The freedom was what she loved most about being a Green Lantern. Yes, she had duties and responsibilities not only to the Guardians but to several hundred worlds and thousands of species, but she had always been honor-bound to do what was right, magic ring or no. Her true freedom came in her power of flight. Even with Sen'a no longer at her side (the passage of time had returned her beloved ikran to the arms of Eywa), Ina't still found joy in her ability. On days like this, when no world was in peril and her skills were not needed by the Guardians, she retreated to a secluded moon or forest planet where she could glide through the air on the breath of Eywa.

The Na'vi Lantern spun through a thick cloud, drawing a trail of glistening rain behind her. Her long hair, left unbound this time, danced in the wind as she twirled and dove and rose even higher above the small moon. The sunlight was warm and loving on her body despite being covered by her uniform. She almost felt like she was home again. A laugh bubbled up from her throat and faded away on the wind. Her delight was soon replaced by a sense of disorientation when something slammed into her.

Her ring's power field protected her from the worst of the hit, but her mind snapped into focus to turn the situation to her advantage. She brought her long legs up and forcefully shoved her attacker away. Righting herself and adopting a battle stance in midair, her eyes locked onto a very familiar face.

"Well done, Ina't," Sinestro said evenly. "But a Green Lantern should never his or her guard down, even when all seems peaceful."

She relaxed her arms and simply hovered for the moment. "I was unaware that you were in this sector, my friend. I had thought you were assisting Kilowog with a dispute on Vorn."

Though she had no evidence to support the theory, she couldn't shake the feeling that her fellow Lantern's gaze was…different. It seemed somehow predatory without being threatening. It thrilled her. "A minor disagreement rectified in mere hours. Since I have some time, would you care to spar with me?"

Ina't had never once passed up the opportunity to train with her comrade, and not just to further hone her skills with her ring. Her attraction to Sinestro had only grown from the first day she'd seen him and being asked to join him in a match always excited her both as a warrior and as a woman. This time was no different. "Let us begin," she said with a smile.

He moved first, diving straight at her with a speed that surprised her. She dodged easily, but was not prepared for the energy blast that hit her shoulder. "Focus, Ina't," he called to her over the wind. "That should not have hit."

She countered with a burst of green energy that dispersed into dozens of smaller blasts and surrounded her superior. With no escape route, they hit their target. But they were only meant to be a distraction while Ina't closed in and attempted to physically restrain him. She had forgotten his near-supernatural ability to slip from any hold.

She gasped in surprise when she found herself the recipient of a chokehold. One arm locked around her long neck while the other encircled her body just beneath her breasts. Neither hold was painful, but they were most certainly firm. She stopped struggling when she felt the full length of his body press against hers. "You've been watching me for some time now, Ina't," he breathed into her ear. She shivered at the intimacy of such an act. "I've been watching you as well."

Ina't swallowed the lump in her throat and tried to regain her focus. It was exceedingly difficult. "O-of course I watch you, my friend. I study your methods in battle as I do with every Lantern." It was only a half-lie.

Sinestro chuckled. "Come now, Ina't. I've felt your eyes on me on more than one occasion outside of the training grounds."

Eywa, aid your child, now more than ever! "I do not…"

"There's no need for coyness. I know your secret-" he ignored her shocked gasp "-and in return I shall tell you one: I feel the same about you."

The Na'vi Lantern turned in his loosened embrace and stared at his face for a long moment. She searched for any sign of deceit, of some cruel humor that he found in saying such a thing. "Do you truly?"

His hand lighted on her shoulder, a heavy warmth that she gladly welcomed. "I do." Time seemed to slow down as he leaned towards her. She felt frozen in place even when mere centimeters separated his lips from hers; only her lungs seemed to be functioning properly, if overly so. The entire scenario was completely unexpected, but not as much as the beam of green energy that shot into her chest and smashed her into the ground.

Ina't lay still for a moment, trying to collect her thoughts (and shut out the dull throbbing of her back). What just happened? She tried to sit up but found herself thrown back and pinned with a giant construct that resembled a piece of one of the buildings on Oa. She heard his laugh before she saw him, slowly descending from the sky like a god. He did not stop to stand beside her, however. Instead, he settled himself on top of her so that they were face-to-face. Her arms were restrained next when she tried to sit up again. "Thaal," she whispered with a mix of anticipation and anxiety, "what are you doing?"

He did not answer right away. He took a long moment to observe her face, his eyes darting over her delicate features and markings. Ina't drew in a sharp breath and froze when his hand touched her cheek. Though he was physically much smaller than she, she was completely enthralled by him. His mere presence was enough to command the attention of anyone in the vicinity, and being so close to him now nearly overwhelmed her. He caressed her skin with the greatest tenderness, tracing the stripes and bioluminescent spots that framed her skull. "So beautiful," he murmured. "So strong. So loyal."

Ina't couldn't take much more. "Thaal…"

"Tell me something, Ina't. What is the ultimate intimacy for your species?"

She did not understand his sudden acknowledgement of her (previously thought) hidden emotions for him, nor did she understand why he was behaving so out of the ordinary. Truth be told she didn't much care at the moment. "Tsaheylu. The linking of our neural whips." One of her arms was released so she could pull her queue from beneath her to show him. The soft pink tendrils crept out from the end of her long braid and danced with her thoughts.

Sinestro was fascinated by them; she had never shown him (or any Lantern) that part of her physiology. It was far too personal an act, especially while among non-Tawkami. He watched with rapt attention as they moved and swayed. "What of non-Na'vi? Can you perform this bond with those outside your species?" He reached out a single finger to touch the living fibers, but Ina't instinctively recoiled. He met her eyes at the retraction, understanding and patience in their golden depths. "Do you trust me, Ina't?"

Her answer was instant and honest: "With my life."

"Then trust me with your body as well." Before she could react he touched the fragile nerves with utmost gentleness. They quickly wrapped around his fingers and caressed the magenta skin, leaving the Na'vi in a state of bliss that was almost too much to bear. She shut her eyes against the onslaught of sensation, but her body betrayed her with a shudder and a gasp. Sinestro's deep, lustful laugh rumbled against her flesh and made her crave more.

Ina't jolted awake with her racing heart and her lungs desperately trying to fill with air. She was alone in her apartment, her skin covered in a fine sweat. Dear Eywa, not again. This was the third time this week she had dreamed of Sinestro. A part of her held the dreams close to her heart, told her that they were her goddess's blessing of her feelings for her commanding officer. Another part wanted nothing more than for them to go away and never return. It was hard enough being around him in the waking world, now he had invaded her dreams.

I cannot do this anymore. It was only a matter of time before she either lost her grip on what was real and what was imagined. She could not risk her unspoken and unrequited love interfering with her duties as a Green Lantern either. If she confessed them to Sinestro, he was sure to reject her (it didn't matter whether it was with gentility or callousness; it would still be painful). But if she kept them secret they would devour her from the inside out until they completely consumed her.

She sat on her bed with her head hung low as she tried to think of a solution to her dilemma. No easy answer came to her even as the sun rose over the horizon. Thankfully she had calmed down enough to think a little more clearly and put the worst of her emotions behind her. Perhaps one of the more sympathetic Guardians could help her if she worked up the courage to tell him or her. Perhaps Sayd. Yes. I will speak to her later today.

Now that she had some sort of plan, difficult as it would be to act upon, she felt a sense of calm wash over her. Now she would go meet the newest recruit to the Corps with her good friend Tomar-Re. If nothing else he could put her in a good mood in no time. She donned her ring and slipped out the window to go meet them both. She was admittedly very curious about her new comrade. She had never seen a human before.

Wooooooow. Almost a full year since I posted the prologue to this thing. I think that's some kind of record *_* If anyone's still reading this story, I thank you for sticking with me and hope that I don't keep you waiting that long EVER again. I also hope that you weren't disappointed with this chapter (I know the whole 'it was a dream all along' schtick can be insulting at times), but I promise it has a legitimate purpose in the bigger story. Reviews are very much appreciated!