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A New Slate

Posted on Sun Sep 1st, 2019 @ 9:12pm by Lieutenant Julian Windsong-Price & Captain Taylor Price
Edited on on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 @ 5:07am

Mission: Time for a Change
Location: Lahina Maur
Timeline: 2389/02/17

Julian's forest-green eyes fluttered open just after 0530 local time. He knew from experience that he wouldn't be getting back to sleep again. He could hear the deep, even breathing of the man beside him and didn't want to awaken his husband. He carefully and slowly extracted himself from a tangle of legs and rolled out of bed.

He scanned the floor of the hotel room and found his underwear and sleeping pants in one pile, socks in a second and his shirt, by itself, close to the open bedroom door. It was just the two of them, they weren't expecting guests and had no definitive plans for the day yet, so he only put on his boxers, and almost didn't even do that. He replicated a glass of loganberry juice and stepped out onto the balcony.

He could hear the sound of the surf and smell the brine from the nearby Pacific, as a soft breeze played with his hair.

The moment there was a difference in pressure in the mattress Taylor was aware that Julian had gotten out of bed. It was usually the same time every day without fail. It didn't matter if they were on duty or holiday. Julian's body and mind just never seemed to let him rest beyond 0530. Taylor, on the other hand, would have slept in for hours given the chance. He pushed one arm outward under Julian's pillow and felt the coolness of the sheets beneath. His dirty blonde hair a mess around a rough, handsome face. He didn't count himself as handsome, but Julian had said it often enough that the Marine was beginning to believe him. He didn't hear Julian move, but he was still somehow aware that his Arkadian partner had been padding around the room for a few and then there was the breeze that swept through the room as the door to the balcony opened briefly.

Taylor opened one eye for a moment, he could see Julian's lean figure out on the balcony standing there facing away from him. He could have stared at that view forever he admitted. Instead, he propped himself up on one elbow, wincing for the fraction of a second that the biosynthetic took to adjust to the new position. "Well, if that isn't the closest thing to a perfect sunrise I've ever see, I don't know what is."

Julian, was aware, int the back of his mind that Taylor was awake, he could feel his presence there. ~Good morning,~ he thought towards the other man. After waiting for a few minutes until the sun rose above the horizon, turning the Pacific a magnificent and unusual reddish blue, he stood to his feet and slipped back into the room.

"Nice view out there, but I think the one in here is better," he commented.

Price couldn't help but smile. "Nah, you're not in it. How could it possibly be better?"

Julian smiled at Taylor in return, though his smile was a bit more mischevious. "Well, I suppose I could make the picture complete and join you there, but then we may not get to breakfast for a while."

"Or lunch knowing your appetite like I do." He admitted as he pushed the covers aside. He had boxers already on. But then he'd woken up in the middle of the night unlike Julian and had put them back on. "I would like to enjoy a little of our time on Holiday outside of the hotel room."

The Akadian shrugged his shoulders. "Fine," he growled in mock frustration,"be that way then. Though yeah, you're probably right about it taking to lunch. So, what did you want to do today then?"

Taylor came over and stretched his arms out embracing his husband. They'd known each other for five years. Five long years. They'd been married half that. Well, bonded. And he still got such a simple pleasure out of hugging the other man. He told Julian often enough how Julian had saved him, even though their first encounter had been more the other way around. Julian had been the one to stick with him, through surgery through recovery, the PTSD. Through fighting his own demands. There was no way to explain how that affected him, except for Taylor to say I love you. And he did, as often as possible. "I was thinking, breakfast at that little Bistro we saw coming in last night. Then maybe a walk on the beach?"

"Oh yeah, I remember seeing that now," Julian said returning the hug losing himself for a moment in the larger man's embrace. "That sounds like a good idea. What do you think of parasailing after lunch? Is your shoulder up for it?"

"That sounds like fun, I'm sure I can handle it." He wouldn't admit it out loud but it didn't really matter to him if his shoulder could handle it or not. If Julian wanted to do something he'd suffer through it. Taylor had no idea if it would hurt or not. But he wasn't going to hold back. If it bothered him he'd get a heat pack on it

"Sweet, let's do it then. But before we go anywhere, we both need a shower. Last night was kind of a marathon and we really do need to clean up."

Taylor gestured towards the shower, "You first I insist." He said. "Leave the door open so I can talk to you about this new duty assignment."

Julian quickly removed his boxers and took them to a hamper. He got a freshly replicated outfit, khaki-colored cargo shorts, and a teal A shirt into the bathroom, where he laid them on a sink. Leaving the water on as Taylor had suggested the turned the water on and stepped into the shower. "So what did you want to talk about?" he asked as he shut the shower door.

"You're the Intel man, what do you know about the Crazy Horse?" He teased. "How do you feel about going out into deep space?"

As Julian began shampooing his hair he said "Not to sound cheesy, but as long I'm with you, I'm good. Honestly, I kind of like the idea, it's different than what we've been doing. Being a department head instead of in the field is going to be an adjustment, but I think it's time I grow up."

Taylor had been a department head. MCOs were still in the field, at least he was that kind of CO. He didn't send his men blindly out into missions. He often went with them. "I think you're pretty grown-up." He added as he found a seat and leaned back slightly in it. "I personally can't see you sitting back and telling others what to do."

"I know, but we've talked about this," Julian said as he turned to face his lover, "I can't just sit back. That's not me. But at least I won't be going undercover anymore. I know how you worry when I do that."

Taylor had to admit that Julian did have a point, he worried about Julian on those undercover missions. Probably as much as Julian worried about him when he went out on away missions. At least away missions were shorter. "Yeah, I know we've talked about it. I'm sure we'll talk about it again." He rubbed his shoulder as he felt a twinge of pain, like someone sticking a needle in his arm. "I'm just, I don't know. Uncomfortable with all this. And I can't remember the last time I was uncomfortable with a transfer."

Julian turned off the shower and opened the door. He grabbed a towel and started drying off. After he had gotten partially dry, he stepped out to complete the process. "What has you, worried babe?"

Taylor looked up at him from where he was sitting and shook his head. "I don't know. I can't explain it, it's just a gut feeling that has me on edge." He huffed out a short laugh. "Maybe I'm just terrified of another close call like the Gladiator incident." He looked away for a moment. "I mean, we won't get that lucky twice."

The Akadian suppressed a shudder, closing his eyes to prevent an unwanted flashback. He crossed the distance between them wrapping the towel around his waist.

"No, we don't. That's right. So, how long have you felt this way?"

He sighed, wrapping his arms around Julian's waist and pulling him closer. Close enough to hug, but he didn't pull the other man into his lap. Taylor laid his head against Julian's abs. For being the bigger, quote-unquote tougher guy he sure wasn't acting like it now. He needed Julian against him. to calm the demons and the fears. His therapist had said that Julian was a sense of stability. His happy place. Without Julian, Taylor would have cracked for sure. "A few days," he admitted. "I guess when we both accepted the transfer orders and came out this way." He said.

"Do you want to see if we can find a different ship? Would that make you feel better? More secure?"

He shook his head against Julian's abs. "No, I can't run from it," Taylor admitted. "I was able to compartmentalize it on the Gladiator A. It took time but I got over it." He smirked as he looked up at Julian seeing those brilliant, stunning feline-like eyes looking down at him. "You helped me get through that, this will just take time."

Julian favored the man he loved with a warm, affectionate smile."I will help you through it. And, as I told you, if you ever want to resign, I'll go with you. You're way more important to me than any career."

Taylor shook his head at the idea of resignation or even retirement. "Not a chance, you love your work too much. And I can't see either of us sitting back and watching the world go by."

The Intel operative leaned in and stole a kiss."You're right of course, but if you ever change your mind, you know I'll go with you."

Taylor closed his eyes and drank in the simplicity of the kiss. When Julian spoke, Taylor opened his eyes and smiled. He forced away the fears and nodded. "Let me shower and we'll go get breakfast."

"I'll go change and wait for you. Take your time, I'm in no hurry." Then with one hand holding the towel at his waist, he walked out of the bathroom leaving Taylor by himself.

The water of the shower washed away from a little more of the foreboding fears that Taylor was trying to suppress. The heat definitely helped with his shoulder. By the time he was out and drying off, the Marine had to admit that he actually felt noticeably better. He left the bathroom to find clothes and noticed that their things from the night before had been picked up. And Julian was nowhere to be found. Not that Taylor looked very hard. He dressed, and as a breeze from the ocean overtook the hotel room again he got swept up in the memories of their first encounter. When they'd been on leave with the Gladiator. Beachside, on some planet he couldn't remember the name of any more. Taylor had been drinking a beer when he saw a man rush off, and Julian took chase after him. He'd recognized Julian from the crew so Taylor followed after him. The chase had led them down some narrow streets. He couldn't remember why they'd been chasing the guy. A missing wallet or something like that. Taylor only remembered that they'd hit it off after that. Spending the rest of the holiday together.

He was dressed shortly thereafter in a grey shirt and khaki cargo shorts. "Julies?" He called out as he left the bedroom.

After dressing in a flowery Hawaiian shirt and tan cargo shorts, very similar to his partner, had put things away then stepped outside. When Taylor called his name he was halfway to the water just gazing out into the Pacific. He turned and started walking back to the entrance of their bungalow. "You ready?"

The Marine couldn't help but chuckle. "That is a very bright shirt you have on there."

"Well, you know where compliments will get you," Julian joked in return. "Are you ready?"

Taylor nodded. He offered to take Julian's hand as they headed down the boardwalk toward the bistro. "How do you feel about taking over as a department head?"

Julian took the hand but didn't say anything for several seconds. "Well, to be honest, it's kind of scary. I'm used to being out there and doing my job with minimum supervision. Now, I'm the one doing the supervising and I'm not sure I'm up to the task. Not only do I not know all the answers, but I also don't know all the questions."

Taylor smiled at that, he could remember being that way. Feeling that twinge of intimidation. Not from others but from his own expectation of what a leader should be. "Well, no one expects you to have all the answers. And you'll never know all the questions. There's a learning curve. You'll be great! I know you will. You've always been a leader."

"You really think so? I really haven't thought of myself like that. I've, you know, always been, a lone wolf kind of guy. Well except with you that is."

He smirked. "I remember the day we met. On that beach, you took off after some guy. A leader makes split-second decisions that affect themselves and others. You made the choice to follow that guy into town. Down alleyways, you knew nothing about. It could have been dangerous but you made the choice without hesitation. That's leadership. You knew the risk and you made the call. Doesn't matter if you lead one or dozens."

"I suppose that's right," he acquiesced, "I've never thought of it like that. And yes, I do remember that. I think he'd stolen something from a shop, though I don't recall for sure."

Taylor shrugged his broad shoulders. "Me either. I remember you giving chase and rushing past me, you knocked drinks out of my hands. And I ran after you." He chuckled. "I can't remember if I was mad or curious."

"I think you were a little of both. As for me, I can't say it was love at first sight. It was more like lust at first sight."

Taylor chuckled as he looked down at the boards of the boardwalk as they walked. He wasn't sure what it was at first. He'd tried so hard not to like anyone that he couldn't even process what it was. "I remember how much I tried not to like you."

"You don't fail at much," Julian said wrapping an arm around his bigger partner, "I'm glad you failed at that."

Taylor stole a kiss and smiled. "Me too." He saw the bistro and pointed it out.

The staff saw to them right away and seated them outside on the patio, at an umbrellaed table. They had a view of the ocean as the waitress offered them both coffee. Taylor declined the coffee and asked for tea.

Julian declined the coffee as well and ordered his go-to drink, hot chocolate. "Can we talk about something serious?" he asked after the waitress had left.

That question caught Taylor by surprise. He thought they usually were pretty serious. "Um, yeah." he adjusted himself in his seat to give Julian his full and undivided attention. "What's on your mind?"

"I know we fostered some kids for a while when we were on the Gladiator. What do you think about, adopting some? Or finding a surrogate?"

Taylor hadn't expected that question and it was pretty evident on his face as he stared at Julian. He was sure his mouth was even open slightly as he looked on at his husband. The question so out of the blue that Taylor was completely surprised by it. "I, um..." He closed his mouth and leaned back in his seat. "Wow, um..." He frowned.

"I know," Julian replied, "I probably shouldn't have sprung that on you like this. But it's not that we haven't talked about it before. I, I want to have a family. Not that you and I aren't a family already. We are. But I want to be a father. I just do."

Taylor sighed as he reached out across the table for Julian's hands. "I know you do. And you're right we have talked about this. I know you want a family, I do too." He smiled as he got flashbacks of the boy they fostered on the Gladiator. He'd been deaf and Julian had tried to teach him sign language to help them to communicate. "Let's get settled on first on the CrazyHorse, ok?"

Julian's eyes kept their focus on his husband's face."That's fine I guess. I mean you probably are right We should wait a bit. I just wanted you to know what I was feeling."

He sighed. "I know that sound in your voice." Taylor offered. "It's not that I don't understand how you feel, now that we are both department heads the threat of either of us getting lost in a fight is less. Absolutely. And I do want the same thing. I miss having little feet running around our quarters. And someone wiggling their way in between us in bed." He admitted. "I just don't think it's a good idea to foster a child right now, we're going into deep space. We can't pull a child into that with us when they barely know us." He offered. "I promise, we'll have a family."

Julian pointed to his head, "Yeah, I know all that is true in here," he paused, pointing to his heart," but this isn't convinced. It should be, I know, but it isn't."

Taylor sighed again, it bothered him when he couldn't make Julian happen. "What can I do to change that?" He asked.

"You can't my love. You can't. I just have to deal with it my own way. Don't worry. I'll be okay. Promise. Now maybe we should change the conversation. What do you want to talk about?"

Taylor looked at the man across from him for several long agonizing seconds. The incompletion that Julian felt seeped into Taylor's being. A bond or connection the two of them had made when they bonded was something Arkadians were known for. So when Julian felt bad, Taylor couldn't help but feel the same way. Just as he opened his mouth to suggest a more pleasant topic of conversation breakfast arrived With coffee and tea. The waitress was pleasant enough as she set everything down in front of them including pancakes, fruit, eggs, and bacon.

Once Taylor assured her they didn't need anything he went back to giving Julian his attention. "We can talk about anything you want."

"Well, let's talk about the fact that I love you. You complete me. Make me whole We're already bonded and that's good enough for the Federation to consider us husbands."

"You've honored my traditions, I want to honor yours. I'd like to get married in the Terran way. Take each other's last names."

He smirked and shook his head. Taylor's family was so against him being in love with another man they'd tried to kill him. He wanted very little to do with the traditional terran way of things sometimes. "I don't think that will work, my father reached out to me once on the Gladiator and one of my brothers saw you and me together but, I'm not ready to talk to them about my life with you. I don't want them to try to do to you what they did to..." he stopped himself. "I mean, I'm ok with us just being us. And our family." He chuckled. "Can't we adopt a puppy? And start small?"

Julian was disappointed, that Taylor did not want to take his name and allow him to take his partner's name, far more disappointed than they weren't going to be able to adopt a child. But he understood the reasoning and respected Taylor too much to push him on it, or for that matter even let him know.

He couldn't keep everything from his bondmate, but he pushed that disappointment so far beneath the surface and erected a wall around it that Taylor would never know.

"Okay," he said, "We'll get a puppy. For now."

If his human lover got a hint of Julian's disappointment it didn't show. Instead, he put on a smile and left it at that. "What would you like to do today?"

"I want to try parasailing. The higher the better," the Akadian replied.

Taylor hated heights, but he swallowed that fear and nodded. "Parasailing it is."

"Alright, so that's what we're doing this afternoon. What about tonight. You get to pick that."

Taylor smirked. "Maybe a moonlight walk on the beach, a little skinny dipping. Maybe."

"Whatever you want, babe. Whatever you want."

Capt. Taylor Price
MCO
USS Crazy Horse


Lt. Julian Windsong Price
Chief of Intel
USS Crazy Horse

 

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