Argus reached the end of the forest path. The view of the lake was magnificent. Borel was right, it was a good place to relax and be alone. There were no signs of civilization.
He took in a deep breath, his chest expanding with clean air; it was so different from the stale, lifeless recycled air of ships or domes. It brought memories of a long distant childhood and a trip to one of the outer planets; long before ideas of duty and decisions of life and death.
He wondered if Reya knew about this place. You probably do. He smiled. There isn't a lot that can be hidden from you.
A half moon reflected over the surface, giving the water a silvery quality. He could see that the water was clear. It had been along time since he had a swim for enjoyment. He stripped down to his briefs, carelessly dropping his clothes in a pile by the lake.
The water was refreshingly cool as he waded in until it reached his chest. He pushed off and began to swim. He moved with an easy power and the grace of an acrobat. It was mesmerizing to watch him. There was a joy of movement in every stroke. He had broad shoulders; his body was lean and he ripped through the water like a knife. His waist was tapered and his muscles rippled as he moved.
"Where is he?" Reya demanded as she burst into Borel's office just off the command centre. For some reason it sounded like she wanted to do major damage to someone.
"Where is who?" asked Borel innocently.
"You know who," Reya said warningly. She was not about to take any nonsense from anyone right now. "His ship is in orbit over the planet! Why didn't you tell me he was coming? What is he doing here? I didn't ask him to come. Where is he?"
There was undisguised anger in her voice. She really sounded like she wanted to hurt someone and he doubted it was him.
Why are you so angry? Borel was puzzled. This is not the reaction I was expecting. Maybe this isn't such a good idea.
"Oh you mean Argus," he said.
"Borel," Reya said. The way she said his name was like a veiled threat.
The young general almost winced. He wondered if he should protect Argus from her wrath by not telling her where he was. It was his doing after all. He had thought that by bringing them together that something positive might happen.
Borel looked at his sister. So much energy emanated from her that she seemed to burst with it. There is such a thin line between love and hate, he thought. He knew they did not hate each other. Then what is this?
He decided that the two of them needed to find out what it was. It was making them miserable not knowing.
"I sent him down to the lake," he told her.
She was about to ask him why but instead she turned around and stormed out.
I hope I'm doing the right thing, thought Borel. If they don't come back by tomorrow morning, I hope I won't need to send out a burial detail.
After a refreshing swim, Argus came out of the lake. The water dripped down his body, making it glisten in the moonlight. He lay down in the soft white sand and looked up into the clear night sky. Argus was relaxed now; there was no restlessness. Reya was coming and he would patiently wait for her.
I wonder which direction you will be coming from.
Without warning, someone launched themselves at him. On instinct he quickly rolled. The body impacted the sand where he had been lying. A hand reached out and grabbed his wrist before he could roll completely out of the way.
The hand continued to keep its grip on his wrist as they both struggled to get up without allowing an advantage to the opponent.
"You!" Argus exclaimed at his opponent.
"Hello Argus," said Reya.
"What are you doing?"
"I would have thought that would be obvious."
"Let go of my wrist."
Her grip was like iron. She was very strong. Not as strong as he was, of course, but more than strong enough to be a challenge.
She smiled at him.
"So you want to play?" he asked.
"I thought Borel said you weren't coming back until tomorrow?" He asked as he rushed forward suddenly, causing her to stagger back and make a quick turn. The turn saved her from falling.
He smiled, "Not bad."
"You've got to do better than that. Who told you I was coming back tomorrow?" she asked. Reya used her grip on his wrist and tried to apply a wrist lock. Argus reacted instantly and countered her movement.
"Your brother told me," he told her. They both realized Borel had not told him the truth. "I suppose he told you that I was here?"
"Yes," she replied even as Argus tried to make her lose her balance by suddenly pulling her forward.
"Oh no you don't," she told him as she lowered her centre of gravity almost to the ground; making her almost impossible to move.
Very good, he thought. "Your brother is a troublemaker."
"Amongst other things," she said. "Wait until I get my hands on him."
"You haven't even gotten your hands on me yet," Argus told her in a mock challenge.
"I'll deal with you first," she replied also in a light tone.
They were both enjoying themselves.
Reya straightened up and moved backwards; he followed cautiously. Without warning, she fell onto her back and tried to flip him up and over her.
He reached forward and negated her movement; and fell on top of her. His entire body weight was now held up by her outstretched arms.
"How strong are you?" he asked, as he pressed his advantage by adding additional pressure.
She was strong enough to hold up his weight, but she was no match against the additional force. Reya felt her arms begin to weaken but she was not concerned; she could not be defeated by straight strength alone, not when there were so many other possibilities. One did not fight strength with strength when your opponent had the greater strength.
Her hands were pressed flat against his bare chest. She could feel the hardness and definition of his muscles. Reya allowed one of her elbows to bend, meaning that the left side of his body was closer to her than the other. He was now on an angle. She smiled, rolled her body quickly and pushed with her right hand and pulled with her left. He was rolled onto his back; Reya quickly rolled on top of him.
"This doesn't quite give you the same advantage," he remarked.
"You don't think so?"
Neither of them was even breathing faster.
Her palm pushed against his chest and she held one of his wrists against the sand.
You feel good, she thought.
Back in Borel's office, she had so many powerful and conflicting emotions that it had made her angry. She did not like losing control and they were threatening to overwhelm her. Reya had come down to the lake intent on confronting the source of those feelings; but when she saw Argus rise out of the lake, the water dripping down his muscled body, other feelings began to surface. The sight of him had calmed her; then she had an illogical desire to see what that magnificent body was capable of; that was when she had attacked him.
Reya found her hand beginning to feel the smoothness of his chest, following his defined muscles.
He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Her touch felt good. "What are you doing?" he asked. "Are we finished?"
"Not quite. Now quiet."
She rolled partially off him so she could access more of his body. Her hand slid down. She could feel his sculpted abdominal muscles. There did not appear to be any part of him which was not muscled.
His breathing was quicker and deeper now. He watched her as she explored his body. She was very focussed. Even as his body felt good under her hands; her hands felt good on his body. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the sensations.
She smiled as she saw his eyes close; she could feel him responding to her touch. After awhile, her hand wandered down further. At this his eyes opened and he grabbed her hand.
"Don't start something you're not prepared to finish," he warned her lightly.
"I always finish what I start," she told him.
The hand which had grabbed hers began to trace its way up her arm, then over her shoulder. She was still wearing her uniform. We need to remedy that, he thought. It's only fair.
Gripping her shoulder he flipped her onto her back and rolled partially on top of her, pinning her down. "Oh," she exclaimed in surprise.
He smiled down at her.
"Do you really want this?" he asked her. He needed to be sure; she was too important to him to make a mistake.
"Don't you?" she asked in return. It was not until she had rolled on top of him and felt her body pressed against his that she realized what was going to happen. She never knew she could want someone so badly.
That was all the encouragement he needed.
With a speed which surprised them both, they were both naked and in each others arms. The light of the half moon reflected off their bodies as they moved passionately against each other. Like their relationship, their love-making was both a battle and cooperation between equals.
Argus ran his right hand lightly down the length of her spine; causing her to arch and press herself against his body. She sighed with pleasure at the contact of their flesh along so many points. He was strong and hard and she could feel the heat of his body penetrating hers.
Argus sighed with contentment at her response. Her body was both hard and soft; and seemed to fit perfectly against his. After all of their fighting and conflict, he could not believe how responsive she was to him.
"You're terrible," she told him even as he made light teasing circles with his fingers against a sensitive spot in her lower back; causing her to move and rub herself against him. The sensations were almost overwhelming; she bit back a moan.
"I know," he said as he kissed her passionately.
They enjoyed teasing each other; seeing how close they could bring each other to the edge without going over. It was a contest of wills; an exquisite agony. By the end their passion had become almost primal as they strained towards the climax. When it finally came it was shattering; moving in a single rhythm together they clung to each other as wave after wave of blinding pleasure washed over them; it was a hard earned victory.
Afterwards she lay in his arms as their breathing returned to normal.
"You're wonderful," she said as her hand absently traced one of his ribs.
"Isn't that what I'm supposed to say to you?" he said amused. "Does that mean you're going to stop giving me a hard time?"
"No. Someone has to keep you in line," she smiled. "Besides, if I were to be nice to you, you'd die of shock."
He laughed. "I'd probably think something was wrong."
"My brother really is a troublemaker."
"And you're not?" he said with a grin.
"Only for you," she replied, also with a grin and hugged him.
With her head against his chest, she felt at peace. It was a strange feeling for her; but it also produced sadness; because she knew it could not last.
She sighed. "I just wish…"
He touched his fingers to her lips. "I know." He tilted her head up towards him. "One day, our priorities will be different," he told her.
There was such earnestness in his brown eyes that she wanted to believe him. She said sadly, "But not today."
"No. Not today."
I hope that we will both live to see that day, thought Reya. She reached up and ran her fingers through his short hair. “Can I call you Drel?”
“No!” he said with a sudden force that immediately made him feel terrible. “I’m sorry. I’ve always hated that name. No one calls me that. Everyone just calls me Argus.” There had been a time he used another name. A nickname to cover up the hated name. But that was a name of much younger and more innocent days. It didn’t belong to him now.
He bent his head down and kissed her gently. They still had a few hours until morning.