Disclaimer: I do not own the characters.

Rating: R

Author's Note: For the 2013 VAMB Guess the Pairing Contest. Love that Ewige for hosting it again. Pairing on the next page. And I am posting them because people were cooperative with me when I asked them to post theirs another time recently, and I appreciated that. *huggles those folks*

Base Pairs

She knows it's wrong, but she can't seem to stop doing it. He's under her skin.

She's used to being the genius in a relationship. Relative intellectual equality she demands in a lover, but surpassed? It's never happened.

She's assuredly unused to frank propositions, and the fact that it was his proposal would have been laughable to anyone not present.

He kissed her, and his audacity froze her. The certainty, the surety that she wanted him, as if she'd ever consider it. Her hands slapped against his chest, ready to destroy him - her entire body thrummed with unleashed wildfire. Dear God, the last time she'd been kissed with that kind of certain skill, that caliber of unintimidated finesse...

It hadn't gelled with what little she knew of him. None of what followed had gelled with her impression of him. Now, she can't stop.

He plays her body the way he toys with physical equations: methodically, yes, but there is always the unmistakable note of music to his ministrations. Here, a sweeping legato. His mouth goes there, his tongue beats with staccato surety here, hands conducting a stroking, sensory response there, coda back to his mouth at her ear, and her body sings under his skillful encouragement. There's something mesmerizing about the way his grating presence fills the small spaces he prefers.

"Who are you?" she asks when they're lying on cold grating, their bare backsides taking the imprint of patterned metal. He only gives her a pitying look as he stabs one leg through his pants, then the other, back in his PADDs, from which her clandestine visits have unforgivably distracted him, fingers that have touched parts of her at least two others on this ship, maybe more, would kill to have touched flying over the keys. She has idly wondered what would happen if someone's tricorder flagged her DNA there; by now, it must be on those keys. The unsuspecting officer would probably assume mundane transference, if she had to guess. The corner of her mouth tilts. How wrong they'd be.

How wrong she's been, all along. What else has she been wrong about?

When he pounds her into the bulkhead, he never closes his eyes or pictures someone else. He sees her, gets off on screwing her, flaws and all, and he doesn't hesitate to name them, even when he's fucking her. He flat-out tells her that she doesn't impress him. Her accomplishments mean nothing to him.

"You shouldn't have let them talk you into changing career tracks."

He thinks she's a sellout. Like everything else about him, it rankles her. "I do what I want, Crewman, not what others tell me to."

He stops, looks at her briefly. "The sad part is that I think half of you actually believes that."

She blasts acidic displeasure. He smiles plastically and pins her to the bulkhead, his short-cropped hair tickling the sides of her breasts as he buries that cocky head of his between them. She pushes impatiently at his shoulders, guiding him to where he can most appropriately soothe the ache he's so carefully ignited. God, he's insufferable. God, he's got a talented tongue. Where did he find the time to learn erotica among all of his superior studies? She's asked. He never answers. It rarely matters in the moment because he's so much better at this than she assumed he'd be. Then again, he's older than she assumed. Which of them is the lion and which the lamb, she has trouble pinpointing at times. It's unexpected. She'd stopped looking for that, and now that she has it, it's downright intoxicating. His smooth tongue laves, tortures, never still, and she chokes on the uneven breaths he takes such smug satisfaction in drawing out of her. Stripped of inhibition by sheer irritation, she finds herself reciprocating with no thought thrown to dignity or restraint, her hands sliding boldly across any part of him she pleases. Even his visceral grunts of encouragement are faintly elegant - and arrogant. When they're writhing, railing silently against what she's taken from both of them, they're more alike than either of them would ever admit: more alike, in many respects, than she thinks anyone will ever know.

This time, when she catches her breath, it's with a sharper pang than usual. It warns her that this can't go on much longer. She's in danger of crossing a steeper line.

"Who are you?" she croaks, glancing over at him.

He never answers, unaware that she's still there as she dresses stiffly. The minor difference in their ages works in his favor because he doesn't feel the aftermath of hard surfaces on his joints - not yet. She lingers in the tiny doorway, watching him, and the purity of his concentration on the beautiful equations he works to destroy makes her mourn for the woman she used to be. Or, perhaps, for the one she should have been.

"Who are you?" she asks, but he doesn't know that she exists anymore.

The question haunts her at higher elevations. Who is he, really? For years, he's been hiding on the ship where she lives and works and breathes, invisible. What little she knows of him she hates - but then he unzips her jacket in one hard smirking slide, his thoughtful hands span the coolness of her bared flesh, and she forgets that he's the most irritating prick she's ever had the displeasure of encountering.

Sometimes she feels guilty, climbing the rungs of the Jeffries tubes in the middle of the night, her hair mussed and skin clammy from sweat and glorious sex. One deck. Two. Three. Her inner thighs burn from clamping 'round his slimly-muscled waist. Can the others smell his arrogance on her, when she leaves? She thinks they could, if she got too close. She doesn't.

She steps out of the water shower, exhausted, catching her tired reflection in the clouded mirror.

"Who are you?" she demands hoarsely of the dissociated image.

It never answers anymore, either.