warnings - drama, violence, angst, and a lot of sexy space gayness.

a/n: this story is being uploaded in its entirety without any changes made from the original text. it was written before the end of the first chapter of Starfighter, and any inconsistencies in characters / plot to the actual comic can be attributed to this fact. if there are any glaring errors that I have overlooked, please feel free to message me, and I will consider making edits. thank you for reading, and enjoy!

Starfighter Comic & Characters (c) M. Palumbo "HamletMachine" / Nightmareland Press. I claim no ownership and make no monetary gain from the posting of this story.

As my eyes staggered open, my memory was a blur. What'd just happened? Why did my heart feel heavy?

Sounds came through as if wads of cotton were stuffed in my ears. I squinted; everything was lit up with a harsh, yellow glow, hot like fire. From what I could see - which wasn't much, lying on my back - the tattered tops of tall buildings shuddered as a rumble broke the air.

That's right, the war... I was in a war. It was important that I was here. For some reason, my navigational skills were required, even out of the spacecraft.

I just couldn't remember.

Slowly, I realized that I was in pain. A lot of pain. Pain I never new existed and that choked my breath away. My lungs seized up as my chest heaved against a sob; an unimaginable torture.

Oh god...

Fingers gripped my own. An arm brought me upright; agony shot down my spine at a gentle touch to my head. The cry in my throat cracked and died while my vision swam black, and then I could see.

Then I could see him.

He was a sweaty, scuffed image of relentless will, bruise-tinted hair slicked in more directions than usual. On his face, was my favorite expression. Floating on the surface was a mask of intense anger - as solid as ice, yet as transparent as air. While it'd taken a long time to see it for what it really was, I could now clearly witness a relieved, horrified concern, shaking just within his gaze.

Today, it brought me to tears.

With great effort, I lifted my free hand and, quivering, pressed it to his cheek. I felt his jaw tighten; he squeezed my other wrist, subtly caressing the back of it with his thumb. He wanted to move - I could feel the anxious beat of his heart against my shoulder, and the twitch of his legs under mine.

But he didn't, at first. Perhaps he could see why my gut was screaming with an empty sting. Or knew why I couldn't curl my toes. Maybe he'd found where my skull was split.

Adrenaline abruptly spiked my veins. I began to gasp for air. Tangling my hand against his scalp, I clung to him in reckless desperation.

I can't die, I remember stating clear in my mind. I can't die, I don't want to die, please, please don't - don't let me go...

I croaked out; "I can't..."

His teeth flashed white in a silent snarl. I was drawn in closer; he barked at me to shut the hell up - but it wavered at the end. By the time I finally stilled, and found my face flush to his, the panic in my heart faded away.

There was a new look in his stare, and arm holding me trembled just the faintest.


A wetness glistened against his temple, near the short lashes of his eyes.


"Stay with me."

There are no words for what his voice was right then. If it'd been a different person, there were so many possibilities: sadness, rage, grief, irritation, devastation, indifference, maybe even a hopeful resignation. Not from him, though. Spoken from his lips, it became something completely new.

Somehow it gave me hope.

Consciousness drained out my body as he stood. The world swayed in dizzying arcs around us. My eyes slipped shut.

And it struck me then - in the blissful numb of unnatural sleep - of how safe he made me feel. Even if he acted a brutish fiend on the outside, he always treated me with care. He could be selfishly possessive, and a right-damn-bastard at times, but never cruel; despite any of my accusations to the contrary.

No... while calloused, this man had a truly, deeply, passionate heart.

All I could do then was trust him. Trust him to save me. Trust him to never stop going.

Because I have to tell you how much I...