Excalibur ~ World from Ashes

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Chapter 13

I woke up to the feeling of someone running their fingers through my hair. Shifting slightly, I opened my eyes to see Tristan gazing down at me. He smiled as he leaned on his hand that propped his body up a bit to loom over me. I felt a bit of a blush course along my face as I looked up at him. That touch through my hair, it was so amazing the way it soothed my body.

“Sorry, did I wake you?”

I shook my head and yawned, my body stretching across the bed. I shoved one arm up under the cool pillow beneath my head and resettled against the sheets. It was so damned comfortable, I didn’t want to move. My other arm snaked up under his body and my fingers reached up to trail along his back, tracing circles there as he brushed out my black hair.

“I always enjoy looking at your eyes,” he commented softly, “I can’t figure out which one I like more.”

I gave a laugh, “They’re really not that special.”

He arched an eyebrow at me, his fingers pausing for a moment in my hair before continuing again, “You really think that? Your eyes are very rare, you know.”

“I suppose, but people always used to think I was blind in one eye.”

“Why is that?”

“This one,” I pulled my arm from under the pillow and tapped under my right eye that was the pale blue one, “Because of its color, people thought that I couldn’t see out of it. The green one is natural because it’s my mom’s eye color. The pale blue one is a stigma… What did they used to call this kind of thing? Down syndrome or something?”

Tristan shrugged a bit, “Strange that people would think you couldn’t see.”

“It’s because it’s so pale in color it looks white sometimes. Kinda freaks people out.”

Tristan shook his head, a bit of a chuckle escaping him, “Then those people are stupid. You’re beautiful. I love your eyes, your hair, your face, your body,” his voice grew steadily lower as he leaned down and kissed the side of my cheek, my head and then down to my neck. My heart rate escalated quickly as he continued, a dark blush burning across my cheeks and bridge of my nose.

He moved so that he was leaning over me, one leg pushing aside mine so that he could lift it slowly and press down against my groin. I let out a soft moan, my eyes closing slowly as he leaned down and kissed me. His hands dropped down over my body, pushing up the shirt I was wearing to get to the skin beneath. I panted as his fingers dragged along my body and reached up to caress my nipple.

As I arched up into him, there was a knock on the door. My heart skipped a beat and Tristan paused. His gaze lingered on me for a long while. As I watched him, I bit my lip. Maybe if we stay silent they’ll go away. My lips twitched into a smirk and Tristan seemed to know what I was thinking because he grinned at me too. However, whoever it was on the other side of the door, knocked again and Tristan groaned. With a roll of his eyes he got up of the bed, leaving me unbearably hot and with a hard on. Damn it…

Tristan opened the door as I rolled over. I could hear the voices from the hall. It sounded like Jace and Zak. God, what perfect timing guys… Couldn’t you have waited like… thirty minutes or something? I sighed heavily into the pillows as I curled up along the sheets. It took them a while to finish up what they were saying. Finally closing the door, Tristan came over to me and climbed into the bed to hold my back against his chest. He nuzzled my neck briefly.

“Sorry. Time to go, we’ll pick up with this later though.”

I turned over to face him and smiled, “Promise?”

His intense gaze dropped down from my eyes to my lips and I felt an increase in heat as it boiled through my limbs. I knew that it was more than a promise as he leaned forward and kissed me. He pulled away almost reluctantly and I had to follow. Jace and Zak were sure to be waiting for us and the last thing I wanted to do was irritate Jace. Getting off the bed I adjusted myself with a slight clearing of my throat and glanced over to Tristan who stood at the door.

With a nod, I followed after him as he left the room and we both trailed down the hall to the staircase at the front of the manor. Leaning against the railing was Jace and Zak. Jace was looking out down into the lobby area, his arms on the railing while Zak was turned to face us. Zak reached out and tapped Jace’s shoulder to get his attention. Pushing off of the railing, he greeted us with a short nod of his head.

“Are you all right?” I asked him, remembering that Zak had carried his unconscious body from the room.

Jace nodded a small smile on his lips for an instant, “Fine. Anyway, we need to talk about this ‘Excalibur’ drug. What the hell did that bastard do t us earlier?”

Straight to business and totally pissed off. That’s just like Jace, I thought as I glanced up over to Tristan. He folded his arms and let out a sigh. He looked to be thinking about it and I waited, though my own thoughts swirled. Excalibur was a strange name to call a drug, but then there were stranger before I supposed. The green liquid that Dane had taken had done something to him, made him… different. It was hard to comprehend really.

“Has Kilia taken a look at the vial I took from him?”

Jace nodded, “Yeah, but she says that there wasn’t enough left in the bottle for her to determine what was inside of it.”

“All right, then we’ll just have to get more.”

“Are you fucking crazy?” Jace snapped at me and Zak put his hand on his shoulder.

I shrugged, “We’re not going to figure out what this drug is unless we have some of it in hand.”

“He’s right, you know,” Zak said, looking down at Jace.

With a roll of his green eyes, Jace huffed as he put one hand on his hip and ran his fingers through his unruly blonde hair, “Yeah, yeah. All right, but you stay here.”

“What? Why?” I was shocked at his sudden order.

“You heard Dane! Alik wants you back and there’s no saying that this time you would survive. Alik’s probably wanting to use you as his little lab rat, amongst other things. Do I have to remind you what he did to you?”

My face went pale and I flinched. Jace’s eyes grew wide as he realized what he’d said and he looked away. Tristan put his hand on my shoulder and pulled me closer to him, “Jace,” he said sternly, “That’s enough. He is right, though, Valkyrie. You should stay here.”

I bit my lip as I slowly nodded my head. As much as I hated the idea, I couldn’t go running around with them when Alik’s goal was me. The last thing I wanted was to be in the way and screw something up. I sighed heavily as I stood there and crossed my arms in a semi-pouting fashion. Although I knew the reasons why and agreed with them, it didn’t mean I had to like it.

“All right. So where are you guys going to start?”

“Probably somewhere in the city. Alik has to have a provider. Someone he’s bought the drug from. If we can find the source then we could probably put a stop to it being distributed. Whatever it had done to Dane… We can’t let a handful of people have the same effects,” Tristan answered me.

“How are you going to find his dealer?”

“Maybe we should start with Titan itself. If he’s got the drug, he’s surely given it to some of his guys,” Jace mused.

I nodded in agreement. Going after the dealer seemed far too risky, especially when we didn’t even know who the hell the drug dealer was to begin with. Tristan seemed to mule this over as he watched us, his gaze flicking between Jace and myself. After a moment, he finally nodded, “Yeah. That’ll work.”

With a nod, Jace turned on his heel and started to head for the stairs, Zak right behind him. Tristan took a step forward, “Jace,” they both stopped and looked back at him with curiosity in their gazes.

“What’s up?”

“Stay here with Valkyrie.”

Jace’s gaze grew wide as he stared at Tristan and then glanced at me. I shook my head quickly, “U-uh… N-no, that’s okay. He should go with you Tristan. Wait… You’re going?”

“Of course I’m going.”

“Then all the more reason Jace should go with you! He’s a hell of a shot and can help you.”

“Gee, thanks for the moral support,” Zak said with a wry smile. He crossed his arms over his chest and I felt my face burn with embarrassment.

“Tristan…” Jace’s voice was soft.

“I need you to protect Valkyrie for me,” Tristan said as he walked up to Jace and put his hands on Jace’s shoulders, “I trust you with this because you’re one of my best friends. We’ve known each other for a very long time and I know that you’ll do anything to keep him safe. Will you do that for me?”

“Yes. Of course,” Jace answered. His voice had taken on a different tone, almost like he was humbled by the words and the task given to him. I still felt a little odd, though I knew Jace and I had gotten to have a slightly better relationship than before, it was still strange to be around him all the time and especially alone. I always got the nagging feeling that he just didn’t like me all that much.

“Thank you. Be careful while we’re gone. If what Dane said is true, then there are plenty here that would want to harm you both.”

“Yeah, I know,” Jace said, taking on his usual demeanor which was the hard headed, bad-ass attitude he showed just about everyone.

“All right,” Tristan turned and in two strides was right up next to me. He took hold of my arm and in his other hand he pulled my head up to look at him. I went to say something, but he dropped down and kissed me right there. I felt my body tremble at his touch and the kiss made me blush furiously, especially since Jace and Zak were standing right behind Tristan.

When he pulled away, I was in shock and he grinned at me. Did that on purpose! Damn him! I was flustered as I stood there, trying not to show how much that simple kiss had affected me. Jace rolled his eyes as he let out a heavy sigh and Zak chuckled as he patted Jace’s shoulder.

“We’ll be back soon,” Zak said.

“Yeah, see ya later. I’ll keep your love bird intact, Tristan. That’s a promise.”

Tristan grinned at Jace and nodded as he and Zak headed down the stairs leaving me and Jace up on the second floor. I watched them go, listening to Tristan bark out orders to a group of members that were in the hallway to the left. As they left the manor, the door closing tightly behind them, I glanced over at Jace who shoved off the railing and grumbled slightly.

He glanced at me, and then looked away as if he were agitated or embarrassed. I frowned a bit, “Sorry about that.”

Jace shrugged, “No. It’s fine. I should have realized. Besides, Tristan’s right. Someone needs to stay with you,” he gave a softer sigh and then jerked his head toward the stairs, “Hungry?”

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