Summary: Rommie makes a suggestion and Harper gets a surprise.

Pairings: Harper/Rommie, Harper/Rommie/other

Disclaimer: Tribune owns all rights to Andromeda.

Rating: PG-13 for concepts.

Spoilers: Mostly for season five events.

Setting: Sort of post season five? Maybe, kind of?

Feedback: Praise and constructive criticism welcome.

Archive: Ask first and I'll probably say yes.

Author's Note: At one point, for no apparent reason, I had this image pop into my head of Rommie saying her first line written in this story. It just kind of wrote itself from there, though of all the storylines… (And yes, Harper's French is terrible. It's supposed to be. Remember "Harper 2.0"?)

Reality versus Fantasy

By B.L.A. the Mouse

It really was entirely Rommie's idea. She had been in what Harper referred to as her thinking pose: lying on her stomach, propped up on her elbows with her chin resting on her interlaced fingers. Abruptly, she said, "I just can't help thinking of what happened to poor Fan."

"Okay…" was all that Harper could come up with, as up until that sentence he had been falling contentedly asleep in the silence. "Who's Fan?

Rommie frowned, not moving otherwise. "The Triumphant Valor."

"So… A High Guard avatar." Slightly more awake now, Harper rolled to his side to get a better look at Rommie and leaned on his elbow. His other hand had been draped across her back, and now he started tracing her equivalent of a spinal column. "Old Commonwealth?"

"Of course. A Lancer dropship. Very good for stealth. We all called her Fan."

"Why 'poor Fan'?" He let his fingers linger on a patch of artificial skin as he waited for an answer. She must have gotten hit with an energy weapon and neglected to tell him, again, because he didn't remember damage to that area of her back. Not since they'd rebuilt her, anyway.

"There was… an incident. She was never really the same afterward. The rest of us had tried telling her it was a bad idea, but—"

"Wait. This isn't turning into one of those stories about what all those avatars do when they're in port together, is it?" He'd heard those stories. A couple of them nearly made his hair curl.

"No, this was out in deep space, I believe on a classified mission." She stopped as his hand dipped below the sheet's edge at her waist. "Are you intending to do something with that hand?"

"But of course, mon cherie."

The topic of "poor Fan" was promptly dropped.

It was brought up again the next day. Harper had Rommie sitting at one of the tables in Machine Shop 2 while he worked on the spot that he'd noticed the night before. It might have been because of the relative privacy they enjoyed— he'd temporarily ordered everyone else out, as she would be naked above the waist— but she said, as if in response to him asking a question, "Now what worries me is her crew's reaction. Those that participated, anyway."

"Are we back to 'poor Fan' again?" Harper did a final check of the recalibrated sensor that had lain under the damaged area. If he was right, this would fix the barely-there imbalance he'd been noticing in her gait since their last running firefight, which was probably when she'd received the damage in the first place.

"Yes. Can you check the rotor there? I think it's wearing loose."

"Sure, no problem."

"Thank you. You see, her captain could never look at the first officer without blushing again, the first officer developed an unhealthy obsession with Fan, and Fan herself was never able t o take the weapons officer seriously after that. It became a very unstable situation, and they eventually had to transfer all the officers concerned. To different ships, of course."

"Okay…" Harper tweaked the rotor to tighten it up, then told her, "You're right, it was a little loose, but it should be fine now," as he sealed the artificial skin over it. "So I get the consequences, but what did they do, play Truth or Dare?" He shut off the nanowelder and was immediately glad that he had, as his fingers stopped working at her response.

"Oh, no. They had an orgy."

"A… A what?"

"An orgy. Do you need your hearing checked?"

"I heard you, I just didn't believe you. I mean…" He set down the nanowelder and shook his head. "I thought all those Commonwealth officers were like Dylan. You know, noble and honest and full of so much moral fiber they could replace your breakfast." He came around the table to face her.

"Yes, but they were still humanoid. And the weapons officer was the only one with a significant other, and he apparently went to great lengths to get his boyfriend's permission first." Rommie swung her feet. "I wouldn't think you'd have a problem with the concept, Harper."

"The concept? No, except when you try to apply it to High Guard ships. It just doesn't work."

"Why not? Dylan's High Guard, and you know his attitude toward women. Besides, you and I would have finished this conversation on last night if you hadn't distracted me."

"Ah, but I prefer the conversation we did have. Especially the part where you were screaming my name." He waggled his eyebrows and sidled between her knees.

"I was not screaming it," Rommie replied, but was already sliding her arms around his neck as she conceded, "although I might have been moaning it."

"It's all good." He grinned and put his hands on her bare waist. "Any way you say it, at least." And then he kissed her, and she kissed him back, and he was just starting to slide his arms up over her sides when the intercom beeped.

"Mister Harper, can you explain to me why I have six engineers and technicians cooling their heels outside Machine Shop 2?"

They both groaned, and Harper moved away from her to answer. "Because I was just about to let them back in. I was fixing a problem with Rommie's balance." He glanced back over at her and nearly whimpered when he saw her cover up her breasts with the front of her jumpsuit. "You can open the door."

The door slid open, the crew streamed back in, and Rommie had just finished zipping up her outfit when Dylan stuck his head in. "Actually, I was going to tell you that you're needed in the slipcore. But in the future, please don't send an entire work shift out instead of finding one that people aren't working in?" He disappeared again.

"Geez, fix the ship, don't fix the ship…"

"Come on, I'll walk you down to the core." Rommie came up behind him. "And Beka's requesting you on the Maru as soon as you're finished there."

"Slavedrivers, all of you. You know that, right?" He grinned, though, and enjoyed the not-accidental brush of their hands together as they walked through the corridor.

"Of course. Although I had thought you liked commanding women."


"I actually did want to finish what we were discussing. With regard to Fan, that is."

"Okay. Proceed discussing." He gestured her onward.

"I just want to know how you'd feel about trying something similar. With just one other person, though. I think four is overkill. And obviously—" She turned around to face, probably because he'd come to a complete halt a few steps back. "Harper?"



"Pinch me? I think I'm dream— Ow!" He rubbed the red spot where she'd done as he asked. "I wasn't being literal, you know."

"I was erring on the side of caution." She ignore the look he gave her and continued, "I'm going to assume you're interested, then."

"Of course! I—"

"Good." She cut off what was shaping up to be a paean, in his head at least, to the glories of Rommie as well as another woman. "Then I'll leave you to get to work." She gently pushed him down the connecting corridor that they stood at. "And I'll see you later," she added, before turning and heading in their original direction.

Harper watched her go, spun on his heels, and strode off, whistling cheerfully, to the slipcore.

It took Harper longer than he anticipated in the slipcore, but he eventually reached the Maru, only to find it locked up tighter than a Nightsider's contracts. That had never stopped him before, though, and he was inside the airlock in no time. The distinctive whine of a Gauss gun promptly brought him up short, however. "Don't shoot, it's the cavalry!"

"Ah, Harper, good. I was afraid you were another damned Nietzschean."

He followed Beka's voice to the galley, where she was sitting on one of the stools. She had her back against the wall, her feet up on the next stool, and a holonovel in her hand. The gun was sitting on the counter, next to a gently steaming mug. "Oh, yeah, boss, you look terrified." He bounced up onto the counter by her feet to retrieve a can of Sparky from one of the overheads. "Or are you just afraid that you'll have to move?"

"Oh, very funny. Mock the person who can't get through one chapter without getting interrupted." She set down the flexi. "Honestly, you get declared the matriarch and everyone wants to father your children." They both shuddered at that. "I've got so many Nietzscheans trying to get in here and make their case it's depressing. I actually had to threaten to shoot the last one when he wouldn't leave after I told him no, and I've gotten so many boxes of chocolates I had to put them in the mess decks."

"I noticed. Thanks." He took a swig of the soda before asking, "So you need help uber-Uber-proofing the place?"

"Oh yeah."


She waited until he had another mouthful of soda before asking, with a deceptively innocent expression, "So how's it going with Rommie?"

About half the Sparky came back up and the rest went down the wrong tube. Coughing and sputtering, Harper gave her a dirty look.

"What? Do you know how long it's been since I've looked for you and you haven't been locked in each others' quarters? If you're trying to keep it quiet, you suck at it."

"Thanks for the advice," he managed, finally. The sarcasm was weak, but he tried.

"So?" Beka leaned forward. "How's it going? Come on, I want details."

"You need to get—"

"I'm working on it! All these Nietzscheans keep getting in the way."

"Okay, okay, I'll check the airlock and see what I can do." He set down the can and pulled out his jack.

"Thanks. But I still want details."

"Fine." Harper had started toward the airlock, but now he stopped, turned to face her again, and spread his arms wide. He couldn't help the creeping grin. "I think she's trying to kill me with sex."

Beka considered him for a moment, then finally said, "Well, somebody was bound to try it. You've survived everything else."


She started laughing. "So you're good."

"I'm better than good, I'm incredible. Unfortunately, I'm also taken, so you'll never know." He reconsidered. "Unless…"

"Unless what?"

"Well, Rommie did suggest not, uh, limiting ourselves."

Beka looked like she wasn't sure what to make of that. "Harper…"

"Just so you know. I mean, in case you suddenly decide to fully experience the genius that is Seamus Harper."

"You know I love you, and I may be a little desperate right now, but no. You're a little too much like my younger brother." She patted him on the shoulder and turned it into a nudge. "Come on, I really want your genius applied to improving the lock."

"Ah, it was worth a shot."

It turned out to be a long day, what with the slipcore and the Maru and the attack by a religious sect that was apparently taking offense at the ships exiting slipstream so close to the area of space they considered sacred. By the end of it, Harper was pretty close to being wiped out, but the thought that Rommie was already in his quarters— he'd checked with her mainframe— gave some bounce to his step, and he sped up the closer he got to the door. It made his evening even better when he stepped inside to see her in something skimpy, silky, and bright red. It continued to improve when her first actions were to step close and kiss him before starting to remove his toolbelt.

He hadn't been entirely kidding about Rommie trying to kill him with sex. It was like trying to keep up with the Energizer bunny sometimes.

His not-entirely-unpleasant thoughts in that vein disappeared when he felt her hand slide down to the thigh strap and start unbuckling it. "Hey, slow down, we've got time."

"Not really." She let the belt drop and immediately eased her hands up under his shirt. Harper cringed at the muffled sound of the tools landing, but it turned into a shiver when she scraped her nails gently over his skin, under the pretense of lifting his shirt. "I invited," she bit his earlobe, "a guest. One whose presence makes your biosigns react like they do to me. I want you a lot closer to naked within the next two minutes." On her last words she pulled the shirt up over his head and dropped it to hand on the toolbelt.

"A— oh. Oh!" As the thought sank in, he glanced around his quarters. He thought they seemed a bit different when he came in, and now he realized she'd changed the bedsheets. And while the room wasn't clean, per se, there was a slightly wider path than usual cleared through the spare parts and general "stuff" to the bed. "Okay. I can do naked." He bounced onto one foot, putting a hand on Rommie's shoulder to steady himself while he ditched the boot, and then did the same with the other side. She looked somewhat long-suffering, but as soon as he kicked the boots away she tugged him close again, slipping her fingers under his waistband as she did.

He let his own hands slide down over her hips and brush the hem of her… lingerie, he guessed. He wasn't quite sure what to call it. "I like this. Can you wear it again?" he murmured against her neck. He had to stifle a laugh at her somewhat pointed response.

"First you have to get it off of me."

"That's doable." But first he kissed her neck, working his way down from her jaw to that little dip where a Human's collarbones would meet. He'd just nipped the little ridge next to it and was enjoying the way she twisted against him when he heard the door open behind him.

He tensed for a second, then felt Rommie's hand leave his waist, and he heard footsteps move farther into the room after a moment of hesitation. The "guest," then. He grinned against Rommie's neck and went back to kissing her shoulder as the steps moved up behind him.

Admittedly, his first clue should have been that those steps were altogether too heavy and widely-spaced for anyone that he'd been thinking of. He didn't really notice, though, until the arm that slid around his ribcage was bigger, more muscled, and higher than he was expecting. It was the boneblade brushing the inside of his arm that made him spin around, heart in his throat, pushing Rommie behind him and reaching for a tool, any tool, all of which he belately realized were on the floor next to his shirt.

And then, and only then, did Harper realize that he was nose-to-chest with a very confused Rhade, and Rommie was sighing behind him. "Well, that certainly killed the mood."

He turned his head enough to see her press her fingers to her forehead as if she had a headache. "You mean he's the guest?"

"She invited me—" Rhade started, but stopped when Harper whipped his head back around to face him. After a beat, he commented, "Obviously you weren't told."

"Ya think?"

"I'll wait outside then." This time the comment was addressed to Rommie, who obviously made some gesture in response, as Rhade nodded and headed for the door.

Harper waited until it closed again before turning to face Rommie. He opened his mouth to speak, but didn't get quite that far.


He sat.

"What was that about? And I don't just mean pushing me behind you like that when, if there is any threat, I should be the one protecting you. I told you that I had invited someone. Why did you try to attack Rhade?"

"Let me answer that question with a question. Did you consider that maybe I might, just might, not react well to feeling boneblades when I'm not expecting them?"

"Oh." She looked taken aback. "I hadn't considered that."

"I figured." He wasn't sure he wanted to touch the rest of it. Nietzschean or not, Rhade had not been his initial idea. He didn't actively dislike the guy or anything, but… "Next time tell me first. Or maybe ask me before inviting someone?"

"Done." Rommie stepped up close and waited until he'd reached up to rest his hands on her waist before asking, "So should I tell Rhade to come back next time or let him come in again?"

"I wasn't aware he'd come the first time."

He was expecting the light swat for that one, as well as the kiss that followed. Sometimes he wondered about her. "Yeah, let him back in, I guess. Though I was kind of hoping for someone with breasts."

"That can be arranged another time." She kissed him again, then took one of his hands and pulled him back to his feet before turning to face the door.

When Rhade entered, he came straight over again but hesitated, obviously considering Harper's earlier reaction. Rommie avoided the issue entirely, using the hand that wasn't holding Harper's to tug Rhade closer by his collar and start kissing him. And, okay, Harper was not prepared for the flash of jealousy that followed, but the fact that she squeezed his hand tighter as she pulled him closer helped alleviate it.

Of course, so did the subsequent nudity, but that was a no-brainer.

The End