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Messages - Rian

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1
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 22, 2019, 12:02:13 PM »

Rian worried. The knot his eyebrows made making her chew her lower lip. He came slowly, as if he needed to plot a course to her bed. Or made a decision before he reached it. Wings twitching, she kept her arms from sliding up over her breasts. Quelled too the rise of her Opal to spin her psychic scent from woman to warlord. It wouldn’t do to go suddenly male on him just as he was weighing her mattress down with his knees.

She reached for him, fingers settling on flinching muscles. It made her heart ache, not sure if it was from need or something else. Rian eased her hold on him. Trying not to drag him into her lap if that wasn’t where he wanted to be, just because it was where she wanted him. Fingers walking up his arms to his shoulders. Nearing his neck when he bent down, away from her lips. Briar gave her no time to worry then. Rian gasped, her whole body plunging toward him. His mouth so good it hurt.

Her wings flailed as he tumbled her. Hands yanking her knees. Tongue dragging her breasts. Rian arched for him, holding tight to his shoulders while he explored her breasts and the skin between them. Their legs tangling, her hips grinding her toward the spear that pressed her thigh. Or the hard plane of his stomach. Anything to ease the mounting heat. 

It was as good as the kissing. Her hands roaming his body as he teased her nipples. Arms. Shoulders. Fondling the joints of his wings and sliding up the bone. Holding tight to his hair as she gasped and writhed, wetter than she’d been in the shower. Rian forgot all about worrying. All she was was hunger. Pressing his into her breast and moaning when his mouth moved away. Kisses on her arm as his body grew heavier over hers. His weight slowly sinking into her until she bore all of it. Spear growing slack against her thigh and breathing deep against her arm.

Rian blinked, looking down at him. Her hands smoothed his back as her probes rooted gently. He was asleep. So deeply that he only mumbled when she moved, shifting them into a position that was less crushing. Rian laughed into his hair, kissing his scalp, and trying not to cry over the unfulfilled wanting in her body. Wound so tight it hurt. But no one had ever died from missing an orgasm, so she did not wake him. Just stroked his and stared at the ceiling. Too well rested and aroused to sleep.

Rian studied Briar, instead. The tattoos she could see. Fingers tracing webs and fixing the angle of his wing. She smoothed his hair down and made lists in her head of things that needed doing. Strung a warning shield around her room as people began filtering back into the inn. Talimar first. And then the old woman. Others followed more slowly. And Briar still slept. Rian pressed her face into his hair, mussing her work. Breathed in the scent of him. And almost slept for a while. Talimar buzzing her room with probes and pressing threads on her despite her warning craft.

Rian passed on her lists, since he’d run off on vacation and left inn to her. Long lists of detailed instructions to pay him back.


2
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 22, 2019, 06:54:21 AM »

Rian shook her head at him, but leaned into his kiss. This was a new side of him. A different side. Rian liked it. He seemed easier in his skin, where it didn’t throb hot in the hollows of her body. He laughed and joked more. But he was still her Briar. ”Just don’t break anything. I don’t know where any of the healers are. Or the spare curtain rods.” She teased him back, kissing the place where his should and neck met.

The kissing was good. Calming.

”You could leave it in a bathroom.” She suggested, watching suds gather on his skin. Bubbles bursting in his hair and popping on his chest. Hands making sure none of it ran into his eyes while he worked down. Fluttering near his jaw as he worked up, as if she might catch him and hold to a place. She wanted to. But her wings were already pressing the wall, cold while the rest of her was hot.

Briar did not linger, and Rian did not coax him to it. Glad with his face was mostly level with hers so she could kiss his cheek and help him rinse the soap away. Her washcloth balled into the corner of the tub forgotten. Absorbing Briar soap as they slipped out of the shower. Glancing off each other with eyes and body parts as they dried and semi-dressed before falling out into her bedroom. The air felt cold, making Rian shiver.

”Some.” She answered back. Better when she was in his arms again. Warm. Shielded. Rian tucked her arms up his back, still hidden beneath his wings. Her own folded tightly down her spine so all of her could fit. ”Better.” She whispered just before he kissed her mouth, a tingling trail marking the path his lips had made to hers. Rian held him tighter, the fold of his towel pressing across her waist.

”Not too many clothes.” She countered. Rian liked the feel of his chest to hers too much to give it up. Even now her robe was too much of a barrier, her shoulders drawn back to try and tug it open. Pants. Pants would be fine. So she could feel his spear without having to think about it. Rian tried his ear with her teeth, gently dragging them down the lobe. There was still plenty to explore and taste.

”What?” She didn’t want it repeated. The feel of his tongue on the roof of her mouth a memory that shot straight down her spine and between her legs. Rian could feel the wetness there, slick skin that had nothing to do with the shower and everything to do with Briar. ”No.” Oh yes. She wanted to spread her legs and let him do whatever he wanted to her. Back already arching toward him, pulling her hips in high and tight.

”Pants and kissing is plenty.” Because it sounded too much like an offer. A payment. Something he did for her instead of with her. Part of her terrified she’d made him feel exactly how she had never wanted. Why she had never looked when the opportunity had presented itself. Had suppressed any desire he stirred. All of her wanted him very much. ”Have any pants left in your cabinet?” Rian teased, letting go of him to loosen the knot on her robe, and unfold the tuck of his towel.

She kissed him this time. Mouth hard and hungry. Breasts free to strain against his chest while her hips caught his towel between them. He tasted like coffee and Briar with a little hint of ham. It was so hard not to say yes and see what his tongue would do between her thighs.

”Pants.” Was her panted demand, slipping from his embrace to drag a draw open on her dresser. She had nothing as comfortable as the ones she’d already shed. Instead Rian pulled out an old remnant of her time in the mountains. Cotton pants meant to be worn under trousers when the cold was so wicked it sank through your clothes to gnaw your flesh until it died. Pants, without making her feel like she was hiding or hidden.

Pulling them up over her hips, Rian shrugged out of her robe and dropped it on top of her dresser. Pants was better, even with her desperate nipples exposed. ”Now you come here.” She beckoned, smiling, but blushing too as he knelt on her bed. Arms ready to circle him, and lips to invite him in. 


3
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 21, 2019, 10:18:59 PM »

”Oh.” Rian was sympathetic, and sorry. They had been doing so well until she’d suggested this foolishness. And it was foolish. She was too shy to really look at him. And Briar looked, looked and didn’t come any closer. Stuck still on the outside of the tub. Her knees rubbed together in regret, the pair of them staring at each other. Rian opening her mouth to break the tension before it could set in. Her joke flat, but it carried momentum with it.

Briar moved toward her, and Rian toward him. Then, suddenly, he was in the shower with her. Hissing from the hot water and prying her meager covering away. Not much for him to see before Rian pressed against him, breasts flattening into his chest. His spear rode the curve of her hip. Present in a way it had not been before. Rian squirmed. Before they had not been naked.

”Well that’s good. I think.”  At least they were together. Rian let her hands sweep his bare sides, sliding around to his back and up toward his shoulders. He felt good. Warm, soft. Good. His own hands securing her hips as if she would flee him. Fingers kneading for purpose unknown. They did not travel from that spot no matter how many times hee stomach flip flopped hard enough to make her muscles twitch.

”That’s good too.” Rian mumbled, burying her face in his neck and rocking into his. She liked the slick way her breasts slid across his chest. Rian concentrated on that for a moment, knees made weak by his fingers. Briar inhaling while she exhaled. Each of them fighting for space, or finding a rhythm. Expand. Contract. Rian breathed him in, mouth opening over his shoulder. ”I’m sorry. None of the others are any bigger.” Maybe a little. But they were elsewhere. Far from her comfort zone.

”You really do carry around everything.” Rian turned her face away from his lather. Leaning back so he had room to wash. Her hands followed his body down. Drawing bubbles up his wings. Her whole body flinching with his touch. Darting away from it while she leaned in for more. He was clean. She was clean. Body pulsating in all the places he had touched. Rian nodded, slicking soap bubbles from his arm. ”All done.” She was clean. Stomach tied into a tight knot of desire an uncertainty.

She turned the water off and pulled the curtain back. Only one towel lay folded on the counter. Rian stared at it before stepping out and handing it over. Her robe hung from the back of the door. It would survive being wet. Rian wrapped herself in it and tried not to look. She was beginning to shiver in earnest and she wasn’t sure if it was cold, or something else. Licking her lips, she dried her face with the arm of her robe, bumping into Briar as she turned.

”Sorry. Sorry.” The bathroom was small too. She pulled the door open wide so some of the steam could escape. And them. ”Feel better?” She was clean but wound tight. Tighter than tight.


4
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 21, 2019, 06:07:53 AM »

Rian wasn’t sure what sort of reply she had expected. She had made no invitation, or offered any suggestion. Simply told him she was going to shower. What else was he supposed to say? No? Drag her off to his bedroom? Whatever she had promised herself, Rian had trouble keeping her mind from leaping through explanations, excuses, and worse, worries.

The hallway silent behind her. She left her door open, pulling her shirt over her head as she walked it. Dropping it into the hamper at the foot of her bed, Rian ducked into her bathroom, stepping out of her pants as she turned on the water. As hot as she could get it. The air growing warm and damp as the water heated. It didn’t mean anything, she assured herself, kicking her pants into the corner and catching sight of herself in the mirror.

She looked the same as always. The smattering of freckles across her breast more prominent than the ones on her face. Breasts. Hips. Curling scar near her belly button where she had taken a dagger. Tip catching and then ripped free in a near half circle. Frowning, she twisted her hair behind her head and pinned it in place. She was not in the mood to deal with its washing and drying. It took too long, and Rian didn’t know how long she had.

Not long. She’d heard the door close.

Without checking the temperature, she stepped into the shower. Heart racing, Rian pressed her arms to her breasts and splashed water on her face. Ears straining to hear. Had he come in, or just closed the door? Was he going to join her? Rian’s bravado fled. Suddenly she was not ready to be naked with him, or worse, on front of him. But the heat low in her quivering stomach said otherwise. The waiting was agony. Five second ticking to ten while she stood frozen, waiting for something to happen.

Spitting water from her face, Rian turned her attention to actually showering. Washcloth filled with soap so she could scour her body. Gritty from a day of cleaning and a night of kissing. Would he like it, her body? Rian tucked her wings tight and stepped into the spray. He was interested, so he had to like what he’d seen so far. Rian passed the washcloth down her front, thumb catching a taut nipple, and tried not to scream. Beginning to think he’d simply shut her door for her when the light in the bathroom changed.

Wiping the water from her face, Rian stepped half out of the spray, wings brushing the wall behind her as she tried to make room and not hog all the water. Elbows tight on her stomach, she clutched the washcloth like a shield and tried not to catch on fire. ”You lost your apron.” She told him stupidly, hoping he hadn’t vanished it, she didn’t know who it belonged to and explaining would be... awkward. Like this moment. Briar looking as red as Rian felt.

It had been different, curling close to him, when she’d had clothes on. Now they were both nude, her eyes dipping down the expanse of his chest and fleeing back up when she reached his navel. He looked twice as big without his clothes on. Wings hampering the witchlights she’d cast around the room, shoulder filling the gap in the curtain. ”I don’t know if you’ll fit.” She blurted, trying to ease the moment with a joke. He’d had so many good ones in the kitchen.

The meaning was twisted though by the steam. Rian’s eyes widened, almost looking again. She knew the shape of it. Nestled against her thigh an entire night, how could she not? But looking was different. ”In the shower, I mean. Mother Night! Just get in here.” Rian grabbed his arm, pulling him under the scalding spray with her, face buried in his shoulder as she laughed at herself.


5
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 20, 2019, 08:53:05 PM »

”Her.” Rian shuddered dramatically. ”She’s different.” Skin like bark. Rian didn’t think it was natural. Not her skin and not her age. Wasn’t even sure if she was Eyrien, wingless or otherwise. Silent old woman. She’d come with the inn, and neither Rian or Tali had thought to be rid of her. ”I’m sure they will. The not knowing is always worse.” Death hurt, but the separation was clean. Missing was a messier, harder business.

Topic left at the stove when they moved to the table. Here was lighter discussion and a bit of teasing. Rian liked it, her worries about the shift in their relationship falling away. It was easy, and good. ”A widow usually does,” she teased back. Rian very much doubted he wanted to hear the thought that made her blush. An apron not a typical inspiration for interest on a man.

”Did you?” Her stomach flip flopped, finger tips working into her pants. No mess on them this time for him to lick off. Just a couple of bread crumbs under her nails. Rian regretted it. It had been erotic, the way he’d sucked her fingers clean the night before. Blushing too, she pick at her own plate. Wondered if his sudden lack of exhaustion was rejection or ego. She refused to let her mind run away with it, however. That would only spoil the mood, which was mellow and only a little awkward.

She wouldn’t, Rian promised herself. A dozen and one reasons why he might not want to rush back up into bed, with or without her. At least the shower seemed to interest him. ”He doesn’t. And he’s careful not to break anything while he’s at it.” Rian twirled her hair around her finger, plate empty except for crumbs and a wayward piece of ham. Would he want to shower together? Glancing at the color on his cheeks, Rian wasn’t sure. Did she? Was she ready to expose all of herself to him?

”It wasn’t very pleasant. I ended up cleaning... oh, everything.” Rian shrugged, pushing her hair back behind her shoulder. ”It needed it though. You’re room is probably the only one left with dust bunnies, unless you caught them all in your webs.” Rian teased. She hadn’t much touched the rooms, they were cleaned so regularly. The common space was often harder to deep clean. There always seemed to be someone in it.

Untangling her legs from his, Rian gathered up the dishes and set them in the sink for washing later. Now that Briar was willing to have company, she wasn’t wasting her time cleaning. ”Ready?” She asked, eyes searching his face in glances, too shy to really stare. Turning away, Rian lead him upstairs just as she had two nights before. Except this time she reached back for his hand, fingers looping through his. At his door, she hesitated, her own just beyond it. She looked between the two. Briar. Her room.

”I’m going to go shower.” She told him without letting go of his hand. Wanting to drag him in with her. To strip him of the last bit of clothing. And herself too. Rian kissed his chin and slipped her fingers from his, hand running up his arm before she turned for her room. The door left open in silent invitation.


6
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 20, 2019, 02:15:06 PM »

Rian smirked. ”I don’t blame you.” Marring his skin that way. It was good skin too. Warm and spicy, cooler than it had been the day before but lacking none of the musk. Today it was from being unwashed, however. The same lived in scent clinging to Rian’s clothes. Half her own and half Briar’s. Her hair smelled more of his fingers than it did herself. ”Maybe you just made him nervous,” she teased, trying to lighten the edge she sensed lurking beneath the story. Lips using more than words to coax him back to the present with her.

”Is that all? I saw some of them. I’ve never seen anyone who looked so... wrinkly.” There weren’t many left in Askavi to be called old. Rian had never seen an Eyrien with creased and sagging skin before. Maybe there were none left now. She thought it exemplified how very close they had come to dying out as a people. Her fingers wove into the apron strings. Would they be old one day? ”Or their childrens. Those poor people.” Rian pressed in close, remembering the dragon. She hoped it stayed there. Or went back to wherever it had come from.

It was surprising how hard they fought and struggled. They had so little time to enjoy any of it. Lives over in a blinking. It made no sense really. Rian was impressed they didn’t give up and lay down in the dirt to die. Which her stomach thought it was doing. Squeezing him, Rian gave in with an embarrassed laugh, fingers untangled from his strings so she could sit again and be served. They only tangled again once he sat, legs weaving together under the table.

“Yeah.”
She echoed. It was enjoyable when they wove together. “I enjoy it too.” And this. Close at the table. Rian curled her hand around her face, hiding it from his expectative staring. It didn’t work though. Briar kept looking until she began digging into her food. And once she started so did he, even if he almost choked on it. Rian grinned around a mouthful of egg and toast, lips pressed tight together. Nearly choking as he dragged her chair closer to the table. She tightened her legs on his.

”Nothing.” She mumbled around a quick second bite, blush deepening at being caught. She slid her foot along his calf, hand settling on his arm as he yawned. ”It’s better than nothing at all.” She chased her food down with coffee. ”Tired?” He had been up a long time, and made her breakfast. Rian frowned. ”Maybe I should have done the cooking while you stayed in bed.” She had gotten sleep. Good sleep too, hidden in his wings.

”Eat,” she urged, nudging his plate closer. ”We can go back to bed afterward.” She tempted. A day spent curled up with him in bed sounded good. She would even let him sleep. Some of the time. Most of it. Some. Most. Definitely most. ”Maybe a shower too. Free of charge.” Rian could use one too.


7
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 20, 2019, 08:22:57 AM »

It was strange. Rian had been alone with Briar so many times before, and had just pulled herself from his bed, where she had slept with her nose buried in his skin. But facing him in daylight with a smile and a joke was new. Different enough to be intimidating. "Alright," she laughed, buttoning her lips up with her fingers. Fingers that itched to touch. To untie the apron and expose all the parts of him hidden beneath.

She busied them other ways instead, giving him peace at the stove. For now. Eggs and butter pulled out. Ham too, so she could cut into sloppy squares for the pan. Coffee to drink while he turned bread into toast, and nearly his wrists too, Rian's wings twitching when they drew too near the pan. He was more a danger to himself than her kitchen she realized.

"Oh thanks." Rian tossed her hair behind her shrugging wings. Coffee washing the last of their dinner from her mouth and waking her stomach. Ham cubed, or triangled, Rian brought it to the stove so he could pour it in with the eggs. The same haunch that had been used for dinner the night before. Usually it didn't stretch that far, but with the inn empty Rian didn't have to cook as large a stock as usual.

"Yes." She did. They beautiful. "Except maybe that one, it looks like you were strangling whoever made it." Rian traced the one she meant, fitted between two prettier tattoos. Not really sure what it was meant to be. Maybe it didn't matter what they were, so much as what they stood for. Rian kissed his shoulder in understanding. "Makes sense." The shirts and the tattoos.

Resting her cheek on the place her lips had marked, Rian stood at his back, hand lingering over his apron strings while he cooked. Listening. Existing. "I don't think any of us will forget. Its strange, encountering people born after she was gone." Young boys and girls who had never known the heavy yoke of Witch. Just the aftermath of her death, which wasn't always pleasant, but never near as bad as it had been when she lived.

Propping her chin on his shoulder, Rian looked up at him, cheeks making wrinkles at the corners of her eyes as she smiled. "No thanks." Arm curling around the one that leaned closest to her. The smell of breakfast making her stomach grouse. Rian laughed and buried her face against him. Traitorous stomach, mocking her for fussing at him over food. Rian let him go, so she could sip her coffee and sit again, knee drawn up to her chest. Toes curling over the chair edge.

"How about we make a trade. I could use more weaving lessons." Could probably stand to touch her frames again if Briar was with her. She liked weaving best from his lap anyway, and it could only get better if she could get kisses while there. Taking a plate from him, Rian scooted the other chair out. Small table cozied in the kitchen for her and Talimar to eat at. It was growing small now that they had Meridian living with them.

Just then Rian blessed its intimacy, legs tangling with Briar's under the table while they ate. Fork left off in favor of scooping eggs up with her toast "No shells," she grinned. "I was a little worried there for a minute." Mother Night he looked so ridiculous in that apron, but so at ease. Rian could hardly stand it, cheeks pink as she turned back to her breakfast.


8
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 19, 2019, 11:45:35 PM »

”Probably busy making rounds since his lovers can’t come to him.” Rian didn’t want to get out of bed. Or for Briar to either, but he was already out, which left her cold and alone instead of cozy. His stretching inducing her stretching until there was no use but to be awake. Awake and watching. Looking at what she’d always avoided looking at. Briar’s body. She blushed, caught in the act as he turned to wag a finger at her, making her eyes roll.

”Fine.” Rian agreed, still not out of the bed for all she had stretched and rolled in it. One wing hanging over the side and draping the floor. ”You’re forgetting the ham and potatoes,” she teased. There was a blanket wrapped around one of her ankles, Rian fought it while Briar dismissed her concerns about his lack of sleep. Harumphing at him as she worked her foot free just in time for another kiss. Gone again before she could work her fingers into his hair and coax him back to bed.

”Alright. Alright.” She got up as he left, weaving down the hallway back to her room so she could use her bathroom. Mouth rinsed vigorously.

Downstairs, Briar was wearing an apron. Rian frowned, hand moving up to wipe it away and keep her laughter put away. Not sure who the apron belonged to, Rian thought it might be the old woman’s. Certainly not hers, though she wished it was. He looked ridiculous. ”Only six? It must like you.” Joining him in the kitchen, Rian tried to look at what he needed instead of his tattoos. Or the angle the apron strings sat across his back. Distracted only for a moment by his teeth, which preceeded his mouth. Yet another kiss he ended too soon.

”Scrambled, if you could.” She smiled, and set about getting the eggs and butter from the cold storage for him. Pouring herself a cup of coffee, Rian took a seat and watched him. ”The bread is in that box.” He seemed happy. Happier than Rian could remember seeing him for a long time. But he still looked ridiculous in the apron. ”Next winsol I’ll get you an apron of your own.” She promised before sliding from her seat. A couple of thick sliced of ham cut up to go into his egg mixture.

It was nice, being in the kitchen with him. Wings brushing as they worked. Rian put a hand in the center if his back. Fingers spreading over the web there. ”Why so many tattoos when you’re always covering them up with shirts?” She wondered.


9
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 19, 2019, 03:43:11 PM »

”You’re big and wear the Red.” Rian complained. And the shivered as he licked her fingers clean. Hands given over to him, thighs and ass clenched tight to keep from wiggling. But her shoulders danced and her spine tingled. Humming, she laid herself against him, yawn pulling her jaw loose and reminding her that she hadn’t slept much the night before.

”You weave too much.” She mumbled nonsensically, letting him arrange her as he liked. Thigh, and the spear that accompanied it, welcomed between her knees. Briar made a bed of himself, and Rian curled into him until she found a position that suited. Legs forming a knot with his, arm thrown over his hip, the other wedged up under his ribs. Face turned into a hollow, Rian sighed, his hand ushering her off to sleep as he stroked her hair.

It was good sleep. Every time her body began to rouse, it was pet to silence again. Half a nights sleep and into morning until sleep could not hold her anymore. Stomach empty again, her usual day already underway. Rian stirred, face rubbed again skin instead of a pillow. It made her nose wrinkle and fingers and toes wiggle. Bed hard and lumpy under her. A knee hooked behind one of her own. And a thigh between hers. ”Mmph.” She grumped, blurry eyes blinking up at him.

Briar.

”Was Tali here?” Or had her brother been the dream and Briar the reality? Grunting, Rian let him roll her, squirming as his pulled at her waist band. ”Let me pee first.” Too sleepy to hold her hips still. And they were awake enough to rock toward the fingers threatening to slip her pants down them. Rian stretched, burying a yawn in her arm. Her mouth tasted foul. ”The stove is tricky.” She warned, using their tangled limbs to yank him down to her, kiss pressed to his cheek. ”Want help?” Surprised he could cook at all.

Rian sagged back into the bed, limbs and wings limp. ”I’m sorry. How are you even functioning?” Too used to long nights sleep. She would die if the world slipped into what it once was.


10
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 19, 2019, 06:52:51 AM »

”You’ve told me now.” And so had she. Words like lanced wounds. Rian felt better for the telling, especially with Briar in her arms. The heat of his bare skin warming her through her clothes. Groaning, Rian blushed again. Face turning to press into his shoulder. ”Hush.” She chided. The idea stirring an uncomfortable mixture of excitement, shame, and possessiveness in her stomach.

She did not want to think of Briar and another woman at the same time. Even if Rian was between them. For now she wanted him all to herself. To explore and learn. Kissing his shoulder farewell so she could kiss his mouth. Cling to him. Feel the shape of his body pressing into hers through her clothes. Hard chest. Strong arms. Stomach flat and taut against her own. Rian nestled close, fitting herself to him and drinking him down.

Breasts crushed against his chest. His spear slipping up along her thigh. Rian leaned into that too. Settling deep into his lap so she could gauge the length and width of it against her thigh. Kissed him until she was faint with it. Phantom memories of his tongue along side hers. The even ridges of his teeth. The way he’d squirmed when she had licked the roof of his mouth just behind them. Body drawn tight and spun loose. She felt good. Relaxed. Aroused. Content to nestle into his neck and just exist in his arms.

Rian squirmed, though, when he ran a thumb up her wing bone. It tightened the coil of desire in her stomach and made holding her hips still in his lap difficult. She sucked on his neck to keep from grinding against his spear, giggling and flinching when he put his teeth to her ear. The thought of food made her stomach growl. Her picked over dinner not enough to sate her body. Laughing, Rian shook her head, eyebrows rubbed against his shoulder.

”Okay. Yes, please.” Rian let go of him. Hands skimming his back and shoulders, and then his chest, as she sat up. She curled them in their lap, face turning toward his. ”I do.” The things she remembered him liking best. Or at least saying he liked best. Rian sighed as he leaned in, forehead resting against her temple, eyes closed and hands spreading over his arms. She laughed at his words, squeezing him. ”Don’t you dare.” He wouldn’t stand a chance, terrible flyer that he was.

Petting his hair back, Rian sat back toward his knees. Space enough between them for picking at the plate. She broke a biscuit open, digging a hollow with her finger and stuffing it full of seared pork and greens before taking a bite. Fussing fingers wagging food at him when all he did was stare. ”Eat.” She mumbled, wiping a crumb from her lips, the corners of her eyes crinkling in amusement. Rian watched him. Pacing herself slowly and forcing him to take two bites for her every one until the plate was half empty and her stomach full.

”Better.” If a little cold. Still the best meal she’d ever eaten because it was shared with Briar. Eaten over his lap. Drowsy now with the kissing and food, Rian curled into him again. More relaxed than clinging. ”Are you going to finish weaving? I’m-“ A yawn interrupted her. Covering it with her shoulder, Rian wiggled closer. ”Sleepy.” She was sure she could lay tucked out of his way. Surely he didn’t need his side or one wing to weave a web. Just his arms and hands free, which Rian could give him if she laid low, nose in his ribs and arm over his waist. Her legs tangled with his because he didn’t need those at all. Or just one, if he did.

So long as she got to be close.


11
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 18, 2019, 09:48:04 PM »

Rian shook her head, exasperation altering the tilt of her eyebrows. ”I know you better than that. Your mouth was already making excuses for your feet.” It might have been her own emotions coloring their interaction, but Rian had felt him pulling away. One moment changing so much, shifting the ground of their friendship. Rian sucked at the corner of her mouth, tempted to tell him he hadn’t ruined her evening. But he had. Interrupting her and Maeve to rip her heart out.

”Yes that.” Rian hummed, unable to imagine what it was like to have such an ugly ghost from the past walk back into your life. And even Talimar had seemed disturbed by the idea of this new queen. Head tipping, Rian studied him. Felt every place their bodied met. His thighs under her own. Hips resting between her knees. An ankle tucked into his lower back. Wings touching, hers laying beneath his. Understand? What exactly? She wanted to ask but couldn’t. If she stopped talking now she would never start again.

She had to tell him. To know how long always was.

Briar was pressing in on her. Shield tight and probes forceful. Just his Opal. Darker than her own but not as strong as his Red. Easier to part for because she knew she could keep them closed at least for a while against his birthright. But she didn’t want him out. She wanted him in so he could really understand. Her. Rian. Not a moment in time when she had committed an act she was unlikely to repeat. ”I’m glad.” She did not want to be anything like the people who had used him with no regard for the person he was.

Thank Darkness he didn’t interrupt. The words spilling out. All the worry she’d been carrying around, locked down in her gut like her frames in the drawer. Hidden. Buried. He listened, eyes wide, hands steady. Listened and did not reject her. His face turning in to hers as she leaned in. Moving only to hold her closer and tighter. His wings a shield all the way around them, arms fitting her flush to his body. Rian gave a little shudder and clung to him.

”Briar.” Always him too, her damn bully. When? How? Rian couldn’t say, just knew it felt right and good when she turned her lips to his and let him claim her mouth. Gently. Not fiercely or violently. Catching the back of his head in her arms, Rian sucked at the lip fitted over hers. It was indescribable. Like webs and wishes. She gave herself over to it. Following or falling into the pressure on her lower lip until she didn’t know what held them up anymore.

”No.” Rian swirled hair in her fingers. One hand curling around his wing joint. ”Just dumb and a little afraid.” Denying both of them. It seemed so foolish now. His lap was comfortable, and the way his fingers tangled in her hair made her skin tight. She laughed a little with him, kissing the corner of his mouth and nuzzling her nose into his cheek. ”I don’t know about the women.” Maybe. Some. But all that seemed very unimportant just then. Very unimportant.

Holding on tight she kissed him again. Slowly, so she could feel the shape of his mouth against hers. Recognize the taste of his tongue. Or the feel of it at her teeth. Kissed him until her skin was too tight and her body so warm her head spun. Or maybe that was exhaustion. Petting him, Rian tucked her face into his neck and sighed. She felt... good. A strange sort of sleepy desire that slumber hot in her stomach. Good. She felt good.


12
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 18, 2019, 06:44:25 PM »

Rian blushed. Cheeks. Nose. She could feel the heat of it spreading across her face, making the freckles that usually faded into her tan stand out stark against the rosy color. Is seeped down her neck and across her chest too. She’d never... Rian rubbed a sweating palm across her hip to dry it. That he might have liked seeing that... her... aroused even... the thought had never crossed her mind. Not a hint. He’d seemed too upset to have found any enjoyment in it.

”Oh.” Was she could say, eyes wide at the very idea. Briar blushed too, making Rian look away. Her stomach felt unsettled. The room too warm now, just like her. Warmer still as he pulled her into his lap. It made the flutter in her stomach worse, but was settling at the same time. And he smelled good. The sharp edge of his rut making his scent muskier than usual. Or maybe that was a day and half locked inna room.

”Still me.” She looked up at him. Chin to his chest as he gave her a look. Annoyed with her fussing. Rian didn’t mind. He needed it. He hadn’t eaten since he’d been to the inn and there was no way to know when he’d eaten before that. Her lip flattened between her teeth. Fingers trying to work him into a better mood. Instead she just startled him. His wings leaving her to fill the room instead. Rian stared back, wide eyed gaze to wide eyed gaze. ”Did that hurt?” She whispered, worried. Some people were more sensitive than others. Rian hadn’t thought before touching.

His wings might have fled, but his body seemed closer. Food denied again. Rian rolled her eyes and huffed at him, fingers returning to their exploration since he seemed in no hurry to separate. Neither was she, though she did wish he would eat. ”You’re so difficult.” She sighed, untucking a foot so she could circle his back with her leg. Forehead pressed to his cheek, Rian relaxed back into his chest, thumb circling a knot she’d found in his wing muscles.

”Because you ran away.” What else was she supposed to think? Rian didn’t want to talk about it. Sighing, she rubbed her face against him and sat up, since he was so determined to discuss it. Her hands settled on his shoulders, holding them both in place. Rian’s lips pursed, shoulders shrugging. ”I know you were upset when you got here. Ilithian told me about Ebenar.” Rian had had to ask who he was. And had learned about the queen too. ”I just... I felt guilty about you seeing me like that. And worse when I found out about him. And worser when I read your note.”

Rian stroked his jaw. Fingers brushing cheek and neck as she fit her palm around the angle of it until her thumb and fingers cupped his ear.

”I never wanted to hurt you.” She told him solemnly, fingers curling in his hair. ”I thought you were upset because I reminded you of them. I didn’t know about any of the other stuff. I was too blind and stupid to realize you were interested and too busy being selfish to know something was going on at the Eyrie. I don’t want to be anything like them.” She remembered their faces, the ones she’d seen clearly in his memories. Remembered and hated them.

Rian laughed, the sound bitter. She had been such a fool. All the pain she had felt that night bubbled upward. He had been in love. She was so, so stupid. ”I don’t know how I didn’t understand, when you talked about sharing a bed and being dangerous.” It amazed her now, that she hadn’t put two and two together. Smiling sadly, Rian let her forehead rest against his. ”It was agony thinking you loved someone else.” She admitted, laying her nose along side his.

So much so she’d locked away her frames and her heart too. Thinking she could correct the imbalance in her body by sleeping with Peitar. Easing some of her discomfort but not healing the sickness. She still wanted to taste Maeve. But not as much as she wanted to be close, like this, with Briar.


13
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 18, 2019, 12:22:29 PM »

”If that’s what you want to call it. Besides, the inn can’t be left totally unattended.” Him neither. She would have worried. ”You managed to break a lamp, a winsol present, and you still haven’t eaten.” Briar might not have been interested in scolding, but Rian was. It was obvious to her he wasn’t going to to take care of himself, so she would have to. Especially he was going to be weaving all these webs without fueling his body.

And why not? She thought she had grown adept at taking care of him. Reading his moods, knowing when to give and when to fight. How to calm his fretful fingers so he could hold on without hurting. She did her best, too, not to bruise his feelings too much. But she never lied. And sometimes she was filthy.

”He does deserve it. And you have centuries yet to figure out what you want to learn. Or to just learn everything.” All the time and opportunity in the world barring a premature death. Rian too. Maybe one day she would learn all the craft a black widow could achieve. Or even something beyond that. Already picking up useful craft from watching Meridian. Briefly, Rian wondered what the hearth witch and her brother were getting up to. Where had he taken them, and had he stayed? She would have to find out, for the betting pool.

”Because its not something I wanted you to see.” Rian’s fingers circled his wrist, ringing it in agitation. Seeing it had given him ideas. Notions. Thoughts. Had shown him a side of Rian she hadn’t wanted exposed to him. But she had kept all her desires as far from Briar as she could. So afraid of turning into what she hated most. Of pushing them on him when they weren’t wanted.

She didn’t want him to look at her and be reminded of all the people who had used him. Make him think he had to pay for her friendship with sex. Even when sometimes she wanted it from him. Not payment. But... desire. He was attractive. And comforting when he wasn’t being a shit. Like now. Folding nicely against him. He let her cling, arms and wings shutting out the rest of the world. A shield too, just darker than her own Opal.

Hands that made soothing circles on her back. Lips making soft comfort noises into her hair as he rubbed his cheek against the crown of her head. Rian sniffled, following the tug of his hands until she was settled in his lap. Knees at either side of his hips, her wings tucked forward, cupping the shoulders she clung to. Friends he said. Just friends. Tightening her arms until they wrapped his neck instead of his shoulders, Rian untucked her face from the warm comfort of his neck and pressed a salt kiss to his cheek.

”See. It bothered you to see.” And had ruined her always. Rian pressed her cheek to her own arm, hands dangling between his wings. It was okay. He was still her friend. Sighing, Rian nodded. She wanted to stay anyway. ”Alright. But you have to eat something first.” Eyeing him, Rian chewed her lip. She could take care of him and be his friend. Part of her longer to he his lover. ”Do you like him?” Tali had asked, as if it were that simple. Of course she liked Briar, he was her friend. ”Do you want him?” That one was harder.

She did. Just like she wanted Maeve. And she didn’t want to. He’d had enough of being wanted. But he hadn’t liked seeing her with Maeve, which made Rian shift closer and hold tighter. Maybe he could forget that part, since he had forgiven in. But first, he needed to eat. ”I made it special.” She reminded him, fingers stroking the muscles of his wing joints. Special just for him.


14
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 18, 2019, 06:33:11 AM »

”Yes. But you could have wove anything. Instead you wove something specific while...” Rian twitched a shoulder. She didn’t want to say it either. They both knew. Everyone knew. But naming it gave it weight. Made her think of stories she heard that she didn’t want to associate with Briar. Especially when they were this close to each other. Men like that didn’t weave webs to find lost family for people they barely knew. They didn’t weave at all. They rampaged.

Briar didn’t rampage.

”No. It’s not your fault.” It was her own for driving him away. Or needed freedom from reminders that he existed somewhere very far from her. ”I was terrible at them by myself anyway.” A phantom smile hovered at the corners of her mouth, cheeks going round without flashing her teeth. ”Tali said I was flapping my barriers too much.” It amused her, his fear someone would traipse through her barriers and hurt her. He forgot that she was good with mind traps, and not just helping to hunt them down and unravel them.

Rian could lay them too. It kept probes darker than her Opal from finding her secrets when they had fought Witch. Rian wiped a bit of blood from the hair near his ear. Slob.

”Someone had to look after you.” She was guarding him. From interlopers and himself. Sure he would have starved to death if she had gone. Which reminded her of the food she’d brought. Glancing at the tray, she saw he’d eaten none of it. But he distracted her from fussing by being too hard on himself. Looking at him, Rian shook her head. ”You’ve always protected me. Sometimes you didn’t even use your Red to do it.” Wings covering her when she didn’t want people to look. Red shields keeping Eremiar at bay.

Rian ran her hand over his. It had grown fierce on her knee when she moved. Gave it a couple soothing pats. He could have her knee. She didn’t mind except when he started squeezing it. Laughing at his convoluted answer. Rian’s eyebrows knotted together in amused confusion. ”That made no sense. But you don’t have to do anything you don’t want. Even learning Eyrien stick blades.” She had half dozen sets. For training and for real. Folding the little towel into a little square, Rian gave him a wicked grin. ”I use mine to punish Talimar when he gets too annoying.”

And she did sometimes. Sparing with less for practice than a release for emotions she could not get out in words. She had trouble at times, putting labels on or a voice to the tumult inside. Like now when she tried to explain about Maeve. About wanting without wanting. Her own feelings so confused about it all. And Briar was just as bad. Hand on her thigh, his words didn’t flow easily either. But he made more sense, at least. Forgiving her. Rian blushed at the way he worded it. Enjoying herself. Ears hot as her shoulders rose to protect them, hair falling to curtain her face.

She had. She had enjoyed herself. And sometimes she woke up sweating and yearning for everything she hadn’t gotten to do. And some nights she didn’t sleep at all worrying about Briar hurt or worse in a hunting camp.

”I wasn’t hiding anything. Nothing really happened but what you saw.” Rian had run away the first time. Straight to Briar. And after him the second time. Looking at him, she saw how blind she was to herself. He hand curling around the wrist near her thigh. Much as she had wanted and liked Maeve, still wanted and likes Maeve, she liked Briar more. And tried very hard not to want him. He talked faster than she could object. So many horrible things about them.

Like a distorted view of Rian’s inner monologue.

”No. The note just made me feel stupid.” Stupid she hadn’t seen. Friendship, she had called it, not wanting to look deeper because she didn’t want to be like them. Calling his protection bullying, not only because it was, Briar was an awful bully, but because it was safer. ”You didn’t take advantage.” Defense of him crushing the little folded square in her hand. Annoyed with its bulk, Rian vanished it like she had the ointment. She would wash it later.

Rian folded her wings around her shoulders. Hiding in them as she listened. Only able to look at him from the corners of her eyes. His words were like sharp blades. They did not hurt, but they cut. They didn’t leave wounds but openings. Bringing tears to her eyes. She had never thought about how it might have affected him. Clearing out the traps had cleared his  mind. It had been terrifying for Rian but liberating for Briar. And he credited her too much with that freedom. But Rian didn’t argue, because it made her feel good to have been a part of it. To be that sort of succor to him.

She leaned closer when he squeezed this time. Thigh sliding deeper into his hand until her knee settled against him. ”I didn’t always run away.” Maybe she had. He was intense. And a bully. Rian wasn’t always prepared for his visits. And she liked it when he hunted her down. ”It’s not gross. I like it when you come around.” Cheeks hot, Rian left unsaid that she did not like when he didn’t come around. Never knowing she had meant this much to him. It was frightening. Surprising. A little awe inspiring. Rian wasn’t sure she could ever be good enough to live up to it.

Maybe Briar wasn’t either, because he moved away once he was done.

”I didn’t realize.” Any of it. She was so very blind and stupid. She had recognized the interest in Emory and but not in Briar. Maybe because she understood what drew Emory to Briar. Rian didn’t know what to say. Hand sliding up his arm instead, she leaned into her knees and let her shoulders flop into his chest, face buried in the crook of his neck, terrified she might cry. ”Don’t stop coming around again.” She garbled into his neck, hooking her arms around his shoulders. ”Nothing is the same or as good when you don’t.”


15
Strigavi / Re: The oblivious
« on: January 17, 2019, 09:07:11 PM »

”Figures.” Though Rian had never known him to be clumsy. Except in the air, and she very much doubted he was trying to fly in his bedroom. Thoughtful, Rian tugged the web he mentioned from under the bed. Craft settling it next to the bedside table. ”Probably not. There is a dust bunny at its center.” The fluff making her nose wrinkle in disgust.

”Maybe.” Probably not. Rian was certain anyone they were missing was dead. The world was not a kind place and the war had been long. She didn’t know if Talimar held out hope, but she didn’t. ”It’s nice of you to do that for them.” Sure they appreciated it, or at least she hoped they did. It said something about Briar that he would weave webs for people while rutting. She just wished talking webs didn’t mean talking about her webs. Or the lack of them.

The conversation nearly stuttered to a halt. Rian didn’t know what to say to bring it back. Wondering if she should have lied about her webs. It was no great loss. She’d been terrible at him. Barriers always open whenever she wove on, which annoyed Tali. Briar breathed life onto it, however. Rian wished he hadn’t. Shrugging under the question. ”I don’t know.” It had been too hard, too hurtful. But she couldn’t tell him that. There weren’t words for it.

Thankfully his face allowed for a change of subject. A bead of blood sitting at the corner of a shallow scratch. Enough to draw and focus her attention. To shift her from shy to fussing. ”On your face you great clutz.” How did he not feel it? Rian wanted to scold him. To badger and fuss until he was clean and full and no longer hurt. But she didn’t know his temper in this state. Or how good of friends they were again after the tentative peace they had made.

Or just what to think about always, and how long it lasted.

Careful in her approach. Slow in her tending so he had time to escape. Or she did, depending on his reaction. But Briar was still. Watchful, hands peaceful in her lap. Quiet until she was cleaning his face. She blushed, eyes turning toward him, thumb hovering over his cheek. ”I’m sorry.” She was tense. Felt it in her muscles, holding her rigid. One corner of her mouth turned up ruefully. ”You’re good at it, you know. Protecting.” And he was. So she tried to relax. And only half failed.

Rian pulled one knee higher onto the bed, so she could turn toward him and clean his face better. She left the one he had claimed beneath his hand. It was warm, but not quite soothing. Just like she couldn’t quite relax. He was too warm. Too intense. And Rian’s wasn’t sure enough of anything to face it with confidence. So she deflected.

”Sounds ugly. But they’ve all got a head start on you. And you have plenty of time to learn if you want to.” She smeared cream on his cut, then circled her thumb dry on her palm. ”Besides, with good shields you don’t have to fight.” Sometimes hiding was the smarter thing to do. Leaning back, Rian squinted at him, looking for anymore glass cuts. His hands her scratched but not badly. And the rest of him seemed whole. ”All better.” She proclaimed, sinking ar his next comfortable question.

”No. She is long gone with her circus.” Rian smiled. She missed the circus sometimes, but mostly tried not to think about it or Maeve. It stirred up uncomfortable feelings of shame and regret. Both underpinned by lust. Shaking her wings out, Rian tried to defend herself again. To explain. ”That wasn’t... what you saw...” She was so sorry for it. ”I don’t.” Rian swept her hair back. But she did. ”It’s not something that will happen again. I’m sorry you had to see it.”


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