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Macon & Alosa 2

Chapter One

“Macon.” Alosa said as she stood behind him while he piloted his ship. “Macon.” She touched his shoulder and he blinked, looking up at her.

“Sorry, is everything alright?”

“Where are we going? We changed course, I could feel it.”

“A planet pinged on my radar and I wanted to check it out. I should have asked first, sorry.” read more

Alastor & Cyrino 3

Chapter One

Alastor hummed as he walked back from the village below his and Cyrino’s home, bringing back the food he had bought for dinner. Cyrino’s most recent job had been tough, having to save the life of a small child. Alastor had hated having to help the families oldest child hold their parents back. He wanted to do something for him. He was so focused on Cyrino, that he nearly ran straight into the demon that had appeared in the road. His heart stuttered and he jumped back. “Um, excuse me.” He looked the demon over, seeing he closely resembled Cyrino. read more

Lievon & Amara

Chapter One

Lievon stood outside the all to familiar castle, his heart hammering in his chest, a knot forming in his throat. He couldn’t even remember how long it had been since he had been here last, but he remembered the day he had been cast out. His betrayal of his friend still twisted in his heart and he knew he had no right to be here, but he needed Chthon’s help. He forced himself to walk up to the front door and bang on it. He wasn’t expecting the beautiful young woman who answered, but he could see both Ruth and Chthon in her. read more

Ruby & Noxx 2

Chapter One

Noxx woke from his nap to the sound of his phone going off and he sat up from where he was resting in the grass and fished it out of his pocket. His heart jumped when he saw Ruby’s name. He quickly answered, worried she had had a panic attack or nightmare. He was generally pretty vigilant when it came to her. “Is everything alright?” He asked as he got up. read more

Antia & Andrej 2

Chapter One

“Do you think they had trouble on the road?” Antia asked as she and Andrej waited at the front door of their home for her brothers.

“I’m sure they’re fine my love.” Andrej couldn’t help but chuckle at how excited and worried she was. He could feel it. He pulled her into him and tipped her head back, adoring the blush that tinted her cheeks. “They’re grown men and I am sure capable.” read more

Diya & Romanus 2

Chapter One

He was tired, especially after tonight, after he had found something far worse than he had imagined. The lamp in the living room switching on startled him and he was surprised to see Diya yawning and rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “Diya?”

“You’re home.” She gave him a sleepy smile. She stood, stretching. “Are you hungry?”

“Why are you sleeping on the couch?” He asked. Had something happened?

“Hmm? Oh, just waiting up for you. I was worried.”

“Oh.”

She stopped in front of him, studying his face. “It was a hard one, wasn’t it? Harder than usual I mean.” He nodded. How could she tell? “Could I give you a hug?”

“I…I think I should shower first.”

“Alright, I’ll get you something to eat.”

“I don’t think I can eat. I will later, just not right now. Maybe we could watch something, if you’re not too tired.”

“Of course.”

Diya hated seeing such a distressed look on his face, like he was reliving everything he had ever been subjected to and she wished she knew what to say. She went into the living room and switched the TV on then clicked on Netflix. She went through the comedy section, wanting to find something to help calm him down.

Romanus wanted to hurry to Diya, to her warmth but he couldn’t do anything at first but stand under the hot spray of water. Sometimes when cases ended up this horrible he was tempted to quit, especially now that he had such a wonderful life with Diya and her now seven year old daughter. He wanted to drown himself in their warmth and forget his childhood ever happened to him. He wanted to forget such horrendous things were still going on in the worlds but he couldn’t. He remembered all too well what it felt like to be one of those helpless children, scared and willing to do anything to make them stop. He had to save them, he had to save as many children as he possibly could.

One of the best things to him about Diya was that she understood his need to do this and she was always here, ready to comfort him when he needed it. Finally his desire to be out there with her got him moving. He washed himself thoroughly, dried and put on something comfortable. Diya had settled on a movie and had made them both hot tea, knowing it helped. He sat down, taking a long swig of it before thanking her. “It’s no trouble Romanus. What else can I do for you? Want to lay your head in my lap while we watch the movie and I can rub your back?”

“Honestly…I think I feel like having you in my lap and just clinging to you”

“Okay” she crawled into his lap and he wrapped his arms tightly around her, kissing her shoulder “thank you” She had told him countless times he didn’t need to thank her so much so she just relaxed into him and pressed play on their movie.

Between the movie and Diya, he was able let go of some of the tension in his body. He never realized just how much he was holding until he was with her. “Feeling any better?” She asked as she ran her fingers through his hair.

“Yeah, thanks to you.”

She let out a soft laugh, her breath tickling over his skin. “I’m not doing anything.”

“You’re doing everything. Just being near you makes me feel better. I don’t know what I’d do without you and Melody.” He moved his head so he could press his forehead into her neck. “You’ve been such a gift, both of you have.”

“We wouldn’t trade you for the world, Romanus.” She kiss the top of his head. “I know you don’t like to, but why don’t you take a short break. It’s the weekend so Melody doesn’t have to go to school. We could all go somewhere.”

He took in her scent then breathed out “I think I really need one. Besides, you two are always so patient with how busy I am. You deserve my full attention for at least the weekend”

“You do plenty with us”

“where would you like to take her?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t think that far ahead”

“we could ask her I suppose. I’m happy anywhere as long as I’m with you two”

“are you ready to head to bed then? She gets up early, even on weekends”

“Yeah” he stood, still holding Diya. He carried her to their room and didn’t even take the time to get undressed before settling into bed with her. She didn’t mind, she preferred pajamas but she knew he had dealt with something absolutely stomach churning tonight and she was willing to do whatever he needed to heal from it. They both fell asleep fast and woke to an excited little girl “Mom! Dad! I’m hungry! Can I help you make pancakes mom?” Sleepily her mother answered “sure baby”

Romanus couldn’t help but actually feel whole and normal in these moments with Diya and Melody. He felt love and affection warm him as he followed them and still found it hard to believe how lucky he was. “I’ll make coffee.” He said as they started pulling things out of the pantry and fridge. “Orange juice for the princess?” He asked and Melody giggled.

“Yes please.”

“So what do you think baby? Chocolate chips or blueberries?”

“Can we do both?”

“Sounds perfect.”

Once Romanus had the coffee started and had a glass of juice on the table for Melody, he stepped up behind Diya and wrapped his arms around her. “I love you.” He said and pressed a kiss to her temple.

“I love you too.” She turned just enough to kiss his cheek then went back to helping make batter. “So, Melody, daddy and I want to take you out somewhere this weekend, do you have anywhere you’d like to go or something you’d really like to do?”

“I don’t know”

“Think about it over breakfast.” Romanus said and Melody nodded. Their seven year old happily made breakfast with her mother as she thought about something for them all to do. Meanwhile Romanus just enjoyed watching them, the only beings who had ever brought true happiness into his life. The two made far too many pancakes but Melody liked to have them as snacks anyway. They’d just put the leftover ones in a ziplock in the fridge. They were just eating and talking when Melody said “could we go to a beach?”

“I know the perfect one” Melody squeaked with excitement “when can we go?”

“Lets eat and then we can make a bag of things we will need” Melody began to eat just a little quicker causing her mother to laugh before she said “well we might have to stop by a store. I don’t know if she has a swim suit that fits her”

“That can just be a part of the fun. We can let her pick one” Romanus responded then Diya spoke again, an idea dawning on her “we can have a picnic there too for lunch. You can help me decide what at the store Melody”

Romanus helped Diya clean up and then gather things for the beach. Diya picked out an outfit for Melody and sent her to her room to get changed. They then went to get ready. He didn’t know why he still found himself getting nervous when they changed together. He knew she wouldn’t hurt him or force him into anything, but his heart still stuttered in his chest and he found himself looking away when she pulled her shirt off. “Romanus?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you need me to change in the bathroom?”

“No, sorry, I want to look, but I feel…guilty I guess.” And scared.

“Romanus, I’m gonna come closer, okay?”

“Okay.”

She moved over, one arm across her chest and gently lifted his head. “You don’t have to rush yourself, I’m not going anywhere, so please don’t worry.”

“Okay, I love you and you’re very beautiful Diya, truly.” She gave him a quick kiss then turned away from him and grabbed clean clothes out of her chest of drawers. He changed quickly and they left the room together, both of them smiling when they saw Melody waiting excitedly on the couch.

“can we go now?”

“Yes baby, we’re all ready”

When they arrived at the store Melody easily picked out a swim suit so picking out stuff for lunch was the only thing that took a lot of time. They ended up settling on different fruits they could keep in the small cooler they bought. “seems like we’re ready” Melody made that excited little noise again, bouncing even as they checked out. Melody put the swim suit on under her clothes in the store bathroom since there may not be a place to change at the beach Romanus was taking them to. They didn’t ask if it was in their world or another, both loving surprises.

There was one place Romanus had found after he had escaped from his father and the depraved people who had used him. It had been one of the most peaceful moments of his life until he met Diya and Melody. It was actually connected to the vortex near the actual beach and was the reason why reality sometimes seemed distorted there to the regular human. Melody gave a little squeal of delight when she saw the water, but looked at them in confusion when Romanus kept driving. “We’re not going here?” She asked.

“We’re going somewhere better.” Romanus said. “Somewhere kind of special to me.”

Diya reached over and grabbed his hand when she saw the look on his face. She could always tell when he was thinking of his childhood. Even if there had been any sort of good memory after what had happened, it always came back to his childhood. “What’s it like?” She asked.

“It’s peaceful and beautiful.” He turned onto a side road and pulled over after a few more minutes. They all got out, grabbing things and he lead them over to the center of the vortex.

He picked them both up, not wanting to risk anything happening to them as they went through. He carried them out onto the sand then carefully put them down. The two of them were amazed at the beach they were seeing. It was a thousand times prettier here than back in their world. Diya kissed him on the cheek “thank you” he gave her a small smile “I’m happy to have a family to bring here…as a child…I didn’t think I’d ever have happiness” Melody tugged on him “can I run into the water? Is it safe?”

“yes, just dont go as depe as your waste until your mother and I set up the blanket and picnic stuff”

“Yes sir” she said excitedly then ran to the water. Diya started setting things up where they stood, glancing over at her daughter every now and then to make sure she was listening to Romanus. Once their picnic was set Diya said “lets go play with her” He pulled Diya into his arms “just give me a few moments to hold you first” She glanced over at her daughter again then relaxed into the hug, wondering what he must be thinking about.

“Diya?” Romanus finally said.

“Yeah?”

“I’m sorry I’m still so uncomfortable and nervous doing certain things. I don’t deserve your patience.”

“Hush, you have every right to be and you know you didn’t hurt my feelings right?”

“I know, it’s just…I mean what if you want another child or something.”

Diya pulled back enough to see his face. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but right now you need to just take your time. It just makes me happy hearing you say you might even want to try.” She gave him a kiss. “You’re making really good progress, you really are, so don’t rush. I’m perfectly happy.”

“I just want to give you everything, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to.”

“You’ve given me more than you know, you saved Melody and you’ve been so amazing to us. I love you, so don’t worry.”

“Okay.”

Diya looked back at Melody. “She looks so happy and that’s all thanks to you, baby.”

 

Chapter Two

She could see how much emotion that stirred up in him “lets go play with her” She gave Romanus another kiss and the two got up to play with Melody “Yes!” she said excitedly, instantly starting to go deeper. Diya laughed, seeing how eager her daughter had been. She went under and Diya instantly noticed how worried Romanus looked. When she popped back up Melody splashed him, he looked surprised a moment then she encouraged with a giggle “come on dad” He splashed back, taking awhile to really give her a good one. It was always sweet and sad to see him interact with her.

It showed all the time he hadn’t had any sort of a normal childhood. While playing at one point Romanus pulled Diya under, holding her against him then coming uip quickly “throw her throw her!” Melody said excitedly. Romanus looked at Diya who giggled “it’s okay” He threw her and Melody laughed. Diya came up laughing as well and Romanus smiled. He wished he could play with them more normally but he was still learning how to play.

They splashed and played until Melody asked for a snack. Romanus made sure she was out safely before following Diya over to their stuff. They sat down together and enjoyed the warm weather as they ate. “We should explore a little.” Diya said. “If that’s okay with you.” She added.

“Alright, but please stay close to me. It’s not really dangerous here, but just in case.” Romanus knew he probably sounded paranoid. “I mean feel free to explore, just don’t got to far.”

“Romanus,” Diya took his hand, “it’s okay.”

“Sorry, I know at some point I’m going to have to learn to let loose, especially as our little Melody gets older.” He didn’t want his little girl to hate him.

She leaned over and kissed his cheek. “You’re an amazing father, she won’t hold it against you.”

“You two never hold anything against me…”

“I cant think of anything we should. We’re happy with you. I mean it” The couple cleaned up their picnic then walked hand in hand as they followed little Melody. He would guide since he knew the area but he wanted them to see everything they wanted to see. Melody gasped as she drew near the water again, going in just to her ankles and collecting the shells that had grabbed her attention “these are so pretty. Can I take them home? Please” Romanus answered “yes, there are many gorgeous shells in that water”

Melody ran over to her mother “will you carry them please?”

“sure baby”

Romanus found himself able to relax near completely as they walked and watched Melody. It wasn’t until he saw his little girl freeze that the tension came back. “Melody, what’s wrong?” He asked as he moved up to stand behind her.

She pointed. “There’s a dog over there.” She said and he followed her gaze.

It wasn’t a dog, but a wolf, and he was surprised she had been able to see it with how well its fur allowed it to blend into the tall grass. He could tell it was young and skinnier than normal. He moved in front of her and it seemed to startle the young wolf who hadn’t noticed him. “Diya, take Melody please.”

Diya gently pulled her daughter closer, watching the wolf. “What does it want?”

“He and I think he’s starving.” Had the wolf been watching Melody because she was the weaker target?

“What should we do?” Diya asked. “Should we feed him?”

Romanus wasn’t so sure, but he couldn’t tell Diya no, not when he knew the creature before them was still a child, twelve at most. “I’ll do it, you two stay back.” They had plenty of snacks so he went through the bag, pulling a couple of granola bars out and and taking their wrappers off. The wolf’s eyes watched the food.

It started to shift and Melody held a little tighter to her mother. They were aware of other beings but Melody had never seen an actual wolf shifter before. The young boy then cautiously came over and took the food. Melody was embarrassed looking at the naked boy so buried her face into her mother. “why are you so thin and why are you alone?” Romanus asked and the boy looked up into Romanus’s eyes, swallowing down his food before saying softly “I’ve been alone as long as I can remember…I just…I just felt like coming to the beach today and then” he looked over at Melody again. He fell silent so Romanus gently grabbed his face, turning it back to him “Please stop staring at my daughter”

“she’s yours?”

“Her mother is my mate now so yes she is mine” The boy looked uncomfortable and Diya said “Romanus, we can’t just leave this boy alone.”

“what do you suggest we do with him?”

“well…our house is plenty big”

Romanus didn’t know how he felt about allowing a stranger into their home, but if he turned the boy away, then it would be a betrayal of everything he had worked for. Not only that, but he knew Diya would be disappointed. He turned his gaze back to the boy who had once again been looking at Melody. “Sorry.” The boy said.

“What’s your name?”

“Tormod.”

“Tormod, do you remember how you came to be alone?”

He shook his head. “I don’t, just that I was running and then it was just me.”

Romanus nodded. “My mate believes that you should come home with us, would you like that?”

Tormod glanced at Melody. “Yes.”

Romanus leaned closer to the boy, hearing his heart skip in his chest. “I am only going to ask you this once child, was it my daughter who brought you here?”

“I…I could smell her and I…I don’t want to hurt her or anything, I just found her scent and followed it from the beach. The wolf…the wolf wanted me to.”

Romanus nodded as he straightened up and released Tormod. “You do know that my mate and daughter are important to me and if anything were to happen to them…”

“I wont hurt them…I promise” the boy seemed harmless and had a healthy fear of him so Romanus decided they could take him home. Besides, he knew about wolves.It sounded as if his daughter might very well be this boys mate. If that ended up being so he knew weather she returned the feelings or not he’d be a protector for her and he still worried about Melody, about another pervert setting his sights on her. Once he got this boy healthy it would be nice to know a wolf was protecting his family and would do so even if it meant his life since he knew how serious wolves were once they found their mate.

“lets go ahead and get home home. I’ll bring you guys back here once he’s healthy” Tormond looked at Melody again “I’ll shift. I’m making her uncomfortable like this”

“alright, first thing we’ll do is get you some clothes for this form” Tormond nodded and shifted back into a wolf, following the family once they began heading back the way they came. Unsurprisingly he ended up by Melodys side but she seemed happy now. Once home Roamus mulled over how he wanted to do this trip. He couldn’t take this boy to the store naked and he couldn’t take a wolf into a store. He also wasn’t so sure he wanted to leave him alone with his family right away despite the fact Romanus was guessing Melody would come to mean to the world to this wolf.

“are you trying to think about what to do when it comes to shopping?”

“Yes”

“I can measure him and look up online what sizes he’ll need. Then you can just go. We’ll be fine alone with him. He’s a kid, a starved child who was just given a home. I don’t feel like he’s going to hurt anybody”

“could you just order him clothes online?”

“same day shipping is expensive but yeah. I really want him to be able to shifts back into a boy when he wants” He was curled up beside Melody who was petting him. Diya whispered “so scary, he totally cant be trusted if you go to the store”

 

Final Chapter

Romanus looked at Tormod and then back at Diya. She was teasing him. He let out a little sigh and she hugged him. “Diya.”

“At least get him a pair of sweats and a shirt. He needs something and it won’t take you long.”

“Alright, alright, I’ll go.” He leaned back and kissed her. “Just, if anything happens, call me.”

“I will, now go, we’ll be fine.”

“Alright.”

Diya got Melody to cover her eyes so Tormod could shift back long enough to be measured. The boy apologized and Diya did he rbest to reassure him it was alright. He shifted back quickly and went back to Melody, which caused Diya to let out a little laugh. She looked up his sizes and then gave them to Romanus so he could get something for him. Romanus left, knowing he shouldn’t be worried, but unable to keep his mind from wandering. Logically, he knew young Tormod was practically harmless. The boy was starved, but after everything he couldn’t help himself. Once he was at the store, he quickly found the right clothing and grabbed them.

He felt relieved when he finally got home and Diya gave him a hug once he was inside. “Sorry.” He said softly.

“Hush, you know it’s okay.” She took the bag from him and went to Tormod. “Here sweetie, why don’t you go put these on.”

He picked up the bag with his mouth and walked off to a room. He wasn’t going to shift infront of Melody any more unless he had to. When he came back he was a boy and seemed to fit perfectly in what Romanus had bought him “thank you”

“whatever you need will be taken care of for now on. You’re a part of this family now. Tormond walked back over to Melody who asked “do you like to color?” he seemed confused a few moments then said “create art?” Diya smiled “sort of, lets go get her coloring books” Diya quickly pulled the box she kept it all in and handed it to Tormod “I have to finish cooking dinner but she’ll show you what she means” He walked back to Melody and set the box down. She grabbed a coloring book then said “you pick one” he just grabbed the top one and she pulled out the crayons. Romanus watched them a few minuets before joining his wife in the kitchen.

“is he taking to coloring?” she asked in an amused tone and he said “he’ll probably take to anything she wants to do with him”

“why’s that?”

“he said his wolf wanted him to come to her. Most likely she’s his mate. You know about wolves right?”

“I don’t know what you mean”

“They are one of the very few beings that know when they’ve found their soulmate. The wolf inside them guides them to whomever they are meant for. I mean I might think the wolf just knew I’d take him in because they have instincts for more than just that but the way he keeps looking at her, I just feel like it’s a mate thing”

“He knows she’s seven right?” a small bit of her momma bear was peeking out. “I wouldn’t have brought him home for a second if I thought he might hurt her. He’ll protect her with his life, honestly if he does anything that hurts her it’ll crush him. Their mates are everything to them. He’ll protect her, always. I’m going to stay home awhile to be absolutely sure about him but if I’m right I’ll feel a lot better with him here to protect you two”

“is it going to be a problem though when she’s older? I mean, will he become aggressive about it?”

“No, like I said, the only thing at risk with those two if she’s his mate is her breaking his heart. He wouldn’t hurt her or anybody she loves”

“I’m really happy you’re taking a break with us” he could tell any concerns were eased. He could understand how that chat at first could be alarming since he was in his early teens and their daughter hadn’t even made it to double digits yet.

He set the table for her while she cooked, then looked in on Melody and Tormod. They were still coloring, Tormod going much slower than Melody and focusing much harder. He went back to Diya and wrapped his arms around her and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “What should we do for the rest of the weekend?”

“Get Tormod completely settled in, help him get used to living a normal life.”

“Normal, I wish I could truly give you all that.”

“You do just fine.”

“I’m sure Tormod can smell death on me, he’ll want to know why at some point.”

“Tell him when you’re ready, I’m sure he’ll understand.” She let out a little laugh as she switched off the stove. “Looks like we don’t have to worry about having a baby.”

“Diya.” She turned in his arms, smiling up at him. “I do want to give you children, I…I love you.”

“It’s okay, really and I love you too.”

He tucked some hair behind her ear “I…we should try…to at least have sex”

“but are you ready for that because I dont care. I’m happy to never have sex if you find you can’t”

“lets try tonight okay”

“Please don’t do this just for me”

“I want to, I want to experience what enjoyable…consensual sex is like”

“alright but we’re taking it slow and you need to tell me right away if you’re getting scared or uncomfortable” He held her tightly to him a few moments, both nervous and eager for the evening. They served the food then called Melody and Tormod in. They both came quickly, Melody holding a picture for each of her parents “thank you honey” Melody sat down in her normal spot, cheerful as ever and Tormod joined her. His eyes widened a bit when he saw all the food on the table and Diya felt bad for him all over again “try to take it slow Tormod” He nodded but seemed to struggle with actually following through with it as he ate.

Tormod let out a little whine after dinner and Diya realized his stomach hurt. “I’m sorry.” He said.

“It’s okay honey, but next time try to eat slow, okay? You’ll never have to go without and no one is going to take your food from you.”

“Okay.”

She patted his back. “Let’s get you to your room.” He looked back at Melody, who was taking her plate to the sink, not wanting to leave her. “Tormod, how about we give you the room next to Melody’s.”

“Really?” She could see him light up at the thought.

“Of course, that way, you know where she is.”

“Alright.”

Romanus sent Melody off to follow them and started cleaning up. As he rinsed dishes and stuck them in the dishwasher, he began to over think things. What if he hurt Diya? What if he got scared? She said it was okay, but was it? He hated he was so scared, it was ridiculous when it was Diya. He heard a cracking sound and looked down to see he had squeezed one of their glasses too hard. He took a deep breath, sighed, then threw it away.

She was still reading to Melody when he was done in the kitchen but he had heard her read this one before and knew it was nearly over so he leaned against the wall and listened. When Diya came out she smiled up at him, easing some of his nerves. She took his hand and guided him into their bedroom. Diya shut then locked the door before saying softly “theres no expectation of you Romanus. We’ll do what you can handle tonight, thats it. You can even still back out if you need to”

“I want to try”

“How do you want to start? You can undress me or I can undress myself” Roamnus nervously answered “I’m too nervous to be able to undress you…could you do it slowly”

“mhm” She took off her shirt first, happy when he didn’t turn away from her as he often did. She then took off her pants, now standing in just her bra and underwear “everything Roamnus or do you maybe want to touch me like this first” Saying Roamnus was traumatized from being a constant sex toy in his childhood was an understatement so Diya felt she needed to be incredibly careful about this, especially since this was their first attempt at doing anything sexual.

It took him awhile but he managed to finally actually touch her bare skin. He tuned his senses into her, feeling a bit of emotion tug at his heart that she obviously like him touching her. He knew she wanted him, logically anyway. All he had known this far was rapists and it made all this hard emotionally. He was mostly touching her arms, back and stomach, seeming careful to avoid her breasts so she tried to help him “Roamnus, you can touch me anywhere” He blushed, seeming a little shaky as he slowly moved his hands to her breasts. She smiled at him, her expression filled with so much love and patience he had to take a moment to hold her against him which she still viewed as progress. He was actually holding her while she was nearly naked. She wondered for a moment if he realized that.

“Are you okay?” She asked softly as she rubbed his back.

“Yeah, sorry, I just…”

“It’s alright.” He pulled back and she gently pulled him down to kiss him, her fingers running through his hair and over his neck to help calm him. “Would you like me to take my bra and underwear off?”

“I…” he took a deep breath to steady himself, “yes.”

She moved back enough to remove them, going slow, watching him as he watched her. He was scared and worried, but he wasn’t turning away. He reached out to her and she stepped into him, letting out a breathy moan when his hands moved over her. “Romanus.” She slid her arms around his neck and he pressed his lips into hers, parting them so he could deepen the kiss.

His hands slid over her warm skin, his fingers moving up her spine, causing her to shiver. He was surprised to feel desire tingling over him, slowly filling him. He wanted to be brave and made himself back her onto the bed. He pulled back and she smiled up at him, so loving and trusting, so patient as she waited for him. “You’re so beautiful.” He whispered, his voice shaking a little.

“and you’re so handsome Romanus. I love you” His heart trembled again and he kissed her. Diya tried not to look as surprised as she was when he began taking off his own clothes, worried surprise might be mistranslated by him right now and he was doing far better than she had expected this evening. They were skin to skin and while they were now not doing anything this progress meant the world to her. Not because she wanted sex, she did but what mattered to her was what this meant for him as far as healing went. On top of that she knew how much trust it took for him to be naked and exposed like this. He didn’t end up being able to do more that evening but he took her under the covers and held her skin to skin all night.

~ The End ~

 

Paimon & Pellegrino

Chapter One

“Paimon, come on we should have left already.” Pellegrino said as he walked into the room Paimon was using at the castle. “What’s taking…” he froze, his heart jumping in his chest when he saw Paimon standing there naked, drying his hair. Paimon’s eyes collided with his and he swallowed. “I…sorry, I should have knocked, I…” He turned around to leave and Paimon was suddenly standing there, closing the door, the towel wrapped around his waist.

“Well hello to you too Pellegrino.” Paimon’s eyes twinkled with his trademark amusement. “Can I help you?”

“Uh, our trip…I just came to get you.” He hadn’t expected him to be completely naked. He often walked into Paimon’s house without knocking.

“Oh that’s right.” He chuckled. “I’m afraid I slept in. If you’ll just give me a moment to get dressed.”

“Of course, sorry.”

Paimon chuckled again, not seeming bothered in the slightest that Pellegrino had seen him naked. Paimon was confident in his body and if anybody was going to see him naked he wanted it to be the prince. Paimon dressed slowly, a wide smile on his face as he enjoyed teasing the very nervous Pellegrino. Once dressed he hugged Pellegrino from behind and whispered in his ear “I’m ready now” chuckling again at how he reacted. Paimon let his body go but took the prince’s hand and tugged him out. Pellegrino was once again left not knowing what to do. Paimon was a lot to be around but he enjoyed every second of it.

Paimon took a detour to the kitchen where he grabbed a bag he had packed the night before with snacks for the road. He wasn’t particularly worried about supplies, confident in his ability to easily provide for them. “ How long are we going to be gone?” Pellegrino asked.

“A few days. Why, are you scared to be alone with me? Afraid I might bite?” He chuckled at the prince’s stuttering heart. He truly did love teasing him, especially since he was so innocent.

“No, never.”

“Don’t worry, I promise to make every moment incredibly enjoyable my sweet prince.”

Paimon kept possession of prince Pellegrino’s hand even as they left the castle, wanting him to stay close. He knew the prince liked it anyway. He was often tempted to tell the prince that the feeling was mutual but Paimon enjoyed this phase far too much. They had forever so what did it matter how long they were here. Eventually the prince would admit their feelings and they’d still have eternity together. Right now, things were adorable but a part of him did hope maybe this trip would be what got Pellegrino to admit he wanted to be in a relationship with him.

“What are we going to be doing exactly?” Pellegrino asked.

“It’s a surprise my prince, or perhaps you’d like me to spoil it for you?”

“No, well maybe a hint?”

“Hmmm.” Paimon tapped his chin. “It’s fun and interesting and you get me all to yourself.” He teased and Pellegrino’s cheeks flushed. “It’ll just be you and me.”

“Oh, I see.”

“There’s going to be hot springs.”

“Really?”

“Mmhmm and you’ll love it there, I promise.”

“I’m surprised you’re not dragging me off to mess with someone.” Pellegrino said with a nervous chuckle.

“I’m not all tricks, my prince, sometimes I like to unwind and be “normal” for awhile.”

“so did anything keep you up last night?”

“Not really, It was just one of those nights I fell asleep particularly hard” Pellegrino didn’t say anything back so Paimon asked “what have you done this morning?”

“talked to some friends who stopped me on the way to your home”

“Oh, which friends?”

“Míos, Enfulid and Enfulid’s most recent fling.”

“He never does stay with anyone more than a few months. Were they just saying goodbye?”

“Mostly, Mios also decided to bring up again why we don’t just teleport where we are going.”

“Part of the fun is traveling there”

“That’s what I told him. He said if he had that ability its all he would do”

“That’s what you think but its not as fun when you’ve been able to do it all your life”

“Says the guy who likes to sneak up on people, me included, and scare them.”

“I prefer the term surprise and don’t pretend you don’t enjoy it.”

“I admit life would be boring without you.”

“True, I’m pretty amazing.”

“You are, I mean it.” He felt embarrassed so he cleared his throat and focused on the road ahead. Even so, he could see Paimon smiling out of the corner of his eye. It wasn’t fair how beautiful he was, how easily he wrapped people around his little finger. He had been captivated from the moment they had met.

Paimon couldn’t get over how sweet Pellegrino was and how adorable he was in his obliviousness. He was so innocent in comparison to himself, he wondered how he would react to being seduced. “Oh, would you mind if we took a little detour? It’s a shortcut, but I think you’ll like it.”

“Okay, whatever you want.”

“Keep saying that and I might just collect.” He winked and then chuckled when he heard Pellegrino’s heart quicken.

They were soon turning where the detour began, walking silently side by side due to the fact Paimon was now hooked into the idea of suddenly seducing him at some point during this journey. He just had to plan how and when. He didn’t mind this phase but the urge to actually mate with him grew stronger and stronger every time they hung out. If he kept just teasing Pellegrino and waiting for him to confess he didn’t know how much longer he was going to have to wait for sex, possibly years and that tipped the scales a little into how much fun it would be to seduce such a sweet, innocent man.

Pellegrino noticed small changes starting to occur as they walked. The grass was growing more vibrant but the trees, once green and full bodied were starting to look more like they belonged to fall weather. He began looking more intently at everything which Paimon noticed “Of course, he’s thinking of nature and I’m thinking about making love to him” he thought to himself.

“What happened here?” He pointed. “There’s snow back there.”

“My theory is a magic user may have been practicing changing the weather and it got out of hand. I call it the Forest of Seasons.”

“It’s magnificent.”

“You’re better.” He gently bumped into him.

“You’re teasing.”

“Am I? I think I’m being incredibly honest. If I had to choose between you and this place, I’d definitely choose you. You’re far to entertaining and pure to pass up.” He teased.

“I’m not pure.”

“Oh? Do tell sweet prince.”

“I…well…” he rubbed the back of his neck, “okay, so maybe I am more pure than I thought.”

Paimon chuckled. “That’s okay, it’s actually quite adorable.” He grinned. “Besides, I have enough experience for both of us.”

“Paimon, come on.” He looked away. “So, tell me more about this place? Are there any animals or anything?”

He really wanted to talk about anything other than Paimons previous exploits with lovers. He knew he meant that in other ways too but it still made him uncomfortable. Paimon easily transitioned over to a new topic, always feeling it was a subject that did nothing but make his mate uncomfortable. He had hoped at first it might interest him but it never so much as slightly peaked his interest though he couldn’t blame him. He knew from experience with others who had slept around just because someone had sex a lot didn’t mean they were good at it. When you get people in bed they don’t get a preview of how good you are so your skill in bed has nothing to do with how many you’ve been with.

He wasn’t sure how that idea even got started. Sometimes having a multitude of partners actually meant you were pretty bad at it, as in, beings weren’t coming back for more after they had you once so you had to bed someone new. “there’s actually an amazing variety of animals this way. Since there are so many seasons a lot can live in different areas of this place”

“Thanks for bringing me this way” Paimon smiled, charming as always “things like this is precisely why I enjoy walking with you instead of teleporting”

“can we stay for the night when we’re about halfway through? I don’t want to rush through here”

“That’s fine with me, just gives us more time together”

Pellegrino wanted to explore the different parts of the forest and Paimon happily followed, even pelting him with a snowball at one point. When Pellegrino went to retaliate, he was suddenly behind him and smashing another over his head. “That’s so unfair.” Pellegrino said with a laugh.

“The look on your face is always priceless though, I can’t help it.” He helped dust Pellegrino off. “Come on, we’ll stay in Spring.”

“Alright.”

He took Pellegrino’s hand again and pulled him through the woods, moving out of the snow to a more warm and vibrant area. He marveled at how brightly colored the plants were and also at the heat radiating from the area. It was like both Spring and Summer had taken up residence here and it was amazing. “This is perfect.”

“There’s no need for a fire when it’s like this.” He dropped his pack in the grass and stretched. “So, what do you think so far? Good trip? Bad?”

“It’s perfect.” Pellegrino sat down and leaned back against a tree. “So, have you come here often?”

“Of course, I love it here, why?”

“No reason.”

Paimon could see the question in his eyes. He was wondering if he had brought anyone else here. “You know, I used to travel alone, mostly following Jarius and making him angry. I spent time with others of course, but I never brought them to my favorite places.” He went and sat down in front of Pellegrino, taking his hand. “You’re the only one.”

He could see how much that meant to Pellegrino, the look he had on his face was so adorable he kissed his forehead. “You hungry?” he asked before Pellegrino could say anything. “It probably would be good to hunt before we’re too hungry” he semi stuttered and Paimon chuckled, come, lets hunt together. Paimon knew the area so Pellegrino followed his lead. They didn’t end up too far before nabbing and quickly killing an animal. They prepared it together, it producing so much they could eat off it for days if they kept it stored properly but Paimon had magic for that.

“Let me cook it, I found this particularly good way to use this meat”

“alright” Pellegrino watched Paimon, always eager to learn.

“How did you get it to taste so good?” Pelligrino asked when they were finally eating. “I watched you and I don’t remember you putting much on there.”

Paimon shrugged. “It’s a secret.”

“Come on, I want to be able to make it too.”

Paimon shook his head. “You’ll just have to visit me as often as possible to eat it. It’s a good excuse to have you over.”

“Alright, fine, I guess I can deal with it.”

“How else am I to entice you over?”

“By asking?”

“But food is an added bonus.”

Pellegrino chuckled. “I’ll give you that.”

They continued to make small talk as they ate, Paimon teasing Pellegrino at every opportunity and Pellegrino unable to hide his embarrassment or the fact he actually enjoyed it. He could see why so many found him charming and even loved him. He couldn’t help but feel a slight stab of jealousy and he hated it. Paimon paid more attention to him than anyone else and he knew he should be happy about it. “You’re making a face my sweet Pellegrino.” Paimon jerked him out of his thoughts. “Want to talk about it?”

“No, I’m fine, thank you for bringing me here and for dinner.”

“Well be prepared to be spoiled the whole time. I have a lot planned for when we get there.”

 

Final Chapter

Pellegrino smiled, snapping out of it. The past didn’t matter, just them, right now mattered. It felt good to know that he was the only one Paimon had brought here. Paimon got Pellegrino blushing again when they laid down for the night. Instead of just laying across from him Paimon pulled Pellegrino into his arms and almost instantly fell asleep, not giving Pellegrino much of a chance to say anything. Pellegrino swallowed down how nervous this made him and allowed himself to slowly drift to sleep. In the morning Paimon had such a smug smile on his face that had Pellegrinos heart racing. “good morning”

“good morning” Pellegrino quickly sat up and Paimon chuckled, happily starting to get breakfast going. Pellegrino still didn’t know what to say about Paimon holding him last night so ended up not mentioning it. He liked it and still couldn’t tell Paimon how he felt so he decided nothing was best unless he was ready to tell him he wanted to be with him.

“Do you think we’ll get to where we’re going today?” Pellegrino asked once they were on their way again.

“Tonight, that’s why I went this way. It takes us up and over instead of around.” He took Pellegrino’s hand. “Luckily, because of all this magic, it stays fairly warm on the way up. Are you excited?”

“Very.” And nervous, he thought. Paimon had such a way of throwing him for a loop. He was so forward and absolutely shameless.

Paimon could hear how hard his heart was beating and pulled him a little closer. He took them up at a leisurely pace, not wanting to rush his time with Pellegrino. A warm breeze blew through the forest, kicking up flurries of snow. When they crested the hill, Paimon pointed. “We’re going way over there where that clearing is.” He explained. “See the sun hitting the water?”

“This is amazing.”

“You need to travel more, my prince. I may just have to take you on a new adventure every couple of weeks.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“No, but I want to.”

“alright then, that sounds fun”

“as long as I’m with you I’m doing something I want to do” Paimon always teased but not this way. Was he trying to kill him? His heart going like this couldn’t be healthy. Paimon kept on the entire way, building up to what he was planning to do as soon as they reached their destination. It was amusing in itself that Pellegrino still wasn’t getting it. He was far too innocent and sweet. When they arrived that evening Paimon didn’t even give him time to finish talking about how much he liked this place too. Paimon pulled the prince into a hungry kiss. He couldn’t take it slow, he wanted this too bad and the shock value would be too amusing. Besides, he knew for a fact Pellegrino did want him.

Pellegrino was so shocked he couldn’t even kiss back at first but shyly, he did eventually start to. Paimon started feeling him, desiring all of him more than ever but Pellegrino pushed his hands away. Paimon groaned, pulling away completely “Too much then?”

“ye…yeah”

“I love you and I want you. I’ve been teasing you long enough”

“So all this time you’ve actually been flirting with me…”

“You mean more to me than anybody ever has”

“and this isn’t a joke? You’re serious”

“wasn’t that kiss serious?”

“It’s just, I’m not exactly, you know and you do enjoy messing with me so…”

“Do you trust me?”

“Of course.”

“Then trust that I’m being serious.” He pressed a light kiss to his lips. “I want you and only you, no one else, and I have for awhile.” He grinned as he leaned in, his lips close to Pellegrino’s ear. “Don’t you want me too, my prince.”

Pellegrino swallowed, his heart hammering in his chest, the tickle of Paimon’s breath sending desire dancing through him. “I do, it’s just…I may disappoint.”

Paimon pulled back, the look on his face surprisingly serious. “Let me tell you something, Pellegrino. The amount of people I have been with doesn’t matter, there is no comparison to be made between you and them. I love you and anything I do with you will be more enjoyable because I love you. There is nothing you could do to disappoint me. I am yours to do with what you wish, nothing will change that.” He smiled warmly. “You’re my first love, Pellegrino, my only love.”

“I am?”

“Yes and it’s something I never thought I would have or even want.”

Pellegrino didn’t know if it was foolishness, hopefulness or the way Paimon was looking at him but he believed him. He kissed Paimon, not half as sure of himself as Paimon. Soon he wasn’t thinking at all, just one with the moment they were sharing. “I love you too” Pellegrino said softly when their lips parted again. Paimon grinned “well lets stop this before I have you right now. You’re probably tired”

“tired? Right now?” The look Pellegrino gave him as he said those words made Paimon chuckle “so I can have you then?”

“yeah”

“don’t be so nervous, I mean it. I love you and that alone will make it amazing. People from my past should never bother you because they never meant a thing to me. You have chemistry in bed or you don’t and most the time how you feel about eachother determines that. Its like how mortals will sometimes act like sex in their marriage was suddenly terrible. Their sex life wasn’t different, how they felt was. Mates enjoy sex far more than people who whore themselves because we love eachother.” Paimons lust was getting harder to control but he didn’t want Pellegrino to be so nervous.

“I just don’t know what to do.”

Paimon smiled as he pressed another seductive kiss to Pellegrino’s lips, eliciting a little moan that sent a thrill of excitement through him. “Let me show you my love.” He kissed his chin, nibbled his way down to his neck where he gave him a gentle bite.

“Paimon.” He sounded breathless, needy, and maybe even a little scared, but he wasn’t pulling away.

He pushed at his shirt, lifting it up and off, allowed his hands to slide over his torso. “Can I have you, Pellegrino?”

“Yes.”

Paimon found his lips again as he pulled him down to the soft grass. They pulled at each other’s clothes, both if them letting out a sigh of pleasure at being skin to skin. He coaxed Pellegrino into touching him, enjoying the shy way he explored him. He rolled Pellegrino beneath him, his lips moving down the center of his body, his teeth biting down to mark him.

Each time Paimon bit down on Pellegrinos flesh to mark him Pellegrino moaned. When Paimon reached just above his length he began to lick up Pellegrinos body, stopping at his neck to gently nibble and suck. Pellegrino began touching Paimon again, feeling him, causing goosebumps to show up all over Paimons skin. This truly was better than any encounter he had ever had before. He hadn’t known if all that talk from Jarius was true but right now, he knew it definitely was. Sex was a million times better with someone you loved.

Paimon moaned loudly when Pellegrino nibbled at his ear then licked just behind it, something nobody had actually done to him before so he hadn’t known how sensitive he was to something like that. Pellegrinos heart flipped in his chest that he could cause such a reaction from him. It gave him a little more confidence already since he could sense how much Paimon was enjoying this in general.

Paimon hadn’t planned this but was always preparred, producing some lube so he wouldn’t hurt Pellegrino during their first time. Before he used it he checked again, his words husky with desire “are you ready for me to be inside you? I…don’t know how slow you need me to be…if I have to stop now it’s alright but I will need to go masturbate if I do have to stop”

“You can”

Paimon kissed him as he loosened him, excited by Pellegrino’s heavy breathing. He rubbed some lube on himself and slowly began to push into him. Pellegrino clung to him, his moan somewhere between a yell and a whimper. He could see he was slightly overwhelmed and paused, giving him a moment to breathe. “You okay?” It was a struggle to stay still, to not completely bury himself, but he managed, not wanting to hurt or scare him. Pellegrino nodded and he continued, letting out a relieved moan once he was all the way in.

“Paimon.” He gasped for breath, clinging tightly to him.

“It’s okay, relax, breathe.” He braced himself on his elbows, withdrawing and sinking back into him, his hips taking on a gentle, rocking rhythm. Pellegrino’s back arched and Paimon thrust into him a little harder, pushing him over the edge. He picked up the pace, unable to hold back any longer. A loud moan was wrenched from his throat as he flowed into him and he pressed his forehead into Pellegrino’s, the only sounds their labored breathes and thundering hearts.

Pellegrino’s eyes were damp with tears and Paimon pressed loving kisses to his lips, his fingers running through his hair and brushing back pieces that clung to his sweat damp skin. “Are you okay?” He asked.

“Yeah…just…wow.”

Paimon smiled. “Good then?” Pellegrino nodded and Paimon rubbed their noses together. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Pellegrino would have never believed when he was invited on this trip they’d end up like this. Kissing, exchanging I love yous and cuddling. Paimon barely seemed like the kind of man to be so sweet but Pellegrino couldn’t be happier. They were actually together now and if their first time together was any indication they were going to have amazing sexual chemistry. They made a long trip of things but nobody had worried when they came back. Everyone knew how capable they both were and were instantly elated for them anyway when they told everyone they were together.

~ The End

Malcolm & Shaw

Chapter One

Past:

Malcolm smiled despite the sadness clenching his heart as he approached his best friend Shaw. He looked so handsome in his tux and stood from the chair he was sitting in as Malcolm approached. “You look tired.” Malcolm said as they hugged.

“Yeah, I finally got a moment to just breathe.”

“I still can’t believe it…married.”

“I know.”

“Where’s the bride?”

“Off with her mother talking to everyone.”

Malcolm nodded, hating what he was about to do, but he had too. “Hey, can we talk away from all of this for a minute?”

Shaw gave him a concerned look. “Everything alright?”

“Yeah, I just have something important to tell you.”

“Of course.” Shaw lead him away from all the guests and deeper into the botanical garden he and his new wife had rented for their wedding. When they were out of sight he turned to Malcolm. “So? What’s up?”

Malcolm opened his mouth then closed it again, his heart hammering in his chest, his throat threatening to close up on his words. “I…” He took a deep breath, steeling himself. “Shaw I…I love you.”

“I love you too man.”

Malcolm clenched his fists, “No, you don’t understand, I love you, really love you. I know it’s shitty to say it now, but…it’s the truth.”

Shaw’s eyes widened in shock. “Malcolm…”

“I’m sorry.” He said quickly. “I’m sorry, I…” Shaw reached for him and Malcolm backed away, then turned and ran. He didn’t want to hear how much Shaw hated him for it or how disappointed he was, so he ran to his car and got behind the wheel, his eyes burning with tears.

Present:

“You coming out with us tonight Malcolm?” One of the women he worked with, Hannah asked as she leaned against the mop she had been using to clean up the restaurants floor.

“Sure, who all’s going?”

“Me, Lawrence, and Rowan.”

“Alright, where do you want me to meet you?”

“Bargarten.”

“Sure, I’ll be there.”

“awesome, I’ll add you to the group text we have going about it. Are you heading home now?”

“I was but let me help you dry the floor so we both can get going”

“You’re so sweet, thank you.”

“add me to the chat and I’ll put this away then grab the towels” He walked away with the mop and bucket, getting a text before he even had a chance to get what they needed to dry the floors. He checked it and responded, smiling when the rest of the group was excited about him joining. He knew he should join them more but didn’t dwell on that thought. He and Hannah had a floor to dry so they could lock up and leave. Their phones went off a few more times but they didn’t check them again until everything was put away and the restaurant was locked for the evening.

Malcolm texted everyone that he was going to swing by his place and change real quick. They all gave him an okay and he headed home. He was surprised to find a car sitting in front of his house when he pulled up and it took him a minute to notice the person sitting on his porch. He was shocked when he realized it was Shaw. He closed his eyes, shook his head, and opened them again. He was still there. He swallowed. It was Shaw and now he was standing and dusting himself off. Malcolm knew he needed to get out, but he was frozen. Shaw just stood there, waiting for him and Malcolm took a deep breath, switched off his car and got out. “Hey.” Shaw said with a smile.

“Um, hey.” He cleared his throat. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m not allowed to visit.”

“Oh.” He nodded as he forced himself to move toward and then past Shaw to his door. “Yeah, of course, but it’s…it’s kind of a bad time. I have plans with friends.” His hand was shaking as he unlocked his door. He could feel Shaw step up behind him.

“Need some help? At this rate we’ll be old by the time you open the door.”

“I go it.” He managed to get the key in and the door open.

“I can come in right?”

“Yeah, but I need to get ready, my friends are waiting.” He headed to his room and Shaw followed. “So, how are things?”

“They’re fine. It’s good to see you.”

Malcolm nodded again. “Yeah, you too.” He dropped his keys on his chest of drawers, as well as his phone. He didn’t know how he was supposed to act around Shaw anymore. He hadn’t talked to him since the wedding, far too embarrassed and ashamed.

Shaw grabbed his wrist gently “I wish you wouldn’t be so nervous…we were once so close…I’m divorced if you’re worried about my wife”

“divorced?”

“Yeah, things just didn’t work out. She was always thinking I was cheating which I wasn’t…I didn’t even pursue you…someone who meant the world to me because it would have felt wrong knowing…well…but I’m single again…I want more than anything to have you back in my life, even if you might not love me anymore I want to be a part of your life again” Malcolm swallowed “so you didn’t lose all respect for me because I confessed feelings for a married man”

“Of course not, you can’t help how you felt. It’s not like you hounded me or tried to get me to cheat, You just told me how you felt”

“I could have been more mature about it. Telling you on your wedding day was…it was stupid.”

“Just know, it’s alright.”

“Okay.” Malcolm nodded and Shaw let him go so he could get changed.

Shaw sat down on the bed and Malcolm’s heart jumped in his chest. Was he really going to stay there? He didn’t want to tell him to leave, afraid he might come off as rude or scared and it wasn’t like Shaw hadn’t seen him in his underwear anyway. He pulled out a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, trying to act as casual as he could. “So,” Shaw said, “going out with friends.”

“Yeah, just for drinks mostly.” He swallowed as he started undressing. “Um, do you maybe want to come with me or something? I mean, it’s been awhile.”

Shaw looked relieved he was being invited “Yeah, I’d love to come. I’ve really missed hanging out with you” He emphasized the word really and it had Malcolm’s heart stuttering in his chest. “well they are ready for us when I’m ready” Malcolm stuttered a bit which embarrassed him but it was worth the warm smile Shaw had on his face. He knew it was horrible to be happy his marriage had ended but it was now completely hitting Malcolm just how much he had missed Shaw. As nervous as all this was making him he couldn’t help but be happy it was finally going to be like old times. Shaw had truly been his best friend.

Malcolm dressed as quickly as he could and let his friends know he was on the way. He also made sure to add Shaw was coming. Once they were on the road Shaw asked “do I know these friends?”

“You only know Rowan, you know how much staff turns over in restaurants. Especially with my boss. He’ll fire someone over the smallest things”

“Is he doing alright?”

“yeah, he’s got a kid now. Things are touch and go with the mom but he adores that little boy”

“Must be a baby since its only been two years”

“Yeah, his son is only a few months old.”

“Is he actually helping her out with him?”

“Yeah, he’s watched him a few times already for her and he’s paying for diapers. He’s having some sent to her house every month”

“That’s good, what should I know about the people I don’t know?”

“Hannah is sweet normally but her inner tiger comes out, as she calls it when she drinks. It can be amusing but she’s gotten into some tense situations at bars. I like her a lot. She’s worked at the restaurant for about as long as Rowan has had a kid…Lawrence is coming too. He’s a year older than me. He has a channel on youtube that’s actually pretty amazing. He plays nothing but horror games. I try to stay caught up with it.”

“You’ll have to send me the channel name and I’ll check it out.”

“When did you get into YouTube and video games?”

“My manager likes to put my concerts up so I sometimes do live Q and A’s for the fans and as far as video games, I’ve been asked to record some songs for a soundtrack so I’ve been playing more to get an idea of what might work.”

“I’m surprised.”

“I used to watch you play sometimes.”

“You used to sit there with your headphones on and write music.”

“Okay, true.”

“But I did appreciate you spending time with me, even if it wasn’t your thing.”

Shaw shrugged. “You never missed a concert and you even wrote some beautiful pieces for me, well until what happened, it was the least I could do.”

“Sorry.”

“Tell you what, if you want to make it up to me, you can come spend time at my place and help me write the music for the soundtrack.”

“Really?”

“Your opinion has always mattered the most and your music always resonates with the audience and me. I missed our time together.”

“That sounds really nice, I hope you enjoy my friends tonight. They are really good people. I don’t go out with them as often as I probably should so I was kind of planning to make this a late night”

“Could I sleep on your couch then so I don’t have to drive all the way home after? I mean, hopefully things really can just go back to normal”

“we used to crash at eachothers places so much…yeah, you’re welcome to.” They easily kept conversation flowing between them until they pulled up to Bargarten “I’ve heard this place is nice. Kind of like a classy bar”

“yeah, I really like a lot of the food” He texted the group to let him know he was parked so was greeted by Rowan when they walked in the door “I volunteered to show you guys where we are sitting.” He smiled at Shaw “it’s been a long time”

“I plan to hang around Malcolm as much as I used to so you’ll probably see a lot more of me”

“cool”

“I’m surprised you have a kid.” Shaw said.

“Honestly, I was too. I mean can you imagine someone like me having a baby? I couldn’t until he was born and now I can’t imagine life without him.” He slapped Shaw on the back. “What about you?”

“I didn’t get the chance, things didn’t work out, I’m divorced.”

“I’m sorry man.” He said as they sat down.

Shaw shrugged. “It’s alright, really.”

Malcolm sat down next to him and gestured to his other friends. “Shaw this is Hannah and Lawrence.”

“It’s very nice to meet both of you. Hopefully you haven’t heard anything too terrible about me.” He replied with a smile that had Malcolm’s heart skipping in his chest.

“Not at all, Malcolm’s description was spot on though, you’re definitely pretty.” Hannah said.

“I didn’t say pretty.” Malcolm said with a blush.

“You did and he’s more than pretty, he’s gorgeous.”

Shaw chuckled. “Well thank you very much, it’s very high praise coming from Malcolm.”

 

Chapter Two

Shaw fit right in but that wasn’t surprising, he fit in with everyone. They talked, laughed, shared food and ordered drinks late into the evening, only leaving when Bargarten was closing. “do we need to call an Uber?” Malcom asked since he had consumed a few drinks. He wasn’t drunk but he never risked it. “No, I didn’t have anything alcoholic. Just give me your keys” Malcolm handed them over and allowed Shaw to take him home. Once they arrived and entered the house Shaw asked “you aren’t ready for bed yet are you?”

“I can stay up a little longer” Shaw smiled “good, lets watch something on Netflix. I hear The Haunting of Hill House is good”

“You know I’ve actually seen episode one and it does seem like it’s going to be good, lets do it. I’ll watch as many as I can. Let me get out all your bedding first though. I don’t want to drag myself off to bed and forget because I’m so tired.” Malcolm went to his bed and grabbed a pillow then took a blanket out of his linen closet. By the time he came back and set them on the couch Shaw had turned on Netflix, pulled up the show and gotten them drinks from the kitchen.

“I hope you’ll be comfortable out here.” Malcolm said as he handed Shaw the blanket and pillow.

“I’m sure I will, but if you’re that concerned we could always cuddle.” He teased.

Malcolm blushed and Shaw started laughing. “You’re such a jerk.”

“But you love me anyway.”

Malcolm gave a little laugh. “Yeah.” He cleared his throat and looked away from Shaw. He grabbed the controller and clicked on the second episode.

“I wasn’t trying to make you uncomfortable or make it seem like your feelings were a joke.”

“I know, sorry.” He smiled. “It’s true though, you could be the biggest jerk in the universe and I’d probably still tell you I love you while beating you up.”

Shaw chuckled and nudged him. “I don’t think you could.”

“I’m pretty tough.”

“Sure.”

They focused their attention on the show, talking every now and then about certain scenes. Malcolm found himself glancing at Shaw, still amazed he was actually there. He didn’t think he’d ever see him again and his feelings had only grown for him. He let out a yawn just before the next episode was about to start and Shaw suggested they go to bed. “We don’t have to.”

“That brilliant brain of yours needs rest if you’re going to be helping me write music.” Shaw replied as he poked him in the forehead.

“alright then…you’re welcome to anything in the kitchen if you get hungry or thirsty” Malcolm went to his room and Shaw sighed, settling himself on the couch. His mind played the memories of their day together as Shaw tried to sleep. He couldn’t help but think how amazing these past few hours had been and almost hated the fact he had let this man slip through his fingers for so long. The next thing Shaw knew it was morning. The sun was up and Malcolm was obviously cooking in the kitchen. Shaw groaned a little as he sat up so Malcolm wasn’t startled when Shaw entered the kitchen asking ‘what’re you making?”

“just pancakes and scrambled eggs”

“do you have to work again today?”

“No, that’s why I went out last night.”

“So, does that mean you’re free?”

Malcolm’s heart fluttered. “Yeah.”

Shaw rested his chin in his hand. “I see, then you can come over, right?”

“If you want me to.”

“I do, we can get started on that soundtrack.”

“Oh I see, you just want my music.” Malcolm teased.

Shaw chuckled, the sound sending a thrill through Malcolm. “Now you know that’s not true, we can do something else if you like.” At this point, the soundtrack was simply an excuse. He could finish it on his own, but he wanted the time with Malcolm. “Please? I’ll pout if I have too.”

“I know you will, I’ve seen it.”

“Is that a definite yes then?”

“Yes, if I must.”

“You really must, I’ll even treat you to whatever you want. All you have to do is name it.”

“hmm, I’ll have to think about what I want” Shaw sat down happily waiting for Malcolm to finish making them breakfast. They soon ate and were on their way to Shaws. Malcolm was curious the entire ride as to where his old friend would be living now. Divorce was tricky, Shaw had owned his own home before her but that didn’t mean she hadn’t gotten the house in the separation. When they did infact pull up into a new home Malcolm asked “did she get the house?”

“Yeah, I’m still making good money and I didn’t want any of the memories. We fought a lot, it kind of ruined the vibe of the house for me. Plus, she had just been renting before me and would have struggled getting into something else”

“thats sweet you gave it to her”

“I may not even like her anymore but I don’t hate her. I wasn’t about to keep it just out of spite since I didn’t want it anymore” As they got out Malcolm asked “how did seperating stuff go?”

“very different tastes so that was easy too. Honestly, I couldn’t have dreamed of an easier split. She was just as done with me as I was of her” Shawn really didn’t want to talk about his ex wife but he wanted to be an open book with Malcolm. If he said he didn’t want to talk about her Malcolm might think he wasn’t over her.

“I’m sorry, Shaw, really. I know how you felt about her.”

“I did love her, but she accused me of things I didn’t do, I couldn’t even talk to or hang out with any of my male friends.”

“Do you wish it had worked out?”

The truth was, he had thought about it at the time, but now, with Malcolm here, it was different. “No, it was for the best, for both of us.”

“Well, if you ever need to vent, I’m here.”

“I know, but I’m good, I promise.”

Malcolm turned in a circle. “I really like your new place.”

“You haven’t seen the most amazing part.” He took Malcolm’s hand, grinning when he saw him start to blush. “You’ll love it.” He pulled Malcolm through the house to the basement door.

“Oh I see, you turned into a serial killer while I was gone.”

Shaw laughed. “And I eccentrically kill my victims with music.”

“So poetic.”

“Come on.” The light came on the moment they passed through the door way and Malcolm smiled when he saw the room had been converted into a recording studio and entertainment room.

“This is actually perfect for us hanging out” Shaw chuckled and admitted “I sort of had you in mind when I did it Malcolm. Pretty much right when we set things in motion to divorce I planned to seek you out again.” Malcolm was even redder than before which made Shaws heart dance. He was so glad to be showing Malcolm this. He hadn’t known if the relationship had been mendable. People change, he could have moved on and decided they could never be friends but here Malcolm was, hanging out in the basement he designed so they could hangout and both do things they loved.

“should we game first or start composing?”

“lets game a bit so I can think”

“alright, your pick.” Malcolm easily picked a game and allowed Shaw to get it set up so they could play. Hours had flown by before they even noticed and Malcolm suggested “okay, fill me in on this game. We should really start working on it”

“alright, I’ll order chinese so we can just concentrate on work. Do you still like the same thing?”

“Yep” It took about another hour to get fully set up but once they got going the only thing that stopped them at all was when they decided to eat the food they ordered. Even that was a brief distraction. Leftovers were dinner, they were far too into their work to do anything else. Malcolm looked at the time on his cellphone when they finally finished their first song for the game “Holy crap, that has to be wrong” Shaw chuckled “Time has always flown when we are together”

“Yeah, I really like this song too”

“I’m sure they will all be this good. Hopefully the developer agrees with us though”

 

Final Chapter

“I’m sure they will, I mean it’s you presenting it.”

“Us, you have to come with me.”

“I…”

“You have to because you’re part of it. I can hear you in it.”

Malcolm nodded. “Alright.” He yawned. “I should probably get home.”

Shaw reached over and grabbed his hand. “Stay.”

Malcolm’s heart danced. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I have plenty of room and you know I don’t mind. My home is your home. I want you to stay. Please?”

“Alright.” Of course he wanted to stay, how could he not. “Could I borrow some clothes?”

“Of course.”

Shaw made sure everything was off before they leaved the basement then took Malcolm up to his room and pulled his closet open. “Holy crap, Shaw, you’re closet’s the same size as my room.”

Shaw chuckled. “It’s not that big. It gets even better though.” He walked to the other side of the closet and slid open another door. “The bathroom.”

“Can I just live here, I don’t take up that much space, I promise.”

“You can do whatever you want, Malcolm. I meant it when I said this is your home too.”

“Shaw.”

“I mean it, you’re the number one in my life again and this time, that wont change” Malcolm blushed and wanted to bring up the possibility of him falling in love again but couldn’t do it, even in a teasing way. Instead Malcolm picked out something to sleep in then stepped into the bathroom to change. “there, now let me show you to a room you can use. It can just be yours so feel free to bring some stuff over for when you stay the night”

“alright, thank you” Shaw gave him a long hug “thank you for letting me just step back into your life so easily. I know you felt bad for how you confessed but still. I’m glad we can just be us again” Shaw didn’t want to but he left Malcolm for the night, heading to his own room. Malcolm walked over to the bed, pulling back the covers and settling in.

Shaw was the first up the next morning and he made his way quietly downstairs to start some coffee before heading back up to the room he had given Malcolm. He pushed the door openly slowly, grinning when he saw him sprawled out, his blankets halfway off the bed and his shirt pushed up from his flopping. He had always been a restless sleeper. He crossed over to the bed and dropped down next to him, allowing himself to admire him for a moment and wonder how he had never noticed his friend’s feelings for him. He let out a little sigh as he reached up and gently shook him. “Malcolm, wake up.”

Malcolm groaned and grabbed his pillow as he turned on his side. “It’s too early.” He mumbled and buried his face in his pillow.

Shaw chuckled as he leaned down, bringing his lips close to Malcolm’s ear. “If you don’t get up, that means I’ll have to make you.” He whispered. He didn’t know if Malcolm had heard the suggestion in his voice or if he thought he was simply teasing, but it had him sitting up, his face bright red. “Good morning.”

“You’re so mean.” He said in a tired tone.

Shaw tipped his head to the side. “I asked nicely.” He reached up and brushed some hair away from Malcolm’s forehead. “Has anyone ever told you you look adorably unkempt when you wake up?”

“I don’t.” Sleepy eyes looked Shaw over. “Why do you look so perfect?”

“Magic and ponytail holders.”

“What time is it?”

“Ten.”

“I guess it isn’t that early”

“we had a late night and you’ve never had more than two days off in a row so I wanted to get you up while i had you”

“yeah, I have to work tomorrow. Should we work on another song today?”

“maybe after lunch, lets start our day with something else. We could play another video or go to Gamestop and buying something new to play”

“a lot of the tales games you play together. I didn’t see any in your collection. Do you have one?”

“Nope, so it looks like we’re going to game stop. I’ve already got coffee going. I’ll go down and start omelettes while you get changed. Just go back to my room and change in there” Malcolm rubbed his eyes “Okay” Shaw left Malcolm and went to make breakfast like he said he would. It felt like it took forever for Malcolm to get into the kitchen but Shaw knew it couldn’t have been that long. He was still cooking the second omelette.

“I don’t think your clothes are quite my style and they’re so nice.” Malcolm said and Shaw turned just enough to look at him. He was wearing one of his favorite sweaters, a dark red, knit turtleneck that somehow managed to still fit loosely on him.

“I think it looks good one you.” He reached over and grabbed his phone. “Strike a pose.”

“Shaw, come on.”

“Do it or I’ll take it anyway.”

Malcolm rolled his eyes and posed. “You look like a real tough guy.”

“Let me see.” Shaw held out his phone and Malcolm took it while he turned to finish the second omelette. “I look like a kid who stole his dad’s sweater.” He looked down at himself. “Why is is so big?”

Shaw shrugged. “It was the last one they had and I wanted it.” He transferred the omelette over. “Want to get the coffee?”

“Sure, but can I delete this?”

“No way.”

“Come on, I look like such a dork.”

“I happen to think you look absolutely adorable so let me keep it.”

Malcolm blushed, his heart giving a little stutter. “Well, I mean if you really want it.” He sat Shaw’s phone down on the counter and found the coffee cups, filling two of them.

“I happen to like how cute you are.” Shaw said as he reached around him to the silverware drawer, the closeness causing his entire body to warm.

“You do?” He couldn’t look at him, he was too embarrassed.

“Mmhmm.”

They were soon sitting at the table together, Shaw still occasionally admiring how cute Malcolm looked in his sweater. He realized over that meal that he had really always found his friend attractive but had never allowed those thoughts to flourish since they had such an amazing friendship. Few people could actually remain good friends if they tried something more and it didn’t work and he guessed the friendship had always just meant too much to him. Now that Malcolm had confessed his feelings and he was single there was no denying the chemistry,

He just didn’t want to spring it on him just yet. They had only just started talking again and he didn’t want Malcolm to feel like a rebound. For now he decided he’d wait until he had been divorced a year before outright telling Malcolm he felt the same way. For now, he’d just enjoy having him back in his life because that was all he truly needed.

~ The End

Gaspare & Iom 2

Chapter One

“Are you sure you have to go alone?” Gaspare asked as Iom shouldered his pack.

“This time yes.” He took Gaspare’s hands, pulling him close. “I’ll be back before you know it and I’ll make it up to you.” He leaned in, grinning as he kissed him, satisfied when Gaspare blushed.

“Just be careful.”

“But then it wouldn’t be any fun.”

“Iom.”

“Don’t worry so much, I’ve been there before. Two days there, two back, then you can do whatever you want to me.”

Gaspare’s face turned a deeper shade of red. “Stop.”

“I love you and I’ll be back soon.”

“I love you too.”

Iom left, heading away down the road. He usually brought Gaspare with him, but there was something special he wanted to get for him this time around. It was as he was as he was sleeping his first night out that he felt something cold pressing against his throat and he woke, blinking and bringing into focus the men standing over him. “Well he’s a pretty one.” The one who he was sure was the leader said.

“How much do you think that monster will pay for him?” Another asked.

“Wait.” Iom finally found his voice. “I don’t want any trouble.”

The leader kicked him in the stomach and Iom gripped his stomach as the air left his lungs. The man crouched down, gripping his hair and pulling him up so their faces were close together. “Oh it’s no trouble at all.”

Gaspare paced in the living room, worry eating at him. Iom hadn’t returned when he said he would and he knew something had to be wrong. “Gaspare?” Daray’s voice brought him up short. “Are you okay?”

“No,” he sighed, taking a seat, “it’s probably nothing and I’m probably being stupid, but Iom hasn’t come back yet. He was supposed to be back two days ago, but…”

“That doesn’t sound like Iom, he’s adventurous, but he wouldn’t make you needlessly worry.” He turned to Alvah.

“We’ll find him.” Alvah said.

Gaspare felt at least a little better knowing his Uncle would search for his mate, especially since he was doing it for Daray. Alvah had shown in multiple ways since they had been together there wasn’t anything he wasn’t willing to do or go through for him. Gaspare didn’t think anything said it more clearly than the day Alvah rushed into the sunlight knowing full well the horrendous effects it had on him because he felt Daray was in danger. No matter what it took to get Iom back he knew Alvah would help him do it.

They took only things to cook with and a single change of clothes for each of them before rushing out. They didn’t want too many things weighing them down. Gaspare took the lead since he knew the most about where Iom had been heading on his journey. Daray gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze “we’ll find him, even if he got into trouble he’s resourceful and strong”

Gaspare, trying not to get too much into his own head decided to push the conversation to Daray’s new abilities “you’re doing so well at controlling your new strength as a vampire. It takes most much longer to be so good at it”

“Alvah has been a very patient and persistent teacher but in good ways. I’m really happy with my progress too”

Iom fiddled with the collar around his neck, his fingers sliding over it, looking for any kind of line. He had been messing with it since it had been forcefully put around his neck and all he knew is it was covered in symbols and had a loop in the back for a chain. “You know, if you keep fighting, it’ll only be worse.” It was another one of the monster’s servants, a man about his age named Adan. His brown eyes were fearful, ashamed, his voice a whisper.

“I don’t care, I refuse to be his plaything. I have to get home.”

“You can’t leave, not with the collar and hounds. He’ll…he’ll punish you.”

The worst Iom had received so far was a beating, but that had been from the men who had captured him when he had tried to escape. He had managed to severely injure one of them. The monster though had only made threats and promises that Iom knew would be kept. He had seen it on the faces of the others here. When they served their master dinner, when they were forced to feed and bathe him, and when they would come back from his room. Iom shook his head, he didn’t care how much pain he was put through, he wouldn’t be that creatures toy and he wouldn’t die. “I’m getting out of here and I’ll bring help.”

Adan shook his head. “It’s no use, it’s easier if you just…”

“Don’t worry, I’ll get us out, I promise.” He turned to Adan. “I might need your help.”

“I can’t, if he found out…”

“He won’t and if anything happens I’ll tell him I forced you, so just listen to my plan.”

Adan looked like he might cry or completely shut down on him. By the looks of the poor man he had been here a long time, being abused and fearing for his life. Eventually a look of resolve came across his face “okay” His voice didn’t have the resolve his face did but Iom was glad he could get him to help. “you wont regret helping, I have an in with two pretty incredible vampires. My best friend also became one, not too long ago but he’s getting really good. Maybe we can even get Mabel to help. I don’t know what she is but she’s a woman you don’t want to cross”

“why don’t you know what she is?”

“I don’t pressure her. I think she’s embarrassed of what she is”

“Oh”

“I can tell you all about everyone I know once we’re out. I just want you to be confident in knowing that all we have to do is get to them and this monster will never have us or any of the others again. He’ll be lucky if he’s still breathing when they are done with him”

“Do you smell that?” Gaspare asked as he came to a sudden stop in the middle of the road.

“It’s Iom.” Alvah said.

“I can smell it too.” Daray added. “His soap.”

Gaspare turned towards the woods, spotting a smaller trail leading into its interior. “He went this way.” He headed off and they followed. “Why would the scent be so strong?” The thought worried him. Was he out here wounded? It was shocking finding his pack with everything turned out of it and scattered about. He bent down, picking up the book he had gifted to Gaspare. “He was here.”

“So were others.” Alvah said. “Men, four of them.”

“They took him, they had to have taken him. They can’t have…you don’t think they would…”

Alvah grabbed him by his shoulders and gently shook him. “Stop and smell the air, Gaspare, their scent heads further down the trail and there is no smell of blood or death.”

Gaspare swallow as he hugged the book to his chest. “I know, I’m sorry, I’m panicking. I just can’t lose him.”

“You won’t.” Daray said. “Iom has been to many dangerous places, he won’t let himself be killed, he’s too stubborn.”

Iom could tell that his plan terrified Adan, but it was the the best he had come up with. He knew the monster had to have some sort of key or spell for the collars. “I need you to find it for me, Adan. It must be in his room.”

“But what if he catches me going through his things? He’ll hurt me…he’ll call his friends in to hurt me.”

“I’m going to distract him. He’s had his eye on me since I’ve been here. I can keep him focused on me long enough for you to look through his things and he won’t think twice about your scent being in there so don’t worry about that. I’ll meet you in my room, get this thing off of me, and then go get help.”

“The hounds.”

“I’m a good runner, trust me. I’ll get away and I’ll come back, I swear. I won’t leave you all here. I need you to trust me.”

Adan nodded, he had already decided he was going to take this chance at freedom no matter the risk. This was such a miserable life and he knew if he let fear make him back down he’d never be able to forgive himself. Not only would he still have to deal with everything he was put through here but he’d have to feel like it was his fault for not even trying when a good chance presented himself. Iom was so confident this would work and his vampire friends would help. It was hard not to trust a man this sure of himself.

They both set the plan in motion, Adan going to their captors room and Iom actually seeking out their captor to flirt with him just enough to keep him busy awhile. If this didn’t work Iom knew this would come back to haunt him but he had faith in Adan. After however long he had been here he knew just the desperation of wanting freedom would drive him to find what they needed.

“We can’t just stop.” Gaspare argued. “He could be hurt, or…we have to keep going.”

“Just long enough to eat.” Alvah replied.

“We can’t, we have to find him.”

“Gaspare.” Daray gently interjected. “Let’s eat, okay? We haven’t had anything since we left, we’ve just been going. So let’s at least eat, then we’ll get going again. Besides, it’s night, a little break won’t hurt.”

“But…”

“Just for a bit.”

Gaspare swallowed down the lump of fear in his throat and nodded. He wasn’t hungry, but he ate what Daray made anyway. All he could think about was what Iom might be going through. Once they were finished and everything was cleaned up, they headed out again. The night was quiet as they followed Iom’s scent and that of the men who had taken him. It was the scent of blood that brought them up short a little while later and they were relieved to find it didn’t belong to Iom, but one of the men. “He must have hurt one of them.” Gaspare said.

“Pretty severely too.” Alvah added. “He must have bid his time, not revealing what he was until he attacked one of the men.”

“See? He’s alright.” Daray said as he squeezed Gaspare’s shoulder.

Iom had not slept, even though he knew he should have. Even Adan had stayed up with him, listening to him going over the plan a couple more times as if trying to hold onto his resolve. They had gone their separate ways before everyone woke and were both ready to do what they had to. The monster was outside behind the house waiting for his breakfast and Iom had volunteered to take it to him. It was still surprising how normal the creature looked and how charming he came off when he spoke, but everyone knew this was just a mask, that his human form was merely there to deceive. He could feel the creatures eyes on him as he stepped outside and he raised his own, making eye contact for a few heartbeats before looking away. The creature was more than interested in him, he could smell it.

 

Chapter Two

“I see you’re already getting used to being here. Bringing me my food, how sweet” Iom set his food in front of him and the creature took the opportunity to grab his hand “won’t you sit with me” Iom was proud of himself for not instantly jerking away. He even managed to keep the disgust off his face “sure” sure might not have been the best line but their captor might catch on that something was up if he appeared too comfortable anyway. The man smiled and kissed his hand which made Iom want to punch him. It was obvious this thing was used to being able to do whatever he wanted regardless of others feelings.

Iom sat as soon as he let him go “are you acquainted with my name yet?”

“No”

“Hm, It is Baikuntha” Iom nodded and Baikuntha began eating. Iom said “I guess I figured I may aswell get used to being here” Baikuntha swallowed “You will like me eventually”

“Oh?”

“I’m an amazing lover” Iom almost couldn’t stop himself from rolling his eyes.

Iom crossed his arms and legs. “You’re not the first to say something like that.”

“I am sure, but I mean it.” Iom huffed and looked away to which Baikuntha responded to by reaching over and grabbing Iom’s chin and turning his face back. Iom could feel his strength, but he wasn’t intimidated, he was irritated at being grabbed again. “I could show you.” He let his fingers slid down and hook into the collar around Iom’s neck, pulling him closer. “I’ve never had someone as beautiful as you.”

“I’m sure.” He forced an amused smile onto his face. “I don’t see a difference between me and the others you have here.”

“Then I want you in my room tonight, after all, I could have taken you the moment you arrived here.” He let Iom go, allowing him to lean back.

“And what happens if I refuse?”

Baikuntha chuckled as he took a bite of his food. “Now why would you do that? I want to see you tonight.” Iom could guess what would happen if he said no. He had a feeling this creature would lose his temper and if he wanted to escape then he couldn’t afford getting the crap beat out of him. He simply nodded and Baikuntha smiled. “Good.”

Iom wondered if Adan had found what they needed. He certainly hoped he was at least in the room searching. Iom knew Adan might need a lot of time so he needed to keep Baikuntha talking. He didn’t want to keep talking about sex, the more they talked about it the more chance he ran of giving away how repulsed he was by the idea but it was somewhere to start while he thought of something else “What sort of things are you into in bed, anything I should be worried about” Baikuntha grinned “It depends”

“depends?”

“On you, stay on my good side and it’ll be nice” He internally groaned thinking about what an asshole this man was. He couldn’t wait for Gaspare and Alvah to hand him his ass and free all these poor men being sexually abused and kept under threat of worse happening to them. Adan had even spoke of Baikuntha’s friends abusing them if they misbehaved too much and he could only imagine. Some beings could come up with some ridiculously twisted things to do to others.

“Define, being good. I mean, one man’s bad is another man’s good.”

“I think you know. You come to me when you’re called, you don’t disobey, and you don’t fight.” He shrugged. “It’s simple really. If you listen, you’ll be treated well.”

“I see.”

“You’ll be happy here as long as you follow the rules.” He smiled. “What about you? What things do you like?”

Iom shrugged. “This and that.” He didn’t really want to use the things he and Gaspare did together. “If I’m being honest, I haven’t done much.”

“We’ll have to change that then.”

“Perhaps I prefer vanilla.”

“No one prefers something so boring and lazy.” He pushed his plate away and turned more to face Iom, letting his hand rest on his knee. “There are so many exciting and new things to experience, things you couldn’t even begin to imagine. I can show you.”

Iom was hopeful this man wouldn’t have the chance to try and show him. His touch right now sent a terrible feeling through Iom. He wished there was some way to know what Adan was doing. He wanted nothing more than to get away from Baikuntha and quickly. Just in case Adan still needed time he decided to put his hand on Baikuntha’s, praying it wouldn’t push things too far forward. All he wanted was to keep his attention. Many things about Baikuntha told Iom he was growing more excited so he decided he shouldn’t touch him again once he managed to smoothly take his hand back.

Baikuntha laced their fingers but once Iom turned the conversation into something more normal he pulled away, happy Baikuntha didn’t protest. “I have things I wish to do before I see you tonight Iom. I am eager so don’t think about changing your mind.”

“I am too curious now” Baikuntha smiled, what a freaking sucker,or he was just that cocky., so used to having his way at this point.

“Someone tried to cover their tracks here.” Alvah said as he walked around the area they had come to a stop in. Iom’s scent had become weaker and it had taken him a moment to realize someone had tried to cover it up.

“With what?” Gaspare asked.

“Animal scent. Perhaps there was something they didn’t want anyone to find.”

“So which way do we go?”

“I’m not sure, give me a moment.”

“Uncle.”

“I know, trust me, I know, but if you want to find him, you must stay calm.” He squeezed Gaspare’s shoulder. “How about we branch out and see if we can pick his scent up again.

“Okay.” Alvah knew what Gaspare was going through. After nearly losing Daray, he understood that fear and desperation, but he also knew if they panicked, they might not find Iom.

Iom worked around the house, slowly making his way to the room he had been given. He could hear Adan’s quick heartbeat even before he entered and he quickly closed the door and turned to him. He looked terrified. “Are you alright, Adan?” He asked gently.

“I…I was nearly caught by one of the others, but I don’t think he saw me take anything.” He swallowed. “I…I found these.” He pulled a small book and small metal rod out of the waist of his pants. The rod was made of the same metal as the collars. “I think this is a key and the way to use it is in here.” He handed them over. “When are you leaving?”

“Tonight, as soon as everyone is sleeping. He asked me to come to his room.”

Adan’s eyes filled with concern “then you better hope you make it out…if you stand him up…he” He didn’t want Adan pulling up too many painful memories for himself so Iom said as comfortingly as he could “Hey, I’m going to make it and I’m going to bring my mate and his Uncle. Don’t worry about me. Even if I am punished, I can handle it. Just worry about you okay. Go ahead and leave my room before others start talking. I don’t want him running in here jealous because he thinks I’m flirting with everyone” Adan stood “if you end up needing help just come find me”

“Thank you Adan, I’m sure you’ve done plenty for me. Thank you for trusting my plan. If he finds this, as part of my gratitude I will not tell him who helped me, no matter what he does.” Adan shook his head “No, if he guesses you had help don’t do that…I’ll just face the music for what I’ve done.” Adan left and Iom got to reading, skimming more than anything to hurry things along.

The sun was nearly all the way down by the time Iom came across what he was looking for and his heart actually jumped in excitement as his eyes moved over the text. He wouldn’t leave his room until everyone was down. It would be better that way so none of them were hurt if worst came to worst. He read over the words again then took the rod and pressed it to the collar. There was a code phrase for each collar that he had written down and Iom said his as softly as he could. He heard the collar click and he pulled it from around his neck, looking it over for a moment before closing it and watching the seam seal completely. He hid the key and book under his mattress then went over to his door and cracked it open a little. He could hear people moving around as they got ready for bed so he stood there, listening to every creaking floorboard, breath, and heartbeat.

He knew he only had this one chance, that he would have to be sprinting the moment his feet touched outside the house. Baikuntha had three hounds as far as he knew. He took a deep breath and was relieved when the house finally fell silent. He stepped out, gently closing the door and listening. He wondered how long the monster would wait before coming to investigate. He move as quietly as possible, keeping his breathing soft as he made his way past each room.

 

Final Chapter

It was incredibly tempting to run but Iom continued to remind himself that being quite was key to getting out. Even when the door came into view he knew he wasn’t free, not yet. He had only made it through the beginning stages of getting out of this horrible place. He pushed the front door open, hating it made noise. He begged with the universe that Baikuntha hadn’t heard. If he did hopefully he continued not to suspect anything. As far as Baikuntha knew everyone was still wearing their collars which meant they could only get so far if they went outside.

Iom didn’t take the time to shut the door again. That would only add to the risk he’d be heard. He simply ran while he finally could, darting through the grass as fast as his legs would carry him. The very second he registered something slamming into his forehead he was out, not realizing what happened until he woke in what he assumed was Baikunthas bedroom “Iom, really?” It was Baikunthas voice. It was still as calm as ever but he could hear the fury underneath that tone. “what gave me away?”

“You really think you have any privacy as my new toy? You really think I’m an idiot, that I own all these men and have so many others out there collecting for me by chance?”

“you’re powerful, I can feel it coming off you. Some think they can be all brawn and no brain” Baikuntha was leaning over Iom who was chained at the wrists to his bedposts… He grinned a few moments though still, there was nothing amused about him now. “I was so looking forward to you Iom but you’ve left me with no choice but to kill you”

“You wont make me feel like anything is my fault”

“Oh? Really?” Baikuntha walked away, coming back with a severely beaten, barely even alive looking Adan. Baikuntha sucked air through his teeth “see, this is definitely your fault. I had completely broken this one. He’d do anything I asked, would endure anything at this point without a complaint and would even go out of his way to make sure I was happy…that is…until you. See, Adan is why you have to die. The fact you swayed him to do something against me tells me how dangerous you are to keep. Now Adan, Adan I’ll keep alive and he’s going to pay in so much worse ways for stealing from me than just the beating I gave him and I want you to die knowing that Iom. That you made this mans life a million times worse”

Some of the menace was seeping out, distorting that calm voice he always tried to keep. He could tell that this did infact hurt Iom and the triumph he felt was enough to make that facade falter just a bit. “why the fuck are you this way!? Its not like you’re even fucking ugly, you could have a real mate”

“I didn’t start this because I was lonely, I started this because I wanted to, because I can”

“How long has he been like that? Why did you wait so long if you knew what we were doing?”

“Why do I do this all? It can all be answered the same way, for my entertainment. It was amusing to see you think you could actually get away. To see if Adan could really go through with it, to see just how clever you would be with your break out. Even now, you aren’t dead yet because my fun would be much too short without this delicious dialogue. I’m also hoping this mate of yours finds us before I finish tonight so I can kill him in front of you” Iom laughed “You’re strong but Alvah and Gaspare could destroy you any day”

“I would love to see them try, I really, really would.”

Iom glared at him, angered that he had toyed with him and with Adan, that he had hurt Adan even though it hadn’t been his fault, and angry at himself for not thinking Baikuntha could be playing them. “Adan, I’m sorry, truly sorry for everything.” He said, his eyes never leaving the monster’s.

Adan laid curled up on the floor, his hands covering his head, his body shaking in fear, but Iom could hear him whispering, “It’s okay.” Over and over again.

“Hush now, Adan, once he’s gone, we can start your training over.”

Gaspare, Alvah, and Daray raced through the darkened woods, their noses locked on Iom’s scent. Gaspare had hated how long it had taken to pick it up again, but at least they were back on the trail and they had decided to follow it rather than rest. They were all worried about Iom and knew another delay could mean something bad might happen.

Iom thrashed and kicked, trying to use his legs to push away from the monster, but the creature kept him pinned in place by his throat, pushing down when he fought to hard. Baikuntha’s sharp nails dug into his skin, leaving rows of red, bleeding wounds. He felt one dig even deeper into his stomach and Baikuntha leaned closer. “What if I spilled your guts right now, Iom?”

Iom spit in his face. “Fuck…you.” He choked out. He knew the beast was getting off on his pain and if he could ruin it for him, he would.

Baikuntha growled at him, his eyes shifting to a bright yellow, the eyes of the monster. He started to slide the nail up and Iom’s cry of pain came out strangled. Baikuntha suddenly jerked back with a pain filled roar and it took Iom a moment to realize Adan had managed to get up and retrieve the decorative letter opener on Baikuntha’s desk. The monster spun, backhanding Adan so he flew back into the bedroom door, unconscious. Baikuntha twisted, trying to pull the letter opener out of his back.

Iom thought fast, he couldn’t break these chains but they were directly attached to the bed. He was vampire and it was just wood, strong wood but he knew if he tried hard enough he could break the bed and hopefully quickly while Baikuntha was distracted. Adan obviously couldn’t take much more abuse and that last stunt might make Baikuntha change his mind about killing him off. He wanted Adan to live for the freedom he would have as soon as they were found. He didn’t deserve to die in this place, he couldn’t let him die some monsters toy. you can do this, you have to Iom said in his head as he grabbed on to the piece of bed one of his chains was connected to and destroyed it “fuck yes” He actually said out loud.

Baikuntha growled again, lunging at him but one arm free was all Iom had needed. Iom hit him as hard as he could then used all the strength in his legs to make him stumble backward. The combination gave him enough time to break the other part of the bed. He was still attached but much more mobile and he’d use the pieces of wood instead of treating them as a hindrance.

Iom swung at him, furious, desperate swipes to keep Baikuntha at bay. He dared not turn to try and open the door so all he could do was fight him off. He wasn’t expecting the tail that came darting out from behind Baikuntha and barely manged to stumble to the side. The sharp tip scraped his side then punctured a large hole in the door. “I’m going to tear you apart mind and body.” Baikuntha growled. “By the time I’m done with you, you will be begging me to take you in.”

It was the sound of combat that grabbed their attention. The silence of the woods helped them pinpoint where it was coming from. Gaspare’s stomach dropped when he realized it was in the same direction as Iom’s scent. When they burst from the woods, they were immediately met by growling, snapping hounds, drool dripping from their mouths as they attacked the intruders. “Get to Iom.” Alvah ordered. “We’ll take care of the dogs.”

Gaspare didn’t protest, only wanting his mate back. The moment he entered the house he could smell fear, could hear the sounds of people whimpering, of their racing hearts. Most of all he could smell Iom and hear his voice and he ran towards it. He heard Iom scream as he reached the room at the end of the hall and ripped the door open. Iom was pinned face down on the floor, the tip of a tail driven through his shoulder, a man on top of him, Iom struggling and cursing at him. Gaspare saw red and was across the room, ripping the man off of his mate before he could even completely turn and look over his shoulder.

Iom quickly got up, ignoring his pain and going over to Adan to check on him. He was grateful to see Adan was still clinging to life. Iom briefly considered getting him out of the room but there was no telling when or if Baikunthas henchmen would stumble upon all this. They came at odd hours. There didn’t seem to be any kind of schedule. He could have even invited friends to come help him punish Adan so they couldn’t get far from Gaspare. He sat there, guarding Adan since his mate obviously had things under control.

This was the first time he had seen him in a fight that actually took a lot of effort for him but he was definitely winning. Soon Alvah and Daray were bursting in and Iom whispered to the still unconscious Adan “I told you they’d come. We’re going back to my home. I promise, we wont let anything else happen to you” It was almost embarrassing when Alvah destroyed the cuffs so easily they may as well have been made of paper but his mind was mostly taken with how much better it felt not to be attached to large pieces of wood. Gaspare hugged him and they both shed a few silent tears before Daray said “He looks bad, we brought some medical supplies but if theres any here we might need what we already have to tend to him on the way. Whatever he is he doesn’t seem to be healing very well right now”

Alvah spoke “He is a shifter, a Fossa to be exact and Daray is right Iom, do you know where in this house we can tend to him”

“He would have been the one to know but we need to stay and look. He’s like this because he helped me. That bastard punished him before bringing me in here. I wont leave until we know he’s stable enough to come with us. We also need to unlock everyone elses collars so they can go off where they need to go off” Alvah nodded “Gaspare, Daray, you two stay with Iom and this man. I will search the house. How is your collar off Iom?”

“Theres a book and metal key in my room.”

“I’ll grab that too” Gaspare just kept hugging Iom but that was more than fine with his mate. It felt so incredible to be in loving arms again. When Alvah came back he dropped off the supplies and asked Daray to start tending to Adan while he began freeing everyone else.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get here faster.” Gaspare said as he brushed his fingers through Iom’s hair.

“What are you talking about? you had perfect timing. I had him right where I wanted him.” He let out an exhausted sigh. “I can’t wait to get out of this place, to get Adan and the others out of this place.”

Gaspare hugged him a little tighter. “Did he…?”

“No, not that he wouldn’t have, but no, he didn’t.”

“Please never leave without me again or at least don’t sleep on the road.”

“Agreed.”

Alvah came back with the other men who all couldn’t believe they were actually free and some of them started crying when it set in they would be leaving. “I told them to come back with us and we would get them home.” Alvah said. “How is he?” He gestured to Adan.

“Still alive.” Daray said. “We’re going to have to go really slow with all of them, especially Adan.”

“Can you carry him?”

“Of course.”

“What about you Iom, are you okay to travel?”

“Even if I wasn’t, I would still insist we go. None of them need to stay here any longer.” He raised his head to look at the other men. “You should all grab as much as you can; food, clothes, water, even jewelry and money. That monster owes you everything, so take what you can for the trip.”

They all began to gather what they could and were soon off. If Baikuntha had called for others they made it out before they arrived. At home Alvah and Daray allowed Gaspare and Iom to go straight to their room while they took care of settling in their new guests. Gaspare and Iom were soaking their sore muscles in the tub when Iom said “I guess you can’t tease Alvah about this castle anymore. It came in handy, I’m glad we had space for everyone”

“I probably wont tease him about anything for awhile. I’m so glad he and Daray helped me get you back”

“Maybe after all these men are looked after you and I can both go where I was headed…I wanted to get you something special”

“We will definitely go, it’ll still be special even if you didn’t travel to get it alone.”

“I love you Gaspare”

“I love you too Iom” Gaspare held Iom a little tighter, his wounds were mostly healed and he was still struggling emotionally from everything. Gaspare had come much too close to loseing Iom and his only comfort was that Iom was willing not to leave his side for awhile.

~ The End

Violet & Dian

Chapter One

The gangly, curly haired youth bursting through Violet’s door nearly made her drop her book. She glared at the boy, telling him with her eyes that it was more than a bit rude to walk into a house uninvited and to do it in a way that nearly knocked pictures off the wall was even more reprehensible. The look took him by such surprise that he seemed to forget what he had been going to say and stood there frozen for a moment opening and closing his mouth like a fish on the bank of a pond.

Violet marked her place, closed her book, then took a deep breath to calm herself. “Can I help you?” She asked and he seemed to snap out of his sudden daze.

“Uh, ma’am…yes ma’am, sorry.” He collected his thoughts, wheels turning as he put words together to form a full sentence. “A dragon ma’am, there is a dragon and the mayor asked me to get you.”

She sighed, putting her book irritably down on the coffee table. “Of course he did.”

“Sorry Miss Violet, so sorry.” He bowed and then bowed again.

“Oh stop, how annoying, do I look like a princess to you?” She stood, straightening her dress. No, she thought as she moved around the coffee table to the coat closet, rather I look like someone took a witch and a librarian and mashed them together.

“No ma’am, sorry ma’am.”

She rolled her eyes. It was hopeless after all. She yanked open the door and pulled out her cloak and boots, shaking them both out before putting them on. “Come on then.” She walked past the young man and he quickly followed, head down. “Oh stop moping, I shouldn’t have snapped at the messenger.”

“Yes Miss Violet.”

“Where is this dragon then?”

“Outside of town ma’am, in that old cave ma’am.”

“How cliche.”

She walked on, ignoring the turning heads and whispered words of “Do you think the witch is gonna…” and made her way out of town and over rolling hills to the now occupied cave. She knew it was occupied because she could hear the breathing of the beast and noticed faint smears of blood here and there.

“What are you going to do ma’am? Turn him into a toad? Kill him?”

“How absolutely barbarous.” She said and picked up a large rock. When would they learn that she had as much magic as a thimble, unless the thimble had been enchanted, then that was a whole other story. She pulled back and threw the stone as hard as she could into the cave, hearing it make contact with something and then the breathing stopped. The boy cowered behind her as a roar echoed out from the cave, the ground shook dramatically and a red wedge shaped head detached itself from the darkness soon followed by a large scaled body.

“Oh shut up you annoying thing.” She snapped and the creature shut its mouth, seeming shocked. “Now go on and get.” It lowered its head and started to open its mouth when she slapped the tip of its nose. It drew back, shaking its head. “I don’t think so you very bad dragon. Go! Now! Find another place of residence and stop scaring the villagers. They come to me when things like you turn up and it can be quite nerve racking so go on, find sheep or cows elsewhere.” It opened its mouth again as if to protest and she planted her hands on her hips, glaring at it with death in her eyes. Its jaws shut and it launched itself into the sky, kicking up dust and knocking the young messenger boy over with the force of its wind. “There, now someone else can deal with him.”

The messenger looked in awe of her and she sighed. No matter how often they saw her handle things without any magic at all they still thought her a mystical being. If the others were braver they could handle these situations too. Violet walked away, happy she was successful again and not that dragons snack. Violet hoped that maybe she could finally finish this book when she arrived home. Maybe this town and the magical creatures around it could afford her the hours needed because she was incredibly into this book. Once inside her shoes were off again and she lifted her book before settling back into her chair. She was instantly taken right back in, not coming back to reality at all until she closed it.

Upon looking up she noticed it was night and smiled thinking this was the perfect time to get a walk in. The sky would be gorgeous and the villagers would all be resting. Gleefully she set her book back down and slipped back into her cloak and boots before going off into the cool night air.

It was always so peaceful at night, as if the countryside itself decided to relax. She breathed in deeply and let her breath out in a sigh. Even with all the trouble, she still loved it here. The road branched and she turned off onto the left path just as someone came tumbling out of the woods and into her. “Sorry.” He said, grabbing her to steady her. “Are you alright?”

It took her a moment to regain her equilibrium, but when she did, she looked up at him. He was tall, really tall and his eyes were a shocking shade of blue. “Uh…yeah…uh…”

His head suddenly jerked up and he looked at the woods then back down at her, his eyes searching hers for a moment. He then lifted her hand and smiled at her. “Hold onto this for me.” He let her go and took off running.

“Wait, who are you?”

“Dian,” he called back, “be sure to tell them where I went.”

“What?” She was confused and it took her a moment to realize she was holding something. She opened her palm, studying the silver medallion that rested there. It had beautiful, intricate designs carved into it inlaid with blue and gold. She had never seen anything like it before. The sound of snapping twigs pulled her back to reality and she turned to face the woods, her hand sliding into the pocket of her cloak as three more men came stumbling out of the woods.

Violet wondered what problem she had gotten herself involved in now but she wasn’t worried, even as she realized how tall these men also were. She faced down dragons, trolls and many more much more formidable creatures than simple men. “Has anybody else run by?” a man with red hair and incredibly intense green eyes asked. She didn’t skip a beat answering “No, I have been out here awhile clearing my head and haven’t seen a soul until you three.” Violet didn’t know who the unsavory party was yet but going by gut feeling she trusted the man who had given her medallion.

The man looked at her a short while, long enough for her to take in more of his face. He had light scars but they weren’t unattractive. In fact they probably served to get more women in his bed “You wouldn’t lie to me would you?”

“Why would I? I don’t know you so I’m certain I don’t know who else you’re looking for. I’d like to be left alone”

“we don’t have time to waste, if the broad says she ain’t seen him she ain’t seen him” the man to his left said. The word ain’t almost physically hurt to hear but while she wasn’t scared of them she still didn’t want to piss them off by correcting anyone. The men left her and she was glad to see they didn’t go the same way Dian had. Medallion in pocket she resumed her walk, knowing if she went home now she’d only pace anyway.

She turned back around when she reached the end of her walk, her eyes and ears open, listening for anyone approaching. When her home came into view, she was surprised to find that there was a soft orange light coming from inside. From the way it danced, she was sure it was from the fireplace. Someone was in her home. She approached as quietly as she could, moving around the back of the house and grabbing the wood ax propped against the wall there. She knew it wasn’t one of the villagers, they would have just left. She moved over to the back door, being careful not to stomp on the back porch. She gripped the door handle and pushed it slowly, glad when it didn’t squeak. She listened, not hearing anything but the crackling of the fire. She gripped the ax as she stepped in and gently closed the door.

She readied herself as she came closer to the living room, the ax pulled back, ready to strike if someone attacked her. She froze when she saw him, Dian, sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace. He gave her an exhausted smile. “You’re safe, that’s good.” He said.

She lowered the ax. “You…how did you find my house?”

“It’s a gift.” He pushed himself to his feet. “I hope you don’t mind me resting here.” He crossed over to her. “May I have it back please?”

She moved the ax to her other hand then reached into her pocket and pulled it out. “Tell me why those men were after you.”

“I stole this.”

“Why?”

His amused smile at her questions lit up his eyes. “Because I’m looking for the rightful heir to the throne.”

“If it’s so important why did you hand it off to me? They could have taken it” His smile lifted a little again “I knew you were too intelligent and brave for them to figure out you had it. I was worried they would catch up so handing it to you was the safest thing to do”

“But you don’t know me”

“If you sit with me by your fire I will explain everything and answer any follow up questions” His stomach growled and she said “Maybe I should feed you first. I have some leftovers that will be quick to heat up”

“Thank you” He began explaining as she heated up food. He was exhausted, would have been able to fall asleep that second if he laid down but he wanted to explain everything to her. Even if he didn’t want to explain she had given him a place to rest and helped him by hiding the amulet, he owed her an explanation. “so you’re descended from a powerful witch and you read my mind earlier which is how you knew you could trust me”

“Yes but don’t worry, I have to be touching you to do it” she shrugged “Not worried, I don’t have much to hide and nothing really embarrasses me” He looked so amused again “How are you so cheerful when you’re being chased and have such a big job to do”

“I enjoy every moment of life, always have and I’m enjoying your company. You’re a beautiful and interesting person” She seemed more surprised by his comment than anything as she asked “so, what gave you this job?”

“I worked for the previous king and queen before their deaths and doing this for them is only right. Their son deserves to rule”

“And where is he?”

“North. His parents thought if he’s in the snowy, icy reaches then it would give people less of a reason to go after him. He was put on a ship and put under the care of a merchant and his family.”

“I can’t imagine going from a prince to a merchant. It must have been hard.”

“He was always a good boy and, much like his father, a hard worker. It may have been an adjustment, but he wouldn’t have shied away from it.” He sighed. “I thought I had thrown them off my trail, by pretending to board a ship, but I guess they caught on.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“Resupply and continue my journey. I have to fulfill my duty and bring him home. If I don’t things could take a turn for the worst and no one wants that.” He sat his fork down and leaned back, truly exhausted. “Thank you, Violet, truly, thank you. I promise to repay your kindness.”

The words came tumbling out of her without a single thought “why don’t you repay me by allowing me to come with you” Despite the fact those words came unbidden she meant them. She had been tired of being here and maybe if she left the people would learn to take care of themselves. Dian sat upright, amusement playing over his exhausted face “That works for me.”

“wow, that easily?”

“You’d be helpful, I can tell. Even if I didn’t owe you I’d welcome you along”

“Then lets both get some rest” While Dian finished eating Violet brought a pillow and blanket into the living room, laying them both on the couch for him “goodnight Dian, you’re welcome to any food or water you need in the night. I’ll make us coffee and a descent breakfast in the morning”

“Goodnight Violet”

That night Violet slept with her ax near her bed, just in case the men who had been chasing him managed to find her home. She woke the next morning to the sound of footsteps and someone talking. It took a moment to realize it was Dian, already awake, and she wondered who he was talking to. She yawned as she got up and made her way into the living room, seeing him pacing back and forth and reading out loud from one of her books. He smiled as he turned, closing the book. “Sorry, did I wake you?”

“It’s alright, you should have woke me as soon as you got up.”

“I didn’t mind waiting.” He let his eyes move over her. She looked quite cute disheveled as she was.

“I look rough don’t I?” She asked and his eyes jumped to her face.

“Not at all, quite the opposite. I apologize for staring.” He cleared his throat. “Would you like me to help you with breakfast?”

She shook her head. “I can manage.”

“I’d feel bad if I made you do everything.”

She couldn’t help but smile at him. He was far too kind and generous. “Then how about you read to me, you have a really nice voice.”

He chuckled. “Do I?”

She felt her cheeks heat. “Well, yeah, it’s enjoyable enough.”

 

Chapter Two

He grinned again ‘well I was enjoying this book anyway, we will have to bring it on the journey so I can read aloud for you in the evenings. I always read out loud. It’s one of the odd things about me” She had been too sleepy to register what he had been reading so she asked “which book is it?” he lifted it so she could see the cover “Oh, thats actually a series. One of the villagers here writes it.”

“could we bring them all?”

“Yeah, if any get ruined I can always get another. She won’t even allow me to give her payment”

“why?”

“Because I take care of this village. If anything bothers them they come running. Just the other day I had to chase off a dragon”

“How do you think they’ll do without you?”

“Fine I’m sure, they just need to realize they don’t need me”

“You aren’t worried about them discovering that?”

“No, I’ll get more time on my own and I have enough skills I don’t need anything to be given to me…anyway, I’ll get the coffee started. That way it’ll be ready when I am” Violet started the coffee then went back into her room to get dressed in something comfortable for the road.

“You look good in that.” Dian said when she came back and she couldn’t help but blush.

“They’re just some old clothes.”

“They suit you.”

“Thank you.” He smiled and her heart jumped, causing her to look away in embarrassment and head into the kitchen to make breakfast.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

Violet shook her head. “You didn’t, I promise, just not used to someone saying something like that to me.”

“Well if they haven’t, they are obviously blind.” He sat down at the table, flipping the book open. “May I still read?”

“Of course.” She had to admit to herself once again that she really enjoyed his voice. It was surprisingly smooth and had an unexpected deep timbre to it. She could honestly listen to it all day.

The smooth way he read along with how skilled this author was at showing the reader a scene had her mind clearly seeing what was happening in the story within her mind as she prepared breakfast and enjoyed her black coffee. Violet was almost disappointed as she sat down with their plates and he stopped but her mind quickly reminded her that he planned on reading throughout their trip. They ate silently but when Dian was finished he said “that was incredible. I’ll be glad to read to you while you cook on the trip” she smiled “that’ll work amazing for both of us” She got up almost too quickly, not used to interactions like this at all.

Dian didn’t say anything, her nerves only gave him hope. People who didn’t react to your flirting weren’t interested and he was incredibly interested in Violet. She was beautiful, an a amazing cook, had a mind of her own and was brave. He could only imagine what else he might find to like about her during their journey to collect the prince. When she gathered the series together Dian insisted he carried it since he was the one who had wanted it. She didn’t put up too much of a fight having realized how heavy they would probably be after awhile.

“So, what’s your plan?” She asked as she shouldered the small pack she had made up with food and water in it.

“Make it to a bigger city and rent a horse and also buy warmer clothes. I wouldn’t want you to freeze to death.”

“Well I have you to make sure I stay warm, so I’m sure I won’t.” He grinned and she blushed. “I mean, with your magic. You can make fire right?”

“Of course.”

She swallowed and he chuckled. “So, what if he isn’t there?”

“Then we’ll wait.”

“It must have been awful for him, being forced to stay in hiding even after his parents died. I don’t know if I could have stayed, I think I would have raced home, he’s definitely stronger than me.”

“Now that’s not true, I’ve seen it in your head. That dragon didn’t know who he was dealing with.”

“You…how much did you see?”

“I didn’t have time for much, I just saw the past few days. I wont look at anymore unless you say it’s okay though. I just had to know if I could trust you and if you were up to facing those men should they come” She could understand that. He did have a huge responsibility on his shoulders. “I’ve found with most creatures all it takes is being brave. In our world you can’t judge a book by its cover so they probably think I’m more than just human”

“Probably, non magical beings do tend to just run or cower, especially in the presence of dragons”

“Have you seen many dragons?”

“I met a shifter once. He was a cool guy and as a dragon, well, he probably could have swallowed that dragon you met whole”

“wow”

“Yeah, maybe I can introduce you two one day”

“I would like that, maybe once we’ve brought the prince home.”

He nodded and they continued down the road, Violet looking back at her home as they got further and further away. She wondered how everyone would react once they realized she had left. She could only imagine. It was better not to tell them she was leaving, they would just try to make up excuses for why she couldn’t. “If you wish to turn back, now is the time.” Dian said and she turned to him, smiling.

“No going back until we’ve finished this. Besides, it’ll give them time to find their own courage and strength. They’ll have to rely on each other if another dragon shows up.”

“I’m sure they will.”

“And I get to go somewhere new thanks to you, even if it is dangerous and cold.”

“Speaking of dangerous,” He reached over, taking her hand, “allow me to give you a little protection.” He said a few words in a language she didn’t know and she felt warmth move from his hand to hers, up her arm, and into her chest. He smiled and let her go. “There, a ward of protection, just in case.”

“Thank you” Violet was surprised when he didn’t let go but she didn’t complain. She hadn’t held hands with someone since she was a little girl and the fact he was so handsome along with nice definitely contributed to the fact she didn’t mind. “Are you truly staying out of my head?” She had to ask. He smiled again “Yes”

“alright, I trust you”

“what would we have to talk about anyway if I went and looked at everything?”

“True, I mean, the books are only going to last us so long”

“I was trying not to think about them. I want to know what happens next” Violet smiled, filling with amusement of her own. “who is your favorite character so far?” He had to think “Cedric, I’m going to have to go with Cedric”

“Why?”

“Because he’s so relatable. He’s trying his best to do the right thing without hurting anyone, but he’s realizing things aren’t that simple.”

“Like you?”

Dian gave a little laugh. “Yeah, I don’t want to hurt anyone, I really don’t, but I know I’ll have to and I’ve made peace with that fact. These powers were passed down to me to defend myself and others and that’s how I’ll use them.”

“You’re a good man, Dian, you really are.”

“I owe the king and queen, they were good people and my friends. I couldn’t save them, even with all my power, so now I’ll bring their son home and help him take back the throne.”

“And I’ll help you.”

“Are you sure, you know there are bound to be swords and ill tempered mercenaries.”

She smiled, making his heart dance. “I’m sure, besides, you have my back.”

They chatted happily about their lives, Dian telling her stories of what it was like serving the previous king and queen, of how his magic worked. She felt her face heat as she asked if he had a wife or kids and her heart fluttered when he smiled in amusement and told her no.

Despite how embarrassing it was to ask him, Violet had to know. It came as a relief to know that her attraction to him could be felt without guilt. She wasn’t ready to confess to anything yet, it was much too soon and they had too far of a journey ahead of them but it was incredibly nice to know that if she fell completely in love it would be okay. The terrain they were currently in was perfect for getting to know one another. The path was smooth and there didn’t seem to be a wild animal with the mildest interest in them. They were able just to talk until lunch when Dian kept to his word and read to Violet while she heated up their food.

They were back on the road as soon as they finished eating and cleaning up and Dian decided to continue reading as they walked, even acting out some of the scenes much to Violet’s amusement. He grinned every time he got her to laugh and teased her when she blushed. Their first day passed without trouble and Dian started another fire when night fell so Violet could warm their food and to keep them warm. They settled in for the night after he finished reading and he was relieved she could so easily sleep outside. It was some time after midnight when they were woke by the sound of footsteps and whispered voices. Their eyes met past the fire and they both lay there as still as possible.

“Violet,” he said softly, “cover your ears, close your eyes and scoot back away from the fire.”

She nodded and squeezed her eyes shut, pretending to roll in her sleep, bringing her hands up to her ears as she did so. Dian could hear the men in the woods. They thought they were being stealthy, that he and Violet had not heard them, but they had been wrong. He heard them step out of the treeline and readied himself. One approached him from behind and he could see in the firelight another heading straight for Violet. He heard the whispered command of their leader and just as the one near Violet reached for her, he closed his eyes, covered his ears, and caused the fire to explode up into a bright pillar of blinding light.

 

Final Chapter

They groaned loudly and Dian quickly rose, punching the man who had been previously in position to grab Violet. They both heard bone crunch and knew the mans nose was going to be gushing blood. “fuck” Violet got up too, ready to fight alongside Dian but instead he grabbed her wrist along with the bag of books and began running, pulling her away. Dian knew this journey would require violence but he wanted to use as little of it as possible. The only reason he punched the man so near Violet was to make sure he couldn’t find his senses and grab her when she stood and if he was being truly honest with himself, he also did it because she was coming to mean a lot to him.

Violet couldn’t quite keep pace with Dian but she did her best. The two kept at it until they were both panting and sure those men were far behind them. “Oh crap our stuff” Violet realized they had the bag of books but not their items. He sighed “we have what’s important, our lives and the medallion. We can make due along the way”

“It’s good you keep it on you constantly”

“You didn’t get scorched or anything did you?”

“No, still have my eyebrows.”

He chuckled as he stopped and took her face in his hands. “Yeah, they look even to me.”

She blushed. “Um, your’s do too. You were closer than me so, that’s surprising.”

“Trust me, I’ve burned mine off a few times, back when I was first learning. There was a time I had to keep my hair extremely short because I kept burning it.” She laughed and he smiled back. “I’m glad you got to keep yours though, it’s too beautiful to burn.” He let her face go and took her hand instead. “Come on, let’s keep moving.”

Violet wasn’t sure how long they kept walking, only that the sun was suddenly starting to rise and she was getting tired. She was about to ask for a breather when Dian scooped her up into his arms. “What are you doing?”

“You’re tired right?”

“Well yeah, but you’re already carrying the books.”

“I’ll be fine, I promise.”

“If I’m not walking I could read to you so you can learn what happens next” He smiled again, it lighting up his face “thats a perfect idea” he set her down long enough to grab the book they were on and give it to her. “Are you sure this is enough sun for your eyes not to hurt?”

“Oh yeah, this is fine” Violet relaxed in his arms and began quietly reading, semi worried there might be others near who could be drawn by her voice. They had been lucky to get away from their last situation so easily. She didn’t want to roll their odds again anytime soon. Things were quite, almost concerningly so for Dian but he wouldn’t worry about it. He was finding he liked her reading voice too. Dian suddenly stopped a few chapters later, causing Violet to look up at him “whats wrong” he set her down so he could touch the ground. Violet stood there silently, gripping her book. He took her hand, still not offering any sort of explanation. She supposed they either needed to be quite or this was just a result of traveling by himself up until now. He might just not be used to explaining anything to someone else.

Either way she began looking around, only seeing different kinds of bugs exploring this place they called home. He was crouching again, feeling the ground. He looked up at her “you know I almost fell for it listening to you read. It might be dangerous for you to read while I hold you. I might not pay close enough attention”

“what’s wrong?” she finally pressed, eager to know what she should be worried about. “I can’t imagine anybody knew I’d be coming this way so this must be an old trap someone set for whatever reason and then forgot to get rid of it”

“that or were killed”

“yeah, I suppose they’d need some kind of reason to do this but come down here, feel” She crouched down beside him and felt in front of them. Her face scrunched up”what?”

“theres nothing there”

“but” she felt again “dear god maybe whoever set it forgot and walked right off”

“that kind of karma would suck. Since we ran in the dark we must have gone the wrong way somehow. I’m normally better than that. I’m sorry”

“You don’t have to be sorry.”

“I should be more aware.”

“Dian, you haven’t had to worry about someone else traveling with you, so don’t beat yourself up. You’re just trying to be a good protector and companion.”

He sighed then gave her a smile. “You’re an amazing woman, Violet.” They both stood. “I’m going to disarm it just in case someone else comes around then we can get back on track.” He had her step back and he held his hands out, closing his eyes, and whispering a spell.

Violet was amazed when his palms began glowing with pale light. Her heart danced in her chest as his voice became a little louder and more impassioned. She could feel his magic as it spread out around them and tingled over her skin. The light faded and he let out a soft sigh and opened his eyes. “Is it safe now?”

“Yes, everything should be fine and no one should get hurt.”

“That’s good.”

He nodded and reached over, taking her hand. His palm felt warm against hers. “Are you ready?”

She didn’t realize she was just staring at him until he cocked his head to the side and gave her questioning look. Her face flushed in embarrassment. “Oh, yes, sorry, let’s go.”

“He chuckled. “How cute you are my little warrior.”

“Oh hush, come one.” She started to walk off and he gently pulled her back.

“It’s this way.”

She nervously chuckled, wishing her face wasn’t so warm. People around her had always looked up to her back home but Dian was the first man to make her feel seen as a woman. He was so flirtatious and sweet. Her thoughts soon turned more serious as they walked back the way they came. She knew the two of them had gone far and wasted hours of time in a situation where every bit of time was precious. When he began guiding them to the left she grew concerned they were going the wrong way again “but we didn’t turn before? Shouldn’t we still go straight?”

“No, it’ll be quicker to get back on course this way. I know this area pretty well which makes it all the more ridiculous I did that and I see that face, it’s not your fault. You’re distracting but that doesn’t make us getting side tracked your fault”

“well”

“I wont hear of it. I’m a man with a job, distracting female companion or not I should be aware of where we are going” She gave him a small smile “so, can we talk?”

“Yeah, what would you like to talk about?”

“Well, what do you plan to do, after everything? I mean are you going back home or something else?”

He smiled. “Define something else.”

“Well, maybe settle down or something?”

He shrugged. “Maybe, I haven’t given it too much thought really.” He chuckled. “Okay, that’s not entirely true, I’ve been thinking about it more recently. I mean, what if I died never falling in love? What if I never had the chance to have kids and raise them around the castle and show them magic?”

“You would want to live there?”

“Well, I feel an obligation to continue my job, not just for the prince, but for his parents, my friends. However, if she wished to stay where she was then I would have no choice but to travel back and forth.”

“I think I would move if it were me, I mean it would be something new, an adventure.”

Violet was startled when he said “well good because you are the cause of my thinking of that recently…I know we just met Violet but I’d be a liar and an idiot to pretend you didn’t have a pull on my heart. You’re not only beautiful but you’re incredibly brave. That brief glimpse I saw into your history made me want to know so much more about you. You also have impeccable tastes in books apparently.” She almost stuttered but managed to speak normally “You can’t really think I’m pretty. I’ve never felt pretty” He took her hand, causing Violet to stop so he could look into her eyes “You’re gorgeous Violet. I mean that. How do you feel about me?”

“I like you a lot too”

“good, I really do hope by the end of this adventure you’ll truly want to live in the castle with me. We don’t have to rush into marriage or kids or anything. I was just being honest about the kind of thoughts you draw out of me Violet”

“I know, I’m happy, really. Are you sure you’re ready to live with me? I mean, I’m a bit hot headed sometimes.”

“No you’re not, you just get exasperated, I saw it.” He tipped her head back and bent down, his lips stopping a breath from hers. “You are so noble and beautiful, a true warrior and I love you for it, Violet.”

“Dian.” Her voice came out in a whisper and he smiled as he pressed his lips to hers.

He pulled back with a sigh. “We should go my love. Are you ready?”

“Yeah.”

Dian decided to take as many shortcuts as he could as they headed further North, wanting to stay as far ahead of the men chasing him as he could. He knew the journey back might be harder than the journey there while they were being followed. He could feel that it was starting to become colder the further they went and was relieved when the city came into view. Violet was shivering and he picked her up, hoping his own warmth would keep the cold at bay.

She snuggled into him “thank you” her voice was a whisper which concerned him even more. Dian picked up his pace, wanting to get her inside somewhere before she became sick. Dian walked into the first in, only setting her down to pay for a room. It didn’t take long, soon they were inside and he suggested “why don’t you run yourself a bath while I go out again and see if anybody around here sells clothing. Now that we’ve hit a city we really need a change of clothes, something warmer since most of whats left of our journey will be cold”

“You’re cold too though. You don’t need to get us warmer clothes right now.”

“I really want to, I can probably just ask the man at the front desk so I wont be outside long. Just relax here, warm up and I’ll be back before you know it” She could see the resolve in his eyes to go so she didn’t argue it any further. Besides, her body longed to be in a warm bath. Dian left as Violet entered the bathroom, making sure to lock the door so she wouldn’t get any surprise visitors. Just as he thought the man at the front desk knew a good place to go clothes shopping for them both so he didn’t have to wander to locate one.

Violet let out a sigh of relief once she was sitting in the tub and she was grateful that it was so big so the water rose up to her chin and covered everything. She rested her neck against the edge, just soaking up the soothing warmth. She hummed softly to herself, thinking of Dian and how much had happened in just the short time they had known each other. After everything she had had to face and scare away, falling in love with someone like Dian had been the most unexpected. She couldn’t get over how perfect and honorable he was and she hoped she wouldn’t suddenly wake up asleep on one of her books.

Dian bought clothes as quickly as possible, thanking the woman running the store for helping him find something suitable for Violet. He spent extra on a coat and boots for her, wanting her to be as warm as possible while they traveled North. He made a stop at another store to buy dry kindling, a small ax, and ask where the best firewood could be found in the direction they were going. He wasn’t going to make Violet travel through the night in the snow. He thanked the man there and hurried back to the inn.

The bathroom door was still closed when he entered the room so he knocked on the door, both to make sure she was really still in there and to let her know he was back “yeah? Dian?” her voice sounded from the other side of the door, obviously still safely in the bath “do you want me to set your new clothes in front of the door or to set them in there…I wont go all the way in”

“You can set them in here, thank you” Dian opened the door just enough to set the clothes on the counter. Violet pulled on the stopped so the tub would drain. There wasn’t a lot of heat left in it anyway and she was sure Dian needed a turn to warm his body. Violet was a little nervous about the clothes fitting since he didn’t know her measurements but to her glee they fit perfectly and were incredibly comfortable. As she looked in the mirror she decided they were even cute, he had good tastes, another thing to love about him.

The first thing Violet did upon leaving the bathroom was hug him. He just smiled, holding her tight “thank you”

“I was worried about you”

“Just not used to it being so cold. I mean it snows back home, but it’s much colder up here.”

He pulled back to look at her. “How are you feeling? Warm enough?”

“Yeah and I love the clothes.”

“They look good on you, but I have something even better.” He moved away from her and lifted the coat. “To keep you extra warm.”

Violet took it gently, amazed by how soft it was. “Wow.”

“It’s made from a bear hide. The interior is sealskin, same with the boots to keep you dry.”

“You’re so sweet, Dian.”

“I can’t have my beautiful love freeze to death.” He took the coat and held it open. “Let’s go out and get something to eat, we can talk about what we’re going to do while we do.”

“Okay.” She slipped the coat on and quickly buttoned it. “What do you think?”

“You look like you belong here, very cute.”

“are you sure you’re up to going out? You haven’t had a chance to warm up”

“I’ll be fine, just cuddle with me later” Dian said, bringing her hand to his lips to kiss it. The difference in their temperatures was clearly evident but he insisted he was fine so they left together. “this one place smelled amazing when I passed it” Dian said as he scooped her up outside. “I can’t wait” Violet was worried about Dian not being able to truly get warm yet so she was glad they didn’t have to go far to reach the place he was talking about.

Violet agreed, the smells coming from this place were amazing. They talked about the restaurant until their food actually came “so do you need us to take a break here for more than just tonight? We can stay a day or two. You’re not used to this and I don’t want to push you too hard” Dian said after his first bite. Violet finished chewing and swallowed “I definitively want to leave in the morning. I don’t think we should take a long stop unless one of us gets sick. You’re right, I’m not used to this but I’m really fine. Besides, you keep picking me up so how can it be all that hard”

Dian smiled “I like being close to you” Violet blushed and he was just happy she was warm enough to. She found herself thinking about how sweet and caring he was again. Traveling together was one of those things that could make or break relationships so she felt it showed how much promise this thing between them had that she felt this happy. They talked about where they needed to go and the best ways to get there until their food was gone. After Dian paid he took Violets hand and said “lets just enjoy eachother for the rest of the night okay? If we talk I just want it to be about normal life things, I want to get to know you more” Violet smiled “I’d like that too”

~The End