Copyright © C.R. Hewitt, 2004, 2012
He walked quietly into his house, careful to keep his footfalls as light as possible. He grimaced as the hinge on the front door squeaked when he shut it. He would have to remember to oil it tomorrow. Setting his bag down, he clicked the three bolt locks into place and surveyed the shadowy interior of the parlor. The hour was late. It had been a quarter passed two in the morning when he had docked the ship and hailed a ferry to take him to his home. He estimated that the trip from the docks to his house took around fifteen minutes. With a sigh, he glanced at the shadow of the sack containing his clothing, and he decided that emptying it for washing could wait until tomorrow. He was eager to look upon his sleeping children and his mate.
He removed one of the small lanterns from where it hung on the wall and lit it, so that he wouldn’t stumble about in the dark and bump into anything. He knew his home like the back of his hand, but seven weeks at sea hadn’t dulled the memory of the last time he came home late at night and tripped over a toy that his daughter had left in an unfortunate place. As he moved towards the stairs, he smirked. His lover would need no such light to find his way through a darkened house. Those bright, inhuman eyes of his could gather in tiny particles of light as easily as a cat’s eyes could. Unfortunately, he didn’t share his lashran mate’s superior night vision, being only human, himself.
He winced as the stairs creaked beneath his feet. There was no help for it. He could only hope that the sharp ears of his family wouldn’t pick up the noise and disturb their sleep. Halfway up the stairs, his lips twitched and he almost laughed.
“Here I am, sneaking into my own house like a burglar,” he whispered. The shadows bobbed further as the lantern quivered in his hand from his laughter. “Ye gods, I’m a changed man.”
Well, perhaps not so changed. He had gone on his voyage because Jack, the man who usually made the weapons deliveries for him, fell ill and couldn’t make the next shipment. The trips to and fro had taken twenty-three days each, with the added time of dealing with port authority, unloading and delivering the weapons to the buyer making up the rest of the time.
Fortunately, it was an uneventful trip, and this time it didn’t involve smuggling illegal weapons. The only reason that he had gone through the trouble to ensure the delivery made it on time at all was because the buyer had been one of his best customers for years, now. He thought he could easily handle the delivery, and physically, he did. However, it only took one week at sea for him to ache for his family. He had never imagined himself needing someone as much as he needed his small family, during the voyage.
It didn’t matter, now. From now on, if he couldn’t have someone else deliver the goods, then the customer would just have to wait. Coren Darshaw now cared about things beyond money, and those three things were more precious to him than treasure ever was.
“Sentimental fool,” he muttered self-depreciatingly, but he was smiling through the golden, well-trimmed beard and mustache that complimented his handsome features. Aye, he had become somewhat sentimental, but he still had the attitude of a pirate when it came to his family. What was his was his, and he guarded it fiercely.
He reached the top of the stairs and crept down the hallway. He was just getting ready to push open the door to his daughter’s bedroom when the door at the end of the hall opened smoothly. Coren squinted in the glare of his lantern, seeing only blackness in the doorway of the master bedroom, at first. Then a pale form seemed to materialize as if by magic, and his mouth fell open.
Lythallendar stood in the threshold of the bedroom they shared, and he wore only a long, white nightshirt. His translucent, ivory skin was almost as pale as the garment he wore, but for the lovely peach tone that added mortal coloring to it. His hair was as black as the darkness that surrounded him, and it fell in shocking contrast around his shoulders, hanging in tumbled, loose curls to his waist. Green eyes like emerald lightning flashed with inhuman brightness, and the long fringe of black lashes that surrounded them further accented their alien beauty. The face that those stunning orbs rested in was no less breathtaking, with a sculpted, straight nose, high cheekbones, and sensual lips of pale pink.
The lad looked so much like a radiant angel from a painting that Coren didn’t even notice the rifle musket he pointed at him, at first. Then he noticed that Lythallendar’s tensed expression relaxed into amazement, and the lifebearer’s beautiful lips parted with a gasp. “Coren?!”
Only now, when the lashran lowered the weapon, did the pirate realize that he came close to being shot by his own mate. He raised a blond brow at the stunned young man and gave the weapon a meaningful look with his storm blue eyes. “I know you weren’t exactly thrilled with me for taking the shipment myself, but to shoot me over it? Can we at least parlay, lad?”
Lythas tilted his head in puzzlement, then followed his lover’s gaze to the musket still clutched in his nerveless fingers. “Oh! Oh, I thought that you might be an intruder,” he said hastily. He carefully set the weapon against the wall and rushed forward, laughing with joy. “You came home sooner than you said you would.”
Coren gladly embraced him, inhaling his clean, misty scent hungrily. His fingers combed through the lashran’s shiny hair, and he marveled at how soft and thick it was. He never would have imagined himself forgetting what it was like to hold Lythallendar, to feel his sweet, youthful body pressed against his and hear his gentle, musical voice. It was a shock to his senses, and he realized that he would never be fully accustomed to how perfect he was. Lythas was kissing him over and over again, whispering about how much he had missed him, and when the young man finally calmed a bit, Coren smiled.
He pulled back and cupped his mate’s face in his hands. “Are you well, sweetling? Are the children okay?”
Lythas nodded and smiled at him. “Aurora has been her usual stubborn self, but Lyre is the perfect baby, as always. You should look upon him, and see how he has grown in your absence.” The last was said with a slightly accusing tone.
Coren laughed as quietly as he was able to, and he pressed his thumb against the protruding lip. “Ah, there’s the pout. I think I missed that the most of all.” He was grinning roguishly as he brushed the tip of his nose against Lythallendar’s. “Come on then, pretty lad. You know I would have taken you with me if Lyre were a bit older. A babe that young needs at least one parent close at hand.”
Lythas smiled grudgingly in agreement. As wonderful a babysitter as Charlotte was, sooner or later the lashran would have ended up pining for his baby and worried sick about him.
“Promise that this is the last time, Coren,” he whispered, gazing up at the tall, blond man seriously, “we have a family to raise now, and while our children are young, I do not want you out adventuring.”
Coren nodded, sobering slightly as he stroked his gentle mate’s long hair. “Aye, Lythas. I suppose I had to learn the hard way. I’m not the sea dog I used to be. The ocean has become a dull mistress since the day you came into my life.”
The door that they stood beside opened suddenly, and a little girl of seven came stumbling out in her blue nightgown, rubbing her left eye with a small fist. Her hair was as black as Lythallendar’s, though it fell straight down her back instead of in curls. “Daddy, who’s here?” She blinked up at the two adults, and her gray-blue eyes went round. “PAPA!” She cried, and she held her arms open demandingly.
Coren laughed and scooped his little daughter up, giving her a hearty kiss on the cheek. “You’re supposed to be in bed, lass.”
“You woke me up!”
“Shhh, little one,” Lythas gently chastised, “you’ll wake your brother.”
“Sorry, Daddy,” she replied in a loud whisper. To Coren, she said, “you smell like the ocean! Did you bring us anything?”
“Maybe I did, but you’ve got to behave and go to bed if you want to find out,” Coren said tactfully, and he gave Lythas a conspirative wink.
“But, you just got home,” Aurora pouted, “I missed you!”
“I missed you too, mermaid. I promise we’ll catch up tomorrow, but right now, I’ve got to get some sleep. Now, let me tuck you in and say goodnight to Lyre, and if you’re a good lass, I’ll give you something nice in the morning.”
Coren’s expression became stern. “Aurora,” he said warningly.
She pouted, but she stopped arguing. Even stubborn Aurora knew better than to question her sire when he used that tone of voice. “Yes, Papa,” she said sullenly.
Aurora had allowed herself to be tucked in and kissed goodnight with a minimum fuss, and now Coren and Lythas stood in the nursery room. They were looking down at the tiny lashran that lay asleep in the cradle that Coren had crafted himself. The pirate reached down slowly and gingerly to stroke the golden down on his son’s head. The baby was still small for his age, by human standards, but lashran young were typically born after only seven month’s gestation.
“He’s grown while I was gone, all right,” Coren whispered huskily. He ached to take Lyre into his arms and hold him, but he didn't want to wake him.
“Do not worry,” Lythas said kindly, putting his arm around the taller man and kissing his shoulder. “He did not take his first steps or say his first words, while you were gone.”
Coren frowned at Lythas as he wracked his brain and tried to recall exactly when those things happened with Aurora. Surely it wasn’t this early in her life? Then he saw the teasing light in Lythallendar’s jade eyes, and he saw the way his shapely lips twitched. “Wicked lad, teasing me like that,” Coren whispered with a sharp grin.
“That was sarcasm,” Lythas informed him, “I learned it from the best.”
“Aye, so you did.” Coren’s hand slid down the lifebearer’s back and rested possessively on the firm curve of his bottom. “I can think of other things you’ve learned from me that I’d like demonstrated.”
“I thought you were tired,” Lythas said in a low, breathy whisper. He had risen on his tiptoes and spoken directly into Coren’s ear, and now he kissed the spot beneath it sensually.
Coren squeezed the tempting roundness beneath his hand and murmured, “I’ve had nobody to look at but those ugly bastards on my crew for the last seven weeks, Lythas. I’m more randy than I am tired.”
Lythas pressed his face quickly into Coren’s vest to muffle the laughter that rose in his chest. He composed himself after a moment and cleared his throat, looking back up at Coren with mischievous, glowing eyes. “Are you certain that some tea might not be better for you? It would help you to relax and get some sleep-“
Coren cut him off with a hungry, sudden kiss. When Lythas relaxed in his arms and moaned softly, the pirate grinned and broke away to murmur, “Tea isn’t what I want to relax me, and you know it. Suggest it again and I’ll strap you.”
Lythas said not another word, but he took one of Coren’s work-roughened hands in his and guided him away from the crib, towards the door. He walked backwards, staring up at the Human with a promise in his luminous gaze and a tender smile on his lips. Entranced by the grace and beauty of his lover, Coren followed dumbly. He was amazed at how easily Lythas moved, as if he could see everything around him and had no concerns over tripping or bumping into anything. Slowly and purposefully, the lashran guided him out of the nursery and into the hallway.
“Gods, I don’t know if I’ll make it to the bedroom,” Coren groaned. He had extinguished his lantern after putting Aurora to bed, and now he relied on his mate’s superior vision to guide him through the darkened house. This was not his reason for doubting his ability to make it to their bedroom, however.
The moonlight slanted through a window in the hallway, and Lythas stepped into the silvery beam at the same moment he began to slowly unbutton his nightshirt with deft fingers. His reflective eyes never left Coren’s as he deftly unbuttoned his gown and bared more and more of his lithe chest. The lad had never truly been aware of just how sensual he was. Coren knew that he wasn’t purposefully enticing him, but Lythas looked so very wanton and inviting in the pale light of the moon that it was all he could do not to drag him to the floor and ravish him right there.
Lythas smiled at him and paused in his disrobing so that he could reach behind him and push the door to their bedroom open. “Do not fall asleep just yet, beloved,” he teased, “we are almost there.”
“That’s not what I meant,” Coren growled, staring at one perfect, pink nipple that had escaped the confines of Lythas’ nightshirt. Before the lashran could reply, he took advantage of the moment and closed the slight distance between them.
“Coren, behave,” Lythas said with mock irritation. Then he gasped and curled his fingers into the pirate’s golden hair as Coren’s mouth latched onto his exposed nipple and sucked strongly at it. “On second thought,” Lythas sighed, “be as naughty as you like!”
Coren chuckled against the silky flesh he tasted, and he cupped his lover’s bottom and lifted him easily. Lythas’ thighs instinctively hugged his waist, and Coren carried him into the bedroom. He pushed the door closed with his foot and kept suckling the taut bud between his lips as he staggered towards the bed. At least he could trust his instincts in his own bedroom. There would be no toys to trip him up, in here.
It was an easy task to bring Lythas to the bed, and Coren rather abruptly dumped the young man onto the mattress, making him yelp with surprise.
“Oh, that was rude!” Lythallendar gasped, shaking his raven hair out of his eyes and glaring up at his mate with as much anger as he could muster.
Coren’s white teeth flashed through his beard in a wicked smile. “I’ve not the patience to be a gentleman tonight, Lythas.” His eyes raked the lashran’s form, and his groin throbbed hotly when he noticed that he could see the dark shadow of the lad’s pubic hair through the shirt. The outline of his erect genitals was also easy to see through the thin material.
“I did not have time to put something more modest on,” Lythas explained with a bashful smile, noticing the direction his lover’s gaze was going. “I thought it best not to worry about modesty if there was a burglar in the house.”
“Oh, I’m not complaining, lad. Naked would have been better, but there’s something exciting about seeing you sprawled out like that, with naught but that thin shirt to cover you.” Coren kept staring down at his mate, who was blushing even more brightly from his words. The position that Lythas had fallen in had hiked the shirt up to his thighs, and his lean muscled, pale legs were parted temptingly. His chest rose and fell heavily with arousal, and the shirt was hanging halfway down one shoulder from the opening he had earlier created while teasing Coren. Without another word, Coren climbed onto the bed and stretched out beside Lythas.
Lythas stared at Coren questioningly as the pirate’s gaze continued to caress up and down his body. He likewise drank his fill of the human, his eyes roaming over the open collar of the pirate’s black shirt and the tanned flesh beneath it. He didn’t try to rise from his reclined position on the bed, for he knew that Coren would likely just push him back down again. He shivered with desire as his lover threw one powerful leg over his, and he bit his lip on a moan as Coren’s hand reached into the opening of his nightshirt and began to toy with the nipple he'd been suckling earlier.
Coren lifted his gaze from the pebbled flesh he stroked and watched Lythallendar’s face as he fondled him. He watched the black, sculpted eyebrows knit together, and he watched the pearly teeth worry the pouty bottom lip. When the lashran’s emerald eyes became unfocused and heavy with pleasure, Coren lowered his mouth to the bared shoulder above where he was caressing, and he kissed the silky skin.
“I want you so much I could burst,” he murmured huskily, brushing his lips back and forth over Lythallendar’s shoulder, “but I’ve missed touching you.”
Lythas’ eyes fluttered closed and he moaned as Coren dragged his mouth down and took the bud that his fingers were toying with into his mouth again. Another moan followed the first, for the pirate moved his questing hand down and cupped the lifebearer’s hardened genitals through the material of the nightshirt. He smiled when he felt how damp the spot over Lythas’ erection was, and he began to rub gently, kissing his shoulder and neck as he went.
Impassioned and no less eager, Lythallendar began to timidly work at the buttons of Coren’s vest. Sometimes the pirate allowed him to explore however he wished, and sometimes he stopped him before he could do so much as lay a hand on his chest. Long ago, Lythas had learned that Coren’s forbidding him to touch him certain ways at certain times wasn’t out of a lack of wanting it.
Coren had explained to him the very first time that they lay together that sometimes, he was so excited by Lythas it wouldn’t take much to make him spill himself, and he always strove to draw their lovemaking out for as long as possible. Being human, he didn’t have the stamina that Lythas possessed, and it took him longer to recuperate from an orgasm before he was ready to make love again. Therefore, Lythallendar was forbidden from touching Coren too much when the pirate had his heart set on intercourse. It was a fair compromise, given that Lythas had taken his revenge on his former master plenty of times.
Coren’s facial hair tickled Lythas’ skin as the pirate worshipped his chest with his lips. He seemed too absorbed in his own expedition to worry about what Lythas was doing. Lythallendar made a startled exclamation as Coren’s teeth caught hold of his shirt and pulled hard enough to rip it. He looked at his mate warily, but relaxed when Coren winked at him and turned his attention back to the ivory chest that he had just made more accessible.
Lythas was beginning to want to do a bit of tearing of his own, for he had gotten past the buttons on Coren’s vest, only to find that the buckles still posed an obstacle. They were becoming a severe nuisance. “I swear that I am going to burn this garment,” he groaned as he tugged and twisted to no avail.
Coren’s hand stopped stroking between the lashran’s legs, and he shook with barely controlled laughter. “Having a bit of trouble with it, sweetling?”
Lythas sighed and fell back against the mattress, breathing heavily and staring up at Coren with soulful, pleading eyes. “Help.”
Coren was, however, unable to grant the lashran’s request. He was momentarily rendered helpless with laughter, and he collapsed on top of Lythas and chuckled in the frustrated young man’s ear. “Now, who could resist such a sweet face and innocent demeanor?” Coren finally said, raising back up to admire his mate’s youthful features.
Lythas squirmed restlessly, pushing his erection against Coren’s thigh to give him a none-too-subtle reminder of what they had been doing a moment ago. “Master, please help me get this cruel, teasing device off of you. I want you.” He tugged again at the strap of one of the buckles and licked his lips, knowing well the effect it would have on his lover.
He wasn’t disappointed. Coren stared at him with hot eyes for a moment, and then he claimed his lips roughly, thrusting his tongue hard into the lashran’s mouth. He helped Lythas unfasten the last of the buckles holding his vest closed, and together, they freed him of the garment and then moved on to his shirt. Coren unconsciously humped his mate as he struggled out of his clothing, and he had to rein his passion in sharply to keep from hitting his peak too soon. When his breeches were opened and Lythallendar’s slim hand deftly slid into them, Coren groaned and rested his sweating forehead on the lad’s shoulder.
“I shouldn’t let you do that,” he said hoarsely.
Lythallendar nibbled his lips and whispered, “Just for a bit, Coren? I love to touch you.” His hand curled delicately around the girth of Coren’s hardened sex, and he lovingly stroked up and down.
Coren closed his eyes and sucked in a sharp breath. Against his better judgement, he allowed his youthful mate to fondle him for a while. He moved against Lythallendar, pushing his rigid flesh back and forth in lashran’s stroking hand. Finally, he had to reach down and disengage the talented touch, for he felt his groin tightening warningly. “Enough, lad,” he gasped raggedly, shaking with the effort to hold his pleasure at bay.
Lythas held still, understanding that the slightest flirtation on his part would send Coren over the edge and cause their lovemaking to be put on hold until he could recover. He gazed up at his lover and admired his chiseled features as the human took a few deep breaths and regained control. Coren’s seafoam colored eyes finally opened again and looked down at him. Lythallendar parted his thighs further, allowing the pirate’s hips to settle more firmly between his legs. He smiled up at Coren expectantly.
Coren laughed painfully. “Don’t you need a bit of preparation first?” He lifted his hips enough to slide his hand between their bodies and pull the hem of the nightshirt up, exposing the lashran from the waist down.
Lythas’ smile didn’t falter. “No, Master. I am quite ready for you.”
Coren shivered and clenched his jaw. Though Lythas was now his life partner instead of his slave, the young man still occasionally lapsed back into calling him “Master”. The tone of his voice when he did revert to the old way of addressing Coren always said that he still thought of him as his Master. As bestial as it made him feel, Coren always got painfully excited whenever Lythas used the term.
He slipped his hand between Lythallendar’s widespread thighs and cupped the soft sac beneath his cock. Lythas sighed and parted his lips, and Coren kissed him softly and massaged him for a few moments. He moved his fingers further down and tested his readiness. Lythas hadn’t been exaggerating. Coren’s fingertips glided over the puckered entrance and found it to be slick with natural lubricant. Just to be certain, he slowly pushed two fingers in and moved them around. Lythas gasped pushed downwards to impale himself further on the breaching digits, and Coren gave him a pleased grin.
“Aye, you’re ready for me, my wanton lad.”
Lythas opened his eyes and gazed up at Coren with open love on his face. His cheeks were rosy, but it could as easily be attributed to passion as embarrassment. “I am always wanton for you, beloved. I refuse to feel shame over it.”
“Ah, good answer,” Coren said with husky amusement. He then withdrew his fingers and positioned his sex at the ready entrance. He claimed Lythallendar’s lips in a possessive kiss, and Lythas returned the kiss eagerly and shifted beneath Coren’s weight, rubbing against the tip of the cock that was poised to enter him.
Coren pushed into Lythallendar’s body smoothly, groaning against his lips as he imbedded himself to the hilt. Lythas whimpered against his mouth and lifted his pelvis encouragingly, and Coren began to move. He broke the kiss and stared at his lover as he took him. Lythas’ eyes were closed in rapture, and his pink, shapely lips were parted and gasping. His black hair was mussed and wild, and a few rogue curls fell across his forehead. Coren pumped his hips steadily and caressed the lashran’s cheekbones, jaw and nose with his fingertips. He followed up with his lips, muffling Lythallendar’s breathless cries occasionally with a tender kiss.
Soon, the pleasure made Coren lose all coherent thought, and he began to move harder against the young man. Lythas took the opportunity to reach up and pull Coren’s golden hair free of the ribbon that held it tied off at the nape of his neck. The lifebearer sifted his fingers through the freed mane and looked up at his mate with heavy-lidded, emerald eyes.
“I love you,” he sighed, and then he hugged Coren tightly and trembled with release.
Coren felt his mate’s libation against his skin, and he felt his flushed manhood buck against his stomach. He nuzzled Lythallendar’s neck and pushed in hard and deep, groaning helplessly. He felt Lythas’ fingers stroking his hair as he came inside of him, and he heard the lad whispering breathless endearments. It all seemed so unreal, and Coren’s biggest secret fear was that he would wake one day to find that he had dreamed the whole thing. His own stupidity had once nearly lost him the most important person in his life, and though he never spoke of it, Coren dreaded going to sleep sometimes. He feared that he would wake up and discover that he had only dreamed that Lythas had forgiven him and taken him back. How could a life this wonderful truly exist?
Breathing heavily from his passion, Coren rose up on his elbows and studied Lythas. He would never tire of looking at his inhuman life partner. Lythas stared back at him with a sweet, content expression, kissing Coren’s fingertips as they moved over his lips. Coren tried to speak, for he felt like there was something important that he should say at this moment. He frowned when he couldn’t quite grasp what it was that he needed to say.
Lythas noticed the inward struggle, but he didn’t say anything. He gently pulled Coren’s blond head down instead and coaxed him to rest it on his chest. The pirate complied with a sigh, carefully slipping his sated organ out of the lashran’s body. Lythas kissed the crown of Coren’s head and stroked his hair, lulling him to sleep.
“I know you do, Master,” he whispered, responding to the unvoiced declaration that he knew Coren had wanted to say. The pirate was fast asleep. Lythallendar smiled and nuzzled his hair.
Some time in the night, Coren had rolled off of Lythas, and Lythas had turned on his side. The lashran awoke to find his mate spooned against his back, with his arm reaching over his hip. Lythallendar smirked as he blinked sleepy eyes downward and found his lover’s hand curled possessively around his penis. One thing that hadn’t changed was Coren’s habit of constantly fondling the lifebearer’s most intimate parts, even in his sleep. Lythas quickly became erect, and he placed his hand gently over Coren’s larger one and stroked it lovingly. In response, the work-roughened hand lightly squeezed the hardening shaft and began to rub up and down the length of it.
“Whatever shall I do with you, Master?” Lythas whispered with an aroused smile.
He relaxed, sensing that his mate was still in a deep slumber. Sighing in pleasure, Lythas snuggled against Coren’s warmth and enjoyed the stimulation. He flexed his hips and began to breathe more heavily as the pleasure slowly built. A clear drop of fluid beaded the cap of his cock, and Lythas moaned softly as Coren’s fingertip slicked over it and sent a throb through the sensitive tip.
Coren stirred, woken up by Lythallendar’s soft moan. It took him a moment gain full awareness of his surroundings and what he was doing, but he didn’t apologize or stop his playing. He kissed Lythas’ shoulder instead and continued to stroke him, and he pushed his hardening manhood against the cleft between the Lifebearer’s buttocks.
“Good morning, Lythas.”
Lythas turned his head and kissed Coren full on the lips, tracing them with his tongue and whimpering.
“Ah, sorry lad. I suppose you want me to stop-“
“NO! Please, don’t stop now!” Lythas took him seriously, and the desperate lust in his bright eyes left no doubt that he was close to orgasm.
Coren laughed heartily. “You’re so fun to toy with, my lad. Have you ever known me to stop anything, once I’ve begun it?” He emphasized his point by biting playfully on the lashran’s ear and slipping the other hand down his back.
Lythas gave a sharp cry and opened his eyes wide when Coren’s finger slipped easily into him and found his prostate. “M-master,” he mewled, and he tossed his head back.
Unfortunately, Coren’s face was too close, and he saw stars as the back of Lythallendar’s head hit him square in the nose. He bellowed in surprised pain and stopped his fondling so that he could clap his hands over his throbbing nose. His eyes watered, making it look like four pairs of green eyes were now regarding him with alarm.
“Coren! Oh, I am so sorry! Are you all right?” Lythas’ hands were gently attempting to pry Coren’s away from his face so that he could see if the nose was broken.
Coren sniffed gingerly and winced. “Aye, I’m okay. You didn’t get me hard enough to break it.” He pulled his hands away and found blood on his fingers.
“Oh, no…I’ve bloodied your nose! Here, tilt your head back-“
Coren swatted unsuccessfully at Lythas as he cupped his face and tried to push his head back. “Stop fussing, lad…it’s just a little nosebleed. It’s not like you’ve slain me!”
“My dear, sweet Coren,” Lythas murmured in an aggrieved voice, planting soft kisses all over his neck and face.
Coren began to laugh. It made his nose hurt worse, but he couldn’t help it. “It isn’t your fault, sweetling. You couldn’t have known I was leaning in. It was just an accident.”
“I know, but I have still hurt you! Coren, this really is not funny! Now, hold still and keep your head tilted back whilst I go and dampen a towel.”
Coren sighed and grudgingly did as his mate asked. He looked down his nose at Lythas, still chuckling softly as he watched the lashran spring out of the bed and hurry toward the door. The morning light rendered the abused, thin nightshirt almost transparent, and Coren’s amusement faded as he caught sight of Lythallendar’s naked form, erotically clouded by the garment.
“You can make it up to me quite easily, Lythas,” he called smugly. The brief, unpleasant interruption to their lovemaking hardly effected his desire for the young man.
Lythas hurried back in before long, and he brought a cool, wet cloth to Coren’s face and dabbed it around his nose carefully. He was pouting, and there was a remorseful expression on his sweet face as he did his best to doctor the hurt.
“Cut that out, Lythas,” Coren said in exasperation, “I’ve been shot, cut open, hung by my neck and nearly drowned. Some of those things I’ve had happen more than once, so quit being so upset over a little bloody nose.”
Lythas bit his lip and smiled timidly, and Coren painfully squeezed the base of his nose and held the rag over it as he looked at him. He shook his head and reached out to ruffle the Lashran’s tumbled, black curls. Then he stroked his cheek.
“It’s all right, lad.”
Lythas crawled closer to the pirate, and Coren put his arm around him and pulled him partially into his lap. He stroked the lashran’s soft hair as he waited for the bleeding to stop. Lythas rested his cheek on his shoulder and murmured, “How can I make it up to you?”
Coren grinned. “I’ll show you when it stops bleeding.”
Lythas laughed and hugged him. The thin wail of a baby broke through the quiet, and Lythas reluctantly pulled away and got out of bed. “I had better feed the little ones. Aurora will be up soon as well.”
Coren nodded and took the cloth away, then gingerly touched his nose and checked to see if it was still bleeding. “Here, I’ll help you. We can finish this later.” He grinned at Lythas, leaving no question as to what he intended to “finish”.
Lythas watched him slip his robe on, and when the lifebearer still stood there with a dreamy expression on his face after Coren had covered his nudity, the pirate cleared his throat. “You might want to put something else on, lad. I love you in that thin shirt, but…”
Lythas flushed and mumbled an apology, and then he hurried to the closet and found his own robe. Coren leaned against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest, watching the young man pull the shirt over his head and slip the robe on. It was a shame to hide such a graceful, smooth body, but he couldn’t very well order his mate to make breakfast for their children in the nude. Coren gave Lythas another lecherous smile when the lifebearer pulled his long hair out from the back of the robe and turned to face him.
“I think I deserve two breakfasts,” he said.
Misunderstanding his meaning, Lythas smiled innocently and replied, “Of course, beloved. You are probably famished for something besides traveling food. I shall make you whatever you like.”
Coren shook his head and kept smiling, and his stormy eyes were hot as they raked the lashran’s robed body. “I had something a bit more satisfying than food in mind for my second breakfast.”
Lythas lowered his eyes shyly, but a smile tugged at his lips. “Oh. Well then, I will do my best to provide sustenance on both accounts.”
Grinning at each other, they left the bedroom to retrieve their children from their rooms and have breakfast. Coren had a spring in his step and a light heart, despite the bruising on his nose and the questions his young daughter threw at him over it. This was his home, and this was his family. This was a far greater goal than he had ever hoped to achieve, and he was content.