The cave was larger than Kito thought.
It felt like forever walking through the never-ending darkness. Turning corners and finding out which other section to walk through before they find any way out. Kito knew the land well and if he could just find a way to the surface he could find his way home by the smoke the Great Fire sent to the sky as a beacon. All villages had that for their tribe-kin.
It had been a while since they spoke and she felt like it was near time to say something until she felt the atmosphere around them heat up. And more shaking.
The cave was shaking, a minor form of the larger shake that nearly destroyed the village. The shake was too brief for them to try to seek cover even though there was nothing here to protect them. It was that realization that terrified him.
“What is that coming from?” Clara talked louder this time. “Alira somehow knew that the quake was coming from here. And it’s getting hotter... Has she been this way? We didn’t see her back there? How did she survive?"
“I do not sense any sign that she had been this way,” he spoke up truthfully. “Or back there. I do not know where she went but if she was near I would know. The wind is dying ahead.”
The wind wasn’t the only thing that was picking up. The heat in the cave was enough to keep the moss from growing any further in and the walls clear of any moisture. They pushed forward even when it was too dark to see again and he led her through.
The light that was at the end more profound and she felt a hint of excitement in her. “That’s light.”
“It could be from a fire,” his words were hushed and he glances at her to use his free hand to tap his mouth with his finger. “The light looks like something that comes from one. Stay silent and walk lightly, and stay low. And certainly, stay near me.”
They lower themselves and gradually move towards the only source of the glow that was in another large opening. When they finally saw where it emitted from he knew that it wasn’t a fire.
“Oh, no. Lava.”
The edge drops off into a pool of lava that was in a large opening of another cavernous room. She only saw it in moves but in front of her was real molten lava with specks of fire that occasionally hops out and hisses back in. It was the reason why the air was now hotter than before, and the way was lit ahead from the other areas of different sized pools.
“I had a bad feeling about what is the cause of that shaking now...” Clara gave Kito a terrifying look that made him listen. “I think this is a volcano.”
“A volcano?” His head tilts. Confused. “What is that?”
“A very large mountain that blows this stuff everywhere,” she nods towards the red, thick heated substance. “And ash. It is the best explanation for the shaking. It’s a warning before a volcano erupts from the top. Kane loves watching channels about these kinds of things,” and she would have to thank him later. “We can’t be in here when it does or that will fill this whole cave.”
That was not something he wanted to be present for. Nor her. “Then let’s continue forward and find a way up. I need to return to the tribe and warn them.”
They walked on. Further and further and kept away from each hazardous pool. There was one steep pool that was in the center of the cave, leaving them to press themselves against the wall and maneuver their feet on the thin ledge. One wrong step and one would be sliding down into it, and it was a long two-story plunge.
The lava was so hot that it felt like she was standing in front of a hot oven, inching their way across. He even had his arm over her as a protective railing to keep her from falling in case she made a wrong step, which helps her twice.
She would have never done this in her world. Maybe this was too much excitement for her.
They made it to the other side with everything uncooked. They travel further, continuing to follow the wind that she couldn't feel.
It was her growling stomach that halts him. The way it echoed made her cover her face in embarrassment. “Oh, jeez. I can’t believe my body did that now. I’m sorry. Let’s keep going.”
“It would be a good idea to wait and look around for a time to see where to go. The wind is hard to feel here because of the heat,” he inspects the cave for a small area for them to rest temporarily. Her feet had to be sore from the walking they had already done. It felt like forever or walking, climbing, and avoid near-death trips. “You need to rest somewhere. I have something that I can give to you for your hunger and there is already light and warmth. We also need to sleep. We have been walking for a long time now. ”
Have they? It didn’t feel that way. She trusts his judgment. She knew nothing about surviving. But still...
“This isn’t the right place to be doing that,” she drops her hands and shook her head. “There is lava. Do you know what that stuff does to you?”
“Is that what you call it?” He grins. “We have seen it deep in caves before, but never knew the name. My brother and I have. We use to throw sticks in them, although we shouldn’t. That’s why Zeta banned cave dwelling for us when she found out,” now there was light laughter from him. “But we need to rest and eat. I want to scan the area further while you do first so I can see if there is another way up. I would also like to heal that cut on you.” He found himself staring at the cut that Alira inflicted with her dagger that tore her skin. He hated looking at it. He wanted it gone.
She gave in arguing with him and walked with him over to the further corner of the cave that the lava didn’t affect so much with its brutal heat. It was the only place that he could sense would be comfortable for her. It did give off just enough light for Clara to see and cool enough to reside at. She found herself the perfect spot away from any deadly liquids.
When she rests herself he lifted the strap of his bag over his head and sets it on the ground and kneels, unfolding it and looking through the contents to find what he needed. She watched in silence. She didn’t know what to say.
“The only way I can heal that cut on your neck is for me to get closer. Would you like to shut your eyes while I fix it? I would explain but... I am not sure that you will let me if I did. I don’t have any other way to heal it, but I can use my thumb.”
She supposes that becoming skeptical of him now after everything else he had done for her would be pointless. Recalling how his face looked when she obtained the cut was enough to allow him to do whatever he needed to do to fix it. She nods, “do... Do whatever you need to do.”
He wouldn’t know how she would react afterward, but he would take anything to get rid of that horrible mark on her neck. He didn’t hesitate after she shut her eyes and moved her head sideways to show him the cut. He wasn’t sure how she would react but he knew it was the fastest way. He licks the pad of his tongue and hesitantly wipes it over the cut. It stung, another lick was needed, but it was healing.
Alira didn’t cut too deep thankfully. She was never good with any dagger to cut too deep, but the idea that she was suddenly a professional baffle him. She still knew where to put it. What happened to her?
She knew what it was once he done it. He had actually licked his finger and smudged it into the cut. She was trying to untangle the sensations nonetheless, it confused her and was... Different. It wasn’t a severe burn from a normal fire, it was pleasant and foreign and effected something inside of her, deeper than just her skin, flesh, and even bone, to ignite like a match to kerosene.
That cut did sting intensely for a brief period until it didn’t anymore.
He was pleased when he saw the cut disappear. He liked that part of him to be able to heal anything minor like cuts and scrapes. “There,” he did felt the need to wipe his thumb over the now clear skin. “All healed. Are you hurt anywhere else?”
She felt over the spot herself. She lost her voice temporarily and chose to shake her head to give her more time to recollect her thoughts and sensations. She held her hands because they felt tingly, unnerved. It sent messages to her mind to use them to touch him... She refrained. Didn’t dare. She held them in her lap to contain them.
He could taste to hint of her blood on his tongue and nearly felt like purring. Hard. It was so addicting that the sweet taste lingers on even after everything was said and done. Now he could see why he would always catch Kai using Mia to feed. She always freely gave it to him because of the taste in his mouth right now.
She was going to question how he managed to do such a thing and why they could do something so bizarre as healing spit. How was that even achievable? What creature could have such a thing? But his eyes were thin dark slits. He was looking at her. She was uncertain about it, “What’s wrong?”
His strong composure collapsed into a nervous, breathy laugh that was too soft to make an echo. His ears are lower as he moved away to grab his bag. He was even shaking. She hasn’t seen him that way before. This was new.
“Nothing, really,” he tries to provide her another one of his assuring smiles until he drops his bag and spilled everything on the ground. His ears were flat and his tail didn’t move with his anxious behavior, glancing at her again and looking away. He was timid now. All because of the connection. He didn’t know how to keep himself focused. He grabs a smaller bag off the ground and hands it to her, “Those are fruit slices you can eat, it can fill you up quickly. A good quick snack.”
He needs to get away before he made a fool of himself some more.
“Are you alright?” She questions again, full of doubt.
“I’m fine,” he stands up and backs away with his eyes on hers. “I- I better go scout. Alira could be-”
His forehead met with a rock sticking from the top of the low ceiling. He fell on his back fast, his limbs sprawled out. The sight made her gasp and sit up, “Kito! Can you hear me?”
It surprised her how quickly he collects himself from the ground although he had been knocked down seconds before. “Yes! Yes, I’m fine. I am going to go now.”
He left. He grabs his head and winced once he turns a corner and soon let his shame sink in, unaware that she was attempting to hide the smile he caused with the pouch of fruit and was even kind enough to grab his dropped items and put them back in the pouch. Deep inside she kind of figured what had happened to him there and felt kind of silly when she felt flattered that he would be so nervous just to be around her. She was nobody to be nervous in such a way about. Especially when he almost knocked himself out.
She saw all of his things as she put them back in his bag. All the strange plants and vials of liquids she didn’t understand. She just put it all back in his bag and pulls over the small flap and ties it shut, and when she starts to eat the small diced fruit in the little pouch to stop the ping of hunger in her stomach. She would only take as much as she needed until she was filled.
The fruit didn’t taste like anything in her world and the closest thing she could resemble it to an orange. It filled her mouth with this sweet juice that also would help her with her thirst. What was this stuff?
Kito went as far as he dared down the cave to see if there was any other passage to the surface, and when he found none he returned to the spot where he left her. He was happy when he found her leaning against the cave and sleeping, her head pulled sideways and the pouch of fruit opened where she had been eating then. She fell asleep while she was eating, more exhausted than even she knew.
The only thing he did was grab the bag from her lap and sit down with his back against the stone wall. He watched the pool of lava across the cave as he put some of the fruit pieces in his mouth and chewed.
He sat there and shut his eyes to rest them. He was exhausted too. He hasn’t had any rest since a little before she came here and now when everything was silent and calm a little rest wouldn’t do any harm. He was a light sleeper as well. He would wake up to any slight sound of anything.
So when he felt the lightweight on his lap he opened his eyes and jumped slightly, pausing with wide, blue eyes, and his heart in his chest increase its pace. The bag of fruit fell to the ground.
On his lap with her knees on each side of his waist was Clara. It was a sight that had his ears down and sheer confusion on his face. Yet, seeing her like this made his hand unable to grab her. He didn’t know if he wanted to. “Clara?” he murmured. “Wha... What are you doing?”
She placed her hands on each of his cheeks. When she did his whole body slumped down and melted. He looked at her relaxed smile on his face. Her head lowered to his and stopped just inches away. He was confused but was not going to complain. Her touch felt nice, causing his skin to tingle and embrace it. He moved his head further into the warmth.
What was happening?
“I want to touch you,” it was such a strange thing for her to say, he stares at her in silence. She wasn’t jesting with her words when she lowers her head and was close enough to kiss him. So close that if he moved his head forward for just a half of an inch his lips would touch hers. It was so tempting. Her hands moving from his cheeks to his neck and stopping there. Waiting. Making him purr and receiving the soft look in his eyes.
He couldn’t fight her. He didn’t know what was happening right now, or what illusion that was happening, but he willingly became a custom to it. Everything felt good to him right now, especially her over him, the weight of her on his lap. Goddess... He should stop. “I would like that...” His purrs echoes in the cave now, his hands on his side that was contemplating whether to touch her back although her skin beckoned him. She was playing with fire. “Clara...”
When her hands slid over his skin down his neck, her hand flat on his skin as it lowered to his check and curiously massaged the muscle there. Exploring. Feeling. Moving lower to the hard section of his stomach and even made him growl when her fingernails lightly scrape over his skin. He felt so sensitive when his purring growls heightened and clench his jaw to subdue them. He was also becoming stimulated by it. He felt himself at the core of his body and his cheeks slightly reddened. He didn’t know what she was doing but he was liking it. He wants more.
“Clara,” he muttered her name again, his ears flat now as he felt his fangs ache. The more she touches him -arouses him- he wanted to sink his teeth in her. He knew exactly what he was aching for. He wanted to mark her. The memory of her blood still lingered on his tongue. He went to speak again until he noticed that she untied his belt. He made a small animalistic sound to express his excited mood. He still couldn’t stop her. Or was it wouldn’t stop her? He didn’t have it in him too.
She stops and gazes at him with her hazel eyes. He glances at them helplessly. He knew he would do anything she wanted. His face softened even more and a small begging sound escaped him. He never made such noises before. He didn’t know he had it in him to make such vulnerable sounds. “Kito,” she whispers. “Would you really not stop me?”
He blinks once. His tail curled. “I should...” his chest vibrated as he took small breaths. “But I... It’s harder than I thought,” he was panting. He was craving everything about her right now, even her addictive feeling of her body against his. He never wanted her to get off. It made him forget about the danger around them. Was this even real?
She moves closer to his face again. She never kissed him although she was close enough. He wanted to devour her... He looked at her in a dreamy haze. If she only knew the power she had.
She positioned her hand over his tattoo. Her fingers caressing. “What a waste.”
He woke up.
When his eyes snap open and she was gone he nearly panicked, but he turns his head and saw that she was still sleeping in her spot. The fruit that he seemed to fell asleep with on his lap had fallen over. He just left it, his mind worried about other things when he saw that he was excited.
He yanks his bag and puts it over his painfully erect manhood and slid away and around the corner just in case she didn’t wake up and see him. It was a sneaky dream. A fantasy. No, an illusion. He should have known that she was too shy to do any of the things she had done in that dream and felt his body retaliating the distance he was putting between them. He needed to though. He didn’t know that it would hit him quick, like this, but here it was. He didn’t know the connection affected him this badly.
And he was sensitive. He had to move the bag away and sit in the darkness for a while to collect himself together and not let his body overtake his mind. He wondered if Kai had to go through this pain before. The torture. Those awful dreams. His half pulling towards hers and she didn’t know it because she was sleeping.
He didn’t dare let his mind wonder what her dreams could be about if he were taking the wrong turn. Although it was a dream. He wished it was real, however. By all of the Gods, he wished it was real. That the world was pleasant and not in this cave.
Yet it wasn’t pleasant. There was something sinister about it. It was deception, would Clara call him a waste? He had questions. Still, the image of her...
He would never do that to her. Not when she was unsure, so new to this world. Not when she was far from ready. How could this be happening so soon? Did Kai feel this and had to hold it back? He would deal with this pain for as long as he needed to. Especially through this situation now. He needed to get themselves back to the tribe.