BHM Trial by Fire - by Xyantha (BHM, WG, Explicit)

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Xyantha Reborn

- Actually Very Tame!
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Chapter 34
Giselle was the first to notice that her sister had awoken only moments after Ademar had fallen asleep. The giveaway was that the chubby Fenri literally sprinted several dozen yards away, looking as dejected as a kicked puppy, his long ears drooping nearly horizontally. Turning her gaze to the freckled face on her lap, she tapped the snub nose. “Wakey wakey – ”

“ – eggs and bakey!” Melody finished, stretching luxuriously like a cat waking from slumber. Thick, dark lashes opened to reveal mischievous brown eyes, which slitted up at her friend. “Hey there, hot stuff.””

“Hey there to you too,” Giselle grinned, eyes misting with tears. “I missed, you, stupidhead!”

Grinning, Melody raised herself up on her elbows to plant a firm kiss on her friend’s mouth. “Did you get you some some-some with Ademar last night?” She purred, wriggling her eyebrows suggestively.

The water witch laughed and blushed. “Melody! I could hardly take advantage of your body like that!”

The brunette rolled her eyes. “Baby, you are hot as hell. I can barely keep my hands off you myself. Of COURSE I want you to take advantage – that was the whole point of all of this! Why are you crying?” She demanded abruptly, wincing reflexively as a fat tear hit her cheek.

“Because, you idiot, I was worried that I would never see you again! We weren’t sure if Ademar had pushed you out entirely!”

Sitting up, Melody stretched once again. “No worries – me and Ademar decided to do this sort of time share thing – we are going to hot bunk it for a while. Switching places and such. And by decided, I mean I took the lead and got ‘er done.” She turned to eye her friend up and down, eyes widening appreciatively. “Damn gurl, you look fiiine."

Giselle, long familiar with her friend’s fits and starts of unpredictable moods, merely laughed and offered her a bite of bread.

Melody accepted it, sliding her mouth along her fingers and sucking it off with an exaggerated wink that had her friend laughing. Grinning, she rolled her shoulders, turning her head to release some knots in the muscle. As she turned her head to the right, she caught sight of the dejected man standing in the distance. Her brown eyes narrowed, and she jumped to her feet. “You! What are you doing here! Go away!”

Immediately, the man pivoted smartly on his heel and began striding away. It might have appeared voluntary, except for the look of panic on his face, and how his head wrenched over his shoulder to regard them, as if he was being strong armed away by a troop of invisible soldiers.

Giselle frowned, a crease appearing between her light brows. “Stop it. Tell him to stay.”

“Why?” Melody demanded, hair rising like an angry cat. “He – he blasted Ademar to smitheries! If I hadn’t snatched him up, he’d be gone, gone, gone!”

“He told me that himself.”

Melody whirled to her friend, eyes sparkling with uncharacteristic anger. “And you are ok with it? You’re just going to let it slide?”

“He had to, or else the Queen would have killed you.”

A snort of derision answered her, and arms crossed under her breasts. “As if. I know how to take care of myself.”

Rather than debating that her friend could have withstood the might of the Shiva Queen and her court, Giselle merely raised a brow. “How was he to have known that?”

Her wide mouth snapped shut, a sour twist overtaking it. After a long moment of searching for a viable argument and failing, she finally sighed. “Fine. Don’t leave. Just…stay away from me,” she muttered. “And be quiet!” She snapped.

A distant sigh answered her, and Fenri shuffled back to the party with a relieved expression. Melody’s glare made him flinch, and he plopped to the ground about twenty paces away, eyes glued to the floor like a scolded child.

“Bad Fenri, bad! Don’t try to hurt my friends!” She shook her finger at him, and his ears wilted further, if possible. A dull flush rose to her cheeks, and she turned back to her friend. “He is kind of cute though, isn’t he? Look at his ears!”

A corresponding flush rose on the man’s cheeks, and he began drawing in the dirt with a finger.

“Super hot,” Giselle agreed absently, eyes still eating up her friend. “Focus, girl – me time, now.”

“You have one hundred percent of my attention!” With a laugh, Melody launched herself at her friend, tickling her. After a moment of shrieking laughter, they both subsided into smiles, in each other’s arms. “So, tell me. How did Ademar get you out of that tower? I told you to be patient, that we would figure it out someday!”

Giselle wrinkled her nose. “Well, at first he didn’t believe me about the spell on the door. So he did an experiment. He caught two rabbits, held one in his hand, and put the other inside his armour.” She grimaced. “I didn’t know rabbits could scream like that. The one in his hand died when he forced his way outside, but the one in his body was fine…so…” she shrugged. “I did a ride along, and now I am free!”

She did look free – her porcelain skin looked delicate and beautiful in the dappled light filtering through the frees. Her deep blue eyes which had carried so much sadness, now seemed brighter and lighter. And her body… “Now you are free,” Melody agreed, eyeing her friend lustily. “And hotter than ever.”
 

Xyantha Reborn

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“Oh Dee, don’t try and flatter me – that just means that I am fatter than ever. You are the only one who feels that way!” She tried to cover her body with her arms, failing utterly.

Her friend quirked a brow. “Really? And here I thought Ademar finds you sexy as hell.”

A pretty pink blush stole over her cheeks, but Giselle’s lips compressed. She kicked dirt at the embers of the fire with a dainty foot. “That’s different. From what I understand, Ademar doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. He likes it because he…has to. Like he is compelled or something. It’s not the same.”

Dark brown eyes sought Fenri’s gaze, and he met it sidelong. “Is that how it works?” She snapped, all pretense of friendliness dropping away.

She was obviously still furious, from her snapping eyes, to her raised hair to her stiff posture. Fenri licked his lips and swallowed before answering. “Uh, not quite? We are not compelled to like our consorts in spite of who they are, or how they appear. Our consorts are perfection. They are our everything.” His eyes softened as they met Melody’s. “How could we want more?”

“See!” Melody trumpeted, turning a triumphant gaze to her friend. “Told you!”

Blue eyes roved over his slouched form, dwelling on the softened belly spilling between the fabric. “And you? Are you perfect for your consort?”

A bark of laughter escaped him before he sobered. “We try to be. Sometimes we fail,” he added bleakly, expression darkening as he eyed Melody.

“She’ll forgive you. She already has”

Fenri looked rather doubtful, returning his attention to tracing a design in the dirt with his index finger.

“He has a consort?” For a moment, her dark eyes glinted as if tears stood in them, but then the forest witch tossed her thick locks of hair. “Of course he does. Why wouldn’t he? The sexiest guy I’ve ever seen – sans trying to kill my friends!” she added, shaking a finger at him. “And he is taken. Of course he is. Of. Freaking. Course.”

A barely repressed smirk played about her soft lips. “It’s you, dumb dumb. You are his consort.”

Melody gaped at her friend for a moment, then jerked a thumb at Fenri. “That one’s mine?” she whispered loudly, turning her head over her shoulder as if seeing him for the first time. Her expression turned from thunderous to considering in a heartbeat.

Fenri nodded, looking at her from under his brows. He winced, hiking a shoulder up. “Sorry?”

Stalking closer, Melody stood over him, eyes narrowed. “I don’t think I’m ok with my consort trying to kill my sissy’s consort. No…consorticide, sexy!”

“You are forgiving me! I can feel it!” The male rose to his feet and looked down at her.

“I told you to stay away from me!” she half heartedly snapped, flapping her hands at him. “Shoo!”

“Clearly, you don’t really mean it,” he retorted as he advanced on her, belly shifting softly with each step, transfixing his prey. A boyish grin broke over his face as his expression cleared. “So - you think I’m sexy?”

Melody hissed at him, baring her teeth, but Fenri merely laughed as he pulled her to him.

She growled, a nip to his softened chest making him yelp. She dug her fingers into his torso to get him to release her, but the effect was rather the opposite of what she intended. At the feel of his softness filling her hands, she instinctively softened into him, and a soft mewl of desire filled her throat instead of a snarled command to release her.

The tall male bent his head to nuzzle her neck, inhaling her scent and licking at her collar bone lightly. “You know,” he rumbled, “I could feel you watching me these past weeks. You really do like your men…full bodied, don’t you?” He chuckled as her hands kneaded the soft flab around his belly button, and used his own hands to push them deeper. “I felt you encouraging me to eat more…and more…now look what happened,” he pouted, lifting and dropping the weight of his belly into her hands.

Melody panted, her nipples pearling under the light fabric of her loaned shirt. She cast a desperate glance over her shoulder at her friend, pupils wide with excitement. “Giselle, help!”

The blond snorted, watching with amusement from her log. Melody never could hold a grudge. “Looks like you are doing just fine from where I am sitting. You tell him, girl! You stick to your morals!”

“He isn’t playing fair!” She cried, panting. “He knows my weakness and is using it against me!” Melody wriggled for freedom before turning boneless.

“Good for him,” was all she said, though she was more fascinated by the dramatic changes of behaviour that she had seen the half blood go through in the past day. Which was the real Fenri? The grim warrior, splashed with blood from battle? The dejected soul? The frisky lover? Was he just…whoever Melody needed him to be in the moment? Was that true of Ademar? What was a consort, really?
 

loopytheone

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I have to say, I was kinda running with the assumption for a while that Melody was something between a necromancer and a forest witch; that those were dead plants/forest spirits she was connected to. Interesting to see that I might have been somewhere along the right lines with that!
 

dreamingalp

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I have to say, I was kinda running with the assumption for a while that Melody was something between a necromancer and a forest witch; that those were dead plants/forest spirits she was connected to. Interesting to see that I might have been somewhere along the right lines with that!
Is she 100% a necromancer though? The plants respond to her well enough. Some schools of fantasy refer to necromancy as the manipulation of life forces which would mean that working with plants and with the dead could be the same thing if you step back from the nitty gritty of it.
(It's just a thought I've had about necromancy for a long time. Don't mind me, it may not apply here.)
 

Xyantha Reborn

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Chapter 35


Giselle stroked the long, curly brown hair which was spread over her lap in a soft curtain. Thin grasses gently combed the ends which pooling over her thighs to trail the ground, and she smiled softly at their mimicking. As the water witch sifted the thick strands through her fingers, she finally allowed herself to heave a deep sigh, eyes roving over features as familiar to her as her own. Melody’s tanned face was full of freckles that spread across her cheeks and the bridge of her nose, and her expressive mouth was slightly open. Her ripe chest rose softly with sleep, and her hands were curled like a baby’s.

She was thinner than Giselle would have liked, and dark smudges had appeared under her eyes. It had taken both Giselle and Fenri stridently and emotionally arguing to convince their mates that just because one of you could be awake – did not mean that you should be. Or perhaps neither of them had listened so much as her body simply could not stay awake any longer.

Clear blue eyes raised, eyeing her companion. Fenri, she had discovered, was not a bad man. Not that Dee would have fallen for a nasty guy. He was actually quite…nice. Nicer than Giselle had expected for a Shiva. Ademar didn’t count, of course.

After so long alone, it was exhausting to be around people – and yet was imperitive… essential… critical… vital. Fenri had moved into the forest to piss, and after only a handful of moments, her heart had begun to pound uncontrollably, the forest wavered before her gaze, black curtains appearing at the edge of her vision. She had not even known that she cried out, or that she was crying, until the thick set man had suddenly wrapped her in his arms.

It was different, to be held and comforted by a man who was not her lover. Their respective fat had squished together in an odd way, and although their bodies were flush with each other, no spark, no desire triggered. He had simply held her until she stopped crying. Since then, he had stayed next to her, only moving just beyond the first trees whenever their mates were asleep.

After a moment, Fenri noticed her prolonged stare and ceased playing with the chestnut locks himself. “She is quiet when she is asleep,” he grinned, his small fangs making an appearance.

Giselle felt her lips twitching despite herself. “Enjoy it while it lasts – it is pretty much the only time it happens.” After a moment, her smile faded. “I’m scared, Fenri. How long do you think this can go on?”

The male straightened, his stomach rising briefly before a sigh settled it firmly into his lap. The poor man needed clothes that fit as badly as she did! “I don’t know,” he finally admitted. Although his voice was calm, his oddly shaped ears were twitching, and his pupils were changing shape quite alarmingly. He swallowed, scrubbing a hand down his face. “I almost can’t think about it – Melody doesn’t want me to worry. Every time I think about it, it slides away from me,” he admitted, voice muffled by his hand.

Reaching out, she gentled his hand in her own. “I told you that you are not to blame.” The male merely gave a one shouldered shrug and looked away, so the blonde tugged at him until, with many a confused glance, he surrendered himself to laying his head on her other thigh. Giselle stroked his soft hair with her left hand, the right entangled in chestnut tresses. “You explained, Melody explained, Ademar explained.”

Elegant brows furrowed, and his eyes slid half closed at the feel of her hands roving across his scalp, lightly scraping, massaging, and caressing. Fenri was of course aware that humans were more physically affectionate than Shiva, but it was fascinating and quite…nice, to constantly be touched. The more he relaxed, the more they seemed to reward him with it, yet never took any of his power. It was making him lazy - but he couldn’t bring himself to care.

“From what I gather, your mother, the Queen of the Shiva, would have killed all three of you if you hadn’t acted. You had to make a choice to save your mate – or kill what you thought was a bad guy. I don’t think that was a bad decision under the circumstances. And at the end of the day, we all came out of it relatively ok. Right?”

“Yes – this is a perfect situation. Your consort is in the body of my consort.”

After a moment of looking down at his face, the witch sighed. Her round belly, which took up the remainder of her lap which was not occupied, pushed at his head. She flushed, but the male just grinned up at her. “Don’t you give me any bullshit like Dee or Ademar do – I know how I look!”

A long-fingered hand reached up and caressed her soft, chubby cheek, sliding to gently pinch the pad of fat that nestled under her chin. Brooding eyes raked her face. “Stop fishing for compliments, witch.”

A gasp escaped her lips, and she gently flicked him in the nose. “How dare you!” she exclaimed, laughter and outrage vying in her tone, a smile lurking around the corners of her lips. He was far more personable, more human than she would have expected.

Fenri gently touched his index finger to her nose, careful not to cut her with his muted claws. “Careful, witch. You insult your friend for her preference, me with my own body, and your consort with your loathing of you own flesh,” he rebuked her, causing a guilty flush to rise on her cheeks. “Besides - you are no Melody – but you’re good looking. For a human,” he added with derision – and another grin.

A laugh burbled up, and she snorted. “And you are pretty good looking – for a Shiva.”

The sly smile which had briefly overtaken his face slid away. Dark eyes regarded her, larger and more tilted than a human’s. In the low light of the pre-dawn, his eyes had an eery, glinting reflection. “We are in quite the situation, are we not? The woman who hates Shiva, has a Shiva for a mate. But her mate is now in her best friend’s body. And she has to vie for both of their affection with a halfbreed.”

Greenery gently twined around their trio, and Giselle followed their languid motions for a long while before answering. “I can’t deny that it’s…unusual. Melody might be my friend, but she has always been her own person. Either you take Melody for who she is, and what friendship she can offer – or you leave it. There is no in between. I think of this as the newest iteration in our life…a new way of being. Her newest offering of how she wants our friendship to be. And I know I’m prejudiced…but don’t hate you or Ademar. I think that’s a pretty good start.”
 

Xyantha Reborn

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“But you cannot deny that you would be happier if Ademar had his own body,” the halfbreed persisted, resting his cheek on her stomach as he turned his head to face her more fully.

“I can and I do,” she countered stoutly. “You guys told me that Ademar has been dead for centuries before I was even born. So him having his own body was never an option. Even if you hadn’t attacked him, I would either have him in his armour, or not at all.” She sighed again, absently petting a vine meandering across her thighs. “This whole thing is just so…new. One day Melody introduces me to him…he loves me…I’m still processing it. It doesn’t seem real.” Her eyes focused, and she tilted her head as she regarded him. “You have more cause to be upset with me; without Ademar or I in the picture, you would have Dee all to yourself.”

A bark of laughter burst from him. “I don’t think I could handle Melody all by myself!” Again, his hand rose to caress her cheek. “Melody loves you as a sister – as do I. As Ademar does with Melody. We are…a complete set.” His gentle expression quickly sobered, fading her blush with it. “To return to your original point – how long can this last? I do not know. I did not think what Melody did was even possible – I have no idea how she accomplished it. It’s not…meant to be, however.”

Meaning that it was against the laws of nature. “I don’t think she really knows how she did it either – she doesn’t cast spells like a typical witch. I’ve known her since she was a child – I’ve never seen her use components, incantations - nothing,” she continued at his insistently raised brow. “She just…asks the forest, and it does it. Most of the time, it accommodates her – sometimes not in the way she expected. Even so, I’ve never seen her get angry or frustrated, even when it hasn’t answered her call. I’ve never seen the likes of it before.”

Fenri frowned, drumming his fingers on the earth. “I have never heard magic speak like hers does.”

Giselle stared at him. “Speaks?”

“You have not heard it?” At her nod, he shivered, sitting up. His already rounded cheeks puffed as he blew out the air in his mouth. His soft chest slumped onto the curve of his belly, his forearms resting on his knees. “There have been a few times that I have heard them. They sound like...I do not know. There is definitely more than one voice. They seem to be tied directly to her plants.” His brow furrowed. “I don’t know if that is normal – I am unfamiliar with human magic.”

Startled, the plump witch turned towards him. “Human magic?” she exclaimed, blinking. “There are different types of magic? Shiva magic is different?”

A nod.

How is it different?” she demanded with a roll of her eyes, trailing a wheat blonde lock of hair across her pouting lips.

“Oh – well, Shiva produce their own internal source of power. Humans leverage magic around them – either raw power from the environment, or through locked in spells for mass consumption.”

Giselle considered this for a moment. “Hmm – true…although Dee can’t cast her own spells, she can cast pre-packs. How about you? As a half and half, how does your magic work?”

A flush so dark it almost looked like a bruise in the dim light crawled up his neck and cheeks. “I…have neither.”

“So where do you get your power from?” she persisted.

He mumbled.

“What?”

“Food,” he snapped, running a hand through his messy hair and causing spikes to stick up every which way. “I get my power from eating.”

“I am so jealous,” Giselle sighed, placing a small hand on her soft middle. “I would be so powerful by now.” She grinned at his snort. “So - her magic talked to you, did it? I can’t imagine all the filthy things that are in Dee’s mind when she looks at you. She really, really likes you. And by likes I mean lusts.

He did not seem to register her teasing this time, frowning. “No, it definitely was not…what I would expect from Melody. Ah, I think Melody is waking up,” he hastened to add, leaning forward eagerly.

“No,” Ademar snapped peevishly. “Sorry to disappoint, it is just me. Didn’t get enough time with her?” He sat up, pushing Melody’s hair over his shoulder and braiding the thick strands into a complicated plait. After he finished, he glanced at his two companions. “Did Melody not wake up again?”

Both Fenri and Giselle looked at each other. “No,” Giselle finally answered, her voice faint. “She didn’t.”
 

Tad

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Fair warning; in the next few chapters there will be some (hopefully) scintilating chapters...dont read at work!
I'm working from home. Hmmm, how much distraction am I willing to risk? (who am I kidding, when I see there is a new chapter I'll read it as soon as possible, hang the consequences)
 

Xyantha Reborn

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Chapter 36

“I need to speak with you, brother.” Giselle had finally fallen asleep, her cheeks splotchy and still moist from her tears. Squatting next to her, Ademar ran a gentle hand down her arm and kissed her softly. Turning his attention to the right, he spoke into the air. “You – you need to guard her. You know Melody will be displeased, otherwise.”

A single vine rose, and a bulb rather like a head inclined before curling lightly around her prone form.

Fenri followed Ademar, glancing back to see the vine still perched protectively across his sister’s chest. After a handful of minutes, he turned brown eyes up towards him, disquiet in their depths. “Brother – what do you know of your consort?”

He grimaced, heat rising to his cheeks. “Less than I would like. When you are both asleep, Giselle and I try to learn as much as we can from each other. Melody does not tend to talk about herself, or her past. She must still be angry with me – she is not…” He struggled, hands grasping as if he could snatch the right word from mid air. “She is not as…affectionate as Giselle is with you.” His voice and eyes lowered, his shoulders drooping until his stomach bulged under its weight. “How could she, with what I did?”

Ademar cut through his pity with a negligent wave. “I think you overestimate her amount of dedication to holding onto anger at your attempting to destroy me. And underestimate her ability to avoid thinking about, or doing, anything that distresses her.”

The taller male growled, showing his teeth. “You are saying I distress her?” he demanded, voice lowering into a distinct growl.

The other male, trapped in the shorter human form, bared his own blunt teeth. “No, fool. Thinking about her past distresses her. She tries her best to bury it and move forward.” He shook his head, brows flaring upwards. “Some of the things I have seen would make even a Shiva pause.”

Lilac eyes flashed, and he ran his hands through his hair. “You’ve been snooping through her memories?”

“Secrets intrigue me.” He shrugged, hands raising helplessly. “Besides, she isn’t the only one repressing memories – you still don’t even recall sending me out to find her!”

“Because I didn’t!” Fenri roared before choking back his fury. “How could I send you to find her when I had never met her myself?”

Ademar clenched his jaw, muscles bulging under the pressure. “I have my suspicions, and is one reason I have been ‘snooping’.” He invested the word with a world of scorn. “But we have bigger concerns. When you are done with your temper tantrum, please inform me so that we can continue. I have something important to discuss.”

That was instigative statement if ever there was one, and it took several long minutes for him to choke back his exasperation. When the half breed finally spoke, his tone was mild as milk. “Apologies, brother. What did you learn?”

The other’s mouth tightened, eyes narrowing. When the squan finally spoke, his tone was as silken as honey. “Your mate is not a forest witch. At least not fully. As I am sure you already knew, you – damn.” He choked, glaring upwards, hands on hips. “Giselle heard your yell in her sleep. She wants us to get along.”

Fenri grinned, irritation dissipating as quickly as it formed. The idea of him having a mate was still incredibly enticing – and the idea he could share that excitement with another was a completely unanticipated bonus. He dropped to a nearby log, stretching his long legs in front of him, ruefully eyeing the ripped fabric from where his chubby thighs had rubbed together. “I’ve never been so micromanaged in my life,” he admitted with a pleased sigh.

An echoing sigh and smile answered him as his new brother dropped beside him. “Agreed. And it is refreshing to know that we cannot attack each other – our mates both forbid.” He heaved a contented sigh, then turned his gaze back to the other man. “Apologies – I have learned things about Melody which have given me much to think about.” Regarding the chubby man beside him, the older man crossed arms over his chest. “You must know there is something… unusual about Melody’s magic. Have you heard them?”

No explanation of what ‘them’ was needed. “Yes – not often. At first faint impressions, then very clearly the night I, well...” He cast an apologetic glance at his companion. “You have heard them too? I asked Giselle earlier, and she had not.”

“Frankly, I am not surprised. There would be no reason for them to communicate with others.” Straightening, Ademar related the story of Melody replacing him back in his body, then paused, closely watching his companion.

The ever-present flora that appeared near Melody’s body had paused, as if waiting for his reaction. They did not have long to wait before the ball dropped. “Necromancy. She performed necromancy? I – I mean, it makes sense – I suppose, that is…but…” trailing off, he gazed unseeing. Focusing down on the greenery in front of him, he toed it lightly. “I suppose they are listening?”

Always.

Both men twitched before glancing at each other.

“There is no way she is a pure necromancer,” Fenri protested, recalling the way the plant life always moved around her. Plant life. Life. Unbidden and most unwelcome, memories of seething greenery, growing and dying within a breath, came to mind. Necromancy? Or forest witch? Was it possible to be both?

“Why would you say that?”
 

Xyantha Reborn

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“Because she is too…nice?”

The other man barked a laugh. “Although your logic is faulty, I think you are right. There is no doubt that there is at least some green thumb in Melody. Yet no other forest witch could have performed the binding spell to pull back to my vessel – twice. To know the symbol. To draw it. To reach into the nether and grasp my soul specifically…to bind me to her. That is necromancy.” His brown eyes softened. “Yet to release me, once she realized what she had done. To provide a host for me to occupy – her own body?” He shook his head. “That is not typical of necromancy.”

Fenri crossed his arms over his chest, mulling over his knowledge of the subject. “Mother is a necromancer,” he mused. “I can’t remember her ever using plant life – just living creatures.”

Crouching, Ademar slid a hand along the vine in front of him. “I seem to be able to re-live bits of her memory – no doubt she is experiencing at least some of mine. I saw the day where she made the pact with them.”

She cheated, the voices complained.
We had no idea.
No idea!
Another echoed mournfully.
Tricky…

Startled, Fenri shot a glance towards Ademar. “What did she do? How could she trick them?”

The other man grinned. “Well – I don’t think she meant to trick them. They wheedled their way into her life when she was a child, when she was in a – “ he hesitated. “A dark place.” Inhaling deeply, he straightened. “She agreed to make a pact with them – if they would be her friends.”

The halfbreed stared at the squan for several minutes, mind reeling. Prior to him realizing Melody was his mate, he had felt an odd affinity, a strange awareness of Melody’s moods and needs. Since his acceptance of the truth, his internal barriers had lowered, and he had become sensitized not just to her moods – but to her drives, ethics, and beliefs. In his many years of life, and in his watching of humans, the definition of friend seemed to vary from acquaintance to near family.

To his mate, friendship was precious. It went beyond a bond of mutual affection. It was enduring loyalty. It was selflessness. It was love. It was closer than family. It was life. She would give even her life with an open hand to those she loved, as she had demonstrated with Ademar. She would never hurt a friend, or allow others to hurt her friends. When she shackled herself to these spirits, she had used a word that they had recognized – but had not understood. Awed, he stared at the plants. “Why did you expose yourself to us?”

He was already dead and nearly one of us.
She took him into our circle,
another added.
There was no risk. You?
Yes, you…
You are…hers? Ours?
They sounded confused, murmuring amongst themselves indistinctly.
After a moment of consultation, the strongest voice spoke up. Family. You are family.

Ademar eyed them. “I think they also want the attention – they may be undead, but they are still children.”

Don’t call us that! One snapped
We are grownups
Stronger than a hundred grownups!


Children! Fenri stared at the green grass, apalled. He couldn’t even begin to imagine an event that had triggered to create this merry little band of undead children. “Why do you hide your true forms?” he asked, voice faint.

She doesn’t like them.
She wanted us to be less scary.
And not hurt people.
This time, the tone came across as puzzled.
Not all the time – just some of the time.
True.
We compromised.
Both lost. Both won.
The forest has always been our home.


Fenri dropped to his knees. “Show me,” he rasped. “Show me your true forms.”

After a long moment, the grass in front of him began to stretch up, dematerializing and reforming into small shapes. Pushing back a hood, the one in front exposed skeletal hands, and a face which was as much visible bone as flesh. When it spoke, its tongue was visible in its mouth through its cheek.

This was no child. Or perhaps it had been, in life. It was, however, neither human, nor Shiva.

It jerked back when Fenri took both of its hands in his own. What are you doing?

The feeling was cold, as if it was leaching the very warmth from his bones. “Melody isn’t waking up like she should anymore. Is she safe?”

One eye and one empty eye socket peered at him. Of course she isn’t waking up. That one, it pointed at Ademar, is too strong for her. Overpowering her. She sleeps more and more.

Resisting the urge to shake the Sidhe – albeit a small Sidhe – Fenri stared into its small face. “If this continues, one day she will sleep and not wake up.”

It nodded. Everything dies, it agreed fatalistically.

“But not everything needs to die now. You should have had many more years with her before this happened. Surely you directly causing her death was not part of your pact.”

Tapping a thin finger against its slash of a mouth, it considered. What you say is true. She asked us to do a thing we did not like doing.

She made a ‘friend request’
, another complained, throwing its small hands in the air.

The leader nodded grimly. We did it because we are friends. She let us play in the forests and fields again!

Fenri settled onto his heels, still holding the cold hands in his. “I know you did it because you are friends. But this is hurting her…and friends don’t hurt friends.”

Its mouth twisted, and it kicked a foot against the earth lightly. Yes… The word was drawn out, and rather petulant. What do you want us to do? We are not happy about it! It isn’t like someone like YOU could take us in. Snickers resounded behind it.

“Of course not. I have no power to speak of.”

Of course you have power, one in the back snorted in disgust.
Don’t you remember?
Don’t make us feel bad - you listen to her just like we do,
another grumbled, crossing its arms over its chest.
Yeah!

“Remember what?” Fenri blinked, baffled.

Ademar nodded slowly when the other man met his gaze, hands steepled beneath his chin. “That is true. Consorts would have that type power. Our Queens have complete dominion over us. It is plausible.”

Apparently he was losing his blasted mind, if both Ademar and these spirts new things that he swore never happened. But what was a man to do about it? “Well, try to discover as much as you can.”

“Oh, now me snooping is acceptable?”

Ignoring the snide remark, Fenri placed a hand on the head of the closest Sidhe spirit. “I need as much power as I can, if I am to protect our mate. Especially because your power has not manifested yet.” Smiling into the creepy face, he curled a lock of hair behind its ear. “Now, dear one. I have an idea. Would you like to play a game?”

Smiles spread across their faces, and they clustered close, grasping at the shreds of his clothing. We love games! They giggled, hopping up and down in their excitement.
 
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Xyantha Reborn

- Actually Very Tame!
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Chapter 37
Giselle’s lips twitched, contorting into a smile despite her capturing the lower one between her teeth. “Ademar!” she hissed, swatting at the hand that was slowly caressing its way from her hip to her breasts.

“Mm?” he queried, amusement underlaying the simple sound. “Yes, my love?”

“Again?”

“Again,” he purred.


Despite being in Melody’s body, she was always able to tell when Ademar was in residence. Though still Melody’s voice, it took on a timbre and growl that was entirely unlike her friend. “You are going to be the death of me!”

“I certainly hope not,” he murmured, his lips foraying up her side.

The cold air was only slightly offset from the warmth of the sun, and she shivered as he unbuttoned her gauzy blouse. None of them were dressed for the cold, and they had been working their way closer to the nearest village every day. Watching his nimble fingers work the tiny shells free of their holes, she bit her lips again, carefully running her thumbs across his eyes. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

Her mate – no, that just sounded weird to say. Husband? Maybe? – cocked a brow at her. “Again?” he murmured, this time the tone and meaning entirely different.

She tugged at the fabric draped over her self consciously. “It isn’t my fault…I just feel awful. I wish I was more beautiful for you.”

If she had been brave enough to meet his eyes, she would have seen deep pain flash across his gaze. As it was, she only saw him rise to his feet with a sigh. “No – I understand. I am unfit for you.”

Giselle jerked her head towards him so quickly that her blond hair cascaded across her face. Swiping it to the side, she shook her head. “No, no! That isn’t it!”

“Of course it is it,” he murmured, shoving a hand through his long hair. “I swear I am going to cut this off,” he growled to himself as he ran into a snag. “You do not wish to hurt my feelings – you are not attracted to me in this form. Or even if I had my original form. I am unfit for you.”

Giselle surged to her feet – or rather, she pulled herself up with the help of a branch. She was not the fittest she had ever been, and the smallest actions showed her that every single day. “Ademar!” she cried, moving towards him. He remained stiff, half turned away from her, hands stationary at his sides. “You know that isn’t true! This has nothing to do with you…it has everything to do with me!”

He merely shrugged, looking into the distance, expression unreadable.

It was the first time he had pulled away from her, and Giselle found herself pressing herself close to him. Fear swamped her, and she swallowed convulsively. “Please…”

“I will never leave you,” he hissed, eyes narrowing as they met her tear-filled gaze. “I have found no greater pleasure in this world than being in your arms. Tasting you. Touching you.” His voice deepened, eyes softening. “But I also know that my touch displeases you. How can I take pleasure at your expense?”

“That isn’t true!”

Ademar rolled his eyes, putting his hands on her shoulders. “Giselle. My love. My life. I know the bond that I share with you is new, and is foreign to the human idea of love. But I know what you desire – and what you do not. If you wanted me to touch you as much as I want to touch you – we would not be having this conversation.”

“I do want you to touch me!” Giselle insisted, grasping his shirt in her hands. “I do!”

That brow cocked again, and his nostrils flared. “Oh? Then tell me where you want to be touched. Not aloud,” he added. “If you truly want it, I will know.”

She bit her lips, her round cheeks rosy with her embarrassment.

Ademar sighed, dropping a disappointed kiss onto the top of her head. He breathed deeply the smell of salt and sea in her blonde locks before straightening. “There is no need to rush – and no need to let my urges overpower you. Whenever you are ready, I am willing.”

“I do want you,” Giselle managed, her throat tightening. “I’m just…scared. Scared you are pretending…I don’t understand how you could be contented with just…me.” How could he be content with her? It was one thing to realize you were getting fat from the objective standpoint…it was another to realize that you couldn’t walk for more than a mile without having to take a break…where every motion set other parts jiggling. Just raising an arm caused ripples through the arm, down her side…and even a touch in her gut and ass. She wasn’t supposed to be like this!

Her mate frowned, hands still at his sides. A tear slid down her pale cheek, and his hands spasmed before cradling her face between them. “Damn you, woman!” he growled. “How can you desire for me to both touch you and not touch you all at the same time? You will be the death of me!”

Giselle burbled a laugh and swiped at her eyes. “It’s a woman’s prerogative.”

“Melody does not feel that way,” he retorted, a frown marring his brow. “She is proud of her body.”

“Yeah, well, she isn’t fat,” she retorted, pushing at him lightly. “You don’t understand how uncomfortable it is to be heavy! How disgusting I find myself!”

Fenri, who had studiously been ignoring them from the other side of the clearing, cleared his throat. “Giselle, you’re hurting him. Pick a side and stick with it; either want him to touch you, or don’t. You’re making him miserable. The only thing we want to do is please you two. You’re making it impossible to do that. I get it – he may not be fat, but I am,” he added, still staring into the forest. “It’s hot, things rub together, you get tired faster – I get it,” he repeated.

Giselle sniffled, wiping at her eye with her wrist. “He doesn’t like me because he wants to – from everything you’ve said, he likes me because he has to!”

The chubby man snorted as he plucked at his ripped and stained shirt. Standing, he stomped over to the duo, rippling stomach somewhat offsetting the aggression of the movement. “Yes. We have to love you,” he admitted, cruelly ignoring the flash of tears that trickled from her eyes, and the deep growl that issued from Ademar’s throat. “Just like we have to eat, drink, and breathe.” His lilac eyes roved over her face before he glanced at the other man. “Can I talk with her? Alone?”

Ademar’s brows flared, but after a long look at his mate, turned with jerky movements and wandered away.

Turning to Giselle, Fenri offered his hand. “Come here, sister.”

“Where are we going?” she murmured after a moment, hand clutching his tightly.

“To take a break,” he murmured, stepping through a thicket and assisting her over a fallen log. “It’s been a long…week? Two weeks? When is the last time you took a moment to enjoy yourself? You’ve been so distracted by the three of us you have barely slept or eaten.”
 

Xyantha Reborn

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As Giselle stepped over the log, she looked up towards the small roaring waterfall that spanned about fifteen feet, cascading over an outcropping and forming a deep pool of water. “Oh,” she murmured, blinking as her senses came to life. Turning towards the other man, she blushed to find him stripping. “How did you know?"

He seemed more comfortable with his body than she did. His thick stomach was slung casually over his hips, and it shifted heavily from side to side as he moved. Although a few days off muching on fruit and berries could not melt the thick padding of fat over his body, his upper stomach definitely looked less taut. “That a water witch might like water? No idea. Baffles the mind,” he snipped as he began taking off her shirt. “Come, sister, in you go.”

“I can’t, I – AHH!” she screeched, arms pinwheeling as she fell into the water. Cold water rushed around her, a feeling of welcome swirling about her before she used an eddy to buoy her to the surface. Spluttering, she popped to the surface and glared. “Oh, you are a dead man!”

Fenri grinned, dodging the first wave of water she flicked at him, only to be hit in the face with the second before an eddy of liquid curled around his ankle and threw him into the pool. Deep laughter spilled out from him, his hands resting on his stomach as if to still the undulations in his flesh. After a moment, the lighter sound of her own laughter echoed through the clearing. “Feel better?” he asked breathlessly, as the sound died off.

She nodded, her blue eyes twinkling at him as she peeled off her tight pants under the water. With the water to soften the weight on her legs and deaden the ripples that chased their way across her stomach, hips, and ass, she felt more powerful. More like herself. “Yeah. Very much – thank you. I think I just get overwhelmed with trying to manage his expectations. He doesn’t know me very well yet, and from what you guys have said, he got stuck with me. I don’t want him to be disappointed…”

Slogging through the clear water, Fenri tugged her towards the falls. “I think you misunderstand the way our bond with you works, Giselle.” Scooping a handful of sand from the bottom, he gently massaged it into her scalp. “Sorry – not soap. The closest we will get until we get into a town, I am afraid,” he added.

Her eyes slid closed at the pleasant abrasion, even as she tried to ignore the slight ripples his touch was causing through her torso. “Your right…I don’t understand. Humans might love each other, but this whole fated connection – and knowing what I want almost before I do seems…I don’t know. Controlling? Overbearing? One sided?”

“So you are denying him happiness after centuries of misery because you think that him being lucky enough to find you out of all of the creatures in the world is unfair?” He sounded amused. “Sorry,” he mumbled as his belly touched her back.

The sensation wasn’t unpleasant. His logic, however, was uncannily close to Dee’s stream of conciousness, and Giselle scowled, eyes still shut. “I just don’t get why he had to fall in love with a bloated corpse of a woman,” she muttered instead of acknowledging his point.

“Ah – so you are punishing him because you ate too much?”

“Stop making me sound stupid,” she growled, eyes popping open, her head turning to glare back at him.
“It’s different with you and Dee – she’s always liked heavier men!”

Turning her so that the water cascaded over her hair, he began to rinse out the sand. “Stop saying things that make you sound stupid, then. Also - I wasn’t always this heavy,” he added in a tone of mild rebuke.

“Shut up and let me do your hair,” she growled, shoving him under the cold spray and splatting a handful onto his thick hair. After a moment, she sighed. “When Melody wants something, what does it feel like? Like…I know she likes you heavier…but you can’t like it yourself. I guess you gained weight when you met her, because she wanted it. Don’t you feel torn? Conflicted?”

Fenri shook his head. “Only at first, when I did not understand what was happening. Could you hand me that?” When Melody handed him the lily pad he had pointed at, he gave her a sidelong glance. “There – now you know what it is like for your mate to want something. Did you feel torn or conflicted?”

“That isn’t the same and you know it! Ademar thinks I am so perfect and at some point he is going to find out I am not, and he will leave me, and I don’t think I can handle it!”

The male laughed, doubling over and holding his heavy stomach. After a moment, he arose with a chuckle, wiping at the corner of his eye. “Oh, you really don’t understand, do you?”

“No! Clearly, because we already said that!”

“I think you are giving us too much altruistic credit. That we have arrived to protect you out of the goodness of our hearts, and get nothing in return. It’s far more…parasitic than you might think.”

“Parasitic!” She exclaimed, jerking in surprise.

“Mm. We have bonded to you as surely as a parasite. We have a vested interest in your safety and well being. When you die, we die.”

Eyes rounding, she turned to him. “What…do you mean?”

Gaze serious, he met her eyes even as pain flashed in their depths. “Exactly what I said. Part of matehood is the literal entanglement of our lives. We are no longer a creature in isolation. Our survival, our joy – is linked to you.”

“And…so…if Melody…”

He nodded, not mistaking her meaning. “Yes. We wait our entire existence for the chance to find our consort, our mate, our Queen. And often, those that do met with awful fates – because only those with consorts can conceive. Ademar waited for centuries in life, and centuries in death, just to have a handful of years with you.”

Stricken, Giselle stared at the other man. “Oh gods and goddesses. Shiva live for so much longer…even you…oh, oh no.”

A shrug answered her. “As I said, our existence, our lifespan is intertwined with yours. This is not of importance. What is important is to stop wasting the little time we have left with you, moaning that you have too much flesh. Do you honestly think Ademar gives a damn? If you were offered one piece of cake, and received two…would you be unhappy and say the cake was disgusting? Because there was more cake than you anticipated?”

She swallowed, hands clenched. “How can I make sure it’s what he wants?” she whispered.

Fenri gently placed a kiss to her cheek. “If you are worried you might be influencing him – release him to do what he wants to do. Demand he do what he wants to do. Put your feelings in a box...and insist he fulfill what he wants. He will be unable to refuse."
 
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Xyantha Reborn

- Actually Very Tame!
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Chapter 38

Ademar had been prowling the outskirts of their camp for some time, monitoring his mate’s mood from a distance. She had been in a dark place since yesterday; her body, the situation with Melody, AND the overwhelming nature of being out of her tower had seemed to hit upon her all at once. When Fenri had encroached on their conversation, he had initially wanted to slash the male to ribbons, only to realize his mate needed whatever comfort the male was offering.

More than what he himself could offer.

At times, she seemed to want him to loath her body as much as she did. A mental, anguished cry that she did not deserve his affection.

He was a species she loathed – she was rising to the challenge of forgiving him that sin. Sometimes, the gulf between them felt insurmountable; his current form was…not what she desired. Unlike Melody, who seemed to prefer males but appreciate females, his mate was firmly male appreciative. And there was only one male form nearby…and it was not him. Even if one disregarded the consort bond, Fenri’s expression was once of indulgent affection, not lust.

At least, that was the mantra he kept repeating.

Not to mention that Melody was in fact being repressed. Beyond the clear evidence of her failing to rise consistently, those creepy little things had confirmed it. The idea of killing Melody, his sister, his mate’s best friend…was highly unpalatable. The idea of moving to a new vessel was deeply upsetting. To potentially lose his sense of smell, taste, and touch again was nearly unbearable. Every move carried its own risk. He had already gone through three transitions. How many more could his soul take? How many more days could Melody take?

And so he was in no good spirits when he finally felt his mate’s need for him rise. He would have liked to vent some of his anger by stomping through the undergrowth, but the forest shifted away so his path was unimpeded. After a few moments, he appeared at the edge of a pool. The roar of the falls, a distant hum from their camp, was loud but not overwhelming.

It took a moment for his muted human vision to locate her, floating in the clear water. He clenched his hands, fighting the urge to pounce upon her luscious form, running his hands over every inch of her astounding curves, taking her breasts into his mouth and –

Giselle had risen from the water like some sort of nymph. Her wet, golden hair pooled over her shoulders to just barely cover the tips of her beautiful, heavy breasts, enticing rather than hiding. Her pale skin was so unlike her friends. Nearly translucent, he could almost make out the veins under the delicate skin. Her bright blue eyes fastened on him, and after a deep breath that raised her breath, she smiled, and lowered her forearms to her side, baring herself to his inspection.

It made his knees quake, and his stomach do odd flips. His mouth went dry, and moisture rushed to other areas. What he would give to be in a male form again!

When in her tower, she had often curled up like a cat, a cushion or blanket across her lap, disguising her form. Ironically, it had not lessened her size, but had merely detracted from the dramatic valleys that accompanied the hills of her curves. Her stomach, largest and softest around her navel, reminded him of a ripe pear that sloped dramatically in towards her rib cage, enhancing the curves of her shapely breasts. Marked with lovely pink tips that budded under his gaze, they drew his eyes immediately. No female of his race had breasts like that. Of course, Ademar had to acknowledge the truth of their functional nature - but that did not lessen the appeal.

She leveled a stare at him, small hands buried in the plump swells above her hips. “I want you to do something.”

Anything. His anger at the other male evaporated into a feeling of grateful respect. Whatever Fenri had told her, it had clearly increased her confidence. Despite her previous insecurities about her size, she stood firm, legs spread. At least, the bottoms were. The tops of her thighs pressed together intimately, their soft curves ready to pillow him as he sunk between them. “Anything,” he responded at last, eyes locked on her body.

“I want you to do what you want to do with me,” Giselle murmured over the crash of the water. The pool of water parted down the centre, the sides swelling against their bank as she created a walkway with a wriggle of her fingers.

Oh, if only she knew what she was asking. “I will endeavour to please,” he rasped, already tugging at his clothing, nearly tripping himself in his haste.

Raising an imperious hand, she shook her head. Her normally soft expression was replaced by a look of determination. Her plump lips pressed together, chin raised, eyes direct. “No. I don’t want you to try and please me. I want…I want to know how you feel about me. You. I just want…you to take your please this time. Just you. I want you to stop thinking about what I need, this time, and do what you want to do.”

Slapping his clothes down onto the ground, he stalked forward into the water, eyes never leaving hers. She was serious, and he felt a grin tug at his face. “I’m afraid that I might scare you,” he murmured, even as his arm encircled her and slammed her into him. One hand kneaded her generous ass, and he gave a sharp slap, a pleased growl escaping his lips at her soft yelp.

The corresponding wobble across her body was a bit offputting, but was nothing compared to the intriguing display of forcefulness. “You won’t scare me,” she asserted breathlessly, surprised when he began kneading the chunks of flesh above her soft hips. When he had visited her in the tower in spirit form, and even after when he had a physical form, he had never dwelled on her fatter areas. To feel him zero in on them, his affectionate expression morphing to one of lust, made her hesitate. When his hands froze in response, she firmed her thoughts. She wanted him to do what he wanted, this time.
 
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DO IT.

He rewarded her renewed confidence by dropping light nips across her shoulders. His hands slid up her waist to just under her breasts. Her skin pebbled under his palms, heat rising at his light strokes. “Ah, my stunning mate, that is it. You have such a tiny waist,” he murmured, thumbs gently teasing the underside of her breasts.

Only in comparison to the swell of her hips! A puff of disbelieving laughter escaped her lips despite herself, and she clapped her hands over her mouth as if she could take it back. “Oops!”

Ademar chuckled, then gasped as the cold water began surging up over his knees, the valley she had created slowly filling. “There is no need to apologize.” Pulling back, he gave a lopsided, boyish grin. “Perhaps if I was in a male body, you would see how much I desired you. Come – wrap you legs around me.”

Giselle cast a doubtful look at him. “You might have been super strong before, but I don’t think Melody wants her body to be squished.”

He leaned in closer, lips brushing her shell-like ear as he tucked a damp strand behind them. “Actually, I am fairly certain that being half crushed under the weight of a lover is something she would - how would she say it - ‘be down for.’” Kissing her the corner of her mouth, he smiled slowly. “Besides – you are in the water. Water makes things lighter. Trust me.”

Realization widened her eyes before Giselle tentatively bounced a few times, awkwardly hooking her legs around his waist, her plump arms encircling his neck. “Like this? Are you sure I am not too heavy?”

Between the pressure of their torsos pressing against each other and the angle of her arms, her breasts thrust nearly into his face. Apparently he had been surprising more of his desire, not less, because his eyes almost looked glazed with lust. “I can’t,” he panted, dipping his head to nuzzle along her cleavage. “I can’t decide what I want to touch first. Every inch of you is perfect,” he moaned, sliding his hands along the front of her stomach, hooking both thumbs into her belly button as he slid his mouth over hers, flicking and licking until she opened in return.

It should have felt gross, but when he did it, with that deep rasp and nearly desperate touch…it was actually quite…tolerable. Shivers cascaded through her body at his confident, firm strokes, and she unconsciously rocked her hips into him, arms tightening around his shoulders. “You actually like…all the…um, extra?”

A happy hum was her only answer for a moment, his mouth busy around her softened jawline. “I love every inch. I have not been able to learn all of your body – I am delighted that I am finally able to partake,” he murmured, one hand cupping the softness of her upper arm, urging her hands to his hair.

His eyes were half closed, his nostrils flaring as he lightly scented her damp skin. It made her shiver, and Giselle hiked a shoulder against the ensuing shivers. “There’s really nothing you’d change?”

“Oh, yes there is,” he rasped, resting his forehead against hers. “I want to be inside of you,” His palms slid along the undersides of her thick thighs, his thumbs sweeping underneath the heavy overhang of her belly before foraying deeper between her thighs. “Buried in your sweet golden curls…”

He was clearly doing as she had asked, because the feel of him kneading and caressing the wobbly slab of fat around her waist made her feel incredibly vulnerable. Repressing a flinch, she focused on his words.She could understand that sentiment , she wanted that too!

The only reason she wasn’t more uncomfortable with this being Melody’s body, was Melody herself had grabbed Giselle’s blouse and winked. “How was I?” she demanded throatily, raising her hair up from the bottom as one long leg raised up enticingly. Cupping her breasts, she had winked. “You better enjoy this thang, you hear me?” The water witch still couldn’t bring herself to touch Ademar in return, however. It was just…a little odd, still.

Letting her slip down, their skin slipped against each other sensually, making Ademar make another inarticulate sound. After a moment, the male spun her to face her away from him. The feel of teeth against where her neck met her shoulder made her squirm, and explosive breath left her in delight as he increased the pressure. “What are you doing?” she murmured, surprised to find herself really enjoying this aggressive side of him.

“If I was in my original form,” he murmured, hands gently stealing up to support the underside of her breasts. “I would sink my fangs into you, holding you in place while I came inside you.”

Giselle smiled coyly. “And I would just let you have your way, then?”

He nuzzled the area he had bitten, once again carefully holding her flesh between his teeth for a long moment. After releasing her, he licked at the spot lightly, blowing on it just to see her shiver. “Of course; my venom would be in your system. It is…an accelerant to pleasure,” he explained. “It heightens the senses while stilling the body.”

“I don’t know if I could handle any more pleasure,” she admitted with an impish grin. “This arrangement is fine!”

For a moment, his face had the oddest expression; it almost looked like guilt. Almost before she noticed it, it was gone, and he busied himself with nibbling her collar bone. “I am sure that we will find an alternate form for me,” he murmured.

Of course – who would want to be shoved back into a suit of armour. For a moment, pain rose up, and she clung to him fiercely. “Then let’s make the most of this while it lasts!”

“Yes,” he whispered, slipping one hand down the soft expanse of her stomach, down the valley of her mons, and between her thighs.
 

Xyantha Reborn

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Chapter 39


“Hello,” Ademar greeted the troop of small creatures as his eyes opened. Since exposing their forms, they seemed more inclined to show them. And he was in a good mood – Melody had clearly awoken in the physical world.

Greetings and salutations, the leader responded with no small dose of sarcasm.

Moving past the group, he cast his eyes around the chaotic disaster of life which was apparently Melody. This might be one of his last chances to investigate certain…discrepancies which had long since been nagging him. But where to start? It was like Melody took absolutely no time to mark events and recall them for future. Finding a single grain of grass in a field of wheat was not something you could tackle by brute strength or even determination. Not with the time he had left.

Want to play a game? Another asked hopefully, popping up and down on the balls of her feet.

The shiva male straightened to his full height, an inkling of an idea stirring as he itched a long ear. “I was going to – but,” he tsked. “I don’t think you’d want to play.”

Yes we do!
Hey, no fair!
What game? What game?
Tell us!


The leader narrowed her single eye at him in a glare. He is trying to trick us, she told the group with disgust. He wants something from us.

Her companion blinked, turning her head to one side and then the next. But…we would still get to play a game?

“It’s ok, I can play by myself.” Ademar patted the speaker on the head as he passed by, making her pout and follow him, small hand grasping his pinky finger. The others shared a long glance before crowding after him.

What game are we playing?

“It’s a treasure hunt.”

Pinky finger’s eyes widened, and she inhaled deeply. A TREASURE HUNT?

I love treasure hunts!
What are we hunting?
What do we win when we find it?


“I want to find a specific time, a specific thing that happened in Melody’s past.” Glancing around the moving landscape, he shrugged. “It’s a hunt for a memory. There’s no prize, other than being the best.”

Pinky finger swivelled to look at One Eye. Oh, that sounds like fun! Can we?

One Eye sniffed. I suppose, if you want to. It sounds like a stupid game to me.

Oh, this sounds like fun.

What memory?
Another asked, rubbing her hands together.

“I am convinced that Fenri met Melody far before this year. I want to know the first time they ever met. That’s the first part of the game. I don’t want to be in her body when I see it though – I want to watch it like I was someone else in the room.” It was far too disconcerting to experience it first hand. Not to mention that Melody seemed to experience life in broad strokes; the finer details seemed to be lost on her.

After a brief whispered conversation, the group burst apart into a flurry of motion, popping in and out of their plant forms, they delved among the gnarled roots, twining themselves around massive trees, and looping from branch to branch above him.

Ademar looked down to find One Eye watching him. “I thought they’d have fun,” he shrugged in half apology. “I’m going to look too.”

…What do we get if we win? She asked from behind him after a long moment of silence

Turning back, he considered her. “What do you want?”

She played with the hem of her tattered robe, looking remarkably childlike.

“You’ll have to explain it to me – Shiva do not take care of their offspring like humans do. And I am not very aware of what your species is – or what spirits would want.”

We aren’t babies, she sulked, then jerked when he picked her up. What – what are you doing?

“Carrying you. You aren’t searching and I can’t exactly leave you on your own – I don’t trust you.”

Aww, she laughed, the sound of a strong breeze rattling leaves in the trees. Now that’s just flattery! Playing with a strand of his hair, she kicked her little feet in the air as he walked, nestled into the crook of his arm. I know the memory you are talking about, she said, leaning close as if to whisper in his ear. I can take you to it.

“Oh?” he murmured, trying to repress the excitement that shot through him. “What price are you going to demand, minx?”

Her one eye widened. Minx. I like that name. Can I have it? As payment?

Naming magical creatures provided them with a higher level of power. What would Melody do in this situation? “Of course, Minx.”

Minx shivered, her hair turning silver, both eyes opening to reveal red irises, the flesh over her face smoothing. Oh, yes. That is very nice! She laughed, and threw her arms around his neck. Here it is!
 
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