Space Cowboys 3

Natal Nosebleeds

By Mell Eight

Jim was turning twenty-six in two more hours and everyone working in the Colony seemed to be having a problem.

It wasn't the party. The smallest storage hangar was already cleared out and decorated. The cake had been ordered and delivered from Colony two. Even a music set list had been created to pump out of the portable speakers.

It wasn't the guest list. Every employee in the colony knew they were invited and Eric had taken care of inviting Jim's family and other friends.

It wasn't even the space bus from Colony eight due to arrive one hour into the party that was causing problems. Some of the staff that weren't close to Jim had volunteered to take care of it as long as they were saved some cake. Luckily, the late arrivals wouldn't care if their unloading crew were drunk. It wasn't a diplomatic ship.

No, what was causing all the issues was the question of presents. What did you get a gay male in a committed relationship that didn't really need or want anything?

Eric just smiled whenever anyone asked what he had gotten Jim. They didn't need to know about edible body paint and a big bow—clothing optional and the location of the bow to be decided in private, or on privates to be more exact.

Last minute gift preparations were still being completed while Eric and Jim shared a bath together, blissfully ignorant of the stress such a simple occasion was causing.

"Happy birthday!" the waiting guests called when Jim was led into the decorated hangar. Someone let off a popper and streamers covered Jim's head.

"Thanks!" Jim laughed and smiled.

They danced and drank. The cake was cut, the space bus came in safely, and as the party started winding down someone yelled, "presents!"

Jim jumped out of his seat and rushed over to the pile of wrapped gifts and cards.

"I love presents!" Jim said, a tipsy smile on his face. "Which one should I open first?"

"Open the one from me," their captain said with his own drunken grin. He pulled out a large package from the pile and handed it to Jim.

Wrapping paper flew in all directions as Jim gleefully got to work.

"You got me rope," Jim said flatly as he looked into the open box. "Rope and," he pulled out a book and grinned evilly, "a book on how to tie your partner up."

"Don't show up in my hangar looking for something to free you from handcuffs or duct tape again," the captain said with a grin.

Jim pulled out the end of one of the ropes and flicked it at Eric.

"We're going to have fun tonight!" Jim crowed.

Eric blushed, glad he was too drunk to be more than a little embarrassed. He would hide under his bed tomorrow when he was sober.

But right now he was drunk and that gave him a good excuse to play along.

When the rope was flicked at him again, Eric grabbed the end and wrapped it around Jim's hands into a loose knot.

"We will have fun," Eric agreed, his smile growing as Jim squirmed happily. "And tomorrow you won't be able to walk straight."

Jim squeaked, his eyes hooding as he licked his lips in anticipation.

Eric pulled the ropes free and turned away from his lover. "First you have more gifts to open," he added, grinned at Jim's look of desperation.

Were the ropes really a gift for Jim or for their captain? Eric had to wonder as he headed off for more spiked punch.

"Don't add any glue," the Captain said as he joined Eric. "That's the only way I can see you two ending up in my hangar again. Don't glue the ropes together."

Eric grinned. "I don't think glue will be necessary."

The captain sighed. "No, but I'm getting the feeling that I might have to censor your space walk tapes."

"With Jim around?" Eric mused as he smiled over at his lover.