Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the creation and property of L. P. Santos and is copyright (c) 1988 by L. P. Santos. Originally printed in More Missions, More Myths #10. Rated R.


L. P. Santos

The clean ocean breeze wafted through the open window. Taking only a moment to inhale its sweet scent, vacationing Commander Tal returned his attention to his wife. With the beautiful dew of their lovemaking glistening on her skin, she remained in the grips of pleasure. As if the past months apart were an eternity, he buried himself deeply in hopes of molding them together throughout the ages.

With slow, steady strides they mated. They were attuned to each other's bodies. He felt her heartbeat resound through his very fibers and she felt each muscle react as he fought to bring them both pleasure. When control could no longer be maintained, he merely cried out with release as he buried himself as far as her body would allow. Spurred on by his actions, her echoing moans resounded through the room as she spasmed below him.

Short of breath, they held on to one another as reality returned. From the open window the slight voice of his son was heard. Resting his head on her shoulder, he sighed in contentment as he reveled in her touches. With the war entering its second year, his thoughts were always troubled. Now that he was in her warm embrace, he felt a silent peace overcome him.

"Tal," she whispered as she lightly ran her hands through his wavy hair.

Lightly he planted a kiss on her neck then began to slowly nibble on an ear lobe. He found it pleasing to taste of her delicate ear. Round and pointed, it proved the only erogenous spot she could not resist.

"Tal, we must speak." Her voice came out labored as his tongue began its artful dance over the tip of her ear.

"Tal ... Tal, I would speak with thee." Her stern statement was followed by a push against his chest.

Sensing her urgency, he moved away long enough to gaze down at her. With dark brown eyes she gazed at him in seriousness. He knew, even if she did not voice it, that she held concern. But for what, he did not know. Turning his attention to her, he pulled himself from her warmth and moved to lie by her side. Taking the light sheet, he covered their nakedness as he pulled her into an embrace.

"All right, my j'on, what is so important that you would pull me from my meal?" His voice was laced with amusement.

Nuzzling in his embrace, her long fingernails began to absently twirl his chest hair as she maintained her silence. Wishing to put her at ease, he kissed the crown of her head as he held her close.

"It concerns a child," she stated evenly.

"Oh, I see. And what ill fate has Ty become involved in this time?" he asked in amusement.

"No, Ty has done nothing." She smiled at the implication of his words.

Looking down at him, she lightly ran her fingers over his hair. As the afternoon sun glistened off her features, he could not help but reach up. Lightly he ran the tip of his finger over her gracefully arched brow. With a pleased smile she maintained her silence as he touched her sensuous lips.

"Tal, I wish to have another child. I wish to have your child." Her words caused him to instantly drop his hand.

A child, his child. Although he longed for nothing better, he knew he could not. Now in the brink of war was no time bring another life into existence, he reasoned, as he sat up in bed. Keeping his back to her he simply sighed.

"Tal, please reconsider," she seemed to beg as she moved against his back. Wrapping her arms around him, she hugged him close as she laid her head against his shoulder blade.

"Tal, I long to have you within me, truly within me. I long to have you plant your seed, I long to feel it grow. Will you not reconsider, my j'on, do you not desire me to carry your seed until it forms into another being?"

"You know I would like nothing better, but it cannot be done. It is not the right time. It's just not the right time," he lamented as he covered her small hands with his.

"Tal, the war is going well. We are victorious. Already we have captured much Federation territory all because of your command abilities. You are the cause of our victory, you are the Praetor's chosen; if now is not the time, when is?"

When is? Indeed when would be the time to begin living and stop fearing? When would he truly be confident that he could leave his family unguarded? When would he no longer have to be concerned with looking into dark corners, he wondered as he rose from the bed.

Naked, he stood before the window. On the edge of a coastal region the beach house overlooked the great sea of Aralana. Aralana, sister planet to Remus. Smaller by comparison, the planet maintained large bodies of water. Its Romulan inhabitants were fishermen by trade. Not rich people, they maintained their existence in simple ways. With neither the concerns or troubles of the bustling metropolis, they served as a hideaway for those wishing to retreat their hectic lives. For Tal, after nearly a year away from home, after endless battle strategies and skirmishes, Aralana was the perfect place to take his leave.

"Tal, forgive me. I have no desire to cause you disturbance." Her sorrow-filled voice reached him as he watched the distant figure of his son.

With Aeron nearby, the child ran carelessly over the golden sand with his pet R'igua. Naked, the child seemed to soak in the very rays of the burning sun. As he watched the dark haired boy, he found it hard to suppress his smile.

Perhaps she was right. To have another one like Ty would be no disgrace. To feel the exquisite pleasure as he released his seed. To know that even as he cried out in pleasure that a child was taking root was desirable. To watch as her body swelled and then to catch with the new life, no, he could find nothing distasteful with the idea. Why then did he feel reluctant? Why couldn't he simply accept what would be and allow her to bear as many children as she desired?

Because of his stature, because of the war and because of the secret they both shared. A secret which could lead to their execution should the wrong people learn of it. A secret which would lead to his son's death.

As he watched the boy, he found it hard to even take the truth seriously. For so long he saw nothing in the boy that was not natural for his son. After the passing of years he even began to believe that the child was truly his. But truth be known, he was no more Ty's father than a complete stranger. An examination by a healer would prove this, and it was for this reason that he requested she maintain the birth control injections. With the possible fate of the child at risk, he could not jeopardize another.

"You are still taking the injections?" he asked as he turned to face her.

With a hurt look, she merely turned her back to him and pulled the covers over her head. "Need you ask?"

"No, I ask forgiveness," he said as he joined her under the covers. Moving close he laid his hands on her shoulders. Lightly he kissed her smooth shoulder in hopes of gaining forgiveness.

"My j'on," he whispered as he traced a trail of kisses over her shoulder and across her neck. "Do you not know that I desire you as the mother of my children? It simply cannot be done, not now. Perhaps in time we can begin the planning of such children," his husky whisper stated as he pressed his body close to her back.

He allowed her to feel his growing need as he moved a hand cautiously around her body. With gentle hands he began to knead her pliant breast as he ground his pelvis against her buttocks. As his tongue began to work over her ear, he felt her concede. Turning in his grip, she wrapped her arms around him as she pulled him down into a kiss.

At the touch of her moist lips, he moved between her parting legs. As she arched upward in invitation, he slightly smiled as he entered her tightness. Despite all that was occurring within his government, he needed no coaxing to demonstrate his love for her. In fact, it seemed as if the constant prospect of death merely brought out his deepest desires.

* * *

"Aeron, why do you not shed your clothes and join us?" Ty called as he jumped into the splashing waves.

With fanged teeth his pet snapped at the white crystal waves in a feeble attempt to catch them. Laughing uncontrollably, Ty merely grabbed hold of the R'igua's mane and pulled him into the water. Submerged for a matter of seconds, they swam against the tide before rising for air.

"Aeron, come, it's warm!" He waved to the older centurion.

Dressed in the lightweight khaki uniform, the older guard merely smiled. "I am too old for such folly, young lord," he smiled as Ty ran from the cool ocean and stood before him. With a smile the older man patted Ty's wet head. Naked and dripping, Ty stood before his arms master with a smile.

"No, you're not. Father even swims," he said as the familiar figures entered his line of vision. "Don't you, Father? Don't you swim?" he asked as he ran to the tall form. Bounding on him in one leap, he jumped up and was captured in his father's strong arms. Holding him high in the air, his father shook him slightly before lowering him to the warm sand.

"Of course I can swim," his father smiled down at him, then glanced back at his mother. Both were dressed in the single fabric wraparound. Comfortable in their attire, they moved onto the beach. Taking his father by the hand, he pulled him out toward the wetness of the ocean.

"Swim with me, Father," he pleaded.

With an uncontrollable smile, his father winked back at his mother then shed his single garment. Naked, he grabbed ahold of him, then lightly threw him into the warm water. Laughing at the gesture, Ty watched as his father dived after him.

From the beach she took up a place near them. She watched in silence as they played. Completely comfortable, her mate moved naked in the presence of their son. As she watched the interaction between the two, she could not help but feel sadness. How she longed to have his child. A child who would carry his traits. True, she was pleased and proud of her eldest, but he was not Tal's nor could he ever truly be. Both in mannerism and features, he resembled another. Yet for Tal there was no one who carried his features.

She had to admit that part of her longing for a child was due to selfish goals. Each time that he left to carry out his duty she felt left out, abandoned. Once she had been the center of power, she was in control. Both in military and politics, her words were heeded. Now each time that he left she felt so alone.

Experiencing the full implications of war, she knew the fates that awaited him. She knew that each time she bid him farewell could be her last and she longed to never have him leave her. With his child, he would always be with her. He would be in the essence of the seed which she would hold and foster.

Angered at her own thoughts, she rose from her spot and began to walk down the beach. Close by her side she felt the shadow of her guard. Strong and courageous, the young centurion had proven her worth. Daughter of her husband's trusted servant, Hadra reminded her of herself many years ago.

"My lady is disturbed?" her intuitive insight surfaced.

With a suppressed smile, she stepped lightly into the cold ocean wave. She allowed the gentle churning to cover her feet. In silence she watched the ripples disappear in the green sea water.

"Nothing that an end to hostilities can't solve," she answered the question.

Puzzled, Hadra glanced at the distant forms splashing in the water. "But we are winning the war, my lady. Is that not a good sign?"

Unable to fully explain her melancholy, she merely sighed as she looked up at the distant sun. Surrounded by the purple haze of the Aralana sky, the red sun continued to shine down on them. Sending forth a silent curse to no one in particular, she prayed to the gods of her people for protection over her household.

"A good sign is when a warrior returns to his mate after the battle. A good sign is when he spills his seed upon the land and the land is fruitful," she muttered an ancient saying taught to her by her mother when she was only a child.

* * *

The silver moon reflected off the clear ocean tides. Alone, his father sat on the soft sandy beach. Off in the distance he noticed his mother's form. With Hadra, her bodyguard close at hand, she continued her solitary walk. Still unclothed, he crossed the short expanse to where his father sat. With a look of distance, his father gazed past the length of the sea. He seemed intrigued, or perhaps intent, in his own thoughts. With little concern for this, Ty moved against his father's back. He stretched his arms around his father's shoulders and hugged him close. As if to keep him always by his side, his grip tightened.

"Father, Father, Father," his words came out in a sing-song.

Pleased, his father reached around and pulled him in his lap. With a smile broader than the crescent hills of Remus, he smiled down at Ty. Taking him in his lap, he hugged him close as he placed a single kiss on his forehead.

"Father, would you like to know something?" Ty asked as he looked up at the man. With just the arching of a brow his father gazed down on him in silence.

"I love you, Father," he finally stated as he sat up in his lap.

Reaching up, he lightly ran his child's hand over the coarse cheek. In fascination he felt the newly growing hair that sprouted on his face. In the mornings, after they bathed, his father's cheeks were smooth and fresh, but at night, when they were ready to retire, a light scratchy growth appeared on his face.

Smiling his pleasure, Ty ran his hands down his father's shoulder as he squirmed in the older man's grip. Draping his legs on either side of his father, he sat upon his outstretched legs and faced him. Naked, his father's warm flesh was pleasing against his skin.

"Father, do you have to leave again?" he absently asked as he flicked his father's curly hair with his fingers.

"It is my duty," came his reply. With an audible sigh his father returned be searching for silent examination his gaze to the sea. Looking beyond its very length he seemed to be searching for answers. Holding little concern for this, Ty simply continued his silent examination of the man who was his life.

Older, yet not as old as Aeron, his father's dark curly hair was laced with shards of gray. According to his mother, his hair had always been so. Evenly disbursed on either temple, it made him handsome -- more attractive, she had reasoned. Ty, although not prone to womanly thoughts, found himself in agreement.

Continuing his examination, he noticed the strong features. With firm chin and slender lips that remained set in determination, his father held the stature of the Praetor's chief commander. Even the shape of nose and round eyes gave him distinction, Ty thought as his gaze traveled lower.

Covered with a smooth patch of fur, his father's muscular chest remained hidden. Although not visible, his very strength could be felt. Ty's hands patted the finely detailed muscles. He hoped that when he became a man he too would be as well defined -- as strong as his father. His vision returned to his father's features. With a knowing smile, his father gazed down at him.

"Do not concern yourself, my son," his deep voice said as he hugged him close. "Soon you will be a man and will have the traits of a man," he whispered close to his ear.

Not understanding yet enjoying the contact, he wrapped his arms around his father's waist and pressed his head against the warmth of his hairy chest. Content, he listened to the light sounds of his heartbeat. At a regular, strong beat it continued to pace to the cadence of his own heartbeat.

"Father, someday I will be a man and when I am I want to be a warrior. Would that please you?"

"It would please me if you were content in your life, child. If you wished to be an administrator, I would still be proud. Do not make a life choice based on my own decisions."

Confused, he pulled away and looked up at him. "Don't you want me to be a warrior so that we can fight side by side?"

Smiling, he lightly tweeked his nose in fondness. "Hopefully, when you are a man, the war would have ended," came his father's reply.

"It is considered a great honor to fight in your legion," Ty stated matter-of-factly as he returned his head to his father's chest. Accepting the contact, his father's gentle hands began to massage his back. "Even Hadra feels this way. She longs for the day when she might join your warriors."

"She has stated this?"

"In a manner of speaking," he shyly stated. "Was mother once a brave warrior?" Ty suddenly asked in an attempt to avert his father's attention.

"Indeed she was," his father answered.

"Why isn't she anymore?" he asked.

With a tender smile his father glanced over his shoulder. Off at a distance, she continued in her solitary walk with the shadow of Hadra close behind. Openly sighing, his father returned his gaze.

"Your mother was called to a task greater than that of a warrior."

"What could be greater than a warrior?" His astonishment was visible.

"The task of motherhood."

"No, Father, really! What is more important than being a warrior?"

"I am being truthful, Ty. Motherhood is the greatest task of all. It is a task which no man can be called to. It is a task which brings great pain -- and great pleasure. Do you understand?"


"Perhaps, in time, you will," was all his father said as he pulled him close.

* * *

Exhausted, her son yawned uncontrollably as she pulled the thin cover over him. Mumbling, Ty smiled in his sleep as he curled into a fetal position. Lying on his side, he began to slowly doze as she lightly brushed her hand against his soft cheek. Humming a low tune, she waited until sleep completely engulfed him. Lying as he was, curled and on his side, he was the picture image of another. With similar hair coloring and complexion her son's features were picture perfect with that other man. From his slender nose, distinct pointed ears and straight black hair, Ty held the characteristics of the Vulcan from her past.

Dismissing this thought, she shook away her melancholy. She knew that she loved her son. He was a part of her. She had carried him within her, then suffered the agony to bring him into the world, yet he was not Tal's. He could never truly be Tal's, and this saddened her.

She was certain that if she could bear Tal a son, both children would complete the other. Her son and his son, they would be brothers, despite their differences, and Tal would have a shadow image. He would have someone who could truly carry his traits into the years that would follow.

From behind her the slight noise caught her attention. Turning, she watched as he moved about their beach home. Completely comfortable he walked in masculine nakedness. With flesh the color of bronze, the past days in the sun looked good on him. She knew that after his many months in deep space, confined to limited area available and kept away from the warmth of the sun, he thrived on his actions of this leave.

Preferring to remain without clothes, Tal moved about freely. On those few occasions when he covered himself with the wrap cloth, it was quickly discarded with little provocation. Inwardly she was not displeased. To watch him move about thusly, unashamed of his maleness, pleased her.

Looking down at her son, she smiled as she pulled the sheet over his shoulders. If her son could become half the man that her mate was, she would not be displeased. In fact she prayed that Ty would learn to become the man that Tal was.

Squelching the single lamp she rose and left the room. She smiled, cast a backward glance, then closed the door to his room.

"Your son is quite a handful," she stated as she moved to join him. With flask in hand, he poured two servings of Romulan ale then handed her a glass. Taking the square goblet in hand, she smiled as she moved to sit before the open window.

Looking out at the darkness of the sea, she felt at peace. If only for these few days, she held no fear. She knew that as long as he was here by her side, all would be well. No danger existed and his life would be spared, she thought as he moved to join her.

Following her gaze he slightly smiled as he watched the moon's reflection ripple on the tide. As the slight crashing of the waves was heard, he reached over and deactivated the lights. Put into further darkness they were able to appreciate the silver hue that shone off the black surface.

"Tal." Her voice was low, as she turned to face him.

With an almost pleased smile, he faced her as he took her hand in his. Longing to prolong this moment, she smiled as she took a drink of her ale. Slightly bitter, its contents seared her with warmth. Following suit, he drank deeply of the ale, then returned his vision to the open sea. As if committing it to memory, he stared at the view with a deep intensity.

She ran her hand along his cheek. At the feel of his new growth of hair she only smiled. She tried vainly to imagine how his face would look covered with hair, but failed. Since their first meeting this was how he appeared. Smooth cheeks, dark curly hair that was laced with silver streaks and a wisdom that far surpassed any man she had ever known.

"Tal, I so miss Remus." Her whisper broke through the silence.  "I miss our times together, the times when we held little concerns."

Understanding her words, he sighed as he took her hand in his. Holding her hand captive, he gazed at it as a melancholy set in. Silent with his thoughts, he smiled as he looked out beyond the shifting sand. "I came here often as a child," he stated. "My father would bring us here. My mother, the servants, this was our vacation home -- our second home."

"It is a change from the coolness of Remus, and the sea ... it cannot be surpassed in beauty," she replied.

"And it is peaceful," he said as he turned his head to her. "Here I have found what my father found those years ago. A peace that is endless. Since our arrival I have found it hard to believe that there truly is a war in existence. The killing, the death ... it seems a millennium away." He sighed as he turned his vision back to her hand.

Smaller by comparison, her hand remained hidden within his. Opening his palm, he turned it slightly as he examined its texture. Marveling at the length of her nails, he sighed. Almost in defeat he shook his head. "I do not think you fully understand my thoughts in regard to you," he whispered.

Saddened, she shook her head as she set, her goblet aside. Reaching up she brushed her fingers through the curls in his hair as her other hand clasped his tightly. Hoping to end his sorrow, she moved closer to hug him. "You do not fully understand how much I need you." His whisper stopped all actions.

As he looked up at her, she saw the sorrow within him. In the haze of moonlight she saw the pain within his eyes. Like crystal droplets his eyes glistened in the silver glow of moonlight. "I need you now more than ever," he whispered as his eyes beckoned for understanding.

Reaching toward him she simply smiled as she pulled him into an embrace. "I am here, Tal. I shall always he here, my j'on. I will never leave you," she promised as her palms ran over his warm back.

As if to keep her always present his arms moved around her and held her close. Comforted in each other's embrace, she kissed him tenderly as she continued to offer her support. Unconcerned with their location she began to lightly stroke him in the manner of a dutiful mate.

Sorrowed, yet understanding, he allowed her actions. He knew that his basic insecurities were due to his long absence from her. He also knew that with his leave coming so close to an end, his masculine pride needed reassurance. Knowing this, yet unconcerned, she continued her soft ministrations.

As their lips joined in a kiss, her hands pulled on the single tie around her waist. With a simple tug the entire garment fell apart from her body. Dropping on the bench, the wraparound lay unheeded.

Confident and in control, she pushed against his chest until he lay stretched out on his back. In a swift motion she straddled his body, then she impaled herself with his hardness. As the sensations took control he moaned as he began his upward movements. He seemed lost in the sensations as his hands moved over her smooth flesh.

So consumed with their mating his warrior instinct was unaware of his surroundings. Instead he reached for her waist and held her firmly in place as he rose from the bench. With an illogical thought he stood and began to carry her from the house. Wrapping her legs firmly around him, she smiled. Pleased by his strength, she allowed him to walk out in the darkness of the beach as they remained joined. Although they were aware of their guard's presence, they held no shame. Joined as mated pairs, their open conduct mattered little, he reasoned, as he felt the coolness of the ocean against his feet.

Releasing her grip, she dropped her feet long enough to separate from him. Stretching out on the wet sand she smiled up as she pulled him down. With little hesitation he moved between her parted legs and entered her warmth.

As their mating continued, he was aware of the shifting sand. Soft below her back it offered sensations in their joining never before experienced. Smiling down at her he continued his slow entrance, then retreated in perfect sequence to the rising tide. As the water rushed over their bodies he felt himself tumbling over the edge of sanity. Moaning her response she wrapped her legs firmly around his waist and beckoned him on.

Completely unaware of his surroundings he felt her shuddering body writhe below him. At the sensations of her pleasure, he soon buried himself deeper as a low moan escaped his control. Arching his back he cried out as he released his seed.

Throughout this time he paid little attention to the distant rustling sounds. With eyes closed he felt the wet sand below his hands and her warmth which surrounded him. Then a sharp stinging pain was felt in his neck.

Below him she had completed her own orgasm when his cry reached out. Then, as quickly as it began, he cried out with a different sound. In pain, his moan pulled her to full consciousness.

With a look of disbelief his eyes seemed the scan the distant terrain as his hand moved to his neck. Still joined, she felt him instantly shrivel within her. At the sight of the object she heard her own scream as she reached out to him.

Lodged within his throat was a single dart.

"Tal!" she cried.

With a glazed look, he whimpered in disbelief as he made a feeble attempt to remove the dart. Pushing him off of her she reached for the offending object. Although not lodged deep enough to bring forth blood, she knew that its tip was laced with poison.

"Tal!" she cried as the shadows seemed to rush her.

On instinct she found herself reaching out against the unseen attackers. With only the dart available, she sprang forward and stabbed the first assailant's eye. Screaming in pain, he grabbed the bloody crevice where his eyes once was even as she took his fallen weapon. With little thoughts of her own fate, she felt her warrior blood returning. As if it were only scant seconds ago, she moved as only a warrior could. She fought in vain as her mate lay unmoving in the coldness of the sea. From the house a brightness caught her attention. Paying little regard she continued to ward off the remaining attackers as the phaser fire cut through the darkness.

"My lady!" Hadra's welcomed voice rang out.

In full battle stance the young warrior stood by the fallen attackers. Tossing an item her way, Hadra cast a wary glance at the darkness even as the sounds from the house reached them. Taking the offered phaser in hand she returned her attention to her mate. "Get Ty!" she ordered Hadra as she grabbed Tal's arms and began to pull him from the rising tide. "Take him to safety! Now!"

"Yes, my lady!" The young warrior's obedience came through as she turned and made her way across the sand.

"Tal, Tal, my j'on."

Her fear shone through as she knelt by him.

Slapping his face, she managed to bring him around barely. Glazed over his eyes stared at her. As if in a silent battle his lips fought to form words.

"Tal, help me if you can, we must reach shelter!" she pleaded as she led him over the sand. Calling upon all her strength she lifted him off the wet sand and with only the power of adrenaline at his disposal he managed to support himself. In a slow, dazed state he stumbled, then fell near the underbrush.

"Tal!" She called his name as she fought to bring him around.

Filled with fear, she glanced over her shoulder as she grabbed his arms and began to tug on his unconscious form. Panting, she managed to pull him into the nearby underbrush. Now unconscious, his full weight remained a burden. She could hardly believe that such weight was always upon her in the times of their matings. Almost as if this were a different man, his muscular, solid build remained apparent in his unconscious form.

"Tal," she half-whispered by his ear as she tried vainly to revive him. "Tal, my j'on, don't give up! Please, don't give up," she cried out. "Tal, you promised! You promised never to leave me! Don't leave me!" she screamed over the crashing explosions.

Throwing herself over his chest, she allowed her tears to fall freely as she whispered close to his ear as her tears fell unheeded.

* * *

Hardly having time to feel fear, Ty was awakened by the shouts and nearby phaser blasts. Whisked from his bed, he felt the strength of Aeron as he was carried from the house. Through the darkness of night he saw the shadows running in every direction.

"Father!" He instinctively called out as he tried to break free of the older man's grip.

"Silence child!" Aeron's stern warning halted his futile struggles.

In the darkness he felt the bumpiness from Aeron's running. Stopping in the darkness behind the house the older man remained silent as a figure approached. Being handed over, all Ty could do was wrap his arms around the newcomer's shoulder.

"Daughter, take the child!" his whisper ordered.

"Yes, Father," Ty heard Hadra say as her grip tightened around him protectively.

"My lord and lady are back there. My lord is injured!" Her fear was easily contained.

"Understood, child. Now go quickly and pay no heed to what you see. The child must survive."

At his words, she turned and began an easy assent up the nearby hill. Looking over her shoulder, Ty watched in fear as the explosions racked the nearby beach. Afraid for his father he felt his uncontrollable tears begin to well up. "Hadra, my father ... my mother...?"

Retreating to a safe distance, she carried him into a secret alcove. Setting him down, she took a momentary glance around as she removed her outer tunic, then she turned her attention to him. With a soft, soothing touch she wiped away his tears as she wrapped the tunic around his naked form. "Be brave, child," she whispered as a rustling sound came from the underbrush.

At battle ready, she pushed him against the stone wall as she pointed her phaser into the darkness of the brush. After what seemed an eternity the shadows appeared in the open. "Hadra!" a familiar whisper called out.

"My lady?"

"Daughter, Commander Tal has fallen," her father informed her as he carried the naked bulky form over his shoulder. Entering the alcove he gently laid Ty's father down. Following Hadra's actions, Aeron removed his outer tunic and tossed it to his mother.

At the sight of his father, Ty ran to his side. Kneeling by his head he watched as Aeron lighted the area with a dim blue light. Pale and glistening with moisture, his father lay unmoving.

"Poison," Aeron stated with finality.

"You must save him!"

The urgency in his mother's voice was clear.

From nearby an explosion rocked their hiding place. Coughing from the flying dust Ty merely turned to his father. Once tall and strong, his father had always seemed invincible. With a strength that seemed unending Ty never held fear. Now all his young mind experienced was fear and the thoughts of impending doom.

"Aeron, save my mate, do not let him die, I beg of you!" his mother pleaded. Kneeling by the older man's side she grasped. his arm in a viselike grip. Unwilling to face the possibility of a future without him, she begged for the man to perform a minor miracle.

"I shall do what is possible, my lady;" the older centurion whispered as he turned his attention to his fallen commander.

"My lady, our warriors are in disarray. They have no leader!" Hadra stated from the mouth of the alcove.

Without a second thought his mother stood with new confidence. In a manner Ty had never witnessed before she seemed to shroud herself in a robe of strength. Glancing down at him, her eyes held an inner fire as her jaw set in determination. "Remain here, child. Do as Aeron commands and assist your father in his survival!" The strength of her words took him by surprise. Before she could answer she turned to Hadra in the darkness.

"Go to the south fork, call upon reinforcements. Have the centurions assemble at the end of the beach. I will bring the others across the north. Keep in communication and on my command begin moving forward. We shall bottle them within their own scheme," she stated with certainty.

"Yes, my lady! By your command!" Hadra said before disappearing from the alcove. Unashamed by her lack of clothes, his mother simply strapped a communicator around the knee length tunic that she wore, set her phaser, then ran in the opposite direction of her bodyguard. Shocked, Ty sat dumbfounded as Aeron took various items from a medi-kit.

"Do you not know a warrior when you see one, child?" His amusement was clear as he pressed the hypo against his father's arm. At the sound of the familiar hiss, Ty closed his gaping jaw and attempted to understand what he had just witnessed. In apparent understanding Aeron lightly patted his head then turned his attention to his father's vital signs.

"Your mother once was a commander in her own right. She chose to leave in order to bring your life into the world," Aeron said as he put a cold cloth to his father's forehead.

"You, child, have the blood of a warrior breed. Never forget that although she suckled you at her breast, she has the strength to bring down any man," he said as Ty rose from his place and moved to the mouth of the alcove.

Thinking over the events, he gazed out at the distant scene of havoc. When he first heard of her past he assumed that she was simply a follower -- a woman who became a warrior simply to find a mate. Now he knew the truth. Finally he understood his father's words.

Stronger than any man she chose to leave the warrior code and follow another path. It was a path which required great strength. It was a path which no man could ever hope to experience, he thought, as he turned and made his way to his father's side.

* * *

The unending pain engulfed his total senses. Somewhere in his mind he was aware of a low moaning sound. Drowned in pain and suffering, it, seemed to echo through his mind. It was not until reality overcame him that he recognized the moan to be his own. Blinking away tears, he opened his eyes slowly. Blinded by the brightness of the sun, he inhaled deeply. Taken back by a sharp pain within his abdomen, he gasped.

"Aeron! Aeron, Father awakens!" A child's voice reverberated through his senses.

At, the remembrance of his son's voice he fought to regain consciousness. Across his forehead he was aware of a damp coolness. Moist, it offered comfort in his time of illness. "Ty?" His voice came out like a whisper.

Focusing on the fading figure he registered the deep concern within the child's gaze. As blue as the Aralana Sea, his son's eyes contained the fears of an adult. So piercing, all Tal could do was stretch a weak hand toward the child.

"Father, no, you must rest!" the boy commanded as he forcefully pushed his hand down. "Aeron! Aeron, come quickly!" he once again called.

"My lord?" a familiar deep voice brought him back to consciousness.


"Yes, my lord. You were caught by a poison dart but the fools ... they are as wise as Orion traders! They did not know the correct amount needed to kill. Of course, were it not the quick actions of your mate the poison might have affected you despite their ineptitude."

"My ... mate?"

"She brought you from the beach, she kept you moving even though the poison began to take control. She kept you mobile enough to ward off the paralyzing effects."

"My ... an ... attack? My..."

"No, my lord. You must rest. You are still weak. Your mate has everything in order. She was successful in warding off the attack. She saved your life and the life of your son. She is well, all is well, my lord. But you must rest," the older voice commanded as strong hands held him down.

Sighing in relief, he closed his eyes. He welcomed the sensations of sleep. No longer held in the void of darkness he felt his mind carry him into a land of dreams. Even the small tender hands wiping away his sweat could not keep him from drifting into darkness.

"I understand, Father. I understand what you meant about mother and the greatest task she chose to undertake. I understand about mother. She is a fine warrior ... a warrior and a woman worthy of pride," was the last thing Tal heard before he was engulfed in a deep sleep.

* * *

Sitting by his side, she continued to wipe a clean cloth over his body. Taking satisfaction in this simple act she cleansed him from his past days of illness. Still within a deep sleep, his body began to take on the signs of life.

With gentle care she took the towel and soaked it within the nearby water bowl. Once the battle had been won she returned to her mate's side. She was pleased by his vitals. With Aeron's knowledge in healing he had given them a second chance. Once the antidote for the poison was introduced into Tal's system, the rest was up to him. Thankfully her mate's will to live was strong.

Humming a low melodic tune, she cleaned his soiled body. Once she had proof that the attack was not caused by the hands of their family enemy, the Sa'lezar's, she turned over the responsibilities of her family's protection to an honored warrior. She knew that while Aeron was in charge all would be well. Assured by her husband's chosen warrior, she was able to tend to the needs of her man.

Glancing over his full length she marveled at his sheer perfection. Even though ill he still retained the male attributes which first attracted her. Muscular in build, he was the very image of strength. Covered with a generous patch of hair, his chest contained the even, finely sculptured muscles. Even as she admired him his taut abdomen rose in slow cadence with his life breath.

With a touch of regret she turned her gaze away from his sleeping form. She knew that were it not for her injections he would have given her a child long ago. While aboard the Bird of Prey, when they were newly formed lovers, she could have accepted his seed, harbored it within her and brought it to life. But at the time she convinced herself that her command, her duties to the Praetor and her people were paramount. Yet why then did she choose to carry the alien's seed? What could have possessed her to make her take the Vulcan's seed?

She would have liked nothing better than to blame it on his alien powers, but within her mind she knew that this was not so. He no more controlled her mind than he did her body. What she did, she did of her own accord and she had no one to blame but herself.

Thinking back, she remembered that day with crystal clarity. She had planned an intimate dinner for Tal. She knew that his duties were lessening with the success of the cloaking device established. In celebration of Tal's scientific skills she intended to reward him. Although they had spoken often of children, she never consented to carry his seed. Understanding her priorities, he did not force the issue. This time she would bring up the matter and then accept the seed that would be their child. Although raising a child would not be easy, keeping her command and also seeing the the child's safety, she knew that together they would succeed in the upbringing of his child. A child who would follow in the honored lineage of his family.

All of her plans soon changed. With the violation by the Federation ship her personal desires were stopped. Later, when she viewed their alien cousin from Vulcan she was intrigued. She had heard much about the Vulcan named Spock. Finally she was able to meet him on equal levels.

With a shake of her head she glanced beyond the window of their room. Why had she gone with that Vulcan? Why did she let herself make love to him knowing that she had neglected her birth prevention injection? Although the memory remained clear, her motivations were clouded. Perhaps it was his very nature that attracted her, she reasoned, as she returned her attention to her mate. Holding himself above and apart from all others his very nature intrigued her and later doomed her.

Returning her gaze to Tal's features she was momentarily shocked by the awareness within his dark eyes. As if reading her thoughts his gaze pierced her soul. Engulfed in unfamiliar emotions she shook her head in disbelief.

With a slight smile he reached up a weak hand. In a gesture of understanding he lightly traced the curve of her cheek. Like a gentle rustling of wind his voice came out in a single whisper.

"My j' on."

His weak whisper seemed to melt all threads of control.

"Tal!" she cried softly as she threw herself over his chest. Unable to regain control she allowed her tears to fall as relief took hold. So afraid, yet unwilling to demonstrate it, she had kept her fear of losing him carefully bridled. Now that he was safe, she allowed her emotions to surface.

"Tal, you frightened me so! I thought I had lost you ... I thought..." Her words were stopped by the single motion of his actions.

Using a reserved strength he draped an arm over her and pulled her into a tight embrace. With a single touch he gently wiped away the tears from her cheek. As if this solved all their problems he kissed the crown of her head as a contented sigh escaped his control. "Who...?"

"Attacked us?" She kept her tone neutral as she settled in his embrace. "Discontented rebels. All other houses suffered similar assaults."


"No, your father's blood enemy had no hand in the matter," she stated to his astonishment. "In fact, they too suffered great losses. It seems that no leading house was spared of the rebel's wrath."


"Is safe, my j'on. Now rest and be well," she cooed as she began to remove herself from his side.

Taking a firm hold of her he held her in place. Although he did not voice his thoughts, his eyes spoke to her. Pleased, she lowered herself to kiss his moist lips. Then she returned to his side, laying her head in the crook of his neck, and signed contentedly as they settled themselves for sleep.

She knew that despite her conduct with the Vulcan, Tal would always be by her side. His love, his understanding and his wisdom would be there to help her in life. Hopefully, in time, he would understand her desires and allow her to bear him a child, and she silently hoped as the low sounds of his breathing registered in her mind.

* * *

The dead had been removed before he was allowed to leave the alcove. All that remained were their weapons. With sandal covered feet he walked over the beach and idly kicked each item. Nearby his three guards followed close behind. On constant alert they glanced around the area in continual search of danger.

Having grown in an atmosphere of relative freedom, Ty felt uncomfortable with their presence. In fact he openly voiced his opinions with regard to their nearness. Only after he spoke to his father did he silence his words. Although weak from his illness his father had managed to explain their importance. There to offer protection the warriors would remain for the duration of their stay. Accepting the initial decision of his mother Ty accepted her command. Knowing that she was as well schooled in the warrior way, he accepted her will. It had not occurred to him that her reasoning might be due to a maternal fear, rather than a warrior's fear.

Dressed in a wrap-around breech cloth, Ty moved to a shiny object. Half buried, it lay where it had been discarded days ago. Kneeling by it, he began to visually examine it. Afraid to touch, yet curious, he kicked it until the sand fell off its structure. Long and thin the cylindrical object shined from the rising sun.

"Tayren, who launched the attack?" he asked one of his guards. Higher in rank than the others the young warrior moved and knelt by his side. Taking the crudely made pipe the young man smiled at him in fondness.

"Rebels, young lord. A similar attack was brought against all ruling members."

"Even the Praetor?" Ty's astonishment was clear.

"Yes, even the Praetor."

"Then it was not launched by my grandfather's sworn enemy, the clan of Sa'lezar?"

"Indeed not, young lord. Only rebels, discontented rebels of the Romulan clans," he informed as he tossed the silver object into the nearby bushes.

"These 'untrained' rebels made one major mistake in launching a simultaneous attack," the warrior added as they rose and began to move down the beach.

"They were all destroyed in one sweep," Ty stated.

With a pleased smile the young centurion patted Ty's dark hair then draped an arm over his shoulder as they moved down the beach. "I detect Hadra's schooling in you, young lord. She is indeed following in her father's footsteps; training a future warrior of our land. Perhaps someday you shall be as great a warrior as your father or your grandfather, Lord Tyrea," he said as they began to walk back to the beach house.

"Or perhaps I shall be as great a warrior as my mother. That is also possible, is it not?"

"It is. Either way, with the warrior blood of your ancestors within you, you should prove a formidable enemy," the young warrior stated.

"Formidable to the clan Sa'lezar?"

"Unquestionably so."

With a pleased smile, Ty picked up his pace. After another thought he glanced up at the tall warrior. In silent thought he formed his words, then spoke. "Are you certain that the attack was not brought on by the Sa'lezar clan?"

"Relatively certain, young lord." At Ty's questioning glance, he wryly smiled as he reached down to slap Ty's bottom in fondness.

"They would not be so clever as to even think of such a plot." The warrior's amusement was evident. With an uncontrollable laugh Ty reached up to the man's extended arm. Taking hold of it, the warrior pulled him to his back then took off at a fast trot down the remaining length of beach.

Pleased by his son's laughter, Tal watched the interaction between his child and his guard. He held concerns that the battle would leave his son with emotional scars. Seeing him this way, openly curious and filled with joy, eased his fatherly concerns. With his own vivid smile he turned away from the view.

Packing their few belongings the servants remained under the constant supervision of his wife. Being able to interact with both the warrior class and women servants, she moved around with confidence. Unaware of his close scruriny, she continued to cast her orders where needed.

"No! Careful with that! It's not a cheap piece of furniture! It has been in Tal's family since the first migration!" she shouted at two burly warriors who carried their wooden case from the room.

Small and of lithe build she stood directly below the two muscular men. Almost afraid of experiencing her wrath they meekly bowed their heads as they continued with careful strides. Angered by their clumsy actions she shook her head and mumbled under her breath. "Never let a warrior do a woman's job!" she grumbled to the delight of the female servants nearby.

Seeing his open amusement, she crossed her arms in mock anger. "Well, do you wish to stand there collecting idle dust while there is work to be done?"

"I am ill, woman! I cannot perform such strenuous tasks!" he pleaded.

"Hah! An illness which only a man could find to keep him from work," she stated with an air of authority. Nearby the younger women giggled as the older ones shook their heads in sympathetic understanding of her plight.

"Go then! If you cannot work then stay out of our way!" she ordered as she shooed him from his home.

Pleased by her volatile nature he grabbed hold of her wrist and pulled her from the home. In mock anger she pushed him away even as he pinned her against the house. Fully recovered, he used a portion of his strength to hold her captive. Taking hold of her chin he pressed his lips against her even as his body molded to hers.

"Perhaps I should remain and teach you obedience," he whispered as his hands reached behind her body. Taking a firm hold of her buttocks, he ruthlessly pushed her against his pelvis.

"You wouldn't dare!" she whispered with a slight smile.

"Oh, wouldn't I?" he returned her smile as he lowered himself to the taste of an ear.

Smiling with pleasure she wrapped her arms around his neck and encouraged him on. For only a fleeting moment he felt the urge to take her here and now. It mattered little that others would witness their actions. All that concerned him was the quenching of his insatiable needs. With the urgency of his need, he imagined himself carrying her back to their room. Even though stripped, their bed could still be used, he reasoned, as she pulled away from him. Seeing his silent question, her eyes merely sparkled with laughter.

"We cannot, Tal," she whispered with a smile. At his prolonged silence she looked over his shoulder to the beach. Still occupied, their son remained in the safety of his centurions.

"We are not scheduled to leave for three point four hours," he informed with an arch of a brow. "Do you not think that we should practice for the time when the war will be over?"

At his question she glanced up at him in confusion. "If I am to give you a child, I shall need all the practice available to me," he said. With a wry grin, she took his chin and forced him to kiss her sweet lips.

"As long as you restrict your 'practice' session with only me," she whispered.

Pleased by the meaning of her statement he kissed her once more. Then with the ease of his strength he reached below her and lifted her into his arms. Surprised by his action she only smiled as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

"There can be no other," his statement was filled with sincerity. Carrying her into the home he walked with confidence to their room. Ignoring the servant women's giggles he passed them as he kept his eyes locked with his mate's. With only a backward glance he began to kick the door of their room shut with his foot. Before closing completely she called out one last order to her servants.

"Do not disturb us, we shall be practicing in the making of a child." Her loud words brought forth laughter from the women and nods of approval from the men.

Pleased by her words he quickly deposited her on their bed. Taking the lead, he began the slow manipulation of her body as he discarded her wrap. Removing his own garments he lay beside her warm body. He knew that even though a child would not result in this mating, the thought of a child, a child from her body, was not undesirable. To know that she would willingly carry a part of him within her, to know that she would suffer the pain of bringing life to his child was more than his intellectual mind could comprehend, yet he did not fear. In fact, he felt his impatience with the war's continuation building.

In the comfort of their silence he began to gaze lovingly at her features. He idly wondered who the child would most resemble. Would he have her sensuous lips and oval eyes, or his blander features? More importantly, would their child have within him her inner strength and fire? He silently hoped that their child would inherit all the great attributes of its mother.

Although filled with the strength of a warrior, she contained within her the very essence of womanhood. Strong and self asserted, yet soft when he had need of her, she had come to mean his very life. He knew that within her arms all thoughts and troubles disappeared. Taking comfort in her embrace he would always find the endless peace which seemed elusive.