I don't know exactly who these characters belong to, but it's definitely not me; I'm just playin' around with 'em. This is just what I think should happen to them. Please don't sue. All I have is my CD collection and my stuffed Pat the Bunny.

This story's set right after the episode "Harper 2.0".

Patience and Preparation
by Maya Tawi


He still wasn't used to the quiet.

In his days with his pride, Tyr Anasazi had always been surrounded by others- living together, fighting side by side, stabbing each other in the back. Then after the Kodiak there had been life as a mercenary, involving a great deal of fighting and not much time to relax and contemplate. He certainly wouldn't admit it, but sometimes, on the Andromeda, he just didn't know what to do with himself. Not that there wasn't plenty of excitement to be had, what with their captain and his foolish quest constantly landing the entire crew on the bad side of somebody new every few days; it was simply the ship was so large that when there was down time, if he wasn't lingering in the main controls room with Beka and the others, Tyr was practically guaranteed solitude.


Tyr stopped and shook his head to clear it. He'd just passed one of Andromeda's main engine rooms, which were usually empty under most circumstances. Except he was sure that he'd just seen someone in there, and now that he listened, he could hear faint, vaguely familiar grunts....

Slowly, he took a step back, his eyes glued to the entrance of the engine room.

Yes. There was Harper, the ship's annoying engineer, who at last account had been slumbering like the dead in his own quarters. Exactly where Tyr had deposited him, in fact, after carrying him all the way back onto the Andromeda. Harper was certainly awake now, dressed in his work pants and an uncharacteristically tight black shirt. He had his force lance extended and was blocking, striking, and parrying at the air with a tremendous amount of fury-fueled strength but, unfortunately, not a great deal of skill.

Tyr watched for another moment, then asked curiously, "Who are you fighting?"

Harper spun around with a startled yelp, levelling out the lance at a force that probably would have taken Tyr's head off, if he'd been standing directly in front of the human. And if he was about three feet tall.

"Whoa! Hey!" Harper paused, catching his breath. "Knock!"

Tyr just continued to stare, and after another moment Harper said shortly, "I'm practicing, smart ass." He turned away, stepping back and starting to block and twirl again, though his movements now had the overly conscious stiffness of an unwilling performer. Or prey.

"Practicing," Tyr echoed flatly. The physically inferior engineer was one of the last people he would have expected to find engaged in weapons practice. Except perhaps for the peace-loving Magog. Even the purple girl had attempted to learn how to fight once, though she had only succeeded in brusing her foot on Tyr's chest.

Harper shot a particularly vicious jab at his imaginary opponent's solar plexus. "Yeah. See, I'm sick of just screaming and running away and you guys having to come rescue me. The next time some musclebound Terminator-wannabe comes after me to dissect my head and get the library a dying Perseid just spit-fired into my brain, man, I'm gonna be ready for him."

"Well," Tyr said, "I suppose it's good to be prepared for that."

The lance twirled around in a spiral that looked fairly impressive but, unfortunately, would fail to accomplish much of anything else. "Prepared's my middle name, you know, not counting the one I already have. I'm like a freaking Cub Scout. I know fifteen different ways to tie a knot."

"Really." Tyr suddenly remembered one of the many reasons he never engaged the human in conversation; it was impossible to understand a word he said.

"Nah, probably not," Harper conceded, breathless as he spun around for another strike. "I could build you a robot that could, though, if you wanted. Is there an actual reason you're here?"

Tyr ignored the question, watching him carefully instead. Harper's face was uncharacteristically grim; his lips were pressed together in a tight, thin line, and his normally devilish blue eyes were narrowed and determined, focused on an enemy long since gone. His pale skin glistened with a thin sheen of sweat.

"You're leaving your left side unprotected when you strike," Tyr said abruptly. "You should keep your elbow down and turn your body to the side."

Harper whirled around, jabbing the staff towards Tyr's forehead. "Bite me, Anasazi."

He ignored that as well. "Also, your balance is off when you're blocking. Any strike of significant strength would-"

"Hey!" Harper's eyes were fire, twin cold blue infernos that, the Nietzschean realized suddenly, were very close to the edge. "Did I ask for pointers? No, I don't seem to recall doing that. You're free to go now."

"Fine," Tyr said calmly, turning to go. "Then I can only hope that the next time Jeger or somebody like him comes after you, you will have developed a much stronger pair of lungs."

He ducked just in time. A second later the force lance, hurled like a javelin with surprising strength and accuracy, was flying through the air where his head used to be. Unobstructed, it sailed through the door, hit the opposite wall of the hallway, and clattered to the floor. As soon as it stopped rolling the lance automatically retracted.

Slowly he stood and turned around; to his credit, Harper looked more defiant than afraid. The engineer scowled and folded his arms over his chest.

Tyr raised his eyebrows slightly, keeping the rest of his face expressionless. "That wasn't much of a training session."

Harper grabbed his tool belt from the floor and started to buckle it around his waist with short, furious movements. His eyes flickered back and forth between Tyr and the fallen force lance. "Hey, no offense, but the company's really starting to grate."

Tyr sauntered into the engine room, finally abandoning his post in the doorway, and noted neutrally the way Harper tensed back as he approached. "You know," he said, his voice thoughtful, "I don't recall ever giving you reason to personally dislike me."

Harper snorted. "Yeah, other than trying to kill us all, you mean?"

"That was business."

The human shrugged on his battered leather jacket. "You're a Nietzschean, pal," he said angrily. "You'd sell us all out in two seconds for a house with a white freaking picket fence and a genetically superior mate."

"Unlike your priest," Tyr said quietly, "I do not apologize for the innate nature of my species."

Harper glared up at him, red-faced and out of breath. "There's your problem right there."

Tyr stepped closer, taking his own force lance from his belt and extending it so it became another staff. He held it out to Harper. "I was not among those who invaded your home."

Harper dropped his jacket back onto the floor, then grabbed the staff and fell back into a defensive crouch, twirling the weapon in an intricate pattern. "Oh, yeah, and I guess if you'd been there, you wouldn't have gone along with it, right?" He lunged, bringing the staff up in a deadly arc towards Tyr's chin. "Seeing as you're so much more advanced than the rest-"

Tyr blocked the blow easily, catching the end of the staff and propelling it backwards, clipping Harper lightly in the ribs. "Actually," he said, as the engineer fell back to catch his breath, "the taking of Earth was an immense strategic gain for my people. Had I been in charge, I would have done exactly the same thing."

Harper scoffed, half-circling around him, the staff spinning between his fingers until it became a black blur. "And you're asking yourself now, 'Why aren't Harper and I best pals, chums, bosom buddies-'"

"Intent means nothing," Tyr growled, catching a wild strike and throwing it back contemptuously, not even bothering to counter-attack. "Only actions count."

"That's a direct quote from the Nietzschean handbook, right?" Harper recovered from the blocked attack, backing away warily and then coming back with a fast, relatively sophisticated one-two jab-slice. Tyr caught both effortlessly. "Right after the section on the proper way to torture lower beings?"

Tyr advanced and Harper automatically jerked back, a wild look in his narrowed eyes. Softly the Nietzschean said, "You're just like me."

For the briefest moment, the wildness turned to panic; then Harper exploded, bringing the staff around like a baseball bat, aiming for the fragile bones of Tyr's face.

This time, when Tyr blocked the attack, he didn't let go; instead he gripped Harper's wrists tightly above his head, until he felt the fragile bones grind together and the staff fell to the floor from nerveless hands. Harper's lips curled up into a sneer, revealing tightly clenched teeth; a low, pained hiss was the only sound he made.

In a low, dangerous purr, Tyr said quietly, "All advantages come to you through the disadvantages of others. Everything you have acquired through less than legal means is the loss of somebody else who might have treasured it. Would you go back and change that if you could?"

Harper squirmed fruitlessly, glaring, and spat, "There's a small difference between taking a few guilders' worth of supplies and stealing a freaking planet."

Tyr leaned even closer, until their faces were less than an inch apart, until he could feel Harper's warm, damp breath puffing on his face; could see the pulse jumping under the pale, flushed skin, much faster than normal; could smell the sweat of anger, of fear, and of something entirely different. In a quiet, barely audible voice, he whispered, "I appear to have won."

Then he kissed him. Harper's stiff surprise lasted only a second; then he seemed to melt, returning the kiss with an incredible heat and force. Tyr's grip loosened, and his hands slid down Harper's upraised arms, resting lightly on the soft skin of his inner arm, just above the elbow.

And then suddenly Harper was shaking him off, pushing him away, scrubbing his face with unsteady hands. The panicked look was back. "Wait. Just- wait," he said breathlessly. "What the hell was that? We can't- damn it, you're a-"

Tyr planted his hands against the wall on either side of Harper's head, trying to maintain his composure despite the liquid heat currently unfolding deep in his gut. "I'm a what?"

Harper licked his lips. "You're a Nietzschean," he said softly.

Coolly Tyr said, "And you are human. If I can lower myself to-"

Harper shoved at his chest with surprising force. "Lower yourself?" he spat. "Hey, no one's gonna be lowering anything if you don't-"

Tyr covered his lips with his own, effectively silencing him. His left hand slid to the side of Harper's head, stroking gently at the sensitive skin surrounding his jack implant. The human shuddered against him.

They broke apart and Harper exhaled slowly. "Tyr, man, you got a real way with words."

Tyr tightened his hands on Harper's shoulders, sensing victory. "This talk is foolish. We should proceed with the act."

"Whoa. You people actually say that?" Tyr narrowed his eyes, and Harper said quickly, "Hold it right there, big guy, no one said anything about any act. I mean, there's been no romance, no hand holding, no candlelit dinners-"

Tyr glowered down at him. "I have no desire to hold hands."

Harper's lips twitched. "Gotta agree with you there," he conceded, "I'm just saying-"

Once again Tyr silenced him with a kiss.

This time he pulled back first, leaving Harper with his mouth half open and his eyes half closed, like a newborn fish. He stared down at the human, resisting the urge to smirk.

"You're right," he said finally. "We'll take it slow."

He took his hands from Harper's shoulders and folded them casually across his chest, then turned to leave.

Harper finally found his voice. "Hey!" he protested, sounding appealingly indignant. "Where the hell are you going?"

Tyr turned back to face him. "To prepare a candlelit dinner."

An impressive array of emotions flickered over the human's face in less than a second- surprise, amusement, irritation, anger, betrayal. Fury finally won out, and Harper pushed away from the wall and started to shove past Tyr. "Screw this, man," he snarled as he passed. "Screw you."

Tyr grabbed his arm as he passed, and Harper spun and slammed the heels of his palms into the Nietzschean's ribs. Finally caught off-guard, Tyr fell back, staring impassively and privately wondering when he had lost control of the situation. Or if he'd ever had it at all.

"Get the fuck away from me," Harper hissed, backing away. "I don't know what you're playing at, but Seamus Harper is not an easy mark, got it? You keep your bones away from me, you freak."

Then he turned on his heel and stormed out of the engine room.

Tyr stared after him for a few seconds, until he scooped up his abandoned force lance from the floor and vanished in the direction of his quarters; then he pursed his lips thoughtfully and scanned the room. Harper had left his leather jacket behind.

He knelt and picked it up, bringing it to his nose and closing his eyes as he inhaled the scent; then he rose, folding it carefully, and placed it on top one of the many mechanisms in the room.

Dylan's quest was certain not to be completed any time soon. There would be other opportunities.

He could wait.

Email: mayatawi@populli.net

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