"English makes no sense, Pendragon," Loor said, setting down the book.

"Of course it does, I've been speaking it my whole life!" I told her, turning from my computer. She lay stretched on the futon in jeans and a sweatshirt, doing her best to read Go, Dog, Go. I can't say she was doing that well.

"All these broken words…why do you bother, why not say the entire word?"

"What'd you mean? Oh, contractions? I don't know, just lazy I suppose," I told her, wincing at my use of contractions. She raised an eyebrow and sat up. Just then there was knocking on the door to my apartment.

"Hobey-ho, mate, open up!" came a voice from the other side of the door. I stood, shooting a happy look at Loor and glanced through the peephole. There I saw a denim-clad man with long black hair and a blonde woman wearing glasses, a black coat and red-polka dot dress. I could barely open the door fast enough. Aja hugged me around my arms the second there was enough space for her to fit through the door. I shook Spader's hand around her back.

"Bobby, how are you?" Aja said, letting go. Spader had already shrugged out of his jean-jacket and hung it on my row of hooks. He waited as Aja shook off her coat as well and placed hers on the next empty hook.

"I'm good," I said. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Loor straighten and anxiously pull her hair back in a knot.

"Loor, mate, what are you doing here?" Spader asked, shaking Loor's hand quickly.

"Loor's staying with me for a bit…the, ah, military on Zadaa isn't entirely happy with her having taken so much time off…she'll be here 'til that situation dies down," I answered for her.

Loor shot me a glare, "Thank you, Pendragon, but I can answer for myself. But yes, I am staying here for a while."

I was about to retort but then I heard some rapid clicking and turned to see Aja, fully immersed in my computer. "So primitive," she murmured.

"Hey, that's an XP!" I said indignantly. Yeah, maybe it wasn't the best but it certainly wasn't the oldest. She didn't seem to notice as she buzzed around, opening files full of data that I couldn't even begin to understand. So I turned back to Spader and Loor.

"It'll be awhile before she gets done there…you should have seen her in the control room on Grallion," he said nodding to Aja.

"She was on Grallion?"

Spader blushed a bit but said evenly, "She, ah, came for a visit a few weeks ago."

Loor cocked her head to the side and I raised my eyebrows. Aja and Spader…wouldn't have put it together myself but it could work. Loor shot me another glare, though I don't know what I did to deserve that one, and stretched back out on the futon, her head on the book. She continued to shoot me pointed looks through her lowered lids. I glanced away from her intense look and turned back to Spader.

"Want anything to eat?"

"Oi, do you have any sniggers? I could really go for some of them!"

"No, sorry, mate. Will Coke work for you?" I asked, crossing to the kitchenette and taking four Cokes out of the fridge. For good measure I grabbed some pretzels. "So, what are you guys doing here?"

"We were bored," Aja said shrugging, and instantly turning back to the computer.

"Yup," Spader said, taking a pretzel and turning it examining. He flicked some salt off and took a bite. "Agh, like swallowing seawater!"

Loor laughed and leaned over to take one from the bag on the coffee table. She'd definitely been turned onto pretzels in the four weeks she'd been living here. Especially when we broke out the peanut butter and slathered it all over the pretzels. That was our Friday night treat, while we watched action movies. I sat on the futon, draping her feet over my lap. "So you were bored and you decided to come and visit us. Gee, I'm really touched, Spader," I told him sarcastically, but with a smile.

Aja stopped clicking and swiveled in the computer chair to join the conversation. Spader settled himself on her armrest and handed her the remains of his pretzel. After sniffing it she delicately bit into it and nodded approval. We chatted randomly for a while, and I gently scratched at Loor's ankles. I wondered if maybe I was a little obvious, but I wasn't sure if she noticed. Then the phone rang. I stood and walked over to the red phone between the sink and fridge.

"Hobey-ho."

"Bobby, is Spader over there?" Mark's anxious voice came over the line.

"Yeah…how'd you-?"

"Wu Yenza just contacted me. She said they need him at Cloral. There's a bit of an aquaneer situation. Can you tell him?"

"Of course."

"Okay, I'll talk to you later, I ditched class when I felt the ring twitch…I probably should get back before anyone finds me out here."

"Ok, bye."

"Bye."

Mark hung up. Sometimes it really bothered me that my friends were at high school while I was working and going as Press Tilton. Yeah, I know, going by my dead uncle's name, kind of creepy, but I figured it would be all right, I needed to give a name to the grocery store I was working at.

"Spader, you have to go back to Cloral, the aquaneers need you there."

"Oh, alright. I'll be back in a week or two. Aja, you coming?"

"Yep, 'bye Bobby, Loor." She hugged me again and she and Spader put on their jackets. Then they left, hand in hand.

"Well that was a nice little visit," I said, collapsing onto the futon with Loor. I found the clicker wedged between the cushion and frame and turned the TV on, flicking through the channels.

"So…Aja and Spader."

"Ya, crazy isn't it?"

"I suppose so. It is not that crazy, though," she said, out of the corner of my eye I saw her shoot me another look.

"Umhmm," I agreed, concentrating on a spy show that had just come on one of the independent networks.

"I mean, they have been through a lot together, it would be natural to feel very close to each other."

"Yep, close, gotcha."

"Bobby! Would you pay attention for a moment?"

"Did you just call me Bobby? And why do you keep glaring at me?" I asked in complete surprise, my attention completely off the TV and on the beautiful girl sitting in front of me.

"Yes, it got you're attention, and why would that matter? Plenty of others call you 'Bobby' like Mark and Courtney. And I'm not glaring." She sneered as she said Courtney, I noted.

"It doesn't. Yes, you're definitely glaring. Why did you want me to pay attention?"

"Well, do you honestly think it is that crazy for two Travelers to be together?" She sounded exasperated.

"Well no…but Aja and Spader, I mean, come on. For one, she's two years older than him. And two, they're both so damn cocky I don't know how they stand each other."

"Oh. I'm older than you," Loor said. She was quiet a moment and looked nervous so I muted the TV.

"Not by much. Hey, are you okay?" I asked. The next thing I knew, she was kissing me. She took hold of the back of my head, bringing me closer and I have to say I didn't stop her. We'd been waiting almost a year for this. It was definitely worth the wait. I reached out and touched her hair, brushing it back from her face. She pulled back, meeting my just opening eyes for a moment and then looking back into her lap where she'd now placed both hands. She seemed to start to say something but stopped herself. I continued to run my fingers along her hairline, gently brushing back stray strands of her coarse hair.

"Um," she finally said. Loor, who always spoke wisely and with perfect grammar, could think only to say, "Um," and for some reason that struck me as funny. So I laughed. She looked a little frightened for a moment and then she laughed, too, looking up again and meeting my eyes.

"I've been waiting for that for a long time," I told her.

She nodded, "Me, too, Pendragon."

"Oh, so we're back to Pendragon?"

"Yes, it suits you better than Bobby."

"Okay, whatever you say."

She smiled and began to lie down again, resting her head in my lap. Can't say I objected to that either. Once she was settled I continued playing with her hair. I could tell by the way she nestled my thigh if I stopped for a second that she liked it. With the clicker I turned the volume back on the TV and we watched the spy show. Loor fell asleep around 10 o'clock but I didn't bother to wake her just yet. Maybe I'd just stay out here with her tonight instead of moving her to get to my room.

It was during this time that I realized she was right, two travelers together wasn't all that crazy after all.

O

I may not have been able to understand English but my Traveler abilities still allowed me to read the book. Bobby had picked out a truly foolish one. Maybe he thought to start me off on something simple. It did not matter. I was watching him anyway. He was sitting at that computer in a green shirt and jeans. His hair was mussed and he was clacking around, typing a story it looked like. Or maybe a letter. I would not know the difference.

"English makes no sense, Pendragon," I told him, shutting the book and laying it next to me on the futon.

"Of course it does, I've been speaking it my whole life!" he said to me, turning from the screen and keyboard.

"All these broken words…why do you bother, why not say the entire word?"

"What'd u mean? Oh, contractions? I don't know, just lazy I suppose," he said. I winced at his use of these contractions. Lazy indeed.

Just then there was a knock on the door and a voice called, "Hobey-ho, mate, open up!" Bobby sent me a happy smile, looked through the peephole and opened the door. Instantly that hothead, Aja, engulfed him. She wore a short black coat and red polka-dot dress that flared around her knees. Spader followed her in, wearing all denim. He shook Bobby's hand and then hung up Aja's and his coats.

"Bobby, how are you?" Aja said, backing away as she handed Spader her coat

"I'm good," he said. He looked at me covertly and a sat up straighter, pulling my hair back.

"Loor, mate, what are you doing here?" Spader asked, grabbing my hand and shaking it.

"Loor's staying with me for a bit…the, ah, military on Zadaa isn't entirely happy with her having taken so much time off…she'll be here 'til that situation dies down," Bobby said before I even got a chance to answer.

I gave him an aggravated look, "Thank you, Pendragon, but I can answer for myself. But yes, I am staying here for a while."

He seemed ready to make a rude comment back but turned to look at Aja. "So primitive," she murmured.

"Hey, that's an XP!" he said with a hint of annoyance in his voice. Aja did not seem to even note that he had spoken to her so he turned back to Spader and I.

"It'll be awhile before she gets done there…you should have seen her in the control room on Grallion," Spader said, glancing at Aja. Were they all going to stare at her?

"She was on Grallion?" Bobby asked.

Spader turned red which could only mean one thing, he had just let something slip he was not sure he wanted us to know. "She, ah, came for a visit a few weeks ago."

I considered that, looking at Spader from another angle as Bobby's eyebrows shot up. Aja and Spader…two Travelers. I gave Bobby another glare, trying to gage his thoughts, and stretched back out on the futon, putting my head on the book. I watched. I wanted him to make some kind of indication of what he thought about all of this. He looked at me too, a bit confused, I believe, before turning to Spader.

"Want anything to eat?"

"Oi, do you have any sniggers? I could really go for some of them!"

"No, sorry, mate. Will Coke work for you?" Bobby asked, rising to get Coke and pretzels from the kitchen area. "So, what are you guys doing here?"

"We were bored," Aja said shrugging, but quickly turning back to the open files on the computer.

"Yup," Spader said. He tried a pretzel and gagged. "Agh, like swallowing seawater!"

I laughed and took my own from the bag on the coffee table. Pretzels had to be my favorite Second Earth food. Mostly because on Friday nights Bobby and I got out the peanut butter and pretzels and watched movies together. Alone, with nothing else but each other. Bobby came over and sat on the futon with me, lifting my feet so that he could sit and then resting them back in his lap. "So you were bored and you decided to come and visit us. Gee, I'm really touched, Spader," he told Spader with a sarcastic smile.

Aja turned from the computer and Spader settled himself on the armrest of her chair, handing her the remains of his pretzel. After sniffing it she delicately bit into it and nodded approval. We talked for some time but my mind was on the fact that Bobby had absentmindedly rested his hand on my ankle was moving his thumb back and forth. Back and forth. I think he was trying to drive me crazy, very, very slowly. Then the phone rang. He got up, leaving me alone on the futon, and answered the red phone.

"Hobey-ho. Yeah…how'd you-? Of course. Ok, bye," he hung up the phone, "Spader, you have to go back to Cloral, the aquaneers need you there."

"Oh, alright. I'll be back in a week or two. Aja, you coming?"

"Yep, 'bye Bobby, Loor." She hugged me again and she and Spader put on their jackets. Then they left holding hands.

"Well that was a nice little visit," Bobby said. I sat up, making room for him on the futon. After rummaging for a few seconds he found the clicker wedged in the futon and put the TV on, browsing the channels.

"So…Aja and Spader," I said, trying to see if he would get the point.

"Ya, crazy isn't it?"

"I suppose so. It is not that crazy, though," I told him, giving him a more pointed look.

"Umhmm," he said noncommittally, watching the TV.

"I mean, they have been through a lot together, it would be natural to feel very close to each other." Like how I feel for you.

"Yep, close, gotcha."

"Bobby! Would you pay attention for a moment?"

"Did you just call me Bobby? And why do you keep glaring at me?" I asked in complete surprise, my attention completely off the TV and on the beautiful girl sitting in front of me.

"Yes, it got you're attention, and why would that matter? Plenty of others call you 'Bobby' like Mark and Courtney. And I'm not glaring." I did my best not to but I'm sure I made a face when I said, "Courtney."

"It doesn't. Yes, you're definitely glaring. Why did you want me to pay attention?"

"Well, do you honestly think it is that crazy for two Travelers to be together?" I said, exasperated.

"Well no…but Aja and Spader, I mean, come on. For one, she's two years older than him. And two, they're both so damn cocky I don't know how they stand each other."

"Oh. I'm older than you," I said. Did that really matter to him? He quieted the television and looked at me.

"Not by much. Hey, are you okay?" he asked. It was now or never, I had to get the point across or he would never understand. I pressed my lips to his and brought his head closer to mine. I'd been waiting for this for so long, ever since that day at the river. He put his hand on my forehead and began to brush my hair back, his fingers gently coming in contact with my skin. I leaned back and looked at him that looked at my hands, which were now back in my lap though I do not really remember that happening. I tried to say something, anything really, nothing came out. His fingers, which were still in my hair, were distracting me.

"Um," I finally said. This seemed to be funny to him so he laughed. I was mortified but then when I thought on it, I always have something intelligent to say. My saying, "Um," was a little strange. I laughed, too, meeting his eyes.

"I've been waiting for that for a long time," he said quietly.

Nodding, I said, "Me, too, Pendragon."

"Oh, so we're back to 'Pendragon?'"

"Yes, it suits you better than Bobby."

"Okay, whatever you say."

I smiled at that and lay down, resting my head in his lap. He continued running his fingertips along my hairline. I had to nudge him a few times when he lifted his hand away. He put the volume up on the TV and we watched the show though I really was not paying it much attention. The feeling of my hair being moved around like that was driving most thought from my mind. I fell asleep before it was over, but one final thought managed to cross my mind: he did not think two Travelers being together was all that crazy after all.