This week's flash installment was inspired by a prompt which was: Take your hands off of me!
I flexed my feet, my toes scraping along Captain’s hairy legs. I could move again, but I didn’t want to. Even in those cloudy memories I had of before the station, and my cell, and the tests, I couldn’t remember feeling like this. Happy, warm, no pain, no fear, no hunger. Thirst didn’t torture me with every dry breath.
The only thing I could smell was the spice of Captain’s skin and the thump of his heart beat slow under my ear where I’d tucked my head under his chin. His arms were wrapped around me, one around my shoulders and the other anchored at the small of my back.
We were naked, but that was just another layer to the perfection of the moment. It didn’t matter that I was folded against the ridges of his stomach or that his parts prodded my thighs. If I could freeze time and keep this moment forever, I would.
Capturing the scent, touch, sound, even the taste as I gingerly dipped my tongue and took the tiniest sample of the salt of his skin, was paramount. Captain’s breath hitched. I froze, not breathing.
His hand flattened between my shoulder blades. “Kohen? Kohen! Shit.” Captain leaned back. “Please breathe.”
“What?” I asked on a breathy exhale, the word nearly indistinguishable.
“Oh thank the fates.” Captain stared at my chest. “Take another breath.”
“You stopped breathing last night. I was trying to stay awake, to make sure you kept breathing, but I fell asleep. I’m so sorry. Are you okay? Does your chest hurt? Should I get Aparoe? I’ll call Aparoe now.” He reached out, and I latched onto his arm.
“I’m fine. Nothing hurts. I just froze ‘cause I was trying not to wake you up. I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
He snorted. “Are you sure? You’ve gotten really good at it.”
I glanced away from him, staring at hollow of his throat where the skin pulsed. “Sorry.”
“Stop apologizing. It’s not like you do it on purpose.”
After that, I didn’t know what to say. My plan to show him I could be mature and be a productive part of the crew, was as far as I’d gotten. Naked, in bed, with him naked too? So not part of the plan.
Well, it would’ve been if I’d been going off my dreams. But even those hadn’t been this specific.
“Kohen? Look at me.”
His fingers under my chin didn’t give me a choice. I kept my gaze around his nose, not wanting to look into his eyes and see that look I saw before. The one that said I wasn’t what he wanted. The one he probably had on his face when he’d been talking the last time he’d held me. “Kohen.” I couldn’t defy that voice.
“You have nothing to be sorry for. You’re not the one who did this. Whatever happens, it’s not your fault.”
“Okay.” What else was I going to say? No? Of course it is? I should’ve jumped out an airlock or off a cliff on a test? Never met you? I couldn’t argue with him. Not if that would mean he might let me go.
“Why do I feel like that was too easy?”
He sighed. “All right. Well, if you feel up to it, we need to get up. I need to contact Deke and my second. We’re approaching central space soon. There are things that need to be done before then.”
“Like find out who Ss’merit and the Trepharo are working for?”
“Yes. We need to know where the rescued people come from. What species, planets, and potential contacts we can reach out to find for them. Our reports will be read but there will be officials asking more questions.”
My heart hiccupped, and I stiffened. “You have reports… on me? W-will I have to talk to strangers?”
“Yes.” Captain said it slowly. His hand against my back stroked soothing circles between my shoulder blades. “Never alone. I won’t let you face any of this alone.”
“Promise?” I studied his eyes, seeking the truth there.
I scooted back. “We should get up, Captain.”
“Everett.” Captain caught my hand and stopped me. “I’m not your captain. Not just your captain, anyway. No, I’m not kicking you off the crew. But if we’re alone, and especially if we’re naked, I need you to call me Everett.”
An immediate denial sprang to my lips, but I studied him. The memory was hazy, but Aparoe had said something about helping him being hard, but why? It wasn’t physically hard—though we both were—but it was confusing.
“I’ll try.” That was the best I could offer.
When we met with Deke and Kekillil, Captain’s second, my nerves had started to jangle again. Not sure if it was the nerves about the Trepharo, or meeting someone new, or the inches of space between me and Captain.
Kekillill was a female Verazoi. Her arms were covered in green tendrils that quivered when Deke sat down next to her. He brushed a hand over them as they hit his arm.
“Take your hands off me!” she trilled.
“You touched me first!”
“Enough!” Captain barked out the order and they sprang apart. “Report.”
“You first,” Deke said.
“As it should be, security guard. The ship entered the edge of central space. The radioactivity of the Qlart system is blocking communication, but we should pass that in the next shift rotation. We’ll send reports at that time and wait for commands.”
“Don’t send the reports until I clear it,” Captain said.
Kekillill’s spots darkened. “Captain?”
“Just a precaution as we finish investigating. I want to send complete files.”
“Oh. Of course, sir.”
“That will be all, Kekillill.”
She glanced at Deke, her spots darkening again. “Are you sure?”
“He’s staying.” Captain’s tone and the smug smile on Deke’s tone bothered me. Didn’t they trust her?
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