Chapter 58 - Shahin
If I gave you the truth, would it keep you alive?
Though I'm closer to wrong, I'm no further from right
It would be a pity to finally have him at her mercy and not take advantage of him, at least a little bit. The evening was fading towards night, they were alone again in her bedroom, and Shahin knew exactly what she wanted to do.
She pulled the handcuffs from their hiding place in her sock drawer, two pair, solid and serious-looking, and turned to face him, a little smile of anticipation curling her lips.
“Is that so?” he drawled, looking up from his book.
“Oh,” she mewed innocently back at him, “if you’d rather read tonight than be naked under me… did I wear you out this morning?”
“Hardly,” he chuckled. “It’s nice how you make an effort to keep up though.” He set the book down, pulling his shirt off lazily and tossing it absentmindedly aside.
“I wouldn’t want to leave you wanting in the one thing you do well,” she purred. She slipped her skirt off and set it on the dresser, then added her shirt to the pile.
“Ahh, well, it’s a shame I've been underperforming at keeping you and yours’ heads above water. I suppose I should just stop trying.” He grinned, laying back on the bed, watching her.
“Aw, but then I’d be all distracted rescuing my friends, and I wouldn’t have any time to play with you.” She sat down next to him and wrapped both of her hands around one of his wrists.
He sighed melodramatically. “I suppose I’ll soldier on as best I can, then.”
“If it’s that much of an imposition, you could always go back to your room and wait out the rest of the week without me.” She tugged his wrist lightly.
"No, no, you'd probably get yourself kidnapped by Ardell or some such."
“I don’t think I’m his type. And you may have noticed, I made it through Hell Night without anything but your observation.” She cuffed that wrist to the headboard and straddled his chest.
“My observation’s worth more than you might think. Most people around here have some understanding of what most of the others can do, or at least the obvious stuff. And I staked my claim pretty clearly.”
She took his other wrist much as she had the first one. “And why would you do such a thing, if I’m such a tiresome burden?”
“Well, you do have a certain entertainment value,” he admitted, letting her move him.
She locked the other cuff like the first. “Mm, is that why we’re doing this?” By way of demonstrating “this,” she slid down his body and unbuttoned his pants.
“I rather think you find me somewhat entertaining in that regard as well.”
“Mmm, I do remember praising your skills a few minutes ago.” She pulled his pants off and knelt between his legs, smirking up at him.
“So were you going to reward me, then?”
“Something like that. I am grateful that you saved Vi.” A week serving under him had given her a good understanding of his body and what pleased him, and she put all of that to work now. He, appreciatively, allowed her to thank him.
She waited until she heard a little moan escape him, until she was fairly certain the only thing on his mind was what she was doing to him, before she murmured, between two well-placed licks, “tell me why Anatoliy needs to get someone pregnant.”
“Has to fulfill his graduation requirements,” he murmured, watching her through lidded eyes.
Graduation requirements. She didn’t allow herself to falter. “Then, tell me,” she continued, pausing to hit a particularly sensitive spot with her tongue, “do all the students have to have a child to graduate?”
“No...” He paused to make a small appreciative noise. “They need two.”
“Seems strange that they’d be passing out birth control pills in the nurse’s office then.” She forced herself to keep focused on her task. She could freak out later.
He didn’t answer, and it took her a moment to realize that she’d forgotten to command him to. Resisting the urge to bite him, she instead aimed for more pleasure. “Explain the birth control.”
“Birth control could mean more than contraception. That’s not the direction they’d want to control it, here.”
She gulped in a deep breath. Those little pills… “Tell me, why did you think you couldn’t tell me this?”
“I can’t, without a direct command. We’re under a magical compulsion. All of the upperclassmen.”
It was beginning to make a horrid sort of sense. She sat back on her heels, staring at him. “To make it easier to impregnate the lowerclassmen.” She didn’t bother waiting for his lack of response. “So, tell me, what are you going to do about the baby you put in me?”
“Raise it.” He shrugged slightly, as if it was an obvious thing.
So she was pregnant, or at least he thought she was. She glared at him, but she couldn’t muster the heat for it. “That assumes we want anything to do with each other, when this week is over.”
“True. You may have noticed the maternal naming scheme. Technically, he’s all yours.”
Emrys just nodded. “It’s early, and not my best skill anyway, but I thought so when I checked.”
She shook her head. “How can you be so calm about this?”
“Expecting it helps considerably. I've had the better part of a year to get used to the idea.”
“Do you already have a child, then?” She didn’t know what she wanted the answer to be. She didn’t even know what she wanted him to think about the baby he’d forced on her.
“No, I managed to avoid it my first year. Which is a pretty rare thing.”
She shook her head. She wanted to cry, but refused to do so in front of him. “Do you, really, want to help raise this child?” Two, he’d said. “And that theoretical second child, assuming I don’t find a way to burn this place to the foundations?”
“I do. As for a second... well, that’s really up to you. Most people don’t end up having both by the same person - you understand how there can be a certain degree of resentment.”
“Just a little.” She shook her head. “Just about enough to strangle you.”
“The administration does frown on actually killing your Kept.”
“The Administration that just conspired to impregnate me against my will? I don’t think I care much for their opinion.” She stood, looking around for her robe. Everything was so messy since he’d shown up.
“Their opinion carries a certain amount of weight. I did say they only frown on it; unruly students could also be considered a fixable problem.”
“I’m not going to kill you. You don’t get off that easily.” She slipped into the silk kimono and belted it fiercely. “And being angry at you does nothing but amuse you, does it?”
“Well, your anger is a little cute,” he allowed.
“Then I’ll be back when I‘ve calmed down.”
“Seriously, please don't cause trouble out there.”
She eyed him, a little surprised at his response. “What do you think I’m going to do?”
“Confront the staff? Tell other Fifths? I'm not really sure.”
“I’m actually a little disappointed.” And she was, and a little hurt. “Does any of that actually sound like me?”
“You seem a bit shell-shocked,” he shrugged.
“Shell-shocked? No. I’m furious. Hurt. Angry. Betrayed. I’ve been all those things before. I’m also, apparently, pregnant, which is a new experience.” Her voice was getting louder; she swallowed and continued in a more level tone. “I’d like to hurt you, a lot, but there’s still a chance I’d regret that in the morning. So I’m going to walk away until I can trust myself to be around your smart-ass self.”
“Fair enough. Still, be careful. It’s a jungle out there, and when you’re upset you’re more likely to miss something.”
She frowned. “I really dislike it when you’re right.” She flopped down on the bed next to him, all the fight gone out of her. It wasn’t safe to go stomping around the halls in her bathrobe. It wasn’t safe to do much of anything, here. She unlocked the cuff closest to her and handed him the key.
He took it wordlessly, unlocking the other cuff and sitting up. She curled her knees up to her chest. Stupid to have trusted him. Stupid to have trusted the nurse. Stupid to have let her guard down. “I hate you,” she whimpered.
“I suppose you expect me to say something trite like, ‘Hate the game, not the player?’” He set a hand on her shoulder gently.
She should shrug away, but she didn’t; she even managed a slightly snuffly giggle. “I’d never expect anything trite from you. Cocky, certainly, but never trite.”
“Well, then. How about ‘grant us the patience to accept the things we cannot change?’ This place is what it is, and what’s happened has happened. We can only change the future.”
“It didn’t happen on its own, though. You made it happen.”
“I did. If I hadn’t, someone else probably would’ve. And it could’ve been someone like Ardell, someone who would’ve tricked you into a Belonging, who wouldn’t give you a way out. If you want to walk away from me, go, but you’ve done awfully well for a newbie here.”
She rolled over to look at him. He looked sincere, not his normal arrogant self. Barem, Ardell – he was a pain in the ass, but he was, in the end, a decent guy. And she was sort of fond of him.
She shook her head slowly. “You don’t get off that easily. We’ll talk about the future – about this baby we’re making – about everything – in a week or two. But right now…” She looked into his inscrutable red eyes. “…I’d like you to hold me, please.”
He just nodded and wrapped his arms around her, a bastion of warmth and security against the shadows that lay just outside the door, even as he cast his own long shadow.
Copyright © 2009-2010 Lyn Thorne-Alder & Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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