This Galaxy Quest story is slash fan fiction. It contains sensuality between men.
If you're underage or offended by such things, you have been warned not to read the fiction.

This was written for the Yuletide Treasure fic exchange in 2008.

Thespians, Aliens and a Damn, Stupid Hammer

Cousin Shelley


 

Alexander sipped from his glass--single malt liquor, unbelievably smooth, little burn. He'd found himself turning to that more evenings than he cared to admit. He didn't get drunk. Getting drunk was far too pedestrian a thing to do. Jason would get drunk and Alexander purposefully avoided doing anything that Jason was likely to do, in almost every conceivable situation. He indulged in a few sips to take the edge off, to try to help him forget. Or at least blur the memories a little bit.

It never worked.

Why had he been so brusque with the boy? He chuckled humorlessly, because he knew Quellek hadn't really been a boy, or even a man, but an alien creature of who knew what age. Still, he'd appeared as little more than a very young man--definitely someone Alexander could think of as a boy considering he'd started thinking of men in their 20s and even early 30s as boys.

I'm getting old, he thought. He wondered how old Quellek had been. He wondered many things about Quellek, all of which he'd probably know the answers to if only he hadn't been such an ass. Why had he made such a big deal of him saying that damn, stupid line?

By Grabthar's Hammer . . . .

What had it hurt, anyway? They were only words. Only words.

He clung to the memory of Quellek's smile. Alexander knew that was definitely part of the reason he seemed so boyish. All of the Thermians appeared quite youthful, and their glowing innocence made them seem even younger than the physical attributes they'd chosen, but Quellek's smile, Alexander thought, had been different from the rest.

He couldn't help smile when he thought of how Quellek looked when he'd first met him. Of course, Alexander had been busy not dying at the time, after being transported to the Thermian ship in a manner which he later described as more heart-attack inducing than even the idea of Jason performing Shakespeare. Then he'd had to endure being "molested by gibbering, hardware-wielding octopi," as he'd ranted often enough since.

He'd also been busy being furious with Jason, and just being angry and put-off in general as was his lot in life, after all.

But though he gave no indication of it, he'd noticed Quellek immediately. Quellek's open-mouthed awe of them had reminded Alexander of a little boy seeing something amazing for the first time--a coin vanished into the air and retrieved from behind the ear, perhaps. More than that.

Quellek's mouth had worked like he wanted to say something, and his eyes had been comically wide. Alexander remembered noticing him and his awe, and feeling impatient rather than appreciative. He remembered how Quellek had smiled so proudly at him as he passed in the corridor when Mathesar was giving them a tour, explaining that their organ fabrication chambers were almost ready.

Quellek had looked at him and positively beamed. He smiled at him that way several times during dinner. And when Quellek showed him to his quarters later, he'd been so excited. Excited, and honored. And Alexander had viewed his affection as little more than a nuisance.

Why, he thought, why did I have to be such a bastard?

The smile that he thought of most, even though he didn't want to, was the smile Quellek gave him when Alexander finally said those words about that damnable Hammer. It brought Quellek great joy, and the smile he'd given Alexander was such that the memory of it could make his chest ache. Yet, the joy Quellek felt was cold comfort for Alexander. Having the boy--why did he have to keep thinking of him as that?--tell him he'd always thought of him as a father and then die in his arms . . . he had so much to make up for, but he couldn't. It was too late for that.

He fingered the skull cap he'd worn as Dr. Lazarus on the original show and later at conventions and ribbon cuttings. He had a new one now, kept at the studio, of course. He didn't even know why he kept this one. He slid his fingers down the curves that looked like fins, the whorls that looked like the inside of a seashell.

"Tev'Mek," he said, pausing between the words that some writer had dreamed up to name his character's home world. He said it again, exaggerated the consonants, and held his lips together, drawing out the 'em' sound. He spit them out, as if they were a curse.

He took another sip and rubbed his hand over his forehead. "By Grabthar's Hammer, Quellek. . . I shall . . . I . . . I'm so sorry."

**

Two months later, on the set of the new and improved Galaxy Quest, Alexander knew the precise moment that Quellek was reborn.

He had to admit that the term reborn was not accurate. But he refused to think of it any other way, out of principle.

They'd been about to film a scene in which they were all trapped on the bridge by an entity that had taken control of the Protector's computer system. He found himself later glad that all of them, even Guy, were there when it happened because like their experience with the Thermians, it was something amplified by the fact that it was shared.

The first to react had been Laliari. Her eyes closed and her body stiffened, and Alexander wondered for a moment if that's what it looked like when a Thermian had a stroke. But before Fred had even finished asking her if she was all right, she relaxed and smiled at them, more sweetly than usual, which was saying something.

And then Alexander felt it. And at first wondered if this was what it felt like when an aging Shakespearean actor playing a spaceman had a stroke. There was a pop inside his head; not an unpleasant one, but one that seemed to be within him and without at the same time. Brain aneurism, he thought. Weak artery, burst vessel.

And then he simply knew that Quellek was alive.

He turned to look at Gwen. "Is there a part of the human brain that can burst like a balloon and cause one to go instantly mad?"

But Gwen had an expression on her face that he guessed matched his own. She'd felt it, too. They all had. Quellek hadn't been the only death during the battle with Sarris, just the one that mattered most to Alexander. Yet, when he thought back to the others he'd seen die, he knew they were alive as well.

It was as if his memory of the deaths was a mistake, and had been overwritten by the image of them not dying, almost like a double-exposure on film. The new image was stacked on top of the old, merged with it.

"Bathroom break, guys," Jason said to the crew. "Sorry, emergency. Tried a new restaurant last night, so . . . it's gonna be a while. Have a snack or a nap, or something."

Alexander and the rest of the cast raced off the set behind Jason, and Alexander would have laughed at how absurd they probably appeared to the crew if he'd really cared what any of the crew thought.

They stood in a crude circle, all talking at once, and finally all looking at their resident Thermian. Laliari could give them no explanation. She felt the same thing as they did, only stronger, but did not know how it was possible. So they threw out theories and explanations of their own.

Alexander was preoccupied with thoughts of Quellek not being dead. He was reborn--that was his immediate impression. Maybe he had a chance to apologize, to do things right.

Jason shook his head. "Only they weren't really reborn, Alexander, it was more like their deaths were reversed."

"The terminology doesn't matter, Jason," Gwen said.

Alexander shook his head. "No, it does matter. They were here before, then not here, now they're here again. Reborn."

Jason waved his hand as he talked. "That makes it sound like they'll have to start all over as little baby Thermians. Their deaths were reversed. No, no . . . how about, their deaths were undone." He raised his eyebrows.

"So you're not only the lead, Jason, with the best scenes and the best lines, but we all have to abide by your catch phrases? Have you ever heard of brevity? Reborn!"

Gwen closed her eyes. "For God's sake."

Tommy shouted. "They're undead! All right? All I'm worried about is if that Sarris has been all undeaded, too, and if he knows where we all live."

Fred half-smiled and spoke extra slowly, because he was excited. "They're not undead." He chuckled. "They're not zombies." He looked at Laliari. "Are they . . . zombies?"

Gwen shook her head. "But if Sarris had come back, we'd have felt that too, wouldn't we?"

Alexander sighed when he realized he looked to Jason for the answer, just as the rest of them did.

"My memory of shooting Sarris at the convention is still there," Jason said, "with no shadow on top of it of him not dying."

Alexander nodded. "Right. Mine, too."

Tommy agreed, whooped, and high-fived Fred.

Guy put his arm around Gwen's shoulders and sniffed. "This is beautiful. Truly, I am so moved right now."

Alexander merely glared at Jason. Jason smiled back at him, which made it worse.

Since they'd returned from the Thermian ship, things had been different between them--things had been different for all of them, each in his or her own way. But though things were different, Alexander was still who he was. He still had a character to play, a role to perform. If he didn't break out into a rant about things like the frequency with which Jason removed his shirt on camera, things would be too different. Things would be uncomfortable.

Now, however, he could insult Jason's acting ability, complain about his lines (though never again about that one particular line) and bemoan his stage career, and smile back at Jason's wink once his tirade was exhausted. Not today, though. While he might have been amused at their argument on any other day, now he was having too hard a time holding himself in. If he let his guard down for even a moment, he'd display genuine emotion at the idea that Quellek was alive. He didn't want to do that in front of everyone. So to avoid that, he stayed angry.

**

Quellek was alive. He couldn't believe it, yet he knew it was true. Somehow the Thermians had undone the deaths caused by Sarris and his warriors. Their deaths were undone . . . yes, that was better than reborn, but he would only ever admit that to himself.

He didn't know what it all meant, how it was possible, only that it was. Knowing Quellek was alive made everything easier. But he still ached for the chance to undo the rest, or make up for it. Anything.

Alexander didn't answer the phone. But when he heard the message, he left immediately. Within seconds he was back. He fingered the bony ridges on his Dr. Lazarus prosthetic cap, and took the time to put it on properly.

In the end, Mathesar had thought Jason's claim that they were pretending had been a lie to fool Sarris. And maybe he never had figured out the truth. The day would come, he supposed, when they would have to explain who they really were and make Mathesar and the rest believe it. But until then, they only knew him as Dr. Lazarus from "Tev'Mek." He said the words aloud, and rushed to Jason's.

**

As he'd hoped, Quellek was there. When the boy saw him, he saluted in the Thermian way and beamed. Alexander saluted back, with only the slightest smile on his face.

Acting, he thought. I'm an actor. I can do this.

Five minutes into Quellek's breathless explanation of the new Omega device, Alexander grabbed him, hugged him and said, "I'm genuinely happy to see you."

Quellek hugged him back, a bit awkwardly at first, and then quick learner that he was he returned it fully. Alexander merely listened to him talking, always with a smile, about the Omega 13, about Sarris, all that had happened before his death, and about the new Omega X that the Thermians designed under Mathesar's direction to right the wrongs committed against them by Sarris.

Then Mathesar explained the device to all of them. Unlike the Omega 13 that would loop back to 13 seconds ago, the Omega X could be used selectively, to undo parts of the recent past. And the Thermians had used it to bring back their dead from the battle with Sarris. Apparently, they'd managed to undo the moments of death for each of them without altering anything that came after.

When Mathesar had explained everything, he finished by saying, "Never give upnnnnnnnever surrender."

Jason proposed a toast. "That's right, Mathesar. Never give up, never surrender. Not even after you're dead. Now that's persistence for you."

Alexander was sure that whatever they had done would someday prove to have been a mistake and cause some sort of cataclysmic universal devastation having to do with alternate realities or anti-matter or some such sci-fi nonsense. But he couldn't bring himself to care. Quellek was alive.

And now, Quellek asked to see his home.

"My . . . home?" Alexander said. Surely they had to reveal the truth at some point. He had a feeling that with all the Thermians had been through, they could take it. They were childlike, but all children have to grow up.

It had been easy enough for Quellek to get permission to stay, for at least a while. Mathesar explained to Alexander that Quellek had spoken of little but "how . . . you . . . avenged him." Apparently, those who were lost and now brought back had memories much like a double-exposed photograph, too. So Quellek remembered Alexander's reaction after he died. How he'd attacked the shooter, and then gone on punching, kicking, chopping, headbutting and yes, even biting, his way through the rest of them. The pain of Quellek's death had fueled that, but he didn't tell the boy how his rage at himself for having treated him so kept him going, too.

After Alexander showed Quellek his apartment, which seemed to baffle Quellek more than anything, he tried to explain it all as gently as possible. When he took a deep breath and removed the skull cap that made him look like a native of Tev'Mek, Quellek shouted and shot up from his chair.

Alexander put a calming hand on his shoulder. "I know it looks like I've just peeled myself, but it's all right. This is how I really look."

Quellek reached up and touched Alexander's hair. "Soft," he said.

"Is it?"

Quellek took a step forward, and Alexander dropped his head and looked to the floor. He put his hand over Quellek's that still touched his hair and lowered it to the boy's side. "Let me show you where you can sleep. We'll talk more in the morning."

He let Quellek have his bed, and instead of having to explain why he didn't sleep on spikes as Quellek believed Dr. Lazarus did, he merely said that sometimes he liked to switch off to keep things interesting. That seemed to satisfy the boy.

He slept on the couch, and wondered if he'd really seen what he'd imagined in Quellek's expression. He thought for a moment that Quellek was going to kiss him. Surely not. But it was clear that his hero worship had only deepened after "seeing" Alexander avenge him. It seemed less like hero worship now than actual, well, something else.

"Infatuation," he said to himself. "That's all it is. Go to sleep you old, dramatic fool."

When Quellek emerged from the bedroom the next morning, he approached Alexander, saluted him, and gave him a hearty hug like he'd learned the night before. "I am genuinely happy to see you," Quellek said. Alexander laughed and hugged him back.

During lunch, Fred and Laliari sat across from Alexander and Quellek. Fred said something about a Thermian family reunion, and as she often did, Laliari kissed him on the cheek. Alexander played his role. "You can always try Sea World if you want to adopt."

Fred laughed, because Fred always laughed, no matter what you said to him. And then Quellek kissed Alexander on the cheek, just as Laliari had done to Fred. Only then did Alexander realize that his ire with the two of them probably sprang more from jealousy than anything else. They were so affectionate with one another, and he'd walked into a room more than once when they clearly expected no one to walk into the room.

"Of all the sights to take to my grave," he'd ranted, "the sight of the two of you . . . interlocking doesn't top my list."

He'd never really caught them doing anything too intimate, but it made him bristle even to see them hold hands or kiss, most of the time. Now, he thought he knew why. Quellek had been openly affectionate with him. Though not physical at the time, the affection was still obvious.

And like everyone else who had been affectionate with him, Alexander could never handle it being open, where others could see. It hadn't been quite as bad in his theater days. People assumed that most men who donned tights and stage makeup were gay anyway, so there was little stigma. It had been when he joined Galaxy Quest that he was so suddenly aware of everyone watching, and taking notes. And for all the disdain he displayed toward fans of the show and pop culture in general, he'd cared what they thought. He didn't want to be criticized, or disapproved of, despite his bravado. And he knew that so many would.

He'd rarely had relationships that lasted longer than a few months after that, and he couldn't blame his former lovers for moving on. Who wanted to feel loved only when they were in private, and rarely even earn a loving smile from his partner in public?

That was a great deal of his resentment with the show, he knew it. More than that stupid line, or playing second fiddle to Jason's bare chest and Gwen's barely restrained breasts. What it did to his private life was ultimately what made him hate it. And it had been entirely his fault for caring. For wanting his fame.

Even if he'd met someone like Quellek under ideal circumstances now, he was a creature of habit. So it was only natural that Alexander had initially disregarded the affection Quellek had shown him on the ship. He'd wasted it, and then realized he wanted it back. Laliari and Fred had what he could never have, not even in private now, because Quellek was dead.

No. Quellek had been dead. Now he was alive, sitting next to him, looking at him with those big eyes and that too-sweet smile. A smile that was starting to finally push out everything else, and make the rest less significant. He looked at Quellek for a long time, smiling back, amazed that there was no awkwardness in doing so. And he really came this close to saying to hell with it all, and kissing him right then and there. This close.

Finally, Fred tapped the table and smiled at Alexander. "It's obvious, you know. It is. Just . . . go with it. The squiggly . . . " he grabbed his wrist and wobbled his hand back forth, " . . . you know, you get used to it."

**

The writers, at Jason's urging, had thrown in a few lines about a brother Laliari hadn't seen since before they'd found her all alone hustling for beryllium on a dusty little planet in Parsec 5, so Quellek remained on the set. He'd taken to it quickly, which encouraged Alexander. Maybe it would be easier for him to understand the concept of what they were doing, now that he was experiencing it. Laliari had finally understood in at least some small way, and she had no less affection for Fred or any of them because of it.

They'd been back on set for about half an hour, and Alexander noticed Gwen smiling at him oddly between takes. No, not just smiling, smiling and nodding every time he caught her eye. He grimaced at her, wondering what had gotten into her knickers.

Then he heard Guy saying, "I don't even--another one? That's just wrong." He turned to see Fred talking to him. Laliari smiled and waved.

Alexander spun to see Tommy grinning and giving him a thumbs up. He gasped and turned back to his science console, refusing to even look at Jason. He could only imagine what Jason might be doing. Probably dry humping the command chair and wiggling his eyebrows.

They continued filming, with Alexander not even looking at Jason when it was called for in the script. He looked at his nose, or his chin, or that spot between his eyes where Alexander thought he really should consider tweezing lest he start to sport a Neanderthal-like unibrow.

Later, as he and Quellek were leaving, he had to push the boy's hand down when he reached up to touch Alexander's hair again, fascinated.

"Alexander! Wait a minute," Jason called from behind him.

Alexander stopped, let his head fall to the side, and rolled his eyes. At least he'd managed to avoid this most of the afternoon, he thought. When Jason reached him, Alexander looked at him expectantly.

"It wouldn't be a problem for them to write Quellek into the show, you know."

Alexander stared at him, waiting for the punch line. He came close to filling some in for him. But then Jason clapped his shoulder, smiled--genuinely smiled--and said, "Be happy, okay?" And then he saluted Quellek, who saluted back, and he turned to walk away.

"Why . . . thank you, Jason," he said, stunned by the man's sincerity. But before Jason got too far away, Alexander got a hold of himself. "And--and it's reborn, you talentless hack!"

Jason returned Alexander's smile. "Today, old friend, I'll give you that."

Later, once they were back at Alexander's apartment, they'd barely gotten in and hadn't even sat down, but Quellek seemed about to burst. "It is all right, then?"

"What?"

"That I . . . kissed your cheek? To behave like Laliari, that is . . . agreeable to you?" He tentatively covered Alexander's hand with his own and then cradled it in both his hands, a gesture Fred and Laliari often shared.

Alexander looked at Quellek for a long time, trying to come up with something more impressive than "oh, yes." Quellek apparently took his hesitation for displeasure and pulled his hands away. That forced Alexander out of his stupor.

"No, don't do that," he said, as he recaptured Quellek's hand and pulled it to his chest. "It is agreeable, Quellek, I promise you."

Quellek still looked uncertain. Alexander knew just how to banish that uncertainty.

"By Grabthar's Hammer, by the suns of Warvan, Quellek, it is agreeable to me."

Quellek beamed.

"More than agreeable," he stressed. Then he leaned forward and kissed the boy. Alexander intentionally kept it simple and almost chaste, but Quellek opened his mouth against the kiss, surprising him. He enjoyed it for a moment, then pulled back with his eyebrows raised.

"Laliari explained some things to me, Dr. Lazarus," he said, then he kissed Alexander again.

Alexander groaned and stepped back, squinting. He put his hand on his forehead and plopped down, letting his head loll against the back of the couch.

Quellek was immediately at his side. "Doctor? Are you all right? Did I do something wrong?"

"God, no," Alexander said, and took one of Quellek's hand in his, pulling it back to his chest again. "You've . . . you're perfect, it's not you. I'm just waiting for another pop in my brain to reveal that I'm in a coma or padded room and all this has been nothing more than a fevered delusion."

"I--I don't understand. But, did you say . . . perfect? You are perfect, Dr. Lazarus, not me. I have so many things I need to improve--"

"No, Quellek, trust me, to me you're perfect. But, will you please call me Alexander? That's my real name, my name when I'm . . . away from Galaxy Quest. Alexander Dane."

Quellek tilted his head a little. "Alexander," he said, as if trying it out. "Alexander Dane. I like that. But I don't understand. You have many things to teach me, Dr. Laz--Alexander."

"Yes, I know. Many things."

Alexander realized that Quellek was very much more like a man than a boy after all, when Quellek leaned over and kissed him, pressing their bodies close.

"Say it for me," Alexander said.

Quellek merely looked at him, confused.

"You know what I mean." Alexander took his hands and sat up straight. "I stopped you before, and I shouldn't have. I was a right bastard to you, and you didn't deserve that. So please, I want to hear you say it. By Grabthar's Hammer . . . ."

Quellek straightened and squeezed Alexander's hands. "By Grabthar's Hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be . . . avenged." Then he gave Alexander one of those bright smiles and in that moment, Alexander wished he had someone to become angry at to avoid the sappy thought he couldn't help, that his heart had been reborn. Or more accurately, he thought, its death had been undone.

"No one has ever said it better." Alexander pulled Quellek to him for a kiss. "I love that line."