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Hollow Years, Part I
Posted on July 27th, 2004 by Ian Blackthorne

Ian Blackthorne and Sarina Ja’ral

Dinner had been pleasant with only a couple of tense moments and one when Sarina knew his mind had drifted to someplace else. Dublin was one of her favorite cities and a pub was the perfect place for a …date? Hmm…she’d have to contemplate that later. Now they were back on the starbase and headed to a holodeck for some sparring.

“I promise to go easy on you,” she said with a smile.

“Oh, good,” Ian replied. “I’m really not in the mood to get hurt. But then again, you are a doctor.”

“Now I didn’t say I’d take it that easy on you,” she teased. “For a flyboy, you don’t seem to be in too bad a shape.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to find time to keep in shape, but I certainly try.”

She laughed as she stopped outside the holodeck doors. “I said for a flyboy you’re not bad. For a real warrior you’re in sad shape.” She’d met enough flyboys to know they really had no idea about what fighting was about. They usually crumpled quickly and she didn’t figure this match would last long.

He smirked slightly. “I probably fight better in the air anyway.”

“More than likely.” She tapped the holodeck controls. “We don’t need anything fancy, do we?” She tapped the last control without waiting for his reply and the doors slid back revealing the normal grid. She stepped through and began doing some stretches. He followed and stretched with her, looking forward to another diversion from his melancholia.

Sarina watched him through her parted legs. He was handsome and seemed intelligent, funny… perhaps even a tad sexy if she let herself think of him that way. So why was he alone? She straightened and turned to face him. “Ready?”

He nodded, assuming a relaxed but poised posture.

She circled him slowly. Where to begin? Blunt was a starting point. She went in quickly, aiming a kick at his chest.

Ian reacted immediately, sidestepping her kick and sweeping at her other leg.

She went down, curled and rolled backward, hopping to her feet quickly. “Not bad, flyboy.” She supposed she was being disrespectful, but what the Rixx. Let him come to her this time.

He simply nodded in reply to the compliment, focusing solely on the fight. It was refreshing to be thinking about something other than Amy, who had dominated his thoughts since her last moments on that lonely world. Circling Sarina, he watched her, trying to learn anything he could about the way she fought. It was time to test her. His leg snapped out, feinting low then quickly extending high.

She had been smiling, but the smile faded as she went back to concentrating on the fight. He almost had her, she had to pay attention and not assume. His foot grazed her face. She nodded even as she plotted her next move. Time to take the gloves off. She ran at him and kicked out, aiming for his face.

He ducked under her kick, catching her leg by the calf as he twisted his torso to use her momentum to throw her. She landed flat on her back. Ian let go of her ankle and backed away, still in a ready stance.
She flipped to her feet, took a running start and went over his head, twisting at the last moment and planting a foot firmly in his back. She misjudged the landing by a hair and lost her balance. Gods, how long had it been since she’d had a real fight?

He staggered from the kick to his back, but kept his footing, turning to face her.

She smiled sweetly. “All’s fair in love and war. I learned that the hard way.”

“So which one is this?”

She arched a brow. “I didn’t know I had a choice.”

“Well then, if that’s love, I’d hate to see your idea of war.”

“My idea of love is much different than this, I assure you. As for my idea of war, let’s just say I don’t like losing.” She considered for a moment. “I don’t like losing at anything, even love.”

“Love isn’t a contest with a winner and loser.”

“You don’t think so?” She shrugged and used the moment to duck in and punch him in the solar plexus. Backing away quickly, she went on, “Tell me you don’t feel like a loser when it comes to love.”

He fought for breath for a moment, and when he could speak again, replied, “Perhaps.”

She watched him and nodded. “I thought I recognized a kindred spirit.” For a moment, she contemplated hitting him again and putting an end to this, but instead she remained where she was, watching him.

“I didn’t come here to dwell on that!” He darted forward and lowered his shoulder, catching her right in the chest with it.

She grabbed hold instinctively and took him down with her. She landed on her back and with a woosh the air was gone from her lungs and she was left staring up at him, trying to draw air in. His face was so near hers she could feel his warm breath tickling her face. Sarina stared up at him silently. With a soft moan, she pulled his head down and captured his lips with hers.

The kiss surprised Ian, and his instinct was to pull away, but he didn’t. Giving in to the moment, his body gradually released the fighting tension. Ian wrapped her in his arms, pulling her closer, wanting to have again what he’d lost several times before.

It was madness, but such madness. Sarina slipped her arms around his neck and slid her fingers through his hair. His kiss was hungry and she returned the hunger, taking as she gave. She couldn’t get enough of tasting him, of having him taste her.

Their lips parted several long moments later, and Ian was left looking into her eyes, wordless. He gently caressed her cheek with his fingertips, savoring the moment, expecting it to be ripped away at any time.
She took a slow, shuddering breath, her lips still tingling from the kiss. His touch sent shivers of heat through her. Her fingers slid down his neck and encountered his insignia and for a moment she froze. But there was something in his eyes that drew her and she could no more help herself than stop breathing. “Ian,” she whispered, using his given name for the first time that evening.

“Yes,” he answered, “I am Ian. Not just Vice Admiral Blackthorne, but also Ian… a man who is alive.”

She bit her lip, unsure of herself for the first time in a long while. He was here and so very vulnerable and she had thought she’d forgotten all these feelings, that they would never be part of her again, but here she was. She took another taste of his lips and felt her pulse jump. “And I’m a woman who…” She paused for a second. “Wants you.”

That was the reassurance that he’d needed. He pulled her lips to his again, this time believing that the moment would actually last.

They were in the middle of the holodeck and she didn’t care. Her hands tugged at his tunic until she could slide them beneath it. Her fingers touched his flesh and she groaned against his lips, her body arching up toward him. She couldn’t think past this moment, past her need of him.

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