Shannon lead the way into her rather bare quarters at Bolthole, the hidden manufacturing dock and base where Haven was working to develop and test the ships and weapons which would give them a chance to fight Manticore and possibly win. Shannon had been out here since not long after the cease fire, working with scientists across the Republic of Haven and while it had been a hard tasdk, she felt it was worth it.

Shannon waved her guest to a chair as she asked, "Can I get you anything?"

Eloise stopped her with a gentle hand on her arm as the blond murmured huskily, "Right now, all I want is you."

Shannon moaned as she was pulled into a hungry kiss, the other woman holding her tightly as the kiss deepened. Eloise's hands stroked along her back then cupped her ass possessively, pulling her even closer. Their breasts pushed together almost painfully then Eloise eased off a bit, leaving Shannon panting softly as they broke apart.

"That's better," Eloise sighed happily, resting her head on Shannon's shoulder a moment.

Shannon let her arms wrap around her, once again startled by how easily she could hold the other woman. Somehow, with how larger than life Eloise was as President, she expected her to be larger in real life, too.

"Have you eaten?" Shannon asked as her guest's stomach growled softly.

Eloise blushed, "Don't give me lines like that, Shannon." As Shannon blushed she continued a bit more seriously, "No, not for a few hours."

"Come on," Shannon and Eloise walked over to where two chairs were set close together, a tray of snacks set out by Shannon's steward. She often felt a bit odd about having a steward to cook and take care of her, but in all honesty she needed the help. While Shannon was a great tactical mind and practical theorist she was terrible with day to day stuff, forgetting things left and right.

"Hmm, good," Eloise moaned happily as she munched with a abandon that made Shannon smile. "I swear the trip out here gets longer and longer," she grumbled cheerfully, "I need to move you nearer home." She winked, "Maybe into the Octagon itself."

"I'd like that," Shannon admitted as she drank some bubbly, "but not until we finish what we're working on out here."

"That'll be forever," Eloise sighed, shaking her head.

Still, Eloise didn't press the issue and Shannon felt glad of that. As much as they both cared for each other they were also fierce defenders of their homeland, and for them duty had to come before personal relationships. "It won't be forever," Shannon promised her, "at absolute worst I think we can win a war, if it comes to that."

Eloise look sharpened, shifting almost subtly from lover to President. "That's what Thomas said," she noted, "but are you sure?"

"There's no absolute certainty in war," Shannon said as she ate a few snacks, "but if Manticore continues it's build down in ships and we roll out the number of Super Dreadnoughts we've planned, I believe we can win a war."

Eloise nodded as she digested those facts from someone she knew she could trust, then quietly said, "I see." She smiled a bit sadly, "Not that I want a war, but until the Manties start negotiating seriously, we need to be ready for one."

Shannon nodded, having gotten a ring side seat to the situation in Eloise's letters. Under the High Ridge government Manticore had been playing diplomatic games since the ceasefire was agreed to, refusing to negotiate seriously and not moving from their war posture. Originally Eloise had been happy they were stalling as it gave her time to clean up the situation at home. But it had been several years now, things were on track in Haven, finally, and they needed to deal with the Manticore situation. Assuming Manticore would let them!

Mentally shaking her head, Shannon smiled at Eloise. "This isn't the place or time to talk about that," she told her.

"Oh?" Eloise gave her a slow smile, clearly aware where Shannon was going and in full agreement with her.

"I think we were doing something else when your stomach interrupted," Shannon smiled back at her, letting her own need shine through in her eyes and voice.

Eloise got up, stretched gracefully as she purred, "Yes, now I'm hungry for something else." She unhook the shoulder tab of her jumpsuit and peeled it back, making Shannon gulp. Eloise wasn't wearing anything underneath!

"You look...," Shannon croaked as the woman shimmied out of her garment, revealing a lush body that made her mouth go dry.

"Show me," Eloise purred as she pulled Shannon towards her, grinning.


A sweaty, exhausted and very content Shannon lay on her back on her bed, Eloise curled up against her as they rested together. They had first used the furnature in the front room, then when that proved too uncomfortable retreated to her bedroom. There they had romped together on the bed, luxuriating in each others bodies.

As the sweat cooled on their bodies and they relaxed together, Shannon sometimes found herself resenting the role she found herself in, being Eloise's other woman. She knew Eloise cared for her, almost as much as Shannon cared in return, but she also knew that for Eloise Javier came first. He was her true love, ultimately, while Shannon... was not.

On the other hand, Shannon loved Eloise, and had made the decision to do what she could for her. So she took the days and nights she could with her lover, exchanged letters and messages, and tried to prepare herself for the day Eloise would finally say goodbye.

Shannon noticed Eloise looked at her, a expression of fond exasperation on her face. "You're thinking again," she teased, "what have I told you about thinking when I'm around?"

"I thought you preferred a thinking woman," Shannon smiled back.

"Only when you're coming up with clever things to do in bed," Eloise winked. They lay there a moment as Eloise looked down at her just a bit sadly, "I wonder, sometimes, if I should stop using you like this."

"You're not using me," Shannon said honestly, hugging her gently.

Eloise looked away as she sighed, "It feels like it, some times." She snuggled into Shannon's side as she muttered, "You should have a lover you can be with when you want, not having to wait around for a gap in my schedule."

Shannon squeezed her gently with one arm as she noted, "You may not have noticed, but I kind of work in the back end of beyond. Any lover I take would have the same problem."

Eloise couldn't help snicker softly at that, "Point."

"Besides," Shannon added as they lay there, "I wasn't a virgin, pulled in by your wicked wiles. I knew what I was getting into."

"That's true," Eloise admitted. There was a moment's pause and she mused, "I was actually kind of surprised about how... skilled you were." Shannon blushed and Eloise laughed merrily. "That is such a cute look on your face," she said.

"I wish I didn't blush so much," Shannon grumbled, "you'd tease me less."

Eloise ticked her, making Shannon squeak in surprise as she added, "And it's fun, too."

"Why, you...," Shannon ticked her back, both women breaking into a fun wrestling match on the bed. She was a army officer and should have the advantage, but Eloise was a former resistance leader and very slippery. It was very enjoyable as they rubbed together, and Shannon could feel her pulse beginning to race as they scrambled across the bed together.

Finally Eloise ended up pinned under Shannon, both of them panting for effort. She looked up at Shannon and purred, "It looks like you've got me. But can you keep me?"

Before Shannon could react Eloise leaved herself up, pressing her mouth against Shannon's dangling breast. She moaned as Eloise sucked hard, her grip loosening as she swiftly had other things to think about. With a heave of her hips and a twist Eloise got herself on top, grinning down at Shannon rakishly.

"Got you know, my pretty," Eloise joked. A grin teased her lips as she purred, "Now, it's my turn to tire you out...."


The meeting the next day was the official briefing, Thomas Theisman attending as Minister of War along with the President and other ministers. As she gave her reports Shannon had to work hard to stay focused, especially since Eloise was wearing the same jumpsuit as yesterday. The image of her stripping burst in on her unexpectedly and her knees went weak, even as Eloise hid a smile.

"Well done," Theisman smiled, the larger man shaking her hand. "Even with all the problems we've had, you've done a marvelous job."

"I have a great team, Sir," Shannon answered honestly. "I'm sorry we're off schedule, we'll do our best to make up for it."

"Shannon, I expected dumping the Erewhon data on you to delay production for everything," Theisman said with a chuckle, "you've done heroic work."

The meeting rumbled to a close and each officer left, departing by different ships for security. An assassination attempt had decapitated the last Manticore government, they had no wish to see it happen with Haven. As Denis Le Pic was leaving Eloise walked over to Shannon's side, both women standing close together.

"Every time I leave here," Eloise said quietly, "I want to take you with me."

"And I'd like to go," Shannon admitted, "but...."

"Duty," Eloise agreed with a sigh. It looked like she wanted to hug her, but in front of the waiting Ministers all she could do is take her hand, "Be safe."

"Will do," Shannon answered, feeling choked up. "You too," she added softly, then stepped back to give a picture perfect salute.

Eloise returned it then her ship was called. Her eyes clear and back straight she boarded her ship and was off, the vessel visible in the ports as it maneuvered away on thrusters. Shannon watched it go, praying she would see the woman inside again.


Notes: I'm ending this for now, I should say. If you've read the Honor Harrington books up to At All Costs you know the war ended, but until Mission of Honor comes out we won't know how the situation might be resolved. I also would need to figure out how to tackle Javier's death in At All Costs and how that will impact on Eloise....