yes. "No! Four years and seven months more you are mine, girl." And half drag her up off her knees by your grip of her mane, half a step forward so she can't help but stumble against you, and snatch hold of her ponytail again, tension just enough to drag her muzzle up and force her to meet your eyes though she couldn't look away now without it—no more than you can—

"Not a mate of my crew, girl. I won't play favorites, you know that." Not a shout, now—a growl, half a snarl. "You always knew that. But you couldn't let that be enough, could you?" And wait and make her shake her head before another blazing tearing kiss, but this one only brief. "Well neither can I. So—not a mate of my crew, any more." Leaning right in, and it's a proper snarl now, you can feel your lips drawing back to show the teeth of both your jaws—"but four years and seven months more at least, girl, you are mine."

And there it is—you can see it in her eyes. And as you drive your hips against her, the robe pulled loose in the exertion of the moment and the stiff swollen heat of you grinding hard against her belly—"Four years and seven months starting now."

Oh, one last other thing—"Lu, see to Emeline. She'll want a bath. Use mine." Quen's no longer a mate—except yours—but you are after all still a captain.

And then, right down in her face—"On your feet, girl!" Command voice in a roar—a few heads turn, those crew not too absorbed in one another to notice, and Lu of course, two long steps back now but already moving to Emeline's aid—something in her eyes like satisfaction as Quen stands to with nothing like the dead-still-walking desperation before. That tone in your voice now she knows full well—beyond lingering disbelief she's eager, knowing what that tone portends.

Or thinking she knows, anyway. What she's had of you before is far from nothing, but you've a great deal to make up to the girl, and as you resume your grip on her mane and take the first step toward your cabin hatch—half walking her along, half pulling, such a prow before you as ought to make a bow wave all its own—you realize: it hasn't been the same, since her. Your heart just wasn't in it—well, now you know where it was, and you mean to make it up to her indeed. Starting now.

She hasn't spent nearly enough time on her knees yet, tonight. And the wrong sort, besides. Well, you'll fix that, for a start—