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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - The Further You Run... [FIN]


The Red Man

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((Note: This fic takes place at some point during the events in Mr Specialist Goes To Washington, specifically after the meeting aboard the Al'Kesh bomber.))

11 o'clock at night and down in the gym Sgt. Perault was working out.

Part of that was because he'd been locked up recently for a couple of weeks with not much to do except read. Though the reading had been instructive, and had prevented him going apeshit, it wasn't the same as actually doing something with his time. Here, he had proper facilities, and was actually engaged in using the parallel bars, flipping his muscular frame around and between the bars like an exceptionally agile ape, clad in t-shirt and sweatpants.

Another part of it was that the Sergeant liked to find stuff to do away from the hustle and bustle of the base. Crowds of baseline human beings made him feel like a reluctant lion at a watering hole chock full of wildebeest to eat, and he knew the effect was mutual. If he was actually doing something with his time, he was too occupied to pay attention to the smell of fear or the shrinking of people's pupils as they looked at him. At least, that was the theory. And the gym at this time of night was quiet: he would work out without his shades on without giving someone the oogah-boogahs.

And the final reason was that he was thinking over a promise he'd made to a certain beautiful red-head earlier that day. I'll tell ya later. Smooth, real smooth. Ass. He'd managed to keep busy most of the day, checking weapons, organising a shoot-house drill for SG-21 and a few specialists from other teams, going over worst case scenarios for snatching Higgenbottom. But when night-time had come, people had decided that the day's work was over. Dec had made himself scarce.

He somersaulted from the bars and landed in a balanced crouch, his agility not the trained and studied grace of a gymnast, but more the spring-coiled dexterity of a predator. He crossed the gym to one of the high-powered hydraulic weight sets and paused to look at himself in the mirror. Whatever mojo Kyria had worked on him, it definitely made him look a hell of a lot younger. He'd been half-expecting it to wear off, but nope. Between Kyria's temporal wizardry and his nova metabolism, he was a nearly-thirty year old man who looked about 22. All the little signs of wear and tear that not even eruption had countered had disappeared.

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Kyria padded into the gym with her usually silent grace, figuring that this is where Declan would be. They hadn't finished their conversation earlier and she was a persistent young woman. Her outfit was something between pajamas and a workout outfit, flowing enough for movement and clingy enough to show her curves. It might have been an artful tease or just what she liked wearing at night; with Kyria one could never really tell.

She made her way to where Declan was currently musing over his looks, pretending to sneak up on him but knowing that it probably wouldn't work. She snaked her arms around him and asked from behind, "See something you like?" He could hear the hopeful grin in her voice, and the slight tremor of fear that they answer would be 'no'.

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He'd caught her scent, delicate and sweet, as soon as she'd entered the room; had watched the flowing, silent delight of her approach from the moment she stepped over the threshold. There was something ethereal about the girl from another time and place, something that transcended her age. She was beautiful and unworldly, yet solid and real as she wrapped arms around him and rested her chin on his shoulder. Dec heard the hope and fear in her oh-so expressive voice and wondered what she had to be nervous about. She'd been his first friend here. When he was scared, when he had been consumed with self-loathing, she had been there. She had drawn him out of his shell with their impromptu sparring match enough for him to open up further to his team. She'd stopped him killing at Kiki Nass. She's a girl. Okay, she's a young woman, but she's gotta be over 10 years younger than me. Okay Sergeant, here's the mission: try to communicate without A) wussing out or B) coming across like a dirty old man. Got it? Good. He put one large hand over hers, privately wondering at how small it seemed.

"Yeah, I'd say I do. See somethin' I like, I mean." Dead mercury eyes met rich green and he smiled, a trifle nervously.

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She hugged him tightly, her smile beatific. She dropped out of sight of the mirror as she came down off of her tip-toes; she sat down on one of the weight benches.

"You said you'd tell me what you were thinking later. It's later." Her eyes sparkled without more mischievous curiosity.

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"Yeah, I did say that." He sighed and sat down on the weight bench opposite hers, looking at the floor between them for a moment before raising his gaze to meet hers. He smiled, the expression not touching his dead eyes, then quickly checked over his shoulder to make sure they were alone before looking back and meeting Kyria's sparkling gaze.

"So..." he took a deep breath. "Where I strangled my chain of thought was about the point I 'said' "You're, like..." am I right?" Kyria nodded, leaning forwards and studying him as he spoke. He forced himself not to look up, down, or away from her. "The continuation of that would have been: You're, like, too sweet, definitely too beautiful, and way too young to have me thinkin' about you in that way. I shouldn't have... I dunno, inflicted that on you." He looked down, his face coloring slightly.

"It's not right, that's all. You're a mind-reader, there's not much hidin' it from you how I feel, but... Ahh, I don't know what I'm tryin' to say, dammit!" He got up and started to pace back and forth, agitated. Why the fuck can't I just say it? Why can't I say what I feel?

Well, hell. I could help there.

You stay out of this.

I'm IN this, bub. Havin' to listen to your sappy schoolboy bullshit is givin' me hives back here.

No-one needs killing, so I'm driving, right?

Well stop goin' round in fuckin' circles. I'm gettin' dizzy. It's simple: "Hey, Kyria, I really, really like you and when you lean against me or put your arms around me or smile at me or talk to me it makes my heart leap in my chest and do about five spins, which might not be right because you're not in my league and way too young but hey, there you go."

Oh, that's real helpful

True, though.

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Several different responses to what he'd said flickered through her mind, but all that made it to her mouth was a surprised, "You think I'm sweet?"

She almost left him enough time to respond but then added, "And I wouldn't worry about what I might see in your thoughts. I mean, Vinny was pretty much running a pornography video in his head the first time we met and spoke." She grinned and shrugged, "I don't take it personally unless people tell me I should. I figure if it doesn't make it out of your mouth, then it's just thoughts. So don't worry about 'inflicting' anything on me. I'm the one poking about in your head."

She tilted her head to side, her eyes tracking his pacing, "And you don't really know how old I am. And remember...," her grin became wicked, "you're a much younger man now, if you're worried about keeping up with me." The grin and the words were definite bait.

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He'd stopped pacing as she spoke, and visibly calmed as he absorbed what she was saying, nodding as she mentioned her being the one poking around in his head. It made sense. A telepath probably got worse than his thoughts all the time. Wright runnin' a porno scene, huh? He's lucky he's makin' Livy happy or I'd... Wait, she's not pissed about that. Calm down Dec.

Then Kyria's last comment hit home and his eyes widened, then narrowed in a mock glare. "Worried about keepin' up with you?" He couldn't help it: he smiled widely as he sat on the bench beside her. "Don't you worry about me worryin' about that, frail. Though I'm revisin' my opinion of 'sweet' after that." He chuckled, shaking his head, then sobered a little as he looked at her.

"That's hard to do, though." He said with a slight smile, then turned serious. "I'm actually goin' to follow some advice from my blunter other self here..." He shook his head again, taking a deep breath and letting it out, then looked at her.

"Kyria, I really, really like you. And when you're around, and especially when you smile at me or hug me, it makes me feel... you know..." he gestured as he tried to find the right words. "Well, good, like really, really good, which might not be right because you're out of my league and might be too young, but it's how I feel, and that's basically what's goin' on in my head right now."

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"Frail?" She arched a brow at that. "And why do you think I'm out of your league? We're both novas."

Her cheeks were steadily turning darker shades of red, bright against her pale skin. She looked away, hey eyes trailing over the equipment in the room as her lips pursed in thought. "I'll admit, I'm not really experienced with this myself. I've only had one boyfriend and that was a very....quick and mental relationship. He was a telepath too, and I think at least 80 years old." She shook her head, "I know it's probably hard for you or the others to really believe me, but age for us doesn't matter as much. With my new powers it would matter even less so. Our potential for immortality, or at least a lifespan long enough to be little different, isn't too difficult to achieve if you want it. So a few years difference now only means as much as you want it to."

She was rambling a bit, her eyes slowly making their way back to him. She hadn't spoken about her own feelings too much, but the tremor in her tone when she spoke about the ex-boyfriend might be an explanation in and of itself. She had leaned in closer to him though, her body language much less hesitant than her words.

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"Uh, frail's just a term. Means 'woman'. My old sergeant in Basic used it: 'I ain't never seen such a cryin' buncha babies. Hell, boys, there's frails got more balls than you guys', and so on." Declan realised he was babbling a little to disguise the nervousness he felt as she leaned closer. "And as for you bein' outta my league, well that's because... Well, basically I'm not much more experienced than you." he admitted, shuffling on his seat. "I mean, I've had... uh, encounters. Usually drunken ones while on R&R where I did it because I was a young soldier and that's what we're supposed to do." The irony was heavy in his voice as he smiled, a little embarrassed.

"But you're different." he said quietly as he met her eyes again. "I can't put it into words. I'm not much good with them." He shrugged, and Kyria noticed a faint sparkle and shimmer of life had entered his previously dead eyes as he looked at her. "It's times like this I wish I was. And that's why I think you're out of my league. You deserve better than me."

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Kyria grinned up at Declan and mused, "Hmn...I wonder what your sergeant would think of a 'frail' that could bench-press his car?"

She shifted on the bench until she was leaning comformtably up against his chest where she could hear his heartbeat. "Seems to me like that makes a pretty good match. I mean, if neither one of us really knows what we're doing, then at least we'll be starting off at the same spot." That grin was still there, her own eyes sparkling. "Besides, you can't get drunk anymore. Not unless someone here figures out how to make Ampwells and Omar's not really much of a chemist that I know of and I've never even had one."

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"Well, he'd probably try to enlist you." Dec chuckled, then flushed a little as Kyria shifted and leaned into him, her head resting on his chest, the scent of her hair filling his sensitive nostrils. He could feel his heart speed up in his chest as she nestled there, and knew that she could probably hear that too. She's... not backing off. Whoa! Dec's eyes went a little wide as he realised what Kyria was saying: "...we'll be starting off at the same spot... a pretty good match..." even the "Besides, you can't get drunk anymore." was given meaning by the slight knowing grin on her lips as she peered up at him.

He took a breath and slowly put an arm around Kyria as she leaned against him, hugging her to him gently. "So... Was that a roundabout way of you sayin' you want to start in the same spot?" he asked lightly, his heart beating hard as he tried to keep the nervousness from his voice.

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"Well, is there some other way?" Her grin was still there, though just as nervous his voice had been; her blush almost matched her hair now. "Unless the SGC provides dating training, but I think I would have noticed that on the roster."

She grinned again at her own joke, one hand coming up to rest on his chest. She could hear his heartbeat better now, still slow in comparison to a baseline's but getting faster. There were tremors in her touch, a hesitation that was unusual for the teen. Evertyhing in her life was changing in this odd universe, but then wasn't that what she'd asked for?

She caught his eyes, her smile slipping just a bit, "That is, if you want to. Date, I mean."

It was taking a monumental effort of will for her to give Dec (and Red) his privacy, to not peek in on his thoughts and reassure herself or at least know what was coming before he spoke. It had been different with Cody; safer at the beginning at least and more what she was used to in her relationships with the only other man that had mattered in her life. Declan was....different. Confusing. Dangerous. But despite her fear, she felt safe sitting here, leaning against him with his arm around her. Life was strange sometimes.

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"Are you kiddin'?!" Dec almost laughed in a release of nervous tension. "This is you asking me if I want to date you, right?" His grin was huge and somewhat goofy, which was definitely strange on his usually taciturn features. "Or am I about to wake up in the infirmary with a lump on my head?" He caught her gaze and calmed down, though his eyes still danced with quicksilver lights that spun and circled around large dark pupils.

"I mean: yeah." He said quietly as he looked down at her, disbelief trying to struggle with puzzlement and happiness on his face. "Yeah, I'd like to date you." He rested his chin on her hair and was quiet for a long moment as they both absorbed this. When he next spoke, it was with deliberate casualness, though Kyria could clearly hear the wry smile in his voice.

"So, you doin' anything after we illegally kidnap this international oversight bureaucrat member and beat him with a rubber hose till he gives up the goods, then swoop in on whatever facilities they're runnin' and kick some ass? I don't figure all that takin' more than a couple of days."

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"Hmn. Rubber hose, you say? And I figure if we're going to do anything really impactful, it'll be less than 24 hours." Her lips pursed, "Probably. We usually get time between missions, even these weird side ones that Cam pulls us along on." She glanced up through the roof towards the stars above and idly mused, "I wonder what's taking the Asgard so long."

She shifted her seating so it was easier to look up at Dec, her face back to it's usual cheerful curiosity. "What do you have in mind? I've never actually been on a date before. We were in the middle of negotiations, and then we off after the Watchers and then we weren't we anymore. And in all the lessons on how to rule three races and run a planet, an explination on dating didn't quite make it into the cirrculum."

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"Well, I was thinkin' dinner and a movie. That's standard in my dating experience, but I'll look around to see if there's something else. Oh, and I better talk to the CO about getting permission to go off-base." He smiled at Kyria, already thinking of possible ideas for an outing. "All you need to do is come along and be yourself. Oh, and don't peek at what the plans are. Deal?"

He shifted a little, snugging her close to him with the one arm he had around her. "So, what's this about you being taught to rule a planet and stuff? You some kind of alien princess back home?" He smiled as his free hand stroked a stray lock of red hair back from her alabaster face. His eyes still sparkled gently, studying her. "I could believe that, thinkin' about it."

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It took a minute to remember just how much Declan had missed in the past few months. She glanced away and took in a breath; she'd gotten easier about talking about these things, especially now with psuedo-family like Aradia. Now she was nervous of what Dec might think. He deserves to know.

"Something like that. My father was....he was part of a group of novas called the Paragons that protected the world. Part of that protection included subtly ruling it and shaping it to what they thought was the 'right' way. My father raised me to...well, he was manipulating the Paragons. He knew they were planning on going to look for the Watchers and Atlantis once they'd discovered the cure for taint and gotten the upgrades they wanted for Lorean, so he'd made sure things would be....left to him. That he'd have control. He...he created me to help him. It's more than that, I know, but that was a large part of it. He wanted a friend, a companion, and a piece of someone else that he loved and who didn't love him back."

She glanced back up at him and then away again, "So...I guess something like that. I'm a nova, but I'm not quite like other novas, so 'alien princess' is probably a pretty good term for what I was there." She tried to smile at that last bit, but it was weak imitation of her usual expressions.

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"Created you?" Dec blinked, then blinked again. "Holy shit. Um." He looked down at his feet for a moment or two. Kyria again resisted the urge to peek into his head, biting her lip as she too looked down at the ground.

"Okay." Dec said at length. "I can deal with all of that. And it's not much wonder you don't know much about dating. Daddy probably didn't want you running off with some handsome nova dude." He gave her a one-armed squeeze and smiled. "And yeah, you might be an alien princess, but while you're dating me you're MY alien princess. Which is cool by me."

Very cool, in fact.

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A tiny smile appeared on her lips at that last comment, "Instead I ran off with his team of super-novas and then he took over the world, got married, and had other kids. That was....a little rough. I didn't even think he liked women, and after the entire thing with Max and me and...everything..."

She shifted a little, not so much physically uncomfortable as emotionally. "Well, once we found the Watchers and Cody decided to go...become one with the cosmic whatevers, the only place I wanted to be was somewhere far away from both of them."

She settled herself back against him, smiling softly, "It is kinda neat, though. I always had Michael...the father that raised me, I always had a measure of his powers. Being a telepath and a gestalt. And now, here, I've started manifesting some of Max's powers...being a time controller, getting visions, that sort of thing. I think....I think if I were still at home, Father would tell me that that's just part of growing up. Learning what is your parents in you and what's just you."

She flushed and buried her face in his shoulder, "Sorry, I'm getting all maudlin and philosophic on you. Dinner and a movie sounds great. And I promise not peek."

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"Hey." He rocked her a little against him, feelings a little protective despite trying to digest all she'd shared with him. Two fathers, chasing around the multiverse in a living ship, and her only boyfriend is 80 years old, has a telepathic relationship and then fucks off to Nirvana or whatever... That's rough. Weird, but rough. Her nestling into his shoulder was enough to cause unaccustomed tenderness in him, something previously reserved for Livy. "Any time you want to talk stuff like that over with me, it's cool. More than cool, it's welcome. I'm not the brainiac some of the others are, but I've gotten waaay sharper since the artifact changed me. Been reading a little philosophy myself, mainly about the duality of Man, that kinda thing. Thought it was relevant, y'know?" he grinned at her. "And it has helped me some. Us some, I should say."

He bent his head and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "So... You sure you really want to date me?" he sounded quietly amazed, but happy with the news.

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She nodded but bit her lip, "Speaking of, though, what does Red think of this? I know that the two of you are...the one of you, but you also disagree sometimes."

Her eyes were tender and just a bit worried as she looked up at him. "I don't want to make things more difficult for you."

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Dec nodded at that, then his eyes took on that strangely distant expression they sometimes got when he was talking with his other self. Watching, Kyria mused on the fact that both selves were 'Declan', but one was the soldier's capacity for violence, ruthlessness and cruelty distilled, as it were, into a consciousness that contained only trace amounts of other sentiments. Dec's eyes refocused on her and his lips quirked in a frown. "He wants to talk to you."

Kyria just nodded. Of course he'd want to. Red didn't want anyone to forget that he was part of the equation. She sat up a little, but didn't pull away. "Okay. Let's hear him."

Declan's arm was still around her as his face changed, taking on a predatory cast. The soft shimmer of his eyes went dead, then took on a hard glint that shifted like a rotating blade catching cold light on it's razor's edge. His voice changed too, becoming a harsh graveyard tone filled with restrained violence.

"Well hello there, sweet thing." Red grinned at her, his arm still around her waist. "First things first, I got to say it: you two are so sweet it gives me toothache. So, you wanna know what I think of you cozyin' up with Dec? Well, I don't give much of a shit about the big R." The smile turned into a leer. "That said, we've got some taste, I have ta say. I got no complaints. And so's you know, if I didn't like it, it wouldn't have even come about. Dec likes to pretend we're completely separate, but at the base of the trunk we're the same damn tree. I like you as much as he does, but he's better suited to express our feelings in this situation. So while it won't be my dulcet tones whisperin' adoration in your pretty little ears, rest assured that I won't be disagreein' with the sentiment." He chuckled harshly, then leaned down and kissed her other cheek in parody of Declan's tender gesture.

"Any more questions before I go?"

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Kyria blinked at the disorientation of seeing Red moving Declan's body; before she'd always just spoken to them together. "Um, well, when...when there's a reason to talk to both of you, do you want to do it like this, or like before where we can all talk together?"

To her credit she hadn't pulled away from this darker side of Dec, but for romantic moments she fully agreed with Red's assessment.

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"Oh, you're welcome to come in and say hi in future. See ya, cuteness." Red faded and Declan resurfaced, the smile taking on a different meaning, the way his eyes crinkled in the corners: it was all different despite being the same.

"Well, looks like he's cool with it." Dec said with a slight smile. "I'm kinda surprised."

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"Did you think he'd be against it or have a problem with it?"

If she cuddled a little closer now, she doubted Declan would notice too much - or mind. She glanced around the gym and then back up to the sergeant, her eyes a deep, tranquil blue. "So what do we do now?"

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"Well, yeah." Dec answered, still sounding a little surprised, though his arm snugged Kyria closer. "I thought he'd try to spike the punch, so to speak. I wonder why he's bein' so cool about it."

He shrugged the question away and looked down at her, the beginnings of a smile playing around his lips. "Well, I was going to go get some sleep, but for some reason I can't imagine my bed bein' more comfortable than this bench right now."

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"You need sleep." It was a half-statment, half-question; Kyria was already moving by the time the words were out of her mouth. She'd stood up and was tugging on his hands for him to follow her. "Let me grab a book from my room and then we can do this in your room so you can fall asleep without rattling weights."

Her smile was innocent and it crossed his mind that she simply might not know what would be assumed if she was seen going into his room late at night and not leaving until the next morning.

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"Uh... Are you sure you want to do that?" Dec blinked at her despite smiling at the slender figure that was tugging him inexorably onwards. "I ain't complainin', mind. It's just that if people see you going into my room at night, then comin' out in the morning, then they're gonna get the wrong idea." He gazed at Kyria's curious expression, then flushed slightly as they passed two airmen in the corridor who gave the odd couple a startled look when they realised that Kyria was holding hands with Sgt. Perault. Declan knew that, the way base gossip worked, there'd be rumors all over the place tomorrow. He jerked his head towards the airmen, looking at Kyria.

"See that? Us holding hands will be all over the midnight coffee break headlines. And if you stay in my room, they'll think we're..." He shrugged. "Y'know?"

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"Hmn?" Kyria hadn't even registered the two baseline personel, so it took a moment for her to catch up on what Declan meant. "Oh. Oh!"

She blushed again and ducked her head around to peer at the retreating airmen. She contemplated them thoughtfull, then giggled and looked back up at Declan, "You think that'll get them to stop stalking me in the computer lab? Or the gym? Or the mess, when they have chocolate cake? They'll ruin their betting pool with assumptions, though. It's rather large at this point, but most people were betting on Steve or Damien."

She leaned up and kissed him on the cheek, her demeanor light but slightly more serious. "I really couldn't care less what they assume, Dec. Most of them have strange thoughts about me one way or another and it simply isn't worth the time to care. They live their lives and I live mine."

The ratcheting back and forth of the slender telepath between impulsive teen and mature adult could be a little disorienting. She asked curiously, "Do they bother you?"

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He stared at her for a long moment, adding to the picture he had of her in his mind. He'd never met anyone so... carefree. It wasn't that Kyria didn't care about people in a humane way, she just drifted above and beyond the muck and mire of petty vanities and baseness that most folks waded through every day, both their own and others. She saw it, recognised it for what it was, and remained unsullied herself. As his mind made those connections at lightspeed his eyes widened a little and an admiring expression crossed his features.

"You know, you're pretty fucking incredible." he said without thinking, then flushed and coughed, looking away with a sheepish smile. Recovering, he glanced back the way the airmen had gone, then shrugged as he and Kyria continued towards her room.

"Kinda. Yeah, they do bother me. Or it bothers me that I bother them. I keep hearing them whisper shit about me, can smell their fear when I'm near them, and they seem so goddamn fragile all the time."

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She hugged him and then interlaced their fingered again before starting back towards her room. "I'm probably going to sound rude here, but they are fragile, and not just physically. Expecially on this Earth, where there's never been novas before. Most of them have little idea what to make of us and the closest comparison they know of are the Goa'uld and the Tok'ra. Not the best parallel for nova-baseline relations."

She mused pensively for a moment, "I think it's easier on the female novas here. There's fewer jealousy or inferiority issue just from the rather andro-centric nature of the culture." She grinned up slyly, "Meaning most of the airmen and good number of the airwomen would rather be taking your place tonight than agonizing over never being able to match up to me. For you men, it's different. The women here are more competitive and the cultural taboo against homosexuality in men is much stronger." She giggled, "Basically, if they can't or won't fantasize about bedding you, they've got more time to devote to being afraid of you."

"I can't make them less afraid or less gossipy....well, not without taking away the majority of their free will. I won't do that. But, is there anything I can do to help?" They were almost to her quarters and had managed to make it their with only a handful more personel to stare at them.

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"Nah." Declan said as he leaned against her doorframe, arms folded, as Kyria grabbed a couple of things. He tried not to peer curiously around from his tenuous vantage point in the doorway.

"You're helpin' plenty just by being." he smiled faintly. "I think it's just gonna be one of those things I've got to deal with, like Red runnin' his happy little 'optimal kill ratio' scenarios in the back of my head just to see if he can." Dec shook his head, still smiling as he took his shades from a pocket and put them on as Kyria stepped back out into the corridor and slid her hand into his again.

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The slice of room that Declan could see was undecorated and except for some books on a small bookshelf that he could see, unoccupied. She didn't seem to be a big believer in interior design. She emerged with a few books cradled in one arm and leaned into him as the walked towards his room.

She glanced up at the shades as they rounded a corner, "Y'know, if you stop wearing them, people will get over it. Keep 'em on if you like them, but you shouldn't have to hide because other people can't handle you. You haven't done anything to them, so it's their problem."

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"I guess you're right." Dec said with a shrug. "It's just that it's not fun seeing people come round the corner, look at me, then decide they've got some urgent business elsewhere. I'm just glad my eyes don't freak out the other novas. It's like the regulars around here have some kinda instinctive reaction to me."

He smiled down, then ducked his head and peered over the shades at her. "I think I'll start by leaving them off around the other Specialists, kind of testin' the water. Sounds good?"

They'd reached his quarters and Kyria noted that Dec kept a pretty tight ship. There was minimal mess here, just a few clothes on the bed, some magazines on the nightstand and his boots up on the table, gleaming from the clean and polish he'd given them earlier. In furnishing and layout, the room was identical to hers.

Dec closed the door behind them and quickly grabbed up the clothes, heading into the bathroom. "Make yourself at home. I'm just gonna clean up."

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She poked curiously around the room while Declan cleaned up, glancing at the names of the magazines before settling on the bed with own reading materials. She laid the books on the nigthstand with the magazine, easily within reach once Dec had fallen asleep.

When he came back out, she was sitting with her knees curled up underneath her and slowly flipping through one the magazines. She look up and smiled, "Feel cleaner?"

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Dec quickly showered and brushed his teeth, meeting the eyes of his reflection in the mirror.

One of the most beautiful and classy girls you've ever met is getting comfy on your bed with the intention of cuddling you to sleep. His reflection showed amazement. Yeah, I'm surprised too. She actually likes me that way. Or at least enough that way to want to date me. The mirror-Dec grinned around a mouthful of toothpaste. Yeah, yeah. Don't get smug about it.

He pulled on a clean pair of shorts and a t-shirt, figuring that going to sleep in the nude probably wasn't a good move Yeah, not for tonight at least and went back through to the main room. Kyria was sitting there with her legs curled up under her and flipping through one of his Maxims. For a moment, he felt the old adolescent fear of any woman realising he actually liked looking at half-naked females in addition to articles about movies, cars, mens health, and "101 ways to give her the night of her life" then he forced himself to relax. Hey, this is Kyria. She probably doesn't care, so be cool. You shouldn't either. Place she's from sounds pretty laid back about that sorta stuff.

He smiled at her question and flopped onto the bed, still-damp hair framing his grin as he stretched out next to her. "Yeah, much cleaner. Been a long day." He regarded her for a moment, his silver eyes having softened enough to become animated again. His lips quirked in a wryly humorous smile. "I'm still expecting to wake up and find out this is a dream, you know."

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She grinned at him, "Tell you what, I'll stay up just in case. That way we aren't both dreaming at the same time."

She folded over the magazine and held it out for him to look at. "Is that more normal underwear here? I'm used to pajamas like this, " she motioned to the outfit she'd walked into the gym with, "but I keep seeing magazines and pictures and stuff up around the base of women in these clothes. I mean, I know partly it's just to look hot, and she does, but is that more regular nightwear here or just for magazines?"

Click to reveal..
2275373945_f082a0ee11.jpg

There was just enough of a glint in her eyes that she might be teasing him.

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Dec looked at the picture, then at the spritely beauty sitting next to him, eyes narrowed as he tried to figure out exactly how much fun she was poking at him. Then he smiled slightly, folding his hands behind his head with a deliberate casualness he didn't altogether feel.

"Well, that'd be up to the woman in question, I guess. Some girls like to wear that sorta thing under their clothes to surprise some guy with later. Same in the bedroom, I guess. That kinda stuff is worn for others for the most part."

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She looked back down at her full-body pajamas, at the picture, and then flipped through to several other pictures in the book. "Oh. Okay. Which one do you like?"

She scooted over on the bed so he could sit next to her and they could see the magazine together. The smile was still there, but there was more honest curiosity in this question than there had been in the last one.

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Sgt. Declan Perault was a nova. Quite apart from his physical gifts, which most on base were familiar with, he was possessed of an enhanced mind. It wasn't always obvious, because he didn't have the education or the disposition for academia: his genius lay in other areas.

But as Kyria patted the spot beside her in invitation and asked Dec about his lingerie preferences, which in itself was a new experience for him, all that marvellously adaptable and analytic mind could come up with for a first thought was Schwaaaahhh?!

Then he remembered that her outfit was some kind of living cloth that could reshape itself to her whims.

Ahh.... whuh... mmhmmm...

Meanwhile his body, which didn't have the problem of cognitive failure to deal with, scooted up next to Kyria and, putting an arm around her, peered over her shoulder at the magazine. They started flipping through pages together, Dec finally getting his brain into gear and commenting on the various actresses and models that hove into view.

"Not bad... Wrong color... Yeah, that shoot totally blew her T.V. persona image." He relaxed somewhat as the two of them finished leafing through the first magazine and started on the second. A quick side-trip into the merits of an article on the SEALs vs Delta Force proved mildly instructive to Kyria before they moved on.

"That one." Dec said after a moment's silence looking at the page. Another moment and then: "Yeah. Definitely that one. Classy and pretty, but sexy."

Click to reveal..

sexyRedheadBlueLingerie71309.jpg

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Kyria studied the picture intently and after a moment the pajamas began to flow back on themselves, slipping up her arms and legs and taking on a lacy, delicate quality. He could feel the change from cotton to lace against under his arm; an odd rustling sensation that also made him aware of how much thinner the material was now.

The colors merged together and settled on a color more purple than the picture, but still fairly blue. A pleasing periwinkle that went better with her eyes and hair than the powder blue of the model's lingere would have. She also added a close-fitting pair of lacey short shorts to go over the panties that matched the over shirt, and adjusted the flower pattern to orchids and free-floating petals. It was close to the picture in the magazine, but infinitely more suited to Kyria herself. When your clothing was anything you wanted it to be, why not?

She looked up at Declan, "Like this?"

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