The Fond Distance
He wondered how much he had changed.
Ten years of distance and Arik still couldn't forget the taste of the Qolian. He would be twenty-nine now, and finished with his studies and training. Waiting in the spaceport lobby, he crossed his arms and watched as the passengers departed. He spotted Ciaran immediately. He had grown over the past two years; growing into his long limbs and now moved with the deadly, stealthy grace of a killer. But he still had that edge of sexuality that Arik knew would never go away.
He was smiling, the lazy grin that Arik remembered all too well, but the smile never reached his eyes. Cold, calculating, the brilliant green eyes were the same as before but for one noticeable difference. There was power in his gaze, a strength that had not been there two years ago. He came to a stop before Arik and arched one thin brow.
"Hello," he said in accentless Uswian.
"You're late," Arik replied.
Ciaran tilted his head slightly. "Miss me?"
"Hardly. Let's go. I have a schedule to keep."
Ciaran pushed past him and Arik was forced to follow. He fell into step beside the Qolian silently, expression blank and neutral as they walked through the crowded airport. As usual, Ciaran broke the silence first.
"I figured one of the expendables would be picking me up."
Arik shrugged, indifferent. "I was told to come."
Ciaran smirked. "How amusing."
Arik didn't know how that was amusing to the young man but then, he had never professed to be a mind reader.
"Don't patronize me, Arik," Ciaran told him mildly as he paused by the metal ring. "I can do what I like, when I like."
Ciaran threw a sultry smile over his shoulder at him. "Not by a long shot."
He reached over and picked up his suitcase, eyes still locked with the Uswian's. Without a word he brushed past him, the smile still on his lips, one hand tucked into his pocket. Arik shook his head slightly. Training complete, he thought to himself.
He wondered who Ciaran was now.
Ciaran was lounging on the couch, remote in one hand, legs curled close to his body and his head propped up on one hand. Arik rather thought he looked like a cat.
Arik shrugged as he typed something into his laptop. He was seated at the dining room table with his work spread all around him. It was two days since Ciaran had arrived. The Qolian had slept all day yesterday to make up for the hours lost by jet lag and was spending today making up for the years of separation by being an annoyance. Arik didn’t know what was giving him a headache more—Ciaran or his computer.
It was probably Ciaran.
Ciaran chuckled softly. “Ever the obedient dog, aren’t you?"
Arik popped a disk into the laptop and started to upload it. He ignored the derisive tone in the other man’s voice. "I can do my own decisions when I feel like it, Ciaran."
Ciaran dropped the remote on the floor and sat up with a grin. “No, I don’t believe you can.”
Arik chose to ignore him but found that it didn’t quite work when the man came over to where he was sitting and sat down in his lap, slender arms wrapping around his neck. He tilted his head a bit, looking much like a cat content where he was. “I haven’t seen you in years,” he murmured, lips twitching up into a smile.
Arik looked through him, refusing to acknowledge what he was trying to do. “Ciaran, get off of me,” he told him calmly. “I’ve got work to do.”
“You could work me.”
“I’d rather not.”
Ciaran threw back his head and laughed. Still laughing Ciaran pressed his lips to Arik’s, prying the other man’s lips apart studiously. With incredible skill that left Arik breathless the man explored every inch of his mouth almost casually. Arik tried to resist, he really did, but in the face of Ciaran’s perseverance, he didn’t stand a chance. Hesitantly, reluctantly, he kissed Ciaran back and felt the Qolian smirk against his mouth.
Ciaran pulled away one hand trailing down Arik’s torso before cupping at his groin. He flexed his hand, hearing Arik suck in his breath slightly. Leaning forward he brushed his lips against Arik’s ear. “You can’t ignore me. No matter how hard you try,” he whispered.
Then he was picking himself up off of Arik with a grin, leaving the Uswian sitting rigid in his chair He left without a word and Arik swallowed against the ache in his lower belly, willing the want to go away. He ran his tongue over his lips. Two years with only a memory and now the taste was back in his mouth. He shivered slightly, raising a hand to touch his kiss-bruised lips.
Two points Ciaran. Zero Arik.
He could learn to hate this game.