Captain Diomika on behalf of Aegis offers a formal apology to Titus for endangering him and his crew, even though it would have likely played out similarly and ended much worse without them. Caine had been posted on another Aegis cruiser of the starboard bow to keep the couple from leaving the ship, but Night had blocked all flight protocols for them. They would have been stuck on the ship anyway.

Before Aegis leaves Titus's ship, he offers lucrative positions to both Bridget and Night. Night takes him up on the position of under steward - just below Famulus, with the stipulation that he can take enough leave to act as a consultant for Aegis. The organization is begging him to help patch the encryption protocol.

Bridget considers the offer of being his personal masseuse. But Stinger had just told her he would be taking the Captaincy with Her Majesty Jupiter Jones, and he would be visiting Earth fairly often. Interlocking her fingers with Stinger's, she politely declines his generous offer and thanks him for healing her son.

As she finishes gathering her personal belongings, they receive a message from Captain Tsing that they have a schedule to keep. Holding hands they run through the hall to the airlock. Stinger has her bag hoisted over his back and she's still wearing his Aegis jacket. Panting as they hear the door seal behind them and the small room takes a moment to pressurize as the ship detaches, she leans on him. Stinger drops her bag and confesses as he slips his hands into her back pockets and rocks side to side, "I was anxious to get you aboard. I couldn't shake the thought that you'd change your mind."

Her nose wrinkles with pleasure that she's important to him as she slips her arms around his neck. Giving him a mischievous wink, she teases, "I'm the kind of trouble you can't ditch easily."

His bright blue eyes turn gold and stay that way for several seconds to match the intensity of his grin, "Bring it on, girl."

Ignoring the the airlock door opening, they're in the middle of passionate lip lock, pressed up against the port wall, with his hand pulling her knee past his hip. Captain Tsing rolls her eyes and clears her throat. Not as abashed as Tsing thought they'd be, Stinger lets go. The blonde girl giggles as she wipes the lipstick off his face with the cuff of his jacket that she's still wearing.

Tsing chides fondly, "Jeeze old man - in need of a re-code and and still going after the girls. Think you can wait the few hours to get to back to Orus or do we have to drop you two at the nearest hourly hotel?"

With an arm around each other, Stinger shakes his head and runs his free hand through his hair before making the introductions, "Bridget Thornton, this is Diomika Tsing. Mika this is the troublesome one I told you about."

"Nice to officially meet you," Tsing offers her hand in a hearty shake. "When he said you kept him on his toes, I knew we'd get along."

"Likewise, he spoke well of you," Bridget offers politely, unsure of what else to say.

Tsing motions for them to leave the airlock. "If that's true, he didn't tell you much. We go *way* back. Let me enlighten you, dear," she waggles her eyebrows conspiratorially and offers her arm.

Bridget kisses Stinger's cheek, then accepts. "Sounds delightfully entertaining!"

"Let me tellyou first about how I met him. Then you can tell me how you caught his attention ... So we were a freshly formed unit created to ferret out pockets of resistance in Tellurise. And this cocky young officer with black and yellow stripes in his hair and wings jutting out proudly swaggers over and introduces himself thinking he's hot stuff… " her voice trails off out of range.

"Oh, damn." Stinger has his hands stuffed in his pockets and shakes his head. "I'd better go make sure she tells it right."

Walking back to his apartment from the nearest public transport, they've decided to deal with his transfer papers in the morning. As soon as the door is shut, she drops her bags and Stinger's jacket out of the way. Feeling completely at ease here she sighs contentedly, even though he hasn't said anything about letting her stay long term. She knows she should get back to Earth soon.

Stinger has stopped to take off his boots. When he straightens, she grabs his hands giving a tug and suggests, "Come on. Shower with me."

"Demanding," he mock protests, but offers no resistance.

"You started it back in the airlock…" She drags him into the walled off partition and taps the temperature and start buttons.

A single eyebrow raises and his trademark one sided smirk appears. "Did I now..."

"Wouldn't be right to leave a girl wishing you'd finish what you started." Simpering an invitation, she pulls him toward her.

Not to be outdone. He wrestles her still fully clothed into the falling rain that emanates from the whole ceiling in the small shower. It has them both in a fit of giggles, clinging to each other.

She guides his hands to the opening of her shirt. Seeing he's laboring with even the first button on the sopping garment, she stops her work on his pants to assist. After that stubborn fastener is undone, she shifts so he can pull it up over her head. It doesn't go smoothly, sticking to her head and arms. When she realizes it's all going to be this tricky, she's a little frustrated with him for making getting clothes off more difficult. But seeing his heady, lusty amusement as her shirt is finally off - it all melts away. Perhaps the crazy struggle together makes the wait more sweet.

As he presses her up against the wall, she can feel the desperation in his kiss as his lips and whiskers drag across her skin and the tingling lingers. They've both been wanting this since the airlock, and he'll be buggered if he's going to wait a tick longer.

Eventually, they do end up actually showering. But standing as they made love left them both with wobbly shaking legs. They make quick work of getting clean and mostly dry. Dog-tired from the emotional day and strenuous 'shower', she nuzzles her face into the crook of his neck and leans on him. Barely able to stand, he wraps his arms around her and falls with her back into the bed. It only wakes them up enough to chuckle as they collapse together.

As she cuddles up next to him, she whispers, "I don't know how long you'll let me stay. But I feel like I'm home."

He presses his lips to her forehead and they let themselves drift off to sleep.

Author's note: I'd love to hear your thoughts on the story! :)