Title: Falling in Love

Author: Jenn

A/N: This story is for destinyKsofsb, since she requested an entire story about Gillian and Rhade.

CHAPTER 1

1As he sipped his drink Rhade looked around the crowded room. The reception being held to honor the latest Home Guard Academy graduates, including himself, had attracted a great many people. Three people were walking into the room, but Rhade only saw one of them. The sapphire blue of her dress perfectly set off her flawless ivory skin and long dark hair. He was walking towards her before he even realized it.

As soon as she entered the room Gillian's eyes began scanning the faces. It had been four years since she'd last seen Telemacus. He'd come home for visits, but the timing had never worked out for her to see him, a fact that had frustrated her immensely. But now she would see him again. Her concern was that he might still see her as his childhood friend, not as a grown woman, and potential mate.

From her place near the door his mother, Matriarch of the Neitzians on Terazed, noticed her son's moth to a flame movement, and smiled. A few seconds later she stepped forward into his path. "Telemacus."

"Mother."

She stepped to the side, allowing him to see the young woman again, and now he registered the presence of her parents.

"I believe you know Odysseus Visgoth, his wife Helen, and their lovely daughter, Gillian," Morrigan Rhade said. She then turned to them. "You remember my son, Telemacus."

Rhade's mind was racing. The Visgoth family was second in power only to his own. He and Gillian had been friends as children. When he entered the Academy she'd been a lovely girl, now, four years later, she was a stunningly beautiful young woman.

"We understand you graduated First in your class. Most impressive."

"Thank you, Odysseus," Rhade automatically responded. He was more focused on any memories of Gillian that might help him. . . As the memory came to him the sides of his mouth turned up in a half-smile. "Gillian, do you still like Iceberry juice?"

"Yes," she admitted. Happy that he'd remembered such a small detail, a smile curved her perfect lips.

"They have some over with the other drinks. If you'd like I could escort you," he offered.

With a nod to her parents she put her hand on Rhade's arm and let him lead her into the crowd.

They were halfway across the floor when the music began. Rhade looked down at Gillian. "Would you like to dance?"

"I would," she answered, stepping into position.

Rhade was not at all surprised to find that Gillian was an accomplished dancer, who moved gracefully. Every instinct in Rhade called for him to never let her out of his arms. To claim her as his own. He imagined the children she would give him. One day he would be the Alpha of the Nietzians on Terazed, and he felt sure she'd be an excellent Matriarch. Given her family's position she would already be comfortable with power, but looking into her eyes he saw an innocence that told him she hadn't been corrupted by that power, and he doubted that would ever change.

Gillian easily felt Rhade's controlled power, and knew of his intelligence. He would rise quickly through the ranks of the Home Guard, just as his father had. When he took his place as Alpha, he would need a Matriarch. Her Nietzian ambition declared that it would be her. And yet her ambition wasn't the reason she was at Rhade's side. She was honest enough to admit she'd want Rhade for her mate no matter what rank he might hold in their society. His ranking as First in his class proclaimed him an excellent fighter. But she'd seen another side of him. She remembered that he'd often carried a book with him when they were children. And as often as not that book had been poetry. He was the Nietzian ideal: a warrior-poet.

More than a few people noticed the couple as they danced. Gillian saw the jealous looks some of the women gave her. Rhade saw one man in particular eyeing Gillian. When the man met his eyes, Rhade smirked. He was the envy of every man in the room, couldn't help but revel in it a bit.

The dance ended, but they didn't move away from each other. The next song began, and they resumed dancing. Neither had any desire to dance with anyone else. Rhade and Gillian both knew that dancing only with each other would cause people to talk, but neither of them cared. They talked sometimes, but much of the evening past in comfortable silence between them.

From the side of the room their parents watched with interest, and approved of the match.

TBC