Let the Captain Have Some Dignity


by Mistress Sarah

Sheila was poking and prying into my personal life, so I was playing stupid. She'd ask a few questions, I'd give an one word answer, and then she'd volley another question at me. I kept telling her that she was born centuries too late and that the Spanish Inquisition could have certainly used her expertise during their quest. Masterson had a sense of humor, so she laughed at my comment, but then she immediately started the questioning again.

"Do you want me to get the bright light out for you?" I asked her. "If you shine it in my eyes, you might get more information that way."

"No. I save the bright lights for special people and special occasions. So, Matthew, you've been following my instructions, have you?" she had remarked.

"Yes." I was the king of the one-word answers, so I knew Sheila would poke and prod some more into my damaged psyche. It was our little game, and she allowed me my personal quirks in our counseling sessions. Unlike the other counselors that I was required to talk to, Sheila allowed me my idiosyncrasies as they amused her.

"And?" she prompted.

"You're a dirty old woman, Sheila. Asking about my personal life like this." I gave her a wicked smile, which she returned.

"As a dirty old woman, I live vicariously through the life of others, especially EF captains. Now tell me, has it helped? Are you more comfortable with your significant other?"

I had never told Sheila Masterson, John's name, and that amused her also, I think. No doubt she had marked it down somewhere that I was highly protective of my significant other. She was amused by a lot of things I did, but Masterson was always willing to take my communications, no matter what the time was, no matter what she was doing.

My first day back on board, I had suffered on the bridge such a severe anxiety attack that I had called her, as I was terrified. She had been amazingly compassionate, even though I had woken her up at 3 a.m. Mars Time, and Sheila had carefully made a few suggestions to make it easier for me. Thankfully, she also refrained from reminding me that she had warned me that I wasn't ready to go back to the Excalibur. The two of us had a fight over the fact that I was signing out AMA, and she had disapproved wholeheartedly that I was leaving the hospital and returning to duty.

We had talked for hours my first day back, and I had sent her flowers. It had delighted her to receive flowers from a Starship Captain, I think, as Masterson joked to me that her reputation was in tatters at EF after Sheila had received the two dozen long stemmed roses.

"Yes. I'm feeling more comfortable with my partner touching me. I... rather enjoy it, actually." That foot massage he had given me one day when he noticed I was limping, had found me quite aroused and thinking actively about... performing for the first time since... what had happened to me. There was no doubt that he noticed that my main gun was powered up, and quite ready to fire. John soon started dedicating a significant amount of time to extremely erotic foot massages in most of our "sessions" of hands-on touch therapy. Rubbing my feet, he enjoyed my obvious physical response to his touch, while he was giving me a wicked smile.

But my desire frightened me, and I would have to make him stop. Curling myself tightly up into a ball, trying to make peace between the past and the present, I would shake and tremble in my fear and desire. Dear GOD, I couldn't hurt John again. I wouldn't hurt him again, not my lonely Telepath. My love was compassionate, and he would gently talk to me while I tried to calm my shattered nerves. It had been a good thing that Matheson was too moral a man to take advantage of me that one night I had offered to let him do anything to me, as I don't think I would have been able to handle it. I probably would have fled from the room if things had progressed.

The first time when I had done this, we had just talked for a few hours, while I was lying on my side on my couch, while John had sat down next to me. He had carefully positioned himself, so that he was sitting squarely against my waist, and we were talking while John finished his paperwork. I had noticed without commenting, that Matheson was lightly rubbing his body against mine, and that I was responding... quickly. Gradually, we both stopped talking, as I grew more and more nervous, while John focused on his paperwork, still rubbing his body softly against mine.

Maybe he didn't noticed that I was aroused, but I most assuredly knew.

"Matt. You're not talking? You ok?" He had asked me that quietly.

"Tired. Need to sleep." I whispered that, and John stood up to collect his paperwork. Grabbing a blanket, I covered up what I was trying to hide.

"Mind if I join you? Just to sleep." He smiled at me, and I knew that my attempts to hide my arousal had failed miserably. "Nothing more, I promise."

"OK." I shuffled off to my bed, where I tried to calm myself down. My body wanted something that I just mentally and emotionally couldn't handle right now. "Stop it. Down!" I hissed that at myself, and wasn't surprised when my body ignored me. It was far too busy, standing at attention, and I grew more nervous. He was going to join me in a few minutes, to sleep, nothing more, when suddenly I was absolutely terrified. John and I had reached a level where we normally slept entwined with one another, and he'd know that I was... up.

Lying that closely to John, I... might... try... and he'd want it. I knew John wanted to make love with me, and he had been so patient. But up until now, my body hadn't healed enough, but now it had. A simple touch of his hand on my shoulder and I'd find myself aroused, and wanting him. God! He wanted it and while my body was more than willing, my soul was screaming in terror. No. NO. NO!

He'd be in shortly, and he'd lie next to me, spoon style. I'd be lying on my side, and he'd wrap himself around me, and he... would... know... and what if John... wanted... John's hands would probably end up resting on my stomach and his mouth would be next to my ear, and... he'd... might start kissing my ear. While he was doing that, it would be easy for him... to slide his hand down... to touch me there, stroking my obvious erection. Oh God, no. Wrapping my self tightly into a ball, I knew I was shaking uncontrollably.

John found me like that, and he had hesitantly touched my shoulder, which had caused me to become even more terrified and nonverbal. I had wrapped myself tightly in the fetal position and I just couldn't answer his questions. Fortunately, John was dressed, and he had gotten Sarah down to my quarters.

When the doctor arrived, Matthew Gideon, the human pretzel, still wasn't talking, and Chambers had given me quite a few sedatives to relax me. Thankfully, whatever she gave me also managed to relax that rather stubborn part of my anatomy. After the drugs had taken effect on me, Sarah had gently straightened my twisted body out, and covered me with a blanket, whispering to me to get some sleep. Then she motioned for John to join her in my living room. She actually gave me enough sedatives to take down a squad full of drunken Centauri troopers and I was floating in a lovely haze, dimly aware of the conversation that was taking place in my living room.

"What happened?" she asked John.

"I was sitting at the table, finishing a few reports. Matt was in the mood to talk tonight, so I let him talk for a bit. He said he was tired, that he wanted to go to bed, and the next thing I know, he's curled up in a ball. He was shaking like crazy so I touched him on the shoulder and then he went into the fetal position and went completely nonverbal."

"I gave him a few sedatives. He'll be fine, but I don't want him alone tonight."

"Guess I'm sleeping on the couch again." John sighed softly at that prospect.

"No. You're actually not." Dimly, I thought that Sarah's voice sounded amused.

"OW! What was that?"

"You're going to your quarters as you're exhausted." I heard a slight sound of protest, and Sarah's laughter. "I'm staying here tonight. The sedative I just gave you should take affect in about twenty minutes. Meaning you better get to your own quarters before it takes affect, else you'll be sleeping on the bullet car for the next twelve hours. John, it's been fantastic having you back on the Excalibur, and you've been an absolute Godsend with Matthew. I don't think he'd be functioning if you weren't here, truly I believe that. But you've got to take care of yourself, too."

"I owe him. If I hadn't left... "

"Don't waste your time on might have beens, should have beens, and what ifs. Now get out. Ok?"

"Goodnight, Sarah. Thank you."

"Oh... just to let you know. I approve. Wholeheartedly."

"About... ?"

She had laughed, and John sighed again. So Sarah knew and approved. Apparently we hadn't been that discreet after all.

Sheila advocated touch therapy. Touch therapy, bull shit, I had told her bluntly, which had Masterson laughing at me again.

"I'm glad you find me amusing." Growling that at her, I had scowled at her, which had her laughing harder.

She matched the face I gave her, and I had to laugh softly.

"You don't think I do this for the pay, do you? If I wanted to make the big credits I'd be in private practice. EF doesn't pay all that well." Her tone was dry and mocking.

"You forget, I'm career military so I know how little they pay."

Sheila then bluntly told me that was John and I were doing really was nothing more than an extended session of foreplay. As I was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of ... sex, John and I were concentrating on the other, neglected stages of the sex act. Talking with one another, which led to touching, and then kissing... then...

"Trust me. You are a normal person, acting normally to an abnormal event. After all you've been through, it's not that surprising that you and John aren't... intimate just yet. It takes time to heal physically, mentally and emotionally."

Sheila had managed to find out John's name, and I had figured that somehow she had convinced him to talk to her also. It was probably a great idea, but I was still nervous about the two of them talking about their favorite "space case," Matthew Gideon.

God, it had taken almost five months since I had been rescued to get to the point where I'd let John touch me without me recoiling in obvious fear and terror. At this rate, I was assuming it would take us several decades to get to where I could actually give John some type of sexual pleasure.

When I dreamed alone in my bed at night, the nightmares were still there, but... there were other dreams, increasing in frequency, in which John and I were actually making love. These dreams made me more nervous when John and I were together alone, as I just knew that I wasn't ready for that type of emotional commitment.

"And you two are talking while you're doing this? Verbal communication is just as important as physical communication." Giving me a penetrating look through the view screen, she shook her head in disappointment. "You're not, are you?"

"I'm... trying." We were talking very well on a one to one basis when we dealt with less intimate topics such as the Excalibur and its crew. But when we were touching each other, I was having difficulties. Actually, when I touched John, I could talk to him, but when he touched me, I just couldn't say... anything to him. I tried, hard, but I still... wasn't comfortable with communicating verbally and physically with him. One or the other, but not both. He'd talk to me, and I'd usually only be able to manage one or two words to answer him. On my very good nights, I was able to speak a sentence or two before my tongue grew silent. When he massaged my feet, I just found myself completely tongue-tied or worse yet for my pride, stammering and stuttering like a fool.

Who was I fooling? I had difficulty talking with John about our relationship even when we were hands off. It had taken me sometime to haltingly stutter to John that when we finally... reached the point where we were going to make love that... John *had* to keep his mental shielding up. While Sheila had assured me that when I was ready for that step, I would be thinking of John, rather than my captors, I... wasn't that sure. After my mental rape by that Teep, I wasn't sure... if I'd ever feel comfortable with John in my mind. I knew John wanted to share everything with me, but I was afraid of being hurt again. John had been so disappointed, I could tell, and I stammered on, telling him that one day... he'd be able to touch my mind.

Since I had gotten back in the Excalibur, my fears had increased dramatically. When I was recovering planetside, all I had feared was that I was never going to get back to my ship. Now, I had a host of new demons to face, many of them dealing with John Matheson and my feelings for him. I didn't want to hurt my XO again, and I was deeply concerned that I would wound him again. Then there was that little taunting voice that kept telling me... that everybody knew about what had happened down on that damn planet, in spite of my efforts to keep it between me, my XO and my CMO. Everybody knew that their Captain had been sexually assaulted by a bunch of women in their late teens and early twenties. They were smirking about it, especially Eilerson. Eilerson wouldn't feel this ashamed of what happened. No, he would have enjoyed it, and called out for an encore.

Secretly, I really feared the times when I trembled just when he lay next to me in bed, not even touching me. Sheila kept counseling me to patience, and I had gotten furious with her.

"Patience? Do you have any idea how fucking tired I am of hearing that word? Be patient, Matthew. Patience!" I had roared that at her. "FUCK PATIENCE!"

My counselor gave it to me, both barrels, and at point blank range. Sheila had calmly told me that at least I could walk, which was more than she could, and that at least I was back as a Captain on a starship. Which, she reminded me, no amount of patience could ever bring back to her.

I had gotten abusive to her, finally expressing my anger and rage out loud. "This therapy is taking too fucking long. It's a complete waste of my time, as you're just prolonging this to justify your job. Do you like ripping off my scabs constantly? Secretly, do you like watching me bleed for you? Over and over again? Shall I open a fucking vein for you so you can watch me bleed? Or are you getting off on the fact that I'm having to follow your orders with reference to my sex life. That you're the one directing everything, how long to touch and where? That's it... isn't it?"

Who the hell was I fooling? I couldn't even think of kissing John without my stomach knotting up. A voice in my mind softly told me to shut up, and to stop taking my frustrations out on Sheila. I wasn't anywhere near to "potentia coeundi", and we both knew it. While my body was more than willing, my mind and soul wouldn't allow me to even think of making love with John. But still I raged and swore, blaming my therapist for how long my healing was taking.

She had turned completely white, and I realized that I had gone entirely too far. After all, I was the one who had mentioned to her about my concerns about my lack of desire for intimacy with John and I was the one that had agreed to follow her advice on how to reach that goal. Realistically, the only reason why John and I were even in the same bed was because of Sheila's guidance, but I just couldn't take my words back as Sheila was absolutely furious with me.

"Perhaps, you're right, Matthew. I'm going to switch your case to another counselor. I'll talk to Archie about it." Then she had switched off the communications, telling me that I could only call her back after I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I stared at the blank screen for a minute, then realized that Sheila had just flipped me over her knee and firmly paddled my ass through the view screen.

Archie? Archie was a civilian. I had talked to him and a few others, before I had agreed to let only Sheila counsel me. Sheila was military, and she was the ONLY one that had understood why I needed to get back to the Excalibur. ARCHIE? I couldn't talk to Archie about... certain things... like the fact that I just couldn't bear to even think of having sex with John.

I called her back repeatedly for seventy-two hours, and she refused all my communications. When I asked, her assistant stated that I could only talk to her as Sheila was unavailable to me. Sheila was in the process of transferring my case to Archie, so her assistant sent me on to Archie. God. I hated Archie, as I found him smug and condescending. It would be like talking to Eilerson, as the first thing out of his mouth would be 'I told you weren't ready to go back to space.' Hemming and hawing for a bit, I finally begged her assistant to please apologize to Sheila for what I had said to her, and that I really wanted to speak to her.

"Please? Please tell Sheila I'm truly sorry. Don't let her transfer me to Archie. I can't talk to Archie. He just doesn't understand. Please? Can you please have her call me back?"

"Are you going to behave?" Sheila asked me, tartly, when she called me back.

"Sheila... I'm sorry. Truly I am." I whispered that to her, and she waved it off. "I'm... just scared. I'm tired and scared of always being exhausted and frightened." I started talking to her more that day, about what I had been repressing and refusing to mention to anyone. Like how... sometimes when John would be sleeping next to me, curled next to me like a cat, his arm wrapped around me protectively and I'd wake up shaking in terror, convinced that SHE was nearby. I had to protect him from her as SHE'D destroy him. Then he'd notice that I was awake, soothe me, and comfort me, while I trembled in fear. John would try to question me about what had terrified me, and I just couldn't tell him. I tried, but I just couldn't. I had diligently been following Sheila's advice, but it wasn't getting any easier for me. Then, I admitted my deepest fear, maybe... it would never get any easier for me, but that for John's sake, I had to do more and quickly.

"Sheila... I just really need to... go beyond this hand holding stuff. He's not going to be content with me holding his hand at night. John wants more than that." There. That was out in the open. I was nervous that John would grow tired of my fumbling attempts at communicating, my obvious distaste for physical intimacy, and that he would leave me.

"Not good enough. You're not to let things go further than your current level. Patience, my young Matthew."

"You're only a few years older than me." I had interrupted her.

"Don't interrupt. Be patient. You're pushing yourself too hard to bounce back and you're not a young man anymore, Matt." The look she gave was bemused. "Take your time. Remember, there's not a race to be won here. Instead, you've got the chance to enjoy taking things extremely slowly with your partner. If you find it erotic, great for you. If you're not finding it erotic, I have some other suggestions to make. After you prove to me that your partner's above the age of consent."

"I'll keep that under advisement," I had assured her dryly, and she had laughed again.

"Gideon" she continued softly. "If you think that you can fool John, by physically proving something just because you can't bring yourself to admit to him that you're nervous, you're wrong. Don't you think that he's going to pick that up sooner or later? Don't you realize how much that will upset him? That you're doing something with him that should be a joyful experience between two people, just because he wants it. And that, inside, you can't bear to be touched by him? If you love him, let him know. If you're afraid, then tell him. A relationship based on sweat and lust is never going to be as strong as a relationship where two people can actually talk to one another, especially about their problems."

Now it was getting to be old hat, Gideon the shaking human pretzel show, happening once a week or so. Sheila told me that it was part of the healing progress as I was finally willing to face what had happened to me. Sarah had also given John a few sedatives to use on me if I had ever reached the meltdown point again, but he never would use the drugs on me. Instead, he would try to talk me out of my panic attack. For hours, he'd talk to me, trying to calm me down.

"It's ok. It's ok. Did I make you uncomfortable?" His voice was soothing me, and I shook my head. John certainly knew enough not to touch me when I was like this, but I really wanted him to hold me. I was curled tightly up in a ball, and John was lying next to me in my bed, speaking softly to me, trying to calm me down. "What did I do? Tell me. What did I do to get you this afraid?"

"Nothing. Not at all. Just... " I couldn't finish my comments, and John would continue to talk to me, softly.

"Matthew... It's ok. What happened? Did I touch you someplace that I shouldn't have? Was it something I did that you were uncomfortable with?"

God, he thought it was his fault. Not again. It was mine, completely and totally my fault. Sheila told me to tell John what I felt, and I struggled to talk to him. "Don't want to hurt you again. Couldn't bear it. You deserve so much better than me." I forced that out, from the depths of my soul where I had hidden that thought, and for a moment, I was horrified. John was laughing softly at me. He was LAUGHING at my fear that I was going to harm him again. Didn't he understand?

"You're right. I do deserve better. Is Eilerson busy right now?" He rolled on his back, and I heard him commenting on what Eilerson's schedule probably was.

"MAX?" I was startled, and upset. EILERSON? I looked at him, realized that my Telepath was trying to hide a smile.

"I'm just kidding, Matthew." He mocked me softly, and I gave him a rather shy smile.

"Hope so, there's not enough room for anyone in the same bed with him. Not with him and his ego." I whispered that, and I was rewarded by John smiling at my comment. Point!

Our relationship continued, with each step being taken deliberately and with much consideration. While I never scanned him, I tried to keep an eye out for the little signs that usually preceded a dramatic change in Matt's temperament. He had mood swings, sometimes landing in a depression so deep and wide that I found myself worrying about him

It had been a rough week, one of his roughest since he had rescued, and I had been trying to balance out his mood swings with the rest of the crew. I don't know what had set him off, perhaps a random comment, or perhaps a memory resurfaced, but he was unbearable to one and to all that week. Especially to me, while I took it, ignored it, and pretended not to be affected by his brutal manner. Lord, his comments hurt like a whiplash on naked skin, but I pretended to ignore them. The angry man raging at me was the man I loved, who had been deeply damaged, and he was in the long, drawn out process of healing. Healing took a great deal of time, patience, strength and energy, all of which Matt had in short supply right now, so of course, he was getting furious.

It was exhausting to me that week with Gideon's mood swings, as Jones was also on board on the ship to scan me. One or the other would have been exhausting enough, but the two events combined into the same time frame was sapping my emotional strength. Perhaps that why Gideon was being so caustic and abusive to me, as though he was trying to prove something to someone or perhaps to himself. Jones had scanned me "thoroughly" and had caught a whiff of the fact that Matthew and I were involved. She poked and prodded, and shook her head in disbelief.

"A Mundane?" She had sighed in disappointment. "And a damaged one at that. We'll have to keep an eye on this relationship."

Returning to my quarters, I had a splitting headache, and wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and sleep for the next week. I stripped quickly, when I saw a T-shirt on the bed. It was Matthew's and he had apparently left it in my quarters when he was in my quarters. Smelling his cologne on his shirt, I decided to wear it. After today, it might be all I had left of him.

The next day, I returned to the bridge, and I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw Jones' ship leaving the Excalibur. Turning, I had found Matthew Gideon staring at me intently, with an obvious concern for me in his eyes. Our eyes met, and then he had turned away from me, as though he was embarrassed that he had been found out.

That week during our times together, Matthew had held onto me like he was drowning, and he just couldn't speak to me. A few times he had tried to avoid me, as though he had been ashamed of how far he had regressed, but I had managed to locate him. The day of my scan with Jones, I had found him sleeping on the floor of the conference room.

"Damn it. I'm too old to lie on the floor, Matt." I had growled that softly, as I found myself lying next to him on the hard floor.

That week, he had woken up screaming from his nightmares, while I had tried to speak to my Captain, to get him to open up to me, but he just had not been able to talk. Whatever had caused his relapse, had also made him very jittery about being touched. Matt just couldn't tolerate me holding him, so I l had let him hold onto me, while I had whispered to him, urging him to talk to me. That night in the conference room, something had finally snapped in him, and he had wept for what seemed like forever, while I had stroked his hair.

But still I ran interference between him and the Excalibur crew, trying to keep everything working together while Gideon raged on in his fury and his anger. Even Jones and Gideon had gotten into a lengthy argument in Gideon's office. I just knew from Gideon's depressed mood, and his nightmare filled sleep that it had been very ugly. She had left the Excalibur earlier than scheduled, and Gideon had gone steadily deeper into his depression.

By the end of the week, I could tell his insane fury had begun to affect the crew's morale. Department heads were literally meeting me in the hallway, throwing their reports at me, and then running for their lives. Dureena and Max both were hiding in their quarters, and I hadn't seen Sarah all week. At last my temper flared, and I told him bluntly, that he and I *needed* to speak in his office.

"What's the problem?" he asked when we were alone in his office.

"YOU!" I bluntly answered him. "You've been unbelievable this past week, and you're scaring the damn crew with your Captain Matthew Gideon-Ahab searching for the white whale routine. Storming up and down the hallways... "

"On my bum leg," he inserted. "Or in this case, two bum legs."

Growing annoyed with his joking, I made a comment to that effect. Our words swiftly grew heated, and things were said. On both sides, so I decided the best thing to do was to walk away.

John was furious with me, and rightfully so. I had been acting rather short tempered lately, taking it out on him and the crew, and I wasn't sure exactly what the cause was. Ok, I knew exactly what the cause was as Sheila had browbeaten me with her opinion during our last counseling session. Pushing myself too hard, I wasn't letting myself heal emotionally and physically from my ordeal.

On my first away mission, I managed to get two damn stress fractures in my lower legs, which weren't healing properly, causing me pain. God! It had been humiliating having Max rescue me, and having him half drag me, half carry me back to the shuttle craft, but fortunately the linguist had taken one look at my face, and wisely never said one single wisecrack. Always said Max was smart, the question always was whether Max was trying to be smart, or merely a smart ass at a particular moment in time.

Pain! I was so damn tired of pain, of suffering from it, and always inflicting it. It had been months since I had a pain-free moment.

Then that bitch Jones had decided to talk to me about her concerns about John Matheson. Jones had also been on board the ship for a few days, and I was fearful of what she had picked up from John. Trying to push John away from me while she was onboard hadn't worked, as I had found John lying in my bed one night, quietly asking me to hold him. I had, but for the next few nights, I had tried to hide, so John couldn't find me. But I would wake from my nightmares and he would be lying next to me.

I was deeply concerned about what Jones would say about our relationship. I know John had tried unsuccessfully to keep our relationship private even from the "watchers" as Jones had decided to see the "Damaged Mundane" as she had called me. John wouldn't mention anything about what was going on with his scans, stating repeatedly, that it was "him, Jones and the Rules" and that I had to respect that.

So while he tried to protect me from what he went through with her, I vowed not to mention to him that Jones had barged into my office to deep scan me. Keeping my wits about me, I had taped her interview with me. Some interview, it had quickly turned into Jones trying to scan me without my permission, claiming it was a matter of "security." She was a Goddamn fool, as if she had only gone through the proper channels, her scan of me would have been permitted. No, instead, she went on the limb and did the scan herself, without following proper procedure. I had no counsel, and no EF representative available while she scanned me. That was a violation of all known EF-Psi regulations, but she just didn't think of that in her eagerness for the kill.

Her deep scan that brought everything back to the surface, after I had repressed it carefully. Damn her. Damn her to hell! The tape detailed her rough attempt at scanning me, and how she had reacted when I had sent her the most brutal of the violations that I had suffered at the hands of my captors. Leaving John Matheson completely out of it, I "sent" her vivid pictures of what had happened to me down there. The mind rape, the rape of my soul and every other thing that they had done to me. I fed her pain upon pain, upon pain.

She was weeping by the time I was done with her, and my skin crawled from the fear I felt from her. "Don't you ever, ever try to do that to me again. You can't handle what I've been through." I warned her that, softly, and I realized that I wanted to shower desperately to rid myself of her mental taint. That night, I tried to stay far, far away from John as I just knew that I'd have incredible nightmares after reliving everything for that Bitch. I went to the conference room to sleep on the floor, thinking that John wouldn't find me there. Instead, when I woke up screaming from my nightmares, his warm body was next to mine. My poor Telepath was stroking my hair softly and whispering to me that it was ok for even a starship Captain to cry. I had wept that night, when I realized that I was back at square one. John was gently touching me, stroking my hair and I wanted nothing more than for him to stop before I ran like hell.

Now she was leaving, and I gave her a copy of the data crystal for "for remembrance's sake" when we said our good-byes. Jones had looked at me with fear in her eyes. I tried to ignore the fact that she feared me as she didn't think that I was emotionally stable. If I wasn't stable, then I could easily destroy John with my instability. Maybe she was right, maybe she was wrong, but... could I risk her being right? Jones was leaving, apparently unhappily, as her threat to report John had been neutralized by her own attempted violation of me, and John was obviously relieved that she was off the ship. I had looked at him in concern, noting that the younger man looked exhausted. I had been embarrassed when our eyes had met, not wanting him to know that I was deeply concerned about him. Poor John, and the burdens he carried, no wonder he never smiled.

Meanwhile, Sarah had argued with me, telling me to go on light duty for a few weeks so my legs would heal, but I had ignored that. Like I ignored everything else that everyone had suggested to me. Everyone had suggestions and comments for Matthew Gideon, all of them, no doubt meaning well, but after a while, I got tired of the free advice. But I didn't ignore what Sheila was telling me to do with reference to John. Take it slow, in spite of my steadily increasing desire to make love physically with John. I wanted it so badly, and I knew he was impatient also.

Apparently, Sheila was right again, that I was working toward a complete emotional and physical collapse if I kept pushing myself, and I was grateful that EF Captain Sheila Masterson, Retired, was willing to counsel me. Especially when I was being a complete ass. Not that I'd ever tell her that, of course. Least, not while I was still her patient. Hobbling, I went to Sarah, and she put me on light duty so fast, that my head was spinning.

I took the next few days off from the joys of Captaincy, letting John run the ship. He had obviously picked up a few things from his tour of duty with the indomitable Makam, so I enjoyed reading his reports, as he would oftentimes slyly slide in a phrasing or two that was viciously funny. But he didn't come to my quarters to speak with me, and I steadily grew worried that I had ruined things between us.

His last words to me before he left was my office had frightened me.

"I'm tired of you pushing me away, and then yanking me back in. I don't know what the hell to expect with you anymore, and I'm not even sure if you want a relationship anymore. If you don't want to be involved with me, that's fine, I'll still stay on the Excalibur, but I am so Goddamn tired of being your punching bag, Matthew."

I thought of that comment repeatedly, especially when I woke up in the middle of the night, and I stretched my hand out, hoping to feel warmth where his body had been. But he didn't sleep with me, and my bed was solitary and cold.

He had been extremely patient with me, and I knew he wanted more than I could give him for such a long time. Perhaps John had already decided not to wait for me any longer? Putting a call into Sheila, I was annoyed to find out that she was busy talking to someone else, and that she'd get back to me. The nerve of her! Actually having another client besides me, I growled at the blank screen. Repeatedly I called her, and each time she was busy.

After a few times when she was busy, I realized that Sheila was telling me in no uncertain terms, that it was long past time to stand on my own. So, I paced, ok... limped, and I thought, and I analyzed. Things hadn't been very pleasant for John, and... I couldn't blame him if he had decided not to wait for one screwed up Captain to get his head screwed back on straight again. I mean, I kept hurting him over and over again. Maybe after his session with Jones, John had decided that it was better to end our relationship. Maybe even now, he was trying to find the way to tell me that it was over, before it had ever truly begun. But he had put the ball in my court, telling me to figure out what I wanted. Maybe... he secretly still wanted to be involved, but maybe he was getting tired of my mood swings, and my inability to take that step he wanted.

Maybe John was tired of the never ending pain, and maybe he... wanted some joy for once. Happiness and joy that he simply couldn't get from me as I was too badly damaged. He deserved it, and maybe I should have told John to go find it with someone else when he had agreed to try our relationship again. Maybe Sarah? She was a healer, and she would have healed the heartache that I had caused him. That thought pained me, so I decided to go to his quarters. I had to act quickly, before I lost my courage. Before John decided that he was tired of dealing with the never-ending sorrow that came from being involved with Matthew Gideon.

Maybe I was looking too heavily into the "maybe's" of our relationship. Perhaps I was just over analyzing the situation between us, and perhaps I wasn't. Perhaps Sheila really was busy. Perhaps... she wasn't. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe John wanted a simple yes or no answer, or maybe... he wanted something more.

I found John sleeping in his bed, and I decided upon what I should do next. To hell with Sheila's advice, I just didn't want to risk losing John. While I was settling next to him in bed, he woke up.

"Matthew? What are you doing here?"

I answered him with a kiss. I was absolutely terrified that I was going to lose him, and I was fearful about what I was going to do next. Sheila counseled patience, but I couldn't lose John. It had been five months since I had returned to my ship, and he had been so patient, waiting for me. Grabbing my shattered courage, I continued to kiss him, gently.

He didn't answer my question, instead, he decided to kiss me, ignoring Sheila's recommendation that he postpone that step for a little while more. Sheila was a great counselor, but her instructions to Matt were driving me wild with desire, making me hope that each night together was going to finally be "the" night we could continue to the next level. Her ideas of non-erotic touching usually found me quite aroused and wanting Matthew like mad. I kept telling her that the problem wasn't with me wanting Matthew, it was with Matthew desiring ME. She had laughed and told me to be patient.

We continued kissing for some time, and I could feel how afraid he was that he was never going to be 'normal' again. He began touching me, again ignoring Sheila's instructions for patience, deliberately touching those areas that she had deemed off limits. I responded ardently to his kiss, wanting to make love with Matthew. It had been over a year since our one night together, and I craved his touch.

I found that Matt's hand had slipped beneath my briefs, and he was playing with my erection gently. "Sheila... said... not to do this... yet." I moaned while he continued playing with my body, while I tried to regain control of this situation.

"Fuck Sheila." He growled. "What she doesn't know, won't hurt her. Besides, you've been patient with me for the longest time, and I know... you want more. I'll be really careful this time with you, like I should have been our first time." Gently, he was still touching my erection, lightly tracing my tip, while I closed my eyes. For the longest time, all he did was caress and fondle me, his large hands gentle and possessive. I was quite content to allow him to do it, as I was enjoying the delightful shivers throughout my body. Matthew was trying so hard to be careful with me that I could feel that he was shaking from the effort. Matt kept whispering at me not to be afraid that he would be so very gentle with me, to make up for our first time.

It was going to be so easy to let him continue, and I felt shivers down my spine from his touch. So close. So very close. No. NO! Sheila had said he wasn't ready for this yet, as Matt was still trying to emotionally recover from what those women had done to him.

I had spoken to her briefly when she had arrived on the Excalibur to meet Matthew face to face. Matt's early return to the Excalibur was a concern to EF, so they had sent a few observers to watch him at work. They had arrived several months after he had retaken command of the Excalibur, and she had hitched a ride along, just to offer her moral support. I knew better, and so did Matt. Sheila was the one who was deciding if Matt was stable enough to command again.

She was a former EF officer who had gone through something similar in her past, and had been discharged from EF due to her resulting disability. Gideon hadn't mentioned to me that she had a tendency to cruise about in her warp powered wheelchair at light speed. I often found her in some spot of the ship she shouldn't be, watching Gideon closely during his interactions with his crew.

Her observation of Gideon made him nervous, and he'd often look at her, trying to figure out how her report on him would be slanted. Sheila would wave at him cheerfully, and tell him to continue, that she was just part of the background.

"No. Never could I consider you part of the background, Sheila." His tone of voice plainly said he'd be quite willing to never let her step foot, or wheel, on his ship again. It would have fooled anyone who didn't know Matthew as well as I did as I knew Matt respected her greatly.

"He says the sweetest things, doesn't he?" Sheila's voice was droll, and Sarah Chambers and I had laughed at that comment while Matt grimaced.

I found her a lively personality with an absolute complete disregard for anything resembling protocol. I never found out what exactly had happened to her, but I knew that she had decided to continue serving EF in the only way she knew how, by counseling others. For some reason, she had decided that I needed some counseling also, so I found myself having lunch with her regularly during her stays on the Excalibur. She was easy to talk to, and I found myself unburdening myself to her about... certain things.

"If I wasn't military, Matthew wouldn't be talking to me. If I wasn't a 'senior officer', he still wouldn't be talking to me. His head isn't screwed on straight yet, and you, have to make sure that he doesn't do something stupid. Matthew's already left against medical advice from the hospital after his first round of surgeries, because he 'needed' to get back to the Excalibur. Your role in this, as his XO and his friend, is to make sure that if he's being stupid, and pushing himself too fast, you've got to put the brakes on. Hard. But diplomatically, if at all possible."

"So are you going to let Matthew Captain again?" I had asked her.

"No. Matthew is the one that's going to let Matthew Captain again. Not the board of Inquiry. He has to make his own decisions and live with them." She had paused, and gave me a rather searching look. "Do me a favor and warn whomever he's involved with, the very same thing. For some reason, he has a lot of unresolved guilt in that relationship, so he might do something really reckless and rather stupendously stupid even for him. Since he won't tell me who he's involved with, I'm assuming it's someone on board the Excalibur?"

I didn't really answer that question, and she had given me a slight smile.

"Not that I'm saying anything, because even I did say something, under EF regulations everything said by and to a counselor is protected. Couldn't use our conversations in court, military or otherwise, if they tried. If his... significant other... needs to talk, give that person my number. OK?"

"I'll pass it on. They just might take you up on your advice" I admitted.

"Absolutely, Lt. Comdr. Matheson. Tell them I don't bite, and everything remains private. No matter how tawdry it gets."

I had talked to her occasionally after that, nervously admitting to her that I was the one involved with Gideon, and she had been completely nonjudgmental about my relationship with my Captain. Sheila was the one that had told me that after Gideon and I had argued that the best thing was to step back, and let Gideon decide to approach me. Up until now, I had been focusing on Matthew's needs in our relationship, and it was time to remind him that there was actually another person in this relationship besides Matthew. For the last few months, I had been his sounding board, and his crutch. Now it was time for Matthew to stand on his own again, and realize how difficult it had been for me during this.

I wasn't going to suddenly stop supporting Matthew through his healing process, but remind him that I also had my own issues I needed to address in our relationship. One moment, Matthew would be pushing me away from him, as though fearing that he would destroy me, the next moment, he would be holding onto me tightly during the night, shaking and not saying a single word. Matthew needed to decide how he wanted to continue with our relationship. It was exhausting being involved with Matthew, as though I was on a never ending roller coaster of emotional highs and lows, and I just wanted to know one simple thing. Did he truly want to be involved with me or was it just… guilt?

All this and more raced through my mind, and I realized that I had to be the sane one in this relationship, and slam the brakes on this quickly. Matthew had over analyzed everything that had happened between us to the point where he thought his only way of salvaging our relationship was to take this step. RIGHT NOW. If he was ready for it or not, it didn't matter to him. Matt was going to seduce me because he thought he'd lose me if he didn't make love with me *right* now. That was my answer to my question, Matthew wanted to be involved with me, even though he was terrified.


God, I wanted this, but I don't think he was ready for this as Matthew was shaking like a leaf while he was trying to seduce me.

He was terrified, but still my Matthew continued touching me, obviously forcing himself to continue with my seduction. My older, more experienced lover kept promising to me that he wouldn't hurt me, that he'd take things slow and carefully, so I would be emotionally and physically comfortable with everything that was going to happen tonight. It was a startling thought, but suddenly, I realized that Matthew was terrified of what was happening between us. That if I even whispered "STOP" at him, he'd probably end in the position he called the human pretzel.

Matthew knew I wanted this, and he also knew that I was having doubts about the viability of our relationship. So he had decided the best thing to do, was to make love with me tonight, physically showing me what he just couldn't verbalize to me. Matthew loved me, and he wanted me to stay. My wounded Captain, so afraid of hurting me, and so very terrified of losing me, was going to take this step before he was emotionally ready, just so I wouldn't leave him. When we made love together, I wanted it to happen because he wanted it, not because Matthew thought I was getting impatient with his healing process. Still his hand was slowly caressing me, and I tried to keep my sanity, which I found out, is very damn hard to do when someone is busy playing with your nipples.

"Matthew." I gasped that while he sucked on my nipple. Carefully, carefully, I had to stop this. RIGHT NOW.

"Yes, John." His hands were continuing to wander, and I realized... that I really, really didn't want him to stop. But he wasn't ready for this. His mouth was on my neck, gently nuzzling it, and I suddenly realized that I wanted nothing more than to start kissing him back. If I didn't stop it right now, the two of us would end up doing something that Matthew would probably regret immediately afterwards. Matthew trusted me, and I knew this wasn't right.

"STOP. You better stop for a minute. Now. I really want this. I really do. But... are you honestly, ready for this step? Ask yourself if you are, because if you're not, you better stop right now."

Matthew thought about it for a long minute, and the fact that he pondered about it for so long, told me that he realized that he wasn't emotionally or mentally strong enough to take the next step. I was slightly disappointed. Ok, very disappointed, and quite aroused to boot. Regretfully, I moved his hand from where I would have been rather content for him to have kept it.

"Matt. Stop pushing so hard. I'm not going anywhere."

"What if you don't want to wait? It's been months, John. And I still see them, think of what they did to me, and I just want to be normal again."

"In time, I promise you. I will make it up to you. But not now; your scars aren't fully healed as the wounds are too deep. I'm sorry. I really... wanted... tonight."

"So did I," he whispered.

That night we talked quietly about many things, lying side by side in my bed. Matthew hesitantly asked me how my meeting with Jones had gone, and I had assured him that things had gone quite well. She hadn't picked up anything in her scan that was considered a violation of psi-EF rules. It wasn't a lie, as what she had picked up was actually a violation of the unwritten rule of Telepaths and Mundanes being involved. Matthew sighed, and asked me if I was telling him everything? Or was I forgetting something?

"She came into my office, and tried to scan me. I taped the entire thing so if she tried anything. They'll find out that she tried to do an unauthorized scan on me. God. It brought... *everything*... back." Then Matthew whispered "I'd... understand if you... didn't want to continue...our relationship. So you wouldn't have to hide... it... from Jones."

"Matt. Are you being too protective again?" I was annoyed, as Matthew was trying to push me away, thinking that I was a child, and needed to be protected. Lord, one moment he was seducing me, and then the next minute he was trying to push me away.

"Am not."

"Are too. Do you always overprotect your lovers?"

"I'm always protective of my XO's." His voice grew soft, and I knew he was going to tease me. "Especially since I've slept with every single one of them. Even the forty-seven I went through when you were out exploring the galaxy with Makam, the fire breathing Dragon Space Captain." Matthew often asked me about my tour of duty with Makam, and he apparently enjoyed my impersonations of those foolish enough to have gotten on her bad side. Now, his voice was soft, and pensive. "I have to make things right with those poor guys, I do." My scared lover sighed softly, and I knew that he was heading toward another period of severe depression.

"Including Mackenzie?" I was going to tease him right back, trying to keep him from that pit of depression at his feet. I knew he and Mackey hadn't gotten along. Mackey was humorless and he had been completely by the book, which had given Gideon fits.

"I use to dominate Mackey all the time. Slapped him around a few times, and he lost that damn attitude of his." His voice was sleepy, and I curled up next to him.

"Go to sleep, Matt. Sleep tight. We'll face tomorrow, together, ok?"

"Just so nervous that I'll hurt you again... " Matthew whispered.

I kissed my fingers, and touched his cheek. "Stop trying to push me away, I'm just as stubborn as you are. I'm not leaving."

"I'm so ashamed. I've been absolutely horrible to my crew lately. What must they think of me? They must be ashamed of having me as their Captain. They deserve better than me."

That was a new thought from Matthew, and maybe that's what had precipitated his mood swing, so I questioned him softly.

"Do you really want to know what they're thinking?" I asked him that softly.

He sighed. "It's probably not very flattering."

"You are right. They are ashamed." Matthew moaned softly, tried to hide it, and I continued to talk to him, trying to let my words score on him. "They're ashamed of themselves. They're ashamed and horrified that their Captain was abducted right under their nose. That the Dya had to come in and rescue you because the Excalibur crew just wasn't sufficient. Every Goddamn one of them is ashamed that another Captain had to come in with HER crew and HER people to rescue THEIR Captain. Makam didn't have the time to be diplomatic, so she put every one of her people that she knew and trusted in whatever position the Excalibur needed. O'Neill was the head of the rescue team; St. John was the one that re-wired the ship, Zbignewski, Chen, Andersen and the rest. So this rather fierce Captain Makam came in, breathing fire, I might add, and quickly decided that their best wasn't good enough for her. So she took over."

"She didn't mean it to come across that she believed that the Excalibur crew wasn't trying or that their best wasn't good enough, but she had to act quickly because we weren't sure if you were still alive or not. Makam's pretty smart so she realized that the Excalibur crew was embarrassed and humiliated. So while we were out rescuing you, she went around and talked to every department, trying to make them feel better about what they had managed to accomplish."

"It didn't work though. Not at all, because when their Captain came back, he couldn't look them in eyes. So they thought that it was because they failed HIM, not because the Captain thought that he had failed his crew. Or that he was ashamed of what happened to him, because he believed for some reason, that he deserved it and that it just proved that he was a horrible person who didn't deserve their respect and their concern."

"So... Let me assure you, my Captain, that your crew thinks they failed you. Galen believes it because he wasn't there when you needed him. Eilerson believes it as he hadn't managed to locate where you were being held before the Dya showed up, and he still believes it, because he was on the away team when you over did it, causing you to get two stress fractures in your leg. Sarah believes it because she offered to oversee your medical care and Makam ordered her to stay with the Excalibur. And Dureena believes that she failed you, like she believes she failed so many other people in her life, simply because she didn't trust O'Keefe from the get-go."

"And... I believed I failed you."


"Because I left the Excalibur because of what happened between us. If it hadn't happened, or if I hadn't left, O'Keefe never would have been on board, damn it."

Matthew was silent for a while, and I let him ponder what I had said to him, hoping that he heard what I said to him.

"I'll start talking to the departments tomorrow. And I really better talk to my senior staff and tell them everything."

Matthew had an informal get together with his senior staff the next day in his quarters. It took an extreme act of courage for him to do so, but he began by thanking them for putting up with him since he had returned to the Excalibur. He stumbled for a bit, as though fearing Galen's and Eilerson's silver edged tongues, but the two men had been forewarned by me to keep their comments to a minimum during this meeting. Matthew talked to them for over an hour, telling them exactly what happened to him planetside, about his long rehabilitation, that he was undergoing counseling, and the fact that the trial date had been set.

"So, right now, I'm reliving everything, because once I get on the witness stand, it's going to be ugly. What I really wanted to say was... I know some of you have this feeling that you failed me. That for some reason, you have it in your heads that your best wasn't good enough and that somehow what occurred to me was due to your inability. It wasn't. Your best far exceeds my best, which is why I know this crew will find the Cure for the Plague. Now, just put up with me for a while longer, and if I'm too cranky, let me know."

"Absolutely." That was Dureena who gave Matthew a fond smile.

"Diplomatically." Matthew threw that back at her, and the group laughed softly.

"Darn." Eilerson mumbled.

It took several months before he'd kiss me. Our first real kiss was awkward, and I "heard" him curse mentally when our noses bumped. Matthew was rather annoyed when I laughed. It was rather funny, after all, two grown men, both EF Officers, trying to figure out where to put everything together. He was embarrassed, and I realized that he was still rather hesitant about our physical relationship. Matthew was willing to face a Drakh unarmed, but kissing me scared the hell out of him. But his fear of intimacy was not only because of his kidnapping, but also because of what had happened between us.

"John. He's carrying a lot of guilt on his shoulders because of your relationship." Sheila had sighed during one of our chats. "He won't tell me why, and of course, I know you won't. But it's making it hard to treat him. Matt's getting annoyed as I won't release him from counseling yet. The others are quite happy with the progress he made, but I'm not. He's repressing too much."

"You're a tough taskmaster." I had told her, and she had laughed.

"I pride myself on it. Now, you will start practicing kissing and nothing else for a while. You are to not to touch him, and no massaging of his aching feet... No matter how he complains that his feet hurt, and that he really would like you to massage his... feet, you're not to touch him." The look she gave me was wicked, and I blushed.

I interrupted. "He told you?"

"Matheson." She sighed. "I know things about you that would embarrass you. By the way, blushing makes you absolutely adorable. Just take a word of advice from me. Around this part of the curriculum, Matthew might decide that he wants to... consummate your relationship, especially since you're beyond the petting stage. By all means, go right ahead, and enjoy it, as long as MATTHEW'S the one that decided that he wants to make love. If he doesn't make a move, you're to continue the way I instructed you earlier. If we get to stage number four in which you do nothing but pleasure him, and he isn't ready to jump you in the hallways after three months of that, we'll have to get out the really big guns for stage five. Trust me, you'll enjoy it, though Matthew might be a little stunned." Sheila giggled loudly, while I stared at her in horror. She was EVIL.

Now it was time again for our "homework." Honestly, I rather enjoyed the assignments especially the one suggestion about the ice cubes. I leaned forward, and I tried kissing him. And again, we bumped our noses. Giving him a wide grin, I was heartened by the fact that he was now grinning at me, shyly.

"I feel like I'm back in junior high again" he whispered. "Trying to figure out how to do this. Don't move."

"Is that an order?" I asked quietly.

A kiss was my only answer. It was a gentle touch as our lips met, and he suddenly pulled back. "Sorry," he whispered. Watching Matthew while he was rubbing his hands through his hair, I realized again, how nervous he was with our relationship.

Step by tentative step, our relationship continued. After we were comfortable with kissing, I was going to be the one to take the next step. It was a rather big step as I was going to ... Well. Take advantage of him. Sheila had decided that for this step, it would be best if I was the one to initiate it.

"Don't allow him to touch you. You can touch him, but he simply isn't allowed to touch you. Matthew can't be in charge of this, as he's got to understand the simple fact that he is not the dominant lover in this relationship. He's got to trust you enough to let you pleasure him. I understand that he's a little bit more experienced that you are."

"Don't try to prove anything to him. Matheson, remember to think erotic. Don't think you have to try something terribly exotic, as it would probably make him rather jumpy. Restraining him to the bedposts and dripping wax on various body parts is most assuredly NOT an option right now. I shouldn't mention this, but I think he's having a severe case of performance anxiety. Stage fright, if you will. Be gentle, Matheson."

I refrained from adding how much more Gideon was experienced in the matters of sex. Sheila knew enough and didn't need to know everything.

"Look, I know that... Matthew's your first serious relationship."

"Oh God. He told you?" I was embarrassed, but Sheila quickly reassured me.

"No, it's just you're so intent on doing everything perfectly for him. It's obvious to me that you care deeply for him. You two gentlemen have told me separately, that you want an equal partnership in this relationship. Matt's a Starship Captain, and sometimes we have the ability to completely overwhelm the personality of whomever we're involved with. He's also said a few things that makes me think that perhaps your first time was a little..." Sheila waved her hands, and I was glad she didn't finish her sentence.

"He didn't know, and I didn't tell him."

"Oh. So he feels guilty about that, so that's why you're going to be the one to take this step. Matt would probably put it off as long as he could, just because he's scared of hurting you again."

I couldn't help but think that if Matthew was having performance anxiety, then I was in the midst of a full-blown crisis. I had absolutely no experience in seducing someone. NONE.

"Good luck. And I don't need to mention the fact to you that I don't recommend you "sharing" with him. Not yet." Sheila was warning me not to share my Telepathic sensations with Matthew. I agreed softly, as she smiled. "Soon, it will be soon."

I walked into his office, and I overrode the lock on the door. We were scheduled for a meeting of several hours, and I had decided that it was time to take the next step. Discussing the needs for crew roster changes, I noticed that Matthew was favoring one shoulder. He was rubbing it during our conversation and I noticed that he was sitting stiffly.

"You over did it in the gym, didn't you?" I asked him dryly.

"Somewhat. My left shoulder's rather tight." Matthew admitted that to me, waiting for the lecture to begin. Both Sarah and I had been yelling at him for overdoing it for so long that it had become second nature to the three of us. We'd bluster and yell and he'd ignore us. He was surprised when I kept my mouth shut, so he gave me a questioning look.

"Why don't you lie on the floor, and I'll massage it for you?" Nervously, I gave him an innocent smile. "If you want, I'll give you a full body massage."

"Is this Sheila's idea?" His look was bemused, and I grinned. Matthew had been somewhat uncomfortable with the fact that I was talking to Sheila, originally, but he had learned to accept it as Sheila kept matters strictly private among all her clients. Including me.

"No. But if you want, I'll call her." Offering that idea helpfully, I waited for his response.

"Fuck Sheila," he retorted.

"She might be interested if you ask nicely." I was amazed when Gideon blushed slightly. "Just another service she offers." I said dryly. "She's kind of attractive, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind. Can I watch so I can pick up some pointers?"

"You've really picked up a tremendous amount of bad habits from Makam. I don't remember you ever being sarcastic before you joined the Dya."

I didn't say anything as he stripped off his black jacket. With a wicked smile, he undid his belt, and he took off his pants. From somewhere he got out a blanket, and he laid it on the floor, then positioned himself face down on the blanket. He was only wearing his boxers, and I smiled slightly. Nervously, I carefully knelt next to him, and I began to massage his shoulders carefully, glad that I had thought ahead and brought a small container of massage lotion. I wasn't going to straddle his body as that would probably have made him nervous. Instead, this was just going to be a massage, nothing more. Or maybe not?

"You're really tight, Matthew. This could take a while." Concentrating on the knots that were painfully tight, I felt him sigh softly. "Relax. Enjoy this."

I massaged his back for some time, and I knew that he was getting drowsy from the way his voice was sounding. Concentrating on his shoulders, which led naturally to his arms, his back then to his legs... and then... to his feet. I knew that Matt couldn't resist that. Soon, I was whispering at him to roll over, and he agreed to it sleepily.

Deliberately, I covered his chest with the massage oil, and I massaged him carefully, slowly, and I knew he was getting aroused. He was looking at me with his hazel eyes, and I saw that Matthew really wanted this. Leaning over, I kissed him, softly, and I felt Matt move his arms to try and touch me.

"No. None of that tonight. Tonight is completely and totally for you. If you're the slightest bit uncomfortable, and you want me to stop, tell me. I'll stop right then and there. Ok?" I looked at him intently, and I waited for his response. God, I was so nervous! He nodded, and I kissed him again while continuing to stroke his chest. "It's a good thing you have the blanket. Else they'd wonder what the stain on the rug is."

"Gideon's jerking off on the rug again," he answered me softly. "Poor lonely Captain, always lying on the floor of his office, masturbating like hell, yelling about firing his main gun when he comes. Always leaves the mess for housekeeping to clean."

"As long as he's not having a torrid affair with his first officer. So…" I drawled carefully, enjoying the fact that I was teasing him with my fingers. "Gideon likes lying on the floor?"

"He's always on the floor, wishing that someone like Dureena or Sarah would come in at the right time." He whispered that, and slightly moaned when I began licking his nipple. "Or Galen. One wonders about if it's true about Technomages."

Deliberately, I sucked on his nipple and I felt his hand move to touch me. "No. Don't. Matthew, else I'll stop."

"Please, don't you stop." His voice was a whisper, and I began teasing his other nipple, gently biting it.

"What's the rumor about Mages?" I questioned.

"Bigger the cloak, bigger the staff." Matthew was gasping softly, and I focused on what I was doing which was rubbing my tongue over his nipple.

"The bigger the ego." My shielding was so tight that I wasn't sure that he was really enjoying this.

"That too. But actually, Gideon, lies on the floor a lot, and wishes for one specific person to drop by and see what's up." He moved his hands, and I realized that he wasn't going to touch me. Instead, he was holding his hands next to his face and rubbing them against his face.

I was stroking his stomach, and I realized that I was really enjoying my chance to play with Matthew. I enjoyed it especially because he couldn't do a damn thing except relax and enjoy. Hopefully. "So, who does the Captain want to show his main gun off to?" My hand was sliding down beneath his waistband. "The Gunnery Sergeant?" Gently, I touched him, and I felt him gasp in response.

"No." I could barely hear him as he was whispering softly.

"The head of security?" Carefully, I wrapped my hand around his erection.


"Is it his XO?" I teased him slightly.

"No... "

"Really? I think Gideon should know that his XO has a crush on him." I was trying to tease him, and he smiled at my efforts.

"Not John." He whispered that at me shyly, and I grinned at him. "John's too respectable to ever think of seducing his Captain."

"Yes, I'm afraid that John's a rather bad boy. Secretly his XO loves it when Gideon is standing at attention." I squeezed him gently, enjoying his gasp. "Firmly." Squeeze. "Erect." Squeeze. "John delights in the fact that he's got such a hands on Captain." I squeezed him hard and I felt his body shift. "But you're telling me, Gideon doesn't want to show his main gun off to his XO."

"Nooo..." he whispered that.

"Who then?" I squeezed him softly, and he again gasped. "Dureena?" Squeeze. "Sarah?" I squeezed him harder, felt tingles in my back when he gasped in response. "I know. EILERSON!"


"So, you're telling me Eilerson drops by to see Gideon showing off his main gun?" I regrettably moved my hand from his body, and I began tugging at his underwear. Matthew shifted his weight slightly allowing me to slide his underwear from his waist.

"Y-y-es. He's... rather impressed by the caliber."

"I am too, to be honest."

He laughed softly at me.

His erection freed, I carefully kissed it, and I heard Matthew gasp softly again. He had complained about me being quiet the first time and now he wasn't being very vocal either! "So, I suppose Eilerson shows off his linguist's skills to the masturbating captain."

"Yes. It's all... in the tongue... and mouth Max says."

Using my tongue and my lips on Matthew, I taunted him carefully, and I felt him trembling in desire. I teased him for some time, delaying and prolonging his release, until he came softly. With a long sigh, and I was delighted. I kissed my way back up to his face, and whispered "That sounded like you really enjoyed it. Did you?"

"Yes... and no..." Matthew admitted.

I was obviously disappointed, and Matthew sighed. "Absolutely incredible for me, but ... not so good for you."

"In time, but you need to relearn to enjoy this before you worry about me enjoying it."

I had known from the minute that he had grinned shyly at me and offered to massage my shoulder what John was planning. Sheila had warned me repeatedly that Matheson was going to be the one to take the relationship beyond the hand holding and kissing stage, and I had been upset. I owed John an absolutely incredible experience after our first time together, and Sheila had told me bluntly that it wasn't going to be my turn to lead.

We had been talking together in person, quietly, in my office, when she had told me that news. She and I had been in counseling for almost nine months now, and occasionally she'd "drop" in to say "Hello" to her favorite "Space Case." My face had fallen slightly, and she had given me a penetrating look. "What's the problem, Matt?"

"I... was hoping that I'd be the one?" I whispered that softly.

"Why? You get to lie back and relax while John has to do all the hard work." Sheila had smirked that comment at me, until she took a look at my eyes. She had gotten quite good at reading my facial expressions, and my counselor turned serious. "Seriously, what's the problem?"

"I'm... a little bit more experienced than he is, so I was hoping." I had paused for a bit, and I was grateful she was letting me take my time to finish what I wanted to say. "It's been a rather tumultuous relationship, so I... want it to be... I... owe him... I really... need... " I gave her a gesture that meant that I wasn't going to say anything more, and she leaned back in her chair. I needed to make sure our next time together was incredible for him. In fact, I had already decided that I would make sure that John was completely satisfied after we had made love. Why the hell was she shaking her head in disapproval?

Sheila reached over and squeezed my hand, softly. "Funny, I think he might feel the same way. You've got to learn to trust, Matt, especially in the realm of sexuality. Here's the plan. When he decides that it's the right time to take things further, you can't do a damn thing except talk to him. No touching, my Captain. After all you've been through, you don't need the added pressure of having to perform for him. Neither on the first time, nor the second... or possibly even for weeks... or maybe even months. So, no touching. That's an order!"

"None?" My voice was plaintive, and she flashed me her quick grin.

"None. He'll stop everything if you even try. So, you have to relax and enjoy what he does to you."

We had argued about her plan for a bit, until I unfortunately gave into her demands. That had been a few weeks ago, and now I was resting after John's intensive efforts. He had kissed his way back up to his face, and whispered "That sounded like you really enjoyed it. Did you?"

"Yes... and no..." I admitted. Looking at his face, I could tell that John was obviously disappointed, and I sighed. "Absolutely incredible for me, but ... not so good for you." I whispered that softly, and he smiled at me. I hadn't seen him smile like that in years.

"In time, but you need to relearn to enjoy this before you start to worry about me enjoying it." John kissed me gently and he noticed that I was rather drowsy, so he covered me with the blanket. "Go to sleep, Matt."

Several months later.

I was lightly dozing in my bed, when suddenly I heard him walk over to the bed. Silently, he stripped, and then crawled into the bed next to me. Carefully, and slowly he kissed my neck, and I turned to face him. "Matthew?" I asked softly, "Tonight?" and Matthew nodded his head. We kissed hesitantly for a bit, and he broke away.

"Please, John, share your thoughts with me. I need to know that... you're enjoying this, completely." His voice was extremely soft and gentle, and I realized that I hadn't heard that tone in his voice for the longest of times.

And I need to know that you're completely ready for this. I sent to him.

That night, Matthew showed me what happens when two people who loved each other make love physically, and I taught him how to make love mind to mind. It was... incredible, sharing my mind and body with the only person I have ever loved, and that it is all I will ever say about it.

Even to Sheila.

{Characters} {Introduction} {1 None So Blind} {2 Kshatriya} {3 Bingo, the Invisible Fish, and Starship Captain} {4 Because Warlocks Can't FLY} {5 Prayaschitta} {6 Let the Captain Have Some Dignity} {7 Epiphany} {8 Biases} {9 Moksha} {10 The Three Graces}

Witches Familiars

{Mistress Sarah}

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