Adventure Eleven: Conception Final
Pairings: Yunjae, KyuWook, ShiMin
Genre: Crossover, Science Fiction, Adventure, Angst
Summary: An explosion sends an away team spiraling toward destruction. As the power of the captain and Jaejoong’s timeless bond is stretched to the breaking point, unlikely heroes rise to the challenge. New allies are found, and new enemies emerge. Someone once lost is found, while another is lost.
Author’s Note: This is the last Expectations' adventure for awhile. I have been writing this story for way over a year…and I just need a break from it. I have the urge to write other stories. I am not done with Expectations though. There will be more adventures in the future…I can’t give you a time-frame though. I have so much planned for Expectations, so many adventures already plotted out. Expectations could go on forever.
Right now Fragile Essence is what I want to write, and maybe I will throw in a short story or two. Thanks to everybody who commented…if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t update a thing. Thank you! Thank you!
“Lieutenant, I know we didn’t exactly part on good terms, but this is a little extreme don’t you think?” Lieutenant Donghae teased as the away team materialized on the transporter platform.
SooYoung stared at Lieutenant Donghae speechless.
Commander Kyuhyun, who was standing beside Donghae, grinned at the away team. “Lieutenant Choi, do you mind dropping your weapon?”
“Oh, yes, sorry Sir!” a stunned SooYoung replied, lowering her phaser.
“Where is the captain?” Junsu demanded, jumping to his feet. “He’s dying! What happened to him?”
“We transported him directly to Jaejoong,” Commander Cho explained as he walked around from behind the transporter controls toward the away team.
SungGyu stepped off the transporter platform to greet Commander Cho and explained, “Commander, I don’t know if it will be in time. He was all but dead. He may have been dead.”
The look of worry on SungGyu and Junsu’s faces had Commander Cho hitting his insignia fast. “Doctor Cho, is the captain going to be alright?”
There was a pause, and everybody tensed as they waited for the doctor to reply.
“Yes; it’s going to take Jaejoong a while, but the captain’s life signs are already strengthening,” Doctor Cho replied. “It’s amazing…the power of their bond is just amazing. He was almost to the point that I would have declared him dead.”
“Thank God,” Junsu cried out in joy.
SungGyu slumped as his body was overcome with an immeasurable feeling of relief. It hadn’t all been in vain after all.
“And who are you?” Commander Cho asked WooHyun, who was gawking at them all in disbelief. WooHyun had traveled to different worlds, but never had he experienced anything like being beamed aboard a ship.
“He’s with us,” Junsu said, quickly grabbing WooHyun by the arm in his excitement. “His name is WooHyun. He’s a doctor and without him the captain would have been dead a long time ago.”
“It’s true,” SungGyu quickly concurred. “It’s a long story, but we owe him…a lot.”
“Ensign, I can’t wait to read your report,” Commander Cho told SungGyu. “But Commander Yoochun has requested your immediate presence in Engineering. Entering this planet’s atmosphere wasn’t easy, and exiting it isn’t going to be any easier. Our dilithium reserves are dangerously low.”
“Yes, Sir,” SungGyu replied, quickly heading toward the transporter room doors. They whooshed open and he passed Minho and Sulli on his way out.
Commander Cho watched with pleased eyes as the two engulfed the long lost SooYoung in hugs.
Junsu stepped off the transporter platform with WooHyun, smiling at the Choi siblings and their cousin.
“I think it is time to beam up the rest of the away party, Lieutenant,” Commander Cho told Donghae.
Donghae nodded his head, also watching the tearful reunion of the Choi family. “Yes, Sir.”
Commander Cho’s insignia beeped, causing Kyuhyun to quickly reach up and tap it, “Commander Cho, here.”
“Sir,” responded the voice of Lieutenant Yesung. “We have just received a distress call from the Planet Eternity. Princess Claudia reports there is a large meteor on a collision course with the planet. She says it is large enough to wipe out all life on Eternity.”
Hours after his life had been all but lost, Yunho opened his eyes. He inhaled a deep breath, feeling his lungs fully expand without even a twinge of discomfort. Most of his stay on the planet had been a blur of pain with only short episodes of lucidity, but the struggle to keep breathing had been a constant battle. Even while completely unconscious and teetering on the edge of life and death, the bond had demanded he keep breathing.
He felt the warmth of Jaejoong both mentally and physically. He turned his head to see Jaejoong snuggled up next to him, lost in a deep sleep. Jaejoong had always told him it was easy to heal him, but Yunho knew that even the powerful Joong had to be exhausted after dragging him back from the great depths he had fallen into.
Yunho smiled as he felt that familiar warm fuzzy feeling filling his head, letting him know his mate was awake. “Jaejoong, what have I told you about reading my mind?”
Jaejoong sat up, slowly stretching out his arms above his head, and gave Yunho a sleepy smile. “I had to make sure you weren’t brain damaged.”
Yunho smiled back at him. “No more than usual.”
Yunho reached up to hit his insignia, only to find he wasn’t wearing a shirt. He arched a suggestive eyebrow that had the Joong immediately denying, “It wasn’t me. This is the first time I have been awake since they returned you to me. I am not going to lie; I thought we were both goners”
Yunho sat up, looking around their bedroom. “So they sent me directly to you?”
“Yes, Ryeowook isn’t stupid.”
“No,” Yunho concurred. “The last thing I remember was pleading…there was a Joong on the planet.” The fuzzy feeling in Yunho’s head returned, causing Yunho to frown. “Is there any use in me telling you not to?”
“No,” Jaejoong said aloud as he read all of Yunho’s secrets. “This way is much faster. Plus, when you almost kill us by going on a mission without me, you don’t get a say.”
Yunho shook his head, but conceded Jaejoong had a point, “Well, when you put it that way…”
“I am going to kill her…” Jaejoong suddenly declared mentally, looking pissed; “…that sorry excuse for a Joong.”
Yunho smiled at his mate and climbed out of bed. “First Hyun Joong and now her; you are going to personally be responsible for wiping out the whole Joong race if you aren’t careful.”
Jaejoong reached across the bed, grabbing a hold of Yunho’s wrist before his mate could step away from the bed. “Yunho, don’t.”
Yunho sighed, looking down at Jaejoong. “Jaejoong, I am so grateful to you and I love you so much, but the ship is in warp…I can feel it. But she feels off, as if the engines are straining. I have to find out what is going on.”
“No, please don’t. Stay with me…” Jaejoong pleaded aloud, “…just this once.”
“Please,” Jaejoong begged, as he scooted to the edge of the bed and wrapped his arms around Yunho’s waist, holding him in place. “Just once, put me first.”
Yunho closed his eyes and ran both his hands through Jaejoong’s hair. “I think I put you first all the time. I can’t help but remember a little incident on Val—”
“No,” Jaejoong interrupted, objecting as he lifted his head to stare up at Yunho’s face. “That wasn’t the same. I was influencing you…stay with me…please. I need to be with you.”
Yunho lowered a hand to Jaejoong’s lips, tracing them with a fingertip. “You know…” Yunho paused as he stared into Jaejoong’s big blue eyes.
“Please, make love to me.”
Years of training wrestled with his desire to give in to the lover he owed everything to. Countless responsibilities rattled off in his head. Yunho was well attuned to his ship and he knew from the feel of her hurtling through space, that something was terribly wrong. “You know I can’t…you know why I can’t, not now.”
Jaejoong lowered his gaze and pressed his face into Yunho’s stomach, pleading telepathically, “Please, I won’t influence you…but I need to be with you.”
Jaejoong’s mouth moving against his stomach sent quivers down his spine. “I’m sorry, but I can’t,” Yunho apologized, pushing away from his lover.
Yunho backed away from his tempting mate, and moved toward the door. “Jaejoong,” Yunho called aloud, beseeching the Joong to understand.
Jaejoong said nothing; his eyes downcast, avoiding Yunho’s gaze.
The continued silence struck Yunho harder than barbed words ever could. Yunho stepped forward, taking Jaejoong’s chin in his hand and tilting his head up until big, blue, tearful eyes met his.
Yunho flinched as if he had been hit by a powerful punch to the gut. Responsibilities fell away as a deeper commitment, one that had spanned many life times, rose up taking priority. Yunho bent down and gently kissed his lover in apology.
Jaejoong pulled away from the kiss, studying Yunho intently both with his mind and his eyes. Jaejoong then slid farther back on the bed, holding out his hand, beckoning for Yunho to follow.
Without a word between them, Yunho followed after his him. He found Jaejoong’s moist lips again, pressed his lover back down to the mattress and slowly rejoiced in being alive.
“Are you lost?”
WooHyun, who had been snooping through sickbay, jumped and swung around quickly to face Dr. Cho. “No, just really nosey…this place is awesome. The medical technology alone is amazing.”
“That it is,” Dr. Cho told Woohyun. “I was just a little kid from a backwards planet when a Star Fleet doctor beamed down to my world and saved Mr. Button’s life, amazing me beyond words. Right then and there I decided I had to become a Star Fleet doctor.”
WooHyun smiled at Dr. Cho. “I think I like this Star Fleet. Do they just go around saving people all the time?”
“Well, we try, but actually it wasn’t saving a human that set me on this life path,” Ryeowook admitted.
“Mr. Buttons was a goose.”
“But Mr. Buttons is a story for another day. Your presence is requested, so follow me,” Dr. Cho instructed the other doctor.
“Okay,” WooHyun agreed as he followed Dr. Cho into a private exam room that held both Ensign SungGyu and Ensign Junsu, causing WooHyun to smile in relief. “It’s good to see you two!”
Ensign Junsu smiled back at WooHyun.
SungGyu put down a tablet computer that he had been working on, and asked WooHyun, “You haven’t been causing any trouble, have you?”
“Never,” WooHyun denied. He walked up to Junsu’s bedside and asked, “How are you doing?”
Junsu folded his arms, instantly defensive, and declared, “I am fine.”
WooHyun turned a questioning gaze to SungGyu, who explained, “He’s angry.”
“I won’t give him permission to go to the debriefing,” Ryeowook clarified for WooHyun. “This is going to be Junsu’s own private room.”
“I’m fine,” Junsu insisted. “She was hot!”
“She was hot,” WooHyun agreed, causing both Dr. Cho and SungGyu to give him dubious looks. “Well, she was…if you like that sort of thing.”
“I don’t,” Dr. Cho answered.
“But I do!” Junsu protested.
Dr. Cho placed both his hands on his hips and informed Junsu. “Ensign Junsu, I am really glad you are not suffering any of the adverse affects of being raped. But you were raped, and mentally manipulated by a Joong. You are not leaving this room. Do you understand me?”
Junsu plopped back down against his pillows, his arms still folded, and grumbled, “Yes, Doctor.”
SungGyu slid off his bed and announced, “I think we will be going now.”
“Is your back better?” WooHyun asked.
“Completely healed,” SungGyu assured him.
Ryeowook snapped his fingers causing SungGyu to quickly look at him. “Do not think that I have forgotten that you went to Engineering with your back in that condition. It was completely idiotic.”
“Sorry, Sir, but I jump when Commander Yoochun—”
Dr. Cho scoffed, interrupting him. “Ensign SungGyu, I know for a fact that you dislike even the smallest amount of pain, so whatever is inducing this noble self-sacrificing behavior of yours, please put an end to it.”
“I do hate pain, Sir…I just hate dying more,” SungGyu explained.
“Commander Yoochun would not have…” Ryeowook paused, realizing what a horrible mood the Chief Engineer was in. “You better get to that briefing.”
SungGyu smiled back at Dr. Cho, and turned to WooHyun. “You are coming with me; your presence at the debriefing has also been requested.”
“What do I say?”
“You don’t say anything, unless they ask you. Just be honest,” SungGyu explained as WooHyun followed him out of sickbay. “You get to meet most of the power players on the ship, now.”
“I don’t think I want to meet Commander Yoochun,” WooHyun admitted, following SungGyu out of sickbay. From what he had heard about the engineer, he didn’t exactly sound like a nice person.
“Yeah, he was in a foul mood, and he will be in an even fouler one now. Our dilithium supply is gone, we almost had to jettison the warp core, and he won’t be happy about what happened to Ensign Junsu.”
“Are they close?” WooHyun asked as they traveled down the corridor.
“I am not an expert on them. I spent more time with Junsu today than I have during my entire time on this ship; but Commander Yoochun…he openly admits to desiring Ensign Junsu,” SungGyu explained as they entered the lift.
“Is everybody on this ship a homosexual?” WooHyun asked as the lift took off toward the bridge.
SungGyu shrugged his shoulders. “No, but since all the women died…it’s become a lot gayer.”
“All the women died,” WooHyun repeated, horrified, as the lift opened and deposited them on the bridge. “That is ho—”
SungGyu watched the doctor with amusement as he took in his first sight of the bridge. “Impressive, I know,” SungGyu told the doctor as he pushed him toward the conference room.
They entered the conference room to find that they were the last ones to arrive. They quickly took the two empty seats.
“Ensign, is your back feeling better?” Commander Cho asked Ensign SungGyu. Commander Cho sat beside a fuming Commander Yoochun, whose mood had only gotten darker after reading the reports from the away team members.
“Yes, completely healed thanks to Dr. Cho.”
Commander Cho smiled and then told all of them, “This is going to be an informal debriefing. Lieutenant Lee, what can you tell us?”
“The planet Eternity is safe; the meteor that was on a collision course with it has been successfully destroyed,” Lieutenant Sungmin explained. “Only small fragments of the meteor remain.”
“And they will immediately burn up upon entering the planet’s atmosphere,” Changmin added from his seat, across from Commander Cho. He was wearing the pink crystal necklace; the heightened emotions on the ship had given him a headache.
Commander Cho let out a breath he had not realized he was holding. They had not been sure they would make it in time to save the planet. “Well, that’s good news.”
“What about the ship?” Yoochun demanded. “We all but destroyed the ship’s engines in the race here to save the planet. Our dilithium supplies are completely depleted. We are stranded here.”
Commander Cho turned to Commander Yoochun, who had been giving him hell since he ordered the Expectations to set a course to Eternity at maximum wrap after they left the atmosphere of Kanzi. He said, correcting the moody commander, “We are not stranded. We still have our impulse drive.”
“Sub-light speed,” Yoochun sneered as if they were the most disgusting words he had ever heard. “Why don’t we just get out and push the ship to Trysor; it would be just as fast.”
“You are more than welcome to try,” an irritated Commander Cho told Yoochun, causing the other man to frown, but he kept quiet for the moment.
“The meteor was not a natural occurrence,” Lieutenant Jung stated. “It was manipulated in this direction.”
“A trap laid for us?” Commander Cho asked. “Or perhaps the Guardian wishes to speak with Jaejoong again.”
“It does seem that putting the planet in danger is its favorite way of getting our attention,” Sungmin added.
“The meteor and the stars suddenly going nova…what are the odds that these two incidents are connected?” Commander Cho asked.
“Extremely unlikely,” Changmin answered. “Changing the course of a meteor to intercept with Eternity does not require the same level of technology.”
“Agreed,” Yoochun replied.
“Until Jaejoong is finished healing the captain, we will just wait. If the Guardian is responsible for the meteor, it will only deal with Jaejoong, so we will wait until he emerges. We will all stay aboard the ship, in case it isn’t the Guardian, but instead a trap,” Commander Cho told them.
“Your hypothesis that Jaejoong is the only one the Guardian will communicate with is highly flawed. I have never attempted to communicate with the Guardian, and it has spoken to both of my parents. I also passed through it as a young child. It is highly likely that the Guardian would respond to me,” Changmin informed them.
“Your father would kick our ass if we let you go anywhere near the Guardian, and who knows what your momma would do,” Yoochun informed Changmin quickly.
“Lieutenant, you going down to the talk to the Guardian is not an option,” Commander Cho ordered.
Changmin arched his eyebrows and told Commander Cho, “I did not say I wished to do so; I was just explaining why your assumption was incorrect.”
“Yes, thank you for correcting me,” Commander Cho said, turning to Ensign SungGyu. “Your report on what happened on the planet is distressing.”
“We should have slapped the necklace on that bitch and beamed her aboard the ship,” Yoochun growled. “And then let his royal highness deal with her.”
“Commander, I think that would be a little harsh. Star Fleet is not in the habit of exacting vengeance,” Sungmin told Yoochun.
Yoochun glared at Lieutenant Lee and snapped, “Star Fleet also frowns on officers having sex on away missions. We all know what you were doing while the captain was fighting for his life, and Ensign Junsu was getting raped.”
“Commander!” Commander Cho said, attempting to rein Commander Yoochun in.
Ensign Kangin, who had written a very lengthy and detailed report, attempted to control his smile as he sipped on his coffee. Siwon, who was sitting beside Ensign Kangin, did not lower his gaze or show any sign of embarrassment.
“There wasn’t anything I could have done, Commander,” Lieutenant Lee replied defensively.
“How do you know that, Lieutenant?” Commander Yoochun demanded. “Did you attempt anything?”
“We were stranded thousands of kilometers away from them on a deserted island,” Lieutenant Sungmin tried to explain calmly.
“You should have tried something; even if you had failed…at least you would have tried. If it weren’t for the actions of a young and inexperienced ensign, a local, and Lieutenant SooYoung the captain would be dead right now,” Yoochun threw right back at Sungmin, having no mercy on his friend.
Changmin stood up abruptly, accidently bumping into the table, and told Commander Cho, “If this briefing is going to deteriorate into personal attacks, my time would be better spent in my labs collecting useful data that can provide us with real answers.”
Commander Cho looked up at Changmin, startled by the man’s behavior, and stated, “The personal attacks are ending now.”
Changmin clutched the edge of the table with his hands and insisted, “I still need to go.”
“Is it urgent?” Commander Cho asked.
“Yes,” Changmin answered. “I have a new theory that I need to test immediately.”
“You’re dismissed, then.”
Lieutenant Jung turned around to leave the room, but stopped and looked back at Commander Cho and told him, “Thank you, Kyuhyun.”
Commander Cho’s eyes widened, surprised by Changmin using his given name in a debriefing, but just smiled and told his friend, “You are welcome. Good luck with your theory.”
“Thank you, I shall need it,” Changmin replied, and then quickly exited the conference room, moving across the bridge to the lift. When he entered the lift, he did not order it to immediately move; instead, after the doors closed he asked the computer, “Computer, who is in sickbay at this time?”
“Dr. Cho, Lieutenant SooYoung, Ensign Kim Junsu, Ensign Choi Minho, and Civilian Choi Sulli are in sickbay at this time,” the computer promptly answered.
“Computer, is Ensign Junsu in a private room?”
“Yes,” the computer answered.
Changmin hit his insignia and ordered, “Ensign Minho, I realize you are rejoicing in your sister’s return, but if you could manage to put your illogical human emotions aside long enough to do your job it would be most appreciated.”
“Yes, Sir,” was Ensign Minho’s immediate reply.
“I want you in the astrophysics lab immediately. I want answers, Ensign,” Changmin said in his most curt tone. “And I want them now.”
“On my way, Sir.”
Changmin tapped his insignia off and waited a few minutes and then ordered the lift to take him to deck twelve. He exited the lift and hurried toward sickbay.
He entered sickbay and immediately strolled into Dr. Cho’s office. Dr. Cho, who was just getting up from his desk, smiled at Changmin and informed him, “We have all our chicks back in the nest, finally.”
Changmin arched his eyebrows at the doctor’s wording and said, “A most inaccurate saying, but I have come to expect such things from you.”
Ryeowook walked to Changmin, still smiling. “You just love my Baylor sayings, don’t pretend you don’t.”
Changmin looked down at the shorter man fondly and informed him, “I have always valued our friendship, and all your odd habits and adages. I hope in time you and Kyuhyun truly find your way back to each other.”
“We will,” Ryeowook told Changmin, looking up at him, clearly startled by his sentiments.
“I also must apologize,” Changmin told the doctor.
Ryeowook looked even more surprised and asked, “For what?”
Changmin slipped a hand up to the doctor’s neck and pressed a pressure point causing the doctor to immediately lose consciousness. Changmin easily caught the doctor, gently lowering him to the floor and told him, “For that.”
He then left Dr. Cho’s office and approached the room occupied by Lieutenant SooYoung. The doors to the room whooshed open, allowing him entry. He found the lieutenant sitting up in the bed, with Sulli sitting beside her.
Sulli turned to face the science officer, immediately chastising him, “Changmin, you are so mean to make Minho go back to work. It wasn’t very nice at all.”
“No, it was not,” Changmin agreed as he approached the bed.
“You should be ashamed,” Sulli told him.
Changmin smiled back at her. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I feel no shame.”
Sulli shook her head and turned to SooYoung, and then back to Changmin. “Did you come here to check on SooYoung? I will forgive you if you did. Doesn’t she look awesome?”
“She is as aesthetically pleasing as before,” Changmin replied, indifferently.
SooYoung’s mouth fell open and she gently punched her cousin on the upper arm for asking the science officer such a question.
Sulli turned back to the annoyed SooYoung, explaining, “Don’t be upset. Changmin and I are good friends. Plus, it’s very true. You are beautiful…just like Changmin is very handsome. You two are very attractive…just imagine what a lovely couple you would make.”
SooYoung did her best to ignore her cousin and asked Changmin, “Sir, I apologize for my cousin…is there something you require from me?”
“Lieutenant, you need not apologize for you cousin, I am well accustomed to her; but I do require you assistance.”
“Anything, Sir,” SooYoung replied.
“I require you to come with me,” Changmin explained. “We need to speak alone.”
“Do you?” Sulli asked excitedly as she turned back to SooYoung and winked.
SooYoung pushed Sulli off the bed and informed Changmin, “Sir, I am restricted to sickbay.”
“Doctor Cho will not object,” Changmin assured her as he grabbed Sulli by the hand pulling her closer to him. “It is an urgent matter.”
“Yes, Sir,” SooYoung agreed, climbing out of bed wearing the standard gray clothing sickbay had provided her with.
Sulli was beaming at the thought of a romantic encounter between her cousin and Changmin. “Changmin, I am so proud of you! That’s the way to take the initiative.”
Changmin did not bother hiding his amusement as he reached up with his free hand to cup Sulli’s cheek, and told her, “You are deluded.”
Sulli frowned. “Deluded?”
“Very much so…” Changmin told her, pulling her into a hug, “…but also strangely endearing.”
A surprised Sulli looked over Changmin’s shoulder to her cousin who was staring at them dumbfounded. “Changmin, you are such a hugger now.”
“Only with you,” Changmin explained, pressing her closer to him. “Sulli, you must stay in this room. Do not leave it until SooYoung returns.”
“Okay,” Sulli answered as Changmin released her from the hug.
Changmin turned toward SooYoung and told her, “If you will please follow me, Lieutenant.”
SooYoung nodded her head, still amazed at the sight she had just witnessed, and followed Changmin out of the room.
“Where are we going?” SooYoung asked Changmin.
Changmin paused, watching as the doors shut, closing Sulli off from them. “My conception is upon us, and if you do not assist me I will be lost to time.”
“Follow me,” Changmin ordered as he quickly headed out of sickbay.
SooYoung rushed to keep up with him. “Your conception?”
“You are aware that I am from the future?”
“Yes, of course I am.”
“I can not explain everything to you, I just require that you trust me,” Changmin informed her as they exited sickbay.
“Why me?” SooYoung asked as she followed Changmin down the corridor.
“I do not believe Jaejoong will be able to read your mind, and you are intelligent enough to grasp the importance of my plan without knowing all the minor details. In short, I will not have to waste precious time explaining things to you.”
“Okay,” SooYoung explained as they hurried through the corridor. “Where are we going?”
“We are beaming down to the planet Eternity. I must reach the Guardian of Time before my conception occurs,” Changmin explained.
“Vic spoke of a Guardian of Time. A great being that was a portal to all of time, is that the Guardian you speak of?”
“Yes,” Changmin informed her. “Although I believe there are many of them, and they are all connected.”
“And if you reach this guardian in time…you will not be lost?”
“No,” Changmin answered as they reached the lift. “Deck 18,” Changmin ordered.
“Not the main transporter room?” SooYoung asked, entering the lift.
“No, I am sure it is being closely monitored. The emergency transporter room on deck 18 has been closed off since our arrival in this galaxy.”
“How do you know you will not blink out of existence even if you reach the guardian in time?” SooYoung asked as they exited the lift.
“I will explain more when we reach the planet,” Changmin explained as they hurried to the transporter room.
“Of course,” SooYoung agreed, realizing everything said on a star ship was being recorded. “You do not want others to know of your plans.”
“No,” Changmin answered, entering the transporter room. “They would require lengthy explanations and I do not have the time to spare.”
SooYoung watched as Changmin went to the transporter controls, working quickly to implant a code into the transporter system. SooYoung nodded her head, realizing what he was doing, “You do not want to be beamed back to the ship or followed.”
“Exactly,” Changmin explained, working quickly. “Not until my conception has taken place.”
“Oh,” SooYoung said in understanding. “And if it does not take place?”
“I will cease to exist either way,” Changmin informed her, stepping away from the controls.
SooYoung followed him onto the platform, since Changmin had programmed the transporter to immediately beam the both of them down to the planet.
They materialized in front the Guardian of Time. SooYoung stared at the portal in amazement. “Are you going to go through it?”
“No,” Changmin answered as he reached up and removed the necklace from his neck.
SooYoung turned back to Changmin and questioned, “No?”
Changmin quickly handed her the necklace.
“No; you must listen to me. I do not have much time left. It is imperative that you follow my every instruction.”
SooYoung’s eyes widened as she looked as Changmin, who was starting to fade away. “Tell me, quickly.”
Yunho awoke, smiling.
Jaejoong, who was sitting up and leaning against the headboard of the bed, just shook his head as his satisfied lover rolled over on the opposite end of bed.
Yunho stretched out his hands, smiling as he lifted his head to look at his mate, who didn’t look half as pleased. “Was it not good for you?”
“It was fine.”
Yunho grinned up at Jaejoong. “Sometimes I like plain old vanilla sex.”
“You do realize that sex with me is never plain. I amplify the pleasure tenfold,” Jaejoong reminded his lover.
“I was referring to the positioning, but you are right…if I had sex with anybody else, it would be terribly unsatisfying.”
“And suicidal, since I would kill you.”
“You’d just kill yourself in process.”
“That’s why I said it’d be suicidal.”
“Oh, I get it,” Yunho replied, sitting up. He picked up one of Jaejoong’s feet, and began massaging it. “What do you say about another go?”
Jaejoong shook his head and asked his pheromone influenced mate, “What about your ship?”
“My ship,” Yunho repeated, tilting his head. “We are not in warp anymore. I should be checking on it, but if you insisted on me staying…I’d have to stay.”
Jaejoong reached across the bed to the nightstand, opened the drawer and pulled out a hypospray that Ryeowook had supplied them with. “I don’t think so.”
Yunho frowned, feeling unreasonably hurt, but he decided to take Jaejoong’s lack of enthusiasm as a challenge. Yunho dropped Jaejoong’s foot and suggestively licked his fingers. He then crawled over Jaejoong and slid the wet fingers up Jaejoong’s inner thigh. “I know your—”
Yunho’s insignia chirped, causing Yunho, who had just lowered his head to follow the path that his fingers had left with his tongue, to complain, “Oh, bugger.”
Jaejoong picked up the insignia that was resting on the bedside table, pushed Yunho away, and tossed the insignia at his mate. “Time to go back to work.”
Yunho tapped the insignia and Commander Cho’s extremely worried voice was instantly heard, “Captain, are you…functioning?”
“I am in fine working order, even if somebody doesn’t appreciate my efforts,” Yunho grumbled, causing Jaejoong to roll his eyes.
“Sir, Changmin has beamed down to the planet.”
Jaejoong tensed, and told Yunho, “We are in orbit around Eternity.”
“How the hell did we get to Eternity? I am going to beat that boy’s ass when I get a hold of him. He is not allowed to play with the Guardian,” Yunho told both Jaejoong and Commander Cho.
“Sir?” Commander Cho asked over the communication link, not prepared for such a response from the captain.
Jaejoong, who was still holding the hypospray, moved toward Yunho, who immediately dropped the insignia and spread open his arms for Jaejoong, and confidently told his mate, “I knew you couldn’t resist me.”
“You are getting cut off,” an amused Jaejoong told Yunho mentally as he injected his mate with the hypospray, and the pheromones immediately left Yunho’s system. Yunho’s eyes widened and he grabbed for his insignia, ordering, “Commander, beam him back to the ship immediately!”
“I can’t, Sir,” Commander Cho explained, “He has disabled the transporter controls. I am in the transporter room now with Lieutenant Donghae, trying to gain access to the transporters.”
“I need you to tell me everything that has been going on,” Yunho told Commander Cho as he quickly got out of bed and hurried to the dressing chamber.
Jaejoong ignored Yunho’s conversation with the commander, not waiting for verbal explanations as he scanned the minds of the crew.
Commander Cho continued to report to Yunho as the captain exited the dressing chamber. As soon as Yunho stepped out of the dressing chamber, Jaejoong entered.
Yunho stopped Commander Cho’s detailed explanation to ask in disbelief, “He did the Vulcan Nerve Pinch on Ryeowook?”
“Yes, Sir,” Commander Cho answered. “Then—”
“He took your Lieutenant SooYoung with him,” Jaejoong interrupting Commander Cho to tell Yunho as he followed Yunho out of their quarters. “He knew I would have sensed him plotting with anybody else…she must really be closed to me.”
“I don’t understand what is going on in his head. I thought he was back to being like his old self…was he just fooling us?” Yunho asked Jaejoong, after ending the conversation with Commander Cho.
“No, he wasn’t fooling us. He couldn’t fool me…not without that blasted necklace on. He had control of his emotions and his behavior was not erratic,” Jaejoong insisted as they got on the lift. “He must have had a reason.”
Yunho shook his head. “He knows neither one of us want him near the Guardian. I gave him an order to never go near it.”
Jaejoong swallowed down his fears as they exited the lift and hurried toward the transporter room. He had read both Sulli and Ryeowook’s mind, realizing that Changmin seemed to be telling them goodbye.
Yunho and Jaejoong entered the transporter room to find Donghae and Commander Cho at the control panels trying to gain control of the transporters. “Sir, he intended to lock us out, and he did a fine job of it,” Donghae told to the captain.
“Of course he did,” Yunho answered as he moved toward the controls. “When doesn’t he do an excellent job?”
“I should have known…there was something off about him at the debriefing, but he’s been off since he found out he was half Joong,” Commander Cho said, moving aside for Yunho. “I should have questioned him further.”
“You couldn’t have known,” Yunho told Commander Cho as he began to attempt to gain control of the transporters. The minute Yunho typed in his command code, the transporters began to function properly.
“That was weird,” Donghae exclaimed, staring at the captain. “You didn’t do anything.”
“I just entered my command code,” Yunho agreed, paling as he read the coordinates to where Changmin had beamed too. “He went directly to the Guardian.”
Jaejoong quickly stepped onto the transporter platform and Yunho realized for the first time that Jaejoong was wearing his blue uniform. “Jaejoong, you are not—”
“Like hell I am not,” Jaejoong informed his mate. “If you think I’m ever allowing you to beam down anywhere without me again, you’ve lost your mind.”
Yunho grudgingly met Jaejoong on the platform. “I swear you’d better behave; the people of Eternity are a noble race, and a very strict religious people! They don’t need any of our shows.”
“Yunho, I am only concerned for Changmin at the time being,” Jaejoong informed his mate. “The Guardian will want to deal with me.”
Yunho exhaled, knowing Jaejoong spoke the truth. Yunho turned back to face Donghae and ordered, “Beam us down.”
Yunho and Jaejoong materialized in front of the Guardian to find SooYoung standing ten feet away from Guardian, alone, holding on to the pink crystal necklace.
“Where is he?” Jaejoong demanded as he rushed toward SooYoung.
“He…he faded away,” SooYoung answered, still shocked by what she had just witnessed. “He just faded away.”
Yunho, who had been approaching SooYoung, came to a dead stop. “He faded away?”
“Yes, Sir,” SooYoung answered. “He just faded away. One minute he was standing next to me and the next…he just started to fade away.”
“I don’t trust her,” Jaejoong seethed, eyeing the woman suspiciously. “Her mind is completely blank to me.”
“Just because you can’t read her mind doesn’t mean we can’t trust her,” a worried Yunho told his mate. “We would both be dead right now it weren’t for the actions of Lieutenant SooYoung.”
Jaejoong flung his head around to glare at Yunho. “I don’t care! I still don’t trust her! Something isn’t right!”
“Well, I do trust her!”
“Guardian, I demand that you answer me,” Jaejoong shouted, pushing past SooYoung and Yunho to face the Guardian. “Where is Changmin?”
The booming voice of the Guardian answered, “The life that will someday be Jung Changmin exists inside of you, Jaejoong of the Royal House of Joong.”
Jaejoong whimpered softly as the Guardian confirmed what he had suspected since he had awoken earlier, “You did not send him somewhere? He did not pass through you? He did not travel to another time or reality?”
“The last beings to travel through me were you and your mate,” The Guardian answered.
Yunho gently took SooYoung’s hand and asked in an apprehensive voice, “You said he faded away?”
SooYoung nodded her head, and explained, “He said his conception was upon him, and if he didn’t get here he would be forever lost to time.”
“So he was trying to pass through the Guardian, but he didn’t make it in time?” Yunho asked, horrified by the thought.
SooYoung shook her head. “No, he never went near it. He never called for it. I don’t think he wanted to pass through it.”
Yunho let go of SooYoung’s hand and turned toward Jaejoong. “Are you really pregnant?”
“I think so,” Jaejoong answered. “The insanity of the shifting is gone.”
“So Changmin…is lost. Lost to time?” Yunho repeated. “He must have wanted to travel through it…why else would he come here?”
SooYoung looked anguished as she told Yunho, “I don’t think he was trying to go anywhere. I think he just wanted to be here.”
“With you?” Jaejoong demanded, casting accusing eyes on her.
SooYoung nodded her head.
“Why would he take you? It doesn’t make sense,” Jaejoong demanded. “You hold no special meaning to him.”
Yunho walked up to Jaejoong and took him by the arm, attempting to calm his mate. “Jaejoong, he must have had his reasons. He always has…had his reasons.”
“He wanted me to tell you something,” SooYoung confided in them.
Jaejoong, who was unaccustomed to having to wait for answers, snapped impatiently, “Spit it out already.”
“He wanted you to know, that he isn’t lost…not really. He’s just back to his beginning,” SooYoung told them both, but avoided the glare of the Joong and looked only at Yunho. “He doesn’t want you to be sad…you didn’t lose him. The life he spent with you was out of order…and now you have simply arrived back to his beginning.”
Yunho’s eyes filled with tears, knowing the words she spoke were the truth. “But…it just seems…so…like…he’s gone…it feels like…he’s lost…gone, like he died.”
Yunho’s pain filled Jaejoong, adding to his own. The Joong wrapped his arms around Yunho. “She’s right…he was right, it isn’t the end. It’s just his beginning.”
“But…he’s gone,” Yunho whispered, hugging Jaejoong tightly.
“You must not think of him as gone.”
“But he is…the Changmin we knew and loved is gone.”
“No, he isn’t gone,” Jaejoong told Yunho, pulling away from him and taking Yunho’s hand and placing it over his stomach. “He’s right here.”
Yunho looked down into Jaejoong big blue eyes, unable to shake the feeling of unbearable loss. “It’s not the same.”
Jaejoong looked up at Yunho and promised, “No, but it will be okay. It will be. You will love this baby, because this baby is Changmin.”
“I didn’t even get to say goodbye…a baby…it’s…not the same…it’s…” Yunho paused, unable to finish his sentence.
Jaejoong covered Yunho’s hand with both of his. “No, it will be different. Very different, but he will need us more than ever. One day this life inside of me will become your Changmin…our wonderful, brilliant Changmin.”
SooYoung turned away from the broken hearted couple, and quickly walked away. Putting distance between them, trying desperately to hide her guilt at not being able to ease their pain, and praying that her faith in Changmin wasn’t misplaced.