She started kicking the moment he mentioned the micro brand. Not entirely quelled by her beating, it seemed. Rha'han guessed he couldn't really blame her. Most people thought of strike branding whenever they mentioned it. Most races considered the Lo'Rahni practice of branding to be barbaric. Rha'han thought it was a wonderful tradition. More permanent than paper or electronic records. Ownership and relation were more easily proven. It could be damned inconvenient though.
He clearly wasn't the only one who had seen the value in this Terran woman. Otherwise the seal of his father's house would not be on the back of her neck. He had planned to wait until they reached the citadel, but the brand complicated things. He had to claim her quickly, before anyone else became aware of the brand and gave her to someone a bit more prominent than a bastard soldier. He had no doubt if he procrastinated that they would do just that, if only out of spite.
He sat her down on the exam table, her thick black braid slapping the small of her back. She winced as her ass met the table. He smiled slightly. She was small, like most Terran women he'd seen. Her head didn't quite reach his chest when she stood in front of him. She had deep olive complexion, only a few shades lighter than his own, and without the golden shimmer. Her eyes were mesmerizing, a whole swath of colors, blue, rimmed with green, with flecks of gold. If she had any hint of horns, he might have thought her part Lo'Rahni. But he knew Terrans came in an astounding array of colors.
"What's going on, Captain?" Dai'ir said, walking into the room, drying his hands with a cloth.
"I need to brand her."
Dai'ir looked at the woman and back to him. "In a hurry, sir?"
He turned her and lifted her hair away from her neck. "It's a matter of some urgency."
The doctor frowned. "That's an adoption brand."
Rha'han rolled his eyes. "I'm fully aware, thank you."
"How'd she get it?"
"She claims she spent a year on a Lo'Rahni ship as a child. If she spent a year on one of our ships and was never on Lo'Rah, then it had to be the ambassador's ship."
Dai'ir sighed. "I see your conundrum."
"I'm right fucking here, you know." They looked down at the girl, who had a thoroughly displeased expression on her face.
Dai'ir smirked. "Restrain her. I'll collect the materials."
The girl bolted off the chair and ran toward the door. Rha'han snatched her around the waist, taking her seat, and settling her in his lap. He held her waist firmly with one set of hands and restrained her wrists with the other. She squirmed on his lap, struggling to get free of him. He gritted his teeth against it, feeling himself lengthen beneath her.
"I suggest you stop that blasted wriggling, little girl, or I might not be able to control myself," he growled into her ear. She stiffened, but stilled, thankfully.
Dai'ir returned with a tray of instruments, including syringe, a vial of anesthetic, and a branding tool. He took a scanner from his pocket and ran it over the medical bracelet on Selena's wrist.
"Oh, nice. It's already translated into Klotharan," Dai'ir said, perusing the information with interest. "Selena Fouad. Home station: Centauri Prime. Species: Terran. Primary Occupation: Interpreter. Blood Type: O+. No known allergies. Height: 157 centimeters. Weight: 72.6 kilograms. No prior surgeries or history of medical conditions. Good. This shouldn't be an issue then."
The doctor took a seat to the side of them. "Remove her shirt, please."
Selena started struggling again, cursing under her breath. Rha'han lifted the hem of her shirt, slipping it off of her with relative ease. She was bare beneath, her modest breasts unhindered by the typical support garments. She turned her head away from them both, her eyes glimmering with rage. Dai'ir wiped the skin above her right breast with antiseptic, and applied a topical anesthetic before applying the local with the syringe.
He clucked his tongue. "Calm down. You won't feel a thing."
She growled. "The prospect of pain so isn't the point."
Rha'han raised his eyebrows. Hissing and growling? Maybe she wasn't only Terran after all. She stilled as he pressed the branding tool to her flesh, glaring at the doctor as he carefully burned the characters of Rha'han's name in Klotharan script into her skin. Dai'ir had an impeccable hand. The characters were delicate and beautiful, appropriately feminine for a beautiful mate. He smoothed a bit of ointment over the fresh brand and covered it with a bandage.
The doctor stood, setting aside a small jar of ointment and fresh bandages. "Apply the ointment and change the bandage every six hours and it should be ready for display in two days. I'm sure you can delay the debriefing for that long."
Rha'han released the wrists of his new mate. "Excellent. No one can contest who she belongs to now."
"I think I'll manage it." Selena shoved off of his lap, yanking her shirt from the floor and roughly pulling it back down to cover her lovely breasts.
Rha'han stood up, taking her chin gently into his fingers. "You won't find anyone on this planet who will side with you on that issue...at least, not anyone with any sort of clout. You might as well get used to me." He endeavored for a kind expression, but her colorful eyes continued glaring daggers into his soul. She wrenched her head from his hand, stepping back from him.
"Going somewhere?" He said, amused.
Her nostrils flared. "No. Unfortunately, I'm stuck on this ship with you."
Rha'han laughed. "You're stuck with me regardless. Come." he commanded, striding toward the door. "You'll spend the remainder of the trip in my cabin. It shouldn't take more than a few hours to reach the citadel."