Hi hi, Another short chapter, sorry about that, still recuperating and not at my best. Anyway, hope you like, and thanks for all the encouragement!Sandy

Then and Now

Part 2

Chapter 14

Faun woke and stretched luxuriously. It was wonderful to be cozily ensconced in his own bed again. He rolled over, looking for Lin. No luck, Lin was apparently already up.

Faun sighed, he had hoped to get off to a better start on his 'kinder and gentler seme' campaign than he had last night. Not that Lin seemed to mind but the point was to draw Lin into taking pleasure, not take pleasure from him and drop into a snoring stupor three and a half seconds later. Smooth, really smooth.

He rose, went to the closet and grabbed a pair of jeans, sliding them on as he padded to the bedroom door. He was surprised to see it locked, Lin must be in paranoid mode. Well, who could blame him at this point. He hoped Lin hadn't taken off to 'tie up loose ends' without waking him. He quickened his pace and arrived in the kitchen in time to catch Lin and Umi deep in conversation.

In Elvish, no less.

It was not the way he had wanted to start the day.

He cleared his throat, in case they hadn't noticed him and Lin looked over with a loving smile. Faun grinned back, this was more like it. He nodded a greeting to Umi as he slid past her to hug Lin.

"Good morning."

"Morning. Looking for breakfast?"

"Looking for you, although now that you mention it..."

Umi smiled at the pair and withdrew to the living room. Soon the others would be home and she would go back to her manuscripts, it had been fun to get out and about some though. Maybe this new place held promise after all.

Faun glided along behind Lin as he set about getting toast and coffee ready.

"Sorry I fell asleep on you. You could have woken me up when you got up you know."

"I thought you might need the sleep. Besides, you look too cute sleeping to waken."

"You're being sweet this morning, is that good or bad?"

"You act as if I'm not always sweet in the morning. I'm hurt."

Lin put on an elaborate sulk and Faun kissed him soundly.

"You're always sweet, just not so openly or so early."

"Ah, well. The ladies are a good influence, perhaps. "

"I'm not so sure."

Lin handed Faun his plate and they sat.

Faun smeared jelly on his toast with a lavish hand and Lin looked on in amazement as the bread began to sag alarmingly toward the middle.

"So, are we going to get the cats soon?"

"I thought you and Rain were going to accompany Umi and company to see them?"

"I want all of us home and together. It's been too long."

"I know, and I agree. But I do wish you'd be patient a bit longer. I put a largish sum of money on our house while I waited for you to come home, soon we'll be all together there. "

Faun almost took the bait but caught himself in time.

"You're trying to side track me. You're going to go out today to find Angel and Sere aren't you?"

Lin set his coffee down with elaborate care.

"Yes. And while I'm gone you can stay with Tsins family. They'll take good care of you and the cats. Then I'll come round and collect you all and we'll come home. Maybe to the new place."

"No."

"No to what?"

"No to all of it."

"I'm at a bit of a loss here. What is your objection?"

"I don't want you to go off and hunt them down. I don't want to wait around while you're doing it. I don't want to live with Tsins family. I'm not a package to be collected when you're done."

Lin nodded, his face taking on the detached courteous expression that meant trouble. It had taken Faun a while to catch on that the more neutrally pleasant Lin looked the more pissed he was.

"I'm sorry that I offended you. I didn't mean it like that. I just worry about you and I didn't think you would want to stay here alone. Alhough if you like I can hire a few body guards to stay with you and..."

"No, let's just drop that part altogether. I don't want you to kill Sere and Angel. I know you want to and I can't say I'm not angry at them but still...I can't see what good killing them would do. What's done is done. Can't we just get on with our lives?"

Lin shifted his gaze a bit to the right of Fauns face. Faun had noticed that habit too, although he wasn't quite sure what it meant.

"If you like, we can try. I would still feel better if I knew they were no longer a possible source of trouble but if you are adamant I will not press the matter.I can understand your lack of faith in my judgement, I have shown a remarkable lack of it up to now. Again, I apologize."

Faun frowned, this was going terribly wrong.

"Lin, I trust you! I know that killing them is probably the smart thing to do, I just think it isn't the right thing to do. And nothing that happened is your fault! You didn't have me kidnapped, they did. It's their fault, not yours. Please don't beat yourself up over this, I hate to see you do it."

Lin smiled and nodded and Faun knew instinctively his words were being totally disregarded. He cast around for something that would help.

"Lin, come with me, please?"

Lin rose and let Faun lead him into the bedroom.

"I wanted to pick a better time for this but...now feels right. Wait here."

Lin sat on the edge of the bed, his eyes on the floor.

Faun went to the closet and rummaged about for a time, finally emerging with a triumphant smile.

"Here. It's a present for you."

Lin examined the small cloth wrapped box with interest, but made no move to open it.

Faun dropped to the floor in front of him, peering into his face.

"Open it, please?"

Lin unwrapped the present carefully, while Faun fairly bounced with impatience.

When the box was finally opened and the jeweled hair ornament revealed. Lin froze for a moment, then tilted his head to meet Fauns eyes.

"It's beautiful. I never imagined you would do something like this, where did you find it? I've never seen one like it."

"I had two combined, will you wear it? I'm sure there's some formal way to say it, to ask you,but I don't have the right words. Lin? Will you wear it for me?"

Lin ran a gentle hand through Fauns hair as he nodded.

"Will you take down my hair and fasten this in place this for me? "

Faun nodded, and climbed onto the bed, sitting behind Lin. He almost asked why Lin didn't have his convenient hair take itself down but didn't. This was important, a ritual of sorts, and he wanted to do it correctly even if it did take longer.

He hurried only a little, he loved the silky weight of Lins hair in his hands, not least because of what it implied about their relationship. The sidhes convoluted rules and taboos about hair all harked back to sex according to Tsin, and Faun had managed to hang on to most of the main points.

Only a dominant partner was allowed to take down his lovers hair, only an accepted partner would see his offering twinkling in a sidhes hair as he danced.

Only a dominant partner in a monogamous relationship was allowed to bind the sidhes hair. By wording things the way he had, Lin was offering him all three of these honors, if he understood correctly.

Faun couldn't understand why he was so nervous about this, so excited. It wasn't as though this would change things between them, and yet, on some level, it did. It was a confirmation as well as a promise.

It was a proposal.

And Lin had accepted.

When the pin was fixed firmly in Lins hair Faun gave him a tight hug.

"It's beautiful on you. I wish now I had given it to you earlier."

"The fact that you do it now, when I felt so bad, so worthless to you, it means the world to me that you still want me in this way. It's the last thing I expected. Do you mind if I check it out?"

Faun shook his head with a laugh and Lin rose and walked to the mirror. The small chimes made soft musical sounds as he walked and Faun was delighted. From the look on Lins face as he looked in the mirror, so was he. He gave Faun a slow smile from the mirror and turned in a lazy circle, his hair flying out in an arc around him and the small gems of the ornament shining in the curtain of midnight blue.

Faun felt words die on his lips as Lin ended the turn facing him and continued to move. They were such slow and subtle movements that it didn't immediately occur to Faun that he had begun to dance. It wasn't showy, or even conventionally sexy. It was as though Lin were freeing the core of himself, so long under such tight constraints, to flow outward, to manifest for Faun to see and share.

Lin had never looked more himself,somehow. Faun felt as though he had always seen Lin in fleeting glimpses, his lover had a talent for hiding in plain sight and he had tried to resign himself to accepting what Lin could bring himself to share and not pushing for more.

But now, it was as if Lin was showing Faun himself, entire.

The only other times he had seen anything close was in the heat of passion, for Lin to open himself like this in cold blood, as it were, was amazing.

He could see every emotion that Lin was feeling reflected clearly on his face, hope, fleeting sorrow, joy, wonder and love, so much love it made Faun want to weep.

He could see Lins cold devious mind, his rich warm affection, his aeons long loneliness, all the contradictory parts that made up the complex whole of this being he loved shining through his every slight motion, the graceful flex of a foot, the sinuous bend of an arm.

The dance wasn't just an offering of the body, or even of the heart but an offering of the self on a level that Faun could never have imagined.

When Lin sank gracefully to his knees at Fauns feet, Faun was speechless, he reached to run wondering hands over Lins face and shaking fingers traced Lins warm lips.

"Lin is the name I took as a use name, among my people a true name is a gift shared with few. Some go all their lives never giving another the name of their soul. And those of us who cross the border from our land to yours leave our names behind us. But what I can give you I will, for I would withhold nothing from you in this moment.

I was born to the Queen of Air and Darkness, fathered by a spirit called, in your language, The Shadow in The Heart of The Forest. My birth name is from my mother, a wish for what I would become, it means the Knife of Mist, or the Knive Unseen. The name that came to me from my dreaming means Nights' Secret, or Hidden Darkness. Perhaps you will help me dream a new name."

"You gave me my name, I'll help you find yours."

Lin leaned up and kissed him and Faun pulled him closer, opening his lips against Lins, drawing him in to explore as deeply as he could. When they parted for air Faun gripped Lins hands, holding them tight.

"Lin, I don't know if this is the time, but I want you so badly, is it all right?"

"It's perfect."