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The sound of her name pierced the fog of lust swirling around Aria's head. She blinked and propped herself up further on her elbows, ignoring the last few shivers that rippled through her body. It was hard to focus for long, especially since the lingering effects of the meld hadn't quite faded and Tevos's lips were still hovering an inch away from the head of her cock. She tried to speak, but all she could manage was a hoarse, "Uh-huh?"

"Can you remember the last time you went down on me?"

The question came as a complete surprise. She blinked again, this time in confusion. "Sure. It was. . . I think. . ." Her face twisted as she searched through her splintered thoughts, trying to recall the right memory. The longer she thought, the more her stomach sank. Try as she might, she couldn't remember. It had been a month, possibly more - far too long any way she looked at it. She sat up straight, resting her back against the headboard. "Well, shit."

Fortunately, Tevos did not seem particularly upset. "Don't feel bad about it," she murmured, and Aria shivered at the warmth of her breath. "I only just realized it myself. That's why I asked you."

She stretched, arching her spine and trying to keep her lower body still as Tevos grazed a few kisses over her abdomen. "Some bondmate I am," she muttered. The back of her throat burned, and she had to grit her teeth to stifle a yawn. "Gimme a minute to recover and I promise to make up for lost time. You're long overdue."

Tevos rolled her eyes. "Well, I don't want it now," she muttered, rising up onto her knees and swinging one leg over Aria's hip. "Then I'll feel like I forced you."

Aria swallowed to work some moisture into her suddenly-dry mouth. She had thought there was no possible way Tevos could wring another orgasm from her exhausted body, but she felt familiar pressure begin to pound between her legs as the slick heat of Tevos's azure grazed the underside of her shaft. "I'd hardly call it forcing me, Thea. I love going down on you. I just like to be leisurely about it, and lately. . ."

At least this time, she knew Tevos's sigh wasn't at her expense. "I know," she said, lifting herself up a little further. "It's impossible for us to get more than ten minutes alone some days. It's quicker for you to use your hand."

Aria tensed as Tevos adjusted the angle of her pelvis and began sinking down. Tight, clinging warmth teased the tip of her cock, and she clutched reflexively at the mattress to avoid bruising Tevos's hips instead. "That's no excuse. You managed to find the time to go down on me once already this week, and that's not counting the blowjob you just - fuck, stop that!"

Tevos's tattooed lips split in a wide grin, and Aria was tempted to surge up and take the lower one between her teeth. "What? You mean this?" Tevos rocked her hips forward, deliberately squeezing down as she took another inch of the shaft.

Aria fisted the sheets in her hands, trying to ignore the insistent press of heat. "Yeah, I mean that. I've been running after our stupid kid all day, and if you make me come again, another Reaper invasion isn't gonna keep me awake long enough to go down on you."

Tevos stopped moving, and her beautiful mouth - the mouth she had enjoyed only a few minutes before - pinched into a thin, disapproving line. "Aria, Lycoris isn't stupid at all."

"I know, I know. But she tried to eat the fish today, Thea."

"What's so strange about... wait, you mean the decorative ones in the tank?"

"Yup," she sighed. "I knew we shouldn't have let Shepard talk us into getting a damn fish tank."

Tevos let out a long sigh and began lifting herself back up. "Well, that's my mood's gone. What do you want for dinner?"

Aria flinched at the loss of heat and pressure, and she reached out to trap Tevos's hips, pulling them forcefully back down. A loud squeal of surprise and the rippling flutter of muscle around her confirmed that she had made the right choice. "We aren't done yet," she purred, the last of her tiredness evaporating. She knew that Tevos would complain if she tried to fulfill her promise tonight, but the least she could do was finish what she had started.

. . .

"So, what's your schedule look like today?"

The sigh that escaped Tevos as she checked her Omnitool was far from encouraging. "Not good. I think I forgot to put breathing in there."

Aria twirled her fork between her fingers, nudging Tevos's knee with hers under the kitchen table. "Come on. It can't be that bad, right? I'm sure we can find a little time for. . ." Tevos tapped wordlessly at her wrist, turning the screen into a projection and angling it toward her. She began reading, and her fork dropped back onto her plate. "What's this nonsense? A three hour subcommittee meeting on the appropriateness of traditional elcor dances?"

Tevos let out a low whimper and buried her face in her free hand, using her elbow to prop herself up. "Don't ask."

Aria stood up and circled the table, stopping behind Tevos's chair and caressing both of her shoulders. "Think you could smuggle me in under that fancy platform of yours?" she asked as she began to massage the strained muscles there, digging her thumbs into the sore spots behind Tevos's shoulderblades. "I promise to keep quiet."

Tevos turned just enough to give her a weak smile. "I wish, but just because you can keep quiet doesn't mean I can. Besides, someone needs to watch Lycoris until we leave for Omega tomorrow. She's been looking forward to spending the day with you."

"She shouldn't. The kid's on lockdown after the fish incident." So far, she and Tevos had done a fairly good job of balancing their work and family responsibilities, but Lycoris had been more trying than usual lately, and it had Aria looking forward to their return to Omega. Once the current Council session was over, Tevos could take over the bulk of the child care for a few weeks while she tended to her duties on the station.

"Corrie didn't actually manage to eat any of them, did she?"

"No, I pulled it out of her mouth and threw it back in the tank. Should be fine aside from a few teeth marks." Her forehead creased in thought and she stopped massaging Tevos's shoulders. "Come to think of it, I'm not sure how she managed to activate the feeding VI and climb the ladder up to the top by herself. Maybe she isn't as dumb as I said."

Tevos laughed. "No matter what you say when we're alone, I know how proud you are of her. I can hear it in your voice."

Aria allowed herself a small smile. "Yeah. . . I am proud of the little brat. Just don't spread it around to anyone but her."

The sound of delighted shrieking made both of them break eye contact, and Lycoris came barrelling into the room, nearly tripping in her eagerness to reach the table. "Mama! Daddy!" She flung herself into Tevos's lap, practically climbing over her shoulder to give both of them a hug at once. Tevos let out a sharp 'oof' of discomfort, and Aria lifted Lycoris up with a quick tug of her biotics, setting her gently back on the floor.

"For Athame's sake, kid, the sun's barely up. You should still be in bed."

Lycoris gave a stubborn shake of her head. "No!" she bellowed, using a voice that was far too loud for indoors. "I have to say bye to mama."

Tevos shook her head and gave Lycoris an indulgent smile. She stood and scooped her back up, rubbing their noses together. "Then you're just in time. Goodbye, my darling. Behave for your father today. I think you've worn through just about all of her patience."

Aria turned just enough to hide her smile. The sight of Tevos holding their giggling daughter was something she would never take for granted. There were so many ways this moment might not have come to pass. . .

Unfortunately, Lycoris caught her looking and reached out with her chubby hands, squealing with excitement. "Daddy! Daddy next!"

With a pretend sigh of exasperation, Aria took Lycoris from Tevos's arms and propped her daughter's weight on one of her hips. "You'd better get going," she told Tevos. "When was your lunch break again?"

"I have a lunch meeting with Sparatus and some of the other primarchs at ten hundred hours to discuss a treaty, but. . ." She bit her lip and a soft purple flush crawled across her cheeks. "I might be able to reschedule. He owes me a favor."

"What, did he forget his wife's birthday again?"

Tevos snorted. "No. His Mistress's."

Aria rolled her eyes, dodging a misjudged swing of Lycoris's tiny fist near her face. "Only someone as anal as you would remember a coworker's Mistress's birthday. Now, get going." She pulled her hand back, giving Tevos a light, affectionate swat on the rear. "Send me a message if you can wiggle out of that meeting. . . and that dress."

Tevos turned back and leaned in for a soft, lingering kiss, pausing long enough to murmur, "I'll see what I can do," before she hurried for the front door.

Once it slammed shut, Lycoris began tugging on the collar of her jacket, squirming unhappily against her side. "Daddy! I thought you said hitting was bad!"

Aria set Lycoris down on the floor and started clearing the table. "What do I always tell you, kid?"

"Hitting is always wrong except when it's a bad guy trying to hurt me, or mama kisses you afterwards."

She nodded in approval. "Good girl. If she ever shouts at me instead, then we have a problem. Now, go pick out a book to read while I clean up. . . and not that stupid one Aunt Shepard gave you, either. If I have to read about Blasto and the bunny rabbit one more time, there are going to be a few new holes in the wall when your mother gets home."

. . .

"Damn it," Aria mumbled under her breath as she stepped off the lift. Even though her Omnitool only read five minutes past the hour, the desk in front of Tevos's office was completely empty. Obviously, Neota had stepped out for lunch. Although she was still an excellent assistant in every way, she actually took her breaks now that she had started having a life outside of her work.

"Damn it," Lycoris parroted, tugging urgently on the sleeve of her jacket. "Neota's not here. Now we can't play Asteroid Blaster!"

"Don't let your mother hear you swearing," Aria said, although she didn't chastise Lycoris for her choice of words. "Asteroid Blaster, you said?" She let out a brief laugh. "Guess there is a little of Thea in you after all. She loves that game. Come on, I'll get you set up on single-player."

Lycoris scrambled happily into Neota's office chair, and Aria switched on the game. Thankfully, it wasn't password protected like the rest of the files. Her eyes wandered between the elevator and Tevos's office door. The only people with access to the lift while Neota was out of the office were all people Lycoris knew. Assuming she didn't destroy anything, she would be fine on her own for a few minutes. "I'm going in to see your mom, kid. Keep your tiny ass in that chair and don't move until you beat Neota's high score, okay?"


Aria smirked and shrugged out of her jacket, draping it around Lycoris's tiny shoulders. "Good. Stay put." Then, she prowled in the direction of Tevos's office, ignoring the sound of roaring engines and lasers firing behind her.

Tevos looked up when she opened the door, and Aria felt a small jolt in her chest at the sight of her smile. It was seductive and full of promise, especially when she shoved the datapad on her desk aside with a sweep of her arm. Instead of speaking, she crooked her finger in a come-hither motion and pointed at the floor in front of her chair. Her forehead tattoos lifted as if to say, 'Well? What are you waiting for?'

Aria's smirk grew wider. She kicked the door shut and leapt into the chair with Tevos, straddling her as best she could with the armrests in the way. Their mouths met, and she had to brace herself against the desk as Tevos's tongue pushed past her lips. She tugged at the fabric of Tevos's dress with her free hand, groaning into the kiss when her fingers met the bare flesh of her bondmate's thigh. She tried to slide her hand further beneath the hem, but Tevos pulled back and shook her head. "I don't think so. You made me a promise, remember?"

Although she was far from disappointed, Aria gave Tevos a mock pout. If they were going to alter their usual dynamic, she might as well make it convincing. "But…"

Tevos stopped her as she leaned in for another kiss, pressing down insistently on top of her shoulder instead. "Floor. Now."

She tried and failed to appear repentant as she slid out of the chair and dropped onto her knees, teasing the back of Tevos's calf with her fingertips as she went. That earned her a disapproving look, and she worked harder to hide her grin as Tevos drew up the edge of her dress, lifting it far enough to reveal the fact that she was wearing nothing else underneath. Her eyes widened, and she couldn't resist one last comment. "I guess you were pretty confident that I would be your lunch date today instead of Sparatus, huh?"

Tevos broke character for a moment with an undignified snort of laughter, but made up for it by pushing harder on the back of her crest. "Why don't you put that smart mouth of yours to better use before you get yourself in trouble?"

Aria grinned as she stared between Tevos's legs. The lips of her azure were already pouting open, revealing just a hint of violet at the edges of her slick, shimmering blue folds. "It would be my..."

The sound of the door hissing open made Tevos start, and Aria pulled back just in time as her thighs snapped shut. As she whirled around to look over her shoulder, she caught sight of Neota staring at them curiously. There was no embarrassment in her expression - unfortunately, this situation was so common that all three of them had grown accustomed to it over the years - but there was a hint of surprise.

"Oh, don't look at me like that, Neota," Aria muttered as she climbed back to her feet. "You're acting like you've never seen the Queen of Omega on her knees before."

A flush began to spread across Neota's cheeks. "I - I haven't, actually," she stammered. "You're usually…" She let her voice trail off, gesturing awkwardly at the desk. Aria grinned. Bending Tevos over the edge of the desk was her usual preference at the office, even though they hadn't been able to find much time for it lately.

"A pity for you, then," Tevos said. "It's a very enjoyable sight. Now, did you need something? I thought you were meeting Amara for lunch."

"I'm sure Amara doesn't have this much trouble getting some," Aria muttered, dodging just in time to avoid Tevos's elbow as it jabbed at her side. "Hey!"

Neota sighed. "I was, but she got caught in traffic, and then I ran into Bakara's assistant at Apollo's Cafe. He told me that the vote on hanar religious liberties got switched with the meeting for the appropriateness of traditional elcor dances, and the diplomats are already waiting for the Council to arrive. I was only a few minutes away, so..."

Tevos stood, smoothing out the front of her dress and bumping her hip affectionately against Aria's as she walked past. "Sorry, darling. It looks like we'll have to reschedule."

Aria's fingers twitched. For a brief moment, she was tempted to push Neota out of the room, shove Tevos back onto the desk, and tear her dress right down the middle so that she could finally have what she wanted. Although Tevos had been the one to bring it up first, the thought of tasting her had wormed its way into her head and refused to be dislodged. She wanted to bury her head between Tevos's thighs and stay there for the next century, and she doubted anything else would satisfy her until she got the chance. But…

She glanced sadly at the time on her Omnitool. Surely someone less friendly than Neota would come looking for Tevos if she disappeared for the rest of the work day, and she couldn't leave Lycoris alone for more than a few minutes. She would have to be patient. "I'll see you tonight," she said, giving Tevos a regretful kiss on the cheek as she left the office and went in search of her daughter.

She found Lycoris perched happily on the edge of Neota's desk, her tongue poking out from between her lips as she concentrated on the monitor. A few moments later, she let out a cry of triumph. "Daddy, look! High score!"

Aria gave her a small nod of approval and took her jacket back, sliding her arms through the sleeves. "Not bad. At least one of us got to do something fun." She waited the few seconds it took Lycoris to save the game before lifting her up with a swift tug of biotics and placing her on top of her shoulders. Lycoris giggled in delight, kicking out with her feet and scuffing the front of her jacket. Aria sighed. Somehow, even in the clean, sterile environments of the Presidium, Lycoris managed to get her shoes dirty. "Come on, let's go."

. . .

For the fifth time in as many minutes, Aria checked the monitor beside the front door. Still no sign of Tevos, even though she had been due home half an hour ago. She rocked onto the balls of her feet, trying to ignore the low hum of energy rolling beneath her skin. Over the course of the day, her want had become a desperate, clawing need, and she could barely think of anything else. Her mind kept flashing back to earlier that afternoon, altering the memory and erasing Neota's untimely interruption. Tevos had looked so beautiful, so open and ready for her attention. It would have been so easy to dip forward and place a kiss on the very tip of her...

The sound of footsteps outside the door made her snap back to the present. She glanced at the monitor again. Tevos was standing outside the apartment, reaching out to touch the pressure pad. Her shoulders were a little slumped, but she didn't look too tired. A wide grin spread across Aria's face, and she let her biotics swim to the surface, preparing to pounce.

As soon as Tevos stepped into the apartment, Aria launched herself forward, pinning her against the wall and capturing her lips. Tevos let out a gasp of surprise, but Aria swallowed it with her mouth, biting down on her lower lip to keep her from making any more noise. "Quiet. Kid's asleep."

"What… what are you doing?" Tevos whispered. Her eyes were wide with surprise, but they had already started to darken with hints of the meld.

Aria's gaze darted from Tevos's eyes to her kiss-swollen lips, then to the curve of her neck. The tender skin of her throat was just too tempting, and she began a frantic trail of kisses down from Tevos's jawline until she found the place where her pulse hammered just above her collarbone. "What's it look like?" She bit down, and Tevos shivered against her. The insistent ache between her legs became a heavy throb, and she was half-convinced that she and Tevos were already sharing sensations. "I'm going to kiss every inch of you until you're a shuddering wreck. That's what I'm doing."

Tevos's gaze darted toward the hallway. "In the living room?"

"Yeah. So?" When it became apparent that Tevos would need a little more convincing, Aria began kissing lower along her chest, only pausing long enough to unhook the back of her dress. "Don't worry. We'll be fine."

Tevos tried to protest, but Aria cut off her words by latching on to the tempting bud of her nipple, pulling it roughly between her lips and grazing the edge with her teeth. Tevos's hips bucked forward, grinding down hard against her knee. Aria smiled around her prize. It had been a few weeks since Tevos had ruined a pair of her leather pants, but as tempting as the idea was, she had a promise to fulfill.

She stayed at Tevos's breasts just long enough to earn a few more breathless sighs before she fell to her knees. Instead of pulling the dress the rest of the way down, she grabbed Tevos's hands and forced them to hold the hem up around her hips, sliding one of her calves over her shoulder for good measure. Her eyes zeroed in on the glistening, swollen lips of Tevos's azure, and her mouth watered at just the memory of her taste. But she didn't have to settle for a memory - everything she wanted was right in front of her. She dipped her head forward, groaning as she swiped her tongue through the sweet curve of Tevos's flesh.

Tevos's hands shot down, clutching desperately at her shoulders and fisting the collar of her jacket. "Aria!" she shouted, completely forgetting to keep her voice low. Aria considered chastising her, but couldn't bear to pull away as her tongue finally flicked over the very tip of Tevos's clit. The strained ridge was already throbbing, pleading for her attention, and she couldn't stop herself from fastening her lips around it. Wetness covered her chin, and the heel resting against her back dug in harder.

Aria focused all of her attention on Tevos's reactions, drinking them in one by one. She adored the soft twitching of muscle in Tevos's thighs, the unrestrained whimpers that fell from her lips, and even the hard pressure of her fingers as they tried to pull her closer. Her head began to hum with the urge to meld, the need to bring Tevos even closer and slip into the familiar comfort of her mind, but she resisted the temptation. This was a treat for her as well, and she didn't want it to end too soon. She walled off her thoughts as the buzzing grew louder, vibrating in her skull and beneath her skin…

"Oh, for Athame's sake…"

Aria suddenly realized that the buzzing was not coming entirely from within her. Instead, it was coming from Tevos's Omnitool. She pulled her head back from between Tevos's legs and checked the screen, looking to see who it was. Once she read the name, she rolled her eyes and snorted in annoyance. "It's Liara. Just let it go through. I'm not finished with you yet."

A devious smirk spread across Tevos's face as the Omnitool continued to vibrate. "Liara? Answer it."

Aria was surprised at the suggestion, but as she thought about it, she began to warm to the idea. She wasn't in the mood to share Tevos with anyone else tonight, but teasing Liara always appealed to her. Answering the call would allow her to have it both ways. She grinned and accepted the connection, burying her face back between Tevos's thighs without saying a word.

Tevos angled her wrist appropriately, making sure to provide an excellent view. "Hello, Doctor T'Soni," she purred, and Aria felt a shudder course down her spine. Although she enjoyed Tevos's passionate, unrestrained noises, there was something incredibly sexy about hearing her use her 'Councilor' voice when she was obviously in such an indecent position. "Is there something I can do for you?"

Aria glanced up, keeping her lips sealed around Tevos's clit as she caught a glimpse of Liara's surprised, delighted expression. "In all honesty, Thea, I - I've completely forgotten what I wanted to tell you," she stammered. Aria had to stifle a laugh. She moved her tongue lower, teasing the ring of muscle around Tevos's entrance. "It was… it was something about Omega…"

"I hope it wasn't important," Tevos said. "As you can see, I'm a little busy at the moment. . ."

"Huh, I can see that," said a deep, gravelly voice - a voice that was most definitely not Liara's.

Aria jerked her head back as quickly as she could, staring at the screen of Tevos's Omnitool in shock. A familiar face was hovering behind Liara's, and it was one of the last faces in the galaxy she wanted to see. "Aethyta?" she grumbled. Her palm collided with her forehead, and she closed her eyes. "Oh, fuck me..."

"I dunno," Aethyta drawled, ignoring Liara's squeak of surprise. "From where I'm standing, it looked like you were fucking her."

Tevos hurried to pull her dress down, aiming the Omnitool screen at an inoffensive spot on the floor. "Matriarch Aethyta, I..."

"Oh, stop acting stupid. I've seen worse. In fact, I've seen my own damn kid doing worse-"

"We're not going to talk about that," Liara said, but her voice was strangely muffled. Aria guessed she was burying her face in her hands, and she snickered despite herself. If she and Tevos had to suffer through this indignity, it made her feel slightly better to know that Liara had been in the same horrible position at least once.

Tevos was not so amused. "Goodbye, Aethyta," she said in a clipped voice, ending the call with her iciest glare. Once Aethyta and Liara's faces were gone, she slumped back against the wall and let out a groan of frustration. "Why is it that every time we get a moment to ourselves, someone has to interrupt?"

Aria shrugged. "Bad luck, I suppose." Her eyes wandered back to the juncture between Tevos's thighs, and she ran her tongue over her lips. "But it doesn't mean we have to stop. . . I was really starting to enjoy myself."

Tevos hung her head. "Not tonight." Aria opened her mouth to protest, but Tevos cut her off. "I'm not going to be able to get Aethyta's face out of my head, and I'm sure you don't want to see that when you're melding with me."

Aria gave a mock shudder to hide her disappointment. "All right, all right, you've convinced me. But tomorrow…"

Tevos gave her a weak smile, smoothing down the front of her dress. "Tomorrow, I'm not letting you come up for air until you finally fulfill your promise."

. . .

The next morning, Aria woke to the warmth of Tevos's lips on hers. A sweet taste spread through her mouth, and she smiled into the kiss. Obviously, Tevos had been up for a while already, if her freshly brushed teeth and the light in her eyes were anything to go by. She yawned, throwing her arms around Tevos's neck and nuzzling into her shoulder. "Good morning. What's got you up so early?"

Tevos's low laugh vibrated through her chest. "You know perfectly well what's got me up so early, Aria. We have a few minutes before we need to get ready to leave, and I want to make the best possible use of our time."

Aria placed a teasing nip against the side of Tevos's throat, enjoying the way she shivered in response. "I was hoping for more than just a few minutes," she murmured, kissing the place she had just bitten to soothe the flushed skin.

"I don't even care anymore," Tevos said. "We've already had to stop twice now. If I don't come in your mouth soon, I can't be held responsible for my actions."

The slight edge of desperation in her voice made Aria grin, and she summoned her strength, flipping Tevos onto her back. The flush on her bondmate's cheeks made her heart pound faster, and the last of her sleepiness faded. "I guess we'll have to make do… that, or be late for the shuttle."

"Not if you get started right away," Tevos said, pressing insistently down on the top of her crest. She refused to move, and Tevos batted her eyelashes, adopting one of her most alluring expressions. "Please?"

"You don't have to beg," she murmured as she kissed a quick trail over Tevos's chest. "If you hadn't, I would have."

Aria let out a sigh of relief when she finally settled between Tevos's thighs. They were already parted for her, and she inhaled as she drew closer, swallowing down the rush of moisture rising in her mouth. "Goddess, you always smell so fucking good," she murmured, placing a kiss on the tender skin of Tevos's inner thigh.

Tevos blushed and brought one of her hands down, gripping the back of her crest. "Stop complimenting me and put that sweet tongue to work. I can't wait."

Aria gasped as she felt the soft tendrils of a meld tugging at her mind. Apparently, Tevos was not exaggerating. She allowed the connection, lowering her barriers and opening herself to Tevos's feelings. Her inner walls pulsed with a wave of need that was not her own, and she let out a surprised groan of desire. She was almost tempted to lower one of her own hands between her legs, but. . . She stared down at Tevos, swallowing again as she admired the swollen, petaled lips of her azure. Tevos definitely couldn't wait, and now, neither could she.

Tevos's wetness covered her mouth at the first swipe of her tongue. Shimmering glaze coated her lips, spilling down over her chin with each long, slow stroke. Although she knew that focusing her attention would get her a quicker result, Aria could not resist taking her time, covering every inch at once. If she only had a few minutes to enjoy this paradise, she wanted to savor every last moment and make sure Tevos was a trembling mess afterward.

'Aria, please…' Tevos's words whispered in her head as the hand at the back of her crest urged her higher. 'More...' A picture forced its way to the front of her mind, and Aria rocked forward on the mattress when she saw herself tugging at the swollen point of Tevos's clit. She did her best to oblige, swiping her tongue over the straining ridge and pinning Tevos's hips to the mattress with her hands to make sure she didn't move.

The show of force earned her another flood of wetness. She dropped her tongue just enough to gather it up, sighing at the salt and sweetness. It took a force of will to shift her mouth back up to where Tevos so desperately needed it, but she replaced her tongue with her fingers, pushing inside and curling up as sharply as she could.

"Aria!" This time, Tevos could not keep her screaming confined to the meld. Aria felt Tevos latch on to her mind, drawing and taking from her, clinging for dear life. She shared each surge of heat and pressure that Tevos felt, shuddering along with her as the ache between her own legs doubled...


Instinctively, Aria broke the seal of her lips. Lycoris's shout had been muffled, but it was unmistakable. As reluctant as she was to stop while her bondmate was balancing on the sharp edge of release, she couldn't ignore that sound. She stared into Tevos's slightly panicked eyes, ignoring the darkness she found there so that she would not be dragged deeper into the meld. "Think she just wants attention, or does she actually need me?"

"No, no, no, don't you dare leave…" Tevos's fingers tightened almost painfully around her shoulder, imploring her to stay. "I'm so close, I-"

The edges of the meld began closing around her, trickling in like warm water and blurring the her vision. She couldn't help but dip her head and sweep her tongue between Tevos's outer lips, sighing at the sweetness she found...


"Fuck." Aria groaned and shifted back on the mattress, turning away as Tevos let out a muffled scream of frustration into the pillow beside her head. "I'll be right back, I promise. Don't move."


"Go," Tevos said, half-sobbing the word. Guilt twisted in Aria's stomach when she saw that her bondmate had tucked one of her hands between her legs and curled in on herself. "Just hurry." She did hurry, shoving her fingers into her mouth to suck them clean as she scrambled for her clothes. Once she was minimally presentable, she headed for the door, doing her best to block out the soft whimpers and shaking breaths behind her.

To her surprise, she nearly ran into a tiny body at thigh-level when she opened the door. Two small arms flung themselves around her knees, and she had to twist her shoulder in order to reach back and shut the door. "Hey!" she said, narrowing her eyes and tucking the corners of her lips down in a frown. "Watch it, kid. Back up before I squash you."

It was a look that would have terrified even her most experienced employees, but Lycoris only grinned up at her, completely unintimidated. "Daddy, what's a 'fuck'?"

"Seriously? That's what all the yelling was about?"

"But you said it! You said 'fuck, I'll be right back,' and then mama said -"

She gave Lycoris a disapproving stare. "And why were you listening at our door?"

"I heard mama crying. Is she in there?" Lycoris peered around her hip, trying to reach for the closed door, but Aria scooped her up before she managed to touch the sensor. She slung her daughter's small body over her shoulder, ignoring the shrieks of laughter beside her head as she began heading down the hall.

"Mama's not crying, and 'fuck' is a word adults say when they're pissed o - I mean, when they're angry about something."

Lycoris's eyes grew even wider as she digested the new information. "Really? 'Cuz Matriarch Aethyta told me it's when two people embrace eternity."

The word slipped out before she could still her tongue. "Well, fuck."

"You said it againnn," Lycoris sang as they reached the bedroom door. "I'm gonna tell Aethyta she's wrong."

Aria allowed herself a small smile. "You do that, kid. Wouldn't be the first time. Come on, back to bed before I toss you out the window."

"But Daddy, it's morning!"

Aria checked her Omnitool and bit back another curse when she saw the time. She might have been able to get Tevos off if Lycoris hadn't interrupted, but they only had a few minutes to dress and gather their things before they were scheduled to depart for Omega. She sighed, trying to ignore the headache throbbing in her temples and spreading down the back of her neck. Poor Tevos probably felt even worse than she did.

"All right, get dressed then. We only have a few minutes before we have to leave."

. . .

"When I said I needed some time alone with you, this wasn't what I had in mind," Tevos said. She crossed her arms over her chest, staring at the wide leather couch with obvious disapproval.

Aria ignored the complaints, focusing on Tevos's body language instead. She was practically vibrating with unreleased tension, and the deep flush on her cheeks was noticeable even in the dim light. Her poor bondmate had been suffering all day, shivering at the slightest contact and barely able to sit without squirming. Aria suspected that if they had been melded a few hours earlier during the ship's descent, the shuddering jolt as it landed in the docking bay might have been enough to make her come.

She prowled forward, folding her arms around Tevos's waist from behind and pulling her close. "Are you sure about that? You've always enjoyed fucking on my couch before," she murmured, letting her breath skate over one of Tevos's sensitive neckfolds. "Besides, it's been a while since we put on a show at Afterlife…"

Tevos rolled her eyes, but Aria could sense the need simmering just beneath her sarcasm. "I wouldn't call it a show, exactly… no one would even be able to see us up here with all the smoke and flashing lights."

Aria smiled, giving Tevos's hips an extra squeeze and enjoying the way her breath hitched. "Exactly. No one would even be able to see us. This is the perfect place for me to take care of your… problem."

"We could have just stayed at home," Tevos said, but her voice was far from protesting as Aria began walking her back across the platform and toward the edge of the couch.

"No way. Grizz is a good babysitter, but I'm not risking another interruption. Everyone on Omega knows better than to bother me while I'm sitting on this couch."

Tevos smiled and sank down into the couch's angled corner, resting both arms on top of the cushions and curling into a seductive pose. "You mean while I'm sitting on it," she corrected. "You're just going to be kneeling in front of it."

Aria smirked. Normally, she was the one who enjoyed lounging on her infamous couch while Tevos pleased her, but the switch was strangely appealing. She tried not to look too eager as she fell to her knees. "I'll do more than kneel," she murmured. She folded her hands behind her back, doing her best to appear obedient. They had toyed with the idea in Tevos's office, but this time, she was fully committed to her role. "I'll do anything you ask."

The look Tevos gave her sent a sharp stab of desire straight through her abdomen. It could only be described as greedy. "This really is special, isn't it?" she teased. "It's not often the Queen of Omega offers her services." Tevos's voice was smooth and controlled, but her body gave her away. Her breathing was too quick, and her green eyes were already dark with need. Aria knew she wouldn't have to wait long.

She was proven right when Tevos reached behind her neck to undo the back of her dress, using a flash of biotics to get the zipper past the middle of her back. Aria had to press her lips together to hide her grin. She hadn't expected Tevos to remove all of her clothes, especially in a semi-public place like Afterlife, but she wasn't about to complain. Once the dress fell to the floor, Tevos lounged back against the couch and parted her thighs, revealing herself completely. The firm ridge of her clit was already glistening with wetness, and the slick flesh below was a flushed, vivid purple. "Well? Get started. You've got several weeks to make up for."

Aria did not need to be told twice. A groan broke in her throat as she shifted forward and took Tevos between her lips. She forced herself to be slow and gentle, waiting for Tevos to guide their rhythm, and she was not disappointed. Moments later, Tevos's hands came down to grip the top of her crest, tightening whenever she did something right and pushing whenever she wandered too far from the right spot. Her hips began pushing forward in an insistent rhythm, and Aria was only too happy to follow it.

"Goddess, harder!" Tevos's shout was audible even over the loud thump of the bass, and Aria began pulling harder, drawing the pulsing ridge of Tevos's clit deeper into her mouth. Each lash of her tongue made Tevos's nails graze the back of her neckfolds, but she relished the pain. She loved seeing Tevos like this - greedy, desperate, and beyond control. When Tevos spread her legs even wider, she took advantage of the new access, bringing up one of her hands and slipping forward with two of her fingers. It was easy to push inside, but Tevos's rippling muscles clutched down so tight that it was hard to move despite the wetness coating her knuckles.

'More...' Tevos pushed past her barriers so abruptly that it took Aria several moments to realize that she was not alone in her mind. She wouldn't have been able to fight against such a powerful force even if she had wanted to. The roar of lust hit a second later, and she screamed into Tevos's flesh, barely able to keep her concentration. It twisted and coiled, filling her chest to the bursting point and pounding directly between her legs. She surrendered, giving herself over to Tevos's pleasure, offering up as much of herself as she could...

But just before she was completely swallowed up in the union, something jolted her back to reality. The sound of footsteps and the familiar click of a gun made Aria rip her consciousness apart from Tevos's, only able to ignore the pain of the separation through the power of instinct. She slammed into herself again and whirled around just in time to see the business-end of a pistol aimed directly at her head. Fortunately, thanks to centuries of practice, her reactions were fast enough. She threw up one of her arms, forming a shield around herself and Tevos and bracing for fire.

The fire never came. Instead, the would-be assassins stared at her in shock. There were three in all - a turian, a human, and a krogan dressed in Blood Pack colors - and none of them seemed to be in control of their bodies. Their gaping mouths and wide eyes were visible through their visors, and they seemed to have completely forgotten their purpose.

Aria's fear for Tevos's safety rapidly shifted into anger. Without rising to her feet or removing her fingers, she drew her Carnifex with her free hand and dispatched the krogan with several rounds to the chest. He crumpled to the ground, and when his companions moved to use their weapons again, Aria let her biotics rise to the surface, giving her skin a dangerous, flickering purple glow. "Consider yourselves lucky. The only reason you aren't already dead is because I'm afraid murdering you might ruin my bondmate's mood."

To her credit, Tevos did not seem afraid when Aria glanced over at her. Instead, she looked frustrated, shifting uncomfortably on the edge of the couch as though she could not get comfortable. She kept one arm draped over her breasts, but she did not appear vulnerable in her nakedness, and her eyes were swallowed up with black light. "Aria, I need you to make this go away," she said, her layered voice caught somewhere between a demand and a plea.

"I'll handle it. We're finishing this time." Aria narrowed her eyes, giving the turian and the human her iciest glare. "Leave right now, and I won't warp you into tiny pieces for the cleaning crew to take care of tomorrow morning. And take that with you." She jerked her head disdainfully toward the krogan slumped at their feet. His armoured chestplate was still rising and falling, but only just.

The turian and the human turned and stared at each other with identical terrified expressions, completely unwilling to take their chances. They each grabbed one of the krogan's arms and began hauling him down the steps as fast as they could, nearly tripping over themselves in their haste to leave the platform. Aria did not bother watching to make sure they made it to the bottom. Instead, she set her Carnifex on the couch beside Tevos's thigh and dipped back between her legs.

Tevos's thoughts collided with hers at the first touch of her tongue. She was overtaken by a surge of need that was not her own, and it swept her past the point of breathing. Searing claws of desire raked over her mind, leaving a sharp, satisfying pain wherever they touched. Her inner walls twitched in time with her bondmate's, and their shared heartbeat thumped so fast that her entire body started to tingle with the rush of blood. She latched on to Tevos's clit and tried to resume the thrusts of her hand, but Tevos had completely taken over, pumping her hips in a wild, selfish rhythm and taking everything she had to give.

'Please...' she thought, clinging to the word as Tevos pushed even deeper within her mind. 'I need to feel you come.'


Her name was the last thing she heard before everything splintered around them. Tevos's thighs tensed beside her head, and her entire body went stiff. Moments later, a rush of heat spilled down her chin, covering her face and sliding over her knuckles. Biotics crackled around them, and Tevos's powerful contractions pulsed through her body, causing her to tense and grind against the seam of her pants. Only the insistent hands at the back of her crest kept her mouth in the right place as they rode through their shared pleasure.

As soon as the bliss of their orgasm began to ease, Aria moved her tongue lower, removing her fingers and grazing the tender ring of muscle at Tevos's entrance. She was rewarded with even more fluttering pulses, and when she pushed inside, Tevos dragged her down into a second spiraling release. This time, instead of desperation, Aria felt only relief. She relaxed her muscles as the unbearable fullness between Tevos's finally faded into a deep, satisfied ache, giving a few more leisurely strokes of her tongue to gather up every drop of her reward.

It took several moments for the meld to fade, but when it did, Tevos immediately removed her hands and shifted back on the couch. Aria could sense the moment her logical brain finally processed what had happened, and she laughed as Tevos shot a nervous look toward the stairs. "Aria? Did that really just happen?"

Aria swiped her glove over her wet lips, taking a few moments to suck on the ruined leather before she climbed up on the couch beside Tevos. "Yup. That just happened."

Tevos tried to appear upset, but utterly failed as she flopped backwards onto the cushions, closing her eyes and throwing an arm over her face. "Goddess. Is it wrong of me not to care that we almost died?"

"We didn't almost die," Aria said, crossing one leg over the other and stroking her hand along the smooth length of Tevos's thigh. Her skin was still slick in some places, and Aria allowed herself a moment of pride. Seeing and feeling Tevos come so hard - twice - had definitely been worth the damage to her clothes and the couch. "I had it completely under control. I will have to… speak with my bodyguards and the Blood Pack, however. This never should have happened."

Before Tevos could respond, her Omnitool began ringing from the crumpled fabric of her dress. When she let out a small whimper and put on her most pleading look, Aria sighed and used her biotics to pull the Omnitool toward her, unwilling to leave her seat. She stared at the name on the screen and chuckled to herself. "Liara again. Do you want me to answer it?"

Tevos snuggled deeper into the couch. "Fine. Just make sure she's alone this time. I don't want another Aethyta incident."

Aria answered the call, and moments later, a holo of Liara appeared in front of them, face creased with concern. "Thea? I'm not getting any image."

"Are you alone this time?" Aria drawled.

Liara had the decency to blush. "Of course I am. I'm very sorry about, um… about last time. My father…"

"It's Aethyta," Tevos said. "You don't have to explain."

"Oh. Well… I would still like to apologize for her behavior."

Aria hit another button on Tevos's Omnitool, allowing their image to go through instead of just their voices. "Don't worry about it. We're finished this time."

Liara tried and failed to hide her grin. "I can see that. Anyway, I remembered what I meant to tell you last night. The Blood Pack is currently going through a schism, and a few of their members might make an attempt on your life sometime in the next few days. I caught it on my feeds the other day, but then…"

"Then Aethyta happened," Aria said. "You're a bit late, T'Soni, although I can't really complain. I should have known about it without your help." She sighed. "Maybe I'm starting to slip."

Tevos squeezed the side of her leg and shook her head. "You definitely aren't slipping, Aria," she murmured. "I feel wonderful."

"That wasn't what I meant," Aria protested, but the edge of her smile returned. "I don't suppose you have any more information you'd like to share, T'Soni?"

"Just that you might want to keep an eye on your guards. One of them is on the Blood Pack's payroll."

"And that explains how they got up to the platform," Aria said. "They've got a quad, I'll give them that. Thanks for the tip, T'Soni. I'll handle the problem from here." After giving Liara a quick nod goodbye, she ended the call and set the Omnitool aside. She shifted onto her side, folding one arm around Tevos's waist and kissing the back of her shoulder. "I'll be late getting home tonight. I have a few things to take care of."

"A few more things, you mean," Tevos sighed. "At least you've finally fulfilled the most important of your duties."

Aria grinned and tucked her chin over Tevos's shoulder. "The most important as well as the most enjoyable," she said. "I promise not to let it go so long next time."

Tevos did not respond, and Aria realized with some surprise that she was drifting off to sleep. Very pleased that she had satisfied Tevos to the point of exhaustion, she sat up again and activated her own Omnitool. Now that she was finished with pleasure, there was plenty of business to take care of.