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VenomousEve

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2016, 06:07:12 pm »
Cat did smile a little, when she pictured him throwing stinging nettles at her on stage. How peculiar everyone would think that was. She jumped when he sent the nettle sailing her way, and smirked when it fell pitifully short of her. “Well, there you go being a child, though.” She teased. Not that she minded. It was a great kindness that they could share these silly sorts of things together. Back at home, the air was always tired and the strain of the family business had become sour with their various tensions. It sat heavy on the young shoulders.

When he took her hand, she was quick to lace her fingers with his and squeeze tight. It had always been just the two of them. It might always be. There was a little lonely in that, but Catalina thought it was the sort of thing that made their closeness sweeter. Us against the world and all of that. In some sense, it was just her adolescent dreaminess dramatizing their need for solidarity. They had loving parents and some amount of food on the table every night, despite anything else. They weren’t nearly as alone as her young heart occasionally suggested. “You’re right.” She agreed, pushing her shoulder gently against his as they walked.

They had not done as well as Cat had anticipated, collected nettles. Their alternate goal had somehow inched ahead in priority and they had walked fast toward the cave and left several patches of nettles untouched. It was fine, though. They could get them on the way back, when progressing slowly toward home might also be in their benefit. As if the Earth wished to give the siblings an even better excuse for their rather paltry haul, a sudden rush of sound rolled toward their ears.

Cat paused and looked skyward. “Uh oh.” She said, and then looked at Inan with a wild sort of grin. “Rain.” She confirmed the obvious, just as the first big droplets descended through the trees. Valleyrun was prone to heavy late winter rains. In fact, an abundance of precipitation had been the main cause of the early nettle growth. The winter falls were always abrupt, both to start and end, but their durations were unpredictable. It was heavy, sheet-like rain that descended, only barely broken up by the forest trees. Catalina tugged on Inan’s hand, and sprinted forward. “Run! Before it’s nothing but mud. The cave is close, anyway!” she gasped.

It would have been futile to think they’d make it into the cave’s mouth before they were utterly soaked to the bone with the chilly winter rain and Cat was glad her bag, at least, was waterproof. It had been a lucky find at the secondhand store some years ago and Cat had spent almost all the allowance she’d saved that year to buy it. “Are you doing okay?” she called to him, voice raised to compete with the thunderous downpour as the outline of the steep hill rise that marked the entrance to the cave came foggily into view.

When they tumbled inside, shivering and wet, Cat was laughing as she panted. The sound was full and unrestrained, echoing into the deeper reaches of the cavern. The volume of the rain outside, though, nearly drowned it out. It was dark in the cave, and Cat held fast to her brother’s hand, reaching with the other to hold on to his arm. They needed to go a bit deeper in, to get beyond the rain that was being blown in at the entrance. When they were out of the spray, she tugged on his sopping sleeve to indicate they should sit.

Rummaging in her bag, she found the old camping lantern she’d brought for exploring, and clicked it on to set between them. Highlighted in the soft yellow light, her hair looked like dark fire painted against her flushed cheeks. The green eyes were sparkling. “That hasn’t happened in a while.” She breathed. Mother liked to pay close mind to the weather reports in the paper. When there was more than a thirty percent chance of rain or snow, she usually didn’t let Inan go into the woods with Cat. Cat herself wasn’t allowed out if the reports were more than fifty percent. When she caught her breath, she dug in her bag a little more. “Here, change into this.” She said, producing an old sweater of his that she’d commandeered some years ago. “The sleeves might be a little short but it’s better than that.” She said, pointing to his drenched shirt. She’d always kept it in her bag, just in case something like this happened. Like Mother, she was terrified of Inan catching ill, though her reason might have been somewhat different.

For herself, she wriggled out of her top to ring it out as best she could. It was cold, but wet and cold was worse. “I’m sure the rain will stop soon enough, and then we can head straight home.” She said.

--

Marin extended her hand to Adam Copper, accepting the greeting. “Yes, I just arrived last night.” She said. “It’s nice to meet you.” Her dark eyes studied Adam’s face carefully. He seemed guarded, somewhat. Perhaps his wife had taught him well enough that he could detect Old things at least a little. That was interesting. She gave him her sweetest face, as if she could be more desirable on demand. “My name is Marin.” She offered.

There was a fine line to walk, when looking only to sate her curiosity. She wasn’t of the mind to create drama with Adam’s family. It would draw too much attention. Any high emotion she might have craved seemed simple enough to satisfy with Snitch and his friends. What she desired was vulnerability, so she could earn an invitation inside Adam’s house. Then, it wouldn’t matter if the Witch knew what she was. She was certain that Adam’s wife would be respectful, at least, out of mutual ties to the Old Ways and the Old bloodlines. Marin herself didn’t present any immediate threat to them if they were on guard.

“A nurse, you say? You might just be the person I was looking for.” She had similar mannerisms for Martin and Ahler, and that comfort with dealing with the older man was curious. As if she didn’t see herself any differently. Fluid existence or equal interest. She didn’t let go of Adam’s hand, though she loosened her grip so he’d be made to let go first. How cautious was he? How difficult would it be to make him curious?

He seemed like a good, honest man. That was better, really. Loyalty toward his family might make him more inclined to lie to himself about the way she would make him feel. Those sort of sensations were bred into her sordid lineage. It wasn’t the kind of thing she’d asked for or tried to accomplish. It just made things simpler. “I came to Valleyrun to see if there were people that could help me, actually.” She explained with a sad smile. “I have an odd condition and it’s not something the city hospitals have expertise for, if you understand what I mean.”

Surely he’d be able to guess in the right direction. That primitive suspicion that had brought him to over here would have suggested she was some kind of different. Marin didn’t mind confirming it. If she was very lucky, Snitch might give away her secret some time when Adam could hear. Surely the appeal of angels didn’t die with age. But then, this man had also married a Witch.   

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2016, 09:46:53 pm »
Despite his gentle overall nature, it was not easy to startle Inan. The world clearing its airways didn't worry him. Once, mother had said that if a scare doesn't match or surpass the anxiety already inside, you will not jump when people try to frighten you. She'd looked worried at the end of that meaning, and had not brought it up again with her son. His mouth lifted when Cat's did and he nodded with her. Some of the heat had been sucked out of the forest. The charm of today had been it's chill, but now it had become exaggerated. Inan wouldn't mind at first, with the adrenaline of running.

He squeezed her hand hard, long legs following suite. Little sounds, almost words, at the end of some of his more violent inhales. The laughter he couldn't afford, not when they'd started running so suddenly and his meager amount of blood had to catch up so it could run as well, echoed against the cartilage rings of his throat. "So okay!" he replied, that laughter finally claiming two breaths.

And then there it was, higher up, the stone lips and teeth and the smear of reds around them. Father had never been around, at last not with them, to say what kind of berries they were. Rich things, swaying, bouncing. The pair ran past them. No time to cup the ruby riches, talk about tasting one, and then never having the courage to, so far form home and dad's medicine.

The cave focused the wind. Cat was right to move deeper. Inan went with as he wiped his face and ran his fingers through his hair to keep it back. Again, he'd lost the tie to it. The lantern would light his wide mouth along with this and that angle of his face, as he took in the cave walls, tossing the water at the ends of his hair with every flick. "Are you sure you don't want it? I'm okay." he said, but was already doing what he was told. He'd had these arguments with her before.

His jacket and shirt laid on separate rocks when he got the sweater on just in time to turn his attention deeper when Cat pulled off her top. It was enough that she was breathing rapid from the run, making the hollows of her collarbones alluringly dark, then prettily smooth. Yes, the twist of hair that ran across her lower, rain beaded lip was already warming him more than the knit. He didn't need to know what underwear she'd chosen, too.

"Blip, blip." he said, pushing the buttons on a screen neither of them had brought. He held the invisible device to his ear, still not looking at her until she'd gotten her shirt on. "Yes, hello, dad?" According to Inan himself, he had always been a good actor. "Sorry, the reception is bad in the cave and..." already his voice was failing to the glee. "we also forgot our phones." For reasons he wouldn't be able to explain if you asked him, the act extended to tossing to phone on the cave floor before he started laughing.

When that explosive amusement was gone - it was an empty, self-serving joke, after all - he was grateful for the hissing rain and the silence that did not come to underline his inferior humor. He drank some water still stuck around his mouth as he moved closer to her. "What if it doesn't stop?" he asked her back, finally. He opened his own bag to see if he'd taken something they could use. Half a pack of paper towels, not enough for either of their faces, and a small metal box of mints. The sound it made suggested very few left. He flicked it open with his thumb and held it out to her as his eyes wandered again. They had never seen the end of this cave. "What if this is the world now?" he said with more hope than he'd been prepared for. "It would be our forest, our rain." Primordial. He'd flick the lid closed, to catch her fingers as they reached for the little round treats, as he always did. It was an old box.

He'd hurry to put an arm around her, since he was dry and she wasn't. If nothing else happened, it would be a splendid day. That, and the suspicion they'd have this less and less, was the melancholy of it.

-

She was a lovely creature, Adam noted. If he'd not been a bit weary of her, he would have been sweaped away, the same as these three. Still, her pretty performance was able to dull the edge of his worries, even though it should have cause him to be more alert. Or perhaps preternatural was too far a leap, even for the good Witch's mate. She pulled him in when she spoke of an affliction that sterile medicine couldn't tackle. His house was thick with this tradition. Healers as far back as you could trace, no less so on Elise's side, though her passed down practice had been lethal to the wielder, given the attitudes of the people, when his was a bit precarious, at worst.

Elise did very few things herself, now. It was because people did not see her for her craft, other than how it tied in to Inan's blood. But last winter, the Seren boy had lost sleep due to nightmares. The family had come to the house of the Copper's for help. A few weeks of Elise's attention, and the boy was well again. There had been a glower around Adam's wife some time after that. He suspected she would like to feel that way again, and always hoped, against his own conscience, that the knocks on their door would be for his wife rather than his son.

Thinking of this, it somehow fit that this girl seemed odd. What if there was something inside her? He noticed that their hands were still joined when Ahler looked from her shoulder to his. Adam slowly let go, and felt himself dragging in the task. He swallowed the urge to apologize. "Then you are welcome, both as a visitor, and as someone my wife, Elise, could help." he smiled gently and watched Marting put a paper cup in the hand Adam had held. "We're always home, but try not to come after ten in the evening." It was a joke, but noone laughed. Perhaps visiting after those hours wasn't so outlandish to these kids. He felt old enough to excuse himself with a few niceties, after that.

"So." Martin started after the adult had gone, and bit into the ring of his cup. "Condition?" He thought of what Ahler had said about this girl. "It's none of my business, but it does make me curious."

Ahler took a place beside her, shaking his head. "Maybe we shouldn't pry." He noticed that Nona was also holding a coffee, and that there was none for him.

"It's not prying. We're just trying to be friends." Nona said, her shoulder brushing Marin's from the opposite side of Ahler. "You okay, dear?" she added. "if it's urgent, we could take you right away." It was obvious the pretty, small-town daisy was trying to ruffle the new girl.

-

Olister was still in his car, parked by the bakery where he'd gotten his breakfast. Really, he should have gone straight to Midsummer, but he had a feeling this mark wasn't going to follow known patterns. He didn't have friends in Valleyrun. The jurisdiction of the station that sometimes looked through their fingers in the city did not reach this far. Or so they'd said. Must be a nightmare around here, if things ever went wrong. He thought of Catalina Copper, and chewed on the the last crust. The brown in his eyes had a golden quality in the morning, while the unwashed brown of his hair was usually closer to black. It looked presentable, brushed back, getting long. Hard to look like someone you might talk to about horrible things you'd seen when he was always up at night, looking at too much or too little blood. The clean, black shirt was his extra mile. It also helped that his cheeks were thin under the stubble and his nose was straight.

-

The waitress at the café and bakery had let a moonlight beam come in before opening hours, even before she'd served the first costumer who'd not left the parking space. The ivory thing had placed himself in the back, away from the windows, and complimented her on the apron. She had been stressed and angry before he came. Now she felt like giving him the savings she kept in a photo album in her attic. He only wanted to know if there was superstition in this town.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2016, 02:17:32 am »
Cat shivered while she giggled. “Mom and Dad are going to absolutely kill us. Well. Me. They’re going to kill me.” She laughed. It wasn’t a spiteful thing, when she said it. It was simply the truth. Inan might have been older, but Cat’s health wasn’t so precious. She untwisted her shirt and held it out before her. It was still dripping. At least he hadn’t fussed over the sweater too much. Maybe she’d be excused for having that foresight, at least. It would be hard to scold either of them over the phones. Both parents were well aware that the children had never acquired the habit of carrying them well enough.

She stretched the shirt over a rock and then tugged off her tennis shoes and shimmied out of her jeans to spread them out, as well. “I can help dry us out, I think.” She said, sitting down on the dusty cave floor. Cat smiled when Inan came close, grateful for the little warmth. Not that she’d have told him so. He would be more insistent about her taking the sweater, then. At that close proximity, her expression changed suddenly. It had never occurred to her, before, to be embarrassed in front of him. Something about the dripping dark hair, falling around the slim cheeks, and the way the golden rings on his eyes seemed to glow in the lantern light, made her reconsider. “I’m sorry. Is it going to bother you if I don’t put them back on, while they dry?” she mumbled, referring to her sopping clothes.

Catalina looked away awkwardly and toyed with a dripping coil of her long red hair. She was glad when he pulled out the mints and relaxed a little when he pulled his usual teasing. “I think I can make a fire.” She offered. She scrambled to her knees and scooted forward a bit to move the lantern out of the way. Highlighted in the low glow, auburn tresses plastered to her milky skin as she kneeled in her underclothes, she looked like a more ancient sort of Witch. A pagan daughter of the Earth as she began to murmur the Old Words.

Cat wasn’t a practitioner of strong Magic, let alone destructive spells. It took a concerted effort and some of the more saturated Words she knew to begin shaping the essence of fire in her mind’s eye. For all her will, the result was a very small, low hovering flame. She leaned back, panting the last phrases of the spell, and crawled quickly back to lean against Inan’s side. “Do you have anything in your bag to throw into the fire? We can grow it a little, then.” She said, smiling. Cat was always happy when her Magic worked, as if she’d been given some great gift. To the Witchling, that was likely the case. Earth’s power was always a gift. That sort of thinking had kept her Magic pure.

--

“That would be lovely, Mr. Copper. I’d really appreciate it if you and your wife would see me.” Marin said. She didn’t quite smile, though her cheeks lifted to narrow her dark eyes pleasantly. “I’ll be sure not to come by too late.” She agreed. Marin didn’t need to be asked not to come by at night. She might be frightening to the Witch in the evening hours.

She watched Adam as he left, gaze pinned to his back until he’d walked out the doors. The intensity there softened when she looked down at the coffee cup Martin had put into her hand. These kids were all about taking the lead. She wondered if they were always so forward, of it if was simply because they were curious about her.

Marin glanced between the three as they discussed politeness. “It’s alright to ask. I suppose I brought it up.” She said. “I thought Ahler might have told you a bit of it, honestly.” She suggested, wearing an expression that was close to shyness. “And I appreciate the concern, but I’d really rather not talk about it too much.” She added. Snitch could feel a little special, if he wanted.

Her gaze snapped to Nona, and the deep black of her eyes was some unsettling sort of bottomless. “Really, it’s not urgent at all. I don’t suppose it would make sense for me to be following you all around town if it were, would it?” she asked. There was a definitive end implied for whatever pressure Nona had wished to imply. In the small silence that settled then, the rain began to fall loud and heavy like bullets against the shop’s tin roof.

“Oh, how nice. I love the rain.” Marin said. It was easier to eat in the rain. Less to leave behind. There had been a life when that sort of thing mattered. For now, she simply liked the coolness it brought with the air. “Where shall we go next?” she asked, looking pointedly at Martin. Would it be terribly hard to get him alone? She really was getting hungry. She was in the mood to be gentle, too. Surely it wouldn’t be too much to trouble him with.     

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #33 on: May 10, 2016, 09:44:40 pm »
She was right. Mother wouldn’t scold him, and father did what mother wanted. Still, there had to be some kind of reaction to misplacing, or never touching their only form of communication out here. An ugly truth, that he quietly rejected when Catalina was done stating it. He was dreaming up a series of events that might force mother’s forgiveness, most of the courses including his own martyrdom, until he was holding his almost naked sister close in their far-off hiding place. “Of course it won’t bother me.” He said, a reflex, and demonstrated the imagined cavalier by wrapping another arm around her waist, pulling her closer. He crossed her body as many times with his arms as he could. Inan tried thinking more of her well-being than his forbidden inclinations.

He could only keep her for a while, until she went about trying to make them warm. It was a fantastical idea, he though. While the sweater was doing its job, he’d rather be warmer, which mean Cat was probably freezing. So he saw the scene play out, her pretty body shadowed and blazed by the fire she conjured. For a moment, she wasn’t laid-bare intimacy he shouldn’t consider, she was simply what their bloodline had made her. He sat there, as unmoving as the stone walls, and heard her speak to old reservoirs of magic. He felt wonderfully insignificant when she consulted and won audience with her birthright, and raised the tiny star in their private universe.

He was eager to help when she suggested it, and tore his bag into his lap. There were only nettles, of course. He didn’t hesitate long. “Here.” He said, and realized it was more to the fire than to Cat as he fed it. Nature must have been content with this offering, because the plants didn’t sting him. He sacrificed a handful and the flames ate efficiently.

He popped a mint into his grin and sat closer to the heat before he looked at her again, gratefulness in the gold. His expression changed when he remember she was all but naked. Inan lifted his shirt. Short, perhaps, but the neck was wide. Clothes had always draped over the boy, and so they did over Catalina as well, when she got them. By some measure, he could believe it would host them both. “Come in here, damn it.” The frustration was at himself. So what if he felt embarrassed, or didn’t know what to do with his tell-tale pulse. If she caught a cold because of his cowardice, there would be no forgiveness. In a way it was fitting, that he held the shirt up, exposing his heart. He'd keep secrets from her, perhaps also engage in a distance between them, but not if doing so could hurt her.

-

Ahler did feel special, chosen. A deliberate look away from Martin told of poorly hidden pride. How much did he know, himself? Surely, Elise was going to have a raised eyebrow or two with this case. Could human blood cure angel blight?

Nona was quieted by the eyes and their solid quality. A rebel at heart, more for greed than righteousness, she wanted to continue her attempt at poking, but a primal part of the human that she was warned her not to. Girls like Nona learned to listen. She shrugged, the way people do when they want attention off them, and looked down on her shoes.

"Everybody loves the rain in theory." Martin said, drinking to his cleverness. Ahler frowned, agreeing. The coffee almost burnt Martin's throat when he noticed the attention from Marin. With practiced composure, he swallowed and came to the new girl. Ahler had to take a step back, and Nona had to wrinkled her forehead. "There's a fire ring with an overhang pretty close. You might get a bit sprayed, but it should be dry under." he suggested. "Can see the forest from there, basically in the forest, too."

Nona, still a little respectful after the quiet show of power she'd been the victim of, trailed after, even allowing Ahler to walk by her while Martin entertained Marin a few paces ahead. The four of them, sticking close to the houses for protection provided by the extended roofs, could have looked like friends then, dear ones, making fond memories in the rain.

"For your coughing." Martin said, high on confidence. It was an expensive brand. The filters were white, sticking out of the packet. He was usually a little stingy with them, but Marin, with all her inexplicable draw, was making him feel generous.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2016, 03:30:43 am »
Catalina followed his lead, tossing whatever nettles had made it into her bag onto the hungry little flame. It glowed brighter and dance and Cat was sure she could begin to feel its warmth seeping into the chilly air. “There.” She said, satisfied. She took her sopping clothes and spread them beneath the hovering flame, hoping to encourage them to dry faster.

She was a little taken aback when Inan demanded that she share the sweater. It was short on his arms but baggy on his torso, the neck stretched wide from thorough use. Cat supposed she might fit. It made her laugh, but she obliged. She crawled onto his lap to wrap her arms tight around his bare chest. “Okay, try and pull it over my head.” She said. With some wriggling, it worked. Just barely. She pressed herself closer to him, resting her forehead against his cheek. There wasn’t room for much else. “This is ridiculous.” She informed him, though her shivering had already begun to subside.

When the children were very young, in the dead of winter, they used to huddle in a cocoon of blankets to much the same effect. Mother and Father had always kept the heat rather low, to save on bills, and provided them with layer upon layer of blankets to make up for the chilly nights. Neither of the siblings had minded much, playing silly word games in their shared chrysalis until one or both of them had fallen asleep. They had tried something of the same trick a couple of winters ago and found they had outgrown the cocooning potential of their old blankets. It had been disappointing, but amusing to try anyway.

“What would you do if one of your vampires found us here?” she asked. “We couldn’t run away like this. Would you let us be eaten?” A scandalous question, if she thought about it. Valleyrun had heard of the rare attack in the fringes of the city. The victims were almost always in some fashion compromised, as if they had been caught up in some mad and unthinking passion up until their last breaths. Perhaps she had realized the possible implications of her query, or maybe it was just that she hadn’t anticipated an answer. Either way, she began humming the tune she’d given to the forest earlier before Inan had said anything back.

In the echoing round of the cave, set against the soft thunder of the rainstorm, her voice sounded a little other-worldly. The same sort of fantastical as she’d been conjuring their little happy fire. Elise might have been the same sort of wild Witch as her daughter, had she the same luxuries growing up. Valleyrun, though caught between Old prejudices and modern reverence, had given Cat a safer world to blossom in than she realized. Whether Inan knew the way they’d been able to grow up was special or not, it couldn’t detract from the concerted Magic in them both. It ran in his veins and presently it danced on his sister’s skin. She held him tighter. Maybe the humming was a distraction, in the end. Something to excuse the confused fluttering of her heart against his. As she’d said, they were quite grown, now.

--

Marin nodded in agreement. It was easy to get separated in this sort of storm, and she wasn’t inclined to visit the Blood House in such weather. Gaining invitation in no longer seemed like a challenge. Finding simplicity in an exit, however, might be harder won. Particularly if the Witch was the protective type. Better to keep your enemies close. Marin didn’t know if that would be a fair assessment of her place in the town or not, but she wouldn’t be able to blame the Witch for deciding so. Particularly not when Marin was hungry. Baser instincts made fiendish behavior significantly more appealing.

She swallowed the rest of her coffee, drinking it a bit quicker than the temperature would have apparently allowed, and wiped the corners of her full little lips with a small square napkin. “Shall we go?” she asked, taking a page out of Nona’s book and slipping her arm through Martin’s. She smiled briefly up at the blonde. Her sweetness, that peculiar and soft fragrance, would be a bit heady at that proximity.

Marin waited until they’d ventured along a few of the buildings and, in the process, put a reasonable amount of space between themselves and the other two. Under the roar of the rain, she leaned a little nearer to the boy to offer conspiracy. “Martin, what has Ahler told you about me? Will you tell me honestly?” If he was revealing, she would continue. “He’s not lying, you know. Although I asked him to keep it a secret. Not that he understand it all. And my illness.”

Marin would pause, letting her gaze drop and walking silence until they were nearer to the fire ring. “This evening, will you find a way to meet me at my room? I’d like to talk to you alone. I don’t want to hurt Ahler’s feelings, of course. But I really think you might be able to help me a little bit.” She would give him a hopeful smile. “Maybe, after the three of you part ways tonight, you can come back to see me. I’d like the chance to speak freely with you before I visit Mr. Copper’s house tomorrow morning. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble.” She’d need to have a chat with Lynnette, later, to reserve her room for a few more nights. Blood House aside, Valleyrun was intriguing enough to deserve a longer visit. This trio had won her over, at least for the time being.

It would be delicious to create memories with them. There was such a lonely void in her for that kind of sentimentality, as hungry to be filled as her stomach. As they came into view of the fire ring, she glance back at Ahler and Nona and offer a reassuring smile, because Martin might be her craving but she had no less interest in the other two. She had eaten all their names and had every intention of savoring them. With her free hand, she’d accept the little vice from Martin’s packet and place it daintily between her lips. “How thoughtful of you. May I have a light?”

For all her upstanding pretty in her pink sundress, the addition hardly looked out of place. Like something liquid, she rose to consume her surroundings, playing her moods like music with the props of her existence. It wasn’t anything special about her birthright. It was simply the lingering ghosts of too many lives, building a shifting loveliness. Another fall of dark hair had come loose from her clip, striking a blade across an equally pitch eye. She waved at the other two, to encourage them to catch up. As if it had been unintentional that they’d gotten away by a bit. 

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #35 on: May 14, 2016, 06:16:33 pm »
When he caught her head with the circumference of the neckline, he had to consume one of his own gasps. He'd not known what he expected, but he'd not imagined that she'd be against him like this, lingering condensation and actual drops on her skin attaching her to him like some membrane, fast turning lukewarm and more. He looked down at her face sticking up from the sweater, their sweater now, still adorned and framed by rivulets of her sometimes black, sometime deep red hair. He wondered if her beauty was wasted on him as he wrapped his arms around her. In exchange for enduring this draining temptation, he could oversee her temperature. It was good to know she was warming.

"Yes it is." Ridiculous. But it was better to be so, than to catch cold. Witches should be exempt from that, anyway. Nature should not punish its servants. But it did. It sent remedies that only witches knew, and then it produced tinder and fuel for the fires that ate those witches up for their knowledge and abilities. Elise was not cheap with those stories. It wasn't to frighten, not the way she told them, but for her children to appreciate the current state of things. Valleyrun, in addition to being hindered by law from celebrating subjective justice with flames and a pair of tied wrists, even loved their old, magic bloodline. The tales had inevitably made it into Inan's dreams, and then he was grateful for if the plot was that he was burning, and his family was watching. The opposite, and he couldn't sleep for the rest of the night.

His hands petted her spine and shoulders through the fabric, like he was some content ogre rubbing his belly, filled with girl from a particular lucky hunt. He thought about her question, and in the ensuing scenario of a thirsty demon coming to visit in their hiding place, he didn't become defensive. The fascination knotted his skin with shivers. He wondered if she could feel it, and what she would read of it; the cold, the warm. "I'd protect you." A throw-away promise to his otherwise - strangely - peaceful, dreamed up scene. He thought other things, of course, when his nakedness, underneath, was warming hers, against. If he could hide inside the row of carnal missteps signature to the demon that haunted the city, wouldn't he venture on some hurrah? The fingers petted her deeper, into the muscles of her shoulder blades. Not a mischievous pressure, but a curiosity. "I'd be glad." It was a strange thing to say. The implications were too severe. "To be here with you."

The song she kept mostly in her chest wandered onto him. Her accompanying breath made more moist on his chest. At night, when he couldn't sleep, she'd hold his head and make melodies in her throat to soothe him. This was not that. This lulled the air in the cave to build the lie that there was nothing in the world but them. And that there was nothing crooked or askew with what the song made him feel. With his breathing, her cheek would peel from his collar only to attach itself again. Like some dance they counted on for a status que that stood on an increasingly inflated, volatile base.

His fingers in her hair, fingerprints dusting her scalp. Her vibrations onto his heart. "You've always sang to me, Catalina." His cheek to her hair, as well, because she was so close. A light nudge from his chin onto her temple, so her head would tip back and he could brush his cheek on her cheekbone, instead. With this nothing between them, and the cold having retreated deep, chased by the fire she'd sung to life and their attaching, she looked the way he tried not to see her. "Always sing." Her lips, that weren't making lyrics but composed music still, seemed to blur as she hummed. It added to the lazy, pleasant, and solemn spell she was already casting.

-

Martin, in the rain, well drunk on his accomplishment and her company, wore an insinuated smile on the expression that otherwise tried to spell out concern, when she called him lean in closer. "Something about an angel. It's hard to listen to Ahler sometimes." he said, and thought it sounded less sympathetic than he wanted to appear. "He rants, and it was late." Better. When she agreed his heart clamored to the romanticism just the way Ahler's had. Martin believed in the magics here, perhaps more than some, because they had to be real in order for him to use them.

Secrecy and elation thrived in the silence she spread until the fire ring. Her charms would make the head underneath the light hair dizzy. He'd not sampled the lure of anything so long lived, before. Martin hadn't even learned to navigate a particularly sharp seduction from a human, yet. With her requests, he thought he was the hunter. And when she took the thin roll, he'd thought he'd snared her completely. "Of course we can meet up." he said, calming the grin down to half a smile.

Nona fancied herself wild, and expected as much from Martin, but she'd call upon the rules of a closed relationship when the mood struck her. He decided she could be stricken with whatever she wanted, he'd not worry about the crazy belle of Valleyrun if he had the chance to share an evening with Marin. It was strange that he thought more of what he might learn about her than what he might taste of her, now. A lighter, cheap, needed two flicks before the sparks colored the gas. He took it to her cigarette. "And of course you can trust me." He lied. He smoked his own and blew the tar ghost onto the flameless fire on the tip.

Ahler hurried while Nona pretended not to. He thought it looked decadent to enjoy something that was based on fire when there was rain all around. The four of them would have to endure some of the rain while getting to the overhang that protected the coal and garbage inside the fire ring. Ahler was the first to sit on the bench, realizing his eager to do so was an unattractive loss of composure, especially the way he folded up his collar and raised his shoulders. Nona sat beside him with some judgement. "Should you really be smoking in your condition, dear?" she said, her flighty memory having misplaced the ocular scolding she'd received for her poking earlier.

Ahler, who knew more than Nona, looked at her, disapproving. "She knows what she can and can't do." he said with a frown. Nona wasn't pleased with Ahler's loyalty to the new person, and huffed. Her patience with the pretty newcommer was thinning. With some misguided affection in his eyes, he turned to look up at Marin, who still stood by Martin, for some acknowledgement.

-

Olister thought the town was quiet for a place that might be visited by a pretty disaster. He'd not come here because he knew there was danger, but because he'd sensed it. Perhaps it wasn't so dire, and it had only been a suspicion rather than a deeper hunch. It could be more important he go all the way to Midsummer, already. Unwilling to give up yet, he got out of the car to visit the store, instead.

-

A shadow that didn't look like a shadow at all placed itself out in the rain when the unknowing guardian diverted his attention to shelves of food instead of the one street. It took quick steps over puddles to find the back of the houses, and then, eventually, the green world that lined this small claim of asphalt.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2016, 05:31:35 am »
Cat had asked him about vampires in some sort of jest and she took his answer as the same. It was better to leave the darker possibilities just so, in the dark. She was happy for his warmth and firmly settled her heart into a steady rhythm. As Inan had said, they would be the same to one another for always, even if the rest of the world spun wildly on.

She thought about the Hunter in the forest, to excuse the heat languishing in her veins. Catalina almost made to tell Inan about it. It was an event now thoroughly in the past, but the stillness in the cave seemed to beg diversions. He was speaking again, though, and her humming went soft. “I’ll sing as long as you’re there to hear it.” She said. After a pause: “And for spells, of course.” She added. Cat wasn’t as adept at sentimentality as her brother, but she was also a healthier child. She’d likely spent considerably less time pondering her mortality and developing the sense of heart that tended to come with it. Or, maybe, Inan was simply sweeter all around.

Cat sighed against the hollow of his collarbones. “Not that I’m complaining, but I think this storm is going to last longer than I anticipated. Mom and Dad won’t come out here after us, either. They’ll just stay home and get angrier until we get back.” She murmured.

In this sort of weather, with no real knowledge of where the children might have wandered, the parents would rely on their children’s experience. That kind of thinking was never something parents were fond of, and less so in parents like Elise, who spared no expense over worrying for her son. It was not the first time the children had been caught in a storm alone, though they’d been a good deal younger. By Cat’s reckoning, Father would venture out after them if the weather hadn’t let up closer to sundown. Until then, it made more sense for him to wait for the siblings to return on their own. Every moment longer the parents were left to worry, though, Cat could imagine an hour’s more scolding.

“Honestly, we ought to do something that deserves getting in trouble for, then. We’re going to have to suffer the punishment anyhow.” Cat snickered. Not that there was all too much wickedness to get into, she thought, with two backpacks and a dank old cave. “Oh!” she gasped suddenly, her wandering thoughts landing on the lunch she’d made that morning. “We have sandwiches. If you want.” She reminded him. Getting them would require a disassembly of their two-headed sweater monster, though, and the chilly air was not inviting. Cat sort of hoped he’d decline.

--

Marin took a long drag from the cigarette, watching Nona through the thin curl of smoke from Martin’s lips. She added her own vapor to the shifting haze with a slow exhale, lips parting on the edge of some thought or another. She seemed to reconsider. Marin was young, just like these whelps, but her soul was a longer thing. There was something about the girl’s cheekiness that disagreed with the age that rattled around in the marrow of her bones. The dark eyes found good humor instead.

“Oh, well, so far as I know these things won’t kill me any faster.” She mused. “But, I mean, if you know better about my condition…” she shrugged and took one more puff on the cigarette before she offered it to Ahler and gave Martin an apologetic smile. “She’s probably right. I’d be sorry to waste it, though.”

Marin didn’t know if Ahler smoked and didn’t really care if he did. She put the cigarette in his fingers anyhow, brushing them with her own. “Call it a kiss.” She teased. “For coming to my defense.” Snitch was a good boy, the way an untrained puppy was good because it didn’t know anything better. That was too cold, though. He was good, as well, because he tried. His awkwardness was more endearing than Martin’s bravado, and Marin felt the tiniest bit guilty that the tall blonde had piqued her appetite more. That wasn’t Ahler’s fault at all. She’d make a disciple out of Snitch, though, if she had taken up the business of being an angel in this town. That seemed like a fair compromise.

There was something in the air just below the rain and the cigarette smoke that should have caught Marin’s attention, just then. It didn’t. She was an old aura. Older than nearly any others of her kind, if they could really be called that. It would be hard to ignore her presence, for humans-turned-starlight. A matriarch with no lineage, but the same draw. It was the kind of gravitation that had given her audience with moon-walking beasts on every revival. Lucky, really, to get the first clues of her former self.

For her, though, all the others were something dilute. Nothing compared to her few remaining siblings. Marin hadn’t met her kin under this name, but her soul knew she’d recognize the taste in the air, if not the faces. As for their children, she felt them if she was of the mind to and no more.

“Does it rain like this often, here?” she asked. “The city doesn’t get too much. On the wrong side of the mountain, I suppose.” Idle chat to soothe the three egos. The trio was fun, but they weren’t her priority. She’d rather not cause more talk than divine rumors.   

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2016, 08:11:55 pm »
Inan was grateful when the heart's blood he'd spoken missed his sister's sentimentality. What was he doing, here in their privacy, beckoning for her attention in such a way? It could have been that he was counting on it, Cat's practicality. Of course she would always sing. It was an honest answer, and that, since it was the only thing he'd asked for, really, was all that he could want. His lips gathered, and then one corner shot out to the side and up. "And for spells, of course." he repeated, his thumb brushing a vertebra under her hairline.

Dad would do his dance around mom. With the rain, they'd be inside, too. There was no tending to herbs with this weather. Did mother pace? Did mother cuss? Inan knew what she did when he was home, and she was displeased. Their adventures had ways of putting him in this or that distress without him being absent. Mother would fuss, scold Cat. She couldn't do that with both of them missing. Inan didn't feel bad for dad as much anymore. The boy had learned, on some level, that the man was mostly content in his role.

He wished Catalina was right, childishly. A flood of the world, and that somehow their cave wouldn't drown. They could eat grass from the opening, and wait for fish to come. A rain to quell the world. It wouldn't be so sad, losing everything, the sentimental fool mused on, if it all happened suddenly, and they'd have to find themselves in such abandoned circumstances. If he lost everyone, then Cat would be everything. He wasn't afraid for her health anymore. There really was no worry if the skyfall went on. "Nothing to do about that." he said, partially for himself. Cat hadn't spoken out of worry.

The boy thought of trouble they could do here. Then he had to not think about it, quickly. He wasn't a sinister person, his mind not that free, but there are things nestled in the stem of an adult, winding in the spine, that knows what it wants and ought not take. He'd not had the pleasure of experience, yet, and so he believed what little sins he could think up were enough to make him evil. There was an extra beat, in between the ones of his current rhythm, and the corresponding peak in warmth on the chest she was supported on. His thumb sought some comfort between the rings of bone of her back.

"I'll get them." he offered. The sandwiches. It hadn't been so long since they'd had breakfast, but he was grateful for a distraction that wasn't his own mischievous mind. Urgency in the voice. With his legs under her, and her body against his, it would be impossible to stand without her cooperation. He was in too much of a hurry to forget his forbidden imaginings to understand that. Cat wouldn't have the time to adjust, or even slide out of their common shell. As Inan tried to get up against her in his haste, he'd topple forward. A gasp, the worried brother, and enough presence of mind, finally, to hold her to him as he slowed her landing on the fire-warmed stone floor. It'd be a pleasurable nightmare, to have his own weight on her.

All his hair, damp but not freezing anymore, would tumble along, a little later, to reach for her the way he couldn't, ends playing with her cheekbones to curtain and make their closeness, even out here where no one was, a little more private. He wondered if his heart against her was playing so loud he might bruise her skin. Trouble, she’d said. "I'm sorry." To the green eyes, significantly more emerald than the forest outside. Apology for his body, and his imagination. And that would be it. Another misstep, waiting for his self-control or the inevitable dilution of his hormones. Get up, Inan Copper, up off your sister. Her breath and her rainslick lips multiplied what he felt, instead.

“I’m sorry.” Another time, for a larger crime. He had soft lips, and wide, he knew. She’d called him a vampire, once or twice, because of it. She tasted like the scent on her pillow, and nothing like his regular, hidden shame. He put more weight on her, inside the sweater they shared, and suddenly she wasn’t a cold sister he loved, and wanted to warm. She was a well of satiation for the craving he’d harbored ever since he realized she was a woman, too. His elbows on the stone below, to control the depth. His torso to hers, with some increasing frustration, despite the reward of the kiss, as the pressure of his lips fortified their hold on hers.

And he was sorry, to her for doing this, and to himself for not having done it sooner. For being honest and being weak. For not knowing if he'd worked toward her lips since this morning, suggesting this place, and unknowingly having prayed for the rain, because it was too perfect, in wich case this was a long deceit and long deceits are worse. And for not knowing if he had the strength and love to let her go if she fought him.

-

Martin registered the sour in Nona’s voice. He’d been on the receiving end enough times. He did little more than enjoy the scent of the billowing vapor caress Marin breathed. She wasn’t coughing, now. He drew the ember hotter as he watched the exchange. It was a strange, lush occurrence, to stand here, inside but away from the rain, spending his lungs and witnessing such a thing as Marin. Despite his collected, almost absent exterior, Martin was quite smitten with the new girl. “Your cigarette.” He said when she explained with her eyes and her reaching fingers that she was going to pass it to Ahler. At this point, though he’d not admit to it, Martin would allow great atrocities to himself and the others if Marin wanted it.

Ahler looked at the burning roll and then took it to his lips. He’d not smoked for a while. Out of courtesy at larger gatherings, mostly. There was no red in his eyes and no contraction in his throat. He exhaled and looked over at Nona. Something about her stillness seemed ballistic. “Thanks.” He said to their guest and ashed to the side. He felt content. Usually he’d feel like he was allowed in the group, by these two especially, on some kind of mercy. With Marin here, he could say he’d pulled his social weight. It wasn’t often, second hand or not, that he got to have one of Martin’s cigarettes. That was testament enough. The boy blushed furiously, coughing finally, when he could see her meaning of exchanging this poison as a kiss. Nona laughed and Martin stiffened.

“Yeah, this time of year. Now and then.” Nona replied and looked out into the curtain of thick fall. She smiled a little to herself. She could say honestly that she did enjoy this part of Valleyrun. Really, the rain enhanced any atmosphere. A wandering hand came underneath her jacket as she remembered what she’d had Martin do so she could visit Mend. Today was a good day to visit Mend. Nona turned back to Marin with a curious line to her lips. Did she want Mend to meet Marin, after all? Marin had this strange charm, that the local girl thought she had herself. Mend was inclined to Catalina Copper, if anyone, and there was a calm in the other hearts of the town because of it. Marin, with her darkness, might change that.

“I stay in and read when it’s like this, usually.” Ahler offered into the conversation. It sounded better than typing away on his own vain fictions. He was sure the two would jump on the chance to mock him for that. It wasn’t a lie, though, the part about reading. When he wasn’t fantasizing through his fingertips, he did like to do it through the pages of a book.

“What about you?” Nona asked with a sigh, letting go or filing her animosity for now. She stole the cigarette from Ahler quickly. Ahler pretended not to mind. “What do you do for fun in the city on a rainy day?” He sucked on the filter, effectively kissing everyone here, but the out-of-her-favor Marin.

-

An ivory thing with large, brown eyes and the scent of rain and trees and asphalt came in to the library. A small affair, smell of leather bounds, but larger than Valleyrun could be expected to have. The entrance facing the woods, of course. Dark brows, despite its white hair. She who worked the counter was charmed, and let him sit in the old section, with the lore. A collection she was proud of. Some of it was donations from families that had lived here since the founding. She expected it was a way to store the work, as well. He brushed by the religion that spoke of twins and a barren mother, he’d had his fill of that, and started going through the handwritten antiques that could hold real, subjective truths. From this angle, framed by shelves high and low, the keeper could see his dark lips move with the pale jaw as he ingested the stories. She was at once scared and pulled in, and put the water on boil. Where was the tea Elise had made for her?

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #38 on: May 18, 2016, 06:14:37 pm »
“Inan!” she yelped, when he moved too suddenly, overly eager for the sandwiches. “You’ll make us—“ she toppled before she could finish her sentence, laughing a little bit because the distance was not far enough to be painful. The giggle died, halfway out of her throat, when his weight pressed in on her and his heat. The green eyes grew a little wider.

He apologized. “It’s okay.” She said. Little smile. Steady breath. His dark hair framing their little sanctuary. Her heart raced a little, trying to catch up to the foreign expression on Inan’s face. She didn’t understand, because the only explanation that came to mind was wrong. She licked her lips and averted her gaze. Cat could feel herself blushing, which was frustrating. She had slept against the chest now pressed against her. She had kissed those handsome cheekbones and played with that fall of brunette hair. She had undressed in front of him. What was there here to be ashamed of?

He apologized again. “I said—“ another sentence cut short by her rash brother. If her mouth had not been captured, she would have gasped. Catalina wondered if Inan was aware that this sort of thing was not really appropriate for a man of his age and his sister. A small part of her hoped he wasn’t, but she wasn’t so naïve as not to realize that he must know. And, if he did, she didn’t know how to respond. For a long moment, she was rigidly still. Mother would cry and yell if she saw such a sight. Father would be upset too.

Cat was uncomfortably aware of his body and hers. There was an unexpected urgency in her brother that made him seem like someone completely new. At least, someone she’d not noticed often. Only on the sidelong glances when he laughed or the charming way the sunlight traced his bones. Had she wanted this too? She didn’t know, but hesitantly she kissed him back. Just a little, and it was a sensation she’d not experienced before. Cat hadn’t known she could be desirable like this. Cat hadn’t known anyone had been watching. She felt new fires and chills and a peculiar aching want that made her hungry for more of him. It was scary.

She turned her face away from Inan, though she didn’t struggle to be out from beneath him. Parted lips. Shallow breath. Her heart still raced. “What are you doing?” she asked, voice small. “You’ll get in trouble.”

--

Marin was glad the others indulged the change in topic. Wash away a little of the sour with the rain. “I like going for walks. You meet interesting people in the rain, sometimes.” She said. It wasn’t a lie.

Marin had kept the company of a few willing participants as her primary sustenance. It was better practice in a world where serial feeding would be equated to serial killing broadcast on every news channel. Sometime, though, on stormy days, she indulged in a real hunt. Long cons were so tedious. Finding a friend in the rain, the sort of person nobody would miss, and ushering them into the abyss was the basest kind of release.

“I like new company when the world is being cleaned. It seems appropriate, I guess.” She said. Marin nodded at Ahler. “Sometimes I stay in and read, too. Research, mostly. I like learning about old legends and history.” Old friends. Old enemies. Old deeds.

It must have been around noon, though the grey sky gave no hints. “This was a nice walk, this morning. I think I’d like to go back to my room and rest a little bit.” She said abruptly. “Thank you for showing me around a little bit. Maybe when the rain lets up, you can show me the rest of Valleyrun.” She suggested. Eyes on Snitch, because he deserved purpose. A small, secretive glance in Martin’s direction as she turned away from the three. “I think I’ll head back on my own, though. Nona, I’m sure you’re used to managing these two quite well on your own.” Friendly smile. Humor as some sort of peace offering, if it was necessary.

She was really quite hungry. Best to be on her way. The storm was offering too many sweet suggestions and Marin hadn’t intended to damage Valleyrun’s serenity, overly. “Thanks again. See you.” She said to them, before setting off on her own. She didn’t really wait for much acknowledgement. As she left, she ran her tongue along her teeth. A little sharp, slicing a small wound. There was a little blossom of crimson in her mouth, the taste of her own iron, and it was gone with the wound.

Marin made it back to the corner store, her pace increasing the further she got from the trio, and she dodged inside. There was enough distance there so as not to have appeared hasty. Another cup of coffee, maybe, before she made it back to her inn room and sulked until the evening. Her stomach clenched some complaint. She hoped Martin was a prompt boy. Styrofoam cup. Steam off the bitter. That Nona girl would be happy with Marin’s quick departure, she figured. It was likely she’d not think too hard on an excuse for the sudden exit. Maybe Nona would even call her rude. That made Marin smile a little bit.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2016, 07:27:12 pm »
He'd thought he was lost when he tasted her. He'd neglected the part that wanted this, neglected it deep into a forgotten space between his stomach and his heart. He thought it was free with this unholy indulgence. And then she kissed him back, with all the sweetness, and an abandon, minuscule but clear. That had truly set free the far hidden greed for her. White light where his thoughts should be, and red, everywhere else. He'd answered with more fire, until she broke away. The gold in his eyes was brighter, otherworldly, finally, looking down at the side of her face, his breaths finding home and leaving soon, with a lilting and then urgent rhythm.

He tried to listen to her words, but they drowned in her cadence. A dark reminder sung a pointed protest, and that stain on his heart was enough to make those golden circles tremble for a moment. Then the rest of the heart bellowed out what it had wanted for so long. "I've been in trouble." A long time. Since forever, since you became beautiful. Curled fingers on the eternal stone beneath her. The red berries grew rounder, lush outside. A residue spell that basked in what Inan felt. His body pushed down on hers, securing itself between her legs, his torso pressing on her chest. If he didn't love her, he would have devoured her.

"You can share it." he said, dipping his nose against the side of her features, the side she'd turned. The cold that dulled her scent had gone away, and he could sample her notes with every inhale. His mouth open, touching her cheek. A sigh of giving up, to this. "Won't you be in trouble too?" Urgency also spoken by his body, pressing down, forbidding her to say no the way a villain would. But he'd listen, or so he thought, if she did. His lips wandered outward, where her parted petals were, as his hand wandered in, to gently tug her hair, so that she'd turn. There was a carnal instinct that he'd not discovered about himself before.

-

The boys didn't notice the way Marin spoke. They were happy to hear her voice. Ahler felt acknowledged for being addressed and Martin was still humming on the promise of a meeting later. Nona tried her best not to let her irritation show. The girl had well noted the strange meter and of the too-well-worded supposed city girl. Nona too would have found herself bound by that spell, she was always looking for a new idol, but the listless state Marin sunk Martin and Ahler into was both sobering and humbling.

"I like reading about old things as well." Ahler injected, seeking her eyes. He did do research into old things, they all did, with the town being a hotspot for tradition and ancient sins, their little club of dreams and macabre. He also enjoyed the occasional romantic, one-person-view monster of the week novel.

"You sure you're alright to go back by yourself?" Martin asked through smoke. His legs made no motion to leave with her. It was a courtesy that fit the image he wanted to put out. "Maybe we'll see you later." There was some sugar in that, for her. At this point, Martin thought he was a king.

"I'll take care of them." Nona chimed, standing up. She waved when there was some distance between them. She wasn’t sure about the peace offering, but was willing to pretend.

As they departed eventually, the trio were set in three separate silences. A tense, anticipating lack of words from the still smoking Martin, ember reflected in his right eye with every lift of the burning stick. Ahler was content with the day, and walked with satisfaction. He'd see her again, soon, and with elevated status in his own group of friends, too. Nona wanted badly to bad-talk the pretty new thing, but considered herself from the outside, and knew it would be transparent. Perhaps the brittle nature of her wordlessness was even more so, without her knowledge. They group fractured outward in the rain, with a light grunt, a flick of ash, and a dismissive wave.

-

Olister was choosing between the tuna and the pepperoni. Both were wrapped in clear plastic. This store was better stocked then he remembered. Of course, last time he'd not planned to stay for even this long. He put the pepperoni down. If it was somewhat fresh, on the road you always pick the fish when you can. The hunter didn't rejoice over his knowledge long. He was about to pull out dirty bills when he saw a certain glow above the steam of a cup by the coffee window. He didn't freeze, and trusted the doubt in his body to make his stop smooth. He picked up the pepperoni bread again, pretending to weigh its merits once more.

He'd long since learned to pick them out. This one wasn't subtle, either. But she wasn't the moonlight monster he'd been chasing. Though, her glow was too maintained to be any of the few well-doing, self-denying succulents. He huffed to himself. So there was a possibility of a convergence of two or more in little Valleyrun? Hopefully it was just that, and not a gathering of larger numbers. His youth hubris had gone, and left too many scars and patterns on his bones for him to think he'd do this by himself. He chose the fish for a second time and went to pay for it. Then he approached her.

"Hey. You live here?" he asked as he sat down. Lying to aged predators was hard, so he knew to keep to a truth he could stand on. She was attractive enough. His life on the heels of maneaters was appropriately lonely. It was in his nature to be attracted to her, so he indulged in that, and hoped it would cover up his real intentions. "I like a small town, it has pretty people." In his youth he'd also liked to talk to beautiful things. The scar beneath his shirt throbbed, for some reason.

-

A moonlight thing whipped its head up. Noble, aesthetic starvation to make up beauty on his suddenly engaged face. Brown, summer eyes lined in heavy, blossoming lashes. Dark lips dropped before returning to their parted formation. The librarian was smitten again. He was enrapturing when he was confounded.

He'd tasted something in the air, connoisseur of emotions, as he was. A telling grin over his face, wrinkling the lovely skin to show his large teeth, all the way back to the wise, enamel buds. It was an impossible expression, stretching his plumb lips thin and folding the skin like dry, thick-handed origami. The librarian sat up, jolted out of her daydreams as the waterboiler clicked that it was ready. He turned that nightmare maw toward her, to lance her with the eyes she'd wanted. His pretty mask returned. He could sample the taboo he'd felt echoes of later. For now it was time to take care of this literature maiden.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #40 on: May 21, 2016, 08:03:20 pm »
Catalina closed her eyes to focus on steadying her breath and her heart. She had her disagreements with Mother and Father but she wasn’t the kind of girl to want to spite them. They loved her and she loved them, after all. She didn’t really want to hear what Inan was saying. They were dangerous suggestions.

“Inan, you’re not supposed to.” She mumbled. Not supposed to say things like that. Not supposed to touch her like that. Not supposed to look at her with that sort of expression. Not supposed to make her feel those things. His fingers on the strands of her hair and she turned her face back to him and his lips. “Don’t.” Cat said, but kissed him back. She didn’t know to what she hoped he’d respond. Stupid brother.

Outside, the storm had begun to pass. The rain had dulled to a murmur at the cave’s entrance, though the air within was heavy and silent around the siblings. Catalina’s fire danced. If the girl had honestly intended to protest, her conviction was thinning as rapidly as the downpour outside.

It was a bit unfair, what Inan Copper was doing to his sister. Young woman without a first love, cast suddenly toward the darker passions of adulthood. He had stolen a new Magic for his own. The spell, cast by first spark, that endeared itself to every soul in the world. Even if Catalina had found it in her to say she’d not wanted this, she was no match for the hazy glow that blossomed in being desired. Every young heart wanted nothing more than to be wanted. Cat had simply just now noticed.

“We should go back, the rain is stopping.” She breathed, somewhere between seeking out his tongue and wrapping her arms around him. “Before Dad comes looking.”

--

Marin seemed a little puzzled by the man that sat down at her little corner table. Was everyone in Valleyrun so forward? Perhaps they were all just insatiable gossips. But, surely, the trio hadn’t spread the word quite so fast. Maybe it had been Lynnette, from the front desk, passing on her own rumors. “Are you?” she asked, one eyebrow arching high. He had packaged fish in his hands and a rather abrupt way of approaching a woman. Marin didn’t really know what to make of that.

Yue would have known immediately. Yue had spent a good deal of her life around hunters and found her end for it. She would have recognized the look of him and the way he moved. The lack of modern niceties. Marin had something of Yue in her, so she had the sense to find this visitor peculiar. But Marin hadn’t met a hunter. She understood the feel of this encounter, but not its meaning. But then, Yue might have even recognized Olister by name.

“Most people are pretty, in some way or another.” She replied, taking a sip from her coffee. Marin was careful to take an appropriate amount, because it seemed like he’d already noticed more about her than she was used to. It was a small bit unsettling and a bit more intriguing.

“Can I help you, Mister….?” She gestured for him to fill in the blank, both eyebrows high now. Marin wasn’t the type to be jumpy. She’d read enough to know that most humans (that even believed) had at least become civilized enough to live and let live unless provoked. Likewise that most of the Night children had learned it was best to take only what they needed and live with some sort of restraint. Those on either side of the fence that stepped out of line were destroyed, and no one interfered.

Yue would have lived a lot longer, if she’d not taken such an interest in picking sides. Marin suspected, for the moment, that she’d be around much longer for lack of interest in participating. An isolated existence was a luxury and a curse for the youngest Matriarch.   

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #41 on: May 22, 2016, 04:08:10 pm »
Inan didn't know why her protests rung a part of him that multiplied as something pleasurable. Little drops, her voice, to make ripples on his lust. He was the kind of person doing good, that thought he was at least decent. How could he be, when her little refusals made him hungrier? Inan shivered and held on to her harder when he could taste her deeper. Her closer embrace undid more latches on his want. The ambivalence - taboo and morality - was devastating to the otherwise monochrome morals he'd taught himself. And hauntingly delicious. He'd not trained to withstand something that was drawing him in by tearing him apart.

The hand not turning her wet hair into a further mess pulled up their sweater to be around his ribs. "Go back." he said into their kiss as that hand slid down her side, two fingers into the waist of her underwear, that he'd refused to see. A naïve boy, kind to a fault, but he knew enough to know what he wanted, now. It was foreign and strange to pursue something that went against all the other things in him. And at every turn, a rushing, dear reward. He was learning a dangerous lesson.

"Dad wont find out about this." With trembling voice and a steady motion, peeling her ornamental garment down.

She was an entirely new universe now. Tastes he'd not gotten to have, that had just been an arm's length away all his life. The wonder of it washed away doubt, because he wasn't made to hold himself back against something so entreating. The boy he'd been would have asked for forgiveness again, discovering her so hard, but the new being, loving her in a way he shouldn't, couldn't find the time or presence of mind to do anything but explore her.

His breath was on her temple, spilling out into the hair he held, and on her temple, into her ear. Her bra rubbed his chest as he moved her over the stone. Once more and again, until she was only a sensation against him. Until he was blind and panting on her face with swallowing, spreading urgency. His arm was around her head to hold on, and brace himself against the lucid conclusion. He breathed on her jaw as he recovered. But his heart never would.

He should have apologized. "Cat." a plea, instead, but he didn't know for what, in the ebb.

-

He would have to assume she was on-board that he was any other man, raising his hand for her attention. He studied her without staring. It had already been made clear that he was invested, but it was important he seemed distracted by her rather than focused. The plastic around the sandwich crackled as he pressed down lightly on the label. "I'm just seeing the country and trying to get some work done along the way." True enough. "Maybe make a few friends to pass the time."

Olister knew enough about human nature to be considered charming. He didn't have a badge that would register on a check in any database, or a name that would make people want to do him favors, so endearing people to him was a necessity. He needed her to believe he was not the threat that he was, that he was in fact a good choice for prey - as in human, so in predatory nature. "I was in the city before, but decided to move on." Bragging about his aloft heart, cementing the image of someone wanting to impress someone else, whether he was successful or not. "Not like I got to know anyone in that beehive, anyway." And an essentially lonely travel. No one would miss him. There, that much was done.

His elbow on the table between them, hand brushing the stubble as he rested his chin in the dimple of his palm. "So I guess you could help me with that, if you're available, to pass time, I mean." And what if she said no? Surely she wouldn't want him following her after that, even though playing the odd human stalker had worked in his favor before. "I'm sure we're going to run into each other plenty in this little place, anyway." Now he'd become a nuisance that she could rid herself of, too.

-

Tsoalle of the moonlight wanted to treat her to a show. He wrapped his arms around himself, feeling and taking in her fear. The creature stood as he amplified that dread and gave it back to her, both of them trembling as he neared where she sat, shackled. "What is going to happen to me? Is this real?" he said, speaking her thoughts back to her. He cupped his own cheekbone and gasped. "He's so beautiful, why does he smile like a wolf? Is he going to eat me?"

The brass sign in front of her green cup said Alice. Surely someone with that name had to work in a library in Valleyrun. She had anxiety over her life, over never being pretty enough, over looking back and finding herself dull. He let it feast on her inside, those insecurities. When he was close enough to extend his arm and grasp her, he washed her in a wave of guilt, too, old things about a grandmother. Alice was held to her chair by the weight of her inner life. Her lips trembled, slurring something about how this could not be.

Then he ran all the fingers of one hand over her cheek,  taking away what he'd planted. Her sigh was long. He gave her the pleasure he'd felt when this one woman, dead three decades now, had sung against his nape. Alice became her shivers. Tsoalle leaned in closer, over the brass sign. "Yes, he is, Alice."

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #42 on: May 25, 2016, 01:13:21 am »
Catalina considered struggling, though she’d lost that sort of battle in more benign situations. It made her tremble, because his body over hers had cast a peculiar shadow on her memories. Had it always been a little of this, then? Had she been inviting it as much as he might have wanted it? If it were so, she wished she knew the way to find forgiveness. She’d need it, later. Not from Inan, because he was taking his penance now. From herself, because either now or before she had been untrue to her own heart.

“Inan,” she said his name, once out of some last appeal to her brother’s sensibilities. “Inan,” she said it again because, as a man, he frightened her. “Inan…?” a third time, because she’d never shaped those sounds to call for a lover and now they sounded new. Cat held on to him tightly, unsure of what else she ought to do. Trust him, maybe, because he’d never been selfish before and she couldn’t imagine it now. It would have been a miserable lie to say she disliked the music he was playing on her nerves.

She’d never felt naked in front of him. That kind of realization would have obligated a degree of shame for her body in front of his eyes. It was different now, even without his stare, and she was terrifyingly exposed with the absence of that small bit of cloth. Some overwhelming shift in the last few moments that she struggled valiantly to keep up with. If this was shame, in being an object desired and offered for assessment by his hands, it was nothing like she’d been led to believe. To be ashamed beneath his body was scalding and delicious. The only thing that felt the way it ought was the guilt.

Cat had never thought she’d kept a secret from her brother, except the hunter from the woods. Presently, she found herself sorely mistaken. He met her in ways she’d not even met herself, ruthlessly uncovering new secrets she’d kept from them both. She started crying, somewhere in the midst of it, but looked for his lips to catch her own sobs. There was fresh hurt in everything new, her back against the hard cave floor and his weight and friction swallowing the rest of her.

She heard him say her name, thought it didn’t register deeply, her heart spilling with too much of him in ways she’d never imagined. Still leaking from the corners of her big green eyes. Cat was panting, mumbling something that was half his name and half apologies. Maybe it was her fault that they’d found this sort of love. Her expression was miserable, but she still clung to him, thighs pressed to hold his hips close to hers as if she thought she might shatter if he moved. If he’d asked her what she wanted, then, she couldn’t have answered him.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” She was muttering to herself, the little Magicked fire flaring with the instability that had exploded in the core of the Witchling’s being. If she’d seen the oldest books, she might have found a little peace in the pagan things there. She was not so broken for meeting his desire. Something of a whispered curse for the children of Magic women. If it wasn’t love, it was only natural. But Cat hadn’t seen those books and there was love and, for all of that, she was sure she’d tarnished her pure sweet brother irreparably. If not in his essence than in her own eyes. Hadn’t he said they’d never change but just that morning?

Catalina moved in a rush, sudden and frantic, untangling herself from Inan and the sweater and scrambling out from beneath him. She snatched her panties and fumbled into them hastily, making poor attempts to cover herself with her hands. His eyes felt different now, because she knew they saw her. She couldn’t bring herself to look at him either. “We have to get back home,” voice breaking a little in her fluster. She licked her lips and stared stubbornly upward. If she stayed away and didn’t look, maybe she’d not feel anything wrong. Maybe he wouldn’t either.

She was grateful when she found her clothes mostly dry, warmed well by the crackling little sprite fire. Cat shrugged into them with her back to her brother and grabbed her bag with the sandwiches he’d never reached. “Hurry up,” she told him, and it was a weak imitation of her usual bossiness.

--

Marin studied his face as she shook his outstretched hand. He’d not given her a name to eat, which bothered her a little. “What kind of work?” she asked blandly, though the prickled on the back of her neck suggested she had some kind of idea. Maybe he wasn’t the sort that targeted her kind, but something of that knew nonetheless. It put her on edge, just a little, but she was too old to find it frightening. She hadn’t done anything wrong. Besides, if he wasn’t from Valleyrun, she wasn’t in the business of hiding, either.

“Oh, I don’t know.” She said. “I’ve made a few new friends myself, you see, and they seem pretty eager to monopolize what time they’re given.” Marin smiled like it was some kind of joke he should understand. “People tend to be that way, though.” They couldn’t help it around such shiny Moon things. “I’m staying in the inn, though. You can drop by my room if you get too bored. I don’t dislike company.”  Marin finished her coffee before he’d finished his sandwich. The smell of it was odd to her. Bloodless.

“My name is Marin, by the way.” She said as she stood. He’d sat down uninvited, so she didn’t see any reason not to leave uninvited. “Good luck with your work.” A broad smile with razor teeth. She’d have more fangs that he was used to, which a discerning man would know the meaning of. Those sorts of teeth tended to live in guarded crypts, though. There wasn’t enough dust in her lungs to match up quite right.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #43 on: May 25, 2016, 07:25:35 pm »
His name, repeated, became a tail to every thought that came. That beat brought him back after the fire flushed and settled, over there. He listened to the last iteration the most. It was reasurring, a little gift. After that, addictive in another way, she asked for forgiveness, another lovely song, mirroring what he felt. He'd dared to hope for synchronization, at least.

He didn't get to derive much solace in that hope. Inan, despite the love-flooded mind, registered her struggle quickly. He shifted with her, their bodies were still in tune, despite their separated hearts. A bit like a self-violation, trying his best to lean this way, and lift that part of the knit to let her out. When she emerged, his fingers softly ran over her back, first the one hand, failing, sliding off the low of her spine, then the other to the same result, as thought to find a crevice to hold on to. There was bit of chock in his lax lips and deeper set eyes when he watched her stand and leave. What a forbidden thing, to sit there while she walked on naked legs, away from him. It was a hard morsel to enjoy, with what she was radiating. He found himself worried about the state of her clothes, if they were dry enough, warm enough, but she pulled them on without concern. Did he look as abandoned as he felt, then, on his knees, ruined neckline hanging low to expose the sternum and its heavy cargo beneath.

Inan didn’t want to breathe, couldn’t possibly wish to add substance to the solid air. If he did, she would surely run, the way a wild thing runs when it discovers you, so it can keep itself for itself. Electric panic in his stomach. She’d always been his Catalina. Had he been so mistaken, loving her like he had, just now? When she bid him come, he scurried to get his clothes on as well, hanging his backpack and squeezing their sweater. It felt indignant, collecting his strewn shells after such delectable symbiosis, but if he didn’t come quick, maybe she’d change her mind. She didn’t meet his eyes. He didn’t realize he was seeking hers out like they were surface light, and he was drowning.

He followed her out. They didn’t put out the flame she’d made. It was left to remember them, and keep their residual heat alive.

“It’s stopped raining.” He offered as they walked. Sometimes he trailed behind her, when he lost himself too deep in the ghost of what they’d shared. She’d been so beautiful. He could convince himself she’d liked it, could remember her clutching embrace. And then there was now, cold sweat on forest arms, after the shower that had given them another world. He squeezed their sweater harder. When he dragged his feet too much, and got a view of her backpack, he’d be reminded of how lovely, and how heart-wrenchingly defensive she’d looked when she’d gotten dressed. He’d speed up then, to the silence beside her. Their stride was unforgiving, void of her song and his stopping to look at the world. It took them home quicker than they’d come out. An apology was starving his stomach and bloating his lungs, and wringing his throat and clawing his tongue. And rotting his teeth.

“I see you guys got out of the rain. Good.” Adam said, arranging a few herbs in his press by the kitchen sink. He didn’t need to look at them for long to assess the state of their clothes. He didn’t know they’d become dry on the way. The way his children split, Inan quickly to the couch where they took patients, dropping his bag beside it, awoke worry in the grown man, so much that he cut his finger on a thorn. The blood was redder than he remembered, spreading into the gleeful plant. He threw a worried look at Elise. He’d heard them argue before, but they would usually reconcile before leaving their room. This seemed severe. “This is new.” He mumbled so the boy wouldn’t hear. Adam couldn’t bring himself to lecture them on having forgotten their phones, now.

-

“I work in deconstruction.” He said. It wasn’t a lie. He wasn’t much of a builder, was he? If he did his job correctly, things died. He couldn’t read anything from her hand, other than that it was perfect. He wouldn’t hold it for longer than she’d allow. He’d been thwarted by niceties before. Old ones liked to use the social dance to their advantage. There could be violence at the end of a handshake, and it was a bad thing if you were caught off guard, gripped already by you adversary.

To hide his expression when she spoke of having made friends here, he had to touch two fingers to his brow, disguising the mask as tending to an itch. Unpleasant information. Olister wasn’t too sentimental about people, but he did find value in their continued well-being. Surely the outcome would be nefarious if these friendships played out the way she wanted. “It’s because you look so friendly.” He explained and forced himself to appreciate her glowing skin again, so he could put that in the smirk. She invited him to her current stay. Good. Meant he’d played his role well. He nodded and gave her a smile to keep when she went away. His toes curled in his shoes when she smiled back. Olister didn’t turn away, despite the blatant truth in her teeth.

“I’m Oliver.” A close call. Sometimes it was good to strike fear, but he didn’t expect someone like her to know of him. Surely the nature of the invitation would change if she knew what he did. The hunter did remain seated, finishing his sandwich, but was sure to limit the incognito to when the doors closed behind Marin. He looked at his phone, pretended to see something on it, and got up. Valleryrun was small enough that he could hide his surveillance as coincidence.

-

Tsoalle straddled her lap. The chair complained. The books had their backs turned, scandalized when she screamed into his hand as he lifted his chin to smell the rain and the tryst in the far forest through her ajar window. Oh, what a pretty meeting two people had. He looked into her eyes and delivered some of the confused, burning salvation Inan had succumbed to. “Are you my brother?” he asked her, whispering onto the knuckles of her gag. She nodded slowly as he pulled at her collar. “Am I your sudden mistress? In a stone mouth, will you be overcome and risk your dangerous melt into my innocent depth?” She nodded.

He held on to her face harder, lodging her call deeper down. He ate at the air, a tear down his snow cheek for what Inan felt as Catalina scrambled to get away from him. “Ah, I’m going to put this behind me, but take you with me. And you’re so deeply marred.” He narrated in the throes of a scene he had no part in. She stopped moving under him. When he realized he shook his head at himself, letting her go so she could fall back on the chair, held up, starring at the lamp above them. Absently he licked her palm of her last breath and slobber as he made toward the exit. She wouldn’t be discovered soon, he’d bet. Nobody reads print anymore.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #44 on: May 28, 2016, 01:43:42 am »
Cat stayed several paces ahead of him, most of the way. Even at this distance, Inan was tying her stomach in knots. She’d done something awful. When they reached the back door to the house, it banged open with a little too much force. She didn’t mind it much, passing through and nodding to her parents before making a rush toward the bedroom.

Catalina was at once relieved and unhappy when Inan elected not to follow. She scolded her heart for that kind of behavior and reminded it she should be appreciative. She dug through her drawers for fresh clothes and a clean towel. A shower to wash away his touch and scald his taste off her lips. “I’m taking the shower.” She called as she stepped into the hall, habit because they’d shared a wash room for so long. Cat shut the door behind her. Locked it, too.

Elise was silent through the flurried arrival of her children, though her expression was etched with undeniable relief. Whatever argument the two were having was sure to resolve quickly. They had both returned safely and dry. That was what mattered. The Witch wondered, just a little, if her son had been privy to some of her daughter’s Magic. It seemed the two should have been at least a bit damp. She’d speak to Catalina about it later. Best not to scold the girl too much. For their differences, Cat and Elise both did their best to keep Inan safe and treasured. Elise might even praise her daughter for whatever quick thinking had kept the children warm.

“New, yes, but it would take the fires of hell itself to keep those two apart for long.” Elise murmured back, rubbing her husband’s back reassuringly. “If they aren’t back to normal after supper, we can have a chat with them both. At least they made it home before dark.” Elise frowned a little. “I thought we told them to take their mobile phones, though…”

Catalina stripped herself bare and slipped beneath the steaming stream of water. She wasn’t cold, but she had turned the temperature up as high as the old water heater could handle. Cat applied soap and began to scrub at her legs with some intent fury. Inan needed to get out of this house. Out of this town. Mother would bleed him dry for the next door neighbors and a little bit of praise. Cat had been his safe space, she’d thought. Not now. She was a different kind of terrible. At least mother didn’t sully Inan with her ego. Cat couldn’t say that for herself, now.

She focused on the water running over her shoulders and told herself to forget about their forest cave and anything that happened in it. It was a fruitless demand on her mind, she knew, but it made her feel better to try. “Stupid Inan.” She muttered to herself. “Stupid me.”

Cat was fairly silent throughout dinner, engaging in halfhearted conversation where Mother and Father prompted. Elise made sure not say anything about the forgotten phones and even mentioned that she appreciated the children’s care in keeping dry and coming quickly back home. When Adam made to mention their daughter’s upcoming birthday, Elise placed her hand on his leg beneath the table. Not now, perhaps, given the peculiar mood.

It was Inan’s turn to help with the dishes and Catalina was more than eager to scurry back to the bedroom by herself. She said something about being tired from the long walk in the woods and kissed her Father on the cheek with a quick “goodnight.”

She burrowed under her covers, lights out, and listened to the water running through the pipes in the walls. It was unlikely she’d be able to fall asleep before Inan came in, but she could pretend, maybe.

--

Marin waved over her shoulder as she left. A name, after all. That was nice. She rolled it over her tongue and slid it along her teeth. Interesting, but she was content to deal with this new development another time. She was expecting Martin tonight and intended on a trip to the Blood House, come morning.

Marin stopped by the inn office and extended her stay by a week. Lynnette nodded, as if she’d known Marin would want to stay. “Valleyrun is charming, isn’t it?” the woman suggested. Marin nodded in agreement.

“Quite.”

She spent the remainder of her afternoon reading a novel based on some old myth or another. In it, a Vampire queen denied her lover the gift of eternal youth and was swallowed up by the moon. Marin nodded at the pages thoughtfully. It did not seem like an unreasonable portrayal, though the Vampire seemed to cry a lot. Marin could not recall being particularly tearful under any of her names. She set the book aside. Martin ought to be by soon. That was good. She was quite famished.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #45 on: May 28, 2016, 01:04:38 pm »
Inan couldn't quite put thoughts between himself and the cave. He'd sat on the couch, minding to smile whenever his parents would walk by, or look his way, but for most part he lived there, inside the stone sphere. An enjoyable memory, she had been so sweet under him, and he'd been so brave - and a tainted memory, they'd been so quiet afterward. The guilt that followed the pleasure were almost symmetrical in shape and size. Adam had tried to see the subtleties in the face of his son, the side turned, hair handging on his ear.

Catalina had cried, hadn't she? Inan burried his hands behind his temples, and his face behind his forearms, sinking deeper into the wear of the cushion. He'd thought it been lovely in the act, that it had meant that she was overwhelmed like he was. It seemed like a practical missinterpetation now. Was he so golrious with the task of love, on his first time, that he could make someone cry of joy? Fingertips dug deeper into his scalp at the suggestion that he'd forced her. He heard the second time she said his name out of three, when she sounded afraid, the small call asking him to notice, to take care to stop. He'd not taken that care. In fact, he was revisiting her reactions because they felt dauting now, spiced by his imagining of her unwillingness. The guilt made him sick, his eyes squeezed tighter.

And then he had to have a cold shower after her, in her steam, smelling like her soap, their soap, and think of the rain. And then he had to have hot dinner without the strength to pretend with idle topics and big gestures he wasn't a monster when sitting next to her. Did he strain enough to smile at least, everytime mother passed him the bowl of whatever father had made? Since Adam didn't stick him with the big knife, sharpened thin, and mother didn't shake her head the way she would, there must have been enough lies in him to at least have the parents thinking their son wasn't a villain.

The dishwater was warmer than what he'd recieved from the showerhead. The comfort wasn't enough to make Inan speak, so Adam did instead, when no one else could hear. "You know what people without tongues do when they have disagreements?" he asked. Inan smiled bitterly and looked at his father.

"They talk it out." he said, and father noded. Manytimes the man had said this. Inan had said it back to him once, when Adam and Elise had arguments about their meager makings, before they discovered Inan's blood.

"The most important thing about your blood isn't that it can heal other people, Inan. It's that it's thicker than water." He patted his son on the shoulder firmly and left him in the kitchen.

While it did give Inan some strength, his hands were still deathly cold when he'd placed the last plate to dry. He walked the length of the livingroom thrice before moving toward their bedroom door. He could tell by the color of the frame that there'd be darkness inside. Perhpas it would be the good thing to do to let her sleep, even though it was early for them. His nightly games of getting up and out without turning on the lights coupled with growing up in this space made it easy to menuver to her side without the lamp. He put his knees on the floor and stayed with his head dropped for longer than he planned, listening to her breathing, trying to make out whether she was dreaming or simply lying still.

He tried to hear the realxed breaths of slumber, but didn't. Inan put his cheek on her sheets, and took a handfull of blanket by her back, turned to him. He thought he could sleep like that, on his own arm. But they were both as awake as their moment in the cave had been real. His hand held harder on her blanket. "Sing to me." he asked. He was afraid, the weight of her songs had always been artful, giving strength to the lyrcis. What would he hear from it now, when she'd have to lower her voice, like she did when the our was late? Surely he was better connected to that somber tonight. But it was better than talking.

In truth, the way he felt, he should already be asleep, but he thought he'd be in this state forever, drunk on fatigue, without her voice. Inan had dreamed up a scenario where she'd sing to him all night, and by morning, somehow, they'd reconsile, or he'd begged for forgiveness enough times that she'd at least know his guilt. But he'd fall asleep with his head on her bed soon, after any kind of acknowledgement, or rejection.

-

Nona had wanted to be with him, probably building her case against the newcommer. Martin had honestly not had the time. Her angry, short reply was still last on their history on the small screen. Ahler had acctually gone to school with an excuse. The rest of the day Martin spent in his room, typing in angel-related terms into a search engine. He followed informational paths that he thought might bring him closer to Marin. Some of the legends were entertaining, and some were written by lonely, imaginative hearts.

He walked through town with his hands in his pockets. Those who knew him well enough to know his usuall stride, would find a spring this evening that they'd not seen before. Spoiled and handsome, because rich people marry into beauty, he'd not had to rush for many things in his life. Now he was excited, smelling clean but wearing clothes that had been torn and worn when he bought them, expensively. Lynn was surpised to see him pass by. He nodded and stepped quicker, to avoid conversation.

He knocked twice before trying the handle. A habit, but also one he'd found gave him an advantage. Nona had come to like that about him, and never locked her door. "How are you feeling now?" he'd ask, fast glance at the book. To the prince of Valleyrun, this was just another evening when life would go his way, another elvation to his confidence and the knowledge he was meant for greater things simply because he wnated them. He didn't know there were fangs on this angel, or that there was a hunter that had watched him since he'd come close to this establishment.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #46 on: May 29, 2016, 11:36:23 pm »
She tensed when she heard the door open and squeezed her eyes a little tighter shut. As if that might make her more asleep. He was quiet, which gave her hope that he would play along with her pretenses and let the evening end in silence. It wasn’t because she didn’t want to speak to him. It was only because she didn’t know what to say. Cat had been lying there, replaying memories much more distant than the cave, and questioning. Every smile and brush of his cheek. Each time she’d carelessly shed her clothes or carried on conversation with him through a half-open door while she showered. It all seemed as if she had been inviting this. Urging them toward some inevitable end. That was a terrible game for the witchling to play. Truth would say neither she nor Inan had done anything to carry them toward the cave and its sins. It had simply been a tide of place and time and curious circumstances. The children had lived most their lives bending to such whims.

She felt her blankets pull when he gathered some of the fabric in his fists. Cat supposed there was no avoiding him, then. She was not foolish enough to think he’d be unable to tell she was awake. That was half the problem, really. They knew each other inside and out and had loved every flaw. There had never been a secret between them that hadn’t eventually been let out. This was no different, then. He spoke and she let her eyes open. Facing away from him, she stared for a long moment at the door without a reply.

“What do you want to hear?” she asked, at last. Her voice was made harsher from the whisper, but she didn’t sound angry. Catalina rolled herself over to look Inan in the eye. “What do you want…?” she repeated, the open end of her query expanding in the quiet of the room. Did you know you wanted this? Do you want it still? Do you know what you’re asking for? This wrongness, is it my fault? The green whorls shouted a tumble of other questions as she stared at him.

She didn’t sing to him. The sound of the sheets shifting beneath her seemed deafening. Cat reached out, running her fingertip across his lower lip. A long, weary sigh. This had never been in the plan. They were supposed to go to the city and start new lives there. Finding their own ways, side by side and growing up. No more of Mother’s knife. Cat’s Magic would have been Inan’s only, as it had always been. She couldn’t have described precisely what made it feel like her heart was breaking, but she was certain that it was.

Cat rolled onto her back, arms spread to either side. Crucifix. She stared up at the ceiling, where a mottle of glow-in-the-dark stars peered back at her. They had put them up there for her ninth birthday. Inan had stood on her bed and stuck them on the ceiling for her. She had never been sure if there had been any order to the way he’d placed them. A breath.

Oh morning come bursting, the clouds amen
Lift off this blindfold, let me see again
Bring back the water, let your ships roll in
In my heart she left a hole


Cat hadn’t sung that song to him in a while. It had been a favorite of hers to hum while she mended his little cuts, or to sing when neither of them could fall asleep.

The tightrope that I’m walking just sways and ties
The devil as he’s talking with those angel eyes
And I just want to be there when the lightning strikes
And the saints go marching in

And sing slow it down
Through chaos as it swirls
It’s us against the world


--

Marin had gotten up to answer the door when Martin let himself in. She hadn’t remembered to lock the door. In the city, most hotels had electronic locks and keycards. The inn, she recalled, had issued her a more traditional key. Not that it mattered.

She locked the door behind him. “I took a bit of a rest, so I’m feeling alright. A bit hungry.” She said. Marin allowed the measures of personal space to shrink in the microcosm of her temporary bedroom. Without the other two there to manage, she didn’t mind presenting Martin with her full attention. Had he known better, that should have been a bit frightening. The room had adopted a bit of her faint and floral scent, leaving something heady in the air. There was the one bed in the room and a small table with two chairs. She sat against the headboard and patted the place beside her on the bed in invitation.

“I’m feeling even better, seeing as you came to see me. I was worried you might not. I appreciate it, honestly.” She said. Marin folded her hands on her lap. She didn’t intend to harm Martin. Marin had asked him here particularly because she had felt it wouldn’t be necessary. It was better when they were willing, or wanting. The chemicals were the right sort of mix for her pallet. It was still a trap. Marin had her niceties and her regrets, but in the end she would never have a higher morality than any other drug dealer. She might fall somewhere near the bottom of that bunch, as it were. The options at the end of his road, should he choose to walk it, were fairly rigid. Feverishly giving her all the life he could hold in some carnal and ancient sort of overdose. Acute and irresolvable despair when she evaporated. He might, at least, survive the latter sadness.

“Anyway, tell me what you know, Martin. I’d like to hear it so I can fill in the rest for you. If I’m going to ask you to help me, you might as well know what you’re helping.” A delicate smile, without teeth.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #47 on: May 30, 2016, 08:08:15 pm »
They wore their sheets soft quick after a wash, the fabric never really standing a chance to stay new, the way the two jumped from bed to bed, and sat and played. And still, when she turned, he heard it like rustling through loud paper. His eyes had long since adjusted and he stared at her, glad to have her green back, though they tasted a bit foreign. Was it neglect or denial that he’d not known she was this kind of beautiful? His lips sent jolts outward into his skull with her touch, almost enough to release him from the heavy spell of fatigue.

There were too many things to ask for in any answer he could give. He wanted to go back, so he didn't have to worry about himself with her, pick those nettles, come home, loose at cards while hearing her explain why mother was wronging him. He wanted to climb up with her, and sleep on her pillow. He wanted to make her cry again, sharing a sweater, or wearing nothing at all, for her to make that expression that made his tongue dry and his lust angry.

He drew at the same drink of air when she took her breath, and fought through the coming fog for something to say when he place his hand on her stomach, his knees still on the floor. Wouldn’t it be good, to say something that would mend them? Her song spread though his hand, and the lyrics tugged at his concentration, whittling his consciousness down. He sought her extended hand out, where it lay on a prong of her unseen cross. His cheek on her palm, his breath on her pulse. Sleep spread faster than his imagination and he lost the day as his lips parted next to his crucified Catalina, singing him into worried dreams. This, then, was what Inan wanted.

-

Martin didn’t feel the appropriate chills when she locked the room to the world. Bravado is an anesthetic. This room was welcoming, more so than he knew these quarters to be. Perhaps it was her essence in the air. He followed her suggestion and sat by her. Martin of course fancied himself the predator, here. The bed was soft, too soft to sleep in often, but it was perfect for this kind of familiarity. He smiled to the side at her, equal amounts of courtesy and excitement. How intimate, already. “I wouldn’t have missed it.” He assured her. Out of place that she should be glad for his presence and not the reverse scenario, but Martin didn’t see the asymmetry. Surely she knew a pair of good cheekbones when she saw them. Blue, noble eyes.

Those eyes on her hands, in her lap, when he tried to remember something for her. “I don’t know much. I’m not as fluent in that kind of history as Nona or Ahler. I know a bit about the magic of Mend and his bloodline, about witches.” He shrugged. It is not my strength, I have other strengths, in the blue. “But I believe you’re an angel.” He’d been told, but why add that, when this phrasing was much more flattering. He did want her secrets. There was a reason why he was with Nona and not the other girls. There was a romantic in him, and it wanted fantastical things. Tired of the proven and traditional magic from the blood house, he was looking forward to what a more picturesque mystery could offer. “I know you’re not like the rest of them.” Because surely he was special, too.

Martin reached over to take one of the hands she’d laid down, and looked into her eyes to assure her of his intentions. “You can tell me anything, Marin. Thank you for trusting me. I’ll help you in any way I can.” And he meant it, then, with that steady voice. Despite the cut of his jaw and set of his brow, his heart was young. He wanted to have her, but he also wanted to be her knight, and for this to be the beginning of his own story. And with this invitation, perhaps Martin also felt entitled to it.

-

Tsoalle sat underneath the window of The Blood House, sampling Inan’s dreams. What turmoil, in there. Sometimes the mind wanted to soothe the body, but the under-garden here wasn’t directing any calming scenes for its owner. With the anxiety that Catalina’s voice did not chase away, the astral Inan became restless, and then provoked. It could also be known in how his hand clutched the fabric of her shirt and his teeth clenched in his sleep. Tsoalle saved the taste of the two before moving deeper into the forest. He was confident in the apathy of men, but even man would know a predator at the door, sometimes.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #48 on: June 01, 2016, 05:02:42 am »
Marin laughed. It wasn’t a mean sound, but it might have been laced with some pity. It was alright. She would correct him. It would be impolite to leaving him believing she was some sort of heaven. “Well, you’re only a little bit correct.” She admitted. “And I didn’t tell Ahler I was an angel, either. I just asked if he believed in them—and you should.” Marin said. She could take him into the moonlight. Dazzle him with all her silver and snow. It was a charm that worked on hearts like his, and Nona’s, and Snitch’s. Perhaps, for his role in tonight, he deserved something a bit less shallow. Less romantic, certainly, but more honest.

“I told him he should believe in demons, too, you know.” Marin turned her face toward him as he took her hand. Sweet boy, under the sapling swagger. “There are a lot of stories about night things. Many of them don’t start in the right place. Many of them rest on the backs of rumor, too.” She laced her fingers into his.

“The truth is, when humanity sparked into existence, a rift was carved in the world of the divine. Now, whether the divine are really worth being held as gods, I’m not sure. They are different, though. And there were angels and there were demons.” She smiled, this time with teeth. Sharp teeth he couldn’t mistake at such close proximity. “The rules regarding those two groups are likely whatever you might imagine, given the religious tendencies of humans. The guess work was right, at least that far.”

Marin tugged him closer toward her, so she might fix him with her pitch eyes and swallow him in their dark. The rest of the room was unimportant. “But love and lust aren’t well known to follow the rules, and a demon conceived an angel’s child. That child grew up without a home, wandering earth, until he fell in love with a human woman.” Her gaze shifted, raking his jaw and settling on the flutter at the base of his throat. “You can imagine that two sins like that could only beget another. And so, the first Vampires were born.”

Her voice was soft, velvet and autumn strung out on spider silk. “I don’t remember how many there were. Only that they are my siblings. Some have crumbled and some live on, decrepit fathers and mothers of desperate humans that were too hungry for life.” She wondered if what she said was frightening. Marin had never been on the receiving end of her own stories, unless they were words on a page. Ink is never as terrible as blood.

She searched for his ocean stare again. “So, you see, my condition is a lonely life of eating alone in company. Always hungry.” Marin experimented then, a light graze of her teeth to his lip. It wouldn’t hurt. It might ache. “Do you still want to help me?” she asked, pushing the words gently against his mouth. If he were wise, he’d turn her down and live with the hollow. It would be less gnawing than whatever aftermath he might be handed if he did not.

If his altruism maintained, she’d nuzzle the soft skin below his jawline. Slick tongue along the vein that sang hottest in his throat. Her little doll self pulled astride his lap so she might cup the back of his head with her dainty hands. She was iron beneath; a pretty cage for him to wear in the company of her teeth. Marin would thank him, sliding his name into the thick air to eat it again. Press her hips into him, warm, to distract from the sharp. He would feel his life slide between her lips and down his own neck, only to be caught by her hungry. She wasn’t wasteful. Nor was she gluttonous. Not for him. He might regret her self-control and the measured way she would take what he offered. Enticed but contained, any passion held within the cup of merciful restraint. It was only natural to want to undo every fiber there was to give.

--

Catalina didn’t move him when he touched her, letting the words fall out of her music until it was a murmur above the steady breath of his sleep. Cat was still wide awake. When she had fallen quiet, she listened to the rhythm of his lungs to count a beat more regular than her own mind. It was comforting, lying in this kind of still, even if Inan was himself the source of her troubled thoughts.

Eventually, Cat fell asleep too. She wouldn’t remember her dreams, and it was for the best. In the late hours of the evening, Elise cracked open the door to check in on her children. “They’re alright, Adam. We haven’t got anything to worry about.” She said over her shoulder, to the husband that was lingering there. She couldn’t know she was wrong, but that was fine. Elise rarely settled into the pure softness of her maternal cares, these days. This comfort was small and good for her conflicted soul. 

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #49 on: June 01, 2016, 09:27:43 pm »
The laughter was his first clue to what she was. Not a large creature, dragon or ogre, but something outside of what he knew, dangerous, strong. Despite the realization, his body had become convinced it should not move, this close to hers. The mention of demons retracted his lids further, opening his eyes wider. Exciting to the young, naïve mind, because surely something opposite of angels couldn’t be as bad as all the lore said. Surely he knew better, from his research in paperbacks and scrolling text on a screen. This story, painted with words he understood, was almost as haunting. He wanted to see the gods and know the angels and demons. He wanted to be bled into that direct bloodline.

It wasn’t in him to move in any contrary way when she pulled him. He’d attach himself to her in any way he could. Her teeth, flashed in their ivory honesty, was proof, and not a warning to him.

His eyes searched her when she pinpointed her place in the divine to earthly lineage. Her beauty was a kind of testament. He saw the absence of flaws at this null distance, and believed a human could not have that, if he did not. Martin didn’t breathe for most of this. Grief came like violent spring melt at the mention of her loneliness, his oceans swimming with salt. The compressed eons of plot had washed him of ego for an instant, and he touched the back of his hand to her jaw and ear when he was given opportunity to breathe her. Her spun history, laid out, forced him to submit, or he wouldn’t have been human, with a human heart. “I want.” He stated, lips electrified by the threat her points presented, signals numbing his lower jaw pleasantly.

Martin took comfort back against the board of the bed when she cuddled the groove between his jaw and neck. She was a weapon, courting his pillars of traveling life. Something familiar came to his virile body, but the amount dwarfed other tantalizations he’d known. He didn’t even have the sense to be embarrassed, jeans tauter around his rude secret when she sat herself gently on him. And then pushed down with her warmed hips. A gasp finally when she took his head. Perhaps there’d been a ‘yes’ in that breath. A hand, with confidence like hubris, on her hip, the other up her back. Frustration, like she was something precious and damned. She could have said his name a thousand times and he would have sworn his slavery as many times to her, then. He breathed without engaging his lungs, mouth round and slick when she drew.

The rush was such a promise, a stove-top vow with a quick retreat to hover after the skin was reddened, not charred. But he wanted to be made into cinder. The friction of himself against his inner, extracted by her, was every delicacy. Fingers on her back looked for her neck, so he could dig into her with demand, and some insisting anger. For a moment he had to believe she was small, on top of him, and that he was a well-shaped, healthy male strong enough to force her to drink more, faster, so his blood would scratch his suffering arteries on its way out. “Damn it, Angel.” He said, throat clogged with rapture. He could barely see through the veil of her pleasure-magic, and lifted his hips into hers. Grip in her hair, greedily. “Just—more, Demon.” He tried, though his hold was losing strength.

-

Adam had been surprised that Elise took the lead on this. Trailing behind her in the limited light provided from their own bedroom into the unlit corridor, he felt strangely content. Elise had been a loving mother, in that her both children got to have her hugs and kisses, once. That had changed when Inan did. She loved them no less now, but showed it in a different way, to say the least. He wondered if Catalina somehow remembered the overflowing affections she’d had in the crib, equal to that which her brother received, and that this might be the ground of some of her contrary nature. Seeing Elise with her head inside their door now presented him with lovely nostalgia.

“You were right, then.” He whispered and touched her shoulder. When they walked back, he would send her a smile he’d not in a while. It was good to be in tune with Elise when it came to parenting. Adam filed this away to repeat to Cat later, when the girl was overly angry over something her mother had done.

-

The stream of light borrowed from the parent's room by the corridor, and then again by the bedroom of their children, unsettled something in Inan, and he shifted, never breaching the thin membrane of slumber. It was good Elise and Adam left before they could see his hand rumpling Catalina's pajama top until it could come underneath, for the heat and comfort there.

-

Olister watched through the little parting that her blinds provided. It was good to brush up on history. He couldn’t really blame the boy for being smitten. It was enticing, just viewing the two. The hunter had taken the role of a voyeur since Martin entered. An expert at setting the scene, this one. That was why Olister hadn’t shot her through the glass already. The ones who tried for the softer approach when they’d already been given privacy were more inclined to the practicality of not leaving bodies behind. While he hated that there were creatures who lived of his kind, he hated to be wrong when killing them more. He always made sure his slaying was just.

It seemed he would not have to engage, the way Martin was clutching her to him. It wasn’t always so easy though, these games they engaged in. The hunter would not leave his spot for the night before Martin, unless he had to. A man outside a woman’s window might not be a blood-spilling kind of suspicious, but it’s not a pleasant suggestion, at least. Seeing her at work like this would help as inspiration toward the act of being smitten himself, later, if he did stay in Valleyrun. Poor boy though. He looked like he didn’t have to go far for intimacy, but this brand of it was rare. Fighting for the comfort and sanity of the addicted, though, was very low down on Olister’s list. And there was the illusive white beast to consider, as well.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #50 on: June 09, 2016, 11:29:09 pm »
She was maddening in her meticulousness, taking what she wanted and no more. That strength that came with being a monster beneath the ivory was steel. She was rigid to his greed and gave him nothing for his efforts. If there was agony of the heart, it was this. He could share a little of her lonely, as his blood moved aimlessly when it wasn’t on her tongue. Marin understood the panic that would bubble when he grew weak. Not panic over dying, but panic the he could not demand she remove his bloating red from his throbbing veins.

She was sympathetic, to a point. If she tried very hard, she could convince herself she had given Martin a choice. He had a will, even if it was easily broken. Marin had no obligation to feel responsible for the weakness in humanity. She was protecting his life by denying him more. But there are more sorrowful things than death. Marin was not in the habit of lying to herself. For the satisfaction of her hunger she gave him an eternal gnawing in his core. That was rude of her.

Marin understood the anguish she had seeded in him and apologized with the softness of her body. But, she still laughed against his skin when he stumbled through her lineage. She was no angel, but no demon either. Marin was simply hungry and lost. Martin felt cooler, a little closer to her, and she unhooked her teeth. She tore flesh, ate it too, and sealed the wound and its hurt with her lips. There was magic in her breath and healthy skin with no scar.

Marin untangled herself from Martin’s arms, her red mouth soaking his crimson in as if it weren’t there at all. A trail of him slipped down her chin, though she’d been careful not to waste, and it was vulgar on her white skin. The dark eyes slid briefly toward the window, distracted for a moment. She smiled at the curtains, just in case. Bloody teeth.

“Thank you, Martin. You were sweet.” She said, and it was true. His life was hot and young, turbulently shocked with the chemicals of youth. “It’s for the best that you don’t be too greedy.” She told him, stroking his hair as she rolled her hips to meet him. “I’m sorry.” Marin said, an apology in her fingertips, too, as she slipped her hands between her thighs to answer at least one want. Strange that a little death would seem incomplete for the Valleyrun prince. Hadn’t he come to her room expecting no more?

She slipped off of him to move down on the bed and ply him with her tongue, slick with red and saliva. A further offering for his efforts. “I’ll let you do whatever you like, for having frustrated you so.” Marin said, sitting up. She slipped her dress up over her head and let it fall aside. A doll, milky and smooth, with blushes of pink like coy suggestions of something human on a being that was decidedly not. Sometimes, the first time, there was no enough strength in her catches to take their reward. Over time, the body learned to fight through the bloodlessness, but tonight Martin was new to himself and to her. Marin waited, perched on her knees, sanguine slash drying brown on her chin.

--

Elise sighed, a little relieved, and nodded at her husband. “It’s good that they have each other.” She said to Adam. She knew Inan’s lot caused some suffering, but Elise was sure the good fortune he’d brought their family outweighed it all. Catalina would learn that with time, too.

She took Adam’s hand and led him to their bedroom to sleep.

--

When Cat woke in the morning, Inan’s hand on her skin sent a shiver down her spine before she’d fully emerged from her sleepy haze. A new response. Her body remembered what her mind had hoped to forget. “Inan…” she mumbled, shifting, though she didn’t move him. It was early. Her parents were surely still asleep. One hand searched across the bed until she found the dark tangle of his hair. She sighed, dozing again. If she didn’t think too much, it was nice to feel him so close.   

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #51 on: June 10, 2016, 05:10:52 pm »
The blood was drawn from all of the body. Every fiber-end and every muscle wanted to relent life. When it moved to join her, through him, it was magic. And that was the struggle of the boy who would call himself hero. Only in motion to depart was it everything he wanted. He’d remember her scent, the sweetness crowding his head and staining his mouth when he wanted to have more and be less. He thought she didn’t know how overwhelming she was, and how much more he needed. A gurgle in his throat when she ate his flesh and sealed it with a puff from her lungs. In one breath, when she moved down, still against him, he was frustrated, boiling tears and wrinkled cover, and in the next he was gasping human, when she piqued that part of his being.

The old lusts mingled with this new addiction when a line of life had stretched down her lower lip, dividing her lower face. He gritted his teeth, head against the headboard, still at the angle it had to be when she buried herself in his neck. A pretty thing scorned. In his blue eyes he showed the desire to grab her and force her back where she’d been, so the hollow after the pleasure could refill. He breathed, wet, hard when she explained to him what he should not do. If his mind didn’t know she’d changed him, brought a piece of decay to his pristine freedom, his soul knew. Maybe he would have voiced that anger and put forward that demand, prince that he was, but she touched him, the him between them, and he was awake there, already. A distraction, as it always was. At least that had been freed.

He wanted the reward, currency confusingly similar to the act he was being paid for. Those swells, and the offering so clear, with his smear on her, and her hair imperfect from the disrobing. It would seem odd, with his body rigid and ready, that he felt weak. “Then come here.” Bravado. He’d be damned, he was damned now, if he let this fall through his hands as well. An echoing beat of his heart to usher the lessened amount of life, as he reached out, shoulder blades coming off the board to catch the back of her neck and return her to him. He tasted himself in the kiss, and moved his tongue down to clean her, his iron scent spreading between his temples as he tried to direct her body with that one hold to be on top of him, that he could be inside of her. He would have wanted to hurt her, mar the bed with her, and sear his prowess all over her memory, but he needed her help, as he was now, to complete the act.

-

Olister had frozen when the beautiful demon turned to look at him. They were lovely like this. It was dangerous for him. The ones that played like this weren’t his targets, but they sure as dirt weren’t kittens, either. His lusts had been wrong before. Something with the eyes hadn’t given him the assurance he needed that he’d been discovered. And he fast forgot when the boy brought her head back, which meant she’d have to lean forward. Olister stared, off course, digging his nails into his palms for some kind of anchor against the temptation inside the room. If she planned on killing this boy, she was being overly polite about it.

Would it be so wrong to use the weapons he kept in his car, to convince her he should have it too? A monster not practicing monstrous things, is still a monster, right? He shook his head at himself, but couldn't quite let the dark wish go, seeing her on the boy.

-

Inan’s finger moved on her skin, and pushed a little firmer before relaxing. The eyes were only half their size, waking up. Her arm led to her body and he smiled to himself. The facts of yesterday bled fast into his serenity, but he didn’t feel them as hard in the early morning, not with her touch on him. He’d thought he’d lost her for defiling her. This was either forgiveness or something sweeter, like candy cane is sweet when its bubbling syrup. All their lives he’d protest a little to her anger, sometimes wickedness and mischief, before going along. Now, maybe, he could try her game. The long brother moved over her sheets, an easy feat with his knees on the floor already. Kiss on your cheek, little sister.

He lifted his leg to be by hers, and after that the rest of his body was self-invited. His hand had stayed where it had been, and he closed his eyes again. “It’s too early.” For quarrel, for plans, for nettles, for anything. He kissed her temple, also as he shared her pillow, locking that leg over her knee.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #52 on: June 11, 2016, 05:06:50 am »
She let him move her. It was not distasteful to indulge Martin in this. He kissed her and she gave back in turn, painting his own blood across his tongue. She wondered if he could taste what she could taste. A soft hum in the back of her throat as he let his lips wander, following the painted trail of his own red on her chin. Marin answered his efforts, slinging herself back astride him as if he’d been the one to pull her. He was not a special lover, but he could stave both her hunger and her lonely for the night. It wasn’t a poor solution. Martin had helped her, just as she’d asked.

Marin gave herself to his heat, the taut roll of her body urging him to what release she could provide. She passed another glance toward the window. She was sure they were being watched. Not that it mattered. There were only two or three souls in this town that would have had reason to look. Marin was sure she wasn’t doing anything wrong. She’d been good to Martin tonight. Given him a taste of otherworldly ecstasy and spared his life. The details of the exchange were trivial beyond the two of them. It wasn’t their peeping friend’s business. If it was Snitch, he deserved whatever hurts to his heart he might encounter from snooping.

If she was in the mood to mock their unannounced visitor, it was a kind play toward Martin’s ego, too. She let her head fall back, raven tresses tumbling over her shoulders, to gift her milky body to the low glow of the room’s incandescent light. Pretty sounds past those lips, encouragement for the boy to prove his manhood. Her serpentine roll, some hypnotizing dance, played out on the sheets. The friction of her soft thighs against his hipbones were a grazing prick that conjured the slick puncture of her teeth again and again. Marin sighed headily. He had wanted to spend himself for her, hadn’t he?

She fell forward to nuzzle his throat, where she’d taken her meal, and grazed her fangs along the tender flesh. She didn’t dare break that thin membrane. Marin had an exacting self-control, but part of it was managed by resisting simpler temptations. Instead, she tortured him, letting his skin twitch against her teeth and tongue and quieting it with her lips. The desperation of neurons was a primal thing to control and Marin couldn’t have said she was immune to the intoxication of that power. She shuddered atop him, pressing herself close, and giggled in the crest of the wave. “Shall I use all of you? Do you want to use all of me?”

If Martin had been exhausted by his diminished reserves of Life, he knew the truest sort of sleep by the time she was done exerting the talents of her feminine form. Marin had laughed a lot and complimented his resolve some time before she’d finally collapsed beside him and nestled her head in against his chest. When he woke the next morning, she’d be sitting at the little table in naught but her skin, making love to one of his cigarettes with that red, red mouth.

--

Cat made a sound that was likely protest, but was too sleepy to complain when Inan slipped under the sheets with her. Somehow, this space made their closeness feel a little safer. A little less like the abandon of yesterday’s cave. Or, maybe, that she was less startled there was something gentler in it for her. His fingertips felt nice. Familiar, and yet it raised shivers on her skin.

Still, it crossed her mind that her parents were still asleep. Before, she’d have made such an observation for the sake of ensuring they weren’t caught, because Inan was often scolded for behaving so childishly with her. Now, she worried for her own guilt. If she was more stable, this morning, it was a precarious balance at best. Disapproval in her parents’ faces would surely tip her back into disarray. Perhaps it had never been childishness that Inan was scolded for.

Catalina dozed, rolling so that she could press her back to his chest, her leg still hooked beneath his.

An hour later, she jolted awake and scrambled haphazardly to disentangle herself from her sleeping brother. “Inan you need to go to your own bed.” Uncharacteristic urgency in a statement she’d given him many times before. A little sharp. Things could not be precisely the same again, no matter what either of them wanted. “Quick, before Father comes in to wake us. Do it for me, please.” She couldn’t trust herself to look at Father in the eye without guilt. But Inan had had to go and make a man of himself to her. How was a girl to defend being found with a man in her bed, to her own father?   

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #53 on: June 11, 2016, 05:32:36 pm »
Martin groaned when she placed herself deftly upon him. A small town Casanova, he'd been on the receiving end of this expression, this formation before, but he'd never been so invested. The boy was stitched to this moment. It was confusing to the new heart that she would grant him all he'd ever want from someone else. He'd like to think he participated in the roiling physicality, being torn between one pleasure and another was excruciating, despite the tinder to his ego.

A little hope shone through the heat when her mouth returned to his neck. His fingers dug into her hip, guiding her on his inflammation as his other touch remained on her neck, trying to keep her there, hoping to apply enough pressure himself when her teeth were poised but not opening the skin. He wouldn't have the exhilaration he wanted. He could not have earned it on his best day, and now, without the red fuel she'd claimed, he was even less likely to perform in a memorable manner. He fought for it, though, and didn't have enough breath over to answer her when she offered an equal trade of their everythings.

When she drew another thing from him, a spell of fertility that could have made them connected through another life if they'd both been of the same deign, he had no choice but fall into a deep slumber. The limits of his body and the teased and tortured mind made themselves known, whether he'd listen or not, but he'd save the little praise she gave him, and locked his arm around her after the act. He'd not warranted such pleasure, and he couldn't stand the effects of it. A well-shaped toy, having to replenish for now, in her sheets. For all that could be said about him, he was good for at least the basic comforts.

Martin woke pleasantly, but with a dry mouth. The smoke had already scented the day in the room, and he sat up to see her. It ignited all of what she'd been yesterday. He shuffled to that side of the bed, so he could sit up. He was also nude. Confident - where was the shame in his youthful, healthy proportions? - he stood and came over to her, perhaps carrying some audacity in his grin. He would try to clip the little vice between his fingers and steal it from her, that he could have a breath of it before he returned it. He believed her praise from the night before, after all.

"Would you like to spend the day?" together. he asked, without a thought to what she'd said about illness and the Blood House. He was already drawing scenarios to himself, where he could entice her to have another drink.

-

Inan's dreams were soft when he could hold her, but not appropriate. She was a more compliant person, and forgiving. His arms hadn't hugged her possessively in the real world, but when he woke up to her start, he might have wished he'd kept her closer. "Why," he'd try at first. People always try to know the why when they want to change the outcome. He didn't press the query when she said it was for her sake. A staler face on the usually soft, sleep-drunk waker. It wouldn't have been much to notice on anyone else, but to Cat, whom he loved and saved a particularly easy and affectionate eye for, it would look as both anger and sadness.

"You're right." he said and rolled out, standing on the floor. He was still wearing yesterday's clothes, the memory of rain was on them, though the fact of that weather was not. His hair was affected by the night, of course, but it's length made it a bit too heavy to be completely ruined. Another blessing for the Copper son who didn't even use his handsome. "I'll go get some cereal." he said and looked around, but there was nothing to prepare. Not many steps were needed to the door, either. He wanted to say something as he turned the handle, but didn't know what and then he'd closed the room behind him.

True to his word, he sat down with milk and a carton, alone by the table. Since he'd not cared for which he'd picked, what he imagined hay tasted like and porous gravel felt like greeted his palled on the first mouthful. Adam, who was arranging vials by the sink, only realized his son's dip in spirit when he looked over there. The brand of the chosen breakfast was a clue, as well.

"Women troubles, cowboy?" he asked, sitting down with his own bowl. Other parents sometimes spoke of a rift filled with emotional negligence as their children grew, and Adam was very fearful of that. Any one of their foul moods could be the start of such distance. He wanted to make sure he did everything he could to pull them back. The stutter Adam received from the boy, who actually never finished speaking the first word in an explanation, confounded the man as he poured the milk over the cereal he'd usually get to himself.

"Well." Adam started, crushing the grainy bite. Because of the noise he had to chew and swallow before continuing. "It is my impression that everything goes away with modesty and honesty."

Inan shook his head with some bitterness that Adam didn't recognize.

-

Olister leaned his head back in his seat. On the passenger side, there was a ball of rumpled up shame, along with other papers. The way Marin had moved on the boy, and her inviting glances had gotten to him. He laughed at himself and realized that despite the boy surely being alive when he left, he hated this succulent. He'd not made a strategy for the pale murderer he was really after, either, spending the duration of the night trying to sleep, reclined, but really wanting something else. And then finally giving in when the sun started its return. Perhaps he was waiting to see her again. Some kind of closure would be needed before he moved on.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #54 on: June 11, 2016, 08:46:35 pm »
Marin let him have the cigarette, dark eyes impassive. How bold. It didn’t bother her, really, until he suggested she give him more of her time. She’d had plans. Plans she had mentioned to him, even, before they’d been swallowed by the night’s voracious appetite.  Marin couldn’t exactly blame him for forgetting. She was averse to the hints of possessiveness, though. Most who tasted relief as her kind gave became that way. Whether hunters quite realized it or not, it was often that vice that spelled human demise over any monstrous appetite.

“No.” she said. Then, considering that it might have wounded his feelings, “I came to Valleyrun to find your Blood House and I think I should pay a visit today.” She explained. Not because she disliked him, suggested her tone. She stretched and stood, moving away from him to find her bag. She’d not brought very much with her. The jeans from the day she arrived and a clean shirt from the satchel. Marin sat on the edge of the bed and began to slip on her worn boots, soft with wear and of military styling. She shoved her discarded sundress back into the bag.

Her gaze was somewhat expectant, gently insisting that he dress and go. “Thank you for last night, though. It was helpful. And fun.” She leaned back on her elbows. “Maybe you could come by again, in a day or two. I think Nona might be missing you,” she offered. If she was still in town, then. He’d been good for her body. She’d not mind it again. It occurred to her that it might be best not to pull anyone else into this, anyway. Valleyrun was a small place. Only so many desperate people could go without causing alarm of some kind. Perhaps that would be disappointing to Ahler, if he ever found out. A cruel part of her hoped he did. More to share in the old ache she carried.

Before he had quite left, she made her way to the door. “I’m going to go. You can stay as long as you like.” Finish your cigarette. Maybe she’d have stayed if he hadn’t taken it? It was unlikely.

Marin thought to stop by the store again, to get another cup of coffee. She’d enjoyed it. It was still early, and she wasn’t sure what time the Witch’s family got up for the day. She passed Olister’s vehicle and paused. He looked a bit more tired than yesterday and she wondered if he’d not rented a room in the inn. From the clutter in the cabin with him, she suspected not. A curious smile.

“Good morning,” she said through the open window. “Did you have a nice evening?” Marin asked. He was on her list of possible visitors, last night, but the smell of sex and iron had been too much to have isolated the particular aroma of anyone else’s veins. She asked anyway, because it was benign at worse and accusing at best. She ran a hand through her straight dark hair. “You look a bit tired. Like I said, you can come by and visit me. If you’re sleeping here, a nap at the inn might be more restful.” She offered. Better if Martin saw another man, anyway. It would make him taste sweeter and remind him that he was significantly more hers, now, than she was his. The arrangement seemed perfectly pragmatic.

Marin was back on her way, before Olister answered. Though he would see her again as she crossed his path from the corner store, piping cup of caffeine in her hand.

--

Cat lay in bed for a long moment after Inan left. She was glad he’d gone without much protest, but the wounded look on his face made her head hurt. Catalina was the baby of the family, but she’d always spoiled Inan out of sincere affection. She’d never liked to see him make those kinds of expressions and least of all at her. Perhaps she shouldn’t have urged him to go.

A frustrated sigh, because she felt rude to think that sort of thing now. Slowly, she rolled out of bed and shambled out to the kitchen to meet father and brother. It was late in the week, so Mother was likely making house calls to the elderly that liked her to bring spices and spells that eased them with placebo. She arched a brow at Inan’s cereal and wondered if it had been selected out of absence of mind or self-punishment. Cat went to the cabinet to get their usual, sweeter, selection for herself.

“Mornning, Dad,” she said, dropping herself into a chair. It wasn’t her usual, selected instead a chair away from her brother. Nothing to worry about, but uncharacteristic nonetheless. “Going into the city, today?” she asked. It was the time of week for the house to be empty. Mother made her rounds and Father usually went to pick up supplies they couldn’t get in the small Valleyrun shops or the forest surrounding. Cat realized she was hopeful for it. Somehow, it seemed like their secret would spill at any moment. Perhaps from her own mouth. She’d be able to relax a bit if her parents were gone. She might have hoped otherwise if she’d known about the ancient doll that was presently on her way to their house.   

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #55 on: June 11, 2016, 11:46:55 pm »
His brow hardened slightly at her short answer, tendrils of tar vapor clouding one eye. There was no such vengeance in Martin, though. She did explain why. A pout on the lips that took another taste of the cigarette. She'd called it a kiss. Perhaps he smoked because he couldn't think of anything to say. His free hand brushed his wounds that weren't there, and at once a complaint from nerves rushed to meet the touch. Martin was left to stare as she went about the little room, clothing herself.

At the very least he should have offered small talk, he wanted to, so she would know there was no wound she'd inflicted on his pride or heart. But that would be false, and so he had nothing small to talk about. It was a feat on its own to stand there, bare, and rely on the cigarette. He didn't know the little comfort might not have been needed if he'd not taken it. Even through this facade, he had to utter something agreeing to her light-hearted invitation to come back. Like he cared about Nona now, when he'd tasted what he'd been missing. What every human was missing.

He put the vice out in the bottom of an upturned glass on the table, a bit of panic behind his ribs when he realized she was leaving. Scramble for your own clothes. He'd not managed to sip himself up yet, until she was out the door. Martin hung his head for the duration of getting clothed. The invitation had not extended to following her now. There was a blinding, fat tear on his right eye when he finally got his jacket on. On the bed he could see himself have the moment of his life, yesterday night. When she returned, there would be a distinctive dent in that pillow, from his little rage before leaving.

Olister had seen her walking, of course, his eyes fixed as soon as he remembered her gait. There weren't many other things to look at so early, either. It was strange that his heart would switch to a new velocity in matters of a demon, that weren't because it was preparing his body to fight. If she was a liar, and she knew he'd seen her, her act was meticulous. What could he do but smile back, and open the window further. Part of him was afraid that she'd catch the scent of his much needed self-care, but then again, what if she did? Surely not even their senses could detect the images he'd used by simply knowing the aroma of his traces in paper.

Her question though, challenged his confidence. He didn't let it show, and gave a smile he could mean. She wasn't less pretty today then she'd been when they'd spoken in the café, or rather, the coffee-ary. It would be out of place to be anything but an aspiring flirt, still. Perhaps it was more true today. He didn't have to think of what to say, because she was gone soon, and then back again, reminding him of the memories he'd collected, spying, yesterday, as though he wasn't already thinking them.

"Not as nice as yours." he assured her, once she was out of sight.

-

Adam watched the two when she entered the room. It was not as bad as it had been yesterday, but they'd not completely reconciled yet. He made himself recall the image of Inan by her bed. That gave the father enough serenity to believe there was no real danger to their bond. He nodded at her, and smirked to himself when Inan looked at the box she'd chosen. The man almost laughed when Inan took the next spoon to his mouth. It was a particularly sour expression. They could all hear the crunch.

"Morning Catalina." he replied and ate from his own bowl. He liked the brand, so there was no disagreement in his reaction to it. He rolled the bark and grains around in the milk as he thought on his plans for the day. She was right. "Yes." He kept up with one of the stores that sold rare potions. They'd also give him a good price for some of what he gathered and processed from their forest. It could be nice to speak to like-minded. "If you need something you will have to put it on the list." He pointed to the fridge and the yet to be folded paper held there by a naked magnet.

Inan looked at his sister when father wasn't. He wanted to dig his big toe into her sock, between her largest toe and the second one, as he usually would. That seemed too intimate now. There might not come a time when it would be appropriate again. It weighed him further and he wished he'd cherished it. His feet crossed as he folded his legs, to keep that impulse in line. He continued to crush the sadistic food to be stored in his right cheek. If he kept himself with food he wouldn't have to talk.

The father made sure he finished his own breakfast fast. It didn't seem as though the two would talk, and he didn't have any interest in being their only outlet to stave off the silence. Inan would get sweet when he pretended, but it was embarrassingly false, whether the boy was angry, hurt or shy. Adam also didn't like disingenuous things. He placed the bowl by the sink, and would have washed it too, but figured that chore might force the two to communicate. "I have to get a few things fresh from the forest before I go though." that much was true. "You two don't leave the house until I'm back." Smart father. And fast. He was out before they were allowed to protest.

Inan's eye grew a little when the door closed. He quickly shoveled milk into his mouth so he could swallow the porridge forming in his cheek. Those eyes turned to her in the silence after the adult had gone. He wasn't one for silences either, and he was especially unequipped for them when they emanated from Catalina. That was why he lifted the bowl to his mouth, and drank the rest of his breakfast quickly. He was first to the sink, and felt a small relief over not having to meet her eyes. In the end, he couldn't not speak.

"In the cave..." but he didn't know what to say, either.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #56 on: June 12, 2016, 07:47:08 pm »
Cat nodded at her father. She didn’t have anything she needed from the city. There was some candy they couldn’t buy in Valleyrun that she liked to put on the list, even if it generally didn’t make it into the basket. She didn’t bother with it today. When Father left, Cat reconsidered her desire to see him go. The silence was too stifling between the two of them. It wasn’t a state of being they were used to. She wondered if he wanted to fill the noise as badly as she did, but she didn’t know what to say.

Inan went to the sink and she was glad for the sound of the water from the faucet. The clink of bowls was helpful, but it didn’t quite eat the edge off the silence. She regretted not being the first to speak, because Inan said what she had hoped he wouldn’t.

“It’s fine to forget about it.” She said. It wasn’t fine, because she couldn’t forget, but it seemed like the right thing to say. “I’m sorry.” Because it was her fault, still. Catalina finished her cereal, but didn’t move to take the bowl to the sink. She didn’t want to be that near to him. She scratched at the bottom of her bowl with the edge of her spoon. More silence.

“You should really get a girlfriend.” Maybe that was crass of her.

--

Marin approached the Blood House as Adam Copper was pulling out of the drive in an old truck. She wondered if the Witch was home. She didn’t exactly hide, but she did hang back until the truck had rumbled a good distance down the dusty road before she approached the door.

She paused there. Marin wasn’t sure what to make of her plans, now. Hello Witch. Hello children. I’m eternal and I’ll eat you alive. Marin almost laughed aloud at the thought. Was it wrong to simply show up and say she was curious? She had heard of someone that sounded a bit like a kindred spirit and, after all these lives and centuries it might be nice to meet a soul like that. Maybe she’d said something like that to someone else before. She didn’t know.

Marin rapped her knuckles against the door.

--

“I’ll get it.” Cat said quickly. It gave her something to do. She didn’t like Inan to answer the door, anyway. Sometimes Nona came by. She perched on her tiptoes to peer out of the peephole and didn’t recognize the girl on the other side. Catalina frowned. “It’s someone that’s not from around here.” She called out to Inan, but unlocked the door anyway.

Marin could feel a thick haze of Magic on the other side of the door and pressed her lips into a thin line. She hadn’t wanted to talk to the Witch. Particularly not without Adam Copper there. But Mr. Copped had told her she could come by, and that might be reasonable leverage. She was surprised by the girl she saw when the door opened. Young.

“Hello, can I help you?” Catalina asked, head inclined. Their visitor was shockingly pristine. Lovely in a way that didn’t grow here in Valleyrun. There was an odd taste in the air, too. Something familiar that pricked the back of Cat’s neck. Without meaning to, she took a step back into the house.

“Maybe. I heard this house helps the sick.” Marin said. “I’ve come out here from the city to meet this family.” She said. Her dark eyes were fixed on Catalina’s greens as if she were trying to pry something from them. A Witchling, not the Witch of the house, Marin was certain. This girl must have barely been of age to receive her Rite. Marin had read about such things in a book. It had been in the same section of the library that had tales about the origin of the Night Ones.

Catalina’s brow furrowed slightly. The girl couldn’t have been much older than herself, maybe a bit closer to Inan in age, but she carried a weight that dwarfed what those years implied. “We do help the sick, yes. My father is an herbalist. My mother and I help as well.” Cat said. She wasn’t about to be forthcoming with a girl from the city she’d never seen before. Marin was nodding.

“Yes. Your mother is a Witch, is she not? You have the Magic as well. I can feel it.” Marin said. Cat’s eyes grew a bit wider. “I hear you have a brother, too. That he has special talents of his own.” Marin said. Cat’s lips pulled into a frown. She wondered who had given away so much information to this stranger. There were boys in town, surely, that she could have made a suggestion to and be given the truth and more. Catalina decided to be brave, because she had no secret now and, at least, the woman hadn’t asked for Inan’s blood outright.

“My name is Catalina Copper.” She said, extending a hand. “You’re correct. My mother is a Witch. I’m in training.” Cat said. She didn’t answer on Inan’s behalf. Marin shook the outstretched hand.

“Catalina Copper.” She ate the name cautiously. “I met your father in the general store. Mr. Adam Copper, I believe.” She offered. “My name is Marin.” She added. Marin scuffed the toe of her boot against the wood porch. “Would you mind if I stepped inside?” Marin asked.

In a town the size of Valleyrun, the children were taught to be polite before they were taught to be cautious. Cat had been taught to guard the Magic of their family, too, but this Marin seemed already to know. And she’d met Father, too. “Oh. Yes, please come inside. We were just having breakfast. I can… get you a glass of water, if you like.” Cat stepped aside to let Marin in.

Marin was careful when she crossed the threshold. An invitation in was safe, but Catalina had seemed a little reluctant. “Thank you.” She said.

“Inan, we have a guest.” Cat called over her shoulder. A warning, in some sense. Against what, it was hard to say.   

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #57 on: June 13, 2016, 10:15:28 pm »
Inan hadn't tried to forget. How impossible, Cat. If he remembered her freckled frowns when they came home to sample dad's bitter teas, how could he forget her hot mouth and the cold water drops? Forgetting was unfair to the loveliness they'd shared. He prepared something on his tongue then that would have been a bit poisonous, for once, before she suggested he find someone significant. A bit of gray in the flaring red. He'd heard it before, from boys that didn't find conversation with Mend too offputting, from smiling girls at the busstop and sitting girls waiting to have their scratches smoothed out. Cat wasn't trying to convert him to some hormonal hunt, or reaching for a connection that might lead to affection. It could not have been anything but rejection.

Inan became a bit convinced he'd violated her, then, as he continued washing the same curve of the bowl until it was the same luke warm as the water. The shower he'd taken yesterday reminded him to switch the handle to the blue mark, instead. It was devastating to the heart that pumped healing magic to feel like a villain, and he tried to lay that fear aside, selfishly. Inan bit the inside of his cheek, a bad habit, and it yielded blood. The taste stung. It was good to have to steel himself against something.

He'd never wrestled with Cat's stubborn nature like this. She'd not set herself against something he wanted so firmly before. They'd always been on the same side of things, or either of them wouldn't care enough to oppose the other. It was hurtful, now, to try and justify it as pleasure, when she clearly remembered it as something uncomfortable. It had been against her lovely little protests, but he’d not known it was against her will. His thumb was straining its top joint, all but breaking against a stain on the bowl that wasn’t there anymore when he turned over the burning memory to try and find conviction that he was not some violator. It would be just like Catalina to apologize when he’d wronged her, wouldn’t it?

Inan didn't react the way he should when the door said they had a visitor. He had other things to think. Guilt is a sedative. He awoke from the little spell of indiference when Cat said his name. He had to finish quickly, and wipe his hands on his jeans, wrinkling the denim in an attempt at getting the heat back in his fingers. A guest. How unusual. Cat knew everyone in Valleyrun. Who was it that needed to be anounced without such familiarity? And why wasn't she cold toward them? He let the mystery chase away the friction of the the things he'd not gotten to say.

The boy stopped and looked the woman over. She was contradiction in their home, in their town. The things she couldn't help, her skin, her hair, her eyes, were spotless, but her clothes were modest, inconspicious. Inan sometimes watched people from the outside because of his slight isolation. He thought it was odd that this pale thing wasn't freightening. There she stood, with no history on her complexion, when Catalina's hue was written with memories all over. He didn't know what to make of it.

"Good morning." The gold around his pales bled in the smallest way. The craft in him that could thread flesh back against itself, and rejoin bone, was an involved, warm conjuring. The eternity that stood in lovely form in their house, invited, was fueled by something else. It couldn’t be that such asymmetry could coexist without strife. He felt his magic moving, and it was a bit exciting, since he’d not known it to react so much before. If the mission was a big challenge, a gaping wound, he’d feel a tinge, a draw toward that injury. This was like that, but wilder, and in the other direction. Sometimes, in summer, he and Cat would fall back, arms out, into high grass without knowing if there was earth or rocks to greet them on the ground. This was a sensation like that. And so he was drawn.

Inan crossed their home to come closer to the young and ancient creature. The sharp of his tongue pulled at the wound in his cheek. There was magic in his breath when he spoke. “I’m Inan, Catalina’s brother.” Cat must have introduced herself already. He offered the warmer hand, blissfully free of bandages today, but still with little white lines, of course. She was here for help, why else would someone visit the Blood House? Perhaps she knew his parents. Had mother gone on her errands, yet? “Dad’s not home. I don’t think mother is either.” The cold tinge that should invade sons and daughters after having revealed the absence of their protectors to a stranger did not come. A failure from that instinct. He wanted to say something else and would eventually suggest the seats that had been the Whitaker’s yesterday.

Cat would know it wasn’t his usual persona, speaking to Marin. On other days, with other people, he’d offer a polite smile, sometimes apologizing without words that they had to be there, and that he couldn’t do more, and that it had to be blood. Inan was curious, and a bit aware of himself with Marin. When they did get seated, he took the place where Simon had been, if the guest would sit where Shirley sat. “What brings you here?” It wasn’t a good thing people needed his help, not for them, but it almost always gave Inan a gateway in to conversation, and with this woman he found himself grateful for that. “You’re not born and raised.” He had to cashually brush a finger over his lips to make sure the scent he could taste of the strangely generous bite inside his mouth wasn’t revealing itself.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #58 on: June 15, 2016, 06:14:43 am »
Catalina watched Inan greet their guest. He seemed more keen than usual, but maybe it was simply that Marin had no visible ailment. Their guests usually had blood or phlegm ready for offer. Marin was undeniably compelling, though, the Witchling was aware. She had never thought she might find a woman attractive quite so. Then again, she’d not thought she’d have felt her brother’s bare skin as she had. A week of turning the girl’s world on end, it seemed.

“Oh. Well, it’s a shame your parents aren’t home. It would have been nice to meet the whole family.” Marin said, shaking Inan’s hand with a cool grip. Firm, though her small hand was swallowed by his. “I suppose I did have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Copper already, though. I met him yesterday, at the general store.” She said, repeating to Inan what she had already told Cat. Cat realized, on hearing it a second time, that Father hadn’t mentioned meeting a newcomer to Valleyrun. That usually would have made it into dinner conversations. It had been her and Inan’s fault though, likely. Dinner had been cold and uncomfortable, yesterday, for the whole family.

Catalina was further surprised when Inan sat beside the girl, as they made their way to the kitchen table. It wasn’t his usual spot. It was closer to a stranger than Inan would have generally cared to sit. Cat supposed she ought to be relieved that she wouldn’t have to sit near him. Instead, listening to him impose his curiosity eagerly while she went to the refrigerator for their filtered water, she felt a small burn in her chest. No matter. She was probably just feeling protective of her brother. That was normal.

“Yes, what does bring you here?” Cat echoed, her tone a bit less warm but not unkind. She didn’t really feel as if she ought to worry yet. Not about Inan. What did perplex her was the way the air seemed to tremor and sway with stronger currents of Magic than Cat was used to feeling. It was a quiet Magic. Old. Older than Mother’s spells and less sharp. This was Magic like the heavy still weight of deep water. It felt potent, but not violent, and so the Witchling placed a glass of water in front of guest and brother and went back to fetch her own without saying anything spiteful.

Marin rolled the question over in her head. She was sitting in the house, which meant she’d gone at least two steps further into the plan she’d not really devised. If she had not become better at planning in her many lives, it was likely a deeply rooted aspect of her nature. Marin had learned, at least, to be content with not knowing the path forward. She couldn’t remember the path behind her, either, so it seemed only reasonable that she not worry about what lay ahead.

Marin decided to be honest, if not entirely forthcoming. It had worked to her advantage in Valleyrun, thus far. “I came to meet you, Inan Copper.” Marin said. “I heard rumors in the city that there was a family here with Magic blood that could heal. When I arrived, I heard it was you that the rumors were about. Mend, I think they called you.” She said. Marin was sure the things she had been told were not simply rumors.

Had her eyes not been quite so dark, he might have been able to see the way her pupils dilated when she had smelled his blood, and she had most certainly smelled it. More potent to her than Catalina’s young and blossoming Magic, because it sang to the things that were predatory inside her. Inan Copper most certainly had special blood. Whether it could heal, as she had heard, she supposed she still did not know for sure.

“So, ‘they’ were nobody worth talking to, then.” Catalina said with a slight scowl. “Not that you’ve heard wrong. Mother wouldn’t want us to lie about that. But nobody worth knowing calls him Mend.” She said. At least half the town, if not all, had called him Mend at some point. Cat would have stood by her statement.

Marin coughed, choking just a little on the sip of water she’d taken. Delightful girl, this one. It was nice to see such a sincere human being once in a while. Frankly, both children seemed a bit purer than her time in the City had suggested of humankind. Not that Valleyrun had really done much better, so far. “You know, I told them I thought that seemed a little like a rude name.” she said. Marin was very confident in her decision to remain honest, then. In fact, it seemed like it might be time to be more so.

“Anyway, are you saying you’re not here because you need to be fixed up?” Cat asked. “I’m training with my Mother and Father so I do know some spells and herbs,” Cat offered. She wanted to dislike Marin, because Inan seemed less put off by her than any other girl that had come through the house. However, Marin had still not suggested she wanted Inan’s blood. It made her significantly more inclined to be helpful.

“No… well, I don’t need to be fixed up by any of your Magic. Or his.” Marin said. The look on Catalina’s face said she was too used to people wanting things. It made Marin feel for her, a bit. She understood that sort of taxing sensation. Every fanged beauty that let their meals go alive knew what it was to be pestered by the needy. Marin hummed. The Blood House had been worth the trip. She hadn’t honestly found anyone worth liking, this life. The Copper siblings begged to differ. A breath of fresh air, as it were.

“I just wanted to meet you,” she said to Inan. “The things I heard were a bit unbelievable, you understand.” Marin’s expression fell a little bit. Less genuine. Not that either sibling would notice. “I’ll admit that I lied to your father. Sort of. I implied I was sick in a way that your family might help. I really just wanted to get a chance to talk.” She said.

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Re: Soft Falling
« Reply #59 on: June 15, 2016, 07:07:07 pm »
Inan didn't know why he felt flattered by her reason for coming here. In essence, him living in this house was the reason for its patrons, despite mother and father doing most of the work. Her honesty made him feel comfortable, and he liked her more for it. His thumb trailed the chill she'd given to his hand as he listened to her explain. Cat came forward with her usual distaste for those who would nickname him when Marin mentioned them. For that moment, she was just the Cat he'd known before yesterday. On most days Inan didn't feel much toward the name Valleyrun used for him.

Marin repeated why she was here, directly at him. He felt embarrassed, but not in a way that made him want to hide. No one had studied him before, save for a few less than serious camera-toters from the school – a project, they’d said. He hadn't thought as much as he should have on his blessed veins either. Surely knowing he was the son of a witch and a herbalist was enough. Mother had always been more inclined to reap it, than read about it. "I'm sure he'll understand." Inan offered. Why should dad worry that Marin had lied, if she didn't mean any harm. Nona lied, and she was always welcome in this house.

Marin was not pulled out of her own pace by Cat, in fact, Marin had laughed into her water. He enjoyed seeing that, but it wasn’t amusing, it didn’t make him want to laugh, too. Without knowing about the flush of her pupils, he still felt her attention grow. His blood moved like a stirring, sleeping dragon, rubbing its scales against the inside of his skin. He threw a quick glance at Cat, like ‘isn’t she different? Isn’t she quite something?’. He used both his hands to hang his hair behind his ears and smiled with his lips lightly closed, something he’d practiced in the bathroom, learned from a book, when the character was trying to be attractive. There was none of Martin’s experienced calculated persona in Inan, the Copper boy was simply trying to put his best effort forward.

I just wanted to meet you.

“Well, here I am.” And it’s not much. “It’s not some lie, statistically, this thing we do here.” Inan turned his eyes down on his upturned wrist. One of the more expensive highways. The other hand brushed his neck and hung on his nape as he sighed lightly. “I wish I could show you something, but it’s a trick that needs circumstances.” He looked her over again, and was grateful he had an excuse to. “And you’re not hurt, Marin.” He didn’t know where the self-confidence was coming from. Neither he nor Catalina knew him to be some musing conversationalist if the other part was a veritable stranger.

“We—I don’t know much about it, if you’re curious.” He looked over at Cat again. What was appropriate to say? Most of the villagers knew as much as he. Elise’s blood, possibly Adam’s too. Witch’s bloodline. Mother had some texts about it, but didn’t seem too interested in them anymore. Bringing out historical parchments already, though, seemed a bit much. He wasn’t fearful of Marin, but perhaps it was too early to trust her with something so private and valuable. His sleeves had come down to cover his arms after having been rolled for the dishes. He started sliding them back up, revealing his slender forearms. Because of his build, and the clothes he liked wearing, the cloth cylinder was able to climb rather high on his arm. His wealth of scars. If he were sentimental about the people that visited, he would have been proud. But Inan’s relationship to the marks was mostly trying to find patterns in them, like he did in the clouds, when he was bored. “Here. It’s not proof, but maybe it proves that we believe.”

He had no way of knowing how suggestive it was to display his rushing blood, the blue rootwork planted shallow in the pale skin. Hands hanging down, the naked wrists curved lewdly to spill those deep threads over the balls of his palms. Stoic waterfalls of life. It would have been the same if Catalina asked him to share another sweater with her. He even lifted them further, for Marin to examine. He was offering the scars, of course, but he could not do that without bringing his loose nest of arteries closer, as well. “Underwhelming, I know.” A crooked, halved smile. “How about you, Marin? Who are you that you’d be interested in this kind of thing, a city girl, you said.” Inan’s craft was old, too, and it recognized Marin to be a kindred in that aspect. This made him feel familiar with her enough to speak with her like this.