Dex had been waiting for this night for weeks. Flipping on the radio as he hurriedly changed into civvies and grabbed a few supplies in his quarters, he kept his ear cocked to the weather report. A chill raced down his spine as the announcer informed him that the skies were completely clear. Perfect, he thought giddily.

Shoving his blankets and an extra sweater into a bag, he swung it over his shoulder and headed towards the motor pool. Dusk was falling; the faint light of a star in the east made him quicken his step. His eclipse viewing spot was a half hour away, and the main event was supposed to begin shortly after full dark. Don't want to miss this, he urged himself on faster. It's going to be amazing.

The motor pool was entirely empty, and Dex frowned. Usually this particular building was humming until late at night as men hung around talking after hours or worked on personal vehicles. Tonight, though, the place was abandoned. Maybe I actually managed to interest a few of the others in seeing the eclipse tonight, and they've all gone to watch it, he reasoned. It seemed a little unlikely - no one had reacted when he'd mentioned it that afternoon - but perhaps it had piqued their interest more than he'd thought. Shrugging off his discomfort at the unusual silence, he made his way to the key box on the far wall and selected the set for a car he knew could make it up rough back roads.

Walking briskly towards his transportation, he finally spotted someone. "Hi, Cap," he greeted the figure leaning against the car. "What's up?" Please, please don't have something that has to be done tonight, he begged wordlessly. I won't be able to say no, and I've been waiting for this night for weeks.

His agitation must have shown, because Joe grinned. "Don't worry, no last minute chores," he said. "I was looking for you, though, and someone said you'd end up here before dark. I thought I'd see if they were right."

"You were looking for me? Why, is something up?"

"What are you doing tonight?" Another grin. The tone of the words was casual, non committal, but they sent shivers through Dex's entire body. The huge bay they stood in suddenly seemed too warm.

"I, uh…well, there's an eclipse. I was going to go check that out."

"Not in town, with all those drunken idiots?" A look of concern crossed Sky Captain's face.

"No. I know a spot outside of town, where there won't be anyone."

"Is that where you're going now?"

"Yes. Unless you need something?" Something must need done, or he wouldn't have stood down here for who knew how long waiting for him to show up. Surely the illustrious Sky Captain had somewhere better to be.

Joe looked down at the ground, suddenly feeling like an intruder, but asked his question anyway. "May I come with you?"

Dex was confused. "Don't you have a date with Polly?"

"She cancelled, and it's too quiet around here, so I thought I would see what you were up to. I would go for a ride, but I know how much you hate it when I fly in the dark."

"Never stopped you before," Dex mumbled, opening the rear door of the car to load his things. "Sure, hop in. I don't mind company." He really didn't mind, provided it was Joe. It wasn't like they'd had any chances to just go out and do something together in the six months since Totenkopf, so tonight would be a nice break.

"Do you know where everyone is?" he asked as they crossed the bridge and turned onto a narrow paved road that skirted the water. "I didn't see anyone on my way over to get the car."

"It's Friday," Joe answered, looking at him quizzically.

Oh, right. It is Friday. The one day of the week when no one except Dex hung around base any longer than necessary. Even the men who lived in the barracks left for the evening on Fridays. No wonder there was no one around, he thought, shaking his head. How did I lose track of what day it was like that? At this rate, he was lucky to have remembered the eclipse. "Oh, right," he said finally, trying to sound like he'd already known as much.

"You've been working too hard," Joe said flatly. Dex opened his mouth to retort, then closed it without speaking, not wanting to mar their rare evening together with an argument. There was a long silence before either man spoke again. "Where are we going, in any case?"

"There's a place I know up here in the hills. It used to be an old hunting camp or something, but no one uses it anymore, so sometimes I come out and look at the stars. There's a stand, about twenty feet tall, in the middle of a big field. The view from the top is great. I hope it's still up," he added. "I haven't checked it all summer, we've been so busy rebuilding. Sometimes it falls down, after big storms or over the winter, and I have to rebuild it. I meant to come up last weekend and make sure it was ready for tonight, but there wasn't time."

"This tower doesn't sound very stable to be climbing around on," Joe commented, frowning at him. "Does anyone else know where this place is?"

"Not that I know of, Cap. I've never brought anyone else up here."

"Dex," Joe said as they stopped at a weed-ridden crossroads. "Don't go up that thing anymore unless someone knows you're out here. It can't be safe, if it falls down so often."

Shrugging, Dex turned the car onto gravel. "Whatever you say, Cap," he agreed, then fell silent once more.

The air went wordless again, and Joe felt guilty about being the cause of the quiet. How could he express his feelings for the man beside him any way besides being over protective, though? He simply didn't know what else to do. Even if what he wanted so badly hadn't been utterly illegal, he was certain that Dex wouldn't agree to it, couldn't possibly feel the same way. How could he? he wondered as they hit a particularly deep pothole. He sees me with women all the time. If I told him I wanted him, not them, he'd probably think I was playing some nasty joke on him. Damn it…

The trees narrowed as they went on, reducing the lane to a rutted track, and soon branches began to tap on the windows on both sides. Joe was about to say something about scratching the paint when Dex wrenched the car onto a hidden road.

This route was slightly wider but bumpier by far, and their teeth chattered over the rocks. A quarter mile after the turn, the only sign of humanity was a set of faint tire tracks that led off into a meadow tall with late-fall grass. Dex stopped the car and shut off the engine.

"Is this it?" Joe asked.

"Yup." Climbing out, he headed into the brush, and Joe had to hurry to catch up. In short order they found the tower, lying morosely in the dry yellow foliage with one leg of its tripod form broken. "Ah, crud. I don't have time to fix it." It was nearly full dark now, and the bright moon was rising, well on its way to a rendezvous with the shadow of the Earth. "We can't lay on the ground, we'll freeze. I guess the hood of the car will have to do. At least we'll get some residual engine heat."

As they spread the blankets across the car hood, Joe realized that he was glad the platform had been too broken to fix tonight. He'd shivered looking at it, realizing that Dex had spent nights up here by himself on the fragile-looking structure with absolutely no one knowing where he was. What was left of the thing looked like a breath of wind would blow it end over end across the field. If that had collapsed while he was on it, I would never have known where to look. He might have lain out here for days before anyone found him. He tried to shake the image of an injured Dex stranded in this forgotten field with no food, water, or blankets from his mind, but it clung eagerly to his psyche, digging in with sharp claws that made his stomach ache in fear.

They retreated beneath the blankets as the air grew chill, tossing the occasional comment back and forth as they watched the moon climb. "How well do you know them? The stars, I mean?" Joe asked eventually.

Dex laughed shortly. "Didn't you ever wonder why I spend so much time working on plans for planes that could go a lot higher than they need to?"

"Well, yes, I did at first. But I can see how they could be useful for reconnaissance, so I never really questioned it."

"I guess they could be used for that, with the right cameras, but that's not why I work on them so much."

"Well, why then?"

He sighed heavily. "When I was a kid, I always thought the neatest thing in the world would be to be able to walk on the moon. You know, see what it was like. To be able to touch it, to look down and see the earth, not like from a plane, but against the backdrop of space. So you could realize just how tiny we really are, in the grand scale of things. That's why I work on them; I guess I've never really given up on that dream. Even though the odds are extremely slim that a person will walk on the moon in our lifetime, it's nice to go to bed feeling like maybe I've pushed humanity a little bit closer to that goal. That someday, someone will get to go there, will get to see everything from there. Maybe they'll come back a slightly better person because of it, even. It's kind of a silly thing to aim for, but…" he shrugged beneath the blanket, "I like to think it'll happen someday."

Joe stared at him in the dark, feeling stupid for not guessing that some grand scheme was behind it. There was a grand scheme behind everything Dex did, he was sure – he had often thought during the past six months of asking whether Dex had had a premonition of how useful the metal-melting gun would be to them, certain that it had to be more than just coincidence - but at the same time he couldn't berate himself for not seeing the bigger picture. After all, when had Dex ever intimated that he even noticed there was a moon, until tonight? "I never would have guessed that," he said finally. "And I don't think it sounds silly."

"Well, you know me. It's a weird dream, but I'm a little queer in some ways, so it's not so far out there."

Joe froze. Does that mean what I think it does? It could have just been a slip of the tongue. He swallowed at the thought. Slippery. Tongue. Dex…God, I hope you meant to say that the way you did. The ride back is going to be very, very painful otherwise.

"It's starting," Dex said suddenly. A note of breathless excitement had crept into his voice, and Joe could barely stifle the moan of desperate passion that the tone excited in him. Trying to distract himself from how uncomfortable his pants were becoming, he stared up at the vanishing moon.

They watched the darkness eat the moon, piece by piece. When the last sliver of light disappeared, the world seemed to freeze. Everything stopped moving…except that Joe realized that Dex was shivering under the blanket next to him. Examining the way his eyes were riveted to the spot where the moon had been a moment before, the set of his jaw, and the way the faint starlight played across the delicate features he'd fallen so hard for, he simply could not be silent another moment. "Dex?" he said quietly, watching him.

"Hmm?"

"I'm going to tell you a secret."

"Okay." His gaze didn't waver from the sky.

"Polly didn't cancel our date tonight."

A look of consternation crossing his face, Dex turned to him. "But then what-"

"I cancelled on her." He paused. "Permanently."

Dex gaped at him for a moment, understanding dawning in his eyes. "What are you telling me?" he whispered, shivering harder. Joe wasn't sure if it was from shock or because the temperature was dropping further under the moonless night. He wanted to make the motion stop in any case, wanted to sweep him into his arms, warm him up, cradle him until they both fell into dreamless, contented slumber.

Smiling softly, Joe pulled him close, enveloping him in heat. "I'm telling you that I love you," he whispered. A second passed without movement, and for an instant Sky Captain began to think he'd made an awful, irrevocable mistake. Then Dex's lips rushed to meet his and they kissed hungrily, both trying to sate the hunger they had lived with for much too long. At the exact moment when they finally pulled breathlessly apart, a thin line of light reappeared around the shadow.

"I love you, too," Dex whispered back, stealing another kiss.

"It's Friday night," Joe reminded him.

"Yeah. So what?"

"So the base is deserted. Including the barracks." Their mouths met again. "Can you get us back quickly? I don't want our first time to be in a back seat. That's so cliché, and you deserve better."

"I can get us back quick." They were already sliding off the car, grabbing blankets and throwing them haphazardly inside, taking full advantage of every opportunity to touch one another as they did so. Dex drove back as fast as was safe, steering with only one hand because the fingers of the other were wrapped into Joe's.

They parked in the motor pool and separated, just in case there was someone who hadn't felt the call of the city on a Friday night who might find the sight of the pair walking towards the barracks holding hands questionable. Joe waited impatiently in his quarters and practically tore the door off of its hinges when the expected knock came. The instant it was closed and locked behind them Dex found himself pressed against it, warm hands speedily disrobing him. "Joe…"

"Mmm…my God, Dex, how do you taste so good?" Sky Captain moaned against his throat. "I cannot get enough of you, do you know that?"

"I'm starting to get the idea, Cap…" Fingers brushed his crotch. "Bed," he gasped. "Hurry."

Feeling Dex's legs wrap around him, Joe swung about and carried him easily to the poorly made up four-poster. Nails trailed down his back as he walked, making his knees weak. "This is going to end much too soon for both of us," he lamented as he laid his partner down and licked a path from navel to neck, detouring for the briefest of moments because he simply couldn't ignore the taut nipples that begged to be sucked. Slender, skilled digits wrapped around his cock and squeezed gratefully, driving him so close to the edge of release that he had to pull away. "I don't think there's time to prepare you," he managed between clenched teeth. "We could just-"

"No," Dex interrupted him, the determination in his voice forcing Sky Captain to look up at him. "Take me, Joe. Now." His voice trembled slightly as he repositioned his legs. "I like it rough."

The pilot let out a low, keening wail. Where had this glowing, tousled, and painfully sexy version of his chief engineer been hiding for so long? Hearing the normally calm and laid-back man beneath him practically demand to be taken in a fashion that was borderline to rape sent a shot of lust through him like he had never imagined, and without waiting for so much as another blink to pass he shoved himself forward and in.

It took a couple of thrusts for him to be ensconced fully – despite the fact that Dex was clearly not new to this, he was almost obscenely tight – but his graceless entry didn't seem to bother the other man. After a cry of mixed pain and pleasure that made Joe both quail and delight, his partner settled into a series of tiny gasping moans that made the speed with which he was approaching orgasm quite clear. This must be how angels sound, the pilot thought deliriously as he gripped the hard member rubbing against his stomach. The engineer's eyes fluttered with each stroke, teeth sunk into his lower lip, until Sky Captain pushed into him with a massive groan and a flood of warm liquid. The shot was perfectly timed, perfectly aimed, and as it hit a sensitive spot deep inside of him Dex, too, came.

For what felt like an eternity Joe couldn't stand to pull out. He held himself up on shaking arms, feeling his pulse pounding in his softening cock, it's rhythm backed up by a more distant throbbing that he suspected was his lover's heartbeat. Finally he summoned the strength to pull back and slowly extracted himself, keeping his eyes closed because he knew there was blood. Letting himself down onto the bed, he pulled Dex close against him, smiling as the other man pulled the blankets over both of them and rested his head against his shoulder. "I adore you," he whispered.

"I know. I love you too," the engineer replied. He trailed a hand across Sky Captain's stomach, stopping with a grimace when he felt the still-warm stickiness that he himself had deposited there. "I'll get a rag," he said quietly, kissing his neck before rising and heading for the bathroom that let off of one side of the room. Letting the water run until it steamed, he wiped himself off, searching in the medicine cabinet for something to coat his ravaged passage with. Depositing a liberal dollop of antibacterial ointment on his fingers, he slipped them into himself with a wince and wiped the medicine as far up as he could reach. There. No more bleeding, no infection, no questions.

The cloth was still warm when he cleaned Joe with it, using gentle swipes that had the man groaning again before he was half done. Lobbing it carelessly toward the laundry hamper, Dex slipped back beneath the covers and was immediately enveloped in arms and legs.

"Don't you ever leave me," Joe whispered, squeezing him tight with a desperation that he didn't have to speak aloud for Dex to fathom. "I would die without you."

"Don't talk like that. You know I'm not going anywhere, at least not by choice."

"I thought I'd lost you, do you know that?"

"Totenkopf?"

"Yes."

"I know." He kissed the skin beneath him reassuringly. "I'm right here now, though. And we're fine. We're more than fine. We're golden."

"Golden…you're worth more than gold to me, Dex…"

The engineer smiled hearing the tired notes in the pilot's voice. "Go to sleep, Cap. I'm not going anywhere." It wasn't a lie; it would take something on par with another robot attack to make him crawl out of bed right now, and even then he would complain mightily. They'd been keeping their love in the dark from one another for too long, and now that the eclipse had finally ended Dex had no intention of letting a single moment of light slip away. Settling himself more comfortably against his partner's shoulder, he sighed and let his eyes slip shut, content in the cocoon of blankets and musk they had made together.