"Whose fault is this and why hasn't anyone shot them by now?"

Zaeed Massiani stared out over the sprawling canopy of treetops below. It wobbled a bit. So did the tree he was sitting in. He wasn't too worried about it. It was a pretty good seat, for a tree, and it didn't seem as if the branch was going to give way any time soon. He'd been in worse situations.

Most of them hadn't resulted in a nearly naked chick on his lap, either.

"I mean, we have a fucking shuttle!"

Nearly naked, and not bad looking, even if she had a big mouth and refused to shut it. He could think of better ways to put it to use.

"The idea was to avoid detection. You ever heard of heat detection? Proximity sensors?"

"Yeah, but parachutes?" She gestured at the sheet of blue cloth hanging from a branch below them. The other one had disappeared into the trees below. "What is this, the twenty-first century? Things are fucking huge. Talk about painting a target on your ass."

"We wouldn't be here if you could just follow instructions." Girl was a show-off. Not bad to look at, but a little too aware of that fact. He should have known better than to let it distract him, though; that always ends up... entangling things. Literally. Like... parachutes.

"Are you fucking serious? It's because you couldn't take your eyes of my tits for one second!" She shoved against his chest, pushing his back against the needly, prickly trunk of the tree. He swore, caught her wrist and pushed it back.

"It's a goddamn pine tree! My back's going to look like a bloody pincushion!"

"Poor baby."

"Are you going to shut up, or am I going to have to throw you off this branch?"

She grinned. "You could give it a shot. Bet you'd hit the ground first." She was probably right. Little biotic bitch. "If you want me to shut up, it's gonna take more than idle threats."

"Yeah? Like what?"

She gave him a look that said she didn't believe what she was fucking hearing. "I'm sitting right fucking here!" She jerked herself back and forth, grinding roughly against him. "Jesus fuck, you bastard, what do you think I mean?"

"We're sitting in a treetop."

"Yeah, so it's dangerous. Just makes it more fun."

"We're a hundred goddamn meters up."

Jack shrugged. "You're old," she said, matter-of-factly. "Don't be such a pussy. You're gonna die soon anyway."

Then she bit his lip before he could answer.

Before he realized it, his hands were on her ass, rocking her back and forth. It wasn't a kiss, not exactly; it involved more teeth than tongue. She clawed at his arms; he left bruises on her ass. Mingled saliva dribbled down their chins. It could have been the foreplay leading up to the best and roughest fuck ever, if they hadn't been sitting in a tree.

Or at least if the tree hadn't chosen that moment to remind them of the fact.

The branch they were sitting on creaked.

Then gravity kicked in.

They were still clinging to the trunk like koalas when the shuttle finally came to pick them up, some fifteen minutes later. It was, Zaeed thought, not the most glorious moment in his long and inglorious career.

His only solace was that it would take Jack hours to get all the needles out of her skin. That almost made it worth the indignity.