Posted by Darth Krzysztof
She found her in the makeshift plasteel rondavel where the medics spent their rare hours of downtime. Moira lay on one of the room’s cots, still wearing the mismatched scrubs she’d borrowed from the medics, poring over something on her datapad. Turning to face the door, she broke into a grin when she saw Angel. “Oh, good!” she said, swinging her socked feet from the footlocker to the floor and setting her pad down. “My knight in darkling armor is still here.”
“Of course.” Angel walked in and closed what passed for the door behind her, noting that only cots and lockers suggested that anyone stayed here. One little electric lamp lit the whole space. “I wouldn’t leave without seeing you first.”
“Relax, Angel. I’m just teasing you.”
“Oh. Okay. Are the twins still working?”
“Yeah, they’re monitoring Fenix and a few others.” Her smile grew a shade more wicked. “Mindy’s hot for him, you know.”
“For Fenix? Really?”
“That’s what she told me, yeah.” Moira blushed a little. “After they made me tell them about us.”
“You told the medics about us?” Angel felt something strangely alien; this relationship wasn’t really a secret, but sharing its existence still seemed premature to her. That’s not it, she thought. You just don’t want Revenant to know. But he did know, and he’d already made it clear that he didn’t approve of this ‘attachment.’
Moira nodded. “Well, yeah. What there is to tell so far, anyway. They can be pretty persuasive.” She stretched out her arms. “So what’s on your mind?”
“I brought you something.” She held out the pair of gray Velcro sneakers she’d found while patrolling the perimeter.
“Oh, thank God!” Moira stood up and whisked the shoes from Angel’s hands, then sat back down, holding one against the sole of her foot before sliding them under her cot. “Yes, these should do nicely. But where did you – wait, no. It’s better if I don’t know.”
“I think that would be best, yes.” Angel figured they’d keep finding bodies from the crash as long as they remained on this planet.
“I’m glad you’re here, actually. I finished my analysis of the infested colonists. I couldn’t determine how long it’s been since they were exposed, but you should definitely anticipate a zerg presence at the colony site.”
“We’ll be ready for them.” She had the utmost confidence in the skills and dedication of her fireteam.
“If they – if those shuttles are still there, do you think Silas can get them up and running?”
“I do, yes. If there’s anything there to save, Mr. Voss can save it.” And then it’ll all be over, Angel thought, and her head sagged.
“Angel? Angel, what’s wrong?”
“You know what happens if we escape, right? What happens to us, I mean? This colonization has been compromised, and we don’t have enough personnel or material to try it again.”
“I think I know where you’re going with this. Come on, sit down.” When Angel moved toward another bunk, Moira added, “Next to me, please.”
She didn’t think the cot would support them both, so she sat on the footlocker. “If we escape this planet, I’ll be reassigned, and I’ll have my memory wiped. And someday I’ll see you on GNN, accepting some science award, and the sight of your face won’t make me feel anything. Not like it does now.” She took a deep breath, feeling the start of a lump in her throat. “But it’ll be so much worse for you, living with the memory of what we could have had.”
“Hey, don’t say that.” Moira took Angel’s hands in hers. “I knew the risks, going into this. My father used to tell me that the hardest thing you can do is care about somebody else, because there’s a hundred different ways it can hurt you. But it’s also the most important thing you can do.”
Angel felt a tear roll down her face, saw Moira’s gaze follow it. “This is just like what happened to Rick, isn’t it? In the movie, I mean.”
“Pretty much. Some things are just more important than your own happiness.”
“I have to put you – and everybody else – on those shuttles, even if I… lose myself doing it.”
Moira reached up to caress Angel’s cheek. “We’ll always have Paris. Well, I’ll always have Paris. Thanks to you and your mission.”
“But it isn’t just my mission, Moira. I want to do it… even if I won’t remember.”
Moira’s smile carried traces of sadness. “There’s hope for you yet. You remind me of a song, Angel.”
“’As Time Goes By’?” The songs from that movie are the only ones I know… but she knows that.
“What? No! I mean, I love that song, of course, but ‘woman needs man’? Not very inclusive, were you, Hupfeld? No, this song. Gershwin.” She reached past Angel to tap her datapad; a woman’s voice sang out, about the end of a romance. “I always wondered who was taking her lover away; I guess now I know.”
“Her voice is beautiful.”
“That’s Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song. You know, Hal Wallis considered her to play Sam in the movie? She’s always been my favorite.”
“I can see why.”
Moira hummed a few bars, sang a few, then got to her feet, walking to the middle of the rondavel. “Come here,” she said, crooking a finger in Angel’s direction.
“Because I want to dance with you.”
Angel froze. “I don’t know how, Moira.” Oh, come on, Agent. You’ve faced the zerg and you’re afraid of this?
“But it’s so easy. Come on, it’ll be fun.”
Stifling a sigh, Angel stood and walked over to Moira. “Here,” the doctor said, pulling her close, “hold my hand up, like this. Now put your other hand here.” Angel found her hand on Moira’s back, not entirely sure how it got there. “And we just sway back and forth. See? Nice.”
It was, but Angel felt like a thousand butterflies were trying to flit their way out of her chest. “Moira, I – ”
“Shush. Just dance with me. Listen to the song. Be here, now.”
She did. She let herself go, let the butterflies go, and passed being part of the moment to become the moment. Time simply ceased to matter. She didn’t even notice when the song started over.
“You know,” Moira eventually said, her chin resting on Angel’s shoulder, “I was with Nikki for most of three years, and she never once watched Casablanca with me? But you did on the first date.”
“Was it a date?”
“Well, I intend to count it. I don’t know how you do it in the military.”
“Neither do I.”
“I suppose you’ll have to write your own field manual, then.” Moira chewed on her bottom lip for a moment. “I don’t know when you ship out, but the twins won’t be back here for another three hours.”
Angel gave this a moment’s thought. “Did you have another movie to show me?”
“What?” Moira pulled back into Angel’s field of vision. “Well, yes, but I thought we could do… you know… something else.” When Angel didn’t respond, she added: “Something more intimate?”
“Oh? Oh!” Ice and fire seeped into Angel’s blood, and she felt her limbs tense up.
Moira let go and took a step back. “Unless you don’t want to.”
“No, of course I want to.” Indeed, since movie night, Angel had struggled to think about anything else.
“Okay. But you still seem really hesitant. If you aren’t ready, we can just forget I said anything.”
“That’s my problem; I have no idea if I’m ready. How could I know if I can’t remember ever doing it before?”
“Fair enough. I know your hymen’s still intact, for what that’s worth.” She shook her head, laughing. “Clinical language is always a turn-on, isn’t it?” She looked a little disappointed when Angel didn’t laugh. “Sorry, I want to respect the importance of the moment, but I also want to keep it fun. I’m in uncharted waters here.”
“Have you never had sex either?”
“I…” Moira gave her a quizzical look. “Yes, I have. But I’ve never deflowered somebody before.”
“I see. Well, everything I know about the subject comes from what I’ve seen in people’s dreams and waking fantasies. Though it’s… interesting, I doubt it has any practical application.” Most of it seemed downright impossible, really.
“Doubtful, yeah.” The doctor puffed out a breath of air. “I feel like the moment’s slipping away, here. Let’s do an experiment. I’ll provide a stimulus and observe the response. Along the lines of the ‘symptoms’ we talked about on movie night.”
“Sexual arousal. Sure.” Anything would be better than all this anxiety. “What did you have in mind?”
Moira took Angel into her arms again. “This,” she whispered, closing her eyes and tilting her head just before kissing Angel’s lips.
Fireworks exploded in Angel’s brain as Moira held her close, the warm wet softness of the doctor’s mouth sliding against her lips, the natural scent inflaming her nostrils. Moira’s tongue stole into her mouth; when she met it with her own, the doctor gave a hot, deep groan and pulled Angel back toward the cot.
Moira broke the kiss at last, gazing at Angel with dark, half-lidded eyes. “I believe the experiment is a success,” she gasped as she sat on the bed. “How do you feel?”
Angel lowered her psychic defenses, feeding on Moira’s passion until her own rose up to match it. “Like you do.” She kneeled before Moira, the perfect height to start kissing her again.
“I wish we had more time,” Moira panted between kisses. “Your first time should be romantic, and special… we’ll have to do that some other time.” Bringing her mouth to Angel’s ear, she whispered: “Because, right now, I just want to fuck.”
Fumbling with the clasps on Angel’s chestplate for a few moments, Moira gave up and reached down to pull her own shirt up and over her head, allowing her bare breasts to drop into view. Discarding the shirt, she took hold of Angel’s gloved hands and placed one on her stomach, while she pulled the glove off the other.
Moira suddenly stopped and looked Angel right in the eye. “If I do anything for you, or to you, that you don’t like, just tell me, and I’ll stop.”
Angel nodded. As Moira’s breast filled her hand – smaller than her own, and a lighter shade of gold from the doctor’s lovely face – she thought, there’s nothing you could do right now that I wouldn’t like.
Then Angel’s communicator chirped. “Docs cleared me,” Fenix’s voice announced, “so we’re just waitin’ on you now.”
“Oh, damn it,” Moira moaned. “Why am I not surprised?”
“They can wait a few minutes.” Even as Angel said the words, she knew the moment had passed.
“No, no.” Moira fell back onto the cot and out of Angel’s grasp. “For God’s sake, answer him.”
She paused before keying her com to say, “I’m on my way.” She looked into Moira’s eyes. “Moira, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. I knew this was a possibility.” She laughed. “I should have kept going till I got to ‘inevitability,’ though.”
Angel collected her glove and stood up. “I’ll be back.”
“You damn well better.” Moira grinned at her, also getting to her feet. She threw her arms around the ghost, pressing her naked torso to Angel’s armor. “But you don’t get to leave until I get one last kiss.”
That reminded Angel of the movie. “Should I kiss you as if it were for the last time?”
“Yes,” Moira breathed, parting her lips for the slow, sweet pleasure of the kiss… which very nearly was their last.