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The Well-Known Act

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She walked through Moya's passages. Making her rounds. A quiet evening, the ship settling down.

She paused at the mouth of the maintenance bay, expecting to find him. She stood to watch. He was up on her Prowler, absorbed in his work. At a far greater distance, she'd know that stance, that body's shape. A favorite sight, to watch him working. Light struck his forearm, where muscles and tendons stood out in relief as he twisted and stretched. The line of his shoulders. His clever hands.

This particular man. His particular body. The pleasure of looking. The promise of touch. Mine. My mate. Forbidden indulgence. 'Undisciplined, weak, distracting, divisive.' All Peacekeeper lies. What she felt in her gut, in her bones, was right. Correct. Truer than rules. She trusted that, now. She felt no shame.

So. Here she stood watching a Tech do his work. And wanting him badly. There's a breach of good order, just by itself. Commando and Tech. Civilian and soldier. Sebacean and alien. The insurmountable lines of a lifetime. All gone, all erased.

She was actually nervous. Standing there, watching, the feeling came clear. Nervous, anxious. More than a bit. That made her feel foolish. They had been through so much. But this was a new thing, tonight. This line they were crossing – they had worked around it so long, and so well.

It was his rule, at first. The other John, really. That night on Talyn, when she'd gone to his bunk.

("So, tell me, baby – birth control. How does that work?" He'd been amazed how little she knew. How long did it last? Switch it on, or off? She was vague. "Look, this has to wait. I can't put you at risk. We can do other things.")

He'd made her so angry, at first. She had gone past all her old rules, her fears. Then this. What did he want? Not recreating – not "Peacekeeper sex" – not intercourse. What the frell was left?

What wasn't? She knew better, now.

("Come here. We need to teach you to neck." All his odd words: "Fool around. Make out. Make love. Howl at the moon. Drive us over the cliff." Earth sex? Crichton sex.)

All that. Much more. Just the one thing off limits.

Would this let them down? Just one act, after all. They'd both done it, plenty of times. With others. Before.

You could let this go. It's not such a problem. He'll be there, too. She shook her head. Stepped into the bay. Walked across to him. He heard her and turned. "Hey," she said.

"Hey." A big smile.

"You going to be long?"

"I could stop. Are you making an offer?"

"Well, we do have a plan for tonight."

He jumped down beside her. Ran the back of his hand down her cheek, her jaw. "God, you look good."

"You caught my eye, yourself, just now."

"I like that thought."

"I'm... not waiting too well."

"Then let's pack this in. We've done enough waiting." His arm went around her. Her head to his chest, a moment's embrace. They fell into step without thinking. Her hand light but sure on his waist. His hand just the same on her own. Moya's passageways, arches and curves. Their quarters at last.

He turned on the shower. She pulled off her boots, her leathers. Sat in her underclothes, brushing her hair. That rhythm centered her. Breathe with the stroke, slow down. The motion of braiding, repeat, repeat. Familiar, correct. All things in their place. She stripped off her clothing, slipped into the sheets. Going naked to bed – another indulgence, to sleep unprepared for alarms. Cloth smooth and cool on her skin. Stretch out and feel that.

Sounds from the bath. Soften the lights. Ah, his shape in the doorway. He strolled over, toweling himself. Nice and fresh. He knew what she liked. He knew how he looked. He knew the effect it would have.

"Hey, you. Let's talk," he said, nuzzling her face. "Remember the first time you did me? I was SO well-behaved." She had to smile. "This time, it's my turn. I get to do you."

"Hmmm?" She arched an eyebrow.

"We both know you can go all night. I can touch you, a lot, as much as I want, and it won't end the fun. But you can't mess with me. At least, not much. Because once we get there, I want it to last."

"Once we get 'there'? You mean, to 'the Act'?"

"The well-known act of sexual congress. I've had some thoughts."

"You think too much."

"But I do good work."

"Granted. All right."

"We ARE different creatures. We don't know how we fit, not like that, not for sure. I need to know that you're way more than ready. I'm thinking, we start with the usual stuff. Rev you up a few times. Probably more than a few. But just keep away from my cock, okay? I'll get far enough, fast enough, touching you, seeing you. Give me a chance." The towel was gone. He was kissing her, settling in.

Might as well lie back. Put herself in his hands. She knew the man couldn't be rushed.

She was right, of course. Things happened. Time passed. He could drive her all night.

bodies entwined. How much skin could they press? Embrace and roll. His lips on her throat. Her hand caught the nape of his neck, run through that short, soft hair. Come here, you. Cup his skull. Capture his mouth for a wet, deep kiss

on her back, shaking. Helpless with laughter. His mouth buried down in her sex. Those gleeful blue eyes peering up, eyebrows waggling. She stretched her arms toward him. He caught at her hands. Interlaced fingers, palms pressed together. She rolled her head back and stretched their arms high. Laughed and laughed as she came.

He scrambled up, nuzzling her, laughing himself. "God, I love to see you like this. Gives me a contact high every time." He wrapped around her, kissing her face. "This feels so good. We've made it to here, to this night. I've pictured this so many times."

("I'll watch your face while you come all around me. Give you back what I owe. Be a wonderful day.")

He saw how she sobered. "Baby, what?"

"He thought about doing... What we would do. He wanted this..."

"I know he did." He had quieted, too. "I know how I have."

"I wish..." She grimaced. "I don't know what. That you both could be here? Doesn't THAT make sense!"

He stroked her thoughtfully, watching his hands. Miraculous bodies. Rich, inexhaustible, generous. "Babe, you know – when things have gone bad, I've never once thought... Times I thought I might die, I've never felt... cheated. I've known I was yours. Nothing that mattered was missing." Fingertips brushing her cheeks, her brow. "He had you, Aeryn. He knew... he knew what he had."

She sighed. "Not simple, are we?"

"Not ever. Come here." He was kissing her, deeply, thoroughly. Blessing her, giving thanks, making atonement...

...oh, he was pushing her, touching, touching. He needed distracting. Brush a hand on his cock, so casual, so slight. That one little jump. Oh, I've stopped already. No harm, no foul. Her fingertip played at his ass, just a bit. Don't mind me. I'm not touching your cock. Sweet little touch, just moist with the silk. Delicate, subtle. She slipped in so softly, too slow to track. Oh, hello. Notice that? Trace the curve of his gland with a vanishing touch. He shuddered and stretched. Oh, yes, that's the spot. Feel his breath rush by. His hand eased off.

A little more silk, cool on her hand, slip back again. The slightest flick, brush his gland, graze it, suddenly press. He writhed. She smiled. It took so little. His cock went smaller, softening, overload. Too much to feel. She brushed again and he shivered. God, she loved to play on his nerves. Are you lit, yet, John? She knew, deep inside, things were filling, shifting, gathering force. Delicious thought...

...oh, god. She was panting. Gasping. Her feet pressed together. Soles were burning, toes had to flex. Waves and clutches. Her hips were bucking. Could not catch her breath. Could not – "That's ENOUGH!" she said.

He would not relent. Contrary man. Right. No more asking. This drill is OVER! She shook free, sat up. Gripped at his armpit to pull him up, too. Kissed him aggressively, pressing against him, sitting together. She broke off the kiss. Forehead pressed forehead. "Don't make me hurt you." She grabbed for his shaft and gave him a squeeze. "Give. Me. That." Flung herself on her back and parted her legs. Stared at him sternly.

Oh, that makes him smile. He ducked his head laughing, knelt at her thighs. About frelling time. His eyes locked on hers as he grabbed for the silk. He ran a wet hand around his own cock. Made him catch his own breath.

"Ready?" Long since. She nodded, impatient, still breathing hard. He looked down, inhaled, and slid his cock where his hands had been. Easy, easy, slow, slow. Oh. This was. Different. Better. Oh. She was coming. Again. AROUND. His cock. But he was so WIDE, he pressed her (Oh!) in all directions. What a new, new thing, to put that together. So much to work with. Tremors, waves, they didn't fade out. They ricocheted, bounced, too many to count. Overlap, multiply, bounce back again. And there he was, at the center, always. She was focused, clinging there, pressed to him, spinning. Everything turning around that one point.

"Is that ready enough?" Things were bursting in air. Pure g-force. Her wiring was blown. This was so full. "Oh, that is. GOOD." His warmth was electric, vivid, sharp. She felt it throb in her throat, her chest. He was lighting her center, her spine. Everything. Here. So warm. Shockwaves. Her body was jerking, at places deep in, way beyond her command. This was not what it was, before him.

"I feel you!" he said. It was going in waves. It broke apart, scattered. Continuous. Trembling. Waves in her chest. Strong muscles pulled down, her belly skin sank to a concave curve. Her pelvic bones jutted out at the edge: a great bowl. Oh. More waves. He was poised there, waiting. Eyes open wide. Naked face. Such a smile. Happy man. Dropped his head, brushed her eyes with his hair. Let her breathe.

"That okay?" he asked softly, voice in her ear.

"You bastard!" she laughed. Could barely say it. Breathed hard through her mouth. "It'll do."

He gripped her waist. "Baby, I want you."

"You have me, I think."

"Yes, I do." He moved deliberately, microns, fractions. Slow, so slow. He is going to do me, indeed, indeed. He intended to use everything he knew, his midnight thoughts, his very best skills. She was frelled. She laughed again. Too small a word. Who had known what it meant?

Her laugh faded out. She was straining up toward him. He held the same spot. Not so fast, my dear. Can't have it all. He slid his hand down, wet with the silk. Cool, slippery stuff on her lips, her clit. "Oh, you are BAD," she gasped, as his fingers skittered around, around. Just that little bit extra. Just one thing more. He watched the flush rise on her chest before he leaned down. His lips found her nipple. She jumped, and that jump hit his cock and she rippled around it, set off again. His mouth clamped down wetly and sucked. Can I come with my breast? Apparently so. God, only one mouth. But his palm took over, rubbed that wetness, his mouth to the other one, swirling his tongue. Yes. That!

She needed more brain. Too much coming in. Her hips rocked, her pelvis, she could feel each wet curl at his root. All circuits locked open, no filter. Squeeze her eyes shut. Try to swallow the waves in her throat. Was she making that cry, that call? His mouth clamped hers. Her throat still sang. You're scaring Moya. Unh. Okay. She broke the kiss and gasped for air. Right. Too much. Overload. More. Again. She'd had no idea this was here.

"God, I love you." His mouth at her ear, that husky voice, urging her on. "Yes, Aeryn, Yes, baby, Yes." His hips pressed hard, holding her safe. She wouldn't explode. Her back, her neck, were straining, straining. He could hold so still. Hold all his weight, just there. All the motion was hers. Had her head fallen off? Would she know? Surely light shot out of her waist, her chest. Lift off her skin like a mask, she'd be nothing but light.

"You can move. I need you." He did move, to kiss her. Mouths opened wide. Wet skin to skin. His, mine, warm, salty, hungry. Please.

"Let's try an angle," he said.

"Whatever. Okay." As if she could argue.

He pulled back, breaking contact. She lay there, eyes closed. Use the interval, gather her wits. A pillow slid under the small of her back, her hips. It felt cool. It felt good. Good thinking. Good man.

"Let's see how this feels." His palm rubbed her belly, circling, easy. Soothe her, settle. Fingers slipped into her lips. More silk. She flexed at its coolness, no friction, abundance, delicious. Coolness is good. His wonderful fingers rolling and sliding. Evading her clit. Just that delicate tug on her lips was so much.

He was watching his hand. "I wish you could see this." She squirmed in protest. "No, really. I see how you want me, I see you opening, swelling, your lips are so rich, so rosy, so slick. There's so much going on. Mysterious, luscious." God, he can talk. "When you're this excited, your lips bloom out, you've built such a cushion for us." He twirled a finger around as he spoke. It made her hips rock.

"No one else sees that."

"I know," he said. "Oh, baby, I know."

"Please, stop playing. You're making me wait."

He smiled again. Now his tip was against her, so firm, so warm. So much more than his fingers. The perfect touch. It made her mouth water. Stroked over her surface, so smooth, so slick. Aha. Found the gap and slipped easily in. He was looking down, watching himself disappear. Slowly, slow, 'til their pelvic bones met. Oh my. This is good.

"How's that?"

"Ummmmmm." She was nodding. Oh, this was different. More. Deeper place. Different chords. Who taught you that trick? Thank her for me. She stretched her thighs wider, pushed herself forward, opening more. The tension felt good in her thighs. Roll her weight to the small of her back. A good spot, that. It liked the pressure. Yank the pillow from under her neck, tilt back her head. Grounded. Solid. She met his strokes. Still so slow. But all the way out, now. All the way in.

Oh. That goes. Deep. Her eyes were wet. Exhale, inhale. Take everything in. Look at his face. He loomed above her, his back so straight. His forearms tensed where he gripped her thighs. His beautiful arms. Muscles flickered across his face, his mobile face. He was listening hard. Their eyes were locked. She nodded again. Did he notice the tears? Oh, babe, that's not pain.

She shifted her pelvis up and down, testing each angle. This hit less on her triggers, much more at her core. This could build further. She saw his face tighten, tensing, squeezing his eyes. Ah, it works for him, too. He reached for the arch of her foot, gripped her sole firmly. Oh! That felt... oh. That set her off. It was cross-wired together – her soles, her throat, her nipples and lips. Everything working, everything lit, anything triggering everything. I wasn't like this a few cycles ago. You've done this to me. Every bit of skin touching him glowed.

Her pelvis rocked and fluttered around him. His whole body listened. Those wild blue eyes watched her. He loves this, he loves this. "Don't you want to let go? You're not going to hurt me." She wrapped her ankles around his waist, gripping him tightly. See? She was supple and strong. She contained him completely. "Are you close?" she asked.

"Oh, I think I am." Man with a mission.

"Then come the whole way."

"I want that. So much." One more kiss.

She was grounded, braced, craving the impact. Cushioned was right, no need to hold back. His pattern shifted. Deep heavy strokes. He was gripping her thighs at the knee. Steady, graceful. His eyes had closed. Too much to feel. His breath came harder, his face was flushed. She reached up to touch him, somewhere, anywhere. A little more contact, fingertips, palms.

"I am so. Lit up." he said. "I feel. Everything. In you." She knew what he meant. Their genitals babbling, back and forth, as much as their voices could. She squeezed at him, grabbing him hard. His stroke met that tightness, pushed through it wetly. His eyes flew open. "That. Is intense."

"Oh, yes," she said, under her breath. Still squeezing, gripping him tight. Stroke backwards, feel it again.

"You're amazing," he said. She tensed a few times as he pumped. Then she exhaled. Plenty was happening. No need to do more. Fall back. Let it come. Dive from that cliff and I'll catch you. Absorb you. Swallow you up. This was so SOLID. Complete.

"Yes, John, yes." Her voice had gone deep. Do you hear your name? Here we are. His lips were parted, forehead tensed. "I have you, I have you." He abandoned himself. Stepped off the cliff lightly. His body took over. Beautiful creature, grace and rhythm. Pure motion. Launch, accelerate, dive. Gravity's arc. Give me all of your weight. Nothing held back. What did he see, behind those closed eyes?

He fell so hard, from such a great height. They were tumbling together, shockwaves, freefall. His hips were jerking. "Yes, John, YES." All that energy bursting, it took a long time. She arched up to surround him, her legs wrapped around him, her arms. She grabbed at his back. Pulled his weight into her, locked him in place. She was rocking, rocking. She could only hang on. Cling to him tight in the waves. He moved, he moved. Whose noises were those? Whose tears?

His breath at her neck. His pounding heart. She rubbed his shoulders, the small of his back. Any small shift hit her triggers again. Skittering tremors, fluttering wavelets. Wobbles and jumps. Press up. Pull him down. Hang on. Relaxing, diminishing, softening, slipping. They had melted, mingled. No edges between them. One smell, one body. Steam was still rising.

No Peacekeeper sex in this bed.

"So, that's... all the way?" Her voice was still throaty.

"Way past... that. Out of the park. Over the moon."

"Dogs and cats living together?"

"Holy... Mother... of Pearl." Still breathing deep. "If you ever leave me, please kill me first."

He should talk. "Do all the earth guys do it like that?"

"Not without you, they don't. Not without you."