Out of the darkness of my nightmare, someone grabs my shoulder and shakes me awake. My eyes open wide with fear and shock. My lungs take a sharp intake of air that I didn’t know I needed. I could still feel the low throb of losing my chosen. My heart was still pounding way too loud in my ears.
My ears focus on a set of startled brown orbs. Cold fingertips touch my cheek, gently wiping away a tear. I close my eyes, turning away from her, feeling my body’s confusion as it both mourns for my lost chosen while at the same time yearning for women who’s a few feet in front of me.
My throat feels like I tried to swallow a cotton ball, my thoughts swarming like a hive of bees. I calm myself down and slowly look up at Kiela. I won’t let her meet the same fate.
“Sorry...” I whisper.
Kiela shakes her head, and a soft look coming over her eyes. “It’s ok, Rhyne. you were having a nightmare, weren’t you?”
It feels impossible to maintain eye contact with her. Instead, my gaze drifts off across the campsite to Shawn’s lion. The oversized cat is curled up at the base of a tree. His chest rises and falls with his breaths, a purr like snore rumbling from him.
“Rhyne?” Kiela calls my name.
“I’m um fine.” my voice shakes a little when I speak. clearing my throat, I try again. “I’m fine, I just got dust in my eyes while I slept or something. ”
I stand up, brushing the leaves and dirt off my clothes. Then offer a hand towards Kiela. She eyes my hand for a second, then decides to lace her fingers with mine. I pull her not only to her feet but all the way into my chest, and I hold her blushing form there. My free hand combs through her tangled hair and pulls out a few loose leaves. I love how she feels safe and secure in my arms. She will always be safe with me; I won’t let my father touch her.
“Hungry? I’ll go hunt?” I offer, smiling down at her.
“Are you ok to hunt?” Kiela question concerned.
I nod, confused. “Why not?”
“...you were wounded...before...”
Crap, I forgot she didn’t know I was healed. I look towards Shawn for help, but Lionheart is useless. He just sits there watching us interact with amused eyes. “it’s not as bad as it looks raven. I promise.” Is the lame excuse I come up with.
Kiela frowns, “are you sure?”
“you let me hunt when we first got here.” I point out trying to comfort her just a little.
“I was tired when we first got here.” She grumbles, looking down.
I kiss her forehead, “you need food, and as your boyfriend, I’ll go get it for you.”
Her cheek turns a cute pink, “I could go without...”
I quietly study her, she sincerely looks worried about my wellbeing, and It warmed my heart. However, her stomach also growls softly, letting itself be known to the argument. Kiela frowns and lowers her head, knowing that she’s lost the debate.
“I’m not letting you go without something to eat. But if you want to come with me, my lady?” I offer.
Her eyes brighten, and she looks over at me happily. “Su-” Suddenly, Shawn gently nudges between us, cutting her off. I look down at him, partly confused as to why he’s giving me a stern glare. ”
Rude!” Kiela mumbles, throwing her own glares at the back of Shawn’s head.
“What did I do?” I question him telepathically.
Shawn just growls while Kiela walks around him to my side. “I’m gonna go with him, stupid.”
Shawn sighs and sits down dejectedly. His cat-like eyes held a fatherly look; I couldn’t leave him like that. He just wanted to keep the only family he has left safe. “I won’t touch her, you have my word, lionheart.”
“you better not.” His growls echo in my mind.
“you have my word,” I promise, wrapping my arms around Kiela’s waist, leading her off into the forest with a half faked limp. My beloved little raven leans into my side, easily matching my stride. We moved like we were one, each a piece from the same puzzle.
While we walk, the two of us come across a small herd of deer. Kiela’s eyes light up happily upon seeing the peaceful little life. I don’t have the will to kill them with her looking at them with such fascination. Maybe taking her along with me was a bad idea. It’ll be hard to hunt if I don’t want to kill. I guess it’s a bit short-sighted on my side.
One of the does look at us and freezes the others following suit. The biggest buck I’ve ever seen steps in front of his family. His head held high like a king, supporting his magnificent antlers that circle his head like a crown. I lower my head in respect to the buck, showing I mean no danger. My eyes drift to my hand that I extend out to him. I feel Kiela press close to my back, watching the buck with bright eyes.
The buck slowly steps forward and sniffs my hand. His breath is hot across my knuckles. Reaching behind me, I grab her hand. carefully pulling her around me, I pull my lips by her ear. “Hold your hand out. it’s ok, they won’t bite.”
She follows my instructions, and slowly one of the bigger does follow in the steps of her buck. Hesitating just long enough to sniffing Kiela’s hand and gently nudging it with her nose. Kiela smiles and pets the doe with wonder in her eyes.
“Beautiful,” I whisper, catching her attention again and locking eyes. “absolutely beautiful...” Kiela blushes, and her eyes darting back to the doe she’s petting.
One of the fawns walks up slowly behind the stag moving between his father’s legs and gently bumps my leg. The fawn heads came to about my knees.
I kneel before the young prince, resting my forehead against his. “Werde stärker junger Bock, Prinz des Waldes,” I feel the tiniest bolt of magic jump with my body into the fawns. The young buck’s soft brown eyes look into mine with pure innocence and curiosity.
Kiela drops onto her knees beside me, “what does that mean?”
“it’s a blessing.”
The curiosity in her eyes shines brighter than the northern star. “Yeah, but what does it mean?”
“Grow stronger young buck, prince of the forest is the rough transition,” I explain, leaving out its magic.
“That’s cute...” she whispers, running her hands down the fawn spotted back.
“It’s not cute.” I defend with a huff, “It’s a respectable
The buck seems to decide that his family has spent enough time around strange two-legged creatures. His muscled neck leans down and nudges his son away from Kiela hands. The whole herd follows suit as they bound back into the safety of the forest brush. They disappear as if they never existed to being with.
I look over to Kiela, her eyes still trained on where the deer vanished into the underbrush. The cutest smile dances across her lips in a way that steals my breath.
I sigh heavily and stand up. “you need to head back to the camp.”
Kiela gets to her feet, confusion pulling her eyebrows together. “what?”
“I’m never going to kill anything with you here. I need you to head back to camp.” I gesture in the direction we came from.
“No!” The shorter woman crosses her arms stubbornly and even stumps her foot. “You can kill things!”
“I’m not going to kill anything that you’re fawning over.”
“I don’t fawn over everything.” She tried to defend herself, but may I point out the deer she just fell in love with.
“ok, my lady.” I relinquish that knowing there is only one way to win a fight with a woman, and I didn’t think this argument was worth it.
Kiela smiles, satisfied with herself, delivered victory, and started marching in the opposite direction from the camp and where I was still pointing. I follow after her, mostly to make sure she doesn’t wander into a chimera’s den or anything. By the way, she moves, I can tell she hasn’t spent much time in the real world. Though I don’t blame her for it, she was held against her will for most of her life. I just wanted to protect her even more because of it.
A couple of hares hop out of the shrub and into our path. Kiela wastes no time turning to me, her hands on her hips. “you can kill those.” She says, but it sounds more like an order.
I snicker and casually flick my hand towards them, small black bolts shoot off. Their hearts jolts and shutter to a halt, a short spike of power works its way up my spine. The magic inside me stirs in its sleep. Raising its head and briefly testing my control before resting again.
The little furballs crash to the ground mid hop and die. Kiela walks over to them and grabs them by the ears, looking at you.
She seems to think a second before asking, “do you think this will be enough?
“if Shawn turns back to normal, yeah,” I answered, slightly annoyed at Shawn.
“he probably won’t...”
“Why won’t he?”
“he’s an idiot. Plus, he might not even eat saying he’ll cramp.”
I growl and roll my eyes. “he wouldn’t cramp if I could just shadow jump us.”
Kiela giggles and moves over beside me. “let him be. He likes helping.”
I kinda turn away from her and grumble. “stubborn fool...”
She hits me with one of the hare carcasses. “hey! you’re no better.”
I put a hand on my chest, slightly offended and indignant. “I am by far better than that lion in every way!”
Kiela raises an eyebrow with a chuckle. “really now?”
“Absolutely! I am far better looking, more reasonable, more intelligent, and, most importantly, better with the ladies.”
Kiela burst into a loud laugher, her stride faltering to stop while she clutches at her stomach. I smile, happy to get her to laugh even at the expenses of my pride. After a handful of minutes, Kiela sobbers up and kisses your cheek, which is rewarding enough for my sacrifice.
“Whatever helps you sleep at night.” She winks playfully, and it’s about the sexiest thing I’ve seen so far.
I catch Kiela around her slim waist and pull her into my chest. I place my lips beside her ear as I purr, “if you really wanted to help me sleep raven... then you could help tire me out~.”
Kiela turns bright red as her eyes widen. I can hear her gulp audibly before stuttering. “w-w-what?”
I chuckle before releasing her embarrassed body. “you know what I mean.” I can see this comment doesn’t help her flustered state as she openly stares up at me. “I’d love to go further; however, your chaperone won’t let me.”
Suddenly her face recolors, and her gaze turns cold with anger. “did he seriously tell you that?”
I chuckle, taking the situation lightheartedly. “Shawn’s just trying to protect you from me.”
She growls and turns toward our camp, stalking off while mumbling strings of curses aimed towards the Lionheart. “Hell hath no fury to a woman’s scorned.” I laugh, before quickly following after her.
My comment had earned myself the stern glare that she had thrown over her tense shoulders. I put my hands up in surrender as she storms into the makeshift camp with all her rage. Shawn is sitting with his eyes closed and ears swiveling. When we get closer, he gets up, backing away slowly from Kiela, his eyes open. I see fear flash within his green orbs.
Kiela growls, her voice sharp and cruel. “you’re not my dad or my guardian! you have no right in telling him to keep his hands off of me!”
I realized that she wasn’t joking like I was.
I step in between the two. holding my hand out in front of me to Kiela. “It’s ok, Shawn is just trying to watch out for you. I won’t touch you out here anyway. Not sexual, at least. That would be no way to show you how much I value you, how much your very presence means to me.”
Kiela screams in my face. “I don’t care if you’ll actually touch me or not! It wasn’t his place to tell you not to!”
I struggle to keep my voice level and calm, but I manage. “he’s only looking out for one he loves, and I will not deny him that right. He’s only doing what he believes is needed to protect you. Do you realize you have confessed your love to some guy you met in the forest? I do not restrict his ability to question my intentions with the one he holds as dear as a sister. With all of these reasons, do not reject his rules, but instead, I find it as a sense of endearment that he actually cares for you. I will not step in if you wish to speak with him; however, I will also not allow you to abuse him because he cares for you.”
I watch the anger fade from her eyes as she takes in my words. Then after a tension-filled minute, she grits her teeth the anger back suddenly mixed with annoyance. “I can take care of myself, dammit! You two don’t make decisions for me or each other! it’s my life, and I can do what I want to!” She turns to stalks off.
“We do what we do to protect you. However, you are too emotional and irrational to realize.”
she whirls around, tears in her furious eyes. “I am not emotional! you’re just so dead inside you that don’t understand anything! maybe if you spent more time with the living, you understand what’s happening around you!”
I flinch back, her words stringing. “There was no reason for you to say that! You said you can take care of yourself, but then you end up at my house with someone who wants your head! And dragging me, a stranger you barely know, into all of this. On top of that, you told me that you love me, but you reject any show of kindness towards you. What exactly am I supposed to believe?”
Kiela doesn’t respond immediately, chewing on the inside of her cheek. Her lips move slowly, her words shakily form a sentence. “I j-just don’t like it when I’m n-not in control of my life... I spent years as a s-slave...” silver tears fill her eyes. “I-it’s not a nice f-feeling...”
It breaks my heart to think she’s comparing my love for her to slavery. “There’s a difference between what we’re doing out of care for you and taking your free will.”
“I know...” she whispers.
I sigh and look down at Kiela, her wings are hugging her body tightly and. Her heat is tilted down her short brown strands of hair sticking to her cheeks along the path of her tears. “what can I do to help you not feel like that?”
“Don’t hide things from me. If you and Shawn are going to do something for my own good, then I at least have the right to know.”
“Ok, but in return, you need to talk to us, instead of just lashing out like that.”
“I know, and I tried. But it just gets so hard to when I feel so grrrr,” she growls in fraction, her hands shaking.
“I love you, my lady...” I whisper like I’m scared that she’d shatter if I say the wrong thing. “but I will not take abuse from you because of that love.” She nods in understanding, Kiela lowers her gaze, with shame and fear. “I know I’m stupid and a lot to handle at times, but...please...don’t leave... I’m sorry for the way I acted.”
I quickly cover the space between us, wrapping her up in my arms. I can fill her stiffen in surprise, but she doesn’t push me away as I bury my face in her hair. She wraps her arms around me, pulling her wings against her back so I can hold her better.
I place my nose against her neck, breathing in her warm brown sugar and apple scent, letting it smooth my stressed nerves. I can feel her heartbeat quicken, and she gulps but doesn’t push you away. The fact she accepts my attention makes my heart soar into the sky. But I also know she expects me to do something to her.
I move my lips against the delicate skin of her neck. “I’ve already said I’m not really going to touch you in till we are alone, and I can have you how I like.”
Her voice is just below a whisper and trails off at the end like an unhappy whine, “I know...”
Shawn finally makes himself known again as he grows softly and shoves his way in between us. I put my hands up and let him push me away.
Kiela stays where she is and wraps her arms around Shawns neck and whispers into his neck. “I’m sorry.”
I, however, grumpily make a mental link with the lion. “I just defended you. You could have at least let me hug her.”
“Don’t care.” I hear Shawn’s sharp reply in my head as he moves his head around her like a hug.
When they break away, Kiela gets to her feet. “...we should get going...”
“Food first,” I demand, moving more and poking to fire back to life. “I hunted so we should eat it while it’s fresh. And kiela, your stomach was growling less than an hour ago.”
a blush dusts over her cheek, and she scratches the back of her head, “oh yeah... eating... I forgot about that.”
I nod in agreement while Shawn lays down. “get the rabbits ready while I ready the fire.”
we both settle down to our tasks in a comfortable quiet. I and my beloved chosen, may have had a fight, but every person fights with those they love. Even if we were paired by the fates, we were different people, that doesn’t make us any different from everyone else. And just like any health couple, we talked about what the problem was. We learned about each other made up after it. I think I fell a little bit more in love with her
while the food cooks; I look across the fire, toward the curled up lion. “you know I don’t know much about you.” I pile up, watching the oversize cat lazily blink an eye in my direction,
“so what?” His voice drifts into my mind.
“Well, I know, Kiela is close to you, but do you have anyone else in your pride?”
“Pride, you want to know about my pride?” The lion sounded annoyed by my question. “I don’t have a pride, I’m Asexual and in a relationship with my left hand.”
I scoff, “I was too, lionheart.”
Shawn shakes his head with a huff, and I reach forward to turn the rabbit. I chuckle lightheartedly until I notice Kiela staring at me curiously.
“how long has it been since you’ve kissed someone?” She asks suddenly.
I blink at her then taken aback a bit before I answer. “The last person I kissed was probably before your great great grandparents were born.”
“...were they mortal?”
Imagines of my nightmares return, and suddenly it feels like I have a mouth full of cotton, making my tongue dry and too heavy to move. So I just nod as pain stands my heart.
“Sorry... I shouldn’t have asked...” She apologizes, but I never wanted her to feel bad about getting to know me.
“It’s ok.” I clear my throat. “ask whatever you wish.”
“I think I’m done with terrible questions for today...”
“Ok, my lady.” I pull the cubed meat off the fire, passing some to Shawn’s lion and then Kiela. After a few minutes of chewing, she shifts and looks up at me. “actually...can I ask you one question...?”
“Sure?” I look down at her, interested in what she has to ask.
“...your father...what is he like?”
“Him...” I look away from her as the emotional falls from my face. “He’s not the nicest man you’ll ever meet. He’s straightforward and values justice and, more importantly, power so much he killed his own wife because she was his chosen because he didn’t want to bond with her. Granted, yes, he was nice enough to let his son grow up and little with his mother before he banished her to remain trapped in the moon for all time. But he didn’t even show up to take me away, he sent his oldest son to go get me, but then it was only so he could turn me into a killer.” My voice turns bitter towards the end, and I end up spitting the final words out.
Kiela seems to wince away from me, and I sign, “sorry that... was out of line.”
“it’s ok...I’m the one who asked”
“My father isn’t the worst man, maybe? He was sorta there for me, he gave me a job when I got older.”
“A job in killing people...”
I wince at the way she spoke, and I look down and away from her nervously. “if that bothers you, we have a problem...”
Her finger gently presses against my cheek as it makes me look at her. A gentle smile on her face. “Not at all. I accept you.”
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