Still Waters Run the Deepest
Pairing: original non-canon characters and Tharmifex
Summary: I love Tharmifex and I just know he is neither as bland nor as uptight as he seems in meetings and at public functions. This story is recounted by somehar who has known Tharmifex Calvel for years.
Disclaimer: All the pretty Wraeththu, as well as the world they live in, were created by, and belong to, Storm Constantine, who (bless her!) is gracious enough to allow fans like me to take them out and play with them occasionally. No copyright infringement is intended, and I promise to wash them off and put them away neatly when I’m done.
Warnings: nothing spoilery – but with references to underwear. While underwear (or lack thereof) already played a part in this story, their role was exaggerated precipitant to the serious academic discussions about the state of underwear in Wraeththudom which can be found in camile_sinensis‘s journal.
BETA’d by: bigunen!!! (The patience of a saint…)
The afternoon sun was casting long shadows into the centre of the old stadium. Most of the assembled people were down where, in the good old days, sports teams had done battle. Now a would-be messiah was trying to whip the assembled group of ragtag humans into an ‘army of righteousness’ to do battle against the evil menace. I sat in the stands, or what was left of them. Trumble, I thought angrily was way more likely to lead these people to death than to victory. Trumble was feeding them false hopes of dispatching the Wraeththu menace, and while they were at it they’d deal with “The Others” – a new group of nomadic humans who were moving into our area and stealing what meager resources we still had. Trumble was an idiot, I repeated to myself, but he was turning out to be a very charismatic idiot.
I had travelled down to this gathering with my older brother Doug and a couple of our cousins – Doug had wanted a firsthand look at the so-called saviour of humanity. Doug had tried to argue with Trumble – but no one wanted the truth; they wanted hope, even false hopes. Little Stevie, Doug’s oldest son, had arrived mid-morning accompanied by another young cousin with the news that Kari, Doug’s woman, was in labour and that Doug was to come immediately. I was chosen to stay for the remainder of the rally and return home in the morning with news.
I emerged from the stadium’s dark maze of corridors into what once had been a parking lot. The pavement was now cracked and broken, with grass, weeds, and young saplings pushing their way through – nature was reclaiming her own. The sun was setting and the shadows were long. Across from the stadium were mostly deserted storefronts boarded up – looted long ago of anything of value.
My teeth were clenched and I felt like screaming. Humanity was dying. Those of us who were left had split into smaller family or neighbourhood tribes. We were scattered, we had no power – we were subsisting, barely existing. And yet, a madman had convinced them that they could reclaim the past and they believed him. Pure madness! I let out a low growl in frustration.
“Russ, go outside and walk once around the block” – that’s what my Nana would have said to me; if you had a problem or you were going to lose your temper – a walk ‘once around the block’ would help put things into perspective. So I adjusted my belt and set off.
I looked down the wide empty street, set the three tall apartment buildings in the distance as my target and began walking. Human cities were now eerily quiet – no bustle, no cars, no music, and no people.
As I walked I tried to put things into perspective. Regardless of what Trumble and his disciples decided my family would be having no part of it. As soon as Kari and the baby were able to travel we would be heading north. Doug would be leading us north around the lakes to the barren lands beyond. It was there where we hoped we would be out of the way of the Wraeththu who were not only still trying to secure the land against the remnants of the human population, but who had begun to fight amongst themselves.
As I approached the three crumbling and boarded up apartment blocks, I had given up fretting about Trumble and his army of righteousness; the sun was almost gone and it was getting chilly so I turned back. I paused at an intersection with a burnt-out storefront on one corner; over the door of the storefront a charred sign with the word Variety still visible hung. The small cross street wound past the store and in the growing darkness I could see small houses beyond. I felt a sudden and strong urge to go that way. I fought it; I was alone, in the growing darkness, and in unfamiliar territory, but the pull was irresistible. I hesitated for a second, running my hand through my short spiked honey-gold hair, and then I turned and walked into the side street.
The street led into a neighbourhood, not unlike the one I can just barely remember living in before the troubles, and before the violence. Small houses with small front yards lined both sides of the street. But these were not the neat friendly houses of my childhood; these were ghost houses. The yards were unkempt with weeds and waist-high grass; some houses had boarded up windows and doors, but most had dark yawning empty openings. I kept walking, keeping to the center of the street, and watching carefully. I stopped feeling suddenly uneasy. Turning back the way I had come I cursed silently under my breath when I saw how far I’d actually walked into the unknown away from the main street. It was quite dark now. After a quick scan of the surrounding houses I began to quickly retrace my steps back towards the main road.
From my left a door creaked and slammed. With my heart pounding, I raced from the open center of the street to the shadows of the houses. I was still as I crouched in the darkness alert for any further sounds or movement. I began moving in the shadows from house to house cautiously and noiselessly with my hand clutching my hunting knife.
Whoever he was he was good. One blow to a pressure point and my knees buckled; I couldn’t breathe. Helplessly, I watched my knife skitter away across the cracked pavement of the driveway into the dark unruly weeds along the edge. I was hauled to my knees, my arm twisted behind my back until I thought it would snap. My back came into sharp contact with my attacker’s chest as a large serrated knife blade pressed against my throat.
“In the old days we’d have just cut you and left you to bleed… but our boss has a new boss and luckily for you we don’t kill for sport anymore.”
There were several of them. They hauled me to my feet and shoved me roughly towards the back of the house. They herded me through several backyards, stepping through broken chain link fences and pushing through shrubs. We entered a house through the back door into what had once been a kitchen and I was shoved through into another room. This room was lit by several steadily burning oil lamps. I was able, for the first time, to see my captors – Wraeththu.
There was a short-haired blond sitting at a table pouring over a dog-eared map with two others standing on either side. There was also a fourth one, separate from the others, perched indifferently on a wooden crate against the wall.
The blond looked up glancing at me as if I was refuse. “Human?”
“Yeah, we found him scoping out our ‘hood,” said one of my captors.
“We figured we should bring him here rather than kill him – new rules and all,” chimed in another.
The blond cleared his throat slightly and shot a quick, almost furtive, look at the dark-haired har on the crate. My eyes followed the blond’s; the dark-haired one did not acknowledge the look the blond had given him. He sat motionless, but he was looking at me with a disconcerting intensity. The intensity of his scrutiny held my attention. I felt drawn to him.
“You are with the mob in the arena?” I returned my attention to the blond.
“ummm… yeah, I was. I left.” I wondered how much they knew about what was happening in the arena.
“And what were you doing outside here in our little neighbourhood?” the blond’s tone was light, almost conversational – this made me uneasy. I shot a quick look at the dark-haired one on the crate. He was completely still, his gaze still intense and unreadable.
“I got frustrated and went for a walk.”
“Frustrated? Why? Tell me what Trumble has finally convinced his rabble to do.”
“He’s worried about The Others” I said hesitantly.
“I hear he plans to slaughter them…”
I didn’t answer the blond. My eyes slid to the dark-hair one again. His intense scrutiny had not wavered and his expression had not changed. I found it hard to look away from him.
“Why don’t you tell us about what that asshole Trumble has planned for us?,” the Wraeththu standing to the right of the seated blond spoke.
He was a tiny creature, childlike in build; his black hair was choppily cut in the back and hang down into his face in the front. He wore clothes that all looked about 4 sizes too big for him. “I was there. I heard him. Trumble and his fucking humans are going to ‘try’ to massacre us too, isn’t he?”
I looked at the floor and said nothing. I could feel my face flush.
“Is that true?” The blond asked it quietly. I nodded slightly. There was no point lying; it was said these creatures could read minds.
The tall arrogant one whose dreadlocks were held back by a bandana crossed his arms across his chest. “This one was part of that group that headed out earlier today.”
The blond looked up at him, “You sent hara after them, right?”
The tall one nodded, “A whole unit. They found the settlement; a few cabins, a couple of shacks, two or three pens of livestock…,” then he looked at me and his lip curled into a smirk. “We’re just waiting for orders. We can end their part in this before it starts.”
My stomach lurched as terror rose. “NO! No! They’re not part of this. We’re leaving. We’re moving north, around the lakes… to the barren lands.”
The small black-haired one made a noise of disgust, “Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight,” he sneered.
“If you were in the stadium,” I countered, “then you heard my brother arguing against Trumble’s plans…”
None of the Wraeththu spoke; they just stared at me.
“We give up! You win! It’s all yours! You’ve won! Game over. Wraeththu rule the world now – we humans are done! Finished! My family just wants to leave and go somewhere where we can be left alone and live in peace.”
“One word- that’s all it’ll take…” the dreadlocked one said. The words were aimed at the blond, but he was looking at me.
“No! Please! No! Don’t do this…” I pleaded my voice barely more than a whisper. Cold stares were the only response I got.
“Would you give your life for theirs?” It was the dark-haired har on the crate who spoke; his voice was low and quiet, but it resonated deeply inside my core.
The three Wraeththu around the table looked startled as if they had forgotten he was there.
“In a heartbeat…” My answer came without hesitation.
The dark-haired har stood up and pulled a black-bladed knife from a sheath on his belt; his movements were graceful and deliberate. As he approached me I braced myself, trying to force my last thoughts to be of my brother and my family.
He grabbed my left arm and twisted it outwards, catching it under his arm and pinning it against his body. The knife made a deep incision above my elbow on the inside of my arm. I watched the blood burble up out of the wound and begin to slide down my arm. The har then deftly transferred the knife to the hand of the arm that pinned my arm and ran his hand purposefully along the blade – bright red blood appeared immediately along the wound’s edge. He clenched his fist a few times so that the blood flowed freely, allowing it to drip into the wound he had carved in my arm. He then placed his bleeding hand over my wound and held it there.
The other hara in the room were silent. Their faces held both surprise and fascination.
The dark-hair har turned his head and spoke to the blond, “Call off the unit.”
The blond looked at the har with the dark hair, then he looked at me, and then back again at the har with the dark hair and nodded. “Bring ’em home.”
The dreadlocks bobbed as their owner nodded, “Yes sir!”
I don’t remember much about the next few days, but I do remember that they cared for me well. I was never alone; when I was conscious there was always somehar there to calm and reassure me. They kept the pain at bay with an oily fetid concoction. I did not complain as it brought welcome oblivion.
Finally it was over; I opened my eyes and there was no pain. I still sort of felt like myself, but I had the odd sensation of being inside myself and yet being dwarfed by something big. It was like someone who has spent all their life inside a small one room cabin and has suddenly found themselves standing outside on a mountain-side viewing the whole world. The blond har was sitting next to the pallet I was lying on. He smiled.
“How does a warm bath and some food sound?”
It sounded good.
I was taken upstairs to a bathroom where the tub had been filled with warm water and fragrant bubbles. The har who’d held a knife to my throat a few days ago helped me wash my hair and scrubbed my back for me, all the while chatting to me cheerfully, about his past, this tribe, and his own inception. It all felt slightly surreal as they helped me out of the tub and were drying me off. That moment was the first time I’d really had a good look at my new self; the surreal experience, the changes, my feelings of loss, and the uncertainty of the future hit me hard. I lost it. The har with the dreadlocks held me gently, rocking and comforting me on the bathroom floor as I sobbed.
Later, much later, I found myself wearing an old bathrobe waiting in an upstairs room. The room was small and by the looks of the pink-stripes and daisies on the wallpaper, it had belonged, at one time, to a little girl. Now the room contained a large bed which took up most of the floor space and a white dresser which had had all the drawers removed. On this dresser a small oil lamp flickered weakly throwing orange shadows dancing over the walls.
I was alternately sitting on the edge of the bed and pacing the small space of floor in the middle of the room. They had explained what was to happen next and why it had to happen. Aruna. It was a new word. They had explained that it was an intimacy on both the physical and spiritual planes. I was nervous, but not terrified.
The door opened slowly and the dark haired har entered quietly. I had not seen him since he’d cut my arm a few days ago. Tonight his hair hung loosely over his shoulders; he was wearing a plain dark T-shirt and a pair of dark trousers.
I was shocked to feel how strongly my new self reacted to him. As a human I’d found him intense and compelling, but now there was an attraction that was startling. I suddenly felt trapped: trapped in that room and trapped by the circumstances. The nervous anticipation I’d been feeling began to blossom into agitation. I looked away quickly, but as the only other thing to look at in the room was the bed, that didn’t help.
“My name is Tharmifex,” he said. His voice was quiet and deep and sent a tingling sensation coursing through my spine; I felt urges and sensations I didn’t quite understand.
“You’re nervous,” he observed. I nodded, but didn’t look at him directly. “Don’t be. I am not going to hurt you.”
I looked away when he pulled the T-shirt over his head, semi-folded it, and placed it next to the lamp on the dresser. When he began to undo the trousers, I snuck a furtive peek. He removed the trousers and some dark brief-style underwear, partially folded them and placed them on top of the t-shirt. I couldn’t look at him before; now I couldn’t look away.
Tharmifex stepped towards me and reached out, taking hold of the bathrobe’s belt. He pulled me towards him. His expression was solemn but gentle. I was caught by his gaze as I felt him undo the belt’s knot and push the robe slowly off my shoulders. I watched his slow and deliberate look over my naked body. Tharmifex returned his gaze to mine and I saw a faint smile barely touch the corner of his mouth. Already fascinated by this creature, I was very quickly coming to the realization that whatever this intimacy called aruna was, I wanted it.
Tharmifex seemed to sense my feelings; his eyes held faint amusement. “Don’t worry little one,” he said quietly, “you will enjoy this. I promise.”
Tharmifex kept that promise. We spent two days in that room while Tharmifex introduced me to experiences I hadn’t even dreamed possible. Three days later, I left the little house in the ghost neighbourhood to travel with Tharmifex.
I stayed with Tharmifex for a little over 6 years; I loved him, and I know he loved me – but we were not ‘in love’.
I was standing in front of the mirror in the dressing room of my apartment trying to decide which of the two shirts best matched the new celery green silk hakama style pant I was wearing. Celery, I chuckled to myself, was the newest rage in Immanion.
As I stood in front of the mirror, I caught a fleeting glimpse of Russ. Russ had been gone for a long time, renamed by Tharmifex years ago, and remolded by the Gelaming; I barely recognized him anymore in the har that stood in front of the mirror. Jancsi, as I was now called, had long honey-gold hair that fell to his waist, and he had traded Russ’s coarse farm worker’s clothes for a closet full of silks, brocades, and butter-soft leathers.
As I left the apartment building and stepped into the bustling streets of Immanion, I reflected on my love-hate relationship with this city; I didn’t hate Immanion, but after a few weeks I found its perfection stifling. Perhaps that’s why I’d opted for a career in diplomacy, one that involved frequent travels among the diverse and far-flung tribes. I could enjoy the elegant serenity of the city and head out to the wilds of the world outside when Immanion’s flawlessness threatened to suffocate me.
The meeting was reasonably informative but it held nothing groundbreaking. To a reasonably jaded diplomat like me, the reports being presented were not unexpected given current Gelaming policies.
“Thank you all,” said the well-scrubbed earnest har chairing the meeting, “and now if there is nothing else we will move on to the item in new business…”
Tharmifex cleared his throat. Until now he’d been silent. He now leaned forward, placed his hand on a thick file, and appeared to carefully weigh his words before addressing those, including myself, gathered around the meeting table in his office.
“Tiahaars, I am going to motion that our new business be carried to tomorrow’s agenda. Tiahaar Jancsi has yet to be briefed on this new business and as certain aspects of this situation will impact him on a personal level, I would like the opportunity to discuss them privately…”
As I expected, there was consensus – despite his quiet nature, few hara would dare cross the Chancellor. A chattering group of hara filed out of the office, leaving only Tharmifex and I.
The door latch had barely caught as it shut when Tharmifex had closed the distance between us. We shared breath, our bodies pressed as closely as they could be; our hands caressed and groped each other’s bodies. The passion built quickly; we knew each other so well.
As we shared breath Tharmifex began to push me backwards. As he guided me back he tugged loose my trousers, reaching in to grasp my ouana-lim; he squeezed and stroked. The backs of my legs encountered furniture and I clung to him to avoid falling. With a swift tug and a sharp shove, Tharmifex had pulled my trousers down over my hips and toppled me backwards onto the leather couch against the wall of his office.
Tharmifex straddled me, flipping his robes aside creating a tent of luxurious fabric around our middle sections. With a swift and precise adjustment of his hips he impaled himself onto me. He exhaled sharply. I could feel his warmth and wetness surrounding me; I rolled my hips up, pushing deeper into him. He moaned softly and squeezed himself around me. I slid my hands along his thighs up under the voluminous robes. I reached his hips and waist, feeling his smooth skin and realized with amusement that he wore no underwear. Tharmifex rocked up and forward and then slowly pushed back down. I thrust up into him hard causing him to hiss sharply, his eyes flying open; he looked down at me and growled softly.
When we moved together, it was heaven; we tormented each other prolonging aruna, driving ourselves to the ultimate peak and then letting it crash over us.
The silence in the aftermath was easy and comfortable. Eventually Tharmifex shifted, but he did not move off of me. I ran my hands over his hips and his buttocks and made a tsking noise.
“The Hegemony should pay you more … then you’d be able to afford underwear.”
“My lack of under garments was a conscious decision.”
“Oh?” I queried raising an eyebrow and looking up at him.
“You were coming to the meeting. I wanted you. Underwear would have been… inefficient. ”
“You’re a wild one… “I did not hide my amusement.
Tharmifex sniffed and reached into the cushions of the couch pulling out a small cloth. He climbed off of me and cleaned himself up fastidiously and then tossed the cloth to me.
“A well-prepared wild-one,” I chuckled. “Sadly, there is no har in Immanion who would believe any of this…” Tharmifex ignored me and crossed to look out the window while I rearranged my clothing.
I joined him by the window, leaning against the window casing. Tharmifex did not adorn himself the way most Gelaming did, but to me he was beautiful.
“There is a lot of history between us, Jancsi,” he said finally.
I said nothing.
“Over the years there have been a lot of things I have asked you to do…a lot of promises I asked you to make…”
“Yes, there have been,” I agreed, “and I have kept every single one.”
After a brief pause, he sighed. “There is one promise I should never have asked you to make and I am going to ask you to break it – unmake it if you will… When I met you I asked you to exchange your life for your family’s lives, and offered protection in exchange for the promise that you would not seek them out. I am asking you to unmake that promise.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Things are changing in Megalithica. I can no longer protect them without their knowledge and cooperation. Your brother is a well-respected man in the human communities in the barren lands… he, however, is not trusting of Wraeththu – he believes you to have been slaughtered with the mob in the stadium. We are hoping that your making contact will facilitate the negotiations.”
I stood on the crest of a steep wooded hill which overlooked the snow covered fields of my brother’s farm and watched a gust of wind pick up a cloud of powdery snow sending it twirling and glittering through the morning sun. The morning sun was deceptively bright; it was bitterly cold.
I couldn’t see the house which stood behind a stand of fir trees but I could see the plume of smoke rising from behind the trees.
I heard the har standing behind me heave a heavy sigh.
“Are you sure?” He asked for the twentieth time.
“Absolutely sure,” I replied for the twentieth time. I turned towards him. “Ketio, he’s my brother. A homecoming would be awkward with an armed hara along for the ride. I’ll be alright. Promise.”
Ketio looked at me hard and raised his eyebrow. His dreadlocks were long now, falling past his waist. He could still be as arrogant and high-handed as he had been when I’d first met him in a little neighbourhood near a long gone stadium, but he could also be very submissive. I grinned and pulled him close, sharing breath with him.
“Really. I promise…” I said grinning.
Ketio made a harrumphing sound, but he leaned against me comfortably.
“Easy for you to say… it’s us Tharmifex has threatened with dire consequences if so much as a hair on your head is harmed.”
My horse walked purposefully up the laneway that lead around the stand of fir trees, completely oblivious to my reticence; I hadn’t quite figured out what to say. I pulled my hooded cloak tighter and the scarf higher as the icy cold wind whipped around me stinging my face.
The farmyard was empty, but I could hear a dog barking and I could smell bacon cooking. As I dismounted, a figure emerged from the barn; bundled and hunched against the cold it hurried across the yard. The woman stopped short when she caught sight of me.
“Good Morning,” I called out.
“Morning,” she nodded.
“I’m looking for Doug…” I began.
She nodded. “Hang on, I’ll tell him you’re here.” With that she hurried towards the house and disappeared through the door.
I only waited a moment or two before a large bear of a man with steel grey hair walked out. My heart lurched slightly; a lot of time had indeed passed. Seeing Doug was like seeing my father again. As he came down the porch stairs, I pulled the scarf away from my face and threw back the hood of my cape.
Doug stopped dead in his tracks. Every emotion crossed his face in a matter of a split second: surprise, disbelief, shock, anger, fear, joy, confusion – they were all there.
He bellowed like a wounded animal and launched himself at me, his arms open wide; I was enveloped in a rib-crushing bear hug.
“You’re alive! You’re alive! You’re alive! You’re alive! You’re alive!” He repeated it over and over as we clung to each other both laughing and crying.
“They slaughtered Trumble and all those people in the stadium… They took you. You’re asking us to trust them?” Doug was swirling the remnants of his coffee in the mug. The coffee slopped out on to the table when he banged it down.
I was silent for a moment. “I’m asking you to trust those I have trusted and who have kept their word to me all these years by protecting you.”
“But you had to exchange your life for ours to gain that protection,” Little Stevie stated bleakly. He was ‘little’ no more and sat with Doug, Kari, and their extended family around the huge kitchen dining table.
“A trade I would make again.”
“How have they protected us? And from what exactly?” Kari asked.
“We Wraeththu are now split into many tribes. As you know, some of the tribes directly to the south of you have little respect for human life. Until now my tribe, the Gelaming, have basically shielded you. The southern tribes are aware that some humans and hara fled north but they do not know your numbers. They believe you to be merely small scattered settlements. If they were aware of your true numbers – there would be much more interest in these lands. Things are changed in the south. We have some alliances, but other more troubling developments are changing the tribal dynamics. …”
The weather had warmed but the sun had disappeared. I was leaning on the wall outside the assembly hall while Ketio kicked at the snow. Counselors from key human settlements had been called together hastily and now sat inside the hall assessing the Wraeththu proposal.
“Your impressions, Ketio…” I began.
“They’ll do what your brother recommends,” he shrugged not looking up.
I blew an impatient breath through my nose and began to pace.
Ketio stopped kicking the snow and looked at me. “In recent years their numbers have swelled with those fleeing the Varr and the Uigenna, among others. They understand what might happen if those tribes become interested in their northern refuge.”
I grunted in reply.
“He’s your brother,” Ketio shrugged and went back to kicking at the snow, “but either way, your initial contacts with the nomadic hara have been encouraging…”
I heaved a sigh. Yes, I was, after all, Gelaming – we would get in by the front door or by the back.
Several hours later, Ketio and I were called back into the meeting hall.
Despite her frail appearance the voice of the elderly woman who spoke was strong and clear.
“We have had only limited contact with Wraeththu since coming to these lands,” she began. “Understand that not all of us have… pleasant … memories of your kind. However, we are aware that our existence is precarious should certain tribes to the south become aware of us. We choose to remain wary. However, we will provide you, brother of Douglas, and the Gelaming our full cooperation and welcome. ”
The life of a diplomat is fraught with dangers, chief among them – the diplomatic dinner speech. Diplomacy itself is hard and tedious– a delicate balancing act that can be destroyed with a single misspoken word or phrase. Since the dignitaries charged with giving a speech cannot actually be allowed to say anything for fear of upsetting months, sometimes years, of work, they tend to overcompensate by giving speeches full of sound and fury, but that signify nothing. The hazard to those in the diplomatic service is how long it usually takes a dignitary to say nothing, especially after dinner.
The food had been excellent, the speeches had been necessarily vague, and Tharmifex and I had barely exchanged more than two words even though we had been seated at the same table. We walked back to his home in silence, our shoulders never even brushing; to all appearances we were merely acquaintances out for a stroll. This changed as the front door of Tharmifex’s house swung closed, separating us from the quiet upstanding Immanion neighbourhood.
Tharmifex pushed me against the inside of the door roughly, pressing his mouth to mine forcefully. We tore at each other like beasts, ripping at cloth, biting, clawing, and shoving. By the time Tharmifex and I had reached the bedroom we were naked, but we’d left a trail of destruction in our wake. When Tharmifex’s house staff arrived in the morning they would find a trail of clothing, a broken chair, an overturned side table, and some broken curios. What they would not find was Tharmifex’s underwear; he had not been wearing any again. This time rather than being amused, I’d found it incredibly arousing. We might have made it to the bedroom, but we didn’t make it to the bed; Tharmifex had taken me on the bedroom floor. I knew that I would have some bruises and some rug burns, but I also knew Tharmifex would spend the next few days wearing high-collared garments and scarves.
I opened my eyes. I had been dozing beside Tharmifex on his bed. He lay on his back staring at the ceiling. I propped myself up on my elbow and looked down at him.
“You do know how much I love you, don’t you?” I don’t think we had ever said the words to each other.
His expression didn’t change and he continued to stare at the ceiling, but his arm tightened around me.
I hesitated a moment before continuing with something I felt also needed to be said “…and you do know that I would do anything for you, Tharm. Anything. If you wanted a son I would be willing to host one for you.”
He turned his head to look at me then.
“I know you would Jancsi, and I love you even more than I already do for making such an offer, but I love you too much to ask that big a sacrifice from you… ” he reached up and entwined his fingers in my hair and pulled me down to share breath, “… at this time,” he added softly.
As rough as our coupling had been earlier, it was equally tender and slow this time.
I yawned, stretched, and opened my eyes to find myself in an empty bed. The sound of running water in the bathroom gave me a good indication as to where Tharmifex was. I sat up.
Tharmifex was naked when he came out of the bathroom and crossed to a dresser, opened a drawer, and retrieved an article of clothing from it. When he saw me, he paused and held up the pair of underpants for me to see. He held them by the waist band and showed me both views: front and back. Sleek. Black. Very expensive.
“Nice to know you own some,” I said dryly.
He pulled them on slowly then ‘posed’, again offering me both a front and back view of his body in them.
“Bravo!” I stood up and beckoned to him, “but they need to be adjusted.”
I grinned wolfishly as he came towards me. “Allow me.”
I ran my hand across the front of the underpants working my fingers gently against his ouana-lim.
Tharmifex caught my hand; his eyes widened slightly.
“That, Tiahaar, could get you into trouble.”
“If, Chancellor, by trouble, you mean lying on my back with you buried deeply inside of me, I am willing to take the chance…” my voice trailed off huskily.
A few moments later, I found myself on my back with the Chancellor demonstrating exactly how much trouble I was in.