Comfort and Joy

by Lady J

Prologue: Alma Rose's Bed and Breakfast - Mobile, Alabama

Vanessa Damphousse woke to the sound of seabirds outside her window...and a warm body curved around her own. She smiled then, remembering the night before and rolled over to brush her lips lightly on those of her companion.

"Wake up, sleepyhead," she said softly.

Shane Vansen popped one eye open and then the other. She buried her face against Vanessa's shoulder, inhaling the other woman's scent. Lifting her head, she kissed Vanessa back, savoring the rush of warmth and affection she felt from her friend.

"Happy Birthday, "Phousse."

Vanessa snuggled closer, easing one leg over Shane's hip until they were tight together. "Thanks." She stroked her fingers over Shane's jaw, loving the feel of it. Shane grabbed her hand and kissed the palm.

"Feeling frisky, Captain Vansen?" Vanessa asked saucily.

Shane grinned, "And what if I am, Lieutenant?"

She bit the fleshy part of Vanessa's hand lightly. Her lover's indrawn breath was all the incentive she needed; she rolled Vanessa over on her back and eased a knee between her legs. Bracing herself on her elbows, Shane leaned in for another kiss, easing her tongue inside of Vanessa's welcoming mouth.

"You know," Vanessa began breathlessly, breaking off the kiss "we should get some breakfast."

"Uh, huh." Shane began a lazy exploration of Vanessa's shoulder with her lips and tongue. Vanessa tipped her head back and Shane ran a light trail of kisses up the side of her neck. "We could order in," Shane whispered and nipped Vanessa's earlobe playfully. Vanessa groaned and ran her hands over Shane's body, pulling her closer.

"We'll order in...."

Six months before...

U.S.S. Saratoga

Lt. Col. T.C. McQueen looked at the two Marines who stood before him in amazement. He knew his kids could have hair trigger temper but this was ridiculous.

Captain Shane Vansen was sporting a beauty of a black eye. Her normally well groomed mane of chestnut hair was disheveled as was her clothing. Lieutenant Vanessa Damphousse had a split lip and a bloody nose as well as scratches up and down her arms. The two young women stood ramrod straight in front of his desk. McQueen sat back in his chair and folded his hands in his lap.


Shane looked at him quickly before answering. Not good: McQueen's blue eyes had taken on that tell tale icy cast. He was angry; no, upgrade it to highly pissed.

"Sir, some of the members of the 66th decided to make some undignified comments regarding our...private parts."

McQueen sighed. "Captain, that's hardly any reason to pick a fight with a whole squadron."

"Sir," Damphousse broke in, "they were angry because Shane and I turned down a couple of their boys."

"It says here," McQueen said as he looked over the report, "that the two of you were doing your level best to inflict maximum damage." He looked up in time to see small smiles playing on the lips of the women.

Immediately he was out of his seat. "Lock it up, ladies!" They came to attention and he walked around them. "I think that you two need to learn the value of thinking before you strike."

McQueen sat back down at his desk and leaned on it. "In fact, a few days confined to quarters should do you both some good."

"What?" "Confined to quarters?" Both women lost all sense of reason and stared indignantly at their CO.

"It's either your quarters or the brig."

McQueen closed the folder and pushed it to the side. "West and Hawkes will be reassigned temporarily until your time is up."

"Uh, sir?"


She swallowed quickly, "How long are we confined to quarters?"

"A week."

"A week?" Shane's voice rose an octave and Vanessa discreetly kicked her. Shane settled down and grumbled. "Sir, yes, sir. A week will be fine."

"Good," McQueen stood up again, "because if I ever hear that the two of you are brawling in the Tun again, you'll be stuck in the brig until you're 80. Is that clear?"

"Sir, yes, sir!!!"

"Get the hell out of here."


As the walked down the hall behind their escorts (two very beefy Security guards), Vanessa started to giggle.

"What's so funny, 'Phousse?"

"I was just remembering Bennett's face when you grabbed his balls and started to squeeze."

Shane snorted, "Damn, I thought he was going to faint." She touched her tender eye. "Shouldn't have called me 'Iron Bitch'"

"I thought he called you 'Iron Tits'." Vanessa sidestepped the light punch Shane threw at her. "Sorry, sorry. I couldn't help it." She tried to stifle another giggle and as she failed, Shane giggled as well. One of the guards looked back and they stopped.

"You know, I didn't realize you were such a scrapper." Shane said. "You just jumped on that guy and would let go."

"Well, when you grow up shorter than most of the people in your family, you learn to use what you got." Vanessa said easily.

"Did you really bite him on the ear?"


"Damn, remind me not to piss you off."

"I only bite when I have a reason," Vanessa said.

"Besides fighting, when else?"

Vanessa smiled slowly, "When you least expect it."

U.S.S. Saratoga: Quarters of the 58th Squadron

After a few days, the women began to get used to being confined. Their meals were brought to them which prompted Shane to remark that was better service than she ever had in any hotel.

Since they weren't in the brig, McQueen gave them work to do, from navigation problems to strategic exercise so that their time wasn't wasted. McQueen was more succinct, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop."

One night, Shane asked,"Do you ever think about him, 'Phousse?"

Vanessa looked up from the book she was reading.



She closed the book and looked at Shane who lay on her own bunk across the room. "Sometimes. Why do you ask?"

Shane picked at the blanket beneath her absently. "Just curious." She turned on her side to face Vanessa. "I mean, you guys were just getting started when he died."

Vanessa dropped down from her bunk and came over to Shane's. "Scoot over, girl." Shane did so and Vanessa sat down. She pulled her legs to her chest, resting her chin on her knees.

"The night Paul kissed me," she began thoughtfully, "I was kind of shocked."


Vanessa shrugged, "I guess, I just never knew he thought about me that way before. My ex back on Earth had already broken up with me so that was over," her lips quirked in a wry smile, "and I will admit that my ego was definitely bruised. "

"Whose wouldn't be?" Shane said with a grimace.

"Anyway, having Paul pay attention to me was nice but I don't know if it would have gone anywhere." Vanessa sighed. "It was too soon. But maybe later it would have been okay."

She looked down at where Shane was picking at the blanket. A small pile of fuzz was gathering.

"Something on your mind, Shane?"

For a minute, Vanessa thought Shane would say nothing, then, "I was just thinking about those guys in the Tun."

"Those assholes?" Vanessa snorted, "please, they're lucky if they get it on a good day, much less from you or me."

Shane kept up with the blanket until Vanessa finally stilled her hand with her own. "Enough with the picking, Vansen."


Shane looked down where Vanessa's hand rested on her own; noticed the contrast of their skin tones, the darkness against the light. Vanessa's hand was only slightly smaller than her own yet it was warm, familiar.

"I don't know, 'Phousse," Shane began quietly, "I didn't think what they said would bother me. It's not like I'm saving myself for Mr. or Ms. Right."


Shane looked at Vanessa, who was looking quite interested at that point. "Yeah, Ms."

Vanessa sat quiet for a minute, thinking. Shane started to pull her hand away but Vanessa stopped her. "You never let on..."

"That I've slept with a woman?" Shane moved to sit up and Vanessa let go of her hand. "Trust me, I don't go shouting it from the rooftops." She shook her head. "I'm pretty private, you know that. Besides, I only did it once."

"Did you enjoy yourself?"

"Yeah, I did." Suddenly, Shane realized what Vanessa asked her. "You're not freaked by this?"

Vanessa laughed. "No, Shane. Contrary to popular belief, I've been around a bit more than I let on."

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah, really."

"No way."

Vanessa sighed in exasperation, "What do you want, signed documentation that says I've done the horizontal bop with someone of the same genital persuasion?"

Shane folded her arms across her chest and said defiantly, "How about a kiss?"

"A kiss?"

Vanessa crawled from the foot of the bed and straddled Shane's hips. Leaning forward, she balanced herself on her hands and whispered, "Are you sure that's all you want, Shane?"

Shane reached up and grabbed Vanessa's dog tags to pull her closer. "I'll think of something else," she said hoarsely and met Vanessa's mouth with her own.

The first touch was tentative. Then Vanessa pressed forward and her lips opened slightly in invitation. An invitation Shane readily took, sliding her tongue forward to dance with Vanessa's. Shane let go of Vanessa's tags and ran her hands up her arms and down her sides, letting them rest there. They drank each other in, losing themselves in the first heady moments of contact.

Shane broke it off first, sucking in a deep breath. Vanessa licked her lips, savoring the taste of Shane. She moved to her side and settled down next to her friend. Shane trailed her fingers down the middle of Vanessa's chest, feeling the steady beat of her heart. Their eyes met and they both smiled.

"Okay, I think we've established basic proficiency."

"You think?" Vanessa pulled the tail of Shane's T-shirt out of her pants and ran her hand underneath. Shane sat up and pulled the shirt over her head then lay back as Vanessa's questing fingers skittered over warm flesh before meeting the last real barrier as required by the United States Marine Corps: Shane's bra.

They looked at each other again and suddenly they laughed. "You know," said Vanessa, "if I were really cool, I could unhook that with one hand."

Shane sat up and did it herself. Sliding it off her arms, she tossed it to the side.

Vanessa drew in a breath and reached out to cup Shane's breasts in her hands.

"Then on the other hand, I'd miss seeing you undress for me." Her thumbs brushed Shane's nipples, which came to attention immediately. Shane groaned as Vanessa leaned forward and took a nipple in her mouth, caressing it with quick flicks of her tongue.

She pulled her friend closer, urging her on to her other breast which Vanessa attacked with relish. Shane felt a familiar warmth between her legs which she hadn't felt in a long, long time.

Pulling away, she yanked Vanessa's T-shirt up and off. "I want to feel you against me," she said, sliding her arms around Vanessa to unhook the bra. Tossing it away, she marveled at the compact litheness of her friend's frame and ran her hands up and down Vanessa's back. Vanessa's arms came around her, and they kissed again, slowly, savoring each nuance.

Vanessa pulled back and looked into Shane's eyes, seeing her own desire mirrored there. "I think we have some other work to do."


"Mm, yep." Vanessa pushed Shane on her back and went to work on her pants. "It's entirely interactive. I think you'll like it."

Shane wiggled the fatigues down her hips and Vanessa threw them on another bunk.

"It's just like the Colonel said."

"About what?" Vanessa hooked her fingers into the top of Shane's panties and pulled downward.

"Idle hands."

"Trust me, I'll keep mine busy."

Once Shane's panties were off and Vanessa divested herself of the last of her own clothing, both women found themselves suddenly faced with the inevitability of what was going to happen next. In a brief span of moments, Shane and Vanessa realised a basic truth: it's one thing to see your friend naked in the shower every day and another to see them naked before you fuck them for the first time. It's all about perspective.

Vanessa found herself entranced by the soft, creamy roundness of Shane's breasts.

Shane started to blush under Vanessa's intense scrutiny.

"Okay, what's wrong?"

"Hm? Oh, nothing." She ran her hand down Shane's side to her hip, reveling in the tremor that passed through Shane's body. "Tell me what you like."

"What I like?" Shane started to sit up but Vanessa pushed her back down and straddled her hips again.

"Yeah, what you like." Leaning forward, Vanessa flicked one of Shane's nipples with the tip of her tongue then nipped it with her teeth.

Shane gasped, an electric shock running through her body. "Oh, god."

Vanessa grinned. "Like that do you?" She gave Shane's other breast the same treatment and then rolled the other nipple between thumb and forefinger before pulling on it gently. Shane closed her eyes, giving herself over to the exquisite paradox of pain and pleasure that Vanessa's treatment of her breasts was eliciting.

"C'mon, Shane," Vanessa whispered, "what else, hm?" She licked and sucked Shane's earlobe into her mouth before running her tongue around the edge of her ear.

One of Shane's hands gripped Vanessa's ass, the other fisted itself into her hair and using the little bit of leverage she had, flipped Vanessa beneath her. Shane shoved her knee between Vanessa's legs, and felt the tell-tale evidence of her friend's arousal. She reached down and ran a single finger around her clit, capturing some of the wetness.

Vanessa's hips lifted, inviting more of that touch but Shane laughed lightly and said, "Not yet."

"Bitch." Vanessa was grinning, "You leading me on, Captain?"

Shane didn't answer. She sucked on the finger that had Vanessa's juices, noting the salty sweet taste, wanting more of it. Shane kissed her friend hard, stealing her breath. Vanessa tasted her own essence on Shane's lips and rubbed herself against Shane's knee, spreading her wetness, trying to establish a rhythm against her clit.

Shane wasn't having any of it. She pulled her knee away, ignoring her friend's groan of disappointment. Slowly, she began to kiss her way back forn Vanessa's body, pausing briefly at her breasts before moving toward her eventual goal. Vanessa felt Shane's breath against the hairs on her mons, the first tentative touch of her lips on her clit, then the full even strokes of Shane's tongue in her cunt. She drew a deep, shuddering breath and threaded her fingers in Shane's hair to pull her closer. Shane responded with obvious enthusiasm, her tongue running up and down Vanessa's lips before twisting around her clit.

"Shane, yes... oh, please....."

Suddenly, Vanessa felt a slim finger enter her and she gripped it, the motion a maddening counterpoint to the mouth that was ravaging her cunt. Shane sat up and slipped another finger inside the writhing woman below her. She put her free hand in the middle of Vanessa's chest holding her in placeas she slipped a third finger in, felt the muscles of Vanessa's passage ripple to accomodate the extra finger, becoming wetter, slicker. White hot heat seemed to travel up Shane's arm from Vanessa's cunt.

Vanessa clutched the sides of the cot in frustration. With Shane pinning her to the bed, she couldn't touch, she could only ride wave after wave of sensation as they crashed over her body.

Shane plunged a fourth finger inside Vanessa, whose eyes popped open at the feel of suddenly being stretched farther than she felt possible. Shane pushed her hair out of her eyes and focused solely on the woman beneath her. Arm muscles strained as she steadied the rhythm of her hand. Her thumb found Vanessa's clit and she rubbed it with steady strokes.

"Aaah, Shane!"

Vanessa's cry came from her gut and at that moment, all her thoughts, all her being were focused on the woman who was her friend and now her lover. Everything coalaced into a blinding moment of build up and then release as Vanessa came. Shane felt her hand suddenly siezed in an iron grip and she felt Vanessa's passage pulse around her fingers. Her lips pulled back in a feral grin as she accepted this offering. "C'mon, yeah, that's right. Give it to me, 'Phousse. Give me all of it."

Finally, Vanessa relaxed enough so Shane could slide her fingers out. She held them to Vanessa's lips and the other woman sucked them hungrily, flicking Shane's fingertips with her tongue. Shane eased herself back down, curling her body around Vanessa's, feeling the lingering tremors that ran through her body. She cupped her hand around Vanessa's breast, loving the feel of its warmth and softness and kissed the side of Vanessa's neck.

Vanessa turned to brush her mouth lightly across Shane's and she smiled. "Well, that was..." Shane propped herself on an elbow.

"Was what?" Her fingers trailed across Vanessa's breasts.

"Good. No, it was really good." Vanessa's fingers touched Shane's cheek. "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

Vanessa's hand drifted downward and brushed the hair above Shane's mons. "You know you're not off the hook."

Shane shifted to allow the other woman access to her and groaned as those seeking fingers found their target. "What? Oh, do that again."

"You still haven't told me what you like."

Shane arched against Vanessa as her friend's fingers kept up a steady rhythm against her clit. She was so close, so close...."


"Oh, god..what?!?"

"Are you going to tell me what it is you like?" Vanessa dipped her head down and nipped at Shane's bottom lip, quickly soothing the soreness with a flick of her tongue. She drew out of range before Shane could fully capture her lips and laughed softly.

Shane's eyes flew open. "I'm gonna get you for this, 'Phousse," she growled. The growl became a whimper as Vanessa's fingers did a provocative twist around the hard nub of her clit.

"Uh, huh. You and what army?" Vanessa's fingers were slick with Shane's wetness and the air was laced with the tell-tale musky scent of woman.

Shane grunted, "Don't you mean Marines?" Her hands came up and she pulled Vanessa down on top of her. Skin to skin, they seemed to fuse together, breathing hard and fast, each woman intent on bringing the other over the edge....

Suddenly, ship wide claxons brought them brutally back to reality. They looked at each other and they knew they didn't have a lot of time. A quick kiss and Vanessa got off Shane and started pulling what ever of her clothes she could reach.

Shane sat up and started doing the same. "I hate those fucking Chigs," she muttered. She quickly whipped her t-shirt over her head, disregarding the bra that lay on the floor. When Vanessa looked at it, Shane said, "It takes too long to put it on."

"Did I say anything?" Vanessa was all innocence.

Shane opened her mouth to answer when the door flew open and McQueen stuck his head inside. "You've been paroled, ladies. Seems like our friends wanted to come out and play." His ice-blue eyes moved quickly over the two women, cataloging their somewhat disheveled state. Had they been...? No, he quickly dismissed that thought. "Move it, marines!"

"Sir, yes, sir."

They had their boots on and both women shot out the door at a run. McQueen watched them go and began to close the door when he caught sight of a white scrap of fabric on the floor. He almost went fully into the room when the scent reached him, stopping him dead in his tracks like a rancher's fence. Discretion being the better part of valor, T.C. McQueen shut the door and went to his post on the Command Deck.

~ Several hours later....

The Hammerhead cockpits slid into the bay and the flight crews swarmed over them like so many ants. Shane pulled her helmet off and rested it on her dash before levering herself out of her cockpit. She took a deep breath and grinned. Blood and adrenalin pumped in her veins and she looked around at the other Wild Cards. Cooper was his usual jovial, feral self. He loved going toe to toe with the Chigs; it was part of his makeup. West gave her a weary smile, relinquishing his cockpit to the crews and heading for the debriefing room. Lastly she looked over at Vanessa, who returned her gaze evenly and smiled. It took everything she had not to stalk over to her friend's cockpit and plant a wet, sloppy kiss on those appealing lips. Shane walked over to Vanessa's cockpit and waited until she stepped out.

As they walked over to the briefing room, Vanessa whispered, "Still hot and bothered?" Shane quickly pinched Vanessa on the butt, enjoying the undignified squeak her action elicited from the other woman. Vanessa poked her in the ribs then twisted away from Shane's hand, doing a delightful sashay into the briefing room.


They stopped dead in their tracks. McQueen leaned against his podium watching their entrance. Their comrades looked away, barely concealing their snickers. "So glad you could join us. Care to have a seat?"

"You could bottle that sarcasm and sell it on the open market," West whispered to Vanessa as she took a seat next to him. He immediately turned his attention to his CO and the debrief began. Mercifully, McQueen kept it short. When it was over, the group stood as one and began to file out of the briefing room.

"Damphousse and Vansen, please stay for a moment."

The two looked at each other and took seats in front of McQueen. He walked around the podium and stood looking at both of them.

"I trust you two have learned your lesson these past few days."

Shane and Vanessa nodded solemnly. "Yes sir."

"The only reason you were sprung early is because you were needed. Don't make me reconsider my decision."

"Yes, sir."

They looked like the most innocent women on the face of the earth with the earnest looks they plastered on their faces. McQueen suppressed a snort. *Innocent, my ass.* If West and Hawkes were his de facto sons, these two were his errant daughters-the type you lock up until they're thirty because you can't trust them to stay out of trouble and you'd still forgive them because you loved them so much.


They saluted and headed out the door. Shane looked around and then touched Vanessa on the arm. "C'mon."

Vanessa followed Shane to the deserted observation room. This late at night it was dark but the observation window was filled with stars. Walking into the middle of the room, Shane pulled Vanessa into her arms for a searing kiss that left the other woman breathless.

"That," she said, "was for teasing me before the debrief." Suddenly, Shane yelped as Vanessa reached around and with two slim fingers grabbed flight suit and skin and gave it a twist. "What was that for?" she asked as she rubbed her butt.

"Pinching me on the way in *to* the debrief," Vanessa said.

They eyed each other warily. Finally, Vanessa stuck her tongue out at Shane who promptly put her hands on her hips and said, "Promises, promises."

"Well, I keep mine, girl."

Shane started to walk forward forcing Vanessa to back up. "I'm sure you do."

Vanessa's legs met a nearby couch and Shane gave her a tiny push, following her friend down on the cushions. Nimble fingers unzipped flight suits far enough so hands could reach in and caress. Mouths met and held long enough to rekindle the fire so recently channeled into the heat of battle. They pulled away from each other simultaneously, sucking air into arid lungs.

"Damn," said Vanessa, "I almost wish we were still confined to quarters. The guys'll be back."

Shane rested her head on the back of the couch. "Maybe we could get in another fight at the Tun."

"No way, McQueen would throw us in the brig and then put the key in the nearest airlock."

Shane looked at Vanessa, "Did he look at us strange or was it just me?"

Vanessa considered this, "I'm not sure. You think..?"

"That he suspects? Heck, I don't know. It's hard to tell with him."

"I guess," Vanessa stood up, "So what are we going to do about us?"

Shane slipped an arm around her waist. "Take it day by day." Brushing Vanessa's lips with her own, she held the other woman close. "I'm not finished with you by a long shot."

"I should hope not, Captain."

"Quit calling me that, will ya? It makes me nervous."

"Just think of it as me trying to work my way up the ranks," Vanessa purred and ran her fingers lightly over Shane's jaw. "Besides, I'm not finished with you either."

They left the observation lounge and headed for their quarters.

The weeks that followed were some of the heaviest fighting that the 58th had ever seen, making it hard for Vanessa and Shane to continue their relationship with any sort of real continuity. But the few moments they did steal in out of the way parts of the ship served as delicious incentive to continue.

"'Phousse, we're going to die down here." Shane eyed the nuclear reactors nervously. The reactors hummed along merrily while Vanessa shucked her shirt and began diligently working on Shane's, trying to make the most of these stolen moments.

"Number one, the reactors are shielded." She tucked Shane's shirt in her back pocket and proceeded to dispense some attention to sensitive parts of Shane's anatomy. "Number two, if anything does go wrong, I can handle it. I know reactors. I have a degree, remember?"

"Oh, that makes me feel *really* safe."

Vanessa slipped a hand into Shane's pants and smiled in happy surprise. "What, no panties?" "Figured it'd cut down on the prep time," Shane said. Vanessa chuckled and kissed Shane's neck. Shane arched against the bulkhead wall, tipping her hips forward to make it easier for Vanessa to touch her. Vanessa dropped to one knee and slid Shane's pants down to her knees.


"Shut up, Shane." Vanessa dipped forward and kissed the tip of Shane's clit, holding on to the globes of Shane's ass to keep her from bucking too hard.

Shane sucked in a deep breath and relaxed into the soft strokes of Vanessa's tongue. "Yeah, right there." Her hands stroked Vanessa's head lightly.



"Next time, I'm choosing the place."

Keeping it from West, Hawkes and McQueen was another kettle of fish entirely. Given the tightness of the 58th in general, it was only a matter of time before the boys started to notice that their female counterparts were somewhat...distracted.

One night in the Tun Tavern...

"I think they're doin' it."

West and McQueen looked up from their drinks at Hawkes.

"What?" West said quizzically.

"I said, I think they're doin' it." Hawkes said in an exaggerated whisper.

McQueen leaned forward, "Who is 'they', Hawkes?"

Coop looked around and then whispered again, "Shane and 'Phousse."

"Doing what?"

For a moment, Hawkes looked decidedly uncomfortable.

"You know...doin' *it*."

This time he placed particular emphasis on the "it" part. McQueen and West looked at each other and at the same moment came to the blinding realization of what Hawkes was trying to tell them. McQueen cleared his throat, suspicions clamoring for attention in his brain.

Suddenly, he was transported back to the night he came to spring Vansen and Damphousse from their solitary confinement. He remembered how they looked ("freshly fucked" his mind supplied) and the energy in the room which seemed to crackle with sexual tension.

McQueen had dismissed his suspicions then; they hadn't seemed important, or so he thought. West looked down at his drink as though it had suddenly become very interesting.

Hawkes looked from one man to another. "Well?"

West looked somewhat exasperated, "Well what, Coop?"

When a couple of people turned around he lowered his voice. "If the girls are having sex, then that's their business. You just don't go blurting it out to everybody."

"Why not?" "It's not polite, Hawkes." McQueen said patiently. Inwardly he cursed the IVA and their screwed up socialization methods. For Cooper, sex was as natural as breathing but he had little to no understanding of natural-borns' social mores. "Plus, it *is* a private matter between the two of them, if that's what's going on."

Hawkes thought about it for a moment. "Would be okay for me to ask them?"

West groaned and McQueen rubbed his face with his hands.

At the midnight hour.........

Shane's message had been simple: The showers. 0030. Vanessa checked the corridors before she stepped into the room. It was dark except for the ambient light of a single covered bulb.

She threw her towel on a nearby rack and looked into the gloom. "Shane?"

"Right here."

Shane stepped out of a nearby stall, grinning like a cheshire cat, wrapped only in a towel.

Vanessa eyed her suspiciously. "What are you up to, Vansen?"

Shane walked forward until she reached Vanessa. "Take your clothes off."

"Pushy tonight, are we?"

Shane snagged Vanessa's tags and pulled her forward. Vanessa looked up into eyes that suddenly seemed bottomless in the low light. "I said," Shane whispered in her ear, "take your clothes off."

The shudder that ran through Vanessa's body was spine tingling. She swallowed and nodded. Shane let go of her tags to lean against the wall. There was something about watching someone undress-the slow revelation of skin that was in many ways more arousing than the act of sex itself. Vanessa put her clothes on a rack out of the way and turned back to her lover.

"C'mere," Shane said quietly.

Vanessa walked slowly, hips swinging with every step, unconsciously sensual to Shane's greedy eyes. Once they were face to face, Shane ran her fingers down Vanessa's cheek, sighing when Vanessa turned her head to press a kiss into her palm. Shane's towel dropped to the floor and she kicked it to the side with her foot.

No words were spoken as Shane turned on the shower and picked up a bar of soap. She pulled Vanessa beneath the spray and began to slowly work up a lather in her hands. Vanessa watched and then turned around. She suppressed a small sigh as Shane's hands landed on her shoulders. They were slick because of the soap and she relaxed against Shane, feeling her lover's breasts pushing into her back.

Shane took her time, letting her hands run up and down Vanessa's body and being rewarded by the small gasps and sighs that she had come to know.

Fingers dipped low and quick, flicking Vanessa's clit then dancing away. Vanessa's head dipped backward and Shane responded with a kiss, closing her eyes to savor the feel of the other woman's tongue against her own.

Vanessa broke off the kiss, but stayed pressed tightly against Shane, loving the knowing strength in the other woman's hands, and wanting more.

"Shane...." The hands stilled.

"Shane, I want you in me..."

Shane pulled her closer, sliding her hands towards Vanessa's cunt when she heard, "No."

Vanessa turned slightly, blinking against the shower spray to look at her now confused friend. "Not there." She took one of Shane's hands and guided it around to her backside, smiling as Shane's eyes grew wide. "Here."

Shane swallowed. "You sure?" Her voice was heavy with desire.

Vanessa nodded and turned back around, pressing her ass against Shane's hand in open invitation.

Conscious of the gift she had been given, Shane went slow and easy. Soap tumbled between her fingers long enough to build up a lather that she ran into the crack of Vanessa's ass all the way to the puckering little hole. Her free hand she used to steady Vanessa, feeling the muscles of the other woman's shoulder tense slightly as she slowly started to work a finger into the tight passage.

"Relax, love."

Vanessa did as she was bidden, closing her eyes to fully concentrate on accepting the intrusion. She breathed deep and felt the pleasant/ uncomfortable/wonderful feeling emanating from her backside. She pushed back against Shane, willing her movement, willing more


Shane responded by easing another finger in. She tucked her knee between Vanessa's legs and then hauled Vanessa back by her shoulder, impaling her on her fingers, loving the gasp/groan wrung from the other woman. Lost to the tremendous rush of power that seemed to swirl in the room, Shane failed to notice when a door opened then closed.

It was Vanessa who noticed first; whose eyes flew open to meet those of Cooper Hawkes. But by then she didn't care; she just didn't want Shane to stop too soon, just wanted it to go on and on. Vanessa reached between her legs and fingered her clit, gritted her teeth and kept her eyes locked with Cooper's.

He leaned against the wall and a small knowing smile graced his handsome face. Shane finally came out of her fog and saw him as well. *Ah, fuck it, anyway* she thought and renewed her interest in Vanessa's ass. Suddenly, she felt it.

Vanessa tensed against her, and her mouth opened in a cry that she quickly cut off by biting her lip. Vanessa tasted blood mingled with water from the shower and spat quickly, licking at the spot with the tip of her tongue.

Shane withdrew from her ass, washing her fingers and then turned Vanessa around for a deep, heartfelt kiss. She touched the bite mark lightly, wrapped her arms around Vanessa and then looked over at their silent observer. Vanessa reached over and turned off the spigot.

Cooper walked over, picked up the towel that Vanessa had left it on the rack and handed it to Shane.

'S'okay," he said quietly, "I won't tell anybody."

Shane flashed him a quick smile and Vanessa said, "Thanks, Coop."

He nodded and made his way out of the showers. Shane swept her wet hair out of her face and wrapped the towel around Vanessa. They were silent, grateful for the discretion of their friend yet still feeling the aftereffects of their lovemaking. One last kiss and they made their way back to their quarters. They never noticed the black clad sentinel who watched their progress from the other end of the corridor. His perfect lips quirked in the briefest of smiles, and then McQueen made his way back to his own quarters for a well deserved rest.

Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the TV show "Space: Above and Beyond" are the creations of James Wong, Glen Morgan, Hard Eight Productions, Fox Broadcasting Co. and are being used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.