Title: Riding Out The Monster
Author: A Nonny Mouse (You get the pun.  Also, when I was little I couldn't say "naughty.")
Mail to: AnonnAMouse@aol.com (The other spellings had been taken.  Imagine that.)
Rating:  Very embarrassing.
Summary:  What you've wanted from Galen and Dureena since "The Memory of War."
Disclaimer:  The characters of Dureena and Galen, Gideon, and Dr. Chambers, as well as the starship Excalibur, are all property of J. Michael Strazcynski and Warner Brother.  Incidentally, each of the characters have told me privately that they are, indeed, entirely fictional and have not been based on real people, living or dead, at least as far as they know.  They just wanted me to pass that on.
Spoilers:  Just the end of "The Memory of War."  You have seen it, haven't you?

Riding out the Monster

It had to happen eventually.  But in that moment, in that touch, the whole universe turned upside down.  Their fingers brushed only briefly as Dureena handed Galen his staff - the one for which she had crawled through tons of dirt and debris.  The one for which she had risked her life.  She was surprised to find she had done it neither out of guilt at having wounded him, nor to endebt him to her.  He had heretofore refused her every appeal to become his apprentice.  She was even more surprised at what happened to her during that singular moment.  True, they shared an isolation which approximated affinity, but they had never been close.  Come to think of it, Dureena could think of no one with whom she had been "close."

His appreciation was palpable, the look in his eyes unforgettable.  As the moment crystallized, heat rose between their bodies.  Dureena was only peripherally aware that Dr. Chambers and Captain Gideon were still watching.  She had to make a conscious decision to resume breathing.  She tore her gaze away from those ice-blue pools and fled into the corridor.

Once outside MedBay, Dureena collapsed against the wall.  Her pulse was racing uncontrollably and her breathing was coming in shudders.  What in the hell was that?  She felt as though she had been running for hours - the adrenaline, the perspiration, only running always cleared her mind.  Now her thoughts were chasing themselves around like puppies trying to catch their tails.  She heard the door slide open behind her.  She pushed unsteadily away from the wall and stumbled down the corridor.

Galen, standing in the doorway, watched her small frame disappear around a corner.  He wiped his brow thoughtfully.  Unsure what to make of this undeniable encounter, he retreated to the safety of his ship.  

# #

Dureena awoke from a fitful sleep, drenched in sweat.  She had been dreaming of Galen...again.  The dream always began with her running...running...but she could not run fast enough.  She stumbled and began to fall into a pool of water.  Just before hitting the surface, she would see Galen's reflection.  This was usually when she woke up, breathless and reeling.  There was also the dream in which she felt his embrace, warm and soft, just before he turned into a chimera, growling and scratching at her, threatening to tear her limb from limb.   She would wake up screaming from this one, pawing for the lights.  She was no stranger to nightmares, but usually they were her way of dealing with past events.  She realized now that she had no idea what to do when she next saw Galen.

# #

Galen had been gone for eight days.  He had visited the places nearest to his heart. He sought solace at the riverside on T'a'ara.  He looked for guidance in the ancient Xalti temples.  He participated in the rigorous martial arts trials on Chantira just to try to exhaust himself into rest.  All to no avail.  He was unquiet in a way he had not known in a very long time.  Satisfied that there was no way to avoid the problem other than quitting Excalibur's company entirely, he resignedly activated the navigational controls.  The beacon quickly found the Excalibur in hyperspace and plotted the appropriate course...home.

# #

Dureena hadn't eaten in days.  She sat in the mess hall, playing with a bowl of oatmeal, her thoughts a million miles away.  She hadn't slept again last night.  She stifled a yawn as various crewmembers floated past her.   She barely heard the doors open and close, but she felt his presence immediately.  Spotting her across the room, Galen glanced around nervously and took a seat in the corner.  Someone brought him a cup of coffee, but he didn't touch it.  

Dureena was aware that, although he would not look at her, she occupied his thoughts.  He was fairly radiating his dis-ease.  Unconsciously sensing the tension in the air, the others in the room began slowly filtering out.   Within moments, Dureena and Galen were alone.  Galen cleared his throat uncomfortably.  Her pulse accelerating, Dureena decided upon a swift retreat.  As she headed single-mindedly towards the door, Galen rose, catlike, in time to catch her by the arm.  She swung around and met his gaze.  Before either knew what was happening, they were kissing, softly, desperately.  The blood rushed in Dureena's ears.  She could tell by his breathing he was similarly overwhelmed.  They parted and she could see the confusion and passion in his eyes. "What am I doing?" Galen asked himself.  But looking down at that perfect face, he could not deny the longing he felt for her.  He could not escape the knowledge that only she could begin to understand him, even in his darkest moments, to - dare he even think it - to love him.  As he had once been loved.  

Galen leaned again towards Dureena, but she was hit with a flash from her nightmares, the image of Galen morphing into a monster just as she began to sink into him.  She freed herself from his grasp. Backing away, she stuttered, "I can't," and ran out the door. Galen could only watch her go, stunned and speechless.

# #

That night, Dureena dreamed again of Galen's kiss, of his embrace.  She felt his arms around her, then felt as his torso lengthened, his breath grew hotter, his fingers curled into claws.  But this time she refused to open her eyes, refused to acknowledge the beast which now threatened her.  She clung tightly to the hairy arm...and felt it evaporate.  There was no more hot breath, no more claws, no more chimera, and no more Galen.  She awoke with an emptiness which dwarfed all the isolation she had ever experienced.

# #

Galen heard a scratching outside his ship.  The noise was faint, but he had not been sleeping.  He rose, pulled a robe over his sleeping garments, and crossed the room.

"Ship," he said.  "Open the door."  A portion of the wall in front of him ceased to be.  Crouching outside, carefully examining the ship's exterior, was Dureena.  She quickly stood, but did not look up.  

"I was just...," her voice trailed off.  She had been looking for a way in.  She had not wanted to be noticed, in case she lost her nerve.  Feeling his eyes resting on her, a lump formed in her throat.  She felt a pang of the loneliness she had experienced upon waking from her dream.  She closed her eyes and concentrated on breathing.  She felt a gentle arm around her shoulders as Galen led her into he dark recesses of the Technomage ship.

Dureena felt her mouth move in some attempt at explanation.  He had to be wondering why she was here.   After all, she had pulled away from him earlier. Her lips were moving, but no sound came. "Shhh."  The sound was barely a whisper as Galen knelt beside her.  He took her hand in his and lightly kissed it.  He wondered at the miracle that she was there, before him, in his ship.  She had come to him, and now he was not entirely sure what to do.

They sat that way in silence for several minutes before the panic hit.  Suddenly Dureena was on her feet and sprinting to the door.  But Galen was quicker.  He wrapped her in his arms.  She froze, waiting for the familiar metamorphosis from her dreams.  But Galen remained Galen.  He held her, softly rocking, until the panic subsided.  He felt her breathe slowly and steadily.  

She finally relaxed in his arms.  He bent his head down and kissed the top of her head.  He could not help smiling as he felt her arms slide around his waist.  When she finally looked up at him, tears were streaming down her face.  She pressed her lips to his, felt them part slightly.  She touched her tongue to his lower lip and he shuddered.  She felt his hand on the back of her head, stroking her hair.  She kissed him more deeply, began tasting him with her tongue.  He sucked gently on the tip, pressing his body ever closer to hers.  She could feel the friction against her breasts.  As her tongue began stroking his, she felt the fabric of her blouse slide from her shoulders, felt his hands on her skin.  His lips drifted from hers, tracing her jawline, slipping down the side of her neck.  She moaned under his kisses.  

Galen's hands coaxed her clothing down her arms until the shirt fell around her waist.  He began stroking her milky-white breasts with absolute reverence.  He dropped to his knees in front of her, held her around the hips, and pressed his face against the creamy skin between her breasts.  He had never felt such softness.  The exotic fabrics and perfumes which had previously defined beauty to him seemed dull and ordinary in comparison.  

She ran her hands along the curves of his skull, down his neck, felt the muscles on top of his broad shoulders under the silky fabric he wore.  He kissed Dureena's stomach, careful not to tickle.  Spying the bed in the chamber beyond, Dureena stepped back.  He looked at her, questioningly.  He had been so careful not to do anything wrong....  She pulled him to his feet and wrapped her arms around his neck.  Locking his lips in a kiss, she reached between them for the belt encircling his waist.  Pulling gently on the thin strip of fabric, she led him into the other room.

Once there, she untied and removed the robe.  Black fabric tumbled to the round, weightless.  She turned her attention to the small knots holding his garments in place.  Fingers working nimbly, she relieved him of his shirt.  She reveled in the sight of his powerful chest, but, wrapping her arms around his back, she gasped as her fingers made contact with the implants on his back.  She pulled back, one and pressed against her open mouth.  His expression was pained, not because of her touch, but because of her revulsion.  He dropped his eyes.  Her reaction hurt him more than had the knife, piercing his shoulder.

"Oh, Galen, I'm sorry.  I was...surprised...that's all."  Dureena stepped towards him, but he could not help being ashamed of his deformity.  The implants were a necessary part of technomancy, but they were hardly pretty.  He turned away from her.  As he tried to gather his composure, he felt her gently finger the metallic connections.  He melted under her touch, the offence mended.  He felt her hands as they explored his back, sliding around to run their fingers through the fair hair on his chest, slipping to release his waistband.  He turned to face her, now completely naked and exposed before her.  

He caught her face in his hand and kissed her on the cheek.  Dureena reached down and removed the rest of her clothing.  She pressed her bare skin against his, tingling at every point of contact.  His fingers trailed down her back.  They melted on to the bed, eyes locked.  They kissed again and Galen moved one hand to her thigh.  Dureena stretched out on the cool surface of the bed.  Galen lay down beside her, supported on one elbow.  Looking into her eyes, Galen had never seen her so relaxed.  He bent over her to kiss her abdomen.  Glancing up, he saw her eyes close.  A contented smile played across her lips.  

He kissed again and again, moving slowly downward.  He ran the side of one index finger down her inner thigh and felt her long legs part at his touch.  He kissed the downy fur and gently parted it with the tensed tip of his tongue.  She let out a moan and moved under him.  He relaxed his tongue and covered her sensitive parts with its wet warmth.  Very, very slowly he began to move, licking the length of her inner lips.  His technique was flawless, alternating between long, soft strokes and quick flicks.  Dureena memorized his every move.  Soon it would be his turn.  She lost all thought as she was engulfed in waves of pleasure.

When Dureena finally recovered from her climax, she found Galen was again on the bed next to her.  She rolled to him, wrapping herself around him.  She buried her face into the crook of his neck, kissing the soft skin behind his ear.  She sucked lightly on his earlobe before pulling loose of the embrace.  Now it was her turn to trail kisses down his chest, his abdomen, to his engorged organ.  She began teasing him, twisting her tongue up his length.  She could tell he wanted more, but he made no attempt to rush her.  His body tensed with her every move.  After exploring every inch of him with her tongue, she covered his shaft with her mouth.

She pressed against him with the flat of her tongue, moved gently from side to side.  She carefully mimicked the alternation of long, gentle licks and faster stimulation.  His obvious enjoyment of her touches urged her to continue.  When she felt he was nearing release, she became still, exerting only firm pressure against the throbbing shaft.  His eyes flickered open.  Despite undeniable frustration, he smiled warmly at her.   

Intuiting her intentions, he pulled her on top of him, feeling her warm flesh surround him.  They began moving together slowly.  As Dureena seemed to be enjoying this, Galen was determined to make the most of it.  Exerting all the self-control he could muster, he concentrated on her experience.  He could feel her arousal mounting as they moved faster.  Only when she seemed on the verge of orgasm did he allow himself to relax.  Thrusting faster, he felt her quick spasms and succumbed to his own release.  They crumpled together on the bed, exhausted but satisfied.  

Dureena lifted herself up and stretched alongside Galen's body.  She sighed and snuggled in his arms.  Galen looked lovingly at her, but she had her eyes closed.  No, he had never seen Dureena this relaxed.

Galen closed his eyes and welcomed the soundest sleep he had had in years.