Disclaimer: I don't own Predator / Alien (or any other references to other fandoms). I make no money from these writings.

Author notes:

I admit I don't know all the lore. Most concepts in the story I picked up from other fanfic or making it up on the fly. The social structure is skewed and I forget the Yautja swear words all the time!

References to other fandoms / history are 75% laziness and 25% amusement.

Edit December 12th, 2011: Cleaned up the chapter a bit.

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Chapter One:

Amelia loved Val'jek. There was a certainty in both heart and mind that her giant black Yautja returned her feelings, or had been. Giving up everything she knew back on Earth was starting to appear as a grave error.

"No," Amelia said for the third time.

"It is important." Val'jek's mandibles clicked with agitation though his voice remained calm and certain.

"On Earth, when a grown man loses interest in a woman, he tells her so. He doesn't pawn her off on someone else." She clung to her anger in order to stave off her tears.

"We are not on Earth," he barked at her, equally frustrated.

"And I am not a Yautja." Her face burned with anger and humiliation. "I do not mate with more than one partner. It's called monogamy and you agreed to it."

"I agreed to mate only you and I honor my word. You taking another mate is not the same." Val'jek stood taller, his chest out.

Amelia had insulted his word, his honor. She wouldn't take it back. "So then you can take on another mate after, no doubt," she shot back.

"No. I have my pups and that duty is satisfied. I have given my word and I will honor it. Bad Blood has never entered my bloodline." He closed in on her but she backed away.

"I don't want to take another mate." She didn't want to be mated based on his honor, either. She choked on the implication.

"You must." His mandibles clicked together with agitation.

"I won't. If you are through with me, drop me on Earth." She turned away and retreated, her cheeks wet with tears.

He didn't follow her into her private studio. It was forbidden to enter her domain. The small room had been her gift from Val'jek, given to her after their mating ritual. It was an art studio for her to express her creativity, and a sanctuary from an overwhelming alien culture. It was never intended for her to hide from her mate. She felt shame at the cowardice using the generous gift against him. Crumpling on the thick mat on the floor, Amelia wept out her jumbled emotions.

#

Raz'ha had seen the Ooman many times in the last few weeks. Rich and potent mating scent had assailed him whenever he entered a room she had been in. He had chased the scent for two cycles, seeking a Yautja female in season.

He had missed the mating season, when most Yautja females went into heat, and hunters returned with trophies to impress them into a chance to sire sucklings. He had many great trophies, and a skill to beat most challengers, in order to mate as much and as many females would allow.

Unfortunate events led to Raz'ha lingering on an Ooman colony planet where he hunted four prized trophies. The foolish Oomans had a hard meat infestation he was honor bound to destroy. He had rescued a Tauren Elder from captivity in the process. That was the reason his clan was lingering on the Tauren trade post.

He admitted laughing upon hearing an Ooman lived with the Tauren clan. No wonder an Elder had been imprisoned by silly Oomans. Raz'ha was stunned, and embarrassed, when he finally caught a break in tracking down the mysterious female in season.

Staking out the storage room, he often found her scent lingering near, Raz'ha waited with patience. He planned to show the female his trophies, demonstrate his combat skills if necessary, mate and sire a suckling.

His clan Elders were already frowning at him for being a prized warrior with only a handful of sucklings. He had been too busy with the hunt and honor to sire more. It did not help that his clan had few women and thereby fewer windows for mating.

Upon laying eyes on the Ooman, Raz'ha simply stared at her.

She was small, no larger than an adolescent pup.

She was startled to find him lingering, staring up at him with wide green eyes. She spoke in a language he didn't understand, something short and nervous, before he thought to record it.

The Ooman had smelled better in person. Raz'ha was purring at her before shame could stop him.

She had tilted her head, giving him no sign of acceptance.

He had tried again, closing the gap between them as he purred. His mandibles opened with intent. The Ooman backed away several steps and he followed.

She turned and left through a corridor he wasn't permitted to follow through, being a guest.

Every time he saw the Ooman, and he made certain it was often, Raz'ha purred to no avail. He wondered if she understood what he wanted from her. She hadn't declined his offer. Perhaps it was a test, or an Ooman custom. Frustrated, he gathered any research to be found on Oomans. There was little on their females or mating customs.

Raz'ha wasn't the only hunter vying for the Ooman's consent. She worked in a training room most days, after training ended. A Tauren unblood was seen coming and going as she painted a battle scene on the wall. A handful of Saracen young bloods lingered to smell her. They purred at the Ooman and sparred with each other, in hopes of gaining the right to mate.

The Ooman was standing on a table to reach a higher sections of the wall. She ignored the two sparring young bloods, who roared and battled precariously close to her.

She was not impressed with their skill, nor any other fighter's skill. Raz'ha had bested several warriors in a similar effort.

Raz'ha clicked his mandibles in warning at them. One thing he did discover in his research was the frailty of Oomans, especially their females.

Rumors said she mated with an Elder and no other. He was starting to feel foolish, pursuing a silly Ooman. Taking one mate was uncommon though, and certainly not done with an Ooman. He convinced himself the rumor couldn't be true.

He considered challenging the Elder but the events were out of order. The Elder must show his intent to mate for Raz'ha to issue the challenge. He had yet to see this Elder.

The Ooman let out a cry of protest, ripping Raz'ha from his frustrated thoughts. The young bloods had gotten too close, bumping her table and making her wobble. The impetuous Yautja didn't let up in the heat of battle. The table took two more quick hits as he barked at the young bloods to hold.

She started to dismount the table, too late. It buckled, the Ooman slipping to the floor, the table on top of her followed by a Yautja. Raz'ha crossed the training room. If they injured the Ooman, he would kill them.

The Yautja rolled off the destroyed table and the Ooman groaned. The standing young blood shoved the ruble away, spouting an apology as he helped her to sit upright. Her hand touched the young blood's chest as he purred, if only for a moment.

It was an odd form of the gesture to Raz'ha but it didn't matter. Consent was given. The chosen young blood purred louder, mandibles flaring and chattering with triumph.

"Pauk," the losing young blood said as Raz'ha closed in on the trio. The two had a pact not to challenge the other for her choice, but he did not.

The winning Yautja lifted the Ooman off her feet as he stood. She squirmed, speaking rapidly and Raz'ha quickly recorded the chatter. It was rare to hear her speak so much.

The winning young blood wasted no time to start mating. His claws pawed at her and fumbled with her strange Ooman uniform as she flailed.

Raz'ha's mandibles flared with jealousy. Why had she chosen the young blood over him? He grunted, prepared to issue the challenge when the Tauren unblood roared from the doorway. All eyes turned toward the Tauren as he stalked into the room and shoved the winner's shoulder.

"You cannot mate," the winner said.

"Maybe unbloods can mate Oomans here," the loser said.

"You have no right to her. If you are no coward, you will meet my challenge." The Tauren didn't allow the warrior to decline as he charged in.

Forced to fight, the winning young blood released the Ooman, who quickly dodged the fight with a shriek. The unblood was ferocious despite taking several hits to the face.

Raz'ha clicked his mandibles in annoyance.

The warrior won, being older and more experienced. Mating musk emboldened the warriors as well, while the Tauren emitted no musk. Raz'ha didn't understand the meaning of his interference if not for mating.

Once more the victor, the young warrior returned to the Ooman, his chest puffed up with pride. Raz'ha beat him to her.

"Let us see how you fare against a blooded warrior." Raz'ha shoved the young blood's shoulder.

The warrior accepted and the battle started and finished quickly. The warrior was skilled, but still young compared to Raz'ha. He beat the young blood easily.

Raz'ha intended to claim his prize but she ducked out of his reach. Common for Yautja females to lead a chase and fight during a mating game, he pursued. He caught her quickly, taking them both to the floor, though he didn't bear down on her as he might a fiery Yautja. Oomans were fragile and he would be cautious with her, even if her scent spurred him on to a rough mating.

The unblood wasn't ready to surrender however. The unblood hissed insults and pelted him with harmless projectiles, keeping Raz'ha from taking his prize.

The Ooman kept repeating a strange phrase and speaking to the unblood by name, Mah'sic. Raz'ha recorded that as well.

"What is your claim on my mate?" He growled, hurling a paint brush back at the youngster, who dodged it.

"She is not your mate. She declines your mating." Mah'sic pelted him in the face with some Ooman cloth trinket.

"I can smell her musk, little shit," Raz'ha barked.

"Oomans always smell like that. I would know, she mates with my sire." The unblood trilled and paced with irritation, just out of Raz'ha's reach. "Release her to me."

#

Val'jek felt fear. The realization was late as it was a rare occurrence. Heart pounding in rhythm with his feet, he raced through the corridor. Young bloods ducked out of his way.

Mah'sic, his youngest pup and apprentice, had contacted him, frantic.

"Come quick, Amelia is in danger," Mah'sic had said through the com. A ruckus and Yautja roaring could be heard in the background before the message ended. Images of Amelia's broken body and terror filled eyes assailed his imagination.

He should have never allowed his mate, an Ooman, to run free on the clan vessel. Being a common trade stop for many clans, Yautja of all backgrounds and temperaments docked on the vessel. Any passing Yautja could have taken issue with an Ooman painting a mural on a clan ship.

He charged into the training hall, wrist blades extended. Stopping, he was surprised. Amelia was unharmed, but Mah'sic was bleeding bright green blood from several abrasions on his face and shoulders.

His mate was pinned to a mat on the floor and a large green and yellow Yautja warrior straddled her petite body. Struggling, her scent of fear was thick in the air.

Amelia's scent wasn't the only potent smell. Thick male musk filled the large training hall. The large warrior on her wanted to mate, not harm her. He wasn't the only one either. Two young bloods were agitated and bloodied to one side, both emitted the musk.

Mah'sic was nervously dancing before the victorious warrior holding the prize. An unblood, Mah'sic was no match for the large warrior, but his offspring antagonized the warrior regardless.

"You are not permitted to mate, pup. If you do not cease, I will accept your challenge and not be so forgiving," the large Yautja barked, mandibles clicking in rapid succession.

"You cannot fight me and keep the Ooman at the same time," Mah'sic taunted.

"Mah'sic, whatever you're saying isn't working. He looks pissed," Amelia said, squirming.

"The warrior is correct, you are not blooded yet," Val'jek interrupted.

"Oh, thank god you're here," she said. She pushed at the warrior above her and Val'jek trilled an acknowledgment.

"Elder, I was stalling. These Saracens desire Amelia though she does not return their interest." Mah'sic bowed in deference.

"The female determines who she mates. She does not decline me and I have bested the other." The Yautja sniffed the air. "The Ooman is in season."

"She tells me she is unwilling in her tongue," Mah'sic spat out.

The warrior looked down at Amelia, uncertain for a moment. Mah'sic edged closer and the warrior snarled, mandibles flaring in warning.

"A trick to steal the Ooman," the warrior snapped.

"Mah'sic, young bloods, you are dismissed," Val'jek ordered and the three shuffled out of the room.

"The Ooman is in season," the warrior said, though not as confident.

"Is he going to kill me?" Amelia asked, swallowing.

"He intends to mate you," Val'jek explained, in English, for her.

"Tell him I don't want to mate," Amelia insisted.

"Be still, you will be unharmed." He returned his attention to the warrior. "You scent her fear. She believed you meant her harm."

"She gives off musk and accepted the young blood's offer. Both say she wants to mate. You speak her tongue, tell her I will not harm her," the warrior insisted, brushing her face with his claw. The gesture was gentle for a warrior intending to rut.

"Do you know how to mate an Ooman? She will die if you are not cautious." Val'jek shrugged again as if that thought didn't create a very real fear in him. The warrior may be gentle, but he knew little of Oomans if he thought she agreed to mate.

"I have seen Oomans mate, it is similar. Do you intend to challenge for her or simply pester me with talk?" The warrior was losing his patience.

"What is your name, warrior?" Val'jek asked.

"Honored Warrior Raz'ha, of Saracen Clan," the warrior relented.

"I am Elder Val'jek of Tauren Clan. My mate is named Amelia. She may have indicated a desire to mate in our customs, but Oomans are creatures with their own customs. If you desire to mate Amelia, you must court her first." He knelt beside her head and she looked up at him with worry.

Raz'ha looked down at Amelia once more. Leaning in, the warrior nuzzled her neck, making her gasp.

"I will teach you, if you let her up." Val'jek made the offer in earnest. The warrior was just what he was looking for.

"Tell me Ooman, do you desire mating?" Raz'ha asked, touching her cheek again, his dark green claws contrasting with her pale skin.

Val'jek translated and Amelia vigorously shook her head, no.

The warrior understood that. Cursing, Raz'ha released her. "It's true then, she mates only you." The warrior grunted with disappointment.

She scrambled to Val'jek's side like prey darting for cover.

"It's not so simple." He scanned his mate. She was bruised but nothing more. He placed a hand on her shoulder to calm her erratic heart.

"You desire to mate her badly?" Val'jek asked.

Raz'ha grunted an affirmative. "But if she is unwilling, I will not force the issue."

"It is an Ooman custom in your way. It is taboo to mate without a courtship. She may wish to mate you, if you follow some of her customs." Val'jek dangled the chance before the warrior.

"Can she bear my pups?" Raz'ha cocked his head at Amelia.

"Perhaps, if she is willing. Would you like to learn the ways of Ooman mating?"

"Show me." Raz'ha nodded.

#

Raz'ha was surprised to find himself in the Tauren Elder's private quarters to share a meal. The room was larger than his own quarters and it was only a section of the Elder's domain.

The Elder was generous to make the offer and informative about Oomans. Chasing the scent didn't seem so foolish while sitting at the formal table with the female and Elder.

"What is the Ooman saying?" Raz'ha asked. She chattered on several times with the Elder but he had understood none of it.

"She wants to know why I have you as a guest when you have assaulted her." Elder Val'jek was nonchalant as he heaped meat on a plate for the Ooman, who could not reach across the formal table.

"I did not assault the Ooman." He was offended. Assaulting an unarmed female was dishonorable. Bad Blood.

The Elder spoke to the Ooman again in her language. The Ooman's face turned pink and she mumbled something.

"I explained that she gave her consent to mate and then reneged, that it is not assault," Val'jek said. "The least we could do to compensate for the misunderstanding is share a meal."

"You said you would show me how to mate the Ooman," he reminded after a moment of silence.

The Ooman spoke again, drawing Val'jek's attention. The Elder nodded to her and took her plate.

"You can start by serving her more kali." The Elder handed him the plate.

"This is part of mating among Oomans?" Raz'ha served a generous helping of the kali because the Ooman looked underfed.

Val'jek nodded. "You are courting, which precedes mating."

"Pash?" Raz'ha asked the Ooman.

She responded after a small hesitation and glance at the Elder.

"She said, yes, please," Val'jek translated.

He served her plate and passed it back, perplexed by how it pertained to mating.

"What is this courting?" he asked.

"Oomans do not choose mates as we do. Females require a longer period to take an interest in a mate, but that is because they are monogamous." The Elder paused to eat.

"One mate?" Monogamous was not a word Raz'ha heard often.

"Usually, but there are a few who deviate, taking on more than one mate. That is my reason for inviting you, in truth. I hope that in time, Amelia will have you as a second mate." The Elder touched the Ooman's arm, stroking his knuckles along her bare flesh as if he did not notice he was doing it.

"And to do this, I must court her as an Ooman would? I do not think I would make a good Ooman." Raz'ha wanted to dismiss the idea out of hand, but it peaked his interest. And the human did smell tantalizing.

"Not as an Ooman, but a warrior that respects her and her beliefs. An important one being monogamy and you'd be wise to consider my words. If you mate Amelia, you agree to mate only Amelia for as long as she will have you." Val'jek gave him a level stare.

"I have obligations to my clan. Our numbers are small," Raz'ha said after some thought. The Elder would understand the necessity of siring many more sucklings for his clan. "I could sire more sucklings after her time has passed." He hoped.

Val'jek nodded and spoke with Amelia for a while.

"She does not learn our language?" he asked. It would be difficult to retain a mate he could not communicate with.

"She is learning. Mah'sic instructs her, but I fear her derogatory vocabulary is the most developed. It takes Oomans much longer to learn." Val'jek trilled with amusement, looking over his mate. "She does understand most customs, but I did not think she would require Yautja mating refusal. The issue will be rectified tonight."

The Elder had said refusal specifically. She likely knew what his mating gestures meant then.

"And her scent? Your apprentice, Mah'sic, claimed she always smells of heat," Raz'ha said.

"Sense of smell is weak in Oomans and their females are always capable of mating. They have a short cycle that peaks and wanes. When she peaks the scent is much stronger." The Elder nodded.

"She already smells as a Yautja in the height of her season." He rumbled his appreciation of her scent. If she emitted the mating musk every day, he'd be glad to mate her exclusively.

"Wait until her menstrual cycle begins. It is a week of smelling blood and mating musk in which she doesn't wish to mate." Elder Val'jek clicked his mandibles in both amusement and agitation.

Raz'ha spent most of the evening learning the details of Ooman courting, even after Amelia retired to Val'jek's room for the night. He was curious about the pair sleeping in the same bed each night, mating or not. He had never considered that and was suddenly eager to try.

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