Fae War Ch. 06byCatBrown©
Thank you to everyone who is still reading.
I apologize for all of the short chapters, but I actually had chapters one through five all turned in to the site before the first chapter was released, so I haven't had any opportunity to address your comments until now.
Chapters will likely come slower now, because they are longer, because I have an editor, and because the site takes some time prior to posting as well. I hope you stick around. (I'm also experiencing some writers block half-way into ch 8 :~(
Keep the comments coming, and don't forget to vote!
Thank you to MrDeep for your editing and encouragement.
By rote, she started helping make a salad while Luka warmed soup on the stove.
"Why do you do some things the regular way, but use magic to do others?" she asked, too curious to remain silent any longer.
"Ummm, it depends on whether I like to do it, or on how much energy it takes, usually," he said thoughtfully, "I don't like to expend the energy needed to heat food with magic, while I hate to light a fire the human way. It really just depends."
"What about creating stuff?" she probed.
He looked at her, confusion on his features.
"Do you shop for groceries and clothes, or do you just...magic them?"
"You can't really make something from nothing. You can change the state of something, like liquid to solid, even making air solid so nothing can pass through it, but you have to start with something...similar, if that makes sense," he explained.
"So," Erin said, thinking out loud, "could you change chicken to steak?"
"I could change the way chicken looks, so it looks more like steak, but I couldn't make it taste like steak," he explained.
"So, if I understand you, we can change states, but not structure. What about moving something?"
He thought about it a few seconds, "Think of it as changing pressures all around the item, like how a jet wing changes air pressure to allow the plane to lift."
"Are there exceptions to those rules?" she asked.
"Probably," he said, ladling the soup into bowls and placing them on the table.
"If I hadn't been able to heal your leg, could you?"
Sitting at the table across from her, Luka looked away, saying, "No. I'm not very good at the healing arts." Looking into her eyes, he continued, "But I knew you could."
His eyes held hers and she felt drawn into them. He noticed her pupils dilate, and her cheeks flush, and a tiny smile lifted the corners of his mouth.
She wrenched her gaze away and started eating her salad. It wasn't going to work for her to get too far into this infatuation, or whatever it was. She was going to have to marry whoever her parents had picked out for her: Yay.
They ate in relatively comfortable silence. As Erin finished the last of her soup, Luka quickly grabbed both bowls and headed to the sink.
"What is going to be expected of me as queen?"
"You will head the council of Fae. That means you get the unenviable job of trying to bring consensus to a group in which almost every member is diametrically opposed to every other."
"Sounds rewarding," she replied sarcastically. "What do I do when I'm not keeping council members from destroying each other?"
He grinned at her, a very alluring look, saying, "Then you decide disputes between individuals within the humanoid Fae population."
"There are non-humanoid Fae?"
"Of course," Luka responded like she had said the silliest thing.
"Like what?" Erin asked, eyes large.
"Like the spirits of the woods, who take on animal shapes. The mer-folk. The elementals."
Erin just stared at him. This really was going to take some getting used to.
"And you all live in the world with humans, and we, I mean they, don't know it?"
"The humanoid Fae live amongst the humans, but the others stay hidden, or use magic to prevent humans from seeing them, or from remembering they were seen," Luka answered.
"So I could go back to my life, I'd just have to hide my powers?"
"You won't likely have time to return to a human existence," he replied.
"How is the government running now, with no king or queen and in civil war?"
"Your father's top advisor runs the remnant of the council, which includes the humanoid Fae, the mer-folk and half the elementals. The rebels are mostly spirits of the woods, were-folk, the other half of the elementals and a smattering of Fae who felt they would gain power by aligning with the rebels."
Erin didn't know what to say. It sounded unreal. Luka reached out and placed a hand on her shoulder.
"It will be okay. I will be here for you to learn what you need to know to take your place as head of the council. We have prevented the rebels from taking over, but it will take a queen to reunite the sides and heal the rift."
His eyes were serious and dark. His hand felt very warm even through the sweatshirt material. Erin was distracted again by his lips as he stopped speaking. She realized he wasn't saying any more and she brought her gaze back to his eyes which were even darker than she'd seen them before. He licked his lips and started to lean toward her.
His phone rang, making them both jump. He stood, pulling the phone from his pocket.
"Yeah," he answered it.
He was silent and serious for a long time as the person on the line related information to him.
"I understand," he said finally, and he clicked off the phone.
"There's been an attack on a small Fae community within a human community. Some of both were killed. It is imperative we get your magic strengthened so you are able to take your seat at the council meeting next week. It will rally our people to have the rightful leader back."
Erin didn't believe there was any way she could be ready in that amount of time, but she would try.
"Where do we start?" she asked.
Luka spent the rest of the day challenging her to perform different forms of magic. She found moving things easy, and with it, creating winds, but changing the state of water eluded her. She worked over an hour on trying to use her magic to track things, and found she could track animals in the nearby forest, but only for about half a mile. She couldn't track Luka at all, but he admitted he was trying to block her, just to challenge her. After he admitted that, she was done.
"I've had enough," she declared, "I'm exhausted. I'm going to bed."
Luka didn't argue with her, surprisingly. He just nodded and sat down by the fire, a shot of whisky in a glass in his hand.
Erin got ready for bed, wishing she had more than a light nightgown with her. She slid into the bed and found the light comforter inadequate for the cold night. She lay shivering until she fell into a light sleep.
She dreamed of being cuddled close to Luka, of him whispering sweet nothings in her ear while he nibbled down her neck. She wantonly turned to him, pressing her lips into his and, nipping his lower lip, then rubbing her tongue seductively across his teeth and along his palate. He answered her kisses by running his hands under her thin nightgown and caressing her nipples to tight nubs which he rolled between his fingers. She moaned and arched, waking herself. Trying to shake herself back to reality she felt weight over her legs and the pressure of someone behind her. Fear gripped her and she squeaked, turning over quickly.
Luka lay curled behind her, one leg slung over her thighs. He was outside the covers and wearing only boxer shorts. She quickly recalled the previous evening, and the dream she had been having, sorting out what was real and what probably was not. His warmth was pleasant, and his scent a little intoxicating, but when he mumbled in his sleep, she was jolted back to reality.
"Get off me. What do you think you're doing?" Erin struggled, yelling.
"What?" Luka mumbled, beginning to awaken as Erin jumped out of bed wearing just the thin nightgown.
"I asked what you thought you were doing," Erin yelled again.
"Hmmm," Luka murmured, rolling toward the other side of the bed, 'I guess when I went to the bathroom, I forgot I was staying on the couch, and I climbed in bed. You have to admit, it was cozy. Why don't you just come on back in here?" he asked, gazing hungrily at her scantily clad body.
"Sure," Erin said sarcastically, "you forgot."
"Think what you want," he responded, unconcerned. "If I'd meant to get in bed with a woman, I'd have been naked and under the covers, don't you think?"
"Hmph," was all Erin said. She knew he was probably telling the truth. He didn't strike her as the kind of guy who would need to sneak into a woman's bed. He was likely invited often enough. Still, she felt she couldn't just let the behavior go.
"Don't you think you owe me an apology? ...if not as a woman, at least as your queen?"
His eyes narrowed as he looked at her. He didn't like having that thrown in his face.
"I'm sorry, my Queen. It will not happen again." He turned and left the room.
Erin returned to bed, but sleep was not to come for her again.
The day continued much as the previous evening had, with Luka challenging her to ever more difficult magic. She conquered changing the state of water, which as Luka pointed out, would allow her to change the state of anything containing water, a handy defensive move. He explained that was how he dropped the fake policeman at the convenience store. He changed the water in the man's body to ice, killing him instantly.
Luka talked about power levels, and how Erin was the top of the power pyramid, while he was only a little above average. At dinner he explained the different powers of the non-humanoid Fae. It was quite a frightening lesson.
"The were-folk obviously change shape, but at will, not just on the full moon. They can speak into your mind; if they are stronger than you, they can control you, as long as they concentrate on it. They are strong and fast, natural-born killers.
"The elementals are probably the most dangerous because they control earth, wind, fire, and water. They are almost invisible, and can look like anything, or nothing at all. Anything you can do with water, they can do ten times stronger, faster and better.
"The spirit's magic is weak when they leave the woods. Like us, they all have different capabilities and strengths. They have the physical abilities of whatever animal shape they have chosen."
And the mer-folk?" Erin queried.
"Not that it matters since they seldom leave the deep of the oceans, but they can lull you into believing just about anything they tell you, controlling you to an extent. Not strong magic, but still dangerous enough."
"I'm really not ready for this, Luka," she said, noticing his little smile when she spoke his name.
"You will be by next week. You have to be. We need you."
He looked genuine, as if he believed in her, even though she couldn't believe in herself.
"Would you like a drink? I have just about everything, and I'm a pretty good bartender," he asked as she got up to go to the sofa.
"You know, I don't really drink much, but a stiff drink might settle my nerves. Can you mix a Long Island Iced Tea?"
"Watch me," he said with a smile and a wink.
She still had trouble reconciling the serious, scary, predator he appeared when under attack with this pleasant, friendly, man he was at rest. Who was he really?
She watched him as he moved around the kitchen, intent on mixing her drink. He moved with the powerful grace of a big cat, strength contained but ready. He had amazingly beautiful hands, long slim fingers on full, round palms. She imagined those hands could provide exquisite pleasure against her body.
She blushed as he turned toward her just then. He smiled and looked as if he was going to ask what she was thinking, but he didn't, instead handing her a tall glass of dark amber fluid. Luka sat down next to her on the sofa and put his feet up on the coffee table. Erin pulled her legs up and curled them under her, turning toward him slightly. She sipped her drink.
"Mmm, this is good. You are a good bartender," she said, smiling at him.
His eyes became a little darker and he smiled a tiny smile around his own glass.
Feeling warm and safe, Erin almost felt normal for the first time since meeting Luka. He still gazed at her, eyes dark, smile playing at the corners of his lips.
"What did you do before you started watching over me?" she asked, feeling self-conscious under his steady gaze.
I was in school," he answered simply.
"How long have you been watching me?" she asked again, "And please don't say 'a long time'."
"Since I turned nineteen."
Hesitating, she asked, "How old are you now?"
She was dumb-struck. This man had been watching her, without her knowledge, for over eight years! "Why?" she asked, voice hushed, over-awed.
"Because someone had to," he answered, staring deeply into her eyes like he was looking for something.
"You mean, you chose to do this, no one assigned you to it?" she asked, confused.
"I was told not to. I was told you were perfectly safe as a human. I was ordered not to bring attention to you. But I knew eventually someone who knew about you would tell, and you wouldn't be safe anymore, and I needed to be there when that happened."
Erin had no idea what to say to that. Why had this man, really not more than a boy at the time, chosen to disobey orders and waste his life watching over her? While she was glad he was there when the bullets started to fly, she couldn't imagine all the time he had followed her while she went ignorantly about her boring life. What motivated someone to do that? Again she asked, "Why?"
He smiled, "You ask that a lot. I have my reasons."
"But surely you could have had a regular life. You could have worked, had relationships, anything, rather than watching me."
"Perhaps. But I chose to protect you. It's what I do," he said with a small smile.
His eyes lightened as he stared into the fire. Erin sipped the drink she had forgotten about momentarily. She watched his face in profile, noticing the rise on the bridge of his nose where he had likely had an injury. She followed his cheekbones up then the curve of his jaw, sturdy and square. She was still looking at him appraisingly when he suddenly turned back to her.
His eyes turned dark again when he caught her staring at him. Those deep silver-green eyes bore into her. In embarrassment, Erin put her drink to her mouth, looking into it to avoid Luka's stare.
She gulped down a bit too much and choked, coughing. Luka reached around her, patting her back as she caught her breath. His hand settled and rubbed her upper back gently. She kept her eyes focused on her lap, and was surprised when he pressed gently on her back, leaning her toward him. "I've admired your beauty for years from a distance," he said softly beside her ear, "Now that you are right here, it's impossible not to feel its effects."
He nuzzled against her ear and neck. She tilted her head aside automatically, relishing the heat of his skin and the chills up her spine. He ran his nose along her jaw then raised his face to place his lips just millimeters from hers. His hand, now at the base of her neck, was very warm, gently pressing her forward.
Their lips barely touched. Just like the other times, she found herself leaning in deeper, pressing her lips to his. At the soft brush of his tongue, she opened her mouth, tasting the whiskey on his breath as his tongue searched her mouth for those sensitive spots, drawing a soft moan from her throat.
He pushed his left arm under her knees, and with his right hand still on her back, he lifted her into his lap, never moving his lips from hers.
She wrapped her arms around him. He was so warm, and his muscles seemed to vibrate under her hands, a trembling that excited her more than she would have expected.
They kissed for several minutes, his hands restless on her back and thigh, travelling gently over her curves and igniting a fire in her blood. When his hand found its way under her shirt, she shivered at the heat of his touch, anticipating it's trajectory toward her breast.
Erin didn't even noticed the adept hand on her back flicking open her bra, but she definitely noticed when Luka's warm hand cupped her right breast and his thumb grazed her erect nipple. She moaned into his mouth, pressing her breast into his hand.
Suddenly she found herself reclined on the sofa and Luka's mouth was against her abdomen. His thumb again stroked her nipple lightly, causing her to arch up toward him. He pushed her shirt up and slowly trailed licks and kisses up her ribs until he was hovering over the soft brown peak of her breast. He blew across the nipple and watched it tense to a firm nub which he lapped at in quick strokes.
An eager groan, almost a purr, escaped Erin's throat as she dug her fingertips into Luka's back. He seized her nipple in his mouth, pulling it deep with the insistent pressure of his tongue.
Her hand in his hair pressed Luka to Erin's chest, demanding his continued attention to her tingling nipple. He acquiesced, suckling like a hungry infant, his right hand lifting to her left breast, twisting and rolling that nipple gently as well.
Erin had limited experience with pleasures of the body. It always seemed her boyfriends were shy, slow to move to any kind of physical relationship, and always leaving before they progressed much beyond the occasional grope. Luka, though, seemed intent on his purpose, and skilled at getting there. Erin barely noticed her shirt going over her head, or her pants becoming undone.
Luka returned to her mouth, his tongue darting into hers, tasting her. His mouth moved to her ear, his tongue caressing its folds and curves. When his tongue flicked lightly into the canal, she moaned again, pulling his shirt up and digging her nails into his shoulder blades.
Luka pulled back to growl his response, then quickly discarded his shirt. When he returned to Erin's body he attacked her other breast, sucking and gently nipping her nipple till she moaned and writhed. His hands caressed down her sides, reaching her waistband they continued to push the fabric down, past her hips, her thighs. She looked at him with glazed eyes and lifted her legs so he could remove the offending fabric.
Erin lay before him in just her lace panties. He hungrily looked at her from her toes up, slowing at her center, then stretching out half on her, pressing the jean-covered evidence of his thick erection against her bare thigh as he pillaged her mouth and trailed kisses down her throat.
With both hands caressing her breasts, he continued kissing and licking down her chest to her abdomen where he hesitated over her belly button, exploring it with his tongue. The feeling was so erotic, Erin arched and pressed firmly to his hard length.
Luka looked up toward Erin with those dark green eyes swirling silver, and a whispered, "Please!" slipped from her lips. He returned to raining kisses across her abdomen as he slipped his thumbs under the waistband of her panties and dragged them down her legs, discarding them onto the floor near her jeans.
Erin shivered, unsure what she had even meant with her 'please', and feeling vulnerable laying here naked with a man she barely knew.
Seeming to sense her hesitation, Luka stretched out beside her again and kissed her teasingly, lightly caressing a nipple with his thumb until she was again moaning softly and squirming to press into him.
"I will never hurt you, Erin. I am your protector," he murmured into her ear, again trailing kisses as he moved down her body.
His hand caressed her side, her hip, her thigh, then began to return upward on her inner thigh. His fingertips grazed her center, moving in small circles over the close trimmed curls covering her lower lips.