Author's Note: This was supposed to be a short little story wherein I tried my hand at some Caine POV, but as usual, I have proved myself incapable of brevity. I found Caine kinda tricky since he's a man of few words. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
This isn't really a sequel to "Take Me to Church" per say, but I went ahead and set it in the same universe, so I didn't have to set up the church he's staying in as a location again or my take on his reinstatement to the legion, so you could read that first for background if you want but it's not strictly necessary.
The transport's grav-beam shimmers translucently around him as it lowers Caine slowly through the Earth's stratosphere, troposphere, and finally into the atmosphere. It's a long and tortuously slow process from where the supply transport ship GEIGER sits in orbit high above the planet.
Caine exhales loudly, grumbling to himself at the glacial pace of the damn thing, wondering briefly if he should have waited for the passenger transport tomorrow afternoon. Supply transports being not nearly as convenient as passenger transports which have cloaking devices and the proper documentation, and can therefore descend into the planet's actual atmosphere allowing for drop-off or pick-up from only a few thousand feet in altitude.
Suddenly, the transporter beam lurches, it's light fizzing and fading, causing Caine to drop rapidly for several hundred feet before it re-engages, catching him up once again before he falls too far. He sighs again, rolling his eyes - it's more annoying than anything else. After all, he has his emergency oxygen canister, his boots, and his wings if the damn thing conks out altogether and sends him plummeting toward the ground prematurely. Supply transport is old and rickety, using first generation technology that has since been vastly improved upon, so he's prepared to look after himself in the event of a malfunction.
After what seems like an eternity, but in reality is probably only half an hour, he finally passes into the breathable, flyable atmosphere. Caine stretches his wings, flexing them like muscles as he prepares for the beam to disengage, releasing him from it's hold and leaving him to soar the rest of the journey under his own power.
It's only been three days, but Caine feels like he's been away from Earth, away from her for far longer. He shivers as the beam releases him and leaves him in the sub-freezing upper atmosphere of the planet. Fortunately, he's wearing his Legion thermo-protective gear to prevent frostbite, and he glides smoothly away from the beam, decreasing his altitude gradually as he descends.
Caine holds his breath, waiting until he's reached the lower, warmer air before beginning to inhale slowly. It's been kind of a shitty week. Although he'd technically been given the exclusive assignment as Jupiter's "security liason" on Earth, he is still an auxiliary member the Legion and therefore subject to temporary emergency reassignments as necessary.
Because of it's relative proximity to Earth, Caine had been deployed on a security operation in quadrant twelve earlier this week. The Legion was tasked with guarding pipelines on the desert planet of Quagmari, where the local prefect was preparing to hand down his ruling for an on-going property dispute. There were centuries worth of bad blood between the two parties involved, and the local Marshal had been expecting trouble depending on which way the verdict swung. Luckily for Caine and the rest of the Legion, the ruling had gone in-favor of the man with the local militia and the losing party had departed the planet in a huff of indignation (but no violence), so the skyjackers were no longer needed on-site and given leave to disband.
It had been unbearably hot, sandy, buggy and miserable on the planet (not to mention boring from his perspective) and Caine hadn't even bothered to shower before hitching a ride on a passing freighter. The troop passenger transport wasn't due to arrive until the following afternoon, but the captain of the GEIGER owed Stinger a favor, so he'd agreed to drop Caine on Earth as he passed nearby on his supply run to Nebuluam 5.
Staring out across the desert, watching the other men break camp, what Caine had wanted more than anything else was to get home. He wanted to stow his gear, take a long, relaxing, de-sanding shower, and then fly over to Jupiter's house to land on her roof and listen to the sound of her breathing as she slept. It would be the middle of the night when he arrived, there was no way he could sneak in to actually see her with her mother and her aunt sleeping so close by, but he was willing to settle for "close enough" and camp out on her roof, falling asleep himself to the sounds of her breathing in the house beneath his feet.
It's strange when he thinks about it now, the concept of "home", of having a place in the universe where he wants to be, a place where he might truly belong, it feels foreign to him. Even years ago, when he'd stayed with Stinger and Kiza during Legion breaks, it had only been a house, a place to sleep and eat, never an honest to goodness home.
The concept of "wanting" is pretty strange too actually, because he never "wanted" before Jupiter came along either. He understood the definition of the word intellectually of course, but never understood how it felt, what it actually was until her.
Caine had always been a good solider, had taken pride in his skill as a fighter, as a tracker within the legion, but he'd never cared about success or failure, never had any emotional investment in the outcome of any fight. Looking back, he supposes that fearlessness, that lack of care or worry was what had made him all the more successful then. Now, everything is different, he is different.
The first time Caine felt it had been on Aurus, but he hadn't recognized it for what it was then, having never felt much of anything before. Jupiter had just finished the ascension process, and the royal seal was glowing soft and bright on her inner wrist. She'd leaned in close to him, eyes burning into his as she turned her chin, exposing her neck. She'd been offering herself to him, and something he hadn't understood at the time had clawed at his chest, squeezing his heart, forcing it to beat at twice it's normal rhythm.
It was when Titus revealed his plan to murder Jupiter after their wedding that Caine had felt it again, recognizing it for what it was this time . . . want . . . need. The ice water in his veins was thawing for the first time in his life, she was thawing it. The first thing in his entire existence that he'd ever allowed himself to want, to wish for, was for her to be okay, for him to get there in time to save her.
It was also the second thing he'd ever wanted - - to get through to the refinery, to reach her in time, before Balem could succeed in killing her. Jupiter mattered to him, for the first time in all his life's missions, it had mattered if he failed and the reward for success was of immeasurable value.
After the refinery explosion, Caine's walls had fallen as swiftly as dominoes, each brick crashing into another until his lifetime's worth of protective barrier lay crumbled at her feet. Such a change, he thinks. Now he finds himself wanting all the time, knows it's dangerous but he can't help himself. He wants to get home as soon as possible, wants to be close to her again. Unfortunately, the ability to feel and the ability to actually express said-feelings appear to be different matters entirely.
Caine sighs with fatigue (he didn't really sleep much the past three days), gliding in for a landing on the soft grass outside of the abandoned church where he's been staying, slipping quietly through the side door and making his way toward the stairs that lead to his basement living quarters.
As he moves in the darkness, his mind drifts back to the morning he deployed. They had been lying together in his bed, his arms still wrapped around her as their skin cooled from their coupling, Jupiter's fingers dancing over his chest lightly, unconsciously mimicking the rhythm of his heartbeat. She'd asked him then, what he wanted from his life, from his future.
She did this often, in the quiet hours of the early morning, drawing his innermost thoughts gently to the surface with her queries. She'd spent hours over the past few weeks tracing the scars and tattoos across his entire body with her fingers and her lips, slowly drawing the story behind each mark out of him over time, before he'd even been aware he was sharing so much.
During their time together, he'd told her about missions for the Legion, fellow soldiers lost in battle, people he'd killed, wars he'd fought, always wars belonging to others, he was only a tool after all. He'd told her about his childhood, his physical and emotional isolation from the other pups because of his defects, the rigorous pre-military training his Splicer had insisted upon, the hazing by fellow soldiers once he'd been sold to the Legion, his status as an outsider even within his own unit. Sometimes he could feel the tears spill down her cheeks and across his skin at his words and he knew that she cried for him. He hadn't meant to make her cry, he only ever told her the truth when she asked him for it.
Somehow, Caine had even told her about the deadland. He didn't really know how it had happened at all. He had been drifting off slowly after an especially powerful climax and Jupiter had mentioned the court-marshal casually. The next thing he'd known he was telling her everything: the pain, the despair, the abyss of loneliness in the vast darkness of space with no hope of recourse.
Her touch was so light, so easy that he never felt pressured or criticized, he had nearly stopped fearing that she would shrink away from him in fear or disgust altogether. It was hard for him to process that level of acceptance from anyone, much less his Queen.
There was no denying it, slowly, the darkness had begun losing it's power, losing it's hold over him. But still, when she'd asked about his future he hadn't known how to answer her. He wanted to tell her reflexively that Splices don't dream, Splices don't choose their own futures, but he hated that so many of his answers seemed to make her sad, so he's settled for a noncommittal "I don't know".
Jupiter had seemed to read his mind, seemed to answer his unspoken thoughts when she'd replied "You have a different future now than the one that was planned for you", mirroring his early words about the planet Earth as she kissed his forehead easy and affectionate before rising to get dressed, she would be late for work at this rate "You should start thinking about how you want to spend it"
Now, moving through the chapel and into the vestibule he is drawn from his ruminations back to the present by a familiar fragrance wafting across his nose. There, mixed-in with the dust and the long-ago burned incense, he can smell something more vibrant, something more recent: a hint of citrus, a slight tang of perspiration, a mixture of vanilla and coffee and lilacs . . . he can smell her.
He halts, remaining still as he cocks his ears to listen, focusing intently. Now he can hear it, the soft sounds of her breathing, the gentle thrum of her heartbeat drifting up to him through the floorboards - - she's here, she's waiting for him. He can tell by the pattern of the inhalation and exhalation that she's fast asleep, probably in his bed based on his limited echolocation abilities.
The realization makes him foolishly happy and he almost grins with it. He tries for quiet as he opens the door to make his way down the stairs, not wanting to wake her, but the creaking floorboard on the fifth step has other ideas. He grimaces to himself as he hears Jupiter stirring in the next room, the pattern of her breathing changing as she is startled awake. By the time he's all the way down the stairs, she's peeking cautiously out of his bedroom (broom closet) door, plasma gun pointing steadily at his chest.
"Hey, it's only me" he says, freezing in place, hands raised slightly.
He can't help but smile with pride at the confident, precise way she aims the gun, how quickly she's learned and adapted to everything he's taught her about self-defense. It's not that they're expecting trouble, not with the Aegis maintaining the interstellar blockade above Earth, but he believes in being prepared and Jupiter has proven to be a quick study.
Then, he notices that she's wearing one of his old t-shirts, and the pride morphs quickly into desire because she looks so incredibly sexy holding his gun, wearing his shirt, eyes still sleepy and hair all tousled.
"Caine!" she squeals with surprised delight, her voice a little rougher than normal from sleep as she leans against the door frame.
"Hi" he responds, setting his pack down at the foot of the stairs.
"You're back early!" she exclaims, flipping the safety on and dropping the gun unceremoniously to the floor before launching herself in his direction.
Caine finds his mind wandering unbidden to all the things he wants to do to her and with her and for a minute he forgets that he was in such a hurry to get back that he'd skipped the shower in favor of the first ride out of quadrant twelve, and he's therefore sand-covered and filthy right now. She's halfway across the room before he thinks to stop her.
"Wait" he says, stepping back and holding his arm out just a little "I'm dirty"
"Like, toxic sludge dirty?" she asks, quirking her eyebrows "or just dirt dirty?" she finishes
It makes him smile, that she's discovered so much about the universe and it's various hazards in such a short time. His queen, she's a fast-learner. "Just dirt" he answers
"But there's a lot of it" he tries to continue, but Jupiter has already resumed her path across the room and she's throwing herself into his body, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him fiercely.
"Don't care" she mumbles against his mouth "Missed you"
He knows exactly how she feels because he thinks now that he was missing her for his entire life and never even knew it. His hands come instinctively to grip her waist, to support her weight as she hangs from his neck, kissing his lips tenderly over and over again.
Soon, she changes gears from warm and friendly to hot and suggestive, deepening the kiss as she slides her tongue past his lips, ravishing his mouth sensuously. Following her lead, Caine slides his hands from her waist, reaching down to grasp her bottom, lifting her higher so she can wrap her legs around his waist. It's now that he discovers sweet heaven's nectar, she isn't wearing anything underneath, she's wearing his shirt and only his shirt, and he can't help but growl at the realization, all the blood in his body heading southward at a rapid pace.
"Caine" she gasps, tightening her grasp on the back of his neck, her fingers curling into his hair and tugging involuntarily when his hands brush across her bare backside.
"Jupiter" he answers, just as breathlessly.
He's been actively training himself to call her Jupiter out-loud, and he's mostly successful at it now after several weeks of intense effort. She was the one who'd insisted upon it really, wanting to break him of the deference to her royalty, which she still finds rather silly. But Caine can not help himself, he finds that in his head, he still calls her "your majesty", thinks of her as a queen, as his queen, imagines that he always will.
Occasionally, when they're together like this, she allows his lips to worship the words aloud - slowly, deeply, wrapping around them sinfully . . . "your majesty". He likes what the words do to her in these precious moments, the way her heartbeat races and her body trembles in response.
Her Majesty is currently squirming in his arms, trying to get closer. "Ommph" she mumbles suddenly against his lips "Your jacket is poke-y" she complains good-naturedly, drawing back with a small hiss of pain.
Caine stiffens when he realizes he's hurt her, lifting her away from his body and setting her carefully back on her feet "I'm sorry" he says, irritated with himself for not having been more cautious, he is wearing Legion standard-issue tactical gear after all.
Jupiter laughs his worry away, smiling "I'm the one who jumped your bones uninvited" she says.
Intent on rectifying the problem, she reaches for his shoulders to push the thick trench coat off his back and onto the floor where it lands with a thump as his radio, knife, compass, emergency O2 canister, portal device and micro-computer terminal all clank noisily in their respective pockets as they drop. Then her hands are at his waist, unbuckling his holster, carefully setting it and the weapon off to the side before leaning up to kiss him again.
"You are always invited" he responds, leaning down to meet her upturned mouth.
Jupiter likes to talk, he'd figured that out pretty quickly about her, and at first it had been a little off-putting. But then he came to understand that she was asking so many questions because she genuinely wanted to know the answers, because she genuinely cared about other people and their thoughts and feelings. He hadn't known an Entitled could be like that, didn't know anyone could be like that when it came to a mere splice, but Jupiter is.
He recognizes that his own reticence is difficult for her, that she hates having to work so hard to pull information out of him. He's been trying to learn for her and from her, trying to articulate feelings he hadn't been capable of comprehending a few short months ago, let alone actually possessing himself. It isn't an easy thing for him to do, but he wants to make her happy.
He thinks that maybe he has when she purrs contentedly against his mouth in response to his words before slipping her tongue inside his mouth, deepening the kiss again. Sliding her hands beneath his shirt, she dances her fingers across his stomach and he can't help but shiver at the delicious contact.
"Let's get you cleaned up" she suggests, pulling him toward the bathroom.
He kicks off his boots and shucks off his remaining clothing while she starts the shower, adjusting the temperature and the spray before stepping inside, motioning for him to join her. They've never done this before, and it's a little cramped with the two of them, but he likes being close to Jupiter, feels a sense of completeness now that he never knew existed before.
She grabs the bottle of her shampoo off the ledge, pouring a small amount onto her hand "Come here" she commands softly, looking up at him expectantly.
She's so petite that he practically towers over her, and there's no way she can reach the top of his head, so he drops to his knees on the tile floor at her feet.
"That's better" she murmurs, massaging the shampoo gently into his hair, raking her fingers back and forth across his scalp over and over again.
Caine can't help but close his eyes as she works, leaning into the delicious sensation her fingertips are creating. Too soon, she is angling the nozzle to rinse the lather from his head. Her fingertips glide through his hair, combing carefully, chasing any remnants of shampoo from his locks before she begins to lather the conditioner in. She spends even more time massaging with the conditioner, and he can't help it when a small contented whine escapes from the back of his throat.
"Good?" she whispers, feeling the way he quivers and shakes, nuzzling toward her touch.
Good isn't the word, it's amazing. He doesn't know if it's some deep-seated lupine communal grooming instinct or what, but having her take care of him this way feels amazingly perfect, and he never wants to move from this spot.
It makes him think him of their first car ride together, from Chicago. The moment when she'd discovered he was bleeding and her eyes had gone all soft and concerned and she'd insisted on nursing his wound. It was the first swell of warmth he'd ever felt swimming through his veins, a response to her tenderness.
"Tell me" she prompts, her fingers still working across his scalp and he realizes he's been so caught up in the moment that he hasn't answered her.
"Yes, good" he manages to croak, his voice thick
He almost whines aloud when she rinses out the conditioner, sad that it's over. But then she's pouring body wash on one of her strange mesh covered shower sponge-contraptions and rubbing it in circular motions across his shoulder blades, and that feels pretty damn good too.
Jupiter leans over his shoulder as she makes her way down the hard planes of his back, scrubbing gently. Caine can't resist reaching out and swiping his tongue across her belly, making her giggle. Then she begins to feed her soapy fingers softly through his feathers, one at a time, lathering them gently then rinsing each thoroughly, working her way from the top to the bottom. She's so careful, her touch so delicate, like he's something precious to her, and it makes his chest ache.
Just when he thinks the feeling is too powerful, too intimate, that it might sweep him away like a raging flood, she finishes with his wings. Now, she moves on to his chest, down his arms, carefully covering every inch of his skin with the vanilla-scented soap that smells like her. He can't help but think that he won't mind smelling like her, although his legion buddies might give him a hard time about it if the scent hasn't faded before he gets called out again. Right now, in the warmth of her embrace, he can't bring himself to care.
"Stand up" she urges, whispering directly into his ear before biting gently on the lobe, sucking lightly
The sensation shoots straight to his groin, causing him to growl low in his throat, and he stumbles a little as he tries to comply. He finds that he has to brace his hands against the walls of the narrow shower stall while he catches his breath. Soon, he's having an even harder time because Jupiter is working her way down his thigh with the sponge, across his calf and back up the other side until she reaches his waist, purposely avoiding the one area he'd really like for her to touch.
"Hmmm" she murmurs happily, kissing him briefly on the lips as she hangs the bath pouf back on the shower caddy.
Her hands are still foamy, and now her fingertips begin to dance across his stomach teasingly. She digs her nails softly into his skin, making him hiss, smiling as his muscles flex beneath her hands. Eventually she travels lower, her hands finally wrapping around his cock.
Caine's already hard, has been since he realized she was naked beneath his shirt, and he can't help but moan loudly at her touch, hips thrusting involuntarily, trying to increase the friction. She moves languorously, barely closing around him, the lather on her hand diminishing any pleasant friction that might have moved him toward release.
She knows she's tormenting him, he can tell by the tiny smirk on her lips. He buries his mouth in the crook of her neck, gasping for air as she continues to pump him. His hands remain on either wall, he know instinctively she wants him to stay there, prisoner in her grasp, as if he would ever leave voluntarily. She flicks a finger across his tip and he gasps loudly, biting down on her shoulder as he tries not to come apart too soon. It's too much and not nearly enough at the same time, too soft, too light, too cool. He wants more so badly, he's practically shaking.
"Tell me" Jupiter murmurs, her hot breath caressing his ear as her hand continues to move up and down his shaft.
She seems to understand him so naturally, even though there's no logical way that she can. She seems to understand the disconnect between his feelings and his brain/his mouth. Slowly, she's reconnecting the passages that he destroyed to keep himself safe, to stay alive during his time before her. She makes him think, makes him feel when he doesn't want to/didn't know how. She makes him ask, dare to dream of things he never has before, makes him speak his desires out loud.
"I'll give you anything you want" she promises, and he wants to say that she already has, that she's chasing all his demons away one by one, reassembling the shattered pieces that were broken inside of him.
"Tell me what you want" she commands, squeezing a fraction harder this time as she strokes him.
Want? Such a complicated concept, and so simple at the same time. What he wants is to climb inside her skin with her, to wrap himself inside her warmth and never leave, and it's a dangerous thought, the promise she makes him. He knows that she believes it, just as she believes there is no obstacle to their future, dangerous because he understands this universe better than she does, and he is beginning to believe her anyway, believe that this could be real, that it could be lasting.
"I want . . . you" he chokes out the words, too many emotions too many sensations swirling inside like a tidal wave pulling him under, a thousand pounds of hurricane lashing and striking to tear him to pieces "I want to spend my future with you" he manages, his head still resting heavy on her shoulder as he finally answers the question she'd asked him three days earlier.
Jupiter winds her fingers through the hair at the back of his neck, pulling his head gently backward until his eyes can look up to meet hers "I want that too" she promises, nodding her head. Her other hand still moves around him, guiding him toward her. Her eyes never leave his, staring directly inside him, like she can see his very soul.
"Fuck me Caine" she commands softly
She almost never talks dirty, and it's like a lightening bolt shooting inside of him electrifying every nerve-ending in his body, making each one spontaneously combust. His hands come down to grab her ass, lifting her up so she can wrap around him as he slides inside of her. She's wet and warm and joining with her feels like coming home, a security and a completeness he's never known.
He braces her back against the far wall as he pulls out and thrusts in, setting a slow shallow rhythm. He knows he hasn't spent any time on her and she can't be as close as he is, he tries to go slowly, wanting her to fall with him. Reaching between them, he finds her clit, massaging it between his fingers tips in time with his thrusts. Soon he can feel her muscles begin to flutter around him, hear her heartbeat racing faster, her breath stuttering into pre-orgasmic gasps.
"Faster" she urges, her fingernails biting into his shoulder blades
Within seconds, the world is exploding around them, white-hot lightning singing in their veins as they tumble into the abyss together.
Many minutes later, when they are lying in bed, her head resting on his chest, fingers lazily dancing across his skin, she finally speaks again "I thought you weren't due back until tomorrow?"
Caine is so relaxed that he's almost asleep, his body and mind floating weightlessly in that soft silky place between sleeping and waking and he almost doesn't hear the question, and he certainly doesn't think before he answers it.
"I wanted to get home to you" he murmurs as he drifts away, the perfect and simple truth of it beautiful to her ears.
If he were still awake, he would have felt her mouth curve in a satisfied smile against his chest, heard her contented sigh as she snuggled closer and allowed her own eyes to slip closed.