VOLTRON:

Second Interlude

Part Two

Caite watched from her hiding place across the street as the two V’Ki representatives entered the Consulate building. She recognized both of them, having met them several times before. One was named Gunar, and the other his assistant, Wekal. Though Gunar came to Terra officially as the V’Ki diplomatic representative, in reality he was a V’Ki general, and the one who was going to be leading the attack against the planet.

The last time Gunar had visited, it was to make arrangements with the traitorous Consulate members in on the conspiracy to allow V’Ki "tourists" access to Terra. The "tourists" would actually be undercover soldiers. Since that meeting, several transport ships had entered the system with a few hundred V’Ki, who were by now scattered over the city, the capitol of Terra that held the GG HQ, Galaxy Alliance HQ, the Space Academy and the Terran Consulate. With help from the Consulate, the soldiers were able to land on Terra under arms - hidden, of course.

But Gunar wasn’t supposed to come back again until just before the invasion, which hadn’t been scheduled until six more weeks. His presence now surprised Caite, and also frightened her. With Gunar here, that meant the invasion was closer than she’d thought. It could even be only days away. Caite sighed and shook her head as she watched the enemy disappear inside the building. If only she had done something sooner…

Movement caught her eye, and she recognized two more faces coming out of the building. One of them was a co-worker named David. He had been her CO, and was one of the higher ups at the Consulate. He was also the one in charge of V’Ki/Terran relations. He had been the one to fill her in on the conspiracy, and the one to bring her into it. She knew very well that the only reason he hadn’t killed her for discovering their secret was that he was attracted to her. He made no secret of it. And she had been for the first time grateful for his attention. If it hadn’t been for his somewhat selfish charity towards her, Caite was sure she’d already be dead.

The man with David was the head of Consulate security, Nash, who also happened to be in on everything. They had no doubt sent him and his staff out to catch her and bring her back in. The two men who Kayve had taken out the day before had been Nash’s men. A long, sleek gray hover-limo pulled up as David and Nash exited, and both men climbed inside. It pulled away moments later. Caite had a good idea where they were going.

Knowing all she needed to know, Caite decided to leave her silent vigil and get back to safety. She had no doubt that Kayve had already discovered her absence, and only hoped he wouldn’t be angry. But she had needed to do this. She knew a meeting was supposed to take place today, and curiosity had taken over. But she would never have guessed it would be Gunar. Caite was glad she had decided to come spy on the Consulate. Now she knew she had to hurry and get the disk and her info to Ad. Ricks.

Caite started to step back through the alley she was hiding in when she suddenly heard a sound behind her. She whirled to see two Consulate security personnel advancing on her slowly. As soon as she saw them, they started to pounce. Caite jumped out of their grasp and ran out onto the sidewalk in plain view.

Even though she was in good physical condition, Caite knew she’d never be able to outrun the men. Not when she was wearing a snug business suit and high heels. She considered pausing long enough to slip them off, but decided against it. She didn’t notice the car speeding up to pull alongside her until a horn beeped, surprisingly close. Caite turned her head slightly to see a small white hovercar matching her speed. The passenger door had been pushed open. Caite recognized the driver.

"Jump in!" Kayve yelled.

Caite needed no prompting. She immediately veered off the sidewalk and ducked into the moving vehicle. She shut the door as Kayve sped up, leaving her two chasers far behind them. Caite, who had been breathing laboriously, started to calm down. Her heart was still beating hard against her chest when Kayve spoke up moments later.

"What the hell do you think you were doing?" he demanded irritably.

She frowned and looked at him.

"What?"

Kayve put the vehicle on automatic, then turned to face her.

"I told you to stay at the apartment," he told her, "You could have gotten yourself killed."

"I just had to check something out," she told him.

"Was it that important?"

She nodded.

"It turned out to be," she said. Then she remembered something. She leaned towards him and spoke hurriedly.

"I have to get in to see Admiral Ricks as soon as possible," she told him, "It can’t wait any longer."

He nodded and put his hands over hers to soothe her.

"I got us an appointment for first thing in the morning," he told her, "It would be earlier, but the Admiral has been away on a meeting. He’s supposed to get back late tonight. I was lucky enough to get in with him so soon."

She breathed out deeply, then nodded. She didn’t want to have to wait, but it couldn’t be helped.

"Thank-you, Kayve," she told him frankly, "You’ve done so much for me. You saved my life for the second time. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay you."

He smiled at her with some amusement.

"I know a way," he told her.

Before she could ask what it was, Kayve leaned in quickly and kissed her. Caite had no time to react. This kiss was firmer than before, and like the last one it didn’t last for long. As he pulled away he looked down at her through half-closed eyes. Her own eyes rose up to meet his. He smiled at her.

"That was very nice," he said, a bit huskily.

She managed a small, shy smile. Kayve reached over with his left hand to run it across her cheek softly, then moved it down to her waist and edged in a bit closer. Caite knew she should stop him right now, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. And when he leaned down to kiss her again, she let him.

* * *

They got up early the next morning and drove together to GG HQ. Caite was now dressed a bit more comfortably in a fresh, clean suit. She had also showered that morning, so she felt less dirty than she had the day before. But even though she felt better on the outside, her insides were churning in turmoil. This was it. At 5:52 that morning, as Kayve was leading Caite into the main HQ building, Caite anticipated the upcoming meeting with more than a little apprehension.

Caite had the disk tucked safely in her pocket, but she now wondered if it was enough. It would take weeks for GG to process the information and start their own investigation, and by that time it might be too late. Caite wasn’t sure if she had enough proof for the military to begin their own countermeasures right away. As doubts started to overtake her, Caite slowed her pace and eventually stopped. Kayve turned to her with puzzlement on his face.

"What’s wrong?" he asked, "We’re almost there."

"What if we need more proof?" she asked, shaking her head, "It might not be enough to change anything in time."

"Not doing something right now won’t help things either," he told her reasonably, "Have a little faith in the Garrison, Caite. We’re not all stuffed shirts."

She looked up at him, but there was no smile on her face. Instead she wore a worried frown. Kayve immediately took her by the arm and lead her into the nearest empty room, shutting the door behind them. He stood facing her with her back against the wall and looked down at her, his face intent.

"Trust me, Caite," he told her, "Admiral Ricks will believe you. And he will do something about it. OK?"

She looked up at him, then finally nodded. He took her chin in his hand.

"Don’t worry," he said firmly, "This will work out. We won’t let the V’Ki get what they want."

Caite sighed, then grinned and nodded at him. He moved his head down quickly to kiss her, which caught her by surprise. But she kissed him back, like she had for the few kisses they had shared last night. Kayve then straightened and took her hand.

"Let’s go before we’re late," he said, leading her back out of the room, "It’s not a good idea to keep the Admiral waiting."

* * *

Admiral Ricks was a tall, clean-cut man in his early fifties with short gray hair and just the hint of a gut on his lean, once athletic form. He stood when his two visitors entered. He and Kayve exchanged salutes before he sat back down.

"Captain," Ricks greeted him, "I take it the purpose of this meeting is important."

Kayve nodded, then gestured towards Caite, who stood next to him.

"This is Caite," he introduced her, "She works for the Terran Consulate."

Caite and Ricks shook hands.

"Nice to meet you, Miss," Ricks said politely.

Caite smiled at him nervously.

"And you too, sir," she returned.

The Admiral gestured to the two chairs in front of his desk, and they sat. Caite clasped her hands nervously on her lap.

"Shall we get started?" the Admiral asked a moment later after no one spoke.

Caite nodded and sat up straighter in her seat. Kayve gave her an encouraging grin.

"As you already know, I work for the Terran Consulate," she started, "More specifically, the military division. That includes inter-planetary military and security."

"Ah yes," Ricks spoke up, "Now I remember you. I’ve met your supervisor, David Lee. He’s told me good things about you."

Caite frowned slightly, then nodded.

"Actually, he’s one of the reasons I’m here," she said.

Ricks’ brow furrowed. Caite glanced from him to Kayve and back, then continued.

"David had been personally handling the Terran-V’Ki relations," she told him, "ever since the treaty had been signed six months ago. In particular he’s been dealing with a V’Ki diplomat named Gunar."

"I’ve met Gunar," Ricks said, "He was there at the signing of the treaty. As I remember, he’s the V’Ki’s official relations representative."

Caite made a wry, humorless grin.

"Actually," she said, "that’s not altogether true."

Ricks frowned.

"Oh?"

Caite took a deep breath.

"David and some other Terran Consulate and Alliance members met with Gunar several times before the signing of the treaty," she told them, "At the time, as I’m sure you’ll remember, the intentions of the V’Ki towards Terra were thought to be offensive. The government here was more or less sure the V’Ki were our enemy. But David and the Consulate were eventually able to convince them otherwise, and after a year of meeting and making agreements, the treaty was announced."

"I remember," Kayve said sourly, "I never trusted them for a minute."

Ricks kept his eyes on Caite. He waited patiently for her to continue.

"What the government and the military didn’t know," Caite continued, "was that the V’Ki and the Consulate had been making alternate plans behind their backs. You see, Gunar isn’t a political representative of the V’Ki. He’s the commander of their war ships. Almost two years ago, he and David contacted each other and made a deal. David and some others would help the V’Ki gain entry into Terran space so they could secretly amass an army that would be used to destroy Galaxy Garrison and the Alliance and enslave the human race. In return, the V’Ki would spare the involved and their families and allow them to live peacefully and free."

Ricks’ attention was now apt on Caite.

"Go on," he urged.

"The Consulate has been allowing V’Ki warships to enter Terran Space under the guise of transport and cargo ships," she informed them, "They are all well-equipped with V’Ki weaponry and soldiers. I would estimate about half of the soldiers are on Terran soil right now. With the treaty signed, it was easy for them to gather here, especially since the peace accords ensure that all V’Ki ships are allowed entrance without being boarded and searched by Terran security. So their weapons came undetected."

"And when is this strike supposed to occur?" Ricks asked.

Caite hesitated.

"Originally it was supposed to happen at the earliest six weeks from now," she said, "But now I think it may be much sooner. I snuck over to the Consulate yesterday and saw Gunar. It surprised me because he wasn’t supposed to come back to Terra until just before the attack. That’s why I think they’re going to strike soon."

"And how do you know all this?" he asked, "Were you involved in this plot as well?"

Caite hesitated, throwing a glance at Kayve, who nodded to her encouragingly.

"I discovered the conspiracy by accident about three months ago," she said, "Once I did, David brought me in and told me most of it. He asked me to join them. I didn’t want to, but I didn’t feel like I had much choice. So I kept it secret."

"But she’s here now," Kayve spoke up, "Caite ran away two days ago to come to you."

Ricks nodded, staring down at his desk with his hands clasped in front of him.

"And would you happen to have any proof of this?" he asked, looking up at Caite.

Kayve leaned forward and was about to speak up when Caite stopped him.

"Actually, I do," she said quickly.

Kayve looked at her sharply. She gave him an apologetic look as she pulled out the disk.

"This disk contains records of all of the meetings and transactions between Gunar, the Consulate, and the involved Alliance members," Caite told them, "It also contains detailed data on the V’Ki fleet they will use to attack Terra."

Caite handed the disk over to Ricks slowly. Ricks took it and stared at it for a moment before speaking.

"And how did you get this?" he asked.

"I stole it," she said, "from David’s office."

"You snuck in?"

Caite shook her head, appearing to be slightly ashamed.

"No," she said quietly, "He was there when I took it. But he didn’t find out it was gone until after I left."

Ricks looked at her for a moment, but questioned her no further. Kayve’s expression, however, was puzzled and a bit suspicious as he looked at her.

"If this is true," Ricks told her slowly, "then you may have just saved an entire planet."

Caite did not look proud of herself. In fact, she looked even more miserable.

Ricks stood up abruptly. Kayve stood perfunctorily at attention.

"Looks like I have some calls to make and some people to contact," he said, holding the disk tightly.

He turned to Caite.

"Thank-you, Miss," he told her, "for bringing this to me. I’m sure I’ll be busy for quite a while, now, but I’m positive we’ll meet again. But until then, I’d like you to keep yourself available, and not go too far."

Caite nodded soberly. Ricks turned to Kayve.

"Captain," he said, "After you show this young lady out, I will need you to report in for duty ASAP."

Kayve nodded.

"Yes sir!" he said, saluting.

Ricks nodded to them, then pressed a few buttons on the vid-com on his desk. Kayve took Caite’s arm and led her out.

"I’m sorry I never told you about the disk," Caite apologized immediately once they were outside of the Admiral’s office.

Kayve shook his head, grinning.

"It’s OK," he told her, "I’m sure you had your reasons."

She sighed tiredly and rested her head on his shoulder as they walked. He put his arm around her tightly.

"So what happens now?" she asked.

"Well, I’m going to report in for duty, and then Galaxy Garrison will probably work on getting rid of those war ships," Kayve said, "Since the V’Ki are probably aware by now that we know, they’re most likely already planning an early attack. So there may be some fighting."

Caite frowned in worry.

"Guess that means the Garrison’s top pilot will be leading the attack."

Kayve chuckled.

"Who else?" he asked.

They reached the parking garage and headed for Kayve’s car.

"Caite," Kayve told her, "it’s probably a good idea for you to stay somewhere outside of the city. The V’Ki will be targeting this place if they plan to attack, so it won’t be safe. Do you have someplace to go?"

Caite nodded.

"My grandmother’s farm is about six miles outside the city limits," she told him.

"Good."

Kayve squeezed her shoulders as they reached the car, then turned to face her, his hands on her arms.

"You be careful," he told her, "Promise?"

She smiled.

"I’m not the one who’s going to be fighting," she said.

He smiled back, then kissed her softly.

"I’m going to miss you," he said quietly.

"Me too," she said.

They gazed at each other for a moment, then Kayve reached into an inside pocket and pulled out a small purple velvet pouch. He appeared to be very nervous as he opened the tiny drawstrings and emptied the contents onto his palm. Caite looked down and saw a very beautiful gold amulet with a peace symbol on one side and a love symbol on the other.

"This once belonged to my mother," he told her, trying hard to keep his voice from trembling, "My father gave it to her right before they got married. Being in the military, they couldn’t wear rings all the time, so he gave her this so she would always be wearing a symbol of their love for each other. Dad gave it to me when I turned eighteen. He told me he wanted me to give it to, um, to the woman I loved, and who I, um, wanted to marry."

Caite looked from the amulet up to his face in shock. His eyes were locked on the amulet, too nervous to look up. Caite could feel the tears form in her eyes. Kayve drew in a deep breath and held up the amulet with both hands. Finally he looked up at her and made eye contact.

"I just want you to take it," he told her, "You don’t have to wear it now. I mean, you don’t have to decide just yet. I know it’s really sudden, and I don’t want to pressure you. But just take it with you."

Kayve took one of her hands, turned it palm-up, and placed the amulet in it. Then he closed her hand around it with both of his, not letting go. Caite stared down at it, reaching up with her free hand to wipe a tear from her eye that was threatening to fall. Kayve, however, gently reached up and took her hand away, then proceeded to wipe away the tear himself with his thumb. She looked up at him, and he smiled at her tenderly.

"Thank-you," she told him simply.

He shook his head.

"No," he said, "thank-you."

She smiled back at him, then brought the amulet up and held it against her chest. She reached up with her free hand and put it on his shoulder, reaching up to move her head towards his. Kayve helped her by leaning down so they could kiss. This one lasted longer than the others, neither of them wanting to part. And they didn’t until a couple of GG officers walked by and started hooting. Kayve turned and glared at them as they passed, then turned back to Caite.

"We should go," he said, his arms still wrapped around her.

Caite nodded, resting her head against his chest and hugging him tightly.

"Take my car," he told her, reaching into his pocket for the keys, "Get out of the city as soon as possible."

Caite took the keys as they parted from their embrace. Kayve looked down at her affectionately, placing a hand over her cheek.

"I’ll come see you as soon as I can," he promised.

"How will you know where to look?" she asked with a grin.

He smiled cockily.

"I’ll find my way," he assured her.

She nodded. Caite then placed a short kiss on his cheek before moving away from him.

"Don’t get shot down," she told him.

He smiled.

"I won’t."

He opened the door for her, and she climbed into the driver’s seat. Before he closed the door he leaned down to look at her.

"Guess I’ll see you later," he said, a bit nervously.

She smiled and nodded. He hesitated, then gave her one last smile before closing the door. Caite activated the hovercar and drove it out of the garage, waving to him as she passed. He waved back, and kept his eyes on her until she was out of sight.

"I love you," he sighed.

Then he straightened his shoulders and headed back into the building.

* * *

Just as Kayve had predicted, the V’Ki were already planning on making their attack early. In fact, they were already mobilizing their forces by the time Admiral Ricks had the entire Capitol on alert. Within hours the city was sealed and the Garrison army was briefed and prepped for battle.

As it turned out, GG did not need further proof of the V’Ki’s treachery. Kayve and his squadron had just launched into space when the aliens started their attack ahead of schedule. They were barely in time to prevent an attack against the Terran space station Ulysses. Kayve had Lars on his wing as he and his squadron fought the V’Ki fighters. From regular communications from GG HQ, he knew that the V’Ki warships were heading for Terra’s atmosphere and were targeting the capitol city. Fortunately, the city was well protected against attacks. Not only that, but thanks to Caite and the disk, they now knew the V’Ki’s entire attack force. Which meant Terra would be prepared.

"Lars," Kayve said into his helmet com, "What do you say we take care of these jerks and help the others back on Terra?"

"I vill say that I am vith you, Captain," Lars replied from his own fighter.

Though Kayve’s team was outnumbered by the V’Ki, they managed to make space dust out of the enemy. Kayve wasn’t the Garrison’s best pilot for nothing. Using maneuvers his superiors would probably lecture him for, Kayve took out a good number of V’Ki fighters while Lars backed him up, working hard to keep up with his CO. When the V’Ki unit was completely destroyed and the Ulysses station was safe, Kayve and his team headed back to Terra to help in the counterattack.

"Looks like G Sector could use our help," Lars pointed out after checking on the status of the other squadrons.

"Then let’s go lend a hand," Kayve ordered.

G Sector was the main military district of the city, and also the most heavily under fire by V’Ki ships. Aside from a thousand or so small V’Ki fighters, there were also six large warships descending on the city. A seventh had been taken out not long ago by the city’s main cannon. But since they were being protected by V’Ki fighters and blasting off their own offensive, it was difficult to get a good lock on them.

Kayve and his squadron engaged in battle as soon as they reached G Sector. Even with the extra help, both squadrons of Terran fighters were hard-pressed against the onslaught of V’Ki. The V’Ki pilots were very aggressive, having no regard for their own lives, knowing that defeat meant death, whether they survived the battle or not. So they had little to lose by taking risks.

Kayve was unimpressed, however, by the seeming bravery of the V’Ki fighters. He matched their aggressiveness and propelled himself right into the center of the fray, deftly dodging their laser blasts and shooting off his own. Lars was unable to follow him in, having his own problems to deal with.

"You are going to get yourself killed, Kayve," Lars warned, grunting as he maneuvered his craft.

Kayve chuckled, never taking his attention from his monitor.

"Only if I take half the V’Ki fleet with me," he promised.

Kayve single-handedly shot down a half dozen V’Ki fighters before rejoining the rest of the battlers. They managed to defend the sector against the attack and push the enemy away. The fighters retreated to the warships.

"Ve have to take out their varships," Lars said, "That vay the fighters vill have no protection and they vill have to return to space."

"Then what are we waiting for?" Kayve asked, piloting his craft towards the group of V’Ki warships hovering far over the city.

"And how do you plan on taking out those ships vith only fighters?" Lars asked.

Kayve smiled under his helmet.

"We’ll just have to be creative," he said.

Kayve and his squadron converged on the warships and were immediately attacked by the V’Ki fighter ships. Not only did Kayve’s team have to evade the small fighters, but also the shots coming from the larger ships themselves.

"Ve’re not going to last very long like this," Lars predicted.

"I have a plan," Kayve said, then filled in the rest of his team.

"Are you sure that vill work?" Lars asked skeptically.

"Of course," Kayve said cockily, the muttered under his breath, "I hope."

"Vhat vas that?"

"Nothing," Kayve replied quickly, "Let’s go, guys!"

The entire squadron disengaged from battle to regroup, then flew towards the ships in formation. Once they reached enemy lines, they broke off into four groups of two, each group taking their own warship. The V’Ki fighters also split up to attack the groups. As soon as the V’Ki countered, the Terran fighters veered away from the V’Ki warships and fled, the enemy hot on their tails. All according to plan. As soon as the V’Ki were fully engaged, the four Terran groups slowly veered back towards the warships.

"I hope this vorks," Lars said.

"You and me both, buddy."

As they neared the warships, Kayve and Lars suddenly hit their reverse thrusters and almost came to a dead stop, allowing the surprised V’Ki fighters to pass by them. Kayve and Lars immediately took chase and brought up their targeting screens.

"We only get one shot at this," Kayve warned.

"Aye aye, Captain," Lars replied.

They both targeted the rear boosters on the V’Ki ships. Kayve knew that if the shot was aimed accurately enough, it would strike the boosters and cause a reaction in the ship’s thrusters, making it burst forward at the sudden surge of explosive energy. Kayve’s face remained calm as he quickly made his aim. The V’Ki ships would be turning away from the warships any second, and they had to make their move before that happened.

Kayve and Lars shot one after the other. Each was a direct hit. Just as Kayve had predicted, the laser shot to the V’Ki’s rear ends caused their ships to thrust forward uncontrollably, right into their own warships. Kayve and Lars quickly pulled away as the two V’Ki fighters struck the large ship hard. The collision caused a grand explosion as the warship was knocked completely senseless. Kayve and Lars both whooped as they watched the warship erupt, taking nearby V’Ki fighters with it.

The destruction of the first warship was soon followed by three more, as the other three Terran fighter groups managed to pull off the maneuver. Once done, Kayve and his squadron converged nearby, watching the destruction in victory.

"Nice work, Red Squadron," Admiral Ricks’ voice congratulated them over their com-link.

"Thank-you, sir," Kayve replied shortly.

With four of the six warships now gone, as well as a good number of V’Ki fighters, GG was now able to aim the main cannon at the remaining two while Red Squadron and Green Squadron engaged the remaining V’Ki fighters. About half an hour later, the other two warships had been taken out, and the V’Ki fighters began to retreat.

"Good job, team," Kayve congratulated them proudly.

"Good victory Captain," Ricks spoke up again, "I’m afraid I have some bad news, however."

Kayve immediately frowned.

"What is it, sir?"

"Our sensors have picked up a dozen more base ships just outside the atmosphere," Ricks informed them, "Your orders are to refuel immediately, then engage and repel the enemy before they are able to enter Terra’s atmosphere."

"Got it, sir," Kayve replied.

He could hear Lars sigh heavily.

"I have a feeling this battle is going to take a long time," he sighed.

Kayve grinned as they pulled up to the fueling docks.

"Married life making you soft, Lars?" he asked.

Lars chuckled.

"Soon I will be able to use that line on you, no?"

Kayve’s grin widened as an image of an cherry-haired, golden-eyed beauty appeared in his head. As they pulled out of the fueling docks and headed up into space, Kayve made a silent vow. He would win this battle for her if it took everything he had in him.

"Are we ready for battle, team?" he asked, snapping out of his daydreams.

"Ready!" his team replied enthusiastically.

"Then let’s pulverize these guys!"

At that, Kayve determinedly led his squadron back into battle.

* * *

Caite looked disconsolately up at the evening sky from her perch on the railing of her balcony. She crossed her arms over her chest as she looked in the direction of the city. It had been three days since she arrived at her grandmother’s farm. Three days since the beginning of the Terran defensive against the V’Ki invaders. Caite had tried to find out how the Terrans were doing in the battle, but she was able to find out very little. The only good news was that so far Terra had been able to repel the V’Ki. But the battle was still raging.

Caite looked up at the sky. She could see small flashes of light over the city, but it was too far away for her to make anything out. During the day all she could see were faint glimpses of laser blasts in the direction of the capitol. At night, she could look up into space and see the battle raging up there. For the past two nights Caite had stared up at the sky, watching the flashing lights and wondering which one of them was Kayve up there fighting in his ship. Tonight she waited for the sun to set so she could return her gaze once again towards the heavens, holding a strong hope in her heart that this time, when she looked up, the only flashing lights would be that of the Ulysses space station.

But one more time she was disappointed. Yet again the bright bursts of fire lit up the skies and blinked down at her. The battle in space was scattered, with the main battle taking place hundreds of miles off the ground. Caite knew that Kayve was up there somewhere, fighting his heart out. Her only wish was that he return safely.

Caite was still gazing up at the twinkling sky several minutes later when there was a small noise behind her. She turned to see her grandmother shuffling up behind her and resting beside her at the railing. They exchanged smiles. Caite’s grandmother was a very kind woman with short white hair, once red, and a very short, slightly chubby build. Caite’s own mother had been red-haired, having inherited the color from her grandma.

Caite reached out and embraced her grandmother, letting her head fall on the elderly woman’s shoulder. Her grandma smiled and returned the embrace.

"Still worried about him?" she asked.

Caite smiled and closed her eyes. She had told her grandma all about Kayve shortly after she’d arrived.

"I just want this fight to be over with," she said wearily. She hadn’t been able to sleep very well, staying up half the night to watch the battle from a distance.

"The Garrison will take care of it," her grandmother assured her, "And I’m sure Kayve will return safely in no time."

Caite managed a smile for her optimistic grandma.

"I know he will," she said.

Her grandmother chuckled, rubbing Caite’s back, knowing very well how worried she was.

"You should go to bed and get some sleep," she advised, "or else by the time he gets back, you’ll be dead on your feet."

Caite smiled and squeezed her sweet grandmother.

"I’ll be OK, grandma," she assured her, "Why don’t you go to bed? You’ve been fussing over me ever since I got here."

Grandma pinched her cheek, then gave it a peck.

"All right," she agreed, "Just as long as you promise to go to bed soon."

"I promise," Caite told her.

They gave each other one last hug before Caite’s grandmother left the balcony and walked out the door of Caite’s room. Once she was gone, Caite turned back to the battle, sighing heavily.

"Come back, Kayve," she pleaded tiredly.

After a few more moments, Caite tore her eyes away from the sky and went back into her room, keeping the balcony doors open to let in the breeze. Heeding her grandmother’s request, Caite changed into an emerald silk nightshirt and crawled into her bed. With memories of a tall, dark-haired, handsome pilot on her mind, Caite closed her eyes and willed sleep to come.

* * *

It was very late. Moonlight shone into the room through the balcony doors, dimly illuminating the prone figure lying on the bed, facing away from the outside. She was curled up underneath the thin white covers, her hair sprawled across her pillow, her breathing soft and shallow. Aside from her light breaths and the muted nighttime noises coming from outside, the room was silent.

Unbeknownst to the silent sleeper, the door to the bedroom creaked open slowly and a dark figure crept in, shutting the door behind him, then walking quietly up to the bed. He gazed down at the sleeping form lovingly, watching her face as she slept and savoring the moment. He reached down and gently stroked her soft cheek. She stirred a bit, but did not awaken. He smiled.

A moment later he straightened and walked around to the other side. As soon as he shrugged off his clothes, all the way down to his boxers, he pulled down the covers and slid carefully into bed so as not to disturb her. Once he was in, he edged closer to his sleeping beauty until his body was pressed softly against her. He draped an arm lightly over her waist, then set his head down on the pillow, facing her so that his nostrils were taking in the intoxicating scent of her hair. Breathing in deeply, he closed his eyes and settled down to sleep.

* * *

Caite woke up in the middle of the night. She felt strange. The first thing she noticed was that it was still dark. The second thing she noticed was the abnormal pressure against her waist. Then she noticed the inhaling and exhaling breaths behind her, and realized she was not alone. But she wasn’t alarmed.

Caite turned her head slowly to lay her eyes on the sleeping man beside her. She smiled. Kayve looked so innocent and boyish when he was sleeping. She turned her body so she was laying on her back, and he stirred slightly. Once he was settled down again, Caite reached over and stroked his hair with her hand, brushing it back from his forehead. She then leaned over and placed a tender kiss on his cheek, then another on his nose. In his sleep, Kayve wrinkled his nose, and she grinned.

Caite then turned her eyes towards the balcony. With anticipation she slowly crawled out of bed, slipping out of Kayve’s grasp, and padded over to the doors on bare feet. As soon as she reached the balcony she looked up expectantly. But her hopeful look soon turned to a disappointed frown.

The battle over the city had stopped, she could tell that. But the battle up in space still continued. The flashes of light seemed to be confined to a smaller space than before, but they still appeared. Caite had hoped by Kayve’s presence that the fight was over and Terra had won. Unfortunately, it hadn’t happened. But then again, Caite knew that GG wouldn’t let Kayve come here if they needed him, which meant Terra was winning. That at least made her feel better.

She didn’t hear him come up behind her, and didn’t realize he was close until his arms guided their way around her waist and clasped over her stomach. Caite closed her eyes and leaned back into him, placing her hands over his.

"You made it," she said, "I knew you would."

"Hey, I told you I’d be here," he reminded her.

"So we’re going to win?"

"Did you ever have any doubt?"

Caite smiled and turned her head so her cheek rested against his bare chest.

"When do you have to go back?" she asked.

He hesitated in his reply.

"Tomorrow," he admitted.

Caite sighed. Kayve turned her to face him and tightened his grip on her. She looked up at him and their eyes met.

"Let’s not think about that now," he said quietly.

She closed her eyes as he leaned in to kiss her, and matched his passion. Sliding her arms up around his neck, she held him close to her, just as he did the same with his arms around her waist. As they kissed, a pleasured sound escaped her throat. Kayve pulled his head away and looked down at her lovingly. She returned his look. Kayve placed a hand on her cheek, caressing it, then leaned in to kiss her briefly and softly on the lips. Then he moved his kisses to her cheek, and down her neck until he reached her collarbone. Caite closed her eyes and tilted her head up, running her hands through his hair and gasping in pleasure as his lips and his tongue slid across her skin.

Kayve let his fingers trail down her cheek, past her neck, over her collarbone and down to the edge of her nightshirt. Caite pressed her cheek against his hair as he proceeded to undo the buttons slowly, allowing his fingers to slide along her skin as he moved them down to the next button. After three buttons he suddenly stopped and lifted his head, looking down at her chest in surprise. He reached into her shirt and pulled something out. Kayve stared down at the amulet, then glanced up at her in both surprise and pleasure.

"You’re wearing it," he stated in wonder.

She smiled shyly.

"I put it on shortly after I got here," she told him.

He looked right into her eyes, then smiled at her in pure happiness. She returned his smile.

Caite then let out a whelp as Kayve suddenly scooped her off her feet and into his arms. She laughed as he carried her into the bedroom and set her down gently on the bed, lowering himself down half on top of her, their legs interlocked and their heads close together. Their eyes met and they gazed at one another, their emotions in their eyes.

"I love you," he told her.

She released a small, affectionate smile and ran her fingers through his hair.

"I love you, too," she replied.

He beamed, then lowered his head to bring it to hers. And then, as the night went on, the two lovers finally let go of their longing and exploded in a storm of passion twice as intense as the foray outside.

* * *

Guess who was conceived that night!!

Comments or criticisms? Email me at cbjam@hotmail.com.

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