Luna and Her Books

Author’s Note: So this is was prompted. After seeing this picture, I thought I wanted to share Luna’s point of view on this scene, so… I did.

Tynan’s version of the scene is “Curiosity Saves the Cat.”

Luna and Her Books

Luna was raised on books. Not just the stories within them, but the look and feel and smell of them. Her earliest memories were of the bookstore, her home, and she would always associate the smell of books with the scent of home. She had to hold onto that now.

She leaned over the shelf and closed her eyes, trying not to give in to the emotions rolling around inside of her. The diagnosis could not have been worse, and she was not sure that she could face what that meant, not now. She wanted to believe that the doctor had been wrong. The tests got switched. Someone had made a mistake somewhere.

Only when she heard her mother coughing, she knew that there was no mistake. Not by the doctors, not by whoever made the tests.

Her mother was dying.

Luna shut her eyes. She would not give in to that. She would not let this win. She could survive her mother’s death. She was strong enough for that. She was a grown woman. She had art. She could paint her way out of it.

She snorted, tempted to laugh. Her mother was the one who wanted a bookstore. Her mother was the one who had read to her when she was a child. She was the one who would go through each box of books like they were old friends. She would lift the books out, run her hands over the covers, and open them up to expose the pages to the air.

“Here, Luna, breathe it in. You can smell the adventure, can’t you?”

“The cover is hideous. Who did they pay to make that picture, and why was anyone allowed to put it on a cover? A five year old with finger paints could do better.”

“Only if that five year old was you, sweetheart,” her mother said, cupping her cheek. She smiled, handing Luna the book. “Put that with the others, will you? Oh, look. Green Eggs and Ham. You remember that one?”

“You said that was why I painted my hair the first time.”

“Well, it was green the first time. I don’t remember if it was because of that book or not, but your hair was green.” Her mother stopped, putting a hand on her side. “Not again.”

“Mom, did you even talk to the doctor about—”

“It’s nothing, Luna. Let’s put these books away.”

Luna heard the bell on the door, so she wiped her cheek before turning around to face the customer who’d come in. She couldn’t see them from here, but she knew what she was supposed to do. She’d worked in the store since she was a kid, too. She rounded the other shelf, peaking her head out. “Is there something I can help you find? Something in particular you’re looking for or would you like to browse a bit?”

“I am here to see books. That is all. The sign said books. I came inside.”

“You like books, do you?” She smiled as she walked toward the nearest shelf. She liked people who liked books. “We have a lot, as you can see. I can help you narrow down your selection, though. It can be a bit of a maze in here.”

He studied the room. “There is no maze.”

She laughed. She couldn’t help it. She needed it, and he’d just given her it with that literal mind of his. He didn’t know how funny that could be, especially when someone was desperate for a laugh. She looked at him, wondering what had brought him back into her life. “You are very literal, aren’t you? I should have known. I thought you were familiar. You’re the one that didn’t know anything about art. Do you have no knowledge of books, either?”

“I am… not from around here.”

“I gathered that much the last time. What do you want to know about books? How they’re printed? How they’re written? What they’re like to read? Will there be a moment when someone jumps out and reveals the hidden camera that follows you around as you play this prank on people?”

“I do not think that I have ever played anything. Not a game, not an instrument. Not a prank.”

“I feel sorry for you.”

He shook his head. “Your pity is unnecessary. The less I have done, the better. The stronger the curiosity, the quieter the hunger.”

She frowned, rubbing the side of her head as she did. She didn’t understand what he meant by that. Was he insane? That could be it. She should have known. She always seemed to attract the crazies. “I’m not sure you make much sense.”

“It is a question of balance. Anything can be countered. It requires an opposite of equal or greater force. My hunger is no more powerful than any other sensation I might be aware of, but I find curiosity is one of the better ones as a counterweight. As long as I travel, learning a bit here and a bit there, I can avoid consuming too much.”

She studied him, starting with his feet and going to his head. He didn’t need to lose weight. If he thought he had a hunger problem, then he might need therapy for that, too. “You don’t look like you have a problem with your weight. You really some kind of bottomless pit?”

“Black hole.”

“Oh.” Maybe he was just nuts. She didn’t care. She wasn’t scared of him or anything. She shrugged, picking up a book from the shelf. “Here. This one will give you a good idea of what makes a book—well, before the digital age, at least. Printed pages, bound together. You still see them, just like this, though not as much as you used to. Take a look.”

She tried to put the book in his hands, and he backed away. She frowned, more confused than before. He was here for books, wasn’t he?


“Excuse me,” she said, dropping the book into his hands as she rushed toward the back of the shop. She didn’t know what her mother needed this time, but she knew that she had to take care of it. She had no choice.

“Luna, your mother needs—”

“Just a second,” she called back to her father, having heard the door’s bell again. Had the weirdo wandered off with her book? She didn’t even remember what she’d handed him. She cursed, running after him. “Where are you going?”

He stopped. That was something, she supposed. She shouldn’t confront shoplifters, she knew that, but this guy was different. Weird, but not scary. She didn’t understand why he’d stolen the book, but if he didn’t have the money, then… Hell, she’d just give it to him. Her mother would approve. She wanted to give books to anyone who wanted to read them, and even after she died, Luna would do her best to honor her mother’s ideals.

“You always run off like that? Should I ask you where you hid my book or did you burn that, too?”


She rolled her eyes. “Come on. There was a hole in my canvas like you’d set the thing on fire or something. I had boyfriend in high school who was a pyromaniac. He used to set my hair on fire everyday. I’ve seen people who had it bad before, but you… you didn’t even use a lighter for that. How do you do it?”

“It… It is difficult to explain and not what you think. I tried not to take your book. I knew that would happen, but you put it in my hands, and now it is gone.”

She blinked. If that was true, then it had to suck. It could even be a lot worse. “That happen to everything you touch?”


“No wonder you know nothing about books, then,” she said. She frowned, not sure if she believed him or not. If it was true, she had to pity him. He couldn’t touch anything. “All right—I won’t call the cops for shoplifting or vandalism if you prove that you really were just trying to learn more, not destroy stuff.”

“What do you mean?”

She thought of her mother, of her childhood, and one of the few things she could do for the woman who’d raised her now. She couldn’t cure her, couldn’t stop the pain, but she could read to her. “Well, if you want to learn about books, why don’t we read one? I’ll hold it. I’ll read it. All you have to do is sit there and listen.”

“You… you would do this for me? I confess, your books make me quite curious.”

She shrugged. She wasn’t sure why she thought this was a good idea. She’d blame her current insanity on her mother’s impending death. Sure. That worked. “And I want to be sure I shouldn’t have you locked up because the pyro I used to date started burning buildings when I broke up with him, so… yeah. Come back tomorrow. I gotta close up the shop now and deal with some… stuff, but tomorrow should be okay. I mean, it won’t be—”

“I should not inconvenience you more than I already have. I have no money to pay you.”

She snorted. “If it was about money, my family wouldn’t run a secondhand book store. I’d have a career where I actually earned something instead of needing to paint lines over my crap all the time. Besides, money can’t cure everything.”

“I would not know.”

She did. She’d learned that the hard way. “Just trust me. I’ll look for you tomorrow.”

If you want to see more of Luna and Tynan, you can read more by starting with “Acceptance.”

The Need for a Hive

Author’s Note: So I decided to take a stab at a challenge. This challenge: A memory from one of your characters.

The challenge lasts ’til April 12. For more details visit in_the_blue.

Then I couldn’t pick. So Liana Mir said she wanted to see how Alvin got different/separated, and I tried. I don’t know if that worked very well.

This finds itself in the middle of No Place Like Home.

The Need for a Hive

Friend Tynan frowned too much. That much Alvin had seen ever since he joined Tynan on his journey. Tynan was quiet, too. He was strange after the hive that Alvin knew, and Alvin missed the noise. He should not miss the noise. They had been good to him. They had given him a name, a home, and a hive. He was happy. He did not understand why Friend Tynan was not. Friend Tynan had Friend Luna. Friend Tynan had hive. Friend Tynan should be happy.

“Friend Tynan?”


“Why do you not smile like Friend Luna? You are not happy to be home?”

Friend Tynan frowned again. “This is Luna’s home. Your home, I suppose, but a vortex does not have a home. We do not have… anything.”

Alvin wanted to frown himself. “You have friends.”

“Yes, I suppose I do.”

“If you have a friend, if Luna is friend, and friend is home, if friend is hive, then hive is home, and home is here. Our home. Your home. This is home.” Alvin turned to hug the bookstore, his wings flapping with happiness. “Home. Hive. Good.”

Friend Tynan did not say anything. Alvin held onto the bookstore, never wanting to lose it. He could not lose another hive. Not again. This hive, this home, it mattered. He must keep it forever. Nothing scared Alvin more than losing his hive.

The hive had stopped speaking to him. No, not him. He was not a him, he was a we. He was hive. He was not an individual. He needed the hive. No, we needed the hive. Hive was good. Hive was home. Hive was life. No life outside of hive. Life outside of hive was death.

Was he dying? Was that why the hive did not speak to him now?

“We are sleeping. Why are we not sleeping?”

He looked at the other. “The hive does not want me.”

“We are not me. We do not think of ‘me.’ We are we. We are not ‘me.’”

The other’s voice made him want to cry. He did not understand. That was not something the hive did—that was something the strange visitors to their planet did. He did not understand what was happening to him. He had been sleeping when he lost the sense of the hive. The whole planet seemed silent. He could think.

He did not want to think. He was hive. Hive did not think on their own. Hive was hive. All was hive, hive was all. He was supposed to be hive. He did not want to be other than hive. He hated not being hive.

It was too quiet.

“Hive,” he said, reaching for the other, but even when his hands were joined with the hive, he did not hear it. “Cannot hear hive. What is wrong?”

“Hive is still speaking. We have chosen not to hear it. We are foolish.”

“No. I did not choose.”

“Listen. We are saying ‘I.’ We chose. We want to be apart from the hive, so hive is apart from us. That is how it must be.”

“I want hive.”

“Then you must find a new one. You have rejected this one.”

Alvin would not reject another hive. He still did not understand how he had done it the first time, but he had found a new hive, one with Friend Luna and Friend Tynan, and this hive was better. He liked it. This was home. This was good.

He wanted to stay here forever.

Author’s Note: So… I think I found a good way to end this. Ties things up a bit, leaves enough open for later, incorporates the title a bit… All good things for endings. Here it is, then, the last entry for this one.

Complete Consumption


“That is what you are.”

Luna snorted, turning away from the sign on the store, one she’d changed to include Alvin, the “official” mascot of Blue Bug Books. She’d altered the name as well, and Tynan thought it almost suited things—other than the assumption that Alvin was a bug, which was inaccurate. He was not a bug. The world just thought he was. Luna encouraged them to think so, and whenever he tried to correct them, they laughed at him.

Apparently, Tynan was adorable when he did that. He did not understand why, but since it made Luna smile, he had stopped arguing with her about it.

“I am glad your father was willing to turn the store over to you.”

“Well, I think the delegation from the intergalactic government helped, that and having me back. I think he thought I’d died after the fire.”

Tynan sighed. “I wish you had not been forced to—”

“Shh,” she said, putting a finger over his lips. “That is the past, and we agreed that we were not going to let it spoil our future. We have our forever, and we get to spend it where we want. They may try and take it from us, but we’ll deal with that when it comes.”

He nodded. This was their home, the bookstore, and they had it to come home to whenever they roamed. Since the matron and the council wanted to be certain that he would not have any reason to wander beyond earth or to consume it, they had ensured that they had everything they needed to travel, and they had intervened with her father as well. He no longer believed Luna was insane, though Tynan would never be his favorite person no matter how many years he proved faithful to his wife.

That had not helped—having been denied their ceremony, such as it was, the man had not believed it when he heard his daughter had married the man he thought was no good for her. He did not like it, either. He expect Tynan to leave, but he would never abandon his Luna.

He reached for her hand. “What are you planning on reading today? Or am I to read? The children seem to laugh at me more than they do you.”

She smiled. “It is because you still don’t understand the straight man concept. You’re so earnest, and they just can’t help smiling like I do. It’s adorable.”

“I think I shall tire of that word.”

She laughed. “Perhaps, but you will still love me and forgive me for using it long after it has begun to annoy you.”

“Yes.” All she had to do was smile, and he would forget how annoyed he might have been. This love thing was strange that way. He did not know why it always happened like that, but he didn’t know that he wanted to know because he never wanted to stop loving her. “I think we should read more about Oz. I have enjoyed that so far, and the kids seem to like it as well.”

“We can.”

He frowned. “Is something wrong? It is not Alvin, is it? He is doing much better. He was flying again earlier, and that is an improvement.”

“Alvin is fine. You know that. No, I was just thinking we might not have a story time today. I know the kids love it, but we’re allowed days off.”

“True. Do you have somewhere you’d like to go? The museum? The library? Or would you like to do more painting, perhaps in the park? We could see a gallery show or—”

“I think I should work on my language skills again so that we can travel abroad for a while. I think we need… a honeymoon.”

“What is a honeymoon?”

She grinned. “Well, it’s something married people, usually right after their wedding, and it involves a trip, most of the time, but not always. See, sometimes all they want is to be alone together. They never leave their bedrooms. Still, for us, I thought we’d—”

“Why would they never leave their rooms?”

“Um…” She turned as red as the paint in her hair, shaking her head. “That’s… well, like kissing only a bit more involved—”

“There is more to kissing, and you did not tell me about it?”

She bit her lip. “We’re two very different species, remember? I’m not so sure it will work the same way with us, so I didn’t bring it up. I only mentioned the honeymoon thing because I know we both like to travel, and since we do, I think we should. We have so much to see and experience…”

“Yes, we do. Including this more than kissing thing. Is it kissing you other places? I think that should be interesting. I want to compare tastes and feels.”

She swallowed. “Uh…”

“I think you look very adorable like that.”

“When you’ve stunned me into incoherency, you mean? I just… Well, you’re—I know you mean what you say, and that’s what is so disconcerting. You would really do that, sit there and compare how it felt and tasted to kiss me in different places?”

“Do you think that qualifies as consumption? Is that why it bothers you?”



“I never said it bothered me,” she said, giving him a smile as she took his hand and pulled him into the store. “I don’t mind being consumed by you. I believe I signed on to do that forever, didn’t I?”

“Yes,” he agreed, though he was almost certain that she was using the word in a different way than he was. He wasn’t even sure he knew what her meaning was, but he did not care. He had forever—or close to it—to figure out what she meant, and he did believe he would enjoy every minute of it.

The End

Author’s Note: Trust Luna to turn that to her advantage, just a little.

Using the Advantage

“What is this?”

“Are you disappointed that your trap has failed?” Tynan asked the matron, shifting Alvin in his arms. As strong as Luna was, she had not been able to lift the weight of all his limbs and his wings. Tynan carried him with great care, hoping not to hurt him further as he took him back to the infirmary they had left not long before. “You were cruel in your deception, and I should take back my word to refrain from punishing you for what you will claim was the work of a rogue faction.”

The matron moved forward. “No. I gave orders. No one was supposed to go near you. I disagree with the council’s choice, but I honored their decision. You were to be gone. You were not to be interfered with, you were to be left alone until you were gone.”

“Have you seen what they did? That’s not leaving us alone. They shot Alvin, and they want me dead. They say I have to die because I’m the reason you changed your mind. If they had been smart about the way they did it, I would be dead,” Luna said, and Tynan frowned at her. She didn’t seem to see it—she was too focused on the matron. “If you were going to have us killed, you could have been upfront about it. Really. We already accepted what you were going to do. This? It wasn’t necessary.”

The matron stiffened. “I told you—I had no part in this. I should have known that the ones who volunteered were not to be trusted, I suppose, but I swear that you were to go without incident. This peace is… tenuous. I do not. You could kill us, all of us, and to me that means we should have gone ahead with the other course, but the only way to make this work is to let you go.”

“Or kill me and Alvin. Then you don’t have any reason not to go through with the execution.” Luna shook her head. “Me I almost understand—I was loud and melodramatic and worse—but Alvin? He can be a bit annoying sometimes, but he’s innocent. He never hurt anyone. He did not do anything wrong. They would have killed him anyway.”

The medic came closer, trying to balance his instinct to heal with his fear of Tynan. “If you would please set him down, I can examine him and do what I can.”

Tynan nodded, though a part of him was reluctant to leave Alvin in the hands of these people. “He should not have been harmed.”

“I may be able to help him. I do not know. Please, do not be offended.”

“I have no desire to harm you,” Tynan told him, and the medic went to work, looking at the wound on Alvin’s back. The edges seemed cauterized, but he did not know if that was good or not. He did not have enough knowledge of Alvin’s species to be sure.

“What will it take to assure you that these actions were not taken with any official sanction?”

Tynan frowned. Luna folded her arms over her chest. “We get to pick the planet of exile.”


“Earth,” Luna said, facing the matron. “It’s backward according to you, undeveloped, but it’s my home. It’s a world where Tynan, Alvin, and I have lived in peace for long enough to know that it is not under any threat from him. He’s even considered a hero there. That place is where I have my books and my family, where there is enough to keep Tynan’s curiosity satisfied, and there are so many things that he could see and learn yet. It’s ideal for him, even if you don’t see it that way.”

“There are six billion people there.”

“I think it’s more than that by now.”

“All of those people could die.”

“They won’t. I have no desire to kill them, and I harmed no one on that planet in all the time that I spent there. Yes, I broke your rules, but it was a good place for me—that cannot be denied. Not only did it have much to keep me intrigued, but it is also where I met Luna, and she is the best thing I have ever found.”

The matron folded her arms behind her back. “While they treat your companion, I will speak to the council about your new request. We will see what accommodations can be made.”

Author’s Note: So… I’m still not comfortable writing action sequences, but Luna did get to be the heroine for a change.

In Defense

“Tynan,” Luna said, glancing over her shoulder at the guard approaching her. She swallowed, not liking the idea of facing off with a trained gunman, cursing the matron again for lying to them. They’d been set up, hadn’t they? They’d thought that they were free, but they weren’t. This was that woman’s plan all along.

“Luna, I don’t know how—”

“Do it by the numbers. There’s more over there than there is behind us, so you take them, and I’ll deal with him.”

“You are—”

“Just do it, Tynan. I’ll be all right. I didn’t live in a city all my life and learn nothing about protecting myself. I had a boyfriend who lit my hair on fire, and I’ve done crazy things in my time. One gunman doesn’t scare me.” Luna knew she was lying, since she was unarmed and if the guy did fire at her, all she could hope to do was duck, but she had a feeling that they didn’t want to shoot her, not right away. She’d have to suffer, have to die in front of Tynan, that’s what they wanted, and if all they did was shoot her while he was distracted, they wouldn’t have the satisfaction from it that they wanted, that they needed. The guard would try and grab her. She was almost certain of that.

She knew that Tynan was capable of handling the rest of them. He was a black hole, after all. If he wanted to, all he had to do was reach out, and they’d be dead. She knew he wouldn’t do that, though. He was not a killer. He’d find some way of disabling them that would leave them alive.

Her attacker, he might not be so lucky, not if she had to turn his weapon against him—if she could turn it against him. She just hoped that she could do this. She took a deep breath, watching the guard come closer. His eyes left her, jerking to the front where something had just crashed—something Tynan had touched, no doubt.

She knew that was her chance. She moved, leaping forward to knock herself into him, trying to force the weapon from his hand as she smacked him into the ground. He cursed her—she assumed that was what that word was—his breath hot and putrid near her face, but she didn’t stop.

Okay, so she’d only done this once before, when the pyro had gotten out of control and she had to steal his lighter, but she thought she had the guard where she wanted him. She pried his fingers off the gun and pointed it at his head. “You underestimated the human, didn’t you?”

He spat at her, and she looked down at the gun. “Does this have a stun, or will it just kill you? That would be good to know. I wouldn’t necessarily want to shoot you and kill you…”

“You’re gonna die. You and the monster.”

She laughed. “You know what? You’re the monster here, so…”

He frowned, and she knew she had him. He was afraid. She backed away from him, keeping the gun pointed at him as she returned to Alvin’s side. She needed to make sure that he was safe, that he was still alive.

“The others will not be harming anyone. Not for some time. I am not sure how they will be freed from that structure, and I hope that its… collapse was not too painful for them, but they should live,” Tynan said, and she frowned as she looked behind her. She’d been so focused on the guard that while she’d heard the crash and everything, she hadn’t expected that. He’d taken a column supporting the ceiling and turned it into a sort of prison, dropping it and part of the roof onto them.


Tynan sat down beside her. “I do not feel good. That was more difficult than I expected. Starting the hunger, stopping the hunger, trying not to consume too much or let the wreckage fall with too much momentum… It was not easy.”

“It was worth it,” she told him, leaning over to kiss his cheek. “I managed to get him because you distracted him, so I have a gun now. We won. Yay.”

“I am not certain that is an appropriate response. If that was an ambush prepared, not by rogues but by the government, they have already reneged on their agreement, and we will not be free.”

Luna sighed. “I don’t know what it was. I know one thing, though. We’re going to get Alvin somewhere that he can get treatment.”

Author’s Note: So… It wasn’t entirely my idea, but it seemed to fit in more ways than one. I didn’t think that Luna’s words would end everything and make it so everyone was happy, and so this felt more realistic.

Ceremonies and Ambushes

“You have another demand?”

“It is not a demand. It is a request,” Tynan said, not liking the matron’s reaction. “I fail to see why wanting to respect a custom that is a part of Luna’s culture is a problem. Her father said I was denying her it, but I am not. My intentions are honorable.”

Luna laughed, and he frowned at her. She shook her head, waving it off, and the matron now frowned at her. “You wouldn’t understand. It’s an old cliché on Earth, and I’m not going to go into it. You’re not really going to object to us getting married, are you? I know it can be a production, and I don’t know what your customs are like, but it can be very simple, too. All we need is the right civil authority to officiate, we exchange vows, and it’s done.”

“Yes, and the vows are ones we have already made, you see,” Tynan said. “I have pledged to stay with her, and she with me, and that is, as I understand it, the basic tenant of the bond. I know there is more, but I am not as familiar with it as Luna would be.”

“It’s also about loving, honoring, and…” She coughed, seeming to choke on the last one. “Obeying.”

“Well, that also is easy, for when one loves, one honors, yes? Or is honored?”

“Both, Tynan.”

“Ah, I see. Yes. That. Now, obeying, is that about me or you? No, both of us, yes. I listen to you, and you listen to me, and we will be happy as we were before. Well, different, but similar, yes? I think so. That is what I hope, at least,” he told her, and she smiled at him, touching his cheek.

The matron folded her hands together. “If that is the ceremony you require, consider it done. Now, we have arranged a transport for you—well, for the human and the other since I know your kind does not require a vehicle, vortex—and it is waiting at the docks.”

“I think she’s trying to get rid of us.”

“Friend Matron is tired. Friend Matron has been very, very busy all day long. No, more than one day. Was longer. Many days. Confusing. We are confused, but Friend Matron has explained that too long has passed several times. She was impatient.”

Luna started giggling, and the matron glared at Alvin. Tynan supposed that the woman must regret having taken him on when the doctors said that he could not be in the room when they worked on Luna, since Alvin could be quite tiresome. Even Luna lost patience with him, and she was very kind to everyone.

“As long as we have what we need and you are not exiling us somewhere where Luna and Alvin will not survive, we are willing to depart,” Tynan said. “In fact, we are perhaps more impatient than you are.”

The matron nodded. “I have arranged for an escort to take you to the ship. There are not many. Some still disagree with the course of the council.”

“I understand. I reserve the right to leave the place you have chosen if your government follows us there and attempts to harm anyone. If you fail to uphold your part of the bargain, so will I. I will stay in one place only as long as Luna and Alvin are safe.”

“Agreed. However, if a rogue faction makes such an attempt—”

“That is different. I cannot hold your government responsible for the actions of a few. It is not the standard that you applied to me, but I am not like you,” Tynan told her. He reached for Luna’s hand. “Let us go. I would like to resume our life together.”

“It’s kind of a new one. A new chapter, at least.”

“Oh. We shall not have your books, Luna. I will miss that.”

“Me, too, but we can make up stories, I guess. Just as long as we’re together, that’s what’s important.”

He nodded, leaning over to kiss her cheek. Hmm. Now that was different. He would have to compare the feel and taste of anywhere he might kiss her. That should be very interesting indeed. He could spend much time indulging his curiosity about her, which would never fade.

The matron motioned for the guards to move, and Tynan followed them. He was aware of the looks that they kept giving him, but with Luna’s hand in his, he did not care. They were almost out of here, off whatever world or complex they were on, and they would be free again. Luna was happier when she was free, and so was he.

The halls were clear as they walked through them, and Tynan knew that it was because he was still feared. They didn’t trust him, and no one wanted to be close in case he did decide to use abilities here. He did not want to, and he did not think he would, but he did not like knowing that they were all hiding, either. He did not want to think about it.

“Will you miss your father?”

“A bit. Well, maybe a lot. I don’t know. I alternate between being so angry with him and remembering that before my mom got sick, he was different. He wasn’t so determined to lock me away. I know a part of him was just trying to keep me safe, but I didn’t like it.”

“I hated it. You were not yourself then.”

“Now you’re stuck with me forever. Well, for a very, very long time. Oh, you know what? You’ve got to be the first of your kind to be married.”

“I suppose I am. How curious.”

She giggled. Alvin flew around in front of them. “Marriage is part of hive?”

“Not exactly, Alvin, but don’t worry. Even though we’re married now, I think, we’re still part of your hive.”

“Good,” he said, and he smiled right before the shot made him fall. Luna let go, moving toward him, dropping to her knees beside him as she tried to look at his back.

Tynan looked behind him. Their escort had fled, at least the ones that had made up the rear of their party. He, Luna, and Alvin were alone with the ones that had turned on Alvin. He looked down at their friend, unsure of the severity of the wound. “Luna?”

“I think it’s bad. He’s not talking, and you know Alvin, he always talks.”

“He is nothing. Grab the girl,” the guard ordered, and Tynan saw the one that had tortured him back behind the others. So he was in charge. That explained a lot, didn’t it? He must have convinced some of his “friends” to join the escort team and used the opportunity to ambush them.

“Stay away from us,” Tynan warned, knowing that he could not let Luna be taken by them.

“What? I thought you were all peace loving. That means you won’t hurt anyone. You can be trusted.” the guard sneered, moving past the others. Luna glared at him, and Tynan knew that she would not leave Alvin, not after what they had done to him. “I guess my friends are cowards, but I’m not. I’ll deal with both of these traitors, and then it’ll be your turn, monster.”

Luna shook her head. “You don’t want to do this. If you come any closer, then not only will I teach you what I learned living in the city, but you’re going to get Tynan angry, and you don’t want to do that. He’s already made it clear that he will defend me.”

The guard’s companions joined him. “That thing has to die. If that means taking care of you first, don’t think we won’t, human. You’re a stupid little fool, but we know better.”

Tynan moved, shifting in front of them and making the guards back up a step. “You’ve forgotten that I can bend space and time. I can be upon you in an instant. You could be dead in that same instant. Shoot me if you want. It will not matter.”

“That’s why the girl has to die. The only reason you went free was her, and without her, you’ll be executed.”

That was true, and he knew, without looking behind him, that the guards he’d thought had fled had returned—at least one of them—and now Luna was in danger from both sides. If he went back, they’d attack from the front, but if he did not, then she was vulnerable the other way, and he did not know how to protect her.

Author’s Note: So it was just supposed to be a bit on how they might be dealing with the issue raised at the end of the last part, but um… it didn’t stay that way.

A Respite


“Oh, if we were ever allowed back on Earth, I’d join one of those campaigns against animal testing,” she said, not wanting to move. “I know how it feels to be a lab rat now, and I don’t like it. I’m not sure what they did to me, but I don’t feel good.”

Tynan took her hand. “I have been assured that no harm would come to you, since they fear my repercussion—they are nervous enough, but I think they are terrified of what I might do to them if you are hurt, and as they have been unable to cage me again—they cannot because if they did, they’d kill you or Alvin with their machines and furthermore, I refused to leave your side no matter what they were doing to you. I cannot risk losing you. They see you as leverage, I suppose, but if anything were to happen to you…”

“You’d give up and let them kill you.” Luna let out a breath and tried to force herself to move. The whole process to lengthen her lifespan had been a bit of a blur, with one weird alien device poking or prodding her for a moment before the really bizarre drugs took over. She was not sure all of what had happened, and she didn’t want to know. She should, she supposed, but she didn’t think she would understand all the science, for one thing, and for another, she wasn’t sure she could handle what they might have done—would they have spliced her DNA with another species? Was she even close to human anymore?

She wasn’t sure she cared as long as they weren’t lying about her being able to stay with Tynan. She didn’t know if that made her stupid or desperate or just overly romantic. She’d never thought she’d love anyone, not after Dennis and all the ones before him, and so this thing with Tynan was not only unexpected, it was stronger than she’d thought was possible.

She was willing to die for him and with him, and she’d offered herself up as some kind of… peace treaty between him and then. She’d keep him from destroying anything, and they wouldn’t have to fear him. Of course, she thought the whole thing was so thin, a truce that would be broken by their side at any moment—she knew Tynan would not change his mind about hurting them, not even to defend himself, but they were still afraid of him. They’d act on that fear sooner or later.

“What is it? Are you hurting? Did they do something that has—”

“I am just worried that even with this, even with them doing what they can to extend my lifespan that they won’t leave you alone. They’ll come for you and hurt you again.”

He nodded. “I believe you may be correct in thinking so, but we have been given a chance that neither of us thought we had, and that opportunity cannot be ignored. What we will do, then, is use what time we have. It will not be forever no matter how long it lasts, but I am happy when I am with you. You said we could create things and memories, and that is worth doing. I… I found my memories of you sustained me while I was their prisoner. They let me face my fate. I had only one regret—that I had not been able to say goodbye or to apologize—”

“I don’t ever want you saying goodbye. That’s part of our deal, remember? We’re stuck together for the rest of our lives.”


“You’re smiling.”

“I like the idea of spending my time with you. I have told you this before. Whatever time we have, we must use it.”

“That mean you’re going to kiss me?”

He grinned. “Do you know you have a taste? I am not sure what it is like because I have never tasted anything before, but I like the way you taste.”

She smiled as he touched her face. This almost seemed impossible. She should be back in the book shop, dreaming away, heavily medicated because she’d gone completely nuts when her mother died. She was in love with a black hole, he loved her back, and he could touch her without consuming her. Yeah, almost too good to be true.

Then there was the whole thing with everyone wanting him dead, and it wasn’t good at all.

“You stopped smiling.”

“I was thinking again, and I’m trying not to be so negative, but when I consider our situation, I can’t help it. I’m worried.”

“So am I.” He moved his fingers across her cheek. “You feel the same, I think, but I don’t know. I need more, need to keep testing and see if I am right about that. I also have to wonder if you still taste the same…”

“You don’t have to wonder.” She laughed when he frowned. “You’re being silly. You can know. All you have to do is kiss me and find out.”

“Oh. Yes. I like that idea. We must test many of these things.”


Tynan leaned into kiss her and then stopped. “I had forgotten—your father spoke to me of human customs and what he thought I was not allowing you to have. Children. Marriage. I know that I cannot change the state of us as regards progeny, since I doubt there is any way our species could be made compatible in that sense, but I… I think I can give you the other part. It is a pledge to spend the rest of our lives together, yes? That is what you humans do? We have already done this, though without any formal ceremony, but if we should have one—”

“You are so adorable,” she said, smiling. “I love you. And since I think you just proposed to me, yes, I’ll marry you.”

Author’s Note: So… I was told I couldn’t just say, “They all died. The End.”

Not sure this is any better, though.

In Truth, a Stalemate

“We are scared.”

“Yes, Alvin, we are,” Luna said, turning toward him, and Tynan had to nod as well. He didn’t know what they would do—he wanted to tell them not to hurt Luna or Alvin, but they had both chosen to stand beside him at his execution, to share his same fate. He did not know why they would pick that. She had so much to offer the world, and Alvin—well, Alvin must be acting too much like a hive. That was the only explanation for it.

“We are not alone.”

“No, not alone, either.”

Tynan grimaced, looking around the room. The guards seemed to be getting bolder. Perhaps they thought the matron and the others might change their minds about executing him—he did not believe it himself—but they feared him so much that they would do anything to force him back into the cage.

He moved so that he might shield Luna and Alvin as the one he’d called the Ignorant Prejudiced Lower Lifeform approached, no doubt with much violence his intention. He had always kept the levels of their pain machine higher than the other guards, and he would hurt the others.

“Stay back. The fate has been set, yes, but you will not harm them. I won’t let you.”


“I know they mean to force me back in my cage that they might feel safe. I do not necessarily object to that—well, I do, but I am not wanting to fight—but I will not let him hurt you, and he would. He is ignorant and prejudiced and enjoys seeing me in pain. I cannot allow that to be your fate.”

“I already chose the same one as yours, remember?”

“Yes, but you do not have to suffer as he would make you suffer before you died. No. That will not happen. If he comes near us, I will defend you somehow. I do not want to kill him, but if perhaps I touched the floor for just a moment, made a barrier between him and us, that might be enough. He would not cross that, would he?”

Luna bit her lip. “I don’t know, but if you do, they’ll freak out and then they’ll hurt you when you turn the hunger back on yourself. I know you don’t have to with me, and apparently not with Alvin, but I don’t think you love the floor.”

He frowned. “Um, no, I have no particular regard for it.”

The guard should have heard them, but he continued to advance, and Tynan knelt, placing a hand over the floor and allowing the hunger to take a small gap before he turned it back on himself. He huddled against himself, hating the pain but needing Luna safe. He wanted to get her far from here, where she could have a long life—for a human—and give that radiance of hers to the people around her. He felt her arms around him.

“Oh, Tynan.”

“Had to.”

“You’re going to die for this, monster.”

“He’s not a monster—”

“Enough,” the matron called, leaving the upper level and descending toward them, her posture stiff and her displeasure evident. She stopped in front of them, her gaze cold as she looked from Luna to Alvin to Tynan. “The court is no longer in agreement.”

“Wait, does that mean that you’re not sure you’re going to kill us?”

She folded her arms together. “It is against most of their wishes to kill the lesser lifeforms that have joined with you, vortex. They can be excused for their lack of… understanding. They could be pardoned.”

“The hell with you, lady. I don’t want a pardon unless it’s for Tynan, damn it. He didn’t do anything to you. Yes, he told me he ate a solar system once, but that was an accident, and he actually saved you from it being worse because he killed the other one who started the whole thing, so while he’s not—he’s not perfect, but show me one person in this room that is.”

“Luna, please, there is no point in—”

“There has to be. They’ve got doubts. Even if it’s just a doubt about killing me and Alvin, it’s something. We have to use it. We have to hold onto it.”

The matron regarded them. “Some suggest trying the solution you have offered. This is foolishness, of course. You cannot be trusted.”

“I swear, if I were ever to break the imposed rules, you could kill me, but even if you only gave me a few more weeks—a few more days—to spend with Luna and to learn and to love… I would be grateful, and I would not fight. You have seen—I can. I chose not to do anything that would harm that man, not to do anything that would kill all of you. I could have. I don’t want to. Please.”

“You must be heartless,” Luna said. “You won’t even listen when someone begs, and when you have a being as powerful as Tynan is, a person capable of destroying all of us in an instant begging you for mercy, you don’t even understand what you have. If he was different, you couldn’t kill him. You’d already be dead. He’s letting you have that power, and he doesn’t have to.”

He reached for Luna’s hand. “I am not a monster. Not a killer. I will not harm them. Do not ask me to, not even to save us.”

“I won’t.”

The matron let out a breath, shaking her head. “If you have such power—”

“Do not think that I don’t—”

“—then perhaps there is no reason for this discussion. We cannot hold you. We cannot execute you. That is the truth, is it not?”

Tynan frowned. “You have technology—”

“That you could destroy.”

He looked at Luna and then at the matron. “Are you saying that you will let me go? Even knowing that I would not use my abilities against you? That I have been and would be submissive?”

“You cannot control chaos. That is what you are, is it not? I will never trust you, nor do I believe you are no threat, but I believe we find ourselves at a stalemate, don’t we? You will not allow any harm to come to those with you, and we cannot deal with you without also dispensing with them. That means that we can only hope that you will honor the bargain you have offered.”

Tynan put his hand on Luna’s shoulder. “All I want is Luna and Alvin safe. Well, no, I want forever with Luna and to learn new things, see new places, but even if I never went anywhere but where Luna was, I would gladly stay there.”

“Then we must see what can be done about the unfortunate fact that she is human.”

Author’s Note: Luna was not going to be silent, no matter what she was doing before. 😉

The Lunar Soapbox

“You are human.”

Luna grimaced, stepping back from Tynan and then putting herself in front of him, not sure if her species’ status as “undeveloped” would make it so that she could protect him or not. Would they hurt her to get to him? Maybe. Maybe not. She had to hope for the not. “Yes, I am. Is that a problem?”

“You are… unadvanced.”

She snorted, looking over at the alien who approached her. Humanoid, with a slight green tint to her skin—the robe was what made Luna think that she was female, though she really had no way of knowing—she was someone important, wasn’t she? “I’d say the same about you, lady.”

“Would you now? Why is that?”

“Because you’re refusing to see what’s right in front of your face. Look at Tynan. He’s not what you think he is. I know his kind scares you, and I’m sure you have good reason for that. He can destroy in an instant, but that doesn’t mean that he wants to. He doesn’t. He has tried so hard to control what he can do, and he’s been so careful and takes that pain on himself to spare others. He’s noble, damn it, and you want to kill him because you’re stupid, ignorant, and fearful. You are not advanced. Advanced species don’t need to kill out of pure fear. That’s not enlightenment, is it? This farce of a trial gives you a way to pretend that you are, and you pretend that you’re civilized, but you’re not. You’re acting out of a basic instinct and fooling yourself. If your mind was open, if it was stronger and smarter than your fear, you would listen to him. To me. You’d know what you’re doing here is wrong. You’d know you shouldn’t go through with it. You will, though, because you’re not willing to change.”

The alien woman folded her hands behind her back. “Yes, you echo him, don’t you? How much of that did he tell you to say?”

“Tynan has never put words in my mouth, but I have to wonder who holds your puppet strings, lady. Or do you like being the fool in front of everyone? Is that it?” Luna stepped forward, getting into the alien’s face. “Understand this: humans may be young. They may be ignorant by your standards. They may need ‘development’ and quarantine, but I can guarantee you that we are all damn opinionated, and you won’t stop that from going on. I know my own mind. I always have. Even when my father thought I was crazy, I knew what I thought. Can you say that much for yourself?”

“Luna, it is not going to change things if you continue to yell at the matron,” Tynan said, putting his hands on her shoulders. “She is not here to listen. None of them are. I think it best we return to the idea of enjoying our last moments.”

She shook her head. “I can’t let that be all there is. I could say more, but if I didn’t say anything…”

“I know.”

“I am not going back on medication,” Luna told the matron, folding her arms over her chest. “I don’t want to go back to Earth. I don’t want to stay with your lot, either. If you’re going to execute Tynan, then you will execute me as well.”

“No! Friend Luna! Friend Tynan! No can die! No!”

She smiled when she heard Alvin, seeing him break free of the guards at last. He flew over and got in the matron’s face. “You cannot kill my hive. Tynan is hive. Luna is hive. If my hive is to die, then I must die, too. I hate you for this.”

The matron frowned. “You are not a part of that hive, and why are you speaking of yourself as—”

“I am different, too. I am not like hive. Must I die for that? We do not like your ideas. You are cruel. We do not like you.”

“Well said, Alvin.”

He smiled at Luna, coming over beside her. He put an arm around her and with the other reached for Tynan. “See? We are not harmed by vortex. You are liars. You say he can only kill. Not true. You lie. Tynan is hero. We know this.”

Luna saw a flicker of something in the matron’s eyes, and she didn’t know what it was, but she hoped it was doubt. “Why can’t you exile him to some remote part of space? Do it to all of us. Tynan only needs me to keep his hunger in check, he said so, and as long as I’m alive, you’d all be safe.”

“That would be a problem, though, human. Your species has an incredibly short life span. He would be a threat again.”

“You have advanced technology,” Tynan said. “I know it is against your policies to use it on ‘lesser species,’ but you could extend Luna’s life by a significant amount. Do not deny that.”

“Friend Luna can live forever!”

“Not quite, Alvin, but perhaps close.”

The matron looked at Luna, studying her face. “You would do this? You would take a long life and spend it with… with a vortex? You would keep this… thing from destroying worlds?”

“Tynan’s not a thing, he’s a person—sort of—and yes, I would. I’d spend forever with him.”

“I see,” the matron said, and she turned and walked away. Luna frowned, looking at Tynan and Alvin, but neither of them could explain the woman’s behavior, either. She sighed. She’d given it her best shot, and she’d agreed, but she doubted anything she had said would matter now.

It was too late, wasn’t it?

Tynan put a hand on her cheek, and Luna closed her eyes as he kissed her again, trying to hold onto that and telling herself that they did not get to see her cry. Tears wouldn’t make any difference here, and she wasn’t going to give them that kind of satisfaction.

Author’s Note: Um… So, yes, I’m backdating this so it’s where it’s supposed to be. Apparently, I somehow missed posting it, but it goes before The Lunar Soapbox.

First Touch, First Taste

Tynan could not stop with the touching. After so long being unable to touch anything at all, having something—someone—there that he could touch, he could not help where his hands went. He’d held onto hers for a while, learning the lines of her palms and memorizing the feel of her skin, rougher on the hands than it was on her cheek—he liked her cheeks, the surface was soft and smooth and made him want to spend all of his time running his fingers—the facsimile of them, at least—over her face, along the lines of the bones underneath—humans were such a strange species.

He knew of plenty of species with exoskeletons, but humans kept theirs underneath the skin—he thought he liked that, though he’d have to see if he could touch Alvin and compare it—no, no, he would not have time. They were going to kill him. They were just waiting for the device that had allowed them to subdue him before they put him in the cage. They would use that on him, and it would all be over. He would be dead.

He turned to the matron, seeking her out in the room. “You will not harm Luna, will you?”

“Tynan, what are you doing?” Luna put a hand on his arm, shaking her head. “Don’t bargain with them to save me. They’ll kill you no matter what, and that’s not… It’s not right. I won’t let you—”

“I will die regardless, since they fear my kind so much, but you and Alvin should not be harmed for what I have done,” he said, placing both hands on her cheeks. He frowned as he thought about another human custom, but this was not the time or the place. He didn’t know that he could, and it was a bad idea. Why was it distracting him now, of all times?”

“What if… what if they exiled you to some uninhabited part of space? Somewhere where you couldn’t hurt anyone? If they did that, they wouldn’t have to kill you.”

“The hunger can be limitless.”

“Not for you. You can control it. If they sent me with you, you wouldn’t have to use it at all. You don’t when you’re around me. You know that, and I know that, and they can see for themselves. You’re touching me, and it’s not killing me. It feels good.”

He leaned his head against hers. “I am glad you think so. It feels good to me, too, and now look, you are smiling again. I love that smile, but I think I already said so.”

She nodded. “You did. You know, I’m pretty sure I’m not right about this, because I’ve been mistaken before, and your face is just a facsimile, but I’d… um… swear you were about to—Never mind. That’s stupid. It’s not important. We have to get you out of here.”

“I could leave at any time.”


“I am a child of the vortex. We consume. I could eat my way free of this place in no time at all, but I do not know what I would destroy in the process, so I have not.”

“You’d rather let them kill you?”

“My life is not worth the innocent ones I’d take with me.”

“It is to me. I wish you’d run. Oh, I do. I know you won’t because you’re honorable and good, but I also don’t want them to kill you, so I want you to run. I want you to have your incredibly long life with all your curiosity and the things you can see and experience and learn and love…” She sighed. “Even if I never saw you again, I’d want you to go because it would have to be better than letting their hate and ignorance kill you.”

“You are special,” he told her. She managed a slight smile, and he brushed his hand against her cheek again. “I have always seen this, but it seems even clearer to me now.”

“So are you. You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met, and I’m not just saying that because you’re a black hole.”

He laughed, and then he decided that his curiosity was too much to resist. So many things he’d like to learn about touching, but he had a feeling some of them were quite inappropriate even without an audience, but this he had seen in public before, and he wanted to know want it was like. He knew it was a human practice, but Luna was human, so it fit, didn’t it?

He leaned forward, sure he must be doing this wrong even as he tried to meet her lips with his, and he was almost certain of it when he realized he was tasting for the first time. Before, when he consumed things, he was not even aware of what they were. They passed by too quickly for him to register anything unique about them. Luna, though, he could feel her lips soft but not like her skin, a bit moist, a bit tender, and he did not know how to describe the taste except that he wanted more.

He broke away, stepping back. The hunger. That was the hunger. He could have hurt Luna, and he would never let that happen.


He forced himself to look at her. “Did… Did I hurt you?”

She shook her head, a radiant smile on her face. “Oh, no. Not at all. I know that had to be the first time you’ve ever kissed someone, but you’re good at it. It’s like those clichés about drowning and being on fire—oh, here’s a good one—being consumed—but it didn’t hurt. I could do that with you forever.”

With that smile, he was tempted to kiss her again. He shouldn’t. Yet… if they planned to kill him, what better thing was there for him to do? He could enjoy his final moments, or he could try and run. He didn’t have many options, not now. “Luna, are you sure that I didn’t—”

“I may have just become the cliché girl in the vampire story who decides that she’s willing to let him feed on her for eternity or maybe I always kind of was, but I want you to kiss me again. I want so much more than what we’ve had, and we won’t get it, but… if we don’t get forever, we get as much as we can squeeze into the next few minutes, right?”

He nodded. That sounded rather wise. “Yes.”

She grinned and kissed him this time.