Dis: I own nothing.


It was their last day before flying out to World's Trials, Payson had stayed at the Rock late with her mother. She ran her beam a few more times while her mom worked on some last minute paper work. While the gym was full Payson did fine, the din of everyone else working and chatting helped her focus on the present and pinpoint the things she was trying to fine tune. In the silence Payson found her mind wandering, it traveled back to Romania, back to those few precious days where it was just the two of them.


He surprised her, he would find the most unlikely times to slide seamlessly from coach into what she could only describe as lover.

The memory that came back the clearest was of her stretching out after a long day of practice. She had her head bowed between her arms stretching her leg, not even aware of how close he was until she felt the pressure of him pushing down gently on her back.

"Point your toe." he instructed, the warmth of his breath tickling her cheek and sending shivers through her.

She obliged, but jerked back as he sat down straddling her from behind, pressing impossibly close to her.

She felt him laugh at her reaction even has he slid his hand flat against her stomach.

"The other leg?" he asked allowing his thumb to stroke across her ribs just under her breast. She knew he was quite aware of what he was doing to her, she could feel a part of him twitch in response to the ragged breath she took in.

Doing her best to stamp down the humming of her pulse in her ears she simply repeated the before stretch with the opposite leg, making sure her toe was pointed.

She could feel his eyes raking over her even as he repeated his previous action of placing his hand on her back and pressing gently. Then his hand was under the thin tank top she was wearing for training. It was better suited for bed, but she hadn't expected to be training when she left home. She hadn't expected a lot of things, most of all the way Sasha kept finding new ways to torment her and drive her near madness with lust.

The pads of his fingers were slightly rough leaving a tingling sensation behind as he rubbed small circles up her back. As she sat up he let his hand slide across her side along her lower ribs.

She shifted sideways turning inward towards the hand that was teasing her. She looked up at him, her eyes clearly accusing him of being a tease. When he looked back at her unapologetic she shifted her weight to push him onto his back, but he was ready and caught her rolling her onto hers. She laughed and struggled as he pinned her wrist with one hand above her head.

"Can't have you forgetting to stretch out your arms." He growled between kisses, working his way down her neck.

"You're not being fair. You tease me but won't let me return the favor." she protested, already knowing his answer.

"Control my love. Enjoy yourself, and let me enjoy you." he whispered harshly into her ear; she responded by lifting her hips which resulted in eliciting a mixture of a growl and a hiss from him.


"I'm sure he misses you too, but you must go home now and get your rest Payson. Soon you will see each other. Just remember he is a stubborn man when it comes to all things but you. Do not ask him to choose between you and what is best for you." and at that Dmitri Belov did what he seemed to do best, he pat her on the shoulder and left before she could form a response.

She supposed it was for the best that he had pulled her out of her daydream obviously she had shown some outward sign of where her mind was. Not to mention how her body had reacted to the memory alone, and the result would only have intensified if she'd continued the replay in her head.


His flight had been delayed for over three hours, and he'd been help up even longer with luggage claim because of the delay, what should have been a dinner time arrival was now a 2am arrival. He would room with his father on this trip, if not only to insure that he had a room near the girls, he felt it was more to insure that a certain precocious gymnast didn't end up alone in his room. While Sasha chaffed at being treated like an unruly teenager he was grateful for the insurance policy.

Payson didn't seem to like restrictions any more than he did, but at the same time she knew the choices they made would affect her future.

"Your plane finally came in I see." Sasha's head snapped up from where he'd rested it against the hotel room door.

He had no clue how long he'd been standing there lost in thought, not knocking, just leaning his head against the door.

"Yeah." he gave a sheepish smile, Mark Keeler was one of the first people he wanted to speak with, and yet the last in many ways.

He still wasn't sure what to say to Payson's father. When he'd given Mark his word that he hadn't done anything to lead Payson on he had been honest, or so he'd thought. How was he to explain to her father from that point on he'd never seen her the same way though? That if it hadn't been for that kiss, he may never have realized the girl that had transformed into a young woman in front of him. That without knowing her desire, and determination to have him as part of her life he may never have given into the longing in his heart.

Mark closed the distance between them and the intensity of the moment escalated.

"You are here to stay?" he asked, the question had double meaning but Sasha knew his answer was the same for both.

"Yes." he holds Mark's eyes as he responded, willing the man to see his sincerity.

"Good." The word held edge to it, that edge was the only warning that Sasha got before Mark's left fist connected with the right side of his jaw.

He staggered but didn't fall. He knew this would be a very likely scenario, unfortunately Mark Keeler wouldn't be the first irate father that he had encountered. Unlike many in the past he had no intentions of defending himself. He would block when necessary, but nothing more. Even the most timid of men became ferocious when their daughter's honor was at stake, not that he would ever associate the attribute of timid with Mark.

"If you ever abandon her again you won't have the chance to see it coming." Mark's voice was a tight growl, but it was the hand he extended to Sasha that showed the loving and fair character he'd come to associate with the Keelers. That very character had been why he had tried so hard to do the honorable thing and keep from hurting Payson and the others with his presence.

"I do my best not to repeated my mistakes." Sasha gave a wan smile with this.

Mark didn't answer for several heart beats, the silence wasn't tense or awkward, but Sasha had no way of knowing what the older man was thinking or searching for.

"Well, you've got a busy day tomorrow, I'll let you get some rest." Mark nodded in conclusion.

"Good night Sasha."

"Good night." He turned back to his door, raising his hand to knock, but his knuckles never touched wood.

His father opened the door giving him an appraising look. Sasha stepped past Dmitri without a word, too tired to start an argument about etiquette and eavesdropping.

They settled in for the night in relative silence. The room was lit by a single bedside table light next to the bed his father occupied.

"Good night dad." Sasha broke the silence, eyes closed laying on his back.

"Good night son." And with that the light went out.

"You have picked a good family for you I think; in the Keelers." His father's words were soft, almost more to himself than towards Sasha, but Sasha knew he was meant to hear them even if his father would act as though they'd never been spoken.


AN: I've had some technical difficulties in the form of FF .net erasing part of my chapter and me having to go back and redo it because I don't save it to a physical drive anywhere.