Chapter 13: Shahin
Let's Dance

“…I’m just saying. It may have its weird moments, but this place is at least academically sound. I mean, in European History…”

“Vee, you sit next to a minotaur in European History,” Aelgifu interrupted incredulously. The three of them had appropriated a table – far enough from the speakers to please Aelgifu & Yngvi, close enough to the dance floor to allow Shahin to assess the dancing – and, struck by a sudden and mutual sense of shyness, they were nursing their drinks and talking prosaically about Addergoole.

“Technically,” Yngvi answered primly, “he’s not a minotaur. He only has bull horns, not a whole head of bull.”

“All right,” she acceded. “But what about the giant that sits behind you? Or the vampire next to him?”

“The ones coming this way?” Yngvi answered dryly, and both girls turned to look.

For a moment, Shahin thought that they were teasing her; she saw no giant, no vampire, just that stunning man she’d encountered in the doorway, slipping across the room, stepping in and out of the lights so that it looked as if he trailed a flickering comet-tail, moving like a cat intent on some poor mouse.

And the mouse? She followed his path, ignoring the sudden pounding of her heart, the whole-body shudder that made her toes and fingertips tingle, growing more intense as she found where he was looking, ignoring the momentary feeling of being jilted as she, and he, found his target, a girl whose hair gleamed as dark as Shahin’s until the shifting lights revealed it to be the red of merlot and port, whose skin was smooth and fair, whose lips were the same bloody shade as her hair, who slinked through the crowd towards him, her high high heels hitting the floor in time with the music, her short short skirt swaying with every movement.

“Sheen?” Aelgifu touched her arm lightly, and she jumped, coming back to herself, taking a sip of her drink to cover her lapse. Now she could see them – now that they were nearly on top of them – the giant, and how had she missed him before? He had to be eight feet tall, maybe nine, broad-shouldered even for his height, with hands that looked big enough to encircle Shahin’s waist. Against all reason, his suit fit as if tailored to him, the rust colour of the shirt highlighting the golden hue of his skin and the darkness of his unruly, curly hair.

“Vampire,” Ayla had said, and, looking at the man standing next to the giant, Shahin could understand the impression; his cheerful grin revealed a double set of wicked-sharp fangs. Dwarfed beside the giant, he was still nearly a good head taller than Shahin. He even looked Slavic, with chestnut hair and tanned skin, and eyes so blue as to be almost frightening.

Both of them were smiling, the giant and the vampire, laughing together as they came closer, the giant's hand resting lightly on the shoulder (his thumb on her shoulder, his hand splayed across her back) of a girl who looked pixiesh in comparison to either of her companions.

She was probably about Shahin's height, on the short end of normal human-sized, but the top of her head came to the bottom of the giant's ribcage and her hand looked like a child's wrapped around his thumb.

She had her white-blonde hair done up in two falls of ringlets, hanging like pigtails over her ears and trailing to her conspicuously bare neck; she was bare down to her pink-and-dove-gray brocade corset, which pushed her tiny breasts up high. The rosy pink of her cheeks and décolletage, the absurdly perfect ringlets, made her seem like a doll. Shahin wondered unkindly if it was on purpose.

“Yngvi, right?” the giant boomed. “And..." He squinted at Ayla in her boyish outfit. "Is that you? Ae... ae-el...”

“Aelgifu,” Ayla filled in, blushing. The giant nodded, still smiling.

“-gifu. From European History. Tell me, is it me, or was Valerian's class yesterday a little weird, even for Addergoole.”

“You mean the whole 'Myths-as-a-way-to-understand-history' thing?” Ayla answered. “I thought that was kind of neat.”

“But weird,” the giant reiterated. “I'm Anatoliy, by the way. This is Dysmas and Agatha.” He patted the doll's head lightly, and she smirked up at him, and wiggled in a little closer to him.

“How can you figure anything here is weirder than anything else?” Yngvi asked, gesturing around the parade of weirdness that circled them.

“I mean... weird for Valerian. This is my fourth year taking History with her, and she's never done anything like this before."

“I think it's something she picked up over the break,” the vampire – Dysmas – suggested. “Didn't she go spelunking in British castles or something?”

“Spelunking?” Agatha giggled.


Shahin, who had been assigned to Asian History and hadn't experienced any Myth as History lectures yet, looked around for a distraction.

And there, as if he'd been waiting for her to notice him, was Emrys, holding another set of two glasses, and smiling lopsidedly. He gestured, with the hand holding a clear, fizzy drink, at her nearly-empty glass. “I thought you might be thirsty.” The idea seemed to amuse him.

“And if I'm not?”

Perhaps she was being too harsh with him; he looked for a moment as if he'd been slapped, and Shahin wondered how she could retract it. Then he recovered, smirking. “Then I'll just have to drink it myself.”

“We can't have that, can we?” She set down her glass and held out her hand for the drink he had brought for her. “I suppose I could be thirsty.”

He looked as if he wanted to tease her more, but instead he handed her the glass, careful not to touch her hand as he did so. She sipped lightly at it – as with the first drink, it was sweet and mellow, the alcohol barely there under the soda taste. “Thank you.”

“Just being friendly.” He shrugged, and took a long swig of his drink – amber, swirling with golden brown. She found her lips curling upwards.

“You don't seem like the friendly sort, normally.”

He smirked back at her, and sparks danced from his fingertips, lighting the top of his drink with small tongues of flame. “You don't seem like the sort to stand at the side of the dance floor... normally.”

“I'm not,” she agreed, sipping again, watching him over the top of her drink. “Normally. But this is a new floor... and a new dance.” It was shameless, but the music was just moving from something loud and fast into a ballad, the sort of thing designed for slow moving.

“Well then, let's dance,” he said, the flames on his drink flickering higher. “I'll lead, since it's new to you.” The arrogant curl of his lips dared her to say no, so she did the only thing she could, and nodded her assent.

“Lead on,” she challenged, setting her drink down on the table next to Aelgifu, who was still deep in conversation with Yngvi and their new friends.

His smile only growing wider, he finished his drink – flames and all – and held out a hand to her. Remembering what had happened the last time she touched him, she wondered if this was another test. She braced herself as surreptitiously as she could, gave him her blandest smile, and set her hand into his lightly.

A small spark crackled into life, and subsided into a warm tingle. Braced for it, she didn't flinch, and neither did he, but they searched out each other's faces, looking to see who would break first.

His eyes flared a little bit redder as she met his gaze and very deliberately stepped into his embrace. The warmth wasn't overwhelming yet, although small sparks continued to fly off of their joined hands. His free hand circled her, resting against her bare back, just as she rested her fingers lightly on the back of his neck.

Heat. Not just heat, but flames. Like putting her hand on a stove top. Like backing up into a bonfire. She bit her lip lightly and continued to watch Emrys' face.

He twitched, just a little, his hand moving upwards just a little on her back, the pressure of his fingertips five cool spots of relief from the heat. The flame in his eyes dimmed to purple, and then to blue, and he squeezed tighter with both hands, that small spasm the only movement as both of them stood staring at each other.

“Isn't there any heat in you at all?” Exasperation colored his voice as he broke the silence.

She smiled sadly, remembering the vision she'd had, the eternal ice surrounding her. “Very little.” She shifted her hand on the back of his neck, and he covered his wince with a short storm of sparks from their clasped hands; perversely, she pushed a little further.

“I think you have enough,” she trailed her fingers lightly down his spine, feeling the fire diminish as she moved her hands from the bare skin of his neck to the shirt covering his back, “for both of us.” She twisted her right arm, the one still holding his hand, behind her back, pressing his knuckles against her back back. “Let's dance.”

“Let's dance,” he agreed, the red shifting back into his eyes. He unclasped his hand from hers, and she draped her hands over his neck, his ponytail sliding over her skin like a caress. They stepped into the dance, letting the slow beat of the song slip into their awareness.

His body was warm against hers, and the skin of his neck smelled of cloves and musky, animal maleness, a not-unpleasant smell. His hands on her back were strong but not – too – rough. For a moment, Shahin stopped fighting.

Emrys' heart seemed to beat in time with the music, and his eyes, she realized, weren't just red; they were flamed, two windows into a furious inferno. The drum beat that was his heart grew louder and louder until it filled her ears, until it filled her whole world and she could no longer feel his hands on her back.

    The crowd at her back was ugly, and loud, their chants spiraling faster and faster in time with the drumbeats that seemed to be ramping up her heartbeat faster, faster. The bonfire was only a few feet in front of her, filling her view, the flames licking up to the sky, the crackle seeming as loud as the crowd behind her.

    And there was Emrys, an older Emrys than she knew, and far less human, his bare chest covered with swirling tattoos of flame that moved sinuously across his skin, trailing down into the waistband of his black pants, his eyes pits of flame. His left hand was on fire, no, he was holding the fire, a glowing ball of flame, and his face was twisted into a feral grimace of vindictive pleasure, looking straight at her.

    The drums beat louder and louder, and her heart threatened to tear its way out of her chest, but she did not move.

    The crowd screamed in rage and hunger, and still she stood, frozen.

    In front of her, Emrys opened his mouth and roared in wordless defiance at her, at the crowd behind her, his mouth another red-hot furnace, and all she did was smile.

    The crowed roared back, and her smile grew.

    His left arm cocked back, and she took a tiny step forwards.

    He reached for her with his right hand, and it was as if the ice sloughed off of her, all at once. She took his hand, clasped it tightly; he threw his fireball over her head...

    ...and the world exploded.

“Shahin? Hey...” She blinked up at Emrys, as his expression went from worried to relieved to insouciant. He was holding her, she realized; she'd gone limp in his arms and he had caught her. “I know I was good, but damn...”

She found her feet, pressing deliberately against his body, grabbed his neck, and pulled him into a kiss.

He stayed frozen for a second, his eyes startled and flaring orange-and-yellow, and then returned her fervor with his own, clutching her closer to him. She opened her lips to his, and...

Fire. Ice. A moment of stunning, obliterating heat, in which they pulled each other even closer, in which their kissing became a fierce contest of wills. And then...

Pleasure, a spasm through her entire body, a tightening between her legs, a soft warmth through her body. And, when they pulled back to look at each other, breathless, a flush to her cheeks, to his.

The music had shifted to something industrial, the beat the same beat as the drums in her vision, throbbing through her. He looked down at her with an unreadable expression.

“Let's dance,” she suggested, her voice coming out high and reedy.

“Dance,” he agreed, his fingers playing a concerto on her spine. The music, violent and heavy, that would let her loose this feeling. Like a dying woman going for water, she slipped into the dance, Emrys hot on her heels.

Chapter 13.5: Shahin
You let me complicate you...

There were other people on the dance floor, so many at times that she and Emrys found themselves shoved into each other, but it didn't matter. There was music, music she knew and loved, and there was the dance she understood. And if this as echoed and mirrored by, shared by, a man she wanted in equal measure to hurt and love, well, when she met his eyes, when they touched, he was as likely to flinch first as she was.

And this was her scene. It wasn't her dance floor, her club back home where she'd spent every Thursday night, her DJ, but the music, the dance, the scene fit as if it had been tailored to her. And Emrys... His grace surprised her, the elegance of his movements; his ferocity took her a little aback, the violence barely beneath the surface. The way he watched her, though, when she moved just so - that was a victory for her.

And they kept dancing. Every time she thought she was exhausted, Emrys would touch her, or she would touch him, and she would be full of energy again, full of need, and he would be looking at her with that little smirk, challenging her.

The pleasure was heady, intense, and still sometimes painful, distracting, when they touched for too long, sometimes enough to make her lose her concentration; from his expressions, the way his hands sometimes shuddered on her arms, it was equally distracting for him. As the night went on, she longed to touch more of him than hands and neck, to feel what it could do, to really, really get his attention, to make him gasp the way she wanted to, but her hands stayed demurely enough on the back of his neck, or the small of his back, or away from him entirely.

They went to the bar for drinks again, and again, Emrys ordering drinks with arcane names from the eight-armed bartender, Callista, handing Shahin drinks, daring her to stop before he did. And then back to the dance floor, as if they could, if they danced long enough, dance the desire out of their blood.

But the drinks worked their way into her system, and his, and his hands kept finding her bare back, until a slow song found them against each other again, fire flaring through her entire body. She bit her lip, looking up at him just in time to see him suppress a grimace.

He chuckled at her, kissing her bitten lip lightly. “Too much?” he asked huskily.

Deliberately, she kissed his cheek. “Is it too much for you?” she whispered.

“Never.” He kissed the side of her neck, down to her shoulder, pushing the strap of her dress aside to kiss down to her collarbone, every kiss a little explosion of bliss. He kept working his way downward, moving the dress further aside as he bent down to kiss the top of her breast.

Shahin had a brief moment of clarity in between kisses. The single-strapped dress would be on the floor soon, and there was very little underneath it. She rested her hand on the back of his neck, rewarded by a violent tremor. “Not here,” she murmured reluctantly.

He seemed unabashed as he carefully replaced her dress strap on her shoulder. “No? Too much?”

“Never.” She never wanted him to stop. “But stripping me naked on the dance floor might be interpreted differently than you'd intended.”

“How about somewhere else, then?” He kissed her bare shoulder lightly, and she didn't even think about controlling her twitch.

“Where did you have in mind?” At this point, she was happy she could still form a coherent sentence. Her hands were on his neck again, weren't they, tugging his hair free of his ponytail.

“I do have a room.” The dress was asymmetrical; he could work his way much further down on this side without needing to risk her nudity.

“I'm sure you do. Are you inviting me there?”

Another tremor, whether from her hands in his hair or her comment, she didn't know. Nor did she care; it was a reaction, wasn't it?

“Why not?” She wished she could see his face, and not just the top of his head and the almost fatalistic shrug of his shoulders as his kisses followed the diagonal line of her dress downward. And then he stood, offering her his hand like a perfect gentleman, and his face was as well-schooled as hers. “Shall we?”

“Of course.” If he could still play that game, so could she. She set her hand delicately into his, as if it didn't send tingles up her arm and down her spine to do so. “Lead on.”

And he did so, out of the academic section and down the stairs towards the dormitory. At the landing on the stairs, he paused, pulling her close to her roughly and kissing her, squeezing her hand lightly as his other hand found the back of her neck and pulled her in close. “You should have worn the collar,” he said hoarsely, as his hand caressed her bare neck.

“It didn't match my dress.” It took every ounce of willpower she had left in her to slide her hand lightly up his arm to the hand around her neck and gently, so gently, remove it, leaving her holding both of his hands, looking into his eyes that flared crimson and ruby, but it seemed to catch his attention enough to bring him back to himself.

“Can't have that,” he chuckled. He turned, freeing one of his hands from hers, and continued to lead down into the dorm halls as if nothing had happened, although, once his back was turned, he added lightly, “I bet it would go nicely against your bare skin.”

So do I, she didn't say. Pulling herself together – her skin wasn't really on fire, she didn't really need to get rid of this dress right now - she smiled sweetly at his back. “Or yours.”

He twitched again, his hand clenching on hers. “Let's stick to your bare neck.” The heat coming off his hand was nearly unbearable now. Shahin understood she had hit a nerve, but not quite why – and maybe not the nerve she wanted to hit.

“I thought you were interested in a lot more than my neck,” she teased lightly.

“Oh, I am.” He leaned against a door, pulling her in against him, one hand beginning to slide down her spine, slipping just under the low waist of her dress. “I'm interested in all of you bare, under all of me.”

This time it was her turn to twitch, but it was a tiny little thing, and she smiled up at him. “In your room?” she reminded him, as his second hand joined the first, cupping her ass under the thin silk of her dress.

“In my room,” he sighed, freeing his hands with one trailing squeeze. He reached behind him and opened the door, one hand still holding her. “Welcome to my home, Shahin.” He said her name like an invitation, his welcome like a prayer, and backed into his room like a dance.

“Thank you,” she said, trying to match his tone, and lightly kicked the door shut with one well-placed heel.

“Alone enough for you?” he asked softly, as he found that shoulder strap again and began sliding it off her shoulder.

“Deliciously,” she agreed. She had waited long enough, she thought; she began unbuttoning his shirt, her fingers fumbling on the tiny buttons, as he found the one clasp holding her dress on her and undid it. The whole thing came tumbling to her heels, leaving her in gloves, bracelet, stockings, panties, and heels, as she finally managed the last button of his shirt, exposing his chest as he exposed hers.

“...” There had been something witty she wanted to say, but it was gone, leaving nothing but the spicy scent of him and her. The tattoos she had seen in her vision were there, although they were black and unmoving, swirls of thick and thin lines in a symmetrical but seemingly abstract pattern that covered the sides of his chest and stomach and wrapped around his back and down into his pants. She ran her fingers over them, leaving little trails of sparks behind as her hands trailed over his flat belly and down to the waistband of his pants, as his hands trailed down her back to her little lace panties, as he hooked a thumb under the waistband on either side.

She pulled his pants off as he removed her panties, and stepped forward to be pressed against him again, carefully stepping out of the puddle of clothing around her ankles, pressing her body up against his, her nipples brushing the skin right below his nipples, where his tattoos made little whorls of pencil-thin lines, her hands on his hips, his very bare hips...

...his erection hard against her, and every inch of his skin touching her sending little spasms of pleasure through her, of need. She almost didn't dare look at his face, but she had to, had to know.

His eyes had faded to purple again, and his expression was so intense, so entirely hungry, that she thought he might bore holes right through her. He cupped her ass again, pulling her tighter still against him.

Need, spiraling higher and higher. The bed was behind him, somewhere... there. She gave him a light little shove, and he stepped backwards, startled, and then grinning again, falling onto the bed, pulling her with him.

She shifted to her knees, straddling him, placed one hand on each of his shoulders with exaggerated care, and kissed him, as fiercely as he had kissed her, the first time, the last time, biting at his lip as she finally broke the kiss. “I want to beat you,”

“Not tonight.” He rolled her onto her back, putting himself on top of her, his erection brushing against her, teasing her. “I want to feel you naked under me.”

“Not tonight.” She twitched her hips, getting the feel of him, and grabbed his biceps, twining her gloved arms around his firm, naked ones, as he pinned her down by her shoulders. “You'll have to settle for... oh... nearly naked.”

“Tonight,” he agreed... and thrust.

If touching had been bliss, having him inside of her was a physical impossibility of pleasure. And then he moved, and she felt as if she would explode.

He was slow at first, looking down at her with concentration, his eyes nearly white, flames flickering somewhere in the depths of them, and then she pushed herself up against him, finding his rhythm and moving with it, convulsing in pleasure as they found just the right angle.

She shuddered against him, her fingernails digging into his biceps, the first sparks in a cascade of orgasms, and he snarled at her with a feral grimace of pleasure and

grabbed her hips as if he were going straight for the bones through the flesh and

thrust, pulling him towards her as he shoved himself inside of her. His eyes were two pits of flame, and she was screaming at him in wordless pleasure and pain that was better than any pain she'd ever felt, and her nails were digging deeper into his biceps and her teeth found his shoulder where it met his neck, where a blank spot in his tattoos seemed to invite some other decoration and

she bit him, just as she exploded in another orgasm, clutching him tight to her, and he groaned, and bit her shoulder, and thrust against her even harder, pulling her to him in a bone-jarring stutter-shudder, and

was still, smiling down at her. Blood dripped down his arms in thin rivulets, ignored, and his eyes were once again purple, slowing bleeding back to red. His breath came raggedly, slowing to normal, as hers did, his heartbeat – or was it her own? – loud in her ears.

He lay down beside her, stroking a hand over her belly. “I think tonight,” he said, a little ruefully, “was a draw.”


Copyright © 2009-2010 Lyn Thorne-Alder & Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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