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"That was a fine last throw," I complimented Marcus when we returned from the gym where we had been practicing hand-to-hand combat.

"It was about time that I managed to catch you unaware. Most of the time you know what I'm going to do in advance, but you hadn't seen this one coming!" Marcus bantered, sliding one arm around my waist.

"No, I hadn't," I answered with a chuckle, laying my arm around my mate's shoulders while we strolled through the front garden towards the door.

Inside our home, one of my servants approached us.

"Anla'shok Cole. A parcel has arrived for you. Do you want to open it now or shall I take it to your room?"

"Who sent the package?" Marcus inquired curiously.

"It is from a Michael Garibaldi," Berlann informed Marcus.

"From Michael?! That's interesting! I will open it now. I'm curious to see what he has sent me. -Thank you, Berlann," Marcus informed the servant with a smile.

Berlann placed the parcel on a small table in the hall and left discretely.

Marcus started to open the parcel from his friend Michael. I watched as intrigued as Marcus was. It couldn't be a late wedding present because I knew very well that the chief of the space station had been at the ceremony and that he had brought a present.

We both bowed over the box when Marcus pulled off the lid. I heard something click, though I couldn't see anything happening because I threw myself over Marcus to protect him. And it probably was good because I felt how something hit me in the back and on my bone crest. But nothing really happened afterwards. And I didn't seem hurt by whatever had hit me.

"Neroon! What was that about?" my beloved asked angrily shoving me off. My heart still beat wildly. It could have been a bomb!

"I heard something," I said a bit stunned. What had just happened!?!

Marcus helped me rise and looked at me, still a bit annoyed but also questioning. He knew I wouldn't act like this without reason. Then I saw his mouth twitch and soon afterwards he broke out laughing, while pointing a finger at me.

"This is not funny!" I growled.

Still grinning, Marcus said, "You are right this wasn't. But that is!" He reached towards me, plucked something from my bone crest and from my shoulder, and dangled it in front of my face: two black somethings the size of my hand wriggling and wiggling long appendages with each of Marcus movements.

"These, my dear Minbari, are rubber spiders. I think this is a Halloween prank from our dear friend Mr. Garibaldi. He will be so amused when I tell him what he caused!"

Marcus returned to the box and picked up a note from inside and read it out loud.

"Question: What do you call two spiders that just got married?

Answer: Newlywebbed.

Yes, I know it's a lame joke, but I couldn't resist.

Happy Halloween you two spiders!

What I would give to just have seen Neroon's face! Well, I will have to do with my wild imagination.

The pumpkins are from the hydroponics garden on the station. Susan discovered them next to her coffee plants. They must have been planted there illegally and I had to confiscate them. I thought we could make good use of them and introduce Minbar to the traditions of Halloween. So, this present is not only from me – the brains behind everything – but from Susan, the discoverer, Steven, who provided us with a small stasis chamber, and Delenn and John who helped with the transportation.

Nice greetings from us to our favourite 'pain in the ass' and his husband," Marcus finished.

"Pumpkins!!! I think I never had real pumpkins since I was a child. That's so nice that they are thinking of me." Marcus seemed really delighted and his whole face was beaming. Whatever all this was about, it made him tremendously happy.

"Marcus? Would you care to explain?" I asked somewhat impatient. I still was a bit gruff because I had thought my beloved had been in danger and it was only a silly joke. Hmpf.

"Just give me a minute here. And maybe a hand." While he unpacked the entire gift, his eagerness like that of a small child, I held those rubber spiders and the lid of the box.

Finally, he managed to get the chamber out of the box and revealed two head sized, orange, roughly spherical things with a rough green stalk on one end. He shoved one of them into my arms – it was quite heavy for its size – as he scrutinized the other one sharply, exclaiming, "Perfect, this one is just perfect for a Jack-o-Lantern."

I was still at a loss. "Marcus?" I questioned, definitely impatient now.

"Yes, just one more minute," he said and rushed towards the kitchen. "Come on, what are you waiting for?" I was about to place everything on the floor and follow him when he called over his shoulder, "And bring the pumpkin!"

Because the black things I was still holding were 'spiders' and the other, clearly, was the lid of the box, then the orange globe had to be the 'pumpkin'. I left the other objects under the table in the hall and went into the kitchen. No Marcus. I rolled my eyes.

"He went outside. And he told me to take care of this fruit," Berlann informed me with an amused smile, freeing me of my burden. Quickly I went outside and found Marcus sitting in the middle of the lawn with some cutlery, a bowl and of course the other pumpkin, obviously waiting for me.

"Sit down. While I show you the fine art of carving a Jack-o-Lantern I will tell you about Halloween."

And so he told me about the Earth tradition of Halloween, where you celebrated a thousands of years old custom which had undergone several changes over the years. Originally, an ancient Earth people called Celts celebrated the beginning of a new year each 31st of October. The date also indicated the end of summer when all harvest business was finished. The priest of this time called the celebration Samhein and it was believed that at this time of year the veil between the worlds was thinnest and the dead roamed the earth. With time and influenced by other religions it became custom to wear horrible costumes, eat lots of strange sweets and scare other people with bad jokes. Like with the spiders. Over the years the connection to the dead has stayed in some way though it now was a commercialized holiday.

Another tradition that has evolved with time was to put up lights in the form of carved pumpkins in front of the house to scare off ghosts that were not welcome in the home, while food and drink were left out to invite and guide welcome spirits. Or something like that, I wasn't sure if I understood everything correctly. Especially since I wasn't really listening, but instead was watching what Marcus did. There also was a strange story behind why the hollowed-out pumpkin was called ‘Jack-o-Lantern'. I only understood half of it.

While explaining all this and much more to me, Marcus had started to prepare the pumpkin. He cut a crude circle on the top where the stalk came out of the fruit and removed the part he had just cut.

"Now we have to remove the pulp inside, so you can carve something on the outside of the pumpkin and put a candle inside. -Could you please hand me the spoon?"

"What do you want to carve on this fruit?" I inquired while handing him the desired object.

"Nothing too horrendous, a simple face I think. I'm not that practiced in carving pumpkins. By the way, it is a vegetable, not a fruit."

Whatever.

Marcus struggled to remove the seeds and flesh inside the fruit, his hands covered entirely with the flesh. Some pieces even had found their way onto his face and in his hair.

"Oooops!" With a splash, some pulp hit me on the chest because the spoon had slipped. "Sorry, Neroon."

"No problem. Can I help somehow?"

"No, the pumpkin is not big enough for both of us working in there."

Shortly later a second blob hit me on the cheek.

"Sorry," Marcus repeated, with an innocent smile. I was not entirely sure if it was another accident this time or if he had done it on purpose.

But after the third hit and because Marcus chuckled, I was convinced it had been intentional. He wanted to tease me. I could do that too.

When he wasn't paying attention, I gathered some of the slimy flesh Marcus had already discarded into the bowl and flicked it at him. Strike! I hit him in the middle of his forehead. Now it was my turn to chuckle.

We continued our little aiming contest some more until Marcus ended it by lunging at me. He gathered my head in his dirty hands, smearing my face with even more pulp and kissed me.

"I think we both need a thorough bath before dinner," Marcus laughed after scrutinizing our appearance.

"Definitely, I'm sticky all over."

Again, concentrating on his task, Marcus cut out two round holes for eyes, a triangular nose and a smiling mouth with few teeth into the pumpkin.

After discarding everything and placing the Jack-o-Lantern on the terrace, we could finally bathe. This drying pumpkin stuff was itching!

>°<

I lowered myself behind my beloved in the bath tub and spread my legs for him to settle in between. I exhaled a deeply contented sigh and closed my arms around his slender hips when he leaned against me. His body seemed to be even warmer than the steaming water against my skin. I had to suppress the sudden arousal that pulsed through my veins. I didn't want to start something because I wanted to enjoy the bath and I knew Marcus was still a little sore from last night's lovemaking. I didn't want to worsen his discomfort.

And it absolutely did no good that Marcus had started to gently and absently stroke my knee! Of course, he had not yet discovered that this was one of my most sensitive parts when touched in a non-clinical way.

"If you don't stop that at once we will be late for dinner!"

Slightly startled by my gruff tone but with a mischievous look in his eyes Marcus turned innocently at me and started to circle my kneecap with one finger.

"Do you really want me to stop? I thought you enjoy us being together. At least you didn't seem to mind yesterday."

"But I only want to enjoy the bath with you. Nothing else, not at the moment."

"I didn't mean to," my love answered, this time very sincerely, "But I will keep this enticing, responding part of you in mind for further explorations." With one last scrape of his nails, he let me off the hook. Then I felt not only his fingers vanishing from my leg, he also slid away, and his buttocks lost contact with my swelling member, against which he had started to wriggle slightly when he first must have felt me responding to his actions.

"Thanks," I sighed relieved when I felt the burning subside to a glowing warmth in my belly. Then I gathered him in my arms again and gave him a playful kiss behind his ear.

"Why do you always have to smack me that loud on my ear? One of these days I will go deaf from the sound," Marcus moaned slightly miffed.

"I'll try to keep that in mind," I answered and gave him another smack; on the other ear this time.

"Aw!" he exclaimed, but despite his so-called offense, he snuggled his head against the hollow of my shoulder under my chin.

"How do you feel now?" I inquired gently.

"Very relaxed and loved. Still a little sore, but not as bad as this morning." We had both been a bit rash last night. The next morning, I could tell by Marcus' reluctance to get up that we had been too eager. Even if there had been no blood, the muscles still seemed strained.

"That's good to know. I'm sorry."

"Don't. I was as impatient as you. The pleasure at the very moment outweighed the pain. I didn't even feel the pain until morning. And I got a bit grumpy with myself for not paying enough attention myself."

"I think I can cope with grumpiness. The other; I'm not so sure."

"That shouldn't bother you - us right now. We only wanted to share a bath, didn't we?"

"Yes," I agreed all too readily, and we did just that. We talked calmly about unimportant nothings, Marcus yawning occasionally. When the water eventually became cold to our unmoving laziness, only then, did we clean the orange pumpkin stuff off each other. We left the tub and went dressed in towels to the bedroom.

I turned to the cupboard to fetch us clean clothes for dinner when Marcus' voice stopped me.

"Neroon?"

My mate had flung himself on the already horizontally rigged platform, and when I turned to face him he tossed a bottle of oil to me. I complied his silent question for a massage with an indulgent smile and a soft kiss. I think we never had a bath without me giving Marcus a massage afterwards. And I must admit that I enjoy kneading his still hot and loose muscles after a bath.  

After my kiss, Marcus turned to lie on his stomach, his head buried in a cushion. I took the covers and placed them over his legs, so he didn't get cold.

I poured a good amount of oil in my hand, applied it to his shoulders and started to spread it generously over his whole back. Beginning at his neck, I started the massage. Marcus soon relaxed totally and lay limp under my hands, only sighing occasionally. Slowly I worked my way down to his buttocks, finally kneading the muscles there. When I was finished my hands almost hurt. Finally, I let my hands gently glide over his whole back for a while and then placed a kiss between his shoulder blades, my usual sign that I was finished.

Slowly Marcus turned around, his eyes still closed.

"I don't know if that was pure bliss or unending torture!" he muttered in a sleepy voice.

I chuckled when I recognized what he meant. The covers had slid down enough to reveal his slightly swollen cock lying nice and hot between his legs.

"Why should it be easier for you than it is for me," I teased him. With a snort he pulled the covers around his shoulders, snuggling in the pillow, eyes still closed. It seemed dinner had to wait.

I crawled under the covers next to my love and at once he spooned around me. The work in the garden on his free day and the training afterwards must have tired him more than expected after a taxing working week. Marcus soon was sleeping deeply for some hours whereas I only dozed a bit now and then.

When I became aware the next time, Marcus' bare body was pressed against my entire back, one hand resting on my chest. His erection pressing against the crack of my ass, a tremendously pleasant sensation to wake to! My cock thought so too and followed the example swiftly. I chuckled to myself. Great! Exactly what I needed when my love was still asleep. Suddenly Marcus moved, thrusting against me with his hips and his hand softly stroking over my belly.

Oh! Now, now!

If I didn't do something soon this would become a painfully hard erection. I should get up. Now!

But when I made to move away, Marcus' grip around my waist tightened and he whispered in my ear, "Shouldn't we do something about that finally?" And his hand travelled over my very appreciative penis, making me groan.

"Yes, I think we should," Marcus answered his own question. His body seemed to burn against me, his hand continued to stroke me lazily. I lay calmly under his arousing touch, letting him continue what he had started and take command. And he did, even more than I had expected.

"I would like to take you." I turned around to be able to look at my mate. All I saw was eager desire. It wasn't a request he made often; he liked to be on the receiving side far too much for my own taste. But I gladly obliged him. Love always was about compromises and sometimes even sacrifices. And Marcus was still new to all aspects of making love. I still hoped that with time our relationship would become a bit more balanced.

Lying under him I drew him in for a kiss and growled, "I'm all yours my beloved."

I took his hand in mine and reverently kissed each fingertip, cherishing his scent. I continued my way with my tongue to his knuckles, which earned me a sharp intake of breath. Leading his hand back between my legs, he curled his fingers around my shaft and thrust his own hardness against my hip. I pressed Marcus tight against me and kissed him thoroughly, my tongue teasing his lips.

That left us both even more aroused, our breath heavy and hot against each other's faces. Silently I grappled for the oil on the night table and put it in Marcus' hand.

He looked down. "You will have to lead me a bit." He had only done it twice and still felt a little hesitant, though he had nothing to fear. His instincts had led him perfectly before.

"As always," I reassured him softly. I knew he needed it. "We have time and I will tell you if something doesn't feel good. But I trust you, you made me feel so good before." I had cupped his bearded cheek in my hand stroking the cheekbone with my thumb.

With a pleased smile, my again confident and eager lover nodded. He continued to kiss and touch me, mapping my torso with his mouth. It was tickling, hot, wet and arousing as hell. I was entirely his. My breath was already ragged and hitching every now and then.

When I couldn't stay calm under his touch any longer I pulled him between my legs, gripping his buttocks, stroking his back with long hard sweeps probably leaving white marks that soon would turn red. His skin was so tender, especially at his neck that even a slight touch left it red for some time afterwards.

Marcus squirmed out of my hard touch kissing his way down over my stomach and gave the tip of my erection a slight lick and then a kiss.

"Marcus, if you don't continue soon, it will be too late!" I begged him with a very undignified wail in my voice.

My lover came back up with a wicked grin but he calmingly stroked my arm. It helped a bit to get the building need under control. As a sign for him to finally continue, I bent my knees and rested my feet on the mattress. He settled between my legs and kissed me again. He tasted sweet and spicy-hot at the same time.

And finally, finally he opened the oil and poured some of it over his fingers. Eagerly I took his hand in mine and led it to my opening, letting him spread the oil over the puckered skin before I guided one of his fingers inside me. Heaven! Well at least first step to heaven. With a blissful sigh, I released his hand. "You know how to continue." I knew the first step was somehow the most difficult for him, from there he was again confident enough to continue on his own.

"Yes, I know. Lift your hips a bit," he demanded and placed a cushion under my hips without taking his finger out of me. I was so excited with anticipation that my heart beat wildly.

Soon Marcus added a second finger and some more oil, distributing it thoroughly. When he accidentally touched my prostate in the process I gasped and I unconsciously arched my back in pleasure.

"Prostate?" my love grinned and stroked again and again, until I had to stop him. I already could feel my cock seeping. I took the oil and spread it over Marcus' beautiful member, teasing him as he had teased me and I was rewarded with shivers that ran all over his body.

"I think… I think we should continue," Marcus panted, holding on to my shoulder while I stroked the head of his cock following the slit. His fingers still inside me had stilled. He was as far gone as I was. I chuckled, "Come on now. Don't waste any more time. I want you inside me now!"

I seemed to burn with heat now and impatiently I guided Marcus to my opening. He still hesitated, looking at me.

"I love you," he said, and covered my hand holding his shaft in his and then pushed into me with one slow, steady stroke until his balls touched my ass. What a blissful feeling to be filled by him! It was such a tight fit. I could feel my beloved was equally overwhelmed by the sensation that he was surrounded by me. I was just about to ask him to start moving when he released a shuddering breath, drew back and thrust back into me at once. He established an almost agonizingly slow pace but with some force behind it. I slung my legs around his hips to allow him deeper access. I frantically stroked his back, tangled my hands in his dark hair and kissed him forcefully. I wanted to cherish every minute of this because it would be a while until Marcus would ask me again.

I don't know if I infected Marcus with my eagerness or if he had been holding back but he started to slam into me with a faster pace eventually letting go of any restraints. He changed his angle slightly and now was hitting my prostate with each thrust directly. Oh Valen! I was reminded now why Marcus preferred to be on the receiving end. The occasional touch of his belly against my erection made me groan every time. We were both so breathless that we had ceased kissing deeply, only the occasional touch of lips and tongues our faces never far apart, almost sharing the same breath. His hands were everywhere leaving lava-hot trails of gooseflesh in their wake.  

I knew by now that I wouldn't even need his or my own touch to come to orgasm. I could feel it already building and nearing its end. I threw my head back and let go, feeling the warm wetness of my own semen between us. I felt my muscles clench around Marcus while climaxing. That was so… good! Heat inside me, around me.

Marcus thrusts went erratic after my release, no longer regularly smooth and controlled. He moaned loudly when I started to touch his butt. His entire body shook and I knew he was about to come. I slid one of my fingers into the crack between his cheeks and touched the opening to his body. That was too much for him and with a last spasming thrust and a long low moan he came. It was different to watch him like this. His release was different like this, as mine had been.

Marcus collapsed on top of me after he came, his softening penis sliding out of me. I didn't mind and slung my arms tightly around him, holding him and me together after our shattering orgasms. His breath came in puffs and I could feel his frantic heartbeat against my chest. He was slick with sweat, thoroughly flushed and totally dishevelled. Absolutely adorable! I got hold of the blanket and managed to cover us somehow.

"Thank you," I whispered in his ear.

" 'My pleasure' seems far too weak as answer. That was incredible! But the bath has gone to waste," he mumbled into my chest.

"I wouldn't say that." I lifted his head to be able to look into his eyes. I ran my fingers over his forehead, removing some drops of sweat. Beautiful, lips red from rough kisses, his face shiny, his eyelids heavy almost hiding his eyes behind dark lashes. "Do you want to have dinner now? I think that was the reason why we originally had the bath."

"I'm famished! But I don't want to move just yet."

"But I would greatly appreciate it. You are getting kind of heavy."

"Pity," he answered, kissed me on the brow and rose. "I'll take a quick shower. Would you lay out something for me to wear for dinner?"

I nodded yes. I had been about to do this anyway before the massage. Then I had an idea. I fetched one of the spiders and hid it between his clothes. If I had understood this Earth tradition right, this was something you did on Halloween!

 

END