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TITLE: "Finding Joy"
AUTHOR: Aenea
RATING: NC-17, very explicit f/f sex.
PAIRING: Zhaan/Aeryn
SUMMARY: Zhaan learns something new about Aeryn, and Aeryn just learns
something new....
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, just write completely implausible
fic about them. :P Story copyright 1999, Aenea.
FEEDBACK: Appreciated, but please be gentle. [email protected]

Aeryn Sun was feeling restless. Restless and most of all simply
exhausted, but every time she lay down she was just tossing and turning,
unable to relax her brain or her body for even a microt. It was late
night, and none of the others she was sure was awake at all. Not
that she wanted to be with them, not at the moment. The day's battle
had taken a lot out of all of them.

Battle. She exhaled slowly. Battle was not the right word--disaster
was better. Ambushed on a commerce planet, separated from each other
and from their transport pods, she'd been frantic to find them before
the PeaceKeepers did.

Fighting her own people was the worst of it, she supposed, rising
again from her bed and pacing the room. Even after all these weekens
she couldn't get used to that feeling of being their enemy. Life
had always been divided into neat categories, the simplest being
'us' and 'them'. 'They' were whoever PeaceKeeper command ordered
them to kill. Kill the enemy, meet the objective, obey your superiours,
watch your own back and the backs of your comrades.

Aeryn had grown close to her new comrades, but she still didn't entirely
trust them and didn't suppose she ever would. Zhaan, D'Argo, Rygel
and Chianna were as likely to abandon her as not if they had a chance
to get home--unlike Crichton, she had no illusions on that score.
Crichton would give up his chance to go home to save any of them--but
he wasn't a soldier and he tended to bound in against all common
sense and try to talk his way out of a situation. She snorted
softly. Talking.

She heard a light footstep behind her and turned, ready to snap at
the intruder.

"Aeryn," Zhaan's voice was soft with concern, "Are you having trouble
sleeping?"

Aeryn shut her mouth in surprise. "You're awake too?" She blurted,
too tired to even resort to her habitual reserve.

Zhaan smiled and padded quietly into the room on bare feet. "Meditation
has replenished my body and my mind."

Aeryn nodded curtly. Meditation wasn't something she was good at
or even understood. On a command carrier, there was always something
going on, somewhere to be or someone to talk to. She was not by
nature
reflective--it was what made her a good soldier. And she *had* been
good, Aeryn reminded herself grimly, one of the best. "I don't meditate."

Her blue head tilted and she regarded Aeryn quizzically. "I didn't
suggest that you should."

"Was there something you wanted?"

Zhaan stepped closer. "I wanted to thank you," she said quietly,
"for coming back for me today. You did not have to"

"Don't bother to thank me."

"Perhaps I should leave." Zhaan turned to go.

"I didn't mean that." Aeryn shook her head, suddenly apologetic.
"I just miss my home." She looked away, swallowing hard, when Zhaan's
gentle fingers touched her bare arm. The touch was compassionate,
and in spite of her best instincts Aeryn found herself opening up
to the woman. "We never thanked each other for something like that,"
she continued, "I'd save your life, you'd save mine...there were
no
obligations. I never," she swallowed again, "had to wonder if they
wouldn't be there."

Zhaan's hand rubbed Aeryn's shoulder, seeking to give the young soldier
reassurance she so desperately needed. "I, too, miss the comfort
of being with my own kind. Shared experiences--the same biological
needs, the same cultural rules and wants--make communication so much
easier. But joy can also come from celebrating our differences,
Aeryn."

"I'm learning that, I suppose." She looked down at the floor, her
dark hair falling forward around her face. "The hardest part is...is..."

Zhaan stepped closer, her sheer blue robe and the tips of her blue
toes coming into Aeryn's field of vision. "Go on."

"The hardest part," she took a deep breath, trying to stem the flood
of emotion, "is that you will go home someday. I won't. I'm too
different now. Even if they welcomed me back, I'd never just fit
in with them again."

Zhaan pressed her fingers under Aeryn's chin and lifted the young
woman's face up to the light. "You have a hard road to walk, Aeryn,
one that I do not envy you. Khalaan's blessing be upon you." She
leaned in and pressed her lips to Aeryn's, sealing the blessing.

Aeryn closed her eyes, shocked at the unexpected kiss and the flush
of heat that rushed through her. She stilled her body, not daring
to let Zhaan see her reaction. Same-sex pairings were not unknown
among the PeaceKeepers, and were as easily accepted as heterosexual
couples. When you lived, ate, slept, and fought with your comrades,
there was little room for secrets and even less room for inhibitions.
Aeryn had
just never expected her own reaction to Zhaan's innocent kiss. To
Zhaan.

The priestess pulled back a little, her face thoughtful.

"Th-thank you," Aeryn stammered, and then blushed that she was stammering.

The blue hand cupped her chin, ringed fingers brushing her cheek.
Aeryn forced herself to meet Zhaan's suddenly knowing blue eyes
and immediately wished she hadn't as her cheeks heated with another
blush. It must be nice to be Delvian, she thought frantically, because
you don't turn such an obvious shade of beet red when you're embarrassed--a
little purple, maybe, but not bright red.

The hand cupping her face slowly slid down to her throat, then gracefully
lifted Aeryn's heavy hair and slid underneath, coming at last to
rest on the back of her neck. Zhaan's other hand was flat on Aeryn's
waist, just under her ribcage. The priestess closed the distance
between them and pressed her mouth to Aeryn's.

The second kiss was definitely not innocent. Zhaan kissed her slowly,
confidently, coaxing Aeryn's mouth open with her tongue and nibbling
on Aeryn's lower lip. Aeryn tried to remain still but Zhaan seemed
to be bringing all 800 cycles of experience to bear in that one seductive
kiss. Aeryn's toes curled as another wave of desire washed through
her, centering low in her belly.

Aeryn angled her body closer to Zhaan's, fingers tangling in the
soft blue robe. Her tongue licked the inside of Zhaan's lower lip,
searching for Zhaan's own tongue. The tips met, tasting, massaging,
as the kiss lingered on and on. Khalaan, Aeryn thought, I can *taste*
her, I'm tasting Zhaan, smelling her, and I don't want to stop.
The Pau's skin was soft on her own as Zhaan licked her way along
the line of Aeryn's jaw to her ear. She paused there, holding Aeryn,
her
breath leaving faint cool trails along skin she'd moistened with
her lips and tongue and teeth.

"I had not thought," Zhaan said, her voice low and husky, "that you
were open to such experience." The tip of her tongue ran down Aeryn's
jugular to the sensitive hollow spot between neck and collar bone.
She blew air gently on the tender area, swirled her tongue around
it and then licked her way back up to Aeryn's earlobe.

Aeryn's eyes fluttered shut. "Yes, well, I am," seemed like such
a lame response; "Don't stop," revealed way too much of herself;
and an
incoherent mumble was definitely out of the question.

Zhaan, smiling mischievously, nibbled the tip of Aeryn's ear and
then flicked it with her tongue.

Aeryn gave up and mumbled something incoherent. The hot, wet place
between her thighs was definitely hotter and wetter. She tightened
her thigh muscles, rubbing the lips of her sex together, enjoying
the friction. Her fingers untangled themselves from Zhaan's robe
and pushed upward, cupping the woman's lush breasts. She lifted
them a little, hearing Zhaan sigh with pleasure, and rubbed her thumbs
across the nipples. They tightened.

Aeryn pressed her fingers over the nipples and began to manipulate
them lightly, using the friction of the cloth to give Zhaan added
pleasure. Letting go of the sensitive peaks, she slid her hands up
over them.
Zhaan's nipples traced circular patterns over Aeryn's palms. I'm
going to make you mumble too, she thought, I won't be alone in that.

Zhaan arched her back, pushing her breasts into Aeryn's hands. Aeryn
let go and pressed her own breasts into Zhaan's, pulling the priestess
over for another deep kiss. As they slid together into the motions
of the kiss, their tongues languidly caressing, their bodies moved
closer, breast against breast, belly to belly, sex to sex.

The priestess nudged Aeryn back against the wall, still continuing
to kiss her. Aeryn was melting--she was sure of it--the cold wall
against her back, the warm woman in front, and every part in between
aching for Zhaan's touch. Her hands stroked Zhaan's back, then moved
lower, cupping her ass.

Zhaan's hands gripped Aeryn's wrists firmly and drew them up over
her head. The action lifted Aeryn's taut breasts high, stretching
her flat belly and causing her back to arch away from the wall.
Zhaan shifted
her grip then, holding Aeryn's wrists together in one hand; her other
hand stroked downward, caressing Aeryn's arms, sliding around to
her rib cage and then up under her black tee top. Spreading her ringed
fingers wide, Zhaan eased the top over the tops of Aeryn's breasts,
exposing them to the warm air.

Aeryn moaned then, pride giving way to heat and desire. Zhaan's admiring
gaze was like a physical caress as it swept over her, and she writhed
with the pleasure of it. Her eyes were half closed, her lower
lip caught between her teeth. Then Zhaan slid her hand down over
Aeryn's flat belly. She ran her fingers along the inside waistband
of Crichton's stolen underwear, and then paused, about to dip her
fingers down toward Aeryn's sex.

Aeryn's leg lifted and twined around Zhaan's hip, holding the priestess
against her.

Zhaan winced. "Aeryn..."

"Mm?"

"Would you mind taking your combat boots off before you do that?"

"What? Oh." Blushing--not from desire this time--Aeryn lowered her
leg. "Oh. Sorry."

Zhaan released her arms and stepped away from the younger woman,
who immediately sat on the bed and tugged her boots off. Aeryn placed
them at the head of the bed, tucking the laces neatly inside the
tops of the boots.

Aeryn's probably put her boots in that spot for cycle after cycle
while she was a PeaceKeeper, Zhaan thought gently. Some habits
were so ingrained that you didn't even notice them. Aeryn's preference
for
muted colors was one of those habits, she speculated, and also the
way she liked to have two or three weapons on her person at all times.
On the other hand, she wears her beautiful hair loose now, and she's
here with me...

Zhaan lowered herself to the edge of the bed and planted a kiss on
Aeryn's shoulder. "Have you been with a woman before, Aeryn?"

"Not unless you count my friend Davina. We were seventeen, just
before we graduated flight school, and she kissed me at our graduation
party. She was very beautiful. We'd been friends for about six cycles--"

Zhaan interrupted the former soldier's nervous chatter. "Was it
just one kiss?"

Aeryn stiffened a little, not looking at her. "No, we spent the
night together. Then I got selected for Pleisar Regiment, and she
went to New Stars, so--" she shrugged.

"Since Davina, you've been only with men?"

"Yes." Aeryn bit her lower lip, looking away from Zhaan. "Is there
something I'm...I mean, am I doing something wrong? Is that why you
want to know who I've been with?"

"Khalaan, no!" Zhaan hastened to reassure Aeryn, placing another
quick kiss on her shoulder. "I'm enjoying myself very much. I had
never thought you were interested in me, and wanted to make sure
you wouldn't regret this."

Aeryn looked down shyly. "No." Her voice was almost inaudible.
"I won't regret this."

Zhaan nodded. She wanted to know more but quizzing this woman about
her emotions would not help build the fragile trust between them.
She'd learned long ago to accept Aeryn at face value--she never
did anything she was uncomfortable with, and she revealed herself
slowly through her actions, not her words. Crichton had gone down
that path too many times and gotten blasted for his trouble for Zhaan
not to be aware of the peril in trying to make Aeryn talk.

Instead she slid her arm around the soldier's waist, pulling her
closer. The desire between them would need to be built again--slowly,
this time. They kissed; Zhaan controlled the pace, pulling away
a little when Aeryn tried to deepen the kiss too much, then pressing
back in to nibble on Aeryn's lower lip or taste her warm tongue.

Aeryn's thin fingers caressed Zhaan's cheek, following the path of
her pale blue freckles along the line of her jaw and down her neck.
Her hand then slid along Zhaan's shoulder to the catch of her robe
and released it. The robe fell partway open, exposing Zhaan's left
breast and hip and part of her sex.

Zhaan pulled away and stood up in front of Aeryn, the robe falling
the rest of the way open. Grabbing Aeryn's hand, she tugged the
young woman up also, smiling at Aeryn's openly admiring gaze. Aeryn's
hands cupped Zhaan's breasts again, skin on skin this time, and Zhaan
sighed with pleasure. Aeryn kissed Zhaan's lips, then nibbled along
the path her fingers had caressed earlier, and then lower, while
her fingers continued their manipulation of Zhaan's lush breasts.
She replaced fingers with mouth, suckling and teasing gently. Zhaan's
hands rested on her head, tangled in her thick hair, while Zhaan's
own head fell backward, eyes closed in desire, breathing hard.

Aeryn stepped back, her eyes roaming over the priestess' body. Those
pale blue freckles stopped around Zhaan's collar bone but picked
up again below her belly button, narrowing to a point just above
her sex and then flaring out over her thighs. Aeryn swallowed hard.
She was beautiful, exotic in a way that no Sebacean could ever be,
and Aeryn felt another flush of heat travel to her sex, felt moistness,
and
almost gasped with the strength of her own need.

She reached out with a tentative hand, less sure of herself suddenly.
How different was Zhaan? Aeryn wasn't sure that what would give
Sebaceans pleasure would work with this woman. Plus, Aeryn thought
frantically, she's over 800 cycles old. How can I compare to her
other lovers, any of whom are probably so much more experienced than
I am...

Aeryn steeled herself against her inner turmoil. She's enjoying
herself so far--just look at her, and besides she said she was enjoying
this. Aeryn cupped Zhaan's sex with one hand, her other resting
on the curve of Zhaan's hip. She felt heat and wet warmth in her
palm, and her own sex responded with answering heat. She pushed
carefully inside the hairless lips with one finger, exploring gently.

Zhaan pulled her close for another kiss, moaning into Aeryn's mouth.

So you like that, Aeryn thought, sucking on Zhaan's tongue. She
slid her finger up to Zhaan's clitoris and then added a second finger,
opening the lips to flick the nub. Zhaan's hips twitched against
her hands and the priestess moaned again, her hands roaming over
Aeryn's still clothed body. Aeryn ended the kiss, sucking in oxygen.

Zhaan took advantage of the moment by lifting Aeryn's arms over her
head and stripping off the black tee top. Aeryn's breasts slid completely
free of their confinement and Zhaan held Aeryn close, enjoying the
feel of Aeryn's breasts on her own. Her blue hands
gripped Aeryn's underwear and yanked them down to her knees, then
she pushed the young woman backward till the back of her knees were
against the edge of the bed.

Aeryn sat down, pulled her underwear all the way off
and lay on the bed.

Zhaan admired her for a long moment--the firm breasts, nipples taut
with desire, the scoop of her waist and hips, the tangle of black
hair between her legs. Aeryn grinned, noting the priestess' appreciative
gaze, and ran her own hands down her waist to her sex. Spreading
her thighs, she opened the lips of her sex for Zhaan to see.

Zhaan sat on the bed near Aeryn's feet and ringed her ankles with
butterfly kisses. Her hands and tongue stroked the curves of Aeryn's
muscular calves, and she licked and kissed her way to Aeryn's knees.
Her tongue swirled around Aeryn's kneecap.

Aeryn's hips twitched, fingers of one hand still holding her sex
open for Zhaan while one finger massaged her clitoris. Gripping
the inside of Aeryn's knees, Zhaan pushed her legs up and apart,
exposing more of that pink sex to the air. She ran her tongue along
to the upper part of Aeryn's thigh and bit gently. Khalaan help
me, she thought, she smells so good, I wonder how she tastes.

She stuck her tongue out and pushed the tip of it between Aeryn's
lips, sliding it along the folds and crevices and then up to the
nub. Her ringed fingers ran around the outside of Aeryn's vagina
and then pressed up and in. She suckled Aeryn's nub, then licked,
hearing Aeryn's cries with satisfaction. Aeryn's hips bucked against
her, seeking the source of the pleasure. Zhaan continued licking,
enjoying
Aeryn's uninhibited response.

Aeryn cried out, back arching as she came, her sex tightening around
Zhaan's fingers. Zhaan continued the manipulation for a few more
microts, eliciting the last ounce of pleasure from her new lover.

Zhaan moved up on the bed next to Aeryn, leaning in for a quick kiss.
Aeryn's body was limp, relaxed. Zhaan smiled and pulled Aeryn over
on her side so that her arm was draped across Zhaan's waist and her
head was resting on Zhaan's shoulder. Aeryn lifted her head for
another quick kiss. "Give me a few microts," she said softly, "and
we'll take care of you, too."

Zhaan shook her head. "Not tonight. The others will be waking up
soon I think."

"Oh." Aeryn sighed, disappointed. "I very much wanted you to enjoy
yourself too."

Zhaan's tender smile broadened. "I did enjoy myself. Very much.
Besides, there's tomorrow night...if you're willing."

"Mm-hmmm," she agreed enthusiastically, nestling into Zhaan's shoulder,
her eyes closing. They lay in silence for a little while, and Aeryn
drifted off into sleep.

Zhaan eased softly out from underneath Aeryn's body and clothed herself,
then turned and drew the blankets up over Aeryn's shoulders. The
last thing she'd need was to wake up with D'Argo or Crichton or--Khalaan
forbid--Rygel finding her naked in the morning.

She paused on the way out of the chamber to glance back at her new
lover. Over 800 cycles old, she thought, and every day still brings
something new, and every person I meet still manages to surprise
me. She understood Aeryn's desire to go home, to fit in, but hoped
too that Aeryn might eventually realize that sometimes the greatest
joy lay when you crossed the comfortable threshold and found out
what lay on the
other side.

Zhaan hoped she could be a part of that joy for Aeryn. Still smiling,
she stepped through the door and began the slow walk back to her
quarters. She had thanks to give to the Goddess.


    

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