Warning: Incest

The Best Gift

Living for Technology - A History of Gremlins

One of the most influential races in the Infinitum Government is bizarrely enough also one of the least well known. While one would be hard pressed to find an electronic component that a Gremlin has not had a hand in creating or improving, few have ever seen one of the elusive technophiles and fewer still know anything about them beyond the common association of Gremlins and technology. To that end, this short treatise on the history of the infamous race has been compiled.

Recorded history of the Gremlin race begins with its discovery by and induction into the Infinitum Government. Gremlins as a whole care nothing for the past, only the future. As a result, there are no written records available and pre-IG Gremlin history is comprised entirely of hearsay and guesswork - by mostly human historians, as the Gremlins themselves don't understand why anyone would want to know.

Most modern historians agree that the 'home' planet upon which the IG discovered Gremlins is not their true homeworld. The Gremlin name for their planet was Zero-Zero-Eight-One, leading researchers to conjecture that the Gremlin race has had multiple 'home' worlds over time. Their true world of origin remains unknown. However, IG reports from that initial meeting suggest that the Gremlins had been there for a minimum of several hundred terms. This is significant in that it lets us conjecture that, if they spent a similar amount of time on each of their chosen homeworlds, the race predates nearly all known modern races.

This is, of course, all conjecture, but scientists believe that the length of time the race has been in existence might explain both the Gremlins' dependency upon technology and also why they have become so tightly interwoven with it that their magics are technologically based. Certainly no other known species possesses magics of a similar non-natural nature.

As for the modern history of Gremlins, after their acceptance into the IG a large number of individuals spread out across known space to improve the technology of their new allies. This dispersion is largely the reason there are any surviving members of the race today, as Zero-Zero-Eight-One was struck by two space plagues, three terms apart, approximately 100 terms ago. The plagues decimated both the populace and the planet; those who survived became carriers and transported the disease to whomever they came in contact with. After fierce debate, Zero-Zero-Eight-One was quarantined until the last of the survivors perished, then the planet was irradiated to prevent any trace of the disease remaining. To this day, that world is not capable of supporting life of any kind.

Those Gremlins that had been off-world at the time of the plagues continued on much in the way they had before, working alongside other species to build bigger and better things, until a small group of researchers realized that the population was sharply decreasing due to the infrequency with which the individual members saw one another. They were convinced (with some difficulty) to relocate to Zero whereupon the population decline was slowed, but not reversed. At the time of this writing, there are less than 100 Gremlins left. Current calculations estimate they will become extinct within the next 50 to 100 terms, thus putting an end to what may be one of the oldest races in the universe.

Urian Parani, Historian and Head Librarian, Palace of Eternity, Zero.

---

Sighing quietly, Urian closed the document and routed it to his personal files. Why was he doing this? It wasn't like raising public awareness would do anything to help the problem. Everything lay in the hands of the scientists and researchers dedicated to saving the race from extinction.

With a quiet sound he stood, pushing away from his terminal and leaving his office, stepping out into the library proper. This late in the evening there were only a handful of citizens in the public areas, most reading quietly at the terminals, one or two on their own personal terminals and linked into the library systems via access cards.

He wandered further into the library, nodding politely to the two junior librarians on duty before making his way to the mural-wall that divided the public area from the restricted sections. The mural was almost as old as the library itself, dating back to a time shortly after the Infinitum Government acquired planet Zero. Every race that had been even remotely involved was depicted, some barely a handful of centimeters high and still exquisite in their detail. So many colors and shapes and figures should have been dizzying, overwhelming, but so skillfully had they been woven together that the effect as a whole was rather harmonious.

To Urian's mind, anyway.

Smiling softly, he placed his right hand on the reader, allowing it to sample his DNA while he punched in a long series of numbers with his left. Access to the restricted sections was limited to the Head Librarian (Urian) and two of his senior librarians. The general public was almost never allowed inside, and even researchers had to get permission from a Lower Chancellor. Not that many bothered, these days. Urian had ensured that almost everything found in the restricted archives was properly converted to electronic format. New volumes came in all the time, of course, but the majority of those still awaiting being copied were thus only because they were nearly illegible and he had to painstakingly restore them before translating them into electronic format.

With a quiet hiss the door slid open, allowing him access into the largest collection of physical books in the universe. There were tomes from every planet in the IG, some thousands of years old, all carefully preserved in a sterile environment. Or mostly sterile.

Bemused, Urian used the end of his sleeve (kept long and loose for just that reason) to wipe a thin layer of dust off the work table before seating himself and picking up the volume he was currently working on. It was a history of the planet Daneub that had only arrived yesterday, and extremely rare due to the fact that most of Daneub's technology had faded over the centuries, taking with it all of the information stored in those forgotten systems. Only a few scant volumes had been copied into a physical format, and Urian was holding one of them.

Only another librarian or historian could understand the thrill he got from such things, uncovering knowledge long forgotten and making it accessible to the rest of the universe. Knowledge was his life, his purpose. He'd dedicated his life to it from the moment he'd first learned to read, going on to attend some of the most prestigious academies in the IG, learned to read and write nearly every known language (and some that were no longer in use), and then become the youngest recorded person (at twenty-four years of age) to hold the title of Head Librarian of the Infinitum Library on Zero.

Most days, he was exceptionally proud of what he'd accomplished in thirty-four years of life. He had a respectable position, comfortable quarters, and enough work doing what he loved to last him the rest of his life. If only his family would understand-

Making a face, Urian settled himself with the book in his lap, propped up by his tail at just the right angle. Technically he was supposed to minimize contact with the volumes, but he found it was more comfortable this way and allowed him to do his work considerably faster. Besides, there was just something comforting about having that steady weight in his lap.

Two touches pulled up the appropriate files - one in the Daneubian language the book was written in, the other the Standard translation he was making - and Urian started working. The intricate Daneub grammar would keep his mind entrenched in linguistics and off of things he couldn't control, hopefully until at least morning when he would finally go to bed.

Aside from being more peaceful for working, the night would always be Urian's preferred time. Something he'd inherited from his nocturnal Sorva mother, no doubt, as his Gespi father had no trouble at all with operating by the regular hours that the rest of the universe ran on.

And translating was supposed to be distracting him, not encouraging him to think about his estranged family.

With a quiet sigh, Urian replaced the book on the table and got up, retracing his steps back out of the restricted archives and through the library to the large wrought-iron and Zero glass doors that slid open at his approach. He couldn't concentrate on anything tonight, it seemed. He'd known better than to read the message from his mother before his shift started, but he'd been hoping against hope that maybe it was different. Maybe she'd remembered.

Well. She hadn't, and he shouldn't have expected her to. After all, she'd been snubbing him for five terms now, ever since he'd 'wasted' his life by 'playing in the data center' rather than 'doing something useful.' And it shouldn't still hurt, so many years later, but it did.

His feet carried him to the kitchens where one of the assistant cooks, well used to his irregular hours, laughingly brought him a cup of hot, spiced cider and a pastry filled with blended fruits the names of which he probably wouldn't be able to pronounce if he tried. It tasted delicious, though.

Thanking the woman, Urian made his way through scarcely populated halls (was it really that late already? He'd lost track of time somewhere) and into the section of the Palace reserved for those whose rank granted them a suite within its walls. A privilege and an honor, to be sure, but still not good enough for his family.

Urian sighed again, holding his cider close and savoring its heat. He was letting it get to him, after he'd sworn he wouldn't. But this one day - he'd thought for sure at least Jirae would remember...

Shaking off the depressing thoughts, Urian let himself into his suite and set his cider down on a side table, pulling off his soft indoor sandals and setting them near the door before straightening and heading for the bathing room. Perhaps a nice long soak was what he needed to let him relax and-

He yelped as something pounced him from behind, a strong arm going around his shoulders as something covered his eyes, the momentum knocking him forward onto the floor, claws digging into the thick rug in surprise. He hissed and snarled, fur standing on end as he freed one hand to dig into his attacker's leg, then stopped as he inhaled a familiar scent.

"... Jirae?"

There was a quiet chuckle that rippled through the body plastered to his back, then his eyes were uncovered so that he could twist around and peer up to confirm that, yes, his brother had knocked him over and was still clinging with enough tenacity to do a Sardoran proud.

"Happy Birthday, big brother," Jirae said cheerfully, not seeming at all inclined to move, his long blue tail (a few shades darker than Urian's own) swishing back and forth contentedly.

"Jirae," Urian repeated, blinking slowly. "What are you doing here?"

Jirae chuckled again, the sound rumbling deep in his chest and vibrating along Urian's back in a manner that made him shiver. Not good. He needed to get Jirae off of him now. Jirae touching him brought to mind thoughts and feelings he was most certainly not supposed to have about his little brother.

"Took a few days off so we could celebrate your birthday properly," Jirae said, propping his chin on Urian's shoulder and putting his face far too close for comfort. "Last year I was all tied up in that project and the year before we had our hands full fighting that mutated virus, so I figured I owed you for lost time." His smile slipped a bit, gold-brown eyes turning uncertain. "I guess I should have called first to make sure it was okay, but I wanted to surprise you..."

Taking a deep breath to steady himself, then promptly regretting it as he inhaled more of that spicy, musky sent of Jirae's, Urian forced himself to smile. "I don't mind. I'm glad you remembered. Though I'd be happier if you'd get off me now. You're not light." He widened his grin to show he was teasing (mostly) and barely refrained from breathing a quiet sigh of relief when Jirae slid off and helped him to his feet.

"I weigh all of, what, ten kilos more than you?" Jirae snorted. "I'm not that heavy."

"Heavy enough," Urian muttered good naturedly, then blinked as he finally got a decent look at his brother, his eyes widening. "You cut your hair."

Jirae grinned somewhat sheepishly, reaching up absently to push a few short strands behind one ear in an echo of a habitual motion rather than for any real reason. "Ah, yeah. It kept coming out of its ponytail and getting in the way when I was doing micro work, so I cut it all off."

"It..." Urian swallowed and pasted a smile up on his face. "It looks good."

More than good. Jirae tested his self-control every time he saw his brother due to the skin-tight, static-free bodysuits he wore when working in the labs. Theoretically they were meant to prevent any mishaps with the delicate materials Jirae worked with. In practice, they more than adequately showed off every single trim muscle of his lithe form. He'd kept his hair in a long ponytail for years, longer even than Urian's, as a form of rebellion against his society-minded parents. It had never really fit him, especially as it tended to tangle easily, but he'd still looked good. Now, he looked devastating.

Urian squashed the temptation to lick his lips. "Has Mother said anything?"

Jirae shook his head. "Haven't told her. Only people who know are the people at the labs and you." He grinned again. "My lab techs can't decide if they should bemoan the loss or try to eat me."

And that just conjured up images that Urian really needed to keep buried. To hide the reaction his pants were trying to have, he turned away and paced toward the small kitchen area that held a scant handful of foodstuffs - he normally just utilized the Palace kitchens. "You hungry?" he called over his shoulder.

Jirae laughed. "If I said yes, would you actually have anything to feed me with?" he asked, pacing after Urian and hopping up onto the counter, forgoing the chairs entirely.

"Probably not," Urian said ruefully, poking around in cabinets to see if he had anything besides tea that was still edible. "I can probably bet that your charges haven't even noticed..."

Snorting, Jirae rolled his eyes. "Of course not. Half the time I'm not sure if any of them remember what my name is. Aside from Zeta Indi, anyway."

"Oh?" Urian arched a brow. "You mean she's finally acknowledged you as more than just 'that blue cat that operates the equipment'?"

Jirae grinned. "Oh yeah. I finally figured out how you get a Gremlin to cooperate with you." His grin widened. "You bribe them."

"Bribe?" Urian echoed, turning to look fully at his brother. "How are you bribing her? With Tech? There's no way the project budget can support that..."

Jirae shrugged, which did fascinating things to the muscles beneath his snug bodysuit and Urian really wished Jirae had bothered to change before dropping by. "I'm not using project money for the bribes. I think I told you that an anonymous donor took an interest a while back and was providing extra funding?" At Urian's slight nod, his lips quirked up. "Well, I'm using that."

Urian arched a brow. "I'm not sure bribing your Gremlins was what your donor had in mind, Jirae."

Jirae laughed. "Actually, he thinks it's a good idea and has suggested some of my better bribes. Even sometimes sends me the Tech himself so I don't mess up and get the wrong thing."

"He..." Urian blinked. "You finally figured out who it is? After all this time?"

Jirae's smile was slow and secretive and not kissable and Urian was very much in trouble because he couldn't look away or it would be rude but he couldn't keep looking or he was going to do something stupid and-

"Tau Ceti."

Urian blinked. "What?"

Jirae snickered. "Tau Ceti is the one that's been sending all that extra funding all these years. It makes sense, you know. A vested interest in the project, the finances necessary to be able to afford what he's been donating..."

Shaking his head slowly, Urian repeated his brother's words over in his head, trying to fit the pieces together in some way that made sense. "You're telling me there's actually a Gremlin out there that cares whether or not the conservation project succeeds."

Jirae grinned. "Yup."

"That's..." Urian blinked slowly. "That's..."

"Mind-boggling? Yeah, I know. Totally blew me away when I figured it out. I wound up sending a message to him for confirmation." Jirae laughed. "He told me it was about time."

"That is one weird Gremlin," Urian muttered.

"Agreed," Jirae stated cheerfully.

"It's a pity the rest of them can't be more like him. Albeit maybe a little less temperamental."

Jirae shrugged. "He and his twin are genetic anomalies. Even if they weren't sterile, we're not sure what sort of problems we might be introducing by trying to continue that line. Better to just work with what we have."

A silence fell, during which Urian was most definitely not sneaking looks at the way Jirae had sprawled on his kitchen counter and forgetting entirely that he'd come into the kitchen in the first place to escape from his entirely too attractive for Urian's sanity younger brother. Whoever's bright idea it had been to put scientists into skin-tight bodysuits either needed to be shot or kissed - Urian could never quite decide which.

Though, really, there was only one person Urian really wanted to kiss. The one person permanently off-limits, due to the blood shared between them. His younger brother by six years. Jirae.

"So," Jirae said suddenly, nearly startling him, "What do you want to do for your birthday?"

"Um." Urian considered, staring fixedly at a wall hanging to avoid the impulse to look at Jirae, because that would not help his state of mind at all. "I... hadn't really thought about it. I was just planning on getting that Daneub transcription done..."

Jirae made a face. "That is not how you should be spending your birthday. You can transcribe any day. Your birthday is for spoiling yourself and doing the things you wouldn't normally do." He grinned and slid off the counter, coming to stand right in front of Urian. "So, think of something you've always wanted to do and haven't, and we'll do that."

Color immediately flooded Urian's face at the thought that immediately arose in response to Jirae's suggestion, all his daytime fantasies racing through his mind and drowning out all of his desperate attempts to think of something, anything else. Instead, all he could see was images of Jirae spread out on his bed, smiling invitingly as he waited for Urian to touch him, take him, make him scream out in ecstasy. Jirae's scent filled his lungs, thick and heady like a drug, only better, because it was all natural. All Jirae.

Too close, he realized suddenly. Jirae was too close. Close enough to touch, to taste. It was almost too late when he realized he was leaning forward, those so-tempting lips just waiting for him, Jirae's breath warm and scented with moisture and more of his own personal musk. He wanted to-

With a strangled yowl Urian jerked away, crashing into the cabinets and losing his balance. A hand closed around his arm, trying to keep him upright, but momentum carried him down and he landed hard on the floor. Before he even had a moment to process the pain from the landing, something soft and heavy landed on top of him with a startled 'oof', driving the breath from his lungs.

When at last he managed to recover enough to lift his head, Urian got a face full of soft blue hair for his troubles. The owner of that hair muttered a string of nearly-inaudible curses (audible to Urian only because of enhanced Sorva hearing) then lifted enough to look at him.

"Ow," Jirae announced solemnly, promptly laying his head back down on Urian's shoulder, face-first. "You seriously need to eat more. I swear I can feel all your bones."

Urian held his breath. Jirae was laying on him. Jirae was laying on him and his body was reacting accordingly and there was absolutely no way that Jirae wasn't going to notice and did he have any good excuses ready? There had to be something he could use, something that would provide a reasonable explanation of why Urian's dick was getting hard when he'd just been knocked to the floor and his little brother was laying on him.

All attempts at thought were driven out of his head, however, as Jirae wiggled. Urian squeaked, which was humiliating but better than the moan that it had wanted to be, and grabbed Jirae's shoulders, pushing him up a little so he could see his brother's face.

"Jirae! What are you doing?"

Jirae considered for a long moment, his expression oddly serious for Urian's permanently upbeat brother. Finally he managed a faint, hesitant smile. "Testing a theory?"

Urian blinked. "A theory? What kind of theory involves falling on me?" he asked.

Jirae flushed. "The falling wasn't intentional," he muttered, looking down, cheeks darkening.

Urian wanted to kiss him. There was something about the way Jirae blushed... "And the..." He swallowed. "The wiggling?"

"I..." Jirae stopped, unwilling to meet Urian's eyes. "I thought... I just..." His gaze shifted back to Urian, brown-gold eyes suddenly taking on an expression Urian had never seen before. "Oh, fuck it."

Before Urian had time to process his little brother swearing - Jirae never cursed! - warm lips were covering his, soft and demanding and almost desperate somehow. He froze in shock, unable to reconcile what he knew with what he felt; Jirae wasn't kissing him. His brother wasn't kissing him. Then Jirae wiggled again, right over his painfully-hard crotch, and Urian couldn't hold back a moan.

The moment he opened his mouth Jirae's tongue was in it, searching and demanding and, oh, he tasted like he smelled, only better, and Urian felt like he was drowning.

Then the tongue was gone, and so was Jirae, scrambling to his feet and bolting away with none of his usual grace, his face pale and... afraid? Urian made it to his own feet, dashing after Jirae and catching him just before he got to the suite door, colliding with his brother and crashing them both into a wall. The impact knocked the breath out of him again, though he still managed to keep a hold on Jirae despite his brother's struggles.

"Jirae," Urian said quietly, trying to get his brother to look at him. "Jirae." The faintest scent of water and salt flavoured the air and Urian drew in a sharp breath, trying again to get Jirae to look up. Was he crying?

"Jirae, look at me."

"I'm sorry," came the mumbled reply. "I shouldn't have... I'm sorry."

"It's..." Urian smiled wanly. "You just surprised me, that's all." Jirae didn't seem to be struggling to get away quite so badly anymore, so he freed one hand to tentatively stroke down Jirae's back. "Did you... um... why did you... ah..."

Jirae drew in a shaky breath. "Does it matter?" he asked quietly, ears plastered flat against his head.

"Yes," Urian said firmly, deciding that Jirae wasn't going to run again and he could use his hands to tip Jirae's face up to meet his gaze. "It does." There was misery there, that he expected, and shame... but also something else. Dare he hope that was still desire?

"Jirae," he whispered, then bent his head just enough to brush his lips against his brother's. It was wrong, he knew that, but Jirae had kissed him first and he'd been too shocked to appreciate it properly but if this was all he was going to get then damn it he was going to enjoy it.

For a moment Jirae's lips were stiff, unresponsive, then with a quiet whimper they molded to his own, hot and demanding and insistent, even moreso than the first time, and Urian thought that it was the most wonderful moment of his entire life. Then Jirae promptly proved him wrong, twining his arms around Urian's neck and plastering their bodies together, rubbing up against him, the sleek material of his bodysuit doing absolutely nothing to hide the fact that he was just as hard as Urian was.

Ending the kiss left him breathless and panting, staring into a face that was both similar and different to his own. Jirae's gold-brown eyes were wide, fixed intently on Urian's own even as he sought to catch his breath. "Urian..." he whispered.

"You..." Urian drew in several deep breaths. "How did you know...?"

"You watch me," Jirae answered promptly, grinding their groins together and causing them both to cry out softly.

"How... how can anyone not watch you, Jirae?" Urian asked, sliding his hands down that sleek, form-fitting bodysuit. "Your uniform is barely better than being naked!"

A sudden impish light came into Jirae's eyes, and he smiled slowly. "I had it made just for you, you know," he announced, licking his lips.

Urian blinked. "Made for me? But it's your uniform..."

Jirae grinned. "Yes, but we're not supposed to take the suits out of the labs, lest they get contaminated. So I had a second one made that I could wear every time I visited you."

"You..." Urian felt his cheeks heat. "You did that on purpose!"

"You were always watching me," Jirae said with a shy smile. "I thought, if I actually gave you something to look at, you might do more than just watch..."

Urian closed his eyes. "I shouldn't," he whispered. "It's wrong. I'm not supposed to want you."

Jirae made a slight noise. "Not in all cultures. On Fornar, they don't even have words for brother or sister. Fornarians don't care who they sleep with." When Urian opened his eyes again, he smiled softly. "Though, I wouldn't want to be a Fornarian. I like being your brother. I have something no one else has."

"Jirae..."

"Kiss me again?" Jirae asked hopefully, and there was absolutely no way for Urian to deny that request, despite the part of his brain that was still screaming at him that it was wrong, that they shouldn't be doing this, that they couldn't-

And then Jirae's lips met his, and it was everything he'd ever wanted and more, and he couldn't think of why he shouldn't be doing this. Couldn't think of anything but Jirae kissing him. And he was kissing Jirae back as though his life depended on it.

"So..." Jirae asked, breathless, once they parted again. "What do you really want for your birthday?"

"You," Urian admitted softly, unable to resist the temptation to lean forward and lick those kiss-swollen lips, drawing a low purr from Jirae.

"Any specific me?" Jirae asked, eyes gleaming, "Or can I be creative?"

Urian licked his lips. "That depends... on how creative I get to be."

Jirae smiled slowly. "It's your birthday. I think you ought to enjoy it."

"In that case..." Urian purred, snapping a hand out and slinging Jirae over his shoulder before stalking off toward his bedroom. Halfway there he nearly tripped and landed them both on the floor again when Jirae decided that his new angle gave him the perfect opportunity to pet Urian's tail.

Swatting his brother across the backside for that particular bit of deviousness and earning a rather delightful yelp in response, Urian managed to make it the rest of the way to the bedroom with no mishaps. He set Jirae down on his bed, letting his eyes roam slowly over that lithe body he'd always admired so much, highly aware of Jirae watching him as he did so. It made it different, and somehow more, to know that not only was he not in trouble for looking, but Jirae wanted him to look. Indeed, had deliberately been trying to provoke him with that blessedly cursed bodysuit of his.

"You look delicious," Urian murmured, crawling onto the bed over Jirae and taking a brief taste of his brother's entirely too addictive lips.

Jirae purred softly and flicked his tail up to brush along Urian's thigh. "That was sort of the point," he said impishly.

"You strain my self control to the breaking point," Urian whispered quietly.

Dark gold-brown eyes gazed at him from beneath heavy lids, a wicked smile curving kiss-swollen lips up into a sensual curve. "Then let it break," Jirae whispered back, reaching up to drag him down for another heady kiss.

---

When he woke, the first thing Urian was aware of was something softly stroking along his back, up and down, sending faint shivers through his sleep-muddled body. He lifted his head slowly, disoriented at first, then the morning's activities came rushing back and he jerked his head to see...

Jirae, half pinned beneath Urian and looking rather blissfully content with it, one ear flicking idly back and forth as he smiled up at his brother. "Good evening," he purred, that devious tail sliding silkenly down his back and across his buttocks, soft fur tickling in the most maddening of ways.

"Jirae," Urian breathed, not quite able to believe this was more than just a dream. That his brother was here, in his bed. That they'd really...

He flushed. "Good evening, Jirae."

"The way I figure it," Jirae said cheerfully, tail continuing its slow torture, "You're either going to have to take tonight off, or take me with you. The Archives room locks, doesn't it?"

Urian's breath caught. Books and Jirae, his two greatest loves. Jirae, naked and spread out against one of the bookcases... He swallowed. "It's a clean room, Jirae. We can't..."

Jirae pouted briefly, then smirked. "I guess you're staying home then." He licked his lips thoughtfully. "You do have a personal library, don't you?"

"You..." Urian's breath caught again. "You take shameless advantage of my weaknesses."

Jirae's smirk widened. "It gets me what I want. And I didn't hear you complaining..." He leaned up to whisper in Urian's ear, breath hot and humid. "Quite the opposite, actually..."

With a strangled sound, Urian covered that taunting mouth with his own, feeling Jirae immediately open up to him, their tongues twining, caressing, mouths meshing together so perfectly that nothing else could compare. He'd wanted this man, his brother, for so very long. It was hard to believe that he actually had him now.

"You..." Urian shook his head slowly. "I still feel like I shouldn't be touching you, no matter how badly I want to..."

Jirae made a face. "We're certainly not the only brothers in IG history to have a preference for one another. Look at the Jewels of Bangkok, for example."

"They have a lover as well," Urian felt obliged to point out.

Jirae shrugged. "Do you want a lover to play with us?" he asked.

Urian shook his head slowly. "No," he admitted quietly. "I don't want anyone touching you but me."

Jirae purred audibly, wiggling beneath him in the most delicious manner. "Good. I find I'm feeling rather possessive myself. You're quite... talented... for someone who prefers books to people."

Urian rolled his eyes and kissed his brother again to shut him up, breaking off when a thought occurred to him. He jerked back a little harder than intended, eyes going wide. "Mother is going to kill me."

Snorting, Jirae pulled him back down, ignoring his attempts at resistance. "We don't have to tell her. Or Father for that matter. They're both too busy jetting about the stars doing the diplomat thing to really pay any attention to what their sons are doing." He snorted. "Frankly, I'm surprised they paused long enough to have us."

Urian blinked. "I thought they actually paid attention to you..." He grimaced as the old pain attempted to rise up in him, though it didn't really seem to have its usual potency. Not that any real misery stood much of a chance while he had Jirae lying beneath him, deliciously nude and more than willing.

"Sort of," Jirae shrugged. "They're proud of the fact that I'm a scientist; they don't give me nearly as much trouble over my chosen career as they give you, but they still don't understand why I've dedicated my life to a race that's just going to die out anyway."

"One would think that a diplomat devoted to peace in the universe would have more hope for the future," Urian murmured.

Jirae smiled softly again. "I have hope for the future. I hope that we'll figure out a way to save the Gremlins, and that you'll skillfully ravish me in a variety of creative ways, over and over again, today and every other day for a very long time."

Urian's mouth quirked up. "I think I like your hopes," he intoned solemnly, then proceeded to do his best to fulfill as many of Jirae's hopes as he was able.