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Aug. 26th, 2007 @ 04:33 pm Up in the Air
Cosmic!Rays AU, Part 22. This is it, guys. Last part of this story arc. The end of the beginning. NC-17 because I do as I promise.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21

Ray breathed out as the door shut behind Kowalski. He stared at it uncomprehendingly for a few seconds before blinking rapidly and shaking his head. His case. It was his case. Presumed treason, his ass. This was the Contingency's way of getting guys like him to do all the hard work and then taking the glory for the result. People like Stella, in their smart suits, waiting up on high with their legs crossed and their experts at the ready while he and Kowalski grubbed in the dirt and the sweat and the blood below. Taking the risks, taking the hits. Bastards.

"Ray?" Frannie's voice was soft behind him.

He turned round slowly, rubbing the back of his neck and caught sight of the Filter screen on the table. He picked up a stilo and clicked the end. The screen flickered into life.

"Ray, can I talk to you?"

Ray clicked a couple of times and a flash of colors, bright oranges and yellows filled the screen. What the fuck?

"Not now, Frannie. Look."

Frannie came around the table as Ray adjusted the volume.

"... suffered a devastating blow as a bomb ripped through a large part of the residential quarters of the station. It is believed the terrorists wished to take out the K2 power source but were somehow thwarted in their goal. Current injury counts stand in the hundreds with confirmed fatalities at seventeen and rising. Many more nearly lost their lives as engineers rushed to prevent the space station from hurtling out of orbit and into the Asteroid Belt. A terrorist organization known simply as JIM is claiming responsibility for these killings. They have given no official statement beyond this confirmation."

Ray stared in horror at the blasted wreck of K2, blackened and twisted girders jutting out at angles that were just plain wrong. Debris floating away into space. Debris that almost certainly included body parts. Frannie clutched his hand and held it tight. He squeezed back

The scene changed then to another one of devastation, the pink, swirling sky glimpsed through the black smoke telling Ray that now they were looking at Callisto.

"God," said Frannie. "That's Arcas. Ray, look, that's where Tora's workshop was. Oh god, Ray."

Ray let go of Frannie's hand and circled her waist, pulling her in close to his side. The newscaster was talking again.

"Almost simultaneously another explosion destroyed the port of Arcas on the popular holiday destination World, Callisto. Due to the nature of some of the materials stored on the Arcas site, emergency services have been unable to make headway with rescue and damage limitation efforts due to extreme temperatures and noxious emissions. It is believed the fire will not be under control for another several hours. All areas in the immediate vicinity have been evacuated. The death toll here is expected to rise to the thousands. Again, JIM have claimed responsibility for the explosion.

"The Contingency have urged people across the System to remain calm but to be vigilant at all times. They have neither confirmed nor denied that these are not the first terrorist attacks by JIM. Rumors are circulating that a hospital in Lysander, Oberon, the Central University in Tranquility, Lunar and Contingency office buildings in Acis, Ganymede that have all been destroyed in apparent 'natural incidents' in the last few weeks were also targets of JIM.

The screen flashed quickly between the other explosion sites. Ray's head spun. All this devastation, all this death. Why to Mother would Frankie get himself mixed up in this? It wasn't like him. It wasn't the way he operated. It was out of his league. They should've let Ray get his hands on Zuko. That was how they were going to get to the bottom of this.

"... refute claims that the attacks are aimed at destabilizing the Contingency. Administrator Carl had this to say."

The small, pointy face of one of Ray's least favorite politicians filled the screen. He clicked the stilo and the screen cleared.

"Oh, Ray," said Frannie, leaning her head against his shoulder.

"Yeah, I know. I know."

This was bad. Very bad. Ray wondered if any COPS were on scene yet. Was Welsh going to call them in? Would Kowalski's head be in the game if they were? Would Kowalski even be there? Fuck.

Ray shot out of the office and into the corridor, scanning up and down. A young man in CourtShip uniform was scurrying along, anxiously looking at a Slab in his hand. He had an air of officialdom about him. Ray stepped in front of him, Frannie right behind.

"Ray, can I talk to you?"

"Not now, Frannie."

"Hey, you," said Ray and the man stopped in his tracks, looking up at Ray, blinking owlishly behind his glasses.

"Yes, sir?"

"Who's working the case?"

"What case would that be, sir?"

"The Zuko case. Which of your so-called experts is working the Zuko case?"

"I'm afraid I don't know that, sir."

"Then find out. And tell them," Ray ran a hand over his just-present hair. "God, tell them that it's not about ideals. Zuko doesn't have ideals. There's stuff going on here we're not even beginning to understand. They're using kids. Someone is using kids and maybe even, Mother forbid, maybe they're even using Zuko as a fall guy. Just find out. Tell them. No ideals." Ray grabbed the young man's upper arms and shook him lightly to drive home his words.

The young man looked slightly alarmed but nodded and shot off down the corridor.

"Yeah, you'd better run," muttered Ray wishing that Kowalski was here to back him up.

In fact, wasn't it time that Kowalski got done? What was there to say? I was in a tent. I was busy. Volpe shot my boyfriend and his dog. Easy. Twenty words or less. There was a light touch at his elbow.

Another man was heading towards them now. This one was older, striding with confidence, a smile on his lips.

"Ray, I need to talk to you now."

"Frannie, seriously, it has to wait."

"It can't wait, Ray."

The man drew to a halt and held out his hand to Frannie who took it. Ray looked between them and frowned.

"Ah, Ms. Vecchio, have you given some thought to our proposal?"

The guy oozed so much charm that Ray checked the floor, half-expecting to see a trail of slime.

"What proposal?" he asked, immediately taking up a protective position in front of his sister.

Frannie pushed him away.

"Exactly how old do you think I am, Raimundo?" she asked. "Ray, this is Thornton Hawkes. Mr. Hawkes, this is my brother-"

"And boss."

"And boss," Frannie rolled her eyes. "Ray Vecchio."

Thornton Hawkes looked at Frannie expectantly.


Frannie patted at Ray's arm, playing with his cuff.

"Spit it out, Frannie."

"They want me to ... that is ... I've been offered a job."

"You have a job."

"Yes," said Frannie patiently. "A different job. Here. They want me to come and work here as Assistant Chief Engineer."

"They want you to go be their Assistant Chief Engineer?"

Frannie drew herself up to her full height and blazed.

"And what's wrong with them wanting me? I'm a damn good mechanic. I'm the best you'll ever see and you know it."

"Yes!" Vecchio yelled back because that was it now. There were final straws and there were final straws and this straw was going to break his back never mind the damned camel's.

"Yes, you are the best mechanic I'll ever know. And the best sister too. But that doesn't matter, oh no. You go off and do your thing, Frannie. You go and be the medium cheese in the big mousetrap, you go and do that. Just head for the CourtShip and don't look back. Don't mind me. I mean, that's where you all go in the end anyway, isn't it? There was Stella. Riviera was never good enough for her. She wanted more than a junk-bucket of a ship and a dead-end job, didn't she? Made that clear enough. First chance she got she jumped a CourtShip and now she's fucking the PrimeLieutenant and no, the irony of the language is not lost on me thank you very much."

Ray was gesticulating wildly and resisting all attempts by Frannie to grab his arms and calm him down. No, this had been a long time coming and he wasn't stopping now.

"Stella's gone and now you're going to go and I know I tease you Frannie but you've got to know how important you are to me. Next thing Ian will be flying this damn thing and if you ever tell him this I will kill you but I'd even miss him and his stupid aliens and of course Kowalski's gonna go too and then I'll be left floating in a tin can while more people come who are just going to leave. What is the point?!"

"Hey, hey, hey!" Ray spun around and saw Kowalski stepping out of a room some way up the corridor, looking worn but calm. He started walking towards the little group.

"Vecchio, they can hear you yelling on Deimos, swear to god. Where am I gonna go?"

Kowalski was right up close now and Ray found it hard to breathe. Must have been all that oxygen he'd used up on his last sentence. He shrugged.

"Don't know. But you're gonna leave. You're done. Case closed. Your whole life just opened up in front of you." Ray made a little whooshing gesture with his hand. "Lucky you."

Kowalski stepped even closer and if Ray thought he'd lost it before now he was perilously close to losing it completely.

"Is that why you've been an idiot today? You think I'm gonna leave? Just like that?"


Ray swivelled his head round. He'd forgotten all about Thornton Hawkes. Talk about making yourself invisible.

"Francesca? A decision?"

Frannie looked from Ray to Thornton and back again. Ray pulled his lips tight in a little smile. He nodded at her. You do what you gotta do, sister. She mirrored the gesture and turned back to Thornton Hawkes.

"I'm tempted. I mean, the engine room is beautiful. So shiny and new." She turned to Kowalski. "Even the dirt is the clean type." He smiled at her.

Ray held his breath.

Frannie shook her head.

"I can't. I'm sorry."

"Oh, thank Mother," said Ray in a rush and grabbed her in a hug.

"That is a shame," said Thornton Hawkes. "Don't hesitate to let us know if you reconsider."

As Thornton turned to walk away Frannie said something muffled into Ray's chest that could have been 'I will' or 'I won't''. Ray chose to assume the latter. He hugged her again, looking over the top of her head at Kowalski.

Kowalski smiled, a slow, steady grin that set Ray's heart beating faster.

"You don't get rid of me that easy, so just forget about it."

Ray was extremely happy to oblige.


The second time the grav field went down Kowalski didn't even blink.

"This is the thing," he'd said, charging past the door which Ray had deliberately left open, an invitation, not an imposition. "The thing is this. What I think I should be feeling is fucked-up because Volpe was my purpose. Finding him was what kept me getting up in the morning."

He'd shut the door and started undoing his bootlaces. Ray could only sit and watch.

"And we found him. It was easy. I looked and there he was. Okay, he was being someone else but that's not the point. What is the point?"

Kowalski'd finished working on his boots, toeing them off and began to work on his clothes.

"The point is I should feel cheated because now what? I got my justice. It's done. So what's the rest of my life for? Or I should feel vindicated or something. Fraser's spirit is free to go wherever it goes. I can let go. But I don't want to do that. I don't want him gone."

And Kowalski had stood naked and glorious before Ray, erect cock curving proudly towards Kowalski's belly. Ray couldn't help himself.

"Jeez, Kowalski, look at you. You're all skin and boner."

"Shut up, Vecchio. I'm not done with the serious."

"I'm listening, I am. But you gotta know that the nakedness is distracting. I'm doing my best here, but you're not helping."

Kowalski looked thoughtful, as if he hadn't considered the effect of his ready-to-play body on Ray's concentration skills. Ray spread his legs, partly to ease the discomfort of his own erection, partly to make Kowalski aware by the bulge in his pants of the extent of his difficulties.

"Okay, I'll be quick. Where was I?" said Kowalski, now seemingly having his own problems with concentration.

"You don't want Fraser gone," said Ray and felt a million tiny pinpricks all over his body.

"No, I don't. Not gone. Not ever gone. But I want ... Look. Volpe was why I got up in the mornings but now I'm getting up in the morning and the afternoon and the evening and the middle of the freaking night," Kowalski grabbed his cock. "See? And it's you. You're the reason for that and you got to tell me that this is okay. That we're buddies, we're partners, we're whatever this is. 'Cos I know Zuko fucked you up for guys and I know Stella fucked you up for fraternization or whatever the hell and that screws me both ways from the middle. And I think I know but you got to tell me and you have to do it now."

Ray's heart thundered hard in his chest and his mouth felt dry. All these rules he'd set up, all these ways to make the pain hammered into him like nails more bearable. This man; this beautiful, fucked-up, supernova of a man ripped right through them as if they'd never meant a thing.

"Kowalski, if you don't come over here and fraternize with me right now I am not going to be responsible for the consequences."

Kowalski's smile lit the room.

They were making out like teenagers under the covers ("Mmmm, clean sheets") when the grav field went down. With Kowalski's hand loosely playing with Ray's cock he wasn't paying much attention to anything else, except his own hand exploring the fascinating terrain of Kowalski's ass.

The first indication that anything was off-base was the covers sliding off and downwards which was nothing unusual except they were apparently disappearing down the side of the bed that was attached to the wall. The second indication was the gentle bump as they collided with the ceiling.

"Um. We appear to be floating," said Ray, pulling his lips from Kowalski's with some reluctance as they drifted off at an angle and bounced off a wall.

"I thought that was supposed to be after great sex, not during."


"Turns out both. Who knew? Do you think we should stop?" Ray's hand tracked the cleft of Kowalski's ass and Kowalski convulsed a little, twisting his foot as they hit the wall and sending them off at a different angle.

"Stop? No way. Riviera's trying to tell us something."

"Oh well, if you insist."

Ray's mouth covered Kowalski's and they kissed, grappling with each other, tongues licking and sucking, moving in an intricate dance of give and take. The smallest change in balance, in angle of mouth on mouth, mouth on neck, hands stroking and squeezing sent them tumbling lazily round and round. First Ray was on top, then Kowalski, then Ray again, the two men anchoring themselves to each other with arms and lips, hands and thighs.

Ray's mind, Ray's heart floated weightless with his body. He felt completely free and completely bound at the same time. Maybe the ship was trying to tell him something.

"Ouch," said Kowalski, as his head bumped into the corner of a shelf. "We're like that game. You know. That old one. Pinball, that's it. We're human pinballs."

"There's a pun there. About pinning balls. I'll think about it later when my hands are less full," Ray replied, giving Kowalski's balls a tug.

They kissed again and it was strange, the way the pressure was building from Kowalski's lips, Kowalski's touch but if Ray closed his eyes it was as if no one was there, no weight on him or under him, just sensation. He opened his eyes again. He wanted to know exactly who he was with.

"Did anyone ever tell you you're good with your hands?" Ray tried to buck up as Kowalski stroked his cock but only succeeded in drifting them up to the ceiling again.

"Better with my mouth." Kowalski let go and floated down Ray's body with one, gentle touch.

Ray had only a second to realize that no weight didn't mean no warmth and to miss the sensation of Kowalski's skin on his before Kowalski was grabbing his hips and pressing swollen lips to Ray's cock, sliding them over the head, tongue gently flicking round the rim of his shaft. And god, if Ray hadn't been literally bouncing off walls he'd have metaphorically being doing it now because that felt so good. So incredibly good.

He spread his arms and legs out wide, opening himself up, letting Kowalski do whatever he wanted. He felt Kowalski's knees nudging against his buttocks, almost massaging them as he took Ray's cock deeper, letting go of his hip with one hand to circle around the base of the shaft, twisting and squeezing. Kowalski's expert mouth pressed and released around Ray's cock head as he sucked and licked and Ray let the sensations pour into him, fill him up. He was on a cloud on a warm, sunny day, he was in space with bright stars forming a hammock around him, he was floating in a salt sea, cool and delicious, he was here, now, in this room with this man sent by the god he didn't believe in.

Kowalski's lips slid off Ray's cock and his tongue licked its way down the shaft and over Ray's balls, pressing deep against the skin just behind them. Kowalski's hands shifted, grasping Ray's thighs from underneath, feet hooked up under Ray's shoulders, cock lightly resting on Ray's back and face buried in the cleft of Ray's ass. He licked. Mother! Ray shook and the movement sent them tipping from side to side. His hand brushed the wall and Ray steadied himself not wanting to miss a thing.

Kowalski pushed Ray's legs further apart and licked again, his tongue running the length of Ray's cleft, pushing in deeper, flicking against the hole. Ray tried hard not to squirm with the strange, highly pleasurable sensation but he couldn't help kicking out with one leg accidentally pushing sideways off the wall and spinning them around, a lopsided eight-limbed cartwheel. Kowalski detached with the sudden change in motion and Ray twisted in the air, grasping a foot and pulling him back on top of Ray with ease.

They ended up with Kowalski's hands back round Ray's thighs but his ass in Ray's face and Ray couldn't resist exploring, stroking down into the cleft with his thumb, biting each perfect cheek. Kowalski's cock rubbed over Ray's chest and Ray groaned as Kowalski bent over further, giving Ray an even better view and taking Ray's cock back in his mouth. Ray groaned again and was thankful that there would be no sore muscles in the morning.

His tongue painted broad brushstrokes along Kowalski's ass and neat little patterns around the pucker of skin. Kowalski wriggled backward, urging him on. Ray reached round to take Kowalski's cock in his hand, something old, something new. He pushed against Kowalski's hole and then he was in there. His tongue was inside Kowalski. He was fucking Kowalski with his tongue and it felt better than he could have possibly imagined. He hummed a laugh and was rewarded with a tightening of lips around his cock, Kowalski redoubling his efforts, pushing Ray's cock head against the roof of his mouth, teasing the slit with his tongue. Mother! Ray couldn't take much more of this.

He sped up, tongue and hand matching stroke for stroke. They spun over and over, hit the walls, ceiling, floor, even managed to make contact with the bed once or twice but Ray didn't care. Every last nerve was focused on these three things, his tongue in Kowalski's ass, hand on Kowalski's cock, cock in Kowalski's mouth. In these three things were past, present and future rolled into one and Ray was going to burst with the knowledge of it.

Kowalski's hand squeezed Ray's balls, tight and full and ready and he couldn't wait any more. Couldn't wait. He dragged his mouth away from its new favorite place.

"Don't swallow," he panted. "Don't know where I been."

Kowalski's mouth left Ray's cock and now he knew how abandoned Kowalski must feel. He reapplied himself.

"Got to. Think of the ventilation."

And Ray hummed another laugh and Kowalski was surrounding him, hot and wet and he came so hard he was surprised he didn't shoot across the room with the power of it. It was only sheer force of will that stopped him flaking out right there and then but Kowalski was milking him dry and he owed him if nothing else so he kept pumping and licking and pushing and was rewarded with a wordless grunt as warm threads splattered on his hand and chest.

Ray gave Kowalski's ass a final kiss and let his head drop back. He was about to say something but a familiar voice filled the room.

"Vecchio, drop whatever you're doing, I have a job for you."

Ray had a moment of panic when he thought Welsh could see his hand wrapped around Kowalski's cock followed by beautiful relief as he remembered his ComCam was busted.

"Sir, yes sir."

It was at that exact moment that the grav field kicked back in and Ray and Kowalski dropped like stones, hitting the edge of the bed and tumbling to the floor.

"Fuck!" exclaimed Kowalski. "That hurt!"

Ray was too busy trying to figure out whose limbs went where to worry much about Kowalski's pain.

"Vecchio?" Welsh's voice was sharp. "Is that Kowalski? You haven't done anything stupid have you?"

Ray grinned, straightening himself up.

"You mean have I harmed Kowalski in any way that might cause him to dissolve our partnership, sir?"

"Yes. It would seem that the two of you have made a highly effective team. I would not want anything to jeopardize that."

"Sir, you were right. Kowalski is an excellent officer. You have my full assurance that I have not yet harmed him or in any way will do that in the future. He's just a little clumsy, is all."

Kowalski punched Ray's arm and pulled a face. Ray punched him back. This was the way it was going to be and Ray was good with that. More than good.

"My doctor will confirm that is wonderful news, Vecchio. I may even throw the little blue pills in the trash. Now, here's what I want you to do ..."

The Worlds moved on.

Current Data
the riviera
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Date:August 26th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
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This was so unbelievably wonderful. I'm going to miss it so much! But! You used the line! Skin and boner, hee!

This man; this beautiful, fucked-up, supernova of a man ripped right through them as if they'd never meant a thing.

Just gorgeous. You've done so well - you should really be proud!
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Date:August 27th, 2007 11:51 am (UTC)
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I did! I used the line! It just fell in there almost by accident.

Thank you so much! I'm glad you've enjoyed reading it. It feels very odd not to be thinking of what I should be writing today.
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Date:August 26th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
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"Jeez, Kowalski, look at you. You're all skin and boner."

Tell me that wasn't the only reason you've written all this :)

I have such a bad feeling about Zuko. And such a good feeling about all this sex.
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Date:August 26th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
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*rereads the thing, the bit at the beginning*
You mean there's no more?

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Date:August 27th, 2007 12:01 pm (UTC)
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There will be more. I just don't know when. There's notes and plot ideas already so it'll arrive at some point.
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Date:August 27th, 2007 12:04 pm (UTC)
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*feeds you energising and inspiring chocolate things*
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Date:August 27th, 2007 11:53 am (UTC)
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I promise it was not the only reason. Using the phrase 'Cosmic Rays' may or may not have been the only reason. I refrain from comment.

Yay for feelings good and bad!
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Date:August 26th, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
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Lovely and wonderful and with enough hooks in it to make me impatient for the next story.
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Date:August 27th, 2007 12:08 pm (UTC)
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That's a great compliment.Thank you!
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Date:August 26th, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
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That was so wonderfully done, clumsy and beautiful. I adored come over here and fraternize with me right now, and most especially the weightlessness of the heart, awwwww.
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Date:August 27th, 2007 12:12 pm (UTC)
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See! I promised.

And thank you, I'm so glad you liked it. Figuring out the logistics made my mind bend (although not as much as their bodies).
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Date:August 26th, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
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Fantastic end to a fantastic story (arc). *twirls you in outer space*
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Date:August 27th, 2007 12:17 pm (UTC)
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*beams and twirls (I even get to be graceful because it is SPACE)*

Yay, thank you! This was so much fun to write and the fact that people have enjoyed it makes me so happy.
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Date:August 26th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
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EEEEEE. OMG, this has been so WONDERFUL. *strews flowers at your feet* I loved this ending, loved how everything came together (and, uh, came together), and I love how you've set up the plot for the future, and EEEEE. LOVE! I can't wait for more, but this was very, very satisfying. :D
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Date:August 27th, 2007 12:24 pm (UTC)
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*twirls you*

Yay, thank you! I'm so glad you've enjoyed reading my crazy foray into space opera. I love these boys so much, Brynn! They make me ridiculously happy. *draws hearts round floating Rays*
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Date:September 7th, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
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Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee! This is so wonderful! I finally had the time to sit and read it in one go AND OMG SO AWESOME!!! Squeeeeeeee! :D *flails*

P.S. A little bit off topic, but I have a somewhat official matter. :) I'd like to add this story to the AU list, but I seem to remember you saying that it's going to be betaed, so I'm guessing you are waiting for this to happen to make an announcement on the ds_noticeboard. So, do you want me to add the story to the list right now and later change the link to the final version or do you prefer to wait for the betaed version? Your choice. :)
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Date:September 8th, 2007 07:54 am (UTC)
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Thank you! I was having a bad time yesterday and then your comment arrived and made me so happy.

Re AU list: I'd like you to hold off until it's betaed, please. The second you see a comm announcement about it feel free to add. I love your lists - I get quite a few people reading The Nutcracker who all arrive from your list.
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Date:November 24th, 2007 11:10 am (UTC)
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WHAT? NO MORE?? I am woeful now!

The instant I realised that it was going to be gravity-free sex? Literal \o/

And as happy that the Rays were that Welsh couldn't see them, I'm willing to bet that Welsh would be happy too. HEEE.

Oh man. This was so wonderful and good and funny and sad and tensiony (which is becoming a new word) and hot. I think I miss it already!
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Date:November 24th, 2007 12:23 pm (UTC)
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Yay, you made it to the end! Thank you for reading.

I'm so glad you had so much fun with it, it was ridiculous fun to live in the world while I was writing it. There is more to come, but I haven't quite ironed out the plot holes yet, so I don't know when it will be written.