"Welcome the conquering hero."
At the sound of Beka Valentine's voice, Tyr Anasazi turned and glared at the woman. It galled him that this childless excuse of a female was the first of his companions to greet him upon his return to the Andromeda... and that she was mocking him to boot.
The Nietzschean didn't deign to answer. Instead, he allowed his glare to deepen into a snarl, all but growling in satisfaction as the smirk slid of the blonde's face and she stepped nervously back from him.
Unfortunately, he was distracted from gutting the wench by a word from the captain.
"You did your best, Tyr," Hunt said, laying a supportive hand on the younger man's shoulder. "That's all anyone can ask."
"You looked awfully grand on the vid-screen," Trance offered, tail twitching in excitement.
"You can say that again," Harper chimed in, eyes raking up and down the Nietzschean's buff form. The young man didn't have a tail, but a particular dangling body part of his was twitching in appreciation at the sight. "But, I gotta ask – your chain mail? In the tropics?" The little engineer shuddered. "Man, that's gotta chafe."
"It was obvious that you were not meant to win the competition," Rev soothed, the Magog's claws clicking as the furred science officer brought his hands together and lowered his head in a slight bow. "The Way obviously has other plans for you," he intoned.
The pacifist's pious demeanor was marred when Rev turned to Harper and held out his hand. "Now pay up."
The engineer blushed at Tyr's questioning gaze, digging in his pocket even as he responded. "I thought you'd win," he explained sheepishly as he handed over the money.
Harper's explanation brought Tyr's thoughts back to the competition and his failed expectations. This time, the Nietzschean really did growl in frustration.
"The rules said 'out wit,' 'out last,' and 'out play.' No one said anything about it being a popularity contest."
"Alliances... back-stabbing... manipulation." Beka said, tsking in disapproval. "You were out-Nietzscheaned by a pack of lowly humans."
"Hey, they always vote the strongest one out first," Harper was quick to jump to the other man's defense. "Tyr was just too much for them to handle, that's all."
Trance nodded, but then added. "It probably didn't help when you smashed that old woman's ukelele."
Tyr turned slowly to face her. "We needed the wood for a fire. The good of the tribe comes before the wishes of the individual, but those gene-poor fools weren't smart enough to realize that," he proclaimed, then added in an afterthought. "Besides, the noise she made with it offended me."
Dylan jumped in before anyone else could utter something that they all would regret. Tyr had already lost one pride when the Kodiaks were destroyed. Now a tribe, albeit a silly one made up for the sake of a game show, had voted him out. The last thing the Nietzschean needed, would be for his Andromeda tribe to turn on him too.
And that wasn't even taking the man's wounded pride into account.
"Well, you're back where you belong now. It's over... and their loss is our gain." The captain looked at the rest of the crew as he spoke, his facial expression silently warning them that this discussion had better be over.
Tyr's eyes narrowed as he considered Hunt. Between traveling to the competition and the pre-show screening, he'd been away from the Andromeda for nearly a month, even though he'd been cast off the island after the very first week of the actual game itself. That meant he'd also been away from his lover for nearly a month and he was wondering if Hunt's obvious sympathy would allow him to push the captain's sense of propriety a bit.
Coming to the conclusion that nothing ventured was nothing gained, he decided to put an end to his prolonged abstinence. Moving quickly, the Nietzschean grabbed Harper and abruptly slung the smaller man over his shoulder.
"To the loser go the spoils." Grinning ferally at the others, he turned towards crew quarters.
"Hey!" Harper protested, more for show than because of any true unwillingness. After all, it had been nearly a month for him too. "I was working here..."
"Quiet," Tyr ordered, turning to nip at the nearest upturned butt cheek. It seemed that someone had gotten a bit uppity while he was gone, but that would soon be rectified.
Let those puny mewling humans keep their island and their meaningless competition. He had more important things to do.
Harper's weight was negligible to a man of Tyr's size and it was no effort to heft his squirming weight as the Nietzschean headed for a more private locale. The swagger in the bigger man's hips as he strutted off sent his braids swinging, their soft lengths tickling the end of Seamus' nose.
Dylan Hunt shook his head fondly as he watched the two men go, Harper's carefree laughter echoing in the corridor behind the retreating couple. If there was one thing to be said for Tyr, it was that he could make Seamus laugh. Harper was the King of the Smirk and was a quick with a sly comment, but actual laughter was a rare commodity from the young man. It was a good sound to hear, even if it was another man provoking it.
Before he turned back to work, Hunt caught Romy's eye and gave the ship-turned-flesh an almost imperceptible nod. When she returned the gesture, he gave his focus back to the task at hand, knowing the Andromeda would
safely record the goings-on in whichever set of quarters Tyr and Harper ended up in.
He wasn't quite ready, emotionally, to give up on his fiancé of 300 years ago. Even so, the nights had become lonely and those tapes were providing their own unique solace. Soon, though, Dylan knew that his heart would heal from his past lover's loss and he would be ready to move on to a new romantic liaison.
And then Tyr Anasazi would learn the true meaning of the word "competition."
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