“There is a theory which states that if ever for any reason anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.”—Douglas Adams (via aeloquence)
Dedicated To: All of my Tweeplings and Tumblings who encouraged me to write a M/M romance book and to Angel & James, Justin & Link, and Sky who all provided the inspiration and all of the steamy details so that I would get it right.
It wasn’t the crash that changed history. Though the damage to the small shuttle was remarked upon, debated, and mentioned for decades after the fateful event. Alas, it wasn’t even the cargo that the shuttle carried, over 16 zillion malui worth of gems and natural stones. It wasn’t even the fact that the two passengers who were found among the gems, stones, money, clothing, and the broken and shattered remains of the space vessel weren’t Tumarons, werewolf shapeshifters that changed the history of Planet Tumaro. It was the man, the humanoid that lay injured, brutally so, that so completely altered an entire planet, her people and their ruler.
Talon Versuthion, affectionately called “Tal” by his adopted sister, Josepire “Josie” Laungford, had not set out to become a history maker. In fact, if one were to question him about his plans for the future, they would be surprised at the glazed look that would appear in the young man’s gorgeous golden eyes and the stuttered words that would emanate from his mouth. You see, Tal just wanted to live. That’s right, living was his life’s goal. And this living didn’t have to be exciting or filled with parties and drinking or sleeping around with as many men, women, or species as he could, for Tal living was just that…living. He only wanted to wake up every morning and breathe and move, eat, shower, sleep and occasionally read a book.
His adopted parents, Wendiford and Markaela Sothsberg, told him that it was the death of his parents that caused him to be so apathetic about his own future seeing as how they never got one but Tal simply smiled at them and nodded, indulging their need to explain his behavior to him. He knew that his lack of a personal drive had nothing to do with the untimely death of the two people who had by some twist of fate created him which left him at the mercy of the Interplanetary Children Defense Services or ICDS and everything to do with the fact that he was bored.
Bored. Utterly and unbelievably bored. Of his small two-bedroom apartment that he shared with his older sister Josie, of his job as a delivery boy for the GPA and of having to always be so careful when it came to having sex with a man.
Coming out to his parents hadn’t been all that hard for Tal. At the age of fourteen he’d simply told them over breakfast. They’d both looked at him, then at his sister, then at each other and told him that they understood, still loved him anyway, but that they needed to talk to him later. While their planet, Edifice, was a lot more tolerant and accepting of homosexual relationships than other planets, like Volantic, Doral, Tumaro and Zeelith, his parents had kept a vital piece of information from Tal. It was about his birth parents, his medical history, his species, and most of all it was about his family’s history, beliefs, values, and their secrets.
Tal was a Vermithian, a special breed of humanoids, all of them with secret abilities, all of them with the ability to communicate with nature, the heavens and animals, and all of them with the ability to conceive….all of them, male and female alike. Tal had stared at his adopted parents in shock, his mind unable to conceive of the very idea that he was able to get pregnant.
“But that’s impossible! I’m a guy!” he’d blustered.
“You’re Vermithian, honey, for your people being born a man is merely a formality, not a fact,” Markaela had stated, her voice soft, sweet and oddly seductive to everyone that she met.
“What does that mean?” Tal had asked, the words wrenched from his throat.
“If you weren’t gay then it would mean nothing, you would marry a woman and your genetic DNA would alter the very first time you mated with her so that you would be able to impregnate her. Since you are, in fact, gay, then your genetic DNA will alter to allow you to become pregnant when you mate with your husband,” Wendiford explained.
Tal looked at his parents in shock. Firmly aware of the fact that what they were warning him of was something that was life-altering.
“Wait…mate? What do you mean? You mean like have sex with?” Tal questioned them.
“Not really,” Markaela sighed, “Tal, I am Vermithian as well and our people are created, hot-wired if you will by the fates, the heavens to recognize, to submit, to love and be bonded to one or two other people for the rest of our lives. We can have sex with how ever many people, species that we want with no adverse affect, but something happens to our DNA when we experience the release of our mate’s orgasmic fluids in our bodies. Our bodies shift and adjust to accommodate itself to our partner so that we can continue our genetic line and heritage,” she stated as she took Tal’s hand within her own, her bright brown eyes wide.
Tal looked at his adopted mother and nodded, finally understanding…although…”Why didn’t you and Dad ever have any children of your own then?” he questioned, raising an eyebrow when he noticed his parents’ shared look of trepidation.
“That’s because Dad isn’t my mate and he’s unable to father children. My mate died when we were both eighteen,” Markaela stated, her voice choking on a sob.
“Oh Mom, I’m so sorry,” Tal said, wrapping his slender arms around her.
“It’s okay honey, it was during the Destruction of 2210, he’d enlisted to fight for the GPA and had barely taken off in their shuttle to go to the training camps when a shock ray missile collided with the shuttle,” Markaela inhaled deeply, exhaling on a shaky breath, “I felt it when he died. It felt like my heart, my mind and my soul were being ripped in half. It was horrible. But,” she looked up and Wendiford and smiled, “I met your father three years later and it was love at first sight. He was the first true human that I could tolerate. We met in GPA Academy and Leadership University. We were married four months after meeting.” Tal smiled slightly when his parents kissed each other softly, his own worries easing momentarily in the face of their obvious affection for each other.
When their gazes returned to his face, however, the reality of his situation came crashing back down on his head.
“So, how am I supposed to know who my mate is? And what if my mate is a female?” he questioned hesitantly.
“I sincerely doubt that fate would have you be gay and then bond you with a female, Son,” his father pointed out with an indulgent smile.
Tal shrugged while his mother chuckled softly, “You’ll be able to tell as soon as you’re around them. Their smell, their presence, their voice, all of it will feel like a blanket being wrapped around you, making you feel warm, safe, and protected. Also, you will be able to tell when you touch for the first time. After that it will be nearly impossible for you two or you three to be apart from each other, without feeling as if you are going to climb the walls and destroy everything around you. It’s pretty hard not to know who your mate is,” she pointed out to him.
Tal nodded and smiled and that was when he determined to never find his mate. He loved his family, but he knew that nothing lasted forever, people died, people left, they especially left him, so it would do no good for him to have a mate that he couldn’t live without, knowing that one day that mate would do just that. There was also that whole, him being pregnant thing. Tal still shuddered at the thought of getting pregnant from any man and so he required every boyfriend, every meaningless fuck, every one night stand or bathroom hookup to wear a condom…even if all they did was have a mutual jerkoff or blowjob. He was very safe and overly protective.
Of course, Josie, being the nosey older sister that she was refused to let his behavior go without remarking on it. So it was, the day that they loaded their shuttle for their most recent expedition and delivery that she decided to speak to him about the direction that his life had taken.
“You know, I think you never look for anything serious and are so cautious about the whole condom thing because you’re actually afraid of any type of committed emotion,” she stated as she stored her case filled with her clothing, toiletries, electronic books and music in her cabin before turning to face him, her thick black hair swinging back behind her shoulders, the tight curls never losing their spring.
“What the hell are you blathering on about?” Tal murmured as he sauntered away from her, his slender, almost diminutive frame not needing much room to slide past her in the narrow hallway.
“I’m talking about you Tally. You and your fear of your mate, whomever he is, and your fear of having children of your own,” Josie stated as she sat in her chair next to him and with a final wave to their parents helped him prepare for liftoff.
“Josie, where the hell are these children supposed to come from if my mate is a man and I get pregnant?! I sure as hell am not going to be shooting them out of my ass, my mouth or any other small hole on me,” Tal growled as he focused on inputting their destination’s coordinates into the shuttle’s computer navigational system.
“Mom already told you that when it was time for you to give birth that a line would appear on your stomach and open so that the doctor would be able to deliver the baby and that your body would return to normal as soon as the baby and the placenta had been removed from your body. That’s not an excuse anymore,” Josie pointed out. Tal shot her a glare and turned his head back to focus on flying.
“Doesn’t matter anyway, with all the men and women that I’ve met and been with, none of them were my mate. Not one. So, I’m thinking that my mate died before I had a chance to meet them, and since I have no desire to settle down and have a bunch of little Tals running around, I figure it’s all for the best,” Tal stated emphatically.
“Bullshit,” Josie scoffed, raising her eyebrow at Tal when he shot her an incredulous look. “You want all of that, the husband, the kids, you want to have someone to cook for and take care of. You’re wired that way, when we played as kids, you always wanted to be the mom or the wife or the nurse,” Josie laughed when Tal flipped her off. “Face it Tal, the only reason you say that you’re so opposed to the idea is because you don’t have it right now and you don’t think you’ll ever have it, but if you were faced with the reality of your mate and a lifetime of love, happiness and children, you’d jump at the chance.”
Tal swallowed deeply and closed his eyes briefly at the brief flash of a life with his mate and their children before he mentally shook the image away. “Not even a little bit,” he lied, smoothing his hands over his thick, long brown hair and turning his mind back to the task at hand.
Everything was fine when they took off and as they flew towards Strawxig to deliver their goods and engage in a little exchanging for their family, but then without a word a massive space storm arose and they found themselves thrown off course.
“What the hell?!” Josie yelled as she clutched at the arms of her chair.
“I don’t know! That storm came out of nowhere, we’ve been rerouted to Tumaro,” Tal said in a frustrated voice laced with fear as the shuttle sputtered and whirled around, his systems shutting down one by one.
“Isn’t that where all of those fucking shapeshifters live?” Josie asked with an anxiety-ridden voice.
“Not all of them, but yes, it’s like the shapeshifters planet and they don’t have a democracy like we do, they have a monarchy,” Tal explained before angrily pounding his systems board when the shuttles brakes cut off. “Shit, we’re going to have a crash landing…a hard crash landing,” he warned his sister as they passed through the atmosphere of the planet Tumaro.
“Well let’s hope that when we land the shapeshifters will be in human form and not puppy form or whatever they are,” Josie joked, “So they can use their hands, and not their paws, to help us.”
Tal’s laugh was abruptly cut off as the shuttle crashed violently to the grass covered ground and he heard the shuttle become violently ripped apart as they bounced, rolled and spun to a halt, he turned to check on Josie seconds before unconsciousness claimed him.
Tal opened his eyes blearily and looked around, wincing at the harsh glare of the light above him. Turning his head slightly he looked around the room and realized that he lay on a bed, a very soft bed, and the room he was in was painted and furnished in soft golds and greens. Tal instantly felt at ease and closed his eyes to return to sleep before his brain clicked into gear. He was on Tumaro, his shuttle had crashed, Josie had been with him…Josie!
“J-J-Josie?” his voice croaked out anxiously, clearing his throat he raised his voice and tried to sit up in bed, which he seemed incapable of doing, “Josie!”
The doors to the bedroom flew open and Tal found himself blinking at the massive hulking frame of man that rushed into the room.
“Are you okay? What’s wrong?” the gorgeous man questioned. Tal’s brain effectively shut down again and he let his gaze rove over the man’s features. This man was tall, really tall, gorgeous, with long black hair, a pair of the lightest blue eyes ever and while his skin was more tanned than Tal’s it was still pale.
Shaking himself out of his reverie, Tal answered, “J-Josie…my sister, where is she? She was with me on the shuttle, where is she?”
The big man frowned as he came to stand beside Tal. “There was no woman when we found you, beauty,” he stated, his voice low and full of confusion.
“No, you have to be wrong. She was sitting in the seat next to mine, she was there! You have to go find her!” Tal was frantic now, sitting up swiftly, swaying a bit and pushing away the hands of the mysterious man who seemed determined to try to make him lay back down in the bed. “Let me go! I have to go and find my sister! JOSIE!” he screamed as he tried to run for the door, which swung open in front of him causing him to barrel into the very wide, very firm chest.
“Whoa there, where are you running off to?” the chest spoke. Tal raised his eyes up past the thick, muscled, tanned neck to the square jaw, dusted faintly with a dark five o’clock shadow to the aquiline nose that spoke of an aristocratic heritage, to a pair of the most gorgeous, dark blue eyes that Tal had ever seen. Add to that the long black hair that hung to just below his shoulders and his overly large frame, he was a walking wet-dream come true. Tal quickly reconsidered that when the man in question growled low in his chest and clutched him fiercely to his chest before burying his face in his neck. Tal squeaked in surprise but amazingly did not pull away. He felt safe in this man’s arms, even though he didn’t know his name, and he never wanted him to let him go.
Tal felt the world spin when the man in question, quickly jerked him behind him and growled at the other man in the room, “Mine”, his voice was low and forceful.
“Blaze? Are you saying that this…human…is your mate?” the first man asked incredulously.
The man named Blaze turned to look at Tal, his eyes softening rapidly and a slow smile coming to his face, he inhaled deeply, breathing in Tal’s scent, his eyes closing in rapture before he turned back to answer the question. “Yes Buck, he’s my mate.”
Tal’s eyes widened, another squeak escaping at the word mate before he slipped into unconsciousness.
Blaze looked down at the delicate features of the man laying next to him. He had never used the term “beautiful” to describe a man, but when it came to this man, it seemed the only word that truly fit. He smiled when his mate sighed in his sleep and unconsciously moved closer to him, snuggling into the curve of his body. His mate. He’d been searching for years for the one created and destined by fate to belong to him, made just for him, and had begun to despair of ever meeting them, when his brother and Percy, his brother’s unrequited or rather unclaimed love, told him of the human that they had rescued in the woods behind the castle. He had come to the infirmary only to check on the human, to inquire of his home, his destination, his name, but instead had caught the marvelous scent of his mate. He had never been so thankful for a plane crash before in his life.
When the small man’s eyes drifted open, Blaze felt himself smiling softly down at him. He wanted to treasure this man, cherish, protect, provide, care for, and love him, and that’s exactly what he planned to do and he would let no one stop him from doing that, no one.
“J-Josie? Why are you in the bed with me, get out,” the man grumbled sleepily, pushing weakly at Blaze’s chest.
Blaze chuckled softly and grinned when the other man’s eyes widened and focused on him, “Who is this Josie that you speak of?” he asked carefully, his voice laced with amusement.
“M-m-my sister…” the man answered.
“And what is your name?” Blaze inquired, resisting the urge to stroke his fingers through the man’s extremely long hair now that he was awake, as he had been doing while he slept.
“Talon, but everyone calls me Tal. What’s your name?” Tal asked softly and Blaze was amazed at how calm and almost inquisitive he appeared as he studied his face.
“Blazell Roughshire, but everyone calls me Blaze…or rather, my close friends, my inner circle, call me Blaze,” Blaze explained, his low, deep voice hesitant as he struggled to explain his identity.
“What do the people call you who are not your close friends or a part of your inner circle? Like me, what shall I call you?” Tal’s gaze was focused directly on Blaze’s and he found that he admired the smaller man’s direct stare.
“Others call me King Blazell or King Roughshire or if they’re really feeling brave King Blaze, but you…” Blaze watched as Tal’s eyes widened at the realization that Blaze was a king, “You may call me Blaze, baby, sweetheart, honey, love, darling, sweetie or mate. Either of those would suffice.”
Blaze smiled when Tal’s eyes narrowed, “Mate? Who said I was your mate? How do you know?” he asked, his voice tight with emotion and confusion.
“One such as I always knows his mate,” Blaze explained, his head tilting slightly to the side as he sniffed the air, detecting fear, resignation, and was it…yes, it was arousal, on his mate’s skin, “As do you. You know that I am your mate, do you not Talon?”
“I know no such thing!” Tal protested pushing against Blaze’s chest as he sat up quickly, looking down and noticing that he was completely nude. “Where the hell are my clothes?” he yelled, pulling the bedcovers up to his chin.
Blaze laughed heartily, “Your clothes were destroyed in your accident, my love, and I took the liberty of removing the hospital gown that you wore when I brought you here to our bedroom,” he stated with amusement.
“Our bedroom?” Tal questioned in a small voice.
“Yes, love, our bedroom. Where we will sleep and make love, more so the latter than the former.”
Tal shook his head in bewilderment, “But you don’t even know me!” he debated.
“My soul knows yours, my heart embraces yours, my life and I were made for you as yours was made for me. I know you, though my mind may not,” Blaze declared.