I lay awake for a long time after Andrei passes out, listening to him breathe. I keep expecting it to suddenly stop, and every time he shifts in his sleep I flinch in surprise. I still can’t believe what I saw on the island, how he seemed to switch between different elements and he apparently had no idea. I’ve never seen him fight like that before, unrestrained. Maybe that’s why.
Sunrise comes and goes before sleep finally takes me. I have dreams of lava clashing with fire, dreams of married life, and dreams of lava destroying the happiness of married life. It’s somewhat of a rollercoaster, and when I finally wake up again, the room is dark with a chill in the air.
I sit up, resting my hand on Andrei’s chest. He’s still breathing, heart still beating, but there’s goosebumps on his skin. He must be cold. I lay my head on his shoulder, pressing my body against his side as I wrap my arm around him. I command the fireplace to light and listen to his heartbeat as I try to warm him up.
He inhales deeply, chest rising as his eyes flutter open lazily. “Kat, you’re awake? Already?” He yawns.
“What do you mean already?” I frown. “We’ve slept the whole day.”
“We did?” He gasps, bringing a hand to his head with a groan. “Ohh, why do I feel like I have a hangover?” He leans back on the pillows with a grimace.
“I guess you kind of do, in a way,” I roll my eyes, though I’m just glad he’s alive, and awake.
“I do? Why? Did we drink yesterday?” He asks, combing his hand through his messy hair.
“No,” I laugh, “You used up too much magic. You’re… magically dehydrated.”
He chuckles, “If only there was a drink to rehydrate magic, eh?!”
“Merlin had one,” I remind him. “It wasn’t very nice.”
“We should have got the recipe off of him,” Andrei mumbles.
I grimace, “I think Gwen makes more edible potions.”
“Heh, I guess you’re right. So, did you sleep alright?” He cranes his neck to look at me.
I shrug, gently planting a kiss on his collar. “Alright,” I echo.
He smiles, “Good. I’m glad.” I feel his hand on my head, brushing through my hair. The sensation gives me goosebumps.
“Are you feeling a little better, energy wise?” I ask, lifting my head to look at his face.
He scrunches his face as if in thought and nods. “Yea, a bit,” He grins. “I think I do.”
“Good,” I sit up, shifting under the covers. I lean over his chest, sliding one leg over him to lay on his chest. “How much better?” I ask, my nose hovering in front of his.
“Hmm,” He smirks, rolling his lips. His arms slide up my arms and wrap around my neck, pulling me against his lips. He holds me there for a long moment, making me think it will never end. When he finally stops to breathe his eyes twinkle. “Enough energy for a spar, I suppose.”
I snicker, “Well, as your dutiful wife,” I blush at the word, even though I’m teasing him. “I would love nothing more than to make my dear husband feel better.” I kiss his neck, shuffling back slightly, leaving a trail of kisses down his chest toward his stomach. He moans with pleasure, tensing under me.
“How do you do that?” He breathes, caressing my arms with his hands.
“Do what, Mr. Hero?” I hum, pausing above his hips to meet his gaze.
His mouth stops, partly open as he watches me. “Do, uhh…”
“Yes?” I prod, slowly pushing the covers back, down to his knees.
“Uhh, the way you make me feel. Everything, I guess,” He stumbles over his words.
I giggle, “I don’t know, I just… Do what I feel like doing. You react and I can tell if you like it or not. I like doing what makes you happy.”
“Ohh, really?” He raises an eyebrow. “Well, I pretty much like everything you do.”
I grin, “I know.”
“So, you going to try something new or… you just going to keep me pinned here, darling?” He asks.
“Something new…” I hum, glancing over his naked form. “Would you like that?”
“May-be!” He grins. “You got something in mind?”
I trail my fingers up his thigh while holding his gaze, lightly caressing his already hard penis. “I might,” I say in a sing-song voice, watching him shiver.
“Mmm, then show me,” He breathes heavily.
I sit up on my knees, swinging my leg over his hips. I reach down to guide myself slowly down onto him. He inhales deeply as I curve my back, resting my hands on the bed behind me as I move my hips against his. He raises his hands, gripping my thighs in response. I giggle again as he moans, moving a little faster.
I’ve rarely ever been on top, so it’s almost as new to me as it is to him. I don’t want him to use any more energy than he needs to. It’s strangely empowering, being on top. I guess that’s why I was never allowed to, before. I look down at Andrei’s handsome face, twisted with pleasure and I want to kiss it. I lean forward again, pressing my breasts firmly against his skin as I catch his bottom lip gently between my teeth.
“Oh Kat. You’re amazing,” He hums, arms draping over my shoulders. “I love you.” In one fluid motion he rolls me over, switching places.
I gasp, surprised, “Andrei!” I grab onto his arms, worried he’ll fall back over.
“What? I’m sorry. You have something planned,” He pouts.
I blush, “N-no.”
“You did, I can tell. I’ll let you take charge this time. Promise,” He winks, grabbing my shoulders and rolling back over.
I sigh, resting my forehead on his. “I just don’t want you to overexert yourself, that’s all. If you feel okay, then it’s okay.”
“No way,” He shakes his head. “I like this idea of yours. You’re in charge, darling wife. Have your way with me,” His smile is too charming to ignore.
I kiss him hard, “As you wish, my love.” I don’t let him respond as I return to his lips, sliding my tongue between his. His tongue is hot as it brushes mine. I feel him grow larger inside me.
I resume moving my hips, rocking back and forth. I slide my hands down his shoulders, along his arms, pushing his hands back against the pillows. I wonder if maybe he’ll understand the fun of it, being on the receiving end. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before. I move away from his lips, down his neck.
“Oh, Kat…” He moans. I smile against his skin, sucking and kissing until I find a spot that makes him gasp. I suck harder there, pressing my teeth into his skin. I want to leave a mark, to show that he’s mine. He flinches under my teeth but moans louder.
I stop biting as I feel him move, lifting his hips to reach deeper. I inhale sharply with the sensation. He relaxes only to repeat the motion. A moan escapes my lips in the shape of his name.
“Oh, I like that. I like the way it sounds,” He says in a raspy voice. “More,” He begs. “I want more.”
“Yes,” I breathe, pushing myself up while holding his arms down, getting a better balance as I rock as fast as I can manage.
The bed creaks as he moves suddenly. I gasp again as the mattress bounces beneath my back. He hovers over me, pausing as he looks into my eyes. “I want more,” He growls with a smile. He thrusts himself hard and I yell, my back arching upward. He repeats, enjoying the pleasurable sound. I grab fistfuls of the bedsheets, biting my lip. I don’t want to alarm the maids or the guards… but it’s hard not to scream.
He leans in close to my ear and whispers between thrusts. “If it’s too much, stop me.”
“No,” I gasp to catch my breath. “It’s good. Very… good,” I cry out, grasping at his back to hold him there.
He squeezes me tightly in his arms, enthralled in the passion. His breath is cool against my skin, at least to me. It comes in gasps as he rocks my hips. He whispers my name every other breath. His name echoes off the walls. I don’t have nearly as much restraint as he seems to have.
“Tell me when,” He hums against my neck.
“Oh, Andrei,” I laugh. “I’ve lost count.”
“Already?” He whines. “You didn’t say,” He smiles.
“I was a little distracted,” I moan again. “Believe me… after the first few… it gets hard to tell where one stops and another begins.”
“Am I that good?” His brows raise.
I pull his head closer to kiss him roughly, “The best.”
“My turn then?”
“Yes,” I breathe against his lips. “Please do.”
He bites my lower lip softly, lifting himself up on his elbows as he focuses down below. I smile as he closes his eyes in concentration. I feel his hands tangle through my hair. It’s only a moment until his pace increases and I feel him shudder with a silent moan of pleasure within me. He makes sure to hold himself up, dripping with sweat as he gasps for air. He cracks his eyes open, smiling with them as he runs a hand along the side of my face.
“You, I love you. I love you Kat,” He shakes, lowering himself onto the bed beside me.
I roll onto my side, hooking my leg around his as I press against his side. “I love you, Andrei. More than anything in the world.” He chuckles, smiling.
He shifts a little, bringing his hand to my belly and cupping it gently. “I love both of you, so much. I will do anything to protect you.”
I rest my hand over his, warmth swelling in my chest, in a way I’ve only recently discovered possible. “She’ll be the luckiest baby ever born,” I muse, nudging his nose with mine. “To have a daddy like you.”
“She?” He asks, surprised. “And how might you know this?”
“I just do,” I shrug. “It feels right. They say a sometimes a mother just knows,” I reason, though it was the dreams that convinced me. I know he believes the dreams were tricks, and maybe I’m wrong, but there must be some truth to it. Some reason my subconscious believes it’s a girl.
“Well, I can’t argue with your gut. You are part dragon, after all. Perhaps it has something to do with that? When it comes to magic, we might never know,” He chuckles.
“I guess we’ll find out in another eight months or so,” I yawn, my legs still shaking slightly. “Unless of course we went to one of those fancy hospitals outside the Guild. I don’t think they have the equipment on the island to check on babies… but then again, maybe they do. I should ask Ambrosse…”
“Nah, I heard that stuff can be dangerous. Besides, how might a magical baby be affected? There’s also Gwen, let’s not forget.” He hums.
“Dangerous?” I frown. “How is a machine designed to look through your belly at a baby dangerous to the baby? Millions of women have them with no issues.”
“They use ultrasound waves that go through your body tissue and bounce back with an image. Do we really know how those things affect a developing baby? There’s no way to know everything,” He argues.
I raise an eyebrow, lifting my head to look at him. “I thought humans were generally pretty confident in the whole science thing. Kaede seems to think technology is strong enough to rival magic now. Six months ago I wonder if you would’ve been so quick to choose magic over science,” I tap his chest with my finger.
“Hmm you have a point,” He purses his lips. “But we’re not perfect. We make lots of mistakes. Science has effects that we don’t always see till many years or even decades down the line. I suppose magic could be the same, right?”
“Magic is very much the same,” I sigh. “I’m a prime example of that.”
“Right. Well, I think it has some good effects too, wouldn’t you say? I mean, you’re gorgeous and smart. Wicked with a Bo staff. And then there’s…” He glides his hand lower between my legs.
I gasp at his touch. That’s a first too, for him. “I- I’m not sure that counts as magic.”
“Sure it does,” He hums, kissing my brow. “You’re a witch in bed,” He chuckles.
I roll my eyes, “I still don’t wear a pointy hat. I think I like the term ‘goddess’ better.”
“Goddess? That’s not conceited,” He says sarcastically. “Are we gods? Really?”
“Closest things to it that this world will ever know,” I reply wistfully. “Certainly more godly than men and their technology, not that they’d agree.”
“Kaede would certainly not agree. Makes me wonder if tech could become an element,” He hums. “Which reminds me. What other elements are there? You said I was using others, weren’t you?”
“Many,” I answer. “There seem to be more elements than we knew of before, like Spirit. From what I could see, as far as I was… There was gravity, and space… maybe others. It’s hard to tell. We should do some tests when we get home and see what else you can do.”
“Wait, gravity?” He gawks. “And that space trick, the lady in the dream taught me that. I didn’t realise that was actually space magic. Or.. well, I guess that makes sense. But gravity?”
“Yes,” I insist. “I’ve only ever read about that one, but it matches what I saw you do.”
“What did I do? With the gravity? How could you tell?” He asks.
I think back to the fight. “Well, a couple times you jumped over them and almost floated… And they were weighed down, obviously struggling against an unseen force. They left holes in the ground, some of them. I know they were big, but they weren’t that heavy on their own. I’m actually impressed they kept going with that added pressure.”
He hums, “Now that you mention it, I was thinking that during the fight but I really wasn’t sure. Is it normal? To use so many at once?”
“We’ve been over this, Andrei,” I sneer playfully. “You’re not normal. This is proof.”
“But …” He pauses, giving me a concerned look. “I am normal. As far as I know. If I’m not normal, then what am I?”
“Extraordinary?” I suggest. I’m not really sure what else to say. “I have no idea, yet.”
He laughs, wrapping his arms around me tightly. “Oh, Kat. If anyone is extraordinary, it’s you. I love you.”
“Can’t we both be?” I tilt my head. “I mean, how silly would I be, if I didn’t marry another extraordinary person?” I ask dramatically.
“Would you not marry me if I was normal?” He asks quickly.
I flinch at his sudden more serious tone. “Of course I would, but you’re a Guardian. That’s hardly anywhere near normal,” I remind him.
“Oh, right. I guess there’s that.” I hear a humming come from his chest and it reminds me of a cat purring.
I giggle and lean my face a little closer, touching my nose to his. “Did you think I would say no?”
“Hmm? May-be,” He sings. “I mean there are always so many guys with their eyes on you. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if they might be… more than me, better for you,” He says a little sadly.
“No one is better than you,” I state clearly. “If I met a real god, I’d still choose you.”
“Really?” He tilts his head towards me, eyes staring deep into mine. He doesn’t blink but holds my gaze like a vice.
“Yes,” I answer slowly. “Don’t you believe me?”
He smiles, still staring, “I do.” I feel him shift and suddenly his lips are on mine, gently brushing his tongue along my lower lip.
I smile against his lips, catching his cheek in my hand. I pull back, looking into his eyes again, “Would you?”
“Would I what?” He hums.
“Choose me?” I laugh. “Over a goddess?”
“You are my goddess. I’ve already chosen,” He winks.
I grin at him, “Well, now that that’s settled.” I sit up, swinging my leg over him as I move to stand up.
“Where are you going? It’s only just after midnight,” He asks.
My legs are still shaky, and when I try to stand I slip. I yelp and ungracefully slide off the bed, onto the carpet below. “Ow… whoops,” I groan. “I was going to go see if they… I don’t know, left some food out for us?”
“You’re hungry? Now?” He asks with surprise.
I poke my tummy, below my belly button and make a face at him, “It’s not really up to me, is it?” Scoria leaps off a chair by the fire, excited by the mention of food.
Andrei scrambles to the edge of the bed. “What if I made you something? I could skip us to the kitchens if you want,” He offers as he tries to untangle himself from the linens.
“That works too,” I prop myself up on my elbows. “Do you have the energy for that?” I ask, mind flashing back to the earlier conversation.
“Oh, uhh… maybe,” His eye twitches as he nods.
I narrow my eyes, “Maybe?”
“Yea, maybe, in Andreian, means yes,” He grins boyishly.
I purse my lips, “And what am I supposed to do if you faint or something?”
“Hmm, well, I guess you couldn’t carry me like a prince, cuz then you’d be lifting more than your weight, and we can’t have that. You’ll just have to leave me there ’till the morning,” He snickers as he finally comes free of the sheets and joins me on the floor.
“How about you just don’t faint. We can walk down to the kitchen,” I pout, glancing down at myself, still sprawled on the floor. Suddenly I wonder if that’s a good idea either.
“If we’re going to get food, we had better be wearing clothes. We don’t want a repeat of our first day here.”
“Where’s the fun in that?” I flutter my eyelashes.
“You’re a rebel, you know that?” He smirks. “Come on.” He kneels, taking my elbow in his hand and hoisting me up with him. “Let’s at least wear our undergarments.”
“Oh, alright…” I sigh. It takes a moment to gain my balance before I find the boring white underdress. It’s relatively shapeless, though made of soft cotton. It’s probably decently warm, though I wouldn’t notice. Andrei has a similarly boring set of pants and a loose shirt. I pick up Scoria and put her on my shoulder. Then Andrei takes my arm, heading for the door. Except in the blink of an eye, we’re not looking at the door, but the dark and empty kitchen.
“Andrei…” I grumble.
“What?” He asks innocently.
“We agreed to walk, didn’t we?” I glare at him.
“It was a complete accident, I swear. Besides, we walked to the door, didn’t we?” He avoids my eyes.
I smack his arm lightly, “And you call me a rebel!”
“It was an accident!” He rubs his arm. “Habit, hard to break those. Caroline’s rubbing off on you,” He pouts.
“Maybe I’m just starting to understand why she does it,” I huff, crossing my arms. “You boys are trouble.”
“Are not,” He denies.
“Are too,” I struggle to hold back a smirk. “I’m not the only one who’s a bad liar, you know.”
“Oh? Who’s lying?” He asks, searching for a light.
I flick my wrist, bringing the oven to life. “Well, we’re here now. I guess we should figure this out before you fall over.”
He chuckles, subtly placing a hand on the counter as he looks for the utensils. He finds what he needs, and starts looking in the cold box for food. “Looks like they have cheese, eggs, meat. Basic stuff. What do you feel like?”
“Nothing too fancy,” I lean on one of the counters. “Do you want me to do anything?”
“Hmm, yea. I’m thinking an omelette to share. Want to chop these veggies and the cheese? Or do you want to be in charge of the egg?” He holds the ingredients in his hands, offering them to me.
“I think I’m better qualified with the sharp knife,” I laugh, taking the greens and cheese.
“Really? Didn’t I hear Rōpata say something like, ‘Don’t fear yourself?’” He smirks, taking the eggs to the pan.
I roll my eyes, “Doesn’t mean I know how to cook eggs.”
“It’s easy, and when you have me as a teacher, that’s like a ten-percent discount,” He winks.
I raise an eyebrow, “Discount to what?”
“On difficulty level,” He says, as if that was the obvious answer.
I laugh, “Oh. Well, maybe when we go home.”
“Lovely,” He starts cracking them in the pan and whisking them with a fork.
I get distracted, watching the flawless way he moves. I wonder what will happen when we do go home. Will things get weird again? We have no way of knowing what happened when we left. I can only hope the others could handle Heath, and help somehow. Still, even if they did, would us returning just make it worse again?
“Andrei,” I bite my lip. “When we do go home… Do you think it’ll be okay?”
“Hmm? Oh, it’s hard to say. Why, are you nervous?” He asks without looking up.
“You’re not?” I balk.
“I try not to think about it. I know I can jump when I want to now, generally,” He shrugs. “But I guess it’s a habit. I tend to get really immersed in the jump that I don’t want to think of going home. But… now that you’ve brought it up, yea, I guess I am a bit. It’s was worse for you though… I can only imagine what you must be feeling.”
I sigh, “Yeah. I want to help him, but I’m worried I’ll just make it worse. The things the lava is willing to do…”
Andrei frowns, “Did he hurt you at all, Kat?”
I clench my jaw, keeping my eyes on the green onions as I cut them up. I feel his gaze on me but I can’t bring myself to meet it.
“Kat… Did he hurt you?” His tone turns cold. I hear him set the fork down and flinch as his hand touches my arm. “Kat?”
I gulp, keeping my face turned down. “It wasn’t Heath’s fault,” I whisper, though I know he won’t leave it at that.
“Kat…” He sighs, embracing me around the shoulders and squeezing me tightly. I feel his chest pressed against my back. “How can you say that? I swear… if I get my hands on him…”
“That’s not fair,” I argue. “He didn’t want to. He cried the whole time.”
Andrei’s silences somehow hurts more than any response he could make. When he finally does speak he whispers, “When?”
I take a ragged breath, “The night before he came into our room.” I hear his breath hitch.
It’s another long moment before I hear him speak again. “I’ll kill him…”
“Andrei!” I gasp. “You can’t…”
“But you’re mine! He hurt you! I… I’m so angry!” He says against the back of my head.
“I know,” I close my eyes, laying down the knife and resting my hands on his arms. “I’m sorry.”
“No, I’m sorry. I wasn’t there to protect you… like always. But I can’t let this slide. I don’t care if it was him or the lava. He hurt you, Kat. He has to be accountable for what he’s done! I can’t just forgive that,” He insists.
I scoff, “He’d probably agree. Still, you can’t just kill him. He’s a Guardian, and there are worse people out there. If he can control the lava, he’d be a huge help against Mortecai, and that ice guy in particular. We have bigger things to worry about.”
I almost hear the gears clicking in his head as he rests his brow against my head. “Fine, but I’m still angry. I can’t guarantee I won’t punch him when I see his face.”
My lips curl and I snicker, “That, I think you’re entitled to.”
He spins me around so I can see his face. His hands grip my shoulders firmly, yet gently. “Why didn’t you say something sooner?” He asks, a pleading in his eyes. I smell the eggs starting to burn, surprised he hasn’t jumped to rescue them.
I glance over at the primitive stove, lowering the heat for the moment. “I didn’t know how,” I admit. “I can throw a man the size of Nik across the room, but I couldn’t stop him. What kind of pathetic-” I stop myself, pressing my lips firmly together.
“You are not pathetic, Kat. If he was anything like he was in our room the night we left, I can see why it might have been hard. But… Forget it,” He pulls me close into a hug. “You can tell me whenever you’re ready… but know that you’re mine… always, and I’m yours too. I love you… no matter what.” His hand rubs the back of my head softly.
I grab onto the back of his shirt, “You already know what happened. He told you himself.”
His hand stops, and I feel it shake against my head. “So… he really did?” His voice cracks as he asks. I nod slightly. He sighs, squeezing me ever so tighter.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper. “I didn’t want you to feel this way.”
He shakes his head. “Don’t… don’t apologize. I don’t blame you,” His voice shakes. After a silent moment he relaxes, pulling away slightly to see to the eggs. He sighs and pushes me back a little, his wet eyes looking at mine. “I’ll just… turn back the time on the eggs.” He slides over to the pan and holds his hand out over it. A faint light glows as he reverses the time on the eggs until they are unburnt.
I glance down at the half chopped greens, “I had originally brought it up because I was thinking that maybe, when we go back, we shouldn’t stay in the dorms. Maybe it would be better for all of us, if we took your parents up on their offer.” I glance over at him from the side as I resume cutting.
“I think that’s a good idea. Let’s do that,” He says weakly. He looks a little pale.
I frown, “Maybe you should sit down. You look like you really will pass out now.”
He waves his hand feebly at his side in protest, leaning against the counter. “It’s just the lighting. I’m fine.”
I reluctantly keep an eye on him as we finish cooking together in silence. We put the large omelette on a plate and go over to the small table in the kitchen. He passes me a fork as he takes a seat, waiting for me to take the first bite. I do, smiling at him. I pass the second bite to Scoria, who hops down onto the table to get closer to it.
“How is it?” He asks.
“Perfect,” I grin. “Is it me, or does food taste a little different in the past? Do you think it’s that the ingredients are different, or the technology?”
He smiles, cupping my cheek with his hand. “It’s probably the cooking utensils. They used cast iron and other things loaded with minerals and often they would take on the flavours of what you cooked in them. Of course, some of the ingredients are different, depending on where you source them. Bananas, for one, are a different species now than they are in our time, and flour was made differently too.”
He rambles on about the differences in food. I listen, fascinated, only pausing his rant when I hold out a bite for him to take. He goes on, totally distracted from the painful topic of a few minutes ago. I’m relieved how he can bounce back so quickly. When the three of us finally finish off the whole plate, he seems to have regained some colour in his cheeks.
“Shall we head back?” He asks, washing the plate and forks and putting them away.
“Yes,” I pick up Scoria, looking at Andrei pointedly, “We should walk, all the way back.”
“Aww, what’s the fun in that?” He whines.
I roll my eyes, “I’ve already had to carry you back to the bed once in the last twenty-four hours. What was it you said about me lifting heavy things?”
“Aww, but… I enjoy you taking care of me. You’re good at it,” He winks, walking toward the door.
“I’m trying to do it now. You’re not being very cooperative,” I hook my arm around his, falling in line beside him.
“I’m cooperating now, aren’t I?” He asks me cheekily. The door swings shut behind me as we head down the hall.
“So far…” I hum. The hallway disappears and we step into the middle of our room. I turn slowly to look up at him, brow raised.
“Oops… it happened again. I really gotta get that checked out,” He snickers, wavering. I barely manage to catch him before he falls on his face.
“Damn it, Andrei,” I growl, dragging him over to the bed, already snoring.
By Krystyna Yates