Then and Now
Faun and Lin learned more about the bond between them as days went by. A great deal had to be done by trial and error, no two bonds were enough alike to generalize about the possibilities.
The pet/owner bond seemed to be gone but the sense of the others presence remained and even strengthened. Fauns 'need' seemed to be gone, although it was difficult to tell the difference as far as Lin was concerned. The only way to be sure was to cut Faun off for a week or so and see how he did. Faun balked at this suggestion so the experiment remained untried.
They found that they could communicate mind to mind when in fairly close proximity although reading each others minds didn't seem possible. Lin thought that with time the distance they could communicate over might grow. Faun was still able to communicate strong emotion through their bond, as he had been able to do through the pet/owner bond but Lin didn't seem to have the knack for this.
Another side effect became evident late one night.
Lin found himself in a strange room, he could hear children in the distance and headed toward the sound. He paused in an archway and saw a group of kids preparing for sleep. They moved gracefully, tiny creatures for the most part, surrounded by swirling clouds of vibrantly colored hair. He was entranced watching them, they were closer to the fey in appearance than any humans he had seen. He saw them climb into the large bed and curl up together like puppies in a heap. And it was only then he noticed the one that was left to curl up alone at the foot of the bed.
He was tall already, his hair a bright red that refused to waft about or do anything but stick out in every direction. He was resolutely ignored by the others except for the occasional shove he received when some ones foot inadvertently made contact with his form. He had no covers and seemed cold, hugging himself and rolling into a tight ball. Lin couldn't bear it, he crept in silently and stood at the foot of the bed. Faun opened an eye and focused on him in surprise. Lin made a gesture for Faun to rise and he did so, rather bewildered but none the less already used to following orders. They walked out of the room and when Lin judged they were far enough away to converse without waking the others he stopped and knelt down next to the boy.
"Hi. Are you lost? Or are you looking for someone? Can I help you?"
"I'm not lost, just passing through."
Faun looked even more confused but continued his questions. Curiosity seemed an inborn trait with him.
"Are you going to buy one of us? We aren't ready to go yet but 11 has already got an owner. The owner comes to see him sometimes. Are you going to pick one of us? And come see us sometimes? You have funny ears. And eyes. But you're real pretty, will you buy me?"
Lin smiled at the hopeful words.
"I can't now, but someday I will. And you'll have a name and I'll love you so much it will break my heart. And I'll try to make you very happy. I promise."
"Will I have to wait a long time? I hate waiting and no one plays with me and I get lonely. Do you really promise? "
"It will be a while. And you never get any better at waiting and I really promise. Will you try to remember I love you? Until I can be with you?"
"Can I hug you? It will help me remember."
"Sure, I'ld like that."
The small boy solemnly put his arms around Lins neck and held on tight.
Lin woke with Faun smiling sleepily in his arms.
Faun woke cradled in Lins' arms and spent a few quiet moments watching him sleep. He remembered the dream and Lins part in it but the thing that puzzled him was that he remembered the event. Not very clearly but enough that he had been ridiculed by the others when he attempted to convince them that a man had been in the room that night.
Later he had put it down to childish imagination, wishful thinking that someday he would be loved and accepted. But even when his life dragged on from one low point to the next he had never totally given up hope.
Now he wondered if somehow Lin had been his hope all along.
He wasn't sure if that was possible but with magic,who knew what could happen? He was certainly proof of that. His whole life had changed so much it was hard to tell dream from reality sometimes. Maybe this was all a dream and he would wake in his cold,narrow bed alone.
This thought chilled him enough that he snuggled closer to Lin, not wanting to wake him but needing the reassurance.
Another need was also becoming apparent.
He shifted a bit uncomfortably. He decided to get some coffee and then wake Lin up, coffee always put him a good mood. Then he would pounce.
He noticed a draft as he went to the kitchen and tracked it to an inexplicably open window. He closed it without too much thought and continued on his mission. He was sitting idly at the kitchen table waiting for the coffee maker to finish it's job when he felt the first drop hit. He brushed the moisture away absent mindedly and a few seconds later was hit with a larger drop. He glanced down at the damped skin on his arm and shrieked.
Lin arrived in seconds, naked but brandishing two daggers and looking menacing, or as menacing as a naked man can look. He gave the area and Faun a quick once over and seemed to relax slightly. He sent a question into Fauns mind:
Faun held out his arm in answer and Lin took his hand and examined the stain. He looked up at the large weeping fig that stood near the table, the top fronds brushing the ceiling.
"Faun, it's just the kittens."
"Are they hurt? Oh, my god! Do something, they must be bleeding to death!"
Faun peered up hesitantly and lurched to his feet just as another splat of blood fell on the table.
"Explain why they're bleeding all over then!"
Lin looked up at the suspiciously swaying branches just as several loose feathers began to drift down to the kitchen table.
"They've been hunting, that's all. I'll clean up, just relax."
"Hunting? They killed something? How? In here?"
Faun noticed the half glance Lin gave in the direction of the window and fixed him with a fierce glare.
"You let them out to kill things? They're babies!"
"Faun, they're not babies, they're young cats. They kill things. It's their nature. And the pigeon population could stand some thinning in any case."
"Some one might see them and shoot at them or something. And we feed them, they don't need to hunt. And they don't need you encouraging them either."
Faun shuddered as another blotch of gore pelted down and hit Lins shoulder. He decamped hastily before anything more grisly began to rain down on them.
When he had left the room Lin swiped the blood off with several fingers and sucked them clean meditatively while pondering the idea of a cup of coffee, just him and the kits and a few dead pigeons.
What could be better?
Lin cleaned up the remains while Faun was in the shower. He informed the kittens that they were to leave their prey outside from now on and went to join his disgruntled love.
Faun heard the door open over the noise of running water and swiped a quick hand over his eyes. Lins voice came to him:
"Want some company or are you still mad at me?"
"I'm not mad, I was but...please come on in."
Lin stripped and stepped behind the curtain to join Faun and tentatively ran a hand down his damp back.
"Hand me the soap?"
Faun complied and Lin washed his back, gently massaging Fauns neck and shoulders, feeling the slim body in front of him tremble as Faun cried softly. He stepped closer and put his arms around Fauns waist. Faun stilled after a moment and let his hands rest on top of Lins.
"I'm sorry Lin, I know I was being silly. It's hard for me to understand you sometimes and the way you look at the world. I think the kittens understand you better."
"They aren't half as attractive as you and their humor tends to the juvenile.I much prefer you. And sometimes I have a difficult time understanding you too. If you can be patient with me and explain it helps."
"Most of the times when I've seen blood it's been mine. I hate to see anyone or anything hurt like that, needlessly. I guess it's that I feel a bond with the hunted and you are more like the hunter. What upset me so was that when you say it's the kittens nature to hunt, to kill,I feel like you could be talking about yourself."
Lin drew back a bit and let his arms fall to his sides.
"I'm sorry. I'm trying to be what you want me to be. Not doing too well there apparently."
"No, don't take it that way! I love you, you know that. I keep thinking that now that we're bonded everything will be simple and effortless between us. And it isn't. So sometimes I pitch tantrums when reality intrudes. Forgive me?"
"Nothing to forgive. I love you. And nothing is ever as simple as it looks at first. It will take time for us to really understand each other. And being bonded may make it a bit easier but it is a young bond. It will grow as we do. We have a tie between us for life but if it doesn't work out as lovers we will still have that bond. I will always be in your life in some way and I will always love you. You could find another true blood if you like. "
Faun turned to Lin with anger replacing the tears in his voice.
"Stop that! I hate that! You make it seem as if I don't want you. I always want you, no one else. I don't intend to let you worm out of this relationship so get used to it. We'll just have to learn to ...to...embrace diversity."
"Do you want to embrace it now? Because I do. Please?"
This question was accompanied by a soulful look and a half extended hand in Fauns direction. Faun grinned and took the proffered hand.
"Now sounds perfect."
They came together at first in a hesitant embrace but that soon gave way to a barely controlled frenzy on both sides. Lin managed to break away long enough to turn from Faun and brace himself against the shower wall. Faun followed him, sliding his hands down Lins sides, moaning aloud when Lin arched back towards him, spreading his legs into a wider stance.
Faun had been needing this for a long time and Lin seemed just as hungry for him. They hadn't been together since the bonding, at least not totally. Faun had been hesitant about pushing the issue but now Lin seemed to be offering.
Before he lost himself in the heat of the moment Faun held Lin still and asked:
"Do you really want me to? I could wait, I thought you might want to wait until I'm done with was the original deal and we can do other things. Or you could take me if you want."
"No waiting, please. I want to feel you inside me so badly. If you still want to?"
That was all the encouragement Faun needed.
For Lin there was the scent of Fauns excitement adding to his own pleasure and need, the hot water sheeting over them only enhanced the moment, slippery hands sliding down to spread him, open him, take him. He gasped at the first hot pain of entry and Faun leaned to press kisses on his neck and shoulders and murmur soothingly to him
"It will get better, just try to relax for me. It'll feel so good."
Faun began to move inside him,pushing forward in small increments and Lin tried to let his body unclench. He tried to stay focused on Faun, on how much he was enjoying this. Enjoying him. He pushed back, forcing Faun deeper and drawing a flurry of moans from the taller man as he began to move in earnest.
Lin felt himself withdrawing from the pain, moving away from the excitement in spite of himself. He forced himself back and continued to rock in time with Fauns movements, the pain occasionally broken by a brief pulsing pleasure. Faun cried out and all but lifted him off his feet when he came. The warmth inside Lin burned a little and then it was over. He let Faun catch his breath and then straightened up, turning to hold Faun in his arms. Faun looked sated and radiant with pleasure and Lin let that be enough for both of them. There would be other times and it would surely get easier.
As time went by the kittens kept getting bigger while not seeming to have any inclination to turn into adult cats. When Faun questioned Lin about this anomaly he got a muttered response that sounded suspiciously like "bloody little freeloaders" and an obscure elven curse.
Taz was a bit more forthcoming with an explanation. He thought the size and protracted youth of the kittens was just another side effect of their soaking up the excess, free floating magic energy from the bonding ritual.
Faun learned later that the kittens could also use some form of glamour to make themselves unnoticed. This was rather a relief, he had always worried about them being stolen or captured by the unscrupulous. The only people outside of Tsin and Taz that he trusted the kittens secret with were Janet and Rain. Rain was enchanted with them and also eager to find out if the changes would breed true. She pitched the idea to Faun and Lin who agreed to let her attempt it.
The great day came and the group went to Janets apartment where Rain had a cat in heat. While all but Lin looked on the kittens were introduced to the queen. She was ready but unfortunately they weren't. Rain tried again at intervals but the kittens seemed uninterested in the extreme. Eventually the idea was quietly dropped.
Thunder more or less attached himself to Lin, even accompanying him on some of his shadier jaunts while Lightning seemed content to stay home and snuggle with Faun. Lin found Thunder a priceless look out and though he didn't say much, he seemed to become very attached to him.
Faun was doing well at his reading and writing, Janet had returned to class in company of a rather protective Rain and began teaching Faun again.
She and Rain appeared to have formed a bond of their own and would hold hands rather shyly whenever they had the chance.
Faun began other remedial classes as his reading improved, Tsin tutored him a few hours a week and Lin continued to help with his school help took some interesting turns as Taz found when he dropped by one day and found the two in scanty and disheveled historical costume. While Lin disappeared to change Taz took in Fauns appearance and ventured:
"A pirate I presume"
"Yes, what do you think?"
Here Faun did a sketchy turn and Taz grinned at him.
"I think it suits you. Although I can't imagine the actual articles were that clean. Love the look though, very dashing. What exactly were you doing, a two person Pirates of Penazance?"
Faun blushed a little and shook his head.
"More like, umm, what happened if someone got captured by pirates. "
"Someone elvish I assume."
"I'm assuming that the consequences of piratical capture are more romantic in this little play than walking the plank?"
"Yeah, it's one of my favorites. Tsin gave us the idea."
Taz favored him with a rather dangerous grin.
"Care to be a bit more forthcoming?"
"He's teaching me history. And he told me about people who do these historical reenactments and Lin thought it sounded like it would be fun and..."
"And is it?"
Faun nodded enthusiastically.
"I really like it, we do lots of them, to help me with history. Mainly. Kind of. We pick an era and then we come up with some interesting event that could have happened to us if we lived then."
Taz smiled more normally and sidled a bit closer.
"What kind of events?"
"Well, like...being captured by Indians. I'm the Indians. Or, being captured by the Aztecs for human sacrifice. Except we changed that part."
"I imagine you had to. Rather short game otherwise. I gather you are the Aztecs?"
"Yeah. And the Viking invasions of the Spanish Inquisition."
"Who would have expected that? I guess LIn is the suspected heretic and the hapless Irish peasant?"
"He won't do a peasant, he is a sheltered Irish monk of gentle birth."
At this point Lin joined them in more casual dress and the conversation turned to other things.
Lin also helped out in the book store. He seemed to rather enjoy this and Tsin found it a great help, especially as Lin drew no pay. Of course he could be a bit chancy in the customer relations department but on the plus side most of the time he could charm the customers into forgiveness of his odder quirks and entice them into dropping large sums of cash into the coffers.
Taz and Tsin continued their romance and seemed fairly happy although Tsin was beginning to make noises about Taz and his non-monogamous ways. So far it was only the occasional passing comment but it was clear that Tsin was losing patience with his light hearted lovers insistence on playing around.
While Taz fiercely protested against any change in the status quo it was pretty obvious that he was only doing so to postpone the inevitable. He was clearly crazy about Tsin.