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ETA: Chapter 4 is up and the story is now complete.
This story can stand on its own, or it could be read as a sequel to my stories "Ready?" and "Willing."


He reaches for you, his eyes wild, and you cannot deny him. His fingers wrap around your arms and he shoves his tongue into your mouth, moaning. You grab him and trace the line of his hips, slide your fingers under his shirt. His skin is cool, to you, but you know that his body is burning, that it is you he desires. He pulls away, impatient, and pulls off his tunic, tugs yours after. You kiss him, claim him, and shove him back, reaching for his waistband.

You used to horde every glance, every smile, every instance of his breath in your ear, you think, as you take him in your mouth, as he throws his head back and growls. The confidential moments conducted in public--the moments you chose to read as shouts, to which the rest of the room, or the bridge, or the world paid no attention. Silence. You had your life with him, then, in between the lines, in the pauses in a conversation, the beats between words, the long moments when nothing was said. In that space, in that silence, you had constructed an entire life with him, hadn't you?

So it should be better now, shouldn't it, now that you can be with him among the words, within hearing distance, now that you have made room for him in the life that you built for you both. Now that you can touch him, take him, can let him slide his hands down your thighs, pull your cock into his mouth. In the private times that matter, this is so; you do not have to choose carefully from a worn series of long-remembered moments--you can create new ones out of whole cloth, together. This, you know, should satisfy you, should appease you, more than the in-between world of hesitation and isolation in which you spun for months, if not a year.

But it has been difficult, giving up that control, that power that you had over him without him knowing; this power that let you rebuild him into the captain who was yours. You have found yourself missing him, haven't you?--that creature of the mind, who always said what you needed to hear, who reached for you at the right moment, whose mind and body were living clay in your hands. He, this imaginary one, can no longer exist, for the meaningful pauses through which he once moved are filled now, with a glance that is not open to your interpretation but is filled with the intention of a living man. The haint is lost to you, and would you give up the strong mouth beneath yours, or the nails on your back, or that look he gives only to you, just before he comes?

No, you tell yourself, reaching for the man again and burying yourself in his body. He is what you wanted, he is the one fufills you, sates your desire. You know this. You tell yourself that this must be true. But there is part of you that cannot help but look for the haint as you fill him, as his cries echo in your ears, as your body collapses on his. You want and you have, and still you look for something more.

Now, your captain would stretch out beside you, press his head against your chest, give himself over to sleep. The man, however, kisses you--lingeringly, pleasingly--and pulls away, reaching for his shirt. He says something--in the right tone, with the right smile--and leaves you, curled alone beneath the sheet, wide awake and cold.

Your captain touches your face and murmurs into your ear, his fingers sliding slowly down your cheek. You feel love for your captain. The man is...the man has made this feeling complicated, bounded, as it is, by rules that give him comfort but that you find illogical and bewildering.

Those silences that once gave you such pleasure, those glances once so freely given, are now laced with something other, some sense of uneasiness, of disquiet, of fear. You know that you have not changed--not as you once might have hoped--so it is he who is afraid. When he looks at you, his face is furtive; he avoids touching you in front of anyone else--no hand on your shoulder, no tug on your sleeve, no grip of your arm when you stumble. You have the man, in private, when you are alone with him, but that is all: your having, his taking, your giving, his breaking have to be kept silent, shielded from Command and crew and the man's own confusion.

You turn, wrapping your arms around the haint. You hold your captain tightly, reveling in the affection he gives you, something the man is not willing to give. (Not yet, you tell yourself; the time will come when he is yours always, when he does not shy from what you are sure his heart feels).

Until then, you will wait, alone, and content yourself with the pleasures of the man's body, those he is so eager to give. Soon, you whisper to the haint who sleeps in your arms, soon I will not need you any longer, and it is he I will hold fast until morning. Soon. Soon.

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