a/n: Stork times Piper, simple as that. Barely a plot, if you must know.

This is a very strange story that may not make a lot of sense, but man was it a joy to write. And it was in fact inspired by a few things, such as the lack of communication in a lot of young relationships, and that as hard as it is to tell someone how you feel its even harder to bottle it up inside you. I also recently read a book that used italics in place of quotations, which gave it quite a fascinating tone, so I decided to try it out myself.

For those of you out there who are sick of reading about the Merb, then I suggest you not read this. For those of you who are offended by sensuality, then I suggest you not read this. If you think this is going to be cheesy (and you're probably right), then I suggest you not read this. Its a weird ficlet, I know. And I'm sorry if there are any errors.

disclaimer: (I never put these, haha!) Dont own the Storm Hawks. I just like making the characters get together occasionally.

Stork's hands shook as she thrust her own into his grasp.

Here was the tactician of his squadron, metaphorically on her hands and knees, with violent tears escaping from her eyes. She was begging something of him that he never believed would happen.

He was shocked. Too shocked to even commit to his idiosyncratic twitch of the eye. He tried to make words form from his thin lips, words to calm her down and make her the logical Piper again, full of reason and coherence. But nothing came out, as hard as he tried.

Please, I need this. I've needed it for a long time. She pleaded, more tears cascading down her cheeks.

Who was he to deny her, this thing she asked desperately of him? Through their relationship she had shown him relentless benevolence, kindness, and a sharing of slightly similar interests. Two intellects worked as one. Different intellects, but intellects all the same.

Steady, easy going Piper. Plans of the century, a brain purely in the present and in the future, never being held down by the subjugated truths and perils of the past. Stork knew his place on board, and he could've sworn that Piper knew hers.

And that she knew his also.

Why she would ask this heinously epic 'favor', as he called it at the time, was beyond him. He could only stand there, staring fearfully at the girl's composure being thrown to the wind.

And she said those words again.

Love me.

She couldn't be serious.

Please, love me.

Each time she said it, his heart thumped a thousand times, pumping too much blood through his veins and making him dizzy. He was Stork. Paranoid-to-the-point-of-idiocy Stork. Unattractive by any means, in looks and probably personality.

Wasn't he?

There was pain in her tangerine eyes, and she let her hands slip out of his weak and half hearted grasp. It was clear that she was taking his silent shock as rejection. She began to draw away, unable to meet his gaze which was still fruitfully witless.

She was walking away.

After confessing something that made everything off beam between the two of them, she was walking away. Even Stork knew that couldn't happen. He couldn't bear it.


She abruptly stopped and looked back at him, her face wet with crying and her arm roughly ran across her eyes to stem the flow.

He told himself to not stand there like an idiot as one of his best friends confided in him about something, even if said something was about him. Slowly he walked away from his sacred helm towards her, filling the space between them. He was still nervous, but now the constantly obnoxious thumping in his heart was easier to ignore now that he had the slightest inkling of what he was doing.

Instinct, Stork, go on instinct.

And his instinct told him to gently bring his four fingered hand up to the soft brown skin of her cheek.


Her name passed through his vocals, and it sounded strange to him. He had never spoken her name with such tenderness.

I didn't know, okay?

Stork never saw even a sliver of evidence that pointed towards her having feelings for him. It was always business, always friendship, companionship, team members, and nothing else.

But this was love.

Love within the squadron.

New territory, new feelings.

New possibilities.

Stork was still unsure which direction to go in this strange and unexpected fork in the road.

After all, he never really worked well with immense change.

He thought about it; Piper was fairly attractive. Actually…more than fairly. She was quite striking when one caught a glimpse at her at the perfect time.

His own thoughts made him flush, since he was not used to thinking of his navigator this way. The only thing he completely understood was that he realized he hated seeing her cry. It disturbed him; she let all of her stone wall layers down in an instant for his sake.

Piper hiccupped, and he grimaced again, fearing that she would lose all control again.

Losing control was not good. He would know; if he didn't steer the Condor correctly, it meant instant death.

Stop it. He said, by no means forceful, but he had to make it end.

And she did stop. With red veined eyes, she stared at him.

I…I can't stand to see you cry.

And she blinked the remaining tears away, though a few still clung to her long black eyelashes.

Stork took a deep breath, retracting his hand almost awkwardly from her face.

I'm not completely opposed to the idea.

That was as close to a yes as his mind could get at the moment. And it must've worked wonders that he never knew possible, because Piper slid her arms around his neck and squeezed him so hard she was just sort of popping one of his ribs.

Thank you…thank you… She said over and over again.

The mantra of gratification would have been soothing had Stork not have still been reeling.

After a few long seconds they separated. Piper went to the lab in order to fetch some mission outlines while Stork went back to the helm with his heart ceaselessly hammering against his ribcage. It was quiet possibly the eeriest thing he had ever experienced; and it seemed like it was over, just like that. A tidal wave of crashing emotions and proposals of the strangest sort, and it was over.

He couldn't bring himself to look at her for the rest of the day.

It was an unspoken agreement that they kept quiet about this, although Stork knew the reason why eluded the both of them.

They did a near expert job at hiding their ambiguous union. The rest of the squadron never caught a whiff that anything was going on between the two.

It didn't progress for ages, nothing beyond Piper's hand occasionally making a discreet sweep across his gangly waist, nothing beyond them catching each other's gazes and Stork providing a soft and redolent smile through his long curtain of dark forest hair. It took weeks for him to even allow a simple kiss on the cheek, and even those instances were rare.

He didn't know how to handle it, didn't know how to work it, mold it, shape it.

He had never dated a human girl before.

He had never dated anyone period.

When time wore on, and they never again spoke of what had happened, Stork had begun to think that it had blown over, that her confession was just something that was the result of stress that she carried on her shoulders, which he knew was more strenuous on her being than she would lead any of them to believe.

It was one early morning; Stork's hands idly gripped the tillers and stared out through the huge windows of the Condor watching the sun tinted clouds go by. Occasionally he would reach up and absentmindedly play with the small rings that adorned his ear.

Aerrow, Junko and Finn went out on reconnaissance work. While he was steering the ship close to some terra whose name he had already forgotten, Piper was last known to be within her lab.

Eyes lazily glancing to his side, he spotted a navigation map that had been left askew by the tactician.

The clouds were turning into a monotonous screen saver; Stork pulled the auto pilot lever. Walking over to the table he grabbed the map and made his way down to the corridors to the crystal lab.

His green knuckles knocked softly and heard a faint 'come in' from the other side. He opened the sliding door, apparently breaking Piper out of a working frenzy, because her hands dropped the two crystals she was working with and the tools she was using to decipher them.

Stork winced. He hadn't meant to disturb her. He held the map out in front of him.

You left this.

Piper rose from her chair, came over and took the map from him. She placed it on her desk, and turned to look at him. A strange glint of something unidentifiable flashed across her face.

Stork, close the door please.

And he complied. Like a naïve simpleton he complied.

Why, what-

Before he uttered another word he felt hands on his shoulders, hands that thrusted him back against the wall and a body that followed. Had he seen this coming, even he would have been able to prevent it to some degree.

But he didn't.

Piper's hands alternated between burying themselves in his oily hair and softly but sturdily gripping his neck, all the while mashing her lips fiercely into his.

It was so odd. So odd and strange, he could hardly endure it. Her touch was so loving, but so desperate and needy it almost made him feel sick. He tried to bring his arms up to put a stop to this assault, but they could only stay at his side, trembling and remaining useless.

Finally, one hand was wrenched upwards and pushed her back, soft enough to not do harm but hard enough to get her at least three feet away.

The Merb breathed with difficulty, staring at her like she was the most frightening thing he had ever seen.

Why?! He said, his voice shaking with fear and utter confusion. Why are you doing this, Piper, what's wrong with you?!

When she spoke, her eyebrows were knitted together in a mystified concentration.

Nothing's wrong with me.

A strange sound came out of his mouth; a throaty exasperated sound, and he ran a hand over his face in frustration. They stood there for minutes, each afraid to move, each afraid to speak. Several times he had tried to vocalize something, but nothing slipped passed his lips but breathy stutters.

Why on Atmos…are you doing this to me? I mean-Why me

Why him? Why a cautious shuddering sociopath, eighty percent of his words dripping in paranoia and mistrust?

There was nothing attractive about him. Nothing. And he had accepted that a long time ago. He had accepted it, and the fact became a part of his life.

And now, his teammate was throwing herself upon him like he was a special kind of air, and renouncing everything that he ever thought about himself.

It was crazy, insane.


Do you not feel the same way about me? She asked, and Stork almost wanted to slap her at such an innocently phrased question.

It's not that. He said sharply.

What was it, exactly?

Piper walked towards him, earning a flinch from Stork as he half prepared for another onslaught. Taking a deep breath, she talked. And for the first time for the longest time, she actually sounded sane in his presence.

All day long, its plan this, and plan that. It's the same at night. And there's no gratitude for it whatsoever. Finn ridicules them, Aerrow tries to subtly do the same, and Junko doesn't say anything, but I know that he agrees with them deep down... I feel so utterly cornered.

She had a tough exterior. Stork was beginning to learn that there was a lot more going on below the surface than him or the rest of the team even thought to consider.

It made him feel guilt; another useless feeling to add to his growing collection.

Piper sighed, continuing.

I like them…I really do. But sometimes they're just making everything so complicated for me.

She laughed softly under her breath.

But you…you were always different. You never criticized me about anything, and that alone meant more to me than you could have ever known.

That much was true. While the others heckled Piper for whatever she appeared to be doing wrong (then again, they heckled her for being right too), Stork remained neutral and injudicious. He had no idea that such silence on his part would do so much.

You've never done anything bad to me, anything at all. You're intellectual, you're reserved…as much as you may deny it, you're more like me than any of them are.

Tears were brewing, and they threatened to spill over the brims of her carrot hued eyes. Her hand flew up to wipe them away, but they came down too quickly and soaked her fingers.

I can't help but feel the way I do about you. But I know you don't want anything to do with this, and…I won't force you to.

She turned away from him, his eyes watching her closely and flickering in disbelief at the amount of emotion she was distilling on his behalf. He was still having trouble comprehending the situation.

His elongated skull, his strange vertebrae shape, his four fingers and his three toes…

I never cared that you weren't human, you know…

Great minds think alike.

You're handsome in your own way.

And she said no more.

Was she finished? Did he have a chance to speak now? Give his input on this heinous and outlandish predicament?

He supposed so.

But he didn't know exactly what to say.

So he just opened his mouth.

Piper, I've always liked you. Don't think for a second that I never did. He said, his voice almost curt.

I've just never had anyone act like that over me before.

She smiled, slightly embarrassed.

Stress can make you do strange things, I suppose, She said before looking away again.

Stork reached for her hands, this time being the one to grasp them with firmness. The Merb abandoned his anxiety, casting it aside for an opportunity that could prove to make him feel more secure about himself than any of his weird inventions could. Their proximity adjacent and their gazes locked, Merb and human looked at each other with something more than just comradeship. His stature, although possessing a strange curvature to his spinal cord, was still equal to hers. They stood, their likeness starting to string them together like magnets.

Two directions, two outcomes. Either hold onto her hands, or let go and exit the lab and adding this encounter to the same category as the other one and calling it just a fling out of pressure.

He held on.

And his hands crept further.

Onto her shoulders and then finally linking themselves around her back.

His fearful dictations about close contact like such died away, and he found himself in the tightest embrace he could've possibly ever participated in.

So many times Stork had heard both Merbs and humans alike talk about the feeling of unity one has when they have their arms wrapped around the person they romantically admired. He paid no mind, discarding it as ridiculous dribble of people who were foolish enough to catch a disease from each other.

It came to the point that if Piper actually had a disease, he wanted to get sick as possible.

Her head was nestled in the crook of his long pale green neck, her lips barely touching his peach fuzz covered skin. Each time she softly exhaled it brought forth sensations that sent rattles down every single disc in his spine. Ungodly peaceful awareness took the both of them. The black clad nails of his fingers gently traced her jaw line and pushed her chin upwards so he could look upon her features again.

Piper pressed her lips against his again without warning, not wanting to wait for him to pluck up the courage to do it himself. Without the frantic speeding thoughts of 'she's kissing me, she's kissing me, oh my god she's kissing me' running through his mind, he was able to take the time to realize how good at this she really was. He didn't bother wondering where she learned how to do it, and he doubted he ever really wanted to know. His mind almost went into a trance, blocking everything except for her skillful caressing lips making themselves comfortable upon his.

Her tongue took a provocative swipe at his bottom lip, and he drew back in surprise like she had bitten him.

Sorry, She whispered with a mere hint of amusement.

They simply gazed at each other for a while before she let go of him, and he felt a familiar but unwelcome emptiness.

They were entwined no longer, but they still stood vastly close to one another.

I love you. She said.

Those words once more.

Could he say them back, or would there just be some nonverbal understanding that the feeling was mutual?

I love you, Piper.

Apparently he could. And they came out with surprising ease. Stork blinked several times, enraptured by his own ability to finally say this to someone, especially when he thought he never would in his entire life. He could remember someone he knew a long time ago say that there was someone out there for everyone. That it didn't matter who you were, there was somebody out there on the same wavelength and one day you would meet them, be with them. It was a philosophical sort of thing, not Stork's cup of tea, and back then was looked down upon as nothing but quixotic garbage.

It was the strangest feeling, all of a sudden being able to find everything about a certain person to be beautiful when his world was normally so daunting and dreary.

All of a sudden, Piper giggled.

I think you'd better go back to flying the ship, Stork. We don't want to run into another mountain like so many other occasions.

Stork smirked, chuckling quietly as he left lab and made his way back to the helm. As he clutched the controls once more, the clouds didn't seem so droning anymore. An ample end to such a peculiar situation, with an outcome that he realized had opened up a gateway of oddities, ones which he had always thought he would never partake in.

Finally, there was a sense of normality on board. No tension, no shifty glances, no threat of the rest of the squadron finding out what happened and then enduring their teasing afterwards. It didn't matter-they could find out if they wanted, it wouldn't change the way he felt about anything. Stork was flying the ship, Piper was testing her crystals. The rest were doing scout work. All was fine, but so, so different, new, and inspiring.

And contrary to his outdated belief…it felt superb.