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LtCmdr Chen & PNPC Greir Reinard - The Greatest Gifts


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((Starbase 118 Ops: Greir and Chen’s Quarters))


::Every shift was currently a long shift. There was a mountain of work to wade through and delegating was difficult in a situation where everyone’s trust couldn’t be guaranteed. Chen had no choice but to trust a select few. Based on their actions during the Astred investigation and the ion storm, Chen felt there were a couple of officers he could rely on - Mendes, Graham, Voss and Tiam. At present, he was in the process of turning over some plans for flushing out their missing undercover agent in his mind but, after an exhausting, but quite enjoyable shift, he was ready to wind down and give his brain a little rest.::


::He reached the door to his quarters and it slid back with a soft hiss. It struck him as quite a wonderful thing that the air inside bore the same familiar smell as it had in his shared quarters aboard the Vigilant, Darwin and Deep Space 6. Hints of Greir’s and his own aftershaves, clean fabric and tones of Masala spice chai all blended into one scent, identifiable to him and only one other person in the galaxy: home.::


::He hadn’t walked more than five step through the door when Greir appeared from the bedroom, the pleasure at seeing his fiancé return evident on his face. His golden eyes were bright in the ambient light of the quarters and it hit Chen how much he missed him lately. Early starts and late finishes were really squeezing their time and he’d barely had time to sit down and talk to his th’se since the ion storm that threatened the station had been dispersed. He’d established that he’d been OK, and that he’d ended up lending a hand by making announcements over the comm in the commercial sector. He hadn’t been able to provide Greir with some of the specific details of what he had been up to himself, but he had been able to give him the bare bones of where he’d been, and that he’d been involved in trying to disperse the storms before they could cause damage.::


Chen: Hey, th’se.


::He crossed the living area quickly, wrapping his arms around Greir and leaning his forehead towards him, the tips of his antennae almost touching the dark blue pigmented band beneath his partner’s hairline. The expression of affection allowed him to sense his familiar warmth…::


Reinard: Hey Chen, how was your day?


::...but it wasn’t enough. In response to Greir’s question, he kissed him hungrily and insistently. His hands felt the muscles in Greir’s back relax, and it was a good few seconds before he heard him breathe in through his nose. His partner’s hands slid down his back to rest loosely on his waist, and he felt the muscles in his face moving as he smiled through the kiss. They were all signals of how much Greir was enjoying the greeting.::


Reinard: Missed me then?


::The question came during a pause for breath.::


Chen: Mm-hmm.


::And the advantage of that particular answer was that you could say it while you were kissing someone.::


::Greir was finding the all of this attention most welcome indeed. He’d missed Chen something rotten as well, although he’d quickly realised that this must have been how his partner felt when he’d had to work long shifts as the captain of the Darwin. He’d considered that Chen would be very busy while he set up his new department and he didn’t resent him for it - in fact, while he had some spare time on his hands before final authorisation for Terraform Command had come through, he’d started to try to change his schedule so that he could always be around and awake whenever Chen was home so that they could maximise their time together. Things would stabilise soon enough.::


::He could have stayed like that with Chen all night, but there was something he’d been looking forward to very much for a few weeks now. Some packages had arrived that morning for the wedding, but one had been a delivery that had been redirected from Deep Space 6. He had ordered it for Chen’s birthday, a long time in advance, in fact, because the item was very special indeed and he’d put a lot of thought into choosing it.::


::He was a little out of breath and he could feel his pulse racing. Mustering his willpower, he broke the kiss, taking a step back and taking both of Chen’s hands in his.::


Reinard: There are some things we have to talk about, Chen, and I have something to give you.


::He suddenly paused, remembering that his partner had just worked a long shift and probably hadn’t eaten.::


Reinard: Are you hungry? Do you want to get some food first?


::Chen shook his head. He was a little hungry, but he didn’t want to eat yet.::


Chen: I’d like to wait a while before I sit down and eat. I want to hear whatever you want to talk about. Is everything OK?


::The Andorian’s antennae were beginning to push away from each other as he wondered whether or not Greir had run into a problem with work, or if he was unhappy with the way things were playing out on Starbase 118.::


Reinard: ::Smiling reassuringly:: They’re fine, Chen. Nothing to worry about at all.


::He’d wanted to push his partner’s antennae back into position to illustrate the point, but they moved on their own in response to his reply, pointing themselves back at him again.::


Chen: OK, so what is it?


Reinard: Alright, close your eyes. I’m going to sit you down on the bed, and then I want you to hold out your hands.


::Chen complied with the instructions, allowing Greir to guide him into the bedroom. Gentle pressure on his shoulders told him when he could sit down, and he held out his hands. He was aware he was about to be given something and he was very curious about what it might be. When Greir placed it in his hands, he found it was of medium weight, and felt like it was wrapped in tissue paper. It was long enough to rest on both of his hands, so it was wider than his body.::


Reinard: You can open your eyes now.


::The excitement in his voice was unmistakeable. As soon as Chen saw the shape of the package, he had a hunch about what it could be, and he felt an onrush of gleeful enthusiasm.::


Chen: Oh, wow, this is a hrisal!


::Greir beamed down at Chen as he tore feverishly at the wrapping. He’d expected his partner to identify the Andorian sword, as he didn’t seem to miss much, but he doubted he was prepared for what he would see when it was fully unwrapped. Or it’s sheath, for that matter.::


::Chen’s grin spread wider and wider as he removed the layer of tissue paper, then carefully unfolded the layer of navy blue silk cloth that was wrapped around the outside of the weapon. When he saw the hilt, he gasped, tilting it to catch the light as he inspected the intricate detail.::


Chen: Thirishar’s word… this is absolutely beautiful! Etheka insets? Is this hand-carved?


::Greir smiled proudly as Chen examined his gift. The etheka wood insets hilt were visible between carefully woven strands of jet black cloth, which both cushioned the hilt and helped to provide grip. The material threaded through the hilt itself in a series of thin holes, keeping it secure and in position. The carving and etching on the wooden and metal hilt depicted the scene from the Tale of the Breaking where Thirishar stood before Uzaveh the Infinite. The Tale told that Uzaveh had separated the legendary warrior Thirishar into four beings, one for each of the Andorian genders, but Greir knew that Chen had always believed the story should have been different, that Thirishar was standing up to the deity. He would never have managed to get anyone to agree to carve that onto a hrisal, but this seemed to be as good a thing.::


Reinard: Yes, and you bet it is! Take a look at the blade.


::Slowly, Chen pulled the hrisal from its etheka wood sheath. The blade itself was etched with Thirishar’s trials in scintillating detail. This was some unbelievable work by an exceptionally skilled craftsman but, more to the point, this weapon could not have suited him more. He was taken back to the sword training his charan had given him as a young chan, out in the fields near Irimari, and how he’d continued to study the discipline right through school, always keen to impress the parent he had been closest to. After Chen had broken his bond and left the homeworld, he’d severed ties with all of his parents, which had been intensely painful but hardly of his own choosing. Hrisal training had helped him to get through it, allowing him to expel all other thoughts from his mind, focusing only on how he, and his weapon, moved. And here was a sword with the deity from the Tale of the Breaking that he had always looked up to, always aspired to be. He wanted to make sure he saw every single detail of the artistry on the blade without missing an inch.::


Chen: ::Looking up at Greir for a moment.:: I love this so much. Can I look at all this etching for a minute?


::Greir took a seat next to Chen, resting a hand on his back. He could see how happy Chen was with his gift.::


Reinard: Of course you can, Chen. Take your time.


::They sat for a few minutes, with Chen examining the artistry on the blade, turning it over to look at its other side after a few moments and making sure he took in every scrap of detail. To begin with, Greir stroked his back, but ended up taking to playing with the short, spikey hair at the nape of Chen’s neck, eyes shifting between the hrisal and his partner’s face. It really looked like he’d nailed it.::


::Only when Chen was happy that he fully appreciated exactly what he was holding in his hands did he slide it back into its sheath, leaving it sitting across his lap on top of its silk wrap.::


Chen: I don’t even know how to begin to thank you for this. This is the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever been given.


Reinard: It actually came late because of the transfer. It was supposed to be your birthday and it’s a shame I couldn’t give it to you then, but I’m glad I was able to do it now. It was master crafted by an artisan swordsmith who lives about eighteen miles from your home town on Andoria. I commissioned him myself.


::Greir had never cared about the cost of gifts. He didn’t normally spend a lot, with the exception of his recent visit to Starbase 118’s commercial sector. That meant he’d saved up enough that he could buy extravagant things for people he cared about without having to worry about the price.::


Reinard: You don’t need to do anything to thank me. Seeing how much you love it means a lot to me. I love seeing you that happy.


::Chen really was lost for words. He just looked at his th’se and smiled.::


Reinard: That’s why I’ve made a decision that I really hope you will be happy with, because it’s something I probably should have consulted you about first. It’s just that I thought about it right before that ion storm scare, and I hoped that you wouldn’t mind me surprising you with it.


::Now that he thought about it, Greir was very slightly nervous that Chen might be annoyed he had altered the plans without talking to him. He wanted the wedding to be both of theirs, with both having the same controlling stake and both having equal responsibility. The last thing he wanted chen to feel was that he was being forced out of the planning side of things.::


::Chen wondered what might be coming next. He wondered if Greir was going to have to travel to Earth or something to talk to his bosses about the delays to getting his department set up on the starbase, or to a distant planet on a terraforming mission. If he was then he was really going to miss him.::


Chen: What was it?


::The question was filled with curiosity rather than accusation. Chen knew that Greir had given up a lot so that they could be together and if he did need to spend some time away from the station then there was no way he would give him a hard time about it.::


Reinard: I’ve moved the date of the wedding, and the guests and everything we need are on the way. I don’t want to wait and wait and wait and end up never marrying you, Chen, because of transfers, missions, jobs… anything at all. I want you to be mine, and for everyone to know it. There’s a specially reserved space in my family that I want you to fill. I want to make the commitment to you that I promised to make over a year ago and I can’t bring myself to wait patiently to do it like it’s a piece of unofficial business that must wait its turn to reach the top of the priority list and gets postponed if something else comes along. You’re very special to me and it’s time we took action.


::The words spilled out of Greir’s mouth, engulfing everything that he had planned to say in an unexpectedly emotional speech.::


Reinard: Are you OK with that? When I did it, I did it because I thought you would be. I hope I’m not wrong.


::Those nerves were mounting a little bit more as he waited to hear what Chen made of that. Essentially, he’d interfered in something that they had planned together and changed the schedule purely because it suited him. His reasons had been good, as far as he was concerned at least, but now that he thought about it, there was a real chance that Chen would be upset that he wasn’t at least consulted.::


Chen: You know, I have to say I’m a little surprised.


::Greir shifted uncomfortably. This was not a good start.::


Chen: You just got me the most beautiful sword I’ve ever seen, with so many absolutely perfect personal touches. You know me better than I know myself, and you’re worried that I mind you moving the wedding so that we can get married sooner?


::Picking up the sheathed hrisal, Chen stood, giving it a temporary home on top of his chest of drawers.::


Chen: If you had told me that I needed to get dressed because the wedding was in an hour, do you know what I would have said?


::Being as it had now become obvious that everything was alright, Greir was finding it hard not to grin away at his partner.::


Reinard: What?


Chen: I would have asked if we could do it in thirty minutes. Now c’mere.


::He reached out a hand, prompting Greir to stand from the bed and go to join him. Once again, they embraced, and Chen’s lips found Greir’s.::


Chen: Thank you so much for my wonderful present. And I am so excited that we’re going to be married so soon! I guess I’m going to have to cut down on the osol twists and hit the gym a little harder, huh? Need to make sure I look my best for the big day!


::At the mention of the tart Romulan pastry, Chen’s stomach growled loudly, reminding both of them, and probably the inhabitants of the quarters above and below them, that Chen still hadn’t eaten.::


Reinard: ::Laughing:: As if you’re even slightly out of shape! Now come on. Unless I’m very much mistaken, your belly has just decreed that we need to get you some dinner. And then I’m decreeing that we’re going to snuggle up and watch a holo on the sofa.


::Chen very much liked the sound of that. It came with the added option of falling asleep on Greir if he got particularly comfortable.::


Chen: I think you, and my tyrannical stomach, both have a deal!


TBC


Lieutenant Commander Chen

Chief Intelligence Officer

Starbase 118 Ops


&


PNPC Greir Reinard

Regional Director

Federation Terraform Command

Starbase 118

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