“What the fuck was that?” Sara Ryder asked as she backed away from the cloud of pink dust settling over her brother. Scott coughed and wiped at his face, wishing he’d worn a helmet even though it wasn’t usually needed on Havarl.
“Hmm.” Jaal observed the male Ryder with some interest. “I was under the impression that Yelas flowers had gone extinct on Havarl. It appears that it was merely dormant until the vault was activated.”
“Is it dangerous?” Sara’s brow furrowed as she looked at her brother. Scott looked at Jaal in askance, creating a little pulse of biotics that pushed the dust, or rather, the pollen, off his skin.
“If breathed in and combined with a compatible pheromone, the Yelas flower can have an aphrodisiac effect. As Scott has yet to make any sexual advances on either of us, it is safe to assume there is no compatible pheromone present.” Jaal explained.
“Thank fuck for that.” Scott mumbled under his breath. He had no desire to jump his sister or her boyfriend. He didn’t need that kind of embarrassment in his life.
“Let’s head back to the Tempest. I don’t want to get up to the sages at Mithrava and have Scott jump one of them. The meeting isn’t that urgent; we can take a detour and have Lexi take a look at Scott.” Sara decided, showing off her Pathfinder decision making that was beloved by most of Heleus.
Scott fought down a grumble at the idea of being poked and prodded by Lexi. He had nothing against the asari doctor, but after two comas and months of rehabilitation, he was happy if he never saw the inside of a medical bay again. He followed as Sara and Jaal turned back the way they’d come, using his jump jets to scale the sheer steps of the Havarl trench.
The walk back to the Tempest was uneventful, even though they had to give the Pelaav Research Station a wide berth. They didn’t even run into any Roekaar along the way, which was a miracle on any day. Before they opened the docking bay to the Tempest, Sara sent Suvi a message to clear out the area between the docking bay and the med bay. Then she sent Lexi a message to be prepared to possibly use medical restraints if her pheromones interacted with the pollen Scott had breathed in. All bases covered, Sara keyed in her code to unlock the docking bay.
There was just one thing they weren’t counting on. Inside the dock area, bent over the Nomad with headphones in was Gil. Obviously he hadn’t heard the memo to clear the area. He turned around when he felt the humid curl of Havarl air. That was all it took.
Scott breathed in automatically, wanting to smell that oil and heat smell that Gil always exuded. And wasn’t the red head a sight for sore eyes? From the day Sara had brought him onto the Pathfinder team, Scott had been enamored with the sarcastic gambler. His wit, his charm, the accent, and those damned fine muscles from doing so much heavy lifting... Gil was a permanent fixture of Scott’s dreams, both asleep and awake.
Before he even knew he was moving, Scott had crossed the docking bay, pinned Gil against the Nomad, and was kissing him with all the passion he could muster. He didn’t see Gil’s eyes widen, then close, but he felt the calloused hand come up to cup his cheek. Scott moved one hand from its place bracketing Gil’s body to wrap around the mechanic and press them tightly together. He was very tempted to start rubbing up against Gil like a cat in heat when, suddenly, he was pulled back.
Scott fought against Sara and Jaal as they pulled him away from Gil, hating the hurt look on the man’s face and wanting nothing more than to go back to kissing him.
“Sorry, Gil, Scott got dosed with some pollen that made him a little... um... He’s under the influence right now and we need to get him to Lexi.” Sara revealed, her words barely penetrating Scott’s brain through a mind numbing haze of want.
Gil’s expression shuttered. He gave a curt nod and hurried away from the struggling Ryders to climb up the docking bay ladders and sequester himself in the engine room. Scott continued to struggle, wanting to go after him. Tears leaked from his eyes. Deep inside, Scott knew he’d just messed up his relationship with the man he had spent so many months falling in love with. With all the desire pushing at him like a flood at a damn, it was hard to find a line between the rejection of Scott’s drugged advances and a rejection of feelings he hadn’t even revealed. It was all too much. He fought against Jaal’s iron grip, but there was nothing he could do.
They got him to the med bay. After a quick scan, Lexi determined that she could use sedatives to calm Scott without an adverse reaction from the pollen. She administered a shot while Jaal held him and Sara worried her bottom lip in the corner of the room.
“This pollen has some very odd effects on the human body.” Lexi mumbled, watching Scott slowly slump in Jaal’s arms until the angaran man could easily place him on one of the medical beds. “It seems the pollen forces the mating drive in response to favorable pheromones, but not a specific pheromone. It’s directed by the subject’s own pheromones rather than having an objective preference.”
“Is he gonna be okay?” Sara inquired, moving to put a hand on her sedated twin’s armored wrist.
“He’ll be fine, Sara. I have something that can keep him calm while the pollen runs it’s course.” Lexi assured her. Sara sighed, relieved.
“Thanks Lexi. I’m gonna go grab Cora so we can head back towards Mithrava. Keep me updated.” Sara waited for Lexi’s nod before heading out of the room, followed by Jaal. Lexi looked down at her patient, noting the tears staining Scott’s face.
“Scott?” She ran another scan with her omni-tool, confirming that the Ryder brother was in fact awake. “How are you feeling?”
Scott sniffled weakly, took drugged to care about looking weak. “I screwed up, doc....” He whimpered.
“I don’t think you could have known about the pollen, Scott. This isn’t your fault.” Lexi frowned. Scott shook his head.
“With Gil... He’s never gonna... talk to me again...” More tears leaked out of Scott’s blue eyes.
Lexi’s eyes widened. She’d heard the talking from the docking bay. She knew Scott had jumped Gil. She also knew, from her keen observations, that Scott was absolutely head over heels for Gil. A sentiment she suspected to be mutual, though Gil had the poker face from hell that prevented her from being entirely certain.
“Gil’s an understanding man, Scott. Perhaps if you tell him how you really feel, things will smooth themselves over.” She advised.
“But he’ll think it was the pollen...” Scott whined.
“Not if you wait till I give you a clean bill of health before you talk to him.” Lexi smiled gently. Scott contemplated this.
“You’d do that for me?” He asked, sounding awed and childlike. Lexi had to fight her giggle down.
“Of course, Scott. Now why don’t you close your eyes and rest? The sooner your body gets rid of the pollen, the sooner you can talk to Gil.”
Scott swallowed hard as he stood outside the engine room door. He was nervous. The pollen was out of his system and Lexi had convinced him to talk to Gil before he did anything else. Which sucked, because without any food in his belly and his biotic enhancements, Scott was feeling a little weak in the knees. Of course, that could also be because of what he intended to do. He took a deep, bracing breath, and entered.
Gil was bent over the engine panel, typing something into the computer that apparently frustrated him, because he wound up kicking the base of the panel.
“That bad?” Scott asked, his tone more confident than he felt. Gil jumped, turning to look at him.
“Jesus, Scott. You need a bell around your neck.” The red head stated, combing a hand back through his hair. His gaze was still guarded, but Scott quelled the fear that the look inspired in order to force his words out.
“Gil, about earlier-“
“It’s okay, Scott. You were under the influence. I get it.” Gil cut him off, looking away from Scott’s endearing baby blues. Not before noticing the sad look that flitted through those eyes, but Gil did his best to keep his mind on topic.
“No! I mean, yes, I was drugged on some weird pollen. But Gil... look, I... I’m kind of... I’m both glad and upset that it was you...” This got Gil’s attention, bringing his pewter eyes back to the man standing in his engine room. “I’m upset because I assaulted you. But I... I’m glad, because... because I got to kiss you...” Scott blushes crimson. He was utterly glad in that moment that Sara was gone and couldn’t see this moment of sheer embarrassment.
“Really?” Gil suddenly smirked, walking slowly to stand in front of Scott.
“Y-yeah...” Scott answered. “I... I may be... may have... a pretty big crush on you.”
Gil’s smirk morphed into a genuine smile. He cupped Scott’s cheek, much the same as he had earlier that day. “You know, you didn’t have to go get drugged up to have an excuse to kiss me.” He teased. Scott looked up into his eyes, a shy smile coming to his face.
“Yeah?” He asked.
“Yeah.” Gil replied, crossing the scant inches to kiss him. And in that moment, Scott had never been happier to have smelled a very druggy flower.