tagSci-Fi & FantasyGian & Mari

Gian & Mari

byladyofthemasque©

A series of pools spilled down shallow ledges, one into another, from two springs that bubbled up from underground almost side-by-side. One spring steamed with heat, even in the already warm, humid air; the other had that silvery clarity only truly cold water could possess. The water that flowed down from both mixed and met in a rock-rimmed basin large enough for swimming, flowing past modest curves of stone that served as footbridges. Mesh screens were submerged at intervals along the streams curving from pool to pool, wicker weavings that glowed faintly to his magesight, suggesting they were there to cleanse away any impurities caused by bathing, as well as to catch leaves fallen from the plants growing around the edges of the springs, streams and pools.

Certainly there was a tile-roofed shed at the back of the stone-paved grotto, beyond a hedge of deep pink, lavender and yellow roses in various stages of bloom. He could see shelves lined with towels, jars, bottles, soapbricks and sponges as he followed Mari that way. Benches were scattered here and there among the curving flowerbeds and grassy patches of lawn, some of smooth-worn stone, others of sanded wood. Two more stood within the shed-area, waist-high and made of padded leather with holes in one end, the kind used in Sundaran bathhouses for massaging purposes; one's face was settled into that hole, allowing the person to lie naturally and comfortably while the masseusse or masseur worked, yet still be able to breathe.

"Gian? Would you, um…turn around?" Mari asked, blushing and biting her lip.

Gian blinked, eyed her as she exhibited this show of maidenly embarrassment, and turned around. Smiling, he pulled his own tunic over his head. A soft, feminine sound of pleasure—much like the more masculine one he had made at the end of their meal—escaped Mari. A moment later, her hands ghosted gently over the scars on his back, then slid around his ribs to his chest, spreading and savoring the texture and heat of his skin. Gian let out a groan and leaned back into her body, enjoying the soft feel of her curves pressing into him through her tunic. Her fingertips traced the ridges of his abdomen, tickling him around his navel, then worked their way back up to explore the flatness of his male nipples. Sensations tingled through him, racing through his blood and pooling in his loins.

"You feel…good. Very good," Mari murmured against his neck. She inhaled deeply, then stilled her caresses with a half-laugh. "—But you *reek* of horse sweat!"

That made him laugh. Catching a hand, he turned around and faced her, kissing her imprisoned fingertips. His light brown eyes glowed with hazel promises. "That's because we've both been riding all day. Time to bathe in this little grotto, as you suggested."

Releasing her, he picked up a sponge, a pot of softsoap that smelled like galingale-ginger of all things, if pleasantly so, and headed out of the shed for the nearest pool. A test of the water with his hand proved it on the cool side of lukewarm. Setting down his supplies, trying hard not to think about Mari watching him, about her stripping naked and lathering herself with some flower-scented soap, he stripped out of his remaining clothes and waded into the water.

A few moments later, he heard more splashing than the pools alone could account for, and smiled again. It was a torment, not turning around, a sweet torment to guess just by sound what she was doing as he scrubbed himself with the spicy-scented soap he had picked. She wasn't in the same pool, though, and curiosity had him turning slightly, just enough that he could catch a glimpse out of the corner of his eye. Lathering her freckled body, he saw, slowing his own scrubbing motions. For the first time in his life, Gian actually wanted to be a sponge. He envied that lathered scrap of dead sea creature, for she was rubbing it over her full, freckled breasts, down over a stomach taut with the training exercises all Knights performed each morning, day in and day out.

Hazel green eyes flashed his way, caught sight of him staring openly at her, and their owner froze. Gian could feel her gaze slide down his body, more tangible than the soapsuds doing the same thing here and there. That stare finally fixed on his groin, rampant and unable to hide under the water, which only reached up to mid-thigh on him. On her, he noticed, the water reached all the way to the apex of her thighs, and little waves lapped at the dark curls waiting there. Those curls were like a magnet for his gaze, making him envy the water in the other pool. Rational thought slunk out of his head. Wading through the water, he climbed out, crossed down into her pool as she stared, frozen like a deer caught in the gaze of a hungry lion—and he was hungry—and stepped into the somewhat warmer waters of her pool.

She watched him approach, as still as an arrested statue, until he took the sponge out of her hand, tossing his somewhere out beyond the edge of the pool; his other arm slid around her back, slippery with lather, and pulled her up against him. A grunt, primal and needy, escaped his body as it met hers. Closing his eyes, Gian revelled in the slick slide of their skin, the rapid beating of her heart, the indeed rose-scented soap that mingled with his spice in heady combination. Her hair, damp from a dunking, smelled like dirt and wet horse sweat, but it also smelled of her. The soft, lathered skin of her belly trembled at the first touch of his rampant manhood, then slowly relaxed, melting into him; her nipples beaded, arousing his chest as they scraped softly against his skin.

Hands that had at first splayed nervously on his chest, now slid up his throat and buried themselves in his hair. Gian opened his eyes as she guided his face to hers, then closed them again with a sigh as her mouth sought and found his. Tongues meshing, bodies gliding, they kissed. As much as he wanted to devour her, to just find the nearest ledge at the edge of the pool and take her, Gian dragged himself back from the depths of his lust. Gentling their embrace, he pulled back just far enough to meet her questioning eyes, smiled reassuringly, and scooped her up high against his chest with a muscled arm under her buttocks.

Uncertain of her new, slippery perch, Mari clutched at his shoulders. This gave her better purchase, and brought her breasts tormentingly close to his face. Forcing himself to focus, Gian located a ledge of stone at the side of the lukewarm pool, but not to make her his. Instead, he used the sponge in his hand as soon as he set her down, gliding it over those breasts, making her draw in her breath as he circled her rosy nipples with the soft-rough texture of the sponge. Picking up an arm, he lathered it fully, from shoulder and armpit to fingernails and palm. Then he had to hunt for the softsoap pot she had used, since the lather was almost gone. Coming back, he found her watching him with her hazel green eyes, silent and uncertain of what he intended next. Giving her a reassuring smile, Gian soaped her other arm, then sat beside her and scrubbed her neck and back.

Below her shoulders, her body wasn't very tanned, though she still had freckles scattered over her ribs and spine. He scrubbed each and every inch of her pale skin, enjoying the contrast of his naturally darker body against her pale flesh. Her sighs of pleasure encouraged him. Guiding her down onto her back, he lifted one of her legs out of the water and scrubbed her foot. It made her giggle, jerking her leg this way and that to try and escape the ticklish sensations. Gian firmed his grip on her ankle, imprisoning her leg so that he wouldn't lose it as she squirmed. One jerk out to the side revealed a flash of dark curls and pink flesh, drawing his gaze to her core.

In an instant, his careful playfulness vanished, drowned in a wave of lust. Feminine flesh, flanked by dark curls and terraced in rose-pink, held him arrested for a long moment. A siren's song, that view, telling him he belonged there, needed to join with her. Now.

Wrenching his gaze away, Gian reminded himself to go slow. Focusing on her leg, and only her leg, he scrubbed it gently, almost all the way up to the apex of her inner thigh, then switched his concentration to the soft curve of her hip. Trailing the sponge across her lower belly, he circled her navel, provoking another giggle, and coaxed her other leg up out of the water, into his thorough, attentive grasp. And discovered a thong strung around her ankle, with a rune-carved bead resting against her skin.


He knew that sigil: a counter-charm against conception and pregnancy. Two things crossed his mind as he scrubbled her ticklish toes; he felt relief that she had thought about such a need, and a strange disappointment. Not that he wanted any bastard sons or daughters to follow him…but it was all too easy to picture a boy with his black hair and her scattering of freckles, of a little girl with his serious almond eyes lit with her mother's wry smile. It was an image that made his heart ache with the boundless but currently averted possibilities.

Focusing on her leg, wielding his sponge in long, slow strokes, Gian reminded himself that now was not the time to think of such things. When she was limp and pliant, he set the sponge on the ledge, scooped up a double handful of water, and rinsed off one breast, making her blink and open her eyes at the sensation. With his hips wedged between her lowered thighs, he leaned over her lathered body and captured that cleansed, glistening tip in his lips. Water and warm flesh met his tongue, with that indescribable, sweet flavor of freshly bathed flesh. His action was greeted with a gasp, then with a breathy moan, encouraging him. Scooping up another handful, he rinsed off her other soft globe and licked it somewhat dry, then wet it with water again, and licked it once more. She squirmed, sliding his erection from where it rested against her thigh into a passing brush of her nethercurls. The texture scraping his manhood threatened his control, making him suck strongly for a moment on her breast, eliciting a strangled gasp from the strong new sensations he awoke in her.

{Go slow, Gian!} he reminded himself forcefully as her fingers clutched uncertainly in his hair. Backing off, he eased her upright and off the ledge, snagging the sponge as he pulled her close. Smiling down at her, he teased her backside with the sponge, sliding it almost possessively over her buttocks, making her gasp and squirm. Bringing the sponge around to her front, he tickled her belly…then boldly slid the sponge between her water-slick thighs, bathing her very intimately. A sound somewhere between a gasp and a moan escaped her; Mari wilted with pleasure, relying on the arm he curved around her back to keep her afloat.

Manipulating her body with the sponge was fine, for a little while. Long enough to get her thoroughly clean. The lust surging through his veins with each strong heartbeat demanded more, though. Tossing the sponge onto the stone ledge ringing the pool, he invaded her curls with his bare fingers, sucking in a breath of his own at the contrasts in texture, the crinkliness of her curls versus the soft slickness of the inner flesh they hid. Mari whimpered, clutching at his drying shoulders with her fingers while his own explored and played between her legs. Gian focused gently on the base of her pleasure-sentinel, knowing from her gasps and little cries how much she liked that. An inquisitive fingertip found her core and teased the tight folds as they both breathed unsteadily, both of them aroused by what he was doing to her.

She was arched so far over in his grip now, her hair trailed damply across the surface of the water. Whimpers and moans escaped her throat at panted intervals, encouraging him to do more. Certainly her arched position thrust her breasts up in perfect, pebble-tipped teardrops. Stooping just a little, bracing his feet for balance, Gian tasted her nipple with tongue and lips, drawing on it rhythmically. A moment later, as he listened to her throaty gasps, he drove his finger into her virgin-tight depths, and used his thumb to gently caress her pleasure sentry.

Mari went wild, hollering and stiffening her body, forcing him to shift his weight to compensate as her toes lost their last purchase on the bottom of the pool. It was all he could do to hold onto her writhing, slick body, to keep from dropping and accidentally drowning her. Gamely, Gian held on, drawing hard on her breast, pumping his index finger in and out, giving her a taste of what his body desperately wanted to do. Making damned sure she associated his touch, his presence, with her own pleasure. Moisture that was too thick and slick to be either soap or water warmed and coated his fingers as she shuddered; it made his manhood throb painfully with the proof of what he had just done to her. Switching breasts, he nibbled and suckled on her other one, making her gasp and jerk, writhing with new pleasure.

Only when she was limp in his arms, panting and sated, did he withdraw his hand from her core. Easing her upright, Gian steadied her until her legs twitched, muscles tensing to support her own weight. Her dark lashes drifted open, revealing hazel eyes gone almost fully green with satiation. Her voice, when she finally found it again, was warm and husky, her fingers seeking his jaw in a caress. "Oh, Gian…"

He didn't care if she decked him for feeling so damned smug; Gian gave her a grin overflowing with pure male satisfaction. He had just pleasured his woman thoroughly—and if he'd been a primate in some distant Mendhi jungle, he would have swung around the trees, hooting and thumping his chest, he felt that damned good about it.

Mari didn't punch him; instead, she smiled back, though she arched a brow in uncertainty for the unfamiliar, fierce exuberance in his grin.

Swooping her close, Gian kissed her quickly, then released her and stepped back. "Rinse off, Mari; I'll get some softsoap for your hair."

Obedient, she sank into the water to her shoulders, eyes still following him, then ducked under the water. Gian waded over to the edge of the pool and scooped out a bit of the softsoap while she rinsed. Splashing to the side made him glance that way; she was getting out of the pool. Frowning slightly in confusion, he held his tongue, watching her dripping, clean body stroll up to the next pool, then stoop and pick up something. The sight of water dripping from one breast dried his mouth with the need for a sip. He didn't even realize until she set it down beside him that she'd fetched the little pot of scented soap Gian had picked out for himself.

As soon as she climbed back into the water, he moved behind her and started washing her hair. Bathing with a woman was a new experience for him, but one he was determined to enjoy in full. Working the rose-scented suds through her long, damp locks, he didn't notice until she turned around that she had rinsed out her sponge and lathered it with galingale-ginger bubbles. The moment she started scrubbing his chest, the muscles under her touch contracted, defining themselves with anticipation.

Determined to keep things light, he swiped the tip of her freckled nose with a soapy finger. Pausing, she narrowed her eyes. Gian smeared her jawline with a beardful of bubbles, then carefully added a mustache along her upper lip, even though she narrowed her eyes even more in warning. To top it off, he added just a little bit more to her brows, taking care to connect them across her brow in a solid, foamy line.

He got a faceful of sponge. Spluttering, Gian fell back a step, raising his hands to defend himself. She squirmed the sponge in past his guard, scrubbing his face ruthlessly. Escaping with a turn and dive across the small pool, he rinsed off under the water, coming up with a wipe at his face to make sure both soap and water were gone. She attacked his back with the sponge, making him stagger, then she made him draw in a sharp breath as she shamelessly lingered while lathering his buttocks. Then, when she was done with that, Mari squeaked the sponge ruthelessly through the curves of his ears, including behind them. Gian turned around with a mock-glare for being treated like a little boy, and she gentled her touch, tickling his throat, his chest, teasing his nipples until he had to bite his lip against the urge to moan. In such shallow water, there was no way to hide his ultimate reaction to her touch, though. When her sponge slipped below his bellybutton, he caught her wrist and dragged it up to his other arm. Pointedly telling her without words not to play down there.

She eyed his erection, his sober expression, then smiled and switched their stances by catching his own wrist. Hauling him with her back across the pool, she urged him up onto the same soap-smeared stone ledge she had been on with a few murmurs, then relathered the sponge and started bathing his arms. When she was done with his last fingernail, she nudged him back and lifted one of his legs. Gian didn't lie down, though he did lean back, bracing himself on soapy elbows. It was a ticklish, arousing torture to let her learn every inch of his body this way, feeling the gliding sponge scrape softly behind his knees, up the sensitive flesh on the insides of his thighs. Much like he had done, she avoided the apex of his own thighs. Gian didn't care. The journey she was making, exploring him, was more than pleasurable enough.

Rather than having him stand up in the water when she was done with his toes, Mari scooped a couple handfuls of water over the top of his head, letting it drip onto the rock ledge, and scrubbed his almost chestlength hair. The feel of her fingertips massaging his scalp was a wonderfully soothing contrast to her more arousing ministrations. Groaning in pleasure, Gian let her manipulate his head this way and that, as content as a cat being petted. A sound much like a purr escaped his chest as she worked, massaging his nape, his shoulders and chest… His eyes snapped wide as her hands slipped all the way to his manhood and gently encircled it with her fingers. A strangled sound that should have been her name escaped him, making her giggle. He cleared his throat and tried again. "Mari, don't!"

"Oh, come on; I know you men like this sort of thing. Sir Niel told me so," she drawled, glancing up at him from under her lashes.

Gian blushed and caught her wrists. "—Sir Niel told you *that*?"

"Among other things, when I asked him," she admitted casually. Since his hands were slippery, she freed them easily, returning them to his groin. Not that Gian really resisted, because he wanted to feel her hands on him. One gently cupped his manly sacks, the other circled his shaft, making his heart pound from both pleasure and apprehension. With smooth, slow, gentle strokes, she cleaned every inch of his most intimate parts, exploring the loose little cowl of skin at the tip with inquisitive fingers—which wasn't so loose right now, not with his manhood fully engorged and twitching with each pounding heartbeat.

She stopped. Gian cracked open his eyelids warily; she had moved away from him, just for a moment. A heartbeat later, a handful of cool water trickled over his burning flesh, making him suck in a breath at the delicious contrast. She did it again, until the last soap bubble on his shaft was a memory…and then stopped his heart by crouching half in the water and taking him into her mouth.

"—Mari!" He bolted upright and gripped her damp locks, but before he could push her away, she started exploring him. The questing lick of her tongue, the innocent scrape of her teeth, the suckling of her lips. The sensations were too startling, too good, for him to form a coherent protest. Fingers that had tensed to remove her now held her close, encouraging her ministration. Until it got to be too much; he wanted to be inside her, not in her mouth when he hit his climax. Which he was going to do very, very soon. Too soon! "Mari… Mari, stop—stop! Do you hear me?"

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