response, he slipped deeper into the water and set out for the cliff at the far side.

Beka shook her head, watching the long, smooth strokes of his arms as he moved. In her defense, she was still recovering from several weeks of having to resort to her own devices after a few months of willing company, so her fascination was understandable. She still noticed that he was careful to keep his head above the water, apparently taking her advice regarding the quality thereof. He moved quickly anyway, pushing off the cliff and returning to her by the time the water was just below her shoulders. He eased to stop just in front of her, the displaced water pushing against her and threatening to disturb her tenuous balance. The slope of the rock beneath their feet allowed their heads to be level, even as they both stood, him below her. “Come with me?” he asked, surprisingly tentatively. His hand brushed her arm, then her hand, and his fingers closed around hers.

“Where?” She wasn’t sure what he wanted, the question so easy to expand to so many possibilities.

“A race.” This was more confident, and he tugged lightly at her hand, probably not even realizing it. “To the cliff and back.”

“Ah, no. I, uh, can’t swim that well.” This was precisely why she’d been moving so slowly. Splashing in very gentle, shallow surf on Infinity was one thing; slipping and going below the water in a deep pool was another entirely. She felt his other hand catch at her free wrist and another tug, this one definitely conscious.

“Then we won’t race.” Not even a tug anymore but a smooth steady pull. “Just come with me. Keep your head above the water and kick, that’s all you need to do.”

Beka looked back at the edge of the water then to the cliff. The former was so close, familiar territory, and she was comfortable there, but. He was waiting patiently, one of those attributes that he displayed rarely with the exception of his destiny or revenge. Either he honestly wanted her to do this or he had some hideously complicated ulterior motive. “If I drown, I’m haunting you.”

He laughed. “I know. Now come.”

She lifted her feet off the bottom to move forward again and was abruptly floating, the water too deep for her to complete the motion. There was a faint flash of panic, of not knowing what to do, and she would have started flailing her arms to get some sense of control if Tyr hadn’t been holding onto them. Before she could even process all of that and try to free her hands, he was pulling her again, leaning back into the water, and she could feel the current from his own feet moving. “Kick,” he murmured, definitely a command, and she did, the solid notion of action penetrating the fear. She splashed some, but she moved forward, and the impulse to thrash faded at the realization that this was definitely the better idea.

It was slow, and she spent more time keeping her chin above the waterline than on kicking for the sake of motion, but they got to the cliff, Tyr towing her in his wake. Close to it, she could see protrusions that hadn’t been quite worn away by time and weather, and she grabbed for one that was only a foot or so above the water, Tyr letting go of her wrist so she could. As soon as she was secure, he let go of her other hand as well and started to tread water while she reached for another lump of rock. She felt much better with her back pressed against the solidity of the cliff and clutching the rock with both hands, even if there was far, far too much water beneath her feet and between her and level ground in any direction. With that thought, she pressed her foot against the cliff as well, searching for and finding one to place some weight on. It helped with the creeping anxiety now that she was still, but not much. She knew that the quality of the spring was unlikely to change and there were no living organisms larger than bacteria in the pool, so she probably wouldn’t have to get out of the water in a hurry, but what if something came down the cliff face from above? An animal, or even a bug of some kind?

She felt her skin starting to tingle and had to quash the gut instinct to pull her hands away from the rocks, knowing that it was her own imagination putting something with too many legs walking across her fingers and that if she let go she’d sink for sure. So she looked at Tyr, desperate for some kind of distraction, and watched as he floated onto his back, expression almost blissful. “You really do like all this stuff, don’t you? Outside and unfiltered water and everything.”

He switched back to upright, starting to tread again. “Yes. I wouldn’t have thought that you would have an objection to this, as you were the one that brought me here.” He was studying her, surprisingly intent.

“I wasn’t going to be stuck in the deepest water of the entire thing when I brought you here.” She was mildly irked when he merely grinned at her, but irked was better than freaking out.

“Then you shouldn’t have agreed to come with me.”

Before she could come up with a response he was swimming away, pulling for the shallower area before looping around the semi-circle of the shore. She could feel her stomach starting to twist every time he got farther away, afraid that he’d leave her hanging there, and the next time he got near the edge she called, involuntarily, “Tyr!”

He checked his motion, turned with that same grin, but something about her expression must have reached him, because he looked concerned and started to swim back. She glanced up, that stupid panic making her think that he must have seen something above her, but there was nothing there and when she looked back at him he was drawing closer. Still a few strokes away, he asked, “Beka? Is something wrong?”

She relaxed again, infinitesimally, at the concern and the response, but her stomach was still knotted. “I really wouldn’t mind going back to the shore. You know, away from the nice deep water that I can’t see the bottom of?”

“Scared?” It wasn’t a taunt, but a simple assessing question. She swallowed her pride and nodded. Pride was well and good, but there were times when it could get in the way. He put one hand on another rocky protrusion to hold himself in front of her and his other hand came to rest on her cheek. Again, she could feel the faint current from his legs scissoring in the water to keep him afloat as he leaned forward to kiss her. It served nicely as a distraction, but was over far too soon. “I won’t let anything happen to you,” he whispered, getting a little closer to her body. “I’d rather have company on this planet for the next few weeks.”

Indignant, she opened her mouth to say something not flattering about his idea of reassuring her, but then he was kissing her again. He took advantage of her open mouth and flicked his tongue against hers, thoroughly capturing her attention again. It wavered when he kicked the water again to move closer, but then he was pressing against her and sucking on her lip and the worry about the depth eased up again. She had more appealing things to worry about, like keeping him close and getting him to do the tongue thing again. She still had one foot not braced against a chunk of rock, and now she slid it up his leg until her ankle was hooked around his thigh. He smiled against her lips, moving his hand away from her face. She didn’t see where he moved it to, or feel it, but she suspected that it was another piece of rock, since his slight drift seemed to stabilize more. “I have an idea,” he told her, as quietly as before. Again, she opened her mouth to speak, this time to ask what the idea was, but he kissed her before she could get the words out. Appealing as the contact was, it was frustrating to be prevented, and she’d have to tell him to knock it off. Later. After he stopped doing the tongue thing again. Or maybe after he wasn’t pressing against her pelvis to pelvis and so obviously interested by something, probably the swimsuit. Then again, he seemed to like her relative helplessness when he talked her into the handcuffs, so maybe this was part of it. Either way, he was hardening against her already and the beginning ripples of arousal were replacing the ebbing surge of nerves, so she wasn’t going to complain or overanalyze.

Another kiss, and then he moved to the soft skin just under her jaw, making her shiver. She tilted her head to give him better access; his chest pressed against hers when he scraped his teeth over her throat and the faint friction through the bikini teased her nipples, the sensitive flesh tingling and tightening in response. When he returned to her mouth for another kiss she couldn’t help the faint sigh as his body rubbed over the fabric, and she had a brief moment of wishing that she had left the swimsuit at the cabin and they were skin to skin, with nothing but water molecules between them.

When the kiss ended, he moved his head back enough for them to see eye to eye. “Are you all right?” He pressed his hand to her cheek again, obviously concerned.

She nodded. “Yeah. I’m okay.” She couldn’t help wriggling slightly, as much as she could without either dislodging him or losing her grip on the rocks. “Might not be if you stop again, though, you’ll let me think about all that water.” The shudder wasn’t deliberate and instead something that happened when she let her mind stray, with that comment, to how much of it there was. Warm, yes, and she could ignore the smell of sulfur by now, but there was a lot of it beneath and around her. What the shudder did, though, was bring her mind back to what they were doing, as the movement pushed her against Tyr, aided by his grabbing onto the rock again to stay where he was. The speed of his motion may have had something to do with hers.

He was completely hard already, something that surprised her when she realized it but made sense when she’d thought about it. He’d been watching her the entire time she’d been in the swimsuit or less, after all, and now with him against her like this… “Then I shouldn’t stop,” he said quietly, interrupting her thoughts. He had a funny little smile on his lips, but she didn’t dwell on it when he kissed her again, carefully rocking against her as he did.

She gasped at the sudden surge of warmth, letting go of one of the rocks and grabbing for his shoulder instead, wanting him to stay there. She could feel the pulse beating against her clit when he paused for a second, taking a deep breath of his own before starting a slow, steady rhythm against her. Her heart had been pounding already from nerves, but now the blood rushing through her was going down rather than to her head. She wanted more, was ridiculously close already and getting closer with each motion, the pressure of his shaft against her in the perfect place to drive her insane. She gripped him with her leg, her hand, arched up against him. “Tyr, please,” and he groaned, mouth against her skin and the effects of the vibration bolting down to her stomach and intensifying it all. Another thrust and she was strung on the edge, tense and waiting for just a little more. His teeth scraped lightly over her skin in the right spot, he slid against her harder than before, and she was gone, shuddering and digging her nails into his shoulder. She clung to him through it, rippling again in an aftershock when he kept up that rhythm.

It wasn’t entirely for her benefit. As their movements ebbed he kissed her again, playing lips and tongues together and almost distracting her from his hand dropping to her hip. He’d barely gotten his fingers underneath the string of the bikini, working it loose, when she realized what he was doing. “Stop.” It came out raspier than she’d intended, but he hesitated, although not taking his fingers away.

“Why?” If her voice had been raspy, his was close to a growl.

“The water, we can’t. We need to—” The sentence broke in the middle when he slipped his fingers around to press just above her mound, but she persevered. Barely. “We need to wash off, first. The stuff in it—” She didn’t get to finish what she was saying.

“Then we’ll go.” He pulled her hand off of his shoulder, but didn’t let go of it. Without waiting for her to grab his other hand he pushed off from the cliff face, one foot against the rock between her legs, towing her along behind him as he struck out for the shore. She would have protested, but was too busy trying to keep her head above water again, kicking hard and splashing ineffectually at the surface with the hand he’d left free. She was relieved when he let go of her as soon as they reached a point where she could stand. She still nearly went under, stunned at the transition, but recovered with the aid of his hand under her elbow and only got neck-deep. “All right?” he asked, actually sounding concerned for her well-being rather than his chances of sex in the immediate future, and when she nodded he let her stand unassisted, turning and heading up the slope as soon as she was steady.

Beka glared at his back, irritated at the assumption that she would automatically want to do what he wanted, and followed him more slowly out. She was slightly appeased by the fact that he wrapped one of the towels around her shoulders as soon as she reached the edge of the water. They both dried off hastily, the cold air raising goosebumps on Beka’s skin, and dragged their clothes on, a task made more difficult by the dampness that the towels didn’t quite get. She jammed the towels on top of the equipment in the bag and slung it onto her back as she stood, barely straightening before Tyr pulled her into another kiss. His interest had not diminished. “Cabin,” she told him, breathless, when the kiss ended. “Shower.”

“Then go.” He let her go and gestured for her to lead him on. It took far longer to get back than it had to get there; they didn’t get very many paces at a time before she was pushed against a tree and kissed thoroughly before she got him to back off again. He got more insistent as they wound their way closer to the cabin, and she could feel him pressing against her hip or thigh or mound each time. Once he groaned, thrusting against her involuntarily, and she wished that the distance were shorter, his distress setting off an answering pulse through her body.

They finally stumbled inside the cabin, Tyr kicking the door closed behind them and Beka dropping the bag next to it. He pushed her shoulders against the door, kissed her, and she tangled her fingers in his braids when he started working his way down her neck, gasping when he nipped at the join of her neck and shoulder. His hands dropped to the hem of her shirt and started to tug it up. She helped him, reaching for his own vest the second the clothing was over her head and on its way to the floor. By the time they finally stumbled into the tiny bathroom, she was down to the bikini bottoms and he was naked. He turned the hot water on in the stall full blast, testing it with his hand but not taking his eyes off of her. When she kicked out of the suit, leaving it on the floor, he licked his lips, probably unconsciously. He stepped back under the spray of water from the ceiling showerhead.

He was tempting that way, muscles slicked and gleaming and most of them tense. He could probably hear her racing heartbeat, but he could ignore it. She couldn’t. Her pulse was pounding in her ears, her mouth was dry, and she followed him in, barely having the sense to pull the curtain shut behind her. It was hard not to touch him, but she steeled herself and grabbed the soap. He was still watching her by the time she was lathering her abdomen, and he dropped his hand to his erection and gripped the base when she slipped her soapy hand between her thighs. When she’d finished with herself, she put a hand to his chest and he slowly leaned back against the wall, waiting with poorly-concealed impatience. She rinsed off, twisting under the water, then picked up the bar of soap again.

She didn’t bother being too thorough, but she started at his shoulders and worked her way down. A generous handful of soap suds over one nipple, licking at the skin of his pectoral muscle after it was rinsed clean, trailing her fingers down his stomach, and he was breathing heavily again, looking at her under lowered eyelids. She slid her fingers under his and moved them slowly, smoothly up, eased by the soap, and then back down, his hips rising to her touch. She repeated the movement, up to just below the head then down to the base, with a slick slide over the sac beneath before letting go. She tangled her fingers in the braids lying over his shoulders and pulled him back into the stream of water to rinse, using that leverage to make him lean forward enough for her to kiss him, dragging her teeth over his lower lip. His own hands came to rest on her hips, gripping her and his nails digging into her skin as he kissed her back, rough and bruising.

She whimpered, more out of want than pain, and tightened the loops of hair around her fingers when he broke the kiss. Suddenly he twisted them around, slamming her back against the wall and forcing the breath from her lungs before kissing her again. He was pressed against her stomach, uncomfortably hard, and the dampness rubbing across her skin wasn’t just from the water, droplets leaking from the tip of him. She barely registered that before he was lifting her, gliding her up the wet wall until they were level with each other, and she wrapped her legs around his waist as his hand cupped her ass, supporting her. His other hand slapped against the wall, holding them both steady in the steamy cubicle, and she curved her arms around his neck to keep him close as he pressed against her, blunt and hot and the rapid beat of his blood through his veins matching her own.

With one thrust Tyr was inside her. She gasped, shivering around him in response to being filled so abruptly, and he groaned against her lips before dropping his forehead to her shoulder. One stroke, fast and hard, another, and then he was driving into her with all the force in his body, the tile hard at her back but the burn of friction so good. She clutched at him, wanting more, needing more, but it must have been too much for him. He jerked his hips into her, panting, and she felt heat spread deep inside as he came. She moaned in disappointment but hung onto him, letting him relax into her though he still supported her. His breath was harsh in her ear.

“Tyr?” she whispered finally. He had to have heard her, even over the rushing water, but she repeated herself before he lifted his head, eyes still unfocused. “You all right?”

He inhaled deeply before nodding, seeming a little more cognizant. “You?”

“Kind of?” She wiggled against him and saw realization dawn. Slowly he eased out of her, setting her on her feet but still hovering over her, his hands on her hips. She didn’t let go of him.

“I didn’t mean to—”

Beka shook her head. “Not looking for an apology. You took care of that already back at the spring.” She went up on her toes, grateful for the wall at her back to brace her, and kissed him. When it ended, she kept close to him. “I wouldn’t mind some help, ah, finishing up again, though.”

He grinned, his hand already sliding down. She loosened her arms, leaned back against the wall so he could see what he was doing. “By the way?” Her voice pitched up some as his fingers slid through her curls. “We need to get a place with a really big tub next time.”

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