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06.28.2013 , 10:32 PM |
Title: Give a Cathar
Maura and Aric, no spoilers
Maura was hot, tired and smelled really bad. Whew, she thought, so glad there’s no one else on the ship right now. She’d sent the crew on shore leave, knowing they needed to be rested and at their best for the next mission they’d get from Garza. No idea what it might be, but so far each one had been a little more grueling than the last. She keyed in her code on the airlock, and the cool, sweet air hit her face. Aaahhhh, that feels so good, she thought. Barely inside, she started unlatching gear, then thought she’d better check to make sure she was alone first.
“Hello? Anyone there?” she called. She walked into the briefing room, saw no one there, and walked back into the cargo hold. She looked into the ammo room, and briefly regretted insisting Aric go with the crew. She recalled the argument they’d had.
“If we want to remain under the radar of the crew, you’ll have to go on leave, too, “ she insisted.
“Maura, I don’t care anymore if the whole damn world knows I love you,” he’d said, but in the end, gave in to her need for things to be “proper”. “Damn women,” he’d muttered as he slung his pack on his shoulder. “I’ll never understand them.” She’d smiled at that, and felt the emptiness almost immediately.
Maura spent her shore leave at a special ops combat training course. She was sore and tired after the first day, the third day she was ready to quit. She lasted the whole five days, though. Now all she wanted was a hot shower, some food that wasn’t a ration bar, and Aric. She could have the first two easily enough, but Aric and the crew weren’t scheduled to return until the next day. She made her way through her quarters, shedding gear and underarmor as she walked, the grit of the training course having worked its way everywhere.
In the shower, she luxuriated in the scalding water, feeling the soreness eased and her spirits lift in the steam that poured out. She took her time, having nowhere to be or anyone who needed something from her. When the water began to cool, she reluctantly left the shower stall, and quickly dressed in comfortable old clothing, a threadbare tshirt and some stretchy pants that had seen better days.
She was rubbing scented lotion into her abraded skin when she smelled food cooking. C2, I guess, she thought. He must have returned from his upgrading already. She pulled some of Miriah’s socks onto her feet, a gift she’d received just last week, and was, for the first time since she’d left the ship five days previously, comfortable. She hummed to herself as she rounded the doorway into the galley, and almost screamed when she saw Aric standing there.
“So you’d rather spend your birthday training than risk a party?” he asked, grinning at her shocked face. She couldn’t speak, and he walked to her, pulling her against him. “I missed you, Maura, let’s not do that again. Be apart for so many days, I mean.” She nodded against his shoulder, surprised to find unshed tears in her eyes.
“How…why…” she stammered, unable to focus when he was holding her.
“I knew you were going for training, remember? I only figured out the birthday thing when Magdalane sent a package here and the portmaster contacted me to retrieve it.” He led her to the table, where he’d set out nice plates and wine, the napkins placed just so. She smiled and sat, and he sat with her, enjoying the meal and the company.
When they’d eaten all they wanted and left the table for her quarters, Aric took her hand and looked into her eyes. “I didn’t buy a gift for you, because I didn’t find anything that felt right, so I owe you one.”
“No, you don’t, “ she told him. “You’re the gift. And you’re here with me. That’s what matters.” The hum he always produced on her skin intensified, and she was so glad the crew was gone.
Love is the strongest magic of them all.