5 - Katie/Jen - And be one traveler, long I stood
Jen bit her lip and scanned the academy cafeteria again, looking for an open table.
"Oh, are you new too?" asked a cheerful voice behind her. Jen turned to see a pretty girl grinning at her and holding her own lunch tray. "I'm Katie. What's your name?"
Jen smiled nervously, "Jen."
Katie's smile was warm and Jen felt her nervousness fading. "Nice to meet you Jen. Want to come eat with me and my friend Trip?"
"Sure," said Jen, side-stepping so that Katie could lead the way. She soon found herself at a table with Katie, Trip - a Xybrian, and a strange little robotic owl Trip called Circuit.
One lunch turned into lunch every day. Until Katie caught Jen's arm one day before she could leave for target practice. "You wanna get dinner after?" she asked. "Just you and me?"
Jen blinked, her stomach twisting. "Like a date?"
Katie nodded, biting her lip. "Yeah, like a date."
"Okay," said Jen. And Katie's answering smile sent a warm rush through her. She floated on metaphorical air all through target practice, even though she missed nearly every shot.
4 - Trip/Lucas - Then took the other, as just as fair
Lucas is starting to think the green haired Xybrian has it in for him. The first time he met the guy, they ran into each other and Lucas got knocked into a fountain. The next day, he's coming from the gym and a robotic flying owl smashes into his face; apparently the Xybrian was working on its systems and he was so, so sorry.
Today the Xybrian won't let him near Sarah Parkman's dorm. Lucas tries to side-step him again, but the guy keeps moving along with him. Lucas sighs in frustration. "Look," he pauses to glance at the Xybrian's uniform. "Regis-"
"Trip," says Regis. "My name's Trip."
"Fine, Trip." Lucas grabs him by the shoulders and pulls him in enough to loom over him. "Get out of my way."
"Y-you don't want to go up there," says Trip, his eyes very wide and nervous looking.
Lucas closes his eyes and counts to ten. "Why?" he grounds out.
"I can see the future," says Trip. "She's going to take you to a bar where her ex is. H-he's a lot bigger than you."
Lucas eyes Trip suspiciously. "Prove it."
Trip and his friend Katie follow them to the bar. Sarah's ex is bigger than Lucas. Thankfully for Lucas' face, Katie is stronger than the ex. Once they make a run for it from the bar, Katie gives them both one armed hugs that make Lucas' ribs whimper and then she heads off for a hot date with her girlfriend.
Lucas is wondering what the hell he can do for the rest of the night when Trip says, "U-um. Want to go see a movie?"
Looking him up and down, Lucas shrugs. Trip's not bad looking for a Xybrian, even if he can't seem to colour co-ordinate with his hair. Movies are dark. "Fine. There's a theatre three blocks down that shows samurai movies. You're buying." He claps Trip on the shoulder and leads the way.
3 - Katie/Trip - And both that morning equally lay
Katie settled down beside Trip on the couch and turned on the viewer. "There's a samurai musical on," she said, scanning the guide. "Unless it's still too soon?" She glanced over at Trip.
He shook his head. "It's fine. It's been almost a month." He leans against Katie's side, settling the bowl of cut vegetables into his lap. "I just wasn't what he was looking for. I'm not sure what he is looking for."
Katie snorts. "A ceiling mirror?" she suggests. Trip laughs and she counts that as a win. "You think Jen's had enough time? I miss being friends with her."
"She's got a crush on Lieutenant Drake," said Trip, popping a carrot stick into his mouth. "I think she'd like to spend lunch hours with us again. She keeps looking at our table."
Katie reaches over and snags a few celery sticks. She chews through two of them, building up courage. "Trip..." she said slowly.
"W-would you like to go out with me, Katie?" Trip said hurriedly. "I-I mean, you don't-"
"Yes," said Katie firmly. She looked over at Trip and met his grin with one of her own. She leaned over to kiss him and he met her halfway.
2 - Lucas/Nadira - Yet knowing how way leads on to way
Nadira threaded her fingers through Lucas' and ignored the chatter from Max and her father behind her. "Does this mean it's finally been long enough since the hearing that they can't accuse you of favouritism?" she asked, watching Lucas out of the corner of her eye.
Lucas shrugged, looking straight ahead. Nadira started swinging their joined hands back and forth. "Technically, we've got about a thousand and one years, and a month, before IA will get off my back. But..."
"But?" she prompted, leaning in close and grinning at the faint flush on Lucas' cheeks.
"No one's looking. And Princess Shayla says technology doesn't work to well up here."
Nadira squeezed Lucas' hand and smiled softly when he squeezed back. "And how long until we have to go home?"
Lucas smirked. "Well, they can't fly the ship without me. So, if we happened to head this way," he pointed to a denser part of the forest, "and got lost for a few hours..."
"Oh my," said Nadira with fake worry. "But however would we survive in the woods?"
"I might be able to hunt down a wild picnic basket, so we won't starve," said Lucas, looking entirely serious except for the corner of his mouth curving up slightly.
Nadira fluttered her eyelashes. "My hero."
1 - Wes/Eric - Somewhere ages and ages hence
Wes sighed noisily and shifts in his chair again. "I think there's something wrong with my chair," he said.
Eric rolled his eyes. "How would you know? You use it about once a month and only if I force you in here."
"Hey, I was in here last week," protested Wes.
Eric levelled a look at him. "Because you were hiding from your secretary."
"Ms Barrett scares you too," said Wes, pointing a finger at him.
Eric snorted, but didn't deny it. The chair squeaked as Wes squirmed around again. "You can't possibly be bored," said Eric, resisting the urge to rub his head. "We just got back from the moon yesterday."
Eric could almost hear Wes' eyes rolling. "No calling me dear unless we're actually dating, Collins," he said, glaring at the form in front of him before signing it.
"Okay, how about tonight, six o'clock, dinner at my place?"
Eric stiffened and looked up at Wes. He looked serious. Eric narrowed his eyes.
Wes bit his lip. "I mean it. I know we don't always get along but-"
"Six thirty," said Eric. "I have to run the rookies through basic combat today. I want time to shower."
Wes' smile was almost blinding. "Six thirty," he repeated. "Hey, Eric-"
"Finish your damn paperwork, Wes," said Eric, moving on to a new form.
Eric threw a pencil at him.
0 - End
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- Robert Frost