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A Bond Beyond Words

 
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Kristen Rowe
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:41 pm    Post subject: A Bond Beyond Words Reply with quote

Living from motel room to motel room was not a calming existence, but it was familiar. At least this motel was clean, and the shower was decent. Steam billowed out of the bathroom as Kristen emerged, squeezing the water from her hair. She sighed, tossing the towel onto the back of the chair, and rummaged through her bag for the one luxury item she owned - her silk bath robe - tugging it on before rummaging further for her comb. She still didn't quite know what to make of what had been said at the bar, and Artemis wasn't answering her calls. It looked as though she was on her own for now.

It had been two days without any sign of either Artemis or Loki - at least, as far as Kristen was aware. Whatever the two immortals had been doing was unknown. Loki had said he needed time to think, but just how much time did an immortal need? Perhaps that question would be answered as an unexpected knock came at her door.

Of course, a knock on the door was always a slightly suspicious thing when you were a hunter in a motel. Kris looked up, easing her pistol from beneath the bag, and flicked the safety off, moving to look through the peephole.

The God of Mischief stood on the other side of the door, looking only marginally less forlorn than he had the other day. He had a to-go cup and a paper bag with him, which might or might not prove to be an illusion.

Kris frowned curiously, unlocking the door to pull it open, though the gun was still on alert on the other side of the wood. Just in case. "Can I help you?"

"Aren't you going to invite me in?" he asked, with a troubled frown. "I brought a peace offering," he said, holding up the cup and bag to indicate as much.

Her gaze flickered to the bag and cup, and she felt a smile make itself known, appreciating his attempt at a human interaction. "Come in," she told him, stepping back as she flicked the safety back onto her gun. "I will put some clothes on."

"You realize that won't work, right?" he asked, as he stepped inside, not even looking at the gun so much as sensing it there. He did sweep an appreciative gaze over her half-clad form before setting the cup and bag down on a small table. "Am I interrupting anything?" he asked, though he hadn't noticed anyone else there.

"It is force of habit," she told him, shaking her head lightly as she set the weapon down. His sweeping appreciation of her form made her smile again, a little less easy to embarrass now she had spent a little time in his company. "No, I have just showered," she said, pulling a t-shirt and underwear out of her bag. "Make yourself comfortable."

Offering to make himself comfortable could be taken more ways than one, but he assumed she meant a chair and so he deposited himself in a chair near the table to wait while she changed. "I hope you like coffee," he said of the dark liquid that filled the to-go cup. "Most mortals do."

"I do, thank you." She disappeared into the bathroom briefly, returning barely a minute later in a t-shirt and panties. It wasn't a huge improvement on the robe, but at least she felt less exposed and more comfortable herself. "I did not expect to see you again."

"I brought a doughnut, as well. I was assured by the sales clerk that you would like it," he called to her as she disappeared into the bathroom. He looked her over again as she emerged, brows arched upwards, unsure how what she had changed into was any more modest than what she'd been wearing a moment ago. In fact, he thought he'd like the robe better, but he kept that to himself. "I told you I needed time to think. I have done that, and so, here I am."

To be fair, she did pull a pair of jeans out of her bag and slide into them as he spoke, buttoning the waist before moving to slide into the other chair at the table and investigate his peace offering. "What decision did you come to?" she asked, curious but uncertain if knowing would be a good thing.

He tilted his head a little to study her a moment before offering a reply. "I have decided to agree to what Artemis was suggesting. I believe she suggested I touch you to prove whether you are in truth dedicated to me."

"She did, this is true." Kris nodded, sipping the coffee before setting it down. She was fairly sure that just touching wasn't what was going to happen here, but she would have to trust him at some point. She extended her hand toward him. "I have no objection."

"It is not so simple as that, you know," he told her, confirming her suspicions, though it wasn't terribly difficult either - at least, not for her. "Once I touch you, if you are truly dedicated to me, I will see into your heart, your mind, your soul. I will know what you know, what you think, what you feel. If not ..." He shrugged.

"If you were my father's choice, my family's choice, then I want to know," she told him firmly. "I need to know if I have been made to live a lie, just so that a goddess can use me as a pawn in her power play. I need to know where I belong - with her, or with you."

"Perhaps you belong with us both," he speculated. Such things were not unheard of before the gods fell out of favor with humanity. He was tempted to ask about her family, but decided it would be better to learn about that when he touched her.

Kris hesitated, not willing to disagree with him openly - not yet, at least. If he was her god, if she was bound to him, he was going to have to get used to being scolded when he did selfish or stupid things, however. "Would you prefer that?"

He shrugged again. "I have never been very good about sharing, but they say there's a first time for everything," he replied with a hint of a smirk. "I have to admit I am puzzled by her claim. I have not had any followers in centuries, and even there, they were few. Why would your father wish to dedicate you to someone like me?"

She shrugged, shaking her head. "Perhaps he thought you would be the best guiding hand in a world walking on the edge of ending?" she suggested. "I do not remember much about my father. Any of my family, in fact."

"Perhaps," he said, not fully convinced, though he did not think she was lying. He would find out himself soon enough, as soon as he gathered the courage to go through with it. "There are those who believe I am to blame for the end of things - for Ragnarok - but I am not. Nor am I to blame for what has happened here on Midgard."

"I have never believed that you are responsible for the tragedies of this world," Kris mused. "Humanity can quite easily make a mess of the world without any divine intervention. My race is not collectively very responsible."

"Nor is mine," Loki was quick to admit. It might seem he was referring to his Asgardian bloodline, but it was hard to know for sure. "But angels ..." he started. "Angels take the cake, I believe is how the saying goes."

She grimaced. "I would happily live out the rest of my life not seeing another angel if I could help it, but I know there are still some out there."

"There are plenty, but that is something we have in common. The truth is, Gabriel would never have freed me if I had not promised to help him," he told her. It was hard to know if he was telling her the truth. Truth, as he'd already said, was subjective, but he had no reason to lie.

"Gabriel freed you?" she asked in astonishment. "Why would he do that in the first place? I ... from what I know of him, he has nothing but contempt for every other living being."

"Precisely," Loki said. "As I said, he only freed me when I agreed to help him. Otherwise ..." He shrugged. "I might still have been bound to that rock, and the end would still have come about without me."
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"What did he want you to do?" Kris asked softly. There was more concern for Loki than curiosity about Gabriel in her eyes; she really was easy to read. "Was it just for you to disappear?"

"It was more about him disappearing than me," Loki told her. "He has the ability to shape change, as well as other abilities. He hardly needed my help there, but he wanted to make sure I wouldn't come forward to claim the face he was wearing. This is my real face. It is not the one Gabriel has been wearing."

A slow smile touched Kris' face as she considered this. "You tricked him," she murmured, admiration flickering in her eyes. "He believes he looks like you, doesn't he?"

"Yes," Loki replied with a mischievous grin that lit up his whole face. "Perhaps not so much now, but he did then. Do you really think I'd let him wear my face?" he added with a touch of pride and just a little ego.

She laughed a little, charmed by the brightness of the mischief on his face. "I'm glad you didn't," she giggled. "I much prefer your face."

"The truth is he's wearing the face of a swineherd who once lived in Denmark," Loki added with a further grin, laying a finger against his lips as if to ask she keep that secret, especially from the angel in question.

This time, Kristen's laugh was loud and unabashed, her head thrown back as she cackled at this new information about the face Gabriel was so proud of wearing. "Oh, I like that," she laughed, wiping her eyes.

Loki shrugged, as if it was nothing, that smirk still apparent on his face. It took her remark as a compliment - a rarity in his experience. "I know it was evil, but I couldn't resist."

Still smiling, she shook her head. "That is not evil," she insisted. "It is rather glorious in its way. He is far from your equal." With a last laugh, she rose to her feet, moving to drop the empty cup and bag into the trash.

"I cannot argue with that," he said, in agreement. "It is Gabriel and his brothers who are in good part to blame for the war." That could be argued, depending on one's point of view, but Lucifer had been an archangel - God's favorite in fact - before he had rebelled.

"Wanting to destroy the world rather than hand it back to the gods at the end of their cycle was more than naive," Kris commented, straightening up. She turned to face Loki, her expression easier than it had been before now. "What happens when you touch me? Does it ... does it hurt?"

"I do not know," he admitted with a frown. After all, he'd never been on the receiving end of the connection. "I do not think so, but it may come of something of a shock to feel my presence inside your mind."

She nodded thoughtfully, absorbing this information as she drew in a slow breath. Her hands slid into the back pockets of her jeans, bare toes curling against the rasping carpet. "What do you need me to do?"

"Nothing really. Just relax and give me your hand," he said, as he leaned toward her and offered her his own hand in return for hers. Ice blue eyes met her gaze as if he was searching the depths of her eyes.

She held his gaze for a long moment, studying ice blue eyes that seemed kinder now than she had thought they could. She recalled the way Artemis had presented her own hand to him, taking a deep breath, and lowered herself onto one knee before Loki Laufeyson, raising her hand to his.

As far as he was concerned, it wasn't really necessary for her to go down on one knee. In fact, he would have preferred she hadn't, but he didn't want to disrupt the process now that they had both decided and were prepared for it. He held her gaze, almost as if he was hypnotizing her, looking deep into her eyes as he reached for her hand.

Palm to palm, there was nothing for a moment but silence as he stared into her eyes. Kris was caught, mesmerized, unable to close her eyes ... and then a searing white flame seemed to envelope her mind and heart. Her breath caught in her throat, her fingers flexed to twine with his and hold on tight. And her mind, her soul, her past, opened to him without a moment's hesitation.

In an instant, he saw the ritual at her birth, the runes that spelled his name gifted to her as a newborn infant; the toddler she had been, showing a natural gift for magic because of that dedication, along with an easiness with natural predators that lived near her family home. He saw the deaths of her family - her parents cut down by angels, her siblings killed in the fire set in their house; the child she had been saved by the intervention of Frigga and given to Artemis to raise. He saw her education as a hunter, the lack she had always known because of her raising at the feet of Greek gods; the reputation she had earned as the best tracker in the hunting community, the risks she had taken to defend humanity during the angels' apocalypse and the war that had followed a few years later. He saw it all, and there, throughout those memories, that honesty that flickered in her soul, was the thread of silver that bound that soul to him.

He not only watched Kristen's past unfold before him, but he felt it - every moment of joy and hope and tragedy and grief. Every moment she had ever lived, every joy and every pain. And suddenly, everything made sense. All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place, at least where she was concerned. Her memories did not, could not, lie. So, it had been angels who had killed her family. One more reason to hate them - or at least, those who'd been responsible. It was true, then. She was bound to him in ways that could not be undone, unless he was the one to release her. He still didn't quite understand why she had been dedicated to him, but who was he to question it? She was a gift, a ray of sunshine in an otherwise murky world, and he would not take this gift for granted ever again. He lifted her hand to his face and pressed it against his cheek, before turning her hand and touching a kiss to her palm, releasing her from the vision that played across her mind's eyes.

As his lips touched her palm, her breath began again, a harsh intake that filled her lungs while she swayed on her knees, unconsciously leaning toward him. Her free hand braced herself against his knee as she blinked furiously, trying to clear the tears from her eyes. "I-I ... I didn't ..."

He reached for her, to catch her before she swayed and fell, finding himself face to face with her, ice blue eyes gazing once again into hers. "I'm sorry," he told her quietly, in a voice that sounded surprisingly sincere and remorseful, though what had happened to her family hadn't been his fault. "I'm sorry about your family, about everything."

She leaned into him, grateful to be caught, letting herself trust him the way her instinct demanded now that she knew the truth. "It is not your fault," she whispered, shaking her head just a little. "How could you have known? You kept your bargain. He should have told you about the dedication."

"He knew, then?" Loki asked, referring to Gabriel's knowledge of the dedication, which had happened many years after the two of them had made their bargain. "He would have been pretending to be me. Perhaps he was hoping you'd follow him," he suggested.

"If he had wanted my devotion, why did he abandon me?" she asked softly. "Why did he let my family die?" She frowned, shaking her head, only then realizing that she was in his arms. "Oh ... I'm sorry, I did not realize ..."

He smiled gently at her apology, only just realizing it himself and drawing slowly away. "My fault. I was afraid you were going to fall. Perhaps you should sit," he said, moving aside so that she could claim his chair, which left only the bed to sit on.

"Thank you." Though the words were, perhaps, a little hesitant, she was grateful, easing down into the chair with a soft sigh. "Is it always like that?" she asked curiously. "I mean, if you were to go into my mind again, would it be like that every time?"

"Yes, but ..." He trailed off, unsure just how to answer. "It's been a very long time since anyone has been dedicated to me." It wasn't that he didn't remember so much as that he had never really gone into anyone's mind in such a way very often.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I am yours." There was no hesitation in her as she said those words, meaning them with as much certainty as she meant anything in her life. "Whatever you wish of me, I will do. But ..." She hesitated, glancing down at her hands before meeting his gaze again. "If I do not agree, I will argue with you."

"I do not know what I wish of you," he replied, looking somewhat perplexed by her statement. His body didn't quite agree with his words, but he was not going to force himself on a woman, only because her father had dedicated her to him at her birth. "Perhaps ..." he started, licking his lips almost shyly, before continuing. "Perhaps we could be friends?"

For a long moment, she stared at him, surprise in her dark eyes. Then a slow smile split her lips, her expression brightening with real pleasure at his shy suggestion. "I should like that very much, my lord," she agreed with a warm nod.

He did not have many friends, after all. Many he'd thought were his friends had betrayed him. He had learned not to trust anyone, but there was something about this woman that gave him hope. He chuckled a little at her very formal address. "My name is Loki," he gently admonished.

She bit her lip, laughing a little as she nodded. "Loki," she repeated, glancing at the clock. "Would you like some lunch, Loki?" Kris asked him then, sitting upright in the chair.

"Lunch?' he echoed, brows arching upwards. He knew what lunch was, of course, but it had been a long time since anyone had ever asked to share a meal with him before. "You mean the midday meal, yes?"

"I do, yes." She rose to her feet, moving toward where he sat on the bed only to rummage in the bag beside him for a sweater and socks. "My treat."

He turned to follow her movement as she rummaged in the bag. "Your treat?" he echoed, unsure what that meant exactly, but assuming she was taking responsibility for lunch.

"I will pay," she translated, perching on the edge of the bed to pull her socks and boots on. She offered him a curious glance. "Have you been out of human society for a long while?"

"I have not spent much time in this place ... this country," he said, taking a moment to clarify his statement. He did not seem prepared just yet to fill in the blanks of the last few centuries.

"Hmm." She rose to her feet again, pulling the sweater on over her head. Her hands found a comfortable rest at her hips as she considered him. "Have you ever had a hot dog?" she asked him, a suggestion of mischief lurking in her smile.

"A hot dog?" he echoed uncertainly, brows arching upwards. The look on his face was answer enough. "Why would one want to eat a dog?" he asked, though he knew people in different cultures sometimes ate some strange things.

She laughed, delighted to find that this confused him. "It is not a dog," she promised. "It is a tube of pork in a bread roll, often with cooked onions, and mustard or tomato sauce."

He furrowed his brows, confused at her explanation. "Then why is it not called a hot pig?" he asked, as he moved to his feet. He was already wearing a jacket, stylishly dressed all in black, his jacket made of leather.

"I have no idea," she admitted, shrugging into her own leather jacket and wrapping a scarf about her neck. That was her only real concession to the weather; she'd rather be cold than unable to move freely if she needed to. "But it is something of a traditional street food here in the United States, therefore you should try one."

"You are not from this place either, are you?" he asked, as he waited for her to finish getting dressed. Her accent, though slight, didn't seem to match the other people who lived in this place.

"No, I am not," she confirmed, grabbing her keys and wallet from the bedside table. "Shall we?" Kris gestured toward the door in a friendly manner. "I was born somewhere in Western Europe, but Artemis will not tell me where. I do not believe she even knows."

"Doesn't she?" Loki asked, a small smirk at the corners of his lips. "I might be able to tell you," he said, "though it would mean connecting with your mind again." He has his own suspicions regarding her origins, and he assumed Artemis did, as well.

Kristen tilted her head as she looked at him, her eyes narrowing in amusement. "That is a very mischievous expression, Loki," she warned him with a smile, drawing the door open. "Be careful, or I might take it as an invitation."

He shrugged. "Would you expect any less from the God of Mischief?" he asked, waiting at the door for her to exit first. "Where are we going?" he asked further, assuming she was taking him to get his first hotdog, whatever that was.

"To a park I saw when I arrived," she informed him, stepping out first and turning to lock the door after him. "There was a vendor there." Yes, she was going to take him for a hot dog in the snow.

"A vendor," he echoed. "You mean a hotdog peddler," he said, choosing a slightly different word for the same thing. It wasn't so much that he'd been out of touch with the world for too long as it was he was not too familiar with this part of the world.

"Yes." She laughed a little, tucking her hands into the pockets of her jacket as her breath misted in the cold air. Her shoulder gently nudged his as she set off for the park, long legs setting a not uncomfortable pace for him to keep up with. "Most people don't like being called peddlers, though. It makes them think of old nomads and tinkers."

"I am not sure they are quite the same thing," he remarked, though he didn't want to argue about it. He smirked a little at the nudge, wondering if she'd done it on purpose. "You do realize that if your father dedicated you to me, it is likely you are Nordic in origin."

"It would make sense," she conceded. "And Artemis said something about my true name being Kristanna, which is certainly more Scandinavian than Kristen."

"How much has Artemis told you of your past?" he asked, as he strolled along beside her, wherever she was taking him. He didn't bother to shove his hands in his pockets; in fact, he didn't seem to be bothered by the cold at all.

"Very little," Kris admitted, her cheeks and nose already ruddy with the chill that clung to the air as they walked. "She told me that she found me when I was small, and that she chose to raise me because she believed I had a purpose. She never kept the real world a secret from me. It never occurred to me to question my becoming a hunter."

"She raised you where?" he asked, merely curious. There was a lot Artemis had either lied to her about or simply not told her, but he wasn't quite ready to say so. After all, if Artemis had raised her and been like a mother figure to her, she was far more likely to believe her than to believe him.

"Well, she did not personally raise me," Kristen admitted ruefully. "She gave me to different families as I got older. I lived in Israel, Russia, Scotland, Greece, Portugal - all over Europe." She frowned suddenly, realizing something. "Everywhere but Scandinavia."

"Interesting," he murmured. "What do you make of that?" he asked, still hesitating before filling her in. He wasn't too sure why Artemis would lie to her, unless it was to protect her, but he didn't think she'd bring her to him if she didn't expect him to tell her the truth.

She shook her head, glancing at him curiously. She knew he must have seen all this in her memories, but it was rather charming that he would ask her to tell him, all the same. "It is almost as if she were trying to hide me from the Norse ... from you," she speculated thoughtfully. "Did she steal me?"

"No, she didn't steal you," he assured her, the pieces of the puzzle starting to fall into place. "I think perhaps I know what happened, but the question is why," he said, falling silent as he mulled it over.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She waited, but nothing more seemed to be forthcoming. "What, then?" she asked, shifting to walk backwards while holding his gaze. There was a smile on her lips, enjoying the conversation more than perhaps she should, but unable to pretend otherwise. "What did happen?"

"Are you certain you want to know?" he asked, stepping forward suddenly to take her by the shoulders and pull her out of the way of an oncoming pedestrian. He pulled her to a stop there on the sidewalk, his hands still clutching her shoulders, his gaze studying hers.

Pulled to a halt, Kris' smile faded abruptly, her hands automatically leaving her pockets to press against his chest. Just in case. But some part of her knew he wouldn't hurt her. "No, I am not certain that I want to know," she told him honestly. "I think I need to know. To have your own history kept a secret from you ... it is a terrible thing, Loki."

His lips twitched, but not into a smirk so much as a frown. "It is not of my doing, Kristanna. If I had known ..." He trailed off, that frown deepening. What would he have done, if he'd known? Would he have come for her? Even if he had, what would he have done for her? He sighed, letting go of her shoulders and turning his gaze away, as if he didn't want her to see the pain in his eyes. "I had a daughter once. You may have heard of her. Her name was Helge. Or at least, that is the common pronunciation of her name. But they changed it to Hel and cast her out of Asgard to rule the Underworld. She was much like you, my Helge. But the Asgardians scorned her because she was not like them."

"Hel?" Kris frowned, a sudden concern rising in her eyes. "She was not also known as Persephone, was she?" she asked, worried now that someone she knew had been responsible for the death of her god's daughter. That would certainly put her in a terrible position.

"No, they are not the same," he replied, easing her worries without really knowing what those worries were. He matched her frown, his heart still grieving the loss of his only daughter. "I am not sure why I mentioned her, except that you remind me of her a little."

Without quite understanding why, the sight of his grief tugged at her heart. Kris softened the touch of her hands against his chest, her palm shifting to lie over his heart. "Is there no way you can see her again?"

"No, she's ..." He swallowed, as if he could not bear to say the word. "She's gone, like so many others," he said, not bothering to explain what he meant by that, as if she should know that already. He drew a deep breath in an attempt to push the grief aside, and took her hands between his, a strained smile on his face. "I'm sorry. I did not mean to upset you."

"You did not upset me." She shook her head, letting him take her hands even as she closed the small distance between them, nose to nose, eye to eye. "I do not like to see you in pain. But you are not alone, Loki. I know I am only mortal, but I am yours."

"I am not sure what that means," he confessed quietly. It had been a long time since he'd had any devotees and even longer since anyone had claimed to care for him.

"I was given to you before I was a day old," she reminded him softly. "Though I did not know it, everything I have done was done for you. Everything I will do, will be done for you. You are my home. Even if you should reject me, I will still be yours."

"I will not reject you," he assured her. "But I need some time to-to sort things out." And to figure out what he was supposed to do with her. He studied her quietly a moment, as if debating what more he should tell her. "You have a right to know the truth about your past, but ..." He frowned again, as he took a quick look around. "I do not wish to tell you here."

"Oh!" Guilt colored her expression again as she shook her head. "I did not mean to pressure you in any way!" she insisted, squeezing his hands for a brief moment. "Everything should happen in its own time, certainly." She nodded, dredging a smile from somewhere. "I promised you lunch, that is what I intend to give you."

The strained expression on his face eased into an almost relieved smile. "Yes, a hot dog," he reminded her, that sparkle of amusement returning to his eyes. "Shall we?" he asked, letting go of her hands, but instead, offering her his arm.

Pleased to see him smile, Kris let her tension fade as her own smile relaxed, curling her arm through his. "A god and a gentleman," she teased him. "I wonder what else you are?"

"I think you know well enough," he replied, assuming his reputation spoke for him. Though many of the stories told about him were nothing but lies, some of them were based on truth.

"I could make some guesses," she conceded in quiet amusement, leading him into a park. "But I think it would be more fun to discover it for myself. Unless, of course, you forbid fun." She gave him some rather impish side-eye, daring him to tell her she could never have fun again.

"No, of course not!" he was quick to reply. "I am the God of Fun," he added with a sly wink. Wasn't mischief equated with fun, after all, so long as it didn't bring any harm to anyone?

"Ah, but not all fun is mischief," she countered cheerfully, steering him along the slightly icy path toward the hot dog vendor's steaming cart. "You might have views on fun that is not mischievous."

"And what views might those be?" he asked curiously. He could probably guess where her mind was headed, but he didn't want to assume.

"Oh, you may forbid it entirely unless it takes place in your company." She flashed him a grin, slipping her hand from his arm to pull her wallet from her pocket as they reached the vendor. "Hi! Two hot dogs, mustard and onions, please."

He arched a dark brow at both her reply and her hot dog order. "Is that how a hot dog is traditionally served?" he asked of the mustard and onions. He'd never had a hot dog, after all, and had no idea of all the various toppings and versions they could be found in.

"I believe so," she mused. "It is the way I like them, anyway. You could also have tomato sauce, I understand. Or without sauce or topping." She handed him his hot dog wrapped in a napkin, taking her own and handing over payment to the vendor. "Thank you very much."

"This is a hot dog?" he asked, as she handed him the sausage-like piece of meat, smothered in mustard and onions and resting inside some sort of soft roll. There was only one way to find out if he'd like it or not, and so, he took a bite, quietly contemplating the taste before nodding his head in approval.

"It is." Kris watched him take his first bite, smiling at the look on his face as she took her own. "I am a little addicted to hot dogs, I must confess. If it was not ludicrously bad for me, I would have them for every meal."

"That is a bit much," he said, with a smirk of his own before taking another bite. "They are rather like sausages, aren't they?" he asked, though it was a rhetorical question.

"They are a form of sausage, but the meat is usually chicken flavored with pork," she told him with a grin. "Not a proper sausage, of course. But the salty taste makes them very more-ish."

"More-ish?" he echoed, brows arching upwards, unsure what she meant by that. "More-ish like a sausage?" he asked, uncertainly. Wherever he'd been hiding for the last few centuries, or perhaps even millennium, it certainly hadn't been any place where hot dogs were commonly found.

"More-ish, as in ... you want more than is good for you," she explained, surprised that it was a concept unusual for him. Or perhaps it was the word itself.

"Oh, I see," he replied, gobbling up the last of the hot dog. "May I have more-ish then?" he asked, smirking again. The way she'd used the word was clearly unfamiliar to him, but then English wasn't his first language, as evidenced by the merest hint of an undefinable accent in the way he spoke.

She laughed, offering him the last bite of her own hot dog, despite her already stated love of the snack. "You are surprisingly adorable at times, you know?"

He grinned as he leaned in to take the last bite of her hot dog. "I assume that is a good thing," he said, once he was finished chewing and swallowing. "I see what you mean. They are rather addictive, aren't they?" he asked. Just like she was.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"It is a good thing, yes," she assured him, wiping her hands clean on her napkin. "Aren't they? It would be so easy to eat nothing but hot dogs, but that would make me very ill."

"I should think you'd eventually grow tired of them," he said, even as he licked some mustard from his fingers. "Do you know what I want now?" he asked, almost daring her to guess.

"Ice cream?" she suggested immediately, though she wasn't entirely sure he was familiar with the modern iteration of ice cream. It had certainly changed from the Viking era version, that was for sure.

He laughed, amused at her guess. Yes, it seemed he did know what ice cream was, but that was not what he'd been thinking. "A mug of ale," he told her. Though he wasn't opposed to ice cream, it didn't go very well with ale.

Kris blinked curiously. "I don't think I have ever had ale," she admitted in a thoughtful tone. "Lager and beer, yes, but not ale. Is it really that good?"

"Or mead. Have you ever had mead?" he asked, though he wasn't too sure if they'd be able to find any here. It seemed these people preferred beer, but many didn't seem to know the difference between lager and ale.

"I have!" Her reaction was definitely more enthusiastic than the question deserved - bouncing on her toes, for example - but she was delighted to be able to state she had actually had something he might recognize. "I had some a few years ago, in a Welsh monastery. It was lovely - very strong, but lovely."

He laughed again at her statement. "Whatever were you doing in a monastery?" he asked, growing a little restless, but unsure where to go now. It seemed they were in a park of some sort. There were other couples around, as well as families, some with out without dogs in tow. He offered his arm again, as if they might go for a stroll.

"I was after a ghost," she explained, a little sheepishly. After all, a monastery really should have been able to deal with that themselves. Tucking her arm through his, she fell into step with him, boots sifting through the snow on the path as they went. "The monks caught me salting the grave underneath one of their chapel flagstones."

"A ghost?" he asked, furrowing his brows. He'd heard she was a hunter and a tracker, but he wasn't quite sure what all that entailed exactly. She had certainly managed somehow to track him. "Why were you tracking a ghost?"

"He was killing people," she answered, shrugging one shoulder. "Something had disturbed his grave, I think, and he had begun to violently haunt the monastery. Two of their older monks had already been killed by the time I arrived, and the prior refused to allow me entry. So I had to break in."

"And how did you manage to stop him?" he asked curiously. Though he might know something of ghosts, he wasn't too sure about modern hunting methods.

Kris looked surprised that he needed to ask; she doubted the method had changed in many hundreds of years. "I had to find his grave, and salt and burn his remains," she told him, her tone just a little bemused as she glanced at him. "Every hunter carries salt, matches, and some kind of accelerant these days - they're practically our stock in trade."

"Ah, things haven't changed so much in all these years then," he said, hinting at the fact that he did know a little about these things, after all. He had thought perhaps modern times would bring about modern methods, but it seemed that was not so.

"You can shoot a ghost with a shell filled with rock salt these days, and it dissipates for a little while," she offered, feeling as though her lack of higher technology might have disappointed him a little.

"Yes, I've heard of these new weapons of yours," he said, meaning humanity. "Mortals have certainly devised more efficient ways of killing each other," he added with obvious distaste, despite his reputation.

"Yes, we have." Her tone was suddenly very flat, her smile gone. She had lived through the almost apocalypse, and watched as people around her took advantage of the chaos for their own selfish ends. How many people had died because of others and their greed?

"Well," he started, seemingly sensing her mood. "It would be a shame to waste this beautiful day being morose, would it not?" he asked, a small smile appearing on his face again, as if it might cheer her up.

She tilted her head, her lips curving in a small smile of her own. "I am sorry," she apologized. "Hunters rarely see the good side of humanity, yet that is the side we are fighting to protect. It is a little disheartening at times."

"Forgive me if I do not understand, but if I understand correctly, you are both a hunter and a tracker, but what is it you hunt and track exactly?" he asked. "Surely, not only ghosts and misunderstood demi-gods."

"Anything supernatural," she told him. "On rare occasions, other hunters. Most hunters who know me do not know I am also a witch, or they would not trust me. Witches are still very much distrusted, despite the fact that many hunters do use a little of the craft."

"Distrusted because they are misunderstood," Loki said, understanding that a little too well, as he, too, was misunderstood. "People are afraid of you," he added, "and in my experience, people tend to fear and hate what they do not understand."

"They believe all witches have sold their souls to a demon for power," she said with a low sigh, shaking her head. Her smile was rueful. "Very few hunters will allow you to explain, much less believe you, when you offer the truth."

"So, what do you do to convince them?" he asked, as they strolled through the snow-strewn pathways of the park, amidst the mortals who were completely oblivious that a god and one touched by a god walked among them.

"I don't tell them, as a rule," she admitted, that rueful smile deepening as she spoke. "Those who do know have worked it out for themselves, and of those, only one did not attack me for it."

"I see," he murmured with a thoughtful frown on his face, not bothering to ask for further details. "The less they know, the better," he said, thinking the same was probably true of him, though he was far less likely to be attacked than she was.

"That is my experience, yes," she agreed softly. A part of her couldn't help wondering what he would make of the scar left on her back - a memento of the first time she had told another hunter she was a witch, the reason she had only one functioning kidney.

"I will do my best to protect you then," he said, letting go of her arm and turning to face her. He reached for her hands to draw her closer, dipping his head to press a kiss to her forehead. For a moment, there was a sensation of heat, where his lips had touched her skin, which radiated through her body, before it slowly faded. He smiled to see the mark he'd left upon her - a mark that only another immortal would be able to see; something that marked her as belonging to him.

The slow flood of heat that washed through her drew a gasp from Kris' lips - a gasp urged on more by her unexpectedly primal response to such a chaste kiss than by the magic that marked her. Her fingertips dragged over the leather of his jacket for a moment as she looked into his smiling eyes. "What was that for?"

"I have marked you as mine. You are under my protection. Anyone who tries to harm you will have to deal with me first," he explained, though that hardly explained how the enchantment worked. He smiled at her, as if he was very pleased with himself, before his attention was drawn past her. "What are they doing there?" he asked, nodding his head to a group of children who were playing in the snow.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That pleased smile of his was difficult to resist, drawing a soft smile of her own to her face. "You really are very handsome," she heard herself say, her cheeks suddenly very warm and very red as she spun about to look at what had caught his attention. "Oh ... they are making snow angels."

He had not asked if he could put his mark upon her, but in doing so, it seemed he had accepted her as belonging to him, which was what it seemed she wanted, after all. His smile widened at her compliment, but before he was able to return it with a compliment of his own, she had turned away to see what else had drawn his attention. His arms went around her from behind, just as any lover's might, smiling in amusement at the blush he'd induced in her.

"Snow angels?" he asked, half-interested.

Feeling his arms wrap about her, Kris' breath caught in her throat, unaccountably shy and quietly delighted with the unstudied affection of her god.

"Yes, they ... you lie on your back in the snow, and sweep your arms and legs that way," she explained, unconsciously laying her hands over his arms at her waist. "When you stand up, the impression left looks a little like the angels people put on their Christmas trees."

"But they are not real angels," he pointed out, nor did they really look like angels. What was the point of making impressions of angels in the snow if they weren't even accurate?

"No, they are not," she agreed. "But that shape has become synonymous with the light in the darkness of winter, especially the Christian festival. The angels that people believe it are rarely anything like the real thing."

"I wonder why that is," he said, content to watch for now, his chin coming to rest against her shoulder. "Do you think it is the fault of the muses?" he asked, well aware of the Greek pantheon and even personally acquainted with some of them.

"Ah, I-I could not say," she managed, achingly aware of his cheek beside her own, fighting the urge to turn her head and risk catching his eyes. "Perhaps it is. I believe the Christmas angel originated in the Victorian era."

"No matter," he said, releasing her suddenly from his embrace and reaching for her hand with a mischievous gleam in his eyes. "Shall we join them?" he asked, though the look on his face hinted that he might be considering some mischief.

Despite the flare of shyness in her belly, Kris laughed at his suggestion. "Do you intend to throw me down into the snow?" she asked teasingly. "You beast."

"No, of course not!" he said, looking affronted by her question. "I would never do such a thing," he added, one hand going to the middle of his chest, as if he were making a vow. Not to her anyway, though he wouldn't have minded throwing her down against a bed.

"Hmm." She tilted her head, a decidedly mischievous look sparkling to life in her eyes. "What a shame. I suppose I shall just have to take the initiative." She reached out, aiming to grip his elbows and pull him off-balance with one leg behind his own.

But if she thought he was going down alone, she was sadly mistaken, as he reached out to grab hold of her in return and take her down into the snow with him, laughing.

Her yell as she went down was cut off by her landing on top of him, her breath lost in a low grunt and smothered by his laughter. She wriggled, giggling herself as she poked at his shoulder. "You are certainly not a gentleman!"

He laughed even louder at her protest, seeing as she had no one to blame but herself. "It is your own fault!" he accused in turn, though from the grin on his face, he looked hardly upset. In fact, if anything, he looked even more amused than before. "Is this how it is done then?" he asked, spreading his arms and legs outward, even with her sprawled on top of him and moving his limbs back and forth through the snow.

Kris snorted with laughter, unable to keep herself from giggling still at the sight and sensation of Loki, Norse God, making a snow angel enthusiastically with her perched on top of him. "Something like that," she nodded. "But usually not with a woman on top of you."

"Well, that was your doing, woman," he reminded her, flipping her over onto her back, so that he was now straddling her, his eyes bright with mischief and perhaps something else. "I should punish you for that," he warned.

"Oh!" Flat on her back in the snow, Kris' giggles trailed off as he loomed over her, though her smile remained. She was enjoying this playful side of him - and if she was honest, the strange sense of intimacy involved in it, too. "And what form would this punishment take?"

"Hmm, that is a good question. Perhaps I should demand a kiss," he told her. It seemed hardly inappropriate seeing as how she had already offered herself to him, and he had accepted.

Her cheeks, already ruddy with cold, darkened further in a rosy blush as she smiled up at him. "And where would you demand this kiss?" she asked, her hands coming to rest on his arms.

"Where do most kisses belong?" he countered, letting her think about that and choose where she might kiss him, though he could have made demands, rather than given her a choice. Though he was playing with her a little, he did not mean any cruelty by it.

Ignoring the cold wetness at her back, her smile only grew, enjoying teasing him as he teased her. "Ah, but for the kiss to be appropriate, the nature of the relationship should be clarified," she pointed out impishly. "A kiss for a lover is very different to a kiss for a child."

"As is the kiss for a sister or daughter," he added, hinting that he did not wish to consider her either, though he had said she reminded him of his daughter in some ways. "How do you wish to kiss me?" he asked, once again insisting she determine that for herself.

She raised one brow, studying him for a long moment. "Will you promise not to laugh at me?" she asked softly.

"Why would I laugh at you?" he asked, furrowing his own brows in confusion. Unless she asked to kiss him in a place that might make them both blush.

"Because others have," she admitted. "I do not have the best run of luck when it comes to honesty in such matters, but ... I trust you." Her fingers gripped his sleeves for a moment, one hand sliding up to trace her fingers against his jaw as she arched her neck, and very softly brushed her lips to his.

That was clearly not what he was expecting, as evidenced by the expression on his face and his intake of breath, but he was not disappointed. Instead, he returned her kiss with surprising tenderness, gently tracing his fingers against the curve of her cheek. He could not remember when it was that anyone had showed him such tender affection and promise of devotion. He had clearly not laughed.

No, he had not. Nor had he rejected the soft kiss she offered. No doubt he could feel her relax as he answered her affection with his own, the warmth of her breath brushing his skin as she drew back to look up at him with shining eyes. "I do not feel very punished," she admitted impishly.

"Perhaps I should try harder then," he said, kissing her again, this time with more passion, eons of loneliness going into that kiss. Warmth emanated from him into her at that kiss, almost like it had when he'd put his mark on her. He was a demi-god, after all, and not at all human.

He swallowed the beginning of his own name on her lips with that kiss, sweeping away for just a few moments the discomfort of lying in the snow, the knowledge that they were far from alone, everything but the kiss he bestowed on her and the longing that came with it, ignited by the warmth that flooded her being. But care comes in many forms, and one of those forms is in denial for the sake of dignity.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Lo-loki ..." Her lips moved beneath his, gently but firmly parting from that kiss just far enough to speak clearly. "We are not alone."

"Get a room!" someone muttered as they passed by, a dog barking as if to enforce that statement, even as Kris pointed it out herself.

"I do not have a room," Loki muttered in reply, frowning in confusion at the remark.

She laughed, gently kissing his cheekbone. "It is a means of telling us to take this somewhere private if we wish to continue," she explained. "Help me up?"

"Oh," he replied, still learning the nuances of the language spoken by these people. "Of course!" he exclaimed as he moved to his feet, offering her a hand to help her do the same. "Do you wish to continue?" he asked as he helped her to her feet.

Brushing the snow from her backside and hair, Kris smiled once again at his gentle query. He seemed far more aware of the need for consent than many of the mortal men she had known. Her fingers squeezed his. "I believe I do," she assured him softly. "If it is your wish also."

"I believe so," he confirmed, though he wasn't too sure just what he was asking her or how far she was willing to go. "Where should we go?" he asked, uncertainly. He didn't have a room, per se, or at least, not someplace he felt fitting to take her.

"Well, I believe the protocol is that you walk me back to my lodgings before I drag you inside and have my way with you," she informed him with an absolutely straight face. The tease was given away by the sparkle in her eyes. "Unless you have other plans."

"Have your way with me?" he echoed, eyes wide. Did that mean what he thought it meant? His wife had adored him, but she had never been quite so outspoken about her desires as this woman.

The wide-eyed look on his face made her smile, her hand rising to draw her chilly fingers down his cheek. "Would you rather I simply lie back and not engage at all in what we are discussing?" she asked, wondering what sex was like millenia ago for this to be a surprise.

"If we are discussing what I think we are discussing, you are more than welcome to do as you please, so long as it doesn't involve torture," he said, adding that last little bit, even though he doubted that was what she had in mind.

"At most, I will tie your hands and blindfold you," she teased, brushing her grinning lips to his jaw. "A little pain can be exhilarating ... but only if the pleasure outweighs it. Don't you think?"

His eyes widened again, clearly stunned by her statement. "I, uh ... am not sure what to say to that." This was clearly not what he'd been expecting, not from her or from anyone. Not in a very, very long time.

"Women are a lot more outspoken in these times," she reminded him in a gentle tone, enjoying his dumbfounded expression a little more than he might have liked. "We know our own bodies better, as well. In case you need me to draw you a map."

"I do not need instructions, if that is what you mean," he assured her. "But it has been a long time since I have laid with a woman," he added, as if to warn her for some reason or other.

Kris considered this for a moment. "We will simply have to take care of your immediate need first, then," she said easily. The back of her hand brushed the focus of that concern with a firm but gentle touch as she turned, sliding her arm through his with a smile. "Shall we?"

His smile widened when she touched him and he realized what she meant. "Are all modern women as bold as you?" he asked, linking his arm with hers and allowing her to lead him wherever she wished. If this was a trap, it was a trap well laid, but he didn't think so.

"Oh, some are bolder," she assured him, leading the way back through the park with a quiet laugh. "I am not usually so bold, but with you, I feel safe to be. I am certainly not an untried virgin."

"Well, that is good to know," he admitted, unsure whether he was relieved or disappointed to learn that. In truth, it hardly mattered who she might have been with before. She belonged to him now; she had said so herself.

"Experience is far better than ignorance in this case," she murmured, wondering if he would prefer her to be untouched. "Of course, I could always go and find you a nice plump virgin ..." She flashed him a wicked grin.

"I assume you are joking," he said, the grin replaced by an uncertain frown. They hardly knew each other, after all, and though he had seen into her mind and her heart and her soul, he still had much to learn about her.

Kris paused, drawing him to a halt. "Was there anything in my kiss that suggested I would give you up to another?" she asked him softly, leaning close to repeat the gentler of their two kisses. "Do you think I could ever be that unselfish?"

He turned to face her, happy to let her kiss him, his ice blue eyes drifting closed to savor that kiss. It had been so long since anyone had showed him any affection, he had almost forgotten how sweet it could be. After a moment, he looked at her again, her voice drawing him out of his thoughts. "No, nor would I wish you to. You offered herself to me, Kristanna, and I accept that offer."

She smiled, the tip of her nose nudging his. "Then you should not take me so seriously when I tease you," she warned with impish good humor. "I never said the virgin would be human."

He furrowed his brows, looking even more confused. "I am not sure what you mean," he told her. How could the virgin not be human and what was she planning on doing? "Kristanna, I do not want a virgin. I want you."

"You are still taking my teasing seriously," she pointed out, laughing in a gentle tone as she kissed him once more. "Learn to laugh with me, Loki. You will not regret it."

"It is hard to laugh when I do not understand the joke," he explained, smiling a little into her kiss. "But I will try," he assured her. "Shall we go now?"

She lingered against him a moment longer before pulling back with a grin. "Yes, I have plans to ravish you. Come, come." Her hand slid into his as she tugged him along. A cheap motel room was probably not ideal in terms of that first physical connection, but it was all she had right now.

"Are we going to your room?" he asked, seeing how he didn't have a room here. He could have taken her away from this place, but he was curious what she had in mind for him.

She glanced at him curious. "It is the only place I have to take you, unless you would like to risk being arrested by making use of my car," she told him, shaking her head with a wry smile. "I have no fixed abode, Loki. I travel, and I often sleep in my car. But for once, I have a motel room."

"Arrested?" he scoffed with a chuckle. "We would not be arrested," he assured her. Not so long as he was capable of creating illusions to keep her safe. "You need not worry while you are with me, Kristanna."

"I like hearing you call me that," she confessed quietly as they retraced their steps out of the park and along the street toward the motel. "Until I met you, I did not even know that was my name, and now ... I cannot imagine you calling me anything else."
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"It is your name. Your true name," he told her. Like her, he could not imagine calling her anything else. He frowned a moment, as he considered what he'd seen of her past, once again. "There is much about your past that you do not yet know."

"But I will learn it, in time," she answered with soft confidence, reaching into her pocket for her key as she came to a halt by the motel room door. She offered him a gentle smile. "I trust you to tell me when you think it is the right time." With a rattle, the door opened under her touch, her smile inviting him inside once again.

But just when was the right time to tell someone much of her life had been a lie? Certainly not before she was about to seduce him. He wanted no lies between them, and yet, it was Artemis who was to blame for those lies, not him.

"I am not sure when that time will be. Perhaps I should tell you when you are sure you are ready to know," he suggested, accepting her invitation by stepping through the door, unsure just what awaited him, but anxious to find out.

"I think that is reasonable." The door closed and locked with a staccato pair of clicks, shutting them into a bland motel room that only really had the fact that it had a bed to offer in its own favor. Kris turned to Loki, tucking her fingers into his jacket to pull him close. "Are you ready to be ravished, my god?"

"Shouldn't I be asking you that question, my ardent devotee?" he asked, unable to hide the smirk from his face as she pulled him closer. His hands found their way to her waist, fingers curling into the belt loops of her jeans.

"I do believe I am the one having my wicked way with you first," she teased him in answer, one hand pulling her scarf from her neck to toss it aside before her lips caught his in a kiss that was a long way from the hesitant touch she had given him in the park. This kiss was gentle and confident, and definitely taking its time.

It had been a long time since he'd been with a woman, eons in fact, but not so long that he'd forgotten what to do. He returned that kiss with one of his own, more passionate now that they were alone than it had been before. He was happy to help with her clothes, starting with her jacket, easing it back over her shoulders and down her arms to toss it carelessly aside while his mouth explored hers.

And she was no less eager than him, dragging the zip of his own jacket down to push the leather from his shoulders, her fingers moving in separate directions; one hand into the loose dark of his hair, the other to trace down his side and up beneath his shirt. And all the while, pressing close, allowing him that exploration only if he allowed her the same.

He not only allowed her touch, but was clearly enjoying it, though he wasn't sure how long he was going to be able to restrain himself. His kisses were growing more impassioned, more needful, more demanding, while warm, sure hands found their way beneath her shirt to explore, just as she was exploring him.

His kisses swallowed her low groan as his hands found her skin, the flash of heated desire flaring, urging her on to take charge just a little while she still could. Her own hands found their way to the hem of his shirt, pulling it upward, coaxing his arms up to drag the cloth from his body. To let her smother his skin with touches, caresses, kisses that wanted more.

He returned each touch, each caress, each kiss with equal fervor, equal desire. He eased her shirt up and over her head, loosening the ponytail that held her hair up and sliding his fingers through her hair to smooth it out over her shoulders even as his lips left hers to leave a trail of kisses down her neck and further.

She shivered at the sensation of his hands in her hair, his name ghosting against his skin in answer to that intimacy, proving it a weak point for her to have her hair played with at all.

"You're trying to distract me," she murmured against his skin, her lips curved in a smile as she lifted her head, peppering his lips with softer, teasing kisses. As her fingers found the waist of his pants, and flicked open button and fly to wriggle inside.

He audibly groaned, partly in anticipation of what was to come, but he caught her hand before she could go much farther. That grin was on his face again as he went down on a knee, as if to worship her like a goddess, only to unzip her jeans and peel them from her legs so that he could explore every curve of her body with hands and lips and mouth.

She protested wordlessly, biting her lip as he stopped her from exploring as she wished to. A low laugh erupted from her lips at the sight of him on his knees in front of her.

"This was not the plan, Loki," she pointed out, drawing her fingers through his hair even as she swayed under his affections.

"Shhh," he murmured, pausing a moment in his ministrations to effectively shush her before he returned to what he was doing, thoroughly enjoying his exploration. He slowly moved back to his full height, guiding her back toward the bed so that he could lay her back and finish what he had started, with the intention of not stopping until she, too, was groaning with pleasure.

"This was supposed to be about y-"

Her complaint, however mild, was cut off in a rush of breath as she dropped onto the bed, smothering her own laugh behind her hand as she succumbed to a man - a god - who certainly didn't need any help finding his way around a woman's body. There weren't just groans that fell on his ears - his name, quiet pleas for release, the shuddering gasps of breath each time she writhed in his grasp - he more than earned them all in his relentless coaxing of her to crest that elusive peak.

It was good for his ego to know that he hadn't lost his touch, that he hadn't forgotten how to give a woman pleasure. Each groan and gasp and sigh only made him want her all the more, eager to end the long years of being alone, the long years of not knowing a woman's touch. He removed the last vestiges of her clothing, fingers teasing her flesh, while his lips did the rest.

There was no sense of embarrassment or shame at being bare in his arms, that modern boldness enough to give her confidence in her own form even as she came apart under his ministrations, forgetting to even try to muffle her pleasure in that glorious eruption of ecstasy.

He gloried in her ecstasy, proud he still knew how to master a woman and how to love her. But this was only the beginning, only the appetizer, so to speak, before the main course. He didn't withdraw his ministrations until he was sure she was finished, until her groans of pleasure faded into sighs, until she was completely and utterly relaxed, and then he started all over again to ready her for the next step.

"L-loki ..." She actually whined when he began once more, laughing breathlessly through the throbbing rise of her pleasure all over again. Her fingers clenched in his hair as she arched against the bed. "What about ... you?"

"Oh, I will have my pleasure. Don't you worry about me," he assured her with a grin. Sensing he had stoked her desire once again, he pushed away from her so that he could get rid of the last of his own clothes and stand before her in all his godly glory.

She pushed herself to sit up, watching him remove the last barriers between them with hungry eyes. One hand reached out, trailing fingertips down his chest and stomach, and further still, her smile more than a little wicked as she looked up at him. "I will get my chance to play, won't I?"

He drew a deep breath as his body reacted to her touch, and he reached for her hand to bring it to his lips. "Kristanna, you should know that if we make love, there is a good chance you will become pregnant," he warned her as gently as he could, hoping that would not scare her away.

With anyone else, that would be enough to scare her off ... but the closer she was to him, the more Kris was aware of the strange affinity that bound her to her god. She trusted him; even if this never happened again between them, she knew he would not abandon her or any child that came from their union.

"There is always a chance," she murmured softly. "I am not afraid to bear your child, Loki."

"You are human. Any child of ours will not be a monster. I promise you that," he assured her further, whether she was aware of the mythology surrounding his offspring or not. "I will not abandon you or our child. I promise you that, too," he told her, touching a kiss to the palm of her hand before easing down beside her at last.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She drew him into her arms, nuzzling a soft kiss to his lips as her hands smoothed over his skin. "No child of yours is a monster," she whispered to him. "Being different does not make for a monster. And if we make a child, they will be loved."

"You are truly a wonder, Kristanna," he whispered against her lips, wrapping her in his embrace, not bashful at all of the fact that his desire was all that more obvious now that they were close. "I want you," he whispered further. And he didn't want to wait any longer.

She smiled, nipping a teasing kiss to his lips. "Only if I get to play first next time," she murmured with playful mischief, rolling him onto his back if he would allow her to take that small amount of control.

He mirrored her smile, clearly amused. "Are those your terms?" he asked, looking up at her from his back when she turned him, trusting her implicitly, though they'd only known each other a few days.

"My only condition, yes," she laughed, leaning down to tease his lips with tender kisses, letting her hand play over his skin as her hips rocked, adding to that tease with an intimacy that could not be denied.

He grinned at her teasing, his hands moving to do some teasing of his own before drawing her down so that his lips could join in the fun. At this angle, he had a perfect view of her more than ample assets, as well as full access. Though he was a little rusty at lovemaking, his kisses and caresses proved he was no novice.

Her fingers clenched in the sheets above his head as finally their bodies joined, the dark sway of her head falling over her shoulder mingle with his own black locks as she moaned his name in motion. That other hand, so wicked in its roaming, curled to his cheek, drawing his lips to hers to demand the breathless kisses she gave out.

Though she had offered herself to him - heart and mind and body - it seemed she was now claiming him, too, making him hers, just as he had made her his. Two bodies becoming one in the oldest dance known to mortals and immortals alike. He had warned her that this coupling was not to be taken lightly, that she could very well become pregnant with his child, but she didn't seem to mind, and that only made him want her all the more. As their two bodies became one, he took a chance, allowing his heart to open a crack, to hope for an end to his eon-long loneliness at long last.

And he wasn't the only one hoping this moment would lead to an end to that loneliness, though his suffering was vast beyond hers. Kris had been alone all her life, despite being watched over by a goddess, without a family, without the constancy of friends. Now she knew where she belonged, who she belonged to. Even if he never loved her, this would be enough.

He had yet to speak of love or even dare hope for love. For now, this was enough, but would it last? Would she regret giving herself over to him someday, as others had in the past? Could he be who she needed him to be? But he didn't want to think about that now. He only wanted to think about this moment and to cherish it for as long as it lasted.

"You are a very special woman, Kristanna," he told her quietly, as he held her close.

She smiled, nestling into his arms, enjoying the fact that he had not rolled away or dismissed her the moment he was done, as others had before him.

"I think it is you who are special, Loki," she murmured back. "I feel ... it is as though I have found something I did not know I was searching for."

He said nothing for a moment, as if he was pausing to give her words some thought before replying at last. "Perhaps you have," he agreed. "Or perhaps you have simply found your true destiny." He had yet to tell her the truth of her past. What would she say when she knew the truth of it?

"Do I have a destiny?" she asked, seemingly amused by the thought. She tilted her head back, smiling up at him. "I did not know that ordinary mortals could have a destiny. I thought we were doomed to be judged on the mistakes we make without guidance."

"Perhaps I am your destiny, Kristanna," Loki pointed out. Did that mean she was his destiny, as well? She was not immortal, but there were things that could be done to change that. "Your father dedicated you to me at your birth for a reason," he said, though he wasn't quite sure what that reason was. "He saw my name in the runes and promised you to me, but the knowledge of that dedication was lost and unknown to me, until now. Artemis seems to think it's my fault, but it's not."

"I am not certain I understand," Kris admitted thoughtfully. "I know nothing of the dedication ritual, only that it must have happened. I can feel you, inside me. But I do not believe you ignored me or abandoned me, whatever she thinks."

"How can I ignore that which I know nothing of?" he countered, gently. "But even if I'd known, you would have been safer without me. You are safer without me still. There are those who hate me and will stop at nothing to see me dead. So long as you are with me, you are in danger."

"So long as I am without you, I have no purpose," she pointed out. "I will be nothing more than a hunter, mistrusted by my fellows for also being a witch. Surely where I go should be my choice?"

"I am only warning you, Kristanna. You deserve to know the truth and to know what it means to be with me," he told her, though he did not yet explain what he meant by such a statement.

She shifted, lifting herself up a little to rest on her elbow, looking down at him. "Knowing the truth of the world with demons and angels and gods puts me in danger," she told him gently. "I never had any choice about that. I trust you, Loki."

"There is always a choice, Kristi," he said, shortening her name without asking, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. "But we have talked enough about such things for one day," he said, touching her cheek, deft fingers tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "What shall we do now?" he asked, with a spark of mischief in his eyes.

Her expression relaxed into another fond smile as his fingers skimmed her cheek. "I could think of a number of things," she mused playfully. "Though I should add another night to my stay here before we are evicted. And that requires me not smelling as though I have been thorough debauched."

"Ah, well ... That is simple enough," he said with a grin. With a simple wave of his hand, the room they were in was suddenly transformed into a bedroom fit for a queen. Though it was only an illusion, it was a convincing one, complete with a sumptuous bed, crystal chandelier, mirrors and candles. "Too gaudy?" he asked, with a grin.

She laughed, twisting to look around at the luxurious illusion that surrounded them. "Goodness," was her mirthful response, her head tipping back to him, eyes crinkling with her smile. "But it does not solve the problem of having to check out soon if I do not add another day to my stay here."

"Money is no object when you can make people see what they want to see," he pointed out, which was part of the point he was trying to make with the illusion. While it wasn't real, it certainly looked and felt real.

Her smile softened, touched just a little with compassionate sadness. "But it is not real," she said quietly, drawing her fingertips tenderly against his cheek. "Would you not rather have a home, no matter how simple, than to be constantly surrounded by the illusion of luxury?"

"I have not had a home in a very long time," he murmured, a sad smile on his face. "There is something you should know about illusions," he said, waving his hand to dispel the illusion, the room turning to its normal appearance. "They are only real so long as you believe in them."
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Kristen Rowe
Young Wyrm
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She blinked in surprise, lowering herself down to lie beside him once again. "So it is possible for anyone to dispel an illusion?" she asked, genuinely fascinated. His comment on not having a home was gently pushed aside, for now.

"Technically, yes, but it's rare that anyone doesn't truly believe in one of my illusions. In order to disbelieve, you'd have to know it is an illusion," he explained.

"I suppose so," she mused, tracing half-finished runes on his chest with her fingertip. "And you must truly believe that it is an illusion, I suppose."

He shrugged against the pillows, all too aware of her touch and her closeness, which filled his senses with her presence. "Most people believe what their eyes are telling them, especially when the illusion extends to all their senses."

"Hmm ... and do you believe in your illusions?" she asked softly. "Can you lose yourself in them, even though you are their creator?" There was a point to her questioning, but it all depended on his reply.

"No, I always know what is real and what is not," he replied. At least, as far as his own illusions were concerned. He had never met anyone who could fool him either, including Gabriel.

"Then you deserve a home," she murmured, nestling her cheek against his shoulder. "Somewhere real to be your safe place, your haven from the world. An illusion will never be able to give you what a true home can."

"I'm not sure I will ever truly be safe," he told her, though he had not yet explained why. He had his fair share of enemies, of course, Gabriel notwithstanding. "And you are not safe so long as you are with me."

"So you keep saying." Kris raised her head to look down at him once again. "But you will not tell me what these dangers are, or who the danger originates with."

He met her gaze silently a moment, as if he was considering whether or not to answer the question she wasn't quite asking. "Heimdall," he replied after a long moment. "It has been prophesied that he and I will eventually kill each other," he explained.

Kris held his gaze for a long moment, raising her brow slowly. "Yes," she said carefully. "It was also prophesied that Fenrir would kill Odin by swallowing him whole. That is not how Odin died."

"Perhaps Fenrir never had the chance," Loki countered. After all, it was Lucifer who'd killed Odin, not Fenrir. "Heimdall will be looking for me, and now that I am no longer hiding, he is bound to find me eventually."

"Why does he want to kill you?" she asked in a quiet voice, her palm flat over his heart. Perhaps this was what made her a good tracker - the need to understand why, as well as who and what.

Loki shrugged again. "He has always hated me. He does not trust me, and he has always been jealous of my place among the Asgardians. He thinks I am not worthy, and he did not approve of the freedoms Odin afforded me. He was chief among those who arranged my imprisonment," he explained, his voice dripping with loathing.

She frowned, chewing at her lip. "I know very little about Heimdall," she admitted. "I know very little about the Norse that did not come from the sagas you have already told me are inaccurate. But I would not wish to lose you."

"I would not wish to lose you either," he told her, lifting a hand to touch her cheek. Though they had only just met a few days earlier, she had been dedicated to him at birth. Was it so hard to believe that they had bonded so quickly and could already not imagine life without the other?

A gentle smile lit up her face, her head tilting until she could kiss his lips tenderly for just a moment. "I am yours," she whispered. "And I will protect you, just as you protect me."

He was grateful for her kiss, even as he returned it, but once their lips parted, he frowned, a troubled expression on his face. "I do not want you to get hurt because of me, Kristanna," he told her, wondering if she was better off without him - safer - but it might be too late for that now.

"I do not have to fight in order to protect you," she countered. "Nor can you make that decision for me. Yes, you could abandon me, but I don't think you will. I want to be yours, to be with you. And I think you want me to stay, too."

"I will not lie to you, Kristi," Loki said, fingers caressing her cheek, ice blue eyes meeting hers. "I do not want to lose you," he said, repeating what he'd told her a short while before. He sighed. "There must be a way to resolve this." He just needed to figure out what it was.

"What he hopes to gain from your death is what will give the answer to resolving it without losing you," she suggested softly, rising up to lean over him, kissing the tip of his nose. "But for the moment, I need to shower."

"Scrub Loki from your skin?" he teased, that hint of mischief curling his lips once again. He hoped that wasn't what she intended, but he couldn't help teasing her about it anyway.

She laughed, sitting up with languid grace. "I was rather hoping Loki was going to come with me, but I can hardly force him." Rising to her feet, she threw him a teasing glance over her shoulder as she padded toward the bathroom.

"Is that an invitation, huntress?" he asked, tossing the sheets and blankets aside in readiness to follow her, his eyes following the enticing view.

"Does a god need an invitation to accept the worship of his high priestess?" she asked innocently, her hand trailing over the doorframe as she stepped out of sight.

"When you put it that way, no," he replied, though he was already on his way, following on her heels to the bathroom, like a moth to the flame. If she was to be his undoing, if she was to be the end of him, then at least, he'd die happy.

But, of course, if she had her way ... he would live happy. And that might be even better.
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