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Ryder smiled politely, trying her best to focus on the conversation at hand. It wasn't the soft instrumental music in the background that distracted her, nor was it the second glass of champagne. It was the silver-haired man with warm, reddish-brown skin who stepped into the foyer. Even from across the room, his piercing green eyes took her breath away. He was one of the most striking men she had ever seen.

She knew that Dr. Carlyle, Harry, was not one for pomp and circumstance. Neither was she, but the reception that the Initiative held on the beached Hyperion ark was not something that she, the Pathfinder, could miss. She had to stay and the doctor would not linger.

She had worn a dress, hoping that he would see her in it.

It was nothing special, a thin-strapped, low cut dress that left her shoulders free, far different from the constraints of her standard uniform or her armor. Her hips were accentuated, her legs bare, which flaunted her generous feminine figure. She wanted the doctor to see her, not as a patient, not as the Pathfinder, but as an attractive woman, in a pretty dress, with no escort for the evening. 

The latter was by choice.

Liam had asked to accompany her, as did Jaal, and when she first entered the room, the shadow king of Kadara approached her side, leaning in close, promising a fun-filled evening. While she did have an infatuation for the handsome Kadara smuggler, she told Reyes no. She told them all no, because there was only one man she wanted to spend time with, now that humanity made its claim in Andromeda, and that man was standing a short distance away.

She hoped he liked the color red.

Ryder curled a bit of loosened hair over her ear and laughed at a surprisingly humorous joke from Eos mayor, August Bradley. Her scarlet lips parted as her teeth shown bright, white, and full. She noticed that the doctor was looking at her again, the sound of her mirth having drawn his attention. The corner of his lips pulled into a half-smile, emphasizing his striking appearance even more. She fought back the day dreams of how many ways she could happily replace his crooked grin with more, sensual expressions. She cut her eyes away before her blush exposed that she was only half paying attention. Besides, her thoughts of Dr. Carlyle were just fantasies anyway, desires pushed aside for the sake of professionalism and reputation.

He had told her that they could not have a romantic relationship when she first expressed her interest, after he left the Pathfinder team. He blamed their difference in age, their professions, and his loyalty to an old friend - her father. 

Ryder didn't care about any of that, especially when her brother Scott had started a relationship with Cora, their father's second in command. She only cared about the was Harry's presence made her heart pound, how his touch gave her butterflies, and how the sound of his rich, smoky-toned voice coursed through her like a river of fire.

She wanted to get burned.

She watched as he nodded to her, short and direct, a friendly greeting to acknowledge her at her event. He would not approach her, not with so many people in the room clinging to her. And, just like that he was gone, most likely back to the cryo ward to check on patients and review the never-ending datapads of reports. Her tongue ran over her lips, a small, unnoticeable gesture, but one prompted from a developing idea. He was not going to get out of this evening so easily. He had not even stayed long enough for a drink.

"Excuse me," Ryder said, dipping her head to make her way through the crowd. She swooped up another flute of champagne, now one in each hand, and followed after the doctor. Her heeled shoes tapped steadily on the Hyperion's floor, a rhythm of pursuit and determination. She made her way to the cryo ward, to the office in the far back. She pinged the controls with her elbow, straightening her posture as she awaited a reply.

It was only a matter of seconds, but the wait felt longer, and as the doors slid open, Ryder savored the look of surprise on the good doctor's face. His eyes had betrayed him as he stole a glance of her from top to bottom. She grinned as he tilted his head, trying to regain his professional and familiar demeanor. Her name spilled softly from his lips, and then, a question.

"What are you doing here?" 

Ryder shrugged slightly, "You left so quickly that you didn't get a drink. I thought I'd bring you one." She handed him one of the glasses and stepped into the small room, not waiting for an invitation. She could feel the heat of his stare as she exaggerated the sway of her hips with each step.

Harry opened his mouth to dissuade her, but simply thanked the Pathfinder instead. As the door closed behind her, he noticed how the heels pronounced her tone legs. Her dress hit at her knees, which was classic and simple in style, yet the color was bold in its statement, clinging wonderfully to her form. 

Red was his favorite color.

He sipped at his drink, grateful to have something to divert his attention, if even for a moment. His continued to look over her, admiring her curves. She was a beautiful woman, he could not deny that, nor could he deny his desire for her, something that he had shoved back into the quiet recesses of his mind. She turned around and a smirk pulled at her full, fiery lips as his gaze moved slowly to finally meet hers.

"Are you headed back?" he asked.

Ryder shook her head, "I served my time, made an obligatory speech, and laughed at a few jokes. I fulfilled my end of the deal with Addison tonight."

Harry chuckled and then lowered his head, looking at her with lifted brows. He still could not believe they were standing in his office like that. "You do look lovely. You're hardly recognizable as our Pathfinder without all that gear of yours. Red suits you."

Ryder smiled, amused and set her glass down. "Thank you, Harry." She studied him with her dark, shadowed eyes.

Harry cleared his throat and quickly downed the rest of his drink, "I should get back to these reports. Lexi wanted me to review the labs from those Elaaden exiles." He made his way to the back of the room, "thank you again for the drink, but this is your evening. Go. Spend it with those who can keep up." He offered a friendly smile even though his emotions lay elsewhere.

The Pathfinder silently roamed over the man's face. She hated that he always made himself out to be "too old" for her. It was his safety net when things became quiet and awkward between them. She made her way to the door, her steps were prolonged as she delayed her departure. The doctor tried his best not to look at her as he sat down, turning his chair away.

This would not do. Could not do. All during her fight for Meridian, for Andromeda, for their future - her future, she thought of what she wanted from and what she needed in this new galaxy. She thought of who she wanted to start over with. Her thoughts always drifted back to him, the way her cared for her with gentle hands, how he'd look at her when he thought she wasn't paying attention. 

Ryder stopped at the door and quietly engaged the lock. She smirked over her shoulder, her mind and heart racing in mischief. She reached up to unpin her hair, shaking it loose over her shoulders, and turned back around to look at him.

"Harry, you told me that you would be here if I needed you." Her voice was sweet and thick,  like honey.

Harry turned around to face her.

"You're here, now, and I need you." She stared defiantly at him, daring him to look away as she slipped her fingers under the straps on her arms and pulled them over her shoulders. The fabric slid off her skin, revealing herself to him. Her nipples were already peaked from arousal and the room's cool air. She continued to tug at her dress until it fell to her feet and she stood, smooth and bare, save for the pair of red laced panties.

"Please don't turn me away."

Having been the doctor for the Pathfinder team, he had seen Ryder in her skivvies before, but this... this was completely different. In the dimmed lighting of his private office, she was not the Pathfinder he knew, but a sexy temptress, endowed, supple and firm in all the right places, and she was offering himself to him, unabashedly so. He leaned back in his chair, shifting slightly to account for the stirring between his legs. He wouldn't turn her away, not now, and he wouldn't let her leave until they both had got what they needed.

His eyes darkened and a finger stroked over his beard before gesturing to her, "Those too," he encouraged, "let me see you."

Ryder thumbed the waistband of red lace on her hips and pulled down, shimming for him as she removed the last barrier.

"Come here," he soothed, and as she moved to stand in front of him, he pulled off his gloves and stood as well, admiring her figure like a work of art, "Look at you..." 

Ryder placed a hand on his face and tilted her head to kiss him. His mustache tickled her at first, but soon the light scratching of his facial hair became a welcomed sensation. She could taste the lingering alcohol on his lips and she opened her mouth, slipping her tongue over his. Her hand shifted to the back of his head as her fingers glided through his graying tresses. She tugged, loosing his hair from its precise style. Her lips traveled over his jaw in a streak of red. She wanted him to be a mess. She wanted him to be a mess because of her.

Harry soon took over the kiss, it becoming more demanding as a pleased hum escaped him. She tasted like strawberries and cream, a delicacy he hadn't experienced in over 600 years, and the reminder fed a craving that he had not fully anticipated. He cupped her breasts, pinching her taunt nipples and brought his lips down to glide the length of her neck. She moaned for him and exposed more of her throat. He obliged her with a series of kisses, bites, and licks as his hands moved further down her torso. He brushed his fingers over a soft patch of hair and teased her center with two fingers. She was more than ready for him.

Ryder's own hands traveled over the his tunic, feeling the hard, disciplined muscles of his chest. She moved lower and smiled when she found what she had fantasized about for so long. "For me?" she teased wickedly. He growled to her, his mouth claiming hers as she reached to unfasten his pants. She slipped her hand inside to stroke him. "I've wanted you for so long, Harry."

Harry picked her up and placed her on the edge of his table. He shoved down his pants, stepping out of them and moved in between her thighs. Any other time, he would have treated her to proper foreplay, torturing her as he learned every sensitive spot on her body, but he had run out of patience. He sucked his middle finger and slipped it inside, testing her. She was wet, but she was tight and if he was going to pleasure her, he needed her to be a little more relaxed. He guided her to lay back and pulled one leg over his shoulder, while the other moved around her hip to tease her clit with experienced fingers.

"That's it," he soothed, knowing that she wouldn't be long now. She was too worked up not to come quickly and he was right. As she unraveled for him, his name came as sweet gasps and murmurs from her lips. He slide his slick hand up her stomach, whispering her name, telling her how desirable she was. 

He marveled at her, the reddening of her flesh, as she rode through her orgasm. When the rise and fall of her chest calmed, he grabbed hold of himself and pushed forward, taking solace in her body with a satisfied grunt. He stilled himself, the hairs of his face scratching against her held leg. She engulfed him in sweet tourtue and, after 600 plus years, he needed to savor the feel of her.

Ryder's face was warm and flushed, as she watched him enter her. He was filling, but in a delicious way, and she arched up with a moan to meet him as he hilted. 

The feeling of him inside of her was everything. 

They both allowed time to adjust, enjoying the long, exploratory strokes. Eventually, she wiggled her hips, letting the doctor know she was ready for more. She felt him lean forward and place the wandering hand on her hip, gripping tightly as he worked his hips hard against her. His face began to twist with focus, determination, and the desperate need to push deeper. He was vocal about his enjoyment of her and she loved it. 

He had shifted his angle and was hitting a sensitive spot, his movements were sharp and hard, fucking more instead of exploring. She was going to come again, but she didn't want the moment to stop, not yet. 

"Harry..." his name was labored between breaths, "I'm going to..."

The doctor leaned against her chest, one pliable leg still between them, "It's okay, " he said as sweat pooled at his brow. She tensed around him, the sensation almost too much.  She cried out her release and he slowed his strokes, steadily riding through her constrictions. It was a miracle that he didn't come himself, one for which he was grateful.

Harry scooped her up, still solid inside, and say back into his chair, shifting her over his lap. He sank deeper into her trembling form and he reached to curl her damp hair. His eyes were drawn to her lips as she tucked her bottom one between her teeth. 

A finger drifted over her lip, and he tugged it free,  pulling her into a kiss. He smirked against her mouth when she tried to match his fervor, and failed due to lustful fatigue. His cock twitched and he slid his hands to her breasts, covering her nipples in wet hot kisses.

"Ride me," he ordered softly against her glowed skin. 

Ryder placed her hands into his shoulders, sadly still covered by his now wrinkled tunic, but she could feel the power underneath. He may have always joked about being older, but he kept in shape, something she was benefiting from first hand. 

She followed his command seductively moving her hips over him. His moss-colored eyes shifted between watching the spot where they joined and meeting her gaze. She ran her hand through his hair, his sexy platinum hair, and smiled as he closed his eyes with a groan. 

Harry's fingers danced over her back, up into her hair and he tilted her head to plant his lips at the juncture of neck and shoulder. His embrace tightened, hands sliding to her waist and he held her firmly in place as he thrust from below. With a strained series of grunts he spilled himself inside of her, and with a deep sigh, he closed his eyes again, trying to regain his breath.

He had had his fair share of experiences, but that had been the most satisfying orgasm of his life. 

Ryder regarded the doctor, his often all business face now relaxed from their exertions. She cradled a cheek with one hand and leaned down to give him a feathered kiss. He opened his eyes, his lips pulling into a lazy grin. She returned it. 

"Thank you for not turning me away."

They both were a mess of sweat, disheveled hair, and streaks of painted red, as they lingered together, but that didn't matter. What mattered now was the new ground they had discovered and how much they were willing to explore.