Author's note May 31, 2014 - This is not an abandoned fic! My muse is slacking, as life, or rather my health, keeps getting in the way. Who seriously goes into the hospital for a week these days? That would be me. Hang tight with me, please? I'll update soon!

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Warning: Fluffage continues and I've upped it to an M as I originally had planned. There is an adult situation, but no actual sex in this chapter. There will be sexual situations and war scenes in the future of the fic.

Disclaimer: Teen Titans – not mine, not now, not ever!

EQUINOX

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"But Kori, how am I going to take care of you now?"

"As I recall, you promised to take care of me Richard, yes, but did you ever expect for us to have anything less than a partnership?"

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Chapter 8

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Kori blinked as her eyes adjusted to the sunlight of the August day as she came out of the movie theater on the air force base, but she barely noticed her discomfort, her mind buzzing from the day. Yes the day was special, but really all it had been was a date, just like normal people do; a day spent together full of activities, getting to know each other, courting. Couples had been doing it for centuries all over the world in many different cultures, in all walks of life.

They were no different, were they?

So why did she feel like no one had ever felt quite the way she felt before?

Had she been in love with Richard back at Christmastime? She was certain back then, knew there was more than an attraction, much more than just something to build a relationship on. Now after spending a day when things were at least a little bit more normal, when they weren't forced to be together because of the snow storm, when she was herself rather than some scared damsel-in-distress who needed brought in from the storm, and that they were doing normal things, the relationship seemed more concrete somehow. Of course, were things normal now? After all, Richard was on shore leave in the middle of a war, and he had just gone through some mission that must have affected him, she was well aware of all that; yet he was relaxed and more normal than most men she'd ever known.

Whether it was a normal situation or not, it was love, at least to her. It was love then, and things were completely cemented now. She was getting positive signs beyond words from Richard, and he certainly was proving to be the person he had seemed to be in the Inn and also in his letters. She felt she could truly trust him, and that wasn't about to change.

Richard placed his sunglasses on as they walked out of the theater, his body alive with energy. The day with Kori had gone differently than he expected, which he wasn't sure was good for his sanity. She hadn't been just presenting herself in her letters as being more confident and independent than she had been at the Inn during the blizzard: she truly was. The urge simply to take care of her, something he knew he could do easily even from afar as he could assign whatever needed to be done after this shore leave to Alfred, was now mostly displaced by a level of attraction he hadn't experienced before.

Not only was the experience at a new level, it was absolutely certain about it. Richard knew that he wanted Kori mind, body, and soul.

The certainty of it was not in question, but how fast it all came together. How could a day together have done that? There was the time at the Inn and the letters as a way that they had gotten to know each other, but since he landed in Germany plus their day together, or rather the day so far as it was still in the afternoon, had shown to him that Kori understood him, was able to joke with him, and even in the times that she was a bit nervous, she was generally at ease around him. He knew they would totally mesh quickly.

There was also the fact that Kori had been and could be vulnerable with him but had the need to make sure he knew that wasn't how she always was. Richard caught himself when he realized he was a little sad that he wasn't going to need to be the one to be doing all the giving in the relationship. Yes, he would be able to take care of her, but as more of an equal that he had ever anticipated, and he quickly saw that there was no good in wanting her to be needy when he could have her participating in their relationship. He'd always considered that his relationships would be with women who would want to be taken care of. Women like that gravitated toward him. It struck him then that those relationships hadn't been satisfying in the past. Huh... no wonder things had never worked out with anyone long term before.

Caught up in their separate thoughts they were far out from the movie theater, walking five minutes or more without exchanging words.

Richard could not ignore one major side effect to the day, to the woman who was 'his Kori', and that was another kind of energy which needed an outlet as well: he was very ramped up sexually. At end of the film, all teasing about topless women and shirtless men aside, there was a very steamy climax – who knew the lovely alien woman would end up with the gorgeous hero and they would be that sexually compatible? - and it flaunted and pushed the envelope of the NC-17 rating. Richard was hardly immune, and the scene left Kori panty and blushing.

Which did not help Richard. At all.

Because Kori didn't seem as upset or embarrassed by what was on the movie screen as he would have expected, he was thrown off. Not that her embarrassment – if there had been any – would have been easy to deal with. Was she suffering then from the same type of discomfort he was? Oh and he was, it certainly was an erotic film. The more Richard thought about it, the more he realized that Kori likely was still affected, which was making his situation worse.

They had already been sharing kisses all day, from the early morning when Richard had pulled a sleepy Kori into his arms, through walking around the base and skating, and finally during the movie when he wondered what possessed him to make out with her like a lovelorn teen, and that was way before the movie itself turned steamy.

But he knew he was really in trouble when she took two bold steps ahead and then spun back around on her kitten heel, so he literally ran into her arms.

"What are you thinking about," she lowered her voice to a near-whisper, "Lieutenant Commander Grayson?" He shifted his eyes to either side not wanting word of his promotion to be overheard, even if she'd taken the precaution to whisper.

His focus returned to Kori, looking pleased with herself, arching an eyebrow. She leaned toward his ear, little difficulty considering they were very close in height, "Did you not trust me to be the discreet with such information?"

He tried not to redden. "Sorry, I..." It wasn't helping that she pressed against him so she was flush against his body. Oh yes, there was heat. "Um..."

She flicked her eyes down to his lips and then back up to his eyes. She made it worse when she chewed her lower lip as she eased back, shifting her weight away from him. Oh, she wasn't getting away that easily.

His hands that had rested on her hips earlier slipped up her back and pulled her back in. "Let's get back to the hotel, and figure out how to spend the rest of the evening."

"Yes, I would like that, Richard."

Laced fingers lead to more sensual strokes of thumbs. Nuzzling and nearly kissing, a teasing, playful dance which Kori caught on to the idea of quickly. Holding Richard's hand in the jeep on the drive from the base, it was still light out, so she realized that the promise in his eyes meant things would progress but later; she knew they would wait until there was privacy.

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"Hello."

"Greetings."

"Here we are."

"We have arrived back at the hotel." Her playful smile and a flash of her green eyes were a seductive sign he wasn't expecting.

He chuckled at that as gathered her up in his arm for a kiss which started out oh so gently. His hands went to her hips and stayed there. He was finding it hard at that moment to contain himself. He wasn't sure why he'd gotten to the point where he felt his grasp on his control was slipping away so easily, so quickly, but he didn't want to scare her, and Richard wanted to be sure he stayed in control before things got out of hand so there his hands were to stay...

Kori's timing was off, or rather her inexperience showing, not picking up on the subtle signal.

She stepped back from him, and began to undress. He could only watch.

"I have limits," he ground out, at the point her bra laid on the floor. All that was left on was her panties.

"And I desire new experiences," Kori replied as she pushed out her chest a bit along with her chin. She closed the distance after a moment, touching his face. "Please?"

"Kori, I-"

She looked at him with a rejected, almost pained expression.

He smiled. "Gladly."

They'd kissed and caressed over clothing and they'd been down to their underwear on a couple of occasions, but to see her before him with bare breasts, to be able to see her reaction the first time anyone had ever touched her there, to be the lucky one to touch her... Richard took an almost strangled breath, fully mindful of the situation.

"Are you the all right Richard?"

He looked at her, studying her carefully as he smiled gently, allowing only one hand cup her breast and to knead and to feel, "Oh, yes. Are you?"

"Yes."

"Let's get comfortable, shall we?"

Once in bed, with his shirt now off, he guided Kori onto her back so her could look down on her, watch her expression as he explored and tweaked, noting the changes as she relaxed and allowed herself to do what he realized was only to begin to feel. He moved back in to kiss her and her reactions were less measured, no longer holding back.

Kori's heart pounded as she experienced the new sensations. She understood on some level that Richard was taking his time. She was concerned he hadn't wanted to get close, but couldn't deny that his body's responses were strong. She wasn't sure how to react as he first touched her chest but once he kissed her, the combined sensations were fantastic, and when he moved his lips to her neck and then ear, the usual chills she had from his lips where further intensified and she could feel herself desire that things would continue to progress. And not just the idea that they should progress, but she found an increasing desire to feel his touch everywhere and the connection that would soon follow if they did.

"I love you," he whispered in her ear, and she was surprised to hear it for some odd reason at that moment. She startled slightly and Richard's attentions stopped so he could look at her. "Are you okay?"

"Ye-yes." Her voice was thick and gravelly already.

"It's okay to relax and let go, Kori. I'm fine; completely in control. Nothing'll happen that we aren't planning to."

It took her a minute to realize the implications of 'in control'. Had she had that much of an affect on him? She felt so naïve, and caught between relieved and sad he was so experienced to have been in these intimate situations before. "I know. I trust you."

Kori initiated the kiss and immediately found herself forgetting anything about Richard's past; it was obvious he was only thinking about her and her alone and knowing this she could relax and really feel. She marveled in his touch and the more Richard touched, the more she wanted him to touch her. She let her one hand wander to stroke his back, feeling the connection with his heated skin, daring to go lower and lower to slip under the waistband.

Richard groaned as she slipped her hand under the back of his briefs and she cupped one of his buttocks, pulling him closer.

Richard kissed over to her neck again and then downward, Kori's body seemed to know how to react, as she arched up toward him. Seeing it as a clear invitation, he gave a quick glance up to only see closed eyes and a content expression on her beautiful face, so he proceeded, cupping her breast and began to gently stroke to hardened peak with his tongue.

Kori let out a soft moan and satisfied that she was more than okay with the progress, Richard began to suckle gently.

"Ah! Oh," Kori gasped, as she stopped her exploration for the moment to reach out to either side of her and grab hold of the covers. The sensations were so strong and she had to anchor herself. Richard worked his jaw a bit more, empowered by the reaction and was rewarded. When he stopped to switch breasts she whimpered before catching herself, and when he took a more aggressive approach to the other breast, suckling right away, she let out a soft, "yes."

He was trying to take his time, he really was, but her responses were exquisite. She wasn't saying much – not at that point at least – but her body was telling the story. He hadn't let up his attention to her chest, he was in no hurry to, but when her heels began to press into the mattress, when she rubbed her thighs together because of her building desire, he wondered how far things would go.

Oh he wanted her, needed her, and hadn't imagined that she would become so free with her reactions this soon. He wasn't sure what he'd do if she asked for him to take her, even now that he'd begun some planning about their first time together. That was of course, if they weren't waiting.

Richard had already told Kori back at the inn that he wouldn't deny her if she asked and he knew if she asked that night he wouldn't, or maybe even couldn't hold back.

Richard also knew after their time together, it wouldn't be a mistake.

Kori felt amazing. All the things she'd missed in her life, experiences she'd never had until now, how wondrous this felt, the things a man could do. Or perhaps it was just this man. She was so happy she had waited. She was with the man she loved and it already was more of an experience than she had expected. There was so much desire to do more, yet it was so satisfying to be doing what they were. And they had not gotten beyond 'the second base', as the kids call it.

Richard moved up to kiss Kori's lips. "Hey."

"Hey yourself." Kori's breathing was rapid.

"Are you fine with everything?"

"Yes, that was glorious. Thank you."

Richard chuckled. "You're welcome, and thank you. You're incredible."

"What did I do?"

"The way you respond, you have no idea how amazingly hot you are."

She arched a brow. "I am the hot am I?"

"Yes."

"Thank you." She touched his face and then began kissing him again, and Richard resumed his attention to her breasts. They were amazing; he loved the feel and her response and couldn't get enough.

But her body had another need as well; her stomach rumbled loudly and her head snapped up and she looked at Richard with embarrassed half smile and nervous giggle.

He touched her cheek and chuckled, "I'm sure it's past time to eat and I think a romantic dinner is in order."

"The room service?" Kori asked hopefully.

Oh that sounded dangerous. And fun, but maybe too much. Richard gave her a gentle kiss, allowing it to linger. "I believe a table for two, champagne, dancing afterward. I want to take you out. Spoil you." Her searched her eyes. "Please?"

"Yes, of course. I would love that Richard, very much."

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To be continued...

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Thank you for reading and reviews always appreciated...

Next up: Dinner and more