n_wilkinson: (samcham)
[personal profile] n_wilkinson
a/n: Another update to A Thousand Words. This one, in particular, is a fic owed to a hit count winner and it's about time. Also, I've edited it twice, but there may be some grammatical errors still. Apologies in advance.

Title: Of Wolf and Man
Series: A Thousand Words
Warning: m/m erotica , language, oral, handjob, self-service, May-December pairing
Description: Flesh appeases Ladon's hunger, but Geryon asks for something more enticing. Rue learns this lesson the hard way.

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Snapshot IX - Of Wolf and Man
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“Why are we out here in the middle of draxing nowhere again?”

Rue sighs, flicking his dark hair back over his shoulder as he dismounts. “Because you've yet to learn patience, Sethey. A fact made more obvious by your repeated questions.”

Sethey hops down from his horse, fingers dragging over its mane soothingly. “I have plenty of patience,” he retorts.

“Not nearly enough, my young apprentice,” Rue says, and pulls down his two saddlebags. “Ready the campsite, unless you prefer to spend Kalarkan's cold nights without fire or shelter.”

Sethey tosses him a toothy leer, laced with intent. “I had planned on you keeping me warm, Master Rue.”

He turns his back on the younger man, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. “That sort of thing has to be earned, Sethey. Show me some improvement and we will see.”

“Stubborn old lizard.”

“I'm hardly old,” Rue retorts. After all, his hair hasn't a streak of grey in it. He's only two decades older than Sethey, which is nothing considering that their race – the Zen'tar – can live for centuries.

Sethey laughs. “I noticed that you didn't protest the stubborn part.”

“I'll consider it a compliment.” Rue unsaddles his horse, picketing the sleepy animal near a nice stretch of vegetation that should prove tasty. “I'll return soon. I expect to see everything set up when I do.”

He doesn't have to look at Sethey to know that his apprentice is making faces at his back. “Yes, master. Whatever you say, master. As you command, master.”

Choosing to ignore Sethey's irreverent response, Rue leaves his apprentice in the small clearing and heads into the woods, batting away lingering cobwebs and drooping tangles of forest moss. There's another, larger glade within walking distance and it is to this that Rue heads. He needs more room for his transformation than the small, neatly concealed glen they had chosen for their resting place can provide.

Afternoon is settling over the Klamath forest with a damp, lazy heat, making Rue sweat within his heavy robes. He can't wait to be free of them, to feel the sun dancing over his serpentine skin, warming him from the inside out, as opposed to making him feel like he's walking through soup.

The gangly arms of an alder tree reach out for his face, but Rue ducks under them, dances around a prickly darkberi bush and steps over a foxhole before the glade comes into sight. Sunlight pours into the wide clearing, a direct contrast to the filtered lighting beneath the tree tops. An abundance of brightly colored flowers have taken up residence here in the glade, their vibrant shades dancing in the light breeze. It'll be a shame to crush them, but such things can't be helped.

Shrugging out of his heavy overcloak, Rue hangs it over a nearby branch, one strong enough to bear the weight of the fabric. Rolling his shoulders, he makes his way to the center of the glade, feeling warm sun prickling over the back of his arms and neck. He closes his eyes, inhales, the sweet scent of fragrant flowers making his nose twitch.

It's been forty years since Rue first learned to transform, and now it has come to him as easy as breathing. He has only to form an image in his mind, and his body responds, the magic within twisting and twining, folding in on itself, a motion that mimics the actions of his limbs.

There is pain, as always, but it's become a dull throb after the decades. Rue's skin ebbs and flows as though it were made of water, his bones stretching and twisting, hair vanishing, clothes all but evaporating. Muscles stretch taut, his skin ripples and hardens, soft scales overlapping, ridges coming to sharp points.

Appendages spring from his shoulder blades, exploding out his back, stretching far and wide, leathery but strong. They glimmer an iridescent emerald and amethyst in the afternoon sun. Rue's vision narrows, but opens up an entirely new range, and his mouth opens into a bestial hiss, forked tongue elongating to taste the air.

Mere seconds later, where once a human had stood, a mid-sized dragon now crouches on four limbs, wings open and gleaming in the sunlight. His scales alternate between rising and flattening against his flesh, as though a parody of a stretch.

His senses have become sharper, so much more acute, and Rue is nearly overcome by the urge to fly. It pours through his senses, makes his limbs tremble, his wings vibrate as air currents wash gently over them. His inner beast longs for the sky and Rue knows better than to disobey.

What is Zen'tar slides back, allowing what is serpent to take the forefront of control, and powerful wings thrust toward the ground, even as equally powerful legs leap into the air. There's a tiny wobble as the outer edge of his right wing clips a massive conifer, but with another strong push, Rue finds himself airborne, climbing higher and higher into the blue, cloudless sky.

Wind rushes across his draconic face, back over his skull, down the length of his thorny spine, to the tip of his spiked tail. He tucks his legs and forelimbs up against his belly to make himself more aerodynamic and banks into the first turn, closing his eyes and just enjoying the flight at first. There's something about giving himself up to the beast and aimlessly whirling in the sky that brings a peace to Rue.

He hopes he will be able to impart this knowledge to Sethey as well. Impatient as the young one is, however, he probably won't understand until he reaches a more mature age.

Rue's eyes, pale blue and lizard-like, slide back open and he hums a throaty tune in his draconic throat. The sight below him is one to enjoy. A veritable sea of flora in shades of pine brown and conifer green, with the occasional smattering of deciduous autumn. The land rises and ebbs in small hills, creating dips that make it seem as though the forest itself is in constant, tidal motion.

There, in the distance, is a mountain range, the tallest peaks capped in year-round ice and snow. A few curls of grey smoke rise from the base of Tsundere, the tallest peak, which looms over the small village of Alkali. A brave lot of humans they are, daring to live in the shadow of a volcano which constantly rumbles.

Rue banks to the left, skirting the dividing line of forest and mountain, for another curving pass around the forest. If he looks hard enough, he can just make out the glitter of the Iandros river, as it drops out of the Hintu mountains and coils in a lazy sprawl toward the Iapetus. Perhaps a dip in the cool waters is on the agenda for today.

His stomach rumbles in an unflattering manner. It had been a long ride, after all, and he'd foregone breakfast that morning. With much reluctance, Rue banks into another turn and heads back for where he'd left Sethey and the campsite.

It takes only a few sweeping passes for him to locate the large glade he's used to transform and he lands with an earth-jarring rumble, scaring a flock of rasprows out of the trees. Sighing, Rue folds his wings against his back and drags his anthro-conscious back to the forefront of his mind.

The image forms, easier since it is the one he wears often, of smooth skin and four appendages. Of long dark hair spilling over his head, pale blue eyes with a spherical pupil. Fingers and toes and a much more compact form.

Rue shudders from head to toe as his mass folds in on itself, forelimbs shortening into arms, powerful legs shrinking as well. His wings shatter into iridescent dust, the magic returning to Raetaen as easily as it had been first granted, leaving nothing but a faint itching at his shoulder blades.

Within seconds, he is once more in his anthro-form, modeled after a human's for better blending in, and it takes a minute to readjust to the new input. He can no longer see a wider spectrum of light, and his senses have dulled – he is incapable of sensing out the local wildlife now as well.

Finally acclimated, Rue retrieves his heavy robes and throws it over his shoulders, tying a firm knot in the sash. He once again makes his way through the forest, back to where he left Sethey.

Despite his contrary nature, Sethey had done exactly as Rue asked – with one exception. Instead of prepping two separate tents for sleeping, he'd constructed a single larger one. Clearly, he expects them to share. Rue should have known.

A small smile curves his lips. Sethey is nothing if not predictable.

“At last, the valiant warrior returns,” Sethey quips as Rue emerges from the trees, swiping stray leaves from his robe-covered arms.

Rue arches a brow. “I see you've managed not to set anything alight this time.” Indeed, Sethey has built an adequately sized campfire, with enough wood nearby to feed the flames through the night, and he's set up the cooking pot as well, filling it with water from a nearby stream.

The tips of Sethey's ears burn red. “That was one time,” he huffs, dropping into a crouch beside the fire and dropping a few dried herbs into the bubbling pot. “And I still maintain that it was your fault.”

“What encouraged you to such a conclusion?” Rue asks, amused despite himself, as he pats his horse on the crown of its head before striding further into the campsite.

Sethey flashes him a smile, too much teeth and not nearly as innocent as he aimed for. “You were distracting me at the time. Did you enjoy your flight?” A hint of envy colors his tone.

“Yes. And after we eat, I'll take you on one as well.”

Eagerness lights Sethey's amber eyes, making them gleam cat-like. “Then sit down, old man. I've been waiting all week for this!”

Rue chuckles and approaches the fire, barely able to sit comfortably and arrange himself before Sethey shoves a bowl in his face, a fragrant aroma rising from the bubbling liquid. “What did you make this time?” Rue asks as he accepts his meal and the spoon that Sethey hands him.

“Briar root, tubers, and dondelyon shoots,” Sethey explains, moving around the fire where he crouches near the pot, giving it a few quick flicks with the long-handled spoon.

“No meat?”

“No.” Sethey tosses his mentor a hard look over the fire. “You know that I don't consume flesh.”

Rue sighs, poking listlessly at his stew. It's delicious, as usual, but the beast within craves meat. “And yet, I spend hours in meditation, hoping that you will change your preferences. Someday, the beast may turn against you.”

“I can control it,” Sethey retorts, serving himself a bowl and shifting his weight, balancing on the balls of his feet. He has something against sitting cross-legged.

Rue makes a noncommittal noise in his throat. “The younglings always believe such a thing at first. You must learn to respect it. Otherwise, you will lose yourself to it.”

Sethey snorts, and doesn't comment, focusing instead on the meal he has made for them. He is perfectly content to thrive on a diet of roots, nuts, berries and leafy shoots. Rue, however, knows that he will find himself catching something later, perhaps a rabbit. His mouth waters at thought of the tender, juicy meat, perhaps stewed in a broth of Sethey's thin soup.

The beast within stirs in approval.

Rue drains his bowl quickly, hunger not nearly sated enough by the green-laden soup. He craves something with more substance to it. Sethey is a passable cook, but nothing fills the belly like meat.

Setting aside his empty dishware, Rue rises to his feet and brushes leaves and detritus from his robes. He finds his saddlebag just outside their large tent and rifles through it, finding his stash of dried jerky and taking a few strips. They will do for now, until after Sethey's lesson when Rue can set Sethey to meditating and Rue himself can go hunting.

Munching on one, Rue turns back toward the fire, but Sethey has already gobbled down his own bowl, removed the cooking pot and set it aside, and dampened the fire. Not enough for it to extinguish, but enough that they could leave it unattended without worrying about alighting the forest. If there's one thing Sethey has going for him, he learns from his mistakes.

Rue arches a brow. “Eager, my young apprentice?”

“I need the practice,” Sethey answers, all swagger, but he can't hide the excitement in his eyes or the way his gaze drifts to the sky, where afternoon is fading toward sunset. “And isn't that why we came all the way out here anyway?”

“In part,” Rue says, gesturing for his student to follow him. “You also learn better when not surrounded by the distraction of your peers.” He gnaws on a piece of jerky, the thick, peppery flavor of the deer meat filling his senses.

Sethey sniffs, but hurries to catch up to Rue anyway. “What about how distracting you are?” he asks, reaching out and flicking at Rue's long hair, making the dark strands sway across his back.

“Such can't be helped,” Rue replies, humor curving his lips. “Perhaps if you impress me today, you'll be rewarded.”

“Mmm. Can I?” Sethey all but purrs, his voice registering deep and attractive, resonating through Rue's innards in a way that makes him shiver.

Careful control prevents him from showing his reaction. “We shall see.”

Sethey slumps, but only a fraction, unable to hold onto his sulk as Rue leads him through the forest, to the open glade with its bed of bright flowers. Even with the light of fading day, they are still a vibrant sight to behold, save for the noticeable places where Rue's large talons had raked furrows in the rich earth.

“I can definitely tell you've been here,” Sethey says as he circles around the marks Rue had caused in his earlier landing and take off.

“It was an unavoidable consequence,” Rue replies with a sigh, and once again, removes his heavy robes, leaving them off to the edge of the glade where they are less likely to be damaged. “Now come. Remove your outer garments, unless you wish them destroyed like the last time.”

Sethey shoots him a glare, irritated over being reminded of his mistakes, and pulls off his clothes. Unlike Rue, however, he strips completely, as comfortable in his nudity as he would be fully dressed. This is one instance in which his boldness has served him well.

Long ago, before the Zen'tar started forming friendships with the humans, none of them bothered with clothing. They preferred their other forms, shifting from beast shape to beast shape, rather than lingering in their anthro-bodies. But as trade with the humans began, their discomfort in speaking with an array of bestial creatures encouraged many Zen'tar to adopt a human form and now, it is an integral portion of Zen'tar culture. With human forms, came human attire.

Rue is two decades older than Sethey, yet, he is young enough that he is more comfortable fully dressed than he is nude. His apprentice's lack of modesty, however, is a heartening example of how the Zen'tar used to be. For that reason alone, Rue has never chastised his apprentice's preference for nudity.

“There,” Sethey says, throwing his arms out in a wide gesture, completely baring himself to the elements. “Is that better?”

Ever patient, Rue bites back a sigh. “It will suffice.” He moves to the middle of the glade, where there is more open space and less chance of either of them clipping a tree with their wings. Sethey is lucky in that his wingspan is smaller than Rue's. He's less likely to harm any of the surrounding flora.

Sethey follows him, a bounce in his step and a whistle on his lips.

“Have you formed a clear image?” Rue asks as Sethey pauses in the middle of the clearing while Rue slowly circles around him.

Sethey rolls his eyes. “Of course. Same as last time.”

“Are you sure? You seemed to have trouble with it. Perhaps it's not what you are suited for.”

Sethey clenches his jaw. “It may not be as bulky as your form, but it has it's perks.”

“If you insist.” Rue lifts his shoulders and drops them. Far be it for he to question his apprentice's choice. One way or another, Sethey will find the form that matches him best. “Close your eyes.”

Mercifully, Sethey obeys, arms hanging limply at his sides. There's a tremble to his body, one of excitement, and Rue smiles. There is nothing so invigorating as teaching another of his kind to embrace their beast side.

Rue stops behind Sethey, resting his hands on his apprentice's shoulders lightly, a barely present weight. “Imagine the beast. What does it look like? What color is it? How long are the limbs? The shade of the eyes. The shape of its neck. How does it move?” His words are like a magical spell, soft and flowing, but imperative.

He knows that Sethey is listening, for once focused and calm. Sethey's breathing has evened. He's in the process of centering himself, digging deep down inside to that part of him that is borne of magic, yet still mortal.

“Seize that image,” Rue continues, his fingers brushing Sethey's skin, sliding from his shoulders down the length of his arms. “Apply it your body. To your limbs. Your skin. Your muscle. Let it become you.”

Sethey's breathing stutters. His skin heats beneath Rue's fingers, and the tremble that takes over his body has nothing to do with anticipation. A tingling feeling washes over Rue's hands, rising from Sethey's body, the magic within manifesting itself. All very good signs.

“You're... not helping,” Sethey manages to joke,though it's an obvious struggle. “If you... wanted to arouse me, you only had to say.”

“Hush,” Rue says. “Concentrate.”

“Nnn.” Sethey makes a noise in his throat, and his tongue swipes over his lips.

Rue can sense the magic in his apprentice, can see the amber and ebony threads as they curl outward from within, surrounding Sethey's body with thin, opalescent strands. His skin ripples beneath Rue's fingers, and wisely, Rue removes his hands, taking a step back.

He watches as Sethey twitches, lurches forward in a half-step, only to bend over at the waist as his arms shove outward, as though reaching in opposite directions. His upper body convulses, and through gritted teeth, a grunt of pain emerges.

It always hurts in the early years, Rue muses sympathetically.

Sethey twitches again, more violently this time, and his flesh undulates, as though something were moving beneath it. It shifts in color, from a pale human shade, to a dark, rich ruby. His shoulders hunch, back rippling, the knobs of his spine seeming to shift.

Rue,” Sethey moans, voice heavy with pain, near-pleading, forgetting the more formal address of his mentor.

“You're almost there,” Rue replies, fingers clenching at his sides with empathetic pain. “You're fighting it. Embrace it, Sethey.”

A low growl registers in Sethey's throat, and a single, violent shudder races through his frame. The threads of magic curling around his body clamp tightly to his frame and Rue wisely takes several steps backward, for his own safety.

Sethey's head tosses back, a pained keen emanating from his mouth, and before Rue's eyes, he begins to transform. Scales appear from his flesh, his face elongates into a long snout, a tail sprouts from his backside. Wings flash into existence, growing outward from his arms, a bony outline at first, then filled in with a fleshy web in a rich, ocher shade.

The change is slow and onerous, and Rue is reminded of his earlier years after hitting maturity, each transformation from one shape to another agonizing until it became second nature. Sethey has at least three more years before his body adapts and the pain is a distant echo. It never gets easier to watch, however.

Much to Rue's relief, Sethey's shift this time takes half as long as their first session. Where once a young, nude human stood, there now perches a dragon twice Sethey's anthro height, his scales a luminescent and rich scarlet, with undertones of gold and orange. Unlike Rue, however, Sethey has no forelimbs. His arms are attached to his wings, and the largest joint extends into four claws, capable of gripping like hands when he folds his wings down.

In short, Sethey is a wyvern, not a dragon. They are a similar type, but a different class, which is why Rue is still suitable to train Sethey. There are few younglings born into the dragon type these days, a fact which brings much sorrow to Rue.

“Well,” Sethey asks, his voice raspy and rough, but audible. Wyvern's are one of the few classes able to mimic human speech. “How do I look?”

Rue gets closer, lifting his hand and dragging it over Sethey's smooth, warm underbelly. “Stunning,” he says, tracing the scales and careful not to cut himself on their serrated edges. “Red is truly your color.”

“Of course it is,” Sethey retorts and his massive head turns toward the sun, swinging about on his long, serpentine neck. “Hurry up and change. I want to fly.”

Rue pats Sethey once more before wisely withdrawing. “Go ahead. I'll meet you in the sky. Just remember to--”

“Let the beast guide me,” Sethey repeats, his voice drowning out Rue's. “I remember, Master. Step back.”

Rue retreats several more paces, back to the tree lining, and watches as Sethey leaps into the air with a powerful thrust of his back legs, his wings sweeping down to propel him upward. He launches into the air, the dying sunlight glittering off his wings, barbed tail whipping about and taking several feet off a nearby pine tree.

“Oops.” Sethey's voice floats down to Rue's, somewhat sheepish, before another skilled flap of his wings takes him even higher.

Shaking his head in amusement, Rue steps out into the clearing and quickly shifts into his draconic form, leaping into the sky to follow after his apprentice. This is one arena in which his instruction will only be minimally required. After all, Rue knows nothing about flying. The side of him that is dragon, that is beast, however, does. Much like Rue relies on that part of him to coast with the currents and wheel through the clouds, Sethey will listen to the part of him that is wyvern.

Nowadays, some of the younger generation are even naming their alternate forms, the ones they favor above all else. Sethey has taken to calling his Geryon. He has jokingly named Rue's shifting form Ladon, after the old creation legends.

“Looking good, old man,” Sethey calls out as Rue takes to the skies and Sethey approaches him from the right, a gleaming scarlet apparition in the dying sunlight.

Rue's answer is to bank hard, directly into Sethey's flight path, just to see how his apprentice would respond. With a sound resembling a squawk, Sethey rears back, hovering mid-air, flapping his wings to keep himself aloft.

Rue rumbles low in his throat, and uses magic to project his voice. “Your reflexes are improving,” he comments.

“Of course they are,” Sethey retorts smugly. “I'm not your average pupil.” He swoops down, flying alongside Rue once more. “Let's head toward the mountains.”

“Whatever you like.”

For an hour, Rue follows Sethey in long sweeps over the forest. His apprentice is wise to keep to the boundaries, never passing the mountains, or the river, and not daring to fly over the small human settlement. Though the humans are aware of their Zen'tar neighbors, they don't know how to distinguish between a shifting Zen'tar and a genuine threat.

As the sun sets, and twilight descends, so do the hunger pangs. There is also the fact that Sethey is too young to remain long in his Geryon form.

Rue coasts up to his apprentice, who's skimming a lazy flight through some clouds, and nudges Sethey with a wing tip, just to get his attention. “Time to land, youngling,” he calls out.

Sethey's head swivels toward him, easy to do with such a sinuous neck. “Afraid of a little night time, Ladon?”

“I am Rue,” he replies firmly, though previous attempts to dissuade Sethey from using the alternate name have proved futile. “And you, Sethey, have met your quota for the day.”

The wyvern huffs, but miraculously, he obeys without argument, banking back toward the glade they used for landing and take off. It is harder to find without the light of the sun to guide them, and it takes a few passes for Rue to spot it. He lands without incidence, shifting into his anthro-form, and waits for Sethey to do the same.

His apprentice lands easily enough, but shifting back is a struggle. He folds his winged arms against his side, magic fluctuating around him, a soft keen echoing in his throat.

Rue moves around to his front, stroking a hand down the scales of Sethey's chest. “Follow the threads of your conscious back to yourself, Sethey.”

“I know,” Sethey replies shortly, tightly, and a shudder races through his frame. His wings twitch, reptilian eyes rolling down to look at Rue, amber and unfocused.

Patiently, Rue waits. There's nothing more he can do than watch, which is perhaps the most agonizing part of any mentorship. It is never easy to see an apprentice struggle.

Mercifully, Sethey regains control faster than Rue could have anticipated. He watches as another fine tremor wracks Sethey's body before his scales undulate. He twitches, and slowly shifts back into his anthro-form, wings shrinking into human arms, scales replaced by pale flesh.

In human form, Sethey shakes his head, rolling his shoulders, and attempts to take a step forward. But he stumbles, no doubt still adjusting to the change in his center of gravity, and Rue steps forward to catch him. Sethey is warm against him, almost fever warm, and as his eyes peel open, Rue realizes that Sethey has not completely adopted his human form. His eyes are amber, yes, but they maintain their elliptical pupils.

“Sethey--”

Once more, Sethey shakes his head and suddenly, he's clutching Rue's shoulders with fingers hinting to claws. “Hungry,” he growls and nuzzles into Rue's throat, lips brushing over sensitive skin and making Rue shudder.

A suspicion begins to grow at the back of Rue's mind. “Come on. We'll find you a rabbit or something.”

Sethey moves closer, however, pressing fully against Rue, nosing into the hollow of Rue's left ear. His nudity does little to conceal the length that presses against Rue's hip, rigid and seeping at the tip.

“No,” Sethey denies, voice more human but still lacking a softness. “I don't want meat. I want you.”

Well... this is new territory. Sethey has made his interest in Rue quite obvious on more than one occasion, and at times, Rue has indulged his apprentice's desires, considering them something not uncommon. This, however, does not seem like the usual moment of play.

“I'm not sure this appropriate,” Rue says, thinking to extract himself from Sethey's hold, but his apprentice is relentless, as well as determined.

One hand slides around Rue, holding him close, while the other snakes between their bodies, palm smoothing down Rue's chest. “You say that every time and yet you yield. Why are you fighting me now?” Sethey asks.

“I--” His answer breaks off on a hitched breath as Sethey shamelessly cups him through the thin layer of his undergarments.

Sethey nibbles on his ear, tongue flicking out. “Please, Rue, I need...”

He trails off, but Rue doesn’t need an explanation. He can feel the need in Sethey's magic, the way the transparent threads are twisting and churning. How Sethey's eyes have yet to shift, and his flesh has maintained a few spattering of crimson-flecked scales.

Rue sighs. “Yes, I know what you need. Let's return to the camp.”

“No. Here,” Sethey says stubbornly, and presses even closer, rubbing against Rue, his rigid arousal leaving streaks of precome on Rue's hip.

Like the youngling he hasn't been for half a decade, Rue thinks without humor. “As you wish,” he replies, and tilts his head back, baring his throat to the predator within Sethey.

A growl echoes in his apprentice's throat and he surges forward, knocking Rue off balance and toppling him back to the ground. He lands with a harsh thud, Sethey's weight on top of him, breath whooshing out of him. Flowers crumple beneath his weight, releasing a thick, syrupy-sweet fragrance.

Rue groans, head spinning, and reaches up for Sethey, but his hands are quickly captured and pressed to the ground beside his body. Sethey is perched over him, barely touching, but there's a hunger in his eyes that won't be ignored.

“Let me,” Sethey says, tongue dragging over his lips.

Rue nods and Sethey accepts his submission, releasing his hold on Rue's hands. He closes his eyes, a visible shudder traveling over his frame.

“It wants...” he pauses, dragging in a ragged breath. “Rue... can I...?”

Despite himself, arousal flashes through Rue, and his insides clench with heat. “No blood,” Rue says quickly, too experienced as a mentor to not recognize what Sethey is going through. What the beast within is demanding of him. “Do not break the skin. Anything else is fair game.”

All too suddenly, it all becomes clear. This is what Sethey's vegetarian eating habits have borne.

“Understood,” Sethey says raggedly and leans closer, until their faces are mere inches across. “Thank you.”

Before Rue can speak, accept or deny the gratitude, Sethey kisses him, harsh and hungry. His mouth pressing warm and wet over Rue's, tongue aggressively demanding entrance. Rue allows him, groaning as Sethey's tongue swipes into his mouth, exploring every dip, tracing the roof of his mouth and tangling with Rue's tongue.

Above him, Sethey shifts his weight and reaches between their bodies with one hand. Rue tenses, anticipating Sethey to touch him, but strangely, Sethey reaches for himself. Curls fingers around his own desperate length and starts to stroke, long, quick pulls as though determined to bring himself relief as soon as possible. Which, judging by the tension in his body, is going to be soon.

How long had he floated in the clouds, arousal winding higher and higher? And how long, Rue wonders, would Sethey have remained in in the air, pushing himself to endure, if Rue hadn't called an end to their flight? How long had the beast – had Geryon – been demanding something to appease his hunger?

Sethey nips at his lips, a flash of light pain that doesn't wound, drawing Rue's attention back to the events at hand. Rue's fingers scrape against flowers and dirt, desperate to touch, but it's not allowed, and so he can only lay there. The sound of Sethey pleasuring himself and the feel of Sethey's lips pressed to his making the arousal within curl into a lazy coil of want.

A hum of pleasure echoes in the back of Sethey's throat. His lips wander away from Rue's, and he noses at Rue's throat with little nips of his mouth. Rue's breath hitches, the teasing touches causing a steady throb of heat to build within him.

Sethey's breathing is sharp and shallow, the magic winding around him tangibly. He all but vibrates from it, his exhales hot and humid against Rue's skin. His lips nibble Rue's throat, and he suddenly keens above Rue, body stilling, locked in pleasure. Warmth splatters over Rue's abdomen as Sethey's release overtakes him.

For a moment, Sethey rests his forehead on Rue's collarbone, his body trembling with lingering jolts of pleasure. His exhales are puffs of wet warmth over Rue's skin.

Rue, aching now, reaches up to wrap his arms around Sethey, perhaps soothe away the tremors in his apprentice's body.

Without lifting his head, however, Sethey says one word. “Don't.” His soiled hand wanders off to the flowers, absently wiping away the evidence of his release.

Rue's hands pause, hovering in midair. “Sethey?”

Finally, Sethey looks up, and his eyes are gleaming, still elliptical, still hungry. “Don't touch me right now,” he says in a tight voice, shifting his weight and batting away Rue's hands with his free hand. “I'm not sure what I'll do.”

Rue curls his fingers back, though every instinct within him screams to touch, to reciprocate the pleasure Sethey is giving him. “I'm quite capable of defending myself, Sethey.”

Amber eyes tilt toward him. “I don't want you to have to.”

“Very well.” Once again, Rue lowers his hands to the grass. “You're letting the beast too much control,” he warns, because he has been neglecting his teachings this day.

Sethey twitches. “I know what I'm doing,” he growls, and perhaps he is right. The tremble in his frame has given way to a calmness, and the scales popping up on his shoulders have finally shifted to smooth skin.

“I trust you,” Rue murmurs.

As though in reward for his sentiment, Sethey's lips descend, zeroing in on a sensitive nipple and causing Rue to call out. He arches toward Sethey's mouth, but a firm hand plants on his abdomen, keeping him pinned. A low moan of need builds in Rue's throat, and only sheer force of will keeps it down.

Sethey chuckles under his breath, mouth abandoning Rue's nipple to travel lower, nipping a path across Rue's chest. Rue twitches, anticipation making him tremble, making the heat pool in his groin, his length waiting for Sethey's attention. How this is quelling the beast, Rue will never know, but he'll endure just the same.

At the first touch of Sethey's tongue to his splattered belly, Rue chokes down a moan. And when Sethey's mouth executes narrow sweeps with his tongue, cleaning every spatter of his own release, Rue's fingers clench into fists. It's so unexpectedly erotic. Rue is no untouched by any means, but this is new to him, and he's surprised how much it excites him.

Sethey is thorough, lapping up every drop, a low growl resonating in his throat, as though now having claimed Rue, he's making sure said claim sticks. And then his mouth wanders lower, heated breath ghosting over Rue's abdomen and groin, his lips hovering over Rue's rigid arousal, dark red from restraint, desperate for stimulation. It won't take much, Rue knows, to send him over the edge.

Sethey's hand flexes over Rue's belly, holding him down, and his tongue flicks out, over the seeping head of Rue's length. He sucks in a breath, body twitching, hips wanting to thrust upward, but Sethey must be borrowing the strength of Geryon, because Rue can't move an inch. An impatient, frustrated moan escapes from Rue's throat before he can stop himself.

Chuckling, Sethey opens his mouth wider, taking just the head past his lips, tongue flicking across it. Rue's fingers clench into fists, heat striking him in perfect cadence to the flick of Sethey's tongue. The coiling in his belly worsens, and he feels like a youngling again, as close to release as he is. Sethey has barely touched him; how could he be so wound up?

“Sethey,” Rue breathes, trying to encourage with words since he's not been allowed to touch. “Please.”

His apprentice licks a broad swath down the length of Rue's arousal. “Whatever my master asks of me,” he purrs, and in that moment, swallows Rue down.

A strangled cry catches in Rue's throat and his hips jerk upward, desperate more. Sethey's tongue massages the sensitive underside, working him with more skill than Rue knew his apprentice capable of. His mouth is warm suction, and pleasured tingles race up and down Rue's spine.

His hands scrabble at the grass, desperate to cling to something and having the flowers suffering from it. The smell of greenery fills the air, along with the sound of his own panting. His skin is flushed, coated with a thin sheen of sweat, and the last thing on Rue's mind is holding on. Sethey's tongue is merciless, demanding release from Rue, and he can only surrender. Can only cry out a startled gasp as his release surges through him, the ball of heat in his belly spreading out to his extremities as he spills into Sethey's mouth. Sethey swallows without hesitation, his fingers softly stroking over Rue's belly.

Muscles ease and relax as the last of the tremors fade, leaving Rue feeling exhausted and drained. He sags back onto the flowers, eyes slitting closed, as he pants. His heart is thumping within his chest, like it's trying to escape, and Rue manages a ragged breath.

Sethey pulls back, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, grinning up at Rue triumphantly. “Speechless?”

“You would like to think so, wouldn't you?” Rue replies tiredly, but he manages a pleased smile for his apprentice nonetheless.

“I know how good I am,” Sethey retorts, smug, as he crawls up Rue's body and settles over him like a sweat-soaked blanket. He rests his head chest, arms wrapping around his master as though he plans to fall asleep right there. Rue, as tired as he may be, is not amenable to this idea.

“Sethey,” he says, daring to run his hands down his apprentice's damp back, provoking a shiver from the younger man. “We should move to the campsite.”

“Nnn.” Sethey's answer is wordless as he nuzzles against Rue's bare chest. “Tired.”

Affection blooms within Rue before he can stop it. “And I'm hungry. Unlike a certain apprentice of mine, Ladon's hunger is not satisfied with lust. He craves meat.”

“Barbarian,” Sethey mutters, but he lifts his head anyway, allowing Rue to see the amusement dancing in his eyes. His lips curve with glee. “You used the name.”

Rue sighs, and uses his elbows to propel himself upward, forcing Sethey to slide out of the embrace. “That would be the one portion of my comment you would focus on.”

“I have selective hearing.”

“I noticed,” Rue remarks dryly and rises to his feet, his legs still a bit wobbly beneath him. “Come. We both need rest.”

Sethey looks as though he might argue, but a yawn interrupts his protest. Sheepish, he merely nods and consents to Rue's orders. Together, they gather up their scattered clothing, Rue choosing to slip into his robes while Sethey prefers to remain nude.

“And tomorrow?”

Through the trees, barely illuminated thanks to the moon above them, Rue looks at his apprentice. “What about it?”

“Will we train again?” Sethey can't hide the eagerness in his voice.

Rue bites back a laugh. “Yes, Sethey. That is why I took off the entire weekend away from the Archives. Your training takes precedence.”

Sethey bumps against him a shoulder. “I can't wait,” he all but purrs.

And Rue, wise as he may be, wonders if taking Sethey as his apprentice, has resulted in biting off more than he can chew.

****

a/n: Feedback is always welcome and appreciated. *grins*

BTW, these characters are from my Mimickers universe. They are separate from the main storyline, more like thousands of years in the past, but they are set in that same world

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