I rocked myself in the frothy washtub, covering my ears with my palms as the screams of torture continued. Water sloshed over the sides, spilling onto the floor.
Oh, gods... Please, make it stop... Please, make it stop... Please, make it stop.... I prayed, begged and pleaded with the gods as I listened to Dristan’s agonized cries from down the hallway.
The doctor, the same one who had seen to me when I’d first arrived at the Aviary, was in the bedroom with him, trying to speed the healing process of his ruined back. The doctor wouldn't allow me to stay in the room, so here I was...
It had taken us days to get back to the Aviary.
Three, long, dreadful days.
With our power drained by the night-bane, mine by over-use, none of us could fly. And because of the iron, it took even longer for the others to regain their strength. I knew that night-bane and iron were a weakness of magical beings, but I had severely underestimated just how much they affected our kind, and for how long they did. And when used together... It was detrimental.
The first day, my magic was nonexistent, as were my companions'. We were forced to build a make-shift stretcher out of wood and vines with which to carry Dristan. He had been in and out of consciousness for the entire journey. The rare moments when he was awake, he was in unbearable pain. The rocking motion of the stretcher kept his wounds from closing. The iron lashes had drained him of all of his supernatural strength, which rendered his immune system and pain tolerance nearly useless.
The thorns that Andromeda had used to stitch the worst of his injuries closed had backfired, and in his weakened state, the wounds become infected. The doctor had explained to me that because he had developed the infection while his magic levels were so low, it caused his ability to regain his strength and magic to slow down immensely.
If the doctor did not administer the shots that sped up the healing process, it would take weeks for Dristan to fully recover. With the shots, it would take only twenty four hours. However, the severity of the infection meant that the shots would hurt.
I shuddered as another scream echoed down the hallway...
By the second day, I had regained enough of my magic that I could carry Dristan on the wind, easing his movement and lessening his pain. But it was the only comfort I was able to offer him. He was so sick, so far gone to the infection and the pain, that even when he was awake he wasn't really conscious. By the third day, the dragons had regained most of their strength and were finally able to shift. From there, we flew back to the Aviary.
I hadn’t been sure what to do with Ferrin. On one hand, he’d betrayed us. His actions were the reason that Dristan was in the other room right now, screaming in agony... On the other hand, he had been blackmailed in the worse way imaginable.
And now, after all that he’d done to save his family... He’d come to find out that they’d been dead all along. He had been manipulated to do something terrible, something I was certain that he felt insurmountable shame for, and he’d done it all for nothing. The grief, the guilt, the shame... It had to be eating him alive. How could I punish him when he was already in despair?
At a loss, I’d given him my old quarters and stationed two guards outside his door. No one was allowed in or out without my approval. Until I could speak with my mate, figure out what to do, I wasn’t going to do anything else with Ferrin.
For now, I would leave him to grieve...
Suddenly, another scream of torment echoed though the hallway outside the washroom door. My muscles tensed in reaction and I buried my face in my hands. I sat in the water for what felt like an eternity, softly crying to myself as I listened to the horrible sounds...
I stayed there until the water grew cold.
I was wrapped in my pink silk robe, sitting on the over-sized living room couch, silently wringing my hands in my lap, when the doctor finally emerged from the bedroom. My eyes, which I was sure were red and puffy, lifted to meet his immediately.
He stood in the doorway, his face pale and his leather medicine case tucked under his arm. “Your grace.” He said, nodding his head glumly.
“How is he?” I asked, numbly rising to my feet.
He gazed at me a moment, his expression unreadable. “I expect a full recovery...”
My body sagged with relief as the air rushed out of my lungs.
“But he is going to need plenty of rest.”
“Of course... I’d like to see him, if he’s awake.” I answered, hugging my arms around myself.
The doctor’s lips twitched into a brief smile. “Yes, he seems keen to see you, too. Once he could finally think past the pain, he immediately started asking for you.”
My heart swelled as I tried to control my growing smile. “Did he?”
“Have his wounds closed?”
“Mostly, yes, but just because his external injuries are healed does not mean that he is fully recovered. He still has a mild infection in his blood, but it will pass with time. Please see that he gets a full twenty four hours of rest. No physical activity."
My head nodded in understanding. “I understand. Thank you so much, doctor.”
“That’s the last shot.” I faintly heard the doctor mutter as I lay panting, sweating and grunting through the pain. It felt like he’d been digging a branding iron into my back for the past hour. “You’ll start to feel much better within the next several hours.”
“Where... Is Benya...?” I panted. “I want... to see... Brenya...”
“I will go and get her, my Lord.” The doctor answered from somewhere to my left. I could hear him packing up his bags. “You still have an infection, sir. You must remain in bed and rest for the next twenty four hours, understood?”
I heard a soft chuckle. “Rest, now.” The doctor’s voice sounded, followed by the click of the bedroom door shutting.
I was alone. With the unbearable pain of the shots finally over, an overwhelming wave of fatigue enveloped me. Enduring all of that agony had been exhausting to say the least. I didn’t even possess the strength to lift my eyelids.
Tired... Tired, fucking hell, I was so tired.
I must not sleep... Not until I see her...
That was my final thought before I slipped into oblivion.
It was dark outside the bedroom windows when I finally opened my eyes. I blinked, not able to remember where I was, or how I’d gotten here. After a few moments of confusion, it all came back to me.
The Black Forest... Brenya, venturing into it alone, while I had to wait on the sidelines... Pacing, so much pacing... The endless worry.
Then, the burning gas. It was everywhere... I couldn’t breathe.
The chains... The whip.
I shot upright in the bed, a fearful lungful of air stuck in my throat. Sharp, smarting pain immediately lanced across my back and I winced, gripping the sheets tightly as I growled through gritted teeth.
“Dristan...?” A small voice sounded from beside me.
My head whipped to the side and my eyes locked onto hers. She blinked up at me, curled up beneath the covers to my right. Her mismatched eyes were wide, brimming with worry and wariness through the darkness.
“Brenya,” Her name left my lips in a soft whisper.
Her gaze softened as she studied my face. I couldn’t move, too overwhelmed with relief at the sight of her lying there, safe and unharmed in my bed. My eyes followed her as she pushed the blankets back and rose onto her knees. She crawled across the small space between us, her eyes never leaving mine, and then reached up and cupped my face in her hands.
“Everything is okay, Dristan.” She whispered, her voice like a soothing balm. “You’re home. You’re safe, now.”
My eyes closed as the sweet sound of her voice washed over me, pacifying all of the distress I’d felt since watching her disappear into the Black Forest.
She’s safe... She’s here, and she’s safe...
She gasped as I suddenly broke free of my frozen state, wrapped my arms around her slim body, and pulled her to me. I ignored the pain that sliced across my back as I did. Her body heat instantly seeped through her silk robe and into my naked chest, warming me in the most literal way.
I buried my face in her hair, inhaling her familiar, comforting scent. I basked in the feel of her beneath my hands, the sound of her breathing, the palliative glow of her presence... It was more healing than any form of medicine could ever be. My pain was forgotten.
“I was so scared.” I murmured against her neck, breathing her in.
Her hands skated delicately up my naked arms and over my shoulders before her fingers wove into my hair. “You’re safe, now.” She repeated.
I pulled away so I could meet her eyes. “I’m not talking about me.” I scolded her, capturing her chin between my thumb and forefinger. Her lips parted as she stared at me. My thumb lifted from her chin and traced the soft swell of her lower lip.
Gods, I loved her... The relief of seeing her safe was overwhelming. I needed this woman... I would always need her. She was my lifeline.
I let the weight of my love for her light up the bond between us, igniting the familiar electrical pull between our bodies as we gazed at each other through the blanket of night. I let her feel how much I needed her, how much I wanted her in this moment. She inhaled a small, sharp breath.
And then my mouth was on hers.
My hand tangled into the hair at the nape of her neck as I kissed her, the other grasping her hip and pulling her astride my lap. She answered my kiss with just as much need, pushing her tongue into my mouth as her legs locked around my waist.
She let out a soft moan as I gently pulled her hair, forcing her head to tilt back so I could trail my lips down the exposed column of her throat. My free hand slid away from her hip, up past the dip of her waist, and curled around the generous mound of her breast. The stiff peak of her nipple strained against the fine, silk material of her robe as I circled it with my thumb.
“I want to see you.” I said, releasing her hair. Her head rolled forward and she stared down at me with hooded eyes, full of smokey desire.
Slowly, I leaned away, resting my stinging back against the headboard of the bed. I didn’t wince, not wanting her to notice the pain I was in.
My hands slid down her waist, down her thighs, and to the hem of her short robe. Slowly, I pushed the silky material up, exposing her smooth, tanned legs. “Take it off.” I commanded.
Her brow furrowed as she lowered her head. She looked up at me through thick lashes, her face hesitant. “The doctor said you need to rest.”
Her breath hitched as she watched my expression slowly darken. I didn’t give a fuck what the doctor said. I wanted her, now, fast, and hard. My hands tightened on her naked thighs and she began to pant as I stared into her eyes.
“Take. It. Off.”
Her hesitation evaporated, and her hands immediately lowered to the sash around her waist. Deliberately, she sucked her lower lip between her teeth as she pulled. The thin material fell away from her, exposing her perfect body to me.
All she wore underneath was a pair a lace panties.
A growl of appreciation left my lips. I was rewarded with the scent of her growing arousal, rain and honey. My jaw began to ache as I gritted my teeth, my eyes trailing up and down every dip and curve of her smooth, flawless skin.
This beautiful woman, this perfect creature, was mine. She was meant for me, by the gods. She was destined to be mine, always...
Her pert nipples hardened even further under my heated gaze, her full breasts rising and falling deliciously with each of her panting breaths. My cock ached as it swelled within the confines of my pants.
She gasped with pleasure as she felt my erection straining against her thigh. My eyes snapped to hers as her arousal grew even more pronounced and I found her staring down at me wantonly, her lips parted with sensual desire.
Her eyes begged me to touch her, but my hands stayed where they were as the corner of my lips lifted into a triumphant smile.
Suddenly, she reached between us, her intention evident. Her fingertips brushed against my manhood, but I snatched her wrists in one hand before she could go any further.
Her nostrils flared as her desperate stare burned into me. “Dristan... please...”
“Please what, Brenya?”
“Please... I want you... ” She begged, her voice strained.
Music to my ears...
I growled in approval, releasing her wrists. Her hands went straight for my hips, her fingers slipping beneath the band of my pants before she yanked them down. Her eyes flashed with lust as I sprang free, and before I could stop her, she leaned down and pushed me into her eager mouth.
“Fuck!” I hissed in surprise, my hips flexing on instinct. My back barked in protest, but I didn’t care. Her head moved backward and her tongue swirled around the head of my cock. I growled with pleasure, throwing my head back against the headboard.
“Easy...” I groaned.
She moaned in response, taking me even further into the heat of her mouth. My fingers wove into her hair as she gripped my hips and started to move, bobbing her head up and down in long, slow, delicious strokes.
How was she so good at this? Fucking hell, did she even have a gag reflex? She seemed to answer my unasked question when she pushed me even further into her delectable mouth. I could feel the wall at the back of her throat nudge against the tip of me. She moaned again as she withdrew, sheathing her teeth behind her lips and tightening her mouth around me. Air hissed past my teeth as I struggled to absorb the sensation.
“Oh, baby,” I grunted, flexing my hips as she took me into the back of her throat again. “Fuck, that feel so good...”
Hesitantly, I began to gently thrust my hips with her movements, testing her reaction. If it was too much, I would stop and let her control the pace. But she didn’t stop. She gripped my hips even harder, and began sucking me faster than before. She met my thrusts with fervor, moaning against my flesh.
“Gods, Brenya,” I gasped, tightening my fists in her hair. Her lips clamped down around me, nearly to the point of pain, and she began to move even faster. I matched her pace, pumping myself into her mouth with force. She peeked up at me through her lashes as she worked me. I bared my teeth at her in heated approval.
She took all of me, absorbing every inch that my flexing hips forced into her, and I’d never seen anything so arousing in my entire fucking life. I wasn’t sure if I was fucking her mouth, or if her mouth was fucking me.
I was close. This had to stop, right now, or I was going to lose control. I stopped thrusting, but she was having none of it. She tightened her hands on me, squeezing her lips around me as tight as she could, as she continued to suck my cock.
“Brenya...” My hands tightened their hold on her hair, trying to pull her away, but she resisted. My toes curled beneath the blankets.
“Brenya, stop...” I whispered, lost in the pleasure that she gave so freely. She continued her salacious assault, ignoring me.
I held her head between my hands, steadying her movements and taking over. I flexed my hips three times, watching intently as she welcome each of my violent thrusts. Tears stained the corners of her eyes, but she made no move to stop me.
I could feel her desire through the bond, her need to bring me this pleasure, the pleasure of fucking me with her mouth. She wanted this, possibly even more than I did.
“I’m gonna come baby,” I panted, squeezing my eyes closed.
She moaned in approval, and the sound was my undoing. I roared as I emptied myself into eager and generous mouth. She took every drop, swallowing without hesitation. Then, her own cries of pleasure followed mine as my orgasm echoed through the bond, causing her to climax right along with me.
I slumped against the headboard in a daze, forgetting about my still healing wounds, and hissed at the sharp pain that slashed across my back.
Brenya rose to her knees, her eyes full of worry. She scooted into my lap and wrapper her arms around my neck as she planted a soft kiss against my lips.
“You’re in pain... I shouldn’t have done that. You need to rest.”
I opened my eyes and grinned at her, high from the pleasure she’d given me. I pressed my lips to hers, amazed at the soft, fullness of them. I pushed my tongue into her mouth and I flexed my hips against her core. She gasped as she felt my stiff erection against her center. Her tongue immediately answered my call, thrashing wildly against mine.
“I’m not finished with you, yet.” I whispered, reaching down and pushing her lacy panties to the side with my index finger.
“Dristan...” She panted against my lips. “I don’t want to hurt you...”
“Doesn’t hurt.” I mumbled against the sweet smelling skin of her neck.
“But the doctor said-”
“If you truly want me to stop, I will.” I whispered, cupping her soft breast and massaging the tender mound.
Her head tipped back as a soft moan escaped her lips.
“Tell me to stop, Brenya...” I murmured, lifting her and positioning her soaking entrance above the head of my erection.
Her head rolled forward, her heated eyes locking with mine. She watched me with longing as I fisted my cock and slid the head of it through her slick folds.
“Tell me, right now...”
She bit her lower lip, not answering me. My nostrils flared as I watched, already so desperate to hear her moaning my name. She smiled as she leaned forward and nibbled my lower lip.
Then, slowly, she sank onto me, taking me again.
Posessing me again.
Loving me again.