Meadowsweet, Season Finale

Season Notes: This is essentially a heavy nonconsent/dubious consent story set in space that’s as close to erotica as I come. If you are uncomfortable with noncon, explicit sex and/or rape, or fictional slavery, skip this story entirely. Violence.

Efe interrogated the surviving hijackers. Zdenko, to Moira’s relief, was smart enough to understand that torture as an interrogation technique has some significant… drawbacks. So Efe, friendly, shy, Efe with her plates of brownies and cups of tea, got chatty with the hijackers. At first, they hadn’t told her much of anything, insisting they were ‘just’ hired muscle.

Which was true, but as Efe got them relaxed and chatting, she managed to learn a bit more than that. Enough to know that turning them over to the local authorities would be a waste of time. And their employer was from out-system and smart enough to use cutouts. The pallet they’d been after had five different cargo containers on it from three shipments. Two of them had high priority seals: if Zdenko opened them, he’d lose the contract and possibly end up in an admiralty court.

Most likely, the crew agreed, a merchant feud had spilled over onto Meadowsweet. One of the hazards of being a free trader and as soon as they were rid of the shipments, they would be free of the whole mess. By and large, it was a far better outcome than they might have hoped for.

Though Ildar remained mystified and annoyed at how they’d managed to track down and identify Meadowsweet so far from any planet.

Moira stayed out of the way until Efe finished the interrogations and tucked the hijackers away where they couldn’t get into trouble. (Zdenko nearly shot them out of hand, but decided that would be going a bit far given that it was his crew who started the shooting.) Then she tracked down Zdenko.

“Five percent.”


“Five percent,” she repeated. “Sitting emergency bridge watch and helping hunt down hijackers was not part of the job description.”

Zdenko blinked and tried to glare at her. “It’s not a job, and you do whatever the hell I tell you.”

“It’s not a job? What is it then?”

“It’s… You know what it is!”

She raised her eyebrows, “So? You’re paying me a percentage of profits for services rendered. That’s the definition of a job.”

“Moira,” he growled, “You are not crew, you are…” he trailed off. Not once since she’d boarded the ship had he actually said the word.

“Yes?” She put her hands on her hips, daring him to say it.

He couldn’t. He cursed and spun to punch the wall.

“You don’t like being a villain, captain. And I don’t see you as one. So stop trying.”

Zdenko glared at her. “I can’t let you be crew, Moira. I need you in my bed. I need to know you will never try to tell me no. If you do, one of these days, I’m going to hurt you.”

“You’ve hurt me already, trying to protect me. Have you heard of shunning? I can now tell you from experience that it is an absolutely miserable experience.”

“What? When?” He reached for her, stopped himself.

She laughed, and the bitterness in it took even her by surprise. “Verda parasite is a planet-sized bitch.” His jaw dropped, but she continued before he could say anything. “And I’ve never heard of anyone lasting as long as you without treatment. In the process, you saved me and several other women from the slave trade, so I can’t even complain about how you did it. I have no intention of telling you ‘no.’ Not only do we have a bargain, but I have no intention of being stuck on a flying tin can with a man gone Verda crazed.

“But for God’s sake, stop trying to play pop psychologist. Stockholm is a bloody myth. Keeping me separate from the rest of the crew while you treated me like an object and not a person was far more likely to start ‘brainwashing’ me than letting me be a part of this damn ship.”

Moira started quietly, but by the time she finished, she was screaming right in his face.

When she finished, Zdenko wiped his face clear of her spittle and stepped back a pace. He said, “No need to hold back, woman. Tell me how you really feel.”

Moira glared at him and, for some reason, that made him chuckle. And then he was giggling, and Moira was having trouble holding her glare because she was trying not to laugh, but she couldn’t hold it back any more than he could, and soon they were both laughing so hard they couldn’t breathe.

When they finished, Zdenko let himself flop down to sit on the floor, and Moira was leaning against the wall clutching her sides.

Zdenko looked up and asked, “You really don’t mind?”

“It might surprise you,” she said, gesturing to her body, “but in my prior life, I did not have people beating down my door to give me amazing orgasms. I don’t mind the sex at all. But it would be nice if you could treat me like a friend rather than a fuck.”

His jaw dropped again. “A friend? How could you… after everything… I mean…”

“No, we aren’t friends. But in spite of everything, I’m impressed by you, Zdenko. Maybe if we give it a chance, we could be friends.”

The shock was slowly replaced by a wide grin. Zdenko stood up and held out a hand to her. “Alright, let’s see where it goes. Welcome to the crew, Moira.”

Moira returned his grin and took his hand. “To a beautiful friendship.”

He laughed and used their clasped hands to pull her to him. The kiss started gentle but deepened, leaving them both panting. “Now get out of those damn clothes.”

That’s it for this season of Meadowsweet. Thank you for your patience with me the past few weeks. Moira, Zdenko, and company will be back next year – maybe we’ll finally get a look Ezra’s fish.

But until then, there are more stories to tell. Next up is What You Will.

Viola is in love with Duke Orsino

Duke Orsino is in love with Countess Olivia

Countess Olivia is in love with Cesario

Cesario is really Viola in disguise…

or is he?

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is a very queer play,

But what if you could make it queerer?

As usual, paid newsletter subscribers are 6 weeks ahead of the website. If you want to get the first six episodes of What You Will now, go sign up today.

Meadowsweet, S1 E11

Season Notes: This is essentially a heavy nonconsent/dubious consent story set in space that’s as close to erotica as I come. If you are uncomfortable with noncon, explicit sex and/or rape, or fictional slavery, skip this story entirely. Violence.

Moira, watching on her datapad, was shocked at how fast the fight had been. She had never seen a real fight before — brawls, teenaged dust ups, yes. Tournaments, many. But not this kind of life-and-death violence where nothing was for show and every move was calculated for maximum damage.

She was still grappling with how quickly everything had changed when Zdenko stuck his head back through the door.

“Stay here, I’m locking the door behind me. We need to take out the rest of them and find their ship.”

Moira nodded convulsively, staying safe behind a locked door sounded like the best idea she’d ever heard. Still… “Wait… how can I talk to you?”

Zdenko looked at her like she’d been talking an old Earth language — Mandarin maybe, or Thai, rather than galactic standard. “What?”

She waved the datapad at him. “I can see what they are doing. Shouldn’t I have a way to tell you?”

He blinked, then said, “We can monitor the security feeds through the bridge.”

Skullfire, able to hear better than most of the crew, shouted from the common room, “Don’t be a fool captain. We can’t leave anyone behind to monitor security, we need every claw we have.”


“Lock her in the bridge instead. She’ll have full access to security there and if they try to take the bridge, she’ll be able to tell us.”

Zdenko looked like he wanted to argue, but after a moment gave a curt nod. “Fine. Get in the bridge. But no funny business. You can use the ship’s intercom from there.”

It took a moment for everyone to realize there was no way she was getting herself to the bridge. So set up something like an old-fashioned bucket brigade, with Moira as the ‘bucket’ being tossed from one to the next until she was strapped into one of the bridge seats. Ildar gave her a 30 second class on using the ship’s intercom, and then she was alone and locked in an area of the ship she’d never before set foot in.

After a tentative attempt at controlling the security panel, she decided to continue relying on her datapad for everything except the intercom. Use what you know was the most common sense law of any combat.

She didn’t pay attention to the plans the crew were making, instead turning her attention to the cargo hold and eternal cameras. The two hijackers she and Zdenko had seen in the cargo area a few minutes ago were still there. But instead of searching for the crew, they were searching the cargo itself, reading off the numbers stenciled on various cargo containers. Carefully she flicked on the intercom, trying to activate it only in the crew common area. “They’re looking for something in the cargo.”

Apparently, she got it right, as the hijackers didn’t react to her words and the crew all looked toward the camera and Zdenko gave her a thumbs up.

On the externals, she didn’t see anything. Which made no sense — there had to be a ship somewhere. They weren’t in what the crew called the Deeps — the vast empty space between solar systems. They were, however, on the far edge of an Oort Cloud, which meant they had to be at least 10,000 AU from their destination. (Moira didn’t know much astrogation, but she knew that much at least.)

For the hijackers’ purposes, they might as well be in the Deeps — they had to have a ship somewhere nearby.

Of course, that raised the question of how another ship had found them. This wasn’t a random hijacking, not if they were looking for something specific in the cargo. Moira might not know anything about spaceships, but she knew enough history to be able to figure that much out for herself.

Moira didn’t stop to wonder why the ship had exterior cameras. Those with some knowledge of space ships and space navigation tended to assume that visual navigation would be useless to a space ship. What good was light detection when traveling faster than light? They were right, as far as it went. But to each task it’s tool. Video was useless, even at the best enhancements available to anything the size of a ship, for seeing much further than a couple dozen miles away even in the airlessness of space. But gravitonics and other sensors used to avoid asteroids, rogue comets, other ships, and the rare deep space hazard at high speed were completely useless for such critical (if low speed) tasks as aligning with a stations’ docking ring or zeroing in on a landing field.

And since they needed to have cameras anyway, and cameras were cheap, most ships had lots of them. If nothing else, it was easier to use the cameras to check for external damage than send someone out in a spacesuit.

Because Moira didn’t know that there ‘shouldn’t’ be cameras or why, she didn’t know about the other sensors any ship had as a matter of course, or how to check them. So she didn’t see the small high-speed cutter sitting with its lights out a short distance (in interplanetary terms) from Meadowsweet.

While Moira was searching the space for the ship that had to be there, the crew was zeroing in on the remaining hijackers. “Sneaking” wasn’t really possible in a cargo hold. Especially one with the gravity turned off. So they didn’t even try. Just spread out a bit and moved toward the noise the hijackers were making.

The fight itself … well, it would probably be a mistake to call it a fight. It ended up being more a complex game of hide and seek that ended when Efe got a clear shot at one of the hijackers and Skullfire pinned the other against one of the cargo pallets.

The two surviving hijackers were tied up in the crew’s common area. The bodies were searched and tossed out the airlock. Later, when Ildar reviewed the logs, he found the hidden ship. It started building acceleration immediately after the two bodies went out the airlock.

Building Family, S1 E5

Season content notes: transphobia mention, ableism,

Emeka knew what he wanted to do. Or he thought he did. He’d learned the hard way not to put his thoughts public until he’d double-checked them in private. So he opened up a blank word doc and titled it ‘Intentional Family.’ It takes him a couple of minutes to get all his thoughts down, just a big burst of words. Then he started organizing him, making sure he had everything. The importance of personal commitment to any family, that if people were willing to commit to each other and an intentional community, why couldn’t they commit to being family together. His interest in meeting folks willing to make such a commitment. A bit of info about himself and his life, why he wanted to do this. Two read-throughs, a quick run through Grammarly, and he had something he could put up in public.

He hopped back on Black & Poly. Given the interest in intentional communities, he figured folks there would be receptive.

Copy, paste, and… the new post at the top of the feed caught his eye. “The Surprising Predictor of Who We Love.” The article looked like typical clickbait, but the poster — someone he didn’t know well — had given a short summary. Supposedly, the number one predictor of who you would love was geography — who were you close enough to meet and get to know.

Emeka wasn’t looking to fall in love, per se. There were lots of ways to love, and right now, he was looking more for comfort-love of family than stars and fireworks. But the point was the same, wasn’t it? Distance mattered, and if he wanted this to work, he needed to look for people who lived nearby. After thinking about it, he pulled up another polyamory group, one for his metro area. It was a much smaller group, but the people might be able to connect with him. He took a deep breath and posted it. Fingers crossed.

Against his own better judgment, he camped on the post, waiting for responses. To his surprise, they came quickly. Within five minutes, he had five replies to his post, and a couple of those replies had conversations developing. That, at least, was good.

The bad part was the kind of responses he was getting. One response was an obvious joke response. The other four were warnings: that he was inviting abusers to take advantage of him, or how could he consider getting involved with people he didn’t know? A few of the conversations were talking like he was a five-year-old who had never heard of ‘stranger danger.’

Disgusted, he closed up Facebook. He didn’t need negativity and condescension. He wasn’t going to subject himself to any more of that BS. Maybe he should check out the reviews on the new EA game. It was probably another reboot, but there might be something interesting enough to make it worth the money.

He was settling in to watch a long YouTube review when the phone rang. After checking the number, he answered with a smile. “Jenna! What’s up? I didn’t expect to hear from you till Friday.”

“Yeah, well, I saw your post and was worried. What the hell are you thinking, Emeka?”

In a small one-bedroom apartment on the other side of town, Orli wanted to hang up on her sister. She really wanted to hang up on her sister. But you don’t abandon family. Especially when the family in question was the only family you had left.

Even when said family was rubbing salt in old wounds and not even noticing. “Sis, I love you. And I want you to be happy.”

“But you also want me to shut the hell up?”

“Well… kind of?”

“I’m sorry, Ori. I shouldn’t let our parents being asses get to me, even if they are insulting my metamour. And I know you have better things to do than listen to me kvetch about my weird relationships.”

“It’s not weird! Just because you are doing something different doesn’t make it weird or wrong.”

It took a bit longer, but eventually, Orli managed to say goodbye and go back to bills.

Their parent’s anniversary was coming up. It wasn’t marked on the calendar, but the date might as well have glowed eye-searing red for all Orli could miss it. Should she even bother sending a card this year? It wasn’t like they even admitted she existed any longer.

Sighing, feeling her belly burn, warning her of a panic attack, Orli picked the phone up and called her sister back. “You don’t know what you have. You don’t know what you could lose. Yes, they are short-sighted and judgemental. And I wish you could tell them to go jump in a lake. But they are the only parents we will ever have. It sucks that they won’t invite your… what, your metamour? But don’t burn that bridge. Just. Don’t.”

She hung up without waiting for a response. Any response at all would only make her hurt more.

She needed sleep. It was a school day tomorrow and then a full shift at work. But if she tried to sleep now, she’d fall right into nightmares. Instead, she decided to do some research. What in the world was a ‘metamour’? Orli had started lurking in a Facebook group about polyamory shortly after her sister came out to her. Time to re-check the group’s glossary.

The group kept a good glossary, and she seemed to be checking it once a week lately. ‘Metamour’ was someone dating the same person you were. Your partner’s other partner. Orli didn’t see why they needed a word for that, but okay.

She was about to click out of the group when she noticed the title of the top post. ‘Intentional family.’ Intrigued despite herself, she opened it up and started reading.

By the time she was done, she had tears in her eyes. Whoever this person was — and from the comments, they were getting a lot of flack — she heard them. Behind all their straight talk about the importance of commitment and the success of some intentional communities (whatever those were) was someone who shared her pain. Abandonment. Aloneness. The lack of the one thing you thought you could always depend on.


Meadowsweet, S1 E10

Season Notes: This is essentially a heavy nonconsent/dubious consent story set in space that’s as close to erotica as I come. If you are uncomfortable with noncon, explicit sex and/or rape, or fictional slavery, skip this story entirely. Violence.

On the bridge, Skullfire Aranya cursed silently to herself as she peered around into the common room. In their native environment, even the clumsiest of her people had some natural stealth. Under the humans’ yellow lights and against the dingy metal walls, the greatest of them had difficulty sneaking. In zero-G…

It had been pure luck that she’d been on the bridge when everything went to hell. But it was luck she was going to make use of.

Efe had still been in the break room when the hijackers came in. Actually, she’d fallen asleep while Moira was dealing with the captain. Like the captain and Moira, she’s woken up several feet above where she’d fallen asleep.

Unlike them, she’d been startled awake by the hijackers. The rest of the crew would never let her hear the end of her immediate, frightened shriek, but she was cunning enough to follow up on a good opening. Now she was a blubbering mess, cringing away every time the guns twitched, and inch by inch ‘swimming’ toward the hold-out gun stashed under the couch. One of these centuries, she thought, people would stop underestimating a pretty woman in tears. But for now, she got to have her freak out and kill them too.

Ezra was floating between the guns and Efe, using small swimming motions of his hands to keep himself in place. He liked to plan, Ezra did. He wasn’t a quick thinker like Efe or Zdenko. So, he thought long instead. When the hijacks rounded him up, he knew his role. He went right into belligerent mode. Get in their faces, get them on him. It came naturally to him, but the main point was it got the attention off the quick and cunning folks so they could unleash hell on whoever needed it. These assholes definitely needed it.

Ildar seemed to lean against the wall, arms crossed, watching. It was one of his parlor tricks, and right then, it was intimidating as hell. Anyone who could lean against a wall in zero-G and not go spinning off could fly rings around the average spacer.

He’d been on watch when a warning light went off, and he’d gone down to the engine room sure that it was the cooling system needing to be reset (again). They’d rounded him up and brought him here. He hadn’t given them a moment’s trouble, but they recognized his silent threat. What attention they had to spare from Ezra’s imitation berserker was centered on Ildar.

In the cargo hold, two more hijackers swept through the stacks, searching for any missing crew. A final hijacker guarded the engine room against any attempt to re-take it.

This was the scene, the moment of calm before chaos that Moira and Zdenko saw part of on Moira’s datapad. Zdenko wasn’t sure why the hijackers hadn’t checked the bridge or any of the crew cabins yet. They couldn’t have gotten this far and been that foolish.

But whatever the reason, it gave him and Skullfire an opportunity, and he was damn well going to use it.

Zdenko flung himself toward the door of the room, pausing only a moment to be sure of his handholds. “You hacked the cameras. What else you got?”

Moira fumbled, again, for the wall and data unit. “Ah… I think I figured out how to adjust the lights? I didn’t really try to dig deep; I didn’t need to and…”

“Fine. Blink the lights in here and on the bridge.”

Moira needed both hands, so she let go of the wall and let herself tumble, swallowing down nausea. It took her a few moments while Zdenko could only hope nothing in the crew area was changing. Then the lights started blinking.

One… two… thr–

Zdenko slammed the door open and got off two quick shots against the nearest hijacker. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Skullfire launch herself into the room. Chaos erupted and ended between one breath and the next.

When it was quiet again, Efe had the gun in her hand and held it on the remaining hijacker, who was pinned between Ezra and Aranya. Ildar was gone, already halfway down the corridor with a throwing knife in each hand. And, of course, the hijacker Zdenko shot was spiraling from the force of the darts, spewing blood and… other stuff.

Quiet, of course, was relative.

“Everyone okay?” Zdenko bellowed.

“Where the fuck did these assholes come from?” Ezra demanded.

Efe jammed her gun into her pocket and slammed out after Ildar, flashing a quick high sign at Zdenko as she went.

Skullfire tossed the remaining hijacker’s weapon to Zdenko, and Ezra used some of the cables he was never without to tie her up. The hijacker, wisely, kept her mouth shut. “There was nothing on the sensors until one of the engine lights started blinking. It was like they appeared out of nowhere.”

Another short one. Sorry folks, I wrote myself into a corner and family emergency is ongoing (though looking to resolve in the next week or so). Neither combat nor pantsing are my forte, put the two together and… Well, I’ll figure it out by next week. Promise.

Building Family, S1 E4

Season content notes: transphobia mention, ableism,

Long before the pizza arrived, Emeka was sick of himself and his thoughts. He needed to get up and do something. So once he finished eating and cleaned up, he closed down the computer and grabbed a handful of cardboard boxes. His parents had left a lot of stuff behind, even after the lawyers had gone through and taken whatever. Most stuff that wasn’t furniture needed to be boxed up.

He gritting his teeth, he started with a job he’d been avoiding. The hallways and stairs were lined with family pictures. Not just his mom and dad, but grandparents, aunts, uncles cousins. He boxed them all up and hoped he was boxing up the memories with them.

It was the first time he’d seen any of his family in over ten years. And most of them were strangers. Even his parents looked like strangers to him now. Which made sense. He hadn’t had a family since the day he’d walked out of this house. Once, he’d hoped some of his cousins or Aunt Alice would look for him, be there for him. But they never did.

When the last picture was packed away, a tiny scrap of hope died within him. He’d pretended not to notice, told himself that he hadn’t been paying attention, that there were more pictures around the corner he hadn’t looked at. He couldn’t lie to himself any longer. Dozens of pictures, filling two boxes. He wasn’t in any of them.

He ignored the tears as he hauled the boxes to the garage. Out of sight until he could go through and see if there were one or two he’d want to keep. Gramma and Pops maybe. Or, hell, all of them. His family. He set the boxes down and rubbed the tears off his cheeks. It wasn’t roommates he needed, not a community. It was family. And wasn’t that a kick in the nuts.

Rather than go back into the house, he sat down and let the cool of the concrete soak into him. He didn’t know if he hadn’t been missing family until his parents died, or he’d been in denial about it. If he even took Shayna’s advice to find a shrink, they could help him sort it out.

Shayna, as much as they cared for each other, wasn’t family. None of his polyam partners were. They had fun together, they cared for each other, but they never crossed that line from friends and romantic partners to family.

He let the tears fall another minute or two, then got back up. One painful job done, he might as well tackle the rest. For the first time since he’d moved back, he opened the door to his childhood room.

And winced. He’d half expected to have been erased from his room, the same way he’d been erased from every other part of the house, but this was worse. It was… what, some kind of shrine to the girl they’d tried to force him to be? It was the same, still the pink and frills they’d forced on him, even as a teenager. His rebellious posters that his mom hated were still up on the walls. The only change was propped in the middle of his desk: a single picture frame. A single picture. One of the rare times his parents had managed to get him to dress ‘properly’, which meant ‘girly’. He took a minute to take it all in, then slammed the door.

His stomach heaved as he hurried down the hallway, unable to wipe the image of that… that… fuck. They’d never accepted he was a boy, he’d known that. They spent his entire life looking for a cheat code — up up down down left right left right — to ‘cure’ him of his refusal to be the girl he was ‘supposed’ to be.

He rinsed his mouth out and threw himself back on his computer. Something else, he needed to think of something else. Family. He’d been thinking about family, about needing a family. He laughed at himself. Sure, right. Where was he going to get one? Did he think, like his parents, that there was some set of cheat codes to life that magically gave you what you wanted? He didn’t have a family, hadn’t for years. And no way to get one now.

He pulled up B&P again and found yet another Unicorn Hunter post. UHs were couples looking for a person (usually a ‘hot bi babe’) to ‘join their couple.’ They tended to lay out their expectations for the hbb in question like a job listing and give no sense of who they were or why anyone should be interested in them. This post was an example of the worst of them. It expected their required hbb to be equally in love with both of them (always) and understand their secondary position. They weren’t to interfere with the ‘main couple.’

Even the best of Unicorn Hunters didn’t seem to understand that they were sellers in a buyer’s market. They also didn’t get how even the best-intentioned and least toxic setup (which these two didn’t have) they were proposing was harmful. You can’t have a democracy of three, with a pre-existing voting block of two. Instead, they paraded into polyam groups expecting legions of women (or more rarely men) to fall at their feet. Then they got pissy when folks explained to them why it wasn’t going to happen. Ron, with the patience of a saint, was in a long comment thread with this latest example. Explaining, again why unicorn hunting didn’t work.

Curious Emeka pulled up a calculator and started working through a percentile calculation. He was never the best at math, but this one seemed fairly straightforward. Even if the base numbers were assumptions and estimations.

Yeah, it looked like Ron’s answer was solid. Assuming his numbers were good — and Emeka thought he was being generous — the chances of a pre-existing couple finding a local person who was polyamorous, shared both their interests, and developed an immediate interest in both of them were worse than one in a million. He shook his head and decided not to get involved in this one. Most UHs never understood the difference between a triad and what they were looking for. He wasn’t interested in charging at this windmill.

The biggest problem the UHs had, the thing that set them apart from other folks who wanted to be in a triad, was they were looking for the ‘right’ person. Lots of people wanted a triad or menage, but they understood you couldn’t order one up from the pizza shop with all the right toppings. You had to do the work, to made space in your existing relationships for new ones. Then you dated like normal people (not both of you together, not looking for insta-marriage) and you might get lucky. You might find someone everything clicked with.

UH’s wanted to know that things would ‘fit’. They didn’t want to ‘disrupt’ their existing relationship, cared more about protecting that relationship than the hypothetical person they were looking for. They wouldn’t treat that person as a partner in their own right, someone you built a new relationship with. Not an appendage to your existing relationship. Emeka was done with the whole lot of them.

Scrolling down, the intentional community discussion was still going strong. Looked like they had a good dozen folks saying they would be on board with a community somewhere if they could make it work. Emeka didn’t know how they could do it. They committed to walking away from everything so they could make a life with all-but strangers. But hey, if it worked for them.

Something about that pulled him up. The UHs didn’t expect to make any changes, they expected whoever they met to fit with them. But these intentional community folks were doing the exact opposite. They were making a commitment to each other, making all the room in the world. All they knew about the others was they wanted the same thing, to make this community happen. Could you do the same with a family? On a smaller scale, of course. Could a handful of folks come together, commit to each other, make room in their lives. Could they build a family?

I know it’s been a slow build up, but we finished the ki part of this season. Things are about to start moving.

Building Family (S1 E3)

Season content notes: transphobia mention, ableism,

Needing a distraction and maybe a few new ideas, Emeka decided to pull up the Black & Poly Facebook group. He’d never been active in B&P, but he liked lurking and learning. Even though a lot of the stuff on B&P was 101 stuff (which was how the founder liked it), he often picked up a useful nugget or two.

Today, someone had posted about land being available cheap in Minnesota, and maybe they could get an intentional community going. Intentional communities were another topic that came up from time to time. Last time had been about someone’s family plot in Texas, of all places. He hadn’t paid much attention, but this time he sat down to read the whole discussion.

The phone rings, startling Emeka. He scowled at it but answered. “Hello.”

“Hey, ‘Mek!” his friend Raul said. “Look, I know we were going to do a movie night Thursday, but I picked up an extra shift. I can’t afford to turn that down.”

“I hear you. Movie night can be done anytime, right? How about we try for next Thursday?”

“You know how it goes. I don’t have my schedule for next week yet. But we can try. What’ve you been up to? How’s the new place?”

Emeka shrugged even though Raul couldn’t see him. “It’s okay. Nice to not have to worry about rent.”

“Lucky asshole.”

Emeka didn’t know that getting kicked out as a teen and learning his parents died from lawyers counted as ‘lucky.’ But no rent was definitely a silver lining of the whole mess. “So, I was on B&P. They’re talking about intentional communities. Sounds pretty interesting, like a bunch of folks deciding to build a community together.”

“What! No, man. That’s white people shit. I had a coworker who was obsessed with that stuff. Like, building a bunch of log cabins in the wilderness and all living together off the grid. Who needs that shit?”

“Really? That’s not what I was seeing.”

Raul snorted. “Sure, they make it sound good, but it’s like Woodstock — crazy white people idea that they make sound amazing, but is actually rain, mud, and not enough toilets.”

“Alright, alright. I’m not going anywhere without enough toilets,” Emeka laughed.

They talked a bit longer, until Raul had to leave for work.

Emeka went back to B&P and the discussion about intentional communities. It sounded like Raul knew a bit about them; more than Emeka did after reading part of one conversation. God knew coworkers with obsessions could talk your ear off. So if he thought it was a bad idea, it might be. And this talk of buying land in Minnesota or where ever wasn’t reassuring on the toilet situation.

Still, Raul had a tendency to dismiss a lot of things as ‘white people shit’. As if white people coming up with a thing or doing it a lot was a reason to dismiss it. Besides, if folks in B&P were talking about it, it obviously wasn’t ‘white people shit.’

Hell, some people’d told him polyamory was ‘white people shit.’ Which was ridiculous. If anything forcing monogamy on everyone was white people shit. Lots of places around the world didn’t do monogamy before Europe came conquering. If prejudice about what a black person could do was going to stop him, he’d never have transitioned.

Fuck it. He pulled up DuckDuckGo and ran a search on intentional communities. There was a lot of info, and he settled in to read. It was on the third website that he found a reference to Freedom, Georgia. 97 black families had bought a chunk of land to start a new community. White people shit my ass.

Emeka started reading up on intentional communities.

A while later, movement out of the corner of his eye distracted Emeka. He looked up to see two birds — sparrows maybe? — flying around right outside. He took a closer look. They had a nest tucked into the bush right below the window. He’d never been much of a bird watcher, but curiosity had him turning away from the computer to see what they were up to.

There were a trio of chicks in the nest, and it was feeding time. Each of the grown-up birds dropped something — bugs? worms? — into one of the babies’ mouths, then flew off.

Emeka waited a minute or two and was about to return to his reading when they came back with two more morsels. For the next several minutes, they flew in and out, feeding the babies until the little mouths stopped gaping.

A shadow skimmed across the grass.

Suddenly, the grown-up sparrows turned into, like the Red Baron, dive-bombing a crow that must have come too close to their nest. They were tiny next to the blackbird, but they didn’t stop. They were defending their babies, and nothing was going to drive them away.

It wasn’t long before the crow was driven off, and the show was over.

Emeka went back to his reading, but it didn’t seem as interesting. He couldn’t really do an intentional community, could he? He was just as tied to this place as the birds were to their nest.

He has a job, polyam partners, friends. Oh, if he needed to, he could pack up and move. Maybe to Connecticut to be near Bertina. But not on a whim or because he didn’t like the goddamn free home he got.

He pulled Facebook back up and was relieved to see that the Whovians were finally settling down. It would probably flare up on and off for a couple of days, but it wouldn’t take over his feed again. Until the next feeding frenzy. He was glad his friends were Whovians. When GoT fans got going, they had gone on for days. Those folks really loved their shows.

He thought about that love and excitement and realized that was what he’d been missing thinking about intentional communities. He wasn’t excited about them, wasn’t in love with the idea. Whatever he ended up doing about the house or roommates or whatever, he came to one decision right then. He wouldn’t move away unless he’s as excited about moving as the fans were about their fandoms.

Meadowsweet (S1, E9)

Season Notes: This is essentially a heavy nonconsent/dubious consent story set in space that’s as close to erotica as I come. If you are uncomfortable with noncon, explicit sex and/or rape, or fictional slavery, skip this story entirely.

Moira was floating in the afterglow of really good sex. There’d been more than a bit of angry-not-exactly-make-up-sex in it on both their parts, which made it better. They needed to talk, but she didn’t want to ruin the warm glow. So she snuggled down into the bed, determined to ignore the world for a few more minutes. Unfortunately, that made her bounce off the bed, which was when she realized she really was floating.

She shot upright — or tried to. Instead, she ended up in an uncontrolled spin. Something clamped onto her arm and pulled her. She nearly screamed, but a hand clamped over her mouth. Zdenko murmured in her ear, “not one goddamn sound.” He waited until she nodded, then released her mouth and grabbed a handhold next to the bed, stopping their spin.

“If we’re lucky,” Zdenko continued in that same quiet voice, “Ezra was doing some repairs and didn’t want to risk disturbing us. Might have screwed up somewhere, but Ezra doesn’t screw up.”

“And if we’re not lucky?” Moira somehow strangled her shriek down to a whisper, but they both heard the panic in it.

Zdenko made sure Moira’s hand was wrapped around the handhold, then let go himself, reached down, and turned on the magnetic soles of his boots. A moment later, his feet were clamped to the side of the wall as if was a floor. “Then we’re dealing with pirates. Or privateers.”

“Is there a difference?”

“Maybe. Pirates will take us and the ship and sell both. Privateers will take the ship and let us go somewhere with nothing but the clothes on our backs and their sincere apologies.”

Moira held the handhold until her knuckles turned white and tried not to hyperventilate. She was an academic, for god sake! She wasn’t supposed to travel the galaxy having exciting adventures. She was supposed to write case studies about other people having exciting adventures.

“And on that subject…” Zdenko rummaged in one of the bags hanging next to his bed, and Moira suddenly understood why he had bags hanging on the walls instead of a dresser. He pulled out a ball of fabric and threw it at her. She squeaked, grabbed at it, lost her grip on the handhold, realized she was spinning, squeaked again, grabbed for the handhold, and somehow managed to hold onto both the fabric and the wall. The fabric, she then realized, was a wad of clothing.

Zdenko barely seemed to notice. He walked down the wall, crossed the barrier between ‘wall’ and ‘floor’ in a single stride that left Moira feeling dizzy and reached under the bed. “Get that on. If we are unlucky enough to be stranded somewhere with nothing but the clothes on our back, you’d better have some clothes.”

Moira squeaked again, some distant still-logical part of her mind (the part that was in no way in control of her body) pointing out that while Zdenko’s had a point, she would have a hard time putting anything on with both hands wrapped around the handhold.

Then she noticed that what he’d pulled out from under the bed was a gun. Her brain, the brain that didn’t shut up even when she’d been looked on the 3P waiting to find out how she would die, immediately started up. “If you shoot that, won’t you put a hole in the side of the ship? Then we’d asphyxiate rather than whatever these… people have planned for us. And shouldn’t there be an alarm going off? This room isn’t soundproofed, so why is it so quiet?”


She hushed

“You’re right, we should be hearing something, and the alarm should have gone off. But we don’t have any way to see what’s going on out there.”

Moira blinked, something about his words… “Wait!” She looked around for her datapad, left… somewhere when she’d come in the room. She saw it, floating near the other side of the room. “There! Get that.”

Looking at her oddly, Zdenko clumped across the room and brought back her datapad. Now she was juggling the clothing, pad, and handhold, and keeping a grip on none of them. Cursing, Zdenko pinned her against the wall, shoved her legs into the loose pants, grabbed the spinning tablet, and handed it back to her. “If we get out of this, I’m turning the gravity off for a week, so you can learn how to not kill yourself in it.”

Moira couldn’t exactly argue with that and wasn’t interested in trying. Instead, she pulled up the still-not-fixed hack she’d worked into the ship’s security systems. The video loaded, and she blinked in surprise, then turned the screen to show the captain.

“Well, fuck,” he said.

Sorry for the short episode and the cliffhanger. Family emergency has me scrambling, but I promise we’ll be back next week to learn what they are seeing and how they’ll respond.

Building Family (S1, E2)

Season content notes: transphobia mention, ableism,

Emeka knew he was on the right track. He needed to find someone (or several someones) who’d want to make a home with him. Finding that person was the challenge.

He had three polyam partners. Jenna was a casual partner he saw every few weeks when their schedules meshed. Shayna was a fairly serious partner — they had a weekly date night and tried to spend a weekend each month. And Bertina and he were comets. They ‘flew’ in and out of each other’s lives a few times a year. Bertina would visit again next month for a couple of weeks.

He hadn’t ever talked about living together with any of them. Becoming nesting partners hadn’t seemed in the cards. Hell, Bertina lived in Connecticut, so it wasn’t even a reasonable question. Right? Things changed, though. Just because it hadn’t been in the cards when he was living in a crappy apartment didn’t mean it wasn’t worth asking now.

The fire alarm started blaring, interrupting his thoughts. Emeka opened his eyes to see smoke pouring off the pot on the stove. “Fuck!” He pulled the pot off the stove, then rushed to silence the fire alarm. One advantage of living in a house — no neighbors complaining about the alarm going off. Of course, that didn’t help with dinner.

Disgusted, he dumped the charred remains of the pasta into the garbage and grabbed the menu for the local pizza place. Looked like it was going to be delivery again.

Some things never changed — his ability to burn anything among them. Wanting it wouldn’t make him a better cook — or, he realized, change the course of his relationships.

He’d have let it go at that, but he needed to try something or he was going to fall into another funk. So he kept turning the idea over. No, he’d never talked about living together with either Jenna or Shayna. But that meant they’d never said anything about not wanting to live together. He could at least have the conversation.

The last time he’d seen Jenna was shortly before his parents’ lawyer got a hold of him. She’d been having troubles with her landlord. Jenna’s apartment building was a mess. Not quite as bad as Emeka’s old place, but it was going to get there if the landlord didn’t start making repairs. The asshole had been dodging her calls about a leak in the ceiling — not something you wanted to ignore. She said she was sticking it out because she liked how close it was to downtown, but no one needed a ceiling coming down on their head.

The smell of burnt past permeated the kitchen. Emeka opened a window the clear the air and retreated back to his computer. He could still smell the smoke there, but it wasn’t as bad. He flipped through the menu for the pizza parlor, even though he knew what he’d order. Hell, he’d been living on take-out the past two weeks while he got his stuff moved in and settled.

The last time Jenna’d cooked for him, she made a stir fry. Beef and onions with chopped peppers. He had no idea what she seasoned it with. The onions and peppers had been dotted with black bits from the spices she’d tossed in the pan. It had tasted amazing. God knew when he’d have food like that again.

With a sigh of regret, he dialed the pizza place. 30 minutes and he’d have something to eat for dinner.

Pizza ordered, Emeka decided he needed a distraction. Something to get him out of his head. He pulled up a new browser tab and hopped on the Big Blue. Facebook was a steaming pile of shit most days, but you could always count on it to distract you from your own troubles. Or at least that was Emeka’s opinion. Shayna had closed up her account last year and swore she’d never get on again. As soon as the page loaded, he glanced at the top corner and froze. 68 notifications. What the fuck?

Top of his feed was a picture of a long-haired white guy wearing fancy sunglasses, suspenders over a dress shirt (only half-buttoned), black slacks, and bright blue socks covered with jumping sheep. Emeka had never seen the guy before. No caption, no description. It wasn’t until he looked at the comments that it started to make sense. Someone had leaked a picture of Dr. Who’s next Companion — whoever he would be.

Whovians — a fan group that included a good chunk of his friends — were going wild. Speculating like crazy about what the character would be like, where he came from, so on and so forth. Usual fandom feeding frenzy. Having a suspicion, he clicked over to his notifications. Yup, he was being tagged in dozens of Dr. Who posts. That’s what most of those 68 notifications were. Watch a show for a single season and never hear the end of it.

He read the first two or three posts just to keep up with what his friends were into. Then started scrolling. It was a couple of pages until he saw the first non-Whovian post. Jenna had shared a long-ish writing. Looking forward to seeing her thoughts, he clicked on ‘Read more’ to see what she’d been up to.

Looked like someone a polyamory group had been talking shit about solo polyamory. It happened from time to time, assholes who thought anyone who didn’t do it ‘their way’ was doing it wrong. Jenna, also as usual, didn’t take shit like that lying down. But this post was different. Instead of defending sole polyamory in general, Jenna was claiming it. She was solo polyam, and no matter how committed she was to a partner, she would always need her own home and her own space… Had she ever told him she was solo polyam? He didn’t think so.

By the time he’d finished reading, he had another half dozen notifications filled with Whovian chatter. He had tried to get into the show a few years ago; it would have been nice to share that fandom with his friends. But he just couldn’t care.

However much he might like the idea, asking Jenna about moving in would be a mistake. It would be like one of his friends trying to get him into Dr. Who again. Landlord problems or no landlord problems, he needed to respect her needs. But where did it leave him?

Meadowsweet (S1 E8)

Season Notes: This is essentially a heavy nonconsent/dubious consent story set in space that’s as close to erotica as I come. If you are uncomfortable with noncon, explicit sex and/or rape, or fictional slavery, skip this story entirely.

Zdenko wasn’t a fool. He knew what his crew was doing. What he wasn’t sure of was what to do about it.

He’d made the rules clear from day one. His girls needed to be able to walk off this ship free in all ways — including free of attachment to them. His other girls had shown no interest in spending time with him or the crew anyway. They kept their heads down, did what they were told, and got out as soon as they could.

And that was why he was stumped. Because it wasn’t the crew who were seeking out Moira, she was pushing herself on them. Not that they — Ezra and Skullfire especially, but Ildar too in his quiet way — weren’t enjoying her company. What was he supposed to do, confine her to his rooms? That was exactly the kind of asshole move he’d always tried to avoid. Order the crew to avoid her when she had herself planted in the middle of the common room?

So he’d been avoiding her. A week now without release, and the damn parasite wasn’t going to let him go much longer. He was walking around with a constant hard-on — literally — and his hand wasn’t doing it. Something about the parasite demanded a partner, the scent and feel, and perhaps most importantly fluids of another person. Why? Who the hell knew?

It wasn’t the worst he’d dealt with — hell, he usually went months between girls because he was too stubborn for his own good. But it was different with Moira right there, her scent in his room and all over his bed. He needed to talk with her, to figure out what the hell she was doing and how he could keep her from making a big damn mistake.

Should be easy, right? She was his slave and hadn’t once disobeyed him.

Yeah, right. She was obedient to a fault and still kept managing to get her own way. That was the whole reason he was avoiding her, after all.

Moira was surprised Zdenko hadn’t confronted her. Ezra and Skullfire were equally surprised he hadn’t yet cornered them. Ildar and Efe were still keeping their heads down but were starting to open up. Efe had even brought Moira a cup of tea and a warm brownie the other day. Moira wouldn’t have thought the second officer the type to be shy. Maybe she wasn’t one to talk if she didn’t need to.

Efe was actually curled up on the other side of the couch watching a vid when Moira found the answer she’d been looking for. “Ahh–!” She clamped a hand over her mouth a moment too late. “I can’t believe it,” she made herself whisper. “I can’t believe it. But it fits. It fits everything…”

Zdenko had been a puzzle to Moira since she met him. Sexual slavery wasn’t exactly unusual, and she knew most common personality types for people who bought sex slaves. Zdenko didn’t match any of them. Even stranger, she’d often noticed that he didn’t seem to enjoy the sex. Approached it as an obligation, even. Something he did because he had to, regardless of what he actually wanted. But here, when she wasn’t looking for it, buried in the ship’s log from nearly ten years ago was an unexpected clue.

Shortly after Zdenko purchased the Meadowsweet, he and the then-crew (only Skullfire was still with him from that trip, and she had a few guesses why) had landed on Verda.

Verda infection was nearly as mythic as Stolkholm, a legend within the psych and sociology fields that just happened to really exist. The parasite was one of the rare infections able to cross the blood/brain barrier and infect the brain. Moira wasn’t a neurologist, though any student of the human psyche needed to know at least a bit about the brain. The insula she recognized as being involved in sexual desire. Some of the other brain regions the parasite affected not so much. Regardless of the mechanics, what it did was well known — create an unending drive to have sex.

People — especially moralizing people — had been talking about and worried about ‘sex addiction’ since before Earth was destroyed. The Verda parasite created /actual/ sex addiction. A need for sex that got worse the longer it was denied. Stories of infected people fucking themselves to death were urban legends, but people had certainly caused harm under the parasite’s influence. As the captain had down when he’d fucked them both raw during her first few weeks on the Meadowsweet. A response to… how long without release? She didn’t think he’d ever said.

And he’d been avoiding her ever since she took her stand in the common area.

Moira sighed and closed up her datapad. Zdenko tried to be a hard-ass. Well, he was a hard-ass with everyone else. With her (and, she suspected his other ‘girls’), it was more of a bluff. Something — guilt she was betting — turned his stone to sand as soon as the parasite stopped riding him.

She waved to Efe, who smiled then went back to her vid. Then Moira strode into the captain’s rooms. “Zdenko.” She had, almost from the moment she found her feet on the Meadowsweet, been thinking of herself more as a high-priced sex worker than a slave. Time to clock in, that much-needed argument with her ‘client’ could wait.


He started at his name. Zdenko could count on one hand the number of times Moira had called him by his name rather than ‘captain.’

She didn’t give him long to wonder about it, walking right up to him, grabbing the collar of his shirt, and pulling him in for a bruising kiss. He was stunned and confused, so full of need he responded immediately anyway.

After an eternity, she broke the kiss and stepped back — still holding his shirt. She pulled him to his feet and started dragging him to his bed. He wanted to stop her, to ask what was going on. But he needed too much, and she wasn’t given him a moment to think, to get control of himself. She twisted until he was in front of her, then pushed him down on the bed and climbed on top of him.

He found enough brain cells still under his control to say, “Moira, what…” then ran out of words as she bent over him and kissed him again.

This kiss was shorter. When she pulled away, Moira said, “You make a shitty slave owner, you know that? But I’m starting to think under all that bluff, you might be a halfway decent man. Now get your clothes off because I’m not in the mood to do it for you.”

She slid over to lie next to him. He immediately started working his pants off — probably proving her point. But hell, ‘shitty slave owner’ wasn’t exactly an insult when you came down to it.

Moira was already naked, of course, and used her hands and mouth to distract him and slow him down. He groaned as she slipped her hand under his briefs and began fondling him. “Fuck, girl…”

“That is the idea, yes.”

He was supposed to be angry with her. And this was too good to be true, that she sought him out, wanted him… she wasn’t ever supposed to want him…

But she had his briefs out of the way now, and her tongue was flicking his slit, and he couldn’t think, couldn’t remember why, didn’t care, as long as she didn’t stop.

She did, eventually. But by then, he was too worn out to complain about anything.

One of the fun things about writing stories is how they don’t always stay on track. One of the fun and frustrated things about serials is how they go off track and I need to fix it on the fly because y’all are waiting for the next installment.

This started as a Master/slave M/f and I expected it to stay that way for at least the first season or two. Moira (as usual) had her own ideas.

Building Family (S1 E1)

Season content notes: transphobia mention, ableism,

The house was silent, an echoing silence that belongs in the depths of night. One that comes when everyone sleeps: no footsteps or music, no dishwasher running, no occasional sound of someone bumping their toes or closing the door a bit too hard. Silence is supposed to exist in the space between sounds. This silence seemed to echo, the absence of noise growing louder with each moment that passed.

Emeka had lived with the silence for two weeks. He had tried to break it — blasting music, stomping up and down the stairs, talking to himself. But the silence always waited. It ambushed him when the music stopped and echoed in the moments between his footsteps. When he first moved back into the house, he had hoped the silence would grow comfortable. That it would become the relaxed silence of being in one’s own company. It never did. It was always the loud, sharp silence that said one was alone.

He had been 18 when his parents kicked him out. They had ‘done their duty’ until he was officially an adult but wouldn’t put up with his ‘perversion’ one moment more. He hadn’t spoken with his parents again. Hadn’t even known they died until their lawyer got a hold of him and told him they left him the house. He’d thought it was some kind of sick joke at first, but no. All the paperwork had been under his dead name, of course. That he would have expected — if he’d expected to be included in their will at all.

Memories haunted every corner of the house that had once been his home. It was those memories that made the silence so loud and so painful. His father’s voice telling Emeka to get out and don’t come back. His mother’s tears the day he came out to them. The urgent late-night whispers as they planned how they would ‘fix’ him. There had been happy memories too, once. But the silence drowned them out.

Needing to do something, Emeka pulled up YouTube and turned the speakers up to 11. He knows it won’t work for long, but he’ll take anything he can get.

His ‘My Mix’ on YouTube started with K’naan. The auto-generated playlist was feeling old school. He closed his eyes and let himself rock on the rhythm of “In the Beginning.” He tried not to listen to the lyrics, just let the music hold back the silence enough that he could relax.

Maybe he should sell the house. Take what he could get for it and go. It wasn’t like he had any sentimental reason to hold onto it. He’d only moved in because his lease was ending in a month anyway — he wanted out of that shit hole as fast as he could manage it. He had no idea what it would sell for or how to go about selling a house. But that’s what the internet was for.

As he pulled up a new browser tab, a new song cued up. Shakira, singing about “try everything.” He found himself singing along because how could you not? He’d been in a funk since he moved in, barely leaving the house except for work. There had to be other options, right? It wasn’t just… live with this shit or sell out.

He’d been handed a free house. Almost literally free — the mortgage was paid off, and the estate covered the death taxes. After a decade of struggling to keep a roof over his head, he’d be a fool to walk away. He hadn’t seen the utility bills yet, but they had to be less than the rent he’d been paying at his last place.

There would be property taxes, though. They’d be a pain if they were high enough. And according to his landlord’s bitching, they’d gone up last year. He’d need to save up for that, and he’d never been good at saving.

He opened his eyes and found himself staring at the bright blue drapes that wrapped around the windows of what had been the guest bedroom. He’d set it up as a computer-and-game space. Less because he needed a dedicated space and more because… why not? The drapes weren’t new, but like almost everything else in the house, they were new to him. His parents had redecorated hardcore, and he first thought that would help him get used to living here again. Instead, it added a level of weirdness to the whole thing.

Even with his income, he could easily afford to live here. But making it a home, a place he was comfortable? His money wouldn’t run to redecorating, making it his home; instead of his parents’ place he’d never been welcome in.

Emeka shook his head and closed the browser down. What he needed wasn’t to get rid of the house. It was to get out of his own head. Living in an apartment or boardinghouse there were always people around. Always someone carrying groceries up the stairs or blasting their music too loud. You never had a chance to feel alone because someone was right on the other side of the wall.

Really, it was kind of ridiculous to have this whole house for one person. It had been a big house for him and his parents; they hadn’t exactly needed a guest bedroom after all. Maybe that was the answer — invite someone (or someones) to move in and share the place. It wouldn’t be so silent, with other people around. And those people would add their own stamp to the house, whether or not they could afford to redecorate.

His stomach rumbled. He grimaced and stood up, heading for the kitchen. The cabinets were almost empty, but there was plenty of mac and cheese. He couldn’t manage much in the kitchen, but even he could usually make pasta without too much trouble. He needed to go to the store and stock up on frozen dinners or something tomorrow.

Maybe he could get someone to move in who knew how to cook. Really cook. He would happily trade laundry duties — dirty underwear and all — for a decent meal a few times a week. More than one of his partners had teased him about being a cheap date — double whatever they usually made for dinner, and he was a happy man.

Yeah, finding someone to share the house with might be the answer to his biggest problems.