Brainy did the research, naturally. And it wasn't easy. After all, those records are over a thousand years old. But Brainy is so much better with a holocomp than I. Almost everybody is, unfortunately. Talok VIII isn't known for its advanced science. We have many other things to offer the galaxy at large. And we do. But scientific advancement isn't one of them. Most of our tech is still imported. And we prefer it that way. That way we can take what we want from the overall U.P. culture and leave the rest at the spaceport gates. And we, we Talokians, will remain Talokian, rather than see ourselves become pale imitations, caricatures of some nonexistent U.P. standard.
Still, there's no doubt that tech has its place. Such as in this case, for example. Without Brainy's knowledge of holotechnology and what it can accomplish, I'd never have been able to do it. Never. Shades of my Ancestors, no! And I couldn't just ask Lar, of course. He doesn't talk very much about himself, in any case. He has too many ... memories ... for that. He might not have told me even if I had inquired. And he'd certainly have wanted to know why I wished to know. Couldn't have that, now could we?
Everybody was helpful when I gave them the chance. Lar would have been astounded, I think, at how many friends he actually has. He's not an easy man to know or understand. And a thousand years is a very long time to spend alone, in the dark and in the cold. Watching. Just watching as life passes you by, year after year. Watching as everything you know and love ... dies around you. It would be so easy to forget how to talk to people. Not everyone understands why he's such a private man, though. Drake thinks he's "fucked up" and says so. Loudly. I still have the bruises on my knuckles where I let him know exactly what I thought of him. As if he had any room to speak of such things!
Jo put his thinking cap on and came up with some absolutely amazing exercise equipment just for Lar. Lar's always complaining that he has nothing to really test himself against here in Legion HQ, and it's true. When you can move planetoids and shatter them with one blow Nautilus just doesn't get the job done. Of course, Jo can use it, as well. But Lar will enjoy that, too. Now that Superboy doesn't spend much time with us anymore here in the 30th century, Jo is probably Lar's best friend.
But Clark says he'll be here "with bells on" ... Whatever that means.
I can't imagine why in the name of the Ancestors he'd want to wear bells, but to each his own. He's promised to bring something he calls "Ma's double fudge chocolate cake with banana icing". He says Mon loves it. Should I be frightened or not? I can't decide.
Even Thom, who's usually pretty wrapped up in Nura to the exclusion of almost everything else, pitched in. Those astrographical holograms that he collected with Clark's help were some of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. They'll take Lar's breath away, I know it. He'll just have to go and see those sights for himself. Which is, of course, the whole point. Lar loves the endless, icy depths of open space and the peace he finds there so! If I'm very lucky he'll want to share them with me when this is over. Devious, aren't I?
The bed was my idea, though; all mine. I think I shocked poor Lyle when I asked him to help me design it. He blushed as red as the sands of the Great Martian Desert, blinked, and nodded his assent. Dirk, on the other hand, grinned lasciviously at me when I asked him to help supply me with a power source for it. Apparently nothing shocks Sun Boy.
"Why Shady," he mocked, "I'm shocked! Shocked and appalled, I tell you! Who'd have thought you were so ... human ..."
I crossed my arms over my chest and scowled at him, tapping my foot in impatience. "Can you do it?" I demanded.
He played quite well at being insulted. "Of course, I can!" he cried in indignation. "I'm a scientist, after all! And it's not as if red sun radiation is all that hard to simulate!"
I lifted one arch eyebrow in summary. "Will you do it, then?" I inquired. This was very important.
Dirk cradled my hand and kissed one knuckle with soft lips, caressing my palm with a skilled finger. "Anything for a beautiful lady," he smiled. "I'm just a slave in the cause of love!"
I covered my mouth to hide my spreading grin and stifled the laughter upon my lips. "To work, then, slave!" I ordered in an imperious voice and Sun Boy, catching my suddenly playful mood, bowed and scraped his servile way out of my presence.
All of which still left me with my original problem. If it hadn't been for Brainy I'm sure I'd never have solved that one. Ancestors bless him and that Coluan twelfth level intellect of his. And as if he hadn't already done enough, when Lar next activated his holoputer he was going to get a really wonderful surprise. I have no idea how Querl managed it. But there it was downloaded into Lar's personal holoputer: a contract for the design specifications of the new Intergalactic Deep Space Vessel commissioned by the United Planets Space Probe Agency. Lar was going to design the generation ship that would carry the representatives of the U.P. from this Galaxy to the next.
I pouted. "Brainy, you're trying to sabotage me, aren't you?" I accused. "Ancestors take you, man, you know how Lar adores spacecraft and spacecraft design!" I wrung my hands in pseudo-woe. "I'll never see him!" I wailed. "Not once he sees that!"
Brainy appeared confused (no simple task that!) for a moment, even contrite, until he caught sight of the twinkle in my eyes. Then he only smiled and returned to his work.
That's our Brainy for you.
Everything went off right on schedule. Jo lured Lar to the Rec Room with promises of a game of Paragon. Lar was delighted. Paragon is a purely Daxamite game. Lar is a Master Player, but he doesn't get many chances to play. Poor Lar! He was so embarrassed when he saw all the assembled Legionnaires there and realized he'd been duped. He tried so very hard to become part of the furniture. It's a special knack he has. I'm sure he'd much rather have had his quiet game of Paragon. As if anything involving Jo were ever quiet for long! After a moment I think he must have wondered where I was. At least I like to think that's what the tiny frown of disappointment that worried the corners of his full lips, then disappeared almost faster than the eye could follow, was all about.
I was busy.
But busy or no, there was one part of this that I refused to miss. Clark was kind enough to let me know when he was ready. But, then, Clark is always kind. It's just a part of his nature. I hurried down the hall to the Monitor Room and burst in just in time. Nura huffed and turned her back on me, still miffed that I hadn't invited her to participate. I think she even suspected that I had deliberately arranged for her to be on Monitor duty during the celebration. She was right. I did. Element Lad was very understanding. I think poor Jan was a bit disappointed in my cattiness, but he said nothing, of course. Shades of my Ancestors! As if I were going to allow Dream Girl, the resident Legion sex pot, to attend if I could help it! And I could. I have little doubt of the nature of any "gift" she might give Lar. I've seen the way she looks at Lar when she thinks Thom doesn't notice.
Not that I blame her, of course.
Superboy came trotting into the party right in the middle of things. Immediately Lar brightened like a star, joy shining from out of his sapphire blue eyes. Ancestral Shadows, but Lar does love his "little brother"! My throat tightened at the sight of their close embrace.
Oh, Lar ... Lar ... what will you do when ...
Lar doesn't know, of course. Not yet. We've all been very careful to keep it from him. He's not ready to know. I'm not sure he ever will be. Is it cruel of us to shield him so? No, I don't believe so. Let him enjoy what time he has left with Clark before ...
Lar watched almost everything he knew wither away and die while he was trapped in the Zone. His family. Most of his home world of Daxam. But not Clark. Because Clark didn't die in the 20th century. He died in the 30th century. With us. With the Legion. Ah, the many wonders of time travel.
Lar cut "Ma's double fudge chocolate cake with banana icing" and handed the slices out to all his friends with a smile. Clark can always make Mon smile. I envy him that. I don't begrudge Clark the pleasure he occasionally shares with Mon ... not at all, but I do covet those smiles. Rarer than neutronium, they are, and more precious to me.
I think Lar was almost disappointed when people began to take their leave. Imra hugged him tightly and whispered something in his ear. I couldn't make it out, of course, but Lar smiled and that was enough for me. He almost insisted upon remaining behind to help Jo and Tinya clean up, but Tinya, Ancestors bless her, was firm with my stubborn, noble Lar.
Almighty Shadows! Listen to me! My Lar!
Well, not yet anyway.
With his senses, his ears that can hear the songs that stars sing, his eyes that can watch the birth of a carbon atom in the heart of that star, it's impossible to really surprise him, so I didn't even try. He knew very well who was waiting for him behind the door to his quarters. His eyes sparkled when he saw me in the glowing, golden candle light now pervading the dimness. Lar was born under a red sun and his eyes are naturally sensitive to the lower wavelengths of visible light. I think he suspected what I was about, even then. He didn't really need to see the strange bed that had miraculously replaced his own more familiar one to guess what I had in mind. I can't be certain, mind you, but I think he blushed. His breath caught. I could see the rapid rise and fall of his broad chest.
And the fear in his dark blue upon blue eyes.
"Ta-Tasmia?" His voice was soft, uncertain, as if he were fighting a great battle within himself.
I held out my hand and, with trust replacing the anxiety in his eyes, now, he took my small hand, engulfed in his larger, broader one.
Tenderly, I led him toward the bed.
He went willingly enough, but when I sat him gently down on the edge of the bed, he perched there like a skittish desert rilyah, poised to escape. Lowering his head, he stared at his boots, breathing like a laboring engine searching for a spark to start.
"Tasmia," he whispered, "... I can't ... I - I might ... I might ..."
Cupping his face in my hands, I kissed his eyes and a small gasp of pleasure parted his full lips.
"Yes, you can," I whispered in his ear, nibbling on the sensitive lobe. His breath caught in his throat and his head fell back, his eyes closed in bliss. With one hand, I slipped off his tunic and ran my hand lightly through the fine hairs of the sun warmed flesh of his chest. With my free hand I reached out and activated the controls for the bed's power source. I smiled at the look of total surprise on Lar's handsome face as his sapphire eyes popped open. Dirk had done his job well. They don't call him Sun Boy for nothing.
"This is a very special bed," I smiled, lying his tall body down upon the soft shimmersilk sheets. "You feel it don't you? Red sun radiation. While you lie in this bed, you are not Mon-El ... not a even a Legionnaire ... you are simply Lar Gand. Lar Gand. A man who needs to be loved."
I entwined my eager fingers possessively in the inviting mass of his space dark hair.
"And you're mine!" I husked. "Mine!"
With a single motion I divested myself of the of the loose, flowing one piece bedgown I was wearing and watched it pool in a silken mass on the floor. Lar's hand trembled a bit when he reached to cup my breast with one hand. My nipples hardened into small, hard roseate points at his touch. One blunt finger traced the column of my naked spine and came to rest on the curve of my buttocks, stroking with languid ease. I shivered slightly.
Now it was my hand that trembled as I reached and stroked the rising swell of his manhood through the thin fabric of his trousers. Moaning low in his throat, Lar lifted his hips to ease my way and the colorful blue pants joined my discarded bedgown on the desolation of the floor.
Proud and erect, Lar's masculinity, the himness of him, sprang forth, free and eager to give pleasure. It was so lovely, attentive, yet already weeping, in its dark nest of tight clustered ebony curls that I simply had to touch it. Carefully, I ran on practiced nail lightly up the sensitive underside. Lar's many small moans and gasps of passion were music to my ears. Beneath me he clutched the silken sheets and writhed for release.
Even without his yellow sun gifted abilities, Lar is strong. Very strong. He lifted my slight body and eased me down upon his burgeoning length. He was so careful, so very careful, not to harm me in any way. I have rarely seen anyone so reluctant to hurt their lover with their body as Lar. I think I shocked my lonely Daxamite when I grasped his hips with my legs and impaled myself upon him. Ah, such a glorious feeling! To be so filled and consumed! I set internal muscles to work rippling, caressing, devouring him.
Lar's back arched and he cried out my name in a deep voice, venting his pleasure for the world to hear. I couldn't have been more thrilled. Ah! The sound of that voice! But when he went suddenly limp in my arms, I almost panicked. I eased him back down onto the bed with trembling, fearful hands. Wha-? Shades preserve me, what had I done? What??
The warmth of her sudden presence in my mind was very comforting. //Shady? Shady are you - Oh! Shhh! Shhhh! It's all right, Tasmia, it's all right! Lar is perfectly fine, trust me. He's only passed out, I assure you. Some men have a stronger reaction to orgasm than others, that's all. He'll recover, I promise you. Don't worry...//
Flooded with relief, I lay back down upon the bed beside Lar and listened to the reassuring beat of his heart.
Gently, I brushed one tousled strand of space dark hair out of his sleeping eyes and traced the curve of one smooth, high boned cheek with a lazy, satiated smile. Even in slumber, Lar knew the feel of my flesh upon his body, now. He stirred beneath my hand, curling languidly into the caress, and smiled in his sleep. My throat was tight as I leaned down and kissed his eyes.
"Happy eighteenth birthday, Lar, m'love," I whispered.