The Zang was sailing in line behind the Resolute once more as the two ships headed away from the smoking ruin of the asteroid base. Amelia looked back at it through the stern windows of the captain's cabin aboard the battleship. The honour of commanding her own ship had been a welcome one, but she was not sorry that Forsythe had left Valant and Buckley in charge and summoned Arrow and herself back to report to him. He sat behind his desk, patiently recording their account of the action in the ship's log.
"We tracked the Procyon diplomatic cutter leaving the pulsar field, sir," said Commander Chad, who was standing behind Forsythe. "It was making a direct course for Procyon space. I don't think we'll be hearing from them again for a while!"
"I hope you're right, sir," said Amelia. "But I can't share that optimism. They were up to something here, something important enough to risk war with the Empire. They needed that dark matter."
"Did this diplomat give any indication why?"
Amelia shook her head. "Nothing, sir. But whatever it was, I'm sure it won't be good."
"I'm inclined to agree." Forsythe finished a line in the book. "We will mark the position on the charts and note it. When the war is over, perhaps the Admiralty will send a survey mission to conduct a more thorough examination."
"I hope so, sir," said Arrow. "The Procyons were willing to risk much for that dark matter supply."
"Quite so." Forsythe tapped the pen. "And this is the second time in this war that we've encountered their machinations. How much deeper does this plot go?"
"I suspect that only time will tell, sir," said Arrow.
Forsythe grunted. "I suspect that it will. And no good will come of it, I'm sure. Is there anything further to report, Ms Amelia?"
"No, sir. But I would like to record my commendations to Surgeon-lieutenant Gray and Miss Jane Porter. They were indispensable."
"So noted." Forsythe nodded and made a few quick additions to the log.
"Thank you, sir," said Amelia. "Good conduct should be acknowledged."
"Indeed it should." Forsythe glanced up at Chad, who patted his pocket and smiled. "And in that vein, Ms Amelia...during your time on the Zang, we received a communique from headquarters...you may be interested in it."
Chad stepped forward, producing a folded piece of paper from his uniform and passing it to Amelia. She took it, puzzled, and opened it to read. Such fleet communiques were not usually shared with junior officers.
"Following the battle in the Megapteran cluster, and in light of the loss of Lieutenant Forrest in that engagement," Forsythe said, "I applied to Admiral Benson for special dispensation. A brevet promotion such as yours to acting lieutenant is all very well in the short term. But this war still has a way to run. And it is not fair to either you or the ship to keep an officer in a temporary position for so long. Of course, a suitable and willing witness had to be found, but that was fortunately not difficult."
Amelia reached the bottom of the page, her eyes widening. "Confirmation as lieutenant, sir?"
"On Admiral Benson's personal authority," said Forsythe. "A petition has been sent to the Admiralty for noting. Your name is not the only one upon it. This is a war, after all. But I am certain that there can be few others with such claim to the distinction as you."
The old man straightened up and extended a hand. "Congratulations, lieutenant."
Amelia, still somewhat dazed, shook his hand and acknowledged a respectful touch of the hat from Commander Chad. "Thank...thank you, sir."
"Good conduct should be acknowledged," said Forsythe simply. "You should retain that communique. On our return to New Genswick you should present yourself to the quartermaster's store to be fitted out with a new uniform."
"Aye, sir." Amelia slipped the paper into her coat pocket and saluted. Arrow was smiling at her proudly. The captain nodded.
"And you may consider yourself relieved for the night. Acting lieutenant Whiting can stand your watch."
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir." Amelia swallowed nervously. "And...may I ask you something?"
"Of course." Forsythe sat back in his chair.
"Miss Porter, sir...and her father...will we be leaving them on New Genswick when we return?" Amelia tried to keep her eyes fixed at a point on the cabin wall, not trusting herself to look at Forsythe or Chad in case they betrayed the fear she felt. The captain had been willing to leave Jane on New Genswick once before. Would he do it again?
"A thought that had occurred to me," said Forsythe. "It is true that New Genswick may now be safe...or at least safer than it was before...and yet it can't be denied that it remains in a warzone."
"And Miss Porter has undeniably been a useful individual to have around." Forsythe stood up and walked to the stern gallery windows, looking back to the Zang. "There are many on that ship who would agree with that assessment."
"There are one or two on this ship as well, sir," said Arrow. "Her medical and pharmaceutical knowledge was critical to the success of this mission."
"As your report makes clear, Ms Amelia," said Forsythe. He crossed his arms thoughtfully. "And, of course, once we depart from New Genswick we will be pushing further into enemy space."
"Yes, sir." Amelia wondered whether that was an argument for or against what she was hoping for.
"In that light...provided that she has no objections herself, of course...perhaps we could continue our special arrangements with them? Commander?" Forsythe looked to Chad, who nodded.
"Aye, sir. I see no reason why not."
Amelia didn't dare to smile. "So she and her father will remain on board, sir?"
Forsythe nodded and gave as close as he ever came to a smile. "Well, we do not seem to able to have one without the other. So...yes, I think so. For the duration of hostilities, at least."
"Thank you, sir. May I inform her myself?"
"Of course, lieutenant." Forsythe turned back to the window. "I don't imagine that anything could prevent you. You may go. Take the news to Miss Porter with my compliments."
"Yes, sir." Amelia stood to attention and saluted.
Her heart was still racing when she stepped out of the cabin and looked around. Arrow, stooping to get through the door, was still smiling.
"Did you know about that, Mr Arrow?" she asked.
"The appeal to the Admiral, ma'am?" Arrow shrugged. "I...may have done so. As you would know, such an application must be supported by at least two senior officers...and one of them must have been with the brevet-holder to testify to their worthiness. Lieutenant Harburn agreed with me that, as his assault party arrived after our own, that he was not in the best place to do so."
"Which means that you...did?" Amelia smiled. "You were the witness?"
Arrow touched his hat modestly. "I had the honour, ma'am.'
Amelia's smile widened. "Then I thank you, Mr Arrow. Very much."
Arrow smiled back. "It was well-earned, ma'am."
"And...the other part, about Miss Porter." Amelia kept her tone businesslike. "I'm grateful for your support on that matter as well."
Arrow shrugged. "She is a most valuable addition to the crew."
"Yes. Yes, she is." Amelia smiled. "Thank you."
They walked across the bridge together. "Have you any word on Ko, captain?"
Arrow nodded. "I am told that she will recover, though the wound was serious. Dr Gray assured me that she would make her recovery her personal business."
"Did she now?" Amelia smiled wryly. "Well...who could have seen that coming..."
"Ma'am?" Arrow looked puzzled. Amelia shook her head.
"Oh, nothing...but that's good to hear, captain. Carry on."
"As you wish...lieutenant." Arrow touched his hat, smiling, and turned to go.
Sergeant Ko woke up slowly. There was a dull feeling in her abdomen and a feeling of restriction around her that suggested a bandage. The familiar heavy-timbered ceiling of the Resolute was above her and the harsh whitewashed walls told her that she was in the ship's medical bay. A quick survey of her limbs and other attachments came back with a full inventory, but she still wanted to see what had been done to her. She remembered the Procyon firing, the flare of the laslock bolt and the punch as it hit her and she tried to sit up to see exactly where it had struck. The ache threatened to flare up into full-blown pain, and Ko quickly heard a clatter of wood and felt a gentle but firm hand on her shoulder, pressing her back down. Something waved in front of her eyes and she blinked it into focus. It was a notebook.
YOU NEED TO REST.
Ko looked along the arm attached to the hand that was holding the notebook and saw Eleanor Gray sitting by her bedside. She could tell from the look on the surgeon's face that she was tired and Ko smiled weakly.
"Ma'am...have you been there long?"
Gray hesitated before replying.
NOT EXCESSIVELY. I WAS JUST DOING MY ROUNDS.
Ko looked behind her. A small wooden chair lay on the deck as if knocked over in someone's hurry to rise. A small shelf near the head of the bed held an empty tea mug on it and a half-eaten sandwich on a plate. She knew she hadn't had them, and Gray was not the sort to allow litter in her surgery, which left only one alternative. She looked back to Gray, met her eyes, and nodded.
"I'm just lucky, then. That you happened to be by my bed at exactly the right time."
YOU ARE LUCKY TO BE ALIVE. Gray examined her. THAT SHOT CAME WITHIN AN INCH OF KILLING YOU. YOU WERE FORTUNATE THAT I WAS THERE.
"It certainly was," Ko rested her head against the pillow. "Thank you, ma'am."
IT'S THE LEAST I COULD DO FOR SOMEONE WHO SAVED MY LIFE. Gray shrugged. I AM AWARE OF THE ORDER THE ACTING LIEUTENANT GAVE YOU.
"That wasn't why..."
I KNOW. Gray's hand rested on Ko's for a moment. I AM FORTUNATE AS WELL.
Ko watched her eyes again for a moment and nodded. "Glad to be of service, ma'am."
Gray straightened her glasses and coughed. I SHOULD COMPLETE MY ROUNDS.
"Of course, ma'am." Ko nodded. Gray nodded in return and turned to go, but a thought struck her and she wrote one more thing on a page which she tore out and passed to Ko.
I'M GLAD TO SEE YOU RECOVERING, CHARLOTTE.
"Thank you, ma'am, I'm..." Ko looked up, smiling at the use of rarely-invoked first name that she had only ever shared with a chosen few others, but Gray had gone. She chuckled knowingly and folded up the note to tuck it away. "...feeling much better."
Amelia closed the door behind her and looked around her cabin. It seemed like a lot longer than the few days it had been since she last set foot in it. She breathed in the familiar scent and smiled as she saw Jane straighten up at the small sink in the corner. She had been washing her hands and dried them on a towel.
"Amelia! I thought you'd still be in with the captain."
"I can come back later if you're busy." Amelia half-turned back to the door.
"Oh, no! No, not busy at all. I was just...I wanted to get our room ready," Jane shrugged and smiled. "A couple of men brought your chest from the Zang and I was just seeing that it was all set up properly."
Amelia looked to her heavy space chest, which had been placed in the corner. "It all looks fine to me."
"Good, good. I'm glad to hear that." Jane put the towel aside.
"I'm a little surprised to see you here, though," said Amelia. "I thought the civilians would be keeping you busy."
"Oh, they're all pretty well settled in by now," said Jane. "There weren't too many serious cases and those were seen to by your ship's surgeon. All most of them need is some good rest and proper food."
"Ah?" Amelia moved across the room.
Jane rubbed her arm and looked down. "Of course, there were a lot of minor injuries...a few sprains, one break...a lot of abrasions and cuts...I think they may have been whip marks..."
"Then it's a good thing we got them out of there," Amelia took Jane's hand. "And that we got you out of there, too."
"Yes...to think what could have happened." Jane shivered. "But then, it happened to so many others..."
"And you helped all the ones you could," said Amelia. "You did well. Very well."
"You did give me an order," Jane smiled. "I could hardly disobey, could I?"
Amelia smiled back. "I couldn't have asked any more of you."
"Well, it seemed to be getting difficult for you, fighting all those pirates," said Jane. "That's why I thought we should launch that rocket thing they put in your cabin."
"You launched it?" Amelia raised her eyebrows.
"Yes...I hope that was all right. I mean, I told Mr Valant and everything..."
"I wondered why it had blown a hole in the stern," Amelia smiled and put her hand on Jane's shoulder. "So that was you...in that case I owe you thanks. If the Resolute hadn't turned up when she did, I'm not sure we would have been able to do it. The Procyons were holed up in the keep and we'd have had a devil of a time getting them out."
"I'm glad I was able to help." Jane took Amelia's hand. "And even more glad to see you safe, Amelia...I was worried about you."
"As if I'd leave you," Amelia murmured.
Their lips met softly and their arms slipped around each other, holding themselves close together. Jane sighed happily and looked up into Amelia's eyes. She saw the cut on the young felinid's forehead and raised a concern hand to it. Amelia closed her eyes at the touch.
"It's really nothing, Jane...just caught the edge of a Proc helmet there. Didn't even slow me down."
"So I can see. You did come back, after all." Jane smiled. "I can't imagine what it would take to stop you."
"When it's you I'd be coming back to?" Amelia nuzzled her forehead and grinned. "All the Procyon Hierarchy wouldn't be able to slow me down."
Jane laughed softly. "I have no doubt at all."
Amelia kissed her again and went to hang her blue coat on the wall hook. The folded piece of paper fell onto the deck and she knelt to pick it up.
"What's that?" Jane appeared behind her and peered over her shoulder.
"Oh, it's something the captain gave me." Amelia smiled as she passed it over. Jane took it and read it silently, her eyes widening.
"Amelia! My goodness, do you know what this means?"
"The captain explained it quite clearly," Amelia nodded.
Jane waved a hand. "Of course! But still...a promotion?"
Amelia nodded. "It's quite unusual. But in times of war, sometimes the Admiralty will allow it."
"Well, it's the least that they owe you, in my opinion," said Jane.
Amelia blushed. "Oh, Jane...but that reminds me...I believe I owe you something."
"What could you possibly owe me?" Jane searched her face.
"I thought we agreed on a portrait?" Amelia smiled. "If you're ready, that is."
"Oh, Amelia..." Jane smiled back shyly. "Only if you're sure..."
"Absolutely sure." Amelia nodded. "Do you mind if I clean up a bit first? I haven't had a chance since the battle...and I'd hate to show you my bad side."
"If you insist," Jane gestured to the towel and sink. "I'll just get my things ready here."
Amelia kissed her forehead and turned away. Jane moved to the other side of the room, behind the canvas curtain, and collected her sketchbook, trying to control the pace of her beating heart. She took up a pencil and held it critically against the light from the porthole to judge the sharpness of the tip. Finding it wanting, she picked up a penknife and whittled it back to a point. She nodded in satisfaction and looked up as a movement caught her eye. Amelia, fully undressed, was positioning herself on the bed with the languid grace typical of her species, though there was a faintly visible blush on her face. Jane's breath stopped for a moment as she ran her eye over her lover's form.
"A-Amelia! I didn't realise...that you meant...well, that sort of portrait..."
Amelia bit her lip and drew the blanket up to cover herself. "I wasn't sure what kind of portrait you meant...if this is too much..."
"Oh, no, no. Goodness, no. I mean, I've obviously seen all of you that there is to see." Jane blushed hotly and looked down at the blank page of her book. "I just hadn't expected you to...well, to want this...if you do want it, that is."
"I do...I trust you." Amelia smiled. "Oh, I know you could just draw me in profile, or just my face, but you know how I feel about you, Jane. I'm yours, all of me...so I want you to have something more. Something worthy of you."
Jane blushed again as Amelia set the blanket aside again. "Oh, Amelia...I'm going to be the one having to live up to something here."
Amelia simply rolled onto her front and propped her head up on her hands. "Will this do?"
Jane's pencil was already picking out the smooth lines of Amelia's body. "It most certainly will."
A busy silence descended, broken only by the scratching of Jane's pencil on the paper. Although occasionally changing pose when Jane nodded, Amelia's kept perfectly still, watching her lover's face. Jane's bright blue eyes were in constant motion, flickering from her to the page and back again. Now and then she paused in her sketching to pick up her sharpening knife again, but Amelia's eyes never left her features. She felt strangely light-headed. It was, of course, true that Jane already knew every part of her body, but there was something about this situation, of seeing Jane's attention to her details, that was a new and heartfelt kind of intimacy. It was not unusually warm, but there was a pinkness to Jane's cheeks as she worked that suggested that she felt the same way and Amelia found herself hoping that she did.
"Is everything all right, my dear?" Amelia asked, breaking the quiet as she assumed a new position, reclining back with her arms raised.
"Perfectly all right." Jane smiled, trying to look casual even though her heart was racing in her chest. Amelia lay before her, fully exposed. Jane tried to stay as professional as possible, but couldn't resist the feelings of excitement as her eyes took in the soft shapes of Amelia's form. Her hands trembled for a moment and she felt slightly daring as her pencil moved to begin shading the shadows that defined Amelia's breasts and she bit her lip as her pencil moved further down Amelia's body to the secret place between the felinid's legs. It was so easy to imagine as she drew and she had to remind herself to concentrate on the reality before her rather than the fantasies which threatened to take flight in her mind. Finally she finished and sighed contentedly as she put the pencil aside.
"All done?" said Amelia, sitting up.
"All done," Jane smiled and moved to join her, holding her sketchbook open. "How do these look? Do they look...do you like them?"
Amelia pulled the blanket over herself again and took the book, staring in wonderment at the pages. "Do I like them? Oh, Jane..."
The pages were filled with sketches. Some were hastily-drawn and looked like the outline of shadows. Others were so intricate in their detail that Amelia could even see the recently-obtained scar on her flank. They seemed to leap off the page like living things. Amelia touched the paper and sighed happily.
"They're beautiful, Jane...truly...I knew you had a talent but I didn't realise that you had a gift..."
Jane blushed. "I'm glad you approve..."
"I more than approve." Amelia took her hand. "I'm genuinely honoured."
"I'll keep these drawings safe," Jane promised, signing and dating each page. "I think it would be best if nobody else gets to see these."
"You may be right." Amelia smiled. "A pity that such works of art can't be more widely appreciated."
"Just so long as you're happy with them, Amelia," Jane smiled back. "That's all that matters."
"Of course I'm happy." Amelia shifted closer to her. "Thank you."
"I should be thanking you," said Jane. "That was quite a gift. You are...you are beautiful, Amelia."
Amelia blushed. "Oh, Jane. You certainly draw me that way."
"I draw only what I see." Jane put the book aside. "I've never really been good at drawing from my imagination...I always need some inspiration from real life."
"I'm glad you found it," Amelia said softly.
"Oh, Amelia...you are it. My inspiration, I mean." Jane looked up at her. Amelia touched her cheek and leaned towards her.
"How very fortunate for me..."
She put the blanket aside as their lips met. When Jane's hands rose automatically to her sides their fingers found themselves brushing through soft, warm fur and she sighed contentedly.
"My darling Jane," Amelia murmured.
"Oh, all yours, Amelia." Jane gazed into her emerald eyes. "All yours. Whatever happens."
"Well, now that you mention it..." Amelia smiled. "I did mention to the captain the subject of what we'll be doing with you when we get back to New Genswick..."
"Yes?" Jane looked at her intently, reading her face for any sign of sadness. Seeing none, she felt her own heart lift even further. Amelia grinned.
"And it seems," she said, "like you'll be with us for a while longer...if you choose."
"If I choose?" Jane sighed with relief. "Oh, Amelia! As if I would choose otherwise..."
"It does mean staying on board a warship during a time of conflict," said Amelia. "It's...not ideal."
"I've suffered it so far," Jane smiled, touching Amelia's cheek. "I'm sure I'll manage."
"And whatever else this war brings, we'll face it together." Amelia advanced on all fours until Jane was lying back beneath her. "I promise."
"I know." Jane stroked back a lock of her auburn hair. "Together."
Amelia kissed her tenderly. "I love you, Jane."
"I love you, too, Amelia." Jane put her arms around the felinid and drew her closer into a mutual embrace. "With all my heart. We have so much to look forward to."
"We certainly do." Amelia kissed her again. "It's not the beginning of the end for us yet, my love...it's only the end of the beginning..."
wooe, very extensive project finally completed. We thank everyone for the favs/comments/critiques or even just a read. Helps to make the JaAm fandom much larger than it is at the moment *we need more fans, argh*
Chapter 1 [link]
Chapter 2 [link]
Chapter 3 [link]
Chapter 4 [link]
Chapter 5 [link]
Chapter 6 [link]
Chapter 7 [link]
Chapter 8 [link]
Chapter 9 [link]
Chapter 10 [link]
Chapter 1 [link]
Chapter 2 [link]
Chapter 3 [link]
Chapter 4 [link]
Chapter 5 [link]
Chapter 6 [link]
Chapter 7 [link]
Chapter 8 [link]
Chapter 9 [link]
Chapter 10 [link]
I do hope there will be more writing
I like this story alot.. so heartwarming and full of action and romance of course♥ i would love to read more of these two!
Wait so is everyone a lesbian? And if so are all the guys gay? How do we know that forsythe isn't a randy fucker?
Please tell me there is another story in the works as this series is just so full of win and epicness that there has to be more! Love Love Love this pairing!
Loved it! I've enjoyed these fics immensely, they are so wonderfully written! I hope I can write as captivating a story as this some day. I never imagined that I would get into this ship but these stories have made me a big fan. Thanks for such brilliant stories.
i want more! your brilliant, you and your partner! you have to publish these stories and sell them, i would certainly buy them :3
i love these Jane Amelia works that you do. i hope that after the war is over they marry and get some kids of their own, but thats a long ways away
Well you've converted ME lol <3