Authors notes: GAH! With all the recent hype over the release of the game Halo 3 for the xbox 360 (can't stand console games, PC FPS games are where it's at, baby), it recently occurred to me that the bad guys I have cast in this story are called Arbiters. Problem being, that in the Halo universe, the bad guys are also called Arbiters. Shit. A bit of an unintentional screw-up on my part. All the alien species I have made mention of I try and give recognisable English names for (Vanguard, Observers, Arbiters etc), rather than strange made-up names that don't mean anything. Oh well, Mircosoft, Bungie, don't sue me. Or I'll cry... Or something. Richard, you are my editor in shining armour, thank you so much.

Taniwha - Part 04

   Awareness came slowly to Vasya, the disturbing remnants of a vivid dream evaporating even as he tried to hang onto the fragments. He opened his eyes and found four large, featureless, black orbs staring straight at him from a vaguely demonic looking, reptilian face, only centimetres from his own. His first instinct was to scream, but the scream died still-born in his throat. Against all reason, something told him he was in no danger here.

   The last thing Vasya remembered clearly, was one of the large aliens smashing him aside as he tried to wrestle back his assault rifle from the creature. Then, briefly, regaining consciousness in a different area with no familiar faces in sight, knowing on some instinctive level that he was dying.

   The fact that he wasn't dead surprized him a little. For their own inscrutable reasons, the aliens had decided to keep him alive - at least for the moment.

   Vasya watched as the alien moved back and got to its feet. It hesitated briefly, baring its teeth at him and hissing softly, before moving away to a bank of what looked like storage lockers on the far side of the room. Struggling up onto his elbows, Vasya looked around at his surroundings. Scattered around the room were quite a few sleeping or unconcious reptilian forms, lying on top of makeshift stretchers.

   Shucking off the sheet covering him, Vasya realized something was missing. His clothes! Blushing he made a grab for the sheet and wrapped it loosely around his torso, looking around anxiously in case any of the aliens were staring. Gingerly getting to his feet, he swayed uncertainly for a few moments until his head stopped spinning. Other than the dizziness, he didn't seem to be much the worse for wear. Parts of him felt a little tender and bruised, but there were no obvious signs of the damage he was sure he had suffered during the short struggle he'd had with one of the warriors.

   The reptile soon returned, holding a package in one of its taloned hands towards him. Vasya flinched slightly as it thrust the package at him. It rumbled and hissed at him for a few moments before pausing and regarding him with its enigmatic black eyes. Leaning slightly forward, it reached out with its two rear arms and indicated the package, then pointed at his arms.

   Tentatively taking the proferred bundle, Vasya studied it for a few moments before he realized what it was. Unfolding the material, he held out the slick, black fabric and looked at it curiously. The material looked like the same stuff that the aliens were wearing, but shaped to fit a human body. Only, he couldn't find any buttons, zips, or anything obvious about how to get into it.

   Sensing his confusion, the reptile reached out with a talon and indicated a tiny seam along the front of the garment that he'd missed in his initial, cursory inspection. When the reptile poked at it with a talon, the material split neatly apart.

   "Thank you," Vasya said. He nodded and turned around, facing away from the reptile. Self-consciously, he dropped the sheet, and slipped into the skinsuit, the fabric sliding, nearly frictionless, against his skin. He found that by pressing the seam, the material knitted together with very little evidence of ever having been parted. "Da, neat trick," he said softly, turning back to face the reptile.

   Snapping its jaws together in evident satisfaction, the reptile looked Vasya up and down, making quiet rumbling noises deep in its throat. Turning, it started walking toward a doorway on the far side of the room, occasionally turning to look at him. When it reached the doorway, it stood patiently for several moments, staring at him. Vasya mentally shrugged, and stepped around several of the comatose creatures, as he made his way over to join the creature.

   Nodding at the reptile standing by the controls in the next room, Vasya's friend gently pushed him toward the large view screen that took up almost an entire wall in front of the control console. The view was quite spectacular. Earth floated in the inky blackness of space in front of them. Half of the globe was hidden in darkness, but scattered patches of yellow light indicated cities sprawling across the surface. Vasya was about to turn around to speak, when he noticed small bits of glittering metallic debris tumbling around in the space in front of them. Unsure quite why, he felt a growing unease deep in the pit of his stomach.

   It wasn't until a larger piece of wreckage came into view that the unease blossomed into despair. While it was quite badly battered and crushed, Vasya recognised the mangled remains of a Russian Federation space habitation module. A module that had, up until quite recently, been part of the Valentina Tereshkova.

   "Nyet! What happened? What happened to the others?" Vasya spun around and reached out imploringly towards the two reptiles. Silently, they stared impassively at him, not making any move to respond. He turned and pressed up against the viewscreen, watching wide eyed as the battered module moved slowly out of sight.

   Several long moments later, he felt the presence of one of the large aliens close behind him. It lowered its head until it was level with Vasya's, and softly hissed at him, a darkly colored, forked tongue flickering behind a mouthful of sharp teeth.

   Vasya just wanted to scream - there were so many conflicting emotions in him, all seeking simultaneous release. "You fucking monsters have brought nothing but ruin into my life!" He stepped backwards away from the startled reptile. "First you kill me, now you wont let me rest! You show me the torn remains of everything I held dear! Pl'uvat' na t'eb'a!" he spat at the reptile in fury.

   He was about to start tearing into the aliens again when the room started shaking, and a startled Vasya had to make a grab for the nearest object to remain standing. The nearest object happened to be the alien reptile, who had hunkered down to steady itself against the swaying deck. It looked down at him and blinked rapidly, wrapping an arm protectively around him.

   As quickly as it started, the shaking stopped. The two reptiles started hissing and growling at each other, the conversation only lasting a few seconds. Dragging Vasya behind it, the reptile turned to leave the room. The other one watched them go, while hissing in an almost disapproving manner.

   The light was extremely bright, and uncomfortable even through his closed eyelids. Antonio groaned and turned his head, seeking some relief, when a shadow cut out most of the glare. Reluctantly, he opened his eyes - just a fraction - and saw a head silhouetted against the bright light. Other shadowy shapes, barely visible, were moving around in the background.

   "Oh man, that was some trip," he muttered through parched and cracked lips. At least that's what he tried to say. All that came out was a croak. His body felt like it was one big bruise, and there was a stabbing, burning pain in his leg - it hurt only slightly less to not move at all.

   "Ssssh, do not try and speak, comrade. I have you now. You are safe. I will not let you go."

   Antonio blinked, trying to bring his eyes into focus, but the background light was too strong for him to make out the face. But that voice... that familiar voice. He tried to speak again but lacked the energy. Closing his tired eyes, he felt what he thought might be someone's lips brushing against his own. Managing a weak smile, Antonio drifted back into the welcome clutches of dark unconsciousness.

   Waking with a yell, an indeterminate amount of time later, Antonio again found himself looking at a face above him, staring back at him with startlingly light-grey eyes. He was in an immense amount of pain, and it took all his willpower not to cry out. Looking around wildly through the pain and confusion, he could see Vasya straddling his waist, the stocky (and alive!) cosmonaut's weight holding him down.

   "Antonio, my friend. I was hoping you would not be awake for this. Their medics are working to heal you. Look at me.. Look at me!" Vasya grabbed Antonio's head with both hands and leaned down till his face was only scant centimetres from that of the marine's. "It is going to hurt, probably a lot. Grab my hand and squeeze. Hard as you can, Antonio!"

   "Arrgh! What's happening?! What are they doing to me, man?!" Antonio panicked, as he saw two of the large reptilian creatures moving around behind the Russian.

   "You have compound fracture in your leg. They need to set it." Vasya gripped both of Antonio's hands firmly, as he leaned in close again. "They are trying to help you. I would not let them near you, otherwise - believe me," he said, pleading with the marine.

   "Get it over with, then," Antonio hissed through clenched teeth, squeezing Vasya's hands so tightly the cosmonaut winced.

   Vasya gave the two reptiles a quick nod before turning back to face Antonio. Despite the haze of pain, Antonio was still a little surprized when the Russian leant over and kissed away the sweat beading on his forehead. There was a loud crack, and the marine screamed out loudly, as the two Vanguard medics set the fracture.

   "Ssssh now, it is done," Vasya whispered hoarsely, as Antonio sobbed from the pain.

   After a few minutes, Antonio's pain died away, and the medics started the healing process - their taloned fingers resting lightly on the wounds. A short while later, Vasya felt one of the reptiles touch him on the shoulder. Turning his head he saw the largest of the two reptiles close its eyes tiredly, and nod at him, pointing to the injured leg. Where there used to sharp fragments of bone poking out of the torn flesh, there was now just some faint bruising which faded away in front of his astonished eyes.

   Vasya gently released Antonio, and got to his feet. He helped the pale and shaken marine struggle into a sitting position. Antonio swallowed and looked around nervously, before reaching out and pulling a surprized Vasya into a tight embrace. "I cant believe you're still alive. I thought you were dead, man! Thought I'd..." He hesitated for a few moments, before continuing a little more quietly, "Thought we'd lost you."

   "Nyet, not dead. I am - how you say - like plant? No matter how hard you try to get rid of me, I keep coming back, da?"

   "You mean weed. Coming back like a weed, you silly Russian!" Antonio laughed weakly before quickly sobering up. He released Vasya and looked, first at his bloody leg and then at the two large reptiles standing beside them. Despite the blood there were no open wounds anymore. The reptiles, apparently, had healed it all, somehow. That was a mystery that was going to have to wait.

   "Relax, they don't appear to want to hurt us." Vasya helped the unsteady marine get to his feet. "However, I'm not sure what happened to the Valentina Tereshkova. I intend to find out, da?"

   "What about the others? Fish? Captain Hardy? Your Lieutenant?"

   "They are alright, only minor injuries. We were unable to save Mission Specialist, unfortunately."

   "Nilsen? Good fucking riddance," Antonio muttered venomously.

   Casting a suspicious look at the two Vanguard medics, Antonio let Vasya lead him past them towards a closed hatch on a nearby bulkhead. They had to step around several sleeping reptiles, stretched out on the decking, as they walked towards the hatch.

   Two of the reptiles, sitting beside each other on the floor, looked up at them with their unblinking black eyes as they walked past. Vasya thought one of them looked vaguely familiar, but couldn't remember why. He shrugged it off; there would be time to worry about it later.

   Once through the hatchway, Antonio stopped and looked at the large object taking up most of the space inside the room, with his mouth agape. The three figures that were standing around one end of the battered cylinder came over to them when they heard the hatchway open.

   "Oh-Man! Good to see ya, dude. Whoa, the lizards managed to fix up the ol' leg, eh?" Terry gave Antonio a huge grin and a slap on the back.

   Vasya smiled, leaving Antonio to get reaquainted with his squadmates, and walked over to Lieutenant Irenei Putin, who was standing slightly seperated from the others. Irenei dismissed his salute and, instead, gave him a hearty hug and kissed him on both cheeks, like a long-lost friend. Vasya switched to Russian, as he talked quietly with his commanding officer.

   "I apologize for leaving, Sir. I -"

   "Nyet, nyet, don't worry about it, my young friend," Irenei interrupted him, smiling. "I quite understand. Although I think your friend is going to have some explaining to do to his comrades. I believe they may be a little suspicious of you. And I have to admit, I also have some questions."

   "Sir, I can explain... Well, some of it, anyway. But I have to know: What happened to the Valentina Tereshkova?"

   Irenei frowned, his expression darkening perceptably. "I'm not completely sure. We saw this alien vessel approaching us and took evasive action. Had no idea what their intentions were." He shrugged, before continuing. "Something went wrong with the engine, lost control. Ship came apart, but we managed to get into the support module."

   "So the aliens didn't attack you then, Sir?"

   "Nyet, I don't believe so. And stop calling me Sir. Makes me feel like an old man."

   Vasya smiled and relaxed a little, casting a quick glance toward Antonio, who was in a heated discussion with his squadmates. Antonio happened to look over at the same time, and gave him a smile and a wink, causing Vasya to blush. Irenei saw the exchange between the two men and laughed.

   "Sorry, Sir - err, I mean... Umm, anyway, I saw some of the wreckage from the cockpit of this vessel and thought the worst." Vasya looked again at the battered support module, lying on the deck like a long, silver beer can that had been kicked around by one too many kids. In the low lighting, the dents and missing sections were mostly hidden by the shadows. The massive tear in the side of the module, where the Vanguard had ripped it open to get at the survivors, gaped like an obscene mouth. "She was a good ship."

   "Da, da she was. Still, it looks like your new friends decided to save us. But why did they come after us in this small vessel? And what are their plans for us?" Irenei's eyes narrowed slightly as he studied the younger man's face.

   Vasya shrugged eloquently, and shook his head. "They are hardly my friends. They almost killed me, remember? What do you mean, smaller vessel? Are we not still on their battleship?"

   "Nyet. You mean you didn't know?"

   Looking a little surprized, Vasya looked around again. "I had no idea. But I haven't been conscious very long, myself. As for their plans for us..." He shrugged again.

   Out of the corner of his eye Antonio saw a shadow detach itself from the darkness on the far side of the room, and make its way towards them. As it came closer, he saw that it was one of the aliens. He paused in his discussion with the others, and nodded towards it. They all turned to regard it warily. Stopping a few metres away, it regarded them with its enigmatic black eyes, but made no move to approach any closer.

   The conversation resumed, a little more quietly than before, with suspicious glances cast occasionally in its direction. Irenei and Vasya also noticed the presence of the alien, but weren't too concerned, as they doubted it understood much, if anything, of what they were saying.

   After several minutes, it snorted, shook its head and approached the two Russians. It hunkered down, when it reached them, so that it wasn't towering over them in such an intimidating manner. Irenei took a step backwards, anyway, but Vasya held his ground. This was the same reptile that had assisted him when he had awoken.

   Reaching up to one of its ears with a forward arm, it fiddled around with its talons for a few moments before lowering the arm again. Hanging off the ear was a small, black, translucent disk. Irenei regarded the reptile suspiciously until Vasya explained what the disk was, recognising it from their first encounter. Although, he could have sworn the creature didn't have anything in its hand to begin with.

   "It's just a translation device. Allows it to speak and understand English. I am not sure about Russian."

   Waiting patiently until Vasya had finished speaking, the reptile then started hissing, growling and rumbling at them. Seconds later an obviously artificial voice spoke to them, in English, from the small disk on the reptile's ear. "This one is Flows-Like-Water. You will not be harmed. We are sorry about the destruction of your vessel. That was not our doing."

   The Americans had stopped talking, meanwhile, and had wandered over to listen to what was going on.

   "If you're so fucking peaceful, why did you chase after us with your ship?" Captain Hardy glared at the reptile, fingers restlessly searching for his side-arm. A side-arm that was now not much more than another piece of metallic debris sailing through space towards Earth's gravity well.

   "Remaining Vanguard seek your help. We are the only survivors from the attack on the Lightning-Strike. Your world is now in danger." It paused and turned to look straight at Vasya. "A storm is coming."

   The young Russian met the alien's unblinking stare, finding the words spoken by the creature hauntingly familiar. A memory of his beloved Kirill flashed through his mind, along with a terrible sense of foreboding...


   "How are you feeling?"

   "I am... feeling adequate. Thank you for your concern."

   Invokes-The-Storm looked stung at the response, and hung his head, avoiding the other reptile's eyes. "Hrrr... There is no apology I can give that will make up for what I did to you." He paused and turned to watch, as an injured human on the other side of the room screamed loudly. One of the other humans was holding it down, as two medics worked to heal what looked like a bad fracture in one of the creature's legs.

   "No, no there is not." Obscuring-Darkness kept staring at the downcast warrior. "Why? All I ever did was try and be there for you. What did I do wrong?"

   Briefly looking up, Invokes-The-Storm reached an arm towards Obscuring-Darkness, but stopped when the engineer flinched away. "You did nothing wrong. You only showed me kindness." The warrior looked pained, knowing the likely response to what he was going to say next. "It was not me who did that to you -"

   "Then who was it? It certainly looked a lot like you!"

   "I was not myself. Something is wrong with me, I think." Looking down again, Invokes-The-Storm did not see Obscuring-Darkness snap his jaw shut in agreement, but he did hear it. They sat together for several more minutes without speaking, the silence only broken by the noises the humans were making as the medics went about their business.

   A few minutes later they both looked up as two humans slowly made their way past to the shuttle's storage bay, where the remains of their vessel lay.

   "I should go and do..." Invokes-The-Storm paused and racked his mind for something to say. "stuff," he finished, lamely.

   With mixed emotions, Obscuring-Darkness watched the warrior get up and leave, heading for the rear of the ship somewhere. He closed his eyes, shivering as he relived the attack in his mind. But, buried deep underneath the terror were feelings of remorse and regret, which he couldn't quite understand. Obscuring-Darkness sighed when he sensed the presence of another Vanguard approach. Opening his eyes, he saw the old medic, Docile-Until-Provoked, standing beside him.

   "That was a little harsh, young one." Docile-Until-Provoked looked at Obscuring-Darkness with a disappointed expression on his craggy features. "You have both been through some hard times recently. I would have thought you would be a little more understanding."

   "No, I think it is you who do not understand. He did this to me."

   Docile-Until-Provoked huffed in surprize, rocking back onto his haunches. "Hrrr, that explains some of your injuries a little better, at least. Can I ask why he did this to you?"

   Obscuring-Darkness shook his head. "I am unsure. He did say he was not himself, whatever that means. He thinks there is something wrong with him, but I could see no obvious injuries."

   The medic's tail whipped around in an agitated fashion for a few minutes while he crouched there, thinking. "It is possible. We are a very strong species, having evolved from a long line of savage predators. The problem is though, however advanced our brains have become, we are - at heart - still not that far removed from our primitive ancestors."

   "I do not understand?"

   "Subject any animal to enough stress and it will eventually break, reverting to its more basic nature. Your friend is probably right. He endured abuse that would probably have killed a weaker Vanguard, but it has left him broken."

   Obscuring-Darkness looked at the elderly medic, eyes wide. "Broken? Hrrr, is that something you can heal?"

   Docile-Until-Provoked smiled sadly at the young engineer. "A medic's skills are limited to fixing physical injuries. Injuries of the mind - or the heart - are something only time and understanding can heal." He stood up and turned to leave, hesitating before he did so. "Do you love him?"

   "I... do not know. I used to think so. But he never returned my affections."

   "Go after him, young one. I think he does care for you. After all, he put himself at great risk to get you off the Lightning-Strike. And I have seen the way he looks at you. The same way you used to look at him, if I recall correctly."

   "But -"

   The medic sighed irritably, interrupting him. "Hrrr... These are dark times, and we face an uncertain future. We need to be strong for each other, and he needs someone to be strong for him. Be that one. Go! "

   Obscuring-Darkness scrambled to his feet and took off after Invokes-The-Storm like a stampeding Rank-Beast. Docile-Until-Provoked laughed softly to himself and continued his rounds.

   After searching for a few minutes, Obscuring darkness finally found the young warrior standing beside one of the large, heavily armoured spheres inside the engine bay. He was staring blankly through one of the small optical viewing portals at the singularity point. Singularities, the small specks of mass smaller than a grain of sand, but weighing almost as much as a medium sized star, were the power source for the Vanguard civilisation.

   Singularity generators not only provided power to run the ship. They also provided the artifically manipulated gravitational fields and the means to travel at nearly the speed of light. Modified versions were able to rip apart the very fabic of space-time, which enabled ships to travel into and out of the strange non-reality that was hyperspace - bridging vast astronomical distances in a matter of days instead of centuries.

   "They say if you stare at a singularity for long enough, you can see into the future."

   Invokes-The-Storm jerked his head back, startled, and turned to face the one who had interrupted his silent vigil. When he saw who it was, he dropped his gaze and turned back to the portal. Random patterns of soft, white light played across the scales on his snout.

   Gathering his courage, Obscuring-Darkness slowly padded over to the taciturn warrior and, with a little stretching, managed to look over his broad shoulder into the portal. The singularity itself wasn't visible to the naked eye. Instead, the shimmering clouds of heavily ionised plasma swirled around, almost hypnotically in random patterns, inside the chamber.

   Several minutes passed without Invokes-The-Storm taking flight, so Obscuring-Darkness took a chance and gently pressed up against the warrior, wrapping all four of his arms around him. They both stood there, cheek to cheek, watching the light show.

   "Hrrr... Do you see the future in there? Do you see a future where we can start again?" Invokes-The-Storm spoke slowly and quietly, before shutting his eyes and waiting for a response.

   "The only future I can see is an uncertain one. But one that is best faced together. If you are willing."

   Invokes-The-Storm responded with an almost subsonic rumbling, from deep within his chest. He turned and pulled Obscuring-Darkness over to a discarded pile of soft inner-hull insulation near a bulkhead, where he lay down, making room for the young engineer to join him. This time, Obscuring-Darkness didn't flinch when the warrior reached for him.

   One of Invokes-The-Storm's talons undid the fastener of Obscuring-Darkness' skinsuit, while several other talons on his other hands traced along the creases and curves of the trembling engineer's body. With light touches on the sensitive scales eliciting jolts of pleasure leading straight into his groin, Obscuring-Darkness' cock hardened, exposing more of its length from his sheath. When the warrior started gently biting at the sensitive scales around his neck and under his muzzle, his cock started throbbing slightly, oozing serious amounts of precum.

   Invokes-The-Storm could smell the young engineer's excitement, as he continued stroking and nibbling at spots he knew would drive the other reptile crazy. Taking note of the silent cues, he started biting a little harder on Obscuring-Darkness' neck, carefully monitoring the reactions of his new lover in case he pushed too hard. When he tasted the distinctive tang of hormone drenched blood, he almost broke off, fearing the worst. But the rumbling moans from his partner told him that they were, maybe at last, going to be alright.

   Reaching down, Invokes-The-Storm started alternatively squeezing and stroking the engineers cock, milking copious streams of precum from the hard organ. It was starting to get seriously slippery down there. Growling loudly, he let go of Obscuring-Darkness' neck and moved his head down until he was level with the cock. The engineer was impatiently thrusting it at his snout, smearing yet more precum over the side of his face. Sliding as much of his tongue around the cock as he could, he smiled to himself at the little squeals and gasps Obscuring-Darkness made at these new and intense feelings.

   With one of his other hands, he reached down with one of his stronger rear arms and grabbed his own throbbing and neglected cock. He scooped up some of his own drooling precum and folding back the talons on that hand, he applied it liberally on, and around, Obscuring-Darkness' tail-hole.

   "Hrrr! Tread lightly, warrior!" Obscuring-Darkness hissed, as he felt the warrior rubbing parts of him that had never been touched before.

   "My life is yours, my soul bare..."

   Obscuring-Darkness stiffened in shock, looking at Invokes-The-Storm who was staring back at him, eyes unblinking. He had never heard anyone use the phrase before, but it was known to every Vanguard. The warrior was unconditionally offering his life, should any of his actions cause harm to the other - it was a binding oath, and one not given lightly.

   "Understood - but please, go easy on me."

   After finishing the lube-job, Invokes-The-Storm moved until he was lying stretched out on top of the engineer. Using all four of his own arms, he grabbed hold of, and spread the engineer's arms out to either side of his body. He then clamped his jaw around the neck of his lover and bit down until he tasted blood again. Obscuring-Darkness gasped and tilted his head back until his horns were scraping the bulkhead.

   Slipping his ramrod-stiff cock slowly into the spasming tailhole, Invokes-The-Storm growled, deep and loud, as he sank deep into the other reptile's shivering body.

   Despite the fact that he could barely breathe, Obscuring-Darkness was concentrating more on the stretched, full feeling as he was impaled on the young warrior's insistant cock. He was aware of the blood flowing freely from the bites on his neck, but the pain was dulled by the other feelings. Through the fear, muted but still present, and his mounting lust, he felt Invokes-The-Storm withdraw slightly before pistoning his cock back in, slightly deeper than before.

   Unlike the previous violent encounter, this was intimate, loving, and sensual. Obscuring-Darkness gurgled out a half strangled sigh as the warrior pistoned his massive cock in and out of his clutching tailhole.

   "I will breed you, engineer. I mark you as mine - as I am yours. HRRR! " Invokes-The-Storm hissed, as his jaws relaxed their hold on the young engineer's neck. Increasing the pace of his deep, steady thrusts, he started licking away the black blood streaming down his new lover's neck. Special enzymes in his saliva, brought on by the rutting, would heal the bite marks without scarring, over the next few days.

   Invokes-The-Storm released Obscuring-Darkness' rear arms, as he steadied himself for the final strokes. The young engineer immediately wrapped his freed arms around the warrior's broad shoulders. He also felt Obscuring-Darkness' tail twining around his own, the two long, flexible extensions of their bodies writhing around as if they had minds of their own.

   "Breed me, warrior!" Staring deep into Invokes-The-Storm's eyes, Obscuring-Darkness saw a hidden, suppressed need there. A deeply buried, and unrecognised instinct kicked in, and he ripped his fore-arms free from the warrior's grasp and grabbed the warrior's head tightly so he couldn't flinch away. With his rear hands, he dug talons deep into the warrior's shoulders, drawing blood of his own.

   "RRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAARRRGH! " Invokes-The-Storm roared out in mixed pain/pleasure, eyes unfocused in the throes of passion, as he hammered his seed home, deep inside the bowels of his willing partner. Small gouts of his cum splashed out around his cock as he slowed his thrusting, dripping down the thighs and tail of the now well-bred young Engineer beneath him.

   It took them both several minutes of panting before they could both catch their breath sufficiently to talk.

   "You are alright?" Obscuring-Darkness folded back the talons on one of his forward hands, and gently wiped away some of the black tears trailing down the warrior's craggy face.

   Vanguard mating habits were rather physical affairs, with a lot of biting, wrestling, blood, saliva and cum. Mostly, but not always, it was the female who tended to do the biting. But, in male to male matings, it was usually the stronger of the two who took on the more aggressive role. The throat-biting was an instinctual sign of trust of one partner for the other, usually only displayed in matings between bond-mates.

   "Hrrr, yes... Yes, I believe so. I am just not quite sure what I have done to deserve your trust."

   Obscuring-Darkness didn't respond. Instead, he lifted his head and licked at the blood flowing freely from the punctures on the warrior's shoulders. At some instinctive level, he had recognised Invokes-The-Storm's unspoken, and probably subconscious, need to release the intense anger and self-loathing he was harbouring. He hoped that doing so, in such an intimate encounter, would go some way towards mending the young warrior's brokeness.

End of Part 04