Red Dragon Inn
Stars End Sector => Stars End Bar & Grill => Undetectable => Topic started by: Leia Camden on March 21, 2013, 03:26:05 AM
[size=9]((Contains material of an adult nature.))[/size]
"Oh, come on, I didn't do anything!" The well-known call of the miscreant caught about to be in the act. This particular miscreant was new in town, and had made the mistake of picking pockets in the Marketplace under the beady eyes of one of the more diligent divisions of Rhy'Din's Watch. Two of whom were currently manhandling her through the streets toward a particularly imposing looking squat edifice of a building, clearly designed as much to keep people in as to keep them out. Lifted pretty much off her feet, the thief was bundled inside and taken down through several floors of increasingly high security cells, finally tossed into one all of her very own. As the cell door slammed, she spun about, shouting a fascinating profanity after the guards who were still ignoring her.
As their footsteps died away, she smirked to herself, leaning back against the wall. "So ... burly, ham-fisted, and don't ask questions," she chuckled softly, checking her person for her unique items. They hadn't even searched her. "Useful." A chitter from the heavy fall of her hood against her back made her smile deepen. "All right, Sloti, get out here." A moment later, a ferret was climbing down her arm to drop onto the floor, investigating their new surroundings with off-putting intelligence. Between them, woman and animal inspected every inch of the cell, from the thick stone walls, the lack of handy windows, the sparse bed, and most importantly, the barred cell door. Which was locked in a manner she couldn't even begin to make sense of. She stared at the mechanism in dismay. "What is wrong with this place? You can't lock a thief up in a cell without a lock!"
Muttering to herself, she crouched down to stroke Sloti's little bullet head. "Go see if you can find a key or something, find out how the door opens," she told him, watching as the sleek body slipped easily through the bars and disappeared out of sight.
Four hours later, she was still in the damned cell. Sloti had been caught twice sniffing around and returned to the cell, threatened with being collared if he didn't stay put this time. Leia gritted her teeth, bored and irritated. Well, she had one more thing she could do. It was only in case of emergencies, though; the spell cost a frightful amount of gold she'd have a hard time stealing to replace the little scroll she withdrew from her boot. Not to mention the fact that she didn't really want to go back to Port Blacksand. Not while the Moon Dogs had her scent, anyway. But needs must; anywhere was better than being locked up.
Opening up the scroll, she scanned the words, lifting Sloti up into her hood once again, and in the careful tones of the heavily coached, she intoned the incantation. There was a spark, a crackle, a sense of dislocation ... and she landed heavily on the bed of the same damned cell, swearing vehemently at her rotten luck. "Blasted place is spell proof!"
As it so happened, it was Jensen's day off. Well, every day was his day off really, so long as Clay wasn't snapping orders at him to do this or do that. His latest orders were, "Lay low and wait for further instructions", which, as far as Jensen was concerned, meant he was free to do whatever the hell he wanted, until he was told otherwise. The team had dispersed for now, each of them going their separate ways, until they received orders to come together for whatever Clay had planned next. As it so happened, Jensen wasn't going to be around to receive those orders, but he didn't know that yet.
It was Saturday night, and Jensen was sprawled in front of his laptop, a beer close at hand, wearing nothing but shorts, boots, and a t-shirt bearing the outline of two women kissing. It was lewd, or so he'd been told, but he didn't really care. The only light in the room was that cast from his computer screen, his fingers tapping the keys, an amused smile on his face.
Now, most single men who wanted to pick up chicks would find themselves in a bar on a late Saturday night, hoping to meet the girl of their dreams - or at least, the girl they were hoping to take home for a night, but instead of a singles' bar, Jensen found himself trolling one of the many online chat rooms he frequented when he was bored, this one entitled "Hot Men Seeking Hot Women" and was currently chatting with someone going by the handle of "Hot4U". She claimed she was legal, blonde, and horny, and that was good enough for him.
He smiled to himself as his fingers flew across the keys and he read her latest entry. Miss Hottie had him hot and bothered, and she was just about to tell him where she could meet him when the computer screen blipped and he got the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. "Oh, no!" he shouted as he straightened his slouch, smacking the side of the monitor, though he knew that wouldn't help. "Son of a bitch, not now!" He hit the reset button on the laptop and that was when everything went crazy. There was blinding flash of light that seemed to come from nowhere, and he instinctively made a grab for the laptop, as if it was his baby, tucking it against his chest. "What the hell..." was all he was able to mutter before in the blink of an eye he found himself somewhere entirely different.
The erstwhile magic user jolted upright from her uncomfortable sprawl on the hard bed in her cell, her eyes seeking out the small shape of her ferret companion. "Did you hear that?" she asked Sloti warily, interpreting the whisker twitch as a yes. "So did I." Rising to her feet, she moved to the barred door, peering out into the hallway with a faint frown. "Go find out what it was." With a quiet chitter of agreement, the ferret leapt down off the bed and scurried out through the bars once again, peering into the cell from which the sound had come. "Hello?" his mistress called, the word corresponding with a tilt of the creature's head as he looked the newcomer up and down curiously.
On the floor of the adjoining cell was sprawled a man in a black t-shirt, plaid boxers and work boots, looking more than a little shell-shocked at his sudden and expected trip through the Nexus, of which he as yet knew nothing. One minute he'd been chatting online and the next, boom! Down the rabbit hole... Or something. Maybe he'd been struck by lightning and died. Was this heaven or hell then? No, that didn't make sense. He hardly had time to look around when he heard a woman's voice and he turned to find a small creature peering curiously at him from beyond an iron-barred wall. Prison? What the hell was he doing in prison? And why was there a... ferret... with a woman's voice... staring at him? "I'm sorry... Did you say something?"
"Yes, I said something. I said hello." Unbeknownst to him, the feminine conversationalist was pressed up to the bars of her own cell, straining to watch as the ferret inched into the adjoining cell. As far as the newcomer was concerned? He was conversing with a ferret. "I didn't hear the guards come down - how did you get in there?"
"Oh, my god, I've lost my mind," he muttered to himself, scooting away from the ferret on his rear as it came closer. "Don't get any closer. I... I've got a gun!" From the looks of things, he didn't. All he had was a computer hugged tightly against his chest and his meager clothing, nothing else that could be seen. No wallet, no phone, no money, no anything. Just him and the laptop, the clothes on his back, and the horn-rimmed glasses resting against the bridge of his nose.
The threat didn't seem to have any effect on the ferret. The sleek furry body loped closer, sniffing curiously at his boots and bare legs. "What's a gun? Is that supposed to scare me? Because, you know, you're locked up in here, same as me."
He scrambled to his feet, and backed away until he found himself up against a stone wall with nowhere else to go. It wasn't so much that he was afraid of the ferret exactly, as he was in a state of shock at the situation he found himself in. "What the hell are you talking about? You're a talking ferret! Oh, my God, Jake... Do you hear yourself? You're talking to a ferret. I don't know where the hell we are, but we're not in California anymore." He paused a moment, his face turning pale. "I'm answering myself in the third person. I really have lost my marbles." He turned to the ferret again with a titter of nervous laughter. "I've finally lost my mind. Clay always said I was crazy. I guess he was right." He slumped down dejectedly onto the cot, and glanced around at the prison cell. "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen..." he crooned in an unnaturally low tone.
"I'm a ..." There was a pause as the owner of that female voice caught on to what he was thinking, and underneath the low growl of his singing, a clearly distinctive feminine laugh made itself known. "Sloti, come away, you're scaring him," she called, and the ferret backed up, taking up position beside the barred door to the disrobed singer's cell, still watching him curiously. "I'm not a ferret," she went on, rolling her eyes in amusement, her smile audible in her voice as she spoke. "I'm a woman. That's Sloti, he's a friend of mine." There was another pause as she considered the next move. "You don't know where you are?"
"I'm crazy." There was that titter of laughter again. "I'm over the rainbow. Toys in the attic. One taco short of a fiesta platter. Taco... I'm hungry. What do you have to do to get grub in this place?" He knew he was rambling, but that's what he did when he was nervous. "Scaring me?" he echoed, as the ferret kept talking. "I'm not scared. I'm terrified!" He tilted his head at the ferret, narrowing his eyes and re-adjusting the glasses on his face. "The hell you're not. I know a ferret when I see one." He paused to take his surroundings again. "I'm pretty sure this is a prison cell, but how the hell I got here, I haven't a clue."
The laugh came again. "No, I'm really not the ferret," she called, trying not to laugh too hard at what she imagined was going on. "I'm in a cell next to yours. And you're right, this is a prison. In a city called Rhy'Din, which I have to admit isn't somewhere I'm familiar with." She cleared her throat as the ferret backed out of his view and returned to her, looking very pleased with himself. "Finished scaring the new boy, have you?" There was an audible chitter in response. "Look, I don't suppose your door has a lock on it, does it? I'm not overly fond of being behind bars."
She couldn't see his face, but if she could, she'd see a confused expression on his face as he finally put two and two together, wondering why she hadn't told him that in the first place, not that it made any sense because it didn't. "Ride-in?" he repeated, the word sounding foreign on his very American tongue. "I don't know what you're talking about." He turned his head in the direction of the voice, which he now realized seemed to be coming from the cell next door. "You're a girl," he stated the obvious, thankful she wasn't a ferret. That made things slightly less awkward. "Are you pretty?" he asked, as if that mattered, the words just tumbling out of his mouth without much thought. He got off the cot and moved toward the cell door, trying to get as good a look at the lock as he could, while he awaited her reply.
"Get me out of this cell and you can judge for yourself," was the reply he got for that blurted question, her voice still rich with amusement. The nearer he got to the cell door, the more obvious it was that her voice was coming from his right, though all he was really going to be able to get a look at was the one arm she'd managed to squeeze through the bars of her own cell door. "You're just going to have to take some of this on faith. What's your name?"
"Name?" he asked, a little distracted now that he was examining his situation a little bit closer. He stuck as much of his arm through the bars as he could, but not enough to be able to reach the lock or make much sense of it. "Name's Jensen, Jake Jensen," he said, unconsciously answering as if he was James Bond. Most people called him Jensen; only family called him Jake, and there wasn't much family left. "What about you?" he asked, as he pressed his face against the bars to get a better look at the lock, rewarded with a clink of iron against his glasses. He turned his attention to the row of cells across the way from them, noticing the locks were all electronic. There would be no chance of picking them then.
"Leia," was the answer from the cell beside his. "Leia Camden. You've met Sloti, he's the ferret." As if to make this abundantly clear, Sloti came back into view, chittering curiously up at Jensen as he padded from one cell to the other. "I can't reach the lock on my door," Leia went on with the creak of leather against metal that described her reaching to try and do just that. "And it's not like any lock I've ever seen. The guards didn't even use a key, they just shut it and it locked by itself."
"It's electronic," he explained, narrowing his eyes to get a better look at the lock across the hall. "Programmed probably. You have to know the right code in order to open the door." He moved away from the door to set his laptop down on the small table opposite his bed. Now that he was in the zone, so to speak, he was focused and unconcerned much about their predicament. "Come on, baby," he crooned at the laptop as he pulled it open and hit the button to start her up. "Don't let me down."
"Elik - what?" The confusion was abundantly clear in the voice he now knew as belonging to Leia. She hadn't followed any of what he'd just said, her frown creasing deep with befuddled uncertainty. "Is that like magic? Are you a -" She paused briefly, overhearing something he'd said. "Did you just call Sloti "baby"?"
"Magic?" he echoed, somewhat distractedly as he crossed his fingers in hopes that his laptop would boot up properly. "No, it's technology. What planet are you from?" The question was a rhetorical one, though he hadn't yet figured out where exactly this Ride-in was. Only about thirty seconds passed before a triumphant whoop went up in the cell next door. "Thank you, Jesus!" he exclaimed in relief and slid himself onto a chair with a screech of wooden legs against the floor. A faint tapping sound could be heard as he checked for some sort of network connection.
"Planet? What's a planet?" His whoop made her jump, startling her in the quiet of this secure level of the jail. "What, what is it? What happened? Sloti?" A moment later, the ferret reappeared in Jensen's cell, bounding across the floor and scurrying up onto the man's shoulder, holding on with pinprick claws through his shirt as he peered at the computer screen.
Startled by the ferret's sudden scurry up his lap and onto his shoulder, Jensen nearly fell off his chair. "The hell!" he exclaimed, shaken again by the ferret's unexpected reappearance.
Swaying wildly as his perch on Jensen's shoulder was compromised, Sloti held on tighter and clamped his jaws around the arm of the man's glasses to hold himself in place. From the other cell came Leia's concern once again. "What the hell is going on in there?"
"Watch it! I need those!" Jensen warned as the ferret clamped down on his glasses, tensing his shoulders as he felt the stick of claws like tiny needles through his shirt. "Nice Sloti!" he said, reaching over to tentatively touch the ferret's furry head. "Listen, lady. You want out of here, I need to concentrate, and I don't concentrate well when..." He wrinkled his nose, feeling a sneeze coming on. Who knew he was allergic to ferrets. "ACHOO!"
As soon as his shoulder stopped jerking around, Sloti let go of the metal arm of the spectacles, his head tilting in a friendly manner as unfamiliar fingers touched his head. "My name is Leia, not Laydee," a slightly naffed off voice from the other cell pointed out, but whatever else she might have said was interrupted by a loud sneeze. Sloti snuffed in surprise, slithering down Jensen's back to cling to the hem of the man's t-shirt for a long moment before dropping onto the floor. He bounded away, stopping just inside the door to chitter in a scolding tone at the man who had just dislodged him.
"I know what your name is. Could you please shut up now?" he asked, in a slightly perturbed voice as he turned his attention to the task at hand. After a few more minutes of tapping away, he was chuckling to himself. "Oh my god, amateurs." A few more taps, a pause, more tapping, his fingers moving quickly over the keys. "This firewall they have in place... Might as well not exist." He was thinking out loud, unaware that she wouldn't understand a word he said. It was perfectly simple to him. Once he got past the firewall, it was just a matter of hacking into the security database and coming up with the right codes.
There was a quiet sound of protest from the other cell, but she did shut up as he put it, moving away from the door to thump down on her own hard cot of a bed. "What the hell is he doing?" she wondered aloud. "There's no Firewall here, I would have seen it when I came in. And what would that have to do with getting a door unlocked?" She sighed, leaning back against the wall, and closed her eyes. "Fine," she called out, deliberately interrupting him again just for the hell of it. "I'll just sit here pouting and looking pretty, then."
"You might want to make yourself comfortable. This could take a while," he muttered from the other cell, his face a mask of concentration. It all depended on how quickly he was able to sort out the codes and other crap that kept the prison secure. He didn't think it would take too long - anywhere from half an hour to half a day, depending on his luck. So far, his luck hadn't been too good, as far as he was concerned. "So, where are you from?"
"Define comfortable in a prison," she answered cheerfully, scratching her fingers against the rough blanket beneath her to call Sloti up onto the bed. The ferret jumped up, swarming up onto her lap to curl up and wait with her while whoever it was did whatever it was to get them out of wherever they were. "I was born in Fang," Leia answered the question to fill the silence. "But I spent most of my life in Port Blacksand. That's in Allansia, if you know where that is. What about you, where are you from?"
"Fang?" he repeated, pausing a minute in his typing or more accurately, hacking. "Never heard of it." He'd never heard of any of the places that she'd mentioned. "Me? I'm from Boston originally. Haven't lived there in a long time though." Silence ensued but the for tappity tap of his keyboard.
"Boston?" Her tone was identical to his; she'd never heard of his city, either. "Doesn't sound like anywhere I've ever heard of. You move around a lot, then?" What is he doing? It sounded like some of the more complicated spells she'd seen Nicodemus do, lots of wand tapping and whooshing noises, minus the swearing and, well, the whooshing. "What are you, a mage or something?"
"A mage? You mean like Harry Potter?" he echoed, chuckling to himself. "No, I'm a..." He paused, as if he wasn't quite sure. He'd never been asked to label himself before. "I'm a tech specialist. Computers, communications, you know... Stuff like that." He sighed, slightly annoyed as something didn't quite go the way he wanted it to, swearing under his breath. "It's encrypted. This might take a while."
Leia blinked slowly, the confusion beginning to give her a headache. "I don't think I understood any of that," she admitted with a rueful smirk. "Communications, though ... do you mean you train messenger pigeons and inscribe traveling spells for letters of writ, that sort of thing?" His next comment just made the confusion worse. "You're working in a crypt?"
"Lady, what century are you living in?" he asked as his eyes moved over the code in front of him and he typed something else in, finally starting to make some progress. "You know what cell block this is?" he asked, bringing up a grid of the prison which looked as confusing as a map of New York City to anyone who hadn't ever been there.
"It's the 17th year in the century of the Dragon," she said, sounding as though he should know this. "Are you sure you're not a mage? You talk as though you've drunk one too many wisdom potions and fallen out the other side." She looked down at Sloti, gently scratching the animal's head as he napped in her lap. "Cell block? We're five levels underground, I counted them on my way in."
"I am definitely not in Kansas anymore. Not that I ever was. I was in L.A. Hiding in plain sight." He chuckled to himself. "Just like James Caan. That's me." Tappity tap tap. "Okay, level five." He sighed as he pulled up a diagram of the place. "That's a lotta stairs. You know the way out?"
"You're speaking in tongues again," she laughed, giving up on making sense of the more outlandish things he was saying in favor of just finding it amusing. "I hope you're as sexy as your voice sounds, by the way. I'll be disappointed if you're not." She gave him a moment to digest this before answering his question. "Honey, I'm a thief. I'd have been dead a long time ago if I couldn't recall an escape route on whim."
That gave him pause. "Sexy?" he repeated. He couldn't remember when anyone had ever called him sexy before, but then, she hadn't called him sexy exactly. She'd said she hoped he was sexy. "Of course, I'm sexy! I ooze sexy. I am like the James Bond of computer hackers. Please. And my name's not Honey." He tapped away again, quiet for a moment before he chuckled to himself, as if this was all just some game. "There we go. Come to Papa, baby. We're almost there."
"Again, I understood everything up to you oozing sexy," Leia laughed, laying her head back against the wall behind her. "And I'll say it again, I hope you do. Laying low can be so boring when you can't think of anything to do." She paused, turning her head toward the door hopefully. "Almost where?"
There was another silent pause for a moment as if he was trying to absorb what she was saying. "Wait... what? Laying low? Are you talking about getting laid to pass the time? You're not like..." He shook his head, shaking off the thought. With his luck, she was either ugly or a man in drag. "You are so gonna owe me for this."
"Well, you're not just going to abandon me out there as a fugitive from the law, are you?" she asked, her grin once more very audible as she teased him. He didn't sound old, he didn't sound as though he took himself too seriously. She'd heard bipedal footsteps, and he seemed to be using hands with fingers, so it was a safe bet that he was a compatible race. "Hardly very gentlemanlike, after all. I might need to be looked after."
There was another pause as he thought that over. For all he knew she was a serial killer. "What are you in here for?" He was nearly there, nearly to the end of the game. He was going to have to make a decision and make one soon. He had no plan. He didn't know enough about this place to come up with a plan. Besides, he'd never been good at giving orders, just taking them. He was trying not to create a mental image of her in his head. She had a pretty voice, but he knew from experience that meant nothing. He'd been set up on enough blind dates to know how that went. One way or another he had to get out of here, figure out where this Ride-in was and how to get home.
"I told you, I'm a thief," she chuckled softly, proud of what she was despite the fact that it had landed her in jail for the time being. "I was picking pockets in the Marketplace and one of the Watch saw me. Which reminds me, I need to stop off in the store room on the main level and get my stuff back. These people have no respect for the laws of finders keepers."
"Finders keepers?" he echoed. "Picking pockets isn't the same thing as finding something someone dropped on the ground." He frowned a moment, though she couldn't see it, realizing not only that he had no pockets, but that he had nothing at all. No clothes but those on his back, no wallet, no money, no phone. No way home, wherever home was. He got very quiet on the other side of that wall as he contemplated this, still not quite understanding how he'd come to be here or why or how he was going home. Maybe he'd wake up and realize it was all just a dream.
"Yes, it is. If someone is stupid enough to wear their money pouch where anyone can see or touch it, and not perceptive enough to notice that someone has their hand in it, then they deserve to be robbed," was her answer. "I find things in people's pockets. Or their homes. Sometimes behind locked doors, too." She paused, a smirk appearing in her voice. "Wait a second. You're in prison, and you're judging me?"
His mind wandered over all the things he'd ever done for money, for the C.I.A., for love or just for kicks. He'd killed some people along the way, hadn't a choice but to kill them really. It was them or him. Bad guys, all of them. That's how he thought of them. He wasn't just a tech guy. He was a trained soldier on the lam and fighting for survival. Only, he suddenly wasn't sure where he was or what he was supposed to do. He'd think about that later though. Right now, the first order of business was getting the hell out of prison. "When that door opens, all hell's gonna break loose in here. I don't know where I am, where I'm gonna go."
"The door is going to open, then?" She rose to her feet, moving to stand by her own door. "Yours or mine?" She considered his dilemma for a moment. "You stick with me, then. I don't know exactly where I'm going, but I know enough to keep your head down."
"Yeah, the door's gonna open," he confirmed. "You're gonna owe me one for getting you out." He hadn't yet realized she was the reason he was here. "You ready?" he asked, his finger hovering over the enter key. Once he hit that key, chaos was going to quickly ensue. He'd rigged it so that every door in the prison was going to open, not just those in the cell block or floor. It was going to be chaotic, and people might get hurt. He didn't know what to expect, but he didn't have much choice. It seemed the only way.
"Wait a second," she said, laying a hand on her own door as though a gesture he couldn't see was going to stop him doing something he hadn't entirely explained. "Are you saying you're opening all the doors in the jail?" She looked down at Sloti, unsurprised when the ferret climbed sedately up her leg and arm, and tucked himself into the hood of her cloak. "Because if that's so, you need to stay put until the guards come past. Let them deal with everyone else; once they see we're still sedately locked up, they'll forget us and we can walk out."
"You're forgetting one thing... I don't belong here. I don't even know how I got here. You think the guards won't notice an extra prisoner in all the confusion?" Maybe she was right. Maybe they wouldn't, if he kept his cool and remained quiet. He was betting on all the confusion to mask their getaway, prisoners scurrying here and there. He knew it wasn't going to be pretty, and there was a likelihood someone might be hurt. "You have a better plan? You wanna use your cloak of invisibility to get us out of here? I can do it any way you want. One cell. One row. One floor. The whole thing."
"Sorry, left my cloak of invisibility in my other bodice," she answered flippantly, frowning as she considered their options. "Open them all, and get your *ss in here. You can hide under my bed until the guards check on me, and then we can walk out. Better?" There was a chitter that suggested Sloti wanted to know whether Jensen approved of the adjusted plan, too.
"I just want out. I get claustrophobic in places like this," he continued, not wanting to admit his weaknesses to a perfect stranger, turning serious for a moment, but this was serious business. "Do I have any choice?" he asked. She was putting her trust in him, and he had no choice but to do the same with her. "Just promise me you won't leave me here."
"Slow and smart beats fast and stupid," she pointed out, leaning against the door with a faint sigh. "I give you my word, I will not leave you in here. I owe you for getting me out, right? And besides, Sloti likes you." She smirked, stepping back from the barred door. "Let the chaos commence."
He furrowed his brows at the comment about Sloti, wondering how the hell she knew that and, more curiously, why a ferret had taken a liking to him. He shook his head, not wanting to think too hard about that. "Okay, ready or not here we go... Three, two..." He didn't bother to say one before launching the program that would open every locked cell in the prison and create mass chaos.
The banshee's wail that erupted throughout the sturdy fortress of a prison was abruptly deafening, painfully loud in sensitive ears. Leia cried out, pressing her hands to her ears for a moment as the locks on door throughout the building, secure and otherwise, cracked open. "Gods!" She lifted a foot to kick her door experimentally, watching it press open. "All right, get in here. It won't take long for the guards to sweep this level."
He slammed the top of his laptop closed and was on his feet in an instant, tucking the computer beneath an arm and kicking the door open with one booted foot before swinging around to the right to slip into the adjoining cell, hoping she didn't have snakes coming out of her head or anything. That would be awkward. And gross.
Gross wasn't the word to describe the female he finally laid eyes on. Petite, slender without losing some glorious curves accentuated by the leather corset that held her snug about the waist. She looked like she could have stepped out of a Dungeons and Dragons RPG, from the boots to the form-fitting pants, to the loose shirt beneath her corset. The hood of her cloak was down, revealing a face that wasn't pretty. No, she was beautiful; an ageless kind of beauty that didn't seem quite real. Violet eyes looked him over with an appreciative smile as he burst into view, tumbling brown hair bleached blonde by sunlight only serving to frame the delicate point to her ears as her hands fell away. And on her shoulder, looking out from under the fall of her hair, was the ferret he'd thought was her to begin with. "Well, hello there," she smiled, evidently liking what she was seeing. She gestured to the bed. "Slide under there, they won't be long."
Admittedly, she wasn't seeing him at his best, in shorts and t-shirt and work boots. What had he done with his pants? Ugh, he wished he'd kept them on now. He hoped it wasn't cold outside. It had been hot in L.A., even with the a/c on. He took her in with a sweep of his eyes, jaw dropping at the gorgeous, if exotic, sight of her. Were those violet eyes and elvish-looking ears? She looked like something out of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which he'd only watched because of his secret (or not so secret) crush on Liv Tyler. "Oh my god," he gasped, clearly shocked by her appearance. She was definitely not ugly and pretty was an understatement. "You're gorgeous."
An arched brow rose as her smile settled into more of a smirk, enjoying the gobsmacked look on his face as he took in the sight of her. "Thank you. You're not hard on the eyes yourself, although ..." Her gaze swept down to his bare legs with a little concern. "We'll have to find you some pants before we step outside. It's cold here still." Sensitive hearing picked up the sound of footsteps on their way down, and she reached out, taking hold of his t-shirt to pull him into the cell. "Get under the bed, now."
He glanced down at his own bare legs a moment, as if he'd completely forgotten he wasn't wearing pants. "I... uh..." She had rendered him completely speechless. He got tugged into the small cell, blinking out of his shock as he heard footsteps approaching - lots of them. This was a first - a woman telling him to get under a bed instead of out of it. Well, he wasn't a complete idiot. "Yes, ma'am," he said as he glanced over his shoulder, knowing he didn't have much time, and scooted his tall frame beneath the cot as best he could, sliding his laptop in behind him.
Amused and flattered by her new friend's reaction to just getting his eyes on her, Leia waited until he was out of sight, stepping to the door. She slipped out, pushing the door of his cell closed before jumping back into her own and drawing that door closed as well. Her arms wrapped through the bars, holding it snug in its frame as a small contingent of guards came bursting from the stairwell at the end of the hallway. "Hey, what's going on?" she shouted as they ran past, looking into every cell on the way, noting those that had recently emptied, barely even glancing at the half-elven woman who was apparently still locked in tight. "Hey! Hey, wait!"
He was not particularly happy to be where he was, stuck beneath a cot that made him feel even more claustrophobic than the cell itself. "Are they gone?" he asked in a hushed voice, hoping it was safe to come out. He had an interesting view from where he was, unable to see all of her, but liking what he did see.
Smirking as she watched the guards out the other stairwell, Leia slowly turned back to face Jensen where he was peeking out from under the bed, one arm through the door, one hand on her hip. She grinned down at him. "They certainly are. Come on, let's get out of here." She raised a hand to her hood, lifting Sloti out and setting him on the ground. "Find my pack, Sloti, we'll be right behind you."
Jensen clambered out from under the cot, scowling unhappily and muttering in complaint, "I'm gonna need a shower. And clean clothes." He didn't even want to think about what he might have just laid in. He brushed himself off, just for good measure, and tucked his computer beneath one arm. "Lead on, MacDuff," he quipped, though she more than likely wouldn't catch the reference.
"Leia," she corrected him with a faint smirk, her eyes on Sloti as the ferret slipped from the cell. "Come on, we'll have to be quick." Her hand caught Jensen's free fingers, small but startlingly strong, and she pulled him along with her, moving with remarkable silence. Pushing open the door to the first stairwell, she looked upward, listening for the sounds of fighting. "No one's fighting on the stairs, good," she murmured. "Go on, Sloti, up." Hand tightening in that of the human male now almost completely at her mercy, she surged after the ferret, cloak swaying with every step.
Who was he to argue? She was gorgeous and he was at a sudden loss for words, though his training kicked in soon enough as he followed at her heels. He could gawk over her later. First, they had to get out of here. He still wasn't quite sure what was going on here, though he understood what little she'd told him. That tables had turned - he was, for the moment, at her mercy. "I wish I had my gun," he muttered to himself. That would have made things a little easier, but maybe he'd find one somewhere along the way.
Three floors up, things suddenly got a lot more interesting. The doors burst open as they were passing, disgorging prisoners and watchmen into the hallway, flailing with weapons and fists, fighting for their freedom or to incarcerate their foe, one or the other. Leia's hand was wrenched from Jensen's as she was knocked against the wall, pressed there hard with a forearm hard against the back of her neck, not big enough or strong enough to fight back from that position.
Without a gun or any other weapon, all Jensen had was his hands and feet to defend himself and Leia with, and one other thing. Instinct took over, and he swung the the computer at the other man's head, hoping to knock him out, but not kill him. It was hard to tell who was friend or foe, especially given the fact that he was a stranger in a strange land and had no idea what to expect here. Half the bodies they were facing didn't even seem to be human.
The laptop made contact, not quite hard enough to break anything organic or man-made, but enough to get the man's attention. He released Leia, turning to Jensen with a snarl, raised a fist ... and abruptly howled in pain as a small, furry body shot up his trouser leg and bit him somewhere personal. Half slumped against the wall, Leia coughed to restore her breath, pushing up as their attacker from the melee staggered away, calling Sloti back to them. Her hand reached toward Jensen. "Keep going," she gasped uncomfortably. "Follow Sloti."
He was about to react to the man's snarl, either with another swing of the only weapon he had or with a duck of his head when the ferret took care of things for him. "You all right?" he asked, swinging a concerned glance toward the girl who'd already made quite an impression on him without hardly trying.
She coughed hard to clear her throat, knowing the bruise on the back of her neck would be brutal for a few days to come, and staggered upright to follow after the ferret, reaching out to pull their companion with them. "I will be better when we are out of here," she told him. "Two more levels, and a stop to get my kit. Then we're out. Go ... go!"
He hesitated for a brief moment, as if he didn't believe her, and then he was turning back around to follow the ferret wherever he was leading them. It sounded crazy, but he'd reflect on crazy later. Right now, there was no time to think, only to act.
The sounds of fighting grew more intense as they reached the level they were aiming for. There were already multiple holes in the doors that led onto that main floor, and given the sounds of gunshots and bodies impacting against walls and floors, there was a pitched battle going on to determine who walked and who didn't. Pausing a moment to catch her breath, Leia released Jensen's hand. "This door opens onto a wide hall," she told him. "There is a passage ten feet or so on the left. The store where they put my kit is behind the third door on the left in that passage. That is where I am going."
He heard the sound of fighting, the unmistakable pop of guns shooting and he made a grab for her arm. "Not alone you're not. They mean business up there. Is this kit of yours important enough to risk your life for?" he asked, giving her a pointed, serious look. Though he might have his silly skittish moments, this was not one of them.
"Weapons, food, and money? Yes, it is." She offered him an exhilarated grin, so close to freedom she could almost taste it. "Losing your nerve, are you?" It was a tease, and a decidedly cheeky one, capped off with something that was either going to fry his brain or spark off a little more motivation. She nestled close, smoothing her hand over his hip, pressing her body into his, painting his lips with her breath. And if those eyes weren't screaming come to bed, he needed to change his prescription. "Keep up, if you can," Leia breathed, and abruptly whirled away, bursting through the doors and diving for the passage she had told him about in a hail of gunfire.
She was steaming up his glasses is what she was doing, not to mention steaming up other parts of his body, as well. He almost whimpered like a baby, or like putty in her hand, but he didn't have time before she was whirling away from him and diving through a hail of bullets. It was hard to tell who was friend and who was foe. They were all foes in his opinion, the only friend the girl with the pointed ears. "Oh, Christ," he sighed, pressing his back up against the wall, before taking a deep breath and following her into the hallway, shielding his head with his laptop for good measure as he ducked across the hallway, scurrying to follow her into the passage. He felt a stinging sensation rip into his right bicep and knew he'd been hit, but it didn't do much to slow him down.
When he reached the passage, she had already encountered a couple of problems, namely a pair of escaping thieves who were trying to pick the lock on the storeroom door. With a yell, Leia threw herself at them, one small woman against two men who were the same size as Jensen. She twisted, dropping to slide along the smooth floor and scissor their feet out from under them, too accustomed to fighting dirty on the streets than most people would like to admit to. As the men feel, she changed position, locking her legs around one chest and squeezing, as Sloti darted in to bite at the other, to keep him occupied while his compatriot passed out from oxygen deprivation.
He turned the corner to find her struggling with a couple of men who looked nearly twice her size to him. Quickly sizing up the situation, he went for the one that Sloti was chewing on, tossing a fist at the man's chin to take him down. "Maybe you should pick on someone your own size," he told him as his fist swung that way, despite the fire in his upper arm. Once the man went down, he spun around to find her squeezing the air out of another. "Quit fooling around, Leia! We have to get out of here!"
"Keep your hair on," she grunted back at him, loosening her legs as her prey passed out, pulling herself onto her feet. Her eyes flickered to the blood staining his arm, but it didn't look life-threatening. "Sloti, find us an exit," she told the ferret, who scuttled off down the passage, away from the harshest sounds of fighting. "And you ..." She turned to flash Jensen a smirk, twisted, and kicked the lock the thieves had been working on. It broke under the blow, the door swaying open easily. "See if you can find some kit of your own. You won't last ten minutes without at least pants and a cloak."
"I'm not sure what you mean by a kit. Can you speak English, please?" Of course, she was speaking English, but using words that confounded him. He assumed she meant clothing, as his were less than practical for a prison break. He followed her into the room, pausing a moment to glance at his arm and the stain that had darkened his shirt. "Damn it," he muttered. He'd been shot in the other arm not more than a few months ago. Neither wound had been serious, but it still hurt like hell.
"You name it, they've confiscated it," she smirked, gesturing to the contents of the many shelves that littered the room around them. Weapons, clothing, specialist equipment, even some high tech gadgets that were bound to pique his interest. Leia smirked faintly at his expression. "It's not deep, we can heal it when we're out of here," she told him, spying her own bag of holding on a shelf at eye height. "Get what you need, no one will miss it."
"I've only got two hands!" he pointed out. He already had his trusty laptop in one arm, and he wasn't leaving that behind for anything. He might be able to carry a gun in the other, or if he was lucky, he might find a holster, but he wasn't going to be able to carry much more than that. He started searching the many bins, one-handed, looking first and foremost for some warmer clothing - pants, a jacket, something. He wasn't sure what the climate was like, but from what she said, he was going to need something warmer than shorts and a t-shirt. "When we get out of here..." he started, wincing a little at the fire in his arm as he rummaged for something suitable. "You owe me an explanation... And a beer... Or something."
"I have a bag of holding," she told him, as though this made perfect sense. "Put whatever you want but can't carry in there." She slid the bag over the floor toward him, turning to seek out her own weapons. There was a click as she found her wrist-bow, offering up a contented smirk when it slipped into place, a little bulky on her right wrist but something she felt almost naked without these days. "You'll get something."
"I better get something because if it wasn't for me, you'd still be..." He trailed off as a thought popped into is head and he wondered what she meant by that exactly. "What do you mean by something?" he asked, managing for find a gray utility jacket and a pair of jeans that weren't a perfect fit but would do well enough for now. He set his laptop down for a moment, gritting his teeth as he pulled the jeans on over his shorts, eyes searching the bins for a suitable weapon.
"Something." One of those arrestingly violet eyes winked in his direction as she pulled a long, beautifully curved sword from a rack close to her hand. "Bastards nicked the blade," she muttered, frowning as she sheathed her sword and put the whole thing into a bag that didn't seem anywhere near big enough to take it. It was like an adult version of Mary Poppins' carpet bag.
"Jesus Christ!" he exclaimed upon seeing the sword. "Be careful with that thing!" He preferred guns to blades, found them to be more efficient, but overall, he wasn't a big fan of weapons or killing, preferring to do his worst damage behind a keyboard. He zipped up his pants, frowning at the fact that he couldn't quite get the top button fastened, but no matter. These clothes were only temporary. He pulled the jacket on over his shoulders, taking more care with the right arm than the left and starting rummaging again, this time for a handgun or two, something light and easy to carry but that packed a punch.
She chuckled at his reaction to her sword, turning to whip her daggers from the same rack. They spun in her hands, wickedly sharp and curved with fluid lines, singing through the air before she slid them both easily into the sheaths that decorated her corset. A third dagger was taken from a shelf and neatly inserted into her bodice. "Got everything?"
"Geez, remind me not to piss you off," he remarked as he watched her show off with the daggers. He wasn't about to try the same trick with a handgun. He found something to his liking and made sure it was loaded, filling his pockets with extra ammo, before moving on. He managed to find a few other interesting things, which he shoved into his jacket, as well, not quite trusting the bag of holding or whatever the hell she had there. "No, but it'll have to do," he said before spying something else that caught his eye, a few techy items that might come in handy, which he also pocketed, his pockets filling up quickly. "Your name gonna be on a wanted list somewhere?" he asked, wondering how long she as going to have to lay low. Pickpocketing didn't seem like a horribly serious offense to him, not enough to make it onto the FBI's most wanted list.
"You really think I'm stupid enough to give a copper my real name?" she asked with a laugh, settling her bag comfortably over her shoulder. "I've only been in town a couple of days. I'll only have to hide for a couple more before they forget all about me. I have a very forgettable face." Which, in a human society, was a lie. Here, on the other hand ... well, when Jensen got an eyes on the outside, he'd understand what she meant.
"Yeah, I don't think so," he said, not finding that face forgettable at all. He had a feeling she was going to be the subject of a his dreams for a few months to come. Hot4U who? She probably wasn't even a real blond. Leia was the real thing. "So, where to, Princess?" he asked, likening her to Princess Leia of Star Wars fame, or maybe an elven princess from some fairy tale or other. He caught sight of a bad *ss looking assault rifle, struggling to free it from its hiding place in a bin above his head.
She tipped her head to one side, staring at the weapon he was struggling with. "Dear gods, what is that?" she asked, vaguely horrified by the ugly weapon without even knowing just how ugly it was. She edged to the door, opening it a crack to find out how clear their escape was, and Sloti came slithering through the crack, evidently triumphant in his search for a way out. Leia smirked softly, surprised by the unexpected endearment from her new friend. "Princess? Really?"
"This?" he asked, glancing at the weapon he was having a hard time with. He only had two hands, after all, and one arm wasn't at one hundred percent. "You don't wanna know," he replied, no time to go into a lengthy explanation about assault rifles and their uses. He winced as he slung the thing over his left shoulder, anxious to get the hell out of there. "Yeah, but I think that makes me Han Solo or something," he said, moving up beside her. "Ready to blow this popstand?"
The look she gave him suggested he was speaking a different language again, but she wasn't going to argue the point right now. Besides, it was fairly obvious what he meant with the last comment. "Looks like. Don't get lost, I'm getting attached to you." With another teasing wink and a gentle pat of her gloved hand to his cheek, she pulled open the door and stepped out, following the ferret along the passage at a careful speed.
"I think I'm in love," he muttered a little too loudly, not even realizing he'd said it out loud. His face was a little strained and pale as he blinked back at her, but he was holding his own, determined to make it wherever they were going before he let himself pass out. He followed her to the door, peering out into the passage before stepping out behind her, taking the rear.
The fighting was still pretty intense, but it sounded as though it had moved to the sturdy doors through which Leia had been manhandled when she'd been brought in. They, however, were headed in the other direction; Sloti had found a back way out, and one that would hopefully bypass the worst of the fighting. Hearing Jensen's muttered declaration, Leia found herself smiling as they crept along, her hands free of weapons at least for now. "You can back that up later," she told him over her shoulder, pausing at the end of the passage to peer around the corner, following the ferret's progress with her eyes. "Seems clear. Come on." She darted out of the shadows, moving speedily between the patches of blood and discarded weapons to slip in through an open doorway a dozen or so feet further down the way.
He came up behind her, breathing a little more heavily than he should be, the wound starting to take its toll. "I've got your six," he told her, watching as she darted out and disappeared through an open doorway, making sure she wasn't followed. Once he was sure the coast was clear, he trailed behind, not moving as quickly as her, but finding the doorway soon enough. Catching up to her, he asked her something he should have asked her back in the storeroom. "Can you... Can you take this?" he asked, indicating the computer he had tucked under one arm, which was starting to become cumbersome, for some reason.
In the gloom of the room they'd slipped into, the outline of a window was clearly visible, letting in the last vestiges of daylight as night began to fall. Leia paused, turning to Jensen as he caught up with concern on her face. "Of course," she told him, opening up the buckle on her satchel. "Just slip it in. We're almost out, and I'm pretty sure there's an inn not too far away. Are you all right?"
He wasn't sure how her satchel worked, and at the moment, he didn't really care. All he wanted was to free that arm up so he could move more freely and with as little pain as possible. "Yeah, just peachy," he replied sarcastically as he slipped the computer into her bag. Seriously, how did she think he was doing? He'd just been shot, for God's sake!
Her eyes narrowed at the sarcasm, one hand skillfully re-buckling her bag as he drew his hand away. "Try not to pass out until there's a bed to pass out on," was all she said, though, moving over to the window. There was a lock on it, but she pulled a delicate little instrument from a darker patch on her corset, and in less than two seconds of picking, had it unlocked and the sash raised. "Short drop," she warned him, gesturing for him to go first. "Sloti!" Putting her hand down, she raised the ferret up and into her hood once again, where he held on tightly.
He wondered if she really needed him at all. She seemed to have gotten this far mostly on her own, with little help from him, except maybe for knocking one of those big goons out before. He was going to pay for that later with swelling and bruises, but those were the least of his worries. He cast a glance behind them to make sure they hadn't been followed before crossing to the window beside her and peering down into the growing darkness. "Me? Why do I have to go first?" he asked, preferring to take up the rear. "You want me to catch you?"
"Scared?" she challenged with a grin flashed in the growing dark. "I have to lock the window again, or they'll know for sure someone got out this way. Unless you can do that on a windowsill four inches wide?" It was an interesting challenge, and certainly one she'd enjoy watching him attempt in other circumstances. "You can catch me if you like," she added, leaning in to breathe against his neck as she spoke, since it seemed to have worked so well the last time. "I won't even mind where you put your hands. But you gotta go first."
He arched a brow down at her as she leaned close, having an obvious effect on him, evidenced by the audible gulp. Was she just teasing him or was she for real, and if she was, how'd he gotten so lucky? He had to be dreaming. It didn't seem like a dream, but then how could he possibly know the difference? "If you want me to jump, then you need to get out of the way," he reminded her, since she was standing between him and the window.
"Darn, I knew there was something I'd forgotten to do," she smirked back to him, thoroughly enjoying the way he seemed to fold at just a little bit of proximity. He was fun, even in the very short time she'd known him, and Leia did like a bit of fun. She wondered if he would stay fun the more used to her he got. Stepping smartly out of the way, she swept a hand toward the window. "After you."
"Thanks," he told her, sarcastically again. "Could have at least given me a kiss for good luck," he remarked, peering at the ground below. It wasn't a long jump and should be a piece of cake, if not for his arm. It was all a matter of knowing how to land. He glanced at the assault rifle on his arm, debating what to do with it.
"I'll give you a kiss when I'm on the ground with you," she turned the sarcasm around on him innocently, glancing toward the doorway into the room. "We don't have time to waste here, you know." Following his gaze to the largest of the weapons he'd taken from the store, she frowned a little. "Want to put that in the bag, too?"
"Really?" he asked, brows lifting hopefully for a moment before following her gaze to the doorway with a frown. She was right. They were running out of time, and he wanted to be away from this place, the sooner the better. "No, I've got it," he replied, worried he might need the monster of a gun when they got to the ground, unsure what they might still encounter before they made their escape. He checked to make sure the safety was on and turned back to the window, leaning forward and dropping the weapon to the ground with a low thud. "Here goes nothing," he said as he climbed onto the windowsill and launched himself to the ground, dropping with a second thud and a low groan.
The alley he'd dropped into was sharp with the tang of estuary salt, offering a view at one end of a busy street, and at the other a river that appeared to cut straight through the city he'd found himself in. From the street end came the sound of reinforcements for the Watch and guards arriving from other Watch houses, signalling that whoever was still fighting for freedom was about to lose. Above Jensen, Leia slid herself out onto the narrow windowsill, bracing herself as she carefully lowered the window back into place. Quite how she did it was beyond any but a master thief to understand, but by the time the window was set in place again, the lock was ready to click over, for all the world as though it had never been opened. Looking down into the alley, Leia paused. "You all right?" she called down to Jensen, lowering herself until she hung from her fingers. "Mind your arm!" And she let go, prepared to land on her feet if he didn't follow through with his offer to catch.
He was in no shape to catch her and it didn't appear she needed his help in any case. He had collected the M-16 and slung it against his left shoulder, clutching his right arm with his other hand, his face pale in the moonlight. "There's... two moons..." he observed weakly. Either he wasn't on Earth anymore or he was seeing things.
She landed lightly, letting out a soft grunt of effort as she turned to find him staring up at the sky. The paleness of his face couldn't be entirely down to the injury, not with an expression like that. She stepped up to him. "You really don't know where you are, do you?" she asked in surprise. She'd assumed he was a native of this place, but clearly he was not. Now, however, was not the time for considering his dislocation in space. "Hey ... we need to go," she reminded him, glancing up at the window she had just dropped from, reminding herself of the motivation she'd handed out before he'd jumped. Her fingers curled into his collar, pulling him down to her for the promised kiss.
He blinked out of his observance of the unfamiliar sky as she moved off in front of him and tugged him down for a kiss that took him more by surprise than anything else he'd experienced since his arrival in this strange place. He was more than a little surprised by the kiss, brief as it was, brows lifting as he returned that kiss with one of his own, neither passionate nor chaste, but warm and welcoming, if a little shocked.
Drawing back, she offered him a smile that really was amazingly confident for a woman who'd just broken out of jail. "I keep my promises," she told him. "Come on, we just have to cross the river. There's an inn on the far side that's dirt cheap and clean." The tip of her nose nudged his briefly before she stepped back, turning to lead the way toward the riverside path, turning right in the moonlight to head for the nearest bridge.
He turned quiet as he turned to follow her, confused and in pain and a slight state of shock. It was going to take a few days to get his bearings and sort out what the hell had happened. Where was he? How'd he get here? Was he stuck here or could he find his way home? He clenched his jaw, gritting his teeth as he followed her lead once again, having little choice. This clearly wasn't his world, and he had no idea where he was or what he might find here.
As they stepped out into the main thoroughfare, he got his first taste of how cosmopolitan a city could be. The woman with him was tame compared with some of the weird and wonderful races that jostled them on the bridge, everything from minotaurs to blue-skinned aliens. Aware of his injury, Leia slipped herself to Jensen's side, using her own body to protect him from being knocked in that particular arm as she drew him away from the Marketplace and the Watch-house. His weapon wasn't commented on; apparently it was fairly commonplace for people to go armed, as evidenced by the sheer variety of weaponry on display.
He found himself openly staring at the various people he passed, many of them looking like something he'd seen on a television show or a science fiction movie. "I'm really not in Kansas anymore," he remarked out loud, more to himself than to anyone else. No one paid them much heed, seeming to melt into the crowd with relative ease. Hiding in plain sight, as he'd called it. He was starting to feel a little woozy by this time, not only the bullet that was causing it but the aftereffects of his trip through the Nexus, which had been something of a shock to his system.
"I don't know where this can zass place is, but trust me, it's not around here," she agreed, one hand laid gently on his back as she steered him out of the jostling crowd of the bridge and into the district known as the Docks. Here there were more unusual races going about their business, loading and unloading ships of cargo and causing mayhem in the waterfront taverns. It was to one of these Leia led Jensen, drawing him past a rowdy fight outside the door to lean up against the bar and call the innkeeper's attention to herself.
He followed along at her side, feeling very much like a fish out of water. Though he'd been to strange places before, he'd never been anyplace like this. He wasn't sure what to make of it and was starting to wonder if any of it was really real. The pain in his arm and the wooziness didn't help, and he wondered if there really was such a thing as the Twilight Zone. He had a lot of questions, but he held his tongue for now in quiet observation. Quiet wasn't really his thing, but until they were alone, he kept his questions to himself.
Perhaps surprisingly, and perhaps not, the woman by his side hired a single room for them both to share, casting the innkeeper a bemused look when he mentioned that it was fully plumbed. Clearly, she didn't understand what that meant at all. But it just as clearly didn't matter; the moment she had the key in her hand and the directions passed over the counter, she offered Jensen an inviting look. "Shall we?"
As for Jensen, he looked a little befuddled by the exchange between the elf girl and the innkeeper. While he was relieved that the place had indoor plumbing, he couldn't help but wonder if it had electricity. The place reminded him of a renfaire, or maybe some kind of weird amusement park, but there was nothing amusing about the prison. He gave the innkeeper an odd look before turning to Leia, noticing the inviting look on her face. "Yes, dear," he replied. Since she'd seen fit to only rent one room, he thought he'd go along with the ruse.
She smirked, tucking her small hand into his and turning to lead the way from the bar, up a dingy flight of steps and onto the gallery that ran along the upper level of the taproom, from which the rooms branched off. As soon as they were out of the immediate sight of the curious, Sloti's furry head popped up from her hood, fixing Jensen with bright eyes that seemed to be snickering at something.
"One room? I'm warning you, if you're planning on having your way with me, I might be just a little too willing," he said with a weak smile down at her as she tucked her hand into his. As much as he didn't want to admit it, her hand felt kind of good there. He couldn't remember when the last time was that he'd held a girl's hand. He furrowed his brows at the ferret's popping his head up and peering his way a little too knowingly, wondering what the deal was there. "What's with the ferret anyway?"
"You'd rather pay for two rooms and only use one of them?" Leia asked sweetly over her shoulder, glancing down into the taproom as she led the way along the gallery, counting room numbers as they went. "Maybe I'm not planning to have my way with you. Maybe I'm hoping you'll have your way with [/i]me[/i] instead." One wink and a sultry grin later, and she was setting the key into the lock of the next door they came to. "Sloti?" she said then, in answer to his query. "He's my best friend. My only friend, really. Well, the only one who hasn't tried to get me killed." She shrugged, stepping over the threshold of the room and drawing Jensen inside.
Her explanation only sparked more questions, and he wondered what kind of life she'd led that she only had a ferret for a friend. He thought it was kind of sad, really. "I never had a pet," he said, assuming she thought of the ferret as a pet, more than a real friend. Friends were human, weren't they? But then, he wasn't really sure if she was human. He stepped into the room, looking a shade too pale and more than a little confused.
"He's not a pet," she chuckled, amused when Sloti himself chose to argue that point in his chittering way, scolding Jensen for thinking such a thing before jumping down from her hood. She closed the door behind them, turning to light the gas lamp set into the wall. "He chooses to stay with me. He's saved my life a few times. And he looks after himself, mostly." She paused, looking her human companion over thoughtfully. "Get on the bed."
He stuck his tongue out at the chittering ferret, who apparently had taken offense to being called a pet, before turning a glance to the thief. "Now?" he asked, gaping at her, presuming she wanted to have sex, which he was not opposed to, but he thought the bullet in his arm took precedence over sex. "I know I'm irresistible, but I was kind of thinking maybe I should have this arm looked at first."
"That's what I mean, smart*ss," Leia laughed, undoing the clasp at her throat and tossing her cloak aside, over the back of a chair that stood nearby. Without the hanging cloth and deceptive shadows, she cut quite a figure in the flickering light from the gas lamps, unhooking weapons, lockpicks, and bag from her body. She glanced over at him with a faint smirk. "Unless, of course, you think one decent kiss would make you pass out so I can get a good look at that arm more easily."
"Wow," he muttered, as he backed into the room, watching as she shed her cloak and equipment, eyes moving over her appreciatively from head to toe. He was enjoying the view so much, he collided with the bedside table, nearly knocking over a lamp which swayed dangerously before he caught it and set it straight. "I, uh..." He gulped over at her as he straightened, his pulse pounding in his ears, but whether it was because of her or because he was feeling faint was hard to say.
He really was rather adorable when he got caught up in what he was looking at, she decided, reaching into her bag of holding - up to the elbow, which shouldn't have been possible - to extract a bottle of some viscous red liquid. "You, uh?" she teased, turning back to Jensen and deliberately putting the predator into her stride toward him, all swaying hips and those sultry eyes once again, reaching out with one hand to lay her palm against his chest and guide him down to the bed. Hey, if the formula worked, why change it?
He dropped onto the bed without any resistance, shrugging the M-16 from his shoulder and propping it against the table, looking up at her from where he sat, unable to tear his eyes away from her. "You're gorgeous," he said, quite possibly for the second or third time since he'd first laid eyes on her, unable to keep that thought to himself. Unable to tear his eyes away from hers, she was making him feel dizzy just by being close, or maybe it was the fact that he'd lost some blood and his arm felt like it was on fire.
"And you're bleeding," she reminded him with a smile, raising her knee to the bed beside his hip, utterly shameless in straddling him, doing her very best to keep him distracted as she began to ease the jacket from his shoulders. "What are these for?" she asked curiously, gently touching the rim of his glasses with a fingertip.
He reached to remove her fingers from his glasses, without which he was blind as a bat. "They're glasses. I need them to see. Haven't you ever seen glasses before?" he asked, gently prying her fingers from the rims. God, she was making his pulse pound in his chest... and a few other places. "Are you..." He was going to ask if she was a nurse before he realized that she probably had no idea what a nurse was. "Are you a healer, too?" he asked, leaning back to look at her, suddenly a bundle of nerves.
She let go as he pried her fingers away, returning her attention to getting his jacket off him without causing too much pain or further damage. "You need glass to see?" she asked, fascinated by the mere concept. "I've never heard of anything like that. Are they magical?" With his jacket off, she gently lifted the short sleeve of his t-shirt to see his injury, smiling a little at his nervous question. "No, I'm not a healer. But I have potions that do the job."
"Not glass... glasses," he corrected, all the color draining from his face, as she eased his jacket off and lifted the sleeve of his shirt. "Is it bad?" he asked as he turned his head to look at the bullet wound. Though there wasn't much of it, the sight of his own blood made him woozy and before he could warn her, he was falling back against the mattress, out cold.
"Oh, wait - oh!" Leia reached out a little too late to prevent him from falling back, left straddling a bleeding, unconscious chunk of gorgeous. She sighed through a resignedly amused smirk, looking over at Sloti, who was s******ing to himself on the windowsill. "Just my luck, huh?" But since he was out, she might as well get to work ... and a little mischief.
Within an hour, Jensen was healed following a liberal application of the potion she'd mentioned, and just happened to be completely nude, too. Even his glasses were gently removed from his nose and set within his arm's reach on the cabinet beside the bed. And a few minutes later, Leia was curled under the covers herself, just as nude, hugging his arm around herself as she rolled him onto his side, pressed against her back. Laying her head against the pillow, she smirked to herself. His wake up would be highly entertaining, however he reacted. And with that prediction in mind, she settled herself to sleep, confident that no one was going to come looking for them tonight.
The hours ticked away, and Jensen rested peacefully, unaware that the girl he'd helped escape a prison cell had not only healed him, but was snuggling up against him, both of them as naked as the day they were born. It wasn't until well past midnight that he stirred from that deep sleep, groggy, disoriented, thinking he was back home in his own bed, nice and warm and cozy. He sighed contentedly, smiling as if he'd just woken from a very pleasant dream. He'd been dreaming about a girl with violet eyes, the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen. He wrapped his arms around what he thought was a pillow, snuggling closer when he realized something was very wrong. He pried an eye open to peer into the dark, unable to see much of anything, furrowing his brows as he smoothed a hand against the "pillow", realizing it wasn't a pillow at all. His eyes popped open and he jerked upright in bed, pulling away from the warm body he was lying beside and rolling onto the floor with a thud and a groan.
Leia had begun to stir when his arms had tightened about her, drawn more easily from a sleep that was in part the reverie of her paternal bloodline and lighter than most achieved. And she came fully awake when she felt his hand smoothing against his "pillow", wickedly pouring a moan into the darkness as she purposely arched her back, pressing into his touch and back against him in the same movement. His abrupt retreat brought her eyes snapping open, fighting not to laugh as she heard the thud of his landing, sitting upright herself, one hand holding the sheet to her chest, displaying a modicum of modesty in the darkness. Her shadow was clear against the light from the window, her head turning toward the shape of him on the floor. Unbeknownst to him, she had innate night vision, a form of natural infrared, and she could see him as clearly as though it were daylight. "What are you doing down there?"
He blinked in the darkness, narrowing his eyes to squint up at the form that wasn't much more than a dark shape against the moonlight streaming in through the window. He recognized her voice and realized it hadn't been a dream, after all. It was either that or he was still dreaming. "Oh, my God... You're real!" he exclaimed, feeling a sudden chill and appalled to find himself awkwardly naked. "What the hell..." he muttered, uncertain if he should turn on the light to find his glasses and his clothes or keep it off so she wouldn't see him naked. "What happened to my clothes?!" Unaware that she could see him in the dark, as well as in the light, he made no attempt as yet to cover himself.
Unlike him, Leia was fully aware that humans couldn't see well in the dark, and he'd told her his eyesight wasn't good without his glasses. Thus, she allowed herself to grin in the darkness for a moment before letting a tremble of hurt disappointment creep into her voice. "You ... you mean you don't remember?"
"Remember what?" he asked, sounding like he was on the verge of panic. Of course, he remembered. How could he forget a face like hers, not to mention a killer body to go along with it? He thought she'd been a dream, too good to be true, but there she was, staring down at him from the bed. His brows knit together in the darkness, as a thought hit him like a ton of bricks. "Did we... No, we couldn't have. I would have remembered... I think." He peered up at her, wishing he could see her better, but thankful for the darkness. "You didn't... you know... have your way with me while I was passed out, did you? Because if you want to, I'd really like to be awake for that... If it was to happen... I mean, if you wanted to..."
Oh, this was priceless. She just couldn't resist putting the icing on the cake, though he was probably going to be mortified with what she was about to say. "You don't remember!" she accused him, fighting not to let the smile become audible through the very deliberate wobble in her voice, endeavoring to come across as innocent and hurt. Hell, if he thought she was a dream, she could tweak a detail or two, right? "You don't remember me putting my hands on you, lying under me in this very bed? You were so overwhelmed - I thought it meant something! Or ...." Leia waited just long enough before adding with an obvious snicker. "Or do all human men pass out at the sight of their own blood?"
Now he was really confused. Had they or hadn't they? He thought he'd remember something like that, unless she'd taken advantage of him while he was unconscious, in which case, he'd like a second chance while he was awake. Unless she was into that sort of thing. That was probably it. Just his luck he'd run into a girl who had that kind of kink. Still, he had to know for sure. "Was... was it good? I mean, did you like it? Do you think we could... you know... while I'm awake?" he asked, her teasing going right over his head, frowning and taking her remarks to heart. He scrambled to his feet, feeling slightly insulted, hands on his hips in the darkness, still not realizing she could see him as clear as day. "I didn't pass out. I fell asleep. There's a difference."
"Fell asleep so hard that you didn't even notice I had to cut your arm open to get whatever it was out of the wound," she pointed out with a smile, her eyes alight with appreciation for the view he now presented to her. A purr resounded from the shape of her in the darkness, deliciously feline and feminine, and all kinds of covetous. "Get back here and show me the difference, then. Unless you're getting off on being such a tease."
"Cut my arm open?" he echoed, glancing at his right bicep where a bullet had lodged in the muscle. He ran his fingers over his upper arm, feeling only a small jagged mark where the wound had been. "It's gone," he said in obvious awe. Whatever she had done to him, the pain was gone, along with the wound. He looked back at the feminine shape on the bed, hearing a purring sound come from her that was making his body react in ways he couldn't control. "Me?" he asked. Well, of course, him. There was no one else there that he knew of... except maybe that ferret friend of hers. "You want me?" he repeated, in astonishment.
"Do I have to spell it out?" she asked, that sultry smile still very audible as she looked him up and down. The view in the dark wasn't anywhere near as good as the view in daylight would be, but she had to start somewhere. The purr rose from her throat again, the shape of her shadow shifting as she dropped the sheet from her chest, crawling toward him over the bed. "Is it really that hard to believe?" Her arm reached out, trailing fingertips up along the outside curve of his thigh, smoothing her palm over his hip as she rose onto her knees, choosing to make it absolutely clear for him. "I want you. And I won't take a no, when I'm pretty damn certain you're screaming yes."
"No..." he replied to the first question, watching her dim outline in the dark as she moved toward him, that purr sending a shiver of desire rippling against his spine. Or maybe he was just cold. "I, uh..." As much as he liked to boast, it had been too long since he'd been with a woman, any woman, much less one that had violet eyes and pointed ears and purred like a cat. Was this the reward she'd been promising him? Well, who was he to deny her? He shuddered when she touched him, his body betraying him, as he reached for her hand, a little bit nervous, despite his big words. "I don't want to disappoint you."
Her fingers tangled with his, giving a gentle pull to draw him back to the bed as she purred once again, deeply satisfied with the way he reacted to that sound from her throat. Her other hand rose, smoothing up from the indent of his navel, over the thud of his heart, curling against the line of his jaw to invite him down to her. Her breath warmed his lips as she offered him the ghost of a moan in the darkness, violet eyes sparkling in a way he couldn't truly appreciate in the gloom, despite how close she was. And when she spoke, it was in a throaty growl, half demand, half plea. "Touch me again, Jake."
He was drawn to her, like a moth to a flame, unaware of the danger, unaware he was about to meet his doom. She'd kissed him once already, and that one kiss had burned like fire against his lips, yearning for another, hoping against hope that it was only the first of many. Her touch stirred his desire like no one had before her. He heard himself gulp audibly as she drew him to her, hoping she wasn't just teasing him, feeling like if she didn't make good on her promise, he might die. He felt her breath warm against his lips, so agonizingly close, and his eyes drifted closed as he pursed his lips, readying himself for that kiss. She called him by name, and his heart twisted in his chest. No one called him by his birth name, no one but family. "Leia..." he breathed, whispering her name. "I want you."
"Need directions?" she murmured impishly, the words just barely brushing her grinning lips against his. So many hints, so many suggestions, and he was still nervous of taking the first step. Her fingers loosed themselves from his, drawing her touch up along the line of his arm, pouring her palm over the definition of his clavicle and shoulder to cup the back of his neck. Another purr was offered up, so close this time as to vibrate into him through her touch. "If you don't follow through on this, I may just scream the place down."
This could not be happening. He had to be dreaming. It wasn't like he'd never been with a woman before, but never anyone like her. He shuddered at her touch, giving up all resistance, if there had been any resistance to begin with. I love you, he thought, but no. It was too soon for love. What he was feeling was something else. Lust? Desire? It didn't really matter. They were both consenting adults. She wanted him and he sure as hell wanted her, and that was all that mattered. He smothered her lips with a kiss that spoke volumes of his desire, climbing back onto the bed and pushing her onto her back as he covered her with his body. He didn't want to go too fast, lest it be over too quickly, but he wanted her so badly he was shaking.
She was warm and certainly willing, though his sudden confidence took her a little by surprise, filling his mouth with a delighted gasp as he took control back from her with barely a moment of hesitation. Yes, she was a tease, and yes, he had proved to be a lot of fun to tease, but there came a time when teasing had to give way to something else. She liked him; he made her laugh, he'd kept her safe, he hadn't judged her harshly for her chosen profession. He wanted her, more potently than any other had, and in return, she wanted him. Humans had never really been on her list of races she was attracted to, until this afternoon. Borne down onto her back, she welcomed the heat and weight of him over her, pouring hunger into the kisses he had initiated and she refused to allow an end to, drinking in the taste of him, his desire as much as the flavor of his mouth. If the opening chapter was anything to go by, this was going to be a pillowing she would thoroughly enjoy.
He couldn't see her very clearly in the dark, but what he couldn't see, he could feel, his imagination filling in the blanks. From what he'd seen and could feel, he couldn't imagine she was anything but beautiful. She was like no one he'd ever met before, and it wasn't just the fact that she wasn't entirely human. He thought she was out of his league, far above him. It was only a matter of time before she figured that out on her own, but he didn't want to think about that now. He'd worry about that later. He kissed her like she was the only woman in the world, hungry, needy, frenzied kisses that left them both breathless.
He wasn't the world's greatest lover, but what he lacked in skill, he made up for in enthusiasm. His kisses trailed down her body, wanting to taste and touch every inch of her, but those kisses only drove him wilder with desire and before long he was taking her, without word, without warning. He rocked his hips against hers and filled her with his warmth, moaning into her kisses and shuddering with pleasure as their bodies moved together as one, with the same goal in mind.
Time seemed to fly in the gloom that enveloped them, hazing the senses until all she could see or feel or touch or scent was the tender frenzy of the man she had seduced, moving over her, covering her warm flesh with kisses that burned her skin and made her moan. Sooner than she had expected, more used to the way an elven male always seemed to have something to prove, he was inside her, and learning intimately that no matter how small, how delicate she appeared, she could take whatever he offered her with wild enthusiasm of her own. Dancing in the darkness, she rose and fell with him, breathless, heedless of prying ears, purring in that sensual, feline way as her body slumped back to the sheets, pulling him down onto her, savoring the weight and heat of his body as her lips plied his with softer, gentler kisses.
She was small compared to him, and yet, she exuded an inner strength unlike any woman he'd ever met before - a certain confidence and strength of spirit he couldn't help but admire. She knew what she wanted and held nothing back. Yes, she was something of a tease, but that teasing had only made him want her all the more. He molded his body to hers in the darkness, moving with her, yin to her yang, her body fitting his perfectly, even as small as she was compared to him. He wrapped her in his embrace, warm and protective and surprisingly gentle, crying out as his body exploded, like a night sky full of fireworks. He'd never experienced anything so intense, didn't remember sex being anything quite like this. He found himself daring to hope that it wouldn't end, like it always had in the past, daring to hope that she might want more from him than just a one night stand.
She held to him in the tangle of twisted sheets, legs tucked loose about his hips, one arm wrapped about his neck, one hand smooth up and down over his heart as she breathed him in, tasting his breath, the gentle sheen of salt sweat on his skin, with the tip of her tongue. "Worth waiting for," she murmured softly, catching his lower lip in her teeth to worry at it for one long moment before releasing him. "I've never been with a human before."
He exhaled a heavy sigh, trembling but not from cold, the sweetness of their coupling ebbing slowly away, leaving him feeling weak but strangely content. He peered through the darkness down at her, the violet of her eyes shining in the moonlight which cast its silvery light across her face, close enough that he didn't need his glasses to admire her loveliness. "God, you're so beautiful," he whispered, not even bothering to hold back a groan as she nibbled at his lower lip, clearly enamored or at the very least enraptured.
Her fingertips drew through the hair at his nape in a rippling caress, a surprisingly young smile lighting up her face at his compliment. "Gods have nothing to do with this, here and now," she murmured, the tip of her nose nudging against his as her hand smoothed from over his heart to round the sharp curve of his hip, her knee rising to settle her own thigh snug to that same hip with intimate confidence. "Don't leave," she added in a quiet whisper, the momentary grip of her fingers screaming to even the dullest tool in the box that she had been loved and left too many times. "I don't want you to go."
He frowned down at her in the darkness, unaware that she could see him so clearly, the uncertainty on his face, perhaps even a little fear. This wasn't his home; he didn't belong here. He wasn't even sure how he'd ended up here, but in that moment, he would have given just about anything to stay there with her. "We don't even know each other, Leia," he whispered back, rolling to his side with a sigh and pulling her along with him. He reached out in the darkness to brush his fingers against her cheek. She was so beautiful and so sad. Why was she sad? It couldn't be because of him, could it? No one had asked him such a thing before; no one had ever cared. His heart ached at the thought of leaving her, but he wasn't sure if he could stay.
"I want to know you," she told him in the quiet stillness, rising up to push him to his back, to lean over him with intimate assurity, her smaller form pressed close. "You took a chance without knowing me, you trusted me. You want me, I can feel it." Her cheek turned under his touch, lips brushing his fingertips with muted passion. A faint smirk touched her mouth as she leaned over him, visible in the moonlight. "I could always tie you down and do wicked things to you until you give in."
"I want to know you, too... and not just in the Biblical sense." He looked up at her with an unmistakable look of longing on his face, sadness even, torn between his friends and family back home and a sense of duty to them and this lovely, incredible creature he'd just met. "I can't say I wouldn't enjoy it, but promises made under duress don't mean much." Her kisses, even the chaste kisses, were doing something to him, making him ache inside with a longing the likes of which he'd never felt before.
She blinked, confused by a word she had no reference for. "Biblical?" she repeated curiously, shifting once again until she lay not beside him, but on him, her forearms laid against the pillow either side of his head, her nose almost touching his. She wanted, and she had never yet come across anything she wanted that she could not steal. It was just her luck that the one person she wanted so much would have a misplaced - in her opinion, anyway - sense of duty to the life behind him. She pouted her disappointment. "You will find your way home, to this place with can zass and eliktronik, and you will not come back."
He wasn't usually given to serious moments. He'd learned a long time ago to hide what he was feeling behind a facade of sarcasm and humor, hiding behind the jokes and the witty remarks, but he wasn't as clueless as he seemed or as unfeeling. "You could come with me," he suggested, already knowing that it was impossible. She'd never fit in. She'd always be looked at strangely, curiously. It would be just his luck that he'd fall for someone who wasn't even human. God, what was he thinking? They'd only just met. Love at first sight? Or was it just lust? "I could fall in love with you," he admitted with a small frown. For some reason he wasn't sharing, the thought of that scared the hell out of him.
"This upsets you?" Leia asked unhappily. She wasn't entirely sure what was going on here. It had started as a game, something to enjoy, to pass the time. She hadn't expected that pillowing with him would strengthen something she hadn't even known had begun. Her father's people called it bonding, a joining of souls to the point where emotions and sometimes even thoughts could be shared, but she had never thought she would be able to do it. She was only half elf, and yet it seemed the elven blood in her veins was far stronger than she could ever have imagined. "I am not afraid to change worlds," she told him bravely. "But your world seems so very different to what I know. I would be a burden to you."
"I've never..." He trailed off, starting to tell her that he'd never been in love before and that no one had ever been in love with him - at least, as far as he knew. He'd had a few flings over the years, but nothing serious, nothing lasting, nothing like what he felt with her, and he'd only known her a few hours. "You wouldn't be a burden, but..." He had that sad frown on his face again, as he looked up at her. "You're not human," he pointed out. It was a statement of fact, not a question. "It wouldn't be safe for you there."
"Not safe?" She blinked, genuinely surprised by this comment. "Is your world so very dangerous, then? I can take care of myself, I have my sword and daggers, I know when to fight and when to run. I can hide as easily as Sloti can bite. Not even an orc can outrun me if I have reason to be swift." She paused, a faint frown of her own appearing on her face as she thought over what else he had said. "You have never seen anyone with elven blood before."
"No, no... You don't understand. My world... It's not like this one. You can't... walk around carrying a sword and daggers, Leia." He sighed, unsure how to explain it to her. "This place... what little I've seen of it... It's like something out of a storybook. There are no elves where I come from. No orcs, no magic." By that definition, his own world sounded very mundane and boring, but it was where he belonged. There was that heavy feeling in his chest again, and he realized it was sadness. Sorrow. Missing her already and he hadn't even left yet, not to mention that fact that he hardly even knew her.
"I'm not wholly an elf," she offered, trying to be helpful in the face of his growing distress. Distress that she realized she was beginning to feel an echo of, something that scared her more than she wanted to admit. "My mother was human." She shook her head, leaning down to kiss him slowly, teasing her lips against his, willing him to let the sadness go. "These aren't words for a warm bed and the cloak of night," she murmured, drawing her fingers through his hair, a single fingertip smoothing over the curve of his ear in quiet fascination. "Are ... are all humans as big as you?"
He would have said something, but she erased the words from his lips with another kiss, slow and languid. Though the kiss was meant to ease his mind, it only made him sadder. When was the time for words then, he thought? When it was too late? When he was already gone? "I..." He trailed off, suppressing the shiver that ran his back at her touch, wanting her again, unable to hide the aching need that was rising up inside him again. "Depends on what you mean by big," he replied, rolling her onto her back and silencing her questions with kisses.
She offered him a gasp to breathe in once again as she found herself once again on her back, covered by him as he kissed her again. The desire rose like a flood, spurred on as much by his rising need as her own, fed into itself and looped back until she had no real will but to answer it and no wish to deny him in any case. Her lips curved beneath his, welcoming him into her embrace as her hands smoothed down over his back. One slipped between them, wrapping the slender fingers of that small hand about a girth she already knew intimately enough. "This big."
He gasped for breath when he felt her fingers touch him in such an intimate way, a small smile forming on his lips, at last. He'd never thought of himself as being unusual or particularly attractive, but she seemed to like what she saw and who was he to argue with that? "We come in all sizes. I'm a little taller than average, I guess," he replied, flushing a little at the realization that she was not asking about his height. "Are all elves this horny?" he countered, brushing his lips against her cheek and leaving a trail of kisses against the side of her neck, lips drifting toward her ear.
She laughed, the sound wrapping around him in the darkness as she released him, returning her caresses to his hip, his side. "That wasn't quite what I was asking," was giggled against his neck, feeling her hair tumble out of his way as his mouth found purchase against her cheek and throat. She might even have answered his query about her sex drive ... if she hadn't realized just where those lips were heading. The purr rose from her throat as she arched beneath him once again, anticipation thrilling through her with restless delight.
Her laugh was musical, melodious, a warm happy sound that filled his heart with a flood of warmth and affection. He felt her breath against his neck, heard the purr that vibrated in her throat, and the heat of desire rushed through his body filling him with hunger for her all over again. He groaned against her neck, his lips finding an ear, brushing a kiss against the tender lobe, daring to take a gentle nibble.
How could he possibly have known exactly where her greatest weakness was? It was another thing handed down from her father, a sensitivity of flesh that made the lobe and point of her ear shockingly receptive to even the slightest touch. Lips and teeth were something she could not defend against, and the reaction was electric. The little half-elf in his arms tensed with a loud moan of unmistakeable pleasure, the grip of her hands turning her nails into his flesh for the briefest moment before she surged up to him, breathless with the heady spike of desire he'd so unknowingly given her.
He couldn't have predicted what the mostly innocent caress would do to her, and he couldn't ignore her reaction, groaning and shuddering as her nails dug into his flesh, if only briefly, spiking his own desire. Encouraged by her reaction to his lips, he trailed his tongue against the tip of her ear, curious to see what would happen, what her reaction might be. He reached for her hands, before she drew blood and linked his fingers to hers as he pulled them up over her head. Though he knew very little about her, he was slowly learning her, at least, in a physical sense, savoring every soft sigh, every moan, every purr - learning her, exploring her, memorizing her.
She didn't have the strength to resist having her hands drawn above her head and keep herself relatively quiet, not wanting to disturb others in the inn. It was a rough enough area that anyone pissed off with the noise would come looking to shut her up. But that didn't mean he was done out of her reaction. She actually whimpered, shuddering violently as his tongue traced the tingling point of her ear, her fingers gripping tight enough between his to threaten bloodflow as the delicate body beneath his own threatened to thrash about. Her toes pointed as she gasped for breath, her purring moans vibrating from her to him as her legs wrapped tight about his hips, her body bucking up while stars flew before her eyes. "Gods ... oh gods ..."
He have to be an idiot not to sense her need, not to know that she wanted him. It was something about her ears, but it was more than just that. If he didn't know better he'd think there was almost some kind of magical bond developing between them, something he'd never felt with anyone before her and maybe never would again. He pressed his pelvis against hers, his turn to tease now that he had the upper hand, experimenting to see just what made her moan and writhe, taking his cues from her. He wasn't doing too badly for a man who thought he had little skill with a woman, letting his instincts lead the way.
"Yes ... yes ..." She groaned, trying to press back, to take him into her despite how impossible that was for her smaller self to manage, held down and teased so relentlessly. "Please ..." The purrs had given way to a desperately soft keening, need flooding from her every pore as he tortured her in that best way possible, losing coherency of thought in the sheer force of animal desire that wanted to purge itself in him. Her lips found purchase briefly against his cheek, her breath hot, staggered against his skin. "Gods, Jake, please!"
Testing her to see how far she'd let him go, it wasn't long before she was begging him, and he was shaking with a need to fulfill his own desire. He wasted no time in fulfilling her wish, crashing against her in a wild tangle of arms and legs. His lips took hers, groaning as he ravaged her mouth, tasting the sweetness of her kiss, tongue tangling with hers as lips pressed tightly together. His hips crashed against hers again and again in that frenzied dance of love and lust, until the world exploded again in a sea of stars and fireworks.
He'd succeeded in driving her wild, and was rewarded for his efforts with a feral response to his lovemaking that rivaled anything he could ever have experienced before. Taking and taken, all at once, she fought him for dominance in a battle she ultimately lost, distracted too much by naked longing for everything he gave her. She could feel the echo of his pleasure, his desire, his enjoyment of her, heightening her own ecstasy as once more the balance tipped her into a snapping, crackling, unparalleled explosion of near perfect satisfaction.
"Oh, my God..." He whispered beside her ear, sighing deeply and shuddering against her as his climax slowly subsided. He'd never felt anything as exhilarating, as devastating, as maddeningly wild as he had when he was with her. "I've-I've never..." He groaned as he rolled to his back, pulling her onto his chest, practically collapsing. "That was amazing." His eyes gazed into her with a soft, contented sigh. "I think I love you."
Even a whisper was enough to make her shudder when pressed to her ear, a last frisson of teasing delight that brought her purr back to the surface even as she struggled within herself to sort out what was hers and what was his. Dazed, she rolled with him, settled easily on his chest, laying her arms against the bed, her forehead to his as that gasping for breath went back and forth between them. "How ... how did you know ... to, to ..." Her voice trailed off with a sweet moan as he gazed into her eyes, the words on his lips a gentle counterpoint to the growing knot in the back of her heart and mind that felt like him.
"How did I know to what?" he asked softly, sweeping a hand across her cheek to tuck her hair behind a gently-pointed ear for no reason other than the mere desire to touch her. He spoke in a hushed whisper, as if he was afraid to speak any louder might break the spell between them. Was he dreaming or was she a dream come true? Whatever the answer, he had a feeling the longer he stayed with her, the harder it would be to part. He was already dreading it, banishing those thoughts from his mind, at least for now. He'd worry about it later.
She gasped again as his fingers brushed her ear, even in such an innocent way as setting her hair back from her face. There was no way he didn't feel the ripple of desire that spiked through her at that touch, her hand snapping up to catch his before he could investigate that reaction further and put paid to any hope of knowing what she was talking about. Drawing in a slow breath in the hope of calming her raging nerves even for a little while, she huffed out a quiet chuckle. "That."
He furrowed his brows at her in the dark, realizing at last what it was she was talking about. "Your ears?" he asked, curiously. "All I did was touch them." He would have tested his theory but she had hold of his hand and he was too lazily content to lift the other. She felt soft and warm against his body, and he thought that was no more wonderful feeling than to lie there with her in the night, while the rest of the world slept.
Leia actually blushed when she realized she was going to have to explain this. It was something so personal to elves and some half-elves, something that was impolite to discuss. But he was human. He had no way of knowing just what the most casual of touches could do to her. "I ..." She swallowed, faltering almost before she began, and tried again, releasing his hand as she spoke. "It's one of the most intimate things you can do to me," she told him. "No one's ever ... ever touched my ears the way you just did, never like that, with lips and ... and your tongue." She trembled with the memory of that erotic touch, the purr making itself known without conscious thought in the grip of that memory. "I ... I'm sensitive, there."
The curious expression was still on his face, wondering for the life of him why, if she was so sensitive, no one had ever dared touch her there before. A thought came to him when he realized her embarrassment, though he couldn't see her blush in the dark. It was more the sound of her voice that hinted at her awkwardness in explaining it. "No one? But... You must have had other lovers, haven't you?" He wouldn't have guessed her for a virgin, not the way she'd reacted to him, wanted him. She was no shy lover.
"Two," she admitted softly. "Both elves. Both boring as hell and too polite to do what you just did." But she laughed as she said that; apparently she liked his impoliteness a lot more than their decorum. "Elves take forever to climax, too. I swear, I think I fell asleep in the middle a few times with the second one." The fact that she hadn't even bothered to remember her former lovers' names spoke volumes. She leaned down to him, nipping teasingly at his lips. "So ... where's your weakness?"
"Fell asleep?" he echoed, eyes widening. "In the middle of sex?" he asked, none too bluntly. "I, uh..." he faltered as she teased kissing from him, wondering if that in itself was his weakness. He wasn't quite sure how to answer that question and wasn't even sure if he had a weakness. Whatever it was, she seemed to have already found it. "I don't know," he replied honestly, with a thoughtful frown. Either he wasn't sure he had one, or he didn't want to tell her what it was.
"They take hours," she purred against his lips, her own curved in a delighted smile as he seemed to need to restart his mind thanks to those kisses. "You're my first human. I definitely didn't fall asleep with you." She grinned, her legs splitting apart to fold on either side of him as she slowly sat up, rolling her hips, accentuating the tease of kisses and smiles with something far more intimate where their bodies threatened to merge once more. "I think you do know," she told him, dragging her fingertips down over his chest. "Don't go shy on me now, Jake."
Instead of smiling, he furrowed his brows up at her at the way she said that. Her first human, as if to imply there would be more after him. Well, of course, there would be. Who was he to her, after all? They'd only just met. He was nothing and nobody. Just some guy who'd accidentally dropped into her life. Despite his hurt feelings, his body was betraying him again, and he tensed at her touch, like fire against his flesh, reaching to catch hold of her fingers before she could taunt him further. "Don't, Leia. Don't tease."
But he didn't know that she was denying the longevity of whatever this was as much to herself as to him. Bonding was for life, it happened without warning, it stuck whether you wanted it to or not. He was human; he wanted to go to his home, a home that would not be able to accept her. She couldn't go with him, and only a cruel heart would hold him here. She couldn't be bonding with him. It just wasn't possible. And if you believe that, Zanbar Bane is a nice guy, she thought to herself, stilling as Jensen's hands closed over hers. "You don't want me?" she asked softly, choosing not to be hurt by this until he made it clear what he was asking her not to do.
"No, it's not that," he replied, as gently as he could, trying to explain. "It's just the opposite." He reached up with his free hand to brush his fingers against her cheek. "I don't want to leave you. I want to get to know you better, but I have no choice. I have family back home, responsibilities." Christ, when had he cared so much about responsibility? He was as good as dead back home. He wondered what she'd say if she knew that. What would Clay say if he knew he'd gone soft for a girl? Hell, Clay did it all the damned time. "I want you. I just... I'm scared. That's all."
She gazed down at him in silence for a long time, searching that little press of vague feeling that felt like him, skimming from it the fear and confusion, the sadness. Her head tilted as she held his gaze, brows drawing together with not selfish disappointment, but concern, something wholly new for her to feel with any lover. Slowly, she lowered herself back down to him, respecting his wish that she not tease him for now, drawing her fingers through the frosted tips of his hair. "What is it that scares you?"
Now there was a question no one had ever asked him before. It had been hard enough to admit his fear, and now she wanted him to examine it further and explain it. He looked thoughtful a moment as he considered a reply to her question. "I don't know. Afraid of getting hurt, I guess. I've never really, you know..." He shrugged his shoulders, as if she might know what he was thinking without him having to say it. He'd never really had a girlfriend before, never been in a serious relationship. Oh, sure, there had been a few flings with women here and there, but nothing really serious. He'd never let himself get serious, or maybe they just hadn't stuck around long enough.
She frowned in the darkness, uncertain with a male for the first time in her life. She wanted him - she could feel that he wanted her - in a way that went far deeper than merely pillowing and desire. But part of that wanting brought with it a desire not to hold him if he did not want to be held. And she had no idea how to respond. She brushed her lips to his, stroking the pad of her thumb against his temple. "Do not be afraid," she whispered to him tenderly. "If such things as this, as us, are meant to happen, they will find a way. And if not ..." She had to pause, startled to find that the thought of him leaving had sent a pang of real pain through her chest. "If not, then there is no need to mourn," she lied quietly. "I know I will be in this moment with you until the day I die."
His eyes widened in the darkness as he gazed up at her, touched by her words, surprised by them even. No one had ever said such things to him before; no one had ever wanted to be with him the way she seemed to want to before. And then she mentioned death, and he, too, felt a stab of pain in his chest. She hardly knew him, and yet, they'd shared more in the last few hours than he'd ever shared with anyone before, it seemed. "I don't understand," he whispered up at her, as if he was almost afraid to speak. "You hardly know me."
"I don't need to," she whispered to him, her lips finding his once again. She knew such a statement would confuse him, that he was unlikely to believe her in any case, but she didn't know if she could explain a bond to a human who lived in a world without magic. A sensible woman would step back and refuse any further contact, knowing that each new level of intimacy would only make the bond stronger, but Leia didn't want to step back. If she couldn't have him, she didn't want to waste a lifetime in mourning. She knew what she was doing.
Her lips smothered his protest before he had a chance to speak. He wasn't sure what she was talking about, but he didn't want her to die. Not now, not ever, and certainly not because of him. He got lost in her kiss for a moment before taking her by the shoulders to physically pry her away from him, holding her at arms' length, his eyes shining suspiciously in the moonlight. "Leia, please... Don't talk about dying. I've never met anyone like you. I don't understand. Please... I need to understand."
She whimpered softly as he pulled her away from himself, the sound so young, so vulnerable, as to come from a completely different person. For a moment, she lowered her face to his chest, truly not wanting to share her suspicions with him, not wanting to make him feel in any way beholden to the strange half-elf he had known for less than a day. "My father's people," she said very quietly. "They do not marry. There is a thing called the bond, which can form with anyone at any time. It links souls and hearts for life. You do not need to know someone for it to begin, and the more time you spend with them, the more intimacy you share, the stronger it will grow. I ..." She hesitated, biting at her lip. "I can feel you, inside me. I think I am bonding with you."
He blinked up at her, as if he hadn't heard her right, as confused as ever. Bonding? With him? What was she talking about? Why him? He still didn't quite understand and wondered if she was just teasing him again, trying to get his goat. That had to be it. She couldn't really be bonding with him, linking her heart and soul with him, of all people? "Oh, I see..." He smiled, forcing himself to chuckle, though he wasn't really seeing the humor in it. "You're teasing me, right? That's a pretty good one, Leia. You almost had me going for a while there."
For just the briefest of moments, his rejection of the truth stung like a blade sinking deep. But this was a reaction she could cope with, a refusal to admit that she might be right. She forced herself to smirk, to laugh along with him, leaning close to nuzzle a third kiss to his lips. "Why are we talking?" she asked in a low purr of sound. "There are so many better things we could be doing."
It wasn't so much that he was rejecting the truth as it was that it was just so hard for him to believe. A half-elf girl falling for him, bonding with him, linking her heart and soul with his until the day she died. It was ridiculous. It wasn't just that he found it hard to believe that someone like her would want to be with him, but just the idea of it. It was the stuff of fairytales, not real life. She had to be teasing him; it was the only explanation. "I'm going to wake up and find you're just a dream, aren't I?" he asked, just as she nuzzled a kiss against his lips, his arms sliding around her, making no attempt to resist. If she was a dream, then he wanted to enjoy it as long as it lasted and then some. He let her take the lead this time, his fingers sliding against the curve of her rear and the small of her back. God, she felt so good, so real. If this was a dream, he never wanted to wake up.
Leia grinned against his lips, arching tenderly into him as his hand smoothed over her skin. "Would you like me to call Sloti, just to convince you this is really happening?" she offered, taking refuge in her teasing habits to soothe the pain that lingered deep inside. She shifted once again, nipping those purring kisses from his mouth to his jaw, catching his earlobe between her teeth to growl in a reminder and a warning of what he'd discovered about her. Some part of her caught a glimpse of how he felt her, how she made him feel, and she took her cues from that, following the spiking promise of his desires with kissing lips and smoothing hands, wanting to show him that she was the perfect lover for him. That no one else would ever compare. That was the bond, urging her to make him hers, and foolishly, she chose not to resist.
"Just let me dream for a while," he replied softly. He sighed contentedly as she kissed him and touched him, imprinting herself in his mind and heart and soul, though he didn't know it yet. He traced the curve of her hip, moaning in pleasure at the nibble against his earlobe, letting her tease him, do whatever she wanted to him. He didn't seem to be resisting in the least. Even if he was afraid, his heart was willing and his body ready. He'd never realized how alone he was until now, until he thought he might lose her.
As he had teased and tormented her, she did the same to him, taking her time as she trailed lips and hands up and down, over every inch of him she could reach, listening as much to the sounds he made at her touch as to the flicker of emotion, of passion, that was uniquely him in her soul and growing stronger with each passing hour. She had experience at making this last, though she did not yet understand that a human would only stand so much before taking matters into his own hands. But for now, he was treated to elven lovemaking, to the exquisite torture of the slow, burning build up that she was adept at offering, thrilling to each movement, each sound, each surge from deep inside. He was hers, her soul was screaming, and by dawn, she was determined that he would know that better than anything.
He could only stand so much before her teasing became torment, before pleasure became pain. It was more than likely sooner than she might have liked, and most definitely sooner than his elven counterparts, that he could stand it no more, his body screaming for release even as he tried to prolong it. Even so, they'd made love three times in one night, and that was none too shabby for an ordinary human male. She was pushing him to the very limits of his endurance, but in the end, he was only human. He pulled her to him at last and pushed her onto her back, taking her for the third time that night, moaning her name as he crested once again, letting the floodgates open as the heat of passion swept over him, filling her with his heat as he surrendered to his inevitable release.
She was learning something new almost every time he opened his mouth, every time she touched him. That his stamina was not that of an elf, but his passion was greater, more intense, more immediate. That his pleasure was greater, but could become pain if pushed. That she didn't need to rise to that precipice with him to enjoy the way he took her, the way he touched her, the way he lost himself to the infinite delight of her touch. That her name sounded more natural on his lips than on any other's, twisting a new thread about her heart to seal the growing bond tighter between them.
He would have given himself to her freely forever if it weren't for the family he'd left back home. The team was his family, too, in a way, but they'd eventually find someone to replace him. He was as good as dead back home anyway. A sigh broke again as his pleasure ebbed slowly away, frowning down at her and wondering if he'd hurt her or disappointed her in his haste. "You're so beautiful," he told her again, nestling his face against the side of her neck until he could catch his breath, feeling her heart beating against his chest, her body warm and soft and fitting against him so perfectly.
You are mine. She held him to her, stroking her hands against his back, soothing him down from the crest she had built for him. The beat of his heart as it slowed found a match with her own, her body delightedly molding into the protective curl of his over her as she purred for him once more, smiling in the moonlight. "You are wonderful," she whispered back to him, her lips moving against his hair with each word. Don't leave me. But this time, she held those words in, understanding now how it hurt him to feel her need for his presence.
His heart whispered back, I don't want to leave you, though the words didn't quite find their way to his lips. Instead, he turned quiet, refusing to close his eyes, afraid if he did, he'd wake up alone when the sun rose in the morning - back home alone in a lonely bed in his apartment with only his laptop for companionship. The thought made his chest ache and his eyes burn with tears he refused to shed. He hadn't cried in years, and he wasn't about to start now. "You should get some sleep," he told her as he lifted his head to gaze down at her in the fading moonlight. Before long it would be morning, and the spell would be over, or so he thought. He rolled to his side, arms and legs tangled with hers, reluctant to let go. "You ever wish on a star?"
He was right. Though she needed less sleep than a human, the exertions of the night had wearied her more than she had thought they might, filling her with a delicious lethargy that kept her curled to him as he rolled, pressed close in the tangle of arms and legs. She smiled faintly, lifting her own head to gently touch her nose to his. "I wished once, many years ago," she told him quietly. "Never again. I thought it would never come true."
He wasn't sure he should ask, but her response begged asking. "What did you wish for?" he asked, as he brushed her hair back from her face with a gentle touch, noses touching, snuggling as close as he possibly could to her.
She gazed into his eyes, wondering how much she should tell him. I wished for a love that would hold me close, that would never abandon me, that I would know in my heart and soul was true for all the long days of my life. Could she really tell him all that? No ... no, it would be cruel. Instead, she smiled once again, easing as close as she could, relaxing into the curl of his arms as her head found a place to rest on the pillow. "You."
He arched a brow at her answer, not understanding what she meant. How could she have wished for him when she'd never known him? Or had she wished for someone like him? What was it she'd wished for exactly? "I'm-I'm not..." He started to protest, to tell her that he wasn't good enough for her, that he didn't deserve her, but he broke off. "I wished for someone like you once, but..." He shrugged. It had been a long time ago, and it had never come true, not until now anyway. Was it too late? Was it ever too late? Why did he have to choose? Why couldn't he have her and his family, too? It was so unfair.
He swallowed the lump in his throat and exhaled a slow sigh. "Go to sleep. We'll figure it all out in the morning." If he was still there come morning. If this really was real and not just a dream. He pressed a kiss against her forehead and settled his head against the pillow, tired but unsure he'd be able to sleep. There was too much to think about, too much to do, and he didn't want to close his eyes and wake up to find her gone.
She nuzzled close, understanding his confusion, his uncertainty that she could be so sure after so short a time. He had laughed at her attempt to explain, and she knew he would never believe her, not until it was too late. Perhaps the bond was entirely on her side; perhaps he would never truly know the pain of her loss when he left her. She could hope. But obediently, she closed her eyes, curling herself close to him, laying a kiss over his heart as she sighed softly, slipping easily into sleep in his arms. The dawn would bring new truths and new understanding, but for now, she had him. She knew now what was in store for her, prepared to accept and enjoy until it ended, and with its end, the last beat of her heart.
[size=9]((Welcome to Rhy'Din, huh? :grin: Awesome sauce on hot chilli ice cream is what I think Jensen's player would be in food form. No accounting for personal taste, is there?))[/size]