Picnic

Title: Picnic

Author: Iocane

E-mail: iocane@crosswinds.net

Summary: John has some time off, and Galen takes him off the ship.

Rating: PG-13

Series/sequel: Part seven of "Dreams of Silence"

Disclaimer: Galen, John, the Excalibur, and all related names, places, and people belong to JMS and many
other people.  The story itself is mine.

Archiving: CDC, WWOBM, Selena's Galen Page, Lady May's Slash Archive, DM's Place, and the Crusade
Fic Archive all have ongoing permission. Anyone else, please ask.

Warnings: M/M sex implied.

Notes: First and foremost, thanks to Antoinette for her expert beta'ing, comments, suggestions, motivations,
and generally beating me over the head until I finished it. :)

Second, the following notations are used throughout the series ...

Single brackets [] around text indicate personal thoughts. Double brackets [[]] around words indicate
telepathy.

The character of Jessica Saunders is entirely my creation.

Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated. This is my first planned out story of this scope, so any
suggestions you have would be wonderful.

                                         Picnic

John rolled over, reaching a hand out to rest on Galen's chest. The technomage covered his lover's hand with
his own, his fingers curling around John's.

Realizing his lover was awake, John opened his eyes. Before he could speak, Galen leaned forward and
captured his mouth in a slow kiss. John opened his mouth to the tender invasion, giving as well as he got. The
morning kiss was a habit John was very glad they had gotten into. He was also exceedingly glad that Galen
had somehow managed to eliminate John's "morning mouth."

Finally Galen pulled away, grinning down at the younger man. "Good morning ..." he said softly.

"Morning ..." John returned the smile and stretched, arching his body upwards from the bed. He could feel
Galen's appreciative gaze drifting over his lean frame.

"You have tomorrow off, don't you?"

John nodded, "And the day after. Gideon is trying to give Saunders a few more shifts in charge of the bridge,
to get her used to it."

Galen nodded, still smiling. "Good ... I have something planned and it might take a day or two ..."

John looked disappointed. Usually when Galen had plans, he was away from the ship. The young man couldn't
really complain though, in the two months since they had become lovers, Galen had spent about half of the
time on the Excalibur. John found he had grown used to waking up with Galen beside him. John glanced at the
red candle that burned in the darkness at the far end of his bedroom. Even though Galen was laying beside
him, John found the gently flickering light to be a comfort. He didn't like seeing it go out, which it did whenever
Galen left the Excalibur.

He remembered when Galen had given it too him, only two short months ago. The technomage had told John
that the candle was attuned to his biochemistry. It would burn when Galen was near, and go out when he wasn't
on the Excalibur. When he was with John, would burned brightly. More than once John had left his quarters in
the morning with the candle wick cold, and returned to find it flickering gently. Other times, he had returned to
find it had gone out. Even though he'd known Galen would be leaving, it still saddened him to see the unlit
candle as a reminder.

"Don't look so glum. You'll be coming with me." Galen said, noticing the sad, faraway look in his lover's eyes.

"Really?" John's eyes lit up. "Where?"

"Meet me at my ship at the end of your shift today, and you'll find out."

For a moment, John considered trying to coax an answer out of the technomage, but a quick glance at his clock
told him he didn't have time. Sitting up, he sighed. "I have to get ready for work."

"Yes ..." Galen stood, stretching his solid frame, feeling his muscles loosen. He watched as John went about
preparing for the day. Something in John's routines comforted him. When he had to be away from the ship,  he
sometimes played a holo of John brushing his teeth, or combing his hair. Anything to remind him of these
mornings.

Galen dressed quickly while John was in the shower, retrieving his staff from his usual resting place by the
bedroom doorway.  Glancing at the bed, he noticed a rather large stain on the sheets. Bending slightly, he ran
his hand over it, seeming to wipe it away.

"That's why I keep you around, you know." John said from the bedroom doorway. The lieutenant was leaning
sideways against the doorway, his arms crossed the front of his uniform. The black one. A fire in the laundry
room a few weeks ago had destroyed many of the "new" uniforms, forcing the grateful crew back to the
functional black ones.

"Oh?" Galen stood, admiring John. The technomage much preferred the black uniforms and had been quite
happy to hear they'd been returned to service.

"Yeah, how else could I keep the sheets clean, *and* eliminate a laundry bill?" Both men laughed softly.

Galen stepped forward, reaching a strong hand out to caress his lover's face. His thumb brushed the tiny black
speck on John's left cheek that had been made two months ago.

John smiled and leaned into the hand, closing his eyes. He felt Galen move closer and kiss him. Raising his
hands, he meant to push Galen gently away. Instead, he found them snaking around his lover's neck, pulling
him closer.

Finally John broke the kiss, panting lightly. "I have to go ... This is my last clean uniform ..." his eyes twinkled
and Galen chuckled, stepping backwards, albeit reluctantly.

At the door, John heard Galen call after him. "Don't forget."

Turning, he grinned. "How could I?"

                                       ------------------

Indeed, John spent the rest of the day almost wishing he could forget. His mind continued to wander, trying to
imagine what the technomage had in store for him.

At one point, Gideon chuckled and asked him "Hot date?"

The young lieutenant blushed, but was unable to hide his smile. "I think so ..."

"Good. I'm glad you two are still going well." He nodded for his second to return to his duty and continued his
rounds.

Three hours later, John entered the almost empty docking bay where Galen's ship waited. He'd stopped at his
quarters only long enough to pack an overnight bag. Somehow, he hadn't been surprised to find one already
packed and waiting for him.  He'd grabbed the bag and dashed out of his quarters, deciding not to change as
he'd originally planned. [I probably won't be wearing anything very long anyway ...] He thought eagerly.

As it had that first night, almost two months ago, a doorway formed on the side of Galen's ship, directly in line
with his approach. It occurred to him as he walked through the otherwise empty docking bay that this would
only be the third time he'd been inside Galen's ship. And by all indications, it would be his longest stay yet. He
grinned, remembering the first time, two months ago.

Just as he reached the black craft, Galen's arms reached out and pulled him inside. A moment later he felt his
back pressed firmly against the wall of the ship. Galen's body was pressed fully against his, his knee sliding
between John's legs. John groaned as Galen captured his mouth in a brutal kiss. Dropping the bag, he slid his
arms around Galen's neck, feeling his pants grow tighter by the second.

Galen could feel John's erection pressing against his thigh and grinned, breaking the kiss. Still holding John
against the wall, he nuzzled his neck, whispering "Have you ever been on a picnic, John?"

"Picnic?" John asked breathlessly. "N-no..." He stumbled over the word as Galen's skillful fingers caressed
his crotch, tormenting him through layers of cloth.

"Hmmmm ..." He stepped away, taking John's hands and leading him towards the bedroom. "First time for
everything ..."

                                         --------------

[[John?]] Galen whispered into his lover's mind, shaking his shoulder. [[Wake up ...]] The young man groaned
and rolled over, swatting at Galen. Galen shook him harder. [[Wake up, we're almost there ...]] John's eyes
peeked open and Galen kissed him quickly.

"Hmm?" The young man blinked sleepily, rubbing his eyes. "Almost where?"

"To where we're going." He smiled.

"Mmmmm ... Well, you didn't exactly let me get a lot of sleep, you know ..." John said, a twinkle in his eye
making it clear that he wasn't complaining.

"*I* didn't let *you* sleep?" Galen chuckled, watching as John sat up and swung his legs over the side of
Galen's bed.

John smirked in response, reaching for his clothes. "So, where are we, anyway?" he asked, pulling on a pair of
loose pants.

"The planet doesn't have a name, actually. No one outside the order comes here, and then only rarely. They
haven't needed what it has for quite some time."

John picked up his shirt and followed Galen into the main room of the technomage's ship.  At the moment, was
set up like a shuttle interior, with a view screen, pilot controls and two seats. Galen took the seat on the left,
John sat to his right, pulling the shirt over his head. "Then why are we here?"

"I told you on the Excalibur. We're going to have a picnic." He smiled, glancing at John as the planet
appeared on the view screen.

John returned his smile, always amazed at the way it made his heart beat just a little bit faster. "All right ... but
why here?"

"Because ... I like it here." Galen didn't tell John that this was the place where he had settled his mind about
the young man. It was here that Galen decided he could let himself become involved with him. That he let
himself- his thoughts were interrupted by John speaking.

"What does it have that your order doesn't need anymore?" John asked. Technomancy fascinated him, but he
was hesitant to ask Galen too much, fearing Mr. Jones finding out.

After several moments, Galen finally answered, his voice was soft and held more than a trace of sadness.
"Magic."

The way Galen spoke, John decided not to question further.

Ten minutes later Galen's ship landed. Before they stepped out, Galen turned to John. "Before we go outside,
I have to do one more thing ..." As he spoke, he raised his hands, gently but firmly cupping John's face, tilting
it upwards.

For a moment, John thought he was going to be kissed and he closed his eyes. Instead, he felt Galen's lips
barely graze his as the other man exhaled a long breath into John's mouth. Inhaling reflexively, he felt his
lungs tingle slightly. "What was that?" He asked, taking several deep breaths.

"The atmosphere of this planet is poisonous. You'll be safe now, for a while." He lightly caressed John's face,
feeling the young man's warm skin under his fingers.

"Thank you ..." John leaned forward and pressed his lips to Galen's.

For a long moment they kissed, each taking comfort in the presence of the other.

Galen broke the kiss, picking up an antique looking wicker basket covered in a blue check blanket and
stepped out of the ship, walking straight ahead.

John followed, loving the way Galen's leather clad legs moved as he walked. The technomage had neither his
staff, nor his cloak, and his shirt was a midnight blue with black leather pants. He paused a moment, watching
the easy walk of his lover, noticing how much more relaxed he seemed here than on the Excalibur. Normally it
was only in the privacy of John's quarters, or on his own ship, that he saw the technomage so at ease.

The area was sandy, reminding John of the beaches on Earth. A shadow crossed his face as he remembered
the home world he was fighting to save. After a moment, he shook it away, not wanting to dwell on the issue at
the moment.

Climbing a dune, John gasped. Before him was an endless expanse of deep blue ocean. The wind on his face
smelled of salt and he could almost hear gulls screeching, though he couldn't see any. Looking down near the
water's edge, he saw Galen had already spread the blanket on the sand and was waiting for him.

Sitting beside the other man, John looked over the food that was spread on the blanket. "How did you fit all of
this into the basket?" There were plates of finger sandwiches, cookies, sliced fruit, and a few other things
John couldn't quite identify.

Galen smiled, a twinkle in his eye. "Magic, of course."

John chuckled. "Of course ..." He leaned back and stretched his legs out, trying to decide what to try first.

Galen handed him a plate covered with a small helping of everything. "I'm sure you'll like it all ... I know I do
..." He took a bite of a small sandwich.

Taking a bite of fruit, John began to eat. Looking out over the vast ocean, the two men ate quietly, enjoying
the silent presence of the other. Occasionally they would feed each other a particularly delicious morsel of
food, taking care to keep fingers and chins clean.

After finishing the last piece of food, John lay back, hands on his stomach. "Ohhh ... That was delicious. Let
me just lay here and play the beached whale for a day or so." He said, smiling faintly at Galen.

The technomage chuckled and quickly packed the plates back into the basket, and stretching out beside his
lover. Propping himself up on one elbow, he lay a hand on John's chest. "Now it's time for dessert ..." he said
softly.

"Dessert? I couldn't eat anoth-" his words were cut off by Galen's lips. Galen shifted, moving closer to John,
his hand moving on the other man's chest. "Well, in that case ... I suppose I could make room ..." He said,
wrapping his arms around Galen.

Slowly they made love, touching, caressing, kissing with an almost aching tenderness. They stimulated each
other, driving each other to the edge and over countless times. The skies darkened and neither noticed, lost in
each other. Three moons rose, brightening a quarter of the the sky. One was the size and color of the Moon
around Earth. Another was larger, and a deep crimson. The third, and closest of the three, was a light purple,
almost a lilac. Despite the brightness of the moons, the rest of the sky was filled with stars.

When he was finally able to notice, John was struck dumb at the sight. He stared up into the sky, for a moment
feeling as though he could reach out and touch the nearer of the three moons. Almost without realizing, he
reached out his hand to it. He felt a soft chuckle in his ear. "Beautiful, isn't it?" Galen whispered.

"Breathtaking ..." He murmured reverently. Galen's warm body was pressed close to his, but the air had
turned chill and John began to shiver lightly.

"Come on ..." Galen sat up, handing him his clothes. "There's one more thing I want to show you, and then we
have to start getting back to the Excalibur."

John nodded slowly, sad to be leaving such a beautiful place. He dressed quickly and soon stopped shivering.
They walked back to Galen's ship hand in hand. Settling into the one of the chairs in the main room, John had
time to notice the incredible lack of sand on his body. He would expect to be covered in sand after making love
on a beach, even with a blanket. He chalked it up to another aspect of technomancy and thought little more
about it.

He must have dozed, because the next thing he remembered was walking up in the chair, and glancing at the
view screen showing a desert as endless as the ocean had been. It was also day time, he noted, though he
didn't know whether it was the result of time, or if they had traveled so far across the planet that the day was
different. He stretched and looked over at Galen.  The technomage smiled at him, one hand resting lightly on
the controls of the ship as it skimmed over the desert.

Standing, John decided that now was not the time to break with tradition. Before he said anything, he stepped
over to stand by Galen. When the older man looked up at him, John bent, pressing his lips to Galen's, taking
advantage of his surprise to slip his tongue into the other man's mouth. He felt Galen's hands at his waist and
thought Galen was going to break the kiss. He gasped when Galen pulled him across his lap, supporting him
with his left arm firmly around John's waist. John chuckled and wrapped his right arm around Galen's neck,
gripping his right shoulder. Raising a hand to John's cheek, Galen turned his head and met John's eyes.
"Good morning," Galen's eyes glittered as he moved to kiss John again. John's other hand lay on Galen's
chest, feeling the technomage's heartbeat.

They broke apart when the computer beeped a moment later. Galen glanced at the controls, his arm still firmly
supporting John.  "Almost there ..." He pointed to a growing speck on the screen. They were rapidly
approaching a large rock formation.

A moment later the ship settled at the base of the outcropping and the two men disembarked.

Following Galen's lead, John climbed the rocks, not bothering to wonder why. Galen was right. Sometimes you
had to stop thinking and simply be.

At the top, Galen sat silently, pulling John down in front of him. Sliding forward, he pulled John back slightly so
the lieutenant's back was flush against Galen's chest. Resting his chin on John's neck, he wrapped his arms
around his waist, his legs on either side of John's hips. John covered Galen's arms with his own, snuggling
back against Galen. With Galen's arms around him, and his breath warm on John's neck, he thought he could
never be happier.

Looking out over the desert, John felt he could be staring at forever incarnate. The landscape was cracked,
barren, and endless, but there was an eerie beauty about it. No wonder Galen had wanted him to see this. It
was a sight and a feeling he wouldn't soon forget. Between this, and the night sky he'd seen earlier, he finally
knew what Galen had meant by "magic."

"John?" Galen whispered after a long silence.

"Hmm?" John shivered at Galen's breath against this ear.

"I love you." The technomage said softly, tightening his arms around John.

John shuddered slightly. Drawing a ragged breath, he pulled Galen's arms tighter around him. He'd known
Galen had loved him, every time they were together he felt it. This was simply the first time he'd actually
heard Galen speak the words. "I love you too." He finally whispered back, his eyes still fixed on forever.