Summary: Beka confronts choices both old and new when the crew visits the Kodiak home. Part one of three.
Pairings: Beka/Tyr, Harper/OFC
Disclaimer: Tribune owns all rights to Andromeda.
Setting: Diverges in the second season.
Feedback: Praise and constructive criticism welcome.
Archive: Ask first and I'll probably say yes.
Author's Note: This is… not necessarily a happy series, unfortunately, but something I thought would be interesting to explore.
The Kodiak Cycle: The Space Between
By B.L.A. the Mouse
The small settlement had grown since Beka was there last. They'd found more Kodiak, she supposed. Or maybe— noting the increased girth of several of the women she saw— they'd simply multiplied those they had. Either way, she was impressed with the number of new buildings, as well as the new armaments.
The Kodiak apparently still didn't have office space, though. She'd been told to meet the Alpha in his own rooms. Despite the larger sprawl of the settlement, she'd found her way easily enough, and only had to wait a moment for him to open the door. "Tyr."
"Beka." He stepped aside to let her in. "You don't need to knock."
"Yeah, I do. Your space. Besides, I wasn't sure if this was for official reasons or not." She picked her way across the toys on the floor.
"If it were an official visit, I would have told Harper and the good captain to come along. I thought you might want to… get reacquainted." He inclined his head toward the small child in the corner.
"You keep him here while you work?" She didn't wait for a reply, instead moving to crouch near the boy. "Hey, guy. Having fun?" She looked up at Tyr. "He's big for a year, isn't he?"
"Niezschean children mature faster than Humans."
"Okay… So whatcha playing, starships?"
This time the boy looked at her when she spoke, and she felt her mouth fall open. He had bright, light blue eyes. Her eyes, her father's eyes. "Maybe we'll play later?" she managed, and slowly stood and backed away. She jumped when she bumped into Tyr.
"Beka?" He put a hand on her shoulder.
"I'm fine, I just… You didn't tell me he had blue eyes." She kept staring as the boy went back to his toys.
"He had them when he was born."
"Yeah, but babies' eyes change, you know that."
"If you had stayed—"
"Please don't. Not again."
It had never been something that either of them had intended to happen. They both had plans, ones that the other would never fit into. That had lasted until one night in their second year aboard the Andromeda. Sparring, one night, had proved too much temptation for them both.
He'd hesitated at the last minute, doubt and desire battling at the slide of his skin against hers. And then. She'd pulled him down, kissed him, whispered, "Please."
It was two weeks later that he'd come to her, slipping onto the Maru one night while she prepared for bed. Another week after that, she'd followed him back to his quarters after a battle and stayed the night.
There was no consistency. A month would pass, and then they'd spend a week in each other's beds. A full year passed, one coming to the other for the comfort of touch, for release, for a moment of oblivion when it was needed most.
When Beka went back to Tyr's rooms the next morning, it was with Harper and Dylan along, and fending off questions the whole way. "I had to find it last night, didn't I?" she answered, as she turned them around another corner. "And it's not like it's complicated."
"But why did he want to see just you last night? Something you're not telling us?" Harper stopped dead as a young woman walked out of Tyr's door, carrying the boy. He whistled as she walked past them, treating him to a withering glare.
"I think you need a better approach." Beka grinned at him, but glanced back past Dylan at the child. He was watching them over the woman's shoulder, at least until she took a different turn out of sight. "Besides, she's probably one of Tyr's wives or something."
"So that would be where Tyr is?" Dylan stepped past them to the door, ignoring her and Harper as they looked at each other and she shrugged. The door opened before he got there, though, and he and Tyr stared at each other before the latter smiled ever so faintly and stepped back.
"Come in, then. Watch where you step."
"Didn't really clean up, then," Beka commented, lifting her feet over a toppled pile of blocks.
"He was… rather adamant about having them available to him this morning."
"Wait, that kid was yours?" Harper blurted. The comment coincided with a dull thud and a beeping noise as he tripped over a toy. "Same to you!" he told it.
"Yes. Scylla is one of the younger women of the pride. She minds him when I have other business." Tyr looked at Dylan. "He's only a year old."
"I wasn't aware that you had a wife."
"I don't. His mother… prefers not to play a traditional role." Tyr shrugged, as if it didn't matter to him.
"Dylan, do we really need to worry about how many nubile Kodiak are throwing themselves at him?" Beka crossed her arms and looked between them, not liking the way Harper seemed to calculating something.
"I assure you, I would much rather be discussing the territory that the Commonwealth so recently liberated from the Drago-Katsov." Tyr very casually flipped a flexi at the captain, quickly and neatly bringing an end to the topic.
"I am so very, very glad to see the last of Cygnus Drift." Beka tapped the controls to take them out. "This slipportal cannot come up fast enough."
"But Beka, you seemed to be getting along with the Nietzscheans!" Harper ducked reflexively.
She continued, "I have never been around so many desperate Nietzscheans in my life. If I had one more of them offering to show me something with the goal of getting me in the sack, I think I would have shot him."
At the next station, Tyr shrugged. "Most of the men don't have wives or children. A liaison with a Human wouldn't have been out of the question." He smirked. "You might have found a husband if you'd suitably appreciated his accomplishments."
"Hm. Trying to give me away, Tyr?" She glanced back at him, wondering. After all, he'd disappeared almost as soon as they'd docked, and only came back when she and Dylan had.
"At least they liked you." Rommie stepped aside at her console to make room for Harper to join her. "I had three of them tell me that they would have liked to reassemble me in a more threatening form."
"See, the weird part is that they always stopped as soon as they got close," Beka continued. "They'd make the offer, sniff me, and then back off! Do I smell or something?"
Rommie blinked. "They could probably smell the hormonal changes."
"What hormonal changes?" Beka glared at Harper, seeing his mouth opening for a smart remark.
"Your pregnancy, of course." Ignoring the two Humans' dropped jaws, Rommie explained, "Given that I first picked up the heartbeat on my sensors three weeks ago, your hormone levels should be more than high enough for a Nietzschean to smell. Can't you, Tyr?"
"It's been high enough for me to be certain for… a month. Roughly." He met Beka's eyes when she turned around, looking for all the world like he was commenting on something as minor as her clothing choice.
"I… I… Why didn't either of you tell me?!" She looked between Rommie and Tyr, thunderstruck.
This time it was Rommie who shrugged. "I assumed you knew."
Tyr volunteered to show them around the settlement, ignoring Beka's comment about it only taking five minutes. Somewhere between the landing pad (a sheet of rock) and one of the food storage buildings, she and Harper fell behind the other two.
"Hey, Beka, I was doing some math. Tyr's got a one-year-old son. You disappeared a year ago to have a baby and when you come back you tell us the kid's with his dad. I think one year plus one year equals two of my friends who should've let me in on it. Think the numbers are right?" He was quiet, but she could still hear the tension and anger in his voice.
She glanced over at him. "Yeah, your math's right." She couldn't think of anything else to add.
"So, couple of questions. Why him? Why here? And why not tell me?"
"That's three questions, actually." He gave her a look and she decided to answer them anyway. "Harper, it's hard to explain. Tyr and I just sort of… happened. And neither of us meant for me to…"
"Get knocked up?" he suggested. His "help" was anything but.
"Yeah." She sighed. "After Rommie told, well, everyone, he sped up his plans for the Kodiak, to give him someplace to take the kid. I still don't know why here, exactly."
Harper nodded, slowly. He seemed to be taking it better than she'd thought he might, especially with his opening comment. He seemed to check on the others, both apparently oblivious. Beka was pretty sure Tyr could hear the conversation, though. "And you neglected to tell me because…?"
"What would you have done if I'd come to you a year and a half ago and said, 'Hey, Seamus, our resident Uber put me in a delicate situation, but it's okay, I'll be back just as soon as I pop the kid out'?"
"Okay, yeah, I see," he said after a moment of consideration. "But— Why are you on the Andromeda and they're here?"
And oh, she'd been wanting to avoid this question. "It's easier. I still want to be with the Commonwealth, so even if I liked planets this wouldn't work. He's safer here, too, and there are plenty of people to watch out for him. Besides," she added, seeing Tyr stop to talk to a heavily pregnant woman, "if Tyr gets any wives, he'll have brothers and sisters, and that's definitely not something that's happening with me anytime soon."
Harper didn't seem convinced.
"Look, he gets good care, he has his father, Tyr tells me how he's doing, and I'll be visiting more as he gets older. It just… works better, this way."
There still seemed to be some skepticism on his part, but Harper shook his head and said, "Okay, I get it, I think." He didn't give her much more of a chance to say anything, stepping quicker as Dylan gestured at them to catch up.
The silence woke her. No baby crying, no noise from the other adjoining rooms, no wind howling outside. Just the small sounds of Tyr working, occasionally murmuring to the infant sleeping in his arms. When she opened her eyes, the room was bathed in the lamp glow, and the clouds out the window were the orange color of sunset. "I think," she said quietly, not wanting to disturb the peace of the room, "that this is the first time I've seen the sun since I landed."
Tyr stopped tapping at the screen. "It's the end of the winter season. Not many more storms are coming."
"So I should have waited a few more weeks, then?" She smiled to herself a little and swung her legs off the bed. "I don't think I had much say in it."
She'd set the Maru down three weeks before. It had been less than a week afterward that Alexander had arrived. If she'd waited much longer… She shied away from the thought, instead walking over to him and looking down at the sleeping baby. "You can put him down, you know. I've heard this wild rumor that babies can sleep without being held."
Tyr seemed to hold the baby a little closer as she said it. "I missed enough time with Tamerlane. I don't want to repeat that."
"I get that, I guess." She bit her lip for a second before telling him, "Right now, though, I don't think holding him is helping you with that."
"Perhaps not." He turned slightly, offered the child. "If you would?"
Gingerly, she took the bundle of blankets, retreating to sit on the bed again. She didn't trust herself not to drop him, and even the layers he was swathed in against the cold weather would do little good with a fall. She could have just put him back in the crib, but he did tend to sleep better when he was being held, and the more he slept the better. Besides, if she was going to develop any sudden maternal feelings, better now than after she left. If that didn't happen, she should at least store up memories for until she came again, whenever that would be.
"How many more storms are coming through?" she asked, still staring at his round face.
"The last estimate was another band coming through in roughly four days. A week or two for those, then possibly nothing more." Tyr didn't even stop what he was doing to tell her that.
"Then I should take off in the next few days. The Andromeda's going to be at Takilov in a week, and I'm not sure where Dylan's planning to go after that. If I don't meet them there I don't know how long it'll take me to catch up."
"I think the esteemed captain can do without your piloting skills a little longer. Besides," and Tyr's tone dropped a little, "don't you want to spend more time with your son?"
"I don't think he even notices which of us is holding him as long as he's fed and clean." Her own words came out sharper than she intended, so she tried to soften it, adding, "Anyway, I think Dylan needs common sense more than he needs a pilot sometimes. You know all those Commonwealth people just agree with whatever he says, he needs us— well, me and Harper— to tell him he's going to kill us all."
That got her a soft chuckle, at least. "And yet he does it anyway."
"Yeah, but this way he at least feels guilty." She pulled up a smile when he turned his head to look at her, but it faded as he stood and walked over to her. "I'm needed there, Tyr."
"You're needed here, too. By our son."
"But so are you. And you have to rebuild the Kodiak, and you can't do that on the Andromeda."
He reached out, delicately touched her chin, considered her, and did not argue more when she told him, "I have to go."
The official dinner that the Kodiak gave was much more to Beka's taste— and, she suspected, Harper's— than most of their state dinners. The food was ample, no one stood too much on formality, and they were encouraged to wear not only their regular clothes but their gunbelts, as well.
There were still some aspects she could do without, though.
She and Dylan still had to do the diplomatic thing, for one, even if Harper had apparently given up the idea to pursue Scylla. For Dylan, that meant talking to the male members of the pride; for her, it meant being cornered by two or three women at any given time and frequently being asked about Tyr she'd rather not share. She was very glad when the man himself's arrival meant that they scattered, though less so when he tried to give her the baby.
"I don't think he's going to like this," she said, keeping her arms crossed. "He barely knows me. What if he starts crying?"
"Then I'll take him back immediately. Please, Beka."
She sighed and unfolded her arms. "This isn't going to work."
It took a second for her to figure out holding him. He was a lot bigger and much less floppy than the year before, and while he wasn't actively trying to escape or struggle he wasn't relaxing as much as he had then, either. Apparently even a year-old Nietzschean— half-Nietzschean— could in fact regard someone with suspicion. It didn't help that Tyr excused himself quickly and walked over to where Harper was trying to flirt with Scylla.
"Oh, great," she muttered. "Thanks, just leave us here. This'll go so well." Still, no catastrophe occurred immediately, though she suspected Alexander was about as happy as she was. It wasn't even for very long, as Tyr just said a few words to Scylla and dropped a hand on Harper's back before turning away. Amazingly, Scylla seemed to reassess Harper and sidle closer. "What did you just do?" she asked Tyr, watching in amazement as the other woman started flirting back.
"I simply informed her of who he was and therefore some of the things he's accomplished."
Beka looked over at Scylla trailing her fingers up Harper's arm. "She does know he's Human, right?"
"Yes. She also knows that he is extremely intelligent, with good survival skills, and that not many of the Kodiak's scientists or engineers survived the Drago-Katsov."
Tyr reached out to take the baby. "We don't have a varied gene pool, and even if we accept survivors of other destroyed prides, there are traits we may lack. With the proper gene therapy, Harper's offspring may be precisely what we need."
"Did…" She blinked, fitting it together. "Did you explain that to him?"
"Yes. In great detail, even."
"I hope you stopped before you got to the diagrams." She barely heard his low laugh, seeing Scylla lead Harper, fingertips hooked under his palm, to another two Nietzscheans that she recognized as the matriarch and a geneticist.
"Nine months," Tyr murmured, sounding satisfied.
Beka shook her head, looking away from the four people now leaving the room and back to Tyr. "So now what, Dylan and I get propositioned?"
"I doubt it. We have a surfeit of those with leadership skills, and his compassion would be pointless in a pride. We could use more pilots, but I doubt you'll receive many offers." She glanced away again as he continued, "Not many of the men here would appreciate being the primary caretaker for their children."
He held up a hand to forestall her objections. "It's the way we're used to." He paused to set down the boy as he wriggled. "Even if they didn't mind, it's… generally assumed… that I would be the one to father the rest of your children."
"And you're assuming I'll even have more."
"Ah, no, probably not." She smiled a little as Alexander toddled in circles around them. "And on the off chance that I were, he still sleeps in your room."
Tyr reached out to slowly trace a line down her neck, and his voice was warm and suggestive. "And if I find someone to take him for the night?"
She closed her eyes briefly. A year could be such a long time, and he had to know what he was doing to her. "Are you asking for conception or just for company?"
"Whatever you're willing to give." He rested his hand on her shoulder.
A heartbeat more, just to center herself, and then she opened her eyes again. "You know, if it were just… If it were just you and me on a deserted planet or something… I would have said yes already." She took a breath, looked down at their son. "But it's not. It's you, me, him, the Kodiak, the Commonwealth, and everyone else you can think of. I… I can't, at least not yet, and probably not for a long time."
He nodded solemnly, then pushed back a lock of hair from her forehead. "And I hope that day comes soon."