“No, don’t blow, damn you. I told you to suck.”
A dull thud followed the breathy exclamation, heavy panting clearly audible in the air. The sound slipped through the slight opening of the not–quite-closed-silver electronic door; Kyle completely unaware that he now had an audience.
“When…” pant “will you…” pant pant “learn to…” grunt “do what I tell you to?” Sweat poured down Kyle’s brow, frustration causing him to clench his fist as he resisted the urge to use brute force to get what he wanted. This was not how he pictured this encounter playing out and he’d be damned if he let his mechanic get the better of him. “This is…” groan “not…” pant pant “how we do things round here!” Kyle growled, silently cursing said mechanic. “Mother fu―” A string of curses escaped his lips, the electronic slide of the door registering only in the back of his mind.
“Kyle.” Sadie’s soft voice broke into his string of curses, interrupting the rest of the rather unsavory sentence. Sadie was Kyle’s navigator and second in command. “This…” Kyle turned, aware of the reprimand in her tone, “is Makiel. The emissary we are required to transport to Earth.”
Releasing a final growl of frustration, Kyle dropped the spanner he was holding. Reaching for a greasy cloth, Kyle moved to stand, the movement abrupt and careless. His head connected with the rounded steel of the cylinder containing the cooling fan he was currently working on. Sharp pain flared behind his eyes, and another string of curses danced upon the tip of his tongue. He opened his mouth to let the string loose only to have the curses die at the look he received from Sadie.
Closing his mouth with a click, Kyle approached Sadie and their new cargo with care. Okay, so maybe referring to the young man standing before him as cargo was a little harsh, but Kyle didn’t care. He was doing this under duress and would refer to his unwanted guest in any way he pleased. At least in his own mind. Kyle transported cargo, not passengers, and just because he happened to have a free spot on his ship due to a flighty mechanic abandoning him without so much as a by your leave did not mean that this was some kind of diplomatic vessel designed to pamper those who thought they were his betters.
Kyle had no interest in politics. He wasn’t ignorant. He was aware of the negotiations currently taking place between the Siminrhod and Earth but didn’t want to be involved. If experience had taught him anything, it was that politics often lead to disaster. It was a complication he didn’t really need in his life. Unfortunately, the order to take on the Siminrhod diplomat came directly from the military. Apparently, it was important that no one know this particular diplomat was aboard his ship. Kyle didn’t really care for the hows or whys. The long and short of it was, if this diplomat wished to travel with them, he would have to make do with who and what they were. There would be no pampering on his ship. Period.
Kyle ran his gaze over the young man’s slim form, noting the slight figure, the silvery skin that seemed to shine in the artificial light, the violet eyes, and the long emerald hair. It was eerie how much he resembled a human if one ignored the strange coloring and the pointed ears. Even more disconcerting was the fact that his body instantly reacted to the slim man’s presence.
Fighting to ignore his reaction, Kyle roughly wiped his hands clean, the grease on the cloth not really helping clean the grease off of his hands. Dropping the greasy rag, he reached out and took Makiel’s offered hand. The moment their skin touched, a surge of electricity coursed through him, the sensation a mixture of both pleasure and pain. Time seemed to still for but a moment, the shock in Makiel’s eyes imprinting itself upon Kyle’s memory, the soft hiss that escaped the young man’s lips echoing in his mind as the young man collapsed before him.
Kyle lunged forward, guilt coursing through him. Sadie sent him a disgusted glance, the heated accusation in her stare gutting Kyle. His own anger flared once more, drowning the niggling sense in the back of his mind that he’d somehow managed to hurt Makiel without meaning to.
“You all right?” Sadie asked Makiel, the subtle accusation against Kyle slipping pointedly into her tone.
Kyle raised his arms defensively. “I didn’t do anything,” he protested bitterly. “All I did was shake his hand, and the next thing I know, he’s collapsing. Don’t blame me. He’s the one that offered me his hand in the first place.” Kyle crossed his arms across his chest, returning Sadie’s glare. “I didn’t hurt him,” he added, growling at the continued silent accusation in her eyes, betrayal coursing through him at the thought that Sadie did not trust him.
He tore his gaze away from Sadie when Makiel spoke, panting softly. “I’m all right.” Makiel stood, gently pushing Sadie’s hands off of him. “He didn’t hurt me. I… uh… I’m just tired.”
Kyle swallowed the growl in his throat, fighting the emotions clamoring for his attention. Makiel seemed to be rejecting him, avoiding his gaze in favor of smiling wanly at Sadie. Kyle wanted nothing more than to tear Makiel’s attention away from Sadie, a mixture of protective instincts and jealousy threatening his very sanity.
Before he could act, though, Makiel was leaving, Sadie in tow. He clenched his fists, his nails digging into the palms of his hands, Sadie’s parting reprimand echoing in his ears. “If you want it to suck, you might want to turn the fan around, Captain.”