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Stoke - 3. Emotion

*Explicit adult content, blood, does Talon's mouth need a warning? The man swears pretty consistently

I was leaning on the worn table in the main living area of the safe house. It was still strange that I had spent an entire night here without seeing anything except the four walls of the bedroom Talon and I had claimed. It was small. The small table I sat at, a tiny kitchen with only one countertop, and a seating area arranged around a simple fireplace. I’d explored the four bedrooms upstairs before I’d come down here to sit. Talon was still sleeping soundly, his feet hanging off the end of the too small bed. It may not be my first choice, but it was the first bed we’d slept in since leaving the manor.

Tyren was bustling around the kitchen as per usual, scraping something together for breakfast. Hanja sat across from me at the table, sipping tea from a chipped cup. Amaris was sprawled across the only couch, rubbing sleep from her eyes. My gaze shifted back to Wren, who was furiously trying to reinforce the door and reconnect it to its hinges. I’d been filled in when I’d padded into the kitchen. Talon had lost all reason and panicked. Whether I was involved or not, he always excelled at thinking things through before deciding. He’d done it before he left on his doomed mission, enlisting Wren to become an additional protector. He wasn’t irrational, but Wren had scoffed that I had brought out a potentially fatal protective streak in my lover. Wren didn’t mean to be insulting. It was his own way of showing us that he was concerned, that he cared. Our choices often seemed stupid and ridiculous to him. Which was fair. I assumed it would be almost impossible to not criticize choices when you’d been making them for hundreds of years.

I rested my cheek against my fist as I watched Tyren, “What do you know about dreams?”

Tyren’s head tilted as he whisked up eggs that had been waiting for us when we’d arrived at the safehouse. I didn’t know who Wren trusted with the knowledge that this was where we were hiding out, but they had stocked the house with real food before we got here.

“I confess, my knowledge is limited. Why do you ask?” He paused and he smiled brightly at me.

I took a deep breath and decided it was now or never. I had to open up to someone. I started softly, “I’ve been having nightmares since Lex died which I’m sure you all noticed. It’s normally the same one or something similar. Lex is forcing me down. I’m drowning in blood. There’s no escape. When I destroyed the tent and hurt Talon, my power had been sapped in the dream. I didn’t feel the energy around me almost exactly like when they arrow’s poison took it from me.” I took a breath. I had rushed through my words and Tyren tilted his head as he considered me. For a moment I was horrified he hadn’t caught all of it.

“So, you think your dream predicted the loss of your power?” Tyren hummed.

“I have no idea. Then, the night before last, when my fever broke, I had a different dream. A different nightmare.” I sighed. Getting it out was a relief. Knowing that I wasn’t weathering this storm alone gave me a small bit of hope.

“What was this new nightmare? Walk me through it.” Tyren was frowning softly and tilted his head as he looked at me.

“I was walking, like the other nightmares, but it was…it was different. Normally I would be on the road we walked that day or on one that I’d walked in the past. This time I’d never been where I was. I was in the woods and the end of the path was pitch black. Something was talking to me. When I actually reached the dark it was moving around me.” I rubbed the back of my neck as yellow eyes slid away from my face as Tyren listened.

“It was strange. It didn’t have one voice. It was like there were multiple people talking at once, as one.”

“What was it saying?” Tyren asked, hands stilling as his food preparation was forgotten.

“I don’t know.” I shrugged, “It kept asking about my power so I made it play a game. Question for a question. It did-“

“You said it sounded like more than one voice?” Wren was in my space suddenly.

“Well, yes, it sounded like a whole bunch. Male, female, even children.” I frowned at how wide Wren’s eyes were.

He gripped my tunic and yanked me to face him, “Did you see it? Did you see its face?”

He was almost yelling now. I was startled. Wren rarely raised his voice, “No, I could only sense it moving around me in the dark.”

“What questions specifically did it ask you? What did you tell it?” Wren snapped, pupils blown wide.

“It asked about my power and I told it the basics.” I shrugged, “It was a dream.” Wren shoved me away from him and Tyren was beginning to move around the counter he’d been working at. The room’s attention was on us.

“What’s going on?” Eon tromped down the stairs. His hair was wet and he still held a towel.

“You’re inexplicably stupid brother apparently thinks it’s just fine to reveal his secrets to anyone or anything that asks. Do you know what it was? Do you know what crept into your mind in the middle of the night and drew you to it?” Wren was ranting, his clawed hands curled and threatening.

“It was a dream.” I insisted, dread slowly creeping up my spine.

“Dreams are not off limits to some of the darker creatures in this world Kalian. Even human Magik users can lull you into a false sense of security with them. You need to be more careful with the information you divulge. Even if you think it’s a dream.” Tyren admonished. He looked nervous, eyeing Wren.

“I take it, you know of whatever this thing was?” Hanja mumbled to Wren around another sip of tea, eyes downcast.

“Yes.” Wren slumped into a chair, head in his hands. Everyone in the room stared. This was not the Wren we were used to. Unshakeable and endlessly confident, this version was the opposite. He was breathing hard and his eyes were still so wide.

“I think,” Talon descended the stairs, “It’s time we talk about what you’re keeping from us. It started yesterday with me. I’m not stupid. We were followed. You were scared. You almost tore my head off when you thought I wasn’t going to go inside the cabin.” He pushed his bangs out of his eyes and crossed his arms over his bare chest, jaw clenched.

“You never told us t-“ Amaris started but Wren slammed his hands down on the table. The wood shook and creaked under the force. For a minute I thought it might collapse under his assault.

“It doesn’t belong here. Dleth isn’t its home. Far from it. It was supposed to be bound to the Adanai mountain range. It was never supposed to be able to move freely again.” Wren’s voice had dropped into barely a whisper. The Adanai mountain range was hundreds of miles away. I’d never seen them, never ventured that far.

“That doesn’t answer the question, Wren.” Talon was glaring, his chin tilted up slightly as he stared down at his former leader.

“Keeping something from us that could put us in danger is not okay.” Tyren added, expression now weary. I could barely focus on the current discussion. I was stuck on our first one. My mind was spinning, and I felt like a fool. Of course, I shouldn’t answer questions like the ones that had been asked of me. I hadn’t even known who I was speaking to.

“It was sealed.” Wren was muttering to himself, “They sealed it.”

I moved around the table and kneeled next to Wren, “Wren, please. Tell me what I’ve done.”

“It never had a name. Not a real one. It was a scourge. A blight on humanity. We didn’t know where it came from. It was older than humans. My father said it came into being when our earth did. It took so many. So many of our people. They sealed it-my father and the others.” Wren babbled, not looking at me. His eyes stared off into space as if he was a million miles away mentally.

“But what is it? What does this mean for us?” Talon had lost his anger and now just sounded concerned.

“It ate Magik. Fed off the pure energy. When it realized humans had started to wield the power, it saw an additional food source. Magik and flesh. It was devastating. But we stopped it. I haven’t heard even whispers for three hundred years.” He finally looked at me and it sent a chill through me.

“We called it the Soul Eater and you’ve drawn it’s attention.” Wren’s face was tight as he looked at me, his mouth pulled down in a frown.

“Of course he fucking did.” Talon groaned, his hand dragging down his face.

“Let’s calm down and take inventory of our problems here.” Eon held his hands out in a placating manner.

“I’ll start.” Hanja stood, setting his tea down, “We’re in a foreign country that kills our kind for simply being who they are.”

“We’re in a piece of shit safe house.” Amaris added.

“The queen might be dead. The king might be lost to us.” I whispered. Talon’s eyes were dark, and he was scowling at the ground.

“Apparently,” Talon huffed out, “Kalian has opened himself to an ageless, soul eating monster who has an aversion to answering questions about itself. It seems to have zero problem entering someone’s mind without permission. Also, let’s take a minute and thank the gods that it came here specifically for him. Also, if that wasn’t the best part, it communicated with him entirely in his head.” I winced, throwing my walls up. He’d been shifting around inside my mind. That’s the only way he could’ve known all of that. It seemed ironic that he was discussing entering a mind without permission.

“That isn’t a surprise. If it’s able to infiltrate Kalian’s dreams and communicate, speaking to him in a connection similar to the one you two have isn’t an outlandish thought.” Tyren sighed and frowned at me. I shifted in my seat and tried to avoid eye contact. Tyren looked disappointed, Wren thought I was stupid, and Talon…Talon was in a strange mood. I could feel it. He wasn’t himself this morning. There was some more discussion before Wren stood.

“If it’s here for Kalian, there is nothing we can do. We’re already trapped.” He returned to the front door. He looked down at it in defeat and then got back to work. Tyren returned to his cooking, brow furrowed as he no doubt worried himself sick. Hanja’s eyes were fixated on the table, lost in thought. Amaris caught my eye, and she jerked her head to the stairs. I nodded and she rose and climbed them, me right on her heels. As I passed Talon, I tried my best to smile reassuringly up at him. He didn’t even look at me. He was staring out the splintered door, his shoulders held rigid. I paused for a moment. I wanted to reach out. I shook my head and continued up the stairs. I’m sure Talon would address whatever he was most upset about later when we were alone. I wouldn’t push him now.

Amaris’ room was at the end of the hallway, and I managed to catch up to her as she opened her door. The room mirrored our own. It lacked any personality and housed only the small bed. She sat on the bed and patted the spot next to her. I sunk down and rested my elbows on my knees as I roughly rubbed my eyes.

“Talon kind of called you out down there, huh? You two fighting? He normally does everything he can to take attention off you. Especially when you do something stupid.” She set about unraveling one of her long braids and I turned my torso to help with the one closest to me. She had a point. It wasn’t often that Talon left me to defend myself in our group conversations. He was always trying to cool any heat I may have cultivated from a dumb decision or wrong choice.

“I didn’t think we were fighting, but now I’m not so sure. He’s kept me almost entirely out of his mind since Mallex. Every now and then he’ll let me in, but it’s rare. I may get snippets if he’s feeling a particular emotion pretty strongly, but I’m mostly in the dark.” I sighed, resting my palms against my cheeks for a moment.

“Oh, how terrible, you might have to communicate with your husband the old fashioned way.” Amaris rolled her eyes and then laughed as I phased through about 50 shades of red before landing on beet.

“He’s not-we’re not…I mean-“

“Kalian calm down. I know you’re not married. You might as well be though.” Her fingers hadn’t stopped working on her hair and I resumed my side, “Did he give any indication this morning that he was upset with you?”

“I’m assuming it’s because he saw what happened in the dream. I’m sure it worried him. You know how he is. He thinks I can’t do anything for myself, and I need constant supervision.” I sighed and let my hands fall into my lap.

“Well, is he wrong? You did get hit with an arrow, lose your Magik, and almost die from a fever just yesterday.” She shrugged and I slipped farther into dejection. I thought I had been getting better. I had convinced myself that I wasn’t the helpless boy who’d left Krinn all those months ago, but here I was, being told I needed to be protected. They still didn’t trust me to take care of myself.

“I am not a child. You have all had injuries. You’re not invincible either.” I gripped my knees as the familiar tang of anger filled my head.

“Kal, we know you’re not a child, but the reality is you’re still inexperienced and with all your nightmares…I just think Talon has a right to be concerned with your safety. Also, there is the fact that he, ya know, is hopelessly in love with you. You control light and all that but I’m positive you’re Talon’s personal sun. The center of his entire universe.” She was trying to make me feel better, butter me up because she knew I was getting upset.

“You and Wren taught me to fight. If either of you thought I wasn’t doing well enough then why wasn’t anything said? I’ve been working my ass off so I won’t be a burden. You and Talon both imply that I still am one. Do you not understand why that frustrates me?” She was quiet for a few minutes, arranging her hair in some ornate updo. She held out clips for me and I grumbled as I took them. I handed them to her as she pinned her hair up.

“I understand Kal, but unfortunately the group of friends you picked are all almost masters in their respective fields. Talon and I have been fighting since we were teenagers. Wren’s been fighting for centuries. Eon is ex-military. Even Hanja and Tyren have years of fighting experience. That doesn’t touch on everything else our group is good at.” She took a breath and cupped my cheek so I would look at her.

“You’re not fragile and you’re not helpless or a burden. You are surrounded by extraordinarily strong people, and we love you. We want to keep you safe. None of us want you to think we don’t see you as an equal.” I leaned into her hand and let my eyes slip closed. Her words were nice, but they did little to curb my frustration. The glaring truth was that they didn’t see me as an equal. Without trying, they made that abundantly obvious. I had had to defend myself before and I had done it. I was the one who had pulled people together to save Talon. Not the other way around. I shook my head and stood. I was tired again and I was sick of having conversations like this. Amaris tried to reach for me, but I was already stalking through the door.

I beelined for my bedroom and sighed when one of the objects of my frustration sat in a chair reading a book. I shut the door behind me and made for the bed. Neither of us spoke and I was thankful for the silence as I sunk into the soft blankets. Talon remained reticent, turning pages the only noise in the room. I pulled a thick blanket over myself, making sure to pull it up high so there was extra fabric around my head that would hide me from my love. I didn’t want to argue with him. He was annoyed. I had been able to tell that by the way his jaw clenched when I walked in. That was fine. He could be annoyed. I didn’t care right now. My only pressing concern was how fast I could fall asleep and if I would die of heatstroke if I covered myself with yet another blanket. I nuzzled the pillow and frowned softly to myself when I realized my blankets smelled like Talon. I played with the blanket on top of me, making little pleats with my fingers as I struggled to remain silent. Another page turned, then another, and another. Finally, I found the silence so deafening that I had to interrupt it.

“What’re you upset about? The fact that I got hurt or that I put myself in danger talking to whatever that thing was?” I squirmed and rolled onto my side so I could look at him. He didn’t look up from his book. Only turned the page, dark eyes scanning over the written words. It was driving me crazy. Finally, he set the book down. His full attention slammed down on me, and I regretted wanting it in the first place.

“To clarify what’s happened: you went and found a dangerous situation, dragged us all into it, and are now confused why we’re upset. That sound about right?” His face was blank, but black swirled in his eyes as he kept them locked on me.

“I didn’t realize what I was doing. It wasn’t intentional Talon. I didn’t go to sleep last night thinking that I’d come across some Magik eating creature in my dreams. I thought it was a dream. You’re being a little harsh. Don’t you think?” I pushed myself to sit up and not shrink under his scrutiny.

“It was stupid. You know Anders’ Magik tampers with minds. It didn’t occur to you that at some point we’ll have to go up against that? You let the first thing that tried waltz right into your mind and then on top of that you were more than willing to give it personal information. You do something like that again and you could get us all fucking killed.” I didn’t answer right away. I immediately dove into defensiveness and anger. How dare he? It hadn’t been on purpose, but the way he was acting it may as well have been.

“Unfortunately, Talon, I’m going to make stupid mistakes. This isn’t going to be the first or last time. I’m not infallible, but neither is anyone else here. I’d like to remind you that some of your own mistakes almost got you killed. I didn’t beat you down for those. A little understanding would be nice. You’re supposed to be my partner.” I laid back down and rolled onto my side, facing away from him. I wasn’t sure what had happened but sometime when I had been sick, Talon’s attitude had taken a nosedive. I was not a fan. Sure, he’d tease me or scold me, but this was different. It was borderline mean and that wasn’t him. I heard the wood chair he’d been sitting in creak, and I pulled the blanket to my chest, waiting for him to curl around me and apologize. We hadn’t fought or argued since before he’d been hurt and apparently, we weren’t ready to deal with it like adults yet. I waited for him and felt the tiniest bit of excitement when I heard him stand. Instead of approaching me, though, his steps led away, and I heard the door open. It slammed behind him, and I sat up and stared at the offending piece of wood like this was its fault. I could hear some noises drifting up from downstairs, but my ears focused on Talon literally stomping his way across the room. He was being a jerk. He could do that alone. If he was going to slam doors and stomp around, I would leave him entirely to his own devices.




I’d seen the entire dream play out as if I had been through it instead of Kalian. The questions, the predatory circling that Kalian was too naïve to recognize for what it was until the very last minute. For fuck’s sake the thing had grabbed him at the end from behind! If his Magik hadn’t triggered, or whatever that had been, would it have been able to harm him in his sleep? He’d been entirely defenseless and clueless. I rubbed my chin as I stalked over to the ragged looking loveseat that sat in the main room. I was ill-equipped to deal with my partner right now. He was right. I was being a tad bit unfair, but it was hard when he couldn’t even see how much danger he’d put us all in. No screw that, I didn’t care. I liked our little group, but at the end of the day, Kalian was the only one who’s wellbeing I had taken on. He couldn’t even see how much danger he’d put himself in. He had a strong gift, he was powerful, but he was still only twenty-one and had less training than a schoolboy. Oh, we tried of course, but you could only learn so fast. Your body could only take so much before you needed to rest.

I threw myself down on the loveseat with a huff, ignoring Tyren and Hanja. They were the only two down here and I wondered where the others had drifted off to. Upstairs probably. It’s not as if this was a sprawling mansion with grounds. You were either upstairs, downstairs, or outside. After the conversation we’d just had about a literal monster stalking us now, I doubted outside was the attractive option. Or even an option at all if the earlier version of Wren had anything to say about it. The look in his eyes, his near frantic movements and rambling. It was unnerving and the look Amaris and I had shared let me know I wasn’t the only one set on edge.

I let my head fall back against the arm of the couch. Amaris. She’d extracted him from the whole conversation, and they’d gone upstairs together. I knew nothing romantic was going on, but I found myself…jealous. Kalian and Amaris became fast friends, and that friendship only grew the longer they were together. They leaned on each other and recently, without Amaris, I was struggling to pull Kalian out of his nightmares. I couldn’t get him to calm down alone. If I kept coming up short, would he replace me with her? If I couldn’t get over being emotionally stunted, would he get sick of dealing with me? Wren’s words in the cellar had gotten to me. As much as I wanted to convince myself that I was still an unfeeling assassin that would push through anything and everything to complete the mission, I wasn’t that man anymore. I couldn’t be. Not when, in a crisis, I thought of Kalian first. Or maybe I didn’t. I had deserted him, hence the arrow wound. I was so confused. I had no idea how to be a good partner. How to protect someone. I had these glaring gaps in my personality and the longer Kalian and I were together, the more I became aware of them. It was more than even that though. The more we traveled in this group, this little family, the more I noticed how weak our relationships made us. If everything fell apart, I’d save Kalian, Hanja and Tyren would focus on each other, and Wren and Eon would do the same. That made me uncomfortable. Someone would always fall through the cracks. Who, when shit hit the fan, would think of Amaris? Gods, did I have any fucking answers? It felt like I was alternating between beating my head against a brick wall and running in circles.

“If you glare any harder at the fireplace, I fear you may manifest Eon’s Magik and ignite it.” My head snapped up as Hanja lowered himself into a nearby chair gracefully. His hair was loose from its normal braid and the black curtain hung to his waist. His face was impassive as he turned slightly to look at me after he got comfortable. Had Hanja…had Hanja made a joke?

“Sorry.” I looked away from him, trying to ignore his scarlet gaze as it remained on me. Hanja had a strange intimidating quality that almost rivaled Wren. He had an uncanny ability to make you feel immature and foolish without even opening his mouth.

“You are worried for him. It’s translating into anger, but anger’s root is almost always fear.” I frowned softly at him and wondered how he managed to have insight into almost everything. Him and Tyren were both that way, wisdom beyond their age. They only had about ten years on me, but I felt like they parented our little group often.

“I don’t want to talk about it. Leave me alone.” He let out a sigh and closed his eyes for a moment before fixing me with a bored expression. The slightly upturned corners of his eyes had smudges of black around them and they set off his red irises even more. Making the look he gave me that much more pointed.

“Have you not been encouraging your partner for days to speak on his nightmares and triggers? Do you think you are above trauma because you’ve led a hard life Talon?” He never raised his voice, but his words sliced through me, and I felt like a child being scolded. The bastard was right of course, and I hated it.

“Listen, I’ve been in enough arguments tonight. Crying about my problems to someone isn’t really my thing.” My voice was rough, and I sighed softly as I added, “thanks, though, if you were offering.”

“Then you listen. I watched soldiers cut Tyren down when we were looking for you. We have been together for 15 years and I still lost all rational thought. It has never gotten easier. Any time we go into battle together, I want to stuff him in a little box for safekeeping. I hate watching him fight. I hate it, but I am Tyren’s partner. I am not his parent or keeper. It is not up to me to decide things for him, even if I believe my judgment is better.” I opened my mouth, but Hanja’s eyebrows rose and he held up a black gloved hand.

“I know it is hard to step back, to let them make decisions that you may not agree with or that you believe are dangerous, but that’s what you’ve signed up for. You are strong Talon. No one would argue that, but you have picked a partner whose strength already rivals your own without the normal years of training one would expect. You didn’t see him fight. Even if you saw something through your connection, you were not there.”

“Kalian was on his own. None of us could get to him. We were hopelessly outnumbered, and he still broke out of those trees. He charged into battle, a situation he’d never actively participated in before, and he handled himself. Then, he literally saved our lives. He can be foolish, yes, you are all still young, but he is not helpless. You yourself have made irrational decisions due to inexperience and age. I think, that you may have unintentionally put yourself on a pedestal higher than your love. He deserves to be by your side, not behind you. He’s earned it. You’re not alone. We all haven’t been giving Kalian the respect he deserves.” I was staring. I don’t think in our time together I had ever heard Hanja string together so many words. Even when he was teaching Kalian, he seemed to do more with looks and carefully timed eyebrow movements. As I sat on the piece of shit couch and locked eyes with the healer, things began shifting into place. He’d hit the nail on the head. I wasn’t being fair. It was much like it had been when Eon had his head injury. Sure, he wasn’t where we perhaps thought he should be, but the man could still hold his own. Kalian had been through unspeakable things. I’d seen them through our connection those rare times when he broke down. Mallex had subjected him to things that made me see red. More than once, I wished I could bring him back and torture him to death again. I hadn’t taken enough time to ensure he had truly suffered for everything he’d done to our friends.

“This group…is strange. I’ve never been exposed to a dynamic like this one. We may try to act as if we aren’t all bonded, but at the end of the day, I would lay my life down for any of you. Tyren used to be the only person in my world that I thought about in that way. It’s…unsettling and I do not approve, but it’s already happened. I’ve grown…fond of you degenerates.” With that, Hanja stood and walked around the couch and out of my view. His feet paused at the base of the stairs, and I heard two sets of steps ascend. So Tyren had been down here the entire time. I had barely noticed. I let my head fall back and I stared up at the ceiling. Clarity was a strange thing. Hanja was right again even though I had tried to convince myself otherwise. I’d fight for these people. I’d die for them. It wasn’t the person Wren had made me, but I had changed. I wasn’t single minded anymore. It had started with Kalian, but now it had spread to the inhabitants of this house.

Kalian. I tried to stifle a groan as I pressed my palms against my eyes. I’d been an ass to him. After he’d fought and been subjected to Mallex, he’d changed. Obviously. He didn’t cry at the drop of the hat anymore, didn’t dissolve into little hissy fits when we failed to communicate properly. He’d let me leave and I wondered if the tables had turned. Had I become the irrational whiney one? I dug my palms more into my eyes, momentarily seeing stars before I stood. There was no way to fix it from a floor away. I rounded the couch and made my way to the stairs. I stopped in my tracks as wind blew through the room. Wren had fixed the door for the most part. It looked like a door again. No longer the splintered wood desperately clinging to old rusty hinges that I had left it. Speaking of irrational decisions…Gods why did I think I was somehow better than Kalian?

I froze as the wind slipped over my skin and I heard…voices? Impossible. I moved to the door, searching for any gaps that I could see in the faint light from the kitchen. The wind had blown in like the door was wide open. I frowned and reached for the doorknob.

“Talon. Upstairs.” Wren gripped the back of my shirt and yanked me back. His face was focused, calm, as he too stared at the door.

“Is it here?” I kept my voice quiet, once again hesitant to leave him.

“Not yet, but it’s getting closer.” Wren held a small bowl in his hand and I frowned. I opened my mouth to ask him what it was for when he raised his hand. Claws sliced through his wrist and I watched in horror as the bowl slowly filled with crimson blood.

“What are you doing?” I couldn’t look away from the bowl. Wren hadn’t even winced. He didn’t acknowledge what his hands were doing. All his attention was still on the door.

“Go upstairs. I will not tell you again.” I hesitated and his eyes finally met mine. The frantic Wren from earlier was gone, but this one was new to me as well. His features were relaxed, softened and I remembered a memory from Kalian of him this exact way. Moonlight lighting his almost delicate features and exposing how young he’d been when he’d fallen into what he was now. I nodded and almost tripped as I was rewarded with a soft smile. It was gentle and almost affectionate. It was a look I had dreamed about growing up. That prideful look that was normally received from a father figure. I’d never had it and I didn’t know what to do with it now. Mind you, traditionally, I don’t believe there was a shredded wrist and bowl of blood involved, but that seemed on par for my life.

I left him, tromping up the stairs and resisting the urge to look back. Was that…was that the real Wren? Was there someone hidden under all the violence and gore. I shook my head. There was no way. Wren was Wren. He had always been the same way. He must still be getting over his rush of emotions from earlier. That had to be it. My brain would not accept gentle Wren as a real, permanent thing. Those things did not go together.

I took a breath as I pushed open our bedroom door. I half expected Kalian to be asleep, but he rolled to face me as I closed the bedroom door, “Hey.”

“Hi.” His voice was soft and completely devoid of anger. I had a serious minute of self-loathing before I shook it off. I stood by the door, rubbing the back of my neck, uncertainty crashing through me. I could see Kalian sit up, the only light in the room from the moon. He held his arms out and I felt my shoulders droop. Gods, I didn’t deserve this man. I pulled my shirt over my head as I crossed the room, stripping off my pants as I stood by the bed. He looked up at me and I bit my lip as the moonlight lit his face and the half of his chest that was turned toward me. His face was soft from sleep and I tried to keep my thoughts innocent as his blanket fell and exposed one of his nipples.

“I’m sorry. I know it was stupid.” He murmured as I crawled in beside him.

“Shh.” I pulled him to me and his arms went around my neck. He was warm from sleep and shuddered at the cool air as it hit his skin. I pulled the blanket up and held him to me. My self control with Kalian had always been somewhat lacking and right now was no different. We needed to talk about the earlier argument and how I’d been an entire bag of dicks, but I couldn’t think straight. My mind was far too interested in the lean body pressed to mine. He’d put on muscle, but his waist and shoulders still managed to make him look almost small. He wasn’t even that short. Just under six foot, but I dwarfed him. Which was perfect in my book. He opened his mouth to speak, and I covered it with my own. He stiffened at first but then sighed softly, his hands moving to cup my face. It was innocent at first, our lips pressing repeatedly together, but then his hips lifted the tiniest bit and I dissolved into a horny hormonal haze like a teenager. I ran my tongue over his lower lip and his mouth opened. His fingers slid up to tangle in my hair as one of mine held his hip. I slid the other one up his chest, grazing his nipple before resting it on his neck. His tongue slid against mine as we shifted to get more comfortable. The kiss broke as he straddled me. I suddenly wanted more light. I could barely make out his gorgeous body and that didn’t seem right to me.

I shuddered as he rolled his hips down to mine, only our thin undergarments in the way. The friction wasn’t enough. It never was, but it would do for now. He lowered his upper body and rested his palms by my head as he kissed me hard again. I gripped his hips and used them to hold him in place as I roughly ground up. He gasped against my lips and my head swam. I never got sick of this. The noises he made, the feel of his skin on mine. I still regretted the months we’d gone back and forth. I could have had him sooner had I not been an idiot. Releasing his hips, I let my tongue snake back into his mouth as I slid my hands into the fabric separating us. I spread his cheeks in my hands, kneading the firm muscle. His hips wiggled against mine and I sat up enough to kiss down his neck. I was leaving marks. We both knew it. Alternating between my teeth scrapping his skin and my mouth sucking the spots, I worked my way down. His fingers found my hair and he tugged. He guided the nipple I’d been eyeing earlier into my mouth, and I moaned as my lips wrapped around it.

As I focused on it, he dragged my hand up between us. I heard the tell tale click and then cold oil hit my fingers. I winced slightly as he shoved my underwear down and dribbled the cool substance over my erection as well. Kalian threw the vial over his shoulder and before his attention returned to me, I slid a finger into him.

“More.” He moaned as he forced my focus back to his chest. I added a second finger, groaning as he clenched around them. I blew air against the nub that had been in my mouth, smirking as I heard his breath hitch. I kissed over his chest and then gave the neglected nipple the same treatment. My fingers worked quickly inside him and as I added a third, I slowed. There was always more drag here and sure enough, Kalian’s hips stopped their movements as he adjusted.

“I’m done with fingers. Come on Talon. It’s been too long.” It had, in fact, been 13 days and 19 hours exactly. Not that anyone was counting or anything. It was hard to have sex in a glorified tent with someone else sleeping three feet away from you and your partner.

“Desperate babe?” I chuckled.

“Shut up. Like you weren’t eye fucking me the minute you walked in. You’re such a-“ His back arched sharply as I pressed in. This part was always slow, and I savored it every time. The first initial slide in made me sure I had never known bliss, happiness, or pleasure until I’d found Kalian.

“I’m such a what baby?” I mumbled softly against his chest as I bottomed out, closing my eyes as he whimpered.

“Fuck you.” He gasped. He’d tried to say more, but I pulled out and snapped my hips up. His words died in his throat as he cried out, fingers gripping my shoulders. I smirked, quite happy with myself. I looked up at him, snarky one liner at the ready. He used my shoulders to shove my upper body down and my eyes widened as he rolled his hips down. The almost passive participant that Kalian had been at the start of our relationship had died a long time ago, but I was still thrown off every time he got aggressive.

There was no explanation for the way he was able to move his hips. He would roll them, grind down in circles, his movements so controlled that I was sure I was dead and in the afterlife. The additional training and strength had just put me at a further disadvantage. Every single thing he did was perfect and precise. He’d be my undoing and I was more than okay with that.

His short nails dug into my chest as we both started to lose control. Our rhythm was forgotten, and pure instinct took over. He slammed himself down and I snapped my hips up to meet him. The room was filled with cries, moans, and the ever-disgusting sound of skin slapping. My fingers dug into his hips as we worked each other into a frenzy. His head was thrown back, mouth open and eyes closed. He clenched down hard as he came between us with a cry of my name, and I followed almost right away. I loosened my bruising grip on his hips as we panted into the dark. His fingers rubbed gently at the scratches and crescent shaped marks he’d made with his nails, soothing the small bit of pain.

“You were an asshole earlier.” He gasped softly, still trying to get his breathing under control.

“Do we have to argue when I’m still inside you?” I groaned, pushing my sweaty hair off my forehead.

“We don’t have to argue at all Talon. Just admit you were being a jerk and I’ll consider letting you fuck me again tonight.”

Well, shit. What a generous offer. I shuddered and rolled my eyes as he giggled, “I was being a jerk. I’m sorry.”

More giggles, “Now tell me I’m pretty.”

I smiled softly, “That’s an understatement love. You’re stunning, gorgeous, beautiful.” He swatted at my chest as he slid off me, snuggling into my side.

His cheek rested against my chest, “Stop it.”

I swore I could feel his blush against my skin, “I can keep going. You want more specific compliments? Because I have some things to say about your ass…”

“Oh gods shut up!” He smacked my chest again and I laughed. If things could be this way all the time. If I could stop tripping over my own social and emotional hang ups. Gods, why was being in love so damn hard?

We were quiet for a long while and I thought he'd fallen asleep, when a tiny voice whispered against my skin, "Tell me you love me."

"I love you."


So, I believe the next thing I'll post will be a Wren/Eon side story.

It will be a separate work from this so be on the lookout! I'm thinking it will be up in two to three days🖤

As always thank you for reading and comments are my validation-addicted heart's life blood

Copyright © 2021 Demiurge; All Rights Reserved.
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The Soul Eater, an ancient Magik and flesh eating terror, is circling closer to their safehouse. Wren has changed into his moon child. Naturally, it's the best possible time for Talon and Kalian to have mind-blowing makeup sex.

There has never been a Magik user like Kalian with power over light. The Soul Eater is dark, blackness. Is it a moth approaching it's own personally destructive flame?

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I know I may make other authors on here perturbed when I continue to describe your work as the best. I don't mean to denigrate anyone as we all have our opinions. As a group they are great and this website has incredible gifted writers. I love this website.  However, in my opinion,  you are outstanding. This last chapter was again crafted with character development and emotions that had the me captured from the first paragraph . I can not wait for you to get back with the next chapter of the main story

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Well now, out of the frying pan and into the soul eaters fire, humm...do you think the make-up sex may help against the soul eater, too many good feelings and a re-charged Kalian able to wield some dark destroying weapons of light??? ☠️☠️😁

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7 hours ago, Demiurge said:

@drpaladin I had that thought while writing. Talon just heard and felt spooky shit…eh time to get laid 🤷🏻‍♂️

It kinda plays into the pun of slang talk to get freaky when feeling freaky.

Hmmm, the ancient dead languages, with sketchy explanations of just why they are dead, a correlating ancient majik eating dark force, born at times of dark spells possibly going wickedly wrong if not strong enough to control...

Could this be an ancient spell gone bad in the age of spell casting? And not understood before it consumed those strong enough to challenge? This lends credit too the dead languages’ decline by either consumption and/or the fear of that consuming force.

Wren is not without some shared blame for not warning the group of this adversary, and Kalian’s lack of preparedness, but perhaps Wren was also in denial and then frustrated in himself as much as Talon and Kalian. After all, who would dare unlock such an all consuming dark force other than an arrogant prick that believes himself to be the first in ages to be strong enough to control it. For all we know, this ominous for could have already consumed Anders. Haha 😛 

I believe some of these past observations Wren had of Kalian is connected to the long avoided topic of the unknown and all powerful dark force.

But hey, as Scarlet said, I don’t want to worry about that today, I’ll worry about it tomorrow...then perhaps she said Rhett, let’s get freaky! 🤪 

@Demiurge, all joking aside the suspense and mystery continues to mount. I absolutely love this story and perhaps we, as much as the characters, needed that freaky little break from the boogie man.

Edited by Philippe
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@Philippe my head cannon for Talon is that he would very much avoid dealing with things in favor of “getting freaky.”

Responsibility is way less fun than sexy times 

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